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RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the world?

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[edit] Teacher Shooters

So let me get this straight, a student could freak out in class and start breaking desks. Under that law the teacher would be able to shoot at that student. And, if they missed and hit another kid, they wouldn't be liable for a penny? That's kinda fucked up. AyzmoCheers 16:38, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

I think that kinda is kinda unnecessary. As is my kinda. (talk) 23:07, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

[edit] RW's twitter is providing an excellent demonstration of why Poe's law is

First we get this, then less than 2.5 hours later, they post the GoP anti-vaxxer's commentary on non-hand washing. — Unsigned, by: Compro01 / talk / contribs

That was fun. Lunch at the Republican Cafe, today's special Libertarian Listeriosis! ... let's eat somewhere else - David Gerard (talk) 09:13, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] I reported the laundry ball scam to kickstarter.

They have a rule against making misleading statements, and I referenced our page about the scam in the report. I'm not sure if it'll go anywhere, but I'm not sure what else to do. Ikanreed (talk) 17:21, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

They've been embarrassed by pseudoscience kickstarters before, we'll see ... - David Gerard (talk) 18:46, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I reported as well, with links to what our article references plus ridiculing some of their specific statements. Queexchthonic murmurings 19:02, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I reported it as false claims, with links to the FTC's decisions on previous laundry balls. Mayo2017 (talk) 19:49, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I'll be reading into/reporting it when I'm not on a phone. Hopefully it'll be taken down by then, but we'll see I suppose. I'm just surprised they made it this long if they've already been testing with a micro pH sensor. (And being a chemical engineer, this sort of thing does interest me, woo or not) (Edit: To be clear as that parenthetical is vague, this product is complete bull. I'm just into surface/interface science and this is one of those times the kind of crap people pull to sound science-y overlaps with my knowledge) Noir LeSable (talk) 19:58, 5 February 2015 (UTC)<
They posted a study and claim to have more. We'll see ... I added some info to Laundry ball btw, if you know more than me why this is bullshit, then please edit :-) I do like how they say "NO CHEMICALS!" and then go on to say their product uses hydrogen peroxide to clean your wash. Carpetsmoker (talk) 04:10, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
They published more docs: ... Haven't had the time to read them Carpetsmoker (talk) 11:05, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Looks like they had an idea, read a few journals they didn't understand, threw whatever they found together, and used those journals as evidence. Then, there's some papers from an obscure Korean company that aren't saying anything at all. To top it all off, the claims they're making perfectly mirror other laundry balls, except for a few pieces of seems-legit science-babble thrown in. I think the reason why this one is different, reaction-wise, is because they've hit "not even wrong" levels at just the right angle to make people dubious about everything. Narky Sawtooth (Nyar~) 01:29, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
They should've picked IndieGoGo, aka the site that dealt with frauds by deleting their anti-fraud guarantee. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Now I'm not tense anymore, I'm just miserable. Hooray! 01:37, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] To Register Some Doubts

Something to help boost credibility: UK's The Register posted a negative review of the original product the 2.0 is based on. Might want to tack that onto the reports you guys are making. Noir LeSable (talk) 20:21, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Richard Dawkins

Is he implying that cultures that aren't big on eroticism are inherently inferior and they should be educated through imperialistic trolling? >.> (talk) 22:59, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Ok, now you're reading too deeply into this. Noir LeSable (talk) 01:13, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I sincerely hope I am. >.> (talk) 02:49, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Protesters and private security firms?

So I'm kinda wondering... If the stuff they want the police to do for them can also be done by a private security firm, might it be a good idea if they started their own non-profit security firm that consists of volunteers? Wouldn't that be a way to avoid the supposed 'protest tax'? (talk) 10:22, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] NYC Subway

When I read 'Hispanic and Asian genes' I died inside. I hope that's an error introduced by the journalist, because it makes zero sense. Queexchthonic murmurings 14:47, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm thinking they meant some sort of shorthand for "genetic markers common to those of Hispanic or East-Asian descent", but I'm the sort of person to be a little too optimistic in people's writings. Noir LeSable (talk) 20:45, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
They're stealin' our genes! --Ymir (talk) 10:40, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] /baph/ founder's legal problems

Have you ever managed to shitpost so hard that you're in (well deserved) legal trouble? Do you seriously believe in political non elucideans and the Green pill? Are you a edgelord supreme? Do you support eugenics in all seriousness? Then come to 8chan, or /x/'s BDSM-laden one night stand with /pol/ made manifest in the form of the internet's Eye of Terror! We apologize if the laws of psychics stop working, we think that's a database glitch. --Madman (talk) 05:31, 15 February 2015 (UTC)The Madman

Psychics don't have laws, though. Narky Sawtooth (Nyar~) 11:38, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
I read about a band of escaped psychic midgets in the newspaper. They're small mediums at large. HomoHeisenbergensis (talk) 03:56, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Question

Things like school schootings and terrorist attacks can generally be added to this page; what about a Belgian mother locking her three daughters in a shed and setting it on fire? Yeah, despite what reports about ISIS and Boko Haram might have you believe, there's still plenty depravity to go around in the West. :/ (talk) 09:09, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Nobody's suggesting that there isn't. You can add any news story to this page. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:21, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
You don't have to lecture me about the crimes the Christian west has committed. The difference between the story you cited and the Daesh and Boko Haram is that the lady in the news-story doesn't control territory and terrorize the civilians of said territory. Alsto003 (talk) 20:42, 15 February 2015 (UTC) Alex
I'm not trying to lecture; it's just a personal musing. (talk) 05:02, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Whiteness

Are you seriously going to criticize Fox News (or anyone really) for disagreeing with a course that says that being white is bad? Also, what does it matter if they're all white? TheriziπosaurusG (talk) 23:05, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Because that's not what the course is. That's what they're saying the course is. Hope that helps. Ikanreed (talk) 23:28, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
I do get the vibe that this class is going to take a 'critical' stance towards the "White" identity in ways that would be considered impolite if directed against other racial identities. And that "being white is bad" is a superficial but legitimate take on it. But threatening to murder the professor for daring to hold these opinions remains absolutely out of bounds. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 04:16, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
I hardly expect anything less from the likes of the people at stormfront. Nevertheless I was under the impression that the racist netizens thought Fox was too liberal. Than again, given some of the comments I've seen under their articles I probably shouldn't be surprised by the fact that the more fascist elements of the right watch Fox. So do all the hardcore racists get their news from Fox News? Or do they get their news from sources which do? Or does Fox News gets their leads from place like stormfront? All of these possibilities can be considered. Alsto003 (talk) 04:50, 19 February 2015 (UTC) Alex
It's best to respond to the internet Nazis the way in which we and the Russians responded to the actual Nazis. But I digress, in regards to the saner conservatives all being worked up, I actually have difficulty blaming them for interpreting classes or courses on "whiteness" the way Fox News did, the negative reaction to such courses is common because it would appear that some of parts of the academia actively use the term "whiteness" to define all phenomenon in the world which is evil, whiteness apparently causes a whole bunch of nasty stuff. For instance Chauncey Devega basically wrote in this article on DailyKos <> after the Isla Vista killings, that whiteness drove Elliot Rodger to kill all those people. In essence he declares that adhering to whiteness means adhering to racism and appears to imply that the very act of being white does too. I don't care if he using the terms metaphorically, it is downright offensive to use a term with an overtly racial meaning to also be a stand in for what you see as problems in society. As far I can tell the author (among many others) uses the word "white" and "whiteness" in the same way Gilad Atzmon would use the word "Jew" and "Jewishness". And to be frank it is not surprising that most white people in general (let alone conservative white people), find that usage of the term to be insulting. Do black people not find it offensive when some random idiot politician laments that all the white kids are "acting black"? Of course they would be offended. Do I as a Jew not find it offensive when someone says that they jewed another person out of their money? Of course I would be offended. Than why on earth should a white person not find it insulting when they hear the word "whiteness" being used to represent all that is wrong with the world? Alsto003 (talk) 04:50, 19 February 2015 (UTC) Alex
#NotAllWhitePeople, amirite? Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 05:38, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
That's not really the point, the point is that while previous and current (albeit lesser) oppression and the accompanying bigotry can explain and help us to understand animosity the oppressed group have towards the oppressing group, it cannot be used as a justification for more bigotry. The usage of term "whiteness" as a synonym for that which is wrong in our society is inherently offensive (due to fairly straightforward semantics). And as far as I'm concerned it is patently absurd to use an inherently bigoted term in order to combat bigotry. Alsto003 (talk) 06:56, 19 February 2015 (UTC) Alex
I don't see how "the problem of whiteness" (i.e. Whiteness "is" a problem, not "has", or anything) could be interpreted any other way. Also, it seems like the site is blaming Fox for the Neo-Nazis targeting this guy. They're a news channel. Should they just not report the news?TheriziπosaurusG (talk) 02:49, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
If only Fox News really was "a news channel" which would "just [...] report the news", rather than being Fair and Balanced...
One cue is the way that the Fox freakout only speaks with a right wing activist and not even bothers to actually check her story or provide any context outsider of her angle. As far as I can see from the little actual information the activist bothers to provide on the course (a U.S. literature course, btw), it's basically offering a take reminiscent of that which point out that viewing male/female gender issues in terms of women only makes men an unexamined standard. Such perspectives aren't controversial at all in academia, as all it says is that we can't properly understand "blackness", "asianness", "latinoness" or other such identities without also examining "whiteness" and the unspoken assumptions an unexamined use of "whiteness" can encompass (I'm pretty sure that's the "problem" referred to in the course's title).
Yet the Fox story make the course out to be some form of racist anti-white class indoctrinating students that all woes are due to the "white race". This is a serious allegation, and it rests solely on the opinions of a right wing activist and less than sound bite-sized snippets (probably provided by said activist) from the course literature. This is not a news story, it's a classical Fox "opinion piece dressed up as news"-story. Sure, Fox is not responsible for the threats against the professor, they "only" gave airtime and legitimacy (for those who still thinks Fox has some) to a partisan activist who directly links to said professor's contact details, and Fox did this in a way that suggests the professor is indoctrinating students with rabid anti-white ideas - hey who could have foreseen the results, right? ScepticWombat (talk) 06:39, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] That link about the delegate shooting herself...

That bit at the end seems cruel, somehow. Almost anywhere else that joke would be fine, but... It doesn't seem right when referring to a specific accident. Narky Sawtooth (Nyar~) 08:21, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

You'd think there'd be better ways to carry a gun though. Seriously, you're putting your gun right next to your upper body vitals and a couple of meaty targets. (talk) 18:41, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
The one thing that seems to get missed is that somehow it was pointing at her head when it happened. Like, think of the logistics of that. Mayo2017 (talk) 04:08, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
My thought exactly. I wondered how simply readjusting such a holster could result in the barrel pointing at your eye. Just off the bat the most likely scenario to me is that she must have taken off the bra to fiddle with the holster. Anyway, why the effin' eff would anyone carry a gun in a bra holster? Quite apart from the obvious safety issues, it's not like it makes for an easy or quick draw. Still, I guess that a bra holster at least averts the risk of putting your gun in your handbag and having your 2-year old son accidentally kill you with it. But seriously, if you're going to lug a gun around with you, get a holster that's comfortable, accessible, and safe (and you may even want to consider whether you actually need to bring a gun along in the first place). ScepticWombat (talk) 05:58, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Pope

Look, I've been willing to look past some of the stupid stuff he's said, since he's at least saying better things than many previous popes. But we're all adults here, and I need to make my feelings quite clear on this, so let me just say YOU. FUCKING. CUNT. Mayo2017 (talk) 18:29, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

QueueCue Americans freaking out about the use of the word "cunt". (talk) 18:44, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Cue an EFL speaker making fun of your spelling...--ZooGuard (talk) 19:02, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Whoops. (talk) 19:37, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Nuclear weapon, or Herod? It's a tricky one - David Gerard (talk) 21:39, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Trans people better be able to raise a bodyguard of 2,000 soldiers, be able to induce impulsive shock, and be able to make me a better mousetrap. Either that, or they can't be a Herod. --Madman (talk) 04:47, 21 February 2015 (UTC)The Madman

[edit] Measles breakout, Berlin

Is it German measles? Ikanreed (talk) 14:34, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Nope. The German word for that is “Röteln”, for which Google delivers no recent news articles. --Sophophobe (talk) 19:29, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
I do believe you mean Liberty Measles. Mayo2017 (talk) 16:44, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] I know this is 1 month old, but

The Mises institute has hosted a speaker that's pretty damn pro-secession. America is just sooo big, y'know? FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 00:11, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Okay? I don't know why this surprises you, the right in the US is way up it's own ass in terms of "we're so oppressed by losing elections." The various components of that ideology all support each other on that central point. Ikanreed (talk) 16:58, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
The whole video was just too surreal right-winger for me. What oppression is he facing that's worthy of creating an entirely new state (or lack thereof)? FuzzyDogPotato (talk/stalk) 20:20, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Being the Mises institute, the answer in this case is almost certainly: any taxes at all. Ikanreed (talk) 20:40, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Felonious murder

I can actually get behind the concept of felony murder (described here by NY lawyer Nathan Burney in convenient comic form). Say a bank robbery goes wrong and a bystander is accidentally killed by a security guard in the ensuing gunfight. The felony murder law allows for the hostage takers to be liable for that death, rather than having it ruled as accidental killing by the guard.

It's just cases like these where strict adherence (or overadherence) to the law means weird things happen. Kinda like the guy who got life in prison for stealing a handful of kid's VHS tapes. Noir LeSable (talk) 07:25, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

I can't get behind it at all. I can think of very few possible situations where it's justified and plenty where it isn't. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Why exactly can't you make the hostage takers liable without making it a felony? (talk) 09:03, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it's weirder with the example mentioned in the source: If a bank robbery goes south and one of the robbers is killed in a shoot out with police or guards, then the surviving robbers can be charged with felony murder of their dead "colleague", now that's pretty effed up. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
This is one of those "only in America" conversations. It's as if the "good guys" can do no wrong whereas the "bad guys" can be blamed for anything and everything.This is what struck me about Ferguson - Michael Brown was believed to be a shoplifter - or, at the very least, he was guilty of being poor and black - so shooting him dead was just hunky dory.
Of course, in practically any other country in the world, a bank robbery that goes wrong wouldn't end up in a gunfight. Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 10:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm a big fan of holding people culpable for the likely consequences of their actions. I'm not a fan of holding people culpable for the improbable consequences of their actions. Reckless driving has a likely consequence of a crash, so by all means throw the book at them. Putting a leaflet through a door might give someone an anaphylactic reaction to the ink, but it would be so unusual that it would be foolish to hold the leafleteer responsible (unless they had good reason to know about the allergy, naturally). So I guess in this case it hinges on whether the US is fucked up enough that a hail of lead is a likely consequence of a simple house-breaking. Queexchthonic murmurings 10:41, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, "felony" is (in most places, currently) defined as any crime that carries a potential prison sentence of a year or more. (Used to be that a felony was any offense punishable by death. Then again, pickpocketing was punished by death at the time.) The felony murder rule as Blackstone had it made any felon strictly liable if anyone died as a result of the crime, including his companions in crime and bystanders. Committing any serious crime creates a risk that somebody might die as a result; so if anyone does that's murder. The controversy in that case in Indiana comes because we've defined felony murder in such a way that makes it appear as if one of the felons has to do the killing. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 14:21, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
The problem, to me, is that so much of the US's laws are built around asking the question "Do they deserve to be punished?" rather than ignoring karma and just building things around minimizing crime through a mixture of disincentives, rehabilitation, and containment. Felony murder, where you hold people culpable for others' actions has no bearing on any of those. Ikanreed (talk) 15:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
"Karma"? And here I thought RW was all secular. Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 15:06, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I meant people(of various perspectives) using the justice system to enforce a kind of notion of karma. War. Ikanreed (talk) 15:10, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
On a tangential note, that comic series is gold. Thanks for sharing. Mayo2017 (talk) 15:40, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

It makes zero sense to me that surviving criminals can be prosecuted for felony murder because one of their partners in crime has been killed by law enforcement. At most they ought to be prosecuted for manslaughter (along with armed robbery and what have you, of course), given that drunk drivers aren't (to my knowledge) prosecuted for (felony) murder for running others over while doing something that's also both criminal and extremely dangerous. And no, I was not making a case for introducing felony murder as a possible indictment in cases of people being accidentally killed in drunk driving accidents, just in case someone was wondering. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

It makes sense if your framing of justice is "making the bad guy pay for it." It really does. People want to see those who do things malevolently punished, and when bad things happen, they naturally blame the "evilest" person involved for it. It's dumb, but it's actually quite consistent with American attitudes towards justice in general. Ikanreed (talk) 16:08, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
We Brits have done our bit: Derek Bentley was executed although it was his under age accomplice who did the killing. He's since been pardoned, so that's OK then! Scream!! (talk) 16:18, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

In the two felony murder cases I've seen reported internationally (the Indiana one, as WIGOed, and this one in Florida which was posted on WIGO a few years ago), the 'murderers' were unarmed housebreakers whose companions were shot by homeowners who - due to state 'castle laws' - could shoot to kill with total impunity. I think there is something very wrong with this situation, & it's not comparable to the "bank heist goes wrong & someone gets killed in the shootout" situation described above. There's also a related issue around the use of deadly force in defence of property vs defence of life. Does preventing a crime from being completed really justified killing those involved if nobody's life is actually in danger? WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:48, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

The real life examples you cite are simply more absurd than my hypothetical one. As for the "castle laws" they certainly do seem to prioritise property over life and limb - but I guess the logic is that criminals "have it coming" and that home owners should not fear applying (deadly) force against any home invasion. Can't say I agree with any of these, but I'm not a U.S. citizen and so have neither an insight into, nor even an indirect connection to, the public debate and choices behind adopting such laws. ScepticWombat (talk) 14:04, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I dunno, but when someone invades your home it's not just a matter of defending one's property. A home owner is under no obligation to correctly assess the motives and threat level of the invading party, so if they fear for their lives or that of loved ones, the option of using deadly force in defense may not seem inappropriate, even if it turns out there was no threat at all. (talk) 18:39, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Lobbying & prostitution in North Carolina

The State Ethics Commission letter cited in the Addicting Info piece explicitly states: "However, a lobbyist or lobbyist principal's provision of paid prostitution services by a third party to a designated individual could constitute a gift or thing of value, albeit an illegal one, depending on the particular facts." But Addicting Info says the exact opposite, reporting that "lobbying firms can hire people with the explicit goal to seduce and fornicate with politicians in order to garner favor" and repeating this claim throughout its article. Is there some subtle distinction that I'm missing here or is Addicting Info (and other news sources running the same story) just ignoring that part of the letter & misreporting? WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:55, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

I don't think you're missing anything. This is simply sloppy and sensationalist reporting. The NC State Ethics Commission issued a advisory opinion in response to what they apparently thought was a rather vague and somewhat confusing request for guidance from a staffer in the NC Secretary of State's office. They weren't issuing a formal ruling or a new regulation, they were simply trying to answer a question about the current law on the books. Their answer appears to be quite commonsensical: consensual sexual relations between two adults is neither reportable nor an ethics violation under NC ethics laws, but paying for a prostitute in exchange for official favors very explicitly would be. There does seem to be a loophole, in that, in my reading of the letter, a registered lobbyist could engage in sexual relations with a state official and informally trade sexual favors for official favors, as long as they aren't explicitly being paid by anyone to do so. But that seems to be problem with the ethics laws as written, not anything to do with the Ethics Commission or its opinion. (talk) 17:58, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I think there's perhaps the additional issue that as prostitution is illegal, it's unlikely to leave much of a paper trail. So if an official had a prostitute paid for, even if that was found out then unless it could be proved that money changed hands there would be no violation as per policy. Which makes the enforcement of that provision somewhat weak. Also, it would appear that a madame or pimp could 'comp' someone and still be within the policy. Sensationalist, yes, but there's a germ of a concern in there. Queexchthonic murmurings 11:09, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
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