RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive221

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This is an archive page, last updated 3 March 2014. Please do not make edits to this page.
Archives for this talk page: <1>, <2>, <3>, <4>, <5>, <6>, <7>, <8>, <9>, <10>, <11>, <12>, <13>, <14>, <15>, <16>, <17>, <18>, <19>, <20>, <21>, <22>, <23>, <24>, <25>, <26>, <27>, <28>, <29>, <30>, <31>, <32>, <33>, <34>, <35>, <36>, <37>, <38>, <39>, <40>, <41>, <42>, <43>, <44>, <45>, <46>, <47>, <48>, <49>, <50>, <51>, <52>, <53>, <54>, <55>, <56>, <57>, <58>, <59>, <60>, <61>, <62>, <63>, <64>, <65>, <66>, <67>, <68>, <69>, <70>, <71>, <72>, <73>, <74>, <75>, <76>, <77>, <78>, <79>, <80>, <81>, <82>, <83>, <84>, <85>, <86>, <87>, <88>, <89>, <90>, <91>, <92>, <93>, <94>, <95>, <96>, <97>, <98>, <99>, <100>, <101>, <102>, <103>, <104>, <105>, <106>, <107>, <108>, <109>, <110>, <111>, <112>, <113>, <114>, <115>, <116>, <117>, <118>, <119>, <120>, <121>, <122>, <123>, <124>, <125>, <126>, <127>, <128>, <129>, <130>, <131>, <132>, <133>, <134>, <135>, <136>, <137>, <138>, <139>, <140>, <141>, <142>, <143>, <144>, <145>, <146>, <147>, <148>, <149>, <150>, <151>, <152>, <153>, <154>, <155>, <156>, <157>, <158>, <159>, <160>, <161>, <162>, <163>, <164>, <165>, <166>, <167>, <168>, <169>, <170>, <171>, <172>, <173>, <174>, <175>, <176>, <177>, <178>, <179>, <180>, <181>, <182>, <183>, <184>, <185>, <186>, <187>, <188>, <189>, <190>, <191>, <192>, <193>, <194>, <195>, <196>, <197>, <198>, <199>, <200>, <201>, <202>, <203>, <204>, <205>, <206>, <207>, <208>, <209>, <210>, <211>, <212>, <213>, <214>, <215>, <216>, <217>, <218>, <219>, <220>, <222>, <223>, <224>, <224½>, <225>, <226>, <227>, <228>, <229>, <230>, <231>, <232>, <233>, <234>, <235>, <236>, <237>, <238>, <239>, <240>, <241>, <242>, <243>, <244>, <245>, <246>, <247>, <248>, <249>, <250>, <251>, <252>, <253>, <254>, <255>, <256>, <257>, <258>, <259>, <260>, <261>, <262>, <263>, <264>, <265>, <266>, <267>, <268>, <269>, <270>, <271>, <272>, <273>, <274>, <275>, <276>, <277>, <278>, <279>, <280>, <281>, <282>, <283>, <284>, <285>, <286>, <287>, <288>, <289>, <290>, <291>, <292>, <293>, <294>, <295>, <296>, <297>, <298>, <299>, <300>, <301>, (new)(back)

Screw Today[edit]

Just saying. To me, if you do something on the day that you must do something special for your significant other, your relationship sucks and you need to fix it or get out. The rampant consumerism of gifts and candies just make me groan as I walk around. And don't even get me started on the whole "Single's Awareness Day". If you're going around saying that you seem to just be begging for attention and saying "I need an SO!" (My sister did this.) Ugh. Can I just get something like a winter vacation and then be done with the idea of Holidays until Independence Day? Or better yet, my birthday (06/11/1987)? Oh, incidentally, my girlfriend and I are going to dinner tonight. Zero (talk) 16:12, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

I've never liked the concept of Valentine's Day myself. There have been some on which I've been single, and some of which I've been dating someone, but either way I've never liked it. As you say, the kinds of things people do on Valentine's Day are the kinds of things I just do for my significant other in general. - Grant (Talk) 16:20, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
(EC)It's an opportunity to compose a special heartfelt poem and hand it over with some flowers, so why not! Granted, you could do that on any other day as well, but if you feel that Valentine's Day is a special occasion, then that might give your motivation a push (some of us are not very prolific poets, you know). It's only as special as you want to make it, that's the beauty about these "theme days". Basically, ignore everything negative/common/trivial and emphasize everything positive/surprising/romantic, and you may enjoy Valentine's Day. (Or if you're set on seeing it as just another day, then why not go all the way and say at your next birthday "It's just vagina expulsion day..."?)
Nullahnung (talk) 16:54, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
The meaning of life is to procreate, so it is totally legitimate that we are biologically and memetically driven to do exactly that. Don't get mad about Valentine's Day. Bismarck (talk) 16:50, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Does that mean that my life had no meaning from the moment I decided to get sterilized without having procreated first? And that my asexual friends who are not driven to procreate lead meaningless lives?

PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 17:13, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

^^^ You, too? Life is so meaningless now... (given that I am not absolutely I didn't procreate, but I would have heard about it by now) ħumanUser talk:Human 02:00, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
My view is that your life has no meaning because all life has no meaning. This, of course, has nothing to do with procreation or Valentine's Day. DickTurpis (talk) 17:19, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry, SAINT Valentine's Day. DickTurpis (talk) 17:20, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
No, there are other ways to advance the species. Bismarck (talk) 17:15, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not mad about Valentine's Day (it has its roots as a Christist holiday, but it's become secularized enough that anyone can use it as they will), but your statement smacks of biological determinism and the naturalistic fallacy. The One They Call Mars (talk) 17:21, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
It may smack of it, but nothing more than that. The point is, getting upset about Valentine's Day makes as much sense as getting upset about other people having sex. The one thing leads to the other. I'm not arguing everyone is "determined" to procreate. That's nonsense obviously. Bismarck (talk) 17:31, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I agree with your conclusion (that getting upset about Valentine's Day is silly and often boils down to jealousy and misplaced bitterness), but I would have either worded the premises a lot better or used different premises entirely. Regardless, it is what it is. On an unrelated note, as for "getting upset about other people having sex," there are a good number of cranks who espouse that quite literally, and I'm not just talking about the usual suspects (Chistist fundies, old-school lesbian separatists, etc.) who only oppose certain types of sex. If you really want to experience a literal physical facepalm, check out hard-core anti-sexualists such as Yuri Leonidovich Nesterenko. What's really grating is that they view themselves as rationalists and see human sexuality as an irrational submission to primitive "animal urges" (which they believe they've transcended or something). They seem to be a branch on the same ideological tree as the self-righteous ultra-"logical" types who think everyone ought to be purely logical robots and who wish to purge society of anything they see as "useless." (Nesterenkoists seem to be more moderate in some respects, such as still seeing value in art, etc., though that doesn't rule out them being more extreme in other respects.) Anyway, the RationalWiki community might be interested in taking a gander at them. The One They Call Mars (talk) 08:11, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
What do you have against Arizona's birthday?--"Shut up, Brx." 16:52, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
The fact that it exists. Zero (talk) 17:02, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm single, have been for a few years now and yeah, it sucks. But I've never understood why me being lonely should make me hate people who are happy. There's a weird disconnect there I really don't get. --Kels (talk) 17:12, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

its perfectly natural and acceptable to dislike happy people. They are usually really dull. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:20, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
This I've never understood either. I dislike Valentine's Day because of the empty consumerism, myself, but take no issue with people who enjoy it for what it is. Mind you, Christmas is rife with consumerism as well, but at least there are pretty lights and decent music associated with it. - Grant (Talk) 17:28, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I always thought Valentine's Day was dumb, but that never meant I resented it, or thought ill of those who do celebrate it. Though I have to admit, the cliché shit is pretty ridiculous. A friend was telling me she used to work at a Hallmark store, and every Feb 13 it was all guys buying the biggest card they could find. Not the most meaningful or anything, just the biggest. I thought that was pretty sad. DickTurpis (talk) 17:46, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Most of the people I know who do Valentine's don't do stuff like commercial cards and stuff like that, but are more likely to make artsy/craftsy stuff and get all creative with it. That kinda takes the curse off it, even if they also do something ordinary like chocolates, flowers or going out to dinner. I know for me when I have been in relationships it wasn't so much doing things because Valentine's Day, but rather using V-Day as a silly excuse for something I'd do anyway.
Meanwhile, I'm involved with a fun V-Day card swap with the Geek Girl Pen Pal group I belong to, it's a riot. --Kels (talk) 18:46, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm not going to be doing anything super extravagant or commercialistic. My plans for the day with my other are pretty ad hoc. As are about all my social engagements. It's just how we roll. –Inquisitor Sasha (talk) 45px 17:44, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

The title of this topic accurately describes my plans with an attractive friend later. --Seth Peck (talk) 18:11, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Mark my words, you shall screw this day! --Kels (talk) 18:46, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Apropos of nothing, I like this [1]. DickTurpis (talk) 19:22, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

My hatred for Valentine's Day stems from the fact that it's called Friend's Day day over here and as such it surfaces unpleasant memories of being forced to make cards in elementary school despite having no one to give them to. That kind of shit doesn't help the development of us lonely dorks. Vulpius (talk) 20:05, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
That grade school ritual annoyed me too. But I rejoice that Hallmark can't touch me. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 20:32, 14 February 2014

Well, I never really had a girlfriend up until a couple of weeks ago, but I just sort of liked the idea that it was a good excuse to fuck put whatever petty shit was happening in the relationship at the time behind and just have a good time- sort of like a "re-birthing" experience. Oh, and while we're talking about Singles and sad people, I remember when I was twelve, we did this thing where you would, like, but either a "love" or a "friendship" Valentine's cards for other people… in total, I got one friendship card… and it was from my mum. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 04:23, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

I bought my husbands a forty dollar cheesecake, FFS. But I really hope they do enjoy it! 06:24, 15 February 2014 (UTC) C®ackeЯ
When you say "husbands", do you mean you live in a place with legalised polygamy, or that you just have a relationship with several men that is so serious, it might as well be marriage? Or was it just a mistake/typo/whatever? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 11:20, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Having multiple husbands is polyandry. And I congralate my old friend "Cracker" on his rich love life! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but "polygamy" means multiple spouses, so what I said was still accurate. I wasn't attacking Ceacker or anything, it's just that there are only very few places with gay marriage legal, let alone polyandry, so I was unsure about Cracker's meaning. Sorry, hope that clears things up. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 08:31, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

'WOW' signal[edit]

Considering the date of the occurrence, along with the fact it was never repeated, could it have been Elvis being called home to his own planet? Scherben (talk) 17:07, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Too awesome/ridiculous not to happen. Somebody get Dan Brown working on this. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 08:38, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
The responsibility of being the impetus for another one of his novels would be too much to bear. Scherben (talk) 10:01, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


"Your vote will not be counted if you have not registered" and the RationalWiki:RationalWiki Foundation/Voter registration page is "read only." Pretty cool. Leuders (talk) 20:20, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

And now it's fixed. Leuders (talk) 21:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye at it again[edit]

This time it's climate change, a "debate" with some hick Republican congresswoman. Will somebody pull him aside and explain a few things? Doctor Dark (talk) 16:08, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Once again I am not sure if this will accomplish anything, but one may be optimistic. Nullahnung (talk) 16:53, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I actually see this as a good thing. Hear me out. By tackling a variety of different subjects, Nye is creating a sort of equivalency-of-stupidity among his "debate" opponents. Next he should "debate" a 9/11 troofer or a TV psychic. With each one of these, it becomes more clear that Nye is the voice of reason here, and his opponents get lumped into the same logical category as each other: quacks, nuts, charlatans and loonies. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 17:00, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
^^^Apok may be right, you know. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
The intersection of the group believing in creationism and the group denying global warming, is unfortunately a high percentage I believe. The thinking seems to follow that if Earth was purpose built for our existence, then our activity surely couldn't lead to our own demise. I have noticed a similar overlap between anti-AGW and libertarianism -- clearly accepting the former would mean a problem existed unsolvable by the free market mantra. Bismarck (talk) 03:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, I personally think that Nye agreeing with a few things that creationists, etc. agree with isn't really going to totally change their minds- especially when it's stuff like Flat-Earth and Illuminati, because I'm pretty sure almost everybody agrees that stuff is some weird, crazy shit. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:12, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Weird religious website - "Ucadia.com"[edit]

So I had stumbled upon a few bizarre related websites like "one-evil.org" and "one-heaven.org" - after some googling I discovered they're all related to some bizarre religious group "UCADIA".


I've never heard of UCADIA before, and I can't make heads or tails out of the content on the websites to find out what they believe. Most of it is just strange 'mumbo jumbo' such as:

Despite our difference, most people share a common belief in some kind of afterlife. The usual term used to describe this afterlife is "Heaven". Similarly, the majority of people alive today also believe in the existence of some kind of "hell" in the afterlife where people who have done evil in life are somehow punished. If you are someone who was brought up in one of the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) then your faith teaches you that Hell wasn't always there- it began out of a war. We are told that at the beginning of time, before humans ever existed there was a war in heaven and it is because of this war that hell was created. Ever since, whether we realize it or not, we have been captive, we have been affected by this war. For if you believe that Hell exists, then you believe that war still rages in Heaven. So it is that even when peace has reigned briefly on Earth, if but for a day, there has never been peace in Heaven since the beginning of time. A war between angels and demons, a war between saints and sinners between cloaked devotees of darkness and genuine light bringers. Our world has suffered and souls have been cursed. And yet a promise has always been there, that one day the war would come to an end. This day has arrived. The United States of Spirits The Covenant of the United States of Spirits, of One Heaven is the fulfillment of that dream and promised- that one day humanity will be united, that the war between heaven and hell, between heaven and earth shall finally be over. It is the fulfillment of a journey that began with the earliest and greatest of human minds, the great ancient prophets and sages of ancient empires. The Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Chinese, the Mayan, the Hopi, the Indus, the Hindu and the many more cultures that have existed and continue to exist. The dream is that one day, when we all die we might be in Heaven and that one day, we might witness the uniting of all human minds, the forgiving of our sins and the ending of the most ancient of curses. The dream is now fulfilled through the The official Covenant of One Heaven

If anyone knows more about this group I'd be interested in knowing.-- (talk) 10:38, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

I've had a quick look at: http://www.ucadia.com/gen_help.htm and http://www.ucadia.com/frank/frank.htm and it seems to me as if this is one guy's attempt at some sort of "unified philosophy". All related pages appear to have been written by the same author. Bismarck (talk) 12:44, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, I don't know about this website, but a war between heaven and hell sounds like an idea for a fucking awesome metal song. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 22:04, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
All the sites sound like trying to make a valid philosophy out of heavy metal songs, sci-fi novellas and mescaline delusions.
Fun fact: A google search turns up "UCADIA EXPOSED!"... on the David Icke forums. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:44, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Weather induced aches and pains[edit]

I was looking at the weather channel and am starting to notice this "Weather induced aches and pains" index. Check out a sample here. I was sitting here trying to reconcile how is this known? Is it a real thing? Zero (talk) 14:34, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Arthritis symptoms do appear to be affected by temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. Compro01 (talk) 17:19, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure I heard something about this last week and the answer was not-proven bordering on selective memory, but I can't find a link. However, there's this from Medicinenet. Given that much of pain symptoms is psychological I can imagine that when the weather isn't as good - i.e. when there is a change - then people perceive their pain more and thus attribute it to the change and make post hoc associations with barometric pressure or humidity. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 11:16, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Data Analysis and Statistics at Coursera[edit]

I should have put something up earlier, but just a notice: anyone interested in learning (for free) about basic statistical assessment and analysis should consider enrolling this week in the Coursera class on the topic, taught by a Duke professor and available for free here. This seems like a pretty basic tool of rational thought and consideration of alternatives in this day and age, so if you feel like you need a refresher or assist, or if you're as math-impoverished as myself, you should definitely consider it. So far, it seems very well-run and intensive, but also accessible to worker bees (again, like myself). Take a look: https://class.coursera.org/statistics-001 --ADtalkModerator 20:49, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

looks good, everyone should at least be able to recognise obvious errors. Hamster (talk) 23:56, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I've got a lot on my plate at the moment and haven't been able to keep up with the Climate Change in Four Dimensions course, but I'll enrol and download the course for watching at my leisure without the self-satisfaction of a certificate. Redchuck.gif Генгисunbelieving Moderator 11:19, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

'Craigslist killer' says she has murdered more than 20 while part of a Satanist cult.[edit]

I just don't believe it. Well, I believe she said it - I just don't believe it's true.--Coffee (talk) 08:40, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Maybe she hasn't been told yet that evil-committing Satanic cults don't actually exist. These claims are more likely part of a plan to plead insanity. I don't think lawyers would otherwise recommend their clients make such statements. Bismarck (talk) 10:00, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Clients disobey the recommendations from their lawyers all the damn time. But anyway, it's totally plausible that she's killed several other people. I would be surprised if it's 20 or more, particularly if it's twenty victims who hadn't previously been connected by investigators, but it's easily possible that she's killed previous casual partners. She doesn't fit the profile, so mostly cops won't be interested. People get stabbed to death by young men with previous history of violence. She's the right age, and I bet that now they're looking the previous violence will turn up, but she's not male so the alarm bells never rang. As to "a plan", I don't see the need for any plan. She's probably crazy, why would a sane person do this? So, she needs to be sent somewhere that they can try to fix her. No reason that's impossible, if she really believes there are satanic cults that's a good place to start. 10-15 years to fix the problem, she could have a new life by her thirties and be a productive citizen. Tialaramex (talk) 12:27, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
No, I don't think it's "totally plausible" she started killing people at age 13 according to her claims. I think this is largely media hype. And if the court really finds her insane, I doubt she will be a free and productive citizen in 10-15 years. If she's not legally insane and did commit all these murders, she'll be put on death row. Bismarck (talk) 12:48, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Wow, what a combo! Internet stranger killing (think of the early days of on-line dating and the easy answer - give my name, address, and phone number to a trusted friend and tell her you will call her no later than "x") and a satanic cult connection! Must have been a slow news day. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:12, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
The number is now up to 100 victims apparently. I read an interview of a criminologist, who stated that the one murder was far too amateurish to not be their first, and that certain perpetrators follow the motive of trying to become "famous" from their crime. This would not have become national news without the exaggerated claims. Bismarck (talk) 10:34, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Word is being passed around in some circles that all the deceased were sex offenders and some are saying she should be let off the hook for killing rapists. Thoughts? Polite Timesplitter Cultural loneliness is a right pain 23:34, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
It stretches credibility but is likely to sell a lot of tabloids. People saying she should be let off the hook are unlikely to be taken seriously. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:46, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I think she should be let off, even though she killed me. Serves me right for picking up 13 year olds on Craigslist. Minoreditor (talk) 22:26, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Science rules![edit]

As an energy industry geek, I found this technology that may help with the California drought particularly interesting in its creative use of technologies that have mostly been used for energy production. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 09:39, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The volume of water produced is measured in acre-feet. OK, so for farming this makes a certain amount of sense but really, when are the Yanks going to wake up to the modern world and go metric? Placeholder (talk) 13:50, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
When you pry our cold, dead hands from our yardsticks. The metric system is, if nothing else, an esthetic nuisance and a monument to Planning. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:30, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
...uh, yes? The latter, anyway. That's one of the advantages. Octo8 (talk) 14:48, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Units of 10 for the win. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:47, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
About the same time we ditch a politically districted FPTP electoral system. Ikanreed (talk) 14:56, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
The metric system is miles better. Ajkgordon (talk) 15:42, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
SI for life. Not all metric systems are created equal! That said, I am pretty fond of the natural units... - Grant (Talk) 15:55, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
whats complicated about links, rods, chains, furlongs and leagues ? Hamster (talk) 16:28, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Nothing, to a subsistence farmer who has never travelled beyond the horizon. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
If you want your own unit system for real, and not just as a let's pretend game, you need to buy your own laboratories to do the actual work. Right now what the US actually has is the metric system plus a set of silly conversion factors. When the international standard re-defines the kilogram, the US pound automatically comes along for the ride because it has no definition other than so-and-so-many kilograms.
Also, the big deal with FPTP is that it's simple, people understand why they lost. That's really, overwhelmingly important. It delivers bloodless transitions of power, which are the entire point of a democracy. All the other simple systems are similarly broken so that there's no reason to prefer them, while the ones that stop most of the bullshit that you get in an election are too complicated to persuade the man in the street (who is otherwise a good candidate for the bloody revolution) that he lost fair and square. Get back to me when the average person you meet says things like "I think the actuarial tables used to set this insurance policy chose unjustifiably optimistic numbers for rate E4 here" rather than "Republicrats are killing our jobs" and then maybe you can swap FPTP for a modern electoral system that needs graph theory to work out who won. Tialaramex (talk) 09:56, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
"If you want your own unit system for real, and not just as a let's pretend game, you need to buy your own laboratories to do the actual work. Right now what the US actually has is the metric system plus a set of silly conversion factors. When the international standard re-defines the kilogram, the US pound automatically comes along for the ride because it has no definition other than so-and-so-many kilograms."
That is actually false. The measurements of inch, pound, foot, etc. are set by ANSI/ASME with actual formulas of measurement in the same way that meter, gram, liter are set by the ISO. If ISO were to theoretically re-define how long a meter was, for example, then the ANSI/ASME conversion formula would change to meet that adjustment. Given how many engineering standards are set in stone (i.e: tolerances for threaded fits, etc.) it would be a terrible idea to change the actual measurement versus the conversion. In fact, if that were to happen, it would be a total nightmare for much of engineering science. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 09:00, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Er, No. Firstly, ISO don't control the metre, kilogram and litre (but note: a litre is simply 1000 cubic centimetres, it needs no separate definition). These units, and today all the SI units, are the responsibility of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), an international organisation for the purpose. In the 19th century, things worked sort of as you've described, with the US importing a standard metre and kilogram, copied from the CGPM's prototypes and using them to derive a standard yard and standard pound prototype. But the SI system abandoned almost all the prototypes (save for now the kilogram) in favour of reproducible physical phenomena. So the US could no longer "just" import prototypes for its weights and measures and by the mid-20th century US law, rather than defining the US yard in terms of physical phenomena and creating an expensive national metrological research group to measure them, simply incorporated the metric units as the definition, for example a yard is precisely 0.9144 metres and the avoirdupois pound is precisely 0.45359237 kilograms by law. When the CGPM refines the metre, including when they introduced a completely new definition in 1983, the US need do need nothing further, since the yard (and thus the foot and the inch) were already tied to the metre anyway. So the formulae you're talking about don't exist. When the SI units change again (probably before the end of the decade) they will most likely do so by precisely defining the universal constants, so that our residual uncertainty is in the unit system not the constants. This turns out to be more convenient for various purposes, but it will in some sense redefine the US traditional units including yard, pound, and so on without the US really having any say in the matter. Fortunately of course the change is so tiny as to be negligible for almost any practical purpose. Maybe WND will write a piece saying it's an attempt by Europe to control US industry or something, but nothing real will happen. Tialaramex (talk) 11:30, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, for starters, the differences between ISO and the CGPM are so goddamn minute that they are interchangable. It's similar to how ANSI/ASME/NIST are interchangable. Secondly, you seem to not understand at all why US law (and British and New Zealand law) have definitions tying units of measurement to the metric system. It has fuck all to do with being lazy, and has everything to do with early standardization. The treaty in question was passed in the 1950's as an early form of standardization. Keep in mind, when it came to nations that used the Imperial system, there was actually variance in how, for example, Britain defined an inch versus how the US defined one. The treaty you keep referring to was written to standardize how it was defined so as to standardize processes so that you wouldn't get something that was a British inch and turned out to be 1.010" in American standards. So in that sense, yes, it is somewhat dependent on metric, however the units existed before the legal definitions did. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 19:09, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, so according to Reckless there, a hundred years, over a hundred member states, a completely different base of operations (Switzerland vs France) and an entirely different purpose and structure are just "minute" differences which render two entities interchangeable. They're both you know, European or something, and thus to Reckless they're the same thing. Little wonder the US has never been able to rely on its own people for this sort of basic function, you couldn't rely on someone like Reckless to distinguish an inch from a mile with such an attitude. The "formulae" Reckless talked about do not exist, can't exist, because, let me say it once again, the US law defines its weights and measures in terms of metric (SI) units. Tialaramex (talk) 01:48, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I will also mention that of the SI base units, the metre, second, and kelvin are already defined based on universal constants, which are, for the most part, decently well defined. The metre is defined based on the speed of light, which is a precisely defined universal constant. The kelvin is based on the thermodynamic (absolute) temperature of the triple point of water, which is also decently well defined (thermodynamic temperature is, by definition, constant). The second is about as close to precisely defined as possible. The hyperfine transitions in many atoms (including Cs-133) are well understood and quite accurate. However, because we take the speed of light in vacuum to be constant, and we tie the metre to be constant relative to the speed of light and the second (by definition), the second must be based on a physical measurement (and thus cannot be precisely defined). - Grant (Talk) 19:23, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
As an addendum, this likely also extends (to some extent) to the other base units, since the definition of the candela is based on the ampere, and the definition of the mole is based on the kilogram. At the end of the day, at least one element of each related "set" of base measures must be based on physical evidence, and not on definition. The proposed changes to the SI standards reflect this, as it requires tying the kilogram to the second and metre. The ampere will also remain dependent on the second, and will introduce experimental error into two constants that were formerly set to fixed values. The kelvin will become dependent on the second, the metre, and the kilogram, and so on. We don't actually reduce our dependence on measurement; we just shift it from one place to another. To say that the residual uncertainty will lie solely in the measurements is not entirely accurate, because we can't actually fix all of the universal constants at the same time. - Grant (Talk) 19:36, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, that last part is true, not everything can be held constant, the changes will for example leave the triple point of water as something you have to measure, rather than part of the definition of Kelvin (which will now invoke Boltzmann). But you can see the trend right? Your above paragraph manages to say that the metre (defined in terms of the speed of the light) is "precisely defined" while claiming that the second (defined in terms of Caesium 133) "cannot be precisely defined". But both work the same way, at best what you're telling me is that your gut tells you that the speed of light is "really" constant and you've got doubts about the behaviour of Caesium 133. But the CGPM definitions today treat both the same. They set the speed of light in a vacuum to exactly 299792458 metres per second and they set the frequency of the ground state hyperfine splitting frequency of Caesium 133 to exactly 9192631770 Hz. Actually today they do this upside down, the proposed 2014 changes will modify the language to be explicit that it's the constants which are set, and of course will expand this to other units, particularly the kilogram. Tialaramex (talk) 01:48, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, the confusion happened because I misread your post at first, and then went back to edit my response to fit in. That part about the metre being precisely defined wasn't supposed to survive the change. The point I was attempting to get at is that not all of the universal constants can be precisely defined, which means that no matter what changes are made, the uncertainty doesn't just shift to the unit definitions, but also other constants. For example, fixing the speed of light forces the permeability of free space to contain uncertainty, whereas it used to be fixed. This is a trivial example of course, since the speed of light is dependent on both the permeability and permittivity of free space, and the permittivity already contains uncertainty. Even among SI base units, there is no system in which we can contain all of our uncertainty within the unit definitions, as doing so would require fixing every universal constant (again, something that isn't possible). I wasn't trying to say anything about my gut feelings; that came across that way because of my mistakenly unedited first few sentences. Rather, my point was that there's only so close we can get before we're essentially just picking which constants we should fix. One may ask, for example, what makes the permeability of free space less fundamental than the speed of light? Mostly it's by convention, and that's fine, but a few of these proposed changes are little more than hand wrangling over what's "more important" in the grand scheme of things. - Grant (Talk) 22:46, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
The list system as the most common form of proportional representation is even easier. You don't even need to know who in detail you vote for (though you can look that up, of course), you just vote for the party that's closest to you (or by whatever other criterium you choose). It delievers "bloodless transistions of power" just as well... and it's simply fairer. No gerrymandering, no preference for a two party system, no radical Congress Republicans sabotaging the government because they know in their safe districts they get reelected anyway and they don't need to care about votes in other districts, really every vote counts (unless there are entry barriers like most typically the 5% barrier, those suck), new ideas can enter politics easier as new parties have at least a theoretical chance to enter parliament, and so on... Octo8 (talk) 12:04, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
"The" list system is in fact a family of systems each with their own flaws. None of them so bad that I'd recommend throwing them away in favour of FPTP but again, none so good that I'd recommend them over FPTP where it's the settled system. In a representative democracy list systems disconnect the electorate from their representatives. Rather than electors selecting Steve over Mike, they pick Badger rather than Crow, and then the unelected management of the Badger party foist Mike on them because Mike, no mater how much electors don't like him, is well-liked by Badger management. The representatives (who are supposed to be representing you) become effectively mere employees of a faceless corporate entity, the "party" that you actually elected.
Attempts to fix this, e.g. by having two types of representative, those from your locality and a second group who "make up the numbers" using proportional voting from party lists, causes a two tier system. Why should the second group, who have no local allegiance and don't actually represent anybody in particular, get to have the same influence over national politics as the first?
You say it gets rid of "preference for a two party system". But in practice this just leads to endless coalition politics, in which you vote for party A, based on their policies, then out of practical necessity they form a coalition with party B, whose policies you abhor, the larger party B gets to entirely dominate and in effect you're back to FPTP where you've given your vote to a party you didn't like because the party you did like couldn't win. But now you don't even get a specific named individual to represent you, just the faceless party.
Finally, the list system ends up with either a bias towards small parties (a rounding rule means it's easy to get one representative for the Badger party, and it's easy to get one representative for the Swan party, and it'd be much harder to get two representatives for the Badger & Swan party, so everything gets fragmented into dozens or even hundreds of single issue political parties of no larger purpose or value) or else in endeavouring to fix that it's biased against small parties and you're back to Red and Blue or however else your two huge parties choose to distinguish their largely similar middle-of-the-road politics.
This stuff is legitimately hard. Peddlers of political miracle cures should be treated with the same scorn as people who claim vitamin pills will fix all your ailments. Tialaramex (talk) 16:26, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I love how this quickly went from me geeking out to new technology and into a debate about imperial vs. metric. Though I must say as a mechanical engineer that, for all intents and purposes, ASME standards tend to be easier to follow than ISO standards. Particularly when GD&T features are involved. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 08:45, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
But even in FPTP, de facto most people vote for parties anyway. Sure, you get the rare candidate now and then who has the ability to win over people from "the other side" based on their person alone. But most of the time, people vote candidates because those candidates are connected with a certain party, or because those candidates hold a certain ideology. So, might as well elect the party/ideology directly. Yes, it is true that the list gives power to party elites that maybe ideally they shouldn't have, while the only way to avoid that while keeping the system's advantages would be to have one of those overly complicated systems you argued against. However, in practice a) de facto the party has the same power over candidates in many FPTP countries as well (maybe not the USA, but surely the UK) and b) that drawback is not all that great because of aforementioned reason.
You say list representatives don't represent anything, as opposed to district representatives, and hence the latter should be given more weight. But that's exactly wrong. List representatives represent the entire electorate, as a whole. Meanwhile, district representatives merely represent their district, nothing more. Why should local interests be given such a weight at the national level, over national interests? If it's a national election, the nation should be represented in parliament, not single districts. If it's a state election, the state should be represented in parliament, not single districts. And so on, and so on. Local allegiance is bad.
Sure, proportional representation may lead to a fracturing of the party landscape. But FPTP avoids that by having a large number of votes (the votes for the losers in any given district) simply don't count at all. And that's undemocratic. If the people are that fractured, then the party landscape should be as well. Because that is what the government, and especially parliament, is about: Representing the people, without distortions. If that leads to many small parties, well, so be it. Apparently that is what the people want, and that in turn is what counts in a democracy ("rule of the people").
And finally, I'm not sure where your get your idea rounding in proportional representation inherently favours smaller parties. What?
I agree there are no easy solutions. Personally, I'm in favour of complicated list systems, the ones that include wp:cumulative voting and wp:panachage, no matter how complicated and cumbersome that process is (or can be - one can also simply elect lists only as in a normal election of that type). Octo8 (talk) 09:40, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
As to the argument that it's all about the parties anyway, you can just look at your legislature's records to see that isn't the case. Very few decisions are made on straight party lines. Every decision you see that is not on straight party lines would be hard to justify under straight list PR. The voters, after all, didn't pick Sarah or Helen, they voted for the party, and the party line is Nay, so why are Sarah or Helen voting Aye? Yes, most voters are influenced by the party not the person, but most voters are also influenced by a candidate's height, whether they dress smartly and so on, let's not pretend that "the voters do X" makes X a good idea!
The connection between a voter and one specific individual representative is important because it's a personal responsibility. As the local representative a voter from your district who got beat up by police is your problem, and you are entitled to be angry about that and yell about it in the legislature on their behalf. When this responsibility is shared out across dozens or hundreds of representatives it's suddenly not any specific individual's problem, and everybody can ignore it. A good representative is obliged not to just be a puppet for their party, reflecting some ideology that realistically isn't common among the electorate (most of whom probably aren't members of any party) but to represent the specific people they live among, to understand that those people have conflicting desires and to reflect that into the legislature's decisions. What you want are representatives that understand about how we all have to hang together or else we'll hang separately. Party politics can hide that, concentrating on a "win for your team" no matter the cost to everybody else. In theory you could make these connections happen on some basis other than geography, but I've never seen any practical method for doing so in a real legislature.
Rounding matters because almost always elections are required to supply a specific integer number of "winners". No matter how the electorate vote, some candidates must win, and everybody else loses. Suppose we are trying to pick 10 candidates. Party A has enough votes for 1.2 candidates, Party B enough for 4.8, Party C enough for 3.3, and each of parties D, E and F has less than the votes needed for 1 candidate. What do we do? Obviously parties A, B and C get some of their candidates as winners. Maybe we should round up? A sends 2, B sends 5, C sends 4... ah. No, that won't work. Maybe we round down? A sends 1, B sends 4, C sends 3, and er, we pick from D, E and F whichever were closest to having a whole candidate? But wait, those minority parties couldn't even find enough voters for one candidate, why do they get represented? Party A is far more popular than them, but gets only the same representation! So unless you do something further this introduces a bias in favour of small parties.
Fixes make the system more complicated (e.g. maybe you use STV to try to help) and they still leave you with situations where unexpected things happen, usually you end up benefiting bigger parties who can best strategise to take advantage. Tialaramex (talk) 12:44, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Inglourious Basterds, pt. II[edit]

In which some teens in the Portland area beat a guy with a crowbar and then carve a swastika on his forehead. They ain't in the prisoner takin' business. They in the killin' homophobes business. And cousin, business is... a-floppin'. Featuring Jess The Bear Gay and Blue Stiglitz.

Seriously though, what the serious motherfuck? Shit, man, some people eventually flip out but there's petty revenge and then there's this. Jesus Tittyfucking Christ, that's some fucked up motherfuckers. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:13, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Myeah, but check out the other articles in HuffPo's crime section as linked on that page. This is grist for the mill. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:10, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Hang on- so was calling a friend "gay" the only single thing that motivated this? That's fucking fucked. While the victim was in the wrong when he made that comment, that hardly deserves having the shit beat out of him like that- especially if that was the only incident. Well, I hope is that homophobes, wing-nuts, conservatives, fundies and all those guys don't use this single example of "evidence" that all teh gaiz r owt 2 get u!!!!!1! Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 22:15, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
There's nothing in the article to indicate whether anyone involved was actually gay at all. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:47, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Apropos of nothing, look who's cheering them on! WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:53, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Wait- is that Ehrenstein RW's Ehrenstein? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:02, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:28, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Ummm… wow… Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 00:46, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Eh. I was kind of expecting that from Ehrenstein.--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:03, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Let's just promise ourselves that there will never be a WIGO:Bigotry Wiki. For humanity--"Shut up, Brx." 02:27, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
So he copied our name for his general discussion page. How unoriginal; how very Ken Demyer of him. Redchuck.gif Генгисunbelieving Moderator 10:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Great. Now there's finally fodder for the "gays are the real bullies" idiots. WND's gonna love this.--"Shut up, Brx." 22:56, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I know that- the thing is, it's isolated incidents like this that motivate some of these people to say that all gays and gay-rights activists are evil- look at some of those kooky Konservapedia articles. Perhaps it would make more sense to say that it would be used as an argument to say "everybody who supports gay rights will gladly use violence on anybody who disagrees"? And, just to make it clear, I do not agree with that position at all- I was just sorta thinks about how this story might be used to support that viewpoint. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 22:59, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, nothing among the scant information available in that article indicates that this is anything to do with gay people or gay rights. This is a huge red herring. All we're told is that this was purportedly revenge for calling another kid "gay", something that's an all-too-common high school taunt. Sure, it's a homophobic taunt, but that's no reason to assume that the kids were retaliating against homophobia as such, rather than taking revenge for insulting or bullying their friend. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:27, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
That. I have no clue why homophobia is an angle here. This sounds like punkass kids over reacting to stupid bullshit. --Revolverman (talk) 23:56, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
What's the sound you make when tsking backwards through your teeth? That sort of hiss you make when you see someone else's sunburn? Because 'punkass' in this context.... Hissss.--Martin Arrowsmith (talk) 00:30, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I just assumed that when they mentioned the "gay" thing, they meant that it was the reason they did it. Either way, it was a truly abhorrent act. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 00:46, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure they used the story of the victim allegedly bullying another guy as a cover to gain sympathy. Which is the most sociopathic thing I can think about. Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:07, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Weaseloid you just made me completely unproductive for the rest of the day with that link. I'd heard of BigotryWiki but never actually bothered to visit. Ehrenstein is sinking deeper into madness; but damn it makes for good viewing. Tielec01 (talk) 01:32, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

>"Ehrenstein is sinking deeper"
>Implying there was a time when he wasn't batshit.
--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:05, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Highlights: Trying (again) to get Nutty Roux disbarred for being an asshat (every lawyer I know will be disbarred according to his criteria) (also, you really don't argue with someone whose profession involves arguing for a living), calling us Nazis for disagreeing with him, and generally having a skin as thin as a Planck. Jesus... --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:17, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Hi. Long-time listener, first time caller. I would love to see this:
Dear State that Nutty Lives In Bar Association. I am The Inquisitor. Here are some links to what appears to be a Wikipedia knock-off web site in which one of your members said something stupid. Please click on those links, and take away his law license. Best wishes.
I'm pretty sure that's exactly how disbarment works.
Peace out, TeenageWasteland (talk) 05:06, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
ROFLCOPTER. An illustrious first post. Tielec01 (talk) 06:52, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Uh....who was Ehrenstein again? I have a kinda short memory so please sum up who or what he is in the form of a dirty yet memorable series of limericks. Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 06:57, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Why did you have to bring up rape? Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? Moderator 10:38, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
The internet: come for the porn, stay for the drama. Bismarck (talk) 11:19, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Let me tell you 'bout my mate Ehrenstein,
In this format of the five-line rhyme,
Of the man whose skin
Was one Planck thin
And knew much of the wail and whine.
A regular of the Chicken Coop
Always stirring up a conflict in the group
We found it baffling
How he's often fighting
And how he found new lows to stoop.
Nutty Roux, of his hatred was his star
Always trying to get him disbarred
But success he did not find
For of knowledge he was blind
And yet this wasn't his lowest, by far!
Thin skinned; oh, is he ever?
Always being hurt by any joke whatsoever?
For humor is biting;
For humor is uniting;
Yet, him being the target of the joke? Never!
Further sinking into the idiot box
He once threatened to drop dox
And get us fired
Or so he desired
Until he was handed a block.
But of the whole ordeal this is a grain
I haven't told you of his friend Arcane
Or BigotryWiki, or his guns,
Or his Godwinning runs,
Certainly, my dear, he's quite insane.
--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:49, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Nice poetry! Is this Ehrenstein guy a Nazi or why does he support the engraving of swastikas into other people's foreheads? Bismarck (talk) 15:08, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Theres a reason I call him Generalissimo Rape. --Revolverman (talk) 15:16, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
IE is someone who professes to hate Nazis, bigots, rapists (unless they raping people he doesn't like) shoe horns this hatred into every topic imaginable, then accuses everyone of being Nazis, bigots, and rapists except actual nazis, bigots, and rapists. AMassiveGay (talk) 15:48, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
@Bismarck: I'd actually expect him to support beating the guy to death. The guy's a creepy sociopath with a major fixation on violence, if you ask me. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:22, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Raysenn.....you are a wonderful person. Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 20:41, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I dislike Ehrenstein with a passion. The idiot most likely would have thought that Starship Troopers(Movie version, to avoid the arguments) was a serious work, liked it and thought it was a excellent moral lesson. However, I wish he would get help before he really turns violent. Nightmare fuel for the ages, that.--The Madman (talk) 22:44, 20 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman
he's got previous, although he delteted the link later when people told him what was in it. Ready, fire, aim much, IE? SophieWilderModerator 18:48, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Baby, It's Cold Outside[edit]

Per the category, here is something to warm your day a bit. (talk) 13:41, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

There's no kinda atmosphere? --Revolverman (talk) 21:04, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm all alone, more or less. SophieWilderModerator 11:05, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Marketing email of the day[edit]

Name and email address left in pour encourager les autres (avec Google).

From: "Suzanne Brown" <suzanne.brown@digitalmediacircle.co.uk>
To: <dgerard@gmail.com>
Subject: Enquiry regarding your site rationalblogs.org
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 16:48:16 -0000

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to get in touch today to enquire
about possible collaborations. I work alongside a psychic readings and
clairvoyancy services provider and we're looking to arrange some form of
online marketing with blogs and websites like yours.
Ideally the types of placement we're looking to organise will be feature
articles or creative pieces covering topics of interest to your audience.

Thanks for your time, look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards,

Suzanne Brown


- David Gerard (talk) 17:38, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

"Dear Suzanne: We would be very interested in this. Would you please have your psychic readings and clairvoyancy (sic) services provider please compose sample articles for this online marketing initiative, so we can determine if this is something with which we can move forward? We would specifically require these individuals to discuss how they create the illusion that they can read minds and predict the future. What tricks and deceptions are necessary to make people believe in such things?
Thank you,
RationalWiki."--ADtalkModerator 17:44, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
"Dear Suzanne: Please consult your clients on what our answer is likely to be." Zero (talk) 18:33, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
"Ideally the types of placement we're looking to organise will be feature articles or creative pieces covering topics of interest to your audience."
I'd take them up on it. In a sense this is just what we do - though perhaps not in quite the manner they had intended.--Coffee (talk) 21:00, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Dear Suzanne,
Funny you should ask. Just this morning we here at RationalWiki were thinking aloud, "Gosh! Wouldn't it be dreamy if we could give free advertising space to psychic readers and clairvoyants?" Mere moments later, your message appeared in our inbox! Suzanne, if that's not a sign that we were destined to collaborate, I don't know what is! Please rush us some photos of your psychic readers preferably bare chested and surrounded by half moons, crystal balls, swords, and other occultic doodads. We will add the appropriate attention-getting copy and eye-popping graphics. I can envision these ads adorning such high-traffic articles as James Van Praagh and Estelle Roberts. And that's just for a start.
Whitner L. Gripweed, VP of Marketing, RationalWiki - Leuders (talk) 21:37, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Dear Suzanne, While usually I'd jump at such an offer, unfortunately my personal astrologer tells me this is a poor time of the year to be entering in to new financial arrangements. Please feel free to contact me again when cancer is in Uranus. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 03:15, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I am so very generous and helpful that I posted her email to the blog as well. For free! - David Gerard (talk) 15:46, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Creationist textbooks[edit]

I have a bunch of old creationist textbooks lying around from my homeschool days. What would y'all think about me posting some selected excerpts from these beauties? Swerve (talk) 03:46, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Sure, why not. _/--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 04:05, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Then send them to me, I collect science fiction. I'm serious. I might even pay for the shipping. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:24, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
What namespace should I post 'em in? Swerve (talk) 04:29, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
is there anything on saddling a dinosaur ? Hamster (talk) 04:32, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Fun:Creationism? Bismarck (talk) 04:39, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I've got one down for starters. How much is copyright going to be an issue? Swerve (talk) 04:44, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Wow, this is cringeworthy. Actually, it's downright ideological indoctrination. I like this particular nugget: "You already have enough knowledge of chemistry and physics to understand how unlikely biological evolution is." I'd also like to see some of the fossil evidence against common ancestry. Bismarck (talk) 04:54, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Copying the text verbatim without offering any criticism is almost certainly a problem for copyright. Quoting excerpts of a work for the purpose of criticism has largely been vindicated by the courts as an acceptable application of fair use, so that might fly. - Grant (Talk) 05:00, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
It should be easy enough to add criticism to that. You already have enough knowledge of Austrian economics and intelligent design to understand how unlikely anthropogenic global warming is. Bismarck (talk) 05:04, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
@Bismarck Note that this excerpt comes from the Biology section of the textbook, which is preceded by Physics and Chemistry sections. The author is referring to content that has been previously learned in the text.
I'll leave it to the rest of you guys to critique the text so it's fair use. Swerve (talk) 05:26, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but I presume the lessons on chemistry and physics have been heavily biased in order to play into the latter point about biological evolution. Notwithstanding the fact that the field of biology might also have something to say on evolution. Bismarck (talk) 05:37, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Evolution is given fairly minor treatment in this book. (This is itself a bad thing, of course, given how important it the theory is to the study of life!) There are about three pages' worth of PRATTling on about "Darwinism" and abiogenesis, and the rest of the bio section is about taxonomy and human anatomy. I doubt that the other two parts are particularly focused on it either. Swerve (talk) 05:59, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
This sounds fun, I'm looking forward to more. SophieWilderModerator 11:01, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I would suggest that we actually take the most problematic sections and split them up like done in other articles with point by point discussion of the issues (e.g. Expelled: Leader's Guide). Shadow of Lords talk 14:12, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Or just laugh at them. These are old books, the side-by-sides are best for current stuff. SophieWilderModerator 18:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There's more on the way. Next is Dr. Jay L. Wile's Exploring Creation Science with Earth Science or something like that, a bio textbook that's awful on many levels. I'm having trouble finding it, however (I may borrow it from an old friend from the homeschooling co-op). It's a shame we can't reproduce the illustrations from these books; creationists seem to be oddly fond of stock photos and shitty pixellated MS Paint drawings. Swerve (talk) 19:35, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

MS Paint? Perhaps it's good that we can't... shudder... SophieWilderModerator 21:58, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
When one of these books popped up on the FB page I considered getting it as it was only 28c second-hand on Amazon. Unfortunately they wouldn't ship to the UK and I'll be buggered if I'm going to cough up nearly £15 for a brand new copy in the UK. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 22:09, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Goddammit, I can't find it. Musta lent it out. It's a really "good" one too. Swerve (talk) 23:30, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

State articles[edit]

a few months ago I made a half-hearted effort to sort out our articles on US states, moving all the old, silly stuff to funspace and creating stubs to fill mainspace. Should I finish this or should they, as some wish, just disappear from mainspace altogether? SophieWilderModerator 18:58, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Warning! Infinite regress alert! Sterilesig.svgtalk 19:17, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Having a bunch of tiny stubs with a load of links going to them is best avoided. I suggest instead collating them into a single page on US states and redirecting the individual state names to there. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:23, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
A good idea.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 19:48, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Makes sense. I like listicles so I'll do that. SophieWilderModerator 19:54, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
This is OK for most states but some deserve more complete discussion for on-mission reasons (a few of the southern states for prejudice/creationism, California for woo, etc). Can we fit all that into one article? Doctor Dark (talk) 20:48, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
If there's enough material we can fork it out with a {{main|California}} thing. SophieWilderModerator 21:56, 21 February 2014 (UTC)


Well, on Thursday, I'm getting my tonsils and adenoids cut out, as it turns out that I have some colonies of bacteria living there, which have formed some form of biofilm, so as to protect them from anti-biotics. I'm gonna be honest now, though. I'm kinda scared. I mean, this will be my first time under general anaesthetic- not to mention the fact that I'm going to have various sharp implement shoved down my throat. Also, I'm worried about the risks- I mean, I know it's routine and minor surgery, but I could bleed to death, I could get a secondary infection (although, I always did find sepsis fascinating), I could vomit blood… it's all very unpleasant sounding, you know? So, anyway, has anybody else here ever had this done? What's it like? I mean, I talked to my doctor, my ENT and my anaesthetist, but I'd really like to know from somebody with first-hand experience. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:16, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

I haven't had this specific surgery, but my foot surgery included a general anaesthetic. Basically, you're lying there feeling pretty scared, and then before you know it you're unconscious. Kind of like going to sleep, when you don't really realize it the moment you actually fall asleep. Nullahnung (talk) 12:25, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I had the specific surgery when I was 7. Basically, it's easy. You aren't even aware that you've gone under and you wake up, usually under the very pleasing effects of numbness. The pain in your throat is bad for about a week or so, but the new techniques they use these days makes the pain considerably less than what it used to be. As for infection or bleeding, pretty much nothing you have to worry about unless you have a compromised immune system, or problems with your clotting factor, and if you do make sure that you have raised this with the consultant before the op, although they will that know from your records anyway.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 12:33, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. My immune system is as string as a respiratory system, and I have no clotting problems, so I be fine. By the way, Nullahnung, what happened to your foot? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:57, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I was around 8 years old when I crushed my right foot under a falling cupboard. They had to put some nails in to let the broken bones grow back. (It's completely fine now.) Nullahnung (talk) 13:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Waking up from the general anaesthetic Is a bitch, however. The day after will be kind of a pain in the ass. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:38, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I've been under surgery and general anaesthetic plenty of times, including the exact same procedure you describe. The procedures started when I was very young, so I guess I never really developed a fear for it. I think the most common mistake in surgery is mixing up patients, but the last time I was operated on 2 years ago, the hospital implemented a new WHO protocol where they checked my identity and diagnosis three times before the operation, including immediately before administrating the anaesthesia. I wouldn't really expect a routine operation to go wrong either. It's important that you follow all the instructions they are going to give you, especially in regards to the anaesthesia, like not eating and drinking before the operation. Anaesthesia is like sleeping and afterwards you're going to feel as drowsy as after sleeping for a very long time, like over 12 hours if you ever did that. There is going to be a short while after waking up, a few hours or so, when you are conscious, but very disoriented and won't remember much about that phase. This will feel like time passing five times as fast. You're probably going to have pain from the surgery, but they'll give you pain killers for that. So take them. I had my tonsillectomy when I was a child and to treat the pain I got to eat lots of medicinal ice cream with vanilla flavour, which was great. Basically they encouraged me to eat as much as I can, like one serving every hour and I love ice cream. But that treatment may be a thing of the past unfortunately. Anyway, I wish you all the best! Bismarck (talk) 15:56, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
It's half a century since I had my tonsils out but back then you were encouraged to eat ice-cream as part of the recuperation. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? Moderator 16:18, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
And you're gonna talk funny for a few months! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:04, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


I am also having surgery this week, and will be going under general anesthesia. On House (the tv show), House compared the common anesthetic propofol to death. This very much frightens me. It is not the risks that worry me, but rather the existential aspect. I am okay with, say, sleeping, as I feel continuing presence while that happens. But a complete interruption of my consciousness terrifies me. Do other users have experience with general anesthesia? Would you say it is comparable to sleep or death? Does anybody know if propofol or other anesthetics completely kill consciousness for their duration?--"Shut up, Brx." 15:43, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

It's definitely not like death, because you come out of it. Sleep, sure, although I don't think I had any dreams. For me it worked exactly as it should. One little complication -- when they intubate you they can break a couple of teeth if they're loose. Good luck. If you're USA-side, the thing to fear most is the invoices that follow. Ithaca (talk) 16:19, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, I'm pretty sure I'll wake up. But the question is, will it be me that wakes up, or a sort of swampman? If anesthetics interrupt consciousness, and consciousness is non-unique, would that be like dying? Or do I as a unique being persist throughout the anesthesia?--"Shut up, Brx." 16:39, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Continuity of consciousness is not necessarily the acid test of whether one remains oneself. I'm not sure what it means, how one would determine whether there was a discontinuity, or what it even means to be oneself or a different person from time to time. Queue Maratrean boring us to death with a wall of text about some shit he just read in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and is now an expert on. As a practical matter, we certainly know that the brain is not inactive during anesthesia, coma, or sleep. People retain memories from each state. Some report dreaming. Some report being conscious of people and events around them. No, as a practical matter we know that — unfortunately — there will be an identity between the you who's anesthetized and the you who wakes up. The only difference will be that your body is repaired, your throat and jaw hurt from being manhandled by doctors and nurses, and you're foggy and hungover for a few days. I am sure you will receive good care and come out of this just fine. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:55, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
EC My first wife went under GA for an appendectomy many years ago and had symptoms resembling Chronic Fatigue for months afterwards. She also started going gray in a hurry at the same time, but that probably had more to do with the fact that I wasn't really a lot of fun to be around in those days. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 16:41, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
when they whipped out my appendix, I could hardly move for days afterwards because every muscle was stiff. If you want a horror story, my brother's boss had his appendix out years ago. He was recently admitted to hospital because it had basically rewired his digestive system and he was shitting out of his mouth. AMassiveGay (talk) 16:57, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand this consciousness distinction between death and sleep. AFAIK you lose consciousness when you fall asleep, you lose consciousness when you die and you lose consciousness when you get the treatment. It's all the same to me. Nullahnung (talk) 16:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
You're equivocating. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 17:02, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Right. How? I understand the difference is you regain consciousness when you wake up, and with death you don't wake up. But apart from that, what is the difference? Nullahnung (talk) 17:08, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
When I'm dead my consciousness is dead, completely inactive. When I'm asleep my consciousness is very, very active. All over the place. Last night, for example, I was conscious of my sister walking around in the hallway of the old apartment building with a sniper rifle. The night before, I was conscious of the time that the girl from my Freshman philosophy class and I, well, let me keep that one to myself... PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 17:17, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I knew someone was going to mention something about dreaming. That's fair enough. Usually when I sleep nowadays I don't dream that much. It's just a big blackness and I can't recall what is between me falling asleep and waking up. Nullahnung (talk) 17:23, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I find normal sleep is like dying. I don't worry bout waking up as someone else though. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:06, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
If you think normal sleep is like dying, please go to your nearest somnologist as soon as possible. Or get a more comfortable mattress. Or stop sleeping in that coffin, it's not going to make you a vampire. Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 17:16, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
You misunderstand. Falling asleep is like dying in the sense that you lose your consciousness. You fall asleep, then the next morning you wake up. Everything inbetween is just sort of blackness which you don't remember. Nullahnung (talk) 17:19, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
No. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 17:21, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Most available evidence suggests that your consciousness is indeed active during this time, even if you don't remember it. People forget a lot of things, but that doesn't mean your consciousness is gone just because you don't remember it being active during some period of time. - Grant (Talk) 17:32, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
To clarify further, the brain suppresses the ability to convert short term memories into long term memories during REM sleep. Thus, if you're awakened during a dream, you can sometimes remember it, but if not, it's quite rare. However, examining brain activity during sleep suggests that most people dream almost constantly. - Grant (Talk) 17:42, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
That's interesting that most people dream constantly during sleep. I figured anyone who slept well goes into deep sleep and dreams occur in shallower sleep (I'm probably wrong.) Either way it's difficult for me to investigate whether I should be worried about my sleep. The fact that I think I'm not dreaming a whole lot may primarily be because my brain suppresses my ability to remember it, as you said. Nullahnung (talk) 17:54, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
In fact, dreams are most often remembered during REM sleep, which is generally considered the deepest stage of sleep. However, dreams seem to occur in all stages. - Grant (Talk) 18:01, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
if you do a lot of puff you might not dream at all. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:48, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
@Nullahnung: Sheesh. it was a joke. And an obvious one, at that. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:28, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Swampman? Oh no. I was still the same cynical but somehow strangely lovable person I was when I still had all of my colon. And I still fancied my surgeon even though she was 8 months pregnant at the time. Ithaca (talk) 17:00, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
If you're watching too much TV, you're readily left with the impression American doctors were more occupied with orchestrating romances than treating their patients. Bismarck (talk) 17:26, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Ok, so apparently it's more like coma than sleep: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-rest/201101/sleep-and-your-different-states-consciousness which leads us to the next question. What is your view on comas and becoming swampmen? Nullahnung (talk) 17:31, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately, it seems comas are mostly described in terms of responsiveness, and not consciousness. Is there a cognitive scientist in the house?--"Shut up, Brx." 17:50, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. Unresponsive and unconscious are not identical. Heard an old paramedic tell the tale of a patient being managed by some medics "with the social sensitivity of a curb stone" as he put it. Patient woke up, looked at the one who had been most ungraciously vocal, and said, "I never fucking want to see or hear from you again, asshole." or words to that effect.
I've been told that nowadays they distinguish general anesthesia from sedation by whether or not the patient can continue breathing unassisted. I've been put under a couple of times for minor stuff. (Not going into the abdominal cavity is what defines minor.) Aside from being groggy while swimming back up into awareness, no problems to report. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:40, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
It's also worth noting that technically "coma" is not some definite state, but rather a spectrum. The deepest comas can look almost (but not quite) like brain death, while much "shallower" comas can often look much like regular sleeping with the addition of the shutting out of outside stimuli. - Grant (Talk) 18:46, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
"Not going into the abdominal cavity is what defines minor." I doubt survivors of leg amputation would agree. Ithaca (talk) 20:22, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Drastic, yes. Life-changing permanently? Absolutely. In this context, though, I'm using the medics' definition. Major surgery involves getting into the abdominal cavity, through the peritoneum, or it did the last time I was paying attention to things like this. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:31, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

I see some people are worried about being made totally unconscious through the administration of a drug while under the care of a medial professional and then being brought back. Another concern is that it's like death in some way. Might I ask how many of us have been rendered totally unconscious through the use of the drug called "alcohol" while not under any medical supervision at all? And, if so, how worried were you about it?--Coffee (talk) 08:37, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

To be honest, the only part that I'm really worried about with the anaesthetic myself is just about the (very rare) risks involved, such as seizures, heart attacks, coma, et cetera. However, I'm a non-smoker, I have a healthy weight and build, and a strong immune system. The thing Brx was saying, though, is kind of fascinating, and I do sometimes wonder about that. However, like Coffee said, we're significantly safer under GA than, say passing out or whatever, so, yeah I'm not really worried- and to be perfectly frank, well, if I die, I die, and there ain't shit you can do about it, so there's no reason worrying about something that's both very unlikely and almost totally out of my hands. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:01, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Oh, and as for "Swampman"- I sometimes think that every time I wake up, I go to a completely different reality, yet with all of the memories of what would my life may have been like had it been lived in the other reality- for example, let's say I live in the world that I know today. I go to sleep, and the next morning I wake up in a reality of lesbian lizard-people. However, all recollection of our reality will have been somehow erased, and replaced with memories of me being a lesbian lizard for all of my life- I wouldn't have any clue that I hadn't. I know, this isn't really relevant, but I just thought that, you know, why not. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:13, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

if you have real concerns ask to speak to the anesthesiologist. When I had ny heart surgury I took a pill and dont remember anything after that until I woke up with a tube down my throat and a nurse staring at me. I believe I am in the same reality I started in and am still me. I wouldn't have objected to waking up as a young handsome millionaire but that didnt happen. ;-) Is propofol really the usual drug ? what happened to ether ? Hamster (talk) 16:13, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Was it the red pill or the blue pill? Ajkgordon (talk) 09:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

another break[edit]

Sleep is definitely not a loss of consciousness - just a change in its nature. Hell, some nights I have more adventures and experience than some days! There is an entire part of my life that exists only during sleep. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:09, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

K. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 07:27, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Anothernother break[edit]

So, the day has come. Wish me luck! Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:04, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Mine is tomorrow, at 8AM. Y'all be nice to the clone of me that'll sprout up as a result of a discontinuity of my consciousness.--"Shut up, Brx." 23:31, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, that went well- though, I'm so frigging high on morphine that I can barely feel anything. Just so you know, Brx, going under the GA feels absolutely wonderful. Also, I'm probably not a clone of me, but if I am, for the sake of simplicity, can we assume I'm not? Thanks. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 11:54, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Fuck, I'm in so much pain. I mean, not even the oxycodone seems to be working. Ugh. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 06:30, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I feel you. I got out this morning. BTW, morphine is overrated. I had friends that were all "woo, morphine was awesome!" But that stuff barely worked. Norco is where it's at. Norco feels like sunshine. Srsly.--"Shut up, Brx." 22:14, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I know what you mean about the morphine. The nurses were like "okay, here's some morphine", and I was like "yeah, that should do it"- and all that happened was I got sleepy and confused while still being in pain. I honestly fucking hate this oxycodone shit so much, like, I can barely form a logically coherent sentence, and I still hurt. What operation did you get, by the way? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 01:01, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, I just tried to "pause" the rain outside using a TV remote… yeah, I'm pretty fucked. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 01:06, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Craniotomy+cranioplasty--"Shut up, Brx." 01:10, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
they cut a hole in your skull and the covered it up ? why ? Hamster (talk) 02:06, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
There was a tumor. Most likely benign, though--"Shut up, Brx." 02:26, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
excellent reason ;-) good luck on the benign. Hamster (talk) 04:33, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
MoD, it sounds like you need some large placebos to help with the pain. I empathise with your pain though, 50 years ago when I had mine done there were fewer pain relief options than nowadays. Redchuck.gif Генгисmutating Moderator 08:25, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I actually have to set my alarm to wake me up every 2-4 hours- I have a very specific schedule where I need to have one paracetamol every four hours, two ibuprofens in between that, an amoxicillin antibiotic (to stop infection) every six hours, and an oxycodone when the other ones aren't working. Oh, and apparently you're not supposed to eat just ice cream and stuff now- I have to eat toast and rough shit to get the scabs off. Meanwhile, it even hurts when I fucking yawn. Ah well, at least I didn't have to get a hole drilled in my head, and at least I didn't die. By the way, Genghis, you're older than 50? To be honest, from the way you talked, I thought you were, like, just a little bit older than me (I'm 24, turning 25). Ah, anyway, yeah. Misery. Pain. Confusion. You get the idea, right? Because I honestly have no idea what I'm talking about, myself. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 10:54, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

To distract from all the depressing news, a discourse on Powered Armor![edit]

I'm guessing we've encountered at least one example of powered exoskeleton in at least one instance of fiction. So how about a short little discussion about real-life Powered Armor from the "Newtsuits" to XOS?--The Madman (talk) 23:20, 20 February 2014 (UTC)The Madman

Someone wanting to talk about military toys like they were just cool stuff is depressing news. SophieWilderModerator 10:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
thay have application in search and rescue. The loader in aliens and the suits in Starship Troopers (the book). In the ontext of wi8nning a fight some things are very cool, while being extremely horrible. Hamster (talk) 23:16, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd rather talk about the lack of sweet power armor in FPS video games. Where's the sweet power armor? Where are my huge-ass jumps and nigh-invulnerability when faced with a horde of inferior aliens? Get it together, gaming!--"Shut up, Brx." 23:45, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
mechwar (?) wasnt enough ? Hamster (talk) 02:09, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm actually playing a lot of MW4:Mercenaries, right now. But I'm thinking of Starship Troopers power armor.--"Shut up, Brx." 02:27, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, so long as it isn't that creepy Mantis looking Enclave power armor, I'm good. --Revolverman (talk) 18:17, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

"Academic Justice"[edit]

This is one of the most laughable things ever published in an University newspaper. I just love Gender Studies undergraduates; the way they think they've figured out everything is hilariously naïve. Bonus: Read the comments section for a through rebuttal of the article. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:35, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Well, college students write things like that sometimes. My own kids went through a similar (albeit less extreme) phase. It's all a part of growing and developing and exploring.
On a related note, what's the story with this call for boycotts of Israel? Not that I think the situation there is a good thing, but why the fixation on Israel while turning a blind eye to abuses in Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Burma, China, and plenty of other places? Doctor Dark (talk) 02:14, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Gotta start somewhere, I guess. And different people have different priorities. Some may feel the plight of the Palestinians is more pressing than that of the Chechens.--"Shut up, Brx." 02:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
1. The Palestinians have historically been better than a lot of other groups at creating transnational solidarity movements on the left. You don't see people repressed by leftist regimes (like in Cuba) having access to/sympathy from the largely left-leaning campus action groups. 2. The strong relationship between the US and Israel, and the fact that the conflict is in an area where the news comes from every day, as opposed to a media dead zone like North Korea or Obscuristan, puts the issue front and center in a way that other countries aren't. 3. As a guy who solidly supports an end to Israeli repression of Palestinian self-determination, I hate to admit it, but it cannot be avoided: there are people who want to hate on the Jews, and this gives them a way to do it. TeenageWasteland (talk) 02:22, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Doctor Dark your argument above RE turning a "blind eye" has always struck me as fatuous. Apart from making yourself feel a little more self-righteous what does the argument achieve? Some idealists want to change the world for the better; others like to pull these idealists down so they feel better about their own inadequacy. Which group do you want to be in? Tielec01 (talk) 02:38, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
(EC) Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Burma & China are all self-governing (albeit with shitty corrupt governments & poor human rights records). The focus on Israel is very much on its occupation of Palestine & treatment of Palestinians, not on the government's treatment of its own people, so comparisons with Cuba, Burma, etc. don't work very well. Chinese rule in Tibet would a closer analogy, and I think the popularity of the Tibetan independence movement among liberal westerners is at least somewhat parallel with support for sanctions against Israel's occupation of Palestine. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 02:44, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, I can see that to some extent. (I'm not sure I'd characterize all those countries as "self governing" in a true sense but that's a side issue.) Another thing that comes to me is that Israel just might respond to pressure to do better, whereas most of the others don't care what Westerners think of them. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:50, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Who the hell is currently editing the Crimson? There is no way that was OKed without someone sleeping on the job or that column being intentionally linkbait. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:29, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Last time I checked, a Gender Studies undergrad.
(EC) The comments seem mostly strawmen - at times hilarious as parodies of setreotypical leftwing academical ivory tower thought, but for the most part they have nothing to do with the article. And I must say, I kinda agree with the article. Yes, the truth doesn't care about your feelings or opinions. But her examples all went further than just neutral observation of scientific facts: They were about people making horrible calls for political or social action. And I do believe those people should not be given a platform by engaging them in debate - similar to how creationists should be treated, in fact. Octo8 (talk) 03:31, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Because a very small minority do, it does not mean the rest should suffer as a result. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 03:43, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
In what ways do you "suffer", or would "suffer" under this proposal?Octo8 (talk) 03:58, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Policies like this do no encourage discourse, which you may recognize as a major part of academia. In particular, when someone makes claims in the lines of "scientific" racism or such bullcrap, you respond by debunking, not by establishing a thought police. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 04:16, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
But by engaging those ideas in discussion, you give them a measure of legitimacy. In theory, it's a good idea to debunk them. In reality, people making such claims will never admit to being debunked, and their supporters will use their ideas as PRATTs for unsavoury ideologies. It's really much the same reason why creationists shouldn't get debated. And really, if somebody says "to resist rape a woman needs … a certain ladylike modesty”, as per one of the examples in the article, then there really is nothing to debate. Such a person simply deserves to get shunned and excluded. Octo8 (talk) 05:30, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
The comment by Harvey Mansfield was not made in his position as a professional academic, but a personal opinion. Should he be shunned because of his personal opinions? No, because free speech exists for the opinions you disagree with. And creationists are very rarely academics in the first place, so this tangent rarely applies (when they are, it's at Bob Jones-type colleges). The article is about giving up academic freedom because it may make someone uncomfortable. She then cherry picks some awful shit some academics say as personal opinions and uses them to justify her thesis. The article relies on bad logic and lack of knowledge of actual academia. I don't know where you got the creationism angle from. ---Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:22, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
The US also either isn't necessarily a staunch defender of every country on that list. We don't spend every election season promising to defend China and Russia against any threats. No politicians are out there saying that we need to stand by North Korea. We aren't pumping money into Cuba in humanitarian efforts, the last I heard. So, Israel is a unique problem, because of the way we tend to treat Israel as if they were our closest ally, while ignoring anything bad that may be happening there. There's a "with us or against us" attitude with Israel that poses a unique problem. Shadow of Lords talk 03:37, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
No politicians are out there saying that we need to stand by North Korea - have you forgotten this? Smiley.gif ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 11:40, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
This reminds me of a certain parody Tumblr... --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:22, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
We have this difficult and tendentious idea of "privilege" that gets trotted out by these sorts from time to time. There doesn't seem to be a label for the curious cluelessness of a Harvard student pontificating on how best to rid the world of oppression, and prescribing the official positions and groups favored by "justice". It strikes me as a closely related phenomenon; if you've learned to see the other one, you should be able to see this as well. People really need to learn to mortify their sense of moral earnestness. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:25, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
One of the myriad problems with restricting certain lines of research in the name of "academic justice" is the fact that it allows bad research to stand. Imagine if a moratorium were imposed on race-IQ research years ago due to the likes of Herrnstein. Then the research of debunkers like Richard Flynn would go unpublished because, well, it's just not politically correct to publish anything on that subject and so the research of Herrnstein et al would be denounced but unchallenged. Thus, advocates of "academic justice" shoot themselves in the foot. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:48, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I thought "academic justice" meant that you could publish race-IQ research as long as its conclusions supported or at least didn't hurt the prevailing side of social justice. And that of course undermines the truth value and the trust that people place on the peer review system. Nullahnung (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Women and gender studies undergrad professes solidarity to the Hamas regime. Oh, the irony. Maybe if she focused more on her history courses, she would know that the "Palestinians" never existed as a free and self-determined people (except for those with Israeli citizenship) and that their only chance in self-governing the "occupied" territories lies in cooperating with the Israeli government instead of sending rockets and suicide bombers there. Bismarck (talk) 11:47, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
"Palestinians" is a term for the Arabs of the regions. That there is no Arab political unity is irrelevant; there also was no German political unity before 1871, yet Germans existed as a people, as a nation. Arabs are a people, and Palestine was an Arab region until the ethnic cleansings at the creation of Israel. Also, Israeli military actions kill a multiple more of civilians than Palestinian terror attacks. Octo8 (talk) 11:55, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I took the comment as parody. A huge reason for US anti-semitism is the amount of military collaboration there already is with Israel. ---Someon (talk) 12:05, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Were Palestinian Arabs depopulated from their homes during the First Arab-Israeli War? Very much so. But the number of those forcibly expelled vanishes in comparison to those who voluntarily fled from war zones, expecting --like most of the world-- that the Arab aggressors would win and that they could simply return to their homes after the Arab victory. About a quarter of the Arab population remained becoming citizens of Israel and comparing their fate to those living under the terrorist Hamas regime, it should be very clear who had made the wiser choice. Gaza and the West Bank were occupied by Egypt and Jordan respectively until the Six Days War. The Palestinian refugees fared much worse in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Israel at least reliably supplies their "occupied" territories with commodities and resources, while having shown a willingness to grant independence at times. Too bad that the distribution of supplies is under the control of the local authorities and that Hamas at least has made it their public agenda to banish all Jews from Palestine. I agree that Israel has foolishly let itself drawn into wars by terrorist provocation, but the fact that Hamas places rocket launchers within residential areas and underneath hospitals of course doesn't help with the civilian casualties. Funny that you should bring up the unification of Germany in comparison, which took place during a time when "might makes right" was global policy and if Israel had fought for independence in the 19th century, nobody would raise doubt about the borders today. But Palestine of course is a different manner entirely; one where people who otherwise support rule of law, pluralistic democracy, minority rights, feminism, anti-racism and freedom of religion happily proclaim their support of Hamas against Israel. Bismarck (talk) 12:53, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Those people also generally support nations' rights to independence & self-governance, & I think you're exaggerating their respect for Hamas specifically. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:34, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
EC you realise of course that it is possible to criticise isreal, I thinking more of the current situation of settlements that go against the Oslo accords and deemed illegal by the UN and the ICC, without being anti semetic or anti Israel and without supporting terrorism? AMassiveGay (talk) 14:43, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I was in one of these debates, wherein I expressed I don't like many of Israel's policies (and I'm Jewish myself, although my paternal side is of Haitian descent). I was told, with a straight face, that I was merely suffering from "internalized antisemitism". --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:20, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Having read the first two thirds of the article in question I've got to say that it seems ill-thought-out from the get go. The author complains about an academic maintaining that "intelligence is almost entirely hereditary and varies by race" and feels that such opinions should not be allowed. The problem with the opinion is not that it is racist but that it is factually wrong.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 14:17, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

In Fads and Fallacies..., Martin Gardner mentions a US Information Agency pamphlet from the 1940s that was suppressed by Southern senators. It was war propaganda, meant at refuting Nazi scientific racism. Among other things, it showed that the urban/rural divide is mightier than the White / "Negro" divide: the result was that urban "Negroes" did better at the tests than rural Whites. It seemed that would not do. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:22, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Is there an entomologist in the house?[edit]

Anyone out there have better knowledge of bugs than I? What the heck is this thing that keeps reappearing in my bathroom? TeenageWasteland (talk) 18:51, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Some species of wp:Pentatomidae, a.k.a. a stink bug, most probably wp:Halyomorpha halys.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:56, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
KILL IT WITH FIRE AND HATE. LET IT BURN. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:00, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
"In one home more than 26,000 stinkbugs were found overwintering." I'm moving. TeenageWasteland (talk) 19:01, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Just a harmless shield bug. I've never noticed any stink from them, but then I've never encountered that many. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:05, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Yep. Unless you are a plant, the worst they could do to you is to annoy you by buzzing in circles around your lights and occasionally bumping into them. On the other hand, they can be a source of temporary amusement for your pets, especially those of the family Felidae. :)
BTW, I can be wrong about the species - it could be also wp:Rhaphigaster nebulosa, or something else. Apparently it's hard to tell shield bugs apart without looking into close detail. Where do you live, the US, Europe or somewhere else?--ZooGuard (talk) 19:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
The US. (the quarter-for-scale should've tipped you off). If the WP article is correct, the white stripes on the antennae make the first guess correct. I know they're harmless, but they look EVIL. The cat does dig them, though. TeenageWasteland (talk) 19:13, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes - the whole world must use and recognise even the smallest US coin! (Though when you blow it up it does say "United States" which I guess is a clue as well.)--Coffee (talk) 19:42, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
It's actually one of the larger ones. But you're right, as I hit "save" I did feel like an asshole. does that help? TeenageWasteland (talk) 19:48, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
[ec] Umm, the "smallest US coin" is the dime, at a skosh under 18 mm in diameter, smaller than our penny, and much smaller than the 5¢ piece we call a "nickel." Before 1946, the design had a fasces (bundle of sticks tied around an axe) on the reverse, but that went out of fashion thanks to the Italian corporatocracy under Mussolini. Aren't you glad you asked?
p.s. (Actually, the smallest US coin ever minted was the $1 gold piece, half an inch across, or 12.7 mm for the troglodytes who still resist the use of customary units of measure.) And yes, what you've got there looks like a member of the order Hemiptera, or true bugs. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:07, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
It's a plain old brown stinkbug. Some pentatomidae appear to have striped antennae because their antenna segments are lighter colored where they join. Brown stink bugs fall into that category. From spending too long researching someone else's idiotic problem, I also learned that shield bugs have pronounced horns on the top corners of their carapaces. So it's not a shield bug. I didn't want to know any of this. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 02:46, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I once dressed as treebeard for halloween if that helps... Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 21:25, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I once designed the prop tree (yes, one) in a college play. Eh, a couple hundred pesos well earned. (About £50) -Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:52, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I once felled a tree by climbing it and swinging back and forth, if that helps. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 10:16, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
i chopped down a couple of hundred trees when i was a conservation volunteer. I also had one of these land on me, if we can drag the conversation back to insects. SophieWilderModerator 12:25, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
A few years ago we cut down a tree in our back yard on Arbor Day. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:37, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Someone I know gets paid to survey tracts of woodland looking for these little buggers. Lots of trees have already been cut down in an attempt to keep them from doing further damage. Good luck with that, sez I, having actually worked as a field entomologist one summer long ago. (Hint: many insects can fly, and do not respect human political boundaries. Short-sighted profit-seeking humans have given six- and eight-legged pests a long-haul lift on more than one occasion.) Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:07, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
My part of the world has been having serious problems with these rather pretty things. They're rather efficient at killing trees stone dead and you can see the damage they've done all over the city. Not much can be done about them either, save cut down the affected trees. Five just on my block. --Kels (talk) 17:13, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Dinosaur pet guide[edit]

I've always wanted a Triceratops. SophieWilderModerator 12:34, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Pfft. The Compsognathus is where it's at. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:56, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
My cats would take down a compie easily. SophieWilderModerator 14:54, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
The compie sounds exactly like a cat. All they need is to poke your face when you sleep and they're just scaly Maine Coons. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:13, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
That poster was created by artist John Conway, by the way. You can find more of his stuff here. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:56, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

You could just fake it. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:04, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

ooh cake. SophieWilderModerator 21:18, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Deleting my essays[edit]

Hi everybody, long time no speak. Some of you may recall that about 3 years ago I created a series of essays here, some of which were somewhat controversial. My thinking has evolved a lot in the last three years, and they no longer really represent how I think today, but frankly I cannot be bothered to go through updating them, so I'd like to propose deleting them instead. I was going to do it myself, but thought I would check if that was okay with people first, because I don't want to get anyone off-side:

So, if no one objects, I will delete these pages and the associated talk pages. Or else, anyone else who wants to can feel free to do so. Thanks, (((Zack Martin))) 03:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Just go ahead. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:11, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the talk pages. Those are not "owned" by Zac though the essays are.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 13:13, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes. I believe we have long had a policy that you can modify or delete your own essay however you want, but the talk page is community property. Discussion never gets deleted, on anything, as a rule.
Thank you for checking first, Zack. Feel free to delete them (just not their talk pages).--ADtalkModerator 17:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, your essays are poorly written, and generally fail to justify their premises at all. Ikanreed (talk) 15:19, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree with Ikanreed. These essays are the biggest, most stupid piles of shit ever made on this site. Seriously, arguing for unfalsifiability and idealism? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:37, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
*cough* Zack just showed up and nicely offered to clean up after himself after not bothering the wiki for a long time, and you guys are belaboring him about the head and shoulders? Why don't you go gang up on someone who deserves it? Sprocket J Cogswell Talk to Sprocket 17:00, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Seriously, I read this and my first thought was, after reviewing the essays, "I'm happy that he's had time to reconsider and no longer thinks in the ways represented in the essays." Good for you, Zack. Shadow of Lords talk 20:38, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I was going to say the talk pages were empty - till I looked at the archives. They are enormous! But full props to the author who has revised his opinions. It's something which happens all too infrequently.--Coffee (talk) 21:03, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Now I think about it some more, as the talk pages are still open and can't be deleted, perhaps the author might want to add a final note about why the essays no longer exist.--Coffee (talk) 21:07, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Do read the talk page for the suicide article. It's hilarious. They also link to a WIGO talk page within it. Read it, it's also hilarious. -- Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 22:44, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Since we're keeping the talk pages, and you msy also be adding notes to the talk pages explaining where the essays went, I'm inclined to suggest keeping them. I've changed my mind about some things -- reading my old columns in the student newspaper is occasionally cringeworthy -- but that in itself isn't reason to wreck your past. You might want to add a note explaining where your mind has changed. I realize I'm volunteering you for unpaid work on a site you've left behind, but they're good faith contributions if nothing else, and I don't like to wreck what could be saved. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 02:11, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
While you're here, we should probably get it form the horse's mouth. Do you still reckon you're some kind of prophet, or can we revise our article on Maratreanism down to zero followers? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 04:42, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
SCREECH! Drop a rock on him! Screech! TERROR TABA (talk) 19:19, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Hey Terror: I thought that you had been demoted? --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 21:24, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Would it not be pointless to keep the talk pages without the essays? --Romartus (talk) 23:11, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
We don't delete talk pages because their presence cannot harm our image or operations, which would be the only argument for deleting information. Deleting information, especially discussion or debate, is something we should continue to generally shy away from without good reason if we're going to continue to painstakingly claw our way towards the truth in life.--ADtalkModerator 00:06, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore the person who wrote the article did not write most of the talk page content. Thus they have no right to delete the opinions of other people.--Weirdstuff (talk) 18:38, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Not that that matters. Once you post your opinion in the talk pages it no longer belongs to you, so it wouldn't change a thing if all the comments were from him. Nullahnung (talk) 20:55, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
It's obvious: Terror Taba is Osaka Sun. Osaka Sun is the Illuminati. Therefore, Terror Taba is the Illuminati. Therefore, Maratreanism is the Illuminati. Source: Alex Jones. Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:36, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
This all reminds me of Cordova, 1391...--"Shut up, Brx." 00:12, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

OK, so I have deleted my essays but have left the talk pages intact. Hope you all have a very nice day. (((Zack Martin))) 21:44, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

May Taba be with thee, guvnah.
(Seriously though, are you still with the whole maratreanism thing?) --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:31, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
My beliefs have changed in some of their details, but the fundamentals remain the same. But I realise now how pointless it is to talk about them on this site, so I don't intend to say anything more here than that. (((Zack Martin))) 09:34, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

An idea[edit]

Hello, this is my first Saloon Bar post under this alias. Anyway, I just had an idea. How about a RationalWiki mobile app? I personally think that the mobile version of RationalWiki is kind of difficult to edit, and it would be good to have a free app of some description- then, I'd be able to get notifications and stuff. I know it doesn't sound like a great idea, but I just think it would be useful. What is everybody else's opinion? 666.666.666.666- Hail Satan 06:13, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

The site already works as mobile, can you be more specific as to what you think would help? Zero (talk) 06:21, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
When it comes to iPhones, it's always gonna be shitty to type, regardless of whether it's an app or a website. Also, if you set up an email account, you can get the notifications anyway. Not saying it's a terrible idea- there would be a few advantages, I guess- but I just don't think it's particularly important at this point in time. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 06:26, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
where's Crundy when you need him? SophieWilderModerator 12:27, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
As you will know RW works on mediawiki software. It seems there is an existing project working on this. There also seems to be a seperate project aimed solely at WP. Interesting I thought. --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 13:54, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Mobile Wikipedia sucks major ass, sadly. I dislike it inmensely. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:26, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Using the Wikipedia mobile skins or adapting the official Wikipedia mobile app is probably as good as we'll realistically get it. 1.23 is out in April, supposedly, and we'll give it a good old go at rationalbeta.com - David Gerard (talk) 23:02, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Raysenn is correct. Being an old fart, I only recently got a mobile device and was appalled at how utterly crappy mobile Wikipedia is. I'd rather mobile users simply be shown the regular site than to foist something that ugly and cumbersome on them. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:01, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Prehistoric trees[edit]

4500 year old tree stumps unearthed by storms on Welsh coast. here(ish) Scream!! (talk) 16:01, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Prehistoric? According to a wiki with millions of articles, Egyptian history started (it actually says prehistory ended) around 3200 BCE, while in New Guinea the prehistoric era ended ca. 1900 CE. I assume Welsh history began some time in between, but when? Alec Sanderson (talk) 16:32, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess "ancient trees" doesn't sound quite as sexy. Spud (talk) 16:47, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I think "ancient" is more recent than "prehistoric". e.g. "ancient Greece" or "ancient Egypt". Compro01 (talk) 20:05, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Nobody said "ancient" had to relate only to recorded history! Well ok, I'm sure at least one person has said that, but eh. Nullahnung (talk) 20:42, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Didn't ancient Egypt start at, like, 6000 BCE, though? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 00:49, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
However much "history" was happening in the Nile delta I'll lay good money there was precious little happening in Cardigan Bay back then. So, in a local sense, the tree stumps are definitely prehistoric. Indeed, from a certain wiki starting with 'W', The date marking the end of prehistory in a particular culture or region, that is, the date when relevant written historical records become a useful academic resource, varies enormously from region to region. Placeholder (talk) 11:56, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

The ads we use for spam-blocking[edit]

I just had a Chick-Fil-A ad as a spamblocker (..was not signed in, somehow...). I get the need for the device, but it's a bummer that the most Rational of all Wikis is pimping a homophobic company. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 00:12, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I hear they do nice chicken Hamster (talk) 00:31, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I wonder if we have control over which companies show ads. My guess would be that this is something controlled by the firm behind the Captcha, but that's still disappointing. Certainly if there's any kind of pressure we could put on to have that changed, I think that would be beneficial. - Grant (Talk) 01:04, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Or we switch to a different captcha service. Nullahnung (talk) 01:41, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Don't we use ReCaptcha? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:54, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
No, here in the ivory tower elitist signed-in land, you don't get exposed to "solve media"(i.e. user captchas to stop spam by spamming all your users), which seriously annoyed me enough I almost didn't want to edit rationalwiki at all. Ikanreed (talk) 14:33, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Do you mean the spamblocker showed a picture of Chick-Fil-A and you had to describe what you saw? Did it accept "homophobic company"? Bismarck (talk) 04:26, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Bitcoin drama part ∞[edit]

So, you were right: running a Magic: The Gathering exchange site is not enough experience to run a currency. Mt. Gox is now inactive, once again plummeting the cost of Bitcoins.

If there's a silver lining to this, is that some libertarians may now know why financial regulations exist. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:06, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Tweet of the day goes to Josh Barro. Osaka Sun (talk) 15:52, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I've already heard one libertarian claim that allowing the Mt. Gox "bank" to fail was a totally cool thing. Bismarck (talk) 16:58, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
So a currency with built-in deflation fails... Seriously. Deflation means that it becomes worth more the longer you hold on to it. That is bad, you know. If you know basic economics. Dendlai (talk) 19:34, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
No matter what ills plague Bitcoin, you will always find at least one supporter who will try to spin the latest death knell as a "good thing for Bitcoin". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 22:26, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Guy commits suicide after losing about $500k in Bitcoin: reddit - Bismarck (talk) 11:47, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Very likely a troll. I thought your link lead to a news story.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:57, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I named the link "reddit" so why would it lead to a news story? Read the thread if you think it's fake. Bismarck (talk) 12:14, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I read the thread, that's why I wrote what I wrote. And to clarify myself: I thought your link lead to a Reddit discussion of a news story. Without third-party evidence, sounds too much like creepypasta-like short story posted by a freshly created Reddit account with suspicious username.--ZooGuard (talk) 12:41, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Why would I link to to a reddit discussion of a news story when I could directly link to the news story instead? The guy commented a couple of times adding more background information to the event. Is that something creepypasta trolls usually do? At any rate, I humbly apologise for not meeting your internet reading standards. Bismarck (talk) 13:00, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I think that you are taking this too personaly. No apology is necessary, since no offence was taken. Neither my initial remark, nor the followup were intended to be accusatory.--ZooGuard (talk) 13:41, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Skunked beer[edit]

WHYYY, CORONA?! WHYYYY?!?!?!--"Shut up, Brx." 02:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

The effect of light on hops. Corona bottles are usually clear, so if they've been exposed to sunlight for a very short time, or fluorescent light for a few days, they get skunked. I remember back when Heineken was as fancy as it got. It was always skunked, and that meant it was sophisticated and European. Like the peat in scotch. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 02:40, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I know. It's a shame, though. It'd be much better if they'd just keep it in the dark.--"Shut up, Brx." 02:45, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Craft brewers are increasingly using cans instead of bottles, in part for this reason. No light gets through a can. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Drink good beer, locally-brewed. Assuming you live in the US, there are quite probably a number of decent beers from the state that you come from, made by local guys, driving local economies, and providing way better beer than what you're drinking now. TeenageWasteland (talk) 03:36, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess I'll have to see if my local 7-11 has any craft beer in stock--"Shut up, Brx." 03:38, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
My experience is that almost all American craft breweries use way too much aroma hops. And worse, it's usually Cascades, the ones that taste like geranium leaves with a hint of Pine-Sol and Lemon Pledge. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree about the hops. It seems like there's almost an arms race to see who can use the most hops. Of course taking things to extremes is part of the American culture. You've got Coors Light and other so-called "beer" on the one hand and tincture of myrcene on the other. The good thing is that if you look, there's plenty of good stuff in the middle, or wherever your taste happen to lie along the spectrum. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:03, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The American semi-craft / regional beer (we seem to have a respectable mid-range now) that is my usual table beer is Schlafly's Kölsch. The Schlafly involved is, I think, a cousin or something of Our Pals. The brewery's website is careful to point out that they aren't funding them. Still can't get Ballantine Ale in this area. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:56, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Notability criteria[edit]

I feel like we should include something in our Help pages, so people will stop making articles about insignificant persons with controversial opinions (currently there's nothing telling them not to do it). Recently there's been articles on such insignificant people as Tor-André Kongelf and Stian Konningen. Nullahnung (talk) 20:14, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I am against making articles for every idiot with a blog (especially if such an idiot is mentally ill and has no following). Notability criteria would be a fantastic thing to flesh out. Not only would this wiki be hella boring and useless if it became a phonebook of idiots, it may actually be cruel to place scrutiny on obscure buffoons. It's better to have articles on ideas that are faulty, rather than the individuals producing such ideas (not that articles on people should be forbidden, just that they should be worthwhile).--"Shut up, Brx." 20:32, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I tend to agree. The rule of thumb I work to is that bloggers/vloggers etc. are fair game if they have at least some impact within the blogosphere (e.g. people regularly reblogging them & posting response blogs, commentaries, etc). If they have an obscure blog with a small readership, there's not much point in covering them. & We shouldn't bother with people who are mostly known for posting in forums, wikis, comments, etc. rather than anything they publish themselves. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:55, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I think we could do with rethinking our approach to YouTubers in general. A lot of the articles on creationist/crank vloggers fly pretty close to Encyclopedia Drammatica territory, & then there are vaccuous puff piece entries for atheist/skeptic vloggers that serve very little purpose. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:08, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
IMO, that is kinda inevitable. Article about a person + snarky style as is wanted here = "close to ED". Octo8 (talk) 08:57, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I would like to keep it very loose - we just need any evidence that any third party cares and would ever look at it. c.f. articles on apparent gibbering schizophrenics (Amitakh Stanford is my go-to here) need note of people who actually believe their shit - David Gerard (talk) 08:34, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Personally, I think if we were to apply stricter rules here, about half of our person pages might get deleted. IMO, not worth it. If nothing else, those pages are good for a quick laugh ;) Octo8 (talk) 08:57, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
The site would be better off with half of our people pages deleted. It's just wanking over obscure crap, not something RationalWiki is supposed to be about, IMO--"Shut up, Brx." 15:23, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm in favour of pruning out most of the obscurities, and anything that's just two people arguing with each other. SophieWilderModerator 22:22, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I really don't see why having articles on random cranks "lowers the quality of the wiki". This is what we do. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:18, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Not having notability requirements is one of the things that makes us not A Crappy WikipediaTM. That said, I do think we should have requirements, but only as pertains to bloggers/vloggers. There's no point in having articles on random YouTube cranks with no subscribers and ten views. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 09:41, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
None of the recently deleted articles fall into that category, though. I think they should be restored. And I fully agree with Human. I always assumed, before signing up, that this is just what this wiki does. Octo8 (talk) 09:43, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Some of out non-notable stuff may well be the only skeptical information on the net in respect of that particular lunacy. I don't see the problem in being the only site on the web to call out certain nuttiness. Surely this is an advantage not a disadvantage?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 13:09, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
There are a few problems with it. Giving obscure cranks a wider exposure than they otherwise would have. Taking an unwholesome interest in the lives of what are ultimately ordinary members of the public. & Inviting a lot of tedious drama onto the wiki. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:02, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
To take your points in order. Writing about anyone - whether famous cranks or not - gives them a wider exposure than they otherwise would. If someone is really just an ordinary member of the public I doubt they would get an article. When you write about any cranks - again famous or not - you may get people who object to it and hence "drama". It's par for the course.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 14:22, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
How about, instead of having articles on obscure bloggers, using their blogs to illustrate e.g. logical fallacies and other crapness etc? SophieWilderModerator 15:24, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, Brx suggested focusing on ideas, not people (as long as the people are too obscure for us to bother with). I like that line of thinking. Nullahnung (talk) 18:08, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with this. The problem with bloggers/vloggers is that they're a dime a dozen. It's immediate and free to open a basic blog, and then you can just start typing whatever you feel like. I have friends who blog who hold to some absolutely ridiculous and stupid ideas. Are they worthy of an article here? If not, why? At that point, we're already establishing some limit on notability. I don't think it's a huge leap to extend that thinking and suggest that for those who are not well known in their sphere of influence, we should perhaps focus on the ideas instead of the individuals. - Grant (Talk) 18:13, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, I suppose it depends on what the Wiki wants to be. It could just be a reference for logical fallacies, proper ways to do logic and the like. But I think this would not be very interesting, and would hence be a step detrimental to the site. I thought snark and fun were supposed to be part of this site... so why not some articles pointing and laughing at idiots? Besides, if we go by notability, then the original reason for existence of this site might eventually get its article here deleted, too ;) Octo8 (talk) 19:25, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
While there's nothing in the mission about things like notability, I will point out that it's possible to be snarky while refuting ideas instead of D-list bloggers. - Grant (Talk) 19:45, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Octo8, ideas aren't necessarily logical fallacies. What I mean is having an emphasis on homeopathy rather than individual homeopaths. And on ignoring sites in the same vein as Time Cube (Time Cube itself having garnered too much attention to be considered non-notable). Snarking Time Cube is just wanton. The author is clearly mentally ill, and it's obvious nobody takes his ideas seriously. Writing an article on Deepak Chopra, though, is a good idea. He has quite a large following and heavily promotes pseudoscience and alternative medicine. More important than Chopra, though, would be Quantum woo and other things he promotes. These arch over numerous cranks, and covering them is far more efficient then badmouthing every random loser coursing through the tubes.--"Shut up, Brx." 23:29, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Proposed notability guideline[edit]

So anyways, I propose this for here:

"While we do want to document all crank ideas, articles should be relevant to more than just a couple of people in the world. This means we don't strive to document every rambling loon encountered in the streets/on a lonely blog. If people appear to be interested in them, though, go ahead!"

I tried to conform to general opinion expressed above. Nullahnung (talk) 21:17, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Pretty much perfect wording, yeah - David Gerard (talk) 23:00, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Great wording, for a piece of shit idea. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I like it as well, and agree. - Grant (Talk) 23:31, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd be happy with that. It's an important enough change that it should really go to a vote though.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 08:16, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Hm. Yeah, the formulation is okay. Especially the last sentence is broad enough that there shouldn't be too many, if any, further article deletions. But I suppose a vote would indeed be appropriate. Octo8 (talk) 08:42, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Another aspect to consider is something like "novelty" or "originality" - people who just instantiate another object from the Standard Crank Argument Library don't deserve much attention.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:58, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
That's a good point, but I am hesitant to propose a wording for that.
If someone has a substantial amount of followers on Youtube, but is spouting the same tried old points that much bigger people are spouting, does that someone deserve an article? It would generate interest, sure. On the other hand it wouldn't add much to "documenting the full range of crank ideas".
Furthermore, putting focus on originality within the guidelines may complicate things. I feel that it is a vague guideline that may not be clear to newcomers. Nullahnung (talk) 12:37, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

You know the SB isn't really the place for this discussion. It should be a separate debate page or it should be on the Community standards talk page. Once the proposal is clear it should be put on the intercom for comments and voting. --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 16:44, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

If it's not in the SB, people will complain that a cabal of obsessive aspies did it without community consensus in secret--"Shut up, Brx." 16:54, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Taking Bob's and Octo8's advice, I've set up a vote on the matter. Please go here to vote. Nullahnung (talk) 01:59, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I tried to put this on the intercom but wouldn't work for me. Anybody else want to try?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 09:16, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
What a waste of time. Dumb idea, dumb "vote". ħumanUser talk:Human 07:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)