RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive168

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This is an archive page, last updated 31 July 2012. Please do not make edits to this page.
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, (new)(back)

Still more to do[edit]

But it should be safe to begin editing the site again. Report unusual or broken issues on the tech support page. Tmtoulouse (talk) 09:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

ru:Main page is still down.--Mr. B 12:58, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Weird thing to come out of the Colorado shooting[edit]

According to the guy who ran the gun club Holmes applied to, The one-line email to which he attached the application concluded with a curt and businesslike sentence signed in a way that further put off the rural Colorado gun range proprietor: “Cheers, James,” according to a copy obtained by FoxNews.com. "That also struck me as very, very strange,” Rotkovich said. “Who says ‘Cheers?’”

Well, I often sign my e-mails that way. Guess I'd better turn myself in. Jesus, how much of a hick do you have to be to think a "cheers" is weird? Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 16:24, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Question: A guy sends you an e-mail signed "Cheers." Does this "put you off" or raise your suspicions about the guy?










To answer the question "who says 'Cheers'?" I'll tell you who. Godless Brits. That right there is a red flag that this guy was British or some sort of anglophile, and therefore almost certainly an atheist and therefore almost certainly a young mass murderer. A lot of blood is on this man's hands for not immediately alerting the authorities and saving a dozen lives. DickTurpis (talk) 16:41, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
if he'd said "Godspeed" it would have been fine. PsyGremlinTal! 16:50, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
"Cheers" is slang for "goodbye" or "thank you." This implies compassion. Liberals take pride in compassion. Holmes is therefore a Commie. Osaka Sun (talk) 16:51, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I regularly (but not exclusively) sign off emails with Cheers. But then, I'm also a loner. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 18:27, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
It is when someone uses "Skol!" that I get a little nervous. Aboriginal Noise Theist, barely hanging by a nail 02:45, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Gun crime statistics[edit]

Looking at the US data from last year. As someone in a country whose homicide rate borders on 0% and guns are regulated to the brim, how is NJ and DC so high and Vermont and Montana so low? How does that even make any sense? (talk) 12:01, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

That's an easy one. Population density. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:30, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Now that's a false dichotomy -- the link between gun crime stats and the homicide rate. In the United States, and presumably elsewhere, 75% of homicides typically are spouses killing spouses (or other close interfamiliar relations). Sure, many use guns. A country where the homicide rate is near 0% just isn't believable. The homicide rate by guns among strangers maybe close to non-existent elsewhere, but spouses still kill each other in all societies and places at all times using whatever method it takes. The availability of a gun may make it easier, and may to a limited extent count for a higher rate. Nonetheless, the idea of a homicide rate near 0% is not feasible. nobsCorporations are people, too 19:58, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Meanwhile, in reality... --K. (talk) 20:14, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Hey, what do you know? The sun came up in the east, Saturday followed Friday, and Rob is wrong again. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 20:23, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Or alternatively if you prefer, to answer the premise: NJ and DC are Blue States while Vermont and Montana are Red States. nobsCorporations are people, too 20:52, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Vermont is a red state. A red state that supported Obama. A red state with a Democrat governor, Democrat majorities in both state houses, and a Democrat and Bernie Freakiren' Sanders in the Senate. Okay Rob. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 20:56, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Look at the source, "The reliability of underlying national murder rate data may vary." And if Vermonters a called Yankees, why would they be sympathetic to communism? nobsCorporations are people, too 22:22, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Who said anything about commu...never mind. Vermont is a red state, and we have always been at war with Eurasia. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 22:41, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Good. The point on the dichotomy still stands. Even the Wikipedia source says international definitions of intentional homicide vary. When you Google, "international spousal homicide rate" you get very little of anything. Many countries allow for honor killings, for example, so not only is the spousal homicide rate skewed, so is the overall homicide rate. That point stands: in the United States, the spousal homicide rate is not caused by lax gun laws, and comparison of the US gun crime rate and the homicide rate with other countries with different laws is meaningless (unless adjustment are made). nobsCorporations are people, too 23:10, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Rob, stop it. Stop being so stupid. You got owned on the question of murder rates in other countries. You got owned on Vermont being a "red state." You want to draw "honor killings" into it now? Let's look at the countries with the lowest murder rates--the ones close to zero: Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Norway, Austria, Japan. Do any of these countries, to your best knowledge, neglect to count "honor killings" as homicides, dummy? Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 23:32, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

In the 20th century Vermont voted for the Republican presidential candidate more than any other state. Since Rob chooses whatever definition he wants when he uses words, that makes Vermont a red state, despite it being about the bluest in the nation currently. Just like in the 19th century the Democratic party was the more pro-slavery of the two, therefore Democrats are racists. Rob's mind is a wonderful thing. DickTurpis (talk) 01:05, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
They also currently have a Republican Lieutenant-Governor. That nails it. They are the most conservative state in the union. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 01:19, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
My god, it all makes sense now! Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 01:27, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Since no one else wants to actually answer BoN's question, I will: Montana and Vermont are mostly agricultural/pastoral states whose largest cities are among the smallest in the nation (which kind of goes along with ToP's Jeeves' argument about population density). New Jersey has some of the largest gangland activity on the east coast, and I don't just mean New Jersey mafia, I mean street gangs. DC is extremely population-dense while having only a very small amount of real estate (100 square miles, if I'm not mistaken?) -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:24, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Population density wasn't me, but yeah. Crime is more present in urban areas. No surprise that more people doing crime = more people gettin' shot. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 16:27, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Ha, I promise I am capable of reading and retaining knowledge for several minutes before forgetting. -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:34, 23 July 2012 (UTC)


I get the sense this might resonate with a lot of you here. The Colorado shooter, like so many people who do this sort of thing, has been identified as a "loner." Me, I'm happily married, and I have some good friends, but I tend to do a lot of stuff on my own. My work is solitary in nature, I go to movies, and concerts alone way more often than with people (different tastes and schedules with my partner). I go for long bike rides alone, and when I get a day off I love to just walk around the city alone. So I'm a bit of a loner. But I'm probably not about to shoot a bunch of people. I just like doing my own thing. I hate that "loner" has become so associated with "maladjusted psychopath." Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 14:58, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Speaking as one loner to another, yeah, this is an unfortunate association. It's unsurprising that people who do these kinds of massacres are loners, since you wouldn't really expect them to be gregarious people. But that doesn't mean you can't lead a balanced life alone or spend a lot of time alone without going crazy. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:13, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
If you think this little paragraph is going to get me to write off suspicions of you shooting up the place, try again. Occasionaluse (talk) 15:46, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
We get a bad rap. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 15:50, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Aren't you the guy with loads of guns? Scared0005.gif WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:32, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Somehow loners with guns always seemed a bit scarier to me than loners without guns.--Th. Bernhard (talk) 18:36, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
It is somewhat rude to give them back. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 19:00, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I know what ToP means. I'd probably describe myself as a longer to some extent, even though me and my s/o are really close, we are in effect two longer together,though I have no desire to start machine-gunning people... Actually, scratch that, I was just been reading CNAV - though Randroids don't really count as people, right? --TheEgyptiansig001.png 23:47, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, the 'loner' thing doesn't say much. Not only can you be a perfectly normal, compassionate human being, much like ToP described (and how many of us see ourselves), but most people who fit the bill and have violent thoughts or urges don't even direct them toward other people. They become suicidal or practice self-harm instead. When you have incidents like the recent shooting, usually you're seeing the same serious mental trauma as someone who is suicidal (not that this is the only type of suicidal behavior), combined with a complete disregard for the rights and feelings of others.
Of course, it makes it a whole lot easier for this to manifest when you can just take a gun to a public place and fire it off randomly. Q0 (talk) 01:51, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Just a buzzword to suggest that they're "not normal". After all, it would be terrifying if human beings could just be capable of wandering into a packed room and shoot it up. Imagine! So, they must be wrong and abnormal somehow. Reminds me of how they have to use the word "troubled" in Caprica. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 15:02, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
True to an extent, but I think this also ties in with some popular "family values" ideals: that somebody who isn't strongly rooted in family/career/mainstream society is to be distrusted. Kindof like the distrust of unmarried middle-aged guys, as potential paedophiles or sex offenders. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:29, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The cult of extroversion's Kool-Aid is regularly dumped into the water supply. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 13:03, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Upgrades info[edit]

Minus a few issues here or there everything should be about done now. See this post on the tech blog for some more details. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:21, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

It all lookspretty damn good. SO fAr

C®ackeЯ 02:19, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

For the people who give a damn...[edit]

Nice work Trent. Upgrades are tedious, messy, thankless tasks, and I (for one) am grateful. VOXHUMANA 03:07, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, thanks! Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 03:08, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Word. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 03:26, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your hard work, Trent. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 07:26, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Some feminists and their henchmen henchpersons take things too far.[edit]

Touching someone's but without consent is serious when adults do it but kids don't understand. Up to the age of about 11 if a child doesn't want mother, uncle, aunt to kiss him/her that's considered rude. Sex education usually involves teaching more about biology than about the importance of consent. Frankly if those kids don't understand the seriousness of what they're doing that's the fault of adults. Proxima Centauri (talk) 07:27, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

You did see that that's five years old, right? Anyway, neither side is behaving appropriately, there. The boys slapped some butts and should be punished (a talking to from a person in authority, detention and written apologies or something), but not a court case. The cop and the justice system is going apeshit over a minor thing and turning it into the next big rape sting. And the blogger just Godwins the whole thing with the Sex Gestapo right out of the gate and rides the sled downhill from there. Every single person involved is acting like children, and only the two boys had an excuse. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 07:33, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
"Classical liberal" is more or less an euphemism for "libertarian" and/or "right-winger". The blog post itself uses the case to foam about feminism and the power of teh "State".
That said, the case has been dismissed by the judge: [1] (Yeah, I know, Fox News, but that was the top of the Google results.)--ZooGuard (talk) 07:39, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
This is what happens when radical feminists obtain power (insofar as these people were actually radical feminists, which is far from clear). Destruction of gender roles? Emancipation from the patriarchy? Transformation of a culture of male privilege? Nope. Shit like prosecuting tweens as sex offenders and aggressively attacking the rights of trans people. Blue (pester) 07:53, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree someone in authority explaining that they shouldn't have done it, a letter of apology or something similar would have been in order. Since all this happened 5 years ago does anyone know did this have a lasting effect on the boys or on the girls who were pressured into pretending the matter upset them more than it actually did? Proxima Centauri (talk) 08:00, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Adults don't remember anything much about being a young child. Even parents (for whom the differences ought to be abundantly clear) tend to treat young children as tiny adults, imagining adult motivations, adult reasoning, adult interests where none are present. Professionals like teachers, medics and social workers can be instructed about this so that their training kicks in and they see what's really happening and don't apply some adult interpretation of a child's actions that would result in an inappropriate reaction. Achieving the same from parents is trickier, especially in a society where parental primacy is thought more important than the welfare of their children. If some parents are going to teach girls that their menstrual cycle is a "curse" from God then we shouldn't be surprised if others treat harmless sexual experimentation as attempted rape. I don't think this has anything to do with "feminism" really. (talk) 09:02, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Godot may or may not be right to take stuff out but she should give a reason.[edit]

This discussion has been moved to Talk:Theology Archive timestamp. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 15:56, 23 July 2012 (UTC)


View from the International Space Station at night, a beautiful time-lapse video compiled from photographs and set to music.--ZooGuard (talk) 19:55, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Sweet. Scarlet A.pngmoral 02:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
That's amazing. Q0 (talk) 02:24, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I teared up. Blue (pester) 02:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

The RW Foundation and the way we conduct ourselves.[edit]

Preamble: This is not meant as an attempt to start a Major Policy Discussion, it's a casual "this is something I've been thinking about." 2. I am as guilty of most of this as anyone, if not more. I ain't trying to blame nobody. RatWik is owned by a non-profit foundation. Ratwik hosts a lot of objectionable language, some offensive images, many nasty personal attacks, and often has a locker-room feel to it. Most not for profits don't use their tax-free status to raise funds to run websites full of dick jokes. The internet is a big place. We have pissed off some of its denizens. Those denizens could very well send off a letter to the right people with a few primo screencaps that make us look, shall we say, a little unlike the ideal not for profit foundation. I'm actually kind of shocked someone hasn't. Is this an issue worth discussing? Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 03:33, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 03:35, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I could do without a lot of the swear words but I suppose you have to appeal to the young people. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:38, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
We could do without things like this thisNSFW plastered across talk pages. Blue (pester) 03:41, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that the swear words are the issue. It's that attacks on people who haven't actively made themselves a part of CP or another part of the "Conservative Blogosphere" that are probably off limits. I was recently guilty of it as well, and I agree with ToP that we might as well avoid it, just in case they find a lawyer more competent than Andy. Hiphopopotamus (talk)
Great. Let's cut it out with the harassment, the insults, the user page vandalism, and all of that. That isn't why we're here. Are you willing to hold your friends accountable to your ideals, though? --"Shut up, Brx." 03:56, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
No one is saying anything yet about much of anything, brx. much less any ideal we'd need to "hold our friends accountable for". talk pages are generally safe places to say just about anything. At least as I see it. if someone is being a whiny brat, it will go in the talk pages. We are grownups, and it's largely grownups who read us. and i know that most of us get quite ticked at the real world from time to time, and saying things like "bachmann is a fucking bitch" is fully necessary sometimes. TOP's discussion starter is just that. not a suggestion of "rules" or "ideals" or even what is or is not good for the site. he's simply saying "maybe we should talk about it".Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 05:22, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
"objectionable language" - According to whom exactly? We could wrap up in very pretty language that Creationism isn't science and water memory has no rational evidence, and some people will still object to it. The problem isn't the fucks, shits and cunts, it's ensuring that our content is accurate and scathing enough so people want to read it.
"Most not for profits" - We aren't most not for profits, we're one in particular. Or would you prefer that we sent all our money to healing whatever disease is the most researched by not for profits rather than be put towards the bandwidth? -- Iscariot Andy Schlafly for Congress 2012! 05:41, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
"We aren't most not for profits" misses the point entirely by an impressive margin. There is an expectation that if people send you money for a good cause, then you're going to act in a respectful way. What ToP is getting at is that we have a dichotomy ahead of us. Either a) we can push ahead as an organisation that can be as respectable, if not more so, than JREF, or RDF, or FTB, or NCSE and secure funding to help us go ahead with a mission to fight pseudoscience and woo on the internet, and help inform people. Or b) we can continue plastering people's talk pages with dicks, make things extremely uncomfortable for certain people purely because they're not part of the Jock crowd. Scarlet A.pngsshole 12:48, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
As someone who uses profanity more than I probably should I agree that we should probably cut back the swear words from Mainspace articles. Before I read ToP's post this morning I noticed a 'fuck' in a new article on WALL-E and was wondering how to get rid of it without eliminating the sentiment behind it. Like it or not (and many don't), if RW is to progress beyond a drunken party for CP exiles then we need to mature both our content and our behaviour. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 14:38, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I have fewer issues with the colourful language. So long as it's restrained, kept to a minimum in the mainspace and almost entirely absent in priority articles, or at least used with the sparse tact that makes it actually do what profanity is supposed to do. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 14:54, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
As much as I'm in favour of less dicks on talk pages, and don't care one way or the other about people fucking swearing, I would like to see a citation for the argument that RW's application for tax exempt status might be imperiled by such things. I have seen a few organisations apply for US tax exempt status and I've never heard of one being asked about such things, let alone turned down on that basis. Here are four things RationalWiki might do, three of them could lose it charitable status (or cause it to be denied in the first place) and one cannot. See if you can guess which are which
1. RationalWiki hosting. Host any web site you like for just $10 per month. Profits get recycled to help run RationalWiki
2. RationalWiki for Obama in 2012. RationalWiki adds a new section explaining why you should vote for Obama, and urging you to donate to his campaign
3. RationalWiki real estate. RW buys Trent a nice house. He gets to live there rent free. Hooray for Trent.
4. RationalWiki XXX. Users begin using the phrase "raped by a horse" constantly all over the site, even greeting new members, "Welcome... and prepare to be horse raped". (talk) 15:13, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
It's an issue of decency, not legality. The site handles thousands of dollars a year, making it Serious Fucking Business. Being a place that is ostensibly about refuting the anti-science movement but ends up being a place where someone can plaster pictures of penises over someone else's talk page with abandon is like telling everyone who donated in good faith to go fuck themselves because it's a playpen, not a worthy cause. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 15:37, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I didn't realize we were talking mainspace. I'm actually pretty shocked to learn that Ghengis found "fuck" in a mainspace article. (or maybe I'm just oblivious and it's all over the place). I do agree that we should keep language in actual articles clean. While I doubt too many 12 year olds come here, I'm sure a few do, and we should keep that in mind. and like Adk says "Serious Business" and all that.Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 15:48, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I have no qualms about swear words in articles, as long as we're writing intelligent articles & not just profanity for its own sake. It's inoffensive to most of our editors/readership, and we have no pretensions of being a family-friendly site. Graphic imagery should probably be avoided, so that the site can be relatively worksafe. Severe personal attacks, threats, defamation, hate speech, etc. are self-evidently problematic & should be avoided. These are community issues & I don't think any of them really have to do with tax exempt status. If there are genuine legal concerns about onsite behaviour because of this status, the issue should have been raised when it was first applied for. It would seem a shame to set up new rules of conduct purely on the basis of being non-profit if they don't suit our community. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:47, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Armondikov hit it right on the head with this: Either a) we can push ahead as an organisation that can be as respectable, if not more so, than JREF, or RDF, or FTB, or NCSE and secure funding to help us go ahead with a mission to fight pseudoscience and woo on the internet, and help inform people. Or b) we can continue plastering people's talk pages with dicks, make things extremely uncomfortable for certain people purely because they're not part of the Jock crowd. We have a community of smart people, who, whatever their differences, have a couple of pretty strong core beliefs in common and have shown they can do good work towards furthering those beliefs. It will be hard to build on that if people hit a few key pages on this site. It will be hard to build on that if Karajou or Rob send off to potential donors or other potential partners the few gigs' worth of screencaps of us at our worst that they have in a folder on their hard drives. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 23:18, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Most of this is on target. For some time I've had concerns about gratuitous profanity in main-space articles. Yet I've seldom deleted it because it seems to be part of the site culture to allow such things.
I've nothing against profanity in the right place. It can be effective when used properly, and there are occasions where nothing else will do. (For example, a bowdlerized version of The Big Lebowski just wouldn't cut it.) But too often it's unnecessary and makes an otherwise cogent argument look a little less smart. It might also cut down on our opportunities for inbound links from high-profile sites, thus limiting RW's profile and visibility. I wouldn't want to see RW's writing style become as deadly-dull as Wikipedia's, but I don't think it would hurt to clean things up a bit in main space. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:07, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
It's a PR image matter; you're trying to sell a product, and reputation is everything. ToP above gives an excellent example: in effort to sell himself as rational and non-hypocritical he needlessly impugns the reputation of others as vindictive, which of course only reflects upon himself. nobsCorporations are people, too 05:56, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't know. 90% of the draw of RW to me is that while encyclopaedic wikis will say something like 'the scientific consensus is that [insert pseudoscience or science denial here] lacks evidence and proper backing', here we can just say 'it's pure bullshit' and explain why. Then we can get on with more important matters, and not have to worry about edit warring on global warming articles for the next 20 fucking years.
Obviously, if someone is constantly linking around pictures of dicks - just to be a dick - some action should be taken. But I don't see why we should worry about things like harsh language... where it's appropriate. Q0 (talk) 01:18, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

"...here we can just say 'it's pure bullshit' and explain why." Agreed -- if we took that element away, many articles would just end up being carbon copies of things like Skeptic's Dictionary. Although there's quite a bit of stuff in mainspace that could use some cleaning. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:32, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Philosophical shock tactics[edit]

Are professional philosophers a bunch of trolls? Discuss. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 14:31, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I once read someone say that the entire point of philosophy was to disagree and debate - pretty much for the sake of disagreeing and debating. So this is to be expected. Scarlet A.pngbomination 14:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC
heh, like that, ADK. Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 14:47, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
The issue I have with that description is where I originally read it, it was in contrast to science where "the point is that you have to agree, so philosophy is better". Which I think neglects some nuances of what such "scientific agreement" and "philosophical disagreement" can actually reflect. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:07, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
(double edit conflict :{) Ha, I have a friend who likes to rant about something similar. I'll see if I can finally get them to join RW and post it here.--ZooGuard (talk) 14:43, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
yes! they use big words, and talk about things no one cares about but them! (feminist philosophers, especially. and those fricking damned post-post-moderns who say nothing for pages and make me pull my hair out in frustration!)-- (trip edit con)Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 14:47, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I hear we're moving into post-post-postmodern now. A reaction to a reaction to a reaction to modernism. Scarlet A.pngsshole 15:00, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
We will come to a point where we will have deconstructed everything so complexly that philosophiers will publish blank pages or pages of random letters, and say it's as effective as anything they could have said. ;-)Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 15:04, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Wait, you're saying that they don't do that already? Scarlet A.pngbomination 15:29, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Baudrillard's simulacrum and simulation is either an entire work that simply says "things are fake, and we like the fake better than the real" 100000 times, or it's so complex only he gets it. i read teh damn thing two times to try to write my report and ended up saying "um... well... um...".Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 15:35, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
If you don't understand a book by yourself, that's what secondary sources are for. Going to the library, into the philosophy section and cracking open a book on philosophy in general, postmodernism or Baudillard's prior work might have helped. How is it that "The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true." doesn't translate to "The simulacra that Baudrillard refers to are the significations and symbolism of culture and media that construct perceived reality, the acquired understanding by which our lives and shared existence is and are rendered legible; Baudrillard believed that society has become so saturated with these simulacra and our lives so saturated with the constructs of society that all meaning was being rendered meaningless by being infinitely mutable." (WP)
I don't think it's his fault, I think most of the time it is the readers fault for either not being interested in the things talked about and therefor being inclined to rate the work "bullshit" or not being able to adjust ones reading techniques to a texts. You don't ask Shakespeare to write less bloated, right?
And please to all the scientists out there, I beg you stop saying post-modernism is bullshit because one editor fucked up massively and some people had the insane idea of using it for matter-related sciences. Do honestly none of you see Baudrillard in things like Political Correctness, Newspeak and code words? Really? C'mon… --Rutherford (talk) 16:14, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think anyone mentioned Sokal in this conversation. But if you can't describe something in terms that others can understand, and that only make sense in your own head with convoluted terms that seem to have no discernible definition, then it's probably not the readers' fault for not getting it. Scarlet A.pngmoral 18:09, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
You are right, nobody mentioned Sokal, but so-called skeptics bringing it up all the time made my ranting feel more complete. I do guess that you read a lot of science literature, we both know that those are full with words one wouldn't normally understand, but that rule doesn't apply to science books. As in science, one can't just crack open a philosophy book and understand it. Alone from the title somebody who has a clue knows what most works are about. And no, it doesn't only make sense in his head, if it was so there wouldn't be any Wikipedia article or secondary sources describing anything written by the man. --Rutherford (talk) 18:57, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
(while granting i was religious studies not philo) I was decently well read in philo prior to that book, but it was the one that really turned me off. His writing, fiction or philo is atrocious. He says things that are not plays on words, but are intentionally obscure and indirect, as well as simply wordy. Unlike Foucault or LaTour, to bring up two recently discussed, whose french is filled with typical word play but still reads directly and clearly, to my reading, Baudrillard pushes his language for the sake of pushing it. It really is not clear, and that spinning coy use of language adds nothing to his points, other than confusion. I do think he owns quite a bit of responsibility to be more clear. you bring up shakespere, but he was quite clear in his day. If you bring up poetry, that is written to have a multitude of meanings, interpretations and obscurity. Philo should not be so. Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 18:15, 23 July 2012 (UTC) (edit con)
Well, Shakespeare might not have been the best example, but you can choose any other writer that writes dense and complex in their time (even adjusting for time, Kant is atrocious, yet nobody says "it only made sense in his head" about that guy). And it may very well be that Baudrillard is a bad writer, but there's a high probability somebody already wrote something about any philosophical text and that person might have had more time to soak it in. --Rutherford (talk) 18:57, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
For the sake of it, I just read the first eleven pages of this English version (as my French is little more than sad) and I have to say he is quite clear. He talks about how the linguistic turn has left us with the uncertainty of not knowing whether we can still describe reality, and therefor from our perspective truth doesn't exist anymore. He "theorises" that in the past, God was the giver of this security and then talks about how we now conserve everything from out past to give ouselves a sense of meaning and continuity. Granted, he uses a whole lot of metaphors and allegories, actually if I had gotten a dollar for each one of those, I could eat quite well now, but this is nothing out of ordinary. It certainly one of those "stop and think for a second" books and the meaning of some things have to be grasped by the readers very own thinking to understand later plays on it, but this is really nothing special. I've read worse texts from people that believe themselves smarter than he is. --Rutherford (talk) 20:07, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
So long as you appriciate that it's not just me - a no nuttin' religious studies person, but real life professional philosophiers who say that 1) his writing is obnoxiously complex for some rather simple ideas, and 2) he is quite superficial hiding inside the verbosity. (there is a host of criticism on this level at wikipedia. or rather, lists of who has critized him). I don't do this for a living. we walk into the bible knowing it's going ot be convoluted and esoteric, so we have the advantage! :-) Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 20:40, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh goat no, I'd never say that's just you. As with science texts books and papers, not everybody gets it at the first go — especially when the writing style is this bloated, generalizing and "colourful". We all have to dip into the other pool sometimes, I personnally remember a linugistics text book that made me want to cry, scream and kick stuff... I was just saying that generally throwing a book into the corner without having kind of understood what the author was trying to say, only when we did (even taking up help) that's an appropriate move. --Rutherford (talk) 22:17, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to bite. Postmodernism is bullshit. Any relevant critique a postmodernist makes is a made a thousand times better using basic scientific inquiry.
I also don't buy the argument that difficulty in understanding postmodern philosophy is like that in understanding complex science. There has long been a serious and substantial effort to create scientific literature for the lay person. Where is this for Baudrillard, Derrida, or Heidegger? Why instead must people repeat the tired old line: "You didn't really understand it."? Well, help me understand it. Or, at least help me understand why I should give it more weight than the Dadaists or nihilists, who, to their credit, generally admit they're just gigantic trolls. Q0 (talk)
The idea was that there was a single Arthurian source, which gave the essentials of some of the stories or of the hero himself. Many people had taken one side or another of the years, arguing for the predominance of one idea of Arthur or the fact that a particular folk-tale preceded another in history. But the postmodernist Jean Baudrillard pointed out that this was a search based on the false premise that there had to be an ur-text. It was the postmodern approach that suggested this to him.
Postmodernism suggests that any given word or set of meanings derives from an imprecise definition in terms of other meanings, which are themselves imprecise.
This endless circle of houses-upon-sand was called différance by Jacques Derrida, one of the founders of postmodernism. And this approach led Baudrillard to realize that the Arthurian stories might have evolved in a similar way, absent any single dominant source.[2]
Please let me know if you require another example.--ADtalkModerator 08:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think any professional philosopher would suggest you read postmodernist works before any other, and most philosophic works are only understandable by the context of the history of philosophy and the other strings of thought in that time. In most books of the "introduction to philosophy"-kind you will find a chapter on postmodernism and in some even specifically post-structuralism. But before all that you have to understand classical metaphysics, ethics, and so on and so worth to get why these people are so radically different and to understand what they are actually saying. Because the juxtaposition that that is from Plato's ideas to Baudillard's infinite simulacrum is so crass and something we'd never in our normal lifes think of. Look at it this way: would you try to describe quantumphysics to somebody who doesn't know what gravity, what an atom is or has never heard of the theory of relativity? Nope, you wouldn't.
The problem with the form of these works is troubling, because it can only be understood by understanding the works (or secondaries thereof) themselves. Postmodernist hold the view that every way intelligent beings can communicate is biased. It doesn't matter if this is language, math or any other form of communication, because they are not inherent in the world, but created by intelligent beings who are through their senses isolated from the world ("every men is an island") the are build on sand - and even further, in trying to define one of these symbols, you will need to use other symbols of that same language - or of a different system. 0 is nothing without 1, and you can't define 2 without 1 or any other number that is build on 1. One of the problems that arise from this, is that if any form of communication is built on sand, is that scientific inquiry itself is a form of communication (build of signs, grammar and sytax). Now picture this: somebody writes that science is bullshit, and made a study to scientifically proof it. Uhu? If postmodernists were to use science to declare the very basis of science uneffective in getting to real truth, they would end up having proven that science works. You end up with a "This sentence is false" scenario. This leads to a need to keep certain things vague, as any strict defintion would automatically form a system of signs.
Now keep this theory apart from the actual study of things in a postmodern way. Because even if that form of communication is build on sand it doesn't mean it is useless. I often hear "they just want to make stuff up" as an attck on postmodernism, that is real bullshit. For example when you plan to travel, you very well know that any form of travel, might brake down, but that does not keep you from traveling in general. The same way a postmodernist will not stop researching something just because it might possibly not work the way it was planned. If any postmodernist in social studies would stop doing research just because in the poll they do, not all people might answer truthfully so they don't look bad to the conductor of the interview, the whole field would brake down. And instead of something that at least approaches the truth you end up with nothing about it at all. It is not so that a postmodernist does deny that there is truth, he or she denies that we can see the full truth and make a perfect representation of it, but still truth is a valueable goal, even though it is impossible to reach.
AD has made a good example of this. I want to make another. We all know about the female hysteria thing that dominated medicine for a long time and was caused by simple mysogony, as with postmodernism science rejects the subjective, the only difference is that postmodernism rejects the determinability of what is subjective and what is objective. It would be clear to both a modern day scientist and a modern day postmodernist that the female hysteria thing would be constructed to suit a worldview. Now of course clearing that up preceded postmodernism, but the doubt behind it, that any given worldview can be unbiased, is prevelant in both system of thought. --Rutherford (talk) 17:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
"It is not so that a postmodernist does deny that there is truth, he or she denies that we can see the full truth and make a perfect representation of it, but still truth is a valueable goal, even though it is impossible to reach." Not exactly a new idea. This is what I usually see in debates over "postmodernism" (whatever that is) -- its defenders repeat simple truths that were written about long before postmodernists showed up on the scene and then claim to have discovered these ideas themselves (or re-invented philosophy wholesale, in their more hyperbolic moments). The critics of "postmodernism" attack it as a form of vulgar relativism. No one seems to have any idea what "it" is. Let the straw armies do battle! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Also, add "language as a system of interrelations" to the "already been done" list. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:43, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
BUT OF COURSE! Philosophers are just trolling society! Its not like they invented anything usefull, right? I mean, rational thinking, formal logic, rationality-based ethics, liberalism, secularism, the scientific principle and method, democracy, economics, constitutions, the principle of doubt skepticism, peer-based law, equality before the law, the question what is real or not, cosmology, medicine, libraries and the idea that language and thinking are linked are completely useless — aren't they? Ah those philosophers are just parasites! --Rutherford (talk) 15:28, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I was using my own philosophical shock tactics there. :P Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Football Schools[edit]

I'm curious -- how many of you attended (or attend) colleges where football or another sport was serious effin' business? How many of you looked at the Penn State scandal and said, "yeah, that could have been my school?"

I went to the University of Tennessee -- I like to laughingly describe it as "a football team that runs a college as a side business" -- and really, that's not so very far from wrong.

As for whether it could have happened at Tennessee... I don't know. Football is huge at Tennessee, but we don't deify coaches like Paterno was treated at Penn State. (Pat Head Summitt comes close for women's basketball, <sarcasm>but well, she just coaches girls, so who cares, right?</sarcasm> and by all accounts run a scrupulously clean program) We deify the players, but they don't define the program for decades like Paterno did at Penn State. I can see a player getting away with serious offenses and being protected by the system, but I don't know if a coach could. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 17:16, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I remember being a huge college football fan as a kid and wondering why in Canada (or anywhere else) we don't treat their athletics programs like academics. Now I know why.
The more ad/merchandise revenue that leaks in, the easier to turn a blind eye. Excellent topic for non-fiction if it hasn't been done already. Osaka Sun (talk) 18:01, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I went to two schools that love their athletics, thought not always having the best football teams. University of Colorado loved their shitty football team, but their real winners were in women's basketball; University of Arizona's sports of note were men's basketball and baseball. Still, when I think of those schools I don't think of their teams, I think of their areas of relative expertise (CU: physics and business; UA: optics). -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:20, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I can think of one thing the University of Tennessee is nationally known for besides football and women's basketball: forensic anthropology. (Ever read Patricia Cornwell? The real "body farm" is at UT. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 19:18, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
LSU. Remind me to rant later. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 19:10, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Michigan. God, how I hate the college football industry. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 21:30, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Ah yes, your football teams that occasionally do teaching on the side to pay the bills... Scarlet A.pngpostate 00:16, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
What is this "teaching" of which you speak? Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs
You know, that other thing colleges occasionally do to pass the time between football seasons. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:15, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
That's Basketball/Baseball/ballball season. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 02:52, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Anyone who's been to Columbus, OH during college football season knows how absurd this can be. At times, the entire city seems to identify itself by the success of OSU's athletic programs. Even people who have absolutely no interest in sports know how the team did this week. I lived there for a short time, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into until my flight there. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the entire time people were asking neighbors all over the plane what the score of the game was, what was happening, who scored, etc. And it wasn't even a big game. Q0 (talk) 02:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC) We dropped football (and wrestling) at my college. Odd given my states obsession with the sport. Now we have a football field (Which was recently renovated) and nothing to use it for--il'Dictator Mikal 03:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I go to Penn State. So...yeah. It's been sort of a weird week. Reading the comments on news articles has made me lose quite a bit of faith in humanity. Tetronian you're clueless 12:09, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

What's the overall feeling there right now? Especially in the wake of the NCAA's sanctions. And what type of comments are the ones getting you down? Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 12:13, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
The students' opinions are very mixed, much as they were when Paterno and Spanier were fired. The locals' thoughts on the matter are even more diverse. Many people feel that the NCAA's sanctions were too harsh, and that they'll end up hurting athletes rather than fixing the program. Many others have accepted the fine, the bowl ban, the probationary measures, and the loss of scholarships, but are disturbed by the NCAA stripping the school of a decade of wins, which they see as a pointless and vindictive move. But everyone, even people who don't care about football, is angry about the fact that all of this is giving the university and the city of State College a bad name. It's disheartening to see the university's name dragged through the mud this way; dealing with ignorant commentary from people who don't live in State College is also not fun.
The depressing comments are those that reflect a complete lack of understanding of what actually happened (e.g. "Paterno raped little kids"), and those that demand absurdly vindictive actions (e.g. "shut down the university, everyone who goes there is a pedophile!").
Edit: I should probably add, I'm one of those people who doesn't care about football, so it's hard for me to get worked up about the football program itself. I'm more concerned with how it will affect the university's reputation and how it will affect me financially. Tetronianyou're clueless 13:15, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
While I'm concerned about the reputation of the academic program, because they had basically nothing to do with Sandusky except share the same general land, this is an indictment of the board, and to that end, I'd argue the reputation hit to the university is somewhat deserved. Not the surrounding town, though. That being said, the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is in play for the Internet comments. Anonymity means not being required to participate in reality at all. The problem with the Internet is that stupid people get to use it, too. I hope things work out for you, Tetronian. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 13:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd actually argue that the Board hasn't suffered enough. Sure, their reputation took a hit, but there really hasn't been any institutional change. I'd really like to see the Board restructured, especially if it means that the people who actually live here get some representation in addition to just rich alumni. And of course I agree that the academic program does not deserve the slander it's been getting.
Alas, there are always stupid people on the Internet - heck, I'm one of them. It just feels more frustrating when it has to do with an issue that is so close to home.
Thanks for the concern, but no need to worry. I'll be fine. Tetronian you're clueless 14:12, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

A discussion in the coop about Rob[edit]

In the interest of transparency, I'm making this post to the bar to alert everyone that there is currently a discussion at the chicken coop regarding User:RobSmith. Please do not split the conversation between here and there. I don't want debates on the merits of cooping Rob to muck up the bar. Please put that on the coop. Thank you. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 11:12, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Scaremongering or Legit Concern?[edit]


Peter Schiff reports a similar collapse, yet he says the cause will be hyperinflation. (Of course his remedy is to buy gold.) Thoughts? It's obvious the economy is sluggish, but just how cataclysmic is all this? (talk) 17:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

you trust Yahoo?--il'Dictator Mikal 17:22, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
The byline clearly states CNBC. Read the whole fucking article before making a judgement about its source. -- Seth Peck (talk) 17:38, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Irrelevant. Seen dozens of articles from Yahoo! claiming "climate alarmism" and they didn't even care to read their sources. Osaka Sun (talk) 17:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I think those reports come around because it sells a lot easier than "the economy will continue improving, albeit probably a little slower than we expected", which seems to be the most likely situation right now, barring some major catastrophe somewhere. People have been talking about a double-dip recession basically since the recession ended and guess what? It hasn't happened, but no one backs up and says "yeah I was wrong because I misjudged X or predicted Y but Z happened". Cow...Hammertime! 17:32, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't especially trust Yahoo but it was on my front page and therefore was the easiest link to copypaste.:P It's being parroted by several other news outlets. All evidence I've seen (and I am NO ECONOMIST) says Roubini is some kind of infalliable genius. (talk) 17:35, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Roubini has been predicting an imminent collapse of Eurozone for as long as I care to remember. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about him. Vulpius (talk) 18:19, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Lulz, Peter Schiff. He's been predicting the econo-geddon for years along with all the other goldbugs and Austro-bots of his ilk. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
This sounds conspiratorial but I think some of those doomsayers have made financial bets against European countries (in the form of various derivatives) and now need to stir up some fear to profit. --Tweenk (talk) 21:30, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The old short and distortWikipedia? Could be, though I think guys like Schiff are just willfully ignorant ideologues. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:35, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

A loving God allows or causes this.[edit]

A loving God allows or causes a great deal.

This natural disaster isn't particularly bad on a world scale, we notice it because it's in the UK. Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:28, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Jesus Christ Proxie, can you just stop it until you've gotten some therapy about your issues with religion? I'm no theologian myself, but I'm pretty sure that there are centuries' worth of scholarly work addressing the question of why a loving God allows bad things to happen. This kind of straw-manning of what religious dogma says is as bad as Rob's interventions on the site. No serious person of faith believes that life on Earth should be or will be all sunshine and fairy farts because God will be sure to make it so. It's a big complicated issue that lots of people have written a ton of stuff about. Coming here with your Hitchens-wannabe third- rate uninformed snark just makes the website look like a bunch of ignorant, uninformed haters, as opposed to smart people who can address complex issues and debates on their own terms. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 16:39, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm still ticked at this. It strikes me that
Something bad happens. Andy uses it as a chance to rant about video games and liberals. We all laugh at him, or think he is a terrible man for doing so.
Something bad happens. Proxima Centauri uses it as a chance to rant about how silly she thinks religion is. We're all supposed to, what, agree with her because it's so obvious that she's right? Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 17:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Austin Clinedoesn’t agree with ToP and others that the Problem of evil is a Straw man and neither does the author of “thoughts from a non-theist”. Bertrand Russell wrote, “No one can believe in a good God if they've sat at the bedside of a dying child”. [3] Naturally ToP thinks he can tell a sound argument from a straw man better than the late Bertrand Russell could. ToP please try to overcome hubris.
Proxima Centauri uses what is known as an appeal to authority and ends up sounding amazingly condescending. Cow...Hammertime! 20:37, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
"Naturally ToP thinks he can tell a sound argument from a straw man better than the late Bertrand Russell could. ToP please try to overcome hubris." I actually went to the edit history to check if Ken didn't write that. It reeks of his style. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 20:40, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
*blows gasket* Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 17:21, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Why does a loving goat allow threads like this to happen? SophieWilder 17:58, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Much of the religious (well, anti-religious) stuff is straight out of CP's handbook. find someone, somewhere, who says something even remotely negative about religion and use it to highlight some screed of a point you make. Deify the "four horsemen". Do not look at anything that might paste religion in a good life. Run around and say "that person is really a Christian" if your ideas are not instantly accepted. come up with wild ass "ideas" about how the world works, and make them into positive claims. Use one and only one example and imply with your wording, that this is some how common or normal. Make all religions alike. If you want to really cringe, try "the atheist wiki". at least here we nip some of that in the bud.Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 21:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
@TOP: Hey now, at least Hitchens was a good writer... Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:26, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, come on. Don't you know that us real critical thinkers here aren't interested in such basic principles of good and evil? We moved beyond that elementary school stuff ages ago. How about this: why don't you go run off and argue with the other simple-minded cretins, like Rob and Andy.
And don't come back until you've graduated to Euthyphro! Kids these days... Q0 (talk) 03:17, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Coming here with your Hitchens-wannabe third- rate uninformed snark just makes the website look like a bunch of ignorant, uninformed haters, as opposed to smart people who can address complex issues and debates on their own terms.

- ToP, comments like this make this site look like a bunch of ignorant, uninformed haters. Asshole. TheCheatI run on alcohol 22:03, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Dr. Oz[edit]

Made-for-TV quack, or genuine thing? I think the former, mother watches him religiously. --Psygremlin (talk) 14:11, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

A sellout. He has a real degree, and abuses the trust people put in him. TheLateGatsby (talk) 14:16, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Our article. He's a real doctor, talking bollocks - David Gerard (talk) 16:41, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Anglo-Saxons, you didn't build that[edit]

American politics. Facepalm.png (talk) 23:33, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Book review of interest...[edit]

Bruno Latour, one of the most important people in STS, has a new book out. Haven't had a chance to read this review yet, but should be of interest to some of you. Theory of Practice Years of being an atheist: 30. Instances of persecution on that account: 0. 23:36, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Basically seems to be saying what we've known for a while; humans can be a bit silly, and being an atheist or a "scientist" doesn't make you immune from that. But I'm not if the point is to therefore say science/atheism is worse than religion (the review isn't terribly clear on this) or whether the self-image is a bit off, and the dichotomy of religion and science is a mutual straw man. Scarlet A.pngbomination 00:19, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
To borrow from another philosopher, it's not that science is worse or better, but "the unexamined scientist" is worse, if you will. His 2009 book is really challenging what religion is and how it, itself is an intellectual adventure that is more self aware than the scientist who wants to figure out how a star 14 billion light years away was made. science is more emotive and created than anyone thought, and religion is more intellectual than given credit for. --Green mowse.pngGodotQu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons 01:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't really buy it, but assuming I did what are the real world implications? Q0 (talk) 02:04, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
What are the real-world implications for any abstract philosophical work? I've encountered more than a few people here and elsewhere, often people who construct their worldviews around an uncritical engagement with what comes out of their labs, instruments, and calculations, who would say "none." If that's the case--and if you haven't done the hard work of grappling with Latour's and his critics' corpus, it's kind of hard to have a discussion about why it might matter. But from the review, I get the sense it just builds on the way that the last two decades or so of work in STS has interrogated the structures and assumptions--political, epistemological, colonial, racial, gendered--that gird the production of knowledge. Theory of Practice Years of being an atheist: 30. Instances of persecution on that account: 0. 03:09, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I sort of made a similar argument here already, except by means of cognitive science. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:49, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Look at it this way: should these ideas slow our advocacy for science in the public sphere? Should we cease criticizing religion when it is wrong, or when it hurts people (just like we do with many things which are, or claim to be, scientific)? Coming from the perspective of living in the US, where positions on religion and science are radicalized, it's difficult to see the point of spending too much time going through examples of scientists who channel spiritual or invented ideas. Why should I pick apart some person for being a transhumanist, when they're not among the huge percentage of the population that denies evolution, global warming, and the like? If I were truly interested in the intersection of science and religion, and how it affects the world at large, you'd better believe I'm going to be focusing my efforts on the significant movements, rather than the outliers. Q0 (talk) 21:15, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The influence of ideas over a society is not equivalent to the number of people who explicitly subscribe to them. Most people were religious in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, yet we still got the pseudo-evolutionary pseudo-religion of eugenics, and we know where that ended up. Transhumanists have a significant influence in the tech sector, and, speaking of eugenics, still spout quasi-eugenic ideas. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:20, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Can any of you recommend a good introduction to this sort of philosophy of science and society? Could I just dive right in to Latour? I confess my only exposure to him is through some articles by Sokal, who among other things mocks a paper where Latour claims that "Einstein's text is read as a contribution to the sociology of delegation" and then says some things about relativity so silly they'd make ASchlafly blush. --Benod (talk) 04:30, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Start with Chalmers' What Is This Thing Called Science?Wikipedia. Way more accessible than Latour for starters. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
For Christ's sake, don't start with Latour. This and this are worth reading around in. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 13:05, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
We shouldn't make too much of similarities between science and religion. Scientists are human beings with human weakness who don’t always follow the Scientific method as rigorously as they/we should. Still there are checks on mythological thinking, notably Peer review. In the social sciences scientific proof is harder to get and the temptation on social scientists to treat their cherished theories as facts is stronger. I need to pay attention to this as should other social scientists e.g. in religious studies departments. When we move to religion the scientific method is rarely in evidence and Blind faith is a virtue. See Faith as a Virtue. Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:35, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Cept that entirely misses LaTour and other's points. Science, even if you removed the the "mythological thinking" is deeply cultural, highly contextual and created, and prone to the very same kinds of presumptions that abound in so-called "religious intellectual thought". (I agree that LaTour misses the fact that most american religious at any rate, are rote and not thoughtfully religious). This is especially true as you move beyond "Does the snake have venom that I can test" and into "let's look for red shift to prove the age of stars billions of light years away", which is predicated upon a host of assumptions that are likely to be true, but become in themselves, a cult or intellectually religious presupposition. If an academic were to deny dark matter right now, he'd likely get raised eyebrows. If he were to deny Einstein, he'd be laughed at. but there is no "proof" in the truly tangible way we have of "the snake is venomous" so it's something that could be legitametly questioned (and may be at some point in the future). His other point is to compare religion with science, which is to say that most (intellectual) religious people are not happenstance religious, but have deep and logical reasons for their feelings on god and nature. Profound and coherent within the real world as we know it.
Now, what I want to see is someone setting up a Foucault v. Chomsky style debate with LeTour and the Anti-theist intellectuals. Highly skilled debaters challenging eachother! Green mowse.pngGodotQu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons 16:44, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Astronomy is a tricky subject because experiments are rarely possible and the astronomy depends mostly on observation. Belief in Relativity and Dark matter is based on empirical evidence. Ask the physical scientists here. Proxima Centauri (talk) 17:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, dealing with astronomy like that reminds me of arguments over evolution: "You can't see evolution, so how do you know it really happened?" Astrophysics has many similar concepts, and when you get knee deep in all of the facts you begin to realize just how solid things like red shift, relativity, and even dark matter are. Nothing is set in stone - as it never is, with science - but you're going to have to do some damn good research to come up with alternate explanations.
The only reason astronomy is not far more contentious a science among the public is that it no longer directly conflicts with many people's preconceived notions. After all, it's even more difficult to grasp than evolution, as you have far less to see. On that note, I sometimes wonder how many people would embrace evolution if they had never physically seen a juxtaposition of embryos or bone structures. Q0 (talk) 21:42, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The thing with evolution is that it's not just a historical science, but can be demonstrated experimentally as well. There could be some analogous area of astronomy that I'm not aware of, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:13, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
...experiments are rarely possible and the astronomy depends mostly on observation - last I checked, experiments were observation. Experiments constrain what you expect to observe, and then you try to observe it. There's no difference whether you're building a Large Hadron Collider, mixing chemicals together or pointing a telescope into the sky. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 10:02, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
You're right there are too many presumptions in academia. You have to agree with at least most of the presumptions that are currently made in your subject or you get poor grades as a student. You have to agree with at least most of the presumptions that are currently made in your subject as an academic or your career won't progress. To the extent that science and religion pay over much attention to presumptions this is a weakness in both and not a reason to respect religion. Proxima Centauri (talk) 17:15, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
NO one says science is a reason to respect religion - religion or those holding religious beliefs are respected on their own right, reframed outside of the standard intellectual "science is superior" perspective that religion is about a simplistic belief in myths and the supernatural.Green mowse.pngGodotQu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons 17:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Come to think of it, this reminds me of McCauley's argument about the "naturalness of religion and the unnaturalness of science." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:13, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Also, a good opportunity to drop one of my favorite Dennett-isms: "There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:13, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

I've found another review of Latour, it's in Creationists vandalize a park sign for God After the vandalised park sign is a short section on Latour. From the above webpage:-

Kudos to any reader who can tell me what this means. I’ve read a fair amount of postmodern lit-crit and philosophy, but it always boils down to the same conclusion: “lots of fancy words; poorly written; no content.” All I can say is ZOMG, that I’ve done the hard work for you, and there’s no need at all to read Latour’s “brief and brilliant” last chapter.

Proxima Centauri (talk) 17:43, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Looks like the guy barely tried to engage with it. I hate that kind of attitude--it's no different from me looking at a bunch of physics equations and saying "I don't get it, so it must be bullshit." We're talking about advanced scholarship here, and it's supposed to be bloody hard. Have you actually read Latour? this is a classic. See what you think. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 17:54, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Coyne annoys me here. He often (rightfully) bashes creationists for not being functionally literate in Biology and Evo theory, and reading something out of context then assuming they "get it", and yet he does the exact same thing here. LaTour (who by the way, wrote in french... not sure why you are commenting about the prose of a translation - are you really that simple, Jerry? i don't think you are) builds on a tradition of writers (and really is not properly a post modernist, but rather a social scientist and philosopher)makes some critical and important points that cannot and should not be waved away with "but it's got lots of big words". Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 18:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Coyne is not averse to talking out his ass on philosophy, so it doesn't surprise me. One of my favorites: Plumbing == Science! Wut?? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 13:09, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

While I see Pigliucci's point there, but I think it runs the risk of making science a bit too magical. At its core it's a very simple concept of observation, testing and refinement. Bolting more and more caveats on it seem motivated primarily by scoffing at such a blue-collar pursuit as plumbing (how dare these working-class peons consider what they're doing as Science!!), more than differentiating reproducible, accurate, methodological thinking and "pulling shit out of your ass". Scarlet A.pngsshole 13:27, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
At that point, you've really stretched the definition so far it becomes meaningless, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 13:33, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. When you expand the definition of "religion" to include "atheism" (as synonymous with "no religion") then you've stretched it so far as to be meaningless because it includes everything - it can't narrow things down at all, which is what makes it meaningless. With focusing on the basic tenets of science, you still differentiate it between the testing you do to solve a problem and the "testing" you do to prove that prayer works, and you exclude faith and simple making up fictions and treating them as true. Those basics are still a far more powerful differentiator than they're given credit for. If you confuse the core principles of observing reality with the specifics of rigour you make science some magical mystery super-thing and raise it up on a pedestal - then you wonder why people accuse scientists of being in an "ivory tower". If you focus on the fundamentals then science becomes accessible, it becomes obvious why it works, and then why we including reproducibility, falsifiability, peer-review and all that jazz slots in very instinctively. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:46, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I have to admit I was quite taken aback, when he said you needed to be educated to do science. Children in school do science all the time. granted, it's tested, proven, "simple" science, but science none the less. an expert in Egyptian language with no formal science training, figured out how to make one of the images he found "unusual" by trying a variety of carving techniques until he found something that made the same marks. he was just being careful, logical, and creative. it was still science.Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 15:55, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
If you define science as "not making shit up," you've effectively redefined all rational inquiry (or, even more broadly, any activity that doesn't rely on blind faith and personal revelation) as "science." Though I'd say there's plenty of blind faith and personal revelation going on in science -- its quality control mechanisms are just better than "other ways of knowing." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:04, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
If you want to draw the line at "quality control", then I agree. But in which case it forms a sliding scale. You can have "peer review" as it appears in cargo-cult-science, for instance. If you really want that hard-and-fast distinction, then the line needs to be drawn elsewhere. If it's entirely about the label "science", I would suggest dropping the label as and suggesting what the goal is. If you want good solid quality control, then indeed thorough peer review, referencing, reproducibility and falsifiability is what you're after, if you merely want to contrast good from bad methodology then you can make a far simpler distinction. In all, I think we can be more certain about what is not science than what is science because of this. But, as always, these things are multi-dimensional, so I don't think the hard-and-fast distinction truly exists, not least because you're contrasting an idealised method with how it's implemented when you put real people in charge of it. But anyway, I don't think we should be so quick to dismiss all the things that don't have the cargo-cult like qualities as being in the same boat as divine revelation.
Now, I have to add to all that that I come from the point-of-view of science communication. I want this method to be as non-magical as possible. E.g., when I acquired this spectrum the point was to demonstrate how theory and observation intertwine, and you don't need all that window dressing (expensive, precision equipment in this case) to demonstrate it. The core foundation is that interaction between observation and our ideas. If you don't have that, then it's not science by any useful definition. If you insist on adding more, then you really rob it of its power to be performed by anyone, and you make it almost ritualistic and belonging only to the high priests who own the journals and operate the most shiny instruments. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 20:18, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm on board with doing away with the idea of "science is people in lab coats with big shiny instruments," but we don't have any reason to use the term "science" for what you're talking about. Why isn't plumbing history? History involves interaction between observations and our ideas. Then if you respond that it has no experimental method, neither does paleontology or evolutionary biology (prior to more recent developments). Do those then fall into the category of "not science"? Plumbing is history, QED. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

This reminds me of a conversation that ruined any chances of getting laid this one night. This Norwegian woman, an anthropologist, that I was seeing, took HUGE umbrage when I made an offhand comment that had to do with how what she studied wasn't "science." To a native English speaker, there's a distinction, in which we understand that a "scientist" pursues particular disciplines and lines of inquiry that we associate with beakers and lab coats and such. Apparently, in many Scandinavian/Germanic languages, it makes sense to call what anthropologists or other social scientists do "science." A really unfortunate miscommunication. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 22:31, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Should have just gone the Laudan route and said, "Because no one is a scientist!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:40, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
So, the moral of the story is to understand philosophy of science and linguistic relativity; it might just get you laid. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 01:31, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

An idea I've been kicking around.[edit]

As a way to draw in new readers, get more of the focus back on missionality, and have fun: something like this. A blatant rip-off of The Straight Dope, sure, but with our own woo-free take on things. Can anyone see any future in such an endeavour? Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 23:54, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Fantastic idea. Blue (pester) 23:59, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 00:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, sure. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 00:09, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Sounds cool. Sam Tally-ho! 02:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not too happy about the name change, but otherwise it's fine. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 07:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that we have the pool of expertise necessary to pull this off on a level higher than, let's say, Yahoo! Answers. Or the Skeptics Stackexchange. Our article space is still really uneven, and we are missing experts in key fields (e.g. it appears that after PalMD left, there's nobody left with any real expertise in medicine.) Which leads to interesting situations: when someone perceived as spouting dubious claims appears, the usual MO is to troll them off or just revert on sight.--ZooGuard (talk) 07:59, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
1. Format matters too. A Wiki is a pretty good way to co-operatively build an encyclopedia, a StackExchange (or one of its free clones) is a good way to do Q&A. Do not try to build an encyclopedia using a blog tool, do not try to write a Q&A system using a Wiki. You will cause yourselves and your users needless pain.
2. Not every subject is suitable for Q&A. The best Q&A topics are ones where those who can answer a question are significantly outnumbered by those able to easily verify an answer is correct. That works well in programming (which is why StackOverflow was a good idea) it works to some extent in some other technical topics but the more answers are subjective or unverifiable the more it falls apart. It is no good to write "Your question must have an objective and verifiable answer" because the questioner is often oblivious to such matters. There will inevitably be moments when even the best Q&A site drifts away from verifiable answers, like this but they should be rare exceptions, not the everyday or the community will crumble. (talk) 10:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
What's the biggest tree? Ajkgordon (talk) 10:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
The tree of life, spanning ~4 billion years back into history. Okay, I'm sure you meant the real things what are made out of wood fibers and leaves and such. Do you mean largest in terms of circumference, or tallest in growth? And do you mean which specific specimen of tree, or which species? Because the tallest tree, to the best of my knowledge, is the giant sequoia known as General Sherman, at 279.4ft/83.3m tall, and a circumference at its base of 102.6ft/31.3m (exact figures from Wikipedia, which may be from 1997). I did actually know to look for giant sequoias, I just didn't have the specific details of the tallest tree memorized. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 11:07, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
What's a rhetorical question? Ajkgordon (talk) 11:21, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Is this a rhetorical question? Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 11:33, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
So baring questions like 2+2 = what, I'm dubious how this would work, and who would be an "expert" and what happens when experts agree. I can think, for example that a very normal question is "If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes". When you step away from the snark of that question - it's actually a very sound and reasonable question given teh way we teach evo. "one thing turns into another". So who answers it? how do they answer it? do they need citations? could two people have different answers? --Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 16:32, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Gonna agree with ZooGuard. We're definitely lacking the range of expertise needed for this.
@Godot: Problem solved! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:17, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
This Q&A idea is interesting, but I have to agree with Godot, ZooGuard, etc. If we designate a panel of experts, we'd be confining ourselves to a very limited range of subjects. We could have an open Q&A format, where anyone can answer a la Yahoo Answers, but there would be no guarantee of quality, & it would probably end up as a series of small debates rather than a simple Q&A. Might not be a bad thing, but not quite what ToP was suggesting. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:37, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
How would it differ from Wikipedia's reference Desk? SophieWilder 17:57, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
@Weaseloid: Sounds likely that would happen, and we already have a section for debates. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:44, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm in two minds about this. RW at its best is when we analyse why an idea or claim is false, rather than just say "the correct answer is..." - the very intellectual authoritarianism we fight against. However, if it goes ahead, I can (eg) see someone like HeidelbergKid being good at answering biology questions. SophieWilder 11:02, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Here is a test: an actual question I have. I spend most of my time teaching, writing, or reading. When I work out or bike to work, I listen to something on my iPod. But I have noticed that when I go for a quiet hike or do some other activity, I often return and do much better work. It's probably a combination of mental rest and my brain's freedom to collate the information that it already possesses. So my question is: since there must have been research on this, what is the general amount of time that should be set aside for unoccupied thought? An hour a week, or an hour a day, or what?--ADtalkModerator 11:24, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't think there is an optimal time that works for everyone. Zen monks can do over 8 hours of zazen a day, but sitting and doing physically fuck-all for more than 40-45 minutes can cause more problems than it helps. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback, all. If anyone is interested in thinking about ways to maybe develop it a little bit, drop a line. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 19:23, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
My own view is that you might as well just put it out there, seed a few questions, and see if anything sticks. we won't know how it can work, till we try it, right? Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 22:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Rhawn Joseph vs NASA (Any lawyers here?)[edit]

Rhawn Joseph (of the Journal of Cosmology fame) claims that he's suing NASA over its alleged cover-up of evidence for extra-terrestrial life. For ten million USD, no less. The PDF linked on his website is just a "NOTICE OF INTENTION TO FILE SUIT". Can anyone check somewhere (PACER?) if this has actually come anywhere near a court? Everyone else, feel free to check the PDF. A sample to give you a taste:

The official position of NASA and the other Defendants, is that life began on Earth; a position without any scientific foundation and which is based on the Jewish and Christian religions; specifically the religious belief that after its formation the Earth had special life producing powers and thus life emerged from Earth under supernatural conditions. The religious dogma that life began on Earth and originated from special properties possess by Earth, is the official position of Defendant NASA and the other Defendants, and is detailed in chapter 1 of the Tenakh, i.e. the first of the five books of Moses known as the Torah, and which is also known as the "Old Testament" of the Christian Bible.

Yes, he is alleging that NASA is in breach of the First Amendment. :) Take a drink every time you read some variation of "Tenakh, Torah and the Old Testament".--ZooGuard (talk) 18:43, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Like this will actually go anywhere. Osaka Sun (talk) 18:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Dafuq? Scarlet A.pngbomination 18:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I hate to add this but I've just been working with a guy who was quite high up in the Royal Navy - a squadron commander in the Gulf War - and claimed to have been officially briefed by a UK version of the X-files. He was quite convinced about the existence of UFOs but couldn't go into much detail. Just sayin'. Redchuck.gif ГенгисGum diseaseModerator 20:18, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Governments taking the threat seriously doesn't equate to aliens actually visiting us and a cover-up existing. We know the US has plans to fight off an alien invasion (presumably these involve shitting themselves then getting the President the hell aboard Air Force One and shitting themselves again if they have time) but details are, obviously, not forthcoming. Not entirely unusual nor restricted to exotic threats, either. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 21:01, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I won't saying I'm buying into it but I was told that the briefing was much more than Government having a Plan B, and involved classified photos. Redchuck.gif ГенгисevolvingModerator 08:09, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
While the theory of panspermia is still out there and has some evidence to it, NASA is going to go with the established facts: Life emerged on Earth around four billion years ago. I am interested in seeing what translation of the Tenakh/Torah/Old Testament he's got that says the Earth is billions of years old. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 01:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I always found it hilarious to think humans would have a chance fighting off a race that would have the technology to get here in the first place. Given nuclear weapons, we'd have a hell of time even fighting off ourselves. Q0 (talk) 03:50, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Prometheus much? It would require a collective pooling of nukes by the only real thing that can act as a representative for tbe entire planet. The Onion has already pondered the implications. Osaka Sun (talk) 04:16, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think Space invaders would use nukes, nor would firing nukes at them be a clever plan. The gravity well means if your military are orbiting a planet you can just "drop" stuff (it's not quite as easy as that sounds but it's still pretty easy if you get to start in space) onto it and you'll cause massive kinetic damage.
I was being facetious, nukes are the strongest thing we (currently) have in a hypothetical scenario. Osaka Sun (talk) 10:33, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The UN? Haha, no. Really no. Great for some things. Not for that. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:47, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
But anyway, aliens wouldn't be us with pointy ears, or even terrifying creatures with acid for blood, they'd be alien that's sort of the point. Even if we got lucky and they were comparable to us in some senses, that would just confuse us further as we tried to interpret their actions based on our understanding of the world. Stanisław Lem's most famous book about alien life is Solaris, but Eden, the Invincible and Fiasco are perhaps more accessible by having aliens on a physical scale we can comprehend even if the rest of the parameters are beyond us. (talk) 10:23, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Although a lot of astrobiologists will talk about evolutionary convergence and conclude there is a good chance aliens could be comparable to us. Not humanoid with a few bumps on their foreheads, of course. But recognisably intelligent life as we could understand it. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:39, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
This reminds me that I really need to get around to reading Evolving The Alien. Scarlet A.pngmoral 16:50, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
So do you all mostly buy the idea that intelligence will always look like intelligence, and be a basis for come communication or at least understanding. I am skeptical, but know so little about evo beyond say, highschool. is there only one way for intelligence to exist. just curious.Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 19:58, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, we only know of one way but we can imagine plenty of others. BoN's example of Solaris is a good illustration. I can't quite see the evolutionary drivers that would result in an intelligence like that but the universe is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. (Points mean prizes.) So there's a good chance that if there is other intelligence out there then it will take most of the forms we can imagine including ones like us and many we can't imagine. Ajkgordon (talk) 22:14, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Like a hyper-intelligent shade of blue? Anyway, I think the main issue with dealing with intelligence will be time-scale rather than anything else. Our perception of time and what is fast or slow is governed by how fast the chemical reactions in our nerves travel. That's around 15 m/s or so. So something touching our arm, about 1m away from the brain takes 1/15th of a second, roughly, to get to our head. We experience that as effectively "instant". Now, this also applies to shuttling information from one side of the brain to the other. For us, these feels fast, it feels "instant", but that's because we rely on these reactions to have such thoughts - in reality, chemical reactions and diffusion is happening a billion times faster. Are we going to meet an ent-like being that takes a few minutes to respond to a query, or are we going to meet something smaller and faster that loses patients waiting for our slow and sluggish brains to catch up. Of course, that isn't the whole story as we need to have a certain size and complexity to even exert these thoughts. You can't store 20 atoms worth of information on just 5, and so we can presume we're on the scale that biology requires for intelligence to function. So, we're not unlikely to see things zip by us in a pico-second and also unlikely to wait 6000 years of a cloud of gas to reorganise itself to talk.
Technology, however, is easier because that requires certain attributes. You need to be able to manipulate resources in a particular manner. Mining, smelting, and so on, just to process raw materials into things like steel and metal sheets, plastic, silicon wafers for computers (chemical properties are the same across the universe, so alien computers will be silicon-based just as ours are owing to its semi-conducting properties). Ergo we can rule out underwater creatures gaining human-level intelligence and building space ships. It also requires a degree of manual manipulation with skill, so limbs that work kinematically and hands that can grib effectively. So I think we can safely rule out tentacles that are too broad. Depth perception, too, is going to be a necessity, so two separate eyes to gain that information are the easiest way to go. And speaking of eyes, we can see those evolve along multiple routes on Earth and they converge nicely. The exact range of colours detected will vary, but will probably not stray far from our own visible region - simply because higher frequencies are too energetic and destructive, while lower ones couldn't be detected. Life itself is based on inheritable traits, so while "alien DNA" isn't going to be deoxyribonucleic acid, there'll be a similar self-replicating mechanism at its heart. And I'd be willing to bet a good wad of cash that the replication will involve hydrogen-bonded polymer chains forming a simple code - just because this is how chemistry works, and that isn't going to change from world to world.
These are the evolutionary pressures that cause intelligence (in a brief, hand-wavy fashion, of course). Sure, actual alien life will most likely be as weird and truly alien as we can imagine, or even not imagine, but intelligence itself - manifesting as something as broadly defined as "space travel" - has certain requirements to facilitate its existence. Recall the problems Flatlanders face with writing things down; i.e., they really can't in a 2D world. So don't expect humanoids with forehead ridges, but don't expect angler fish that breathe sulfur, communicate exclusively through changing colour and have eyes that see radiowaves. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 01:31, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Regarding nukes and aliens, here's something relevant, and below is a tangent.

Based on our astronomical observations, there does not appear to be any source of power in the Universe more powerful than nuclear fusion, so fusion bombs would be the most destructive weapons the aliens could have. (They could just be bigger than ours.) As far as we know, it's not possible to build a fusion bomb without first building a fission bomb, which creates the conditions required for fusion when exploding. Therefore, if the aliens evolved on a planet that had very little fissile elements, or on a very old planet where most of the uranium-235 already decay away, they could be using nuclear fusion reactors to power their ships, but have no nuclear weapons. In other words, in case of an alien invasion, there's a chance that the hostile alien invaders would be the side getting thoroughly owned - it's a shame I never saw this idea explored in science fiction. BTW, I think the unscientific Hollywood trope of "nukes don't work on aliens" is politically motivated. --Tweenk (talk) 02:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

More like "plot motivated" - if aliens could be wiped out by nuking them, the movies would be really short. :)
As for alien fusion bombs, let me remind you that bombs are a form of energy storage, not an energy source. A sufficiently advanced alien culture may have access to stuff like antimatter bombs or relativistic impactors. Hell, any spaceship capable of interstellar flight at a convenient speed would make a formidable weapon on its own.
Anyway, I am a bit annoyed that a discussion about an eccentric panspermia proponent turned into a discussion of aliens.--ZooGuard (talk) 06:23, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Too elaborate on what ZooGuard was saying, fusion bombs are only practical up to a certain size, after that you may as well strap guidance systems onto something heavy and end all life on earth. If a telegraph pole of tungsten is equal to a small tactical nuke, scale up to any random lump of space rock you'd like. Assuming any alien life does exist, and assuming it's advanced enough to prosecute interstellar war, it has to be taken that they could target the planet with a similar weapons system at a range where we couldn't hope to fight back. -- Iscariot Andy Schlafly for Congress 2012! 06:40, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Give them a good ol' reliable slagging. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 10:46, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Hm, I didn't think about guided asteroids. That could indeed be more destructive. It might also be possible for them to construct a black hole and send it our way.
ZooGuard: Regarding antimatter, I think it's improbable any aliens would use it. An antimatter bomb would require at least as much energy to build as it would later release, and probably much more. Meanwhile a fusion bomb requires only a very small fraction of the released energy to construct; basically it is an energy source.
Iscariot: The tungsten rods used in Project Thor would be nowhere near as powerful as nuclear bombs, in fact I faintly remember some site debunking the usefulness of this concept (or maybe it was a Slashdot discussion?). If you put a 50-ton tungsten rod in low Earth orbit (2000 km) it will only have the potential energy equivalent to 178 tons of TNT. All this energy would have to be supplied as rocket fuel, so it suffers the same problem as the antimatter bomb. --Tweenk (talk) 15:38, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Thor was only there as an example of the concept. Thowing heavy things has always been an excellent way of killing things, it's only in recent warfare that this notion of exploding projectiles has become a fad. Put it this way, if you can press a war across the interstellar void, how hard is it going to be to send a few lumps of space rock our way? How big was the asteroid that defines the KT boundary? -- Iscariot Andy Schlafly for Congress 2012! 16:22, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
It would be harder to shift and guide them than you might think. The reason they're so destructive is because their speed creates a lot of kinetic energy, which is obviously released explosively when it finds there's a planet in the way. But all that energy and momentum means that once they're on course, you need near enough that much energy and momentum to deflect them again. So you could slam every nuke on Earth into the side of a slag-worthy asteroid and you'd budge it off course by a degree or two. And most calculations on how to deflect objects are done with the intention of getting it away from Earth, to align and target one precisely would obviously consume more energy than even that. So, presume for a moment you have an attacking force that straps a few rockets to an asteroid and pushes it on target... the best option for the defending side would be to also strap rockets to it to disrupt it off course. You've eventually end up with a reasonably conventional and very protracted war fought over deflecting asteroids, with the loser getting a very thorough pummelling at the hands of conservation of momentum. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 18:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Which, now I've said it, sounds like a pretty cool sci-fi concept... Scarlet A.pngmoral 18:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
When rocks will again become the ultimate weapon, war will come full circle. --Tweenk (talk) 21:05, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikiverse as a religion[edit]

There is possibly a funspace article on the above topic: Wikipedia is the Ur-entity, with all the other wikis spinning off as sects or autonomous faiths. All require people to improve the community/wikis, behave pleasantly towards newcomers, not to engage in abusive behaviour etc, and follow the Wiki ethics generally. Comments anyone? (talk) 17:19, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

RationalWiki does not require any of those. Blue (pester) 20:49, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Register yourself a name (or don't) and put it as an essay inside your own userpage space (e.g. User:BoN/Wikireligion). Doesn't really fit elsewhere, in my opinion. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 07:08, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Dear RatWiki Tech Support...[edit]

Maybe some of the more technically minded RatWikians can help me. I just got a new machine on which I want to install Linux. I'm by no means new to doing this, but this time it's a bit different. This time I'm dealing with UEFI rather than MBR booting. And I can't get it to work at all. My installation CDs won't even boot, that's how bad it is, and the shit on the interwebs is of absolutely no help. Does anyone know how to get, e.g., Ubuntu to install on a UEFI machine. The BIOS does support legacy booting, is it an option to turn that on and then use a legacy loader to boot the Windows install too, or won't that work? I don't really have a clue, and I'm pretty worried if I switch over to legacy booting I'm going to overwrite some UEFI crap and break Windows forever. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:48, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

I've never dealt with Ubuntu on UEFI, but I had to deal with a friend's machine having troubles with UEFI, and it was a bitch and a half (and required remastering a Windows install DVD to only look for BIOS instead of UEFI). Have you reviewed this page from the Ubuntu documentation? Admittedly, it starts getting a little ugly when it starts talking about compiling grub2 from source, but it's a start. UEFI is buggy and annoying, at this point. This might help, too, as it's oriented towards step-by-step a little more. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 13:03, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I read both of those. Neither seems to address the "YOUR FUCKING INSTALLATION CD DOESN'T FUCKING BOOT!" problem. I really don't like the sounds of having to reinstall windows just to get a dual booting system with legacy booting, but I guess it may come to that. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:19, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Just humour me a bit here, but why do you need Linux installed when you've already got Windows? Ajkgordon (talk) 13:30, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
To build a big, long gstreamer pipeline for streaming video. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:33, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
OK, cool. Ajkgordon (talk) 18:06, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
If I could do everything I want (gaming) and need (more important things than gaming) on Linux, I'd ditch Windows without looking back. And, you're using the appropriate (64-bit unless your machine is somehow only 32-bit) CD, right? I personally would suggest keeping everything on legacy BIOS, which will be a bit of a pain, but UEFI is a leaky piece of ass, in my experience. However, like I said, I've never messed with Ubuntu on a UEFI machine, so you might want to wait and see if anyone who HAS shows up. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 13:37, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Valve recently got heavily involved in promoting Linux gaming, so it should take off really soon.
Regarding the OP question: verify that the boot order is correct, and that you have turned off UEFI Secure Boot. The latter is especially important as the Secure Boot feature prevents any OS not signed with a Microsoft key from booting. --Tweenk (talk) 15:49, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the BIOS doesn't support secure boot at all. It certainly doesn't have any key management options I can see. Considering I have no intention to use Windows 8 anytime in the near future, I don't see this as much of a problem. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:52, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure anyone is intending to use Windows 8 any time soon. I really can't get used to it at all. Ajkgordon (talk) 18:06, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
In that case consider using legacy BIOS booting. The only caveat is that if you have GPT partitions on your Windows drive, you'll need to convert those to MBR partitions, because Windows only supports BIOS booting with MBR partitions. --Tweenk (talk) 21:36, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Time dilation[edit]

At the top of the page I'm still seeing:

"2 hour +/- 30 minutes warning till the start of the announced down time. See the tech blog for updates.
from Tmtoulouse (Talk), group Site wide (urgent) at 01:39, 22 July 2012

Presumably this message should be deleted by now? I don't know where to report such things but assume it will get attention if mentioned here. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:17, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean in the big blue intercom box? "Mark as read", it'll go away. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 15:39, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but the point is, will visitors also see this? It makes the site look kinda unprofessional to have days-old notices hanging around. (Citizendium is infamous for keeping outdated site notices up forever.) Doctor Dark (talk) 15:42, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Ah, good point. Didn't realise that it was still there for, like, everybody. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 15:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, the notice expires 3 days hence so it probably isn't a big deal. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:04, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Visitor delurking. It's not showing up for me.
Yup, now I see that it doesn't show when browsing the site not logged in. Nothing to be concerned about then. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:10, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Since I delurked to post that I will also note that I actually have an account I use solely to correct typos and minor grammatical errors in articles, because this is the only contribution I feel safe making due to my shocking ignorance of Wiki protocol and the wikipolitical history of RW specifically. I live in constant fear of effing something up and being deservedly castigated, so my only contribution to the fine efforts of this Wiki is occasionally logging in long enough to hit "Random Article" seven or eight times and fixing whatever I catch. And I haven't even done this much. My original tactic of "lurk for a long time and absorb it all by osmosis" clearly has not worked, as I have lurked here for a year and a half :( And for those about to ask, yes, this timidity cripples my IRL social life as well. Maybe I will go make an account at CP to learn by doing, so that my mistakes will at least be in a place where it can't make anything worse.


... is now full. Full and very hot. Just so you know. Ajkgordon (talk) 18:08, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

I hear there's some sort of sporting event going on there. Dangerous stuff that. I try and stay away from anything more athletic than darts. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:24, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
And guess which fucktard volunteered to go down there to do some tech theatre next week... Scarlet A.pngnarchist 18:37, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Good luck getting a train. Also, what's tech theatre? I'm picturing a bunch of terminators doing Hamlet. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:45, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Terminator Hamlet? Well, I do know the guy who did bouncy castle Shakespeare, so I imagine he'd be game for that. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 18:50, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Terminator Hamlet? SophieWilder 20:17, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Daily Heil was right? Britain is full? Vulpius (talk) 20:23, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Errr...no. SophieWilder 20:41, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Just came from there (London I mean, not Britain, still in Britain) and it's not full. It's actually not even especially busy except, obviously, in the bits where something really interesting is happening right now. I work (one day a week, on average, since I prefer to be at home) in one of those big glass buildings near Victoria and I ate lunch about a minute's walk from Buckingham Palace. It's not quiet and it's definitely hot but it's nowhere close to full. There were even still one or two empty seats on our train after we left Clapham, which often doesn't happen on a normal weekday night.
Now, if you live and work in just the wrong parts of London, and you've been oblivious to Boris's insistence that you "get ahead of the games, dot com" then yeah on Monday you will probably regret that, but so far I saw nothing worse than usual. (talk) 20:53, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Well I walked from Waterloo, across past the Eye, across Westminster Bridge, up Birdcage Walk to see a client at Buckingham Gate and it was packed. A walk I do quite often. Wonderful but packed. But I think I got caught up in part of the torch relay but I haven't looked it up. And my train back from Waterloo was very full. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I loved the atmosphere even though I had to work. Superb. Ajkgordon (talk) 22:52, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Like mother, like son[edit]

Good old Mummy Schlafly. There's no lie too stupid for her to tell, and doubtless for her idiot followers to believe. But whatever gets you though the interview without saying the n word, eh Phy? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 19:41, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Bra-fucking-vo. I hate when random morons on the internet share unsubstantiated rumours uncritically, but I pass it off as them being random morons on the internet - so it's pretty fucking shocking to see supposed pundits, the ones that are meant to be leading and providing examples and basically generating the media we consume, doing exactly the same. Scarlet A.pngtheist 19:45, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Wait, you haven't caught on yet that "pundit" is just a euphemism for "propagandist"? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:05, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I know that, it's just that there's a certain expectation that those in the public sphere feeding the population information should be, you know, at least factually correct at a minimum - or at least right in so far that they can't be proven wrong with a single search term in Google images. Scarlet A.pngtheist 20:14, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Cough. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, makes you want to curl up in a corner and wait for death to come. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 20:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

The hearsay society strikes again. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:43, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

'Da fuck, Romney?[edit]

What the fuck, Romney? Flies into London and immediately starts bitching about the Olympics. Idiot. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 20:58, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

To make the newlyweds your friends for life, take a dump on their wedding cake. --Tweenk (talk) 21:16, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
The man is tone-deaf. Literally and metaphorically. Maybe his handlers think he will make a good ventriloquist's dummy. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 21:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
What a dumb thing to do. It's like going to party at a friends house and telling before it has started how fucking lame it is. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 21:26, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
No, don't you see? Since he just insulted all of Great Britain in regards to the Olympics, he will get all good British citizens to forget how much they hate the London Olympics and the way they're being handled, and they will instead unite together to hate some loud, rich, idiot American instead! It's the perfect plan to get into Cameron's good books. Truly, Romney is a master of diplomacy. --CoyoteSans (talk) 21:40, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Some fucker at the National Review called Mittens' comments "reasonable." I'm sure if Dave and Mitt switched roles and the Olympics were being held again in the States he'd be saying something different. (talk) 23:57, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Have to admit, Cameron's Salt Lake City zing was masterful. Osaka Sun (talk) 21:46, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, it was perfect. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 21:49, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Except that a furriner dissin' a good ol' 'Merkin town could work in Romney's political favor. Doctor Dark (talk) 22:33, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
...in Utah. Osaka Sun (talk) 22:35, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
The fact David Cameron of all people was able to demonstrate infinitely more class, wit, and intelligence than Mittens is just plain scary. Also did anyone else notice Mitt's other attempts to reach out to us englishers consisted of saying he liked Kit Kats, promising that he would put a little bust of churchill on the whitehouse desk (an apparent refrence to some unnoticed and uncared about gaffe 4 years ago), and bragging about how much more "anglo saxon" he was than obama? And THIS was the best guy the republicans could get!?Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 01:03, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
By a large margin. He may be an idiot, but hes SANE. Something unseen in the other Republicans. --Revolverman (talk) 01:05, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
He believes that God lives on another planet and that his magic underoos protect him. Don't be so sure. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 01:08, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Some guy named James Chapman (journalist) is keeping a blow by blow on his twittter. Apparently, on top of all that, Romney has managed to blurt out that he had a secret MI6 meeting, insult Europe and the European Union, and forget the name of a man standing right in front of you (the head of Labour Party, I believe?). all in what, 48 hours? Rock on, Mitt!.
The best guy Republicans can muster still manages to look like a complete oaf when put next to possibly the worst current European head of government. I know that our most rabid right-wingers are flaming socialists when put next to your left-wing, but this is new to me. Vulpius (talk) 01:52, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
His comments aren't particularly bad (G4S has fucked up? Shocking news!), but it's still a really odd thing to say and I can't really figure out why he's said it. It's obviously not going to win Brits over to his cause; the general sentiment I've seen amongst fellow brits is that we pretty much agree with what he said, but he's an ass for saying it (brits are all about self-deprecation, not being insulted by others, I guess). On the other hand, I can't really see it working to his advantage in the states either, I don't think. I guess it might appeal to the "US = #1 everyone else automatically sucks" crowd, but I can't see how that's worth pissing off a government you could potentially be working with one day. It's a really odd thing for him to do, all in all. Also, Cameron's response is the best thing he's done so far. X Stickman (talk) 02:12, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
It's the timing that's the issue. He's in London for important talks, the city is in the eleventh hour and countless tourists are just coming in, and then he suggests that having it here wasn't the best idea. It's like Tweenk said - shitting on your best friend's wedding cake 30 minutes before it starts. No one has any idea how the Games will pan out. And the best thing is he did it all by himself. No attack ad could do it better. Osaka Sun (talk) 04:02, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Oh yes, the bust of Churchill. Was given to Dubya by Blair, was replaced by a bust of Lincoln, and Glenn Beck and the wingnut brigade screamed because someone in Obama's family got tortured by the British Empire.

Nobody in the UK gave a shit about it, ties between the countries are fine, and now Romney wants it back? FFS. Osaka Sun (talk) 02:29, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

"Maybe his handlers think he will make a good ventriloquist's dummy." Nah, he's a puppet. You can see the strings. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:37, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Why this site sucks.[edit]

I have A LOT of pages on my watchlist. I was here around 4:30 my time. Went for an early dinner, saw Batman, had a drink, walked home. It's 11:30. Logged in. The only sites on my watchlist that got edited? The Coop. And The Coop's talk page. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 03:34, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

The furor's lasted for a couple of days, but it's dying down, as it is wont to do. And RC is full of mainspace editing - just nothing on your watchlist, since it's mostly new stuff.--ADtalkModerator 06:24, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
You'd be amazed at how empty Rc was when I blocked the coop. --il'Dictator Mikal 07:26, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I have been staying the fuck away from this place. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 07:54, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
My advice, ToP?? Watch more pages. Lord of Reckless Noise Hooray! I'm helping! 11:25, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
You have the coop on your watchlist? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I have all the pages I edit on my watchlist, and then purge it every couple of months or so. Just purged last night, actually. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 19:25, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Ayn Rand's LOR[edit]

Dunno if it's been mentioned anywhere but: Hee! Scream!! (talk) 11:55, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Next time, we'll have the tale of Bilbo Baggins the hobbit, who was righteously barbecued for his immoral attempt to expropriate Smaug's legitimately obtained hoard. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:31, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Stopping Smoking[edit]

Eight weeks today without a cigarette.

This is day two without the nicotine patch.

Crankiness abounds within me. I'm trying to go completely nicotine free but the lozenges sound very tempting right now.

I've already warned my boyfriend "I may be an asshole this weekend; it's not you causing it, it's me." MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 12:2:1, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

4 months, but who's counting? Scream!! (talk) 12:34, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I should just switch to weed. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 12:40, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Patch free is when it really starts to count but you know you can do it. You're so close to kicking this thing into touch that you'd be a fool to backslide now. Go for it! Yay! Bad Faith (talk) 13:04, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I tried weed once. It made me want to rape and kill. That would be an excellent overlay on a case of nicotine withdrawal nerves. Let us know how it goes.
Haven't had a cigarette in more than three decades, believe I'm down to zero smugness, but I speak for the multitudes who will be annoyed if you relapse. You can do this thing. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 13:14, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I need to try the "use cinnamon sticks as a substitute for cigarettes" trick. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 13:22, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Never heard of that one; seems sensible. In other news, you are probably aware of how ethanol ingestion prompts cravings for a smoke. Be vigilant, my friend. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 13:50, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not much of a drinker. Never have been. I don't refuse alcohol; I just practically never have any. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 14:02, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, then, it may come unexpected. I believe the underlying blood chemistry has been understood for quite a while. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:12, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Oh Linux, you little minx.[edit]

So I fixed yesterday's exciting edition of Wasting Your Time Installing Linux(TM). The eventual solution was:

  1. Install a minimal linux with grub on a USB disk to mount and chainload the fucking install CD.
  2. Try desperately to persuade the installer that there really was a Windows 7 installer on the disk and it ought to configure grub to boot it.
  3. Give up on that and just install Linux on the spare HD space. Great, now I can't boot Windows.
  4. Decipher Ubuntu's completely differently arcane method of writing a grub configuration.
  5. Discover that Ubuntu doesn't show a grub boot menu even if you've got an extra custom menu option. Spend 20 minutes of googling to figure out how to make it do that.
  6. Attempt manfully to figure out a way to make grub chainload a Windows UEFI install.
  7. After many, many reboots which all failed to actually boot Windows, decide it might be quicker to try to experiment from the grub console. Fail.
  8. Rage. Angrily stab the command "exit" at the grub console. Discover that exiting grub somehow magically makes Windows boot.
  9. Write menu item:

menuentry "Windows 7" {



10. Never again question how this works. Forget you ever had this experience. Add it to the list of things to be bitter about in old age.

There you have it, folks. Reason number 80 bajillion why this is not the year of Linux on the desktop. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:53, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

The year of Linux of the desktop is next year. Always. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 12:56, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's in Every OS Sucks where the line is "but the geeks say getting it to work is half the fun!" Scarlet A.pngnarchist 12:55, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Every year I seem to have less and less fun figuring out how to make this shit work. I think I need to have several million quid to pay people to do this shit for me before it reaches terminally not-fun. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:17, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
"Reason number 80 bajillion why this is not the year of Linux on the desktop..." Has been for me for a year and a half now. Maybe it works for me because all I do is web browse/listen to music/type simple text docs/run a simple browser-based reference manager? I lobe Linux/Ubuntu, would never ever consider going back to Windows. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 13:40, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
It's certainly true that Linux has made great strides in the field of things you can do before you hit the fateful advice "Open a console and type 'sudo ....'" It'd probably be fine if someone else did the install, just like they do with Windows. Some expert gets it right once, then Polish peons clone the disk image infinitely on to your system which is then shipped to you in working condition. Unfortunately, the big OEMs only ever use preinstalled Linux as a bargaining tool in keeping their Windows licensing costs down. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:51, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  1. boot winPE
  2. prep disk with diskpart
  3. imagex apply win7.wim / server2k8r2.wim
  4. create BCD with bcdboot or bcdedit
  5. reboot into windows
  6. update windows
  7. boot winPE
  8. imagex capture to .wim to keep your .wim updated
  9. boot windows
  10. install linux as a VM
Your solution works because your system will apparently boot from UEFI when the BIOS boot fails.
The PC boot sequence is the oldest piece of the entire stack and some of its elements date back to the original IBM PC. Trying to make this work with UEFI, which is new and buggy and additionally has spotty support on Windows (only 64-bit versions and with GPT partitioning), is bound to cause problems. Unfortunately this most ancient piece of the PC is the first piece that new Linux users have to deal with. --Tweenk (talk) 16:52, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that's true, because grub is using UEFI in this case. My working theory is that whatever exception the processor throws when grub finishes execution gets trapped and it fails over to the next thing in the UEFI directory, in this case Windows. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:13, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Should so much be taken out without giving a reason?[edit]

This section has been moved to Talk:Celibacy Cow...Hammertime! 20:25, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Geeks and women[edit]

[This article is an amusing side of the generalized anti-women sentiment that is going round the geek world. Seems men only clubs (or as he basically says 'men and women who have proven they are man enough') are mostly the same in their derision of women doing things for their own sake. Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 01:26, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

No True Nerd. Scarlet A.pngsshole 01:37, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
This is one of the best "sit down, shut up, and eat your wheaties" retorts I've ever read. scalzi repliesGreen mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 01:42, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I think much of that response nails it because it realises the sexism aspect is nothing but a red-herring and it's all about the geek-elitism. Which is, of course, even more hilarious than every other kind of identity elitism because you get to see it make a surreal blend with Star Trek vs Star Wars debates. As always, it reminds me of the "alternative" crowd, who insist that it's all about "being who you want to be" and acceptance and all that (do we need to link to Geek Social Fallacies again?) and then berate people for not wearing quite the right brand of alternative wear or not hating the right kind of mainstream bands enough. Scarlet A.pngbomination 02:00, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I like how he fails to notice that those "booth babes" are paid to be there. Also, a nice friend argument tossed in there as well. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:24, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Hot chicks dressing up at conventions to get attention & feel good about themselves? What an abomination! Not like all those other geeks who presumably have some practical reason for dressing up as fictional characters. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:29, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I didn't read that article carefully enough (I can't say I'd have read it at all if it wasn't mentioned here) but it seems like it was trying to set up another category besides booth babes. Booth babes are models hired by an exhibitor or (less often) the event itself. My impression was that "poachers" are supposed to be women (although presumably in theory also men) who aren't paid models, but nevertheless aren't actually interested in what's going on. So they'd cause part of the same problem as booth babes. But the problem is that I don't think they even exist. Like the conspiracy to make the US a Muslim country, women who dress up as Ayanami Rei (or Misato if they're trying to be less creepy) and pay to go to a con but don't know what Evangelion is are a figment of a paranoid imagination. If they don't seem interested when you try to talk to them about Eva, it's probably because (statistically, at a convention) you haven't washed for a week, you're aggressively trying to prove yourself or they had something better to do.
Scalzi gets it right though. Most people are geeks, they're just geeky about different things. It makes no sense to be prejudiced against someone who has painstakingly recreated Ripley's outfit from Aliens just because they don't share your enthusiasm for trying to deduce the physiology of the Xenomorph. I'm sure some Lego fans bought all the Lego games that came out, built them, then never played them. Some gamers probably lamented the extensive assembly needed to build these new games (even the dice are assembled from lego pieces), and only those who happen to be both Lego fans and board game geeks were able to appreciate the clever construction of the individual pieces and the excellent design of the games themselves. (talk) 11:11, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
To be fair, the whole geek/nerd cultures have diversified as well as considerably changed in popularity. This may be due to some of the popular movies and television shows of late (Harry Potter, probably most noticeably, but I could also put responsibility on shows like Glee and CSI). I know one of my bigger complaints that I have when discussing popularity and "hot chicks" with younger friends is "Where were all the nerd-loving girls when I was in high school and college?"...because apparently they're all over now. Or, at the very least, they're less shy about their attractions. -- Seth Peck (talk) 17:00, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
We didn't know how much money nerds and geeks can make. Now they are the better financial catch. ;-) j/k (mostly)Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 17:12, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, it's simple evolutionary psychology! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:13, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
The concept of "geek culture" & self-identifying as a geek seeks like a relatively recent phenomenon over the last decade or two, and oddly coincides with the shift towards things conventionally associated with geeks emerging into mainstream popularity: e.g. hollywood blockbuster adaptations of superhero comics & fantasy novels, massive expansion in the adult gaming market, internet culture, gadgets, etc. As the Scalzi blog points out, the "geek" reaction can be either "ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE" or "Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love". Hence the sort of geek snobbery we see here; the feeling that if you don't have geek cred or buy into some arbitrary concept of a geek lifestyle, you simply don't belong at a comic convention or gaming convention or whatever. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:55, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's largely due to the internet. Everyone uses it now, and most people love it and can't stay away. Sometimes just removing one popular stigma ("computers are for nerds") can start a domino effect. Though, I don't think I'll ever understand why the comic/superhero thing is so huge, or why people love Big Bang Theory so much (it's like a lot less funny version of The IT Crowd, and that's coming from an American).
As for the gaming part of geek culture, three words: World of Warcraft. That and facebook apps, smartphone games, and the like have really opened things up to the point where many of my friends and family members game more than I do, despite chiding me for doing so at all in the past. Long gone are the days when I had to borrow a copy of Diablo from the scary kid in the trench coat, and subsequently hide the fact I was playing it from my parents. Q0 (talk) 18:14, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I feel like the nerd fans of Big Bang Theory are like the conservative Colbert fans. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:24, 29 July 2012 (UTC)