RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive180

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Pharyngulated again[edit]

[1] Dr Lightner has since replaced the plushie with an actual goddam possum, but I note the article is being hammered enough the image doesn't load ... Update: the image was actually squid2 being arsey, came good when I kicked it - David Gerard (talk) 15:33, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

It's good that PZ Myers sees us as a useful resource. He's cited us a few times before. We can't expect him to actively promote RW, but it's nice to be on the radar.--"Shut up, Brx." 21:04, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Too bad P Z Myers is a faggot and Brxbrx, in a complete lack of machismo, stares at pictures of naked adolescents all day long. — Unsigned, by: Fat Atheist With No Machismo / talk / contribs 2012-11-20T21:56:56

Thoughts on an idea I have for a peer reviewed history wiki[edit]

I got the idea from seeing one of the things that Citizendium tried to accomplish, and realized how I could make the goal more practical then what they were trying to do. I also got a lot more information on reading their article here. The flaws I saw in Citizendium originally were that they're encyclopedia attempts to be a comprehensive wiki on all subjects, just like Wikipedia, only more reputable. It's also much slower to progress as a consequence of ensuring quality and creating reputation. Their other problem that I saw is their insistance on requiring real names as usernames. There's a lot of knowledgeable amateur historians who aren't going to feel comfortable using their real names who would get automatically excluded, and there are legitimate reasons why people might need to use sockpuppet accounts. I think the fact that certain historical topics would be controversial for some groups of people would be a legitimate reason to allow a sockpuppet or not to use a real name. Keep in mind here that some people's usernames could be known to people they know IRL. Returning to topic, I also don't think that requiring real names really does anything. It doesn't do much for anti vandalism or POV editing because of the controlled registration at Citizendium. I figure that it's seen as reducing the chances of people having flame wars or other incivilities that happen on Wikipedia, but that doesn't actually work. People still can't see each other, so the depersonalization effects still apply. I've know of people in the same community going off on each other or just being @$$holes in email, then being completely agreeable IRL. Also from our article, it seems that Larry Sanger is also a total ass, which shouldn't be hard to avoid.

Here's what I plan to do. I originally thought about having something like the Citizendium approach, but just narrowing the topic to history. Of course, that would be a bad idea. What I'm thinking now is to maintain open registration and allow people to use whatever usernames they want, and to allow sockpuppetry for legitimate purposes. We would control editing of articles and the reliability of the site as a source by restricting editing of the main namespace to a special editor group. Everyone would be allowed to edit all other namespaces, and we'd add a draft namespace and tab to the article namespace, similar to the talk namespace. That way, anyone would be able to suggest changes, and to possibly demonstrate them in a draft, and an editor could then make the change. Any user that proved unbiased and reliable would be allowed to be promoted. They could also be demoted if any user could demonstrate that they made changes without evidence that were incorrect. This system should be able to make such a website reliable by removing any doubt about whether the revision someone viewed had been tampered with when they looked at it. It would also make sure that what goes into articles can be backed up by sources.

I also plan to add in an essay namespace, and then also have a process of peer review for the essays. Approved essays could be indicated as such after a discussion. I think the Author Protect extension could help protect the integrity of the essay pages; I would have to make sure that it could be applied to a single namespace though.

As for the other failings of Citizendium, I'd be sure to stay out of any topics I don't know about, and wouldn't go announcing changes after lengthy discussions suggested otherwise.

Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 07:21, 19 November 2012 (UTC) Since I see that RationalWiki is a 501-c-3 organization since it's educational, I'm thinking about looking into getting that certification for such a website, which would be beneficial since Dreamhost says that they give free hosting to 501-c-3 organizations. Google also gives them free access to Google Apps, which is what I use for my sturmkrieg.com email; it's basically Gmail, and all I have is the trial version for up to 10 accounts. Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 07:24, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Top Tip: Don't vastly overestimate your requirements and end up spending 700+ a month on server bills when they could have got what they needed for less than 300 a month as citizendium did for ages. Naca (talk) 07:51, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Don't even spend that. Before you start up a wiki you really need some sort of community. OK, it's a bit chicken and egg, but if it's only you at the moment then you'd want to start really small. If you are going to use mediawiki software you'll also need to know a fair bit about the "behind the scenes" operation of the thing. It's substantially more complicated than installing and maintaining desktop app.--Weirdstuff (talk) 08:50, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
MediaWiki is faaaaaaaat - David Gerard (talk) 15:58, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

I would like some clarification on something quickly. The title of this is a peer reviewed history wiki. You then mention that focusing on history would be a bad idea. So, are you going for history centered (everything must be on history), history focused (most articles are on history, but some useful tangents allowed) or without focus (as long as its an academic subject and written academically)? It seems like a good idea, compared to all of the other wikis floating around if nothing else, and I'd be interested in helping out when and where I can all the same, but I wanted some clarification on that point.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 15:52, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

To the first two responses- That does sound like something Citizendium would do. I don't think it will be a problem since Dreamhost gives free hosting to 501(c)(3) organizations, which it should qualify for since I believe it covers educational organizations. Eventually at some point it would probably have to transfer to dedicated hosting, but hopefully by then it would be popular enough to receive donations. I have experience with MediaWiki, though I haven't caught up on all of the really technical stuff. And I agree that it really is a huge chicken and egg issue. I have a wiki for Warhammer 40,000 and it's hard to find contributors. Then again, it's also for fanfiction and stuff that forums cover so it maybe doesn't have a huge audience.
To Hamilton- I must have made a typo. I meant to say that a history wiki would be better than Citizendium from the point of creating a restricted wiki for quality control since it would be a narrower topic and easier to fill up than a comprehensive encyclopedia about everything. Unlike them, I'm also not so anti Wikipedia as to ban importing any of their content to serve as a starting point. (which would solve the chicken and egg issue that people won't edit if they don't see content to get them involved, and you won't have content if no one is contributing) Then again, it might be bad when getting considered as a reputable source if we have notices saying that our content was taken from Wikipedia. Thanks for your interest. I might start a small, beginner version on my own server under a subdomain of sashaweb.net to serve as a starting point, and then transfer it to free Dreamhost non-profit hosting once I've applied and we formally open. There shouldn't be much of a technical barrier to setting up the beginner version since it's mostly the same except for restricting the mainspace editing and adding the extra draft tab. The secondary role is to look into using Author Protect on a single namespace.
Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 17:22, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Let me know when you have something up and running and I'll try to contribute what I can. I think if nothing else I can pull some crap out of my ass on history of mathematics or economics. --Logic and Empricism (talk) 17:36, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Hi everybody! You may be being a bit optimistic about getting donations Inquisitor. This is the Statistics page from my wiki. 20,000 unique visitors last month - one contribution all year if my memory serves me correctly. (From an RW editor by the way - thanks G.). If all my visitors gave me only 50 cents/pence I could retire! Also visitors does not easily translate into editors unfortunately. --Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 18:26, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Alright, I'll set up a "prototype" version where people can add content that we can use to get started and that can help us estimate how much interest there is. Once I get everything in order I can then move it to the new host. As for donations, I figure that most of the people who visit would not make donations. If we get extremely popular, not quite as large as Wikipedia but close as an alternative, we'll have enough users that some of them might make donations. We won't need them until we get large enough that we need to move to a dedicated server anyway. Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 20:32, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
What exactly do you mean by "peer reviewed" in this context? Peer reviewed by whom?--Weirdstuff (talk) 20:46, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I mean that the users will discuss changes to the article (or make them to the article draft) and then approved users will make the changes to the article. For creating an article, the draft will be made first (in the draft namespace, unlike Citizendium that has drafts in the main namespace) and then once reviewed by users and preferably an expert, the article will be added to the mainspace. Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 00:02, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
If that is your plan then you are really going to get stuck on the chicken-egg problem mentioned above. Not only are you going to have to recruit users but you are also going to have to recruit a second level of expert users who will approve the drafts made by the first set. But there again, for all I know you have got lots of history-expert friends and colleagues lined up to work on it. If so, then no problem.--Weirdstuff (talk) 08:08, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Does my userpage accurately describe Citizendium? Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 07:02, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Have you had a look at WikiSage? It seems fairly similar to the sorts of ideas you're suggesting above. If nothing else, it might help you to clarify exactly what the differences are. Peter Jackson 11:15, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
(aside) Just BTW Citizendium's watching ... always watching. Scream!! (talk) 11:59, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
They would be more enlightened reading the Citizendium article than this thread.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 13:39, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if they've seen my userpage. Now it's only a matter of time before they start claiming that this wiki is run by Jewish Bolsheviks or something! Seemed to happen last time with Sturmkrieg really fast. What makes it really dumb is that all signs point to it being SPESS NAZIS living in SPESS. Go here and tell me if the first thing you think of has anything to do with Jewish Bolshevism: http://en.sturmkrieg.com/Portal:Sturmkrieg . Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 15:21, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Into the belly of the beast[edit]

I'm going to Colorado Springs this week to visit my sister and her family for Thankgiving.

I was checking my hotel's web site for nearby attractions, hoping to find a place to take my family for dinner.

The number two thing nearby they listed? Focus on the Fambly. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 13:46, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Whee! Sounds like a fun place! Wait... if you're visiting family, why you in a hotel? --PsyGremlinFale! 13:53, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Our parents are already there, and they're taking up the guest space.
Oh, and I just checked Google Maps. My hotel is right off the Ronald Reagan Highway. Shoot me now, shoot me now... MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 13:55, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
The Ronald Reagan Highway is a memorialization, which is pretty common on many lengths of highways in Colorado (I believe US 285 south from Denver is named after a Navy Seal who died in combat). No one I know has ever called it "The Ronald Reagan Highway", but rather "I-25". -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:56, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Was the list automated? I cannot imagine an office complex being much fun, even for hard-core Christians. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 13:59, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Nope. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 14:09, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
So you won't be packing the silver lycra and feather boa for cocktail hour then? --PsyGremlin말하십시오 14:13, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I suppose I'll just stick to my little black dress. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 15:20, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
WfG lives in them thar parts (well Colorado), perhaps she could help. SophieWilder 16:02, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that she'd have anything which would fit. Redchuck.gif ГенгисpillagingModerator 16:07, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
My joking aside, it's not that bad. I'm flying into Denver Wednesday and should be in Colorado Springs by mid-afternoon. I depart Friday morning. So, I'll be there about 48 hours, and pretty much that entire time will be with my family. And while they're not the lefties I am, they're hardly FotF types, either. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 16:05, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Flying in? Then you'll miss the wonder of Ronald Reagan Highway, but you could fly from DC's Ronald Reagan airport. why did they name an airport after the guy who fired all the air traffic controllers? SophieWilder 23:18, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I remember spending a Labor Day trip there a few years ago. Couldn't go up Pike's Peak because the others didn't think we needed a reservation, but the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Garden of the Gods National Park were fun. Got a couple of great wool blankets with Native American design on them from the gift shop. Only spent a night and a day there, but I would dearly love to go back for a full week and really take it all in. Of course, I went in the tail end of summer, so take from that what you will. --CoyoteSans (talk) 18:50, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
At the restaurant in Capitol Hill where I regularly attend brunch, they have a tourist brochure rack, and FotF's headquarters is one of the things I always see in there. Pretty ridiculous, especially given that it's about an hour away. I'd say we should meet up for a beer, but it seems like your schedule is pretty tight. -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:54, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
The Springs is ok in my book...I dunno why the Religious Right turned it into their fiefdom but I personally did everything I could to drive the buggers out of Virginia so I guess they headed for Colorado. Um, light up a few for me (legally) while you're there, will ya? Secret Squirrel (talk) 01:54, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
You're in VA, Squirrel? What part? MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 17:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm actually in West (by dog) Virginia, and have also lived in Virginia. Secret Squirrel (talk) 03:09, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
My part of the country. Love it! and Secret: Several years ago, the mayor and city council of The Springs intentionally recruited a number of religious organizations to the city via tax incentives and lots of begging. SirChuckBCall the FBI 08:08, 20 November 2012 (UTC)


Let's just say I don't want to be in his shoes right now. Are there any other past photos of candidates post-election, returning back to their normal lives? Osaka Sun (talk) 08:42, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

For many candidates "normal life" is still politics. Kerry for example is still a senator AFAIK, so presumably there are plenty of photographs of him in business-as-usual mode after the election. Obviously it does suck to be followed everywhere by the press, but that will fade, he's not an attractive fifteen year old girl (maybe that would be seventeen in the US?) where it makes commercial sense to lurk in the bushes until you get either a bad hair day picture or a nip-slip for the "newspapers".
Mitt could retire entirely at this point, he's easily rich enough to retire and go into philanthropy, but (and maybe someone with a history of key US political figures and their charitable giving will correct me) a Republican presidential candidate doesn't strike me as the right person to hit up for donations to your AIDS charity, African refugee support or orphanage. Maybe he'll put some money into medical research when he gets old and scared, but otherwise I expect to see Mitt devote himself to getting even more rich by telling not-so-rich folks that they can be like him.
It's a winning formula. Consider colossal business failure Jean-Louis Gassée, responsible at Apple for the easily forgotten Newton Messagepad, he then went on to run the company behind BeOS and the BeBox computer which sank without trace after the dotcom boom, then he headed up the division that developed the never-used PalmOS 6, and then he went on to help Nokia dismantle their successful company and become a Microsoft subsidiary in all but name. All the way through that he was handsomely compensated and attracted offers to speak and teach others how to be just as... successful? (talk) 10:12, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

New articles[edit]

I would like the community's input on the new article, Chronicles (magazine). I'm comfortable rating it silver, but I'd like to know what, if anything, can be done to bring it up to gold.

I've also written League of the South, though it's not nearly as good. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 10:59, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

If Chronicles is so fond of burning the evidence, every link on the page needs capturing - David Gerard (talk) 16:37, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
And done - David Gerard (talk) 17:32, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Thank you; I had been wondering if the links ought to be captured. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:45, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I think the article on Chronicles is very very good. It is thorough and well-cited, interesting and informative. Thank you for writing it--"Shut up, Brx." 03:45, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Link to forumspace at the top of the page[edit]

Do we need to link to forumspace from here? The forums are nearly dead, just used now by pet-subject-pushers. SophieWilder 13:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Agree. Evil fascistoh noez 13:30, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
How often does anyone see the top of the page? I normally go direct to a section from RCs Scream!! (talk) 16:08, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I come here from the sidebar quite often, if I've been reading an article or something. SophieWilder 16:18, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I use the side bar to check if there has been any activity in the forum. Saves me like 5 seconds a day, easily. --Logic and Empricism (talk) 18:03, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

And you thought PIPA was bad...[edit]

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you yet another nice attempt to take away civil rights in hopes of security. Anyone know how to fire up the blogosphere on this one? (talk) 01:41, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Leahy already pulled it.--ADtalkModerator 03:11, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Right wing reading comprehension fail[edit]

So this story How Obama can be stopped in the electoral college, is making the rounds in the right wing circles claiming that the EC requires a 2/3 majority of states to vote to form a quorum. Actual text of the relevant section:

"The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President." Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:04, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Take home message for me, at least, being that the "founder" of the Tea Party and a self proclaimed defender of the constitution can't even read and understand what is written. It must be a real bitch to be a literalist constructionist and not be able to comprehend the basics of what you read. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Its exactly the same as the tea party's weird ideas about what constitutes a natural born citizen. I think they just get over excited about any crazy legal theory that might have a chance to stop the black guy from being president. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:35, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Editor’s note, Nov. 20, 2012: Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmutatingModerator 18:38, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Reminds me of Hurlbut's blog, where the answers to quash liberalism lie in some forgotten part of the constitution, which for some reason only a washed up blogger has noticed.--"Shut up, Brx." 18:46, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Hurlbut's blog is where you go when you decide WND is "a bunch of liberal pantywaists." MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 18:54, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

I've noticed more and more the US Constitution being treated like the holy bible, as in that nutters are quote mining and stringing it together to make it say exactly the opposite of that it does. --Revolverman (talk) 22:51, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

That trend died down a little bit after the newly inducted Republican controlled congress decided to hold a reading of the constitution, which excluded the three-fifths compromise. This was lampshaded in the press and following that the idea that the Founding Fathers were prophets and the constitution scripture became less prevalent.--"Shut up, Brx." 23:56, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
To their credit they left it out because they only read the parts of the constitution that are still binding law, which is appropriate. DickTurpis (talk) 00:52, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
What is truly ammusing to me, is that these **PATRIOTIC!!!!** Americans watched a majority of the people, and a majority of the states vote Obama in. It is somehow "patriotic" to ignore that, and go "round the election". How is this even a thought? "Well, we didn't win, so let's find a loop hole - and fuck the election system."Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 00:47, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Doing ANYTHING to hijack a properly democratic election is patriotic when you throw a little bit of No True Scotsman into the mix, because that changes the results of the election completely. And when one doesn't work, keep going down the line until the fucking nig-- I mean the President is impeached and a white guy takes his seat as it should be. It's gotta work eventually. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 10:06, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
As is often the case, the real juice in that original post is in the comments. Some of them are surely Poes, but there's still a load of crazy to enjoy. rpeh •TCE 10:17, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
And the comment count starts going down... ah, WND, removing comments, even, but leaving the completely inaccurate story up. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 20:50, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Cagey NASA[edit]

This shit is killing me...Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:14, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Ja, but Time says differently. Acei9 03:16, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Sorta yes, there is a lot of back and forth on it now, that is why its stupid to leak like this! Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:37, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
"Huffington Post, which is never quite so happy as when it’s hyperventilating..." I lol'd. --PsyGremlinPraat! 03:38, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
WE WANT OUR FUCKING ALIENS DAMMIT Osaka Sun (talk) 06:51, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Democracy, who needs it?[edit]


I... don't even know where to start with this. --Revolverman (talk) 10:15, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

The concept of a Tyranny of the majority has a long and august history, but it's funny to watch what happens when wingnuts get their hands on it. Apparently Obama's 332-206 majority in the EC and 3.5% lead in the popular vote doesn't give him a mandate, but W's 271-266 EC win with a loss in the popular vote in 2000 gave him a solid mandate to govern. Go figure. rpeh •TCE 10:29, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm more entained by how much it talks about how bad Democracy is, but is curiously silent on any other form of Government. --Revolverman (talk) 10:32, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Wow. WND's exclusive commentary is a smorgasbord of nuttery today - Farah, Geller, this idiot, Molotov Mitchell and Monckton. I rather enjoyed their "God told me to go 100 in a 30 zone" story" --PsyGremlinSpeak! 11:01, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
The late Sir Winston was bang on the money with this one. JzG (talk) 13:15, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Judging by the comments Citizen's Rule Book is required reading in the Tea Party with all the pedantic bullshit about "Republic, not democracy". That or they are just hard-coded to think "Democratic bad" "Republican good" --Revolverman (talk) 03:07, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Nuke your own town[edit]

At long last, you can answer the question "What happens if my hometown gets hit by a Minuteman missile?" Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:47, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Being a nuclear dartboard is about the only thing my town is good for IMO. --Revolverman (talk) 22:45, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Haul out the Tsar Bomba - that's some impressive destruction right there. --PsyGremlinFale! 23:04, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Assuming the radius given are correct, its interesting that the bigger the bomb, the less relevant the radioactive fallout is. --Revolverman (talk) 23:07, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm happy to learn that if Tempe gets hit by a nuke, there's a good chance I won't be killed- at least until I develop a terrible cancer of one kind or another as a result of the radiation--"Shut up, Brx." 23:59, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Okay, who do we nuke first? How about, Las Vegas. What next? Seattle! Yeah! Secret Squirrel (talk) 01:30, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I tried to stick with places I've actually lived in, but that limits me to some hilariously small towns. (Okay, I lied. I totally caved and bombed New York City.) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:18, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I dropped the Bomba on the middle of Jo'burg, then I was able to phone friends in Vereeniging and yell "You're dead! You're dead! You're dead" at them. However, as this was at 3am, it didn't have quite the desired effect. --PsyGremlinSprich! 03:41, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Interesting. Though it would be better if it took local geography into account. Being shielded by a mountain would make a big difference to those geometrically perfect circles.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 07:54, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Omahas honestly sorta boring to nuke, and i ussualy just end up hitting the intersections I hate with Crockets. Whats fun is jumping the megatons up so you have a good swath of the earth being burned to cinders by the fireball. Then again; i stopped using this thing after sandy hit NYC and doing full scale and Nuclear Terrorism seemed distasteful.--Mikal Harass Follow 08:09, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
It's a little more complicated than that. The Tsar Bomba, for instance, was reduced in yield by 50% to prevent excess fall out. Fallout also depends on whether it's detonated on the ground or in the air, and at what height. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 16:41, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Apparently, a nuclear bomb of 1 picoton, (1e^-12) would have enough oomph to irradiate a few pigeons on the roof of the Empire State Building. ĵ₳¥ášÇ♠ʘ thinking of what to say next 22:27, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Can the servers handle things?[edit]

RW Servers 2012.png

Is there another spike in traffic? [2] If traffic becomes unprecedented yet again can the servers handle the load? Proxima Centauri (talk) 07:02, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Infrastructure has been completely revamped from the ground up, yes we are better able to handle substantially more traffic, that is not to say that a sufficiently high enough spike can't cause us troubles but it would have to be several orders of magnitude higher than previous. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:07, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I hope those in the know can understand that diagramme. Incidentally we're definitely ahead of CP [3] and people visit CP mainly to laugh. Proxima Centauri (talk) 07:19, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
There are only two people right now who need to understand it and I assure they do. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:21, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

RationalWiki has become steadily more popular over the last 6 months or so. I suspect the rate of increase is going up too, that our Alexa ranking improved during the last 6 months more than in the preceding 6 months. We're also becoming more influential, users come here for information, by contrast readers go to CP for entertainment and parodists go there to provide entertainment.

RationalWiki started as a group of frustrated intellectuals who were banned for trying to insert reasonable material into CP. We're intelligent but not exceptional yet somehow together we're producing an exceptional website. It's plausible we could become as popular as pharyngula 1 or pharyngula 2 No, we shouldn't pay out yet for servers to handle Pharyngula scale traffic as that may never happen. We should just bear in mind that it could happen. Something special is happening and I don't know where it will end. Proxima Centauri (talk) 09:27, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Our recent Pharyngula link had no visible effect on the MediaWiki server (apache1), which surprised and pleased me. We have had what appear to be spikes that knock the server over, though they're a lot rarer - there are things that can be done to help protect against that and I want to do them (Tim Starling, lead dev on MediaWiki, listed a pile of things for us to try), it's getting around to it. So we're not bulletproof, but we're better than we were, and it wasn't free but it wasn't hugely expensive to the RWF. Feel free to submit our stuff to Reddit, I want to see what happens :-D
We managed, through forgetting to save them, to lose the Squid logs for mid-Oct to mid-Nov (the logrotate was set to 10 days), we need to make the anonymous versions of those available for others to chew on - David Gerard (talk) 15:04, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
And of course the server got rebooted 20 min ago, after 10 days' uptime. Gah - David Gerard (talk) 21:18, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Aaah, that explains the Error503! Scream!! (talk) 21:23, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Yep. This is what I want to try - we'll see how it goes on my personal machine for a bit - David Gerard (talk) 01:18, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Why is there only one internet in the diagram? I think you should add more. After all they're free. -- (talk) 20:45, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Yes, where are the 100 Internets I won on Livejournal for making up a Borg version of the Lord's Prayer? This diagram is incomplete! SophieWilder 22:33, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Probably not worth WiGO-Worlding[edit]

I did find this quite amusing, though. Ah, irony. DickTurpis (talk) 02:59, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

It's like coppery only harder. JzG (talk) 10:47, 22 November 2012 (UTC)


I doubt many here are into it, but if you are, this was insanely impressive. How is this guy only Division III? Sam Tally-ho! 06:43, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

I can't really say about netball, I'm a footie fan, but it's generally true that the bigger scores are in the lower divisions. The higher you go the more evenly matched the teams. Innocent Bystander (talk) 10:37, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Brand v Westboro[edit]

Seen this? Apologies if it's previously/elsewere mentioned. Scream!! (talk) 18:16, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Loled at this, and included a brief section on it in the article on ol' Fred.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 19:45, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
The scary thing with this is just how utterly humourless those two fuckwads are. Not a shred of humanity or joy within them. --PsyGremlinSprich! 08:52, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's par for the course for religious wingnuts. What struck me is that this was probably the best presentation I've seen of the Westboro folks (which certainly isn't saying much). I've often wondered if most fundie nutjobs actually believe their whole "we're only trying to save you from Hell; this is for your own good" rhetoric, or if they're just using religion as an excuse to justify their hatred of those who are different (and I don't mean Westboro specifically here). I imagine there's a little bit of both in most cases. DickTurpis (talk) 15:13, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I was surprised how much they weren't complete assholes. These are the guys that picket military funerals because "they support gays". I half expected more nuttery. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 10:08, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

A RW project proposal[edit]

So the RW foundation is a non-profit and thus barred from endorsing any political candidates (in the US, anyway) but the crazy during and after the US elections got me thinking about a voter education project we could undertake for next time. Things like Wingnut Daily's big banner headline "God's Judgement on America" in particular drew my eye. There were just so many predictions of apocalyptic things that would happen if Obama were re-elected, wouldn't it be great if some people were to catalogue all these claims and contrast them during the next election cycle with what actually happened, the message being in essence "don't get fooled again." What do people think about doing something a little beyond just being a wiki on interwebs and moving in to other media? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:12, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Aside: I think I liked it better before you corrected the typo, Jeeves Scream!! (talk) 21:25, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I like the idea, but there are other websites which already do this. The only advantage that we could have is to do the same thing with non-US elections. --Logic and Empricism (talk) 21:07, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Sounds interesting to me. But what other websites already do this? Links?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 07:49, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
The thing about non-US elections is that I know of no other country where actual important people, people who can get a seat on TV news panels and be taken seriously, say that electing the wrong candidate will literally destroy the nation, cause blood to rain from the sky, cats to lie with dogs, etc. I think this is a fairly uniquely US phenomenon. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:46, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Bob, there are literally dozens of sites that do something like this. Really, just google "who is running in -whatever district you're in-". Ballotpedia is a common one, and so are uselections and elections.mytimetovote.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 16:32, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I somehow doubt that "Who is running in Laukiz" or even "Who is running in Vizcaya" would get me very many on-target hits.  :-) --Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 19:19, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you read the proposal very carefully. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:31, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
The OPs suggestion seems like little more then an extension of the mission of those sites.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 21:06, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
What my butler is suggesting is that we basically aggregate all the doomsday predictions that were made leading up to and following the elections, and offset them against reality. Maybe even go as far as setting up a seperate site, or even going into print, before 2016, so the next time some yahoo stands up and says "A vote for the Dems will cause boils on your bum!" we can say "Oh, but you said that about Obama, and nothing happened. In fact, they found a cure for boils on the bum." --PsyGremlinPrata! 19:32, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, I've been to ballotpedia and I can't seem to find it already covering the suggestion made by Jeeves - though I didn't spend a long time looking as I suspect that the poster who mentioned the site hadn't checked it either. It's not up front and central anyway. So perhaps we could have a few links to the "dozens" of sites who are doing it?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 20:39, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I think I said that no one does that specifically, but what is being suggested is largely an extension of the work done by those websites. If nothing else its more of an extension of their work then RWs.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 21:06, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
What you initially said was: "but there are other websites which already do this". It's at the top of the thread. If you now want to shift your ground a bit then that's fine though.
Anyway if, in fact, nobody is actually doing this then it sounds like a very good idea.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 07:34, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

The So-Called "War on Christmas"[edit]

I think the only people actually waging war on Christmas (in the US, anyway) are the retailers. They've shredded the significance of the Holiday better than any Atheist could. I'd recommend to any Catholics they should celebrate the Epiphany, and get a few extra days to shop, with good discounts on the gifts they buy. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 17:31, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

I dunno, when you read into what they actually did in Santa Monica's Christmas displays, it's clear that there are some atheists who really do want to impose a ban on it. Granted, it was the City's fuck up that they fell for some FSM-style trolling by giving out those scene spaces out randomly, and their fault for scrapping it rather than dealing with the mistake, but the jubilation you're seeing from the likes of Vix and organisations like the FFRF is just mean-spirited. This isn't what it should be about. It must just be something about America, as their religious evangelists have long since been disowned as embarrassments to the religious elsewhere on the planet, atheist groups might follow soon. Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 10:29, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
There's a huge difference between "I want to ban Christmas" and "I don't want my tax money going to the purchase, upkeep, and presentation of an overtly religious display on public land." Santa Monica decided it didn't want to deal with the hassle and they stopped. Nobody is suing to remove Manger scenes from private property. As a matter of fact, this lawsuit was instigated by Christians trying to force the city into keeping the display. SirChuckBCall the FBI 21:57, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

This seems counter-productive[edit]

Declaring that you in effect rule by decree seems like a step backwards when the people just forced out the last guy to do that. --Mikal Harass Follow 02:26, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm thinking he's pretty much done unless he makes some serious concessions now. Protests already going on, and lots more planned. Q0 (talk) 03:06, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
So, he figured "Ya, I'm taking the exact same powers Mubarak but its totally cool because... I got a different haircut!"? --Revolverman (talk) 05:29, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Seems legit. The guy comes in democratically elected, claiming to respect the democratic process, then proceeds to completely trash the separation of powers, making himself supreme legislator answering to no-one. Looks hopeful, doesn't it?Elpresidentetel (talk) 10:47, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Meesa proposes, that the senate grant immediately, emergency powers to tha supreem chanshla. Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 11:19, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


I see the Jets got whupped again last night. Maybe it is time to play Tebow. Clearly they need divine inspiration. --PsyGremlinSermā! 07:23, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

No. Osaka Sun (talk) 07:34, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
He broke his ribs playing against Seattle so he only 'suited up' to inspire his team mates (well, that worked well). Innocent Bystander (talk) 11:39, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Dear Diary, Today I once again got in my uniform and pads yet Rex again refused to put me in. Despite Mark's inability to lead the team to anything but embarrassment against those damned mean Patriots, I remain seated. Why in the Lord's great plan could involve the Jets embarrassing themselves so? Sam Tally-ho! 02:08, 24 November 2012 (UTC)


Lookout everyone! It's Obama's child FEMA brownshirt army! The comments might even be funnier, ecspecially the ones about how they don't look like Americans. --P3A58NT86 19:16, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

So. Much. GODWIN. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 20:05, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Travel rant[edit]

I'm flying to Chile from the UK and just transiting through JFK. To check in online I need approval from the US Customs which means I need to fill out an ESTA electronic approval that now demands a fee of $14. Last time I applied it was free. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 11:25, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Sadly, travel guides now have articles like this http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Avoiding_a_transit_of_the_United_States
I recently flew Shanghai-Chicago-Ottawa with no fees, but I did not check in online. There were no real problems except long lines in Chicago and Canadian Customs deciding to have a thorough rummage through my bags and my portable hard drives. They said they were looking for porn or hate literature; they did not mind 100-odd gigs of music, mostly bought in China.
I wonder what they would have done if I'd encrypted the drives. I'd have refused on principle to decrpyt (see http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Cypherpunk#Privacy_of_communications) and then what? The UK has a law that lets them jail you for not supplying keys in some circumstances, but I do not know of such a law in Canada. Pashley (talk) 11:46, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, if a customs officer asks for the keys, then refusing to hand them over is asking for a whole world of pain. Those guys have you by the short and curlies and it really isn't worth messing with them. Innocent? Illegal search? Who cares, you're on a no-fly list for life. Innocent Bystander (talk) 12:03, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
They seem to chop and change the US entry requirements too often, I doubt they provide any actual security. Rememeber when they briefly had those silly fingerprint machines on exit? I'm pretty sure they've scrapped those now, at least I don't remember having to find one. My guess is DHS has far too much money allocated to them and has to find some way to spend it every year on silly procedural changes so they don't get their budget slashed. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:59, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
To expand on Innocent Bystander's point - entry is entirely at the discretion of the host entity. They can refuse you entry for any reason, including your declining to enter a key for your disk encryption, or your not laughing at their terrible puns, or even for no reason at all. If you're a citizen you might get some traction from the courts, particularly if you're a resident citizen (and thus in some legal sense "entitled" to enter) or if you're an EU citizen and you were trying to enter an EU country (because the principle of free movement of goods and people is a key element of the union). (talk) 23:20, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I think that if you are citizen of the country they cannot deny you entry. Before the existence of the EU I once entered the UK even though I had lost my passport. As the nice immigration cahppies explained it they couldn't deny entry to somebody who could prove they were a British citizen. To be fair, this took bit of doing in the absence of a passport, but they eventfully let me in.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 18:59, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
So how did you do this? Do please tell the tale! - David Gerard (talk) 23:48, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I started writing an answer to this but I've realised that it's going to be quite a few paragraphs. Do you really want the full story? (It's better when told over a few beers by the way.)--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 16:24, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
For ex-colonial powers like Britain there are a whole shitload of people who are citizens (because they were born inside an empire that no longer exists) but are not legal residents. Those people do not have right of entry to the UK, though they might be able to apply for a visa. Their passports (and thus, the records supporting those passports) will show things like British Overseas Citizen or British Protected Person as nationality rather than British Citizen like Bob's. They would be entitled to assistance from a British consulate representative if they're injured or arrested in a country where they are not a citizen (so typically anywhere other than the ex-colony where they were born) but if they arrive at Heathrow they're just like any other visitor and can be refused entry on a whim. (talk) 14:17, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Affirmative Action debate[edit]

Just wanted to see what your opinions are on this, and why. Humour me please.Percival (talk) 22:16, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Humour constitutes POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD - David Gerard (talk) 22:25, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Link? Scream!! (talk) 22:50, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I'll bite.
It's an unfortunate and mostly ineffective solution to a very real problem. Leaders of the Civil Rights movement knew that some form of 'compensation' (always noted as the wrong word, because you could never actually make up for slavery) was necessary in order to successfully reintegrate blacks into American society. Desegregation was not enough. In fact, even an end to all racism would not be enough. The problem was deeply embedded in the very nature of capitalism, widely known but rarely spoken. Those who start off with little to no wealth face an exponentially more difficult climb to the top, no matter their individual aptitude. Without some sort of significant public welfare, including and especially free quality education, the system is simply unjust, with everyone either advantaged or disadvantaged from birth. But this is an uncomfortable fact, which places the entire notion of success in our society into doubt.
And indeed, affirmative action co-opted the energy behind the Civil Rights movement in order to - among other things - close the debate off to critiques of capitalism. Anything that resembled 'socialism' was off the table from the very start. Sure, part of that was to avoid the mess of deciding how you would distribute wealth to black Americans, but a much larger motivation was to preserve the capitalist system that nearly every power interest in America was prone to want. Opening up a national debate about capitalism at the same time the Soviet Union was our enemy of choice (and actively attempting to spread their form of communism, mind you) was an unthinkable proposition.
So, what would solve the problem? A clear redistribution of wealth, with at least a baseline living wage and real education. Unfortunately, we can't even have these debates on the national scale, because even something so benign as raising taxes on the top 1% is branded socialism. It's also nearly untenable to try and solve anything as an issue of race now. It's harder every day to make light of the fact that any progress which has been made, as Wyatt Tee Walker said, "is more cosmetic than consequential." Slavery turned to segregation turned to de-facto segregation. Racial slurs turned into Lee Atwater style code words in the public sphere... and, of course, the same racial slurs in private. We also now have a black president whose inaction on racial issues speaks volumes, cementing for millions of white Americans the idea that 'if a black man can become president, there's no excuse for anyone in the ghetto', and sowing seeds of doubt in every minority community at the same time.
The reality is that this country has still yet to face its race problem head on. It failed post-slavery, and it failed post-segregation. For as much good as comes out of tidy little concessions like affirmative action, there is at least an equivalent amount of bad. The 'reverse racism' backlash allows actual racists to feel justified in their beliefs, claiming that minorities fail even with benefits not available to others. How do you fight that sentiment without going through the arduous task of repeating this long diatribe I've gotten into here? How do you fight it without questioning the very nature of America: how free and democratic are we?; how fair is our economic system?; how does discrimination - not just based on skin color, but gender, sexuality, and other aspects as well - affect these issues? It's much easier just to appeal to base instincts than even consider these arguments, and so that's what happens. To make it worse, affirmative action is openly used as a political weapon, aimed at anyone who clamors for real reform. You know that tired old line: "We already have affirmative action, what more do we need to do?"
But, until we're able to have a real debate on economic inequality and social justice, affirmative action will probably be necessary. Sorry for the wall of text, but I felt like collecting some thoughts on the issue anyway. Q0 (talk) 02:57, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
You should read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. I think you'd like it.--ADtalkModerator 04:11, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
The "de-facto segregation" is human normal. Humans form little tribes and partly form their identity out of differences between their tribe and other tribes, whether the tribe is called "Klan members" or "Wikipedia editors" or "Apple employees" is at the highest level just a label. Tribe members choose to live close together, work together, etc. without really any conscious consideration. That doesn't make it either universal or a good thing of course, any more than superstition (also human normal) or momentary self-destructive urges (ditto) are universal or a good thing, there are plenty of people who have never had a suicidal urge, who are disinclined to blame an unusual occurrence on supernatural phenomena and who had never thought to see whether the other people who live on their street also like Jazz and wear a lot of turtle-neck sweaters. But you should probably set public policy on the assumption that left to their own devices many of your citizens will believe in ghosts, will actively choose not to hire someone who seems very different from them and their existing colleagues, and have had the idea of jumping off the top floor of the car park. People who set public policy often talk about providing "nudges", ways you can encourage people to do the Right Thing™ without them feeling like they're having everything dictated to them. Fresh fruit nearest the checkout instead of confectionery is an example of a nudge. You can still buy a chocolate bar, but the temptation is to buy the apple instead because it's right there. (talk) 11:59, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Discrimination breeds discrimination.
However well intentioned, affirmative action may provide some short term assistance to a previously oppressed minority in order to raise their standard of living, but it will also create reactionary racist/sexist in the majority.
American History X portrays it nicely. The entire movie revolved around a youth's descent into neonazism, which is shown to be a refection of his father's views. However his father was not racist because he viewed another race as inferior, he was so because of affirmative action policies which had been implemented at his workplace.
If you work hard in your job, and another gets a similar job doing less work because of their race, isn't that going to make you angry?
If you apply for a job, but a less skilled applicant gets it because of their race, isn't that going to make you angry?
And if you are angered by affirmative action policies, would you not begin assuming that anyone of that race only achieved what they did because of affirmative action, and not off their own merits?
There are a million and one ways to address the cycle of disadvantage. The best starting point is education, not just throwing money at schools, but properly implemented programs that motivate kids to study at school and chase their dreams. Second step is in the justice system, trying to get people into work programs etc rather than just slapping them with warnings or throwing them in solitary confinement. Etc etc etc.
Affirmative action only serves to assist people to get into positions for which are are not the best for. It negatively affects other members of their race. It breeds resentment in the rest of the population. If you want to divide a society on racial grounds, then affirmative action is a great place to start. But if you want to truly make a difference, there are much more appropriate ways out there. (talk) 14:17, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Simplistic bollocks. There is a natural tendency that those who choose entrants, be it students or employers, tend to discriminate towards "people like them". If the applicant is a black woman and the interviewer is a white male then she is, de-facto, discriminated against. You have to break that vicious circle. Without affirmative action the best motivated and best educated kids will come up against all sorts of glass ceilings.
And, to quote "If you apply for a job, but a less skilled applicant gets it because of their race, isn't that going to make you angry?" Is that not just as you say when the black applicant sees the less skilled white applicant get the job because the white interviewer favours "people like me". Innocent Bystander (talk) 14:29, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
AD, The New Jim Crow is a great resource, as well as an important and detailed explanation of how race is a significant aspect of both the prison system and the war on drugs in America. Having said that, it disappointed me in its lack of scope (though I do realize it was written for a specific audience). I just don't understand how it's possible to ignore the gigantic holes your very own arguments leave in the fabric of prevailing economic and legal theory. Indeed, at times she is a couple sentences away from making the broader point yet incredulously stops short, presumably for fear of sounding too radical. Q0 (talk) 15:57, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
My sense was that she made a deliberate effort to stay focused, because otherwise it would have spun out into yet another of the many wide-ranging polemics already on the market. One of the main strengths of the book is its limited scope and reasonable length - after all, I think it's easier to conceptualize and act on problems that seem capable of address. An indictment of the whole economic and legal system would have been less useful in catalyzing change than Michelle Alexander's focused attack on one aspect. It takes less force to move a needle's point than a railroad spike.--ADtalkModerator 23:26, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Speaking as an authentic Black Man, I think AA, while inherently flawed, is a great program and one that is vastly needed. I could write a huge paper on this (in fact, I have) but to keep it short: Black people are still discriminated against in our country in both overt and subtle ways. See this study that found people with black names have a [[4] smaller chance of even getting an initial callback for a job interview.] Even with AA laws, there is still a huge discrepancy in economic and educational opportunity for all minority races and the last thing needed to repeal these laws. SirChuckBGo Naked, Hitler Wore Clothes 22:06, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I've always found this a difficult matter to address, because there's a clear need and yet a clear moral shortcoming in this solution. There's obviously a big gap in opportunity, I agree. My view is just that it would be better to fund things like the United Negro College Fund, instead. This is also an affirmative action, just without the nasty taint of inherent discrimination.
For example, I think a good policy to implement would be to federally fund the UNCF and equivalents to the tune of $100 million or so, with the provision that this funding will decrease by $2 million every year. This gives the discriminated-against minority an assured leg up for a discrete amount of time, without damaging the meritorial basis of hiring and admissions. Places and organizations that are all-white (or all-male, for that matter) should continue to suffer social consequences, of course.--ADtalkModerator 23:26, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
A significant problem is that society has generally failed most black children long before the UNCF can even come into play. Don't get me wrong, it's a great program; it just can't account for the fact that public K-12 education in most cases is bad and getting worse. Q0 (talk) 02:08, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes; such an initiative would also have to be accompanied by a renewed effort to eliminate bastions of poverty. For example, eliminating the charter school programs would be a big start.--ADtalkModerator 09:18, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Haha I throw my hands up - I know nothing about racism in the US. I guess the public service/corporate world there isn't as progressive as over here.

All I know is that if I applied for a job, and a less qualified/experienced applicant got it because of their race/gender, I'd be very pissed.

And if I had substandard workers who got their jobs because of their race/gender, I'd be very pissed.

And yes, I would start questioning whether any member of that gender/race got their achievements through their own work, or through public policy.

And if this practice was widespread, I have no doubt it would breed resentment and discrimination from the majority. And no, I'm not white nor conservative.

I strongly believe that we need to work to break the cycle of disadvantage across all groups, but I don't believe that AA has any valid role in doing so.

But then again, I can't speak for what's happening in the US. (talk) 00:27, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

11 year old vs Eric Hovind[edit]

11-year-old vs creationist here Good debate!--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 19:20, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Adjusting for the fact that the kid is 11 and you'd expect Eric Hovind to know what he's talking about, the kid won hands down. Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 20:33, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
If anyone would like to know how we know that 2+2=4 Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 20:39, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Not just because Hovind says so then?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 21:28, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Excellent. Thank you for sharing this Bob. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 05:39, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Winner of the 2012 Cringeworthy Awards: North category[edit]

The two most hated Canadians on the planet meet at last. Osaka Sun (talk) 00:09, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm not much of a fashionista, but what the hell is going on there? Sam Tally-ho! 02:09, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Bieber got awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal by Prime Minister Assface. Wikipedia says that it was "awarded to 60,000 citizens and permanent residents of Canada who made a significant contribution to their fellow countrymen, their community, or to Canada over the previous sixty years." The PM apparently was allocated 200 of the 60,000 to hand out. I'm not actually a JB-hater, but given his choice of clothing for such a high honour, I'm not sure which of the two I'd like to smack more in that picture. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 19:14, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
That precise outfit (one-strap denim overalls, white shirt, backwards cap) was the height of gay twink fashion for six months around 1993 - David Gerard (talk) 19:39, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
If we were actually having this conversation in 1993, I could legitimately say "I'm 12 years old and what is this?" Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 20:06, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

My most sincere apologies[edit]

Hi there.

I'm sorry for everything I've done.

I plead for your forgiveness.

Please forgive me.

Or there will be consequences. (A new revolutionary struggle, a new RWW/MCWiki etc.) You have been warned. A new intifada is around the corner.


Ah, I see your local has wifi. How's the novel coming along? SophieWilder 20:19, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
you need new material, apologies and threats of revolt are so last season. --Mikal Harass Follow 20:27, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
"Intifada" is in especially bad taste given what's going on in Palestine and Israel. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 00:07, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
apologies and threats of revolt are so last season Dude has been doing this for 4 years now. Acei9 00:29, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Which... is why i said that? --Mikal Harass Follow 01:10, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Just saying it's more than a season, this shit has been going on for 12 fucking seasons now. Acei9 01:32, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Semantics but the point is valid. --Mikal Harass Follow 03:07, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Now, Sir, I don't know you, and have never had any dealings with you previously, but don't you feel that an apology, followed immediately by a threat, is rather poor negotiation, don't you think? Percival Aldrige Grainger 01:59, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
  • whistles in, totally naive* Oh, hey, Marcus. I don't know who you are, but I do know that going to the saloon bar to apologise for your mistakes is not met kindly. As anyone on here will testify, I have done so repeatedly with ill effect. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 02:14, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Your trying to hard, read the above replies for the proper way to respond to MC--Mikal Harass Follow 03:07, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Police Brutality and Murder in the USA[edit]

Police Brutality in America How reliable is the Baltimore Chronicle? Proxima Centauri (talk) 08:20, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

It's ok. Stephen Lendman is not. Here he is on Russia Today talking about how CIA asset Osama Bin Laden died in Dec 2001 and held on ice for years.--ADtalkModerator 13:01, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Oh, but police brutality is indeed rampant.--ADtalkModerator 13:02, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
You do know that article's from 2010, right? SophieWilder 13:33, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States, November 2012 SophieWilder 13:37, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Four of the first six of those involved the killed person physically threatening the police officers. Just because someone was killed by the police doesn't mean its abuse--Logic and Empricism (talk) 17:12, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
The guy who punched me in the face represented a physical threat. If I had responded by pulling out a gun and shooting him dead I'd be in jail right now. It's appropriate to hold the police to a different standard in light of what we ask them to do, for example most jurisdictions give the police a lot more leeway to arrest, hold and question people than an ordinary citizen has - but that doesn't give them a license to kill. (talk) 11:42, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Of the six I read, two were pointing a gun at a cop, one was trying to take a cops gun, and the forth was threatening them with a hammer. --Logic and Empricism (talk) 20:57, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
And the police report said "I had to shoot him, he was... he was... he was pointing a gun at me." Innocent Bystander (talk) 21:02, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
So, we're now just assuming that whenever someone is killed by the police it was, what, because the cop was a violent sociopathic racist? Hey, why not just make wild and unfounded assumptions!--Logic and Empricism (talk) 05:27, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
No, we know that sometimes when someone is killed by the police it's because they were dangerous and couldn't safely be subdued or arrested. Just like we know that some of the people who were locked up in Guantanamo Bay really were terrorists. But just because some of these killings are justified doesn't stop us from being concerned by the rest of them, particularly because instead of being held to a very high standard (which we should desire) police are instead being held to a very low standard. In particular statements by police officers should be treated with the same scepticism that we'd apply to other witness testimony given by someone with a powerful interest in the story being understood their way rather than providing us with impartial evidence of what happened. Right now very often officer statements are taken as overriding cold hard facts rather than being at best supplementary to them.
A train guard who failed to follow procedure and thus witnessed a horrible accident got jail time in the UK this month (from the coverage you might think the proper procedure would have saved the girl's life, actually she'd still be dead but he wouldn't have seen it happen). But the police officer who shot a man and thereby sparked a series of riots walked away without even a reprimand. Why? Because they recited over and over again that they perceived an immediate threat, that they had no choice but to shoot. All the evidence that he wasn't actually armed at the time, that he was running away from police, and that police had tampered with the scene before investigators arrived, everything was disregarded so long as they kept repeating that line. To retain confidence in armed police we need better quality investigations, and that includes being more sceptical of the human element. (talk) 13:44, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Monsanto market share[edit]

In our Monsanto article, we mention that it has 90% of the GM seed market. However I can't find any source for this. This chart suggests that its market share is more like 40%, but it also includes non-GM seed.

Does anyone have any information on this subject? --Tweenk (talk) 20:52, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

| This source says "Based on industry statistics, ETC Group estimates that Monsanto's biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for 87% of the total world area devoted to genetically engineered seeds in 2007." That seems high, given there are several other major players in the market such as DuPont/Pioneer and Syngenta. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:33, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
The key part being "(including those licensed to other companies)". So, according to that source they don't have "90% of the GM seed market", they're instead directly or indirectly involved in ~90% of the GM seeds which get planted. They've apparently developed most of the better seed traits, and then licensed that technology to other companies. If that's true, it may be misleading in a strict sense (which is to be expected), but as far as overall control of the market they'd still have a commanding position. Q0 (talk) 00:36, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
87% of "involvement" sounds about right, because all the major seed companies extensively cross-license - see third chart here. But that doesn't say a lot about actual market share. --Tweenk (talk) 03:07, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Would comparing GMO's total revenue across the industry with Monsanto's GMO revenue be meaningful? Assuming this data is available, of course. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:13, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
That would be, if there was a reliable way of finding the revenue attached to GMO. That strikes me as something that would take months of hard accountant work.--Revolverman (talk) 06:16, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Not necessarily. I'm skimming Monsanto's 10-K report right now to see if they break down their revenue streams. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:24, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I meant finding out the global revenue of GMO crops in general. --Revolverman (talk) 06:26, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I figured there'd be a trade organization more than happy to boast about its industry size. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:33, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Damn, Monsanto only describes its GMO operations as a share of gross profit, not revenue. "Gross profit as a percent of net sales for the Seeds and Genomics segment increased two percentage points to 62 percent..." (p23 of Monsanto's 10-K). Net Sales $11.8 billion, gross profit $6.08 billion. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:39, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
The most logical thing would be to ask the author who put the 90% figure in the article where they got it from. But, unless I'm misreading the history, it looks like it was added by Tweenk in March 2011. As Tweenk is now the one now questioning the veracity of the figure perhaps it should be removed?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 19:49, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't really remember where I saw the 90% number, but after reading the linked 10-K form I have a better guess now.
Here the size of the GM seed market in 2011 is estimated as $13.3 billion. Monsanto's 10-K says that its Seed and Genomics segment sales in 2011 were $8.6 billion, though this also includes income from licensing agreements for GM traits. The upper limit of Monsanto's market share is therefore 65%. --Tweenk (talk) 03:05, 26 November 2012 (UTC)


The Wikipedia fundraiser started today (for the Anglosphere, anyway). Nevertheless, I have taken the time to tweet appropriately, and JzG to RT appropriately. Get out there and WHORE YOUR SOCIAL REPUTATION TO OUR GREATER GLORY - David Gerard (talk) 22:51, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

No Bitcoin option? Paper checks, postal money orders, Western Union? Get with the program! Secret Squirrel (talk) 00:15, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
The lack of payment with slabs of beer is also a bit of a downer. I planned to donate two slabs of XXXX gold and a bunch of bitcoins. I wonder if they will be accepted for the rationalwiki fundraiser. Naca (talk) 04:59, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Slabs of beer? I know and love stubbies, tallboys, masses, yards, six-packs, cases, kegs... but slabs? Doctor Dark (talk) 05:21, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I suspect a slab of beer is a box of 12 (or 24), in a shrink-wrapped cardboad half-tray. However, shipping will probably be more expensive than the beer itself. Do you take virtual slabs? CS Miller (talk) 15:23, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Slab = 24 and a Block = 30. Shipping would be a bit of a killer. Maybe assfly can help and donate a few from assfly breweriesNaca (talk) 01:35, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
For the record we do accept slaps of beer, it can be directly converted into quality programming. Tmtoulouse (talk) 05:23, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I've been at the root prompt after a few glasses of ~10% home-brewed mead rather a lot of late - David Gerard (talk) 09:27, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
The important question is, do you know how you got there and what happened during the previous hour? Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 12:07, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I MADE RATIONALWIKI WORK WITH WONDER AND GRANDEUR DAMMIT. Now, have I drunk enough to do the conversion to fcgid? - David Gerard (talk) 20:02, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Props to Cuban[edit]

I never knew or cared much about Mark Cuban, but I think he deserves some RW respect for his stance on NBA endorsed woo. If only the everyone else in the NBA put reality before profits. DickTurpis (talk) 02:55, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Hang on, doesn't he own an NBA team? Won't he be in massive breach of contract? Surely the NBA has a contract with owners not to bring sponsors products into disrepute. I must admit I am very conflicted about this one. I love sports and I understand they need commercial sponsorship to survive, but on the other hand I can't stand woo. --DamoHi 06:14, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
He owns the Mavericks, and some television interests (HDNet channel, for example). He's probably one of the more reasonable hugely-rich rich guys, on par with Branson but not quite a Buffett (and certainly not a Sinegal). As far as the conflict of interest/breach of contract, the NBA is a league, an entirely separate organization, from the Dallas Mavericks ball club. Just because one endorses one product doesn't mean the other has to...otherwise, they'd never be allowed to have different sponsors (beer, restaurants, whatever). That one can use the other is an agreement in licensing (logos, etc.), but otherwise they're separate (same with stadium ownership, rebroadcast rights, t-shirts, etc.) -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:05, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I understand they don't have to actively support the NBA sponsors, but it would surprise if there wasn't a "bring the game into disrepute clause". If was the makers of the powershit bands or whatever they are called I would be pretty pissed off at the NBA if they didn't do anything. DamoHi 18:46, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

ASK and ye shall be answered[edit]

I just looked at ASK, out of mild curiosity. The main page has been accessed just under 130,000 times. I have a wiki of my own, which I use to talk about such endlessly fascinating topics as my model railway. My front page has been accessed over 600,000 times and my page on building the Parkside diagram 100 hopper kit (http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/wiki/Railway/Parkside_PC80) has been accessed more times than any of the 20 random ASK pages I loaded.

I am delighted that my site is as successful, by this wholly scientific and objective measure, as the widely respected and well known ASK. JzG (talk) 12:03, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Yesssss. But ASK started in March 2009, it seems that yours started somewhat earlier. So you are not really comparing like with like. What you'd really need to do is calculate something like "reads per year" or something like that.
Wikiindex tries to use something called WikiFactor but even that doesn't really take time into account.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 13:41, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Didn't we have a wikifactor article? I seem to recall LArron writing it. SophieWilder 13:49, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Ah. SophieWilder 13:51, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
You dare compare yourself to PJR, mortal? Behold! [5] 70k wall of text. You don't even have articles that long. Scurry along now. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 14:31, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but your wiki is not a real wiki as ken has not defaced added his wonderful insights to it. Naca (talk) 15:50, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Is there any way I can tell how many people access Liberapedia and Atheism Wiki? Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:26, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
You could ask Wikia. SophieWilder 16:58, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, but they'd probably only point you to the Liperapedia stats page which isn't very helpful. Redchuck.gif ГенгисpillagingModerator 20:11, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Liperapedia has 4,592,112 registered users? Seems ever so slightly hard to believe. Even if you count spammers that's a hell of a number.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 20:57, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
User accounts on Wikia work across all Wikia wikis, so that figure is counting the total number of users across all its wikis. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:03, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Say that ten times fast. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:04, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
A statistic of quite remarkably wonderful uselessness in that case.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 23:39, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, yes, that was rather the point behind the comment about the method being scientific and objective. But actually my site was on Lotus Domino for most of its life, it moved to this MediaWiki install, without stats history, in 2010 I think (http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/w/index.php?title=Main_Page&action=history) so actually the comparison is more or less meaningful. JzG (talk) 00:33, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Ah, but the Recent Changes on aSK amuses me. I'm a bit amazed he leave the site up, honestly. --Kels (talk) 18:48, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Trying to name a certain economic idea?[edit]

My apologies if this is the wrong place for this, but talk pages and forums are pretty dead, so I'll try my luck here. Please correct me if there's a specific place for this.

One of my online friends has talked on a few occasions about what he'd ideally want the world to be, and one of the things that's puzzled me is his idea of a world without standardised currencies. This isn't the first time I've heard of such an idea, I've heard of it a few times. However, I can never really wrap my head around how the concept could possibly work. We didn't add each other mainly to talk about barter systems and the likelihood we'll stop killing each other when aliens land (plus, I think he's kind of baked at these times), so we just move on.

It sounds, if anything, like an anarchist notion, but when it comes to lawmaking he seems very much in favour of Big Gubbernmint, and sometimes rather authoritarian, with a "Don't be a dick before you sign something", which quite frankly scares me if he considers that an effective safeguard in the long run.

In trying to educate myself on it elsewhere, I asked a friend (economics student) if there's a specific name. All he said was that it seems to be a very niche movement and best just to say "proponent of barter". So I have no idea what to really search for here. The closest I can find is the Gift economy article, but his idea has very solid trade - just with no set, standardised currency to rely on.

Is there a term for this? Many thanks in advance. Polite Timesplitter talk to me sugar, but best keep it on thedown-low 21:19, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

The impolite answer is that is sounds like a bunch of bullshit. The more polite answer is that it sounds like an extremely utopian economic idea which would probably not function very well for any amount of time, because whether he wants it to or not, eventually market forces will create a single universal currency with a standardized value (for lack of a better way stating that). Essentially, we'd go back to the Gold standard, for its failings, except with the theoretical ability to change from gold to silver, or whatever. Granted, by the time the gold standard becomes an issue, changing currency within the market would probably be insanely difficult, if not impossible.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 21:36, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
This one about lots of competing local currencies in simultaneous circulation is not unheard of. It's not clear how well it would work in practice; I suspect one currency would rapidly become the most popular - David Gerard (talk) 22:44, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
When the Republic of Ireland switched to the Euro, for a short while there were three currencies valid in parts of Northern Ireland - Euros, Pounds and Punts. Nothing seemed to break although there was a fair amount of mental arithmetic going on. Perhaps Marcus knows more about this? SophieWilder 23:15, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
This idea sounds like free banking. --Tweenk (talk) 01:03, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
It basically is, and a thing about free banking is that it tends to move towards one or two currencies anyways.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 05:25, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, even if multiple currencies are allowed, people end up using as few as possible because they tire of constantly calculating exchange rates every time they go shopping. SophieWilder 10:42, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm realising that living in a society stable enough to have a standard currency is actually quite the privileged condition, historically - David Gerard (talk) 20:00, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
My understanding is that Cuba has had two official currencies for some time and also works with multiple foreign ones.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 23:47, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
You'd end up moving towards a standardised currency anyway (the US dollar is de facto for international use) for much the same way people use English as a standardised language for communication. I'm confused by what it means by "no standardised currencies", because that implies something slightly different to "just lots and lots of currencies" - but I'm curious to exactly how it'd be different. Perhaps it's just a half-baked idea that sounds fun until you actually apply thought to it. I know someone whose anti-capitalist manifesto involved us all becoming more capitalistic to drive the system into the ground. Thankfully, that didn't last too long once he turned up at University and actually looked at how economics works. We all have those crazy ideas at some point. Scarlet A.pngmoralModerator 17:22, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Native American Genocide[edit]

So, I'm taking an American Diversity class. We are on a Native American unit right now, and we just covered events such as the Wounded Knee and Sand Creek massacres. We are about to engage in a class debate over something that many 'Mericans seem edgy about-the Native American Genocide. We are to debate over whether or not the events as a whole concerning the American confrontations with the Native Americans constitute Genocide. Now, I can see how it could go either way, though my side in this is that it indeed does represent a Genocide. My friend and I seem to agree that it certainly represented ethnic cleansing. That much is clear. What is also clear to us is that the trail of tears can be seen as a Genocidal act, although the question is, did the Army have the foresight to predict the death and suffering? That would constitute the difference between an act of genocide and Genocide, in my opinion. I guess the struggle here is to make a good argument to the rest of the class. What do you all think?--P3A58NT86 22:01, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Start by reading the Genocide Convention. Some will argue that any discussion of "does event X constitute genocide" is only meaningful if framed in terms of the only practical definition of the term, a point-of-view I tend to agree with. Read up on the question of intent, because that's where the rubber meets the road in terms of proving culpability (see the Krstic decision for this). Chalk and Jonassohn have a useful discussion about defining genocide in the intro to their book. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 23:01, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Historically speaking, it was known that the Trail of Tears and the Navajo Long Walk would be devastating to community - including political and spiritual (often one-in-the-same) structures within the community. It was also considered quite a dangerous trip, and the soldiers were advised to take extra precautions in terms of supplies for themselves and their troops. So, I'm guessing they figured people would die. many people would die. I'm skeptical of the claims made by DeLoria and Churchill that soldiers and / or the govt knew the blankets given to tribes were infected with small pox, but if proven, it would not surprise me. You also have to consider mission schools, "covert or kill" was an underscored theory. But now i'm curious - how is ethnic cleansing not a genocide, and what is an "act" of genocide. I've heard that they are all different, but never understood how or why.--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 23:52, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
It may be hair-splitting but I would say "ethnic cleansing" was the elimination of a particular group from a specific area - ranging from forcible expulsion to mass murder - while genocide would be the attempted total elimination of an ethnic group everywhere. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 01:45, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
IIRC there were a couple times 'smallpox blankets' were given to Native Americans purposefully, but those were isolated incidents and only affected things on a local scale. Overall, as long as Europeans were intent on staying in North America at the time, the spread of crowd diseases like smallpox to most of the native population was, sadly, inevitable. Guns, Germs, and Steel touches on this quite a bit.
As far as genocide goes, I've always felt that arguing over semantics on these type of issues is harmful rather than helpful. Is it still genocide if they don't actually care if the population dies out or not, they just want the land to themselves? Or is that "just" ethnic cleansing? It's hard to maintain perspective when you're saying "Oh, they just killed them to take their stuff." or "They didn't have any intent to commit genocide... at least until the popular idea of natives as savages appeared and whipped everyone into a frenzy." Q0 (talk) 02:25, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
" I've always felt that arguing over semantics on these type of issues is harmful rather than helpful." i hope you never intend to be a scholar, or practice international criminal law. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 02:27, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Can't say I pretend international law actually means anything in today's world. Maybe in the distant future... Q0 (talk) 03:12, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Are you aware of the numerous verdicts brought down by the ICTR and the ICTY? The Charles Taylor case? The ongoing work of the ICC (no trials as of yet, but several investigations are underway and indictments have been handed down)? Compare this to the situation 20 or even 10 years ago and realize how sorely mistaken you are. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 03:25, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Frankly, I will have a hard time taking it seriously until the same standards are applied to world powers. (Or, you know, at the very least Henry fucking Kissinger...) And until then, how can it do anything other than serve those powers' interests? The ICTY is actually a great example of that. Q0 (talk) 04:42, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

So since a complete revolution in world affairs, undoing centuries of great power politics hasn't taken place in a reasonably short amount of time, we should just disregard the real progress we have made. There's nothing like a person with a strong opinion on a topic he is close-minded about. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 04:46, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Justice, in the form of punishment, is not an end in and of itself. Do Serbs and Croats hate each other any less today? Are we do believe the upcoming state vs state genocide case will have a positive - rather than negative - effect on their relations? Just look at the strong reactions from both countries every time a verdict has been handed down from the ICTY. Compare these results to those of something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, wherein we don't just assume two peoples will keep on hating each other until the end of time.
And for that matter, can we even say that war crimes trials have been preventative? Can we say that with a straight face while we observe the situation with M23 in Congo right now, despite the fact that a Congolese war criminal was just convicted a few months ago? It might help us more to step back and ask ourselves why most of Africa is in the sorry state that it's in today. Maybe we can also consider if colonialism has truly ended or not.
But still, is it really progress to deal out selective justice on an order of this magnitude? The people on trial are the ones who the US approves to be on trial (or actively has a bounty out for, as in the case of Charles Taylor). And generally are the ones who Russia approves, who China approves, who France approves, and, yes, who the UK approves. And even in the odd case where a body of international law has ruled against the powerful, like in Nicaragua v. United States, they can choose to just ignore the verdict. Usually, however, their control over events is more than blatant, as it was during the ICTY. NATO exerted immunity, even though its bombing exacerbated a situation that led to many of the most substantial war crimes being committed, and its targeting practices were grossly negligent at best. They simply stated that they controlled the court - they allowed it to exist - and so could do whatever they wanted. Q0 (talk) 09:28, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Back on topic... What was done to the Native Americans was a crime against humanity, but genocide? Doesn't a genocide require the group committing it be attempting to remove the race from the face of the earth? I believe it was just more forcing them out of the way. If that is still thought to be genocide, then its genocide. --Revolverman (talk) 05:36, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Logically as it's a "cide" you would expect it to refer to the complete removal of that gene pool. Perhaps surprisingly it's not though. You only need to be responsible for the death of an unspecified but large group. See wikipedia on this. --Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 13:25, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
The Genocide Convention is clear on this question. Genocide is defined as "...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:" Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 13:52, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
There is no doubt the desire was to destroy in whole or in part, the "savage Indian". Read newspapers, personal diaries, letters of the day, and that sentiment is public and wide spread. IT is not necessarily a government sentiment - but the sense of the people is that these are animals and deserve death.Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 14:11, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, it seems I defended my position sufficiently to win the in class debate. Thanks for the commentary.P3A58NT86 22:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Tea Party Nation: "ROMNEY CAN STILL WIN THIS"[edit]

[6] -- based on a horribly wrong interpretation of the XIIth Amendment. WND briefly amplified this BS as well before issuing a hastily written "Oops!" --TechCheesegrieve 23:30, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Amusingly, the comments section of WND's column on the subject continues to wallow in denialism. They somehow think they can still make it work. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 02:45, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
2700 comments? Good fuck. That's ~250 a day since it was posted. I'm willing to bet that 90% of everything worth reading occurred in the first 10% of the posts, and everything after that is recirculating, along with Poes and mocking. I gave up trying to even subject myself to it after the 2000-comment mark. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 09:11, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

A tad disappointing[edit]

Tierra del Fuego

Currently I'm sailing out of the Straits if Magellan and was hoping for something a bit more exciting. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 00:55, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

You're browsing your favorite website from a boat off of fucking Tierra del Fucking Fuego, and somehow, it isn't "exciting" enough for you. #firstworldproblems. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 01:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, WTF? Acei9 01:08, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Seriously, you were expecting a fucking dragon or something? Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 01:15, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
No I was expecting more dramatic scenery. I've seen the dragons. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 01:17, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Head inland to the Argentina/Bolivia border. Beautiful wine country. Acei9 01:23, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I find it slightly disturbing that one can get internet access from Tierra del Fuego. What does a man have to do to get away from it all? Doctor Dark (talk) 01:28, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Try Yemen, RW is blocked there. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 01:32, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
All the old sea stories I've read this is supposed to be storm central. Whatcha sailing on? Evil fascistoh noez 01:38, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
The Straits of Magellan are far less stormy than going around the horn which is why it is the preferred route. Acei9 01:47, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I know that, yet due to the squalls I would prefer not to do it in a sailboat. Evil fascistoh noez 01:52, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
You'll never discover the Japan's with that attitude. Acei9 01:53, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
We had 35kt winds yesterday and so didn't sail, but we're expecting some big stuff at times in the south Atlantic. The vessel is a reasonable size commercial ship - not a yacht - but I'm told it rolls a lot. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 01:57, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Did 2 months in a 42footer, twice. Though that was in the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico and was mostly calm. Nautical family.Evil fascistoh noez 02:01, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Watch the Irving Johnson narrated short movie Around Cape Horn, showing the Peking's trip in the 1920s. It will make you glad you're in the calm straits. Or it might make you wish you were part of that voyage, though it is pretty pants-shitting stuff. DickTurpis (talk) 06:08, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I do hope you're reading the relevant section of The Voyage of the Beagle while you're down there. SophieWilder 11:59, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm watching Master and Commander. Redchuck.gif ГенгисevolvingModerator 12:33, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Middle east excitement[edit]

The last 48 hours have been just a blast (literally, in one place). Isreal-Palistine sign peace treaty. Isreal breaks it 48 hours later. Egypt has installed a new Pharaoh, and Saudi Arabia has said that in their quest to protect women, they will begin tracking all women, and notifiying husbands or fathers if the women go outside of designated paths, or hit airports and bus stations. "For the women's protection" of course. --Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 19:53, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

It's hard to even keep track of everything going on, it's pretty crazy.--ADtalkModerator 21:03, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
From the country which feels that letting women drive would increase prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 21:27, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Honestly, I was afraid to really bring up Israel-Palestine, not knowing if it would be violating an unwritten rule around here. The twitter war itself was a sight to behold, and I was glued to it despite the fact I usually can't stand the awful 140 character medium. It's amazing how connected you feel when you have updates by the second: words, images, sounds. The brutal emotion of war in real time. Q0 (talk) 21:59, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Dunno. I'm with Hitchens on this one. Both sides are beholden to the religious crazies of their side, which are minorities by population, but they control policy somehow. If you want to say which side is worse, whatever, but I think there's plenty of blame to go around. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 23:04, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Of course when they track pupils in the USA with RFID chips that is a different matter. I know it's not just the US, the UK has far too many CCTV cameras for my liking. Standing up for individual liberties, everywhere, is one of the most important things we should be championing because our rights to privacy and anonymity are slipping away. I hope it won't affect me because I'm much closer to the finishing post than most of you, but the younger ones... ramble, waffle, bleah bleah, mutter, lorem ipsum. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 23:20, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

It's gotta suck to try to have an affair these days. "your gps on your phone shows you were at work till 4, then drove to a hotel and stayed there for 2 hours, before heading home."Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 06:08, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't have any problem with the end of privacy, so long as it's the end for all of us. When I think about CCTV watching me board a train, I also think about a government minister photographed sitting in First Class without a First Class ticket and knowing that even if he now pays for an upgrade that's going to be in all the news media. Sunlight is good for all of us, we just need to be sure nobody is privileged to remain in the shadows.
I have been amused by the reaction of various friends and acquaintances to the news that EU car insurers, no longer permitted to discriminate on gender will be moving towards more use of "black boxes". People feel that it's somehow unjust that whereas previously they were abusing the system (in some cases even committing fraud by lying about who is the "main driver" of a vehicle) they will no longer be able to do so. Our culture will be changed forever by openness, but although the change may be painful it's not necessarily bad. (talk) 12:42, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
The sunlight does not shine on the wealthy. Money buys privacy. Its disappearance for the rest of us is not a good or equal thing.--ADtalkModerator 12:58, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Suggestion: imagine that you are child or adolescent who is gay/transgender/atheist/not sharing your parents' political views, and that your parents are not exemplars of tolerance (a situation that is not uncommon in the US)... Does the "end of privacy" still seem compelling? There was at least one RW user who mentioned hiding his copy of The God Delusion from his parents. And this is in the US, the world's paragon of freedom and justice.--ZooGuard (talk) 13:23, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
The God Delusion wasn't around at the time, but I certainly had to hide The Demon-Haunted World from my parents... among just about every other aspect of my being. But that would be the last aspect of privacy to go, anyway. I'm more worried about AD's observation about money, along with the overall philosophy behind destroying privacy. I'm getting tired of the idea that everyone is out to get us, that there are tons of criminals and people who want to abuse the system and enemies of the state and all that. If we as a society feel we have to take extraordinary security measures and give up huge swaths of civil liberties, we've already failed somewhere. Q0 (talk) 16:35, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
There is no "philosophy behind destroying privacy". Modern technology doesn't avail privacy, so if we're to retain privacy that will be by the rule of law. You will see things, but acknowledging that you saw them will be illegal, you will know things, but acting on that knowledge will be illegal. Think DADT or current US copyright law. If you laughed at England's "super-injunctions" which forbade people from repeating true but embarrassing facts about celebrities that had been revealed in court then you're going to love the privacy you're so keen on. Unlike sunlight, which is free, a privacy afforded by the courts will be expensive, it will exist in practice solely for the rich and privileged, but on paper it will be for everyone so it's "fair".
Using money to buy privacy without the laws you crave is an unwinnable race. The Barclay brothers' private island would once have bought them sovereign status, vulnerable only to a concerted effort from another sovereign power, they could have done whatever they liked. Today they're being dragged through a legal dispute for driving a motor car. On an island they entirely own, but which a nearby island claims some residual control over. Once upon a time the best idea you'd have of what they'd done with the island would be a sketch made from a boat miles at sea. Today we can see detailed satellite photographs of the island, manifests of what was imported, details of who went to and fro and there's not a damn thing they can do to stop us - without a privacy law.
I argue that trying to retain privacy where technology erodes it will push us back to the hypocrisy of the Victorian era, the rich will pretend to be morally upright by violently suppressing all report of their real behaviour, this time in the name of "privacy". The poor will be told they are morally reprehensible, because they cannot afford the deceit of the rich, and in the attempt to hide their ordinary vices they will do a worse violence to society than any amount of mere vice could achieve.
In the US a convenient bit of legal squinting has resulted in privacy being associated with abortion. But a practical end to privacy doesn't have to threaten access to abortion, it just means somebody needs to get a court to do what it should have done in the first place without bringing "privacy" into it. If the US Supreme Court were to decide gay marriage is legal in all 50 states based on some inspired re-interpretation of the Second Amendment I hope that wouldn't put an end to calls for gun control. (talk) 12:14, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I think you missed my point entirely. The argument isn't that we need more privacy laws, it's that we need to fight the current pattern which is going in the opposite direction. The mentality of the national security / police state, helped along by improvements in technology, is a serious threat to the common good. Surely we can agree that the ability the FBI and CIA have (by law...) to spy on your every conversation - from email to text message to telephone - is a serious problem, no? What about when it extends to search engine searches, direct messages on facebook and twitter, and browsing history? What about when your entire hard drive is searched by customs every time you enter or leave the country? Q0 (talk) 16:21, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. Every small encroachment on personal liberty is justified at the time because of some perceived threat, but these are never reversed and powers that were originally enacted in response to external threats to national security become absorbed into the everyday policing of ordinary citizens. We've seen people arrested for joking public tweets how long before the authorities extend that to jokes in private communications? Dan Carlin covered it in some detail in one of his recent Common Sense podcasts. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 22:20, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Liberty and privacy are distinct, and are coming increasingly into conflict. We can have all our existing liberties and more without any privacy, it just means our hypocrisies are transparent and we have to come to terms with that. You want the FBI stopped from spying on people's conversations, I want the FBI's conversations recorded and brought into evidence. One of us is hoping people will stop doing evil if they're told not to and then allowed to skulk in the shadows, I propose we instead oblige people to do their business in the sunlight where most will be too ashamed to try evil and the remainder can be easily identified and caught.
If you're specifically worried about FBI / CIA spying on you then stop using antiquated unencrypted systems, for example you can get commodity software that uses the Socialist Millionaire's protocol to instantly secure and mutually authenticate a conversation with a party you know over an insecure link using weak shared secrets. That is you can easily obtain a program that lets you and your friend Bob communicate without fear of eavesdropping after verifying each other's identities with real-world questions like "What did we call our Biology teacher back in high school?" and you can use ordinary IM software to do it, the protocol secures an existing system rather like a magical "secure telephone line" in movies except thanks to sophisticated mathematics this actually works. (talk) 23:25, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
You're assuming the lights are still going to be on. December 21, baby. Can't wait can't wait. If the Rapture doesn't wipe out all the surveillance cameras, the sunspot flare-ups will. Secret Squirrel (talk) 01:29, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
BON, your argument isn't coherent. You propose a total end to privacy, then in the next paragraph advocate encryption systems? Whut? WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:34, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Actually I'm mostly telling you how the technology shakes out, the proposals are only about what we should do about it now that this particular Pandora's Box is open. This has happened before, and it will happen again. And of course people will fight it, the US is still proposing new laws to try to stop all the world's people from making copies of things using the billions of perfect duplicators that are found in homes and businesses across the globe - hopefully you don't need a crystal ball to guess how that ends. Maybe we're being betrayed by language, if you consider "encryption" a type of privacy then we're definitely experiencing a definitional problem. (talk) 00:30, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Your proposals make no sense: FBI conversations are freely available to everyone but ordinary citizens use codes and unnecessary verification questions when holding conversations? This is upside-down. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:46, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
How is it upside down? This isn't a caste system, being an FBI agent doesn't make someone a better or more worthy person, but such agents are entrusted with powers that aren't available to ordinary citizens. As a result agents (and the agency as a whole) must be subject to more public scrutiny not less or you have a recipe for wrong-doing. Does it also strike you as wrong that an aeroplane pilot is expected to be sober while mere passengers are permitted to be drunk or high? As to using "codes and unnecessary verification questions" you don't have to do so but the option is open to you if that's what you want. I'm not interested in forcing you to wear trousers, but if you insist on running around naked and then complain that it's cold I might point out that wearing trousers would help a lot more than yelling at the weather. (talk) 00:27, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Can somebody link to some info about the SA women-tracking thing? The news I've found says they're sending messages to husbands when their wives leave the country (which is ridiculous enough, of course)...but I can't find mention of any other new uses. (talk) 03:37, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Has Glenn Beck finally lost his mind?[edit]

I know this guy is basically irreverent now, but just sit back and enjoy the lulz. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBotKoEWTBY&feature=g-uRyantherebel (talk) 15:12, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

What do you mean "finally"? --TheLateGatsby (talk) 15:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
The video is new, but the footage has gotta be at least 2 years old. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 15:39, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm gonna go with Fuck yes SirChuckBOne of those deceitful Liberals Schlafly warned you about 17:18, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Santa hat logo (or the war on Christmas part XXVII)[edit]

It's that time of year again. Evil fascistoh noez 23:01, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Toooo sooon. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:12, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Not yet it bloody isn't. SophieWilder 23:12, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
wait a week or two. Acei9 23:15, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
While I am a great fan of the hat I do feel that late November is jumping the gun a bit.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 23:40, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

I hate Christmas/the Holidays and everything to do with them. Can someone write a bit of magic code that keeps me from seeing it. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 00:12, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

I think we could do without the Santa hat. Maybe just some snowflakes? Uke Blue 01:13, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
That's blasphemy. That's MADNESS. I'd have the santa hat all year round if I had my druthers. I'm definitely holding out for until 12th night again this year. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 23:06, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm all for the Santa hat, to coincide with the 12 days of Xmas. Just because we're a bunch of baby-eating rational atheists doesn't mean we should all yell "Bah humbug!" at the top of our lungs. --PsyGremlinSnakk! 13:24, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. And just because these johnny-come-lately Christians have tried to pervert the true meaning of Saturnalia it doesn't mean that we have to let them get away with it. The War on Saturnalia has gone too far!--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 13:44, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm with ToP on this one. To be Rational[TM] about it, we should either have it year-round, or not at all. Year-round would be too much like the snapping pennants over a used car sales lot. Why not have gifs of wacky inflatable arm waving guys instead of wiki brackets flanking the brain? That leaves not at all. QED. (Don't make me get out the slowly grinding gears, now...) Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:57, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I think that, for the first time ever, I'm opposed to the Santa hat logo. I'm not going to cry if we do have it, but I agree with an above suggestion at snowflakes or something. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 12:37, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

More about Free Speech in the UK[edit]

There has been a worldwide scandal involving illegal activities by parts of the press that Rupert Murdock owns. You in the USA probably know this as you had a few problems too. Free speech and freedom of the press in no way includes freedom to hack into people’s phones and the like as Murdoch employees did with murder victims and dead soldiers. There’s a widespread feeling in the UK that we need tighter controls against this type of thing. Today in the UK a report will be published about what might be done and MP's warn against press regulation law. Will new legislation be limited to controlling what many feel should be illegal? Alternatively will irresponsible people in the government use this as an excuse to clamp down on freedom that the press should have in a democracy? I hope I won’t end up having to look at American websites to find out what’s happening in my own country. Anyway we’ll find out more later today. Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:11, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Seeing as our glorious free press has used its system of "self regulation" to besmirch individuals and scapegoat minorities, they'll have had regulation coming. Also, if you're not already reading news sites from a variety of countries, whyever not? SophieWilder 12:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I read news from many countries and frequently use sites outside the UK as sources for what I write in RationalWiki. Still I find UK news websites give better coverage for UK news. Of course if there is less press freedom here the government may be shooting themselves in the foot. USA sources will expand their UK coverage to tap the market of UK people wanting to know what's really going on here and the UK government has no control over what's written in the USA. Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:34, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Nice scaremongering Prox. Yes, USA sources will tap the market of UK people wanting to know what's really going on here. Also, the income tax rate will go up to 98%, the last English tree will be felled to make housing space for the Muslim majority with their huge families, and NHS waiting times will rise to one million years. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:30, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
The phone hacking thing, and all the other dodgy shit they've been up to, pisses me off because of who they were targeting, not what they did. If they used dodgy and/or outright illegal methods to get a recording of, for example, Tony Blair leaving a message on George Bush's phone saying "yo we made up that shit about iraq just like you said, what's next in Operation: Sandy Fun Times?", no one would've given a flying fuck about how they got the information, they'd just be thankful the information had come out. But no, journalists are apparently immense cunts and use these potentially useful methods against meaningless targets just so they can publish stories like "parents of murdered child are sad their child was murdered". But now the backlash against that is going to have a chilling effect on anyone who was willing to cross the line for a good cause (exposing actual corruption, for example) and golly gee whizz does that make me angry. The shit idiots brought it on themselves and I give zero fucks about them, but they'll bring the same to everyone else too. X Stickman (talk) 18:42, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Frightening sci fi Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:45, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
How on earth is that frightening? It's typical over-the-top scare-mongering Daily Mail trash reporting. Ajkgordon (talk) 16:32, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
"I hope I won’t end up having to look at American websites to find out what’s happening in my own country." - to be honest, i've always found that going to international sources for news about a country is one of the best things you can do. I read BBC, Agence France for news about the US, but then read US, and Agence F for news on BBC. something about being on the outside, and not having a stake in the game seems to add to the analysis. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:49, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

It's now due today. Proxima Centauri (talk) 08:54, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, Leveson's report did what it needed to do, including asking that the independence and free speech of the press be recognised in law (First Amendment anyone?). Such a shame that the PM has shown that he'd rather back the press than the victims by not implementing the report. If anybody's interested, there's a petition here. Hell, feel free to sign it if you don't like the crimson one in genereal. (Note to non-politics followers, Cameron goes crimson everytime he loses his temper, every Wednesday, at some point during PMQs, the Crimson Tide that washes up Cameron's face gets pointed out).--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 11:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
The BBC has an article about that petition, Leveson report: Victims urge full implementation This looks set to grow. Proxima Centauri (talk) 20:28, 30 November 2012 (UTC)


Holy shit that's going well. Do we have any idea what's up with this? Is this a few big donations, a lot of small donations, what? - David Gerard (talk) 22:25, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, either a whole bunch of small donations came through in a six-hour period, or someone made a $500 donation. That's a phenomenal 1/5th of our goal right there Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:43, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
It's probably several smaller donations as TMT isn't continuously updating. Although I don't want names it would be interesting to see a list of amounts. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 00:08, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
We did have a $500 donation, a regular donor actually that has been considerable help. The rest of the donations have ranged from a $1-$100. Its really fun to see a bunch of $5 donations come in though, it all adds up and demonstrates there are a lot of people out there cheering for us. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:26, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
That's pretty heartening. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 02:51, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Had I hit the Powerball we'd have Rationalwiki for life, and perhaps a RW scholarship fund for science majors. Guess that'll have to wait. Aboriginal Noise Punkrock 14:31, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Appealing to simple folks[edit]

Appealing to ordinary people rather than to an intellectual elite appears to be working. I feel we should aim to publish material of interest to a wide range of readers above average intelligence from 5th and 6th formers preparing for university through to undergraduates and graduates. Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:49, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
How is that different from what we already do? WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:08, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

It is what we're doing now and we should stick with what works, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Proxima Centauri (talk) 13:21, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Thank you, Captain Obvious. -- Nx / talk 13:28, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I could point out some serious problems with that philosophy... Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 15:04, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I've had a few hours to consider what I wrote above and I'm less sure I was right, there's one problem I've noticed. The most likely victims of scams we expose are below average intelligence and/or are below average education. We aren't reaching them. For the moment let's stick with what works, later let's consider publishing a section of the wiki in simple English. Can Simple English Wikipedia show us how to do this. Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:36, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Can it show you how to write in simple English? Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 18:39, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
No. It's near impossible to make a nuanced argument in their primary school English. However, making sure the lede stands on its own as a soundbyte summary is good practice and not always followed. JzG (talk) 19:33, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
We can keep nuanced arguments for the main body of RationalWiki, we need warnings about scams in simple English and that needn't be nuanced. A separate website is worth considering because a section for less gifted readers here would be humiliating. I'm not suggesting doing anything straight away, it's better if we consider what to do for several months first. Proxima Centauri (talk) 19:56, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
How about a section for less-gifted writers, Proxima? Would that be humiliating? Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 20:02, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
What about trolls? Proxima Centauri (talk) 20:11, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
<--- Warnings about scams in simple English. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:09, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

My college is a circus of incompetence[edit]

<angry rant>So, I've spent the last year in a protracted fist fight with the local 4 year college because I'm trying to transfer from a community college. This started the end of last year when I was rejected because I tried to apply late. Fine, my own stupid fault for assuming I'd have more then 3 days from the end of the community college's semester to apply for the college's semester starting in two months. Whatever. So, I apply later (since I cannot apply right then for the next semester!), I get accepted, and I get handy card in the mail telling me what I need to do to actually start classes. I get it, after the enrollment period for the college's next semester, so I cannot take classes. OK, whatever, I can take a few more classes at the community college, no big deal. Then as that semester is wrapping up I get another card in the mail telling me I still need to do things to take classes, and that includes sending in my final transcript from the community college and my high school. I have two days from the grades from the community college getting posted to when I have to enroll in classes. It will take "5-10 business days for transcripts to get to and be processed by the institution". OK, again, this is my own stupid fault for assuming I'd be able to send in my final transcripts after the semester has started so I can start giving them my money. But, on the bright side this is the point where I finally got an account with the school's "my college" bullshit so I can finally see a list of what all I need to do to take classes. That might have been useful like 6 goddamn months ago, but whatever. So, I do some looking and notice that if I take one more semester (ending earlier this month) I'll have two months to do whatever bullshit they still need me to do, but haven't gotten around to telling me about.

So, my final grades were posted last Wednesday, but I didn't have the money to pay my school bill until Monday. So, I paid, the check cleared Tuesday, so I sent in my final transcripts, called my high school and had my high school transcripts sent in, still no idea why they needed it, but whatever. So, yesterday I called to make sure I don't need to do anything else that they aren't going to tell me about for a few months otherwise. Turns out, I do. Because I originally applied for the spring semester but I couldn't go because they were too stupid to let me know what I needed to do when I could actually get in, I have to re-apply. So, while doing my absolute best to contain my rage, I tried to sign into the "my college" BS, and I cannot remember my password, or apparently any of the security questions, which cycles through a random combination of 2 of the 12, most of which I have two possible answers to ("What is the name of your pet" "I have two. Which would you like me to tell you about?"). So, my account is locked. I think it'll be unlocked today, worst case scenario. Nope. I have to call them, tell my college ID and my personal email. Jesus, that is a brilliant security system.

And I've been there a few times for other things (the mandatory campus tour I didn't need to do and meeting with an academic advisor who told me I was set, and then I went home). Each time I spent atleast ten minutes trying to find a fucking park spot, and I was there when there was literally -2 parking spaces. A negative number of parking spaces. I didn't know that was possible. Last time I got a $200 parking ticket for not having a parking permit, when the whole reason I was there, was to find out where the fucking hell to get a goddamn $350 parking permit while on the mandatory campus tour. Which, for the record, did not actually include where to get a fucking parking permit.

And Christ, don't get me started on the academic problems I have with this fucking school</angry rant>--Logic and Empricism (talk) 17:14, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Getting set up with a college can be one of the most frustrating and convoluted processes out there. They often really don't put a lot of effort into streamlining the process and guiding you through it. Good luck getting through it though! Sam Tally-ho! 18:07, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Wow. Never ceases to amaze me how much of the cost of doing business is instead transferred to the consumer. Q0 (talk) 01:16, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't think this is really a cost, I think it's just laziness or stupidity.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 01:39, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Is it possible to get there using public transport? --Tweenk (talk) 01:57, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
There's a public park right by, so there's no reason to use the college's parking other then convience/speed. It's really just another point of irritation--Logic and Empricism (talk) 02:55, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
This is why I don't park on the main campus unless I need to only go to a night thing; when theres a billion extra spaces on the other campus and it only costs me a shuttle rides time between, why bother! --Mikal Harass Follow 15:53, 30 November 2012 (UTC)