RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive160

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Roll over, Andrew Schlafly[edit]

Because Roger is making a bid to out crazy you. He's lamenting that there are too many negroes being born in America because they'll all vote Democrat when they're promised more food stamps. I'm not kidding. That's exactly what he says. That's some good old fashioned racist shit right there. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 09:10, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Dodgy Roger might be sane one when it comes to relativity, but when it comes to being a misogynistic racist fuckhead, he's miles ahead of the field. Good to see it's the Eagle Forum hosting this claptrap too. --PsyGremlinHable! 10:07, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Other races are bad because they don't vote like me? I... I... I don't think "bigoted" fully frames that thought. Oh and how wonderfully he says that Hispanics are real Americans. --Raga Man (talk) 10:16, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Abe Lincoln pwning Roger from the grave: "As a nation we began by declaring 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it, 'all men are created equal, except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics. When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for example, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy." It's too bad that in the crazy crapshoot, Roger ended with Catholicism. Could have been golden... Occasionaluse (talk) 14:07, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Holy shit, dude. Did I just enter some weird time bubble and wind up back in the segregation era south? It's all very George Wallace... --TheEgyptiansig001.png 21:01, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
"The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise." IT always amuses me that conservatives endlessly turn to TV fiction to make their "real world" points. Could it be that the real world of the 1950s was not really so damned ideal? --Green mowse.pngGodot 21:18, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
The part that gets me in that quote is "...liberals despise." I still can't believe people will say that the opposing political affiliation hates happiness. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 21:35, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Specific politicians maybe... Vulpius (talk) 22:08, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
Nonsense! Cheney endorses hunting his friends quails as a form of entertainment. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 00:39, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Shouldn't that be hunting Quayles? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 10:46, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

I like how he blames the "non-white" immigration policy on the NYT. Complete blank on history much? ONE, the "non-white" Spanish were all over this place long before the "white" British (see this) and TWO the Africans weren't exactly "immigrants". If you "white" assholes didn't want them corrupting your City on the Hill, why the fuck did you steal them, imprison them, enslave them, and now hate them? Moron. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:11, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

This piece would make a nice minor side-by-side if we all want to work together for a day or so. Just leave all mention of CP out of it, ok? Email me if A) it starts, I'd like to help or B) it doesn't for a few days, I'll get it started. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:14, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Erich von Däniken Playboy interview[edit]

I found a scan of Däniken's 1974 interview in Playboy (he gets skewered). Is it a good idea to upload it, copyright-wise? It's eight scanned pages. (source, via) The same blog post also has a link to a bad VHS-to-YouTube copy of NOVA/Horizon's The Case of the Ancient Astronauts, which debunks a lot of his early claims.--ZooGuard (talk) 23:06, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

What would be the advantage of uploading it over linking to it? ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:26, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
In case the linked source disappears (the web is ephemeral), RW will still have them.--ZooGuard (talk) 23:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Or, the Foundation gets a YouTube account and we'll imbed it here via the normal channels. As RW only has limited storage space this wouldn't be so hard on the servers and the already widespread tech behind YouTube is much simpler to access than putting up extra code in the "prgoram" (is it techniqually a program?). -- (talk) 01:03, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
That's what I'm here for. If there's a consensus I'll do the YouTube stuff. Osaka Sun (talk) 01:58, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I suggested uploading the scanned Playboy interview (eight JPEGs), not the NOVA documentary. Anyway, forget I asked. Even if I upload them now, I don't have the time to incorporate it into the Erich von Däniken article. I'll just dump the links on the talk page.--ZooGuard (talk) 07:57, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
It always annoys me when Hollywood people I respect (especially Rod Serling and Orson Welles & marginally William Shatner) narrate documentaries based on silly stuff like this.--WickerGuy (talk) 15:59, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
They're actors, not science presenters. They perform lines they don't actually believe all the time. Why shouldn't someone who did a radio drama about Martians present a show about aliens? Sophiebecause liberals 20:29, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

"1/3 of malaria drugs are fake"[edit]

saw this and... wow... thats worrying.--il'Dictator Mikal 05:22, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

As a recent user of a malaria drug I am not reassured. These incorrect applications of the drugs lead to a faster rate of the development of drug-resistant strains, and with the falciparum I'm not surprised at such a high fatality rate. Blue (is useful) 05:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

How about the Schulze method?[edit]

I'll tell you, it's a LOT better than IRV. It's somewhat easy to implement, and uses ranked ballots. Look at the WP page for more information. Bootmiiwanna play nomic? 15:43, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

What about it? ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:22, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
How about the Stroganovsky-Bachmann method? I'll tell you, it's a LOT better than HTC. -- (talk) 20:51, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
I think this is Lumenous wanting to introduce another piece of useless wikibureaucracy in an attempt to troll. - π 00:38, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, if he's talking about the upcoming moderator elections I hope he realises that the Schulze method is a single-winner voting system. Not gonna work. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 00:41, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
He doesn't realise anything, he is a concern trolling idiot. - π 00:48, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
The WP entry says that the Schultze method works for multiple positions. (If I recall, can't be bothered to check at the moment as I'm in transit to somewhere awful.) Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 10:50, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
As someone who's done a fair amount of work in implementing the Schulze Method (http://modernballots.com/, https://github.com/bradbeattie/python-vote-core), I can confidently say that it is _not_ a multiple-winner method. You're likely looking for something more like Schulze STV. Cheers, Brad.

How about the Heimlich manoeuvre? Or the Brandenburg concerto? WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:00, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

You're supposed to call it chest thrusts, now. Turns out Heimlich took a little too much credit for it.--"Shut up, Brx." 01:10, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I thought it was called "chest thrusts" because Heimlich copyrighted his name on it or some such thing.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 07:16, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Speaking of moderation (if not Bootmii's strange proposal), it's been about a year since we instituted the system. I wonder if there are any complaints or proposals or anything else about moderating and the moderators as they have developed over the past year?--ADtalkModerator 01:25, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Every moderator-related crisis somebody points out that there's no system to recall the buggers. So that's one thing. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 01:50, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Seems like a long time since they've been required to do anything, which is no bad thing. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 11:11, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Speaking as one (!), it's the dumbest thing RW ever did. OK, besides that really really stupid talk page template "this article is rated... and is this important... in my opinion". That might be dumber. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:16, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
By the way, AD, it's gotta be two years, since I am second generation - after all, upon my election, I got scolded in advance by the Queen Bee. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:18, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Six-month terms. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:04, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

I made a photos[edit]

Nihilist 18:11, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

The picture of a sheep's behind has poor composition and is apparently severely underexposed. It's also very grainy, which could be a nice touch in some circumstances, but in this case it only aggravates the problems. The second is a lot better, and it could be nice if you cropped out the part on the right and most of the sky. However, this subject has been done to death, and moreover you picked a place that's not very interesting. I think that using a 35mm camera does not magically improve your photos. --Tweenk (talk) 20:34, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the tips. What do you think is specifically wrong about the composition in the sheep one? I accidentally underexposed it but I think it turned out a lot better because of that, with the nearly black background. Funny you say that one's grainy, because I thought it looked a lot better close-up than the other. Yeah, I agree it's not very original, but I figure you have to start with the basics. And I would use a DSLR if I had one, but all I have is an old 35mm film and a very shitty point-and-shoot, so I use the former. Nihilist 20:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
The compositional problem with the sheep one is that it's not clear where the focal point of the photo is, & it's not centred where it should be, so there's a lot of wasted space. The sheep in the right background is indistinct & only partly in shot, and there's a lot of black at the top of the photo. If you cropped it (same aspect ratio) to lose this sheep & the black at the top so it just showed the two sheep in the foreground, it would look better, but it would have been better if it was centred on these sheep to show both of them in full, or a wide photo to show all three in full. It's hard to get a good photo composition with animals anyway as they usually won't stay still, so no big deal. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:03, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
And here was me thinking that the problem was that it was a sheep's arse. Scarlet A.pngpostate 22:46, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
A goat's arse would be preferable. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:56, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I really took it as an afterthought while I was at the zoo, but the lighting came out surprisingly good.
The latest two I uploaded I like a lot. Nihilist 22:53, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, they're pretty good. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:56, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I like the unintentional old-timey look of the last one. Nihilist 01:57, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

You live in Seattle? Mr. Anon (talk) 02:46, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I live close. Good place to take pictures. Nihilist 03:52, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
By the way, I'm now going to upload all of my scanned photos to my Google+. Nihilist 03:54, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Wait where exactly do you live? Mr. Anon (talk) 04:25, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Kent. Nihilist 04:37, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Not to far from me. Mr. Anon (talk) 04:39, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Considering I'm your sock, that's understandable. Nihilist 04:42, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
(replying to OP) The cropped versions of your first two photos look much better. Good framing and cropping is really important. Regarding the other pictures:
cropped bridge v2
  • Gasworks - quite good. I think the focus should be more on the pipework, which is the interesting element here. The slight tilt should be fixed.
  • Steven in Tube - very good, and it would be truly excellent if you included more at the bottom so that the hands were visible.
  • Steven in Carseat - in portraits it's very important to obtain perfect focus. Here some of the hair is blurry, so you should have set the aperture a bit higher, for larger depth of field.
  • Seattle Bridge by Gasworks - the old-time look is very nice, and the composition of the pier in front is great, but there are two problems. First, only one pillar and none of the abuttments are visible, which causes the bridge to 'hang in the air' - it looks as if a large part was cropped away. It would be far better if you either included at least one of the abuttments, or framed it in such a way that pillars would bracket the visible section of the bridge from both sides. Second, the tilt should really be fixed.
  • Gasworks from Hill - This is an excellent spot. You should include more of the housing on the other side of the water, there's a great contrast to be explored there. The guy on the lower right is a big no-no, he's impossible to crop out without ruining the composition. If you have the chance to redo this, frame it so that the photo includes the tanks, some housing on the other side, and the water to highlight the separation between the two. Bonus points for using low aperture so that the houses in the distance are blurry.
  • Seattle Bridge by Gasworks 2 - this version is better, as the bridge is no longer suspended in air. The trees on the left and the barrier definitely need to die. I like the contrast between the guy on the grass and the imposing structure of the bridge in the background. I would crop it as shown on the right.
Now some explanation on the last sentence of my previous post. Where I live, traditional photography is 'in the vogue' - good 35mm cameras command very high prices, and there are many people who spend an arm and a leg on them, thinking it will magically improve their photos. I mistakenly assumed you were part of that trend. --Tweenk (talk) 01:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Seriously, thanks for the tips; I assume you're a hobbyist?
Actually, the 'Gasworks from Hill' photo I uploaded was a cropped version -- I uploaded a non-cropped version. And I do like your cropped version of the bridge photo. Nihilist 02:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
And yeah, I'm taking a photography class at school, so I bought a used film SLR off of Amazon for about $70. I would use a DSLR if I had one, but last time I checked, they start at around $350, which is way too expensive for me at the moment. Nihilist 05:29, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
My father is a hardcore photography geek, and was a professional photographer for some time, so he taught me a few things.
The uncropped gasworks from hill photo still has basically the same problems - there's not enough housing visible in the distance to create an interesting contrast. I see there's one more opportunity in that spot: shoot these tanks slightly from below, so that there are no houses visible behind them. This should also make the photo less static. --Tweenk (talk) 21:41, 22 May 2012 (UTC)


Apparently we missed another rapture yesterday. PsyGremlinRunāt! 09:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Didn't notice, though there was a quake near where I live.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:10, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
It was my sister's birthday. It turns out that becoming high-school age isn't the end of the world. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRmore at 11 12:54, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
what are the chances that the rapture did occur it just no one was judged worthy? I'm pretty sure most of folk who believe in thing wouldn't be AMassiveGay (talk) 17:21, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Again? Always right around the time that I or my friends have the finals --Th. Bernhard (talk) 18:04, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Posse member slams Sherrif Joe[edit]

We've all heard about Jerome Corsi's attempt to cash in on Sherrif Joe's little circus, along with one of the investigators. Remember, these two published a book before Sherrif Joe made his announcement.

Well it seems as if another former posse member, Michelle Dallacroce, has written a book, slamming Joe and his team. It's called "A Question of Credibility: A Conflict of Interest" and although I can't find any reviews for it, Amazon says "A riveting exposé about FRAUD, FORGERY and INTRIGUE. The real life story of the events that shaped the investigation of the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse. A firsthand look at the facts and the fiction."

Why do I have the feeling that this will be more believable than Corsi's job? --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 13:15, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

I am amased how fast people get books out these days, although in Corsi's and the lead investigators's case they were writing the book with the ending predetermined from the very beginning. I see they are off to Hawaii together, the two love birds. Pi 3:14 (talk) 13:37, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I read the Kindel free sample. It is just some birther woman who worked on the investigation complaining that Apporo was using supposed to investigation events to build his political support with teabaggers and that the lead investigator was making money off the book about the investigation he was suppose to be leading. She gets accussed of wanting to "derail the project" when she objects to this obvious conflict of interest on Apporo's and lead investigator's behalf. Pi 3:14 (talk) 14:15, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I am not amazed how fast people get out things called "books" these days, as anyone can churn out 80,000 words of tl;dr blather and sell it for Kindle for $3, and increasingly they do. Books are not special. I've noted that even print books aren't special any more - POD now produces results that are both beautiful and economically viable - David Gerard (talk) 17:32, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not so much publishing any more, as much as publicity. Your book deal requires someone not ploughing money into making it, but telling people that they should read it. And if you're onto something controversial and already have a following, who the fuck needs the publicity and advertising anyway? Writing 80,000 words and self-publishing an eBook for $3 a shot is practically a license to print money then. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:54, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Wise words from the SPIEGEL[edit]

I was just reading an article in this weeks SPIEGEL (21/2012) about how the tone of German politics has become ruffer these days (still a cuddling party relavtively) when I came over this:

Politics is representation with two meanings. Every people does not just look upon their representatives as agents of their political will, but also as people they can look up to, to see how people should treat each other in their lifes.
—P. 21

I immediately looked up, thinking "It's amazing Americans aren't gutting each other in the streets." --Raga Man (talk) 17:06, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

In the name of compromise and bipartisanship, I stab at thee! Q0 (talk) 20:50, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Germans are wearing ruffs again? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 03:41, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Newest on Catholics and BC[edit]

American Catholic Bishops are so offended at the prospect of having to provide an *insurance* policy that includes Birth Control for women (assuming they provide insurance at all, which as of today is still not mandatory) that they will stop feeding the poor, rather than have to provide the icky, deadly birth control. Oh, wait. not PROVIDE it, just provide health insurance that *can* provide it, if the woman wants. Fuck these idiots... what part of the Bible do they get "heal the sick and help the poor, but ONLY if you get your way on everything else"--Green mowse.pngGodot 00:26, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

The willingness of these fuckers to hold orphans, the destitute and the homeless hostage to get their way on their warped morality just proves we should never trust any damn church with any government money. Tax these fuckers and use their money to provide real, non-discriminatory social services. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 01:04, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
To make something clear, this is not a "war on religion". The establishment clause and free exercise clause of the First Amendment has generally been applied to cases by the Supreme Court using the three-pronged Lemon test.
  1. The government must have a secular purpose. The secular purpose here is obvious; contraception is a women's health issue, and religion is irrelevant to the government's decision.
  2. It must neither inhibit nor advance religion. Contrary to claims, Catholic Bishops can still personally believe that contraception is wrong, the only issue here is whether they can force their beliefs on others. So no inhibiting of personal beliefs here.
  3. It must not create excessive entanglement with religion. The government is not taking over a religious institution, nor is it charging or funding religious programs. Rather, it is mandating what employers must do, which is under the realm of the interstate commerce clause.
There's my legal analysis. As Jeeves pointed out, if Churches will not perform actions for public benefit, then there is no reason to continue monetary aid. If they are functioning as a corporation, they can rightfully be taxed. Mr. Anon (talk) 01:13, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

The eclipse[edit]

Sunday evening the western US will have an annular eclipse of the sun. Mrs. K is visiting her sister in northern California and will be well placed to see this while I stupidly passed up the opportunity to go with her. Still haven't seen a full eclipse and time's running out for me. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 17:06, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

I saw my one and only, when I was in elementary school in Denver. We made funny little paper "pin hole" viewers which didn't show shit. we all just looked. to the teacher's horror! --Green mowse.pngGodot 01:39, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
I've been lucky enough to see 3 - Zambia in 2001, SA in 2002 and Turkey in 2006 (not to mention three of the best week-long parties I've ever been to). Almost went to the Japanese and Easter Island eclipses, but plans fell through. I still have a dream of being financially successful enough to become an eclipse chaser. --PsyGremlinParlez! 10:00, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
I saw the August 1999 solar eclipse from southeast England when I was just a wee nipper. Apparently it was on a Wednesday so I must've got the day off school for it as I remember being in my garden and my dad poking a pinhole on a big sheet of card so we see a reflection of it or something weird. Lunar phenomena are pretty cool. I remember the next year going on a family cruise to Norway and seeing the Midnight Sun. Next on the list is aurora borealis. El TajDon't make me do stuff 11:40, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd been looking forward to the 1999 eclipse since moving to Devon in 1974. Come the day and it was ####ing overcast. Bloody typical. Sophiebecause liberals 14:24, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Being an eclipse chaser sounds cool... but does remind me of You're So Vain, being of a certain age. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:07, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The best one I saw was in Ohio in the early/mid 90s - the way the sunlight filtered through the tree on our back porch created hundreds of those little pinhole effect eclipses on our patio (Sorry Godot). This year, I was in Alabama on the day it happened at a music festival - if it happened that far east, I was too inebriated to notice. Not sure if it showed up in Texas (where I live)....Stick Boy (talk) 12:11, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Deletion of material from geography articles[edit]

Did I miss a vote on something, because people are deleting massive chunks of material from geography articles (e.g., [1], [2]? Personally, I don't really care what happens to them, just wondering if this was voted on. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:49, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

It wasnt voted on, but I dont see why we have such long sections doing the job wikipedia or a book/well made documentary should be doing. Particularly a 18k long section dedicated to the history of brazil or a 10k long section on some minor European country. --il'Dictator Mikal 05:53, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Specifically, the random nature of them, some articles are bare as can be, others are almost entirely some long drawn out essay, sometimes in detail, about a country; with no particular reason as to why they should have such a long, drawn out and overly dedicated section/series of sections for history. --il'Dictator Mikal 05:58, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Most of them could probably be carefully trimmed to make them more concise & relevant, but deleting whole sections with no prior discussion isn't the way to go about it. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:24, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
What we should have is information about pseudoscience and supernatural beliefs in each country and the role of science. As for the rest - we are not Wikipedia.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 07:01, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I figured most people wouldnt care if i removed a 18k essay on the history of brazil, and until you saw it, nobody did, or i picked the best time possible to avoid controversy.--il'Dictator Mikal 07:07, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Late night Sunday US time is a pretty good time to dodge people who might challenge you. I seem to remember the Brazil thing being called quite nice somewhere, while a trimmed down version of the Egyptian revolution would probably fit within the mission as it is applied if not as written. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 07:24, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I agreed the Brazil thing is very nice; the problem is why do we need it if it doesnt touch at all on what we are about? --il'Dictator Mikal 07:38, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
  • trimming Really?
  • Could you instead of deleting material which you think to be off-mission start to add material which is on-mission? E.g., 18k on evangelism in Brazil?
  • RationalWiki becomes less and less a fun place to be around. And no, it doesn't seem to become the #1 place for Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement, neither.

larronsicut fur in nocte 08:04, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I would LOVE to add 18k on whatever on mission there is, sadly, being a history major for an entirely different part of the world, i really can't. --il'Dictator Mikal 08:14, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Then edit something you do know about and can contribute to.--ADtalkModerator 13:18, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree w/ Bob. That would actually make our geography articles relevant to the mission. Dictatorships, authoritarian governments, or other forms of political oppression might work as well. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 08:24, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree w/ Neb.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 08:44, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with LArron - why erase information rather than expand or edit it to bring the article more on mission? What's with the deleting frenzy? If edited and focused well, the history of a nation is often relevant to understanding regional issues with authoritarianism and pseudohistory. If you can't be arsed to edit it then leave it alone, but going around deleting stuff is pointless - or even just plain unfunny wandalism. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 11:12, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the hieroglyphs guy. Senator Harrison (talk) 11:54, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Content on pseudoscience, fundamentalism and authoritarianism in those articles would be great, but those things don't emerge out of nowhere: they have historical and cultural roots, which is why I think mass deletion of history sections is a bad idea. I haven't had time to look in detail at the disputed sections yet; I dare say they're longer than they need to be, but I think an overview of significant developments in a country's history (esp in modern times) is worth including, so it would be better for them to be condensed rather than discarded. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:44, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I would say it all needs to go, too. But I would say it isn't high priority that it goes, unless you have something to replace it with. I do like Bob's idea a whole lot. What kinds of woo live here? And I agree that a day by day blow of Egypt's arab spring is a bit much. But instead of deleting it whole sale, it would have been good (I think) to summarize and add why RELIGION was such an important factor in it. The internet and science as part of the whole arab spring; The role of women, atheism, as well. Those are mission (or missionlite) things. Green mowse.pngGodot 15:21, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
What I like about the history sections is that it saves me a trip to wikipedia and it shows we care. When I was new to this site those facts helped sway me to spend more time here than any other wiki. Senator Harrison (talk) 01:03, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't imagine you learned a lot from Latvia, Hungary, Czech Republic or Liechtenstein. :-) --Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 10:26, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Sadly some people feel the need to delete because that's the only way they can contribute. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 03:30, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

The newbies think RationalWiki can't be fun any more. :( sterileevolutionist story telling 03:40, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
How about an informal system whereby you can only nominate as many non-stub articles for deletion as you have created? Excessive deletionism is as unhelpful as keeping excessive cruft around. Blue (is useful) 03:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Can we work on keeping content some? Or, hell, writing content? The wiki isn't going to collapse if there's cruft around. I guess the way I view it is that every wiki has geography pages, just as they have element pages for chemistry. They don't hurt anything. sterileevolutionist story telling 03:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Those of us who sit down and write articles sometimes know how hard it is, so I don't blame them for wanting to contribute but running aground on that shoal. When you think about it, it demands not only the necessary effort and time to put out a serious section or whole article, but it also requires a broader baseline of knowledge in the topic (for context and judgment), some level of writing skill (not something to sneeze at), and sufficient conformity with our style of snark and skepticism. Your proposed rule of thumb might be a useful one to keep in mind, though.--ADtalkModerator 05:16, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Lol. I don't know what AD just said, but I like it. Creating is hard work. Deleting is not constructive. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:06, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
@Sterile, when did this turn into a delete the articles thing? I was removing the history sections that discussed nothing but the actual history; nothing more; which is a job for wikipedia or a real book. --il'Dictator Mikal 05:13, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh you poor, misunderstood thing! But no, that's just semantics - we are all aware that we are talking about deleting sections of articles: therefore it's about deleting vast amounts of material nonetheless. And I don't like it. larronsicut fur in nocte 05:30, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
We should have an article for redefinition, a fun rhetorical technique. But seriously, what's the harm? Some of the CP stuff was out of date and distracting. These could actually be useful and could grow into something. I guess I just don't get it. sterileevolutionist story telling 06:46, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Myonly issues were 1) the articles with history are very randomly done, where some articles are stubs with nothing and others are almost entirely dominated by the history section 2) it's JUST a history section, nothing about anything we cover, just the history; which is interesting but not very relevant for our goals, if it was how its gone into pseudo-history, authoritarianism or other such, it might work better but as it stands most are just "well, x y and z happened" in detail. --il'Dictator Mikal 06:51, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Congress speaking at lower grade levels[edit]

Interesting article. I suspect it's reflective of society in general, actually. http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2012/05/21/congress-sat-words/ Green mowse.pngGodot 20:10, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I think this is probably not indicative of an actual lowering of erudition in the Chamber, but just a reflection of more direct rhetoric being used. Flesch-Kincaid is, as they say, a "crude tool."--ADtalkModerator 22:37, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Conservapedia proven right! Young Earth! Young Earth! Young Earth! Turpis 3:16 (talk) 22:48, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Several of the interesting points is that the extremes of *both parties* are likely to be "lower spoken". The "highest" speaker, as it were, is Republican. so no one is making a comment about ideology vs., intelligence, but just the style of speaking. Its' something, to be frank, I do see in kids in college today. They are simply not as verbally talented as kids were when I was TAin, 20 years ago. They do not write as well, their vocab is smaller, and I'm just waiting till someone turns in a paper with "u r so kool a teacher" or whetver texto is in. ;-) The article I found discussing this, aslo mentions that both party's new comers tend to rely far more on "talking points" which are intentionally dumbed down.--Green mowse.pngGodot 23:06, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't like the article that ran in the huffpost about this. I get suspicious when they emphasize the outliers more than the average, and the graph they provided was shown to make a gigantic leap downward... all of one grade level on average. I do not have much faith in the average person to read the scales of graphs, to be honest, and they can leave a bad taste in my mouth. Journalism major information packaging heebie-jeebies. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRyeah, well you fight like a cow! 01:13, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

As a child, I was always somewhat aware of this. In fact, I used it as an excuse for saying words like "um" and "uh" in speaking. Vocabulary has never been my best subject, so I'm glad to see it won't hurt my chances when I run for Congress in 2028-2034. Mr. Anon (talk) 01:30, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Not necessarily in congress but more in general, I have noticed in the past few years this really strange shift away from the use of the word 'certainly' and people replacing it with 'for sure' . How did that come about? I have to admit, drives me up the wall every time I hear it.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 05:53, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Is their any reasoning behind that sentiment or just a gut feeling? --Raga Man (talk) 22:39, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
If you want to lead the Republican Party it's best to be dumb. See The War on Intellectualism Proxima Centauri (talk) 15:06, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
You are not one to talk. ArchieGoodwin (talk) 03:45, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

That crap pile in the top right?[edit]

It used to be just a nice little user nav bar. Now it seems to be a bloated pile of junk. Trim or delete, please. Your thoughts? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:54, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Ooh, I fixed it, but I broke it good, too! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:03, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
This was just a test. Damn, all it took was a random | and -. Unless someone else did it in the meantime! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:05, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, thank you. The unwieldy forum list and poll at the top rendered this page unbelievably shitty on a mobile browser. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 03:10, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
There is now a dispute going on at Template talk:Bartop#Removal of content over Human's changes. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:08, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I thought my suggestion was a good idea. Strange how no one discussed it, but I'm cool with how it looks now. But if we want those other things linked to, we surely have the power! ħumanUser talk:Human 05:02, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Maher and James Randi on Falwell's University[edit]

Bill Maher had a speech on his show in the last couple of days about Liberty University (where Romney recently spoke) not being a real university. (I liked his line "You say gay marriage degrades my marriage- I say Liberty's diploma degrades my diploma").

This led me to wonder. If Liberty U teaches Young Earth Creationism, why is it accredited? This was the subject of a post on the bulletin board of the James Randi Foundation in 2009 [3]. It turns out that as long as LU teaches all the standard required courses, they can add any further required courses they want, just as long as they don't remove anything from the biology curriculum required for accreditation!!

I don't mind their teaching what philosopher Sydney Hook called "a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability" (Hook's phrase for religious beliefs), but they're also teaching outright falsehoods about the natural world. The only wildly anti-science stuff I got at the ultra-liberal seminary I attended was postmodernism and you can get that at Harvard and Stanford [4]. (Oh, and I wrote a letter about it at the time to Skeptical Inquirer which actually got printed. :) )--WickerGuy (talk) 05:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

One can question if SACS-COC (which under no circumstances should be pronounced phonetically) is indeed worth its salt as it doesn't look that impressive an organisation next to, say, my degree that's accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. "Accredited" doesn't mean much unless you know who is doing the accrediting. Trent and co. could easily offer degrees to anyone and have them accredited by the RWF, it wouldn't mean much in the eyes of others, though, and I suppose graduating with "Biology from Liberty University" is going to get you directly laughed out of any serious interview. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 10:27, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Now there's an idea. We might even be able to cover our hosting costs without any further fund-raising. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 03:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Totally. Donate $40 and you can get an MA in "Bullshit Detection Studies" certified by the RWF. Scarlet A.pngsshole 09:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
"Woology". Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 13:12, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Pronounced woo-ol-ogy, or wool-igy? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:52, 24 May 2012 (UTC)


For those that haven't noticed, I've been experimenting with a few things here. What I really want to do is to get into the CSS and tinker with collapsable sections, but that'll be for another time. Scarlet A.pngtheist 11:12, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Have you OK'd it with Human? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 03:37, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Shit, didn't think of that. Scarlet A.pngtheist 09:48, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Pretty fucking shiny. But please please can we not make everything look the same? It kills the funky town to make every shop use the same template for their sign. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:57, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Happy birthday![edit]

Sophiebecause liberals 13:24, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

:) Like ħumanUser talk:Human 04:55, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Bandwidth Stress test[edit]

I'm trying to stress test my server. I know that when a new month starts, you get a bandwidth quota. I'm trying to exhaust my site's bandwidth. If I had 10 gigabytes, and I uploaded a 1gb file to my server, repeatedly downloading that file would exhaust the bandwidth 10 downloads later, am I right?RandonGeneration (talk) 16:39, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Well no, because you'd have used 1Gb to upload it. So that's 9 downloads. But as sending and receiving packets uses a bandwidth quota, you'd actually get less than 9 full downloads.
Here's a better idea - you download 5Gb of awesome stuff (I'll send you a list) and then you e-mail it to me. --PsyGremlinSprich! 16:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Linus needs to be hereRandonGeneration (talk) 16:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, because it's completely appropriate to say trying to exhaust your site's bandwith is rape. Blue (is useful) 16:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
That's what they said at /i/nsurgency wikiRandonGeneration (talk) 16:49, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Somehow 4chan doesn't seem like the best place to find decent human beings, and certainly no excuse for rape jokes. Blue (is useful) 16:54, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
No, but they do know a bit on "hacking"RandonGeneration (talk) 16:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
So go ask them for help then. Pi 3:14 (talk) 22:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Quoting 4chan - "Tits or gtfo"RandonGeneration (talk) 23:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The fuck are you talking to? ArchieGoodwin (talk) 03:44, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Why are ypu even asking when such a test is so simple? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:54, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

A taxonomy of neurobabble[edit]

From a paper recently published in Neuron:

  • Neurorealism describes the use of neuroimages to make phenomena seem objective, offering visual proof that a subjective experience (e.g., love, pain, addiction) is a “real thing.”
  • Neuroessentialism denotes depictions of the brain as the essence of a person, with the brain a synonym for concepts like person, self, or soul.
  • Finally, neuropolicy captures the recruitment of neuroscience to support political or policy agendas.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:23, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

But, sadly, no talk about "rewiring"! Scarlet A.pngtheist 18:15, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Bah! If they haven't got super-massive inverse quantumneuroessentialism I'm not buying it.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 18:52, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
heh. I get a undeserved "extra giggle" when science falls prey to the babbles. I put "science" (what ever that term mean in any given conversation) onto a bit of a pedistle.--Green mowse.pngGodot 18:59, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not science so much as science journalism, which no one who knows anything expects to be good anyway. Though it does apply in spades to parasciences like political neuroscience. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:07, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

What they're doing is what we're trying to do, show that the brain explains what religious people assumed was the function of the soul. People from the Ivory Tower too often fall prey to using unecessarily complex language and unecessarily complex explanations to show how brilliant they and to keep things exclusive. Do we need an article translating it all into ordinary English for ordinary people? Proxima Centauri (talk) 11:56, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

What in the world are you on about? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:03, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Parsing... Neuroscience explains functions previously ascribed to the soul. Academics use big words which confuse me. We can has article in the "British Intellectual Style"? ArchieGoodwin (talk) 03:43, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Rock 'n Roll Ruins Lives!!!, or,[edit]

Wherein the Daily Mail finds itself in the fifties. Well done chaps, only 60 years behind the rest of us.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 19:46, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

"Science" my ass. I was the one of the few males in my university classes who didn't smoke and, apart from a bit of classical and a few movie/game soundtracks, I pretty much only listen to things in the rock genre. Woodgod (talk) 19:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I guess they never considered that it was the drugs that led to the music rather than vice versa. As far as gateway drugs go, did you know that 100% of people who do crack drink water? It's a slippery slope. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:14, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Correlation and causation are two rough bitches, aren't they. Scarlet A.pngpostate 20:24, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know about this "Rock and/or Roll" music, but have you seen what that Negro jazz music has done to the kids? Frankly it is appalling. DickTurpis (talk) 20:26, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The DM has put the cart before the horse as usual. From what I gather from a quick Google search (e.g. see here), Ineke Vogel's research is actually about youths who listen to music at potentially harmful volumes, and what kinds of backgrounds, education levels and lifestyles influence this, not on music-listening causing dangerous lifestyle choices. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:36, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
"Teens who listen to loud music on MP3 players have sex without condoms" - who could ask for a clearer causal link that? It's obvious that one is the direct cause of the other; what other explanation makes sense? Especially when we already know that MP3 players are bad.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 20:39, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
But it's clear folks, the loud music pushes the memory out of persons brain (think animation from the depression era). This is why they forget to use condoms and get cought. --Raga Man (talk) 22:33, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── For those interested, this is a classic case of Daily Fail misreporting. What Ineke Vogel, a researcher at Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam actually said was

When adolescents take one risk, they also tend to take other risks. So, if you want to prevent them from performing such risky behaviors or want them to stop or reduce such behaviors, you best address them together in one integrated program.

See, no mention of causation whatsoever. Bad Faith (talk) 12:52, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Why does Greece leaving cause major problems?[edit]

Topic title, ive seen statements along the lines that Greece leaving causes things to go south but.... why would it exactly? --il'Dictator Mikal 08:27, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps admitting defeat will cause things to go downhill? Peter with added ‼Science‼ 09:30, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
1. Greece would no longer have any funds available to pay its commitments to its employees and other creditors.
2. Nor would it be able to borrow on the markets.
3. Greece's currency would be hugely devalued.
4. Institutions who have exposure to Greece both through lending to the state and to private Greek borrowers would essentially have to write those debts off in the short to medium term.
5. This would cause the collapse of many banks both within Greece but more importantly in the rest of the Eurozone particularly French banks who have high Greek debt exposure.
6. The same institutions who lent to Greece would now be unable or unwilling to lend to the other struggling Eurozone economies, such as Spain, Italy Portugal and Ireland. Even France would be at risk of a credit crisis.
7. The collapse of these markets would impact the productive economies of Europe effecting their exports. As well as around the world. Ajkgordon (talk) 10:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
8. As America and China heavily trade with Europe, this would also cause production in these countries to go down.
9. Which would mean less income, less taxes and more spending in any country in trade with any of those countries (basically everbody) causing another worldwide crisis.
Basically, if Greece leaves it will bankrupt which send out another wave of crisis' that started with the mortage crisis. Although there is a little part of me that would like to see the US get punched in the economical gut again, it's not rational. --Raga Man (talk) 11:21, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
(alternate)10. And since most of Europe took the route of austerity, and accordingly have had very poor recoveries, this would likely send them into another full-fledged recession.
11. And this would make it very difficult, if not downright unlikely, for Barack Obama to be re-elected President of the United States, because a majority of American superbanks have heavy investments in Europe. Another collapse there would crush credit back in the States, as well. This is an avoidable situation that has not been avoided.--ADtalkModerator 13:08, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
10. And then Jebus would come back in the Rapture. So Terry's all for it. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
11. ...
12. Profit. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 12:34, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Damn! Here I was already to answer, but folks beat me to it! Oh well. The Symphony of Noise The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 12:43, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Short story: like religion, global financial markets operate on faith - the word credit comes from the Latin "credere", to believe - once you undermine the belief in part of the system then it becomes contagious. Given the amount of leverage involved in fractional reserve banking if everyone wanted their cash back at the same time there would be a massive implosion. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 13:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Well, that and that speculations have gone meta-meta-meta, if there's another projection based on previous projections of hard data influenced ba previous projections somebody will break something. --Raga Man (talk) 18:38, 23 May 2012 (UTC)


have outdone themselves with today's doodle thingy, in tribute of Bob Moog. Mini Moog, with record function, --PsyGremlinKhuluma! 10:26, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

No kidding. The electronic music geek in me rejoices. Junggai (talk) 10:39, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to the Google Moog, millions of people who are in any way musically inclined must have done no work all day today.--Spud (talk) 14:36, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh trust me, those with the musical ability of a brick had hours of fun too. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 14:46, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Bricks can be quite musical. Get two and clack them rhythmically together. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

A brief history of atheistic pseudoscience[edit]

Another good one from Rodney Stark. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:06, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

PDF BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!-- (talk) 19:29, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Stark has had a lot of obvious distortions in the past. I suppose I have to actually read this before passing judgment, but the main instigator of sociology Max Weber was hardly a militant atheist, and sociology of religion has been already practiced by a few believers.--WickerGuy (talk) 19:50, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Stark professes to be a non-believer while constantly defending religion. Would it be a stretch to say that he is the S. E. Cupp of academia?--WickerGuy (talk) 19:52, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Can I just say, i've only read his "opening" statement, and already I want to slap the man. I was "there" if you will, during the great push to move religious studies out of theology and into sociology and true science, really looking at the brain/mind and it's relationship to science, and by and large, no one was doing it cause they were atheist, or motivated by "atheist ideals". It was being done cause like all things in science, it was fucking cool ass! Studies that started to look at universals of how infants-2 year olds began to see the world in religious terms, studies looking at what parts of the brain go "whopiewhoo" when they are in extacy, studies following the religious conversions and conversations of people who had had strokes or other types of brain damage, studies looking at the (surprisingly) far less gullible "god did it" of mentally challenged adults, like those with downs. Those are cool as shit questions. They have nothing to do with atheism, any more than science has something to do with atheism. (sorry for the rant, but this is soooo fucking off the mark for Starks). --Green mowse.pngGodot 20:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Which parts are nonsense? I know some of the anthro and psych studies he's looking at were ideologically motivated. The stuff I'm not familiar with is crap, then? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:24, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm at work, so haven't actually read his real points yet. the abstract says "The social 'scientific' study of religion originated in atheism and the basic theses...have changed little". That is bunk. and it's setting itself and this entire paper up for FAIL. but, like i said, maybe I'll retract my rant when I actually read him. --Green mowse.pngGodot 21:56, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I guess my issue, neb, with his initial claim is he's talking about philosophiers as "social scientists", and I've never considered them such. To me, the social science of religion, really begins in the 1800s, when people who are not just pontificating, go into other (very foreign) cultures and start to write down what they are seeing, trying to follow what actions these people are doing and why, and how it fits into the culture the practicies arise from. Then, surprize surprize, as they are writing about other people's "wierd religions", they start to apply the same types of academics to their own religion; why are we thinking this way? How did Christianity become the way it is; What parts do scripture, dogma, orthopraxy, ritual, language play in the understanding and shaping of god, of religion, etc. A very different process than Hobbs, Hume, Voltair wanting to do away with the superstition that they see religion as. They do not care about the social science of religion, so why are we starting there? "Atheism and the origin of Anthropology" really?? I don't knwo how you take Histoire des Oracles as anthropology, nor as "wink wink nudge nudge, even xianity is the same", when his later writing shows his desire to remove teh mythic and simplistic (primitive?) aspects of xinanity and replace it with a high philo driven religion. he still has his god and his religion, he just wants it to be less "sauvage" less pagan. Green mowse.pngGodot 22:20, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

The Demise of Guys: Porn and Vid'ja Games[edit]

Thoughts? Nihilist 20:42, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm a little curious why they have stock pictures of a two decade old console. as for the rest, alarmist bullshit. --il'Dictator Mikal 20:58, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Why? Nihilist 21:03, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
It equates some peoples inability to balance life and desire to everybody, not just those to weak to balance them. That is why its alarmist, because it acts like thi is a serious problem no matter what.--il'Dictator Mikal 21:21, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Gonna agree with Mika, basically. The article is several paragraphs of alarmist bullshit, including popular blame-game subjects like Anders Behring Breivik, and a non-sequitur experiment about lab rats that enjoyed having a part of their brains tazed. Incidentally, it's all uncited, being a news blog. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 21:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
As with most alarmist bullshit, there are some grains of truth in it. But pinning changes in lifestyle & social interaction purely on video games & internet porn, rather than viewing these are just a couple of obvious examples from a much wider quick-fix consumerist culture which has been developing for decades, is facile. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:53, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Weasel makes the point that was tickeling my head. Our whole culture is moving towards "easy" "now" "dispoable". if everything we have is characterized by those three words, why would our relationships be any better. I don't, however, think this is the demise of guys (by the way, once again, where are the women? I know quite a few teen girls fully addicted to facebook updates, reading every one of their friends and hero's pages for hours and hours) or of our culture. I do think it will mean we see a very different relationship pattern in the future, both between lovers/spouses and between parents/children.--Green mowse.pngGodot 22:00, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I find it kind of ironic that those fueling the consumerist culture via their ideas and products are mostly also those that spread the alarmist message. It's like a tabacco company saying too many people are dying of lung cancer. So, on the one hand capitalism is the only economic system, consumerism the heart and soul of it all — but on the other hand those products don't make you function as well as the companies that make the things we consume want us too. Ergo: stop buying and you're a bad consumer, stop caring and you're a bad capitalist.
@WfG: You know, the thought that women have to be mentioned everywhere is kinda bullshit. --Raga Man (talk) 22:23, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, you guys make good points.
@Raga Man: Saying that only men have this problem is bullshit. Nihilist 23:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
@ Raga Man, thinking that you can habitually leave out half of humanity from any sort of meaningful analysis is stupid. Theory of Practice "I never set out to hit anybody. It's just that a lot of people got hit." -- Andy Roberts 23:15, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The study was specifically on men, not on humans. You could make the same reasoning for studying every age group at once, the fact that this is unpractical remains. --Raga Man (talk) 23:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
There was a study? I think the article is just an endorsement of a book and/or presentation. It does specify "young men", but it doesn't really try to justify that, and instead just repeats old "these hobbies = drugs" claims. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 23:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Remember Aschlafly's qoute, facebook is ruining relationships, and video games lead to poorer grades? Now he has a source!RandonGeneration (talk) 00:26, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Modern day media is no more "ruining society" than radio, movies, TV, the personal computer, etc did. Video games have been around since the 1960s. Arcade games like pinball are even older. If media can destroy society, we would be destroyed long ago. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:39, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

In the 1980s, people predicted that the internet would remove physical markets, cause huge declines in transporation and tourism, and result in the end of live schools. None of these predictions have come true, and in fact the opposite is true. It is against human nature to put full trust in a machine. Face-to-face conversation will always be necessary, unless we somehow evolve millions of years from now. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:43, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I love video games. Some video games can be like Skinner Boxes. I love them anyway, but responsibly. Things we like compel us to repeat consuming them, simply because we prefer pleasure to pain. There's no active 'addictive' ingredient in video games. Game 'addiction' is more like compulsion, and that can be tempered with wisdom... even if constant reward CAN be a very difficult thing to break. In my opinion, calling them dangerous things that need surgeon general warnings is sort of like demanding a warning on potato chips or chocolate; they are delicious, so it's difficult to just eat one bite, and compelling to finish the whole serving. Eating them is a reward, so personally I try and use them, and similarly compelling things like one: games only when I'm through with my work, etc. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgarrulous en guerre 00:57, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, I've been studying game design a lot lately, and a major issue is trying to keep people from getting sick of your games. Video games are usually designed as challenges; once someone's gotten used to it and/or completed it, they don't "up the dosage", they just get bored and try something else. I can't really see the drug parallels; some people fail to manage their time or separate fantasy from reality, but games (or porn, which the article ties in arbitrarily) don't encourage that any more than sports, literature, or food. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 01:19, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Yep, it's all about a person's individual ability to discern fantasy from reality, which is an important part of nurture in this day and age, imo. As far as game design goes, it's interesting that the larger gaming companies are failing more and more (in my eyes) at making games with immense replay value, and instead are seemingly looking to just sell, sell, sell. For instance, as it stands right now I'd still rather play Starcraft and Diablo 1/2 than I would SC2 or D3. Q0 (talk) 02:45, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
1) thats a description of media in general 2) money is more important; If EA can peddle what amounts to the same game every year, other companies can get away with far worse. --il'Dictator Mikal 03:03, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Certainly. I didn't even comment past that because of how nonsensical these type of arguments are every time they come up. Every time there was a school shooting somewhere in the US, we all had to hear the BS about how video games were to blame. Even worse when I was in school and one happened in the town next to where I lived, and it just so happened I liked video games. Millions of other kids liked video games too. Who could have guessed? Q0 (talk) 03:24, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
You know what's really surreal? Right now I'm playing a game from my childhood, the original Zoo Tycoon and its related expansion packs. It came out in about 2001. It's replayable, challenging, sandboxy, fun, and it runs beautifully (and with modest memory consumption!) on a relatively new machine. The writing when applicable is full of charm and snark (you release lions, and then dinosaurs, on zoogoers in tutorials) and I can barely believe EA (and Blue Fang; do those guys even exist anymore?) made it. It feels like a totally different beast. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlavishly loquacious 03:44, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm off to go play Kings Quest V & VI. :D ArchieGoodwin (talk) 03:47, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Apparently Blue Fang went out in 2011, after releasing a big pile of zoo games and a few remakes of classic edutainment stuff. As for EA, I'll always miss Maxis, which they kind of dissolved over time. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 03:55, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Zoo tycoon had the same problem every "X tycoon" game had; 1) it was a RCT knock off, and 2 and more importantly, they get boring after a few hours at the most. As for Kings quest, i planned to get them off Abandonia a while back (hey, its only a 3 decade only series) only to discover theres no legal download of them as somebody is selling them each for $15. --il'Dictator Mikal 04:02, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
When I read something like this, I think of World of Warcraft. Many games have been designed to be as addictive as possible, parceling out small rewards and trying to offer an endless game of full-quality repeats (most successfully done with puzzle games and shooting games), but World of Warcraft was a quantum leap forward. They took the model of MMORPGs that had been developed, and dramatically improved on it to make a game that would make you want to pay for it every month. A scaling system of micro-rewards was built in, so that whether you spent a long time or a little time on the game, you'd be able to experience a steady and tantalizing series of illusory reward stimuli. While they still utilized the other mechanisms of enticement (exploration, socializing, competition, vicariousness), they relied most of all on the hamster-wheel cycle: small reward, small reward, small reward, all building to a visibly approaching BIG reward whose nature variously incorporated one of the other mechanisms ("Now I can enter that dungeon! Now I have this pretty hat! Now I can kill that asshole! Yay I am a winner!") but which was essentially just a numerical increase.
I am not saying and I do not think that World of Warcraft is immoral, should be banned, or anything like that. It is simply the next and most logical step on the path of what I think this article (badly written as it is) and book are accurately touching on: an increasingly virtual world is divorcing reward from real achievement. And that is something to which we and the next generations will have to adapt: we must be careful to base our self-worth on accomplishment, not rewards.
I have been thinking for a long time about ways in which our brains seem hard-wired to screw up. Technology has outpaced biology by such an exorbitant amount, it's not surprising. The most obvious example is our desire for sugar and fat, high-energy foods that have been historically rare, which are now so abundant that a majority of the population of the first world are becoming ill from their gorging. Similarly, humans aren't very good at judging probability and outcomes (test yourself), because a rough-and-ready snap judgment based on our biases has always been good enough for us.
The problem with these sorts of arguments we see in this book is their conclusions. I think it's short-sighted and just plain silly to try to deny that addictive video games and continually escalating sexual stimulus aren't having some negative effects - certain bizarre things are now considered erotic purely because of pornography ("facial" shots are one example). The problem is that the people who write this arguments often advocate for some form of control to hold back these cultural forces: limiting access to porn, tougher video game standards, etc. And while those things might work, I think history has taught us that there is no stopping an idea whose time has come. Instead, we need to learn to employ one of our greatest skills as human beings, and intelligently adapt. "I have a level 85 warlock" has been, and must be, considered about the same as "I played checkers really well last night."--ADtalkModerator
Here's the one time I will admit something like this. When I was laid off, 2009ish? and in a serious funk, minor problems with my marriage, etc., I had just found facebook - which was of no interest. Till someone showed me "mafia", and then farmville. there wasn't even any visual stimulation - it said "fight bob" and you clicked. then it said "you won, here are 15 points". You were clicking a spreadsheet, that counted down, till you had the "power" to click more. You could never die, and you didn't risk anything, you just clicked. and then "won" the ablity to click more. And even while my head knew that this was a pointless game, I clicked and clicked and clicked for day on end. Same with farmvill, though there you got to "plant" an image... but it was still just clicking. I read something similar to what AD has described, about the detailed studies they do to see exactly what risk/reaward is most addictive - and the Facebook games prove that point in the most extreme, since there is nothing there but a click and the illusion of getting something. You would think your logical side could over ride the addiction to (whatever?) but mine never did.Green mowse.pngGodot 14:51, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
In its extreme, it becomes Cowclicker.--ADtalkModerator 15:58, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
What was interesting about WoW is that it managed to be enticing in some manner even to those of us who had played MMOs before, and already had the 'experience' broken. I remember first playing Everquest, and at the time the immersion blew my mind. Yeah, you're playing an RPG (and not even a particularly good one), but it was almost entirely social, and the first person view really furthered the facade of being in the world when you were playing. But, whereas EQ was a complete social and immersive phenomenon for me - and I ended up making friends I still talk to over a decade later - WoW ended up instead keeping my interest solely due to how polished of a game it was, like AD mentioned in his first paragraph. Of course, a friend of mine who hadn't played MMOs before ended up playing WoW and having a similar experience to my EQ one. He even met his wife through the game. Q0 (talk) 22:54, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

The Passage of Power: The years of Lyndon Johnson[edit]

Is finally here. 12 years in the making. I don't normally do book reviews/recommendations, but for this I'll make an exception. For those of you who haven't read it, the previous volume "Master of the Senate" is a staggeringly brilliant political biography. For anyone with a vague interest in US politics the whole series is a must read, especially Master. I just ordered the latest one and I can't wait. --DamoHi 08:52, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Not available for Kindle, dammit. Bad Faith (talk) 14:05, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Who knows about campaign finance law?[edit]

This thread has not been approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Read at your own risk.

When Romney wanted to raise money by raffling off an evening with Mitt he made it no donation necessary, I just filled out a form, and when the time came I selected zero dollars, because I'm cheap. Obama('s campaign)has sent me two different offers to win a chance to spend time with him. The first one had a required $5 donation, this last one (for an evening in the house of Sarah Jessica Parker) requires a $3 donation. Now in my state I'm fairly sure that this counts as a raffle, and it seems like most states would consider this a raffle, something of value, on chance, based on a 'ticket' that you buy (the 'ticket' for Mitt was free) I have to imagine that some jurisdiction in the US either has a restriction that Obama hasn't met, or a blanket restriction that no one can get past. So how is this okay? How can Obama run a raffle in every part of America and not get kicked in the keister for it? --Opcn with regards to regarding my regardliness 10:46, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

It's not a raffle, it's a contest. Just like you can enter by sending in cereal box tops. Completely okay.--ADtalkModerator 13:01, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
No, I think Opcn is right; it is a raffle. With cereal box tops you're just sending them a proof of purchase so you can claim whatever they're offering as a reward for buying a shitload of their crappy cereal. There's no element of chance to it, so it isn't gambling. This is different. It's a lot like those "chance to win" things you see associated with consumer products, but those always say "no purchase necessary". DickTurpis (talk) 13:35, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
OK, you've now made me curious - what is the difference between a "raffle" and a "contest".--Green mowse.pngGodot 14:43, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, all raffles are contests but not all contests are raffles, as far as I can tell. In order for something to not be considered gambling it has to be free, which is why you always hear "no purchase necessary" for prize drawings. DickTurpis (talk) 15:08, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually, now that I think about it a contest might more refer to competitions of skill, or at least something other than plain luck, which is what a raffle is. No matter how you slice it, it seems the Obama thing is raffle, and probably should be free to enter. DickTurpis (talk) 15:10, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
All the "win a night with Obama" emails I've received (I believe the most recent one was at George Clooney's house) have an alternate "enter without donating" link, which is not obvious but it's there, and that's how I've entered. That makes it a contest, "no purchase necessary". -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:11, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Seth is right, at the bottom of the page in the fine print it says something like, to enter with a donation click here, to enter without a donation click here. You have to actually read the fine print to see it, it is very hidden, no obvious link colors I don't think. NetharianCubicles are prisons! 17:23, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
It would still be a raffle as no skill is involved, and is not a contest. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:43, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Specifically, a raffle is where everyones name or ticket goes into a hat, and whose ever gets picked is the winnerAMassiveGay (talk) 17:54, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Goddamnit fine I went and looked it up, people. So what it actually is, is a sweepstakes. Unlike a contest, which is a competition of some kind, or a raffle/lottery, which requires a purchase to enter, a sweepstakes is free to enter. Some states do still regulate them, such as Maine (where you must be over 18 to enter any sweepstakes), but there are few state-level restrictions. Most state laws simply mirror the governing federal Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act, which prohibits certain things (pretending a participant is a winner unless they've actually won something; requiring a purchase to enter; etc.) As near as I can make out, this is the law.--ADtalkModerator 22:30, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Seth was right, it was buried in the fine print, three words among 200, one of them a link, no link colors right next to a link with colors, at the bottom of the email, if you clicked through on the link at the top of the email you got to a place with no options to not pay in. Clever bastards. --Opcn with regards to regarding my regardliness 22:40, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Hello RationalWiki, you have some new fans.[edit]

Wait for it, wait for it...the EDL! — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

UAF is a pretty embarrassing organisation, but the EDL are far further down in the pecking order of respectability. I hope they realise this. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 22:10, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I just spent a few moments productively trying to imagine what "EDL" stands for.
  • Echidna Destruction League, for those who really hate Sonic and Knuckles.
  • Exposed Dalliance Lessons, for people learning how to have sex in public.
  • Evolution of Dance Leprechauns, for mythical midgets yearning to get down.--ADtalkModerator 22:21, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Are people actually able to read tweets and make sense of them? Seems to me it requires an IQ below 40 or something. Fucking Twitter. DickTurpis (talk) 22:28, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
How would a low IQ make it easier to understand something? </obtuse> But seriously, tweets are limited to 140 characters or less. People tend to try and be concise. Why does twitter have this rule? Because that's the atmosphere the site tries to create. It's not meant for longwinded discussions, but rather for brief exchanges and status updates. Kind of like we here (shouldn't) use the block log.--"Shut up, Brx." 01:57, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

First King Abdullah, now this[edit]

Is there anyone Obama won't bow down to????? DickTurpis (talk) 23:14, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Big deal. GWB read to a bunch of first graders...once...in 2001... -- Seth Peck (talk) 23:18, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
And he was so impressed with those kids, and found their needs so great, he coudln't be bothered with this story of some hijacked planes or whatver it was that he was being bothered by.--Green mowse.pngGodot 23:31, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Putting aside the fact that Obama is pretty much a non-event politically (including health care reform so diluted its also homoeopathic), as a person he does seem pretty damn cool. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 23:38, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Hey, the story of the pet goat was enthralling. ENTHRALLING! DickTurpis (talk) 00:30, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but what was Bush supposed to have done? Make a big deal and cause hysteria? You have to admit, it takes some nerve to keep cool in a situation like that. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:52, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Though I disagree with the entire reaction about 911 during the event, I do agree that holding him to that is sorta... stupid. theres much more important and worse the go after--il'Dictator Mikal 01:14, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Space age[edit]

Could someone explain to me why a private company launching into space is hailed as another brilliant triumph of humanity? For years, scientists have pushed the idea of space as something without ownership, fighting attempts to militarize it and such. Have public space programs been shafted so badly that this is now the best way to advance the technology? If true, it seems like a serious loss, and will probably end up as even more fodder for politicians to vote against funding space programs (especially in the US). Hell, the entire idea behind the project in the first place just seems designed for NASA to slowly pass on the torch.

Maybe I'm just crazy, and I'm thinking too much in terms of the distant future: corporations owning planets and such. Still, to me it seems like it's opening up the wrong kind of door. Q0 (talk) 22:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Yeah that seems a bit pessimistic. The NASA has already said they'd like unmanned flights to be shifed to commercial enterprises, to free up more money for manned and Mars missions. Sounds like a good idea and all, although Repubs will immediately call for cutting the budget. Away from all the theoretics of futurology, it's a big deal because this is the first time not a state but private citizen have send something up there, and everybody's hoping the laws of the markets will soon gear the industry. Honestly I have no problems with commercial space flight, I'd just like the companies to be state owned, one for profits, two for control. --Raga Man (talk) 22:58, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually, with respect to Republicans the problem is the opposite: they oppose privatization of space because NASA is a convenient and publicly popular way to give pork to their aeronautics companies in Texas and Florida and such. They don't a rat's ass about the science and research I feel should be NASA's domain, just that Boeing keeps getting sweet, over-budget contracts. --CoyoteSans (talk) 00:15, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I can certainly see the logic behind this; private competition will spark faster growth of technology than a public company could ever do; a major step in accomplishing the goal of cheap civilian space transportation.
There is one thing that concerns me. There's said to be some rare Helium-3 patches on the moon. Whatever private company gets there first will have a monopoly over the resource, and of course no government will have jurisdiction except Newt's colony. Mr. Anon (talk) 01:19, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I would not assume that a private company seeking to exploit the moon would just have carte blanche to do so merely because they get there first. There would be a lot of countries that would want to have a say in how the moon ought to be exploited. --Horace (talk) 02:42, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, all they have to do is plant a flag with their logo on it there, you see... oh wait, already been done? Q0 (talk) 03:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
That's definitely the argument they use, but I see the whole competition thing as equivalent to all of the other silly 'invisible hand of the free market' gags that should be given no real weight. If anything, raw competition is terribly inefficient due to the resources wasted by the companies that don't actually progress anywhere. Just for relevance's sake, we'll stay on topic. There were over 20 companies trying to get a contract from NASA for this endeavor (see: wp:Commercial Orbital Transportation Services). How many of those will actually succeed in the long term? I'm all for this kind of individual effort when it comes for designing things, but when you get to the point of actual construction and use - and eventually performing services - it becomes a serious problem. That's when you realize that you're relying on private corporations for something incredibly significant to the public interest.
Besides, it's hard enough keeping tabs on what corporations are up to on earth; can you imagine trying to reel them in when they have the technology lead in space? Q0 (talk) 03:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I could probably make just as strong an argument against allowing the United States or Chinese or whatever government having "such a technology lead in space." The fact is moving the space shuttling duties from public to private sector has been a long time coming. NASA (as with all government space agencies) should be focused on the parts of space exploration that DON'T have an obvious profit motive, but nonetheless enriches humanity in pursuing, not busing glorified janitors to a proof-of-concept space station and entertaining rich idiots wanting the world's most expensive thrill ride. Corporations certainly have no reason to fire off probes into the Oort Cloud, or send nuclear-powered rovers to crawl all over Mars just to take pictures and analyze dirt in excruciating detail, but the scientific data we get from doing that is immeasurably beneficial. If the private sector wants a go at shuttling LEO passengers and building space hotels and mining asteroids, I say let them. NASA is best at space science, and private companies are best at economical usage of space. Both sides have important niches to fill. --CoyoteSans (talk) 03:39, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The two go hand in hand, though. Ask any geologist about how research in their field is mostly utilized these days. The same type of work that is so important scientifically is used privately to find oil and diamonds. Along those lines, I think corporations will certainly have an interest in mining what they can in our solar system, and even in finding out how they could eventually get to others and do the same thing. Of course, they wouldn't actually share many scientific discoveries they made with the public. Trade secrets, after all.
As for the nationalist part, that too is a serious concern. Despite the fact that there are an abundance of resources in just our solar system, it's easy to see how space could become another 'new world' for the top competing nations to fight over. Q0 (talk) 04:04, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, the benefits are obvious. You get private companies to develop a spaceship using NASA research, NASA designs, NASA experience, NASA testing, NASA subsidies and start-up money, NASA launch facilities, and then sell it all back to NASA for the privilege... Hmmm, I'm reminded, as always, of the David Mitchell rant over rail privatisation in the UK: we privatise the fun and interesting bits, the parts that you can turn a profit on, but all the boring non-profitable stuff, well that can be covered by the State. You take the fun choo-choo trains, and we'll take care of the track! It's like a father who lets his over-spoilt son have a small patch of soil to grow strawberries in. The father still does all the planting, weeding, watering, tending to the rest of the garden and whatnot, and then the son sells him the strawberries for £600 million. And it was the same when the UK government sold Northern Rock - they sold the profitable half and kept the boring unprofitable half, so Virgin Money is now basically the cool front end of a bank that generates masses of interest, while the government holds all the Rock's bad investments. So, basically, all privatisation works like this, it's cool to see rockets going up and people taking it seriously again, but undoubtedly space privatisation will be no exception to the rule. Scarlet A.pngbomination 09:46, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Armondikov. Whilst everyone joins in the invisible hand wankfest over SpaceX, virtually all the heavy lifting (so to speak) is being done or has been done by state resources, both financial and physical - given that SpaceX not only took a ton of state money and existing research, but even used a government facility as their launch site before blowing their trumpet over how great the private sector is. SpaceX got $75m of government money to basically rip-ff existing work of public bodies and then sell it back to them at exorbitant prices.
Furthermore, I find the belief that having private sector involvement will in any way drive space technology forward is extremely naive. SpaceX Dragon only exists because of government funding. SpaceShipOne is little more than a toy and is far behind what the state sector was able to achieve decades ago. I am not saying that NASA in particular couldn't be more efficient (de-militarising it to reduce inter-departmental conflicts would help) but, this is completely different from the belief (and it is a belief) that putting something in the private sector through some mystical, magical process will make it more efficient and innovative. Having a profit motive doesn't lead to the best technology and engineering, it leads to finding the cheapest way to do do the bare minimum needed to make the most profit - that's why Scale Composites gave us SpaceShipOne, whilst the state sector gave us the Shuttle, Buran and Soyuz. The private sector can never be relied upon to engage in the development of the technology, nor the research of space itself that allows humankind to progress, because the most valuable work in these fields is rarely, if ever, the most profitable. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 11:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Although the counter argument could be made by way of using the internet as an analogous example. Started off as a state-run operation and is now almost entirely private and in many cases hugely profitable. Almost all the innovation and much of the investment has come from the private sector. Mitchell's rant about the railways is valid because it's provision of public infrastructure services with very limited competition drivers unlike, say, air travel. The defence example could be used where the government contracts private companies (BAE, EADS, Boeing, etc.) to build warships, aircraft, missiles, etc. You wouldn't want the state building these things (leaving aside the disastrous inefficiencies of defence procurement). Ajkgordon (talk) 11:48, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

This is painful to watch. I don't have the time to correct all the misconceptions, though, and I'm quickly losing the inclination. At the very least: TheEgyptian, please do some research on who built the Shuttle, who profited from it and how good it was for US human space exploration.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:48, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Exactly. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:50, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree defense is a good example. Given that private involvement in the defense sector has given us Blackwater / Xi and all manner of scandals and abuses, I fail utterly to see how privatization of defense can be seen as an argument for privatization of space flight, though it does a lot to highlight the huge potential for serious problems.
Contracting a private company to produce a vehicles is different to them operating said vehicles - though in these cases one can reasonably demand that the private entity meet the entire development cost, since they will be selling the vehicles to the state for no small amount of profit per unit. If it is unable to do this, and do it with a lower final cost per vehicle of the same or higher specification than an in-house team, then on what basis is the claim of "efficiency" made? This certainly hasn't happened in SpaceX's case. The company isn't, and probably never will, be anything other than a parasitical enterprise that is only private in as much as it generates private profit, achieved by having the end-user pay its costs and turn over their own research before it even delivered a single product. Again the defense sector is a good example, given the cronyism and corruption in the sector, plus the revolving door between defense contractors and both the military and government itself. So we are we trumpeting these guys as the way forward?
Inviting private participation in manned spaceflight before a regulatory framework is in place is essentially giving a green light to exploitation and irresponsible actions. If a private operator were to launch a manned orbiter from a sea-launch platform or something similar, what kind of regulatory protection do the people on board have? In a more distant scenario, if private scientific or commercial activity does take place in space, who will ensure protection for workers against exploitation and dangerous conditions, or even their civil rights whilst in orbit? --TheEgyptiansig001.png 15:40, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The actual construction has always gone to private companies (Rocketdyne, NAA, etc.) - that's just how it is. The thing is, SpaceX really isn't much more than the exact same relationship taken to a minutely further extent. It's no more an "hooray for the private sector" moment than the fact that the SSMEs were built by Pratt & Whitney. If you want a real private venture, you need to look at things like Sea Launch or Virgin Galactic, which have been far more independent. Scarlet A.pngbomination 19:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

US Space was already private. Pretty well all of NASA's spacecraft (Space Shuttle, Saturn V/Apollo, etc.) were built by private contractors. The real change is how the contractors are being paid. Old model, they got paid just for doing work (not for producing results), and Congress imposed on them all these burdensome politically-motivated requirements, e.g. must use solid rocket boosters, who cares if it is best technical decision or not, because don't want my voters who work at ATK to loose their jobs! New model, NASA pays fixed price, contractor pays for overruns, contractor uses whatever design and subcontractors they feel are technically/commercially appropriate, not being driven by political pork considerations. So the US space program was always a public-private partnership, all NASA/SpaceX are doing is changing the nature of that partnership, and they are changing it for the better. Hop, scotch and two foot bat (talk) 12:48, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Quite. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:09, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

The Internet[edit]

Ajkgordon wanted to use the Internet as an example. But that gets very complicated. The Internet most fundamentally is a series of protocols, ie agreements on a way of doing things. It doesn't mean anything for such agreements to be "owned" by a state or a private entity, and in fact they've long been agreed by consensus at meetings held all around the world (these days after being discussed extensively in advance using the Internet itself).
These protocols allows us to connect networks together, hence internetworking. At the outset the organisations which first experimented with actually doing this (thus building an internetwork) were connected with the US military/industrial complex and the engineering departments at certain US universities which fed into that complex. But it would be quite a stretch to say that it was "state-run" unless you were also willing to say that e.g. the Boeing headquarters mail room is state run, or the Harvard dormitories are state run.
As this internet grew and became the Internet some opportunities for commercial activity arose, but actually not that many. For example, the problem of uniquely numbering things on the Internet is handled by not-for-profit organisations run by and on behalf of users (albeit some of the "users" in this case are of course multi-billion dollar corporations). The problem of correctly mapping names to numbers is handled by the root operators and while technically at least one root operator is a private company (Verisign, working under contract to the US government) far more are state owned (e.g. The US army, NASA) or not-for-profit (e.g. RIPE, WIDE, ISC).
It is true that businesses have thrived as a result of the Internet, but I'd argue that's actually largely because they were not able to control its fundamental underpinnings. The creation of a level playing field worked out very well for almost everyone, whereas if a single commercial stakeholder got to decide what constitutes "level" things might have been very different. (talk) 13:36, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Right. The way you put it makes it perhaps a better analogy than I originally thought. States and supranational bodies like the UN have a lot of control over access to space. They essentially "control its fundamental underpinnings". But besides, it's only an analogy and, as such, simply a way of demonstrating that private enterprise and competition can work well in a sphere such as the internet or defence. I'm not sure there is a fundamental reason that access to space has to be seen differently in this regard. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:53, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't see private enterprise working well in any of those areas, honestly. Sure, companies use the internet to provide great convenience to consumers, but we have to constantly fight tooth and nail to prevent those very same entities from overtly controlling our internet life (SOPA/PIPA only being the most obvious of such attempts, and not the first or last). To me, it's bad enough that the last 15 years of the internet or so have turned it into a wasteland of advertisements and fake blogs that exist only to boost SEO (and, of course, show you even more advertisements). Q0 (talk) 03:01, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
"...it's bad enough that the last 15 years of the internet or so have turned it into a wasteland of advertisements and fake blogs that exist only to boost SEO...". Are you using the same internet as I am? The internet isn't some socialist geek purist's wet dream. It's a medium. As such it will be exploited by all sorts of people - commercial enterprises, scientists, bloggers, fundies, artists, advertisers, whatever. Just like any other medium. "They're trying to sell me toothpaste on the TV airwaves! They should be kept pure! Oh noes!" It will always be a fight to keep the various competing interests in balance. That's what legislation is for.
And as for defence contracting being baaaaaaad... shock horror, companies try to profit by playing the system, politicians can be manipulated... This is news?
Why is all this suddenly an argument against private companies in space? Look, private companies have had access to space for years in the form of all those geostationary TV satellites (as an example).
That private enterprise and competition can produce innovation and efficiencies that are simply structurally unavailable to the state is undeniable. You do not need to look very far to see numerous examples of this when markets are deregulated or privatised (debatable in the aforementioned public services example like railways). Yes, there is often excessive exploitation by unscrupulous businesses (witness Russia) but that's down to the state not doing what it should be doing, i.e. legislating for and enforcing level-playing fields, seed funding, consumer protection, environmental protection, infrastructure obligations, etc. It doesn't make deregulation or privatisation bad per se.
Sorry for the disjointed rant and I appreciate that many of you are socialists. But we can see that allowing NASA et al almost exclusive control of space has stifled this most important of human endeavours since, well for ever, but particularly since Apollo. The Space Shuttle was an awe-inspiring achievement but what did it cost? Not just in monetary terms but in that it dominated NASA expenditure while gaining only limited low orbit access to space. Time to move on. Ajkgordon (talk) 10:39, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that all of that is the classic capitalist rant against government, a self-fulfilling prophecy. You underfund government programs like NASA, and then later claim that their subsequent lack of innovation somehow 'proves' that the government is a failure. Never you mind that NASA did pretty damn well when we actually cared about it. For that matter, I also don't think Russia is very good for your argument. An oligarchy isn't exactly a great replacement for communism. And despite US propaganda claims ("We won the space race!"), the Soviet space program was highly successful, and Soyuz has long been considered the superior spacecraft. Unfortunately, both space programs were from the start more politically motivated than scientifically motivated, as is obvious from the rushes in early design and cutting funding once the space race was no longer a big deal.
What's worse, though, is assuming the brand of capitalism that leads to private companies as aggressors against the public is inevitable, and ignoring the failings of privatization around the world where it's convenient to do so. Q0 (talk) 22:41, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Sigh. No, it's not a capitalist rant. These things aren't black and white, all state vs. all private. But you seem to be impervious to the criticism of government programmes. "We" underfunding government programmes is the government underfunding them, not the capitalist ranters. It's part of the problem. Leaving the state in almost total control removes commercial incentives while pandering to the whims of four year election cycles. This is what has left America in the frankly embarrassing position of having to rely on the Russians to taxi their astronauts up to the ISS. It's no use dreaming that it would be all great if the capitalists didn't keep cutting the funding. Capitalists in government is part of your cultural and political backdrop. It's what government is, especially in the US.
(As an aside, I should point out that it is Obama who has pushed for this new paradigm, while the last "capitalist" president was going all out for the huge government Constellation project.)
Soyuz long considered the superior spacecraft? By whom and for what? Yes, it's very reliable and relatively inexpensive. But it's very limited in its function. NASA could have produced something very similar after Apollo - in fact they did and used it for several missions to and from Skylab. But they scrapped it in favour of the Shuttle.
And who is "...assuming the brand of capitalism that leads to private companies as "aggressors against the public" is inevitable, and ignoring the failings of privatization around the world where it's convenient to do so."? Are you ignoring what I said about legislation and how it should be used for protection? And the oligarchy phenomenon in Russia is the example I used as a failure of privatization.
Come on, this shouldn't be an ideological argument. The pros and cons should be argued from a perspective of practicality and sustainability. State control, either by the Soviet/Russian model or the American one, has not produced the results we should be expecting. Space is too important to the future of this planet and our species. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:17, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
But it is about ideology. We clearly agree on the importance of space projects, it's just we seem to disagree on what is the best way to get things done. I say the best way to do it is to fund state programs and work toward consolidating internationally. You seem to think the verdict is in on those programs, that they've failed. But I'll say again: they made exceptional progress... when it was politically apt to give them the necessary funding. You say the funding issue is a problem with government itself, but I see no reason it has to be that way. That's why I identified the whole thing as this base level of capitalist argument (that, and you threw around socialist a few times beforehand anyway). Government as the problem not the solution, and all that mess.
Obama moving toward space privatization is not surprising to me in the least. After all, he's just as much a capitalist as every post-Reagan president. Even coming into his presidential campaign in '08, that was clear enough to anyone who looked. He was definitely the 'best' choice out of the two candidates, but despite the laughable rhetoric about him being a socialist, he's continued on the usual path with the usual suspects (see every economic advisor, the treasury, the Fed, etc). And yes, you're right in that it would take quite a drastic change to move the US away from the politics of crony capitalism, but that won't stop me from arguing the matter. Q0 (talk) 10:41, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, yes, it is about ideology - I'm saying it shouldn't be. I don't have any ideological objection to huge state projects, as long as they achieve the goals I could support at a cost that is acceptable. Unfortunately they haven't. We have been stuck in low-earth orbit with a magnificent boondoggle which has absorbed a huge proportion of, not just NASA's, but the world's space budget. While there have been some awe-inspiring successes like Voyager, Hubble and the Mars Spirit and Endeavour mission, the last truly great achievement was the Apollo moon landings. How anyone can maintain that this counts as "exceptional progress" is beyond me. With respect it seems to me you are too focussed on the political orientation of various politicians and projects rather than what they can achieve. We know what NASA has achieved over the last 40 years. To me that is insufficient. Let's give Obama the credit for trying something new. Don't forget, it's only a bit of cargo. It's not like he's paying evil corporations to strip mine the moon. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:08, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

'Anti-Racists' Attack White Heritage Group in Family Restaurant[edit]

Not sure how I feel about this one. The Symphony of Noise The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 12:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

People ask why there's "black pride" and Black History Month but no equivalent for white people, but they don't get it. Irish, Italian, German, and Anglo-Saxon roots are celebrated everyday in the same way African-American roots are. The difference is that black culture in the US was mashed together several centuries ago when slaves were being shipped to the Americas. So don't complain that you don't get to have any ethnic pride, because you do.--"Shut up, Brx." 13:19, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
It seems pretty clear to me. Beating up people because of what they believe should not be what we do. We're the good guys. The enemy of my enemy is not necessary my friend, in this case, definitely not. And, Brx, what the fuck are you on about? Bad Faith (talk) 13:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I think he was trying to say that White History Month is actually the other eleven months that are not Black History Month. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 13:32, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Brx has got it right. "White" has never been an overarching cultural signifier for any group except for white supremacists. What we call "White" is a group of Irish, German, Italian, and all manner of other groups that were often at each other's throats. What we call "Black" culture, on the other hand, is something that, despite geography, has been shared by African Americans nationwide. White Power isn't the white version of Black Power, its a completely different concept with a completely different history.RachelW (talk) 14:17, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
This is a really good point and you are a smart person to have said it.--ADtalkModerator 12:34, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Brx has got it right? Yeah, I agree. Great stuff. --"Shut up, Brx." 15:44, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I view the reason why we don't have a "white history month" or why "white pride" isn't celebrated is because context matters. We don't need a white history month because white American history has never suffered suppression, same with white culture. White pride is looked down upon because historically it meant oppressing other cultures (often savagely) in order to maintain white cultural dominance and not to simply celebrate ancestral European culture.--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 16:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
That too--"Shut up, Brx." 16:31, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The thing is, just as serious racism exists among white people. Go to Flanders, and listen to them talk about the French, often while speaking in French. On the other hand, as I've found when writing these articles, there is an identity that does exist for Western Europe, and the "white" citizens of her colonies. And that's probably why such an emphesis on the term "white" formed (? - or not, this is pulled out of my ass, of course). That is, while Felmish and French may have serious levels of racism in small towns, they still share mostly identical values and culture, when compared with say, Tibet, or Nigeria, or Dravidic India. Green mowse.pngGodot 16:41, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
While I see your point, I am highly skeptical that the "racism" between European whites is anything close to "just as serious" as the racism perpetrated by white Europeans and their descendents against people of color. Blue (pester) 12:48, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Probably wouldn't be a good idea to tell, for ezample, scottish or welsh folk about how their is identical to english culture AMassiveGay (talk) 17:40, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
And yet, it is the factual truth. They share the roots of a language, they share the same religion (though they call it different things, and say 'my religion uses minsters and yours uses priests), they have the same view of family and what makes a family, as well as things like "whom you can and cannot marry", the same basic moral codes, etc. It's not till you find people 'really different" from yourselves, that you see how truly similar you are. Green mowse.pngGodot 19:11, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
No they don't, really. Whether you speak of the Welsh/Scottish/English thing or broader Europe, they don't, really. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:27, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'd agree, but I would strongly argue that most of the modern U.S. francophobia stems from the assumption that French culture should be similar to "white" american culture, and the fact that it isn't pisses off white americans because white people are all supposed to have the same or similar cultures. Omar (gibber) 19:29, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

There's certainly a lot of common ground among western peoples (i.e European peoples and the descendants of their colonists in the new world), but it has more to do with shared social, historical and cultural (e.g. religion, language, communication, levels of industrialisation & development) than being "white" specifically. When people talk about "white pride", you know they're talking about racialism based on skin colour, genetic theories, etc. rather than any meaningful ideas about cultural roots. Unfortunately, phrases like "European Heritage" are often used as euphemisms for much the same thing. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:37, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
While we may not call it white pride, there's a lot of pride in Europe (and that's the only continent I know this). We Europeans take pride in our history. From the advent of democracy is Athens, over the codification of Roman that dominates all schools of law, the fall of Rome, the Enlightenment (which after all, was largely European), the Golden Age of art and culture between 1871 and 1914, the defeat of fascism (yeah ok Americans kind of helped out there), the fall of the Iron Curtain and today our social safety nets (American-style health care has reached snarl word level in some countries) our ability travel freely and life wherever we want to in the EU and mulit-culturalism. A lot of those things are *ahem* "white things", and accordingly we could be white proud of ourselves. But we aren't, coz there are other white people out there, some of them needed a while longer… It's hard to put all white people under one hat and be proud, because we're fucking everywhere. --Raga Man (talk) 23:08, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
That might work if you left out the centuries of white people from Europe brutally establishing themselves as the dominant race throughout the world and pretty effectively creating all modern systems of racial oppression. That is the legacy of "white pride" outside of the Euro-American bubble. It is nothing to be proud of. Blue (is useful) 13:01, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Why do people always think just because you don't mention those things you want to ignore those things? --Raga Man (talk) 13:17, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh also, the typical European neighbourly nation-bashing "polish steal cars" "germans are always punctual" "french something something baguette" "italians never get their shit straight" "english people are weird" is more of a continental past time than serious racism, we still love each other very much. It's like saying black people like chicken. --Raga Man (talk) 23:12, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
What is it with Nazis and child porn anyway? Long live the international movement of the proletariat! (talk) 20:31, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Neighbour bashing isn't European, everybody does that. You know the stereotype of Nigerian scammers? That stereotype comes from their African neighbours, anybody in West Africa is familiar with the idea that a stereotypical Nigerian is a scammer. Like most stereotypes it's not entirely without foundation but of course hugely exaggerated. (talk) 09:28, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for attacking something I didn't even say. Now we know how it would have panned out if I would have wrote that. --Raga Man (talk) 19:28, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
You wrote "typical European neighbourly nation-bashing". I didn't attack anything, I observed a common error, the assumption that this behaviour is somehow "European" when in fact it happens everywhere as I illustrated. I thought that was interesting, you, apparently, feel attacked. Too bad. (talk) 11:15, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I did and it's supposed to read: typical European neighbourly | nation-bashing. As opposed to other continents bashing each other, or the same thing happening globally. It is a common problem in English, though. As there's no way to mark what adjective and adverb belongs to what (no genus and in this case no numerus) as soon as several of those are put together, problems arise — in such cases it is common sense to infer from context what is meant. From you pointing it out, I can tell that you think I'm an utter dumbass, as you infered that I mean something which is clearly not the case. Which is rather hilarious in this case, as you infered that a European on an mostly American website has no clue nation-bashing exists outside his own continent, when often, that guy himself takes partakes in nation bashing outside his own continent. But there's an even more fundemental mistake having to do with properties. Because "typical European" doesn't even mean "only happening in Europe" by a long shot. For example we can say "It is so typical of Marc to drink too much, now I've got to carry the fucker home". If we use the way you interpreted "typical" this means that only Marc drinks too much and nobody else in the world does, which is clearly wrong. This is a less common error. --Raga Man (talk) 13:17, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

See: Heaven and Hell. Then delete it or move it to Fun, if I didn't already write it there. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Moved to Fun:Heaven and Hell five minutes after creation. Onion Hi! :) 02:42, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Sci-Fi movie loving geeks[edit]

I don't know if you can see this; I didn't want to post the pic here cause it's copy written. But how many of these robots can you name? [5]. I can easily get over half of them, but there are many I have NO flipping idea about. --Green mowse.pngGodot 19:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

My robot knowledge is lacking. However, I'm happy to spot both Marvins, scutters, Kryten, tachikoma, Robbie, Twiggy, Dalek, Robot Bill & Ted. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 19:21, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
BOTH marvins? Ohhh... that might help. My dad nursed my bro and I on 50's black and white B-movies and TV. it's his passion, so I know some of the more obscure ones like the robot from the original Buck Rogers. --Green mowse.pngGodot 19:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, as a pedantic geek, I do have to point out that neither the cybermen or daleks are robots or droids. Otherwise, bloody good fun. Worrying that I could recognise so many of them, but name so few. Names, can never remember them. I think I spotted the bloody annoying robot from Waters of Mars, but can't see R Dorothy Wainwright in there...if anyone spots her, let me know.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 19:36, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Technically, the Henry vacuum cleaner isn't a robot either. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:53, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
(ec) There's a couple of gems lurking in there - Maximillian and Vincent from Black Hole, K-9, robot from Laputa, Gort, Cybermen. Damn, I think my evening plans just turned to shit. Ooh! And the oven robot from Wallace and Grommit. --PsyGremlinPraat! 19:37, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Bigger version here. I can only get a handful of them, although I remember Ludwig and probably haven't seen or heard mention of it in about 25 years. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The one I knew, that most people didn't was the Red Robot, near the right side, who was from an animated cult flick called "Wizards".--Green mowse.pngGodot 19:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Ohh, the robot maid from the Jetsons. Question, roughly left of center, 3ish rows down (as if there are rows), next to bill and ted is a black robot with a human looking head, looks a bit like rush limbaugh. anyone have an idea who that is? --Green mowse.pngGodot 19:53, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
That's Kryten from Red Dwarf. Thanks for spotting the Wizards robots. That movie was awesome. --PsyGremlinSpeak! 19:57, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah! Just spotted the Smash Martians. That took me back - 'For mash get Smash' . And Calculon - you know, I swear he wasn't there when I looked earlier, creepy. Oh this has made my day - Farscape! DRDs to be precise. Whoa, there's two K9s in there. That's brilliant.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 20:02, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Gawd, they even have Tor from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" in this (towards the top right corner, in the top row, three to the left of ED-209)--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 20:20, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The dice with the evil face (bottom right corner). I know I know that one, so it must be from kids tv, UK, early eighties, but I can't remember what it's called or what show it's from...--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 20:32, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Well fuck me, they are the Cubes from Terrahawks. An hour it's taken me to remember that. Loved that show...--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:16, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
As well as the evil cubes, there's also the really camp ball robot from Terrahawks in there as well. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 09:32, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm not seeing any robots from EarthBound. That makes me sad. Vulpius (talk) 21:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Wow, this is like a waltz through my childhood - just spotted Metal Mickey.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:26, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Nice to see Ludwig in there. But what about R. Daneel Olivaw? Sophiebecause liberals 22:29, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

answers Green mowse.pngGodot 23:47, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

The robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still was an inspiration for the starmen, Vulpius. But yeah, I was also sad to not see any clearer examples. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:48, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Just spotted Dot Matrix from SpaceBalls as well. I was expecting her virgin alarm to go off. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 09:36, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
The white robot with the green X's, is that from the old road safety videos? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 09:38, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Thanks to this poster and the "answers" sheet I managed to identify a half-remembered animated movie I've been looking for for quite some time - Starchaser: Legend of Orin. Now I only have to find out how to get it... --ZooGuard (talk) 13:35, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

You know it's a pretty comprehensive role-call when Screech's robot Kevin from Saved by the Bell is beaming out at you. On that note, anyone noticed any conspicuous absences? Was surprised the Styx Mr Roboto robot didn't get a look in. Grumblejaws (talk) 18:31, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Valid vs. sound philosophy from the a-unicornist.[edit]

This rationalist blogger notes there is a difference between a "valid" philosophical argument and a "sound" one. A valid argument only requires that the conclusion follows from the premises. If the premises are false, the conclusion doesn't have to be accepted.

For example the argument that the universe needs to have a Prime Mover (or First Cause) is undercut by relativity theory.

Thus a lot of the believer's apologetic appeal to the New Atheist's lacking philosophical sophistication is a bit of bluster and bluff, as much of their philosophy has bad premises to begin with. (Alvin Plantinga for example doesn't really understand the theory of evolution.)

The full post is here. [6].

Of course, there is also a lot of really bad apologetics which doesn't even rise to the level of "valid" mostly coming from fundamentalist writers. (There's a reason why Ayn Rand admired [without agreeing with] St. Thomas Aquinas, but held other Christian philosophers/theologians in more general contempt, notably St. Augustine.)--WickerGuy (talk) 22:27, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Glad to hear logic getting a look in when it comes to arguments/debates. For those curious, their definition of a sound argument is one where the premises are actually true (probably has to be valid as well) (talk) 02:32, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Constructing an internally consistent argument with totally rigged premises is the MO of apologetics, as well as a certain brand of economic theology. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:53, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

I feel sad[edit]

Why is it that I always lay a hand to the unpopular users here? First Rob, and now Brx. Mr. Anon (talk) 05:13, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Because your a good person? you just pick parasites. --il'Dictator Mikal 05:18, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Because everyone else prefers to just sit back and watch the fireworks?
But in all seriousness, save the random deletions for when he gets really annoying, Nutty. It's not like he's even around right now to appreciate it. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 05:21, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I do too, Anon, I appreciated what you did back there because I was stuck in a meeting and couldn't log on. Perhaps it's because we have a hard-on for due process but I can't speak for you. Speaking of parasites, Mikalos can you point me to a single page that you have recently made a decent contribution to? Tielec01 (talk) 06:45, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Above post was too harsh - Mikalos you make a valuable social contribution to the wiki. Tielec01 (talk) 06:50, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I call them a parasite because they consistently give reason for us to not like them but make no effort to improve this. as for my own contributions? Eh. --il'Dictator Mikal 06:53, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Someone who doesn't add to mainspace content but does say good things on talk pages isn't a parasite but a symbiont, n'est-ce pas? Sophiebecause liberals 07:44, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Following the parasite analogy, is a user who tries and fails to contribute a cancer? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 09:50, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
But in all those cases, you should always attempt to remove the foreign entity, even the benign cancer. If we can make the wiki more lean and mean by removing CP cruft, should we not do the same to non-contributing "members" that do nothing but waste precious bandwidth and storage space? Er... wait a minute, I'm digging my own grave here. --CoyoteSans (talk) 17:33, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
"benign cancer" is an oxymoron. Cancer is a malignant tumor. A lump is a benign one. I did lol at Stabby's "joke" though, she's a serious pain, and always seems to metastasize. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:20, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
"Er... wait a minute, I'm digging my own grave here."
You explained the joke. Shame on you. Nihilist 04:51, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
What's going on?--"Shut up, Brx." 12:07, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

There's going to be a new astronomical telescope[edit]

A decision is due later on where to site one of the great scientific projects of the 21st Century Proxima Centauri (talk) 15:35, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

It's bullshit. They waste god knows how much money on SA and Aus bidding for it, then decide to split it between the two. Welcome to the square 500m array. PsyGremlinSiarad! 16:09, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Though on two sites you can increase your baseline, because you don't need reflectors thousands of miles in diameter, you just need detectors that far apart. Scarlet A.pngsshole 16:14, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Wait, the whole thing is BS, Psy. or just you think they way they went about wasting money is the BS part. As in, it's going to happen, yes? and it's a good project? Or no.--Green mowse.pngGodot 16:36, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
No, I think the project is amazing, but we've been fucking around for something like 3 years with proposals and feasibility studies and crap, when they could have said they're sharing it right from the start. - Psy - too lazy to type ~ on my phone
And third world NZ gets a piece of the action. Though admittedly ours will be made from rocks and twigs. AceModerator 22:01, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
^^^ funny. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:16, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Not that up to speed with radio astronomy, but a question. What will this array achieve that isn't already being done with RadioAstron / Spektr-R? Since the distance between the receivers is the key element, then wouldn't that mean that Radioastron, with an orbital element with 390,000km apogee, is going to provide greater resolving power than a completely ground based system? --TheEgyptiansig001.png 00:38, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
AFAIK, Radioastron is under-utilized because of a) they can't handle the data for some reason and b) there are not enough ground stations to act as the other piece of the interferometer. Guess what the SKA can be used as. Also, it may be working on other wavelengths.--ZooGuard (talk) 08:58, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

MediaWiki extensions?[edit]

Could someone point me to the MediaWiki extensions list used by RW? As a personal experiment to start, I want to copy my CZ articles into a MediaWiki environment on a hosted server, and then experiment with some semantic extensions, particularly in tracing political networks. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:26, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Special:Version. Nihilist 22:38, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
The mediawiki-l mailing list is top stuff, by the way, and is read by the developers. I understand http://mwusers.com is not bad too - David Gerard (talk) 00:16, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Now that this topic is here, is there any walk-through for extension:vandalbreak? I tried it, and it borked my wiki.RandonGeneration (talk) 05:44, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
That would be "vandalbrake" wouldn't it? (Surprisingly, even Trent managed to spell that correctly.) The "vandalbreak" extension, as you have found, borks your wiki. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 10:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
He spells correctly when he has to actually name the stuff he invents. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:12, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
You dont say...RandonGeneration (talk) 21:30, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Facebook 404[edit]

Anybody else getting the weird "There is no site configured on this address" message when they try and get into Facebook? --PsyGremlinParlez! 10:23, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

No. And DFEOJM doesn't show a problem. Refresh your DNS.--ADtalkModerator 10:30, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

The RWF board need to read the Nonprofit Kit for Dummies[edit]

My review. Seriously, I needed to have read this book about 25 years ago. And five years ago, 'cos then Wikimedia UK version 1 would have succeeded rather than failing. Anyone else who's ever considered going near a charity should too. The book details US laws, but the basic framework for actually having your shit together is gold - David Gerard (talk) 00:13, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Is there a readable version of your blogpost/review somewhere? An executive summary, perhaps? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:14, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
"Readable"? Are you using a browser that can't handle WordPress or something? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:23, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
UG LIKE BOOK. BOOK GOOD. BUY BOOK. READ BOOK. APPLY BOOK. I realise one of the words there has two syllables, but if you spend a few days working up to it you should cope with only minor skull trauma - David Gerard (talk) 10:08, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Crazy Awesome Hungover Cure[edit]

I reckon combining two Aspirin with a Berocca in a big glass of vodka and red-bull would be the ultimate hangover cure. I might give it a shot next time Mrs McWicked is out of town. If anyone knows a way of mainlining bacon and eggs I would be set for the day. AceModerator 03:01, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

How safe is that? Osaka Sun (talk) 03:06, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
What? The hangover cure or injecting bacon and eggs? The hangover cure is probably fairly safe but injecting bacon and eggs into your bloodstream is probably...also quite safe. Remember though, you are talking to a guy that drank a shot of gin through his ear. AceModerator 03:11, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Completely safe. Needs a shot of tequila in there for completeness, though - David Gerard (talk) 10:09, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, yes. Good thinking DG. AceModerator 11:20, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
If you filter the grit out of it I'm pretty sure you can inject anything into you and not die. At least not instantly. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 10:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I discovered a sure-fire hangover cure last Friday night. I was attending my university's Summer Ball, celebrating having recently finished my degree. I got home at 2am, wanting to stay later but deciding to leave after falling asleep on some couches and long losing everyone I went with. I made it home and blundered into my back garden with the intention of smoking a cigar but instead fell over and vomited violently next to the disposable bbq we'd been using hours earlier, then ate a few painkillers before going to bed. The next day was spent in the garden drinking beer and working on an awesome tan. No hangover whatsoever. El TajDon't make me do stuff 10:58, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Don't fucking lie. You Brits can't tan - you have two colours: white and red. AceModerator 11:19, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
There's also blue. Either with woad or the English winter. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 16:26, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Ancient Britons
Never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Neck, or knees, or where you sit on,
That's only Celts - Scots, Welsh and Irish. The English tan very well. Those that can't are given a supply of fake tan by the government and moved to Essex. Besides, I have Spanish blood in me. El TajDon't make me do stuff 11:59, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Tans are for oompa loompas and the prematurely agedAMassiveGay (talk) 17:23, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Myths of Skepticism[edit]

By Mike Sofka. Fails to credit Duhem, Quine, or Lakatos in his formulation of falsification, though. Tsk tsk. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:52, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Though it is nice to see people get a bit beyond Popperian falsification, which I've always thought to be highly over-rated as a demarcation tool. Though, what is the point of Myth #6? Seems to be "personal experience is equally valid to reproducible and statistically relevant facts... so...?" Not sure. If anything, I'd replace that one with the myth that science is somehow a magical medium that affects only "science" type things. Science is based on learning about the world by daring to actually look at the world. In that respect, looking both ways and listening before crossing a road is as much science as sticking someone in an MRI system to look at their brain. If you build science up as something more powerful and mysterious than that, you simply perpetuate the idea that an individual's prejudices and experiences and biases are equally valid as more solidly collected facts: "I prayed to God, and then a tax rebate came, therefore God is real!". Scarlet A.pngmoral 10:33, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Interesting article but at some level I am not sure he was saying all that much. The falsification question is one that particularly interest me. I am bit on the opposite spectrum of Armondikov and have yet to ever see a real alternative that I think captures a better demarcation system. Yah it needs a touch of refinement, but a primary argument that seems to basically say that falsification is a bad demarcation "cause that is not house science is done" doesn't impressive me that much. I think folding it into a Bayesian type system solves most of the issues in the article. Everyone has a prior and choosing the prior can be messy and does have a direct effect on how we process probabilities for hypotheses. Single observations can only adjust our expectations of the truth of a hypothesis in proportion to how far off from expected data they are, otherwise its a conglomerate of observations that adjusts are probability weight. So P(D|H) is a very important term, which takes care of the crazy mystic too. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:06, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I simply don't think it's the be-all and end-all, especially in that naive form. A lot of fledgling skeptics treat it as some litmus test for what is "science" and what is "bunk" but I'm not sure that everyone really understands how to use it. If I'm sat with a few people hashing out reaction mechanisms, falsification is the last thing going to be on anyone's minds. We'll think of observable consequences to a particular hypothesis, but it won't be formalised in a Popperian way - are we pseudoscientists until that point? Clearly, its abuse as a hard-and-fast litmus test means we'd never get anywhere because there'd be no way we were allowed through the proto-science stage - string theory and loop quantum gravity, for instance. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
As a litmus test its about separating out "science" not sorting into one of two categories. If a hypothesis can not make predictions that are observable (technical limitations or otherwise) it fails the litmus test as it should. But what it is after that is open to debate. String theory and loop quantum gravity are not testable hypotheses (yet at least) and are not science. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:09, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Yet they actually do have observable quantities - one predicts minute wavelength dependent differences in the speed of light, for instance. But saying they're "not science" puts them in a different category to the reciprocal system, as the reciprocal system does make observable statements - it's just that Satz backpeddles like crazy every time he's wrong and formulates things ass backwards. The difference is staggering, yet this falsifiability litmus test (based on Popperian demarcation) would make Ron Satz's work "science" and stuff done by Brian Greene and Michio Kaku as "not science". Scarlet A.pngbomination 21:24, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
But when has a theory that can explain any given result ever "passed" a falsification litmus test? Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:45, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Falsification is much more important, I think, in social sciences. For fields like physics, theoretical derivation has worked well enough. Do the same thing in the social sciences and you get, say, pretty much all of pre-20th century anthropology and history or theoclassical economics. It is handy, though, if you intend on starting an academic cargo cult. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 10:52, 29 May 2012 (UTC)