RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive181

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website - bot access ?[edit]

I have a new website which requires users to sign on each visit. What do I need to do to allow bots like google access to the site ? I have a robots.txt file to disallow some directories. Hamster (talk) 05:48, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Do you require users to log in before seeing content? If so, there's not much you can do. You can make an exception for the google bot based on the user agent, but then it'll be trivial for anyone to bypass the login requirement, by spoofing the bot's user agent, or just using google's cached result.
Robots.txt is just a way of telling bots that some places on your website should not be indexed. They can ignore it, but most respect it to some degree. -- Nx / talk 10:52, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Don't google publish the IP address range of their crawlers for just this purpose? I dimly remember it being the case that news sites hiding behind a paywall had this information so they could be indexed. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:51, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
(Google answers my question, and yours: voila.) --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:51, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and you can prevent google caching with <meta name="robots" content="noarchive" /> on every page, or the equivalent HTTP header if you can configure your HTTP daemon to send it. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:56, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Yet another thing I forgot to mention, don't forget people can make there reverse DNS say anything they want. You have to do a reverse DNS lookup, then a forward DNS lookup on the result for actual security. It sounds like a pain in the arse I guess, but it's only one more function call. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:16, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I would remind Hamster that 99% of visitors will never do what Jeeves is talking about, because unlike him their eyes will glaze over the moment they read "reverse DNS." Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:24, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Facepalm. You haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about. Give over trying to troll me. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 01:39, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
after some more reading I am going to give the bots the robot.txt file (in the correct directory) and a custom site map to try to make them go away happy. Its really the huge numbers of errors logged that is the problem.I have made a change to the home page to capture temporarily the user agent string to see if it is all bot activity. Thanks for the comments Hamster (talk) 22:41, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
If you don't care that the private content isn't indexed, you can probably make them piss the hell off from the private areas by serving them real HTTP errors, in addition to a page that says "something bad happened." Sending a 403 will make legitimate bots piss off for a good deal longer than a 200 would. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 01:45, 1 December 2012 (UTC)


This discussion was moved to Conservapedia talk:What is going on at CP?. 22:26, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Proof of God from a neurosurgeon.[edit]

No, really. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 05:12, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Hey man, he trained and taught at places, and science can't explain why what happened happened! Just... open your mind because hes a professional and thus is credible by default! --Mikal Harass Follow 05:16, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Sam Harris took on his claims here. Sam Tally-ho! 05:23, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
The neurosurgeon claims: “During my coma my brain wasn’t working improperly,” he writes in his book. “It wasn’t working at all.” So how come he remembered the experience then?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 06:59, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Because "our spirit is not dependent on the brain or body". If you buy into that kind of dualism, then memory doesn't need to be tied down to brain activity. This example might be worth adding to our non-materialist neuroscience article. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:12, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
But wait! According to that idea then brain and memory are independent. So how come people can lose memory as a result of brain injury? (I understand that you don't support the idea Weaseloid.)--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 10:12, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure about this specific guy's beliefs but I think the gist of dualism is that the brain is what the mind (or spirit, self, whatever) uses to coordinate mental activity, rather than the mind being a product of the brain. So brain damage may impair a person's abilities to think clearly, recall memories, communicate, etc. but doesn't necessarily mean their mind itself is impaired. This is quite an appealing viewpoint if you look at cases like stroke victims, who are obviously struggling with an impairment they are aware of. But it's more difficult to reconcile this with with cases where people have had a complete personality change after a head injury, lightning strike, etc. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:55, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree. I think. But if the idea of dualism is that the mind/spirit is dissociated from the body and that the mind is (at lest partly) memory then the idea is pretty easily falsified by the fact that physical damage causes memory loss.
If the argument is that memory is not part of "spirit" then - as I first asked - how did he retain memory of what happened when he was dead.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 08:59, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
He has a mental illness. Dirk Steele (talk) 08:32, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Someone talking about their whole brain "shutting down" like this sets off more bullshit alarm bells than Susan Greenfield using "hard wired". Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 08:35, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I read about this last month. NDEs are actually very psychobiological. People can see many different things, usually related closely to them. I imagine the chemical flow and other trauma to the brain at that time can cause pretty strange stuff to happen. --P3A58NT86 21:49, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I have a weird fascination with these things, them being the only "scientific" (shutup, I used quotes there for a reason) evidence for an afterlife. And do find it an annoying coincidence that brains would be biologically wired to create an "after death" experience right when they are about to die. I wish they could somehow be really/seriously studied, but the only ways I can come up with for my definition of seriously, would pretty much involve making volunteers "near death' whilst constantly monitoring them in PET scanners to see what precisely is active when, how and for how long.
You constantly get these stories for example about people accurately seeing doctor's actions while they are supposed to be out before going into the tunnel and such, (which can be explained by people not really being out and brains reconstructing the whole scene based on what they hear + exaggeration), but it would be really interesting if someone did securely block someone's eyes/ears, then induced such a near death thingy (don't look at me like that, I said... volunteers) and then they were able to describe what was going on in the room, all in a extremely controlled environment, so that you know it's not someone telling them afterwards. I mean, if they did, that would be a significant result, wouldn't it?— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
There was some research which involved placing pictures in operating theatres that could only be seen from above and then questioning those who claimed to have had NDEs, about what they saw in the OR. I have not been able to find any conclusions from the study. I have personally had an 'out of body' experience when a vehicle I was driving went out of control and rolled over; I had the sensation that I was looking down on myself wrestling with the steering wheel and the whole roll appeared to occur in slow-motion. However, I don't for one minute believe that my consciousness left my body and put it down to some change in brain chemistry caused by an adrenaline rush. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 12:26, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Obligatory. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:38, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Why I hate the tea party[edit]

Ballots have been counted, audited, and provisional ballots assessed. The results to trained eyes look really quite good. *overall*, there were 2 more ballots cast than accounted for - which is a problem, but what will you do. That said, within precincts, there were roughly 2000 over votes, with an accompanying 2000 under votes from other precincts. Complaints about the signatures are process story about not liking mail ballots. Yet here we are, taken hostage by the Tea Party who won't certify our election results. Tea party holds up certification of election. --Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 01:29, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Ultimately, as long as the number of stray ballots in a precinct is less then the difference between the first and second place candidate, the number of stray ballots is irrelevant.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 01:34, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
"There was no legitimate reason this election should not have been certified." If it's in the hands of Gessler now...what's he going to do? He's a dick and he needs to be replaced, but what's he going to do, bend to the will of four cranks? -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:52, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't know. i suspect he is going to tell them where to shove it.--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 22:52, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
  • I hate the tea party because, being Americans, they use lukewarm water and put cream and sugar in it. Ugh. JzG (talk) 19:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I thought brits put cream in their tea. we put lemon in ours. and honey. yum!--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 20:45, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Brits put milk in tea, not cream. Cream goes in coffee. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:39, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Nothing goes in tea. Barbarians. Humorless fascistsociopath 17:09, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I suspect that WfG is getting confused with "cream teas", where the word "tea" is used to denote a meal or snack rather than the plain beverage. A cream tea is (usually) an afternoon delight comprising a cup of tea of one's choice and scones with clotted cream and (strawberry) jam. There are vicious wars about whether the cream goes on before or after the jam. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 20:02, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Personal Bragging[edit]

Tomorrow morning, approximately 6:30 AM, marks six months since I have smoked a cigarette. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 12:55, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Quitter. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 13:35, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Aaaaaand proud of it. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 14:08, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I hope that the money you've saved is going to the RWF because of all the support we've given you. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 14:28, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I did contribute, yes. And have in the past. But most of the money I'm saving is going to allow me to move in with my partner, who is one of the two things that gave me the impetus to quit. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 15:42, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
How did you make one cigarette last 6 months? Holy fuck that joke sounded a lot better in my head. X Stickman (talk) 17:09, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't even get it. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 19:59, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I was going for like... it has been 6 months since you last started smoking a cigarette and then through the rules of comedy, that cigarette is still burning today, and... y'know. Stop judging me. X Stickman (talk) 16:33, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
That, sir, is nothing. I have not smoked a cigarette in 48 years 11 months and 4 days. Approximately. JzG (talk) 19:29, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
And how old are you, pray tell? MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 19:59, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
He's 27, it just seems like 48. SophieWilder 22:07, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm merging my geekeries[edit]

I was listening to a science podcast this morning that mentioned Lamarck.

I immediately started singing Lamarque is Dead. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 16:28, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with combining nerdtests. Otherwise where would we get the roller-coaster of hilarity that is Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality? Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 12:34, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Technical question on "see below"[edit]

On the 187 fake cures article, I've linked to the letter from the FDA demanding some products be pulled from the market. Is there a way to say, in effect "see below" for each of the drugs that are no longer on market (or at least on market by that name). --Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 21:52, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Could you mark each one with a superscript "1" and put at the bottom say something like "Fake cures marked with a "1" have been removed from the market in compliance with a letter from the FDA, which can be read here" with "here" being a link to the letter. Seems like the lazy way to do things. --Logic and Empricism (talk) 22:14, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
In the event that more than one FDA action removes fake products from the list, we could italicize removed products and superscript them with the appropriate notation for which action or circumstance caused their removal from the market. e.g. WooJuice1, and then in an appropriate place, "1. Banned by the FDA for being a fake product, XX/XX/XXXX (insert reference link)". Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 07:26, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Use an anchor [[#anchor|shown text]] and then link to it [[pagename#anchor|shown text]]. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 14:05, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Arsebook reminder[edit]

If you're on Facebook, join the RW group. It's like a cross between WIGO and the Saloon Bar and is quite good - David Gerard (talk) 20:39, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

We're too cool for social networking. Scarlet A.pnggnosticModerator 15:43, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Mitchell and Webb[edit]

Just like the fruit says, there is no god. --P3A58NT86 04:04, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

I still thank my friend weekly for showing me this homeopathy one. Polite Timesplitter talk to me sugar, but best keep it on thedown-low 22:17, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

RationalWiki merchandising ideas WANTED!!!![edit]

Hello all. In order to enhance the RationalWiki Foundation's fundraising capacity, the Board of Trustees is likely going to be pursuing merchandising as an option. Nutty has already said that he would like to produce a run of 3-inch laptop stickers of the RationalWiki logo in high-quality vinyl. What we would like from the community, however, is other ideas for designs and slogans for RationalWiki bumper stickers. All designs need to be something marketable; nothing that's too obscure for an outsider to understand (something like "Hot. Science. RationalWiki!!!). Also, we would like some community feedback on what people would be willing to pay for something like this if 100% of the proceeds went to the RationalWiki Foundation and its projects. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 17:32, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Go ahead and move this to a forum with a Saloon Bar redirect if you all feel it's necessary. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 17:32, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
A hundred years ago someone made up some "Largely Defensive Weapon of Gun" swag over at Cafe Press. A little too obscure, but man, I wish I'd bought a mug or something. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 17:35, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
The image on facebook, with goats crawling on the brain - that would be cute on a mug or shirt. --Green mowse.pngGodotCalibrated! let the voting begin! 17:38, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
The thing for which RW is most famous has to be the tumbleweed. I've no idea whether or not this would be possible, but if a rough version of the animation could be transferred into one of those when-you-tilt-it-you-see-different-images things (sorry to be technical), then it could be sold as a ruler or just something to stick on something. Ideally with a brain at one side.
I think there's probably a small market for the obscure stuff too - "Needs Goat" with a brain on a T-shirt. It wouldn't be a mass-seller but there'd probably be quite a few RWians who'd buy one. rpeh •TCE 17:45, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Beerglass? With the site logo on one side & "I thought this was supposed to be RATIONALWiki" on the other. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:48, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
YES. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 17:49, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Good ideas, but we need something that will get brand recognition. Something related to our mission that people will see and want to know more about. Something eye catching. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 17:51, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
"I Analyzed and refuted pseudoscience and the anti-science movement and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." But on to seriousnesses. I uploaded a working version and version of the brain logo. It's getting used regardless of whatever else goes on bumpstickers (or other sticker ideas). Any ideas for improvement appreciated. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 19:31, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
2 dead links there, Nutty. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 19:44, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
The RW logo looks to me to use DINPro Medium or Helvetica Neue Medium for the brackets, but I can't identify the serif font for the RationalWiki text. It's a terrible font, but I'm not redesigning the logo here, just coming up with a vector version to use for merch. Anyone with suggestions for a reasonably similar serif font that's close but not quite so awful, speak up. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 19:38, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Monotype Century Old Style Regular would be my guess. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 20:24, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Kind of a tall order, Goonie--we're largely textual and not visual, and full of in-jokes. Beyond the brain and "Hot, Science..." there's noting too "snappy" about how we roll. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 17:59, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Thus the need for brain-storming. We're a talented enough community that I'm sure we can come up with something. We can have our inside humor, but it needs to be something that will also be catchy enough to garner some interest. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 18:02, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Brainfish? If the ΙΧΘΥΣ can support Darwin and FSM parodies, could RW catch those coattails?
An ideal design might be graphically attention-getting, luring the viewer in close enough to see the rationalwiki.org in fine print. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:04, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Let me suggest "seasonal greetings cards", once again. We might need volunteers to arrange for local printings/sales and it's probably a bit late in the day for this year but we could perhaps at least make a start on designs. If they were sufficiently tasteful I'd probably buy 40. Maybe even monthly a planner type calendar to hang at home or in the office. Again, not an immediate item (unless we did a vernal equinox version) but you need to start sometime. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 18:42, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Brain with brackets is obvious. I like tumbleweed with "Scientific Evidence of evolution being a hoax" or "for a young earth" with "RationalWiki" underneath. Must be a coffee mug. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 19:41, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't like anything tumbleweed related. It's pretty much the least funny, interesting, constructive or mission-serving thing on site. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:15, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
In defense of the tumbleweed, it does bring people to the site. Not sure how it's not mission related. The logo again is obivious because it's the logo, and Poe's law also brings a lot to the site. I'm not sure how new mottos help, as they are really not tested. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 17:26, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Popular articles that we are the go-to for, such as Poe's Law (which also has a short name) - David Gerard (talk) 19:42, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, Poe's law with a winking smiley would be fun, alhtough I don't think the def is ours. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 19:47, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and didn't Trent pick that font, Nutty? sterilesporadic heavy hitter 20:03, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Ashtrays and branded cigarettes lighters. Acei9 20:11, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Have a rummage sale on ebay. All proceeds go to Rationalwiki. Everybody can clean useless junk out of their closet and list it with payments to an RW paypal account. A RW bumpersticker, coffee mug or tot bag gets sent with any purchase. nobsCorporations are people, too 23:50, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Creative. I like it. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 00:21, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Brainstorming... might at least give cleverer people than I some ideas.

  • rationalwiki.org - debunking {woo/magic/fairy tales} since 2007
  • Magical Thinking Makes Things Worse - rationalwiki.org
  • rationalwiki.org - the encyclopedia you'll actually want to read (or: ...actually enjoy reading, etc.)

Something that tries to capture the "community spirit", i.e. what makes this place different? Here's a really crap attempt...

✓ enlightening articles
✓ uninformed condescension
✓ in depth analysis
✓ philosophical musings
✓ vigorous debate
✓ copious quantities of snark

This is probably my favourite so far:
Magical thinking: 0
Scientific method: ∞
(or just "Magic: 0   Science: ∞" or similar)

Or hijack fairly popular phrases amongst the target market?

  • Reason is the greatest enemy of {faith/woo/pseudoscience/bullshit}.
  • Reality has a well known liberal rational bias.

--Editor374 (talk) 14:45, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

  • 'Rationalwiki ~ Taking the piss out of Young Earth Creationists since 4005 BCE' or 'Rationalwiki ~ Laughing at Young Earth Creationists since 4005 BCE' . Swap BC for BCE if that works better.
  • On one side of whatever- 'What's that got to do with the price of {{Darwin Fish}}' , and on the other side 'Rationalwiki/{{Rationalwiki Logo}} ~ Est 2007 CE' .
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ We dredge the depths of ignorance so you don't have to be'
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ 9 out of 10 Goats prefer it'
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ The Thinking Person's Guide to Woo and other Crackpottery'
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ The Wiki with a Bar'
  • Glasses/Beer Mugs etc. - 'Property of the Rationalwiki Bar' plus logo.
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ Created when Goats and Headless Chickens collided in the Large Haddock Collider'
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ If you haven't heard of us, you have now - www.rationalwiki.org'
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ Rationality seasoned liberally with Goat'
  • Dual-sided - 'Are you a Rat or a Prat?' , otherside - 'Rationalwiki - laughing mercilessly at the purveyors of Woo'
  • Dual-sided - '10 out of 10 Tea Partiers agree ~ Evolution makes Baby Jesus cry' , otherside - '…but reality doesn't change for crying babies' + Rationalwiki logo.
  • 'If you have to be an apologist for your view of reality, maybe you should revisit your views.
    True reality is rational as it is.
    Rationalwiki ~ Helping people revisit their views since 2007'
  • 'Rationalwiki ~ Getting the Goat of the Irrational since 2007'
Rationalwiki sez,
"Sod the Invisible Pink Unicorn;
Get Some Goat into your life"
  • '79.5% Information
    19.5% Snark
    1% Goat

    100% Rational
    0% Woo

  • 'A Rationalwiki a day keeps the homoeopath at bay'
  • And of course, some of the merchandise has to feature the festive testicle Winter Solstice Logo.

--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 16:02, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

RATIONALWIKI: THE FLAMETHROWER!!! The kids love this one. Really, no one tought of that? --Edgerunner76Tah-daaaaaaah! 19:07, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Lots of good ideas, but you also need solid discussion on numbers and a cost effective, breakeven, way to test market some of this. Nothing could be more embarrassing or demoralizing than manufacturing stuff that doesn't sell. nobsCorporations are people, too 19:16, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
" At CafePress we print each item as it's ordered..." Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 19:26, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
So you will effectively pay the highest price for custom orders. What's needed is low cost, volume, bulk buying. The idea is to raise money, not spend money. nobsCorporations are people, too 01:03, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Ooooh, woke up this morning with a thought. How about becoming a co-op? Non-transferable shares which don't pay a dividend (because we don't make a profit), $x dollars a share, roughly along the Packers model. Pay your money, own a slice of Rationalwiki, get a certificate complete with embossed logo. I don't know if it's doable, but it's a thought. Or maybe nick the FSM idea and issue "Not an Ordained Minister" certificates or something along that lines.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 12:15, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

Or instead of 6-monthly elections for moderator we could hold an auction for the positions. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member

Moderator 13:30, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

Here's how to get the ebay rummage sale working: some trusted individual needs to hold access to an air-carrier (like Fed Ex) account in the RWF name; donors list items, when a buyer responds the accountholder-trustee contacts the donor to have the package ready for air carrier pickup. Of, course fair market value (sales price) of the donated item is tax deductible for the donor. The trusted person in the RWF with air carrier account number needs to keep good records. The end purchaser ultimately pays all costs, the fair market value of the donated item, shipping, and associated paypal & administrative costs. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:12, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
I know it's not a major source of income but an being an Amazon affiliate and asking people to buy through the link would give some extra funds. A link could be put in the side bar. PongoOrangutans are sceptical 21:22, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm coming to this discussion a bit late, but I'd say that our coverage of fallacious arguments could be merchandised. Maybe a mousemat listing the top ones with suitably pithy summeries? Balaam (talk) 10:01, 22 November 2012 (UTC)


I think something could be done with a row of the colored icons used in our navigation templates: creationism, pseudoscience, conspiracy, & ? Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 20:51, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

I like this idea. Would look good on a white coffee mug. Acei9 20:52, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
+1 - David Gerard (talk) 22:08, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
How about the standard WIGO NAV five? WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:38, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Just give me a few days, then I'll be finally free to do some stuff. I have ideas, just need the time. Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 13:18, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
What are your ideas? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:37, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
This on a mug? Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 01:03, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm heavily leaning toward coffee mugs with logos along the lines of what GK suggests and some kind of distinctive saying. They'll appeal to readers who come for the WIGOs (Gerard and Trent can confirm that their numbers dwarf those of editors), as well as insiders (us). The problem is that they're expensive and of such inconsistent quality between the huge number of manufacturers that I'm at a loss for finding a good supplier. Anyone ever done anything like this before and have ideas for suppliers with good product at reasonable prices? What kinds of mugs would people like? Travel? Ceramic? Short? Tall? Soup? Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:19, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Zip-up hoodies with the brain logo on the back of the hood and something distinctive silkscreened in a usual place, preferably unobtrusive. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:19, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Any high street print shop does good mugs these days. I've mail-ordered single custom-printed mugs for £8 each including post and packing, and obviously that number goes way down in quantity. Annoying and potentially counterproductively expensive part will be logistics - but basic mug quality can be reasonably assumed excellent these days, if the sample is OK - David Gerard (talk) 12:59, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Dumpling's artwork is very good (if she would happy for it to be used), but mostly it's of specific RWians. There's the headless chicken, although I guess that's not the best aspect of RW to merchandise. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:47, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

As someone with an aversion of wearing, or using objects with urls on them, if the objective is to merely be profitable I have to say that people shouldn't be thinking that a design Must have something RW related an obvious reference to RW in it. Any design along the lines of "Science! Fuck Yeah!" will do, RW simply being behind it.

I think there is a difference between designing for profit ($$$), designing for marketing (which can be things that someone would even give away for free), and even "merchandising" which in my mind are things that appeal to an already captive audience but not a random unknown person.

To also critique a bit, because it's so easy to do and like doing it, I have to say that things like "'Rationalwiki ~ Taking the piss out of Young Earth Creationists since 4005 BCE'" (which I guess fall into the marketing/merchandising category) really annoy me for some reason. A much better approach would be something like a two panel stick figure comic, in the first a stick figure praying for a rock to rise and in the other panel a stick figure using a lever. (rationalwiki.org with really tiny letters in the bottom right corner). Or a panel with a crooked stick figure praying again, with a pile of dead bodies behind it and on the other panel a perfectly healthy stick figure holding a syringe (implying vaccination). These things can be poignant, sticking it for reason, science, etc and more interesting. Sen (talk) 01:58, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Except that, unless you happen to be a really good cartoonist, cartoons really aren't going to be the way to go to try and flog merchandise based on niche or complex arguments. As examples, in the first cartoon you give, the average person looking at it can easily think that somebody is praying for help to move a rock and gets the divine revelation of using a lever, exactly the opposite message of what you are trying to convey. On the other hand, make the message more complicated to convey what you mean, and it no longer becomes 'readable' at a casual look, in other words, the average viewer won't get what the cartoon is trying to convey in the 2-4 seconds that they see it and so skip over it. In the second cartoon it isn't actually possible to work out what the cartoon is saying without the original description. For the average viewer who doesn't really follow vaccination hysteria, seeing that on a t-shirt somebody is wearing could just as easily say to them, 'Oh, have an injection, end up crippled or dead', or even, 'That person appears to support mass death and drugs.'
As with anything else, if we are looking at flogging things we need to determine who our market is, what our brand is, and how we drive or increase demand. The market is simple, originally it will mostly just be us and some of the regular readers but not contributors to the site. Branding is still up for grabs, and demand is fuelled by the advertisement the merchandise creates.
As an example - I like the FSM and the ideas that drove it's creation. I have a friend who has the same sense of humour I do, so I brought him the Flying Spaghetti Monster Car Emblem which he promptly sticks up somewhere in his office space. Couple of weeks ago somebody (an atheist) asks him what it is, he then explains to them about the FSM, mentions the website, and so the guy goes off to have a look at it, and likes what he sees. So a piece of branded merchandise that contains an extremely simple message (in this case - weird silliness, or at least silly weirdness), brought by somebody already au fait with the site, leads to two more people looking at the site, with the possibility that they will also buy merchandise.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 11:00, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I have had people say this image would make a great mug, but Dawkins might not go for it - David Gerard (talk) 12:06, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Gumy brain candy[edit]

http://www.candywarehouse.com/products/gummy-brains-candy-1kg-bag/ Hamster (talk) 23:36, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

What SCIENCE smells like[edit]

Marcaptan. The smell in natural gas, that has no odor of it's own. Place in a spay can. Can be relabeled, "Fart in a can" to get rid of unwanted inventories. Matzosphere (talk)

Fake degrees[edit]

As diploma mills offer them, I don't see why all members can't have Masters and Bachelors degrees as novelty items. Hell, we'll even print them on at least medicore recycled toilet paper. Write 5,000 word essay on a subject of your choice to win a BA in Kicking Creationists In The Nuts. Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 22:40, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I have actually always wanted a PHD in underwater basket weaving... FailDeadly (talk)
50 bucks. Scarlet A.pngmoralModerator 12:20, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Now that is rather a good idea, and completely concomitant with RW's mission. Plus one, as they say. JzG (talk) 19:45, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
What we would need to do is issue BpS (Bachelor of PseudoScience) - or something along those lines. Redchuck.gif ГенгисunbelievingModerator 20:00, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
You can get a bachelor of PseudoScience in Baraminology lol. FailDeadly (talk)
Judging by the quality of submissions in the Answers Research Journal, the coursework for that shouldn't be too taxing. Scarlet A.pnggnosticModerator 13:45, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
But at least it's entertaining.. FailDeadly (talk)

Anything ever coming of this?[edit]

Just curious if we're serious about doing this. We can probably get something set up on zazzle fairly quick, and this is the season, after all. I'm thinking take the top however-many ideas and run a poll on it, and someone set up a zazzle/cafepress account.

Also, this: "2 + zebra ÷ glockenspiel = homeopathy works!"--Logic and Empricism (talk) 05:33, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

We are playing around with ideas on this at the moment. To my knowledge, it's still in the early workings phase. Most likely, we're considering using this idea not to outright replace fundraisers but, rather, to use it as a tool to run our fundraisers similar to how groups like PBS run theirs: for example, if you contribute X dollars, as a token of our appreciation, we'll send you a RationalWiki coffee mug. Now comes working out some details, design work, and then more details to work out. So it's far from a completed work as it stands. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 15:22, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I got that, it just seems like if something was going to come of this, we'd move past "coming up with ideas for what to put on coffee mugs" and move to "what other then coffee mugs can we do this with?" and "where can we get this done?". I guess I was sort of aggressively saying "Alright boys and girls, let's try moving along from where we are"--Logic and Empricism (talk) 16:50, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

how can I donate anonymously?[edit]

title says it all. Donations (talk) 01:43, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

should I just mail and envelope with cash? Donations (talk) 02:00, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Send me an e-mail and I'll reply with the appropriate address. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 02:06, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Send the cash to me in a brown envelope and I'll see it gets there. polishes halo, browses shoe catalogues SophieWilder 12:38, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
For many years I had a way to send in cash/check/money order, and we only ever received one. I didn't bother to update the method when the existing address was no longer valid. For what it is worth we don't publish the list of donors anywhere and there are only ever two people that see the donor list. The relative risk vs. paper work vs. tracking vs. reward of mailed cash donations isn't very high. If someone wants to make a substantial anonymous donation then contacting the Foundation (foundation@rationalwiki.org) would be the best route. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:30, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Trent, during one of the drives there was one of those crawling marquee-like things that acknowledged donors, and it contained enough info to identify me personally (probably derived from my PayPal account). I haven't donated since. I'd very much like to donate, but as a result of some bad experiences I prefer to maintain anonymity. This doesn't mean you need to go to snail mail and paper, only that some of us are concerned about doing anything that could reveal personally identifying information, however inadvertent. Doctor Dark (talk) 19:58, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Only used that particular widget that one time. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

I want to donate a negative amount. How can I do that? Thanks. -- (talk) 17:27, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Tell you what, make any donation you would like and I will subtract it from the reported total. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Which means if you donate $2600, you'll officially send the RWF into the red. Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 15:18, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Hopefully a different shade of red from what's up top already. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 15:32, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Fiscal Cliff, economics, ect[edit]

So... I, being the completely uncertain economic policy person I am, know the basics of the fiscal cliff and whatnot, but not really anything else. Could somebody else explain to me the things about it and its chances?--Mikal Harass Follow 08:20, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

"You die, the girl dies, everybody dies." Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 16:43, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Think of the US as a bank with private citizens, private companies and other countries as having accounts, mortgages, car and student loans from the US bank. And like a bank, the US has its own debts with other banks. If the US doesn't do something to either increase the debt ceiling or lower our debt, it would be like the US defaulting on its own debts, which would put the debts other people owe it in a sticky situation. Basically, imagine that all of your money and debts were wrapped up in a single bank, that suddenly went under because of poor management. That's pretty much the situation with the 'fiscal cliff'. Or did you mean something else?--Logic and Empricism (talk) 18:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
In order to get the last financial ceiling raised, a deal was struck whereby if the budget was not brought within certain lines by January 2013, immediate cuts on government spending would be instituted. These would have the effect of driving the US back into recession and creating significant unemployment. The trick is to find a way to meet prescribed targets set out 18 months ago without crippling the economy. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 18:52, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
These automatic cuts, known as the "sequester," target some military spending and some entitlement spending. The idea was that this would be too painful for either party to allow, and so they would be forced to act to fix them - not to really remove them, but to replace them with targeted cuts. Currently, the sequester will intentionally enact blunt across-the-board cuts, which would remove funding from both high-value and low-value programs. It would be the stupidest way to cut spending - it would be like declaring that you will slash your household spending by 10%, when really you should be keeping your rent money at the same level (since it's important) and lowering the $10,000 a year you spend on your Playmobil collection.
At the same time, the Bush tax cuts will expire. These tax cuts were enacted under Bush, and then extended once under Obama. So taxes will go up slightly for everyone, while at the same time spending goes down in a stupid way. As ToP says, this will badly damage the economy, the same way "austerity" budgets have damaged many comparable European economies.
Hamilton also mentions the debt limit ceiling, but this is actually a different thing that is only sometimes included in the idea of the "fiscal cliff." This is a House resolution that authorizes further borrowing on the part of the government. The debt limit should not exist, because it must be raised every time. There should not be any option, but recently the Republicans have been using it like a club and threatening not to raise it, taking advantage of the common misunderstanding of the term. It has nothing to do with how much the government spends, but rather is just permission to borrow the money we have already spent via the budget. Failure to raise the ceiling means the government defaults on its obligations (not immediately, as money can be shuffled around for a few months to delay this, at great expense). The last time this threat was used by the GOP, the US credit rating dropped.--ADtalkModerator 19:27, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Wow, I completely forgot about the sequester bullshit. Must have been something I forced out of my mind because of the overwhelming stupidity of it all.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 19:34, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Can someone please try to explain how if the government prints money to pay its bills that will devalue the currency? I really have tried to figure this out by reading wiki but economics has always been one of my worst subjects. If the Fed prints bills I can see why companies might raise prices ,more people having more money, and that that would cause inflation. My question is how do companies really know that this happens? Do they have people that look at what the Federal Reserve is doing and just assume that if there are more dollars in the economy then that automatically means their customers have that money and they can get away with raising prices. I would think that some market force would be behind this instead of simply reading a piece of paper that says the Fed printed x amount of currency. Basically I am wondering what the causal chain between printing money and inflation/devaluation of currency is. Thanks for any help. NetharianCubicles are prisons! 03:42, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

"Can someone please try to explain how if the government prints money to pay its bills that will devalue the currency?" It doesn't necessarily, unless you just redefine inflation as an expansion of monetary base. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:50, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I haven't seen a correlation slope that dubious since my MChem Eyring plot. Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 15:16, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Sexual selection fails to explain homosexuality?[edit]

An interesting read - Link and the article I just created social selection (which is not yet finished). Forests (talk) 16:45, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Assumes that homosexuality is something that needs to be explained. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 16:53, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
All evolution needs to do is favour a high sex drive. (At the lowest cost). Personal decisions on how to satisfy this drive then are created by culture and environment. No issue here is there? As Roughgarden states 'My discipline teaches that homosexuality is some sort of anomaly.' Straw man. 'When scientific theory says something’s wrong with so many people, perhaps the theory is wrong, not the people.' Only Christians and psychiatrists have stated homosexuality is wrong. Nothing to do with scientists - ask Alan Turing. Dirk Steele (talk) 17:11, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Roughgarden has some interesting examples which contradict the sexual selection theory Link the problem is her own replacement theory is filled with holes. Her theory is a minority view currently, and I can't see it breaking into mainstream biology. Forests (talk) 17:23, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
EC I hate to agree with one of our most noted trolls, but yes. I understand how the formation of sexual identity--everything from sexual preference re: the gender of the people we want to fuck to preferences within that spectrum to fetishes to all of the myriad of things that we bring into the bedroom with us are of intense interest in psychology, sexology, cultural anthropology, etc. etc. etc.--but to say that one particular orientation needs to be "explained" is to assume that it there is something about it that is a deviation from some established norm. That assumption has been the basis for the medicalization and criminalization of sexual behavior for a long time, and it should stop. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 17:27, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I am only a 'troll' because I express opinions that are heretical to majority view on this site. In his time, Darwin was the biggest troll on the planet but time and the scientific method will conquer all. Dirk Steele (talk) 17:58, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
The Difference is Darwin was correct Dirk. --Mikal Harass Follow 18:17, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes Darwin was (mostly) correct. My expressed views here (and I do not claim they are original to me at all)in my opinion are correct also. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience and 20% here on RW agree. (About the same percentage of atheists in the US). If you want to argue the case or not see my forum post and argue your point there instead of acting like a little infantile teen. Dirk Steele (talk) 18:26, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I blocked you and your forum from my RC because I didn't want to engage at all with you, had you not shown up here I wouldn't even be talking to you. and Again, the difference is Galileo and Darwin were correct; saying "I think im correct and also im being oppressed so how couldn't I be?" is not the same thing. --Mikal Harass Follow 12:48 pm, Today (UTC−6)
I have never said that though have I? You are making up this assumption to suit your tiny mind. Dirk Steele (talk) 04:23, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Dirk I would point out Roughgarden is a devout Christian, I was very suprised to see this considering she had a genda change etc. She even wrote a book claiming all the Bible is true!! But has been accused of personally interpretating verses by the fundis. Of course as a scientist she rejects creationism and advocates theistic evolution which is good to see, atleast she doesn't support creationism. Forests (talk) 17:32, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Theistic evolution. Ha! What a pile of complete bollocks. Worse than creationism in my book... Dirk Steele (talk) 17:36, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I am a theistic evolutionist :) Forests (talk) 17:39, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
You sit on a very sharp fence. Ouch! Dirk Steele (talk) 17:42, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Please take this with a grain of salt as i'm not a biologist, but the idea that evolution has to "explain" something is bunk. When people say "so what is the evolutionary advantage of homosexuality, or green eyes (especially if those traits are in a minority), they are looking at the problem backwards. unless something has a disadvantage, there is no reason it won't remain part of the gene pool. And a majority of traits are simply piggybacks of a desired trait. Homosexuality, for example, might simply be a side effect of large brains that let us get food more easily. Lanugage (though it probably did have an advantage) could well be a happenstance of a brain that could process distances better, for gauging how long a run would be. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:28, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I very much agree here. There may be, for example, a gene for homosexuality. Which means there is also a gene for heterosexuality. The question about which gene is right or wrong is a moral question and not a scientific one. Hell.. there is probably an evolutionary explanation or a gene that controls why we may think a gene causes gay studs to exist within a population. Dirk Steele (talk) 18:37, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Just in case anyone has 50 mins of free time Video Forests (talk) 18:56, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Very good vid so far. Of course sexual selection is dependent on 'social acceptance'. The phenotype can only be expressed within a suitable environment. Which is why I am interested in 'niche constructionism' and the fact that psychiatry is a pseudoscience which denigrates 'disease' as a cultural moral deviance. Medicalisation of gender differences (see the DSM) illustrates this point entirely. ADHD is another example. What she does not seem to understand is that the biological reproductiveness of male and female is dependent on the gamete. Males and females must have different reproductive strategies. Dirk Steele (talk) 19:17, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Huge straw man arg at 12:08 regarding best genes and the views of Jerry Coyne. She misrepresents his argument. Also the fact that seahorses do not behave like humans does not invalidate the game theory behind species sexual selection. She also ignores the work by Wilson and W.D Hamilton regarding insect reproduction strategies. But never mind... 17:39 she tries to accuse biologists of ignoring environment when in fact that is what she is doing. I will continue to listen but so far very unimpressed. She has an unscientific and moral agenda. Dirk Steele (talk) 19:28, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
It is interesting you mention Wilson and Hamilton, don't they have some controversial views themselves on group selection? If I can remember correctly, Coyne has rejected group selection. Does group selection need an article on rationalwiki? I don't think I can do that one, the subject is tad confusing. It would need an expert on the subject. Forests (talk) 20:05, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Different issue but maybe. Hamilton rejects group selection and so do I on the basis that individual selection can explain everything observed within the theory of group selection. But I am not such an expert on ant genetics as Wilson so I will struggle to argue here. Any maths majors around? (Please not Hamilton : Logic and Emricism (sic)). I have the book 'Human Reproductive Behaviour' edited by Betzig, Mulder, Turke in front of me. If she disagrees with it she needs to present a proper case and not one dominated by straw man popular pseudo cranks. So I find it difficult to disagree with her apart from her misconceptions about what science believes. Dirk Steele (talk) 20:12, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Anyway, I am out of here before the Nazi ban from Sophie Wilder takes effect. Dirk Steele (talk) 20:52, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────See also the responses published in Science. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:01, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm sorry, what does math have to do biology in this context, aside from an excuse for a strawman?--Logic and Empricism (talk) 22:08, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Because the evolutionary definition of fitness depends upon math functions. Idiot. Read some proper biologists such as W.D. Hamilton and leave alone the popular science crap stuff. Dirk Steele (talk) 22:25, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I found a picture of you Photo of Dirk Forests (talk) 23:39, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
You are such a comedy genius Forest. I sometimes wonder how you gained such an intellect. Dirk Steele (talk) 05:13, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Dirk, you constantly amaze me, like conflating "model" and "definition" right there, and implying that economics is pop science.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 00:02, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Hamilton, you constantly amaze me. Where have I implied anything about economics and science. Just because it is your little hobby you continually distort the theory of the scientific method in order to call yourself a true scientist? Bah. Codswallop. Dirk Steele (talk) 05:09, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not a scientist. I'm an undergrad math major. And since Tallman spanked the crap out of you on your knowledge of the scientific method, I hope you're about to accept that economics and psychiatry are both science and stop acting like such a nutter.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 18:19, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I backed down cos I do not have his knowledge but have suggested he rewrite the RW page on the scientific method which states 'At the core of the method is the idea that the truth value of a hypothesis, theory, or concept is best determined by its ability to make falsifiable predictions that can be tested against an empirical reality.' since he does not think it true. Better than that why don't you rewrite it? Dirk Steele (talk) 19:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Because I don't give nearly enough of a shit, and I normally only mess with articles I've found via the "random page" button. And if I were to mess with the article I'd probably do a much larger expansion then that.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 20:20, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
yeh yeh... Another spot ravaged adolescent who thinks he knows everything about everything including the fall of Popper, and believes he is actually capable of greatly expanding the RW entry on the Scientific Method (although he actually has trouble with mastering basic English spelling and grammar). I think the D-K effect applies in spades here. --Dirk Steele (talk) 10:41, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I seem to recall reading in a New Scientist article some time ago that there was an actual (or hypothesised I can't remember) gene for liking men a lot. Or presumably liking sex with men.

Women who had this gene were more likely to have children because of their increased fornication drive and so were their daughters. However their sons were more likely to be homosexual because of the same gene. The increased reproductive activity of the mothers offset the decreased reproductive of the sons and so kept the gene alive.If anybody is interested I can try to find the article.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 13:55, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I just adore the thought of the "loves dick" gene. Innocent Bystander (talk) 14:13, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Presumably there must be a gene for heterosexuality then? Or maybe there is a genetic basis that causes some people to think there must be a gene for gays. Read any papers on those? Heaven forbid that there may be a personal individual choice involved (or is there a gene for this too?). Are there genes that are morally or politically 'good' and those that are deemed socially deviant or 'wrong/bad'? It's a bloody minefield out there ... Dirk Steele (talk) 15:30, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

World's most handsome man discovers unicorns.[edit]

In "they are dying on the walls of Baghdad" news, North Korea discovers legendary unicorn lair. How long do you suppose it'll be before creationists cotton on to this story and start the SEE? THE BIBLE WAS RIGHT! hue and cry? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

That ain't the half of it. SophieWilder 18:39, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
This headline true, Ace? You discover some of these unicorns? DickTurpis (talk) 20:11, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Unless the unicorn is invisible and pink, I'm not interested. :-P The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 20:34, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
If nothing else, if you google "north korea, unicorns" a bunch of results from legit news sources come up like NPR. --Logic and Empricism (talk) 23:21, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, it's not unicorns but some other animal specific to North Korea. But it's still mythological/cryptid. They could be taking revenge for all the Onioning they've been had with over the years. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 10:52, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Their official English languages news site has an article talking exactly about this. That article and the OP both emphasize that isn't a unicorn itself, but a cave with a sign that says "unicorn lair", which they're taking as evidence of a mythical Korean king being real, and that his capital was around Pyongyang, the North's capital.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 16:53, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Citing Amazon.com in RW articles[edit]

We seem to link to Amazon.com product listings a hell of a lot when citing books or listing authors' published works. This bothers me a little. While I can see the appeal of linking to a page summarising the product details of the book we're citing, the implied message of "here's the book we're talking about; go buy it at Amazon" doesn't really sit right with me (especially as it's a company with some questionable business practices). Unless the RW Foundation can get anything back from Amazon for this free advertising (most unlikely & probably undesirable), I suggest we scrap this and just cite books in the conventional way (author, title, date), leaving it up to reader where they might choose to look for a copy. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:50, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

As a substitute, we have ISBN numbers auto-linking to Special:BookSources, but nobody has bothered to populate it with sellers different from Amazon. :) --ZooGuard (talk) 20:02, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and here's a better search link (Special:LinkSearch).--ZooGuard (talk) 20:04, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
The library rat in me suggests using the LOC. it takes a few steps, but it's worth it. all the info, none of the salesy sense. The God Dilusion--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 21:58, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a set up where the referring site gets a small cut from any Amazon purchases made. Another site I frequent does it. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:00, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
WfG, you can add the Library of Congress search to the book sources page if it allows search by ISBN.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:01, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
The alternative is to use Google books references. Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 12:24, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
as long as you don't cite my tl;dr Doctor Who DVD reviews you'll be fine. SophieWilder 12:32, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
... link? Humorless fascistsociopath 19:02, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
No. Trust me. SophieWilder 19:19, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I usually just link to Google Books. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:03, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Google, schmoogle. That's as bad as linking to Amazon. Is there a free/open source and non-commercial site to link to? Secret Squirrel (talk) 23:54, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Isn't there some way of getting money from Amazon if someone does decide to buy the book based on the link? Or is there a drawback to that? Neonchameleon (talk) 18:59, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but someone has to set that up and maintain it. In fact the way it works is Amazon watches who follows the link and (within reason) pays a tiny percentage of everything that such followers buy. So you can link people to say, a Dawkins book, and get referrer money for them buying a new Bible and a set of garish Catholic jewellery. For an outfit like WP this is unacceptable because it sets up a conflict of interests, but it might be OK for RW and if you read any US newspaper or watch any of the US TV News then you're used to such conflicts and their consequences anyway (think they'd break a story criticising their main advertiser? Hahaha, not a chance, they'd persuade themselves they were doing it for some other reason but they would kill the story). An arm's length funding mechanism (e.g. see the UK's Advertising Standards Authority which is funded by advertisers and regulates advertisers but can't tell if any particular advertiser is paying into the scheme) would be too much work. (talk) 13:20, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Yes, there's Amazon Associates. I'd forgotten about this, but I'm not sure how great an idea it would be to get involved in it. Last time funding was discussed, the general consensus was "no advertising". I guess it would be less intrusive than other forms of advertising if we just replaced our existing Amazon links with links via an Associate url. But I also doubt it would actually generate much revenue, since we tend to link to stuff we're debunking (like Ray Comfort's books, for example) which we don't really want to advertise as such and our readers are probably unlikely to buy anyway. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:21, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Amazon stink: Amazon: £7bn sales, no UK corporation tax. Scream!! (talk) 13:29, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
HMRC stinks. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:13, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
A betterer link - as previously a lot of those results were in user and essay spaces. If you go by mainspace alone, it's only 100 links, which isn't too terrible to deal with. Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 15:23, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

New navbox and icon: ancient astronauts/aliens[edit]

I'm going to make a new navbox and a category for ancient astronauts/aliens stuff, though I'm not sure even about the name. ("Ancient astronauts" was the original, "ancient aliens" has been popularized by the show, but can be confused with it.) Any suggestions for colour scheme and icon? I can use File:Ancientastronauts.jpg and a suitable ochre, if there aren't any. :) --ZooGuard (talk) 15:46, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

There is only one suitable candidate. Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 16:24, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Some kind of pyramids/flying saucer combo would work best for the icon, as it's got to be simple and obvious to work well. Colour? Yellow on a black background, but not an in-your-face yellow, more saffron or jonquil yellow. SophieWilder 17:15, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
The triangle on "Conspiracy" with a highly stylised flying saucer in the middle - David Gerard (talk) 21:41, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Would that make them too similar? SophieWilder 23:23, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the word "Aliensdidit!" should be in the template.--Spud (talk) 15:40, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Bugger! That's already in the UFOlogy template.--Spud (talk) 15:45, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
That raises the question, Wouldn't "Ancient Aliens" be a subsection of UFOlogy?Nowhere Man (talk) 17:10, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes it would, but we can sort that. "aliens did it" would work better in the ancient aliens template. It's only text, not part of the picture. SophieWilder 17:23, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
So: Category:Ancient aliens, Template:Ancient aliens and File:Icon ancient aliens.svg.--ZooGuard (talk) 21:44, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

The scariest video you have ever watched in the name of science[edit]

I don't care, you couldn't pay me nearly enough money to do this for a career. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 15:06, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I know it ends fine. I know they make it to the top. No one falls. There's not even a slight slip or dramatic brown-trousers moment. But I cannot watch it without coming close to throwing up. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 15:14, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
It's always been unclear to me what exactly is up there that they've sent two guys and a large bag of tools to maintain. I mean, try to imagine, what would you need to put up there (rather than say, at the top of the elevator, or indeed fifteen kilometres away) that would be amenable to fiddling about with a wrench or a screwdriver or something? This is not like that time you had to replace the batteries in the smoke alarm so you balanced on a dining room chair instead of fetching proper steps. (talk) 17:14, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I hope they pay those men well. Sam Tally-ho! 23:00, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
That scared the bejesus out of me, just from watching it. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 09:01, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

The "earth shaking" Mars data revealed[edit]

And another fail on NASA PR, though the results are interesting it is not going to live up to the press. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:14, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

its a conspiracy , they actually got photos of a Thern and a sample of his poo. Hamster (talk) 23:04, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
The comments that the new announcement was "for the history books" was effectively quote mined by a couple of journalists. It had nothing to do with NASA failing. Ask any researcher what their most awesome and exciting results are and you'd likely be wondering what they were smoking when they tell you the most boring thing ever (hey, photochemically induced isomerisation between C-H activation products is awesome and exciting I tell ya!!). Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 23:21, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Things like this are fairly common. PR types hype stuff up, even in science. PhD Comics did a good one on this. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:41, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I was listening to that NPR interview, the moment he said "history books" he tried to take it back. he was UBER FUCKING excited, but as ADK just said, probably about something most of us go "um, huh?" to. nasa took every single intervew from then on to say "no no no, it's not anything that exciting to you all". it was the media, and not NASA that failed here.--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 03:30, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Spontaneous polarisation transfer in aqueous media IS one for the history books dammit!! Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 18:17, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Forgive me if I appear to go crazy over the next week. I've been asked to present something with "the wow factor". It's basically this situation in reverse. Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 18:23, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I told you - promise them magical robots and unparalleled funding opportunities! - David Gerard (talk) 20:37, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Are you supposed to wow experts in your field, or "The money", or students. Cause for the last two, the wow is all about the pictures! Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 20:41, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Folks with Wikipedia accounts[edit]

WP problem.png

Are any of you experiencing this issue too? Everything's normal when I'm not logged in, but when I am they pop up. Started within the last week. Sam Tally-ho! 23:20, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, those red arrows are a serious problem. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:26, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Right? I mean it's as if they didn't think we knew where everything was already. Sam Tally-ho! 23:29, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
In all seriousness: I just logged in and checked the same WP page. Nothing appeared wrong. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:32, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
It's all pages, though, not just China. They must be out to get me then. Sam Tally-ho! 23:35, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Could it be an issue with your browser?--Logic and Empricism (talk) 00:20, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I think you're right. I tried it in Firefox and it was fine. Sam Tally-ho! 00:36, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I've been having the same problem, but in Firefox. It works fine on my home computer but at work it does the same thing. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 00:55, 5 December 2012 (UTC)


Even though its usefulness in generating important research is up still up for debate, you have to admit this thing is pretty cool. (And it's right in my backyard!) Sam Tally-ho! 01:51, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Galilean Library[edit]

Plug for a site I found recently: Galilean Library. Lots of great essays and articles -- the philosophy of science section is of particular interest. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:58, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

MRA orgasm[edit]

Something close to home - Heated protest by radical feminists after Warren Farrell gives a "men's issues" lecture. If you don't know the guy, this is from one of his books:

“If a man ignoring a woman’s verbal ‘no’ is committing date rape, then a woman who says ‘no’ with her verbal language but ‘yes’ with her body language is committing date fraud. And a woman who continues to be sexual even after she says ‘no’ is committing date lying.”

And the Internet is siding with this fucker. I hate the world. Osaka Sun (talk) 07:19, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

I hate people. (Specifically these MRA fucks.) LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 08:52, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Sucks to be out of your bubble, huh? --Henk (talk) 09:09, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
"The internet is the repository of all human garbage. It's the worst place in the world." -Tina Fey Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:25, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but in this case, I side with him as well. I don't care how repugnant someone's message is, free speech includes speech you don't like. You don't have the right to simply shut down any message you don't agree with. SirChuckBCall the FBI 19:31, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
You agree with him - his message? or that he shouldn't be shut down. His message is appalling and is exactly why we have problems with rape in this society. His right to say it, is unquestionable. A groups right to tell him to fuck off and find somewhere else to spout of such ignorance is also unquestionable.
Forming a barricade to physically block people from attending a lecture isn't protest, it's criminal behavior. SirChuckBI brake for Schukky 21:01, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
How is it different from occupy who said they had a right to block people from getting to work, or to Congress. I'm just saying, while it might be criminal activity, it's an activity that has long been used by protesters.Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 21:09, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
It's not. I was highly critical of the Occupy movement for violating the law in the name of their protest. Genuine protest is not about forcibly blocking people from entering to hear conflicting views. MLK led a boycott of the bus system, he didn't stage protesters to stand in the doorways and prevent people from getting on the bus. Trying to prevent people from listening to a message is not a protest tactic, it's an intimidation tactic. SirChuckBI have very poor judgement 21:17, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
And what in the fuck do you think the sit-ins and freedom rides were? I'm sure you think everything would have worked out for the better had they just kindly asked the police for a permit to protest at a specific time and place, right? Q0 (talk) 06:24, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
MLK's sit ins did not disrupt business as usual, except by reaction of racist patrons. They quietly sat down at the counter and ordered a meal, only to peacefully surrender when the police arrived to arrest them. Freedom riders did not try to stop the bus from running, they were testing the Supreme Court's ruling against interstate discrimination by peacefully riding the bus. You explain to me what in the blue hell that has to do with barricading yourself in front of a door to physically bar entrance to an event you have a disagreement with. If you honestly think the two are comparable, you're not only taking a giant crap on the work of civil right's activists, but you're also attacking the very notion of freedom of speech and intellectual debate. Basically, in your perfect world, the message with the largest (or most violent) mob of followers wins the right to speak by virtue of their ability to shout down and intimidate all others? How's that working in the Middle East? SirChuckBObama/Biden? 2012 06:56, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Far more hated than the ordinary heretic is the apostate. Farrell is disliked by these people precisely because he used to be "one of them". He spent years campaigning for the feminist movement and then discovered that some of the people at the heart of his organisation didn't think of equality as a goal but more of a half-way mark. He's not the only person to make that observation, it's at the root of the relatively low rate of agreement with the statement "I am a feminist" by modern young women. They agree with the fundamental principle of equality, but for them the label resonates with a bunch of other ideas that they don't buy into. This is like the way that if you ask "Are you an atheist?" hardly anybody says yes, but in fact lots of the people who say "No" don't believe in God, they just associate the "atheist" label with a bunch of other things they don't like. (talk) 13:01, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I think you're completely wrong. Farrall was fairly well liked on all sides until he started branching out into insane territory. His early work made some points that deserve further study, but then he became a rape apologist and essentially destroyed any credibility he ever earned. SirChuckBGo Naked, Hitler Wore Clothes 13:44, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I have to say I'm with Chuck on this one. You don't just barricade a lecture, or cause scuffles in protest. I'm sure it gets your point across, but it makes you look just as bad - as if you couldn't take on someone who is just talking with better talking of your own. Some of the points that the article mentions Farrell is speaking on may well be worth considering, but instead of any reasoned argument as to why they're either non-issues or that he is perpetuating a persecution complex, you get "he's male, and privileged, therefore wrong". Which is not how it should go. Sure, some of the date rape comments are just rape apology but that doesn't seem to be the sole focus of what Farrell is trying say - just what his detractors are saying. So to dismiss an entire spectrum of ideas, enforcing that dismissal with actions bordering on violence, rather than providing any argument at all that addresses some of the more valid points is a Bad Thing. Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 20:19, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I'll disagree in one place. i say "say something stupid, i'm likely to dismiss everything you say". it's human (or Tanya, anyhow) nature. that said, I'm with both of you that a sit in, or riding the bus is quite different than physically blocking the way. I found the tactics of Occupy to be a problem, just like Chuck did. free speech is to maybe put up signs saying "this guy is a jerk, don't go". not to block those who want to go. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 20:26, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure that's the case and we're all guilty of doing this at one point or another, but in an ideal world we want to judge ideas on relative merit, not spark a near-violent protest in 2012 over something someone said in 1993. I think accusing this protest of being reactionary and trying to stifle any form of discussion is a fair assessment. Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 20:32, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
EC I think there is a narrow space in which preventing a message from being heard is acceptable--if the KKK were to hold a meeting in my local auditorium/if some guy was on a lecture tour talking about why we need to put all the Jews in camps, etc. then I would have no problem with shutting that whole thing down. If it meets a narrowly-construed conception of "hate speech" that advocates violence against a group, then them's fighting words and undeserving of any sort of "free speech" protection. But I come from a country that has hate crime/hate speech laws. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 20:28, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

(unindent) This may just be a cultural difference (I'm not sure where you're from TOP) but short of an actual incitement to violence, ie "go kill a Jew as you drive home tonight," there is wide tolerance even for the most repugnant of speeches in this country and I actually think it's a good thing. Look at Germany and their trouble with the Neo-Nazi movements. even though such groups are completely banned. Time has shown that banning a message doesn't suppress it, it just moves it underground and usually gives is a bigger audience. I find that actions such as these are much better at expressing your protest. SirChuckBA product of Affirmative Action 21:16, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Same old same old. It's both differing cultural values and different opinion as to material fact. I value free speech, and I believe that suppression of an idea almost never works. Moreover, suppression usually leads to slippery slope problems. The solution to evil and vile speech is not suppression but countering it. Focus especially on the younger people, and for the older fucks who are too far gone, wait for them to die. It's how culture always changes. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 00:19, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Marvelous Grace Girls Academy[edit]

Marvelous Grace Girls Academy

2 girls ran away from the girls’ academy, they were found in a bad state and told terrible stories about abuse. The authorities found no evidence about the abuse. Were the girls lying or was this institutional cover up? Frankly to me the story the girls told looks like what adults could make up but it doesn’t look like what kids could make up.

Does anyone know how to investigate? Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:02, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Hidden cameras and recording devices usually help. --Seth Peck (talk) 18:21, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
i'm not sure what it is about the story that you think kids couldn't come up withAMassiveGay (talk) 18:24, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
From their site
Your Daughter may only be showing signs of Rebellion, disrespect, and resentment, but please consider 1 Samuel 15:23, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry..." The girls who come to MGGA range from mild problems within their families, to radical out bursts of anger, rebellion, cutting, piercing, bitterness, lying, thieving, runaways, out of control, etc.
Or, what the rest of us would call "being a teenager". I cannot judge without evidence but it walks like a duck. Innocent Bystander (talk) 18:32, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
And, from their FAQ page
From the time of enrollment there is a 30 Day wait before receiving a phone call from her Family. After the first call, your Daughter can start receiving phone calls from you.. The Length of time depends on her level at MGGA. At first level, the calls are at 10 minutes. At Fifth Level, she can receive calls every week for 15 minutes! No phone call will be accepted from anyone who is not a Parent or Legal Guardian of the Student.
This is looking more and more like "But I'm A Cheerleader". Innocent Bystander (talk) 18:37, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Good movie. It'd suck to live through, but it was a good movie.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 00:21, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
God, these things are creepy, even without (very plausible-sounding) abuse allegations. Nihilist 07:05, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
How does it make sense to let them run this sort of institution for three years before there's any effective oversight? I am forever praising the existence of ASRS (NASA anonymises and classifies near misses in order to make safety recommendations in its function as "ASRS" the Aviation Safety Reporting System) but elsewhere in US civil society the attitude seems to be "Well, once a bunch of people die and it blows up into a massive scandal we'll start investigating, meanwhile it's cheaper to pretend we didn't see anything". This is a wasteful and comparatively expensive approach over the long haul. Because of yesterday's fatal crash in the UK I was reading some international forums about level crossings and the US attitude seemed to be "Why investigate an accident where nobody was injured? Waste of money" which demonstrates a profound ignorance of the purpose of investigations. (talk) 11:12, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

End of the world[edit]

With the End Of The World approaching at the speed of Christmas should we give a bit more prominence to the countdown timer. Or arrange some kind of EOW wiki vigil?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 13:10, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Maybe we need a RW logo with a tinfoil hat. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 15:59, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Dunno if we can get it roasted to perfection in two weeks, but it'd be nice to make the article more cover-worthy - please pop over and let's see what it needs - David Gerard (talk) 16:49, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Whilst I understand that I'm one of the most prominent BoNs on RW, I think that a count down to my birthday is excessive. Surely there's something more important we could be waiting for, the beginning of the next US presidential race can't be far away can it? Or how about the release of the SC2 expansion "Heart of the Swarm"? (talk) 23:55, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Quick question about the number of pages[edit]

There's a story behind this, but basically, is there a way I can get the number of English language main-space articles on RW? I know I can go to the "Special pages" section and then to the "Special:All pages" area, but that includes non-English articles and is a non-numbered list (so I'd have to count the few thousand articles by hand, blah!). It just seemed like there would be a faster way to get a list of the number of articles. Any help?--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 01:02, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

6139. Humorless fascistsociopath 01:17, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Special:Statistics covers the basic numbers. Non-English articles are trivial numbers (the contents of Category:Babel and its subcats) so just deduct those from the stats if it's especially important not to count them. The Russian articles at ru.rationalwiki.org are already excluded as it's a separate site. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:22, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks guys--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 01:39, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Libertarian Purity Test[edit]

Hey everybody! Let's all take the Libertarian Purity Test!

Think that fire and police departments shouldn't be privatized? Impure!

Think that the entire legal system shouldn't be privatized? Impure!

Think that government isn't inherently evil? Impure!

Think it's not morally permissible to exercise vigilante justice against government leaders? Impure!

Yeah, I didn't score very high... Vulpius (talk) 18:28, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Probably a bit too US-centric for me to hold enough of an opinion to get all the way through. It's a good point about the "World's Shortest Political Quiz", though. It's the World's Shortest Leading Questions Example. Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 18:46, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
21, due to my views on drugs and the military. Humorless fascistsociopath 19:05, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Wait, you think the military should be privatized? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:27, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
29. Being pro-drug and -sex and wanting to cut back on military spending apparently makes me a soft-core libertarian.
The concept of 'ideological purity' being a good thing that everyone should strive for is fucking bullshit. Nihilist 19:35, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Is 11 too high for continued work here? JzG (talk) 19:46, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
18. "You are a soft-core libertarian. With effort, you may harden and become pure." No thank you. SophieWilder 20:47, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
20. Oh God, did I do something wrong to get even that high? I can get the free-market worship (in the same sense I can get Mormons' freaky cosmology) but do these people genuinely believe that you should privatise roads and firefighters? I mean, firefighters! Seriously! Polite Timesplitter talk to me sugar, but best keep it on thedown-low 21:26, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, really. Humorless fascistsociopath 21:35, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
A libertarian is someone who looks at a burning house and thinks, "It's a shame someone isn't turning a profit off this." Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:54, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I know nothing about the fed reserve, and Yes no, when teh question is quite complex always bugs me. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 22:08, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Evidently I'm a softcore libertarian. "with some effort I might harden". Yeah, I'll harden all right. Harden my dislike for Anarcho-capitalists. --P3A58NT86 22:13, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Same here -- scored 21, rather disturbing. Probably due to support for drug legalization and non-interventionist foreign policy. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:09, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
8. Now I feel all self-conscious about my low score. I quite like this description: "0 points: You are not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. You are probably not even a liberal or a conservative. Just some Nazi nut, I guess." άλφαΤαλκ 01:46, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
10. I think of the 60-ish questions I answered "yes" on like 5 of them. That they consider that leaning towards Libertarianism is pretty hilarious. I'm on a forum where I'm known mostly for picking fights with Libertarians and AnCaps.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 06:44, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
37 - "My Libertarian credentials are clear." That's probably a fair statement actually... I'd be interested in a similar questionnaire that wasn't so Yank-centric, as I don't really understand what some of that shit meant. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 07:11, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Would you prefer questions about Austria? SophieWilder 12:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

The problem I have with (at least the first section) are all these "too much" "too high" "too strict" questions. Because the question is "compared to what?"

The second related question - if you are a libertarian is - "Will they always be too much/high/strict?" As the impression that I have is that "good" libertarians will always answer "yes" to such questions regardless of what any hypothetical ideal level might be.--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 10:00, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Thing is, there are kind of two Libertarian (ignoring the Tea Party that can wank off). There are Libertarians who are basically AnCaps, that think government is entirely evil and that anything the government does is completely evil, and should be stopped (taxes and regulations) or privatized (police, emergency response, etc). They're the assholes who, as said above, will look at a fire and say "man, it sucks no one is making money on this". The other kind, that any 'libertarians' here would fall under are "government is generally good, but prone to corruption and manipulation". They will accept things like taxes and regulation, but only to the degree they are needed, and are fine with public education to varying degrees. They'd probably like things like what Poland does for their public education, where a certain amount of money a year is attached to a student, and it will go with them to fund whatever school they go to, public or private. And there are plenty of multiple-personality-libertarians like Milton Friedman. His article here focuses on the policy he implimented and what he said in speeches, which was definitely that first type, but in his writing (private and academic) he was a lot more of the second type.
In many ways I'd consider myself the second type of libertarian. I only scored as poorly as I did because I'm not a fan of certain blanket statements like 'regulations are too strict' or 'we should withdraw our overseas military'. We could do the second, but the majority of our overseas military are in Japan, South Korea, or Germany, and we have treaties with them requiring our presence there, so withdrawing those troops would be a bit of a process that could take years to accomplish. And most of the rest are on embassy duty. And on and on I could go about why this test is flawed, and realistically biased towards pushing people away from coming off as a Libertarian while saying anyone who responded has some Libertarian inklings.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 18:48, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Ah yes, Bryan Caplan. As I recall this purity test has been up at least a decade, and its main purpose is to nudge softcore and small-government libertarians into becoming an-caps. (resisting the urge here to demolish his loaded questions from a left-anarchist viewpoint) Secret Squirrel (talk) 23:46, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Entertaining but unrelated coincidence: I'm a forum with an ancap named "secret squirrel". --Logic and Empricism (talk) 00:04, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh dear. :" Secret Squirrel (talk) 00:21, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
25 -- mostly due to civil liberties issues. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
19 - Fuck knows how, as I'm a card carrying commie. Actually, probably due to my stance on immigration (in favour of relaxing immigration law), in favour of US withdrawal from other countries, axing most military spending, softer rules on recreational drugs and consensual sex. They didn't ask about my views on raising taxes or the minimum wage... --Llegar a las estrellas¿Dígame? 13:31, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
14. Some of the stuff in the last category made my head spin. I didn't even know some people thought that way. What would privatizing LAWS even entail?! Abolishing all legislation in favor of "private rule-suppliers" (whatever the hell that means)?! When your test implies that all government is an unnecessary evil and that the state should be abolished, you can't really call it "libertarian" anymore. It's anarchy by definition! Also, I guarantee that the creator of this "test" (assuming it isn't a Poe) has never read a single thing ever written by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, or any other Enlightenment thinker. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 17:15, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
I have a depressing amount of experience with mainstream right wing libertarians and anarchists, and most of the libertarians use arguments that don't actually justify minarchy, they justify anarchy. Claims like "the free market is always more efficient then the government" justifies anarchy, period. Privatizing laws is basically the same as privatizing fire fighters: you can only take someone to court for murder if someone is willing/able to pay for a judge to arbitrate over the case, otherwise the criminal justice system will just stand by watching you get stabbed to death, and both the defense and prosecution have to agree on a judge, which means that any attempt at justice is going to go out the window as soon as the defense insists on the judge being his cousin, or simply refuses to accept any judge at all. Basically, you lose being able to assume you'll get justice unless you have a lot of money.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 17:26, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Not impressed with the questions and too USA biased. I found this more interesting.. http://www.politicalcompass.org/test Dirk Steele (talk) 17:31, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Drink name suggestions[edit]

Nice to mead you

Hey all, I came up with a basic little concoction to have with dessert over the Christmas period. It's mead combined 2:3 with a lemonade/orange soda mixture. Not exactly high-end cocktail stuff, but it's pretty nice and a change from the usual Snowballs and Buck's Fizz. Anyway, I need a name for it. I toyed with "Stocking Filler" but find that underwhelming. Anyone got any ideas? Grumblejaws (talk) 13:36, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

"I need a name for it." How come? €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:01, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
"I need want a name for it" - fixed. It would be nice to have something to call it if I'm going to try and make it a fixture at Chez Grumblejaws. Grumblejaws (talk) 14:08, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Bees' Knees? Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 14:10, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Nope, that's already been taken. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 14:14, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Buzz Fizz? Hive-Ade? I think every viable name for this drink is likely to be cringe-inducing. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:22, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Is the mead home-brewed? Then "mead that tastes less like rat piss" - David Gerard (talk) 14:47, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I am reminded of a drink that we would sometimes be given on our Greek holidays; it was a sort of reverse Buck's Fizz, comprising retsina and Orangina. Redchuck.gif ГенгисevolvingModerator 15:22, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

A picture of the drink in the appropriate glass would make this easier. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 15:08, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Add tequila. Anything with tequila can then be named a "Tequila Mockingbird". Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 15:27, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Add a wedge of lemon and call it a Mornington Crescent. Redchuck.gif ГенгисGum diseaseModerator 16:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Pic as per request. Would've added a lemon and orange slice but, you know, couldn't be bothered. I'm liking the bee-themed suggestions. Grumblejaws (talk) 17:45, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Lemon? Honey? Alcohol? "bittersweet surrender".--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 17:52, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Was looking for something festive-sounding but I'm very tempted by that one, Bob. Grumblejaws (talk) 18:05, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Viking 7-UP? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:47, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
"The Cure For The Common Cold"? Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 20:24, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Tropical Viking Polite Timesplitter talk to me sugar, but best keep it on thedown-low 22:12, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

How about "Mead with citrus juices"? (Yes, I'm a science geek with no imagination whatsoever.) Doctor Dark (talk) 05:41, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Diabetic Apis Surprise? — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 15:14, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
So did I win a prize?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 08:29, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Krampus won't be bothering you this year. Grumblejaws (talk) 18:44, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Paul Broun Expects To Remain On Science Committee[edit]

Paul Broun Expects To Remain On Science Committee After Calling Science 'Lies' From 'The Pit Of Hell'. --larron (talk) 08:10, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

And we're supposed to take the GOP seriously. Osaka Sun (talk) 08:33, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Everyday I am more and more depressed with the fall of my party</Eisenhower Republican>--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 17:17, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

When argument fails then censorship prevails[edit]

moved to Forum:Falsifiability--"Shut up, Brx." 23:59, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm back, jerks.[edit]

Save your applause. I'm resuming edit patrols and bitching about stuffs here. Maybe some Hovind additions, too, since Eric is such a tool. The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 14:28, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

From like, the army?--"Shut up, Brx." 14:30, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Nope. Still in. I've been dealing with personal issues/crises/whatnot. I need to resume healthy activities so I'm back in the gym on a Crossfit regimen and exercising my mind here, since all y'all are such cultured, intelligent folk (compared to the predominantly Republican asshats I deal with on a daily basis). The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 14:36, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Get well--"Shut up, Brx." 14:44, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Ah, now I can see you on RW as well as FB. You might as well just take the spare room at this point. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 14:45, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Hovind would be much more fun if he bothered to engage rather than let people troll him and for his supporters to just do nothing but fellate him on his every word. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 16:51, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Welcome back. Occasionaluse (talk) 19:03, 6 December 2012 (UTC)


Just reading though November's FSTDT. Following the election some American republicans are so far from anything that I would call "rational" that I reckon they should be disqualified from voting for not having the mental capacity of an ape. Some of them make Hurlbut look reasonable by comparison. That is all. Scream!! (talk) 18:14, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

That Holocaust one is astonishing, even for a fundie. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 18:53, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
The comment about reading the Bible was an interesting one. Not sure if the guy doesn't know the name of the Torah, or if he's saying Jews need to convert to not be the victims of genocide.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 20:46, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

RationalWiki Foundation board election changes[edit]

Just a heads up to start getting the information out, the RWF will be having the 2013 elections soon. You can check out RationalWiki:2013 board of trustees election for more info. A major change though has been instituted this year as far as voting goes. In addition to the usual edit/time requirements we are also now requiring that you register your user name here. A verified e-mail address must also be attached to that user name, we will send a RationalWiki e-mail with a code you can use to vote. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:38, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

What is the rationale behind the voter registration & email address requirement? WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:07, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Avoiding sockpuppet voting, presumably--"Shut up, Brx." 00:55, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not seeing how that helps really... Perhaps the best way seems to be the edit and time requirements, along with some attempt at checking at duplicate IP addresses. Overall seems pretty hopeless against a dedicated person, unless you're willing to track down every IP and attempt to see if it's coming from a proxy, but even then... LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 07:34, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
The majority of the fraudulent votes in the last election were cast by Nx, who was kind enough to provide us with the names of the socks he used. This is intended for a solution that fits the scope of the problem. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:51, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Liberal women want more nookie[edit]

Poll results. Either A: Liberal women are insatiable nymphos or B: Their (I assume) liberal lovers aren't as up to the task as their conservative counterparts. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 15:52, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

I think (just a pulled from my ass, type "think") that liberal women are more comfortable in our own bodies, and having... um... "our own self", no guy or gal required. so when we partner up, we expect more time and attention to the whole thing, rather than the more "this is your obligation and duty, so lay back while i do my business" sense of old school sex. --Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 16:15, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
As soon as I see the name Mark Regnerus I know that the study, even if the data is valid, will be interpreted though very biased eyes. His "gays make bad parents" study had flaws that I could see through and I'm no sociologist. This one, well, the liberal women that I know want more sex in the same way that they want more chocolate or more ice cream sundaes - it doesn't mean they're dissatisfied. Innocent Bystander (talk) 16:24, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
The liberal women I know are insatiable, but not nympho per the DSM definition. --Seth Peck (talk) 16:26, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
"Controversial sociologist Mark Regnerus has been fooling around with the New Family Structures Survey." - to which anyone who reads Ben Goldacre should know, is wrong. You can't extract a statistical hypothesis from statistical data. You can simply manipulate it far too easily to say whatever you want or mine it for the trends you're after. Hypothesis first. Data second. Then we can take this guy seriously. Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 16:48, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Considering the studies about porn usage in conservative states and the Middle East, at least the liberals are having sex. Osaka Sun (talk) 20:36, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
It might be that conservatives are so sexually oppressed that they expect to not have sex, and so turn to porn, while liberals expect to have sex so don't need porn as much. Of course this is all just wild speculation.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 20:58, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Most parsimonious explanation: Liberal women are more comfortable admitting they want sex on surveys. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:12, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
But that isn't funny!--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 22:54, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Any Michiganders in the house?[edit]

Right to work. Some of the most restrictive abortion laws. Closing down the Capitol to the public. That's what your elected officials did today. If you're coming to Lansing to protest when the Senate votes on right to work next week, drop me a line. Beer's on me afterwards. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 00:01, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I missed that they closed the capitol. FFS. The bills are horrid, and fully unconstitutional. You do not have a right to tell private insurance what it may or may not cover, ABOVE AND BEYOND any minium the state and feds require. as for letting doctors say "i don't have to perform that", that's BS as well. it will cause deaths, casue somewhere, some one will say "no" when all around them everyone else is saying 'but she's dying". --Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 01:21, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, the unions had to get an injunction to let us in to the Capitol building. Total bullshit. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 02:05, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
"Right to work". In Michigan. Ugh. That is one of the last places I would have expected to see it, but I guess times have changed and the UAW is not what it was. What is the chance of it passing, any idea? Secret Squirrel (talk) 02:50, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
100%. Republican majorities in both lame-duck houses, Republican governor says he's gonna sign it. Theory of Practice Still tryin' to figure it all out. 02:52, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Why is it called "right to work"? i never understood that.--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 02:58, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Strictly framing, I think. Same as anti-abortion being called "pro-life". Secret Squirrel (talk) 03:02, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
For the same reason that the Finns gave the Russians Molotov cocktails after he said Russia was giving them "breadbaskets"? Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 03:15, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
" That is one of the last places I would have expected to see it..." Nothing surprises me coming out of Michigan since they started appointing mini-dictators emergency managers. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:10, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, and I also forgot to do my homework before posting that and looking up that Michigan's legislature is currently 63 R - 47 D in the House and 26 R - 12 D in the Senate. In addition to being the other state besides Montana with the best known militia movement. And sending Justin Amash and Kerry Bentovolio to Congress (to be fair, I'd much rather see a bunch of them in Congress than a bunch of Michele Bachmanns and Allen Wests, but still...) Secret Squirrel (talk) 12:57, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
The alternative to "Right to work" is "Closed Shop" where you can be a qualified Foozler, ready and able to Foozle, in a town where they need Foozlers, but they can't hire you because the Foozle Factory is a Closed Shop and only members of the Glorious Union of Foozlers may work there and you're not a member (or equivalently, to be hired you must also join the Glorious Union of Foozlers). In the US you get to have a mixture of Closed Shops and Right to work and some weird in-between states none of which ought to satisfy a reasonable person.
What you actually want IMNSHO is something neither side will put on the table in the US, which is strong labour laws. Rather than being forced to choose between supporting a corrupt organisation that "represents" you by doing whatever it pleases or accepting unsafe working conditions and poverty wages workers ought to face neither of these hardships. In the EEA, which has strong labour laws, Closed Shops are illegal (exactly what is illegal is a matter of ongoing litigious contention, but anything that looks like a traditional US Closed Shop is probably illegal) because they're discriminatory, and paying your workers a pittance or neglecting their well-being is likewise illegal because it's unethical.
US labour law is kinda shitty/ crazy, just how crazy is underscored by watching what happens when a US company is hiring employees for an EEA subsidiary, and they struggle to get their heads around what they can't do. I have some hilarious contracts as a result of that, where the US employer really wants to say "Here is a carrot, and I also have a stick, if you do what we want you can keep the carrot, otherwise we bring the stick" and the European legislation has caused this to be rewritten as "We are not allowed to threaten you with a stick so forget we mentioned that, and if we offer you a carrot we're obliged to give it to you with no strings attached. So let's just say that you should do what we want you to do, and if we're pleased then you might get a carrot, and if any of this turns out to be illegal then we didn't mean it and we're sorry". (talk) 12:16, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

The South shall rise again![edit]

And so shall the Republic of Texas. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:37, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't suppose we will be getting all the federal tax dollars put into Texas over the years back. FailDeadly (talk)
After they get annexed by Mexico? I doubt it--"Shut up, Brx." 06:38, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
We could let Mexico keep Texas on the condition that Texas pays us back all that tax money. And you know, gives us the federal property in Texas.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 17:58, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Jim DeMint[edit]

All over the news today because he's leaving to head up the Heritage Foundation. Apparently refuses to see the irony in heading up the organization that is responsible for first promoting UHC/individual mandate in the United States. --Seth Peck (talk) 03:27, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

The individual mandate was a conservative position before it was a liberal position.
That sounded much funnier in my head. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 14:09, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

For anyone who knows more about virology and cell biology than me[edit]

After some rudimentary biology courses and the terrible film The Bourne Legacy, I started thinking about gene therapy. I've heard great advances are being made in using a viral vector to cure genetic disorders, which makes sense. But could viral vectors be used to alter a person's external phenotype? For example, in the future, might we be able to change our hair color through gene therapy? Would it ever be possible to remove the viruses from a hypothetical patient? Blue (is useful) 13:16, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

They can do it in plants, from what I recall. Humorless fascistsociopath 13:19, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I have an in-law who's really into plant biology (or, to use their words, who "fucking love[s] breeding") and has done some research along those lines. Unless I'm completely misunderstanding him it seems like it's a not-uncommon technique (for plants at least). — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 14:33, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

What a fucking genius!!!![edit]

Mitch McConnell tries to make a calculated political move, which then promptly backfires and causes him to have to filibuster himself. Fucking hilarious! Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 13:25, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

If you filibuster yourself too often, you'll go blind. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 14:39, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I've put that on the news page Neonchameleon (talk) 14:58, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

War of the Worlds[edit]

Taking an early morning flight to Auckland for the weekend to see War of the World's live. Full multimedia production in almost 360 degrees. Awesome. Acei9 01:57, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

No one would have believed... Redchuck.gif ГенгисmutatingModerator 03:14, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I can see you watching me with envious eyes Genghis. Slowly, but surely, you draw your plans against me. Acei9 03:22, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
The musical version of War of the Worlds? I'd rank that somewhere between Oh, Streetcar and Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want To Get Off. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 14:19, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I may be wrong but it sounds like you are unaware of the original concept. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 15:27, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Hearing Richard Burton saying "No one would have believed..." always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:09, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Both my father and I have been interested in this for quite a while, but we never "get around to it". I do wonder, though, how it's best experienced - live, or simply and cheaply with a massive pair of headphones?
Live would be excellent if they could pull it off, but it's a big If. A great big three-legged metal If firing heat rays. SophieWilder 11:18, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
They've been doing the live version for a few years now. It's apparently very good although the CGI'd version of Burton is a bit creepy. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:49, 8 December 2012 (UTC)


Any one here had any experience with the Coursera distance learning courses? I'm currently doing one on Astronomy but looking ahead I noticed A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior by Dan Ariely. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 23:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm in the one on Compilers right now. I mostly signed up to see what these MOOCs are like (might TA for one next year), but it turned out to be a pretty good class. Looks like a another good lineup again next semester -- has me worried about my future job prospects teaching this stuff! --Benod (talk) 17:37, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Perfect trollbait[edit]

"Ron Paul did 9/11". As a bonus, it can be used as a Dunning-Kruger detector if someone accuses you of slander. EVDebs (talk) 04:57, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

I think I'm missing some hilarious reference here.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 06:58, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
It's a crank magnetism joke. EVDebs (talk) 08:12, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Prank calls[edit]

Deeply concerning when this ends up in this. You get the feeling that despite what the hospital says, she really wasn't getting the support that she needed.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 16:54, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Very sad. But why do you get that feeling? Ajkgordon (talk) 17:40, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
*shrugs* A hunch, plus, you know, experience of being part of the mental health community for far too many years. I've seen too many friends hurt themselves or others, and in all cases they weren't receiving the support and monitoring that they should have received.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 18:04, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Nasty case made all the more depressing by the knee-jerk dumping of shit over the heads of the DJs who did nothing more than pull off a slightly-lame prank. Grumblejaws (talk) 01:22, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
The nurse must have already had some issues. Normal people don't kill themselves over falling for a prank, especially since the switchboard operator fell for it as well. --Tweenk (talk) 04:00, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

I dunno -- this is a fuck-up on a pretty colossal scale (violating professional-patient privilege) involving one of the maybe five most important people in the entire world if you're British. Who knows what that might do to someone. The prank was a total chickenshit move. Armchair wiki-diagnoses of the state of mind of a recently deceased person are totally inappropriate. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 04:50, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

While I can't say anything on the state of mind, my Mum has been a nurse all my life and she is stressed up to the eyeballs at any given time, both due to what her job entails, but also due to the fact that nurses are shat on or scapegoated by pretty much everyone (doctors, patients, media, government, etc) for anything at all wrong with the health surface, and in this case the nurse in question being pranked led to her being humiliated in front of the entire world, and also led to her bosses being seriously annoyed. Its fair to say the poor nurse was under a truly horrible level of stress regarding whether or not she would even have a career after this (especially since she had two kids to support) which just makes the whole thing sadder Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 05:08, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I hardly think stating that this suicide is probably about more than just being hoodwinked by pranksters is inappropriate wiki-diagnosis. Yes, I'm sure it was stressful, but most mentally healthy people don't kill themselves over short-term stress. Also, while nurses do have to put up with tons of shit, and are overworked and underpaid, they routinely come near the top of most respected professions, and have been rated most honest and ethical fr more than a decade straight, so they're not totally unappreciated by the general population. DickTurpis (talk) 05:29, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
"this is a fuck-up on a pretty colossal scale (violating professional-patient privilege)" - Question for anyone in the know - if this is indeed a breach of confidence, would this still have been the case if it really had been the Queen calling? Either way, the actual information given out wasn't, as far as I'm aware, any more than what the press were already being told which makes me question if this was all that colossal a fuck-up. If the press and the hospital higher-ups have been treating it as such then their sense of proportion is skewed. The prank call itself seems to me to be a relatively anodyne bit of fluff, certainly nothing on the scale of the stuff Chris Morris might have pulled back in the day. If the story hadn;t taken this sad turn then it would have been stuffed into the storeroom for The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Grumblejaws (talk) 09:53, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
@Tweenk, she was the switchboard operator. It was 5:30am in the morning in Britain when the call went through. There were no receptionists on duty which was why the phone was answered by a nurse. She put the call through to a second nurse who passed on confidential information to the prank callers. The nurse who killed herself did not pass on any confidential information, which is the reason why her voice, not the voice of the second one, who said things that couldn't be broadcast on British radio for legal reasons, has been played over and over again on the BBC.
I'd have to agree that nobody could have foreseen that a prank call would lead to a suicide. People usually commit suicide as a result of multiple problems, not a single one, but the aftermath of that call seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back.--Spud (talk) 15:24, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
"has been played over and over again on the BBC." I know I'm always thrilled when my fuck-ups are repeatedly broadcast on a media outlet with a world-wide reach. especially when those fuck-ups involve the medical details of the most famous woman in the world. So much wrong with this story on all ends. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 15:28, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
The medical details were those that were already being reported anyway - maybe I'm going out on a limb here but I assume if they'd been much more than that the prank wouldn't have been broadcast. It's worth pointing out that the "Queen" in the call merely asked how Kate was and then started warbling on about the corgis, it's not like it was some carefully constructed sting to extract embarrassing information. If you think pranks like this in general are always more cruel than funny, then fine, but set against decades of similar material I can't see how there was anything exceptionally mean-spirited or unseemly about what the DJs did. If it hadn't had this horrible coda then it would barely be a footnote in the records of patient-confidentiality breaches. Grumblejaws (talk) 16:32, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
If you want to argue that lying to people in order to attempt to extract information to which you have no right and embarrass people is somehow okay because it's gone on for years, well, then, okay, I suppose you can make that argument. If you want to say, okay, well, public figures have set themselves up for this, I suppose I can get that. But when regular working people are taken advantage of in this way? It's mean-spirited, cruel, selfish, and it's incredibly naive to not foresee how badly it can go. Maybe the woman in question had other mental health things going on. So maybe that means that before you decide to prank a total stranger and broadcast it all over the globe, you should consider the wacky, far-out idea that, you know, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND MAY REACT POORLY TO IT. Especially when you throw in the bizarre dynamics that come with the fact that the most famous woman in the most famous family in the world is involved. It's such incredibly foul bullshit. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 16:47, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I have to ask at this point if you've actually listened to the call. There's no concerted effort to get Kate Middleton's medical details. The female DJ just asks if Kate is doing alright. The nurse tells her some pretty basic stuff that was already in the public domain prior to the call. The rest of the call is just the DJs asking about visiting times and wittering on about corgis. The governor of the hospital even said in his initial statement after the prank that any confidentiality breach was purely technical since nothing was said that wasn't already in the press. "If you want to argue that lying to people in order to attempt to extract information to which you have no right and embarrass people is somehow okay because it's gone on for years, well, then, okay, I suppose you can make that argument." as far as okayness goes I wasn't really making a comment either way. My point was that if the nurse had not taken her life this prank would be indistinguishable from other pranks of its kind - John Culshew talking to Tony Blair whilst pretending to be William Hague, those guys who get through to Sarah Palin a few years back, etc. They all relied on some degree of credulity from ordinary staff members to work and could conceivably have had the sort of consequences we've seen with this case yet they aren't remembered as 'incredibly foul bullshit'. If you think and have always thought that this kind of thing is as bad as you've described it, then fine, I've no quarrel with you. But you can't claim that the DJs had any reasonable level of foresight and to do so is to imply culpability on their part for the death of someone we know next to nothing about. Grumblejaws (talk) 20:49, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I do not think that it is unreasonable to assume that setting up an ordinary working person who is professionally responsible for the well-being of one of the most famous people on the planet for a major screw up and then broadcasting that screw-up around the world might have a major impact on their mental and emotional well-being. I do not think it is unreasonable to assume that total strangers might be carrying a variety of mental and emotional baggage with them and that doing something mean to them and then broadcasting it around the world might have unintended consequences. I do think it is unreasonable for two people in the communications business to not have known that this whole thing was going to go global in a matter of hours. I do think it is mean-spirited to draw ordinary working people into a prank and lie to them in order to secure ratings. I do not think that the nature of the information that was revealed is relevant to the discussion. The point of the exercise was to lie and trick a way into somebody's hospital room, and too bad for any working stiff who got in the way of that. EDIT: There's a huge difference between this and the cases you mention: Tony Blair and Sarah Palin are/were elected public officials. They should have known better (not that that excuses lying to them). This woman, as I've said repeatedly, was a private individual doing her job. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 21:08, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Do you seriously think the pranksters mentioned just had a direct line to the public officials? Obviously they had to be screened by their staff first, as I already said. The nature of the information is entirely relevant and you make it so by your emphasis on the incident being a major screw-up on the part of the hospital. There was no formal reprimand of the staff involved and the hospital Chief Exec emphasised that fault for it happening lay with the DJs. That doesn't say 'major screw-up' so much as it does 'embarrassing incident that we've hopefully learned from'. As I've said above, the hospital higherups explicitly said confidentiality breach was purely technical which to me makes it pretty clear the matter wasn't going to be pursued in any form beyond protocol reviews. "The point of the exercise was to lie and trick a way into somebody's hospital room, and too bad for any working stiff who got in the way of that." - no, the point of the prank, as anyone listening to it will realise, is to see if they can pass themselves off as the Queen/Prince of Wales, there was no concerted effort to get confidential info as I've repeatedly said and the nurse who gave out the info (who, in case this isn;t clear, was not the nurse who took her life) was discrete enough to not say anything that wasn't already public info. That's a source of embarrassment for sure, but as another poster said above not a reasonably forseeable cause of suicide. Grumblejaws (talk) 21:58, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
Screened by their staff, yes, but their staff weren't the target of the prank. That's a key difference; here, the nurses were the direct target--the point wasn't to get Middleton on the air and embarrass her a la Blair or Palin, the point was to try and deceive an ordinary working person and make her the butt of a worldwide joke. That's bullying, plain and simple. And bullying, as we well know, often ends in tragedy. And I still believe that the particular nature of this patient--not just a political figure, but a particular kind of celebrity tied to a deeply felt sense of shared national identity, is a key dynamic that needs to be accounted for. The stakes were so much bigger than those of an elected official. Add the dynamic of maternity/pregnancy into the mix, and its a situation fraught with huge meaning. Meaning that could only make the impact of a globally-broadcast error all the heavier. EDIT: The moral of the story: when you do mean things to unsuspecting and innocent people, sometimes they react in ways that you might not have considered. So don't be a prick, especially to total strangers who are under a lot of stress. If you do decide to be a prick, the best possible outcome is that nothing might go horribly wrong.The worst possible outcome might be unspeakable tragedy Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 23:05, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I think we just fundamentally disagree about the nature of this particular prank. The nurse who took her life was in the exact same position as the staffers who screened the calls in the other pranks I've mentioned, I fail to see what difference the fact that the ultimate recipient of the call was another nurse makes. "the point wasn't to get Middleton on the air and embarrass her a la Blair or Palin" - it's actually clear from the call that they were trying to get through to Middleton herself - whether that happening would have made the prank even more deplorable in the eyes of others I can't say, but I ask again: Have you actually listened to the prank? You've given this case a particular narrative and have drawn you conclusion on the foreseeability of the suicide from that. "And I still believe that the particular nature of this patient--not just a political figure, but a particular kind of celebrity tied to a deeply felt sense of shared national identity, is a key dynamic that needs to be accounted for. The stakes were so much bigger than those of an elected official. Add the dynamic of maternity/pregnancy into the mix, and its a situation fraught with huge meaning." - that's a style of analysis you could ascribe to any situation where a tragedy like this occurs and I think it's begging the question to say that the suicide proves that the DJs crossed a line that fellow pranksters steered clear of. Given everything I've said, I would still maintain that the prank has only been made singular by the events that occured afterwards. Pranks like this are obviously going to cause some level of embarrassment on the part of the people who were duped and if you scrutinise the particulars of the situation then a remote prediction of a tragedy like this is always possible but 'remote prediction' does not equal 'reasonably foreseeable'. Even leaving all that aside, the only reason it's been accepted with certainty that the prank was a factor in Saldanha's death is the proximity of the two events - other than that, we know little about the circumstances of her life at the time. That alone ought to least forestall dumping blame at the feet of the DJs. Grumblejaws (talk) 10:59, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I've listened to the call. The "narrative I've constructed" from that seems reasonable: Working person gets lied to; she makes a mistake based on that lie; she is professionally responsible for the well-being of the most famous person in the world at a particularly vulnerable time; that mistake is broadcast all over the world. Is that not a reasonable reading of what happened? Do I know that her suicide was the result of that situation? No. Do I think it's reasonable to think that a bullying victim might kill themselves? Yes. Was this woman bullied? No doubt. Should people who are about to prank a total stranger and broadcast it all over the world not stop to consider that said total stranger might have mental/emotional issues that might come into play as they react to the prank? Yes they should. Is lying to people and broadcasting the results of that lie all over the globe and embarrassing regular working folks what decent human beings do for a living? No. It is not what decent human beings do for a living. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 14:42, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
We're well past repeating ourselves at this point and I don't want to belabour this discussion but just so I'm clear on everything; do you think any situation where someone faces public embarrassment like this amounts to a form of bullying, or is it just the particular circumstances of this case that makes you have 'No doubt'? Grumblejaws (talk) 18:13, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
I think that lying to people in order to trick them into doing something personally or professionally degrading and then turning that situation into a commodity to offer up for ratings and profit is bullying, or at least that "bullying" is the closest word we have in the English language to describe such a situation. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 18:29, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

"What if it wasn't the Queen"[edit]

This comes up as a standard question, yes, it's totally unacceptable to respond in this way and yes it happens all the time anyway. This is just a tiny corner of the discipline called "social engineering" and it's a standard tactic of both police and all the usual scumbags from whom police have learned such things: Gossip columnists, private detectives, scammers, hitmen, terrorists etc. Social engineering relies on people wanting to be helpful. In this case they call a hospital and assert that they're a relative of the patient (or their PA, or their lawyer, or any number of possibilities) and just need to know certain details... 90% of people answering a phone will help the social engineer, even if they've been specifically trained not to. Most of the remaining 10% will refuse but won't tell anyone, so social engineers just try again and hope to get one of the 90%.

For really serious stuff like corporate espionage the social engineers spend real money to put on a convincing show. Suppose you're working the front desk for a big company. A guy shows up on a motorcycle with a cardboard box, he insists he needs a signature from Bob Stevens up on floor six. You check and eventually discover Bob is out, so you send the "courier" away. Then a different guy with a beard and a high visibility jacket with a phone company logo turns up with a blurry printout which he says is a an emergency work order for work on the data cable grounding. His "official" badge has a phone number but you call the phone company's central switchboard. They are vague, not wanting to inconvenience a possibly genuine worker, but they can't verify him so you send away the "engineer". Then a guy in a nice suit arrives, says he's late for the board meeting, can you just give him a temporary pass and he'll sign everything when he comes out? While you're arguing with him and trying to call the CEO to check his credentials, a young woman in heels and a short skirt comes in carrying a coffee in one hand and a folder of papers in the other. She seems to be wearing a pass, but she has no hands free to use it on the reader. One of your fellow employees holds the door open to let her through quickly for which he receives a smile. Whoops, Mr Executive was genuine, but the young woman was a social engineer and now she's inside your building's security cordon. You get fired for being "rude" to the executive and meanwhile the young lady does her stuff, walking out of the building an hour later with 64GB of corporate secrets in a USB stick that looks like a packet of chewing gum.

If you have ever received a telephone call from your bank, and they hadn't previously agreed a strong shared secret (e.g. a list of codes where they'd use a fresh code each time they called to prove it was them calling) then you've experienced why social engineering works. Banks shouldn't ever initiate such calls, and should warn customers never to accept them. But instead all the major banks do it, and none have any serious security in place to manage the risk for ordinary customers. The cost of doing the Right Thing™ is higher than the loss from fraud, so they don't bother. (talk) 19:54, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Banks do initiate calls like that, but you have to make sure the information goes only one way - i.e., the caller is telling you something. For example, the countless times HSBC cold-calls me to tell me my overdraft isn't looking healthy. The only thing they get out of that is "sure, I'll forward you some cash online later". If they start with the "could you please verify your account number" stuff, I usually just make up some random digits and see if they accept. Scarlet A.pngmoralModerator 18:18, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Is everyone blind or am I just reading the wrong commentary?[edit]

I can't say I understand why the discussion seems to be only about the nature of prank calls and the ability and mental health of the nurse in question. Does this not bring to light one of the most serious problems with the type of obsessive celebrity/royalty culture that so pervades Anglo-American society? Anyone caught up in the exploitative storm is immediately put under an unbearable amount of pressure, and endlessly shamed if their interaction is in the least bit negative. Stating that this nurse 'probably already had some issues' takes the focus off of just how big a deal the tabloid press makes stories like these into (as well as the methods used to obtain the stories in the first place). It also takes the focus off how much pressure someone is already under when they are providing care for someone deemed far more important than the average human being.

The near silence on this aspect of the controversy is most confusing to me because it comes at a time when this should have been keen on most people's minds given the Leveson happenings. But few ask why 'journalists' go to such lengths to obtain celebrity dirt and discredit their enemies, when they're more than content to mindlessly churn out uncritical he said she said non-stories on matters of importance. Even fewer ask why the same 'journalists' are so willing to hold someone's feet to the fire for an accidental slight toward royalty while remaining endlessly silent on the far, far more egregious wrongdoings of the leaders the press is - in theory - supposed to hold accountable.

The fact remains that if Kate were a 'normal' person, there would have likely been no phone call, and in fact this 'breach of confidence' would have gone unreported and uncared about, even if she had decided to press charges. If there were not a sensationalist story to be made, everyone involved would have put their time, energy, and resources to far better use for both themselves, and for humanity as a whole, and we most certainly would not have to discuss a poor woman's suicide. Q0 (talk) 09:08, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree with you. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 14:32, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Well said, Q0!!! Clapping.gif Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 14:36, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 18:08, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
<AOL></AOL> Doctor Dark (talk) 18:10, 9 December 2012 (UTC)