RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive219

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This is an archive page, last updated 10 February 2014. Please do not make edits to this page.
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Tablet describes how to build an arc[edit]

Saw this article in my local paper about an ancient Mesopotamia tablet that explains how to build a round boat for a flood.--Cms13ca (talk) 01:25, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

The section header needed more pun so I fixed it. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 04:35, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

What in the holy serious mother fuck, Internets?[edit]

So, some asshole in Texas named Jake Evans decided to brutally murder his mother and sister for no discernible reason. This would be just a regular story of a regular murder but...

http://welovejakeevans.tumblr.com/ http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbnd1jP1Ia1rizdc7o1_1280.jpg

...What the serious fuck? Are they rooting for him!?

—The man himself

Are they rooting for him!?

Fuck, enough Internets for today. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:37, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Look at the last tweet in the second image you linked. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 19:42, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Holy fucking shit, the man looks terrifying. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:11, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
'Cause homeschooling turns people into murderers? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:15, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
'Cause we all know one guy who would say that no true homeschooler would ever do such a thing. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 20:21, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Did I miss something? Why is it notable that he was home schooled? Nullahnung (talk) 20:32, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Because people like to identify differences between them and criminals, even if the differences have no bearing on the situation. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 22:21, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Ummm, no. It's because Andy Schlafly--folks who are new to the site may not realize we have a bit of a history writing about him--has been going on for years about how public schools produce this kind of criminality and how homeschoolers are immune to such things. Noticing that the guy in question was a homeschooler, I figured that tied into what has been a long-running theme here. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 22:32, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Dedicated to the heroic 17 year old boy Jake Evans. Yes everything he did was completely wrong but not everyone can take responsibility for their actions like this guy. Show respect where respect is due.Evangelists stand up for Jake That would seem to be a YES ! Hamster (talk) 00:29, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Is there an internet law that this fits? Something like, "No matter how depraved an individual or group is they will have a fawning fan base defending them somewhere on the internet." This makes Beliebers look like level headed people in comparison. --Marlow (talk) 01:59, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
This is why we have Neo-Nazis and girls masturbating to Tsarnaev ("he's cute, therefore, he can't be evil"). --Evil Reptilian Overlord (talk) 05:10, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Tsarnaev is incredibly cute, but the whole "Russian terrorist" is kind of a dealbreaker for me. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:57, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Would someone be so kind[edit]

As to restore my user rights, please? Nutty Roux has unilaterally revoked them and blocked me again. Weaseloid unblocked me, but he did not restore my rights. I would like sysop rights so that I can unblock myself and restore my user page. I appreciate any assistance.--"Shut up, Brx." 15:51, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank you, ZooGuard--"Shut up, Brx." 15:59, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Dishonesty? In POLITICS?![edit]

I've disengaged from the internet, a lot, and it's been very good for me, but I still read a lot of discussions. Tell me if you've heard this before...

Someone berates Obama, the Obama-supporter assumes they are a Republican, then berates them as a Republican partisan. The person thus accused then loftily declares "I am a Libertarian". I've seen it happen in a lot of places.

I'd like to point out that 60,933,500 votes were cast for Mitt Romney, the Republican, and 1,275,971 votes were cast for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian. (According to Wikipedia, anyway).

Now, obviously, Greens, Libertarians and Republicans would have a lot of issues with Barack Obama, the warmongering statist Democrat, but I have yet, since November 2012, to speak to one person (on the internet) who voted for Mitt Romney, despite statistics implying that 47% of all people who voted in the last election voted for him.

Are Romney voters so antiquated they cannot use the Internet? Do I just suck at Math? Do I just use/read the wrong sites?

Or, to quote Matt Taibbi regarding the Tea Party and their insistence they were Conservative dissenters in regard to the Bush administration, is it that "they are full of shit"? --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 21:04, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Well, how thorough is your research? Do you go from site to site asking people how they voted? I'm sure there must be some Romney supporters on the internet if you're determined to find them. Try Romney's Twitter feed, related Reddit threads or any conservative/Republican forum. Hell, try Conservapedia. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:15, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Isn't Romney too liberal for Schlafly? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:34, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Everybody is too liberal for Schlafly. But I would be surprised if he didn't vote for Romney. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:09, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd have thought he'd go for the Constitution Party. Compro01 (talk) 22:12, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I had asked people directly on occasion, but mostly this is from watching other people wave their e-peens. I read the wrong sites, then. I avoid social networking sites like Reddit, now, but that I stopped reading the NRO and TWS would certainly account for why I have a hard time finding the opinions of movement Conservatives and specifically people who voted Romney -and would admit to doing so. I will not touch Conservapedia, as I believe its political stance is really irrelevant, and it's mostly just self-serving lies to help the editors sleep at night. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 21:52, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
It's a variant of the "I've voted straight-ticket Republican for 40 years, but I'm an Independent dammit!". Compro01 (talk) 22:10, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree, internet comments sections seem to give a skewed take on people's views; it's a mystery I've given a little thought to. I think it has to do not only who's using internet news sources, but who feels comfortable and inclined to make comments on them. Judging by youtube comments, the average person seems to be some kind of conspiracy loving anarcho-libertarian scientific racist/evolutionary psychological misogynist. I don't think this is representative of the population as a whole, in fact I think these views are generally pretty rare, but they may be representative of the views of young white middle class under/unemployed alienated white techie men, the kind of people who use the internet a lot, that is the "basement dweller".
Watch as I pull the reason for this directly out of my ass. Things are changing. Previously privileged classes, specifically white men are losing their grip on power and basement dwellers are suffering for it. Not the rich and the powerful, those guys are fine, but the lower middle class white guy is taking a beating. For much of the post WWII 20th century just being a not poor white male was enough to access the comfortable ranks of respectable financially secure society, but now as progressive multiculturalism advances, those same people are facing stiff competition from women and minorities and many are alienated because of it, withdrawing to the safety of the basement. Symptomatic of this alienating situation is the basement dweller's worldview. It's anarcho-libertarian because they see the government working in opposition to their material and social interests as it promotes a more egalitarian society through social programs and affirmative action. While they obviously benefit, as we all do, from government largess, it offers them relatively little in comparison to their ancestors. Unlike their grandfathers who were richly rewarded for their part in the WWII military apparatus and even their fathers many of whom got a decent slice of the Cold War military industrial complex pie, the basement dweller gets very little in terms of direct government aid in the form of grants, jobs and student loans. Scientific racism serves to explain the basement dweller's feeling of innate superiority ("I always new I was smarter than those people and this bell curve proves it!") that has been cultivated by their father's and grandfather's status, but here's the key. While they buy into the meritocratic ideals which underpin the larger white American worldview they need an explanation for their lack of success. Rather than admit that they're not any smarter than the average lesbian latina whose beating them out for jobs, they personify their persecution in the JEW, who they believe infiltrated the previously pure white male social and governmental apparatus and steered it away from the proper course in order to generate JEW GOLD. They blame jews for everything from 9/11 (I'd argue that nearly all conspiracies are antisemitic to a degree) to the fact that they can't get laid. In a certain sense the JEW and his conspiracies, chemtrails and all, becomes a mystification of the alienating aspects of progressive liberal society.
Do all basement dwellers think like this? Of course not, but I'd argue that a disproportionate number do and thus we have the disproportionate representation of this libertarian/racist/conspiracy idea cluster on the internet.
TL;DR, people who comment on internet news articles, youtube video and Rationalwiki are alienated losers, it's no surprise that they have the ideology of an alienated loser. --Marlow (talk) 23:23, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Pretty much. I think this explanation on Charlie Stross's blog nails it:

>If you grow up with strong government, you may see them as the problem and want the free market to come in and save you.

And if you grow up in your parent's basement, then you are shaped by an environment where the fundamental constraints on what you want to do are shaped neither by scarcity nor malignance, but _by genuine good intent_. Your relatives probably don't wan't you to spend all day smoking pot and playing video games; in some cases they will over-estimate just how much of a bad thing that is. And even if they _are_ right, it's not like anyone facing such hectoring is going to admit it.

Pretty much every libertarian position can be understood in that frame of restrictive but benevolent authority being the root of all 'real' problems. It's a rare parent who literally tortures their kids, so torture is, at best, not a 'real' issue, not a priority. But many make them do stuff for their health, so mandatory health insurance is a big deal. Pretty much no parents kill their child with drones, many read their diaries. And so on.

So to libertarians, Bitcoin is like wages from a fast food job as opposed to an allowance; lets you buy what you want without someone else having a veto. Only money that doesn't judge you can be considered entirely yours...

- David Gerard (talk) 09:54, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
For what it counts, I've encountered an even mix of Obama and Romney supporters on the less partisan areas of the Web. Places like home theater forums, for example. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:23, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

When people do something that fails they tend to disown or forget about it. People who voted for Romney lost, so many of them don't acknowledge they voted for him (possibly even to themselves). I've noticed similar things in other elections, notwithstanding the occasional "Don't blame me - I voted for [the person who lost]" bumper sticker. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:23, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

"Someone berates Obama, the Obama-supporter assumes they are a Republican, then berates them as a Republican partisan. The person thus accused then loftily declares "I am a Libertarian"." They do this to liberals/leftists as well -- see "firebagger." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:28, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
IIRC, Dukakis lost to Reagan with 47% of the vote. In a poll a couple years later, only 37% owned up to voting for him. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:44, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Probably not, given that Dukakis ran against GHWB. --Seth Peck (talk) 17:27, 27 January 2014 (UTC)


How can you explain the complexity of fewmets ? GOD DESIGNED THE IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX FAECES, WITH IT'S NICE TEXTURE, BENIGN WORMS AND BACTERIA AND SMELL.--Thrinaxodon (talk) 04:41, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

I took the liberty of changing this to a higher class of english Hamster (talk) 05:29, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
what smell and dont you have fossils to photograph or something ? Hamster (talk) 05:29, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
There are the famous coprolites,Wikipedia but being fossilized, I presume they no longer smell. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:46, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.[edit]

Some BoN trolled us miserably. Fear not, for I, in the only useful thing I ever did on this site, have reverted him and blocked him. Horray! --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:46, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

So why are you bragging about it four hours later & linking his nonsense as if it's something people should bother reading? Horray indeed. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:05, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
No idea, really. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:30, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for blocking and reverting that. Please keep up the good work.--ADtalkModerator 18:55, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That's really just so very weird. I don't get why people do that crap.--Barryjon (talk) 20:08, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Kansas Parents sue over school science standards[edit]

http://ncse.com/legal/cope-v-kansas-state-boe Read the complaint, its like every creationist argument in one document. Whats wrong with American schools ? Hamster (talk) 20:49, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Well, this will end poorly for Kansas. --Revolverman (talk) 04:45, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I thought Kansas already had some sort of ban on evolution in school textbooks? ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:01, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Nothing is wrong with the schools in that example, what you're seeing is the continuing battle by the religious to pretend that believing a bunch of superstitious nonsense and not believing a bunch of superstitious nonsense are equivalent positions with no larger implications. That's the lynchpin of their argument, that there is no secular purpose in teaching people stuff that works rather than stuff that doesn't work. They even go so far as to say that a court shouldn't discriminate on this basis for the same reasons. It's a retreat to undergrad philosophy, "Maybe nothing is real so therefore you should have sex with me". It'd be nice to think that won't work on like, an actual judge, but who knows.
If only the stakes weren't so high it would seem sensible to provide a judgement that cures only the ills complained of, and not what's actually at the heart of the matter. Tell the superstitious that, along with their magic sky man they are now allowed to believe that the school teaches that Jesus rode a dinosaur or whatever. It isn't actually true, but the magic sky man stuff isn't true either and they go right along believing that. (talk) 11:25, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Do we block obvious white supremacists?[edit]

When a Bon keeps on changing a page to promote white supremacist views (in a subtle or not so subtle way) should we just block him (my opinion) or "respect" his opinion while repeatedly reverting his edits. Or give him a warning first, then block him if he ignores us. What's the recommended course of action? ClothCoat (talk) 00:48, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Follow your heart! (or brain, if you want to be like that)
Also, protect a page if the same bad changes get made on it. Nullahnung (talk) 00:57, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Or prejudice! Wait, no, don't follow that... - Grant (Talk) 00:59, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I would vandal-bin the offending party, or more probably protect the page if they're a single-issue troll, because edit-warring, regardless of what's being pushed, is bad wiki-behaviour. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 02:04, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

How do I create a page in my userspace?[edit]

Sorry for the remedial question--Barryjon (talk) 20:13, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

go to your page, add "/" at the end, and type in the name of the page you wish to create. Hit enter. The wiki will then give you the option to create the page. Alternately, you can just create a red link of your name, like so: User:Barryjon/newpage. Click the link and again, you will be given the option to create the page.--"Shut up, Brx." 20:16, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks :-) --Barryjon (talk) 20:20, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Goodpost.gifWhere's thing thing that says ^^ "nice post"? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:33, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
All those sorts of things are found in RationalWiki:Smileys. Went ahead and inserted it for you. Compro01 (talk) 02:56, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Beer.gif--Barryjon (talk) 16:13, 28 January 2014 (UTC)


In my email box just now:

Hi David,

My name is Xxxxxx Xxxxxx and I have a client who is dealing with some reputation management issues. I thought that adding their product to Rational Wiki would be a great way to help them online. Their product has 6 patents and is supported by research. However, I'm afraid that the Wiki format is foreign to me and i doubt I could create an entry that wouldn't get flagged for format. Do you know of anyone who creates Wiki entries in exchange for a fee?

Thanks much, Xxxxxx

The icon for his GMail is him holding up books (I think) with "SEO" in big letters on the covers. Yup. - David Gerard (talk) 21:10, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

This isn't part of the drinking game, but I'd say take one. That's pretty damned funny! Zero (talk) 21:11, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
What do I charge him, though? - David Gerard (talk) 21:20, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
With a name like that he must be Chinese. Ask for a few thousand yuan.--RationalViki (talk) 21:28, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
One part of me says take his money; the other part feels bad about taking advantage of someone so obviously clueless. It's your call. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:17, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
But it's not just writing an article they want is it? They are really asking for an endorsement, no? --Barryjon (talk) 23:33, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Ask for $1 million. With an endowment like that, RW would never never need another donation drive ever again. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:35, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh noez! Ken is at it now! --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 23:38, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
But we do know someone who creates wiki articles for money. I'm sure Uncle Ed would only be too delighted for the business. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 02:11, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
As if SEO is the lesser evil between it and "reputation management". You should have "volunteered" your time for free, and put every page he wanted to change on your watchlist. Ikanreed (talk) 15:26, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

What kind of money does it cost to keep RW going?[edit]

Just curious. Does the foundation have income equivalent each month?--Barryjon (talk) 23:46, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Last I checked, RW costs about $300 a month ($3600 a year) for hosting, plus miscellaneous expenses and fees (that aren't cheap). The Foundation is 100% user-supported, so income consists of major fundraisers and a small stream of regular, monthly donations. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:10, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks.--Barryjon (talk) 16:20, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Dan Dennett takes on Harris's Free Will[edit]

An interesting read if you have the time. While Free Will was a fairly good take down of the common perception of free will, it also contains the most classic of Harris mistakes: breaking into a topic you are new at and assuming you run the joint (always ironic, seeing his big criticism of Chopra). It's always bugged me how Sam is critical of people who speak strongly and broadly on areas outside their area of expertise, but then he goes on and on about how he's solved free will, airport safety, and morality. It's like he never learned how to write the background section of an academic paper or how much research has to go into it. Shadow of Lords talk 02:38, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Holy shit, Daniel Dennett is alive? I totally thought he was dead. Weird.--"Shut up, Brx." 02:46, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Harris being Harris. Shocker. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:14, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Although we are constantly told that the argument is not over semantics I can't shake the feeling that it is. In any case, I think Dennett has the better end of the stick. As Dennett notes Harris is basically a compatibalist in all but name. Tielec01 (talk) 04:34, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I apparently need to read this Harris book. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:41, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer - just started reading Sam's book so will pause and read this first.--Barryjon (talk) 16:40, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
This is apparently the same text, on Harris's blog. The PDF isn't loading for me right now. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:30, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

USA 34/35 on child poverty.[edit]

1 in 5 children in the US is living in a household that earns less than half of the national median. Go capitalism! Cut them food stamps! Shut down government programs. USA! USA! We're number... er... 34... --PsyGremlinRunāt! 05:13, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Surely half of everyone lives in a household that less than half... ħumanUser talk:Human 05:17, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, that's bullshit statistics. The US may suck in many ways, but kids living under the "median income" is a crappy measure of such. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:19, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
There's a difference between "median" and "average." Half under average is meaningless. Half under median is significant. It's also less that half the median. So if the median is $1,000, it's households earning less than $500. PsyGremlinRunāt! 05:27, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

... None of you guys can read. Less than half of median. The simple table below shows a ranking

  1. mean income
  2. median income
  3. lower middle class
  4. half of median
  5. one fifth of children

Hope that helps. Ikanreed (talk) 15:30, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

"Half the median" is just an awful statistic. For those of you still having trouble, the median refers to not the mean, but the point directly in the middle if you sort the data. It's especially useful for talking about individuals, because in America we have a highly skewed income distribution, where the average (mean) might be something like $60,000 dollars per household, but the average (median) is actually something like $54,000. That means, even though the mean is $60k, over 50% of households make $54k or less. Half the median, however, doesn't mean that you fall in the bottom 25%. It means that the household makes less than or equal to $27k. So, this statistic just means that 1/5 children in America live in households with a combined pre-tax income of less than $27,000 (assuming that I'm right on the $54k median). Shadow of Lords talk 16:02, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Cited by Snopes[edit]

Or is this actually common enough now that it doesn't warrant mention? I fear I've lost track. In any case, linky. DickTurpis (talk) 05:53, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, they love our Sorcha Faal article, probably because it's the only place on the Internet giving a concise summary of why it's bullshit. I must finally update the article with the stuff I've been sitting on.--ZooGuard (talk) 14:11, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

On Reddit[edit]

In the last week, Objective morality has been linked by /r/badphilosophy, and Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ was linked by /r/badhistory. Perhaps they could get a bit of cleaning-up.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:56, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

I should think, from what I've seen around the 'net, that 'Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ' has been one of our high entry points for a good while. I know it's one that I've spammed around a lot (along with How come there are still monkeys?). Can our tech folk (or mods?) give us an occasional breakdown of entry points - 'twould be useful, no? Scream!! (talk) 11:19, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
(Stop pointing me at Reddit threads like the above please. Wasted ten minutes of my life there) Scream!! (talk) 11:25, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
That's the thing though, it's not actually "bad history." It's, at worst, moderately skeptical history that really annoys some people. The evidence for the existence of Jesus in particular is about the same as some minor local lords who did nothing in particular of note. We can and do accept their existence within the context of history because there's not a lot to be gained from assuming otherwise(given any evidence at all of a private citizen of that era is pretty rare), which leads to Wikipedia's situation with "almost universal assent" which doesn't equal agreement. There's not especially much "toning down" that's needed for that article.
I couldn't even begin to apply a skeptical approach to objective morality, so I don't have a lot to offer there. Ikanreed (talk) 14:48, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
The problem with the Historical Jesus article is that Bruce Grubb's added a ton of stuff to it, but it's all a bit sloppy and unwieldy. It basically needs a good writer - David Gerard (talk) 16:09, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Especially a good editor. There's just waaaay too much stuff in there. I gave up about 1/3 of the way through. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:35, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to do a full rewrite in my userspace of the article. I think it needs to be broken up into a few new sections, with a lot of junk removed. 1) What is meant by the Historical Jesus; 2) Reasons supporting his existence / Why the scholars have a consensus; 3) Very short section on actual scholars who disagree and their reasons why; 4) Crank Arguments a) for his existence, b) for his non-existence. Shadow of Lords talk 17:43, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
You should be able to break it up in place - simply break out the longer sections as their own articles, e.g. Josephus definitely warrants this - David Gerard (talk) 20:51, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

EVE Online[edit]

I never thought much of the game to this point. Eeek. Osaka Sun (talk) 06:18, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Isn't that the game that uses Age of Empires sprites in its ads? Peter mqzp 07:07, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
No that was a browser based shit-fest. This is a completely different game. Tielec01 (talk)
EVE Online - The game you play when you want a hardcore lesson in databases, spreadsheets, economics, and how the law of the wild really works. Quite enjoy it, but not to the point where I'm willing to save up to get a Titan. The closest I got was a Destroyer, way, way, way down the list of badass ships ('What's that shadow that just's eclipsed my ship? Oh, it's just a Titan that's jumped into orbit around the sun - 15*107km away - Gulp!'.)--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 12:02, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, in my experience it's much more fun to read about EVE Online than to play it. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 16:17, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I like a lot of things about EVE, but one thing I really don't like, though I understand it, is the developers insistence on interfering in their world. In a system like WoW it's not a problem if the plot demands something players don't like. King of the dwarves needs to die? Too bad, you see a cut scene and it's done. Sure, fine, it's not as though players were ever led to believe that their decisions would make a lasting difference. But if you build an open system like EVE, some players, maybe even lots of players, might decide they'd like to be peaceful settlers who avoid violence. But that messes with the real game economy driven by such violence, the one that keeps the developers income high. So they can't have that. So "accidents" happen, things that you rely on "break" and you find conflict inevitable, because conflict drives revenue.
Our universe is indifferent to us. It doesn't take pity on us when we're "almost" good enough, but it also doesn't say "Oops, now that you figured out how to make light I'm changing the rules so you'll suffer in darkness anyway". A simulation must have "Gods" who could (for example) turn it off (ignoring tricks like in Permutation City) but they can choose whether or not to make their presence felt and I think that EVE shows the ups and downs of that. Tialaramex (talk) 14:06, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Wow. Much butthurt. So rage. Many Bitcoin tears.[edit]

Dogecoin, a Litecoin spinoff (which itself is a Bitcoin spinoff) that started 100% as a joke mixing cryptocurrencies and a certain peculiar photo of a Shiba Inu, has become the most used cryptocurrency in the Internet. As you would predict, Bitcoiners are not exactly pleased about it. Choice quote:

The dogecoin community is fucking retarded and effectively acts like a cult.

Psychological projection much? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:40, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Dogecoin is either a brilliant commentary on bitcoin or a reductio ad absurdum thereof. I not sure which. Occasionaluse (talk) 18:29, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
If it makes Bitcoin enthusiasts mad, I may have to take back some of the bad things I've said about Dogecoin. Vulpius (talk) 21:59, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thinking about bitcoin makes me want to kill myself. My friends excitedly asking me how much I made. Tell them I never actual bought any. "OU, you told wouldn't stop telling us to buy them, why didn't you take your own advice?" WHY??? Occasionaluse (talk) 22:22, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm a Dogecoin user, and they're there to "tip" the same way you can "like" in FB, given that you need like 4000 DOGE for a USD. Even then, all Dogecoin users I know don't take it seriously. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:09, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
As the kids say: Much doge, very liquid. Other than the anarcho-idiot/libertarian-idiot crowd arguments, is there any actual point to using cryptocurrency? I'm not sure what you'd ever want to buy with them except perhaps a contract killing from whatever the Silk Road is called these days. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 05:48, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I will have you know that I myself hold 6.2 DOGE, sir.
The other thing is that the shibes have a community value of actually trying to be nice to people. This enrages the most obnoxious Bitcoiners, who proceed to behave in the manner that caused the Dogecoiners to adopt said community value - David Gerard (talk) 09:07, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

My favourite is the exciting new thing, ActualMoney. I understand it's quite popular in some circles - David Gerard (talk) 09:11, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

I am currently stocking up on pictures of my bits until the inevitable day they become currency. I will never have to work again. AMassiveGay (talk) 10:26, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Wrong kind of pictures. Compro01 (talk) 16:12, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm so happy someone on the internet gets the concept that currency is meant to be a medium of exchange, not a commodity to be hoarded and speculated. A good friend of mine is a Bitcoin enthusiast (he's also susceptible to gold buggery). He continues to be under the impression that deflation is a universally good thing, and he fails to understand how massive deflation could possibly hurt his salary. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 16:02, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

I bought a fraction of a coin over a year ago to pay for an nzb indexer. I was left with an even smaller fraction of a bitcoin. This has reminded me to cash that out. Profit = £88. Not bad. Wasn't hoarding or speculating, was just such a tiny amount at the time that I forgot about it. --Barryjon (talk) 20:47, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

From WIGO but sure worth a louder giggle...[edit]

Sticks not allowed, guns welcome--Barryjon (talk) 18:48, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

The dick-joke feminist computer guys-getting-fired thing.[edit]

Okay, so I read this story recently about this thing that happened. So apparently, this feminist was at a computer conference thing, and some guys in front of her made a joke about dongles being penises or something, and she took it as sexist, and had them fired, which then erupted into a giant shitstorm of shit on the internets. Now, I usually support feminism and stuff 100%, but in this particular circumstance, I can't seem to figure out- how was a joke about large penises (or some shit like that) sexist? I mean, I don't mean to sound like an MRA, but I really can't figure this one out. Could somebody please enlighten me? And, as a side note, what is everybody's opinion on this thing? You can read about it all at the following link: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-03/22/pycon-dongle-furore (talk) 07:18, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Opinion - wasn't this about 10 months ago? Jc86035 (talk) 07:38, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
"I mean, I don't mean to sound like an MRA, but I really can't figure this one out." You're stretching it there.
When you're at a business convention representing an employer (PyCon isn't Davos, but it isn't your local Comic-Con either) you're there on the assumption that you're supposed to exhibit the same sort of professionalism at your workplace. When you're making lewd comments in an inappropriate time/place and loud enough to get noticed, man or woman, I'm not particularly shocked that someone would want to report it.
Would I have done it in the matter she did? Probably not, she got fired as well because her company didn't want the extra attention. But it was the "giant shitstorm of shit" that you should pay attention to. If she wanted to prove sexism (to the point of rape and death threats) was rampant in the tech community and are a factor in why the industry still has limited female representation, she didn't have difficulty finding evidence. Osaka Sun (talk) 08:19, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Penis jokes about forking aren't sexist (though one of the developers claims it wasn't a penis joke about forking, but a penis joke about a hardware piece). She never claimed they were sexist, she claimed they were inappropriate and offensive. Read the actual text, damnit!
Also, she probably didn't want to get them fired (and only one of them was fired, not both of them, get it right, damnit!), hell, she got fired herself! It's all because the companies don't handle this kind of attention very well.
In conclusion. Actually go and read the text, people... Nullahnung (talk) 09:10, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the "two people" mentioned in the headline were Richards and one of the dongle jokers - the other one wasn't fired, despite apparently working for the same company, which suggests that it may have been a "last strike" sort of thing. Oh, and the site of her employer apparently got DDoSed.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:42, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Isn't the limited female representation in the tech industry a consequence of the social stigma still associated with tech jobs and careers? In my university, us guys in Computer Science, Software Engineering and Electronic Engineering are by far the most ridiculed and stereotyped. Of note is that it's women, not men, discouraging women from entering these fields. This may not apply everywhere, though. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:58, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
What are the reasons of discouragement that are given by women to women? Nullahnung (talk) 14:12, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
As said in the very post you just replied to, the social stigma still associated with tech jobs and careers. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:42, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, I'm not in that industry and I'm not a woman, so I can't say anything about this, but I'll point you towards some posts by someone who is that you might find enlightening, or at least gives you something to think about: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Talk:Sexism , scroll down to section 6 'Examples'. There are some anecdotes and discussion by User:Eira. Nullahnung (talk) 17:58, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Damn, that explains a lot. I'm in the seventh quadmester (my university is quarter based and charges per course) and there are only about four women in a class of 22. About two women changed careers since the first quarter. I'd still blame the social stigma, since it's what drove out a good part of the initial alumni of the CS faculty, but I don't speak for every university out there. The Software Engineers are still more respected than Women's/Gender Studies (whatever they're called this week) and Liberal Arts alumni, though. I still have no idea what the job market is for those two, so I partake in their mockery sometimes. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:47, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
According to Richards's own assessment of the situation, she was offended by certain off-color jokes, automatically assumed that a certain child would grow up to share her exact preference in jokes, and decided to employ Helen Lovejoy-style tactics. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:00, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Also she was bothered by the idea of "big dongles" because "dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive". ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:08, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That sounds comical if you are stuck on the prevailing interpretation of 'dongle' in this context, which is 'penis'. But really, I would give her the benefit of the doubt and assume a two-fold association, the second one of which is to the actual dongle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongle , which is rather small and unobtrusive usually. Nullahnung (talk) 08:31, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Well ok, nevermind what I just said. The interpretation that was meant becomes clear to anyone who has read the text in the link. Nullahnung (talk) 08:45, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Okay, now I'm like "wut." I can understand sort of why she reported them- a guy was giving a speech, and they were talking about pingas. But there are just two things I don't understand. Firstly, why didn't she just say something along the lines of "guys, shut the fuck up, or you'll be in a lot of shit", instead of just taking their photo- without any warning or consent? Secondly, she seems to be upset for the wrong reasons- instead of just "it was offensive and unprofessional", she said that "the little girls won't be able to get in because of guys like this." Why not? I mean, though unprofessional, blablabla, the penis jokes weren't really sexist- at least, I don't think they were. Oh well. The point is, it happened like last year or some shit, so whatever. However, if possible, could somebody please explain the above two things to me? Sorry if I come across as a bit of a dongle myself, by the way. (talk) 11:35, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Arguably, dick jokes could be perceived as sexist, or at least reinforcing a 'boy's club' atmosphere. Nevertheless, I don't think she was justified in dealing with the situation the way she did. If it had been rape jokes or racist comments, for example, that might justify this kind of shaming, but not for some childish smutty remarks about dongles. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:00, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
This is the thing that is hard to understand here (at least for me, I'm trying to get to grips with it). It's obviously not sexist, but it offends because of this: Reinforcing a boy's club by making jokes only boys would find funny is equivalent to making little girls feel unwelcome in your community. That's why she felt she needed to take some kind of action. And the best way to do that was apparently to "give PyCon the chance to stand up for their values", which means she didn't really think about the consequences that would have (people getting fired), but she felt like that was worth the triumph of values, if PyCon was the one dealing with it. Nullahnung (talk) 17:29, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, in my own personal opinion, I don't really think it encourages a boy's club atmosphere- at least not to the scale it was taken. The thing is, in my personal experience, dick jokes can be made by people of all fenders- why, even Richards herself made a few. Not only that, but a couple of men making "man" jokes between each other isn't really the same as actively excluding females from the thing- to be honest, it actually sounds a little bit like a slippery slope argument. But then, I don't know much about any of this stuff so maybe you're right. Oh well. (talk) 08:27, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Stoppit responding to BoN trolls, please folk. Troll Scream!! (talk) 11:11, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm not actually trolling, by the way. If I was, I'd be a bit more sensational about it, don't you think? Okay, so apparently I read it wrong. I understand that it was, obviously, offensive and immature, and now I get that that was what she was saying. However, I personally wouldn't have made it a public thing- although this, of course, does not warrant death and rape threats, or getting fired oneself. I just personally think that this was blown way out of proportion, and was unfortunate for all parties involved.
In conclusion, sorry for being too retarded and lazy to read the whole thing. I'll try to get better at that. Who knows, might even join RationalWiki myself at some point! So thanks for enlightening me. This has been bugging me all day, and I'm glad I finally got an answer. Once again, thank you. (talk) 13:22, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
No sweat! Nullahnung (talk) 13:29, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Going to sound ignorant here, but what is BoN?--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 20:47, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
'BoN' stands for 'Bunch of Numbers', which is shorter than actually writing out the numbers of the IP of the relevant poster. Of course, I think 'IP' is even shorter and even more convenient to type than 'BoN', so I've defaulted to that. Nullahnung (talk) 20:52, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
But for us older editors IP is confusing, as that is the reason we use for getting up in the middle of the night…--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:20, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Anyone with access to PACER or other similar database?[edit]

It looks like Rhawn Joseph has at last fulfilled his threat to sue NASA: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/candce/5:2014cv00385/273967 --ZooGuard (talk) 14:57, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I have PACER access. There isn't much in the way of history, yet, just a petition for a writ of mandamus and some case management stuff. He's going pro se, of course, and the official case title is rather hilarious: In Re RHAWN JOSEPH'S PETITION FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS COMPELLING NASA TO PERFORM A DUTY TO THOROUGHLY SCIENTIFICALLY EXAMINE AND INVESTIGATE A PUTATIVE BIOLOGICAL ORGANISM ON MARS IDENTIFIED/DISCOVERED BY PETITIONER AND REFERRED TO BY NASA AS: “UNLIKE ANYTHING WE HAVE SEEN BEFORE.” I've uploaded the petition at https://www.dropbox.com/s/j4jx6tad7zibqsc/RJoseph.pdf for your convenience. I'll be surprised if this doesn't just get dropped for lack of standing, honestly. He also fails to cite any law except 28 USC § 1331 (in its entirety, “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”), 28 USC—I suppose just *all* of Title 28, I guess?—and for some reason FRCP 21, I guess in case he improperly named parties, never mind the whole "standing" or "applicable law" part. AntiDeathPill (talk) 18:48, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Wait, wait, so this is something completely new, about some rock on Mars, and not his old 10-million-dollar lawsuit? (In case you haven't seen it, this document is even more hilarious.) Can you get his litigation history from PACER?--ZooGuard (talk) 19:39, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes you can find all cases he's filed in federal court on the US Party Index. I will help you tomorrow when I get back from a trip. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 19:43, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I note that on the last page, his witness couldn't even spell "writ" correctly. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 20:33, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Here's the raw litigation history pulled from PACER: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=XZ8Pk9Qe AntiDeathPill (talk) 20:48, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Do I understand correctly that he has sued the court at one point? O_o --ZooGuard (talk) 10:30, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
So in essence, this idjit is asking NASA to look over the rock they found using one of their rovers (Escapes me at the moment which one did the job) a bit more? It's just freaking microbes.--The Madman (talk) 03:59, 29 January 2014 (UTC)The Madman

Is anyone at Popular Science reading RW, or this is just the result of Rhawn Joseph's inexhaustible powers of self-promotion? :)--ZooGuard (talk) 22:27, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Don't forget to use RECAP so that others can benefit from your research. Reasoner (talk) 03:18, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Neat app, although I'd actually be a little weirded out if one of the very few people using RECAP were downloading files from my federal cases. Weird. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 04:50, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

RW got cited by the Houston Chronicle (at the very end, about his credentials). I think we need to clean up and expand the article ASAP. Independent sources about his education/previous employment would be welcome.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:36, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

...Probably because io9 directly linked to our article --ZooGuard (talk) 11:25, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

What if one day, a super-bug evolves out of the diseases we have vaccines for...[edit]

... and wipes out the entire human race rapidly? We have so many antibiotics and vaccines nowadays that more increasingly hard-to-kill versions of these diseases have been evolving after being nearly wiped out, as I'm sure most of you know.

What if one day, an super-deadly impossible-to-kill disease evolves and eliminates humanity in the blink of an eye? Then would the anti-vacciners, alternative therapy, chiropractors, and creationists all have been right all along?--JimBags (talk) 00:40, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Microbes developing antibiotic-resistant strains has become a familiar story. Somehow, I have not seen reports of similar things happening around vaccines. Is that a thing too? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 00:51, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) In order for a super-bug to evolve, it needs an environment to evolve in. A human body chock full of antibodies meant specifically to fight the aspiring plague in question is not a suitable environment for this purpose. Which is partly why the anti-vaccination movement is so dangerous. Every child parents refuse to vaccinate doubles as a petri dish for growing new lethal pathogens--"Shut up, Brx." 00:52, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I thought they were evolving and getting stronger only because they have been forced to by vaccines and such. Are you saying that they have only been doing that since the whole anti-medication movement started? Honest question, I really don't know. I just had this crazy idea pop into my head and wanted your guys' input on it.--JimBags (talk) 01:11, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
As far as I understand it, "super bugs" are just antibiotic resistant bacteria (as Sprocket mentioned). Antibiotics are reactive, whereas vaccines are pro-active, so it's an entirely different ballgame, really. Smallpox is dead (and polio is dead in the western world) because of vaccines; no vaccine-resistant strains can grow if there are no non-vaccinated hosts to incubate them. Since an antibiotic is given as a treatment to already present bacteria (that already has an incubator), the story is a bit different. - Grant (Talk) 01:16, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
It's hard for me to understand your difference there between viruses and bacteria. Whether it's a bacteria in someone given antibiotics or a virus in someone given a vaccine, it's still surrounded by more things in the bloodstream that want to kill it. Doesn't this force evolution of it? And I'm assuming viruses can evolve because they had to evolve into their current states, correct?--JimBags (talk) 01:20, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
My differentiation is that vaccines are generally given as a preventative measure, not a treatment. My doctor's office will not give the MMR vaccine to someone showing symptoms of measles, mumps, or rubella, for example. In the case of giving antibiotics to someone suffering from a bacterial infection, the bacteria is already present in the body. In the case of a vaccine, the virus is not present in the body, and the purpose of the vaccine is to prevent the virus from arriving at all. - Grant (Talk) 01:23, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I totally understand the difference between antibiotics and vaccines (and virsuses and bacteria), but my point is that in both cases a more hostile environment overall is created for the bacteria or virus in question. So why wouldn't that force both to evolve into something more resistant (or die off)?--JimBags (talk) 01:27, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

(EC) Because the bacteria is already present in the body when the antibiotics are introduced, and can still adapt, I would imagine, especially considering it takes time for antibiotics to wipe out a bacterial infection. How can a virus adapt to a more hostile environment if it can't enter the environment without being killed in the first place? Both bacteria and viruses grow and spread as they incubate within a host, and it's not like a virus is full-strength the minute it spreads to an individual. It seems intuitive to me that the presence of a vaccine would make it very difficult for the virus to "stick" long enough to grow in the first place. - Grant (Talk) 01:32, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Typically an antibiotic will be used on a human patient after symptoms of bacterial infection have appeared— in such a case, it is reasonable to assume that bacteria are present. Animals may be given prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics without presenting symptoms, so they can be raised economically in crowded unhygienic conditions.
It is the mis-application of antibiotics that leads to resistant strains evolving, either a human not completing the course of treatment (not enough) or the scattershot (too much) approach used in animal husbandry. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:09, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Okay I see your point. The virus in a vaccinated system would probably die before it could evolve any useful traits. I don't know why I didn't think of that, but it totally makes sense. And that would explain why many viruses have been nearly or totally wiped out over the past century, but as far as I know we've never eradicated a bacteria strain. --JimBags (talk) 01:37, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict × 4) As for whether diseases can develop resistance to vaccines without the help of the anti-vaccination movement, it does seem possible (though less likely, since an immunized body won't foster as much reproduction, and therefore less variance). In fact, vaccine resistant cases of whooping cough were detected last year[1]. You'll probably want to look for follow-up on that story for better information.--"Shut up, Brx." 01:28, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Vaccines and antibiotics don't mean that bacteria/viruses are at risk of becoming more virulent (I'd suggest the opposite might be true, even) but that they might evolve a way to escape the specific treatments we are using to stop them. If successful—and uncontained—they are unlikely to be any worse than a typical pre-medicine plague. Using vaccines and antibiotics may not eliminate pandemics, but they make them much less likely to occur. I'd also say that the chances of any disease entirely eliminating all 7 billion humans are pretty low. Peter mqzp 01:51, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

the problem with some vaccines is predicting the strain of the virus to be protected against. A repeat of the 1918 flu with the wrong vaccine would be bad. Hamster (talk) 02:06, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
An additional way of considering the difference is that, consider that by the time antibiotics are used, the person has generally accumulated such a large volume of bacteria, that the bacteria have had many, many chances for additional mutations to crop up, just because of the amount of times the bacteria has been able to replicate. However, if a bacterium in a sick individual does mutate in a way that it produces a copy that is antibiotic resistance, this isn't necessarily a problem, because it still has to compete will all those other bacteria for supplies from your body. However, if you start taking antibiotics, you essentially apply a really strong selection against bacteria that aren't antibiotic resistant. Suddenly, they start dying, and the resistant bacteria no longer have as much competition for resources, so they can spread out all the time. So, again, antibiotic/vaccine resistant things have much more of a chance to appear in the first place if there are a lot of people acting as breeding grounds for them. Since the idea of a vaccine is to prevent you from becoming a breeding ground in the first place, you end up just limiting the total population size overall, and therefore limiting the number of mutations that can occur. Shadow of Lords talk 02:52, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

It is worthwhile to bear in mind the "objective" of the pathogen in question. It has, in fact, no interest in killing or even damaging it's host. It just wants to get spread from one person to another and thus continue to reproduce.

A pathogen which rapidly killed all of its hosts would soon run out of them and would die out, so it's in the pathogen's interest to do as little damage as possible consistent with getting transmitted. The problem, of course, is that for many pathogens their very method of transmission is damaging - diarrhoea, sneezes or whatever - or that their life-cycle obliges them to damage their host in other ways. But ideally they'd "like" to remain unnoticed by both the immune system and by modern medicine.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 08:47, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Indeed. A "pathogen" which would come to do that would be known as not-a-pathogen (which there are plenty of in and on the bodies of us humans), but those are not the topic of interest here. Nullahnung (talk) 10:05, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Sure, non-pathogenic organisms are not the topic But the question was: "What if one day, a super-bug evolves .... and wipes out the entire human race rapidly?"
My point is that this is unlikely, as it would be in the organism's "best interest" to so evolve.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 11:51, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Sure, however you can make too much of this. Because neither the individual organisms nor the species are conscious of this pressure it doesn't function the way an incentive would to a person. Species have nothing incentivising them not to win this sort of pyrrhic victory, parasites destroying their host, predators hunting their prey to extinction, and so on, until it's too late. Tialaramex (talk) 13:25, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. And that is why I put my descriptions of "intentionality" on the part of the pathogen in scare quotes. But in the same way that we can talk about "selfish genes" - where we know perfectly well that they are not actually "selfish" - it an be illustrative to speak about what is in the organism's "best interests".
But the most usual course of events in both predator/prey interactions and disease/host interactions is for them to find some accommodation. Pretty obviously, cases were either predators or diseases have driven their prey/hosts to extinction are shortly followed by the extinction of the predator or the disease.
An interesting example of a disease becoming less virulent is syphilis. A disease which is now much less virulent than the variety first identified. --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 14:00, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
We shouldn't feel too safe. This mechanism works whereby predators that are too thorough get wiped out themselves. Therefore those that survive are the milder predators. For us, if a disease is too thorough, it may get wiped out by wiping us out, but that is not an acceptable outcome for us. And it may be a danger we shouldn't necessarily wave off. As we humans have brought imbalance to various natural balances by being very successful, so the diseases we experience are quite "out of proportion" as well. Nullahnung (talk) 15:03, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Guinea Worm, a case[edit]

So I'm going to write here a bit about Guinea Worm Disease because it's useful to understand what's going on here without invoking mysterious invisible boogie men, Guinea Worm is an actual parasitic worm, you don't need a microscope to see adult worms and it's a human disease that we're trying to wipe out. As a macroscopic organism we obviously don't vaccinate people against Guinea Worm, or try to treat it (primarily) with antibiotics. Indeed since the remaining hosts are mostly in the most desperately poor places of the world where minimal medical support is available we don't bother with invasive surgery and tricky dose control on poisons either. Instead the primary strategy is education - teaching people not to drink untreated water and if they have a worm to get it cared for properly at a clinic not dip the affected body part in a body of water and thus help break the cycle. This is supported by providing water treatment and filters and paying people to run the clinics, etc.

Eradication of Guinea Worm is going fairly well. In the super-long-term it's almost unavoidably a win, because people who don't drink pond water don't get infected. Even now, in the third world we've gone from from millions of infected to a few thousand. However, as this has happened and global focus has zoomed in to tiny African villages where it remains prevalent we've found something... unexpected. Guinea Worms have partly adapted to live in dogs. Unlike humans no amount of education or outright bribery will cause dogs to comply with rules about not drinking pond water or ignoring the instinct to dip "burning" extremities in cool water. Maybe there was Guinea Worm in North African dogs fifty years ago and we never noticed, I'm not sure, I don't think the WHO are sure either. But this shows how natural selection fights our attempts to wipe out a disease, independent of the specific mechanics we use. Ten years ago the people fighting GWD expected the disease organism to be wiped out in its entirety since it had no other known host, now it appears that even if we "win" the disease will live on in dogs. Tialaramex (talk) 13:07, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

The Guinea worm is treatable by surgery, though. Not that it's easily accessible to the average patient of GWD. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:54, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Anyone heard of this old MRA thing[edit]

A blog by the name of Alvanista, run by some batshit MRA called "Cless Alvein". Oddly it doesn't seem to have been updated since November of 2009, but going by the comments section it was pretty popular with the online MRA crowd and it still gets pretty high results on Google. Anyone heard of this before? Is it even worth creating a page on? ClothCoat (talk) 04:05, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd personally prefer pages on movements and concepts rather than individuals. Everybody and their mother believes stupid things. Better to write about the big picture.--"Shut up, Brx." 04:13, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeh I only brought it up because it seemed to have a surprisingly large community. If he was just some guy you had to sift through dozens of links to find I also wouldn't bother. ClothCoat (talk) 04:27, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
"Cless Alvein" is the name of a JPRG character from the 90s. I'm going to guess this is another case of MRAs just not being worth taking seriously. Ikanreed (talk) 14:58, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I introduce you to a new webshite, RW.[edit]

Because we all know that there's nothing we hate more than really tittyfuckingly craptacular arguments for the views we hold dear False consciousness, groupthink, what-have-you, this TERF has all the hatefulness of Cathy Brennan mixed with the batshitness of Jack Chick.

The woman's probably legitimately insane, though. If she is, she deserves sympathy and professional help (and plenty of lithium). --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:51, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

That blog/webshite has already been WIGOed at least once. Re "plenty of lithium", maybe you shouldn't make comments like this if you don't know anything about mental health diagnosis or medication. Bipolar individuals aren't "legitimately insane", nor are they particularly known for holding extremist or idiosyncratic opinions. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:22, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Fuck I'd just taken this as serious medical advice. What do I do now? Occasionaluse (talk) 20:48, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd recommend you take oscillococcinum with a side of radium water. (WTF is "male essentialism"?) - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 20:59, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, projecting myself there (I do take lithium as prescribed by my psychiatrist). Even when I'm off my meds and mania sets in (happens every now and then because they run out) I'm saner than her. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:57, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I thought it looked like kindof an ignorant comment (like I've sometimes heard people make, since biploar has increasingly become a thing many people have heard of without really understanding) but obviously I misinterpreted in this case. Apologies. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:28, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't think she's insane. She just has a very different point of view, one that we don't encounter that often. She's no more insane for her ideas than I am for being a communist (ListenerX, I summon thee from the darkest depths of Michigan! jk, you know I love you LX)--"Shut up, Brx." 22:13, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
This post makes me think she is either mind-numbingly radical, has a bad, bad case of paranoia, or both. I've dealt with paranoid people before (was briefly at a mental ward) and this is not very far from eevil gubmint rants I've heard. Replace "man" and "men" with "government agents", and notice how they use the same rethoric. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:55, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
EDIT: Nevermind, did it myself. Warning: Extreme lulz. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:10, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that's fair. Cyber harassment is very real, and can translate to real world harassment. I won't say if she is or isn't exaggerating, but it's not insane to worry about the torrent of abuse a single blog post might generate.--"Shut up, Brx." 01:15, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that she then deducts that the purpose of the men was to continue rape culture, which she defines as the systemic enslavement, rape, and murder of women worldwide. This is prima facie bullshit. It's a "the big picture" thing; she thinks that women are lesbians until enslaved by the patriarchy and that sexual pleasure is also a patriarchal social construct. She preaches that women dissenting against these conjectures are merely internalizing the patriarchy and suffer false consciousness. This kind of rethoric is common amongst paranoia patients. I still say she needs sympathy and professional help, for the reasons I just stated. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:09, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Of course, to clarify, I'm merely relating her rethoric to a personal experience, and should be treated as such. Perhaps a psychologist (IÄ IÄ TRENT TOULOUSE! TOULOUSE FHTAGN!) could enlighten us. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Problem is, simply saying she has mental problems is too easy. There are untold numbers of people out there who have mental problems and yet aren't arseholes. Personally, I think both "she's insane" and "just another very different point of view" are too relativist. I think what we can primarily deduce from her writings is that she is a bad person advocating a bad, harmful ideology. This may or may not be due to mental problems, but that's irrelevant. Since she does preach a form of biological supremacism, she very much is on the same level as racists and MRAs - and most people would, fortunately, not be as understanding of those types. (talk) 10:55, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the saddest part is when she describes how difficult it is to have friends. She treats it as impossible for radicals to have non-radical friends. Her views are so all-encompassing that any dissonance with a friend's views lead her to push them out.
It's not impossible for radicals to have non-radical friends, but what Witchwind does is (1) treat negotiation as failure, rather than a fact of life ("Anything that doesn't instantly remake the world to conform 100% with my ideals is abhorrent and in league with the Patriarchy"), and (2) treat all friends as potential recruits (!), severing the relationship if they don't convert. The latter effectively makes Witchwind the agent of her own social isolation. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:04, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Witchwind: The one-person cult. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 22:19, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Wow. That's food for thought. Really fucked up thought. Apparently, sexual pleasure is a social construct men use to control women. Damn. I mean, granted, you get shit like Playboy, that has an obvious agenda behind their brand of women's liberation, but they take that train of thought to a whole other level.--"Shut up, Brx." 21:28, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
And from reading the comments, I've just learned that Cathy Brennan is not the most radical radfem, or indicative of the most extreme thoughts from within that group. I mean, it's not like I ever envisioned her as the pinnacle of modern radical feminism, but it's still surprising to encounter points of view more, uh, radical than hers.--"Shut up, Brx." 21:46, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, horseshoe theory in action; radfems seem to think women are sheeple and have no agency of their own, just like fundies and MRAs. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:57, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Only the women doing the wrong things are unaccountable sheeple, of course. The implication being women can't do no evil. It's a common enough tactic to suck up to a group in the mainstream too, so I wouldn't take it as evidence of the horseshoe theory. -- (talk) 15:51, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Her powerful phobia of gaslighting (not that gaslighting is a good thing, mind you) seems ready to take on solipsistic proportions. Any different conception of reality than her own must be someone attempting at psychological subversion.--"Shut up, Brx." 22:10, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

This is the radfem parallel to the 'red pill/blue pill' shit you see on MRA/MGTOW sites. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:20, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Thing about Brennan and a bunch of her friends, they go the extra mile and put their crazy into action through stalking, outing, and other horrible real-world actions. The blogger there certainly sounds crazier, but I think Brennan, et al, win the totally fucked up portion of the competition. --Kels (talk) 22:12, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
You know, I was actually surprised: in the comments section of the post I linked, there was a video of Brennan talking, and she seems perfectly normal (and looking a lot like Chuck Bass in season one of Gossip Girl, but that's neither here nor there) and lucid. Not the gibbering mass of raw hate I imagined her to be. Makes you think even the most innocent seeming person can be a total creep. --"Shut up, Brx." 22:17, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

If we look at men, their localised brain function and smaller corpus callosum links quite clearly to their necrophilia and disconnectedness from life, their sensory atrophy or incapacity to connect both on a sensory, emotional and conceptual level, their addiction to violence or use of violence as their only way to feel things.

Wait, WHAT!? --Kels (talk) 01:13, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I always wondered why it was so easy and pleasurable to violently murder people in cold blood (and apparently then violate their corpses?). Thanks for enlightening me, Witchwind! - Grant (Talk) 01:18, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I read that and immediately thought of our article debunking claims like that. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 01:29, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Unfettered NIHILISM![edit]

If you want to badmouth anything, make sure you call it "nihilistic". Because then you're saying, "These assholes don't even give a fuck about anything or think that anything matters. How dare they! The human race is quite obviously the focal point of the entire universe, and they would deny the truth of that." Reasoner (talk) 19:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

What if, in fact, nothing really does matter? - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:16, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Define "matter". 00:09, 31 January 2014 (UTC)Nullahnung (talk)
Matter is hard to define but easy to explain. Every object you know is made of matter. That matter, in turn, is composed of atoms and molecules; atoms are tiny bits of matter that combine with other atoms to make molecules, which are slightly larger bits of matter. In turn, atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Atoms are also composed of particles known as quarks and leptons, as protons and neutrons are made up of quarks and electrons are a type of lepton. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:26, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Lol, ok. Not what I was looking for, but at this point I'll take it. Nullahnung (talk) 09:32, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
That's the kind of thinking that leads people to ... do what exactly? Oh, that's right — think for themselves, and act accordingly, rather than accepting a dogma out of fear of going to hell, and letting others control one's actions by claiming to speak for a mythical almighty being! Reasoner (talk) 22:52, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I find that lack of responsibility really liberating. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 22:56, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
is there a FETTERED Nihilism ? Hamster (talk) 00:15, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
"Nothing matters... probably... actually, I'm not sure." - fettered nihilism Nullahnung (talk) 00:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I was just going to say the same thing; the lukewarm nihilists tend to hedge their bets. It's kinda like this Robert Fulghum quote: "Lawyer friend made his annual summer visit last week, up from California. . . . This year he is into simple ignorance. 'It's all crap,' says he. 'All lies. Your senses lie to you, the president lies to you, the more you search the less you find, the more you try, the worse it gets. Ignorance is bliss. Just BE, man. Don't think or do — just BE. The WORLD is coming to an END!' The day before he left, he jumped off a lakeside dock with his clothes on to help a kid who appeared to be in danger of drowning in the deep water. And he confessed to being in town for the National Lawyers Guild convention, since he's a member of its social justice committee. 'So, if it's all lies and crap — and ignorance is the ultimate trip — then how come...?' I say. 'Well,' says he, 'I might be wrong.'" See also this comic! Reasoner (talk) 09:48, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Anyone else notice the sudden time-warp?[edit]

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to prohibit schools from preventing the instruction of intelligent design.
Section 1. That chapter 13-33 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
No school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics.

Via the NCSE. Peter mqzp 23:58, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

ID is the NEW PARADIGM that will defeat that cult of the Old English Guy DARWIN and send the Darwinites back to their caves. Hamster (talk) 00:13, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's much of a time-warp - aren't bills like this floated all the time in bible belt? They have slim chances of being enacted & would be pretty much unenforceable if do pass, due to the unconstitutional nature of these proposed laws which will fall flat if challenged. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:36, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
It's common political theatre. Such bills are unlikely to pass and as you say would be thrown out on constitutional grounds even if they did. But they let their proponents go back to the good folk at home and say they did their best against them heathern pointy-head godless intellectuals who would sap and impurify their precious bodily fluids. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:36, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
this stuff comes up in a number of states and some of it passes. Check the NCSE pages for some details. Hamster (talk) 01:56, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Considering I live in the belt, I'd like to say that there's not much chance of that being passed around here. No need with the comparatively moderate politics of Huntsville, anyhow.--The Madman (talk) 03:09, 31 January 2014 (UTC)The Madman

It's completely normal for a legislature to handle a significant percentage, even a clear majority of bogus legislation that's never going anywhere near the statute books. Because everybody knows this legislation is bogus it does not normally get media coverage, but from time to time somebody notices a particular bill and freaks out, either because they don't know any better, or because it suits their political agenda to do so. Laymen will often be astounded by the notion that this is normal because they aren't told about it, although it's hard to imagine them reading an article headed "Useless crap the legislature rejected today" in their national newspaper.

I had a fellow insisting that there was a conspiracy to conscript all able-bodied men and women in the UK for a forthcoming war and we weren't being told about it. Their evidence was a Bill taken to Westminster by an obscure backbench MP which indeed purports to re-start "National Service" (the name under which conscription last operated) and they could not believe that such bills were routine and achieve nothing. Until I asked them if they'd been similarly worried two years before, and a year before that, when the exact same Bill was put forward and, of course, came to nothing. Then I pointed out that each time these Bills were scheduled to be considered on a Friday afternoon, and asked them, what sort of tasks do they schedule for a Friday afternoon at work, the really important stuff or the kind of thing you can half-ass and it doesn't matter? At last the conspiracy theorist fell silent. (talk) 16:21, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

From our Spanish correspondent.[edit]

Life in Spain seems to be becoming increasingly surreal.

As many will be aware the Spanish government is in the process of pushing through a new more-restrictive abortion law which will only allow abortion in cases of rape and where the mother's life is at risk. And even under those highly-restrictive conditions you still will need your parent's permission if you are under 18. Any (yes "any") survivable foetal abnormality will not be a justification for abortion.

In order to bolster its case for this deeply unpopular proposal the government has claimed its new law will boost Spain's flagging economy. A suggestion which has been met with incredulity. (Thinking through the question "In how many ways is this wrong?" is an interesting intellectual exercise.)

However, the Spanish government has another string to its bow. It is being secretly helped by a 16th century Spanish nun according to the interior minister. As this announcement was met by some surprise, one political party has officially asked the government to quantify the amount of aid received and to state whether or not it anticipates receiving further supernatural aid. Some have speculated that this aid might breach EU guidelines as well.

Not to be outdone, a recently-appointed Catholic Cardinal has likened homosexuality to a treatable defect similar to his own blood pressure. In an equally weird development the Church is sending 20 extra priests to the Vatican for exorcism training in order to help counter the "unprecedented rise” in cases of “demonic possession”.

Lest anyone is left with the impression that the population of the Bible Belt has recently decamped to Spain I should mention that vast numbers of Spaniards are not at all happy about all this.

While such weird church pronouncements are accepted with that same mixture of amusement, tolerance and embarrassment reserved for dotty aunt Matilda after too many glasses of sherry, the government is certainly going to pay come the elections - or possibly the revolution.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 09:49, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Still smells like desperation. Osaka Sun (talk) 14:39, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
2015 will be a great year for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:20, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Rhawn Joseph[edit]

We return top search of Rhawn Joseph and his suing NASA is getting press and we are actually getting referenced in news articles, as well as picking up some traffic from searches. Worth working on the article if anyone is inclined. Tmtoulouse (talk) 19:50, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

See also: #Anyone with access to PACER or other similar database? above.--ZooGuard (talk) 20:39, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
You called it, boss! Gonna see if I can work on it. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Journal of Cosmology is still unfinished notes too - David Gerard (talk) 22:37, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Better than our page on cosmology. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:18, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
That can probably be refiled into the trash can. Redchuck.gif Генгисmutating Moderator 14:25, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Anyone who has read the Cliff's Notes on international criminal law....[edit]

...tell me what the odds are that Amanda Knox will get extradited back to Italy to serve a 30-year bit for murder. If she does not get extradited, is she de facto sentenced to never leave the USA again in her lifetime? PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 22:13, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I have little interest and haven't been following this closely; but m understanding is that at some point along the line she was acquitted, which is why she was free to leave Italy in the first instance. Since extradition is usually only possible if the country from which extradition is requested recognizes the accusation as a crime under its own laws, and US laws absolutely forbid double jeopardy and Italy apparently does not, I think her extradition is unlikely. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 23:06, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
....but I imagine a trip to any EU country is not in her near future? PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 23:54, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't recommend it. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 01:20, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Italy needs to engage in a bit of extraordinary rendition. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 13:28, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Funeral Services[edit]

My aunt died a Monday and today was the funeral. I was standing around and thinking to myself, "I am the only atheist in the room". As I'm family I was in the procession (incidentally the only car that wasn't black or silver, I was blue) I kept thinking about it. How do I deal with this situation and how do I prepare my own atheist ceremony thing? I have a will with rather vague specifications, but I never thought to hammer it out as in where to have the ceremony or whatever. Open the floor. Zero (talk) 23:15, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Where I'm from, secular services are quite common, and many funerals are handled at public ceremonies by humanist officiants. The ceremonies typically celebrate the events and accomplishments in the life of the deceased, as opposed to anything religious. - Grant (Talk) 23:28, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Much like a wedding not held at a church, you can do a memorial service at the pub/your home/some place that is meaningful to you and your people. Probably easier to pull off with an urn full of cremains than with an actual stiff. Get a band to play some songs that are meaningful to you and your people (I already have a New Orleans-style jazz band ready to play "Autumn in New York," "Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat," and "When I Lay My Burden Down" on short notice....). Buy a really good bottle of single-malt and hide it away with instructions to open it to toast your memory. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 23:29, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
My family jokes that the difference between a Scots wedding and a Scots wake is "one fewer drunken Scots." And even though we're all in America (my grandfather was the Scot), that's pretty much how we do it. The details change with the faith of the decedent, but mainly, there's laughing and crying and remembering and stories and singing.
I expect that hymns will be sung. I'm atheist (or at least, I don't care if there is a god), but there are hymns I like. My take is that, after I'm gone, they can do whatever they need to do to cope. (talk) 15:55, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
They can do whatever they please with the body once I'm dead. It won't worry me. It'll be a shame if it costs anyone 'cause there's better things to spend money on. When my dad died an atheist guy, provided (or at least found) by the funeral home, did the "service" at our local crematorium. Scream!! (talk) 13:04, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
My mother-in-law was the daughter of a clergyman and married a missionary in Paraguay, I guess she was still a nominal Christian but never went to church or openly read the Bible while I knew her. When she died four or five years ago we bundled her off to the crematorium without any service of any kind; she had already discussed this with my wife and didn't want any sort of fuss. A couple of weeks later we had an open day at home where there pictures and music that she liked, so that people could know more about her and her life. She also had a collection of Caithness glass paperweights which we distributed them to people as a momento. Both my wife and I want nothing more than that and have pledged our bodies to medical science. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 13:25, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Coyote. 2006-2014[edit]

Epic cat was epic

. Today I mourn and celebrate the life of That Coyote, That One, who lost his battle with what the vet called a "terrific heart murmur" this afternoon.

Stray Cat
by Francis Witham
Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
Has brought you homeless to my gate?
The gate where once another stood
To beg for shelter, warmth, and food
For from that day I ceased to be
The master of my destiny.
While he, with purr and velvet paw
Became within my house the law.
He scratched the furniture and shed
And claimed the middle of my bed.
He ruled in arrogance and pride
And broke my heart the day he died.
So if you really think, oh Cat,
I'd willingly relive all that
Because you come forlorn and thin
Well...don't just stand there...Come on in!

PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 22:27, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Sorry for your loss :(. My dog had to be put down last Wednesday after she was diagnosed with cancer. She was an 11 year old Golden Retriever, so it wasn't all that surprising, but it's still never easy to lose a pet. - Grant (Talk) 22:40, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry for your loss, PSAL. If that poem is anything to go by, you loved Coyote enough that they lived a good life with you.
@GrantC Purely to spoil my preceding paragraph, I would quibble that it's entirely possible to not miss a pet. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:41, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Heh, you make a good point. That said, in my case (and by the looks of it, PSaL's), this was not the case. I will certainly miss my dog very dearly. - Grant (Talk) 06:24, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
So sorry to hear this. Sorry to hear about both of your losses. We lost our Dalmatian - he was mostly my dad's - to bad hips when he was 11. That was too young. He was always a rowdy, active dog, too.... - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 06:32, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
I have one (cat) on the way out, myself. It ain't easy, and it never gets easy. Leuders (talk) 15:09, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. Missed him dearly this morning at feeding time, but Mrs. Leather is already on the humane society website. It's not a house without a cat. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 17:33, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
You have my sympathy. Lost my cat about two years ago and I still miss the little feller.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 20:33, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
I too, know what it's like to lose a pet. It's never a piece of cake dealing with it. Condolences, my friend. (talk) 09:30, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Sorry for your loss, P. It's always heartbreaking when a pet dies. Hope you find a nice kitty to fill the void soon. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:13, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

New article on Islamic creationism that's going to need a ton of work.[edit]

This looks like it might have a decent article on Islamic creationism hiding within, needs some serious editing, if anyone is looking for something to do on a snowy day. I might get to it after I finish writing this lecture, but if someone beats me to it, all the better. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 17:31, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

I've parked it in essay space, like his last one. SophieWilderModerator 17:43, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, it's an essay. I can't see much article-worthy in there. Creationist apologia that blames creationist conflicts with science on atheists & seems to be largely dodging the issue of evolution & human descent. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:30, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Woody joins Polanski[edit]

Woody Allen wins a Lifetime Achievement award at the Golden Globes a few weeks ago. Fans and celebrities, plus the husk of Newsweek, dismiss criticism. The stepdaughter he molested delivers the hammer. Osaka Sun (talk) 01:12, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Oh Jesus that Vanity Fair idiot Weide doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. "Woody Allen couldn't have done it because I directed his documentry oh and Dylan Farrow is a whore anyways so she can't be trusted". Fucking... creepy... idiot. ClothCoat (talk) 19:34, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
"I hope that’s the sound of (that) piece being deleted from feeds." Osaka Sun (talk) 20:01, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Honestly Weide is insanely sociopathic even by Hollywood producer standards. Anyways I know people say you can seperate the art from the artist but I don't think I can ever watch another Woody Allen movie. He was always creepy but this is the final nail in the coffin. ClothCoat (talk) 01:18, 3 February 2014 (UTC)


Anyone know anything about this? It's by Michael T. Snyder a known nutter but he really goeth over the top on Godwin's Law on this page: Bradlee Dean is also down as a contributor as is Bart Sibrel. Just checking through the list of contribs gives the impression that all of them could do with a page each. (Suspect I might be late to the starting gate with this) Scream!! (talk) 22:12, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Urgh. "If you are racist, there is a very good chance that you also believe in the theory of evolution." Yeah? Then please explain how the National Party, who were the biggest bunch of racists this side of Berchtesgaden, were also staunch Calvinists, who whilst claiming they had a God-given right to the land and screw the darkies, certainly had no time for evolution. --PsyGremlinRunāt! 01:26, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
He has, of course, conveniently forgotten about the Curse of Ham, and how it was promoted by creationists before racism fell altogether out of fashion. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 09:44, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
I wonder if The Negro: a Beast deserves an article.--ZooGuard (talk) 15:55, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

It doesn't shrug![edit]

Say hello to Atlas, Boston Dynamic's humanoid robot. Awesome, no?--The Madman (talk) 13:00, 3 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman

I'm sure it will look very awesome when it stomps over my lifeless body. Vulpius (talk) 15:46, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
You mean, when it stomps on your de-fleshed skull?
Boston Dynamics are the same people with the creepy goatfooted "squad mule" thing.--ZooGuard (talk) 15:52, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Reminder that it's a Google owned company now. Ikanreed (talk) 18:58, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate drinking game[edit]

  1. Drink once every time Ham talks about "assumptions" or "worldview".
  2. Drink once when Ham differentiates between operational and historical science.
  3. Drink twice times beer if Ham says the earth is 6000 years old.
  4. Drink twice if Ham talks about dinosaurs and humans being alive at the same time.
  5. Drink three times if Ham quotes the Bible.
  6. Drink three times if Ham mentions Hitler.
  7. Drink once if Ham mentions the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
  8. Drink once if Ham says that mutations can't add information.
  9. Drink once if it's happening.

(Add your own.) Sterilesig.svgtalk 11:11, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

  1. Drink once for each item in a Gish Gallop. Heresiarch (talk) 11:53, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  2. Drink twice if Ham has an argument refuted- and makes it again anyway.
  3. Drink 456890076421247906667990 times if Ham very obviously loses- but acts as if he's won anyway. (talk) 13:01, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

  1. Drink once every time Ham equivocates evolution with origin of life/geologic column/age of the earth/age of the universe/rates of decay/speed of light... none of which have anything to do with evolution. Danoso (talk) 21:04, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

A question on this[edit]

I've not really been following this all that much being a continent away but I've just been looking around the internet and I see that the subject of the debate is: "Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins?"

Yet everywhere I see it spoken about as "Creationism versus evolution" or something of that nature. I even see people pointing out that Nye is not an expert in evolution.

But evolution, as such, has nothing whatsoever to do with "origins" - either of the universe or life. So isn't a lot of debate already ill-focused? Or am I missing something?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 13:01, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I mean, the debate topic is actually really, really favorable, or at least it should be in the hands of the right debater. If you've ever listened to the Miller v. Morris debate, with the proposition of "the theory of evolution is superior to the theory of special creation as an explanation for the scientific evidence related to origins" (http://ncse.com/creationism/general/miller-morris-debate-1981), it was practically a murder, because Miller was able to focus on comparing how each piece of data fit creation vs evolution. This debate topic is even better, because a competent debater would be able to just repeatedly attack creation, since it's the topic of the debate, and even be able to attack their opponent for mentioning evolution, asking why they are so obsessed with attacking evolution instead of defending their model, which is the topic of the debate. However, I think many people realize that we aren't sure of how skilled Nye is as a debater. We also realize that the creationists are generally not interested in honestly presenting and defending their theory. So, there is a justified concern that what will happen is that the creationists will end up attacking Evolution the whole time, Nye won't properly call them out on it and will fall into their trap, and everyone will declare it a win for creationists.
The best case scenario is that NCSE secretly kidnapped Nye and forced him to watch creationist debates, practice debating mock creationists, and memorize the index of creationist claims. If Nye is properly prepared this should be another shutdown. If Nye isn't prepared then we know what to expect. Lots of distortions from the creationists, but just enough style over substance that they come out looking positive to most of their believers. Shadow of Lords talk 14:24, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, the debate topic/title itself is good. It might force Ham to come up with something original and provide some evidence. All Nye then needs to do is point out how he has utterly failed to back up his position with anything other than imagined slights against evolutionary biology. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 14:49, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
There is a group of people, including evolutionary biologists, who would say that evolution requires abiogenesis, and creationists tend to group origin of the universe in with that. Certainly from the creationist side, it is about the origin of life and the origin of the universe. Sterilesig.svgtalk 14:54, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Sure evolution requires abiogenesis. It also requires a universe. But as we all know evolution takes place happens after both those things exist and the debate is apparently about those previous two things.
I'm not entirely sure that everybody - including the two participants - is going to recognise this though. In point of fact I'm not so sure that "origin of the universe" and "abiogenesis" would be strong ground for Nye. What's he going to say? "We've got some good hypothesis"? In point of fact science is a lot clearer on evolution than it is on the other two.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 15:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
[EC] The Creationist position has never really moved far away from evolution because their central tenet is that man is a special creation in the image of God. If evolution (by natural selection) is totally wrong then it doesn't change the fact the Earth is 4.6by old. Upholding a young-Earth scenario is all about a clinging to a divinely created Adam, an idea which evolution has booted into the long grass. Redchuck.gif Генгисpillaging Moderator 15:09, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Just saw this posted to my Bishop's wall on FB after reading about it here. Typical comment:

not a debate. a discussion. if Ken Ham wants to argue ALL of modern science is wrong, if he wants to say it's an illusion, then it's a debate. Otherwise, they are just pulling our legs, using cell phones that would be impossible without quantum mechanics and being healed with medicines that are the result of modern biology that is founded on evolution. As Archbishop Anastasios said last week: modern civilization is not foreign to God.

-- MarkAHershberger(talk) 21:39, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm back, motherfuckers.[edit]

Well, it was only 23 days, but I'm back. Whilst I was away, I got my study back on track, got my car fixed after, like, 5 months or something, recorded a few songs, and succeeded in starting the first romantic relationship I've ever had (meaning that this year's Valentine's Day will involve more than just porn, fapping and heavy metal)! Oh, and I'm having a tonsilladenoidectomy on the 20th, which I'm a bit nervous about, because this guy was like "yeah, I had that done. I threw up blood, could barely swallow, and had a huge scab form on the back of my throat. Totally worth it." Anyway, what's been going on at the Wiki of Rationality? Have I missed anything? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 13:32, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Remember! Don't be expecting too much too fast, even if it's Valentine's Day (well, depending on personality). Sometimes relationships develop over several months, sometimes over just a few weeks. Be yourself and have fun. Nullahnung (talk) 15:00, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Just to be clear- I'm not expecting sex. I don't even really feel like it at this point- and of course, I'll wait until we're both comfortable with the idea. I was just planning on, like, watching movies and cooking dinner and just general romance-y kinda stuff. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 15:07, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, the night could still include porn, fapping and heavy metal, depending on what your beau is into. --Kels (talk) 19:17, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
You haven't missed much. Three weeks ago, Nutty was kidnapped by an Amazonian tribe to become their new king. Something about a prophecy - I can't remember. Just after that, Weaseloid discovered a method for converting any type of matter into gold and so is currently in the process of buying several sun-drenched islands to house his massive harem of supermodels. Next, I think it was Psy who posted a sequence of posts that caused the brains of over three quarters of those who saw them to go into a kind of fascination/revulsion stasis, which caused several hospitals to be overloaded. Then just yesterday, ListenerX announced that he had made contact with an alien civilization, but had cut off communication after they announced a preference for the color red. I think that's everything. Heresiarch (talk) 14:12, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I lolled. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 14:24, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
you need to make a cd of her favorite songs, sung by you, and heavy on romance and tasteful appeals for fornication. Some tunes could be you are my sunshine (you need a banjo for that), anything by Barry White and finishing with Sexual healing by Marvin Gay. Let us know how it works out. Hamster (talk) 18:03, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Umm… I'll think I'll try "Tunnel of Love", by Dire Straits. Also, I'm not gonna be like "okay, let's fuck", I'm actually not planning on it- in fact, I'm still not entirely comfortable with the idea. However, if she suggests it, and I'm "in the mood" (okay, I'm always "in the mood", but whatever), then I'll just be like "Okay". So yeah. Also, I got a cat. A huge, black Maine Coon, named after Genghis Khan. And I've started making a guitar for myself. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 07:48, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

No RW buffoons can ever refute...[edit]

...my stunning new evidence for HUMAN DEVONIAN ORIGINS:


God is good, especially when he killed those Japs back in 1598.

HUMANS HAVE ORIGINS IN THE DEVONIAN, AND YOU CAN'T REFUTE THAT.--Thrinaxodon (talk) 06:15, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

blocked for 1 hour for linking to alt.fan.ed-conrad. Hamster (talk) 07:16, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually, humans have origins in the Pre-Cambrian along with all other living organisms. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 11:27, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Hey, I'm a Devonian, but I wasn't born there. Therefore your claim is untrue. SophieWilderModerator 18:46, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
my ancestors survived the cambrian explosion that killed the dinosaurs ;-) Hamster (talk) 22:03, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
:) to my rational "cousins". ħumanUser talk:Human 02:59, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

And now...[edit]

...we present: Stephen Hawking - author, scientist, comedian! SophieWilderModerator 18:49, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

He's actually quite well known for his practical jokes among his friends. A member of my former advisory committee was a former student and good friend of Hawking, so he dropped by our lab once to visit. The stories we heard were pretty amusing. - Grant (Talk) 18:58, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Wow, how embarrassing for the man. Of the three out of ten that were funny, two have been around a long time. The last was still pretty lame. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:12, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

A page on Affluenza.[edit]

It's already on the to-do list, but I personally think this crap needs a page faster.--The Madman (talk) 12:17, 4 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman

go right ahead. you could have a page started very quickly. Hamster (talk) 16:07, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I have made a stub page. Feel free to expand it. Hamster (talk) 17:53, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Affluenza for the lazy > ħumanUser talk:Human 02:15, 6 February 2014 (UTC)



I take back what I said about you maybe writing decent satire here: [2]... this appears to be pretty unsophisticated satire, too low effort for my tastes. Nullahnung (talk) 11:37, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, you've just lost your place on the list, Thrinaxodon.--The Madman (talk) 12:45, 3 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman
Did somebody's meds wear off again? --PsyGremlinRunāt! 12:55, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I see someone was drinking during the Superbowl.--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 15:56, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Goddamn mescaline. Why the fuck can't they make it a little less pure? WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:40, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't know about any of you, I laugh "26,000 JAPANESE ATHEIST BEATEN TO DEATH BY 50 CHRISTIANS", but I absolutely died of laughter at "GOD WILL FUCK YOUR WIFE". 8/10 would read from this guy again. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:44, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Bill Nye v Ken Ham debate TONIGHT[edit]