RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive207

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This is an archive page, last updated 12 August 2013. Please do not make edits to this page.
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Government involvement in the US economy[edit]

Wikipedia's article lists the US system as "mixed" and strongly influenced by Keynes. How is that true? (talk) 23:05, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm guessing because the government subsidizes industry with things like defense spending, infrastructure spending, tax breaks, bailouts, etc. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 23:09, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Roosevelt?--"Shut up, Brx." 23:09, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
No, he has a point. Calling the US a mixed economy is a bit of a stretch; its public spending/taxation/regulation levels have consistently been at at the bottom of the OECD, even when the New Deal was at its peak. (A good bit of that article is crap, but that's Wikipedia for you.) Osaka Sun (talk) 23:37, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
It's not a stretch at all. Just look at the fight over the latest US farm bill. Robledo (talk) 13:12, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
How is it not? The USA may be more capitalist than other industrialized nations, but it's still a mixed economy. The "strongly influenced by Keynes" bit is not really true post-1980, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:06, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Even the US' agricultural subsidies are lower than Mexico's and dwarfed by most of the West. I'm not saying that the federal government doesn't influence the economy (hell, the US Postal Service is constitutionally-mandated), but it's the equivalent of saying that every state with a working bureaucracy is mixed. Osaka Sun (talk) 19:14, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Does your public spending claim include defense spending? PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 19:20, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I remember a study comparing how the Canadian government actually spends less than the US' (around the 30%-ish range per GDP), but gets more for its buck. Nonetheless, ask the average Republican and they'll say that defence spending isn't an economy-related expenditure. Osaka Sun (talk) 21:36, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
...and then they'll go on to explain why the Navy shouldn't close that base in their district. Doctor Dark (talk) 14:34, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

grammar question - western religions.[edit]

"In 'western religions' we find..." Western Religions, western religions or Western religions. never know how to capitalize that concept. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 20:26, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

"Western" is generally capitalized when you're talking about "the West." "Religions" is not. "In Western religions, we find..." . PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 20:31, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Any of those is fine to my eyes, and I doubt anyone but annoying grammar pedants ('Grammar Nazi' seems to have been reclaimed as a term of endearment) would notice if you used the 'wrong' one. — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 07:01, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, we would notice, thank you!
You capitalize the W, because you're referring to a region by its name, not a direction. You don't capitalize the R, because you're using that region as an adjective, rather than expressing a proper noun.--ADtalkModerator 00:33, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
"You don't capitalize the R, because you're using that region as an adjective, rather than expressing a proper noun."
I'm not sure about that. I think 'Western Religion' very potentially could be a proper noun. — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 02:20, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Could be so, if there were one particular Western Religion to be distinguished from Other Religions. Anything but "Western religions" grates on these old eyes. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:35, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
That's not how it works — a 'Western Religion' could be any religion from the 'West' — and your eyes are way too sensitive then. — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 02:40, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
You didn't treat "any religion" as as a proper noun in your own writing just now. That part looks good to me. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 03:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proper_noun(talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 03:07, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Western Religion could be a proper noun, sure. Anything can, it depends on usage. But it would take an absurd amount of twisty talk to make it so, with a special case a la "Dr. Hubert is an expert on the study of the phenomenon of the Western Religion." That is not the case here.--ADtalkModerator 05:24, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
It feels more natural if you're using it as an uncountable noun. "Western Religion is characterized by…"
Any way, my point is that it doesn't really matter. — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 05:35, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I would more naturally say "Western religions are characterized by..." But even though yours sounds awkward to me, I think it's grammatically sound.
You're right about it not mattering in the larger prescriptivist scale, but when it comes to the aesthetic and clarity of a piece of writing, every little bit helps.--ADtalkModerator 12:10, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Everyone get your Star Wars news...[edit]

Yes and YES. Osaka Sun (talk) 06:36, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Star Wars is my favorite movie. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 14:26, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
The old fashioned film watcher in me is overjoyed--MikallakiM 16:28, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Fucking sheep. The franchise has been garbage since 1983. Two solid movies, and thirty years of dreck. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 16:44, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Empire Strikes Back may be one of the finest films in the history of cinema. And the Goonies. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:47, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
To quote one person, George Lucas only ever made three good movies, and one of them was American Graffiti. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:50, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
George Lucas destroyed my childhood memories. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:55, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Battlefront in 2015? That means it'll have new trilogy planets and / or be not shit. Polite Timesplitter Cultural loneliness is a right pain 09:33, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Technical question on page titles, redirects, google searches etc...[edit]

Off line, I was having a conversation with Nutty and trent, I think, about how to get more traffic to the page, and one thing raised was "more articles on specific products that are 'underserved' (for want of a better word) in internet space. Ie., when you search for "clense", there are lots of pages, but we are the only ones who have an article on this or that particular brand. It was also brought up in the sameish conversation that some of the titles on our better articles are odd, in that no one would google directly for said title. So teh question is this - how do redirects get treated by google, on google searches. Do they have to be hit as the redirect itself so often, to be higher on a page? If we wrote one article, and had 10 or 20 redirects (like clense, and redirected from all the different brands we had found reviews on) are those redirects treated teh same in Google as the actual title page.

Sorry for such an obtuse question. I am learning a lot, but i still don't know much about how search engines and site indexing actually work. bad godot!Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 00:25, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Forgive me if I'm wrong on this, as my business partner does most of the code work and SEO in our web development business, but from my experience, Google prefers content pages to redirects themselves. I'm not really familiar with how MediaWiki does the whole "redirect" thing, but in general for a standard 301 redirect, Google transfers any search engine rankings to the redirected page (i.e. the page that the redirects lead to is the page that Google judges, while the redirected pages don't really see any movement). That said, if a wiki redirect isn't the same as a standard 301, I have no idea. I've also seen a few sources that contradict what I've just said, so I'm not sure how much of this is idle speculation.
That said, I also wouldn't be surprised if Google treated excessive redirects in the same way that it treats link spamming (not fondly). While I'm reasonably familiar with SEO in the broad world of web development, my knowledge of wiki software is sorely lacking, so I'm also not sure on that point. Apologies if my answer isn't terribly helpful... - GrantC (talk) 06:25, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
MediaWiki doesn't return a 301 MOVED response by default—going to a redirect page just results in a 200 OK. Using meta tags with the appropriate keywords is probably the easiest solution, and in fact it looks like there's an entire category full of SEO optimization extensions to MediaWiki over at the MediaWiki MediaWiki. (Say that three times fast, I dare you.) AntiDeathPill (talk) 13:36, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC so perhaps duplicating AntiDeathPill's answer) A little bit of explanation as to why Google probably doesn't punish wiki redirects as separate but identical content. First, Wiki redirects are not actually HTTP redirects. Content pages are dynamically generated, so http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins, http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dawkins, and http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/dawkins actually appear to be different HTTP resources with the same content but for a clue that I'm fairly sure Google picks up on, which is why Ken's wiki redirects don't help him and his repeating content in article after article harms him. MW identifies dawkins as the same resource as Dawkins as the same resource as Richard Dawkins - check the HTTP header and you'll notice <link rel="canonical" href="/wiki/Richard_Dawkins" /> on Dawkins. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 14:01, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I completely forgot canonical tags existed. As far as MediaWiki is concerned, all of those are going to Richard Dawkins, which is the only "content" that exists, and everything else is a redirect to that (except for dawkins, because MW enforces the first character in an article name being uppercase, so that's being autoconverted to Dawkins which in turn redirects to the other page, but I digress.) The canonical element tells any search engine bots that this page is just an alternate version of that page, and anything and everything should be credited to that page instead. Unlike a 301, Google can choose to just ignore it if it thinks it's a good idea (how, I have no clue), but it's pretty much the best thing that we can do on MediaWiki and for SEO purposes it seems to work out fine. AntiDeathPill (talk) 14:13, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Ya. Just be careful about distinguishing between a wiki redirect and an HTTP redirect. True enough, who knows what Google actually does with the canonical <rel> attribute. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 14:45, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you both for the clarification; that does make sense. I suppose given how widespread MW is these days, Google would indeed want to make sure to differentiate between duplicate content on separate wiki pages (à la Ken), and harmless wiki redirects. - GrantC (talk) 14:56, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

"Rational" wikipedians are in fact a mixed bag of politically motivated ideologues[edit]

Where "equality" is taken as an a priori point of faith, in addition to spurious arguments used to undermine expressions of inequality, such as the ludicrous "race is not meaningful". Hysterical anti-Christianity is also rampant, while Judaism/Islam are "respected". Irrelevant glorification of sodomy is also inserted into "science" pages. In fact these people are not rational at all - if anything they are mindless and delusional useful idiots of certain special interest groups, or members of those groups themselves. Most pathetically, they demand "talk page justification" for correcting obvious nonsense (such as interfertility invalidating sub-species taxonomy), while reverting you with summaries like "fuck off". In short, they are an unreliable source of politically motivated ideologues, as far from "rationality" as you could hope to find. JohnnyFrostbite (talk) 13:36, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

But you have to admit, we are staggeringly good-looking. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 13:39, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
"Hysterical anti-Christianity"? Considering there's a discussion going on right now where the consensus is "We shouldn't be so mean to religious people" (specifically Catholics), on this page... Troll --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 13:50, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Do I smell projection? Teh core RW demographic may include a few Johnny One-Notes with a single axe to grind, but not so many that things get too tedious.
I, for one, am not gobsmackingly good-looking. Sitting around before my coffee with a three day stubble, in a holy T-shirt and cutoff blue denims, I look nothing like Jeff Bridges. More wannabe rationalists should heed his words, though. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:06, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Note how none of the responses counter the assertions in the OP. JohnnyFrostbite (talk) 14:11, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Curses! he knows of our plan to take over the world by the power of Sodomy! we need to silence this man before he ruins everything! Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 14:17, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Note how the OP never backed up his assertions with citations. --OverworldTheme (talk) 14:26, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Citations are for the weak. Screaming barely coherent conspiracy theories about sodomites and damn juden/sand people/general untermench are the way forward. Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 14:32, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
The word you are looking for is Untermenschen, coherent one. The liberal bias here is transparent. I did in fact illustrate my point with one transparent example of your idiocy. It is just so magnificently fucking stupid that no more needs to be said. JohnnyFrostbite (talk) 14:46, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
You would know the correct spelling of words like that wouldnt you? Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 14:49, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Why not go back to your MikemikeV account? I'll keep it from being blocked or binned unless you do more than just your venial racist sins. Hipocrite 14:50, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Islam is respected? By whom? It's one of the few religions worse than Christianity (at the moment).--Weirdstuff (talk) 15:31, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the point he's trying to make is that somebody making an "all Muslims are X" comment is more likely to get slapped down and called out as a bigot than somebody making an "all Christians are X" comment (that guy may get slapped down, but probably won't get called out for bigotry, only stupidity). I'm not sure the evidence supports the claim, but I kind of get it. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 15:35, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
As you say, the evidence does not support that contention.--Weirdstuff (talk) 15:43, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Just so you know, when you say "'rational' wikipedians" you're saying "'rational' people at Wikipedia". If you mean us, say "'rational'wikians" or something. I assumed at first you were discussing users at Wikipedia (which we do discuss here on occasion), though it seems you aren't. So concludes today's lesson in avoiding unnecessary ambiguity. DickTurpis (talk) 15:56, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

For some obscure reason, everybody except myself is irrational and biased. --Blunt Force Drama (talk) 17:34, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
This is not the first time visitors to this site have mistaken RW to be Wikipedia. Osaka Sun (talk) 17:57, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd like to make a comment to the OP's original issue with how we treat Islam v. Xianity. One of the key things I see at RW, is an awareness of context that is largely missing at sites like Wikipedia. Wikipedia's goal is to *always* attempt to be without opinion or ax. RW looks at the world, sees the nonsense, and tries to correct it. This is *most clear* in the way we try to deal with religion. Christianity, the single largest religion in the home countries of most of the editors, holds a place of privileged. Most people in power are nominally christian, if they are not actively christian. Further, when christian's speak, there is often some sense of "since we hold the majority, our moral opinion must BE the majority". Hence you see things like Anti-gay rhetoric and laws, anti-women rhetoric and laws, even some anti science. and in the US specifically you see LOTS of those three. And, at least in the US, talking about Xianity with anything critical at all, becomes "how dare you". so we attack the holy cow. HOWEVER, in Islam related conversations, they are not a religion of privileged for most of the countries we edit from. They are in fact, attacked, sterotyped, scapegoated. So that, more than the generic religion itself, is what RW focuses on. We criticise elements of Islam, but we also do so aware of context - that we don't just become like anti-Islam sites. Again, most things in the world can be best understood, if you approach them from the idea of privilege. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 18:21, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I couldn't have put it better myself. You're a parochial "rebellious" twerp that wouldn't last five minutes rebelling against the invasive ideologies you support because we're "all equal". JohnnyFrostbite (talk) 18:47, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

A mixed bag indeed, united solely by our shared inability to ignore trolls. AMassiveGay (talk) 18:39, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

...sodomy is also inserted into "science" pages. Hur hur, he said inserted. Ajkgordon (talk) 20:42, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I like how we are "politically motivated ideologues" is used as some sort of insult while disregarding the politically motivated ideological edits of the OP. (Also I'd consider my anti-Christianity to be measured and thoughtful not hysterical; the people who complain from a position of de facto power to be persecuted are the ones who are being hysterical.) I think WfG summed up well the relative positions of different religions on RW. Christianity is the one that most of us run into in our daily lives and in many cases is the one which demonises and tries to marginalise the position and influence of secularism and the godless. While we may be a mixed-bag, one thing which I think is shared by most regulars here is a sense of equality. It's not a faith, it is a basic principle of how we live, and how we think the world should be run. It is important to emphasise that this equality comes from a legal viewpoint. We should all have the same rights regardless of religion, physical ability, sexuality, skin-colour, gender or wealth; I don't think anyone actually argues that we are all equally talented, smart, beautiful or socially "nice". Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 03:04, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
"I don't think anyone actually argues that we are all equally talented, smart, beautiful or socially "nice"."
You do on a between race basis, and use some extremely shoddy reasoning to support it. JohnnyFrostbite (talk) 08:40, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Arsehole question by troll[edit]

Removed. Fuck this guy, we bent over backwards for him.--ADtalkModerator 13:55, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Technically, a straight citationless republishing is a textbook example of copyright violation, and that's exactly what you did. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 07:42, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Fuck 'm.--ADtalkModerator 13:56, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
If by "OK" you mean "not violating copyright," then yes. Why on Earth was that even on your userpage in the first place? What does it have to do with you? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 08:22, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
The essential problem is bringing fights from elsewhere for harassment. Copyright is irrelevant - David Gerard (talk) 08:34, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Breaking: huge racist is also a huge asshole. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 09:20, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

But hey, the rationalwiki community do anything to support it's contributors? Not when there's a troll and his IP's to unblock! Hipocrite 10:31, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks a lot for your responses guys. I was worried about being punished for copyright violation. Is "it's" a possessive pronoun? I'm writing an essay right now about how Jews are never racist or assholes. JohnnyFrostbite (talk) 10:38, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
WTF is going on here? Is someone making trouble for someone in real life over something that happened on the internet? That is grounds for banning if so, surely. DamoHi 12:04, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
A race-realist is just trolling, using the pretense of asking a question to repeatedly quote something that Hipocrit had asked him not to excerpt from private emails. Which I don't really care about, but the guy was unblocked and unbinned with the provision he might contribute, and he's just trolling instead.--ADtalkModerator 13:59, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Meet your new fundraiser[edit]

Hello, RationalWiki. I'm your new treasurer and fundraiser.

RationalWiki has been a part of my life since 2007. Both of us have grown since then, and this year I felt sure enough to offer my services to the Board of Trustees. I'm honored to say they accepted.

If you're wondering about my qualifications, I have an Associates in Business (I will begin working on my Bachelors of Accounting this fall) and have a close adviser in fundraising in my brother, a professional fundraiser himself.

What does this mean for you? Well, the treasurer position is mostly background stuff — bookkeeping and managing money. I take a much more active view about the other half of my duties. Fundraising is less about asking you for money, and more about making you want to give money in the first place. You are not passive piles of money, but human beings. You have and will have questions, concerns, and complaints regarding the Foundation. What I offer is an always-open invitation, a promise to make myself available for and receptive to whatever you have to say.

I'd like to end with a reminder that I'm not an extra-special or more powerful editor. I'm just an ordinary person given an extraordinary opportunity to share my passion for the Foundation, for RationalWiki, and its quirky, fiery, nerdy, chaotic community. However this place evolves, that, at least, will never change.


Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC) Treasurer

You should totally find alternates to Paypal. Regardless, congratulations--"Shut up, Brx." 22:50, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, Brxbrx. PayPal's, um, issues are infamous at this point, so we are looking into alternatives. However, for the time being, we don't have much choice. Despite its treatment of customers, PayPal's sheer ubiquity can't be beat, and making it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to donate is the primary purpose of using a third-party financial service like it. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Stripe and Braintree are the same price without the baggage and faster remittance. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 23:56, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Trivial inconveniences are a bad idea when you're trying to get people to give you their money - David Gerard (talk) 07:53, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
That said, HOLY SHIT the donors are coming through! So Stabby, is it lots of small donors, a few big ones or what? - David Gerard (talk) 21:51, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I just spent the last half hour relearning Excel's countif function. Witness the things I do for you! :-D
About 70% of donations are $25 or under. It makes me really happy to see a bunch small of donations come in, because it means a whole lot of people are out there cheering us on. There are also a surprising number of donors giving large donations (and by "surprising" I mean "more than one"). Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 10:26, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I must say your first fundraiser is going very well indeed, congrats Hamster (talk) 23:59, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

I ate a bad potato[edit]

And have been throwing up intermittently for the past day or so. On one hand, I don't want to bother a doctor, and see it turn out to be something harmless, but on the other hand, throwing up is uncomfortable, and to do it continue doing so for the foreseeable future is a distinctly unpleasant idea. If any of you have any idea what to do, that would be appreciated! Brenden (talk) 03:11, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

After 36 hours of vomiting, go to the doctor. Just my 2 cents.--Token Conservative (talk) 03:47, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Go to the doctor. That's why we have them. To bother them when we're sick. Oh, and make sure you're getting lots of fluids. Get your sweetheart to pick up some ORT powder or make your own by adding 1/2 tsp of salt 1 tsp of baking soda 8 tsp of sugar 8 oz of orange juice to a liter of water.PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 03:57, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
In case you didn't get the message the first two times, don't play games with solanine poisoning. Go to a doctor ASAP. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 04:28, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
You're in the UK, right? Try the free filthy communist NHS. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:14, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
And if you are trying the rehydrating solution and are still vomiting, leave out the orange juice and bicarb. Anything acidic or base can irritate an already inflamed stomach or length of gut. Oh yeah, and see the doctor, just don't dial 111.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 10:09, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
What's the reason not to dial 111? I mean, if you live somewhere that has it? (For non-UK people, the UK has traditionally used 999 for all emergencies, like the US 911, although the EU-wide 112 also works, but people keep abusing 999 because they think their lost hamster or dislike of daytime TV is an emergency, so the government decided there should be a less-than-emergency number 111, for which the rollout has been a bit of a shambles) Tialaramex (talk) 10:30, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
This pretty much sums up the problems with 111, as does this.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 12:20, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Effing call the effing medics, and rehydrate. If you don't have the precise titration of sugar and salt for the optimal solution, cool water will do nicely. Beer or tea are poor choices.

In other news, just a minute ago, I was able to recover the missing canary without calling 911, much to SWMBO's relief and mine. He had gone into the bedroom, and was quietly perched on a curtain rod. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 13:58, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

I always liked a bag of crisps and a (non-Diet) Coke or a Dr Pepper, but an actual doctor insisted on handing me the (less tasty but probably more correctly proportioned) Electrolade sachets. A glass of the resulting unpleasant-tasting liquid is roughly 200ml of water, 4g of sugar, 0.5g of salt, to be taken each time you lose liquid up to 16 times per day. Remarkably, and unlike anything else I've ever been prescribed the information leaflet assures me that this solution has no known side effects, although it does still warn me to tell my doctor if I discover any. Anyway, yes, I said it's a shambles, but the point is that critics say 111 callers sometimes end up in an ambulance they didn't need, but without 111 they ended up calling 999 and still getting an ambulance they didn't need. Expert systems are tunable, and the ones used in this work are always set too cautious because "Ambulance attends woman with menopausal cramps" is a bad headline but "Toddler left to die because parents didn't describe his breathing difficulty as severe" is a dead kid. But the general idea works. The expert system they're using knows, for example, that a kid who ate sixteen paracetamol needs immediate hospitalisation, while a kid who drank the entire bottle of banana flavoured antibiotics just needs a nice lie down. Tialaramex (talk) 15:36, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Gatorade was invented for keeping US football players going in Florida's steamy climate, and can now be found just about anywhere candy, cigarettes, and newspapers are sold. It's got electrolytes, and it's what you crave. Is there not a UK equivalent? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:55, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Lucozade. Ajkgordon (talk) 16:19, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. TOW tells me that caffeine (present in Lucozade, but not Gatorade) is a mild diuretic, but not likely to be a significant factor in dehydration of those accustomed to it. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:28, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
The best thing thing that might have happened is the vomiting: it's getting of whatever toxins. The above seems to be Brenden's last post. Hope he's okay. Maybe he did go to the doctor.Civic CatTalk to Civic Cat 22:19, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, that gives a new meaning to the last post. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 12:25, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
I once had a bout of food poisoning, coupled with too much vodka and an overdose of pep pills that had me literally (and I mean literally, not figuratively) retching solidly for 24 hours. A trip to A&E later and a mere 20 seconds on a saline drip completely sorted me out.AMassiveGay (talk) 11:35, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
You know, I could have let you get away with that literally thing, I mean, 24 hours isn't that long in the event of sickness. I, literally, once had diarrhoea for over 2 weeks, and couldn't move too far away from either a bidet or a toilet - my arse was so sore paper was a no-no. Now if you'd said vomiting for months, then that would have required an explanation (most likely that you were bulimic). Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 12:20, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Whimps. I had morning sickness that lasted 5-8 hours, every day, for nearly a month. ;-)Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 22:53, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
How do you think the potato feels about all this?--"Shut up, Brx." 09:13, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Pinging Brenden[edit]

How's your health? It's been several days. Give us some indication you're okay. Rollback something, even. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 06:31, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Another gripe about "rationalist Wikipedians"[edit]

This troll is probably as good a place as any to raise an issue I've had with Wikipedia for a while now. There's a needle of truth in the haystack of the original post. I've edited Wikipedia for more than ten years, much less actively recently than formerly. I too have issues with the rationalist community of Wikipedia editors. Rationalism is something I mostly subscribe to, but I do have issues with the phenomenon I've always called the "activist mind". Quite simply, the Wikipedia articles on the zodiac signs in astrology are a wretched mess, and contain no information about what sun sign astrology says your personality ought to be. I've always taken a bibliophilic interest in eccentric texts, especially if they're also picturesque, as astrology can be. I think I could improve those pages without making astrology credible. I've always thought I had a way with subjects like that; see, for instance, rasa shastra and fortune telling fraud. My typical approach is to be as matter of fact about these things as possible; the rasa shastra article is a personal favorite. Likewise, I was going to try to expand the sun sign articles with plain English explanations of how the personality assigned to your sun sign proceeds from the elements, planets, and mythology assigned to the constellation that used to be there. All of this is easily referenced, and I have them.

The problem is that a handful of editors have agreed to lawyer away any attempt at adding astrological content to those articles. No textbook of astrology is a reliable source for what astrologers have to say, according to them. Astrological texts are "in universe", a reference to a set of guidelines for writing about fictional subjects. At least I suspect here that we know better than to say that astrology isn't an abiding part of our reality. I wrote that long j'accuse on the problem of anti-supernatural bias (proposed for deletion, of course) and haven't written a whole lot there since. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:20, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

What you want, if you're sincere, is a work that studies how astrological claims relate to the surrounding culture. That way you have a reference for the facts you claim to want to bring to light. So long as what you have are astrological texts themselves, you can't cite them to prove anything except that one particular astrologer believed some cobblers. which isn't worth including except perhaps as a brief excerpt in a biographical article about a particular famous astrologer. The "in universe" complaints are appropriate, the existence of fan fiction in which Hermione Granger travels to Equestria does not constitute a good "reference" for a statement in Wikipedia saying that Hermione Granger is friends with Applejack. The standard remains this high even though both Hermione and Applejack are fictional characters and so it might seem harmless as compared to say, a sentence in the Margarent Thatcher page claiming she was "a witch who ate children". Tialaramex (talk) 08:59, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
This assumes that astrology is incoherent, and that each astrologer makes it up anew. This is not in fact the case; astrology is coherent enough for there to be For Dummies books about it, something that couldn't exist if every astrologer made it up out of whole cloth. There is in fact a coherent body of astrological lore; it's even meaningful to talk of "mainstream astrology" and "fringe astrology", and the lack of information about the substance of mainstream astrology continues to strike me as a glaring omission. The "in universe" lawyering strikes me as the work of people who want astrology ought to go away, so if they can't banish it from reality they can at least keep it out of Wikipedia. And where Wikipedia is concerned, I don't think that's constructive. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 20:01, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I have two problems with your proof by existence of Dummies book. Firstly, these books are trash, even when they're written about a serious topic that's worth writing a book about. Consider "C for Dummies". The C language is worth a book, and that book was "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie, probably one of the best books ever written. But "C For Dummies" is just crap, despite being significantly longer it's far worse and manages to cover less ground and do so less thoroughly, while also making a considerable number of errors along the way. Secondly, they don't need to rely on any "mainstream" or "generally accepted" truths, they're a simple cash-in and correctness (if that would even mean anything for astrology) isn't important unless it would open the publisher up to a serious lawsuit. There is also a Dummies book about Wicca. Think about that for a second. How much more "made up from whole cloth" can you get than Wicca? Maybe Scientology? Is there a "Scientology for Dummies" ? I guess the CoS would set their lawyers on anybody who tried.
Anyway, I'm not trying to block your idea, if you're right that there's lots of common ground then it ought to make my suggestion easier, not harder, to obey. Cite the secondary. Find one of the presumably dozens of books that agrees with you that there's this big common ground among astrologers and it all refers back to cultural traditions and cite them left and right. If instead you insist on trying to prove it yourself then you can only escape from "no in-universe" to "no original research" and get undone again. Tialaramex (talk) 01:24, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
You misunderstand the scope of my "proof" from the Dummies book. The book may well be trash; it's still a glorified crib sheet that hopes to bring you up to speed on the substance of current astrology, and enable its reader to follow astrological 'explanations' and seem literate in its platitudes. If you're an astrologer, there's stuff you're just supposed to know: Gemini's an Air sign, Jupiter and Venus are good planets, Mars and Saturn not so good; a "trine" is good luck and a "square" is bad; Capricorns are misers and Scorpios are given license to carry on like otters. The Dummies book isn't the best source for these ideas; I'd start first with bestselling literature from relatively recent astrologers; "important" or at least widely distributed books like Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, Derek and Julia Parker's The Compleat Astrologer, Nicholas DeVore's Encyclopedia of Astrology, and Arelar and Ribiero's On the Heavenly Spheres, which is the only book on the list that comes from an astrological specialist publisher, but would be valuable for the encyclopedia because it is a serious minded attempt to interpret ancient and medieval astrological texts for the use of contemporary astrologers. The only reason why any of these books are 'in universe' or "unreliable" is because they all assume that the study of astrology is worthwhile. In astrology, as in other ghostly fields like theology, a source's reliability is not tested empirically, but rather, and in part, by fidelity to a tradition. Wikipedia makes the necessary assumptions. The standard for inclusion is verifiability, not truth.
You mention Wicca. Wikipedia in fact contains deep coverage of Wicca's invented traditions and the substance of its beliefs; still, our article also explains how it was cobbled together from bits of Freemasonry,, Aradia, the White Goddess and the Golden Bough, Aleister Crowley, and bits of plagiarized poetry, and the quotemined historical gibberish that became the Wiccan chant Eko Eko Azarak.
Now compare Gemini (astrology). What do you imagine a person who looks up the meaning of Gemini in astrology wants to learn? Will they find it in the Wikipedia article? I really don't think so. Fortunately, there's other places they can learn. As far as I am concerned, this is a gap in coverage of a legitimate subject for which sources are quite available, and which has substantially more historical depth than Wicca. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:06, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I have very little idea what a person could hope to discover by looking up astrological signs in an encyclopedia. I suppose the average person thinks it would tell them which star signs correspond to which birthdays or something, but I happen to already know that in fact astrologers disagree about what to say for that, so it's hopeless. That's why you should find a secondary source for whatever it is you want to write. I'm not going to keep telling you that, if you need to learn how to edit Wikipedia this isn't the place. Tialaramex (talk) 10:45, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Nobody goes around claiming that, for example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a "primary source". An astrology textbook is no different as far as I can tell. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 15:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure you know what a "primary source" is. If I were writing about the beliefs of the contemporary Catholic Church, or a history of the development of Catholic thought, than the Catechism would be a crucial primary source. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 16:12, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Maybe I'm missing something here, but what's wrong with using astrology books as citations for statements about what astrologers themselves say about astrology? It's like saying "The Bible is not a reliable source on what the Bible says." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:34, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Wikipedia already bristles with articles about supernatural wonders whose status as alleged fact can only be referenced to the accounts of believers. Astrology content is lawyered away by all sorts of "special" rules. Every astrology textbook is a 'primary source' no matter how much earlier astrology it references. (Calling the Catechism of the Catholic Church a 'primary source' ignores its actual content too; just about every sentence is referenced to an actual primary source.) Astrological texts are 'in universe' because they assume that astrology is worthwhile. The controversy has dragged on for years, but it seems to me pretty obvious that some editors want to make it impossible to describe astrological beliefs on Wikipedia because they dismiss the underlying subject, and that isn't supposed to be how it works. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:05, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Neb, nothing is wrong with astrology books as sources for what the author of that book said. As I wrote above, in a biography of a famous astrologer a citation from a book they wrote would be totally appropriate. But none of those individual authors can be cited for the general claims Smerdis wants to make only for a much weaker example claim, ie "Some astrologers ..." instead of "Astrologers ...". Suppose I want to add to Wikipedia by mentioning that historically most Science Fiction writers, even supposed Hard SF writers, had no relevant background in science or engineering, making their stories little more than fantasy. Can I just pick up an example of the resulting pulpy nonsense, cite that and yell at anybody who tries to stop me for trying to "own" Wikipedia? That's silly. Far better would be to cite the essay from Microworlds where Stanisław Lem specifically points out the exact fact we're interested in. Now we're writing an encyclopedia, not trying to push a point of view.
If you want a Bible example, citing the KJV for the statment "Many world religions feature a flood myth" is a mistake, the Bible doesn't make any claims about world religions generally and thus can't support that claim. Cite a secondary source (there are lots) which will make the claim you're actually interested in because it talks about many different religions. Tialaramex (talk) 20:53, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
One of the problems, Tlon, is that there is no consensus of what astrology would say. I mean, other than the most extremely trite of "cancers are home loving". Since any one is free to write anything about what the star signs mean, there is no "authority" for anyone to reference. Does the guy that says cancers like to do laundry have more authority than the guy who says they are lazy and don't do housework until someone comes over? That's why the "special pleading" rules for this kind of topic. i don't care how many "secondary" sources you find, they best they can all say is that "the sun means something. really. it does". If/when astrolgiers agree (in the sense that gardinarians have written down what they think) then you could start citing them. tell then?Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:09, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
This isn't my experience at all. At least within Western astrology, there is broad and established consensus about the significance of signs and planets. It's true in one sense that absolutely nothing prevents the next astrologer down the pipe to dub Saturn a benefic planet and Jupiter a malefic. For science, the statements are meaningless. For astrologers, they're meaningful and wrong: not in accordance with traditional opinion, which doesn't disappear or become unverifiable through the literature even if it's empirically quite unverifiable. And just as the unverifiable teachings of Roman Catholicism have been compiled for our consultation in the Catechism, so also have the unverifiable teachings of astrology been compiled by teachers who wish to instruct us in its art. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:40, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Changing an offensive username[edit]

We've got a new user named User:ZiojewDestroyer, which is obviously an unacceptable username. How do we change it? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 04:47, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Step 1: Cry self to sleep over mildly-offensive username.
Step 2: Rename all offensive usernames according to own inscrutable standards.
Step 3: Require people to create new accounts with only real names to avoid offending anyone.
Step 4: Require drivers licence to create new account to verify names.
Step 5: Cry self to sleep over possibly fake usernames.
Step 6: Use CheckUser to verify that usernames are region appropriate.
Step 7: Track down people's home address.
Step 8: Attack John Stuart who signed up to the wiki with the alias John W.
Step 9: Shoot a cop who attends the scene.
Step 10: Get shanked in jail.
There you go - a comprehensive breakdown of the steps involved. Tielec01 (talk) 05:31, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Geez dude, no need to get sarcastic. Especially since Genghis already took care of it. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 05:34, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Also, if you think "Jew destroyer" is only mildly offensive, I can hardly imagine what you think is genuinely offensive. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 05:48, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I can answer that question - things that are genuinely offensive to me. Tielec01 (talk) 05:50, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
A category which does not include endorsements of genocide, but somehow does include people condemning such language. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 06:45, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I would assume that the name is tongue-in-cheek/ironic. After looking at the userpage, it's obvious that they're a troll, which makes it even less offensive to me because getting offended at trolls is just stupid. — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 06:55, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Normally I agree, but when it comes to antisemitism, it doesn't matter to me if it's trolling; it's just disgusting. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 06:58, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Slippery slope fallacy. - LucidFox (talk) 06:49, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Cheers LucidFox, I knew there was a problem with the formal logical steps presented above, but couldn't quite nail it. Tielec01 (talk) 07:19, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, even I have to admit that was pretty funny. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 08:19, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Again, my view is more "wiki at large" and how people perceive it. And some names are really unnecessary here. even though probably no one will see it... even though probably the person is just out for attention, if i'm hanging out editing the wiki here, and am a jew, and see "evil jew destroyer", it's not really a welcoming sign. It's not hard to figure out what names are generally unacceptable. "i rape women", "trans people aren't human" etc. yes, we are killing one troll's freedom of speech on this board. and?Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 19:50, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Needs fixing[edit]

The WIGO section of the front page has a link to "RatonalWiki" (sic). Much as I like the idea of an in-joke, this should be fixed but I couldn't figure out how. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:02, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

My fault. Fixed. Hipocrite 18:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:49, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Inclusion critera #2[edit]

I actually started a section about this issue a while back, so forgive me for being repetitive, but last time, there was a lot of talking, but no real consensus.

So this is the problem: Currently, if someone considers a non-woo or non-politics article to be irrelevant to the mission, , RWikians will start discussing and arguing about whether or not it should be kept. We need a set of pre-defined guidelines to determine what articles are worth keeping, so we don't have to deal with it on a case-by-case basis.

To start off the discussion: Are Stephen Fry, Algernon Swinburne, and Charlton Heston mission-related? (Two people suggested Stephen Fry should be deleted because he's just a famous person "who happens to be an atheist".)--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк)

I have actually been thinking about a radical narrowing of the scope of The Mission --science/pseudoscience/woo is where we hit hardest. In this conception, the only reason to have an article on a US senator, say, would be if he/she used the position to advance creationism, global warming denial, or some other bad science. We do that well. We don't do World War II or genocide or the Iraq war or WikiIndez or YahooNews very well. A radical narrowing of the focus might help us punch harder and be a more valuable resource. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:19, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
And there's that unpleasant feeling again as I agree with Powder. Why cann't we go back to hating each other and taking the opposite stance on everything? Like when the world made sense, and... never mind, I wont finish that joke--Token Conservative (talk) 05:06, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
So, authoritarianism gets thrown out of the window, together with all those articles on racism, conspiracy theories, political schools, economics and gender-related issues? Certain sections of the skeptosphere will cream their pants...
I would be more sympathetic to your proposal if you had shown any interest or expertise in the "limited" topics, but it's just not there. It seems to me that your only contribution is pushing people around.--ZooGuard (talk) 08:28, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
What he↑ said. Scream!! (talk) 11:31, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia has extensive guidelines on what merits inclusion. People there are still expected to decide on what gets deleted on a case-by-case basis, and they do so. No rules can substitute human decision-making, unless you want to spend all your time writing rules and getting people to agree with them.--ZooGuard (talk) 08:28, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Zoo: I have no expertise in the topics mentioned, but this isn't about me. It's about at least thinking about how to play to the community's strengths to craft a project that does outstanding work at what it is best at. From where I sit, the best articles, or the ones with the potential to become the best articles, are those that go after active woo-meisters, and those that debunk pseudoscience and the use of religion as a way to limit scientific knowledge. I don't actually think this idea will go anywhere, but, in the six years that I've been an active editor here under various names, it strikes me that a bit of mission creep has diluted some of our strong suits. That's all. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 12:30, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

This has long been an individual debate, and I think it's usually sorted out correctly in these collected mini-discussions about deletion. In aggregate, I think it's also given us a pretty good idea of what to keep: any article on any topic can be relevant as long as it is either (a) mission-specific (an article that is about a woo topic or authoritarianism or anti-sciencism), (b) meta-mission (an article about someone or something that works either for or against the mission, such as prominent anti-science politicians), or (c) provides background or other necessary information to either of the other two criteria (an article about kosher is not mission-relevant, but very helpful to discussing the fallacies of strict Biblical literalism).

I am very skeptical that it does much harm to keep other articles, though, and I think that we should err on the side of retention - but at the same time we should be eager to cut away any bits that are embarrassing or irrelevant.--ADtalkModerator 12:59, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

This is another discussion that's bigger than immediately apparent. It's inappropriate to make assumptions about key issues when there's good data available. I've got nothing concrete but I do know the obvious: the readership grossly outnumbers the editorship. We're necessarily making assumptions about our readers' political, religious, and tonal sensibilities, and what they expect from a site with our mission as described that may not be wrong. The foundation is a non-for-profit outfit, but that certainly doesn't mean we don't care about how RW's implementation of its mission appeals to donors. We don't take an editorial position, so that's on y'all.
There are tried and true ways to validate your assumption directly with our readership, AD. Commercial sites routinely pop up unobtrusive boxes in a banner or corner of a reader's viewport asking them a single time whether they'd be willing to answer a brief survey on their user experience. This is a no-brainer #winning solution. Maybe getting the community solid data would advance these discussions beyond speculation. I think good data would also help the foundation a lot. Just some thoughts. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:34, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Other than agreement with Nutty (Christ this feels weird) I would like to mention that racism, sexism, and economics would fall under the category of "pseudoscience or background thereof", and I don't think Powder would be extremely offended if we included conspiracy theories (often tangential pseudoscience in one way or another anyways). I'm not really sure of any political school article we really need, other than maybe Nazism/Communism/Anarchism, but even then. As for AD's remarks, I'm not a fan of (b). I think that with few exceptions, anything we could say about a person who pushes woo, could be fit into the article on that form of woo. Rather than have dozens of small, incomplete articles about one subject, I think it would be better if we had two or three large, complete articles about that subject.--Token Conservative (talk) 17:07, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
My own vote would be for spinning off (not deleting) 90% of the CP-related stuff especially WIGO CP, and allowing folks to write about anything else as long as it's vaguely relevant and of decent quality. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:42, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't clear enough that I think it's time to shit or get off the pot. Not one of us has good data on what people come here looking for. You either give lip service to the mission and carry on as usual, as I think Hamilton and Doctor Dark are suggesting, or you do it right and figure out how to better serve your readers. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 22:06, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I have to agree with Nutty; we haven't a clue what RW's audience wants from us. Yes, baseline traffic is growing, but no one knows why. Any effort to retool our mission or refocus articles is just so much masturbation without understanding what interests our readers have in the first place. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Seconded (Thirded?) The worst that could happen is that we can't draw conclusions from the data and are no worse off than we are. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 22:45, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Comment. The political material on the site interests me and I think is relevant largely because politics is one of the chief engines of human exceptionalism. The political world, especially on all of its fringes, is full of doomed ideas that will cause great grief if anyone tried to implement them: but what they share is obliviousness or denial of inherited human nature. Science now has a great deal to teach politicians about our moral emotions, the social dynamics of sexual reproduction, and the transmission of cultural values (hint: Mom and Dad didn't really teach you all that much.) If nothing else, we now know more about why certain political programs that have been idealistically launched in the past failed so bloodily and spectacularly. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:11, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
As a non-editor but a regular reader (who frequently links people to your pages) I would like to give you some data. I was originally drawn to your fine wiki by the gratuitous, immature and hilarious CP-bashing; but I stayed for the snarky and intellectual discussion of other things.
To be honest, I'm not that interested in your pages on general skepticism, well-written though they are. The world doesn't lack for scholarly text explaining how homeopathy is pseudoscience or how eugenics is nonsensical: anyone who needs such things debunked isn't going to be reading this site in the first place. Equally, while you have a great deal of good New Atheist style material, this is not an area of human endeavour which sits uncharted.
To my mind, what Rationalwiki does better than anyone else is to debunk the internet's own unique brand of stupid. Groups like Conservapedia, Stormfront, Less Wrong, Answers in Genesis and Citizendium are pushing their own lines of woo, and the wider skeptic-o-sphere doesn't spend as much ink examining these as they perhaps deserve, since online-only crazy seems to slip under the radar. This really seems to be Rationalwiki's value-add and is something that you don't get much of elsewhere.
Anyway, no matter which way you take the site, I'll be reading and donating what I can. I just wanted to break the silence and give you feedback since you asked for it. Take care. (talk) 09:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Squid data[edit]

I'm going through squid data and finding a lot of surprising stuff. I'm curious what people think some of the top 20 are for (a) gross number of pageviews and (b) order of being an entry point to the site. Each person (in the US) who gives a unique correct answer gets a McDonald's ice cream cone. Hint: one of my assumptions was really really wrong. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:09, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Hmmm... New Gwenson? SophieWilderModerator 20:16, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I would guess (sadly) CP pages still pull a heafty load of people in for the yuck yucks. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 20:24, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Probably Poe's Law or Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ or something similar? Scream!! (talk) 21:01, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Godot gets an ice cream for WIGOCP and TWIGOCP. Scream wins with Evidence for the Historical Existence of Jesus Christ. Keep em coming. I'll post some lists in a few days. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 23:21, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Am I eligible? Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:27, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I'll take you to El Pinto when the chiles come in. It's better than ice cream. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 23:53, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Lessee... Art, I'll take denialism for $200. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:55, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Nosir. I wish it was higher than 400. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 02:43, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Project blue beam and Freeman on the land still up there? DamoHi 12:35, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Ding! Project Blue Beam (Gerard is a genius) is approximately No. 3 and Freeman on the land is approximately No. 16. You guys are good. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 14:40, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
This all seems to line up pretty well with the most-viewed pages stats - any good surprises? Any place where we should be shifting our priorities?--ADtalkModerator 00:31, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm going to keep Ken happy and guess Colonic. You know us atheist nerds and our arseholes. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 23:13, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Wait - nutty you are in NM, so when you say chilis, you mean real Hatch (sp) NM chilies. ok, heck with the ice cream, i'm crashing for chilis.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 22:07, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Gish Gallop for sure. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:28, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Can we just get the rankings already?--Token Conservative (talk) 23:21, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

"Leaving and never coming back"[edit]

RationalWiki:Leaving and never coming back. Anyway, this doesn't seem to be the place for me. I donated money during the last donation drive, but I don't think I'll be doing so again. I thought I was supporting a website that was pro-freedom, pro-science, pro critical thinking, and to some degree against the excesses of religion. After recent "discussions" on here, I have to say that this website involves too many people for legal censorship of merely hateful and merely offensive speech. It has too many people who would rather let hundreds of innocents rot in prison for decades without charge or trial than do something about it. It has some people who object to limiting acceptable evidence to exclude human intuition. It has people who are outright hostile to my accurate characterization of the Catholic church as an international child rape ring, and my accurate characterization that every self-professed Catholic, and especially the ones who tithe, provide material and moral support to this child rape ring. Finally, and worst of all, it seems that this web site is ok with telling adults that it's ok if they want to believe something which is made up, and that the truth does not matter, and that it's not anyone else's place to tell those adults that their beliefs are humbug. Consequently, I'll invoke that line, and hopefully with any luck I'll never visit here again. (Except for the evidences against a recent creation, which remains by far my favorite page on this web site.) And yes, I appreciate the irony of this, especially when I linked to our page characterizing this. If you don't mind, I'll get that Wahmbulance on the call now. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 10:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

I guess this means that it would be pointless to post any replies?--ZooGuard (talk) 11:29, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
So you're doing a LANCB because we're not anti-religion enough? OK, I guess. DickTurpis (talk) 11:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
My dear EL. Most people don't disagree with most of what you say on here. But they do disagree with how you say it and the corollary of that. Accusing the leadership of the RCC of protecting child molesters and paedophiles and equating it to the evil perpetrated by other organisations is reasonable. Accusing all members of the Church as being no better than Nazis or members of the KKK isn't, even if your reasons for doing so are explained. It's silly, shrill, and counter-productive.
One of the key tools of successful persuasion is engagement. You do everything but. If you are genuinely interested in change, then you need to engage. Pulling a Godwin in much the same way as Ken does with Darwin and Hitler isn't going to persuade any Catholic or anyone with any sympathy to Catholics. Remember that many if not most Catholics are perfectly aware of the crimes of their Church. And many are actively involved from the grassroots to the upper echelons in making changes in a deeply conservative and hierarchical organisation. At the same time as remaining deeply in love with their personal religion. All that one of your rants is likely to do is to promote denialism. You must try to see others' perspective, be proportionate in your comparisons and opinions about complex and emotive issues, be tolerant of disagreement even if you're certain you're right, be aware of history, culture, context, nuance, and all evidence, and above all engage respectfully with people both with you and against you. If you don't, you'll continue to alienate. Ajkgordon (talk) 12:14, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
You're leaving because too many people disagree with you? I guess it's a comfort to know your more ludicrous views won't be spreading far in the world, since you prefer to huddle with the like-minded. That's a pretty normal perspective, though, don't worry.
After all, the old adage says, "When the going gets tough, the tough flee."--ADtalkModerator 13:06, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Why antagonize EL? Do you hope they'll come back and argue more? Let EL leave if you hate them so much.--TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 19:32, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't want him to leave. I think he has made valuable contributions in the past. I thought my statement was actually a really shockingly obvious challenge to him to remain and engage in civilized discussion, rather than storm off in a huff.--ADtalkModerator 20:31, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I understand you want EL to reply to your challenge, I don't think anything productive will come of it. Why are you so sure EL will calm down? --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 20:41, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Never mind, this is none of my concern. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 20:47, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
He's so sure because of the vanishingly small number of people who actually leave and never come back after publicly announcing their intention to do so. Robledo (talk) 00:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The inherent problem with EL's reasoning is that, while I agree whole-heartedly that the Catholic church is an intrinsically evil institution, I also know that if I shunned every Catholic I know, my life would be vastly more awkward. I realize that I should be telling these people like it is, but when those same people are my (extended) family, my co-workers and my bosses, it becomes infinitely more difficult to explain my positions in a way that won't result in something bad happening. Ideally, according to EL's reasoning, I could just shrug this off. But these are people who play an important role in my life, and if I ignored that fact, I'd be a sociopath. Finally, the reason that "this web site is ok with telling adults that it's ok if they want to believe something which is made up" is because we also understand that you are not going to change everybody's mind. Indeed, I would liken RationalWiki's function as being more like a an internet webfilter; we warn you about things like Mormonism and Catholicism, and we tell you why they are bad. But, ultimately, if you really want to be a Catholic so bad with all crimes of the Church in consideration, who the fuck are we to stop you? How are we to stop you? Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 09:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

"We're through the looking glass now, people"[edit]

Does anyone know the origin of that phrase? Was it the Simpsons, or was Lisa quoting someone else (...who in turn was referencing Lewis Carrol?) PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 03:04, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Google gets me as far as finding that Millhouse quotes from Oliver Stone's "JFK". I also find several Americans asserting that the metaphor invoked here is common in American English, just as stealing cookies from a cookie jar is common, or the idea of the bottom of the barrel being the worst part of something, though that doesn't rule out Stone being the first to use it in a movie. Personally for me it always makes me think of the James Earl Jones character Alice in "By Dawn's Early Light" for different reasons. Tialaramex (talk) 08:18, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
What a disappointment this section turned out to be! I thought something really weird had happened. Spud (talk) 10:04, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I would imagine that the origin of the phrase is from "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll, although maybe I'm missing the point of this convo.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 10:45, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
It's an allusion to that book.
A few minutes with google suggests that Tialaramex is right to pin the origin of that particular phrasing to JFK.--ADtalkModerator 13:41, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Right, the general idea seems to have stayed with Americans more than the British, despite Carroll's nationality. Looking glass is a "U word", which means that it was a class signifier in Britain, a middle class person would typically choose the synonym "mirror" instead. Today the picture with "U words" is much more complicated, but there will still be a variation in people's nomenclature, and some people would continue to avoid "looking glass" either consciously or unconsciously. "We're through the mirror" doesn't have quite the same prosody. Tialaramex (talk) 22:00, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I think you'd struggle to find anyone using "looking glass" today unless they're going for poetic effect or alluding to Carroll. Robledo (talk) 23:26, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. I poked around on Google and missed the JFK reference, somehow. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 22:35, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Eternal Vigilance (blog)[edit]

I am quite drunk and in the few minutes that I skimmed the motherfucking spectacular website have not been able to determine whether it is satirical. (If it isn't, I reckon it warrants an article and I'm perfectly happy writing the majority of it once I've sobered up.) Lola Lazerface (talk) 03:29, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

The presence of buddy Christ suggests poorly done parody--MikallakiM 03:41, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
That's what I thought until I started reading, impaired though my judgment may be. Lola Lazerface (talk) 03:44, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The Presence of Buddy Christ pretty much negates anything written in the site. --MikallakiM 03:49, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Not parody IMO. It is, just a libertarian fellow from somewhere in NZ who is sharing his opinion on the political points of the day, he happens to also be a christian, and perhaps some of his ideas are a little out of the ordinary, but really not much to see here. FWIW, from skimming a couple of his stories I reckon he is has a point when it comes to the GCSB amendment bill, and some of the other points he makes. Why do we need to have an article on a few guys who write a blog expressing their opinions on the news of the day? DamoHi 04:07, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Scientism? That's a new one. Vulpius (talk) 16:20, 6 August 2013 (UTC)


Tina Fey is going to be in the next Muppet movie!!! PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 22:36, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Um, good for you?--Token Conservative (talk) 23:05, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Yes it is. Muppets are cool. Tina Fey is cool. Muppets + Tina Fey is doubleplus cool. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 23:15, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Now, if only they would release seasons 4 and 5 of The Muppet Show on DVD.--Cms13ca (talk) 00:07, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
They're on the torrents, FWIW. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 00:16, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

What, no Amy Adams? What's the point of seeing a movie that doesn't have Amy Adams? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 01:51, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Testube burger has just been eaten...[edit]

...and it hasn't killed anyone, yet. Not cheap, but apparently ready to go commercial in 10 to 20 years, which I suspect is the science-speak equivalent to forty days and forty nights.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 12:31, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

mmm... Beef Vats. Civilization Call to Power anyone? -- (talk) 01:20, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Is it weird to say that I can't wait for this to become mainstream? — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 02:24, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
It would be weird if the first think you want to eat isn't a self-burger. Pork mince burger is delicious (the man who used to sell them to me called them HAMburgers), we supposedly taste like pork, so I'm thinking a burger grown from my own flesh would be worth trying. This also defuses the residual ethical concern about the donor, stick the informed consent of a sound minded fellow citizen up your ethical concerns you crazy anti-meat people. Tialaramex (talk) 08:36, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I cannot wait to eat a juicy hamburger again. This technology cannot come soon enough for me. Tielec01 (talk) 08:37, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I would not eat a test tube burger for the same reason I will not eat a normal burger. Burgers taste horrible. AMassiveGay (talk) 10:04, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
You have no tastebuds and I'm ashamed to be registered on the same site as you. — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 21:28, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This whole thing reminds me of Venus, Inc. by Cyril M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl, classic science fiction showing a dystopian society where corporations' right to advertise is enshrined in a Constitutional amendment. One of the "characters" is Chicken Little, a lump of cultured protein big enough for humans to burrow under and hide. Its human attendants slice off pieces for packaging and sale to the masses, who also eat Turr-Kee(tm) salad sandwiches on Bredd(tm) and drink Coffiest, laced with "a simple alkaloid. Nothing harmful. But definitely habit-forming. After ten weeks the customer is hooked for life. It would cost him at least five thousand dollars for a cure, so it's simpler for him to go right on drinking Coffiest— three cups with every meal and a pot beside his bed at night, just as it says on the jar."

I am not encouraged. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 11:12, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm sure you're aware that companies have claimed in court that they are not lying in their advertisements when they in their advertisements because "no reasonable person would believe our claims". --Token Conservative (talk) 15:16, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Which is exactly why we have the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK. Innocent Bystander (talk) 15:25, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I did not know that, but I wouldn't put it past them. In the Kornbluth/Pohl books, the "right to advertise" even extends to virulent subliminal ads for highly addictive soda drinks, if accompanied by appropriate warnings and disclaimers. Naturally, the statutory caveats come in small print, easily obscured by bits of surrounding clutter... In that universe, legislators do not represent geographical districts, but corporate conglomerates. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think we've gotten quite that far yet. But yes, companies have claimed in court (and won) that they are not lying in their advertisements because no reasonable person would believe what they say in their advertisements. Innocent, do you know if there's an equivalent in Germany or Scandinavian states?--Token Conservative (talk) 18:48, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Sure, the most famous example is Pepsi listed a Harrier jump jet for 7 million "Pepsi points" in some advertisements for a familiar type of save tokens from packaging to receive promotional gifts offer. A few points for a badge, more for a poster, yet more for a T-shirt, and so on. So that people could obtain gifts that they didn't have quite enough points for Pepsi rather generously offered to exchange a modest amount of cash for points. Somebody tried to sue because Pepsi wouldn't give them a Harrier Jet for a handful of the actual tokens plus a large cheque. Pepsi argued in court that no reasonable person could have believed they could receive a Harrier, and the DoD pointed out that Harriers are military hardware, not available to private citizens in working condition. Pepsi won.
Does that really seem like a decision that should be reversed? In hindsight Pepsi should have said 7 billion points, yes, but do they need to be punished for this error? Should advertisements have to be carefully vetted by an expert panel of pedants with advertisers held responsible for any bizarre interpretation of the advert's meaning? How boring would adverts be if they couldn't show people making noises in space, anthropomorphic animals enjoying their products or assert that Irn Bru is made from girders? Tialaramex (talk) 21:24, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The case I was referring to was when someone sued the people that make Vitamin Water for claiming it was good for you, what with the vitamins and minerals and all. It was really just sugar water and little else. The manufacturers response was that no reasonable person would believe that their product was anything more than sugar water after seeing the ad, so they hadn't lied.--Token Conservative (talk) 23:03, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
IMO, yes Pepsi should have been fined or something for this kind of irresponsible stunt (not made to honour their implausible promise of a jet). Advertising standards organisations have been cracking down on this sort of thing for decades; if they didn't we would return to the days when advertisers could make all sorts of wild claims & promises about their product with no accountability. (I don't understand what any of this has to do with the burger thing above, but whatever.) ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:52, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The talk about advertising started with mention of Venus Inc. In that tale, commercial interests have captured the legislature, and all sorts of advertising are protected as free speech. Suit-wearing members of the 1% are proud that the only protein they taste is "new meat," carved from tissue cultures.

An opposition faction has found a foothold on Venus, where advertising must be strictly truthful. For example, a café menu says "The red wine is corky and not a good year" and that "The cocktails are canned premixes and taste like it" Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:18, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

What "days when advertisers could make all sorts of wild claims" ? Accountability for the advertiser begins at least as early as Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (the usual example given in introductory Contract Law). The company advertised that their product would prevent users from getting influenza. Sharp minded RW users will be aware that even today we don't have anything capable of achieving that, and indeed the Smoke Balls probably were far worse than useless. But still, the plaintiff in the case used the balls as instructed, and then contracted influenza. The advertisements promised a specific reward of £100 to anyone who did contract flu after properly using their product, plaintiff wanted her £100 and the company wouldn't give it to her. The court found in her favour. It's a very interesting case, and I'd recommend reading and thoroughly understanding their decision and preferably also its consequences for the rest of today's law (e.g. contracts you agree to without really being aware of their terms) before being too sure how you feel about that. It even got cited by the judge in the PepsiCo case that I mentioned above, not that it helped the plaintiff in that case one bit. Tialaramex (talk) 22:35, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
That was about a specific health claim, rather than a general "it's good for you!". It is also different because Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company was in the UK (where there are advertising standards), while the Vitamin Water case I mentioned above was in the US (where we don't, aside from specific health claims).--Token Conservative (talk) 23:03, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Advertising standards? In 1892? Pull the other one, it's got bells on it. Also, the ASA is non-statutory, it is paid for by advertisers, its decisions have no force in law. The ASA is voluntary self-regulation by an industry that knows if it pisses too many people off too often it will get a slap that would really hurt. That is, it's worried about people like you or Weaseloid moaning until the politicians "do something about it" and have advertising banned outright or all directed via a government censor who has a six month backlog and a £5000 minimum charge.
Today the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company's lawyers would advise them that to make a health claim about their product to the public they need a license authorising the sale of the product as a medicine. Without such a license, any such claims would be illegal. In many countries (but admittedly not the US) the license has to be for over-the-counter sale, an even stricter standard.
Furthermore, Carlill would be able to claim that the product was defective and win damages for its non-performance in a slam dunk lawsuit. It's poisonous, so selling it to her would violate a whole bunch of health and safety rules, and the whole industry (if there were an industry of poisonous health ball makers or sellers) would be held responsible for not having self-regulated to prevent obvious harms to consumers. Basically nothing like this could happen in any First World country today without triggering an avalanche of public investigations, criminal prosecutions and private lawsuits. But it didn't happen today, it happened more than a century ago, before consumer protection was a "thing". Tialaramex (talk) 07:37, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
On the subject of Vitamin Water specifically, the ASA examined complaints about several poster and leaflet adverts that the Coca-Cola corporation ran for this line of products, which were basically trying to give a vague impression that it was good for you without saying so outright (notably with the phrase "More muscles than brussels"). The ASA told Coca-Cola that the adverts were unacceptable, and no more of them ran. The product remains on the market in the UK, the sugar content is clearly indicated on the label and the product makes no actual health claims. Nobody sued Coca-Cola about it here, as far as I know. Tialaramex (talk) 07:52, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
As I said, it was sued in the US and won on the grounds of "no reasonable person would buy this"--Token Conservative (talk) 14:50, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Random hypothetical[edit]

Let's say there's a planet somewhere that has twice as much CO2 as Earth, but is otherwise in perfect shape for Earth-like life to take place (possibly a little further from its star) and that life has in fact sprung up. In that kind of condition, would it be more likely/reasonable that animals would descend from plants, or that animals would evolve independent of plants, but would evolve a way to photosynthesize CO2 like a plant (like how moles from South Africa and Australia are unrelated but have extremely similar bodies)?

The things SciFi nerds argue about.--Token Conservative (talk) 18:58, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

The amount of CO2 would suggest the former. Take "suggest" very lightly. Osaka Sun (talk) 19:14, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Because "who the hell knows what evolution would do under any circumstances"? Yeah, about what I figured.--Token Conservative (talk) 19:37, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Earth's atmosphere probably used to be mostly nitrogen and CO2, with virtually no oxygen. So roughly what you're suggesting. And then bacteria created a huge amount of free oxygen. So I guess I'd say that things would be the way they are now.--ADtalkModerator 19:45, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Huh. I didn't actually think about the effect of bacteria. I may need to rethink this then.--Token Conservative (talk) 20:08, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Neither. It isn't reasonable to expect that if you re-run the abiogenesis on Earth you get anything that we'd count as a plant or animal. The convergent evolution you're talking about happens in a context which has two factors that your scenario lacks: common ancestors and a common environment. The mole niche exists, and the most important parts of the genetic instruction book for making a mole are shared across all life, such as insects and trees. In a reboot scenario you don't begin with the animal niche at all, and you don't have the common instructions ready to make anything we'd recognise, probably even the core replicator molecule (nucleic acids for us) is result of blind luck, winner takes all in the early moments of evolution.
Also you seem to be assuming that the CO2 levels are a big deal, maybe that they would displace something vital? They aren't. Obviously life here on this planet would be (will be) very uncomfortable for us with elevated levels due to the greenhouse effect, but in other respects it makes no difference, the majority of the atmosphere is Nitrogen, mostly inert, then there's a whole lot of Oxygen (which is ridiculously dangerous and toxic) and then a little Argon (really inert) and a tiny amount of other gases such as Carbon Dioxide, if you were buying "Air" the CO2 would probably count as a minor impurity of no importance unless you were buying "medical grade" or something. Tialaramex (talk) 20:30, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC) CO2 levels are less than half of one percent and have nearly doubled since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Even in quite recent time (geologically) concentrations have been much higher and life evolved in similar ways to how it evolves today. Common ancestors and all that. Evolution seems to produce universal and arbitrary characteristics. Universal characteristics are things like carbon base, photosynthesis, symmetry and so on. However, the arbitrary characteristics are the ones that would throw a huge spanner in thinking that life would evolve similarly even on a very similar planet to earth. Especially those arbitrary characteristics that evolved early on. There is little reason to suspect that there would be plants and animals, two of the least diverse kingdoms on earth anyway. Ajkgordon (talk) 20:47, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
In the Pre-cambrian, when life was composed of single cells or small colonies, it was a matter of rolling the dice to see which ones would form the niche of motile creatures. It could have happened differently. All of the motile living things from jellyfish to humans are more closely related to fungi than either the fungi or us are to plants, and all three are minor compared to the legions of bacteria and other single celled critters. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:04, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Also, there is no reason to believe that advanced life has to be "plants" or "animals" or anything we would even recognize. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:08, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The elephant in the room here is that photosynthesis can't support an animal. It's impossible unless the animal was more or less indistinguishable from a plant, in that it didn't move, had ridiculous surface area to volume ratio and had no active respiratory or circulatory system. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:11, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Not being a scientist, all i'd ask is "why not?" why couldn't it have all those? or have an even more effected photosynthesis? or a more effective energy delivery system? or be ridiculously big? or do both photo synthesis and eating? Since we (earthlings) are the only life forms we have to study, we make assumptions, but I'd wonder if those assumptions are just cause of circular reasoning - nothing else to test. again, i'm not at all a scientist, just play one at RW. ;-) Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:15, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, put it this way. The average human metabolism runs something like 120 watts. The average insolation of earth runs about 1300 watts per square metre. If we assume a human were perfectly flattened like a leaf, it would present something like .9 of a square meter of surface area to the sun. So to avoid dying during the night, and assuming perfect energy storage, your photosynthetic human would have to run something like 20% efficient. In comparison, a plant runs about 4-5%. Humans are pretty big and efficient as metabolisms go, as well as being largely sedentary beasts. Pity the poor bastard shrew who has to try and live on light. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:38, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The elephant in the room here is that photosynthesis can't support an animal
What we were thinking is that the higher amount of CO2 would mean that the animals were not able to be as active as they are on Earth, so they would use photosynthesis as a means of supplementing their diet, rather than using it as their major source of nutrition. As for the general comment of "Why are you assuming plants and animals at all?", well, we were talking about making a SciFi setting, and some things just have to be assumed to have happened, even if it decreases the "hardness" of the setting.--Token Conservative (talk) 23:18, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Just to reinforce something mentioned above: twice as much CO2 as present-day Earth is still fuck all CO2. Robledo (talk) 23:35, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Wouldn't it still be enough to suffocate most Earth life over a few weeks as we're unable to displace carbon from our blood via respiration?--Token Conservative (talk) 23:57, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Current levels are heading towards 0.04%. I can't see any reason why doubling that would cause any respiration issues. Robledo (talk) 00:11, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
We started with my saying "The planet has atmospheric CO2 levels high enough that humans would not be able to survive on the atmosphere for very long". I was then told by another member of the discussion who is working towards pre-med that doubling atmospheric CO2 would suffocate us over a few weeks because we wouldn't be able to properly displace CO2 from our bloodstream via respiration.--Token Conservative (talk) 00:43, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Humans are generally able to tolerate CO2 levels up to around 3-4% for extended periods of time. Concentrations of around 7% can suffocate you. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 00:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Your pre-med friend is mistaken. 800 ppm is nowhere near enough to cause serious problems to humans. Mild effects begin to occur around a few thousand ppm and more serious effects only when concentrations are well above 10,000 ppm. I don't know exact numbers off the top of my head but you can google if you care. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:48, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────When we make comments like able to tolerate CO2 levels up to around 3-4% for extended periods of time and Mild effects begin to occur around a few thousand ppm, what kinds of impacts are we talking about?--Token Conservative (talk) 00:53, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Asphyxiation actually requires about 100,000 ppm. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:03, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
That sounds about right. (Note 100,000 ppm = 10%!) Doctor Dark (talk) 01:09, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC) At a few thousand ppm mild drowsiness could be possible, especially in susceptible individuals. At tens of thousands of ppm it would be progressively harder to exert yourself (since you have to dispose of more CO2) and eventually concentrations could be high enough to cause death. But that would be a super-high concentration. Again I don't recall the exact numbers but I'm sure WP has an article. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:07, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I blame the evil metric system. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 02:55, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Why? It's CO2 not CO10. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 03:15, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

OK, since I apparently started out with the completely wrong set of assumptions, what is something you could do to the atmosphere that would prevent Earth-like (or atleast human) life from surviving, but would not strictly prevent life from forming?--Token Conservative (talk) 01:15, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

That's hard to say, especially given that we know that life forms have evolved to survive in volcanic environments and the bottom of the sea, and that's just Earth. The chief constraint to me would appear to be temperature; I'm guessing that any conceivable life form has to be made of some fairly complicated molecules, and there's only a relatively short range of temperatures where they're stable. This is also the reason why silicon based life doesn't work; there are plenty of silicon compounds analogous to carbon ones, but the temperatures they'd need to be at to exhibit similar physical properties doesn't make them stable either. CO2 is a gas. SiO2 is quartz. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 02:55, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
"It's life Jim. But not as we know it." Redchuck.gif ГенгисunbelievingModerator 03:17, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
In other words, from a Hard Sci Fi perspective, I'm kind of fucked. Very well, thanks.--Token Conservative (talk) 03:40, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

When cyanobacteria evolved the ability to use sunlight, water, and CO2 to make energy, their waste product - O2 - almost wiped out the rest of life on Earth. Then the leftovers evolved ways to take advantage of the O2 to eat the hydrocarbons and nitrogen compounds stored by the descendents of those bacteria - plants. Great discussion, if a bit weird. You need to understand how CO2 and water interact via carbonic acid to really continue this. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Great discussion, if a bit weird
I think it will make more sense when I tell you that this was the product of my DnD group discussing a planet that has life native to it, but cannot sustain human life for atmospheric reasons, and me (as the DM) not wanting to figure out what animals that evolved from plants would be like.--Token Conservative (talk) 05:53, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Great stuff, TC. This is why I love science fiction, even when it's unlikely or unrealistic. Arthur C Clarke used to talk about this quite a lot actually, describing how life elsewhere might be so alien to us that we might not even recognise it as life. Other SF authors have described life based on ammonia rather than water, life based in gas giant atmospheres, even life evolving based on magnetic fields on the surface of neutron stars or neutrinos or all sorts of things. Stephen Baxter is good at that. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:42, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm usually more into near-future hard sci fi. This is the first time I've ever seriously worked on building new species, or dealt with other planets.--Token Conservative (talk) 14:52, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
This is only peripherally an atmospheric condition, but low humidity and beryllium-rich soil will preclude human habitation unless people are very, very good about dust control and air filtration. (Someone actually used this as a plot premise in a science fiction story published in the era of print, but I can't remember who.) Hydrogen and Time (talk) 15:04, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

UK geeks! (or just smart US geeks, or euro geeks, i don't care)[edit]

So I just learned today that the UK "traditionally" uses something called the Long Standard Scale for "billion and trillion" - call me stupid, i know. (i knew french did, but they have different words, so i just learned 'mille, million, millard'). So if the UK still apparently uses 12 0s in a billion, and the US uses 9 0's, what does "science" that oh so general concept use, other than the smart scientific notation? I'm used to hearing that the universe is 14.something billion years old (14 x 10^9), but is that only cause i'm reading US science? Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 03:48, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

When I was in my early 20s (1970s) billion was still a million million, a trillion was a million million million and some people used milliard for a thousand million; but in pre-inflationary times those big numbers were not in common usage in the media. Nowadays pretty much everyone in the UK uses billion and trillion in the US sense. In many of my newer geology books they speak of gigayears (Gy) rather than billion. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 03:57, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
It does not matter what the common words are, 10^12 still = 10^3 * 10^9. So science and math are safe from the crossword puzzlers. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:00, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
What Human said basically wraps it up nicely. When numbers are written out instead of using scientific notation, SI prefixes are generally used (which are independent of scale as well). That said, the universe is indeed roughly 14 billion years old by the short scale. - GrantC (talk) 04:04, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
As an interesting side note, using the SI terms Gy and My was also quite common in my astrophysics studies. - GrantC (talk) 04:06, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

An explanation of the difference between Long Standard and Short Standard. Additionally, here is a free video on how the French number system works (short version: it's stupid), and on why base 12 number systems make more sense then base 10.--Token Conservative (talk) 06:01, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Stupid because it's different, eh? The British used million million for billion until quite recently. Yes, the French quatre-vingt dix sept and so on is antiquated but they know what it means. Like the guy in the video says, they don't literally see four twenties and ten and seven when they say or read it. They see 97. (True, it's tricky for us furriners especially when trying to write down phone numbers!) But it's just historical. Besides some other French speakers like the Swiss used nonante for ninety and so on.
Godot, in the UK, million and billion are now commonly used in the same way as you do in the US. The last time I saw any disambiguation in say, The Daily Telegraph (who still insist on using Fahrenheit FFS!), was probably twenty years ago. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:27, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
As an antiquated Brit I can confirm that I haven't heard billion used in the old way for ages. Significantly we talk of such notables as Abramovitch as a 'billionaire' knowing full well that he only has thousands of millions and not millions of millions. Innocent Bystander (talk) 12:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
True, it's tricky for us furriners
It would also be difficult for children to learn. People criticize English all the time for having idiotic, arbitrary, and contradictory rules which makes it extremely difficult for non-native speakers and children to learn. And we were just talking about how the LSS makes more sense then SSS and that SSS is stupid, and that other video was talking about a base 12 system makes more sense. They have others talking about how Tau is superior to Pi. I see no reason what so ever under the circumstances to not say that the French number system is stupid.--Token Conservative (talk) 14:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
WEll, the french numbering system isn't hard for kids to learn, by the way, just cause the mind doesn't see "60+14", it sees "74". Just like most of us do not see something as full of awe when we see "aweful". Speaking of hard, lakota have only numbers 1-7, then "big" and 'bigger". so when you hear someone speaking lakota, saying his telephone, you used to hear something like 1-wanjie, 2numbap, 3-yamni, but for 8, "some twos". so when they adopted english, you'll often hear 1-7 in lakota, 8 on in english. it's a very odd code switch, cause they technically can make any number natively, but it's complex and uncommon, that they just grab the english. Oh, and the Swiss don't say 4 -20 for 80. they say "huitant"Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 16:37, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
The Dutch also say some of their numbers backwards which always caused problems when we were making lists of things in English as they would transpose digits, so just like the French, it's what you are used to. But then during my youth I can remember some dialects in the West Midlands also using four and twenty - which of course still occurs in the nursery rhyme. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 16:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
No TC, kids really don't find it difficult to learn. All three of mine had no trouble at all. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:27, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
As someone who grew up learning both English and Canadian French simultaneously via a French Immersion program throughout K-12, no, learning the French numbering system was not a problem at all. You know what system I have trouble with? The multiple systems the Japanese use and the way the words change form for different counting types. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 19:21, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Now see, there is a language that *is* hard to learn for kids. "i" is such a complex concept (contextually) that most kids end up saying "Godot is happy", "Godot would like a cup of milk". Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 19:26, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Here's why everyone in the world is wrong. A billion is 10^12, end of. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:07, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Canadian Govt over run with anti-taxers[edit]

[this article] probably should be included in some of our crank articles, like "freemen of the land" or soemthing. however, not being a tax/anti-govt editor, i thought I'd solicit ideas of where to stick it. --- hey, not like that!!! Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:30, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Tax protester, definitely. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:37, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Is it just me or are we seeing a higher rate of tax protesting in the developed world when taxes reach historical lows? Since the 1990s, everything but VATs have been lowered in some amount in Canuckistan. Osaka Sun (talk) 21:50, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I blame the internet. seriously. 20 years ago, guy didn't want to pay taxes. he had 2 choices, jail or run away. Now, he finds some other guy and they all invent this new crap. and once invented, they cite to their invention, and others cite to it. and suddenly, it's "real". sighs....Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:55, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
By the way, what is the supposed "effect" or reason for teh "i am Dale of teh family Moss" rather than admitting you are Dale Moss?Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:56, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC, woooo) Magical thinking, pure and simple. They believe that because they can misconstrue the English language to mean such a thing, it is so. I can think of nothing else to explain their paradoxical desire to fight the invalid, unconstitutional fake courts... in court... and their heavy quote mining (for willful misinterpretation) of practically any branch of law when their entire argument rests on the fundamental unsoundness of all these supposed sham laws that you can only be held to if you allow your personal Corporate self to enter into a business contract with the Corporate Government thing. Except stupid. Lots and lots of stupid piled onto more stupid and allowed to chat with other stupids. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 22:09, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Avoiding using the name on any government documents. They seem to think if you use those names, it give them power (Because this is apparently Wizard of Earthsea now.)--Revolverman (talk) 22:01, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Why would someone want to scam me? And on the internet service, one of the trusted things of today's society. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:02, 7 August 2013 (UTC)


I'm not sure if the software will allow this, but it seems like a generally good idea, so I'm going to suggest it.

Wikipedia has portals for the broad areas of study, so if you're interested in topic X you can find a metric fuckton of wikipedia articles on it very quickly, as well as who all else is interested in the topic. Is there some reason why we couldn't do something similar?

The basic idea I'm having in my little brain is that portal pages would have a variation of the front page that would include a "featured article" and a few categories that are in that topic, with the "featured article" for the portal being an article in the topic that is a silver brainstar (gold for front page, silver for portal page kind of thing). Using Alternative Medicine as an example, the Alt Med portal might have a featured article about Chiropractic, with the categories Alt Medicine, Patent Medicine, Vaccine hysteria, and Homeopathy. Hell, maybe even throw in a WIGO for the portal page.

Then the new mainpage navigation that Sterile* worked up could link to the portal page, rather than the categories. Seems like it would make things prettier.

*It was Sterile right?--Token Conservative (talk) 03:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

not any kind of overreaction at all[edit]

In which we are accused of hosting kiddie porn by someone pissed at us. SophieWilderModerator 20:43, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I wouldn't knwo, i'm in the kitchen.
That's some hardcore libel; claiming someone is a convicted offender and under investigation. Scarlet A.pngpostate 20:55, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, very much so. Acei9 21:00, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Jesus, who shat in their cheerios? Odd how they include Hamilton as well.--"Shut up, Brx." 21:09, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
This comes a couple of days after I made an article on Britons Against Left-Wing Extremism, a blog whose MO involved making unsubstantiated claims about various Hope not Hate and UKIP members being paedophiles. Wonder if this is an new tack in crank circles. Balaam (talk) 21:11, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC forever) Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think even Ken or the other idiots went this far, excepting when we were reported to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services of course. Libeling Trent and the site (and by extension the RWF) with kiddie sex crimes is wow. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 21:19, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, it's been taken down. I hope someone took a screenshot. I didn't realize I was called out. Makes sense though because I was the one who did the reverts, made the last significant change to the article (talking about what happened), and my usual abrasive personality is all over this incident.--Token Conservative (talk) 21:23, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Somehow I knew this guy was capable of delivering comedy gold. Leuders (talk) 23:11, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Talk:Kevin Martin.--CIA (talk) 21:21, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

The early version is here. There was another version with my full name and address but I think that is all that is changed. Tmtoulouse (talk)
The later version is here, but it includes your address, Trent. Feel free to zap it. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 21:44, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Is that the same site that the National Weather Service issued a warning about recently? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:39, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey, RW might be getting a little boost of funding from these idiots, or at least control of a weird domain name. --Revolverman (talk) 21:55, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

You two have contacted the police already I hope? Attempted extortion is a crime. I hope you intend to pursue both criminal and civil cases against this arsehole. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:50, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

And... as of 23:09, it's back online again: [1]imgLeuders (talk) 23:09, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
And it's the top hit in a Google News search for "Rationalwiki" (talk) 23:28, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Holy shit, Trent how are we able to keep the human trafficking project going for only 3 grand?--Token Conservative (talk) 23:31, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Same way we always do by selling heroine to pre-schoolers? Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:32, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
No wonder we keep having to fork out money. The idea is that you give it to the pre-schoolers and then bleed them dry when they are older and have pocket-money. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 00:21, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Oh yeah. Um, do we want to do anything about the whole "a googlenews search for Rationalwiki links to this garbage" thing?--Token Conservative (talk) 23:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
We can't, google only respond to court orders. Trent needs to sort this out by filing a criminal complaint and then starting a civil action. A judge will order it removed. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 23:43, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, balls. --Token Conservative (talk) 23:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
He's claiming to basically "own" google, in the "i own that shit" way. He's saying no one can make him change his posts, and he will never face anything for it. rolls eyes. not that i think we need to get into any of this, cause if anything, i suspect people will just assume it's an ONION like joke. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 00:08, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Stumbled across this guy and his HAARP/Chemtrail nonsense last month and have been following his web antics ever since, albeit from a distance. Martin's MO is to make outrageous claims, change details of his story a few times, ultimately blame it on one of his "staff", and then erase everything from the web. As a former web designer and graphic artist, he sometimes takes to making video threats and posting them on YouTube under a variety of disposable accounts. During his tiff with the National Weather Service, he apparently created and posted a video that showed NWS offices being blown up. No kidding. He's like the Robin Williams of batshit crazy scammers: absolutely no filter whatsoever, which explains the bombastic threats to "destroy" you, child porn accusations, etc. Leuders (talk) 00:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
of coures i won't add this to the article, but he's now admitted to being a Freeman on the land, and was abducted by aliens at 10 years old. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 00:29, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

If anyone is not currently watching the epic, epic thread on facebook group right now, you are missing out. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:30, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Link! Leuders (talk) 00:36, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure it's great and all. But why the fuck is it happening on facebook, where people who don't want to sign up to that cesspool can't see it? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:33, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
fake accounts, for just such moments! i had to use a fake, cause he blocked me for being a woman, and talking to him. it was epic!Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 00:38, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Leuders its on the RW facebook group just join up I think to see it? not sure I can link to it directly? And Jeeves at over 700 comments in an hour the wiki wouldn't have worked anyway, but sometimes you gotta go where the crazy is. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:38, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Bleh, you could at least use google+ which doesn't try at every turn to borg you. That way people who don't want to sign up can still at least have read-only access. Fucking facebook ruins everything. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:41, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
OK I see it: James Carbone - one of Martin's million FB aliases. Leuders (talk) 00:47, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
During his tiff with the National Weather Service, he apparently created and posted a video that showed NWS offices being blown up. No kidding. man, I bet Homeland Security would love to see that. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 00:42, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
After he removed the video he gave the excuse that it was a joke/humor/accident/staffer did it, etc. Leuders (talk) 00:47, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Two things: 1) Facebook Ya boo sucks. 2)Isn't this the definition of defamation? I'm not advocating doing anything about it, but I'd like to understand more about the murky world of law on the internet and this seems pretty cut and dried. Tielec01 (talk) 00:44, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

On FB, someone please ask James/Kevin about HAARP. Holy shit, he's crazier in a live chat than I ever expected. Leuders (talk) 01:21, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Where is Nutty Roux when you need him? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:00, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

The hellmouth located[edit]

If you ever wanted to know where the mouth of hell was, google maps has the answer: It's in Kazakhstan. Expect demons to pour forth any moment now. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:24, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

This was discussed on the RW Facebook page days ago. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 00:27, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Welp, that;s what I get for not using facebook I guess. Of course I also don't get a bunch of arseholes trying to market to me, which is probably better. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:30, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I thought the other Hellmouth was in Cleveland. SophieWilderModerator 09:38, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I thought this was the Hellmouth. --Revolverman (talk) 09:53, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Cracked's The 5 Most Insanely Misunderstood Morals of Famous Stories[edit]

Number 2 is probably the most interesting one out of all of them.Ryantherebel (talk) 01:25, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Dear God, I've never seen screencaps from The Box Office Shrugged before. Didn't know they were going for an action movie.
Also, where does Rand specifically reject torture in her book? Not her definition of "torture" (ie. taxation, caring for other people), I mean actual torture. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:47, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
The "Looters" torture John Galt near the end. One guy admits he just wants Galt to suffer and die and then has a breakdown. Not exactly Jack Bauer's heroic "paying evil until evil". --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 04:11, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah. But then it's infinite recursion. Provided Rand's love for William Edward Hickman, it would be logical for the Looters to do so. Osaka Sun (talk) 05:51, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I am pleased by the inclusion of The Great Gatsby on that list. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 04:11, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

A little libelous[edit]

Saw this posted on the facebook group. The Invisible ManI spoke to Him 05:53, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I had no idea. Had I known these facts I would never have made a donation. --DamoHi 06:14, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I still think our heroin for pre-schoolers program should get more press. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:20, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
See here. Also here. This makes three threads on the same topic. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:27, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I suggest we should stop, have a drink, and stay away from Barbara Streisand's Malibu home. Osaka Sun (talk) 06:31, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea to me. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 06:33, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
how can you have an efficient distribution channel to kids who stay home ? is there something organised called pre-school ? I am just old and only remember kindergarten. Are we cutting the heroin with powdered sugar ? kids like sweet things. Hamster (talk) 03:27, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

A Question for Doctors and/or Biologists[edit]

Will the Caffine in drinks like Soda, Coffee, or Tea end up causing a loss of Hydration more then the water in the drink itself will add? (Assume that these are normal drinks and not weird hyper caffeinated kinds.) Thanks! --Revolverman (talk) 09:19, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

The Mayo Clinic says "no". Hydrogen and Time (talk) 09:34, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
No--"Shut up, Brx." 09:36, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the link H&T. That should shut up an annoying Co-worker (who should know better, concerting his the fucking team medic.) --Revolverman (talk) 09:42, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Here's the PubMed version... (essentially same as the Mayo above) - "The most ecologically valid of the published studies offers no support for the suggestion that consumption of caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle leads to fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested or is associated with poor hydration status" - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19774754 VOXHUMANA 11:03, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Goats on the job![edit]

Cute! PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 14:51, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

[2] Cool! (apologies for linking to USA Today, btw) SophieWilderModerator 15:09, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
What is wrong with USA Today? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 15:13, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
That's a question I ask a lot. Steven Kavanagh (talk) 15:49, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

The best video you will see all summer[edit]

Meet the Cranston-Laurie-Bridges-Damon-Rockettes-Kissinger show. Osaka Sun (talk) 23:15, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Shameless plug[edit]

Some friends and I started a YouTube channel. Our first show is little more than a rip-off of another show, but hopefully we'll find our own way. We're not good, but with each video I think we're improving. I'd welcome any critique. Thanks. --Edgerunner76Your views are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter 11:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I am in it as well. Feel free to check them out. Aboriginal Noise Oh, you want to hit people with garbage cans? 02:21, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I cannot speak for the content, but the color in the image from the first camera, the one with the beer stein in the foreground, made me reach reflexively for the white balance control. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:50, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I can't argue that. We're still trying to find our legs with this whole thing. I really hope it works. It would be neat to be able to put out an entertaining quality show. Part 3 of our first episode will be out by Tuesday. --Edgerunner76Your views are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter 16:13, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Logic: Thoughts?[edit]

"Both the creationist idea of "the world is too complex, it was made by a creator" and the secular "the world arose through natural processes" are statements found through inductive logic. Therefore, both are fallible as they don't express self-evident truths. Furthermore, can we really say one is more valid than the other if they are discovered via the same system?"

Is this view a valid one?— Unsigned, by: ‎ / talk / contribs

Wait, so any two statements derived from inductive reasoning must be equally valid? That's like saying bricks and cakes are the same thing because they're both made in ovens. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:37, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
The mere fact that a naturalistic explanation for the world's origin exists is enough to falsify the "world is too complex" argument. This is why creationists work themselves into ever greater frenzies attempting to discount these explanations. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:45, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Take this with a grain of salt, as my logic classes are 10000000 years ago, but scientific reasoning are largely matters of DEDUCTION, not induction. "the world arose through natural processes" can be studied, proven and disproven. so how is that inductive?Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 20:49, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Science can involve both inductive and deductive reasoning: one forms hypotheses using inductive reasoning, then tests/falsifies it with deductive reasoning (i.e., seeing how it fits new data). Consequently, hypotheses cannot be proven absolutely, but can be falsified. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:38, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
"The world is too complex, it was made by a creator" isn't a statement 'found' through inductive logic. It's like saying 'babies come from the maternity ward', and who knows what goes on in there? It's only an explanation of why no more satisfactory explanation will be forthcoming. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:08, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
It's also rather circular. If we take as a premise that some things are designed (e.g. an artifact or machine) and others arose through natural processes (e.g. a plant or an animal), then we have some reasonable frame of reference for determining what things belong in which category. But the "it was made by a creator" argument puts everything in the "designed" category, so where is the frame of reference? "The world is too complex" in comparison to what? What other things are not "too complex"? WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:33, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
There are many things which are exceedingly complex but not designed. Complexity on its own is irrelevant. In contrast many designed things are extraordinarily simple. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 06:28, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Listening to people sing is illegal in Wisconsin[edit]

For months now, activists have been gathering in the rotunda in the Wisconsin Capitol to protest the anti-labour policies of that state's government. People have been getting arrested and fined for this obviously vile criminality. Now, watch as a cop informs people watching and listening to the singers that they, too are breaking the law. By listening to people sing fok songs. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 03:59, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

But, of course, their being in the state capitol during a lockdown has nothing to do with anything; no, they would be arrested for listening to the tunes. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:07, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
The cop: "If you're here spectating, you could be subject to arrest." The cop, again: "Are you guys just tourists here, or are you observing?" Seems weird to me that they would allow tourists into a building on lockdown. Unless "lockdown" means something that I am unfamiliar with. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:24, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
From what the policeman said, I gathered that the lockdown was declared after the protesters had entered the building, for the express purpose of ejecting them from it. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:31, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
But not extended to "tourists." Okay. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:34, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, no it looks like they're just threatening people for listening to songs PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:36, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

"The officer told the two women that anyone who stood to watch the protest rather than moving along was subject to arrest." PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:38, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Going by the newspaper articles, that does seem to be the case. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:42, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
The whole world's going bonkers. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 06:37, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Reminds me (vaguely) of a news story relating to the Cheese rolling in Gloucester this year. Lady who normally provides the cheese was visited by Police giving her "advice" that she might be considered liable if anyone got injured during the event. Scared her off doing it, despite it being legally dubious at best.Alexlizard (talk) 15:24, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
"The whole world's going bonkers". I was just reading an article that the Susan B Anthony List is suing the state of Ohio for violating their right to LIE in campaign ads. I kid you not. sighs...Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 16:09, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Clearly the solution is a free singing zone. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:20, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Have some Bulgarian rap on the topic of free singing zones. ;)--ZooGuard (talk) 16:43, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Another day, another skeptiscandal[edit]

I was wondering why no new episodes of the Point of Inquiry podcast had shown up in my feed for more than a month. Apparently, all the hosts resigned over some asshattery at CFI. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:52, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

And openly went over to the pinkos, by the look of it. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:08, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Please tell me you're using "pinko" affectionately and you don't actually hate Mother Jones. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:53, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
This is ListenerX we're talking about. Osaka Sun (talk) 18:55, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
EC -- Fat chance. This guy has to look to the left to see where William F. Buckley is sitting. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 18:58, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey, I like Buckley.--Token Conservative (talk) 19:09, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say you shouldn't. Lx thinks he's a commie, though. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 19:11, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps ironically, I admire him heavily for the self-restraint he showed when Gore Vidal called a crypto-fascist.--Token Conservative (talk) 02:39, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The current state of the U.S.'s right wing should make us all shout, "William F. Buckley, where are you?!" Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:00, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
You don't already?--Token Conservative (talk) 03:25, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Mother Jones is on the more moderate and reality-based end of the left-wing press, so that I can actually trust most of their reporting; the chief problem is that a skeptical podcast is going into partnership with any organization with that specific of a political orientation. For example, there is one commentator on the Skepchick blog post who is concerned about Mother Jones's stance on GMOs. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:36, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
It's possible that it's not going to be a skepticism-oriented podcast. Presumably, PoI is staying under the CFI umbrella with new hosts, while the MoJo podcast is going to be a new show entirely. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:41, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Hopefully not. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:00, 10 August 2013 (UTC)