Pharyngula

Nothing will dissuade the contributors to the evergrowing thread, not even another cheesy 1950s horror flick.

Yak, yak, yak.

(Current totals: 10,115 entries with 977,398 comments.)

Comments

  1. #1 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    PZ, you just keep the eternal thread going now to be able to post cheesy 50s SciFi flicks, admit it…:-)

    Works for me…

  2. #2 Holytape
    April 28, 2010

    The sweetest part of that movie is when the Giant Mantis attacks the Inuit village. But a better insect movie is “The beginning of the end.” It has eusocial meat eating grasshoppers attacking Chicago.

    Pac-Devil

  3. #3 Pierce R. Butler
    April 28, 2010

    So why haven’t they made cheesy 1950s horror flicks about Tibetan bovines?

  4. #4 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    ambook (from the previous incarnation (which is, basically, rush hour, right? an in car nation? anyone? courtesy laugh?))

    Sorry.

    Ambook: I came back from a 15-day assignment at a forest fire in Idaho and brought (((Wife))) a rock.

    Well, not a rock, exactly, but some crystals. Specifically, a five pound milky chunk of milky quartz.

    She enjoyed it.

    And (reference to the “You’re Doing It Wrong” thread), it was much better than cleaning the toilet.

    And in Soviet Russia, the toilet cleans you!

    Sorry, folks. It’s Monday. And I spent the weekend reinstalling everthing on my hard drive. Thank you so very much, McAfee. You are no longer my antivirus.

  5. #5 Harry Tuttle
    April 28, 2010

    @ Holytape; Plus The Beginning of the End has that awesome voice-over by Peter Graves at the end (“He discovered too late that man is a thinking animal …”). Will Hopper is good in tDM but he’s no Peter Graves.

    As for the Inuits;

    “He’s trading in his Chevy for a Kayak-ak-ak-ak-ak!”

  6. #6 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    And I spent the weekend reinstalling everthing on my hard drive.

    You must be a Windoze user.
    Commiserations…:-)

  7. #7 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Video: so bad it’s good :-D :-D :-D

    What an incredibly eventful day : David failed his blockquote !

    That happens all the time. About once a day.

    In a hundred blockquotes a day, that makes… X-D

    Hi everyone. I’m still alive – just immersed in a slutty love affair. *smirk*

    Do take your time! :-)

    /weak etymology nerd humour

    :-D :-D :-D

    oh and btw, we had Go??bki (except made properly with buckwheat groats instead of rice); they were just as good as I remembered them. I shall have make them again sometime :-)

    They were served once a week at the dig last year. :-)

    (With rice, and presented as a specifically Silesian specialty. A few months later, I was served the exact same thing, with -cy instead of -ki, as a Russian specialty by my supervisor’s Russian wife who comes from Moscow and has a family that comes from southeast of that. … But, yes, very good both times.)

  8. #8 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    April 28, 2010
  9. #9 funnyguts
    April 28, 2010

    But I’ve got a mantis in my pantsis!

  10. #10 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 28, 2010

    Yak, yak, yak.

    Yak, Yak, Yak.*

    *I didn’t want to find a picture for this yak.

  11. #11 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    It’s Monday. And I spent the weekend

    Uh…

    It’s Wednesday. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out you’ve worked 3 days and nights.

    Oh my…

    ROTFL!!!

    Metamorphosis is triggered by thyroid hormones. Everything else you ever wanted to know about axolotls but never dared ask.

  12. #12 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Rorschach: Yes, yes I am.

    My name is (((Billy)) The Atheist and I am addicted to Windows.

    All: Hello, (((Billy))).

    It all started when I got my first computer. Well, my second (no, wait, third) computer. Which had Windows. And I got used to it.

    I replaced that computer with another Windows machine. And then another. And now we have three in the house.

    I don’t know how it happened, but I am a Windows user. I’m addicted. I know I deserve better. I know I shouldn’t be doing this to myself, but, somewhere, deep inside, I know that I deserve this.

    I accept the freeze ups. I accept the constant updates for things they should have taken care of on release.

    And I will buy another one. Why? I’m (((Billy))) They Atheist and I’m addicted to Windows.

    [sob, sob, sob]

  13. #13 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    David:

    Monday and Tuesday are my days off. I work Wednesday through Sunday. So Wednesday is Monday and Sunday is Friday.

    See? It all makes sense.

  14. #14 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    @ Owlmirror

    I stand (humbly) corrected on the tameh/toevah distinction, but it does seem that toevah is still used largely in a “let’s distinguish our tribe from that tribe over there” sense (idolatry, dietary taboos, having sex during menstruation, marrying your ex-wife) rather than a “these things are wrong in all cases” sense. Eating non-kosher animals is not one of the things that is forbidden to non-Jews – why should homosexuality be forbidden? It’s another case of the ridiculous picking and choosing nature of the literal truth of the bible crowd. Not to mention the fact that it’s absurd to base one’s behavior on the world view of the ancient Israelites or Sumerians without a lot more consideration of whether each particular tenet fits with one’s actual life experience.

    I know that the spark plugs are not technically fossils and actually explained that to my sweetie last night. But it sounds funnier to say “fossilized spark plugs” than to say “spark plugs contained in an accretion.” It’s wish I could have watched the swarm of TSA agents deliberating over whether it was tameh or toevah.

    Shouldn’t we at least consider that the spark plugs might have been put there as a test of our faith by a divine miscreant seeking to fool us into thinking that spark plugs were around 50 million years ago?

  15. #15 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    I accept the freeze ups. I accept the constant updates for things they should have taken care of on release.

    Why??

    (I will go to bed now before SC reprimands me for being a geek of the annoying kind…again)

  16. #16 Walton
    April 28, 2010

    There is nothing wrong with Windows. I’ve never really had any problems with it at all.

  17. #17 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Rorschach:

    Because I’m addicted?

    Actually, I suspect it’s because that is the system we use at work and I don’t have the tech savvy to learn a new system. And (until (((Boy))) and (((Girl))) are out of college) I just can’t afford an Apple.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that everytime my work computer freezes up (with much cursing on my part), a fellow habitante says, “That wouldn’t happen if you had an Apple.”

    And why would South Carolina reprimand you? Just claim you are a conservative Republican and it is okay. No matter what it is, it is okay.

  18. #18 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    I discovered yesterday that one of the naturalists at our publicly funded nature center needs to “do more research” to decide if the world is more than 6000 years old. And she does geology presentations.

    Yes, I have plans to deal with this.

  19. #19 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    I concur with Walton at #16 – have used Windows essentially since DOS stopped being a viable option (dragged kicking and screaming from DOS) and have never had any problems with any of the various incarnations (other than a dislike for anything other than the classic windows look)

    I get the feeling I’m doing computers wrong.

  20. #20 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    I just can’t afford an Apple.

    *whistles innocently on his way out*

  21. #21 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Rorschach: There is also the part about not being tech savvy.

    Actually, I really don’t have a major problem with Windows (it came across a little strong back at my #12 because I was trying to be funny and comparing it to an AA meeting (fail on my part (like I said, it’s Monday))). At work, I do a great deal of graphics work but, since it is not in my PD, I can’t get a computer optimized for graphic design. At home, my only problems (other than a recalcitrent router) involve McAfee which is no longer my antivirus (I have this weird idea that an antivirus should not muck up the system it is supposed to protect)).

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to send this off into a Windows debate. I was trying to be funny and failed. I’m sorry. Take my firstborn. Please.

  22. #22 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    My third grade classroom had a bunch of book adaptations of cheesy 50′s sci-fi movies like The Blob, a bunch of Godzilla movies, and a few others. This was one of them. I read all of them so I know the plot of this movie pretty well even though I’ve never actually seen it.

  23. #23 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Seriously. Take my firstborn. And the college expenses. He’s now majoring in both history and fine art/design. And it is expensive.

  24. #24 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    It’s all right Billy. I grew up with Macs and left them some time in 2000′s because I’m sick of overpriced computers with all the same problems of any other computer.

    I’ve been intent on installing a linux os on one of my computers but I still need one for music, film ,and photo editing software to also be compatible… so without that it will just be a websurfing computer.

    For all it’s ills windows has proved the most usable although of course not ideal.

    Now the cost of a mac tower that would have the power I want could buy me a car. Then I’d have to buy new software for it. And for that much money I could get another grad degree and in the meantime use the school’s resources.

    And then the knowledge that I will be nursing a Mac which I really haven’t found much more stable. I’ve had five Macs over the years, and two PC towers (both hand me downs)… and then the Dell laptop I bought which, admittedly, was a motherfucking lemon (so was the original iMac for me…. the “blueberry”). One difference though is that I was able to repair the laptop but the iMac just ended up being thrown away.

  25. #25 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    Dammit… let the panic and histrionics begin for the millions who clearly won’t understand what exactly CNN means when they put this headline on the front page of their website:

    Huge Laser Aims to Create Star on Earth.

    It’s another attempt at generating a fusion reaction, that probably won’t happen due to bureaucratic bullshit, but that won’t stop CNN from over-sensationalizing the actual science.

  26. #26 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    I’ve had problems with bad hardware that had Windows running on it, but not with Windows itself.

    And Apple crashes can be horrible. I’ve seen a few. And Apple freezes are incredibly annoying…

  27. #27 Givesgoodemail
    April 28, 2010

    We hosted two Serbian students on a three-week trip to the U.S. (they went home this morning), and one of them loves Lady Gag-gag.

    So, since misery loves company

  28. #28 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    Oh, and in news that should surprise no-one, the “US Supreme Court of Upholding State Sponsored Christianity” somehow came to the conclusion that putting up a giant cross on National Park land does not violate the Establishment Clause.

    Seriously, why don’t they just stop pretending and just admit that they aren’t at all interested in upholding the First Amendment if it applies to christianity.

  29. #29 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    There is nothing wrong with Windows. I’ve never really had any problems with it at all.

    You know the problem of using anecdotes to support claims. Just because you have never encountered problems with Windows doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They most certainly are and I deal with them every day. But then, every OS sucks.

  30. #30 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    There is nothing wrong with Windows. I’ve never really had any problems with it at all.

    You mean apart from the laughable user security that requires users be given admin accounts on a local PC in order to be able to run a lot of software ?

    Or how about the inconsistent way functions operate between various programs in Office ?

    Or the lack of standards compliance in IE ?

    I won’t even mention the pitiful way in which userspace programs can directly access hardware.

  31. #31 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    This is of course anecdotal, but in my last job I worked as a network architect on a college campus that had a mixed environment of Macs and PCs.

    We had more overall problems with Windows machines, but let me just tell you, the gap wasn’t that large and Mac problems were generally far worse, and the equipment far more expensive to replace. Oh, and we had to scrap an entire NAC project because the Macs just wouldn’t fucking play nice with the Tipping Point NAC implementation. Anyone who tries to make the case that Macs are so much more stable, I just brush off with a gentle “mm-hmm”.

    Of course, I’m not counting Windows ME in this discussion, because it never happened… you hear me? Never. Happened.

  32. #32 Dahan
    April 28, 2010

    I know half these films from MST3K. Love that show!

  33. #33 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    I’m sorry. I did not intend to start a Windows debate with my stupid non-funny throw away. I’m sorry.

  34. #34 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    Or how about the inconsistent way functions operate between various programs in Office ?

    My favorite recent example of inconsistency between Office programs is the Save options in Office 2007. In Excel they left of the Browse buttons for the Autorecover file location and Default file location, so you have to type them in by hand or copy from Word and paste it in to Excel.

  35. #35 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    My favorite recent example of inconsistency between Office programs is the Save options in Office 2007. In Excel they left of the Browse buttons for the Autorecover file location and Default file location, so you have to type them in by hand or copy from Word and paste it in to Excel.

    I was thinking more function calls in Excel or Access1 but UI inconsistencies will do as well.

    1 Functions often share the same name between the two programs, but do not always work in exactly the same way.

  36. #36 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Oh I’m not going to say there are no problems with windows, only that the problems tend to be ones that don’t get in my way.

    For instance, I don’t use office on my personal computer.

    So I don’t care how office works or doesn’t work. I don’t use IE unless I’m at work (and even then I use chrome now because due some Oracle issues I have to use IE6 and can’t really use the web that way anyway).

    The admin acct thing is annoying but since I’ve never not had one either on my work pc or home, I don’t have to deal with it much.

    Actually wouldn’t you just end up locking that anyway though on a work pc anyway? I mean you don’t want people installing software on a whim anyway on a PC they don’t own.

    Getting macs to play on a network is hell from what I hear from the network service team here. Never encountered it before, at my former job the thought of having macs on the system at all was laughable.

    Like having a Coke machine at Pepsi headquarters!

  37. #37 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    (((Billy))):
    I think you know now that there are enough IT people in this crowd that even mentioning an operating system, any operating system, or hardware platform will create a huge subthread. But whatever you do, don’t say anything about video games. ;-)

  38. #38 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    That being said I’d like to have a linux system set aside specifically to separate the computers I use for graphics intense stuff and for development…

    plans for my money. I have them. :P

  39. #39 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    KOPD: Oh, hell no! I’d never mention any computer gaming except to say that CivIV is fantastic. And I found a great free contract bridge game online (don’t remember the name at the moment). But I would never mention computer gaming.

    I do like my Dells, though.

  40. #40 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    Ol’Greg,

    I will cop to most of my complaints about Windows being about using it in a production environment, rather than for home users.

    With regards getting Macs to play nicely on a network, I expect it will depend what type of servers are being used. If they are Windows servers I would not have thought the problems would be that great, since OSX uses a Unix code base, and there is a good support for Windows networking in Unix.

  41. #41 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    I was thinking more function calls in Excel or Access

    Oh, I know what you meant. I was just broadening the inquiry to include other inconsistencies. But those don’t bother me that much. These days my problems are not with Office, or whether somebody’s laptop crashes (heh, it’s my coworkers that have to worry about that). My problems are with the bugs, inconsistencies, and limitations of various versions of Windows Server, and getting different versions to live together peacefully. Things like installing Exchange 2007 on Server 2008 in an Exchange 2003 mixed mode environment. Real joy, that.

  42. #42 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    KOPD that gaming thread was epic. I stick by my guns, but I am now seriously considering getting back into games.

    But only if I can stick to my workout and dance practice (which I have currently backslid for about a month) but in my defense it’s been a hectic month and I’m preparing for a trip.

    excuses…excuses.

  43. #43 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    Kopd,

    I do less Office programming that I used to. I still do some database stuff, and the differences in functions between SQL Server and Access can be a pain.

    I do some server support as well, but only on a Linux based distro called Clear OS.

  44. #44 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    there are enough IT people in this crowd that even mentioning an operating system, any operating system, or hardware platform will create a huge subthread.

    I hate the OS fanboy wars… hate ‘em. I personally use about every OS I can get my hands on. Each one does something I need better than the other… and each one has some fucking inherent flaw or limitation that drives me nuts.

    As an IT manager, I hate Windows security, and cobbed solutions like UAC just drive me nuts.

    Macs on my network at work? Hell no… not with the advanced internal firewall and NAC integration I use… fucking nightmare. At home? Hell yes… and on at least one of my laptops.

    Linux is my preferred OS for my web server, secure backup server and NAS. But I’d never try to put it on the desktop… not enough expertise on managing it on my tech staff, and driver support is spotty.

    Love ‘em all, hate ‘em all. Not interested in getting into a flame war over them.

  45. #45 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    With regards getting Macs to play nicely on a network, I expect it will depend what type of servers are being used.

    More than that, it also depends on the complexity of your network and how you may or may not be handling security and access on that network…

  46. #46 Rawnaeris
    April 28, 2010

    @iambilly, In my time around here, I have learned that the neverending thread has a life of its own. No need to apologize.

    In my house we have 1 WinXP netbook, mine, 1 Ubuntu laptop, mine, 1 recently dead WinXP dell laptop, his, 1 Vista tower, his, and 1 MacBook pro, his.

    I prefer the Ubuntu and Mac machines simply because I like the feel of Unix better. I will admit to Betaing Win7, and it wasn’t bad, for a Windows.

  47. #47 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Yeah, I used to do a lot with Office at my old job but honestly it never pained me that much. Actually I used to build these ridiculously complex forms for Excel in VB which is crazy… why would you do that in Excel? I dunno… ask my former bosses.

    … and I work only either with database or with testing software now.

  48. #48 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    Good points by CE.

    I would add that Linux can be dammed useful for getting data from a non-booting Windows PC. Or with the right tool, hacking the password file when someone has forgotten the admin password.

  49. #49 Bix12
    April 28, 2010

    Fantastico! And wasn’t that the famous L.A. private dick Paul Drake–aka William Hopper?

    Since his boss, Perry Mason, got to make “Godzilla”, I guess Paul got to make “Mantis”–sweet deal…but what about Della Street? No classic 50′s sci-fi movie for her to flex her acting chops in? Tsk tsk-such Hollywood chauvinism…

  50. #50 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    April 28, 2010

    20-odd% Macs on our network. They don’t play particularly well with things like AD & so on… whole thing’s a pain in the arse!

  51. #51 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I’m with Celtic on that. It’s not about fandom. I don’t care really, but it depends.

    At home I will probably stick to PC because of cost, but at work I do whatever I need to do.

    I miss having a more technical job, its kind of sad that the further you get away from it the more money you make!

    I was never a brilliant mind, but I enjoy problem solving in that capacity. I still actually look forward just even to writing automation because at least I get to write some functions and that’s way more fun then going to meeting after meeting after meeting and wearing, it seems, ever starchier shirts.

  52. #52 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100428/wl_uk_afp/britainvote

    Hey, English people? Can you give me more info on this?

    Was she bigoted, I mean?

    I guess I was sort of thinking of the insane woman McCain talked to during the elections, and how he begrudgingly had to admit that Obama wasn’t Muslim.

    If that’s what went down then I almost give props to the man for saying that.

    Why shouldn’t bigotry just be called out, not in secret, but right to their faces.

    It would have been awesome if he had said straight to her face “Ma’am that is bigotry.”

    Unless of course she wasn’t actually being a bigot.

  53. #53 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    iambilly, don’t be apologetic. I am in the same situation. I use Windows and I think that is all I deserve. I used to be a Mac denier. You know the lines. “They don’t have all the software I need.” Or, “They just cost so much. I can’t afford it.” Of course my best friend is a Mac guy and he has had his Macbook thru 3 of my laptops so there goes that pedastal.

    Some people just like the pain. I think that is why there are still people using dial-up. Right not I am running Vista on a laptop best suited for Windows 98….

  54. #54 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Rawnaeris: But I like apologizing. Its one of the few things I’m good at.

    Sorry.

    It is one of the few things at which I am good.

    When I was in college, I lived with future (((Wife))) in Peterborough, NH. Coming into town on any of the major roads took the traveller past a sign that read, “Welcome to Peterborough. A good town to live in.” One day, as I drove by coming back from class, I noticed a small hand-lettered sign had been added at the bottom which read: “From the English Department: Sorry.”

  55. #55 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    Hey, English people? Can you give me more info on this?

    The BBC has more info here.

    What probably sparked the “bigot” comment was the woman’s complaints about immigrants from the Eastern parts of the EU. She strikes me not so much as a right-wing fanatic but a traditional old-school Labour supporter. Brown would not like meeting such people.

  56. #56 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    I was an Apple user, then a Mac user. Then my Mac sizzled at a time when I was very broke. I had some old PC hardware laying around, so I put Linux on a box and did that for a few years. Now I have a Vista box that dual-boots Linux. I was mostly using Linux, then I got into WoW and switched to primarily Vista. Now I don’t play WoW anymore, but I do play Oblivion and Fallout3 and I anticipate that trying to get them to work in Kubuntu would try my patience. Oh, I also run VirtualBox, so I have a virtual Linux box accessible from Vista, and a virtual Win2k box accessible from Linux – for those times I don’t want to reboot just to do some little thing.

    Is that convoluted enough?

    My wife, on the other hand, had a Win98 box until about 3 years ago, now she’s got Vista (because I could no longer keep the old one running). It does what she needs and she’s fine with it.

  57. #57 Bix12
    April 28, 2010

    @ KOPD–that video was a hoot! Thanks for the link. /;-)

  58. #58 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Ah thanks for the link. That makes sense. Labor movements, on what level the even do exist, in the US I think are often also anti-immigrant in the sense worries of displacing current workers or working for much cheaper than they can (or outsourcing).

  59. #59 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    VirtualBox is excellent software.

    Very handy for tech support, as you can have all the OSs you are likely to come across on one PC.

  60. #60 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    When I was in college, I lived with future (((Wife))) in Peterborough, NH. Coming into town on any of the major roads took the traveller past a sign that read, “Welcome to Peterborough. A good town to live in.”

    Yay, Peterborough! I grew up in Boston, but spent every summer of my teen years at Brantwood camp, at the foot of Mt. Monadnock. Still think it’s the most picturesque mountain in NH

  61. #61 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    VirtualBox (or something similar) is also good for having a sandbox to test upgrades. Keep your virtual environment similar to your production environment, then when a patch comes along for something you can see what it’s going to break. I’ve also seen virtual drives used for shadier things. I worked somewhere that kept a disk image with a bunch of software for which they had one license each. If you needed to use one of those programs, you grabbed the disk image and ran the app from a virtual machine. I suppose it would be fine and dandy if nobody copied the disk image to their local machine and no two people accessed it at the same time, but that’s not what happened.

  62. #62 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 28, 2010

    Ol’ Greg says “Actually I used to build these ridiculously complex forms for Excel in VB which is crazy… why would you do that in Excel? I dunno… ask my former bosses.”

    I’ve actually done Monte Carlo calculations in Excel. Efficient? No. Fast? Nope. Ideal? Hardly. But, everybody has it, and my management (at the Integrated Worldwide House of Rocket Exploration–IWHORE) is way to cheap to spring for Matlab.

  63. #63 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Look what I just found while looking for data for my thesis! :-)

    But then, every OS sucks.

    Bookmarked!

    Or the lack of standards compliance in IE ?

    Didn’t IE8 fix that?

    Of course, I’m not counting Windows ME in this discussion, because it never happened… you hear me? Never. Happened.

    Heh. I hear you loud and clear!!!

    I would add that Linux can be dammed useful for getting data from a non-booting Windows PC.

    Yep. Knoppix is great.

  64. #64 Lynna, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Supreme Court is brought into the debate about genetically modified crops:

    Supreme Court justices on Tuesday sharply questioned a lower court’s decision that has prohibited biotech giant Monsanto Co. from selling genetically engineered alfalfa seeds, possibly paving the way for the company to distribute the seeds for the first time since 2007.
         The case has been closely watched by environmentalists and agribusiness. A federal judge in San Francisco barred the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa nationwide until the government could adequately study the crop’s potential impact on organic and conventional varieties.
         St. Louis-based Monsanto is arguing that the ban was too broad and was based on the assumption that their products were harmful. Opponents of the use of genetically engineered seeds say they can contaminate conventional crops, but Monsanto says such cross-pollination is unlikely.
         Organic groups and farmers exporting to Europe, where genetically modified crops are unpopular, have staunchly opposed the development of such seeds.
         Environmentalists are concerned with the case’s effect on a federal law that requires the government to review a product’s effect on the environment before approving it. The U.S. Agriculture Department earlier approved the seeds, but courts in California and Oregon said USDA did not look hard enough at whether the seeds would eventually share their genes with other crops.
         Aside from the precedent, the case may be irrelevant in another year, when the USDA is expected to finish the full environmental review that was not done in the first place. It is expected to again approve the seeds for production.
         Several justices appeared skeptical that the lower court had the authority to fully ban the sale of the product because of the pending environmental review. Chief Justice John Roberts questioned why the court issued the injunction instead of simply remanding the matter back to the USDA.
         Justice Antonin Scalia appeared even more wary, questioning the idea that genetically modified crops could contaminate other crops……
         Alfalfa, which is used for livestock feed and can be planted in spring or fall, is a major crop grown on about 22 million acres in the U.S., Monsanto said in court papers. Monsanto’s alfalfa is made from genetic material from bacteria that makes the crop resistant to the popular weed killer Roundup….
         A decision is expected before late June. The case is Monsanto v. Geerston Seed Farms, 09-475.

  65. #65 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    @ KOPD: That is probably because you are using Kubuntu. Kubuntu sucks, it is most likely the worst KDE distribution out there right now. Never, ever, under any circumstances use it. It is slow, buggy, unstable, practically unsupported by canonical, and just all around poorly-implemented. You should use a distribution that is actually dedicated to supporting KDE, like openSUSE (or even Fedora nowadays), rather than one that considers KDE users to be third-class citizens like *ubuntu does.

    Linux is my preferred OS for my web server, secure backup server and NAS. But I’d never try to put it on the desktop… not enough expertise on managing it on my tech staff, and driver support is spotty.

    I am curious what drivers you have had problems with on a recent version of Linux. I have personally not had a single piece of hardware that doesn’t work in Linux, and the only hardware that didn’t work out of the box was a USB TV tuner (and it just needed firmware). In fact I have seen far more trouble with drivers on Macs and windows (including windows 7) than on Linux. This is, of course, just my experience, but I am curious as to exactly what is causing problems for you.

    This is, of course, assuming you are using a modern Linux distribution, not an old version of a distribution or a distribution using ancient software (like RHEL SLE, or one of the free clones of one of those like Centos).

  66. #66 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Haha a_ray_in_dilbert_space!

    Yeah, that’s why we used it really. We had too many problems getting people access to the forms and getting them to load, mostly in the Asia and Pacific offices.

    They were all really customized too anyway so in retrospect I guess it was easier to actually have it powered through office which everyone had anyway… launch excel to run the form, and then the submitted form acts as it’s own record back in the states as well.

    That was my first exposure to just how rickety and ad hoc things can be even in a fairly streamlined corporate environment.

  67. #67 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    I’ve actually done Monte Carlo calculations in Excel. Efficient? No. Fast? Nope. Ideal? Hardly. But, everybody has it, and my management (at the Integrated Worldwide House of Rocket Exploration–IWHORE) is way to cheap to spring for Matlab.

    Try python. If you install the free numpy, scipy, and matplotlib modules it is basically a free version of Matlab (although perhaps even more powerful).

  68. #68 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    @ TheBlackCat
    You make good points. I originally used regular old Ubuntu, but never developed a taste for Gnome. KDE4 is kinda slick (nevermind the problems with getting keyboard shortcuts to work properly, or the horrid way it tries to organize the application menu, or the way it takes three clicks to get to an application through the menu). But it’s unlikely that I’m going to switch back to using Linux any time soon. It’s just too much trouble getting the programs I want to run adequately.

    Interesting, every time today that I try to type “programs” I end up typing “problems.” I think my subconscious is frustrated about my current project.

  69. #69 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Oh yeah, and you don’t use origin?

    I guess cost is an issue there? There reaches a point with math that excel just can’t deal with though.

  70. #70 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    nevermind the problems with getting keyboard shortcuts to work properly

    Really? I’ve never seen this.

    or the horrid way it tries to organize the application menu

    That is one of the advantages of KDE4, there are 4 alternative application menus (not counting one in development) and at least 5 alternative application launchers available.

    or the way it takes three clicks to get to an application through the menu

    That shouldn’t be an issue if you set up your favorites, but once again there are 3 additional menus that don’t have that problem.

  71. #71 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    @ Matt Penfold #55

    What probably sparked the “bigot” comment was the woman’s complaints about immigrants from the Eastern parts of the EU. She strikes me not so much as a right-wing fanatic but a traditional old-school Labour supporter. Brown would not like meeting such people.

    Do people in England get a pass for being bigots if they are old? I know in the US it is common to give little old ladies the freebie if they say something that isn’t PC. Like if my friend’s grandmother said, “I was at Dillards and this nice Negro lady helped me find the bathroom.” I mean she is insinuating that the lady helped her despite her ethnicity, which predisposes her to unkind behavior. But because it’s nana people think it’s cute.

  72. #73 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    TheBlackCat –

    I am curious what drivers you have had problems with on a recent version of Linux.

    I should qualify my complaint a bit… and admittedly this is my own experience…

    Linux, in general, has excellent driver support for existing devices, if you know where to look. It’s got the largest driver database of any OS in existence, IIRC… the problem I run into is that new peripherals rarely come out with Linux drivers written at time of release (this is due to many factors, not the least of which being the 350+ linux distros in existence)… they almost always have Windows drivers upon initial release, but generally it takes the Linux user community several weeks or months to reverse engineer the driver and get a suitable one for the various flavors of Linux. Some distros are better with this than others, I’m aware…

    Additionally, at my current company we use a few pieces of fairly proprietary peripheral hardware (electronic signature pads, x-ray and handheld sonogram equipment, etc…) for which the developers have only written windows drivers and are quite reluctant to release source code.

    Admittedly I have not maintained a large user group with a Linux distro in a few years (last one I used was RHEL 5.1 at the college, mostly for the science and tech building at the college), but I do know that currently I don’t have the staff here with the proper expertise to make Linux a viable alternative.

  73. #74 maureen.brian#b5c92
    April 28, 2010

    On Bigotgate – persons with access to BBC News 24 can, I am told, tune in at 8.30 GMT today to hear my son-in-law pontificate on the matter. I have already advised him that this moment should be compared to the invasion of Iraq and nothing but the invasion of Iraq. Will he take any notice? Tune in and see ……

    tutone21 @ 71,

    The moment someone starts giving me a pass on matters political because I’m even older than Mrs Duffy is the moment they die. OK?

  74. #75 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    So Mansanto already controls US soy production and now it is going after alfalfa. Great…Fucking goonsquads.

  75. #76 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    So Mansanto already controls US soy production and now it is going after alfalfa. Great…Fucking goonsquads.

    If by “controls” you mean has an approximate 30% share of the seed market, then yes.

    I assume you also believe that a technology should be completely excluded from the market on grounds that a single company that you don’t like has IP rights around its development.

  76. #77 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    @ Celtic_Evolution: I guess it is rare that I ever get hardware very quickly after release, and really most hardware I have is either the sort where drivers are handled pretty well by the company (like graphics cards, anything made by Intel, and a lot of general-purpose scientific equipment like Daq boards), or is the sort where drivers are generic for the device type so specific support is not necessary (like most mice, keyboards, storage devices, screens, and bluetooth devices). That basically leaves printers and scanners, which as I said I usually don’t get right after release.

    That generally leaves me with the issue of what I do when the drivers that are easy to get are not working properly. In that case in windows and Mac, I have found that I am pretty much out of look. On Linux, on the other hand, there is usually a workaround (like Linux tends to play well with generic postscript drivers where the same drivers for the same printers have caused a lot of trouble on Macs).

  77. #78 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    @ maureen.brian #74

    In forums like the wall of blog postings it is easy to correct behavior (or at least attempt to) since people don’t generally know too much about the other people posting. I don’t think you would get a free pass in here especially.

    As for nana, well, I can’t imagine trying to explain to her why it isn’t okay to say something. I was young when all of my grandparents died so I don’t have too much experience on the matter, but going to a friend’s house for dinner and hearing his grandmother say certain things is kind of eye-opening. I don’t know if it is understanding about her generation or apathy or something else, but no one seems to find it offensive. I don’t even want to think about what would happen if someone tried to correct her.

  78. #79 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    TheBlackCat –

    That generally leaves me with the issue of what I do when the drivers that are easy to get are not working properly. In that case in windows and Mac, I have found that I am pretty much out of look. On Linux, on the other hand, there is usually a workaround (like Linux tends to play well with generic postscript drivers where the same drivers for the same printers have caused a lot of trouble on Macs).

    Agreed… but even this requires some Linux savvy that my techs don’t possess. At least not at this time anyhow.

  79. #80 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    @Ewan R #76

    If by “controls” you mean has an approximate 30% share of the seed market, then yes.

    I assume you also believe that a technology should be completely excluded from the market on grounds that a single company that you don’t like has IP rights around its development.

    I don’t really know too much about it and probably should hold off on commenting until I get more information than what was presented in Food Inc. But based on that I would say that Mansanto is exploiting farmers via thuggery.

  80. #81 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 28, 2010

    We have a creationist at the Ark thread. That is all.

  81. #82 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    ambook (@18):

    I discovered yesterday that one of the naturalists at our publicly funded nature center needs to “do more research” to decide if the world is more than 6000 years old. And she does geology presentations.

    Did you discover this in private conversation, or in a public Q&A? Because I’m guessing the “more research” she needs to do has less to do with deciding what she believes than it does with discovering whether there are any cranky, litiginous YECs in her audience.

    Not that that’s a good excuse, mind you, but I confess I have some sympathy for museum guides, park rangers, and naturalists, who are at risk of becoming cannon-fodder in the creobots’ ignorant culture war.

    ARID:

    WHORE is funny, but the R prompts me to wonder whether you’re actually in the rockets biz? If there’s anything about that you’re at liberty to discuss… well, Enquiring Minds Want to Know!

    tutone21 (@71):

    Like if my friend’s grandmother said, “I was at Dillards and this nice Negro lady helped me find the bathroom.” I mean she is insinuating that the lady helped her despite her ethnicity, which predisposes her to unkind behavior.

    Unless you have other reasons to know that’s what she meant, why would you presume that insinuation? If your friends grandmother is of a certain generation, Negro was the polite way of referring to African-Americans (unlike, say, darky, which is what my grandmother sometimes said). Perhaps the mention of race was superfluous… but then so would’ve been any number of physical details, such as hair color, clothing, presence of eyeglasses, etc. … and folks mention those sorts of details without any invidious intent. Maybe in this case “nice” really meant nice.

    I think it’s good to be vigilant about recognizing the unconscious racism and sexism in our society… but I also think it’s good to avoid being hypervigilant.

  82. #83 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    Tutone21 – yeah, Food Inc. wasn’t exactly what I’d consider a fair or accurate portrayal of Monsanto dealings (although on a positive note they did seem to stray away from most of the completely batshit crazy theories)

  83. #84 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    WHORE is funny, but the R prompts me to wonder whether you’re actually in the rockets biz?

    The Monte Carlo calculations support that as well I think? Simulating fluid reactions?

  84. #85 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Oh and I never thought of calling a_ray… ARID, but I just now figured out his name.

    hahaha

    yeah… I’m not a bright one, but maybe I’ll last twice as long then :/

  85. #86 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    The cherry bloom is mostly over, and the poplar leaves have almost reached full size. Fairly warm day, pastel purple sunset.

    Monsanto’s alfalfa is made from genetic material from bacteria that makes the crop resistant to the popular weed killer Roundup….

    Oh yeah, that one. Roundup inhibits photosynthesis, so it kills all plants alike. The modified alfalfa is resistant to it. So, you sow alfalfa, spray Roundup on it, and get a total monoculture.

    …with all the disadvantages monocultures have, most of them in the long term, long after Monsanto’s profits have been made.

    We have a creationist at the Ark thread. That is all.

    OK, I’m coming.

    Perhaps the mention of race was superfluous… but then so would’ve been any number of physical details, such as hair color, clothing, presence of eyeglasses, etc. …

    …or indeed sex, except that the English language doesn’t provide a way of saying “gentleman or lady, who cares”.

  86. #87 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    Any of you Linux people ever use Slackware?

    Opinions?

  87. #88 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010
    Monsanto’s alfalfa is made from genetic material from bacteria that makes the crop resistant to the popular weed killer Roundup….
    Oh yeah, that one. Roundup inhibits photosynthesis, so it kills all plants alike. The modified alfalfa is resistant to it. So, you sow alfalfa, spray Roundup on it, and get a total monoculture.

    …with all the disadvantages monocultures have, most of them in the long term, long after Monsanto’s profits have been made.

    Roundup (glyphosate) inhibits synthesis of aromatic amino acids. You appear to be reasoning in a vacuum here in terms of monoculture production (I’d argue that most Ag, although possibly not most alfalfa ag, don’t know enough about that, technically isn’t a monoculture in the irish potato famine sense of the word anyway given that multiple different varieties of any given crop will be grown on the same farm with all the genetic diversity that entails(ie a tonne less than you’d get not on a farm, but not technically a monoculture)- farmers using RR alfalfa, or using RR any crop, already operate using monoculture (or at least what you’re calling monoculture here) methods – they just have to use more environmentally harmful herbicides more often in order to control weeds.

  88. #89 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    A blockquote fail to make negentropyeater happy :-)

    Both tags should have been closed after the first tag, not only one.

    blockqutoe
    blok
    blockqutoe
    blockqutoe
    blockquote
    blockqutoe
    blockqutoe
    blockqutoe
    blcokqutoe
    blockqutoe
    blockqutoe
    blockquote
    blockquote
    blockquote
    blokqutoe
    blokquote
    blokquote
    blockquote
    blockqutoe
    blockqutoe

    I think you get the idea. :^)

  89. #90 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    I haven’t used slackware in the last 7 years, and I was using a really stripped-down version at the time. I will say, it was a damned stable machine.

  90. #91 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Roundup (glyphosate) inhibits synthesis of aromatic amino acids.

    Oops. I’ve been lied to.

  91. #92 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    Gyeong,

    Stupid troll is stupid.
    Damned stupid.

  92. #93 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010
    Like this?

  93. #94 Knockgoats
    April 28, 2010

    Food Inc. wasn’t exactly what I’d consider a fair or accurate portrayal of Monsanto dealings Ewan R.

    IIRC, you work for Monsanto. I wonder if that might possibly in any way and to any extent influence your views on their behaviour?

  94. #95 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 28, 2010

    Hey, English people? Can you give me more info on this?

    Was she bigoted, I mean?

    Well. She looks like a bigot.

    David,

    I just keep <blockquote></blockquote> in my notes and doubleclick it when I need it.

  95. #96 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    Knockgoats – it’s possible I guess. I’ve been a staunch advocate for GM tech in general since before choosing an undergraduate course (Monsanto’s introduction of RR and the (in my view at the time, and now) silly European reaction to GM tech drove the decision to study molecular genetics with a view to getting into the industry, serendipity found me in St Louis a decade later looking for work…) so I at least suspect I’d still have the same viewpoint, although possibly not quite as well informed.

    I don’t deny that Monsanto enforces patents, I just feel that some of the stories are overblown and the scope they cover seems a tad large – if any other company in the world treated its customers as badly as Food Inc suggests Monsanto treats their customers then they’d fast be without customers (the traits may still sell, but the Dekalb brand (and others) would be gone from the landscape – keeping in mind that maintaining and growing SEED share (not trait share – that’s tied up) is a huge financial goal for Monsanto and failure to increase in soy and corn this year has caused a few ripples in terms of financial outlook for the next few years.

  96. #97 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Bill Dauphin said:

    Not that that’s a good excuse, mind you, but I confess I have some sympathy for museum guides, park rangers, and naturalists, who are at risk of becoming cannon-fodder in the creobots’ ignorant culture war.

    I work at an historic site and I sometimes have to bite my tongue.

    One day I overheard a conversation between Dad and two children. He pointed at a steam locomotive and explained how it worked. To my surprise, he got it right. Then he pointed to a diesel electric locomotive and explained how it worked, again getting it right. Then he said (this is an approximate quote): “Now Darwinists claim that a wold will evolve into a bear, or a mongoose will give birth to a snake all to make animals more efficient and better. But all those missing links, every single one of them, does not exist. To a Darwinist, that would mean that there must be a missing link between a steam engine and a diesel. Tonight, your homework will be to invent a halfway point just like the Darwinists do.”

    I walked away. And held my laughter until I was gone.

  97. #98 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Ol’Greg (@85):

    Oh and I never thought of calling a_ray… ARID, but I just now figured out his name.

    Well, to be fair, I made it more difficult by failing to include the S:

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    All:

    I need some advice, please: My daughter will be studying in Paris this summer (for a ~6-week course) and then doing some independent travel within Europe after her class is finished. Naturally, our (Verizon) cellphones are functional only in the U.S. She’ll have her MacBook with her, so we’ll be able to communicate through Skype and chat whenever she has access to teh intertoooobz, which should be sufficient for normal “phone home” stuff… but I want her to have a phone she can use to call her friends or traveling companions within Europe, and also to call home in an emergency, if she can’t get to a computer.

    Sooo… do any of you who either live or travel frequently in Europe have any suggestions for what the cheapest and easiest way might be for her to have temporary intra-European calling capability, along with the possibility to make emergency calls to the U.S.? Can she simply buy a pay-as-you-go phone after she arrives? And would that be a reasonable cost?

    Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.

  98. #99 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    iambilly (@97):

    [CreoDad]: “To a Darwinist, that would mean that there must be a missing link between a steam engine and a diesel. Tonight, your homework will be to invent a halfway point just like the Darwinists do.”

    Oh.My.DOG!

    However did you manage not to piss yourself laughing?

  99. #100 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    #99

    It’s funny until you think of the children. Why won’t anyone think of the children!

  100. #101 DominEditrix
    April 28, 2010

    Hah, PC, Macs, what does it matter – the truth about the intertubes has been revealed.

    Monsanto’s alfalfa is made from genetic material from bacteria

    Made from? Then we have more things to worry about than whether this seed is a clever way for Monsanto to boost their Round-Up sales.

    Speaking of crosses – yesterday, I needed to buy some get well cards. As in “more than one” for the same person, because both I and the Offspring were sending them. I had to go to two shops, because the first one only had a single card that didn’t ramble on about praying. Dear FSM, hasn’t Hallmark read those placebo v. prayer v. Prozac studies??

  101. #102 SC OM
    April 28, 2010

    Oh, maaaaan. Take a break and come here to find Ewan R on The Thread. That’ll push me to get back to work! Ewan R is a Monsanto shill – I suspect some sort of Trucast drone or the like since all you have to do is mention the corporation’s name to summon him almost immediately to any thread. Even if I knew nothing about the issues, I wouldn’t believe a word he said or trust his presentation of the questions.

    ***

    By the way,

    http://agobservatory.com/agribusiness_records.cfm?dID=114

    And since I haven’t linked to it for a few weeks,

    http://www.greenfacts.org/en/agriculture-iaastd/

    I thought Food, Inc., was decent, especially as it focused on power. There needs to be much more of that, from a much more global perspective.

  102. #103 Owlmirror
    April 28, 2010

    I stand (humbly) corrected on the tameh/toevah distinction, but it does seem that toevah is still used largely in a “let’s distinguish our tribe from that tribe over there” sense

    I think the use of “toevah” to describe dishonest market practices refutes that: the author obviously thinks that such unfairness should be universally rejected.

    (idolatry, dietary taboos, having sex during menstruation, marrying your ex-wife

    (fixed)(that one is only described as being/causing “tameh”, as far as I’ve seen)

    I am disinclined to think that they were sufficiently self-aware, psychologically, to think of things that were “toevah” as being something that that hey, it was A-OK for other tribes to do them, but not for Israelites.

    No, I think that the authors were experiencing strong visceral revulsion, and demanding that that revulsion be made into a law for everyone because God felt the same way. Think Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson/the Mormon backers of Prop. 8/every single religious figure who ever made an outrageous and outraged claim about something he/she didn’t like.

    Remember, the Israelites were not just commanded to separate themselves from other tribes, but to exterminate the different tribes.

    Eating non-kosher animals is not one of the things that is forbidden to non-Jews – why should homosexuality be forbidden?

    Because the authors of the bible claimed to know the mind of God, and that what they thought was disgusting was what God thought was disgusting.

    But extremely religious people have always thought that way.

    It’s another case of the ridiculous picking and choosing nature of the literal truth of the bible crowd.

    There are no biblical literalists, not one. Everyone picks and chooses, and rationalizes the choices in different ways. The writers of the bible were themselves internally inconsistent, and their later adherents do not value internal consistency either.

    ====

    Shouldn’t we at least consider that the spark plugs might have been put there as a test of our faith by a divine miscreant seeking to fool us into thinking that spark plugs were around 50 million years ago?

    You joke, but:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/coso.html

    Baugh, humbug!

    ====

    I discovered yesterday that one of the naturalists at our publicly funded nature center needs to “do more research” to decide if the world is more than 6000 years old.

    *facepalm*

    Pass it on: Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective.

  103. #104 Owlmirror
    April 28, 2010

    David Marjanovi?: Look below the comment box. You can select, copy, and paste properly spelled “<blockquote>quote</blockquote>” (Just like I copied and pasted the properly accented “Marjanovi?”), and change “quote” to be the text you want.

    Amazing technology we have, yes?

  104. #105 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Bill: Those in the public eye, especially those who are charged with helping the public understand something, tend to compartmentalize the absurdities we see and hear. I have kept a straight face seeing a five-year-old girl wearing a home made t-shirt that read, “Mr. Obama, will you teach me about sex?” Or the times people have tried to witness me while I was in uniform. Or when I was called a ‘jack-booted fascist.’

    Unfortunately, I tend to hold it in until I get home and then (((Wife))) gets hit with it.

    —break—

    Regarding the idea of genmod foods, I’m torn. Not about the idea of genetic modifications (if we can find ways to make a crop taste bad to bugs that means less insecticide screwing up the ecosystem (and yeah, I know it ain’t that simple and that there may be other disasters waiting)). Genmod, assuming adequate regulation and transparency (similar to the way the pharm industry is supposed to work), may end up being an excellent green tool.

    Where I come down on the anti-genmod side has less to do with the modifications than it does with power. Monsanto controls 30% of the seed crop (US or world?). A 30% share of a market flirts with monopoly, especially since that is most likely a much larger share for specific crops. Power corrupts, right?

    Monsanto is a corporation. The company does not exist to produce seed crop. It does not exist to help farmers. It exists to make money. And all companies exist to make money now, not in some amorphous future. If a CEO does not improve the company’s performance each quarter, investors will go somewhere else, the stock price will drop, and a new CEO will do better.

    What happens if a new crop is developed which promises to increase the company’s profits by 40%. However, the internal documents also show that it is a shitty product and will, with 80% certainty, both damage the company five years from now and damage the environment forever. Does the CEO sell the shitty product and keep his job? or does the CEO tell the stockholders that he is saying no to billions in profits becuase of what will probably happen in the future?

    Goldmann-Sachs is a corporation. They exist to make money. In the short term. And they did. And they, along with other banks selling the same shitty products, derailed the world economy (and the train wreck ain’t done yet).

    So I view genmod crops as a possible good for the world. I view the companies that make them as a guarantee that something will go horribly wrong. Every time.

  105. #106 Owlmirror
    April 28, 2010

    Any of you Linux people ever use Slackware?

    Not for a while.

    I found a box of diskettes a while back that had one of the early Slackware releases on it, so if I need to install on an i486 with 8MB RAM and a 200MB HDD, I am all set.

    Woohoo!

  106. #107 Owlmirror
    April 28, 2010

    so if I need to install on an i486 with 8MB RAM and a 200MB HDD,

    I should have added, with a 3.5 inch FDD and no CD-ROM.

  107. #108 Lynna, OM
    April 28, 2010

    May 20 Declared 1st Annual ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’

    Opinion by Reason Foundation
         Via Dan Savage’s blog at The Stranger, some clever chappie (I don’t know who) has declared May 20, 2010 “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day,” in support of Matt Stone and Trey Parker and in opposition to religious thuggery.
         Why May 20? I haven’t a clue, though it could have something to do with Otto ascending the throne of Greece. Or, more likely, King Sancho IV of Castile’s founding of the Study of General Schools of Alcalį. I will be employing my tremendous skill as an illustrator, of course, and expect that my colleagues will do the same.
         If they refuse, they will be declared weak-kneed, namby-pamby, quisling infidels and will be shamed on this blog (Though such idle threats rarely work these days; perhaps I could threaten them with a painful death, which seems to do the trick). If readers would like to show their solidarity, please email your Mohammad masterpieces to me here: mmoynihan at reason.com. The best ones will be published on Hit & Run, which, along with the concomitant death threat, is reward enough….

  108. #109 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    I just keep <blockquote></blockquote> in my notes

    Your what?

    I walked away.

    I couldn’t have. But it probably helps that I wouldn’t have laughed either.

    Hah, PC, Macs, what does it matter – the truth about the intertubes has been revealed.

    I feel cleverer already!

    And the “Downloading ? CATS” part reminded me to whom all our base belong.

    Amazing technology we have, yes?

    Yes, except that scrolling, cutting, pasting, and replacing ? and thinking about it ? takes longer than just writing it for this touch-typist.

  109. #110 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    iambilly (@105):

    I have kept a straight face seeing a five-year-old girl wearing a home made t-shirt that read, “Mr. Obama, will you teach me about sex?”

    Now that would not make me laugh, though it might make me piss myself in rage! I hate hate HATE when parents use their children as billboards for their political activism. I even hate it when the ideas being promoted are ones I support. I can’t really articulate a cogent philosophical argument against this practice; it just strikes me as not fucking cricket!

  110. #111 MrFire
    April 28, 2010

    *walks in with cookies*

    *blinks at computer-speak everywhere*

    *walks out with cookies*

  111. #112 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    SC – apparently my other postings on the thread are too lacklustre to warrant note. Not overly surprising.

    I think it’s a tad over the top to not trust anything I say or any way I frame the questions just because I have

    a) a personal connection to Monsanto (going on 2 years now)

    b) a personal prediliction for GM technology (going on >15 years now

    c) a love of debating (regardless how poorly..) topics which mean something to me

    which I think in a nutshell explains my stance and my appearance on various threads where GMOs/Monsanto come up (well that and my bank of comptuers tracking the interweb for mentions of Monsanto)

    Iambilly…

    Monsanto “controls” 30% of the seed crop – not really, they sell ~30% of the seed used in corn/soy/cotton which while a large market share is worlds away from a monopoly (and had they played their cards differently with RR licensing they could have implemented an ironclad monopoly – although this likely would have brought the justice dept crashing down on them) – I believe the current numbers are ~30% for the main crops and possibly ~30% in vegetables etc (I don’t have a good feel for what the veg numbers are – SC’s links suggest around 30% across most veg though) particularly given that the main competition has similar share (Monsanto lost ground on Pioneer this year in Soy I believe, although it may have been corn)

    Power corrupts… but what power? Monsanto sell seed to farmers, where’s the power and corruption here – if farmers don’t want to do business with Monsanto then I’m sure their friendly Pioneer rep will be more than happy to supply them with Pioneer seeds containing exactly the same traits.

    Monsanto is a company yes. Does this categorically preclude existing to do something else on top of that? Case in point – Monsanto recently told investors that actually sorry, no, we won’t be doubling gross profit by 2012 over 2007 – we could do this, but we aren’t going to, it’d require making decisions that are bad for the company going forward – and categorically the promise to double GP by 2012 could have been realized, Monsanto ploughs ~$2M a day into research and development, by simply cutting R&D they could make money now rather than in some amorphous future – they have the patent landscape covered such that I’m sure they’d remain profitable for another decade before the rot set in – however not ALL business is to make money now rather than in the future, part of Monsanto’s approach is to make money now, and in the future (hence a near $1Bn R&D spend p/a) and in order to do so they need to not only ensure products they release are safe (from a purely selfish point of view – if you’re investing billions of dollars then you have an entirely selfish reason to make sure the company is still operational ten or even twenty years down the line).

    Tracking Monsanto stock price holds this out – the decision to announce that profitability won’t be where it was projected in 2012 coincides rather neatly with a consistent slide in stock price – something which easily could have been avoided if not taking the longview – layoff the workforce, cut research, make profit, retire on yacht, giggle as company disappears 10 years later.

    Not all corporations are equally evil, they all have the potential to be, but from the inside perspective Monsanto doesn’t fit that mold.

  112. #114 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Well, to be fair, I made it more difficult by failing to include the S:
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    It’s ok, all this talking about his name made me also realize what a genius name it is!

    I think ARIDS and SuckPoppet have my vote for best name.

    I have kept a straight face seeing a five-year-old girl wearing a home made t-shirt that read, “Mr. Obama, will you teach me about sex?”

    That is disturbing, a parent using a child as a billboard to broadcast their own sexual problems and fears, and champion ignorance. You know what’s way worse than a sex ed class, mom and dad? Using your fetishistic and perverse sexual obsession with your child’s innocence via lack of basic understanding about something that is so important to you that you’d put it on her t-shirt.

    Imagine that! How did they tell her what she was wearing and why I suppose? Mommy what is sex, and why does my shirt say it!? Way to fuck up parental units, way to fuck up.

    Why do those specific parts of our bodies generate so much ire? I don’t understand this.

  113. #115 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    Sili – as Knockgoats alluded I have declared my conflict of interest elsewhere(possibly in another incarnation of the thread), I tend to forget to in an effort to spew out unreadable chunks of text

  114. #116 Neil Schipper
    April 28, 2010

    Just a nudge that I’ve added an entry about the “atheist regime” controversy over on Gray v. Grayling.

  115. #117 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    Yes, a_ray_in_dilbert_space is a cool name. I’m not sure what it means, other than having to do with Dilbert, but I like it.

  116. #118 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I think it refers to Hilbert Space, making it both a math joke and a Dilbert joke in one brilliant swoop.

  117. #119 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    All:

    In addition to my request (@98) for European cellphone advice, I want to tap the Pharyngula KnowledgeBase© for one more thing:

    My daughter’s several-year-old digital camera is behaving unreliably, and in any case, she never really managed to take good pix with it, so I’m looking to get her something new for her travels this summer.

    She’s definitely an untrained, point-and-shot photographer, so automatic modes and ease-of-use features are a plus. I’m thinking image stabilization is essential. She’s more likely to blog or Facebook her pix that make large prints, so giga- or tera-pixel resolution [g] isn’t required. I’m thinking that a fairly wide-angle lens would be useful for situations where crowds or close quarters make it hard to get far enough back from what she’s shooting. Whatever I get doesn’t need to be credit-card tiny (indeed, some of the smaller cameras out there seem like they’d be hard for full-sized hands to hold), but it should be small and light enough to be comfortably carried in a purse or bookbag. Video capability is not especially important, since her iPod shoots decent movie clips. Her old camera and several other devices we own use SD media, so it would be nice (but not showstoppingly essential) to get something compatible. And I’d like to spend not much more than US$250.00.

    I don’t ask for much, do I? To the photographers in the group (or anyone with an opinion, really), two questions: What have I left out in my requirements summary? And do you have any specific buying advice regarding models and or sellers?

    Thanks in advance!

  118. #120 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 28, 2010

    Your what?

    The shibby feature in Opera that I also use to keep track of MollyNoms (when I remember to).

    Oh, SGU from the week before last had GMO news item in their Science Or Fiction quiz. Spoiler: so far the stats say they benefit farmers and the environment.

  119. #121 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Bill… I love the cannon powershot for an easy point and shoot that takes really good pics (really quite good) but it isn’t small. However it isn’t teeny tiny, but it’s quite robust.

    Unless you want like 12 MP model that just came out it isn’t too $$ either.

  120. #122 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Sidebar quote: Dawkins explaining Gould’s punk eek!

    It seems to follow that there is no general reason to expect evolution to be progressive?even in the weak, value-neutral sense. There will be times when increased size of some organ is favoured and other times when decreased size is favoured. Most of the time, average-sized individuals will be favoured in the population and both extremes will be penalised. During these times the population exhibits evolutionary stasis (ie, no change) with respect to the factor being measured. If we had a complete fossil record and looked for trends in some particular dimension, such as leg length, we would expect to see periods of no change alternating with fitful continuations or reversals in direction?like a weathervane in changeable, gusty weather.

    The shibby feature in Opera

    Oh. Opera seems to lack auto-fill-in entirely, and IE8 works just fine anyway, so…

  121. #123 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I’m sorry, when I said “but isn’t small” I meant basically that it has some ability to zoom.

    How you were supposed to understand that I don’t know.

    I swear some times it seems like English is my second language.

  122. #124 Sven DiMilo
    April 28, 2010

    I have a Canon A590 IS that I like a lot.
    Looks like it’s been replaced by this one.

  123. #125 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    On the subject of my particular co-worker: she does not believe in macro-evolution. She believes that bacteria can evolve antibiotic resistance and that Darwin’s finches evolve different beak shapes, but not that (in her words) pandas and penguins share an ancestor. (I guess god put the proto-finch on the Galapagos or something.) We were standing in an office away from all members of the public when this came up – knowing that she was a creationist, I asked if she believe in an old earth.

    If I were working at a train museum, I would not interrupt someone yammering about evolution to his kids. I’ve been at homeschool conferences where I had to do some serious tongue biting. But we are science educators – teaching programs about nature without believing in evolution is like teaching astronomy while privately believing in a flat earth and astrology. The idea that she could even get through job interviews believing that the world is 6,000 years old and that god hid the fossils to fool us is absurd. Not to mention that she graduated with a degree in wildlife conservation from an actual respectable state university.

    I don’t necessarily like getting into fights with people either, but sometimes stating facts clearly is part of the damn job.

  124. #126 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    Bill,
    I’m definitely a layperson, but I just bought one of these last month and I like it. It’s 14 megapixels, but that can be turned down in the settings pretty easily to take smaller pictures. I know you said zoom and video aren’t really important, but this does do both and does them nicely enough. It’s small and lightweight, but not too small to feel comfortable in the hands. Like I said, I don’t know much about cameras, but I’m pretty happy with this one so far.

  125. #127 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    Bill: Fuji makes some excellent point and shoot (with zoom and a few other features) cameras which include lots of presets — scenery, people, indoors, outdoors — all of which are easy to use (my 71-year-old mother can figure it out so it should be an absolute breeze for the young whipper snapper crowd.

    Ewan R. I stand corrected, you are right. Corporations are excellent at short range R&D (by short range, I mean things that will make a profit in the 5 to 10 year span). However, the ethics of a company are based upon upper management. Some corporations have very ethical upper level management (those who aren’t bought out in a hostile takeover because the stock is undervalued because the management team is ethical) and are good corporate citizens. Others (Goldmann-Scahs, the coal company in WV, Exxon Mobile, Enron) are not; some use their power (money can create power) to pervert or divert (see big energy and the anti-AGW ‘think tanks’ out there).

    I do not know where Monsanto (or ConAgra, or Pioneer) fit on the ethical scale. I view large market shares (and, even for specific crops, 30% is a large share) as antithetical to ethical behaviour. Not always, but it happens too often. I would hope that the copmanies involved in genmod foods are good corporate citizens. The fact that I have to hope that, that I do not and can not know that, scares me.

  126. #128 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    What’s wrong with the preview button? Then you can see if you fucked up the come on!! When you write something and then compile doesn’t it run you though the errors?

  127. #129 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    I have kept a straight face seeing a five-year-old girl wearing a home made t-shirt that read, “Mr. Obama, will you teach me about sex?”

    Well, Mr. Obama IS quite an intelligent and physically attractive man – I wonder what mom was thinking about when she made the shirt? Perhaps her husband reminds her of the toilet brush…

    I met someone the other day whose taught her homeschooled kids to go up to public schooled kids at a playground and ask “Is it true that you learn all about monkeys in your school?”

    I’m busily teaching my kids to reason logically, articulate scientific ideas clearly, and make sarcastic remarks about the human condition.

  128. #130 Knockgoats
    April 28, 2010

    Monsanto sell seed to farmers, where’s the power and corruption here – if farmers don’t want to do business with Monsanto then I’m sure their friendly Pioneer rep will be more than happy to supply them with Pioneer seeds containing exactly the same traits. Ewan R.

    How about suing farmers because Monsanto crops they had not planted were found on their land?
    And of course two companies that together control more than half the market would never dream of colluding. The very idea… Of course, there is also Monsanto’s political influence (it spends millions on lobbying and political donations every year), and its ties to the repulsive far-right think tank the Hudson Institute (it partially funds Hudson’s anti-organic agriculture arm, the “Center for Global Food Issues”).

    Whatever Monsanto’s precise degree of evil, even if they were the most beneficent company in existence, it would still be dangerous to allow them a market share of this size. However, Monsanto’s history with regard to (for example) PCBs and Agent Orange does not inspire confidence.

  129. #131 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Ol’Greg, Sven, and KOPD, thanks for the suggestions (and the links, though I’ll wait ’til I get home to check them).

    Apropos of nothing in particular (and this is the thread for that, isn’t it), I’ve just read my favorite quote of the day (actually published Friday, but I just read it moments ago):

    Charlie Pierce, doing his Slacker Friday guest-hosting at Eric Alterman’s Altercation blog, said about recent events in Arizona…

    “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.”

    8^)

  130. #132 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I met someone the other day whose taught her homeschooled kids to go up to public schooled kids at a playground and ask “Is it true that you learn all about monkeys in your school?”

    That’s weird. I wonder if it backfires when the other kids say “no” and look perplexed.

  131. #133 Walton
    April 28, 2010

    Perhaps her husband reminds her of the toilet brush…

    This is going to become a new Pharyngula meme, isn’t it? Just like “sniny”, or “kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder”, or “hiking the Appalachian trail.”

  132. #134 tutone21
    April 28, 2010

    I actually typed the front of a blockquote…and didn’t preview it. FAIL!!!!

  133. #135 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    tutone21 (@128):

    In my experience (which may or may not be browser-specific), using preview sometimes horks up HTML coding. For instance, em-dashes get displayed in the preview window, but unless you then recode them (which sorta’ defeats the purpose of previewing them), they turn into hyphens in the final post. Also, fake HTML tags such as </snark> tend to get parsed, post-preview, as if they were real tags… and, being invalid, they disappear (and if they’re fake tag pairs, they disappear the fake-tagged text, too).

    I’ve resigned myself to living with the occasional HTML FAIL (and the more-than-occasional typo or editorial error) in preference to playing with preview “fire.”

    (As an aside, I figure it’s even-money I have some tagging problem or egregious error in this note, kismet being as it is… but I won’t know ’til I hit “submit”!)

  134. #136 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 28, 2010

    This is going to become a new Pharyngula meme, isn’t it? Just like “sniny”, or “kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder”, or “hiking the Appalachian trail.”

    Don’t forget that “you’ve let [insert ethnic minority] use your bathroom.”

  135. #137 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Walton (@133):

    I’m actually quite surprised that, having asked for camera-buying advice, I didn’t get at least one “Leica Rangefinder” recommendation!

  136. #138 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder is still my personal favorite.

  137. #139 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    I don’t think either of our creationists in the Ark thread are capable of writing lucidly about the Congo.

  138. #140 Cannabinaceae
    April 28, 2010

    Hey, I’m back! Googlefuck never let me get things the way I liked them, ‘nym-wise. Shitfuckdamn.

    @135: If you select-all and copy your HTML before preview, you can re-paste it to fiddle if you still need to edit. Tedious, but it does work around the problem.

  139. #141 SC OM
    April 28, 2010

    SC – apparently my other postings on the thread are too lacklustre to warrant note. Not overly surprising.

    I think it’s a tad over the top to not trust anything I say or any way I frame the questions just because I have…

    Indeed. In the context of your dozens on Monsanto, yes, they are (or it is). But I’ll acknowledge that you did post on this thread before Monsanto came up.

    Power corrupts… but what power? Monsanto sell seed to farmers, where’s the power and corruption here – if farmers don’t want to do business with Monsanto then I’m sure their friendly Pioneer rep will be more than happy to supply them with Pioneer seeds containing exactly the same traits.

    Yes, it’s swell that they have the opportunity to choose from among a handful of corporate overlords in a legal regime (increasingly) designed to favor large corporations and protect their ridiculous patents.

    http://www.grain.org/seedling_files/seed-05-07-1.pdf

    Monsanto is a company yes. Does this categorically preclude existing to do something else on top of that?

    It’s a corporation. Everything it does is based on the bottom line. It’s about expansion and power. It will strongarm or roll over anyone who gets in its way. It doesn’t care about communities, human rights, democracy, farmers, sustainability, biodiversity, pollution, AGW,… It will keep people from doing independent research on its products, it will work to keep the public from getting information, it will spend millions lobbying the governments and international organizations in its interests. There is no reason anyone should believe anything that emanates from Monsanto or any of its representatives.

    For what it’s worth ERV doesn’t like Food inc. either.

    She has a thing for GE crops. I don’t know why. She’s completely resistant to any contrary information from anyone, and acts like it’s all some elitist attack on midwestern farmers. It’s bizarre and annoying, and I stopped reading her blog regularly after a thread about this there. (As I think I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t noticed this problem on Ben Goldacre’s blog, and had a very pleasant exchange with people at another science blog that dealt with some of these issues.)

    If Ewan works for Monsanto, it woulda been good form to declare a conflict of interest, yes, but it does not automatically make him wrong.

    Automatically untrustworthy.

  140. #142 matthew.james.neil
    April 28, 2010

    I have enjoyed using a Cannon Powershot camera as well. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of difference between most digital cameras, at least nothing I’ve noticed that leans me one way or another. For point and click, they all seem to be perfectly usable.

    And, I’m not as familiar, but my recollection is that European cell phone frequencies are different from American, so she might require a different phone. And then, if memory serves still, different countries use different SIM cards in their phones for service. There are SIM cards for different countries, but there are SIM cards that can be purchased that can be used for multiple countries (all of Europe?).

    I looked into this a year or so ago, and it surprised me that there aren’t more current phones able to be used worldwide without all of that rigamarole, but it was the case with my phone. It wasn’t worth it to me for the 3 weeks I was in Europe, but I imagine it probably would be for 6 mos. or so.

    I believe there are even tri- and quad-band phones that work in the US and the EU.

    Matt

  141. #143 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    Knockgoats – Monsanto sues when it is clear that the presence of the crop is clearly not accidental – I don’t recall any cases where this wasn’t the case – the rockstar of the “I’ve been sued for seeds I didn’t plant” movement falls squarely into this category.

    What collusion exactly are we talking about here? Pioneer’s campaign against a non-existant Monsanto monopoly? Monsanto’s outright refusal to allow Pioneer to use their working RR trait in conjunction with Pioneer’s failed glyphosate trait to bolster their sales…. neither company gain anything from a little give or take to each other in the interest of market dominance.

    Any industry leader is going to spend millions on lobbying. This is an issue with how our democracy works (or doesn’t work) – if Monsanto didn’t lobby then I’m pretty sure they’d end up shut down because of the green lobbying interest at the very least. I need to look into the CGFI and Hudson thing more as that’s the first I’ve heard of that connection – at first glance both appear particularly odious (AGW denialism and a piece on how women should shut the hell up about equal wages because they’re doing great in the current economy).

    Monsanto’s history with regard to PCBs is indeed dubious, and not something I can reconcile easily – I mitigate my unease with a little bit of historical context (how many major manufacturers in that time period didnt pollute with PCBs) and the time that has passed since then. Similar with agent orange, which was manufactured at the mandate of the US govt for use in Vietnam, which in my mind shifts the responsibility away from Monsanto somewhat (particularly in light of the fact that other “agents” (I think pink?) had much higher dioxin levels than orange – dioxin contamination appears to have been part and parcel of the manufacturing process as far as I can see.

  142. #144 matthew.james.neil
    April 28, 2010

    Ol’Greg wrote:

    kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder is still my personal favorite.

    I always wished DONT RIDE THE LYING TIGER would stick, just because it was so surreal.

    Matt

  143. #145 SC OM
    April 28, 2010

    Oh, hey Sven! I missed your return. How was the trip?

  144. #146 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I dunno. I didn’t add the international package for data on my iPhone, and I’m not sure I will bring it even.

    It seems more trouble than it is worth and it would have been the maps and google I wanted it for, but 200 for 200 MB seems steep and I know the int’l data download rates are psychotic so I don’t want to incur them.

    I did Berlin for a month with no cell and didn’t die, so I figure I can do Paris for 2 weeks and still not die. Besides, I have skype on my laptop anyway.

  145. #147 Celtic_Evolution
    April 28, 2010

    Bill Dauphin –

    When I do professional gigs I of course always have my EOS Rebel and my Sony Alpha… but I also always, always carry my Canon Powershot A3100 (12.1 MP)… it’s a great compact point-and-shoot, takes great pictures with very little needed outside of auto-settings, and is what I use to walk around and take quick, random “action” shots of a reception, or pretty much anything else.

    And it’s fairly cheap at around $150 USD retail.

  146. #148 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution…

    we have the same cameras.

    lol

    I also have an old film Nikon though. It takes such great images that I almost bought a Nikon slr so I could use the lenses (several good good lenses with that camera too) because I read that I should be able to use the old lenses for that camera on the digital although manual only.

    But I decided I’d let that wait. I kind of miss some things about film.

  147. #149 iambilly
    April 28, 2010

    As long as we (well, Bill D anyway) are asking for advice regarding purchase of electronic devices, does anyone know whether there is a rechargeable amp system for a three piece folk group out there? I’m looking for a two or three mike system with a couple of speakers which can be recharged and has a life of about 90 minutes? Does such a thing exist?

  148. #150 Walton
    April 28, 2010

    I don’t actually own a proper camera: my phone has a (cheap and bad) built-in one, but I never use it. I’ve never been any good at the whole photography thing.

  149. #151 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Walton: this is so pathetic but I LOVE taking pictures on my iPhone’s ultra crappy camera. I got the hipstamatic app and it’s so freaking fun to use.

    I’m not good at it either. I just do it for fun…

  150. #152 Walton
    April 28, 2010

    I have to observe that the sidebar ads are now advertising bogus diet programmes: “1 Rule to a Flat Stomach! Obey!”. And showing bad photographs of rather underdressed young women, captioned “Online Dating for Naughty People”.

    Yay… just what our society needs: more fad diets and more objectification of women. Scienceblogs are not only brilliant at implementing efficient login systems and designing interfaces that are quick to load, they’re also unfailingly ethical in their selection of advertisers. :-(

  151. #153 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    They were served once a week at the dig last year. :-)

    (With rice,

    the rice ones are cheats, and they have a much blander taste. But no one uses buckwheat groats anymore, because it’s “poor people food”, and a bit of an acquired taste. (the boyfriend panicked at first, since the stuff smells incredibly bitter… but he liked it in the end, too)

    There is nothing wrong with Windows. I’ve never really had any problems with it at all.

    how would you know, if you’ve never used an alternative? Windows fucking sucks. The constant (losing) battle with viruses, spyware etc. makes both Macs and Linux less of a pain in the ass, and less dangerous.

    Rorschach: There is also the part about not being tech savvy.

    neither am I. you don’t need to be, for ubuntu. At most, you need some decent google-fu.

    Didn’t IE8 fix that?

    no.

    Opponents of the use of genetically engineered seeds say they can contaminate conventional crops, but Monsanto says such cross-pollination is unlikely.

    fucking liars. Not only does their shit crosspollinate easity, they sue people for patent infringement when it does. Agribusinesses are more evil than Microsoft.

    farmers using RR alfalfa, or using RR any crop, already operate using monoculture (or at least what you’re calling monoculture here) methods – they just have to use more environmentally harmful herbicides more often in order to control weeds.

    right; and what they should be doing is stepping away from that, not making it worse.

    if any other company in the world treated its customers as badly as Food Inc suggests Monsanto treats their customers then they’d fast be without customers

    that’s just adorably naive. where the fuck are these customers gonna go? to ConAgra, which are exactly the same?
    It’s like saying the health insurance companies don’t fuck people over, because if they did, people would just switch. Reality doesn’t work like that.

    Can she simply buy a pay-as-you-go phone after she arrives? And would that be a reasonable cost?

    yes and yes; it’s only American phones that don’t automatically allow calls to foreign countries.

    That’ll push me to get back to work!

    I like it better when you’re procrastinating; it’s far more educational to me, and I’m selfish that way :-p

    Where I come down on the anti-genmod side has less to do with the modifications than it does with power.[...]So I view genmod crops as a possible good for the world. I view the companies that make them as a guarantee that something will go horribly wrong. Every time.

    ditto; the science might not be bad, but the politics of it stink to high heaven.

    - – - – - – -

    Full disclosure: My work computer is an iMac (integrated Color Management FTW), my lapop runs ubuntu, my netbook runs EEEbuntu, and my seeds are almost all Heirloom seeds from small, independent suppliers.

  152. #154 Knockgoats
    April 28, 2010

    Ewan R.,

    Monsanto sues when it is clear that the presence of the crop is clearly not accidental

    So they say. Others say different. Given Monsanto’s decades-long history of lies about PCB, why would anyone sane believe anything they say about GMOs?

    As far as the collusion is concerned, I was simply pointing to the danger of such collusion, and the fact that hidden collusion between large companies is a common occurrence. Of course in such a case the colluders would want to make it appear they were competing unrestrainedly.

    Monsanto’s history with regard to PCBs is indeed dubious

    That’s a bit like saying Al Capone’s business activities were “indeed dubious” – see below.

    how many major manufacturers in that time period didnt pollute with PCBs

    Erm, none other than Monsanto, at least in the USA, because they held a monopoly. They also knew damn well that the waste they were producing in Aniston was highly toxic. The company was convicted of found guilty of “negligence, wantonness, suppression of truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage.”

    Similar with agent orange, which was manufactured at the mandate of the US govt for use in Vietnam, which in my mind shifts the responsibility away from Monsanto somewhat

    I see. So the companies that manufactured chlorine, mustard gas, phosgene etc. for use in WWI were not responsible for what they did? “I was only fulfilling orders!”, perhaps?

    What we have here is a company with a long record of killing people with their products and lying about it. It is insane to allow such an organisation a key role in world agriculture.

  153. #155 Walton
    April 28, 2010

    What we have here is a company with a long record of killing people with their products and lying about it. It is insane to allow such an organisation a key role in world agriculture.

    To be fair, most nation-states also have a long record of killing people and lying about it. By the same logic, maybe it is insane to “allow” such organisations a key role in world politics.

    (Not that I’m defending Monsanto in any way. But I have to wonder how you propose to deprive them of their key role in world agriculture, short of expropriating the entire corporation

  154. #156 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I just saw this on boingboing and had to drop it here:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/28/jason-rohrers-artgam.html

    haha

  155. #157 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Not that I’m defending Monsanto in any way. But I have to wonder how you propose to deprive them of their key role in world agriculture, short of expropriating the entire corporation

    I’d be fucking thrilled if the punishment for a corporation committing a serious crime were its dissolution.

    AgriBusinesses would work one hell of a lot better and safer for everybody if they were farmers+ co-ops.

  156. #158 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    To be fair, most nation-states also have a long record of killing people and lying about it. By the same logic, maybe it is insane to “allow” such organisations a key role in world politics.

    which is why most sane people advocate greater control of government by its citizens, so that this doesn’t happen.

  157. #159 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    Agribusinesses are more evil than Microsoft.

    But not as evil as Apple ;)

  158. #160 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 28, 2010

    yes and yes; it’s only American phones that don’t automatically allow calls to foreign countries.

    Nope. I specifically had to open my phone for calls to (and from) abroad. Quite a sensible politic in light of the risk of getting one’s phone stolen.

    There are plenty of ‘pay as you go’ options in Denmark, and I believe that’s somewhat common in Europe, but I’ll cop to not knowing how it works. One thing that’s common, too, is specific services for calling abroad – you buy credit, call a specific number, put in the code on the card you’ve bough and then the number you want to call. A bit of a hassle, but often a lot cheaper than a proper contract.

  159. #161 negentropyeater
    April 28, 2010

    To be fair, most nation-states also have a long record of killing people and lying about it. By the same logic, maybe it is insane to “allow” such organisations a key role in world politics.

    Knockgoat’s comment wasn’t about all corporations, but a specific one. When we find a government killing people and lying about it, we should indeed try to stop it from governing. Remember that quite a number of people were calling for the impeachment of GWBush and some of his accolytes for having lied to the American people for starting the Iraq war. Too bad it didn’t get the support it needed. But in any case, a similar process should be undertaken when a corporation does criminal things.

  160. #162 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Quite a sensible politic in light of the risk of getting one’s phone stolen.

    not on a prepaid phone it isn’t. Anyway, I’ve never seen Polish or German phones exclude international calling, but maybe they’re the exception.

  161. #163 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 28, 2010

    But not as evil as Apple ;)

    That’s is a hard target to match, yes.

    Few people respond to abuse by rolling over and asking for more the way macheads do.

  162. #164 Owlmirror
    April 28, 2010

    On the subject of my particular co-worker: she does not believe in macro-evolution. She believes that bacteria can evolve antibiotic resistance and that Darwin’s finches evolve different beak shapes, but not that (in her words) pandas and penguins share an ancestor.

    Sigh.

    I think she needs a lesson in epistemology. Why does she think that it is impossible for common descent to be true — for any reason besides religious dogma, that is? Does she have any physical evidence that supports this idea?

    And so on.

    I met someone the other day whose taught her homeschooled kids to go up to public schooled kids at a playground and ask “Is it true that you learn all about monkeys in your school?”

    Oh, that can go both ways, I nearly think.

    “Is it true that you learn that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman and a man made from dirt were convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magic tree?”

    =====

    Also, fake HTML tags such as </snark> tend to get parsed, post-preview, as if they were real tags… and, being invalid, they disappear (and if they’re fake tag pairs, they disappear the fake-tagged text, too).

    A lot of problems — including the one above, and some others — have been fixed with the version of preview used by Pharyngula, but not necessarily by other scienceblogs.

    I think the db and blog (Moveable Type, I think) software that Pharyngula uses was moved to a seperate server, and uses an upgraded version.

    =====

    this is so pathetic but I LOVE taking pictures on my iPhone’s ultra crappy camera.

    There was a recent post about a $20 lens for the iPhone that allows macro photography, if that sort of thing interests you:

    http://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/2010/04/adapting_the_iphone_for_insect.php

  163. #165 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    fucking liars. Not only does their shit crosspollinate easity, they sue people for patent infringement when it does.

    Citation? Instances of people being sued due to accidental presence only occur when that accidental presence is taken advantage of and the presence of the patented transgene is at levels which could not be accidental.

    right; and what they should be doing is stepping away from that, not making it worse.

    In what respect is reducing the toxic and environmental impact of your herbicide useage not stepping away from it. Completely stepping away from herbicide and pesticide use in the US isn’t really an economically viable option for many farmers (at least farmers who want to have any time at all)

    that’s just adorably naive. where the fuck are these customers gonna go? to ConAgra, which are exactly the same? It’s like saying the health insurance companies don’t fuck people over, because if they did, people would just switch. Reality doesn’t work like that.

    To Pioneer, to Syngenta, to any number of smaller seed dealers who despite having a small market share still exist contrary to popular belief – the seed market is massively competitive (despite perhaps there not being as many players as many would like) with each company standing or falling on its germplasm performance every year – keeping in mind we’re talking seed here and not trait – at present I think it’s fair to say that farmers who want to remain as competitive as possible are pretty much locked into using RR crops (and this situation will increasingly become less monopolistic when RR patents start to expire – I believe RR1 goes off in 2012 – also keeping in mind that patents in essence are set up to give inventors a monopoly)

    So they say. Others say different. Given Monsanto’s decades-long history of lies about PCB, why would anyone sane believe anything they say about GMOs?

    1st link broken…. can I get a fix please! Again, any case I’ve dug into has turned out to support my initial statement of non-accidental presence. Lets also keep in mind that of 275,000 customers we’re talking on average 11 lawsuits per year, which is a drastically small proportion (even fewer go to court, although that’s hardly surprising given the cost of mounting a defence, of all that have gone to court I don’t think anyone has to guess at the unanimous victor.

    Erm, none other than Monsanto, at least in the USA, because they held a monopoly. They also knew damn well that the waste they were producing in Aniston was highly toxic. The company was convicted of found guilty of “negligence, wantonness, suppression of truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage.”

    not quite – GE polluted with PCBs, westinghouse, outboard marine corp – I think however I did get my wires somewhat crossed on that one for which I apologize – I was under the impression PCBs were a little more widely used than they were – however it remains a sad fact that heavy industry from the 40′s to the 70′s was categorically shitty when it comes to pollution – not to excuse it, but to put it somewhat into context (and to reiterate I categorically accept that this is a perfectly good reason to be critical of Monsanto and any claims they make)

    I see. So the companies that manufactured chlorine, mustard gas, phosgene etc. for use in WWI were not responsible for what they did? “I was only fulfilling orders!”, perhaps?

    What we have here is a company with a long record of killing people with their products and lying about it. It is insane to allow such an organisation a key role in world agriculture.

    Going back as far as WWI to the companies that manuifactured the various chemicals I think that yes, today, in 2010, we shouldn’t hold the current company responsible, adn we should also take into account the repercussions on a company which would refuse to manufacture something on demand for the government in a time of war (given that you could still get shot in WWI for desertion I’d go so far as to say that companies manufacturing chemicals used in warfare in WWI at the behest of the government should be even less held responsible than a company that manufactured chemicals for use in Vietnam, although that’s entirely another discussion)

  164. #166 SC OM
    April 28, 2010

    I like it better when you’re procrastinating; it’s far more educational to me, and I’m selfish that way :-p

    Aw! You flatter me!

    ditto; the science might not be bad, but the politics of it stink to high heaven.

    I think that’s a really good aspect of the IAASTD report I linked to above. So often it’s presented as either pro-GE or anti-science. But the report makes clear that engineering is only one of a family of long-developing biotechnologies for improving yields, drought and pest resistance, etc. Scientifically-informed choices of approach or combination of approaches should be suited to local needs and take into account people’s political-economic power, ecological aspects, and food security.

  165. #167 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    In what respect is reducing the toxic and environmental impact of your herbicide useage not stepping away from it.

    it = monoculture.

  166. #168 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    at present I think it’s fair to say that farmers who want to remain as competitive as possible are pretty much locked into using RR crops

    that single phrase already defeats the entire block o text it’s embedded in.

  167. #169 SC OM
    April 28, 2010

    My camera is a Nikon N4004s. It’s more than 20 years old* – my first major purchase. Needless to say, it’s not digital. But it’s very special to me. I still don’t know how to use the one on my cell…

    Argh. Must get back to work.

    *Have I mentioned I’m a Yankee? ;)

  168. #170 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    Ah, reading comprehension FTW.

    I’m not convinced the average American farmer can move away from “monoculture” and remain viable, particularly not on a grand scale (ie the odd farmer here or there probably can do it, with a lot of work, but if they all did it the system wouldnt work)- given that farmers aren’t moving away from the model however is it not at least better to use a less harmful alternative?

  169. #171 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    given that farmers aren’t moving away from the model however is it not at least better to use a less harmful alternative?

    that’s begging the question. GMO’s have, in real world application, never shown to be actually better, since their performance drops off significantly under non-ideal conditions(i.e. ones deviating from the specific conditions they were designed for), and conditions are becoming more and more volatile and unpredictable with the increasing influence of AGW.

    I’m not convinced the average American farmer can move away from “monoculture” and remain viable, particularly not on a grand scale (ie the odd farmer here or there probably can do it, with a lot of work, but if they all did it the system wouldnt work)

    “the system” is already not working, if you consider the absolutely stupendous amounts of subsidies poured into agriculture; and it doesn’t actually take “more work” to do polycultures, as long as you remember to include financial costs in “work”, not just effort and time.

  170. #172 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 28, 2010

    SCOM,

    I’m genuinely impressed that you could not only work a camera, but buy one when you were one.

  171. #173 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    What’s wrong with the preview button? Then you can see if you fucked up the come on!! When you write something and then compile doesn’t it run you though the errors?

    Well, yeah, but see comment 135.

    Scienceblogs are not only brilliant at implementing efficient login systems and designing interfaces that are quick to load, they’re also unfailingly ethical in their selection of advertisers. :-(

    They don’t select them, they just get Google ads.

    Accordingly, some of the ads are country-specific. In France I got a lot of one or two dating services (harmless, not “for naughty people”); here I get ads for a clairvoyant medium (!!!) and a method for losing fat and building muscle, especially a sixpack, in no time with no work for no money* (asterisk in the original, lack of explanation for the asterisk also in the original ? I haven’t actually clicked on the banner). Everywhere I get lots of ads for computer games, and not the same ones.

    and a bit of an acquired taste.

    I’ve found I can eat crźpes made from buckwheat flour… :-)

    Windows fucking sucks. The constant (losing) battle with viruses, spyware etc. makes both Macs and Linux less of a pain in the ass, and less dangerous.

    <Homer Simpson>So far!</Homer Simpson>

    Now that Apple’s market share is increasing, the first Mac viruses have been spotted in the wild. At least Windows users know* to use protection… Mac and Linux users typically don’t.

    I use avast!, I don’t visit pop-up hell, and I don’t fall for phishing e-mail, greeting cards from unknown people, mysterious attachments from unknown senders, Internet ads that pretend to be antivirus programs, The Gator Corporation, and so on. No infections so far.

    * Unless they’re stupid. Which, of course, many are.

    neither am I. you don’t need to be, for ubuntu. At most, you need some decent google-fu.

    If Linux has really reached that point now (7 years ago it hadn’t), I should try it once Windows does fail.

    Didn’t IE8 fix that?

    no.

    Can you direct me to an example site where IE8 fails?

    (…Oh, yes, the shadow under Sb post titles and “Leave a comment” still isn’t displayed. But that’s trivial.)

    That’ll push me to get back to work!

    I like it better when you’re procrastinating; it’s far more educational to me, and I’m selfish that way :-p

    Seconded :-)

    hidden collusion between large companies is a common occurrence

    Of course. Evolutionary ecology 101: competition is costly, avoidance of competition is therefore selected for. The constant competition that capitalism needs to exist is artificial, and must be preserved artificially.

    Why does she think that it is impossible for common descent to be true — for any reason besides religious dogma, that is?

    Personal incredulity. :-| Never misundreshtmate the power of “but it’s obvious!11!!!1!”.

    that single phrase already defeats the entire block o text it’s embedded in.

    Pwnd.

  172. #174 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Mac and Linux users typically don’t.

    Oh, then why do I have a constantly scanning anti-virus program on my Mac? PARANOIA…

  173. #175 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    that’s begging the question. GMO’s have, in real world application, never shown to be actually better, since their performance drops off significantly under non-ideal conditions(i.e. ones deviating from the specific conditions they were designed for), and conditions are becoming more and more volatile and unpredictable with the increasing influence of AGW.

    GMOs categorically have been shown to be actually better.

    Bt cotton for instance, in non-ideal conditions, massively increases productivity.
    RR corn and soy clearly do better, at least in terms of ‘for the farmer’ otherwise why would they have caught on and be as ubiquitous as they currently are. They also obviously do better in terms of the comparitive environmental impact as compared to the alternative ‘conventional’ methodologies for crop raising.

    I’d be interested as to what your definition of success is in terms of the current batch of GMOs, or where there is any evidence that they fare worse under non-ideal conditions – I’d assume this would generally be because traits are generally put into elite lines designed to work in optimal conditions, therefore it is a failing of elite lines, not GMOs where conditions are sub-optimal – it particularly doesnt make sense that genes with no real overall effect on metabolism (Bt and RR) would cause significant varietal variation under stress (I’d still expect Bt to outperform non-Bt of the same variety most of the time just due to a reduction in insect pressure)

  174. #176 Walton
    April 28, 2010

    They don’t select them, they just get Google ads.

    Perhaps, but that isn’t really much of an excuse.

  175. #177 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Internet ads that pretend to be antivirus programs

    those are hilarious when you’re not using a Windows PC… because they look like Windows programs. it makes me giggle when i see them.

    Bt cotton for instance, in non-ideal conditions, massively increases productivity.

    actually, quite the opposite. it only works in the conditions it was designed to function, and those are expensive to maintain. it’s not a reliable crop unless you’re extremely wealthy and can assure a maintenance of its necessary conditions.

  176. #178 Becca
    April 28, 2010

    two and a half hours on the phone with an iTunes support supervisor (who didn’t treat me like I was an idiot), and iTunes is working again. My life can resume having meaning.

  177. #179 John Morales
    April 28, 2010

    I’m amused how many people conflate the OS with the applications.

    On the subject of problems, a great many are PEBKAC. This, as David alludes to, includes much malware.

    Windows fucking sucks. The constant (losing) battle with viruses, spyware etc. makes both Macs and Linux less of a pain in the ass, and less dangerous.

    Marc Maiffret (Q&A)

    Finally, I recommend AVG Free for Windows users — it’s free! :)

  178. #180 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    and then there’s the wee problem with BtPlants being toxic: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/gmProtestsIndia.php

  179. #181 John Morales
    April 28, 2010

    Walton, ads? What ads?

    I never see any here (I’ve got doubleclick and other services redirected in my hosts file), only placeholders.

  180. #182 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Can you direct me to an example site where IE8 fails?

    seeing as I don’t use it, I can’t give you a specific page. however, IE does badly at this and will have massive problems in the future because it also fails at this.

  181. #183 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    actually, quite the opposite. it only works in the conditions it was designed to function, and those are expensive to maintain. it’s not a reliable crop unless you’re extremely wealthy and can assure a maintenance of its necessary conditions.

    Not even remotely true. Small farmer yields and incomes in India have increased 30-100% entirely due to the introduction of Bt cotton. Yields and insecticide useage in China were positively impacted. There is categorically nothing inherent to the Bt gene which makes it only work in certain conditions, or be expensive to maintain. Logically why would there be? There may be issues with the variety used, and education around which varieties are best. But this is totally unrelated to the transgene.

    and then there’s the wee problem with BtPlants being toxic:

    Seriously? Unless you’re an insect they aren’t toxic. Wouldnt this toxicity of Bt plants have maybe come up and completely scuppered the entire endeavor, or are feedlots operating with losses to toxicity to maintain the status quo, is the government covering up Bt related deaths on a massive scale? Or, and I’m going out on a limb here, is Bt toxicity as portrayed in the article you link a complete and utter baldfaced lie – I mean shit, they’re talking about a 25% fataltity rate amongst sheep grazing on the material – is it not just off the wall completely bizarre that if this were even remotely true that someone, in the past decade of use of Bt crops, would have seen something – no coverup is good enough to hide something with a fricking 25% kill rate – studies on Bt and RR crops for feed have to show equivalence in terms of weight gain etc etc before they’re even remotely marketable as products – yet here we are, discussing the claim that somehow some genius missed the fact that 25% of animals that eat Bt crops end up dead. No wonder meat got expensive all of a sudden.

  182. #184 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    is it not just off the wall completely bizarre that if this were even remotely true that someone, in the past decade of use of Bt crops, would have seen something

    they are seeing it. they are reporting it. or where do you think this information is from? it’s not like it’s just this one website that describes this.

    you have an inordinate amount of trust in business goodwill. it’s fucking disturbing.

    No wonder meat got expensive all of a sudden.

    you’ve no idea how prices for meat are created; but hey, don’t let that stop you from saying stupid shit.

    this conversation is pointless. your employer can do no wrong, huh?

  183. #185 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 28, 2010

    writing lucidly about the Congo.

    I’ve seen this thing about “writing about the Congo” a few times here, and have no idea what it means. It’s not some US version of “discussing Ugandan affairs”, is it?

  184. #186 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    I’m not saying that my employer can do no wrong (was highly upset last year at layoffs introduced entirely so that earnings per share targets were hit, for instance). But in the case of Bt toxicity to mammals, particularly at rates of 25%+ – no, that’s crazy ass bullshit. Something that big isn’t about trusting business goodwill, it’s about believing so fervently that GMOs are bad that absolutely batshit insane claims like a 25% kill rate are something that could remain covered up for 10 years of commercial use and multiple actual scientific studies of toxicity.

  185. #187 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2010

    IE has been an evil plague on html from the very beginning — there are lots of really stupid things that will cause this site to crash for IE users that I have to watch for. One nuisance, for example, is the drop cap I use at the start of every article, which is done with valid CSS and mostly works for IE. If I add any additional formatting to that first character — making it part of a link, for instance — IE dies, and I get a flood of hundreds of emails from people complaining that I kill their browser.

    I’d like to tell them to just kill it and get a real and stable browser, but IE users are about 15% of my readers. At least that’s down from the bad old days when they had over 50% share.

    (Firefox is now the dominant browser: 56% and growing. About 25% are Mac Safari users.)

  186. #188 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    I also have an old film Nikon though. It takes such great images that I almost bought a Nikon slr so I could use the lenses (several good good lenses with that camera too) because I read that I should be able to use the old lenses for that camera on the digital although manual only.

    What lenses? Are they auto-focus? because if they are, you should be able to use them on most of the Nikon DSLRs with AF.

    And if you don’t want them….

  187. #189 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    I have to observe that the sidebar ads are now advertising bogus diet programmes: “1 Rule to a Flat Stomach! Obey!”. And showing bad photographs of rather underdressed young women, captioned “Online Dating for Naughty People”.

    The adds I typically see are from B&H Photo Video taunting me with a few lenses I’m debating sinking way too much money into.

  188. #190 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 28, 2010

    Ring-tailed Lemurian,
    The “writing lucidly about the Congo” refers to a certain egomaniac tone troll who is SHOCKED! SHOCKED! by the harsh tone of comments on Pharyngula. I think SC was deploring one of his particularly egregious starfarts and said something to the effect of ~although he has written lucidly about the Congo~.
    It struck many of us as the ultimate damnation by faint praise, as in: Well, he’s a serial pig rapist, but he has written lucidly on the Congo.

  189. #191 Owlmirror
    April 28, 2010

    John Morales — Dunno if you care, but Nathan seems to have massively misconstrued your (rather terse) comment in this thread.

    I suspect Nathan is very SIWOTI-enriched.

  190. #192 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Owlmirror (@164):

    A lot of problems — including the one above, and some others — have been fixed with the version of preview used by Pharyngula,

    Thanks for the heads up. One problem with addressing problems by simply avoiding them (as I have been with preview) is that you never know when they’ve been fixed!

  191. #193 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 28, 2010

    By the way, I just want to say, “I LOVE MANTIDS!”

    I think they are about as cool an insect as has ever existed.

  192. #194 Lynna, OM
    April 28, 2010

    To add to the camera discussion: I use an EOS Rebel.

    Bringing the mormon pain (from Doctrine and Covenants 19):

    11 Eternal punishment is God?s punishment.
    12 Endless punishment is God?s punishment.
    13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name…
    15 Therefore I command you to repent?repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore?how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not…
    18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit?and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink?…
    26 And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God?…
    28 And again, I command thee that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private….
    33 And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels, yea, even the destruction of thyself and property…

  193. #195 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 28, 2010

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space – Thanks for the explanation (which, for some reason, made me think of this).

  194. #196 John Morales
    April 28, 2010

    Owlmirror @191, yeah, I caught Nathan’s response.

    Couldn’t be stuffed responding before, but I suppose I’ll make a brief response, just to be polite.

  195. #197 Lynna, OM
    April 28, 2010

    In the realm of unintended consequences: as soon as folks see that Joseph Smith got away with it, every other mormon and his brother tried to get in on the revelation game. Joe tried to put a stop to it at one point, by proclaiming that there was only one living prophet at a time, but he failed to put the cat back in the bag. Revelators continue to spring up from the mormon ranks.

    Richard Packham has a website page that lists a bunch of crazy mormons that have claimed the power of revelation, and have written scripture. For example, there’s Matthew Gill, who started his own church, The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ. He claimed to have received 24 brass plates from God in 2006, which he translated as the Book of Jeraneck. Gill is accepted by his followers as a prophet, seer and revelator.
    Gill has several official websites, including: http://www.bookofjeraneck.co.uk
    Gill preaches that Joseph Smith was the last true prophet, but that he is Joe’s successor; Stonehenge was a Christian temple; early Britons were Christian… and blah, blah, blah.
    This particular brand of crazy mormonism is based in England, and was organized in 2007.

    In the thread on the Thunderfoot video, there’s a comment from PZ that indicates he may choose that video to counteract the Jeffrey Holland mormon sob fest campaign. Thumbs-up for the Thunderfoot video.

  196. #198 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 28, 2010

    I was writing a long post in reply to Pygmy Loris’ request from the last thread:

    Paul Krugman has put forth the argument that a unified currency without a unified government is a bad idea. According to Krugman, the Euro set-up reduces the ability of individual members of the Eurozone to respond to financial crises.

    This post was full of acronyms like EU and EMF and ECB and ESCB. I even managed to refer to the Deutsche Bundesbank as “Buba” (short for Bundesbank). Then we had a power failure and my post went to never-never land. I know, it sounds like my dog ate my homework.

    negentropyeater, in #693, wrote an excellent response to Pygmy Loris’ question. Suffice to say I also disagree with Krugman. As I said yesterday there are steps being taken to make the European Central Bank more powerful and introduce a European Monetary Fund which will answer some of Krugman’s criticisms.

  197. #199 Lynna, OM
    April 28, 2010

    I have nothing to add to the discussion of the Euro and global economics, but would just like to thank ‘Tis Himself and negentropyeater for their informative comments.

    ‘Tis, I’m sorry to hear that the dog ate your acronyms.

  198. #200 sandiseattle
    April 28, 2010

    OPEN THREAD SO NOT OT

    W.I.T.O.
    = checking your bag befor you leave the drive-thru

    DO IT. Don’t worry about insulting the kid/minimum wage sadsack at the window. No one who works at a drive-thru should be insulted anyhow, you’re just making sure you got what you ordered. Especially check if the joint uses those “we double check your order” stickers to close the bag. They want you to not check. They want to protect their service time numbers. (I know I used to be in the drive-thru.) Beyond that, its just common sense anyway.

    Oh well comment back as you like.

  199. #201 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 28, 2010

    There’s about 200 posts without a song. To remedy this lack here’s North Sea Gas singing “Will Ye No Come Back Again”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZvmUaTU81s

  200. #202 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Don’t worry about insulting the kid/minimum wage sadsack at the window

    fuck right off.

  201. #203 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself, just the man I wanted to type to. I applied for a job today at IdaSailor Marine to do woodworking for sailboat parts/pieces.

    I am a lifelong landlubber. Got any suggestions for a site I can peruse to cram myself full of basic nautical terminology so I don’t sound like an idiot if I do get called in for an interview?

    I know wood upside out and inside down but I don’t know my keel from my mainsail. I would hate to come off sounding like a pegboy.

  202. #204 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    “Is it true that you learn that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman and a man made from dirt were convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magic tree?”

    Personally I like my daughter’s favorite religious statement: “My Flying Spaghetti Monster tastes better than your 2000 year old dead Jew on a stick.”

    And I’ve figured out why there are sparkplugs in the accretion my husband brought me from California – FSM put them there to test my faith that His Noodly Appendage brought the world into being last Wednesday. Accretions don’t happen in days, right? I am strong in the Pasta Force, though, so my chocolate rations should be fine. (I will have to find the Richard Dawkins paragraph where he makes a similar accretion-or-fossil error in describing a coke bottle lid he found encrusted in rock on a beach.)

    On the GM seed question – I am profoundly suspicious that agribusiness and chemical companies are not necessarily acting in the best interests of the biosphere, but I don’t know enough to be able to argue the point effectively without attracting more slapdowns than I want to deal with. I will, however, relate an amusing story. My husband went to a meeting of a chemical and agribusiness greenwashing group about a year ago and the corporate representatives there were moaning about the rise of glyphosate-resistant weeds. Go figure – you douse large areas with a weed killer and the weeds adapt. Poor husband had to bite his cheek to keep from making a variety of snarky comments. (I think the glyphosate-resistant weed phenomenon was reported in the press within the last couple weeks.)

  203. #205 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    sadsack

    What Jadehawk said. Twice.

  204. #206 MATTIR
    April 28, 2010

    I finally changed my username to something that wasn’t as close to my IRL name – stands for middle-aged-tone-troll-in-recovery. But I’m still the same homeschooling crank nature educator who no longer wishes to try to find common ground with fools. And we are very much enjoying watching the yellow versus blue war at that weird tea-partier poll. Now back to voting…

  205. #207 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    At least Windows users know* to use protection… Mac and Linux users typically don’t.

    Nothing to protect me from in Linux, it’s like sex in a world without infectious diseases.

    Wrt Bill’s phone inquiry, I think I remember from my last Europe visit that I just bought a prepaid SIM somewhere and put it in my own phone, that should work.
    International roaming is possible, but way too expensive.

  206. #208 TheBlackCat
    April 28, 2010

    With the amount of money and information flowing through Linux servers, I suspect that if there was a serious virus vulnerability we would have seen it.

    If you actually look at the sorts of security vulnerabilities Windows and Linux has, a large chunk of the Windows vulnerabilities are remote exploits, people being able to screw with your computer over the internet without having any approved access to the computer. Linux has very few of those, the Linux vulnerabilities are mostly privelege escalation, where users who already have valid accounts on the computer and are physically sitting in front of it and logged in can do more than they are supposed to on it.

    All in all, both Windows (XP, Vista, an 7) and Mac Os X have mostly “Highly” and “Moderately” criticial unpatches security vulnerabilities, with some “Extremely critical” and quite a few “Less critical”, and no “Not critical”. Linux, by comparison, has no Extremely or Highly critical security vulnerabilities, a handful “moderately critical”, and almost all “Less” or “not” critical. Mac Os X actually has it’s security vulnerabilities rated as more dangerous than Windows 7 does, although Windows 7 has not been out that long by comparison.

    But in the end nothing beats the panicked email we got last week from our IT department telling us how a McAfee virus definition file has targetted a critical windows system file and rendered hundreds of thousands of computers around the world unusable. I ran all over our two offices yanking out ethernet cords until I could establish that a fixed definition file was available, the manually updated every computer.

  207. #209 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    Rev – thinking of buying a new lens for your camera? Hmmm. Check out Alex Wild’s insect photograpy site, and in particular what a professional photographer of teeny weeny things has to put up with up in terms of simply the best lens in the world…. This is the kind of thing you’ll like, if you like this kind of thing.
    Beautiful site, check it out.
    Religious people, I’m afraid, just don’t get to see such wonders. Not interested, I guess.

  208. #210 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 28, 2010

    boygenius #203

    I am a lifelong landlubber. Got any suggestions for a site I can peruse to cram myself full of basic nautical terminology so I don’t sound like an idiot if I do get called in for an interview?

    You’re kidding, aren’t you? The thing that trips up the ignorati more than anything else is misuse of jargon. You can’t fake it. For instance, jib and jibe mean two completely different things but it would be easy for you to confuse the two.

    I strongly recommend you admit you know little about boats and sailing but an awful lot about woodworking. A company making wooden rudders and tillers would be more interested in hiring a skilled woodworker than a skilled sailor.

    Incidentally a jib is a sail flown before the mast and a jibe (often spelled gybe) is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other. The “chicken gybe” mentioned in the picture is changing the side of the boat that faces the wind by turning the bow of the boat through the direction of the wind. This operation is generally called tacking and is much safer than gybing.

  209. #211 MATTIR
    April 28, 2010

    @AnthonyK –

    If you’re interested in insect photography, also check out bugguide, a great critter identification resource and full of wonderful advice on photography. It’s astonishingly easy to take pretty impressive photographs with a point-and-shoot camera. (Mine wouldn’t pass as professional by any stretch, but they were pretty impressive for me!)

    WOW, I got the html tags to work (small dance around the living room).

  210. #212 Geoffrey
    April 28, 2010

    @ MATTIR

    Well you screwed that bug guide link didn’t you :)

    Next time remember to add the http://

  211. #213 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    Didn’t work for me though (“not found”) – just like religion! Well, I’m interested in beauty, small, large, or medium sized: i’ll just let the pros do it.
    Which reminds me – check this out:
    An interactive scale of the universe
    Puts the “fuck me” in awesome.

  212. #214 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 28, 2010

    boygenius,

    Just to show you what sailing jargon can be like, here’s a couple of pictures of sails and sailing rigs.

    Here’s a diagram showing the names of various parts of sails. For some reason the lug sail’s foot isn’t labeled. In both cases the luff is that part of the sail facing forward (towards the bow or pointy end of a boat*).

    Here’s diagrams of various sailing rigs. Almost all boats these days use the bermuda rig (also called marconi rig). The gunter rig hasn’t been used much since before World War I.

    *The blunt end of a boat is called the stern.

  213. #215 MATTIR
    April 28, 2010

    I actually thought as I posted it “You know, I should probably click the link to see if it works,” but I was so pleased that it looked right that I didn’t. What a maroon. This works – I did try it just now.

    http://bugguide.net

  214. #216 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    MMMMMMMMM, great. In future: cp the “a href” link below. Open the window you want and cp the url. Insert this where it say “url”. Insert snappy title “my huge cock” where it says link, delete all extraneous shite and then…are you listening Rev? – press “Preview”. Adjust to suit.
    Took me ages to be able to do this.

  215. #217 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    Oh…’Tis…talk naughtytical to me…you can luff me prow anytime you like…
    Go on then, link to a photo of you enjoying yourself on a beautiful yacht.

  216. #218 MrFire
    April 28, 2010

    OPEN THREAD SO NOT OT

    YES BUT STILL FUCKING OBNOXIOUS

  217. #219 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    (I think the glyphosate-resistant weed phenomenon was reported in the press within the last couple weeks.)

    Possibly – glyphosate resistant weeds have been a bit of an issue for at least a few years now – which is obviously a pretty forseeable outcome from widespread adoption of a single mode of action for weed control – thankfully (at least for farmers, and agribusiness….) there are more GM modes of action upcoming soon to offer a better mix of chemicals to offer similar control with somewhat less chance of evolution of resistance (kinda like using combo anti-virals to prevent resistance to just one) – not a 100% guarantee to prevent resistance in the very long term, but should at least buy more time than a single MoA (the same applies to insect control genes, what with the relatively recent revelation that some bollworm in India have developed a bit of resistance to Cry1A (which to be frank I’m surprised there isn’t more suspicion around than there is, its generally lauded as a victory for the green movement… If I didn’t work for Monsanto I’d almost be tempted to play the ORLY card what with it coinciding with bollgard II and all)

  218. #220 cicely
    April 28, 2010

    Over 200 comments, and no bacon? Has the world gone mad?????

    And so, without further ado, a haiku in praise of bacon:

    Crispy, crunchy treat,
    Ambrosial aroma.
    Nothing can compete!

  219. #221 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    ‘Tis, you’re absolutely right. I have no intention of passing myself off as a sailor. I was more interested in basic information about the anatomy of a sailboat than the actual driving of one. (One does “drive” a sailboat, no?) :) My request for “nautical” terminology was poorly phrased.

    In any case, I got off (on?) my lazy ass and googled up most of the info I think will be relevant to the job description. We’ll see if I’m able to chicken gybe my way through an interview.

    Since I seem to be constitutionally incapable of lying successfully, there’s no likelihood that I will misrepresent myself. I just want to have a general knowledge of the subject matter before I walk in the door.

  220. #222 MATTIR
    April 28, 2010

    I can’t believe it took me this long to watch Mr. Deity. Life is so much more fun now that I’m not trying to be inoffensive and reach consensus…

  221. #223 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    *The blunt end of a boat is called the stern.

    Shit. That’s why it always takes me so long to get to the other side of the lake.

    Luckily, the job doesn’t seem to involve any sails or rigging. Just wood. Wood is good. I’m good with wood.

  222. #224 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    MATTIR:

    I can’t believe it took me this long to watch Mr. Deity. Life is so much more fun now that I’m not trying to be inoffensive and reach consensus…

    Welcome to the dark side. Please check your soul at the door.

  223. #225 Geoffrey
    April 28, 2010

    @boygenius

    Please check your soul at the door.

    What soul?

  224. #226 MATTIR
    April 28, 2010

    My soul is composed primarily of memes acquired from disreputable atheists, skeptics, and miscreants. Plus the one from Richard Dawkins that confused “stuff trapped in accretions” with “fossils.” Do I still need to check it, or do I only need to check my “upon conception” imaginary soul?

  225. #227 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 28, 2010

    ‘Gay dog’ refused entry to Australian restaurant

    No, this is NOT from The Onion. It’s real. Apparently, the owners heard ‘gay dog’ instead of ‘guide dog’.

    “The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog,” the owners said in a statement to South Australia’s Equal Opportunity Tribunal.

  226. #228 boygenius
    April 28, 2010

    You don’t need to check it, but, if you do, make sure you don’t lose your ticket or you’ll play hell getting it back after last call.

  227. #229 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Here’s something you don’t see every day: Space balloon wipes out car.

    Yeah, they wrote “space” balloon — twice!.

  228. #230 Dale
    April 29, 2010

    So, I’ve decided to join in dive in headfirst to Pharyngula by starting with The Thread. I’ve been reading a while but much prefer lurking by nature. However, I had something interesting occur to me and discovered myself with questions I thought might possibly be answered by The Thread.

    I am going to Europe this summer in June, more specifically Bonn, Germany, and the official schedule of events that I’ll need to be present for there was finally released. Much to my surprise, I am in fact free for the Saturday and Sunday of the Atheist Conference in Copenhagen.

    I won’t be free to leave until the evening of the 18th, meaning I would probably miss most Friday events except possibly the pub hopping afterwards. But, I will be free to attend all of Saturday and Sunday.

    So, that brings me to the questions:

    Any one have an idea of what the travel costs between Bonn and Copenhagen (not sure the timing or costs of a train, but presume it would be cheaper and faster among the viable options) might be? I’ve tried searching online, but my google-fu appears weak.

    And more importantly, would the event realistically be worth the cost of attendance if I wasn’t there for the friday session? I suppose this is especially addressed to the GAC attendees, seeing as they have the experience of meeting some of these people and hearing them talk.

    Thanks, and apologies if this is a bit of a lame way to start my stay in The Thread, but I just don’t really know enough to add to the discussion of Monsanto and don’t care enough to add to the debate between Mac/Windows/Linux. :P

  229. #231 Patricia08
    April 29, 2010

    As I read through (well mostly skimmed, it’s late) the posts on farming it made me think of this. I should probably mention I am as addicted to TED as I am to Pharyngula. If the link doesn’t work (I’m still pretty new at this) Search the TED site for How I fell in love with a fish.

  230. #232 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Patricia08, link works fine (you can test them in preview mode, if you want to make sure).

  231. #233 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Patricia, that was great, thanks :-)

  232. #234 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    Dale @ 230,

    not sure what exactly the difficulty is in looking up the german train timetable, but here it is, you find prices there too.

    And more importantly, would the event realistically be worth the cost of attendance if I wasn’t there for the friday session?

    A question you would have to answer for yourself I guess, it’s a fair amount of money.

  233. #235 John Scanlon FCD
    April 29, 2010

    John Morales, I just dropped back here to post the same link. Check it out, folks!

  234. #236 Dale
    April 29, 2010

    Rorshach,

    Apparently I completely fail at google. Thanks for the train timetable though, and sorry for the stupid question.

    As for the other part, yeah, I figured as much, just curious about it before I sign up for it all, I guess. Ideally it seems great, just not sure if I’ll end up disappointed because the speakers weren’t as interesting as I envisioned or I don’t really fit in with the other attendees or some such thing. I’m not really much of a public person normally so a big conference is a bit of hard step to take.

  235. #237 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    I’m not really much of a public person normally so a big conference is a bit of hard step to take.

    you’d be surrounded by people who aren’t really public persons. we can all be awkward together :-)

  236. #238 spunmunkey
    April 29, 2010

    *facepalm* … followed by *headdesk* and mewling sounds …

  237. #239 WowbaggerOM
    April 29, 2010

    I’m not really much of a public person normally so a big conference is a bit of hard step to take.

    I’m nigh on social-phobic and I coped okay – though it helped that there were Pharyngulites there I’d made specific plans to meet up with beforehand; perhaps you should do the same.

  238. #240 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    Remembering the experience of the GAC and how empty and tired I was the Monday after, I have booked myself a nice 8-hour train trip from Copenhagen to my destination, to relax and reflect…:-)

    They have some nice special offers in 1st class too, german trains tend to get pretty crowded in 2nd.

  239. #241 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    They have some nice special offers in 1st class too, german trains tend to get pretty crowded in 2nd.

    elitist, you don’t know “overcrowded” until you had people sitting on the luggage racks ;-)

  240. #242 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    elitist, you don’t know “overcrowded” until you had people sitting on the luggage racks ;-)

    Well, I don’t take trains in Nigeria….:P

    They had 1st class tickets from Copenhagen to roughly where you and I are headed from 69 euros, I thought that was pretty reasonable….

  241. #243 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Well, I don’t take trains in Nigeria….:P

    neither do I silly man. I was talking about Germany.

  242. #244 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    I was talking about Germany.

    I know….;)

  243. #245 Dale
    April 29, 2010

    you’d be surrounded by people who aren’t really public persons. we can all be awkward together :-)

    Not sure if that is a good thing or not, but hey, I’m willing to try.

    I’m nigh on social-phobic and I coped okay – though it helped that there were Pharyngulites there I’d made specific plans to meet up with beforehand; perhaps you should do the same.

    Okay, thanks for the advice. I don’t really know any Pharyngulites aside from reading their comments, so I’m a bit behind if I want to try that, but it seems as good an idea as any if I want to do this conference. Thanks for the suggestion.

  244. #246 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 29, 2010
  245. #247 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    They had 1st class tickets from Copenhagen to roughly where you and I are headed from 69 euros, I thought that was pretty reasonable….

    and they have 2nd class for 39, so yeah :-p

  246. #248 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Dale, I was too slack and anti-social for the GAC, and if I had gone, I’d've probably resisted wearing the cephalopod insigne designating a Pharynguloid. :)

  247. #249 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Feynmaniac, Japanese train.

  248. #250 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    and they have 2nd class for 39, so yeah :-p

    I used to rely heavily on trains/public transport when I was younger and during study years.
    Since parent 1(and me)was in the Black Forest and parent 2 in Duesseldorf, there was a lot of train travel involved.
    Especially Fridays and weekends used to be awful, what with weekend travellers, soldiers and soccer fans.

    So yeah, I happily pay the 30 extra bucks these days for some peace…:-)

  249. #251 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Especially Fridays and weekends used to be awful, what with weekend travellers, soldiers and soccer fans.

    well, I’ll be traveling Monday afternoon, and it literally makes no difference to me whether I’m in 1st or 2nd (this isn’t an airplane we’re talking about, where the differences are HUGE), so I won’t spend extra money for a luxury I won’t even notice :-p

    anyway, I just like teasing you for being a spoiled wealthy brat who sleeps in hotels and travels 1st class, unlike the cool kids who sleep on other people’s floors and travel 2nd class ;-)

  250. #252 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Rorschach, euro to australian dollar.

    1 Euro = 1.42968328 Australian dollars

    30 × 1.42968328 = 42 bucks.

    Ah, to be a doctor and wallow in money! :)

  251. #253 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    anyway, I just like teasing you for being a spoiled wealthy brat who sleeps in hotels and travels 1st class, unlike the cool kids who sleep on other people’s floors and travel 2nd class ;-)

    I know…:-)

    When’s your train, don’t tell me you’re taking the 1150 one as well !! I might send my butler to bring you beverages in that case :P

    (Spoiled brat btw could not be farther from the truth, parents were lower middle class, nurse and social worker, and I worked at Mercedes all semester holidays to keep my head over water during med school since mother had retracted any financial help for petty reasons…)

  252. #254 Walton
    April 29, 2010

    Ah, to be a doctor and wallow in money! :)

    Yeah… you’d think that, given that I want to be a lawyer, I’d be able to look forward to wallowing in money too. But seeing as I want to be a local solicitor working in criminal defence and/or immigration and asylum law, which is not the best-paid corner of the legal profession, I somehow don’t imagine I’ll ever have money to burn. :-)

    But who needs money, anyway? Buying stuff is overrated.

  253. #255 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    Ah, to be a doctor and wallow in money! :)

    Feel free to help paying my 2 mortgages John….

    The rule sounds silly, but it’s true, whatever amount of money you have, it’s never enough !
    I work hard, earn ok, but just about make it every month without going into the red.
    So no riches for me, sadly…The girls reading this are better off financially waiting for Walton to be a lawyer one day !

  254. #256 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    Indian train:

    My personal experience of travelling in train in India is that this picture is not very representative of long distance train, but more of suburbian Mass Transit.

    If you want to experience the “real India”, travel in second class Long Distance at least once. Remember however that using the Indian style squat toilet you will find in those cars requires a bit of courage and preparation when the train is running.

  255. #257 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    But who needs money, anyway? Buying stuff is overrated.

    *feels all warm and fuzzy*

    The rule sounds silly, but it’s true, whatever amount of money you have, it’s never enough !

    the moral of which is to not bother making more, in the first place :-p

  256. #258 https://me.yahoo.com/a/XvLW0e8Bx.MunwAxg_4j07.82rpwNDU-#55b30
    April 29, 2010

    Hi guys, please help pharyngulate this poll – vote against the SB 1070 Arizona immigration law http://www.kgun9.com/

  257. #259 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Rorschach, I kid (I’m pretty sure you get that).

  258. #260 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    And btw Jadehawk, one day soon you have to explain to me(if you like) how someone as intelligent as you did end up in North Dakota chasing mice and not in some university studying …..

  259. #261 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 29, 2010

    I worked at Mercedes all semester holidays to keep my head over water during med school

    Yikes. My dad worked too during med school to take care of the four of us. I remember him always being tired during that period. My sympathies.

    But who needs money, anyway? Buying stuff is overrated.

    Did you pick that up well from reading those boring criminalogy texts as well? :P

    My personal experience of travelling in train in India is that this picture is not Y very representative of long distance train, but more of suburbian Mass Transit.

    I thought so. You really wouldn’t want to be on the outside of that thing when it started picking up speed.

    Remember however that using the Indian style squat toilet you will find in those cars requires a bit of courage and preparation when the train is running.

    You might end up looking like that kid did in Slumdog Millionaire.

  260. #262 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    the moral of which is to not bother making more, in the first place :-p

    Only true if you are certain that you’ll always be making sufficient money to get by.
    I used to make much more money than I could spend, even after paying for the fancy sports car and the designer suits I felt were necessary to evacuate my frustration of having no spare time to really enjoy myself.
    So I saved, and nowadays I am glad I did. No more designer suits nor fancy sports car, but I’ve got time to cultivate my garden, cook, walk in the mountains, read and browse the internets which is much more enjoyable and costs little, without having to worry too much about where I’m going to find the money to get by. Unfortunately, my savings are dissapearing faster than I expected and I’m starting to get worried about my older years.
    So I’ll probably have to earn a living again and finding a decent job isn’t going to be easy at 45. I don’t need to earn much, 1500 Euros per month would be just fine, I’ve been thinking about teaching or school assistant but it seems hard to find something right now with our government trying to downsize the number of public servants and private schools also feeling the impact of the crisis.

    I feel very lucky so far, but quite worried I won’t be that lucky in the future.

  261. #263 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    But who needs money, anyway

    I do. A lot of it. So where the fuck is it?

  262. #264 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    Hey, you guys know that I hate House, but no opportunity is cheap enough to pimp the Stones, and I havent done it for at least 3 months, so there :

    Season 5 final

  263. #265 Aquaria
    April 29, 2010

    My sole camera is a Nikon Coolpix 8700. These days, it’s a plain camera, with 8.0 MP and 8X zoom. I bought it only because I found it at a pawn shop for $100 bucks back in 2007, and I thought Nikon + SLR (familiar) look = good = that price seems very low = BUY!

    It didn’t work quite right, so I took it to a camera shop where it cost another $150 to fix what was wrong with it. I understand from the repair shop’s master tech that, even with the repair costs, I’d just about stolen a (then) top-notch digital camera.

    I think it’s more camera than I need, it does things I can’t begin to understand, but it takes gorgeous shots, better than I usually get from point-and-shoot. Somewhere, I have the CDs of pictures my son & I took with it during our frequent Hill Country treks. Or maybe he took all of those discs, because he loved the things he could do with the camera.

  264. #266 MrFire
    April 29, 2010

    I used to make much more money than I could spend, even after paying for the fancy sports car and the designer suits I felt were necessary to evacuate my frustration of having no spare time to really enjoy myself.

    How about indistinguishable business card contests?
    :P

  265. #267 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    LOL, MrFire! I hated that movie, but that scene always cracks me up.

  266. #268 MrFire
    April 29, 2010

    I hated that movie,

    :( Why oh why?

    I hope you didn’t read the book then, which doesn’t so much cross the line as it does take a rocket-powered long jump over it.

  267. #269 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    Ugh – I can honestly say I am completely happy to be BACK to work. Driving for an hour to training for three days… is a pain… in the aaaass!

    Plus, no net connection, so I can’t browse Pharyngula when I’m supposed to be working!

  268. #270 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    Hermit crabs look for housing together! Means, when one of them needs a new home and finds a snail shell that is just too big, it waits for more conspecifics to show up. Long queues form, the one with the right size enters the shell, which liberates that one’s previous shell, and so on… it’s fascinating. In this popular article in German, which is stupid enough to call the crabs “mollusks”, the authors go on to explain they’ve found similar behavior in fish that live in sea anemones, woodpeckers, and college students (nowadays improved by networks like Facebook).

    those are hilarious when you’re not using a Windows PC… because they look like Windows programs. it makes me giggle when i see them.

    (Eleven minutes…)

    Better yet, for a long time all such popups had the standard layout of a WinXP window. If you used the classical layout, or another version of Windows, it looked completely foreign, too. :-D

    Reminds me of the spam I once got from Blockhead J. Minolta.

    PEBKAC

    What does that mean?

    Marc Maiffret (Q&A)

    From there…

    How would you characterize the state of security at Microsoft products at the time?
    Maiffret: At that time they didn’t even have a dedicated security team. One guy acted as a liaison between marketing and engineering and they treated it very much as a marketing problem, not as a technical problem and not one they needed to focus on addressing. Their attitude was, “if we can keep evil research guys quiet no one will talk about it and we won’t have to be distracted trying fix these things.”

    [...]

    Are they the model that other companies are following?
    Maiffret: From an internal process in how they go about auditing their code and securing software from a technical perspective, they do have one of the best models. The area they still have room for improvement is around time lines of how long it takes for them to fix things. We see time and time again when somebody responsibly reports a security problem to Microsoft it takes many, many months, if not upwards of a year, to get these things resolved. Should there be some new zero day critical emergency, we see they are able to get something out within a couple of weeks. You look at companies like Adobe and they are where Microsoft was 10 years ago.

    In what way exactly?
    Maiffret: Adobe, and even Apple, is a good example. They are starting to get black eyes with people saying Adobe is a bigger worry than Microsoft is at the moment, which I agree with. As those things are happening, Adobe and Apple and other companies are starting to pay attention and care more. But a year ago, it was still very much a marketing thing. People from both companies treated it as a marketing problem. They didn’t have good technical structures behind the scenes. Now they are staffing up and hiring industry notables like Window Snyder [ex-Microsoft security employee recently hired by Apple]. They’ve really only begun in the last six months or so taking security seriously and understanding that it impacts their business in a serious way.

    And you think Apple is taking it seriously too now?
    Maiffret: Oh yeah. It’s even a little scarier with them because they try to market themselves as more secure than the PC, that you don’t have to worry about viruses, etc. Anytime there’s been a hacking contest, within a few hours someone’s found a new Apple vulnerability. If they were taking it seriously, they wouldn’t claim to be more secure than Microsoft because they are very much not. And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple. The reason we don’t see more attacks out there compared to Microsoft is because their market share isn’t near what Microsoft’s is.

    Scary all round.

    If I add any additional formatting to that first character — making it part of a link, for instance — IE dies, and I get a flood of hundreds of emails from people complaining that I kill their browser.

    Really? I remember it being part of a link several times, and had no problem.

    Nothing to protect me from in Linux, it’s like sex in a world without infectious diseases.

    <Homer Simpson>So far!</Homer Simpson>

    Any one have an idea of what the travel costs between Bonn and Copenhagen (not sure the timing or costs of a train, but presume it would be cheaper and faster among the viable options) might be? I’ve tried searching online, but my google-fu appears weak.

    Stupidly, flying is often cheaper these days than going by train. Try airberlin for a start.

    And more importantly, would the event realistically be worth the cost of attendance if I wasn’t there for the friday session? I suppose this is especially addressed to the GAC attendees, seeing as they have the experience of meeting some of these people and hearing them talk.

    I’m not really coming for the speakers. I’m coming to meet some fellow Pharyngulites.

    Patricia, that was great, thanks :-)

    “Great”? It’s so amazing I bookmarked it and intend to spam teh whole wide intarwebz with it at every occasion!!!

    you’d be surrounded by people who aren’t really public persons. we can all be awkward together :-)

    Exactly. I’ve never felt like too much of an outsider at scientific congresses or even digs.

    They had 1st class tickets from Copenhagen to roughly where you and I are headed from 69 euros, I thought that was pretty reasonable….

    More like “marginally affordable in an emergency”.

    Especially Fridays and weekends used to be awful, what with weekend travellers, soldiers and soccer fans.

    Bah. Harmless. It doesn’t get bad till you’re sitting in an overnight train from Vienna to Paris, in a bus-like wagon without compartments, with loud people getting on the train throughout Germany = throughout the night, with the police coming in and controlling passports in the middle of the night… Fortunately that’s the extreme scenario that I only had to undergo 2 or 3 times in 6 years.

    And btw Jadehawk, one day soon you have to explain to me(if you like) how someone as intelligent as you did end up in North Dakota chasing mice and not in some university studying …..

    You don’t read Teh Thread often enough. She will study at NDSU, which appears to mean North Dakota State University and to be in Fargo, next year.

    And besides, despite the steep price, I still think she’s been having more fun in the last 10 years than I.

    I do. A lot of it. So where the fuck is it?

    In the Humboldt Foundation. I’ll apply for a grant to finance my postdoc position in Berlin… it’s 2250 ? per month. WTF! My monthly expenses in Paris, at the insane Parisian rents, were more like 700 ? per month, so I imagine that, if I get such a grant, I’ll be swimming in money and won’t know what to do with it. Even becoming a Gold Sponsor of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology would only take care of one month, IIRC :-ž

  269. #271 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    David, I’m surprised at you being too lazy to Google it. :)

    Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

  270. #272 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    You don’t read Teh Thread sober often enough.

    Fixed.

    I guess I was more talking about the free(well, used to be anyway, still cheaper then anything in the US) university education available to her in her home country.

  271. #273 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 29, 2010

    Owlmirror (and possibly John Morales),

    FYI, Nathan A R has responded. I might respond to it later.

  272. #274 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    @Feynmaniac:

    Holy… that dude wrote an essay in response.

  273. #275 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Rev – thinking of buying a new lens for your camera? Hmmm. Check out Alex Wild’s insect photograpy site, and in particular what a professional photographer of teeny weeny things has to put up with up in terms of simply the best lens in the world…. This is the kind of thing you’ll like, if you like this kind of thing.
    Beautiful site, check it out.
    Religious people, I’m afraid, just don’t get to see such wonders. Not interested, I guess.

    Yeah looks like a nice macro lens. I’m looking at a few lenses for the business right now because as much as you can do with any lens, the fast glass makes a difference in the sort of shooting I’m starting to do professionally. Plus I shoot Nikon.

    But cool review none the less.

  274. #276 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Nathan is nothing if not prolix.

    He’s making Points Refuted A Thousand Times, too.

  275. #277 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    I’ll apply for a grant to finance my postdoc position in Berlin… it’s 2250 ? per month.

    After going there only once I am certain that I would like to move to Berlin.

    It’s only a matter of how much money I need to save in order to get out of here forever.

    But I’m no brilliant mind so it’ll be tip jar money for me :P

  276. #278 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    And of course paying of the 20k debt I incurred trying to go to grad school here.

    Which I have almost paid off now!!!!

    Hello savings.

  277. #279 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    The shibby feature in Opera that I also use to keep track of MollyNoms

    You mean OMNoms? :-)

  278. #280 iambilly
    April 29, 2010

    boygenius: (regarding nautical terminology): Keep in mind that teabagging, in regards to sailing, the phrase/word ‘teabagging’ has a different meaning.

    Ol’Greg: Savings? What the hell are savings?

    Oh. I remember. I had that before I had kids.

    My Dad always told me that, when one has children, expenses will expand to absorb 105% of income. Basic economic rule, I guess.

  279. #281 MrFire
    April 29, 2010

    I have a very profound question for David Marjanovi?, concerning Bubble Shooter:

    Have you been stuck in a round of the novice level long enough to begin seeing the colors dwindle significantly in number?

    You see, I don’t know whether to congratulate myself for hanging in there, or chastise myself for lacking the skill to construct a beautiful cascade of multiple colors.

  280. #282 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Savings are what will get me the hell out of here.

    Kids are yet another thing that would trap me here, and I’ve been trying to claw my way out for way too long to put up with that.

    I’m ok with the fact that most of my dreams are not going to happen, but I am NOT ok with the idea of living my entire life in Texas peddling to keep my head above water and own a home.

    If that is life then life is worthless.

  281. #283 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    You mean OMNoms?

    HA!

    Oh and I suppose that would be paddling not peddling, which is what I seddling.

  282. #284 iambilly
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg: (((Wife))) and I decided to have kids erarly so that we would still be young when the (hopefully) leave the house.

    As for dreams, I don’t know anyone who’s dreams have come true. What tends to happen is that we keep changing what our dreams are and head in that direction. Dreams are a distant goal, not a destination.

    And Texas? Run. Fast. Far. North. Northeast. Or far West. Or far Northwest. I’ve lived in the Bible Belt (the Northern fringe). I still carry the scars.

    Oh, and happy Tuesday!

  283. #285 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Yep Billy, lived in Texas my whole life. Didn’t really have the option to have kids early without doing a lot of damage to myself and said kids, and frankly since I’m 28 now I figure kids just won’t be a part of the picture for me. Not the biggest deal since they were never on the top of my list anyway. Neither is marriage for that matter.

    I used to want fame. I used to want academic prestige.

    Now I just want money. Enough of it to spend no longer than a year or two in any one place.

    I’d like to live everywhere for a little while I think.

  284. #286 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Oh… and isn’t it Thursday O_o

    Happy Thursday! I’m flying to Paris on Saturday! I can’t believe that. Wow.

  285. #287 iambilly
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg: Check out some of the jobs opening up in the federal government — especially the land management agencies. I know some people who have not live anywhere for more than three years since they left college. And these are jobs with benefits.

    “Find something you like to do, then find someone stupid enough to pay you for doing it.” — iambilly’s Dad.

  286. #288 iambilly
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg: For me, it is Tuesday. See comment #13 above.

  287. #289 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    David Marjanovi?

    Hermit crabs look for housing together! Means, when one of them needs a new home and finds a snail shell that is just too big, it waits for more conspecifics to show up. Long queues form, the one with the right size enters the shell, which liberates that one’s previous shell, and so on… it’s fascinating. In this popular article in German, which is stupid enough to call the crabs “mollusks”, the authors go on to explain they’ve found similar behavior in fish that live in sea anemones, woodpeckers, and college students (nowadays improved by networks like Facebook).

    Yes, fascinating. I read a similar article yesterday in Science Daily. (I love hermit crabs). When I was in (place name-dropping, sorry) the Andaman Islands (before the 2004 tsunami*) I’d never seen a place with so many, and my favourite beach activity (the snorkelling is mind-blowing, huge fish, almost pristine reefs**) was to lie in my hammock (no vibrations to disturb the crabs), throw a few biscuit crumbs down to entice them, and watch the activity. I would also supply them with empty shells and watch them go crazy trying out new homes.
    However, I never saw them queue up politely as described in these recent articles. (Maybe, it’s an Indian thing, like trying to get on a bus or train there :) ).
    It was a general free-for-all, with the bigger ones picking up the smaller ones and tossing them aside in a mad scramble, crabs trying to drag others out of shells they fancied, etc).

    * I read that the indigenous inhabitants of the Andamans didn’t suffer any casualties. They believe that the Sea and the Land are constantly at war and that sometimes the sneaky old Sea pretends to go away in order to trick the Land, and lull it in to a false sese of security. (A bit like the Greeks at Troy). As soon as they see the sea recede, as it does before a tsunami hits, they run for the nearest hill. The only people killed were recent immigrants from India (don’t get me started on the near genocidal affect this mass immigration to the three main Islands has had on the original inhabitants) who either stood and watched, or went out to collect the stranded fish.

    ** I spent some time there with an Italian surfer/diver who had been almost everywhere in the world and he said he’d never seen such clean reefs, nor been anywhere with so many large reef fish. I’m shit-scared of sharks, after a childhood experience, but the snorkelling was so awesome that I decided I really didn’t care any more. Every swim was worth dying for.
    A few of my photos of the Andamans are on Google Earth, but not any of the ones with hermit crabs, or underwater (no underwater camera).

  288. #290 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    I have wanted so many different things over the years I don’t remember them all. Now I just wish I had gotten where I now am sooner. But hey, 30 is not really that late for starting your career and family (and guitar lessons). I know it’s a cliche, but sometimes the things that make you the happiest are the things you never knew you wanted.

  289. #291 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    @KOPD:

    My brother got married at 26 (almost 27) had a kid at 29, and has a decent job. Hope I can get to that stage soon, just need a date.

  290. #292 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    ‘Tis:

    Despite being neither a sailor nor a woodworker, I was going to jump in and give boygenius the same advice you did. “I know what I know, and I won’t pretend to know what I don’t know” is a powerful statement, and an employer who didn’t accept that just might not be someone you want to work for: It would mean either that the things you don’t know really are critical to the job, and getting the job without those skills would set you up for failure…or that the boss is a fool (or a jerk), and you’re better off not working forhim/her.

    Re @214:

    *The blunt end of a boat is called the stern.

    JOOC, what about boats where both ends are pointy? Isn’t the ass-end of a kayak, for instance, or a dory still called the stern? Enquiring minds want to know!

    sandiseattle (@200):

    Exercising due diligence to ensure you’re actually receiving what you’ve paid for is one thing — a reasonable application of caveat emptor — but the dismissive way you refer to drive-thru employees does you no credit. How you treat the people you think you don’t have to treat well — people in unskilled labor or low-end service jobs such as fast-food counter service, hotel housekeeping, etc. — says an awful lot about your character… and what you’ve said here about yours is not pretty.

  291. #293 Carlie
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg: Savings? What the hell are savings?
    Oh. I remember. I had that before I had kids.

    There was an episode of the Simpsons where Marge is being shown up at every turn by a former classmate who is now a wealthy executive (and single). In one scene they’re sitting at a restaurant and Bart and Lisa and Maggie keep distracting Marge and asking for things, and at one point Bart says “Maggie puked in your purse again” and the friend says “Poor me? all my purse is full of is disposable income.” I lol’d.

  292. #294 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    @Kevin:

    My brother got married at 26 (almost 27) had a kid at 29, and has a decent job.

    That seems to be the norm among my wife’s friends. Most are 29, several are married, some are divorced, a few have kids. Still a few single ones in the group, though. And most have decent jobs. One actually runs for a living.

    Hope I can get to that stage soon, just need a date.

    Good luck with that. I sure don’t envy you. Never was any good at dating. It took me two weeks to talk my wife into dating me.

  293. #295 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    @KOPD:

    Haha – well, I’m not really at the point of exactly looking. I’m talking to some girls, but actively I’m more interested in finishing my book, making sure I have a good job currently, and getting used to living alone.

    I’m in bachelor mode, soon I’ll get to lonely bachelor mode and start going actively looking.

  294. #296 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Ya’ll are making me feel bad. Marriage and kids is the one thing I know I can do.

    Wouldn’t you know I just don’t give a damn?

  295. #297 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    John Morales (@229):

    Yeah, in that case “space balloon” is just lazy writing: High-altitude balloons are somewhat poetically referred to as near-space missions or as going to “the edge of space,” but typical high-altitude balloons go to ~100 kft or a bit higher… which is really only about 1/3 of the way to what qualifies as space by most definitions.

    OTOH, this group is actually proposing, with a straight face and at least minor financial support from the U.S. Air Force, flying to orbit using nothing but airships. I met these guys at a space conference years ago, when they were fairly new, and were focusing on rockoons and winning the Cheap Access to Space (CATS) Prize, and while they’re very methodical in their approach (which is a polite way of saying their progress is glacially slow), they seem to be dead serious, and they’ve stayed in the game all these years.

  296. #298 TheBlackCat
    April 29, 2010

    disreputable atheists, skeptics, and miscreants.

    But isn’t that redundant, sort of like “the corrupt and members of congress”? ;)

  297. #299 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Okay, so you have to remember this is coming from Cracked.com, not exactly a reliable source usually a pretty crappy website. But I think it’s interesting.

    6 Supposedly Ancient Traditions (That Totally Aren’t)

  298. #300 Dianne
    April 29, 2010

    since I’m 28 now I figure kids just won’t be a part of the picture for me

    I don’t see any problem with being 28 and having kids. I had mine at 35 with a 40 year old partner. Being 28 and not wanting kids, on the other hand, would mean that kids shouldn’t be part of the picture for you. Is that perhaps what you meant?

  299. #301 cicely
    April 29, 2010

    Buying stuff is overrated.

    Except books.

    It isn’t possible to have enough books.

  300. #302 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 29, 2010

    My brother got married at 26 (almost 27) had a kid at 29, and has a decent job. Hope I can get to that stage soon, just need a date.

    Just don’t open with that. :)

  301. #303 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Buying stuff is actually over-rated though.

    I’ve been doing it too much and all it does is waste. That being said though money is a lot more than something to buy stuff with. It’s freedom itself in some ways.

    I’d like to start my own business at some point I think. It seems to me that money is the thing I should have been focused on when I was trying so hard to be a part of something better than money. If I’d focused on getting as rich as possible instead I might actually have avoided some of the sad waste of what life I’ve had and also had some capital to use to try and build something better for myself and everyone.

    I have no idea what to do about though, but one thing I am sure of is that I’ve no use for middle class circumstances. The car, the house, the yard… what good is that? I mean I’m going to die anyway right?

    I can’t imagine what would be put on my proverbial headstone: She paid her taxes?

    lol

  302. #304 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    since I’m 28 now I figure kids just won’t be a part of the picture for me

    No one in my family, on either side, has children before their 30s, and they are often in their 40s. My grandfathers were 70 and 80 years older than me, and I’m the oldest child in my family. Luckily they usually live well into their 90s. We have trouble fitting in 3 generations per century.

    Which means I’m only about 180 generations from Adam :)

    Mind you, that’s partly because of unlucky timing with all the various wars in which the Britiah Empire were involved (and our World Wars last a long longer than those of you USAnians).

    Plenty of time for you 28 year olds, if that’s what you want.

  303. #305 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    sletten is usually tl;dr for me. But even when I decide to really try, all the generalizations, assertions, and well, arrogance, make it really hard for me to finish reading one of his posts. I’m grateful to those of you who take the time to read them and respond so I don’t have to. I envy your fortitude.

  304. #306 csreid
    April 29, 2010

    Have you folks seen this? A couple kids on Youtube dropping what they believe are bombshells on atheism… This was one of the videos that came up under “related videos” when I watched the Thunderf00t video posted last night.

    If your SIWOTI is up today (like mine always is), I recommend it.

  305. #307 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    @Ol Greg

    I can’t imagine what would be put on my proverbial headstone: She paid her taxes?

    How about “She had interesting online conversations with people all over the world, was an avid [insert numerous offbeat hobbies here] and contributed time, money, and ideas to Non-Believers Giving Aid (or other non-theistic groups that attempt to improve life for people and other critters).” Sounds pretty good to me and involves much less accumulation of stuff for stuff’s sake. Except for the hobby stuff, that is – books and tools are a great temptation.

    OTOH, I think “She paid her taxes” is a great epitaph and one more people should announce with pride so as to pharyngulate the teapartiers in death as well as life.

  306. #308 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Re age, marriage, and kids: My wife and I married right out of graduate school, when I was 24 and she 23, but with one thing and another, we didn’t have our daughter until 6+ years later, when I was 30 and my wife was just a month short of that milestone.

    Our spawn is now a college sophomore (and we are well positioned to fund our share of her remaining undergraduate work), which means our primary parental obligation is nearly fully discharged… not that “the ties that bind” ever disappear, of course, but she’s purt’ near fully raised now. And my Lovely Bride™ and I are still (just barely) short of 50. I’ll be eligible for early retirement in just 5 years (though not yet, by then, able to completely do without earned income; I plan to supplement my pension with a second career… perhaps a return to teaching), and given my health and the state of medical science, I have every expectation of at least as many healthy, active, enjoyable years after that point as I will have lived from grad school up to that point.

    The point of which is… even if you’re 30 (±3-3 years), it’s still not too late to “have kids early so we can enjoy life after they’re gone.” And that’s ever more true for people who are just now 30 than it was in my time.

    Ol’Greg (@303):

    Buying stuff is actually over-rated though.

    Mebbe… but having stuff can be really cool, if you pick the right stuff.

    I suppose it makes me a Bad Liberal©, but I confess I really enjoy stuff… esp. geeky, gadgety stuff. So sue me!

  307. #309 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Urrk! @308, (±3-3 years) should, obviously, have been 2-3 years).

    <sigh>

  308. #310 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    My only concern with waiting until I’m 30 to have kids is that I may have to outlive 75% of my grandparents in order to see my kids have families of their own (assuming they don’t start way earlier than I’d prefer). I seem to come from families that live fast and die young. Except my great-grandma. She was better off in her 80′s than many much younger than her. It was an errant laproscope that got her in the end.

  309. #311 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    My only issue with having kids in my 30′s is that I doubt everything I care about getting done in my life before I’m willing to settle down and have some kids and give it all up for them will probably not be accomplished in the next 5 or even 10 years.

    I kind of dread the way that you’re just supposed to drop off of the map after 30 anyway… like it’s too late to get started in anything EXCEPT maybe having kids.

    Damn it… why?

  310. #312 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    KOPD (@310):

    My only concern with waiting until I’m 30 to have kids…

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t necessarily advocating waiting: IMHO, you should have kids (if you want them) as early as you feel ready for them. I was only saying that if you’re already ~30, it’s not too late.

    That said…

    … I may have to outlive 75% of my grandparents …

    Do you consider that unlikely? Given the consistent advance in medical science and wellness awareness? I would guess that most people who are currently young adults can expect to outlive 3/4 of their grandparents.

    3 of my own grandparents lived into their 80s (the 4th, my maternal grandfather, died when he was not much older than me, of heart disease… and if I’d inherited that condition from him, I’d already know it). I have every expectation of living at least that long, and (unlike my grandparents) I expect to be hale and active well into my 80s as well… if not much longer.

    Also, is this…

    …in order to see my kids have families of their own… .

    …is this really the main motivation for having kids? If it is for you, that’s cool, of course… but in my case, having my daughter has been its own reward. I hope she has a family if and when she wants one… but I will never expect that part of her role is to “give me granchildren.”

  311. #313 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    My issue with having kids in my 30s is that…

    Umm…

    I guess I don’t. My family is pretty long-lived and youthful (really good genes) so, being 50 with a teenager won’t be a big deal.

  312. #314 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg (@311):

    I kind of dread the way that you’re just supposed to drop off of the map after 30 anyway… like it’s too late to get started in anything EXCEPT maybe having kids.

    Then just don’t buy into that bullshit! You don’t strike me as the sort of person who easily acquiesces to what you’re “just supposed to” do.

    And in any case, as I approach 50 myself, I become more and more convinced that 50 is the new 30. That’s not just “whistlin’ past the graveyard” on my part: I’m genuinely looking forward to the next 20 or 30 years of my life with eagerness and gusto.

  313. #315 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Mebbe… but having stuff can be really cool, if you pick the right stuff.

    I suppose it makes me a Bad Liberal©, but I confess I really enjoy stuff… esp. geeky, gadgety stuff.

    Yeah count me in that group but the older I get the more I really put to use to the tools I buy and they get more expensive because I expect more out of them. So I buy less stuff, but what I buy is nice and gets used. A lot.

  314. #316 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t necessarily advocating waiting: IMHO, you should have kids (if you want them) as early as you feel ready for them. I was only saying that if you’re already ~30, it’s not too late.

    I wasn’t saying that I plan to wait until I’m 30. I’m saying I just turned 30 and am about to have a kid. But to be fair, I haven’t mentioned those two things in one post before now. And I try not to bring it up very much.

    Do you consider that unlikely? Given the consistent advance in medical science and wellness awareness? I would guess that most people who are currently young adults can expect to outlive 3/4 of their grandparents.

    My paternal grandpa was hit by a train. Medical science can’t do much about that. Looking both ways would have helped, though. Two of my grandparents had very sudden, unexpected deaths in their 50s/early 60s, the other two faded away (on in their 50s, the other nearly 80). And I recently watched an uncle (who admittedly was not taking very good care of himself at all) have a rare kind of stroke and collapse at his step-father’s wake, and get rushed to the hospital where he died. I know all those things are unlikely. It’s just that my family seems to be a constant reminder that life is short and you don’t always get notified when the expiration date is up.

    is this really the main motivation for having kids?

    No, it’s just one of the awesome features. If they choose to have families, that is. If they don’t, that’s fine. I also want my grandkids to know their grandpa.

  315. #317 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    KOPD, my parents had me after 30 and I was very close to my grandparents, just FYI. My grandfathers died in my mid 20′s but both of my grandmothers are still living. My paternal grandfather was over 30 when my dad was born though, so consider that and if I had children he might have even had grandkids.

    My grandmother has dementia from complications from encephalitis, but she is still living and on a good day seems happy. My dad actually does try to take good care of her.

    My other grandmother has great grandkids and just moved into another assisted living center. She also was over 30 when my mom was born. And this is families in the past, with older technology.

    So I wouldn’t worry about that, but maybe just try to be careful around trains :(

  316. #318 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    KOPD (@316):

    I’m saying I just turned 30 and am about to have a kid.

    <EmilyLitella>Oh, well that’s very different, then. Nevermind….</EmilyLitella>

  317. #319 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Ugh… great grandkids.

    Yeah the point of my story was this:

    30? You will still likely not only see your kid grow up and possibly start a family, but also may see your grandkid/s grow up and possibly start a family.

  318. #320 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    try to be careful around trains

    Absolutely!

  319. #321 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    You will still likely not only see your kid grow up and possibly start a family, but also may see your grandkid/s grow up and possibly start a family.

    That would be pretty damned cool. I do need to lose some weight and cholesterol to help make sure that happens, though. Right now I just want to have a healthy happy kid. But I do find myself dreaming about the future now and then. I know, I know, it’ll go by fast. Don’t worry, I’m definitely a “live in the moment” kind of guy and don’t need to be reminded to enjoy them while they’re young and all that. :-)

    Well, I’m certainly talking about myself a lot here. Sheesh. Good thing it’s a subject I’m familiar with.

  320. #322 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    I guess I was more talking about the free(well, used to be anyway, still cheaper then anything in the US) university education available to her in her home country.

    nothing in Germany (or all of central Europe, for that matter) would have been far enough from my family. And now I’m just sort of stuck here.

  321. #323 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    nothing in Germany (or all of central Europe, for that matter) would have been far enough from my family. And now I’m just sort of stuck here.

    Frankly, that sounds horrible.

  322. #324 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    yeah well; my family has very forceful opinions about everything, and especially about what I should be doing with my life. So when the opportunity to GTFO offered itself, I took it.

    And I still feel like if I go back before I’ve accomplished something substantial, they’re going to crush me with their “well-meant advice”

  323. #325 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’ Greg says, “I kind of dread the way that you’re just supposed to drop off of the map after 30 anyway… like it’s too late to get started in anything EXCEPT maybe having kids.
    Damn it… why?”

    Hmm. Well, considering that in my late 20s and early 30s, I did indeed vanish from the standard career map, it was only by my mid 30s that I was back on track and only 13 years ago that I stumbled into what wound up being my career.

    After getting my PhD in physics, I was too burned out to take the usual postdoc-junior faculty-tenure route. Instead, I bummed around Asia a while, then joined the Peace Corps, and only then got married (though no kids) and really started looking for a job. My wife didn’t stumble into her career ’til she was in her mid 40s–she spent over a decade as a computer engineer before becoming an environmental scientist.

    Some of us don’t necessarily bloom late, but we bloom differently.

  324. #326 Ewan R
    April 29, 2010

    After getting my PhD in physics, I was too burned out to take the usual postdoc-junior faculty-tenure route. Instead, I bummed around Asia a while, then joined the Peace Corps, and only then got married

    I’m sure to most people that sounds a lot more like how life should be – the alternative looks a little too much like getting on the hamster wheel at the first available opportunity.

  325. #327 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    After getting my PhD in physics, I was too burned out to take the usual postdoc-junior faculty-tenure route. Instead, I bummed around Asia a while, then joined the Peace Corps

    ARIDS I think you just described my ideal life :P

    I really wish I had studied math or science though. The humanities are hard, they suck, people everywhere think you’re dumb, and basically I shouldn’t have let my own insecurities drive me into what I *thought* were appropriate things.

    But the thought of starting school over from scratch and being, what, 50 when I get out seems just as pointless :(

  326. #328 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    I’ll ditto the bafflement over the “over 30″ problem – I graduated from law school at 21, spent 6 years at a Wall Street law firm doing mergers and acquisitions, got married, entered a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, worked as a therapist for a while, had went back to law to do public interest law (which established that I didn’t want to be any kind of lawyer), and then became a homeschooling mom when we found out that our son has learning problems that make him a bad fit with available schools. As a result of homeschooling, I started doing nature education as a job and some historical reenacting as a hobby. From the reenacting, I started learning about pre-industrial revolution technologies, especially natural dyes, spinning and weaving and now teach classes about those as well. We raised a guide dog pup and I discovered that I’m a good dog trainer. My son was interested in geology and I discovered that it’s pretty interesting and have done some volunteer work with an online newsletter for professional geologists (and plan to do more when time allows). My kids will go to college in 4 or 5 years and I’ll undoubtedly have discovered other things that I’m interested in or good at. The problem would be choosing which one to focus on, not whether I’m the right age for it. Figuring out how to fit all the cool stuff into just one lifetime is a bitch. There may be some fields that one can’t enter after 30, but they tend to be ones I’m not interested in, like ballerina, professional athlete, professional musician, or military officer.

    My husband, on the other hand, has had one career since his early 20s and loves and excels at it. Sometimes I envy him the narrowness of his focus, but more often I am just grateful for the stability that it provides for my shifting interests. If I had to have just one career, it would feel like cutting off my legs and one arm just to be able to focus really well on that one limb.

  327. #329 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Thinking it through, I think the main reason I personally get hung up on my age is due to the several unsuccessful attempts to get a career going after college, resulting in going back to school as a non-traditional student to finish my BS, and then getting laid off from my first job after finishing said BS degree. I know that shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s done a number on my self esteem, which wasn’t too much before all that. I do appreciate your stories, though. They help reinforce for me the fact that I’m not that weird. :-)

  328. #330 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah, that’s the thing. It really is too late for the things I do care about.

    Too old to try to get into medicine, be a professional musician, etc.

    Most of the things I did care about, acting for instance, I gave up to pursue what I thought was important.

    And that failed.

    Not to mention there was so much crap that happened to me. I feel sort of like some one who had a bad accident some times. I still think: yeah, it’s great I did more with my life than people might have thought I could. I mean if I got hurt enough it would be amazing I could count to ten still, right.

    Yeah :(

    I have trouble reconciling that. I don’t make compromises well I guess. The truth is I don’t even know what success feels like in anything so it’s easy for me to idealize it.

  329. #331 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    David, I’m surprised at you being too lazy to Google it. :)

    Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

    LOL! Thanks — I simply didn’t think it was already widespread and/or old enough to be present elsewhere on teh intart00bz. Also, I was supposed to go… :-]

    I have a very profound question for David Marjanovi?, concerning Bubble Shooter:

    Have you been stuck in a round of the novice level long enough to begin seeing the colors dwindle significantly in number?

    You see, I don’t know whether to congratulate myself for hanging in there, or chastise myself for lacking the skill to construct a beautiful cascade of multiple colors.

    The former! When you shoot all bubbles of a color off, the color doesn’t come back. This way you get fewer and fewer colors till you’re left with one, and then you can’t help winning. I’ve made it 5 times now.

    Happy Thursday! I’m flying to Paris on Saturday! I can’t believe that. Wow.

    :-)

    6 Supposedly Ancient Traditions (That Totally Aren’t)

    Great rant!

  330. #332 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Uh oh. Mr. Irrelevant (dm*bus) is leaving comments all over my blog. I expect an onslaught here soon.

  331. #333 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    RBDC can you IP block him? I did and he hasn’t popped up on my blog since so I guess it worked.

  332. #334 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah I can, but I kind of get a warm fuzzy feeling when he tries.

    Or something like that.

  333. #335 Carlie
    April 29, 2010

    The flip side to the age and grandkids issue – having them too young can also mean you can’t enjoy your grandkids. My parents were teenagers when they had me, and they can’t spent much time visiting us, vacationing with the grandkids, etc. because they’re still too darned busy working and trying to save up for their own retirement. :)

  334. #336 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    haha!

    I was going to leave him around but he doesn’t even try to talk to me, just leaves copypasta and since my blog is pretty quiet it’s depressing so I just blocked him.

  335. #337 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah I barely post at my blog (rather that one of my blogs) any longer so when he posts it gives me an excuse to drive by and clean up.

    he never engages me.

    And he still owes me MY FINSIHED

  336. #338 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    Ugh, DM had been trolling my blog, too. I put on comment moderation and he hasn’t shown up again since.

  337. #339 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Excellent point, Carlie. The age difference between generations in my wife’s family is larger than with my family. In her family, fun family trips were a common thing (it was neat taking those VHS home videos and putting them on DVDs). So if I have grandchildren later on, I’ll be retiring about the time that they’d be forming those important childhood memories. That put a smile on my face. Thank you. :-)

  338. #340 Celtic_Evolution
    April 29, 2010

    DM leaves random droppings at my blog about weekly… I have my comments moderated at this point (since i get very few and just don’t post that often anymore)… so they just get plopped into the bit bucket.

    He’s severely mentally disturbed and in all honesty is one of the reasons I prefer not to use my real name as my internet presence. Not for me as much as my family.

  339. #341 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg (@330):

    I confess I feel awkward arguing with you about this, because I’ve copped to being old enough to be your father, and I don’t want to seem like a finger-wagging parent, but…

    Too old to try to get into medicine, be a professional musician, etc.

    Most of the things I did care about, acting for instance, I gave up to pursue what I thought was important.

    Too old? At 28? Why on Earth? It’s not even close to “too late” for any of that stuff. I’m sure there are plenty of first-year med students your age and older, and I personally know someone close to twice your age who went back to school to become a physician’s assistant. And while it might be too late to start becoming a classical instrumentalist or an opera singer, you can become any sort of popular musician at any time of life. Nevermind that I’ve heard some of your music, and you’re already good enough to be a professional musician if you turned your life in that direction.

    And what about your art, which is fantastic, and of professional quality right now?

    Acting? Spend an evening watching TV sometime soon: Unless you’re watching Gossip Girl and similar, I’m quite certain you’ll see more female characters your age and older than younger ones; they’re not being played by teenagers.

    Like I say, I hate to sound like I’m scolding… but it just makes me sad to hear you (or anyone, really) talk like all your dreams are already past and gone, even at such a young age.

  340. #342 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Haha Bill, thanks. I get pretty down because while I like my job to do anything well you have to be very tenacious and I still don’t know if *this* is something I want to be tenacious about.

  341. #343 Lynna, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Rachel Maddow shows Sarah Palin being an idiot yet again when Palin makes a statement about the “racial profiling myth” associated with the new Arizona immigration law.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#36838976

  342. #344 Dianne
    April 29, 2010

    Too old to try to get into medicine, be a professional musician, etc.

    I can’t comment on music, but medicine? 28 is too old?! The oldest person in my medical school class was in her early 50s (admittedly she was a psychologist looking for the training that would allow her to prescribe meds in her area so was in for very specific reasons, but still she graduated.) The “standard” age for admission to medical school is 22, but the range is quite large. Go for it if that’s what you want to do.

  343. #345 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    I’m sure to most people that sounds a lot more like how life should be – the alternative looks a little too much like getting on the hamster wheel at the first available opportunity.

    It’s what I’m trying to do, because once you’re tenured, a lot of problems won’t come up ever again!

    (…Of course that’s oversimplified. For instance, in the USA they can’t directly fire specifically you if you’re tenured, but they can, and sometimes do, dissolve the entire department, and then you’re unemployed. And if the rent is so high that you can’t afford a bigger apartment when you need one, you need to start looking for a job again, too. But still.)

  344. #346 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    @Lynna:

    That’s where I got this morning before it stopped loading, thanks for reminding me I have to watch the rest of the show.

  345. #347 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 29, 2010

    Rev. BDC:

    The adds I typically see are from B&H Photo Video taunting me with a few lenses I’m debating sinking way too much money into.

    I don’t see ads at all, but B&H ads would just about kill me. There are so many lenses I want…

    Mr. Fire:

    Have you been stuck in a round of the novice level long enough to begin seeing the colors dwindle significantly in number?

    It takes a long time, but eventually you’ll go to two colours. You can run the board out, top score is 140,190. You get a bonus of 140,190, giving you a score of 280,180.

    Cicely:

    It isn’t possible to have enough books.

    Yep.

  346. #348 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    so I ordered some dried fruit for the boyfriend to make granola with, but it seems the people who pack the boxes got slightly confused.

    order form: 1 bag of dried mangoes, 1 bag of dried pineapples, 1 sample bag

    actual contents of box: 1 bag of dried mangoes, 1 bag of dried apples, 1 sample bag

    *facepalm*

  347. #349 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    Hum… apples are the same as pineapples… aren’t they?

  348. #350 Dianne
    April 29, 2010

    apples are the same as pineapples… aren’t they?

    Nein, Ananas sind die gleiche Ding als Bananas.

  349. #351 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    No no, apples are the same as pineapples.

    And red pandas are exactly the same as regular pandas, only red.

  350. #352 blf
    April 29, 2010

    order form: 1 bag of dried mangoes, 1 bag of dried pineapples, 1 sample bag

    I first read that as: 1 bag of dried maggots, …

    Methinks you do not want me packing your orders.

  351. #353 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Just as a domain and a Windows Server domain are the same thing.

  352. #354 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    For instance, in the USA they can’t directly fire specifically you if you’re tenured,

    Actually they can, with a small number and very specific set of circumstances. Like propositioning your students to exchange sex for grades…

  353. #355 Kevin
    April 29, 2010

    Anyway – work over. Talk to you guys later.

  354. #356 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    top score is 140,190.

    Nope, I’ve got some in the 170s range, and other people get way higher still.

    Ironically, the higher your score, the longer it must have taken you to run the board out. You’re rewarded for almost failing for as long as possible.

    And red pandas are exactly the same as regular pandas, only red.

    Funnily enough, the red pandas are the regular ones, and the “giant pandas” are slightly odd bears instead. 1, 2.

    Actually they can, with a small number and very specific set of circumstances. Like propositioning your students to exchange sex for grades…

    Yeah, well.

    In France, the joke goes, to lose tenure, you need to kill your boss, his wife, and their children.

  355. #357 Epikt
    April 29, 2010

    Bill Dauphin, OM:

    Yeah, in that case “space balloon” is just lazy writing: High-altitude balloons are somewhat poetically referred to as near-space missions or as going to “the edge of space,” but typical high-altitude balloons go to ~100 kft or a bit higher… which is really only about 1/3 of the way to what qualifies as space by most definitions.

    A coworker had an experiment on a good-sized balloon that experienced a failure at altitude. His experimental package free-fell from 125,000 feet. Apparently it made a dent in Texas.

  356. #358 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    They have some nice special offers in 1st class too, german trains tend to get pretty crowded in 2nd.

    Typical German second class train.

    First class trains are much more comfortable.

  357. #359 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah, yeah. But you forget the salient fact: GERMANS HAVE TRAINS. What I wouldn’t give for train service here in the American midwest.

    I have a 3 hour drive to the airport. It’s miserable. Even getting on a crowded train would be preferable (and to Amtrak, a crowded train would be infinitely preferable).

  358. #360 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    JOOC, what about boats where both ends are pointy? Isn’t the ass-end of a kayak, for instance, or a dory still called the stern? Enquiring minds want to know!

    As I said previously, the pointy end of a boat is the bow. If both ends are pointy then there’s two bows. If, on the other hand, both ends are blunt, like this sailing pram, then there’s two sterns. It can get confusing at times but that’s the price one pays for exacting terminology.

    Tune in again tomorrow and you’ll learn about how to use apostrophes to turn forecastle into fo’c's’le.

  359. #361 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 29, 2010

    David:

    Nope, I’ve got some in the 170s range, and other people get way higher still.

    *sigh* I meant to say *my* highest, even though I’ve run the board 3 times.

    Ironically, the higher your score, the longer it must have taken you to run the board out. You’re rewarded for almost failing for as long as possible.

    Yes. The first one I ran out took a long time.

  360. #362 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    I have a 3 hour drive to the airport. It’s miserable. Even getting on a crowded train would be preferable (and to Amtrak, a crowded train would be infinitely preferable).

    *points and laughs*

    Minot may be the armpit of North Dakota, but it does have both an airport and Amtrak. Traveling to Minneapolis is a piece of cake: get on train, fall asleep, wake up in Minneapolis (and the same for the trip back) :-)

  361. #363 Owlmirror
    April 29, 2010

    A quick linkdump before running errands:

    For the politically inclined, large political infographics:

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/leftvright_US.html

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/leftvright_world.html

    And a fun astronomical/musical toy:

    http://www.whitevinyldesign.com/solarbeat/

  362. #364 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    GERMANS HAVE TRAINS. What I wouldn’t give for train service here in the American midwest.

    The Boswash (aka Northeast Corridor) Amtrak line is less than a mile from my house. There’s a station the next town over. I can go by train to New York in two and a half hours for $44.00. In a couple of weeks my wife will be going to North Carolina by train for $159 (discounted) round trip. There are passenger trains still running in the US.

  363. #365 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 29, 2010

    PZ:

    What I wouldn’t give for train service here in the American midwest.

    Same here. The coal trains run all the time here and I always wish the passenger train system would make a comeback.

  364. #366 blf
    April 29, 2010

    His experimental package free-fell from 125,000 feet. Apparently it made a dent in Texas.

    That;s the most useful thing about Texas I’ve evaaar heard: Safety range for high-altitude balloons.

  365. #367 MrFire
    April 29, 2010

    Ironically, the higher your score, the longer it must have taken you to run the board out. You’re rewarded for almost failing for as long as possible.

    The feeling you get when you clear a near-full screen with a few well-placed shots: soooo good.

    Meh. When I think about it actually, Tetris has had people feeling that way for decades.

    High-five to Caine, too, for being a fellow… popper?

  366. #368 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Passenger trains have pretty much gone away in the US for a very simple reason, money. It’s not profitable to run passenger trains with a very few exceptions. The Northeast Corridor makes money for Amtrak, as does the West Coast (San-San) run from San Francisco to San Diego. But a train going from West Bumfuk Morris, MN to Minneapolis is not going to make money.

  367. #369 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    A train going from Dallas to Austin would make money though. So would Dallas to Houston, Houston to Austin as well. I really think it *would* make money here.

  368. #370 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    @PZ & train commenters

    Aren’t there buses from the wherever to the airports? That still beats driving…

  369. #371 boygenius
    April 29, 2010

    All the train comments got me to thinking about hobos for some reason. Stumbled on this tidbit from the hobo’s code of ethics. ca 1889:

    13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

    Huh. Even those considered by most to be the lowest members of society had more integrity and moral fortitude than the Catholic church. Go figure.

  370. #372 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t know about other people but I will never take a bus between cities again. Within Dallas is ok, but going from here to Austin was one of the worst travel experiences of my life.

  371. #373 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    ‘Tis (@360):

    As I said previously, the pointy end of a boat is the bow. If both ends are pointy then there’s two bows. If, on the other hand, both ends are blunt, like this sailing pram, then there’s two sterns.

    That’s fascinating! All this time I thought bow and stern corresponded to fore and aft; I had no idea they related to hull shape. (And FWIW, I bet not 1 in 10 laypeople, including casual boat owners, knows that, either!)

    Is it the shape at the waterline that matters, or at the deck (e.g., what would you call the front end of a ferry that was “pointy” at the waterline but squared off a the deck for loading and unloading)?

  372. #374 MrFire
    April 29, 2010

    Minot may be the armpit of North Dakota, but it does have both an airport and Amtrak.

    So it’s a sweaty and unwashed armpit, then.

  373. #375 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 29, 2010

    Mr. Fire:

    High-five to Caine, too, for being a fellow… popper?

    That works. It’s like virtual bubble wrap.

  374. #376 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    But a train going from West Bumfuk Morris, MN to Minneapolis is not going to make money

    since when is it the point of public transportation to make money?

  375. #377 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Aren’t there buses from the wherever to the airports?

    PZ mentioned a bus once. But in my area, nope, either taxis or limos. About $70 plus tip since the taxis can’t pick up return fares…

  376. #378 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 29, 2010

    Just got back from dinner and drinks with my Catholic friend(s).

    Turns out she’s a woo-woo as well. Which I shoulda expected given her antivaxxiness. At least the dad is not in favour of letting the baby have (too many) ‘natural’ illnesses. I suggested he check out Whatstheharm, but I doubt he caught the name.

    Bugger.

    She was upset I called her an idiot.

    Does anyone know anything about flushots in Japan? She claimed they’d done them mandatorily for kids to protect the old, but – according to her – kids suffered more from the shots than they would’ve from the flu. It sounds bunk to me, but it’s not a claim I’ve come across before.

    Sorry, I buzzed and haven’t read the rest of the thread. We did have fun playing dominoes, though.

  377. #379 boygenius
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg, I concur. Bus travel sucks. I took the Greyhound from Boise to Fargo (and back). IIRC, it took 36 hours each way, stopping at every single pissant town even though at most of the stops no one got on or off the bus.

    The front half of the bus was people traveling with children *shudder*. The back half of the bus seemed to be mostly people fresh out of prison. I felt much safer at the back of the bus. Thank FSM for Xa*ax and Johnny Walker; wouldn’t have survived without them.

  378. #380 TheBlackCat
    April 29, 2010

    No no, apples are the same as pineapples.

    And red pandas are exactly the same as regular pandas, only red.

    Exactly. Lightning is the same a lightning bug as well.

  379. #381 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    The US Scouting movement bans atheists and gays? I didn’t know that.

    Now that I do this doesn’t surprise me –

    Organisation accused of cover-up as it seeks to keep thousands of ‘perversion files’ secret

  380. #382 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 29, 2010

    The feeling you get when you clear a near-full screen with a few well-placed shots: soooo good.

    Yeah. A good bounce off the edge feels oddly great as well.

    Yes. I have no life.

  381. #383 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    this bubble addiction is beginning to look worrisome… don’t make me stage an intervention

  382. #384 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 29, 2010

    MATTIR:

    Aren’t there buses from the wherever to the airports? That still beats driving…

    You haven’t been to ND, right? Bismarck didn’t have regular city buses until about 6 years ago. The only way I’m getting to the airport is driving.

    As for trains in ‘bumfuck’, I don’t think it’s an automatic bad idea. I think they would be used, at least in my part of ND. I’d love to be able to take a train to Bismarck; I know my husband would like taking a train to Dickinson where he’s working now. As it is, he lives there during the week and only comes home on the weekend.

    A majority of people don’t live close to where they work and being able to take a train would be a popular idea.

  383. #385 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    This has got to be one of the silliest things I’ve ever read – Wildlife documentaries infringe animals’ privacy, says report

  384. #386 Patricia08
    April 29, 2010

    I can?t believe I?m posting again so soon but I haven?t seen a link to this yet and I thought a few of you might enjoy it, It made me laugh. BTW if you are offended by off color language, do not click on the link (but than you are probably not reading this anyway). If you haven?t encountered Tim Minchin before you can check out more of his songs here.

  385. #387 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    Patriciao8 – You and PZ posted it at exactly the same time :)

  386. #388 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 29, 2010

    don’t make me stage an intervention

    Too late …

  387. #389 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    re my post above (#387) –
    Very strange!
    When I looked at PZ’s link to Minchin at about “7:12 PM” there were no comments and it was timed at 7:11. Now it says “6:11″ and there are lots of comments timestamped before 7:11.

    I’ve also noticed that my link in #385 is not a full link, but it’s what is in the Guardian’s address line. And it works. But when I try to post it in Facebook it stays up for a minute and then disappears.

    Help!

    (I suppose someone will tell me “It wouldn’t happen on a Mac”).

  388. #390 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    Wildlife documentaries infringe animals’ privacy, says report

    A couple years back, amid a string animal deaths due to poor care, the National Zoo in Washington, DC tried to refuse to release the results of a necropsy on a giraffe, citing the “privacy rights” of the dead giraffe. It didn’t work and attracted even more attention to the zoo’s problems.

    The US Scouting movement bans atheists and gays?

    There are several scouting organizations in the US. Girl Scouts and Spiral Scouts don’t ban gays or atheists. BSA bans gays, at least those who are out and normal. (Naturally those are the ones who are the most dangerous, not those horrid sneaky pedophile people.) BSA also bans atheists, but then bends over into weird contortions to make it impossible to be an “real atheist” (as a BSA official once told me). Despite massively different conceptions of a deity, UUs, pagans, non-Orthodox Jews and Buddhists are ok, but people who use the A-word are out. In a 1991 memo, the say the following about what god is:

    Q. Some people maintain that God is a tree, a rock or a stream. Would a person believing such be eligible to be a member of Scouting?

    A. The BSA does not seek to interpret God or religion. The Scout Oath states a requirement for a Scout to observe a duty to God, and the Scout Law requires a Scout to be reverent. Again, interpretation is the responsibility of the Scout, his parents and religious leaders.

    The no-atheists requirement only applies if you want it to. You have to believe in something and call it god, even if all you mean by that is something along the lines of “the word “god” is a metaphor to describe the feeling that people have about how awe-inspiring or scary the world is.” If you call that Fred or the Law of Gravity, you’re right out – it’s like a definition of religion invented by Monty Python.

    So I’m a Boy Scout leader (and the scourge of our local troop, entirely Christian, who think middle aged Jewish feminist pantheists are pretty horrid), but my husband, who has no time or inclination to be a scout leader, calls himself an atheist. This also gives me the chance at every opportunity to point out how stupid their policy is and that it’s insulting to our son and to his father to say that “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”

    There’s a tremendous amount of good stuff in scouting. I am cautiously optimistic that these policies will change as American society changes, which is why I put up with the bozos while also being annoyingly vocal about my disagreements. Interestingly the boys in the troop, all Christians, seem to like me a lot and are not nearly as close-minded or ignorant as their adult leaders.

  389. #391 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    @Caine –

    Actually, I have been to ND, and even out into teeny little towns in the middle of the state. I was thinking Greyhound for the Morris to Minneapolis trip in lieu of the 3-hour drive.

  390. #392 DominEditrix
    April 29, 2010

    actual contents of box: 1 bag of dried mangoes, 1 bag of dried apples, 1 sample bag

    Eh, just put some pine cones into the granola, same difference…

    My last grocery delivery demonstrated that, once again, checking the option “No substitutions” is equivalent to appending a note reading “Go wild, use your imagination, if it starts with an “A”, it must be an artichoke”.

  391. #393 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 29, 2010

    MATTIR:

    I was thinking Greyhound

    Greyhound? Ugh. No. You couldn’t pay me to ‘go greyhound’. Once was enough for a lifetime.

  392. #394 Patricia08
    April 29, 2010

    Ring Tailed Lemurian said.
    Patriciao8 – You and PZ posted it at exactly the same time :)

    Bet it took me a lot longer to compose the link, which means I started first.

  393. #395 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Bill Dauphin #373

    Is it the shape at the waterline that matters, or at the deck (e.g., what would you call the front end of a ferry that was “pointy” at the waterline but squared off a the deck for loading and unloading)?

    Just for curiosity’s sake, Bill, would you be interested in some ocean-front property in Manitoba? Would you like to sit in a cabana in February, sipping a pina colada and watching the bikini-clad sunbathers soaking up the rays in Winnipeg? Just let me know and I’m sure I can line something up for you.

  394. #396 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    Patriciao8 – see my #387
    Presumably you couldn’t see PZ’s post from an hour earlier when you entered the site. According to the timestamps it would have been top of the page then. All very odd. Maybe PZ has a time machine.

  395. #397 Patricia08
    April 29, 2010

    Ring Tailed Lemurian said

    Patriciao8 – see my #387
    Presumably you couldn’t see PZ’s post from an hour earlier when you entered the site.

    Or I had just caught up on this thread and hadn’t checked the home page for awhile. No that can’t be it, I check it religiously.

    And then

    Maybe PZ has a time machine.

    Can I go for a ride? Please, please?

    (I’ll work on block quotes next)

    Patricia

  396. #398 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Patricia08 #386

    It certainly is a catchy tune. It’ll never replace the Narwhal Song but it’s definitely an earworm.

  397. #399 Kel, OM
    April 29, 2010

    A question regarding pretty birds…

    As you all know, I’m Australian. And one thing Australia has is a lot of vibrant and beautiful birds. I can understand how sexual selection can lead to, say, males evolving elaborate traits and behaviours in order to win females. Where I’m having trouble in my understanding is where there is little or no (discernable) sexual dimorphism and both members of the species are incredibly vibrant. For example: rainbow lorikeets, eastern rosellas, king parrots.

    In terms of trying to fit these birds into my understanding of evolution, I see one potential explanation: While females may select males who are more elaborate, the phenotypic expressions of those genes expresses itself in both species in a similar manner.

    Anyone know anything about this?

  398. #400 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 29, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself One of my uncles was a whaler :( in the 1930′s and had a collection of narwhal tusks :( (and swordfish bills).
    When I saw them as a child I thought the narwhal tusks were the most fabulous objects I’d ever seen.

  399. #401 Epikt
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg:

    I don’t know about other people but I will never take a bus between cities again. Within Dallas is ok, but going from here to Austin was one of the worst travel experiences of my life.

    For awhile I had to travel back and forth to DC on my own dime. Sometimes I could get cheap flights on Southwest, but otherwise I took the bus. The only return trip left DC at about 10 pm, with a stop in Pittsburgh. The people who frequent the Pittsburgh bus station at 3 am are, shall we say, interesting.

  400. #402 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    Daughter was just complaining to dad about stupid people after reading scienceblogs, and he was explaining that often “there’s no evolutionary pressure against being stupid in our society.” To which 14 year old announced “You know, we could change that…” I know that it’s not a particularly accurate conception of evolutionary time, etc., but I think she’s going to skip this whole “tone” stage of life and go straight to forceful advocacy.

  401. #403 cicely
    April 29, 2010

    [...] be a professional musician[...]

    Au aontraire. My brother, at about 45, took up bagpiping. It now provides him a useful second income, and a guy with a professional recording set-up is trying to talk him into doing a CD.

  402. #404 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    I take back the comment about it being hard to become a professional musician when you start playing as an adult. I was thinking about Joshua Bell and the people I know who want to play in symphony orchestras. Other types of music are different.

    I wonder if I could become a professional curler (curling team member? what’s the right term?) starting at 45. That would make the professional athlete age argument wrong as well.

  403. #405 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    nothing in Germany (or all of central Europe, for that matter) would have been far enough from my family. And now I’m just sort of stuck here.

    *waves from Australia*

    (I seem to have gone through pretty much exactly the same thought process, if for different reasons)

    since I’m 28 now I figure kids just won’t be a part of the picture for me

    I hear that a lot, and at my workplace lots of nurses get themselves pregnant before 25.I dont understand it tho, it just ruins your plans for travelling, living etc.,and often the guy a woman is with at 23 is not necessarily one she wants to be with at 33 or 43….
    I was 39, ex 36 when we had ours, and I still thought I wasn’t ready for it !

  404. #406 cicely
    April 29, 2010

    And always, always, always use Preview. *sigh*

    Bubble Shooter is indeed a fine time-waster. Even though it cheats.

  405. #407 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    ‘Tis (@395):

    Well, damn!! Was that really nice?

    <sigh> I’m usually not quite that credulous… but you’ve established yourself around here as the Master of All Things Nautical™, and I’ve generally come to expect esoteric and counterintuitive information from this crowd.

    So you got me. But rest assured, fellow Nutmegger: When we finally get together for beers, my first one is going to be poured down your pants! ;^)

  406. #408 WowbaggerOM
    April 29, 2010

    Okay, going to throw this out there: I want to buy a cheap netbook and run some kind of Linux (probably Ubuntu, since that sounds vaguely familiar and there appears to be lots of help guides on the ‘net) on it.

    Is this a good idea? Pros, cons, thoughts, offers to help if I screw it up royally?

  407. #409 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    I’m just now learning guitar at 30. No intention of taking it to the professional level, and since I do have prior experience with music (played trumpet for 7 years and sang second tenor in the pop choir), it’s not like I’m setting a difficult standard for myself – just changing instruments. Mostly I want to play guitar because I enjoy singing. Sounds weird to just sit around singing, but if you’ve got a guitar for accompaniment then you’re okay. But I certainly don’t think I’ll ever play this or this. Oh, how about one more just cuz I love his songs so much (and that is probably my dream guitar in that vid).

  408. #410 Kel, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Is this a good idea?

    These days, yes. It’s fine. Unless you have some windows-only apps you want to run, there’s going to be little problem with doing this. Only yesterday one of my workmates was showing me his netbook running the latest version of Ubuntu Netbook Edition – it’s really impressive. Worked fine with a 3G dongle too.

  409. #411 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    I want to buy a cheap netbook and run some kind of Linux (probably Ubuntu, since that sounds vaguely familiar and there appears to be lots of help guides on the ‘net) on it.

    Get one that has a Linux flavor preinstalled if you can, would be my tip.Saves you having to set up a dual-boot, and if it’s very new hardware, the odd driver issue, esp. with wireless or TV tuner cards.

    I find dual-boot on a laptop/netbook useful, Linux for anything internet-related, and Win if I want to play simple games or something, and also need Win because I can’t get Ubuntu to play with the wireless Vodafone dongle I use( I admit I haven’t looked into it at all, maybe there is a way).

  410. #412 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    Worked fine with a 3G dongle too.

    Argh !!

  411. #413 Katrina
    April 29, 2010

    KOPD, thanks for those links. My son is just getting started with guitar and I’m always looking for good stuff to show him.

  412. #414 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    ‘Tis, the Spring issue of American Heritage Invention and Technology has an article on the sailboat Oracle, and some of the engineering details that went into it.

  413. #415 WowbaggerOM
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t think I use any windows-only apps – what’s an example?

    Really, all I need the netbook to have are things that access the internet, run my tweetdeck and some kind of word processor.

  414. #416 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Katrina,
    Do a search on that guy. He has some really great stuff out there.

  415. #417 Kel, OM
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t think I use any windows-only apps – what’s an example?

    Games. Most chat programs.

    Really, all I need the netbook to have are things that access the internet, run my tweetdeck and some kind of word processor.

    Then you should be more than okay.

  416. #418 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 29, 2010

    Hello Thread!

    I have to hand it to all of you dog owners – it’s some bit of work. I’ve been dog-sitting my friends’ lil pals for four days and don’t need an alarm clock (grrr) because they insist on getting me up. Early. Of course, they can’t use the litter box like kitties, so I don’t blame them. But lord, they’ve got me walking them around four, five times a day!.

    And what a strange world of smell they live in. . . these creatures have to find a spot that’s good enough to poop on.

    Cute little buggers and good company (the cats don’t think so), but definitely more work than my lazy self is ready for full time.

  417. #419 WowbaggerOM
    April 29, 2010

    Kel wrote:

    Then you should be more than okay.

    Cool. Really, the main reason for getting it is to have something portable to take with me on holidays and when I’m away from home for any length of time (i.e. sitting around backstage during theatre productions), and during something like the Fringe so I can write my reviews straight away rather than having to wait until I get home.

  418. #420 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Early. Of course, they can’t use the litter box like kitties, so I don’t blame them. But lord, they’ve got me walking them around four, five times a day!.

    When I built the house Mrs. BigDumbChimp and I currently reside in, we build a doggie door to the back porch which goes to our fenced in back yard.

    best. thing. ever.

  419. #421 Katrina
    April 29, 2010

    KOPD, I’ve been listening to him ever since you posted. That harp-guitar is an amazing thing.

  420. #422 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    White privilege in America:
    What if the Tea Party were black?

  421. #423 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    The people who frequent the Pittsburgh bus station at 3 am are, shall we say, interesting.

    I take or took city the city bus and trains all the time, and lived in one of the more “dangerous” parts of Dallas for several years. I live south of the Trinity now, which is often used as a line of demarcation although I live far enough west to render that irrelevant.

    I don’t mind *interesting* people at all. But when on the Greyhound bus I was going from Denton to Austin. It took me from 5am until late that evening after dark. While I was on the bus two bad things happened. One:

    A man, very thin and slight, white, and with wire framed glasses sat next to me. He sat down abruptly and seemed agitated. He took his glasses off and took out a set of tiny screwdrivers and made imperceptible changes to the screws at the corners. He put his glasses back on and then told me that he worked for the bus company and that the driver had reason to believe I did not have a valid ticket. He then told me he needed to see my ticket. My address and contact info was on that ticket! Not to mention my destination!! I have no doubt that he was hoping to get that information in order to hurt me. I’m sorry if I’m profiling here but white guy who looks like he doesn’t need to ride a bus wants not to talk to me but to see where I might be alone and vulnerable = serial killer or rapist looking for poor girls no one will miss in my mind.

    I told him the bus driver could come and tell me his damned self. He got up, very nervous and looking afraid of me, and left. Another girl, black girl as it happens about my age sat down next to me soon after and said “did he try to get your ticket?” and I told her he had. She said he had done the same thing to her and she was afraid so I said when we get to the next stop we should inform.

    On that very same trip when I returned I found my roommate angry and upset. It seems the whole time she had been getting irate phone calls from a man who demanded to know why she was lying and keeping “us” apart. I traced the phone number and it turns out that it was from the place where you buy the tickets. The motherfucker who I had to give my damned phone number to in order to buy a ticket was some kind of freaky stalker who had thought he had a right to call me and then got pissed with my roommate for “hiding” me.

    Horrible.

    I have stumbled drunk and semi-suicidal down the alleys south of fair park and felt less in mortal danger.

  422. #424 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    To which 14 year old announced “You know, we could change that…” I know that it’s not a particularly accurate conception of evolutionary time, etc., but I think she’s going to skip this whole “tone” stage of life and go straight to forceful advocacy.

    I like your spawn.

  423. #425 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Games.

    Steam is about to become available for Mac, and I think Linux as well. And where there’s steam, there’s unlimited gaming :-)

  424. #426 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Is this a good idea? Pros, cons, thoughts, offers to help if I screw it up royally?

    if you need a linux for a netbook, I’d suggest EEEbuntu. It’s specifically designed for the little fuckers :-)

  425. #427 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    more specifically, for the Asus EEEpc, and apparently also with the Acer Aspire One

  426. #428 Rorschach
    April 30, 2010

    Hm, to answer my own comment above, if some Vodafone wireless dongle doesnt work out of the box in Linux, here is the holy grail.

  427. #429 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 30, 2010

    Josh:

    I’ve been dog-sitting my friends’ lil pals for four days and don’t need an alarm clock (grrr) because they insist on getting me up.

    Ugh. Mine wouldn’t even dare to think of getting me up. They wait until I’m up. No accidents, either. I’d love to do the fenced yard/dog door thing, like Rev. BDC, but that’s not so simple with the smartass cats. Elvis always tries to artful dodge with the dogs as it is; if there was a dog door…

  428. #430 Rorschach
    April 30, 2010

    Got a question too, if I buy a prepaid SIM in Europe, will that work at all in my locked-to-local-Telco phone ?

  429. #431 WowbaggerOM
    April 30, 2010

    Jadehawk wrote:

    more specifically, for the Asus EEEpc, and apparently also with the Acer Aspire One

    The one I’m looking at is an Acer Aspire One – so it sounds like EEEbuntu might be the way to go.

    I may get one tomorrow, assuming the place that’s selling them as cheaply as they’re advertised actually has any at the store; it seems standard, at least in Australia, to heavily advertise products you don’t seem to keep more than one or two of in stock.

  430. #432 Pygmy Loris
    April 30, 2010

    negentropyeater and Tis Himself,

    Thanks for the perspective. Krugman is the only economist I read regularly, and I wanted an informed second opinion. :)

    Another day of over-time at the Census, so I have barely read any of the Thread. I’ll probably be caught up by next week if I actually get a weekend…

  431. #433 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    White privilege in America:
    What if the Tea Party were black?

    isn’t that pretty much what the Black Panthers did in 1967 to the California State Assembly?

  432. #434 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    After being up until 2.30am studying, and having about five hours’ sleep, I now have two back-to-back classes today. (Yay for being a finalist.) So I won’t be appearing around these parts much.

    And in a class yesterday, a tutor (who was talking about the intersection between human rights law and tort claims against public authorities, by way of background) just happened to mention, more than somewhat disapprovingly, the Conservatives’ manifesto commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act. (I think her words were something like “If Cameron gets in, we lose the Human Rights Act. So there might be no human rights law by the time you sit your exams.”) Sometimes it feels like the whole world is trying to guilt-trip me into not voting Tory. :-(

  433. #435 Owlmirror
    April 30, 2010

    Feynmaniac @ #273 — I wrote my own damn essay in response.

    SIWOTI … !!

    Since I’ve recently finished with that Aristotlean-Thomist apologist I’m starting to think that there are really only two or three arguments for God out there; they just get reshuffled and reworded:

    1) First causal (First three of Aquinas’ arguments)
    2) Design inference/presupposition (Aquinas’ fifth way)

    And, far more rarely outside of advanced theological logic-choppers:

    3) Ontological (Aquinas’ fourth way)

    Anyway, Nathan keeps harping on different versions of (1) and (2), without necessarily invoking Aquinas (which is a relief). Can he understand the errors he’s making? I’m willing to find out.

  434. #436 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    Got a question too, if I buy a prepaid SIM in Europe, will that work at all in my locked-to-local-Telco phone ?

    Nope, I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure you’ll need to unlock the phone first.

  435. #437 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 30, 2010

    Owlmirror,

    Yeah, read it. It was a good response.

    As for arguments for God, 1) and 2) are definitely popular ones for apologists. There’s also the transcendental argument (used by facilis), but I haven’t seen it used much. Oh, and there’s also argument from beauty, morality, etc. but those aren’t even worth debating over.

    Obligatory link: 666 Proofs of God’s Existence

    I like 624, which O’Reilly actually used in his interview with Dawkins.

  436. #438 Rorschach
    April 30, 2010

    Nope, I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure you’ll need to unlock the phone first.

    I had a feeling that might be the case.
    The horror !! I might have to make an emergency IPhone purchase on arrival !!
    :D

  437. #439 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    Ack! I’ve woken up in the middle of the night here and was doing some last minute packing… and I glanced in the mirror…

    and my eye is all bloody. Gross! WTF?

  438. #440 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    For the politically inclined, large political infographics:

    All that differs is that the colors are inversed…

    And a fun astronomical/musical toy:

    Music of the spheres :-) :-) :-)

    this bubble addiction is beginning to look worrisome… don’t make me stage an intervention

    tease

    Where I’m having trouble in my understanding is where there is little or no (discernable) sexual dimorphism and both members of the species are incredibly vibrant.

    That you can’t see a difference doesn’t mean there isn’t any. At least sometimes, one sex has a bright ultraviolet patch somewhere and the other doesn’t.

    The horror !! I might have to make an emergency IPhone purchase on arrival !!
    :D

    LOL!

    and my eye is all bloody. Gross! WTF?

    Are you actually bleeding, or have the blood vessels merely enlarged so the white of your eyes is now mostly red? The latter would, AFAIK, hint at lack of sleep, pollen allergies, or the like.

  439. #441 Kel, OM
    April 30, 2010

    That you can’t see a difference doesn’t mean there isn’t any. At least sometimes, one sex has a bright ultraviolet patch somewhere and the other doesn’t.

    Okay, but that still doesn’t answer the problem I’m having. Why would both members of the species be like that as contrasted with the birds of paradise where the females are so drab in comparison?

  440. #442 Kel, OM
    April 30, 2010

    In the king parrot, the male has an red head that matches with the body while the female has a green head that matches with the wing colour. Another example is the gang gang cockatoo male has a redish head while the female is completely grey. So there is some visible dimorphism present at least in those species.

  441. #443 Rorschach
    April 30, 2010

    and my eye is all bloody. Gross! WTF?

    Likely just a spontaneous conjunctival hemorrhage.It’ll get better.

  442. #444 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    Why would both members of the species be like that as contrasted with the birds of paradise where the females are so drab in comparison?

    Species recognition is another textbook explanation: it is not good when the females of different species are indistinguishable.

    And, of course, I don’t see why sexual selection couldn’t go both ways; it appears to do so in humans, to put it mildly…

  443. #445 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 30, 2010

    aphids can make their own essential nutrients called carotenoids

    Moran and her co-author Tyler Jarvik also figured out how the aphids they studied, known as pea aphids, acquired the ability to make carotenoids.
    “What happened is a fungal gene got into an aphid and was copied,” Moran said. She added that, although gene transfers between microorganisms are common, finding a functional fungus gene as part of an animal’s DNA is a first.

  444. #446 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    Thank science it’s Friday. I think my sister and her friends are coming down tomorrow. I hope it’s a real nice day out so we can go walk through the Mall, will be fun, I think.

  445. #447 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    I’ve never played Bubble Shooter, but is the basic idea like Peggle? Fairly simplistic shoot and eliminate objects, with absurdly overdone pretty graphics that make you feel terrific for having succeeded even though you know it’s manipulating you into playing more? (I mean, you win Peggle boards and you get a unicorn and a rainbow. Who doesn’t like unicorns and rainbows???? :) )

  446. #448 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Likely just a spontaneous conjunctival hemorrhage.It’ll get better.

    That…doesn’t sound…good. Eww?

    Ol’Greg, do you have insurance? I’d be taking that to the doctor if there’s actual blood involved, or at least doing a call in to see if it’s something that needs seen. Although since you said you woke up quickly and noticed it, might be as simple as a bug bite near your eye once you were able to check it out more closely?

  447. #449 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 30, 2010

    Who doesn’t like unicorns and rainbows????

    Unicorns AND Rainbows?

    Yahweh, that’s who. He killed off uniorns with the Flood and created rainbows instead.

  448. #450 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    acquired the ability to make carotenoids.

    WTF!

    “What happened is a fungal gene got into an aphid and was copied,”

    Solid awesome.

    I’ve never played Bubble Shooter, but is the basic idea like Peggle? Fairly simplistic shoot and eliminate objects, with absurdly overdone pretty graphics that make you feel terrific for having succeeded even though you know it’s manipulating you into playing more?

    I don’t know Peggle. The graphics are very simple; there are bubbles, at which you shoot more bubbles; if 3 or more come together that way, they burst; and there’s gravity, so everything that hangs in the air after the bubbles around it have burst bursts, too. (Other versions have such stuff actually falling down; that looks much better.) The side walls are reflective. In unpredictable intervals, after shots that haven’t burst any bubbles, varying numbers of rows of bubbles are added at the top (like in Tetris); when the lowest row of bubbles sinks below the lower end of the window, you lose. In this version, this can cause strange rearrangements in other rows, so sometimes bubbles burst when you don’t do anything.

    In other words, just try.

  449. #451 SteveV
    April 30, 2010

    today(2^6*365.25)-1 therefore Cakes

    I’m afraid they’re only virtual cakes though.

  450. #452 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Peggle. It’s visual crack. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (brought to you by the same people who made Plants v. Zombies)

    For oddly addictive although kind of simple, Chocolatier is also a good one.

  451. #453 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 30, 2010
  452. #454 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    I really like puzzle inlay, but I’ve never seen it anywhere besides yahoo games.

  453. #455 Matt Penfold
    April 30, 2010

    I’ve been dog-sitting my friends’ lil pals for four days and don’t need an alarm clock (grrr) because they insist on getting me up.

    They are just trying it on with you. Dogs, and cats, are like that. They know when someone is not entirely familiar with their routine and will take advantage.

  454. #456 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 30, 2010

    Ol’ Greg,
    Is there any pain associated with it? Are your eyes just red, or is there actual bleeding internal to the eye?

    I’ve had a very odd condition of an arthritic reaction in the connective tissue of the eye–gives you a red eye, light sensitivity and a pain like a nail being driven into the eye socket. (All part of the wonderful aftermath of my immune system going crazy after having Lyme’s disease.) This condition is called Uveitis. Could also be conjunctivitis–which, while a pain in the ass, is less painful and clears up with antibiotics.

    Probably a good idea to get it checked. Take care of yourself.

  455. #457 Ewan R
    April 30, 2010

    Ol’Greg – definitely get it checked, in all likelihood an opthalmologist will send you off with some antibiotic drops – which in most cases will probably work.

    Not worth waiting it out to see if it goes away – I’ve done that a couple of times with things that seemed relatively minor. After ending up in hospital for a week the first time (and then a slave to big pharma for the rest of my life until modern medicine gets more awesome), and unable to eat solids or speak for 3 days the second time(because sometimes things come back where you really wouldn’t expect em), I’m all about pestering doctors as soon as anything untoward shows up – and when it comes to eyes it categorically isn’t worth the 1/100 risk (or whatever) that something serious is going on.

  456. #458 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    Re: Bubble Shooter – Ohhh, so it’s Bust-a-Move. I hate Bust-a-Move.

    Re: PvZ – I have Plants vs. Zombies on my iPod. It is ridiculously addictive, and it is ridiculously awesome.

  457. #459 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    One of our techs is going to a client whose server has been giving me grief all week and I asked him to take care of something on that for me – totally forgetting I can log in and do that from here.
    <headdesk />

  458. #460 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010

    Where I’m having trouble in my understanding is where there is little or no (discernable) sexual dimorphism and both members of the species are incredibly vibrant. For example: rainbow lorikeets, eastern rosellas, king parrots. – Kel, OM

    My guesss is that this is an illustration of the “handicap principle”, which may also, at least partly, account for the male gaudiness in many species that you mention. Bright colours, loud calls, ritual behaviours, are all expensive in terms of energy expenditure and predation risk, and confer no advantage in food-gathering etc. However, displaying them says: “I’m so hard I can waste energy and take risks!”, hence attracting both sexual and social partners. They are “honest signals of quality”. In non-polygynous species, there will be mate choice by males as well as females (have you ever noticed that some women are better-looking than others?); but in highly social species, which I would guess these to be, physical “attractiveness” will also confer high status and encourage others to cooperate in non-sexual contexts.

  459. #461 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010
  460. #462 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    Jadehawk @433

    Damned good point. I hadn’t made that connection, and I should have since I attended a presentation by Bobby Seale back in ’99 explaining the birth of the Black Panther Party. I’d be willing to bet, however, that most Teabaggers don’t view the Black Panthers as patriots and heroes.

  461. #463 Ewan R
    April 30, 2010

    Thanks Knockgoats…. apologies to anyone else for what follows

    The link first covers Schmeisser – who apparently is the poster child for the anti-GM movement, although it baffles me as to why, because the facts of the case are openly available to anyone in form of the court documents where the story that plays out is somewhat different to the story that Schmeisser puts out there.

    Schmeisser claims GM seed got on his property accidentally and he is being punished for this.

    Partially true.

    GM seed got on his property accidentally, I have no good reason to doubt that.

    However, after noticing that some canola around the borders of his field were roundup resistant schmeisser proceeded to spray ~3 acres of his crop with roundup, harvested and saved seed from plants which survived – seperately from the rest of his seed – and subsequently planted this seed on 1,000 acres of land.

    This is where accidental presence completely falls apart. Schmeisser was not in the wrong until he selected for the gene, saved the seed containing the gene, and then planted over a vast tract of land. This was clearly a deliberate act.

    Of the other cases mentioned sadly I can’t find anything around them (and anything I did find out internally I wouldn’t be allowed to share anyway – which is a pretty crappy state of affairs) suffice to say that the contention that Roush couldn’t go back to conventional is pretty silly (Roush still rants about Monsanto, but after settling out of court still purchases Monsanto seed – odd that he wouldn’t at least use pioneer or syngenta with monsanto traits – although perhaps not, shwos he is at least an astute businessman) and that as far as I can see all that has been done concerning Runyon farms is that they’re on a list of farmers who are ineligible to purchase the technology – which seems a touch heavyhanded although given that the Runyon’s don’t use GM tech also somewhat meaningless.

  462. #464 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    Peggle.

    Huh? I need to download it first? And it wants to install an add-on? Nah. I’m too lazy for that. Procrastination shouldn’t turn into work :-ž

    Chocolatier

    A download of 21.9 MB? No, thanks.

    Also, I’m eating chocolate right now ^_^

    (Household chocolate with “at least” 40 % cocoa. Nigh unsurpassable if rasped with my incisors.)

    Plants v Zombies is loading.

  463. #465 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @David Marjanovic:

    Prepare to be thoroughly addicted to the most awesome game ever invented (oh and a word of caution – two rows of sunflowers)

  464. #466 cicely
    April 30, 2010

    “I’m so hard I can waste energy and take risks!”, hence attracting both sexual and social partners.

    Which exhibits in humans as behaviour: “Hold my beer and watch this!”, followed by the male doing something incredibly-fucking-dumb. Perhaps the not obviously dimorphic birds also “dimorph” behaviourally?

  465. #467 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @cicely:

    Or in my case ‘Look, look! I captured 300 Pokemon!’

  466. #468 MrFire
    April 30, 2010

    In unpredictable intervals, after shots that haven’t burst any bubbles, varying numbers of rows of bubbles are added at the top

    No – the silver balls near your launcher show you how many chances you have left, before the bubbles advance. If a given shot doesn’t pop any bubbles, you lose one of those silver balls. And within that, each ‘set’ of chances cycles down, so you first get X chances, then X-1, then X-2, etc (kind of like the Predator’s self-destruct device :D). When you get down to 0, the cycle resets back to X chances. And I think the number of ‘penalty’ rows you receive when you exhaust a ‘set’ of shots is related to the number of colors you still have left: when you have only 2 colors, each penalty seems to advance halfway down the screen.

    However, I still haven’t rationalized why it scrambles the rows when you advance, and which ones pop automatically. Except a treatise on this soon, though.

  467. #469 cicely
    April 30, 2010

    It’s the variable gravitational pull of the bubbles that irritates me.

  468. #470 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    David – Chocolatier I did the old-fashioned way, buying a big cardboard box at the store with a disc in it to install. Old school ftw! :p
    It is some serious fun, though. It’s world travel, strategy, a bit of steampunk, and chocolate-making games where you get to shoot ingredients at a wheel. And there are dirigibles.

    Kevin – do you have the Pokewalker yet? Because that is the most awesome fusion of gaming and exercise ever.

  469. #471 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    you first get X chances, then X-1, then X-2, etc (kind of like the Predator’s self-destruct device :D)

    My self-destruct device will explode when the timer is at 1:17, when the hero is just putting his plan into operation.

  470. #472 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    However, displaying them says: “I’m so hard I can waste energy and take risks!”, hence attracting both sexual and social partners.

    This explains a lot about human relationships, too. :-(

  471. #473 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Carlie:

    Yes, yes I do. It’s actually awesome for me because I have to walk four blocks from the Metro to where I work.

  472. #474 Lynna, OM
    April 30, 2010

    I play Scramble on Facebook. My highest score is 395. Any challengers?

  473. #475 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 30, 2010

    However, I still haven’t rationalized why it scrambles the rows when you advance, and which ones pop automatically. Except a treatise on this soon, though.

    ::waits impatiently::

  474. #476 Lynna, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Apologies if someone already posted this: Strange fish species, found off the coast of Greenland. Nice photos with the story.

  475. #477 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010

    Walton@472,

    It’s not all bad news! The handicap principle is also one explanation for the evolution of non-kin, non-reciprocal altruism.

  476. #478 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010

    However, after noticing that some canola around the borders of his field were roundup resistant schmeisser proceeded to spray ~3 acres of his crop with roundup, harvested and saved seed from plants which survived – seperately from the rest of his seed – and subsequently planted this seed on 1,000 acres of land. -Ewan R.

    Morally, rather than legally, why shouldn’t he? He could not have been sued for doing the same with plants from a neighbour’s crop without the patent, and if plants grow on your land, why should you not do as you wish with them?

    You ignore the main point of the article in any case – the way Monsanto systematically spies on farmers, encourages them to inform on neighbours, etc. In one of your earlier posts you made the point that most of those sued settle out of court because of the costs of mounting a defence – so it is quite plausible that people who are not actually at fault pay up. You work for a corrupt, murderous (w.r.t. their pollution-dumping of PCBs, heavy metals etc.), lying, spying bully, and you seem quite happy with that.

  477. #479 Lynna, OM
    April 30, 2010

    The Washington Post covers the story of cartoonists standing up for freedom of speech.

    Seventeen Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonists, including “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau and 2010 winner Mark Fiore, have signed a petition to condemn the “threat” against Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of the Comedy Central show “South Park.”
         As released to Comic Riffs, the letter of condemnation says: “We, the undersigned, condemn the recent threats against the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, by the extremist organization, Muslim Revolution.”
         The Islamic group in question has also been called Revolution Muslim and produced the recently cached website RevolutionMuslim.com — on which images of the fatally stabbed filmmaker Theo Van Gogh (a noted critic of Islam) appeared with the caption: “Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?” (Comic Riffs reported this last week.)
         The 17 Pulitzer cartoonists who signed the letter are: Nick Anderson, Tony Auth, Clay Bennett, Steve Benson, Matt Davies, Mark Fiore, Jack Higgins, David Horsey, Jim Morin, Mike Peters, Joel Pett, Michael Ramirez, Ben Sargent, Paul Szep, Ann Telnaes, Garry Trudeau and Signe Wilkinson.
         Their letter goes on to say that “freedom of expression is a universal right” and “we reject any group that seeks to silence people by violence or intimidation.” The letter cites the United States’s “proud tradition of political satire”…

  478. #480 Lynna, OM
    April 30, 2010

    I wonder if this report covers the despicable treatment of Native Americans by mormons. The mormon mistreatment of Indians continued into the 1990s, with white mormon families taking Native American children, supposedly as an act of charity … charity that came with indoctrination into mormonism.

    …A groundbreaking report examining the roots of Christian domination over indigenous peoples and their lands was released this week at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues….
         Frichner said human rights violations faced by indigenous peoples can all be traced to the Doctrine of Discovery and its interpretive framework which has been used for five centuries to take Native lands.
         It has also been cited in U.S. Supreme Court land claims cases decided against Indian nations, including the 1955 ruling Tee Hit Ton Indians v. United States, and the 2005 decision in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York.
         The Doctrine of Discovery was among Vatican mandates dating back to the 15th century, called papal bulls, that declared Christian monarchs had the right to claim superior title over land and territories that they ?discovered.?…
         The Vatican?s Doctrine of Discovery was based on the premise that all non-Christian land belonged to no one because no Christians were living there and no Christian monarch or lord had yet claimed dominion. Once Christian monarchies like Spain or France claimed the right of dominion, that claim was transferred to political successors over centuries….

    Link: http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/home/content/92454329.html

  479. #481 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Lynna, OM:

    Good! And I hope more join in. We can’t be intimidated by idiocy and by the fringe. I like what Stone and Parker said – paraphrased “it’s messed up to think, oh, we can’t make fun of them because they’ll hurt us.”

  480. #482 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Carlie:

    And there are dirigibles.

    Well, hell; why didn’t you say that in the first place? ;^)

    Lynna:

    My wife went through a period of playing FB Scramble obsessively, but she’s drifted away from it, I think. I dunno what her high score was. I never played it much myself, aside from occasionally looking over her shoulder and helping her.

    Whyncha’ friend me? I’ve finally woken up to the Lists function, and I’m slowly building a list of Phellow Pharyngulans.

  481. #483 MrFire
    April 30, 2010

    ::waits impatiently::

    Sorry, Sili. I’m watching heddle dance his little dance right now.

    Perhaps in the meantime, you could commiserate with me on the death of my sourdough starter :(
    (neglecting it for 2 months will tend to do that).

  482. #484 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    Hey all. In light of the fact I’ll be out of the country as of tomorrow I figured it would be best just to go to a dr in case there might be infection.

    Nope.

    Just blood. Guess I scratched my eye somehow? Maybe in my sleep…

    Anyway, thanks for your concern. Luckily it’s not that hideous since most of the blood is hidden by my eyelid.

  483. #485 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Ol’Greg

    Ew.

    But have fun!

  484. #486 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    It may be too far before the fact to mention this, but… I’ll be in the Washington, DC, area (Alexandria, VA, to be precise) for some training during the second full week in June (i.e., I’ll be arriving sometime Sunday, 6 June, and leaving either the following Friday evening or Saturday morning, depending on flight availability). I’ll be busy with my training during the days, but I’ll have my evenings free, and would love to meet up with any Pharyngulans who might be in the area for dinner, drinks, conversation, whatever (Nats game?). I probably won’t rent a car, so the range of my peregrinations will be pretty much limited to the places I can reasonably get to on the Metro (sorry, Baltimore).

    Let me know if you’ll be around then and feel like getting together. You can find me on Facebook under the same name as here, or e-mail me: william DOT dauphin AT comcast DOT net.

  485. #487 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Bill Dauphin:

    I live in the DC area. Would be neat to meet with some of you crazy Pharyngulites.

  486. #488 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    Homer Simpson rummages through souvenir cupboard unopened for 30 years. “Ah, a letter from my old pen pal! Someday I’ll reply, Osama.”

    Prepare to be thoroughly addicted to the most awesome game ever invented (oh and a word of caution – two rows of sunflowers)

    I planted 2 rows of sunflowers from the start, and later 2 rows of sun mushrooms :-)

    A very exhausting game!!!

    Is there anything that works against the American Football zombies? The cherry bomb doesn’t seem to harm them. They can be shot in the long run, and frozen, but the stink mushrooms don’t seem to bother them…

    The wallnuts are ingenious X-D

    Is, uh, will the free version be worth downloading after my thesis will be submitted?

    No – the silver balls near your launcher show you how many chances you have left, before the bubbles advance.

    Silver balls? I must look for them next time. :-]

    However, I still haven’t rationalized why it scrambles the rows when you advance, and which ones pop automatically.

    Those that such a scramble leaves hanging in the air pop automatically.

    It’s the variable gravitational pull of the bubbles that irritates me.

    What do you mean? Bubbles pop when they’re not connected to the top of the window by an unbroken (however convoluted!) string of bubbles.

    * * *

    Back to rummaging through GenBank. It’s incredible how many amphibians have had their mitochondrial genome sequenced twice in the last 5 years, and that’s not even what I’m primarily looking for.

  487. #489 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Bill & Kevin

    Oh-oh-oh – me too! I’m in Alexandria several times a week.

  488. #490 MrFire
    April 30, 2010

    Just blood. Guess I scratched my eye somehow? Maybe in my sleep…

    No, the antichrist within you awoke a little bit earlier than expected. A viewing of The Brady Bunch should make it go away.

  489. #491 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    Since PZ linked to that Thunderoot video I’ve been rewatching the “Why do people laugh at creationist series”. Those are a real treat. I think when I finish with that I’ll watch AronRa’s “Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism” series again. I’m sure most of you have already watched both, but if you haven’t, do it! Everybody on both sides of the issue should be required to watch these.

  490. #492 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @DM:

    Cherry bombs should work, you have to plant them right next to the guys.

    Potato mines are pretty good at stopping them, too – but you have to plant them ahead of time. A bit later you’ll get the ‘Squash’ plant, which is a lot better.

  491. #493 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Plants v. Zombies music video and theme song. No, I’m serious. It can also be downloaded as an mp3 in English or Japanese.

  492. #494 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Carlie:

    I love the Japanese version of that song, cause she sings so cutely, hee.

    Oh shoot, I just showed off my less than manliness. *manly grunt* So! How bout that football? Yeah man, tough guy sport, that one!

  493. #495 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Kevin – I think it sounds more natural in Japanese (or dare I say “organic”?)

  494. #496 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Carlie:

    Haha.

    I’m taking Japanese right now through Rosetta Stone – though it’s about time I take a refresher review on it since I haven’t even looked at it for a month (been ultra-busy.) I actually really like the language.

  495. #497 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    Re: Heddle:

    I’m reading through that post that was linked to – and I noticed. Shala referenced Pun-Pun – the most powerful being in the Dungeons and Dragons universe!

  496. #498 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    I posted a link to that “what if the tea party were black” on my Facebook. My uncle fired back with “I’m sorry, I couldn’t find any story about the Tea Party using AK-47′s.” So I replied back with three links to news articles citing tea partiers with specifically AK-47′s (not to mention other guns as well), one from CNN. Same uncle that complained at me last week for saying “fuck” because “there’s kids that read this site!” I’m thinking I’ll do him a favor and make it so he doesn’t have to see my status updates and links. I wouldn’t want to offend him or make him think too hard.

  497. #499 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @KOPD:

    What is your uncle’s political disposition?

  498. #500 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    @Kevin:
    He hasn’t advertised one.

  499. #501 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    Arrgh.

    I’m annoyed that I don’t seem to be able to function on anything less than six or seven hours’ sleep a night. I was up most of last night revising, got about five hours’ sleep, and am now half-dead at half past seven the following evening. :-(

    I envy those people who can operate on practically no sleep. (Apparently Margaret Thatcher sometimes slept only three hours a night when she was Prime Minister.) I suppose it must be a genetic thing.

  500. #502 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @KOPD:

    Hm, so maybe you should keep showing him your links and status updates – cause with no advertised political disposition, it might mean he’s smart enough to think.

    I haven’t added links or stuff like that to my Facebook because of my ultra-conservative, super-evangelical family members. I know I would offend them – like when I joined the ’1 million for equality in marriage’ fanpage, and my father told me that gay marriage was about destroying the church.

  501. #503 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @KOPD

    This is why I have defriended numerous idiots in my social circle. Life is too short to worry about offending someone virtually, and I have enough problems controlling myself in actual f2f encounters. And call me a liberal, but most kids have heard the f-word if they’re over 3.

    The thread about the stupid celibate man in funny clothes giving child-rearing advice is seriously interfering with my getting word done today.

  502. #504 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Speaking of games…

    Kevin – same here. I push it a little with some news stories, but most of my family never checks their Facebook so I haven’t heard anything about it. I’m getting ticked off enough with Facebook that I’ve removed most personal info, though. So even the things I used to be a fan of and such are gone.

  503. #505 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Walton:

    A lot of your ability to sleep has to do with what you’ve eaten prior to sleeping and what you were doing prior to sleeping. Never go directly from, say, writing a report, to sleeping. Always give yourself a period of time to wind down. If something is on your mind you’re never going to get to sleep – which is why I have to make sure that everything I’ve worried about that night is gone before I close my eyes.

    Also heavy or spicy foods before bed are bad, make sure you have about 3-4 hours between heavy or spicy dinners and sleep. Make sure your room is dark enough, and anything distracting is turned off so it won’t bother you.

    I like to get about 7-8 hours of sleep, but can do with a lot less if I have to (on Wednesdays, Top Chef Masters is on til 11. Takes me about half an hour to wind down, and I wake up at 5.30. But Thursday morning, I’m completely ready for my day.)

  504. #506 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    Kevin: While I do have trouble getting to sleep sometimes, this really hasn’t been a problem lately, as I’m usually so exhausted that falling asleep doesn’t tend to be difficult. Rather, the main problem is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the studying I need to do. :-(

  505. #507 Ewan R
    April 30, 2010

    Morally, rather than legally, why shouldn’t he? He could not have been sued for doing the same with plants from a neighbour’s crop without the patent, and if plants grow on your land, why should you not do as you wish with them?

    Morally there possibly is a case, it depends on how you approach the whole issue, I still see it as tantamount to theft, and, were I a farmer working within the system I’d certainly see it as monumentally unfair that I have to pay the tech fee every year whereas Schmeisser, or whoever, gets to utilize the technology for free – although obviously in a system where you can just select for the gene amongst your crop and then keep it this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, because everyone would do it. The only issue you’d then have is that new traits would never come to market (or spectacularly rarely, unless public funding into GMO generation increased a few thousand percent) and agriculture would have a valuable tool removed from its toolbox. Also I’m not 100% sure (and don’t have enough lunch break left to check…) but I think under Plant Variety Protection you technically could get in trouble for knowingly utilizing a protected variety that happened to get on your land, accidentally – albeit that selection for the variety would be somewhat harder (without some obvious phenotypic difference to the rest of your crop) and possibly detection also would be harder.

    You ignore the main point of the article in any case – the way Monsanto systematically spies on farmers, encourages them to inform on neighbours, etc.

    Maintaining a level playing field for those who do play by the rules. Less than a couple of hundred farmers have had suit brought against them, more than 200,000 per year buy seeds from Monsanto. Not one of them have to by any stretch of the imagination.

    You work for a corrupt, murderous (w.r.t. their pollution-dumping of PCBs, heavy metals etc.), lying, spying bully, and you seem quite happy with that.

    I don’t agree that Monsanto are corrupt, murderous, lying or spying bullies. Historically they don’t have a perfect record, but then I don’t particularly consider the Monsanto that exists today to equate exactly to the Monsanto of the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s – what with a complete refocus in area, obviously a complete change in people operating in the higher levels of the company, being bought up, broken up, and spun off from Pharmacia as a wholly agriculture focused company (with the non-Ag part going elsewhere, which to me would be where the taint of the past should lie, rather than with a name, if it needs to lie anywhere)

    What I am quite happy with is working somewhere I’ve wanted to work since first hearing about genetic modification of crops, working directly involved with the modification of crops, working with people who are enthusiastic about what they do, enthusiastic about what the company is doing etc etc etc
    Looking at the past decade or so of Monsanto history what I see is categorically not the evil behemoth that in general Monsanto are portrayed as – I see hundreds of thousands of farmer lives made easier, reductions in the environmental damage caused by Ag as a direct result of utilization of Monsanto technologies (admittedly this is more likely a side effect of the technology rather than a direct goal – we’re still working on the first products which have reduction in damage built into the product concept) poor farmers and their families pulled out of poverty and a bright future for more of the same – and I hope, that over the next decade or two that misdeeds in the past begin to be a little less meaningful in the debate, and that good deeds in the present begin to mean a little more – although obviously there will always be those who don’t like any company that is making a bunch of money – regardless of the positives that go alongside that.

  506. #508 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Carlie:

    Yah – unfortunately, my family lives off Facebook. So I get all the ‘why haven’t you updated your status’ calls if I don’t touch it every month or so. But really, what can I say? “Kevin has finished another day of work and is sitting down watching TV or playing games. He might be drinking a beer, or perhaps rum.”

  507. #509 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Walton:

    Ah yes, the woe of the… college student?

  508. #510 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Kevin

    Make another FB page so that you don’t have to censor yourself. That way you can post the “Kevin has finished another day of work and is happily wanking while watching atheist porn” updates. Some geek here could even figure out how to translate these updates automatically for the mirror FB: “Kevin has finished another day of work and is spending time in adoration of his beloved Lord.”

    Fortunately most of my relatives think that I shouldn’t express any opinions and if I do, I’m doing it specifically to bully them, and they mostly leave me alone.

  509. #511 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @MATTIR:

    Nah, you see. I’m an honest person. If my family ever asks ‘are you an atheist’ I will say ‘yes I am.’ They haven’t, so far, and I don’t honestly think they have to know. It’s not their business. I won’t lie to them, but I won’t go about parading the information.

  510. #512 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    That way you can post the “Kevin has finished another day of work and is happily wanking while watching atheist porn” updates. Some geek here could even figure out how to translate these updates automatically for the mirror FB: “Kevin has finished another day of work and is spending time in adoration of his beloved Lord.”

    :-D :-D :-D

  511. #513 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Kevin (@509):

    He might be drinking a beer, or perhaps rum.

    Speaking of rum, I saw a bottle of this in my local liquor store last weekend, and immediately thought of this crowd. I would’ve bought some on the spot, based on the bottle alone, if the Spousal Unit® hadn’t pointedly reminded me that our bar is already well stocked and there was no need to be spending more money on booze!

    MATTIR (@510):

    Your observation that this…

    “Kevin has finished another day of work and is happily wanking while watching atheist porn”

    …translates to this…

    “Kevin has finished another day of work and is spending time in adoration of his beloved Lord.”

    …has given me a whole new appreciation of the nature of the Lord, and of the act of adoring Him! ;^)

    Looking forward to seeing you two, along with whoever else we can gather into our web, in DC.

  512. #514 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Bill:

    I have some Captain Morgan Tattoo – it’s pretty dang good, a little sweeter than the Private Stock I’ve been drinking, but I’ve heard dark rum is like that, so I was expecting such.

  513. #515 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 30, 2010

    It’s the variable gravitational pull of the bubbles that irritates me.

    I think he’s referring to how it’s sometimes possible to shoot around corners and between to close balls to hit what’s be behind. And other times it’s not.

  514. #516 iambilly
    April 30, 2010

    I may regret asking this — I am culturally so unhip I’m amazed my legs don’t fall off — but what in the seven balls of chordite is “steam punk”? I ask because I work with/interpret historic steam power as a part of me job, and I saw the term used above (Carlie @ 470).

    Is this something I shoulc know about already?

  515. #517 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @iambilly:

    Steam punk is a kind of fiction style where technology is run solely through steam power, but it’s futuristic technology. The game Bioshock is Steam Punk.

    So, like steam-powered robots, for example.

  516. #518 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 30, 2010

    Perhaps in the meantime, you could commiserate with me on the death of my sourdough starter :(
    (neglecting it for 2 months will tend to do that).

    My condolences.

    In addition to liquid starter, I set a bit of the dough aside last time.

    Unfortunately I’d somehow put the lid on the jar a bit too firmly so the other day I had to scrape sourdough off the inside of my fridge …

  517. #519 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @iambilly:

    Dah, I forgot the most important part. It’s also as if history never left Victorian England. Wiki describes it as “any recent science fiction that takes place in a recognizable historical period (sometimes an alternate history version of an actual historical period) where the Industrial Revolution has already begun but electricity is not yet widespread, with an emphasis on steam- or spring-propelled gadgets”

  518. #520 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    Billy, you study trains right? Oh man, you already *are* a little steampunk.

    Steampunk is a subgenre of sci fi that takes old technology and projects an alternate future from it. Think of bizarre inventions from the 19th century.

    It’s interesting to me because I find so many historical objects of technology really beautiful. Ever see the manual calculator, for instance?

    Anyway, there’s a whole fashion subculture surrounding it.

    People doing custom casemods to their laptops so that they’re made of wood and brass, kind of 19th century fashion mixed with 90′s cyberpunk.

    It’s hard to tell them from old school romantic goths except that there are so few of them left anyway and steampunk fashion involves way more brown.

  519. #521 iambilly
    April 30, 2010

    Kevin:

    Thanks. After I asked, I checked on Wikipedia. And asked one of my fellow cubiclesters. Apparently, I’m one of the few who has never heard of this. No wonder (((Girl))) laughs at me.

    Though I did manage to chord out “The Cruise of the Calabar”, so I’m happy.

  520. #522 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    Day late and dollar short with my answer it seems :P

  521. #523 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Ol’Greg:

    Plus, steampunk is totally awesome. I dunno what’s so cool about it, but I really think it’s one of the most interesting sci-fi genres.

    Only sci-fi genre that I think is cooler is the futuristic Western world ala Firefly.

  522. #524 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    Haha… I don’t like Sci Fi usually but end up liking steampunk because I like history so much! lol

    Plus so much of our image of what is “futuristic” comes from one set of ideas about what looks like the future.

    Heh… in one future the world looks like a giant iPod and in the other like a wunderkammer. No question in my mind which future I’d rather play with!

  523. #525 iambilly
    April 30, 2010

    Billy, you study trains right? Oh man, you already *are* a little steampunk.

    Well, I study enough to be able to give tours. Right now I’m studying the medieval roots of the tripartite division of French society at the outset of the French Revolution (which I am studying so I can grok the Napoleonic wars (which I am studying so I can grok the wars of German unification (which I am studying so I can grok the Franco-Prussian War (which I am . . . . obsessive compulsive when it comes to following historical threads)))) and Irish folk music for a concert my band will be playing in early October. From labour and railroad music to Irish folk. Well, at least Paddy Works on the Railway.

    And no, I’m not little. In fact, I could drop four stone and still be ‘overweight’.

  524. #526 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 30, 2010
  525. #527 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    how to steampunk your computer

    my boyfriend made himself a steampunk costume last Halloween. It included a nerf gun, so throughout the making process, I’d randomly have the “bulltets” fly past me and attach to my computer screen. Those were not precisely ideal working conditions :-p

  526. #528 iambilly
    April 30, 2010

    Jadehawk: Me likee. Me want. [drool]

    Now that I think about it, I most likely have enough parts left over from the various WWII tanks and airplanes I have built over the years to do that to my laptop.

    And then (((Wife))) would notice.

    And then things would get difficult.

    Not that I’m whipped, or anything. Really.

  527. #529 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    actually, here’s a picture of said nerf gun. And here’s a before picture, for those who live under a rock and don’t know what a nerf gun look like ;-)

  528. #530 Carlie
    April 30, 2010
  529. #531 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    carlie, that steampunk-cephapopod-cake in your first link is perfect!

  530. #532 Lynna, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Bill Dauphin, I searched on Facebook and found several Bill Dauphins, but I figured you were the guy also friended by Cosmic Teapot and Carlie. Consider yourself friended.

  531. #533 cicely
    April 30, 2010

    I’m not into Steampunk particularly, but that steampunk house….dayam! The 360o viewability is also awesome.

  532. #534 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010

    Steam punk is a kind of fiction style where technology is run solely through steam power, but it’s futuristic technology. – Kevin

    My favourite steampunk is William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine, based on the idea that Charles Babbage’s designs for mechanical computers developed into a full-scale industry in early Victorian England, with the result that scientific and technological change were greatly accelerated. Lord Byron is prime minister (the differences from real history seem to start in 1816, when Byron’s wife left him in real life and he left England under a cloud of scandal, but this did not occur in the novel), Britain underwent a Tory coup in 1831 and a subsequent revolution led by the Industrial Radical Party (but don’t worry, Walton, the monarchy survives!), Disraeli is a prominent journalist, the USA has partially disintegrated due to British scheming, Karl Marx is running a communist mini-state in Manhattan, Darwin has been ennobled, early steam cars are on the road, agnosticism is the most respectable of beliefs… Remarkably vivid and atmospheric.

  533. #535 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 30, 2010
  534. #536 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    I don’t exactly know much about steampunk, so the most creative contribution I can make to this discussion is Cheesoid the robot. :-)

  535. #537 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Ring Tailed Lemurian #400

    One of my uncles was a whaler :( in the 1930′s and had a collection of narwhal tusks :( (and swordfish bills).
    When I saw them as a child I thought the narwhal tusks were the most fabulous objects I’d ever seen.

    Narwhal tusks were peddled for centuries as unicorn horns. As you can see from the picture, they can be quite large. That’s part of why narwhals are so awesome.

  536. #538 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Tis:

    Damn you! Now I’m going to be singing that song all week!!!

  537. #539 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    *rant rant rant*
    Sorry to interupt your lovely steampunk-related-info, but an internet hero of mine has just shat in my head.
    Pat Condell. Pat, “religion is evil shite, based on authority, I’ll tell you the truth, listen to me” Condell has finally believed all his own hype and told us Brits who to vote for – and it’s UIKIP.
    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh.
    Don’t listen to god, listen to me
    Stupid ****! What next, PZ goes for Pailin in ’12?
    So the man of a hundred polemics against religion thinks so much of himself (oh, and Pat, outside a corner of the internet, you are nothing) that he presumes to tell us how to vote – and tells us to vote for the fuckwittedest party in Britain outside the BNP, the party of Lord Monckton, global-warming-denying inbred paraphyletic moron, the party which thinks that Britain isn’t part of Europe, the one-dimensional parish fascists whose only function is to keep the flies away from the Tories.
    His video is such a pile of steaming stupid: he says things like “we want MPs who have to represent the views of the electors.” No Pat, no – I don’t want MPs who represent the undiluted, insconsequential views of the voters because, among other things, I want no death penalty, laws promoting – nay, demanding – tolerance, equality in the work place, heck, no torture and no slavery to go back in time – laws which would be consistently opposed by the democratic majority.
    Fuck off back to Wankland, you crank, populist, self-important, Nationalist enabler.
    Remember to breathe, remember to breathe…
    Oh dear. Rant over. PZ and Dawkins are still OK and won’t ever do this to us will they?
    Anyway, lovely steampunk house but…I wonder what’s in the basement. A little creep, no?

  538. #540 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Pat Condell. Pat, “religion is evil shite, based on authority, I’ll tell you the truth, listen to me” Condell has finally believed all his own hype and told us Brits who to vote for – and it’s UIKIP.

    weeeeelll… not to be too insensitive, but that wasn’t precisely a surprising development to a lot of people…

  539. #541 Walton
    April 30, 2010

    Wow, AnthonyK: for a change, I totally agree with you. This:

    I don’t want MPs who represent the undiluted, insconsequential views of the voters because, among other things, I want no death penalty, laws promoting – nay, demanding – tolerance, equality in the work place, heck, no torture and no slavery to go back in time – laws which would be consistently opposed by the democratic majority.

    is exactly right. Which is why I support the judicial protection of human rights. There should be some fundamental civil liberties which cannot be taken away by the democratic majority. I also agree with you that UKIP are a bunch of loons.

    Though I never liked Condell in the first place. I could always tell that his anti-Islam rhetoric was tinged with more than a hint of xenophobia.

  540. #542 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    Watched My Name Is Nobody. Now I finally know the theme of the music by heart, and a refreshment of my classical education is always welcome anyway!

    Potato mines are pretty good at stopping them, too – but you have to plant them ahead of time. A bit later you’ll get the ‘Squash’ plant, which is a lot better.

    Hmmm. The squash which squashes zombies? Maybe two of them work on an American Football zombie, but one doesn’t.

    (I’m asking because I get the entire game in German!)

    Haven’t seen potato mines yet, even though I took the full tutorial.

    Apparently Margaret Thatcher sometimes slept only three hours a night when she was Prime Minister.

    That might explain some things.

    There is indeed a wide variety of how much sleep people need, and it’s fixed the way expected of genetic traits (don’t know how heritable it is); but the minimum appears to be 4 hours, not 3.

    If something is on your mind you’re never going to get to sleep – which is why I have to make sure that everything I’ve worried about that night is gone before I close my eyes.

    This, too, varies between people. I’ve been seriously worried at times, but nothing other than my overproducing nose has ever kept me from falling asleep.

    (Well, noise does. This includes loudly ticking alarm clocks that don’t bother some other people. But a fridge in the same room is almost no problem; had that for 5 years in Paris.)

    In other words, I am already wound down.

    how to steampunk your computer

    Not bad… not bad at all.

    The keyboard especially (except, it looks uncomfortable to actually use).

    actually, here’s a picture of said nerf gun. And here’s a before picture

    …Wow.

    Steampunk cakes

    WTF. The cephalopod leaves me speechless.

    Steampunk house

    The computer disguised as an organ…

    It’s running Windows. :-)

  541. #543 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    Re Babbage’s difference engine: I understand that one of the problems with it was – outside not being built in his lifetime – that the precision engineering recquired was so complex as to have been, essentially impractical, even now. But please correct me.
    Oh, actually, here’s a picture of it suggesting I may be wrong

  542. #544 Poor Wandering One
    April 30, 2010

    Please forgive me if this has been mantioned but my home town paper is running a dot-to-dot puzzle of mohommad on the front page.

    It’s DIY Blasphemy!!

    see here.

  543. #545 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    paraphyletic moron

    ROTFL!

    But that would merely mean he has children :o)

  544. #546 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    Oh, actually, here’s a picture of it suggesting I may be wrong

    Yep, Lego = teh awsum.

    It’s DIY Blasphemy!!

    <abdominal contraction>
    <chortle>
    <silent giggling>

  545. #547 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    But that would merely mean he has children :o)

    well, it’s not like fucking moron doesn’t imply the possibility of same :-p

  546. #548 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    well, it’s not like fucking moron doesn’t imply the possibility of same :-p

    :-)

    <intellect appreciation>

  547. #549 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    But that would merely mean he has children

    But surely we wouldn’t regard them as real children?

    Ah cladistics! Where those with autistic sympathies go to chuckle.

  548. #550 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Anyway, lovely steampunk house but…I wonder what’s in the basement.

    A coal-powered spanking machine?

    steampunk jewelry (including cufflinks)

    It’s DIY Blasphemy!!

    Bwah! I wonder at which line connection it turns into a sin.

    Bill Dauphin, I searched on Facebook and found several Bill Dauphins, but I figured you were the guy also friended by Cosmic Teapot and Carlie.

    I sure hope it is, or I’ll feel stupid. I friended the wrong Scott Hatfield once. That was weird.

  549. #551 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Clarification – the person wasn’t weird, just the fact that I friended someone I didn’t know on accident.

  550. #552 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    OT – I’ve just seen a little bit of Bob Hope on the telly. When I was in Vietnam a few weeks ago I visited the Cu Chi tunnels, the vast and complex underground network reaching up to the outskirts of Saigon that the Viet Cong built. Part of it (there were about 200 miles of tunnels altogether, including factories, kitchens, hospitals, meeting rooms…) ran under a huge US military base. According to the standard book on the subject, at the same time (in 1967) as Bob was wowing a few thousand troops on the surface, some 15m below them the VC were enjoying a performance of traditional and modern music and dance by a renowned master and his troupe.
    Heh.

  551. #553 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Lynna:

    Bill Dauphin, I searched on Facebook and found several Bill Dauphins,…

    I didn’t know that. Not surprising, though, I guess: Dauphin isn’t exactly Smith, but it’s not that unusual a name, and Facebook is vast.

    …but I figured you were the guy also friended by Cosmic Teapot and Carlie.

    Yah, that would be me. JackC, too (haven’t seen his pixels around here much recently), and a couple others whose FB names don’t match their Pharyngula nyms. I have one FB friend who I’m pretty sure is (or at least used to be) a Pharyngulan… but I can no longer recall which one!

    KG:

    My favourite steampunk is William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine, based on the idea that Charles Babbage’s designs for mechanical computers developed into a full-scale industry in early Victorian England,

    I read that when it first came out, and recall being somewhat bummed out by it. I should dig out my copy and give it another chance: I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.

  552. #554 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    Ooooh oooh ooh! Looking at the lego difference engine I inked to above, checkout the 15 most amazing lego models (including a lego iPhone).
    Puts the “fuck me that’s amazing” into awesome.

  553. #555 blf
    April 30, 2010

    Babbage’s difference engine: I understand that one of the problems with it was - outside not being built in his lifetime - that the precision engineering recquired was so complex as to have been, essentially impractical, even now.

    Nope. The Science Museum in London built a complete (except for the printer) working Difference Engine in c.1990 with the materials available, and to the precision possible, in Babbage’s time. The parts were built by laser-guided machinery, so the exact manufacturing process used wasn’t possible in Babbage’s time.

    I saw that engine whilst it was being assembled (the construction was open to view), and afterwards in a most fascinating exhibition about the machine, both in Babbage’s time and the machine the museum built. One discovery is Babbage made several errors, which had to be corrected.

    Wikipedia says the printer has since been built, and so has a second unit, which apparently has been at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View (California) for the last two years.

    The machine can—and has been—built, can be powered (this was another concern, that it would consume too much power), runs, and continues to run. A think it’s been running flawlessly, but am not sure.

  554. #556 iambilly
    April 30, 2010

    Anthony K:

    My son does some amazing things with Legos.

  555. #557 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    The silver bubbles are real. Where exactly a bubble can pass through depends on the fact that space is quantized for resting bubbles (but not for moving ones). The scrambling derives from the fact that a row which moves down by one has to move to the left of the right.

    But surely we wouldn’t regard them as real children?

    Sure we would. The moron himself is a misleading term according to phylogenetic nomenclature. :-)

    (No cladistics anywhere in sight! Cladistics is the method for reconstructing trees; it has nothing to do with the labels tied to their branches.)

    I wonder at which line connection it turns into a sin.

    :-D

    I’ll check out the Lego links tomorrow, must go to bed.

  556. #558 Owlmirror
    April 30, 2010

    Feynmaniac @#437:

    There’s also the transcendental argument [...] also argument from beauty, morality

    I think the TAG actually has more in common with the design argument than it looks. Ditto beauty and morality.

    Maybe it can all be narrowed down to a single cognitive error, which is mistaking their own minds for the mind of God.

    Sastra has solved the problem of religion!

    =====

    Also: Steampunk… !!

    http://2dgoggles.com/

  557. #559 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    blf – thanks for the info. I knew that an awesome construction of Babbage’s dream had been made, I was merely suggesting that (despite the presision of engineering at the time, and subsequnetly) it couldn’t have been made then, especially if he’d made an error. Apparently, when they made it, it worked first time.
    I also heard (though the internet said “whatever” when I asked it) that the British Museum used to have the only hieroglyphic typewriter in the world. When times were tough for plucky old Britain in WW2, they donated it to the “metal for spitfires” campaign where it was uselessly melted down – but certainly not turned into planes.
    Ain’t they cute, the frilly fronds of history?

  558. #560 AnthonyK
    April 30, 2010

    Oh – and Billy – nice site

  559. #561 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Going to be a hot evening/night here. We expected 70 ? and got 80 ?. We’re also having some painting done, and they primed the bedroom windows (second floor) today. Unfortunately, they also painted them shut, so I can’t open the window to get the fan in to help cool things off. Then my D3 cable modem decided to go spastic. Not a good evening so far.

  560. #562 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 30, 2010

    Nerd:

    Unfortunately, they also painted them shut

    Not nice. Not nice at all. I hope you aren’t soaked in paint smell, that gives me a headache.

  561. #563 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 30, 2010

    Sometimes it feels like the whole world is trying to guilt-trip me into not voting Tory. :-(

    Not just the world, but the entire universe itself. Remember, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

  562. #564 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    I hope you aren’t soaked in paint smell, that gives me a headache.

    No, just the outside of the windows and the storm windows are being done, and with latex. Now we’re getting a grumblestorm. Good thing the latex had time to dry, and that we have good eaves.

  563. #565 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 30, 2010

    Nerd, there’s thunder grumbling going on here too. Looks like we’ll be getting rain one of these days.

  564. #566 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    Sometimes it feels like the whole world is trying to guilt-trip me into not voting Tory. :-(
    Not just the world, but the entire universe itself.

    Also Time Lords.

  565. #567 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @ Nerd of Redhead

    re your post on the teabagger thread, which I lack energy to read through (and suspect I’d just want to pile onto the free-market types anyway). Yes, knitters are everywhere and armed with string for tying up our victims and sharp pointy sticks with which to administer justice. I will be on the lookout for deserving candidates.

    Are any other pharyngulistas going to be at Maryland Sheep & Wool this weekend? (Hey, MS&W is a huge event drawing from a lot of the east coast, so it’s worth a try, even if it’s not as likely as finding pharyngulistas at the atheist conferences…)

  566. #568 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    My daughter has discovered blaghag and insists on reading it aloud. Between Regretsy and blaghag, I think she’s basically prepared for real life, so I’m done now. (Except for she’s announced that we have to go to the Creation Museum on one of our high school trips.)

    Wow, it appears that I got the whole link thing to work. At least it did in preview when I clicked on the link.

  567. #569 cicely
    April 30, 2010

    And it worked in real life, too! :)

  568. #570 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    MATTIR, the Sheep and Wool festival looks more like something for my sister-in-law in Oregon. She has a few horses, sheep, llamas, alpacas, and spins her own yarn.

  569. #571 cicely
    April 30, 2010

    I can use a drop spindle. Not well, mind you….

  570. #572 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    I’ve finally caught up on the Thread, and I need to check out some others.

    Question for people with full-time jobs: how do you have time to keep up the posting on Pharyngula? I’ve been working full-time for two weeks and I simply don’t have time to post much. By the time I’ve caught up on reading various threads, I’m so tired I have to go to bed. How do y’all do it?

  571. #573 cicely
    May 1, 2010

    It helps if your full-time job puts you in proximity to a computer, with a lot of dead-time on your hands.

  572. #574 Geoffrey
    May 1, 2010

    @Carlie

    Also Time Lords.

    Son of Time Lord.

  573. #575 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    cicely,

    How does one procure a job with both computer proximity and dead time? I’m near a computer all day, but I’m busy entering data the whole time. I actually kinda like the job, but there isn’t any dead time. We actually had tons of over-time this week because the enumerators completed their paperwork and started training to go door to door to complete the census. Getting everyone into the system so that they get their paychecks on time has been insane. Who knew census offices would have a third shift?

  574. #576 MATTIR
    May 1, 2010

    @Pygmy Loris

    Reading pharyngula on your Blackberry in the ladies room. The census does let you go to the bathroom, right?

  575. #577 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    How do y’all do it?

    My job entails a lot of hurry up and wait. Set up a reaction, wait for another addition. Check reaction by HPLC, wait while it runs. Wait some more for reaction to be complete. Check in here while waiting.

  576. #578 Dust
    May 1, 2010

    Ol Greg

    Too old to try to get into medicine

    Ahem, nursing?
    With a nursing degree, you could travel the world, and it is medicine.

    Just thought I’d mention it. I have 3 nurses in the family, with 3 varied careers. One spent almost 5 years in Saudi Arabia, with lots of holidays spent shopping in Europe. (for example)

  577. #579 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    MATTIR,

    I do not have a Blackberry. Trying to read on the tiny screens gives me a headache. Besides, I spend my breaks having a cigarette, and reading parts of a book. :) I save the bathroom stuff for home. :P

    Nerd,

    Ahh…except for when the system is particularly slow, there’s no waiting at the census.

    Much of what I’m doing now is trouble shooting. We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel of applicants just to have enough enumerators and they couldn’t fill out a timesheet to save their freaking lives. We have people showing up for training and submitting timesheets that we didn’t hire. Lots of other problems with people being generally incompetent. It’s really bad, so I’m trying to do well (I’ll look even better in comparison to the incompetents :)) so that when I move home after my appointment expires, I can get a reference from my supervisors while I apply to jobs back home.

  578. #580 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Ol’Greg,

    What Dust said. It’s also not true that you’re too old to go to medical school. I’m going to apply to law school for 2011. I’ll be 31 when I start and 34 when I’m done, but it’s what I want to do. Since I’ve nearly completely decided I don’t want kids, there’s no real time pressure to get life going on a particular track.

  579. #581 cicely
    May 1, 2010

    Well, Pygmy Loris, it helps a lot if the Offspring starts to school at about the same time that one’s spouse’s office is looking to employ someone.

    My job used to involve a lot less free time, and a lot more data entry (and drawing pictures for a computerised catalog, using an ideosyncratic system no-one’s ever heard of), but with increasingly sophisticated means of data transmission, that facet dried up, leaving me essentially a secretary/receptionist/clerical worker/janitor (and, formerly, fish valet). When not answering phones, I surf my way around the blogosphere, or read. Sometimes, I paint. I have been known to do tablet weaving.

    Lest you mistake this for “heaven”, it’s not exactly a highly-paid job. OTOH, until the company goes down in flames, my job is pretty secure.

  580. #582 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 1, 2010

    My mother took a break from her medical career to raise us. She went back and did her residency in her late 40s. It was by no means easy finding a residency that would accept her (or taking caring of kids while studying for the ECFMG while raising kids), but she managed to do it.

  581. #583 Dust
    May 1, 2010

    I meant: Ol’ Greg.
    My apoologies for the missing apostrophe.

  582. #584 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    cicely,

    That’s interesting. I guess most of my jobs have been McJobs, which rarely have downtime. Well paying isn’t very important right now; I’m only concerned about the paying part. :)

  583. #585 cicely
    May 1, 2010

    Exactly! :)

  584. #586 cicely
    May 1, 2010

    And I am prepared to fight like a maddened badger to keep my low-paying job.

    Ya know. Just in case some lurker out there is eyeing up my turf.
    ;)

  585. #587 Dust
    May 1, 2010

    Yikes!

  586. #588 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    cicely,

    I swear I’m not after your job! Don’t hurt me, please. :)

  587. #589 cicely
    May 1, 2010

    :D

    ‘Night, all.

  588. #590 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 1, 2010

    Thanks, blf @ 555, for confirming what I thought but didn’t know how to prove!

    Click here for a picture and brief video.

    In fact, we were bloody good at precision engineering in those days and were until electronics ( a good idea) combined with both the search for a quick buck and the development of yuck-coloured plastics (not so good) which all collided to bring us marvels of engineering made in China which you are supposed to throw away, which are designed to ensure that you do!

    If you are ever in Manchester, I warmly recommend my favourite place on the planet – The Museum of Science and Industry – and don’t miss the textile-related machinery of the early industrial revolution!

    Before anyone asks – you mean you weren’t going to? – the second favourite place is that Viking ship museum near Oslo, already noted somewhere hereabouts.

  589. #591 blf
    May 1, 2010

    I knew that an awesome construction of Babbage’s dream had been made, I was merely suggesting that (despite the presision of engineering at the time, and subsequnetly) it couldn’t have been made then, especially if he’d made an error. Apparently, when they made it, it worked first time.

    Now that you mention it, yes, I think it did work the first time. I don’t recall precisely what the errors were, how many, or when or how they discovered (Wikipedia says it while Babbage’s drawings were being adapted to modern manufacturing methods), but they were apparently very minor. From memory, one of the reasons the first machine was built was to test the hypothesis that precision issues was a reason it hadn’t been built during Babbage’s time.

    An expense way to test? Not really. As I recall, a point the accompanying exhibition made was that the precision hypothesis arose quite some time afterwards (don’t recall when). Babbage’s own contemporaries didn’t express any doubts on that score. To the contrary, being able to say you worked on the Difference Engine was apparently a high-prestige claim to have on your CV. And if memory serves me right, various other examples of high-precision engineering of the time was also on display; the difference is the Difference Engine is (in comparison) fecking huge and expensive.

    So why wasn’t one built in Babbage’s time? Several reasons. I (vaguely) recall there being evidence of disagreements between Babbage and at least one of the key project managers (both were apparently quite stubborn men). The project also had massive cost overruns, which I believe was the official reason it was cancelled. And also, apparently, the first example of a disease anyone who’s involved in the modern computing industry will recognise: Babbage also kept redesigning and tweaking, and was distracted by the Analytical Engine, which was so revolutionary he couldn’t get funding for it (and with the amount of money that had been sunk into the Difference Engine, it must have taken precisionhuge balls to ask).

  590. #592 Walton
    May 1, 2010

    What Dust said. It’s also not true that you’re too old to go to medical school. I’m going to apply to law school for 2011. I’ll be 31 when I start and 34 when I’m done, but it’s what I want to do. Since I’ve nearly completely decided I don’t want kids, there’s no real time pressure to get life going on a particular track.

    I think you’ll be a good lawyer.

    Though, given your views about wealthy people, inheritance, property, and so on, you may not enjoy land law, equity and trusts very much… :-)

  591. #593 Alan B
    May 1, 2010

    #586 Cicely

    Did anyone say …?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22HWyqjfm_4&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMjUf8HpnQM&feature=player_embedded#!

    (Did I see PZ making a guest appearance with a tentacle coming out of his academic robe?)

    And specially for duck lovers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q&feature=fvw

  592. #594 David Marjanovi?
    May 1, 2010

    Photo of a hybrid between two very distantly related dolphin species, Tursiops truncatus and the false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens.

    Spraying oxytocin into men’s noses makes the men as sensitive as women ? and increases their ability to learn! Press release in German. “Sensitive” refers to what the authors call “emotional empathy”, not “cognitive [...] empathy that is reportedly impaired in individuals with ASD” (autism-spectrum disorders).

    Ooooh oooh ooh! Looking at the lego difference engine I inked to above, checkout the 15 most amazing lego models (including a lego iPhone).
    Puts the “fuck me that’s amazing” into awesome.

    QFT.

    Also: Steampunk… !!

    ? http://2dgoggles.com/

    CURSES!! IF ONLY THIS INCONVENIENTLY PLACED CAPTION WERE NOT OBSCURING THE DIALOGUE, WE COULD KNOW ALL ABOUT THE ORGANIST’S EVIL PLANS, THUS ELIMINATING ALL THIS TEDIOUS ARTIFICIAL SUSPENSE! OH WELL!
    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Maybe it can all be narrowed down to a single cognitive error, which is mistaking their own minds for the mind of God.

    Sastra has solved the problem of religion!

    R?men.

    Going to be a hot evening/night here. We expected 70 ? and got 80 ?.

    Over here, it’s summer, too ? the third day I’ve been running around in T-shirt & shorts.

    Sometimes it feels like the whole world is trying to guilt-trip me into not voting Tory. :-(

    Not just the world, but the entire universe itself. Remember, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    Cameron has announced that, if elected, he’d start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan within his term.

    I suppose this means the others would finish it during their terms if elected instead of him…?

  593. #595 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Son of Time Lord.

    Well, there was a Ten voice-over at the end there. :)

    And I assume that son of would have inherited at least some of it, as did Jenny. Although she was a clone. But not quite. Which they never did explain to my satisfaction.

  594. #596 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Shucky darn, David Marjanovi? beat me to the link to 2D Goggles: The Complete Lovelace and Babbage steampunk comic website.

  595. #597 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Public service announcement: Today is blogging against disablism day. Go get yerself some new perspectives or some communal support, whichever you’re hankerin’ for.

  596. #598 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    As Popeye put it so well, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.” You folks won’t have Ol’ ‘Tis to kick around any more. That is, until I get back from sailing.

  597. #599 David Marjanovi?
    May 1, 2010

    David Marjanovi? beat me to the link

    I just quoted Owlmirror (comment 558). I didn’t know that comic.

  598. #600 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Thanks Walton.

    I’m talking to some of my lawyer friends about what kind of law I’d like to go into. I really want to do something that helps people who need help now.

  599. #601 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    I don’t particularly consider the Monsanto that exists today to equate exactly to the Monsanto of the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s – what with a complete refocus in area, obviously a complete change in people operating in the higher levels of the company, being bought up, broken up, and spun off from Pharmacia as a wholly agriculture focused company (with the non-Ag part going elsewhere, which to me would be where the taint of the past should lie, rather than with a name, if it needs to lie anywhere) – Ewan R.

    That’s dishonest garbage. Monsanto has fought and is still fighting to avoid responsibility for the pollution and deaths they have caused. A company whose leaders had an ounce of moral decency would not be doing so. The federal government is attempting to recover Medicare payments from them. The splitting off of Solutia (burdened with as many of Monsanto’s legal liabilities as possible), and merging followed by demerging with Pharmacia, are typical corporate scams to avoid paying compensation, of the kind familiar from events following Bhopal, and the history of Turner and Newall.

    With regard to dishonesty and bullying, a few extracts from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

    “In 2003, Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy in Maine for advertising that its milk products did not come from cows treated with bovine growth hormone, claiming that such advertising hurt its business… As of May 2008, Monsanto is currently engaged in a campaign to prohibit dairies which do not inject their cows with artificial bovine growth hormone from advertising this fact on their milk cartons.”

    “In January 2005, Monsanto agreed to pay a $1.5m fine for bribing an Indonesian official. Monsanto admitted a senior manager at Monsanto directed an Indonesian consulting firm to give a $50,000 bribe to a high-level official in Indonesia’s environment ministry in 2002, in a bid to avoid Environmental impact assessment on its genetically modified cotton. Monsanto told the company to disguise an invoice for the bribe as “consulting fees”. Monsanto also has admitted to paying bribes to a number of other high-ranking Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002…”

    “Gary Rinehart of Eagleville, Missouri was sued by Monsanto in 2002, who claimed that he had violated their Roundup Ready Soybean patent. Rinehart is not a farmer or seed dealer, but he still had to spend money for his legal defense. Monsanto eventually dropped the lawsuit, but never issued an apology, admitted to making a mistake…”

    “Monsanto sued the Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator in Pilot Grove, Missouri, claiming that offering seed cleaning services to farmers was tantamount to inducing them to pirate Monsanto seeds. The Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator had been cleaning seeds for decades before companies such as Monsanto could patent organisms.”

    Scum. Absolute scum.

  600. #602 Lynna, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Question for people with full-time jobs: how do you have time to keep up the posting on Pharyngula?

    I don’t.

  601. #603 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Somehow in my catching up I missed part of the Thread.

    Tis said,

    Passenger trains have pretty much gone away in the US for a very simple reason, money. It’s not profitable to run passenger trains with a very few exceptions.

    And Jadehawk replied,

    since when is it the point of public transportation to make money?

    Both make good points, but no one seems to have asked why trains, in particular, are so unprofitable in the US. There’s certainly a lot of people moving from place to place all over the country, but few of them choose to use trains. What we need to address to improve train usage (and profitability) is why don’t people take the train?

    I think the biggest reason people in the US don’t use the trains more is our car culture. The big three invested heavily in marketing the car and intentionally destroying public transport to encourage more and more people to buy their product. The second major issue, now, is routes. The most frequent trip I make is from my current location to my parents’ home. It’s a 2 hour drive in a car, but due to the lack of a direct train route, it’s an 11 hour train ride (with a multiple hour layover) at a cost of more than $100 round trip. The train is not feasible for a weekend at home. Add to the time and money costs the fact that the trains in my area run at inconvenient times (seriously, one of our passenger lines comes through at 3:00 AM), and it’s a huge pain to take the train. I could take Greyhound, but the bus is a terribly unpleasant experience, and it’s not any less expensive than driving my car.

    So, there are some major problems with our public transport infrastructure and cultural aversions to using it. On to the profitability argument.

    Cars are so cheap to use in the US because they are massively subsidized by the government. Paved roads, conveniently located interstate highways, foreign wars and diplomacy to keep the cost of gasoline low are all forms of government subsidy to the automobile industry. The real cost of driving your car around and between cities is much higher. Without the government subsidies, the auto industry might not be profitable either. Just sayin’

    My personal experience with Amtrak has been fine. On the less heavily traveled route I took there was an abundance of space to spread out. The train arrived at my destination on time and baggage pick-up proved no problem. The more heavily traveled route I use means that there isn’t much room to spread out. If you’re on the train on a weekend, it’ll be full. However, the seats are not nearly as cramped and uncomfortable as an airplane, and if you get uncomfortable you can go down to the snack or lounge car to stretch out for awhile. All in all, I prefer coach class on a train to coach class on a plane, even with the added time. I just wish smoking stops were a tad more frequent. :)

  602. #604 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Lynna,

    I don’t.

    That’s what makes you so cool. :)

  603. #605 Walton
    May 1, 2010

    I’ve now got my postal vote paper for the general election, so I now have to make my decision as to how to vote. I’m still agonising a little as to whether I can, in good conscience, vote Conservative, given all the areas in which I disagree substantially with party policy.

    If I do vote Conservative, and a Conservative government repeals the Human Rights Act, and/or imposes some arbitrary bullshit “points-based” system on immigration, I will feel terrible. Then again, if I don’t vote Conservative, and Labour gets back into government and imposes ID cards and more authoritarian bullshit and continues eroding our basic civil liberties, I will also feel terrible. And if I don’t vote Conservative, I will also feel like I’ve betrayed the party which I’ve supported actively for years.

    Argh. I’m sorry I keep going on about this, but it’s quite an important decision.

  604. #606 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Sunk costs, Walton, sunk costs.

    Vote Lib Dem!

  605. #607 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Part of the train usage problem is sheer distances in the US. I recall a report where past 500 miles, air travel became cheaper than trains. Buses were cheaper out to a couple of hundred miles. The other problem is transportation at the other end. The rental car agencies are tied into the airports.

    I suspect train travel would be used more for long distances if they ferried cars. I know a lot of retired folks who would like to get on a train in Chicago, with their car, and take an express or semi-express to Florida or Arizona for the winter. Likewise, semi-express trains to the east or west coast might be feasible. And with the car along, a couple of hundred mile drive at either end, without the intervening hundreds or thousands of miles and overnight motel stays, might be greatly appreciated.

  606. #608 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    BTW, Happy May Day, comrades and friends!

  607. #609 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    MayDay? Who needs help? ;)

  608. #610 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Nerd,

    Oh yeah, the distances here are freaking vast, especially in the low population density area of the Great Plains. Population density is another big issue. There’s a reason the East Coast and West Coast have more cost effective trains, the sheer number of people living there. Similarly, Chicago has wonderful access to trains. A huge proportion of the passenger routes go through Chicago.

  609. #611 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    There are a couple of other reasons that help explain the lack of intercity rail transportation in the United States.

    One was the absolute phobia that the railroads had against any form of government money. Again and again, the idea of a local, state or federal subsidy for a rail profitability problem was viewed as ‘the camel’s nose coming into the tent.’ The prevailing view was that if, say, the state of New Jersey covered the deficit created by the commuters on the Erie Lackawanna or the Central of New Jersey, this would lead, inevetably, to a full federal takeover and nationalization of the railroads. (Another problem was that the state itself saw no reason to support the rail commuters — railroads were percieved as very wealthy companies (of course, most of that wealth was sunk in real estate, especially right of way and stations).) By the late 1960s, when railroads and states were willing to admit that (a) commuter rail was a public good and (b) a private company should not be expected to shoulder the massive losses associated with the business, rail travel, save for a few areas (mostly commuter areas) was already being abandoned so the railroads could stave off bankruptcy.

    The other major difficulty, which still exists today, is the demographics of the travellling public. In the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, a majority of intercity rail passenger traffic was business related. As soon as the economic efficiencies of the jet turbine came to fruition, the business traveler abandoned rail for jets. And are still there.

    These are pieces of the rail passenger puzzle. Taxation, support of other forms of transportation, and the magic of the car were also major factors.

  610. #612 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Thinking about the rental car issue, there are structural reasons for their proliferation around airports, outside of the obvious that people who fly in need to get a car to travel around. Airports tend to be on the outskirts (or former outskirts) of the cities because of the vast quantities of land needed. Large rental car lots also need lots of land. Train stations, OTOH, tend to be located in the downtown areas because that’s where the people were when the trains went through. Downtown real estate is too valuable to have large rental car lots adjacent to train stations.

  611. #613 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    blf@555,

    There’s a fine book describing both Babbage’s own work, and the recent construction of the difference engine: The Cogwheel Brain by Doron Swade, who headed the recent construction project. IIRC, he blames the failure to build at least the difference engine (as opposed to the much more ambitious analytical engine) in Babbage’s time to Babbage’s own faults: he was a technical genius, but organisationally hopeless, quarreled repeatedly with collaborators, and kept on revising and expanding his designs and spending time on scores of other projects rather than actually getting on with building the damn thing. The British government of the time was remarkably generous, funding him to the tune of millions of pounds/dollars in modern terms. If only…

  612. #614 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    OTOH, this group is actually proposing, with a straight face and at least minor financial support from the U.S. Air Force, flying to orbit using nothing but airships. – Bill Dauphin@297

    Bill, that’s absolutely amazing! Would be great if they succeed.

  613. #615 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    (((Billy)))

    Didn’t the railroads accept huge subsidies in the form of land to build the tracks on? Seems hypocritical of them to refuse such subsidies later.

  614. #616 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Another big problem with train use is that freight trains have right of way over passenger trains nationwide (I’m guessing that industry was way more powerful at lobbying than passenger companies). That means that there is no way to guarantee an arrival time. The one trip I used Amtrak for was amazingly pleasant as for the ride itself; the seats were comfy, I had a laptop outlet, could move around as I pleased, happened to have an amazingly cool seat companion. However, it was a 5 hour trip that arrived almost 4 hours late thanks to a gravel truck spill at a crossing that had to be cleaned (1 hour) and then waiting for freight trains to get out of the way (three hours with four stops).

  615. #617 Lynna, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Mormons are divided over support for the anti-immigration bill recently passed in the Arizona legislature, and signed by the Governor of Arizona. But, the head honchos writing the bill, lobbying for the bill, collecting signatures for the bill are mormons and white supremacists. A lovely group.

    No matter how much the LDS Church would like to remain neutral on the issue of illegal immigration, Mormon activists on opposite sides draw on their faith’s doctrines or practices to buoy their positions.
         Russell Pearce, the Arizona senator who proposed that state’s tough anti-immigration law, is LDS and hails from Mesa, a stronghold of Mormonism. A former missionary for the faith, the Republican lawmaker points to LDS scripture to buttress his push for a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
         ”We have a special duty [to] this land, this republic and to the rule of law,” Pearce wrote in an e-mail. “It is our duty and well established in scripture and modern revelation.”
         He cites a verse from the Doctrine & Covenants, a part of the Mormon canon, that says to “let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.”
         Pearce also refers to the Utah-based church’s 12th Article of Faith, which says Mormons believe in “obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.”
         That also is a key teaching for GOP Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, a Mormon legislator from Orem who has met with Pearce several times and hopes to introduce a similar bill in Utah.
         ”We are a country with the rule of law,” said Sandstrom, who served an LDS mission in Venezuela. “That’s the only way a country can prosper.”…
         ”We’re not agents of the immigration service, and we don’t pretend to be,” LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland told The Salt Lake Tribune last year, “and we also don’t break the law.”
         In January 2008, Marlin Jensen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was assigned by LDS President Thomas S. Monson to urge Utah legislators to use “compassion” in their immigration legislation.
         That didn’t stop Utah’s mostly LDS lawmakers from passing SB81, which took effect last July and tightened enforcement while limiting immigrants’ access to some services….
         On several occasions, Sandstrom said, he has shared his legislative proposals on illegal immigration with LDS officials.
    “Not one of them told me to ‘cease and desist,’ ” he said. “I’ve been told to do what I feel is right for the state and my constituents.”
         Garcia has, again, a different perspective.
         No, the LDS Church has not come out as strongly against these anti-immigration measures as the Catholics or the Evangelical Association, he said….
         Mormon conservatives seem to feel that not only is the United States being invaded by foreigners, but also their homes, their churches and their congregations, he said….

    Source: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14986486?source=pkg

    And here’s Rachel Maddow detailing yet more lies from the racist backers of Protect Arizona Now: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#36881928

  616. #618 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Carlie,

    I think the freight trains having right of way is part of the contract between Amtrak and the freight companies that own the tracks. Similarly, if you’re injured in an Amtrak accident that is caused by faulty tracks, you still can’t sue the company that owns the tracks. It’s in the Amtrak contract that Amtrak is liable for such things.

    But yeah, I’ve never been on a train that was significantly delayed, but we did have to wait for freight trains several times. My longest travel delays have all had to do with airports and ice. I was on a plane that circled O’Hare for a couple of hours because of the ice a few years ago. That was annoying because we had to keep our tray tables up, so no more drinks. Just two hours of knowing we were flying in a circle while my connecting flight got closer and closer to it’s take off time.

  617. #619 Ewan R
    May 1, 2010

    “In 2003, Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy in Maine for advertising that its milk products did not come from cows treated with bovine growth hormone, claiming that such advertising hurt its business… As of May 2008, Monsanto is currently engaged in a campaign to prohibit dairies which do not inject their cows with artificial bovine growth hormone from advertising this fact on their milk cartons.”

    This is completely in line with Monsanto’s stance on labelling – labelling as ‘not from rBST treated cows’ at least tentatively suggests that there is a risk in milk that comes from rBST treated cows – as such Monsanto are completely within their rights, and in no way being immoral to object on legal grounds – it is then up to the courts to decide on the legality or otherwise of the labelling – a perfunctory search brings up the FDA response http://www.fass.org/fasstrack/news_item.asp?news_id=909
    which to me at least seems reasonable

    “In January 2005, Monsanto agreed to pay a $1.5m fine for bribing an Indonesian official. Monsanto admitted a senior manager at Monsanto directed an Indonesian consulting firm to give a $50,000 bribe to a high-level official in Indonesia’s environment ministry in 2002, in a bid to avoid Environmental impact assessment on its genetically modified cotton. Monsanto told the company to disguise an invoice for the bribe as “consulting fees”. Monsanto also has admitted to paying bribes to a number of other high-ranking Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002…”

    Not only did Monsanto admit this, they self reported – the individual involved was operating outside of Monsanto policy, the misdeeds were uncovered internally and reported by Monsanto to the government – if Monsanto were the absolute scum you apparently believe they are, across the board, then nobody would ever have heard of the Indonesian bribery.

    “Gary Rinehart of Eagleville, Missouri was sued by Monsanto in 2002, who claimed that he had violated their Roundup Ready Soybean patent. Rinehart is not a farmer or seed dealer, but he still had to spend money for his legal defense. Monsanto eventually dropped the lawsuit, but never issued an apology, admitted to making a mistake…”

    Gary Rinehart sharecropped his property with his nephew Tim Rinehart – when it became apparent that it was not the property owner (Gary) but the nephew (Tim) who was utilizing saved seed Monsanto dropped suit against Gary and persued action against Tim, who settled on seed that he had planted. I think in this case, as Gary was the owner of the land, and the person who Monsanto were directed to as to the contact person for the farm, that after he was completely uncooperative it is perfectly reasonable to file suit given the circumstances (and the outcome that seed were infact saved illegally and planted on the land) – a more evil company would surely just have persued the landowner rather than the wrongdoer in this case.

    “Monsanto sued the Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator in Pilot Grove, Missouri, claiming that offering seed cleaning services to farmers was tantamount to inducing them to pirate Monsanto seeds. The Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator had been cleaning seeds for decades before companies such as Monsanto could patent organisms.”

    Pilot grove were cleaning RR soybeans and helping farmers save them – this is against patent law, nobody is preventing seed cleaners from cleaning seed not prohibited by law – just as nobody is prohibited from copying DVDs of family functions, but if you’re copying DVDs of the latest hollywood blockbusters, even for someone else, you’re breaking the law

    Scum. Absolute scum.

    No. Absolutely no.

    Also in all cases where Monsanto does settle, or win a court settlement, the proceeds go to fund scholarships, FFA nad 4-H programs, rather than into Monsanto coffers, which again is not the action of a wholly profit motivated organization of scum.

    On the splitting off of Monsanto – the whole deal, as far as I am aware, was around trying to drive R&D in pharmaceuticals (Celebrex I believe) – the conglomerate corporation saw Ag-productivity as more of a liability than anything else and so decided to spin off the company – the initial company worth is reflected in the spectacularly low share price, rather than to move about liabilities (if the Ag company was trying to avoid liability etc I think the obvious choice would be a name change in the spin-off, who’d be vastly angry at a spun off company with nothing at all to do with the sort of manufacturing all the anger is stemming from if they had a different name? Nobody. As nobody is vastly annoyed at Pfizer for PCBs or agent orange (although they do generate a lot of controversy around pollution caused under the pfizer name)

  618. #620 Lynna, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Disinformation disguised as education expands from Utah into Nevada:

    Beginning Fall 2012, high school graduates and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be eligible to attend a new college in Logandale, Nev.
         While it is unaffilitated with the Church Educational System, Desert Valley College officials say it will purport LDS values, providing an alternative to Brigham Young University and the already established, privately run Southern Virginia University, which also maintains standards of conduct and a strict honor code. The goal of the new school will be “to provide for an intensive learning experience in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued,” according to executive director Rex Jensen.
         Desert Valley College, he said, will be modeled after the successful SVU plan and the BYU system of LDS Church colleges. As a small percentage of LDS high school graduates across the country are admiteed into the BYU system, or SVU, Jensen believes the academy in Nevada will serve a specific need. He said that morals and standards at state-sponsored universities are continuing to erode and therefore provide a unique opportunity for a nonprofit institution like his.
         The Desert Valley college motto is “leadership through learning and faith.”
         Donations to the school are tax-deductible and can be pledged online at http://www.desertvalleyacademy.org. The school will need to fundraise at least $75 million, and secure about 80 acres of land in order to become completely established, but just about $3 million is needed to get started.

    Source: http://www.mormontimes.com/people_news/education/?id=14601

    This new “University” is in addition to recently-created George Wythe University, which is backed by Glenn Beck, and is located in Cedar City, Utah.

    “‘Quite honestly, the first thing that attracted me was that to graduate you have to know all of the principles behind The Five Thousand Year Leap,’ Beck said.” Indeed, incoming freshmen are required to read this book before any other.

  619. #621 Katharine
    May 1, 2010

    You know, why is there this icky double standard where the idiots of society get to act like idiots but we who are not so idiotic can’t at least occasionally fuck these people up?

  620. #622 Alan B
    May 1, 2010

    #602 Lynna, OM

    Question for people with full-time jobs: how do you have time to keep up the posting on Pharyngula?

    I don’t.

    I’m retired from gainful employment and I can’t keep up. Time zones don’t help – by the time I get to see something interesting, everybody else has moved on!

  621. #625 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    Alan B,

    Ah, retirement. I’m looking forward to it. :)

    I would like to not have to work full-time, but until I get my debts paid off (not the student loans, those’ll never get paid off), that’s just not possible.

    If I can continue to find gainful employment, I should have my credit cards paid off in time to start law school. I look forward to the day those bills come in saying Balance: $0.00 Minimum Payment $0.00. It’s going to be awesome!

  622. #626 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    Pygmy Loris: The land grants were primarily collateral for the loans required for the initial funding. They were also much smaller than the areas shown in most textbooks. By the 1930s, the initial value of the land grants had been paid back tenfold by the railroads. They did, however, keep raising their head during the merger era: when the Southern Pacific transfered its land grants to the SPSF (the parent company which was supposed to oversee the merger of the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific), objections were raised as to whether or not the land grants actually belonged to the railroad and whether they could transfer ownership.

    Carlie: Amtrak is a quasi-government corporation (along the lines of Conrail) which was created to relieve the railroads of their passengers. Railroads are common carriers. They are under an obligation to carry anything, or, at least, quote rates on anything. Part and parcel of the eminent domain and land grant deals was the provision of passenger service. By the 1950s, railroads were earning, on average, a 5-7% return on investment for freight operations, but the ROI for railroads as a whole was around 2% because of passenger losses.

    Railroads found it difficult, if not impossible, to abandon passanger service. As long as one or two vocal passengers were willing to object, the ICC, and, often, the state, extended service. In an attempt to preserve freight service, congress created Amtrak with the understanding that nobody in their right mind expected it to make money. They expected most routes to fade away.

    Except for the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak does not own the track. Their schedule is carefully integrated with the freight schedule. When (not if, but when) something goes wrong, the railroads concentrate on getting the freight where it needs to go. After de-regulation (Staggers Act), the railroads were granted freedom to make rates (within limits (railroads are still one of the most regulated industries in America (which, perhaps, explains how good they are at hauling freight and not bankrupting themselves))). Some contracts incur penalties for late delivery. In the day of just in time inventory, that makes sense. Though the railroads get paid trackage fees by Amtrak, those fees are nothing compared to losses incurred by late deliveries.

    That is why freight takes precedence over passenger operations.

    Another reason for delays is the dispatching system. Before radios, busy railroads had two tracks — one track for trains heading each direction. Centralized Traffic Control allows operation of more trains on one track with passing sidings than could be run on two tracks, and it cuts maintenance costs. When things get bollixed up, though, the passing sidings can get filled and, until the district clears out, low priority traffic gets to sit and wait. To a railroad, the passenger train that the railroad does not own, does not lose money for poor performance on, is low priority.

    Sorry for the long replies. It really is an occupational hazard.

  623. #627 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    (((Billy)))

    I appreciate your insight into the railroad industry. My knowledge of those land grants is limited to what we learned in high school history class. :)

    On place that really needs more railroads is the stretch that I-40 covers across Arkansas. Driving from Memphis to Little Rock (I rarely go further west) it’s literally bumper to bumper semis in the right lane. Kinda scary to drive through.

  624. #628 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    Ewan R.,

    Provisionally, I’ll concede the bribery case. The rinehart case, I’d have to know more – and from a less obviously biased source. The Pilot Grove case sounds to me as though they were trying to force another company to do their dirty work – how would Pilot Grove know the seeds were RR?

    This is completely in line with Monsanto’s stance on labelling – labelling as ‘not from rBST treated cows’ at least tentatively suggests that there is a risk in milk that comes from rBST treated cows – as such Monsanto are completely within their rights, and in no way being immoral to object on legal grounds

    You evidently support their bullying. Why the fuck shouldn’t a company give information about its products that many people want to have? Safety concerns are not the only reason for objection to rBST: animal welfare would be my big concern; but even if the wish to avoid it were wholly irrational, this effort shows that Monsanto doesn’t give a shit for consumers’ rights.

    Also in all cases where Monsanto does settle, or win a court settlement, the proceeds go to fund scholarships, FFA nad 4-H programs, rather than into Monsanto coffers, which again is not the action of a wholly profit motivated organization of scum.

    Be serious. Their aim in suing is intimidation, not profit from the relatively trivial sums involved.

    You say nothing whatever about Monsanto’s continued efforts to avoid responsibility for the pollution they have caused – not only in Aniston, but in scores of sites around the USA, and a site in South Wales. Your blethering about “the split off of Monsanto” does not cover the creation of Solutia in 1997. Solutia was saddled with financial responsibility for all compensation claims resulting from PCBs (and asbestos), then, well would you believe it – filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

    Scum, absolute scum.

  625. #629 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    Pygmy: A large chunk of that traffic was carried on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific line from Memphis to Little Rock to Oklahoma City. UP proposed absorbing the Rock in the 1960s. Every other railroad affected screamed bloody murder and stopped the deal. The ICC came up with a way to merge the granger railroads into the big western roads, but that smacked of government coercion. So in 1979, the Rock Island was sold off, in pieces, to satisfy debts.

    The line from Memphis to Little Rock remained in service (part with CSX (trackage rights over the SP’s Cotton Belt) and a shortline. West of Little Rock, it is gone. The Southeast is not really set up for easy east-west travel by rail. Both CSX and NS achieve it, but through roundabout ways. Most container traffic transits either Kansas City/St. Louis or Chicago for transfer between the eastern and western roads.

    I suspect that much of the I-40 truck traffic is comprised of loads which are not going cross country, probably less than 1,000 miles. Some areas, if the tracks are in place, the railroads can compete for that container traffic. If the parallel road is gone, the roundabout route the railroads would have to take negates their advantage.

  626. #630 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    (((Billy)))

    Wow, you’re better than Google. ;)

    The South never did develop very good rail routes, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  627. #631 boygenius
    May 1, 2010
  628. #632 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    Pygmy: Actually, the south did develop some very good rail roautes. The Piedmont/coastal routes from Florida to Washington are very good. As are the Atlanta to Cincinnati (and to Chicago), the New Orleans to Chicago, Virginia to Ohio, and Florida to southern Texas. Routes were not built by railroads to open up undeveloped areas. They were built to connect two markets, or connect a product with a market. This means that there were some excellent but worthless routes, and also some routes which were abandoned for reasons that had little to do with the market need for a track in that area.

    And one other thing regarding the land grants — only some railroads built west of the Mississipi got them. East of the Mississippi, none. Though the New York & Erie (which became the Erie) was built using loans from the state of New York which became grants if certain towns were reached by certain dates. Of course, this meant that sometimes the first train was running on rails that had only 1/4 of the needed spikes, but they made it.

  629. #633 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Knockgoats #608

    Happy May Day, comrades and friends!

    You didn’t post a link to the song!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRhPeJ3uzOc

  630. #634 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    boygenius: I’ll take City of New Orleans, Worried Man Blues, Wreck of the Ol’ 97 (MTA), and Freight Train Blues.

    But, outside of work, I try to avoid that shit.

  631. #635 boygenius
    May 1, 2010

    (((Billy))), what about Taggart Transcontinental?

  632. #636 SC OM
    May 1, 2010

    I had prepared a little substantive response to some of Ewan R’s comments several days ago, but have been forcing myself to keep away from the blogs (even though I’ve left threads dangling across the science blogosphere) until my work is done. I’ll post it soon. I did, though, just Google “Ewan R Monsanto,” and from the looks of things commenting on the internet in defense of the indefensible giant is what Ewan spends a great deal of time doing.

    In case no one has asked yet (I may have missed it): Ewan, what is your job at Monsanto? Is your commenting here part of it?

  633. #637 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    boygenius: Not only do I avoid railroad history (other than music) outside of work, I avoid Ayn Rand like the plaque. Not fatal, but can make things ugly. Randian charaters are ideologies masquerading as people which makes for breathtakingly boring writing.

  634. #638 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    boygenius, you forgot the most socially significant railroad song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJmTTlj-pwI

  635. #639 boygenius
    May 1, 2010

    (((Billy)))

    Good answer!

  636. #640 Pygmy Loris
    May 1, 2010

    (((Billy)))

    Hmmm, those routes basically ignore the vast stretch of the South between the Appalachians and the Mississippi (and the Mississippi adjacent states of Arkansas ans Louisiana). I guess there were never many people living in these states. I’m from the Mississippi alluvial plain area, so I’m used to my homeland being ignored. The City of New Orleans does run through Memphis though. That’s nice.

  637. #642 owenevans00.myopenid.com
    May 1, 2010

    Late to the steampunk party, but the gun reminded me of this – somewhat NSFW but great example of high-fashion steampunk.

    Also, does anyone know why SB isn’t using the name from my openid persona and just displaying the id?

  638. #643 blf
    May 1, 2010

    I am seriously annoyed. (I’m also perhaps not-sober, so if this makes even less sense than usual, or contains more typos (or parenthetical phrases) than usual, that’s my excuse.) I’m supposedly on vacation for about a week. I was planning to travel to X, by TGV, ideally departing yesterday. I didn’t make any reservations in advance of the ash cloud, and avoiding making any during the ash cloud, only to discover all the departures for the next N days are fully fecking booked. The only option is to travel by slow donkey cart.

    Well, Ok. Sort of. I’ll stay here. So I goes to the bus stop. There’s no fecking bus. Wait a bit—the buses aren’t always on time—still no fecking bus. Think a bit.

    Ah! May 1st. A fecking holiday. So no buses.

    Godsdamnit. Walk into the village. Stop for lunch on the way in. Rain starts pissing down. Ok, stop for an extended lunch. Finish walk into the village later than desired, having consumed more alcohol than intended, and discover the local movie theatre has run out of schedules.

    Ok, feck you. Visit a bar where I’m a known character, and order an unusual (for me) drink. Surprised barman gives me the evil eye but no actual problems.

    Eventually move to another bar to watch the rugby (the main purpose of walking into the village). Preferred team looses. Feck.

    Start the walk back to home. Stop at a local good restaurant (where, again, I’m a known character): ?Sorry, we’re full, and you didn’t book.? Well, Ok, true…

    Wander on to another local decent restaurant. wind up being seated next to the fecking toilets. Grumble. And the main dish is overcooked. Grrr… Worse, it’s served with fecking french motherfecking fries, which I hate (at least there were no peas!).

    Stumble home—where I didn’t expect to be—with a higher blood-alcohol content and fouler mind-set than expected…

    </rant>
  639. #644 David Marjanovi?
    May 1, 2010

    Sunk costs, Walton, sunk costs.

    Vote Lib Dem!

    What more can I say.

    I suspect train travel would be used more for long distances if they ferried cars.

    As, indeed, they do in Europe.

    There are a couple of other reasons that help explain the lack of intercity rail transportation in the United States.

    One was the absolute phobia that the railroads had against any form of government money.

    Or should I put it this way: one was the fact that the railroad companies were private in the first place.

    Another big problem with train use is that freight trains have right of way over passenger trains nationwide

    Yeah, that’s just madness.

    the freight companies that own the tracks

    More madness.

    labelling as ‘not from rBST treated cows’ at least tentatively suggests that there is a risk in milk that comes from rBST treated cows

    Doesn’t the bovine hormone work in humans, too? I bet it does. Peptide hormones don’t evolve that quickly.

    I’m pretty sure it’s forbidden over here to treat livestock with growth hormones.

    You know, why is there this icky double standard where the idiots of society get to act like idiots but we who are not so idiotic can’t at least occasionally fuck these people up?

    Details, please. Who are “the idiots of society”, and what does “fuck these people up” mean?

    Before radios, busy railroads had two tracks — one track for trains heading each direction.

    Most railroads in Europe have two tracks, and Austria’s most used railroad was recently upgraded from two to four tracks. Single-track railroads only connect villages.

    like the plaque

    I don’t doubt that you avoid to get plaque (with [k]) on your teeth, but here you mean the plague. :-)

  640. #645 David Marjanovi?
    May 1, 2010

    I was planning to travel to X, by TGV, ideally departing yesterday. I didn’t make any reservations in advance of the ash cloud, and avoiding making any during the ash cloud

    Erm…

    I thought it’s a Well Known Fact that TGV reservations must be made months in advance because the tickets* are just gone if you don’t book soon enough?

    * The TGV has a reservation requirement.

  641. #646 Jadehawk, OM
    May 1, 2010

    I had prepared a little substantive response to some of Ewan R’s comments several days ago, but have been forcing myself to keep away from the blogs (even though I’ve left threads dangling across the science blogosphere) until my work is done. I’ll post it soon.

    yay!

    like the plaque

    I don’t doubt that you avoid to get plaque (with [k]) on your teeth, but here you mean the plague. :-)

    actually, judging from the “not deadly, but can make things ugly” part, I’m going to guess he did mean plaque ;-)

  642. #647 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 1, 2010

    blf:

    Stumble home?where I didn’t expect to be?with a higher blood-alcohol content and fouler mind-set than expected?

    Have you offended any Maypoles lately? Perhaps tweaked and old god or two? Seriously, sounds like a good sort of day to be drunk.

  643. #648 SC OM
    May 1, 2010

    Holy shit! Just turned oon the TV, and there’s been a big water main break here. If you’re in the Boston area, don’t drink your water until you’ve checked to see if you’re in one of the 38 towns affected (fortunately, mine isn’t).

  644. #649 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    I suspect train travel would be used more for long distances if they ferried cars.

    The Amtrak Auto Train carries cars from Lordon, VA (suburb of Washington, DC) to Sanford, FL (suburb of Orlando).

  645. #650 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 1, 2010

    Did someone say train songs?

    I’m gainfully unemployed and I can’t keep up.

  646. #651 blf
    May 1, 2010

    I thought it’s a Well Known Fact that TGV reservations must be made months in advance because the tickets are just gone if you don’t book soon enough?

    I’ve never(?) had any problems before booking just a handful of days in advance; I’ve even managed to book less than 24h in advance previously. Having said that, I concur, booking as far in advance as possible is desirable. (I also almost always book over Teh Internets.)

    I suppose it depends on the routes travelled? In my case, it’s mostly from one point in S. France to another, with the occasional journey to Brussels or Paris. X is a Southern France destination, starting from another Southern France location.

  647. #652 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    The Amtrak Auto Train carries cars from Lordon, VA (suburb of Washington, DC) to Sanford, FL (suburb of Orlando).

    Dang, there goes my second million (I gave up on my first).

    *I’ll be playing all weekend. Try the veal*

  648. #653 iambilly
    May 1, 2010

    Pygmy: Anywhere in the Appalachian Mountains there was coal, there were railroads. They go up and down some of the most incredible grades to get the carbon out. The Southern Piedmont and Coastal plain, even along the Gulf Coast, was criss-crossed with small railroads. Most of these, though, were slow and twisty, not the kind of road that is used today by the big main line railroads. Some have become shortlines, but half the mileage which existed in the 1920s has been abandoned, much of it because it should never have been built. Some was abandoned due to changing markets — turpentine is no longer a major cash crop across the Southern pinelands.

    David:

    I did mean plaque — not deadly, just creates ugliness, just like Rand.

  649. #654 blf
    May 1, 2010

    Oh yeah, the reason I wanted to know the village’s movie theatre schedule was to see if they were still showing this steampunk-ish movie

  650. #655 MATTIR
    May 1, 2010

    The first weekend in May is the most overscheduled to days of the entire year. (Just felt like complaining.)

    Please let the squidly overlord post a sunday sacrilege tomorrow, preferably one that does not engender major abortion debates, but does lead to interesting philosophical musings (like the ensoulment post). I’d pray, but that’d be against my policy of only praying for personal character traits, like patience for dealing with idiots when force isn’t advisable. So I’ll just say please.

  651. #656 David Marjanovi?
    May 1, 2010

    actually, judging from the “not deadly, but can make things ugly” part, I’m going to guess he did mean plaque ;-)

    Oops. I overlooked that part, because I’ve seen bizarre misspellings between q and g so often in English, this particular one several times.

    I’m gainfully unemployed and I can’t keep up.

    I keep up with some threads (like this one, of which I’ve read every single comment since the announcement of Titanoboa). Whether I can keep up is a fairly good question.

  652. #657 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 1, 2010

    My. It looks like our heddle has attained famehood.

  653. #658 John Morales
    May 1, 2010

    Sili, you don’t distinguish between fame and notoriety? :)

  654. #659 Rorschach
    May 1, 2010

    Real Time–Bill Maher on extremist muslims

    Question for people with full-time jobs: how do you have time to keep up the posting on Pharyngula?

    I don’t.

    Me neither.Not atm anyway.

  655. #660 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Rorschach #659

    Maher is a lot more palatable when speaking about Muslims than Pat Condell.

  656. #661 KOPD
    May 1, 2010

    I shouldn’t keep up as well as I do. It’s going to get me in trouble one of these days.

  657. #662 Rorschach
    May 1, 2010

    Maher is a lot more palatable when speaking about Muslims than Pat Condell.

    Aren’t their messages wrt this similar tho ? Both seem to me to be saying, “you want to stone your kids or rape your wife or kill cartoonists/authors/anyone do it in your own country”.

    There’s not much any westerner can do to prevent these practices from happening in Afghan/Somalian/Iranian/Gazaen etc villages, but at least we can have a say if they try and do these things in western countries.

    Off to work, again….*sigh*

  658. #663 MrFire
    May 1, 2010
  659. #664 ronsullivan
    May 1, 2010

    @ boygenius #631: Man, I miss Utah Phillips. (tear) Ever see that tattoo on his right arm?

    Here’s another?those of us who get seasick might listen with eyes closed.

    (((((Billy)))))))))))) oops, got carried away: Great stuff! Thanks.

  660. #665 John Morales
    May 1, 2010

    Rorschach,

    There’s not much any westerner can do to prevent these practices from happening in Afghan/Somalian/Iranian/Gazaen etc villages

    I guess it’s pretty bad in Africa and the Middle East. Apparently, Pakistan is a little more moderate, Malaysia much more so.

  661. #666 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    ronsullivan #664

    I miss Utah Phillips. (tear) Ever see that tattoo on his right arm?

    No. What was it?

  662. #667 ronsullivan
    May 1, 2010
  663. #668 ronsullivan
    May 2, 2010

    ‘Tis # 666 (You WIN!)

    (Ever see that tattoo on his right arm?)
    No. What was it?

    Great big engine and tender. I bet you’d see it somewhere on The Long Memory site.

    “The most radical thing in the world is a long memory.”

  664. #669 ronsullivan
    May 2, 2010

    “The most radical thing in the world is a long memory.”

    Or something like that; I forget.

  665. #670 boygenius
    May 2, 2010

    Auntie ron #664:

    Man, I miss Utah Phillips.

    Yeah, me too. I do have the good fortune of living fairly close to Rosalie Sorrels. Through mutual friends in the Boise music scene, I have had the pleasure of hanging out with her and hearing some of her stories from back in the day.

  666. #671 boygenius
    May 2, 2010

    Two of my favorites together, Utah and Ani DiFranco;

    Natural Resources

  667. #672 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 2, 2010

    LMAO! There was a congressman who compared illegal immigrgants to grasshoppers and his actual name is Ted Poe. Another surprise: he’s from Texas.

    Poe: “Now it seems to me that if we are so advanced with technology and manpower and competence that we can capture illegal grasshoppers from Brazil, in the holds of ships that are in a little small place in Port Arthur, Texas on the Sabine River. Sabin River, madam speaker, is the river that separates Texas from Louisiana. If we’re able to do that as a country, how come we can’t capture the thousands of people that cross the border everyday on the southern border of the United States? You know they’re a little bigger than grasshoppers and they should be able to be captured easier.”

  668. #673 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 2, 2010

    You know they’re a little bigger than grasshoppers and they should be able to be captured easier.”

    Golly gee, Mr. Poe, I expect people might just be more intelligent than grasshoppers. People might even have…motivation!

  669. #674 boygenius
    May 2, 2010

    In keeping with the spirit of this incarnation of teh Thread, the part of Praying Mantis will be played by Ted Poe. The part of the illegal immigrant will be played by the grasshopper:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwWTjGpFsTk

  670. #675 ambulocetacean
    May 2, 2010

    Um, I trust that everyone has seen this marvellous Tet Zoo post about Peruvian sloths climbing into toilets to eat human faeces.

    If, for some reason, you find yourself in need of LOLcat-style photos of poop sloths you can find a couple here. That is all.

  671. #676 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 2, 2010

    Something (more) for Walton to consider before voting….

    Conservative high-flyer Philippa Stroud founded a church that tried to ‘cure’ homosexuals by driving out their demons

    Philippa Stroud, who is likely to win the Sutton and Cheam seat on Thursday and is head of the Centre for Social Justice, the thinktank set up by the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, has heavily influenced David Cameron’s beliefs on subjects such as the family. A popular and energetic Tory, she is seen as one of the party’s rising stars.
    The CSJ reportedly claims to have formulated as many as 70 of the party’s policies.

    Stroud and her husband, David, a minister in the New Frontiers church, allied to the US evangelical movement, left the project in the late 1990s to establish another church in Birmingham. Angela Paterson, who was an administrator at the Bedford church, said: “With hindsight, the thing that freaks me out was everybody praying that a demon would be cast out of me because I was gay. Anything ? drugs, alcohol or homosexuality, they thought you had a demon in you.”

  672. #677 John Morales
    May 2, 2010

    Praying mantis ain’t bad, but I like to subvert by saying preying mantis¹.

    (I do it with butterflies, too — I try to call them flutterbyes, because it’s so much more appropriate.)

    ¹ Though with my spanglish accent, I doubt most people notice.

  673. #678 SteveV
    May 2, 2010

    A bit late I know but Nerd’s paint issue and lego lead to this And that led to this
    steampunk

  674. #679 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 2, 2010

    Trains
    Train from Dumbo

    Got six days to spare?
    Moscow-Vladivostok: virtual journey on Google Maps

    The great Trans Siberian Railway, the pride of Russia, goes across two continents, 12 regions and 87 cities. The joint project of Google and the Russian Railways lets you take a trip along the famous route and see Baikal, Khekhtsirsky range, Barguzin mountains, Yenisei river and many other picturesque places of Russia without leaving your house. During the trip, you can enjoy Russian classic literature, brilliant images by photographer Anton Lange and fascinating stories about the most attractive sites on the route. Let’s go!

    You can chose the soundtrack to your journey:
    rumbling wheels, Russian radio (rubbish hip hop), balalaika music (great), or some guy with a deep voice reading either War and Peace, Dead Souls or The Golden Calf, in Russian.

  675. #680 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 2, 2010

    From RationalWiki:

    The people over at ConservaPOEdia are thinking of starting a “PZ Myers Project”. Judging from the “Richard Dawkins Project”* it will consist of trying to link him to Hitler, clowns and writing many article titles (just the titles). Can’t wait!

    * Linking to Conservapedia is banned here. If you want to take a look just go there and type “Richard Dawkins Project”.

  676. #681 SteveV
    May 2, 2010

    Shit, Just seen #594 (David M)
    That’s what happens when I start from the end.
    This is what happens when a genius starts from the end

  677. #682 Weed Monkey
    May 2, 2010

    Jadehawk #529,

    is this the one he painted? Looks very much the same :) (And an unrelated note: HOT DAMN)

  678. #683 Weed Monkey
    May 2, 2010

    Oh bollocks, I fail in HTML. I meant this.

  679. #684 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    Both seem to me to be saying, “you want to stone your kids or rape your wife or kill cartoonists/authors/anyone do it in your own country”. – rorschach

    I’m astonished you can’t see the racism in this message.

  680. #685 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    I did, though, just Google “Ewan R Monsanto,” and from the looks of things commenting on the internet in defense of the indefensible giant is what Ewan spends a great deal of time doing. -SC,OM

    Well, I’m sure he does it out of sheer devotion to that wonderful philanthropic organisation! I’m looking forward to your critique, SC.

  681. #686 negentropyeater
    May 2, 2010

    LMAO! There was a congressman who compared illegal immigrgants to grasshoppers and his actual name is Ted Poe. Another surprise: he’s from Texas.

    Another surprise : he’s a Republican

    Another surprise : he speaks at teabagging protest (at the capitol) and rally (King street tea party patriots)

    Another surprise : he’s got a pointless poll on his Poe for congress web site

    Do you believe the federal government can provide better health insurance than your current plan?
    NO 88%
    YES 11%

    With only 196 votes so far, it should be fun to pharyngulate this poll rapidly.

  682. #687 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 2, 2010

    Poe for congress web site

    hehe

    With only 196 votes so far, it should be fun to pharyngulate this poll rapidly.

    I’m on it.

  683. #688 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 2, 2010

    LMAO!

    “Do you believe the federal government can provide better health insurance than your current plan?
    Yes 52.7%
    No 47.0%
    Undecided 0.3%

    Total votes: 370″

    Is this the quickest Pharyngulation ever?

  684. #689 Walton
    May 2, 2010

    RTL @#676: That’s awful.

    I’ve always been deeply suspicious of Iain Duncan Smith’s “Centre for Social Justice”. (I have heard him give a talk about it in person.) IDS is a right-wing Catholic, and his group’s “research” seems suspiciously to support a whole host of “traditional family values” bullshit, with homophobic undertones.

    Taking this into account, as well as the fact that I hate the Conservative policies on immigration and criminal justice (and prefer the Lib Dem ones), I think I’m going to have to vote Lib Dem as a protest – and have just posted something to that effect in my Facebook status.

    I just feel like my basic values have diverged substantially from those of the Tory Party; there is a disturbing segment of the party which holds right-wing authoritarian views with which I profoundly disagree, and I don’t think that I can in good conscience vote for them. That said, I will never be a true-blue (true-yellow?) Lib Dem either, as the Lib Dems are too left-wing on the economy for my liking. Rather, I’m really a classical liberal or moderate libertarian, and the problem is that there is no mainstream party which actually shares my political values.

  685. #690 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 2, 2010

    I think I’m going to have to vote Lib Dem

    Our little boy is growing up. [dabs eyes with handkerchief]

  686. #691 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    I think I’m going to have to vote Lib Dem as a protest – and have just posted something to that effect in my Facebook status.

    May I be the first to congratulate you, Walton!

    the problem is that there is no mainstream party which actually shares my political values.

    Ditto. I may actually be obliged to vote for the Scottish Socialist Party, even though I know it’s full of Trots – I got a leaflet from them yesterday, and support every one of the policies mentioned. As the Greens are not standing in my constituency, all the other parties are fundamentally opposed to my views, and all kow-tow to big business.

  687. #692 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    I should add that there’s not the slightest chance of the SSP winning the seat – or, indeed, any seats! So this too is a protest vote – against corporate capitalism.

  688. #693 negentropyeater
    May 2, 2010

    Is this the quickest Pharyngulation ever?

    Now %74 YES.

    Just would like to see the face of the Webmaster when he sees the results.

    Maybe we need a new term when the Pharyngulation takes place entirely within the endless thread ?

    Endlessthreadulation?

  689. #694 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 2, 2010

    I’d like to have some sort of preferential voting system so that you can vote for the candidate that closest represents you and still not “waste” your vote.

  690. #695 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 2, 2010

    Just went out to fill the bird feeders – it’s snowing. Fuck.

  691. #696 David Marjanovi?
    May 2, 2010

    Toothless goodness for Sven! Seriously not cool that it was exterminated a few hundred years ago.

    My. It looks like our heddle has attained famehood.

    I shall spend the rest of the day cackling with glee.

    Though with my spanglish accent, I doubt most people notice.

    Erm… there is nothing to notice. Pray and prey are pronounced the same.

    Do you believe the federal government can provide better health insurance than your current plan?

    Yes 74.6%
    No 25.3%
    Undecided 0.1%

    Total votes: 692

    The best part is the signature: “God and Texas, Congressman Ted Poe“.

    the Lib Dems are too left-wing on the economy for my liking

    <Homer Simpson>So far!</Homer Simpson>

    Our little boy is growing up. [dabs eyes with handkerchief]

    I wouldn’t have put it in such… paternalistic terms.

    But I do wonder what this development says about “if you’re not liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart; if you’re not conservative when you’re 40, you have no brain“. Seems to me like political orientation depends on information more than on anything else.

  692. #697 Matt Penfold
    May 2, 2010

    I’d like to have some sort of preferential voting system so that you can vote for the candidate that closest represents you and still not “waste” your vote.

    There is talk of having such a system here in the UK. The Tories are the only party openly hostile to the idea. If, as expected, the Lib Dems do well in the overall share of the vote but do not see that share reflected in the number of MPs the demands for some sort of proportional system may become irresistible. There is also very real prospect of Labour coming third in the total number of votes but coming first in the number of MPs.

  693. #698 Carlie
    May 2, 2010

    I’d like to have some sort of preferential voting system so that you can vote for the candidate that closest represents you and still not “waste” your vote.

    That’s one thing New York gets kind of right. It’s still one vote per office, but there are several minor parties on the ballot and often they endorse the majority candidate. So let’s say I’m Working Families Party, but don’t want to “throw away” my vote on a third party candidate. Working Party usually endorses the Democratic nominee for the big offices, so I can vote for a Democratic governor but through Working Party, so whoever the candidate is knows exactly how many votes came from the extra-progressive constituency. That makes it a little more clear where the votes are coming from and in what direction the voters expect the candidate to move if elected.

    Plus, we’re about the only state left that uses the old voting booths. It’s supposed to be switched to computer (boo!) but with our budget that’s not likely to happen for awhile. The *ca-chunk* of throwing that big red lever is quite satisfying.

  694. #699 Matt Penfold
    May 2, 2010

    Plus, we’re about the only state left that uses the old voting booths. It’s supposed to be switched to computer (boo!) but with our budget that’s not likely to happen for awhile. The *ca-chunk* of throwing that big red lever is quite satisfying.

    I have never found anything wrong with a ballot slip and putting in a cross in the box by the your chosen candidate.

    We use that system here in the UK, and we seem to get our election results quicker than you do in the US.

  695. #700 ambulocetacean
    May 2, 2010

    Preferential voting (like we have here in Oz) is fantastic. Just imagine – you could vote for Nader and still not get Bush!

  696. #701 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    There is also very real prospect of Labour coming third in the total number of votes but coming first in the number of MPs. – Matt Penfold

    That’s the result I’m hoping for! It would as you say maximise the pressure for electoral reform. The Lib Dems want STV-MM (single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies, which IIRC Ireland and New Zealand have); I somewhat prefer the additional member system we already have for the Scottish Parliament (it’s much simpler), but I’d much rather STV than the current grossly unfair system, where a party with less than 40% of the vote can be in a position to push through whatever its leader wants.

  697. #702 AnthonyK
    May 2, 2010

    Walton to vote Lib Dem?
    Truly, there is a Dawkins!
    One of the problems the Tories pose for me is that I suspect that behind their fresh-faced Eton lite facade lies the nasty, little Englander party expressed so gleefully by UKIP, a govenment that would try to emulate Mrs Thatcher and give us the freedom to be run by the wealthy, once again.
    But in practice, and whatever the “real” ideology of an incoming Conservative government, things will no doubt turn out differently: whoever gets in the problems facing the country in terms of economy and possible social unrest (cf Greece)when the cuts come will be such as to overwhelm ideology in favour of grim pragmatism, leading to deep and continued unpopularity.
    So part of me wants the Tories to win, just to watch them screw up. Again.
    I am grateful to the Labour government because, despite their many faults, they did invest so much in health and education and they made a valiant attempt to end child poverty. The Tories, I feel, would have done very little in these areas.
    But it will probably be a hung parliament: I hope so, because then they’ll all be forced to co-operate. Hurray!

  698. #703 Matt Penfold
    May 2, 2010

    Truly, there is a Dawkins!

    By a strange coincidence, Richard Dawkins has spoken in positive terms of the Lib Dems.

  699. #704 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 2, 2010

    Seems to me like political orientation depends on information more than on anything else.

    It might if we all wanted the same thing. Unfortunately, my neighbors might want to live in a world where teh gay is outlawed, or where the poor are made to suffer. I can’t think of what kind of information I could bring to bear against such horrific people that would change their mind.

  700. #705 AnthonyK
    May 2, 2010

    Political orientation depending on information?
    If only this were so! Rather, I think, people selectively use or abuse information to bolster their prejudices – I know I do :p
    Political orientation would seem to me to depend, like religion, on upbringing and the curcumstances of your family. That will put emphasis on different aspects of society, poverty and injustice, say, or the importance of keeping your own money to yourself. Children growing up in a household where politics is important will most likely grow up to share the familial view.
    Most people in Britain are uninterested in politics (and distrust politicians) which is why the recent telivised debates have been so good, more people I feel are uncommited to their old parties and have been forced to examine the different policies, thus breaking old allegiances.
    One thing also suggesting this is the almost total absence of “Vote X” posters in peoples’ windows, in contrast to previous elections where they were common.

  701. #706 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 2, 2010

    Antiochus Epiphanes:

    It might if we all wanted the same thing. Unfortunately, my neighbors might want to live in a world where teh gay is outlawed, or where the poor are made to suffer.

    *Nods* I think information does matter when it comes to political orientation, but not the way David meant it. Most of the people I know tend to seek out information only in the form of confirmation bias. They look for whatever will strengthen their opinions, rather than look at all the available information in depth. Most people have a very shallow understanding of politics and they tend to go on soundbites and their “gut”. That’s why the whole “God, Country therefore War” crap gets sold so easily, among other things. Of course, I’m talking about the U.S. here.

  702. #707 PZ Myers
    May 2, 2010

    That’s quite enough now. Move along, please.