RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive208

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This is an archive page, last updated 28 August 2013. Please do not make edits to this page.
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I count 69 new user accounts in 9 August in RC page[edit]

Civic CatTalk to Civic Cat 18:40, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

This site is growing rapidly! August 9 is a bad day for creationism! SophieWilderModerator 19:05, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Lot of creation going on here. At this rate, they'll be more user accounts here than articles by the end of the year. So far only 16 of them have names that have no numbers. They are: Idjzcaps, Capskqym, Goodsshop, Dpywbauw, 和规范, Baniellbiz, Vcjxpbro, Zpacdezn, Duniejidgp, Marilaisadu, Mdzcmeqruo, Mutkiplf, 影我问问, Mdkbfbodp, Jkfdefwuye, and Pewe.Civic CatTalk to Civic Cat 19:18, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm probably being paranoid, but it may have something to do with this site going black today. Leuders (talk) 19:27, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Nah, just the usual crop of thwarted spammers. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 20:45, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Wiki-Project: Dead Links[edit]

Status as of 5/10/13: 3215/~5000 links remain
David noted that he'd been seeing dead links in the articles he was referring to on RationalWiki.RationalBlogs.org, so I put together a project page offsite that lists them all page by page. There may be some false positives because my tools are less forgiving that a browser. There's a raw dump of all dead links at the end of the list. Check it out. Please email me which pages you've cleared dead links from and I'll remove them from the list. If enough people actually do anything about this, I'll write an app that will let you check pages off the list yourselves. Surprise me. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 03:47, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Project discussion

Update:[edit]

I moved the project to a a web app so there's no longer any need to email me your progress. I'll email login credentials to the few people who have already been working on this. Email me if you're interested in helping out. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 22:25, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Credentials are out to the 6 (seriously) people who've helped out on this stillborn project. Way to go, RW. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 22:44, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Nutty, can there be a function to mark a page as checked and all links good? Or, a checkmark next to the trashcan for good links, either. For example, Ancient Egyptian human sacrifice contains a link to this page which is, as far as I can tell, still good. Hitting the trashcan button would, of course, be counter-productive, but that's now an entry that's going to sit on the first page of the index, waiting for someone to misclick and blow its valid link to hell (and I'm not even going to offer odds on someone noticing the random deletion in RC and inspecting to see if the dead link cleanup was actually correct). xoxo Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 01:57, 24 June 2013 (UTC) I am a derp. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 03:29, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
What did I do? Click the trashcan and an alert pops asking you to confirm. I'll wire up the AJAX to strikeout "deleted" links and move them to a static sidebar this week. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 04:04, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
You're fine. The only thing broken here is my ability to read and think. The app is working as intended. Ochotona has been rebooted and is now working as intended. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 05:05, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
You weren't logging in, were you. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 12:58, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
That's more charitable to me than the actual brain fart, so we'll go with that. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 13:18, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Progress[edit]

1269 dead links remaining; we are almost entirely through all the 'A' articles. Son, I am the link necromancer. Tielec01 (talk) 02:07, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your report. I feel something strange. I think it's happiness. This is unacceptable. In other words, I'm really thankful to the few of you all who are working on this. I'm too drunk to write a script to poll the API to get actual numbers so I'm making this up: if half the active editorship cleared 10 dead links a week we'd be done in 8.625 days and I could release the other 1700 links I've been holding in reserve to shore up morale. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 03:21, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it's just me, but I got a 500 error when clicking on the link to the dump. K61824Who is Terry Koeckritz anyways? 16:46, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Question for Foundation donors[edit]

Thanks to the efforts of Trent and Stabby, I see, the apparatus for fundraising has been very much improved. During the recent fundraiser, each donor received an official receipt/thank-you note by e-mail, thanking them for the donation and stating the amount.

The Board has also been discussing the idea of sending donors paper thank-you notes, which would be printed at no cost to the Foundation. It is argued that if the Foundation does not send out thank-you notes by snail-mail as opposed to e-mail, the Foundation will be committing a breach of etiquette and conducting itself in an ungentlemanly manner, which will cause many donors to feel disrespected and/or not take the Foundation seriously, and consequently not to donate so much in the future.

I find this difficult to believe, so I have a question for the donors who edit here (as representative a sample as can be surveyed): If the Foundation neglects to snail-mail you a thank-you note, would you feel slighted and/or stop donating in the future? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:26, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Just more stuff for me to put in the recycling bin. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 17:34, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC) Can a request to receive a hard copy via mail for one's records be offered as an option during PayPal's "check-out"? A thank-you note could be included. The larger problem is sending mail internationally.
Speaking for myself, I was sufficiently pleased with the thank-you I received through my inbox and am glad to support the project in my own small way. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 17:37, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC) I'm not a huge fan of snail mail. I feel that sending out a thank-you note via email expresses the appropriate sentiments just as well. - GrantC (talk) 17:39, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Why didn't you just look this up, LX? Asking in the Saloon Bar is about the worst way to get a good answer. You might as well go solicit opinions on Yahoo Answers. I'll stick with Emily Post's advice for expressing heartfelt gratitude. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 18:04, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
are donations to the foundation taxably deductable ? if so what documentation for tax purposes is required ? just curious. Hamster (talk) 21:55, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, donations to the foundation are tax deductible. The documentation needed is just a receipt from us stating how much money you gave and that no goods or services were exchanged for it (i.e. it really was a donation and you aren't trying to deduct the purchase of an RW-branded coffee cup from your taxes).
For the record, I rewrote the thank-you note I send out shortly after ListenerX received his. It doesn't mention the amount donated in the body anymore (Nutty pointed out that reminding donors of how much they gave tends to make them second guess themselves, which is not a good thing). So far, I've only been including the formal receipts for donations of $100 or larger, but if anyone wants me to send them to everyone, you need only ask. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:43, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Tax deductible in the US only? , I imagine most countries need a charity to be domestically registered and verifiable if they're going to let you deduct. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 23:52, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Certainly in Canada, the charity needs either to have a Canadian branch registered with the CRA, or to have at some point received a gift from the Canadian government. A search of CRA's list of registered charities shows that the RWF doesn't meet either condition, unfortunately. - GrantC (talk) 00:02, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
"Thank you for contacting the Government of Canada about your free musk ox. Merci de contacter le Gouvernement de Canada au sujet de votre bœuf musqué gratis. For a bull musk ox, please press one. Pour un bœuf musqué taureau, s'il vous plaît appuyez sur l'une..... - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 00:26, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I cannot claim tax relief in the UK on my donation to RW and I most certainly do not want receipts winging their way through my letter box. If I put a donation in a charity collecting box then I wouldn't expect them to try and find out where I lived so that they could thank me. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 06:34, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I suspect that if I demanded a hard copy receipt sent to me by the foundation, they would make a nett loss on the donation ... :( DamoHi 06:40, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
If RW did register as a recognised charity in the UK, then UK donors could add Gift Aid (tax relief on the donated amount paid to the charity rather than refunded to the donor) - i.e. the RWF would receive an extra 20% on donations made by UK tax payers. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:47, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Interesting question. Most best practices in fundraising say that people are not likely to donate again if their first donation isn't acknowledged. Not sure about the format. Sterilesig.svgtalk 20:17, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
In RW's case it is a cause I care about and have an active interest in supporting, not some global drive-by request for money. But inthe UK I find that sometimes when you do give money to a particular charity or cause you are then bombarded with further requests - which apart from the ones which I sign up to as a regular giver - I the find annoying. In RW's case the email is sufficient acknowledgement, I don't need the foundation to waste funds on mailing. Of course other people's responses may differ. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 01:16, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Now I'm mostly interested in seeing if we can break the bar at the top of the page. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:12, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Great idea. Donate $2000 and see what happens. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 07:42, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Goats[edit]

are eating weeds. They're being used to clean up the weeds.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/08/why-there-are-currently-goats-in-the-congressional-cemetery/278485/

Александр(а) (Talk | Contribs | Ragebox) 00:53, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Real American heroes. I salute thee, goats. --OverworldTheme (talk) 13:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Removing WIGO:CP from the Main Page[edit]

For those who don't obsessive follow the Recent changes, there's a vote to remove the link to WIGO:CP from the Main Page: Talk:Main Page#Time to remove CP from the mainpage (etc.) headers --ZooGuard (talk) 08:32, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

WIGO:CP is gone? Madness! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:58, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Belief in Belief?[edit]

Recently I have discussed my family with my therapist. My family are Christians of the Fundamentalist strain. I think that their delusion is harmful as they don't see reality for what it is. My therapist says that people are fine to be deluded if they are happy. I don't know what to say. I have tried impugning the importance of happiness but we always end up coming back to it. Am I right in thinking that when it comes to the truth that happiness isn't important or should I just leave my family alone? I don't want to be bigoted, or arrogant but I do worry about them.

I'm sorry if this is not the proper place for this. — Unsigned, by: 217.44.255.82 / talk / contribs

If you're seeing a therapist individually then it's your own happiness that you & the therapist should be concerned about, & that will include coming to terms with your parents, their beliefs & your worries about them. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:09, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Are you concerned because of the real-world impacts of your parents' faith -- homophobia, say, or an aversion to eighth-grade science -- or are you one of the people we see around here who seem to think that having some religion is evidence of mental illness or a weak mind? If it's the former, it's ultimately a political question: do I want to remain close with people who would, for any reason, deny the rights of other human beings, or try to stymie scientific inquiry? If, however, they are people of faith who adopt a respectful sort of "live and let live" attitude (the fact that you identify them as fundamentalists makes this seem less likely) well, atheists worrying about other people living with "deluded" religious belief is as silly as believers who are sad that their friends and family who are going to Hell for not believing the right thing. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 00:31, 11 August 2013 (UTC)


Happiness is the goal for everyone, but it's an outcome, not a driving force. Knowing "the truth" is a great source of happiness. However the road to "the truth" is very different. I'm actually going to dispense with the world "truth" from here on - we are really talking about two unrelated concepts - "certainty" and "verifiability".

As much as I despise pop psychology, a common theme over the past 20 years has been "the human need for certainty" (eg. this Psychology Today article). For a certain type of person, fundamentalism provides a great deal of certainty - the bottom line of the fundamentalist promise is "absolute compliance brings absolute reward". For this mindset, verifiability has no value - I'm sure you've seen/heard comments like "science is always correcting it's mistakes, whereas the Bible is the absolute truth!". Critical thought must necessarily be suppressed, but the people suppressing it are not "anti-" anything, they genuinely believe that enforcing absolute compliance is a good, positive thing.

Verifiability is the other road to "truth", (and thus to happiness). I also grew up in a fundamentalist family, and from as young as seven I had the urge to "verify" - to challenge, to be a skeptic. Naturally I was in constant trouble, and was eventually thrown out of the family home at 15. To this day I do not know what it was it that made me so determined to question the world as it was being presented to me, but there was no environmental/upbringing aspect to it, I'm sure of that.

To your dilemma (which is the same as my own) - I don't know the answer. Blindly complying to a demonstrably false view of reality seems bizarre to me. But to my family their view is not "demonstrably" false, because no demonstration can ever penetrate their world view. An example - "All jews are evil", thus any demonstrably good Jew is a trick of Satan designed to test their faith (or is an evil Jew stealing the good work of a true Christian or... blecch). So worry about your own happiness, and learn to accept your family for what they are. Changing them will probably never happen. VOXHUMANA 00:32, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I've been around here a long time, and I don't get people's obsessions with "correcting" other people's belifes. unless 1) they are harming themselves, 2) they are harming others, 3) they are active in trying to make laws against someone (see 2). If the person is happy thinking god exists, why do you care? If they are happy beleiving in a literal flood, and they are not teaching at a school, why do you care? I support this site, because I think the US has far too many politicians being anti-science, has far too many school boards trying to teach creationism, has far too many schiesters (sp?) selling products to the deseprate, to cure cancer. I'm not here to poke a stick at people who disagree with me. So I wonder, unless of course they are attacking you for being a free thinker -- and then of course it's a differen tmatter -- why you care what they believe?Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 01:22, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I may be wrong but you seem to want a response of "its far more important for you to be right than for your parents to be happy". you are in my opinion dead wrong. If your parents are functional and happy why shouldn't they remain so ? If they tithe more than they can afford, or if they are being conned out of money or assets then thats a different matter. Hamster (talk) 01:57, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
As has already been said, I'm not sure how this is relevant to your therapy, unless they are trying to convert you. I will say that your therapist's comment does skirt dangerously close to "noble lie" territory, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

If you read my post I said that their delusion is harmful. Of course I'm not interested in 'correcting' them if they are happy. But they are forcing their delusions about the 'failings' of Science on my siblings and they truly believe that Faith Healing actually works. This is why I disagree. Contrary to what was said above I don't think religious people are idiots or weak minded. I don't care about their Faith, I only care about the implications this faith will have on their physical health and I don't feel I will have a clear conscience if something was to happen.

Neb: I had brought it up because it is something that has forced a divide between myself and my family. Once again, my family are fundies. That is a much larger implication than the average Christian and something that affects nearly every aspect of their lives. But sure, as long as they are not harming themselves I don't mind. If it makes them happy then I shouldn't want to stand in their way.

PowderSmokeandLeather: It's the former.

Signed, Unsigned.

Well, you didn't mention the faith healing bit. Then, it seems, we do have a bit of a situation. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:04, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
You should, I suggest, cater to both goals: harmony and truth. There is inherent value in truth, particularly when it comes to religious matters, because human beings have a finite amount of time for their lives, and we should try to find a model of reality that as close to the truth as possible, in order not to waste any precious seconds. The truth really, really matters.
At the same time, if you aggressively were to pursue this, it wouldn't make you much more rational than them - you'd almost certainly fail and just drive a serious wedge between you and your family. After all, it's never pleasant to be confronted about your beliefs: you feel like you have to defend yourself and that your own worth is being called into question.
In my experience, the most effective way for you to actually have a chance to change minds and change behavior would be to humanize your beliefs. This has been dramatically illustrated in recent years with gay rights in America: a previously alien worldview and lifestyle has been rendered harmless through familiarity as middle America saw gay people in their families and in the media.
Thus: I would advise you to be open and forthright, but to avoid the strong temptation towards conflict. Let kindness be your watchword. That's a good rule for living in any case, but it's also instrumentally rational, since it will achieve your goals.
This is really hard. It is extremely tempting to stand boldly and denounce falsehood: "You fool! How can Jesus be the descendant of David if the lineage is traced through Joseph, who wasn't Jesus' real father?" It's scary and big and dramatic, and it has no whiff of compromise, which makes it satisfyingly absolute. But be absolute in a different way: be absolutely committed to the best outcome. You want your family to perceive the truth and you want to be happy with them. To do this, my advice is that you should be pleasant and yielding, agreeing to always consider new ideas, but without ever lying about your beliefs. Take action through non-action, and let your character and kindness become the best example of the truth's value.--ADtalkModerator 20:12, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
You're a real mensch, AD. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:21, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Some religious practices lead to human benefit, such as finding the afikomen and kissing the prettiest girl in the room. Some adages are incorrect, such as catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. Cider vinegar is actually pretty good bait for trapping drosophila. That said, I believe AD has a good handle on this thing. (Sprocket on a tablet in the Maritimes) 142.177.187.100 (talk) 13:30, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
In my house, the reward for finding the afikomen was always something lame, like a $2 bill. The reward for sitting through the hour-long reading of the Haggadah was finally getting to eat. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:48, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Unitarian Universalist[edit]

So i'm curious, anybody here know what these are like for services and whatnot?--MikallakiM 03:42, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I went to one of their services once when I was about nine years old. I do not recall that much ceremony, and instead of a sermon, they had a local author, Bill Holm, in to give a talk — I forget what about.
P-Foster, or TheoryOfPractice, or RaoulDuke, or whatever the deuce he is calling himself these days, is a UU man, so you might ask him. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:23, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
What I've heard from UU friends, it depends on the area. It can range from liberal Christianity to religion for people who don't like religion. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:09, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
The services at my UU church feature a lot of singing. The rest of the service is usually organized around a month-long exploration of a particular theme through readings from various faith traditions and or/secular writers, a short segment aimed at the children, and a sermon which can draw from any one of a huge variety of sources. There is usually time for prayer/quiet reflection. Jesus/Christianity is likely to get mentioned every now and again, but so are elements of Buddhism, Native American spiritual thought, Jewish thought, etc, etc. Sometimes there are elements of New-Agey flakiness that creep in, which can be a great time for me to head to the loo.
It's sometimes easier to define the UU approach by what it isn't than by what it is -- it's very much a mixed bag, and it can be frustrating that some of the less-rigourous approaches can have equal footing with more developed traditions. But for one looking to explore religion/spirituality in a communal setting free of pre-conceived dogma, it's the best game in town. The whole thing is best summed up by one of the core tenets -- "a covenant, not a creed": in other words, the onus is on the individual to try to make sense of all of it, because there is no set dogma besides "try your best not to be an ass." I tend to get more out of the reading/study groups that take place during the week than out of the services. Of course, I can only speak for my church, YMMV. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 12:25, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
From my time as an agnostic with kids, attending regular Sunday services and singing in the choir, I found that each congregation has its own vibe, and they can vary quite a bit. 142.177.187.100 (talk) 13:55, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Never had a GPU driver do that to me before[edit]

Updated the nVidia GPU drivers to latest stable set (320.xx) to work with a 560 and found that the driver started crashing at random when using Firefox. Thought to myself, no problem, I'll just download the previous set of stable drivers and do a clean install. Not a good idea, clearing the dodgy drivers jammed my GPU's fans up to full speed and refused to allow the older set of drivers to install, just hung the computer instead. Ended up having to everything in Safe Mode, just hoping it's done the trick.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 15:09, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm surprised there hasn't been an xkcd comic on Safe Mode. Osaka Sun (talk) 18:15, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Got Wikpedia?[edit]

I'm tempted to do this, just to say I've done it. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 18:35, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Got potential? A poem I wrote[edit]

What do you think? Be sensitive.

They got separated from others, alone now
The voices both heard were many, varied
But together they walked alone,
as one they watched.
They could feel this city,
In all its peril, pride, and passion.
The attraction he felt wasn’t physical, but more,
It was a feeling of joy,
A feeling of tenderness, maybe pity
Pity me, he thought.
He gazed down lamely
She could feel his tension,
But they spoke, assisted by inebriation
And other things
There were many things they would never know
Many things in common, never told.
How was he to know, this woman who had been with women,
Was really a woman who would be with him?
They met by chance
But both felt, that chance was no mere accident.
This man, held together by his reason,
Repressing his passion his entire life
For there was danger.
What was he to do?
With this paragon of freedom marching alongside,
But talk.
What was love
He asked himself.
What was love but an illusion, a delusion?
What would she know
And still they talked, never expressing
What both thought.
He awkward, her anticipating,
But nothing. Nothing. And there it ends.

Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:35, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Another. Be ever more sensitive. For the first time in my life, I'm in love. I'm exorcising demons.

She could see in him a joy,
What joy he had, he never had again
He knew not why.
He thought of cruel pranks, jokes,
Times that hurt,
He thought of freedom, and scoffed.
There is no such thing
He declared
We are trapped by ourselves
You cannot deprogramme
A lifetime
She nodded
She did not agree
But why, if free, abandon it
You feel it, surely.
I feel nothing
He said
But fear
Her face, her beautiful face
It sat there, glumly
What did he know, she thought
His face, his terrible face
So lost
He sighed.

Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:46, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

They're sweet poems, but they feel a little too vague. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 23:36, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
From my limited knowledge I would say that they were good, but not going to set the world on fire. I'm just curious as to why you chose here to share them? The Invisible ManI spoke to Him 23:53, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Sortof clichėd. Lacking your usual grandiloquence. Stick to prose. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:21, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Why do we do such things? I remember writing poetry to my wife 30 years ago. Now I regard it as overrated and when you look back at it 10 years or so down the line you'll probably cringe. But hey, if being in love makes you a more sociable and amenable person then I'm all for that. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 01:22, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

A good rule of thumb with improving poetry is to examine your imagery. The more concrete and real your imagery words are, and the further away you go from abstract, vague concepts, the stronger the poem, typically. For example, instead of "my love for her is a red rose," try "my love for her is the vibrant rush of a rose in Spring." Obviously, if you are giving yourself form restrictions, you have to sometimes make compromises, but try and keep "avoid abstractions" away from the compromising as long as possible. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 01:40, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

As Jack Nicholson said in As Good As It Gets, "I think that people who talk in metaphors ought to shampoo my crotch."
But, as to the poems, I think that some meter and rhyme would not go amiss. Free verse might be easier to crank out (I easily got through the poetry section of a creative writing class just by writing blocks of text and then inserting carriage returns at random), but as MarcusCicero says on his user-page, the classics never go out of style. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:16, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
You can certainly overdo it with imagery as well. The poem has to have some sort of velocity to it, otherwise it's just bogged down in endless descriptions of how X is like abstract concept Y. My creative writing degree means I could flood out the entire saloon with poetry talk, but I don't think MC would get anything productive out of it, I'd piss off the rest of the bar with a novel post, and my fingers would fall off besides. I kind of went for one tip instead of pulling back the curtain on the full range of constructive criticism--especially since I don't know that MC necessarily wants that. Critiquing poetry is hard, anyway, because it's such a pliable, amorphous form of expression. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 17:50, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
And, really, if you want a poem written, just hire a professional. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:51, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I was coming down from MDMA when I wrote this. I've been in love before but not with this intensity. Partially explains my absence of late. Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:57, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
If it brings you happiness, that's good to hear. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 06:14, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I would qualify that: true of the poetry and/or the budding passion, not the dope. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:48, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Logic.[edit]

Are the rules of logic subjective or are they objective? — Unsigned, by: 217.44.255.82 / talk / contribs

The rules of logic are derived from first principles that have to given as true for logic to work. Which is the same thing as with math.--Token Conservative (talk) 15:00, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
The rules of logic are definitions. --81.175.225.92 (talk) 15:37, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Sillies. You're not cooperating with this pintsized evangelist's script. If you'll only cooperate, you'll hear a wonderful proof for the existence of a generic god which you haven't heard about a billion times before. Then you'll obviously become Christians, because... well, because underpants. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:37, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
My ass is objective and well-defined. Can we talk about that instead? Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 17:56, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
The rules of logic are rules for manipulating symbols, like the rules of tic-tac-toe. Logic, like other forms of human reasoning, is the formal dress people put on the decisions they've already made when they go forth to share them with others. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Subjective, inasmuch as they are sustained by the tautalogical use of themselves - logic is only logical when viewed logically. It is a systematic process of thought which takes a series of rules to be true. Some of these rules are derived mathematically or symbolically from prior rules, but they're all predicated on the same sort of solipsistic dilemma that faces anyone trying to think from first principles.
If someone thinks that contradictory things can be simultaneously true, that's a violation of logic, but that only matters to the extent that you believe that logic is the best system of thought for parsing through reality. Almost everyone agrees on that, fortunately.--ADtalkModerator 19:56, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually, that is only true in logical systems where the law of non-contradiction applies, such as the most familiar ones, propositional and first-order. In formal logic, it is possible to construct a very wide variety of logical systems, with any sets of inference rules and axioms that one wants. The trick is picking a system that is useful, i.e., one that (1) features a close correspondence between truth within the system and truth in the real world, and (2) is expressive enough to produce useful conclusions. Aristotelian logic used to be the most in vogue, but newer systems like first-order logic have now supplanted it. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:12, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
And any system of mathematical logic will be incomplete, either by artificially restricting its axioms, or by inherent internal inconsistency. Godel was a bastard. VOXHUMANA 09:47, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Therapy Goats[edit]

Apparently, they're a thing--Token Conservative (talk) 01:47, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Of course they are. Many are the blessings of Goat. SophieWilderModerator 07:12, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Study finds religious people are less intelligent than atheists[edit]

A team led by Miron Zuckerman of the University of Rochester found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 out of 63 studies.--Cms13ca (talk) 21:38, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

woop de doo--"Shut up, Brx." 22:04, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
that's nice?--MikallakiM 22:47, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
How about the relationship between people who read those sorts of studies and an air of boring self-superiority? PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 22:54, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Oooh, I guess the smoke from your name comes from all those BURNS you dish out--"Shut up, Brx." 22:58, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm inclined to take that with a lot of grains of salt. There's almost certainly a ton of confounding factors in there -- after all, there's no shortage of stupid atheists out there, so I'd be surprised, if indeed there's a correlation, that it meant much. EVDebs (talk) 23:01, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
1) how is "religiosity" defined in the article. one who believes in god? one who goes to church every day? one who thinks the world is 600 years old? 2) How is intelligence measured? we all know the problems with IQ tests, right? 3) where were these studies. Athiests in france, self identified, are often intellecuals, cause they are the only ones self-identifying that way - though lots of day to day people don't believe in god, they don't take that moniker. 4) I remember the meme going round for years about how liberals were more intelligent than conservatives. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 00:26, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
"There's almost certainly a ton of confounding factors in there..." Socioeconomic status, surely. It has an effect on both religiosity and IQ. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:28, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
ETA:If you're going to post something like this, at least provide a link. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:32, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Godot, I'm curious, what are the problems with IQ test that you so ominously hint at? Tielec01 (talk) 01:53, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I am willing to guess that it has something to do with the thesis put forth in Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Manlink=wp:The Mismeasure of Man. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 03:03, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient#Criticism_and_views - there's been tons of criticism about 1) what IQ is? 2) once you decide what it is, how do you test it? if a child doesn't have a high vocab, can they be intelligent? are there racial, sexual biases on IQ tests? can a person who cannot read be intelligent? Why are so many intelligence tests based around knowledge. and facts. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 03:24, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
In which case they would be wrong. Gould was a paleontologist who didn't understand psychological research very well. Even in 1981 his book was out of date. He made fundamental, and now widely known mistakes with his data analysis and didn't really understand how factor analysis worked. By 1996 he was actively ignoring data to advance his thesis; and in some areas was wrong on almost every detail. His book fed into a public misunderstanding of the research that persists to this day despite the widespread scientific acceptance of IQ testing. Read the 'Mainstream Science on Intelligence' statement or 'Intelligence Known and Unknowns' paper issued by the APA or any other number of published studies in the field. The problem is that in the average person's mind there is a poltus of political or ideological baggage associated with IQ testing that simply isn't present in the research. Certainly IQ testing has problems, but they are not not the mistaken and flawed problems that Gould raised in that book. Tielec01 (talk) 03:32, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
In response to Godot: 1) IQ has a well accepted definition (although debate continues about the structure). 2) We know very well how to test it, and many tests exist that are considered valid and reliable. 3)Yes. 4) Probably not but this question is not yet decided; if there is an effect it is quite small. 5)Of course. 6) They aren't. I recommend you read the two articles I linked above as they will answer many of your questions. Tielec01 (talk) 03:39, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
It is certainly true that many of the criticisms of IQ testing are outdated, such as the assertion that the tests test factual knowledge. However, the more interesting and valid criticism of IQ testing in recent times is coming from researchers in the heuristics and biases tradition. They argue that raw cognitive capabilities do not necessarily translate into better decision making. That is, high IQ is not equivalent to rationality. See, e.g., Keith Stanovich's What Intelligence Tests Miss. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:58, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but this distinction has long been accepted (a kind of hardware/software difference) by researchers. There is probably a tendency for higher IQ people to make 'better decisions' but certainly the relationship might not be linear (might even be binomial etc...). I totally agree with this distinction BTW Neb, but to be precise we should seperate out IQ (or processing speed) from whatever we want to call the OS that people are running in their head. Tielec01 (talk) 05:12, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
They are separated out. In Stanovich's terminology, IQ measures "MAMBIT" (Mental Abilities Measured By IQ Tests -- this sounds circular, but he actually has a precise definition of this in the book) and he refers to the "OS" as "mindware." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:24, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I hope that "hardware and software" bit was an imprecise analogy and not an implicit endorsement of non-materialist neuroscience. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 05:28, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Imprecise analogy Stabby - I think it makes the distinction easy to understand; perhaps it could be improved. MAMBIT sounds abit too close to MANBIT to me but I quite like the term mindware. I think that whatever research is conducted into 'mindware' it is unlikely to eclipse the predictive validity of IQ unless we are missing overlapping variablity. Eg, previously unmeasured mindware makes up a large component of scores on IQ tests and drives many of the outcomes associated with High IQ. I think it is unlikely that we have missed this variability because of the correlations between tests unlikely to be influenced by mindware such as inspection time tasks; but the possibility exists... So much research to do. Tielec01 (talk) 05:33, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC2) ...might even be binomial etc... (1) I think you meant to say polynomial, and (2) I think you mean "sublinear."
As to the proposition that high IQ leads to "better decisions," I present the case of William James Sidis, who had a measured IQ of approximately 250. He was also a crank and a recluse who took to writing learned treatises on the subject of streetcar transfers. The current IQ tests are much improved from those used in his day, but I think they still favor a particular kind of intelligence. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:31, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any tests that reliably measure that high. Claims of IQ above 160 are highly dubious. Sounds like an interesting fellow though. Tielec01 (talk) 05:37, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
The number that comes out the end of an IQ test is ridiculously massaged. The test score has a nonlinear (though at least it's monotonic) relation to where on the idealised bell curve the resulting number comes from. So tests have to be normalised to a huge degree from a huge test population. This is why (as High IQ society notes) the tests that are accepted as producing any sort of meaningful number top out at about 135-140, and the only tests that run higher are made up by high IQ societies for testing who gets to be in their club - David Gerard (talk) 19:25, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
@Tielec: Predictive in terms of what? IQ tests may be predictive in some arenas, but Stanovich's argument is that IQ is generally not a good predictor of rational decision-making abilities.
@LX: Don't forget Christopher Langan. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:42, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

PZ just slapped this down. tl;dr they used data from Richard Lynn - David Gerard (talk) 19:22, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm not surprised. Atheists tend to be more educated and exposed to larger quantities of information that needs to be processed. –Александр(а) (Talk | Contribs | Ragebox) 19:37, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

exposed to larger quantities of information that needs to be processed
So what you're saying is, the majority of actuarialists are atheists? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:44, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
The same goes for Jesuits and kids in madrassas, catechism class, or bar mitzvah lessons. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 20:49, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
As is increasingly the case PZ Myers manages to make a fool of himself with his commentary on the paper. Has the popular opinion here turned against him yet, or is this still to come? He harks from a fine and storied tradition of intellectuals who increasingly venture outside of their realm of expertise as though the 'courtiers reply' allows them to redefine, dismiss and distort; I think we as an atheist community we can do better with our icons. Tielec01 (talk) 00:24, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Go away, Marcus - David Gerard (talk) 06:50, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Was that directed at me David? If so, you are a way off there mate (half a world away). Check out the comments section of the Phyrangula post (or Pharyngula; I always mix them up), some of the posters are pointing out his misunderstanding of the research. Hard as it may be to consider even competent, smart people get things wrong on the odd occasion - of course you already know that. I happen to think that PZ is getting worse; not even trolling - yegads!Tielec01 (talk) 12:54, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Lynn and Kanazawa? Looks like the kitchen sink approach was used here. I also notice there's some questionable proxies in there, e.g. GPA. I wouldn't be surprised if the relation still holds when some of the more questionable data is removed, though, because of the factors mentioned, such as socioeconomic status influencing both IQ scores and religiosity. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:50, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I meant PZ, but yeah Kanazawa over-reaches the research. GPA is a very poor proxy, I missed that in the paper - I will need to go over it in detail. In terms of the bigger question (and I hate to take the middle ground here) I think the relationship goes both ways. Socioeconomic status is influenced by IQ but IQ is also influenced by socio-economic status. I think the same relationship may apply to atheism; although the causal pathway is less clear to me. Some members here seem to take it on faith that there is no predictive relationship between IQ and socio-economic status. While the relationship is very weak, I'd say it exists. This is ideologically disturbing to me - but nevertheless these are the facts. Tielec01 (talk) 03:09, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Views[edit]

Some real surprises here. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:50, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

whats the first one, exactly?--MikallakiM 16:59, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
api.php is (among other things) the page that allows queries to be run against the database - such as larron uses to produce his stats. Worm (talk) 10:07, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Does this suggest that we need to really Gold-brainstar-up the articles on FEMA Concentration Camps and DIA conspiracy theory? --Seth Peck (talk) 18:16, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
it needs to mentian the aliens in a FEMA camp under Denver airport with the really strange murals depicting the new world order and alien overlords. srsly. Hamster (talk) 19:09, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes and no, these are major article getting a lot of attention for the moment. Keep in mind this is just over the month of July 2013. A lot depends on "in vogue" conspiracies and external linking. For example, in October 2012 our gish gallop article blew everything away, any guesses why? Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:20, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Who knew Kirk Cameron was still so popular? Are the hits to the API all our bots, or is that the entry point for the spammers? Our bots would seem a bit chatty if it's just us. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:31, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Impossible to say exactly. I can think of a few functions available on the hover gadget that result in multiple transactions with the API accepting security credentials, sending a response, accepting a request, sending a response. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 18:47, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
is there an easy way to tell if these are links from other sites ? Hamster (talk) 19:12, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Kinda the same question as Hamster, just specific. Is it possible these kinds of numbers are *us* when editors here find new information and we gang bang the articles? Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 23:42, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I recall someone pointing out years ago how Conservapedia's reported view counts were misrepresented as being reflective of popularity, when in fact, it's not hard for a single dedicated editor to rack up 50 hits per day on an article just in the course of editing it. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 01:25, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
That's using a slightly different count mechanism. I would pay far less attention to the absolute values of the counts anyway, and more the relative values. Also we have two other metrics not posted which is entry and exit pages. So for example if a page is high on entry chances are that's a reader coming to that page, as editors tend to originate from other locations on the site. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:38, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I think so too. High entry points to the wiki are about as important as the total number of views that a page gets. If you share that list then it might be a good idea to get on and improve those ones, with an emphasis on having lots of internal links on the high entry pages to encourage people to stay. DamoHi 04:06, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
That makes sense. I almost always start at RecentChanges, just cause that's where we are social. check what's the hot debate topic, find the latest joke, or just yap. I'm guessing most regular users have similar habbits, be it "what is goign on in..." or CP or RC. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 09:57, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Pages by entry. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 13:41, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Some of these make sense, but really Denver Airport conspiracy theory at number 3? That's quite a surprise. Despite flying through DEN regularly I had never heard of this before. Doctor Dark (talk) 14:04, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Again I emphasize that this is a snap shot of only a single month easily skewed by a du jeur social media link or idea. However, our top rating on google for Denver Airport conspiracy theory has always kept it as one of our major entry points. If this is popular we can come up with a way of releasing these stats monthly so people can track long term vs short term patterns as well. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd love to do that over time. As we start to see patterns, it will tell us several things: articles we need to work on; a rough idea of who is coming here, and where we might advertise (if every month, our top hits are conspircy based, and not, say creation based, that matters...), and maybe how we can turn that traffic into more traffic, route it to different projects as we develop them, etc.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 16:26, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Now that I've written a script for processing this data, I can go back and graph historical trends for the top 30 or so pages in whatever category if I have the data. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:28, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
That would be helpful. For me, at least, there's an odd tension between what are some of our most popular pages and what I'd like for people to see. If we make our popular entry pages appealing then people might be more likely to stick around and find out what else is on offer. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:59, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Ok. I've got it. I'll plot it out when I have time. It might be neat to have an app that tracks this stuff realtime. I'll think about that. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 04:00, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Dr. Amy Tuteur/Skeptical OB[edit]

Anyone read her stuff? Appears to be a quotable expert, could beef up our lactivism, vaccine denialism and natural childbirth articles. --Seth Peck (talk) 22:11, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Having followed her for 3 years now, I find her to be *not* skeptical, but agenda driven. She hates home birth. loathes them. Finds every study to prove they are dangrous and highlights every single case that someone had a bad outcome with a home birth (but not, every single case where someone had a bad outcome with an obgyn). She is not just anti home birth, she's also anti midwifes, including women like my own nurse practitioner (for gyn stuff) who has 6 years of medical training 3 as a nurse, 1 as an obgyn-np, and 2 as a midwife. Her comments about breastfeeding go against AMA, and the american obgyn which *does* conclude that there is abundant reason to encourage new mothers to breast feed where possible, though not to push too hard if it's not wanted, practical, or reasonable. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 23:40, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
PS. she is very "pro doctor". doesn't like NPs and PAs doing much of anything. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 23:40, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
She's also no longer practicing, and is highly controversial. Just cause she has the name "skeptical" in her blog, doesn't mean she is. hehe. http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/07/anti-home-birth-activistGreen mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 23:54, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Since you seem to know, what's up with the midwife and home birth hate?--Token Conservative (talk) 01:27, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
So the generic attitude goes way way way back, to a time when doctors were really first comming onto the scene. 1880s- early 1900s, there was a "battle" between midwifes who'd always birthed babies, who knew about women's bodies - often from just being women themselves, and the doctors who were MEN and were TRAINED and were DOCTORS!!!!!!!!. you began to see laws everywhere against midwifes. Not un-connected, by the way, to the whole "she's a witch" thing. Midwifes were "natrual medicine". men were SCIENCE!!!! midwifes did things the good old fashioned way. Men shaved women down (seriously), gave them scientific enemas, and put them into styrrups, cause: MEN!!!!! cause SCIENCE!!! cause DOCTORs!!!!
Today, there is still quite a bit of that hangover from science vs. "quackery". Not that midwifery is quackery, but it's seen that way. again, associations of women with nature, and "healing", vs real medicine. But the attitude is changing. almost all major hospitals work with midwifes, most women's clinics have midwifes who can do pap smears, and breast exams, and yes, birth babies.
But, there is one more peice. in the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a new movement of "birth is natural", "birth is easy", "birth just happens" people who were self professed midwifes. these women were not only not associated with hospitals, but they discourge you from seeing an obgyn "it's all about the money" "it's all about the C-sections". Since they call themselves "midwifes" too (it's not a protected, licensed term), they give all midwifes a bad rep. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 01:46, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah. Would it then be fair to say that she's simply overreacting to the assholes who are calling themselves midwives, or is she against midwives for other, more idiotic, reasons?--Token Conservative (talk) 02:00, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
the whole "birth" thing needs to be looked at. :-) sometimes, rational wiki associates "science!" "medicine!" with "rational", even when the person citing the science or "medicine" is extreme in their position. eh, we improve as we go. :-) Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 04:39, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Nope, she is a full on anti-home birth wakadoo. Does not think midwives should be liscenced (ie., there should be no such thing), does not think nurses are capable of doing "doctor stuff" (pap smears, breast exams, much less birth control or abortions), and thinks birthing centers are nearly evil, but not "as" evil, since they do have doctors "nearby". (which isn't true, birthing centers are fully staffed for all or most normal, difficult and emergency birthing situations). She's also decided, recently, that breast feedign is highly overblown, and that women shouldn't be encouraged to do so. again, against most studies to the contrary.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 02:09, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
So, what you're saying is she's the kind of person we should have an article on?--Token Conservative (talk) 02:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Wow, weird. Many doctors I know aren't *overly* in favour of homebirths, simply because of the risk of small issues which can turn into big problems if an OB isn't nearby. (And assuming you live more than ten mins from a hospital). But I've never met an OB who wasn't in favour of birthing centres and/or midwives. (For the record, "Midwife" is a legally regulated, professional term here in Oz). VOXHUMANA 08:41, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

As someone going through the process at the moment (well my wife is), we are very happy with the system we have in NZ. You get assigned a midwife who looks after you the whole way, right from conception to birth (all free obviously). We are going to have her at a birthing centre, but there is a hospital just down the road if anything goes wrong/there are complications. The midwife had to study for 3 years at university to get qualified and then there is a couple of years of supervised practice before they can do it on their own so it isn't like they are witchdoctors or the equivalent. I have been pleasantly surprised with the whole process. It beats having to see a different doctor each time at the hospital, and my wife and the midwife know each other pretty well so that is a bonus. --DamoHi 09:18, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
The reality is, Vox, under competant medical care (ie, medically trained midwifes), the incidents of death to infant in home births in virtually identical to the incidents of deaths to infants in hosptials or birthing centers. Three studies, one from UK, one from NZ and one from the Nederlands followed women who were otherwise healthy, with pregnancies classified as "normal" and "healthy" and found that 2 infants out of 1000 will die from birth related complications. This number remains fairly consistent across country and regardless of where the woman choose to give birth. It's just "expectation of" or "seems like it would be" being more dangerous (like flying is "more dangerous" than driving - in reality you have a far greater likelyhood of dying GETTING to the airport, than flying). Mostly because (not to sound all new agey here) pregnancy is a natural thing, and with today's technology, most of the issues that caused death to mother or infant (again, under competant care) can now be detected if you have gone into the doc's for a final ultrasound, near your due date.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 09:55, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Seems like you should probably still go to a birthing center or a hospital if there's any chance of anything unusual happening.--Token Conservative (talk) 16:27, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Yep. That's why the studies specifically compare only women who are under medical care teh entire pregnancy, and who are following best advice of medical professionals. We've really advanced in being able to see / predict many complications. not all. some women or children will die, no matter who is there. which seems to be teh point. But it's about real information vs exploiting fear and telling myths about how dangerous home births really are. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 16:44, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else...[edit]

Notice that in the last 15 minutes, there were 11 new accounts made, and each one is just a combination of letters and numbers? Anyone else suddenly reminded of Brasov? Or am I just being paranoid?--Token Conservative (talk) 01:30, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Paranoid - it has been happening on and off for months now. It happened before Brasov too. Just regular spambots getting stopped by CAPTCHA I imagine. Tielec01 (talk) 01:31, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
OK. Well, I feel better now. --Token Conservative (talk) 01:33, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
that is a lot of new users Hamster (talk) 02:38, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps we just want to be accepted members of a vibrant online community. Also, if you need some penis enlargement pills, or an iphone unlocked, or a cheap flight to London, hit me up. Tsdf5430 (talk) 02:44, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
What about penis unlockers and iPhone enlargements? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:47, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I always wonder how spammers choose which sites to hit. And I'm surprised none have ever hit on the idea of including the product they're shilling in their usernames. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:47, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I own a web development firm with a business partner (who works at another web development firm as well), and between the two of us we manage a few dozen websites. To this day, neither of us can figure out the answer to that question. The spammers always use the same methodology in the same way, and we're always left scratching our heads as to how they think they will succeed. A few are smarter and post things that seem like they could be legit (thus confusing computer-illiterate users), but the majority do not. - GrantC (talk) 02:51, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Is there a way to keep User Creation out of one's recent changes? (I wanted to ask the same thing re: the Block Log during extended block wars.) PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 02:54, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I think the same way as any other (either the short or the really long code)? I know theres some code for blocklog and i assume it works the same if you wanna do newusers--MikallakiM 03:58, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

On a semi-related note, how are they getting past the "what is the x letter in our logo" question, but getting caught up on our captcha? It seems like, if anything, it should be the other way around. If captchas are stopping them actually editing, shouldn't we include a more traditional captcha in the user creation process? If nothing else, it'll tidy up the recent changes.--Token Conservative (talk) 04:06, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

AFAIK,there are filers in place that reject edits from new users which have any one of a variety of key terms. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:08, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I wonder if the entire server is being targeted, because the one post I made on the RationalMedia blog has been hammered with 24 spam comments over the last hour. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 04:49, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

No, this is normal. Akismet's switched off for the fundraiser, with all other extensions, in the interests of the blog not flaking out every five minutes. Usually Akismet catches all this stuff and we never even see it. But spambots are persistent fuckers - David Gerard (talk) 06:53, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, okay. I didn't realize the barbarians were always at the gates. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:08, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

More Snark Needed[edit]

Ok, I started the Raymond Buckland page, but it’s in desperate need of more snark, and I really feel like, since I actually am Pagan and thus agree with most of what he believes, I wouldn’t be able to adequately snark at him. The only real joke I can think of concerns one thing that I disagree with him about (he does not believe in inter-species reincarnation. I think that this makes no sense, because “species” are not fixed, so what the hell happens after speciation? And during speciation for that matter? Can you reincarnate across ring species?)--Mustex (talk) 23:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Why would you expect anyone at this site to take sides on that issue? Until such time as any conclusive evidence emergences that reincarnation is even a real thing at all, quibbling about whether one kind of reincarnation is more possible than another just seems like pitting one person's arbitrary unfounded beliefs against another's. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:29, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Read the post again. I wasn't asking for an opinion on reincarnation. In fact, that was literally the one thing I was saying I COULD cover. I was asking if we could some more snark and/or criticism on the page in general, because I don't think its very easy to snark at someone about opinions you agree with.--Mustex (talk) 03:05, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Nationalism[edit]

Is it possible that Nationalism en masse is now hindered by the easiness of accessing information that may contradict the infallibility of your country and/or government? Of course, I'm not saying it doesn't happening. After all there is still a rough sinew of American Exceptionalism, and other such happenings in North Korea, Russia etc. (however in North Korea the flow of information is censored, as you know) People will still suffer from their own biases, but has the effect of jingoism been thwarted when it tries to decide the mood of a whole nation? — Unsigned, by: 92.24.47.112 / talk / contribs 2013-08-13T19:08:49‎

You're not wrong, that's what essentially killed off the Soviet Union. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:24, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
When the first transatlantic cable was laid, people said that this would happen. It's easy to overstate the positive effects of technology, especially if you're a technophile.
The Soviet Union wasn't killed by a decrease in nationalism but by an increase. When even the Russians decided their "Russian" identity was more important than their "Soviet" identity, the U.S.S.R. was dead. Historically, nationalism has generally been seen as a result of improved communications - as mass literacy spread, and with it mass market books and newspapers, people came to think of themselves as "German" or "Hungarian", not merely as residents of their small village, or as members of a vague "empire". Modern communications has, if anything, led to even more nationalism, as previously marginalized and socially isolated communities are able to unite and form coherent movements. See, for example, devolution in the U.K., resulting from increased Scottish and Welsh (and even English) nationalism competing with a sense of "British" identity. On the other hand, this new micronationalism can be very complex. Most Flemings and Walloons probably have a much stronger sense of pan-European identity than they did a few decades ago, but a weaker sense of pan-Belgian identity.209.188.60.161 (talk) 12:32, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Input politely requested[edit]

Context: I am on Reddit and I'm curious how people of different ideologies, ages, and nationalities will answer this question, so I'm going to ask the different political subreddits (libertarianism, anarchism, communism, fascism, conservative, liberal, possibly anti-racism and white-rights and feminism and MRAs). Before I do that I was hoping that RW could check over my poll question. You can answer yourselves, I'm cool with that, but I wont include you if I do some kind of statistical analysis

Question:

If you could live in the US at any point in time when would it be, with the following conditions:

  1. You cannot influence history. You can pall around with Elvis, but you cannot try to turn him into a Jazz singer, or whatever
  2. Must be given as a decades (1890s, for example)
  3. It must be consecutive decades. It can be any decade and any number of decades, but they must be consecutive
  4. If you see this question again in another subreddit, please do not reply again.
  5. Also include in your answer your age (rounded to the nearest 5 year mark is fine, if you'd prefer) and the country you live in
If you would prefer, you can PM me your response instead, just so long as you say what subreddit you are from

And before I actually do this, I'm going to PM one of the subreddits mods and make sure they're cool with me doing this. I was thinking something like:

Hello, I was interested in using r/whatever to conduct a survey. I'm not affiliated with any group, just doing this out of curiosity how people from different ideologies, countries, and ages would answer this question. I hoped to post in your subreddit, as well (list here, but I wanted to make sure the mods were OK with me doing this. (insert question here)

Anyways, thanks all for any input--Token Conservative (talk) 19:50, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Anyone who fails to answer either 2006 or 2013 is arrtarded. Also, it's not clear how answers are supposed to be formed. Hipocrite 19:58, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd suggest you'd use SurveyMonkey or a similar site. Judging internet comments is not the best way of collecting data. Osaka Sun (talk) 20:50, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
As a random Brony once said: "Saying "I'd like to go back in time" is such a white male's privilege" --MikallakiM 01:09, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Louis CK said it better. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 01:46, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
The thing I don't really get about that Louis CK video is that he isn't even White. He is a ginga. --DamoHi 05:42, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Also half Mexican. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:09, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
If it justifies my asking any, my point is that I think most people will say the generation after the Great Depression (ie, the 1940s-1960s). This would mean the US experiencing probably its worst social and economic breakdown was a requirement of it's greatest success. Just part of a pet theory that the current social, economic, and political tension will probably cause a second golden age for the US from the 2020s-2040s.
Before I get the comments, the Civil War was the worst political breakdown because I don't think society changed much in the immediate aftermath, but our political system definitely did--Token Conservative (talk) 05:31, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
(Not trying to be an annoying pedant or anything, but:) Just in case you're gonna copy/paste those questions as is:
'pall around' should be 'pal around'; 'given as a decades' should be either 'given as decades' or 'given as a decade'; cutting the period at the end of the 4th bullet point (If you see this question again [...]) would be consistent with not having the period at the end of the other bullet point; 'if you prefer' reads a lot smoother than 'if you'd prefer', both work sort of, but the former is better imo Nullahnung (talk) 05:54, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
No no, go ahead and do that. This is something I wanted.--Token Conservative (talk) 17:27, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps also include other countries? SophieWilderModerator 12:36, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Do I get to be rich? If so, I'd want to go live in the inter-war years in New York. If I have to be the same socio-economic standing I am now, I never, ever want to live in America in any time period. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:44, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Easy choice. The 2010s to the 999999990s. Bam, loopholed into existing for a really long time (and possibly forever if we manage to get that technology stuff to work and it isn't all kook dreams). --ShadowofLords (talk) 16:29, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Need to catch up with new technology[edit]

A local utility company still lists its phone number as something like (800)-234-WORD. I looked at my cell phone and got really pissed off. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 04:28, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

there must be an app for that 234-9673 . ABC  » 2 DEF  » 3 GHI  » 4 JKL  » 5 MNO  » 6 PQRS  » 7 TUV  » 8 WXYZ  » 9 Hamster (talk) 05:58, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
What cell phone do you have that doesn't have the letters on the numbers? Every cell phone I've owned, from dumb flip phone to my current GS3 displays them. Compro01 (talk) 15:03, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
I think PS&L must have one of those cell-phones for seniors - big keys, large numbers, no texts, games, camera or mp3 player. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 15:13, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Not quite. It's a Nokia C3. It's got a QWERTy keyboard, and the numbers are on letter keys: 1 = R, 2 = T, 4 = F, V = 7, etc... PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 15:16, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Comfort doubles down on bananas[edit]

Of course, she begins by saying that man modified the shape of the banana—which isn’t true. The guy that started that belief used a picture of a modern banana to show the shape of bananas 5,000 years ago (it must have surprised him that nobody mentioned that they didn’t have cameras 5,000 years ago).[1]

I thought Ray said his banana thing was just a comedy skit that people misunderstood? --PsyGremlinFale! 19:49, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Once a Banana Man, always a Banana Man. --Revolverman (talk) 00:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
the very early video made it clear he was comparing a banana with a can of coke (or whatever). Later videos seemed to leave part out which made for comments like "what banana shaped object has spurted in your face ?" Comfort seems to have missed that the modern banana has been modified from the wild variety Hamster (talk) 02:39, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Ray Comfort redefines his comments so many times, I honestly have trouble keeping track of them. --OverworldTheme (talk) 16:28, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Dumb question (BS vs BAS)[edit]

Probably a dumb question, but what is the difference between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Applied Science? My college has an IT degree in either, and as far as I can tell there's no difference other than the name. Does it matter at all?--Token Conservative (talk) 17:53, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

[2] Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 18:08, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
wikipedia says http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor_of_Applied_Science I detect a faint trace of "trade school" rather than "university" but that might just be me Hamster (talk) 18:16, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
"No difference other than the name" is probably right. It's not uncommon for a course to be offered with students having the opportunity to graduate with a choice of equivalent qualifications. E.g. some universities in the UK have degree courses in subjects like Economics or Management Studies which students can take as either a BA or BSc - they may need a certain combination of modules for one rather than the other, or they may be exactly the same, just a choice of qualification. This is just because some employment sectors look more favourably on BSc than BA or vice versa, especially internationally and these courses are often popular with international students. Similarly, our university offers about half a dozen masters courses in Operations Management, Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management, Industrial Operations, etc. which are functionally identical or near-identical in terms of course content/modules but with different degree titles. Most of the students on these courses are from overseas (BRIC countries and developing economies) and these different cultures favour different terms for this subject area. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:40, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, so, "pick one and stick to it because they're a pile a crap" - Jesus--Token Conservative (talk) 18:51, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Based on what? €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Probably the only thing more amusingly presumptuous than a university degree in Supply Chain Management will be the barely-English prose in an academic journal about Supply Chain Management, something that unfortunately is very likely a real thing. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:58, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Seems like kindofa snooty attitude. Why should it be less valid than any other specialism? WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:37, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Turns out that I successfully predicted the existence of the Journal of Supply Chain Management. Thank you, Jesus, for those psychic powers.
Article titles from the current issue include "Power Asymmetry, Adaptation and Collaboration in Dyadic Relationships Involving a Powerful Partner" (From the abstract: This study examines how perceptions of power use and prevailing relationship quality in dyadic relationships characterized by substantial power asymmetry affect behavioral and operational outcomes. Hierarchical regression is used to analyze data from a dyadic survey of relationships of a brand-name buying organization and its suppliers. Results indicate that power use affects partner behavior and operational performance, but the nature of the relationship dictates which power sources are most appropriate. In addition, the mediation effect of power imbalance shows that both relational and transactional factors can play an important role in supply chain exchanges.)
and "The Relationships between External Integration and Plant Improvement and Innovation Capabilities: The Moderation Effect of Product Clockspeed" (This study investigates whether product clockspeed moderates the relationship between external integration and improvement and innovation capabilities of manufacturing plants. Analysis of survey data collected from 238 manufacturing plants indicates a positive moderation effect of product clockspeed on the relationship between customer integration and plant improvement and innovation capabilities. However, product clockspeed does not have a significant moderation effect on the relationship between supplier integration and either of the two plant capabilities. This study provides theoretical and managerial insights into aligning external integration with plant capabilities under the contingency of product clockspeed.)
I find this kind of text both annoying and unintentionally hilarious. The key seems to be to use highly impersonal jargon and the apparatus of scholarship to confect belaboring-the-obvious bullshit about humble trades that really shouldn't be written about this way. This is a species of language pathology in my opinion. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:04, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Private Eye / Pseuds Corner material if ever I saw it! Scream!! (talk) 21:31, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you're not an entrepreneur and don't work in management. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:28, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
I had a roommate at getting a masters in supply chain management at MIT, and his course didn't seem to be too much of a joke. Logistics-type problems tend to be extremely hard, even from a purely mathematical point of view... --MarkGall (talk) 21:33, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
So you pick an academic journal in a discipline you haven't studied & find it uses jargon you're unfamiliar with, therefore it's not a real thing that's worth studying. Nice. Covers pretty much everything I'm sure. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:50, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Logistics problems are indeed hard, chaotic, and mathematically complex. But, that second abstract appears to translate to something like "Factories that switch product specs often are better at switching product specs, and this may help them serve customers, but doesn't help with the suppliers." That fuzz of abstract nouns and deliberately depersonalized phrases seems there chiefly to conceal the banality of this discovery. Again, this is a form of language pathology. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:52, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
And you're apparently an intellectual snob. Stop digging. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 22:43, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
At the University of Waterloo (my alma mater), the course offerings and degree requirements for a BSc. vs. a BASc. are quite different. In a sense, it's almost a hybrid between engineering and science. This kind of degree structuring is quite common in disciplines that blur the lines between faculties. As a slightly tangential example, at Waterloo one can choose to major in Mathematical Physics from two different faculties: Math, and Science. The core required courses are the same, but the list of acceptable electives varies significantly.
One can imagine that a BMath and a BSc. are quite different degrees under ordinary circumstances. However, for those who want to toe the line between science and math, the ability is there to major in the same field from either faculty (and from either degree). The difference between a BASc. and a BSc. is similar in that regard. - GrantC (talk) 21:19, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
The required general education courses are all the same, and so is the courses for the major. There is no list of accepted electives, but there is apparently a difference that BAS requires one additional elective. That is apparently the only difference at the college between BS IT and a BAS IT--Token Conservative (talk) 00:26, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
While I can't say for sure in this case, my thought is that this particular IT program just happens to fall under both spheres at your college. If you were looking at a program closer to the "core" sciences, I imagine that's where you would see the differences I mentioned. If the courses are the same, it's just a matter of preference as to which degree you leave with. - GrantC (talk) 04:02, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Seeking an opinion[edit]

So I'm in a conversation with a black male facebook "friend". I love the conversations we have. he opens my eyes to many things, and sometimes I give him a thing or two to think about. But today he said something that bothered me. I was saying roughly "we all need to watch how we talk about "others", minority groups we do not belong to" or some such. and he pulled out the line "do you think white women are a minority". Of course they are. Do they have it as bad as Women of Color? or Men of color for that matter? is it as hard for them as for asian women? do they have an easier time than lesbians? of course. But you need only look at the last 3 years of legislation against women's uteruses to see that life isn't always rosy for white women. But I'm not sure how to breach that topic without saying "you are an arrogant fuck" - which he isn't, he's just stumbled into a moment of "oppression olypics", that i don't really want to play. I've granted his question, that we aren't nearly as oppressed as others - but he won't grant that we are oppressed.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 00:17, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Race shouldn't be dividing people in the gender debate. The fundamentalism that is driving anti-abortion legislation in the States is hurting all women, regardless of skin colour. It's a poor distraction to change the argument. Osaka Sun (talk) 00:27, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Er, surely in the US and Europe women are definitely not a minority. They may be more-discriminated-against sector of the population by the minority white males but in population terms females outnumber males. Of course, you may be using "minority" in some neo-political fashion. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 01:21, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
@Genghis: In sociology a "minority group" means "has less political power because of group membership", so the blacks in South Africa under Apartheid were a minority, even while they were the numerically dominate group. So, yes, women as a whole are a minority despite being 50% of the population.
I think what your friend may be referencing #solidarityisforwhitewomen. Not sure if you're up on it, but a lot of women of color have started to point out the issues of racism or lack of racial awareness mentality that has developed in the Feminist movement.--Token Conservative (talk) 01:47, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
That's nothing new, and it's actually addressed by most women's sites I frequent. No he was more just being a moment of "discrimination olympics". I do get that life is worse for WOC, MOC, etc. I just think it's equally wrong to suggest that white women are not a minority, too. less of one, granted. Again, i voulneteer with rape councling (do you call it that, if none of you are trained, ...sharing, maybe) groups, and work with cops around here to try and change the situation, so saying "you are not a mionrity" just sorta irked me. I think if a black woman had said it, I'd say "not compared to you, no". but the fact that the discussion was on issues felt by women in general, kinda took me aback.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 01:50, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Hmmm... Not sure what to say at this point.--Token Conservative (talk) 02:00, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Isn't it just semantics? You can point out and debate the ways in which white women are discriminated against/treated unfairly compared to other groups but recognise that whether this makes them a minority depends upon the particular definition you are using for "minority". On some particular definitions, white men are also a "minority". In other words, isn't the argument a bit pointless? DamoHi 03:27, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
For what it's worth, people talking about real issues, issues that affect their life every day, hate being told it's "just a matter of semantics". it's a bit like "mansplaining", only it's more "educated-spainin'". Yes, the word changes in contexts, but the situation is clear with or without the word and "semantics'. Being a minority - being seen as, treated as, objectified as, matters. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 03:43, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
It may be semantics, but that doesn't mean it's not worth discussing and trying to come to a consensus on what 'minority' should entail in the presented context. Your friend on facebook may have a slightly different definition of 'minority' than you. As in, both of you believe that "being a minority requires a certain level of unfair treatment", but you both have different conceptions of what that certain level is, or something like that, maybe, in which case it may be best to ask him what that level is for him and try to convince him that your own version of the level deserves to be recognized as well. When that happens, both your versions of the meaning of minority will merge together into one version that both of you can agree with and everybody lived happily ever after.
(I'm probably not suggesting anything that you're not already trying to do, rendering my post borderline useless. Oh well.) Nullahnung (talk) 04:05, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Pfft. It isn't in the least bit about "mansplaining" or whatever other form of bigotry you think happens whenever anyone interacts with you. You don't like what I say, fine; but don't bring it back to how you are being oppressed. I was speaking in good faith and made what I still think is a reasonable point and yet you still accuse me of acting inappropriately. DamoHi 04:43, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
But I'm not sure how to breach that topic without saying "you are an arrogant fuck"... "Yes" seems to be an accurate representation of what you believe, is short, to the point, and contains no accusations of arrogant fuckery or other blatant specimens of "white-woman-splaining." Just remember that the concept of more than one class of people being "oppressed" at the same time is a highly abstruse one that confounded sociologists for decades, so your friend might need a gentle introduction to it, though even that may be difficult to pull off if he uses ad hominems no one has ever heard of before, such as an accusation of "educated-spainin'." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:37, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC) I guess it kindof depends whether you (or he) are talking about "white women" as a specific minority group - i.e. are they oppressed for being white women? Or is it rather that all women are an oppressed group in a similar (though distinct) way that black people and LGBT people are oppressed/minority groups? People belonging to multiple minority groups inevitably have it tougher than people belonging to one (like straight white women) but this doesn't mean that these are not still an underprivileged group. There's a fine line between intersectionality and oppression olympics, but "we have it worse than you" shouldn't equate to "you have nothing to complain about". ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:01, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
By your definition everybody is "oppressed". That's just ridiculous, and indeed undermines the efforts of those who really are. --81.175.225.92 (talk) 06:48, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
This conversation has certainly opened my eyes to one thing. It seems that a group can represent the overwhelming majority of the population but still be a minority. Weird or what?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 07:05, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
If you can call Wikipedia weird, I guess. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:13, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC) Several terms relevant to this discussion, such as "minority," have completely different meanings in sociological cant than they do in common usage. Pinkos are often found exploiting the resulting opportunities for equivocation, as when they say that one is a "racist" if and only if one is white. If instead of "minority" such people said what they actually meant, they would automatically limit their audience. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:25, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
You heard it from the source, people: sociologists=Marxists. ListenerX is calling out all the REDSREDSREDSREDSREDSREDS!!!!!! from under the bed. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:39, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Note that I made a distinction between sociologists and the people who equivocate using their technical terms. Analogously, there is a distinction between evolutionary biologists and the creationists who rip off their lingo. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:52, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
BON made a valid point - some of the definitions in this thread make the word meaningless. Tielec01 (talk) 07:59, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
@ListenerX: Ah, okay. From your wording I took it as you deriding the "sociological cant" as fundamentally dishonest, rather than deriding the the misuse of it in non-academic circles. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 08:02, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
So the back majority population in South Africa was, in fact, a minority under apartheid and - presumably - the white minority was, in reality, the majority. But after the social system changed the black majority became the majority population. Did that turn the white minority population into a minority? Or if they did not suffer discrimination was the white minority population not, in fact, a minority? --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 10:27, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Oh boy. Best to define terms in advance it appears, at least that way you can then move onto debating the issues rather than the terms. But yes, if you define "minority" in that way then that would be the outcome Bob. DamoHi 10:38, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps minority should be defined not simply by head count, but by ownership of economic and political power? SophieWilderModerator 10:41, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Well that is how it is used in sociology. Stabby provided a link to an interesting WP article above there somewhere. Seems fair enough to me, though if I was discussing whether one group or another deserves to be called a "minority" I would want this to be made clear at the start. I think it safe to say that most people would not use the term this way. DamoHi 10:45, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Most people consider women to be a minority. again, in almost all uses in politics or the social world, "minority" is not about numbers, it's about power.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 18:55, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
I understand that Christians in the US are also an oppressed minority. Makes my bloody head spin. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 10:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

So american christians are a minority in the same way that black south africans were a minority because both groups believed they were/are oppressed. Have I got that right?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 21:34, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Christians in the US are only an oppressed minority when it suits their purposes to be one. It's often the same people playing this tack who also play the "America is a Christian nation" card whenever it suits them. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:57, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Simultaneously being and not being a minority seems wonderfully quantum to me.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 07:25, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Schrodinger's Christian. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:16, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

This article needs some help[edit]

I want to revive the editing of Net Nanny's anti-porn article. Anyone up for some serious content-adding? — (talk to) [æn əˈmɛɹɪkən ˈnaiːɪlɪst] 23:33, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Human vs. Octopus Eyes[edit]

I see the evolution of human vs. octopus eyes with the argument that the latter are generally superior brought up a lot, but other than an overview of the subject in the mollusc article there doesn't seem to be a whole lot on Rational Wiki about it. Considering how often it seems to be referenced I assumed there would be an article on the wiki dedicated to it, but there isn't it. Is it not considered on-mission? I was curious about the subject since it's brought up so often, but I haven't been able to find much that's targeted at a general audience and isn't a million pages in length. Searching about the topic online only seems to give three kinds of results for me:

Of these, the first is by far the most common, the second is very rare and way over my head anyway, and the third--while more common than the second--I'm not versed enough on the subject to dispute other than the normal run-of-the-mill creationist fallacies (we can see color, octopi can't, therefore God). --OverworldTheme (talk) 14:05, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

It's an example mentioned under convergent evolution in our "types of evolution" article. I don't know about octopus eyes being "generally superior". Surely they're both appropriately adapted to the relevant creature's habitat, lifestyle & needs. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:29, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the claim "generally superior" is based on the octopus eye being able to see further and better in the dark--Token Conservative (talk) 15:57, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
My understanding is that it's based on several factors (lack of a blind spot, resistance to the sight problems like near-sightedness inherent in humans), as outlined in the mollusc article, but not really expounded on or explained. --OverworldTheme (talk) 16:55, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
The blind spot in the human eye forms where the optic nerve meets the retina, where there are no photoreceptor cells. So the human brain has to fill in this blind spot with information from the other eye or by interpolating already visible patterns. The octopus does not have this problem. That's one instance of superior design -- I don't know about the others, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:43, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
No-one has ever seen an octopus wearing glasses. Case proven. SophieWilderModerator 20:25, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
There is a list of advantages right there in RW's mollusk article. Chief among them, in my view, is that the sensors are directly illuminated without intervening layers of nerves or vascular tissue. Seems to have been good enough for gastropod purposes... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:54, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Should we spin it off into its own article and try building on it? I see the topic brought up constantly as an argument against intelligent design, but I don't want to use it myself if I can't reasonably back it up. As the link I began with demonstrates, creationist apologists have already worked out their rebuttal and I wouldn't know where to begin if someone I'm talking to has skimmed some shitty article like that and wants to argue it. --OverworldTheme (talk) 13:13, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

NAMBLA will never die[edit]

A former aide of San Antonio, Texas councilwoman Elisa Chan leaked a recording of her discussing gays with her staff. It's an interesting insight into how political messaging is crafted ("It's not anti-gay, it's pro-family"). It also reveals how some people's opinions on homosexuality is this incoherent jumble of ideas and impressions and that thing you heard about once. (Pansexuality is like pantheism, right?) And, of course, NAMBLA. NAMBLA will never die. It will forever be that turdbomb your dumb relative will mention, "But some gays want to have sex with children! They even founded an organization!"

It's not all bad: Chan says she "doesn't care what people do in the privacy of their own home," (but follows up with "don't impose your lifestyle on public policy" with regards to gay marriage). And her staff frankly discusses evolution as something that can yield insight, which is pleasantly surprising. But still, god damn it, can anti-gay people please let go of the NAMBLA boogeyman? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:30, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

(Short commentary on the contents of the recording for those of you who don't want to sit through 10+ minutes of bigotry.) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:59, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Has NAMBLA actually done anything of note in the last decade or two? Other than be a convenient scapegoat for practically any purpose, of course. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 05:03, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
If the guys in NAMBLA are bad because that are gays, would that mean that members of a hypothetical (?) NAMGLA would be acceptable?--Weirdstuff (talk) 11:50, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't know for sure what the "gays r bad" people would say, but I believe the response to that would be something along the lines of: "I think the fact that NAMGLA doesn't exist lends even more weight to the fact that the gays have a NAMBLA."
(^shamelessly putting words in people's mouths) Nullahnung (talk) 14:15, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
"It's not all bad: Chan says she "doesn't care what people do in the privacy of their own home," (but follows up with "don't impose your lifestyle on public policy" with regards to gay marriage)." Gonna be blunt, I don't even give people credit for things like "I don't care what you do in private" any more, because usually soundbytes like those have an invisible 'but' at the end. "Do what you want in private...just don't hold hands in public" or "It's okay if it hurts nobody...btw here are my batshit criteria for things that 'hurt' me, starting with 'you existing'." Polite Timesplitter Cultural loneliness is a right pain 15:29, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
"It also reveals how some people's opinions on homosexuality is this incoherent jumble of ideas and impressions and that thing you heard about once." You could replace "homosexuality" with just about anything there. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:48, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I missed all this, but it finally caught up to me. What really pisses me off is that she is now framing this as a first amendment issues. "I have a right to have personal opinions, and i will always defend that right of American Citizens" or some such. It's not that you don't have a right to think or say what you want - but that we have the right to get bloody offended when you think such things. and want to vote you out. I'm really tired of the this new idea that it's not what was said that was teh problem, but that someone was caught, or held accountable. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 18:40, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Vote above[edit]

Could people vote above for the Main page redesign? Thanks. Sterilesig.svgtalk 20:38, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Language as a mirror of morality[edit]

Hey look, another of those studies analyzing writing samples across the decades, then concluding that the language shifts say something about morality. I hate these things, because they strip words out of context, then project the analysists' moral fretfulness on them.

I eagerly await a study on the evolution of rhyme scheme in rap and how it reflects the selfishness of urban youth, or however we feel like pigeonholing people through context-free analysis of art tomorrow. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:13, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

From a linguistic point of view, it's a pretty good study. They measured a variety of word, looked for contemporary parralells incaase word usage itself changed. We do use words that reflect how we think, especially when writing books. The very topic of the books changes, in fact. If duty and obligation are an important part of the life of rural people, those words will show up often in their writings. It would have been, i think, better had she analyzed local news papers as a modern comparitave - what are rural people writings/writing about, what are urban people writing/writing about. That would have provided some needed context. When you look at nearly 100,000,000 uses of words, context no longer matters, specifically because you are shading out the outliers. We do this kind of study all teh time in linguistics.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 15:26, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
It might be more convincing if some of the words weren't able to be used in so many different contexts. ("Get," "choose") It would also be interesting to compare some of the words ("authority," "obedience") to those used in today's corporate self-help cant ("change," "adapt," "growth"). How much have mores really changed as opposed to being dressed up in new language? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:55, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Her other studies seem to be fairly well structured. I have not found this actual study yet, but from what I gather, she knows her stuff. She probably provides quite a more detailed insight into what words she used and why, as she's done in her other studies, we would know more. I agree that "get" seems odd, but the point is not that get replaces something, but that as a very common word, we are using it more. It's not just pulling a word out of a hat, and saying "see, she used 'cat' so she must be a feminist". it's about statistical patterns. There were other changes going on at the same time, but language, in my opinion, does not change randomly, it's driven by need. the choice of words reflects *something*, and she is detailing her idea of what. As i said, there are other "controls" you can do, but Nebby, I have done these studies. They are unbelievably hard to set up. :-) (course, i was working with punch cards for an 1980's study, that we continued in the 1990s. the punch cards were the only computer record we had. so maybe that's why it was hard. ;-)Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 17:01, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
"...the choice of words reflects *something*..." I don't dispute that, but how do we tell what, exactly, it reflects? Take idiomatic uses of language as an example. How do we separate out increasing use of "get" as part of the idiom "get it?" (i.e., to understand) as opposed to being the opposite of give? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:28, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Probably all you need to know: Greenfield is a psychologist, this is a linguistics question. This happens all the time and RationalWiki editors ought to know it's a red flag. Here's Language Log's Mark Liberman taking one of these sort of papers to pieces to see what makes it tick and there are a series of follow-ups because Mark works far too hard and frankly we ought to pay him. If anybody here still remembers Conservapedia (I know there used to be a few people here who followed that, right?) then the idea of people shoving words arbitrarily into one of two lists and then claiming that can be used as evidence of some powerful trend ought not to be new to you either. The word list, unless it was assembled by some reproducible blind process, is an opportunity to firmly put one's thumb on the scales in this sort of experiment either by accident or entirely on purpose. Overall, I'm with Stabby. Tialaramex (talk) 18:07, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
There are quite a few idioms using "get" which appeared during the period or which became much more common during the period. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:53, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
The most interesting example among those, IMO, is "get over," with a whole cluster of meanings and connotations. Making sense of how those all hang together is a fair chunk of work, which may already have been done by some cognitive linguist somewhere. Still, I would like to see how the use of an accessory word (particle?) such as "get" can be meaningfully linked to a cultural shift. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 11:36, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Mark Liberman has now written about this specific paper. The nice thing about ngram is that you can see for yourselves the actual data, an improvement on most of the papers you might read in a major journal today, sadly. But that doesn't do anything for the arbitrary lists of words. Tialaramex (talk) 08:44, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Any mathemagician types in the house?[edit]

This section was moved to User_talk:Martin_Arrowsmith#Pendulums_question_from_Saloon_Bar_expanded ħumanUser talk:Human 06:24, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Have you ever heard of "boredom rooms"?[edit]

Because this is a head-scratcher. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:06, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

No, but I don't find much in that article particularly surprising. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 03:35, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Some economists attribute the lack of a dynamic economy in Western Europe to labor laws similar to Japan’s that restrict layoffs.
Goddamn, the New York Times must really hate labor rights for them to hunt down some two-bit economist willing to say that. Germany's economy is doing just fine and French workers have some of the highest productivity in the world. Britain's ills have more to do with austerity measures, and Spain's are a direct result of a real estate bubble bursting (much like in the US). The "trade unions are a drag, amiright?" schtick is highly disingenuous and the NYT go fuck itself for pushing it.
Also, what the fuck does a "dynamic economy" even mean? If a country's economy is stable, its standard of living is high, and its unemployment rate low, who the fuck cares how "dynamic" it is? The NYT can shove its glibertarian "dynamic economy" shibboleth up its own ass. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 04:03, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, Scandinavia is big on flexicurity, which allows for easy hiring and firing (but otherwise requires significant social protections that Japan would likely balk at). The NYT is right for the wrong reasons. Osaka Sun (talk) 04:12, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Basically the same horrible management culture found in western companies viewed from a different angle. There's no way a company like Sony couldn't find meaningful jobs for these people if they tried. Actual engineering jobs, not just demeaning busy work. Even if they had to fill a position they might otherwise have hired a graduate to fill, those jobs are always available. If people are willing to take the boredom room, they'll happily take work that might been a step down in prestige and they'll perform the role far better than any newbie could. The only reason to try and get them to quit is so you don't have to pay them for their accumulated seniority. It's the same toxic culture that brought us outsourcing. A culture that focuses solely on cash outflows and not on productivity. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:44, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
The guy the article talks about lost his position because they didn't need it anymore and he refused to take early retirement or be retrain. He refused to retrain. Sony offered him a way to be useful, and he told them no. He wants to do what he was hired to do, or nothing else. This is entirely his own fault. That he is claiming to be the victim just makes me hate him more. He's the same type of asshole who plays chicken with a train, loses, and tries to sue the engineer. Sony need to fire the fucking moron and sue his ass. --Token Conservative (talk) 00:43, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
How exactly did you come to the conclusion that anyone in the article refused to retrain? That's nowhere stated or implied. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 11:16, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Sony should... sue his ass.
I've heard that, outside of the U.S., Americans are viewed as bizarrely litigious about everything. Thanks for confirming that stereotype. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 00:59, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
What the hell would they sue him for? The whole point is that they can't lay him off because of the terms of his employment contract and/or the applicable labour laws. Hamilton's analysis that they should just fire him anyway & then sue him for something is all kinds of stupid. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:52, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually it's not clear from the actual article whether there's any law forbidding them from terminating these people. The problem is that in Japan it's just not done. Getting a big industrial like Sony to break with tradition would be monumental, and Sony doesn't want to be the one to do it. Having employees who won't retire or retrain sit idle is not a new thing however, and doesn't make headlines.
The practice of paying employees to do nothing exists in the EU too, if I told my boss tomorrow that I resign I can pretty much guarantee that they'd activate the "garden leave" paragraph in my contract, which means that I'm forbidden from coming to the company offices or having non-essential contact with employees for the next few months until the notice period ends. During this time I'd be unable to take another full-time job (after all my present employer is still paying me and in principle could ask me to work). Tialaramex (talk) 10:11, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
"Employees are given counseling to find new jobs in the Sony group, or at another company, it said."
As for what to sue him for, how about wasting companies resources for two goddamn years. --Token Conservative (talk) 15:55, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
You've completely failed to understand the article. They're not wasting the company's resources, they're doing exactly the job they're told to do. The job they're told to do is bullshit makework to try to force them to leave. The "counselling" offered is part of the strategy to get them to quit. None of these people is refusing to do anything other than take early retirement, which considering they're 50 and will likely never work again if they quit is the smart move. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:36, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
And now it's you that is not basing your position on anything. Last I checked "counseling to find a job" means "here are things we can retrain you to do, or where your current skills can be useful elsewhere"--Token Conservative (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Counseling to find a job" could just as easily be slanted towards outplacement counseling. How to take over the paperwork for your retirement savings if you don't find a job at another company, that kind of thing. Given the nature of Japanese business culture, don't assume everything corresponds to what's printed in English on the label. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:22, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

They have to pay the moron anyways, why would they not try to make him useful? Unless you give reference that says otherwise, I'm going to assume Sony isn't run by as big of morons as you seem to think they are.--Token Conservative (talk) 18:43, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Salary man =/= moron. Just now, your assumptions about Japanese corporate practices do not concern me. Their assumptions about their tenure of employment are grounded in a homogeneous culture which takes time to understand; surviving in that atmosphere takes a set of social skills that few Westerners can even imagine. Go ahead and research it for yourself. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 19:20, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm going to assume your unwillingness to provide a reference that "job counseling" means "we're too stupid to retrain you, here is how you deal with shit after you quit, which we hope you do because we refuse to fire you or retrain you" means you're making shit up.--Token Conservative (talk) 21:06, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Are you seriously incapable of reading? It says right there in the same paragraph as it mentions the "counselling", "But the real point of the rooms is to make employees feel forgotten and worthless." What the company says about what they're doing is not the actuality. That's the point of the article. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:50, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Career counseling = room? Interesting.--Token Conservative (talk) 23:42, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Again with your reading skills. That's EXACTLY what the article says. Sony calls it the "Career Design Room." --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 23:49, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Hamilton, I suggest you read Parkinson's Law and The Peter Principle, followed by How To Succeed in Business Without a Harvard MBA if you want to get a general sense of how a professional life proceeds after college is done. It wouldn't hurt to peruse Betty Harragan's Games Mother Never Taught You, even though that goes at things from a woman's perspective. The dominance games are of general application. That doesn't even start with the Japanese perspective. There is a lot out there, starting with Theory Z, if memory serves. I have come out the other end of the career path, and if you don't believe that you have more to learn, then go ahead on in your bliss. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:27, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

I am intrigued as to where this particular line in the sand is being drawn. It's not acceptable for Sony to pay these employees to do nothing. It's not acceptable to fire them and expect them to find new jobs elsewhere. Is it acceptable for Sony to operate the useless magnetic tape plant and direct the products from the plant directly to a hazardous waste disposal facility? Or would that too seem like useless "make work" ? Maybe Sony should modify its current products to arbitrarily rely on magnetic tape. New PS3s with save data on tape, PVRs that unaccountably require a tape to function, an add-on for your Android phone that plays music off a C90 tape? Or perhaps our whole world needs re-working, invention instead of being a noble pursuit would be seen as the great enemy, the driver of change and thus an attack on the tranquillity of a job for life doing the same thing from cradle to grave. How dare the world change and ask us to change with it. Tialaramex (talk) 10:11, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

A "boredom room" would be slam-dunk constructive dismissal in Europe. Do they not have such a thing in Japan? - David Gerard (talk) 20:56, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Conservatism: Accept no substitutes for the real thing[edit]

Conservatism- Accept no substitutes.jpeg

In case anyone forgot I'm a conservative and an asshole.--Token Conservative (talk) 21:05, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

There's a difference? SophieWilderModerator 21:32, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Between conservatives and asshole? There are liberal assholes, and most assholes are vulgar conservatives--Token Conservative (talk) 22:35, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I wonder what government agency handles welfare in the form of beer and cellphones. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services? Osaka Sun (talk) 21:34, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
The Beer for Moochers and Smartphones for Takers program is a joint project between the Department of Free Shit for Lazy People and ACORN. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:01, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
At least it's slightly more tolerable than the Department of Evaluating Boot Heel Un-American Government Agencies, headed by the freedom-loving Rand Paul. Osaka Sun (talk) 22:56, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Surprisingly, this hasn't been deleted yet. The last time the racist twit and I got into it, the picture was deleted pretty fast.--Token Conservative (talk) 23:42, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm sure this is very exciting for you but I doubt that anybody else here cares. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:43, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

The utterly thankless task of refuting (social issues) bullshit[edit]

I'd wager plenty of you have been at this longer than I so...how do you keep going? Sometimes when I'm faced with the same gishing PRATTs I just want to give up. Reading the same things I've gone over again and again ("If they just weren't so gay"..."shoving it down our throats"..."GID is a DISORDER"..."She shouldn't have dressed that way"..."fetal pain"..."civil unions"..."she shouldn't have got drunk"..."Y chromasones"..."it's my freedom of religion"..."privilege is a buzzword"..."it's been that way for hundreds of years") I sometimes just think "Do I really want to go through with this again this week?"

I spoke to a friend about it over skype, that I've gone through this on the same sites with the same people before and that I just can't be bothered any more, and he said that at that point it's usually just best to rag on them for catharsis and move on. I replied telling him that I didn't change my views on things from being insulted, but because I did a ton of reading independently; albeit these are the sort of people that would just skim a paragraph as soon as they heard something that asks them to take a look at themselves, much less 3 paragraphs or an article.

At the same time, I've just had it with some people, and absolutely had it with some points. Seriously, if I have to say "have you held your wife's hand in public" again I'm just going to crush my skull in my hands. Thing is...you don't win. Or at least, you don't know if you win. When I changed my mind on shit I didn't do it on the spot then and there and post about it, I was lying in bed at half past 11 and thought "Y'know, that thought you had? Yeah, that was pretty fucking stupid. Don't do that again, okay?" Seems these arguments are only won a month or two down the line. How do you not give up? Seriously?

Alsothiswaslongerthanexpectedsorry. Polite Timesplitter Cultural loneliness is a right pain 15:10, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

"I've gone through this on the same sites with the same people before..." Avoid SIWOTI like all hell. In fact, just ignore the bottom of the internet altogether. My life has vastly improved since doing that. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:34, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
So, I know you wanted the input of somebody who has been debating people for a long time (which is not me), but I'll give my two cents if it helps.
It sounds like you feel like a drop in the sea, never affecting much of anything noticeably. Well, it is what it is. You may choose to pick your fights with better people. Some filtering is certainly required on the internet, how much you wanna do it and how is hard to say.
Now, in my experience you may not be able to convince other people fully, but they'll concede a point or two if it's argued convincingly. That I would consider a success, since it means they are more open to this sort of thing in the future and it facilitates a change of opinion, however subtle.
Also, maybe you're burning yourself out on discussion. Maybe you just need to stay away from discussion hot spots once in a while and go do other stuff for a while. I know I have my limit on the amount of discussion I can bear for one day. Stay positive, despairing will only harden your attitude and turn you into a cynical bastard (a mixed curse, can be funny sometimes, unpleasant other times, depends). Nullahnung (talk) 15:50, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Take a break for a couple of days, and then, instead of actually responding to people, start a blog with your responses on it. Make a post about fetal pain, and then the next time someone brings it up, just link to the blog post and tell them to read it. As more responses develop, expand the existing post, or make a second part and just include it in the link--Token Conservative (talk) 16:30, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, making a resource is much more productive than refuting the same points over and over again. Maybe something like a Talk Origins for whatever subject it is you want. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:42, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Just turn off your computer, sit down, get something to drink and don't feed the trolls. There are over 2 billion Internet users; one pointless argument isn't going to change the world. Osaka Sun (talk) 16:07, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Polite Timesplitter - I guesss, for me, it's who I am talking with, and "why". I'm not out to convert the conservative christian who will never change - or will likely only change after being hit over the head by a sledge hammer - something I'm not willing to do. I'm out to show the people like my dad, a 70+year old active voter who still has ideas tied to legacy, not really tied to conviction. abortion was wrong - but when you talk with them about real women in real situations who have real needs, you can get them to understand the danger of various peices of legislation. Gay was wrong, but only cause "it just was", not any real conviction. So you show them families, kids with two parents instead of none, etc. It is these middle of the road voters, who are voting "just cause" that you can change, help see your view, etc. What many people do, I've noticed, whether it's "fundi basing" or making fun of illeterate biggots, is enjoy the battle. enjoy the freedom to insult and mock. or enjoy the challenge... whatever teh motivation - they are choosing to try to "convert" those who are knee deep in the cement of their convictions. They attack Ray Comfort and focus on Focus on The Family, as if that's going to do any good. Their goal isn't really to change anything, to (in my opinion) to try to feel better than these "idiots who think the world is 6,000 years old". So really, it depends on who you are talking with, and what your goals are.
That said, when senators come out and "tell me" that I'm simply too stupid to know how to make choices about my life, or that the rape of a 10 year old girl is not "really mentallyl stressfull enough to justify an abortoin", I go a bit batty. on those days, I post on facebook, rile at the world, shake my fist at teh sky, and really accomplish nothing. but it feels good. ;-)Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 18:55, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
its a slippery slope that you just can't risk getting on, for the end of the slope is public group fornication ! first its hand holding inciting the lusts of the flesh, then its kissing and butt patting, then breast fondellation, and so on, one slippery slide until you rip yer clothes off and screw anyone nearby ! repent, pray to Jebus and walk firmly, casting your eyes to toward godly things and rejecting the sins of teh wicked flesh walking behind you, as is proper for a woman. Hamster (talk) 22:32, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Give up. You will not convince this person. Anyone who is gishing you is someone who cannot be swayed, in my experience. If they have so much on hand, then they are either (a) ready on the draw with all of it, and certainly a True Believer (in the non-Marvel unfortunate sense) or (b) so dedicated for the moment to their position that they are researching on the fly and gathering as they go. If it's the latter case, then the best thing you can do is challenge their pride and integrity and do a book-off: tell them you will read a book of their choice, with an open mind, if they will read a book of your choice. Actually do it, if they have the guts (and few can turn down such a challenge) and give them a long write-up of your thoughts on their selection. Don't just try to refute it: think about the arguments and turn them around thoughtfully. They must then feel prompted to do the same... and that's how you force them to read something and think about it. It's the best chance.
In other words: the only thing that works against such people is integrity. You must have it and use it and show it, and force them to meet your standard. You are willing to learn and think: are they? And then, if you've chosen the book right and they're actually willing to open up and if the time is right, they might start to see the other side. And then you've got 'em! Because even though they might still disagree, once they get perspective and start to question, then you've won.
Note: this also helps ensure that you also retain your perspective and are thinking about both sides. When you pursue the Way, everyone wins.--ADtalkModerator 23:30, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

2013 summer fundraiser report: Now sponsored by Satan[edit]

Our 2013 summer fundraiser is over, and I have a report on it posted over on the RationalMedia blog. Check it out for all the devilish details!  :-)

Feel free to ask any questions you feel weren't answered by it. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:35, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

How does teflon stick to frying pans? SophieWilderModerator 10:32, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
The same way paint sticks to a wall. --Tweenk (talk) 17:22, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
yes, the paint and teflon are very light compared to the mass of the wall/pan so its gravity that holds it on. Hamster (talk) 22:25, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Not very well, in fact. This is why there are cheap teflon pans and expensive teflon pans - David Gerard (talk) 20:55, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Can someone educated in economics explain this?[edit]

You have one commenter calling all Keynesianism an excuse for regulation and another claiming that the Third Way privatization/socialization is a repeat of Hitler. 173.32.30.79 (talk) 04:05, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

BoN, the above discussion is us saying that you should stop arguing with Internet commenters who don't back up their sources. Osaka Sun (talk) 04:47, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

For those of you in Aus-land[edit]

What'd you think of the people's forum? The Invisible ManI spoke to Him 09:54, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, I'd like to know too. What did the Suppository of Wisdom say? Osaka Sun (talk) 15:08, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Only four months[edit]

... to midwinter/midsummer (depending upon hemisphere). 171.33.197.73 (talk) 17:03, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Another shameless plug.[edit]

The web series some friends and I ripped-off created finally has all four parts of our first episode posted on YouTube. I know we're not even good, but I'm curious if objective outsiders see anything funny in them. I'm holding out hope that part 4 is somewhat funny at least, though they probably all have their moments (I hope). Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Thanks. --Edgerunner76, B.A.H. 12:47, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

This is all I saw: [3]--ADtalkModerator 18:10, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

legalese question[edit]

Priests For Life (cause you know how often priests are out to protect the dead) have positioned a new lawsuit against Obamacare because of the birth control clause. They state: "Priests for Life objects to being forced by the government to purchase a health care plan that provides its employees with access to contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients, all of which are prohibited by its religious convictions. This is true whether the immoral services are paid for directly, indirectly, or even not at all by Priests for Life." (emph mine). So here's my question, how can they even hold this statement, if they are NOT PAYING for the services? (Ie., in the compromise, they do not pay for any birth control coverage - the individual insurance company does. cheeper for them, anyhow, than paying for a child). Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 17:19, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

You've already read about the compromise and you know their position. Not for profit religious outfits don't want to contribute to paying for health insurance that provides these services, even if they're not actually contributing any premiums for them. The very fact that they're facilitating insurance coverage that provides these services is a fair enough reason to object, given their moral position on this. Do you not agree that a religious outfit is entitled to object on the grounds these guys are? They're already exempt from certain hiring and firing practices under RFRA and Title VII. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:54, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Scumbags. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 17:58, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Entitled? No. Religious "freedom" is stupid, a near oxymoron, why should your weird superstitions override the rules everybody else agreed on and why on some issues (re-arrange meal breaks to fast, make bigotry a requirement for employment) but not others (No matter how much you insist your religion requires you to own a nuclear submarine the government won't let you)? But it will happen, because people believe in it and those people are voters. Tialaramex (talk) 22:36, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I believe it is generally wise in a society to permit room for individual ethical decisions. Most peoples operate on this basis, assuring some level of minority right of conscience and action. That is smart, since it helps encourage individual pursuit of virtue and new developments in morality. So I think there are circumstances in which it makes perfect sense that a minority's personal religious/ethical beliefs should be accommodated, rather than brushed aside. To that extent, I think your contempt for all that sort of practice is unwarranted and myopic.
Nonetheless, such minority rights of conscience have to end at some point, and be limited in some respects. Employers should not be able to pick and choose specific procedures or medicine that they find objectionable, and impose their own religious preferences on their employees: the public health is one of the things that any government should aim to protect as one of their highest goals, and even though religious people should be accounted the freedom to run their business in accordance with their conscience, that right is - in my opinion - secondary to the health of their employees.--ADtalkModerator 23:14, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Nutty, I guess I was ignorant of that fact. I thought all employers had to follow general employment law, that once you become an employer, the govt has a right to regulate how you treat your employees. Which includes providing insurance. and that insurance covers ALL medication. not just what you believe in. I can't the legal right of a Jehova's witness to say "we do not believe in blood transfers, so our insurance program will not cover it". I also don't think you can say "I think that people should work hard, so therefor my employees have to work 60 hours a week". Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 23:25, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
It seems really weird to me that employers even pay for health insurance in the first place. What's with that, anyway? Is individuals acquiring their own health coverage "a thing" in the US, or is it so uncommon it may as well not exist? --Editor374 (talk) 04:36, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
By purchasing a few dozen (to hundreds) of health insurance policies all at once, the employees can benefit from economy of scale and get their insurance at a lower cost, the employer can offer it as a perk, and the insurance company doesn't have to deal with as much paperwork and can shift who it's actual customer is making things cheaper for them. Its a win all around. At least under a private system, like the US has.--Token Conservative (talk) 05:43, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
I find it interesting that even in some countries with universal health care (e.g. Canada), health insurance is still a thing. Given that the hospitals are effectively owned and run by a department of each provincial government, and the provincial health insurance policy is run by the exact same department, one would think that it would be easier to just do away with the concept of insurance and subsidize health care directly. I find the system in its current form to be a bit odd. - GrantC (talk) 05:56, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
It's a terrible system, and a lose all around. The employee's choice as insurance consumer is made for them by a second party, making the benefits of the choice into a poorly-understood element of the decision to accept employment - an element that is especially vulnerable to abuse because of the information-poor and inherently inferior status of the employee when compared to their employer. And the employer, who is purchasing the service, is himself at an informational disadvantage, because those lucky people who get universal health care (the elderly, the military) are the ones who set prices, rather than actual market competition.
In other words, right now we have a market-based system with all the flaws of socialized medicine and none of the benefits, with bureaucracies setting prices and consumers unable to make their own purchasing decisions.
A "win all around" is the least apt description I can imagine.--ADtalkModerator 18:22, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, these are evolved systems. You get that convergent evolution weirdness, they're all trying to fill the same niche, but they've started from different beginnings, and there is no way to have tabula rasa. A nation's laws, just like a creature's genes, don't get to say "Fuck it, let's start over, work it all out from first principles" even though your local history might try to make it seem that way. So it's unrealistic to look at two countries (even ignoring cultural, demographic or simple geographical differences) and figure they ought to have the same system. If your country has dozens of private insurers and you want to give more people normal health care, you may find it a lot easier to work with those insurers than try to dismantle them and set up a completely different system. At the founding of the NHS the British government essentially bribed doctors, it gave them a lot of money to join the system, because the alternative of saying "Yeah, the NHS now exists, but 99% of doctors won't do NHS work so uh, good luck getting any treatment" was obviously going to be a disaster and the whole NHS thing would fall apart before anybody reconsidered. So it cost taxpayers a shitload of money. But it worked, and that counts for a lot.
As to your earlier comment, here's my rebuttal. My friend is a vegetarian, her decision not to eat meat is an ethical choice. She didn't need a special exemption from a law requiring everybody to eat meat, nor did she get a law passed forbidding the eating of meat and then insist that other people must obtain exemptions to continue eating it. We just each make our individual choices. That's the right way to do this stuff. If society makes a decision that you've got to do X, then everybody's got to do X. If doing or not doing X is an individual ethical choice then you don't want a rule permitting or forbidding X and then granting special exemptions, just leave it alone. I claim that religion only gets to be a special case because large numbers of religious people have insisted that it should be so, and not for any rational reason. Tialaramex (talk) 23:41, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Not to take spotlight away from your main points, but is there really "a law requiring everybody to eat meat"? If so, where? As to your point, are you saying that if there's a law requiring you to fund the meat eating industry and you're against eating meat, then you still shouldn't be exempt from paying up? You can still not consume it yourself, after all, which is an individual choice. Nullahnung (talk) 02:08, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
My husband is french. France is seeing an influx of corporate insurances to supplement the (now failing) health care system. the illusion created in Sicko made my husband laugh for days. "hey, i've never seen that - how do i apply for a 6 month vacation to recover from cancer!" "my sister in law didn't have anyone come care for her baby." etc. Their system is over taxed. People wait for months, and in rare cases, years for routine things. His mother schedules her appointments 4 months in advance, so she has them there. The hospital his dad died in had extremly archaic treatments for cancer, cause modern treatments are simply too expensive. They do not have the latest in pellet irradiation, and rarely use lasers for any kind of surgery. **in the banlieus**. Now, in the rich parts, it's a TOTALLY different story. But people are taking out private insurance to go to semi private or "preferred" doctors and hospitals. In many ways it is far better than what the US has. but in many ways, mostly due to costs and the number of people needing care - it is far worse. I only say this, casue i think there is the tendency of the US to look at everyone else in envy. but right now, thanks to the crash, ALL countries are struggling to keep medical costs down, and if they are state sponsored, we are seeing cuts in every facit of care. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 02:41, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
It is true that one of the significant downsides of universal health care is that costs are inherently tied to population and life expectancy. As the population grows and people continue to live longer, the health care system becomes more expensive. Certainly here in Canada it is a long-running issue, especially as the baby boomers start to approach senior citizenry. However, I still do believe that a fully public universal system is the best option. Medical care here for urgent matters is done quickly and efficiently, and long wait times are generally only associated with less serious injuries/ailments. I experienced this myself when I broke my ankle a few years ago. I foolishly waited a week before going to the hospital, and the fear of a blood clot had me jump the entire line of folks waiting for x-rays. I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of a semi-privatized system, but I haven't spent much time studying any system other than Canada's. - GrantC (talk) 02:59, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
Tialaramex, your meat-eating response seems wholly irrelevant. My whole point was that it is indeed a good idea to allow people their individual choices, and space has to be made for that. That includes people who don't eat meat for ethical reasons (like myself) and people who do eat meat. If someone wants to start a business that doesn't serve meat through the whole company for ethical reasons, they should have the right to do that, too: we should respect everyone's beliefs. In the same way, if there was a program that mandated employers pay for a ration of meat for all employees, I would say that room needs to be made for ethical exemptions to that, even if "it's a rule we all agreed on," as you previously put it. If my ethics preclude me buying meat for my employees, that's something that society can and should accommodate. It's not a special case for religion (obviously, since I am an atheist).
On the other hand, let us say that our system supplied food the same way we currently do insurance. This will stretch the analogy a bit, but I think it's valid. Your employer buys your food, and if you have a good package, you get great delicacies. If you have a lousy benefits package, you get beans and rice. This is, incidentally (and here I'm looking at Hamilton), an illustration of why the current insurance system is an insane nightmare. But anyway, let's also assume that regulations ensure that a minimum standard of nutrition is supplied. I could not, regardless of my beliefs, refuse to supply protein to my employees - assuming protein was considered evil in my eyes. The room that must exist for my beliefs must make way for certain minimum standards of equivalent freedom from want that should exist for my employees.--ADtalkModerator 03:16, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
AD you appear to be arguing for some sort of hypothecation. Through our taxes we all pay for things that we either don't want or disagree with. I think that's a price that we have to pay for living in a democracy. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?

Moderator 07:34, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

There is also an ethical issue here that your meat eating example skips. Meat is not something we *need*. Suppose in your hypthetical, one of your employeese had a medical condition that needed meat. (I can't imagine what, but you started the meat thing, heh). Are you really saying that as an employer, mandated to pay for food, you should be excempt for paying for that one type of food the one employee needs, just cause of YOUR ethics? Looking at the real world of insurance, these compaines are saying "I do not have to pay for ***one specific*** medically necessary drug, though I can and will pay for every single other drug out there. And - laregely - the drug in question is one that in every single public case, could not be used by the *guy* whining. Employers should not have any right to mandate what medically necessary drugs they will or will not pay for. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 13:24, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
By the way, if you look at insurance like an expense, necessary to do business, it can be classified as part of the employees compensation. So, should you be able to say "you may not buy birth control with the money I give you for workign here?" it's really much the same thing. Your money is not directly purchasing birth control. it is purching a plan for health care that includes many things from pregnancy care to breast exams. It also happens to include viagra and birth control. But you are not directly buy the birth control, nor giving it to the person. your job ends at the policy and the compensation you provide. not how that compensation is spent.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 13:27, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
I suspect you may have failed to quite finish my whole post, since I pose two different hypotheticals, and conclude in the latter that "I could not, regardless of my beliefs, refuse to supply protein to my employees - assuming protein was considered evil in my eyes. The room that must exist for my beliefs must make way for certain minimum standards of equivalent freedom from want that should exist for my employees."--ADtalkModerator 14:23, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

AD you write that "the room must exist" but why does that room have to be in the form of an exemption for the religious? That's the exact formulation we're dealing with here. You can't do X it's forbidden. It's forbidden to do X even if you joined a club that's all about doing X, and it's still impermissible to do X if you pinkie swore with a very solemn looking five year old to promise you'll do X at the start of the movie. But, if you say that the way you squint the book of Jonah says you've got to do X, the rules don't apply and you can do X after all. That makes no rational sense. If doing X is OK then why forbid it at all? It is not necessary for the law to take any stance at all, that was the point of my vegetarian illustration. The law takes no opinion on the eating of meat and it should take no firm opinion on anything where the alternatives are all just different ethical choices. If the religious want "freedom" to do X, they should need to go before the rest of the public and argue for why everybody must be free to do X because otherwise they're a special case, a class above the rest who don't have to obey the rules.

In terms of this thread's specific question: It's wrong that their religion is at all relevant. There are three options, right? (1) A law forbidding employers buying insurance, (2) a law requiring employers to purchase insurance, or (3) no law on employers and insurance and everybody does as they please. Obamacare changed the situation from option 3 to option 2. If you believe that maybe the Roman Catholic church shouldn't have to obey the law, why should the Klu Klux Klan obey the law, why should the NYPD obey the law? Thus, the US should phase out religious exemptions altogether, and if healthcare is the excuse they need, more power to them. For what it's worth England killed a King in answer to the question of whether the law applies to everyone. The King asserted that the law doesn't apply to him because God picks the King. The specially convened court disagreed, found him guilty and he was executed, God conspicuously didn't intervene. Tialaramex (talk) 20:43, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

The room must exist for individual ethical and personal choices, not just religious ones. Religious beliefs shouldn't get any more special exemptions than anything else, despite your absurd way of trying to frame the issue. The law should "take no opinion on anything where the alternatives are all just different ethical choices"? Any law is an ethical opinion, even if it's in the form of omission! An age of employment law balances the state's role in protecting children with the parent and child's freedom to enter into contracts and work - those are both alternatives deriving from ethical positions.
For example, the law states that health insurance provided by employers must meet certain minimum standards. That's an opinion! That is directly related to principles about fairness, for example, and asserts that employers can't just provide any care they want, because their freedom of choice and commerce is less important than a specific standard of their employees' health. That's an ethical decision, not just a practical one.
The issue seems to be that you only accord a few subjects the status of "ethical questions" - but I would suggest that you would be hard-pressed to find a law that had no ethical dimensions. The more arcane bureaucratic issues might stretch the point, but I can't think of any examples offhand. Zoning laws are about freedom to engage in commerce balanced against the interests of the community in city planning. Parking regulations are about the right of free passage versus maintaining order.
The funny thing is that we seem to agree on the outcomes here, but you are phrasing and reasoning in such a skewed way that I feel compelled to point it out. There are ethical dimensions, I would venture to suggest, that you have not contemplated.--ADtalkModerator 22:06, 25 August 2013 (UTC)