RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive164

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Raving man-hatred from Charlie Brooker[edit]

The feminist campaign to suppress vidya games gets worse by the day. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:03, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

his intense paradox often caused gender studies students who encountered the Ms. Pac-Man cabinet to suffer such cognitive dissonance they fell to the ground, fitting and flapping like panicking fish. Arcade owners had to shove sticks with rags tied round them into their mouths to stop them chewing their own tongues off and distracting people from their game of Q-Bert. I'm going to print out a huge A2 picture of Ms. Pac-Man and present it to the gender studies students I know. YouTube infamy, here I come! Scarlet A.pngtheist 00:35, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
They'll love this shit then...AceModerator 00:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand this kind of argument. What does Brooker want? No more games? It's a media form, not going to happen. I don't get people who are content to whine about how horrible things are yet then don't bother to 1) understand the history and climate of what they're whining about so they have a place to start, 2) actually have a plan for change rather than THIS IS BAD IT SHOULD BE GONE. I agree that as a female gamer, a lot of things in it feels like falling down some misogynist stairs. But I do believe, not really as a feminist but as a journalist and a supporter of media, the solution is never to be progressive rather than regressive. Burning anything that freaks you out is pretty much the least progressive thing one can do; it doesn't show us what a better idea is, it just screams BAD and tosses it out a window. Is that what Brooker wants? Or did Brooker just not think this through? ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRcritical thinking is the key to success! 01:22, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Wow, i totally took something different from his article. I think he was pointing out a reality that people who are casual in gaming do not really notice or see, especially what goes on in forums and gatherings. I think he was showing how god awful it can get to women who step in to review or criticize it. I think the way you get things to change, is by highlighting what's wrong. I don't agree with you that journalists should be offering solutions, or they'd be in management or politics or something. Journalists are talented for finding what people don't know, exposing it, and explaining it if possible. They aren't there to fix it. --Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 01:26, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually, as a journalism major, I have an intense investment in the freedom and state of media, including depictions of gender and other such things. How people read, react, and accept such things is actually paramount to my studies and future work. The first step to change is exposure, discussion, and availability of information. Yes, we have to remain neutral on news stories, but news is not the only thing journalists do: and the environment in which we write and report is very, very important. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRsufficiently advanced argument still distinguishable from magic 01:54, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
This article is comment, not news, and you seem to have missed the point of it. Brooker isn't advocating banning or burning anything; he's questioning why portrayals of women in video games continue to be so one-dimensional, and blaming the gaming industry for pandering to a vocal minority (at least according to Brooker) who are aggressively chauvinistic and resistant to change and who tend to dominate gaming forums etc. I don't see why you would think his argument is unprogressive. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:38, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Since when are characters in video games supposed to be realistic? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:50, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I dont think anyone's saying that they are, but accepting that something is provided as fantasy and for entertainment doesn't mean that we shouldn't question how it portrays its characters and what messages are implied (deliberately or otherwise). See Q0's comments below on porn etc. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:35, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
It's out right demeaning, Listerner. You go on and on trying to show that "nothing is as bad is you are making it", and "boy and girls all have it bad", and basically in an "intellectual voice" of yours, "quit whining". I don't have kids, but I've long known if i did have girls, they'd be raised on Ghibli movies and not Disney, where girls solve problems, and are not just pretty pouting faces. I'd not let them play any video games, cause again, what they see, they parrot, and in video games they see the girls as either sex toys who shoot at things, or "help me" plot points. they are not in and of themselves, entities. (apparently Laura Croft was an exception). Much TV is the same way, though you can find strong rich women characters - they just tend to get cut or the shows taken down, cause they aren't selling to the LCD as mentioned below. You are now denying this is a reality on 5 pages. At what point do you stand down and actually think about what it is like to be a 4 year old girl compared to a 4 year old boy? It's our society, it's our world, and we'll complain and talk about it and brain storm it till it changes. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:20, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
...and basically in an "intellectual voice" of yours... If I were to use a non-"intellectual" voice, not only would I not have a hope in Hades of convincing you of anything, but it would be very difficult to address your points properly — non-"intellectuals" (the "LCD" to which you refer) are by and large unconcerned with this question, since they have the complete and utter gall to have different tastes from people with postnominals.
I don't have kids, but I've long known if i did have girls... I suspect you would be whistling a different tune in short order; as many other parents have discovered, shielding their offspring from the Big Nasty World in that way proves remarkably ineffective.
It's out right demeaning... It is very easy to say that one is offended. It is slightly, but not overwhelmingly, more difficult to trot out broadsides of bullshit as an attempt at rationalization. The real art of that game, though, is making said bullshit correlate tolerably well with the facts; an area in which the moral scolds of the Religious Right score an "epic fail," and those who yelp the loudest about the media's "demeaning" of women do not exactly have a stellar track record either.
At what point do you stand down and actually think about what it is like to be a 4 year old girl compared to a 4 year old boy? When I was four, my chief concern was not dribbling spaghetti-sauce on my shirt when I ate Spaghetti-Os. I cannot say, from first-hand experience, whether four-year-old girls have substantially different concerns. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:54, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Brooker is only a "journalist" because he writes in a newspaper. He is employed as a columnist and pundit, and has no duty to be impartial or neutral. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 08:20, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
The problem has a lot to do with backward notions of sexuality and the human body in general. There's something enjoyable about drawing what you're attracted to, especially when it's so taboo. In Japan, there's an entire genre of games aimed at this very idea (see: Eroge), but even then the art is heavily censored. Indeed, sexual and gender repression there have long caused a significant amount of these games to focus on rape. And it's not just in the gaming industry; anyone who's watched even a moderate amount of anime knows that western video games are tame in comparison. Outside of Japan, this seems to manifest more in the porn industry. While western porn isn't usually overtly about rape, it's often disgustingly domineering.
There's another side of the story where 'sex sells'. This has been happening ever since the 90s when gaming magazines started having the same kind of full-page ads you'd see in other magazines - except in this case, it was usually an in-game character. There is a significant section of the gaming community that understands that gaming itself is being ruined by large corporations who are only in it to make money, and I think you'll find that the advertising reflects that. If there was little pressure on games to sell, and rather on their actual quality, there would be a hell of a lot less sexualized characters, and game designers would pander a lot less to the least common denominator.
On a side note about realism, men depicted in most video games are wildly unrealistic themselves. It's not a one-way street, though I understand why the focus is on female characters. Also, there's some quote I'm blanking on, but it's along the lines of 'If you want to change the art of a society, you need to change the society itself.'. Basically, looking at art can be a good way to determine what's wrong in a society - which may not be expressed otherwise - but censoring that art is not going to cure what ails it. Q0 (talk) 09:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Curiously, one of the things that "ail society" is the notion that criticism equals censorship...--ZooGuard (talk) 10:13, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
You'll notice I was talking about actual censorship in my post, which was itself a criticism. Q0 (talk) 13:18, 20 June 2012 (UTC)


Can someone do something please? TheShade (talk) 01:58, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Specifics? VOXHUMANA 02:04, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Ach, somebody got 'em :) TheShade (talk) 02:05, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
German porn, some spam shows up in the oddest sites. --il'Dictator Mikal 02:08, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
One time some Russian "spam" actually turned out to be weird anti gay rambling. Тytalk 12:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Teen child porn[edit]

This is not new, it's barely news, but another teen was charged with possessing child porn cause he or she had a picture of their naked girlfriend. totally unrelated case, a teen was convicted of child porn *distribution* cause she sent HER OWN PICTURE to her also underage boyfriend. Good grief, Charlie Brown! --Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 02:47, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

They still do that?--il'Dictator Mikal 03:12, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Convicted? What Jury would convict that? I demand cites. ONE / TALK 11:51, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd have to ask the wife if she'd run that in the UK. I suspect it is in the public interest to prosecute if an underage person is distributing naked pictures of themself, as they could eventually end up in the general distribution of paedophiles, so it's something they would want to discourage. If a teenager was caught with naked pictures of themself on their phone / computer but, I dunno, had them encrypted or password protected and hadn't given them to anyone then I suspect they wouldn't run it. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 12:26, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I think it's a good idea to discourage teenagers from sharing naughty pictures of themselves, which is probably part of the point, but this seems like using h-bombs to swat flies. MDB (talk) 12:35, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I guess it depends on the sentence. Over here they would be tried in the youth courts which are notoriously lenient, so they'd probably just get a slap on the wrist. I presume in 'merca the kids would get 20 years in jail? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 12:40, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
We're not that strict! The sentence would involve flogging. MDB (talk) 12:57, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
The real fun with this is that, the law (and adults) says they aren't old enough to make sexual decisions for themselves, but they are old enough to be persecuted for making a sexual decision for themselves. Yes, they don't get it yet, that's why we have to punish them if they do, because they are not supposed to. --Rutherford (talk) 13:10, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
The problem with the "news" about these pics is that site like Huffpo (where i got this from) talk about the arrests or charges, cause its sensational, but don't follow up. So we never know if the charges were dropped, if they were reduced, if a judge looked at the charges and said "are you fucking kidding me, she sent them to her own boy friend", or of a jury found them guilty and sentanced them to 20 years. (I'm guessing that never happened, since we would likely hear about that). In reality, you can charge someone with ANYTHING if you can even find a shread of reason to do so. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 14:54, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
A friend of mine was done for basically this from what I can gather from actual facts. Yet everyone on Facebook then started harassing his sister calling him a sick fuck that should burn in hell etc. etc. etc. We have the COPINE scale for a reason. You can't just lump every instance of "underage" sexual activity with the very worst! If anything it just diminishes the severity of worst of it. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:38, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

I asked the wife about this, and she said that while she's not an expert on the subject she wouldn't run it, and if she was doing the charging advice she'd tell the coppers to drop it. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:25, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

My favourite shit, 20 June 2012[edit]

I've decided to create a regular list of the RW stuff I saw in the last week that I liked. No matter the size of the community, it's nice to try and give a bit of recognition. So using no valid criteria other than "I liked it", here's the first edition of My favourite shit (20 June 2012) VOXHUMANA 08:46, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Cool round-up, and in fact I've learned something! Sometimes I feel like I've been editing this place so long I know everything like the back of my hand... wait, has that mole always been there? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:06, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
There's Obscure Goat Monthly, but it seems that nobody noticed it and it's mostly abandoned.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:33, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Cool, I dug around for something like that and couldn't find anything. A pity it fizzled out - maybe it will get started again one day. VOXHUMANA 12:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
It's a very useful idea, but we're at the transition stage between such a thing being very useful and being totally useless, so it's difficult to get started. Scarlet A.pngbomination 15:42, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd get round to doing it again if I remembered, but there have to be more contributors than one or two. Seme Blue 16:10, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Similarly, my problem is remembering. It's not like I can schedule it in very easily. Scarlet A.pngtheist 00:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Things like this tend to start small, and then build. My little project may help create an "expectation", which then allows projects like Obscure Goat to really get off the ground. (Or it may amount to nothing). My list requires no cooperation or coordination, so it's low risk from my perspective. It has had nearly 100 views, and (more importantly) it dramatically boosted the view numbers for the articles I listed, so I'm very happy with the result so far. VOXHUMANA 01:08, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Hey, I just noticed your kind words about my (not-so-)little essay. Thank you! MDB (talk) 12:04, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Not a problem and my pleasure. It was a great read. VOXHUMANA 12:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

And you referred to one of mine as "clever shit". Me gusta. Scarlet A.pngbomination 14:29, 21 June 2012 (UTC)


Well, kind of - Exoplanets to scale. Or one of those colour-blindness tests.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Oh good, we get to have a discussion about this (it's been up at WIGO blogs). It's neat, but "this is an exciting time" is going a bit too far. It would be an exciting time if we could get past the bullshit here on planet Earth, stop fighting each other like idiots, and focus our efforts on space and discovery. Q0 (talk) 16:30, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
You see, the unspoken rider to that sentence is '…and fight other exo-species like idiots.' Which, depressingly, is what we would almost certainly do, given that human history, or at least the recorded bits, seem to consist of bullshit, fighting each other like idiots, and developing technologies that allow us to fight each other as a more advanced class of idiot.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 19:01, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
" Humans took a long time to fully develop methods of preserving history, and so much of their past is only remembered by what methods of war were currently being waged and what ores were in use for weapons." ~ anonymous--il'Dictator Mikal 19:09, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, progress! These days our fully developed methods of preserving history now detail which polymers and silica blends we like to use in weapons. Plus, of course, our latest methods of preserving history are also being used in warfare. Suppose it beats the days when you subjected your enemies to a round of papyrus scrolls before you charged into them. Then again, maybe not. Maybe I'm being a bit cynical. Mmmm, actually, no, I like to think of it as being realistic.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 20:33, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

"Goatse spam stopgap"[edit]

This filter is blocking every account I try to create. What gives? --Benod (talk) 03:01, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Try it now. Тytalk 03:19, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
That did the trick, thanks. --NotASockOfBenod (talk) 03:49, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Gotye spam would be pretty awesome, though. --Kels (talk) 04:18, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 04:46, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
That one's good, but I actually like Bronte better. --Kels (talk) 04:50, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Why does the USA need an army?[edit]

The US Navy is MUCH MUCH MUCH more important than the US Army.

The USA is surrounded by 2 huge oceans. 71% of the Earth's surface is water.

I think the money spent on the army each year should instead go to the navy. (talk) 10:00, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm so glad you've raised this here, because we are regularly consulted on US defense policy. The answer is that if the USA didn't have an army then they wouldn't have anything to hang their handy from. VOXHUMANA 10:12, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Moonshot, is that you? Please, log in when you post. To the others - Troll.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Moonshot??? (talk) 10:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

You are either User:Moonshot926, or someone who has the same interests, exhibits the same behaviour and is using the same computer. Please don't play dumb.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:46, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, if you want to start invading foreign countries like Iraq you kind of need an army. I suppose if you got an aircraft carrier going full throttle you might almost be able to hit dry land with it before it's grounded, but it's sort of hard to control a country from a few hundred yards away. This holds more true for Afghanistan. DickTurpis (talk) 11:10, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

And with all the USA's current financial trouble, you just know someone's gotta be drawing up a plan to loot Switzerland. VOXHUMANA 11:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Too far away. I have two words of advice for the next President: mug Canada. MDB (talk) 11:34, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
You can't pay your debts with maple syrup! Believe me, I've tried. --Kels (talk) 14:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I thought the navy was being disbanded, now that gay service people can serve openly.  ;-) Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:30, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I never understood why none of the countries took the least expensive approach to ensuring 100% safety: build a few dozen nuclear ICBMs and/or a few ICBM-armed submarines, disband all other armed forces, publicly announce that any armed action against the country will result in a nuclear strike. Result: instant dramatic reductions of military spending and absolute immunity to invasion. For example, UK could retire all of its armed forces except the Vanguard-class submarines. --Tweenk (talk) 18:09, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Because MAD can only go so far in deterring rouge states and terrorists? --il'Dictator Mikal 18:17, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
MAD only works when your enemies are sane. The entire point of, say, terrorist actions by groups rather than nation states is that you can't mount conventional warfare against them. How are you going to deal with a domestic terrorist? Nuke their hometown? Even still, the "we will shoot you and the man next to you" also only works when your opponents are sane. Or at least can be found. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 18:24, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
It should be rather obvious that a conventional military is horribly inefficient at dealing with terrorism, especially when we look at the cost-to-effect ratio. Domestic terrorism is dealth with far more effectively by the police force and intelligence. International terrorism - as long as it's in another country, it's theoretically no longer your business. But even if it is, it's better to use military intelligence and drone strikes (hardly a conventional technology).
I'm aware that the main argument against my strategy is that the opponent could be batshit crazy. I find it hard to accept the possibility that there is a person that would be that crazy and at the same time sufficiently sane to become a leader of an organization capable of posing a real threat. (Aside: Let's face it, a "rogue state" will not launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on anyone; despite what conservatives in the U.S. say, this is all merely posturing to score political points at home - and in the case of North Korea, extort some more food aid). --Tweenk (talk) 19:43, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
"I find it hard to accept the possibility that there is a person that would be that crazy and at the same time sufficiently sane to become a leader of an organization capable of posing a real threat."--il'Dictator Mikal 19:59, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
The only reason the 9/11 attacks were not prevented was the complete lack of information exchange between the CIA and the FBI. I don't see how having an army would be relevant in this case. --Tweenk (talk) 00:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
You said you couldn't believe somebody could be crazy enough and yet sane enough to lead an organization that could be a credible threat. I provided you with an event where all three happened. --il'Dictator Mikal 01:29, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I would say that having a standing army is worthwhile just because it pisses off hardcore libertarians </kidding>--"Shut up, Brx." 21:00, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
It's easier to understand why we have a standing army once you get to grips with what that army actually is. Mostly the army is an entire parallel society, largely independent (at least in the short term) of civilian society and not only able, but legally obliged to go wherever it is sent and do whatever it is tasked to do. It has its own firefighters, chefs, social workers, engineers, etc. The same skills that let you land on the beach of an enemy island and within the week have built new bridges, a working freight dock, a repair yard for vehicles, a fuel depot, a hospital and so on, also work if instead of being in the hands of some coherent enemy the land you arrived in is hostile for entirely natural reasons, like a volcano just erupted there and destroyed all the infrastructure, or disease killed 90% of the people and left the remainder weak and desperate. Large conscript armies really aren't much use for more than fighting wars with your immediate neighbours, but a professional army is a versatile tool, albeit an expensive one. (talk) 21:46, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
"I suppose that in any well-ordered society people like us would be locked up or shot. But then you would have to get people like us to do the locking up and the shooting." — Jim Morris (US Army Special Forces)--il'Dictator Mikal 21:52, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
If the primary real role of a conventional army is emergency response, then make it explicit policy and invest the defense money in equipment that is useful in such situations. Buy some cargo airplanes and helicopters, amphibious APCs, military bulldozers, mobile bridges, diesel generators, maybe even helicopter / aircraft carriers; don't bother with anything that shoots ammunition: tanks, fighter jets, ground support aircraft, minelayers, attack submarines, etc. You could remove most of the really expensive weapon-only equipment and still have all the advantages. I'm not sure how much of a difference in spending this would make, but I'm guessing it could be significant. --Tweenk (talk) 00:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Considering the point is to spend the money, that'd still be a bad idea... yeah, yeah, yeah, you can spend it on construction projects, education and health, but, hey, BIG GUNZ YEE HAW!!!!Scarlet A.pngtheist 00:32, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's one of the practical problems. The other is that any country wishing to use this strategy would be labeled a rogue state. I sometimes feel the non-proliferation movement is an American-financed exercise in hypocrisy. --Tweenk (talk) 00:51, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Setting aside whether or not you agree with the campaigns themselves, how would the UK have been able to use nothing but its nuclear deterrent in Bosnia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Libya? Ajkgordon (talk) 10:56, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
The deterrent-only strategy is based on the assumption that the only goal is defense against external threats (invasion). It is fundamentally incompatible with foreign interventionism. If your assumptions are different, e.g. you absolutely need to 'set things right' abroad or you are at a high risk of a domestic insurgency, then the strategy will obviously not work. If a country pursued this strategy, it would simply not participate in any foreign peacekeeping missions, except in non-combat roles (e.g. airlift, engineering corps, humanitarian relief). --Tweenk (talk) 18:04, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
So a purely academic strategy, not one for the world in which the UK find itself. That's all very well and good, but surely you can actually understand why countries such as the UK don't pursue that policy, yes? Ajkgordon (talk) 11:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course I do understand (more or less) why nobody is using it. The nuclear-armed countries are not content with merely defending themselves, while the rest would never be allowed to do this by the major players. The strategy mostly serves to prove that the usual reasons given for spending gigabucks on defense projects (protection from some vaguely defined military threat to the homeland) are false. --Tweenk (talk) 17:27, 22 June 2012 (UTC)


Why do I keep reading this section's title as "Why does the USA need an enema?" MDB (talk) 18:15, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

This town needs an enema! --Kels (talk) 18:32, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Clever girls[edit]

In light of the above discussion about what misogynistic arseholes the males here at RW are, I decided to start writing articles about "smart chicky-babes". I've got a working page happening (User:Voxhumana/WomSci) and have written one article so far (Sophie Germain). I'd like to also create a category for these articles. I was thinking of "Brains AND tits" but then thought perhaps the fairer sex members could come up with something more appropriate. VOXHUMANA 12:37, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I lack a picture of Fry from Futurama to put here. So, I don't spend much time on this stuff, but I'm fairly sure that "See, women can be smart and attractive" isn't considered to be the state of the art in gender equality. Likewise references to "the fairer sex" can probably be shelved along with using "kids" to refer to anyone under 40. "Brains AND tits" is about as tasteful as a "Dicks of Science" category featuring scientists named Richard. (talk) 13:20, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
And we have a winner... Oh dear, I hate having to explain humour. Given that I'd just spent four hours actually "doing something" about the parlous state of recognising the contribution of women to rationality, and in response to the assumption we are all mysogynists, I attempted to be ironic in my above statement. I presumed that people would be smart enough to see through the feigned idiocy in my above statement to the actual genuine desire to achieve something. I'm sorry you failed to see that. VOXHUMANA 14:23, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I spotted the irony. I just suppose it's not something everyone feels you should "joke" about because people do use that sort of attitude seriously, and joking just perpetuates it. Besides, it took a while to scrub off all the "ANN COULTER IS HAWT!!!!" shite. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:27, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
But there was a good reason scrub all that because she isn't. Vulpius (talk) 14:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
My failed humour aside, any ideas for a category title? VOXHUMANA 14:46, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, obviously Ann Coulter looks like a foot, but the point is that it shouldn't matter. Sean Manchester looks like a swollen testicle but no one says it out loud. Anyway, no idea about a category. How about just categorise them as what they actually do, rather than the fact they happen to be female? Scarlet A.pngsshole 14:59, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I think it's tempting to make such an article, and I'm not against it, per say, but admittedly, I'm with Armondikov that I'd rather just wirte articles about rationalists, and make a serious effort. The Atheist page doesn't mention one woman. I am not into Atheism (cap A), the "movement", but I have to assume that there are female voices out there with some status similar to a PZ Myers, if not Hitch and Dawkins. It's the fact that we see women as part of our world, rather than a seperate group of also rans, and "worth mentioning" that really makes you start to feel included. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:24, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd put Eugenie Scott on the same, if not slightly higher, than PZ Myers. Her work is definitely something you shouldn't suffix with "...for a woman". Scarlet A.pnggnostic 16:18, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I fully support a "Dicks of Science" category. Q0 (talk) 16:25, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Being sexist in an "ironic" way is kinda like hipsters being racist in an "ironic" way. It's not funny, it's not clever, and it is very offputting. "Ironic" sexism is virtually identical to real sexism; it only works in a group of close friends who know each other well. In other contexts, it's just tiresome. RationalWiki is one of those other contexts, essentially. Not to mention it gets really... annoying when people try to show that "I'm so clever and not sexist, lookit me parodying sexism". I could expand on it a lot more, but really, it should be obvious. Ironic sexism and racism is mostly just alienating to a lot of the people affected by actual racism and sexism. Dendlai (talk) 17:29, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Voxhumana, I think everybody got that you were being jokey, but it's still hard to see what you're actually getting at. What do you actually mean by "smart chicky-babes"? If it's just "women who have achieved something", that's a pretty broad category, and also smacks of rather patronising tokenism (so really just "clever girls"). I don't think a category is particularly helpful on this issue. It might be more useful to have articles on related subjects such as "women working in the sciences"(although that's still pretty broad), but such an article should properly look at their experiences as women scientists (e.g. prejudices and glass ceilings they face & in some cases overcome) rather than just a list of women scientists & what they are known for. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:37, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

There are a lot of ideas these discussions have been generating for me. I'd love to do something like "glass ceiling and woo". How real is it? The republicans say it doesn't matter cause women work for choice while men are the real breadwinners. Should the fact that I choose to have a child (and unlike my spouse, must necessarily take 2 weeks - 4 months off, depending on the physical toll of the pregnancy and labor) effect my right to an equal salary? Should women be penalized for wanting kids, or should they play on a fair ground with men and if they want to be the Top Dog, they sacrifice children? I really think articles like this could keep us focused as Rational Wiki, but at the same time, address a few of the issues we are talking. "women and science" might be good as well. NOt a list of women scientists, but a discussion of the reality (if it even *is* a reality) of girls being pushed out of science as youngsters, or women having to work twice as hard to get jobs. I'm really excited we are talking and not doing the name calling stuff. cause there's lots of intersting things comming out of this discussion, even if we don't go and implement any "women focused" changes. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 16:47, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually, maybe the best place to start would be an article on glass ceilings in general. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:36, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I am tempted to seek out Delusions of Gender. The thesis is that pretty much all science purporting to show intrinsic brain differences per gender has been ludicrous pseudoscience with tiny sample sizes and a lack of reproducibility. Given how shit quite a lot of science is, this is depressingly plausible - David Gerard (talk) 23:10, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I think that's becoming the consensus of most rational scholars of the area. You must accept that there will be differences, because hormones cause physical changes in the brain and body. But the question is "in what area?" and "how significant are they". As you siad, so far no valid study has show that women think differently from men on a biological level, though they do after 5 years of socialization.  :-) Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 00:17, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The questions I ask to these issues (gender and intelligence, race and intelligence, etc) are: What makes this research necessary in the place of other research that could be done, and what are the implications of the research even if you were to actual find some substantial difference? The result seems obvious. Q0 (talk) 11:26, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
My first instinct is that largly, these studies and research are there cause they can be. Science has a habit that i rather like, of looking at everything and anything, and just sorta poking things with a stick and see what bites. The troubling aspect of such studies is the ramifications of how they are used. A study showing that men and women are different - and despite the current trend that 'we are the same', I'm dubious. Hormones alone should suggest that the brain will be somewhat different, if not radically different -- a study showing that we are different will be necessarily used by someone, somewhere to say "we are justified in doing X". Same with race. We know "by looking" that body shapes are different, it's probably likely there are some subtle mind differences. The fact that some idiot will use studies to further his or her own agenda shouldn't be a bar for research, though. Just a reason for more pages like this, where we help people use rationality to eval any claims! Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 14:27, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Many of them don't start out as sex-differences studies -- it's often an attempt to salvage a study that failed to find anything. Run a bunch of post-hoc tests until you get some kind of correlation and it's off to peer-review you go! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:16, 22 June 2012 (UTC) Ed. to add: If you want to see the bottom of the barrel, there's the infamous vervet study. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:23, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Good to know that female Vervets still know their place is in the kitchen! Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:48, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Weaseloid/Godot etc - Obviously to start with I'm of the opinion that these articles have a place here regardless of gender (Curie, Germain, Levi-Montalcini, etc, are titans of rational thought, period). As far as an article category - yes, one option is to just treat these articles as no different to any other, (ie. Marie Curie goes under "physicists", etc). But that bothers me as it fails to give due recognition to their "trailblazing" efforts of these women. Historically women have had to overcome enormous prejudices to be taken seriously, and is it appropriate for RW to simply gloss over that? We recognise pioneers and trail-blazers on all sorts of other criteria, eg. Hillary and Everest, Cook and Australia/NZ. Of course, the alternative could be interpreted as patronising tokenism, which is certainly not what I want either. On a different topic, addressing the "Glass ceiling" topic will be very worthwhile. VOXHUMANA 23:55, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

It seems as if the EU is just as bad. (PZ's take on it.) --PsyGremlinZungumza! 16:19, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Dear fucking god. So... science is admittely a BOY thing, and trying to attract girls, we'll actually market to men, so they see why it's so cool to have girls around?????????????Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 16:46, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I'm sure 12-18 year old teenage girls really care about the exploitation of young looking twenty-somethings to market to men... It's called advertising, not reality. --Rutherford (talk) 16:57, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The BBC, i think, gets it though. IN the last few docus I've watched, from Horizon to nature shows they have used women as the host. And not "hot women for the sake of ratings', but actual real live PHDs. They have pretty stylish white young women, and several asian women, and at least one black women all putting their smarts first. looks (if at all) long second! And having the Teen Dream (if that rag is still out there) Cover Guy Brian Cox, can't help but get 13 year old girls interested int science.  ;-)Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 17:07, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
@Rutherford - it's not advertising, either. Since the target audience to get girls into science is 12-18, and that commerical is targeted to MEN. Not girls. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 17:07, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
At some level it is also targeted at teen girls, by appealing to same tired Barbie-doll notions of female glamour that are sold to women & girls from an early age. In this context, the message (if there is any) is a real bugger's muddle: encouraging girls to break out of traditional gender roles by clumsily reinforcing them? WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:27, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
So... as soon as a model or moderator with a degree has looks it is clearly geared toward men??? Because free women don't care about their looks? Also putting pretty girls in that spot shows young girls that you can (can is key here) even if you're a scientist, now that might be clear to us but hav you taken a look at school science teachers? --Rutherford (talk) 17:18, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Did you even watch the video? It's just a fashion/music video intercut with some snapshots of test tubes & microscopes. I can't see any kind of serious message about looks & science degrees in here. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:27, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The message is underlying. Just by cutting the two together the two are interconnected. It's a "You can be girly and into science", not the usual "If you want to succeed in a men's world you have to act like one" bullshit that is sold to women for decades. --Rutherford (talk) 17:34, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, the "If you want to succeed in a men's world you'll need supermodel looks, lipstick and stilettos" bullshit is so much more liberating. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:43, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you know the stereotypes involved. --Rutherford (talk) 18:18, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Like what? WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:27, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Think about how many sandwiches you could have made instead of arguing about this bullshit. Occasionaluse (talk) 17:56, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

I assume it has occurred to you that we rather LIKE discussing this stuff or we wouldn't argue.  :-) I don't know the last time I argued if the new Samsung on the Andriod platform will be worth the money of the required data plan. But as much as i see that argument on the internet, i'm assuming it must be a truly compelling topic. :-)Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 18:22, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

CBeebies: a Masonic paedophile ring[edit]

Are you twelve? Ajkgordon (talk) 22:32, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
You'd be amazed at how often I'm asked that, you really would. Balaam (talk) 07:30, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

On the RW misogynist testosterone-filled ultra scandal[edit]

Based on the 3 separate discussions in the past two days in the Saloon Bar, I'd like to make a few suggestions:

  1. Move everything related into a forum thread so we don't get this entire place cluttered (I'd do it myself but laziness has kicked in)
  2. Stop debating about what's actually wrong and start doing something about it. Godot is right, our articles of female atheists/skeptics are close to zilch while there's nine of them already suggested in the to do list. Same thing goes for feminism, three requests to expand our coverage on its variants and we haven't budged. Even create a template on feminism if it's not enough. Cover the aspects that deserve to be commended and mock the ones that are bullshit, we're RationalWiki, for Christ sakes. *drink*
  3. Forget about the drama queen that is Cathy Brennan, I wouldn't be surprised if she advocated banning suffrage for transgender/transsexuals if it somehow made a positive contribution to women's rights. She's already harassed one of our Moderators and will probably do it again. A hateful twit in her own right. Osaka Sun (talk) 00:44, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I have already started working on feminism.--ADtalkModerator 06:27, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

For the UKians[edit]

Tehmizzus just sent me the Chav's Prayer:

Our father, who are in prison
Mother knows not his name
Thy chavdom come, thy shoplifting will be done
in JJB sports as it is in poundland
Give us this day our welfare bread
And forgive us our ASBOs,
as we happy slap those who give evidence against us
And lead us not into employment
But deliver us free housing
For thine is the chavdom
The Burberry and the Blackberry
For ever and ever,

CrundyTalk nerdy to me 09:13, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

For thine is the Chatham? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 09:36, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Critique of RationalWiki[edit]

The esteemed Cathy Brennan took RW to task today, calling us a "known manarchist bro space". The criticism that we are a boy's club goes all the way back to Essay:Gender and Sysops and beyond. Is this true, one; two, is it something we should change; and three, how might we go about it? Seme Blue 21:12, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

1. Yes. 2. Yes. 3. Invite female skeptics you know. --Rutherford (talk) 21:18, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes there are more men. No we shouldn't introduce any sort of "diversity policy" outside invite all you know. if woman want to join they'll join. AceModerator 21:21, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
What is "manarchist"? Anyway, I think there is a difference between "a gender imbalance in the userbase" and "known manarchist bro space". At the very least, I suspect that Brennan would use the same snarl words for anything that criticises her, one way or the other.
Oh, and I had a look at Radfeminist Scorpion. I am really tempted to mention some cooking vessels...--ZooGuard (talk) 21:31, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh yeah, totally, we all hate women here (eyeroll) so much that we don't bother to include articles such as gender and birth control and abortion and sexual revolution and sexism and...oh...those links aren't red, wait a sec... -- Seth Peck (talk) 21:47, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
No idea. It's something that has worried me. But I don't think there's anything we could do to change it, and I am happy that we have many editors who are sharp and clever about gender issues. It's good to keep a weather eye out for criticism, though.--ADtalkModerator 21:54, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Spam the Geek Feminism wiki. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:56, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure why anyone should listen to this bigot. AMassiveGay (talk) 22:12, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Criticism from people who are butthurt about what's been written about them at RW tends not to be particularly well informed. Cathy Brennan's comments obviously relate to the fact that RW isn't saying what she wants to hear about gender issues, radical feminism, transgenderism, or Cathy Brennan herself; not to any serious attention to community demographics. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:15, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Sighs... Brennan's right.--Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 22:39, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
How so? Are we harassing lesbians too much or not harassing transsexuals enough? €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:49, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I thought we went over this already. --Rutherford (talk) 22:44, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Do you seriously want to know? Do you honestly care? or are you just saying it cause you think that since you include women's issues, you are inclusive? Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 22:52, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, teh "sigh" was about the fact that this place *is* largely how she described it. That 10 commentators had a point, and only two of them (blue and I) were women. That like many things in "intellectual space" there's lots of talk about women's roles, but it's done by people other than women. To me -- I would have thought one of you might have said, instead of offering your view on how women see this place, "let's as Godot or Knight or Dumpling". I try not to bring this up too often, except in private to some people who I can express it to, but this place seeps testosterone. And it is hard for a woman to butt in. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 22:51, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
What can we do?--ADtalkModerator 23:12, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
OK, so since you agree with her that RW is a "manarchist bro space" can you tell us what one is? If you agree with her other um... opinions then you may just be in the wrong place (the whole "men are getting major surgery in order to undermine feminism" craziness is definitely up there with "the barcodes on everything are a sign of the Devil"). (talk) 23:10, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I didn't read teh article. I responded to the "bro space" feel. Frankly, I don't read lots of pop idiots for the very reason you point out BON. They are - what is your term, "butthurt" (a very male insult, by the way). This site --- not the articles, the talk pages - reads often like a bunch of 12 year old boys are trying to write a good article, and sticking in whatever body humor they can. :-)
AD - I dont' think you can change it. By and large, this is by far the most "female aware" site i've been on. You have pro - women articles, you challenge posters with anti-women feelings etc. the difference between being "unwelcomed", and just not being welcome. So when women get past the sense of boy club, they find good people. I just think what makes it a boy's club is that most intellectual sites really are filled with men, who talk to other men, and joke about things men think and do. but unlike some other sites, you don't push women away, you just don't say "oh, hey. A woman! Hi!"... I was here 2 years ago under a women's name (forgot what it was) and was not nearly as welcomed as I was under the neutral name "godot" that i tried a month or so later. I don't know if any of this makes sense, but what I would say is "you are on the right track", just realize it's not as girl friendly as you might think it is. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 23:20, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
You wrote above it is not easy to just butt in, I wonder why. Ok, yeah, the testosterone smell might be something, but there also has to be a change in women thinking they weren't welcome. But that can't be the whole reason, as I have a penis, I'm at a loss what it might be. If you ladies could tell everybody, we might be able to change it, that is if you ladies know yourselves what that is. So I think to any female reading this thinking about making an account "just do it"? --Rutherford (talk) 23:36, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
A great deal of this is endemic to "intelletualism". While I do not think there are biology based differences between the way men and women think and argue, by the time we are old enough to participate on pages like this, we've been socially formed to act in particular ways. I do think men and women argue differently, and care about the topics differently. Men, generically, tend to be more assertive, more pushy even, saying "i'm right" whether they are or aren't. they leave very little room for "what ifs" or "i can't put my finger on it but it seems wrong" or "I can be right two, cause there might be two different sides". Intellectualism (philosophy, science, critical studies is built on the idea that you prove you are right, even if you aren't). A women, taught to be less direct, more concerned about other's feelings, and likely more prone to be "hurt" by aggressive or rude comments, will likely take those kinds of male oriented "yeah, this is a fun ass argument! go Truth!!!" statements and find them too strong, or take them personally. In fact, just today or yesterday, we (myself included - i tend to become more aggressive here than anywhere else on the net) we attacked a women writing about pit bulls. I don't think she's coming back - i hope she is. and it's not that "we were right and she was wrong" or even the other way. its' teh way intellectuals fight. The brick wall "I AM RIGHT YOU ARE WRONG GET OUT OF MY WAY". Someone raised to be timid, shy and "giving" will balk there. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 00:12, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
...by the time we are old enough to participate on pages like this, we've been socially formed to act in particular ways... Ms. Brennan, it would appear, believed that bunk, causing her to cyber-stalk that devious "dude," Blue, on whom, as on a great many others, the "social formation" did not exactly stick. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:21, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh fricking bs. Socialization has stuck on virtually everone here, including Blue. Granted, she has had a harder path to follow than most of us, but that doesn't mean she avoided socialization. No one does, actually. Some may buck it more than others, but no one avoids the socialization. I get how much you hate these concepts, but your say so doesn't change anythign about the reality of the world you and I live in. Girls are taught to be girls, boys are taught to be boys, and sadly people who do not fit into those catigories are still taught to be whatever is on the outside, and that is where their own conflicts come in. --Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:04, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
@LX: Do you realize how similar this argument is to "I had a friend who smoked a pack a day and he never got cancer, therefore smoking doesn't cause cancer!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:50, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Godot is correct that "no one avoids the socialization." Socialization is especially destructive for young transgender and gender-nonconforming people, because you're being told daily that your sense of self is completely wrong and even shameful. The pain is enormous. There's a lot in common with female socialization with its notions of inferiority and all. Seme Blue 16:19, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Nebuchadnezzar, no, it is not; I am not arguing against a mere correlation, but a categorical denial of any genetic or other non-social influences in these matters. Do you seriously believe that empathy (to cite one of WaitingforGodot's examples above) is something that can be taught?
Blue, if a "gender-nonconforming" person were, as WaitingforGodot implies above, a tabula rasa entirely shaped by the process of socialization, they would have no trouble at all: just slide right into their assigned gender role without even a hiccup. But something is obviously hard-wired enough as to cause them enormous amounts of pain when they attempt to do what they are told. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

It's the same problem Wikipedia has. There is nothing deliberately masculine about the structure of either WP or RW, but for some reason women do not appear to come on board as often, or stay as long. I can speculate about all sorts of nonsense as to the cause, but the truth is I've got no idea.

I'd actually be VERY keen to hear the female RW's opinions on this. Of course, based on my previous experience at WP, to have this discussion we'd need to ensure that the female editors feel comfortable expressing their opinions. An attempt to do this at WP a few years ago rapidly descended into an ugly slanging match, with an alarming amount of "boo hoo whiny whiny girls" vitriol (which resulted in the counterproductive loss of a few female editors). VOXHUMANA 23:19, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

It's not just "for some reason" women don't stay as long - check out Talk:TheAmazingAtheist, or any number of other talk pages where entitled males wail and make uninformed comments about women's issues and feminism. That's not necessarily because of the regulars, and it's a common problem everywhere on the internet, but it doesn't quite create a welcoming environment. As for the article itself, it's hardly an article, just a paragraph, and the "manarchist bro-space" comment goes totally unexplained, so I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 23:27, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Concerning Brennan... given the nature of her comments about rationalwiki are pretty much entirely based on her opposition to MTF transsexuals and are in no-way about actual gender imbalance coupled with a bizarre desire to post screencaps of editor's facebook pages, it's hard to take anything she says seriously. ESPECIALLY given the semi-coherent anti-trans rants that appear to be her primary mode of communication online. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 23:38, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
As a female RWian, I think that the criticism of RW is at the same time invalid and valid. Invalid because she's completely unaware of what even she means, she's using words that invoke her own feelings that barely have coherency, much less meaning outside her head. Valid because, dissecting the terms there is one tiny grain of truth in them. Not 'manarchist' (what the fuck does that even mean,) but 'bro-space.' We're a group of people that have come together because most of us have at least one interest in common: rational reasoning. As any group that has a unifying factor, we reinforce it in each other. On the pro side, this makes a community. On the down side, it has a tendency to be intimidating or unforgiving when someone posts something that's unexpected, unclear, or faliable: people can mess up, they may not conform to the community ideal all the time. Maybe it's misinformation, a mistake, an attitude problem... whatever. But if there are any flaws in RW that I have seen so far, is that the reinforcement of self and ideas can 1) cause people to get personal causing HCM, 2) cause people to snap and attack before even considering teaching and informing (Courtesy of our automated BON flaming militia i.e. all of us) and 3) cause people to reject well-researched and established conclusions that fit in with the mission, except from fields that RW isn't 'used to,' such as social sciences. Now, there are some users that I am NONE TOO PLEASED with right now on the subject of feminism issues and their discussion here, but any one user is not the problem. We're a wiki, what our users think will always define who we are, and it just depends on how loud the individual users are. If the voice of 'angry over-educated-socially-inexperienced young white male' is too loud in our wiki, then the rest of us will simply have to be louder, and at least try and teach others here what we know that they don't. It's up to everybody else to be open, evaluate it reasonably, and to not be the insular self-perpetuating 'bro-space' she accuses us of being. TL;DR- more listening and teaching, less defensiveness. As a start, maybe we can start a 'I know X' program to encourage people with specific knowledge and skills to write on pages about those, which might reduce the 'guy writing a page on something he doesn't really know as much as he thinks he does' problem? That seems too restrictive though. Dunno, just ideas. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRcritical thinking is the key to success! 00:43, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
"'I know X' program to encourage people with specific knowledge and skills to write on pages about those" That sounds like a good idea -- it doesn't need to be a Citizendium-style "experts only" rule. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:05, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, a good idea if people are willing to follow up on it. How do you work it out, though? List by user and expertise or by expertise and sign your name? If anything it'd be just good to see where it all lies. Scarlet A.pngmoral 02:07, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we should let a rant by a butt-hurt man-hater dictate policy on this site. Stick her under "Pissed at us" and move on. I don't think we have a problem on RW; the bitches here know their place. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 09:21, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

How to change it, if it's changeable[edit]

  1. One thing that blog sites can do (but generally won't, because of the 'if women want to come, they can do it anyhow' attitudes) is to feature women writers regularly, **even if their ideas are not as well shaped as other writers**. I know that's counter intutive, but if the argument that there are simply not as many women around and only 10% of all editors are really good writers, highlighting women will bring more women, and you can start to skim the fat from the cream. Sadly, we don't have any kind of forum or blog space, so this wouldn't work here.
  2. We can feature more women and transgender articles on the front page. That means we have to focus on several articles and make them gold level; it would also mean deciding what topics are "women interesting".
  3. We could, though i'm loath to do it, include articles like "women and science" "women and skepticism". I say I'm loath to do it, cause that's not at all the kind of articles RW really has.
  4. The passing "in jokes" will be there, and SHOULD be there -- as boyish as they are. Saying "don't use that joke / word, cause it's not inclusive" is not only policeish, it would kill all the life and fun of this place. It's the people here that keep us here, women or men! Jokes will be balanced when more women are around talking about our vaginas! Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 23:42, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Of these ideas, the only one that would seem to work would be a gold-level article. Luckily, this would also improve the site, improve those who read it, and is generally a good initiative even without this whole kerfuffle. Let's figure out which article on which to concentrate. Do you have any suggestions?--ADtalkModerator 23:54, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I can start making more jokes about my vagina if it helps? AceModerator 23:56, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
No no, we need to bash male organs! know any good "what exactly is it good for" jokes? or "why does it have all that silly excess skin". or Betty White's "heck with balls, they are whimpy. Vaginas push out babies!"  ;-) Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 00:04, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
How about feminism? Good basis there, but needs improvement.--ADtalkModerator 23:57, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
First of all, there's no reason to believe that our current crop of cover stories is somehow discouraging to women. People come here for information (and snark), and they find it. Our cover articles are the best of the information we have, and they are not sexist in any way. Second, certain users here exhibit the typical contempt for womankind that is found in nerd and atheist communities, yes, but they are generally rebuked and aren't allowed to taint mainspace (I remember a user saying that polygamy shouldn't be made legal because then all the women wouldn't be able to help themselves from flocking to become part of some rich guy's harem. He said it was in their genes). Finally, using words like "cunt" will more than likely turn away female users, as these words have attained highly derogatory connotations and many members of the population are simply displeased to being exposed to them in the wrong context. A wiki about skepticism is the wrong context. Even more finally, actively trying to bring more women here won't work for the same reason singles parties are sausage-fests. Women, as with the rest of humanity, don't want to be prey, or a target market.
As long as we aren't sexist, women may come on their own (they already have). And if they don't, that's okay. We already are quite an enlightened community in most respects. Look at our articles on gender issues. What horrid patriarch fascist influences are present? Are any present? Is there any reason to believe that RationalWiki is sexist?--"Shut up, Brx." 00:13, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think anyone has said our current cover stories are discouraging to women, only that we would like to add an additional one that would appeal specifically to women. Vocal skepticism is dominated by men, as are many skeptical sites, as blogs like Skepchick have noted. To fight both that perception and any reality behind it, it's a good idea to be proactive - especially when the solution is something we should do anyway.--ADtalkModerator 00:19, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
(EC)The "if women want to come, they can do it anyhow" attitude that WaitingforGodot mentioned is not helpful in the least.
As an aside, I was looking at the moderator nominations page, and guess what? Only 5 out of the 22 candidates are women (Blue, Dumpling, Kels, Sophie and WaitingforGodot). I'm not saying aggressive matriarchy is the answer, but... aggressive matriarchy is the answer Uke Blue 00:23, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Either you can't count or you simply haven't kept up with the gender of prominent RationalWikians, because I count 6 out of 22. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 07:19, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Given the quota from RWW's categories (195 males to 35 females) 17:5 is over-proportional. --Rutherford (talk) 00:33, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
One - socks! and two - the women around here are AWESOME. hehe. :-) actually, most of the regulars around here are pretty interesting folk. which I will admit has always surprized me for a bunch of geeks.Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 00:38, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
@Blue: Don't tell me you've gone to the dark side! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:59, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I can't believe people still remember that essay. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:03, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
That essay was the reason for my original demotion to sysop back in the day. Seme Blue 02:18, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
what essay?Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 02:41, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
This essay, written way back in 2008. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 04:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Like Voxhumana mentioned before the break, the issues over at WP are something to dwell on. Sue Gardner wrote an important article on the topic. And, again, at RW this is like fighting a war on two fronts, because there's already a large gender disparity in the rational/skeptic community to begin with.
But it probably goes even beyond that, because from what I've observed and discovered from talking with female friends the internet in general is quite the misogynist place, only exaggerated in areas where there are more men active than women. Probably a good reflection of the world at large. I started internet gaming as early as '96, and even then, as a kid, I was amazed by the treatment given to anyone even calling themselves female. That atmosphere isn't really covered by the video game topic above... Q0 (talk) 10:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems as if there's a dichotomy on the internet where your site is either a male-dominated misogynistic hell-hole or you explicitly identify as feminist and become female-dominated. Possibly because if you try to go for the equality you get attacked from either side. The male-dominated asshats complain that they're not allowed to talk about boobs and share porn with each other, and the female-dominated asshats complain that you're not continually celebrating and singling out women for special praise. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 15:56, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
What is wrong with talking about boobs? I thought kitchen jokes, not taking the opinion of women seriously, and gratuitous sexual innuendo are bigger problems. --Tweenk (talk) 10:33, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
You will see (as you ought to expect from several billion people) a broad spectrum of opinion among women and that includes some fraction who don't like talk about boobs. You won't find many women who deny the existence of boobs, but you'll find plenty who don't think they should ever be on view or up for discussion in public. Those women will be uncomfortable with discussions that wouldn't make me blink.
There is an argument that might be had generally about the extent to which a forum for this or that purpose must try to make its potential readers and contributors feel comfortable. But that argument should be made with the clear understanding that it has a very real impact on who you get as readers and contributors. If it's important to attract diversity, rather than merely permitting it, then you'd want to set the rules so that the most diverse possible people are comfortable, whereas if it's acceptable to say "Nothing prohibits members of group X from joining" and worry no more about the lack of group X representation then you don't need to worry about that. Either way that's an actual choice for RW.
To give two extreme examples. I'm OK with 4chan's /b/ being a place where most people wouldn't be comfortable. There is no overt discrimination by the rules of 4chan itself but there's also nothing stopping people posting "Faggots can suck my dick" with no sense of irony. Whereas it's important to me that my local police look roughly like the mixed community they're from, older and younger, men and women, Catholics and Muslims, black and white and so I don't want to hear that Muslim officers are called names by their colleagues because that's not what my community is about. (talk) 14:15, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I have to say that I find the idea of writing new articles to "appeal to women" a pretty offensive idea. If someone suggested Knitting or Needlework as suitable topics, they'd be flamed to a crisp, and I don't think claiming that all women are into feminism (or anything else) is any less flame-worthy. Of my female friends, I can't think of one who would self-describe as a feminist; there are atheists (including one who sings in a church choir), skeptics, a born-again Christian, a Muslim, various others... and I don't know of anything that would appeal to all of them, or even a majority. It's true that RW has a male bias but as others have pointed out above, so does the community to which RW is trying to appeal.

I'm not saying that nothing can be done or that nothing should be done, but trying to find the wiki equivalent of putting out some flowers and leaving the toilet seat down will be ineffectual at best and patronising at worst. rpeh •TCE 14:25, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Dismissing writing about subjects like the feminist movement, abortion legislation, equality, society, and so on as like "putting out some flowers and leaving the toilet seat down" really underscores the problem. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 15:02, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
One of the strange things about your comment, Rpeh, is that you are somehow offended by a possible solution to a real problem that would not in any sense effect the rest of the wiki. That is to say, it's not as if there are only 100 articles allowed, and for every article we write about issues that might appeal more to women, an article that appeals to men must be dropped - rather, we are just saying "why not take some time to focus on making articles we already have, better. And then highlight them. It seems clear to me that RW wants diversity, and that unlike many sites, many/most RW editors seem aware of the short comings of saying "we want diversity - so women shut the hell up". The position "not all women care about the same things, there for this is offensive to them" is nonsense. We don't all want the same things. We are as diverse as men are. But we do all live in the same societies, and we do all see the same kinds of treatment, and seeing a site say "we can't change the world, we can change slightly our little corner" makes that site something people of all types, shapes and colors will want to participate in.Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:14, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
What hippy-pinko claptrap!! Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:18, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
(e/c)No, I'm offended by people starting from a position of "let's appeal to women" and not realising just how patronising it is. Congratulations to both of you on missing the point so badly. Armondikov in particular obviously hasn't read my whole comment or wouldn't have made such an ignorant post.
By all means, write the articles. But assuming that all women are interested in those things is just as offensive as giving any other group any other blanket label. rpeh •TCE 15:23, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
@Rpeh: WTF? We don't need to appeal to women in general, we need to appeal to female skeptics. If you haven't known that, there are such creatures. --Rutherford (talk) 15:29, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I didn't miss the point, the point is fully BS. It is not at all patronizing to say "wow, we are short on women here. Why? What can we do? What might make them more interested in what we have to say. Are we presenting a balanced world? Do we have issues that that focus on things women care about (birth control debates, abortion debates, access to women's health care, lack of child care in the work place, glass ceiling, lack of women in science and philosophy, lack of women writers, dieting issues (sadly, is very much a women's issue for all I wish it wasn't), representation in politics, need to conform to visual perfection at a higher level than men, need to "choose" to be sta-at-home, or working mom and the realities of judgment that go along with it, the "eve" "mary the virgin" dichotmoy of sex (ie, you are only pure or vile, never anything else). These issues effect every single woman the Western World over. They do not effect men the same way. Not all women agree on how to deal with those, but every single women, feminist or not, faces those issues. And a site that discusses rational issues, like atheism, fundamentalist religion v. generic religion, teaching of evo vs. creationism, political discussions, economic woo, etc., has a duty to explore these issues. Highlighting them is a choice we have. and a good choice, cause it shows women that the site thinks about all kinds of things, and is not merely a boy's circle jerk. Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 15:34, 21 June 2012 (UTC)(edit con)
@Rutherford, not all skeptics are feminists as I said in my first post. What Armondikov and Godot did was to create a particular category that included their interests and assumed all women would be interested in them. My point was that to define women as being "those people interested in these issues" was wrong; there are many women who would be interested in this site who don't fit into that particular stereotype.
Godot, your list contains a number of interesting topics but they're not suitable for this site. You want to turn the site into an advocate for feminism and I don't think it's ready for that, or that it will ever be the right place to do it. Yes, the list is made up of things that fit into the site mission, but most could only ever be essays and that doesn't really increase anything in quality.
This entire topic began because of a vitriolic post from a hate-monger. I see no reason to lurch into a reflexive response to make such a person happy. rpeh •TCE 16:38, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't think the point being made is that we need to "appeal to women", but rather that it's important to make sure that women fairly represented by the content, etc. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 15:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

The topic may have "began" because of a comment, but it was a launching point for a larger, hopefully productive comment about how we see ourselves. Every topic I mentioned about women is fully Rational wiki material though I don't think we will address them all or any. I have no idea how you think I'm suggesting we turn this into a feminist forum. What single thing have I ever said which would suggest it? I said we should do things that would encourage women, and addressing issues important to all women is one way we do that. Including women's voices in our quotes on various pages (like biology and evo, using Jeanie Scott), including women authors in our cites, making a concerted effort to see where and how women participate is one small way we do that. Your comments, to me, suggest that you think it's diminishing the site to have things that focus on women. I think is simply enhances the site. It is not a "one or the other", but you seem to think it is. Showing off women, doesn't mean we don't show off men! Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 16:53, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think they will diminish the site at all, and I think you're moving the goalposts quite a bit here. My original objection was to the way you seemed to be going about your task: saying "let's have articles on a, b, and c, because that's what interests these people". A further objection is that you're doing this to the exclusion of other groups in similar positions, ethnic minorities being the post obvious example. Many of your suggested articles apply just as clearly to minorities and there could be other articles to round out the series. If we go down the road of creating articles for every injustice faced by every group, I do think the site will be hurt. rpeh •TCE 17:01, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
By the way, i frankly find it annoying that you dismiss a real issue, that at least 3 female posters have commented on with varying degrees of opinion, as "a reflex response to make one person happy". I have no fucking desire to do anything to make that biggot happy. I have a desire to make MYSELF happpy, and to make other women happy.
As for other groups, I was about to say we should be doing the same for any minority we have. I think we do address transgender issues, I think we should be addressing racism in science, racism in atheism (if it exists, and i suspect it does), racism and "intellectualism". You are the one, in my opinion, who is reading ideas that are tossed out, and seeing them as somehow "articles on such adn such" or some assertion that all women have similar interests. And by the way, if we go around creating articles for every group that feels injustice, maybe we can contribute to REAL Justice. you think?Green mowse.pngGodotTut tut, looks like rain 17:07, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
So you want to turn the site into a soapbox for every group with a grudge? It's not going to be a welcome development. rpeh •TCE 17:47, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm at a loss how "Let's appeal more to women with women topics" can be understood as "Let's turn this website into a feminist site". Maybe a strawman confusing egalitarianism with feminism? --Rutherford (talk) 17:39, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
It's a disturbingly common trope in the "geek" community. See the issues over the Lara Croft redesign, the skeptic conference sexual harassment bruhaha, every talk page of every article here touching on feminist issues... it suggests (to me at least) that this issue should be addressed in a mainspace article somehow. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 19:47, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
When you're comparing quotes from different parts of the discussion, it's you creating the strawman, Rutherford, and if you read what I've said above you'll find I've already answered your point anyway. Godot's proposal was to create a set of articles that appeal to a subset of women just like her: feminists. The vast majority of women aren't feminists, and from my own experience, the vast majority of skeptics and atheists aren't feminists either and are either indifferent or moderately hostile to feminism. These proposals won't attract women, they might at best attract women like Godot. While that's no bad thing, I'm getting fed up with the implication that either all women are like that or that those are the only set of women that matter. That was the substance of my original post, and a point that has not yet been answered. rpeh •TCE 04:58, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
FFS --Rutherford (talk) 13:19, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
And what the fuck has that got to do with the price of fish? rpeh •TCE 13:37, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The difference between "the price of fish" and the price of fish. --Rutherford (talk) 16:54, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
And what the fuck has that got to do with the price of fish? Seriously, make a serious point or fuck off. rpeh •TCE 20:18, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Rpeh you have a really hard time following basic things, it seems. 1) Personally, I have a desire for a good site about rational challenges to irrational crap in the world, and one that will coincidentally attract women. 2) proposing suggestions for articles that are fully rational wiki articles anyhow, but happen to be issues ALL WOMEN at least think about is a really good thing. It improves the wiki and it actually brings women around. 3) highlighting more articles we've written that are "women's issue" articles (no, not hair, make-up, and how to give a good BJ - but topics we've talked about above) just puts out a welcome sign. If out of 20 "cover stories", we work hard to make 2 of them "women's issues" if you will, then that's a good start. 4) Where do you get the idea that most women aren't feminists. Virtually every women in the western world is a feminist. Equal pay, coverage for birth control as part of a regular insurance package, stronger laws to force fathers to pay child support (since women still end up with the children far more often). No one has said all women are "like me". I have said however, that every one of the topics we could or should focus on are topics that all women face and are, in some ways, unique to women. I'm also rather amused at you "speaking for all these women" in your life. I'd love to meet them, and ask them if they really are not feminists, and really don't see how sites can be improved with women's voices. Green mowse.pngGodotThree words: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 21:13, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Regarding #4, I think rpeh is right that "most women aren't feminists," but again, he makes a use-mention mistake. Most women believe in feminism, but won't call themselves feminists, the same way most people in America who believe in progressive politics won't call themselves liberals. Uke Blue 21:50, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"So you want to turn the site into a soapbox for every group with a grudge?" Seriously? You trollin'? Time to take down the article on science used in service of racism. Black people and racial minorities are just a group with a grudge. Time to take down the article on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Jews are just a group with a grudge. Sit down, shut up! Enough whining from these people with such petty grievances! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:42, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Everything is space time?[edit]

I found this site with a book/essay that tries to explain all fundamental particles and forces as waves on space time. For example, rather than matter producing a curvature on space time, it proposes that matter itself is a special type of space time curvature. The guy who wrote that is a laser maker with an engineering background and not affiliated to any university, but what do you think? Interesting idea or just crap? --Tlaloc (talk) 18:24, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Always remember the association of His area and woo, but it sounds like an interesting idea, even if it is crap.--il'Dictator Mikal 18:33, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually that sound similar to string theory. Ajkgordon (talk) 20:26, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Pattern-matches physics crank, but doesn't appear obviously not lucid. This also matches The Final Theory, of course. I'd go looking to see if anyone's even bothered criticising it yet. Absence of criticism at all is a reasonably good marker for absence of reason to bother - David Gerard (talk) 23:13, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Also remarkably similar to Dewey Larson's reciprocal system that suggests everything is motions in time and space. In fact, at first glance it seems to be a direct rip off but without denying quantum mechanics exists. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 23:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses. I googled him and found no other reference to his work besides his own page. --Tlaloc (talk) 04:43, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Might be worth perusing and having a write-up of it here, though. Scarlet A.pngtheist 13:44, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Germany vs. Greece[edit]

Game starts in 15 minutes. Merkel's going to be in the audience. Time for lulz. Osaka Sun (talk) 18:31, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

And once again Germany makes Greece her bitch. PsyGremlinSermā! 07:25, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Ok, own up[edit]

How many of you lot are CIA operatives? Peter Urist for Mod! 05:39, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

More fun reading. And yes, GLP is an endless source of paranoid stupidity.--ZooGuard (talk) 05:47, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
The cover is blown! Um... ignore the people behind that plywood fence!--il'Dictator Mikal 05:49, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
'Without an oath signed in blood or other blatant display of seriousness, it is impossible to make an outwardly absurd statement with enough sincerely that somebody wont think that it's parody.' I mean to say, how do these people wake up in the morning?
And yes, Mikal, you were at the top of my list of suspects. But who else? Peter Urist for Mod! 06:59, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Wow, and I was just saying the other day that I had a weird dream where my varsity class was actually a CIA recruiting session. Maybe my conditioning is slipping? PsyGremlinSprich! 07:22, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I was KGB; but everything went to shit back in '91 :/ --BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 07:59, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Do not worry comrade, the star will rise again! --il'Dictator Mikal 08:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
The same person apparently made the same comment on the David Icke forum, and this time some people answered.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:31, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
"It is written by smart people with a hidden agenda (convincing the stupid people)." Hmm. 19:45, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Hey! If I'm working for the CIA, where's that sweet CIA cash they throw around? They might be an Amoral organization, but damn do they pay well! --Revolverman (talk) 20:22, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Trying to figure out these space objects I keep seeing.[edit]

I have recently noticed these weird, what I can only assume, space objects over my apartment. I have seen satellites, the space station and the shuttle before so I know what those look like and these things at first would appear to be one of those. Small pinpoints of light traveling extremely fast for their height. The difference with the three or so I have seen is that they are extremely bright at first and then slowly and continuously get dimmer and dimmer until I cannot see them anymore. The last one was the weirdest, it would get bright and then dim noticeably then get bright a couple times in a fixed interval then it steadily got dimmer and I could not see it anymore. They are definitely not meteors, they travel way, way, way too slowly. They are not planes as far as I can tell, they are way too high and fast. My only guess would be satellites that are, I don't know the term, but at the point where the Earth blocks it from the sun. That would explain the steady dimness and I just happen to be in the right spot and time to see them. It is really the one I saw last night, the one that would get bright, dim, bright, dim, etc. that has me for a loop. I cannot think of anything in orbit that could produce that. Any ideas? I am not looking for UFO answers. Thanks NetharianCubicles are prisons! 07:53, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

A logical person actually wouldn't rule out UFO's right away, though i'd say a satellite, or just your mind playing tricks on you. --il'Dictator Mikal 07:56, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
(EC) They are not planes as far as I can tell, they are way too high and fast. How do you know how high and how fast they are?
Have you ruled out atmospheric effects? Peter Urist for Mod! 07:57, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
You can't "rule out UFOs" because that's exactly what you've described: an unidentified flying object. It's a UFO until you figure out what it is. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:01, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Before we get into semantic issues regarding the term UFO, I am strictly meaning aliens. For reasons that are way beyond this question I do not believe aliens are visiting us and that more than likely what I am seeing is something manmade. Of course I am going with the more down to earth answer before going with aliens. As for the plane question, I am only going by what I have seen in the past. I live under a busy flight path so I have seen thousands of planes. I have also seen many orbiting craft that I have tracked after seeing through Nasa's site. I also have 20/10 vision, confirmed, I am able to see minute detail far away such as more lights on these things that would indicate a plane, even a very high one. There weren't any. NetharianCubicles are prisons! 08:15, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe compression artifacts. Or it could have been extraterrestrials. -- (talk) 08:46, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Iridium flares. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 08:54, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Genghis, that could very well be it. Tyvm. Now that I know a potential satellite designation I might be able to track them after seeing them in the sky to make sure. NetharianCubicles are prisons! 09:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
They can be a PITA for astrophotographers imaging deep-sky objects. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 09:27, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
We actually have a not-very-good article on Iridium flares.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:02, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
It's Venus. It's ALWAYS Venus. You're just imagining the movement. Or on drugs. --PsyGremlinSermā! 11:39, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

It's somthink top sekret what the US military is develon' and they doesn't want us to kno yet. Proxima Centauri (talk) 14:38, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Swamp gas, left over from when the earth crashed down into the vast stores of water the shell of the planet rested upon during the blessed and Great Flood, sent us by the Most Loving and merciful God and Jesus' Daddy. — Unsigned, by: cracker / talk / contribs 16:07, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Argumentum ad relax it was just a joke[edit]

Anyone kinda sick of this response? It seems to get used constantly, as if "but I was just joking" makes things better when the actual response people expect is "sorry, I was wrong". It seems to twist it so that those making the complaints about the douche-baggery are in the wrong, when that isn't the fucking case. If you say something stupid or over the line you live with the consequences, and those consequences involve people expressing their right to all you on it or you apologising for it. Internet-based misogyny being amongst the worst offenders but there are plenty of others. Scarlet A.pngpostate 14:08, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. I think it's even more annoying in face-to-face communication, where you've got other cues, like tone of voice and body language, besides the words used that show that the person wasn't joking. But anyway, it's one thing to say "I'm sorry. I was trying to make a joke. It was in poor taste", it's quite another to say "Hey, relax! It's just a joke!" Admit your mistakes and don't try to dodge them.--Spud (talk) 15:14, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
You just have no sence of humer. -- (talk) 16:28, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
The trouble is that it's almost impossible to distinguish between 1) people who said something in a genuine attempt to be funny that offended someone; 2) people who said something they knew might cause offence but that is still genuinely funny; 3) someone trying to be (whatever)ist but dressing it up as a joke; 4) Purely racist comments dressed up as "it woz only a larff!"; and I dare say there are many other sub-divisions.
From a technical POV, it's a rare day I don't make a racist, sexist, regionist or in general a [a-z]+ist comment whilst in a group of friends, and a are day when I don't get a similar comment made about me; as an overweight, slightly balding northerner I'd be offended if they didn't. In our day-to-day lives, we know how far things can be pushed. On the Internet it's less obvious. On teh innertubze it's much harder.
Sure, there are plenty of people who try to seek refuge in "I wuz jokin lol" when their original comment was genuinely meant to be offensive, but I think the reverse is true in a lot of cases. Case in point, I blocked Nutty for 30+ mins a little while ago and I think he'll take it as an expression of affection rather than an insult. And if he doesn't, he's a cunt. LOLZJK!!!! rpeh •TCE 20:41, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
So if you claim you aren't racist, sexist regionist or other ist, why make jokes about it? I guess it's a difference between people, but i don't generally find it funny to laugh at other people's problems.Green mowse.pngGodotThree words: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 21:01, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
JK, guys. (Warning: TV Tropes link.) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:07, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Right, that pretty much answers Godot's question. Just because you don't think it's funny, doesn't mean it isn't. We should regard it as unfortunate that we have a situation where Jon Stewart's ability to "get away with" Jewish stereotype jokes on TV is significantly predicated on his being a Jew. You don't have to be famous for things to work this way either, check out Youtube SC2 commentators Jeff and Adam aka MaximusBlack and NovaWar for reams of comments from people who happen not to have seen their faces and so don't realise MaximusBlack is "entitled" in our society to make jokes about black stereotypes because he's (half) black. He sounds Canadian, after all, and it's not as if they have black people there... (talk) 21:51, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
It's even more annoying when people try to label their misogynist bullshit as "satire", "sarcasm" or "irony" without the slightest clue about what those words actually mean. Vulpius (talk) 22:13, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

To be fair, it's also very tiring to sit and try to smile while you are repeatedly being accused of being a racist or mysogynist. A comment I made a few days ago was an attempt to make light of the fact that I was feeling vilified for something I had never done. SO I made a statement which was laced with misogyny but prefaced by noting it was a response to how thick the accusations were. It failed, and my attempts to explain what my joke was about went nowhere. So having thus inadvertently labelled myself as a mysogynist, I gave up. While I deplore misogyny and racism, it cuts both ways - wild and irresponsible accusations do not ameliorate anything. And contrary to Vulpius's rather vicious statement above, sometimes people do understand irony better than you think. VOXHUMANA 23:51, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm not actually against making the joke, or attempting bad-taste humour. People are free to do that however they like. Sometimes it gets spotted, sometimes it doesn't and falls flat. Meh. I'm just against trying to turn it around to suggest that it's the people complaining about it who are at fault for doing it. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 00:26, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It is kind of funny. While on the interwebs, "the argumentum ad relax it was just a joke" seems to be featured prominently, I came across it when I engaged strangers IRL over (a-z) ist remarks. Yet with friends the justification is used frequently... I guess the justification serves another communicative function IRL (for instance preserving a friendship), than it does on the internet (for instance trolling)--Th. Bernhard (talk) 00:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
There's also a problem with people prefering to take something as offensive rather than a misguided attempt at comedy. Or simpler: if you rather like being pissed than amused, you have a problem. Especially white American liberals have this problem, I mean if "brains and tits" gets you the misogynist label, what is that label really worth? --Rutherford (talk) 00:45, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't know about the "white American liberals"-thing... I would agree that the interpretation especially of written comments is very much influenced by ones personal relation to the speaker/writer.
I also think that it is very problematic how fast some people get those negative labels slapped on, "just" for some comments...if you label the guy who makes some stupid comments about women a mysoginist, what label does the guy who actually trets women as mere objects, get?--Th. Bernhard (talk) 01:00, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
While in no way excusing genuine misogyny, racism, etc., there is a tendency for offence to be taken very quickly today, especially on-line. I think it's a question of maturity. Not of the accusers and accused - but of the medium. Just as it's very easy to make misogynist or racist remarks either intentionally or otherwise, it's just as easy to mash the keyboard and accuse the "remarker" of being worse than Hitler. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:26, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Keeping in mind to not conflate "there is a tendency for offense to be taken very quickly today" with "people getting sick of putting up with this shit", of course. --Kels (talk) 16:13, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:19, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Hence why most arguments of this variety go "Oh, are you still thinking that this is funny? It's not, it's getting old now." - "Relax, it was just a joke!!!" Scarlet A.pngpathetic 10:35, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think context is vitally important. It's the same reason why some comedians can get away with offensive jokes while the average person on the street can't - it's important to look at the context of the remarks being made. It's eminently possible to use offensive language or epithets in a comedic context as a means of poking fun at the people who use them seriously. Anonymous conversations on the internet are emphatically not the right venue for these types of jokes, because it's never going to be clear enough from the context what the point of the joke is. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 14:25, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Which is why I like to distinguish between -ist jokes and jokes that effectively poke fun at the -ist themselves. E.g., in Archer he says something like "there's your bomber, Beardsley McTurbanhead"... which is pretty offensive, but Archer is a fucking idiot, it's sort of the point. Frankie Boyle and the "racist door" on Mock the Week is an entirely different league to Jim Davidson complaining that he can't call a coon a coon. Scarlet A.pngsshole 15:58, 25 June 2012 (UTC)


I just acquired a computer from freegeek, yesterday, as a matter of fact, and until today at 8:08pm, it was working fine. Now, it doesn't even post, no bios beeps, nothing! I tried removing the ram, for beeps, resetting the GPU, but can't go much further without violating my warranty. Is there any reason this happened, and how I could fix it?


  • Asus something
  • ram 1gb 4(256mb ddr2 working)
  • AGP GPU of some sort
  • Intel Pentium 4 northwood most likely
  • OEM power supply
  • Maxtor 6yo 82gb hard drive (i know, sucky)

Tl;dr, my computer is brokan pls halp. RandonGeneration (talk) 04:02, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Didyu try hitting it, threatening it;s children and making it jealous? --il'Dictator Mikal 04:15, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Power supply issues? Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 04:17, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe, the psu.. I don't know it's children's names, mikalos.RandonGeneration (talk) 04:50, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
So, there are probably various small fans inside it and maybe even an LED or two. Even if you're not allowed to open it up (I can't tell) you can listen for the fans and look for lights coming from gaps in the case. When you switch it on, do the fans start? Do the LEDs come on? If not, that's a solid sign for PSU problems. If nothing comes on, take the opportunity to absolutely double check the power is plugged in, that you didn't blow a fuse somewhere outside the PC etc. To save you from embarrassment is the only reason. If lights come on and things start spinning but "nothing else happens" then beyond checking cables I'd say you're onto "it is actually broken, hope it's not expensive to get it fixed". (talk) 07:09, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
The fans spin, the GPU heats up really fast, and for a moment the keyboard and mouse lights up, then nothing but spinning fans. The hard drive vibrates, but doesnt boot. (talk) 23:27, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
if you are not getting the bios start display, the memory check and all that then the thing is badly borked. Its possible its a bad gpu. If it has onboard graphics you might pull the card and see it it will start with the onboard stuff. Hamster (talk) 03:28, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I did that. The I tried it with a working ATI rage 3d earlier, today, and it also displayed nothing beyond the gpu bios screen. (talk) 03:50, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Fusion woo[edit]

New article. Admittedly it relies heavily on just one paper / thesis, but it's very relevant.

I'm not 100% sure whether dense plasma focus, polywell, and similar devices cannot work, because they might just form equilibrium plasma for short amounts of time; however, the specific concept of DPF proton-boron fusion is extremely far-fetched. I'm 100% sure though that CrossFire and Helion Energy, despite looking believable and actually achieving fusion, are 100% bunk and will never provide energy gain. --Tweenk (talk) 11:22, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

I bet Tweenk glows in the dark. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:30, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Only when covered in radioluminescent paint. If he was radioactive enough to cause Cherenkon radiation in air, he wouldn't be able to use a computer (because the computer would malfunction). ;) --ZooGuard (talk) 17:29, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Not to mention all those nasty hemorrhages he'd be having. C®ackeЯ
Anyway, I watched the Back to the Future II documentary and saw a Mr Fusion blender reactor working off beer and bananas. Ajkgordon (talk) 21:04, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I added the part in the parentheses specifically to imply that Tweenk is immune to radiation. </explaining the joke>--ZooGuard (talk) 10:50, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I have a tritium keychain that glows in the dark. It's awesome. --Tweenk (talk) 00:37, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Does this sound familiar to anybody?[edit]

I was reading a really interesting article about the John Frum movement and I came across this little gem near the end:

All morning I watch as vocalists with a string band sing hymns about Prophet Fred while several wild-eyed women stumble around in what appears to be a trance. They faith-heal the sick by clutching the ailing area of the body and praying silently to the heavens, casting out demons. Now and then they pause to clutch with bony fingers at the sky. “They do this every Wednesday, our holy day,” Tarawai explains. “The Holy Spirit has possessed them, and they get their healing powers from him and from the sun.”'

Sound like anybody you know? — Unsigned, by: RachelW / talk / contribs

Not personally. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:45, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Obama? --Kels (talk) 15:55, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Hahahha!--ADtalkModerator 20:55, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
You know, I'm trying to track down that Obama quote about him saying a light will shine down on you but I really can't find a credible source to it. One person on Yahoo Answers claims that it is genuine, but their oh-so-reliable-and-credible link was to WND. Harrumph. Scarlet A.pngsshole 11:18, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it is a genuine quote, but if you see it in context, it's clear he was joking. MDB (talk) 16:05, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

The Fail[edit]

"The reality is that God has only to lift His hand of restraint briefly and millions will die, as was demonstrated in atheist states such as Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and Pol Pots’ Cambodia." K. (talk)

Did they just admit their god was complicit in all those genocidal murders by allowing it to occur on purpose by lifting the restraints on such murderous people against innocent populations including children that he otherwise would have in check?--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 21:03, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Fundy creationists seem to have an obsession with this rather sadistic vision of Christianity - laughing at people they think will be condemned to an eternity of hell fire, etc. It seems to be quite common. "God is love" (1 John 4:8) seems to pass them by. Or they have a different definition of love to the rest of us even though the Bible defines God's love as being so powerful that he sacrificed his only son for us sinners. That really ought to give the fundies a clue but no doubt they have plenty of other Bible quotes that will support the more sadistic vision of God - fits well with their ultra authoritarianism. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:46, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
There's also the part where god deliberately makes the pharoh disobey him, then punishes him for disobedience by killing thousands of children in his country. Cherry picking parts that portray god as good and loving is no better than cherry picking parts that portray god as a murderous asshole. X Stickman (talk) 02:50, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
You never get a good answer for who god hardened pharoah's heart. For a good laugh, I suppose. Corry (talk) 03:14, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Euro semifinals.[edit]

Apparently, there is some sort of statistical correlation between having a fascist past and doing well in soccer this year. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 21:52, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

How true. There seems to be also a statistical correlation between winnig the Euro cup and wrecking ones national economy. So if Germany were to win, it might have dire consequences (apart from their gloating)--Th. Bernhard (talk) 22:06, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It would have been hilarious if Greece actually won (every single of the PIGS would have been in the semis). Azzuri deserved to go through against the England team though. Osaka Sun (talk) 22:21, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

So, farewell then...[edit]

George has shuffled off this mortal coil. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 09:05, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Time to add a new entry to the 'had to go extinct before I even heard about it' list.
Here's a question though: is it worth it to try to 'save' subspecies from extinction as if they were a species in their own right? Peter Urist for Mod! 09:22, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes. We should try to save every subspecies as a general rule, because there's no good reason to drive any section of any biosphere into extinction.--ADtalkModerator 09:34, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, as a general rule - to maintain as much biodiversity as possible. However, with limited resources a fact of life, it may be sometimes a difficult but necessary to leave something behind because the resources could be better used elsewhere. I can't remember who it is, but some conservation luminary says that we should abandon trying to save the panda because they take up huge resources that could be better employed elsewhere and because the pandas themselves are so useless at trying to survive as a species. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:53, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I saw George "in the shell" a few years ago at the Charles Darwin Research Station. He'd been given a harem of females from other Galapagos sub-species but at his age just wasn't interested any more. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 09:55, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
About 99% of all species ever have gone extinct, mostly nothing to do with human interaction too. Extinction drives evolution. Now, that's not a carte blanch to just go fuck up the entire planet just because we can (that's just stupid), but it does mean that there's no real reason to go out of our way to preserve every single creature on the planet just for the sake of it. More species and sub-species will be diversifying as we speak, it's just slower, less dramatic and isn't punctuated by an event that says "look, a new species!" - but it's still happening. Besides, we have smallpox down to its own Lonesome George scenario and no one is going to shed a tear when the last of that living creature gets firebombed into total extinction. Scarlet A.pngmoral 10:51, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Smallpox is a virus and so a lot of people are content to throw that in the "not alive" bucket, it's also likely that researchers will justify hanging onto their remaining samples for decades to come. I prefer Guinea Worm as my example because it's a macroscopic animal. It's not extinct yet but we're giving it a good try, and unlike Smallpox to keep even one worm extant would require a human volunteer willing to put up with excruciating pain as the host every year because it's picky and doesn't live in other species. So expect it to go extinct as soon as (Southern) Sudan stops being completely fucked, or maybe before. (talk) 12:20, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Sure species are going extinct all the time. The problem is that the rate of extinction at the moment is an order of magnitude greater than the natural background rate. But, OK, the biosphere could recover from this one in the same way that it has recovered from other mass extinction events. The problem is that while species are going extinct in front of our eyes evolution works nowhere near fast enough to replace them "in front of our eyes". Consequently we are going to bequeath an increasing impoverished, and potentially less stable, biosphere to our descendents. --Bonny (talk) 12:48, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, of course, I forgot about the humble parasite! But, as the post about the Maui's Dolphin points out, it's the big mammalian animals that receive the attention. Even the Guinea Worm would be "not alive" enough to warrant caring about. Scarlet A.pngtheist 15:48, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Being furry and having large round eyes also helps a lot. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 20:17, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
"Charismatic megafauna," to use the highbrow term. Doctor Dark (talk) 20:45, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Cuteness divided by number remaining in the wild equals conservation priority, clearly. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 21:35, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

grad school[edit]

So it's costing me over 1500 USD just to apply to grad school... I think I need to hold my own personal fundraiser. To those of you that have gone, I take it it's worth it? (Even though I'm planning on going anyway, since it's what I want to do in my field). άλφαΤαλκ 01:05, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Why is it so expensive just to apply? ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:28, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Well, what do you mean "worth it"? It depends what you want to do with the degree, I think. The academic job market is still quite bad, even outside the humanities, and with declining government support, excessive student debt, and cheap online courses coming, it's hard to imagine a dramatic turnaround is in the cards. There are plenty of horror stories about phds ending up working as adjunct faculty and living off food stamps. But, especially if you're not dead-set on an academic job, it's not necessarily a bad move. Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. --Benod (talk) 01:31, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Unless you get guaranteed full funding from a top-ranked school in your field, DO NOT GO TO GRADUATE SCHOOL . If, and only if you get a guaranteed five-year package from a top-ranked school in your field, make sure you talk to students in their final year and recent graduates about how the job market is treating them. DO NOT BASE YOUR DECISION ON WHAT PROFESSORS TELL YOU. Professors are the ones that the system worked for, they tend to spend all of their professional and social time with other professors for whom the system worked, and they often have no idea about the realities faced by those for whom the system did not work. DO NOT TAKE ON DEBT TO GET A GRADUATE DEGREE, unless you are DAMN SURE that it will get you a job. If you want an academic job, DO NOT GO TO A SCHOOL THAT IS NOT A TOP-THREE OR TOP-FIVE RANKED INSTITUTE IN YOUR FIELD. Because those people aren't even getting jobs these days, and if you aren't coming out of one of them, your application will not get read. If you want an academic job, inform yourself about non-academic alternatives for employment with your degree, 'cause in all likelihood that's where you will end up. Are you good at doing anything non-academic? Do you like the idea of having a trade? In a year or two you could be a plumber or an electrician making real money. If you go to grad schhol, in two years you will be poor, and barely a third of the way through an uncertain process that may end up leaving you nowhere. Grad students are often depressed and/or suffer from other mental health issues, and they often self-medicate. Research is an incredibly lonely process, depending on the field. Don't do it unless your fucking sure you want to, and be informed. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 02:05, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Calling it. Osaka Sun (talk) 02:40, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
No Poe. What I wish someone had told me. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 03:01, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
^^ As a grad student at a top-five school with bad job prospects and a bad hangover, I endorse everything TOP says. --Benod (talk) 02:42, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Going to grad school was one of the best times in my life. I've never been more challenged to think, and to self critique; I loved teaching. but TOP is exactly right, if you are not at one of the top ranked schools it's amazingly hard to find a full time position in academics (though i have no idea about science, where there are actual non- academic jobs). I took what I could get, taught at community colleges when I could, and semester classes when possible. If you are not at a top school, you need to be bloody brilliant. of course, if you are bloody brilliant you would be at a top school.  ;-) Green mowse.pngGodotThree words: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 03:10, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
"Why is it so expensive just to apply?" The academic-industrial complex needs fed, and the state coffers are running low. As Frank Zappa once said, "If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:25, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
@TOP - The top three schools in my field are the goal, but I don't know if I'm gunning for an academic position immediately. I've done fairly heavy research before (for an undergrad) but all of my other experience has been outside the academic world, so I'm not too worried. If you don't mind my asking, what field are you in (Benod too, I'm curious)? A lot of my work experience wasn't even in the field I'll be heading to grad school for, so I should have a fair amount of backup options, but I'm always curious as to others' experiences. I'm aiming to finish in four years, and thankfully my savings can cover it if I'm not one of the privileged few to get an aid package. On one hand, a lot of the programs I'm applying to are quite small (less than 15 students), but on the other hand, competition is still quite intense. άλφαΤαλκ 03:38, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm in History, highly-ranked school...we're placing grads, but often into post-doc or temp jobs instead of tenure-track. Many of my friends are on anti-depressants or in therapy.Some just drink too much. I am more inclined to be looking at teaching-heavy as opposed to research-heavy schools for a career option. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 03:54, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm in math, on not-applied end of the spectrum. Situation sounds about the same -- the lucky land a decent postdoc, and others get temp jobs. A fair number from my dept jump ship to finance. These days in math nobody gets a (research) tenure-track job without at least one postdoc. Don't know what field you're in, but in other sciences (esp. biology) I gather you can be moving from postdoc to postdoc for years and never get out, unless you take an adjunct teaching job with crappy pay and benefits. --Benod (talk) 04:07, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Job prospects are pretty reasonable in my field, partly because there's a good demand outside of academia (renewable energy, etc). All my recent grad students have gotten good positions in good places such as universities and government labs. Anyway, if you want an academic job, start acting like you're a professor from the minute you start grad school. Publish. Write grant proposals. Go to conferences, or better yet organize a conference session. Publish. Review journal submissions -- your prof may pass along papers to review, but if not get in touch with an editor and volunteer (it can be a challenge to find reviewers nowadays). Make connections with other scientists outside your university. Publish. Advise some undergrads on their senior research projects. Did I mention you should publish? You should publish.
The point is that you need to build a portfolio that shows you can do research, teach, advise students, and bring in the bucks. Even if you're not going for an academic job all these things will work in your favor. Freshly minted PhDs with just a thesis and a paper supposedly "in preparation" are in oversupply; those with track records of proven accomplishments, less so. (This is for the natural sciences. I don't know how things work for the social sciences and humanities.) Doctor Dark (talk) 06:13, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
^This haughty youth, he speaks the truth. Academia is nothing but doing too much with too little for fuck all. I've taken it on myself to discourage the fuck out of anyone who considers going post-grad. If you still want to do it after all the horror stories of stress, problems, lack of finances, lack of support, lack of prospects, the opportunity cost that you'll never recover (there are people 3-4 years younger than me earning 2-3 times what I realistically expect to get in 10 years time) and still want to do it, you might just be worthy. Scarlet A.pngsshole 13:52, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm in economics and finance, and I'll be going to grad school for economics. Publishing is good advice, though; I've had numerous people advise me of that almost independent of the field they're in, so that's part of the plan. I didn't realise that history was in such bad shape, academically. A good friend of mine has a undergrad history degree and is trying to figure out what to do with it. He's partly interested in grad school, but since I have no idea about the field of history, I just told him to search around. I'll be sure to mention this to him. άλφαΤαλκ 19:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
"...if I'm not one of the privileged few to get an aid package." If they don't want to pay you to go, don't go. I hate to sound harsh, but if you showed real promise, you would get a funding offer. No funding = you're going to be competing at a disadvantage with the people who got funding. Take your savings and invest in a trade or open a business. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 04:24, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I know. Some economics/finance schools offer no funding for anyone (unless it's an outside grant/fellowship, of course) for the first two years, and if you pass the prelims, funding is virtually guaranteed to the students that made it through the first portion. Whatever the case, I should be able to survive the preliminary exams and get a masters at the very least. άλφαΤαλκ 19:29, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Have you considered medical school? It's fun, you meet interesting people, and you learn some very useful talents. Corry (talk) 03:11, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I am in a field with significant opportunities for employment in industrial and military research in addition to the academic variety, although people who get graduate degrees in it still make themselves overqualified for non-research jobs, as I discovered at one point.

Strangely enough, a fair number of the faculty in my department, even the more recent hires, did not possess degrees from fancy-pants schools with six-figure tuition and/or top-five rankings. I think that at least some of the moaning about the academic job situation has more to do with graduate students setting their sights too high than anything else. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 15:40, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Why America's jails are full?[edit]

CBS quotes Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola as saying

"There are lots of people sitting in jails all across this country who have been executed for murder and later determined to have been innocent."

Clearly we have a serious problem, working attorneys in the US system believe that even executing someone won't be enough, they'd still need to be kept in jail, presumably because as undead they'll now have an insatiable appetite for the brains and flesh of the living ? It's not clear why this is relevant to Sandusky, who hasn't been sentenced to death and won't be executed but points to Amendola for bringing up this heretofore unexamined issue. (talk) 23:41, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

1) Links are nice, 2) your quote makes no sense. Peter Urist for Mod! 23:47, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Presumably they mean this article, and yes the quote is pretty funny. It's sort of an old gag, but nice to see it still lives on. --Kels (talk) 23:56, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Argh, now I get it. Need to wake up now it's midday already... Peter Urist for Mod! 00:01, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot the link. I did take a screenshot (because I figured they'd fix the quote, regardless of whether it was accurate as originally written) but I forgot to include either a link or a screenshot, which means I relied more than I ought to on reader's independent motivation. Thanks Kels for finding a link in my absence, and thanks PeterL for being nice enough to re-read that quote and realise why it's funny without us needing to explain. (talk) 07:02, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that it's in the best interest of lawyers have to win, not for justice to work out and the truth to be found. Prosecutors in murder cases need the accused to be guilty and get executed if they want to go anywhere, defence lawyers need their clients off the hook regardless of whether they're guilty. That's a pretty fucked up system when you actually think about it. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 10:32, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
There's a slight asymmetry (or at least, there's supposed to be). Prosecutors are only supposed to pursue those they reasonably believe will be found guilty. That includes not prosecuting when you're personally sure they're guilty as sin but you can't prove it AND not prosecuting when you have evidence that might convince a jury but you can see a problem with it. There's also usually a public interest rule, at least in criminal justice systems derived from the English, where prosecutors should refuse to prosecute when it serves no public good. e.g. If a person is driving dangerously fast but, before they can be stopped by police and arrested they crash into a gantry and suffer permanent brain damage that means they'll never lift a pencil let alone drive a car, it serves no purpose to prosecute them for speeding and impose a small fine.
In contrast the defence are supposed to focus entirely on their client's interests. In some cases that may mean pleading guilty, in others it may mean searching for every possible loophole to have even a tiny chance to spare them from the noose. A defence lawyer who believes their client is guilty is not, in theory, able to recommend any course of action other than pleading guilty or seeking alternative representation. The lawyer isn't ethically obliged to lie to the court for their client. But it's true that many lawyers manage to squint very hard in the course of their work to not see what's obvious to the layman.
But anyway, even if you get rid of adversarial justice it still won't be possible for people who have been executed to be sitting in jail awaiting a new verdict, which is why this quote was hilarious. (talk) 12:29, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Time for some creationist book larnin'[edit]

Read from the not-so-good book. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:54, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I could rant for pages and pages and pages on the first three or four sentences of that book and how fucking wrong they are. Scarlet A.pngtheist 00:54, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
All I can think of is "What are birds?. --Kels (talk) 01:56, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I thought either RW or Snopes proved this was fake, about 2 years ago? --Green mowse.pngGodotThree words: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 03:40, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
That book is a one-trick pony isn't it? "Science can only GUESS, but because we have the Biblical record we KNOW". Umm... Surprise, published by Bob Jones University. Secret Squirrel (talk) 13:22, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Physics is WRONG![edit]

Have found this page via the usual channels. The thing that strikes me, especially having read Dewey Larson's work, is that with these sorts of cranks they do say "logically inconsistent" and its variants a lot when referring to modern physics. Scarlet A.pngtheist 13:25, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm taking a stab in the dark here, but I imagine it might be the same problem the Randroids have with a good deal of modern physics. They like the elegance of Newtonian/classical mechanics as opposed to, say, quantum mechanics. And if the universe can't be fully described in neat and tidy models, then by god, we'll force it to. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:03, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
The phenomenon is much older than that, I should think; e.g., the Greeks used the concept of "epicycles" to avoid abandoning the idea that the planets traveled in circles. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:07, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
You mean that people like simple "answers" to complex problems? Of course, though I was looking for an analogy relevant to modern physics. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:14, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
More like people taking subjective ideas of "simplicity" or "beauty" and injecting that dreck into objective science, such as in the way you describe. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:18, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Isn't that the driving force behind string theory? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:44, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Sort of, but not quite. As I understand it, string theory is an attempt to find a unified theory that reconciles existing theories that conflict, or seem to conflict — string-theorists are not just trying to "simplify" for "simplicity"'s sake. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:51, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I find quantum theory to be remarkably simpler than classical mechanics. The fact that energy is related to an eigenfunction removes a hell of a lot of the complicated and hellish operations you have to do under classical mechanics. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 21:15, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Randroids don't actually do science, though. That might lead them to question Rand-Approved "reality." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:27, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


I'm deeply concerned about someone I care about a lot who I believe may be undiagnosed BPD. If anyone here with BPD would be willing to speak with me you have my assurance of absolute candor. And you should of course set any limits you need to re: triggers. Please contact me privately. I would be grateful. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:52, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

sent you an email. AceModerator 01:59, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I have experience living with someone with BPD, feel free to email me. C®ackeЯ
My loved one has BPD (and is reasonably public about it). Feel free to email with any questions at all (dgerard@gmail.com) - David Gerard (talk) 11:10, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
EDIT I assumed you meant "bipolar", and it now occurs to me you could mean "borderline" - which was it? - David Gerard (talk) 11:11, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Or even Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. rpeh •TCE 11:18, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll use my otherwise-wasted four years of medical school and suggest a biliopancreatic diversion (which to be fair isn't a disorder, it's a procedure, but all the other medical BPDs had been taken.) VOXHUMANA 11:25, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, borderline. Sorry. Someone I care about blacked me out. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 12:48, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I have only unhelpful advice based on becoming thoroughly sick of putting up with people with a selection of the many variants of Asshole Personality Disorder (all the personality stuff on axis II). My first impulse is to say "you can do nothing, leave it, really really", but this may be personal burnout talking - David Gerard (talk) 13:36, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
You're dead to rights on trying to maintain a romantic relationship, but I'm interested in asking some questions about things other than relationship of someone with personal experience. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 13:55, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Creating Gods[edit]

Interesting blog piece on religion and making them up for games. It argues that fictional religions should be built from cultural standards rather than starting from a god to attack. However, don't we disagree with the assertion that religion starts from the observation "Something is wrong with the world," but is instead "Death is scary. However, death isn't really scary as long as you follow our rules, and this is why..."?

Also, just because now I'm curious, if any RWkians do the TRPG thing, do you use religion in your games, and if so how? --CoyoteSans (talk) 02:52, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

In early days I was an asshole how enforced Christianity on the setting and painted little crosses on my guardsmen. Nowadays the Pantheon or whatever are just really powerful creatures who did not create the universe but pretty much rule it. Тytalk 02:55, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
40k guardsmen? Crosses on 40k guardsmen would be some kind of super heresy that'd get the entire unit blam'd. X Stickman (talk) 03:01, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Yup. Тytalk 03:04, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I know my friend blaze uses them, but thats because they are part of the campaigns he does (It is D&D afterall). I don't TRPG too often, and i dont really create the worlds. Deity creation is fun to do though ^_^, and most aren't an attack on real religions (despite the JRPG influence i have), though Henai is partially my reaction to the brand of Christianity i grew up in. --il'Dictator Mikal 03:14, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
When I played D&D, it was always Forgotten Realms, which has its own set of deities who actually exist and aren't really that mystical when it comes down to it. They're just really, really powerful beings which people worship for various reasons. Since mortals can even become gods themselves, overall the pantheons tend to have more personality and straightforward goals (or at least that's how I played them out). I prefer this kind of system to the more ambiguous ones, because when you're already making a leap into a fictional world of magic and such, you might as well add gods that are real and tangible - if you're going to add them at all. Q0 (talk) 06:50, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

So if you were going to make a religion, Coyote, for a novel or game - how would you frame it? I've always wondered why we assume religions would look the same, elsewhere. If my cat has a religion, I'm more than sure it's simply "I'm god, and that is more than apparent". Would an alien necessarily be prone to building super beings to make him feel safe?Green mowse.pngGodotThree words: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 03:38, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, my favorite fictional alien religion is the one the Mass Effect Geth (Cylon-esque robot people, for those who don't know) have: since they know both exactly who made them (and why) and exactly what awaits them in "death", they instead focus on making their society as efficient as possible (their ultimate goal in the story is to build a Dyson sphere so all their processes can run at once and achieve a sort of robotic Singularity) and emphasize the right of existence and self-determination for all sentient species. It's a religion that focuses not on death and obedience, but life and individual choice. When a "heretic" group emerges, their religion dictates they allow the heretics to leave peacefully to pursue their own path. They only decide to eliminate the heretical faction when they threaten the sovereignty of the main Geth and the other species. Incidentally, philosophically speaking, they are also probably the most "correct" species in the setting, given what the villains goals and motivations end up revealed as. --CoyoteSans (talk) 04:00, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Transhumanism. Either that, or the First Church of Appliantology. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:37, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
My 2c is that there are basically two ways you can go with fictional religions: you can either set up the god/gods as real or you don't. By "real" I mean actively interacting with the world in a sense that affects the narrative. With the former it just becomes part of the fiction, and you can play all the usual tropes - and the gods are as real as the towns and characters you've developed. It's only in the latter case where you'd really want to look at real religion to see how it works, because our gods certainly don't interact with the world in an unambiguous manner. Of course, I think you can convey it in a very blurred way but as an author or someone developing a world you need to know which one it is yourself (I'm not too proud to say I've made one up for a project myself, it takes this "blurred" track hence why I mention it, but I have a more solid idea which it "really" is.). Scarlet A.pngsshole 11:46, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I get the "real" gods aspect. but like Mikel said about D&D, they are basically powerful beings that are worshiped. Teh more instersting stuff is what you do with *religion* out side of the gods, as both Armondikov and Coyote have alluded to. The power and control religions have to structure how the characters see their life, their meaning, etc. Green mowse.pngGodotThree words: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 13:46, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Going back to the original comment, I recall reading up a bit on Japanese folklore some years ago, and it suggested that one reason Buddhism took root so easily was that it came with ready-made rituals surrounding what to do with the dead, and Shinto didn't have any. Which of course makes Shinto unusual in that it didn't deal with the "death is scary" aspect. Had some lovely folklore though. --Kels (talk) 17:02, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

There's a joke in Japan about how Shinto is for births, Christianity is for marriages, and Buddhism is for funerals. Cafeteria Christianity aint got nothin' on the Japanese cafeteria religion. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 13:04, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
They also get to pick through their relatives' ashes & bones with chopsticks. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:44, 27 June 2012 (UTC)