RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive220

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This is an archive page, last updated 22 February 2014. Please do not make edits to this page.
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Nye - Ham. Conclusions?[edit]

This blow by blow is very interesting - but not having watched it - who came out on top? Who did the best job? Was Nye right to do it?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 09:26, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I couldn't watch anymore than 30 mins. Ham was just so full of shit. Acei9 09:31, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
My opinion was that Nye had the upper hand slightly. It was a bloodless debate though, highly dissimilar to a Hitchens or Harris encounter. I was expecting Nye to get massacred so I thought the outcome was surprisingly positive; VERY positive. Obviously Ham had no points excepts PRATTs and In the end he looked a little too closed to new evidence to win any new converts; although I consistently fail to account for American sensibilities... Tielec01 (talk) 10:33, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I think Nye did well. Ham seemed twitchier than normal and a bit off his game. --Inquisitor (talk) 10:45, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Only thing Nye forgot to do was hammer him on how he stopped doing real science every thirty seconds and started doing science by fiat. He just needed to say something like, "Science is the method by which you adopt a hypothesis that fits your current data, make predictions and gather more data to support OR REJECT it based on how well it meets those predictions. You have abandoned this process in favor of asserting what you believe must be true no matter what the evidence says, even when the evidence constantly and clearly contradicts it. This is not science." Shadow of Lords talk 11:28, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Ham had to admit, or gladly admitted, that he was using the bible as the starting point for everything and has been trying to fit every piece of evidence into a point of view that fits in with the bible's account all along. And though Nye did try to show that that was not science, he did not hammer it home every time, you're right. Nullahnung (talk) 11:38, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
It probably won't change anyone's mind (although exposure to the alternative is important), but on the other hand, it's fairly clear that Ham is all about religion and just complains about science. Nye didn't come across as nasty but kept emphasizing the wonder/curiosity side of science, which is a positive. Sterilesig.svgtalk 11:51, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I didn't watch the thing but if that's what Nye did, it was exactly the right approach. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I am not a fan of live debate format, but I sat through the whole thing. My impression was that Ham was all about the supposed difference between observational versus historical science (were you there?) and a book that proclaims goddidit. Nye did hammer on "who are we to believe, your say-so regarding a much-translated 3000-year-old collection of stories, or the evidence?" as well as "Our kids need the best possible science education." with the strong implication that religious doctrine damages that.
I'd say there were two preachers to two different choirs here. (Not meaning to cast methodological naturalism as a religion, even though Ham did try that repeatedly.) I have a hard time seeing winners in "contests" like this; Nye didn't lose, in my view, but I doubt that many minds will be changed as a result of this dog and pony act. You think the fence-sitters even bothered to tune in? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:15, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I think Nye had a victory because of several beneficial things he did. The first one was that he clearly explained the nature of science and evolution to people who may have only had a vague idea of the concepts, he explained it in a way that only someone like him could do (The Science Guy!). The second one was that he managed to bring across passion and the importance of science and discovery. The third one was that he managed to look more grounded in the facts than did Ham.
He may not have drastically changed anybody's minds overnight, but he surely planted seeds of enlightenment in the field of general vagueness. Nullahnung (talk) 14:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) The best one line summary I've seen is from The Friendly Atheist: "Bill Nye may not have won this debate, but Ken Ham sure as hell lost it." Heresiarch (talk) 14:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

(undent)

No clear "wins" in terms of the content changing anyone's views in that room, or for much of the audience. Andy's BS spin-job and a look at the comments on Ham's Facebook page just emphasize how locked-in that group is. Nye clearly won in terms of the stated debate question, and I was disappointed that he didn't call this out after Ham's response to that last question, where he said that no evidence could possibly change his mind about the correctness of the YEC view. Once you admit that no evidence can make you re-assess or modify your theory, you've stopped practicing science, period.

That's why I think Nye's real target wasn't the YEC crowd, it was the school boards and legislatures across the country facing pressure to allow the introduction of YEC lessons, the exclusion/misrepresentation of evolution, or both. I got a sense of that in Nye's multiple appeals to American founding principles and our ability to compete and prosper as a country. Couple that with his statements in support of religion for its own sake as something you can value without compromising the integrity of science, and he made a good case for keeping a wall of separation between the two in science classrooms. If that was his objective, then I consider this a win that actually meant something. --DinsdaleP (talk) 15:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

An interesting observation. Having now listened to some of the debate, Nye certainly made the point that science education was necessary for a strong US. If his target audience was the one you suggest then his intervention was more subtle than it might first appear.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 16:09, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
It really becomes blatant/not-so-subtle later, when Nye keeps going on about how Murrican patriotism and how turning our backs on science in schools would lead to economic disadvantage. It becomes even more blatant when he admitted that he is primarily addressing the audience online, not the people in the hall. Nullahnung (talk) 16:31, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Nye acquitted himself pretty well all things considered, but lets not forget this was a publicity stunt for the creation museum. Whoever won, science education loses. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 19:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I think Nye won hands down, although, as people have noted for a long time, there's a huge difference between winning on the merits and winning an audience. Ham made a huge strategic mistake by expressly agreeing to make an affirmative case for creationism, which AiG very seldom even attempts to do; Ham didn't either. How many AiG and CMI articles simply discuss some legitimate scientist's research or a popular science article, and then conclude " same evidence plus worldview equals creation better explains this"? It's all really lazy hand-waving. Maybe AiG could gain some credibility if it spent money on actual research, but then their lack of interest in doing their own research is why the Creation Research Society changed its name to Creation Ministries International prior to the split that led to Ham founding AiG. At base, AiG seems to believe that evidence against evolution is evidence for creation. It's a non sequitur even if he's right about these being the only two alternatives. Ham also made a huge strategic mistake by speaking first, and thereby giving the last word to a charming and experienced, if quirky and sometimes downright weird, science popularizer who only had to discuss the actual evidence to show how poorly Ham did at meeting his burden of persuasion if the audience wasn't capable of seeing that for itself. Whatever. I found Ham's canned joke about being a "bloke" a really weird and painful attempt to ingratiate himself with an audience probably comprised of local rednecks (whose only reference point is Crocodile Dundee), and people who probably already thought he was an embarrassing dipshit. Maybe I'm looking at this through rose-colored glasses. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:51, 6 February 2014 (UTC) |}

Article should result[edit]

If nothing else copy this discussion. Article should exist. Don't make me do it, last I heard I was a troll... It might make a great side-by-side? There's a lot of great commentary here. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:07, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I've pasted a copy of this conversation (to be updated as needed) here. RWians wanting it may have at it. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 07:13, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

This seems like it belongs in here...[edit]

Goat Simulator Vulpius (talk) 22:40, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Let us all be grateful that goats aren't actually strong enough to knock over telephone poles. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:57, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Ah, Coffee Stain Studios, they are venturing into rather strange subject areas, haha, though they tend to make unorthodox games. Nullahnung (talk) 03:20, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

The hell is this paleoconservative wackiness?[edit]

A semi-popular (in paleocon and Austrian school circles) website called Taki's Magazine. Sympathizes with the neo-reactionary movement, openly racist (with the comments section vehemently supporting white supremacy), and the sites founder supports the Greek Golden Dawn. This site is weird because, unlike Townhall or other wingnut sites it hides behind a devoted pseudointellectual tone, and even Patrick J. Buchanan is a contributer. What it this... thing? ClothCoat (talk) 03:59, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Probably deserves a mention in neoreactionary movement. It's the creepy sense that it's all just a cover for good old time KKK bullshit that makes the smoking jacket and brandy pose so comical. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:45, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
A latter-day Chronicles, perhaps? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 05:54, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Looks that way. I guess Michelle Malkin is a contributer too, despite not being a paleocon. Oh, but it still looks like you're totally right Wehpudicabok, the founder of Taki's Magazine, Taki Theodoracopulos, was a Chronicles writer too. The one who wrote about the greatness of Richard Nixon. ClothCoat (talk) 06:04, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Haha, I read this site way too much. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 07:44, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
What a coincidence. I'd never heard of Taki's magazine until yesterday, when I saw a commenter on the Telegraph blogs praising an article there. So over I went to find the article. First thing I saw on the site was an article by Theodore Dalrymple who, for all his world-weary misandry, is worth a read from time to time. However, the article I was directed to was bollocks from start to finish. The writer hadn't got a clue about what he was talking about and seemed to be scanning through his target looking for phrases that triggered some deep prejudice so that he could snarkily dismiss everything. Then complain that the Daily Telegraph is a lefty newspaper these days. Utter cobblers. Gomer (talk) 07:56, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Misandry? Are you serious? WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:42, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Probably meant "misanthropy". Otherwise I have no idea why misandry would be "world-weary".--ZooGuard (talk) 09:45, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Err, yes, I did mean "misanthropy". I'd just had a look over at Manboobz before coming here and got my wires crossed. Gomer (talk) 12:36, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
John Derbyshire (who Gomer linked to) is the most outright racist of their editors (which is saying a lot). He goes into "Blacks have lower IQ's" area. ClothCoat (talk) 18:03, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Neo-reactionaries are a very weird and disconcerting bunch of dudes. As a black guy, talking to them or debating them on the net is a bit of an uncomfortable, though (in the long run) sort of amusing experience. I will admit, I was mostly just baiting them whenever I did. Most of them seemed overly appreciative of my argument style, and unsurprisingly, they're only capable of backhanded compliments. One of them called me "a benign biological anomaly", saying that I was far more intelligent than most other members of my ethnic group. Have these people even seen a black man before that wasn't just in a rerun of Cops or F.r.i.e.n.d.s? They actually act like they don't get much human contact by the way they go about things, which suggests a great deal of introverted misanthropy. 74.137.99.52 (talk) 00:51, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Smerdis has succeeded in confusing them - David Gerard (talk) 11:48, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Bahaha I love how pissed off they are about Smerdis calling scientific racism "ridiculous". I'm pro-democracy but I'd sooner live in Smerdis' slightly crazy aristocracy than their REALLY crazy one based partially off of old timey racialism. ClothCoat (talk) 20:27, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Took me a while to figure out what the point of the essay would be; it started just as musings on some of the themes I'd read about on the sites. But a point to the thing is slowly taking shape: the thing actually to blame for their complaints is not the Cathedral but the Marketplace. (Please, don't breathe a word to Eric S. Raymond.) - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:27, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Some on LessWrong are really hugging their scientific racism close - David Gerard (talk) 18:17, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Is neoreaction really anything more than a bunch of bloggers who link to and reference each other? — Unsigned, by: 174.95.171.228 / talk / contribs

Not really, no. It makes RationalWiki look significant by comparison - David Gerard (talk) 18:11, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Remember, when you write a new article....[edit]

...please take a moment to create a link or two to it from other articles. There's no excuse for this list being that long. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 01:35, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

-1. Not sure I can do any of the rest. Zero (talk) 14:28, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
It appears to be twenty lonely pages. Not exactly a big problem. Maybe you could help out a bit, although does it even matter because, well you know, this isn't a wiki? 216.166.76.180 (talk) 05:32, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
One of the problems with that list is that random-linking navigational templates make it very hard to find out if these are all the orphaned pages (i.e. I think it's possible to exists a page that has no article-body links to it but it's not in that list.)--ZooGuard (talk) 15:50, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Some appear to be dubiously missional as well. Tagged The Satanic Verses of Bhagavad-gita. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:23, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
To the IP: I'm pretty sure PSL meant "not an encyclopedia," not "not a wiki." Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 04:30, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Also, I just took out about half a dozen of them. Others can surely follow suit. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 05:24, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Best internet quiz ever[edit]

Stop fretting about Bill Nye or GMOs. Start thinking about David Bowie! Which David Bowie are you? I was the goblin king from Labyrinth. Which is awesome because I loved that movie. I wonder if you can get David Bowie from The Hunger? That would be cool. Although this may only be about singing Bowies.--"Shut up, Brx." 23:41, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Just what I expected! Most likely to get arrested!--The Madman (talk) 02:25, 8 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman
Apparently I was the 403 Forbidden Bowie. I guess that was the couple of years after Dancin' In The Streets. --Kels (talk) 02:54, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, there we go. That's a pretty awesome Bowie, actually. --Kels (talk) 02:55, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Sorry. I should stay away from spandex. Trust me. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:31, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Or just go here [1] and follow links from there. The British really know and love their quiz panel shows. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:23, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Earthling Bowie. Redchuck.gif Генгисmarauding Moderator 15:54, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Seems that the Madman & I have something in common: Thin White Duke. Scream!! (talk) 00:25, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
That makes three of us. Spud (talk) 07:58, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Berlin Bowie, which is what I get for liking Kraf Twerk. SophieWilderModerator 15:55, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just a boring old "present-day Bowie." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:00, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't see what the problem is--"Shut up, Brx." 16:45, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
It's like Bowie fell into a Gotye video by accident. --Kels (talk) 18:55, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Betteridge's law of headlines[edit]

Is it just me, or is it that while journalists put questions in headlines to JAQ off, bloggers are more likely use them to take down said ideas? The answer to the question posed is still always "no," but whenever I look at something and am about to write "that's a great example of Betteridge's law of headlines" I look at the definition and remember than it isn't. Peter mqzp 00:01, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

I think one reason for the discrepancy is journalists (at least for the bigger papers) don't usually write their own headlines. That's for editors or, I suspect for the really big ones, dedicated headline writers who are trained in creating clickbait. So there's often no direct connection between headline and article. Bloggers are usually a one-man show, so it's a lot tighter. --Kels (talk) 16:07, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
And many bloggers don't have the motivation of profit, which of course corrupts things--"Shut up, Brx." 16:47, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Lets put this banner up somewhere.[edit]

This isn't moonbat stuff or any of that garbage. It's a legitimate statement of position. --P3A58NT86 19:55, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm all for it. Is this a issue for the board or the mob? DickTurpis (talk) 20:40, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I thought the plan was to stand up in front of my webcam and masturbate while yelling "bomb the president, bomb the president". --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:46, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Obviously that will go below the banner. DickTurpis (talk) 20:51, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure who to ask about this, so I put it here. Who should I speak to?--P3A58NT86 21:16, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Trent himself, of course. I don't know how comfortable he would be with encouraging mass masturbation, however. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:35, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess it's sort of like a good idea. But this mass "fight back" essentially consists of putting a banner up for a day? Is that right? The web-cam idea above sounds a bit more activist.--Coffee (talk) 21:44, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
At least we would gross out some NSA dudes (or, depending on how sexy RWans are, cause some ladyboners). --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 22:41, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Gather round[edit]

... and filthy old Sprocko will tell you about a fellow who actually did get his ashes blown from the muzzle of a cannon.

I was lounging around RW on a slow Sunday afternoon, waiting for this week's Oglaf to come on line, and noticed recent change activity on the Hunter S. Thompson page, which is what prompted this:

I knew a guy and he died last spring. He had lived his three score and ten, had a family and a life that suited him. Went into surgery, took a heart attack on the table, woke up briefly, told his wife to go home and get some sleep, and didn't make it through that night.

He was fond of sailing, and every chance he got, he would go a-cruising on a schooner in and around Penobscot Bay. He was much loved by the other regulars on board, and that summer they took him along every chance they had, partying in the cabin with the urn on the table next to a bottle of his favorite kind of mezcal, worm and all. On fine afternoons, they would sprinkle a pinch of him into the bay. All season long, he slept with every woman on board. They took turns bringing him into their cabins at night.

Come the fall, it was time to finish the job, so all the family and friends and in-laws went out on his final cruise. One couple showed up late, but while the schooner was still within hailing distance of shore, so they were brought out in a motor boat. Mighty cheers went up. When we were clear of the anchorage, they touched off the saluting gun and BAM!! over the side he went.

Then one of the crew sang Fiddler's Green (a place I've heard tell, where fishermen go if they don't go to Hell) in a clear true treble voice. The old dog at the wheel, with the grey mutton chops on the side of his face, had a trembling lip, and there was hardly a dry eye on deck. Then we turned around, tied up at the wharf side, and had lunch in the boat shed. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 00:15, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

When truthers attack![edit]

So I volunteer at my local library and one of the things we do there is teaching computer literacy. Yesterday a hardcore 9/11 truther (a no-planer no less) came in trying to learn how to look up conspiracist sites on the internet. He proceeded to bombard the little old lady who organizes the class with all the classic truther chestnuts. I overheard a bunch of other crazy stuff he was rambling on about, mostly anti-GMO and one very amusing theory that was new to me -- that the Titanic was torpedoed. Good times. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:08, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Well, now I have this image of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in a floating, iceberg-shaped lair, blowing holes in ships until the world gives him 1,000 million pounds.205.175.225.23 (talk) 18:17, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I lol'd. A quick Google search shows that the Titanic conspiracy theory does exist. Apparently, a German U-Boat torpedoed the Titanic for some unspecified reason. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:09, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I once let my neighbor use my computer (and I had had to help him navigate the web because he disordered in some way and couldn't use the keyboard). He just wanted to look up stuff like PESwiki and the Fairtax. And I ended up with an earful about how he wants to get a generator and some magical motor (that totally works, it's just the gas companies and car companies conspiring to suppress it, u guise) and power the whole neighborhood. Apparently, this is not an uncommon libertarian fantasy (*cough* Terry Hurlbut*cough*). So yeah, similar experience.--"Shut up, Brx." 20:52, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I forget which side this site takes on the various GMO issues. Is anti-GMO the new crazy? What about labeling? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:12, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
There's a discussion about it if you scroll up the page a bit. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 06:19, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
This is not to do with labeling, but whether GMOs are a tool of the New World Order. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:12, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Monsanto: Truly the face of evil. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:08, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Maybe the Titanic is getting confused with the Lusitania which was torpedoed, and does have several conspiracy theories attached to the event. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 18:59, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
That's often how these things develop. Take one from column A, one from column B, place in an addled mind and blend until slightly lumpy. Season with conspiracist ideation to taste. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:54, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Amelia Earhart did 9/11. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:22, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
That explains EVRYTHNG! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:14, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Asatruar petitioning for Norse symbols to be dissasociated with racism.[edit]

I think this will go as well as you expect. ListenerX, I think you may be interested. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:34, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

This has been an issue among Norse neopagans for many years. As I understand it, the Anti-Defamation League did at one time list several pre-Christian symbols as "hate symbols" without qualification, but after some complaints from Asatru groups, they started admitting that these are ancient symbols co-opted by hate-groups, and of course they also include many symbols of Christian origin.
Although we Minnesotans are not generally given to ostentatious displays of one's religion such as would cause conflicts about displaying symbols, in my experience, the swastika is about the only authentic ancient symbol that is seriously restricted, and no amount of caterwauling will get us that back until either (1) we make a lot more common cause with the Hindus about it, or (2) the Nazis are displaced from their current role as an avatar of Satan.
With respect to this petition, I wish this gothi had bothered to learn to write, or at least proofread the thing; he seems as incapable of correct capitalization as Wulf Ingesunnu of Woden's Folk. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 23:52, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
A guy in a Reddit thread summed up like this:
Hitler ruined everything.
--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:58, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Racists also made it so 14 can't be your favorite number either. I hate those guys. Ikanreed (talk) 14:57, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Is the Pope a Catholic?[edit]

The Catholic Church has just released the results of a survey of Catholic opinion in twelve selected countries. It seems that majority of Catholics in the west do not agree with the majority of the Church's most basic teachings.

Now full marks to Pope Francis for going out and getting this information in an open way. But what is he going to do with it? Obviously the Church is not a democracy and presumably it can't changes its doctrines simply because people disagree with them. So what will he do with this data?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 21:00, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

The Catholic Church as an organization may be very conservative, but at least its adherents are more progressive than Evangelicals.
I'm going all out and say that the Catholics are the Christian denomination I hold in the highest regard, if only because of the Salesian Order. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:39, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually I thought this would be about really fundamental teachings, which are full of crazy (it's about a guy who comes back from the dead!) that ordinary people don't know or never think about (the sort of stuff Father Ted makes fun of a lot of the time). So I was disappointed that it's basically just the usual "Stuff society is doing that the church disapproves of". Which really applies just as well to say, Southern Baptists, or Islam.
As to what the Pope will do with it, well actually it is within his power to some extent to change the church's doctrines. It's the same trick as the US Supreme Court, the Pope will say he's just interpreting / explaining but actually he changes the rules. Consider Brown v Board of Education. On paper all the court does in that case is say to an inferior court "No, your decision in this specific case was wrong", but that decision was itself based on a previous Supreme Court ruling (Plessy v Ferguson), and so the actual effect is "We were wrong, we changed our minds, racism is actually bad, OK".
So, yeah, the Pope can overrule previous Popes. He can't overrule the Bible (modern Popes never claim to be speaking on behalf of God except when quoting the Bible), but conveniently the Bible is vague and contradicts itself, so he can just "explain" it in such a way that it doesn't contradict whatever his new rules are.
More likely though surveys like this can direct future church teaching. If the feeling from the Vatican is that Catholics in France support contraception because they don't understand why it's sinful, rather than because they don't want any more kids and they like fucking (which seems most likely) then they can put more stuff about why contraception is sinful into Catholic education in France. Tialaramex (talk) 23:08, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, just going there and saying "DON'T DO THAT THING YOU ENJOY!!! IT'S SINFUL!!!" will completely not turn people away from your religion. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 23:44, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
In my experience, rank-n-file Christians don't really care about what's in the bible, nor what their church leaders may have to say on a particular matter. Their childlike theology tends to boil down to "Jesus loves me and when I die I'm going to heaven and eat candy forever, amen." --Inquisitor (talk) 00:00, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Hardly any of the issues on that list are "doctrines of the Church" in the strict sense. The bigger problem is that, as I know from bitter personal experience, when you're infallible on faith and morals its easy to paint yourself into a corner. Frankie could change the official line on birth control with a word. The problem is that by doing that, he's suggesting that Paul VI was wrong about something. It took them how long to admit they were wrong about the solar system, again? - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:20, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
[edit conflict] I never understood a lot of the rules that the Catholic church imposed. Most of these issues have little if anything to do with basic Christian theology.Doctor Dark (talk) 04:28, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
To most Christians their religion is only one part of their "personality". So it's no surprise that they don't adhere to most points of church doctrine, if these present a conflict of interest. Hardly anyone today would continue a marriage on the sole consideration of what the Catholic church thinks about divorce. Since divorce found social acceptance it has also become more frequent. Par for the course. However, since Christianity relies on believers to see themselves as sinners, maintaining church doctrine which stands in contrast to the believers' actions is actually beneficial to the faith, at least until the discrepancy doesn't cause believers to rapidly leave church. (Reformation, anyone?) But as has been said above, most believers have wholly different reasons to stay with the church apart from doctrine. Don't expect pope Francis to change doctrine too radically; doing so might confuse the majority who see the church as a standard bearer for "morality", even if they don't exactly share that morality. Maybe he'll try a few small changes of a longer period of time. Bismarck (talk) 13:57, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
In North America, maybe. In Western and Central Europe, Catholicism (in Eastern Europe the Orthodox take over the Catholics' role), both the Church and the followers, quite clearly are the more conservative of the two large denominations (the other being protestants, mostly of Lutheran tradition). So, yeah, to me the Catholics have always been the stubborn conservatives... or, reactionaries, even. Octo8 (talk) 04:54, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Here in the U.S., the mainline Protestants are also very liberal; the Episcopalians and Congregationalists in particular. The conservative ones are largely evangelicals, with a marked Baptist presence, as well as some sects that hav splintered off Methodism and Reformed traditions. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:02, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Here in the Caribbean, the mainline Protestants are the more conservative of the bunch. Buuuuuut, the more popular Protestant denominations here are the Pentecostals and Adventists, so my view of Protestantism is kind of skewed (as well as me growing up in Salesian schools for the better part of my life. They're easily the most liberal of Catholics). --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 14:38, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Pat Robertson's stopped clock moment[edit]

Robertson's commentary on the Nye-Ham debate is surprisingly reasonable. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:39, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Robertson has always been anti ID. I guess even he can see it as a lost cause. --Revolverman (talk) 22:13, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
We should give him some credit and link to this from his article, if we have one on him. Pat Robertson. Doing. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:50, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

GMO labelling[edit]

This discussion was moved to Forum:GMO foods. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:22, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

It's really not snow![edit]

It's a government conspiracy! They are white nanobots falling from the sky! Run for your lives! This is what all the chemtrails are doing! Zero (talk) 14:52, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I like the bit where they burn the 'snow' with a lighter. No melting and sooty snow. If its still here in June we have a problem. Hamster (talk) 17:01, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Look chaps, we all know everywhere we look the visible spectrum is rainbows. The only question is if this evil frozen water is a plot by the masons or the illuminati. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:50, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
But pink is not in the rainbow! Is it an evil, manipulating Illuminati tool? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:58, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Thus I refute your pink claim. would these kids lie?
I suspect the evil commie russkies have put giant fans on their northern border to push the polar vortex into canada, thus giving them a warm winter olympics Hamster (talk) 18:15, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
This conspiracy seems to be getting around. Should it be article time? Zero (talk) 02:02, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes! ħumanUser talk:Human 01:53, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

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

You're all wrong. It's clearly Elsa's doing! - LucidFox (talk) 11:05, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

How about this? Zero (talk) 02:53, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

It's a running start. Open with the nutter claims then debunk, I think. And images will be easy to add... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:40, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

The war between Science and the Humanities[edit]

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114754/steven-pinker-leon-wieseltier-debate-science-vs-humanities — Unsigned, by: 70.31.155.210 / talk / contribs

"War". A dispute between two people about the nature and relationship of two fields does not a war make. Nullahnung (talk) 15:41, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Historically, science and the humanities did not have the most friendly of relationships. E.g. Feynman, Rutherford, Sokal. These days, it's the Liberal Arts who get the flak, however. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:48, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
What the hell would science have against liberal arts? Is Sokal now complaining about how Hemingway didn't write his books according to methodological naturalism or something?--"Shut up, Brx." 17:56, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I think wars must be getting better. Originally people went to war to kill each other. Then we had the war on drugs and people just went to jail. The war on Christmas just got some people very upset. I guess in the war between Science and the Humanities people send cleverly crafted letters to each other. Rejoice as we become more civilised! (or perhaps as we dilute the meaning of words.)--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 18:53, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I think it's almost entirely a non-scientist group saying these things, actually. You know, the anti-intellectual engineer types that say "liberals arts degrees are worthless in the real world" and conflate that with any academic study outside of a STEM field. By-and-large I mentally combine them with the creationist/climate change denying/woo embracing engineers that think they're just too smart for anyone else to get it. But it could be two entirely distinct crowds. Ikanreed (talk) 18:57, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Most of the flak the Liberal Arts get usually have to do with the godawful job prospects of those careers, as well as their relatively light workloads in university. But at least they're more respected than Gender/Woman's Studies. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:04, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Why do people keep using the phrase "Liberal Arts" to mean "not-science". Sorry for the derail, but this really confuses me. The Liberal Arts were grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Note how they include the maths and sciences. While my university lacks a liberal arts degree, our science and humanity programs are all in the same school (with engineers being their own separate thing). If memory serves, most liberal arts degrees mandate some degree of science education. It just seems really weird to pit the "Liberal Arts" against "the Sciences" when science has historically been one of the liberal arts. Or has the usage become completely different?
As to this supposed war between the humanities, science, the liberal arts, whatever; it seems idiotic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCVHpnixj88 It seems as if some people conflate post-modernists with the whole of the humanities. (And, for that matter, considering all the difference tendencies with post-modernism [which I honestly don't care for] with the most extreme tendency of post-modernism.) As far as science interacting with the humanities, my own little field (history) has had a pretty long engagement with the sciences (one method of history is social science history, although that has, to some extent, fallen out of the vogue). Some questions within the humanities clearly can be influenced by science. Others cannot. Not really a difficult thing to say. This whole thing actually vaguely reminds me of the tendency of literary theorists to come into historical discussions and say that historians should use the methods of literary analysis to analyze the past. Or, more accurately, criticize historians for not realizing something (that historians have normally always believed in anyway, but that the lit theorists [normally post-modernists] are unaware of) and then saying that, no, the literary theorists have solved all of the problems that have ever plagued history. It just seems to be some form of inter-field pissing contest.Reflections of Memory (talk) 18:56, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Postmodernism/poststructuralism has everything to do with the flak they get, my dear. Tell me one reason I shouldn't mock you if you start navel-gazing about there being no objective truths and the mind being the only true thing there is and then applying that to science and then dragging some identity politics into the mix and blabbering about "social constructs".
Yeah, postmodernist theory is largely bullshit. Unfalsifiable, self-defeating bullshit.
Even if/when they abandon postmodernism, the humanities will have a though time recovering their reputation. They should have never drunk that Kool-Aid. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:34, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I see post-modernism as something a bit broader than that, and a bit more defensible; postmodernism is a reaction against modernism, especially the astringent version of modernism that brought us 20th century charlatanism like Bauhaus box architecture, atonal music, abstract expressionism, and concrete poetry. At least in the arts, it was a vitally needed antidote. But it didn't solve the central problem of 20th century art, which was that every work of art needed an accompanying theory and manifesto. At any rate, the real problem isn't postmodernism, but those parts that involve "critical theory", which in practice appears to mean the morally aggressive shoehorning of identity politics into everything. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:59, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
@Raysenn My dear, what on Earth are you talking about? What do you mean "if/when"? I know that in history, you really don't have a mass acceptance of post-modernism. If anything, we have had a rather strong rejection. Considering that most philosophy departments are analytical in the US (and that post-modernism is more of a continental thing), I would question whether philosophy has accepted post-modernism at all. Maybe most literary theorists accept post-modernism (I honestly do not know), but attacking the whole of the humanities for the sins of literature seems rather problematic. Post-modernists are just rather loud, but they hardly make up a majority. In fact, considering that humanists have been some of the lead opponents against post-modernism it seems ridiculous to fault them for post-modernism. Also, are you actually saying that things are not socially constructed? I mean, that claim seems pretty empirically indefensible. Clearly not everything is socially constructed, but the history of change in gender roles, state powers and responsibilities, fashion, mass literature, legal systems, etc strongly suggest that many human institutions and behaviors are socially constructed. More to the point, not all post-modernists deny the existence of external reality (that is a rather extreme form) and not all people who deny the existence of external reality are post-modernists. Skeptics have been questioning whether anything exists outside of the mind since at least DeCartes? I hate post-modernism as well (or, at least, I find it most of the time to be trivial and the rest of the time to be obscurantist to a fault), but you seem to really not understand what post-modernism is (which is understandable because pomo people tend to be crap at actually explaining their ideas) and post-modernism's relationship to the humanities.
@Smerdis: I actually like atonal music , abstract expressionism, and concrete poetry. I'm a bit of a dyed in the wool modernist, though. I do agree though that it is rather useless to discuss what post-modernism is without understanding that it is a reaction to modernism (and, that it specifically emerged as an artistic movement that then tried to apply theories of art to the other humanities and to the sciences). As to your comments regarding identity politics and critical theory, I strongly question why identity politics is a bad thing, but will admit that I do not engage with critical theory enough to comment on your characterization of critical theory.Reflections of Memory (talk) 21:41, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I see. It's rather unfortunate the postmodernists were so vocal. I also admit I don't fully understand postmodernism— they don't seem to be able to deliver their points clearly and directly, instead going for the stylish and opaque. You can see why this irks me as an engineer.
Moving on, I can see why Smerdis dislikes identity politics: they never lead to anything productive. About 90% of the time, they are indistinguishable from, in the words of Tantek Çelik, concern trolling. They also seem unable to tolerate dissent within their ranks; every group that adopted identity politics eventually degenerated into self-policing, a competition to determine who can chant the party lines louder. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
One of the reasons it irks you as an engineer is that science and engineering are avowedly modernist: they both have the notion of progress. Postmodernism tends to the cynical about modernism, so is almost calculated to rub science and engineering fans up the wrong way. That said, as postmodernism notes, humans are full of shit, and much of science is reasonably examinable on this basis.
That said, stick to commentaries on Derrida rather than reading any of his actual work, unless the wall opposite is lacking in dents from books hurled at high speed - David Gerard (talk) 09:55, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"It just seems to be some form of inter-field pissing contest." We have a winner! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:49, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

FWIW, my impression is that identity politics is mostly a method for generating and sustaining grievance, and shoehorning those grievances everywhere. It reflects a leftism that recognizes its own impotence to actually change anything that matters, but still desperately wants somebody to annoy. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:10, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
@Gerard: That's just a part of why I absolutely hate postmodernism and why I think that it has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Alright, that's a strawman of my own opinion. What I actually think is that it has a grain of truth that is blown out of proportion, in this case subjectivity. I don't know whether it's a central tenet of postmodernism, given their hostility to expressing themselves clearly, and definitions simply throw me in a loop of opaque terminology, wherein the obscure is defined with the incomprehensible. If we engineers talked the way postmodernists talk, it'd end in disaster.
@Smerdis: I thought your dislike of identity politics had something to do the the soul-crushing self policing. Ask Valenti and the fate of #FemFuture, and try to distinguish its backlash from clever concern trolling. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 14:00, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
"Alright, that's a strawman of my own opinion." Very true. The idea that only the mind exists and there is no external reality is not postmodernism, but idealism, which hasn't been in fashion since the 19th century. I am unaware of any major philosopher who has argued in favor of the idea that "any view is as good as any other." Rick Roderick has very good lectures in plain language (both in general and on postmodernism) on Foucault, Derrida, and Baudrillard. The true problem with "postmodernism" (whatever that is) is that what is not obscurantist is banal. Many of the concepts have been elaborated on before the advent of postmodernism, and usually in a more intellgible fashion. For example, the context-dependency of language and definitions (see de Saussure or later Wittgenstein) or the theory-laden-ness of observation (see Popper). Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 14:31, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
@Raysenn - That too, for certain. That piece about #FemFuture in The Nation is a fine example of how it tends to work in practice. The general problem is, like that article says, the "postmodern culture of critique that emphasizes the power relations embedded in language." This isn't a profound idea, it's really quite simple, and you need heavy duty rhetoric to make it sound deep; but it's a recipe for generating grievance about words and images. It divides rather than unites. It turns any movement into a series of arguments about things that don't matter. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:22, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
@Nebuchadnezzar: I see. Thanks for the education, I certainly needed it. Also, there's Feyerabend and "Epistemological anarchism", but he's not a major philospher as far as I know.
@Smerdis: #FemFuture's backlash was identity politics at its most absurd. In a conference about young, online feminists, its finances and its future, other feminists trashed it because she didn't talk about women without Internet, or mothers, or asked for black women's opinions (she did), the concept of "central thesis" be damned. This is why I don't identify as a feminist despite my lack of ideological differences with the movement. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:01, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Feyerabend is a major philosopher of science. Epistemological anarchism does not assert that any idea is as good as any other, but that, based on the history of science, no hard and fast rules of scientific methodology can be deduced and so no normative rules can then be imposed in the future. (Although Feyerabend did not help himself by bolstering alt med and going down other dubious routes.) This is why I ask people to name names here -- I still have never heard of any philosopher who argued that any view is as good as any other. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:33, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

(unindent) While I do find it useful in negotiating the social byways and hazards of attempting not to be a right dickhead in the real world, I do have slight qualms about identity politics. But I must point out that you're not going to get rid of it without understanding the paradigm's usefulness, which is the reason for its popularity, and using that to replace it with something that supersedes that purpose - David Gerard (talk) 22:28, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I do also agree that identity politics has a noble goal; my disagreement with it is limited to the methodological. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:25, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
The chief achievement of identity politics in my mind was to persuade me that the hard egalitarianism that seemed to me to be its chief moral premise had costs that were too high to pay. And, at any rate, it doesn't work. Somebody always has to be 'It'. That Twitter fiasco strikes me as just what happens when people's moral mainsprings get wound too tight. Doing good in the world means relaxing that kind of tension; identity politics is specifically not helping. What the world needs now is love, sweet love; we can't have that, but we at least could try to do a little bit less looking for reasons to hate your neighbor. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:42, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
The moral I learned in identity politics is that there are people who think that fighting bigotry (real or alleged) with hate is a valid methodology to activism. This is akin to saving a drowning man by urinating on his face. You're setting back your cause and alienating people from it. See: Mikki Kendall. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:00, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

An aside... "science and engineering are avowedly modernist: they both have the notion of progress". Modernism arose in the arts as a reaction to the disaster of The Great War, which was taken as evidence that "progress" wasn't happening as expected. Science and engineering have nothing to do with concepts such as modernism, except for inspiring its predecessors, like Classicism, and that other one I forget right now. Great discussion here, though, by the way! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:06, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Exactly. Generally speaking, artistic movements should probably stay in art and not creep into the sciences. The postmodernists got a lot of flak for trying to do so, and tainted the reputation of their fields in the process (even if they're not the majority, they're a vocal people, sadly). --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 03:28, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
It would be more accurate to say that science and engineering are the products of modernity. I think DG is using the term in the broad sense, not in reference to the artistic movement. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:19, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Sometimes it seems so strange that the concepts of the philosophy of science that scientists hold onto so dearly (e.g. falsifiable theories) are actually fairly recent. While that's not exactly what you're all talking about, it's certainly true that the current philosophical approach to science is quite modern indeed. - Grant (Talk) 04:31, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Barbican EstateWikipedia's W.svg. Looks like a perfect HQ for an alliance of supervillains. (Unless you are an Eastern-European. Then it just looks like the place you live in.)
Plenty of modernist art pre-WWI. Robledo (talk) 04:26, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
In the arts, modernism arose out of the "crisis" allegedly brought about by inexpensive photography and printing technology. When everybody can hang a copy of the Mona Lisa on the wall that's just as purty as the original, traditional esthetics were no longer elitist enough. Clement GreenbergWikipedia's W.svg's idea of "kitsch" makes this all but explicit. So they tried to replace scarcity of object with scarcity of fans; you had to learn how to appreciate a cubist or abstract painting, there was a theory to master, and those who put in the effort got the satisfaction of being above hoi polloi and breathing the bracing air of the Shock of the New. Also, during this period many of the arts became academic, especially ones with practical sides like architecture and music.
The orthodoxies imposed by clerisy on those arts are a fearful wonder to behold; think of all those mid-twentieth century Rectangular Style buildings that need to be knocked down. Apart from movie soundtracks, the mid-20th century is a dead zone for serious concert music. Except for the Soviets: however muddled Marxism-Leninism was as a musical theory, it encouraged the wholesome perception that composers were the People's employees and had to make some concessions to the People's tastes. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:05, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Apart from movie soundtracks, the mid-20th century is a dead zone for serious concert music.'
  • Benjamin Britten
  • Ralf Vaughan Willams
And that's without thinking about it.
think of all those mid-twentieth century Rectangular Style buildings that need to be knocked down
  • Southbank Centre
  • Barbican Estate
  • Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
And, once again, I've not gone beyond British examples. Placeholder (talk) 16:19, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Vaughan Williams and Britten were mostly pre-WWII figures, and it didn't get really bad until the 1950s. And Britten's late works like Turn of the Screw contained forced genuflections in the direction of serialism. You weren't allowed to ignore it. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:44, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

I apologize in advance if this irks anyone: I'm being lazy today and responding to random snippets from the larger discussion and putting my response at the end. I'm more used to forums than to wiki-style discussions, but perhaps this is acceptable here as well.

Anyway: When someone mentioned the "postmodern culture of critique that emphasizes the power relations embedded in language," is that related to how a lot of "Social Justice Sallies" (snarl phrase for online identity politics adherents with Jacobin tendencies) are obsessed with using pseudolinguistics and etymological fallacies? I'm referring to the ones who tell people to purge their vocabularies of words that have supposedly "problematic" etymologies or long-forgotten archaic definitions which have been out of common use for multiple generations, with examples of the former including "picnic" (whose "problematic" origin turned out to be a complete lie) or this satirical example featuring the word "bad" (has a grain of truth to it, but is irrelevant), and examples of the latter including "idiot" (which at one time referred to people with mental retardation, but no one uses it that way anymore in common practice). Perhaps I'm thinking of an entirely separate aspect of identity politics, however.

David Gerard wrote this: "While I do find it useful in negotiating the social byways and hazards of attempting not to be a right dickhead in the real world, I do have slight qualms about identity politics. But I must point out that you're not going to get rid of it without understanding the paradigm's usefulness, which is the reason for its popularity, and using that to replace it with something that supersedes that purpose."

I find this statement spot-on. I think part of why the really zealous hard-line cranks within identity politics have been able to stay relevant is that many people need these movements for various reasons where more moderate movements haven't been able to deliver so far, enabling said hardliners to push whatever radical crank pet agendas they have by shoehorning them into the cause, in some cases using said shoehorning to extort people's agreement with their positions. Issuing blanket condemnations and dismissing these movements wholesale due to the cranks therein has served only to give said cranks more legitimacy within those movements. This is why we need movements that, "take their best ideas and carry them forward" (a reference to this) minus the crankery and other baggage. I don't think the radfem example in the link is alone in explaining why many extremists often hate moderate/centrist movements even more than the opposite extreme (the other end of the horsehoe, if you will): Sure, the opposite extreme may be your traditional bitter rivals, but in a number of cases, they're more of a joke, and you may have the opportunity to recruit anyone they've screwed over or pissed off into your movement. On the other hand, a movement that adopts whatever salvageable ideas have been keeping you afloat while jettisoning your BS has the power to render you irrelevant overnight, and could be seen as even more of a threat to your movement's doctrine. (I should note it's a different story when the opposite extreme actually has a shot at getting in power, but even then, it's not a sure bet.) The One They Call Mars (talk)

Again, I will repeat that my problem with identity politics is that they don't know when they're relevant and when they're not. Geek feminism, an offshoot of feminism that focuses on technical topics os an egregious example. They do put out a lot of interesting stuff about the industry itself, but every single time they tackle technical topics it's been a shoehorning so violent you can see the foot hemorrhage. For example, arguing that a version control system not allowing retroactive changes to name is transphobia (nevermind that allowing so would undermine the point of a VCS...) or that an HP webcam not recognizing black people in dark rooms is racism and arguing that's it's due to atrocious color balance it's (fill-in-the-blank)splaining. It gets more ridiculous than that. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:14, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The chief effect of identity politics, IMO, is to generate new rules of etiquette, mostly about things you're now forbidden to mention, and required to act as if you don't notice. This may in fact lead to a slightly better world; we probably could use more civility.
But it does seem that as a enterprise it's devoted to finding new things to take offense at. And, like many other forms of live etiquette, it is enforced by bullying behavior: mobbing, shaming, and namecalling. This, quite simply, is oppressive in itself. We don't need to add to the list of words we're not allowed to say, and the more authentic leftism of my youth would not countenance that kind of censorship. Most importantly, as etiquette, it is simply assimilated by the professional and managerial class: as a form of politics it does diddly squat for the poor or disadvantaged or to alter the patterns of wealth and resource distribution. I feel that these latter concerns ought to be more important. There ought to be massive anger in this country over the financialization of politics and the leakage of our government's sovereignty. It was a stroke of genius to divert this passion towards arguments about tits and ass in video games. I wish I had thought of it. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 15:35, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
"We don't need to add to the list of words we're not allowed to say, and the more authentic leftism of my youth would not countenance that kind of censorship." Your youth would have been around the same time as mine (the '80s), and this claim is simply incorrect. I remember when "politically correct" was used unironically - David Gerard (talk) 16:01, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I may be a bit older -- at any rate, I was a serious minded kid, and even in grade school I was aware of movements to pull down censorship in the 1960s. I knew about Lenny Bruce and battles over banned books and rock lyrics in high school, and assumed it was all a part of the same place. Tipper Gore in the 1980s seemed to be a relapse of the disease we thought we'd cured. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:27, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

In a war between science and the humanities, I'll side with the physicists because they have ballistas. Although building a fort out of books is pretty cool too. --Kels (talk) 21:14, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Ha, ballistae? A friend and I got bored and built a laser a few years back using a tesla coil as a transformer. - Grant (Talk) 21:16, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Part of the humanities is the field of Ancient Roman History, you know! The more practical-minded historians could probably build ballistae. ;) Nullahnung (talk) 23:00, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Back in high school I took an ancient history class and decided to do something physics-related for my final project. As such, I built a trebuchet. It obviously wasn't full size, but the distance-to-payload ratio was actually quite high. I was proud. - Grant (Talk) 23:04, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Omphaloskepsis[edit]

Jan 2014 at RW

RationalWiki:Active users is updated. --larron (talk) 20:48, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Wow I'm not even top 100 now I'm embarrassed. Shadow of Lords talk 21:12, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

I'd make a joke saying that PSaL should get a life outside RW, but I'm stunned by the strange, breathtaking beauty of the graph.--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 22:57, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I keep pretty busy, and get quite a bit done outside of this place, don't you worry. Moreover, I imagine that if you took away things like leaving Welcome templates and other quick-fix maintenance things that make up a big chunk of my edits, that balloon would be way smaller. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 23:17, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Awwww I thought I would be in the top 100. Damn, maybe one day I can cross it off my bucket list... ClothCoat (talk) 02:01, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I clearly post too much. - Grant (Talk) 02:02, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I feel...substantial. Zero (talk) 03:00, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
So, I can keep my mental image of you as this badass in a business suit with a nice hat and armed with a Colt Single Action Army? Hallelujah! --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 04:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
My little orb is as black as my heart!--The Madman (talk) 03:10, 4 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman
how am I even on this list ? Hamster (talk) 04:47, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Sheesh, stop posting so much and leave some room for the rest of us, Hamster! - Grant (Talk) 04:52, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
OsakaSun's bubble would be larger if it also included the IP edits. Also, apparently I need to read less, edit more.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:17, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm just happy my bubble's a nice colour. SophieWilderModerator 20:02, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Jan 2014 at RW by namespace
--larron (talk) 12:43, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I like this format. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:07, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Would it be possible to get the SVG for these so we can zoom in? -- MarkAHershberger(talk) 15:08, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I found me!! I'm still here!! Scarlet A.pngpathetic 15:13, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I just noticed, I made it in the inner circles. Even though I never did anything particularly productive. Whatevs.--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:27, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Editors at RW in 2013: those 404 (out of 1841) editors who made at least 20 comments.

Scalable graph (5.6M) Happy hunting! --larron (talk) 18:47, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Awesome. A new hero! -- MarkAHershberger(talk) 19:42, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
They are pretty, but how is one supposed to search for one's losership in that rather messy bunch on tinytext? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:20, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I added pictures covering all edits from 2007 to 2013 at the top of RationalWiki:Active users and Conservapedia:Active users. --larron (talk) 23:39, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Lol, it was easy on that one. Thanks :) ħumanUser talk:Human 03:21, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

What make my (or anyone else's) absence "notable"? VOXHUMANA 05:23, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

By the looks of it, an absence is considered notable if the user was previously very active, though I could be wrong on that. - Grant (Talk) 14:25, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. Is this a concern to people? In my case, I'm active whenever I can be, and not when I'm not. (I've been working on an album/TV project combo, very time consuming). I had no idea I'd not edited in six months, but I've certainly visited the site at least twice a week during that time. Point being, absence is not necessarily related to the site. I'd love to spend more time here, and hopefully will sooner rather than later. VOXHUMANA 01:33, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure it's not a concern so much as it's just a neat statistic thrown together to highlight people who have disappeared or stepped away a bit. Most online communities are fleeting things, and it's entirely possible for someone to slink away unnoticed until everyone is left thinking "where did that guy go". This kind of statistic just makes it easier to see which regular editors might have left. - Grant (Talk) 17:23, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The algorithm is quite crude - it just looks up whether the time since your last edit is longer than the maximal time between to comments (log-actions are not even included): these are roughly 90% of all editors. It then lists the 25 individuals which made the most edits over all.
  • Obviously, the number of edits or the length of absence cannot say anything about intentions, it's not even such a good indicator for LANCB. It cannot differ between spam-bots, trolls, or just annoyed editors. But at least it is a shortcut for all who think "Haven't seen XYZ for a while - I should look up XYZ's last contributions"..
  • It's much easier to spot an annoying presence than a poignant absence: only when I up-dated the list, I started to marvel about User:Π...

--larron (talk) 10:02, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

We could risk our lives if we go outside.[edit]

The warning for 13:30 to 21:00 GMT means there is a "risk to life" and people should "avoid dangerous areas" with widespread damage expected. (...) The Met Office said: "Winds of this strength can cause widespread structural damage, bringing down trees and also leading to loss of power supplies.

UK storms: Met Office issues 'Red Warning' for wind

You Americans aren't the only ones getting freak weather.

I'm stuck at home and bored, it looks like the weather will be awful for several days.

My place is all electric, that means if there's a power cut I can't heat my home at all. I'll have to go to bed and try and keep warm there. At least the stream near where I live will never flood, it comes here through a pipe and that limits how much water we get. If the stream floods it will flood upstream of the highest pipe, I hope there aren't houses there. Proxima Centauri (talk) 14:10, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

With all this flooding going on, a yearly event in some parts, I fail to understand why houses in the areas cannot be be made water tight. Surely this is within our technological capabilities? AMassiveGay (talk) 15:02, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

I see two reasons. A) Not many people are keen to live in plastic domes/shells. People generally like their cozy, inefficient homes. B) A water proof house is likely going to be shit for airflow. Not suffication or anything, but a hot day is going to SUCK, and one would likely have to get use to feeling of light hypoxia (Fat Heat for the old naval term) when they sleep. --Revolverman (talk) 15:21, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
[ec] Interesting question. Within our tech capabilities, without doubt. Not going to happen soon, for two reasons I can think of, the first being cost of materials. Make a car's body out of stainless steel, and it will take a lot longer to rust out, but it will be way too pricey for the mass market, and more difficult for the manufacturer to work with. Same goes for material that can withstand the insistent pervasive "desire" of water to get into whatever it can. In a climate with regular freezing and thawing, ice will wedge any small opening wider, and water will seep in to fill the resulting gap. See the frost-heaved pavement/sidewalk in my neighborhood, for example.
Second, any truly impervious material will not be workable by the building trades as they now exist, to say nothing of Harry Home-owner. See here for a peek into Christopher Alexander's marvellous "A Pattern Language" which lays out what's been found to work, and work well, in the building of habitations and their arrangement on hte landscape. Not the best link, sorry, but it's a book worth seeking out and spending time leafing around in. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:27, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The point about expansion due to freezing and thawing is quite apt. It's difficult to find materials that are entirely waterproof and also aren't warped or damaged by significant changes in temperature. Also, water is a bit of a sneaky bugger. Absolutely everything at or below ground water would need to be waterproofed, or it's going to find its way in somewhere. Of course, the other thing to consider is that (at least where I am) basements of most homes are designed to drain out excess water into the water table. While one might think this wouldn't be a problem if homes were waterproof, I think one's opinion might change if, for example, a washing machine went on the fritz and started pouring water into your nice, cozy, watertight basement. Drainage would become a much more expensive problem, I would think.
The nature of this kind of thing is a constant debate here in Canada, where temperatures regularly swing between +/- 40 degrees Celsius in any given year. When everything you build has to be resistant to significant changes in temperature and the existence of ice, things get a bit rough. Canada (and the northern U.S., I would imagine) spends a ton of money each year on repaving roads and highways because it's actually more cost effective and efficient to use asphalt and just fill in the potholes every year. - Grant (Talk) 15:42, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I reckon there is money to be made for anyone coming up with a workable solution. AMassiveGay (talk) 16:17, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Well the workable solution is not to build on a flood plane or at the crumbling edge of an island. And we know that, but people are sentimental. They can just about bring themselves to say that maybe we shouldn't build any more homes on flood planes or cliff edges, but they can't find it in them to say "Ha, you own worthless flood-vulnerable property, move out or die". So next time this happens there will still be little old ladies living in those coastal communities and in farming villages next to a river, and they'll still be wondering why that nice Mr Cameron didn't close down a dozen hospitals (or charge 90% income tax to bankers, or whatever) to find the money to keep them nice and dry.
Of course if you can find a million other people (preferably some of them rich) to live in your village (say for example, Westminster village) then even if it's right in the flood plane of a huge river we'll buy you a massive tidal barrier to keep the water out. But for a dozen cottages and one pub, it's not going to happen. Tialaramex (talk) 16:29, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Apparently it could all be fixed if we stopped treating gays like normal dignified human beings. Some bigot politician said so it must be true. Ajkgordon (talk) 16:45, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

New article[edit]

There's a new article on dialectical materialism, aka "Marx and Engels hate your stupid theory of relativity". (If ListenerX and GrantC don't weigh in I'm going to be very disappointed.) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:38, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Oh god, I'm going to have a field day with this one. No concept of a fundamental particle!? How can people possibly even think something like that (beyond ignorance)? - Grant (Talk) 22:51, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
An explanation of the philosophy would be nice. (I know I can just read wikipedia, but still) Nullahnung (talk) 23:06, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to describe this in a paragraph. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:10, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
This makes no sense to me. One of the references claims it's "unusual" that quarks have fractional charge. Given that electric charge in particle physics is generally expressed in "elementary charge" units, and one elementary charge is defined as the charge carried by a single proton, this is entirely unsurprising and not at all strange. I'm also keen to point out that this philosophy as applied to science is the ultimate case of moving the goalposts, seeing as the smallest length we can possibly measure under ideal conditions (ignoring limits imposed by technlogoy) is approximately equivalent to the Planck length (perhaps multiplied by some factor between 1 and 10). If we could find a building block of matter on that length scale, then it would become impossible to conclusively prove that anything smaller existed. - Grant (Talk) 23:26, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't really see how dialectical materialism necessarily entails things like denying the Big Bang. The page seems more like "What some guys at Marxist.com think about dialectical materialism and science." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:05, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Reds are not generally known for saying anything except their opinion du jour, so I think the "Marxist.com" page can be considered an accurate representation of their views on the matter. The original communist objections to the Big Bang theory, as I understand it, were about the same as what appears on that page: that it was originally devised by a Catholic priest and too close to creation myths for dialectical materialists' comfort.
In my mother's day and running up into mine, the University of Minnesota had a real live Red in its physics department. He at one point ran a small Marxist colportage house off of his department website and also had an ongoing spoken-word propaganda operation (s.n. a class on "rational Marxist analysis"). His particular research focus was the intersection between dialectical materialism and physics; perhaps he has weighed in on the Big Bang. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:21, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
After doing some poking around, it seems that dialectical materialism in and of itself isn't a bad heuristic for approaching science, but its adaptation and use by certain individuals has not been so good. By the looks of it, enough relevant folks (especially through the history of the Soviet Union) have warped the philosophy into something fairly close to that site's views that the article could still prove useful. Perhaps a point should be made that in general, it's the application of the philosophy that tends to be flawed, not the philosophy itself. - Grant (Talk) 06:28, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Here are two reasons why I think the philosophy itself is flawed: (1) although it professes to be materialistic, it came out of idealism and honored much of that kind of philosophy in the breach; and (2) it makes use of historicism, which, as Karl Popper argued at some length, is not all that scientific. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:47, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Those are both fair points. However, the philosophy of science is an ever changing beast, and in some way that underlying philosophy determines the definition of "scientific", if you will. Popper's notion of falsifiability is a good example of that, seeing as now-a-days, "falsifiable" is certainly a prerequisite for something to be called scientific. This, of course, was not the case 200 years ago. While I don't happen to hold to that philosophy, I'm not sure its flaws are necessarily insurmountable. - Grant (Talk) 16:42, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Lumpy article poorly defines its topic then drudges into the ax-grinding. Reads like a single-editor clumsy work. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:04, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
That's pretty much what it is. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:12, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I've posed a question to the site's resident philosophers on the talk page of the article so that I can better understand whether the issue is the underlying philosophy or the way it has been applied throughout history. A quick scan of the sources included on WP's article make it clear that the philosophy was misused quite often at the very least. Once I have a more firm grasp on what the issue is, I would be glad to help flesh out the parts of the article related to science. - Grant (Talk) 03:16, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Both dialectic (as a form of reasoning) and materialism (in its methodological sense) are foundations of modern scientific research, but the combination of the two into an ideology is rather impedimental. It was used as means to oppose scientific theories on ideological grounds, sometimes solely ad hominem, in for example the cases of Mendel and Lemaitre, who were Catholic priests. Basically any theoretical idea that still required experimental confirmation could be criticised as "idealism", which is however an ironic approach for communists. Dialectical materialism is essentially a philosophical justification for class struggle, yet ironically again, the idea of a solid state universe was preferred over the Big Bang Theory, because the latter appeared too idealistic and "creationist". It also served as an excuse for obvious injustices and contradictions to communist theory existing in real socialist states, since these evidently would have taken some time to remediate in a world, which according to dialectical materialism, is subject to constant struggle but immune to ideals. Bismarck (talk) 11:59, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. I certainly agree that tying any kind of scientific validity to ideology is a terrible idea in general. Mathematics is beautiful because it transcends philosophy and ideology to a significant degree, and physics (to me at least) is beautiful because it's usually a nigh straight application of mathematics to the real world. A few prominent scientists have espoused the idea of using dialectical materialism as an underlying philosophy, which makes me wonder who is using the "more correct" version. Is the idea that this tie-in between ideology and science must occur inherent to dialectical materialism, or is it the application of the philosophy that produces these unfortunate effects? - Grant (Talk) 17:38, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Insider confirms: artificial snow falling of U.S and Canada!!! See how they are doing it![edit]

So I was looking around youtube for some various videos on urban exploration, and in searching for some good ones, youtube decided that I might like this as a related video. Gotta say, it was a great way to fill end of my day with laughter. Naturally, I also had to watch the debunking video linked to it. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 09:49, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Bit late to the party. Look for the headline of "It's not Really Snow!" Above and then Help me with this. Zero (talk) 14:55, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Contributor drive[edit]

The Facebook group is ridiculously active, so I've put a pinned post at the top of it inviting people to edit the wiki. And to swing by the saloon bar. WELCOME OUR N00BS - David Gerard (talk) 14:06, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Just applied for membership to the group. Incidentally, I just fixed the link on the front page for said group. Which makes me think of some other proposals for Facebook and RW. Huh. More on that when I write them. Zero (talk) 17:04, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Conspiratorial "American Parasite" Scare Story[edit]

Has anyone else been seeing those scary-looking advertisements about 250 million Americans being infected with some parasite, which link to a really long video that doesn't let you pause or skip through it? It's from a group calling itself "Whole Body Research" (altie merchants), and it goes on a long conspiratorial rant about the evils of refined sugar, aspartame, Donald Rumsfeld, etc. For those who don't want to waste a 30 minutes of their day watching this drivel, Truth in Advertising sums up what they're on about, which shouldn't be surprising: Selling their alt-med probiotic crap, which they say will to cure you of what they call the "American Parasite." The "parasite" they're trying to warn us all about (when they finally get around to mentioning it) is candida (yeast). I was going to put their video in WIGO: Clogs, but I wanted to spare everyone the agony of watching the whole video. The One They Call Mars (talk) 16:42, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Matt Dillahunty vs Bananaman "debate"[edit]

Listen to it here. --PsyGremlin말하십시오 06:56, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Bananaman!

SophieWilderModerator 12:21, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Listened to it during my commute. Gods, that was painful! Apokalyps2547 (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
It's astounding how Ray begins the "debate" by telling Matt that atheists believe in a god, and then proceeds to use that twisted assumption as the basis for almost every question or answer he gives. And then, after repeatedly attacking Matt's honesty and integrity, says that he loves him. - Dog-Shaped Robot Buddy (talk) 17:46, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Does Comfort genuinely believe he can recruit converts with that style of debate? Or is he merely preaching to the converted? Ajkgordon (talk) 08:59, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Ray has absolutely no interest in converting people. His entire "ministry" revolves around looking like an internet tough guy, constantly dissing evolution, for the benefit of his flock and his bank balance. That's why he just keeps rolling out the same tired old routines, not to convert people, but because his flock fall to their knees, yelling, "Amen!" every time he does. --PsyGremlin말하십시오 10:51, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
In Reddit, we call it a "Circlejerk". --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 14:19, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

@Sophie Wilder: Eric had to go through puberty and back again after he ate a simple, intelligently designed, fruit. Scherben (talk) 22:48, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Does half of America really believe Noah saved all the animals in his ark?[edit]

Interesting article in the Telegraph, I thought. Any thoughts from our mercan cousins here? Ajkgordon (talk) 18:07, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

I'd be interested in responses to this too. (Though I note that the author of the Telegraph article seems to misunderstand what the "halo effect" is.)--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 18:24, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Living in a West Coast academic bubble my views are probably pretty skewed, but I've encountered very few if any people who professed biblical literalism outright. I used to teach at a big university (in a fly over state) and a lot of my students there were very religious, but even there the topic of creationism or flood mythology wasn't something they would bring up inside or outside class, even when discussing religion. Most of them were the "Jesus is frickin' awesome dude!" types, really just deeply culturally Christian with largely unexamined views on the actual theology or spirituality. I had one student who did a photo project on his religious life, it was all pictures of his buddies kayaking and rock climbing. I kept pushing him to make it deeper, to go beyond the superficial and look at what it actually meant for him to be Christian in a spiritual sense, but I don't think he understood what I meant. To him Christianity was an integral part of his identity, but the spiritual or theological aspects where entirely secondary to the communal. I don't doubt that if asked he'd probably say he was a creationist, but his belief in a six thousand year old planet had little impact on his actual life. Most of the people I know outside of the academic bubble are like this; whether they are religious or not, philosophical questions of who they are, where they came from and what it means to be human just aren't at the forefront of their minds. With these people, belief in scientific explanations versus creationism is more or less a facet of their cultural identity, something akin to their taste in food, rather than an actual belief. --Marlow (talk) 19:14, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Upper Midwest here. I also hear relatively few people profess a belief in a Biblical literalist or a Bible inerrant viewpoint, at least when it comes to anything actually meaningful in the daily lives, including things such as contraception, sex, worship, and alcohol. That being said, there are enough of these people that you would likely personally know a few. Much of my family believes in a young Earth, the Noahic flood as a worldwide event, and the Tower of Babel; however it doesn't become an issue for them until they feel secular science, specifically evolution and deep time, are in some way presented as fact in front of their children.--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 01:02, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Either way, the lower bound for actual numbers of Biblical literalists is still massive in comparison to the rest of the world. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:34, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

WIGO Comics, everybody![edit]

Recently I started up the page Fun:What is going on in webcomics?, for all your hilarious/interesting/skeptical webcomic-linky joy. Check it out, link to your faves, vote up and down, etc. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 09:08, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

You might include a link to this category page which contains a list of comics we have articles for (both great and otherwise). --Seth Peck (talk) 16:27, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
It may not be the worst idea to put it up in project space with the rest of the WIGOs. Hell, if this picks up, maybe we can put it where WIGO:CP used to be. The more I think about it, the less pointless it seems. RationalWiki still serves as a useful resource to debunk pseudoscience. New articles still get made. Why not have some hangouts for the editors? I am okay with this. I even made a WIGO of my own for your page, WehlongnameIwon'tbothertotype--"Shut up, Brx." 17:03, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I used to be huge into webcomics, then about a year ago for reasons I can't really identify, I suddenly stopped reading all of them. About all I read now are I Do Not Have An Eating Disorder and Manly Men Doing Manly Things. I think what happened was Homestuck burned me out about the time when they were introducing YET ANOTHER set of characters, i.e. the rpg style thing with the Troll ancestors or their original version or whatever the hell that was. --Kels (talk) 17:10, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I propose moving it to project space with the other WIGOs. Featuring it on the mainpage may also be in order. Unlike Citizendium or CP, webcomic will remain relevant at least until the singularity (at which point humanity will abandon wikis, blogs, social networking, and webcomics in favor of psychomorphic fluid vats where we spend our entire lives in a blissful drug-induced haze).--"Shut up, Brx." 02:02, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Even in the fluid vats, there'll be some hipster who insists on vinyl. --Kels (talk) 02:49, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Ha, that made me smile!--"Shut up, Brx." 04:43, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

if you are single on valentines day...[edit]

this might cheer you up. I'm sure you've all already seen it. AMassiveGay (talk) 15:47, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

I know. I just can't grow that mustache. It's genetics. DickTurpis (talk) 15:54, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
perhaps you try leather shorts\long socks combo and folk will ignore your lack of lip foliage AMassiveGay (talk) 16:01, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
What makes you so sure I haven't? DickTurpis (talk) 16:56, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
if only you had the tache. Big sigh. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:22, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Have you found your soulmate?[edit]

An old one from Randall reminds us of the math(s) involved. --Seth Peck (talk) 19:49, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Found mine on a PornHub video... Scherben (talk) 22:44, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, but turns out I wasn't his. Vulpius (talk) 02:35, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
What's the causal relationship between 'testosterone soaked gibbering wreck' and 'found soulmate'? Scherben (talk) 03:32, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Someone sues ex-employer for misgendering.[edit]

Because it's totally people's fault when nobody reads your mind so they know which pronouns to use. Meanwhile, the saner LGBT movement is kind of facepalming at this asshat. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:48, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

I wonder if Valeria Jones knows most people dont like using those gender netural pronouns because for most people, they are known more for being dehumanizing. --Revolverman (talk) 22:24, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Not sure where you're getting the "nobody reads your mind" bit from. What little information we have here states that the plantiff asked coworkers to stop referring to shkler as female, & complained to managers & HR about this issue. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:56, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
All I'm saying is that I wouldn't like being persistently called "little lady" no matter what my gender is. Vulpius (talk) 23:18, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm with Weaseloid here. This person made it perfectly clear how they wanted to be treated, and initially took minor steps when they weren't being treated right. I myself recently came out as trans at my job and my boss has been 100% on my side. If he can be that supportive, why can't these people? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 23:34, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Also Revolverman, the article doesn't say what pronoun Jones prefers. Probably it's one of the recently invented ones. Still I doubt they would mind someone using "they" in this manner. Personally I would only feel dehumanized if I have specifically asked not to be addressed/referred to in a particular way and that request is ignored. If Jones is the same way, they probably consider "they" much friendlier than "she." Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 23:38, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not with Weaseloid here. From the article, she he Valeria was being vague and passive-aggresive with the whole thing. She he Valeria merely asked "asking them to address employees as a group and present to employees information about gender identity", which doesn't provide much of a clue to the uneducated. Not many people are educated in the differences between gender and sex, and it seems that Valeria was unwilling to provide them with such information (apparently not being her job to educate them).
The lost wages part is legit, though. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:43, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
You seem to be rushing to all sorts of conclusions. The article confirms that (according to the suit) Jones repeatedly told co-workers ey did not identify as female or wish to be referred to as such, as well as raising the issue with management. How can you be so sure that Jones did this in a "vague and passive-aggressive" way? Do you know what was actually said or what "information" about gender identity ey withheld from them? €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:23, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
"Jones began working in March 2013. When Jones filled out an application, Jones left blank a question asking about male or female identification. Management didn’t question the omission. During the next few months, Jones spoke with managers about the problem -- asking them to address employees as a group and present to employees information about gender identity. The managers didn’t follow through."
From what I gather here, the the newspaper didn't have access to many of the details about the cas. The detail about the pronouns is not in the complaints to HR or management, as far as we know.
Most people would simply scratch their heads when you say that you don't identify as female or male; and pronouns are based on the sex of the person, not gender (I don't know if it works that way in English; Spanish works that way. It would also not be very welcoming of new pronouns because Spanish is more strict with the closed word class thing). I'd assume ignorance on part of the coworkers, because innocent until proven otherwise. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:54, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
So you're still claiming to know things about the case you actually don't. Nothing in the article indicates that the details about the preferred neutral pronouns were absent from the internal complaints, only that the pronoun wasn't named in the suit filed with the court. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:58, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Weaseloid is right about one thing: unless Jones is lying outright in the complaint (which I doubt; you just cannot make this stuff up), Jones's colleagues were antagonizing Jones to at least some degree — continuing to use certain forms of address even after Jones asked them to stop. On the other hand, the power of reflex is not to be underestimated — I, for example, once knew a certain Georgian who reflexively called me "sir," which is something of an insult in janteloven-ruled Minnesota. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 08:43, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Coming back to this discussion, I honestly think the article is too vague for us to draw any real conclusions about whether Jones was in the wrong. If they were vague and worked through management rather than first talking to their coworkers, then yes, they handled this poorly. If they were honest and forthright and were still treated this way, then the fault lies entirely with the disrespectful coworkers. I don't think we have enough information to honestly say which is right.

One other thing: Pronouns are based on gender, Raysenn, not sex. If they were based on sex, we would insist on inspecting the genitalia of everyone we meet before referring to them in the third person. This is, of course, absurd. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 09:33, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm going to concede the point about pronouns being gender-based in English.
But on the other hand, the whole $500k is way absurd. Especially since some parts will be hard to find evidence for; for example, Jones crying often at work and at home, which chances are will be the central piece of the lawsuit (how else can you claim suffering? Is it even a valid lawsuit?). Even if the court rules in favour of him her Jones, appeal will smack down that sucker (as tends to happen).
Chances are, however, we won't hear again from this case. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 12:19, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Two words, Raysenn: Punitive damages. If you want people to pay attention to you, you have to make it hurt. $500K should be an appropriate lesson. I expect 1/2 to 1/3 will be awarded if Jones wins. Always ask high. --Castaigne (talk) 11:16, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Can I just interject here and comment about how deliberately insulting all this "him her" and "she he" business is, and that it seems to be rooted in a strong resistance to changing at all from what people are accustomed to. Seriously, it's not that hard to be at least nominally respectful of how folks like to be addressed without this sort of nonsense. It doesn't just affect the subject of this case (who I gather you have some contempt for) but others reading as well. Call it splash damage, if you will. --Kels (talk) 15:42, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
It's not contempt, I simply dislike people making a big fuss about trivial stuff (microaggressions, as it's called in some circles [i.e. Tumblr]). I call the ability to not do so "resilience". I hear it's useful. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:58, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Given the concept of microaggressions and their cumulative effect is pretty well studied with a lot more study ongoing, it's safe to assume you're uninformed and not really interested in becoming informed. Good to know. As to the rest, demeaning concerns as "trivial" in your oh-so-informed estimation, your contempt of those not like yourself is noted. Presumably you're not part of a group that receives that sort of treatment on a regular basis, so be happy at your good fortune on that account at least. --Kels (talk) 21:06, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Come on, Kels. Raysenn uninformed? Sure. Not interested in becoming informed? I see no evidence of that. I don't know where this hostility is coming from. I've spent this whole conversation disagreeing with him and even I don't think that. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 23:02, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
@Kels: Well, given that back when I lived in a rural town with the Salesians I got plenty of flak for my Haitian ancestry from the locals, I do know what's to form part of a group that is still actively persecuted to the point of a racist farce from a 20s minstrel show to this very day. Stuff like this is minor compared to what Haitian people experience in my country.
@Wehpudicabok: Of note is that my experience with microaggressions and the like is mostly limited to the SRSers on Reddit and Tumblr SJWs, who are so sensitive to them to the point that they consider that a man sitting with open legs in the subway (read: default male position so that your thighs don't squish your sensible as fuck testicles) is somehow a microaggression. There may be actual criteria for microaggressions different than the one used by those kind of people, but I'm not aware of it. I'd actually be interested in an actual, academic definition. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:23, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
WP says "brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color", though a definition covering minorities in non-ethnic categories as well would probably be preferable. The point is there must be some form of hostility or negativity. If there isn't, as with the example you provided, the offended should get a thicker skin. And yeah, don't get me started on Tumblr's SJWs. They make me embarrassed to be a liberal. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 03:08, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
So intention does count. I see...
Also, should you want to lower your faith in humanity, do look up how many SJWs were slandering MLK on MLK day because they disagree with his peace and love ideals on fighting for racial equality. Or how a woman who made a comic saying that hate breeds hate and that hating the majority will simply alienate support got flamed and doxxed. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 12:48, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, a lot of what I saw on my Tumblr feed on MLK Day (which I'm a bit distant from since it's not a holiday in Canada) were actual black women pointing out that MLK being all peace and love is basically a sanitized version to make him palatable to a white audience, a "safe black man" to contrast against Malcolm X as "scary black man" which is also inaccurate. But then, I generally don't follow a lot of high schoolers or first year college students whose enthusiasm outstrips their understanding or experience. --Kels (talk) 16:18, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Tumblr is home to many a black supremacist. And a weird kind of black supremacist; they seem to think "intersectionality" means that you can dedicate 100% of your time to hating white people and nobody can do anything because you're black. That's very far from what "intersectionality" means. In general, Tumblr seems to think that "intersectionality" means "hate the majority and bully them into compliance", which is a lose-lose scenario for any social movement.
Anyway, I've read on microaggressions since this morning (long and boring class at one of university's most boring subjects... Ecology. Godfuckingdammit, I hate that subject), and yes, they are a thing that exist. The criteria of malice is pretty reasonable, yes. It's sad that it's one of those things hijacked to mean "akward social interactions with someone who happens to be white/cis/heterosexual".
Of note is that after Malcolm X did the Hajj, he abandoned the Nation of Islam's mentality of "fuck white people" and started working towards true equality in the likes(ish) of MLK. It's a popular(ish) theory that NOI killed him for this reason (read: drive them away from Elijah Muhammad), but we'll never know.
Fun fact: NOI eventually converted to Scientology. Yeah, what the hell.--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:04, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, maybe it's just that I don't bother to read people who write crap I don't like to read (go figure) by I haven't actually read anyone "in the wild" so to speak who doesn't include "all the fucking time" as part of the criterea for microaggression. Because, y'know, they're micro so one or two ain't much but a shitload over a long period of time piles up. But then, I prefer to read good writers (again, go figure). --Kels (talk) 23:24, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Obviously no one here ever worked in the intense field of food service. And include Valeria, or whatever it's name is, among this number. Asking your employer to run clinics on your pet social peeve, then suing them? I call concern troll. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:13, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

"It?" Wtf is your problem?--"Shut up, Brx." 02:22, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
He's a bitter old sauce hound. That's what. 198.178.126.232 (talk) 23:30, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I work in food service right now, and I fail to see what that has to do with anything that's been said. My coworkers haven't given me any problems at all. That these people have is their fault. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 03:00, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm transgender, Human. Is asking my coworkers not to harass me my "pet social peeve"? Any other blanket statements you'd like to throw at us? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 03:15, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Funny how that's not what I said, Wehpudicabok. If you could read and not just take the easy bandwagon hatefest the BON suggested would work well. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:44, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
You said "asking your employer to run clinics on your pet social peeve", and the only thing the article refers to in this manner is "Jones spoke with managers about the problem -- asking them to address employees as a group and present to employees information about gender identity." It's reasonable to conclude that that was what you meant by "pet social peeve." I'll grant that this is not identical to asking not to be harassed, but the entire point of such things is to prevent workplace harassment, so I stand by what I said.
I read the article and what you said perfectly fine. I don't bandwagon. I don't take personal shots like the BON. I don't hate you, Human, but it does bother me when you make blanket statements like "obviously nobody here has worked in food service", the implication being "yeah sure, trans rights are nice, but in the real world we don't have time for that kind of silly political correctness."
Now maybe that wasn't what you meant, but I honestly can't understand why else you would bring it up. And well, that kind of thing hurts. It's the kind of thinking that says that I and people like me, the LGBT rights movement, has to take a backseat to fixing problems that other people happen to think are more important. And yeah, that pisses me the fuck off. So if I misread you, I'm sorry, but if that really is what you meant, maybe you need to take one of those clinics yourself. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 02:32, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
You need to get over yourself and read my edits over time. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:40, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Fine. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 03:17, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Seconded, Wehpudica(Can I call you that?) and Brx. Of course, I'd like to stay out of these debates, considering prior experience with FSTDT/FQA Forums.--The Madman (talk) 04:04, 12 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman
I'm another one who spent years working in food service. And another one who doesn't think not getting treated like crap by your cow-orkers is too much to ask. --Kels (talk) 05:32, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Don't staff get sent on diversity training stateside? I have always found such training to be so obvious - treat people with respect and basic human dignity - to be useless. This discussion leads me think that respect and basic human dignity are not quite so obvious as I thought. AMassiveGay (talk) 14:54, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

The agendered and non-binary movement is the most recent branch of the LGBT movement. Most people haven't heard of it, as far as I know, as they're not as vocal, so it's comprehensible. The non-binary movement itself has other sub-branches (many, many, sub-branches) and I have no idea how far down the rabbit hole goes. Most snark-worthy is the sub-branch that seems to dedicate itself to making up pronouns (it doesn't work that way).
As an added "bonus", they seem to cause plenty of infighting in the (more lightly moderated) LGBT subreddits. Given the amount of infighting that already happens, it's something of an achievement.--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 14:15, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

edit break[edit]

It's a bit late in the day for this, but for anyone who's still interested I thought I'd share this comic that I happened across today. I think it goes to address why I think shit like "him her" and "she he" are so shitty. Remember, the person you're aiming that at isn't here or reading it. But lots of other people who share something in common with them read it and see it being given a pass. It has the same effect on them as it would theoretically be intended to on the actual target if they were here. Splash damage. --Kels (talk) 15:24, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Wow, Kels, that comic was sheer fucking poetry. Nice share. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:46, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Tumblr may be a questionable place to get social justice, but it's a great place to get comics. --Kels (talk) 01:28, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
It's pretty brilliant she put "raped" right there next to shemale and retard. Made me smile out loud. --81.175.238.65 (talk) 20:42, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I kind of disagree with the comic. Policing language (the moral I get from the comic) does not actually remove any ill intent from people (not to mention annoy uninformed but non-prejudiced people) because the way the euphemism treadmill works. As long as the group referred to is prejudiced against, whatever new word we use to refer to them will fall victim to it. A perfect example is intellectual disability. Seriously, the list of terms for it that have been subjected to the treadmill is so long that I got an aneurysm trying to assimilate the whole thing.
Also, people still use "retard" as anything other than a generic insult?
Huh. Today I learned. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:29, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
You must have been reading a different comic, I don't remember linking to one that suggested inventing new terms (hell, "shemale" in itself is a fairly recently invented term). The comic I linked to was more about how 'bout we recognize that some things are shitty to say and maybe we should be aware of that and stop being shitty to other people? With a side order of marginalized people learn to put on fake smiles because they know they'll catch heat/have bad memories dredged up/be blamed for "ruining everyone's fun" if they say hey, that shitty thing you said? It's a shitty thing to say.
And yeah, retard sure is still used to refer to folks with mental problems. The whole point of it being a generic insult is comparing the target to the mentally ill. --Kels (talk) 18:28, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I will point out that the argument about this "treadmill" is somewhat silly and more than a bit naive. Like it or not, English is a language in which words will change over time, and that's something that one has to expect. Does that mean we can use any words we see fit to use, or that it's okay to call someone a "retard" because it's just a general insult? Of course not; as Kels points out, "retard" carries significant baggage with it, and while it may be entirely possible that some day the word will be associated with general stupidity instead of the mentally ill (much as "idiot" is now), it's not there yet, and using it in any context is going to make those connections in people's minds.
I guess my TL;DR version is that the whole "semantics" argument is a bit silly to me. Sure, the context of what you're saying matters significantly. However, the words you use to say it carry cultural connotations because that's how language development works. Saying "well I only meant that he was dumb" when you call someone a "retard" doesn't change the fact that you're deliberately invoking a word with heavy connotations to the mentally ill. - Grant (Talk) 18:37, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
To give an example, despite the fact that "holocaust" is now occasionally used in common parlance in the same broad sense as "slaughter", I would wager that you would find yourself very deeply in trouble if you wandered around Europe using it liberally. - Grant (Talk) 18:40, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
here in the UK, the word 'spastic' is used in much the same way as retard is used. It still has a clear medical meaning and it still generally unpleasant thing to call someone. So unpleasant that a charity, the spastic society, had to change its name to scope. The word 'gay' these days has acquired meaning of something not good, and is often thrown about devoid of the homosexual meaning. This usage defended by that paragon of virtue Ann Coulter. All I can say about the matter is every time you use the word gay as a generic insult, you diminish and undermine all gay people. I think this applies to the term retard just as well. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:31, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Thinking about what Grant said, I can think of lots of innocuous terms that became slurs such as faggot, gay, etc. But I honestly can't think of any that went in the other direction. Are there any notable examples of slurs that over the have eventually lost their negative meanings? --Kels (talk) 21:15, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess it depends on what you consider a slur. I can't really think of many Victorian era slurs that still exist, but then again, the general attitude at the time was such that many disparaging terms were considered fairly common place (I'm also no expert on Victorian slurs in the first place). I think time will tell though. Linguistic drift tends to take a while to set things in motion, and the broader and more equitable idea of human rights we have today is relatively recent (women didn't have the vote in most western countries just a century ago). Will some of the terms that are now slurs drift into the territory of benign words? That will remain to be seen, I think. Personally, I believe that as a word becomes a slur, it eventually becomes stigmatized, and over time, stigmatized terms perhaps see progressively less use due to social pressure. I wouldn't be surprised if the life cycle of a slur just ended in death, as opposed to passing through other definitions afterwards (though I'm no linguist, so that may just be fanciful garbage). - Grant (Talk) 21:25, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
(EC) @Kels: Depends what you mean by negative meanings. Idiot, imbecile, moron, half-wit, and various other terms for stupidity are obviously still negative, but so far removed from their original meaning of a mentally handicapped person that very few people would make the connection. They certainly don't carry the same weight of ableist privilege as terms like retard, spastic or mongoloid, for example. Similarly, "lame" is generally considered a pretty innocuous term for something that seems pathetic or disappointing, and no longer has any real connection to people with mobility impairments, though I guess some disabled people might still find the usage kindof offensive. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:35, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Interesting point. Idiot and imbecile originally meant completely different things as well (nothing to do with mental handicap or stupidity at all), and became slurs as usage shifted. Though as you point out, these words are still considered offensive to a degree, if not outright slurs. - Grant (Talk) 21:44, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
It could easily be argued that all insults all immoral, as all are based on a deficiency of some sort, a deficiency that may be inherent to some. The trick is learning the proper context.
  • Which era you're in (for example limey probably isn't very insulting to the British anymore)
  • Which people you're speaking with (if limey were still an insulting term, it's unlikely you'll be hurting anyone if you're using it among a bunch of Californians)
  • The connotations matter as well (does your use of the word limey reinforce systemic bias against sailors, the British, or the Vitamin C deficient?)
  • The overall impact is also important. It's not impossible that a single microaggression, amidst a lifetime of inoffensive dialogue and actions, might be tolerable. Nor is it impossible that a microaggression be so obscure, so small, that nobody takes offense at it. Case in point, limey.
If somebody makes a bad decision, can we call it a stupid decision, without disparaging those of us with stunted mental faculties? Certainly, they don't deserve to be insulted. They could very well be perfectly decent people, why take a dump on them? Actually, stupid is probably one of the most common insults. At least it seems that way to me. It may not be intended as such, but is it a slur against people with developmental disabilities? Is it bad enough a slur that we should cease to use it altogether? Can we? Can English speaking humans stop referring to things as stupid or dumb? I wouldn't be surprised if society decided we can't live without it. Of course, that's assuming it is a slur in the first place. I'm just wandering out loud, for the sake of dialectic.--"Shut up, Brx." 22:02, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
@Weaseloid: Well, culture shock, my friend. In my country, "retarded" is a common adjective among the young people, many of whom are not even aware of its origins as a term for (and later as a slur against) the intellectually disabled. In general, slurs (as long as they aren't racist or sexist slurs) and profanity in general are used more as an interjections and punctuation than actual insults. Actual insults are a mix of scatological and sexual terminology mixed with good ol' blasphemy. I'm kinda shocked people in America find the word offensive. (This answers some questions about my views on this kind of things). --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:52, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm a genderqueer and I personally wouldn't care what people call me, but people have every right to ask politely that they be addressed however they want to. As it has been observed here, common decency really isn't quite as common as we'd like to hope. Most questions on human rights really do boil down to just treating your fellow human being with a bit of empathy. Vajrapani (talk) 03:04, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Hear, hear! Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 05:09, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Silk Road enables hax[edit]

Und zees day, Ich will return to the sweet Methuselah of all pointless internet Drama; Bitcoin Drama. So, the other day, yet another vulnerability in notorious drug market Silk Road (2.0) was exploited and all Bitcoins were stolen. All of them. Nice Valentine's Day for those junkies Bitcoiners, isn't it?--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:38, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Being a paranoid libertarian geek has never been so hard--"Shut up, Brx." 01:56, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Coinye West is the currency of the future. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:00, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Financial regulations are STATIST OPPRESSION STEALING YOUR FREEDOOM - David Gerard (talk) 12:47, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Hey, market self-regulation works. I'm sure nobody will use Silk Road 2.0 for bitcoin commerce from now on anymore! It's all about reputation, the system works! ...nice to know that those libertarian fools now see what their own arguments actually mean in reality. Octo8 (talk) 15:20, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
QUOTE: "Update 2: As the time passes there are more and more suspicions that this was in fact a SCAM by the Silk Road staff – and not a hack, we will post more details about it once, and if we get the full picture." PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 15:27, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
So, a man who runs a massive illegal drug marketplace may turn out to not be the most ethical of people. What a motherfucking twist. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:17, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that's the case this time. Mt. Gox and Bitstamp were also hit this week using the "transaction malleability" bug, which if the Silk Road owners' narrative (that this is the same exploit) holds, presents a noticeable, inherent flaw in Bitcoin transactions in a time where media scrutiny is high. Of course, Bitcoin advocates, who are sure that all is well, are unsurprisingly claiming that this is due to a nefarious plot by the staff. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:12, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
The Mt Gox thing and the Bitstamp thing are mostly unrelated, other than being due to the same root thing. It's been known for years that the transaction ID is not to be relied upon and isn't by anyone client except Gox's custom thing (which they because looking at transaction IDs is computationally cheaper than doing things properly and looking at address, amount and timestamp). Bitstamp's problem was due to the "doing it right is more computationally expensive" because they got spammed by a huge number of worthless transactions, which were multiplied by the malleability thing, taking down their system. As of today, everything is back to business as usual at bitstamp, where Gox continues to display their inability to discern between certain parts of their anatomy, specifically their elbows and buttocks. Compro01 (talk) 05:25, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Scientists create nuclear fusion with lasers.[edit]

Attention-grabbing headline aside, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have achieved the destruction of Ramiel via Eva 01 nuclear fusion with no other thing like a giant fucking laser. They didn't get more fusion power out than they put in with the laser, sadly. So, don't get too excited. Still, it's a major step forward. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:56, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

The NIF laser is mainly for military research AFAIK, with Fusion Energy as secondary objective. It's nice that they've gotten some progress, but I'm putting my bets on Magnetic Confinement for commercial purposes. Nullahnung (talk) 01:01, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm personally curious as to what's going on with the wp:polywell design. Haven't heard anything about it since 2012, though the US navy is apparently still giving them money. Compro01 (talk) 01:30, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
It's mostly in research, so not really trying for eventual commercial energy. That's all I know. The big projects that are being fine-tuned by engineers in the hope of commercial fusion energy hopefully in the next 50 years are mostly tokamaks. Nullahnung (talk) 01:43, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Please tell me that by military research you mean "figure out how to use it to murder the fuck outta everything in sight". --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 04:18, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I have no idea what they're researching in relation to the military. I'm just going off what I've been hearing from plasma physicists. Nullahnung (talk) 09:40, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
While lasers do have some interesting military applications (the thought of shooting down missiles or high altitude bombers with lasers that don't diffuse significantly through the atmosphere is certainly appealing), the concept of using them as a direct weapon on infantry is a bit silly. No matter how powerful it is, a laser is ultimately still light, and you still end up beaten by a weapon that can't effectively penetrate smoke (the beam becomes more and more diffuse as photons scatter off of carbon particles until it loses most of its power). Lasers also also have incredibly high input power requirements, so they're incredibly inefficient. For specialized tasks like anti-missile defences, they could be great (the impact time is limited only by the speed of light, after all), but for more general combat tasks, meh. - Grant (Talk) 04:46, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually, for those of you who may look at optical communications, this is one of the major reasons that Raman amplification isn't necessarily ideal in many cases. The pump power required to get any significant gain (usually on the order of 10 or so) tends to be monumental. Sure you manage to avoid amplifying noise, since Raman amplification basically treats your entire cable as an infinite number of infinitesimally small amplification stages, but at the cost of significantly more expensive input power (and a range limited to ~40 km for standard fibre-optic cable). - Grant (Talk) 04:49, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
So, this won't happen anytime soon... What a killjoy. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 12:55, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Stupid physics, taking the awesome out of lasers. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:59, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately no, I doubt that's a reality in the near future. Believe me, I'm as disappointed as you are! - Grant (Talk) 14:48, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
The laser is awesome, though.--The Madman (talk) 02:48, 14 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman
They fired lasers at a "2mm-wide spherical pellet" -- who knew homeopathic globules could finally be useful for something? As for the thing's military application; the main interest is probably its use as an energy source, which would greatly simplify logistics. Bismarck (talk) 09:11, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Okay, so, as a non-physicist, this is probably gonna make Grant facepalm at my ignorance, but… if we were to use lasers as weapons, wouldn't it stand to reason that using some form of reflective surface would work as a shield? I mean, lasers as weapons would just be really fucking hot beams of light, and if said light was to be reflected…? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 11:27, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

It would help a little bit, more so against low-power lasers and at long distances, but it would have drawbacks like increasing visibility and maintenance needs (a dirty mirror doesn't reflect very well). The problem with reflecting high-power lasers is that there is no such thing as a perfect mirror. Some energy is always absorbed, which causes heating that can quickly destroy the reflective qualities of a mirror. That problem is one reason why high-power lasers use large internal optics and focusing systems to spread the light over a larger area. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 00:15, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
This is correct. I think the biggest block when it comes to military lasers is how one could ensure they were focused properly at long distances. Creating high powered lasers that still have good cutting power over long distances is not trivial. At the very least, any lasers dependent on using some focusing mechanism to obtain the required power at point of impact would likely be easily disturbed by clouds of soot between the laser and its target. Generally speaking, lasers achieve relatively high power by continually reflecting and refocusing the beam within the laser cavity using silvered mirrors. Certain pulsed lasers can reach high powers without this, but generally can't keep up sustained output (thus "pulsed"). Continuous wave lasers, on the other hand, require significant refocusing and amplification (at least at this point). Dumping more input power into the lasers makes focusing becomes less and less of a necessity, but it dramatically increases heating within the laser cavity, which can also cause problems. - Grant (Talk) 00:29, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I have the solutions to the gas and solid state laser rate equations somewhere around here, but I couldn't be bothered to find them right now. Suffice it to say that the beam power drops off fairly quickly (generally on the order of beam travel distance squared) without refocusing. - Grant (Talk) 00:34, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Ever seen something more ridiculous?[edit]

More than 50 option for gender on Facebook I really like the dark enlightenment and neoreaction's views on this, they are the only rational ones on this, like John Durant174.95.171.228 (talk) 23:20, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

I see no problem with it. It's not like you need to sift through a bunch of obscure genders to get to "male" or "female". The menu gives you "Male", "Female", and "Custom", and the 50+ options show up as auto-fill suggestions once you start typing into the text input that comes up after clicking "Custom". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 00:00, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Within my lifetime, and I don't have all that many years left in me, relatively speaking, comments such as the one left by the BoN, or the homophobia openly displayed by people like Andrew Schlafly on Conservapedia will seem as retrograde as dropping an N-bomb does now. You are on the wrong side of history. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 00:04, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
58 options, and they still need "Other". Sorry, but I find that a little amusing. DickTurpis (talk) 00:13, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
A lot of the option appear to be small variations of the same definition, such as Cis male, Cis Man, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, or Male to Female, and MTF; there are several others as well, including all of the trans ones.--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 00:46, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Looks good to me, too bad there isn't a "type your own" option. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:54, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I wonder why they didn't just do that. I know that the system they put it likely wasn't that complicated to put in, but it is a hell of a lot more then just a simple text imput. --Revolverman (talk) 01:06, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
It would make more sense, so I assume coverting every profile's gender option into a text string would be too much work or something. Vulpius (talk) 01:11, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
From my experience with databases, yes, it's simple as that. In theory that is. Should they have any existing algorithms that depend on it (e.g. to modify your feed, or when they inevitably sell your info to ad companies, most likely the latter) it becomes exponentially more complicated (or they could find only so many demographics they can sell). --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:14, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I assume they didn't go with the "type your gender here" approach because they'd have people doing all sorts of crazy shit they wouldn't want to have to deal with. Hell, I'd be tempted to put "Muppet". DickTurpis (talk) 01:42, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Also probable. While this seems like a fallacious slippery slope, the slippery slope is a valid and common argument in computer security (bar codes are a wondrous example). In this case, your income depends on selling information; if people start inputting silly, unsellable stuff, then your profit suffers and you don't want that, do you? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:22, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Damn, I do keep forgetting that the FB business model is selling personal data to advertisers or anyone else. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:42, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure those advertisers are chomping at the bit to know who's Cisgender Man, Gender Fluid, Androgyne, Two-Spirit, or Non-binary. That sort of insight is demographic gold. DickTurpis (talk) 03:37, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I saw this today and was toying around with it because it is actually relevant to me. My complaint is that if you choose "Custom", you do actually have to publicly display a gender. I can't make the listed gender and pronouns separate. I was hoping when I saw this that I would be able to just switch to neutral pronouns, and when I choose to fully come out as transgender to all my friends and family switch to plain old female. I had used Female and just not made my gender public for a bit, but it still used female pronouns by default, and I had some family I wasn't ready to tell yet on my FB. So while not perfect, this is most certainly a step in the right direction. I think what I would do in their place is remove the Male and Female boxes entirely, and just have the input menu. Wingy (talk) 05:09, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
It's not ridiculous, it's a step in the right direction. What annoys me is that it's only available for US residents. Because some countries are more equal than others, evidently. I just hope they won't decide to deny Russia these options altogether because of that "gay propaganda" nonsense. - LucidFox (talk) 05:33, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Looking at that actual list, aren't there some duplications? Or am I missing some subtle variations? --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 07:41, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I think the subtle variations are just the different ways people choose to define their gender identity. E.g. some transsexuals identify with the more explicit 'male to female' while others find it unnecessary & prefer to identify as 'transgender woman' or just 'female'. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:03, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
This, pretty much. Some trans individuals prefer different variations under what is all the same umbrella and essentially boils down to semantics. (MtF vs Male to Female vs Male-to-Female vs M2F etc.) Wingy (talk) 13:04, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
If someone can explain to me the difference between Cis Man, Cis Male, Cisgender Man, and Cisgender Male, I'd be very curious to know. DickTurpis (talk) 14:08, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and that asterisk too. What's the deal with that? DickTurpis (talk) 14:26, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
This is a guess, but I wonder if the near-repetitions have something to do with the fact that this is all pretty new stuff, and that trying to come up with standardized terminology to talk about a state of being that is by its nature a total negation of the standards that define the gender binary is asking a lot of the langiage. People are still figuring this stuff out. Try to explain "trans" in all its complexities to somebody who has never even contemplated the social construction of gender or the difference between sex and gender. We're dealing with big ideas that are new to a lot of people. Give the people with something at stake in the words that we're going to use a chance to figure out what words will work for them. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 14:55, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. What about the asterisk though? Is that something that has a meaning in particular circles? DickTurpis (talk) 15:27, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
DickTurpis, I once wondered this as well. When someone sent me a message containing the term trans* multiple times, I kept scrolling down looking for footnotes in their message. As it turns out, trans* is used more as an umbrella term where the type of trans* person is not specified. This website gives a more in-depth explanation. The One They Call Mars (talk) 17:16, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
In IT, the asterisk a common wp:wildcard character meaning something like "expand into anything possible".--ZooGuard (talk) 12:16, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if that's where they got the idea. The One They Call Mars (talk) 23:29, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Hey! I want these options: Male, masculine, manly, macho and *male. I'm stuck with "male" - what's that all about?--Coffee (talk) 17:47, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I recently took advantage of this. I just set mine to "cisgender" and neutral pronouns. There are people who have an actual need for this. I agree with PowderSmokeAndLeather. In 20 years your stupid transphobic comment is going to similar to as if you had written the word nigger all over this page. Take your transphobic bullshit and shove it up your ass. Hope I don't fucking get board because if I do, I'll send trannies to your house because clearly that makes you go into bigot rage, which I find very entertaining. –Inquisitor Sasha (talk) 45px 14:31, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
do you feel that 'trannie' is an acceptable term outside of a search for porn? AMassiveGay (talk) 15:25, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Decades ago, when I was a young man no one batted an eye at that term, because it was a car part. How times change. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:43, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
as a child, I remember the word to mean radio. It was quite olde worlde by then though. And my toy golliwog was a OK too. AMassiveGay (talk) 15:50, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Doesn't affect me and I don't get all the fuss about this. I guess people would be more comfortable if a significant part of their life didn't revolve around their presence on a social network. Obviously there are various biological/neuropsychological ways that create a non-standard gender identity and I think it would be ignorant not to acknowledge that. Bismarck (talk) 16:57, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
You really are an utter pillock, IE. I mean FFS! Ajkgordon (talk) 18:58, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Who, me? Bismarck (talk) 19:47, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
No, he's talking to Ehrenstein. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 19:53, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

(reset) Just imagine the possibilities in the parallel universe of The Gods Themselves/lichen and other composite entities/when sentient computers and robots finally 'go live.' (Write on one side of the paper at a time. Do not give yourself more than minor brainwarp.) 82.44.143.26 (talk) 15:51, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

And, of course, the Onion weighs in. DickTurpis (talk) 01:57, 15 February 2014 (UTC)