RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive109

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, (new)(back)


Just got my Kindle (well, two weeks ago). It is friggin' brilliant. This post…actually made from the Kindle's web browser which is wickedly fast for what it is.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 00:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I love my Kindle. I've read about 95% of all my recent reading on the Kindle - it's especially great when you're a traveler like me. I was able to read on the beach at Key West, in the airport in L.A., on the bus in Korea, and in bed in New Zealand. Yes, I realize I sound like a commercial.--ADtalkModerator 01:34, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I love my Kindle but... with dead tree books, once I've finished, I can pass it to Mrs Hughes so she can read it. Even though she has her own Kindle I can't do this with e-books in the same way. On the other hand I'm revisiting Project Gutenburg for a lot of my out of copyright needs. Jack Hughes (talk) 10:03, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
If you two register your Kindles on the same account, you can both read the same purchased books. Additionally, some books can now be lent to another Kindle owner, I believe. Or you can use Pirate Bay to get copies of books you already legally own, so your wife can read them in the same way she could read hard-copy books you've finished.--ADtalkModerator 10:10, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
*Cough* PDF or docs coverted to odt and then Calibre. Don't go stealing books, obviously, but yes, if you are in a position where it's legal to make backups of material that you already own then this is a good way to carry your own personal library with you. Be prepared to do one hell of a lot of proofreading though. Most files have already been proof-read and will go through Calibre fine, but some files are literally just the hardcopy scanned, font-recognised and then doc'ed, which means every physical line in the book will end in a paragraph break, and you can end up with page numbers turning up in the middle of the paragraph you're reading.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 10:20, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Ugh, I hate PDF-converted books. When I buy a book and want my wife to read it too, I usually search for the book name on Pirate Bay or the like and find a .mobi or .epub copy. If I only find PDF, then I don't bother.--ADtalkModerator 10:29, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
From another happy kindle user - I've always found PDF converts to be quite good.--BobSpring is sprung! 12:36, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Some PDF's are excellent, some are terrible. A lot of it comes down to just how much proof-reading the orignal scanner was willing to do.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 12:41, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Can you scribble in the margins, fold over page corners, and write a list of key pages on the blank page at the beginning? Can you write your name and the date you bought/borrowed/stole it inside the front cover? I guess not, but, yes, you can read it and I guess that's the main point. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:48, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Not Kindle[edit]

My husband got me a Pandigital Novel fer my birfday, (last december). While it does well as an ereader, the android engine has a disabled market so it haz limited functionality as a "smert-pad"; there is a root-kit available to hack it into FULL functionality but I'm waiting for the non-geek version since the last "upgrade" I did to a computing device took a year and several hundreds of dollars. 17:34, 25 June 2011 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

Al Gore in the new Rolling Stone on climate change[edit]

Has anyone read Al Gore's latest article on climate change? It's quite eloquently written, though I'm having a hard time imagining the boy Al Gore watching a wrestling match. The graphs on page 3 are absolutely terrifying. Junggai (talk) 19:06, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

It's not that I don't respect Al Gore, it's just that he's become the butt of so many jokes he should just drop out of the whole debate. It's bad enough having him brought up in the middle of a discussion on the topic even though nobody mentioned him before, but when he's actually present people pretty much tune out.--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:31, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
That's a bullshit line of argument. Just because he's the whipping boy of conservative wingnuts who wouldn't know evidence from a boil on their ass, that doesn't mean his arguments have no merit. Plus, he's a damn fine writer. Junggai (talk) 19:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
What I'm saying it that the merit of his arguments are superseded by his perception. It's a shame, but it's a fact--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:44, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
The same argument could be applied to you chiming in on every topic everywhere on the wiki whether you have anything useful to add or not. Except in your case it would be a valid argument. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:59, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
My line has always been that perceptions exist to be corrected. I'll defend Al Gore and Eliot Spitzer against the petty arguments of chuckle-heads, and have had success doing so, because they're some of the only public figures who actually "get it" and are outspoken and eloquent about what can be done about it public-policy wise. Junggai (talk) 19:50, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
You are correct--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:51, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Are you kidding me? Al Gore is FAT!! Srsly, though, the intro reminds me of the climate science chess match. Sometimes I wonder if Gore has been a positive or negative for AGW, but if he weren't around, they'd still be tarring and feathering the nefarious Michael Mann and Jim Hansen (see clogo for the latest brilliant conspiracy theories about Hansen and NASA being bankrolled by the dastardly George Soros)! I've still never seen Gore's traveling power point show, incidentally. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:30, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Yep, the denial machine is already revving up over this one. (edit: link appears to be borked now, but it worked earlier, text-only cache works though) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
That was hardly more than a paragraph. Were they using funny javascript?--User:Brxbrx/sig 05:06, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Dunno. I remember it being slightly longer than that the first time I read it, but yeah, it's pretty much just, "Watch out for the enviro-conspiraciez!!11!!" I'm sure Faux will be citing this by tomorrow. At least conservative parties in other countries aren't braindead dumbfucks like ours is (cf. Merkel's recent push for renewable energy). Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:26, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Droping out because you've become the favoured target is a bad idea since the other side just shifts targets. It's the reason the UK gov didn't want to see huntingdon life sciences fold.Geni (talk) 20:07, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

It's interesting where what appears to be real, well-written journalism/opinion pieces turn up these days. Rolling Stone of all places, but they have always tried to claim that niche, and here they are again. Where is Playboy on this issue (another purveyor of very well-written, well-edited articles)? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:27, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Mostly because RS isn't really accountable as a news news outlet. Most of politics is bullshit and if you're willing to call out that bullshit, you're inevitably going to hurt the fee-fees of someone with lots of money. "Real" journalistic outlets can't afford to do that -- to be credible is a dangerous proposition. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 08:42, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

OpenOffice/LibreOffice Question[edit]

Does anybody know if it's possible to set up browser-like tabs for a bunch of documents all in one instance of the program? P-Foster (talk) 03:56, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately, no. At least, not yet. It seems to be one of those "We really want this," things coming from the fan base, but as and when the developers may implement it…that's anyone's guess.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 10:54, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! P-Foster (talk) 21:09, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Weirdly, Office is also like that - instead of tabs or a file list like civilized programs, and one tab thing in the task bar, every damn thing you open is another task bar item. Sad, really. Also also (I am still on XP Pro btw), why can't I move task bar thingies around into the order I want them? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:49, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
There are a few add-ins for Office that allow you to have tabbed docs. And Win 7 allows you to re-order the taskbar. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:38, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Don't miss it until it's gone[edit]

Not sure who's to blame here, but whoever decided to release FireFox 5, before there was a compatible Google Toolbar, needs to be hung by the gonads from the nearest lamp-post. That little app was surprisingly handy - especially when you open a new tab and your frequent sites are all there for you. --PsyGremlinTal! 12:23, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Google Toolbar is teh evil! Ajkgordon (talk) 13:39, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
That is why real people use Chrome. -- (talk) 16:23, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

MJA Jesus Army[edit]

Just walked past Trafalgar Square and there is big Rally going on for the MJA. Any one know anything about them? AMassiveGay (talk) 17:08, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Never so much as heard of them, what does MJA even stand for? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:24, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Stands for all of these things. Looks like the Jesus Army and the "Modern Jesus Army" are the same thing. This is the thing they're doing in London today. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:08, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I didn't hang around for long as I had my niece for the day. It sounded like they were doing some kind of christ inspired Kung Fu as I walked away. AMassiveGay (talk) 18:22, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
The Cult Information Centre has them down as a cult. They live in communes and you have to give up all your earnings to them. I can't find a great deal of useful information on them though. AMassiveGay (talk) 18:59, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Do you believe that anyone could look so stupid?[edit]

Someone wrote this on a discussion page of a popular wiki, and I kid you not (This is is a copy/paste):

"If there was nothing in the begging how did the Atoms that supposingly crashed into eachover(or bounced)by chance get there? easy God put them there after he created everything as a kinda test for everyone in the futur(us) to see where our loyalty's lie. If you wanna convince yourself God exsists easily stay inside for half a day thinking and being a athiest then , at twelve(lunch) , go outside and believe God exsists and compare the difference the next day. The result:most of the time you should feel much happier and cleaner when your outside and feel a conection with God and also experience love.After you should decide wether or not to believe in , you are most likely gonna choose yes and know what love is and have an everlasting life with Jesus and God and no sin. If you need even more proof if there was(which there is)a God after all you would be in big trouble and comdemned to hell and you dont want that to happen do you?No you dont thats what i thoughtso wouldn't it be safer if you believed in god and went to church? After all it couldn't hurt? No it can't. P.s Albert einstien was a jew he was jewish and thats why he fled from germany."

(Source: The discussion page of this article: http://www.wikihow.com/Argue-That-God-Exists-%28Christianity%29 )--Lefty (talk) 18:34, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

poorly written... schizophrenic post--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:37, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Cool comic strip re the "debate" between science and creationism[edit]

H/t to my brother-in-law. P-Foster (talk) 20:05, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

It's already on WIGO:Clogosphere. Your brother in law made it? Cool. I haven't actually read it, though, but I'll give the comic the benefit of the doubt and assume it's good.--User:Brxbrx/sig 04:28, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
His global warming comic is excellent too. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:23, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
no, my brother in law sent it to me. P-Foster (talk) 05:31, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Add more bullshit[edit]

An attempt to catalog some more bullshitting tactics I've seen. Feel free to fuck around with it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:20, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

abortion pledge[edit]

The "before 21" thing kind of puts me off, as well as the whole pledging thing. More pro-abortion than pro-choice, no?--User:Brxbrx/sig 22:54, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I think its supposed to be like that, to show how stupid the pro life one is. But yeah I agree it might send the wrong message in some places. Ancient Greek Pegasus icon.png 23:22, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Ok. I suppose it is some kind of parody, I hope, but the problem is it is not very funny and it doesn't work without the original piece. Without which, it can be mistaken for a real thing, which is a problem because then it is kind of, shit. If you wanted to funny-seriously make an abortion pledge all someone needed was to titled it: "the pro-self ownership pledge" containing a single item called "I pledge not to want to control other people's wombs". Sen (talk) 23:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. This seems to have been a bad idea.--User:Brxbrx/sig 23:46, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I dsipise the line "I will try to convince others" or whatever it was, but as a woman, as a mother, i would pledge and openly try to convince MY daughter to pledge to the rest of them. It's a way to think about and more importantly openly talk about these issues long before you have to face it. I was pregnant twice before i was 21. once for being stupid, once from a serious rape. it did not even cross my mind in either case, to have the child. i was unprepared, and it would be a stupid burden on me, on the state, and on the child. BUT, i'd never tell another woman what to do, or even try to encourage her to do any particular thing.Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 23:53, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Only pledges 6 to 8, & maybe 9, of that list are worth anything. The first few aren't really "pro-choice" in any meaningful way, since they suggest "if you are in situation X, Y or Z, you must have an abortion", and I think that's only (arguably) valid for point 6 (if your own life is threatened by a pregnancy). WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:25, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't seem entirely serious. I'm wondering if we could create an "atheist pledge" and a "theist pledge" along the same tongue-in-cheek lines. The problem would be that it could be misconstrued.--BobSpring is sprung! 08:31, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I, an avowed and true atheist, do solemnly vow that in the event I encounter a god or deity I will make every effort to kill him thus to preserve my virginal purity of spirit. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 19:57, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, or worship Darwin/Dawkins, engage in orgies, take drugs, drink to excess, burn bibles/ Qur'ans (delete as appropriate), hate god, eat shrimp etc. --BobSpring is sprung! 17:55, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I'll put this link into the Mitt Romney article. Proxima Centauri (talk) 08:51, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

And I'll roll it back. Please learn to write English, at least. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:01, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Freaky pic[edit]


Sent by a friend in Cal-eye-fornication, taken yesterday. It seems they are coming to fuck North America up. (Actually there is a logical explanation)

That made me think - the USA... fucked up in Independence Day; fucked up in Battle Los Angeles; fucked up in Fallen Skies... South Africa... gets alien bums in District 9. Seriously, when the invasion comes, we're in the best place. --PsyGremlinPrata! 15:38, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

California, you say? Reminds me of an awesome book by my second-favorite radical geographer about Los Angeles/environmental and other disasters/popular culture. A great read, especially for all of you in La-La Land. P-Foster (talk) 16:14, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Is that a transformer blowing? I remember having one of them explode, start spewing fireballs, and set our lawn on fire. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:42, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I think it's a Romulan Warbird decloaking. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 19:19, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
It's a high altitude vapour trail left by a rocket fired from the Vandersomethingorother military base nearby. Pretty cool. --PsyGremlinTal! 11:52, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
That's what the Romulans want you to think. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 14:01, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


It is my view that the internet is and will continue to be worthless until they invent a way to send real alcohol across the "innerweb thingies". I pay you tons if you can manage to send me alcohol today. lots. vodka prefered. but i'll even take 6 buck a gallon rot gut. Thanks, now back to your work, or your weekend!--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

I've got some denatured alcohol if you want it. I'm sure that'd go over just fine. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 18:25, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
In London, the future is here now AMassiveGay (talk) 18:35, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
She wants it to come through the series of tubes--User:Brxbrx/sig 18:47, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Wow. What a foul selection of beers that delivery service offers. I guess the theory is that if you've already drunk what you had, you're too drunk to care about quality any more. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:53, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Or that if you are desperate enough to just "dial up", you'll take anything. :-) I cannot believe how long this week has been. there must be some Einstein thing about special relativity and time when related to work you do not want to be doing.Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:24, 24 June 2011 (UTC) Off thread a bit, but what is your favorite "unknown" beer or other 'booze". i'm looking to try something new.
This idea I have... find some way of joining say a ribosome to a microchip. So basically, we have this grid of microchips, and I can download DNA sequences off the Internet, and send them to the chips, and somehow (wave hands science magic) the chips produce the corresponding RNA which goes into the ribosomes and starts pumping out proteins. And this is all floating in this amino acid soup. Then, can't I find an enzyme, or group of enzymes, which produce say Heroin, or LSD? Want some cocaine? Download "cocaine.dat" and send it your electroribosome array, and watch the cocaine pour out. Bye bye war on drugs, time to give up (not that it isn't well past that time already). Maybe just a ribosome isn't enough, maybe needs more celluar machinery, but that's the idea. What do you get when you cross E. coli with an ARM microprocessor? (((Zack Martin))) 00:17, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Wasn't there something a while back about using a type of inkjet printer to build various foods? Ajkgordon (talk) 11:45, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Just use Nanobots! (tm), alternatively someone must ask first. What is it really that you want. To drink wine along with its calories and cell stressing stuff and dissolved coachroaches that fell in during the making process. Or the experience of drinking wine, in which case things would get much simplified with the existance of brain-computer interfaces. Sen (talk) 12:02, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I just want to feel like I just watched a really good movie without having to actually spend the time. Netflix, get with the program! Also, 3D printers are really cool and I wish I owned one. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:28, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I order copious quantities of alcohol with my Tesco order over the internet and it arrives. Praise Jesus! - David Gerard (talk) 19:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I walk downstairs for copious amounts of booze. It helps that I live above a pub. -- Iscariot Andy Schlafly for Congress 2012! 16:12, 28 June 2011 (UTC)


wtf is that?--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:24, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

It's only for members of the seekrit cabal. There is no cabal. P-Foster (talk) 16:16, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't every server have a mailbox? - π 12:24, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't know about that, but I do know it's like and alternate domain or something. http://mail.rationalwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page--User:Brxbrx/sig 12:58, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
You can do that with a lot of websites. It is not an alt domain, it is a subdomain. - π 23:16, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
As it was once explained to me in about 1996, anything before a dot before domainname.lol is a "machine" on that domain name's server. "www" is a very common one you may have seen, and serves up files intended to be parsed by web browsers. "ftp" is intended for efficient file transfer. "mail" is usually where the domain name's server keeps the mail server stuff. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:24, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
That is basic it all in a nutshell. - π 12:58, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to be rich,[edit]


Look what I got by real mail with a stamp and everything.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:07, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I'd recommend playing along just to see how far he goes. See if you can persuade him to send you some money to act as an initial deposit in a joint account, or something like that. Scamming scammers can have some pretty hilarious results. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 21:21, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Responding in anyway can make them think they have 'a foot in the door' AMassiveGay (talk) 21:24, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I very nearly fell for a scam recently (secret shopper scam), but thankfully MordantMaenad emailed me the proper documentation to educate myself (oh, and, they'll take it pretty far- here's an example of a guy fucking with a scammer).--User:Brxbrx/sig 21:52, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
You know ED is not just lame anymore, but also offline, right? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:14, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
No way. Soon you'll be able to read the P-p-p-powerbook! article in all its glory. It's a really funny one, too. And quite relevant to this thread.--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:20, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks to my peregrinations in Nigeria I used to receive a lot of these letters, usually written in BLOCK CAPITALS THROUGHOUT. But since the arrival of the Internet it has been much easier and cheaper to send emails, so it is good to see a return to traditional 419 scamming methods. While many people have had fun with the scammers you do have to watch your step because the US Department of State reports over 25 deaths of people who have been taken in by this. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 02:51, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, to their non-defence they did travel all the way to Nigeria. That doesn't sound like a good thing for your health. You might as well sit in the middle of ghetto with an iPad and see how that one goes. Do not reply because doing so would require for you to pay posting costs etc, which means that you are going to expend resources for no particular gain. That's not a ratio that I like and I'd suggest buying a delicious ice cream or nutella chocolate crepe' instead on the basis that Theobromine is delicious. And b) since this is a physical email it means that someone went to the effort to write your actual address down. I doubt they are clever enough to keep records of customised letters per address and they probably just spreadshot the same letter at random BUT in case they do actually do all that then it means ze enemy must be treated as having the tactical advantage of knowing your last location regardless if you write in your replies a return address or not. (In a city like London where there is actually a good deal of Nigerian immigrants with friends back home this could actually be dangerous). To sum up: Keep return emissions to a minimum. Eat chocolate. Sen (talk) 11:41, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
LOLOLOLOLOL you said "physical email" LOLOLOLOLOL that is so excellent. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:16, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I was going to play around with them but as they evidently do have my real name and full address I decided against it. Incidentally this one apparently came from Japan and not from Nigeria. The address didn't scan well but it's 2-7-2 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. But it was posted in Spain and on the letterhead, where you would expect, "date" it says "Fecha" which is "date" in Spanish. Also the text reads a bit "Spanglish" to me in places - all of which leads me to suspect that the con is actually based in Spain.--BobSpring is sprung! 06:07, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
A quick google shows the Japanese address to be a very high-class area of Tokyo, where the Hyatt Regency hotel is. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 15:33, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Shinjuku is the main central business district in Tokyo, but Googling "2-7-2 Nishi-shinjuku" brings up nothing but the Hyatt Regency Hotel. So it looks like (unsurprisingly) the scammers are routing their mail C/O of a hotel rather than from a legitimate office address. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:15, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for that. It makes a good topic for my English classes at least. :-) --BobSpring is sprung! 05:50, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Some extra evolution for today:[edit]

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028184.300-lab-yeast-make-evolutionary-leap-to-multicellularity.html Sen (talk) 11:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Is there a peer reviewed paper or was this what is looks like: a poster or talk at an academic conference? Nutty Rouxnever mind 12:36, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
New Scientist is pretty serious as far as popular reporting of real science is concerned. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:12, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes Nutty, it was a conference talk. It's linked (or rather, the abstract is, the talk doesn't appear to exist as a recording or transcript) from that New Scientist article. (talk) 13:45, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

How long...[edit]

...till "Joe Biden bounces checks at liquor stores!" becomes an article of faith among conservatives? MDB (talk) 16:13, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Question on recent Supreme Court ruling on video games[edit]

Would the ruling apply to pornography as well? If it's a First Amendment issue, I don't see how the Constitution differentiates between material that is violent or pornographic. Am I missing something? DickTurpis (talk) 15:52, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

You're probably making it too broad. As I remember, there's a three-pronged test for pornography, and one of the "prongs" is the work has to lack "redeeming social value" -- basically, it has to be "smut and nothing but", to quote Tom Lehrer, to qualify as pornography. (Basically, this is what keeps Lady Chatterly's Lover and an anatomy textbook from being declared obscene.) The Court's decision yesterday was basically that video games do have "redeeming social value". MDB (talk) 16:08, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Any law that restricts freedom of speech, must be based on sound state interest that can be shown to superceed a person's own rights of freedom of speech. (and in this case, speech is extended to reading, and playing). The problem is, this law was based on NOTHING, and in fact, the defendants of the law admitted that they had only coorlative and not causative evidence that violent games did *anything* to children. That is their biggest problem. Huffing drugs, or making meth are proven dangers, so they can regulate kid's access to things like paint cans. but the only thing they have against video games is they do not like them.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:32, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
What's more socially redeeming than killing your friend's virtual avatar with an assault rifle and then teabagging his corpse? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Sending him some homophobic slurs. -- (talk) 23:03, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Technical Term needed[edit]

I'm updating an article on Oil of Oregano, and when you google that, one of the sites has in it's (here is where i need the term) "description" that appears only on a search engine, the words "Learn about oil of O's MAGICAL property". i really want to reference that, but the page itself does not say the same thing. what is the technical term for the metadata that a search engine uses to describe a page? --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:05, 28 June 2011 (UTC) (note - this is the data I"m talking about, found when you do a google search for Oil of Oregano: Oil of Oregano Health Benefits Learn about the magical health benefits of oil of oregano. Oregano oil is an effective acne treatment, and can be used to treat candida and many other ... www.homeremediesweb.com/oil_of_oregano_health_benefits.php - Cached - Similar - Block all www.homeremediesweb.com result [1] ---thanks.

"View source" on the webpage - you should find this somewhere in your browser's Options or Tools menus, or in the right-click menu, depending on what browser you're using, or in Chrome it's just Ctrl+U. At the top of the source code you'll see <title>Oil of Oregano Health Benefits</title>, which is what your browser displays at the top when viewing the page, and <meta name="description" content="...." /> which is what search engines display. I guess the technical term is just "description", but there may be some more specific term. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:39, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Pubmed articles[edit]

I just realized that because of my job, i have access to full articles at Pubmed, that others might not have. Is it still considered a valid/good ref link? or will it show as a broken link, to those of you who are not subscribers to the articles.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:33, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I think it's fine, though fully available material would be idea. It shows the abstract when I'm not logged in through my library's VPN. If you put the title into Google Scholar, sometimes you can find an unpaywalled PDF of the paper or the researchers will have a PDF available on their faculty pages. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:02, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I see no general problem with it, though copious quotation will help those without a subscription. Things the layman can find in a library are nice, too. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:51, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Anybody want to help write an article?[edit]

OK, here's the deal. My wife is a regular reader of Prevention magazine. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a popular women's magazine that focuses on things that are vaguely health related. Every cover has a picture of smiling, very slim woman and headlines like "Fit After Forty" or "You Can Have a Flat Belly By Summer." You know, the usual.

Some of their advice is generic commonsense stuff like get plenty of exercise and eat lots of fruits and veggies. But they also have a distressing amount of woo. (Sample for your perusal.) I think an article that details their woo-meistery would fit in RW's mission and welcome anyone interested to slide on over to Prevention (magazine) and join in the festivities. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:18, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Just wanted to say[edit]

I love this website. It's been my homepage for 3 years now. I don't post much but I'm always reading and I've learned a ton from you guys. No, I'm not drunk. Senator Harrison (talk) 03:27, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

That's good to hear!--ADtalkModerator 04:17, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Help to buy Expelled[edit]

Talk Origins wants to buy the rights to Expelled. I heartily support this idea, please to be chipping in towards this worthy effort. It'd be insanely great if some sane people ending up owning creationist propaganda. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:55, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

It would be great if they buried it away from public view until the copyright expired. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 19:21, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Won't that just give further credence to the idea that supports of evolution are trying to stifle dissent? - π 22:59, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
who'll get the money? (talk) 19:26, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Whoever premise media's chief creditors are, presumably. Some bank or other, no doubt. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 20:05, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
From what I read on the Panda's Thumb blog-post, Talk.Origins want to buy it so that they can get hold of all the unedited interview footage and release it, so they can demonstrate the quote mining used to make the film. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:06, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
On one hand, I really don't wanna give them money. On the other, I really do wanna see how bad they quote mined. Decisions... Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:23, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
What is wrong with giving Talk.Origins money? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:28, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
It's going to the Expelled crew? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:30, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
As Jeeves pointed out, the company that made the film is bankrupt, so the money will be going to the creditor bank; the Expelled crew will not see a penny of it. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:35, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Ah, right. To the paypal. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:41, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

All the money goes to a bank? Count me in. Nods.gif But seriously, if you want to donate money to a worthy cause, I can think of hundreds more worthwhile than this. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:29, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
It's not a worthy cause, it's a lulzy cause--User:Brxbrx/sig 13:41, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Presumably the bidding will pick up towards the end of the auction, but it's going for the very reasonable price of 2000 bucks right now. Maybe I should put in a bid. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:55, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Where's the bidding going on? I'm curious to follow this more closely... --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 04:49, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Someone bought it for $ 201.000. Let's hope they'll put it to good use. Röstigraben (talk) 16:55, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I doubt it was any skeptic paying that kind of cash. If it was, it's a complete waste of money. More likely another creationist organisation. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:27, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

International Cancer Advocacy Network[edit]

I've just signed up to volunteer with the International Cancer Advocacy Network, and I'd like to ask my fellow skeptics if they can tell me anything about this group that they don't mention on their website. Their goal is informing cancer patients of treatments or trials for which they may be eligible. I would very much appreciate any information you can offer as to why I shouldn't try and help this people (the quality of any help I might offer is not in question, they're asking some very simple things of me). Thank you, RationalWiki--User:Brxbrx/sig 20:58, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Their mission statement:

Mission: to expedite the anticancer drug pipeline at all levels, focusing on cancer patient advocacy, clinical trials advocacy, patient empowerment and clinical trials search tools, and public education and information programs

--User:Brxbrx/sig 21:05, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

The only concern I would have is that many of these trials bypass the red tape, and some (not many, most or all) of those are not ready for prime time. Good luck with this.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:06, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
They seem to cite mostly the NCI, NIH, etc., so at least it's not a crank organization. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:59, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
the only thing with clinical trials is to read the very small print, in some trials you may receive no drugs as part of a control group.Its the patients with no other options who may as well try some of these studies. Hamster (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
NB If you're in a trial with a placebo arm (ie where you might receive no treatment, or partial treatment compared to other participants) this will be (should be, that's one purpose of their ethics oversight) because they genuinely don't know which is better. Please don't try to figure out which group you're in and "drop out" if you aren't getting the drugs/radiation/whatever. (1) It's quite possible the test treatment is worse than nothing, that's why they're testing it (2) if the preliminary data strongly refutes that or supports that (ie they find out for sure what's best) they will fold remaining participants into a single group receiving the better option, but drop-outs don't count (3) if enough people drop out the results are worthless so you've wasted everybody else's time, and in a cancer trial they may have very little of that left.
I was rejected for trial, but the trial I would have been entered into was comparing the treatment I got (ABVD) to a protocol invented at Stanford. In theory the Stanford protocol was supposed to reduce side effects and be faster. But it didn't work, 5% more people died in the Stanford arm. In medical trials the possibility that it does not work is not an outside chance. They're doing the trial because they do not know and signing up to the trial is saying "I am willing to put my health on the line because there's no other way to get answers". (talk) 08:29, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Intellectual dishonesty in the debt ceiling debate ... on both sides[edit]

I've had it, both with the Administration and the Democrats, as well as with the Republicans, on the level of spin and downright mistruths have been perpetuated in the debt ceiling debate. First, I'll start off with the Democrats:

  • LIFO (last in first out) accounting is not a tax subsidy; it is a legitimate and conventional form of accounting and any yahoo who has taken Accounting I would know that. FWIW, I would argue that accounting should be done by HIFO (highest in first out). Certain business expenses have always been deducted against gross income to yield a net income for taxation purposes. This is not some big fucking conspiracy. Grover Norquist is factually correct when he says that when current accounting rules are changed, this amounts to a tax increase.

Now with the Republicans:

  • Quit pretending that a wholesale reduction in tax rates will increase tax revenue (this is directed at Pawlenty). While I would agree with this for certain taxes, lowering the personal income tax across the board now (where most of the tax revenue comes from) is going to lead a tax revenue reduction.

Back to the Democrats:

  • Quit pretending that increasing taxes solely on the rich, while giving everyone else a tax break, is going to increase the revenue stream significantly. This may be a great political sound byte, but it's bad policy. Taxes have to be increased across the board, preferably back to the old Clinton era tax rates, in order to be sustainable.

For the Republicans:

  • No we're not increasing the age of Medicare and we're not abolishing Social Security. We've paid into it, rightly or wrongly, and we deserve our fucking due.

To both parties:

  • Why the hell did you extend the Bush tax cuts for two more years. Now you guys want to increase some of those taxes? Talk about being schizophrenic. Here's an idea. Regardless of political pressure, let all of these tax cuts expire, but in 2012, not now, so for once Washington can stay true to its word.

To both parties again:

  • Do you realize in three to four weeks weeks, the CDS spread is going to blow out of the water and the credit markets are going to freeze if you don't quit dicking around? Extend the debt ceiling now and get over it.

ConservapediaEditor (talk) 02:15, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Interesting, although I think the Republicans are the ones causing problems here. They have made it a clear and simple rule that they will not compromise to solve the problem. Offered $2 trillion in spending cuts, they walked out when $400 billion in tax increases were requested. As Matt Yglesias puts it, "There’s a certain logic to saying that you won’t do a debt ceiling increase unless there’s a plan in place to reduce the deficit. But to then turn around and object that the president’s deficit-reduction plan includes some deficit reducing ideas you don’t like turns this into nonsense. "
You're attacking the Democrats over one of several specific policies they're endorsing, but isn't the bigger problem the insane GOP refusal to even consider compromise? They're simply acting like children, and holding the nation hostage (to use Jonathan Chait's long-running metaphor) to get what they want.--ADtalkModerator 02:51, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
You also forgot my favorite, "cut Dept of Defense expenditures by withdrawing from NATO and closing overseas bases." Doctor Dark (talk) 02:53, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The debt ceiling is all hot air. It will get raised because only the batshit crazies in the Teabagger caucus think it's actually a good idea not to raise it. The rest of the Republican Party is just trying to milk it for all its worth. Nothing new to see here, move along folks. Here is Obama in 2006 for comparison. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:06, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It's worth noting the Democrats were not in charge of either house yet, so Democratic opposition like Obama's did not hold any real possibility of the default, even if you can fault them for political grandstanding (long a tradition with these votes). This appears to be the first time in history either party is refusing to permit a "clean" vote and insisting on total capitulation to their demands. "Do what we want, and only what we want, or we'll crash the economy." It's insane.--ADtalkModerator 04:39, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
No, it's a game of chicken. When the shit hits the fan, a last-minute compromise will be pushed through. Boehner is an old-guard Beltway hack -- he knows what he's doing. Like I said, only the batshit contingent will actually vote not to lift it no matter what. I'd put money on that. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Boehner's motivation is what helps Boehner. That's why the GOP lost on health-care. They went for short-term gains by bogging down the process, drawing it out by continually demanding a reset on negotiations, rather than actually fighting to get their ideas into the bill. This meant that in the long term they lost, but in the short term they posted big gains in the House and various states - increasing Boehner's power for at least the next couple of terms.
If the govt defaults, then what happens? The economy tanks. The GOP has become extremely good at muddling the issues and spreading around the blame, relying on partisan outlets (talk radio and Fox) as well as the pathological even-handedness of the mainstream media. Odds are good that everyone will take a lot of blame ("Why couldn't Obama get this done? He's the President!"). And the right-wing echo chamber will praise those who refused to cave in. There are actual sitting senators, like DeMint, who honestly support default!
Boehner has little risk here, and I am not inclined to rely on him suddenly being a statesman. There is an actual and serious possibility of default, although I'd say it's still pretty unlikely.--ADtalkModerator 05:36, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Sure, maybe. I don't mean that Boehner will be a statesman, I mean that he wants to get re-elected. It could happen, of course, I just don't buy it. If I were president and had major brass balls, I'd say, "You know, I've been thinking about it and maybe default is a pretty good idea." That would separate out the demagogues from the nutcase contingent pretty quickly. 05:43, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Myers/Bergman debate[edit]

Anyone watch the debate recently posted on Pharyngula between PZ Myers and Jerry Bergman? I thought Bergman started out fine, given his position, but went batshit nuts when he started talking about irreducable complexity. What the hell was that? Anyone how says creationsists (or IDers or whatever) tend to win debates should watch this one at least. Bergman's argument basically boiled down to "the appendix does something, therefore evolution is wrong", "You can't remove an electron from a carbon-14 atom and have it still be a carbon-14 atom, therefore evoltuion is wrong", and "junk DNA might have a purpose, therefore evolution is wrong". It's pretty long, but parts are certainly worth it. DickTurpis (talk) 12:30, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

The reason I find it extremely frustrating debating such types on our local school board (I've decided to become an advocate for our County Science initiatives), is that 1) they do not understand the underlying science, 2) they do not understand that science is global. you cannot dismiss evolution flat out, without also dismissing atomic theory, modern geology, etc., (I tell them that if they think radiometic dating is wrong, then they should not use their GPS, as both have time units calculated on the atomic theory... the remain baffled) and 3) they do not get that our theories are collectives of vast amounts of information, not one single instance in isolation. So they say, as you point out in the Bergman statement "oh oh, here is one issue. there for, no evo". I do not know how you debate that. But it's a skill i need to learn, cause they are shouting louder and louder - and people who vote, listen.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:22, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Depends if you are trying to convince them or other people. Trying to convince them is usually a lost cause, as their tactics for "winning" are setting the bar so high that nothing could ever qualify as evidence to them and spewing as much bullshit as possible. One side has to play by the rules and the other doesn't -- simple as that. (speaking of which, we need the evolution version of da rules for climate deniers). The best way to convince other people is to concentrate on the big picture. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:21, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Goodbye white majority[edit]

US census figures are out and make for interesting reading. --PsyGremlinSprich! 15:19, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Countdown to Mark Steyn controversy in 3, 2, 1... Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Blindly Supporting Blind Faith[edit]

Did you know? American taxpayers are supporting the teaching of creationism, whether you know it or not! And this is being marketed as educational reform. I discuss this in my recent article at Dean's Corner. — Unsigned, by: Jetoney / talk / contribs

Every time we seem to move forward, and grow past this kind of sillyness, I read something showing that we are supporting such ignorance in our kids. It's already bothersome that a parent would limit his or her child's future by not giving them basic grounding in scientific truth to protect their (clearly weak, if education is dangerous) view of their religion. but to know we are paying for this ignorance. Thanks for the article Jetoney. sharing on my FB page as well.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:56, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
"School choice" has long been newspeak for funneling money into religious schools, though I didn't realize how heavily they were abusing this scholarship workaround tactic. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:03, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Al Gore: Fat Right again[edit]

In his recent article in Rolling Stone, Gore wrote:

Even writing an article like this one carries risks; opponents of the president will excerpt the criticism and strip it of context.

Well, lookie here. But remember, Al Gore is fat and flies around in a jet. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:54, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Conservapedia is wrong - liberals/atheists are NOT more obese[edit]

Conservapedia is involved in an ongoing campaign against fat atheists, but that is ridiculous. They are playing right in to the godless, anti-obesity Obama agenda. Conservatives and Christian evangelicals ARE fatter than atheist liberals or anyone else, and that's a good thing! Obesity is healthier than being thin, and Christians and conservatives are real Americans who support our core American values (like obesity) over that Satanic liberal crap. It is Obama and the Islamofascist liberals who hates McDonald's and all the holy, Godly corporations which make people fat. Liberals are thin because they are all alcholic/anorexic/bulimic/drug-addicts. Being thin is NOT healthy. Long live obese Christians! Buster Cherry (talk) 22:15, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

i'm a very fat atheist. I'm also childless which somehow makes me not a real woman. or something. oh well. Rock on, and all that.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 22:19, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I am a slim, good looking atheist. But I am not a liberal so now I don't know what to think. Ace of Spades 22:22, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I could stand to lose a few pounds, am an atheist, but am also no liberal. I too am confused. P-Foster (talk) 22:23, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I have seen pictures of you P-Foster, you certainly ain't obese except in the groin area. Ace of Spades 22:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Seriously. Get over yourself. You're a fox, P-Foster. I, on the other hand, am a gigantor of an atheist prick. Nutty Rouxnever mind 03:12, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I am a fat atheist, but I am also liberal. Maybe it's liberalness that makes people fat, not atheism. X Stickman (talk) 00:30, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Dammit, I always knew exercising was bad for me. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:31, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I am a liberal theist of Churchillian physique... I don't want to say one's health and one's worldview are going to be completely unconnected (I think they are going to be at some level), but neither would I subscribe to any simplistic equation of the two factors, life is much more complex than that... (((Zack Martin))) 03:05, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I imagine there would be some correlation. Urban areas tend to be more liberal/atheist. People who live in cities have to walk more. People in Manhattan are apparently pretty thin. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:11, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Um, since when are alcoholics thin? Ever heard of the infamous beer gut, or beer belly? DMorris2 (talk) 03:16, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
When alcoholics get the majority of their calories from the alcohol. They fail to eat properly and waste away. Beer-gutted drinkers are not all alcoholics. This wasting occurs later on in the progression of the addiction. The "shakes" also occur during this phase of alcoholism. These are due to the fact that alcohol depletes (and to a small degree) replaces dopamine in the brains of many long-term drinkers. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls fine motor movements; in alcoholics the depletion of this chemical leads to uncontrollable shaking, they "need" a drink in order to regain control of their muscles.
Your compassion for these people is noted. 03:37, 2 July 2011 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

Need a laugh?[edit]

Animals being dicks. The very first one, with the chimp baby pushing the other into the water? looks JUST like my brother and i growing up.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:39, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Dude. Is that dog attempting to rape that hen? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:34, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Very nice. My favourites: *, *, *, *, *, *. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:47, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
HAHAHAA! Made my night. XD--Dumpling (talk) 04:34, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Any parents in the house?[edit]

We need an article on Veggie Tales. P-Foster (talk) 19:33, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

It is a horror show of mind numbing childabuse that is worse than that damn happy purple dino.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:40, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, this proselytisng stuff is banned from my house ( and in this house , one afternoon, i came back from work to see the wife and daughters ( 7 and 8) happily watch Coppola'a Dracula... I tought it was a bit weird...) Alain (talk) 19:46, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I can see it now (though I don't know all that much about the show): "Veggie Tales is a television program featuring several anthropomorphic, bible-thumpin' salad ingredients...." Aboriginal Noise Punkrock 21:53, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I can see people without kids, moving it to "fun space" every other week. "this is about salad? It must be a poe thing".--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:56, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Nope. It's legit. I have to endure another installment every year at Christmas from one of my Aunts as a gift to my children. To them, it's just a cartoon. To me, all I can see is how they left the more "questionable" aspects out of the re-tellings to make them more kid-friendly. The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 22:42, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It's actually quite fun to watch. You can easily strip out the obvious religious bits. I think NBC actually did at one point. Ancient Greek Pegasus icon.png 13:25, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Eek. I have to watch that whenever I'm summoned to church to babysit the kids...Ehhh. Although, the cheeseburger song always gets me. XD--Dumpling (talk) 04:40, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Technical question about site like this[edit]

I have a question about websites that require logons - and wonder if any of you are expert enough to help. (this is very general, by the way). We were subpoenaed for "all login records to the website". is this something that is kept by "computers" in some file, or does it depend on how the company website was designed, or what? The defendant (who hacked our system) is trying to establish a defense that many spouses log in on the employees account. and it seems like a total fishing exercise to me. sorry for the off topic. --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 20:04, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

What do you mean, "site like this"? Are you talking about a Mediawiki wiki, or about websites in general? Mountain Blue (talk) 21:09, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Sorry my bad. We have a website that our employees log into. So i guess I was wrongly comparing the idea of "loggin in". anyhow, it was hacked by a spouse of an employee, and her defense lawyer wants a copy of the "last 11 years of logs showing who has logged in". besides the fact that I don't think other people's logins are anyone's business, i'm not even sure why a simple employee info site would keep such details. But then i realized, looking at the wiki here, that maybe it's just what computers that require log-ins "do". track who is logged in, when, and stores that in some file somewhere. (I was the WRONG person to get this subpoena, i must say... i know nothing about computers - other than how to use them.)--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:34, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
So we ARE talking about a website that people log into, ie. a website with some kind of form where you type in a username and a password and then hit some kind of submit button; did I get this right so far? But it's NOT a wiki, it's some piece of software we don't really know anything about? Mountain Blue (talk) 21:40, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Yep. and all i have to do is tell the lawyer a "yes we have" "no we do not" for each thing on the discovery list. But on this one, i'm stumped. It's alright, i'll just leave it blank, and leave it up to him to figure out. cause i don't even know who to call to find out. lol. i hate technology. i can tell you about our process for keeping phone logs, and how often we shred our files, and where we have stored original signature files... but technology? thanks anyhow, guys. i think i just panicked. never had a subpoena before.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:49, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Seems unlikely that logs would be kept unless you have software that records keystrokes installed on the computers. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:52, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, we have nothing like that at all. you log in, you can find old articles from the research staff, employee handbooks, updates on Case around the country that deal with Native rights, etc. it's really really basic. not even sure why we have a log in.lol--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 23:39, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I can't give you the "yes" or "no" answer you're looking for. But I can tell you that web server software does tend to log many things. What gets logged will depend on what software was installed, and how it was configured. I would be surprised if it did not have timestamped records which show which IP addresses (which in many cases would, with a court order, be traceable to a specific computer) accessed a "log in page" for the web site. It may or may not record the usernames of people who logged in, it almost certainly would NOT log things like passwords. During the period when a user is actually logged in (and for anywhere from hours to days afterwards) the system must usually track who is logged in, but the records needed to do this are transient, that is they will usually be destroyed when the user logs out, or after some interval. If the lawyer really needs a firm answer, they will need someone familiar with your systems, and/or a serious expert to examine the system and determine the answer. Having determined what exists, the question of whether the defence is entitled to examine it, and then whether it's admissible as evidence is a matter for the court and thus your lawyer.
Frankly if "the defendant (who hacked our system)" is up against people who aren't even sure if they have such records I'd say he's got an excellent chance of walking free. But maybe I'm just grumpy after spending four hours in a security meeting today. (talk) 23:56, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The security part is pretty much exactly what we thought. we aren't pressing charges, cause how do you prove that someone hacked, when you don't ever track any of that. There are reasons that aren't worth going into, that this is not at all about the obvious.... but what "white collar" crime or subsequent prosecution is every about what it seems. i think this one is one the prosecutor wants to "hang out" as a notch, cause he would look like he's protecting the "little guy" (us)... anyhow..thanks.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 01:17, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
You write "it was hacked by a spouse of an employee, and her defense lawyer wants ...". First question is what do you mean by "hacked" and what has she been charged with? You need to talk to a good lawyer on this.
If all she did was log in without your permission, you probably have no case. Partly, that will depend on what contracts the husband signed regarding keeping his login credentials secure. It is possible you'd have a case against him for contract violation, but not against her. It's also possible there's a case against her for "unauthorised access" or some such.
If she did some damage, you may have case, but that is going to depend both on what legal system applies where you are and on what evidence you can produce. If you do not even know what logs your system keeps, it seems exceedingly doubtful that you'd have the evidence, let alone have it in a form that a court is likely to accept -- provably not tampered with. Defense expert witnesses routinely attack on this point, and it is not easy to defend unless you planned for it in advance. There's a good overview in Chapter 12 of the 1st ed of Cheswick & Bellovin's firewalls book. 1st ed is online & free http://www.wilyhacker.com/ You might want to buy the 2nd edition.
Whoever administers your system should know what logs are kept and how & where old logs are backed up. Pashley (talk) 04:01, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Server logs show every single file request and what IP made them. This is why I know where Kendoll lives, by the way. Dump a 50GB raw file on them. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:23, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Trouble is, by handing out raw server logs to a third party (who aren't the police) you could be setting yourself up for pissing off a lot of other people. Just say that you can't give them that kind of data because of privacy issues, but you are willing to send the relevant parts of the log that show the individual was attempting to bypass security checks on your site. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:37, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Study suggests eating makes you fat[edit]

Does anyone but me find that many of the "studies" reported by the media hacks at yahoo or women focused groups to be remarkably "duh" feeling? Today's serious headline at yahoo "Study shows snacking and larger portion size is the cause of nation's obesity". Did we really need a study to show that, cause it seems pretty obvious to me. I see others like "study shows children who study will do better in school" (serious one). or am i just cranky cause i had to work on my day off?\--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:19, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

I remember a study claiming that obese people were more likely to die in a car crash, citing a very weak correlation. To be honest, the media hyping up the obvious is not a huge concern for me compared to their hyping up studies with a dubious statistical foundation. I was surprised with how many people were surprised by the outcome of Supersize Me when it came out, so maybe some people need to be told the obvious again and again.--Danfly (talk) 14:29, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
That's just sad. As an amateur scientist (read: i watch every BBC show there is, love it, and yet don't get any of it), as well as a scholar i find it really annoying when the media hypes things with terms that sound "sexy" but actually paint an inaccurate picture. "missing link" is the single most obvious one, but the whole "new life form found" when NASA had some strange bacteria that might have lived in arsenic (or not... not seen her studies that are being done to confirm the dubious original work), or "life created in lab" when talking about John Southerland's work with RNA. I wonder if the rest of the world's media is as hype-happy as the US. probably not. --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:35, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
So far, nobdoy's pointed out that it's not eating that makes you fat, but the type of food and how you eat. There was no link to the study so can't say much about it, but snacking is not the same as eating much. The obvious thing to point to is that poor people are more often overweight than rich people, not because they eat more but because of HOW they eat and WHAT kind of food they eat. So it's only a "duh" feeling to people who don't really know much about the subject at hand, usually. Dendlai (talk) 04:04, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
That's a really good point. One of my kids is living for the first time in a situation where he buys and cooks his own food (as opposed to home, or a college dorm). He remarked that eating healthy with lots of fresh produce and good basic foods is expensive, and that he's found "cheap food is really bad for you." Recently someone did a piece on what a dollar's worth of food looks like. It was a pretty good amount of lousy food such as generic white bread, but maybe six fresh blueberries from Whole Foods or some such.

So it's no surprise to see so many poor people who are obese. It is possible to eat both cheaply and healthily (we did OK when I was a grad student). But you have to know what foods are good for you, like how to make up complete proteins from beans and grains, and it takes effort to prepare stuff from scratch. Education helps. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:38, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

There are many things that seem anecdotally obvious but have yet to be confirmed by rigorous scientific analysis. Science cannot get away with saying "well it's just obvious", so a study gets commissioned. Then the study finds a conclusion which leads to a scientific paper. Then the paper gets reported in the media. Then the public comes out of the woodwork and says "well I could have told you that! what a waste of funding! stupid scientists!" (I'm think particularl of the Daily Mail website, where such studies get reported regularly only to attract of a flurry of comments from ignorant people stating anecdotes and lambasting Big Science for being Captain Obvious) ONE / TALK 14:40, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, tabloids will be tabloids. I have several friends that use the Daily Mail as a humour site. There's always going to be some sensationalism if it sells. The Financial Times isn't bad though if you ask me. For good science news, you probably want an actual science publication. By the way, did you see 'All watched over by machines of loving grace'? That was an awesome programme. --Danfly (talk) 14:49, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
The first episode was good but I found the other two rubbish. His programmes are more works of art than documentaries, as it's very difficult to tease any sort of actual information about his overlying message out of them. He has a propensity to string things together in a conspiratorial fashion and then fails to provide adequate evidence to back up his implied claims. The link with computers was tenuous in all three episodes. ONE / TALK 15:11, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
'The link with computers was tenuous in all three episodes'. Fully agree with that statement, but there was a lot in the second one I didn't know about. The third one was so close to my academic area of interest I felt justified in writing it off as study, so I'm naturally going to be biased about it. --Danfly (talk) 15:23, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
There were certainly elements I found interesting. I had no idea of the history of Darfur, so found that interesting. And having read the Selfish Gene, found his discussion of that concept interesting too (though I felt his coverage of it was lacking depth and at one point micharacterised it). ONE / TALK 15:55, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
You're probably thinking of the fact he didn't explain that the attribution of 'selfishness' was only a metaphor and does not represent any actual intention on part of the gene (something Dawkins stresses in almost every chapter). I noticed that too. --Danfly (talk) 16:10, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

What is this nonsense?[edit]

Harvard produced a dumb study that's making the rounds on the wingnut blogs. The study uses a massive number of subjects and gets effect sizes in the range of <1%-5% for significant findings. Why are we supposed to take this seriously again? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:30, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Goes to show American universities are no match for socialist Cambridge. -- (talk) 20:19, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Socialist Cambridge
Sorry, that's about as close together as I can get the words 'socialist' and 'Cambridge' in the same sentence.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:28, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Try putting 'champagne' before socialist and see if you can get them closer. --Danfly (talk) 23:41, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Champagne Socialist Cambridge
Mmmm, some movement.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:52, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Dom Pérignon Socialist Cambridge
Ah, that got it.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:52, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

fiber optics[edit]

Are these the key to breaking the light barrier in computing? Wikipedia didn't mention anything. This shit sounds really really cool--User:Brxbrx/sig 06:04, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

How do fibre-optics break the light barrier? Ajkgordon (talk) 09:13, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Maybe Brxbrx is excited about Optical Computing ? Who knows. Hint Brxbrx, "this shit" should be a link so that we know what shit you're talking about. (talk) 09:36, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
here--User:Brxbrx/sig 12:32, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Welcome to the 21st century. -- (talk) 12:48, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Shouldn't that be "Welcome to the 20th century"? I was working laying fibre optic telephone cables to replace to old copper ones back in the mid seventies. Jack Hughes (talk) 13:10, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
So fiber optics aren't a big deal? CUz they sound pretty fucking cool. Accurately transferring information at the speed of light!--User:Brxbrx/sig 14:35, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, yes. But how do they break the light barrier? Ajkgordon (talk) 15:28, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Oy. Either I am hopelessly out of touch, or it is not about the speed of propagation in the medium. Signals travel just about as fast as "the speed of light" in good old telephone twisted pair, the ancient precursor of the CAT 5 cable that links the tower under my desk to the house router. The "speed of light" does need to be taken into account when some photons get there before others do, for example in the modal dispersion that smears the edges of the signal, limiting the bit rate in the kind of fiber they use for short runs, say within a building or small campus. Above-ground fiber optic junction boxes can be easy to spot when you see the banjo-looking thingy that guides the fiber around in gentle curves.

Compared to most home-brewed electronics, optic fiber is kind of a big deal, but not that big of a deal. If you are ever in the Elmira NY area, you might still be able to find some interesting displays in the Corning company museum, about what kind of glass they use and how they draw it into miles-long hair-thin strands to tolerances that would be tough to hit in your garage. That is assuming they have been keeping those displays dusted off for the last thirty years... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:31, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

"While electrodynamics holds that the speed of light in a vacuum is a universal constant (c), the speed at which light propagates in a material may be significantly less than c. For example, the speed of the propagation of light in water is only 0.75c. Matter can be accelerated beyond this speed during nuclear reactions and in particle accelerators. Cherenkov radiation results when a charged particle, most commonly an electron, travels through a dielectric (electrically polarizable) medium with a speed greater than that at which light would otherwise propagate in the same medium" wp:Cherenkov radiation
See also: Quantum entanglement. which seems to be a way of transmitting "information" FTL. Pippa (talk) 16:09, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
bear in mind that the propogation speed in a given medium may not be the same as the trasmission sped of data. Electricity goes at near light speed in copper wire but I still get only 48K over my phone line. Fibre optic has been around a long time and is ideal in factories where large amounts of electrical noise exist.Hamster (talk) 17:13, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, data rate is determined by all sorts of things including speed of signal but also the volume, the protocols and the processing among others. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:31, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Bear also in mind that meters per second and bits per second refer to very different notions. (Of course you knew that, but some of the others might need it hammered in a bit more.) One has to do with velocity, the other with something like "amount of flow." 10Mbit/s (maybe more) was attainable over garden-variety twisted pair in the previous century, in installations that were not necessarily pushing the state of the art. Parkinson's Law still applies, and there will always be self-styled über-users complaining about not getting enough bandwidth. A story comes to mind of the restaurant manager I knew, a bizarre little man in a so-so hotel who was banned from accessing the house LAN when his stock-ticker application kept bringing the network to its knees.
As far as FTL data transfer goes, I will delay being impressed until they can improve on c by five or six orders of magnitude. I want to see This Alien Shore in my lifetime, or at least some Cordwainer Smith rat-and-dragon action. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:39, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Fiber optics are ancient, and the biggest problem aren't the fibers themselves which are fiberlicious, but the switches at the end. Aka the little mechanical devices that turn on and off the little torches or whatever it is connected at the end of said fibers and get to determine where all this data gets to go anyway, and do so electrically, with electrical processors and electric memories. Data nowdays probably goes faster across Europe, than it does between two stupid routers somewhere inbetween. Sen (talk) 18:21, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Arrives late to the party* - ha! So Brxbrx was all excited about glass pipes. Yeah, a long time ago I worked at the facility which invented Erbium-doped fibre amplifiers, devices which can amplify the signal in an incoming fibre, and sent it on through an outgoing fibre, without caring exactly what kind of light signal was sent. These mean you can install the amplifier (for example at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean) and not need to replace it every time some genius thinks of a new and better type of signal that will fit down the same glass to give more bandwidth. Even this all happened last century when people still thought digital watches were pretty cool.
You can't do FTL. FTL is literally equivalent to time travel. The continued absence of time travellers provides ample evidence that FTL is impossible. Entanglement doesn't move information at faster than the speed of light, it's just a version of the shadow trick (a shadow can appear to move faster than light too, but you can't use the apparent movement of the shadow in this way to transmit information faster than light). (talk) 21:39, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
The continued absence of time travellers provides ample evidence that FTL is impossible. What a crock of shit. FTL is impossible, but a lack of time-travellers does not constitute evdience and even if it did, invoking it is not necessary as the impossibility of FTL can be shown mathematically. ONE / TALK 10:44, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm waiting for NBN to lay optic fibre to my house! Yeah! If only the bloody Liberals don't get in and can the thing like they say they'll do... (I suppose, even if they won the next election, they might not be able to can it if they don't control the Senate...) (((Zack Martin))) 08:26, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Another fallacy query thing[edit]

Is there a name for a fallacy whereby a question or argument is dismissed on the grounds that it has been raised many times in the past and is ipso facto hackneyed and/or laid to rest, despite the issue having never actually been resolved? I remember at school during an RE lesson the atheists challenged the one fairly committed Christian in the class with the Problem of Evil and she responded in this way, along the lines of a sarcastic "Oh that's a new one".Grumblejaws (talk) 21:12, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Oh, and I remember Ann Widdecombe used this sort of rejoinder when Christopher Hitchens pulled his "AIDS is bad but apparently condoms are worse" criticism of the Catholic Church at that debate they had a while back.Grumblejaws (talk) 21:17, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
PRATT ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:24, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I'd favour calling it a prevarication in PRATT's clothing. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:21, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Fortunately this fallacy has an easy counter: "If it's such a well-known objection, what's the answer? Tetronian you're clueless 03:18, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Cohen's Law Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

This shit is starting to piss me off. Here's four words to learn: You are wrong because... Stop thinking every error people make has to be a logical fallacy, and even if they have made a fallacious argument, argue the content not the fucking form. I'm fucking sick of watching people spewing out rote latin phrases and thinking they're having a fucking conversation. You're not, you're being a dickhead. Logic is for you to learn so that you can make arguments that are valid. It is not a tool to be used against an opponent in debate. If you're debating an opponent who can't make a valid argument, then you've failed rule one of debate and you shouldn't even have bothered to turn up. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Good grief, it was just a question. Why the harassed tone? It's the first time I've asked about this sort of thing. Thanks to everyone who showed incredible forbearance in replying politely, I'll watch my step in future. Grumblejaws (talk) 16:04, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Five things atheists get wrong about religion[edit]

There was a WIGO:Blogs post about this a few days back. I have to say I agree with most of it; what do the atheists here think? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:53, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Just took a quick glance over it: at least for number 5, he goes from listing the myth as atheists say all religions are equally crazy (we do, they are), to criticizing atheists for saying all religious people are equally crazy (we don't, they're not). ThunderkatzHo! 05:00, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
And by 5 I mean the last one, not the first one (stupid backwards numbering). ThunderkatzHo! 05:08, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The way I read that, he was not discussing the people separately from their beliefs, so it does not turn into an ad hominem. No matter how much anyone tries to pretend otherwise, Unitarian Universalism is not the same belief-system as fundamentalist, or even any orthodox Christianity. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:13, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
But the people and the beliefs are separate. MLK Jr. was a pretty sane guy. Hard-code Lutheranism isn't particularly sane. Re: UU and others: it might not believe in a specific God, but if it still involves some supernatural force of any kind (a universal consciousness, souls, what have you), it's moved away from reality and thus has crazy elements (and if it doesn't involve any supernatural force and they're all materialists and naturalists, it's not a religion). ThunderkatzHo! 05:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
But the people and the beliefs are separate. He does not base his argument on the personalities of the people he discusses, so that does not sink his argument.
Hard-code [sic] Lutheranism isn't particularly sane. To which I can only reply that you are unfamiliar with either hardcore Lutheranism or sanity.
...but if it still involves some supernatural force of any kind, it's moved away from reality... Uh, right; obviously there is no difference between blatant delusions like creationism and philosophical notions with as much falsifying evidence as corroborative. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:59, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
You seem to think that a lack of falsifying evidence means it's totally normal and acceptable to believe it. To which I can only reply Russell's Teapot. And Bigfoot. And ancient alients. And Pleiadians. How much falsifying evidence do they have? None? We can show an individual instance is a hoax, but do we have "evidence" that the general ideas are wrong? Not at all. So by your logic, it's totally ok to believe in those. ThunderkatzHo! 06:52, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
You seem to think that a lack of falsifying evidence means it's totally normal and acceptable to believe it. As do approximately 98% of the world's population, plus the strong atheists who seem to have no problem believing what they do in the face of the lack of falsifying evidence.
There is a certain amount of falsifying evidence for Bigfoot and ancient aliens, in that their existence would entail certain observations that are different from what the actual observations have been. Russell's Teapot is purely hypothetical, but also involves a belief in a natural, physical object rather than a supernatural being that may not act miraculously. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:12, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Like I said, both are wrong, but there is a "degree of wrongness." There's a difference between believing that cavemen were putting saddles on raptors and believing in some kind of woo-ey "outside of space and time" god. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:15, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Namely, that one belief is demonstrably false and the other is not. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:18, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Ahh, the classic, "lots of people believe it, so that makes it ok" argument. The number of people who believe or don't believe something has no bearing on its validity. And the difference between strong atheists and believing in god is that the non-existence of god is falsifiable (setting up an experiment that requires the action of an omnipotent or at least extremely powerful being wouldn't be too hard), while the existence of god is not. "Their existence would entail certain observations that are different from what the actual observations have been." The same is true of things like god or a soul. If god can intervene we would see interventions, but we haven't (a deist god either can intervene but chooses not to, which raises numerous questions, including where knowledge of said god would come from, or can't intervene, in which case they aren't omnipotent and not a god). A soul would entail that materialist neuroscience would repeatedly fail us at explaining the actions of the brain, but it consistently is able to produce results regardless. ThunderkatzHo! 12:46, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It does look like an argumentum ad populum but I don't think that's what ListenerX was getting at. You claimed (well, implied) that it was "not normal or acceptable", and ListenerX pointed out that 98% of people do it. It may not be acceptable, but it is at least normall if that statistic holds true. I think a failure of communication led to this misunderstanding between the two of you. ONE / TALK 13:17, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Listener, can I ask were you got the "98%" thing? Given the population of China and much of russia, that have for some 2 generations been raised in homes were it was not alright to be a believer, plus most of Japan which is generally considered atheist, I'm not sure that number could be any where near so high. Religion and belief in Gods seems to be a biological thing that happens to any child around 2 years old, as they look at the world and begin to literally animate it, and give those animations connective power with their own lives. So yes, people have a natural reaction to create gods. But what surprises me, is that as we've pushed the more human-like gods (YHWH, Zeus, Indra) into smaller and smaller roles (we know they don't make rain, we know they don't make women get pregnant, we know they don't cause earth quakes, we know the moon isn't a god, etc) i'm left wondering why people still cling so much to such transcendent but INVOLVED gods. "God helped us win our game" "Thank god for rescuing this child" "I survived my cancer, god healed me". I remain baffled that people think, in a universe 28 billion light years across as far as we can see, with more stars than cells on this planet - why anyone would think a god that made all of that, cares if your team won the foot ball game last night. I guess that's where I get judgmental.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:17, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Japan & China aren't sound examples for any comments about atheism. The traditions they follow don't fit easily into the theism/atheism thinking we have about religion in the west, and "do you consider yourself religious?" type surveys tend to give misleading results. But most people there hold some basically unfalsifiable beliefs (karma, qi, the Tao, etc.) and a lot of people pray at temples. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:01, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
1 had it right about my 98% remark; I was pointing out that the vast majority of the world's population are theists, and indeed there are many more locations where it is not "normal" or "acceptable" to lack such beliefs.
I was being generous with the 98% figure. There was an Encyclopædia Britannica study estimating that 2% of the world's population are avowed atheists. The generosity was to assume that all those avowed atheists are also (1) weak atheists, and (2) anti-theists who believe that it is unacceptable to be anything but an atheist.
If god can intervene we would see interventions... Not if the intervention was not by miracle; such interventions would go right over scientists' heads.
...or can't intervene, in which case they aren't omnipotent and not a god. You seem to have a rather high standard of what constitutes a God; quite a First Commandment-like standard, to be exact.
If something is unable to intervene, then it is not all powerful. If it's not all powerful, it's not a god. "Not if the intervention was not by miracle" Then how? If the intervention is constructed in such a way that it could be seen as totally naturalistic, you'd be opening a whole can of worms where you could basically assume any regular action is the work of god, and you start looking like the Omphalos Hypothesis. And once again, the number who believe in something is totally irrelevant to the conversation at hand. I'm not talking about what is normal. I'm talking about what is rational and logical. And if 98% of people believe in the supernatural, then 98% of people are not being rational and logical. ThunderkatzHo! 06:56, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
If it's not all powerful, it's not a god. Very few of the Gods in polytheistic religions are omnipotent.
...you'd be opening a whole can of worms where you could basically assume... Um, allow me to quote that noted mythographer, Thomas Bulfinch: "It was a pleasing trait in the old Paganism that it loved to trace in every operation of nature the agency of deity. The imagination of the Greeks peopled all the regions of earth and sea with divinities, to whose agency it attributed those phenomena which our philosophy ascribes to the operation of the laws of nature." Like it or not, most posited divine interventions do not involve any miracles.
I'm not talking about what is normal. You could have fooled me. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:13, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
You are right, I misspoke when I said normal there. I was using what to me is normal, i.e. rational and logical, as opposed to what is apparently normal to the world. The point about the Greeks means nothing; their belief system opens up the same can of worms that leads logically to unfalsifiable and unverifiable ideas such as intelligent falling, and citing an idea's existence in history does not make it a valid point. Also, we've really strayed from out original point, which is that the title of the final point in the article does not reflect the content of the final point - and that the title is believed by most atheists but not a myth, while the content is a myth but believed by few atheists. ThunderkatzHo! 06:40, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
...citing an idea's existence in history does not make it a valid point. What is invalid is an argument from adverse consequences; you cannot dismiss these historically attested ideas just because they open up a "can of worms" and reveal the straw man about divine interventions being only by miracle for what it is.
As to the original point, I will repeat the last thing I said about it: the columnist was not discussing the people separately from the religious positions they promote. He was discussing Pat Robertson the fundamentalist Christian, not Pat Robertson the television executive or Pat Robertson the pal of African dictators or Pat Robertson the son of a segregationist senator. When he said "Pat Robertson," he was talking about the religious position promoted by Pat Robertson. And, if I may say so, your lumping of delusions together with beliefs that are not delusions rather demonstrates his point about how "those who reject literal religious claims are placed in the same category who believe snakes talked." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:04, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
WaitingforGodot, in response to your musings about how "we know the moon isn't a god," I will quote C.S. Lewis: "'In our world, a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.' — 'Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.'" Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:19, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I think he gets a lot right, and it was a great article.--ADtalkModerator 05:28, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
There was a debate/forum a while back where I made an analogy that liberal religious sects are like taking cough drops laced with loads of Vitamin C when you have a cold and fundamentalism is like thinking cancer woo will keep you from dying. Both wrong, but one is "less wrong," so to speak, than the other. My problem with the accomodationists is that they seem to think this means we shouldn't criticize the Vitamin C cough drops. See my in-depth brain fart for more context. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:50, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I haven't read your comments yet, but i read the article and found it as misguided as i find some of the "hard core, anti religion atheist types". **most** of us atheists don't think any of that. Most of us are well educated in religion, and understand there are a variety of religions in the world, they have wrought good and bad things in the world, and that if religion were not part of our world, we'd find something else like skin color, gender, or language to fight over (oh wait, we do that already...). Some atheists are "born" out of real frustration and even anger of their churches. or have been disowned by families, etc., but that's not most of us. (just my two cents, now to read all your great comments).--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:08, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I have found that our editors are somewhat wanting as concerns Bible scholarship. They can quote-mine the Bible up one side and down the other, but when it comes to basic theological concepts and interpretations, you draw a blank. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:19, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Sure, I guess some of us may be wanting. But I found the 5 things in the link sadly wanting and strawmannish, proving nothing. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:28, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


Just been sold for $35m... after Murdoch bought it for $580m. --PsyGremlinSprich! 10:52, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Silence, liberal! If it wasn't for liberal Facebook, conservative MySpace would be thriving right now! It's only liberalism that made Murdoch's wise investment lose money! MDB (talk) 12:07, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
A nice object lesson for everyone claiming Facebook is worth x billion dollars. It's so obvious there's no real value in these companies it boggles the mind that anyone could report that there is. They only ever enjoy a market lead until the next hotness comes along, then they're sunk. There's a whole line of corpses to testify to the fact, of which myspace is just the latest. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Whatever happened to Compuserve? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 13:28, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It still exists, sort of. MDB (talk) 15:53, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The new dot-com bubble is coming. -- (talk) 13:43, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Facebook is probably Enronning some fools. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:54, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

This was from Hungry Beast's upload episode. - π 00:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I just started on Google+, their new social networking site. It's pretty cool so far, although a little buggy since it's in limited beta.--ADtalkModerator 10:44, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Worst movie ever.[edit]

Hobgoblins, made endurable only by the peanut gallery of of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. That is how I spent my morning. ĵ₳¥ášÇ♠ʘ would rather be hated for who he is than loved for who he is not 17:24, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Worse than Manos? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:56, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Cthulhu Mansion is by far & away the worst movie I've seen. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:18, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Ever see Man with the Screaming Brain?--Thanatos (talk) 21:45, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Cave Dwellers. Nothing to do with caves. ThunderkatzHo! 22:03, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Troll 2. Not a sequel to Troll, by the way. (talk) 00:25, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Best Worst Movie is pretty cool. ĵ₳¥ášÇ♠ʘ sysop and 'crat! (does it matter?) 00:27, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I second that, Best Worst Movie is excellent. Tetronian you're clueless 02:21, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Turkish Star Wars is probably the worst. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:44, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Epic Movie. Seriously if there's someone you really hate in your family then buy them it for christmas. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:53, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
If you want a really good "good take on an awful movie" watch "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" --PsyGremlinParla! 09:00, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Little Man. I remember seeing at the cinema. Two hours of my life I'll never get back. I'd never wanted a beer more in my life. SJ Debaser 20:01, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Another quick legal question[edit]

In the UK, is it illegal to threaten legal action without having any intention of actually bringing said legal action?

I ask because for many years I have been receiving letters from TV Licensing (or Crapita Media Services Limited as the prefer not to be called) saying that I owe them money, that I'm breaking the law, that their 'officers' can 'caution' me, amongst other shit (some are even marked FINAL DEMAND). I've often written back telling them how disgusted I am with their underhand and deceitful pseudolegal threats, but they're not really bothered. However the latest letter starts "We want to ensure you have the information you may need before a court hearing is set at your local court" - Now then, when I phoned them up and quoted the letter, the woman on the phone immediately said "oh no Sir, we're not planning on taking you to court, it's just saying what could happen if blah blah blah". I seem to recall hearing that making phoney legal threats is a crime itself, but I'm not sure if I'm making that up or it only applies in the US or elsewhere. Can anyone clear this up please? For the record I don't have a telly, but I'm fucked if I'm letting any fucker from some poxy private company in to my home to prove it. Without a warrant and a sworn Police Officer with them of course. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 08:26, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Lots of bits about TV licensing here. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:34, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
P.S. If you don't have a telly or any TV receiving equipment for your computer, then send them a letter in the format described here. Then every time they send you anything or send someone round you can charge them for it :) CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:49, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Do you actually have a TV licence, Delta? If not do you have any TV receiving equipment? If not again, do you ever watch anything live on iPlayer or other UK channels' equivalent services? Ajkgordon (talk) 09:17, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I am very sceptical of the idea that you can just randomly decide to start charging an organisation for sending you letters. Is there any evidence that suggests this works? If they acknowledge your intention to charge, and then send you a letter, and then you invoice them, will they actually pay up? And if not, will a court recognise that there is a debt to be paid? ONE / TALK 09:45, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Re the above, you are quite entitled to withdraw the implied right of access (to the boundaries of your property) which would make it an act of trespass if they knock on your door again. You can also instruct them not to send you further correspondence, although I'm not sure whether such instructions carry the weight of law, other than in a restraining order type of situation, but most organisations and lawyers would regard this as a reasonable request. I don't think telling another party that you will charge them money for breaking this request is legally sound or enforceable. But essentially letters like this are effective because they let the TVLA know that you're going to give them trouble rather than money if they pursue action further. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:08, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Firstly no, it's not illegal to just say or write that you'll do something and then not do it. The law considers that at worst you'll just manage to ruin your reputation this way. Under certain circumstances a principle called "estoppel" means that others may reasonably rely upon what you said. For example if you tell a neighbour that it's OK for them to park on your lawn, you can't then sue them for parking on your lawn -- but I can't see how you'd justify "relying" upon being sued by someone who'd made an idle threat. If you receive a threatening letter from an actual bona fide lawyer that would be different because lawyers are officers of the court and so they're held to a different standard from you and I. Anyway, as you have admitted, the TV licensing bumph doesn't actually threaten legal action. (talk) 12:39, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

I've been considering getting rid of my TV license, since I haven't upgraded my TV since the digital switchover and nor do I intend to. The only reason I have been paying up 'til now is because technically I did have a TV capable of receiving broadcasts. I'm kind of hesitating because I don't want to deal with harassment from these guys. If you do try this approach, let me know if it works, I'd be interested in anything that gets them to go away and never come back. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:56, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
When I went to university, I moved onto an on-campus flat. These places are *magnets* for TV license inspectors (and when you move in, you'll be given approximately 50 billion leaflets and fliers warning you what'll happen if you don't buy a TV license). I never bothered with one because I never watched TV, although I did *own* a TV (that I used for DVDs only). I sent them the letter mentioned above, they sent someone around to the flats (not specifically because of me, they just sent people around randomly anyway), had an amusingly tense conversation with the person who wasn't quite sure how to respond when I said I didn't have a license when I had a TV in plain view, and then never heard back from them again. I don't know if that story is of any use to you. With regards to the "equipment capable of receiving broadcasts" part, the definition of that has become extremely dodgy. You're on a computer, you have internet access; therefore you can watch the BBC iPlayer live (which *does* require a TV license). Even if you had nothing else in your house, if you watched the iPlayer live you'd need a license. The best you can do is just claim that you're not doing it, and basically challenge them to prove you wrong. X Stickman (talk) 01:51, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

It's not unlawful to threaten even frivolous litigation in the United States. I doubt it is in the UK either but you're only going to get a decent answer from a UK lawyer. Not sure we've got one of those. Nutty Rouxnever mind 21:07, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Theft Act 1968: Section 21:

(1) A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief:

(a) that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and
(b) that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand.

:(2) The nature of the act or omission demanded is immaterial, and it is also immaterial whether the menaces relate to action to be taken by the person making the demand.

It's the last part of s.21 ss.1 that'll probably trip you up in this case: 'unless the person making it does so in the belief (sss.a and sss.b)' . However, I do believe it this was the mechanism that ended up sinking ACS:Law. They got caught making threats of legal action over suspected filesharing and were then essentially forced to go to court or face problems under the above legislation. Of course, when ACS:Law did go to court, not only did they lose because their 'evidence' was no such thing, the solicitor who had done the work for ACS:Law was ruled to have breached the solicitors code of conduct by the judge hearing the case.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 15:57, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Multilingual rational wiki[edit]

I saw Russian edition of RW. Can you make Serbian/Serbo-Croatian version, too? --Max Sterling (talk) 10:32, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Is there any interest in one? IF you can prove that there'd be interest in such a version,then we could, concievably, create such a version. The Noisy Orchestra Oi! Oi! Oi! 13:08, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Of course, I wouldn't ask otherwise. --Max Sterling (talk) 14:55, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm racist against Serbs. I object. Nutty Rouxnever mind 21:03, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Only if you make an Evenki version, too. -- (talk) 21:15, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
What are you, Nutty, some sort of Bosnian or a Croat or something? P-Foster (talk) 04:30, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
We have a Russian version of RW because someone really wanted to make it, not because there was a casual demand for it. If you want any other language then you have to do it yourself (or rope some friends in to help you) and offer some reassurance that it will be kept up to date and request permission for it to be integrated into the main site. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 08:24, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
OK. --Max Sterling (talk) 16:59, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Great interview/discussion for our German-reading RationalWikians[edit]

Here's a discussion published in an Austrian newspaper, "der Standard," between an old Jewish leftist painter/songwriter (who escaped the Holocaust by a thread) and H.C. Strache, who's the darling of the far-right Austrian party, the FPÖ, and who incidentally has a Neo-Nazi past. Junggai (talk) 11:28, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Calling the likes of Strache "eloquent and educated" only shows how much the standards for politicians have fallen over here as well. Haider was a corrupt nationalist asshole, but you could see where his success was coming from - he was a smart, naturally charismatic guy who effortlessly danced between fraternizing with fascists and distancing himself from such associations vis-a-vis the broader public. But this guy is evidently a dumbass who has not shown a tenth of Haider's aptitude for avoiding incrimimnations. That's one less excuse for all the people who keep voting for his party. Röstigraben (talk) 16:00, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and he's also responsible for the worst rap ever. He really did record that, only the video footage was added later. Röstigraben (talk) 16:12, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I'd seen that rap before, it's really something awful. You're right that there's nothing eloquent about the guy, all he's got going for him is that he's handsome in the thuggish way that Rick Perry is handsome. That's how I interpreted Brauer's hilariously backhanded compliment: "Every country has a Strache - our Strache is naturally the prettiest." Junggai (talk) 17:58, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Speaking as someone who was born and raised in Austria: Rösti's nailed it. Haider was highly educated, erudite, and intellectually agile. Strache is a dumb thug. Haider often looked as if he was just in it for the game; he was clearly just using the Nazi throwbacks for their reliable votes and repeatedly tried to maneuver away from them. Strache is a true believer. Mountain Blue (talk) 18:12, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
So mb, do you see Strache's advertising slogans like "Wiener Blut" as a kind of dog whistle politics? Or are such slogans more overt than that? Junggai (talk) 18:49, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
No, "Wiener Blut" is not a dogwhistle. It isn't meant to elude anyone and it isn't meant to provide any kind of plausible deniability to hide behind; it's just meant to be pithy. The party is completely open about the fact that they hate immigration in general and Muslim immigration in particular; remember slogans like "Daham statt Islam" or "Pummerin statt Muezzin".
They do use dogwhistles, but mainly when reminding the Nazi part of their base they still do hate the Jews as well. These messages tend to be fairly subtle. Sometimes they take the form of allusions to slogans used decades ago by other parties; sometimes it's just the choice of flower they stick to their lapels for the inaugural session of Parliament. If you didn't grow up there you wouldn't notice. Mountain Blue (talk) 20:34, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Bachmann, intellect and homeopathy[edit]

Is she a homeopathic remedy for low intelligence? — Unsigned, by: somebody or other / talk / contribs 13:03, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Evolutionary algorithms[edit]

I was in a debate with someone about evolution, and he pulled up the old canard of "jet plane in garbage dump lolz" to explain why evolution was so improbable. To explain how powerful natural selection is, I thought I'd demonstrate with some of the new work involving evolutionary algorithms in signal processing- like this and this. However, both of those are extremley technical academic papers with lots of math involved, and I don't want to drop one of those. However, I recall someone posting here an article about how someone managed to use evolutionary algorithms to condense a speech recognition program to some ridiculously small size, and I was wondering if anyone can find a link for it, because I've been searching for like an hour and haven't found anything. Thanks! --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 04:15, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Evolutionary algorithms rarely, if ever, resemble evolution by natural selection not the best line of argument to take. - π 04:20, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Though this is a nice little video about evolving clocks in a computer program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcAq9bmCeR0 ThunderkatzHo! 04:43, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
If we descend from clocks, then how come there are still stopped clocks around??????????????11 -- (talk) 11:39, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Proving how powerful Natural Selection is by using an example with Artificial Selection will only work if the person you're debating is a fool. Darwin's brilliance here was in realising that the very fact of things dying or being unable to reproduce is a selection factor, and one which requires no agent (ie God) even to set it in motion. Try baby steps. Can they agree that natural selection makes slightly better beetles? Where is the line in the sand, is it just a matter of incredulity for them, that they can't conceive how constant improvements on beetles could ever make something that's not quite a beetle any more? (talk) 09:22, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I find it best not to say better or best without qualifying what that means because it can come across as being driven to a goal, which evolution of course isn't. Better to say something like "changes that are better suited to its environment". That way you can also, as another baby step, introduce the idea that those changes might be a disadvantage later when its environment changes again. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:43, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
OK, but here is my problem. when talking to creationists, especially in a semi-formal or formal setting, they will bring up "micro" vs."macro", iel, the comment who said "can you agree NS makes a better beatle", they say "yes, but it's never made a beatle turn into a lizard". and i'm stumped. I don't get what they are basing this on, intellectually. I respond "ok, you are saying 1+1 = 2, but that (1+1)+(1+1) can still ONLY equal 2?" I'm not sure of a better way to argue that "things can change, but no matter how many small changes you have, you do not have a new being"... how do you all argue from here?--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:57, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
What about circular evolution (?) where many small changes result in a new species that cannot breed with the original. Just off the top of my head, (I'm going to bed) there's an arctic tern and a lizard around some valley in California. Although as they are still a bird and a lizard that may not satisfy the cretins. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 18:22, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Might I suggest that you just read some of Dawkins' stuff. Or have you done that already?--BobSpring is sprung! 18:28, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Ask them what their definition of macroevolution is? If they're looking for speciation or the addition of 'new genetic information', you can find observed examples of both. If they're saying that one of the two can only occur at a certain level, you had best ask where they are drawing the cut-off point. --Danfly (talk) 19:08, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
The problem, as i see it, is that they do not have any definition of anything, at least not in the scientific sense. like everything else about debating with faith based, they really "make it up" as they go, and toss out what ever seems "useful" at the time. "micro" evolution is anything that labs can do, that the real world has seen (nylonase, for example), or that can be proven today. "macro" evolution is this made up concept that is out side of the other made up concept "kinds". Since no one has seen evolution happen on this larger scale in our lifetime, they can say "see, you can't prove it". (they already discount the fossil record). And I've read Coyne's "why evo is true", and Miller's books. (not dawkins, cause i don't like his writing style), as well as Gould's common audience writings. But i just can't figure out how to use real arguments when they answer with "but that's not what we think". And this isn't just debating on the internet. It's on with the Scientific Education pannel for Colorado. so it's doubly frustrating.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:32, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
For the record, macroevolution is a legitimate term . It is basically an arbitrarily assigned term for evolutionary patterns observed at the level of separated gene pools, though there is no distinction between the actual processes underlying the two (Of course, creationists will never use the word in this sense). --Danfly (talk) 19:51, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

At the moment I'm reading "The Believing Brain" by Michael Shermer. He maintains that beliefs (generally/often) come first and justifications/arguments in support of these beliefs come later. (He also points out that the scientific method is theoretically desigend to eliminate this problem.) But as a consequence of his work I'm sort of starting to become suspicions of requests for arguments to support "X". If you can't make the argument to support your position by yourself isn't this an indication that you need to re-evaluate your position?--BobSpring is sprung! 19:55, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Well duh. Fortunately, that wasn't what I came here for at all, and I certainly didn't ask for an argument to be handed to me- I already had it fully formulated with several supports. I was merely wondering if anyone here also saw a non-technical simplification that I remarked upon a few days ago that I could present in addition to the arguments and citations I already possessed, to clarify and elucidate some of the complexities of the academic articles so it wouldn't seem like I was simply dumping twenty pages of advanced mathematics in his lap and going "Fuck you". I'm hardly coming here on my hands and knees begging for support because I'm getting my ass kicked and desperately need vindication of my worldview, and you would be well-advised to consider my perspective an personality a bit more before you go out making blind accusations at me of intellectual dishonesty. -- Theemperor
Sorry about that. I was both depressed and "under the influence" when I wrote the above. It wasn't my intention to be offensive.--BobSpring is sprung! 09:07, 3 July 2011 (UTC)


14 propaganda techniques that Fox uses. Many of these are used by all media outlets of every political persuasion. The Daily Mail and the Daily Worker (two totally opposed "news"papers in the UK come to mind.) (via Dean's corner; Sciblogs Pippa (talk) 16:04, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

How about the "non-rebuttal"? Hacks, shills, and cranks from the likes of the Discovery Institute and CEI are allowed to spew their nonsense without even having an actual scientist on hand to rebut it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:43, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Canadians - What's the dirt on CFP?[edit]

Tracking the climate denialists, I've had the privilege of being exposed to wingnut rags from around the world, one of which is Canada Free Press. I know they scrubbed some of Tim Ball's stuff from their site, and it looks like they have a good bit of birtherism and other wingnut curiosities on there. So I'm guessing this is the Canadian version of World Nut Daily? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:25, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Pretty much. There are hints of US-style Christian conservative fundamenatlism scattered throughout the country, strongest in parts of Alberta and inland British Columbia. (And during the first intermission of Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.) This stuff has usually remained way on the fringes, but as the country has lurched more rightwards (with the result that I now pretty much favor, or am at least sympathetic to, Quebec separatism) some nastiness has become more mainstream. For a while, Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology refused to say whether or not he believed in evolution. Let me reiterate that. Canada's science minister was in doubt about basic high-school biology because of his religious beliefs. So fringe, but less so. P-Foster (talk) 23:31, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
"Fringe" definitely means "snarticle-worthy" in RW terms. :) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:40, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Don't let me be the one to stop you. In fact, I've even redlinked one we need. I'll stub something up unless you get there first. P-Foster (talk) 23:45, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
What are their "greatest hits"/who are their most egregiously nutty columnists? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:50, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Besides the paper you mentioned, I make it a point not to really seek out their stuff. My blood pressure and all. That said: This is a good place to start. And this asshole. also, this blog might point in interesting directions. P-Foster (talk) 00:24, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh man, they've got some prize-winners I'm familiar with already. They carry Steve Milloy and Alan Caruba. Caruba frequently cross-posts at the outposts of raging insanity that are Robert W. Felix's sites. At least Milloy is just a dishonest shill, but Caruba might be legitimately nuts. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:43, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Getting your hands dirty[edit]

So I'm currently working on at least starting an article for Akashic Records, and what do I find out? Tomorrow, 12:00 Central time, a writer about Akashic records is giving one of her free monthly conferences. I would totally participate except I'm working during that time. If anyone is free, and wants to listen to some real bullshit, take notes, and maybe ask a few respectful but skeptical questions, you would be awesome, and we'd probably get a pretty kick-ass article out of it. Course, the downside is that you have to listen to some real bullshit, take notes, and maybe ask a few respectful but skeptical questions to someone who's either somewhat crazy or a huckster. If someone's interested, register soon. ThunderkatzHo! 03:01, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I was afraid Akashic Records might be a New Age music label, but fortunately it's just "a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence." Doctor Dark (talk) 03:07, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Pi v. Tau[edit]

Herro. I didn't finish high school. And I wasn't much good at math when I was in high school anyways. Is this academic sensationalism?--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:50, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

ROTF. Ok, i don't know shit about math. I am dyslexic and stopped when 6X7 was not possible on my fingers. That said, this argument sounds just like almost any argument in academics. In linguistics I would hear one guy say that to understand the development of speech we should not spend as much time oh phonemes as on the phone. which is the exact same argument as your pi, or 2xpi. But, they write a paper, so all is good.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:03, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
The point about radians is a good one, but it's surely too late to change now. Much like conventional current, flowing in the opposite direction from the way the electrons really flow.-- Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 16:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
This was linked to on π's talk page a while ago. --Danfly (talk) 16:22, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I say we meet halfways and agree to use 1.5 times the radius, for the purposes of defining the new number. Sen (talk) 23:28, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Fun apart, having just read this, I do kind of like it. Then again I am the kind of guy who wants to decimalize the 24h clock too, for mathematical aesthetic reasons. Sen (talk) 13:33, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Or we could switch to a base-12 numbering system and not have to change the clocks :P ONE / TALK 12:04, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I also always felt a bit dirty that we define the speed of light as 299792458 m/s. Surely such an important and absolute constant, the entire universe wraps around, deserves a round number. Thus I demant we change the definition of either "the meter" or "the second" until I don't feel dirty any more. (Planck Units <3 ) Sen (talk) 20:26, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, "the second" has a rather dirty scientific definition of its own. I say we round that number off first, then adjust the metre accordingly until the speed of light is nicely rounded too (all in base 2, of course). In fact, might it be worth compling a "fun-space" (or perhaps not!) article for "new units of measurement as proposed by OCD, perfectionist nerds"? ONE / TALK 09:08, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Cars that run on water scam.[edit]

I just got spammed with this so I thought I'd post it here so we can all laugh at it.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:10, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

This is still going on? I remember this stuff from before I was old enough to drive (back when automobiles ran on coal). Doctor Dark (talk) 20:27, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Coal!! Newfangled stuff! When I were a lad it were charcoal.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:31, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Ugh. HHO makes no chemical sense. Using that instead of H2O implies that the middle hydrogen is being connected to two elements. If you're going to write out the full thing, at least call it HOH. ThunderkatzHo! 21:41, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
So we should haz article on SimpleWaterFuel and perhaps even 67.34%! Where did they come up with that number??? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:55, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
HHO, also referred to as Brown's Gas, is shorthand for H+ and OH- (it's not the same as the oxygen hydrogen mix you get from full electrolysis). Yes, HHO a fucked up term, but by no means does it imply molecular connectivity of H-H-O (although you can get polar dihydrogen bonding in that sort of configuration, it can't occur with water and you need a very electron rich hydride to do it). The main chemical nonsense is that it implies that the energy required to heterolyitically cleave the H-O bond to for Browns Gas is magically less than the energy you get back from the reformation of H2O. It violates the principle of microscopic reversibility, conservation of energy, molecular orbitals... basically everything in the world. In short, they're effectively claiming that it's magic. ADK...I'll neuter your chump! 14:04, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Also not everybody is even claiming it's magic. Making and using this gas can make sense for some applications because they want a hot flame with no carbon, for example. You can think of it like timeshare - timeshare scammers didn't invent timeshare, they're just exploiting it. Water powered cars are a scam, "Win a valuabe gift when you attend our timeshare seminar" is a scam, but HHO is a real gas with practical uses, and timeshare is a real property ownership model which saves some people money. (talk) 17:43, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm finding conflicting reports about what HHO is. Some places say it's OH + H, others say its just H2 and O2 mixed - in which case it would be oxyhydrogen, and nothing special about that so we shouldn't even call it HHO or Brown's Gas - and PESWiki briefly mentions a mixture of monoatomic and diatomic hydrogen. 99% of sites seem to not even bother saying what it is and just go to discussing fuel savings and performance to an implausible number of decimal places (I think it's Ben Goldacre who referred to this as "spurious rigour"). A funny site is this particularly site. Not least that it links to a Wikipedia page that outright calls this fraudulent to explain itself, it seems to suggest that orthohydrogen (o-H2) is needed for fuel savings... orthohydrogen is a triply degenerate manifold of the symmetrical nuclear magnetic states, it's not a chemically distinct species. ADK...I'll seize your gasoline! 18:11, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm puzzled by your "shouldn't". Countless substances have more than one name. Are we really confused when I say "bicarbonate of soda" ? Have we been mistaken to use the word "water" throughout this conversation when it does have a chemical name? The trick of electrolysing water and burning the gas probably pre-dates modern certainty about what actually happens physically when you do this, and no doubt soon after someone first discovered that this worked the first person invented a scam relying upon it. Just as it seems the availability of electromagnets pretty much instantly set people off trying to build (and claiming they had succeeded in the case of the unscrupulous) perpetual motion devices.
Surely what's more fascinating from a rational point of view is that the makers of these devices care whether it makes some kind of sense. The amount of gas produced is tiny, but why produce any gas at all? The Peter Belts of the world (Belt sells common stationary items as luxury audiophile equipment) are rare. Is it that these scammers believe in their own scam? Or does it make a difference to the victim, are people less willing to buy a mysterious black box that says it gives you 20% more range on a tank of fuel but has no explanation for how this achieved? (talk) 09:06, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The guy that towed my car to the dealership a few weeks ago had one of those attached to his truck. He really thought it worked, and explained it, in detail. I just nodded politely. (Incidentally, he also gave new meaning to the word "chatty".) MDB (talk) 10:31, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

"Shouldn't" in the sense that HHO implies it's something special when really it's an oxygen/hydrogen mix. The term is exclusively used by the woo industry and I wouldn't want anyone to give it even an ounce of undeserved legitimacy by saying "HHO is a real gas", because the way they describe it, it isn't real. ADK...I'll masturbate your deity of personal preference! 22:10, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Skeptical deck of cards[edit]

Only 40, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:16, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

That's cool. No one from RatWiki on there though. Ancient Greek Pegasus icon.png 22:19, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
You don't know that for certain. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 00:56, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
They're top trumps cards, not playing cards (thus only 40). CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:58, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Astronomy question[edit]

At earth orbit, what is the gravitational pull of the sun in G? I'm sure it's not too difficult to work out but I don't even know where to start. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:36, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

The force is GMm/R**2 (excuse my lack of wiki math foo). You m - your mass - is the same, G - the gravitational constant is the same. the differences are M - the mass of the earth and the mass of the sun respectively and R, half the diameter of the earth and our distance from the sun respectively. The rest is left as an exercise for the student. Of course, I could be talking bollocks - don't we have our own astronomer? Jack Hughes (talk) 15:02, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Jack is right, his equation will give the force between any two bodies (it's effectively the more general form of the equation F = mg, which gives the force of gravity on an object at the Earth's surface). For the acceleration alone (g), just divide by the mass (because F = ma = mg, so g = F/m)
gsun = GM/(r^2), where
  • G = gravitational constant
  • M = mass of sun (in kg)
  • r = 1 AU (in metres)
ONE / TALK 15:06, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

where G is the gravitational constant and is equal to 6.673e-11 when M is measured in Kg and r in meters.

Is that what you were trying to type? (I'm no expert either, so I could be completely wrong, but I nicked this from a physics forum). --Danfly (talk) 15:11, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
No that's definitely the one. ONE / TALK 15:23, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Since F=MA, you can get A by eliminating the earth's mass from that equation. The force exerted on the earth is roughly 3.53 x 10^22N, and the acceleration very approximately 6 x 10^-3 m/s^2, or 1/1635th of G. If you want more precise, plug in your own figures :D --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:32, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Blimey, is that it? 0.0006g? Don't know why I thought it would be much more. Thanks all. Ajkgordon (talk) 15:37, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
0.006g. Just saying.... larronsicut fur in nocte 15:49, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Also, 0.006ms^-2. 1/1635g. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:54, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Er, 1 / 1635 = 0.0006. Am I missing something? Ajkgordon (talk) 16:02, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
You're not missing anything, LArron is missing a decimal place :D --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:05, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I hear a whooshing sound far above my head. AMassiveGay (talk) 16:10, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
You don't have to know the masses if you just use -- (talk) 16:13, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
By bad: indeed, I just read 6 x 10^-3 m/s^2, i.e., 0.006 m/s², and just didn't divide by g... larronsicut fur in nocte 16:22, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Question from somebody that nearly fucked up his physics courses and is hardly able to understand what you guys wrote up there: shouldn't the gravitation of the sun onto the earth (I know, different topic) be the same as the centrifugal force pushing the earth out of the system? That would explain to me why big ass planets are almost always on the outer realm of star systems or in the inner area but moving really really fast around their sun(s). I hope you don't bang your head to hard against the wall... --uhm, t! 16:21, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no centrifugal/centripetal force pushing planets away, there is only the attractive force pulling planets toward the sun (if all forces were balanced, planets would move in a straight line). Planets constantly fall toward the sun; no other forces act on them. But because they're moving tangentially, the distance between them and the Sun never decreases... it's a bit of a weird concept to get one's head around. Secondly, the reason why planets move faster closer to the sun (and this is true of planets of any size: if Jupiter were in place of Earth, it would move at the same speed as Earth does) has to do with angular momentum. Someone else can explain that. ONE / TALK 16:32, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, as I've never before heard of "angular momentum" nobody can really blame me for a stupid question. --uhm, t! 16:35, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
By no means is it a stupid question; circular motion is a really baffling branch of mathematics. It took me years to really understand it. ONE / TALK 16:39, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
In my very simplistic terms...
  • One G is the force(?) felt due to the earth's gravity
  • The sun is X times more massive than the earth so that means, if it were the same distance away (bear with me here) it would exert a force of X G
  • But the sun is Y times farther away than the radius of the earth so that means ( X/Y^2)G
Now plug in the various figures and away we go. Jack Hughes (talk) 17:14, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Gah, please don't use a capital G when you mean g, the local acceleration due to gravity, or even g0 the "standard" value of g for a hypothetical place on the surface of Earth. The capital G is already used for "Big G" the gravitational constant, which unlike g everybody in the universe should (if we're right about how the universe works) get the same value for. (talk) 17:22, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Portal for RationalWiki creationist articles[edit]

Hello everyone. There have been discussions lately about the need to have one page that directs a first-time visitor to all of our creationism-related articles, including the side-by-side ones. Although there already is a creationist navbar, and of course a category, I did not see one page that packed it all and presented nicely, so I took the liberty of writing one. Since I've always been a fan of the RationalWiki Atheism FAQ for the Newly Deconverted, I modeled it somewhat on the same idea, imagining someone who wanders onto our site for the first time and has been too fully indoctrinated with all of the creationist garbage. Can anyone give feedback and/or adding some links that I missed? In my opinion, it's a bit lacking in wit/snark, so if anyone wants to have a crack at it, go ahead. Would any of the site admins like to see this linked from the main page?

I've given it the provisional title "So you think you've been brainwashed by 'creation science?'". Junggai (talk) 12:56, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

TL;DR. That's not a portal, that's a wall of random writing (as good as it might be). The category should be enough, and is self-updating. Not to say that your article might not have a good place somewhere, somehow. With a better title. No one "thinks they have been brainwashed by CS" really. It's more about arguing with morons in front of the undecided. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:53, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate the brutal honesty, and agree with you about the title. My reasoning was, however, that creationism refutation covers a really big chunk of RW's mainspace, and there's no page greeting the random passerby which delineates what all of these random articles are about. The category doesn't help, as there are many branches of the argument. There also was nothing which laid out the great side-by-side articles in a logical way. No new user is going to trawl through a category, so the category is only good enough for the users who are already here. The only thing linked to the main page right now is an extremely long apologia for an old earth, well-written but practically with no links at all. Junggai (talk) 10:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Veiled woman kicked off bus[edit]

I must say that my sympathies go both ways here. Allowing someone who is completely hiding their face getting on a bus would scare the hell out of me too. I wouldn't let someone with a full ski mask, or wearing a stocking over the head to get on either. Should we really be making an exception for religious nuts in furtherance of an oppressive practice? [2] --DamoHi 21:31, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Was just reading this on stuff.co.nz this morning. I agree with you but tend towards just letting her on the bus. Ace of Spades 21:37, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely correct. In a civilised society it is not acceptable to go about your business with your face covered, if is so happens that you wish to do so for (supposed) religious reasons, tough shit. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 21:44, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
@Ace How would you feel if the person turned out to be just out to rob the bus and its passengers? Just like a dairy or a bank, I think a bus driver should be entitled to refuse entry to those who want to hide their identity. DamoHi 21:46, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
(EC) I have to note that it is not an "oppressive practice" for all women that do it. I know a few muslim women that live alone and do it because they say it is part of their culture and/or their believe. Letting a veiled woman on the bus (also not fully, as fully veiling is not allowed in Germany) would scare me first, but that is me and my (subconscious) prejudices and it shouldn't hinder somebody from riding the bus and expressing their cultural heritage at the same time. It is also a question were you live: Manhattan? Understandable. Little unnamed village somewhere in the Western World? Why would somebody attack there? Let it slide. --uhm, t! 21:51, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I understand both sides but my personal opinion is to let her on the bus. However I remember when they wouldn't let a veiled woman teach an English class at a high school and I agreed with that. Ace of Spades 21:53, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
(EC3) I would not bring the question of "civilization" into it, unless we are going to start calling the Saudis "savages;" but things to remember in this case are: (1) the veil is not so much Islamic as Arabic in origin, and is primarily used today as a political rather than a religious symbol; (2) the best-known Islamic secular state, Turkey, found it necessary to enact strong bans on the veil; (3) freedom of religion has not traditionally extended to acts that disturb the peace. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:53, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
When discussing why a veil could be allowed while a full ski-mask isn't, it's clearly the case that both are full face coverings and pose, to as objective a degree as possible, a similar risk. However, there is also a little bit of inference that we make when saying one is acceptable while the other isn't. We know that there are multiple cases where someone would wear a face veil for religious/cultural reasons and so wouldn't be wearing it to commit a crime. However, there are no such reasons (in common practice) for wearing ski masks and full balaclavas. We infer that the people wearing the latter must be up to no good, while the former are considerably less likely to have criminal intent. That doesn't stop people wearing face veils to cover their identity for malicious purposes, but the percentage of veil wearers who would walk into a bank to rob it is far smaller than the percentage of face mask wearers who would do so. ADK...I'll sacrifice your TK! 22:14, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Many male terrorists have taken advantage of the acceptance of women wearing a full face covering in order to avoid detection. Western societies afford rights and liberties to their citizens in return for certain behaviours. Covering of the face is not a tenet of Islam it is a cultural affectation sometimes adopted voluntarily but often imposed. Westerners visiting some Islamic countries are expected to adopt certain standards of dress to avoid giving offense; I think that those wishing to visit or live in a western society should reciprocate accordingly. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 00:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Should the standard really be Saudi Arabia? I mean, western countries (especially America!) are supposed to be bastions of freedom when compared to oppressive Islamic regimes that won't let women drive and demand they wear veils.
I sort of think that people should be allowed to wear whatever they want, barring pretty extraordinary circumstances. If someone wants to wear their Star Trek uniform to work, or a ghost costume, or a veil, it should be fine.--ADtalkModerator 01:33, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I think the line should be drawn at the Western society actively enabling the gender-segregationist or similar behaviors. By this standard, allowing women to wear the veil is fine, but not, for example, giving Muslim women a time slot for gender-segregated swimming (this actually happened at my alma mater a few years ago). Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 01:40, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
They've been doing women only swimming sessions for years in the town I grew up in. Nowt to do with muslims in that case.AMassiveGay (talk) 02:10, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I notice a couple of comments to the effect that people would find a woman in a veil "frightening" or something like that. I must say that I wouldn't. BobSpring is sprung! 07:28, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
How do you tell if it's a woman? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 10:46, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
OK. I wouldn't find an individual who was dressed in women's clothing which covered their face to be especially frightening. Also, I mean, if you were an Islamic terrorist then disguising yourself as an Islamic fundamentalist might not be your best disguise.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:03, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm of the opinion that it's reasonable for society to expect a person's face to be visible when they're going about in public. I don't think they should always be banned from covering their face, nor do I think it should always be allowed. I think courts should decide guidelines for public services and publicly-accessible private properties on a case-by-case basis. ONE / TALK 08:57, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't see why you should have to show your face. You don't ban something just because someone could possibly use it to commit a crime. Obviously some things, like guns. But the veil is closer to Groucho glasses than guns in terms of criminal potential.-- Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 14:03, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion it's nothing to do with criminal potential, it's to do with living in a human society. I simply believe it is not unreasonable to demand that one is able to see the faces of people in public spaces and and thus be able to tell them apart. ONE / TALK 15:15, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
It's one thing to have no expectation of privacy in a public place, it's another to enforce no privacy. One, would you support court-enforced name tags for all citizens, or some sort of visible serialization? If not, why? Occasionaluse (talk) 15:29, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Because I believe those would be unreasonable demands. You'll notice I'm very carefully using the word "unreasonable" in everything I'm saying. ONE / TALK 16:37, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
This all sounds unreasonable to me. You don't have a problem with the license plates on your car, too, do you? Occasionaluse (talk) 17:38, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Well that's the thing, isn't it? One man's reasonable is another man's unreasonable. That's why I'd prefer to let the courts decide on a case by case basis, rather than have some government impose an all-or-nothing law. ONE / TALK 08:31, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't know how many of you live in big cities or have lived in big cities. I live in Hamburg (yeah I'm a Hamburger ;) ) for 2 years now and for several months I had to change in Central Station, which is considered a very likely place for a terrorist attack (and a place were you shouldn't wave money around). Basically you could kill hundred people with small bomb within a second and that's not even rush hour. So seeing veiled women there gave me quite a funny feeling for the first few weeks. The general thing is that we can't be afraid that everybody covering their face partially, hands and generally his or her body is up for no good - it's just not true. It reminds me of this bullshit debate that video games make children kill each other, or that guns automatically make people kill each other (it is true though, that they are tools, and without them killing is said to be harder). Kriss basically nailed it their. Now in some areas of public appearence coming veiled may be not the best idea, court or demonstrations for example.
Now, the argument that they are in "our" country and should dress according to our culture may make sense on the surface, but let's think about that for a second. Their country: Wear more. Our country: Wear less. Somehow the first thing seems to be more acceptable to me than the second. If one takes out the "they are forced to do that!"-part it seems rather ridiculous to wear less then they think is morally or traditionally acceptable. Nobody should be forced by somebody else to wear less or more than that person actually wants to wear (we'll just ignore the BDSM scene here).
Also I want to say that I'm okay with both extremes: fully covered or completely uncovered both should be equally okay. Aesthetic disagreements aside of course. --uhm, t! 16:05, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the aversion to this. I lived in Paris, and every train you get onto will have veiled women. And while it's true they have had people steal, rob others, and do terrorist acts, not one has been traced to a woman (or man in disguise) wearing islamic viels. this is just more about fear than actual protection. People doing crimes almost never cover their faces, statically. They walk up, with a gun board the subway or bus, put the gun in your face, and don't care that you can see who they are. (granted, not in bank robberies, and there is a reason that you need laws that an islamic woman have her face photoed just like all the non islamic women, and the men, when walking into banks, federal buildings, etc.)--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Our society has certain standards. People are not allowed to go around naked, nor should they be allowed to be fully covered without their face showing. If it's part of their belief, they should keep themselves to the areas that accomodate that belief, or rather that strictly enforce it such as Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries with sharia law. I read an article about a Muslim man living in the United States who married off his two daughters ages 7 and 9. When questioned he stated that in his culture that's acceptable. But he was living in the U.S. so he is supposed to abide by the prevailing standards when living in that country. I feel the same should go for "veiling". I also personally believe that it is a part of a larger problem of oppressing and denying human rights to women. But that's just me, not trying to ruffle any feathers. Refugeetalk page 17:22, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with WfG. Covering the face isn't unique to Islamic or Arabic cultures - e.g. this is a ubiquitous sight in Japan - so I find the "not in a civilised society" argument rather phoney. I also find the idea that this issue is all about security rather fishy. Of course there are situations like banks or airport immigration where the full face has to be shown for identity purposes. But I think the reasons so many people object to veils or burkas in public places are more to do with perceptions of the oppression of women's rights and the association between Muslims and terrorism. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:30, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm also perplexed. Are ski-masks only for use in designated ski areas? Do germophobes need clear masks? What about bangs/beard that obscure my face? I'm much more interested in how the people who think requiring people not to cover their faces think this will work out in laws, rules and regulations. Occasionaluse (talk) 17:44, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
This has been an interesting discussion, but I'm going to pretty much repeat what I said early; exceptions to standards on religious or 'cultural' (when that culture is such as in Saudi Arabia) have no place whatsoever in modern, secular western societies. Either we consider it perfectly OK for people to go around with their entire face (save the eyes of course) covered, in which case no-one should object to waiting for a bus next to a group of men in balaclavas, or it's not acceptable, and muslim women should not be allowed to wear a veil out and about. It's this simple and this black and white for me. Personally, I don't think people should be allowed to cover their whole face in our towns and cities, so no balaclavad men, and no veiled women. Job done. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 17:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you'd be the one making exceptions with such regulations. What about exceptions for it being too cold/hot/dusty/bright/polluted? Occasionaluse (talk) 18:04, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I've never trucked with the idea that anyone else has a right to define *my* standards, as long as those standards do not hurt anyone. If society started to dress skimpily, I would no go along, no matter how "civilized" the society is. I do not like showing my body (mine is cause i'm fat, and think it's ugly to see fat, but i was also VERY insecure about my breast size as a teen, and wore full covering even in the summer.) To have this discussion and use the word "civilized" is not about real civilizations, or about rights and safety, but about thinking your way of life is better than someone else's. Again, as long as sufficient care is taken for safety (like maybe having to show the bus driver your face, or as i said, in federal courts, you allow yourself to be photographed by a female employee, the same way the rest of us are on camera as we walk in). Civilization does not mean telling others what to wear. It is FULLY LEGAL for me to wear a face mask walking onto a bus. It is my right of expression. If i wanted to be a mime, or was into wearing a costume, or any other reason I might do that, NO ONE would ask me off the bus much less remove me. I've seen clowns come into Denver and no one says "show my your face under that clown mask. It is normal and safe to not show your face, and you all know it, in particular times and places. this was done out of a dislike, or fear, or whatever, or Islam. --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:24, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
. Personally, I don't think people should be allowed to cover their whole face in our towns and cities, so no balaclavad men, and no veiled women. - So you are seriously suggesting that someone who feels ugly, like say the elephant man, should not be allowed onto a city bus, for YOUR sake? You are seriously making the argument that someone who is cold, on a bus (and this happens all the time in denver), just taking 2 or three stops, should have to take his hat off, even if he or she doesn't want to? Why does this bother you so much? Cuase it's not about safety. you keep coming back to this word "civilized" which is very telling...--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:28, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
(EC) One could imagine someone with a particularly disfigured face who might be embarrassed. Sticking with religious garb, one might object to a nun's habit - if we feel we have a right to see a person's face why not their legs? And ski masks - presumably we'd need special legal exemptions for skiing areas. Halloween could be a problem too. Long hair, beards (false or not) and dark glasses could hide a face as well. I think a "you must show your face" law would present some practical problems.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh come off it Bob. The face is the primary means of communication between humans, we have evolved sophisticated algorithms for facial recognition and have a wealth of micro muscles which we use to express our feelings, often whether we intend to or not - we do not have photos of our legs in our passports. Hiding the face rather than any other part of the body is fundamentally withdrawing from social interaction and we can no longer determine whether someone bears us any hostility or indeed is afraid of us which increases social tension. Refusing to engage in face to face communication is in itself usually recognised as an antisocial and hostile act. Public covering of the face may be tolerable in societies where women are regarded as little more than chattels. While I would not advocate legislating against facial covering you cannot reasonably expect to participate fully in society so long as you do not or will not engage with others. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. 02:44, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I just cannot see how this is really related to fear that someone might harm you. Again, you are far more likely to be harmed by someone you can see, who is armed than by someone who is hiding their face. personally, hoddies scare me. do you know how well you can hide your identity in them. Tilt your head low, pull it up high and tight... Frightening to me. but it's not really their problem, is it. it's mine. --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:40, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I'll put this here: State Codes Related To Wearing Masks. I can't believe so many states already have these laws. It seems like some are archaic and others are not enforced, but in some places, this nonsense is law. Occasionaluse (talk) 18:36, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Here is another woman who as thrown off a bus because of what she was wearing. Shocking!--BobSpring is sprung! 19:41, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure I've met her somewhere... ADK...I'll absolve your contraband! 23:08, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Hey, I did that too once. --uhm, t! 11:15, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

I think the irony meter just popped a gasket with regard to the people here yakking about how "our society has certain standards" when others engage in practices they find disagreeable; scarcely fifty years ago our society's "standards" involved stringing people up for having an excess of melanin, and a few centuries before that, our society's "standards" put atheism into the category of a taboo. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:01, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Instead of "our society" read "secular liberal society after the sexual revolution and were cultural relativism is greatly despised (mostly by white-collar and blue-collar workers and scientists, while the people that actually know other cultures are called nutjobs if they don't think "our" system/"culture" is superior)", it'll make much more sense then. --uhm, t! 11:15, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
ListenerX, it is apparent your comment is directed towards me, but I'm not sure what your point is? At this point in time, our society does have certain standards; these are much different than they were many years ago, in many ways, certainly including "dress code". Society's norms change over time due to the will of the people of the society as a whole. So, it is subject to further change. I don't want the wearing of veils to become an accepted standard. I like to see the face of the person sitting across from me in the subway, or in line behind me in the store. I'd rather not have the standards change to become more restrictive towards women. How long until it is no longer optional to wear a veil, but mandatory? As it is in some countries... next comes limiting women's rights in other ways. Well, it's my opinion and it's unpopular I see, but I really wasn't expecting such hostility - ridiculed for my choice of words? Or for my opinion? Rational discourse, hmmm... Refugeetalk page 11:49, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
"How long until it is no longer optional to wear a veil, but mandatory?" - so, we'll just make it mandatory not to wear one? For heaven's sake that's not hypocritical at all... "I'd rather not have the standards change to become more restrictive towards women. [...] As it is in some countries... next comes limiting women's rights in other ways." - I understand what you mean and what you are afraid of, but do you really want to safe womens rights by not allowing women to wear certain things - that just seems counterproductive. Now if they are forced to wear it, that's not good and that goes against much what I believe in, but when they wear it voluntarily who are we to forbid them what to wear?
Now, with that comment above ListenerX meant that cultures and societies aren't static structures of rules, but change over time. At some point our society had stupid rules too and that this debate now takes place in the Western world is very ironic. My reamark came from experience on this topic (debates, not really getting thrown out of the bus). --uhm, t! 12:10, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
so brides and widows should not appear in a public place ? both veiled by tradition. Hamster (talk) 14:33, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Hah. Don't be silly, you know that's not the issue here. C'mon, now you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. People are making up off-topic hypotheticals, if you all aren't going to be serious and keep to the subject of discussion, no sense in discussing further. :p blah. Refugeetalk page 18:12, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
The whole argument against veils seems to be based on off-topic hypotheticals, so yeah, I'm glad to see everyone shut the fuck up. Occasionaluse (talk) 18:19, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
"How long until it is no longer optional to wear a veil, but mandatory?" Wow, creeping Sharia much? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:31, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Meh. No new point made, no relevant addition to the discussion. As I said, no point in discussing this further, as the original topic has degenerated into a street fight where people are just jumping into the frey to make provocative or insulting remarks meant to stir up further arguing. Not gonna play, but thanks for participating, Nebby. Refugeetalk page 18:49, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Yup, it's STFU time all round, you all. I see a lot of uninformed opinion and what-iffery here, and not much gained. The villagers in eastern Turkey can be pretty conservative, but I felt no threat from the ladies peeking out from inside their çarşaflar, although I was advised that keeping eyes front was the civil thing to do there. Sheepdogs and stone-throwing little boys were a slightly different story. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 19:03, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Refugee, I was trying to make indirectly the point that Ullhateme made directly, that if there is some law passed against women wearing veils as you suggest, the women who want to wear them would feel the same way that you would probably feel if someone tried to make you wear a veil or convert to another religion, so it is rather ridiculous to appeal to "women's rights" to justify such a policy. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:19, 7 July 2011 (UTC)