Pharyngula

I’m in Orange County today, and I heard an odd comment that there was a dearth of godless music. I beg to differ: most music is godless, and I would point to rock as a genre that is almost entirely secular. You know, it doesn’t have to be overt and announce that god doesn’t exist to be compatible with freethought.

Anyway, among the vendors at this conference was a band, Galt Aureus — I bought one of their “Arrest the Pope” t-shirts and they were nice enough to give me one of their CDs, which I’ve loaded up unto my iPod Touch for the flight home. And as long as I’ve been unforgivably neglecting the endless thread, I might as well use one of their videos to reset it.

(Current totals: 10,185 entries with 988,253 comments)

Comments

  1. #1 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    What the heck is wrong with John Denver? I grew up on that music, and look how I turned out.

    Oh.

    Never mind.

  2. #3 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2010

    46188

  3. #4 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Mattir #1025: Even for a missionary, it can’t possibly be all that hard to find a sex partner who isn’t a member of the congregation where you’ve been assigned.

    ‘Tis Himself replies: If I remember correctly, Mormon missionaries are supposed to be in pairs at all times. So unless the two missionaries collude it would be pretty difficult to have the time necessary to arrange to have sex, let alone be able to have sex.

    Not only are missionaries not supposed to have sex partners of any kind at any time, they’re not even supposed to masturbate. They cannot even have sex with an official fiancé. 19 years old. No sex. This is the set up, and I don’t think it’s fair to anyone involved. Missionary companions are supposed to tattle on each other if masturbation or sex or kissing or prolonged looking at the opposite sex is going on. (There are Sister missionaries too — though the bulk of the troops are young males.)

    The Bishops and Stake Presidents and Mission Presidents to whom all this reporting of supposedly nefarious deeds is done are NOT trained professionals. They read a manual, but have no training as licensed counselors. The manuals also stress keeping the reputation of the church intact, so it’s always the church before the people when it comes to care.

  4. #5 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2010

    Thread history and archives

    New new update zone

  5. #6 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Mattir @ 1031

    So I could request a pair of the young men from the calendar? This is sounding better and better. Lynna, is there a special kind of mormon “pain” that is particularly delicious and exotic?

    You can request a pair of missionaries, but most of the exquisite pain comes from having to listen to their testiphonies as they try to talk you into baptism. At least in the baptism, you can get wet together.

    If you do have sex with missionaries, absolutely mind-boggling pain can be had by going to the Bishop to confess.

    The young men in the calendar are RMs (Returned Missionaries), so some of them might be less strict. Already they have taken off their white shirts and their ties. In the Morridor, this act has been hotly debated, and is seen by most as a sign of The Adversary’s (Satan’s) influence. Very decadent, and harmful to the reputation of TSCC (The So-Called Church).

  6. #7 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    Christopher Hitchens will be in Oxford on Wednesday for a debate about “secularism and faith in the public sphere”, or something along those lines. I might go.

  7. #8 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Sili @1035: I sent for some more knowledgeable troops to aid in your combat with Katherine-the-mormon. We’ll see if anyone shows up.

    I asked for a DNA expert, plus some ex-mormons who have delved into the question of what is doctrine when it comes to evolution.

    Katherine may have never tested the “free agency” her church leaders spout, but do not honor. If she rises to any level of prominence and then thinks too openly for herself, she may join the distinguished company of other BYU graduates and professors who have been excommunicated.

    As a starter course, we could send her here: http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon481.htm
    You have to scroll down quite a ways on that page to find the bits about evolution (do an in-page search for evolution). Here’s an excerpt:

    –The second Mormon Church head to utter false doctrine in that capacity was, McConkie told me, President David O. McKay.
         McConkie said that McKay delivered untruths to BYU students in a campus oration, in which he advised them to study the theory of organic evolution and the geologic history pointing to an ancient earth.
         McKay told the students that organic evolution was a beautiful theory, as long as God was not divorced from it, and that the Earth was, in fact, millions of years old.
         McConkie informed me that these claims of McKay had not been inspired by the Holy Ghost.
         McConkie did not admit to having himself made any doctrinal errors himself.
         In this area, his testimony seemed to rest on his own sense of doctrinal infallibility.
         In fact, McConkie told me that his emphatic claim(published in the first edition of his book Mormon Doctrine but edited out of its second edition) that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church of the Devil was true.
        When I asked him to explain its deletion from the books later edition, McConkie insisted that it was removed not because it was not true but because it was too difficult for people to accept.
         PRESIDENT SPENCER W. KIMBALL
         During the course of my BYU research paper on the official LDS stand regarding organic evolution, I repeatedly corresponded with Kimball, who was then Mormon Church President.
         Throughout the course of our exchanges, I had a difficult and increasingly frustrating time obtaining direct and clear answers from him on the subject, even though I made specific and detailed inquiries.
         For instance, on the question of previous First Presidency statements on the physical origins of humankind, Kimball informed me in personal correspondence that he was not familiar with the First Presidency statements I had cited in my initial correspondence with him and requested that I mail them to him, which I did.
         Clearly, whatever confidence Kimball had in the truthfulness of Mormonism was not always based on official Mormon positions enunciated by the Presidents of the Church, some of which he admitted to me he knew nothing….
         PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN AND EXPOSING THE GENERAL AUTHORITY TESTIMONIAL PARADE CHARADE
         The above statements by Mormonism’s supposed prophets, seers and revelators speak for themselves.
         Based upon their own admissions, these men do not have persuasive, convincing or complete knowledge concerning the truthfulness of Mormon doctrine or scripture.
         Nor do they have unswerving confidence in the ability of Mormon prophets, including the President of the Church, to speak the truth.
         The Mormon Church is a consumate fraud, based upon myths perpetrated by its leaders in public and confessed by them in private.

  8. #9 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Sili, here’s another source for LDS fuzzy doctrine regarding evolution: http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon196.htm (Some of the material is a repeat of the text in the previous link, with a few more details added.)

    Here’s an excerpt:

    In his sermon, McConkie listed as “Heresy Two” the “false and devilish” notion advanced by “those who say that revealed religion and organic evolution can be harmonized.”
         Such claims, McConkie told his student audience, did not represent “true science” but, rather, “the false religions of the dark ages . . . some of which have crept in among us.”
         Moreover, while McConkie noted that “true religion and true science bear the same witness,” he declared that the theory of organic evolution could “in no way” be harmonized “with the truths of science as they have now been discovered.”
         To believe otherwise, McConkie said, ran completely counter to “the saving doctrine” of revealed religion. That doctrine, he said, included “that Adam stood next to Christ in power and might and intelligence before the foundations of the world were laid; that Adam was placed on this earth as an immortal being; that there was no death in the world for him or for any form of life until after the fall; that the fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world; that this temporal death passed upon all forms of life, upon man and animal and fish and fowl and plant life; that Christ came to ransom man and all forms of life from the effects of the temporal death brought into the world through the fall and, in the case of man, from the spiritual death also, and that this includes a resurrection for man and for all forms of life. Try as you may, you cannot harmonize these things with the evolutionary postulate that death existed and that the various forms of life have evolved from preceding forms over astronomiclaly long periods of time.”
         As proof that “the theories of men”– i.e., the theories of organic evolution–were out of harmony with “the inspired word”, McConkie cited 2 Nephi 2:22-26, which he quoted in full:
         ”And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

  9. #10 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Sili, here’s what Francis Nelson Henderson had to say about scholarship and thinking for oneself. This excerpt is from a much longer piece written in 1999, after resigning from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

    Dr. David P. Wright states in a letter of self defense to ecclesiastical charges, “?scholarship is not some sort of sin, a ?failing of the flesh,? which an individual recognizes to be an error and which that individual considers to be a blemish to his or her personal integrity. Scholarship, rather, is a constructive activity and is one of the purest expressions of a person?s character. Scholarship involves a failing of the flesh, paradoxically, only when one is not forthright with his or her conclusions, when one holds back evidence, when one dissembles about his or her views in the face of social ? or ecclesiastical ? pressure. To express one?s views, especially when they fly in the face of tradition, in other words, is hardly a sin but rather a virtue. Because Church disciplinary proceedings treat scholarship as if it were sinful, and even employ along the way the polemical myth that sin is what is responsible for the scholar?s unorthodox views, the proceedings are an attack on the individual?s integrity.”
         College President, L. Jackson Newell, writes to Dr. Wright?s Stake President: “For Mormon scholars today, the more free and brave one is, the more likely he or she is to feel the iron blows of ecclesiastical discipline?.I hope you will not punish David Wright for the very scholarly care and courage for which we ought to honor him. The test is not whether he is right but whether he is true to the evidence he uncovers and responsible in the words he writes.
         I wouldn?t trade David Wright for all those religion teachers at BYU who look only for evidence that will fit their own particular assumptions about history, or match their superiors? theology?.
         While touting its commitment to families, the Church is brutally tearing many very good ones apart. David Wright, his wife and children have already paid a very heavy price for the Church?s intolerance of scholarship. We hear general conference sermons about ?the importance of the one,? then watch our leaders sacrifice individuals? membership, and families, in the name of the many. I urge you to make a decision about David Wright that is worthy of the ideals spoken? by LDS leaders?”
         University of Utah professor Edwin Firmage, Jr. writes, “?The image that Church trials such as David?s present to the world and, indeed to many Church members, is of an institution determined at all costs to silence dissent, even when offered in a spirit of good will and fellowship. It is an image of a faceless corporation that uses its enormous administrative and social power to bully individuals into submission. It is an image of corporate officers abusing their authority to pursue private vendettas against their opponents and refusing to take responsibility for their actions. It is an image of misplaced obedience on the part of subordinate officers in following unjust and mean-spirited orders. Such trials discredit the institution they profess to defend and bring shame on its members.”…

    Source: http://www.exmormon.org/whylft131.htm
    If Katherine is a good mormon, she will not take thinking for herself so far as to actually read so-called anti-mormon books. If it’s not faith-promoting, it is assumed to be wrong.

  10. #11 johnathan.harrington
    May 9, 2010

    If that’s atheist music, I can see why less people are atheist

  11. #12 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    We’re closing in on the millionth comment. If PZ throws away another cracker we could get there by next week. ;)

  12. #13 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    For anyone who wants to join Sili in bringing a little more light into the mind of the mormon with whom he is arguing, here’s a direct link to Sili’s last comment on that page: http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2010/05/06/unintelligent_design.php#435912

  13. #14 ronsullivan
    May 9, 2010

    (billy)What the heck is wrong with John Denver?

    Seems to me that, all else aside, it’d be bad luck* to listen to him in an airplane.

    Lynna: (There are Sister missionaries too — though the bulk of the troops are young males.)

    Do the Sister misses get to be Elders when they return intact?**

    Also Lynna:The manuals also stress keeping the reputation of the church intact, so it’s always the church before the people when it comes to care.

    Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar.***

    *Yeah yeah. It’s a rhetorical device.
    **That, of course, is a rhetorical question.
    ***That’s so rhetorical it doesn’t even deserve a quark.

  14. #15 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    Ronsullivan: Good point. I’ll remember that next time I head out to a fire. I’ll just bring along von Luck’s biography to balance things.

    —-

    All the talk (writing?) about sex and missionaries; I keep flashing on boring and mechanical sexual intercourse.

  15. #16 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Katherine-the-mormon pointed out to Sili that men and women make mistakes. Joseph Smith was just a man. This is the “get of jail free card” as Sili mentioned.

    Here’s one of the Fourteen Fundamentals of Faith according to mormon doctrine:

    What a Prophet said can be revised depending on the circumstances:
         When the Prophet, the head of our church, says something that is definitely wrong he was not being inspired at that time. He was only speaking as a man. We believe that the newer Prophets can override the older Prophets. We believe we have a prophet on earth today even though he never prophecies anything.
         Reference: Ezra Taft Benson ’14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophets’ pgs 1-16, 1980: “Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.”

    And here’s another of the Fundamentals:

    Only read church approved materials:
         Any literature which is critical of the church is Satanic and/or written by disgruntled apostates or others who do not know the truth. They can be ignored and any reasonable arguments they have are unimportant since they oppose the gospel of Mormonism.

    Does anyone see a recipe for ignorance, for jello doctrine that can’t be nailed to the wall, and for arbitrary discipline coming from Church leaders?

    What a bunch of stale dishwater.

  16. #17 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    I’m back to bore you all with another sailing saga.

    On the Sound there are westerly winds at 20 to 30 knots gusting to 45 knots (50 mph/80 kph). We were close hauled under double-reefed main and #2 genoa when a gust of at least 45 knots hit us. A side stay snapped but fortunately some fast work with the wheel and sheets prevented the rigging from making further expensive noises.

    We motored back home. Our wives did point out that if we’d been with them on land on Mother’s Day instead of on the water the whole incident wouldn’t have happened.

  17. #18 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself:

    But did the boat heel over far enough for a crewmember to teabag? Enquiring minds want to know!

  18. #19 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    And I should point out that I have limited sailing experience. Though I did have a schooner capsize on me.

    I just wiped off the bar and ordered another.

  19. #20 Jim
    May 9, 2010

    I have to put in my two cents for my favorite godless music:

    First off Bad Religion ? Not only is it good music, but the lead singer has a Zoology PhD from Cornell and lectures in the fall terms at UCLA.

    Great punk rock: Materialist
    Slow piano (play this at my funeral!): Skyscraper

    And then there’s this great song from Cursive: Rise up Rise up

  20. #21 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    I will pretend I didn’t read the last post from iambilly. :-ž

  21. #22 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Sili, it occurs to me that Katherine keeps bringing up “doctrine” as if it exists and is a stable set of concepts. Not true. As an ex-mormon wrote today:

    Mormonism destroys the concept of loyalty and honesty. By manipulating, coercing, and forcing people to “hang onto” an inexplicable, indefensible, illogical collection of clap trap TBMs are turned into shape shifters. They are like prostitutes who are willing to assume any position to get the job done. The “truth” is something that is ever changing to a Mormon. Every piece of evidence, every statement, and every prior defense can be sacrificed to uphold whatever Mormon position is in vogue in the moment. These people are so inconsistent and everything, including family, friendship, honesty, loyalty, and love will be sacrificed in an instant to follow the wobbling, wavering, fickle, eternally drifting zephyr of Mormon “doctrine”. What do Mormons believe, what do they stand for, and who are their family and friends? You need to ask that question every few minutes because the answer changes on a moment by moment basis.

    Regarding the question from Ron at #14: Sister missionaries are often the women who failed to get married right away. If they had followed the preferred path, they would have found a husband right out of high school (preferably a Returned Missionary), or failing that, within their first two years at BYU. Babies must follow ASAP (though there are troubling signs that some couples may be postponing baby-making). Sister missionaries can never be Elders. They can never join the Penishood. Sisters can enjoy the blessings of the Priesthood/Penishood by marrying a man whom they can support with soft words of encouragement and a willing smile. They must avoid at all costs being a “licked cupcake”, i.e. losing their chastity, or appearing to be soiled in any manner.

  22. #23 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    ‘Tis:

    What has been seen (or read) cannot be unseen (or unread).

    Unless, of course, the paragraph contained the one salient fact you needed to remember for the essay question on the final exam. Then it will be unseen.

    (The ‘joke’ is from an Abbot & Costello routine)

  23. #24 Owlmirror
    May 9, 2010

    The prior thread brought up the subject of Roundup-resistant coca. Over at The Loom, Carl Zimmer writes about the evolution of pesticide and herbicide resistance, and refers to a recent review that details different ways that plants can evolve resistance to Roundup.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2010/05/04/how-to-make-a-superweed/

    1) Modify the enzyme that glyphosate attacks by one amino acid (ryegrass, goosegrass)
    2) Overload the quantity of glyphosate with massive amounts of the enzyme, via multiple genes (amaranth)
    3) Block the internal diffusion of glyphosate, possibly by sequestering it (horseweed and others)
    4) Receive glyphosate resistance from a close species via hybridization

    Which makes me wonder which (if any) coca evolved, or if it was something different yet again.

    While following some of the links to the New York Times and other blogs, I noticed a blog called “IntLawGrrls”, which has a post about the whole (hijab/niqab/)burqa-banning issue in France that came up here recently:

    http://intlawgrrls.blogspot.com/2010/05/stripping-women-of-veils-and-men-of.html

  24. #25 Knockgoats
    May 9, 2010

    A bit more Euro-politics: an exit poll suggests Chancellor Merkel’s centre-right coalition has lost a key regional election in North Rhine-Westphalia. Those of you outside Germany, let alone outside Europe, may think this will have no effect on you, but the financial markets may think otherwise. Although the Eurozone countries have agreed a “rescue package” for Greece (actually pretty much guaranteed to send the Greek economy into a death spiral if implemented), the lost election, if confirmed, will lose Merkel control of the Bundesrat (upper house), and may make the German government unable and/or unwilling to fund it properly, or to shore up the Euro any further. Cue renewed speculation against Greece, Spain and Portugal… and European banks are estimated to have about ?1tn exposure to Eurozone state debts.

  25. #26 blf
    May 9, 2010

    And I should point out that I have limited sailing experience. Though I did have a schooner capsize on me.

    I just wiped off the bar and ordered another.

    One of those large Ozland beer glasses, the beer (Canadian, I think), a grizzledstill-standing member of the crew, or a model (of the boat, damnit!) (in a bottle?) on the wall?

  26. #27 David Marjanovi?
    May 9, 2010

    “rescue package” for Greece (actually pretty much guaranteed to send the Greek economy into a death spiral if implemented)

    Please explain.

  27. #28 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    One of those large Ozland beer glasses, the beer (Canadian, I think), a grizzledstill-standing member of the crew, or a model (of the boat, damnit!) (in a bottle?) on the wall?

    And if it was in a bottle on the wall, did you start out with 99 of them?
    *ducks*

  28. #29 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 9, 2010

    I keep hearing about all the debt the Western countries have racked up, and wondering… who holds the notes? is it China? (I know they hold a lot of the US debt). Where does all their wealth come from? if it’s only one country that holds all the debt, why aren’t they flexing their muscles more and trying to influence policy to do something about it (or at least influencing policy in their favor – or are they?)

  29. #30 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    May 9, 2010

    I’m in Orange County today, and I heard an odd comment that there was a dearth of godless music. I beg to differ: most music is godless, and I would point to rock as a genre that is almost entirely secular.

    While the origins of rock is almost certainly secular, there has been a large effort by American Christians groups to integrate rock as their own genre. IMO, there has been, increasingly, a large number rock groups who identify their music as Christian. (which is funny since only a few decades ago, rock was the music of the devil. Now it’s hip-hop. What’s next? Arirang?)

  30. #31 Rey Fox
    May 9, 2010

    There exists plenty of Christian hip hop as well, not to mention Christian black metal. It’s heartening to see religions having to play catchup with popular culture. They can’t beat it, so they have to join it.

  31. #32 thornae
    May 9, 2010

    As a chorister, I’d just like to point out that it’s a well accepted doctrine amongst choristers that all songs are either about God or Sex.

    I don’t think that PZ’s assertion that most music is godless affects this doctrine.

  32. #33 pixelfish
    May 9, 2010

    Hey, Lynna, small world time — the David P. Wright you cite in comment 10 was the father of my good friend, Becky, when I was a wee kid. He was a dedicated seeker of knowledge, constantly trying to learn more about his chosen field, and completely unafraid to follow the evidences he uncovered. I was bitter as a kid when BYU disciplined him and he and his family had to move.

    As for Mormon doctrine, I’ve already seen shifts in my fairly short lifetime. I was raised on the couplet, “God once was as man is, and as God is, so man can become,” and the promise of godhood and getting my own planet was one of the things I felt really personally about as a kid–to the point where I was studying sciences so I could be prepared to create a world with my knowledge of biology and geology and so on. So you can imagine my enthusiasm when ol’ Gordon B. brushed the idea aside in one of those interviews with Time and said, “I don’t know if we really teach that.” In fact, looking at this page (one which is devoted to Mormon apologetics, even) you can see that a bit was omitted from the Time interview where he said that, “I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made.” The apologetics page seems to think that including this makes Hinckley’s wishy-washy statement less damning, but A) he’d been high up in the church leadership my entire life so you would think that B) he would DAMN well know what was being taught to the rank and file and C) this was definitely being discussed and taught in Mormon churches. (His claiming that this wasn’t part of the church’s current public discourse is particularly disingenuous since the church practises a top-down correlation of lessons to teach through the year.)

    Then we have stuff like the temple ceremony being changed in 1990 to remove the pesky little death vows should you accidentally or purposefully reveal knowledge gained in the temple. Of course, they don’t talk about it much but the temple ceremony and the garments you have to wear keeps changing. Funny how god’s principles are supposedly eternal but keep updating with fashion and sensibilities.

    And of course, in 1978, Mormons finally caught up to the rest of the United States, only a decade behind the civil rights movement, and allowed blacks to get the priesthood. The Mormons will argue today that it wasn’t racism that kept the blacks from being given the priesthood, although all the arguments pre-1978 were based on racist ideas about inherited sin and the 13th president of the church (Ezra Taft Benson, three presidents before the current one) wrote a forward to a nasty little white supremacy document.

    All of these are pretty big doctrinal changes and while the argument often goes, “Well, Heavenly Father couldn’t reveal these changes until we were prepared,” it’s a bit funny to note that the so-called True Church was a whole decade behind the times re: integration. Funny how you can’t separate “waiting on changes until we’re prepared” from a church that follows the political momentums of its time. (I myself hope I’m alive to enjoy the schadenfreude pie when the inevitable announcement comes down the pike about gay folks being just fine.)

  33. #34 blf
    May 9, 2010

    And if it was in a bottle on the wall, did you start out with 99 of them?

    Carlie is chased from the room by yodelling barkeeper wearing a Mad Hatter’s hat and a G-string, who has a tattoo on her right arm showing a dead anteater with the legend ?That was not an octopus!?

  34. #35 Givesgoodemail
    May 9, 2010

    Looks like the fun-loving types at the RNC are being pushed out the hatch of the airplane sans chute.

  35. #36 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    May 9, 2010

    As a chorister, I’d just like to point out that it’s a well accepted doctrine amongst choristers that all songs are either about God or Sex.

    No, what about songs invoking nationalism, or song about one’s “homeland” or “way of life” which also invokes nationalism?

  36. #37 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    No, blf, just a schooner of beer to have with some hot wings.

    No, Carlie, just the one. I drink rarely, so one beer is my usual limit.

    No, blf, it really was a Portugease Man-O-War. If it looked like a dead anteater, you have been drinking too much. And it is still not an octopus.

    Thornae: If all songs are about sex or god(s), where do drinking songs (Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall for example) fit in?

  37. #38 thornae
    May 9, 2010

    No, what about songs invoking nationalism, or song about one’s “homeland” or “way of life” which also invokes nationalism?

    Well, first, you don’t tend to sing a lot of those in choirs (with the possible exception of national anthems, and then not very often).
    Second, most of those (including a large number of the aforementioned anthems) include reference to god or similar at some point.

    And third, most songs of that type are also along the lines of “Don’t fuck with us or we’ll fuck you right up.” So, y’know, still about sex.
    (Alternatively, sex -> population -> nations -> nationalism.)

  38. #39 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    blf – now that sounds like my kind of bar!

    iambilly – the other important question is do the bottles get removed from the wall by being taken down and passed around, or by accidentally falling? Anecdotal evidence is inconclusive.

  39. #40 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    May 9, 2010

    Second, most of those (including a large number of the aforementioned anthems) include reference to god or similar at some point.

    Perhaps in western tradition, but in eastern traditions there exist some songs that are purely devoid of God and sex.

  40. #41 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Oh, hai. A nearly empty endless thread!

    Got a serious question for anyone and everyone. The other day, I bought up the differing views on circumcision that Mr. ODS and I have. Shorter: he’s very very pro- (citing Jewish tradition) and I am very very anti- (atheist with no ties to any religion). The kicker is, I am actively trying to get pregnant and I would like this resolved before it’s too late.

    Any ideas how I can handle this? This is the one major argument in my marriage, but not something that I am willing to compromise. Any advice would be super appreciated!

  41. #42 thornae
    May 9, 2010

    If all songs are about sex or god(s), where do drinking songs (Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall for example) fit in?

    Oh, you mean proper choral songs.
    Well, those are about getting everyone drunk enough to indulge in large amounts of debauched sex. Or at least, they were in my uni choir…

    Hm… Maybe I should clarify that the doctrine, while holding up fairly well for rock music, was formulated almost entirely on the sample set of Songs Sung In Choir Concerts.

    Although we did used to sing a nice four part arrangement of Rubber Ducky – make of that what you wil…

  42. #43 andrewblairesch
    May 9, 2010

    “Darkness of Christ/Disciple” from Slayer’s album God Hates us all

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2D5eIxUzfY,

  43. #44 David Marjanovi?
    May 9, 2010

    if it’s only one country that holds all the debt

    Private creditors exist, too.

    the other important question is do the bottles get removed from the wall by being taken down and passed around, or by accidentally falling?

    The former.

    Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall…

  44. #45 Pygmy Loris
    May 9, 2010

    Becca @29,

    Wikipedia has this graphic of the holders of US public debt:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Estimated_ownership_of_US_Treasury_securities_by_category_0608.jpg

    The bare majority is “intragovernmental holdings.” Only 27% is in foreign hands.

    The US Treasury offers this list of foreign holders of US public debt. The two largest are China and Japan who, together, hold $1.6 trillion of the US debt. Whether either country is in a position to do much about Western debt is questionable.

    China would suffer a lot if it tried to get rid of it’s holdings because that’s how they keep their artificially low exchange rate. If the exchange rate of the yuan was free, Chinese exports would not be nearly so cheap for other countries, which would hurt Chinese industry tremendously. The drop in US demand caused by the current recession has already put many people out of work in China and caused factories to close. The Communist Party has too many internal problems to try to take on the US right now. Causing an upsurge in unemployment by revaluing the yuan would certainly not help their position.

    I don’t know much about Japan’s situation, or whether they could afford to use their holdings as leverage on US policy.

  45. #46 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Me @ 41:

    This is the one major argument in my marriage, but not something that I am willing to compromise.

    Dammit, I’ve had too many cocktails today. This should read:

    This is the one major argument in my marriage, but not something that I am NOT willing to compromise.

  46. #47 blf
    May 9, 2010

    Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall…

    Ah, now that sounds like my bar, The Yellow Pig.

  47. #48 Knockgoats
    May 9, 2010

    David Marjanovi?@27,

    The terms of the bailout include large cuts in public sector salaries and pensions, so the Greek government’s income will actually go down, because revenue from both direct and indirect taxation will fall – not just from those whose income is directly cut, but from all the people employed by businesses they would buy goods and services from (many of whom will either lose their jobs or have to take pay cuts themselves). So there will be pressure on the government to cut expenditure even further, which it will have to do by further cutting salaries and pensions…

  48. #49 sandiseattle
    May 9, 2010

    Hoping in on the topic of music, go to youtube and search “glosoli” nice music by an iceland band.

    and

    My LJ now has real content. Check it out.

  49. #50 Alan B
    May 9, 2010

    The talk about who owns the US debt reminded me of this story:

    Concern as China clamps down on rare earth exports.

    Neodymium is one of 17 metals crucial to green technology. There?s only one snag ? China produces 97% of the world?s supply. And they?re not selling.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/concern-as-china-clamps-down-on-rare-earth-exports-1855387.html

    Neodynium (Nd) is used to make the strongest type of permanent magnet. Nd magnets are used in a huge range of items where permanent magnets are required and especially where weight is important (e.g. computer hard drives and motors in electric cars).

    Where China comes in is that they produce 97% of the world’s Nd and are using their massive trade surplus to try to buy up some of the remaining 3% (see the article). This is true for other raw materials. The Chinese are less concerned about human rights in the countries with which they trade and are reputed to be buying up other sources of important metals and minerals. Whether this is to secure their own sources of supply or to be able to close off supplies to other nations depends on your level of paranoia.

  50. #51 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself

    On the Sound there are westerly winds at 20 to 30 knots gusting to 45 knots (50 mph/80 kph). We were close hauled under double-reefed main and #2 genoa when a gust of at least 45 knots hit us. A side stay snapped but fortunately some fast work with the wheel and sheets prevented the rigging from making further expensive noises.

    All of these sailing adventures sound like great fun to me! Staying on land with ladies? Not so much fun.

  51. #52 Falyne, FCD
    May 9, 2010

    My college’s concert chorale sang this:

    http://ericwhitacre.com/music-catalog/satb-choral/leonardo-dreams-of-his-flying-machine

    The rest of the composer’s works can be godly, but this one was a pure ode to humanity.

  52. #53 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    Carlie: They are passed around. Gravity only exists in sucky bars.

    Thornae: The best version of ‘Rubber Ducky’ I ever heard was by Ernie (of Bert and Ernie fame) who is, according to the radical religious right wing, half of a gay couple bent on the indocrination of our impressionable youth into the gay lifestyle. So, yeah, sex.

  53. #54 Falyne, FCD
    May 9, 2010

    Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall…

    Heh, at this crazy academic summer camp I went to as a teen/preteen, a group of us who took Number Theory realized that scanned. It became the national anthem of the pseudo-nation we declared ourselves members of…. oh, David, you just reminded me of good times. ;-)

  54. #55 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    I just now realized that the “if one of those bottles should happen to fall” version of the song may well have been obtained from church youth bus trips. This would explain why the bottles perished rather than being drunk properly.

  55. #56 Owlmirror
    May 9, 2010

    Any advice would be super appreciated!

    1) Have girls and avoid the issue.
    2) If you have a boy anyway, divorce before he’s born.
    3) Compromise with a halfway circumcision, so you’ll both be equally unhappy.
    4) Threaten to divorce (or other emotional blackmail) if circumcision is carried out.
    5) Speaking of emotional blackmail, ask him if he sees the tradition as being a way of making sure that sons are as miserable as their fathers.

    WARNING: Not all advice guaranteed to be useful. No liability will be assumed if advice causes misery, conflict, irreconcilable differences, loss of consciousness, facepalming, headdesking, shouting matches, uncontrollable rage, obnoxious sarcasm, death, or a fate worse than death.

  56. #57 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    pixelfish @33

    Hey, Lynna, small world time — the David P. Wright you cite in comment 10 was the father of my good friend, Becky, when I was a wee kid. He was a dedicated seeker of knowledge, constantly trying to learn more about his chosen field, and completely unafraid to follow the evidences he uncovered. I was bitter as a kid when BYU disciplined him and he and his family had to move.

    Lucky you to have known a mormon with an intact and inquisitive brain.

    What always amazes me about mormons like the Katrina that Sili is arguing with is that those mormons believe their leaders when they say they want everyone seeking knowledge and thinking for themselves. Do they not notice that if you do that well you will be disciplined, or excommunicated, or forced to move out of the community?

    I’ve taken to watching what the leaders do, not what they say. What they do are things like this: http://mormonstories.org/?p=845 They force Peter Danzig and his wife out of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and out of the church because Peter wrote a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune in support of a BYU Prof who was being disciplined. Listen to that podcast and you find out how the church really works.

    As always, thanks for the insider details.

  57. #58 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    pixelfish, BTW, that business of Prophet/Seer/Revelator Hinckley lying in Time magazine … he did the same thing, told the same line in a TV interview. I’ve seen some ex-mormons report that the lie was the last straw for them, the last shove that sent them out the door. Hinckley only got away with it, for the most part, because a lot of mormons do not know their own history, nor do they read what their prophets say.

  58. #59 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Owlmirror,
    How did you know my argument strategy? It’s like you’re psychic!

    1) Have girls and avoid the issue.

    Oh, how I wish. But I’m not quite so sure I can control that aspect of reproduction. :(

  59. #60 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Lynna #51

    All of these sailing adventures sound like great fun to me!

    Sometimes being at sea can be a bit more exciting than you might really want.

  60. #61 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Lord Jesus Christ (his real name) hit by car

    The victim might have forgiven the woman who ran him down in a Massachusettscrosswalk, but police haven’t.

    Police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down a man named Lord Jesus Christ as he crossed a street in Northampton on Tuesday.

    The 50-year-old man is from Belchertown. Officers checked his ID and discovered that, indeed, his legal name is Lord Jesus Christ. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor facial injuries and later released, according to the local paper, The Republican.

  61. #62 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    The Dubliners “Go To Sea No More”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUQvZiw1Ouo

    I really wanted to post a link to a song called “The River Lea” but the three covers I found on YouTube all sucked.

    No more I’ll take the first lookout,
    No more I’ll take the wheel.
    No more at the cry “Up aloft” I fly,
    While “Aye, aye, Sir!” I squeal.
    No more I’ll reef those topsails,
    For it is no more my trade.
    No more I’ll brail that spanker in
    On board of the River Lea.

    No more I’ll go to sea,
    Beat down the Bay of Fundy.
    Forever more I’ll stay on shore,
    I’ll go to sea no more.

  62. #63 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    I dunno, ‘Tis, I envision you more along the lines of “The Cruise of the Calabar“.
    ;)

  63. #64 Owlmirror
    May 9, 2010
    1) Have girls and avoid the issue.

    Oh, how I wish. But I’m not quite so sure I can control that aspect of reproduction.

    Sperm can be sorted.

    Another option, if it is a boy, is to tell everyone that he’s a girl, and dress him as such, and prevent everyone else from seeing his genitalia until he’s, I dunno, ten or so. This may be a high price to pay, but there you go.

    See comment #56 for standard disclaimer regarding advice.

  64. #65 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    “The Cruise of the Calabar”

    That’s another song I can’t find on YouTube.

  65. #66 JeffreyD
    May 9, 2010

    Great jumping jets of jeezus jism! I go away for a couple of weeks and the endless thread has metastasized at an alarming rate. Egads Holmes!

    Time to dig in and try to catch up with at least the major issues.

    Waves hello to all.

  66. #67 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010
  67. #68 iambilly
    May 9, 2010

    ‘Tis:

    I haven’t been able to find it, either. I needed it for a concert I’ll be doing on October 1 and was able to (sort of) find the words (which I rewrote to match the version I know (from Makem and Clancy)). I was totally sussed on the chording until I realized it was the same basic structure as “On the Plains of the Buffalo” which is an easy two chord song. I transposed it to C and Gm which works perfectly for my (so called) voice.

  68. #69 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Waves hello to all.

    Waves back.

  69. #70 Mattir
    May 9, 2010

    @ Lynna

    A licked cupcake? Really? I think I’d enjoy being a licked cupcake.

    @ODS – I posted on the boys with booboos thread about my experience with this exact issue. I would just add that no matter what the outcome, there will be plenty of other, and potentially more important, parenting disagreements to come.

  70. #71 JeffreyD
    May 9, 2010

    Waves to the Nerd.

  71. #72 ronsullivan
    May 9, 2010

    David Marjanovi?, previous Thread instar: Please adopt “lapsus mentis” instead. There is no form “mentae”.
    …Yeah, OK, there’s a form menthae, but… :o)

    Yer right, but “… ‘mentibus’ ” maybe. Same lapse, several alleged minds. Or maybe they left their brainses in their lapses. Or their mouthwash failed.

    Ol’ Greg: And it sure won’t be “Conservatina”…

    Accordion to whom?

    Sorry; I just keep seeing a very timid accordion player when I see that word. Thank Cthulu I’m not also hearing this marvel.

    Speaking of Mother’s Day (Or is it Mothers’ Day?): Some guy in Parade Magazine pulled a lapsus Lynnae of sorts on his own mom.

  72. #73 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    so, while reading something completely unrelated, I discovered that the Starbucks I used to work at broke OSHA regulations when they didn’t close the shop down when the AC broke and indoor temperatures rose to well above 90F.

    Fuck. I wish I’d known that then, I’d so would have reported their lousy asses. That’s what I get for not knowing my rights.

  73. #74 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Yes, the “licked cupcake” is one of those mormon tropes that regularly makes the rounds, especially as a warning to Young Women’s groups. The moral goes like this: If you had your choice of all the cupcakes on a platter, would you choose the one that someone else had already licked? [cue "yuck" and "eeww" shudders from the chaste young women]

    Here’s some great news in Utah politics. This is out of the same GOP convention that was mentioned in the previous chapter of the thread, where über mormon and über conservative Senator Bennett was shown the door for not being conservative enough. At least there’s some good news:

    Sensing that retired school teacher Claudia Wright was making headway, Matheson put in a hysterical call begging Steny Hoyer to fly out to Salt Lake City to save him. Hoyer did fly out, and begged and cajoled delegates to vote for Matheson, but ultimately failed to secure the party endorsement for him. He came up 5% short of the 60% needed.
         So what about Claudia? Well, how about this? She’s Brigham Young’s great great granddaughter! And she left the Mormon Church. And she’s openly gay and living with her partner. And, better yet, she’s a brilliant woman with a solidly Democratic platform that shows Matheson is really nothing but a tarted-up Republican in a blue jersey!…

    Can Brigham Young’s Great Great Gay Progressive Granddaughter Oust a Blue Dog and Win a House Seat in Utah?

  74. #75 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2010

    I note with pleasure that teh ECO has recently performed some (much-needed IMO) house-cleaning by getting rid not only of the Blinking Dr. Strangelove War Room Map below every comment box but also his Twitter feed and that ridiculous Top Posts widget, which afaik nobody ever knew what it meant.

    simplify, simplify

  75. #76 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    ‘Tis @60

    Sometimes being at sea can be a bit more exciting than you might really want.

    Okay, that’s a bit much. Where’s the coast guard!? Stuff of nightmares.

  76. #77 Lynna, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Mother’s Day for mormon missionaries:

    For children who leave home and move on, Mother’s Day is often marked by the much-anticipated long-distance call home.
         For mothers of missionaries in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that anticipation lasts months, making the time-honored tradition particularly meaningful.
         In addition to sending weekly e-mail notes or handwritten letters, young Mormon missionaries can talk to their families only twice a year. The cherished semiannual ritual falls on Christmas and Mother’s Day, holidays when either Jesus Christ or family is the focus. The calls also serve as reassurance and mile markers for mothers who aren’t there to witness their children’s transition into adulthood.
         ”My mom is the best mom in the world,” said Elder James Hilton, 21, who is nearing the end of a mission in Sapporo, Japan. (A missionary is addressed as elder during an assignment.) “Me and my brothers were everything to her and still are. For her, my getting to go to the place I’ve always wanted to go was great. But at the same time, it means I’m growing up and leaving her.”…

    This story appeared in the Chicago Tribune, but it has the unmistakeable stink of mormon-written pablum, including a little propaganda to get people to join the church. “By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune reporter” — taking bets now on her mormon background.

  77. #78 pixelfish
    May 9, 2010

    @Lynna: We had two different versions of the licked cupcake: the chewed gum and the rose with the petals pull off. Oh, man, church was the place for really bad metaphors regarding sexuality, all commodifying virginity as a single-use resource. (One of the other reasons to leave the church: all the completely daft stuff I don’t want my kids to be taught.)

  78. #79 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    pixelfish – we did the chewed gum thing on purpose once, not to be a sexual metaphor, but just to try and unnerve the youth pastor and regular pastor during church. A whole pew of teenagers passed a single piece of gum up and down the row a few times, trying to be sure to hand it off every time they were looking in our direction. That was one of the more fun church services I sat through.

  79. #80 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    I have much better horrid metaphors. the baseball glove, for example: a brand new one is completely useless and needs to be broken in first, whereas a used one is ready to play from the start!

    :-p

  80. #81 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    pixelfish – we did the chewed gum thing on purpose once, not to be a sexual metaphor, but just to try and unnerve the youth pastor and regular pastor during church. A whole pew of teenagers passed a single piece of gum up and down the row a few times, trying to be sure to hand it off every time they were looking in our direction. That was one of the more fun church services I sat through.

    win

  81. #82 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 9, 2010

    iambilly:

    If all songs are about sex or god(s), where do drinking songs (Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall for example) fit in?

    Drinking often leads to sex? ;p

    Welcome back, JeffreyD! Did you have a good time?

  82. #83 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Carlie’s story about passing the gum reminded me of something I did in 10th Grade.

    I was sitting in English class chewing gum. The teacher noticed and asked, “Did you bring enough for everyone?”

    I responded “I certainly did.” I pulled a bag full of gumballs out and walked around the classroom giving everyone else, including the teacher, a gumball.

    Afterward class he told me I could get away with it once but not to do it again.

  83. #84 Ol'Greg
    May 9, 2010

    Ol’ Greg: And it sure won’t be “Conservatina”…
    Accordion to whom?

    I believe that’s a concertina. Something I’m more likely to fall in love with than Walton.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD8X4-DrNU8

  84. #85 Ol'Greg
    May 9, 2010

    Hmmm… I just realized that ambiguous sentence could be read two ways.

    lol

    It’s kind of funny both ways though so I’ll leave it and let people guess my intention :P

  85. #86 JeffreyD
    May 9, 2010

    Hello dear Caine, Fleur du mal. Yep, had a good time, spousal unit on plane back to the US and I am back in my cold, lonely flat. (dramatic sweep of arm across eyes accompanied by deep sigh of longing – incidentally hiding grin.) I am beat and my never properly healed broken heel bone and semi shredded Achilles tendon giving me hell…that said, worth it, every step and every pain. How be the Caine and the rest of the clan?

    Eyes crossed from reading, going to bed. Will play catch up tomorrow.

    Nite all.

  86. #87 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 9, 2010

    JeffreyD, glad to hear it was a joyous, if somewhat painful time. I’m good, just busy. I’m pulling my studio apart, it’s time to get things re-done and re-arranged and I have a fair amount of work to do right now.

  87. #88 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    Yes, the “licked cupcake” is one of those mormon tropes that regularly makes the rounds, especially as a warning to Young Women’s groups. The moral goes like this: If you had your choice of all the cupcakes on a platter, would you choose the one that someone else had already licked? [cue "yuck" and "eeww" shudders from the chaste young women]

    Because, of course, we all know that women are just cupcakes on a platter waiting to be picked by men, and that they have to measure their self-worth according to how well they please their husbands. They couldn’t possibly be autonomous human beings with their own interests and wishes. Oh, no. /sarcasm

    Seriously, can the Mormon women in question not see how condescending and objectifying this whole attitude is? Women are not cupcakes, nor are they gifts on a platter for the benefit of men. They’re human beings, and they have the right to make their own life-choices in accordance with what they want and what they believe to be right. If they want to be chaste until marriage, that?s fine ? it?s up to them to make that choice ? but they should do it because they want to, not because they think men want them to.

    ======

    Ol’Greg,

    I believe that’s a concertina. Something I’m more likely to fall in love with than Walton.

    Hmmm…. you’re more likely to fall in love with a concertina than with me? Or you’re more likely to fall in love with a concertina than I am?

    It has to be said, both meanings are probably equally accurate. I can’t say I’ve ever had any particular amorous urges towards concertinas. And the other one probably speaks for itself. :-)

  88. #89 F
    May 9, 2010

    Available for perusal: whitepaper on science education in the U.S.
    http://www.nature.com/scitable/forums/timetodecide

  89. #90 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    Off-topic: Ol’Greg, I really like your blog. Your photos of Paris and environs are amazing, and are making me want to go there (especially as it’s only a couple of hours away).

  90. #91 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    Jadehawk:

    I have much better horrid metaphors. the baseball glove, for example: a brand new one is completely useless and needs to be broken in first, whereas a used one is ready to play from the start!

    :-p

    Ugh. The implications of that one are somewhat depressing. I guess some of us are baseball gloves which never even got taken out of the packaging, and are still languishing on the shelf gathering dust and waiting to be thrown away. :-(

  91. #92 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    Because, of course, we all know that women are just cupcakes on a platter waiting to be picked by men, and that they have to measure their self-worth according to how well they please their husbands.

    Then would the dreaded cupcake cake be an orgy?

    Seriously, can the Mormon women in question not see how condescending and objectifying this whole attitude is?

    Given that some of them call themselves prairie muffins, I would guess not.

  92. #93 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    *smacks Walton*

  93. #94 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    *smacks Walton*

    ???? What did I do?

    Sorry if I said something stupid. I didn’t mean to.

  94. #95 Falyne, FCD
    May 9, 2010

    *tries to decide if Walton is The Woobie or The Scrappy*

    I guess YMMV.

  95. #96 David Marjanovi?
    May 9, 2010

    I’m discovering the joys of the Jadehawk biorhythm. Specifically, I just worked undisturbed till 1 am and actually got something finished, because my brother threw me out of the room at 11 pm.

    However, I’m tired now, so I’ll go to bed instead of helping Sili.

    So there will be pressure on the [Greek] government to cut expenditure even further, which it will have to do by further cutting salaries and pensions…

    Ouch. Thanks for the explanation.

    Yer right, but “… ‘mentibus’ ” maybe. Same lapse, several alleged minds.

    You’re looking for mentium, the genitive (as opposed to dative/ablative) plural.

    Can Brigham Young’s Great Great Gay Progressive Granddaughter Oust a Blue Dog and Win a House Seat in Utah?

    Sounds good…

    I note with pleasure that teh ECO has recently performed some (much-needed IMO) house-cleaning by getting rid not only of the Blinking Dr. Strangelove War Room Map below every comment box but also his Twitter feed and that ridiculous Top Posts widget, which afaik nobody ever knew what it meant.

    Oh. I only noticed the map was gone, and the next day I noticed the activity of this laptop’s fan was back to normal. Yes, the Twitter feed was useless, and the Top Posts widget was only good for quickly finding an interesting thread that hadn’t been commented on very recently ? that occurs once a month or so.

    A whole pew of teenagers passed a single piece of gum up and down the row a few times

    :-D

    If they want to be chaste until marriage, that?s fine ? it?s up to them to make that choice ?

    …though I still recommend against it. If you don’t know each other inside and out-, I doubt you should enter that particular kind of long-term binding contract.

    (Always funny when I say such things, hmpf.)

    Will check out the Paris photos and the whitepaper tomorrow later today.

  96. #97 Falyne, FCD
    May 9, 2010

    You did the whole self-insulting thing. I’m inclined towards Woobiedom, myself, but like I said, milage varies. ;-)

  97. #98 Cath the Canberra Cook
    May 9, 2010

    @thornae, I suspect that you may be a fellow AICSAn? Shall we start up a Laudate? La’s a G, don’t forget the grunting and air punching.

    If this makes no sense, then sorry. I have discovered that chorister humour around the world is pretty similar, though fine details vary.

  98. #99 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    Woobie, but I’m still smacking him. With a new baseball glove. (and then I’ll give him his very own cupcake)

  99. #100 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    (and then I’ll give him his very own cupcake)

    Licked or unlicked?

  100. #101 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    I like cupcakes. :-)

    One of my friends has a whole book of awesome cupcake recipes – including lemon meringue cupcakes, which I’ve never tried but which sound delicious.

  101. #102 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    I’ve just realised that given the context, #101 will probably be interpreted as a sexual innuendo. For clarification, I was actually talking about real cupcakes. :-D

    (I occasionally do talk about things other than sex, British politics and my own emotional travails. Sometimes.)

  102. #103 David Marjanovi?
    May 9, 2010

    ???? What did I do?

    I’ll say it again, Walton: you’re too young to worry that much about this. My dad was 33 when he married, and by then he had already come to terms with the perpetually single life. Go to bed and sleep instead of sinking into depression.

  103. #104 Cobolt
    May 9, 2010

    Given that some of them call themselves prairie muffins, I would guess not.

    Is that where the term Muffin came from? Ala Lady Gaga, and yes I know it’s been around for a very long time.

    I have much better horrid metaphors. the baseball glove, for example: a brand new one is completely useless and needs to be broken in first, whereas a used one is ready to play from the start!

    :-p

    I’m not sure that’d be a good metaphor to share with the women. Have you seen how a baseball glove is “worn in”?

  104. #105 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    I’m not sure that’d be a good metaphor to share with the women. Have you seen how a baseball glove is “worn in”?

    yes. what part of it being a horrid metaphor did you miss?

    though I’m sure there’s some kinky mormons out there who are into lube and bondage :-p

  105. #106 Weed Monkey
    May 9, 2010

    #105, I’m no mormon but that sounds just the right kind of kinky for me! Although it just might not be the right way to introduce my new, eh, baseball glove to anything…

  106. #107 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Owlmirror:

    Sperm can be sorted.

    It can, but that sure takes the fun out of things.

    MATTIR:

    I would just add that no matter what the outcome, there will be plenty of other, and potentially more important, parenting disagreements to come.

    I’m kind of viewing the circumcision disagreement as our first test as parents (even though there’s no babies yet). Mr. ODS and I aren’t the type of couple that fights very often, but when we do, we brawl*. If we’re both too stubborn to agree on this one issue, how will we be able to effectively raise a child together?

    Maybe I’m over thinking this.

    *Metaphorically, of course.

  107. #108 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    I’ll say it again, Walton: you’re too young to worry that much about this.

    Meh. You’re probably right.

    Go to bed and sleep instead of sinking into depression.

    Sleep is overrated… since getting up (at about 8.30am) I’ve had three cups of strong coffee and about a litre-and-a-half of diet cola, so I’m still on the caffeine high. Anyway, I had eight hours’ sleep last night, so don’t really need to sleep so much tonight. (I’m in the process of trying to train myself to cram information with less sleep.)

  108. #109 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    (I’m in the process of trying to train myself to cram information with less sleep.)

    not going to work. you’ll just make yourself ill again. stop wasting time on training yourself not to sleep.

  109. #110 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    not going to work. you’ll just make yourself ill again. stop wasting time on training yourself not to sleep.

    At the moment I’m going through cycles: I operate for a few days with four or five hours’ sleep a night, but after a few days of little sleep I just get so exhausted that I completely lose the plot and just can’t concentrate any more. This week, the whole staying-up-for-the-general-election thing didn’t do me much good. :-(

  110. #111 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    I envy Margaret Thatcher, who reportedly needed only three or four hours of sleep a night when she was Prime Minister. Sadly, being able to think effectively without sleep seems to be a genetic trait which I don’t have.

  111. #112 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    right. so instead of forcing yourself to gain an extra 3 hours a day for a few days, and then lose an entire day due to exhaustion and grogginess, you could instead just get 8 hours of sleep every day and not lose any days at all.

    mathematically, my solution gives you more hours. health-wise, my solution is also less likely to make you physically and/or mentally ill.

  112. #113 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Walton:

    (I’m in the process of trying to train myself to cram information with less sleep.)

    Not a good idea. No matter what, you won’t retain nearly as much information as being well rested, even with the caffeine high. You’ll perform way better if you’re not sleep-deprived, trust me.

    And if you’re young (you’re a uni student, right?) chances are you need more sleep than older people. Don’t short-change yourself– you’re just gonna make yourself miserable. The last thing we need is another whiny hipster. ;)

  113. #114 AnthonyK
    May 9, 2010

    Sorry if I said something stupid. I didn’t mean to.

    To be fair, you rarely do. Wrong possibly, but stupid rarely.

    I’m in the process of trying to train myself to cram information with less sleep

    Margaret Thatcher!

    Have you seen how a baseball glove is “worn in”?

    Worn in where?

    After class he told me I could get away with it once but not to do it again

    Now that’s a good teacher!

  114. #115 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    I envy Margaret Thatcher, who reportedly needed only three or four hours of sleep a night when she was Prime Minister.

    that would explain a lot. people don’t come that vile naturally (I hope).

  115. #116 Walton
    May 9, 2010

    It’s 2am. I could reply to Jadehawk’s comments about Margaret Thatcher; or I could carry on trying to cram my brain full of tenancies, contractual licences and leasehold covenants in land law; or I could go to bed. Tough choice.

  116. #117 Cobolt
    May 9, 2010

    yes. what part of it being a horrid metaphor did you miss?

    though I’m sure there’s some kinky mormons out there who are into lube and bondage :-p

    The horrid part, sorry :)But in my defence you did also say better.

  117. #118 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    go to bed.

  118. #119 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    what, you don’t think lube and bondage are better than pre-licked muffins? :-p

    yeah, by better, I meant more graphic and amusing to me.

  119. #120 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 9, 2010

    since getting up (at about 8.30am) I’ve had three cups of strong coffee and about a litre-and-a-half of diet cola

    Yikes! I’m a bit of a caffeine addict myself and even I think that’s a bit excessive (though I’ve probably taken similar amounts when studying for exams).

    I actually had a buddy who needed to get a lab report and two assignments done in one night. He drank something like eight espressos and had to be taken to the hospital for caffeine intoxication. So don’t take it too far!

  120. #121 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 9, 2010

    could carry on trying to cram my brain full of tenancies, contractual licences and leasehold covenants in land law; or I could go to bed.

    Sleep helps form memories. Get enough before your tests. So to bed…

  121. #122 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Admittedly, this is not a coherent argument about why Thatcher is a horrid PM. But it is a great rave up about Richard Thompson’s dislike of her.

  122. #123 Carlie
    May 9, 2010

    Go to bed! Every memory study ever done shows that people retain information better if they go to sleep between learning it and being tested on it. And the more sleep the better.

    I am in mourning because my awesome cowboys lost the Amazing Race to a couple of jerks. Boo, reality tv! Boo!

    However, I did get all my grading done for the semester. Hooray!

  123. #124 AnthonyK
    May 9, 2010

    I don’t envy you Walton, it all sound so…so…well, so

    fucking boring

    . What, pray, is the ultimate goal of all these legal studies? What are you going to do in the world with all this auto-adminstered dentistry?
    Once, when I was in Ireland, a good few years ago, I was hitchiking and a BMW pulled up. Success! The driver was taciturn for most of the journey (unusual in an Irishman, then and now) until we neared Dublin. Then he spilled the beans. He was a solicitor in Mullingar, like his father. He was married, with children, well off, successful but -
    Ever since he could remember, since early childhood, he had known that he would be a solicitor like his father. In the family law firm. He had known this, it was his destiny, and he had fulfilled it. However, he had hated the idea, he’d always hated it – legal training, the family practice, the life ahead of him, ever since he was a little boy his future, a hideous future, had been written.
    And so, it came to pass. He was a solictor, in the family pracice, in Mullingar, and his life had been exquisite torture – the dreariness of small-town professional life, the favours, the expectations, the stupidity of it all – from when he was very young he had seen his life (a good one, to anyone else) unrolled in front of him; his only hope – his retirement.
    He was soon to retire, and a lifetime of foretold unhappiness to end.
    So I felt sorry for a rich man in a BMW, who’d foreseen his life, dreaded it, and was now nearing the end.
    Not that this’ll happen to you – but whither Walton the lawyer?

  124. #125 Rorschach
    May 9, 2010

    This is the one major argument in my marriage, but not something that I am NOT willing to compromise.

    Bloody owlmirror already beat me to the compromise joke…..

    Off-topic: Ol’Greg, I really like your blog. Your photos of Paris and environs are amazing, and are making me want to go there

    Yeah, Walton wants to “go to Paris”.Good on you son, worked for me !
    :P

    Although I have to say I can think of worse things then spending time in paris with Ol’Greg…:-)

  125. #126 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 9, 2010

    What, pray, is the ultimate goal of all these legal studies? What are you going to do in the world with all this auto-adminstered dentistry?

    He has said that he wants to legally help immigrants. I think this is a noble choice (and not exactly the most lucrative position he have could taken).

  126. #127 Rorschach
    May 9, 2010

    I’m pleased to see that Windows XP, which came preinstalled on my new EeePC, did not manage to get through the first boot without killing itself.Never disappoints.
    First impression: slow.

  127. #128 Geoffrey
    May 9, 2010

    @Rorschach

    First impression: slow.

    In other news, dog bites man. :)

  128. #129 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 9, 2010

    Speaking of Windows, has anyone yet used Windows 7? Anything – anything at all – must be better than that nightmare Vista which owns my laptop.

  129. #130 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010
    This is the one major argument in my marriage, but not something that I am NOT willing to compromise.

    Bloody owlmirror already beat me to the compromise joke…..

    Half a circumcision?! That’s absolutely horrifying!

  130. #131 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Problems with XP? I’m shocked! And amazed! And shocked even more. :-þ

  131. #132 Geoffrey
    May 9, 2010

    @OurDeadSelves

    What about leaving it up to the child when the child is old enough to decide for themselves?

  132. #133 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Geoffrey #132:

    What about leaving it up to the child when the child is old enough to decide for themselves?

    Yeah, that would be my solution. I’m totally cool with whatever body mods a person wants to do*.

    However, Mr. ODS insists on infant circumcision, citing Jewish** tradition. He had it done to him shortly after birth and so did his brothers and so did his dad… you get the picture. It doesn’t matter to him that we’re not raising our children in any faith, he just can’t get over the tradition part.

    * Being tattooed and pierced myself, it would be kind of hard not to be okay w/ mods.

    ** He’s an agnostic, FYI.

  133. #134 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 9, 2010

    ODS:

    However, Mr. ODS insists on infant circumcision, citing Jewish** tradition. He had it done to him shortly after birth and so did his brothers and so did his dad… you get the picture. It doesn’t matter to him that we’re not raising our children in any faith, he just can’t get over the tradition part.

    What would happen if you just flatly said, “No. I’m not doing this, tradition is not enough of a justification to do something to our son he might not choose himself, and I’m really disturbed that cutting his penis is more important to you than taking the default position against any surgery unless it’s necessary. Something deeper here is going on, and we need to talk about it. Right now.”

  134. #135 Geoffrey
    May 9, 2010

    Legal implications?

    Obviously, all the rights side with you while the prodigal is “inside” as it were but what does the law say if the family can’t decide once born?

    Are they the sort of person that will go behind your back and do it anyway no matter what the decision?

  135. #136 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 9, 2010

    Off-topic: Ol’Greg, I really like your blog. Your photos of Paris and environs are amazing, and are making me want to go there (especially as it’s only a couple of hours away).

    Well, go now and learn to play the harmonium before she leaves.

    Thanks, Lynna! Not that I’ve read all your posts yet …

    Damn. My sleeping is getting even more fucked up lately. I got up laaaate Friday, didn’t go to bed. Tried taking a nap Saturday around two pm, got up Sunday at 5 am. Took another nap Sunday 4 pm and got up today 2 am because I couldn’t sleep any more.

    And I still haven’t bothered to write any applications!

    Bugger.

  136. #137 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 9, 2010

    Does mr ODS keep kosher? Is he tattoed? Even if he isn’t he shouldn’t be married to a woman who is.

    So tell him that if he wants to ‘honor’ his roots, you’ll all stop eating bacon. Seems a more sensible – and reversible – policy than circumcision.

  137. #138 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Josh:

    “No. I’m not doing this, tradition is not enough of a justification to do something to our son he might not choose himself….”

    That’s my next step, I think. I don’t know what will happen after that, except both of us will probably end up crying. (We’re both emotional mushballs.)

    Geoff:

    Are they the sort of person that will go behind your back and do it anyway no matter what the decision?

    No, thankfully, he’s not.

    He’s also not insisting that a mohel does it or anything like that, so I’m kind of confused how he can justify pulling the tradition/religion card if he’s not interested in doing the whole ceremony.

    I realize that I’ve made Mr. ODS seem like a total jerkwad, but really he’s not. Most things we can compromise on, but this is one thing he’s totally stubborn and irrational about.

  138. #139 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 9, 2010

    ODS:

    I can imagine how hard this situation is for you, and I’m almost loath to offer any “advice.” I don’t know you or Mr. ODS, so I have no grasp of the dynamics of your relationship.

    Mr. ODS doesn’t sound like a jerk to me (I can’t imagine you being married to a jerk), but he does seem to have a huge, raging blindspot. And it needs to be confronted (or, at least it would “need” to be, if I were you, but I’m not). Maybe he needs to be slapped awake (metaphorically) from his sort of sleepwalking-through-it take on circumcising the boy – it just seems he doesn’t get it, because it’s all too swaddled up in mind-numbing, never-had-to-think-it-through-before “tradition.”

  139. #140 Geoffrey
    May 9, 2010

    @OurDeadSelves

    I realize that I’ve made Mr. ODS seem like a total jerkwad, but really he’s not. Most things we can compromise on, but this is one thing he’s totally stubborn and irrational about.

    You just need to out-stubborn and out-irrational him. Although insisting on tradition but not requiring a mohel to do the ceremony is pretty damned irrational.

    Unrelated: damn I love TextExpander for creating my blockquotes for me with copied text currently in the clipboard.

  140. #141 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Sili,

    Does mr ODS keep kosher? Is he tattoed? Even if he isn’t he shouldn’t be married to a woman who is.

    So tell him that if he wants to ‘honor’ his roots, you’ll all stop eating bacon. Seems a more sensible – and reversible – policy than circumcision.

    1) No, he has never kept kosher.
    2) Yes, he is tattooed.

    And asking him to give up bacon/ham/porkchops would be harder than coming to an agreement over circumcision. :) He has no use for organized religion, except in these oddball circumstances where he feels his identity is threatened.

    Mr. ODS: Circumcision symbolizes my people’s pact with God!
    Me: Wait, what? You don’t even know if God exists!
    Mr. ODS: So? It’s tradition!

    And on and on and on….

  141. #142 Jadehawk, OM
    May 9, 2010

    Speaking of Windows, has anyone yet used Windows 7? Anything – anything at all – must be better than that nightmare Vista which owns my laptop.

    the boyfriend has been running the free beta version since it came out, and his verdict is “not too fuckin’ bad, actually, but I’m still not paying for it”. So when Microsoft finally takes it away from him, he won’t have a Windows on his computer anymore.

  142. #143 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 9, 2010

    Mr. ODS: Circumcision symbolizes my people’s pact with God!
    Me: Wait, what? You don’t even know if God exists!
    Mr. ODS: So? It’s tradition!

    Um, pardon me for being so blunt but, my response would be:

    That’s just stupid, and you know it.

  143. #144 Geoffrey
    May 9, 2010

    His (I’m hoping) hypothetical comment really doesn’t work unless you picture the gumby blockquote. :)

  144. #145 Rorschach
    May 9, 2010

    Arggh, unexpected EeePC wireless driver hell…..The Atheros wireless card does not seem to be supported out of the box by Ubuntu netbook remix, which astounds me !

    But, you know what we Linuxers say in cases like this….May the source be with you !

    *gets beer and nibblies and settles for a fun afternoon of compiling*

  145. #146 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Geoff:

    Although insisting on tradition but not requiring a mohel to do the ceremony is pretty damned irrational.

    I KNOW! And it’s incredibly frustrating for me because he’s being so damned weird about this! I just want to shake him and say “Stop using your religion as a crutch! It’s not doing either of us any good! Think for yourself, dammit!”

    Josh:
    Oh, I know it’s stupid. This whole fucking argument is stupid. That’s why I was looking for second and third opinions on the endless thread. ;)

  146. #147 MrFire
    May 9, 2010

    Walton:

    If you have to stay awake, at least try doing it with some style. Buy a stovetop espresso maker, and let Lavazza carry you through the night.

    Seriously, a litre and a half of diet cola? You’ll get nothing out of that but a distended bladder, corroded teeth, and an as-yet undiscovered condition associated with overexposure to the artificial sweetening agent.

  147. #148 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    His (I’m hoping) hypothetical comment…

    Nope, actual comment from our last “discussion” from a couple of months ago. Or close to it anyway. He did mention his “pact” and tradition, so there you go.

  148. #149 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 9, 2010

    ODS:

    Oh, I know I’m probably not particularly helpful on this question, it’s just that I don’t know any other way to wake up an otherwise rational person who’s hypnotized by silliness.

  149. #150 Mattir
    May 9, 2010

    @OurDeadSelves – Trust me, there are many many more disagreements over parenting beyond circumcision, even with the general idea that one ought not to snip parts off of babies. And parents have to learn not to brawl – that’s a challenge in and of itself. In retrospect, the debate about circumcision has not been the most difficult parenting decision we’ve faced and fought over. (As I said on the other thread, I did go along with my husband’s wish to have it done, but was insistent on anesthesia and pain relief.)

    Circumcision is weird and primitive. Being pregnant and giving birth, whether or not one needs medical or surgical intervention, is also weird and primitive. Nursing is weird and primitive. I’m not even going to get into weaning and toilet training, or the whole parenting of teenagers phenomenon. Basically there is no way of being a human mammal that is “natural” (whatever that means) and devoid of cultural influence, whether or not that culture involves religion. Not all cultural influences encourage one to snip parts off of babies, but decisions about all aspects of parenting are influenced in subtle and not-so-subtle ways by religious and cultural pressures.

    The issue of how and when to go along with cultural traditions that are or may once have been religious is something that I’ve been thinking about for the last few days. Holiday celebrations are wonderful, but how does one decide which holidays one is to celebrate? I’ve heard plenty of people discuss why Christmas is an acceptable holiday for atheists to celebrate. How about Easter, or Good Friday, or St. Blaise’s Day (Groundhog Day, when one gets one’s throat blessed with candles to prevent sore throats)? Is it legitimate to observe traditionally religious holidays even if that leads some people to misidentify one as a theist?

    And actually on the half-a-circumcision joke, the procedure does actually vary in how much foreskin is snipped off. My opinion would be less is more, obviously.

  150. #151 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Josh:

    Oh, I know I’m probably not particularly helpful on this question, it’s just that I don’t know any other way to wake up an otherwise rational person who’s hypnotized by silliness.

    Me neither. As I’ve said, it’s incredibly frustrating.

    Mattir:

    Circumcision is weird and primitive. Being pregnant and giving birth, whether or not one needs medical or surgical intervention, is also weird and primitive. Nursing is weird and primitive.

    I agree, but circumcision is not like the other things you listed. Everything else you listed is necessary either for survival or socialization. Circumcision doesn’t fall into either category.

  151. #152 Geoffrey
    May 9, 2010

    @ODS

    Send him over to the For the boys with boo-boos thread.

  152. #153 Mattir
    May 9, 2010

    @OurDeadSelves

    At the time Mr. M and I had the circumcision argument, I was a halfhearted theist and Mr. M was a committed atheist, so I don’t think it’s necessarily true that atheism necessarily mandates an anti-circumcision attitude, or vice versa. Also, I don’t think the “do you do X & Y religious practices” argument is a particularly strong one, since everyone picks and chooses what religious or cultural practices they will and won’t do, or at least everyone who isn’t a fundamentalist does. No matter what, be glad that Mr. ODS isn’t a fundamentalist – I do know committed atheists who are married to partners who are fundamentalists. I don’t know quite how they do it, but they do.

  153. #154 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Geoff:
    That’s where I started on my advice seeking trek. Maybe it’s high time he sees it, too.

  154. #155 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Mattir:
    Yeah, I understand that some people are just down with the circumcision.

    I am very happy that Mr. ODS isn’t a religious nut, but I doubt I would have fallen in love and married him if he was.

    Our misunderstand largely stems from the fact that I have had zero religious education in my life, so for me I don’t really understand people that aren’t of the all-or-nothing mindset. The picking and choosing of religious ideology just seems incredibly silly to me.

    Also, he doesn’t even know if god exists. So, the circumcision would be like “insurance” that our future son would have the mark of the “choosen people.” If you ask me, that’s a damned silly reason to force a medical procedure on someone.

  155. #156 Mattir
    May 9, 2010

    @ODS – I have heard (but am not a medical professional and thus not qualified to judge) that mohels actually perform a less extreme version of circumcision than that which is usually done in hospitals. In other words, they actually snip less.

    I agree that circumcision is not like the other weird and primitive parts of raising kids. But the arguments used aren’t completely dissimilar either.

    Just have a girl – it’s easier on everyone.

  156. #157 KillJoy
    May 9, 2010

    Anybody help me find some numbers regarding the public’s attitudes toward science? I’m attempting to find ‘em myself on the ole internets, but my search-fu sucks. If there’s some research out there about this topic that I can get access to that would be awesome. In the meantime, I will keep looking on my own. Thanks!

    KJ

  157. #158 Mattir
    May 9, 2010

    OK, I’m going to stop talking about circumcision now (hooray) and go to sleep. I avoided seeing Ironman2, which my spiffy son decided should be my Mother’s Day present, and I got to spend quality time with my godless knitting friends and my new sheep fleeces instead.

  158. #159 OurDeadSelves
    May 9, 2010

    Mattir:
    Oh yes. I would love to have a girl, anyway!

    Okay, thanks everyone, but I think I’m done dominating this thread for tonight. :D I’ll leave you with a song, though. I really don’t know why, but I am totally in love with Florence + The Machine.

  159. #160 Owlmirror
    May 9, 2010
    Sperm can be sorted.

    It can, but that sure takes the fun out of things.

    Well, if it’s fun you want, make the decision be the outcome of some complex and particularly convoluted game. A rigged game, in your favor.

    (Really, I don’t know why I’m in such a silly mood.)

  160. #161 Geoffrey
    May 10, 2010

    No surprises that Penn and Teller have done a Bullshit episode on circumcision.

    http://video.yahoo.com/watch/5808710/15202871

  161. #162 Cobolt
    May 10, 2010

    I remember seeing a 60 Minutes article or similar on circumcision adn a Rabai was saying jewish boys should be circumcised, but to circumcise a child for other than religious beliefs was an affront to GOD. ??

    Perhaps Mr ODS’ concern is that his son should look like him – thus the traditional aspect. I wouldn’t know how to overcome this but it may help in understanding his position.

  162. #163 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 10, 2010

    I wouldn’t know how to overcome this but it may help in understanding his position.

    One way to overcome this might be to say:

    “You won’t be checking your son out in the shower, since you understand his penis is his own business. I’m sure you agree that how his genitals appear is his own affair, and something he’s entitled to take charge of when he’s a grown man.”

  163. #164 Owlmirror
    May 10, 2010

    Mr. ODS: Circumcision symbolizes my people’s pact with God!
    Me: Wait, what? You don’t even know if God exists!
    Mr. ODS: So? It’s tradition!

    A lot of religiously-motivated heel-dragging arises from uncertainty that arises from ignorance, I suspect.

    I would recommend two books —

    Who Wrote the Bible, by Richard Friedman

    The Bible Unearthed, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman

    Which I read because they were recommended on Pharyngula, as I recall.

    They both make it pretty clear that the bible, in which the whole pact with God thing occurs, was made up by various factions, each with their own agenda, trying to advance their religio-political causes.

    Also,

    http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch.html

    (which partly references some of the above)

    If, after reading all that, he still thinks that there was (or might have been) a pact with God…

    Well, I don’t know.

  164. #165 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    I remember seeing a 60 Minutes article or similar on circumcision adn a Rabai was saying jewish boys should be circumcised, but to circumcise a child for other than religious beliefs was an affront to GOD. ??

    Real story from a couple weeks ago :

    Patient from Mauritius or something, devout catholic, had refused much needed circumcision(for phimosis) for years, came into Emergency with urinary retention and kidney failure.Still refused the procedure when I saw him.I was confused, simply because I hadn’t been aware that catholics have any religious reasons to refuse circumcision !Maybe it was just his particular sect…

  165. #166 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    Walton, maybe you should move to Nevada…..

    Virgins to be auctioned to highest bidder

  166. #167 ~Pharyngulette~
    May 10, 2010

    Josh, OSG,

    Speaking of Windows, has anyone yet used Windows 7? Anything – anything at all – must be better than that nightmare Vista which owns my laptop.

    Yeah, well I fell into line a week ago and went ahead and actually bought it. (“Yes my Microsoft masters. It shall be as you wish.”) Upshot? Not terribly different from Vista, sadly.

    Installation over the old o/s took absolutely hours, seriously. Performance, at least on the user’s end, doesn’t appear to be terribly improved. Mind you, I’m running just 2Gb of RAM on my laptop…Might be time for another 2Gig! I’ve already had W7 hang then keel over once since installing it, though it’s been fine since then.

    I’m the sort that just lives for a shiny new bit of software, but in this case, I wouldn’t advise you to go screaming out to the shops to buy it. Honestly, it doesn’t look or act that much differently to Vista, at least that I can see. (“I’m sorry, oh my Masters! Please don’t activate the “remote format C:” command!”)

  167. #168 JustALurker
    May 10, 2010

    Speaking of Windows, has anyone yet used Windows 7? Anything – anything at all – must be better than that nightmare Vista which owns my laptop.

    Yeah, I have it on the new laptop I bought. I love it. It really is a lot better. Much easier to use and great features. I haven’t had any crashes, freeze ups or other issues. Vista is horrid, XP is better, and Windows 7 is best as far as Windows goes. My computer programmer boyfriend also got one through a program at work and he’s in love with it too. He hates switching to other computers to see how his stuff works on other operating systems. lol. I will stop there, don’t want to bring back up the hot debate on windows vs. mac vs. everything else =)

  168. #169 ~Pharyngulette~
    May 10, 2010

    Heh. Well, there you go, Josh OSG. Two completely independant and utterly contradictory reviews of the same product. I hope that helps.

  169. #170 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    Sorted out the EeePC wireless issue.One word, ndiswrapper.Got to have the Windows driver and use it in a “wrapper”, all good now, actually takes 5 minutes to fix once you know how.Still disappointing that it’s not in the kernel OOTB.

    I used Win7 in the Beta, faster than Vista(duh !), but it’s still Windows.The netbook I bought came with *gasp* antivirus software !! Havent used any of that stuff for 10 years.

    Where was PZ again last weekend? I’m perusing pics of him with various freethinkers on FB atm, and there are some hot chicks lovely freethinkers there, for sure !

  170. #171 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Health question: Is it worrying that I no longer drink any liquids which don’t contain caffeine? Coffee and diet cola are now pretty much the only things I drink throughout the day. Is this bad for me?

  171. #172 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    yes. the dehydration alone can’t be good for you.

  172. #173 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    Is this bad for me?

    Sure.

    Just don’t do it for the rest of your life and you be fine…:-)

  173. #174 JustALurker
    May 10, 2010

    Heh. Well, there you go, Josh OSG. Two completely independant and utterly contradictory reviews of the same product. I hope that helps.

    LOL. yeah really. but that happens when you talk to individuals, they have different expectations, experiences, etc. Like with browsers most people here and that I know love Firefox but I can’t stand it, it just doesn’t work for me. I bought my new laptop that came with it so I don’t know about how long it takes to get it up and running on an laptop like with you’re experience. Plus, it really depends on what you like and expect out of it. Honestly, even if Windows 7 isn’t like big of a improve from Vista, I maybe unhappy about it but I’d still be using it. I’m not a Mac fan because I’ve had some and never could recover from the major fuck ups that happened. So I would lose everything and be fucked until I could get a new computer. My boyfriend had an old computer that had major problems with the blue screen of death and reformatting it all the time. He still prefers Windows and loves Windows 7. He just backed everything up and adjusted to his problems. Now with his new computer we’ve had no problems with it. Nothings perfect but it works for me and him beautifully.

    For gadget info, it’s good to talk to people you know but also look at actual reviews. That’s what I always do. When I bought my new mp3 player there were people that had horrible experiences and others that loved it. Those stories made me nervous but there were plenty of good reviews and stories. I went with it because I thought it would work for me. I love the one I bought and haven’t had any problems with it but that doesn’t mean you will like it or not have problems. Just take it all with a grain of salt. Of course, I’m sure you already new all of that so forget I said anything. =)

  174. #175 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    also, why are you awake, Walton? you only went away a few hours ago, you have no right to be awake right now. go back to bed immediately, unless there’s something you absolutely must do right now that can’t be done later.

  175. #176 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    also, why are you awake, Walton? you only went away a few hours ago, you have no right to be awake right now. go back to bed immediately, unless there’s something you absolutely must do right now that can’t be done later.

    ? I went to bed at 2am, and got up again at about 8.45. That’s plenty of sleep. I have tons of work to do this morning, which I’m about to get started on.

  176. #177 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    clearly I’m overworked. I have not noticed that it’s been over seven hours since I started staring at the jungle of nodes on my screen. Maybe it’s me who should be going to bed :-p

  177. #178 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Not that this’ll happen to you – but whither Walton the lawyer?

    You may well ask. My career plan has been to become a local “high street” solicitor doing legal aid work, specialising in criminal defence and immigration.

    But I’m not even 100 percent sure I want to be a lawyer. I do have alternatives. I’ve been offered a place for next year on a masters course in “Social Science of the Internet” at the Oxford Internet Institute (assuming I get a 2.i), for which I applied on an impulse. If I take it up and do well on that course, I might go on to a doctorate and see if I can move into academia, rather than a career in the law. But I’m not certain whether I’m bright enough to succeed as an academic.

    Alternatively, I’ve also thought about doing a masters in library and information science, and becoming a public librarian – though the comparative scarcity of library jobs could be a problem.

  178. #179 JustALurker
    May 10, 2010

    The netbook I bought came with *gasp* antivirus software !! Havent used any of that stuff for 10 years.

    Viruses aren’t that bad and you can deal with them. I’ve gotten a couple different Trojan horses and cookie trackers that are easily removed and don’t harm you’re computer. I recently got one of the horrible new ones that render your computer useless. It pops up as an antivirus software program and “scans” your computer. You’re not able to go online or run other programs. But I just hoped on my old computer, found a free program to stop it from running, transfered it by a USB drive, ran the program an an Administrator and then was able to use AVG to remove it. All told it took about an hour, and I was still able to occupy my time by playing a computer game while it scanned. I understand for some people that’s too much of a pain, and they wouldn’t have been able to deal with it and that’s understandable. It’s just not a deal breaker for me. I have everything backed up already and worst case scenario is to reformat. The reason I can’t deal with Apple is that there is no fix for the problems that come up, you have to get a new computer and I can’t do that. Windows is workable but if you get problems with Apple you’re just screwed. Of course, this is just my opinion from my own experiences. Plus, the only reason I got the virus in the first place was because I was downloading from an unreliable source online. You most likely won’t get something unless you’re doing something shady online. (shrug) Different strokes, different folks.

    For anti-virus and spyware the program that comes with Windows sucks. I’d suggest AVG, Malewarebytes and SUPER Anti-Spyware. They are all free and work great for almost anything that comes along.

  179. #180 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    Viruses aren’t that bad and you can deal with them.

    You misunderstood. My computers don’t do viruses…:-)

    I think there is about 50 Linux viruses out there, as opposed to ~60.000 for Windows, and that’s not counting software vulnerabilities.
    And if you happen to have to run Windows at times, you use antivir for antivirus business, it’s free, unintrusive and not resource-hungry.

  180. #181 JustALurker
    May 10, 2010

    @180

    Ah, my bad I was thinking you got a new PC after not using one for 10 years. Clearly, I really should be getting to bed too =)
    and thanks, but i do have that one already just forgot to add it lol

    And yes, there definitely is a lot of viruses out there but like I said, it doesn’t effect me much. (shrug) oh well.

  181. #182 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    If I take it up and do well on that course, I might go on to a doctorate and see if I can move into academia, rather than a career in the law. But I’m not certain whether I’m bright enough to succeed as an academic.

    Argh. I should add – as I realise in retrospect that this comment was ambiguous and could be read the wrong way – that I was certainly not suggesting that legal practice doesn’t require as much ability: that’s not fair and would be somewhat offensive to a lot of brilliant lawyers. (Bride of Shrek wouldn’t be too pleased… neither would Geoffrey Robertson QC, in the extremely unlikely event that he’s reading this.) Just making clear that that isn’t what I meant, as I suddenly realised that my comment could be (mis)read that way.

    I’m not doing too well today when it comes to clear communication. :-(

  182. #183 JustALurker
    May 10, 2010

    Mind you, I’m running just 2Gb of RAM on my laptop…Might be time for another 2Gig!

    Definitely. For Windows 7 you really should have at least 4gigs. My old computer only had 2 and ran XP fine but Windows 7 doesn’t work. Windows 7 not be that different from Vista but it runs a whole hell of a lot better if you have the right computer for it.

  183. #184 John Morales
    May 10, 2010

    Walton:

    @108: Sleep is overrated… [...] (I’m in the process of trying to train myself to cram information with less sleep.)
    @182: I’m not doing too well today when it comes to clear communication. :-(

    What you’re doing is becoming accustomed to functioning on a sleep-deprivation regime, so you don’t notice your loss of ability as it becomes the norm.

    (You’re also working on increasing your caffeine tolerance.)

    Not smart, handicapping yourself thus, and relying on your resilience due to youth and health. Ah well, your choice.

  184. #185 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    The. Hell.

    I have received a leaflet from the Young Britons Foundation. It is campaigning against a hung parliament in a Tory – Lib Dem marginal and is clearly intended to help the Conservative campaign. According to a Guardian article the YBF is described by its own Chief Executive as a Conservative Madrassa that radicalises young Tories. I assume this Conservative front organisation is a way for the Conservative to circumvent the law on election expenses.

    The Guardian article says the leadership of YBS claim that the NHS is the biggest waste of money in the UK, global warming is a scam and the waterboarding of prisoners can be justified. The CE wants to scrap the NHS not just targets, thinks the police the police should shoot environmental protesters who trespass and thinks Britain should have a US style liberal firearms policy.

    The YBF apparently sends young Tories to training camps in USA to meet neo-conservatives and practice firing submachine guns and assault rifles.

    The article says that several leading Conservatives have attended YBF events such as Eric Pickles, Liam Fox and Ed Vaizey.

  185. #186 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 10, 2010

    Josh:

    Speaking of Windows, has anyone yet used Windows 7? Anything – anything at all – must be better than that nightmare Vista which owns my laptop.

    Yeah, I’m running it. It came with my Asus laptop. It’s okay, after it’s been tweaked to remove the large amount of bloatware. For Windows, it’s stable. So, I don’t mind it, and that’s high praise from me, I’m not a Windows fan.

  186. #187 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    Hot fuckety damn!

    We so much vitriol poured on Evan Harris it speaks volumes that the Tory candidate couldn’t beat him with more than 176 votes.

    Fucking animal wankers.

  187. #188 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    The YBF apparently sends young Tories to training camps in USA to meet neo-conservatives and practice firing submachine guns and assault rifles.

    O.o

    yeah, because what we need is to export a bunch of Hutaree-lookalikes to Europe. Bloody hell.

  188. #189 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Sili: I’m quite familiar with the YBF. Its founder, Donal Blaney, is a staunch right-wing conservative who wants to shift British conservatism to the right, and build stronger links between British Tories and American Republicans. (He used to be fairly well-known in the British blogosphere for his hardcore right-wing views, but his blog – donalblaney.blogspot.com – now seems to be open to invited readers only.)

    However, his views are in no way representative of mainstream British Conservatism. The YBF offers various training courses in political campaigning, which is why they’re relatively well-known within the party, but the vast majority of Tories who take those courses don’t share Blaney’s personal views.

    As to the horrible campaign run by Nicola Blackwood in Oxford West, I agree with you, and that’s largely why I deliberately declined to be involved in campaigning in Oxford during this election period. I thought the campaign represented the worst kind of US-style divisive religious politics – something we definitely don’t need more of in Britain – and if there is a second election this year, I certainly will not be supporting the Tory campaign locally.

  189. #190 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Fucking animal wankers.

    That’s not fair. I have good friends who were involved in her campaign. I think they’re wrong, but it doesn’t make them bad people. Politics isn’t so simple as that.

  190. #191 John Morales
    May 10, 2010

    FWIW, I’m running a 2003 box (Athlon 2400+, upgraded to 1.25G RAM from 512M in 2006) with an 80G HDD and XP; it flies and is perfectly stable (and always has been). I reboot it around once a week, or when I’m updating Windows.

    I will be upgrading to a 2nd-hand 2007 Vista box¹ with about 6x the processor power and a 500G disk (I’m using 24G right now!), and the fist thing I’ll do is go through the Registry and kill any unnecessary apps.

    ¹ Hand-me-down from a friend. I don’t need it, but hey.

  191. #192 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    And, Sili: I have to wonder why you’re so personally invested in local Oxford politics.

    You appear to be slightly in love with Evan Harris… (to be fair, I can understand this). :-P

  192. #193 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    These animal wankers.

    You appear to be slightly in love with Evan Harris… (to be fair, I can understand this). :-P

    More fun than Danish politics. We don’t have nerds making information beautiful like you do. So much easier to keep up with UK politics.

    Not a good state of affairs, really.

  193. #194 ursulamajor
    May 10, 2010
  194. #195 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    These animal wankers.

    Oh, yes. Sorry, I misunderstood you. The Animal Protection Party are a real group of deranged fringe nuts.

  195. #196 John Morales
    May 10, 2010

    Made the news here: Stormy Weather singer Lena Horne dies.

    Horne is credited with breaking the ground for black actresses to get bigger roles in Hollywood

  196. #197 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Argh. I just don’t know why my ability to think and communicate seems to be vastly diminished lately. I suppose it’s a combination of sleep-deprivation and being fed up with revision.

  197. #198 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    I came across a site (can’t remember the route) called

    http://christwire.org/

    My first reaction was it was true – a nutty religious site. Then I thought it must be satire. (On the lines of the Onion.) One of the reasons was that there was no obvious link to the owners of the site – surely they would be proud of standing up for morality in the type of immoral society they portrayed? Then I wondered – there probably are groups that are as nutty as that out there.

    Can anyone give a definitive answer? Is this satire? Whether it is or not, who runs it?

    Wiki “The font of all knowledge”

  198. #200 BarbieWanKenobi
    May 10, 2010

    I just don’t know why my ability to think and communicate seems to be vastly diminished lately. I suppose it’s a combination of sleep-deprivation and being fed up with revision.

    You’re not the only one- I’ve just read the phrase ‘only homozygotic genotypes will present with clinical symptoms’ as ‘only homoEROTIC genotypes will present with clinical symptoms’ and it took me a good half a minute of eyerubbing and wondering how the hell you’d know a homoerotic genotype from a none homoerotic genotype to figure out where I went wrong! Although it does make me wonder why homoeroticism was at the forefront of my mind….

    Stick at it Hon, it’ll all be over soon.

  199. #202 Kevin
    May 10, 2010

    @Josh OSG:

    I installed Windows 7 on my PC and discovered I need to upgrade.

    It’s good, but you need more power in your computer than you think you do.

  200. #203 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    Anyone here have HBO and happen to catch the documentary on Sergio Vieira de Mello?

    If you haven’t seen it, you should.

    Those who have seen it, how angry did the interviews with the army rescuer who was the NYC Firefighter make you?

  201. #204 Ol'Greg
    May 10, 2010

    Oh poor Walton! lol

    Thank you darling ;)

  202. #205 Knockgoats
    May 10, 2010

    I envy Margaret Thatcher, who reportedly needed only three or four hours of sleep a night when she was Prime Minister. – Walton

    I tried this for a while (well, 5 hours) – it can be done, even if your natural sleep pattern would be considerably more (I now average 7-8). However, it is definitely medically inadvisable. Indeed, one has to wonder whether it contributed to Thatcher’s mental decline – while its precise function remains unknown AFAIK, it does seem that sleep is needed primarily by the brain – although excessive alcohol was probably the main factor.

  203. #206 Carlie
    May 10, 2010

    I’ve been on Windows 7 since January, and I really like it. As for my perspective, I found Vista to be an abomination of the sort that I refused to use it on a new computer, and retrofitted it from the installed Vista back to XP. There are a few things that are easier to find – I never even knew Vista had a snipping tool after using it for over a year, and it was right there in 7. It’s a little faster, and there are a couple of bells and whistles I really like, including the window preview on the toolbar.

  204. #207 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 10, 2010

    Walton,

    / dons aged crone hat …

    On liquids – about 1 km from you is a Co-op, just head up Magdalen Street, left past the Ashmolean then right. It is even in Walton Street!!

    They have a great range of fresh soups – full of vitamins and trace elements and free of all the chemicals they put into diet colas to keep you drinking the stuff, quite apart from what it does to the digestive system. Besides, the walk would probably do you good.

    I speak as a fellow caffeine addict and with due sympathy but it is quite possible when under the pressure you are feeling now to forget that the brain is actually part of your body and cannot function without the stuff you would find in such soups but definitely not in canned drinks.

    ….. /removes hat and reverts to the theory that this little old lady look is a disguise.

  205. #209 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    Sleep is overrated…

    To the contrary. Most people in Western countries only sleep 2/3 as much as they need to.

    There are people who sleep too much, which isn’t healthy either. But those are people who sleep enough every night and then additionally force themselves to take a nap after lunch because they were taught that’s healthy.

    What is overrated (in both cases even!) is self-discipline.

    since getting up (at about 8.30am) I’ve had three cups of strong coffee and about a litre-and-a-half of diet cola, so I’m still on the caffeine high.

    An entire full-sized bottle of diet cola? And where are you going to put all the phosphoric acid?

    It’s allegedly allowed to put phosphoric acid into that kind of drink till it has a pH of 3 when all the CO2 is removed. We once measured 2.9 in school, and remember that the scale is logarithmic (2 means 10 times as much acid as 3).

    I think you should start worrying about your teeth. Even coffee is seriously acidic, and so is tea.

    Some of the sweeteners are a bit suspect, too.

    Anyway, I had eight hours’ sleep last night, so don’t really need to sleep so much tonight.

    That does not follow. I need ten hours of sleep per night (when my nose isn’t too clogged and the weather isn’t taking a nosedive). I’ve even read there are people who need twelve.

    (I’m in the process of trying to train myself to cram information with less sleep.)

    What Jadehawk said.

    In the Enlightenment there were people who tried to train themselves out of sleep altogether. At least one died from caffeine poisoning.

    Margaret Thatcher!

    Was a lot older than Walton, and… did make a couple of… spectacularly bad decisions.

    Yeah, Walton wants to “go to Paris”.Good on you son, worked for me !
    :P

    Didn’t work for me, and I was there for 5 years. Just being there is not enough. :-)

    I’m pleased to see that Windows XP, which came preinstalled on my new EeePC, did not manage to get through the first boot without killing itself.

    WTF. Never had such an experience till it came out in 2001. In fact, never even had a Blue Screen of Death, IIRC.

    has anyone yet used Windows 7?

    Yes (it’s on the family desktop). It works.

    The less said about Vista, the better. We specifically delayed buying a new desktop till Win7 came out.

    both of us will probably end up crying. (We’re both emotional mushballs.)

    That’s good :-)

    *gets beer and nibblies and settles for a fun afternoon of compiling*

    See, that’s something that just doesn’t happen with Windows. Quasi-monopolies do have their advantages for everyone. =8-)

    ARGH! No, Jadehawk, not with the pedestal of the binocular microscope! It’s too heavy, you can’t even lift

    <Super Mario>GAME OVER</Super Mario>

    I KNOW! And it’s incredibly frustrating for me because he’s being so damned weird about this! I just want to shake him and say “Stop using your religion as a crutch! It’s not doing either of us any good! Think for yourself, dammit!”

    Not that I had any experience with relationships, but…

    I think you should do exactly this. Just once.

    Is it legitimate to observe traditionally religious holidays even if that leads some people to misidentify one as a theist?

    Why not have a party just so, with no particular trigger at all?

    Obviously, you’re going to put that on a work-free day for pragmatic reasons. And that means…

    Also, Newtonmas. Isaac Newton really was born on December 25th.

    I hadn’t been aware that catholics have any religious reasons to refuse circumcision !

    Never heard of one either.

    I went to bed at 2am, and got up again at about 8.45. That’s plenty of sleep.

    Well… it’s not even 7 h, and you’re having a chronic lack of sleep already. Take a nap after lunch. A long one.

    I have not noticed that it’s been over seven hours since I started staring at the jungle of nodes on my screen.

    Sounds intriguing. What nodes?

    (And did you spend the next 2 h staring at them, too? :-ž )

    Young Britons Foundation

    Putin has an organization with a very similar name and exactly the nauseating purpose that is alleged here. I can just say “Godwin” and be done with it.

    These animal wankers.

    Parkinson is “uniquely human”? WTF.

  206. #210 Kevin
    May 10, 2010

    Okay yay, I had a really annoying song stuck in my head all morning… but I beat it out.

    With this (fuck yeah)

  207. #211 Knockgoats
    May 10, 2010

    Sorry about the convoluted syntax@205. To clarify:
    1) I tried getting by with 5 hours sleep a night for a while – a year or two.
    2) Excessive alcohol was probably the main factor in Thatcher’s mental decline.

  208. #212 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    Oh. Extra empty lines get deleted. :-(

    its precise function remains unknown AFAIK

    Yes, the state of the art is as you say.

    They have a great range of fresh soups – full of vitamins and trace elements and free of all the chemicals they put into diet colas to keep you drinking the stuff, quite apart from what it does to the digestive system. Besides, the walk would probably do you good.

    <drool>

    Walton, heed that advice right after your nap, which I hope is not yet over.

    ….. /removes hat and reverts to the theory that this little old lady look is a disguise.

    Aw. Come, be our grandma :o)

  209. #213 Carlie
    May 10, 2010

    When I’ve been chronically sleep-deprived for a month or two and then finally get a good night’s sleep, it’s amazing to realize the difference. I wake up not mad at the world. It’s so refreshing to feel normal that I feel like this. And I promise myself that I will always, always get enough sleep because I’m so much happier and more productive.

    And then it never happens. :(

  210. #214 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    2) Excessive alcohol was probably the main factor in Thatcher’s mental decline.

    I thought Dennis was the one who liked the booze. Or was it like how Dean Martin didn’t actually drink nearly as much as Frank Sinatra spilt?

  211. #215 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    When I’ve been chronically sleep-deprived for a month or two and then finally get a good night’s sleep, it’s amazing to realize the difference. I wake up not mad at the world. It’s so refreshing to feel normal that I feel like this. And I promise myself that I will always, always get enough sleep because I’m so much happier and more productive.
    And then it never happens. :(

    This cycle is very familiar to me.

  212. #216 Kevin
    May 10, 2010

    @Carlie:

    I get serious insomnia for about a week a month. Can’t sleep, wake up randomly throughout the night, always tired when my alarm buzzes. I used to take sleeping pills for it, but I tossed them and just suffer it for the week.

    Then I sleep wonderfully, wake up refreshed and happy and wonder what the problem was for the prior week.

  213. #217 Knockgoats
    May 10, 2010

    I thought Dennis was the one who liked the booze.

    Margaret as well, according to reports – but it got a lot worse, as one might expect, when she lost power – a far more potent drug than alcohol!

  214. #218 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    To the “can’t sleep” whingers….

    Try shift work ! If you haven’t tried to force yourself to go to bed on a bright warm sunny morning at 9am, you havent lived ! Oh, and try that for 20 years !

    Having said that, I love Red Bull….

  215. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    Try shift work ! If you haven’t tried to force yourself to go to bed on a bright warm sunny morning at 9am, you havent lived !

    Oh I have, but it had nothing to do with shift work.

    Oh, and try that for 20 years !

    yikes

  216. #220 Kevin
    May 10, 2010

    @Rorschach:

    I’ve learned to deal.

  217. #221 Carlie
    May 10, 2010

    Oh, I’m sorry Rorschach. Spouse was a shift worker for a year, and living with that was close enough to see the difficulty.

    Kevin – definitely sucks. I’m resetting to summer mode, in which I wake up around 5-5:30 no matter what I try to do to sleep in, so I’m trying to give in and go to bed earlier, but it’s not easy.

  218. #222 KOPD
    May 10, 2010

    @Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I tried chalking the foundation of the house where the ants were coming in and there’s something to that. The ants would just walk along the boundary of the chalk line without crossing it. Not a permanent solution, but certainly useful. Thanks!

  219. #223 MrFire
    May 10, 2010

    I repeat: espresso is the only cool way to stay awake.

    Bialetti Moka Express. Concentrated, flavorful, less likely to dissolve your guts.

    [/Throw out the first few brews, unless you enjoy the taste of metal.]

  220. #224 Kevin
    May 10, 2010

    @Carlie:

    Well, fortunately for me, my alarm goes off at 5.45 anyway. Still can’t get to sleep some nights, but it’s not been so bad.

  221. #225 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    @Rev. BigDumbChimp
    I tried chalking the foundation of the house where the ants were coming in and there’s something to that. The ants would just walk along the boundary of the chalk line without crossing it. Not a permanent solution, but certainly useful. Thanks!

    Nice!

  222. #226 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 10, 2010

    Rorshach says:

    Try shift work ! If you haven’t tried to force yourself to go to bed on a bright warm sunny morning at 9am, you havent lived !

    Haven’t done it for 20 years, but enough to sympathize. If one is working on an experiment based around a particle accelerator, said machines run either 24/7 or they don’t run at all, and they cost $$$$ to run.

    My dissertation experiment was such a beast. I ran mostly owl shifts–8 PM to 4 AM. But of course there was a hand-off, which meant I usually got in to bed just as the birds started waking up. And of course, occasionally, just to screw you up, they’d give you a shift in the middle of the day. Or if the experiment wasn’t working, you be up 24-36 hours straight trying to fix it.

    I remember one time–two post-docs, both named Paul got into some sort of informal contest trying to stay up longer than the other. After 76 hours without sleep, we had to assign a minder to each one to keep them from touching anything and breaking it. When the experiment was about to come back on line, we went looking for one of the Pauls and couldn’t find him. This is a big thing, as we were just about to send 800 GeV neutrons down the beam pipe. We finally found him asleep inside the magnet nestled up to the warm coils!

    I still run experiments like this, only now it’s only about one week out of every month.

  223. #227 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    If you haven’t tried to force yourself to go to bed on a bright warm sunny morning at 9am, you havent lived !

    You still get enough sleep, don’t you? If so, that’s certainly less unhealthy than what Walton is subjecting himself to.

    We finally found him asleep inside the magnet nestled up to the warm coils!

    :-}

    Did you need to wake him up? I hope not :-}

  224. #228 Falyne, FCD
    May 10, 2010

    On caffeine: I do that too, actually. There tends to be a large pile of Diet Coke 2-liters next to my computer desk. And I will go several days where that’s my only source of liquid, some times.

    But! I’m trying to get my caffeine from more organic sources in the future. I’m still moving in to my new apartment, but I’ve got a new electric kettle, a tea infuser pot, and a French Press ready to go as soon as I get desk space. I just need to find a supplier of loose-leaf tea and good coffee around here, and I’m set. ;-)

    And I did the whole “I’m an engineer! No time to sleep! Too macho to need sleep! Rawr!” thing during college…. until I was no longer an engineer due to failing classes due to sleeping through them. Just a lowly CS BS. Learn from my tragedy. (And, ok, the fact that Diff Eq and my brain could not get along is a problem, too)

    (Seriously, now that I’m out of college and unemployed, I’m finding I need LESS sleep then I thought a “full night’s sleep” was, because I’m actually getting what I need (some of that may be growing a wee bit older, too, though). And I feel infinitely more alert and happy and yay!)

  225. #229 Falyne, FCD
    May 10, 2010

    This is a big thing, as we were just about to send 800 GeV neutrons down the beam pipe. We finally found him asleep inside the magnet nestled up to the warm coils!

    Just to clarify (IANAPP), is the place that he was sleeping INSIDE the beam pipe? And would turning it on before he was found have equaled crispiness?

  226. #230 Rorschach
    May 10, 2010

    You still get enough sleep, don’t you?

    Not on the first day, you dont.You sleep from 10 to 1 or something, and then spend the rest of the day tossing and turning, until you finally get up at 7pm to shower and have dinner.I tell you, Red Bull is your friend…:-)

  227. #231 Knockgoats
    May 10, 2010

    Clegg has apparently been two-timing Cameron by meeting Brown in secret! If this happens while they are still negotiating the terms of the marriage contract, what hope for a happy long-term relationship?

  228. #232 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    I miss the synchrotron.

    Of course, I was never there for more than a coupla days, wasn’t allowed to do much but watch and didn’t have to do the night shift …

  229. #233 sidhe
    May 10, 2010

    Hi guys. I hope everyone had a good weekend! I stumbled across a poll that I thought you might be interested in that could use some Pharyngulation. It’s about the Duggars and whether they desserve the Parents of the Year award or not. The link is below–Sorry, I fail at HTML and can’t figure out how to make it just part of the text. =/

    http://www.iparenting.com/soundoff.php

  230. #234 sidhe
    May 10, 2010

    *headdesk*

    Deserve. Apparently I also fail at spell check. Is it Friday yet?

  231. #235 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 10, 2010

    Well, even more than on a regular weekend, I was disPharyngulated over the last couple of days on account of both family and political distractions. I won’t even pretend to try to catch up on the many hundreds of posts I missed, but I did catch a couple things out of the corner of my “ear.” So just a couple quick points:

    • Congratulations to Ol’Greg and Lynna for their respective acceptance and award (and to anyone else who might’ve had a congratulatable occassion buried in the 1000+ posts of the previous iteration)
    • Happy belated Mother’s Day to all you mothers! ;^)
    • For amusement’s sake, I’ll note that I’m a delegate to the Democratic Convention for Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District, at which we will nominate our wonderful incumbent congressman, Joe Courtney, for reelection. Why that’s amusingly relevant to this crowd is the location for the event: the Bacon Academy in Norwich!

    That is all!

  232. #236 Falyne, FCD
    May 10, 2010

    On Bacon: in my recent apartment search, I had a close runner-up of an adoooooorable little cottage, a block from the beach (San Diego), on Bacon Street.

    But then I looked at a map, and the places a job would likely be (ie: far from the aforementioned beach, and through a few chokepoint roads that by all accounts are HELL at rush hour), and decided to go for a more centrally-located place.

    (But Bacon St. would’ve been fun, too.)

  233. #237 Kevin
    May 10, 2010

    @sidhe:

    That poll is tough to Pharyngulate… maybe if we could move ‘Yes’ to the bottom of the barrel it would work. I think the flavor text of the Maybe answer is better than the flavor text of the No answer.

    (Also, your username is the same as my Gengar in my current Pokemon game XD)

  234. #238 Katrina
    May 10, 2010

    MrFire #223:

    I had a barista in Naples tell me that you should always break in your new moka (or machine, for that matter) by running salt water through it the first time. Then, several runs of fresh water. You still won’t have coffee perfection for a month or more, but at least you don’t get the metal taste.

    We have a machine. Have had for five years now. It makes even the moka-made espressos taste “off”.

    When we moved back, we brought a couple of cases of Kimbo.

  235. #239 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 10, 2010

    Given all the discussion in this thread of Margaret Thatcher, and our typical preponderance of musical links, I’m somewhat surprised nobody has yet posted this (note that this is my typical blind YouTube link; forgive me if it’s not what I think it is).

  236. #240 BarbieWanKenobi
    May 10, 2010

    Given all the discussion in this thread of Margaret Thatcher, and our typical preponderance of musical links, I’m somewhat surprised nobody has yet posted this (note that this is my typical blind YouTube link; forgive me if it’s not what I think it is).

    Not as poetic but I think my favourite ‘anti-Thatcher’ song is here.
    But then I am a little (OK, make that a lot) in love with Frank Turner.

  237. #241 Jarred C.
    May 10, 2010

    Galt Aureus. Heh, I remember meeting the guy who started the band several years ago when he was just up-and-coming. We used to argue on Ayn Rand forums, back when I thought that woman had something important to contribute to the world.

    Then I became educated, and realized the errors of my ways.

  238. #242 MrFire
    May 10, 2010

    I had a barista in Naples tell me that you should always break in your new moka (or machine, for that matter) by running salt water through it the first time. Then, several runs of fresh water.

    Huh, that’s pretty interesting.

    *puts on bullshitter hat*

    I wonder if it’s something to do with the chloride ion of salt picking up, or otherwise sequestering, extraneous iron.

    *takes off bullshitter hat*

  239. #243 KOPD
    May 10, 2010

    I finished the audio book of Going Postal. Very nice. Pratchett’s style reminds me of Douglas Adams, so I’m pretty confident I’d enjoy reading more of his work. I’ll plan on going back to the beginning of the Discworld series and taking it in order.

  240. #244 Lynna, OM
    May 10, 2010

    A few comments from ex-mormons in relation to Sili’s argument with Katherine-the-mormon on pipeline.corante.com/archives/2010/05/06/unintelligent_design.php:

    Evolution is incompatible with either the Biblical or Temple stories of creation– according to Apostle of the Lord Bruce R. McConkie.
         In his book “Mormon Doctrine” he lays out many of the ways evolutionary theory is incompatible with either of the Mormon creation stories. A position he obviously came about “thoughtfully and prayerfully”, with the aid of revelation, to which he is entitled being an apostle of the Lord (afterall, he’s an apostle, seer AND revelator).
         - Evolution says there has always been death in the world even before the Fall of Man.
    - Evolution says Man has not always existed, but is relatively recent. The Bible & Temple both say different.
    - The creation stories say the Gods created Man in their image after their likeness. Hard to square that with slow adaptations to the environment made by changing the frequency of alleles in certain populations.
    - Even evolution the creation story as a metaphor for evolution doesn’t square.
    - The prophets, seers & revelators Brigham Young & John Taylor said each species only reproduces its own kind: true generation to generation, but eventually an isolated population has so many different alleles that it can no longer produce fertile offspring with a long separated evolutionary cousin.
    - Humans came out of Africa about 100K years ago and were black to deal with the Saharan sun. White/Yellow didn’t come about til later. Mo’ism teaches black came about after white.
    - The Bible, confirmed in the D&C, preaches that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Again incompatible with Mormonism. Mormons counter with the creation stories being metaphors or the Gods using different calendars than we, but one is mystified why the almighty must play numbers games with we mortals rather than using our numbers, which we could actually understand

    Here are some comments by ex-mo SL Cabbie:

    threads by Benson, myself, Simon, and a number of others have accurately depicted the church’s two-faced and inconsistent views of Darwin and evolution.
         I mentioned Joseph Fielding Smith’s, “Man, His Origin and Destiny” was huge for me in deciding the church and LDS leadership was a crock. JFS had just ascended to the leadership of the church in 1970 when I read it (as a senior in high school). He insisted on the “6,000 year old Earth doctrine, and that evolution was incompatible with the Fall of Adam.” I think I agree with him on that last point . . .
         Evolution is taught appropriately in many of the biological science classes at BYU, but around a hundred years ago when that university was new and trying to forge a legitimate academic reputation, several individuals were dismissed or resigned from teaching positions–at the behest of a member of the CES–because of the issue of evolution.
         The schizoid split was obvious between Joseph Fielding Smith and his predecessor, David O. Mckay; I’m fairly certain the latter did believe in evolution, albet within the backdrop of a “God-ordered Universe.”
         A huge chunk to everyday Mormons reject evolution, of course, and there are the doctrinal/historical problems involving the Universal Flood, etc.
         I’ll dig up the stuff about the BYU firings, and maybe Benson is around to add some further illumination . . .
         Seriously though, I would characterize arguing with Mormons on the subject as a “Green Jello mud-wrestling event in the psycho ward” as much as anything . . . Cue up an image of that one as a tag team duel with some participants wearing bikinis or speedos and their opponents wearing garmies . . .
         Absurd stuff requires absurd treatment, IMHO . . .
         Anyway, this latest news of Neanderthal DNA “surviving” in modern humans of European descent offers an opportunity for a useful post on the subject. Actually, the news media histrionics are suggesting it is far more “settled science” than it legitimately ought to be (particularly given how recent the research is); their agenda has always been to get people to read their ragsheets rather than paying homage to genuine objectivity.

  241. #245 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    It was a nice sunny summer day. Then Parisian darkness fell. Then huge raindrops fell literally; together with a bit of wind, they were so loud that I looked whether it was hail, but no. Torrential downpour in front of a green background (the acacias have their leaves now, too). *purr* Then a bit of lightning and thunder in the far distance…

    It’s raining again, but small drops that don’t make noise when the windows are closed. Lightning and thunder right now…

    Also:

    You think anything about body piercings? Perchance even from experience? Comment on this blog post.

    What we all thought is true: physicians are desensitized to other people’s pain.

    Tet Zoo post on why there are manatees on both sides of the Atlantic ? reality being considerably stranger than fiction.

  242. #246 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    Sven, stupid was not the right word. Inclusive fitness is not payment to individuals, but to genes, which at best can be described as diffuse masses covering the planet. An ant does not benefit from its own death in battle, while the genes may. But genes can benefit only if a crystal “benefits” by growing.

    Being in control of your portion of work is all about you the individual. Marx makes an appeal to personal gain: the exploitation of most of you by a few is not the necessary way of the world.

    The difference between autonomy and what Dawkins calls the tyranny of the selfish replicators is too far for the analogy. If Wilson meant no insight, then I’m making too much of it.

  243. #247 Matt Penfold
    May 10, 2010

    Update on British Election:

    The Lib-Dems are to enter formal discussions with Labour over forming a new Government, whilst continuing to talk to the Conservatives.

    It seems Clegg might be concerned he cannot do a deal with the Tories.

  244. #248 Matt Penfold
    May 10, 2010

    Further update:

    Brown will stand down as Labour leader but remain PM for the immediate future.

  245. #249 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #199 ursulamajor

    Thanks for the thread link.

    Even some of the comments weren’t clear as to whether it was a genuine non-Christian spoof of a fundamentalist site or a genuine fundamentalist site that had gone to a higher level of insanity.

    Can I ask again, does anyone know who runs it?

    (the last line got chopped – I was trying to say Wiki had no article on it.)

  246. #250 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    I wonder if it’s something to do with the chloride ion of salt picking up, or otherwise sequestering, extraneous iron.

    Would surprise me. FeCl3 is very well soluble in water; sequestering would mean precipitation. (“You’re either part of the solution, or part of the precipitate.”

    Forgot to mention I watched a short report on the UK election & aftermath on a German public-owned TV channel (ARD). Full of sarcasm. After mentioning the people who were prevented from voting because they hadn’t managed to get inside the buildings by 10 pm, it talked about the three losers; “the first loser is the one with the most votes”… then it went on about possible coalitions, and had local talking heads saying that would require rebuilding the House of Commons! It’s built for having two sides confronting and attacking each other. They’re “deliberately two sword lengths apart”, one talking head said. They showed a clip of Clegg calling in obliquely, “like a naughty schoolboy”, during a debate because the House only has two sides. The conclusion was that there’d be a new election soon, because negotiating (a coalition government) smells too much of Europe and of foul compromise.

  247. #251 Lynna, OM
    May 10, 2010

    For Sili, more from ex-mo, SL Cabbie:

    http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/byu/photos.htm [The link is the source for this quote} BYU?s first Ph.D., Joseph Peterson (left), was forced to resign in 1911 for teaching organic evolution. Henry Peterson (middle) was also fired by President Brimhall that year for teaching evolution. His home, near the Maeser Memorial Building on upper campus, currently serves as the official residence of the university president. Ralph V. Chamberlin (right), BYU?s second Ph.D., resigned in 1911 rather than modify his views on evolution.

    Selected responses from other ex-mormons:

    There’s no room for biological evolution, but more importantly, there is no room for archaeological science of the story of human beings on this globe which easily exceeds the Mormon time frame.
         Home sapiens has been globe trotting more (much more) than 10 times longer than Mormon ‘prophets’ give the human race to exist.
         Mormons like to strain for some gnat of potential evidence that Joseph Smith predicted something not known in 1830 or so. The bigger story is how wildly at odds Joseph Smith’s pronouncements are compared to everything scientifically learned and well substantiated since 1830.

  248. #252 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    Great results in the UK election.

    The Lib Dems damn well better get AV as a minimum.

    So how does it work, can a party get a legal contract outlining their participation and returns from coalition?

  249. #253 Matt Penfold
    May 10, 2010
    So how does it work, can a party get a legal contract outlining their participation and returns from coalition?

    I am not sure a legally binding document can be drawn up but there has been talk of producing a document that sets out the aims of any coalition or less formal agreement. This would offer protection to both sides in any agreement as it would act as a barrier against one side reneging on the agreement.

  250. #254 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    They should try for a contract, because even a court ruling of “factual but unenforceable” could be devastating in public opinion.

  251. #255 Matt Penfold
    May 10, 2010

    They should try for a contract, because even a court ruling of “factual but unenforceable” could be devastating in public opinion.

    Just having a public document that sets out any agreement should do that.

  252. #256 MrFire
    May 10, 2010

    Biochemists probably learned this ages ago, but here is my science awesome for the day:

    How does the body distinguish between the structurally (and elctrostatically) near-identical amino acids isoleucine and valine, during protein biosynthesis?

    Evidence for the Double-Sieve Editing Mechanism in Protein Synthesis. Steric Exclusion of Isoleucine by Valyl-tRNA Synthetases.

    Here is a more recent paper, with structural information on the intercommunicating active sites provided (journal subscription required!).

  253. #257 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    Assuming people read the document. Headline and TV sound bite “court finds against Conservative party” can reach many.

    Why do the Tories use Conservative.com, and what’s wrong with .co.uk or .org.uk? Why aren’t they putting national interest first?

  254. #258 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 10, 2010

    According to ConservaPOEdia, Nick Clegg effectively deciding the next Prime Minister “is dangerous because Clegg is an atheist”!!! *gasp*

  255. #259 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    smells too much of Europe and of foul compromise.

    England in a nutshell. (Yes, England – the Scots were Papists for longer and thus Continental.)

  256. #260 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    “Green Jello mud-wrestling event in the psycho ward”

    … and the pig likes it!

  257. #261 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    why there are manatees on both sides of the Atlantic

    Well, they flew to South America to pick them up! They’d better damn well still be here! (Remember to watch the video.)

  258. #262 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #242 MrFire: #250 David Marjanovi?

    I wonder if it’s something to do with the chloride ion of salt picking up, or otherwise sequestering, extraneous iron.

    The word sequestering or sequestration has a special meaning in the chemistry of metal ions (like iron):

    Enclosing a metal ion by one or more polydentate ligands as in a chelate complex.

    O.K. I know this is “The Wonder of Wiki” but as a chemist I would be happy with this description.

    A chelate is (usually) an organic compound which binds strongly to a metal ion at two or more points on the chelate molecule. For example, a molecule like EDTA bonds the metal ion at 6 “points” and “wraps itself” around the metal ion.

    The result is that the metal ion is “withdrawn” (the common meaning of “sequestering”) from being able to react with other chemicals. For example, EDTA sequesters calcium ions which can no longer react with soap to produce scum. I understand EDTA can be added to blood to prevent calcium-induced clotting.

    Thus, in the sense that chemists would use the term “sequestering”, chloride is not a sequestering agent. As David says, ferric chloride is ionised in solution and chloride cannot be said to sequester iron – certainly not at the level in seawater.

    Let us assume this is a real effect and the same would not have occurred by just boiling and rinsing with tap water …

    It could be that any plastic or rubber components have ion exchange capacity. If so, iron would be strongly held by ion exchange (being Fe2+ or Fe3+ in solution). Seawater contains high levels of sodium ions and substantial amounts of magnesium (as Mg2+) although about 10x less than sodium. It is possible that these are removing any iron held on ion exchange sites.

    This is a guess. (IAAC – I am a chemist – but that doesn’t mean I’m right!!)

  259. #263 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    So, those who care, who do you want to see in a coalition?

    Peter Hain mentioned Caroline Lucas. Knockgoats says she won’t. Paddy Power won’t tell me what to believe.

    Is Miliband an improvement over Brown?

  260. #264 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    Sounds intriguing. What nodes?

    vector nodes; what my images are made of.

    and no, the following two hours I’ve spent staring at the uploader. Still didn’t finish *sigh*

  261. #265 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    May 10, 2010

    To Mr. Myers,

    What is it about the ads on your blog that crashes my browswer without fail?

    Now to something more topical, BADGERS!

  262. #266 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    GHP

  263. #267 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    If anyone feels like getting me a present for the National Hairy Primate day (yes it’s on your calendar you just aren’t looking hard enough), this would be nice.

    carry on

  264. #268 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    One more episode of torrential rain has passed. The darkness isn’t going away today anymore.

    Remember to watch the video.

    Lovely, if a bit dark… but the photo below it belongs on Cute Overload ^_^

  265. #269 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 10, 2010

    Gyeong Hwa (@265):

    Now to something more topical, BADGERS!

    At work; can’t follow video links. Even so, I know without looking that…

    “We don’t need no stinkin’ badgers!”

  266. #270 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    May 10, 2010

    “If anyone feels like getting me a present for the National Hairy Primate day (yes it’s on your calendar you just aren’t looking hard enough), this would be nice.”

    I couldn’t get those pork ribs, so I got you some singing Hairy Primates.

    Enjoy. :)

  267. #271 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    I was interrupted…

    the following two hours I’ve spent staring at the uploader. Still didn’t finish *sigh*

    <facepalm>

    What is it about the ads on your blog that crashes my browswer without fail?

    You need to upgrade to IE8. =8-)

    Now to something more topical, BADGERS!

    I think I know what that is, posted it myself once. That’s why I don’t dare click.

    this would be nice

    :-D

  268. #272 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    I couldn’t get those pork ribs, so I got you some singing Hairy Primates.

    uh…

    um…

    thanks, but I’ll hold out for the ribs or the book

  269. #273 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2010

    We don’t need no stinkin’ badgers

    No, but maybe some Pork

  270. #274 KOPD
    May 10, 2010

    An idiot in one of the current threads reminded me of a website I love. It helped me get over some of my last few hangups and realize that I was an atheist. It’s got some useful information and essays, and the hate mail section is a hoot.

    Carry on.

  271. #275 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    “We don’t need no stinkin’ badgers!”

    Stink badgers.

  272. #276 Weed Monkey
    May 10, 2010

    All this business with badgers and narwhals… you should appreciate the true power of fungi!

  273. #277 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010
    the following two hours I’ve spent staring at the uploader. Still didn’t finish *sigh*

    *facepalm*

    erm. just to clarify, I’m not finished, not the uploader. the uploader is working at an entirely satisfactory pace :-p

  274. #278 MrFire
    May 10, 2010

    sequestering would mean precipitation.

    *commits seppuku for nth time*

    Thus, in the sense that chemists would use the term “sequestering”, chloride is not a sequestering agent.

    *commits seppuku for (n+1)th time*

    Note to self: do not throw around terminology willy-nilly, just because it sounds nice.

    Let’s see if I can redeem myself…er…

    EDTA

    Aha!

    [Blade has just filled the Blood God with 'vampire-exploding EDTA'. Don't ask me how that is supposed to work.]

  275. #279 cicely
    May 10, 2010

    Circumcision is weird and primitive. Being pregnant and giving birth, whether or not one needs medical or surgical intervention, is also weird and primitive. Nursing is weird and primitive. I’m not even going to get into weaning and toilet training, or the whole parenting of teenagers phenomenon.

    Teenagers are weird and primitive? :P

    I’ll plan on going back to the beginning of the Discworld series and taking it in order.

    Be warned, though, that the “feel” of the first few books isn’t quite the same as the later ones (the ones that I think of as having been written after he ‘hit his stride’), though they aren’t bad, and you need them for back-story, anyway.

  276. #280 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #265 No. This is topical:

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

  277. #281 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #280

    Or even this with the world T20:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgtgA_DvYQg
    (and it’s in 3 parts …)

    First comment:

    A bunch of muppets in a field wanging a hard ball at each other, brilliant.

    “I say, sir, jolly bad show and all that. It’s just not cric…”

  278. #282 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    David @#209: I couldn’t take a nap after lunch, as I had to go to a lecture followed by a revision class. Now I absolutely have to complete the unit of work I’m part-way through, which means staying up late again. And I’ve got another class at 9am tomorrow morning, so will need to be up no later than 7.30. The amount of stuff I have to do, and the absurdly long time it typically takes me to do it, mean that I have no hope of getting a healthy amount of sleep over the next couple of weeks.

    And did I really deserve to be quoted in Comic Sans? :-(

  279. #283 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #278 MrFire

    Aha!

    Sounds like it should be a good quote. Never knew the salts of ethylenediaminetetracetic acid had any effect on vampires. You learn something new every day!

  280. #284 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    The amount of stuff I have to do, and the absurdly long time it typically takes me to do it, mean that I have no hope of getting a healthy amount of sleep over the next couple of weeks.

    if you weren’t so tired and strung out on caffeine, it would go faster.

  281. #285 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #263

    Is Miliband an improvement over Brown?

    Which Miliband? No. Skip that question. I don’t want either. Hmm. Miliband, Miliband and Mandleson (sounds like a law firm).

    This is how we choose a new PM in the UK in the 21st century:

    Stage 1
    Make an unwritten agreement between the elected PM Tony and Gordon that Tony would step down after a Parliament and hand over to Gordon.

    Stage 2
    Renage on the unwritten agreement that wasn’t worth the paper napkin it wasn’t written on.

    Stage 3
    Things get too difficult for Tony and big speaking engagements beckon. Tony goes off to solve the Middle East problems (and earn a lot of cash and build up a nice tan.)

    Stage 4
    GB takes over as the (unelected) “Prime Minister by appointment”. Believes it is not necessary to see if the electorate agrees. We are only “That woman” and “Bigotted” if we disagree with what he has been doing.

    Stage 5
    Let things continue for the maximum length of time allowed by law. Things don’t go too well with Gordon so he has to go (“under the bus” I believe is the in phrase).

    Stage 6
    Another “Prime Minister because I want the job even though no one has voted for me even as Party Leader” takes over (or at least would like to).

    Civics exam question:

    “Anyone who wants the job at this stage must be insane and hence disqualifies themselves.”
    Discuss

    I would like a PM I actually had a chance to approve (or otherwise). I believe it used to be called democracy … but did that go under the bus too?

  282. #286 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    OSSUM! documentary about thermodynamics from Nova. Thank you, US taxpayers.

    Towards the end – around the 1:30 mark – you get to hear Lene Hau demonstrate just how godawful Danes speak English. Note the horrible prosody and the /???????????????????????????????????/.

  283. #287 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    if you weren’t so tired and strung out on caffeine, it would go faster.

    Maybe. I think I’m going to have to nap for a couple of hours before continuing with work. I don’t feel too great right now. :-(

  284. #288 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    I don’t feel too great right now. :-(

    “I told you so”

  285. #289 Lynna, OM
    May 10, 2010

    Bringing the mormon pain:

    A woman named Helen Radkey has been monitoring DS posthumous baptisms since 1995 and recently made a, perhaps startling, discovery ? the temple record of Mary, the mother of Jesus. According to this record, Mary was vicariously baptized and confirmed on 9December 2009, in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. A few days later, she received her initiatory and endowment ordinances. Then on 7 January 2010, she was sealed to her parents, Joachim and Anna.
         On the record Radkey discovered Jesus Ben Joseph CHRIST (born on 1 AD, deceased on 33AD) is listed as her son.
         And officially listed as her husband? God the Father.

    That’s right, folks. Mary, mother of Jesus, has been necrodunked by the mormons. Source: Dancing With Crazy blog

  286. #290 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Clegg has apparently been two-timing Cameron by meeting Brown in secret! If this happens while they are still negotiating the terms of the marriage contract, what hope for a happy long-term relationship?

    And there aren’t even any muscular guys in showers involved…

    (see #326 on previous subThread, for anyone who is entirely confused by this reference)

  287. #291 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    I forgot to mention I got this from [Weird Things].

    Secondly, James Dewar sounds like a nasty man. But it still seems unfair he didn’t get to share the Nobel with Kammerlingh-Onnes.

  288. #292 MrFire
    May 10, 2010

    Oh for shit’s sake. Link @278 borked. Here is Deacon Frost exploding after being barraged by Blade with EDTA:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taqnAzd1fyg#t=2m51s

    Concerning actual complexation chemistry: I have a soft spot for cryptands. In particular, some cryptands are powerful enough to allow for the isolation of alkalides – that is, alkali metal anions.

    e.g.: [Na(2,2,2-crypt)]+Na-.

  289. #293 Ol'Greg
    May 10, 2010

    Ah David, five years in Paris but you weren’t there when I got here!

    You sleep from 10 to 1 or something, and then spend the rest of the day tossing and turning, until you finally get up at 7pm to shower and have dinner.

    Wait, that’s not normal?

  290. #294 Ol'Greg
    May 10, 2010

    Maybe. I think I’m going to have to nap for a couple of hours before continuing with work. I don’t feel too great right now. :-(

    Do it, and drink some water too. A rested and focused hour is worth three nauseous sleep-deprived hours IME.

    But then I get hyper focused and “forget” to sleep. So ymmv.

  291. #295 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #292 MrFire

    That didn’t happen last time I did a titration with EDTA. Maybe if I’d used a syringe rather than a burette …

    Cryptands and alkalides … Fascinating!

  292. #296 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 10, 2010

    That’s right, folks. Mary, mother of Jesus, has been necrodunked by the mormons.

    What took them so long?

  293. #297 Lynna, OM
    May 10, 2010

    More info on the mormon necrodunking of the mother of Jesus Christ:
    http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_helenradkey.html#pub_97237476
    Excerpts:

    Mary Mother of Jesus,” the spouse of “Joseph ?of the House of David??” was baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS Church by proxy on December 9, 2009 in the Idaho Falls Idaho (LDS) Temple. She was subjected to initiatory temple ordinances on December 16, 2009; an endowment ceremony on December 26, 2009; and a sealing to parents on January 7, 2010-all rites occurred in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple.
         Until recently, a description of those LDS temple rituals for Mary could be found in the “Search for Ancestors” section of New FamilySearch-the genealogy database of the LDS Church that contains updated details of proxy temple ordinances that have been done for dead people-online at: https://new.familysearch.org/en/action/unsec/welcome . Only an accredited Mormon with a special user log-in can currently access this website.
         The New FamilySearch listing for “Mary Mother of Jesus” with “personal identifier” KJPL-STD disappeared as an individual record in that database, after April 2, 2010, which is the date of my most recent copy of that entry. Record KJPL-STD for “Mary Mother of Jesus” has now been merged into a single record with numerous other blocked listings for Mary. LDS ordinance details on this combined record are all unavailable. The standard LDS procedure for blocking LDS ordinance information, which is attached to controversial records, is to mark ordinance details on those listings as “Not available.”
         Notes linked to the original entry for “Mary Mother of Jesus” reveal that the source used for that submission was: http://www.josephsmithsr.com/lucymack/d0014/I149103.htm .
         Mary’s “Husband #1″ is identified as “God the Father” on the Smith “family tree” which the submitter used as the source for the “Mary Mother of Jesus” submission. The fictional marriage relationship between Mary and “God the Father” from the Smith link is also defined in the notes on the original New FamilySearch record for “Mary Mother of Jesus,” record KJPL-STD. However, there was no LDS temple marriage sealing performed for “Mary Mother of Jesus” and “God the Father,” according to the (now blocked) LDS ordinance section of that temple listing. Instead, Mary’s spouse was correctly shown as “Joseph?” But the marriage sealing of Mary and Joseph on that record was marked “Needs more information” (before this ritual can be performed.)

  294. #298 Lynna, OM
    May 10, 2010

    Sili, I’m not sure it did take them that long to necrodunk Mary, mother of Jesus. It’s hard to tell. As the Helen Radkey info reads:

    There is no way to know how many times Mary has been subjected to LDS proxy rituals. While there are multiple listings for her in New FamilySearch, most of these entries show any attached LDS ordinances as “Not available.” Numerous submissions, which have been contributed by different Mormons, have been merged into the previously mentioned combined record with various descriptions of Mary’s identity, including record KJPL-STD for “Mary Mother of Jesus.” Other listings for Mary appear individually. Some “?Virgin Mary” entries indicate “Needs more information.” The sizeable array of New FamilySearch records for Mary were submitted by a large number of Mormons-evidence that the idea of contemporary baptism for her is not limited to just a few people.
         On March 2, 2010, “Heavenly Father” was named as Mary’s only spouse on a New FamilySearch entry for her with “personal identifier” 9HFF-PVQ. She is described on that record in double sets of brackets as “[The Virgin] Mary [The Virgin].” The “family tree” on record 9HFF-PVQ currently indicates Mary is the mother of “Jesus the Christ,” and also originally stated she was the mother of “(First Man) Adam (-3170 BC).”
         There was a separate listing in New Family Search, on March 2, 2010, for “Heavenly Father” with his “personal identifier” given as 21JV-899. Details of any marriage sealing of “Heavenly Father” to “[The Virgin] Mary [The Virgin]” were marked “Not available.” Individual LDS ordinances for “Heavenly Father,” like baptism, confirmation, initiatory and endowment rituals, were tagged “Needs more information.”
         By March 10, 2010, roughly a week later, the name of “Heavenly Father” had vanished from record 21JV-899, and “Heavenly Father” was no longer listed as Mary’s spouse on record 9HFF-PVQ for “[The Virgin] Mary [The Virgin].” Also removed from that entry for Mary was the name of “(First Man) Adam (-3170 BC),” previously listed as her son. Record 21JV-899 for “Heavenly Father” now shows “[Unknown Name] (-) Living.” The LDS ordinance section of this entry currently reads:
         ”This individual is living, and his or her ordinances cannot be displayed. To obtain this information, have the person contact his or her ward or branch clerk.”
         Was the name of “Heavenly Father” removed from record 9HFF-PVQ for “[The Virgin] Mary [The Virgin"] because he is presumed to be alive, or because this was an off-the-wall entry? Why was “Heavenly Father” listed in New FamilySearch-not only as the spouse of Mary-but as a living being who could possibly need LDS ordinances?

  295. #299 Knockgoats
    May 10, 2010

    So, Alan B.,

    You were outraged when John Major became the unelected PM after Thatcher resigned, were you?

    Didn’t think so.

  296. #300 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    An article on crowns, crypts, alkalides, electrides etc. Accessible provided you don’t mind long chemical formulae (but you biologists are used to super-molecules, aren’t you!)

    http://www.ias.ac.in/resonance/June2001/pdf/June2001p71-79.pdf

    Also included is information about octopus ligands (Box 3). PZ got there before all of us…

  297. #301 strange gods before me ?
    May 10, 2010

    We are only “That woman” and “Bigotted” if we disagree with what he has been doing.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not how it came up.

  298. #302 Walton
    May 10, 2010

    Which Miliband?

    The best comment of the BBC’s election night coverage (from one of the time-filling-interviews-with-minor-celebrities in between results):

    “I think Miliband will be the next Labour leader.”
    “Which Miliband?”
    “The good-looking one!”
    :-D :-D

  299. #303 Alan B
    May 10, 2010

    #299 Knockgoats

    You were outraged when John Major became the unelected PM after Thatcher resigned, were you?

    Didn’t think so.

    Precious little point in answering if you already know what I am going to say!

    Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

    (New Living Translation)

    http://bible.cc/proverbs/18-13.htm

    Do you think it was undemocratic for John Major to take over without an election?
    Do you think it was undemocratic for Gordon Brown to take over without an election?

    In America the succession following the death of a President mid-term seems to be well established. When you vote for the President you vote for the Vice-President who will take over if needed. This does seem to be democratic, after a fashion.

  300. #304 Mattir
    May 10, 2010

    @ Lynna

    First off, is it possible to put one’s name on an official LDS DON”T EVER DO A POSTHUMOUS DUNKING RITUAL FOR ME list? That would be as good as submitting my official resignation from the RCC.

    Second, I told Mr. M about the licked cupcakes and his opinion was that it would be best to choose the cupcake that had been licked by the hottest woman in the room. And then he asked WTF was wrong with people who taught girls that they were cupcakes.

    @ All the Badger References –

    reminds me of my favorite curse word, BADGER FLAPS. Which are, apparently, horizontal fence extensions along the ground inside and outside of a fence that keep badgers and critters generally from digging into one’s garden. Don’t know if this is true or not, but it’s still a great curse word for those situations in which one cannot use the more expressive utterances.

  301. #305 Knockgoats
    May 10, 2010

    Alan B.,
    Just pointing out your hypocrisy.

    Do you think it was undemocratic for John Major to take over without an election?
    Do you think it was undemocratic for Gordon Brown to take over without an election?

    In both cases, no. We don’t have a Presidential system of government; and I am in favour of fixed-term Parliaments.

    Even in the USA, if the VP resigns, a new one is appointed. You may remember Spiro T. Agnew resigning and being replaced by Gerald Ford, who subsequently became President without an election.

  302. #306 monado
    May 10, 2010

    T-shirts: Shirt.woot has a Darwin-themed image in this week’s run-off for your votes. The top 3 shirts get produced.

  303. #307 Cerberus
    May 10, 2010

    Blarg needed to clear my head a little bit from the rape thread.

    So, in lighter random news, just got my topic today for the presentation part of my thesis defense and have begun planning it out. Based on the argument I make in the paper, it should be relatively easy (my question is “what causes aging”). So need to work out 45 minutes of blather on that and then go over my paper and all my notes to do all my question answering for the other 45 minutes and then next monday hopefully I’ll be done.

    Also, the shortlist for the Danish World Cup squad got released today so I get to look over that and see if there’s any surprises (short answer, not many, most are the team from qualifying, but there’s a young midfielder named Christian Eriksen who looks like he might be the next big name in Danish football).

    Also, mind controlled sheep often pretend to be jeans in order to force people to have in depth conversations about which anime character could kick which western comic book characters ass.

    It’s true.

    I read about it. In a book.

  304. #308 monado
    May 10, 2010

    Walton, if you’re around, take a look: you’re mentioned in a T-shirt!

  305. #309 BarbieWanKenobi
    May 10, 2010

    Wondering if I could beg a little help in my arguments from the wise? I’m currently engaged in an heated debate on a friends profile on facebook after we both joined the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day group. Aside from the people who have declared us racists and promptly blocked us from their friends list (I’m sssooooo going to get things thrown at me tomorrow when I go to Uni!) the conversation seems to be coming round and I’ve used a lot of the reasoned arguments I heard here which seem to be winning people over. The last hurdle is the ‘but why do you think it’s appropriate to offend people to question their beliefs’ argument and I’m getting a bit tired now. Any tips on how to tackle that one?

  306. #310 Jadehawk, OM
    May 10, 2010

    BWK, you can either approach this from several different angles:

    you can talk about how religions used “blasphemy” as a means of suppressing freedom of thought, and that therefore not letting them re-establish themselves as protected from insult and criticism is a threat to a free society.

    you can ask them to think about what would happen if people always avoided insulting others; would there still be democracy, free speech, and social progress?

    I can’t think of anything else right now, but I’m sure others can come up with better ideas.

  307. #311 Cerberus
    May 10, 2010

    BWK-

    You can note that fighting against bigotry will always offend the powerful and that at home christianist groups use similar tactics of “that offends my christian sensibilities” to argue not only against things they find “offensive” but also any depiction whatsoever of groups they are discriminating against such as women and gays and that confronting blasphemy anywhere is a great tool against that.

    Noting the common nature of all religious bigotry will clarify the point of your action and separate it from say, the christianist bigots who want to applaud South Park because they like seeing brown people who pray to the wrong god die horribly.

  308. #312 David Marjanovi?
    May 10, 2010

    erm. just to clarify, I’m not finished, not the uploader. the uploader is working at an entirely satisfactory pace :-p

    Oh, good :-)

    Now I absolutely have to complete the unit of work I’m part-way through, which means staying up late again. And I’ve got another class at 9am tomorrow morning, so will need to be up no later than 7.30.

    Bad.

    The amount of stuff I have to do, and the absurdly long time it typically takes me to do it, mean that I have no hope of getting a healthy amount of sleep over the next couple of weeks.

    Vicious circle, see comment 284. If you keep going, your ability to learn will decline and collapse “over the next couple of weeks”.

    And did I really deserve to be quoted in Comic Sans? :-(

    That sentence did, yes.

    I would like a PM I actually had a chance to approve (or otherwise). I believe it used to be called democracy … but did that go under the bus too?

    Maybe you’ll find comfort in the fact that the UK method of selecting a PM is very widespread.

    For instance, in Austria the entire government (Administration in US terms! The cabinet!) is appointed by the president. In theory, he* can choose the Seven Wisest Men In The Kingdom, but those would soon get a vote of no confidence in parliament, which would mean they’d be fired. Thus, in practice, he starts by appointing the boss of the party that just got the most votes Federal Chancellor ( = PM; incidentally, there is no other job called “chancellor” in the entire country) and tells him* to form a government. Absolute majorities are rare, so the new chancellor’s party usually starts coalition negotiations. These partly secret negotiations, and the rumours about them, are covered in detail in the media. After a couple of weeks, a list of people (notably including the head of the coalition partner** as vice chancellor) is presented to the president, who signs the appointment documents.

    When the coalition of conservatives and xenophobes formed in March 2000 following the election of October 1999***, it was obvious that making Jörg Haider vice chancellor or indeed giving him any minister job would trigger an outcry in- and outside the country, so some up-to-then completely unknown yes-man was made vice chancellor****; the president further refused to appoint two members of that party who were on the list of proposed ministers, so they were exchanged for two more unknown figureheads. No party-internal election was held, because that party wasn’t that democratic.

    The president is elected directly.

    * No woman on those jobs so far.
    ** Austria has never had a coalition of more than 2 parties.
    *** Following several weeks of “sondage talks”***** by the Social Democrats with all other 3 parties, and several months of attempts to save the doomed coalition of the Social Democrats and the conservatives that neither party wanted anymore. The Social Democrats had lost in a landslide, but still were the biggest party; the head of the conservatives, and up to then vice chancellor, said before the elections that his party would go into opposition if they became 3rd, which happened, though only by 422 votes…
    **** And replaced at least twice on the fly before the next elections. Not a lot of people in that party were capable of fulfilling any job in a government.
    ***** Sondierungsgespräche promptly became “the un-word of the German language of the year 1999″.

    Mary, mother of Jesus, has been necrodunked by the mormons.

    <high-pitched, loud giggling>

    ROTFLMAO!!!

    I’ll use “necrodunked” at every opportunity from now on :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    What happened to her ascension, her bodily assumption into heaven? The local… serious Catholic once told my dad it must be said that she’s still alive [and has, unlike her son, never died].

    Deacon Frost exploding after being barraged by Blade with EDTA

    Aaaaaah. Won’t watch the video right now, but it’s deeply satisfying how vampires die in the only Blade episode I’ve had the pleasure to watch (Trinity). They explode, but the shards dissolve into air! So… clean! :-D

    In particular, some cryptands are powerful enough to allow for the isolation of alkalides – that is, alkali metal anions.

    What the fuck. I had no idea, because all my books on extreme chemistry (mostly Things I Won’t Work With) came out before 1999…

    Alkalides. That’s almost harder to believe than electrides… no, not just “almost”, because I knew about the bizarre solution of sodium in ammonia and about blue crystals of ordinary salt (NaCl) where radioactivity has kicked a few chlorine atoms out, leaving lone electrons in their places.

    I’ll read the article linked to in comment 300 as soon as possible.

    Walton, if you’re around, take a look: you’re mentioned in a T-shirt!

    Complete with moustache :-ž

  309. #313 Lynna, OM
    May 10, 2010

    First off, is it possible to put one’s name on an official LDS DON”T EVER DO A POSTHUMOUS DUNKING RITUAL FOR ME list?

    Many have tried. No one has succeeded.

    The wrongful posthumous baptism of Jewish dead continues, despite repeated denials by the disingenuous Mormon leadership. In their missionary zeal, Mormons continue their wrongful baptism of Jews, attempting to convince people (dead or alive) from other religions to convert. Jewish leaders have called the practice arrogant and said it is disrespectful to the dead, especially Holocaust victims.
         Mormons are hijacking history. In a hundred years who will know the true facts about you and your heritage? Who will know anything about your family? No one. Very possibly no one! Because in a hundred years the record will apparently show that they were allegedly converts without making clear that it was by no act of their own.

    Mormons Hijack Dead or Alive Jewish Souls

    Mormons also necrodunked Obama’s mama, all of the founding fathers, and well …. everyone famous or infamous, including Hitler.

    And apparently, ANY believing Mormon can access the database and add names. Which is how the POPE ended up Mormon.
         Here is the actual Church record that shows he is in the database. It?s been confirmed by a church insider, who chooses not to be named, that actual ordination (baptism) work has been done. http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/igi/individual_record.asp?recid=100395931505&lds=1®ion=5
         Me, I?m lobbying for the Pope to be appointed as my Home Teacher. And I bet he?d LOVE those funeral potatoes?..

  310. #314 BarbieWanKenobi
    May 10, 2010

    @Cerberus & Jadehawk,

    Thanks for that. I’ve been VERY careful all the way through to give examples of the oppressive nature of all religions, in fact I’ve shied away from examples from Islam except the issue over the depictions of Mohammed. I *think* I’m safe from having nasty things thrown at me tomorrow but I fear my friend isn’t. He’s a lot less subtle and a lot more ‘fuck you’!

    And on another note this is the first full on religious debate I’ve ever had. I’ve always stood to one side with the ‘oh well, leave them to it’ frame of mind before. I fully believe it’s the things I’ve learned here that have given me the strength of my convictions to stand up for my opinions.

    Thank you :o)

  311. #315 OurDeadSelves
    May 10, 2010

    Hey, thanks for the advice everyone! I’ll let you all know how the circumcision “debate” goes.
    :D

  312. #316 Carlie
    May 10, 2010

    Ooo, cephalopod teefury today, everybody! Only two hours left. (love the woot shirt, monado!)

  313. #317 Mattir
    May 10, 2010

    @ODS – Not to make too much of the whole circumcision argument, but if the mother (i.e. you) is not actually Jewish, a proposed kid isn’t either. If you’ve converted, the kid is Jewish under Orthodox and Conservative law (with the caveat that a more stringent sect won’t accept a less stringent group’s conversion). For Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, the rules (I think) are that Jewish identity can come through the paternal line IF there’s an intention to raise the kid as Jewish. Doing it “for tradition” is ridiculous, particularly if no Jewish group would actually recognize the Jewish status of the child without considerable changes in your and Mr. ODS’s religious observances.

    Just another argument for your armament.

  314. #318 Mattir
    May 10, 2010

    Possibly the stupidist op-ed piece I have ever read in a major American newspaper, which is actually saying quite a lot: Kathleen Parker yammering about religion, NDOP, and the hope that science will prove that we are “more than animated meat.”

  315. #319 OurDeadSelves
    May 10, 2010

    Mattir @ # 317:

    For Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, the rules (I think) are that Jewish identity can come through the paternal line IF there’s an intention to raise the kid as Jewish.

    It depends on the temple. My mom-in-law was raised Catholic, but agreed to raise her boys in the Jewish faith and that was good enough for the local rabbi. The local mohel, however, refused to perform the bris for Mr. ODS and his brothers, so they were all circumcised by a doctor.

    Speaking of, you mentioned earlier about considering having a mohel perform the circumcision. My immediate reaction was NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!. First off, no religious ceremony, please. And secondly, I’m not so sure that they are any safer than having the hospital do it– I can trust that a hospital will at least be sterile, but I can’t be so sure that the mohel will be following the same protocol.

    Doing it “for tradition” is ridiculous, particularly if no Jewish group would actually recognize the Jewish status of the child without considerable changes in your and Mr. ODS’s religious observances.

    I love this and I’m totally going to use this line of reasoning.

  316. #320 OurDeadSelves
    May 10, 2010

    Walton:
    Sorry I’m late, but:

    Health question: Is it worrying that I no longer drink any liquids which don’t contain caffeine? Coffee and diet cola are now pretty much the only things I drink throughout the day. Is this bad for me?

    Really? Really? You’ve gotta ask that? Not only will you totally fuck up your sleep cycle*, but that much caffeine will seriously dehydrate you– you can look forward to headache, upset stomach, the shakes, etc**. Add in the inevitable caffeine crash and you’re asking for trouble.

    As a caffeine addict myself, my advice is to cut whatever coffee/soda you’re consuming in half and replace with water or milk or something equally healthy. And for shit’s sake, get some sleep!

    * I know, I know. That’s your goal.
    ** Look at it this way: the best way to avoid a hangover is to hydrate yourself while you’re drinking &/or before the drunk wears off. The symptoms of a hangover come from *ding ding ding!* dehydration.

  317. #321 redrabbitslife
    May 10, 2010

    OT, if there is such a thing on the thread:

    There is now a number to which one can send text messages “of support” to the pope.

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/story.html?id=3008859

    Personally, I am looking forward to sending a link to Tim Minchin’s song :D

  318. #322 34jlg34
    May 11, 2010

    idiocy from Australia. My Gawd the comments.
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/where-women-still-dont-own-their-bodies-20100504-u716.html

    A woman who has conceived is no longer an individual, and it is simply an error for her to assume the rights of an individual over her body in that circumstance.

    idjit called Alistair

    sooo wrong

  319. #323 Owlmirror
    May 11, 2010

    My mom-in-law was raised Catholic, but agreed to raise her boys in the Jewish faith and that was good enough for the local rabbi. The local mohel, however, refused to perform the bris for Mr. ODS and his brothers, so they were all circumcised by a doctor.

    Wait.

    What?

    Mr. ODS’s mother didn’t even actually convert first?

    (Is his father still in the picture at all?)

    Oy gevalt. I’m facepalming over here.

    As I understand the business, Mr. ODS is a nice man with a Jewish father, but who is not himself technically, y’know, actually Jewish.

    He’s by no means the only one in that situation, of course. And it may seem unfair, or actually be unfair, but there it is.

    And any putative sons would not be Jewish either, come to think of it. That whole “pact with God” thing? It’s not just about getting the foreskin snipped; it’s a whole bunch of tribal cultural behaviors. If his mom didn’t jump through the magic conversion hoops, and he’s dropped the cultural behaviors, and his son isn’t going to be Jewish either, nor be brought up with those behaviors…

    Does he really think that God, if God even exists, is going to care solely about the foreskin-snippage?

    Of course, pointing all this out may freak him out enough to (a) convert and (b) pull you in with him — or be divorced. Oops. Emotional blackmail can go both ways.

    Maybe wait to unroll that argument until after he’s read the books and links I pointed to in #164, when he’ll be doubting that the tribal cultural behaviors are all that meaningful anyways.

  320. #324 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Argh. I inadvertently slept for nine-and-a-half hours, much longer than I intended to. I now have a class in an hour and no time to work.

  321. #325 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    David @ 245,

    What we all thought is true: physicians are desensitized to other people’s pain.

    I find it rather doubtful whether we can infer that from those EEG readings.They are right tho in pointing out that you have to be somewhat, if not desensitized then at least prepared to inflict pain, otherwise you will struggle to do your job.
    Lots of Interns have trouble putting drips in, although their technique is actually ok, and often it is just a matter of making them aware that they have to be prepared to hurt someone to succeed in their task !

    On a related note, the Professor of Emergency here(what ERV would call bossman)asked today for people who want to participate in a, wait for it, Acupuncture for Emergency Doctors course !!
    I’m not kidding.

  322. #326 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 11, 2010

    Did you offer to stab him?

  323. #327 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    Did you offer to stab him?

    No, but I was(and still am) tempted to send the Homeopathic A&E video to the Senior staff mailing list hehe….

  324. #328 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    the Professor of Emergency here(what ERV would call bossman)asked today for people who want to participate in a, wait for it, Acupuncture for Emergency Doctors course !! – Rorshach

    Are you sure he wasn’t just looking for a way to flush the wingnuts out of cover?

  325. #329 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    Are you sure he wasn’t just looking for a way to flush the wingnuts out of cover?

    Afraid not, and there is in fact such a course…:-) I don’t quite get that one, I have to admit.Maybe we could also have a prayer course for senior medical staff.

  326. #330 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010

    the Professor of Emergency here(what ERV would call bossman)asked today for people who want to participate in a, wait for it, Acupuncture for Emergency Doctors course !!

    Rorschach. If I ever wash up in your hospital please know in advance that whatever has brought me to emergency services is something I do not want acupuncture for!

    lol

  327. #331 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    May 11, 2010

    Sigh, Jon Stewart.

    TDS tonight he decided to talk about how the Tories should be handed the reigns of government because they got the most votes; Therefore, a Libdem + Labour coalition government is entirely unseemly and to be avoided. He also was talking about how this system is stupid. I believe he’s unfamiliar with what happens if a presidential candidate fails to obtain a majority of the electoral vote in the US, considering how derisive he was of their system. Or I’m giving him too little credit, because it’s not usually an issue in Merika.

    In my view, it is entirely seemly for a plurality coalition to form over an administration formed by the strongerest minority.

  328. #332 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    So yeah, one other thing, if you must know, there I was wondering why all of a sudden I get unsupervised time with the kid right, when it always was a big fight before.
    Turns out, ex has discovered that kid with me = opportunity to boink new boyfriend.
    I guess I should want him to have awesome stayer qualities.

    My TMI for the night, thanks for listening…:-)

  329. #333 John Morales
    May 11, 2010

    Maybe one of you chemists/biologists can help me here: I bought a new (full face) helmet a couple of weeks ago, kept it in the rumpus room on a chair.

    Turns out we’ve got a mouse infestation; when I wore it yesterday to go to work it stunk (but I didn’t realise at first, thought I might’ve hit a stink-bug or something) — it wasn’t until I got to work I discovered mouse droppings in my hair (ack!).
    Clearly, the mouse/mice had a nice nesting there, and shat and pissed on the interior lining.

    So, how can I clean it? I’ve looked on the net, but the advice seems to mostly relate to clothes and furniture. I’ve doused the lining with baking soda and will vacuum it up tomorrow, but I’m not sure it will help much (and I’m concerned about hantavirus, I was breathing the damn stuff for over an hour).

    Any suggestions? I’m thinking of buying another helmet, but it’s almost brand new and not cheap! :(

  330. #334 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010

    My TMI for the night, thanks for listening…

    Oh, I’m sorry you’re going through all that :(

  331. #335 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    England in a nutshell. (Yes, England – the Scots were Papists for longer and thus Continental.) – Sili, TUV

    Well, marginally. Henry VIII of England broke with the Papacy in 1531, there was a brief reversion to Catholicism under Mary I (1553-8), then Elizabeth I restored Protestantism. She sided with the Protestants in Scotland (although refusing to have any truck with John Knox, who had annoyed her by publishing The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558), sending a fleet to the Firth of Forth to aid them against the French-assisted Catholics. The Reformation Parliament of 1560 then passed a “Reformed Confession of Faith”. Mary I of Scotland refused to endorse it, but was shortly thereafter ejected from power in favour of her Protestant son James VI, who in 1603 also became James I of England.

  332. #336 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    Oh, I’m sorry you’re going through all that :(

    The human condition, a tragedy in countless acts….:-)

    As long as Australia doesnt run out of beer, I’ll be ok….;)

  333. #337 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 11, 2010

    Any suggestions? I’m thinking of buying another helmet, but it’s almost brand new and not cheap! :(

    Try asking a dry cleaner.

  334. #338 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    Any suggestions? I’m thinking of buying another helmet, but it’s almost brand new and not cheap! :(

    I would suggest a very dilute solution of bleach, and barely wetting a cloth with the solution wipe the inside of the helmet.

    The helmet must be capable of handling some moisture, since 1) it rains and 2) heads sweat.

    Then I would hang the helmet outside on a windy but dry day.

  335. #339 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    A further comment on current UK politics (I’m sure this is boring for many, but you can skip). Speculation is that Clegg wanted to get into bed with Cameron, but discovered that his MPs and wider party just won’t accept it. I’m not sure this is right – it may just be a cover story for a clever piece of double-dealing, keeping the Tories busy and complacent while pressing Brown to announce his resignation, as he has now done (well, he’ll remain for a few months, while Labour elect a new leader).

    In my view, it is entirely seemly for a plurality coalition to form over an administration formed by the strongerest minority. – Rutee, SHoD

    I agree – it’s clear that Labour and LibDems have much more in common than LibDems and Tories; and according to opinion polls, most LibDem voters prefer Labour to Tories. Since a LibDem-Lab coalition would need at least passive support from some of the smaller parties, it would have to be effectively backed by parties which totalled nearly 60% of the vote. That the Tories could only get 36% when just about everything possible was in their favour shows clearly that the UK is not a conservative country.

    The LibDem-Lab negotiations could still fall through – some senior Labour figures would prefer to go into opposition, and it would be rather precarious, but I still think, as I have all along, that it serves the interests of both sides better than any alternative.

  336. #340 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    That the Tories could only get 36% when just about everything possible was in their favour shows clearly that the UK is not a conservative country.

    I have been surprised about how little the failure of the Tories to get a majority has been mentioned. It was only a few months ago they were showing at 45% in the polls.

  337. #341 Jadehawk, OM
    May 11, 2010

    AAAAAGGHHHHH!!!!!!

    I hate being swamped in work, but my boss is an evil witch who wants me to frontload my portfolio so my extended vacation won’t do too much damage. And she always knows when I’m slacking off, too! ;-)

    Also, I think I need to go to bed now :-p

  338. #342 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    A Conservative-Lib Dem coalition would be by far the best thing for the country. However, it will not happen. Although Cameron and Clegg are both moderates, and likely to be favourable to a coalition, they have to contend with the fact that grassroots Lib Dem supporters are very hostile to a coalition with the Tories, and vice versa.

    If they were to enter a coalition, but it falls through and there is a second election within the year, both Clegg and Cameron know that their parties would haemorrhage votes as a result of the coalition: the Lib Dems would lose some left-wing voters to Labour or the Greens, while the Conservatives would lose some hardcore right-wing support to UKIP. (The Conservatives already lost votes to UKIP in some key marginal constituencies that they might otherwise have won.)

    The sensible thing, from Nick Clegg’s point of view, would be to enter a confidence-and-supply agreement and allow the Conservatives to form a minority government – making clear from the start that the Lib Dems would vote against the Conservative government if a key issue of principle were to arise. That way, if it falls apart within the year, Nick Clegg can avoid looking silly and will not lose votes from his core supporters.

    It should be borne in mind that Clegg is also under pressure not just from grassroots supporters but from the Lib Dem “Federal Executive”, which gets a say in any coalition agreement. The trouble is that while Clegg himself is personally moderate and sensible, the Lib Dem base contains a sizeable proportion of loony left-wingers who are unequivocally opposed to alliance with the Tories. And the Tory base also contains a strong loony-right contingent who are opposed to any compromise on electoral reform or Europe.

  339. #343 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    This delay in making a decision is now damaging to the credibility of the Lib Dems. At the moment many commenters on the internet think they are just using the situation to change the voting system to their own advantage. I hope they explain their reasoning properly once it is all over as that should not be the sticking point.

    I think Clegg wants to support Cameron but is fighting to persuade the rest of the party. They may have more in common with Labour in theory but in practice the latter has abandoned many of its left-wing principles. I don’t think a Lib-Lab deal would go down well with the electorate.

  340. #344 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    I agree – it’s clear that Labour and LibDems have much more in common than LibDems and Tories; and according to opinion polls, most LibDem voters prefer Labour to Tories. Since a LibDem-Lab coalition would need at least passive support from some of the smaller parties, it would have to be effectively backed by parties which totalled nearly 60% of the vote. That the Tories could only get 36% when just about everything possible was in their favour shows clearly that the UK is not a conservative country.

    That really doesn’t follow at all.

    The Lib Dems are a party with no single coherent ideology. Some Lib Dem supporters are left-wingers who are adamantly opposed in all circumstances to a Tory government. Other Lib Dem supporters are moderate classical liberals who much prefer the Conservatives to Labour.

    Lib Dem policy on economics is closer to Labour than to the Tories (albeit slightly to the left of either); but on civil liberties, Tories and Lib Dems tend to be in broad agreement, whereas Labour are markedly more authoritarian.

    I voted Lib Dem as a tactical vote to remove the Labour incumbent in my constituency. Among the 23% of people who voted Lib Dem nationally, I am surely not the only person who voted Lib Dem as a vote against Labour. My vote was focused on civil liberties: and for people like me who are small-l liberals, the priority throughout this election has been to get Labour out. Accordingly, if the Lib Dems were to form a coalition with Labour, citing their 23% vote-share as part of a nationwide vote for “progressive” or “non-conservative” parties, this would be directly the opposite of what I intended to signify when I cast my vote.

    So I wish people would stop saying that 60+ percent of the country voted for “progressive” parties. I did nothing of the sort. I voted against Labour, which, in this constituency, meant voting for the Lib Dems. And I voted for them on the understanding that they would be different from, and would not be natural allies of, Labour. To me, since civil liberties are the most important issue, a Tory-Lib Dem alliance is far more natural than a Labour-Lib Dem alliance.

  341. #345 Alan B
    May 11, 2010

    #312 David Marjanovi?

    Thank you for your contribution about government in Europe.

    Maybe you’ll find comfort in the fact that the UK method of selecting a PM is very widespread.

    Can’t say it gives me much comfort!

    At least it gives an idea of where we are going as we get more involved in a FederalEurope.

  342. #346 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    This election should not have been about the economy. The economy will be in an equally shit state for the foreseeable future whoever is in power.

    What really should have mattered to people in this election is civil liberties. The Conservatives and Lib Dems both care about civil liberties (albeit only up to a point); Labour don’t. It’s as simple as that. A vote for Labour in this election was a vote for ID cards, arbitrary detention without trial, more surveillance, detention of innocent refugees and asylum-seekers, more police powers, and illiberal “hate speech” laws. My vote was intended to signify that I actually care about the rights and freedoms of the individual, and therefore that I want to get rid of the authoritarian statist Labour government.

  343. #347 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    What really should have mattered to people in this election is civil liberties. The Conservatives and Lib Dems both care about civil liberties (albeit only up to a point); Labour don’t. It’s as simple as that.

    Civil Partnerships, Walton. Civil Partnerships.

    Oh, and Baroness Young, Tory.

    Now what were you saying about Tories caring about civil liberties again ?

  344. #348 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    Can’t say it gives me much comfort!

    At least it gives an idea of where we are going as we get more involved in a FederalEurope.

    The system has not changed in years.

    It is just you either cannot or will not understand how parliamentary democracy works. If you really though you were voting for who was to be PM you were an idiot.

  345. #349 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Oh, and Baroness Young, Tory.

    And dead. I doubt she’s going to exert much influence on policy from beyond the grave.

    For fuck’s sake, Matt. Do you really think I’m either stupid or a closet homophobe? Do you give me so little credit?

  346. #350 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    And dead. I doubt she’s going to exert much influence on policy from beyond the grave.

    For fuck’s sake, Matt. Do you really think I’m either stupid or a closet homophobe? Do you give me so little credit?

    Just stop saying the Tories care about civil liberties when they did so much to try and derail legislation for civil partnerships.

    Baroness Young did lead the Tories in the Lords remembers, and she was never kicked out of the party for her homophobia.

    It also was not the Tories who introduced the legislation on civil partnerships, nor even the Lib-Dems (although their party line was to support they legislation). It was Labour who introduced the bill, and the nearly all the opposition came from Tories.

  347. #351 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Walton

    If we don’t address our economic problems as a matter of priority, things will be in a much worse state than they are now, with widespread civil unrest this year and next.

    Civil liberties are important but are not the most pressing issue for the country as a whole.

  348. #352 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    If we don’t address our economic problems as a matter of priority, things will be in a much worse state than they are now, with widespread civil unrest this year and next.

    Sure. But I don’t see any significant difference between the approaches of the different parties in this regard. It’s important for stability that a new government be formed soon, but I don’t see that the exact party composition of the government will make any substantial difference to the prospect of economic recovery.

  349. #353 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 11, 2010

    I do not have time to get into a fight here today but I recommend Michael Portillo’s new series on Radio 4.

    All about democracy, no less!

    Today’s first episode touched on the relationship between making democracy work and ensuring a base-line of social and economic justice.

    Worth a listen.

  350. #354 Ewan R
    May 11, 2010

    This election should not have been about the economy. The economy will be in an equally shit state for the foreseeable future whoever is in power.

    I’d still rather have labour (as I remember them at least, been out of the UK for 5 years now) at the helm under a shitty economy rather than the conservatives – didn’t Brown, as chancellor, do some pretty good things with the economy? I’d rather have that sort of thinking in charge than what I remember of the conservatives (admittedly that essentially amounts to being dragged along to countless anti-poll tax rallies – although living through the transition of the UK from pretty socialist to barely socialist under Thatcher also leaves a bad taste in the mouth – which may infact be so ingrained as to be the first example of Lamarckian inheritance)

    Although I would have voted Lib Dem, because rather than voting tactically which I think is a bullshit way to approach politics, I fully advocate voting for the party you agree with the most, rather than trying to unseat the party you agree with the least by going for the lesser of two evils – although I can see how without some form of PR this may not seem like a great idea to everyone.

    I doubt she’s going to exert much influence on policy from beyond the grave.

    Thatcher managed it from ’79 through ’90

    Do you really think I’m either stupid or a closet homophobe? Do you give me so little credit?

    Well… you did almost vote conservative

    (prior two blockquotes should be taken under the assumption I was being a tad bit amusing rather than completely straight faced)

    and in completely unrelated news…

    I recall in the previous thread there was some discussion on this weeks Real Time with Bill Maher – while I concur that Rushdie was “coolness personified” was I the only one who gagged a little when climate change and evolution came up and he completely misrepresented evolutionary theory by claiming that it’s probably only 99% there, and has big holes, and (if I’m remembering correctly) that scientists called it a theory because they’re reticent about calling anything proven until it is…. I mean ffs the guy makes a living off of words – would it be too hard for him to understand the word theory in a scientific context?

  351. #355 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    For fuck’s sake, Matt. Do you really think I’m either stupid or a closet homophobe? Do you give me so little credit?

    I realised I have not answered this bit.

    No I do not think you are stupid, nor do I think you are a homophobe closeted or otherwise.

    I do think that you are sometimes painfully ignorant of the more unsavoury aspects of, and characters in, the Tory party.

  352. #356 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Sure. But I don’t see any significant difference between the approaches of the different parties in this regard. It’s important for stability that a new government be formed soon, but I don’t see that the exact party composition of the government will make any substantial difference to the prospect of economic recovery. – Walton

    Not so: the Tories promise immediate and savage spending cuts, which would choke off the fragile recovery. The other two main parties have slightly more sense: this is one reason why a Con-LibDem pact is unlikely. Unfortunately all three main parties are caught in a ZOMG – the deficit!!! panic – although viewed in historical perspective, total government debt relative to GDP is not actually high.

    One of the most amusing aspects of the post-election period (it really is a long time since I had so much fun with my clothes on) is the way proponents of the current FPTP voting system have been using the chaos as an argument for keeping that system! The claim is that hung Parliaments would be much more common under PR. They would indeed be more so (but not under AV, currently being discussed, which is not PR, and exaggerates the effects of swings), but of course in countries with PR everyone expects it, and either alliances are formed before the election, or negotiations take place in a much calmer atmosphere. Moreover, FPTP becomes increasingly volatile and unpredictable as one moves away from a pure 2-party system – a shift that has been occurring almost monotonically in the UK since 1951. In that election, Labour and Tories together got 96.8% of the vote (Labour got slightly more than the Tories, but still lost the election). This time, the two together got 65.1% – a post-WWII low.

  353. #357 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 11, 2010

    Thread’s been nearly unreadable lately. Got me feeling like Jon Stewart. Anyway, I can no longer read Walton’s posts on the clustershag to 10 Downing without picturing John Oliver.

  354. #358 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    On the record Radkey discovered Jesus Ben Joseph CHRIST (born on 1 AD, deceased on 33AD) is listed as her son.

    Haven’t they used the wrong name?
    Supposedly, his given name was “Yeshua”.
    “Jesus” is a bad translation via Greek and Latin.
    Yeshua is the diminutive form of Yahoshua (Joshua). So Yeshua is really better translated as “Josh”.

  355. #359 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Walton,
    The sensible thing, from Nick Clegg’s point of view, would be to enter a confidence-and-supply agreement and allow the Conservatives to form a minority government – making clear from the start that the Lib Dems would vote against the Conservative government if a key issue of principle were to arise. That way, if it falls apart within the year, Nick Clegg can avoid looking silly and will not lose votes from his core supporters.

    No; if Clegg does that (which he may end up doing), it’s basically the end of the LibDems: he can be absolutely certain of being shafted. He’ll have the odium of putting the Tories in, plus the odium of causing another election if he withdraws support – and he won’t get even a sniff of political reform. Cameron will be able to choose his time to call an election, after playing nice for a few months, and probably win a majority, while scads of Clegg’s voters desert in all directions. Whatever Clegg does, the LibDems are very likely to lose votes at the next election, so he must secure PR before that happens. Only a coalition with Labour offers a chance of this.

    The Lib Dems are a party with no single coherent ideology. Some Lib Dem supporters are left-wingers who are adamantly opposed in all circumstances to a Tory government. Other Lib Dem supporters are moderate classical liberals who much prefer the Conservatives to Labour.

    Apparently, polls of LibDem voters show you’re just factually wrong here: far more of their voters prefer Labour over the Tories than vice versa (I’m relying here on what Polly Toynbee says Ben Page, head of Ipsos Mori says – I haven’t been able to find an actual poll). I doubt that the number of “classical liberals”, moderate or otherwise, who vote LibDem reaches four figures. Also, your belief that the Tories would protect civil liberties is laughable: they will do, as always, what big business wants.

  356. #360 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    If we don’t address our economic problems as a matter of priority, things will be in a much worse state than they are now, with widespread civil unrest this year and next. – Jessie

    The UK government could make things worse (by early cuts), but can’t make them much better – that depends on events beyond its control – which could also cause disaster whatever it does. There’s unlikely to be civil unrest in any case – there just isn’t the tradition of it there is in France, let alone Greece. If things get really bad, almost everyone who is in economic trouble will be scrabbling to make ends meet, not rioting.

  357. #361 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Quite a few Labour MPs have now come out against a coalition with the LibDems. Tory-Labour coalition, anyone :-p

  358. #362 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Great Britain has a ludicrously arcane system for breaking electoral ties where the queen appoints one of her Corgis as interim prime minister. – Jon Stewart

    QFH

  359. #363 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Knockgoats
    I don’t think immediate massive cuts in public spending are wise either but I don’t think they can be avoided later this year and next. The other way to try to balance the books is to increase taxation and that’s what I think will be done in the short-term.
    I hope you are right about there being no civil unrest.

  360. #364 Ewan R
    May 11, 2010

    Tory-Labour coalition, anyone

    Pre-new Labour that would have been far more of an absurd statement than it is today. Based on my last few years in the UK however I’d almost say that is a more realistic proposal than Tory-Lib Dem – infact in terms of silliness I’d rate Lab-Lib, Lab-Con, Lab-Lib as increasingly bizarre (not taking into account any shifts I’ve missed in the past 5 years)

  361. #365 Ewan R
    May 11, 2010

    Meh, last of the 3 mentioned in #394 shoulda been Con-Lib….

  362. #366 David Marjanovi?
    May 11, 2010

    Argh. I inadvertently slept for nine-and-a-half hours, much longer than I intended to. I now have a class in an hour and no time to work.

    But you were awake enough to actually follow the class… right? So you understood what was taught in it and won’t need to repeat it 3 times on your own, right?

    TDS tonight he decided to talk about how the Tories should be handed the reigns of government because they got the most votes; Therefore, a Libdem + Labour coalition government is entirely unseemly and to be avoided.

    In Austria, the Social Democrats got (as mentioned) the most votes in 1999, despite their losses. They tried to form a government for months (even the option of a minority government was discussed), which the president had charged them with; it just didn’t work. We got a coalition of numbers 2 and 3.

    stayer qualities

    Is it really called that in English, or did you confuse stay and stand? I do that sometimes.

    That the Tories could only get 36% when just about everything possible was in their favour shows clearly that the UK is not a conservative country.

    Unlike, it seems, Hungary. <facepalm>

    This delay in making a decision is now damaging to the credibility of the Lib Dems. At the moment many commenters on the internet think they are just using the situation to change the voting system to their own advantage.

    Which is, in this case, pretty much everyone’s advantage! Just not that of the Conservative Party.

    Thank you for your contribution about government in Europe.

    Oh nononononooooo. That was just Austria. Many countries do have similar systems, but France, for instance, is seriously different (never mind Russia).

    At least it gives an idea of where we are going as we get more involved in a FederalEurope.

    Why? Your current political situation is the result of your very own election result, nothing else. I don’t see where any outside influence on this kind of thing could come from in the future either.

  363. #367 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Unlike, it seems, Hungary.

    Hungary’s more Nazi than conservative, I’d say. I’ll be visiting Budapest in the near future, so I’ll see at first hand.

  364. #368 David Marjanovi?
    May 11, 2010

    The claim is that hung Parliaments would be much more common under PR. They would indeed be more so (but not under AV, currently being discussed, which is not PR, and exaggerates the effects of swings), but of course in countries with PR everyone expects it, and either alliances are formed before the election, or negotiations take place in a much calmer atmosphere.

    Indeed, there is no term for “hung parliament” in German or AFAIK French, because not having a party win a majority is the default.

    “Jesus” is a bad translation via Greek and Latin.

    It’s not a translation, it’s an attempt to squeeze the name into the Greek sound system, plus the ending required by Greek grammar.

    Quite a few Labour MPs have now come out against a coalition with the LibDems. Tory-Labour coalition, anyone :-p

    Absurd though it is, this is the natural state of Austria, for better or and worse. It was also recently tried in Germany (it didn’t work, though nothing works in Germany anymore).

  365. #369 David Marjanovi?
    May 11, 2010

    Just for the record, the House of Terror in Budapest does a very good job of displaying both the fascist and the communist terror (and that in several languages). I was there last summer.

  366. #370 KOPD
    May 11, 2010

    It’s not a translation, it’s an attempt to squeeze the name into the Greek sound system, plus the ending required by Greek grammar.

    Just like the names we use for the Egyptian deities. Sorry, it just bugs me. Speaking of which, why do we have our own names for other nations rather than calling them what they call themselves? For example, why do we say Germany instead of Deutschland? These are the things that distract me when I should be thinking about other things.

  367. #371 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    Un-freaking- believable – Pope announces the need for the entire RCC to do penance. As if the laity and clergy were equally responsible for the abuse of children. Who wants to bet that the burden of penance will fall disproportionately on laity? (Me, I’ve performed penance by sending in the official resignation form to make official my leaving 25 years ago.)

    This we have always known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way, that the greatest persecution of the church does not come from the enemies outside but is born from the sin in the church. . .

    The picture in the article is stunning, by the way – Pope pontificating, men behind him laughing as if everything is a joke.

  368. #372 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Looks like I was wrong, and the Tories and LibDems are making a deal after all :-( Clegg’s clearly an idiot – but will he be able to sell it to his party?

  369. #373 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    @Mattir A tiny amount of credit where a tiny amount of credit is due though; he is sort of telling those cardinals and such that have been blaming gays/atheists/Jews/Freemasons/Nick Clegg to STFU.

  370. #374 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Looks like I was wrong, and the Tories and LibDems are making a deal after all :-( Clegg’s clearly an idiot – but will he be able to sell it to his party?

    It will be tough: there is a sizeable left-wing contingent among Lib Dem grassroots supporters, who will be adamantly opposed to a deal with the Conservatives and will want to derail it. If the coalition collapses and there is another election within the year, the Lib Dems will certainly haemorrhage votes. If there is a second election, Cameron also stands to lose some of the hard-right vote to UKIP if he caves to Lib Dem demands on electoral reform and Europe. (The UKIP vote, although not particularly big overall, was enough in Thursday’s election to prevent the Conservatives winning some tight marginal constituencies which they might otherwise have taken.)

    Both Cameron and Clegg are moderate, sensible people and would probably work very well together. But, sadly, their respective party bases are far more ideologically opposed to one another than the leaders are.

  371. #375 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    Reports are that Vince Cable has been seen in the Treasury meeting with civil servants attached to the Chancellor’s office.

  372. #376 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    Walton: Do you really think LD Social Democrats are more likely to be the wreckers of any deal than the Tory right, or are you just being a loyal activist?

  373. #377 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Walton: Do you really think LD Social Democrats are more likely to be the wreckers of any deal than the Tory right, or are you just being a loyal activist?

    I think both might wreck it. But the Lib Dem activists have more power to do so up-front, because of the structure of their party constitution: the party’s Federal Executive gets an official say in coalition arrangements, and Clegg doesn’t have unlimited power to enter a coalition without his party’s backing. The Conservative Party constitution, by contrast, gives the party leader more-or-less unlimited power.

    That said, though, Cameron will be very wary of losing right-wing votes to UKIP if he caves to the Lib Dems on key issues – especially electoral reform, Europe, immigration, and the composition of the Cabinet. So the Tory right are definitely a real threat to a coalition too.

  374. #378 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Both Cameron and Clegg are moderate, sensible peopletoffee-nosed bladder-heads and would probably work very well together. But, sadlyfortunately, their respective party bases are far more ideologically opposed to one another than the leaders are. – Walton

    The result will be a cabinet consisting almost entirely of white men educated in private schools: probably the least diverse in decades.

  375. #379 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Not so: the Tories promise immediate and savage spending cuts, which would choke off the fragile recovery. The other two main parties have slightly more sense: this is one reason why a Con-LibDem pact is unlikely.

    Well, I’m obviously inclined to disagree. I think both parties recognise that it’s necessary to have policies that free up consumers and business so as to facilitate economic recovery. I like the Lib Dem proposal to raise the tax-free allowance to £10,000, therefore essentially giving a tax break to the working poor.

    Spending cuts obviously aren’t great, but are urgently necessary in order to reduce the deficit. This will inevitably involve some cuts to front-line services. Again, I think a fusion of Tory and Lib Dem ideas could be the right thing here. For instance, if sensible Lib Dem policies on criminal justice were adopted, we could save billions in spending on police and prisons, and stop pouring so much wasted money into the coffers of the private prison industry. Sadly, though, the Daily Mail brigade would hate it, and there would be a lot of right-wing pressure on the Tories not to adopt this line.

  376. #380 Lynna, OM
    May 11, 2010

    I think we should talk some more about Walton’s sleep patterns.

    Or we should buy Walton a clue about sleep and human brain function.

    Walton, (and I say this with affection), habit will take you a long way. Establish a habit of regular sleep. That habit should be within the norms established for young men, with an adjustment for your needs. You sleep requirement, as far as I can see, is at least eight hours per night. Any less than that and you are building up a sleep deficit, a deficit that cannot be corrected by a single good night’s sleep. Expect a deficit to be ameliorated with about three good night’s sleep.

  377. #381 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    Walton, I don’t think *Cameron* being wary of losing votes is the main problem. I think there’s a real chance of a sizable portion of his own MPs declaring open war, either on wingnut principles or knowing electoral reform will cost them their jobs.

  378. #382 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    Walton, you’re too late! It’s been sold for £5m.
    Walton Castle

    The nutty drama queen Margarita Hamilton mentioned below was my next door neighbour when we were teenagers. She was always coming over and begging me to get my cock out so she could play with it. I nearly always refused.
    Seems that she nabbed a millionaire and got the castle as part of a divorce settlement. Wonder if she still wants to see my cock?

    In 1984 rumours abounded that wealthy rock stars such as Boy George and David Essex were showing an interest in the £250,000 property, but in the end it was sold to the London-based Hamiltons, who said that they wanted it as a place where they could “relax”. They bought a Ferrari and helicopter down with them. It wasn’t long before the couple ran into problems, with conservationists, architectural historians and locals on the warpath over the unauthorised removal of the crenellations, or battlements, from the towers, which, as it was a listed building, there were forced to re-instate. Nevertheless, the Hamiltons were prepared to put their money where their hearts were and spent around £3 million on updating the property.
    But controversy didn’t really begin until the late 1990s when 40-something divorcee millionairess Margarita decided to start holding regular “bashes” up at the old place. As floods of complaints about noise and “goings on” at the castle came in from the local populace, so she retaliated by calling her neighbours “boring, geriatric and spineless”. She said there was no fun in sleepy Clevedon, with residents liking an early bedtime. “I think all this is just jealousy on their part, ” she added. The ongoing furore resulted in her appearance on the TV show Neighbours From Hell.
    Her jealousy jibe may very well be right, but publicly aired comments such as “this town (Clevedon) is just totally depressing with only two restaurants and nowhere else to go” and “living here feels like Nazi Germany” were never going to endear her to Clevedonians. In 1999 Margarita – nicknamed “Queen of the Castle” by locals – applied for a corporate entertainments licence so that the castle could be used for weddings up to three times a month. But when this was refused – following complaints about a previous ball – she decided to sell up and move to her other homes in Zimbabwe and Greece. She also said that, subject to planning permission, she would have liked to have turned the folly into a hotel.
    Now the castle has a new owner, South African billionaire Stephen Lumb, who plans to spend £20 million on upgrading what he calls his “Shangri La”. He’s even said that he would like to buy the local golf club, whose driveway he will have to use to gain access to his new home. But whether he will prove as flamboyant a character as ” party girl” Margarita Hamilton, only time will tell.

  379. #383 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    I doubt that the number of “classical liberals”, moderate or otherwise, who vote LibDem reaches four figures.

    *sigh* Yes, you might well be right. It pisses me off that there is no British party suitable for those of us who hold radically liberal and progressive social views, but who adopt a moderate fiscal-conservative stance on the economy. All too often, a commitment to social liberalism and personal autonomy is seen as the preserve of left-wing parties – which it should not be.

    Also, your belief that the Tories would protect civil liberties is laughable: they will do, as always, what big business wants.

    To some extent, that’s probably true; any government in power, and any large political party, is inevitably influenced by and beholden to the interests of wealth and big business. And I don’t hold out much hope that any British government of any political complexion will be serious about civil liberties in the areas that most hurt the poor and marginalised – abuse of police powers, for instance, or detention of refugees and asylum-seekers. So I don’t hold the naive belief that any of the three major parties will consistently support civil liberties when in government.

    But the Conservatives and Lib Dems at least have some ideological commitment to civil liberties, even if both parties often fail to stand by this in practice. By contrast, individual freedom simply is not a part of New Labour’s ideology; they don’t even really pay lip-service to it.

  380. #384 Bernard Bumner
    May 11, 2010

    I’m sure that we can sort out the mess in the next general election, it won’t be very long to wait. The only question is whether the public will get the taste for electoral reform, and force a referendum (and legislation), before that.

    Anyway, if one good thing has come out of all this, it was watching Adam Boulton losing it on Sky News, and finally showing the world his big, meaty, David Cameron hardon, only to have it slapped away by professional bastard, Alastair Campbell (“Adam you are a pompous little arse.”). TV gold.

  381. #385 Matt Penfold
    May 11, 2010

    I’m sure that we can sort out the mess in the next general election, it won’t be very long to wait. The only question is whether the public will get the taste for electoral reform, and force a referendum (and legislation), before that.

    The problem with this is that any system of PR other than simple AV will probably take 18 months to two years to introduce.

    There would needs to be a referendum, and there would also need to be some boundrary changes, especially if there will be a reduction in the number of MPs as well1.

    1. Something both the Tories and Lib Dems support.

  382. #386 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    *sigh* Yes, you might well be right. It pisses me off that there is no British party suitable for those of us who hold radically liberal and progressive social views, but who adopt a moderate fiscal-conservative stance on the economy. All too often, a commitment to social liberalism and personal autonomy is seen as the preserve of left-wing parties – which it should not be.

    Thing is, there just aren’t that many of you. The “political compass” bleh about social and economic beliefs being independent, is repeated a lot, and logically it’s fair enough but the two actually correlate pretty strongly. This study to find out what dimensions actually describe most of the variation in political beliefs ended up collapsing them into one (which was by far the most important) and making “pragmatism-idealism” the other axis.

  383. #387 Knockgoats
    May 11, 2010

    Walton,
    I like the Lib Dem proposal to raise the tax-free allowance to £10,000, therefore essentially giving a tax break to the working poor.

    On that I agree.

    Spending cuts obviously aren’t great, but are urgently necessary in order to reduce the deficit.urgent necessity to reduce the deficit. In fact, there’s an urgent necessity not to.

  384. #388 Lynna, OM
    May 11, 2010

    The Secular Transition
    The link leads to a downloadable PDF. In the abstract, the authors of the study conclude that “….socioeconomic development of countries ultimately leads to a secular transition, curtailing the growth of these religious groups.

    The study looks at Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists.

  385. #389 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    Small world. Just discovered that the latest owner of Walton’s ancestral pile, once owned by my ex neighbour, is closely connected to a bunch of crooked South Africans who asset-stripped a retail firm I worked for a few years ago, leading to liquidation three days before Xmas. Many thousands lost not just their jobs but also their homes above the outlets. I had to wait five months to get my pay from the Liquidators.

  386. #390 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Matt Heath: I have serious doubts about the methods of that survey. I just took it, and it labelled me as Left -6.9048, and Pragmatic +4.1937. I wasn’t much further rightward than Tony Benn or Ken Livingstone! That definitely isn’t (I would hope) an accurate reflection of my position.

    Admittedly, maybe I wasn’t paying sufficinet attention to some of the questions – and I deliberately answered “No opinion” to a few of the more technical economic questions (because although I do have opinions on those issues, I don’t have enough economic expertise to be reasonably sure that I’m right about them). So I can’t blame the test entirely.

  387. #391 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 11, 2010

    @Mattir A tiny amount of credit where a tiny amount of credit is due though; he is sort of telling those cardinals and such that have been blaming gays/atheists/Jews/Freemasons/Nick Clegg to STFU.

    Yeah, no.

    Of course he’s telling them to shut the fuck up. The Pope’s not that stupid. Even he must see that every time they open their gobs they make the RCC look even worse. Even when they’re not doing it only to suck some altarboy cock.

    When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Pope’s merely ordered “spades down!”

    And the whole bloody RCC should do penance. The fucking laity should be held up for scorn for not doing something about their disgusting, corrupt masters. Every fucking member of the RCC is morally responsible for the abuse of those kids, and they should bloody well feel ashamed of themselves. Just as every last tithing Mormon is morally responsible for the passing of Cali’s Prop 8.

    Wankers.

  388. #392 Ewan R
    May 11, 2010

    Walton – if you skipped the economics questions (where your views are generally to the right, at least in terms of British politics) and answered the social justice type questions with a bent towards rights and all that, then it isn’t really all that surprising that you come out as leftist – at least I’d always figured social equality issues to be a more left wing than a right wing idea – if you entirely left it at that and never mentioned economic concerns then my guess is most people would peg you as a lib dem or labour supporter.

  389. #393 Paul
    May 11, 2010

    That definitely isn’t (I would hope) an accurate reflection of my position.

    I find this disturbing. The fact that you seem to care more that you’re identified as “right” (as in wing, not as in correct) than you care that you’re identified accurately. I just don’t understand why it matters so much to you that you’re not considered more left than anyone that’s not a raging xenophobe (it makes me think of David’s story about the (German? Austrian?) party that declared nobody would be further right than them). You’re left wing by almost any reasonable measure. Even fiscally anymore, you’re tending left. You need to learn to deal with it.

  390. #394 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    Walton, bear in mind it’s a reduction to two variables that predicts *most* of the answers for *most* people. It will put you in the wrong place because your answers diverge where people in general typically converge. Specifically I guess it’s pushing you “left” for your social and civil liberalism and your economics are centrist enough not to push back much (plus withholding answers will add to this). But that it gets you wrong is my whole point; for most people those things *do* correlate. Whatever the virtues of classic liberalism, very few people support it. Economic rightists tend to be reactionaries.

  391. #395 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    I like the Lib Dem proposal to raise the tax-free allowance to £10,000, therefore essentially giving a tax break to the working poor.

    Still not enough. Should be £15k. Someone on the minimum wage, even at only 35 hours a week, earns more than £10k p/a (and most minimum wage earners have to work more then 35 hours p/w). Insane waste of public time and money to have one department making them pay tax on a minimum wage and dozens of other departments sending them millions of forms to claim money back because we realise it isn’t enough to live on.

    Balanced, of course, by (greatly) increased tax rates for higher earners.

  392. #396 Dust
    May 11, 2010

    Mattir @371

    The picture in the article is stunning, by the way – Pope pontificating, men behind him laughing as if everything is a joke

    I would caption that photo as “Snakes on a Plane”

  393. #397 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    The thing that pisses me off most about the Pope’s comments is that it’s the regular church members, or at least those too sheep-minded not to leave, who will actually do the penance because they’re the ones with real jobs and real lives. The leeches in the clergy will continue to feed as always, even if they’re not either abusing kids or covering up the abuse of others.

    How different life in the RCC would be if we could magically install as Pope the priest or the nun profiled a couple weeks ago by Nicholas Kristof. It’d be like firing Mr. Deity and letting Lucy take over the operations…

  394. #398 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    On this, Labour in opposition always did stand-up for civil liberties and the Tories in government certainly never did (bear in mind internment without trial for UK citizens and laws restricting certain types on music). It really is governments that are the problem on liberty.

  395. #399 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Brown expected to make statement outside number 10 and then offer his resignation to the Queen.

  396. #400 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    doh! lost quote. me@398 refers to:

    But the Conservatives and Lib Dems at least have some ideological commitment to civil liberties, even if both parties often fail to stand by this in practice. By contrast, individual freedom simply is not a part of New Labour’s ideology; they don’t even really pay lip-service to it

  397. #401 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Gordon Brown says is going to Palace to resign. Queen will then ask David Cameron to form a government. He is leaving as leader of Labour Party immediately.

    I believe this means that the Conservatives and Lib Dems must have formed a coalition.

  398. #402 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    I think we should talk some more about Walton’s sleep patterns.

    Or we should buy Walton a clue about sleep and human brain function.

    Walton, (and I say this with affection), habit will take you a long way. Establish a habit of regular sleep. That habit should be within the norms established for young men, with an adjustment for your needs. You sleep requirement, as far as I can see, is at least eight hours per night. Any less than that and you are building up a sleep deficit, a deficit that cannot be corrected by a single good night’s sleep. Expect a deficit to be ameliorated with about three good night’s sleep.

    I just don’t have the time to have that much sleep. :-(

    And sure, I need eight hours a night to function at maximum efficiency. But I can usually cope, for a few days at a time, with maybe five or six hours a night, provided I have a longer night’s sleep a couple of times a week.

    Annoyingly, despite sleeping for nine hours last night, I’m still tired now. But I can’t go to bed tonight until relatively late, since I must get more work done.

  399. #403 David Marjanovi?
    May 11, 2010

    Just watched the Simpson episode where Bart almost marries :-}

    (It’s even better than Bartman Begins. OK, that’s not an entire episode…)

    it makes me think of David’s story about the (German? Austrian?) party that declared nobody would be further right than them

    Bavarian. :-Ž :-Ž :-Ž

    So, yes, German, but the Bavarian part of the German conservatives has a couple of peculiarities.

    laws restricting certain types on music

    …What?

    I just don’t have the time to have that much sleep. :-(

    When you sleep enough, you’re awake enough for the rest of the day to actually get something done…

    (Unless the blogosphere is too easily accessible. Note to self: Klingon proverb ? “four thousand throats can be cut in one night by a running man”.)

  400. #404 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 11, 2010

    David Cameron to form a government. He is leaving as leader of Labour Party immediately.

    Bummer. I was hoping that Sir Winston Fur-chill would be appointed.

  401. #405 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Cameron has announced intention to form a formal coalition with Lib Dems.

  402. #406 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    It’s going to be very amusing if the current (as I type) LibDem meeting doesn’t produce the 75% approval needed for a coalition with the Tories.

  403. #407 MrFire
    May 11, 2010

    What this thread needs is more funky chemistry.

    I present, for your viewing pleasure, the Briggs-Rauscher ‘Oscillating Clock’ Reaction (some of you may have seen this in high school).

    No special effects are involved. The dramatic back-and-forth color changes are due to two competing reactions that moderate each other via a sort of feedback loop. For a detailed description of what is going on, see here.

    [Also, here is another version that looks a little cleaner and has no camera focussing SNAFUs...but also no stirring, which to me makes it look a little less real, for some reason.]

  404. #408 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 11, 2010

    Well, is Walton happy?

  405. #409 mattheath
    May 11, 2010

    …What?

    The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 had sections designed to harrass people thoguht to be going to open-air raves, which made specific reference to “repetitive beats” (as well as various other disproportionate hippy-bashing clauses and messing with criminal suspects civil rights).

    Actually, now I look at the wording it’s a bit odder than I thought, since it (strictly speaking) covers all sorts of events with music playing but states:

    “music” includes sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats

    which is a bit of a mad thing to legislate.

  406. #410 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Well, is Walton happy?

    Yes! In all the circumstances, this is the best thing that could have happened. Rumour has it (according to Iain Dale) that the Lib Dems will get six cabinet seats, though it’s not yet clear who will get what.

    I just hope the coalition lasts.

  407. #411 Weed Monkey
    May 11, 2010

    MrFire, I only wish I’d seen something as cool as that in high school (upper secondary, whatever). In fact I was awestruck when I saw this in The Secret Life of Chaos (BBC, hosted by Jim Al-Khalili).

  408. #412 Stephen Wells
    May 11, 2010

    @409: I think that bit of the law is intended to cover the otherwise inevitable case where somebody claims that the noises played over the PA system for people to dance to are not, in fact, music, and hence not subject to the law.

    @Walton: I think we’ve developed about the most stable government that could be produced under the circumstances, and the process of getting there has been fascinating and full of hilarity. I think Nick Clegg (or “the harlot” according to David Blunkett) has negotiated pretty well- getting a referendum on AV out of the Tories was a pretty big ask. Waiting to hear the details of the coalition now.

    Somehow, when I saw David Cameron step into number 10 and the door closed, I envisage a senior civil servant saying “And now, Sir, if you would just pierce your thumb and initial in blood this contract with Azathoth, the infernal demon-sultan of mindless Chaos… did nobody tell Sir that this would be required?”

  409. #413 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010

    Is it really called that in English, or did you confuse stay and stand?

    I’ve never heard stayer said like that as standard English although in English you can say nearly anything. I’m not sure what stander would mean either?

    But I believe I’ve heard keeper as in “he’s a keeper” and I think that’s what Rorschach was getting at?

    hehe…

  410. #414 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010
    Well, is Walton happy?

    Yes!

    Eleventh of May. One to mark on the Calender I think.

  411. #415 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010

    Calendar that is.

  412. #416 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Has the Queen had to sit at home for the last five days, waiting for the opportunity to ask someone to form a government?

    There’s already a new ‘I’ve never voted Tory but….’ poster. ‘I’ve never voted Tory but it turns out I didn’t need to, thanks to Nick’.

    I tried mattheath’s political questionnaire (see post 386), which was interesting as I may need to join Walton’s new party. There were some interesting questions about whether it is OK to break the law, whether there are any technologies we should not use, whatever their benefits, and whether scientists have any responsibility for the way in which their discoveries are used.

  413. #417 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    Eleventh of May. One to mark on the Calendar I think.

    Was already marked. HMS Beagle launched, 1820.

  414. #418 monado
    May 11, 2010

    John Morales, talk to a veterinarian, who should be able to tell you about urine-neutralizing solutions and sell you one. Gently remove any droppings solid with a brush or rag. Wash with a minimum of water, e.g. soap suds on a rag if you have to worry about the helmet absorbing water, e.g. on a Styrofoam lining. Then apply the neutralizing solution according to instructions and let dry (more than once if necessary).

    That’s probably your best chance.

  415. #419 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    “And now, Sir, if you would just pierce your thumb and initial in blood this contract with Azathoth, the infernal demon-sultan of mindless Chaos… did nobody tell Sir that this would be required?”

    I don’t recall this part of Yes, Prime Minister, but I can totally see Sir Humphrey saying it and Bernard smirking… (Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister are the best introduction to the real world of politics that I can imagine.)

  416. #420 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    Has the Queen had to sit at home for the last five days, waiting for the opportunity to ask someone to form a government?

    Essentially, yes. H.M. made clear from the start of the process (through her Private Secretary, Christopher Geidt) that it was for the parties to negotiate among themselves, and that she would not invite anyone to form a government until the parties had come to an agreement. In these contentious circumstances, it would have been thought inappropriate for her to play any sort of active political role in selecting a Prime Minister.

  417. #421 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    @Eleventh of May

    This was the date that the HMS Beagle came out of the shipyard (1820), not the date that Darwin set out on the Beagle’s second survey expedition (27 December 1831). Or at least that’s what Wikipedia says. I figured I’d check before I wrote the dates on the family perpetual calendar…

  418. #422 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    At exciting times like this, I often think how much I wish I could be an MP. But it will never happen, for three reasons:

    (1) I have less charisma and personal appeal than the average tea-towel;

    (2) I’m hopelessly fickle and keep changing my mind on everything rather than sticking to the party line; and

    (3) most importantly, in any election campaign, some snot-nosed hack from the opposing party would dig up and quote-mine everything I’ve ever posted on Pharyngula, and leak it all to the News of the World.*

    *Considering my changing views, and the immense variety of stuff I’ve posted here over the last two years, they could either quote-mine my older posts and portray me as some deranged mega-right-wing nut who hates poor people, or quote-mine my more recent posts and accuse me of making sexual overtures to muscular Lib Dems in showers. :-)

  419. #423 Walton
    May 11, 2010

    (Addendum to #422: Not that there would be anything wrong with making sexual overtures to muscular Lib Dems in showers, had I done so.* But the right-wing tabloids might not take the same enlightened view on this issue.

    *Which of course I have not, as it was a metaphor intended to illustrate a point.)

  420. #424 monado
    May 11, 2010

    More t-shirts are at ThinkGeek. Images include sparkly bacon, Self-rescuing princess, scientifically accurate Electromagnetic Spectrum music, You never forget your first Doctor [Who], Hello Schröddy, Cuttle Me, and Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

  421. #425 JeffreyD
    May 11, 2010

    Walton is happy about something? Crap, do I have to go back and read the entire thread to find out what made him happy? Or is this one of the signs of the Apocalypse? Pretty sure it is not for Ry Cooder’s reason:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-e0XvZHYGA

    Walton, I jest. Get some sleep – I do not jest.

    Spent the evening watching the short movie made of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Very true to the book, i.e., depressing in some ways and uplifting in others. Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again? Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is one such for me. Clearly remembered, and I recommend it, just will not watch it again.

    Will check in tomorrow, time to abuse some Class A narcotics so I can stop thinking about sawing off my right foot.

    Ciao y’all

  422. #426 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Walton
    All those things make you eminently suitable to stand as an MP.
    What are you calling your new party?

  423. #427 Jessie
    May 11, 2010

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Schindler’s List.

  424. #428 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 11, 2010

    Evan Harris is on BBC2 Newsnight atm

  425. #429 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010

    At exciting times like this, I often think how much I wish I could be an MP. But it will never happen, for three reasons:
    (1) I have less charisma and personal appeal than the average tea-towel;

    I disagree. You’re really quite good at getting and maintaining people’s interest in you. No, not all of them… but enough of them.

    You don’t have to actually pay out for their interest, once they’ve dropped their change at the door they’re getting the show they get, after all.

    (2) I’m hopelessly fickle and keep changing my mind on everything rather than sticking to the party line;

    At 20 I would hope so. Otherwise it would suggest you have a rigid mind and little ability to learn.

    and
    (3) most importantly, in any election campaign, some snot-nosed hack from the opposing party would dig up and quote-mine everything I’ve ever posted on Pharyngula, and leak it all to the News of the World.*
    *Considering my changing views, and the immense variety of stuff I’ve posted here over the last two years, they could either quote-mine my older posts and portray me as some deranged mega-right-wing nut who hates poor people, or quote-mine my more recent posts and accuse me of making sexual overtures to muscular Lib Dems in showers. :-)

    You’re an atheist, you’re of ambiguous sexual orientation. What worse could they find? But really, if you were running wouldn’t that be kind of the point?

  426. #430 kiyaroru
    May 11, 2010

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Brazil

  427. #431 Ol'Greg
    May 11, 2010

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    George Washington, Solaris, Russian Ark, um….. probably more.

  428. #432 strange gods before me ?
    May 11, 2010

    they could either quote-mine my older posts and portray me as some deranged mega-right-wing nut who hates poor people, or quote-mine my more recent posts and accuse me of making sexual overtures to muscular Lib Dems in showers.

    Not mutually exclusive. You’ll fit right into the Republican Party!

  429. #433 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 11, 2010

    *Waves hello* Back to tearing my studio apart, I need to work…

  430. #434 Carlie
    May 11, 2010

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Definitely Schindler’s List.
    I don’t know if it counts, but I couldn’t even make it halfway through Hotel Rwanda the first time.

  431. #435 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 11, 2010

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Not a movie, but a multipart documentary, Shoah. For want of a better term, it was soul searing.

  432. #436 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    @Walton – I heard John Cleese talking on a National Public Radio program once complaining that he went back to a college reunion to hear people congratulating each other with “You haven’t changed a bit,” which he interpreted as “How wonderful, you haven’t learned a single thing in ___ years.”

    Yes, another reason to love John Cleese, on top of Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda, Fawlty Towers, and that BBC documentary series on the human face.

    I apologize to those people offended by my putting punctuation inside of quotation marks – it’s possibly the only tangible remnant of my lawyer days, spent proofreading Securities and Exchange Commission filings at all hours. (The main intangible remnant is from law school rather than the years of practice – I can do a wicked Socratic Method on hapless homeschooled kiddos.)

  433. #437 JeffreyD
    May 11, 2010

    OK, I cheated and came back to check after brushing the fangs. Good responses to the movie question. Just curious and semi-spaced. I never was able to finish Schindler’s List.

    Bonne nuit, off to bed, narcotics kicking in.

  434. #438 David Marjanovi?
    May 11, 2010

    Walton, that’s what pseudonymity is for, isn’t it? (Comment 432 notwithstanding.)

    I got a surprising amount of work done and will be able to go to bed soon. It’s really late enough (1/4 to 1 AM), and I’m tired…

    But I believe I’ve heard keeper as in “he’s a keeper” and I think that’s what Rorschach was getting at?

    hehe…

    “Hehe” is correct, the rest is not. It’s about the ability of the intromittent organ to keep standing upright when the rest of the body is more or less horizontal.

  435. #439 OurDeadSelves
    May 11, 2010

    Owlmirror @# 323:

    Mr. ODS’s mother didn’t even actually convert first?

    (Is his father still in the picture at all?)

    Oy gevalt. I’m facepalming over here.

    As I understand the business, Mr. ODS is a nice man with a Jewish father, but who is not himself technically, y’know, actually Jewish.

    Like I said before, it actually depends on the temple. Reformed Jews (in this area) by-and-large have no problem if mama’s not Jewish as long as the kids go through the whole Jewish religious education and whatnot. It’s only a problem w/ orthodox Jews.

    It’s more of a question of identity for the Mr, I think. What that has to do with cutting a piece of skin off of our potential son is beyond me.

  436. #440 Geoffrey
    May 11, 2010

    48 Hours Film Competition entry from a colleague

    Cruise Thompson Presents

  437. #441 34jlg34
    May 11, 2010

    Does anyone else listen to/watch FORA lectures?

  438. #442 Lynna, OM
    May 11, 2010

    Fraud charges are being leveled at the Head Honchos of a faith-based bank.

    Founded on Christian principles in 2000 in an Atlanta suburb, Integrity used the motto ?In God We Trust.? The bank gave customers free Bibles, and employees prayed together at meetings. Onetime investors included a Georgia state senator and the former CNN host Lou Dobbs.
         But in announcing the indictment, the United States attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Mr. Ballard and Mr. Foster had not lived up to the bank?s name or mission.
         ?A number of banks have suffered from the plummeting real estate market, but this bank was robbed from the inside,? she said.
         Mr. Ballard, 40, and Mr. Foster, 42, could not be reached for comment on Friday and will be arraigned at a later date. Mr. Mitchell, 50, pleaded not guilty at a federal courthouse in Atlanta….
         ?We weren?t selling religion,? he said. ?We just managed the bank on godly principles, like the golden rule.?

    I found one indication online that Douglas Ballard is mormon, but the link to which Google points is no longer working. Christian, mormon, or whatever, Mr. Ballard has been indicted, and his lawyer is saying that he is innocent.

  439. #443 Cerberus
    May 11, 2010

    Oi, need to wind myself down to bed after getting into a fight on some other blog with a dumbass concern troll on the bullshit nutjob “Is Elena Kagan gay, we have to know” issue.

    On the plus side, it allowed me to invent a new condescending sexual orientation put down.

    “Quadsexual” because while all the rightwing nutjobs were busy fapping to their secret shame hot young stud porn collections and panty-sniffing Kagan’s drawers, us filthy queers made up two whole new sexes just so we could have greater options in our lifestyle choices.

    I thought I’d share that with you because frankly I need to wind down anyways before I can finally get some sleep. I plan to use it now every time some right-winger starts up on a “but we really really need to know what her orientation is” whine-fest. She’s quadsexual, now chase the bouncy ball.

  440. #444 Lynna, OM
    May 11, 2010

    Sarah Palin news:

    Sarah Palin’s new book has a title, “America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag,” and a release date, Nov. 23, publisher HarperCollins announced Tuesday.
         The Alaska ex-governor and former GOP vice presidential candidate, whose memoir “Going Rogue” has sold more than 2 million copies, has been working on a tribute to American values.
         It will include “selections from classic and contemporary readings that have moved her,” according to HarperCollins, along with “the nation’s founding documents to great speeches, sermons, letters, literature and poetry, biography, and even some of her favorite songs and movies.”…

  441. #445 Sven DiMilo
    May 11, 2010

    it’s all over but the grading, and I’m listening to Jimi @ Monterey:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJRWdseH1Pc

  442. #446 Sven DiMilo
    May 11, 2010

    a poem:

    “Family, Faith, and Flag” ?

    gag.

  443. #447 Sven DiMilo
    May 11, 2010
  444. #448 Carlie
    May 11, 2010

    Congrats, Sven – such a nice feeling. Now don’t even look at your email for a week so you don’t have to see all the “are the grades done yet?” and “is there any way I can do extra credit now to get a better grade?” and “but if I don’t pass I’ll be on academic probation!” emails.

  445. #449 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag

    Alternative title : “A quotemining guide for teabaggers, or how to lie for god and country”

  446. #450 Geoffrey
    May 11, 2010

    @Sven

    I passed right?

    Right?

  447. #451 chgo_liz
    May 11, 2010

    Someone is not waiting for the appeals process: Mojave cross is stolen.

    I didn’t realize that the cross has been replaced multiple times. This most recent one was barely over 10 years old. So much for long-standing tradition.

    One of the “explanations” being suggested is that it might have been stolen by metal scavengers.

    *snort*

  448. #452 alysonmiers
    May 11, 2010

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/damon-linker/another-kind-atheism

    Damon Linker insults our intelligence. Atheists would be so much nicer if only we felt the way he says we should.

  449. #453 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 11, 2010

    Jessie #427

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Schindler’s List.

    Me too.

  450. #454 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    @ODS – Doing a circumcision for primitive tribal cultural reasons is one thing, but you have to actually plan on being part of said community. If you were going to be atheists who observed Jewish cultural traditions, I would say “maybe okay” to the circumcision. If a one-time action that won’t be followed up by either cultural or religious practices, that’s a ridiculous reason to engage in a primitive tribal ritual.

    No matter what you end up deciding, though, you may reconsider the decision as your pregnancy progresses or even after baby is born, and there are still plenty of other issues that are as or more difficult coming right down the pike.

  451. #455 Mattir
    May 11, 2010

    So pesky daughter spawn wants to know if there are Flying Spaghetti Monster nuns. (She’s looking for something with which to threaten her father.)

  452. #456 OurDeadSelves
    May 11, 2010

    but you have to actually plan on being part of said community. If you were going to be atheists who observed Jewish cultural traditions, I would say “maybe okay” to the circumcision.

    Besides a couple of holidays spent with family? No, we’re not. I’m not cool with the circumcision at all and my question was more aimed at how can I handle talking to Mr. ODS about this from a rational point-of-view. The point wasn’t to convince me that it’s okay; the point is to help him see how silly he’s being.

    there are still plenty of other issues that are as or more difficult coming right down the pike.

    That’s as maybe, but this is something I need to settle now before it’s too late. I can’t anticipate all of the parenting challenges in the future and I really don’t think it’s something worth worrying over now, nor does it detract from my original question.

    o/t: I just saw Iron Man 2 this evening. I would totally do indecent and inappropriate things to Robert Downey Jr. (But only if he still had the goatee.)

  453. #457 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    I’m not cool with the circumcision at all and my question was more aimed at how can I handle talking to Mr. ODS about this from a rational point-of-view.

    If he’s like the (pretty moderate) jewish people that I know from work or else, then I don’t think you can.This is non-negotiable for them, and even if your hubby would pretend to consider not circumcising, there would be peer pressure from family and religious community.

  454. #458 John Morales
    May 11, 2010

    OurDeadSelves, FWIW, I’m not circumsised, and I’m ever-grateful to my mother for that.

    PS Retractability was limited until I was pubescent. Luckily, I was not precocious and didn’t try to force the issue.

  455. #459 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 11, 2010

    Sven and Carlie: Feeling your pain. I have spent the last few weeks evaluating the work of others. I hate doing this. My last final is tomorrow, though…so, maybe I can do some work of my own (that can be evaluated by others).

    Loved the Hendrix.

  456. #460 OurDeadSelves
    May 11, 2010

    Rorschach:
    Hopefully the religious community doesn’t come into play (he hasn’t been to temple in 15 years), but I know that his family will put their 2 cents in*. A part of me just hopes that he respects me enough to at least hear me out and consider what I’m saying.

    John Morales:
    Thanks for the link and the… personal information. :)

    * Unless we don’t tell them one way or the other. Which is exactly why we haven’t told them that I’m trying to get pregnant– I definitely don’t need my mom-in-law** all up in my reproductive business.

    ** Or my mom, for that matter. Congrats, Pharyngulites, you know more about my family planning than my own parents do!

  457. #461 Rorschach
    May 11, 2010

    Congrats, Pharyngulites, you know more about my family planning than my own parents do!

    I also know the circumcisional state of most of the male regulars here and the cup size and shaving status of the females and whether they wear undies and if, which ones.
    I blame it all on the endless thread.
    :P

  458. #462 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 12, 2010

    @ODS:

    I would totally do indecent and inappropriate things to Robert Downey Jr. (But only if he still had the goatee.)

    As would I, ODS. As would any sane person. Rowr. Goatee or no.

  459. #463 John Morales
    May 12, 2010

    OurDeadSelves, it’s worth noting that circumcision is non-reversible.

    Your (potentially-male) child can choose to have it done, when he is of an age, but cannot choose to undo it.

    IOW, if it’s done, it cannot be undone; but if it’s undone, it can be done at any time.

  460. #464 Dust
    May 12, 2010

    I’ve watched Shindler’s List more than once, would like to see it again and have read the book too. Love that story.

    Oh, and thumbs up on the Robert Downey, Jr. comments! :)

  461. #465 ronsullivan
    May 12, 2010

    daughter spawn wants to know if there are Flying Spaghetti Monster nuns.

    I think I have finally found my True Vocation. If I’m first, I get to make the Rules! (text pending) La primera regla estį: No Hay Reglas!

    (Mohave cross) One of the “explanations” being suggested is that it might have been stolen by metal scavengers.

    I’d buy it, actually. Some of the members of my pruning/bonsai group have had their pricey and specialized Japanese ladders stolen by aluminum scavengers, right off their trucks or on their jobs. Also grave markers and monuments, plumbing from foreclosed houses, and wiring from the SF Muni trolley lines.

    “Is Elena Kagan gay, we have to know”

    They want to ask her out on a date?
    What’s Clarence Thomas’ sperm count?

    I would caption that photo as “Snakes on a Plane”

    (sigh) Do I have to pipe up once more on behalf of poor beleaguered snakes?

    Aw. Come, be our grandma :o)

    Seconded. We need a few here. But why did that give me an earworm about “Be My, Be My Baby”?

  462. #466 blf
    May 12, 2010

    So pesky daughter spawn wants to know if there are Flying Spaghetti Monster nuns.

    There is a suggestion that:

    [Hot topless nuns serving cold beer and salted cashews is] what happens in the Church of FSM.
    Spaghetti is the main dish / communion.

    Makes sense. Any extra strippers need employment, and you simply cannot let any beer go to waste.

  463. #467 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    “Hehe” is correct, the rest is not. It’s about the ability of the intromittent organ to keep standing upright when the rest of the body is more or less horizontal.

    No, I’ve never heard any of these said for that in American English. That may very well be what it means but if you said it in the States only a few people may guess what you meant. I would never have thought of keeping an erection from “stayer” at all.

    Not the slang I know.

  464. #468 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    I’m going to admit something bad here.

    I never watched Shindler’s List.

  465. #469 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    So…. Walton.

    Anything like this in your past?

  466. #470 John Morales
    May 12, 2010

    Ol’Greg, I’ve never watched it either.

    Why should I go to see a movie and be depressed?

  467. #471 Marie the Bookwyrm
    May 12, 2010

    Re: ‘stayer’. I’m too lazy to go look through the thread for the original use, but in the interests of spreading useless trivia: I believe ‘stayer’ is used in horse racing to refer to a horse that is good at running long distances, as opposed to a ‘sprinter’.

  468. #472 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    I believe ‘stayer’ is used in horse racing to refer to a horse that is good at running long distances, as opposed to a ‘sprinter’.

    ooh… that makes sense then.

  469. #473 JeffreyD
    May 12, 2010

    #468 – Ol’Greg – “I’m going to admit something bad here. I never watched Shindler’s List.”

    Nothing bad there to admit. I have avoided several popular movies because I do not want my emotions over strained. It is not that one is avoiding history or knowledge. For example, I know far more about the Holocaust than I want to – history project in Grad school on the actual mechanisms of the Zyklon B “showers” – just cannot watch anymore about it.

    Ol’Greg, since I missed so much back story, how was Paris? Will check your site for pics.

    Ciao y’all

  470. #474 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    So…. Walton.

    Anything like this in your past?

    Of course not! I’m definitely ineligible to join the Bullingdon, since I went to a state school.* Indeed, I don’t even know any Bullingdon members, as far as I’m aware (though by all accounts most of them don’t talk about it); they don’t even take people from minor public schools,* so most of my friends would also be ineligible. And I wouldn’t want to anyway. It’s ridiculous juvenile behaviour.

    (*Translation for Americans: A “state school” is what Americans would call a public school – that is, a government-funded school which does not charge fees. By contrast, a “public school” in England is a traditional private school. Not all private schools are public schools – the usual definition restricts the term to those which are members of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. Among English public schools, there is also a substantial divide between the “major” public schools – Eton, Harrow, Westminster, and the like – and the far more numerous “minor” public schools. By all accounts, the Bullingdon only generally invites members who went to “major” public schools.)

  471. #475 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    I know Walton, I know. Actually I was surprised when you mentioned you went to state schools. No offence meant either way. I have a feeling the government run schools in England are… uh… a few notches above those in my state.

  472. #476 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    I have a feeling the government run schools in England are… uh… a few notches above those in my state.

    Some are, some aren’t. The state school system (much like its counterpart in most US states) is based largely on geography, so there is a real class divide: schools in affluent middle-class areas tend to be considered better.

    Britain is still a sadly class-ridden society – something from which I’ve largely been insulated because of growing up in middle-class privilege, but I’m gradually learning how big a problem it really is. While we don’t have the kind of formal class system we used to have, there is still a big de facto gap in privilege between middle-class areas and poor and marginalised communities. And social mobility in the UK today is lower than it has been in decades (something that will hopefully improve under the new government).

  473. #477 Carlie
    May 12, 2010

    Some of the members of my pruning/bonsai group have had their pricey and specialized Japanese ladders stolen by aluminum scavengers, right off their trucks or on their jobs.

    Now I have a vision of tiny wee ladders leaned artistically against a bonsai….

  474. #478 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    And social mobility in the UK today is lower than it has been in decades (something that will hopefully improve under the new government). – Walton

    It won’t. This is the coalition of the upper-class twits. It will make no attempt whatever to reverse the trend to greater economic inequality, and research shows that degree of inequality correlates closely with social mobility.

  475. #479 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    What’s Clarence Thomas’ sperm count? – ronsullivan

    I’m surprised to learn that Clarence Thomas’ sperm (or anyone else’s) can count :-p

  476. #480 Stephen Wells
    May 12, 2010

    The coalition seems to have knocked out the inheritance tax break for the wealthiest, and we should see progress on raising the income tax threshold. It’s not exactly communism, but it is a measurable improvement on the previous Tory position. I think the next few years have the potential to be extraordinarily educational for the UK.

    Who would have thought that we’d be looking at an elected, proportional upper house? That is a huge deal constitutionally. It certainly makes Labour look kind of stupid for having held power for thirteen years and somehow forgotten to actually introduce democracy :)

  477. #481 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    The leeches in the clergy – Mattir

    I object most strongly to this metaphor! Leeches have a valuable medical function in cases of hematoma!

  478. #482 David Marjanovi?
    May 12, 2010

    One of the “explanations” being suggested is that it might have been stolen by metal scavengers.

    *snort*

    A few years ago, when the Chinese started buying all the world’s scrap metal and the prices shot through the roof, that kind of thing happened extremely commonly in Germany. No idea if it ever stopped.

    Retractability was limited until I was pubescent.

    I’ve never understood what retractability is supposed to be good for.

    …Erm. I know what you’re thinking of now. No, there are other methods.

    I also know the circumcisional state of most of the male regulars here and the cup size and shaving status of the females and whether they wear undies and if, which ones.
    I blame it all on the endless thread.
    :P

    What does it say about me that I’ve forgotten most of that? :-ž

    Our circumcisional states haven’t come up on this Thread, though. There are separate threads for that, plus the usual threadjacking of FGM threads.

    I would never have thought of keeping an erection from “stayer” at all.

    I suspect German Steherqualitäten are at play here, from stehen, which means “stand” rather than the similar-sounding “stay”.

  479. #483 David Marjanovi?
    May 12, 2010

    The coalition seems to have knocked out the inheritance tax break for the wealthiest, and we should see progress on raising the income tax threshold.

    Oho.

    Who would have thought that we’d be looking at an elected, proportional upper house?

    What? Link, please!

  480. #484 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    Who would have thought that we’d be looking at an elected, proportional upper house? – Stephen Wells

    Where did you see that, Stephen? I can’t see anything about it on the Beeb website.

  481. #485 Kevin
    May 12, 2010

    Today is the first day all week I’ve had a break of any kind. Of course, I have a meeting in an hour, and a meeting immediately follow, and a thing later in the day.

    Gawr… I can’t get nothin’ done.

  482. #486 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    I note that the Tories have all four major offices of state: PM, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary. The post of Deputy PM, given to Nick Clegg, is similar to that of American VP, except there’s no right of succession to the top job – IOW, it’s not even worth half a bucket of warm piss. The Home Secretary is Theresa May, an anti-abortion zealot, opposed to any relaxation of the drug laws, anti-LGBT-equality. She has opposed ID cards and detention without trial.

  483. #487 John Morales
    May 12, 2010

    I suppose Deputy Prime Minister sounds better than Sub-Prime Minister.

  484. #488 Kevin
    May 12, 2010

    @John Morales:

    How about if we change the name to the Optimus Prime Minister?

  485. #489 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Hmmm. This left-wing site doesn’t think much of the plan to increase the tax-free allowance, arguing that it will actually benefit middle- and higher-income households more than the working poor.

    Still, I think it’s a sensible proposal in principle, and definitely will help some of the poorest. Left Foot Forward’s opposition seems to be based on ideology rather than sense. And it’s certainly better than the now-abandoned Conservative plan to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million, which would have helped the upper-middle classes but would have done very little for the poor.

  486. #490 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    Left Foot Forward’s opposition seems to be based on ideology rather than sense. – Walton

    Do you actually detect any flaw in Left Foot Forward’s analysis? I don’t, at a quick look. Perhaps your statement above is the one bvased on ideology?

  487. #491 cicely
    May 12, 2010

    : I just saw Iron Man 2 this evening. I would totally do indecent and inappropriate things to Robert Downey Jr. (But only if he still had the goatee.)

    As would I, ODS. As would any sane person. Rowr. Goatee or no.

    And this is why he needs the boot-jets!

    (So he can make good his escape while the massed Pharyngulite Hordes fight over who has first dibs.)
    :D

  488. #492 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Do you actually detect any flaw in Left Foot Forward’s analysis? I don’t, at a quick look. Perhaps your statement above is the one bvased on ideology?

    As I understand it, their arguments are:

    (1) The increase in the tax-free allowance will not help the very poorest, i.e. those earning under the existing tax threshold.

    That’s obviously true, but I don’t see why it’s really relevant. The policy doesn’t claim to help all low-income households, but it will help a substantial proportion of them; it is possible to be earning well over the existing tax threshold (£6,745 pa) and still be very poor, and people in that bracket will be helped by this policy. And raising the tax threshold doesn’t exclude the possibility of taking other measures that will also help those on very low incomes. Obviously, we should continue to provide welfare payments for those who need them.

    And (2) The increase in the tax-free allowance will help the middle classes more than the poor. Since it will mean that all taxpayers pay less income tax overall, a higher proportion of the total tax cut (they estimate 94 percent) will go to benefit middle-income rather than low-income earners. They argue that this will increase rather than reduce inequality.

    Again, this is true, but is not necessarily a problem. The proposal will help low income-earners; the fact that it will also help the middle classes is not, in itself, a bad thing. It’s only a problem if you think that the primary goal of tax policy should be to reduce inequality, which I do not. (Which isn’t to say that tax policies shouldn’t reduce inequality – to an extent, they must and should – but this should not be the sole objective.) If this policy will help the working poor, I don’t see why the fact that it will also help the middle classes should be seen as a point against it.

  489. #493 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 12, 2010

    Fuck Clegg.

    He’s agreed to the bloody Alternative Vote as I understand it.

    Wanker.

    Getting rid of single person constituencies is the only way to improve. Why the fuck should only the people of one tiny bit of England decide whether, say, Clegg or Harris get to sit in Parliament? It. Does. Not. Work.

  490. #494 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Getting rid of single person constituencies is the only way to improve. Why the fuck should only the people of one tiny bit of England decide whether, say, Clegg or Harris get to sit in Parliament? It. Does. Not. Work.

    Because, in our system, they represent local communities rather than political parties. The idea is that your local MP represents your area and its interests, rather than his or her party.

    Of course, this often doesn’t tend to work well in practice because of the strength of the party whip system. So there are arguments for more far-reaching electoral reform, and I personally don’t feel very strongly about it either way; but I’m glad the coalition has managed to come to an agreement.

    My personal preference is for the Additional Member system as used in Scotland, Wales and New Zealand. But it just doesn’t matter that much to me personally. I’m far more concerned about civil liberties.

  491. #495 Mattir
    May 12, 2010

    @ Rorschach & ODS

    If he’s like the (pretty moderate) jewish people that I know from work or else, then I don’t think you can.This is non-negotiable for them, and even if your hubby would pretend to consider not circumcising, there would be peer pressure from family and religious community.

    The issue is that Mr. ODS sounds like he’s Jewish in exactly the same degree that most of the folks who wear green on St. Patrick’s Day are Irish. I’d be more willing to give Mr. ODS some slack if he actually went to synagogue occasionally, followed one or two other rules or practices or disciplines, or studied Jewish teachings (from an intellectual, atheist perspective, of course). Just saying “I’m Jewish” is really not enough.

    Plus if he’d done any of those things, Mrs. ODS might have been had reasonable warning of his circumcision stance before she married him and contemplated the spawn.

  492. #497 David Marjanovi?
    May 12, 2010

    Left Foot Forward’s opposition seems to be based on ideology rather than sense.

    Looks like they consider the perfect the enemy of the good and aren’t content with the good.

  493. #498 Ewan R
    May 12, 2010

    Besides a couple of holidays spent with family? No, we’re not. I’m not cool with the circumcision at all and my question was more aimed at how can I handle talking to Mr. ODS about this from a rational point-of-view. The point wasn’t to convince me that it’s okay; the point is to help him see how silly he’s being.

    Kudos for tring to approach it from a rational point of view – hard to do when only 50% of the conversation is willing to remain rational.

    I had a similar, although not religiously motivated, discussion with my wife on the whole topic – didn’t really push too hard on the issue until we actually started getting serious about having a kid – once that occured I must admit I found it hard to remain calm and rational the whole time (I’d like to think I remained rational, as I believe my opposition is rational, rather than simply wanting my boy to be like me – which was brought up as a possibility in more heated discussions) when hearing arguements like “it’s cleaner” (bizarrely I planned to bathe the kid at least biannually…) “everyone else has it done” (statistics didn’t hold this out even in the US if I remember my sources right) “you’ll have to explain to him why” ( a) Do I also have to explain why we didnt cut out his tongue, insert a metal plate in his lip, or stick bones through his nose…. b) I’m totally down with telling my kid I decided against mutilating him)

    Good luck with the whole thing – maybe try keep a list of things your husband doesn’t do that follow the Jewish tradition (there must be some… thats a longass list of rules right there) which in no way approach the severity of permanent removal of a body part to at least get him out of the realm of mumbo-jumbo and into the realm of sensible discussion on the subject.

  494. #499 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    RBD #496

    Firefox flagged your second link as a security threat.
    Haven’t tried the first link.

  495. #500 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010

    Humm. FYI on that bottom link. I tried to leave a comment and it tried to install the windows anti-virus malware.

    Don’t go to the bottom link.

  496. #501 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    If this policy will help the working poor, I don’t see why the fact that it will also help the middle classes should be seen as a point against it. – Walton

    Because there is abundant evidence that economic inequality is itself destructive – which I’ve pointed you to more times than I care to remember. Moreover, the policy has been sold as targeted at helping the working poor, but since only £1bn of the £17bn or so will do so, this presentation is dishonest, and the same amount of money could be used much more efficiently for that purpose.

  497. #502 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010

    Firefox flagged your second link as a security threat.
    Haven’t tried the first link.

    Yep, didn’t happen on my first visit but as soon as I tried to leave a comment, bam.

    First link appears to be clean. But the video is the money shot. Trying to find it elsewhere.

  498. #503 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010
  499. #504 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    Good luck with the whole thing – maybe try keep a list of things your husband doesn’t do that follow the Jewish tradition (there must be some… thats a longass list of rules right there) which in no way approach the severity of permanent removal of a body part to at least get him out of the realm of mumbo-jumbo and into the realm of sensible discussion on the subject. – Ewan R.

    Could try telling him you’ll agree if he will henceforth follow Biblical law in all particulars.

  500. #505 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    Knockgoats
    As I said somewhere previously I support the raising of the tax threshold to about £15k, but only if the tax rates above this point are progrssively increased. Merely increasing the threshold without higher rates for bigger earners means that everybody pays less tax, and therefore all the inevitable cuts to come will fall disproportionately on the lower paid (again), and those cuts will need to be greater to pay for this tax break to the rich.
    No wonder the Tories conceeded to the LibDems on this policy. Surprised they didn’t include it in their own manifesto.

  501. #506 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Moreover, the policy has been sold as targeted at helping the working poor, but since only £1bn of the £17bn or so will do so, this presentation is dishonest, and the same amount of money could be used much more efficiently for that purpose.

    It’s still better than the rather silly Tory proposal to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million (which has now been dropped), which would have been of benefit exclusively to the middle and upper classes and would have done nothing to help the poor. So I still think this government’s tax policy is an improvement over what we could have had.

    But yes, there are other ways that the working poor could be helped. One possibility would be a VAT reduction on some consumer goods. This could stimulate consumer demand, and would also help the poor more than the wealthy, since, like all sales and consumption taxes, the burden of VAT tends to fall more heavily on the poor than on the rich.

    The trouble is, of course, that major tax cuts are not easily compatible with the overriding need to reduce the deficit (lest we end up like Greece). Which is why I think that cuts to front-line services are regrettably going to be necessary.

  502. #507 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Damn. I’ve just realised that my post at #506 actually sounds more than slightly left-of-centre. The trouble is that arguing with hardcore socialists on Pharyngula has shifted my personal Overton window somewhat leftwards; I’m now reduced to arguing for moderate social-democratic policies in opposition to the anticapitalist left. :-)

    Some of my Tory friends in real life now think I’ve turned into a bleeding-heart liberal.

  503. #508 Ewan R
    May 12, 2010

    Knockgoats and Walton – I was pretty awful at understanding the British tax system while I was over there (to the extent that 6 months before I left I realized I’d overpaid to the sum of thousands over my time working, which was a nice bonus) is my assessment correct in thinking that at present the first ~7000 of earnings isn’t subject to income tax, whereas under the new policy the first ~15000 isn’t subject to income tax (across the board, so if you make $15000 p/a you don’t pay a thing, and if you make $1M p/a your first $15000 is still free (which I’m guessing is where the animosity comes from in terms of helping everyone rather than just the poor?)

    One question/observation/ramble… (assuming I am not just spouting nonsense about how taxes work in the UK, which may be the case) – using a tax rate pulled essentially out of the air (20%) this break would give those earning exactly 15,000 (and indeed everyone earning over 15,000) an extra 1600 pounds a year (ish) right? Which obviously will help out somewhat people in the 7000-15000 range, and also those in the 15000-30000 range (which I’m going to guess starts to get more middle class, but in my experience still isn’t exactly that comfortable to live on) and will essentially be like a nice bonus to anyone making 30,000+ – which I’m guessing is where the main criticism is coming in – wouldn’t it be better to balance the system whereby the benefit from the non-taxation of the first 15,000 started to be reduced as you approach 30,000 (or some other arbitrary number that marks some sort of decent living wage) such that anyone who is already completely comfortable isn’t going to be getting a benefit which is at least being sold as a tax change to benefit the workign poor?

  504. #509 34jlg34
    May 12, 2010

    Ok guys i have a problem. My best friend is a full-on fundamentalist KJV creationist total-antiabortion (including rape and incest-not the babys fault you know /sarcasm)Christian. I am terribly afraid she is going to fail her Science yearlies because of the way she puts blinkers on whenever i mention logical fallacies with her Bible (she also gave me one for my birthday because i wanted to learn about different religions. ). How is she going to study evolution? I am going to send her one PZ article about it to read so she can adjust to the curriculum. She told me she might not read it so i told her, lets have one chance each to convert each other, last year at camp she subjected me to this several-hour verbal and mental grilling AND took me to her Church so this year it’s my turn and i read her Bible anyway so to be polite….
    She gets all angry and punchy and her voice goes funny and loud, it’s like her brain just shuts down. She says her faith is so strong that no scientific “evidence” and “reasoning” (her audio quotation marks) will shake it. It doesn’t matter now accurate it is. Her emotional FAITH is stronger. It comforts her.
    except…
    She’s already got doubts about the Bible but she’ll only discuss them with her moderate Christian friends for fear the atheists will make fun of her (we will, can’t help it) and the fundies will shun her (ohh and they are hypocrites too. she told me this story where at the pastor’s house at a sleepover the nice innocent Christian girls talked about masturbation and sex dreams they had – in year 7 – and it was the pastor’s daughter’s birthday! (not her, she doesnt want to marry so she’s gonna be a virgin her whole life)).
    She has a fucked up home life, totally and utterly repressed, most of the reason being they are Southern Baptist type fundies and half baggage from the old South Africa. Her mum has forced her to internalise idiotic gender roles and now everytime we compliment her swimming-honed six-pack she screeches in irritation because girls aren’t meant to be fit.
    What on earth could i possibly do?
    (apart from this rubbish she is quite rational)
    GRRR!!!! /vent

  505. #510 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Mattir: So pesky daughter spawn wants to know if there are Flying Spaghetti Monster nuns. (She’s looking for something with which to threaten her father.)

    I once threatened (((Girl))) with a convent. She smiled and said, “Wow. A Unitarian convent. That would be better than any party at school! Do it!”

    I backed down.

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Ishtar and Robocop (well, (((Wife))) and I walked out of Robocop. Twice.). Both are so bad that they left a lasting impression. Similar to the lasting impression left by a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. Not good.

    Oh. Wait. As in a good movie that was too powervul/depressing to watch again. Schindler’s List and Platoon.

    Happy My Monday.

  506. #511 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010

    I’m sorry but when I hear the name Clegg I get a distinct picture of a Pirate in my mind.

    not sure why

  507. #512 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    There’s already a new ‘I’ve never voted Tory but….’ poster. ‘I’ve never voted Tory but it turns out I didn’t need to, thanks to Nick’. – Jessie

    An alternative I could use: “I’ve never voted Tory or Lib Dem – so don’t blame me!”.

  508. #513 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    I’m sorry but when I hear the name Clegg I get a distinct picture of a Pirate in my mind.

    not sure why

    Cannot help with that, but “cleg” is an old word for a horsefly.

  509. #514 Kevin
    May 12, 2010

    @Rev BDC:

    Holy crap, me too!

    Is your Clegg a dude with a tri-cornered hat, pegleg, and a long red coat?

  510. #515 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Is your Clegg a dude with a tri-cornered hat, pegleg, and a long red coat?

    No. He looks like he should still be at school.

    In fact watching the press conference he and Cameron had just now they reminded me of a Public School Head Boy, and deputy Head Boy.

  511. #516 Rorschach
    May 12, 2010

    So, to contribute to the most boring topic ever on the thread just because I can, I heard parts of Cameron’s and Clegg’s conference just then on the way home from work, and they seem to be best chums, and getting along so well ! And all the commentators were positively drooling over that fact(this was BBC radio), and how it is a new quality in british politics, and all that jazz.So, is a new age dawning there or what?

  512. #517 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Clegg cannot be a pirate. If ‘twer so, all comments from said Clegg would be rated ‘Aaarh!’

    sorry.

  513. #518 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    Ewan – the threshold is to be raised to £10k, not £15k. £15k is my preference, because at £10k people still have to apply for rebates because we realise it isn’t enough to live on (certainly if you have dependents), which seems a little dumb to me.
    However, without compensatory tax rises for the better off, we will now be cutting frontline services even deeper now to make up for the lost tax income (£16 billion?) from everyone.
    Basically this is a rightwing tax cut masqueraiding as “fairnes” and help for the poor.

  514. #519 Kevin
    May 12, 2010

    @Matt:

    No no, the pirate Clegg, not the British Clegg.

  515. #520 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    Walton,
    I agree with reducing VAT – at least selectively on essentials. Increasing tax rates for the rich, and more important, closing loopholes and tax havens, could remove any need to cut services. The upper-class twits are certainly not going to do this of course – though I did see something about a tax on financial transactions, which if it’s more than a token (I doubt that it is) would certainly be good.

    Ewan R. – median household income in the UK (I think this is post-tax) is £24,700. The LibDem proposal does include some compensating measures for high incomes, but still benefits richer households more – mainly because more of them have two incomes over £6490 (the current threshold).

    BTW, I see there is to be a committee to consider an upper house fully elected by PR. So that won’t happen. I do applaud the commitment to fixed-term Parliaments.

  516. #521 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    Clegg the pirate?
    I just think of Pink Floyd when I hear the name.

    Corporal Clegg recieved his medal in a dream

    From her Majesty, the Queen.
    His boots were very clean

  517. #522 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Reading the full text of the agreement I see they confirm we are to get a referendum here in Wales on further law making powers for the Assembly.

    It is not much of a surprise, since there was a unanimous vote in favour of the referendum in the Assembly.

    So, another vote for me come the Autumn.

  518. #523 Carlie
    May 12, 2010

    34jlg34 – you can’t do much to her mindset right now, but you can try and set up some cracks for things to leak in. Remind her that her grade is important, and tell her to approach the subject in any way she needs to in order to learn it without shutting down because of her disagreement. Tell her to pretend she’s an anthropologist studying another culture’s views on life, or a book author setting up a fictional sci-fi world in which this is true, or whatever. The biggest problem isn’t her learning it, but staring at it with “I hate this and it’s dangerous and wrong” foremost in her brain (as you alluded to), because then she can’t even learn it well. If she opens herself up to it even under a framework of a fictional construct (like studying a foreign culture) she’ll learn it better, and might even have her defenses down enough to realize it makes sense.

  519. #524 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Increasing tax rates for the rich, and more important, closing loopholes and tax havens, could remove any need to cut services.

    The parties have agreed to increase capital gains tax, which will mean that some wealthy people pay more – but the problem is that it will also make investors less keen to invest in startup companies, since they will now pay a higher rate of tax on their dividends.

    Increasing tax rates substantially for the very rich would simply mean that they all move overseas. And increasing tax rates on businesses will self-evidently lead to job losses.

    Obviously, closing loopholes in the tax system is a good idea – but bear in mind that there are a lot of very clever tax lawyers out there, and it isn’t so easy as you think to stem the flow of tax-avoidance. As to “closing tax-havens”, are you advocating the invasion of Belize? :-/

    Ultimately, cuts to front-line services are bad but necessary.

  520. #525 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    I have never understood why money earned from setting up a company and later selling it should not be treated the same as earned income and taxed at the same rate.

  521. #526 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    I have never understood why money earned from setting up a company and later selling it should not be treated the same as earned income and taxed at the same rate.

    Well, the new government evidently agrees with you. :-)

    But the actual reason for the lower rate of CGT is to give investors an incentive to invest in startup companies, knowing that, if it pays off, their profits will be taxed at a low rate. I don’t know how much difference it really makes, though.

  522. #527 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Walton & Ewan:

    This has been going on for about 300 years in the US. Lower taxes on everyone (makes it more palatable), though of course the wealthiest get the biggest tax break. Then increase fees (driver’s license, auto registration, camping at state parks, and (especially) higher education) and soak the middle class. In 1980, two semesters at a state university cost $480 plus room and board. It is now $7000 plus room and board. But we get lower taxes, right?

  523. #528 Ewan R
    May 12, 2010

    Reading the full text of the agreement I see they confirm we are to get a referendum here in Wales on further law making powers for the Assembly.

    It is not much of a surprise, since there was a unanimous vote in favour of the referendum in the Assembly.

    So, another vote for me come the Autumn.

    On a semi related note – never was sure why the Conservatives of all parties were opposed to Scottish/Welsh independance – they’d benefit hugely from this (losing what, a single seat in Scotland cf a whole bunch for Lab/Lib)

    On taxes – I’d agree that 15,000 would be better than 10,000, with the provisions that there was a compensatory measure in place such that people earning a lot more than is actually necessary don’t reap the benefits – having lived under 15,000 p/a my whole time in the UK (although over 10) it was frankly a laughable wage (but at least it got me out of the house!) cutting frontline services (which generally (in my experience) help the poor first) to push through a tax cut to all seems totally counter productive – particularly if the shift is only from 6500 to 10000 (which by my back of the envelope calculation amounts to what, ~60 pounds a month? (700p/a))

  524. #529 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Well, the new government evidently agrees with you. :-)

    But the actual reason for the lower rate of CGT is to give investors an incentive to invest in startup companies, knowing that, if it pays off, their profits will be taxed at a low rate. I don’t know how much difference it really makes, though.

    I know that is the reason often given but I do not give it much credence.

    There is something seriously wrong with a tax system that allows a venture capitalist to pay less tax than his cleaner.

  525. #530 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Oh, and one name I have noticed missing from the list of those given jobs in the new Government is that of Chris Grayling.

    It seems that comment he made about how B&B owners should be allowed to discriminate against gays has cost him.

  526. #531 Ewan R
    May 12, 2010

    The parties have agreed to increase capital gains tax, which will mean that some wealthy people pay more – but the problem is that it will also make investors less keen to invest in startup companies, since they will now pay a higher rate of tax on their dividends.

    When the alternative is not making a damn thing I still think you can increase capital gains without killing the system – so long as there is money to be made, money will be made.

    Increasing tax rates substantially for the very rich would simply mean that they all move overseas. And increasing tax rates on businesses will self-evidently lead to job losses.

    Really? And are they all going to commute from Belize to the office to earn their ludicrously high wages. Perhaps you’d lose a few (toodles, have fun!) but I’d guess that most would grumble and just get on with it – obviously dependant on what the tax hike actually was, but to not look at the option because some level of tax increase would make people leave is silly, particularly when the alternative is to fuck over people who have no option to go live the life of luxury in a another country as a protest at having their services reduced.

    Also – I always assumed that lower rates of capital gains tax were generally because those likely to be taxed on capital gains were in power and really didn’t like having their cash taken away.

    Although that might be because I never had to pay any capital gains tax.

  527. #532 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Oh, and one name I have noticed missing from the list of those given jobs in the new Government is that of Chris Grayling.

    It seems that comment he made about how B&B owners should be allowed to discriminate against gays has cost him.

    Yes – though Theresa May is hardly much of an improvement. :-(

  528. #533 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010

    Is it me or is Pharyngula loading incredibly fucking slow today?

  529. #534 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    Matt – but is Theresa May an improvement?

    While we’re on “things I’ve never understood”, I’ve never understood why people with mortgages get tax relief on their payments, but (the generally poorer) renters don’t. Apart from being unfair it just contributes to the house price bubble, which hasn’t done the country any good.

  530. #535 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    Chimp – it’s you.

  531. #536 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    No, Theresa May is no improvement.

    On the World at One on Radio 4 there was a suggestion Cameron has some kind of moral debt to her, hence why she got the job.

    IDS as Work and Pensions is not much better either.

  532. #537 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    While we’re on “things I’ve never understood”, I’ve never understood why people with mortgages get tax relief on their payments, but (the generally poorer) renters don’t. Apart from being unfair it just contributes to the house price bubble, which hasn’t done the country any good.

    MIRAS (Mortgage Interest Relief At Source) was stopped in 2000. You can no longer get tax relief on interested payments on a mortgage.

    Gordon was behind putting a stop to that.

  533. #538 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    IDS as Work and Pensions is not much better either.

    True. But let’s look on the bright side – Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary was a good choice. And balancing Osborne as Chancellor with Vince Cable as Chief Secretary will provide some degree of ideological equilibrium at the Treasury.

  534. #539 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010

    Chimp – it’s you.

    Ever since switching to Chrome it’s been a real bitch.

  535. #540 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Cable is Sec of State for Business and Investment, or some such.

    Laws is Chief Sec. Still Lib-Dem of course.

  536. #541 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Cable is Sec of State for Business and Investment, or some such.

    Laws is Chief Sec. Still Lib-Dem of course.

    Sorry, my mistake. But the general point stands. It was certainly right to balance Osborne with a Lib Dem Chief Secretary, as economic policy is the most likely area of controversy within the coalition.

  537. #542 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Sorry, my mistake. But the general point stands. It was certainly right to balance Osborne with a Lib Dem Chief Secretary, as economic policy is the most likely area of controversy within the coalition.

    That is OK, Cable was being tipped for the Chief Sec job this morning.

    And I take on board your general point. I will reserve judgement on whether it is correct or not.

  538. #543 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    On a totally unimportant note, I noticed that the photo of my MP in yesterday’s local paper shows him looking worryingly like Chris Mooney. I think it is the rather smarmy grin and the teeth on show that does it.

    Anyway it gives me another, if somewhat irrational, reason to dislike him (The MP that it is.) (Actually Mooney as well).

  539. #544 Lynna, OM
    May 12, 2010

    Cornell Birds Web Site Wins a Webby

    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” Web site will be celebrated alongside film critic Roger Ebert, rock band OK Go, comedian Jim Carrey and Twitter in the 14th annual Webby Awards.
         The Webbys, which honor Internet achievement, were announced by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-member group of Web experts. The awards ceremony will take place June 14, 2010, in New York City.
         ”All About Birds” won the Best Lifestyle Site award. The site helps people identify and learn about nearly 600 species of North American birds and features photos, sounds and videos. It also has bird-feeding tips, gear reviews and an online magazine.
         This year’s competition received nearly 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries and all 50 states.

  540. #545 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    Walton,

    Some bad news for you. That waste of space, Baroness Warsi has been made Conservative Party Chair, with a sear in the Cabinet.

  541. #546 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 12, 2010

    Matt,
    And I mean no disrespect in this at all whatsoever. In fact I don’t picture you as this type in reality.

    But every time I read your name, this guy comes to mind.

  542. #547 Matt Penfold
    May 12, 2010

    I used to get that a lot at school.

    At at uni I got called DM, in reference to the program.

    I take no offence at all.

  543. #548 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 12, 2010

    Apropos of nothing in particular, now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

    Obama: “Limbaugh can play with himself.”

    What? Oh… play golf, you say? Even so…. ;^)

    Also to Walton (@507):

    Some of my Tory friends in real life now think I’ve turned into a bleeding-heart liberal.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

    And I mean that without the slightest hint of snark.

  544. #549 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 12, 2010

    This just in: Elena Kagan is completely heterosexual!

    I’m trying to resist making the obvious jokes about the fact that one of the people vouching for Kagan’s heterosexuality is her old friend from her Princeton days… Eliot Spitzer!

    Also, the quoted Media Matters article has an interesting analysis of why calling the right out for its gay-baiting of Kagan is not itself anti-gay.

  545. #550 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    I have to admit that, in a sick sort of way, I admire the way the right wing whackos work. I don’t approve, and I think it to be slimey and sleezy, but, in a sick way, I can admire the method:

    Step 1: Out a supreme court nominee as a lesbian (makes no difference if she is or not). All radical right wing Christians will immediately decide she will never be a valid justice and, even if confirmed, will be an implacable enemy for all time and must be treated as such. Even after everyone in the world knows that the initial column was wrong, and despite repeated attempts to set the record straight, the rrwCs will not believe it.

    Step 2: Wait for the President (or one of his staff) to explain that no, she is not a lesbian.

    Step 3: Accuse all liberals of anti-gay bias for assuming that calling someone a lesbian is some sort of insult. This, they hope, will turn off the GLBT community and make Obama look bad to liberals.

    Step 4: Do everything possible to draw out the confirmation process to maximize the circulation of rumours.

    Step 5: Rather, rinse, repeat.

  546. #551 SteveV
    May 12, 2010

    Reminds me, do any of you have movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Fish Tank

    Vera Drake

    Are there any movies you have never seen and never will?
    I nominate:
    “The Sound of Music” and “Gone with the Wind”

  547. #552 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    apropos of nothing:

    To those who know and love heddle: when I tried to formulate a response to his presuppositional arguments, all I could think of was this.

  548. #553 Kevin
    May 12, 2010

    @MrFire:

    Wait, is heddle around somewhere? I love his arguments, they make me laugh!

  549. #554 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 12, 2010

    iambilly (@550):

    I have to admit that, in a sick sort of way, I admire the way the right wing whackos work.

    Yeah. Imagine what the world would be like if even a fraction of the talent and energy the right devotes to demonizing liberals were put to some humane, life-affirming purpose instead.

  550. #555 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Yeah. Imagine what the world would be like if even a fraction of the talent and energy the right devotes to demonizing liberals were put to some humane, life-affirming purpose instead.

    I think this is a bit of a broad-brush characterisation of “the right”.

    Perhaps it’s better-formulated as a criticism of partisan politics in general. In my experience, there are a lot of intelligent, decent people in politics on all sides of the political divide. But in a lot of cases, the system forces them into a position where they have to spend most of their time fighting one another instead of doing anything constructive. (Which in many ways is by design rather than by accident, and perhaps for good reason: people who are both intellectually brilliant and sincerely well-intentioned can still get things catastrophically wrong, if given too much untrammelled power.)

    This is, of course, only true of some politicians and aspiring politicians; I’ve also known some who are power-mad careerists with no principles, and others who are simply idiotic. As with any other profession, it varies from person to person.

  551. #556 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Bill:

    Yeah, that would be nice. It’s also about as likely as giant winged porcupines flying out of my ass backwards.

  552. #557 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Argh. Why should anyone care whether Elena Kagan is gay? It’s her business, not anyone else’s, and it is in no way relevant to her ability to be a Supreme Court justice. I just don’t give a damn whether she’s gay, straight or bisexual: she’s under no obligation whatsoever to talk about her sexuality. The right-wing pundits speculating about this should be told, in no uncertain terms, to mind their own fucking business.

    I wish Obama had nominated someone with a better record on civil liberties and with some solid judicial experience, and I won’t be particularly sorry if her nomination fails to pass the Senate. But her sexual orientation should have nothing whatsoever to do with this.

  553. #558 Sven DiMilo
    May 12, 2010

    all I could think of was this

    Yep. Man created the God that created Man.

  554. #559 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Walton:

    First, please note that up in #550, I specifically used the term ‘right wing whackos’ in order to specify a subset of conservatives. It was not a broad brush condemnation. Though, here in the US, given the extreme nature of current conservatism, it is a large group.

    Second: I agree with your take on Kagan regarding civil liberties. However, the homosexuality angle really is a politically calculated tactic which has been used, successfully, by the afformentioned whackjob subset of American conservatives. Her sexuality does not matter unless you are trying to influence lawmakers or raise money! Then it, or rumours of it, is paramount.

  555. #560 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    Wait, is heddle around somewhere?

    Not that I know of. Hence, apropos of nothing. :)

  556. #561 Knockgoats
    May 12, 2010

    Increasing tax rates substantially for the very rich would simply mean that they all move overseas. -Walton

    Fine, so long as they leave their assets behind. If there was any serious intent to tax them properly, there would be ways to make it more costly for them to try and avoid than to pay. Ideally, of course, there would be a network of international agreements to ensure they cannot avoid.

    And increasing tax rates on businesses will self-evidently lead to job losses.

    Not self-evident at all: a lot of their profits are currently distributed as dividends, or as bonuses. It was “self-evident” that a minimum wage would cost jobs: it didn’t.

    As to “closing tax-havens”, are you advocating the invasion of Belize? :-/

    No. Economic sanctions.

    Ultimately, cuts to front-line services are bad but necessary.

    No, they are not. They are preferred to proper tax on the rich by the right and the rich themselves, that’s all. You’ve just fallen for their propaganda.

  557. #562 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Mr. Fire:

    So you contend that Heddle is to Circular Reasoning as Circular Reasoning is to Heddle?

  558. #563 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    So you contend that Heddle is to Circular Reasoning as Circular Reasoning is to Heddle?

    Therefore: Heddle.

  559. #564 Kevin
    May 12, 2010

    Heddle
    Definition: See: Heddle

    No wait… that’s recursion.

  560. #565 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 12, 2010

    Walton (@555):

    I think this is a bit of a broad-brush characterisation of “the right”.

    Admittedly I used a generic term, but in context, I think it was pretty clear I was referring to iambilly’s discussion of a particular tactic used by some in the American right.

    Perhaps it’s better-formulated as a criticism of partisan politics in general.

    I disagree. The point we were making was not about the adversarial nature of “the system” (i.e., the actual processes of getting elected and making law and policy), but the cynical and machiavellian manipulation of public opinion on the periphery of “the system”… and on that score, I think anyone who asserts that the left and right are essentially similar is (at least WRT American politics) guilty of the same sort of false equivalency as those who say Olbermann and Maddow are merely the ideological mirror images of Limbaugh and Beck.

    Sometimes I wish American liberals would employ the same tactics as our adversaries across the aisle… but the very value system that makes us liberals in the first place makes it difficult to lie and ratfuck with quite as clean a conscience as our opposite numbers. My favorite line from The West Wing — “You’re the good guys; you should act like it!” — neatly encapsulates this dilemma: Being “the good guys” implicitly limits your ability to fight as dirty as your opponent.

    (@557):

    Argh. Why should anyone care whether Elena Kagan is gay?

    Indeed… that accounts for the snarky tone of my post (you did catch the linguistic nod to Ted Haggard via Roy Zimmerman, right?).

    It actually might matter if she were gay, in the same way it matters that Sotomayor is a Latina: Yet another marginalized and dispossessed constituency might have an empathetic ear on the Court, and a voice in their private deliberations… but, of course, when the right-wing noise machine brings it up, they’re just ratfucking, not engaging in anything resembling substantive political discourse (see above).

    I won’t be particularly sorry if her nomination fails to pass the Senate.

    You should be: A failed confirmation would weaken the Obama administration and embolden its enemies… and however much the left grumbles about Obama, this outcome would not favor the values you hold dear.

  561. #566 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    So you contend that Heddle is to Circular Reasoning as Circular Reasoning is to Heddle?

    :) And in the picture, the divine grace that has it all make sense lies in the plane of the paper – orthogonal to your line of vision.

  562. #567 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Indeed… that accounts for the snarky tone of my post (you did catch the linguistic nod to Ted Haggard via Roy Zimmerman, right?).

    Yes, I know… I was complaining about the right-wing punditosphere and its bizarre obsession with her sexuality, not about you. Sorry my post wasn’t very clear: I’m too tired to make sense. :-(

    (I was fairly energetic today for the first time in ages, so went for a run this afternoon. This may have been an error, as I’m now exhausted again and seem to be unable to communicate coherently.)

    The point we were making was not about the adversarial nature of “the system” (i.e., the actual processes of getting elected and making law and policy), but the cynical and machiavellian manipulation of public opinion on the periphery of “the system”… and on that score, I think anyone who asserts that the left and right are essentially similar is (at least WRT American politics) guilty of the same sort of false equivalency as those who say Olbermann and Maddow are merely the ideological mirror images of Limbaugh and Beck.

    Yes, you’re probably right. It’s a bit different in British politics, which is, of course, the only political scene of which I have any direct experience.

    You should be: A failed confirmation would weaken the Obama administration and embolden its enemies… and however much the left grumbles about Obama, this outcome would not favor the values you hold dear.

    I suppose. I’m just annoyed that Obama didn’t nominate someone with a strong judicial record on civil liberties, like Diane Wood (who, while somewhat to my left, has a clear record of standing up for individual constitutional rights and limiting executive power). Since anyone nominated by Obama was inevitably going to be attacked by Republicans and right-wing pundits as an eeeeebil liberal activist judge, he could just as easily have nominated a real liberal to the Court, rather than a “pragmatist” with authoritarian leanings.

    But I don’t have much faith in the Obama administration when it comes to civil liberties: as Ed Brayton has documented, he’s continued many of the Bush-era abuses. The trouble is that any government in power, if not sufficiently checked, slides into authoritarianism. So I’m not at all surprised at his choice of Kagan.

  563. #568 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    so went for a run this afternoon.

    Which route do you like to take? Christchurch Meadows and down by the Cherwell?

    Please don’t say you use a treadmill in your college gym.

    This may have been an error, as I’m now exhausted again

    Trying to outrun your increasingly liberal destiny must be tiring ;)

  564. #569 iambilly
    May 12, 2010

    Walton:

    As strange as America’s politics have gotten, Kagan is a flaming liberal. We have gone so far to the right that most staunch English Conservatives would be considered liberal. And your average American Democrat would be considered conservative in England.

  565. #570 Mattir
    May 12, 2010

    Re Elena Kagan – I share concerns about her fondness for a strong executive, but she seems also to be exactly what we need on the Supreme Court right now – someone who can argue with conservatives and use their own language to bring them around to a different opinion. What we truly don’t need is a liberal martyr who will write stirring dissents when the court does something reactionary but couldn’t argue their way out of a paper bag (or at least couldn’t convince anyone else to follow them out of the paper bag). From what I’ve heard, she is actually quite good at arguing with conservatives and actually changing minds.

    Like I’ve said before – there are actually places where being a pragmatic consensus seeker is useful, and on the Supreme Court might well be one of them.

    I would have preferred Diane Wood as well, if only because I babysat her kids while in school, years and years ago. (Was that Kw*king?)

  566. #571 Aquaria
    May 12, 2010

    Imagine what the world would be like if even a fraction of the talent and energy the right devotes to demonizing liberals were put to some humane, life-affirming purpose instead.

    I think this is a bit of a broad-brush characterisation of “the right”.

    Walton, let me give you an example of just how much and how relentlessly the right demonizes liberals.

    I recently started working again with someone I’ve had a friendly relationship with for 14 years. Two weeks ago, she stopped speaking to me. Why? Because she was railing about liberals, and I said, “Why are you saying such things? I’m a liberal. Do you think I’m evil?”

    She literally dropped what she was doing and walked away.

    What would make her do that, Walton? Why would someone cut off another human being, much less one you’ve been acquaintances with for 14 years, unless the former has been convinced that the latter has somehow become contemptible? I wasn’t contemptible before that. Hell, she didn’t even care about politics in the first five years we knew each other. But that’s obviously changed.

    And I know what changed her mind. The reason I had to get her to stop bashing liberals was because she was spouting the exact same rhetoric as Beck and Limbaugh about liberals. She didn’t talk that way 10 years ago when I knew her best, but she’s doing it now. She has literally been told so many times that liberals are evil that she believes it well enough to cut all ties to any liberals she knows.

    These fuckers are poisoning every part of the country, and into its very roots.

  567. #572 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Which route do you like to take? Christchurch Meadows and down by the Cherwell?

    Please don’t say you use a treadmill in your college gym.

    I do indeed use a treadmill in my college gym. (Last year I used to go to the University gym at the Iffley Road sports complex, but haven’t had the time this year – something I really miss.) I’ve always preferred running on treadmills to running outside; it makes it easier to pace myself, and treadmills have shock absorption which reduces the risk of leg or knee injury.

    Sadly, my fitness has declined markedly this year, due to too much work and lack of time to exercise. :-(

  568. #573 Mattir
    May 12, 2010

    @ Walton

    Sadly, my fitness has declined markedly this year, due to too much work and lack of time to exercise. :-(

    YOur fitness may also have declined because of lack of sleep. Seriously, lack of sleep messes with various hormones that affect weight gain, fitness, etc. Now GO TO SLEEP.

  569. #574 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    YOur fitness may also have declined because of lack of sleep. Seriously, lack of sleep messes with various hormones that affect weight gain, fitness, etc. Now GO TO SLEEP.

    Well, I haven’t gained weight – quite the opposite. I seem to keep getting thinner, to the point where I can now count several of my ribs. I suppose the excessive caffeine intake speeds up my metabolism.

    And as much as I’d love to go to sleep now, I have a legal philosophy revision class tomorrow and need to do some reading. :-(

  570. #575 Aquaria
    May 12, 2010

    As for the title of this thread, I’m hardly in a position to bash anyone over John Denver, when I’ve happily had the chorus from this song stuck in my head for days now.

  571. #576 Bill Dauphin, OM
    May 12, 2010

    Walton (@567):

    I’ve read/heard very persuasive rebuttals of the Obama is just another Bush meme and, in the last couple days, also of the notion that Kagan is insufficiently progressive… but I don’t have the references or facts necessary to argue the point cogent at my fingertips right now. Plus which, I’m going to have to sign off and go to a meeting in a few minutes anyway.

    “See” y’all later….

  572. #577 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    I’ve read/heard very persuasive rebuttals of the Obama is just another Bush meme

    Oh, I certainly don’t think he’s “just another Bush” – he’s far more intelligent and capable, for a start. But he just isn’t particularly strong on civil liberties. He has been marginally better in that regard than the Bush administration, of course (though it would be hard to be worse on civil liberties than the Bush administration).

    I don’t think this is a big failing of Obama personally; I’m sceptical that any administration, once in power, is really inclined to give a damn about civil liberties. The natural incentive for any government of any political stripe is to expand its own power and control. Which is why I advocate strong judicial protection of basic rights and liberties against the executive.

  573. #578 Walton
    May 12, 2010

    Argh. I’m actually about to fall asleep at my computer. Despite having accomplished nothing, I may have to go to bed soon.

  574. #579 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    Good night Walton.

    What time is your class? Maybe you can set your alarm and get up a few hours before it?

  575. #580 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    Oh it’s back to work in just a few days. Sitting here listening to T. Rex of all things…

    ooooh you’re strange
    don’t lame me baby strange oh

    drinking some wine I bought at the shop across the street and thinking.

    7 years.

    7 years in business max and I then I will kill myself or do something better with my life.

    It’s all for the money.

  576. #581 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    I’ve always preferred running on treadmills to running outside; it makes it easier to pace myself, and treadmills have shock absorption which reduces the risk of leg or knee injury.

    Very true – it’s just that in my case, I find the monotony to be an overwhelming negative. I’ll use a treadmill when I have no other option (e.g., in the winter), but as soon as temperate weather comes around, I’ll drop it like a bad habit.

    If I had the chance to run around Oxford, I’d also try tackling that big hill near Botley.

  577. #582 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    7 years in business max and I then I will kill myself or do something better with my life.

    Er, please don’t to the first option.

    Invest in the dream bakery that my wife and I will hopefully have up and running by then!

  578. #583 Ol'Greg
    May 12, 2010

    A bakery, really?

    Any specific kind?

  579. #584 OurDeadSelves
    May 12, 2010

    Mattir @ #495:

    Just saying “I’m Jewish” is really not enough.

    Thank you! This is exactly my point. He was raised to be Jewish (with all of the religious teaching and Hebrew school and whatnot), but he hasn’t been to temple* since his bar mitzvah. I would be a little more understanding (but a hell of a lot less likely to have married him) if he practiced his faith. But then he brings culture into it** and it strikes me as a wee bit hypocritical.

    Ewan @ #498:

    Good luck with the whole thing – maybe try keep a list of things your husband doesn’t do that follow the Jewish tradition (there must be some… thats a longass list of rules right there) which in no way approach the severity of permanent removal of a body part to at least get him out of the realm of mumbo-jumbo and into the realm of sensible discussion on the subject.

    If I can figure out how do this without coming off like I’m attacking him, then that’s not a bad idea. I just don’t want to make an already bad situation worse by acting like a total jackass.

    * And he eats bacon. And he’s tattooed. And he ignores the non-fun holidays. You get the idea.

    ** I’m seriously thinking of bringing hippy culture into the argument. No no no no, I’m not a hippy, but my parents sure as shit are and they raised me to be respectful of other people and, above all else, to be nonviolent.

  580. #585 Jadehawk, OM
    May 12, 2010

    aaah! my boyfriend accidentally threw out the paper I was supposed to mail out to get a $1200 state grant for college!!

    *in physical pain*

  581. #586 SteveV
    May 12, 2010

    Ohh a bakery. Like this?

  582. #587 OurDeadSelves
    May 12, 2010

    Apropos of nothing:

    The first trailer for Machete* was released a few days ago. Not surprisingly, Robert Rodriguez is super pissed off at Arizona.

    Side note: I heard that Chuck Norris dresses up as Danny Trejo every Halloween.

    * Sorry to link to *shudder* Ain’t It Cool News, but that’s where I found the video.

  583. #588 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    sorry for the delayed reply, Ol’ Greg.

    Mrs. Fire does cupcakes, muffins, cookies etc. par excellence. Give her baking powder, and she’ll MacGyver up about ten different things.

    I try to do anything yeasted: bread (various), bagels, croissants, Vienna breads (a.k.a. Danishes?), pizza.

    We intersect at warm, gooey, yeasted cinnamon rolls, drizzled in butter, nuts, and sugar icing.

    So that’s the pitch. Neither of us has much of a head for business, and we may need to rope in a partner if we want to get it off the ground.

    [Funny thing about our baking methods: she's the biologist and I'm the chemist, yet she uses chemical leavening while I rely on biological leavening.]

  584. #589 Carlie
    May 12, 2010

    Please don’t say you use a treadmill in your college gym.

    Nothing wrong with a treadmill. Constant feedback, cushy surface, instantly controllable incline, it doesn’t rain or snow on you, and people don’t look at you funny or yell rude things (it’s amazing how amusing a fat person running seems to be to some people). Best of all, if the treadmill is in your house, you can roll right out of bed and run in your pajamas. Oh, and when you get tired you can stop, rather than realize you’ve gone too far and now have to go all the way back to get home.

    (can you tell I love my treadmill?)

  585. #590 Falyne, FCD
    May 12, 2010

    Jadehawk:

    Eeeep! Is there a deadline coming up quick, or is there a way to get a replacement in time?

    Either way…. yipes. That’s sucky. :-/

  586. #591 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 12, 2010

    @581 re: running on treadmills being boring – that’s what an iPod loaded with audiobooks is for.

  587. #592 Carlie
    May 12, 2010

    ODS – I wasn’t as well-versed in the whole circ debates when my boys were born, and my husband preferred to have it done, so we did. It still hurts to think I let that be done to them. (we’re not Jewish, either, just midwestern fundagelicals)

    Jadehawk – aaaaaa!!!! Is it retrievable?

  588. #593 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 12, 2010

    I first heard of the circ. debate when my son David was born, and the doctors wanted to circ. a premature, fragile and sickly baby without pain control. I called my husband (I was in Kentucky and he was in Michigan at the time) and asked him what he thought about it, and was rather surprised at how adamantly against it he was. It was fine by me, and David’s never been hassled or anything about it in spite of being in small-town school gym classes.

  589. #594 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    SteveV @586: that looks awesome.

    Crap! Ol’ Greg, are you still in Paris? Go here!

  590. #595 cicely
    May 12, 2010

    aaah! my boyfriend accidentally threw out the paper I was supposed to mail out to get a $1200 state grant for college!!

    *in physical pain*

    Aaaaaaaaah!

    *empathising with your pain*

  591. #596 David Marjanovi?
    May 12, 2010

    I do applaud the commitment to fixed-term Parliaments.

    What does that mean?

    Anyway it gives me another, if somewhat irrational, reason to dislike him (The MP that it is.) (Actually Mooney as well).

    :-D :-D :-D

    Are there any movies you have never seen and never will?

    I nominate:
    “The Sound of Music”

    Seconded. I’ve had the displeasure of watching a few seconds.

    and “Gone with the Wind”

    I’ve watched that one in full. It was not worth it.

    :) And in the picture, the divine grace that has it all make sense lies in the plane of the paper – orthogonal to your line of vision.

    Heh.

    aaah! my boyfriend accidentally threw out the paper I was supposed to mail out to get a $1200 state grant for college!!

    Oh shit! I suppose you have already rummaged through all available trash cans?

    What next ? can you get a new one, is there a deadline…? Should we start setting up a Get Jadehawk to College fund?

    Sorry to link to *shudder* Ain’t It Cool News

    Immediately after Jurassic Park 3 came out, they started spreading rumors about 4. They kept doing so for years. Nothing has come of this, and almost certainly nothing ever will.

    wanted to circ. a premature, fragile and sickly baby without pain control.

    Such callousness is hard to imagine.

  592. #597 OurDeadSelves
    May 12, 2010

    the doctors wanted to circ. a premature, fragile and sickly baby without pain control.

    What? WHAT?? The doctors wanted you to do it to your baby?!

    That’s… horrifying.

  593. #598 kiyaroru
    May 12, 2010

    Sitting in the back yard, staring at the garden, twitching to plant…

    Movies I’ve not seen and don’t plan to:
    Forrest Gump
    The Passion of the Christ

    MrFire re yeast bread
    Have you tried “Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread”?
    (I don’t know how to post a link, and there are a bazillion sites…google)
    I’ve tried a sour-dough version a few times and produced something very tasty but strangely un-bread-like.

  594. #599 OurDeadSelves
    May 12, 2010

    Have you tried “Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread”?

    Also awesome: Guinness bread.

    Mmmmmmm mmm m!

  595. #600 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 12, 2010

    @597 – this was an inner-city Louisville hospital, who were being very punitive over the fact that 1) this was an adoption, and 2) that his birthmother and I knew each other and 3) that I was on the phone constantly to a *good* doctor and hospital for advice. They also wanted to do open heart surgery on him, which they knew would kill him, but they figured he’d be a vegetable anyway and it would give the surgeons some much-needed practice operating on such a small infant.

    One doctor actually said to me “You know, if God had wanted you to have children, he would have given them to you.”

    the one time in my life I had the proper come-back: I said “he did – *this* one.”

    but they were still terribly punitive over the whole thing. Oh, the stories I could tell you about those 3 weeks!

    ps: David is not a vegetable. He has some neurological deficits, but otherwise he’s just fine, thank you.

  596. #601 OurDeadSelves
    May 12, 2010

    Becca:
    Holy hell, I don’t even know what to say. I just can’t imagine someone (let alone a group of people) acting so callously towards a helpless infant.

    I am glad that David is okay now. When was he born? How long ago did you have to deal with sure idiotic and uncaring doctors?

  597. #602 Cobolt
    May 12, 2010

    I agree with reducing VAT – at least selectively on essentials.

    We’re going through he same argument here in NZ. The budget is due next week and the Govt has signaled a 2.5% rise in GST (Goods & Services Tax) to 15% which is to be offset by a reduction in income tax and a lift in benefits such as dole and superannuation. The opposition have just released an “alternative” budget which sees GST removed from fresh produce.

    It won’t work.

    The cost of Produce, like everything else, is market driven, supply and demand, which is why off season produce is always more expensive than new season produce which is always more expensive than mid season produce. The growers, traders and store owners/supermarket chains are all rubbing their hands together thinking there will be more room for profit for them, unfortunately for the growers and store owners only the traders or middlemen will boost their pockets. The poor consumer won’t notice one iota of difference in the medium term.

    If you want to reduce the cost of the likes of produce you need to flood the market to the point where the middle class can have more than their fill leaving plenty left over for the lower classes etc. Of course this means the growers will get virtually nothing for their toil.

  598. #603 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 12, 2010

    This was spring 1991. And it was an inner city hospital – you know, the kind where big black limos with darkened windows drop 13yo blond girls off at the hospital during visiting hours to see their premie babies for an hour or so every other day. No, I’m not kidding. Pretty, bouncy little girls with long blond hair, who just loved to dress their babies up in doll clothes, because they were too little for even premie baby clothes. it was…. eye opening.

    My doctor friend says that that hospital was maybe 20 years behind modern times in the equipment and facilities. I suppose the doctors there were just so burned out from dealing with situations like the above that they had to take it out on somebody– fortunately, I wasn’t about to let them take it out on David.

  599. #604 Mattir
    May 12, 2010

    I think the pain relief / anesthesia issue with circumcision is by far the biggest issue. Physiological stress from severe pain has long-lasting effects and there is really no reason to impose it on them, even if one does circumcise. That was where I drew the line, but then I married someone with more Jewish observance than Mr. ODS. Not sure where I’d draw the line now, but I’d be closer to ODS now than I was then.

  600. #605 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 12, 2010

    OMG! It’s all true! PZ really is a baby-eating monster!
    Here’s the proof, a photo of him in Australia.

  601. #606 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 12, 2010

    I have finally read every single comment in an Endless Thread™. That and $4.39 will buy me a latte.

  602. #607 OurDeadSelves
    May 12, 2010

    I suppose the doctors there were just so burned out from dealing with situations like the above that they had to take it out on somebody– fortunately, I wasn’t about to let them take it out on David.

    You sound like an awesome mom. :D I hope I have your strength when I start having kids.

  603. #608 Mattir
    May 12, 2010

    @RevBigDumbChimp

    Thanks for defending me over on the first Alabama thread. Nothing like getting accused of making fun of the entire state because I confessed a funny story about my crazy relatives. I’m sure I could find plenty of similar stories within 20 miles of the officially north place I live now.

    I forgot to mention on that thread that the minister of this weird little church had the most severe facial tic I have ever seen, wore a brown polyester leisure suit, and played the electric guitar badly. Plus he leaned over Mr. Mattir and asked, in a weird leering tone of voice, “Son, are you a Born Jew?” The whole experience was totally surreal.

  604. #609 windy
    May 12, 2010

    Oh, I certainly don’t think he’s “just another Bush” – he’s far more intelligent and capable, for a start.

    A more intelligent lying, warmongering, torturing, environment-destroying asshole is in charge. Hooray!

  605. #610 cicely
    May 12, 2010

    They also wanted to do open heart surgery on him, which they knew would kill him, but they figured he’d be a vegetable anyway and it would give the surgeons some much-needed practice operating on such a small infant.

    Doubleyou.

    Tee.

    Eff!!!

    “Sure thing, Doc! And, say, right after the surgery, how’s about we go use your kid for target practice? After all, he’s gonna die some day anyway….”

  606. #611 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 12, 2010

    Plus he leaned over Mr. Mattir and asked, in a weird leering tone of voice, “Son, are you a Born Jew?”

    As differentiated from a Hatched Jew or a Cloned Jew.

  607. #612 Mattir
    May 12, 2010

    @ Tis

    I think he meant as opposed to me, granddaughter of a member of his pentacostal congregation and obviously some sort of faux converted Jew. Seriously, this little church seemed to spend a truly alarming amount of time considering the plight of the Jews, which was ridiculous given that Mr. M was the first one any of them had ever met in the 60 years the church had been in existence. They really should have spent a bit more time on things like, oh, learning to read on more than a 5th grade level.

  608. #613 MrFire
    May 12, 2010

    Have you tried “Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread”?

    It’s one of my standbys! I have a cast iron pot for that very purpose. My home oven barely goes to 500 deg F though…so the crust I get is wonderfully crunchy, but it’s not quite the holy grail, exquisitely-shattering crust like you might get from a baker’s oven.

    I’ve tried a sour-dough version a few times and produced something very tasty but strangely un-bread-like.

    ? Do tell. So you know, Sili is a commenter who likes making sourdough, along with some others…I’ve tried, but my breads are never remotely sour enough for my liking. I want to move to San Francisco, where the wild yeast is supposedly as good as they say it is.

  609. #614 kiyaroru
    May 12, 2010

    We (the Significant Other and I) have an extensive collection of cast iron; frying-pans, dutch-ovens, bread-pans, etc. Mostly gleaned from the garage sales of damn-fools “up-grading” to modrun appliances. At least half of all our cooking is done using them. (that was almost an english sentence)

    My sourdough is about 23 years old. It’s had a half-dozen near-death experiences but it is a direct lineal descendant of the batch started in 1987.

  610. #615 Katrina
    May 12, 2010

    @kiyaroru and MrFire:

    I have all my cast iron from when my grandmother and, later, my father foolishly “upgraded” from cast iron to Teflon.

    I found a wonderful starter recipe online. I’ve only had it since November, but it’s doing quite well. I haven’t been able to keep starter for more than 3 or 4 years at a time, because (being a military family) we keep having these international moves. Customs seems to frown on jars of starter. And movers seem reluctant to pack them.

    Here’s the link to the starter I found:
    http://www.sourdoughhome.com/startermyway.html

  611. #616 Katrina
    May 12, 2010

    I hadn’t heard of “Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread” so I looked it up. I’ll be trying that one next.

    I just did a “Tuscan Sourdough” two days ago that is nearly gone.

  612. #617 Sgt. Obvious
    May 12, 2010

    It might have been posted already, but Zimmerman finally finished his latest piece.

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

  613. #618 John Morales
    May 12, 2010

    And now for something completely different…

    Man fights for life after slug-eating dare.

    Health authorities are warning of the dangers of eating slugs as a Sydney man battles a rare form of meningitis.

    The 21-year-old caught rat lungworm disease after he ate a slug as a dare some time ago.

  614. #619 kiyaroru
    May 13, 2010

    If my sourdough actually died, I think I would have a funeral.

    MrFire: if it’s not sour enough, leave your sponge a bit longer. I usually leave it overnight, at least 8 hours. (I don’t have a regular job, so I can spend any amount of time I want babysitting the baking.)

    Katrina: I have thought long and hard about how to pack / mail / transport / smuggle sourdough. I haven’t come up with a method. I once tried drying and re-hydrating my sourdough. It didn’t work.

  615. #620 John Scanlon FCD
    May 13, 2010

    movies that left a strong impression on you, but that you would never, ever, ever watch again?

    Irreversible

    I’d meant to rent The Butterfly Effect but misremembered the title, and the plot summary on the box was vague. Got as far as the fire extinguisher before ejecting.

  616. #621 Jadehawk, OM
    May 13, 2010

    college grant update:

    the boyfriend was at work when I discovered the missing papers, so I …”informed”… him of what he’d done over messenger, and then went out to the coffee shop to dull the pain with fat, sugar, and caffeine.

    In the meantime, the boyfriend apparently got off work immediately, and went dumpster-diving. He delivered the papers entirely intact, albeit somewhat dingy looking around the edges, at the coffee shop (the return-envelope is missing though, so I’ll have to call them tomorrow to confirm the address).

    And then we went to see Iron Man II. I confirm that Robert Downey Jr. carrying a huge pipe wrench is scrumptiousness.

  617. #622 Jadehawk, OM
    May 13, 2010

    erm… i guess that should be “discovered the papers were missing”

  618. #623 Falyne, FCD
    May 13, 2010

    Phew. That right there is an impressive save. Glad it worked out. :-)

  619. #624 WowbaggerOM
    May 13, 2010

    And then we went to see Iron Man II.

    I saw that this week as well, and really liked it – which is saying something; I’m quite brutal with sequels. Re: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – I wish I’d paid Michael Bay 12 bucks to set me on fire and piss out the flames instead.

    Samuel L Jackson was excellent but I was disappointed he didn’t find a way to slip in ‘motherfucker’ or some variation thereof. Lousy PG-13.

  620. #625 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    May 13, 2010

    Jadehawk,

    Good to hear.

    I watched Iron Man II last Friday and thought it was alright. The first one was better though.

  621. #626 Falyne, FCD
    May 13, 2010

    Ooooh. I just invested in my first good cookware, including a Le Creuset dutch oven. I’ll need to try out that no-knead bread recipe. :-D

  622. #627 John Morales
    May 13, 2010
  623. #628 ambulocetacean
    May 13, 2010

    Australians have been warned to stop eating slugs so they don’t get rat lungworm disease.

  624. #629 ambulocetacean
    May 13, 2010

    D’oh! John M had already posted the slug thing. Note to self: read thread before posting.

  625. #630 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    OT: One of the texts on my legal philosophy reading list is an insane article from 1965 by Patrick Devlin, an English judge, arguing against the legalisation of homosexuality. Devlin argues (idiotically) that the state should enforce moral standards because society has to be bound together by a common morality, and somehow leaps from this to “OMG teh ghey!!!!!111!” It’s irrational homophobia disguised thinly as philosophical reasoning.

    But what I noticed today is that Devlin described homosexuality as “addictive”, in part of his argument that it was a threat to the common values of society. Hmmm… maybe Haggard’s Law (the more vocally homophobic someone is, the higher the probability that he is a closet case) held true even as early as 1965…

  626. #631 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010

    Australians have been warned to stop eating slugs so they don’t get rat lungworm disease. – ambulocetacean

    I hope they have also warned slugs to stop eating Australians :-p

  627. #632 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010

    In fact watching the press conference he and Cameron had just now they reminded me of a Public School Head Boy, and deputy Head Boy. – Matt Penfold

    I see Clegg more as Cameron’s fag* – and I’m pretty sure Cameron does too! A nice Steve Bell If strip in the Grauniad today – with Cameron appointing Lib Dems as Minister for Paperclips, Minister for Tiredness, etc. Last frame:

    Clegg: “What can I do?”
    Cameron: “You can bring me a small Scotch and soda.”

    *Note for non-Brit readers: A lot of private boys’ schools have (or had – not sure how prevalent it still is) a system where junior boys act, effectively, as servants to (and often, allegedly, perform sexual services for) the “prefects” – selected senior boys who are responsible for a lot of the discipline. The junior is the “fag”, the senior the “fag-master”.

    Yes, it is all as weird and perverse as it sounds!

  628. #633 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010

    aaah! my boyfriend accidentally threw out the paper I was supposed to mail out to get a $1200 state grant for college!! – Jadehawk, OM

    Eek! And he’s still alive? And still your boyfriend? What a generous and forgiving nature you have!

  629. #634 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010

    Cable is Sec of State for Business and Investment, or some such. – Matt Penfold

    Sec. of State for Paperclips, actually. It has emerged this morning that no, he’s not in charge of banking reform. That will be the Right Honourable George Gideon Oliver Osborne MP (Eton and Magdelen), Chancellor of the Exchequer, and heir to the Osborne baronetcy of Ballentaylor in County Tipperary, who has never done any job other than Conservative Party researcher and MP.

  630. #635 Matt Penfold
    May 13, 2010

    Sec. of State for Paperclips, actually. It has emerged this morning that no, he’s not in charge of banking reform. That will be the Right Honourable George Gideon Oliver Osborne MP (Eton and Magdelen), Chancellor of the Exchequer, and heir to the Osborne baronetcy of Ballentaylor in County Tipperary, who has never done any job other than Conservative Party researcher and MP.

    That’s the banking system fucked then.

    Or rather, even more fucked than it already is.

  631. #636 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 13, 2010

    @607 *blush*

    I don’t know about being an awesome mom, but I try. You just deal with the cards you’re given. We don’t make a fuss about David’s deficits, but we don’t let him get away with stuff because of them either.

    I’ll make a gift to you, ODS, for when you’re a parent. We have 2 major rules in the house: Nothing permanent, and nothing with sirens.

    My kids’ friends think that we’re really cool for being so laid back, but at least with our kids, it works, as long as we define our terms carefully. Not doing your homework is permanent, for example, and therefore not an option. Getting multiple piercings or tattoos is permanent… and the prohibition against same led to Tori getting really interested in henna, and she’s made a fair bit of money doing henna at festivals.

    we do consider emergency room runs to be both permanent and involving a siren, even if it doesn’t necessarily involve an ambulance and a literal siren.

    My husband has one additional rule: if you don’t let your child win on occasion, by definition you’re raising a loser. Our kids are not us; they’ll make different decisions for themselves, and that’s ok. It doesn’t invalidate any decisions we made for ourselves, and anyway, our kids’ job isn’t to validate us, only to validate themselves.

    [/pontificate]

  632. #637 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    Interesting: The Crystals at the Center of the Earth.

    Reminds me of this crazy place

  633. #638 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    RevBigDumbChimp
    Thanks for defending me over on the first Alabama thread. Nothing like getting accused of making fun of the entire state because I confessed a funny story about my crazy relatives. I’m sure I could find plenty of similar stories within 20 miles of the officially north place I live now.
    I forgot to mention on that thread that the minister of this weird little church had the most severe facial tic I have ever seen, wore a brown polyester leisure suit, and played the electric guitar badly. Plus he leaned over Mr. Mattir and asked, in a weird leering tone of voice, “Son, are you a Born Jew?” The whole experience was totally surreal.

    No problemo!

  634. #639 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    Holy hell, I don’t even know what to say. I just can’t imagine someone (let alone a group of people) acting so callously towards a helpless infant.

    Seconded. They wanted to punish you and the baby for an adoption?!?

    In the meantime, the boyfriend apparently got off work immediately, and went dumpster-diving. He delivered the papers entirely intact [...] at the coffee shop

    *phew*

    Interesting: The Crystals at the Center of the Earth.

    The idea that the inner core is a single crystal of iron is at least 10 years old, probably quite a bit more; nice to see some confirmation.

    Haggard’s Law

    LOL! Full of win.

    Eek! And he’s still alive? And still your boyfriend? What a generous and forgiving nature you have!

    Well, either that.

    Or she meticulously planned her revenge in the coffee shop, just in case. Her boyfriend seems to have understood very well that he had one chance, and acted accordingly.

  635. #640 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    Forgot to mention these two cartoons my dad found yesterday evening. The first is titled “Sirtaki”. The second, “Sisyphus”, shows the president of Serbia, Boris Tadi?, pushing Serbia uphill in two parts: the Kosovo is dragged behind on a rope and acts as an anchor.

    Seen “CIR” and “LAT” in the page title? You can switch the text between Cyrillic and Latin letters. In Serbia, you need to know both alphabets to be literate.

    if you don’t let your child win on occasion, by definition you’re raising a loser

    QFT.

    Reminds me of this crazy place

    What… the fuck.

    From there: “Geologist Juan Manuel Garcķa-Ruiz calls it ‘the Sistine Chapel of crystals’, but Superman could call it home.”

    Eleven-meter-long gypsum crystals. :-o Incredible.

  636. #641 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010

    I do indeed use a treadmill in my college gym. – Walton

    There was some research reported very recently (sorry, can’t recall exactly where) claiming that exercise in green spaces has considerable benefits in terms of mood. Come on, Walton, plenty of lovely places to run outside in Oxford!

  637. #642 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    What… the fuck.

    There was a NG special about it I saw a while back. The cave itself is like 115 degrees F and to get into the meat of it the scientists have to wear cooling suits and can only be in the actual cave for short periods of time.

    Here’s a link to the NG online page for the show.

  638. #643 Carlie
    May 13, 2010

    John – damn. That’s the kind of thing I look at and go “why the hell didn’t I know about this before??????” I’m sad that it’s not accessible to visit, but then kind of glad too – that way it doesn’t get destroyed.

  639. #644 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    Knockgoats, to Jadehawk,

    Eek! And he’s still alive? And still your boyfriend? What a generous and forgiving nature you have!

    Really? It would have been incredibly harsh to break up a relationship just because one’s significant other accidentally threw out an application form, surely? Is love worth no more than a $1200 grant? :-/

    (As a chronically disorganised person myself, I can easily imagine making the same kind of mistake. And from Jadehawk’s second post, it sounds like her boyfriend did everything possible to make amends afterwards.)

  640. #645 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010
    I do applaud the commitment to fixed-term Parliaments. – Me

    What does that mean? – David Marjanovi? OM

    Currently, the PM can ask the Queen at any time for a dissolution of Parliament and a new election – so they pick the time they think they can win. Grossly unfair. This will be changed by new legislation. However, it turns out that the “fixed term Parliament” phrase is a lie – the whole thing is being engineered to prevent either Tories or LibDems precipitating a new election on their own, but so that both together can do so: a new election can be called if at least 55% of MPs agree. IOW, it’s a totally cynical stitch-up – and indeed, under these rules the last Labour government would also have been able to call one early (they didn’t, because they were hanging on to the last moment, hoping for something to turn up). It would have been quite possible to say that a new election occurs before the 5 year term is up if and only if the government loses a vote of confidence, and no alternative government can be formed within a fixed period. That’s what I assumed the announced change meant.

  641. #646 Knockgoats
    May 13, 2010

    Walton,
    My #633 was not seriously intended! I recall my wife telling me, when we heard a tragic story of a man who had accidentally dropped his son over the side of a ship (he’d been holding him while the son sat on the rail – the son drowned) – that if I had done that, she would have found it very hard to forgive me, but would have done her best.

  642. #647 Becca, the Main Gauche of Mild Reason
    May 13, 2010

    David @ 639 – yeah, really. Who knows what was going through their heads? We were obviously two adult women who both wanted what was best for the baby, and agreed on it… you’d have thought they’d be pleased the baby was going to a good home. nope.

    and I’ve only touched on a little bit of what went on during those three weeks. I had to fight every inch of the way to make sure David got appropriate medical care.

    but.. I lived in the Ronald McDonald House, rent free, for 3 weeks. and got some free long distance calls, courtesy of MCI. And a lot of organizations brought in free meals. This saved my life. If you ever go to McDonald’s and see one of their donation boxes, throw in a few cents and think of David and me.

  643. #648 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 13, 2010

    Regarding crystalline iron in the inner core. I remember this from back when I was reporting/editing for Physics Today–so it has to date from the 95-96 timeframe. I wrote a couple of articles on the core, mainly dealing with some neat simulations that Gary Glatzmaier was doing. One of these simulations showed that the inner core acts like an inductor, and so stabilizes the geomagnetic field so that it flips only every few hundred thousand years, rather than every few thousand.

    It’s not hard to understand how the growth of large crystals happens at the inner core. The iron from the outer core is continually condensing onto the inner core (and the latent heat of condensation also contributes significantly to the energy driving outer core convection, btw). Since the convection is pretty stable on timescales of a few hundred thousand years, you expect pretty large crystals to grow. Pretty cool stuff.

    Also the gypsum crystals in the Cave of Swords–absolutely awesome. I’d love to see that place.

  644. #649 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    Is love worth no more than a $1200 grant? :-/

    Knee-jerk reaction alert:

    “Money isn’t everything! But without money everything is nothing!”
    ? Framed, on the wall of Scrooge McDuck’s office.

    As a chronically disorganised person myself, I can easily imagine making the same kind of mistake.

    As another chronically disorganised and lazy person myself, I basically don’t throw stuff away. In Paris, paper I was really sure I wouldn’t need anymore went into the paper-and-plastic trash bag (just some plastic bag), then I waited for weeks or months till that bag was stuffed while I started the next one, and once every few months I threw some of the bags away.

    Of course, being really sure doesn’t mean being right. I remember one similar mistake, fortunately without long-term consequences.

    Currently, the PM can ask the Queen at any time for a dissolution of Parliament and a new election – so they pick the time they think they can win.

    That’s normal. Over here, it happens in the very few cases (1995 and 2002 were the last times) when the coalition breaks down. What else should be done in such cases?

    The fact that single-party governments are so rare may be why elections aren’t held more often, but the single-party governments that have existed didn’t do it either; why bother campaigning and making the entire country tired?

  645. #650 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    So… from an Austrian perspective, what the UK needs aren’t fixed-term parliaments but proportional representation.

    If you ever go to McDonald’s

    Only been there about twice in my life so far :-)

  646. #651 SC OM
    May 13, 2010

    A belated thanks to Sven for the Eyes of the World and ‘Tis for the amazing Bluenose video on the previous incarnation.

    ***

    Relatives of a friend of mine are now convinced that their son is not well enough, er, endowed. Why? Because the mohel made a comment to that effect. At the ceremony. About a baby. Talk about adding insult to injury!

    ***

    *Note for non-Brit readers: A lot of private boys’ schools have (or had – not sure how prevalent it still is) a system where junior boys act, effectively, as servants to (and often, allegedly, perform sexual services for) the “prefects” – selected senior boys who are responsible for a lot of the discipline. The junior is the “fag”, the senior the “fag-master”.

    Yes, it is all as weird and perverse as it sounds!

    Two of my favorite people rebelled against this sort of bullshit.

    After graduating from Dallas Technical High School in 1934, anticipating a career as an engineer, [C. Wright] Mills entered Texas Agricultural & Mechanical College, a large military school which his father thought would make a man of him. As a freshman, his first published piece was a letter to the Batallion, a student newspaper, where he protested against the mindless disciplinary oppression which freshmen were forced to undergo at the hands of upperclassmen. Later he relished the anger he saw on senior officers’ faces as they read it. Responding to a rejoinder accusing him of a lack of “guts,” he penned these closing words in a second letter in the Battalion:

    Just who are the men with guts? They are the men who have the ability and the brains to see this institution’s faults, who are brittle enough not to adapt themselves to its erroneous order–and plastic enough to change if they are already adapted; the men who have the imagination and the intelligence to formulate their own codes; the men who have the courage and the stamina to live their own lives in spite of social pressure and isolation. These my friends, are the men with “guts” (Mills, 2000: 34).

    http://www.sociological-imagination.org/short_biography_of_c_wright_mill.htm

    He later transferred to UT Austin.

    Kropotkin also fought against similar practices in the Corps of Pages, as he describes in his Memoirs.

  647. #652 Carlie
    May 13, 2010

    Relatives of a friend of mine are now convinced that their son is not well enough, er, endowed. Why? Because the mohel made a comment to that effect. At the ceremony. About a baby. Talk about adding insult to injury!

    There are not enough wtfs in the world for that.

  648. #653 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 13, 2010

    @ Matt #537
    (just seen your reply)
    Sorry, I should have been clearer. I wasn’t referring exclusively to the UK. Many countries still have mortgage interest relief schemes. EG, it’s currently an election issue in the Netherlands, which is going to the polls next month. The (ruling) Christian Democrats, the VVD and the Freedom Party oppose any change, the Socialist Party, the Labour Party and the Green Left want to phase it out.

    @ Walton
    I seem to recall you saying you disliked nearly all fruit. (Madness!). I hope you eat some vegetables, but I’m guessing you probably don’t eat enough of them. More of both would solve some of your tiredness/lack of energy problems. Go to Argos, buy a cheap blender (under £5), go to the market, buy lots of fruit, and have a big smoothie (with oats if you wish) for breakfast. I can buy 3 melons for a quid at my market. Chop up lots of fresh ginger, simmer slowly in a cup full of water, add to blender with melons, drink, and feel alive again.

    (Never thought I’d turn into Walton’s mother).

  649. #654 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 13, 2010

    ^ sorry about bold fail. Almost as bad as CAPS.

  650. #655 Carlie
    May 13, 2010

    (Never thought I’d turn into Walton’s mother).

    You know what they say, it takes an internet village…

  651. #656 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    May 13, 2010

    arids

    One of these simulations showed that the inner core acts like an inductor, and so stabilizes the geomagnetic field so that it flips only every few hundred thousand years, rather than every few thousand.

    That was interesting. Some time ago I asked some questions on BAUT about why the magnetic fields of the Sun and Earth behaved so differently. Never got a reply :(
    Maybe I should have asked here instead. Can you tell me why the Sun’s field always (as far as we know) reverses itself at the end of its cycle, whereas the Earth’s can either reverse, or regenerate with the same orientation? Presumably it’s something to with the greater complexity of the internal structure of the Earth, and its components. (Btw I understand why there is a cycle, but feel free to explain that too, in case I’m wrong).

  652. #657 Mattir
    May 13, 2010

    @ Walton –

    I dimly recall reading Devlin in law school and thinking that he really did view homosexuality as irresistibly yummy and thus a threat to his everyday heterosexual routine. It’s really a very common view, which seems to me to be rooted in a deep sort of misogyny. It takes the traditional “women are bad and evil and dirty” rhetoric and extends that into the idea that no man would ever have sex with a woman if they could do it with a man. Perhaps if people could grasp the idea that people come in two basic physical forms, rather than one ideal and one non-ideal, we could get over this whole “homosexuality as irresistible yumminess for straight guys” problem.

    Then the only guys who would be having irresistibly yummy gay sex would be the ones who were, you know, gay or bi, and everyone else could just move on and stop writing stupid articles.

  653. #658 cicely
    May 13, 2010

    A Teabagger’s wet-dream:

    1) Make it illegal to teach anything but abstinence-only birth control. (Because that works so well.)

    2) Make abortion for any reason at all illegal. (But with, of course, individual examples granted on the sly to Right People.)

    3) Assign legal guardianship of all the unwanted newborns to the Gubment.

    4) Carefully tailor these kids’ education, exposing them intensively to religious dogma indicating that the Gubment reflects and rules by the Will of God. Oh, and teach them about Guns. Lots and lots of Guns.

    5) Graduate the results straight into the military at age 18 (because they’ve got to pay back the public investment in their education and upkeep, don’t they?).

    6) Take over the world, with God’s blessing.

  654. #659 Dust
    May 13, 2010

    Knockgoats @641

    There was some research reported very recently (sorry, can’t recall exactly where) claiming that exercise in green spaces has considerable benefits in terms of mood.

    Interesting, I still call going outside to exercize ‘going out to play’ and I’m in my 50′s. :) Also renamed the treadmill a ‘dreadmill’ a long while back.

    So Walton, drink your fresh fruit smoothie and go outside and play! :)

  655. #660 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    Knockgoats and Matt: I really don’t know why you’re so obsessed with the class backgrounds of the new Cabinet. George Osborne did not choose to be from a privileged background and heir to a baronetcy; nor does this make him intrinsically incompetent.

    So far, I like most of what I’ve seen of the Conservative-Liberal coalition. There are a few things with which I’m not happy, but it was never going to be perfect. But all in all, it’s a huge improvement on Labour.

  656. #661 Mattir
    May 13, 2010

    If anyone needs more weirdness about the papacy, here it is.

    Since most of the examples are from the golden age of knighthood, perhaps I should forward this to my acquaintance who lectured me about how teen boys needed to have the image of the knight held up as a role model and no curvy girls to distract from the whole knight idea. Several of these popes would seem to agree…

  657. #662 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 13, 2010

    Falyne, I have some Le Creuset, love the stuff, the doufeu in particular.

    I’m off to have my torture session with my neurologist, back later on this afternoon sometime.

  658. #663 mommimus-prime
    May 13, 2010

    Our local newspaper ran an article today about a religious class that takes place during school hours (strictly voluntary of course). Rambling and I are arguing over it (sort of) but I find it skirting the edge of violating keeping religious teaching out of public schools. There also happens to be a poll.

  659. #664 KOPD
    May 13, 2010

    Some of you may remember me mentioning a family member voicing some opinions on Facebook that I found annoying. Well, his recent blog post takes the cake. Here it is:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    My Bible tells me to worship my God in everything I do. Yet my government is passing laws telling me I can’t. Why are the Atheists and Gnostic’s rights protected and mine aren’t.
    This country was founded so people could worship without being prohibited. It was NOT founded to allow people to ESCAPE religion. My opinion is, if people want to to have a country without a God. Let the discover their own country, or go to one of the many countries that do not acknowledge God.

    So much wrong there. And that last paragraph makes it obvious that he either doesn’t remember that I and his brother’s wife (to whom I’m not related) are both descended from people who grew up on reservations. You didn’t “discover” this country. You fucking stole it. That would be like me taking a shotgun next door and “discovering” my neighbor’s house.

  660. #665 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 13, 2010

    @664

    Goddamned Gnostics demanding constitutional protection for their fucking Demiurge and whatnot. I thought those heretics had been wiped from civilization. This country wasn’t founded by a bunch of dualists, I can tell you that much! Why don’t they go discover their own country?

    Also. Damned Atheists. But for different reasons.

  661. #666 KOPD
    May 13, 2010

    And I just got in an argument with a coworker who apparently thinks atheists should just ignore things like NDP because “you have the right not to participate.” Yeah, sure. And you have the right not to participate in National Day of Goat Sacrifice. She doesn’t agree that it’s best if government just stays out of religion and lets people do what they want. I can’t understand that.

  662. #667 MrFire
    May 13, 2010

    Relatives of a friend of mine are now convinced that their son is not well enough, er, endowed. Why? Because the mohel made a comment to that effect. At the ceremony. About a baby. Talk about adding insult to injury!

    What a terribly cutting remark.

  663. #668 KOPD
    May 13, 2010

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that when I said “first amendment” the coworker said “which one is that?” And when I mention the Freedom From Religion Foundation, you should have heard the tone of voice when she said “they’re atheists?” I’ve never been so glad to have my desk so far in the back.

  664. #669 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    What a terribly cutting remark.

    ZING

  665. #670 iambilly
    May 13, 2010

    who apparently thinks atheists should just ignore things like NDP because “you have the right not to participate.”

    But she still expects us to help pay so that she can participate, right? I pay for things that the federal government does with which I do not agree — for instance, having a military budget as big as the rest of the world put together. But to ask me to help pay for someone elses religious worship is absurd.

  666. #671 cicely
    May 13, 2010

    Octopus vs. shark, here

    (Fast-forward to about 1:40 for the action shots.)

  667. #672 Rorschach
    May 13, 2010

    One of the parties that seems grossly disadvantaged by the unfair system of representation in the UK seem to be the Greens, heard an interview with their new MP from Brighton on the radio today.Parties that have been represented in other European parliaments for 30odd years are effectively out of luck in the UK due to the undemocratic electoral system.Germany had a Green foreign minister 10 years ago !

  668. #673 KOPD
    May 13, 2010

    Looks like my comment to my uncle isn’t going to make it out of moderation. Go figure.

  669. #674 Ewan R
    May 13, 2010

    Ok, apologies to all for returning to the subject, (particularly probably 2 threads on after I finally get finished on this) but SC OM and I were having a nice civil debate about the merits, and otherwise, of Roundup usage in various environments, and I wanted to return for a further mauling, or something. Also apologies for the length of this one, this is what happens when I do posting via word across a few days rather than straight into the comment box ? no doubt I will learn not to do this when a couple of poorly phrased bits become the prime focus, although maybe not.
    To deal first with SC?s main repetition in the prior posting

    Tu quoque, detergents.

    Admittedly yes, poor debating technique on my behalf here to a certain extent ? as I had to actually look up Tu quoque to figure out exactly what it was I was being accused of perhaps a tad bit leniency in debating skill can be extended here by any non-partisan reader. I?ll attempt in future not to rely overly on such a comparative fallacy, although I still feel that in terms of perspective it is important to recognize that POEA is a detergent, and does fall within the sort of aquatic toxicities one would expect to see from detergents (not to use this as an argument for the use of POEA, just as a defense against taking toxicity at certain concentrations to certain organisms as necessarily making the toxic agent completely awful and beyond even considering that it may be used.

    Just because something can cause harm to membranes in a given set of conditions doesn’t mean these conditions exist outside of the lab – doesn’t even mean that in any other conditions anyone’d be concerned about them -

    Relyea. 1995. Several.

    Relyea 2009 – The Toxicity Of Roundup Original Maxh To 13 Species Of Larval Amphibians Rick A. Relyea and Devin K. Jones Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 28, No. 9, pp. 2004?2008

    For a more up to date look at Relyea?s experiments and a mini-review of the literature around POEA toxicity to amphibians ? a brief rundown of what I view of the key points made follows:-

    States that use of herbicides is useful (both agriculturally and for forest management) ? other literature around also suggests roundup is an important tool in terms of habitat protection against invading species, so environmental impact isn?t necessarily always negative

    Mortality not generally observed until 2.0mg/L AE other than for two species where mortality at 1.0mg/L AR were observed

    LC50 (96h exposure) values for toads and frogs generally in the 0.8mg/L ? 2.0 mg/L range, salamanders and newts seem more tolerant with values generally higher than 2.0mg/L (only 4 species of salamander/newt tested however)

    Points out that to date amphibians have largely been ignored in tox studies, and should be looked at in future – totally agree this should be the case when assessing environmental impacts (although just because they are impacted doesn’t necessarily mean the substance in question shouldnt be used – all the evidence should be considered)

    Direct overspray of wetland areas in Canada had a mean concentration of 0.3mg/L, – which had no real effect on mortality of the single species tested in this case

    If direct overspray is only causing concentrations in groundwater to be ~0.3mg/L and adjacent wetlands to be around 0.18mg/L (which maybe gives a good model for runoff under high rain conditions)(although in one case the concentration was greater than 1mg/L)? which is significantly lower than the LD50 then despite the fact that yes, POEA is toxic at some concentrations it does not necessarily follow that use of roundup formulations containing POEA will cause massively significant mortality in amphibian species in the area.

    This is supported further by the capacity of sediment (and I?m going to guess soil also (it?s just somewhat dry sediment right?.?), although don?t have peer reviewed literature to back this one up) to significantly reduce the concentration of POEA in water with a half life of between 13 and 18h dependant on total organic carbon %age in the soil (1.5 and 3% tested in this case ? higher OC leading to lower half-life) ? which should have some impact on the LC50 values for a 96h exposure (if my math is right 96 hours after addition of POEA to waters sitting over 1.5% OC sediment you?d have approximately 3% POEA remaining assuming the half-life remains constant and the sediment doesn?t end up saturated)

    which is utterly besides the point when specifically addressing one persons guilt about using roundup to control a few weeds,

    You can’t know how much people actually use to get rid of weeds or how close they are to shallow water. (And see Relyea on lower concentrations.) And they generally don’t know the real dangers. Furthermore, you were the one presenting it as a dichotomy between spraying for a few weeds and Plan Colombia, implying that anything short of the latter is just fine. But I love how your alleged ecological consciousness flies out the window here – risk be damned.

    The spraying your yard/Columbia reference was more an off the cuff remark, and my opposition to spraying in Columbia is bugger all to do with toxicity of POEA but with the spraying of any herbicide onto someone else?s crop and potentially endangered ecosystems (as glyphosate is a complete bugger if you happen to be a plant) ? so no, I wasn?t presenting a dichotomy at all(just picking two examples from complete opposite sides of the usage spectrum), and no, it isn?t a case of risk be damned, it is a case of in the first instance someone is knowingly spraying a broad spectrum herbicide on their own property, hopefully following the guidelines (which read – do not apply directly to water, to areas where surface water is present, or to intertidal areas below the mean high water mark. Do not contaminate water when disposing of equipment washwaters) and in the second instance we?re talking about knowingly applying a broad spectrum herbicide, at concentrations above those generally used, onto someone else?s property, on the suspicion that they?re growing something you don?t agree with, in an area containing a great deal of biodiversity which may be under threat. My entire point, which I think is fair (albeit not overly amusing at all, one of the many reasons I am not a professional comedian I guess ? I figure if I keep firing them out there one or two might hit the target) being that just because use in one situation is bad, doesn?t mean it is in all situations.

    There is evidence that spraying Roundup likely has a direct effect on local amphibian populations (at the least). These are not comparable.

    Ok ? accepted (I think I lost what I said first, something along the lines of not releasing CO2…) however the evidence is that spraying roundup until it accumulates to certain levels for certain time periods at specific times in an amphibians life cycle has a direct effect on some species of amphibians ? it does not necessarily follow that household usage has any appreciable effect on levels of POEA in groundwater considering that aerial spray results in accumulation levels significantly below LD50 levels and pretty close to NEOAL levels where you spray it, and ~50% of that level in areas where runoff is likely (and that is in a wetland area where mobility of chemicals is likely to be a lot higher than off of someone?s property)

    So let me see if I have this straight: You spend months and months defending Monsanto across the blogosphere (including on the company’s own blog), dismissing PCBs and Agent Orange as mistakes well in the past, but when the corporation you work for is part of a practice you call reprehensible – destroying ecosystems and livelihoods – you’re too lazy to speak out. Nice. I’m sure the people in Colombia will be happy to know that there are employees like you willing to tentatively stand by a statement. [And it's pretty clear that it has been Roundup. Even if it turned out that it isn't all Roundup, the company would still be responsible for a) not making it clear that this wasn't a safe use of herbicides, and allowing the government to claim that it is; and b) giving the false impression that these formulations generally are nontoxic, which the US government has used to fight the thousands of complaints from Colombians and environmental groups.]

    No, I?m too lazy to campaign. There is a huge difference between speaking out, and campaigning. I?ve made inquiries internally, and dependant on the responses will express concern internally. What I spend my time doing otherwise is entirely besides the point ? although to contradict this point I will now elaborate on my activity… GE is an area I have a high level of interest in (as previously were evolutionary biology, and atheism ? both also topics I have wasted vast quantities of my time debating online) and therefore it is hardly surprising (to me at least) that I?d spend my time going on about that, and attempting to point out what I see as wrong in the anti-GM side of the debates argument, why you feel the need to keep bringing up the fact that I am active in the debate is beyond me ? for full disclosure of the various timelines and reasoning, just to assuage your morbid curiosity and save you any more time on Google searches, or private detectives, or whatever other bizarre lengths you wish to go to in uncovering the nefarious role I play in the pro-GM side of the debate ? I became more active when the Monsanto blog was set up, because it was linked from the internal Monsanto intranet, and in the process of debating there I followed various links (either on the sidebars, or linked through articles) and commented on them also, Monsanto also provides a daily newsfeed concerning articles about the company, and GE in general, and thus I found my way into various other debates (notably on Forbes, and in STL today) ? interestingly discovering Pharyngula in the process (linked from Biofortified, who benefitted from a poll pharyngulation not too long ago) and subsequently various other scienceblogs ? my current faves being Casaubon?s book, and Tomorrow?s Table (after Pharyngula) ? it?s not quite the conspiracy it could have been, but hopefully that little meandering killed off any interest whatsoever this post had for anyone who remained after 1600 words….

    As a final point (probably… I may meander off and forget to edit this bit) I don?t know that I?ve portrayed Roundup as non-toxic (I came close to it once on the monsanto blog, but luckily the moderation police, who like me, spotted the error and asked if I?d like to change it before it was posted) just less toxic than the alternatives that would be used (as supported by peer reviewed literature ? although it does appear that perhaps glufosinate used in systems with glufosinate resistant crops may have a smaller environmental impact again) and I stand by this statement completely ? it?s why roundup use in Ag is on the whole a good thing rather than a bad thing when you look at Risk vs Reward ? yes, it can be classified as slightly toxic, through moderately toxic (possibly to severely toxic for amphibians, I?ve lost the paper I was looking at) but looking at the whole picture, and not considering roundup in a vacuum ? it is the best option we currently have for utilization in the system we have, both in terms of economics (hence its widespread adoption) and in terms of the environment (yes, using absolutely no inputs would likely be a lot less impactful on the environment, but without a wholesale change in the way the world works this isn?t going to happen) ? both points which are supported by the literature.

  670. #675 Rorschach
    May 13, 2010

    674 tl;dr

  671. #676 Mattir
    May 13, 2010

    I’ve found a new way to proselytize for secularism in the US. I’m a merit badge counselor for our Boy Scout troop and do a required badge called “Citizenship in the Nation,” which requires boys to discuss the Constitution, among other things. So I’ve started asking “Does the Constitution mention god as a basis for the US government?” When they learn that it doesn’t, their ears steam a bit, but I think that’s from the mind opening up a crack.

    Last night I did this right after gutting some fish and identifying various organs for another group of boys. What a great life – fish guts and secularism.

  672. #677 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    Mattir if the HQ of the Boy Scouts hears about this they’ll have your swiss army knife and tin cup.

  673. #678 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    @ Walton
    I seem to recall you saying you disliked nearly all fruit. (Madness!). I hope you eat some vegetables, but I’m guessing you probably don’t eat enough of them. More of both would solve some of your tiredness/lack of energy problems. Go to Argos, buy a cheap blender (under £5), go to the market, buy lots of fruit, and have a big smoothie (with oats if you wish) for breakfast. I can buy 3 melons for a quid at my market. Chop up lots of fresh ginger, simmer slowly in a cup full of water, add to blender with melons, drink, and feel alive again.

    Simply saying “Madness!” doesn’t solve any problems. I found out I’m allergic to apples (and pears and the like, and nuts ? all connected to hazel pollen and birch pollen allergy) when I was something like 2 years old; I think I even remember it, and it’s my first memory. The allergy manifests as a scratchy feeling in the throat. It went psychological; since then, all fruits and many vegetables are irredeemably yucky. If I were somehow forced to eat strawberries or… any salad, I’d probably barf (as my brother once did when a silly teacher on a ski course or something didn’t understand he doesn’t like salad). So, if Walton has this kind of condition, to say “buy lots of fruit” is just laughable.

    It’s dead obvious why Walton is so tired: he simply doesn’t sleep enough.

    I can drink orange juice and pasteurized apple juice, but I don’t find the latter worth it most of the time, and don’t often encounter the former either.

    Vegetables? Almost entirely limited to carrots, leek, celeriac, onions, and broccoli, all in soup. My mother bought me a tiny blender that I took to Paris last or next-to-last time I went there; one Saturday, I bought an entire kilo of deep-frozen carrots, boiled them with lots of salt and spices for a surprisingly long time, blended the result, and had soup for 3 days. (I should absolutely have added onions, though it was entirely edible nonetheless.) I didn’t do it again, because it just took far too long ? and I’m not (yet) under extreme time pressure like Walton is!

    I do recommend ginger as a spice, though. For some time, perhaps 2 years, I used curcuma and ginger instead of curry for potato purée and rice.

    Ginger is also said to have caffeine-like effects. Candied ginger is now sold over here for this purpose.

    (…And, like for caffeine, I haven’t noticed any effect on me.)

    Walton, do you eat in a canteen? What is the food like?

  674. #679 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    I had to use google-fu here

    curcuma?

    Seems like it might be what I refer to as tumeric, but maybe not. Maybe just close.

    Can anyone verify?

  675. #680 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    What a great life – fish guts and secularism.

    :-) :-) :-)

  676. #681 iambilly
    May 13, 2010

    Rev. BDC:

    A woman I know from Malaysia refers to turmeric as red ginger (confused the heck out of me with one of her recipes). Does that help?

  677. #682 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 13, 2010

    What a terribly cutting remark.

    At first glans, this seemed awfully rude. But then again, maybe the baby should develop a thicker skin. I hope the parent’s remembered to leave a tip–otherwise the mohel may feel shafted.

  678. #683 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    Yes, turmeric, the yellow color of curry.

  679. #684 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 13, 2010

    At first glans, this seemed awfully rude. But then again, maybe the baby should develop a thicker skin. I hope the parent’s remembered to leave a tip–otherwise the mohel may feel shafted

    ooooooooooooooof

  680. #685 iambilly
    May 13, 2010

    And did the mohel show up in one of these?

  681. #686 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    Is love worth no more than a $1200 grant? :-/

    Wow. Romantics.

    Et tu, Walton?

    Meh… love is fleeting. It’s then either backed by a resolute sense of duty, shared goals, or desperate insecurity. Hopefully #2, but usually 1 or 3 :(

    As a chronically organized person I seem to always have an index of where everything was and has been. I always find myself managing other people’s papers and things, not to mention their data. I don’t mean to, it’s just hard for me *not* to keep track of things.

  682. #687 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    @ 682

    Woah dude. Just woah.

  683. #688 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    674 tl;dr

    Me too, Rorschach, me too. I haven’t been involved in that argument and I’m currently on vacation anyway.

  684. #689 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    Wow. Romantics.

    Et tu, Walton?

    Meh… love is fleeting. It’s then either backed by a resolute sense of duty, shared goals, or desperate insecurity. Hopefully #2, but usually 1 or 3 :(

    You’re probably right. I can’t exactly claim wide experience in this particular area of life. :-(

  685. #690 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    You’re probably right. I can’t exactly claim wide experience in this particular area of life. :-(

    Gah! No no no.

    The proper response is “I know how well I could love some one and that’s all I need to know you jaded wretch!”

    Then I’d have to say “Ah… whatta mensch.” And leave it at that.

    You’re going to have to stop squeaking when squeezed or some one down the line is going to mistake you for a chew toy.

  686. #691 Rorschach
    May 13, 2010

    The proper response is “I know how well I could love some one and that’s all I need to know you jaded wretch!”

    :D

  687. #692 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    lol

    Now who’s the romantic!?

  688. #693 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    Gah! No no no.

    The proper response is “I know how well I could love some one and that’s all I need to know you jaded wretch!”

    Then I’d have to say “Ah… whatta mensch.” And leave it at that.

    You’re going to have to stop squeaking when squeezed or some one down the line is going to mistake you for a chew toy.

    ? I’m confused. Were you expecting me to be a sweetly naive hopeless romantic?

  689. #694 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    Were you expecting me to be a sweetly naive hopeless romantic?

    Hahaha!

    No, not at all. It’s just that I am!

  690. #695 KOPD
    May 13, 2010

    The words “hopeless” and “romantic” can be used to describe me, too. But the proper way to construct that description is “when it comes to being romantic, KOPD is hopeless.”

  691. #696 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    The words “hopeless” and “romantic” can be used to describe me, too. But the proper way to construct that description is “when it comes to being romantic, KOPD is hopeless.”

    :-D :-D :-D

  692. #697 Patricia08
    May 13, 2010

    A friend of mine has a daughter with attention deficit, severe enough to be an issue but not debilitating. She is looking for non-drug ways to deal with it and asked me about NeuroBioFeedback. I don’t know anything about this treatment. Closest I could come was a successful biofeedback treatment I had years ago to help me relax damaged muscle tissue in my back. Anyone know anything about this? Is it pure woo woo with a big fancy sciency sounding name?

  693. #698 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    when it comes to being romantic, KOPD is hopeless

    LMAO!

    To be honest, most things people consider being romantic I don’t get. Flowers and the like.

  694. #699 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    Oh, and I’m sorry Walton.

    I could play chess with myself.

    Don’t let it confuse you :P

  695. #700 Dianne
    May 13, 2010

    Is love worth no more than a $1200 grant? :-/

    Love that demands you give up a grant is rarely love. OTOH $1200 is a pretty small grant. Won’t buy more than a couple of antibodies and an epindorf tube or so.

  696. #701 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    Oh, and I’m sorry Walton.

    I could play chess with myself.

    Don’t let it confuse you :P

    I’m more easily confused than usual, since I’ve been trying to get to grips with legal philosophy all day. You’re certainly less confusing than Joseph Raz. :-)

    And I’m STILL tired. (Incidentally, one of my friends was telling me today that short-term tiredness is not about how much sleep one gets; rather, feeling tired all day is apparently caused by waking up at the wrong stage of the REM sleep cycle. So what I’ve been doing – having very irregular sleep patterns and forcing myself to wake up at certain times – is actually the worst possible thing, allegedly.)

  697. #702 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    feeling tired all day is apparently caused by waking up at the wrong stage of the REM sleep cycle. So what I’ve been doing – having very irregular sleep patterns and forcing myself to wake up at certain times – is actually the worst possible thing

    Stress, depression, anxiety also cause this and then the lack of sleep or oversleep exacerbates it, creating a wonderful loop. Your friend is right though, regularity does help.

  698. #703 Aquaria
    May 13, 2010

    I’m getting this incredible urge to become the Dear Abby for the lovelorn here…

  699. #704 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    We’ve got a live one! Trinity, the up-to-then insipid resurrector of this thread, has outed himself as a creationist (comment 443).

    He teaches American history, but knows neither spelling nor history nor physics nor… you get the drift.

    Meh… love is fleeting.

    That seems to depend on a couple of things, like how autistic one is for example, in addition to more obvious factors like how consistently and persistently awesome the other is.

    …But I’m not speaking from experience.

    I could play chess with myself.

    Don’t let it confuse you :P

    ~:-|

    OTOH $1200 is a pretty small grant. Won’t buy more than a couple of antibodies and an epindorf tube or so.

    Ha! Molecular biologists and their oodles of moolah! :-D

    (…psssst… Eppendorf. If there were an i in there, it’d have to be pronounced; the -pen- part, however, shrinks to [pm]. ? But then, of course, most people just say Eppi instead of Eppendorf tube most of the time.)

    forcing myself to wake up at certain times – is actually the worst possible thing

    I don’t actually know, but it wouldn’t exactly surprise me. I avoid that whenever halfway possible.

  700. #705 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    I’m getting this incredible urge to become the Dear Abby for the lovelorn here…

    Oh dear. Let’s talk sports then.

  701. #706 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    Oh dear. Let’s talk sports then.

    NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  702. #707 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 13, 2010

    Au contraire, Aquaria. I’m getting a huge urge to find and beat up whoever it was that let dear Walton out into the world with absolutely no idea – sleep, nutrition, exercise – how his body works and how to keep it in good enough order to get that 2:1 he wants and, dare I say, deserves.

  703. #708 Ol'Greg
    May 13, 2010

    Well good David M. I wouldn’t have anything to say about it anyway!

  704. #709 SC OM
    May 13, 2010

    This is going to have to be a multi-part response.

    Relyea 2009 – The Toxicity Of Roundup Original Maxh To 13 Species Of Larval Amphibians Rick A. Relyea and Devin K. Jones Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 28, No. 9, pp. 2004?2008

    For a more up to date look at Relyea?s experiments and a mini-review of the literature around POEA toxicity to amphibians ? a brief rundown of what I view of the key points made follows:-

    I’ve now skimmed it. The key points of all of the Relyea articles are in the abstract, discussion, and conclusion. Anyone with access to these articles can read them. In the one you just cited, what’s the last sentence before the conclusion? Care to tell people, Ewan?

    Before I return to all of the other nonsense in Ewan’s comment…

    but looking at the whole picture, and not considering roundup in a vacuum ? it is the best option we currently have for utilization in the system we have, both in terms of economics (hence its widespread adoption) and in terms of the environment (yes, using absolutely no inputs would likely be a lot less impactful on the environment, but without a wholesale change in the way the world works this isn?t going to happen) ? both points which are supported by the literature.

    This is such patent horseshit. First, decisions about our tools and techniques have to be based on an honest evaluation of the evidence concerning them (and no one’s fooled by your strawman “using absolutely no inputs”). This companies like Monsanto have long fought. They should never have been able to sell this stuff without a full evaluation of potential environmental impacts, and nor should any other corporation. Methods of pest control can’t be compared and contrasted without a comprehensive scientific evaluation of their risks, of which Relyea’s work (as he recognizes) is only a small part. Until you have this, you should stop making claims about the toxicity of Roundup. It is irresponsible and immoral.

    Second, this “without a wholesale change in the way the world works this isn?t going to happen” is garbage as well. Whether such a change will occur is a completely separate issue from the science and social factors on which decisions need to be based. It’s pathetic for people to alternate between “The system we have now works well” and “The system we have now isn’t going to change anytime soon.” They’re different claims. And in fact, the system needs to change and change soon. It is unsustainable, bad for the environment, bad for democratic governance, not feeding people (see any of the FAO State of Food Insecurity reports from the past decade), and not responsive to disruptions. The only people apparently unwilling to recognize this are the corporations profiting hugely from it and those in their grasp.

    There is a huge difference between speaking out, and campaigning. I?ve made inquiries internally, and dependant on the responses will express concern internally.

    It should be a simple enough matter to get Monsanto’s official statement on the use of Roundup (with, evidently, Cosmo-Flux 411F) in Plan Colombia. People testifying before congress have asserted that it’s totally safe, since it’s used in gardens across the US and approved by the EPA (ha). Does the corporation stand by this? What is their position on its safety, and on what is it based?

    What I spend my time doing otherwise is entirely besides the point

    No, it isn’t. Not when what you spend your time doing is posting on comment threads across the internet defending Monsanto.

  705. #710 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    Au contraire, Aquaria. I’m getting a huge urge to find and beat up whoever it was that let dear Walton out into the world with absolutely no idea – sleep, nutrition, exercise – how his body works and how to keep it in good enough order to get that 2:1 he wants and, dare I say, deserves.

    Don’t get the wrong impression – my family and friends also tell me that my current lifestyle is not sensible and that I should get more sleep and eat more and generally take better care of myself. Indeed, the advice I’m getting here is pretty much identical to what my parents and my friends keep telling me.

    But the way I see it, I just need more willpower.

  706. #711 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 13, 2010

    But the way I see it, I just need more willpower.

    And then “Timber”, as the mind and body collapses…The Redhead went that route when she did her student teaching. When she returned home, for about a month all she did was get up, cook and eat dinner, watch a little TV, and then go back to sleep. Not useful if you are out looking for a job (she wasn’t).

  707. #712 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 13, 2010

    OK, Walton, I won’t beat anyone up – not tonight, anyway.

    As I’m now everyone’s grandma – bows – am I allowed to suggest that you try to work with your body rather than against it?

    Oh, and willpower is over-rated. I started actually achieving – quite a bit in fact – as soon as I learned to stop worrying about whether I was doing enough and doing it well enough. You’d be surprised how much extra brain space that releases!

    Happier, too, for that matter.

  708. #713 SC OM
    May 13, 2010

    By the way, also useful for context in reading the Relyea articles is his response to Monsanto’s reaction to his first article:

    http://www.pitt.edu/~relyea/Site/Roundup.html

    in which he refers to the Canadian study.

    Ewan’s posts might lead some people to think the matter is more complicated than it is, but in fact it’s summed up quite clearly in that sentence I mentioned in the article Ewan cites. Furthermore, even if things were as unclear as Ewan tries to make them out to be, this alone would be reason for extreme caution with regard to this set of products.

  709. #714 David Marjanovi?
    May 13, 2010

    As I’ve said before, self-discipline is way overrated. Use your willpower for a bit of hedonism instead.

    I can only repeat: when you’re too tired and hungry, you can’t learn. It especially sucks during exams.

  710. #715 OurDeadSelves
    May 13, 2010

    Relatives of a friend of mine are now convinced that their son is not well enough, er, endowed. Why? Because the mohel made a comment to that effect. At the ceremony. About a baby. Talk about adding insult to injury!

    Well, if I wasn’t convinced that mohels were the wrong way to go, I certainly am now. What. The Fuck.

    But the way I see it, I just need more willpower.

    Walton:
    Why are you torturing yourself? Willpower won’t replace sleep– you’re going to do some serious harm to yourself and for what? We’ve all been there and we’ve all made these mistakes*, please learn from us and GET SOME DAMNED REGULAR SLEEP!

    You have at least cut down on the caffeine, right? Or at least the diet soda. That shit is nothing more than rot-gut and caffeine.

    * While I was in college, I was lucky enough to be able to stage one of my plays for an actual real audience (ie- not just a theater class). I was so nervous beforehand and so pumped afterward that I didn’t sleep for about 60 hours. Trust me, when you get past the 24 hour mark, shit gets seriously surreal.

  711. #716 Walton
    May 13, 2010

    As I’ve said before, self-discipline is way overrated. Use your willpower for a bit of hedonism instead.

    I can only repeat: when you’re too tired and hungry, you can’t learn. It especially sucks during exams.

    Meh. I guess that’s true.

    I should really go to bed. Goodnight, everyone.

  712. #717 SC OM
    May 13, 2010

    Walton:

    Why are you torturing yourself?

    Ah, wangst.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Wangst

  713. #718 Brownian, OM
    May 13, 2010

    But the way I see it, I just need more willpower.

    I have a friend who kept chanting that mantra. Eventually, he convinced himself that willpower was the only thing worth having, and to this end he chose to pursue activities that he was completely unsuited for to the exclusion of those things he was good at. (For instance, though he was a talented and skilled visual artist but completely tone-deaf and rythmically challenged, he thought it was a much better use of his free time outside his office job to try to learn to play the violin than to pursue a job in which his artistic skills might be of use.) Eventually, he began to purposefully make simple tasks more complex and difficult—whether consciously or not it was difficult to tell—and mentally and emotionally berate himself when he inevitably failed them. Of course, the way he saw it, every time he failed it was the result of just needing more willpower. As a result he became severely depressed and prone to emotional crises and suicidal ideation every time he felt he’d failed in some aspect of his life, which was often.

    Have a good sleep, Walton!

  714. #719 Cobolt
    May 13, 2010

    @697
    Depending on the severity of the attention deficit, diet can go a fair way to help alleviate symptoms.
    Friends of mine have a daughter with ADD – mild to moderate – and are having some success by just controlling the diet – natural foods only – butter instead of margarine for example – no sweets, coloured drinks/fizzy drinks etc.

    Just a thought.

  715. #720 Jadehawk, OM
    May 13, 2010

    But the way I see it, I just need more willpower.

    you’re a fucking idiot. there’s no such thing as “mind over body”. willpower is not magic; you gonna continue fucking your body up, best case you’ll fail your exams, worst case you’ll do permanent damage to yourself and end up in an early grave.

  716. #721 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 13, 2010

    Ol’Greg:

    To be honest, most things people consider being romantic I don’t get. Flowers and the like.

    My husband makes me custom silver jewelry. I consider that to be romantic. ;)

  717. #722 Mattir
    May 13, 2010

    @ODS –

    FWIW (nothing), I would take the Orthodox mohels I’ve observed over the obstetrician who did our son’s circumcision any day of the week, both in terms of delicacy of surgical technique and overall tact and grace. It’s sort of like seeing a surgeon who specializes in doing one thing over and over until it’s perfect rather than a generalist who sees your particular condition once every 6 months.

    Not an argument for circumcision, just an observation based on way too small a sample size to mean anything at all.

  718. #723 Patricia08
    May 13, 2010

    @719
    I don’t know what my friend has done about diet. I know she limits sweets because she has talked about how excited the kids are at holidays when they get their own supply of chocolate. I will ask if she has looked into any diet changes.

    I’m not sure why she asked me except that I am a science teacher and so must know the answer to all science questions. I hadn’t heard about the therapy before and so figured I’d ask here where someone might have encountered it. I am generally skeptical when someone starts talking about a “new” therapy since there is so much out there NOT based on good science.

  719. #724 PZ Myers
    May 13, 2010