Episode XXXIX: Play ‘Spot the Moron!’

OK, gang, my travels are greatly disrupting my ability to keep up with the thread everlasting, and you're taking advantage of my frequent absences to run up the comment count. Well, here's something to reassure the American audience that we aren't alone in dealing with idiots in power — I've been hearing a lot about Richard Dawkins' appearance in an Australian show called Q&A. Dawkins is fabulous, despite being "outspoken" and "strident", but check out the rest of the panelists.

(Parts 2 3 4 5 6)

The rest of the panel wobbles between fuzzy sophists and apologists and creationist nutbags, and Dawkins seems to be the sole voice of reason. The audience, too, asks a lot of stupid questions. Although, I have to note that even Steven Fielding, who is clearly the biggest idiot there, protests that religion ought to be kept out of government.

Carry on.

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Insane organisation of the day (I came across this group by accident when reading about the Norwegian royal family for purposes of the previous sub-Thread):

Fuck For Forest: the world's first eco-porn organisation

You'd think it would be some sort of parody, but apparently they actually exist. :-/

I liked RD's closing at the convention: "I may refrain from publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, but it's because I fear you. Don't for one moment think it's because I respect you." I wish I could have been there.

No no no no no.

This thread is supposed to be about heights and the monarchy.

(Christian X of Denmark was supposedly the highest king ever.)

Bill, yes, that pie has heat! The habaneros can be adjusted for individual tastes. Ours grew very well the last couple of years, and we ended up with an abundance of habaneros. The peppers go surprisingly well with pumpkin.

I also have a recipe for Habanero Lime Cheesecake which is delish too; that one calls for 3 peppers! I don't make that until Springtime though, because the peppers need to be roasted, and that's just easier all around if done outside. I'm pretty sure I'd choke to death trying that one in the kitchen. ;p

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Steve Fielding may well protest that religion should be kept out of government, but what he actually means is that religions *other than his own* should be kept out of government.

By Cath the Canbe… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sili:

This thread is supposed to be about heights and the monarchy.

There. Enough about the monarchy.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm going to take the huge liberty of reposting Bill's last comment, since it's important and was at the end of the last thread.

****
Might I interrupt with a modest request of those of you living in the U.S.? Tomorrow begins the week that will in all likelihood make or break healthcare reform, starting with key votes in the House of Representatives. I've spoken with my congressman today, and he tells me that the Tea Party types are continuing to protest and flood the phones and mailboxes of members, in an attempt to drown out the voices of support.

Even if you've already told your representative what you think... even if you're sure your rep will vote to pass reform, please take a moment to call or send an e-mail to reaffirm your support. Strange as it seems, the numbers of calls matters, and it will matter again in November when your rep will have to defend his/her vote against accusations of "not listening to constituents" from Tea-Party-driven opponents.

I know many of you are disappointed with the scope and reach of the proposed reforms, but AFAIK almost nobody supports retaining the status quo, and that's the only other option on the table: Republicans insist on no change at all, and backing the proposed reforms is the only way we'll ever get off the dime.

Of course, counting phone calls and e-mails in no more scientific than an internet poll... but there are people out there who take it seriously, and this is one poll that desperately needs Pharyngulating! You can locate the contact information for your elected representatives here; at the moment, it's the House that matters, but it wouldn't be amiss to call your senators, and the White House, too, for good measure.

I apologize for the intrusion to all you anarchists, communists, monarchists, und so weiter, who read these pages from outside the U.S.; you may carry on with your regularly scheduled conversation.
****

You'd think it would be some sort of parody, but apparently they actually exist. :-/

Rule 34, Walton. They already have 3D porn (it comes with free 3D glasses!)

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Cath:

Steve Fielding may well protest that religion should be kept out of government, but what he actually means is that religions *other than his own* should be kept out of government.

That's what all politicians mean when it comes to religion.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Previous-iteration leftovers:

Lynna, OM:

SC, the outrageously cool places are often the ones where Leland and I find ourselves alone. On the other side of San Rafael Reef is Goblin State Park, a place rife with tourists. They miss so much. One has to be willing to explore.

You can get away from the tourists if you go the other way at the Goblin Valley turnoff, and go to the Maze instead. If you've read your Abbey, it's a religious experience. Finding a place where, other than what's laughingly called a road, there is absolutely no sign of any other primates is sometimes just what you need.

Rule 34, Walton. They already have 3D porn (it comes with free 3D glasses!)

Yeah, but this isn't just eco-themed porn. This is a non-profit group, whose mission is to have sex in public in order to raise money for saving the rainforest. Seriously. Someone actually thought that this was a good idea.

Yeah, but this isn't just eco-themed porn. This is a non-profit group, whose mission is to have sex in public in order to raise money for saving the rainforest. Seriously. Someone actually thought that this was a good idea.

If it brings in the money I guess...lol

I just found out that a porn studio called Corbin Fischer actually grants scholarships to it's performer.

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

fly @ #2

To hear Dawkins say that particular quote was one of the most memorable moments of the entire conference for me. Whilst it is a great quote written, it was truly awesome to hear him say it with such emotion.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Prince William was a student at the University of St Andrews (where he studied geography),

Geography (or art history) at St Andrews is the traditional degree for rich kids who are not very bright.

and that both Princes have trained at Sandhurst

Where I'd guess most of their contemporaries will have been educated at private schools. Oddly enough, I can't find any figures for the percentage of Sandhurst entrants who went through state schools; I wonder why not. Anyhow, here's what ARRSEpedia has to say:

"Sandhurst itself is home to the largest collection of pompus and spoilt, or insecure and ashamed social defects you'll ever meet. The majority of officers that pass through these gates generally do so in order to: A: Get daddies inheritance B: Get totty C: Boss people around.

You can always split the cadets in half; that being a 'proper officer' (Snobby bastard) and 'Not one of us' (No land ownership or official title) "

and served in the British Army, so both of them know plenty of people from outside royal/aristocratic social circles.

Well, yes, I suppose ordering them about and referring to them as "Paki" does count as knowing them!

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Fine, Walton, inbreeding is not as a concern as before. But, as I have been stressing, it is because the monarchy was defanged during the course of some horrific wars; wars brought about competing monarchies (Though many heads of states were cousins.) and in the aftermath of the collapse of said monarchies.

Why hold allegiance to s system that brought so much horror to the world?

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

In belated response to the following from the last thread: "Did you see that, Lynna, Carlie, SC, Sven, et al? Knockgoats didn't invite us to visit him in London next weekend. It's a Brits only meeting, probably discussing how to overthrow the monarchy and establish the British Soviet Socialist Republic."

I must point out, je suis américain. :}

Also, if anyone cares, I am about 6'4". (Nous sudistes ne pas utiliser métriques.)

Knockgroats, I wrote back, will be there. And second that all are invited. Disappointed that Walton will not make an appearance, but understand. So far, only Knockgroats and Ring Tailed Lemurian will be privy to my secret, and I will swear them to secrecy.

Bride of Shrek:

Whilst it is a great quote written, it was truly awesome to hear him say it with such emotion.

I imagine it was. I sincerely hope it made some people think. Hope springs eternal and all that.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

According to wikipedia, Fuck for Forest
"In their first six months of existence the group received seed funding from the government of Norway." [Emphasis added]

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Disappointed that Walton will not make an appearance, but understand.

Sorry... as much as I would love to, I am totally snowed under with work between now and June 11th (after which I expect to have much more free time).

Oh, and Bride of Shrek? Details on the Wowbagger goosing project, please. :D

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

"Black" queen of Britain? (Wife of Mad King George III)

More royal gossip for Walton :) - "Princess" Margaret (Liz's dead sister) is known in my family as "That Bloody Fish Killer". At a party at my ex's house (when she was young), Maggie emptied her glass of some alcoholic drink (must have wanted a refill of something stronger) into my ex's fish tank, killing all her fish. Result - one heartbroken republican.

Actually I didn't really dislike Margaret as much as some of the other members of that family. She wanted to marry a "commoner", but wasn't allowed to. Maybe that was the cause of her heavy drinking.

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

According to wikipedia, Fuck for Forest
"In their first six months of existence the group received seed funding from the government of Norway." [Emphasis added]

Quite apart from the obvious pun, this says a lot about the prevailing social liberalism in Norway... which, incidentally, is a constitutional monarchy.

(Indeed, I came across this group after reading about how Crown Prince Haakon of Norway met his now-wife, Princess Mette-Marit, at a controversial rock festival when they were both students. She was from an ordinary background and had worked in a café before going to university. Which I think illustrates my point about how the institution of monarchy has changed.)

The bias on this installment of Q and A is noticeable from the beginning when Tony Jones (the MC) introduces RD as “strident” and Richard pulls him up on it. Early on in the programme I had an suspicion that a few of the questions were "Dorothy Dix" opportunities for Dawkins to kick a penalty goal (why else were so many questions directed to him?), except it became blatantly obvious that some of the audience questions were hoping to extract a slip from Dawkins so they could unleash the attack dogs.

Some back up for Dawkins on the forum in the form of an intelligent, non-religious pollie (e.g. Bob Brown, Lyn Allison) would have been fairer, to balance the absurdity of Tony Brown, the nastiness of Julie Bishop, and the overwhelming clowning stupidity of Steve Fielding. Patrick McGorry was the only other individual from Dawkins to come out of this show with any positive credit, but he took a fairly backward stance most of the time.

(Finally: I decided to wimp out and go for a Moveable Type sign-in after seeing "Maledict" mangled once too often elsewhere. I'm not an Erisian or Discordian, but I was amused by their designation of any member of their religion being a "Pope". For the non-linguists out there, it's just a simple reversal of the current Bishop of Rome's assumed name ("Benedict" = blessed; "Maledict" = cursed). A nice use of both words appears in the Latin sequence for the dead, the "Dies irae":
Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis: voca me cum benedictis. (This charming sentiment may be translated as “When the accursed have been confounded and sentenced to acrid flames, call me along with the blessed.” Nice.) The Roman numerals are obviously symbolic, but relevant as Benedict is XVI, and you only need to add DCL to get that other number.)

By Pope Maledict DCLXVI (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Which I think illustrates my point about how the institution of monarchy has changed.

Hey! Royalty can now marry commoners! That makes everything alright!

And as I pointed out a few times, it took a lot of fucking blood to reduce the power of royalty. Why keep this useless rump now?

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

JeffreyD - aren't you a west coaster? I wish I could meet more Pharynguloids. Is anyone else going to see PZ when he's in Syracuse in April?

I'll crosspost my lil convention summary from the WIld Bunch thread here :

*drags sorry self in front of computer bleary-eyed*

Ah Barney, Barney, Barney.....
Had to get the cliches out while they were still fresh, I guess.
And I note commenting isn't enabled for his post incoherent rambling other then on Twitter, maybe even the SMH guys thought it too embarrassing to allow people to comment.

So yeah, the weekend started out with the first ever Aussie Pharyngufest that BoSOM had organised for us, about 80-100 people came to the Y&J pub, it looked like every single attendee paid PZ a beer, when he already had one in his hands they just slipped them in his pockets, and it ended with him groping a famous young lady's naked breast. There is photographic evidence, PZ can post it sometime if he likes...:-)

Then there was the light-hearted comedy opening of the convention, with talks fromSue-Ann Post and Catherine Deveny *swoon* , and was moderated by Dan Barker. Then we went and drank some more...

Saturday I missed all but the last 2 speakers due to Spawn's birthday, but was back for the business end with AC Grayling and PZ's talks.

That man Grayling is far too clever for my conceptually muddled brain, what stuck in my mind was his idea that religion and science are not so much non-overlapping magisteria, but have a "common ancestor" in ignorance and not-knowing what the phenomena around you were caused by.

PZ's talk was one big party, but he also is a great speaker and communicator, what could not be said for all the speakers there, so the crowd appreciated that a lot.He started off with that Mr Deity clip, and then spoke about how religious scientists, about the fact that plenty religious people are intelligent and even brilliant, but still trying to insert their god into some gap gap( the name "Miller" and the word "quantum" might have come up)
Best talk of the whole weekend IMO.
Then we went to the dinner, spoke to famous people, swooned some more at Catherine Deveny, and went on to drink too much....

From the Sunday I remember mostly trying to stay awake, the talks I saw were from Dan Barker giving a very personal account of his own process of getting away from religion and how a fundie preacher became an atheist, with some interesting insights into the fundie way of thinking and the "binary brain" of the fundamentalists and creationists, and then Richard Dawkins gave his talk, he wasn't wearing the Crocoduck tie ! Good kindof routinish talk with a long Q&A.
Religious woman asked him what DNA was, people shouted "read a book" and stuff, but he let her repeat her question and then gave her, and the audience, a 10 minute biology lesson that was awesome.
There was also a comedian type guy on speed on for 10 minutes at some point, and Robyn Williams made a joke that to be a member of the Royal Society, your prostate has to be bigger then your brain.He also kwo*ked a little.
Then we went and drank some more....

All I can think of for now....

(tl;dr, I know.....)

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Pope Maledict: I will always instinctively associate the text of the Dies irae with Mozart's setting, which I think is by far the best ever composed. (Though, of course, he only set the first three stanzas - up to Quantus tremor est futurus / Quando iudex est venturus / Cuncta stricte discussurus.)

But you're right, the text is pretty depressing and self-righteous. Apparently, post-Vatican II, it no longer forms a part of the official Requiem Mass.

Carlie "JeffreyD - aren't you a west coaster?" East coast actually, currently in the UK.

And now I have gone over my response limit and taking my cold to bed.

To hear Dawkins say that particular quote was one of the most memorable moments of the entire conference for me.

Yes, that was goosebumps and tears well-up material.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

East coast actually, currently in the UK.

Well, I couldn't get much farther off than that. For some reason I always think of you and Seattle together.

Steven Fielding, who is clearly the biggest idiot there, protests that religion ought to be kept out of government.

This is ironic because his platform and actions look to me like he's all about the opposite. He may not support compulsory prayers in parliament or whatever, but his religion is all over his policies.

Carlie, you know I am too polite to leave a comment hanging, do you not? (smile)

Only ever been through Seattle's airport. I could probably work out a "Sleepless in Seattle" joke here, but my brain is the consistency of creamed asparagus.

Good night. I go, I go. See how I go, faster than arrow from Tartar's bow.

Hahaha RD serves Fielding in the first 5 minutes! And did you see Bishop's stare at the audience member who yelled at her to 'answer the question'? Classic! RD's response regarding absolute morality at around the 25min mark must be my favourite bit from the show, near perfect answer.

The only other people there that even resembles reasoned thought was the professor of psychiatry, but even he towards the end made some soft waffle about hoping for an afterlife.

Thanks for the conference summary, Rorschach!

(Walton---sorry if that's a bit over the top, but I thought I'd give the Intersucktion prigs a thrill.)

:-D

• Archbishop of Vienna says priestly celibacy may be the cause of paedophilia.

That is extremely unexpected. Cardinal Schönborn was considered papabile last time that was relevant... yes, I'm talking about the guy who got much press here on Pharyngula for parroting Disinformation Institute talking points.

It is also technically true that under the Royal Marriages Act 1772, a person in line to the throne (other than the issue of princesses who marry into foreign royal families) is not allowed to marry without the consent of the Queen in Council. Any royal marriage contracted without permission is void. However, in practice, consent to a marriage has never been refused, so this is a non-issue.

Is it? Or is it a self-fulfilling prophecy instead?

"I am the Emperor and I want a dumpling"?

Not just one! Never just one!

I had the instant version of these for dinner today. Not as good as homemade, but still!

(From a supermarket in Vienna, not in Paris.)

I believe it's still technically a serious crime to screw the wife of the King or that of the heir to the throne.

Hanging, drawing, and quartering. Yes, "and". That came up when the film showing actors disguised as James Hewitt and Diana became public.

...Of course, it's dead letter.

Plus, don't forget, I did take an oath of allegiance to the Queen when I joined the Officer Training Corps a couple of years ago. I feel like one shouldn't break one's promises.

You had no real choice in that promise.

“When the accursed have been confounded and sentenced to acrid flames, call me along with the blessed.” Nice.

Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saec'lum in favilla.
Quantum tremor est futurus
quando iudex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus.

"The day of wrath, that day
will dissolve the century (or anything that's not eternal) into embers.
How much trembling is to be
when the judge is to come
and to strictly beat everything apart."

The tune fits. It's pretty impressive all together.

to be a member of the Royal Society, your prostate has to be bigger then your brain

:-D

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

OK, brain really has shut down (sigh). I believe it is more correctly, "I go, I go; look how I go,
swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow."

And so I do, a crippled and aimless arrow - Achoooo!!

That must be it, JeffreyD - you give off a dashing Tom Hanks vibe. :)

Dawkins' comment on children outgrowing Santa Claus, implying that people should outgrow religion and god, was pure gold.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

You can download the full mp4 of the Q&A program here.

Might be limited to Australian access though.

David,

You had no real choice in that promise.

Yes, I did. I didn't have to join in the first place. We don't have conscription in the UK. :-)

This is a non-profit group, whose mission is to have sex in public in order to raise money for saving the rainforest.

Say what you want about them, but I'd rather have them around than the Earth/Animal Liberation Front. The body count is far lower with this group.

By ckitching (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

since this thread appears to have exponential growth rate regardless of medium, might I suggest calling the next iteration:

The Andromeda Strain

JeffreyD, I hope your miserable cold departs quickly and you feel better soon.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@31

You are 100% correct, Fielding is a sly, manipulative piece of work. His party, "Family First", worked its way into parliament on very secular issues and it wasn't until Fielding had a seat that their true agenda started to rear its ugly head. They vehemently oppose civil rights and support censorship such as the government's internet filter, and even criticize it for being too lenient.

Carlie, right now I am more like Tom Cullen in King's novel "The Stand", sans the religion. (smile)

Hanging, drawing, and quartering. Yes, "and". That came up when the film showing actors disguised as James Hewitt and Diana became public.

FYI: any remaining capital offences in English law were abolished in 2000, when the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force. Prior to that time, although capital punishment had been abolished in practice in the 1960s, there were still a few obscure offences for which the death penalty was technically available, though never used in practice: high treason,* committing arson in a naval dockyard, and (in Scotland only) using the Queen's coat of arms or other heraldic devices without permission.

Today, the Human Rights Act 1998 (incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights) expressly prohibits the death penalty in all cases, and also prohibits "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", which would certainly apply to "hanging, drawing and quartering".

*High treason still exists as a statutory crime, though no one has been convicted of it in England since William Joyce (known as "Lord Haw-Haw" after the Second World War). The maximum sentence was reduced to life imprisonment by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Tbfoster, downloading it from the USA no problem.
*other than my D3 modem crapped out earlier today, and I'm back to D2 speeds until I replace it*

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

:-o

D-d-d-d-d-do they have any kind of biologist who'd take a postdoc?

What the fuck. Money. Over two years in Austrian subsidies when I still got any.

...So, yes, congratulations indeed. :-)

lol, did you forget already that US universities cost money? those grants are pretty much there solely to cover tuition

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

(in Scotland only) using the Queen's coat of arms or other heraldic devices without permission. - Walton

Well, I didn't know that one! Drat, what a missed opportunity - I'd love to have committed a capital offence without doing the slightest harm or taking any real risk!

When I was a child, an atheist friend of my father's handed himself in to the police and insisted on being charged for playing games (tennis, IIRC) outside his parish on a Sunday. Again IIRC, he was fined a few shillings, and the law was soon afterwards repealed.

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Steve Fielding may well protest that religion should be kept out of government, but what he actually means is that religions *other than his own* should be kept out of government.

Since we're doing quotes from the Convention :

Dawkins : Fielding dumber then an earthworm

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

PZ finally linked to something I uploaded. You dream about this day for so long, and when it comes, you don't know what to say.

By Great Waves (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

One mistake: in fact, I have just checked my facts, and it transpires that the death penalty for committing arson in a naval dockyard was abolished by statute in 1971.

Well, what could still happen, seriously? How hard can the exams be, how often are you allowed to repeat them...?

about a million different things could happen between now and then that could result in me not going back to school at all, or dropping out and not finishing it. This has happened 4 times before, so I see no reason to assume it can't happen a 5th time.

Ambitious.

Not impossible, mind you. My brother studied International Development, which had only been created shortly before, and which includes some amount of social studies as well as things like soil science... it all fit together quite nicely.

nice. that's pretty close to what I had in mind; now let's see if the university will let me do this

:-) You're even lazier than I :-)

indeed; and i haven't made it to the store yet :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I've never bought this recurring argument from Dawkins, about 5 minutes into part 2:

RD: "It's a supremely important scientific question. If the universe was created by an intelligence, then we are looking at an entirely different kind of scientific theory...[than] if the universe came into existence by natural means. If God or gods had something to do with the creation of life, then we're looking at a totally different kind of biology."

Audience member: "How so?"

Yes, how so? If all we have is the natural world to observe and analyze, how do we divine - so to speak - a supernatural author? Certainly the ID crowd can't do it. The supernatural "poof" of ID and old-school creationism is one thing, but how is nature as it is, without an author, vs. nature as it is, with an author a scientific question? Is Dawkins really just talking about creationism?

@Nerd of Redhead #46

Cool, good to see at least some stuff from a national broadcaster isn't region-locked. *grumbleBBCgrumble*

It's a fun episode to play 'spot the politician' with. Not very hard though, they're the ones avoiding making any firm statements (other then "I hope there is an afterlife, cause I'm such a dick in this life").

JefferyD

concider tequila for that cold, I've killed more than one cold with tequila (prefer Sauza brand, but sure any brand will do.)

By sandiseattle (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@#53

My perspective on it is this: You'd be assuming a dualist position and all the difficulty associated with the assumption that reality is made up of more then one type of 'stuff'. That's a pretty big difference, suggesting that this other 'stuff' in some way can interact with ordinary matter. Many people have produced scientific hypotheses based on dualist notions, but none have really withstood the fire of scientific scrutiny.

Rorschack @ #49, but as Robyn Williams pointed out, they might be dumb, but at least earthworms are useful for something!

By Pope Maledict DCLXVI (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

A PSA for scientists and affiliates of science (teachers, etc):

Some recent clicking around got me to Nature Methods, which has some interesting stuff about stem cells and pluripotency, some of it freely available.

What they also have is an entire recent special supplement called Visualizing Biological Data.

So if you're wondering about things like what software is used to generate graphical phylogenetic trees, or the different ways to display information about the electrochemical properties of certain proteins, or what exactly are the different imaging techniques used by biologists, well, this issue should be of interest, and is open access to all.

And some of the software solutions they list are freely available/open source as well.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I have always considered myself ugly, or average at best; before the Mad Women of Pharyngula (and even they haven't been very explicit as far as I remember), nobody ever complimented me on my looks however vaguely, and I don't think I look like what the media consider handsome men.

David M, I actually use some hyperbole of female on female aggression (truth I did grow up with girls like that... I remember one girl who was a little too high and mighty for some of the other girls who got jumped after school one day held down and had her hair splashed with peroxide and kool aid...) I digress.

But yeah, I also just honestly don't have very good self image. I was considered ugly as a little girl. Not just ugly, really really ugly... and I suppose the image stuck. Looking back on it I just was majorly bullied at one school during a particularly hard time in my childhood, but such things bend the tree in the shape it keeps I guess.

Since I didn't stick around one place that long or deal with many people my self image never really evolved so that in my teens I was modeling but I still thought of myself as really really ugly.

Sad life sort of... although there are lots I wouldn't trade it for.

But yeah, Bill I will say this. It's best not to assume when a woman says that, that whatever it is in her self image is entirely based around sex or attractiveness to men. There's all sorts of things going on in our heads.

Sadly on body image and the like my head has the rubber stamp of fucked up on it :(

Oh well that was weirdly oversharing. Ya'll have fun now. I gotta upload my pics, clean some stuff, and get out of here in time for dinner....

:D

Fielding is just lying for jesus - he may say religion should be kept out of politics yet he wants laws to kow-tow to the ideologies of his particular cult. On the other hand he may not be a conscious liar for jesus - perhaps he is indeed too stupid to understand the simple concept of the separation of church and state.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

prefer Sauza brand

commemorativo or hornitos reposados?

Sauza silver, sells for a sawbuck per fifth in these parts and comes out real good after being chilled.

By sandiseattle (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Watched all 6 parts. Fielding... during the first few parts I was thinking... who kidnapped Fielding and replaced him with a clown that was paid to make Fielding look ridiculous? It all looked so deliberate. And Ninio threatened to dissolve into bliss any second now. ~:-|

Yes, I did. I didn't have to join in the first place. We don't have conscription in the UK. :-)

You wanted to join, and the only way to join led across that oath. That's what I mean by "no real choice" (...as opposed to the more technical "no choice").

Prior to that time, although capital punishment had been abolished in practice in the 1960s, there were still a few obscure offences for which the death penalty was technically available

I know it was purely theoretical. Was "dead letter" the wrong term?

lol, did you forget already that US universities cost money? those grants are pretty much there solely to cover tuition

Well, I did know they cost money, and I did know that, say, Yale is 30,000 $/year (or was it semester even), but I wouldn't have expected the NDSU to be only one order of magnitude... uh... for how long is the grant supposed to last?

Dawkins : Fielding dumber then an earthworm

ROTFL!!! I only stopped laughing once while reading it :-D

about a million different things could happen between now and then that could result in me not going back to school at all, or dropping out and not finishing it. This has happened 4 times before

:-S

If we can, uh, help... the Thread is here for you...

nice. that's pretty close to what I had in mind

:-)

indeed; and i haven't made it to the store yet :-p

You know what? It's close to 1 am over here. I'll stay up a little and ask periodically if you're gone yet. :-þ I have stuff to do anyway – I still haven't started writing e-mails about postdoc positions... I'm probably too tired, and certainly too lazy, to actually start writing, but I'll at least compile a list of e-mail addresses.

If all we have is the natural world to observe and analyze, how do we divine - so to speak - a supernatural author? Certainly the ID crowd can't do it. The supernatural "poof" of ID and old-school creationism is one thing, but how is nature as it is, without an author, vs. nature as it is, with an author a scientific question? Is Dawkins really just talking about creationism?

Let's reword it: is there evidence for a Designer – evidence of miracles –, or is there not? If not, what sense does it make to assume a Designer Who... didn't actually do anything? If yes, "everything is the way it is because it got that way" comes into play.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sidebar quote:

"Would raise a glass of champagne, but I don't drink… won't thank the great Mojo since I'm an atheist. But there's always chocolate."
– J. Michael Straczynski

I remember one girl who was a little too high and mighty for some of the other girls who got jumped after school one day held down and had her hair splashed with peroxide and kool aid...

:-S

I was bullied for a long time, but, well, not that way.

Oh well that was weirdly oversharing.

I don't remember if you participated in any circumcision threads under your previous name. Or even certain subthreads of this Thread. Oversharing? I'm not sure you've seen oversharing. :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, I did know they cost money, and I did know that, say, Yale is 30,000 $/year (or was it semester even), but I wouldn't have expected the NDSU to be only one order of magnitude... uh... for how long is the grant supposed to last?

they're for one school year. next year I'll have to apply again, but since I don't expect to make any more money, I should get another one again.

If we can, uh, help... the Thread is here for you...

it doesn't work like that, but thanks for the offer.

You know what? It's close to 1 am over here. I'll stay up a little and ask periodically if you're gone yet. :-þ

pfffttt......

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh, yeah, what I wanted to say while watching the videos... admirable is stressed on the first syllable!?! Like admiral? Wow.

it doesn't work like that, but thanks for the offer.

:-(

pfffttt......

So you're not gone yet. B-)

<sweeping hand motions>

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Hmm.. Never heard of tequila being good for a cold, other than masking the symptoms by making you not care anymore.

However, the last time I had a nasty case of poison ivy my aunt told my mom to recommend tequila. I didn't know if I was supposed to apply it topically or ingest it, so I called my aunt to clarify. She verified that, indeed, you are to ingest it to help alleviate the itching. I was skeptical (of course) but, anecdottaly, it works! Even in non-intoxicating quantities.

I don't think it was a placebo effect because I never believed it would work in the first place.

Anyone else experienced this or have an explanation of the mechanism involved. It's got to have something to do with the chemical composition of tequila acting on the urushiol induced poison ivy rash, no?

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm only halfway through the show but I already want to apologise for Australia's showing on this panel. Who gathered that c-grade team of soft-minded religious fawners? I am so embarrassed for my country.

That line-up really could have done with Tim Minchin. When RD is the funniest man in the room, you know there's a problem.

By speedweasel (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh. The main take-away from this episode of mine is:

When you are hanging out in a hot springs with the dogs, make sure the dogs haven't been running around in shoulder-high poison ivy before they get in the water.

The warm water washes all the urushiol oil off of their fur. Said oil then floats to the top and is absorbed into your skin at the waterline. It also coats your entire self when you stand up. (I had poison ivy blisters in places that I will not disclose here.)

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I missed a periodic reminder. But it seems it wasn't necessary anyway :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I missed a periodic reminder. But it seems it wasn't necessary anyway :-)

smartass :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

So you're back? What did you buy? :-)

In order not to show up empty-handed myself, I found out I already had 3 e-mail addresses and successfully googled for a fourth. Now let's see if I can find one more before I go to bed...

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

So you're back? What did you buy? :-)

things you'd only consider edible if I sent them through a blender first, and things you wouldn't eat at all.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

David,

you might be interested to know that “comparable” is occasionally stressed the same way in these parts, though there are several more variations there (for example, if the stress is on the first syllable, the second vowel will almost always be [a], but if the stress is on the second the vowel will change to [æ] or very occasionally [eː]). “Admirable” with the accent anywhere other than the first syllable though would be looked on as a vulgarism!

By Pope Maledict DCLXVI (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Note to US readers: "Sizing Up Sperm" is showing on National Geographic Channel right now! I can't resist a show with a title like that!

Jessa:

I can't resist a show with a title like that!

That title had the opposite effect on me. Not watching. ;p

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

(Indeed, I came across this group after reading about how Crown Prince Haakon of Norway met his now-wife, Princess Mette-Marit, at a controversial rock festival when they were both students. She was from an ordinary background and had worked in a café before going to university. Which I think illustrates my point about how the institution of monarchy has changed.)

You are not presenting the other side of the story here. It still caused a lot of controversy in Norway, increased calls to abolish the monarchy and finally led to Mette Marit "apologizing" for her past life:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1504492.stm

What is the point of this charade? WTF does she need to "apologize" for? People want royalty to act like regular people but OTOH they also want to keep up the pretense that the royals are somehow a class above in their personal lives. The process of assimilating the royalty into normal society is probably furthest along in Scandinavia, but once they are just as ordinary as everyone else, what's going to be the point?

The Redhead sent me on a "Packy the Mule" errand, and dinner was in the pile of packages I brought in. Not watching, but waiting for dinner (after a series of phone calls)...

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Hmm.. Never heard of tequila being good for a cold, other than masking the symptoms by making you not care anymore.

*ding*

I learned this cure for the common cold in Mexico:

1 shot tequila
add one half squeezed lemon.

turned out the lemon was optional.

Anyone else experienced this or have an explanation of the mechanism involved.

*sheerug*

first I've heard of it, but then I'm not allergic to poison ivy/oak.

Oh, man! I was all excited about the sperm show, because I'm talking about sexual selection this week in class, but then there's the repeating image of all those people dressed in white running through the desert representing individual sperm. That's just too twee for me to cope with.

Ok, now there are ladders falling from the sky to help the sperm climb into the cervix, and they're all fighting it out. I'm turning to Celebrity Apprentice now. Cyndi Lauper is better than this.

turned out the lemon was optional.

*showing age with the following memory*
I remember a Dr. Kildare show where one of the protagonists kept getting on an elevator, and coughing or sneezing. The doctors already on the elevator all recommended whiskey and (lemon, honey, sugar, molasses, lime, etc, and in combination).

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Found a fifth, in a paper that I had long hoped to stumble over and that turns out to be open-access. :-) It says that at least some of the extinct northern-hemisphere "marsupials" weren't marsupials in the strictest sense.

things you'd only consider edible if I sent them through a blender first, and things you wouldn't eat at all.

Sounds healthy :-)

“comparable” is occasionally stressed the same way in these parts,

Interesting.

though there are several more variations there (for example, if the stress is on the first syllable, the second vowel will almost always be [a], but if the stress is on the second the vowel will change to [æ] or very occasionally [eː]).

That much is logical...

“Admirable” with the accent anywhere other than the first syllable though would be looked on as a vulgarism!

So I should watch more YouTube :-þ

People want royalty to act like regular people but OTOH they also want to keep up the pretense that the royals are somehow a class above in their personal lives. The process of assimilating the royalty into normal society is probably furthest along in Scandinavia, but once they are just as ordinary as everyone else, what's going to be the point?

<lightbulb above head>

1 shot tequila
add one half squeezed lemon.

Squeeze lemon juice onto your wrist. Salt it. Lick that. Then drink the shot of tequila. ¡Chinga tu madre!

Haven't tried it myself. :-S

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Carlie @#82

but then there's the repeating image of all those people dressed in white running through the desert representing individual sperm. That's just too twee for me to cope with.

That did it for me, too. A bit disappointing. Though I shouldn't be surprised, given that the National Geographic Channel has a very spotty track record in the last several years.

Nerd:

The doctors already on the elevator all recommended whiskey and (lemon, honey, sugar, molasses, lime, etc, and in combination).

My grandparents were firm believers in a hot toddy with a liberal dose of booze for a cold, even for us kids. Not because they thought it would kill the cold, but it was good for making us less grouchy and putting us to sleep. :D

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh, that reminds me... I don't think the Mad Women of Pharyngula have seen my nose in profile yet. (Most of them certainly haven't.) I look a lot cuter from in front than from a side.

Are you hoping to trigger another episode of MWP? :)

And just which of the women of Pharyngula do you consider 'mad' pray tell?

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Patricia:

And just which of the women of Pharyngula do you consider 'mad' pray tell?

All of us, I think.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I look a lot cuter from in front than from a side.

Ha! You're not getting rid of your fan club that easily, Marjanović.

<anecdote> I've found a shot of liquor good for quelling coughs. Lemon and honey in tea is soothing for a sore throat. </anecdote>

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh mon dieu! Certainly not the sluts. There's not enough time to be both. *smirk*

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine @90: "All of us."

Yeah, because even though we are constantly subjected to violent verbal abuse and made to feel unwelcome here, we come anyway. That makes us all mad.

Sheesh. I don't think I commented before on the "women made to feel unwelcome" bit over at the Intersuction. Honestly, that whole thread reminded me of an aunt that used to become positively hysterical if anyone used a naughty word around her (and what she considered naughty was pretty broad) She was batshit crazy, of course. Incidentally, she was not my maiden aunt. I had two maiden great-aunts. Both of them had better sense.

Patricia, yes, being mad sluts is considerable work and quite time consuming. I could perhaps do eccentric slut. Yes, that would work. ;D

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Otrame:

Honestly, that whole thread reminded me of an aunt that used to become positively hysterical if anyone used a naughty word around her (and what she considered naughty was pretty broad)

That's a fair description of all the crossroads regulars. Any time I encounter someone who has a spluttery hissy fit over "naughty or blasphemous" words, I know I'm dealing with a person in an advanced state of brain atrophy.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

And just which of the women of Pharyngula do you consider 'mad' pray tell?

*runs away, as I consider it the equivalent of "do I look fat in this garment" question*

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

OK, so on the one hand, we have those who think that monarchs ¹ are really just the neatest thing since before sliced bread ², and on the other, those who think that monarchs are a shockingly bad idea whose times has long since passed, now that we have this newfangled ³ "democracy" thing.

Is there room in this argument for a reasonable compromise? Yes, my argumentative friends, there is.

The arguments against monarchs revolve around the ridiculous concept of privileging certain people with political wealth and political power solely due to their having chosen the right parents to have been born to.

The arguments in favor of monarchy revolve around the defensive point that the monarchs actual political power has recently greatly diminished, and their wealth mostly doesn't belong to them even though they get to use it that way, and anyway, it's really all about the ceremony and pomp and circumstance and sense of pride in being part of a nation that invests time and money in having an individual member of an institution that formerly had enormous political power and now has much less essentially act as a politically neutral figurehead.

So the compromise roughly works like this:

1) Disprivilege the current royal family and peerage (let them retire to private lives and get real jobs, or live off the dole).
2) However, do not abolish the monarchy.

Instead, replace/supplement the current set of servants and other royal staff with an infrastructure of special-effects gurus, roboticists, costumers, various technical and mechanical engineers, and, of course, puppeteers. This group will manufacture a new royalty to act as neutral "Heads of State"; as avatars of the Crown. Many different solutions could be implemented and tested, and perhaps used simultaneously depending on circumstances : a set of animatronic monarchs; an android royalty; muppet, mascot, or mannequin kings; giant puppet princes ; machined queens of loving grace.

This meets the demands of both sides: On the one hand, it would be understood that these are not actual people and have no actual privilege whatsoever (and neither do they have rights that they are being deprived of). Inasmuch as their movements and speeches would be scripted by the elected government (and/or civil service), they would never say or do anything that embarrasses the nation. 4 And of course, the rest of the time, they simply sit or stand quietly in a corner, perhaps charging their batteries or being maintained by techs for the next round of figureheading.

And of course, the "pomp-and-circumstance" crowd gets what they want as well. Perfect humanoid figures that are perfectly capable of all of the hand-waving, genteel smiling, solemn frowning, gracious nodding, sonorous but meaningless speech-making, and so on and so forth that can all be admired from afar.

Just so long as we stay out of the uncanny valley, of course.

Turn Buckingham Palace into a giant dollhouse!

What could possibly go wrong !!??

__________________________________

1: Human rulers, not butterflies. This is not about entomology, unless of course it turns out that it is.

2: See how cleverly I allude to the history of centralization of political power being tied to the rise of agriculture?

3: Newfangled on the scale of geological time, since the basic concept is used by primitive hunter-gatherers and was at least partially in play in a rather famous city-state a couple thousand (plus) years ago.

4: Unless someone controlling them gets drunk and takes pictures of them in compromising positions, with each other or with several RealDolls, which pictures then leak out to the public/press. Shame! Shame!

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I checked in at the Pile-Up earlier, and at the time the last comment (seemingly trying to calm those calling for drastic measures) was by one Gaythia, containing this bit:

@Everyone: Civilization is always in danger of Collapse, but still possible and extremely worthwhile to maintain.

The extent of the loss of perspective on that blog is truly astonishing.

@Everyone: Civilization is always in danger of Collapse, but still possible and extremely worthwhile to maintain.

*facepalm* You know, if civilization collapses, and I'm around to see it, my one deep fear would be that most of the people left would be like Gaythia.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm probably in the mad category, regardless if it's mad as in "Grrr", or mad as in "I'm just mahd about you, dahling".

I checked in at the Pile-Up earlier

Are you telling me this is still going on?? What did we miss?

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Otrame - Mad women and sluts (all sexes) are always welcome here. We encourage such strumpetry!

Caine - An exccentric slut is good...but be careful, enquiring minds might want to know. ;)

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

1: Human rulers, not butterflies. This is not about entomology, unless of course it turns out that it is.

I thought you were going to suggest we make the butterflies the new royalty. They were named for William III, so it is their due. And it would be a neat reverse-Kafka political transformation.

Only mad sluts and englishmen would go out at this time.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

And the sad thing is that Gaythia is one of the more rational ones... her post was quickly (or Kw*kly, ?) followed by this, uh, “gem”

@ Gaythia -There’s hope for Science Blogs when they invite someone as eminent as evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson to host his blog there.Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Hagar the Horrible and his online fan club.

I'll spare you the much longer rant the Don de Stuyvesant double-posted later on, but it's full of epic fail.

By Pope Maledict DCLXVI (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Tequila and lemon? Certainly not! Lime wedges. Lime wedges, every time.

Lick your wrist, salt it.

Lick the salt, down the tequila shot, and then suck the juice out of the lime wedge.

Happy New Year!

(Oh, wait.... dammit, too much tequila already.)

By redrabbitslife (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Crossroads blather:

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Hagar the Horrible and his online fan club.

Oh what wit! Could these people possibly be more lame?

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine, you knew what you would find. Yet you did it anyways.

Who am I to talk, I am been checking it a couple of times a day.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Barbarian savages Christians

I’m no Christian, but I do know that the Pope and Feilding are so influenced by their faith that they would never be as personally vicious as a Dawkins. If only Dawkins could assure us that a life free of religion would not leave us at the mercy of humankind’s nastier impulses.

ABC presenter Robyn Williams was just as troublingly abusive:

“I can give you a devastating argument against religion in two words,” Williams said in his introduction.

“Senator Fielding. Richard Dawkins said his IQ is lower than an earthworm, but I think earthworms are useful.”

A public apology for such a nasty crack would be the least we could expect. A public reflection on the civilising virtues of Christianity, after all, would be what we could hope for.

And so on...

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I do like the sound of 'Hagar the Horrible" though, I have to say.....:-)))

Must.Not.Click.

Not going there either.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh what wit! Could these people possibly be more lame?

C'mon, are you trying to throw us softball questions?

Caine, you knew what you would find.

I know, I know, Janine. Trainwrecks are just so fascinating. Horrible, but fascinating.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Jessa, well, they aren't fit for hardball. They'd get the vapours.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I went to the train wreck. Seems the flamethrower-armed monkeys have not sobered up. Does anyone else find it funny that there are no comments (of substance) refuting the 10 or so explanations of how 'fuck you' and its variants aren't an imperative to rape?

That there were about 20 Kwok comments out of the last 30 was also kind of hilarious. He's a bitter little creep, isn't he?

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Many different solutions could be implemented and tested, and perhaps used simultaneously depending on circumstances : a set of animatronic monarchs; an android royalty; muppet, mascot, or mannequin kings; giant puppet princes ; machined queens of loving grace.

Wow, that's very ambitious. I was going to suggest cardboard cutouts.

--

Yeah, because even though we are constantly subjected to violent verbal abuse and made to feel unwelcome here, we come anyway.

No we don't, I'm the only woman on Pharyngula! /s

personally vicious as Dawkins...

I am so personally, viciously, sick and tired of Dawkins being portrayed that way. The man simply states the truth, stands his ground, and that's what he gets branded with. Those people believe in talking snakes, how the hell can their opinions be taken seriously? *snort*

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ichthyic,

first I've heard of it, but then I'm not allergic to poison ivy/oak.

You're a fortunate soul [sic]. I'm so hypersensitive that I can't even eat cashews. :( I understand they have the same/related urushiol oil in them.

I love cashews.

*pouts*

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine @#117:

Ah, they don't know what they're missing. I myself love a good round of hardball. ;-)

Newsflash! Religious woman who asked Richard Dawkins “What is DNA?” suspiciously turns up on a politically-incorrect 1970s quiz show...

It’s...

(... not quite “Spot the Moron!”, but it’s very close!)

By Pope Maledict DCLXVI (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I clicked the link.

*shakes head*

That's a lot of hot air. It must take superhuman effort to sustain that level of righteous outrage over something so obviously misconstrued.

I have relatives who do that. We don't send them x-mas cards, mainly so they'll have something to be *properly* outraged about.

By redrabbitslife (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

boygenius:

I will have a weekend off to spend in P-town between String Summit and String Cheese. Any suggestions from locals re: free things to do would be greatly appreciated. (museums, botanical gardens, music, etc.)

Not a local, but I know there are a lot of free events at the Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown- but maybe those are a bit too... square for you?

Since I will be fresh from Country Fair, I may even have proper fetish attire with me. I shall fit right in. :)

I probably have the wrong impression, but the combination of "fetish" and "country fair" sounds like it's going to involve artificial insemination equipment or strap-on zucchinis ;)

Wowbagger:

That there were about 20 Kwok comments out of the last 30 was also kind of hilarious. He's a bitter little creep, isn't he?

It's just 'cause he didn't get his camera. :P

I laughed at Kwak's reposting every long comment due to typos. This is from one of his "corrected" comments:

Biding farewll to Pharyngula is the best, and only, hope Science Blogs has for maintaining its credibility within the scientific blogosphere.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

windy,

I probably have the wrong impression, but the combination of "fetish" and "country fair" sounds like it's going to involve artificial insemination equipment or strap-on zucchinis ;)

Well, yes, you may have the wrong impression. On the other hand, strap-on zucchinis and artificial insemination equipment probably wouldn't even turn heads at this Country Fair.

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Speaking of sperm galloping through the desert...

I actually review TV shows for a living (nice gig, I know) and I'm forever infuriated by the amount of woo that History and Discovery keep peddling. There are far too many ghosts and demons and Bible codes and chupacabras and all the rest of it. And any time History does something on Armageddon they get Timothy LaHaye on to talk about raptures and stuff. Or that Pastor Bob Larsen or whatever his name is to talk about how he has to exorcise the demons out of his congregation every week.

I get really annoyed when actual scientists front these shows and talk up non-scientific crap. I remember one series about exotic diseases and parasites that was presented by an actual virologist. He got some leeches put on him at an ayurvedic clinic, explained that the idea is that the leeches suck out "impure blood" (presumably leaving "pure" blood behind), and said that there must be something to it because people have been doing it for thousands of years. I mean, really...

From time to time I'm pleasantly surprised to see the likes of Richard Wiseman, Joe Nickell, Michael Shermer and James Randi get a bit of air time, but the narrator almost inevitably writes them off.

So anyway what do you guys think are the best and worst science/pseudoscience shows out there?

By ambulocetacean (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ichthyic: I'm not allergic to poison ivy/oak.

Pssst. Neither am I. Possibly the only goddamned thing on earth I'm not allergic (or sensitive) to. When I was gardening for a living, I was so far in the closet about that that I'm still shaking mothballs out of my cuffs.

(How ya feeling, Ich'?)

boygenius: You're a fortunate soul [sic]. I'm so hypersensitive that I can't even eat cashews.

Cashew fruit is nice too. I confess I've only had it in dried form and it seems it's hard to fine even like that. (OK, I'm being rude.)

Rorschach: I do like the sound of 'Hagar the Horrible" though, I have to say.....:-)))

OK, who's getting our boy a Viking helmet? There must be lots of them in Minnesota, no?

Patricia: And just which of the women of Pharyngula do you consider 'mad' pray tell?

I know I am.

I found out today that I can get Lebanon bologna at a supermarket just up the road in Pinole! I am just now a heppy heppy ket.

By ronsullivan (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Just in case it should ever come up in the future - I have not now, nor ever in the past, visited Teh Thingysection.
Just so you know.

By Charlie Foxtrot (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

before the Mad Women of Pharyngula (and even they haven't been very explicit as far as I remember), nobody ever complimented me on my looks

Hah, I missed round 1 of this, but I'm assuming it was in response to the charming, red-eyed photo of you PZ posted some weeks (months?) ago? Well, if you'll forgive me for slipping into Cougar mode for a moment, let me just add: MMMMRRRRRRAAOOOOOOWWWWWWW.
;-)

Oh, I'm Mad. Definitely a Mad one.

I laughed at Kwak's reposting every long comment due to typos. This is from one of his "corrected" comments:
"Biding farewll to Pharyngula is the best, and only, hope Science Blogs has for maintaining its credibility within the scientific blogosphere."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

And that's just for the typos. The content is worth a contemptuous snort or two.

best and worst science/pseudoscience shows out there?

Best: Mythbusters;
Worst: Pretty much any morning news program.

By jenbphillips (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Charlie Foxtrot:

I have not now, nor ever in the past, visited Teh Thingysection.

No one cares if you visit or not. Being a regular over there would be a different matter. ;)

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@ Carlie, #82:

I'm turning to Celebrity Apprentice now. Cyndi Lauper is better than this.

She was my GIRL back in the day! In my tradition of providing irrelevant commentary*. . .I begged my mother for Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" in 1984 for Christmas. That was the best Christmas. I got my first Walkman (OK, it was a bulky JC Penny knock-off, but it rocked), and got the Lauper album on cassette in my stocking. Wore that fucker out.

It was in 1984 that I also discovered, as teh ghey of my generation almost invariably did, that I was in love with Madonna. I spent every last cent from my paper route and my allowance on her 45 singles (n.b., Gyeong Pikachu - those were vinyl records that played at 45 revolutions per minute and cost 50 cents each). I even convinced my bus driver to keep the bus radio tuned to OK-100, the local pop station. He always turned it up for me when "Material Girl" was in heavy rotation. And he was this grizzled old Korean War vet who went by the name "Sarge." Go figure.

In 1985, my mother cut off my (admittedly meager) allowance for a whole summer because of my heavy spending on Madonna records. "You have an unnatural obsession with that woman," she said. Unnatural? Please. It was my birthright as an 80s fag. Got her back good, too, when I moved out of the house and finally bleached my hair white blond (which she had absolutely prohibited).

* For some reason, I find almost all my Pharyngula contributions are on the frivolous side. I have a career I take seriously, I care deeply about politics, education, and church-state separation issues. I'm far more serious in other electronic venues, and politically active in my private life. Guess I've been feeling sheepish about being a silly SpokesGay here, and don't want you all to think I'm half as flighty as I affect to be:)

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Josh, maybe you enough seriousness in those other venues. :)

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I thought you were going to suggest we make the butterflies the new royalty.

I have no objection to this.

Really, I thought of the phrase "animatronic monarch", and just wanted to write an essay to justify using it.

=======

Wow, that's very ambitious. I was going to suggest cardboard cutouts.

Excellent suggestion for a cheapass implementation.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Josh, Official SpokesGay, I have always appreciated your writing (and Cyndi Lauper, too). And I enjoyed reading that. Thanks.

P.S. Cyndi Lauper's _Time_After_Time_ is our song for my girlfriend and me. Well, as much as any song is. If it was my song I'd have to dress nicer. :)

By Menyambal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Don't sweat it, Josh OSG. I think everybody here can read between the lines and understand where your convictions lie. You fill a niche here and provide much appreciated levity.

My own contributions are much more frivolous than yours. I'm just here to have fun and learn something, dammit.

Keep it silly, please.

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Menyambal:

P.S. Cyndi Lauper's _Time_After_Time_ is our song for my girlfriend and me.

Oh, that's a sweet, sweet song. Heartbreaking even. It has the mysterious quality of being tear-inducing yet in a major key, something I'm trying to figure out.

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Say what you want about them, but I'd rather have them around than the Earth/Animal Liberation Front. The body count is far lower with this group.

Earth Liberation Front body count: zero

Animal Liberation Front body count: zero

Fsck For Forest body count: not less than zero

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

MrFire,

Sure - I don't own an mp3 recorder as far as I know, but plenty of people I know should, and I'll see what I can get my hands on. Also, just so you know, we're still waiting for confirmation that we have actually seats for it :-\

I understand if you can't make it happen, for whatever reason. Regardless, thanks for thinking of me.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

It is not too difficult to spot who the moron is (are). It is not RD.

By jcmartz.myopenid.com (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm so brave, I wore by red A pin on my robes into Court today. I have become all proud and emboldened by the inspiration of 2500 awesome atheists on the weekend. A few people asked me what it was and for the first time ever in non-atheist surroundings I talked about it.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bride Of Shrek, that's impressive, congratulations.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

The previous boldest moment was when I swore in a few years back. There was 28 of us Admitting into the Supreme Court that month and I was the only one who asked for an affirmation not an oath ( whihc by the way they are completely fine with and set up to administer). .. and this was in front of a few hundred people so I did feel a bit out of place but I just absolutely could not have admitted on a bloody bible.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Good on you, BoSOM.

*clenched tentacle salute*

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Incidentally, the oath I took is:

I, [real name], swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and of the generals and officers set over me. So help me God.

As I said, I would now opt to take the non-religious affirmation instead, but I was a believer in those days.

... and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and of the generals and officers set over me.

The very opposite of freedom.

By John Morales (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

And did you see Bishop's stare at the audience member who yelled at her to 'answer the question'?

lol, I loved that. I also liked hearing laughter from the audience when Steven Fielding spoke.

While the speakers may have embarrassed Australians there were at least some in the audience you guys can be proud of.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I hope I wasn't the only Australian squirming at the performance of our (gag) politicians on Q&A with Dawkins. The most depressing part, for me, was that Tony Jones (the host) had to go in to bat for religion because none of the religious people on the panel could muster up a coherent argument to defend New Testament doctrine.

It's almost as if he felt sorry for the 5 religious people in the panel and their inability to cope with Dawkins' arguments. I generally like Jones as a host, and it's not often he has to protect the whole panel from one member.

#53

>>>>RD: "It's a supremely important scientific question. If the universe was created by an intelligence, then we are looking at an entirely different kind of scientific theory...[than] if the universe came into existence by natural means. If God or gods had something to do with the creation of life, then we're looking at a totally different kind of biology."
Audience member: "How so?"

If universes and life can come into existence naturally, according to physical and natural laws as we know them from scientific theories, then they can also be produced artificially by a sufficiently technologically advanced civilization.

If universes can come into existence naturally, then a sufficiently adavanced civilization should be able to produce one : if intelligent life evolved in that artificially produced universe, how would it know whether that universe came into existence naturally or was created by an intelligence ?
I think they'd have no way of finding out. The physical laws and scientific theories would be exactly the same in that artificially created universe as with a universe that came into existence completely naturally.

Same thing is valid for life. Suppose a team of scientists was able to produce artificially in a lab a live replicator. Then suppose they were capable of sending this through space and that it landed on a planet in a far away system in our galaxy millions of years after this (both aren't unlikely suppositions for a sufficiently technologically advanced civilization). Then that replicator evolved after millions of years into intelligent beings. How would they know if life came into existence on their planet completely naturally or not ? I don't think they could either.

I'm not assuming that's what happened in our case. I just think we have no way of finding out whether we live in a universe that came into existence naturally or not. We can't even say what's more likely. Why would it even matter ?

Does that mean we can't settle the question of the existence of Gods who can transform water into wine, answer prayers and send homosexuals and non believers to hell ? No, that one is easy.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I hope I wasn't the only Australian squirming at the performance of our (gag) politicians on Q&A with Dawkins

I think a majority on any blog or media outlet out there agreed that Bishop, "bar fight" Burke and clownshow Fielding were embarrassing.

Let's see how Catherine Deveny does on tonight's episode of Q&A !

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

shoe even

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton,

what's a primate of all-Ireland? ??

In the Catholic and Anglican churches, where there is more than one metropolitan archbishop in a country or territory, the "chief" archbishop is traditionally known as the Primate. The Primate takes precedence over other archbishops in that country, and is seen as the most senior figure in the church in that country. The title is now mainly historical and ceremonial.

For traditional reasons, both England and Ireland have more than one Primate. In the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the "Primate of All England", while the Archbishop of York, who is more junior, is known simply as the "Primate of England". Similarly, in Ireland, both in the Catholic Church and in the (Anglican) Church of Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh is the "Primate of All Ireland", whereas the Archbishop of Dublin is the "Primate of Ireland".

Walton @ 158,

Awesome, man, thank you.

I was lazy and didnt read up on it myself, I admit....

Your post reads like an Onion article, or a description of clergy hierarchy in 1275, and it's actually all true and current, that's just fantastic.

(I know, I know, primate = number one and all that...)

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Another argument for the monarchy that I've been mulling over in my mind:

I think it's a good thing, in many respects, that in Britain and the Commonwealth, justice is done in the name of the Crown, not "the people". In my view, the judicial system should be completely independent from democratic politics. Accordingly, I think it's good that judges and prosecutors in the UK and other Commonwealth realms are appointed by the Crown, not elected as they are in many US states, and that the British courts do not purport to administer justice on behalf of "the people". Too much popular control of the judicial system is dangerous, IMO; it leads to the kind of politicisation of the judicial process that we see in many US states, and the consequent frequency of miscarriages of justice. (The Texas judicial system, with its penchant for executing people on rather flimsy evidence, is the clearest example of this.) So I think it's good to have an independent judiciary and prosecution service who depend on the Crown, not on "the people", for their authority.

Walton:

Too much popular control of the judicial system is dangerous, IMO; it leads to the kind of politicisation of the judicial process that we see in many US states, and the consequent frequency of miscarriages of justice.
[...] So I think it's good to have an independent judiciary and prosecution service who depend on the Crown, not on "the people", for their authority.

I take it then that you heartily approve of Sharia Law, by that same basis. ;)

By John Morales (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton #160,

that's not an argument for monarchy, but an argument for an independent judiciary that enjoys special statutory protection from the executive branch.
In France (not a monarchy) judicial appointments must be approved by the High Council of the Judiciary, made up of other judges from receiving courts. Judges serve for life and cannot be removed without specific disciplinary proceedings conducted before the Council conducted in due process.

Whether the appointments are made under the name of "the crown" or "the republic" they are made by people through processes which have been determined by people on behalf of the people.

The queen doesn't have the statutory power to make the appointments, neither does the French head of state. I don't see what difference it makes that one has a crown and the other hasn't.

The monarch is just a useless figurehead. Chop it off and put it on a stick, and it won't change anything to the way justice is carried in the UK.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I know most readers of this blog will yawn at this but the Pharyngula NCAA bracket challenge is open. If you want to join in email me at bigdumbchimp [at] gmail

We've got 4 people so far.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

the Pharyngula NCAA bracket challenge is open

What's that ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What's that ?

A US basketball tournament that has 64 +1 teams. You pick each team throughout the tournament and then see how you fair against others.

Its the #1 productivity killer in the US this time of year and it's somewhat entertaining to follow the tournament and see how your picks match up.

Usually friends, offices whatever get together and have a pool where you pay $5, $10 $25 or whatever amount to enter and whoever had the best picks at the end wins the pot. It usually ends up being Marge from accounting who has no clue about basketball but plays anyway. ;)

We're just doing a gentlemanly "bet" for the hell of it.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, I have no clue about basketball, but this summer when the world cup starts (you know, the one where they play real authentic football), I'd be up for a similar gentlemanly betting challenge amongst those Pharyngulites who are interested.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Its the #1 productivity killer in the US this time of year and it's somewhat entertaining to follow the tournament and see how your picks match up.

I think this is called footy tipping over here.

but this summer when the world cup starts (you know, the one where they play real authentic football), I'd be up for a similar gentlemanly betting challenge amongst those Pharyngulites who are interested.

I'm in.

Argentina, England, Spain, Italy in the Semis.
How do you want to do this?

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Comparing the Norwegian monarchy to other monarchies such as Denmark or the UK is fairly silly. The Norwegians chose a monarchical system by plebiscite when they achieved independence in 1905, so there's no question of King Harald just being the descendant of some guy who happened to be a bigger bastard than any of his contemporaries (unlike some other European monarchies).

I was living in Norway when Haakon and Mette-Marit got married and my impression was that they were very popular, both individually and as a couple. Most people seemed more amused than offended that the heir to the throne was dating a single mother and that they were living together before marriage. I'm not sure I remember her apologising for anything - or was it something to do with having used a bit of E and blow in her wild days?

Now the thing about using the Queen's arms without permission in Scotland reminds me of a story that was going around at the time of the present Queen's silver jubilee. Some chancer was being prosecuted by his local magistrate for producing lion-rampant bedspreads without permission, and the beak began his sentencing "The maximum penalty permitted by law for the crime of which you have been convicted is that you be taken from this place and hanged by the neck until you are dead. Fined twenty-five pounds."

we could do it via email.

Let's get this organised when the time comes. It kicks off on 11th June (87 days left), so we could start with the email registration process sometime end of may.
I don't mind organising it.

England ? No fucking chance.
Spain ? They'll dissapoint.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Yeah cool let's do that !

Spain will win btw...

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'd be up for a similar gentlemanly betting challenge amongst those Pharyngulites who are interested.

Count me in for that as well

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm sure there is some website that is set up for the brackets for the World Cup similar to the way ESPN does it for basketball. Hell ESPN might even have a bracket set up.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

If the weather in South Africa stays typical for the time of year, it will suit England. It will allow them to be play the more physical style they are used to, without their energy being sapped by in the heat.

A lot will also depend on whether they have a left full-back who is fit, willing to play alongside Terry, and is who is actually any good.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm not sure what these guys did to Isis's prose, but it nearly makes sense!

I am obviously not the only one who sometimes has trouble working out what the Kwak she is on about.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Spain will win btw...

They are the favourites, but I won't bet on them. I think Brazil is going to win this one.

Oh, and I'll place an outsider amongst the top four, like Ivory Coast.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Professional sport is such a strange endeavour. I've never really understood it. I can understand why you might want to play sport to keep fit, but why would anyone be interested in watching a group of hugely overpaid people play sport?

In particular, I've never understand the psychology of sports fandom. I just don't get how people become so emotionally invested in whether "their" team wins, and act as though it was a personal achievement on their part. Why would I care whether the England team wins at football or cricket or anything else? I didn't personally contribute to their victory in any way. It's not my achievement, and I don't get anything out of it. So why would I be "proud" of some other people winning a sports fixture simply because they happen to be from the same nation-state as me?

I'm not being critical; it's your right to enjoy sports, and I certainly don't think it's a bad thing. I just find the psychology perplexing. :-\

The thing I really can't stand is the idea (sometimes heard in this part of the world) that "real men" should be interested in sports (along with cars, beer, porn and so on). Why should the type of genitalia I happen to have been born with make any difference to whether I want to watch some very rich people running around on a patch of grass? I know that no one here has said, or would say, anything so crassly heteronormativist as that. But it's an attitude that seems to be associated inextricably with sports in the Western world; I know quite a few men who are really uninterested in sports, but pretend to exhibit some basic level of interest simply to fit in with social convention.

Why should the type of genitalia I happen to have been born with make any difference to whether I want to watch some very rich people running around on a patch of grass?

My wife is bigger "sports fan" than many men I know.

Stay away from her during college football season if Clemson is on.

(and the NCAA bracket I was referring to is college sports not Pro sports)

It's just another form of entertainment for me. I don't get as emotionally involved as many people I know but I definitely cheer for the few Pro sports teams I claims as "my teams".

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

In particular, I've never understand the psychology of sports fandom. I just don't get how people become so emotionally invested in whether "their" team wins, and act as though it was a personal achievement on their part.

I don't understand it either. I've never been much into sports, but all I know is once every four years I get this vibe and get crazy at the idea that France is going to win. I just love following the games with some friends and family, drinking, getting all nervous and sweaty and anxious. It's really not what I usually do, so when it happens that infrequently it works for me.
And I'm just not gonna miss this once every four year occasion to do those silly things and live those rather peculiar emotions.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

In particular, I've never understand the psychology of sports fandom. I just don't get how people become so emotionally invested in whether "their" team wins, and act as though it was a personal achievement on their part.

It's a strange human concept called fun.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Matt:

I am obviously not the only one who sometimes has trouble working out what the Kwak she is on about.

You aren't alone on that one, either.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sports? I'm not remotely interested in them; neither is my husband.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Paul, I just bald-facedly stole from your post at #298 in the last incarnation. I was restraining myself from bringing it up until one Ram*ey just said that Isis would give PZ all kinds of crap for letting such language slide by on his blog. I found a couple of other choice references, added yours, and posted it at the Site Which Must Not Be Named. I would have cited you there but I didn't know if you wanted your name dragged back into it, so I erred on the side of plagiarism. But here's the citation right here.

within the scientific blogosphere

help me I am trapped with J*hn Kw*k within the scientific blogosphere and I can't get up!

Lebanon bologna

holy schmidt's, time-warp me back to a Western PA youth, why don'tcha? Chipped ham with that, ma'am?

I was in love with Madonna

I am literally supressing a gag reflex here

Oh, that's a sweet, sweet song. Heartbreaking even. It has the mysterious quality of being tear-inducing yet in a major key, something I'm trying to figure out.

The story goes--this is the legend version, but something like this is apparently true--that we can thank Cyndi Lauper and 'Time After Time' for those last few phases of Miles Davis's performing career. In 1975 he decided to quit and holed up in his Harlem town house and/or Malibu beachhouse and did cocaine for several years. Supposedly he had MTV on one day in 1980--seriously! they once played music videos on MTV!--and was moved to pick up his trumpet to blow a few notes along with Ms. Lauper. Next tune up was Michael Jackson's 'Human Nature'; he kept playing...

so, any ear that's anything like Miles's ear is a good ear IMO.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It's a strange human concept called fun.

fun?

Carlie:

I was restraining myself from bringing it up until one Ram*ey just said that Isis would give PZ all kinds of crap for letting such language slide by on his blog.

Hahaha, oh that's interesting. I stay away from Isis's blog these days, but I seem to recall her using quite colourful language, at least in the comments.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

fun?

Exactly

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, it sailed right over his head. That didn't take long. And I'm not trying to impugn Isis specifically; I just found it particularly interesting that he'd try to use her as a paragon of non-offensive language. Frankly, I find the way she uses profanity more grating than the way PZ does.

SC, something very strange happened in the comic Mary Worth, Emma Goldman was quoted. Perhaps we will have a better idea where this person is coming from by if Kropotkin or Bakunin is quoted. Or maybe a complete curve ball and quote something from Leo Tolstoi's The Kingdom Of God Is Within You.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

In 1975 he decided to quit and holed up in his Harlem town house and/or Malibu beachhouse and did cocaine for several years.

And hookers. You forgot the hookers.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

You can add me to the camp of people who just don't get sports that much.

"Did you see that ludicrous display last night?"

...which just goes to show you can't believe anything.
'Time after Time' was 1984 and 'Human Nature' was 1983 and Miles was definitely playing again in 1981--I saw him (in Ann Arbor)(or so I'm told...)

I've got his autobiography boxed away someplace so I forget what MTV tunes he was inspired by in 1980...please please please let it not be Madonna...

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Just had a visit from the meterman. Seems I've managed to save 7 m^3 of water despite taking loooong showers lately. Go me!

Power's up a bit and heat is a dark art that I have no idea how they calculate. My consumption looks to be level with last year, but I have no clue as to what the unit prices might be this year. (I can't find last year's bills either, so I can't extrapolate.)

My wife is bigger "sports fan" than many men I know.

My wife gets kinda nutty during the World Cup, actually. You don't want to block her view of the set. Also, both the sports jersey type things our five-year old wears (an Argentina soccer jersey, a Hab No. 9), she got him...

I'm actually kinda with Walton on this one, myself, tho'... But then I've already mentioned.

I mean, I'll play a bit of soccer if it's happening in the park right next to me and I briefly forget I'm saving my knees for alpine stuff, but I'm not much for watching that or anything else. It's not so much an ideological position, either, as somethin' more innate: it just doesn't seem to do much for me.

I can fake it if I have to, mind you... Sorta... I mean, if someone's put the game on and is handing out good beer while watching, I might watch and vaguely pretend to care a bit about what's going on to get beer...

(/I'll call this 'being sociable', of course, sure, but honestly, it's more about the beer.)

... I'd add that I seriously loved Chomsky's comment on sports fandom being some kind of training for irrational jingoism. Honestly, being around sports fans (I was an outlier amongst my siblings this way, too) and not so much getting it, it is a bit scary, sometimes...

I sometimes just want gently to murmur... 'Umm... We are all still aware it's only a game, right? And the screaming... We don't really need the screaming, do we? I mean, putting pucks past guys in pads, it's cool, it's impressive... But... Umm... Let's try the next one with less screaming...

(/Please? I mean, I just hate having to be defibrillated twice in the same day...)

(/I'll call this 'being sociable', of course, sure, but honestly, it's more about the beer.)

Well when you boil it down like that how can I disagree?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

In particular, I've never understand the psychology of sports fandom. I just don't get how people become so emotionally invested in whether "their" team wins, and act as though it was a personal achievement on their part.

But you have an abiding affection for British royalty?

Not a sporto, myself, but it isn't so incomprehensible that other people might enjoy watching something with lots of action* and an outcome that isn't pre-determined.

You, Walton, are an unusual cat...and there ain't nothin' wrong wit dat.

*"football" in the European sense excepted...ghastly, is how you'd say it, guvnah?

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Carlie, I just read your little exchange with the muckster. Perhaps it is time to update that term. John, you ignorant Kw*k!

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

following Rev's suggestion, I've set up a PHARYNGULA world cup bracket open to all pharyngulites:

http://games.espn.go.com/bpredictor/en/group?groupID=9042

It is set to private, which means you'll need the password to join.

How should we proceed next ? I can let people know what the password is on Pharyngula, or should we do it via email ?

Do we need to make a pool with a minimum donation of say 10$, or we just leave it free ?

What do you suggest ?

In anycase, I'll add 3 bottles of French Champagne for the winner.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Given that he's now arguing that a sideways knife is not a large implement, I think I need a sanity break from that place. I like your updated reference. :) It also cheers my heart to no end to know that you read Comics Curmudgeon.

Wu-Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M.

I just spent a wet, blustery week-end in NYC. I have never before seen such a miserable swathe of dead umbrellas: inverted, mangled, and abandoned,
like so much accessory-related roadkill.

However, the image that will haunt me most came right at the very end. It was the stark decline in the socio-economic quality of a single road - Madison Avenue - as we made our way out of Manhattan. Our bus left behind the looming skscrapers and penthouses of downtown and midtown, plowed through an area with increasing numbers of barred windows, and finally ended up amongst the crumbling tenenments and projects of Harlem, all while driving in one single, straight line. It reminded of some of the worst areas in which I grew up, and inspired me to post the above classic track.

I stand in awe of the Archie Laugh Generating Unit 3000.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Given that he's now arguing that a sideways knife is not a large implement, I think I need a sanity break from that place. I like your updated reference. :) It also cheers my heart to no end to know that you read Comics Curmudgeon.

The image I had of the rusty knife was somekind of chef's knife. Given those are normally around 8" long, excluding the the handle, and that it was to be inserted sideways I can only assume Kwak is has a huge arsehole.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It's Ramsey arguing now, not Kwok (although he's chiming in occasionally to agree with Ramsey and to tell me that Frank McCourt would be deeply disappointed in me). And I can't even believe the turn it's taken. He did link to a 7-inch knife picture, close to your estimation, which can only lead me to the conclusion that he doesn't understand "sideways". Now I need a drink.

neg I think password via email is probably a good call. And I think free is probably better as we're talking about gathering cash from all over the world and all the fun that comes with that.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Rev,

if we are doing it free, why not simply publicize the password here ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Carlie,

I really don't care how my comments are used (without attribution, whatever, it's not like I'm Owlmirror extensively documenting Biblical scholarship) as long as they're not being misconstrued. Thanks for the notice, though :-).

....and Kwok is name-dropping McCourt again. Looks like he got over his fear of dropping the actual name instead of just using roundabout references after the McCourt's passing. Weird fellow.

Oh, and can we start calling the Tentacled Overlord "Hagar the Horrible"? I know, it's kind of a slur as regards Norse folks, but it's quite catchy. And I think he could pull off the horned helmet.

Rev,

if we are doing it free, why not simply publicize the password here ?

Well good point. The reason I didn't do it is my ESPN login has my real actual name in it and there are strange people that visit here who's intentions I don't really trust.

But yeah you could publish it here.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Kirshenbanned:

Do to the nature of incoming content, we have decided to close comments on this thread.

1. lolgrammar

2. I like how it's "incoming content", instead of "our perverted resident trolls"

A more truthful reason for closing would have been "Chris and I realised that not only did I look an idiot in my initial post, our regular commentators are making us look even more like idiots, so we will close comments on this thread to avoid us looking even more stupid".

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Every time I see Kw*k's name a definative picture comes to mind. A cartoon bird that is a mixture of parrot and Dodo bird wearing a graduates cap and a monocle and holding an address book full of names he can drop.

I can't explain it.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I particularly enjoyed J.J.'s link to a Ka-Bar knife in the discussion about relative sizes of knives and anuses.

Seriously, the nuts over there think that we're bent?

The sad thing is that I read the thread at the Intersuction immediately after coming home from seeing Alice in Wonderland. Each time that Kw*k slipped the rails and descended into namedropping I was visualizing Johnny Depp spinning out of control. Now every time I see Depp in that costume I'll be reminded of Kw*k. Ruined the movie for me, dammit.

It is amazing, though, to see how quickly Kw*k can slip down the rabbit hole into the namedropping underground universe.

Regards the sports fandom discussion... I myself am a huge sports nut. And I've put a great deal of time and thought into understanding the appeal of sport and of sport fandom that almost all peoples seem to share. Here are some of the conclusions I've drawn as a result of that thought process. Of course, these are just my opinions, and like everything else on which I opine in these threads, I'd love to hear differing points of view.

Sport is, at its most basic, the redirection of an instinctual desire to compete for dominance. At one time it would be fighting for a mate, or food, or territory. Survival depends on ones ability to out-compete others for these things.

Whether on an individual level, or as a group (team), the goal is the same: out-compete the other individual or group for what would normally be critical resources. For most of us, from a very early age we realize that the outcome of conflict or competition, winning or losing, means something... something innate and important that we don't fully understand.

Toddlers and young children will often aggressively take the things they want, or at least try to... they may not be able to out-compete the other child for the desired object, be it a toy, food item, or other thing. But they do know that they might have to get into a physical struggle in order to obtain it, and it only seems natural to do so.

For most of us as we grow we learn that simply taking things by force is an anti-social behavior that has more of a negative return than a positive, socially. But for a great deal of us the desire to compete, to achieve an end by being besting another person or group of people, is still there. We redirect this basic emotion into sport.

Team sports add another social element to the mix. Many of us begin playing team sports at a very young age. The goals, at a basic level, are simple, yet important: learn to work and function together as a social unit that creates an efficient means of out-competing another group for a specific goal. It's a strong bonding dynamic, and creates a sense of belonging and social acceptance that makes the individual feel good.

The interesting thing is that this feeling, or a very reasonable facsimile of it, can be achieved not just by belonging to a sports team, but by attaching oneself to a team as a "fan". To the fan, the team's successes and failures become their own. They identify part of their social structure, their sense of community and belonging, with that team. The strength and intensity of that connection will of course vary from person to person... some feel it much stronger than others... but ultimately the individual identifies their "team" as part of his or her own social community.

From the time I was a very young child I lived and died with the successes and failures of the Boston Red Sox. I know how strong this connection to a sports team can be. I can't really explain it, or tell you when it started or why I simply can't just "turn it off"... but I do know it's there, and I do know it matters to me, despite how irrational and silly it is to feel that way.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Has anyone heard from Josh the geologist recently.

I hope he's doing ok and wasn't deployed overseas.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Mr. Fire: I, too, follow the Wu. The game of chess is like a swordfight.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Are you hoping to trigger another episode of MWP? :)

What, that way? And besides, I don't need that much attention from so many people… :-]

Also, we've already surpassed the Medieval Warm Period. :-þ

See how cleverly I allude to the history of centralization of political power being tied to the rise of agriculture?

Absolutely brilliant post, except for this part… maybe. Neolithic societies (in the Old World) seem to have been egalitarian, and still are in the highlands of New Guinea.

So… how old is sliced bread?

How old is bread? Grueling gruel Porridge is certainly older.

In short, I have no idea if monarchy is older than bread.

Slicing could have come immediately. Or a lot later. Who knows.

Lick the salt, down the tequila shot, and then suck the juice out of the lime wedge.

But the purpose of this is to alleviate the taste of the tequila, right? The True Mexican way is the reverse.

Oh what wit! Could these people possibly be more lame?

It's Doc-tor Horrible for Kwok. Therefore…

Hägar the Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!!!

Death to the world,
Great Cthulhu's come…

(Not original. Most good ideas are stolen.)

I am so personally, viciously, sick and tired of Dawkins being portrayed that way. The man simply states the truth, stands his ground, and that's what he gets branded with. Those people believe in talking snakes, how the hell can their opinions be taken seriously? *snort*

It being Australia, most of them don't believe in talking snakes.

Fielding does, though.

Hey look, a poll that needs some special attention:

"Do you believe that vaccines and autism are linked?"

Yes: 21 %
No: 79 %

Really, I thought of the phrase "animatronic monarch", and just wanted to write an essay to justify using it.

ROTFLMAO!

In light of Jadehawk's grant for education and David's questions about the cost of higher educations, PhD Comics seemed entirely appropriate.

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive_print.php?comicid=1291

Ah yeah. I saw it and was so stunned I promptly forgot about it.

Note the kinks in the red line at the accessions of Raygun and Fearless Flightsuit, and the kink in the green line during the late Clinton years.

Average tuition + fees at public universities is above 7000 $!?! I just can't grasp it.

BTW, over here, the salaries of university presidents is a matter of national law, AFAIK.

Incidentally, the oath I took is:

I, [real name], swear by Almighty God

See? That's your loophole right there. A God-shaped, God-sized hole.

If universes and life can come into existence naturally, according to physical and natural laws as we know them from scientific theories, then they can also be produced artificially by a sufficiently technologically advanced civilization.

That's where Ockham's Razor comes in.

If, on the other hand, it takes a miracle to get universes and life, we're looking at the Finger of God from Exodus 8:19*. It's very simple.

* Read the previous verses of that chapter for context.

I think it's a good thing, in many respects, that in Britain and the Commonwealth, justice is done in the name of the Crown, not "the people".

In Austria it's done in the name of the republic :-)

(Before that, of course, it was done in the name of the German People. Perhaps any reminiscences to that are deliberately avoided.)

In my view, the judicial system should be completely independent from democratic politics. Accordingly, I think it's good that judges and prosecutors in the UK and other Commonwealth realms are appointed […], not elected as they are in many US states

They're not elected in pretty much any country. That's normal. The USA is just the odd one out.

(I'll never forget the horror when I once watched TV during the US 2004 campaign and saw "[name] – Republican for Judge". That guy advertised that he would not be impartial!!! <barf>)

I'm not sure what these guys did to Isis's prose, but it nearly makes sense!

~:-|

Transkoreanization-aided parody? That would be a new form of art.

... I'd add that I seriously loved Chomsky's comment on sports fandom being some kind of training for irrational jingoism.

It can go the other way around, too.

For instance, in football, all of Austria is against Germany. This goes so far that last worldcup one game was in Vienna, and both the German chancellor (Angela Merkel) and the Austrian president (Heinz Fischer) were present. It was Germany vs Spain. In spite of his guest, Fischer was for Spain. Why Spain? Because Spain is $NOT_GERMANY.

And this even though that has already been avenged most successfully (an interpretation that is by no means original, I hasten to add). The minority complex is strong. :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Too many links, triggered moderation, so posting in two parts:

Are you hoping to trigger another episode of MWP? :)

What, that way? And besides, I don't need that much attention from so many people… :-]

Also, we've already surpassed the Medieval Warm Period. :-þ

See how cleverly I allude to the history of centralization of political power being tied to the rise of agriculture?

Absolutely brilliant post, except for this part… maybe. Neolithic societies (in the Old World) seem to have been egalitarian, and still are in the highlands of New Guinea.

So… how old is sliced bread?

How old is bread? Grueling gruel Porridge is certainly older.

In short, I have no idea if monarchy is older than bread.

Slicing could have come immediately. Or a lot later. Who knows.

Lick the salt, down the tequila shot, and then suck the juice out of the lime wedge.

But the purpose of this is to alleviate the taste of the tequila, right? The True Mexican way is the reverse.

Oh what wit! Could these people possibly be more lame?

It's Doc-tor Horrible for Kwok. Therefore…

Hägar the Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!!!

Death to the world,
Great Cthulhu's come…

(Not original. Most good ideas are stolen.)

I am so personally, viciously, sick and tired of Dawkins being portrayed that way. The man simply states the truth, stands his ground, and that's what he gets branded with. Those people believe in talking snakes, how the hell can their opinions be taken seriously? *snort*

It being Australia, most of them don't believe in talking snakes.

Fielding does, though.

Hey look, a poll that needs some special attention:

"Do you believe that vaccines and autism are linked?"

Yes: 21 %
No: 79 %

Really, I thought of the phrase "animatronic monarch", and just wanted to write an essay to justify using it.

ROTFLMAO!

In light of Jadehawk's grant for education and David's questions about the cost of higher educations, PhD Comics seemed entirely appropriate.

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive_print.php?comicid=1291

Ah yeah. I saw it and was so stunned I promptly forgot about it.

Note the kinks in the red line at the accessions of Raygun and Fearless Flightsuit, and the kink in the green line during the late Clinton years.

Average tuition + fees at public universities is above 7000 $!?! I just can't grasp it.

BTW, over here, the salaries of university presidents is a matter of national law, AFAIK.

Incidentally, the oath I took is:

I, [real name], swear by Almighty God

See? That's your loophole right there. A God-shaped, God-sized hole.

If universes and life can come into existence naturally, according to physical and natural laws as we know them from scientific theories, then they can also be produced artificially by a sufficiently technologically advanced civilization.

That's where Ockham's Razor comes in.

If, on the other hand, it takes a miracle to get universes and life, we're looking at the Finger of God from Exodus 8:19*. It's very simple.

* Read the previous verses of that chapter for context.

I think it's a good thing, in many respects, that in Britain and the Commonwealth, justice is done in the name of the Crown, not "the people".

In Austria it's done in the name of the republic :-)

(Before that, of course, it was done in the name of the German People. Perhaps any reminiscences to that are deliberately avoided.)

In my view, the judicial system should be completely independent from democratic politics. Accordingly, I think it's good that judges and prosecutors in the UK and other Commonwealth realms are appointed […], not elected as they are in many US states

They're not elected in pretty much any country. That's normal. The USA is just the odd one out.

(I'll never forget the horror when I once watched TV during the US 2004 campaign and saw "[name] – Republican for Judge". That guy advertised that he would not be impartial!!! <barf>)

I'm not sure what these guys did to Isis's prose, but it nearly makes sense!

~:-|

Transkoreanization-aided parody? That would be a new form of art.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Comparing the Norwegian monarchy to other monarchies such as Denmark or the UK is fairly silly. The Norwegians chose a monarchical system by plebiscite when they achieved independence in 1905, so there's no question of King Harald just being the descendant of some guy who happened to be a bigger bastard than any of his contemporaries (unlike some other European monarchies).

? He's related to most of the rest of them (the king they chose in 1905 was a Danish prince of the 'house' of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg). So looks like being a distant descendant of some particular bunch of bastards is still among the job qualifications.

... I'd add that I seriously loved Chomsky's comment on sports fandom being some kind of training for irrational jingoism.

It can go the other way around, too.

For instance, in football, all of Austria is against Germany. This goes so far that last worldcup one game was in Vienna, and both the German chancellor (Angela Merkel) and the Austrian president (Heinz Fischer) were present. It was Germany vs Spain. In spite of his guest, Fischer was for Spain. Why Spain? Because Spain is $NOT_GERMANY.

And this even though that has already been avenged most successfully (an interpretation that is by no means original, I hasten to add). The minority complex is strong. :-)

....and Kwok is name-dropping McCourt again. Looks like he got over his fear of dropping the actual name instead of just using roundabout references after the McCourt's passing. Weird fellow.

Oh, the Chinese taboo on the names of the dead. <vehement nodding> For emperors it was so strong that entire characters were retired from the written language for the rest of the dynasty's duration – it's sometimes difficult to reconstruct old texts if the manuscript itself isn't old enough.

Funny story… a king of Korea (vassal of the Chinese emperor) once requested a list of forbidden characters so he wouldn't inadvertently insult anyone in diplomatic correspondence. (A Necronomicon, one is tempted to say.) He actually got it.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

That guy advertised that he would not be impartial!!!

Around here they advertise how religious they are. Every election cycle I get flyers from the various candidates for judge with a nice little biographical sketch about how he/she is a family man/woman, attends such and such church, is involved with various (usually religious) charities, etc. On the other side of the flyer will be some of the potential judge's stances on various issues like abortion, school prayer, and taxes. It's positively revolting.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Isn't odd how cultures with the same language can vary so much.

Here in the UK it is normally considered odd for a politician so indicate their religious views in any election literature. So odd that people would wonder about a politician who did so, and it is normally considered a voter turn-off to do so.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I believe I have found the draft version of a Kw*k-ism from several days ago:

PZ Myers and Pharyngula have to be punished, and it’s now time for Science Blogs to pull the plug on this bit of blasphemy called Pharyngula.

Mix-'n'-match crazy is fun.

Slicing could have come immediately. Or a lot later. Who knows.

The oldest bread was probably some kind of flatbread. So at most, it would have been sliced like pizza, not like "sliced bread".

Antiochus E., did you find an answer to your earlier question about structure yet? I think the method of getting the probability of each K is explained in the original paper by Pritchard et al, where they also admit it's kind of a kludge.

Wow, so it got shut down! It's probably my fault for pointing out to Ramsey how sick and twisted he is.

Every election cycle I get flyers from the various candidates for judge with a nice little biographical sketch about how he/she is a family man/woman, attends such and such church, is involved with various (usually religious) charities, etc.

Yeah... that sort of thing really makes my stomach turn. For too many judges, the woman in the symbol of justice isn't wearing a blindfold... she's wearing a ViewMaster with pictures of a 20-something, long-haired, bearded, anglo-looking dude who's apparently supposed to represent a 2000 year old Jew from the middle-east... and other pictures of biblical wonderifics.

The problem I see, at least in the US, is that even if the judges were not elected, they would be appointed by someone who was elected. That might actually lead to judges with far less impartiality and far more religiously motivated rulings, as they would not be accountable to the voting public for the decisions they make.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I was kind of surprised how many of the comments made it through the filter there in the first place; I guess that goes to show something about how offensive doesn't necessarily equal naughty words, don't it?

Wow, so it got shut down! It's probably my fault for pointing out to Ramsey how sick and twisted he is.

Sadly, I doubt it. Kirshenbanned probably finally took more than 30 seconds to consider the situation and it's context, and the sort of people/arguments marshalled on her behalf, and recognized how silly she looked. The initial post wasn't some well-thought-out point she was trying to make, it was an impromptu fit of pique brought on by a flood of emails to her from commenters who were shocked, SHOCKED, to see bad words on Pharyngula (and who didn't mention to her that there was any context at all, and of course she couldn't be bothered to actually read any of the 300 or so comments she actually had to actively approve for the previous thread (allowing for the low-ball estimated 200 that didn't go into moderation)).

Paul, that's a very generous interpretation, which would require Kirshenbanned (hee) to have a smidgen of self-awareness and cogent thought. I'm betting more on "Ew yucky talk" being the main motivator for closing it. I'm kind of glad she did, though - I was getting pretty skeeved out myself, because I kept expecting Ramsey to fold and admit it was ridiculous hyperbole and he kept getting more and more - descriptively embellished about how it could be possible. Ewwww indeed.

Bill,

I called my rep and expressed support for passing health reform, and then I called both of my senators and said I wanted a public option and didn't care if they have to use reconciliation to get it.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

windy, re: "K"--Pretty much that was what I figured out (I posted as much on the last thread). Are you familiar with phylogenetics? It seems like parameterization of K is something like the choice of # of rate classes for gamma. I haven't found much in the literature regarding a justification for selecting one value of K over any other...I suspect that to some extent comparison of posterior probabilities between runs using different values of "K" is not that satisfactory, in that one might expect that the posterior should automatically rise as the model becomes more highly parameterized...but I don't know about this yet. I nearly have a complete microsat data set that will allow me to play with it a little. Should be fun anyway.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Antiochus Epiphanes: glad to see you're down with the Wu.

Bring da ruckus. ahem.

All that's left to do is make a hand wringing post about people describing the exact methods and possibilities for anal rape with sharp implements on the intersection and wail about the fate of science blogging!

Whether on an individual level, or as a group (team), the goal is the same: out-compete the other individual or group for what would normally be critical resources. For most of us, from a very early age we realize that the outcome of conflict or competition, winning or losing, means something... something innate and important that we don't fully understand.

I know that the football extremist fanatics, (like hooligans for example), are only looking for an excuse to behave like barbarians. But they seem to me, too similar to the religious fanatics, they can
kill people because the other not belongs to their team.

All that's left to do is make a hand wringing post about people describing the exact methods and possibilities for anal rape with sharp implements on the intersection and wail about the fate of science blogging!

And it will be entitled "Pharyngula is why we can't have nice things."

I actually wrote the following a couple hours ago, but have been having trouble getting my browser to give me a Sign In To Comment link. This is perhaps the cosmos' way of telling me I should reconsider my post, but... fools rush in where angels fear to tread, eh?

David M (via Ol’ Greg @59):

I have always considered myself ugly, or average at best; before the Mad Women of Pharyngula (and even they haven't been very explicit as far as I remember), nobody ever complimented me on my looks however vaguely, and I don't think I look like what the media consider handsome men.

Oy, there’s a world of distance between “what the media consider handsome men” and ugly. You don’t have to look like the cover of GQ in order to be not ugly.

Personally, I’ve commented before that (AFAIK) nobody has ever looked at me with unbridled lust or been attracted to me on purely physical grounds… but I would never describe myself as ugly. I think I’m pretty objective about my physical flaws — I’m noticeably overweight (though not grotesquely so); I have a bit of a weak chin (which I try to cover with as much of a beard as my wife will tolerate); my face is roundish and a bit fleshy, and lacks a certain chiseled definition — but also my positive features — I have a full (and likely to stay full into my so-called golden years) head of fine hair, the ash-blond color of which effectively hides what little grey I’ve accumulated; my face is friendly looking and mostly unwrinkled (a side benefit of being a bit over-fleshy, I suspect), and looks at least 10 years younger than my actual age (this business of looking youthful was a pain earlier in my life, but now I’m beginning to like it); and despite being, as Paul Simon might put it, soft in the middle, my legs are fit and well muscled and I have (or so I’ve been told) a non-hideous ass.

In short, nothing about my looks makes me feel especially better than anyone else, but nothing about my looks makes me feel especially worse than anyone else, either. I suspect that, if our self-images were based on anything like an objective evaluation of our true physical realities, the vast majority of people ought to feel at least as good about themselves as I do. The people who conform to “what the media consider handsome men [or beautiful/sexy women]” are way at the far end of the distribution; the people who can legitimately be called “ugly” are (IMHO) way at the other far end. Most of us — virtually all of us, I think — fit comfortably in between.

So my question to Ol’ Greg presumed she wasn’t ugly (aka not palatable)… that in fact she’s at least normally attractive — a presumption for whose truth she had just provided photographic evidence! — and wondered what psychological or sociological factors compelled her to say otherwise, even in a relatively anonymous forum made up of mostly friendly voices.

Ol’ Greg:

I actually use some hyperbole of female on female aggression (truth I did grow up with girls like that... I remember one girl who was a little too high and mighty for some of the other girls who got jumped after school one day held down and had her hair splashed with peroxide and kool aid...) I digress.

I’d like to separate the manifest pathology of some individuals and microcultures (a term that, AFAIK, I’ve just made up; any resemblance to the actual technical language of sociology is purely incidental <g>) from the pathology (if any) of the larger culture. I desperately hope the kind of stuff you cite here is the former, and not evidence of the latter.

But yeah, I also just honestly don't have very good self image. I was considered ugly as a little girl. Not just ugly, really really ugly... and I suppose the image stuck. … Since I didn't stick around one place that long or deal with many people my self image never really evolved so that in my teens I was modeling but I still thought of myself as really really ugly.

I’ve always been puzzled (I almost said “bemused,” but I don’t mean to make light of this) by the large percentage of inarguably beautiful women — models and actresses and pop stars, I mean… the sort of women whose pin-up posters end up on every teenage boy’s (and no small number of teenage girl’s, I’m guessing) bedroom walls — who report having been ugly, or having been considered ugly, in their youth. You’d almost think there was some sort of Conservation Law for beauty: You can be a beautiful child or a beautiful adult, but not both. But I don’t actually believe that. Instead, I suspect the allegedly ugly early versions of beautiful people were in fact already beautiful, or at least were obviously going to be, and the “conventional wisdom” of their age-peers was actually an expression of envy.

Bill I will say this. It's best not to assume when a woman says that, that whatever it is in her self image is entirely based around sex or attractiveness to men.

Oh, I didn’t mean to be making that assumption. Indeed, my first guess (which, unless I’ve misunderstood, your reply pretty much confirms) was that it had more to with the reaction of other girls (in your youth) and women. I included defense against sexism/objectification in my list of suppositions because, as a male, I’m presumptively one of the Guilty Parties© on that score (despite my best intentions to the contrary), and I’m always interested in understanding what I should be trying to fix about myself.

There’s obviously a large region of overlap between appearance and sexuality, but I’m well aware that human aesthetics (and our perception of same) is a much larger and more complex issue than simply what triggers lust. And even to the extent that it is about sex, I don’t assume it’s necessarily hetero, or that straight men’s opinions about what’s sexy trump anyone else’s.

In addition, I don’t assume that physical attractiveness, per se, is any more important than other personal attributes (e.g., intelligence, particular talents, fine or gross motor skills, etc., etc., etc.)… nor any less important. My view — which I’ve come to understand, based on earlier conversations here, is somewhat naïve and utopian, but maybe I’d rather be naïve than cynical in this particular regard — is that attractiveness is just something about you, perhaps more or less important based upon a specific context (profession, time of life, relationship goals, etc.), but fundamentally no more important than anything else about you.

That said…

Sadly on body image and the like my head has the rubber stamp of fucked up on it :(

…even though I know my opinion is cosmically inconsequential, if it does any good at all, you can take it from one harmless aging stranger that there’s absolutely nothing wrong (and many things delightfully right) with the way you look.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Are you familiar with phylogenetics? It seems like parameterization of K is something like the choice of # of rate classes for gamma. I haven't found much in the literature regarding a justification for selecting one value of K over any other...

In (molecular, model-based) phylogenetics, it's probably always way too low, but calculation time increases, like, exponentially with the number of rate categories, so the default is to use just 4… Sometimes that leads to problems.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I’ve always been puzzled ... by the large percentage of inarguably beautiful women...who report having been ugly, or having been considered ugly, in their youth.

It's because with the way beauty and culture are intertwined, you can't win. Either you're too fat or too skinny. Too short or too tall. Too curvy or too flat. Color of hair is good, but texture is bad. And so on, and so on. And we're also carefully conditioned to feel that any self-pride is being stuck up, and no one likes someone a woman who is egocentric. So you have a culture which actively discourages being proud of your own characteristics even if they meet the standard, and at the same time ensures that the standard is almost impossible to meet. Even the women who are considered to be the most beautiful get Photoshopped to heck for PR purposes; that actively tells them that they aren't good enough, and then of course what chance do the rest of us have?

Oy, there’s a world of distance between “what the media consider handsome men” and ugly. You don’t have to look like the cover of GQ in order to be not ugly.

Fine – but I don't see what I have in common with any of those, or at least what to look for to judge myself that way.

at least normally attractive

See, to me, "normal" and "attractive" are mutually exclusive.

inarguably beautiful women — models and actresses and pop stars, I mean…

Few of them even rise to mere prettiness! :-)

In the "light" of the above, and deliberately ignoring the self-preservation angle, I'll offer my interpretation of the following quote…

So my question to Ol’ Greg presumed she wasn’t ugly (aka not palatable)… that in fact she’s at least normally attractive — a presumption for whose truth she had just provided photographic evidence! — and wondered what psychological or sociological factors compelled her to say otherwise, even in a relatively anonymous forum made up of mostly friendly voices.

You presumed, unconsciously, that everyone more or less shares your taste in beauty and expressed surprise when it appeared that that wasn't the case. :-| I'm only surprised it took you that long.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Josh, OSG (OM Pending, ITAJ):

For some reason, I find almost all my Pharyngula contributions are on the frivolous side. I have a career I take seriously, I care deeply about politics, education, and church-state separation issues. I'm far more serious in other electronic venues, and politically active in my private life. Guess I've been feeling sheepish about being a silly SpokesGay here, and don't want you all to think I'm half as flighty as I affect to be:)

Don't go changin', to try and please us!

Seriously, I think too many of us undervalue frivolity and flightiness, which go a long way toward making bearable a life than can too often be dark and foreboding. I think the distinction between Serious and Frivolous is often arbitrary and false: Studying classical violin in college, for instance, is serious and playing basketball in college is frivolous, despite the fact that both are primarily physical skills that are developed through endless practice and repetition, and whose end product is a public performance intended to entertain people. If a violin player leaves school early to become the concertmaster of an orchestra, the music department reaps great praise; if a point guard leaves school early to become the first-round draft pick of an NBA team, the athletic department gets ripped for poor graduation rates... because classical music is Very, Very Important® while basketball is a Mindless Game©.

Josh, I don't actually agree that your contributions are usually frivolous or flighty... but when they are, wear it with pride, dude: You're doing FSM's work!

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

But the purpose of this is to alleviate the taste of the tequila, right? The True Mexican way is the reverse.

What? No, and no, afaik.
The idea is to mix a margarita in your mouth without the sugar. Sequentially. Each flavor complements the last; there is no "alleviation."

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

David M.: I don't think any of this has been published yet, but there was a talk by some Kansas herpetologists at the Systematic Biology meeting last summer about this particular issue...essentially, how does one parameterize gamma? And you are dead on (as usual). Run time increases significantly. The difference between STRUCTURE's "K" and gamma, is that noone supposes that they have discovered that 4-rate classes exist, if the mean log-likelihood for a 4-rate class run is higher than for a 3 rate-class run. However, this is what has been discussed here (and elsewhere) regarding the discovery of human population groups by Rosenberg et al. (2003).

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Either you're too fat or too skinny. Too short or too tall. Too curvy or too flat. Color of hair is good, but texture is bad. And so on, and so on.

And in each of these dichotomies, you'll be at both ends at the same time for different people.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

...I don't know the etiquette for this thread that never ends. Can anyone jump in?

I've developed a slightly more positive feeling towards sports chauvanism recently; my friends and family have all been too busy being incredibly giddy over the Superbowl to recall financial woes and personal illnesses, but unlike, say, heavy drug users (my initial suspicion when I picked up the phone and heard my widowed aunt shrieking with incoherent joy) they're not ignoring reality. They just don't mind it any more.

Also, I think the buying spree might have been some useful business for NOLA. Seriously, you could've taken a crap, painted a fleur de lis on it an sold it for twenty bucks.

Average tuition + fees at public universities is above 7000 $!?! I just can't grasp it.

In Britain, the actual cost of providing undergraduate tuition is about £10,000 per year (or more for lab-heavy science and medicine courses). However, tuition fees charged to home and EU students are capped at £3,000 per year, with the taxpayer and the universities absorbing the rest. Recently, it's been observed that this is simply unsustainable (especially with nearly 50% of young people now going into higher education) and that fees will probably have to rise. Obviously, the student activist movement is militating against it.

Part of the problem is that we now have so many universities and so many students. In the 1970s, fewer than 10% of British young people went to university; the number is now more like 45%. All the former polytechnics and technical colleges (perhaps similar to what you would call a Fachhochschule, but not as well-regarded) are now allowed to call themselves "universities". Plainly, not all of the "degrees" awarded are equally rigorous (one can actually do a three-year degree in "Leisure Studies" at several institutions, for instance). And so we're subsidising thousands more students, some of whom are doing little other than getting drunk and partying for three years. (Not that there's anything wrong with getting drunk and partying, but the taxpayer probably shouldn't be funding it...)

See? That's your loophole right there. A God-shaped, God-sized hole.

Not really. I don't believe in God any more, but the substance of the promise is still equally binding (just as it would be if I had taken the optional non-religious affirmation instead).

One doesn't get to break one's promises just because one has changed one's mind. If that were the case, then the concept of a promise would be worthless.

Etiquette? If there's etiquette involved here then I've already diddled the doorflap.

For some reason, I find almost all my Pharyngula contributions are on the frivolous side. I have a career I take seriously, I care deeply about politics, education, and church-state separation issues. I'm far more serious in other electronic venues, and politically active in my private life. Guess I've been feeling sheepish about being a silly SpokesGay here, and don't want you all to think I'm half as flighty as I affect to be:)

Your posts don't even come close to touching the level of silly, frivolous, non-serious and non-technical ones I usually make.

I'm to the point where I come here to read the serious posts more than try to contribute to them, because frankly I'm over matched on the majority of science, theology and philosophy related posting here.

I see poor logic, bad reasoning and plain stupidity and I can comment on that. Beyond those points I'm cracking jokes and talking about bacon.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

One doesn't get to break one's promises just because one has changed one's mind. If that were the case, then the concept of aOne doesn't get to break one's promises just because one has changed one's mind. If that were the case, then the concept of a promise would be worthless. promise would be worthless.

Are former Nazis bound to be forever loyal to Hitler's goals? If one joins a skinhead gang, is one morally obligated to never leave?

Seriously, listen to yourself. This "I must obey the royal family because of a compulsory affirmation made while my brain was still undeveloped" tripe is massively creepy.

Wow, I messed up that quote. Should be:

One doesn't get to break one's promises just because one has changed one's mind. If that were the case, then the concept of a promise would be worthless.

I see poor logic, bad reasoning and plain stupidity and I can comment on that...

... and I think it's safe to say, Rev., you'll never lack for material.

And seriously (or frivolously, or whatever works, here), Josh, it's not like you can't hear it coming since I'm saying it, but as far as I'm concerned there is immense value to being downright flippant when what you're answering hardly merits anything more substantive as an answer...

It goes back to that whole silly 'question' at the conference, incidentally. As in: sometimes the right thing to say is just putz, that isn't even a question. That's just stupid. Farting in your general direction would be bringing the level of discussion up from there, pretty much... You should count yourself lucky I don't just do that...

Besides which, much as I'd like to give you a heavily technical and technically correct answer, (a) you're not going to hear it anyway, and (b) it's kinda hard to do that when you're still spitting your drink through your nose from laughing at the sheer incongruity of the fact that someone stupid enough to ask that question has somehow survived long enough into this century to be posting on this blog...

Somewhat more to the point: it does say something. It says 'I really can't take this person seriously.' And since, seriously, sometimes I seriously can't, this seriously needs saying.

(/See also: they will pry my richly-earned frivolity from my heavily medicated hands.)

but there was a talk by some Kansas herpetologists at the Systematic Biology meeting last summer about this particular issue...

That's all above my head, but thanks for the link anyway, because that's how I found an interview with Joseph Felsenstein! He commented, and so did John Huelsenbeck. I did "comparative biology" (trying to find out if there's a trend in the evolution of body size of dinosaurs) for my Master's. Still not published, because it's still not clear which method works best… and most of the candidates weren't even reasonably feasible when I wrote that thesis. :-(

Can anyone jump in?

You just did :-)

Part of the problem is that we now have so many universities and so many students.

That's not a bug, Walton. That's a feature.

  • Not only are there fewer and fewer jobs in general, there are even fewer and fewer jobs that don't require a lot of education.
  • Basic research is where technical applications come from, and that's where industry comes from; occasionally, industry still creates jobs.
  • Of course, often those technical applications lead to automatisation instead. In those cases, the only jobs that are created require understanding of how the machines work and how they could be improved. That, again, requires a lot of education.
  • Lots of species are dying out while we don't know anything about them, including potential commercial, medical, whatever applications. We need more systematists, more, more, more. That requires a lot of education.
  • We're messing with the climate. To do anything about that, we need to understand it. Only fully educated climatologists have any chance of seriously understanding it. We need more, more, more of them.

In all seriousness, every spare penny should be thrown at research and teaching.

one can actually do a three-year degree in "Leisure Studies" at several institutions, for instance

Aren't the commercial applications enormous?

And so we're subsidising thousands more students, some of whom are doing little other than getting drunk and partying for three years.

Wake me up when you can show that the detriments of this outweigh the benefits I listed above.

Not really. I don't believe in God any more, but the substance of the promise is still equally binding (just as it would be if I had taken the optional non-religious affirmation instead).

Then why is the oath worded that way?

One doesn't get to break one's promises just because one has changed one's mind. If that were the case, then the concept of a promise would be worthless.

Comment 249.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

otrame:

I don't think I commented before on the "women made to feel unwelcome" bit over at the Intersuction.

Wait...am I meant to be feeling unwelcome here? Why did no one send me the memo?

It goes back to that whole silly 'question' at the conference, incidentally. As in: sometimes the right thing to say is just putz, that isn't even a question. That's just stupid.

And besides, there are always people who suffer from SIWOTI syndrome and will feel compelled to provide a detailed answer that leaves no nit unpicked. :-) If you don't feel like doing that yourself, just sit back, relax, and watch me doing it.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Carlie (@239):

It's because with the way beauty and culture are intertwined, you can't win. Either you're too fat or too skinny. Too short or too tall. Too curvy or too flat. Color of hair is good, but texture is bad. And so on, and so on. ... Even the women who are considered to be the most beautiful get Photoshopped to heck for PR purposes; that actively tells them that they aren't good enough, and then of course what chance do the rest of us have?

I agree that these are the standards that are applied particularly to the people who are held up as public icons of beauty... whose livelihood depends in some part on being (or being perceived as) beautiful. But I don't think that's really the way people on the street assess each other. That is, the same people who delight at sneering over every cellulite-emphasizing candid shot in the National Enquirer really look at their friends and neighbors (and husbands and wives) with much more generous eyes. One of the truly sad bits about this is how many people judge themselves according to the artificial standards of the beauty elites, rather than seeing themselves through the same eyes the people they actually know and care about are using.

Then, too, I guess I'm some sort of a freak: I don't recognize terms like too curvy, too flat, too short, too tall, etc., except for values of too so great that we're verging on unambiguous physical deformity.

Which brings me to David M. (@240):

to me, "normal" and "attractive" are mutually exclusive

Now you're just being a curmudgeon. In my previous comment, I alluded to a "bell curve" distribution of attractiveness. My own curve is gently sloped and very broad; you're beginning to convince me that your version of the curve is so steep and narrow that it more closely resembles an inverted T than a bell. Perhaps my curve is broader than the average person's would be, but I'm pretty sure yours is much narrower... and honestly, I prefer my "error" to yours.

You presumed, unconsciously, that everyone more or less shares your taste in beauty and expressed surprise when it appeared that that wasn't the case.

No, and no:

I didn't at all presume that "everyone more or less shares [my] taste in beauty." In fact, if I were to describe in detail my ideoplatonic form©¹ of Beautiful Woman, the pictures Ol' Greg linked to wouldn't match that description very closely at all. The same, BTW, could be said about my wife, and pretty much all the women I dated before her, and virtually all of the real-life women I have silly media crushes on. It's not that I think there's some narrow definition of attractiveness — my own, of course — that I expect everyone to agree with; rather, I presume that the boundaries of the not-ugly "design space" (as my engineer friends might put it) are sufficiently broad that a large fraction of people fall within them. Clearly you don't agree, but please don't try to characterize our disagreement as some self-centered blindness on my part. I wouldn't apply the term ugly (let alone, as OG described her younger self, very, very ugly) to anyone who wasn't pretty close to objectively deformed, and I'd be almost as reluctant to use even the milder unattractive.

And I wasn't surprised that "everyone" didn't agree with my assessment of OG's attractiveness; I was surprised that she didn't. My question was not so much about what constitutes beauty, but about how people — and in this particular case, women — perceive and react to their own beauty.

¹ ideoplatonic form copyright Neologisms 'R' Us, 2010.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I see poor logic, bad reasoning and plain stupidity and I can comment on that. Beyond those points I'm cracking jokes and talking about bacon.

Bacon? Did someone mention bacon?

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Basic research is where technical applications come from, and that's where industry comes from; occasionally, industry still creates jobs.

True. But most of the fourth-tier universities do very little high-level research. If we're talking about research alone, would be more cost-effective to pour more money into research at the top 50 universities.

# Lots of species are dying out while we don't know anything about them, including potential commercial, medical, whatever applications. We need more systematists, more, more, more. That requires a lot of education.
# We're messing with the climate. To do anything about that, we need to understand it. Only fully educated climatologists have any chance of seriously understanding it. We need more, more, more of them.

As derisory as it may sound, a high proportion of the population don't have the intellectual ability to make decent systematists or climatologists. Not everyone actually has the capacity for success in the sciences. The extra students in higher education at the fourth-tier universities are not doing high-quality, high-level degrees or going on to postgraduate work and scientific research. They're doing degrees in Sports Coaching and Applied Recreation, or similar fields, and going on to low-paid non-graduate jobs.

In all seriousness, every spare penny should be thrown at research and teaching.

We don't have any spare pennies. We have a budget deficit and a spiralling national debt. Something has to be cut.

Wait...am I meant to be feeling unwelcome here? Why did no one send me the memo?

Oh. Sorry 'bout that. I'll add you the list of Mad Women of The Hoard, and send you an official Ur Not Welcome certificate, redeemable at fine blogs everywhere (may contain bacon).

There, feel better now?

Something has to be cut.

Off with their heads!

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

For what it's worth, David, if you recall me chipping in about being able to tell someone is "attractive" in the previous thread, I was working with much the same understanding/definition being expounded in #255.

Perhaps my curve is broader than the average person's would be, but I'm pretty sure yours is much narrower...

Certainly. I never claimed not to be highly unusual in that respect.

(Even though I think there are several optima, not just one, and even though there are interesting things like… I don't seem to care about hair color at all. :-| Lots of people have beautiful hair, even though not everyone does. Go figure.)

And I wasn't surprised that "everyone" didn't agree with my assessment of OG's attractiveness; I was surprised that she didn't.

Why would you so strongly expect anyone to agree with your personal assessment, strongly enough that so much surprise resulted? :-)

And a self-assessment of beauty can hardly be founded only on one's own sense of aesthetics; it comes mostly from what other people say and imply. Those people are why I got generic and said "not everyone".

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

If we're talking about research alone, would be more cost-effective to pour more money into research at the top 50 universities.

This ignores the fact that many students get their first research experience at Tier-2 (and lower) institutions. Research is a teaching and training experience,as well as one of discovery. The National Science Foundation (USA) targets funding toward some of the lower-level institutions for this reason...even Tier 1 institution proposals must demonstrate a training component.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

True. But most of the fourth-tier universities do very little high-level research. If we're talking about research alone, would be more cost-effective to pour more money into research at the top 50 universities.

How do you know? What is "high-level research"? Except for plagiarism and fraud, every single paper ever published is new, it adds something to the global knowledge…

And why are there tiers of universities in the first place? That just doesn't make the slightest amount of sense. Why not pour money on the fourth-tier ones till they join the first tier?

As derisory as it may sound, a high proportion of the population don't have the intellectual ability to make decent systematists or climatologists. Not everyone actually has the capacity for success in the sciences.

Then they won't study sciences, or will drop out during the first 2 years, if not the first 6 months. :-| Complete nonproblem.

We don't have any spare pennies. We have a budget deficit and a spiralling national debt. Something has to be cut.

There are always possible performance improvements in bureaucracy… and then there's the military, which is almost everywhere financed to overkill. Stop me before I write a two- or three-screen rant about Austria :^)

For what it's worth, David, if you recall me chipping in about being able to tell someone is "attractive" in the previous thread, I was working with much the same understanding/definition being expounded in #255.

I understood.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Behold the appalling Intersect
Which is now so soundly wrecked
Trolls that Pharyngula did reject
There rant and rave and demand respect

"Ban!" and "Bash!" they Inter-socked
Mad because they have been mocked
The virtual gates are for them locked
See them faint from feeling shocked

The Overlords they'd have Inter-sicced
So greatly had their pride been pricked
Words and phrases they'd claim had squicked
By use of quote-mining they'd have tricked

"P. Z. must be Inter-sacked !!"
"From his blog he must be hacked !!"
"His tenure must be made untracked !!"
"And his body must be racked !!"

All hope is gone and Inter-sucked
Into the vat that trolls have mucked
Sane discourse of course been bucked
And to them all, a loud: "Get ... over yourselves!"

/doggerel

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

My own curve is gently sloped and very broad;

The term is platykurtic.

you're beginning to convince me that your version of the curve is so steep and narrow that it more closely resembles an inverted T than a bell.

Leptokurtic.

In my previous comment, I alluded to a "bell curve" distribution of attractiveness.

Oh, but it's okay for bells to be the standard for curviness among distributions? As the future President of ADAN (All Distributions Are 'Normal') when it exists, I will fight for the recognition of beauty in the Poisson, Gamma, Pareto, Laplace, Rayleigh and other distributions in addition to the Gaussian.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

The difference between STRUCTURE's "K" and gamma, is that noone supposes that they have discovered that 4-rate classes exist, if the mean log-likelihood for a 4-rate class run is higher than for a 3 rate-class run.

Well, although both are abstractions, I think the situations are not very analogous since the discrete gamma model is an attempt to model a single continuous distribution* by dividing it into N categories, instead of trying to divide individuals into N groups... What would be the equivalent of the gamma distribution for the population genetics model? Gets weird when you think about it :)

*so it assumes that mutation rates are "in reality" distributed continuously, but even "mutation rates" don't really "exist" in a very real sense IMO, so it's an abstraction of an abstraction of an abstraction.

and then there's the military, which is almost everywhere financed to overkill. Stop me before I write a two- or three-screen rant about Austria :^)

IIRC, Austria is a neutral country with no military commitments overseas, so I won't argue with the fact that Austria probably doesn't need a particularly strong military. This is not the case in Britain. Our armed forces are currently stretched to breaking-point (and under-equipped) in Afghanistan. We also have to spend lots of money maintaining other presences around the world, like a substantial operational garrison in the Falklands (which may seem bizarre, but the Argentinians are still very keen to invade the islands, especially with the newfound oil wealth).

Admittedly, the UK's military spending is sometimes misallocated; it's hard to see why Britain needs to spend billions building two of the new QEII-class aircraft carriers (other than, cynically, to create jobs in marginal constituencies). But we do need to maintain our high level of military spending overall.

Then, too, I guess I'm some sort of a freak: I don't recognize terms like too curvy, too flat, too short, too tall, etc., except for values of too so great that we're verging on unambiguous physical deformity.

Bill, all of these are something that girls and women have to deal with all of the time. Hit puberty too soon and there is obviously something predatory about you. Having large breasts means that one is an easy lay. Having small breasts means that one is barely a woman. Having straight/curly hair when curly/straight hair means that one does not fit in. Walking down the street while not wearing a smile is an invitation to a stranger to inform you that you should smile.

Bill, just because you may not be a part of the extremely judgmental nature of appearances does not mean a female is not constantly immersed in this morass.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

David M.:

Why would you so strongly expect anyone to agree with your personal assessment, strongly enough that so much surprise resulted?

I think terms like so strongly and so much surprise constitute a somewhat revisionist view of my comments: I didn't exactly shriek and run from the room with my arms flapping! I saw some pictures that depicted someone whose looks, I judged, put her squarely within the general public's definition of attractive and that I found more than a little attractive (my choice of the word "delectable" was primarily a rhetorical nod to the food-related theme of the pictures)... yet the subject of those pictures described herself as "not that palatable," and I wondered why.

My curiousity was never about agreement with me, per se; it was strictly about how OG and, by extension, people generally perceive themselves. My opinion was entirely incidental, relevant only because my expression of it created the occasion for the rest of the conversation.

And a self-assessment of beauty can hardly be founded only on one's own sense of aesthetics; it comes mostly from what other people say and imply.

Hmmm.. IMHO, one's self-assessment of beauty ought to be founded on one's own sense of aesthetics; what other people say and imply informs one's understanding of how other people assess one's beauty... which one may or may not care much about. Ideally, one's self-assessment will roughly overlap with the assessments of others, so that one won't suffer too much cognitive dissonance or cultural dislocation... but first and foremost, I think one should like oneself, and let the chips of others fall where they may.

Seriously, my hope and expectation is that people — even "regular" people — will generally feel good about themselves, including about their physical being. To the extent that they don't, it... well, I guess I can't claim it actually surprises me, the world being as it is, but it certainly confounds my best hopes. When, as appears to be the case with OG, this condition is the residue of past cruelties, it also saddens and infuriates me.

None of this has anything to do with some invidious expectation that everyone else ought to agree with my own personal aesthetics.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I apologise that my posts are not as coherent as usual. I'm still quite ill, with what I suspect to be 'flu or some other viral infection: temperature, shivering fits, intermittent headaches and muscle aches, dehydration, exhaustion, and so on. Despite this, I heroically dragged myself out of bed this morning and studied for many hours in preparation for a class... and am now half-dead, and barely able to totter a few steps from the computer to brush my teeth and go to bed. :-( This may not have been sensible.

Walking down the street while not wearing a smile is an invitation to a stranger to inform you that you should smile.

Ooooooohhh... that one's the absolute worst... I have the same opinion of those people as I do for those who tell me they'll pray for me...

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

(which may seem bizarre, but the Argentinians are still very keen to invade the islands, especially with the newfound oil wealth).

and? what the hell do you need a bunch of islands on the other end of the world for?

you should have left them to the Argentinians the first time around.

-----

Anyway, let me sum this up:

-belief that a monarchy is a good thing, despite acknowledging all its flaws
-belief that it's ok and even laudable to invade other countries "for their own good"
-belief in the necessity of British military might
-distrust of democracy
-downright Piltonesque belief that things would be better if education was once again a privilege for the very few

my conclusion: Walton actually seems to believe that some people are better than others, and those betters should be running the world for the benefit of the unwashed masses. :-/

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

to me, "normal" and "attractive" are mutually exclusive

addendum to #266: here David illustrates the problems with trying to fit discrete categories on a continuous distribution (but I suppose it speeds up computation?) ;)

I agree that these are the standards that are applied particularly to the people who are held up as public icons of beauty... whose livelihood depends in some part on being (or being perceived as) beautiful. But I don't think that's really the way people on the street assess each other.

I see you've never been in a high school girls' locker room.
(at least, I certainly hope not)

Seriously, they do, and they do during puberty, when everything is out of whack and things that happen to you/are said to you are the things that stick with you FOREVER until you get them out in therapy. Or not. Mean Girls is not just a movie title. Girls are ruthless in assessing, manipulating, and maintaining the proper pecking order.

-downright Piltonesque belief that things would be better if education was once again a privilege for the very few

That's uncharitable, and I think stretching what he said. What he really thinks is that hard-working people shouldn't have to pay for the equivalent of "college basketweaving". But the end result is he uses this preference to advocate making higher education less accessible. He just doesn't realize the end result of what he's advocating, whereas Pilty would revel in it.

Personally, I simply view Walton's opinions as heavily influenced by socialization with his social betters. And the sad part is he doesn't seem to realize that the sum of his "feelings" on government/education results from premises leading to your conclusion, he simply hasn't thought through them sufficiently/connected the dots to realize that.

But then, as I recently mentioned in another thread I am often too quick to assume good faith. Hm.

and? what the hell do you need a bunch of islands on the other end of the world for?

you should have left them to the Argentinians the first time around.

Well, there are some 2 to 3,000 British nationals living on the islands - many of whom have lived there for several generations, and own property there - who really, really don't want to be governed by Argentina. But I guess the principle of self-determination doesn't apply to them, huh?

-belief that it's ok and even laudable to invade other countries "for their own good"

Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. International military intervention in Sierra Leone was a good thing, and saved countless lives. So too with Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia... do you want me to continue? Sadly, people often forget the successes of multilateral military intervention.

Yes, Iraq was a clusterfuck and a completely stupid idea. For three reasons: (1) it was not backed by the UN Security Council, and was almost certainly illegal under international law; (2) it was very badly planned and hopelessly naive, with no plan for reconstruction of Iraq after the war; and (3) it destabilised a country that, despite the barbarity of its previous regime, used to be one of the more secular and stable nations in the Middle East - therefore increasing, not reducing, terrorism and fundamentalism in the region. But this doesn't mean that all military intervention is ipso facto bad. Where intervention is justified to stop a civil war or prevent a genocide - as in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, etc - then it is the right thing to do. It should always be done multilaterally by the international community, not by a single power acting alone, but this doesn't make intervention a bad thing.

Bill, you seem genuinely concerned. So I’m going to try and take the time to answer you then. Please understand I speak for myself alone and not for “women” first and foremost. I know that my life differed from the norm, and where that intersects with “women’s issues” in general I’m not sure and probably never will be. In the case that I may be of interest to you, or to people who are concerned with how image, body, self can become distorted psychologically I will simply post what I think is accurate at this moment. I apologize if this post is disturbing to some. Please try not to hold it against me too much I’m really a bit depressed right now anyway.

Some here may find me pretty, some times I do too. Some here may find me not to their liking. Perhaps it should be noted that I don’t consider my looks for myself. I dress and look however people seem to like me to look and do my best to correspond to their desires. I don’t have desires about how people look. I know that sounds crazy but I don’t.

Personally, I’ve commented before that (AFAIK) nobody has ever looked at me with unbridled lust or been attracted to me on purely physical grounds… but I would never describe myself as ugly.

I have had the exact opposite experience. People have lusted after me but I have never found that made me feel more beautiful. I am lucky in some ways though maybe that I corresponded at times to norms of beauty because it did grant me at times an untouchable status which my less fortunate friends didn’t get. In other words they were expected to be grateful for unwanted lust and all its consequences. Witnessing this had an effect on me, I will not lie. When I was young I had fantasies of burning or mutilating my face so that people would see “the real me” instead. I spent years at around 100 lbs which considering my height is pretty damned thin. I threw away a career in modeling when I dipped down to 95 lbs and ended up in the hospital for some resulting health complications. Obviously I couldn’t represent a healthy American teen when I so obviously wasn’t one.

To understand you might have to imagine that no matter what I looked like I learned as a child it would never matter, I would always be ugly despite it. I also spent some time being told Iwas unusually beautiful. This also seemed to have no correspondence to my real looks. Now I am aging and I am told that I will never be as pretty as I was. It is maddening. Now some of this does move into women’s issues.

I suspect that the constant barrage of information that has in reality little to no relationship to what can actually be seen or sense distorts eventually even the basic ability to judge one’s self.

It is assumed that my body exists for people’s viewing pleasure, and I put that in practice ever day despite the fact that I will then be called vain for the effort.

People are always welcome to tell me whether they find me fat or skinny, whether my hair is pretty or a good color, whether I should wear more or less makeup, whether my breasts are large enough, whether they are sexually attracted to me or not. It is open at all times and I have no say or control in how this thing, this image, which over the years I have learned to consider less like you might consider yourself as your self and more like you might consider a rock or a tree out in the hills some were that for some reason your intrinsic value will always be tied to.

I’m noticeably overweight (though not grotesquely so); I have a bit of a weak chin

I don’t have this objective sense of myself. Instead I see my looks as a set of goals I will either do what it takes to make them or fall short of them. They are external to me and in reality my sense of identity is almost entirely detached. I resent some times being burdened with a physical body at all. I resent when my body will not conform or correspond to what I set out for it.

I’d like to separate the manifest pathology of some individuals and microcultures (a term that, AFAIK, I’ve just made up; any resemblance to the actual technical language of sociology is purely incidental ) from the pathology (if any) of the larger culture. I desperately hope the kind of stuff you cite here is the former, and not evidence of the latter.

I don’t really know. Can you really separate this way? Is it irrelevant? Too far away from what reality you have experienced to matter? Would the same thing apply if I were a black girl, if I grew up in another society altogether? I’m not sure that there’s anything but microcultures when you start doing things that way.

who report having been ugly, or having been considered ugly, in their youth. You’d almost think there was some sort of Conservation Law for beauty: You can be a beautiful child or a beautiful adult, but not both.

I’ve been considered beautiful and I’ve been considered ugly. Now I am aging, and already don’t recognize myself some times because I see the invisible old woman I believe I will become. I try to think of these things infrequently, but it weighs on me either way. I’m morbidly fascinated with my own face. I’m always curious whether people consider me attractive or not. I don’t see myself at all but rather see my relative beauty in their responses. Their saying so makes it, because I learned long ago that my own opinion could not really count, and yet it does regardless and usually in the negative.

Should I begin getting surgeries? Should I have some filler, botox, should I have taken the suggestion an agent made and had my nose cut a bit so that I wouldn’t look horsey and thin as I aged? Should should should. It will ruin your life, this.

Instead, I suspect the allegedly ugly early versions of beautiful people were in fact already beautiful, or at least were obviously going to be, and the “conventional wisdom” of their age-peers was actually an expression of envy.

Whether you or anyone finds me beautiful now, I was not so much ugly as a child as considered ugly. I was poor, from a damaged upbringing, and visibly from another class than then the children at that particular relatively isolated school. Remember that a big part of beauty is privilege too. The markings of privilege are a lot of what we consider “mainstream” beauty in the US.

I was strange, hyper sensitive, over thoughtful in my demeanor, and had trouble fitting in. I became the “it” that no longer is seen as human. Beauty, physical beauty, doesn’t matter. I knew even then that there would be nothing in my power that would make me more beautiful or better liked. Despite knowing that, the sense of ugliness infected me to my core. I learned that I would always be ugly no matter what.

Most abused children I think are not abused because of real physical defects but rather anything you do will be used against you. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was the most beautiful girl in the world. Also in my case over the course of a couple years I sustained broken teeth and facial scars that left me less pretty. I also had matted dirty hair, dirty poor clothes that stunk like smoke, and thick glasses. You might have seen a pretty girl under it all but most people don’t look that long. Chances are good you would have seen, no matter how benevolently you intended it, a dirty high risk hick child that would probably be pregnant in three or four years. What is beautiful anyway?

In some ways when you say that I look lovely to you in the pictures all you are saying is that I have achieved “passing complexion” so to speak, at least in your eyes.

Beauty…I compulsively read old medical manuals. After so many images of damaged tissue, real deformities, signs of illness… I’ve developed an aesthetic that includes it. Can you imagine a beautiful benign tumor? I can.

Carlie:

(although he's chiming in occasionally to agree with Ramsey and to tell me that Frank McCourt would be deeply disappointed in me).

I about fell off my chair laughing when I saw him admonishing Pharyngulites to do something or other with alacrity, then goes on to add that alacrity was one of Frank McCourt's favourite words. Kwak is stuffed chock full of WTF.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Girls are ruthless in assessing, manipulating, and maintaining the proper pecking order.

this is another moment where I'm really glad I went to the school I did. Looks were mostly a non-issue among the girls there, as far as I can tell.

I fucking love the German 3-tier system (well, ok, it probably could be shrunk to 2-tier, similar to the old-fashioned American 2-track system), and I'm very unhappy to see it being slowly abandoned for large one-size-fits-all schools

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Brownian (@265):

Forgive my lack of precision. Having flunked statistics is one of the reasons I'm not an engineer. I only know just barely enough about any sort of distribution to (maybe) construct a passable metaphor; nothing more specific than that was intended.

Janine (@268):

Bill, all of these are something that girls and women have to deal with all of the time.

I get it; I really do.

...just because you may not be a part of the extremely judgmental nature of appearances does not mean a female is not constantly immersed in this morass.

Hence my description of myself as a freak, and earlier as naively utopian. I understand that my rejection of the "morass" doesn't make it not be... but still, I don't and won't buy into it. I don't pretend that women and girls don't have to deal with this shit, but hopefully it's somewhat useful to know that not everyone promotes the shit.

Indeed, my original question to OG was posed in hopes of better understanding the sort of shit women have to deal with.

That said, in my personal experience, "regular people" really do take a notably more generous and humane view of the looks of other "regular people" (celebrities are effectively a different species). Maybe that's just more utopian naivete on my part, or maybe I just hang out with a better-than-average class of "regular people." Suffice it to say that my habit of hopefulness — on this or any other issue — is never intended to deny or denigrate the real challenges others face.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

windy--the rate classes of the gamma could be treated in a similar way to the "K" populations if one were interested in identifying mutational hotspots or conserved regions in genes, in which case nucleotide sites could be treated as individuals to be assigned to populations. If one were to model "K" allowing the MCMC to jump between different values of "K"*, a secondary gamma distribution might be appropriate to describe it.

Brownian...I'm a Dirichlet man myself.

*But apparently, this represents a computational nightmare...mmmm.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton @ #150

Incidentally, the oath I took is..

I have no idea what you're talking about Walton. I was specifically referring to the Bar oath or affirmation which is nothing like that (and incidentally has nothing regarding the Queen in it and is all essentially blah blah, uphold the law, blah blah etc)and you, as student, could not have taken, and won't be for a few years yet.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, there are some 2 to 3,000 British nationals living on the islands - many of whom have lived there for several generations, and own property there - who really, really don't want to be governed by Argentina. But I guess the principle of self-determination doesn't apply to them, huh?

british population of the Falkland islands: 29%

also, how many british had ancient possessions in, say, india, before it became independent?

seriously, those are non-arguments. the british empire is dead, it's high time britain finally realized that. (and the same goes for all the other major milirary empires)

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I fear that Walton has either taken up time-travel (backwards) or is turning into one of David Marjanović's dinosaurs.

When I went to university in 1960, yes 1960, two "facts" were widely believed by the majority of the population ...

* that we in the UK would never, ever need the 8% of school leavers going on to university level education - then the target

* that women's brains weren't up to that sort of pressure and, besides, they would get married, have babies and never go back to work again - so even if they survived it would all be wasted

...... both of which look utterly ridiculous with hindsight but were taken as beyond question at the time.

Then there was the problem, as there is now, of what counts as real education. Before this turns into a rant, let me simply say that, yes, we do need theoretical physics to have the internet but do, please, show me a theoretical physicist who could design the Mac I'm doing this on or come up with the algorithm for Google. They may well have the intellectual capacity but do they have the imagination? Or the basics of psychology? Or the applied knowledge in design and materials science? Probably not!

Humanity generally and the UK economy right this minute needs people who can communicate, who understand how people operate in groups, who have the confidence to stand up to both the ivory tower types and the accountants - to actually get something done.

The social sciences - theoretical and applied - make a real contribution right now. No-one is forced at gunpoint to do a degree in Leisure Management or Product Design but disdain for such ideas is misplaced in the developed economies of 2010.

Besides, if we can afford a monarchy we can afford education and I know which one I'm still rooting for.

By maureen.brian#b5c92 (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

blf:

Oh. Sorry 'bout that. I'll add you the list of Mad Women of The Hoard, and send you an official Ur Not Welcome certificate, redeemable at fine blogs everywhere (may contain bacon).

There, feel better now?

Yes, much better, thank you!

Ya know, I've been wondering whether "bacon in a can" is any good; could I have my certificate laminated on one of those?

Janine, MoFMA OM:

Walking down the street while not wearing a smile is an invitation to a stranger to inform you that you should smile.

Oh, yeah. I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together. Flabbergasted didn't even begin cover my reaction!

Well, there are some 2 to 3,000 British nationals living on the islands - many of whom have lived there for several generations, and own property there - who really, really don't want to be governed by Argentina. But I guess the principle of self-determination doesn't apply to them, huh?

Then what the frack are they doing there?

To paraphrase The Donald (Rumsfeld, not the other one), "You live in the society you are given, not the one you would wish for." Seriously. Now, I realize the descendants of colonizers might wish to continue under the regime of their historic homeland, rather than the land they colonized, but honestly -- what do they expect? To be coddled like little children?

"Self-determination" is a myth. There is no such thing. The few who try it tend to die of exposure in Denali Park. The fact is, we all rely on society to give us a cushy life. Every one of us relies more on strangers than we do those we know. There is no such thing as self-determination.

And it's better that way.

Honestly, our militaries should pull out of all occupied countries. Not immediately, mind you, as I know we have responsibilities. But we should institute a plan for eventual (meaning, in no more than 50 years) removal of all military.

Where would this leave all the British folks off the coast of Argentina? Well, in Argentina. It's not like there's no precedent. It's not like things went to frack in Hong Kong.

Anyway, just my drunken rant. It's 5 o'clock somewhere. Am I right, or am I right? (In the 5 o'clock somewhere thing. I'm probably complete wrong in the rest.)

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Carlie:

Seriously, they do, and they do during puberty, when everything is out of whack and things that happen to you/are said to you are the things that stick with you FOREVER until you get them out in therapy. Or not. Mean Girls is not just a movie title. Girls are ruthless in assessing, manipulating, and maintaining the proper pecking order.

I was lucky, I never got that. I went to a large, public HS in Southern California. I was perceived to be an overly intelligent stoner, so I was left alone pretty much. (I was definitely the stoner part, the overly intelligent part, I don't really think so, but I was bored to death in school.)

The most I ever heard about my physical self was "you're just right!" which I found incredibly annoying, but that's all. Mostly, I didn't care about that sort of thing, all I wanted was to get out of HS, out of my grandparents house, into college and life on my own. I spent as little time as possible at HS; I showed up to turn in homework and take exams. I graduated a year early and never looked back. HS was something I had to do, nothing more.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bill, seeing that Ol'Greg did go into deal about her self image, I do not feel the need to add or distract from what she says. I did not mean for that post to be an attack on you. But, as many have been pointing out, there can be great scrutiny on features the their really is little control over.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I have no idea what you're talking about Walton. I was specifically referring to the Bar oath or affirmation which is nothing like that (and incidentally has nothing regarding the Queen in it and is all essentially blah blah, uphold the law, blah blah etc)and you, as student, could not have taken, and won't be for a few years yet.

I realise that. My discussion was carried over from a different thread; it's the oath I took when I joined the Officer Training Corps, as a first-year student more than two years ago. I wasn't talking about lawyers' oaths. Apologies for creating confusion (as I said above, I am very ill and not as coherent as usual).

Cicely:

Oh, yeah. I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together. Flabbergasted didn't even begin cover my reaction!

Out shopping one time, a random man stopped, looked me over and said, you should smile, you would be *so* pretty if you smiled. I stared at him for a bit and said "I wonder what getting slapped would do for you?" He looked shocked and ran off.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

nigelTheBold: I don't know why you seem to be assuming, a priori, that the Falkland Islands are somehow "naturally" part of Argentina. There are very few Argentines now living there. The only Argentine settlement ever on the islands, founded in 1828, was destroyed in 1831 (incidentally, by the US, not Britain), so there are no living former Argentine settlers with claims to the land.

Islands do not automatically belong to the country to whose coast they are closest. I don't know where you would get such an idea. Should we give the Channel Islands to France, too? It's much more sensible for sovereignty over a territory to be decided by the wishes of the people actually living there, expressed democratically.

Oh, yeah. I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together. Flabbergasted didn't even begin cover my reaction!

Cicely, I think I would had been sputtering non words with steam drifting out of my ears.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink
walking down the street while not wearing a smile is an invitation to a stranger to inform you that you should smile.

Oh, yeah. I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together. Flabbergasted didn't even begin cover my reaction!

If memory serves, there is a term in the social sciences called 'badging'. Briefly, someone is 'badged' when there is some aspect about them that some members of the public feel it is acceptable to violate the normal rules of non-interaction. A classic example is of two individuals carrying a heavy object such as a couch down the street. Normally, it's rude (at least in Western cultures) to make a passing remark to two individuals, but if they're carrying a couch? "Heavy work, eh?" "Moving, huh?" or whatever.

Some would argue (and I don't disagree) that women and visible minorities are permanently badged.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton,

Hope you feel better very soon. And - as I rally am old enough to be your grandmother - remember to take on lots of liquid until you feel well enough to eat properly. Then do eat properly, please.

I know I rant at you - you trigger so many of my action buttons - but I also know that behind the cloud of virus and the Victorian draperies there's a bloody good brain in there. I want you to be able to enjoy using it once the pressure of finals is over.

All the best, Maureen

By maureen.brian#b5c92 (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton, I'm trying so very hard not to ask you if you went to the doctor :P

As a newcomer to Texas, I was surprised to find that people feel all-kinds-of comfortable talking to strangers for absolutely no reason at all. Where I'm from, it is considered rude, but here it is called "friendly". Still getting used to it.

On that note, being a baby is definitely a "badge"...strangers will come up and just start yapping delightedly to my daughter. What makes it worse is that my kid seems like an extrovert (as opposed to downright misanthropic, like her P&M). She encourages the yapping by responding positively too it. Gross, right?

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

-the rate classes of the gamma could be treated in a similar way to the "K" populations if one were interested in identifying mutational hotspots or conserved regions in genes

But in that case you might want to just have different rate categories (a "fixed-rate model" perhaps?), without assuming they are part of a gamma distribution?

If one were to model "K" allowing the MCMC to jump between different values of "K"*, a secondary gamma distribution might be appropriate to describe it.

Yes, the K and the gamma dist. might be modeled in similar ways, but if we are talking about if either "exists", I think the way they map to reality is very different.

Ol'Greg at #277

I am a little creepy at times, I know it, and do not wish to make you uncomfortable by focusing my attention on you. That said, whatever you feel about yourself and why you do feel that way, that was a brutal, brave, and beautiful comment you left. As painful as it was, I am glad I had a chance to read it.

I was lucky, I never got that. I went to a large, public HS in Southern California. I was perceived to be an overly intelligent stoner, so I was left alone pretty much.

At my public HS in Southern California, I was simply left alone because I didn't mind making people look stupid when they said stupid things. I can only imagine I had it much easier as a guy, though.

It's much more sensible for sovereignty over a territory to be decided by the wishes of the people actually living there, expressed democratically.

This coming from the guy who has spent days arguing for the monarchy?

Not to mention this is wrongheaded when it comes to colonies. If they took a democratic vote of the West Bank colonizers as to which nation they want to control the land, does that mean Israel is now the rightful West Bank sovereign?

Paul:

I can only imagine I had it much easier as a guy, though.

I don't know about that. I knew plenty of guys who had an absolute miserable time in HS. I really was lucky. Most of the people I know, their HS experience was a truly rotten time in their lives.

Things are very different now, as well. I was in HS during the dark ages (1971 - 1974).;p Back in the day, cutting class was common place. I wasn't actually at my school all that much. The narc who patrolled one side of the parking lot used to party with us, so I never got hassled for cutting. My grandmother knew I cut class, she didn't care as long as I kept up the As. I think I had an extremely easy experience in comparison to most people.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I don't know about that. I knew plenty of guys who had an absolute miserable time in HS.

You know what is funny, despite my problems and the things I wrote in my post at 277 I actually liked HS pretty well. By the time I got to highschool most of my classmates were supportive of my music, acting, etc. and so I was in a sense one of the popular kids although considered too "out there" to be in the crew. Other kids were nice to me though despite the fact I was standoffish with them usually.

Ol' Greg (@277):

As it has in the past, your fearless self-disclosure humbles me. It also makes me ashamed to have been the occasion for it. I've read your comments several times now, and will probably end up doing so several more times in an attempt to truly take them onboard, but I fear I will, at some deep level, fail: There's just nothing in my experience to compare to what you report. While people — including my own father — have occasionally treated me badly, it's never been to the extent that would shake my confidence in the basic decency of my fellow humans. Certainly nothing in my past has ever made me see myself as anything other than my self.

I don't think there's anything useful I can say by way of direct response to your note, so let me just close by saying I never meant for a bit of casual (albeit no less sincere for that) gallantry and some sociological curiosity get this heavy. Forgive me for starting us down this road, and for not realizing sooner where it was heading. I wish for you only whatever it is that brings you peace and makes you happy.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ol'Greg, I'm glad to hear that; it just demonstrates that everyone's HS experience is different.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

so let me just close by saying I never meant for a bit of casual (albeit no less sincere for that) gallantry and some sociological curiosity get this heavy. Forgive me for starting us down this road, and for not realizing sooner where it was heading. I wish for you only whatever it is that brings you peace and makes you happy.

On the contrary. I don't mean to depress people, but I think that frank discussion of such things is at the root of understanding.

You started with a question, and I simply am of the disposition to think that if I were to attempt to speak in general I would be extrapolating from outlying data points perhaps, which would result in inaccuracy and distortion. It certainly isn't the whole of my being, but it is a part of me.

I'm just another person in the world. There are so many different stories and experiences among people.

Just remember if you ask me something about myself I'll probably answer you :P

ol'Greg, why were you so mean to that bunny?

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Jadehawk

british population of the Falkland islands: 29%

I don't know where you got that figure from, but it's wrong. As Walton - bless his little silk socks - says, the vast majority of inhabitants are of British descent, and have been for a very long time.

Now, I'm certainly no nationalist, and was totally opposed to Thatcher's opportunistic (down in the polls, likely to lose the next election) use of the Argentinian invasion dispute to escalate a dispute that might have been settled without bloodshed, but I have to agree with Walton here.

Argentina has a far weaker claim to the islands than Britain does. There were no indigenous inhabitants and sovereignty was tossed backwards and forwards between France, Spain, and Britain. Britons have been the inhabitants for far longer than any other nation. Why should the islanders who have been there for 170 years be made to leave, or live in another country, against their wishes, which "owned" the islands for about 20 years (and used it as a penal colony)?

I can tell I'm going to regret this :)

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

As a newcomer to Texas, I was surprised to find that people feel all-kinds-of comfortable talking to strangers for absolutely no reason at all. Where I'm from, it is considered rude, but here it is called "friendly". Still getting used to it.

On that note, being a baby is definitely a "badge"...strangers will come up and just start yapping delightedly to my daughter. What makes it worse is that my kid seems like an extrovert (as opposed to downright misanthropic, like her P&M). She encourages the yapping by responding positively too it. Gross, right?

Where I'm from, strangers on the street may be acknowledged with a tight half-smile and an eyebrow raise, though circumstances may allow for more or less interaction.

And yes, carrying a baby would be a badge. (I may be wrong on the terminology, FYI.) As for gross, I just spent some time with friends last night, one a brand new father and the other the father of a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old (or something like that), and they excitedly began a conversation about how often their conversations have poop as a theme, which then devolved into an actual conversation with poop as its theme, so I think babies are gross. YMMV.

Ol'Greg: your comment at 277 was brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

(Apologies for all the grammar etc mistakes in #307. Firefox was "not responding" when I tried to preview, and when it returned my post had somehow been sent).

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

ol'Greg, why were you so mean to that bunny?

Well I guess I have a mean streak :P

Boy, can I relate to the "smile" command! I got it constantly as a young woman and it always pissed me off, but I was not assertive enough at the time to flip anyone off. Usually I just looked at the offender with my best stony look (which could terrorize a classroom of seventh-graders), and the smug grin would fade.
The biggest challenge came when, for one summer, I was teaching civil servants at Attica prison, and once a week had to walk outside the full length of D block. Fortunately, my bodyguard warned me ahead of time to walk at an even pace, and look straight ahead and not acknowledge in any way what I was hearing. Talk about being badged! I did however get an education in obscenity, at the top of hootin' and hollerin' inmates' lungs. It was probably the highlight of their day.

By leepicton (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

None of this has anything to do with some invidious expectation that everyone else ought to agree with my own personal aesthetics.

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I didn't mean to imply you had such an expectation of "ought" – I thought you had one of "is" (to a large degree).

Despite this, I heroically dragged myself out of bed this morning and studied for many hours in preparation for a class...

Heroism is rarely a good idea. In this case, don't go back to studying till you feel a lot better.

Walking down the street while not wearing a smile is an invitation to a stranger to inform you that you should smile.

Ooooooohhh... that one's the absolute worst... I have the same opinion of those people as I do for those who tell me they'll pray for me...

America must be a really scary place.

Talking to complete strangers, and giving unwanted advice at that? Is that considered normal???

-downright Piltonesque belief that things would be better if education was once again a privilege for the very few

Those few, it must be added, who can pay for the privilege. He defended tuition fees.

here David illustrates the problems with trying to fit discrete categories on a continuous distribution (but I suppose it speeds up computation?) ;)

:-D

Well, most of the time, it's almost disturbingly easy: the glass is half empty, or 1/4 empty, or 1/8 empty...

Now I am aging

...

...I think it's safe to say that I really can't see that in the few photos I've looked at. Seriously, worry about something else!!! :-S

I about fell off my chair laughing when I saw him admonishing Pharyngulites to do something or other with alacrity, then goes on to add that alacrity was one of Frank McCourt's favourite words. Kwak is stuffed chock full of WTF.

ROTFL!

I fucking love the German 3-tier system (well, ok, it probably could be shrunk to 2-tier, similar to the old-fashioned American 2-track system), and I'm very unhappy to see it being slowly abandoned for large one-size-fits-all schools

Germany is complicated in that different, uh, states have different systems; some have had single-tier ones for decades.

Austria has 2 tiers, except for recent Social Democratic efforts to merge them.

My mother, a teacher in the... better tier, used to be against such merging. But no longer. In Vienna, where still everyone tries to be upperclass, all children except the extremely poor and the mentally handicapped go to the better tier anyway, at least for as long as they have to go to school. :-|

This is one of those issues where every politician has a strong opinion while empirical data are hard to come by.

that we in the UK would never, ever need the 8% of school leavers going on to university level education - then the target

Oh, that reminds me of something I should have mentioned. Walton, try to find the proportion of Singaporeans with a doctorate once you're healthy enough. (It's not urgent.)

Besides, if we can afford a monarchy we can afford education

B-)

Oh, yeah. I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together.

<headdesk>

That hurts.

I stared at him for a bit and said "I wonder what getting slapped would do for you?"

:-D

If memory serves, there is a term in the social sciences called 'badging'. Briefly, someone is 'badged' when there is some aspect about them that some members of the public feel it is acceptable to violate the normal rules of non-interaction. A classic example is of two individuals carrying a heavy object such as a couch down the street. Normally, it's rude (at least in Western cultures) to make a passing remark to two individuals, but if they're carrying a couch? "Heavy work, eh?" "Moving, huh?" or whatever.

~:-| I know what you're saying, but even this is rare in... urban Europe in general, I think. I'm not surprised about Texas (comment 296), however, and the baby exemption does hold to some degree.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

re Total strangers telling you to "smile!", or "cheer up!" in the street - I've had that the day my son died, and then a couple of days after my father died.
* ALL of PZ's baned words, and more *

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ring Tailed Lemurian, I'm sorry. That had to go over like a knife to the heart. The sad truth of it is that a majority of 'mericans simply do not know how to mind their own business. That and the bizarre notion of "forced cheeriness" which pervades. Kwok that sort of manure sideways.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine, thanks :) They were British, Mind you it was a while ago, NOBODY except the mentally ill/religious speaks to strangers in the street here nowadays.

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ah. Well, I dearly wish more Americans would manage to keep quiet in public. They pay altogether too much attention to strangers.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

not sure I feel like playing the fucking euphemism game

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I tend to agree with Walton and Ring-Tailed Lemurian about the Falklands, despite having vehemently opposed the war in 1982. However, an offer to share any oil found would be an obvious move if it really was at least partly to do with the wishes of the inhabitants, and I'm not expecting one any time soon. Even more convincing would be returning the Chagos Archipelago to its inhabitants, illegally expelled in 1971 so the UK could lease it to the USA for the Diego Garcia air base and torture centre. The lease is due to expire in 2016. Bets on whether the islanders will be allowed to return then?

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

nigelTheBold: I don't know why you seem to be assuming, a priori, that the Falkland Islands are somehow "naturally" part of Argentina.

What? You were talking about the Falklands? Never mind.

Seriously: I didn't know all that about the Falklands. I knew the US had wiped out villages during our adventurism in Central and South America. Didn't know there wasn't any indigenous population.

So, never mind. I apologize for my rant. It was the "self-determination" bit that set me off, and I shot off my mouth before my brain was loaded.

Thanks for the schoolin'.

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Windy, #298

Yes, the K and the gamma dist. might be modeled in similar ways, but if we are talking about if either "exists", I think the way they map to reality is very different.

Yeah. There's that.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

nigelTheBold
The fascist Junta ruling Argentina at the time of the invasion probably just wanted the islands to use as a nice, out of sight, death camp anyway. Did you know that they used to fly out over the sea and push their political opponents out of the planes? After slashing open their stomachs so that the bodies didn't float, in case the evidence washed up somewhere. (Not that that has any bearing on the ownership issue, ofc.)

Knockgoats Heh. I was just about to post something along those lines about the Chagos Islanders, and then go to bed.

So now I'll just go to bed :)

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walking down the street while not wearing a smile is an invitation to a stranger to inform you that you should smile.

It's not just women who get this.

I don't smile. I'm not a smiler. I laugh easily enough but I don't smile. Smiling is not something I do. However I get told to smile almost daily. "What are you looking so glum for? If you smile you'll feel better about life. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile."

What is it with people wanting complete strangers to smile? How do they know if my pet gerbil didn't die? What if my doctor had told me I had incurable dandruff? Perhaps my wife had run away with a Mormon missionary? Sorry but I'm not smiling just because it would make you happy.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ooops, when deleting what I was going to say about the Chagos Islands (because Knockgoats beat me to it) I also deleted what I was going to say about the strange connection between the Falklands/Malvinas and Mauritius (of which the Chagos Islands were part). Too tired to retype everything, so here's a much shorter version (lucky people :) ).

The first woman to circumnavigate the globe (disguised as a boy) was part of Admiral Bougainville's company when he evacuated the French settlers from the Falklands after the French sold them to Spain. She and her lover (the expedition's botanist Philibert Commerçon) later disembarked in Mauritius (after she had been rumbled in Tahiti, where they arrived weeks before Captain Cook). She lived there for a number of years until Commerçon died and then returned to France, making hers one of the longest cirumnavigations ever. She was also a botanist, but because she and Commerçon were beaten back to Europe by Cook and many years (zeugma :) ) Joseph Banks became world famous, and she didn't.

'Tis Himself probably knows the story. Every sailor, and feminist, should :)

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Speak of the Devil! (sorry 'TisHimself) Spooky!

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

'Tis:

I'm not a smiler.

I'm not either. I do smile, when I actually have a reason to do so, but I have never been one to wander around with a fake smile pasted on my face.

People who want everyone to walk around with pasted smiles make me think of 1984 and Brave New World. Fake smiles are awful; I really don't understand why so many people like to see pretend enjoyments. Feh.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Janine, MoFMA,OM:

Oh, yeah. I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together. Flabbergasted didn't even begin cover my reaction!

Cicely, I think I would had been sputtering non words with steam drifting out of my ears.

I was shocked to tears. I was 16 at the time, and quite timid (I'm still fairly timid, but down-right outgoing by comparison), and not comfortable with talking to strange men at the best of times.

The Argentine invasion of the Falklands/Malvinas in 1982 happened for because the military junta hoped to mobilise long-standing patriotic feelings towards the islands and thus divert public attention from the country's chronic economic problems and the regime's ongoing human rights violations. With inflation and unemployment both running at 30% the junta tried to get the populace fixed on an external problem.

There's the further point the junta didn't think the British would or even could react militarily. It turned out they were wrong.

The Argentine military, with the exception of the Air Force and Fleet Air Arm, did not cover itself with glory during the war. Because of concerns about Chile, the best Army units remained in Argentina. The British, knowing they could only send a few units 8,000 miles away, chose the best units they could.

The Argentine loss of the war led to ever-larger protests against the military regime. It is credited with giving the final push to drive out the military government. Democracy was reestablished in Argentina.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I get told to smile all the time. I think those of you suggesting that people like fake smiles are being too kind. I've taken to asking people why they think I should smile or why they want to see me smile. I recommend it. You get to learn about other people and also throw them completely off base. Given how rude I think it is to tell a stranger to affect an emotion for your pleasure, I don't think it is unfair to ask for compensation insofar as a purpose.

I've actually gotten answers too. The most telling I think was a man perhaps 20 years my senior who told me it was because it made him feel better about himself when a younger woman smiled at him. I asked him if commanding it didn't cheapen the effect.

Interesting if nothing else.

I will say though, having been around quiet contemplative males, they also get told to smile. As if it is ever any stranger's business what some one's apparent emotional state is!

Ol'Greg, if I say anything at all, it's along the same lines as what I said in #290.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

OK another veggies-made-yummy recipe: Cuban Eggplant Mojo.
(a.k.a. Aubergines Mojo)

First the sauce:

Cuban-Style Mojo Sauce (recipe almost straight from
The Tropical Vegan Kitchen)

(This is the national sauce of Cuba. It simply rocks on baked eggplant... gotta try it on other things, but I keep making the eggplant.)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use 1/4)
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt (I use 3/4)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1. In a medium deep-sided saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.

2. Carefully add the remaining ingredients.

3. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat; immediately remove from heat.

4. Let cool slightly before using in recipes requiring further cooking. If using as a marinade, let cool to room temperature before using.

Completely cooled sauce can be stored, covered, in refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat or bring to room temperature before using.

---

Paul's Eggplant Mojo

I like eggplant, and this is the yummiest way I know to cook it. (A fair fraction of people who generally "don't like eggplant" will like it this way.) It's great on rice or quinoa, or in sandwiches, or on pizza, or whatever. I try to cook more than I need, and have it around in the fridge for up to a week.

I usually scale this (and the mojo recipe) up by a third and cook 2 lbs of eggplant in two 1-lb batches. (1 lb fits about right on a normal baking sheet.)

1 1/2 lbs eggplant, sliced crosswise into 3/8-1/2" (9-12mm) thick rounds
1 cup mojo sauce (per recipe swiped from TVK, above)

0. If your eggplant is a bitter kind, soak in salted water for 20 minutes. (I usually do that with large eggplant, but don't bother for Japanese eggplant.)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay out the eggplant rounds.
3. Spoon about two fifths of the mojo sauce onto the tops of the eggplant (or about a fifth if you're doing two batches), and spread it around with the back of the spoon.
4. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Flip eggplant rounds over and spoon a similar amount of mojo sauce on the other side, reserving about a fifth of the sauce.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Check to see if the eggplant is done---it should be soft through and through, or close, and getting to the point of browning. CHECK THE BOTTOMS---the eggplant often browns on the bottom first, where it contacts the parchment paper, and if you don't check the bottoms, you may char it.
8. Flip it over again, and spoon the extra mojo sauce onto it---i.e., apply more to the first side---and bake another 3 to 10 minutes, until browned.

If you've got the heat of your oven right, it should brown somewhat on both sides in about that time, and be awesome. Even if it's not browned, but it's well-done, it should still be very good. (In that case, cook on a somewhat higher heat next time.)

---

The original recipe from TVK calls for cooking all the eggplant at once, with the rounds stacked two deep on a cookie sheet, and flipping the stacks. That didn't work well for me the one time I tried it; I may try again and come up with better instructions, to avoid having to do the baking in two goes.

By Paul W., OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Carlie (@274):

Mean Girls is not just a movie title. Girls are ruthless in assessing, manipulating, and maintaining the proper pecking order.

If a male of any age said something like that around here, I predict he'd get his head adjusted pretty quickly!

I don't mean to be flip, really, but I guess I really am a child of the feminist age, because my instinctive reaction to that observation is to deny that girls are any different than boys. However, I have no basis to deny your experience, and my own experience with my (male) age-group peers was entirely different.

I was nearly two years younger than my class in HS (due to the combination of a late birthday and having skipped a grade earlier), scrawny (oh, what I wouldn't give...), a brainiac, a band geek (actually, what they really said was band queer, back in the days when it was still common to use queer as a generic insult), and a speech-and-debate dork... and I was so socially (which is to say, romantically) backward that insulting my looks would've been a pointless waste of time. And yet... my memories of HS are, on balance, fond ones; certainly nothing happened to me that will stay with me as a scar until it's fixed in therapy (there are one or two aspects of my relationship with my father that might have benefited from an hour or two of couch time, but that's another subject).

Sometimes the conversation here seems to lead toward the conclusion that people just suck... but my life's experience really hasn't borne that out. To be sure, some people just suck, and everybody sucks now and then, but... maybe I've just lived a charmed life (I'm mindful, of course, of the social privilege inherent in being a white middle-class male, but that's not what I'm referring to here), or maybe I'm too much of a dopey optimist to know any better, but it seems to me that most people don't suck, most of the time.

None of which is meant to deny the authenticity or power of anyone's personal story, of course, nor am I in any position to question what women and girls tell me about the unique experiences of women and girls; I just have no personal predicate for viewing the world as generally bleak and inhumane.

Ol' Greg:

I'm just another person in the world. There are so many different stories and experiences among people.

Indeed. I probably should've quoted this to begin with, in place of all the blathering I did to Carlie immediately above.

Just remember if you ask me something about myself I'll probably answer you :P

I'll keep that in mind. I'm willing to listen to anything you have to say, and certain I'll learn from it; I just hate being the guy who rips the bandage off an open wound.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bill,

I wish I had a reference handy, but I seem to recall reading an interesting paper about studies of boys' vs. girls' social behavior.

The paper was basically debunking the stereotype that boys are competitive and selfish, and girls are cooperative and supportive. It concluded that girls were at least as competitive as boys, but in different ways---e.g., subtler dominance issues in determining how play will go, and who gets to actually have fun doing it. (As opposed to being subservient/humiliated/ostracized.)

Not vouching for that uncited paper, but in that context the idea was sort of a corrective to the stereotype that girls are more sensitive and nicer than boys. Which is "nicer" or "meaner" is hard to say, and may depend on how sensitive you are to being physically humiliated rather than socially humiliated, and a host of other variables.

By Paul W., OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Food? Okay, I have to share this recipe, it's one of my absolute favourites, soooo good:

Zinfandel Glazed Shallots

1½ tbsp. butter

18 whole shallots, peeled and trimmed

1½ cup Zinfandel

6 tbsp. sugar

¾ cup apple juice

1. Melt 1½ tbsp. butter in heavy large skillet over low heat. Add trimmed shallots, cover and cook until shallots are golden and beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

2. Add red wine and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer mixture without stirring until liquid is reduced to glaze consistency, swirling skillet occasional, about 20 minutes.

3. Add apple juice to skillet and continue to simmer until shallots are tender and liquid is reduced to glaze consistency, stirring occasionally, about 16 minutes, season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: Glazed shallots can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Re-warm glazed shallots over low heat before serving.

These shallots are incredibly tasty, and one of the things they combine with best, of all things, is this Beef & Guinness Stew:

Beef & Guinness Stew

2 lbs. stewing beef
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons flour
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato puree, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
1 and 1/4 cups Guinness
2 cups largely diced carrots
Sprig of fresh thyme
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Trim the meat of any fat or gristle, and cut into 2 inch cubes. Toss beef with 1 tablespoon of oil. In a small bowl, season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. Toss the meat with seasoned flour.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Reduce the heat, add the onions, crushed garlic and tomato puree to the skillet, cover, and cook gently for 5 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the skillet to a casserole and pour half the Guinness into the skillet. Bring Guiness to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan. Pour over the meat, along with the remaining Guinness. Add the carrots and thyme. Stir and adjust seasonings.

Cover casserole and simmer over low heat, or in a 300 oven until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Garnish with parsley and serve.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I don't mean to be flip, really, but I guess I really am a child of the feminist age, because my instinctive reaction to that observation is to deny that girls are any different than boys.

Hmmm. I don't think that it is really the goal of feminism to deny any difference between the behavior of males and females but rather to work to better identify the factors that influence behavior and also options available to each as a means of expression.

Female bullying is real. I don't think it would be a normal feminist position to pretend that it is not, but perhaps it would be to argue that female bullying does not highlight an inherent "evil female nature" or some such.

I'm not very articulate right now, I apologize. I've been drinking an unusually good wine and playing with photoshop. Incidentally all this talk of beauty plus the recent discussion of Carlos II got me thinking about historical standards of beauty and I decided to shop a photograph to attempt a Tudor standard of beauty. It has been fun, but now I'm pretty tipsy.

Strange Gods ॐ back @143:

I understand if you can't make it happen, for whatever reason. Regardless, thanks for thinking of me.

Hey no problem; if we get seats, I'll certainly give it a try, and I'll keep you updated one way or the other.

I don't mean to be flip, really, but I guess I really am a child of the feminist age, because my instinctive reaction to that observation is to deny that girls are any different than boys. However, I have no basis to deny your experience, and my own experience with my (male) age-group peers was entirely different.

that's because "girls" aren't like that; but "girls who grew up with testosterone poisoning" often are. I just finished the second post about Toxic Masculinity, and I wrote a bit about how it can make women antagonistic towards each other. It goes beyond the points I mentioned there, but I think a lot of the Mean Girls phenomena are related to it.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ol'Greg, those are great pictures: I'm getting a load of wacky and subversive vibes, and I like it. You've probably discussed this upthread, but how did the idea for the shoot come about? Did you happen to be watching Alice In Wonderland and Delicatessen side-by-side one day?

Then there was the problem, as there is now, of what counts as real education. Before this turns into a rant, let me simply say that, yes, we do need theoretical physics to have the internet but do, please, show me a theoretical physicist who could design the Mac I'm doing this on or come up with the algorithm for Google. They may well have the intellectual capacity but do they have the imagination? Or the basics of psychology? Or the applied knowledge in design and materials science? Probably not!

I'm not sure what your point is. The benefits of physics to society tend to long term*. Yeah the physicists didn't directly design computers or the internet themselves, but they provided the theoretical framework needed in order to invent them. To have transistors you need quantum mechanics. For integrated circuits you need solid state physics. In order to not have the computers overheat you need thermodynamics. Future advances in technology (e.g, quantum computers) will be a result of the work physicists are doing now. The field has more than paid back its investment.
___

*I actually think there's intrinsic worth in finding out how nature works, but that argument isn't going to get you a lot of funding.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine, #334 - I'm going to try that Guinness recipe, if for no other reason than to drink any leftover Guinness...

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Did you happen to be watching Alice In Wonderland and Delicatessen side-by-side one day?

No, Lunacy actually. My friend and I got a brilliant idea to do a perverse easter, something that originated with a desire to make fun of satanic ritual in film with kitsch but then just began to play with the images and ideas of various rituals. As we brainstormed it turned out I had a beef tongue handy to fix up and it's just my nature to push things more towards the disturbing. We sacrificed a plastic bunny because that's funny,and we made our little black cross cake out of lil' Debbie snack cakes because we're Americans dammit.

Caine, #334 - I'm going to try that Guinness recipe, if for no other reason than to drink any leftover Guinness...

:D The Guinness really comes through in that stew; that said, I should have mentioned it can (and should) be adjusted to taste. I usually add more at the 'cooked for 1.5 - 2 hours' stage, I'm trying to think how much. About half a bottle, I think. I never really make it exactly the same.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

&lt andy rooney &gt

Count me as someone who hates it when they get told to smile, especially by strangers. I'm not even in a bad mood when I get told to smile, but am thinking about something or just have a neutral expression on my face.

Personally, I find fake smiles more offensive than any of the words that are banned this week.

I also hate it when tellers or custom service people start calling you by your first name when you don't know them. I know they are probably trained or told to do that, but it's still weird.

&lt/andy rooney&gt

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm feeling much better this morning. I slept from about 9.30 pm to 6 am, had a warm shower, and am no longer exhausted or in pain.

====

Knockgoats,

Even more convincing would be returning the Chagos Archipelago to its inhabitants, illegally expelled in 1971 so the UK could lease it to the USA for the Diego Garcia air base and torture centre. The lease is due to expire in 2016. Bets on whether the islanders will be allowed to return then?

Interestingly, there was a major judicial review case regarding whether the Chagos Islanders had the right to return to the islands - R (on the application of Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs - which is one of the cases I will be revising for my exams. :-)

Glad to hear you're feeling better Walton.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

british population of the Falkland islands: 29%

This is wrong; I don't know where you're getting your information. Of the around 3,000 civilian inhabitants of the Falklands, the vast majority are of British descent. There are small numbers of families of non-British origin, including some Chileans, but there are very few Argentinians.

The Falklanders have repeatedly expressed their wish to remain a British overseas territory. They do not wish to be governed by Argentina. The Argentine historical claim to the islands is extremely weak, and limited to the fact that the Argentinians maintained a penal colony there between 1828 and 1831 - so there are certainly no Argentinians still living who would have any claim to property in the Falklands.

As I said above, islands do not automatically belong to the country to whose coast they are nearest. I don't know why you seem to be assuming that the Falklands somehow naturally belong to Argentina.

Knockgoats,

However, an offer to share any oil found would be an obvious move if it really was at least partly to do with the wishes of the inhabitants, and I'm not expecting one any time soon.

I'm not sure Britain can make such an agreement. IIRC, the situation is that the Falkland Islands Government, not the UK government, gets to keep any oil revenues - though if they successfully manage to exploit the oil, they are likely to have to start paying for their own defence.

Re the discussions of high school above: I had a completely miserable time in secondary school.

I maintain that the school system is set up in such a way as to inevitably breed misery. Forcing a large number of teenagers, at an unstable stage of emotional and hormonal development, to spend large amounts of time in close quarters, in a disciplinary institution where most of them don't really want to be, is a recipe for conflict and emotional trauma. Young people can be extraordinarily vicious to each other, and those who are "weird" or don't fit in are persecuted. Many people never really recover from the bullying and self-esteem-crushing they get as teenagers.

None of this is a secret; most people are well aware of the bullying, conflict and pressure towards conformity that occur in high school (so much so that it's become a TV and movie archetype). Yet people still keep sending their children to these places. That's why I much prefer the idea of homeschooling. Obviously, not everyone is capable (economically, emotionally or intellectually) of homeschooling their kids effectively; I'm certainly not sure that I am. But that's why I think people should think much more carefully before having children than most currently do.

Meh. Sorry for the rant.

I'm certainly not sure that I am.

Obviously, this should have read "would be" instead of "am". Embarrassing grammar fail. :-(

Walton #347,

you sound as if everybody ends up, like you, having a miserable time in secondary school.

I had a wonderful time then. So did my sis and many people I know. It's certainly true that some end up having a miserable time in high school, but it would be a more constructive discussion to explore the ways to improve on this, rather than to suggest that parents should systematically prefer homeschooling.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

you sound as if everybody ends up, like you, having a miserable time in secondary school.

ok, here's the thing. I was miserable and bored in High-School. But not because of the teachers, most of which were trying hard to be supportive of me, and not because of the other students either, since apparently they liked me, even the "popular kids" as far as we even had those. My High-School was fine (my middle-school sucked, but that was only 2 years, and we grew out of it), and would have been fun if I hadn't been such a mental case to begin with.

Just because British schools are the authoritarian nightmares of Pink Floyd fame, doesn't mean that's how all schools are like. and if you don't force those kids who don't care about education to be stuck in the same school as those who do, and for just as long, then a lot of high-school drama disappears by itself.

P.S.: PZ's new rules are making me write every comment twice! :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I had a wonderful time then. So did my sis and many people I know. It's certainly true that some end up having a miserable time in high school, but it would be a more constructive discussion to explore the ways to improve on this, rather than to suggest that parents should systematically prefer homeschooling.

Don't get me wrong: there are plenty of ways schooling could, in theory, be improved. But in practice, if I were faced with a choice between sending my child to an ordinary secondary school run along authoritarian disciplinary lines, or homeschooling him or her, I would choose to homeschool. This would apply irrespective of how allegedly "good" the school was in academic terms.

This is, of course, hypothetical: like I said, I wouldn't have children unless I was confident that I had sufficient financial means and could afford to put my child before my career, and had the knowledge and expertise to educate my child at home if necessary. I'm very unlikely ever to have children in any case; but if I were ever in a situation where it was possible for me to do so, these would be the considerations I would be thinking about.

Walton

Obviously, not everyone is capable (economically, emotionally or intellectually) of homeschooling their kids effectively;

Walton, in this one sentence I think you have answered your own question without realising it. Few people CAN afford to stay home until their children leave school NOR do they want to (and I absolutely know you're not being any way gender identifying here but lets be honest and face it- it's going to more often be the women that does this). You know, I have a career and a life outside of being a birth machine and I would actually like to explore that and not stay at home for the next 18 years teaching my children when I damned sure I'd be hopeless at it and should leave it to those selfless professionals called teachers.

I think it is simplistic and a bit naive to suggest homeschooling is an answer to people such as yourselves avoiding the bad time you had at school. What about the people amongst us that really enjoyed it and had a wonderful time? Should that experience be denied of us? Like Neg said, exploring the answer to how to keep kids IN school and have them happy and healthy in it is a better option.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I would never do homeschooling to my (hypothetical) kids. I already know I'm too much like my mom, and if the potential spawn is anything like me (or the currently most likely sperm donor, for that matter), any attempt at homeschooling would result in either filicide or matricide, depending on which one of us would lose their last bit of patience and sanity first. My mom and I fought bitterly over merely getting me ready for school in the morning, and her one attempt at teaching me how to drive a stickshift resulted in exactly the same. More time together of her trying to teach me anything would have ended disastrously, and I see no reason to assume a different outcome with my own spawn

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

For once I'm with Walton on something !

The inhabitants of the Falklands, like for any other island or region of the earth, should have the right to determine whether they want to be independent or belong to a larger nation and which one.

Having said this, it doesn't explain why the UK needs to spend $65 billion a year (2.4% of GDP) on military toys and forces. For info, Argentina spends less than a tenth of this amount with $5 billion a year (0.8% of GDP).

The UK could very well reduce its military expenditure by 50% without it being a risk for the Falklanders. That would free up more than $30 billion a year for other more important things such as a better funding of the public education and research system, and/or a reduction in the public deficit.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

yeah, I still don't see how the desire for a large military presence of 3000 british descendants on a piece of rock acquired relatively recently as an act of colonialism are a sufficient reason for the existence of a military fit for an Empire, when the money could be better spent on providing far more people with enough education to make a living in a post-industrial world. education of EVERYONE makes more people's lives better than having a military beyond a national guard.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton

This is, of course, hypothetical: like I said, I wouldn't have children unless I was confident that I had sufficient financial means and could afford to put my child before my career, and had the knowledge and expertise to educate my child at home if necessary

.. and this is just getting plain silly. Should we not have children if we don't have the necessary requisites to cater to their every need during their life span? Education is a VERY specialised area that should be left to the professionals and as we see so often in cases such as the idiot Duggar fanily in the US people often THINK they have the skills but are obiviously woefully lacking. You seem to proposing the position that either every parent has to have the same extensive educational qualifications as teachers to be parents or that teachers aren't that highly trained after all and we could all do it. I have a little more respect for teachers and their learning than that.

.. and again it is naive of you to assume you would know how much it would cost to raise a child and only have one of your had the "sufficient financial means". Obviously those of us that have children by choice only do so if we presume we can afford them but I think you have little idea as to how much children really cost.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

But in practice, if I were faced with a choice between sending my child to an ordinary secondary school run along authoritarian disciplinary lines, or homeschooling him or her, I would choose to homeschool. This would apply irrespective of how allegedly "good" the school was in academic terms.

And why so ? I was forced to be partly homeschooled for 2 years when we lived abroad (went to American public school mornings and my mother homeschooled me in French stuff in the afternoon), and I hated it.
Why would you force something on your children solely based upon your personal miserable experience ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Why would you force something on your children solely based upon your personal miserable experience ?

Good question. This is probably another good reason for me not to have children.

I think, in general, that far fewer people should have children. Considering that overpopulation is one of the major threats to our world today, the most responsible thing is for people to reproduce as little as possible. The way I see it, I'm doing my part by pledging to remain childless.

Plus, if the worst predictions come true, and AGW, wars, economic collapse, energy shortages and the like make the world a virtually unlivable place in the future, I wouldn't want to have brought children into the world who would have to endure such awful prospects.

Don't get me wrong: there are plenty of ways schooling could, in theory, be improved.

It's not only in theory, but also in practice:
Finland has generalised the Freinet School concept to all its public schools and gets the best results of all nations.

I'm from Vence, the town where the first Freinet School was established. It still is a private school, as when I was a kid, and my parents didn't think it was necessary to make the extra spending as I did very well in the public school system. But I have friends who were failing in the public school system and did much better when their parents sent them to Freinet. Now of course, their parents could afford it, which is the problem with private schools.

Walton, there are ways to make our public schools better suited to different types of children. That's what we should be discussing about, and not a nosolution such as homeschooling.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh, I was afraid you were thinking of this zombie-franklin !

NB: I wasn't afraid :-)

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

can we elect zombie-franklin to be President of the World?

I assume this is a joke, but if not, I should point out that FDR was a racist and an extreme authoritarian. He came to power by relying on, inter alia, the support of Southern segregationists. He did nothing (unlike his successor, Truman, who desegregated the US military) to abolish or reduce racial segregation in federal government service. During WWII, FDR's administration ordered the indefinite internment without trial of Japanese-Americans, as well as placing gags on the media. His authoritarianism can't just be ascribed to wartime conditions, either; well before WWII, he made a grossly authoritarian attempt (thankfully thwarted by Congress) to increase the size of the Supreme Court, which would have allowed him to pack the court with his supporters and stop them ruling his economic programmes unconstitutional.

I'm sure you approve of his "New Deal" economic policies, and I wouldn't disagree that some of them were probably necessary in view of the extreme economic situation of the time. But he was not a particularly good human being, and he was also responsible for creating a vastly expanded scope of federal government power, and personal power of the President in particular, which his successors expanded further and systematically abused.

I assume this is a joke, but if not, I should point out that FDR was a racist and an extreme authoritarian.

Ad hominem. The speech Jadehawk linked to "A second bill of rights" is more actual than ever before.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

walton, kindly bugger off. If you don't understand or don't care why I linked to the video, don't respond. I have little patience for serious responses to flippant statements right now.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

walton, kindly bugger off. If you don't understand or don't care why I linked to the video, don't respond.

There's no need to be like that. I do care about why you linked to the video; I may not have correctly understood your motivation, but I made a guess that you were intending to make a political point, since it was a political video. Since when do controversial political points usually go unchallenged around here?

If you were making some kind of a joke that I didn't get, then I apologise for my apparent sense-of-humour fail. :-\

I don't know why you're so hostile to me lately - between this comment, and comparing me to Piltdown Man yesterday, among other things. If I inadvertently insulted or offended you at some point in recent weeks, then I'm sorry. It was entirely unintentional.

Quit apologizing, Walton. It's really, really annoying.

Since when do controversial political points usually go unchallenged around here?

except you didn't challenge a political point, you went off on a lengthy and irrelevant ad hominem.

And I compared you to Pilty because the difference between your attitude towards "the people" and his seems to vary only in degree, not in kind. It's elitism of the bad sort.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton,
First, going on about FDR is really irrelevant to the video jadehawk linked to.
Secondly, if getting the Southern racist vote or violating people's rights really offend you why were you defending Reagan the other day.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

And starting your comment with "I assume this is a joke" was silly. Very silly.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

And starting your comment with "I assume this is a joke" was silly. Very silly.

well no. there was indeed a serious possibility that I really did want to exhume and reanimate FDR's remains and install them in a fictional political position.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

And not the nice kind of "silly". The painful Glennbeckesque kind of silly.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

except you didn't challenge a political point, you went off on a lengthy and irrelevant ad hominem.

OK. Reading that post again, I can see it probably wasn't very constructive. I've just been told to stop apologising, so I will comply with this request, but I do regret what I said above. In my defence, I'm still a little ill and really not thinking straight.

Feynmaniac @ 339

I think you have misread me.

Like you I think that working out how this planet and the universe generally work is fascinating and am very happy for any number of physicists to spend their lives on whichever branch of the subject most appeals to them, confident that in due course - if we manage neither to fry ourselves or to blow ourselves up - great benefits will come from what they are doing now.

In the meantime, though, I want my shower to work. Because of the topology hereabouts I have one which runs entirely on water pressure, the household tap and a lever - all ancient technologies, none invented by a theoretical physicist but by a series of craftsmen.

Or, if we stick to computers, I can draw on my own experience. I first worked with a computerised system - doing an analysis of workplace accidents and near-misses in a government department - in the mid-1960s. I never saw that computer. It lived in another building and was operated by people who understood how the machine worked but had no idea, no idea at all, either of the things non-specialists might want to do with computers or how the computer itself would develop.

So, I have seen for myself because I continued to work with computers somewhere around exactly how the changes happened. Hell, I was even part of a team once which tried to help very senior managers realise how more widespread use of computers would end up changing the whole way they thought - a Sisyphean task in some cases.

I saw for myself what drove those changes and that it was part social, part applied science. The development of the search engine - and I remember the early versions - owes as much to a recognition of the associative capacity of the human brain as it does to the sort of linear thinking which you'd find in a PhD thesis.

So, here I sit in happy retirement - still with only the vaguest of ideas how this thing in front of me works. I do, though, understand what I can do with it. And what other people might want to do with the same machine. And that the mobile phone sitting on top of the printer has more functions and more memory than the first computer I actually laid hands on.

But, anyway, none of that was the point.

My original post was about social attitudes vs. reality but that seems to have gone right over your head. And my shower works because the plumber who put it in it had sufficient grasp of the technologies in play to install it properly and sufficient social skills to get the job in the first place.

By maureen.brian#b5c92 (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

The general way that children are bullied doesn't necessarily gets better with homeschooling; they can be entirely sheltered and then not as well able to interact with people in general, or they can still get it in their homeschool get-togethers. Youth group social politics is just as bad as school locker room social politics. I'm now riffing on the Bible in my head:"Wherever two or three of you are gathered together, there social critique shall be also."

I know that not every person has a bad experience; it's a function of your own growth of self-esteem, where you are, what kinds of role models you have and what kinds of behavior are socially tolerated. I grew up in a fairly small, economically depressed town, with my grade school only a couple of blocks from government housing. There wasn't much to care about or fight over but how you looked and how much social capital you could amass. I think it's gotten better in the last couple of decades as well, in a lot of ways. I can see it even at my high school; there is currently a guy on the flag squad, and when I was in school even if guys had been allowed (and they wouldn't have) the amount of stigma and bullying attached to bucking the norm like that would have been too much for anyone to take. Now the kids just shrug and say "Yeah, he likes it and he's good at it, so what?" That's quite encouraging.

Figuring out how to navigate social groups is something that every kid has to learn, and they make lots of missteps along the way. I don't think the answer to teens being teens is to separate them all from each other and homeschool, but to give them a lot more guidance in how to be nice to each other and to find themselves without getting lost in the crowd.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been beaten, found out, refuted , it's all over for evolution, this from the comment section of Barney's opinion piece on the nationaltimes.com.au site :

"now, if you could produce a cat by selectively breeding dogs (note - not a "cat-like" dog, but a real "cat" ) then you would have "proved evolution"

Case closed.I'm off to praying.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Rorschach

Case closed.I'm off to praying.

...bless you my son, I knew you'd come around eventually. Allelujeh.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I think you have misread me.

Possibly. I'm just sick of the "what's the use of physics" attitude I hear from some people, especially considering the reality. If I misunderstood you then I Walton.
_ _ _ _

The painful Glennbeckesque kind of silly.

Whoa, let's not say anything we can't take back....

If we are doing pools here, how many want in on guessing the date of Beck's (likely on air) complete meltdown?

If you need help, here is Glenn Beck:

-Creepily asking to photograph a woman
-Shrieking like as a mad man
-Barking like a dog at the camera

I have July 5th of this year.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Rorschach #375:

First the crocoduck, now the catdog. What will they come up with next?

Of course the evidence they want is theoretically possible, although would take a while to achieve. If they would allow the use of genomic sequencing of the intermediate steps we could reduce the time it would take. More time could be saved if we can use compounds to increase the mutation rate. We would still be unlikely to achieve the desired result before the heat death of the universe however.

Of course if they can get the funding, I would be more than happy to give it a try.

By Stephen, Lord … (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

cicely:

I once had a total stranger (to whom I was passing fast food out a window; hardly a social function) tell me that if I didn't smile, my legs would grow together.

He thought not smiling would turn you into a mermaid? Fascinating.

By nyb.myopenid.com (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I've taken the plunge and loaded Firefox 3.6 (I'm using Visa with current updates). (Currently, I am still using IE8 as my default browser.)

Are there any add-ons that people can recommend?

I seem to remember an HTML toolbar. A world clock would be useful.

General world news and Science news. Current situation on earthquakes and volcanoes.

Any thoughts?

Alan B - Noscript. It's a pain in the butt, but it's a good thing. If it's too annoying to deal with, go with Flashblock. Greasemonkey is also good for adding killfiles.

Walton, if you are going to condemn FDR for segregationist politics, you need to leave behind some of your American heroes. Many of the old line southern Republicans of the last forty years were Democrats. But they flipped over in response to a FDR acolyte, LBJ, passing civil rights legislation. Look up Nixon, 1968 and The Southern Strategy.

In a funny way, the segregationist past bit Trent Lott in the ass a few years when he praised Strom Thurmond, saying the country would not be in the condition it was in if only we followed Thurmond's policies. Keep in mind that in 1948, when Thurmond was still a Democrat, he ran on a anti-anti-lynching campaign.

Now, as for your hero, Ronald Reagan; he was an out and out racist. Back in 1980, after he was named the Republican candidate for President, he gave his first speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Now why would someone make their first speech in the middle of nowhere? Because in 1964, three civil rights activists were murdered there.

Walton, I did not provide any links. You can do a search and easily verify my statements. If you dismiss the views of FDR because of segregationist policies, you must be honest and summarily dismiss RR.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Many of the old line southern Republicans of the last forty years were Democrats. But they flipped over in response to a FDR acolyte, LBJ, passing civil rights legislation. Look up Nixon, 1968 and The Southern Strategy.

I'm fully aware of this. And I'm certainly no admirer of Nixon.

Now, as for your hero, Ronald Reagan; he was an out and out racist. Back in 1980, after he was named the Republican candidate for President, he gave his first speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Now why would someone make their first speech in the middle of nowhere? Because in 1964, three civil rights activists were murdered there.

Reagan's not my "hero". (I've discussed this particular issue at length with strange gods on previous threads, and learnt some things I didn't know about how much Reagan relied on the support of Southern racists to get elected.) I think, on balance, that his presidency did some good - but that doesn't mean that he was a great person or that everything he did was morally justified.

====

I'm going to have a nap now, as I'm feeling ill again, and seem to have completely exhausted myself merely from walking to the shops this morning to buy food. :-(

Ol' Greg (@335):

Hmmm. I don't think that it is really the goal of feminism to deny any difference between the behavior of males and females...

Yeah, I understand that arguments for equality are not the same as arguments for sameness, and thus discussions of difference do not imply inequality; I was really musing on my own socially conditioned first-blush instinct to push back against a generalization like girls are mean, rather than the actual truth of the matter. Note that I ultimately accepted Carlie's reported experience; what else could I reasonably do?

This is tangential to the conversation we'd been having, but there's an inherent dilemma in talking about differences between two groups when there's also a well-recognized problem of endemic discrimination between those groups. Absent formal scientific findings that are well supported by objective data and logically valid argumentation (i.e., in informal conversations like this one), it's very difficult to separate valid observations about difference from expressions of prejudice. Sometimes it's difficult to know in one's own mind whether a comment is a validly arguable, useful discussion of real difference, or just the promulgation of a (perhaps unconsciously held) stereotype.

It's especially difficult when one is speaking from the privileged side of the inequality, and even more so when the observation of difference looks like a negative comment against the discriminated-against group.

So when Carlie says "girls are mean" and you and Janine and Jadehawk (aside to Jadehawk: Most blogspot sites are blocked from work, so I haven't yet clicked on your link... but I'm not ignoring it) affirm that girl-on-girl bullying is real, I really can't say much more than "I hear you, and I accept your experience." Obviously, I don't have the experience or the standing to disagree; OTOH, if I agree too enthusiastically, I risk being seen as a sexist jerk (or seeing myself that way, even if nobody else makes that charge).

However, when I take Carlie's stark reporting of girl culture and add it to Walton's repeated insistence that school teachers and administrators (without reference to gender) are invariably tyrannical control freaks and David M.'s assertion that everybody is ugly and your... well, FSM knows your story reflects darkly on pretty much everyone... when I add all that together, it becomes a dark commentary on people generally, and in that context, I'm not on the wrong side of some historic inequality, being bold enough to count myself among "people." I'm not only free to say, but feel compelled to assert, that it's not really all that awful... at least not always! In service of this assertion, I can offer my own experience with people, which is admittedly idiosyncratic and anecdotal, but it's no more so than anyone else's personal narrative, and it serves at least as a counterexample to the proposition that people just suck.

All y'all's MM, of course, V.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton, I find it hard to find anything admirable about Reagan.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton, I find it hard to find anything admirable about Reagan.

Bollocks. His acting once cured a bout of insomnia I was having.

Junior high and high school were (socially) horrible experiences for me, and now that my daughters are approaching the age where all of the popularity/ostracism stuff is just starting (5th grade) it's difficult to know how to help them deal with it. I understand the homeschooling impulse, but I agree that it's not a viable option for most parents. And I'm not convinced that homeschooling doesn't just put off the underlying problems (how to deal with social rejection while maintaining your own self esteem) until later.

I've told my daughters since kindergarten that, "they'll always find something to make fun of you for." I guess I'm trying to prepare them for what's coming. So far it's mostly been their food, since we live in the most conservative part of Minnesota (Michelle Bachman's district) and they bring lunches with foods that none of their classmates have ever seen before. Who knew that stuffed grape leaves were exotic?

My point is that all of us (and if you're posting here you know you're in this category) will have to deal with not fitting in, or not being 'normal,' and high school seems like a good time to get that lesson over with.

By Mandukhai (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine (@334):

The beef & Guinness stew sounds scrumptious, but sadly, I'm afraid I'd never get a chance to cook it: I rarely if ever have occasion to cook a full meal that I don't share with my wife, and she needs to avoid gluten. I'm sure I could substitute cornstarch or a non-wheat flour for the little bit of flour in the recipe, but the Guinness is the sine qua non, and it's not gluten-free. I've seen some gluten-free beers in the liquor stores, but I can't recall ever seeing a gluten-free stout.

BTW, reaching waaaay back to the beginning of the thread (@4), please don't fail to post the Habanero Lime Cheesecake recipe when the proper season arises! While most cheesecake recipes aren't gluten-free, either, my wife has a couple, and I'd like to take a try at merging whatever your recipe is with one of hers.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton, I find it hard to find anything admirable about Reagan.

Yeah. The Reagan administration escalated the 'War on Drugs', which resulted in increasing the prison population phenomenally. A disproportionate number of people locked up are black. This is an issue Walton has (I think rightly) rallied against.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

MrFire, I would say that it was RR's lack of talent that lulled you to sleep. That is hardly an admirable trait for RR. Just something that happened to be momentarily useful for you. Hell, I once cured a bout of insomnia by watching Mannequin.

I will say nothing more about that.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bill, it just isn't all anything. Hell, that's why there's that saying the "banality of evil" for instance. Good people, lousy situations, bad people, happy situations, good decisions, bad days... there's all sorts of variables.

being bold enough to count myself among "people." I'm not only free to say, but feel compelled to assert, that it's not really all that awful... at least not always! In service of this assertion, I can offer my own experience with people, which is admittedly idiosyncratic and anecdotal, but it's no more so than anyone else's personal narrative, and it serves at least as a counterexample to the proposition that people just suck.

Bill... why can't people be beautiful despite the darkness. Why deny? You put words in my mouth with that statement in a way. It's as if you can't tolerate the idea of pain at all.

I love people.

Think about that, will you?

Walton (@384):

Reagan's not my "hero". ... I think, on balance, that his presidency did some good - but that doesn't mean that he was a great person or that everything he did was morally justified.

From my current political vantage point, it's a fairly shameful confession, but I voted for Reagan... twice. For a long time, even after I completed my journey to the Democratic Party, I thought like you: That Reagan was, on balance, a good president.

More recently, though, I've come to see him as the single figure who, more than anyone else, made American politics safe for the pernicious anti-government ideology that so dogs us today. Arguments about the relative goodness of what he actually did while in office are almost irrelevant to this point: The real problem I have with Reagan is his historical legacy, which includes Bush 43 (much more so than Bush 41, who was never really an ideological Reaganite), Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist (and all his ilk), and right down to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party whackos... not to mention legions of strutting right-wing fanboys who (still) call him things like Ronaldus Maximus.

Every now and then (usually when the White House is about to change hands) you'll see lists, compiled by historians, of the best and worst presidents in our history. Reagan still places high on many of those lists, which is a testament to his political skills... but the ideas he put those skills in service of are evil, and we've been more or less stuck with them now for three decades. There are two presidents whose positions on the best/worst lists are, IMHO, likely to change significantly with the accumulation of greater historical distance and perspective: Reagan, who I think will sink like a stone with history's growing understanding of what he's left us with, and his immediate predecessor, Jimmy Carter, whose stock I think will rise as personal recollections of his dour personality are gradually replaced by a dispassionate look at his actual record.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

The Guiness stew does sound scrumptious. However, I find myself constitutionally incapable of any form of Guiness miscegenation. Not Black and Tans. Not Carbombs. Hell. I might not even eat if I suspect that Guiness is in the forecast. I plan on drinking prodigious quantities of the stuff tomorrow, gut problems be damned.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ol' Greg:

Bill, it just isn't all anything.

I get that.

Bill... why can't people be beautiful despite the darkness. Why deny?

They can, of course, and I don't deny it... in fact, it was sort of my point: Not that no people are dark or that people don't do dark things, but that the totality of "people" is, in fact, "beautiful despite the darkness." Sometimes, though, in the (likely somewhat random) ebb and flow of comment around here, it feels to me as if the darkness is piling up, and I feel moved to push back with some sort of affirmation.

Then, too, my reactions can be influenced by factors external to what's written here: Yesterday, I read your long, emotionally devastating reply just before I left my desk. I then walked out the office door into a hideous day... too cold for the light jacket I had with me, ugly grey skies, and rain... not a romantic, dramatic storm, either; just nasty wetness. When I got to my car, I turned on the audiobook¹ I've been filling my commute with and was immediately confronted by an operatic, Tarrantinoesque description of a horrifying mass murder, a crime redolent with themes of misogyny and racism (a Barbadian domestic worker kills the white lady-of-the-house, and then pretty much everybody else in the household including several children, specifically because she intervened to stop him from beating his wife) and detailed at sufficient length that it consumed my entire drive home. By the time I arrived, I was literally on the verge of bursting into tears... which is unusual for me. Then I sat down to a batch of e-mails detailing petty, unworthy bickering between some of my most trusted local political friends.

<sigh>

I guess I needed to bark some affirmation at the world, as much to remind myself as to convince anyone else.

I love people.

Cool; me too.

Think about that, will you?

I will indeed. It's quite clearly much more difficult for you to say that than for me. Of all the things you've so fearlessly shared with us, I think I might be most grateful for I love people.

¹ T.C. Boyle's The Women, a fictional telling of Frank Lloyd Wright's relationships with the four main women in his life (three wives and a mistress). I strongly recommend it!

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Ol'Greg

I love people.

Is that a generic affirmation? Referring to people in the abstract? Or do you simply mean something more like "I love (some) people"?

You've been really open in this and other threads, so I hope I am not being too presumptuous. It's just that I, myself, have trouble with trying to think thoughts like that. there isn't much reason -- I was never abused, or horribly mistreated, or anything. Bullied at different times, sure, but that's normal. But when I think of people outside of my immediate surroundings (my wife, mostly) what I find is indifference with regards to other people (maybe mild curiosity, like in the case of some Pharyngula denizens). I mean, I've never really had any persistent friends, so that may be part of it (I hold no illusions that I'm not stunted there). I just have trouble imagining what is entailed when one says "I love people".

I wouldn't keep poking at you, but I don't generally have the opportunity to talk openly about this sort of thing.

Here is my Butter Chicken Recipe.

For the Chicken:

1 pot mild plain yoghurt.
2 boneless & skinless chicken breasts, or 4/6 skinless & boneless chicke thighs.
1 tsp chilli powder.
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
2 cloves minced garlic
1" fresh ginger, finely chopped.

Combine all ingredients except the chicken and mix well.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add to yoghurt mix.

Allow to marinade for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.

Heat oven to about 200C, and place chicken on baking sheet. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until just cooked through, and the edges of chicken are beginning to char. You could also cook the chicken under the grill, or on the BBQ.

Set chicken to one side.

For the Sauce:

1 can chopped tomatoes.
1 tsp ground coriander.
1 tsp garam masala
1" ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
50g butter
50ml double cream
Bunch fresh coriander.

Heat some oil or ghee in a pan, and add ginger, garlic, ground coriander and garam masala. Fry for couple of minutes.

Add blended tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add chicken, and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add butter, and allow to melt, then add cream.

Check for seasoning, and add more salt if needed. If the tomatoes were very acidic you might need 1/2 tsp of sugar.

Add fresh coriander, stir in and serve.

Can be served with an Indian bread, or rice.

Is even nicer if made the day before and re-heated.

Feel free to add more chilli.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Here's my Butter Chicken recipe:

get in car.
drive to Trader Joe's.
Navigate to freezer section; choose Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice.
Purchase.
Return home.
Microwave.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Here's my Butter Chicken recipe:

get in car.
drive to Trader Joe's.
Navigate to freezer section; choose Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice.
Purchase.
Return home.
Microwave.

Yeah, but which will taste better ? :)

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I would add that with my Butter Chicken, if you do not want to bother with making the Chicken Tikka, you can add the uncooked chicken direct to the sauce, but obviously cook it longer! It will not have quite the same flavour, but it will still be good.

You can also use chicken left-over from some other meal.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I just have trouble imagining what is entailed when one says "I love people".

Well... I certainly don't, and won't speak for Ol'Greg... but try this...

I can see myself making the statements "I love people", and in the same day, "I hate people", and sincerely mean them both.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I love people

I presume you aren't using "I love" in the same way as when you say "I love chicken", or "I love oysters".

Being a veggie, my instinctive reaction when someone says something like "I love salmon" is to think "No, you frigging don't. You hate them".

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I was going post another recipe, but had an attack of SIWOTI over at The Questionable Authority. Mike Dunford is wrong on the Internet.

Here's my rant, which pounds on some familiar themes:

Mike,

Actually, there are cases - quite a few of them, in fact - where theological statements can be investigated scientifically, and where they can, and have, been shown to be false. The circumstances that surround these cases are very similar to cases where ESP, ghosts, ghoulies, and things that go bump in the night have been investigated by science.

The common thread that connects these cases, and, more importantly, excludes quite a few others, is fairly simple: there is some sort of set of measurable criteria that all parties - skeptic or otherwise - recognize as a required consequence of whatever is being investigated.

Sorry, this doesn't wash.

Consider the Galileo example I brought up in the earlier thread, here:

http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2010/03/cities_solipsism_scientism_an…

The Catholic authorities (well, some, anyway) wanted Galileo to say that his model didn't actually describe reality, which would contradict scripture, but was predictive.

They proposed that the Sun went around the Earth in just such a way as to be observationally indistinguishable from Galileo's heliocentric model.

They were scientifically wrong, weren't they?

Science is simply not neutral toward unfalsifiable hypotheses, especially those that

1) appear contrived precisely to avoid falsification, and/or

2) are arrived at by dubious methods, using intuitions that have systematically failed in the past

To the extent that it has any interesting, distinctively religious content at all unfalsifiable religion meets both these criteria.

It's a scientific fact that unfalsifiable hypotheses are usually wrong---they have to be, because there's an infinity of unfalsifiable hypotheses that mostly contradict each other.

It's a scientific fact that hypotheses contrived to evade falsifiability are especially likely to be wrong, or worse than wrong.

It's a scientific fact that religious hypotheses in particular are usually wrong. They have to be, because of the contradictions between religions. (E.g., on the number and traits of god(s), the basic nature of morality, the origin of the universe, the specific moral claims, etc.)

Religion in general is demonstrably wrong in most cases, even if we can't say for sure which ones it might luck out and be right in.

Without some extraordinary evidence for particular religious claims, we should scientifically discount religious hypotheses in the very same way we discount other unfalsifiable hypotheses contrived to evade falsification, e.g., Bigfoot, UFO reports, homeopathic nonsense, and various paranoid conspiracy theories. There's no special rule about religion.

Scientifically, we should be at best agnostic toward religion, and extremely skeptical. That's not optional, or a particularly "philosophical" or "metaphysical" claim; it follows from the science.

It is not okay to say that if science can't strictly disprove something, it's okay to believe it's true, as accommodationists often do.

Science is simply not about strict disproof, never has been, and never could be. By that standard, we still haven't proved that the Earth isn't stationary.

And yet it moves, as Galileo said.

It could still be true that the Sun goes around the Earth in just such a way as to be completely observationally indistinguishable from the best scientific theory of planetary motion. That doesn't mean that it isn't scientifically wrong to take such an idea very seriously, much less actually believe it.

Likewise other religious claims.

Accommodationists want to make unfalsifiability and supernaturalism into virtues that protect religious beliefs from scientific scrutiny.

That's utter bullshit.

Science can study religion's claims, and religion's methods, and find them sorely wanting as means of getting at anything resembling truth.

NOMA is wrong, and unfalsifiability of hypotheses doesn't mean science can't say it's probably wrong---it generally means science should say exactly that: distinctively religious beliefs are probably wrong.

Calling something "supernatural" isn't a science-stopper, either.

The scope of science isn't limited to the "natural" world in any sense that's relevant to the "natural"/"supernatural" distinction.

Science can study anything with observable effects, and purported supernatural entities systematically do have (supposed) observable effects---that's how we're supposed to know about them. (E.g., transcendent spiritual experiences, revelation, etc.)

That makes them fair game for science whether they reduce to materialism as we know it or not.

Consider Lamarckism and vitalism. Both of those theories had a supernatural character, assuming teleological properties of living things that nobody knew how to cash out in "reductionistic" materialistic terms. (And in fact, many thought it was impossible---that's why Darwin is so important.)

That did not keep scientists from taking them seriously, scientifically, and it shouldn't have. Darwin was right to be skeptical of irreducibly teleological weirdness, and to make an educated guess that a purely materialistic, nonteleological account could be successful, but to keep an open mind about the possibility of very special principles at work, which could not be reduced to monistic, materialistic Science As We Know It.

The success of materialistic monism in science is not and never was a matter of an a priori constraint on what science can study, or what hypotheses it can entertain. A priori methodological naturalism is simply false---that is not how science worked then, or works now, or ever should work, or ever could work. Science blinkered in that way would not be science---it would be science bowdlerized to accommodate religion, and that's not just unscientific but antiscientific.

Accommodationists still don't understand the significance of the most important examples in the history and philosophy of science, and constantly misrepresent the nature of science. It's very tiresome.

link:
http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2010/03/more_on_the_material_and_meta…

By Paul W., OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh, and vegetarians can use paneer in place of chicken.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bill, I'm sorry about the Guinness stew. It just wouldn't be the same without the Guinness. :) Here's the recipe for the cheesecake, it really is tasty, so I hope you can re-work it. As always, the habanero should be adjusted to personal taste:

Habanero Lime Cheesecake

Crust:
1 1/2 cups wheat-meal biscuits (or about 26 graham cracker squares) ground to crumbs
Pinch salt
1/3 cup melted butter

Filling:
3 habanero peppers
2 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 cup
24 ounces cream cheese
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lime, zested
1 very juicy or 2 less juicy limes, juiced
1 lime sliced thinly, for garnish
1whole habanero, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Position top rack in the center of the oven. Place a baking pan on the rack below this. Boil water.

Make crust: Mix the crumbs and salt together in a small bowl, then add butter and stir to mix. Set aside 1/4cup for topping. Press the rest into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Turn on kitchen or stove exhaust fan. Skewer and roast the habaneros over an open flame (gas burner is fine) and set them to steam under a towel. When they are cool enough to handle, put on plastic gloves if desired. Peel and de-seed habaneros, then pound in a mortar with the 2 tablespoons of sugar until a coarse paste results.

Cream the cream cheese, then add remaining sugar and salt. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated. Add the cream and blend. Beat the zest and lime juice into this mixture. Add the habanero paste last and beat until well mixed. Pour into the crust, then gently tap the pan to level the filling. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top.

Pour boiling water into the pan on the oven's lower rack. Place the cheesecake on the rack above it. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until the cheesecake pulls away from the edge of the pan. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 20 minutes. Wrap and keep in the refrigerator overnight, or if rushed, place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.

Garnish, if desired, with slices of lime and place a whole habanero in the center.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

How about salmon? I love salmon.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Yeah, but which will taste better ? :)

I don't know, man. That TJ's shit is pretty damn good.

p.s. fuck euphemism week

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I think people get very hung up on the various types of naturalism. It seems to only obscure the issue.

A religion that makes no naturalistic claims for its deity would not conflict with science. By naturalistic claims I mean claims that their god intervenes in the Universe. A god cannot intervene in the Universe without leaving evidence of that intervention. We do not see the Universe behaving in a way that suggests such interventions happen.

It really is that kwaking simple

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

RTL (@402):

I presume you aren't using "I love" in the same way as when you say "I love chicken", or "I love oysters".

Oh, yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what she means: She loves people... with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

8^/

Being a veggie, my instinctive reaction when someone says something like "I love salmon" is to think "No, you frigging don't. You hate them".

Srsly?? If you want to argue that meat is unnecessary and slaughtering animals is cruel, that's reasonable... I disagree, but it's clearly an arguable point. But do you really think people who eat meat are motivated to do so by hatred of the animals the meat comes from? Do you eat bread because you hate wheat plants?

In fact, AFAIK many people think carefully preparing and cooking food is a sign of respect for the food source... including animals. I'm not big on that sort of touchy-feely approach myself, but when I eat bacon, it's attributable to some combination of I'm hungry and I like the taste of bacon; hatred of pigs is no part of the equation.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Following Sven: I prefer to eat food that is prepared by someone other than me. It is more delicious that way.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Following Sven: I prefer to eat food that is prepared by someone other than me. It is more delicious that way.

I do not disagree with that in principle. I love having an Indian take-away for example, but ready meals very seldom reach the same quality as home cooked, or restaurant food.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Among my less obvious personal beefs against Reagan: I sometimes think he's a huge part of the problem people today seem to have distinguishing convenient fictions from reality.

It's this growing hypothesis I've long nursed that there is some strange chemistry between the age and sophistication of the PR and propaganda industries in the US and the flourishing of religion and other superstitions there. That children raised on a steady diet of advertisting that makes emotive, deliberately irrational appeals are implicitly taught that this is actually a valid way to think--and that ultimately, all that is required to believe something true is that your judgement is that said belief happens to be a convenient prop to what you wanted to do anyway.

And Reagan was a piece of work that way, especially. A guy who projected a public persona as some sort of war hero, but who actually spent the war making training films. A guy who posed as a fiscal conservative but who spent money like a drunken sailor when it came to the military. A guy who'd tell any old yarn about repellent 'welfare queens', and when it turned out it was a wildly--hell, practically criminally--embellished fiction, his backers would say oh, well, it made its point, didn't it...

That last bit's the kicker. No, it didn't make a point. It simply told a lie, and now those who've signed onto it happily defend the lie because it's become collective wisdom that the point was somehow 'good'... I'm pressed to imagine a better parallel with religion.

There was always a measure of bull in politics. But Reagan was on a whole new level. He's the point at which just being completely, flagrantly full of it about anything and everything every single fucking time you opened your mouth somehow became a virtue, and minor details like actual honesty and interest in an actual objective reality that might exist outside your political narrative--and indeed, which might entirely contradict it--became entirely beside the point. He was the apotheosis of vacuous ideologically driven BS as a substitute for honest, accurate communication or practical policy.

His apologists call him the great communicator. But he was really rather more the great lying sack of crap. And the reek of the manure he spread hangs heavily over the political scene to this day.

I love people.

I don't. I like a lot of people; I love some. As a whole, I don't care for people at all, nasty animals for the most part.

After the childhood I had, I consider myself lucky I didn't end up wantonly slaughtering a great many people. Basically, I kept my head down and did what I had to do to get out - I graduated HS at 17 and promptly moved out on my own, got through college, all that. I've spent years building up a clientele for my artwork so I can work on my own, when I want to and where I want to. I live in a place with next to no people (pop. 79). People here mind their own business, and I have no neighbours on either side of my house. I can handle people if I don't have to be around them for any length of time.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

A religion that makes no naturalistic claims for its deity would not conflict with science. By naturalistic claims I mean claims that their god intervenes in the Universe.

Probably obvious, but WTH...to say that a deity exists that does not intervene with the universe sort of beggars the meaning of the word "existence".

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Matt, nice recipe, thanks. I snagged it for my recipe files. :)

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Snurp in #245 re: NOLA folks: ... they're not ignoring reality. They just don't mind it any more.

This perfectly sums up the state of mind to which I aspire. Thank you!

Ol' Greg, your #277 maps pretty much perfectly to "women's issues" and to class issues, with which there's a large overlap. The statement about how fashionable beauty is largely privilege-markers, in particular. I'm snatching that piece for my pile o' files; all else aside it's a very good piece of writing.

Also: That command to ~SMILE!~ —yeah men get it; I'd bet that women get it more, but it's condemnedly annoying whenever. The blunt question is a good response. I haven't received it in years (old-woman invisibility can be a good thing too) but back when I did, I was more snaggle-toothed than I am now and my looks still scare small children. I cultivated a smile that would make presumptuous strangers stumble. Got even better when I had braces on it for a couple years but IIRC nobody gave me that command then, alas.

I think I sprained something the morning I got it from some perky strange guy who crossed my path as I was leaving the hospital after a hideous shift that involved a five-hour code, the clear beginning of the unconscionably slow death of a kid I knew well, and my taking charge of the rest of the floor while this went on. This included explaining things to other worried parents and scared kids. I know I had tears in my eyes and bags under them and probably blood on my shirt and I hope that fool broke his leg on the way in. I couldn't say what I was thinking, though, because for all I knew he was another worried parent and I try to be kind to them.

Paul :
@Ol'Greg
"I love people."
Is that a generic affirmation?

You'll notice it's followed by a recipe. Ref: "To Serve Man."

By ronsullivan (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Probably obvious, but WTH...to say that a deity exists that does not intervene with the universe sort of beggars the meaning of the word "existence".

Absolutely. I originally planned to explore that, but then I realised this was not The Intersection and I do not have to do the thinking for people here.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Today was the very moving burial of Jean Ferrat, a great french singer, songwriter and poet. He was one of our most politically engaged singers from the 60s/70s, close to the communist cause, a feminist, and a non believer.

Two of his most famous songs :

"La montagne" 'The mountain'

"La femme est l'avenir de l'homme" 'Woman is the future of man'

He also put in music some of Louis Aragon's most beautiful poems:

"Que serais-je sans Toi ?" 'What would I be without you?'

Adieu Jean.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine:

Here's the recipe for the cheesecake, it really is tasty,

Thanks so much!

...so I hope you can re-work it.

Should be (you should pardon the expression) a piece of cake: At first glance, the only gluten I see is in the crust, and I know my Lovely Bride has wheatless options for that.

I have a recipe (not my own invention, but one of my favorites to make) for Margarita Pie: A frozen cream pie made with tequila and lime juice (along with the usual cream, sweetened condensed milk, etc.) with a pretzel-crumb crust (mimicking the salted glass rim) in place of the traditional graham cracker crust. Pretzels aren't gluten free, of course, but this is what I always make when I need to bring a dessert to a potluck event. (Note that I only serve it to adults, though in fact there's only a single drink's worth of booze in the whole pie.)

I'll try to remember to post the full recipe when I get home.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Paul

Is that a generic affirmation? Referring to people in the abstract? Or do you simply mean something more like "I love (some) people"?

I suppose it is a general statement, it is abstract but no it is also not that abstract. I truly do love people. I love human society, despite the fact that it some times destroys itself, or aspects of it may act directly against me. I also feel a love for the individuals though. I’m some times sad and hurt by the fact that love for individual people is limited in its capacity to be expressed as simply love, without anticipation, debt, expectation, resentment, mistrust…

Of course I do love some people better than others, but often those people are the ones who I have been able to spend the most time with because they like me well enough :P

There is a limit to how well I can get to know some people, and a limit on how much time or energy I can put forward with people, there is also an unfortunate limit where some people I can only have limited contact with. Then there are people who do terrible things, for all sorts of reasons. Finally some that seem simply cruel and sick, lacking in any empathy, etc.

But really there are very few people who I could say I do not love at all. I consider that love the base state that all people I have contact with begin at. I tend to consider the entire world of humans as people I could know except for circumstance.

Now that’s not to say I can’t also get completely fed up and disgusted by them too though, and that is also not to imply that I can not see how some people are socially destructive. Usually though if I say something like “people suck” it’s a clear sign that I’m acutely depressed or angry. Once the mood passes (and it’s usually short lived) I’ll be back to my default. In other words when I say “people suck” I invariably mean “SOME people suck” much the way you asked if I meant “I love SOME people.”

It's just that I, myself, have trouble with trying to think thoughts like that …But when I think of people outside of my immediate surroundings (my wife, mostly) what I find is indifference with regards to other people (maybe mild curiosity, like in the case of some Pharyngula denizens).

I find myself, when I think of distant people, intensely curious. About their lives, their minds, how they are and what they do. I feel an immediate sensitivity to the fact that they may face completely different circumstances than me, and have completely different worldviews… and I wish some times I could document it all some how so that more people could be visible to each other in a better way, or rather in a way that takes the complexity of their various lives and situations into account.

I mean, I've never really had any persistent friends, so that may be part of it (I hold no illusions that I'm not stunted there). I just have trouble imagining what is entailed when one says "I love people".
In personal life I care about people more than they think usually. I have had to tell people that I can no longer associate with them. I usually do not stop caring about them, but some people are too damaging to keep around. More often though I just allow time and life to do its thing and draw people along to different places. I don’t tend to hold on very tight. I feel very at home around strangers and even enjoy being in a foreign country where I am isolated some what by language and culture.

I wouldn't keep poking at you, but I don't generally have the opportunity to talk openly about this sort of thing.

I don’t mind at all.

Paul's Dal Masala (lentil spice mix) & spiced lentils

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons dal masala per cup dry lentils.

(This resembles a commercial dal masala mix I like except that
the commercial mix is way too salty---you can't use a lot of masala (mix) without oversalting the dal (lentils). I usually mix up about 10x what it says below, and keep it in a jar.)

1 tablespoon amchoor (ground dried unripe mango) powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
3/8 tsp ground dry ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Sample recipe for spiced lentils:

(I usually make a batch 2x or so this size)

1 1/4 cup green/brown lentils, washed & cooked up the usual way, and not too soupy (pour off and reserve some of the liquid if it's soupy) Red lentils work fine too, if you prefer a less discretely beany texture. You can puree it if you want; I don't bother.
1 medium onion, chopped fairly fine
1 medium to large tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil or neutral vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dal masala

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Saute the onions in the oil until they're translucent and browning a bit.
Add dal masala.
Saute a minute or so more, mixing well. (You want to make sure that the masala is oiled & heated well to activate the spices, I think.)
Add chopped tomatoes, and saute 3-4 minutes.
Add cooked lentils, mix well.
Heat through and simmer 10 minutes or so, covered.

(Note: this should be distinctly moist but not soupy, because you should be able to pick it up a glob in a hunk of tortilla without making a mess. If it's too wet, simmer with the lid off to try it a bit. If it's drying out and sticking, add a little reserved lentil liquid or water.)

Serve with wheat tortillas or whatever you like.

(I usually serve this Ethiopian style, with lightly toasted Santa Fe style tortillas, with a couple of other suitable dishes like Saag or Gomen, so people can tear off a piece of a tortilla, grab some food in it, and pop it in their mouths.)

By Paul W., OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I presume you aren't using "I love" in the same way as when you say "I love chicken", or "I love oysters".

Probably more like, "I love cats", or "I love horses", and not necessarily all people (or cats, or horses), all the time.

La femme est l'avenir de l'homme
Jean Ferrat 1970

This song attacks those who decree through the bible women's infinite serfdom.

Woman is the future of man

The poet is always right
Who sees higher than the horizon
And the future is his kingdom
Facing our generation
I declare with Aragon
Woman is the future of man

Between old and new
Your struggle, at all levels,
From ours is undivided
Amongst men who make laws
If some sing through my voice
Others decree through the bible

The poet is always right
Who destroys the old oration
The image of Eve and the apple
Facing the old maledictions
I declare with Aragon
Woman is the future of man

For birthing without the suffering
For the control of natality
It took millenaries
If we are coming out of the Middle Ages
Your centuries of infinite serfdom
Still weigh heavily on the earth

The poet is always right
Who announces the blossoming
Of other loves in his kingdom
Who puts the song aright
And declares with Aragon
Woman is the future of man

We will need to relearn living
Write together a new book
Recover anew the possibilities
Each thing at last shared
Everything in the couple is going to change
In an irreversible manner

The poet is always right
Who sees higher than the horizon
And the future is his kingdom
Facing all other generations
I declare with Aragon
Woman is the future of man

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bill Dauphin

Srsly??

No :)

Typical meat eater's hormonally agressive response. :)

I don't need to eat animals. If I was an Innuit I would. That's all. I don't proselytise about "Vegeterianism", I don't think it makes me a superior moral being, and I don't care what anyone else eats, as long as I don't have to smell it. (Having not eaten animals for forty years I find the smell disgusting. I have to hold my breath when walking past butcher's shops).

It's nice that I consume less of this planet's limited resources than most, but that wasn't why I stopped eating flesh.

Actually, I don't think about food much at all. I seem to have the kind of metabolism that means I can go days without eating, or even thnking about it. It seems to me that many people have turned a necessary activity into a fetish. (Yes, Pharygulists, I'm looking at you). To me, food is simply fuel.

You keep bad company though. "For God so loved the smell of burning flesh..." :)

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ring Tail Lemurian,

It seems to me that many people have turned a necessary activity into a fetish something they like.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

AJ, in comment 414, hit the nail on the head. I think of Reagan as the genial liar, who told us the things that made us feel better, while driving the country into a ditch. Unfortunately many Americans still feel this is the best way to govern.

Meanwhile, our travels have taken us to southern California. We always visit presidential libraries, and we have only two days here. Hence we will visit the Reagan Presidential Library AND the Nixon Presidential Library on consecutive days. I'm thinking of it as a trip to the black heart of the American Dream.

Wish me luck.

TROLIS! POŽEMYJE!

Creationist sighted in the otherwise long-dead Kent Hovind is still in jail thread. Wow, the thread is a year old.

Good question. This is probably another good reason for me not to have children.

It's a good reason for you not having children right now. Given your current development, however, you're likely going to make a pretty fine father 10 years from now, if not in fact less.

can we elect zombie-franklin to be President of the World?

Much of that speech is in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

But he was not a particularly good human being

Good is not nice. It looks like FDR was a Type III antihero.

In my defence, I'm still a little ill and really not thinking straight.

When you're too ill for discussing, why do you discuss? Just lie down, read a book or sleep.

and seem to have completely exhausted myself merely from walking to the shops this morning to buy food. :-(

At least you eat, my grandmother would say.

However, when I take Carlie's stark reporting of girl culture and add it to Walton's repeated insistence that school teachers and administrators (without reference to gender) are invariably tyrannical control freaks and David M.'s assertion that everybody is ugly and your... well, FSM knows your story reflects darkly on pretty much everyone... when I add all that together, it becomes a dark commentary on people generally, and in that context, I'm not on the wrong side of some historic inequality, being bold enough to count myself among "people." I'm not only free to say, but feel compelled to assert, that it's not really all that awful... at least not always! In service of this assertion, I can offer my own experience with people, which is admittedly idiosyncratic and anecdotal, but it's no more so than anyone else's personal narrative, and it serves at least as a counterexample to the proposition that people just suck.

Oh, please take me out of this. :-] When someone is ugly, that just means I can't fall in love with them. Big deal. It doesn't mean that people suck or that I can't talk to them normally (while looking at their faces), let alone that I'm blaming them for something or whatever (just for the sake of completeness – you didn't imply that).

But, yes, there's a lot of suckitude in human societies. However, I agree with your point that there is still hope.

I find it hard to find anything admirable about Reagan.

"Nobody is useless – they can still serve as a bad example."

(Probably wasn't really worth it, though.)

Here is my Butter Chicken Recipe.

Sounds pretty good except for the tomatoes.

Being a veggie, my instinctive reaction when someone says something like "I love salmon" is to think "No, you frigging don't. You hate them".

What's the difference between botanists and zoologists?

Botanists actually like animals.

(…As a paleozoologist I get out of this free, though :^) )

It could still be true that the Sun goes around the Earth in just such a way as to be completely observationally indistinguishable from the best scientific theory of planetary motion.

Only if the theory of relativity is majorly wrong.

You should mention the principle of parsimony somewhere in your rant. :-) Methodological naturalism is just one application of it.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

RTL:

Srsly??

No :)

Glad to hear it.

Typical meat eater's hormonally agressive response. :)

Never attribute to hormonal aggression that which can adequately be explained by bemusement! ;^)

To me, food is simply fuel.

Sorry to hear that. To you, is sex also simply a gamete delivery mechanism?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

negentropyeater Yes, agreed, and many others have fetishised food.
You can't turn on the TV in the UK now without having to flick through cookery programme after cookery programme. Amateur cooks, professional cooks, zelebrity cooks, cooking competitions, alcoholic cooks, politicians cooking, hairy bikers cooking all over the world, dancing cooks, cooking on ice.....

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

David:

Oh, please take me out of this.

I wasn't calling you the rainstorm, only one of the drops.

As I tried to clarify to Ol' Greg, I sometimes feel a bit burdened by the accumulation of others' dark comments... for which no one of those others can reasonably be held responsible.

And in any case, I always recover from that condition, and usually fairly quickly at that.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Anyone have anything to say about sourdoughs? I have a coupla recipes, but it doesn't hurt to get a third opinion.

Given how long it's taken me to get around to trying to make one, I suspect I need something that can do without too much love - such as being forgotten about for long periods of time until I discover it at the back of the fridge.

Heh, The Intersection commenters are having fun comparing New Atheists to Rush Limbaugh. I wonder if Mooney will bother engaging with his commenters on the point, get tired of hearing his commenters more interested in talking about someone other than him and tell them to cut it out, or make an angry blog post about how mean and uncouth the New Atheists are. I can't figure out how to assign the odds.

It does seem odd that for a site where most comments go into moderation (so they either have to follow their comments or simply approve everything without bad words), the blog hosts participate so very rarely in the threads themselves. And it's not like PZ where the comment volume is so huge that he couldn't even imagine contributing more than a thought here and there. Perhaps they see the posts they let through as forwarding their position? Are McCarthy, bilbo, and Kwok accepted stand-ins for Mooneybaum?

David Marjanović:

It could still be true that the Sun goes around the Earth in just such a way as to be completely observationally indistinguishable from the best scientific theory of planetary motion.

Only if the theory of relativity is majorly wrong.

I'm not sure what you mean. Of course it would be wrong if we take it to be an actual truth claim that there's no absolute or privileged frame of reference, but...

I would think we could still come up with an observationally indistinguishable model by adding a couple of relativizing axioms to the mathematical/geometrical model---or more precisely, de-relativizing axioms.

I would guess that would be an exercise in vacuity, in that it would hold the Earth stationary in just such a way that you could pull the same trick and hold anything else stationary instead---but that's sorta my point. It would make no new predictions, and all the same old ones, as far as any possible observations go, and would be unfalsifiable and not scientifically neutral, but antiscientific.

But I may be missing something---physics is not my strong suit. Care to elaborate?

By Paul W., OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Do you eat bread because you hate wheat plants?

Specifically wheat embryos. :->

It's this growing hypothesis I've long nursed that there is some strange chemistry between the age and sophistication of the PR and propaganda industries in the US and the flourishing of religion and other superstitions there. That children raised on a steady diet of advertisting that makes emotive, deliberately irrational appeals are implicitly taught that this is actually a valid way to think--and that ultimately, all that is required to believe something true is that your judgement is that said belief happens to be a convenient prop to what you wanted to do anyway.

In that case, shouldn't the whole Western world be like this?

I think of Reagan as the genial liar, who told us the things that made us feel better, while driving the country into a ditch.

And towards the (long) end, St Ronnie actually believed in all that stuff himself. SDI is remarkably similar to one of his early movies.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Are McCarthy, bilbo, and Kwok accepted stand-ins for Mooneybaum?

I wonder, if asked in an honest moment, how they would feel about that perception?

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

RTL:

I seem to have the kind of metabolism that means I can go days without eating, or even thnking about it.

I've been that way all my life. I have never eaten breakfast in the morning, not even as a kid, it made me sick if I tried. I eat once a day, if that. It's no great accomplishment, it's not an accomplishment at all. When I do eat, I want to *enjoy* what I eat. BFD. My husband, on the other hand, likes to eat more than once a day. *shrugs*

It seems to me that many people have turned a necessary activity into a fetish.

I think that's ridiculous. People enjoy food - so what? If you're just stuffing something into your mouth so you don't starve, you ain't doing it right. I might not eat a whole lot, but I seriously enjoy cooking. I have people over when I want to indulge in a whole lot of cooking. I can happily cook for carnivores, omnivores, vegetarians and vegans. No problem at all. If someone wants to get snotty at my table, they can go without.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Bill Dauphin

Sorry to hear that

Why? I'm happy. I don't feel sorry for people who don't care about sports, or ballet (me), or opera (me again), or birdwatching, or whatever. Different strokes for different folks. I love the fact that I can go to a nice isolated beach in the summer, and if I spontaneously decide to sleep the night in the dunes, I don't have to have planned it, or to have to leave early to trek miles back to the nearest shop "or I'll die". Seems a rather useful ability, to me.

To you, is sex also simply a gamete delivery mechanism?

Yup. :)

Now you can feel feel sorry for me.

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ring Tailed Lemurian: Actually, I am totally with you in that I eat whatever fills the gnawing hole in belly without caring that much what it is. It's not like I don't prefer tasty food. I just can't be bothered to take any extra effort in obtaining it. I was a veg for ~6 years. But my wife wasn't, and it was just easier to eat whatever she wanted to cook (I always clean...we both prefer it this way).

On to sustainability...must admit that this is a convincing motive for the veg lifestyle.

Not for nothing, this year I made ~2 cubic yards of beautiful black compost from the leaf litter on my 0.33 acre lot and kitchen waste. Spread it all lovingly in my garden beds yesterday. For some reason, I can be bothered with this, but not with more culinary effort than it takes to peel a banana and open a PBR. Dinner, she is served.

David M...I don't think I ever have written "LOL" in response to anything, but the "wheat embryos" thing made me giggle audibly.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ring Tailed Lemurian: Actually, I am totally with you in that I eat whatever fills the gnawing hole in belly without caring that much what it is. It's not like I don't prefer tasty food. I just can't be bothered to take any extra effort in obtaining it. I was a veg for ~6 years. But my wife wasn't, and it was just easier to eat whatever she wanted to cook (I always clean...we both prefer it this way).

I'm with you guys! I mean, I enjoy food more or less, but it's like waiting for the bus to take me to work. It's nice, and it gives me a few minutes in which to think, but on the whole I'd teleport to work if the opportunity existed and save the bus for the really pleasant days outside. Similarly, I'd happily have my daily nutrient injections and save the 'eating' for special occasions.

For those who feel sorry for us, consider this: I can come home from work, open and rinse a large can of chickpeas into a bowl, add a half cup of flax seeds and a teaspoon of good soy sauce and call it a meal. Throw in a couple of apples if need be and I've had all the dinner I care to. Prep time ~45 seconds. (Of course, given the options at a buffet, for instance, I'll tend toward the more savoury, fatty, and sweet just like most of us.)

Now, if only I felt the same way about beer.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

RTL:

Sorry to hear that

Why? I'm happy.

Oh, don't worry about me; it's not as if I'm losing sleep. But I any missed opportunity for pleasure is at least a bit unfortunate.

I don't feel sorry for people who don't care about sports...

Not a valid comparison, because nobody's obligated to watch sports (or any of the rest of your list) to stay alive. Plenty of the things a human has to do regularly to stay above ground aren't potential sources of pleasure in the best of circumstances, but a few of them are. If you don't get any thrill out of something many of the rest of us enjoy, it's probably not a BFD, but forgive me for thinking it's at least a little bit sad.

Certainly it does not follow from your lack of interest in food that those of us who enjoy eating and cooking are fetishists (not that there's anything wrong with a good fetish, of course ;^) ).

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Not everybody has to enjoy cooking as an activity or art form, just as not everybody has to like the same kinds of sports or music. Personally, I like both the process and the result.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

David,

Much of that speech is in the UN Declaration of Human Rights

The USA signed and ratified the UN DHR. But it's really the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) that expanded on the specific rights included in the Second Bill of Rights. As of today, the ICESCR has been ratified by most countries on the planet.

Paradoxically, the United States, where the Second Bill of Rights originated, is one of the very few countries not to have signed that Covenant.

FDR's Second Bill of Rights has to this day only been partially implemented in the US.

Check the reasons why in Cass Sunstein's book:
"The Second Bill of Rights – FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More Than Ever"

It looks like FDR was a Type III antihero.

What's mean about FDR ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink
Only if the theory of relativity is majorly wrong.

I'm not sure what you mean.

If the Earth stands still, the outer planets or something are moving faster than light according to the same reference frame. I don't know the details, but it's famous.

David M...I don't think I ever have written "LOL" in response to anything, but the "wheat embryos" thing made me giggle audibly.

o_O

You're a botanist, and this has never occurred to you? Er… you do work on embryophytes, don't you? ~:-|

What's mean about FDR ?

If half of what Walton wrote about him (I don't bother checking, I'm actually trying to work here :o) ) is true, he wasn't very nice. That's all.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Argh, I'm feeling much worse again: raging headache, temperature, and was unable to move for most of this afternoon. My illness seems to work in daily cycles.

=======

I don't have the energy to get involved in all the interesting discussions above, but I do want to address one thing:

Walton's repeated insistence that school teachers and administrators (without reference to gender) are invariably tyrannical control freak

That's not what I think, and I didn't mean to create that impression. Lots of teachers are genuinely great people. Teachers do a difficult job in a genuinely high-stress environment, tend to get blamed unfairly for things going wrong, and, in a lot of cases, do this for a lot less money than they could earn in private-sector jobs. I have family and friends who teach in the state school system, so I know what I'm talking about here.

Rather, what I think is tyrannical is the culture of schooling, and the way schools function as institutions. (Some teachers, incidentally, agree with me.) But the nature of schools, as authoritarian disciplinary institutions imposing arbitrary rules, is the creation of politicians and bureaucrats, not teachers. Teachers themselves deserve a lot of respect.

re 435:

But I may be missing something---physics is not my strong suit. Care to elaborate?

For the Earth to be stationary and the rest of the universe to revolve around it, would require distant objects to be moving at greater than the speed of light. The fact that light is a constant, finite velocity precludes a completely consistent Earth centered model of the universe.

Walton I kind of agree with part of your later statement but I really don't want to engage you. Goodness mister, go to bed, go to a doctor, drink some broth, do whatever you have to do to get better! We'll be here agreeing and disagreeing with you when you're feeling more healthy.

You're a botanist, and this has never occurred to you? Er… you do work on embryophytes, don't you? ~:-|

Sure it occurred to me. I just never expect it to occur to anyone else--hence the delight in being reminded that I am not entirely alone in the universe. I wasn't going to get all pedantic, but you have given me the small nudge required*. The bulk of whole wheat flour is comprised of endosperm (triploid tissue that originates with the fertilization of polar nuclei). All of the refined flour is composed of endosperm. The liquid portion of a coconut seed is also endosperm. This last fact will give freshman botany students the sillies.

*No need to call me an ass. I know this already.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

It seems to me that many people have turned a necessary activity into a fetish.

fetish? no. just as liking to have lots of good sex isn't a fetish. it's just that we have evolved to REALLY LIKE the stuff that's necessary for the descent part of "descent with modification" :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton:

Argh, I'm feeling much worse again: raging headache, temperature, and was unable to move for most of this afternoon. My illness seems to work in daily cycles.

Go.To.Doctor.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Go.To.Doctor.

Going to the doctor would involve walking somewhere, which is just not going to happen in the immediate future (especially since it's the evening, so I'd have to use the out-of-hours service). And calling the doctor to come here would be a massive waste of health service time and resources.

My headache's gone away, though. Ibuprofen is my best friend right now. :-)

Walton, can't anyone take you by there? Is out of hours service like going to a hospital ER here or something? I'm jealous calling a doctor is even an option actually.

Yeah sure you could just have the flu, but even if you do you can still get some symptomatic relief.

I believe it is confirmed in my mind that you are a masochist.

When you wake up tomorrow morning, go on to the doctor even if you feel better at the moment. Stop being so silly, it would suck if you turned out to have something more serious and it screwed up your semester.

Walton, have you had your meningococcal vaccination?

Symptoms of meningococcal disease often resemble those of the flu or other minor febrile illness, making it sometimes difficult to diagnose, and may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and confusion. Students who notice these symptoms - in themselves, friends, or others - especially if the symptoms are unusually sudden or severe, should contact their college health center or local hospital.

You do live in a dormitory setting, do you not? IANAD and don't presume to be able to diagnose anything, much less over the intertubes, but I did have a friend who almost died of meningococcal meningitis/septicemia that was contracted in a university dormitory.

By boygenius (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

It could still be true that the Sun goes around the Earth in just such a way as to be completely observationally indistinguishable from the best scientific theory of planetary motion.

I think this is where Occam's razor comes in. If you have n theories that all explain the data equally well the simplest one is most likely to be right. Many religious people miss this. According to them a universe with God (or at least their version of Him) is indistinguishable from one without, so there both as probable. No, the one with a God is less parsimonious and therefore less likely.

It's been mentioned here before that the Minimum Description Length principle is basically a information theoretic formalization of Occam's razor. One of the nice things you can see from the principle is the intuitive idea many scientists have that a simpler theory that fits the data well can be more desirable than a complex one, with many ad hoc assumptions and that fits slightly better.

The success of materialistic monism in science is not and never was a matter of an a priori constraint on what science can study, or what hypotheses it can entertain

That's another mistake I think many people make. That scientific theories nowadays are materialistic isn't because materialism is taken as an axiom, but because those theories have been the most success ones.

There's no reason why beings living in a universe with vitalism or dualism couldn't use the scientific method.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

When you wake up tomorrow morning, go on to the doctor even if you feel better at the moment. Stop being so silly, it would suck if you turned out to have something more serious and it screwed up your semester.

I don't think it's anything more serious - my mind seems to be working fine, and I can still talk, type and even argue. I just can't move around very much. :-\

Dear Walton,

Let me join the chorus of concern for your physical well-being (I'll deal with your spiritual well-being later). I agree with the others; you really should be seeking competent homeopathic help as quickly as possible.

However, if you are truly unable to travel I could send my friend Floyd Rubber to care for you. He was once a male nurse and he gives a marvelous bed bath.

Whatever you do, don't laugh. It is not the best medicine.

SB

By Smoggy Batzrub… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Boygenius: Yes, I've been vaccinated against meningitis, and the university goes to a lot of effort to make sure everyone is aware of the symptoms (there are posters about it everywhere). I'm 100% certainly I don't have meningitis - I haven't been vomiting or even feeling nauseous, don't have a rash, and can still think and talk coherently. My fever is only fairly mild and intermittent.

I think I've probably just got 'flu or another mild viral infection. But I probably should call the doctor tomorrow morning.

Smoggy: Thanks. That cheered me up. :-)

I don't think it's anything more serious - my mind seems to be working fine, and I can still talk, type and even argue. I just can't move around very much. :-\

Yes, but you are not really qualified to make that diagnosis. You won't know based on how you feel at the moment if it is something that *will* get worse before it has any chance of getting better or not until you get there to find out. A doctor will have a much better chance at making sure you don't end up spending the next month or two in poor health.

You are a much bigger drain on health resources if you end up needing chest x-rays in three weeks than if you need a round of antibiotics now.

My mind worked fine while I was raging with strep by the way. It's not uncommon to feel fine mentally when you are physically ill with viral or bacterial infection.

Walton, I'm glad to hear that. No one wants to go through what my buddy went through. Good on the university for being proactive as well.

Regardless, go to the doctor or quit complaining. ;)

/I kid, I kid because I love.

By boygenius (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Paul W., OM@403,

Prezactly!

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sure it occurred to me. I just never expect it to occur to anyone else

Why not? And isn't the wheat germ the embryo*?

(*it's the same word in Finnish, so "wheat embryos" loses its cleverness...)

Hear that, Marjanović?
Not clever in Finnish.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Walton,

Just to add my voice to the nannies' chorus here - get yourself to a doctor tomorrow - and if you're too ill to do that, you're ill enough to get them to come to you!

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

@#403:

I don't disagree with what you wrote -- but I'm not sure that the paragraph that you're responding to is wrong.

Is it not the case that this:

The common thread that connects these cases, and, more importantly, excludes quite a few others, is fairly simple: there is some sort of set of measurable criteria that all parties - skeptic or otherwise - recognize as a required consequence of whatever is being investigated.

Is just another way of arguing for falsifiability?

Of course, looking at his complete post, I see that the paragraph about transubstantiation looks like an implicit rejection of parsimony. In which case, SIWOTI indeed.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

..and hile you're at it, make sure the 'doctor' is a physician!

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I've now had some food and some Pepsi, and am feeling a little better. Nonetheless, another early night would seem to be a good idea. And if I still feel bad tomorrow morning, I might see a doctor. (Though I really just don't want to waste doctors' time.)

..and hile you're at it, make sure the 'doctor' is a physician!

Actually Walton if you paypal me US$50 I'll pray for you. Doesn't that sound lovely? I'll even stab a stuffed bunny or something.

I can't do it for free though, sorry. It... uh... won't activate your immune system unless you know you've made a personal sacrifice. :D

I've now had some food and some Pepsi, and am feeling a little better. Nonetheless, another early night would seem to be a good idea. And if I still feel bad tomorrow morning, I might see a doctor. (Though I really just don't want to waste doctors' time.)

Walton, unless you feel completely healthy tomorrow, you should go anyway. Going to the doctor only when you're about to die is far more expensive than a couple false alarms

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Actually Walton if you paypal me US$50 I'll pray for you. Doesn't that sound lovely? I'll even stab a stuffed bunny or something.

I can't do it for free though, sorry. It... uh... won't activate your immune system unless you know you've made a personal sacrifice. :D

:-)

Man Says Bible Let Him 'Marry' Girl, 10

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) ― A 58-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a female relative for nearly a decade after she was placed in his care believes the Bible gave him the right to make the girl his "wife" when she was 10 years old, police said Monday.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

see...this is why I never indicate frivolity on the interwebs...every giggle has to be explained.

Germ = the embryo.

My giggle: I frequently rant about the murder of thousands of plant babies required to produce a loaf of bread, or rice pudding, or tortillas and the like...because nobody likes the idea of killing babies*. When you eat veal, only one baby cow had to die (and this makes people sad), but they forget all of the innocents that the baby cow devoured. It's not funny to me now, but I thought it was when DM said the thing about hating wheat embryos.

It's hard enough to explain a joke. Explaining a reaction to a joke is just...harder to do. And not worth reading.

*well, atheists do, but nobody else.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

So, wait, it's your claim that diseases are caused by embryos?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

And calling the doctor to come here would be a massive waste of health service time and resources.

(Though I really just don't want to waste doctors' time.)

Stop saying idiotic things about health care costs. If you really don't want to waste money, you'll go now.

This martyr act got tiring 30 comments ago.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

So, wait, it's your claim that diseases are caused by embryos?

Ever talk to a new parent? If that neurological fascination with feces isn't some sort of mental disease I don't know what is.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

So, wait, it's your claim that diseases are caused by embryos?

The #1 sexually transmitted disease.

*ducks*
*is winged*
*stumbles off crying*

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

@C_E, 437

I wonder, if asked in an honest moment, how they would feel about that perception?

They have been asked. It was inevitable when Mooney took a post from a commenter here (Aquaria) and made a blog post where he referred to it without attribution as "Classic PZ".

They ignore the question.

And Walton, need to second what Jadehawk said in 473.

Sili:

Anyone have anything to say about sourdoughs? I have a coupla recipes, but it doesn't hurt to get a third opinion.

Given how long it's taken me to get around to trying to make one, I suspect I need something that can do without too much love - such as being forgotten about for long periods of time until I discover it at the back of the fridge.

Yes, sourdoughs rock! If you don't want to have to give it a whole lotta love, get an established culture from a friend or neighbor, and feed it whatever they've been feeding it. I have some that came from France (now in NZ) and is supposedly 150 years old. The age may have grown in the telling, natch.

I keep mine in the fridge in a small glass jar and use it every couple of weeks. If you're going to use it less frequently, you can keep it in the freezer. It will take longer to revive that way, so you would have to anticipate your breadmaking farther in advance and expect to have to feed it an extra time or two to wake it up.

When I really neglect mine, it can get a layer of weird goo on top, or even a bit of mold, but there's always still good starter underneath, so a spoonful from the bottom of the jar works fine to restart.

I could go on, but don't want to monopolize. Mmmmmmmm, sourdough.

By nyb.myopenid.com (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

So, wait, it's your claim that diseases are caused by embryos?

WAIT!!

Maybe it's that diseases CAUSE embryos

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

A recipe for one of my favor snacks, candied ginger:

~1 pound (500g) fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups (800g) sugar, plus additional sugar for coating the ginger slices, if desired
4 cups (1l) water
pinch (a little bit) of salt

Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. The slices can't be too thin, so use a sharp knife. Put the ginger slices in a non-aluminum (non-aluminininium) saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat one more time.

Mix the sugar and water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225°F (106°C).

Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour, although I often let it sit overnight. If you want to coat the slices with sugar, drain very well while the ginger is hot, so the syrup will drain away better.

Store ginger slices in the syrup, or toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they're somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose.

Storage: The ginger, packed in its syrup, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. If tossed in sugar, the pieces can be stored at room temperature for a few months.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I might see a doctor. (Though I really just don't want to waste doctors' time.)

This doctor says "Go!".

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

I found this of interest: Blind soldier 'sees' with his tongue

Lance Corporal Craig Lundberg, 24, can read words, make out shapes and walk without assistance, thanks to a device developed in the United States which could revolutionise life for other blind people.
[...]
The device consists of a tiny video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses which are linked to a plastic "lollipop" which the user places on their tongue to read the pulses.
The image is created by presenting white pixels from the camera as strong stimulation, black pixels as no stimulation, and grey levels as medium levels of stimulation, although interpreting the images takes intensive training.

By John Morales (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

To me, food is simply fuel.

I do like to eat. Perhaps the trick is that I only eat the good stuff :-þ

Which reminds me: in the cafeteria today: celery-carrot soup with precisely the right mixture and amount of spices & herbs :-9 ; haddock filet with rice and curry sauce. (There were pieces of ananas and raisins in the curry sauce, but those were big enough that I was able to just remove them. The rest was good!) Dessert: an artificial delight on milk and sugar basis with vanilla flavor.

And maybe an hour ago I almost finished the latest loaf of bread (pérène multicéréales), with salted butter.

Sure it occurred to me. I just never expect it to occur to anyone else--hence the delight in being reminded that I am not entirely alone in the universe.

:-) :-) :-)

I don't think it's anything more serious - my mind seems to be working fine, and I can still talk, type and even argue. I just can't move around very much. :-\

I recommend you test the hypothesis that this is just wishful thinking.

isn't the wheat germ the embryo*?

Of course.

Hear that, Marjanović?
Not clever in Finnish.

<pft> The Finns already pwnz0r everyone else. I don't care :-)

Though I really just don't want to waste doctors' time.

Cut the crap already. You are not a waste of anyone's time.

(Except when you're apologising. :-þ )

Going to the doctor only when you're about to die is far more expensive than a couple false alarms

Living in the USA, Jadehawk has probably witnessed this with her own eyes. It's famously among the reasons why the public expenses for healthcare are greater in the USA than elsewhere.

So, wait, it's your claim that diseases are caused by embryos?

Even in German we don't say "germs" or for that matter "bugs". We simply say "bacteria"/"viruses" or, well, "illness causers"; "illness germs" is sometimes used when talking to little children, but never "germs" alone.

Mooney took a post from a commenter here (Aquaria) and made a blog post where he referred to it without attribution as "Classic PZ"

<headdesk>

TSIB.

candied ginger

Is now sold as a coffee substitute. Tastes... weird, but sometimes I like it... :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Just to be clear, David, that was a past event from the previous Intersection war, and not a new development. I usually don't headdesk over events that I spent time headdesking over, only reason I mention it :-)

Tis Himself! Never in my life have I thought of making my own... I love that stuff.

We should make a pharyngula cookbook. Oh it would be fun to make...

There were pieces of ananaspineapple and raisins in the curry sauce,

FIFY ;-)

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

We should make a pharyngula cookbook.

Josh OSG is already working on that, he's mentioned it several times.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ack! Must catch up on Teh Thread!

Keep those recipes coming, Pharyngulites. I'm saving them all to a file for an eventual Pharyngula cookbook (yes, I'm noting who submitted them).

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Josh OSG is already working on that, he's mentioned it several times.

Jinx!

Srsly, I'll keep collecting them until we've got a good chunk of the major categories - entrees, apps, sweets, etc. Then it'll be time to compile the whole thing into a pleasing format. I'll contribute the copy-editing (and snarky editorial asides) - wondering if we have any artists who'd be willing to do suitably saucy (har-har) illustrations?

I suppose I should really ask PZ what he thinks about any of us putting together a cookbook with the name of his blog on it. Hmm.

And then, what to do with it? Distribute it on request by email to any Pharyngulite who wants it? Get it bound and offer it for sale with proceeds to benefit some worthy science or secular association?

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

wondering if we have any artists who'd be willing to do suitably saucy (har-har) illustrations?

I'm tentatively volunteering; but I must remind everyone that I'm lazy and a procrastinator, so my volunteerism is conditional on just how much work this is going to be, and how much time I'll have for it :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Another fave:

Chestnut Ravioli in Mascarpone Sauce

6 oz chestnuts in their shells
6 oz Ricotta cheese
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground rosemary
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
6 oz mascarpone cheese
3 sage leaves

Make a cut in the shells of the chestnuts with a sharp knife and cook them in water for 45 minutes. Drain and remove the shell and internal skin.

In a blender or food processor combine the chestnuts, ricotta, salt, nutmeg and rosemary. Blend until smooth.

Make the pasta dough with the flour and eggs. Roll it out and cut into 4 in wide strips and place 1/2 teaspoon of the filling at 2 in intervals along one side of each strip, folding each strip lengthwise back over the filling, pressing well around the filling. Cut the ravioli with a ravioli wheel or fluted pastry wheel. Cook them in plenty of boiling salted water for 5 to 7 minutes, until they rise to the surface, then drain.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Put the mascarpone in the top of a double boiler with the sage leaves and beat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a fairly liquid cream. Serve the ravioli with the mascarpone sauce.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

FIFY ;-)

:.-(

I must in(to) the bed go. <vehement nodding>

While I am at it, what is the unit of chocolate called? The rectangular plate thing? I just munched an entire one of milk chocolate with rice crispies and then spent maybe 20 min in the dictionary and on Wikipedia trying to figure out how to say that in English. Wikipedia has very appetizing articles on chocolate and its health benefits and on how primates are special in being able to deal with theobromine.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well I can do some illustrations or decorative panels, photographic or whatever junk... or contribute to layout stuff if anyone wants me too.

I'm not lying about the art degree.

Jadehawk, I'm lazy and procrastinating too, plus I have a real world job like everyone else. No worries. This is a casual project with no deadline. My email is spokesgay [at] gmail, if you wanna drop a line just so we have contact info exchanged.

I don't know what you're thinking for illustration, but I'm picturing buxom squid, pirates, and Busby Berkely production numbers featuring synchronized assclams.

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

While I am at it, what is the unit of chocolate called? The rectangular plate thing?

a chocolate bar?

good night :-)

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink