RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive166

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Thunderf00t question (Unrelated to "lol-icies")[edit]

So part of the banner for the blog reads "self-inquiring sentient universe." Is he even an atheist? Because this sounds more than a bit like pantheistic or panpsychic woo to me. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:45, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

It's academic now, he's been booted. Probably a mercy, he won't be embarrassing himself in print at least (although I can imagine what his next vid's gonna look like). --Kels (talk) 20:17, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Where can you see that he's been booted? Who decides that? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:49, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC) It's probably a reference to the sentiment expressed in Carl Sagan's "[Humans] are a way for the cosmos to know itself", though we can't know for sure without asking TF or watching his videos. And I don't have the slightest inclination to do any of this.
As for the booting: http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/07/01/major-changes-at-freethought-blogs/ Greg Laden gets one too.--ZooGuard (talk) 20:51, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Just saying:

When I started [Free-thought Blogs], it was intended to be very “loosy-goosy,” where we would all make decisions together like a commune; it turns out that doesn’t work very well as we’ve grown in size and become more diverse, so we’re going to put some structure in place to help the network move forward in a more positive manner.

RationalWiki, take note. Scarlet A.pngtheist 23:40, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I love the smell of aspie fascism in the morning. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:13, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
On that note, RW clearly needs to start giving out admin rights on a far more selective basis. Something like Wikipedia's "RFA" process would be ideal, it's been highly effective there. ... so how good are the sarcasm meters 'roun' these here parts...? VOXHUMANA 04:39, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Clearly why? WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:16, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Please read the small print. VOXHUMANA 06:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah OK, missed that. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:36, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
We can just strip all the sysop rights away from all users simultaneously. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 09:19, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Making people request an account via email would be a great first step. rpeh •TCE 09:44, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
And only accepting account names consisting of first name followed by the initial letter of the surname. Bad Faith (talk) 10:01, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Wow. I hadn't read his blog, but I just did. It is surprisingly bad. This post in particular made me cringe. He wants to "prove" his tone is fine, so he does a poll - of everyone who watches one of his videos. For all that he doesn't censor or ban, it is just embarrassing that he doesn't see the obvious flaw here (even when he says that in his opinion those who comment on his videos are perfectly representative).
And of course the damn thing is written just like he speaks, which is not very well-suited for a blog. Good riddance - now I may have to actually start reading freethoughtblogs.--ADtalkModerator 12:34, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The sooner he gets back to blowing up some potassium for our amusement, the sooner I'll be happy. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 13:13, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
That'll be right after the series on how FtB are actually fascists and that he was kicked for not toeing the party line. Given that's what his Twitter is full of (egged on by the MRA brigade who are only his "allies" as long as he hates PZ Myers), you know it's headed to YouTube next. --Kels (talk) 04:36, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
The question is, will there be a nice big underscore on this and everyone will forget about it, or is he going to go truly off the rails and end up with the "I hope you drown in rape semen" brigade? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Nutcase site designs?[edit]

Why is it that all religious nutcases, gurus, healers, conspiracy nuts and alike have websites that look like this? (talk) 11:24, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Several articles mention this, but none document it indepth. Pi 3:14 (talk) 13:51, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The W3C validator gives 3456 errors and 8 warnings with that site. How the hell do you make shit like this and then get it on the internet!??! Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:09, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I've seen a lot of cases where web developers throw their hands up and do whatever the fuck the idiots employing the web developer wants them to do. This one is so bad, I'm not sure that's the case. Occasionaluse (talk) 15:16, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
It's pretty doubtful that sites like this hire professional web developers. More likely they're using a template or some basic code copied from somewhere and filling it with as many pictures & colours as they can think of. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:28, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
It's better then the rainbowtastic mess that WBC had for a while. --il'Dictator Mikal 18:15, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The most baffling thing about that Jesus-is-Savior site's layout is that the design is largely stolen from here. Not only did David J. Stewart somehow think that terrible layout was worth filching, he actually managed to make it worse.
Also: this. Balaam (talk) 16:19, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Jesis is Savior has been mentioned recently. It looks a lot like parody. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:28, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Not a Poe - just sayin' Scarlet A.pngd hominem 18:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Not the only one. --PsyGremlin말하십시오 18:41, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
A little mystery meat in places but by far not the worst. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 19:47, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Microsoft word. Microsoft word has a 'HTML editor' mode that FILLS the resulting page-like object with formatting artifacts and errors. I once had to clean up my old high school website and rip out the PAGES AND PAGES of junk out of the functional code. These people go into dreamweaver and do things that no browser was meant to see. Like format things with spaces. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgoing galt: the literal crazy train 23:34, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Balaam - Any nightmares I now have will be your fault... --TheEgyptiansig001.png 10:15, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

To cut or not to cut[edit]

Interesting debate - we've just had Germany banning circumcision, but you've also got the WHO saying is can can reduce a man's risk of getting HIV by up to 60%. And then you have the Zim policitians all going for the snip. Sadly they didn't cut the top off the biggest prick of all in that country. --PsyGremlin말하십시오 13:24, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

It's a tough one. On on hand I feel repulsed by religious-based mutilation, but on the other hand there is clear evidence that circumcision has possible health benefits. It significantly lowers the incidence of penile cancer, but on the other hand that is one of the rarest cancers to begin with, so where does that get you? Then there is theorized loss of sexual pleasure, but it's hard to verify as most people don't get to experience both options. It's a messy one. VOXHUMANA 13:33, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Shouldn't it be a decision for the owner of the penis? If anyone over the age of sixteen/eighteen/twenty one/whatever wants the snip then why not but otherwise it's, as VH puts it, religious-based mutilation. Bad Faith (talk) 14:08, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Well not really. The cancer benefits appear restricted to infant circumcision - there is no apparent health benefit with adult circumcision (OK there is evidence of reduced HIV transmission with adult removal in Africa, but I don't think that is medically relevant to western parents). So if the parent doesn't have it done in infancy, there doesn't seem to be any medical reason to getting it done later. FWIW the American Paed Assoc has decided that on balance of the large number of conflicting factors, it's preferable to NOT get it done. In my mind, if a parent decides to do it after weighing all the medical factors, I find that defensible (I don't agree as such, but at least it isn't an irrational decision). Getting it done on purely religious grounds bothers me greatly. VOXHUMANA 14:34, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The lower risk of HIV transmission probably won't play a particularly large role until the guy is legally old enough to make the decision anyway (well... y'know, probably), so that's a largely moot point. If I recall correctly as well, the reduced HIV transmission risk isn't anything particularly fancy, it's literally just that if you have a foreskin, after sex it rolls back up and traps in HIV... juice... and gives it more surface area and time to infect. So basic safe sex practices (such as wearing a condom) nullify that benefit anyway. There are a ton of other surgical/cosmetic procedures that could potentially have health benefits down the road. You could perform appendectomies as standard on young children to prevent appendicitis, you could deem a child "ugly" and have elective plastic surgery on them to make them more attractive so they'll be more popular, you could remove one testicle "to reduce the risk of testicular cancer by 50%" (my math is amazing) and so on. None of those options are seriously discussed.
This whole debate is absolutely insane to me. I just can't understand how people can say "you not allowing us to perform elective surgery on minors without their informed consent is OPPRESSION". It is amazingly bizarre. And the only reason there's any discussion on it at all is that it's somehow become a relatively widespread thing. If circumcision wasn't already a somewhat common thing (for religious reasons or otherwise), and someone said "hey, why don't we circumcise children! It could help them later, maybe." they'd be booed off any stage they stood on. X Stickman (talk) 14:42, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Technically according to my understanding of medical ethics it would be OK to give boy babies the snip if medics were confident that the health benefits outweighed the risks for that individual according to available information. That's why the HPV vaccine was licensed for boys to prevent HPV-related cancers of the anus etc., not to stop those boys infecting girls (or each other) when they get older. If a health intervention only helps somebody else then the ethics people won't let you do it without informed consent. This is part of why "designer babies" as donors for their sick siblings are contentious too. (talk) 15:06, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I can't help it, but there's this niggling assertion in the back of my head that if female circumcision was an accepted Judeo-Christian practice then we'd happily find plenty of evidence for its medical benefits, too, and the WHO would be touting that equally. Alas, no, and one practice is accepted and the other isn't despite both amounting to non-consensual mutilation. Scarlet A.pngbomination 15:15, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── All the evidence shows that circumcision is not really the best option for health or pleasure. On the other hand, keep your smelly euro penis away from me. Occasionaluse (talk) 15:19, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Regardless of whether it's a good idea to just circumcise everybody for the hell of it, I hope nobody's planning to actually ban it for quantifiable purposes. I needed one when I was about 12 years old to solve some serious scarring issues (apparently due to malpractice by a pediatrician, but hey...). (talk) 15:31, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
@Vox. I disagree that there is evidence circumcision does ANYTHING healthy. If it did, you would see things like :lower AIDS cases in the US v. Europe (not seen). Lower numbers of cancer in US vs. Europe (not seen). The "studies" all looked at men who had been circumcised as part of religious conversions. It seems more than possible that a large part of teh "issue" might be changes in behaviors for those who have recently converted to xianity. By the by, ADK is right; if such cutting were common in Christian women, society would justify it. Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 15:35, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Well the evidence is clear that there is at least one health benefit. (I'm no supporter of circumcision, but if we dismiss evidence because we dislike the conclusion we become no better than the CP crowd). There is a firm and relationship between infant circumcision and invasive penile cancer rates(link). I'm not sure why you think "USA vs Europe" means anything, the only meaningful comparison is between circumcised and uncircumcised males. However what IS meaningful is the fact that penile cancer is a very rare cancer to begin with, and a reduction of a already tiny likelihood is of highly questionable benefit. No medical association that I'm aware of still mandates it as a routine practice anymore. VOXHUMANA 21:22, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Circumcision in infancy is pretty much unheard of in Europe while in the US it's a major thing. Providing you control for everything else, that's your randomised, massively sampled case-control study right there. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 21:33, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Correlation does not imply causation. It may be that the issue is just one of hygiene so that good washing practices for the uncut may counteract the supposed hygiene benefits of circumcision. And as for the "US v Europe" point it is that routine circumcision is much more prevalent in the US than in Europe. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 21:37, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
FGM is a cultural rather than specifically religious practice and so in some places it is associated with Christianity because (as you would expect for those concerned about souls rather than people) Christian missionaries were content to allow the practice to continue so long as those practising it said they believed in Jesus. If you go to Africa to fight FGM you absolutely will encounter Christians who see it as an element of their religion, in the same way that some Muslims see facial covering as an element of their religion. Arguing that the book doesn't say that will (as usual) not get you anywhere. Since these people actually practice FGM, rather than merely trolling on the Internet, you may find they're even more annoying that men who de-rail threads about FGM to discuss circumcision, the opposite of what has happened here. (talk) 17:56, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, in the Glorious and Civilised West, at least. Scarlet A.pngsshole 18:23, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

IIRC, Germany's decision doesn't constitute a full ban. Circumcision can still be done for medical reasons, but now you can't just give a "divine" excuse. And that's a huge ratio of them performed anyway. Osaka Sun (talk) 21:41, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Of course it won't be that sort of ban because there are legit medical reasons for doing that sort of surgery. Scarlet A.pngtheist 21:52, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Vox, for what it's worth, if you go to pubmed, and look at penile cancer causes, the leading cause is HPV, something that is heightened with longer exposure. In this case, the circumcision is not part of a causal relationship, but a way to keep clean. Something most baby boys in europe are taught from the get go. Ironically, if you look at French publications, they seem to come up with the opposite findings. Circumcision causes more diseases. I'm guessing both are largely a case of finding what you want to find, to justify your personal views.Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 22:13, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm guessing that if we chopped off people's arms we'd see a marked decrease in arm cancer too. Tielec01 (talk) 23:14, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
If the foreskin gets dirty which can lead to diseases, just clean it. Teach the child how to clean himself. Is it that hard? We have modern sanitation methods and running water now. "But, it's traditional, he won't look like everyone else". Well, the U.S. is running about 45% natural (uncut) these days. Soon it will no longer be "traditional". In most parts of the world, men are not circumsized. Tradition? In some countries (for example, Somalia) 90% of women are "circumsized" because it's traditional. I just don't agree with that argument. It's so harmful. In most cases, a baby is born exactly how it should be. But still, a baby girl is born and people say awwww... how cute, how precious, look at the little fingers and tiny toes... what a sweet baby, she's perfect! A baby boy is born and people say awww... how cute, how precious. Look at the little fingers and tiny toes, he's perfect.... hey... let's cut a piece off! I debated this with a friend, he was adamantly pro-circumcision - he declared "I'm circumsized, my father was, my son will be" and I asked but why? A baby is born perfect, there is no reason to cut anything off. He said, yes there is, you cut off the umbilical cord. So I replied, yes, but if you don't cut off the umbilical cord, it will shrivel up and fall off naturally in 2 or 3 days, the same cannot be said of a penis. or foreskin. I say leave the baby in it's natural state, boy or girl, and don't go cutting things off, for any reason. Refugeetalk page 02:29, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
@ Godot - actually now that I've dug further into it, you're right, the evidence is at best, negigible, and arguably zero. There is an association between circumcision and reduced penile cancer risk where there is also phimosis (ie. a partially or completely non-retractable foreskin), but take that factor away and the correlation seems to evaporate. If an infant patient presented with severe phimosis then circumcision might be an option to consider from a functional perspective (although there's dispute on that point as well) but apart from being a possible corrective procedure for that (rare) deformity, circumcision looks pretty indefensible. VOXHUMANA 03:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
This isn't about circumcision, but it's strongly related to what Refugee said. An issue that's frequently ignored is the frequency of "corrective" surgery on intersex infants - given here as 1 in 500 to 1 in 1000 births (about 1 in 100 people are intersexual, but a smaller number are subject to surgery). The whole idea that infants should be surgically "corrected" to conform to societal norms - be they religious or not - is amoral in my opinion. It runs contrary to the fundamental principles of medicine. People ought to be able to exercise agency over their bodies. Barring overt health and safety concerns, if a person desires gender-confirmational or circumcisional surgery, they ought to be able to choose to access it - but it should never be forced upon them at any time. Uke Blue 03:06, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
But so long as society enforces those norms, then surgical correction to fit those is in the best interest of the child. Otherwise they're going to grow up in a remarkably awkward fashion. It's a very self-enforcing cycle in that respect. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 09:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
[I'm really not a one-trick pony! This is just my area of passion and some expertise.] That argument reminds me of when a Fox host criticized an ad where a mum painted her son's nails pink because the son 'would be teased and beat up and subject to trauma' or thereabouts... gee, maybe it's the rigid and violent enforcement of gender norms that's the problem, not a kid doing what makes himself happy? In the case of corrective intersex surgery, it's even worse - you know how traumatic it is for trans people born with sexually dimorphic features, right? Well, with intersexual infants, a specialist essentially makes an arbitrary decision about the child's sex and gender, and when they get it wrong the child is subject to analogous trauma. Would it blow your mind to ask the child a few years after birth if they want to be a boy or a girl? (Or something else or both?) Seme Blue 16:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it's that simple or that easy Blue. You are talking to parents who have to make decisions about a child and his, her or Hiser's future life. Some corrections might well be advisable to the infant. We know, for example, that surgery done on an infant-2 years old is far less risky and recovers more fully than surgery done when the sexual organs begin to develop. And you have to deal with the stigma a child will face, for 10 years or so, before he or she or 3rd gender is able to understand. I think saying flat out, that when done under an expert in such issue's hands, it's amoral - that is too broad a statement. These rare but serious issues should be deal with, with a specialist in the genetics, in the mind, as well as some kind of group counseling with a therapist and kids adn adults who have gone through a range of choices and experiences. I would agree it's amoral if you just 'want to fix it" to "make her look like a girl again". but there are real medical questions that simply saying "is amoral" doesn't go nearly deep enough in addressing.Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 17:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I put "corrective" in scare quotes because there is a serious difference between genital surgery done to make the parents feel better and genital surgery done for real health reasons. And since infants are notoriously bad at communicating complex ideas about gender, the former sort of surgery should not be done until the child can give their approval. But don't take my word for it, take theirs. Uke Blue 17:51, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm calling Poe, but I'm still staying home that day[edit]

"Jesus, Take the Wheel Day" https://www.facebook.com/JesusTakeTheWheelDay

On March 31, 2013, Christians all over the world will take to the streets in their automobiles. Relying only on the divine protection of Jesus Christ, they will prove that the Savior of Man will not abandon them when they remove their hands from the steering wheels of their cars for a total of 5 minutes. They will not be at a red light, or a stop sign, they will be on the highways. This is TRUE FAITH. Jesus Christ does not abandon his children, and with the current state of the world, it's time to show Jesus that we have not abandoned him. Do not come to this page telling us that we are crazy and that we are going to die. Jesus is our Shepherd, and he will tend to his flock. Please join us and show that you are NOT AFRAID to place your life in the hands of Jesus Christ.

Whereas the thought of a bunch of religious nut bags doing the gene pool a favour by wrapping themselves around lampposts makes me happy, the thought that some fuckwit will do this and take some innocent with him, makes me sad. --PsyGremlin講話 11:19, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Obviously it's a parody. But one of the worst aspects about it is people taking it seriously. You have two camps in that respect; the religious ones who don't notice the joke and the non-religious ones that want to go grave dancing. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 11:28, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
2013-03-31 will be a Sunday, so that's the perfect day to get hammered on mimosas early not go out. I say let the parody "ride". The fact that it's the day before April Fool's Day is probably appropriate.-- Seth Peck (talk) 14:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Obligatory. -- Seth Peck (talk) 14:08, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Winning video to Alan Alda's challage: What is a flame[edit]

Smart people love being smart. And knowing everything. But can they communicate that knowledge to others? Especially kids? Alan Alda recalled a story of being 11 in a science class and asking "what is a flame". The teacher mumbled something about "oxidation" and moved on. Drawing on that, Alda has asked some 600 scientists to explain "what is a flame". The Judges? 1000 11-year olds. This is the winning video. --Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 15:11, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Seriously brilliant. Massive kudos to Alan Alda for posing the question but especially to Ben Ames for answering it. Bad Faith (talk) 17:02, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
A flame is what they used to screw into lamps before they had lightbulbs. I think. -- (talk) 20:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Biased SCOTUS judges[edit]

I saw a headline somewhere (it might have been HuffPo) that basically said both Justices Scalia and Kennedy (both Reagan appointees) were not only at dinners hosted by anti-healthcare campaigners, but theirs wives earn an income lobbying against health care. How on earth can these two been seen as being objective in the voting? --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 06:17, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

The way politics work in the US is that the Republicans screech, whine, and moan the loudest, drowning out Democrats as well as forcing them to accommodate them. So there really isn't much that could have been done.--"Shut up, Brx." 06:24, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
The Democrats lost most of their whining wing a while ago; now those people direct a good deal of their ire against the Democrats. For example, a number of them deluded themselves that Obama was a left-winger and subsequently accused him of being a traitor. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:42, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Somebody needs a bit of George Carlin. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:50, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Says the famous comedian on HBO, brought to you courtesy of Google. Guess the Big Creepy Corporate Media Thought-Control Conspiracy tripped over its own feet in its eagerness to silence the man, so that he went on without a blip. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:05, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Justice Thomas is another one. His wife has been a tea bagger and lobbied against healthcare reforms too. They aren't interested in the law, only in politics. rpeh •TCE 07:36, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
How on earth can these two been seen as being objective in the voting?- both scalia and thomas have had direct ties to cases they have ruled on. Neither ever has recused himself. On top of that, Scalia's descent reads like a political screed against Obama. He talks about fully unrelated issues, and something that can only be seen as his desire to see obama defeated next term. *in an actual Opinion*, not just in the papers or on TV. I've never heard of that being done before.--Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 14:11, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
"Scalia's descent" - excellent Freudian typo there. What's even funnier is that the wingnuts were demanding that Sotomayor and Kagan recuse themselves because they were both appointed by Obama. Apparantly this made them less objective than people whose families were receiving huge payouts from the industry on which they were ruling. rpeh •TCE 14:30, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm surprized they didn't ask the women to recuse themselves on the grounds that "this will directly effect them as women, since their own insurance will no longer be able to charge them more, therefore they have a state in the results". (see the petition to recuse Walker from the Prop 8 Case, cause "he might some day want to marry, too." Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 15:13, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Not too much different than his recent anti-immigration screed. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:52, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Since Thomas merely follows Scalia's lead we should come up with a name acknowledging that they are one mind with two votes. Thalia? TomScalia? Scathomas? I'm not very creative at this sort of thing. Doctor Dark (talk) 19:13, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Roberts playing both sides?[edit]

If this is true, the Roberts wrote both the Opinion and the dissent, then it is just more evidence that Roberts should be impeached. I'm glad he found with us this time, but it's supposed to be about law, not any other reason. and you can't write both sides of an opinion and say you did it cause: "constitutional law". Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 19:38, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

There is software available to detect similarities in writing style (used for academic research on authorship, or to detect cheating students, among other things). It would be interesting to use such tools on the decision and dissent to see the likelihood that they were written by the same person. Any idea where the decision and dissent can be downloaded for analysis? Doctor Dark (talk) 20:58, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Help me to understand the problem, Roberts changed his mind mid game after trying to craft an argument one way. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:14, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't know, the fact that you have to look fullying into the argument long before you start to write an opinion, for one thing. The fact that on an appelate Court, judges talk to each other, debating the merits or lack thereof, of a court before scripting the wording they will use. This is not, "I sat down to work on my outline, and though it over and changed my mind", this is "I wrote much of the actual opinion after deliberations, and then 'suddenly' changed my mind having 'thought better of it'". I get why, when looking over the case law, and beginning to build your argument you might say "wait, something is fishy" but by this account and the leaks by (Thomas, is the current best guess), this was a done deal - till it wasn't. Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 21:29, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Why do you think he 'suddenly' changed his mind. Maybe he had doubts before but was 70% sure to go conservative on this one, but then while writting it, he noticed that the argument didn't work (for him). Mayby he was 50:50 but identifying as a conservative, he thought he had to go with the conservative side. That he did change his mind doesn't mean he was 100% against and then all of a sudden 100% pro. Also maybe his political thought is drifting towards liberalism and he was afraid to take a stand (could have heard "traitor" in his mental ears). After all even supreme court justices are human being. Changing your ideology late in your life has to be a bit like realising that you're gay... Or maybe, he just noticed arguing it for himself, that the actual argument doesn't work. That happens to even the most renowed intellectuals sometimes. --Rutherford (talk) 21:48, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
While I have never personally been privy to participating in the back-door workings of an appellate or higher court, I grew up listening to the tales of people who have. At least at the US appellate circuit level in general justices meet very rarely and only at specific set points in the cycle and there is actually limited discussion directly on the merits of cases. Most of that occurs through clerks of the judges, who will meet many times and pass information back and forth as a barrier. Some of the most momentous decisions the Supreme Court has made, that we are now privy to the behind the scenes stories of, came down to last minute decisions. The big issue with this decision is that everyone was overly focused on the commerce clause. Honestly, I think ACA as enacted under commerce clause authority is unconstitutional, and that was what they hit up first and most of the "dissent" opinion the Roberts wrote was in response to the commerce clause argument. But then, either through exploring the issue, stroke, or divine inspiration Roberts realized that the dissent opinion on the Tax authority was wrong. The "joint" opinion of Kennedy and the conservative bloc that was not written by Roberts was in response to the tax argument and frankly that was an embarrassment of a dissent. Seemingly thrown together at the last minute without a lot of effort. Robert's majority opinion on tax authority was actually pretty interesting. It was very well reasoned and structured, hit almost all the major points of dissent and showed how steeped in existing case law and precedent it was a reasonable position to come to. It was not rushed, badly presented, or anything like that. It looks like an honest opinion based on the law, from someone that honestly believed it was the appropriate decision. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:42, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, here's what I ask myself: Does an argument over tax authority, the commerce clause, or anything similar really actually sway a justice's opinions? Looking at the history of the Supreme Court - and especially the history of similar cases - it becomes blatantly obvious that it rarely, if ever, occurs. Supreme Court justices of all swaths are well aware of how important their rulings are, and more often than not the opinions seem written as legalistic justifications for private beliefs. Let's take the Civil Rights Movement as an example. In the 1880s, the Court ruled 8-1 in the Civil Rights Cases that the 14th Amendment didn't apply to private individuals, and that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was unconstitutional. Fast forward almost 90 years later, and, in the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, the same type of bill is passed again (the Civil Rights Act of 1964). What will the Court say now? In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, they unanimously rule that the commerce clause gives the power that the 14th Amendment does not. When I first learned about this mess, I wrote, exasperated:
This begs the question of if the commerce clause argument had been stated in the 1880s, would it have held true? For fuck's sake, of course not. The obvious answer is that the justices pulled whatever they could out of their asses when given the chance to nullify the 1875 law. The justices of the 1960's were much more open to the idea, but knew they now had to go against precedent, so they pulled something out of their asses yet again. Voilà! Interstate commerce!
That said, I do think Roberts could have changed his mind over what kind of argument he wanted to put his name on. If the options were an opinion that was at least sound, versus one that was clearly flawed and reaching, I can see how he'd decide to preserve his name and legacy by siding with the better option. This is especially true if he was on the fence to begin with. Remember, this isn't some brilliantly amazing and sweeping healthcare bill. It will definitely help some people, but at the same time it doesn't even attempt to address the problem of for-profit medicine (which I'm betting Roberts doesn't see as a problem at all). I myself struggle with the bill, wondering if it will set back demands for true universal healthcare ("We already have Obamacare, what do we need another healthcare bill for?" = "We already desegregated, what do we need affirmative action for?"), or if it will turn out to be successful and drive public opinion more in favor of better healthcare. I hope it's the latter, but the history of these small advances is that the movements behind them quickly lose their momentum. Q0 (talk) 06:50, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Peak oil[edit]

It seems that, for better or for worse, the end of the world as we know it was been cancelled. --Bonny (talk) 09:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

I think Peak Oil is like the Second Coming; "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Scarlet A.pngd hominem 09:37, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I think the forecasts of reduced output perhaps failed to anticipate improvements in oil locating and drilling technology. Sophiebecause liberals 10:26, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Probably true, but Monbiot's main point is that the huge increase in the price of oil has made extracting oil from tricky places economically viable. So now we're off the hook on oil running out, I imagine all governments will start encouraging research into long-term global warming solutions and eventual cheap replacements for energy sources. They'll make an announcement from the backs of their unicorns while pigs soar overhead. rpeh •TCE 10:30, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
While the increase in oil production as a result of technology does put off hitting "peak oil" for the time being, the fact remains that current technology to drill for it in much more difficult facets of the world means that this is, for all intents and purposes, the very last oil boom. Once we run out of all this new oil production we are currently engaging in, that's it. Modern technology is, pretty much, at its end for getting oil (we can't drill much deeper than we can now or in much more difficult places than we currently are). Once this boom is over, that is the beginning of the end. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 11:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Nonsense. As the arctic ice melts due to global warming, much more oil will become available. Did I say global warming? Er, never mind that -- no such thing. It's a communist plot! And besides, there's always abiotic oil. It can never run out! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:34, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Peak oil hasn't been cancelled, it's merely been postponed. It's like Skynet's Judgement Day - its inevitable. Personally, in the long term I'm more concerned about the exhaustion of copper and titanuim reservs. Although these metals can be recycled, we still mining them at an alarming rate, and unlike oil, they're much harder to substitute with renewable equivalents. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 09:18, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
In one sense though Peak Oil has already happened. That is to say in respect of conventional reserves. The growth in production is fuelled by (ho ho) unconventional sources.--Bonny (talk) 18:20, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

DC Area Thunderstorms[edit]

Has everyone in the DC area recovered from last Friday's apocalyptic thunderstorm?

My short version: I lost power for a short time during the storm, and I wasn't even home then. My power went out Saturday morning about 10:00; I'm guessing BGE took it down intentionally to do repairs. I was planning on going to see my boyfriend anyway, and he had power, so I headed over there early. When I got home Sunday afternoon, my power was back on.

I had no power at my office yesterday, but was able to telecommute at least.

MDB (talk) 12:11, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

I know some of my family located in Maryland are still without power. They have landline phone access and have told everyone they are OK. But to my knowledge, they will not have power for another day or two. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 12:22, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
For those who don't know what happened, we had what's called a "derecho". (I know it was national news in the States, and an Aussie friend told me it got major coverage there.) MDB (talk) 12:28, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
In other continent news we're going to get even more rain in the UK. :-(--Bonny (talk) 18:14, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Dick Hafer is a massive prick[edit]

I'm sure yu folks are fully aware of of this chap and this charming comic: part 1 part 2, but I have just discovered this for myself, and well. He make Jack Chick look both reasonable and talented. AMassiveGay (talk) 21:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Oh man, has that guy got issues. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 21:24, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
oh wow. you learn something new everyday... He's Dead ,motherfucker!!!!RandonGeneration (talk) 21:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Heh. "Dick Hafer". X Stickman (talk) 01:34, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
I endorse this link. It made me laugh out loud at work; I'm glad no-one looked at my screen though. Tielec01 (talk) 10:50, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
This page is particularly illuminating--"Shut up, Brx." 11:30, 4 July 2012 (UTC)--"Shut up, Brx." 11:30, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Watching Live CERN webcast....[edit]

...Higgs mutha-fucker. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 07:42, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Probably....07:47, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Damn thing keeps cutting out. Peter HFB2 07:53, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Twitter's better for this ATM. Brian Cox is doing some good stuff. Basically, they're 5 sigma sure there's a new particle and 4.9 sigma sure its mass is 125.3 +/- 0.6 GeV. rpeh •TCE 07:55, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
The upshot is that there's definitely a new particle; it's almost definitely weighs what you'd expect a theoretical Higgs Boson to weigh so it's almost definitely the Higgs Boson. 5 sigma means 99.9999% sure. rpeh •TCE 07:57, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
If you're still getting video problems, there's a Guardian liveblog and a Discover magazine one. rpeh •TCE 08:03, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
So, comic sans is cool now? [1] Peter HFB2 08:17, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes. rpeh •TCE 08:26, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The second part of the LHC experiment also finds a particle of the expected mass with 5 sigma certainty. Here's the CERN press release. rpeh •TCE 08:26, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

The best summary is this from the Discover blog: "Personal editorializing by me: we’ve found the Higgs, or at least a Higgs. Still can’t be sure that it’s just the vanilla Standard Model Higgs. But the discrepancies aren’t quite strong enough to be sure that they really represent beyond-Standard-Model physics." Basically, they found what they expected and the discrepancies are within error bands. rpeh •TCE 08:46, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
I can see Higgs winning the 2012 Nobel. Also, all scientists must now use Comic Sans to troll the fuck out of everybody. Osaka Sun (talk) 09:01, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
The former, YES. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:04, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Has anyone played a drinking game on how often "god particle' is being used today? sighs...Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 16:15, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
If I had done that today with WGBH I'd be a dead man. And I can hold too much alcohol reasonably well. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:04, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I will kick a fucking cat in the fucking face every time someone says "god particle". Scarlet A.pngsshole 16:28, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Haven't heard it once, TBH. Only Higgs Particle or Higgs Boson. Very touching to see Higgs himself saying a few words at CERN. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:06, 4 July 2012 (UTC)


OK. For a long time I've been frequenting a forum, like a litle internet sanctuary where everything is nice and fluffy and sane. It's like Pyroland. Plus it's based around a book series I really do rather like. And then....some other prick made this bloody thread (I'm user Phantom if anyone is remotely interested). Why oh why is it that as soon as I come across that turd of a website that makes me lose what little faith in humanity I had, it starts popping up everywhere? This makes me sad panda. --Veni Vidi.png Feci.png 09:46, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

I came across it four years ago when someone posted it to a small-ish message board. It does the rounds on occasion. Regain some hope, no one shares it with the context of "look at this amazing site with all its facts and truth!" it's all "let's have a laugh at these wackos". Scarlet A.pnggnostic 10:00, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
The only slightly disturbing part is all those comments that say "It's a parody, right?" (I often wonder how many people have edited Conservapedia for a few months, still believing it to be a parody site). But, I'd have to agree. If somebody started a thread saying "This website has the TRUTH that the lamestream media dont want you to know" I'd want to punch a hole in something. Somebody starting a thread that says "Look at these nutjobs", that's no big deal.--Spud (talk) 11:28, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
What ADK said - whenever somebody does mention it, it's always as a "OMFG! have you seen this shit?" way. Which is a good thing. --PsyGremlinParlez! 13:05, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

wiki-ages of active RationalWikians[edit]

active editors at RW
I think that this pic helps to understand our group-dynamics: it shows the unique editors per month grouped by the year of their account creation. E.g., in Jan 2008 50% of those who edited during that month had created their account in 2007.

The number of unique editors per month has been quite stable, most times it lies between 300 and 400 contributors. And if we ignore the newbies - they tend to be quite active, alas often only for a short period, we see that our demographic make-up is quiet even.

And so - though we are not growing very much - our population is always changing, but not in a revolutionary, more in an evolutionary way. Obviously it is difficult to cater to the wishes of such a (age-wise) diverse community...

Some more pics: here.

larronsicut fur in nocte 12:51, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Beautiful, and interesting as ever, LArron. Thank you. rpeh •TCE 13:15, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Probably due to being quite thick, I can never makehead nor tail of these pretty graphics. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:11, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
My understanding of it is 2009 has the least amount of holdover editors into 2012, with the old guard and other 07'ers being about the same level.--il'Dictator Mikal 17:41, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Do the edits in these charts include talk page comments etc.? ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:56, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
OK, whoever it is who used time travel to make an edit in 2007 from their account that was created in 2009, stop it. You're threatening the fabric of the entirety of spacetime with your pissing around with a TARDIS. (Can I have a go at some point?)--Veni Vidi.png Feci.png 18:12, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Wow, how did you notice that tiny spec of green all the way up at the top of the red? I'm guessing it was due to a name change later on. Terrific job as always Larron! I'm a 07'er - yay! Refugeetalk page
Is it possible to scale the Y-axis to absolute numbers rather than percentage? Scarlet A.pngmoral 20:16, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
LArron posted that at WIGOCP, here it is (see his link above for the rest): --Benod (talk) 22:07, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
edits by account age
Thanks Benod, that's quite right, though over there you find number of monthly edits, here it's about the number of unique editors per month. I add the pic here. larronsicut fur in nocte 22:23, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

This is very interesting indeed. Every "Wave" is getting near-equal representation. Brx's new culture is getting pwned. Osaka Sun (talk) 22:47, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

If I may say a very rare word in defense of Bricks, I do not think he meant "new culture" in that way. A number of "old-timey" editors are supposedly part of his camp, like me (created account 25 March 2008) and Armondikov (7 March 2008). Bricks is, of course, completely wrong, but there is a lot to say about how conflicts that began when RW was nascent continue in full force to this day. Seme Blue 23:27, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
editors by account age
Yeah, you're on what, your fourth user name? I've been using the same one since before the mists of time. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
A textbook example of what blue just said. There's clearly some long history behind that comment, human, but without that context it looks completely nonsensical. Peter HFB2 06:21, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Out of curiosity, what happened in November 2009 that cause that spike in editing? Sam Tally-ho! 23:46, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Nx used his bot to make a crapload (~6,000) edits to the file namespace, though I can't remember what for. Seme Blue 02:40, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
He very sensibly added copyright infos like this one. larronsicut fur in nocte 06:18, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I assume everyone's aware already but...[edit]

Ferret poster.jpg

In case anyone out there doesn't know, moderator elections are underway. It seems there's nothing on the intercom about this, or posted anywhere formally that I see, so I thought I'd at least let everyone know on this one high traffic page. Polls close tomorrow (Thursday the 5th), so there isn't much time left. Yeah, I'm sure the reaction of 95% of you is "Well DUH," but there have been instances of people missing things I would never have thought they'd be able to miss because they weren't announced. Though spamming by Ace and Sterile has probably alerted everyone who might have missed it otherwise. Well, there you go. Carry on. DickTurpis (talk) 15:29, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

I've spammed it on the Facebook group too. Sophiebecause liberals 23:08, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Tmt has now added a site-wide message to remind everyone that today is the last day to vote. Refugeetalk page 03:40, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Sanal Edamaruku update[edit]

Evidently the police have now tried to arrest Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku on blasphemy charges brought by the Catholic church in India, but he wasn't home. I've fired off an email to the Archbishop of Westminster asking him to use his influence on this ridiculous matter. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 16:52, 4 July 2012 (UTC)


For those others in America, is it me or do the amount of near-professional private firework shows manage to increase every year? I live right near a lake, in a state where firework laws are pretty strict, and yet already tonight it's sounding like a war zone out there. There are at least three sets that have been going on for 20-30 minutes now. If I really enjoyed these things, instead of going to the city show I'd probably just stay at home and sit outside watching these instead. I know people travel out of state to get them, and it's amazing to me when I start thinking about how much they must spend. Q0 (talk) 01:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I think at least part of it is people not being afraid to buy and use them even if they're illegal or strictly regulated. It's probably also like weed, the more prohibited it is, the more people will want to get and use them. Sam Tally-ho! 02:10, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
They are illegal in BR... but not across the river, so you can see and hear them. They just started a few minutes ago, will continue for several hours. Тytalk 02:12, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
It's a frigging National Holydaze. My neighbors shoot the damn things off all summer. Amusingly, in NH it is legal to sell them, but not to use them. "LOL". ħumanUser talk:Human 05:53, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
And oh yeah, $500 buys a lot of pretty colored explosions in the air. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:54, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Higgs Boson[edit]

According to ABC News, FermiLab has found the strongest evidence yet for the existence of the so-call "God particle." Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 11:31, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Ahem. rpeh •TCE 11:37, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
D'oh! This is what I get for never checking any of the WiGos. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 11:44, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I used to live one town north of FermiLab. My fondest memory of the place is, actually, going to see a full-screen showing of The Trouble With Harry in one of their auditoriums, back when they used to do such a thing. -- Seth Peck (talk) 14:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
What town? A friend of mine used to see movies at FermiLab, too -- he lived in Aurora. MDB (talk) 17:41, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
FermiLab is in Batavia, but I grew up in Geneva. I have relatives in Aurora. -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:06, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

"Giant dark matter bridge"[edit]

Does anyone know how true this is? It's a mainstream news site reporting on science, so i'm skeptical. Nihilist 22:11, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Dark matter and gravitational lensing are two pretty well-established concepts in astronomy, so the discovery of a "giant dark matter bridge" shouldn't be that extraordinary. It looks like they got all their info from space.com, so maybe check if that's a reputable site. I would imagine, from reading the article, that it's a legit finding. Sam Tally-ho! 22:30, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Isn't dark matter still hypothetical? Or am i scientifically-illiterate? Nihilist 00:11, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes and no. Depends what you need for 'proof.' I mean, have you ever seen a neutron? Peter HFB2 00:20, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Dark matter is a hypothetical substance, yes. However a great deal of physics since 1900 has been driven by theoretical physics positing the existence of certain particles/substances, which experimental physics then goes looking for. While this find doesn't "confirm" the existence of dark matter, it does lends further support to the hypothesis. VOXHUMANA 00:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
[EC] So dark matter has as much evidence for it as neutrons? That wasn't sarcasm, i'm seriously wondering. Nihilist 00:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I think Peter's saying that both dark matter and neutrons are widely believed to exist even though we haven't directly observed either of them. You believe (presumably) that neutrons exist even though there's no direct proof (i.e., seeing them under a microscope). Most astronomers and cosmologists now believe that dark matter is a real substance even though they haven't looked through their telescopes and seen the actual substance itself. A lot of things in nature such as neutrons and dark matter are confirmed or nearly confirmed through indirect means; in the case of dark matter, it's gravitational lensing (mentioned in the MSNBC article) and galaxies' rotation curves among other means. Sam Tally-ho! 01:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't get that. What's the difference between seeing something under a microscope and seeing something in the LHC? Both techniques are using equipment to effectively enhance the human eye. It's only a question of scale and complexity. The neutron has been empirically shown to exist as much as, say, bacteria. And they know loads about it - its mass, size, charge, its constituent quarks, etc. Dark matter, on the other hand, is not in the same league. Not because it hasn't been shown to exist - it has (based on current understandings of physics). But little is known about what it is, just that it's there and has mass. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:32, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
"Dark matter" does exists. As in, there's something out there that needs to account for the mass, but we can't see it so don't know if it's either normal matter that is quite literally dark and so doesn't interact with light enough to get a good grasp of it, or something a little more exotic and interesting. So yes, "it" does exist and that's very well established. What "it" is is a slightly different question entirely. As for "indirect" means of detection, *cough*. Scarlet A.pngbomination 11:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Nice. *slaps Armondikov in the face* Ajkgordon (talk) 13:18, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Dark matter, like is mysterious cousin "dark energy", is inferred to make observations of the universe fit the maths.--Bonny (talk) 20:13, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
What do you actually mean by "make observations of the universe fit the maths"? Scarlet A.pngnarchist 20:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
It's just that if there are observations that disagree with current theory, then we need to include something to account for it ("dark" is really just a stop gap for it until we know better) but if it's "just to make the maths work" then that implies there really aren't any observations. Which would make it, as Feynman would say, wrong. Scarlet A.pngpostate 20:36, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
So a science "noob" question: L Kraus tried to explain dark matter, and how well we understood it on a BBC show about, well, dark matter, dark energy and something called dark flow. after he explained what it was, he said, "the reality is that either it exist, or our idea of how the universe is put together is wrong, and what gravity actually is, is fully misunderstood and that is an equally compelling notion with validity". so my question is, How do we know that DM exists, vs., "our understanding of gravity is a fail point". when do you say "yeah, this is the best option", especially in the stranger world that science is becomming with strings, and wierd elections being in two places at once. Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 20:46, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I would best describe it as a "stop gap" explanation. We know there has to be something to account for the discrepancy. But remember, any new theory must also explain the old observations. By this principle, whatever theory works now will be sort-of correct. So our idea that gravity attracts is, and always will be, right. Extensions to this may alter, but how we choose to label the new extensions may come as a surprise and as a matter of debate. Will we include "dark energy" as part of gravity, or something separate? I don't know, no one knows... that's what is going to make the age I'm going to live through (all these young whipper-snapper students make me feel older than I really am, so I forget I have this to look forward to) so fucking exciting! Scarlet A.pngtheist 20:58, 5 July 2012 (UTC)


Dark Matter sounds like a Batman nemesis, a nasty one too. I suggest we star a meme for non-luminiferous aether, since this is what it sounds like to me. 17:31, 5 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

Bing doesn't like Suntrust[edit]

DMorris, on the EIP Network 1 855 282 2882 02:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

What's Smiley Central? Sam Tally-ho! 02:35, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Some shit on the MyWebSearch toolbar that my uncle has installed on his computer. DMorris, on the EIP Network 1 855 282 2882 02:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh, it is your uncle's computer, I was about to say... Тytalk 02:47, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, mine is down. DMorris, on the EIP Network 1 855 282 2882 02:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Those smiley toolbars are often a front for malware/spyware. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:29, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
MyWebSearch is one of the first things I look for when sorting a sick computer. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:25, 5 July 2012 (UTC)


Discuss. We all know the decision today. Was it SOPA II or an overreaction? Osaka Sun (talk) 03:13, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Huh? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
A blue link would be nice to follow. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 09:15, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
And if you're going to discuss it, how about doing so in a Forum? Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 11:53, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Higgs boson found[edit]

ANyone here know enough physics to say if the CERN announcement is definate for the Higgs ? Hamster (talk) 03:55, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Cern says they are at sigma 5 that they've found *something*, likely *a* higgs, and 4.9 sigma that it is THE higgs. It acts just like Higgs should (ironically, to the disappointment of many in the field who were hoping for a magic particle that would help them tie in the annoying non "universal theory" pieces, like gravity). Fermi lab has been asked to look over their data from the last (15?) years, now that they know exactly what they are looking for, and see if their data confirms. Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 04:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Fun chart: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/07/daily-chart-1?fsrc=nlw%7Cnewe%7C7-4-2012%7C2681750%7C36927147%7C ONE / TALK 09:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
A Higgs boson walks into a Catholic church. "Heretic! You can't come in here," says the priest, "God is not a particle". The Higgs replies, "But, without me, you can't have Mass..." Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 09:10, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Higgs-Boson, the unwanted fashion particle. It gives mass to the standard model. rpeh •TCE 09:31, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

The guy who painted Obama burning the US Constitution[edit]

I wish to create an article about Jon McNaughton, the artist who paints glorified political cartoons. I feel he has well and truly earned an article here on RationalWiki, in accordance with parts 3 and 4 of RW's mission. I mean, look at this shit.

He made it into a WIGO:clogosphere entry, and has Sean Hannity as his patron. In few months, we can also see how much he'll fawn over his fellow Mormon in Good Standing, should he become president.

What say you all? --TheLateGatsby (talk) 05:09, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Follow the red link and try to add as many footnotes as you are able. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I think I'm off to a good start! --TheLateGatsby (talk) 07:58, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

The "art" will be worth more once their creator has been visited by the Death Panel. 17:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

I fucking hate this guy with an irrational passion... Scarlet A.pngpostate 20:54, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Quote competition[edit]

Westboro Baptist Church, your key to improving the state is obvious: Just shut down. And shut up.

Ok, who said that? No googling, binging, yahooing or other profane activities. Winner gets nothing but a chuckle, as does everyone else. Peter HFB2 08:52, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Was it Our Lord Jesus Christ? WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:38, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Luke Skywalker, but only in the Blu-Ray version of The Empire Strikes Back. rpeh •TCE 12:40, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I had no clue so I cheated, but the path it took me on was well worth it. Thanks. VOXHUMANA 17:08, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Cheated too, pleasantly surprised. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 17:53, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Being a deceitful liberal, I cheated. My irony meter is now broken, so I'm not sure if its breaking is poetic justice for my deceit. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 18:28, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Damn cheats. But yes, its a pleasent surprise. Peter HFB2 23:25, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Steve Ditko[edit]

Steve Ditko is the artistic creator of Spider-Man.

He's also a die-hard Randroid.

Here's something resembling an interview with him. MDB (talk) 19:14, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, that's how Spiderman acts before Uncle Ben is killed. Think about it. Only thinks about making money. Refuses to stop a criminal for no other reason then "Not my problem." and goes to basically murder the carjacker until he realizes everything that happened is his fault. Honestly Ditko shows quite a bit of maturity by going down this path. At least IMO. --Revolverman (talk) 19:36, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Interesting viewpoint -- mind if I quote it on my comics fans mailing list? MDB (talk) 23:06, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Autism and wtf[edit]

If this is autism, what the hell is normal?


This kid is fine.

ħumanUser talk:Human 05:47, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Sometimes it seems like Autism and other related conditions are being ascribed to children more and more often with fewer and fewer symptoms needed to have it ascribed. It's almost like some parents actually want to say their kids have some sort of special condition sometimes. (Not that these kids are bad, of course.) Sam Tally-ho! 06:31, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we can make a judgement about whether this kid has autism, or pushy parents, based on a one minute video of him singing. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:39, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
He is adorable first of all. But this doesn't tell us very much. I have worked with people with autistic spectrum disorder for ten years, so while I am not a professional, I have learned a little. And mild autism can present in all kinds of ways, few of which would be apparent from a video of the kid singing. Rhythmic rocking and singing, though, are probably more typical of autism than not (again though: meaningless as evidence).--ADtalkModerator
People with autism can do all kinds of things as well as or better than allistic people. Disability is not total dysfunction. Autistic people have talents and strengths just like those without the disorder. And we can't make a diagnosis from a short video like this. Seme Blue 08:06, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
"Allistic"? Peter HFB2 08:23, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
One of the biggest concerns I have these days (having been diagnosed/misdiagnosed with various learning disorders over the years) is that it seems to me, in my personal experience that teachers and parents are all too quick to doctor shop for children in order to explain behavior that doesn't conform to their standards. In my case, I had a typical overactive imagination. I remember my school district pretty much doctor shopped for my parents to help "correct" my behavior. I had been originally misdiagnosed with Asperberger's by my school's licensed psychologist and placed into special-ed for autistic kids. Later, my pediatrician over-ruled the school and changed the diagnosis to "unspecified" and sent me to some specialist who labeled me as "gifted and talented, high IQ." But since I didn't get the grades (since I was soooooo damn bored with learning at a ridiculously slow rate), my school district had my parents take me to get a "2nd opinion" from another specialist. He diagnosed me with "extreme ADHD" and put me on ritalin. Since we had switched pediatricians by this point due to insurance coverage, my new doctor confirmed this diagnosis and, as such, I was on ritalin for 4 years until I switched doctors again and switched schools, at which time the diagnoses was switched back to "gifted/talented," and by this point, the damage to my future was done. Anyways, my point is that after having this experience, I am highly suspicious of the current culture of finding "magical" diagnoses of childrens' behavior. Are autism and ADHD real? Yes. But do I think the diagnoses are misdiagnosed and doctor-shopped for? Absolutely. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 13:10, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure this is a frequent problem. Evidence?--ADtalkModerator 13:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Anecdote related to this: my sister is a primary level teacher in Scotland. Over 1/2 of her class are classified as special needs of one kind or another, including conditions like ADHD, Aspergers etc. There's nothing out of the ordinary about her school or the area - it's all caused by parents pressurising doctors and specialists to give the diagnosis that suits them. rpeh •TCE 13:22, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I've seen a study or two in the past about such doctor shopping (though I can't recall them off the top of my head, since it would've been some years ago). Mostly, though, you can find all kinds of stories similar to mine if you search for them. This isn't strong evidence, of course (it may even be a confirmation bias in my thinking), but after my experience, let's just say I'm a bit more skeptical of autism/Asperger's/ADD/ADHD diagnoses. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 13:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I can also add that there are also well-documented cases where kids feign ADD/ADHD to get their hands on the drugs. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 13:37, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Peter - allistic is a term like "cisgender" that attempts to remove the stigma of autism as a disease, and defines it as simply a different way of existing. so you now have autistic and allistic instead of "normal" and 'sick". I think, personally, these "adaptive" terms really miss the point, but I'm not austic nor do i even know anyone who is, so I will stfu. Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 13:52, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Interesting - I've always used, and heard used, "Neurotypical". Am I just behind the times or is this coming out of a different community or is there something else I'm missing? — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 14:10, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Neurotypical is general, allistic is specific to autism. Seme Blue 14:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Relevant (albeit slightly long) LW post from '09 - simply substitute the obesity example for autism. The properties of someone "with" autism and someone you'd describe as "slightly socially awkward with a low attention span" are similar, if not identical, but slap a name on it and, well, that's all the difference in the world. "Neurotypical" might be a term invented to remove the stigma of being "atypical", but such a stigma probably wouldn't exist if we hadn't given medicalised terms to such things anyway. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:25, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
OK, how does this play? There has been a massive change in recent years where the blue collar and clerical job market has declined dramatically. Most of these jobs have been outsourced or mechanized. As such the divide between the top and the bottom is growing and there is increasing pressure for children to achieve scholastically. You *must* get a degree or you won't get a job worthy of the name.
So, for the children who are "underachieving", there is more pressure to get them to achieve and, as a side effect, more pressure to give reasons why it's nobody's fault when they're not achieving. Within the system, be it medical or educational, the quick and dirty answer is to put a nice convenient label on it, whether the label be ADHD, autism, bi-polar, or moon in the wrong quadrant. This absolves the child, the parents and the teachers. Bad Faith (talk) 15:11, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Oversimplistic. Many things have changed in modern society, not all of which are directly related to economics. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
My issue with the Autism diagnosis is that it has come to encompass such a range of "symptoms" that it is now a meaningless label. I have a close friend of the families whose daughter is diagnosised with autism. She is unable to talk, no words at all, a few grunts and pointing. She has only the very most rudimentary understanding of her surroundings and what is happening, and requires constant 24 hour care for everything from dressing to eating. I have a cousin who has been diagnosised with autism. He is in 4th grade and achieving at about grade level in anything, a good vocabulary and as independent as a 8 year old is going to be. If you sat and talked with him you might notice a few things "off" about him but would be hard pressed to get specifics. Any diagnosis that lumps these two people together is as useful as goddidit. Part of the issues is that autism rights activists have been too successful and now a huge amount of the funding for special needs is earmarked specifically for autism. So without that diagnosis your options are a lot more limited in the freeish help you can get. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:08, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Should this be added to the article on autism woo?RandonGeneration (talk) 17:01, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Depends what you mean. Trent's anecdotal examples probably shouldn't be. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
How about the general gist of misdiagnosing kids for various personal reasons? (talk) 19:14, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Without evidence (outside of anecdotes) it's all just meaningless speculation, so no. And Trent, the difference there is profound versus high-functioning autism, or autism versus Aspergers, which are both on the spectrum. Seme Blue 20:06, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. Lots of diseases are like that. From very mild to fatal. Not sure why we're picking out autism for such cynical scepticism. Ajkgordon (talk) 20:21, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
We can pick out numerous things for cynical skepticism; alcoholism and obesity to name two. The issue is whether you think its worthy of "not my fault, therefore treat it". Scarlet A.pnggnostic 20:30, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
That aspect is really simplified at LW, and maybe here. My fault/Not my fault really has little to do with how something is treated, though it is part of how other people look at you. The whole "doctor sees it as a disease, husband as lazyness" on rw doesn't even take into account that almost no one sees any condition in such isolated terms. If i am an alcoholic, I have to work each and every day to stay sober, but science is also looking for a drug (even if it is 100% "my fault" whatever that means) to make it better. Overweight people have to eat less and exercise, but real science will one day figure out how to give you a magic pill and "no more fatty". Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 20:40, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Of course it's a simplified model in those terms, but those are the competing aspects we associate with it - i.e., towards the end of Yvain's post there's a mention of distinguishing it (in general terms) on what does and does not yield to societal pressure, shouting at a cancer victim "how dare you let your cells divide like that!" doesn't help, for instance. But the point about motives for labelling something being how you want to treat it after you've labelled it (independent of its actual properties) seems to hold true. Some want to be diagnosed as X because it gives them an excuse, others want diagnosed as X because it gives it a name and therefore something to target when they want to solve it, others perhaps take comfort in it. The range is diverse, but still all of these motives aren't based on the actual properties of the condition/disease/attribute. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 20:48, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Armondikov, I'm not disputing that, as far as it goes for self-diagnosis. But if you're insinuating that people go to a psychiatrist/psychologist to essentially "purchase" a diagnosis, we're going to need evidence. I think it's entirely possible that parents want a diagnosis for their kids because they're grasping at an explanation or want to absolve themselves of responsibility or whatnot, but it's also possible that parents wouldn't want a diagnosis because it carries a stigma and marks their child as different and abnormal. Uke Blue 21:32, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I was insinuating that. I would insinuate that it's possible but by no means a rule - and certainly not something anyone would admit to if you asked them. "Oh, I'm just going to the doctor because I want a quick fix with some pills" isn't going to come out of even the most shameless yet honest mouth. And indeed, I don't think anyone would genuinely believe that was true. All I'd suggest is that there is a range of motives, but few of these motives are based around symptoms, or the properties of any particular coniditon. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 23:44, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
My mother is a primary school teacher. From her experience, doctor-shopping for ADHD diagnoses is quite common among parents of unruly children. Most of them are obviously wrong, as evidenced by the fact that these children do not have any difficulties focusing when the teacher is skilled and doesn't let them derail the lesson. --Tweenk (talk) 00:17, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The way insurance is handled encourages over- and mis-diagnosis. First, you need a diagnosis just to get any compensation from the insurance co., and then, on top of that, not all diagnoses are covered. So you get a lot of cases where the doctor gives a diagnosis so the patient can get coverage or says "Well, I think you have x, but we'll diagnose you with y since you can't get coverage for x." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:04, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

It is London Pride on Saturday[edit]

And World Pride to boot. It is just a pity it is going a fucking huge embarressment. There aren't even going to be any floats. What a bunch of shit. Its been a bit ropey for a few years now and I thought we might make an effort for World Pride, but it seems the organisers just couldn't be bothered AMassiveGay (talk) 20:38, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Dammit, it's just not a Pride event without burly men in leather harnesses riding down the road on a float! Scarlet A.pngpostate 20:43, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
alink for anyone interested AMassiveGay (talk) 20:45, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Seriously, you know its in trouble if even peter tatchell says it going to be shit. In protest, I will not be dressing as Sally Bowles this year. Take that london pride. AMassiveGay (talk) 20:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Check for embezzlement? — Unsigned, by: RandonGeneration / talk / contribs

London Pride? (talk) 03:52, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Right, that's it...[edit]

I've decided. For the next 7 days, that's a Friday-to-Friday job, I'm boycotting stupid people on the internet. I'm not going to post about them, engage with them or read what they have to say or what has been written about them. They won't exist to me. 7 whole days. Wish me luck. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 00:01, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Bye! Тytalk 00:03, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
You have already failed. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 00:05, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
But look, I've got a delicious delicious Timecube right here. Or how about a nice chunk of Dewey Larson? Resistance is futile! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:17, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Those atheists claim to have found GOD, in a particle! God is in all particles. Godparticle! godparticle! godparticle! (Oh, and "irregardless!", just in case)--Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 00:21, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'm just seeing white noise there, it's being mysteriously filtered out. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 09:17, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Larson is dead, so probably doesn't count. Scarlet A.pngbomination 09:21, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Request for some feedback[edit]

I just finished a post on my blog about whether or not people and events actually exist outside of the mind and I was wondering if anyone would like to read over it and provide some feedback. Just to see whether or not I wrote clearly and sensibly (it was hard to articulate some of my points), if my statements were strong, or if there are things I missed and should have included as well as just you're own opinions on the topic. This request for feedback may very well be pointless (as you'll see why after reading), but I'll put it out there anyway. Thanks! Sam Tally-ho! 00:33, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

It was well written and an enjoyable read. You may also want to look at the topic of Philosophical idealism. VOXHUMANA 01:02, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Solipsism is irrefutable. Hence, Descartes cooked up a literal deus ex machina to "resolve" this problem. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:16, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
And following seamlessly on from that, I'd recommend reading Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. VOXHUMANA 01:26, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, guys. I knew of solipsism in the back of my mind, but I couldn't think of it while writing. I'll read over the articles you guys linked to and maybe incorporate some relevant things. Also, I'm glad it's readable. Sam Tally-ho! 02:25, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I won't comment on the content but can I comment on the design? Yellow text on brown is not the easiest to read in anything more than headlines or captions. In fact, for me, it's positively off-putting. Dark text on light background is generally considered the best style for reading anything more than a few sentences. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:41, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I'll definitely play with the design if the current one's off-putting. Thanks for pointing that out. Sam Tally-ho! 21:11, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Thinking as a hobby is fnu. Especially when you think, "hey I'm probably the first person ever to think this thought!" even though gnawingly, at the back of your mind you know that there are no new thoughts, even though there are. Millions of people have been to DisneyWorld, but still it is a fnu place to go. I like looking at things like bridge abutments, how the individual cables tie into the massive concrete structures that do the actual "work" of keep the bridge from falling down...and reading your article gave me much the same feeling: It was like I was looking into your mind, seeing how you've fashioned the abutments that anchor one thought to another so that the whole doesn't simply fall under the weight of the parts. Nicely done!

As to the thesis, meh, it presupposes that you are real and can, to some degree, determine what else is real and what else is simply a function of your mind at "work". I use scare quotes there since your brain is busy needing to make sure your bodily processes are all functioning, making sure there is a reasonable certainty that you have sheltter and food: once your brain/mind is satisfied that these things are taken care of you are free to think for the joy of having thunk SOMETHING today. [Spele check alert, ye have a "matte," for "matter" in there] Oh, and sex. I know you've thought about it today, probably twice since started this paragraph. I'm told by post-op MtF transexuals that that, (constant undercurrent of sexsexsexsexsex) diminishes quite a bit after the orchiectomy. I see that you are youngish, haz ye tried drugs yet? Some are beneficiaal to allowing you to "see" the inner workings of your mind...some allow the, (oh let's call it) decompartmentalization of things, ideas and whatnot so things that ordinarily wouldn't go together, DO!

The anithesis of your essay: Jokes. If you have a hard time understanding jokes, then you're probably gOD and I should stop now. If you like jokes and do well getting them, then you're not alone in this world and can rest assured that I am not a figment of your mind. 22:18, 6 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

Well I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, but I'm not sure what you're trying to get at in your second paragraph. Sam Tally-ho! 22:28, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
That might be a good thing, though, no? 23:19, 6 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

If you care about the moderator elections[edit]

Then come to this forum: Forum:Moderator elections and sock puppets and discuss. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:46, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

The simplest solution is to run it again with the "known" socks stripped out and see if it has any major effect on the results. If no major problems, let it be and just look at ways to sort out sockpuppetry for the next one (specifically the Trustee elections because no matter what people say, handling thousands of dollars in funding is Serious Fucking Business), if a serious upset occurs (which I don't see as likely) then circulate it via email amongst the people directly affected, as currently you'll be swamped by people sticking in their oar when they don't need to. Scarlet A.pngbomination 09:41, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
This will certainly be resolved one way or another before the next RWF Trustee election. The Board has certainly made that clear. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 09:46, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
When is that election, and what exactly did the board say? DickTurpis (talk) 16:07, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
The election is in 6 months, and mostly we discussed options of defining what it means to be a member of the foundation above and beyond just an editor of the wiki, such as small membership fee, things that wouldn't work for franchising a moderator election could work fine for an election at this level. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:18, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Rational Wiki has rotted my brain[edit]

I'm writing a program right now to analyze some web server logs.

The data I'm getting is badly off. I described it as "wronger than wrong". MDB (talk) 17:04, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

It will ruin your life. Scarlet A.pngsshole 17:16, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh no you don't. I'm not spending the rest of the day at... that site. MDB (talk) 17:43, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Try this. It ought to get you right back on track. Whatever you do, don't click on the gremlin in the upper left corner, though. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:51, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
At least you didn't say Not even wrong. --PsyGremlinZungumza! 17:17, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Pfft, noobs. I've been saying "not even wrong/wronger than wrong" since before RW even existed. Now get off my lawn! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:57, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
At least we haven't yet inspired a "shit RationalWiki says" blog yet. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 20:30, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Though there's definitely enough material. Seme Blue 20:35, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Rename WIGO:RW at RWW? Scarlet A.pnggnostic 21:15, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Creative twinning[edit]

This apposite twinning only just came to my notice. Perhaps they should contact a certain place in Austria to join in the fun. (Dull Women's Book Club? LOL) Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 18:16, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Have they done this yet for all the towns called "Hell"? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:21, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
That's Boring. And Dull. -- (talk) 20:04, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

The stupid shit we have done...[edit]

I note that a couple of people have 'fessed up to buying into the whole "Aliens, they're real, man" thing at one point.

While I can proudly state that I have never done that, I am very embarrassed to admit that in the late 90s I went through a phase of believing the whole Deepak Chopra/Tony Robbins/"greed dressed up as spirituality" garbage.

So there, I feel better. Any other confessions to be made? VOXHUMANA 10:25, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

What? I still believe there's alien out there. The universe is simply too large for there not to be. Do I believe they've visited Earth? No. It's obvious those are inter-dimensional beings that share this planet us. --PsyGremlinTal! 10:42, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I was an objectivist when I was a teenager, and Atlas Shrugged was my favorite book. Also related: I used to love Terry Goodkind's objectivist fantasy novels, the Sword of Truth series. I have since changed my mind.--ADtalkModerator 11:08, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
In 2008 I gave way too much credence to the idea that the Bush administration might make a grab for dictatorial power. Lolz. ONE / TALK 11:12, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't know where to begin, but let's just say that I have done an extensive search (knowing where to look) and am happy to report that those posts have fallen off the internet never to be found again. Scarlet A.pngbomination 11:24, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I was briefly an editor on Uncyclopedia.--Spud (talk) 12:20, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I make no secret on here of the fact I'm nominally a Christian, though at this point it's as much a philosophy of life as a religion.
As for stuff we regret, I spent about a year as a Wiccan, until realizing it was really really stupid. (Please don't ask why I haven't made same realization about Christianity. I'm not sure I have a good answer.) MDB (talk) 12:24, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I joined Omegatrend, an Amway schism [2][3] - David Gerard (talk) 12:56, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I forgot to dance like nobody was watching. My mom told me to do that when I way little and to this day I just haven't gotten around to it. Probably because the Reptilians never stop watching me. RachelW (talk) 15:48, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
On my planet, Omicron Persei VIII, the videos of you, alone in your room, touching yourself are used as an appetizer in many fine eateries. Lur (talk) 17:24, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, i'm a Goon, which according to many people is a terrible thing. Also, i think aliens exist, why wouldn't they. --il'Dictator Mikal 17:19, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"I was an objectivist when I was a teenager..." Ironically, Rand was one of things that shook me out of my quasi-libertarian stage at the same age. (I like to say that I sipped the Kool-Aid, but not the colloidal silver.) I've always been into fringe stuff, especially conspiracy theories and pseudohistory. Something always kept me from buying into it wholesale though. ("That's it? All your evidence of reptoids ruling the universe is some red-eye photos?") I was more of a JAQer than a true believer. Though you could probably still get me to buy any book just by slapping a title on it along the lines of "Everything You Know is Wrong!" or "Your Head is Stuffed with Lies!" or "The Secrets They Don't Want You to Know! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:26, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Everything You Know Is Wrong is one of my favourite albums from the 70s. Taking the piss out of psueodscience has a long and glorious history. VOXHUMANA 05:37, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
For some time I believed in 9/11 conspiracies of the most wacky 'controlled demolition' variety. I also thought AIDS denialism was plausible. --Tweenk (talk) 22:56, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
For a (very short) period of time around age 16, I was a sincere believer in David Icke nuttery. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 12:59, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
For me it was Ley Lines. I went through a period of being obsessed with ancient monuments and drifted into the whole ley line thing as an offshoot of that. That was a quarter of a century ago though. rpeh •TCE 13:13, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
As a reaction to reading The Galileo Syndrome I became rather sympathetic to climate change denialism for a few years. Partially because (spoilers!) the horrible 'Galileo syndrome' in this case was supposed to be the idea that empiricism is a good thing (I think, it's been a while since I read it), but mostly because the resolution to all the problems of global warming is apparently blowing my country up. Peter Urist for Mod! 00:20, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I confess! I think there is life on other planets! No, I don't think we've ever been visited. I was a Young Republican, but switched to democrat by the time I was old enough to vote. I fear I'm still a shithead, just in different ways. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 17:39, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Today I learned about AIDS denialism, which I didn't know existed.--ADtalkModerator 12:24, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I was an ultra-conservative nutter - Fox News, Glenn Beck, Obama as the Antichrist. Then I forayed into thinking for myself. And I'm almost certain there's life on other planets, whether its carbon based or not.--Toasterstrudel64NH3 23:28, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
There is a lot of well-reasoned speculation on the existence of extra-terrestrial life, and I'm certainly inclined to believe it myself. From a skeptical perspective however, it remains an open question, which is why I'm a bit dismissive of people who are absolutely adamant they exist - ie. the whole "aliens are real, man" thing. (As far as people who're convinced they're visiting Alabama on a regular basis, I'll defer to Bill Hick's observations concerning 'hillbilly aliens'). VOXHUMANA 03:17, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I used to read Carlos Castenada. Also in my teens I believed all that Sightings bullshit. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:20, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I used to have quite a soft spot for things like Knights Templar conspiracies and hidden symbols in the layout of Washington DC. I still find them kind of interesting even though I don't find much, if any, credibility in them anymore. Sam Tally-ho! 05:05, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My senior page in my high school yearbook was entirely in Papyrus. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 14:35, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Born again nutter for about two years in the 1980s. Feel free to kick my ass if you got a Jack Chick tract from me back then. Secret Squirrel (talk) 02:02, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
It's okay, I wanted to be a Jesuit when I was younger. My first girlfriend cured me of that madness. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 22:12, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

More ark park schadenfreude[edit]

It couldn't happen to nicer people. Hambone really has bitten off more than he can chew with this one. Can Noah's ark sink AiG on a tide of red ink? One can only hope. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:30, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

A 600 year old man and his immediate family managed to build the ark in a week, without any form of modern construction equipment or outside funding. These guys can't manage to say "I'll be done within x years", even though they have access to millions of dollars, hundreds/thousands of workers, modern construction equipment like cranes and logging equipment, and the full support of the state. That's kinda sad. X Stickman (talk) 23:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
50-70 years Scarlet A.pngd hominem 23:46, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Though, reading that link there, it's easy to forget that those who write for AiG seriously believe this stuff, and aren't actually writing for one of those in-universe fan wikis hosted on Wikia. Scarlet A.pngbomination 23:48, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Where on earth did I get one week from. I'm scared now, that my brain is just making stuff up without even telling me. X Stickman (talk) 04:01, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Possibly because the Bible has a tendency to gloss over important details and big up the unimportant ones. Analysing it carefully shows that something like a century will have passed, but it'll be two sentences. If I remember AD's review of Left Behind rightly, that does exactly the same thing. They take an epic battle for the end of the world, one that would make Helm's Deep and The Siege of King's Landing look like 5-second drunken punch-ups, and deal with it in half a paragraph. Scarlet A.pngbomination 09:20, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Of course your brain is making stuff up. What's actually going on is beyond comprehension. It has to be dumbed down until our rudimentary consciousness can cope. It's not great at this task to be honest. For example, you know seconds seem to sometimes take longer? Like you look at a clock and it seems to take more than one second for the second hand to move? That's because your brain lied. You decided "I will look at the clock" and the brain went "Yeah, yeah, you have any idea how long it takes to steer these fucking eyeballs?" and fed you lies. The eyeballs slowly, slowly rotate and re-focus so that a sharp picture of the clock is available for the ridiculous "looking at the clock" request and when they do the resulting picture is back dated to when you asked for it, say 50ms ago. But in fact the second hand moved just before your eyes locked on. A second later you see the hand move again, but according to your ("real" yet completely fabricated) experience that means it was still for 1050ms, significantly longer than it should be. The brain does this stuff all the fucking time and if it didn't we'd probably go completely nuts. The best we can do is be aware that our experience is not entirely reliable and allow for that when trying to understand and change the world. (talk) 16:48, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Man. My brain is a fucking arsehole. It could at least keep me up to date with this stuff. Like a HUD message saying "Reality may be significantly different than current view". X Stickman (talk) 16:59, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, fuck you brain, fuck you. Scarlet A.pngmoral 17:10, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
"I'm scared now, that my brain is just making stuff up without even telling me." Never study cognitive science -- you might die of fear. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:11, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Point of Personal Privilege[edit]

I have not had a cigarette in five weeks now. MDB (talk) 12:11, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

That's great! Congratulations!--ADtalkModerator 12:25, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Huge congrats :) Four years, five months here. The first three months are the worst, but it definitely gets easier after that. VOXHUMANA 16:15, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
2 months over here. Keep it up buddy. El TajDon't make me do stuff 18:22, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
That's terrific MDB! I hope you can keep it up. Same for you SuperJosh (El Taj), 2 months is really good, hope you can stick with it. Voxhumana is proof that it can be done. Good going guys. Refugeetalk page 06:40, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Mayotte Referendum and the future of French Overseas Collectivities[edit]

I've been trying to find some discussion or commentary on this, and haven't been able to turn up much.

So the 2009 referendum led to Mayotte voting overwhelmingly (>95%) to change their status from a COM (Overseas Collectivity, with a quasi-autonomous status vaguely like Puerto Rico) to a DOM (Overseas Department, which makes it an integral part of France). Given the islands are dirt poor and the neighbouring Comoros are a near basket case, the attractions of being "properly" French are obvious. "Departmentalisation" was heavily encouraged by both the local authorities and political parties, as well as by mainland France. In 2010, both French Guiana and (both DOMs already) rejected increased autonomy in referendums. Turnout was low and the results quite strongly against (particularly in Guiana).

At the same time, New Caledonia, a highly autonomous "Overseas Country within the Republic" is preparing for a referendum on total independence.

So, is there an unwritten policy of trying to get the Collectivites to "get off the fence" and either integrate with the mainland or go it alone? If so, why are the Departments being encouraged to vote on increased autonomy? Also, and what I am really curious about, is what does this mean in the longer term for small Collectivites like Wallis & Futuna? They are in a very similar position to Mayotte (small, remote, poor) and seem superficially to have the most to gain from departmentalisation, yet it has not been raised there either by the islanders (as far as I know) or Paris. But I find it hard to believe they haven’t been watching the referendum results in Mayotte, and making comparisons. What's going on??? TheEgyptiansig001.png 21:56, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

(husband's words, not mine) "There is a European directive, or whatever it can be translated into that requires all territories belonging to member states to be governed the same, i.e. no under-favored or over-privileged areas within the same country. Hence, they are being pushed one way or the other depending on what their overall value or draw is for France." (I don't know if that answers anything or all) - godot)Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 22:15, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I think France's policy can be summed up as "If you wan't to stay here's a chair, a whine and some cheese, if you want go we'll bring you to the door, shake hands and call us when you need something". The issue is diverse. Every overseas territory (whatever political form it may have) has a unique location, economic status and demography. In some regions indepedence movements are strong because of cultural ties to neighbouring countries, religion or simply because people want to be left alone from the government in Paris. Not every overseas territory wants to be independent. In fact the tourism you attract is a tremendous help on the pverty front, also you can gain economical help from the EU, metropolitan France and other sources if you stay — on the other hand if you leave however slow that is, this "colonial spirit" goes away and you can build a nation. Shorter: One vote in a overseas territory does mean nothing at all to the rest of them. --Rutherford (talk) 23:13, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm trying to think of a section header that's ever been less intelligible to me. My complete and utter ignorance of this subject means that this discussion is essentially in hieroglyphics.--ADtalkModerator 08:15, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

New Zealand beats USA, again[edit]

According to a UN report New Zealand (third) are ahead of the USA (fifth) but both are trounced by the tiny Pacific nation of Palau. Atheistic Britain is once again an also ran. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 11:10, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

What can I say? I am a fiend. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 11:17, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
In America, states with the highest alcohol consumption rates also have the highest SAT scores. So, other than Ace's hometown, do we really have any hard data showing alcohol consumption destroys braincells? nobsCorporations are people, too 20:12, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Scientology group asks followers to censor Web comments[edit]

As if people weren't saying bad things about them and they weren't trying to censor critics before the Cruise/Holmes split-up? Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 11:38, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm trying to remember which sketch show depicted Katie Holmes as being locked in a cage with an ankle tag by Cruise, something about this makes me think that's closer to the truth than anyone would have liked. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 13:41, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
That would've been Family Guy. Conservative Punk (talk) 13:43, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Better memory than me, have a cookie. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 14:14, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

My cat died[edit]

Candi, October 2002 - July 2012.

My cat, Candi, died this morning.

Two days ago, a friend brought their dogs over, and one of them attacked her. At first we thought she was just a little traumatized. Trauma turned out to be fractured bones and a punctured lung. Then she had hemorrages, leukemia, heart arrhythmia, and she's dead.

She was a few months shy of ten years old.

The leukemia was already there by the time she was attacked. It was neither my friend's or their dog's fault that she died. I forgave them both the day it happened, and never stopped forgiving them when Candi died.

In retrospect, I should've seen her inability to groom herself (the last few months her backside had been knotted with dreadlocks) as a symptom of something worse. She shouldn't have been in pain that young.

I regret not being a better owner. I had been planning to re-establish my room as her space, because my brother's cat had started sleeping there and Candi didn't like sharing. I was going to start next week. I regret not starting a year ago. I regret pushing her away when I was trying to do homework, when she wanted to sprawl across my papers and play with my pencil. I regret not encouraging her habit of playing fetch with straws when she was a kitten.

I refused to look at her when we brought her home. They put her in a box, taped it shut, then I buried her. I refuse to remember her as a pale, slack body dotted with a hundred little hemorrages. She is not a corpse. She is a kitten that would sit with her body wedged in the paper tray of the printer; a young cat that loved burrowing into newspapers and blankets; an enthusiastic mouser; and a grumpy middle-aged cat that would nonetheless jump onto the bed at ten o'clock every night and purr and purr and purr.

You are missed, Candi. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:06, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

You were beautiful, Candi. and clearly, loved. Green mowse.pngGodotFire! Fire! Fire! (please send spare firefighters) 02:39, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
That's terribly sad Stabby. There's never much that can be said in these times, but you have all my sympathies. VOXHUMANA 02:42, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm very sorry to hear, RA. You very clearly cared for her greatly- many people should be so lucky. Corry (talk) 05:13, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
So sad for you RA. :-( *hugs* What a beautiful cat. Refugeetalk page 06:42, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I also send my condolences. She was a beautiful kitty. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 11:17, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I've only just seen this thread (haven't really been in the SB today). So sorry to hear about your loss, but forget about all those regrets; it sounds like she lived a very happy life, & you'll always remember her. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:11, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for your loss RA. x Sophiebecause liberals 10:26, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Whatthefuckery from Denmark[edit]

The article I foundand where it led me. My eyes, oh god my eyes ... and my ears too. --Rutherford (talk) 00:11, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

This is one of the few times I'm almost glad YouTube is blocked in China. Pashley (talk) 06:27, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Ok... I watched one of those. I now officially hate you forever. You owe me 5 minutes of my life back. Ok, 2 minutes, because I fast-forwarded. --PsyGremlinPraat! 09:23, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Farah thinks drones are following him[edit]

I can't work out whether it is his delusions of importance or his paranoia that is the strongest. - π 01:49, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

This calls for a cpmonitor post! Come on, Pi, come out of retirement. Post! Post! Post!--"Shut up, Brx." 02:22, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
The very fact that Farah's appearing on Alex Jones speaks volumes. Both men are equally unhinged. It's interesting to see that Farah seems to be swinging from YEC/Birther nutter to full-blown conspiracy nutter. PsyGremlinFale! 09:03, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Dear me, we're a reduced generation. Even our black helicopters are radio controlled. Check out the comments as well, some real classics there. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 09:31, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
This is oh-so-familiar... The right-wingers over here still can't get over the Smolensk plane crash and there's a new conspiracy theory every month on how the government is colluding with Russia and Germany to humiliate True Poles™. Although the level of religious bigotry is definitely lower than in the U.S., the persecution complex / paranoia level is over 9000. --Tweenk (talk) 22:25, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Creation Museum[edit]

Hoping to add an ark exhibit, it seems to be hitting a funding snag. Recklessly Noise Punk What's this button do? Uh oh.... 00:56, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

I love that "Amish Engineers" were tapped to built the Ark. No offense intend, as I think about they seem like the best to do this... but How do you even hire them? Just go to an Amish village and ask? --Revolverman (talk) 02:42, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Back home there are some contractors who work with them, you can just call those guys and they'll hire a crew. The Amish aren't really all that isolated from the communities around them. --Benod (talk) 03:52, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Somehow, in their mind, the Amish are preferable to coastal shipwrights...how? -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:06, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I do not know, but here's a guess: Wood-butchering skills, at the scale needed for such a large structure, have faded from use among shipwrights. Wooden boats are still being built, but at premium cost. I will further hazard that most of those boats would barely be suitable as a respectable tender for an actual ship. A mid-sized wooden ketch might be more easily findable than rocking-horse droppings, but not by much.
Traditional post-and-beam house carpentry is still practised by a few niche businesses, but again at premium cost. Better chance to find enough skilled workers, fellows who can accurately chop mortices one after another, in a community such as the Amish. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:25, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Come to think of it, the answer may be simpler: If coastal shipwrights have plenty of work in the queue, why would they be interested in building a faux barn on a landlocked site? I've turned away lutherie jobs when the customer wanted a decorative wall hanging instead of a working musical instrument. AiG may realize the futility of even asking them. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 21:03, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Today I learned a new word (lutherie), thanks (talk) 11:27, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

C0nc0rdance comments on the PZ/Thunderf00t argument.[edit]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gGzn0jSsdA&feature=g-u-u I'm not sure if he knows the full story here.Ryantherebel (talk) 18:34, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

The more I see of this bullshit, the more I think we need the nuclear option. Lets just stop having atheist conferences. I mean, seriously, do you really need 3000 other people in an overpriced hotel to validate your decision not to believe in god? What the shit else do you have in common with those people? Save time and money, stay home and jack off. It amounts to the same thing. If you're going to a conference, at least go to one about something you do believe in, not something you don't. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 20:52, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
It's already been noted (by Justin Griffith, I believe) that the bulk of people bitching about having harassment policies at cons are people who claim they would never go to those cons in the first place. A lot of it is just cover for the people who STILL whine about Rebecca Watson and Elevatorgate to attack their favourite targets. --Kels (talk) 23:15, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I am not really up to speed with the thunderf00t issue here, but as far as I'm concerned, the harassment threat level at an atheist convention for any person is the same as any other large gathering of fairly anonymous people, such as festival or even convention of any other subgroup. Putting conventions forward as somehow worse, to me, vilifies the people who go to them unfairly, in the vein of, 'ew, all of those gross, immoral people from the internet are in one place, so I bet they are groping each other and being awful.' I don't dismiss harassment or molestation threat anywhere I go; it's an unfortunate companion if you're a woman, and security and safety at any large gathering is important. The fact that cons in general are somehow now an issue is stupid, and in my eyes it betrays a lack of goodwill toward the members of said subgroup that are putting in the effort to meet each other at said convention. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 23:27, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Goodpost.gif But I'll add that the argument from TF's side is that "it's the same as anywhere else, so it's acceptable", and therefore any attempt at regulation or having codes of conduct and policies is simply draconian. Whereas the 'other side' (for lack of a better term) think that this attitude is setting the bar far too low. That's about the gist of it. Though I'm pretty sure we can set the bar higher without being draconian and so accusatory about it. From some of this you'd think if you go to a convention YOU WILL BE RAPED! FEAR IT! FEAR IT! And surely that sort of attitude borders on a self-fulfilling prophecy. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 23:43, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
ADK said a lot of what I was going to but got EC'd, so I'm not gonna bother retyping most of it. The fact is, those asking for harassment policies, at least the ones I've seen, are not claiming it's worse than anywhere else. Having policies make con-goers feel safer, and that's good for a con. The reason cons are a focus now is because there are more cons than before, and a lot more people going to them, so of course they're going to get attention. --Kels (talk) 23:51, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to say that one of the reasons this matters for atheists, is "they" (not sure who this 'they' is) are trying to say "we want to encourage women. We are smart enough to understand that women are largely disenfranchised in the world, and we want to take steps to change that. "They" are holding themselves to a higher standard, cause being "attractive to women" means making them feel valued and safe at your convention. It matters.Green mowse.pngGodotStop the damn screeds! 00:34, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
The question being whether you feel safer at an event with an harassment policy or one that doesn't need it. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 00:44, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Given that (a) there is a harassment problem in general society, (b) it has been noted that cons are not better than general society, and (c) women have reported examples of harassment at cons, a con without a harassment policy isn't one that doesn't need one, it's one that's ignoring the issue. Note also that other sorts of conferences, such as business, science fiction and academic gatherings normally have harassment policies as a matter of course, so it's not like anything really out in left field or anything. --Kels (talk) 01:56, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I was referring to a hypothetical ideal of one that doesn't need a policy. Though I recognise that is a bit of a pipe dream. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 12:20, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Actually, I can agree with Jeeve's idea there. I looked up how much it costs to go to TAM, and frankly, for that price there are far better things I can do with my life than go to a conference of thousands of people who are up themselves enough to go to TAM just to listen to the same self-congratulatory skeptical speakers - an increasingly, youtube celebrities - recite shit we all already know and agree with. Scarlet A.pngsshole 23:38, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
^This is why I'm really not surprised to hear that there's often an atmosphere of sexual tension/shenanigans/harassment at these things. Since the lectures & discussions are pretty much what you could find on YouTube or FTB etc., I suspect one of the more attractive reasons to go to these events is to meet other atheists & skeptics, especially in the USA where it's not always easy to do so (depending on where you are). And of course meeting people often means "hmmm, maybe I'll meet somebody". This is a typically (though not exclusively) male attitude, & comes into play in all sorts of social situations, but isn't always welcome, especially at what's ostensibly an intellectual gathering. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:40, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I expect the reason has more to do with being away from home in an atmosphere you expect to let your hair down with like-minded people. A certain percentage of people will take that as license, or an excuse at least, to act in ways they wouldn't at home. It's long been recognized at SF conventions, for examples, and long been a standard joke about travelling salesmen, convention-going businessmen, etc. --Kels (talk) 02:05, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Eh, it is in Vegas. I'd go to a TAM as part of a longer trip. The cost doesn't matter too much -- I managed to break even on the hotel room, plane ticket, and diversions when I went to Vegas through a combination of discounts and lots of poker. The only question is how long I'd have to grind through low-stakes tables to get the cash for the conference.
@Weaseloid: The sexual tension/shenanigans/harassment is exacerbated by the fact that said conference will be jam-packed full of geek guys all thinking the same thing. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:59, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
@Kels & Neb, that's what I was getting at. Maybe I wasn't explaining myself well. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 03:42, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Though I extrapolate from one example, nerd girls can be just as bad. Scarlet A.pngmoral 16:17, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I haven't been following this very closely. Is all this drama basically about adding a rule that says "Persisting in unwanted sexual advances towards other attendees / staff will get you kicked out"? That seems common sense to me. I think presenting this change as 'introducing a sexual harassment policy' is making it sound like a big important thing, which is why some people are confrontational, when in fact it's just fixing an oversight in the rules. --Tweenk (talk) 22:46, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
That's the gist of the actual changes, but the reason why some people are confrontation is because this is emerging as part of a larger trend of some voices raising concerns about casual sexism and harassment within the atheist community, and others vehemently denying or downplaying it. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:17, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I think this keeps getting missed, in the way I read it, is not that this is a "fix", or that some document will actually change any real world experience, but that in saying "we are making a policy" you are saying to women who want to participate, "we see that you are not comfortable, and we are taking you seriously". Why TF ticks me off so much is his abject dismissal that anything women are saying about this, has any value if he doesn't see it. It may not be "fixable", but admitting you understand why it's an issue, is admitting you might just try to make it a little better next time. TF says "it's fine" which means "who the fuck cares abotu your feelings except yourself." Green mowse.pngGodotStop the damn screeds! 00:08, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
This is exactly like a school creating official procedures for investigating cases of child abuse by teachers / staff. These procedures are a good idea, but their mere existence is uncomfortable to some people (as if the lack of official policy implied that the problem doesn't exist).
However, the women's side is not taking the best approach. Presenting this change as a fight with a systemic problem (which it apparently isn't) is bound to antagonize male atheists, most of whom desperately want to avoid the association 'atheists = sexist pricks'. A few nasty guys at an atheist conference is not a problem of the atheist community, it is a problem of a few nasty guys. I think this change would be 100% uncontroversial if it was brought up as 'I had such and such unpleasant experience, let's introduce a rule that prevents it from happening again to me and other women' rather than 'I had such and such unpleasant experience, this just proves that sexism is rampant in the atheist community and we must fight it with sexual harassment policies'. At least that's the impression I had, given the Elevatorgate connection. --Tweenk (talk) 06:32, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Summed up VERY well. The more I read about Rebecca "Skepchick" Watson the less I see her as a feminist, and more as a Me-ist. --Revolverman (talk) 06:38, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
She was one of the more tedious Facebook pages I followed for that reason. The position can be worse than saying "sexism is rampant in the atheist community", it can be throwing around the word "men" with wild abandon, because that comes with it the connotation of all men. Yet, if I was to say something like, "the trouble with Muslims is all these terrorist hijackings they're responsible for" I'd be lynched because not all Muslims are like that and Islam is a religion of peace and so on and so forth. Yet Watson wrote her initial comments about the elevator incident as if all 3.5 billion males on the planet had personally violated her. And we then wonder why the likes of TF and Dawkins get all defensive? Scarlet A.pngpostate 10:19, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I have no idea about Ms. Watson (never read her blog) but this problem is actually kind of an annoyance to feminists in general more than it's some kind of vice of theirs; it's really hard to talk about social forces in a society that favor men over women, that have been gradually over time been enacted by male individuals, without refering to the nebulous 'category' of "men." The idea that society is seperated out into "men" and "women" is very difficult to speak about without eliciting the response of 'you are generalizing to ALL MEN and you HATE US!' when it's not a 'population' that is the topic, but a 'category.' It was once explained to me in metaphor: Imagine two boats, labeled 'men,' and 'women.' The one labeled 'men' is nice and clean and keeps the people inside dry. The one labeled 'women' is cracked and dirty and those inside have to continually bail it out with buckets. Nobody is too concerned with who the actual sailors are on each boat, but only that the port expects both ships to somehow come in, and that the SS Men has a much easier time of it than the SS Women, yet the harbor master insists the ships are equal. When feminists refer to 'men,' they refer to the boat of privilege that allows them to float safely, not the character of the individual sailors, and if there is concern with those sailors 'at all', it's that they may take their shiny boat for granted, because the harbor master won't listen to just the leaky SS Women's crew (they're complaining, he says, sailors always complain!) unless everyone understands the boat needs work and fires that guy and gets a new harbor master.±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRfree guybrush threepwood! no new taxes! down with porcelain! 11:45, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd do the "good post" icon, if i knew the jpg. but GOOD POST! - the entire problem with discussing any of this is that it *is* systemic, but that's art to talk about without (offending?) men. you said it better, though.Green mowse.pngGodotStop the damn screeds! 15:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
It's goodpost.gif. But I can't see the difference in use, here, between "category" and "population". Both are used to represent a group of individuals based on particular shared properties. What is the actual distinction? Scarlet A.pngbomination 17:49, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd do the "weird post" icon if there was one. I didn't find the analogy clear or enlightening. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:02, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Wait, who is the harbour master? WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:33, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • facepalm* The harbor master (the thing that judges what is acceptable in the harbor) is supposed to be the standard society has set forth for what's acceptable/what's not. OK, let me try a more simple metaphor. You have some beans. This is a population of beans. Now you put them in a cup. This cup is a category: now the population of beans is 'the beans in the cup.' Now you assign traits to this cup of beans as if it's one unit. The ugly cup of beans. The superior cup of beans. These traits are arbitrarily assigned to the cup of beans, yet the population of beans within has nothing to do with the label: it's the category of beans in the cup, not the population of original beans you started with in the first place, that has been assigned a trait. Now go back to the sailor metaphor. The sailors on the ship are a population of sailors, and the ship is the thing that is either shiny or dingy. It is independent of the sailors actually sailing the ship, yet they have to deal with being in the category they are in. Is that better, armondikov? I'm trying to make half a semester of concept smaller: it's really, really intuitive and easy to understand if you take it gradually (such as in a class) but harder when you have to smush it together to explain it in one go. Something that halts a lot of understanding is that all of this could be really easily taught, but we're not taught it. I had to go to university and actually take courses on social sciences to understand things as simple as population =/= category/label ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 00:23, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Something that halts a lot of understanding is being lectured with these convoluted & patronising allegories about boats & beans. We're smart enough people to talk about society's attitudes to sex and gender in terms of the real issues as they are, not some obtuse coded guff about sailors & harbour masters. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:42, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry for offending you. I didn't mean to patronize or code or do anything bad. It's just really hard to summarize it all. The other option is throwing up my arms, giving up, and telling you to get the ten-lecture version from a woman's studies professor. There's really no plain terms to sum up the concepts other than 'a population of individuals is not the same as a socially established demographic,' and someone already didn't get that, so I don't know what to tell you, Weaseloid.±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgoing galt: the literal crazy train 01:16, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The thing that I find baffling about this issue is the complete misunderstanding of the purpose of HAVING a sexual harassment policy. I guess it tells you something about the demographics of the people complaining. Having a policy does not mean that you expect sexual harassment to occur constantly, it just means that you are prepared for what to do in case it occurs. Having a sexual harassment policy should be a no brainer in any situation where any group of non-family members get together. The fact that these conventions apparently did not have policies is mind-boggling to me. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 14:40, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Actually it's really common not to have a sexual harassment policy at a gathering and it's very rare to have any need for one. There's usually a general policy governing behaviour and sexual harassment already violates that policy and so you'd get kicked out. I encourage people who are interested in this issue to go look at the people and organisations who were most insistent that a specific "sexual harassment" policy was needed and what they believe should be included in that policy, it might be eye-opening. (talk) 14:58, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know all about privilege and difficult settings and that, but you can extend that sort of metaphor considerably. Consider the SS Working Class and the SS Upper-Middle Class for instance. In the former you have someone who, for their kid's 2nd birthday could afford to spend £3 on a couple of toy wooden trains, while in the latter you have someone who got a designer dress on whim and whose parent's pay their rent (and yes, these are real-life examples I'm quoting) - yet you'd insist they're both on the SS Women, where they're constantly bailing out water and totally having the same problems. Basically, the people who can afford to fly to Vegas and spend a couple of days at TAM probably don't have much other shit to contend with. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 15:23, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Also, consider the difference, for a moment, between the concept of "representing" a group and "being representative of" a group. Consider the cry for more women to enter politics to represent women. That's grand, but a right-wing, fundamentalist Christian politician is going to have right-wing, fundamentalist policies whether they're male, female, dark-skinned, light-skinned, wheelchair bound or an athlete. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that you can't go around treating gender as a be-all and end-all when there are countless dimensions all causing significant problems. I'd argue that any gender gap is significantly more pronounced among the working class, yet most chattering about feminism comes from the middle, where the disparity is much less troublesome. Scarlet A.pngsshole 17:02, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Don't get too postmodern now. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:34, 9 July 2012 (UTC)