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Contents

Neil Tyson's Cosmos and women.[edit]

Has anyone read anything smart about the relationship between the two? Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 03:25, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I fail to see any meaningful relationship between the two. Cosmos doesn't come within a thousand miles to talking about gender or women's issues. While those are serious issues, they're not ones to violently shoehorn everywhere. --|₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Like my hand on a Sunday afternoon: beats the shit out of me! 03:45, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
My impression is that the series did appear to go out of its way to showcase women in science, and occasionally seemed to be making a point about how their contributions were sidelined or unacknowledged. On the other hand, this was often the freshest material on the show, less familiar than the grade school astronomy or biology; the only one whose name I knew was Enheduanna. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:56, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Nah, I've only been reading about how much climate change deniers now HATE him. A bunch of right-wing blogs are up in arms over Cosmos, but nothing about gender. ClothCoat (talk) 05:58, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
The issue is that some nutters are saying that somehow evolution permits rape. Is that what you were referring to? JRock1203 15:13, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Haven't heard that. No, I was interested in the relatively high number of female scientists the show featured. I don't recall NDGT explicitly saying "women have contributed a lot, but their role has been largely overlooked," but the message was obvious. I would love to see what folks in the STS community are saying. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:19, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
One of the things that Cosmos, BBC and PBS (Nova and Nova Now for example) are trying to do is push women without making a big deal that they are pushing women. There was a study that suggested if you say you are highlighting women ("This is national women in science month, let's see if we can find any women in science!") it adds to the feeling that you have to go out of your way to find women in science (which, you kinda do, but that's neither here nor there). If you just show the women, it has a more natural feel that "these are scientists" without saying "and by the way, some have boobs and wombs). Don't know if that helps your question or just adds trivia, but there it is.One tin soldier (talk) 16:59, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I approve of this approach. It may help attract more women to become scientists, and it'll feel more natural to them that way. Nullahnung (talk) 19:38, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
It's actually very helpful. Pretty much the only TV I've watched in the past couple years was Cosmos, Sherlock and Walking Dead, so seeing it in terms of a larger media trend like that, it makes sense. Thanks much. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 17:09, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
BBC science productions have done a far better job, I think, in that they are not just showing women scientists, but highlighting them as presenters. 3 women have presented during the last year's Horizon specials, Dr. Maggie Pocock is the new co-host of Sky at Night (which is far better than the known racist and sexist Sir Patrick Moore - but I digress), and all of the scientific panels I see routinely have women panelists. I guess if you are reviving a rather dead "science" forum in the us, you have to start somewhat small. A black scientist is at least a bit less "middle aged, white male middle class", so there's that.One tin soldier (talk) 18:09, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
This is a bit tangential to the discussion at hand, but I find the differences between "science" and "science according to the public" to be pretty interesting. In most scientific fields, women are sorely underrepresented, which is unfortunate truth. It's great to see programs like Cosmos and networks like the BBC helping to change that paradigm. However, multiculturalism is the norm in scientific endeavours these days, and university scientific researchers in North America will go to great lengths to draw talent from across the world. The fields of science are certainly not colour-blind (we're not there yet), but it's entirely ordinary for your average researcher to be collaborating with people from every continent. I've met many non-scientists, however, who seem quite surprised that middle-aged white men aren't representative of the scientific community. I suppose most people see folks like Dawkins and Hawking and think that's just the norm. Maybe it was some years ago, but the big names in science these days are much more diverse. - Grant (talk) 18:17, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Grant, the "forced" (if you will) emphasis on women, and in the UK at least, scientists of color does two things, I think. One, it helps break the sterotype that we just talked about, of the Hawkins, Dawkins, Greens and Coxes and two, it allows kids who are not white males to identify better. Despite what we would hope we can give our kids, it isn't enough to say "you can do anything". seeing "yourself" in a black president, or a Caribbean woman astrophysicist, or whatever gives you more reality that "you aren't limited in what you get to be." I've listened to Tyson talk about growing up black and wanting to be a scientist. I've also heard the head of NASA talk about it, and oddly enough, Nichole Nichols (Uhura the real) who had a huge influence on black kids wanting to go into science, even though she was fiction.One tin soldier (talk) 18:25, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Oh yes, I know that this is exactly why it's done, and I approve and agree completely. We're nowhere near approaching racial or gender equality in any sense of the words. I guess it just always comes as a shock to me that the public perception of the scientific community is so different from reality. A surprising number of people think that the Big Bang Theory (the TV show) is a good general representation of your average physics grad students, for example. Admittedly, the media doesn't do a great job of correcting these issues (with the exception of the examples mentioned above), but when people start thinking a fictional sitcom is accurate, that seems far more puzzling to me. - Grant (talk) 18:35, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I am astounded that this issue would even come up with anyone. I for one, don't see it as "pushing women scientists" or not pushing them... I see the presentations in Cosmos as a matter of fact: It is a fact that, proportionately speaking, women have contributed much less to science than men; it is a fact that this was pretty much due to the male-centric society of the last few centuries and that men where overwhelmingly more educated than women; it is a fact that a lot of the women who have contributed to science have been overlooked and/or had their credit stolen by others (Mary Anning, Henrietta Levit and Rosalind Franklin come to my mind); it is also a fact that as our society has become more inclusive, more and more women engage in science. Stating and presenting facts is not pushing one view or another, in the same way that presenting the fact that most scientific advancement (since the Enlightenment) up until the 20th century was made by europeans is not being "euro-centric" or "anti-american", it is just a fact. The American tendency to politicize everything really is mind-boggling to me. Cheers! Danoso (talk) 23:06, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Except that nothing is that simple. First of all, it's not an "american" thing, since the movement was started by the BBC. secondly, France tv, german tv (the two i've followed recently) don't show or highlight women scientists, cause they put out a call and 50 men show, and 3 women show. they chose men 47% of the time. The bbc started a trend to say "so what if there are only 3 women, i'm going ot use all three of them, even use them twice in place of some men". this is not reverse discrimination, it's an attempt to highlight women without making a big deal out of it. it's an attempt to help change the STEM culture that tells little girls there is no place for them in STEM fields. And yes, they do have to "dig" to find qualified women. there is nothing wrong with that, but you can't just say it's "not political" cause in the end, you do have to justify "why did you show this one female astronomer who found a slightly less significant thing, instead of this dude who proved this other big thing". One tin soldier (talk) 02:39, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Did we used to have such a picture?[edit]

I was talking about a bible lookalike with the phrase "A History of Brief Time" or the like as the subtitle. Any of that rang a bell? K61824Ask me for relationship advice 03:01, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Drunk idea:[edit]

Probability implies fate, given that as the number of trials compared to outcomes increases, a perfect spread inevitably occurs. Thoughts? Javasca₧ secret trainer of guillotines! 01:53, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, if we take a fitting definition of "fate" with that... it becomes a bit tautological. Nullahnung (talk) 02:06, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
What does that even mean? ~~El Wet Wipe Bandito

Eh, too much thinking involved to be a drunk idea. Here's one I found in a Philosoraptor meme: If a man uses a time machine to have sex with his older/younger self (interchangeable), is it gay or is it masturbation? --Captain Wolff (talk) 16:59, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Look for The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold, and "-- All You Zombies --" by Robert A. Heinlein. Nowhere Man (talk) 01:03, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
There is always error in the statistics. What's a "perfect spread"? The sample variance is an unbiased estimator (if I remember right) of the population variance, but even that has error. Sterile (talk) 23:22, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
It is an ideal scenario (infinite trials) that we are supposed to think through as a thought experiment, I guess. But when I think about what "fate" means here, it always ends up tautological to me. Nullahnung (talk) 00:18, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

I just got spam from Liberty University...[edit]

Targeted marketing isn't always context-sensitive, I see. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 17:19, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Any highlights of what they say to you? Zero (talk - contributions) 17:47, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
They have all kinds of financial aid available. I could go there to get my MA and buy lots of Dave Barton books at the School Bookstore, I'll bet. --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 17:52, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Gotta have something to burn when the power goes out.--Miekal 19:04, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Apple is pure, unadulterated evil.[edit]

Step One: Buy a big headphone company. Step 2: Stop equipping your products with a standard headphone jack. Step 3: $200 headphones needed to listen to my This American Life podcasts. Step 4. Profit. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 03:04, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Only filthy peasants use Beats anyway. The true power lies within the superior range of the Sennheiser master race. EDIT: Seriously, the Sennheiser HD 280 pros are amongst the most acclaimed headphones in the industry and only cost $100.--|₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg These abilities - and the charts for them - could deep-throat a sperm whale. 03:54, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
If there was a significant advantage for users then why not have both methods of listening and let the consumers decide for themselves? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 08:44, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
[1](self promotion warning) - David Gerard (talk) 09:44, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
People just need to stop buying from Apple, full stop. Everything they do is this kind of anti-competitive, lock-in type move that ensures they get their cut from every piece of hardware and software you buy. It entirely stifles innovation and makes it harder for everyone else in the ecosystem to make a living. The only way to make them stop is to vote with your wallet. I don't care how shiny whatever the next i-thing they make is, just don't buy it. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:51, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
^This, I agree (writing this as a MacBook/iPod/iPhone owner... I got them as presents, I swear!). Apple is actually more evil (read: anti-competitive/bad for the market) than Microsoft, which is quite a feat. Nullahnung (talk) 16:00, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
People buy you Macbooks and ipods and iphones as presents. Looks like you'll be one of the first people up against the wall when the revolution finally comes. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 16:12, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Done. Personally, I submit wholeheartedly to our glorious overlords I MEAN protectors here in Seattle: Microsoft. They're filthy stinking capitalists, but they're OUR filthy stinking capitalists, so we love them anyway. --Captain Wolff (talk) 17:01, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Is Apple saying it will be impossible to use any headphones at all with new iterations of the iPhone/iPod? I strongly suspect there will be an AD converter that fits between the phone and the Lightning connector. It's just too hard to believe that Apple would render accessories they sold mere days before the new iteration of the phone useless. I'll be really pissed off if I can't use my Shure earbuds if I get an iPhone 6. Nutty Roux (talk) 17:43, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Usually they do sell an adapter for a while, but of course it will be outrageously expensive. Apple has a bad habit of replacing industry standards with their proprietary products. Just as they slowed down that process with their desktops, they pick up the pace with their mobile development. Great. - Grant (talk) 17:46, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, you can't even use a standard USB cable to charge your iphonepodpad. How much are those fancy plugs the users of those products need, as compared to a regular USB connector, which is basically free? Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 18:03, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Far more expensive than it should be. - Grant (talk) 18:12, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I know very little about sound technology, but I know that power degrades every time you daisy chain an extension chord or adapter to a direct connection (Highschool science project - it was a hick town). So would an adapter degrade sound quality? If you are spending 200 bucks for a quality set of earphones, you expect it to remain that quality, right?One tin soldier (talk) 18:27, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I doubt it would affect sound quality enough to make a difference. Most expensive sound equipment is expensive for the sake of being expensive, not because it's good. I doubt a decent adapter would affect sound quality enough for it to matter unless you're professionally recording. Of course, if you're professionally recording, you're also not using an iPod/iPhone/iPad. The problem comes with the ridiculous cost associated with everything Apple produces. Since their Lightning port is proprietary, I doubt we'll be seeing any safe third party adapters on the market. - Grant (talk) 18:31, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
More to the point, only bootleg third party adaptors even can exist. Apple charge exorbitant "licensing fees" for the designs of their proprietary connectors. More lock in at work. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 23:11, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Yep, and most folks don't know the difference between a bootleg adapter that does its job well and one that burns their house down, which makes buying or building one a particularly dangerous endeavour. - Grant (talk) 23:14, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

The sound quality of your equipment is also largely irrelevant with the MP3 format, which sounds like shit to begin with. For what it's worth, I use my phone (not an Apple product) to listen to podcasts while I'm walking the dog or working out, but the podcasts I listen to are largely just people talking, so I don't really care too much about the audio quality there. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 18:39, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

This is also true. While most devices now support some lossless formats, it's still far from common. Apple's lack of support for FLAC isn't helping. - Grant (talk) 18:52, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Hell, Android didn't support FLAC until 3.1. And the decision was accompanied by an inhuman amount of drama in the Google Code forums. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Maaaayyyybeeee you'll think of me when you are all alone 19:12, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. I know there's some significant debate about whether lossless formats are even desirable for mobile devices, given the vastly larger file sizes. It would be nice if Apple wasn't trying to push their own proprietary formats, but that's been the way of it for a long time. - Grant (talk) 19:15, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Ahem. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 20:25, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I suspect the evil company may be setting the stage for wireless headphones, with the tethered version being a toe in the water. Your basic (or fancy) analog earbuds won't work with the newfangled pods/pads anyway, not without a codec in the middle. Can somebody tell us what the technical advantage of the "48 kHz digital audio" is supposed to be? Could be battery life, but if the pod has to power the phones, maybe not... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:51, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
It could conceivably have slightly better performance in very high frequencies (though that would rely on a sufficient sample rate for the audio file itself), but I think the main advantage is to allow things like microphone support. Since the pod powers the phones with the standard jack, standard phones shouldn't have different battery life. The power provision is for bells and whistles like active noise cancellation, which currently need phone-mounted batteries to work with standard jacks. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 21:17, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Isn't the sample rate fixed at 48k samples/sec, stereo 24 bits each side? If anything, battery life will be slightly reduced as compared to analog phones, since the codec takes a smidge of juice to do its thing, along with putting out the same old audio power to the end transducers. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 21:29, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
p.s. Apple started pulling this kind of shenanigans in the eighties, turning their backs on their existing customer base to migrate to glossier, higher-markup products. Feh. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 21:38, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Audio[edit]

Doesn't RW already have some anti-audio woo links? Anyway. Yes, MPEG audio layer III is old and wasn't state of the art in the 1990s when it took off. Nevertheless it's capable of transparency (this is a technical term which means "you can't actually hear the difference, although of course if I tell you it's MP3 you can persuade yourself that you can hear it, because humans delude themselves all the time") at higher bitrates (say 200kbps) even in ideal conditions. 48kHz is fine, 44.1kHz is theoretically fine but leaves little margin for error, meaning a good implementation will tend to be expensive while a 48kHz solution can cut corners without anyone noticing, and that means a lower price (whether this is passed to the end user is of course a matter of economics). 24-bits is total overkill. 16-bits is enough that you can reproduce both the musicians quietly turning the pages of the score and the loudest passages of Beethoven's Ninth, on a linear scale. The higher bitrate means you're able to represent sounds too quiet to ever hear over the noise of your own blood and at the same time a deafening jet takeoff. No equipment exists which can actually play that back though. Useless. These higher bitrates are appropriate for recording (up to 24 bits) and production work (up to 32-bit float) because of a concept called "headroom" but they're of no value for listening to pre-recorded music or whatever except that the number is bigger. Tialaramex (talk) 11:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

While compression schemes are a fascinating subject in their own right, and came into this discussion early on, I think the topic here more properly has to do with the "last three feet" of connection between the pod's output and the earbuds or headphones, analogous to the "last mile" of copper between a landline telephone and the central office, when such things were still commonly used.
If I'm reading things right, this new scheme has a codec right in the headset, with a D/A converter (and an A/D converter if there is a microphone attached.) Seems like needless complexity to me, given the short run of cable involved, unless a case could be made for tailoring the D/A to the particular type of transducer. Maybe it all has to do with slimming the pod, by getting rid of its analog audio capability. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 11:49, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
The main practical problem with earphones / headphones is that people want thin, light cables, and they want to treat them fairly poorly (bundling them into jacket pockets, sitting on them, and so on) and that means even well-made expensive cables have a relatively short lifespan. Whether you're sending PCM data or analogue sound doesn't make any difference to that outcome as far as I can see, a broken copper wire can't transmit either. Tialaramex (talk) 13:23, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
The pendulum may be swinging, at least in the US market, back towards the machismo of enormous headphone shells. Compact earbuds (yay for rare-earth magnets, and the kickbutt sound they enable :P ) don't have much room for fancy electronics. Looking over at the David Clark aviator's headset on the shelf, I think those shells could hold enough processing power to get people to the moon and back. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 13:45, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Even the huge shells have tiny thin cables though most of the time. A friend had a pair years ago that he'd resoldered with a metre or so of mains power cable. Unwieldy but obviously that'll stand up to a lot of punishment, and the sheer weight discourages you from trying to bend it inappropriately or shove it in your pocket. Such DIY is usually not practical for a digital cable. Tialaramex (talk) 14:28, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Problem with those big headphones is a lot of us who wear glasses find them really uncomfortable after a while, with the earpiece of the glasses sandwiched between your ear and your skull. I personally find after about an hour they hurt rather a lot. --Kels (talk) 03:15, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Try wearing those wireframe glasses or whatever they're called in English. The sandwichment is less painful. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg The rose! The rose! It's in my eyes! 03:55, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I've worn a variety of glasses over the years (I have very bad vision) and I've always had the same problem. I'm pretty much resigned to earbuds. But then, I'm not an audiophile, so I can handle a little less fidelity. --Kels (talk) 04:33, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Smaller ears also lessen the effect. Emphasis on lessen; it still hurts after a couple hours. Emphasis on a couple. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Here we are now, entertain us 17:02, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Here is a picture of the David Clark headset. Big cushiony rim to seal out noise, and enough padding that the glasses' temple pieces don't get jammed against the sides of the user's head. That's the kind of thing a radio ham might use for searching through the noise for CW signals for hours at a time. (Continuous Wave, a.k.a. Morse code) Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:19, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
If all else fails, inject heroin into ears. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Burning this game would be an insult to fire. 17:27, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't know about that. After crawling into a such pair of headphones and staying there for hours, an ice pack on the bright red ears might help. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:47, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, we have a fairly lengthy article on the subject of Audio woo. Interestingly, said article will be 7 years old next week. Compro01 (talk) 15:10, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
We (I) should link [2] and/or relevant bits of the transcript into the bits-is-bits stuff and related elements. Monte is probably one of the few people who cares about this and has access to the relevant equipment to actually do this with analogue at both ends (there's not much reason to buy and thus to make such equipment now). I think the "stairsteps aren't real" demo in particular is really effective, a version of this was used on me many, many years ago to explain why PCM works and I think his version would convince absolutely anybody who approaches with an open mind about digital audio. Tialaramex (talk) 10:26, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

I have a confession[edit]

I just found out that I know Orly Taitz's son. I've known her for son for two years now and only just recently realized the connection. I felt both horror and amazement at having come to this conclusion. Cheers. Ayzmo (talk) 19:04, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

That's only a problem if you think awfulness is both genetic, and knowing awful people is horrible. Ikanreed (talk) 20:41, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
He is kinda grody and has been caught cheating in multiple classes. But that's another story. I was actually horrified because I'm not even 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon away. Apparently he refuses to talk about his mom and pronounces his name differently so people won't make the connection. Cheers. Ayzmo (talk) 20:57, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Then again can you honestly expect any slightly sane man to wish for anyone to know of his relation to one of the most infamous idiots and bigots in recent political history? Hell, even Andy seems to downplay who his mother is. Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 02:47, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
I just found out my dad is friends with Roger Ailes's cousin. Go figure. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 03:48, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
I used to work in the home of Tom Cruise's neighbour, and I've always harboured a deep desire to punch Cruise in the face. Is that similar? --Kels (talk) 02:36, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

ClickHole[edit]

In which The Onion parodies clickbait sites. It's kind of sad that it resembles way too many news sites today. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Ate at a Chinese restaurant therefore is literally Hitler 17:18, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Wow. There are actually posts behind those links. I have to wonder if it's worth the effort--"Shut up, Brx." 17:52, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
See also: UpWorthIt. Swerve (talk) 19:01, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
The George RR Martin piece is pretty funny. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:05, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the only difference between this Onion parody site and the Huffington Post is that the parody site is easier to navigate and has less ads. (Sigh.) --OverworldTheme (talk) 00:55, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

I did a search[edit]

And didn't see anything so sorry if this is a repeat. But can any of our US colleagues tell me if this is for real or not? Oldusgitus (talk) 19:22, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Looks legit to me. It wouldn't surprise me either. You can buy bullet-proof backpacks too.
FFS. So instead of actually adressing the issue they provide a blanket? It's like letting a child play with a flame thrower and saying "it's ok, we've got a fire extinguisher here in case they set fire to something". Oldusgitus (talk) 19:29, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Instead of addressing? A common reaction to violence here in the US is proposing more violence. Even as a "moderate" position. Ikanreed (talk) 20:44, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
The "school shootings" angle appears to be someone in marketing having a brainstorm. Previously, they were offering it for the more sensible purpose of protection from tornadoes (protection against flying debris, etc.), which has been pushed behind the shootings stuff. Waving the bullet-holed shirt as a marketing tactic. Compro01 (talk) 21:53, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh wow. The models from that BulletBlocker site look way more like they're posing as the next mass murder perpetrators than ordinary people taking sensible precautions. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:38, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
That first guy seriously looks like Hoxton, right before he ruins some bank's day. Way to be "Self Defense" --Revolverman (talk) 09:01, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
To be fair when adults play with fire that is _one_ of the persuasions taken. To be relevant though, these people aren't trying to solve the problem they are trying to make money off of people's fear. While I'm fairly certain what the conclusions would be it might be interesting to see a detailed analysis of the cost, practicality, and effectiveness of everyone having&wearing bullet proof vests. --NonPerson (talk) 03:15, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Just an idea… (warning- more fucking mission talk)[edit]

So, amidst all of the discussion lately about what is an isn't missional, what RW should and shouldn't cover, et cetera, I started thinking- what if we had, like, an entire page just for explanation of the mission? At this point, AFAIK, we only have four relatively vague explanations that can easily be interpreted in loads of different ways (what counts as authoritarianism, for example?), and a brief overview on the community standards. It is my shitty opinion that we should elaborate a lot more, or, at the very least, offer some form of official agreed upon explanation in a place that is easy to find. Like, we could have a help/project space thing wherein we outline the four criteria, and give a detailed explanation of all of them, for example. Do we already have something like that? If so, ignore everything I just said. Otherwise, yeah, I think that would be a pretty good idea. GØØBY PLS What is this that stands before me?Dolan.png 06:21, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

This is sensible in theory, but likely to attract more wiki-lawyering. Scarlet A.pngDon't click here 13:55, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, I guess some shit might go down at first, but what kinda shit had to happen for the Community Standards? I mean, I guess RW was smaller back then (when were the CS actually written, just out of curiosity?), but I still think that it would be a worthwhile edit to prevent more meaningless arguments in the future. It could be written collaboratively, with votes on whether contentious stuff (gender, politics, social justice, etc.) should/shouldn't be included, for example, or there could have some form of site-wide mass debate (pardon my immaturity). I mean, I'm sure that it will be tedious and painful at first, but in the long run, I feel that this is pretty much vital to the community's well-being. But then, what do I know? I've only been here less than a year, and I don't get half of the shit about the community or history, so you can count my opinion as worthless. I just thought I was being clever. DØØM MĖSSIÅH Reaching out to embrace the randomDolan.png 10:18, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Conservapedia. Lotta the Community Standards are just directly the opposite of how stuff worked on CP. (e.g. Admins revision-deleting stuff from talk pages? ALL TALK PAGES MUST BE PRESERVED FOREVER. Admin abuse? MAKE EVERYONE AN ADMIN. etc.) Simple photo-negative reversing stupidity usually just results in more stupidity, but CP was so fucked-up that reversed-CP has actually worked well here for several years. As such I wouldn't take an axe to it, but remembering the reasons for things is always useful - David Gerard (talk) 12:15, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Ah, okay. Still, who else thinks this is a good idea? Are there any criticisms to be had, or improvements that could be made to my proposal? DØØM MĖSSIÅH Play the best song in the world, or I'll eat your soulDolan.png 12:25, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea at all. Expanding on what Armondikov says, it will just create another opportunity for divisive wiki lawyering by people who want to expand the mission and those who oppose it. That's the very nature of a discussion that broad on a Wild West site like RW. Gender and sexuality issues uniformly get pressed as aspects of authoritarianism. They're not, but that's my opinion and in my further opinion, resolving that is where the discussion needs to go and it's a discrete enough topic so as to not be completely overwhelming. I don't think RW actually has the legal authority to change its mission, but understanding why people believe what they do about these issues vis a vis the mission is the most sensible opening move. I like learning enough to admit I'm wrong when I am. I have not, however, seen much but unconvincing argument by assertion that these issues are missional, that we need to cover them because they're important and we need to cover them, or that the mission is anachronistic. Nutty Roux (talk) 14:23, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Hmm… I guess that I see what you're saying… I definitely think that we should solve the whole gender thing before we go any further with mission discussion. My suggestion wasn't so much about expanding or changing the mission so much as offering further explanation about what the individual criteria mean, if you see what I'm saying- although the wiki-lawyering and shit is a pretty big-arse problem, I admit. As for the whole gender thing, I do think that we should cover some of the major aspects like feminism, the MRM, gender itself, et cetera; however, I do not think that any of these are necessarily explicitly missional, and, as such, we could stand to lose quite a few of the smaller/less important gender articles. MĖSSIÅH ØF DØØM Keeping myself alive, through your EMPATHY.Dolan.png 07:21, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
"I don't think RW actually has the legal authority to change its mission" - it's not clear how this could be the case. To quote the bylaws (which still have RMF's old name in): "The mission of the RationalWiki Foundation is to promote and defend science, critical thinking and public interest dialog in a free and open forum. The Foundation seeks to develop and publicize free educational and collaborative content, create community focused software, and to connect and advance the global community of rational thinkers." What lack of legal authority did you have in mind? - David Gerard (talk) 11:38, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Well certainly the Board of Trustees is the only body with the legal authority to change the RWF's mission. As for RW's mission, I don't know. - Grant (talk) 15:39, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
The non profit status was granted based upon RW Mission Statement; to change the mission may entail creating a new entity. At least that's how things work in the United States. A tax-exempt organization isn't free to move the goal line after after game has begun. nobsJesus loves you and I love you, but nobody else does. 04:35, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I said I question whether RW has legal authority, not the RMF. In any event, I've also said the justification for adding the focus without a mission change and/or changing the mission needs to be discussed on the merits. It would be superduper if it could be without accusations of people being sexists, MRAs, or "not wanting to have to think about gender issues in their skepticism" or the like. Nutty Roux (talk) 04:42, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Everyone has cool names.[edit]

For example, Reysenn. How the F*ck do you do that? I'm actually just interested for the sake of knowing.


Cheers, Orlyn — Unsigned, by: Orlyn / talk / contribs

Well, what you do see, is on the night of the full moon, before you sign up, make up a bed at the foot of a willow tree, facing north. Consume half of bottle of absinth, then sleep. Mighty Lord Jerboa will appear to you in your dreams and whisper your username in your ear. Upon waking, sign up immediately, or else your puppy will get run over by a truck, gets buried in a haunted pet cemetery and then you're going to have more shit than you can handle. PsyGremlinTal! 09:28, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
I like revolvers, and I have das testicalies. --Revolverman (talk) 10:01, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
It's a combination of fancy fonts and template usage for the sig. Nullahnung (talk) 11:59, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Help is helpful. Scream!! (talk) 12:18, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
If you mean the signature thing that's always changing, click the above link. If you just mean your username, I personally chose mine based on the genre doom metal, though I think that in general, most people tend to choose things that either, A) just sound cool, B) are based on some form of joke, or C) based on their real name. THE GREAT RIGHTEØUS DESTRØYER What is this that stands before me?Dolan.png 13:24, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. I just found out, from that help page, that image links in signatures are deprecated. Just as well that I mostly use the standard default "four tildes" style then, saving the fancy gif for momentous or dramatic occasions. There is also this page, with a poll asking "Which user has the coolest signature?" The answer seems clear enough. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 13:36, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
YES. An excuse to talk about himself and answer a question nobody asked. MoD to the rescue! Nutty Roux (talk) 14:11, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh, for God's sake, just shut the fuck up already. In their question, they asked how people chose cool names. I was not sure if he meant usernames or sigs, so I fucking answered for both. How about you stop fucking adding irrelevant shit to conversations just to get off on your petty hatreds? DØØM MĖSSIÅH Fuck all you gun-toting hip gangster wanna-besDolan.png 21:33, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Grudge holders in general are hilariously petty people. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Masturbation masturbation pies pies Brian Cox 23:20, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
To which of them were your referring?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 12:39, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
from what I can see, nutty roux appears to have been attacking the great righteous destroyer/doom messiah who is for some reason also called mod, for contributing to the conversation. doom messiah then got pissed at nutty roux and called him petty, and raysenn agreed. am i somwhere in the ball park?101.168.85.67 (talk) 14:08, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
I think Bob was asking rhetorically. He doesn't like me. Nutty Roux (talk) 15:07, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
ok. btw what does mod stand for???101.168.85.67 (talk) 15:32, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Messiah of Doom, my official name (which I have requested to be changed to Doom Messiah, so that should be changing at some point). DØØM MĖSSIÅH …Sate the Suicide ChoirDolan.png 15:40, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
First, you have to sacrifice a goat. ·Femilisk³ 15:01, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
And make the jerboa your sworn enemy. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Advocate for the liberation of Willzyx 16:10, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
eyesore signatures aside, I wish people would stop changing their names every five minutes. Seriously, pick a name and stick with it, you fickle fuckers AMassiveGay (talk) 03:49, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
But I just started my band Aqua Fresh Brutal Gods of DeathMurderKill. If I don't change my name, who will listen to my jams? |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg I've got canned heat in my heels tonight, baby 04:00, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
With a name like that? Please. Who wouldn't listen to your jams? MESSIAH OF DOOM Be judged by your suicidal desireDolan.png 04:36, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Just remember to define your genre as post-hardcore-symphonic-sludge-doom-black-metal so people know your music is SRS BSNS. PsyGremlinTal! 07:01, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Post-hardcore-symphonic-sludge-doom-black metal? Really? Everybody knows that post-crossover-progressive-technical-death-black-shoegaze-funeral-thrash-drone metal is the real SRS BSNS. Philistines. MESSIAH OF DOOM Dancing on the corpses' ashesDolan.png 10:05, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

A cool name is something you have or you don't. Fonzie (talk) 21:59, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Long article titles[edit]

Take a look at this. Anyone else think the article titles are too long? I'd like to move every Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False to a much more manageable Mind and Cosmos. Thoughts? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 09:17, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

I see no reason not to keep the full titles. Woo books frequently have rather generic names - David Gerard (talk) 10:27, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Only if it'd help people find them, otherwise what David said.--Miekal 14:12, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Keep the long name, but have redirects from the shorter names. THE GREAT RIGHTEØUS DESTRØYER Dancing on the corpses' ashesDolan.png 14:13, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
I think it should be the other way around: use the short name as the page title, unless it's something really generic that can be confused with an article on some unrelated topic.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:19, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Zooguard. Everything after the colon is a subtitle and doesn't need to be part of the article title. Other long titles can be shortened to a commonly used short one too, e.g. On the Origin of Species instead of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. SophieWilderModerator 10:23, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
You see, my logic was that it maintained the full accuracy of the title without people having to type for like 8647292048474930201 hours. However, the subtitle thing makes sense. MĖSSIÅH ØF DØØM Remembrance of the transcending moonDolan.png 10:40, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Just for fun 8647292048474930201 hours is over ten thousand times the age of the observable universe according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_of_an_expanding_universe#Stelliferous_Era --NonPerson (talk) 03:13, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Just thought this was so funny[edit]

What? MĖSSIÅH ØF DØØM Keeping myself alive, through your EMPATHY.Dolan.png 07:23, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I believe Dat ass(hole) looks like the face of Jesus. --Revolverman (talk) 07:42, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
since this dogs arse has clearly been blessed, will its shite vomiting forth from the face of our saviour be similarly blessed? AMassiveGay (talk) 12:05, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I didn't need this picture in my life, let alone at work. Zero (talk - contributions) 13:10, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Didn't RW have some kind of tag/category for hiding NSFW images that could be seen only if you opt-in? Am I misremembering or did it get wiped during a MediaWiki update? Also, I think that this has been uploaded some place already.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:21, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
+1 on Zero's comment. Fleet (talk) 17:29, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Aside from which, how many dozens of times have I seen that damn thing by now? It's made the rounds a bunch of times already, it ain't a new thing. --Kels (talk) 17:53, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Request from the Twitter: non-woo "natural" sites?[edit]

Serious‬ request from the Twitter:

Michael Currie @MtotheCCurrie
@RationalWiki I'm trying to ween my SO off of Natural News. Do you know of any non-completely crazy sites that focus on "natural" topics?
@RationalWiki I know what I'm asking, but I need a stepping stone to get her free of that den of madness. Something biased but that (1/2)
@RationalWiki doesn't lie would be great (2/2)

Does anyone have any help to offer? - David Gerard (talk) 18:34, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

The "medicine" tab of scienceblogs gives a wide selection of people writing smart stuff, and I think I recall seeing some "natural topics" there (if the asker means what I think he does...) That said, lot of it leans towards debunking, and, like many debunkers, sometimes treats the people it needs to teach like idiots, which wouldn't be helpful. I would maybe check out some of their bloggers and see if anyone is writing anything worthwhile, maybe? Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 18:46, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
The whole "natural" shtick is woo in and of itself. When you take the position that "natural" substances are inherently superior to or safer than synthetic substances, you're entering woo territory, whether you mean to or not. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 20:18, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
While not necessarily "better", natural vs. synthetic can be different in ways that you might need to pay attention to. For example, natural latex vs. synthetic latex. Compro01 (talk) 21:13, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

The RationalWiki Facebook "Blunt Knives" Coup[edit]

This discussion was moved to Forum:RationalWiki Facebook group meltdown. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:16, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

I'm writing a tax code for my Political Science class. Any advice...?[edit]

I've ended up in the farthest left party in the class (which also holds 45% of the seats in the Parliament) and I appointed myself Minister of Revenue and Welfare. My current tax plan follows a sine-curve along income percentiles, shifting much of the tax burden towards those who can actually afford to pay the taxes. Currently, bottom 1 percentile pays an 8% income tax, the top 1 percentile pays 52% income tax, and the median tax rate is 30%. I've got other things in place for defining income, as well as adjusting rates for cost of living and charitable donations. I'll go into them in more detail if anybody asks. --Captain Wolff (talk) 04:51, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

It always helps to include economic projections with your tax code, because that's always relevant to the actual revenue levels. There's no rule that says that this projection can't be skewed to make your idea look good. Ikanreed (talk) 14:50, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Are those percentage total rates or marginal rates? Because if they're marginal rates, that's far from being "far left". (even if they're total rates, 52% for a millionaire isn't that high. The leftists I know generally call for a marginal rate somewhere between 75% and 90% above something between 200k€ and 1M€. The harshest figure, would end with a 1M€ earner paying a 72% total rate, and that would be with a 0 marginal rate below his first 200k€)--dx (talk) 14:59, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Percentage totals. You pay for every cent you make. The rates are subsequently adjusted for cost of living increases or decreases in the area where the individual lives, and any charitable donations are also taken into account. But after that, the tax remains fairly close to the rates I stated in the original post. Besides, 52% is still a decent chunk, at least by current American standards, where I am. --Captain Wolff (talk) 15:13, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
It sounds like your proposal is actually shifting more of the tax burden on to the poor than the tax system does at present. An 8% tax on the bottom 1% is still way in excess of what they presently pay. You need to have a system where the first X number of dollars in annual income is tax free, then increasing tax brackets above that amount. What you have now sounds more like the proposal some conservative nutcase would put forward after their flat tax has been shot down. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 15:24, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
What about corporate taxes? What about consumption taxes and a sales tax? Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:31, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Don't forget capital gains. Most of your short term dividends and capital gains from stocks are taxed at the current income tax rate, but if it's long term then you pay a lot less across the board (but guess which class makes more use of this?). Somewhat along those lines, what about an estate tax? --User:PsychoGecko 18:16, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Anyways, my plan for corporations is to tax the ever-loving hell out of them. I'll compress the tax-curve so the bottom 25% pay no income tax, and the curve goes from 25th percentile to 100th percentile. That should mean that the 62nd percentile would pay the median tax rate. The state's a welfare state anyways (Universal free healthcare, part of college tuition free, full unemployment benefits, transitional housing for homeless, etc. --Captain Wolff (talk) 18:22, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Tax is easy. Just make as many separate rules as possible, ideally one for each specific occasion/source of income/product/etc, and change them every year. Other than that it doesn't really matter. As an added bonus, try to ensure that there is a loophole or two for your own personal use. Fonzie (talk) 21:49, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
It's harder than that. You have to also build in perverse incentives that do things like getting everyone to invest in collectable Pogs. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 13:27, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
the problem with corporate tax is that it kind of has to be flat, although you can still split investment income from rest of the operations. However, remember the gain/income from Defined Benefit (DB) pension funds (which the corporation technically owns) should probably not be taxed unless you are giving some weird incentives to keep them funded (then you need to list what strict assumptions you want them to use, etc). ThiehZOYG I edit like Kenservative! 14:17, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Capitain, you said you could define income; please explain (1) the differences between income, revenue, and compensation? Secondly, please explain how to differentiate. nobsJesus loves you and I love you, but nobody else does. 19:21, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Is compensation (such as wages) income? or is compensation reimbursement for loss? What is the difference between gain and income? Better yet, define revenue. nobsJesus loves you and I love you, but nobody else does. 19:44, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
ok. so you want to tax compensation (i.e., wages) as "income". Compensation by definition is reimbursement for losses (and usually does not cover the actual losses). So much for justice. And so much for caring about "the little guy". nobsJesus loves you and I love you, but nobody else does. 23:36, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

The great Bloc echo chamber strikes again![edit]

[3] I'm honestly a bit shocked by this. Given that separatism is what turned an at worse status quo election into a complete and utter disaster for the Bloc in Quebec, to put someone already openly calling for it (and insulting past leaders in the process) is insanity. It's almost like they want to become completely marginalized. Radicalization seems like the worst way to go when both Québécois parties are near falling into the abyss.

“The Bloc Québécois will be the motor behind the relaunching of the separatist movement. We’ve been waiting for this moment for 20 years, the time for waiting is over.” I wonder how he came to that conclusion. --Revolverman (talk) 07:21, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

He has a long history of harboring white supremacists and has no regrets. If this doesn't finally spell the end of Quebec separatism, I don't know what will. Osaka Sun (talk) 07:37, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh man, it just keeps getting better and better. I kinda hope he does get himself a seat in the house, if just for the entertainment! --Revolverman (talk) 07:40, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, this: "He has suggested that, if he were leader, he would ask each MP to donate $50,000 of their annual salary to support the sovereignist cause." Osaka Sun (talk) 07:48, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Does that fuck hear himself talk? |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Kyubey stares into your soul. /人◕‿‿◕人\\ 12:49, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
He's quoting the FLQ, the most dangerous home grown terrorist group in Canadian History. He hears himself, and loves it. --Revolverman (talk) 14:15, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Wait, he quoted a fucking terrorist group and he wasn't expelled from the party? Nice PR there, Bloc. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Advocate for the liberation of Willzyx 18:19, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
The case of the FLQ is a bit more complicated than it may seem at first glance. While it was undoubtedly a terrorist group (and a nasty one at that), public support for the FLQ among separatists was surprisingly robust until the kidnapping and murder started. Relations between Quebec and the rest of Canada are quite complex, so it doesn't surprise me that this is the case. While the vast majority of Quebec appears to be against separation, the political old guard of the Bloc and PQ are not. - Grant (talk) 18:30, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, the FLQ were Reds. Can't forget that one. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! 19:01, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Well that didn't take very long. --Revolverman (talk) 07:08, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

The only English-language journalist writing about Quebec who's worth reading agrees with y'all. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 16:22, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
My parents were federalists in both sovereignty referendums (I was too young to vote at the time), but I still remember the fervour of some of our separatist friends. While sovereignty was a question that actually carried weight at that point (unlike now), there was still always a major disconnect between francophones and anglophones on this issue. I'm going to have to be sure to check some of the French-language press outlets to see what the prevailing view is. - Grant (talk) 17:34, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Perpetuating your own bad stereotype[edit]

I think my girlfriend was watching Women's Entertainment (WE) when this came on, but I can't quite remember. There was a commercial that featured a gay crossdresser/transgendered man (never established which it is) pitching an at home HIV test. I thought it was odd, then he (she?) did some "man on the street" questionnaires of other gay men (this is clearly established) asking about how important it is. All I could think about when watching the commercial is "I feel this is just perpetuating HIV as The Gay Disease." I couldn't shake the feeling that it was doing it wrong. I don't have a link to it or anything, but anyone see this? Zero (talk - contributions) 13:23, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

if the ad is targeted at gay folk it makes sense to have gay folk in the ad. Men who have sex with men (the nhs's wording) without condoms is an at risk group, and HIV is an ever present worry amongst gay people that the question to potential partners 'are you clean?' Rarely raises an eyebrow. It may well perpetuate stereotypes to some, but there are clear risks that need to be addressed. And let's not forget that HIV/aids did devastate the gay community in the 80s that you would be hard pressed to find any movies or literature from that time that doesn't address it. These days with medication, its nots quite the death sentence it once was and folk have become more lax with the risks they take. So, yes is the short answer, these ads are necessary and they need to be targeted at the at risk groups (not just the gays, but separate ads for other groups). I don't speak for all the gays though, so feel free to set me rightAMassiveGay (talk) 17:23, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
the only egregious stereotype I can see is that gay folk watch women's entertainment. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:26, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
By the way, the reason medics choose "men who have sex with men" as the key phrase rather than "gay men" is that they're conscious that most importantly (a) Some men who do not think of themselves as gay do choose to have sex with other men, because human sexuality is complicated and less importantly (b) Some men identify as gay but don't have sex, in the same way that some identify as straight but don't have sex. For active interventions like condom use both these matter. The virus is a risk for men who have sex with men and so that's the right group to target. Tialaramex (talk) 17:55, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't mean it as not making sense to have gay men in the ad, but why not a (lesbian) female? How about a straight man out of the crowd? When you have ten "ambush interviews", why not a bit more diversity than the one odd crossdresser/transgendered person? I'm not denying that HIV is a problem, but I thought we were long past the idea that it's "The Gay Disease" and that it affects straight people just as much. Just felt this commercial was unfortunate. Zero (talk - contributions) 18:16, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Is it really any different to road safety ads targeting young men? Sure there are plenty of other people who drive like idiots but they are an at risk group. Ajkgordon (talk) 18:26, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
"...it affects straight people just as much." Does it? What are the numbers like now, in terms of the breakdown of people with the virus? (in North America, or Europe, or Australia, or NZ, or wherever this ad aired, I mean. I understand that the demographics differ re: geography...) Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 18:33, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the virus notices the sexuality of the IV drug abusers it infects. No numbers, sorry. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:52, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
No doubt. I was really only thinking re: sexual transmission (though, as, I THINK it was A Massive Gay, don't quote me on that, pointed out the other day, it's hard to separate drug use from some sexual subcultures and put each behavior in a tidy box....) Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 18:59, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

There is an issue, I think, with the positive images of gay people you see in the media these days. It always a monogamous gay couple, perhaps even a family, doing what ordinary couples and families do it an ideal rather than relatity, and it is a straight ideal at that. I realise a lot gay people want this ideal, or even have this ideal. That's great and its great that they now can attain that ideal. The problem is for a lot of gay people that ideal is completely foreign to how they live that if you get ads like the one mentioned above that even slightly reflects the reality of gay life it gets accused of perpetuating negative stereotypes. Sometimes, negative stereotypes are not negative to the people stereotyped, and if they are negative, sometimes there is truth in them. AMassiveGay (talk) 21:29, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

The idea of gay "swinging" never bothers me. They go to bars as much as the rest of us (except I, I'm a blippin' lightweight). Zero (talk - contributions) 17:59, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. There's a fantastic episode in the 5th season of QAF (Episode 15, "We Will Survive" that deals with the issue of trying to paint people with a brush to say "we're all the same". Because nobody is the same. We're not a massive melting pot, even within the majority culture. As for the idea that HIV ads aimed at gay guys is a bad idea... I think that's stupid. Make ads relatable to the target audience. You're not going to get gay men to get tested by aiming ads at lesbians. AyzmoCheers 18:36, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

HOW TO FIX THE WIKI[edit]

This discussion was moved to Forum:RationalWiki Facebook group meltdown. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:16, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Facebook-induced HCM‎[edit]

This discussion was moved to Forum:RationalWiki Facebook group meltdown. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:16, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Biblical prophecies[edit]

Those who care about (counter-)apologetics may want to have a look at Failed biblical prophecies. There are a few recent additions with a certain slant. Please note that instead of a revert, a smarter move would be to find out if these are common arguments and incorporate them (with the appropriate rebuttals) in the article.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:34, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

This is a page I'm seeing people tweet a lot (I frequently do a search for Twitter for the word "rationalwiki"). Should be regarded as an entry point and polished and made robust - David Gerard (talk) 09:37, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Strand and Father Vivian O'Blivion have been adding some things today that on the "other" wiki would be considered vandalism... I'm new here so maybe someone with a bit more influence than me might want to step in. AlvidBarza (talk) 15:20, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Father Vivian reverted what looked like an IP deletion, except the content in question was arguing in the article text. I've posted to the user's talk page suggesting they put it on the article talk page - David Gerard (talk) 15:34, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't look at that one carefully at all. My bad. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:45, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
That might actually have been my bad... Sorry Father Vivian O'Blivion that IP deletion was me before I made an accout. I'll take the blame for mucking about. AlvidBarza (talk) 16:01, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Can someone take a look at Hollingsworth v. Perry?[edit]

It said requires updating, I made changes, my newspeak english linguistics are subpar, so you guys might want to take a look to see if the update template is done sitting there. K61824Insomnia? Masturbate till you pass out 17:11, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

If you can't have owners see reason[edit]

...then try a back door approach. trademark cancelled. I'm rather surprized they had the balls, but more power to them.One tin soldier (talk) 18:49, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

It should be noted that the Redskins have not lost their trademark, just the right to re-register it, and even that restriction is on hold while they make their appeal. This also isn't the first time this happened, the Trial and Appeals Board rescinded the team’s trademark protections back in 1999 based on a case filed in 1992. A federal court however later overturned the ruling on appeal due to a technicality.--BMcP - Just an astronomy guy 22:22, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

About the Obama and fascism page...[edit]

While I think we could fairly easily make a decent take down of the idea Obama's a fascist the whole "Fourteen Points of Fascism" thing is an internet hoax. "Dr." Lawrence Britt does not appear to exist at all, though it's been speculated that a buisnessman by the same name just wrote the fourteen points in an article titled "Fascism anybody?" in order to accuse Bush of being a fascist. Was Bush a laughably incompetant president who will remain in the bottom 10 presidents in US history? Probably. Was he a fascist? No. Anyway it's embarrassing we have that page up anyways sicne it appears to be a hoax and before anyone asks yes I brought this up on the talk page a year ago but now my edits appear to be gone. ClothCoat (talk) 07:39, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

If it is fake, burn it with fire. - π 08:50, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
It is done Godfather. Haha I couldn't resist... sorry. ClothCoat (talk) 08:52, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Good call, ClothCoat. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 08:57, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Here are the actual origins of said internet hoax. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 08:58, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Goats + Science[edit]

He's getting better! --TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 18:30, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Failed biblical prophecies[edit]

Let's polish the old stuff! The article Failed biblical prophecies gets a fair bit of Twitter linkage. What does it need, what's missing? What can be done to polish it up? - David Gerard (talk) 18:52, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Teach the controversy[edit]

I found this snarky site selling T-shirts - Teach the Controversy. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 01:53, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

I lol'd, but I didn't understand the Polybius one. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:58, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I had to google it. Apparently there was a video game named Polbius that was quite popular in Oregon. Supposedly men in black would take data from the video game every now and then that analyzed how kids played the game. There's an urban legend that it was a mind control experiment or something about subliminal messaging. I'm assuming that's what the shirt is referring to. Rather obscure compared to the rest though. AyzmoCheers 02:07, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I was thinking of this Polybius. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:13, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
It's kinda amusing that all if this shit is actually believed by a group of people somewhere. MĖSSIÅH ØF DØØM …Sate the Suicide ChoirDolan.png 06:17, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
They're fun. I loved the classical elements one. But I didn't understand what a few of them were meant to represent until I read the shirts' names. I thought the reincarnation one was something to do with cats eating dead people and people eating dead cats. And I'm a clever clogs. Most of those would need a lot of explanation to really stupid people. Maybe that's the point. Spud (talk) 14:44, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

SCOTUS crazy is back![edit]

The Hobby Lobby decision will be made this week. Does a corporation, now a person, have the right to worship, and therefore be able to suspend employees' access to birth control? Osaka Sun (talk) 18:51, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

The implications of this are huge, and far wider reaching than birth control. If a corporation can have values per say, that are constitutionally protected, then they can justify not hiring women if they are hard core fundamentalists of certain regions; they can require that the company hold a public prayer each morning and more dangerously, require employees to attend such prayers or risk their job security. A larger question will be asked, I suspect, than the application of CitUnited, and that is, what does it mean to be a religious employer, and what rights do employees have in the long run. If i found a religion that says the only people of value or those who work harder than the average person and do so for no reward - can I stop paying my employees? Can i have a 70 hour work week? Can a religious employer legally discriminate against protected classes? Legally, there is no compelling reason this should win, since it pivots on "religious infringement", but obamacare provides a way out, so the company itself is not paying for the birth control. So how is it effecting the company or the owner's beliefs? Sadly, i think like everything else Roberts has done, it will be found in such a narrow way, that it won't apply to many other cases out there, especially things like gay rights.One tin soldier (talk) 20:05, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Whoa[edit]

I've been registered with this site for about four-and-a-half years and I'm just now making my first edit. Well, hey everyone. This is my introductory post. — Melab (Talk) 02:53, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Hihi TyJFBAA 03:13, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
How-dee! - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:23, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Hello, time-traveler from the past! How are things back in 2009? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 16:19, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

explicit consent and consent culture[edit]

A post in the WIGOClog about reactions to consent culture, had me link surfing around this topic. And I was surprised to find so many authors who are seemingly in a panic driven fear of explicit consent. here for example. I'm left with 2 questions. 1) is it really that uncommon to get explicit consent from your partners, and 2) why does the idea of explicit consent scare / annoy so many people. The author in the linked piece doesn't just fear the laws, but finds targeted advertisement regarding making sexual consent explicit part of your normal practice, to be horrible and "bigsisterism". I'm lost. how hard is it to say "Do you like that?" "Do you want me to go on?" One tin soldier (talk) 19:14, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

It's not uncommon, no, but it might be hard for some people. "Sometimes I just kinda wish you'd take the lead", for example, is a thing, but while it is a thing, I would not go into any relationship assuming such a thing, to be safe I would always assume that explicit consent is needed. (Oh yeah, and also taking the lead and asking for explicit consent are not mutually exclusive! If I implied that, I'm sorry. You can certainly do both.) Nullahnung (talk) 20:11, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
its certainly a passion killer if someone keeps asking 'do you want me to go on?' When you have already given and continuing to give implicit consent. I am likely to think they are not on the same level and the sex is going to be poor. I can always say stop at any point and if they don't heed that, then they were never going to ask anyway. AMassiveGay (talk) 20:26, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
I think the problem is that sex is in its nature a deeply intimate affair (also water is wet and fire is hot, just to keep stating the obvious) and asking for an explicit "yes" answer seems a bit formal to some, especially when there is an expectation that the receptive/passive partner will say "no" if he/she does not wish to continue. Also the vague implication that not getting said explicit "yes, i consent to sex" answer is in fact rape even when sex is fully and mutually consented to and enjoyed likely offends quite a few people. Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 20:38, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
I get why the law (well, it's not really a law, but far be it from bloggers to actually be precise about anything) - I get why the rule tying money into regulations saying "informed consent is the gold standard" might worry some, but I don't get the rest of the tie in, where it's somehow bad to suggest that colleges help change the standard to explicit consent. I don't really think the target audience are those in a relationship, cause to me there is a sort of ongoing explicit consent that (as stated above) can be withdrawn at any time. "I love/like/know you, you are free to do what we've done before or even try something new unless i say stop". I *think* the target audience for explicit consent are those short term or one-night kind of things where you just wanna have some fun, but don't really know each other. So in those moments, I think it's not exactly a bad thing to get couples to say something to the effect of "I'm into you, and my goal is sex" which i get is a bit of a mood killer the way i stated it. BUT, say it in that deep throaty voiced thing that men do so well and trust me, it wont' kill any mood.  ;-)One tin soldier (talk) 22:07, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
kind of limiting though isn't it. Not to mention by the time you would need to make such declarations, it would be generally well established what each party is after, be it in a long standing relationship or a one night stand. AMassiveGay (talk) 23:21, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
This is one of a whole suite of issues that I'm really glad don't directly affect me at all. Essentially the only impact for me is that people are more likely to ask before trying to hug or kiss me and less likely to act like I just bit them when I say "I'd really rather you didn't". But as an outsider, I'll say it reminds me of the N-word license thing in that once you write it out as a balance of issues it's so obviously one sided that you wonder how we got along previously. On the one side of the balance you have somebody has their autonomy violated, which is pretty awful, and on the other side you've got... it sorta killed the mood. This isn't even the first time we as a culture have had that conversation. Also famously "killing the mood" are "putting on a condom" and "telling somebody where you're going / who you're meeting" both of which we seem to have got some traction on.
On the other hand I'm afraid that as a gold standard this is a pretty poor one. Explicit consent will get rid of some mistakes, which is good news for both parties. But it's not going to fix the problem of people offering different stories about events that happened where no other witnesses could be present. The archetypal football player on a night out (in the UK we get about one story a week like this) will say that the alleged victim explicitly consented, and her lawyers will say he never asked, and there still aren't any other witnesses so a jury still can't reasonably convict absent other evidence. Tialaramex (talk) 23:34, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
There's a 'consent culture' now? I would have thought that was mostly the default human condition. I ran into that story elsewhere and figured it would be the sort of thing people here eat up, especially since I was amused by it; the chief statement it made just didn't come off quite right. At any rate, I'm too much an old time civil libertarian to imagine that legislators paying attention to sex on a campus will lead to anything good; if you remember the phrase in loco parentis, it ought to trouble you. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:31, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Something interesting on treaties pertaining to genetically modified food[edit]

Before you say anything, I know that GM foods currently on the market aren't likely to turn me into the Flying Spaghetti Monster, so don't get any ideas.

As I'm sure most of us are aware, the regulatory regime for GM foods in Europe is based on the precautionary principle, which essentially states that if you suspect a risk (e.g., to health or the environment), lack of scientific consensus shouldn't serve as an excuse for inaction. The European Union wholeheartedly embraced the principle (the US, not so much), and ultimately applied it too strictly, given the known state of scientific opinion on the subject; this led to the relatively recent (1998-2003) EU moratorium on imports of GM foods, for which it was scolded by the WTO.

One of the EU's defenses was the precautionary principle; the source it cited is the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, to which a great number of countries are signatories. Apparently, there's been a fair degree of controversy, due to its ambiguous preamble (it had to appease competing political interests), over whether it takes precedence over the WTO's Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which also cites the precautionary principle as a valid reason to restrict imports of, for instance, GM food.

And here I come to the crux of my argument: They can both be applied equally, at least with regards to the precautionary principle, without one taking precedence over the other. To prove this point, I have the relevant section of each agreement, with emphasis added:

"Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge regarding the extent of the potential adverse effects of a living modified organism on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Party of import, taking also into account risks to human health, shall not prevent that Party from taking a decision, as appropriate, with regard to the import of that living modified organism intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing, in order to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects." (from the Biosafety Protocol)

"In cases where relevant scientific evidence is insufficient, a Member may provisionally adopt sanitary or phytosanitary measures on the basis of available pertinent information, including that from the relevant international organizations as well as from sanitary or phytosanitary measures applied by other Members. In such circumstances, Members shall seek to obtain the additional information necessary for a more objective assessment of risk and review the sanitary or phytosanitary measure accordingly within a reasonable period of time." (from the WTO agreement)

Apparently, much of the controversy has been over what has been perceived as fundamentally different interpretations of the precautionary principle, which is bunk, as you can see. Each refers clearly to relevant scientific evidence; the only difference is that the WTO agreement is more strict, calling (sensibly, I might add) for any measures taken to be re-evaluated as new evidence becomes available.

Just something interesting I found studying GM food and its acceptance internationally.

DISCLAIMER REGARDING MY OWN STANCE ON THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE: The precautionary principle is itself somewhat controversial. However, these criticisms should properly be directed at the EU's misapplication of it with regards to GM food; it ignored the crucial condition that there has to be a lack of scientific consensus on the potential harm that the product in question may cause, in addition to a credible risk of harm. When applied properly, the precautionary principle can serve as a very useful means to protect human health and the environment. — Unsigned, by: Pmarcotte / talk / contribs 20:45, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Is this a repost? --NerdyWizardyou believed that why? 07:06, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
I think so; can't now find where it was originally posted. Not sure what it's arguing for or against. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:38, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
This is totally a repost, but for some reason, it isn't in the archives anymore. --Revolverman (talk) 07:52, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
It was a previous post from the Saloon Bar, but for some reason it wasn't archived last time Pibot came around. Then Zero changed something (I can't tell what) and it moved down here to the last entry. - Grant (talk) 15:49, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
The timestamp was wrong - whoever added the unsig template used the five tildes instead of the actual date. The post is from May. Sections don't get archived unless there's a valid timestamp in them - Pibot uses it to determine how old is the last post in the section.
What did Zero change?--ZooGuard (talk) 08:01, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh, interesting, I didn't know about the timestamp issue. I have no idea what Zero changed. All I saw was a 1 byte removal, and I wasn't inclined to wade through the diff to figure out what changed. All I know is that it displaced the section from the first entry on this page to where it is now, which I don't imagine was intended. - Grant (talk) 23:31, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

WWIII[edit]

Who will be involved? Whose fault will it be? Who'll win? What kinda evil shit will we see happening this time? DØØM MĖSSIÅH Weird attention whoreDolan.png 13:26, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

A race not human. Globalization has ended the idea of a global war. Unless a country gets it in their mind that ruling over a burnt husk of a planet is a good thing, there will be FAR more to lose then gain in anything approaching WW1/WW2 levels of conflict. --Revolverman (talk) 13:28, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
That would be assuming that human beings are capable of sustained rational behavior; by now we should know better. I figure that the era of the Oil Wars is just beginning. We could, of course, get very lucky and have Nature reduce the human biomass to a sustainable level before we do it ourselves much more messily. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:23, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Ironically, the Jevon's paradox suggests that oil prices continuing to increase compared to inflation would decrease the wars over the amount remaining. The economy would re-align to now cheaper methods of energy production and storage, making the increasingly expensive oil less valuable strategically.
Now... when people can't get fresh water or food? Then you'll see some nasty wars. Ikanreed (talk) 14:27, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Israel will launch a pre-emptive nuke strike against Iran. Pakistan will side with Iran and launch their nukes at Israel. This will provoke India to attack Pakistan. In turn, China will use the opportunity to attack India... PsyGremlinTal! 14:38, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I thought we didn't believe in psychics here. Ikanreed (talk) 14:42, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Pah. I spit on psychics. I'm a time-traveler. Learn the difference, dammit! PsyGremlinTal! 15:14, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, there are a couple conflicts between countries with disagreements romping around. In order of feasibility: 1. North Korea does something profoundly and incredibly stupid, forcing the involvement of allies of South Korea in retaliation. China honors their alliance with North Korea, contributing to a dragged out conflict in the Korean peninsula, while... 2. The Ukraine-Russia incident flares up again. With the countries of the world involved in the conflict in Asia, Putin sees fit to reclaim the Ukraine outright, as well as a handful of former Soviet bloc countries. His expectation that other nations were weakened by their involvement turns false, and allies of those nations go to war with Russia. Unfortunately... 3. A border conflict between India and Pakistan spirals out of control, with communications hotlines between the two nations severed. Simple border clashes between civilians and government officials over enclaves winds up with weapons on both sides, leading to some allies of Pakistan throwing in against India in this conflict.

Three theaters of war. Suppose it could be worse. Javasca₧ no hell below him 15:26, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. Unlikely, unless the sitting POTUS overreacts to a regime collapse by bringing troops up to the Yalu River. China is increasingly acknowledging North Korea as a liability, but isn't willing to pull the plug on aid in fear of destabilizing its own borders.
  2. Also unlikely, unless Ukraine (or another post-Soviet state) suddenly wants to join NATO and Putin ramps up the lunacy by challenging Article 5 (hell, the Cold War ended without that happening). After Crimea, the three things that have checked him have been: the threat of sectoral sanctions (which in itself is pushing Russia close to negative GDP), actually implementing those sanctions (which would cut off significant portions of the economy from its largest trading partner), and potential Yugoslavia-esque ethnic strife as consequence of an invasion.
  3. Eh, depends on how demagogic their leaders get (all eyes currently on Modi), if at all in the future.
IR scholars currently point to a broader Sunni-Shiite conflict in the Middle East and tensions in the Asia Maritimes as more pressing issues. Which, I don't think, isn't unreasonable. Osaka Sun (talk) 01:50, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
"Which, I don't think, isn't unreasonable." I have no idea if you think it is reasonable or not. Is that how they teach kids in J-school how to write these days? Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 02:31, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Three negatives would usually suggest to me that Osaka were stating that he/she did not see it as reasonable. However, the commas separating the "I don't think" could suggest that this part of the statement was merely meant to provide emphasis to the next part. A such, if we were to remove this, we would get "Which isn't unreasonable". If the sentence were to be read in this fashion, it would be clear that Osaka sees it as reasonable. Based on the context, I believe that Osaka thinks that this course of action is reasonable. DØØM MĖSSIÅH Within her hands are gifts for the damnedDolan.png 10:46, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
"Which I think is reasonable." That's why I get paid the big bucks. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 14:20, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Visit New England some time, if you want to hear idiomatic gratuitous insignificant negation. Examples will not be provided, pour encourager les autres to do their own research. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:43, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Purge[edit]

Is the purge option not available anymore? I don't see it in the drop-down menu with vaporize, relocate, and protect in it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:21, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Who are you trying to purge? WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:48, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
you are kidding right? In case you aren't isn't he's talking about Purge (I think?) though I'm not sure what it actually does I've thus far assumed it cleared somone's cache. Actually can somone tell me what http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=sometitle&action=purge even does? --NonPerson (talk) 01:09, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm trying to purge the commies. But seriously, NonPerson, that's exactly what it does. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:40, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Just use Ctrl+F5. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg But if I don't use the mayonnaise then how will her legs grow back? 01:59, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Is it different (and less convenient) on a mobile device's user interface? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:04, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Ctrl+F5 doesn't do the same thing. See mw:Manual:Purge.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:06, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

By the way Nebuchadnezzar the wiki allows us to have custom javascript that runs on our account. If you want I can use it to write up a function that can add whatever to the admin menu. Other scripts I might track down or create one day if I get motivated are reminders to sign talk comments if I forget. I've already found the script that Wikipedia uses to make its reference tool tips. --NonPerson (talk) 12:03, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Since we currently have a focus towards feminism and gender equality issues.....[edit]

I'm just going to leave this one right here.... Keith Ablow says schools should ban leggings because they distract his son. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 09:57, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Or he could teach his son to respect women as people and not sex objects. --Laurelai (talk) 10:04, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
You must be some sort of TERRORIST to advocate such a thing - David Gerard (talk) 10:14, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
People will get distracted by such things, sure, it's human nature to get distracted by leggings, but they shouldn't invade oher people's private space or enforce styles of clothing because of it. Learn to cope with the fact that you're being distracted, it will improve your composure and person. Nullahnung (talk) 10:20, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
How about bikinis then? Are they OK? Ajkgordon (talk) 10:43, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Of course they should be. In fact, if it were up to me, it would be totally ok to walk around with nothing but a marijuana leaf to cover yourself (because hey, if that's the type of fashion you're into, go for it). Yes, I was brought up in a school that didn't give two shits about what you were wearing as long as you weren't completely naked. Nullahnung (talk) 11:53, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Of course, right. But why not completely naked? Ajkgordon (talk) 12:24, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I suppose my school wasn't liberal enough to cross that line... I dunno. Even though I was socially conditioned to regard public nudity as abnormal, I've personally never been able to effectively argue against it, so sure, we should have public nudity if that is anyone's personal preference. Nullahnung (talk) 12:30, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Haha, OK! Ajkgordon (talk) 17:22, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
As long as they don't distract the good doctor's son.... Yellow polka-dots are probably the only ones that are acceptable by that logic. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 10:45, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
In reference to "it's human nature to get distracted by leggings" (edit): Are you assuming that women-gendered people are more distracting than men-gendered people? ·Femilisk³ 11:16, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, it might have to do with societal conditioning, but women-gendered clothing is more distracting to me personally. I'm not claiming to speak for everyone out there, so I'm not actually implying that women-gendered clothing is more distracting in general. I'm simply implying that leggings are more distracting than jeans because of the degree of revealing that goes with it. As I've said before, that shouldn't excuse invasions of personal space or enforcing of clothing rules, in fact, everyone should be allowed to wear nothing but marijuana leaves. Nullahnung (talk) 11:57, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
men's clothing is rarely revealing or shows off the figure. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:47, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I disagree. But even if I did, the onus is on you to explain why. ·Femilisk³ 12:38, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I said rarely not never. Football kits and gym isn't exactly ya kicking about town gear, and the boy band clobber is neither revealing nor figure hugging. Tight tees and hot pants is not something I encounter to often in the wild. I am often bored by the dreariness of men's fashion AMassiveGay (talk) 12:47, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I wonder why, that's all I'm saying. If where you live binary dress codes are the norm, you have to ask why. It's definitely not anything other than culture. ·Femilisk³ 12:52, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Ok, I got to ask something. Do kids in class REALLY get distracted by "sexy" clothing, or is it just an excuse to put woman in ankle-length petticoats? I'm about as far as Asexual now, and as a youth in school as you can get, and I was never once distracted by any outfit anyone was wearing. You know what what distracted me? Braying jackasses. Plenty of those in school, like the one who tried to dry hump me in class to get a rise out of me. THAT shit was distracting. --Revolverman (talk) 11:21, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Past a certain age (leaving middle school?) they do, yes. Nullahnung (talk) 11:58, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Exactly my point. Adults might, kids, children, well they might but it's all relative and definitely appealing to human nature is misplaced. ·Femilisk³ 11:27, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
You might have a point that it's got more to do with societal conditioning than human nature. I'm not ruling out human nature, though. Nullahnung (talk) 12:00, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
You don't have to, Panksepp (and many others of course) does it for you. ·Femilisk³ 12:30, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. I might change my opinion on nature vs. nurture pending further education... Nullahnung (talk) 12:37, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I charge, but either way I currently have a Ph.D. to finalise. If you want just basic reading materials though, that's pretty much free. ·Femilisk³ 12:41, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I was expecting lmgtfy as an answer, but that works too :P. And btw, I was not trying to defend the rape apologists who somehow would like to use involuntary distraction as an excuse and I wasn't trying to appeal to human nature to make an argument. I mean that in spite of human nature, if there were any, we should still not let that affect behaviour. Nullahnung (talk) 12:42, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I know. And I think that "in spite of human nature, if there were any, we should still not let that affect behaviour" is fine. However, that assumption encased within that statement is that human nature is a measurable thing on the behavioural level. I believe that statement can be misplaced too. And I think in this case it is. ·Femilisk³ 12:48, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
If we replaced "human nature" entirely with "social conditioning" in arguments, then I would still argue in the direction that I've argued before, which is that you shouldn't appeal to it (social conditioning in this case) to justify infringing. (sorry if I'm preaching to the choir here) Nullahnung (talk) 12:53, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Fully agreed, and I don't mind preaching to the choir when two people are discussing an issue for the first time. It's just that appeals to human nature cause actual difference in behaviour. I.e., appealing to the fictitious/pseudoscientific "you are predestined (by nature) to have x IQ" actually causes children to do worse in school, c.f., stereotype threat. ·Femilisk³ 12:59, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Teenage boys' penises will be distracted by pretty much anything - David Gerard (talk) 11:30, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
A particularly warm breeze slightly caressing somewhere somewhat close to the crotch area is oftentimes more than enough. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg Here we are now, entertain us 11:58, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
What about teenage girls' penii? ·Femilisk³ 13:00, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I refuse to acknowledge "penii" as a valid plural for penis. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg ̸̴͟͟H҉̴̶͘͝a̛͜͠͏͏t̷̛͢e̷̴͘҉.͟͠ ̶͜L̨͢͝ę͘͢t͘҉̢ ̵҉͢͝͝m̵̧̛͜é̢̛͝ ͏͝͏̢͟t͏̕͞e̶̛͘͘͞l̶̛͜͠͝l̵̕͠͞͝ ͏͏y̕ǫ̸̶́͠u͜͞҉́ ̴h̴̀̕͠͠o͠҉́ẃ̶̶͘͢ ̨̢m̴̢͢u̷͠ć̕͏h̵̶̴̕͘ ҉͘I̴̢̧'̶̴v̨́͏e̶̸͟ ́͟͏̧c̵̸̨͘o̸̕m̴͜͡e̢̧̡͟ ̵̧́t̢͟ò̷ ͜h͏̷á̵͘͏͝t̷͢e̢̛̕ ̸̢̛ý̢̧͜͝ó̢́̕u̵̸͞ ̡̨͜͜͝ş̶́͝͡i̵̡n̴̵̛̛͠c̴̸͘é҉̸̛͡ ̴̀I̸҉̢̢͠ ͏͞b̵̶̧̀͠e̸̢͟͠g̢̧̀á̸͞n̴̵̡͟͏ ͘͏̕͝t҉̡̛͞ò̴ ̵̀ĺ́̕į̸̕̕v̸̨̨ȩ́͢҉̶.̛͢͝ ̵̧̢ 16:20, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
This too shall pass. "When I were a lad" the sight of a bra strap was enough to cause trousorial discomfort. The person (Ablow) should bring his kids up to be less aroused by what's between the legs and more by what's between the ears. Scream!! (talk) 11:48, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
When I was in the primary and secondary education systems, "It's a distraction!" was the all-purpose justification for banning anything, from pogs to wearing hats inside. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 14:03, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Also the justification for banning this guy. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:18, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Seriously, though, if your boner's enough to significantly impact on your learning, you really need to get your shit sorted. DØØM MĖSSIÅH I am completeDolan.png 21:36, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I was home schooled for the first couple of years of my elementary education, because there were no anglophone schools within daily striking distance. Missed opportunity for deep immersion in one of a couple of other languages, but that's another story. Anyway, the local kids all wore black smocks to school, down to the knees on boys and girls, to keep ink stains to a minimum. They were still using dip pens there. When I got back to the States, many of the school desks still had inkwell holes, but no inkwells for the custodian to refill from his special pitcher. Someone in my parents' generation told me the pitchers had a cutoff feature, like a syrup pitcher in a restaurant. Enough of that, I need to go outside and see if there are any good clouds to yell at. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:21, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Back to the "bodies distract male students" story, a similar incident played a role in the long lead-up to Quebec's failed "religious accommodations" legislation initiative. Father Vivian O'Blivion talkModerator 16:25, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Having spent the morning reading Hobby Lobby, the whole idea that you can be "offended" by things *I* do just pisses me off beyond words. If you don't like that I have nipples too bad. If you don't like that I wear tight leggings on my cute 16 year old tush or my fat as all hell 50 year old tush, f'yourself. If you think that I should not be given affordable health care, with all drugs necessary for my health because you pray to baby jesus, then get a damned life. But this will continue... One tin soldier (talk) 19:19, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
People are offended by what other people do all the time, which is whatever, but as soon as you start using that to take away freedoms it becomes a personal rights issue. Nullahnung (talk) 19:25, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Michael Moore hospitalized[edit]

Republican Nutbag convinced his primary opponent is a body double[edit]

No, really. US America, please stop your crazy people running for office. It's scaring the rest of us. Thanks. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 09:55, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

don't worry Jeeves, the world court will string him up before he becomes a threat AMassiveGay (talk) 10:16, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
The scariest thing about that is that he received 5% of the vote... altho hopefully before he went on this dribbling rampage. PsyGremlinTal! 10:34, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I have this strange feeling of déjà vu - Andy Schlafly and Fidel Castro, anyone? Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 12:14, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
(as I noted on WIGO:World) Michigan State House GOP candidate: Ignore my arrests for public masturbation in other people’s cars. (Yes, he is the sole Republican candidate for the position.) WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE PEOPLE - David Gerard (talk) 13:32, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Aren't most politicians wankers? Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? Moderator 15:24, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
If you've been arrested for masturbating in other people's cars, I'd say that's convincing evidence that you're genuinely human. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:07, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Why is it that all the focus is on the car fetish rather than the fact that he was breaking into other people's property? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:17, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Humans find the sexual activity of other humans fascinating. On the other hand, alien body doubles might not.... - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:28, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
My god. Nebuchadnezzar is a replicant!!! |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg I'll take you right into the Danger Zone 22:36, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Polycentric law[edit]

An-caps' idea of justice.

I'm admittedly someone who occasionally peruses libertarian thought (there's much left to be desired) and a few of its ideas manage to pique my interest. One of them is this concept of "polycentric law". It seems to me to be a libertarian neologism. Can anyone make sense of it? — Melab (Talk) 02:26, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Seems to me like another term for an approach to law that I've seen advocated by some anarcho-capitalists. To quote Wikipedia's article on it (all the others seemed to come from hardcore libertarian sites): "Polycentric law is a legal structure in which providers of legal systems compete or overlap in a given jurisdiction, as opposed to monopolistic statutory law according to which there is a sole provider of law for each jurisdiction." I don't have any clue how such a thing could work in the real world either, at least not in any society more advanced than the Renaissance Italian city-states. KevinR1990 (talk) 05:30, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Historically e.g. England had separate courts, in theory you've got courts for priests, for nobility and then for the lay commoners. In practice this gradually evolves into a situation where the (notoriously soft) religious courts don't even bother to meet. A priest who murders people isn't actually sent to these ineffective courts, but instead to the ordinary secular courts who will most likely order a death sentence. On the other hand, since the minimum available sentences are pretty harsh, a first offender at a secular court is usually given "benefit of clergy" which means the court chooses to imagine that they're a priest and assigns them to (by now non-existent) religious court, so they are free to go. In other words then, the polycentric law evolves into a conventional system.
The other thing I'm aware of is the existence of alternate civil court systems. This has been tried a few times, the idea is that if all parties to a civil lawsuit agree on a different basis for justice (typically, because they're all members of the same religion...) then it's OK to have a parallel system which uses that alternative basis for their case. This seems fine in theory, but in practice basically it's an opportunity for all the groups who fought hard for equality in normal courts to discover that - surprise - their religion is a haven of inequality. Watch, as women go into a court saying "I am a good Foozle-believing woman and I know justice is on my side" and come out saying "I can't believe the Foozle-believing judge said I'm a worthless whore and should be stripped of all my possessions". As atheists it's easy to laugh and point, but whatever this is it's not actually justice for the individuals concerned, so we should probably give up trying. Tialaramex (talk) 08:12, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Does that mean "statists" can still set up their own courts? — Melab (Talk) 12:58, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Judging from the Wikipedia article, "polycentric law" includes such things as Sharia law courts for Muslim populations, and other separate laws for ethnic enclaves; these are the examples suggested for its implementation, and to suggest that this isn't entirely moonshine. I'd say there's a clearer historical precedent; libertarians want extraterritorialityWikipedia's W.svg, like the Brits in Shanghai, within their own countries. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 15:52, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
What could possibly go wrong with that? The article says that some libertarans call it "non-monopolistic law". I'm not sure why it would be called that, though. — Melab (Talk) 16:44, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
The thing is, the law is the code by which society agrees to govern itself. Now, you can have societies within societies - the house rule on who does the washing up is a very local law - but, within particular society you can only have one set of rules. If you do have enclaves where somewhat differing laws they still take their legitimacy from the higher law that surrounds it. The Sharia law enclaves get their legitimacy from the legal system of the larger, surrounding society. In the end there is still only one law. Cloud Yeller (talk) 17:02, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
It's rather difficult for me to imagine how anarcho-capitalism's universalist attitudes can be reconciled with these "fuzzy" legal orders. — Melab (Talk) 18:27, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
One only need look at the history of private defense agencies to see that this idea will lead to privatized totalitarianism. Although the historical PDAs were under national law, polycentric legal systems could arguably make this situation even worse, as employers of the PDAs (i.e., plutocrats) could write the laws directly without having to go through all that dreadful trouble to buy off the politicians first. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:03, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Pssh, naw. See... history was clearly too dumb for our modern libertarianism, which is an idea that's never been tried before. Ikanreed (talk) 19:16, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it can be called "private" any longer if it's totalitarian in nature. If it has that power then the PDAs are a government. — Melab (Talk) 20:54, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Historically speaking, the barrier between "gang of mercenaries" and "noble ruling families" has been more porous than it ought to be. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:15, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Vaccine brain damage[edit]

[4] does this look legit or is it bs? — Unsigned, by: 138.130.252.229 / talk / contribs

It would be news if the Australian Broadcasting Corporation were exaggerating a vaccination story. Seems to be one of the uncommon instances where it's true. Osaka Sun (talk) 06:45, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
The answer is not to name people "Brian". Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 08:45, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

June 2014 at RationalWiki[edit]

Rwpag-20140701-20.svg

--larron (talk) 20:27, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

It's amusing to me how CPspace sees so few edits that Pibot is one its most active editors. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 03:03, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Two weeks of driving in America[edit]

So i've returned from a trip to help my fiance move from coastal oregon to here, and we did it via driving because my parents wanted to come, had far more cash to pull it off than i do alone and she had to bring her cat with her. In the process of driving we mostly followed i-80 and i-84, and i discovered several things:

  • 1: The western interior of america is Boring. Beyond boring. How people live there is beyond me
  • 2: Oregon still has gas station attendants, which is both convenient and frustrating if you want to just fill up yourself
  • 3: Irregularity of speeds turns a nice 4 hour drive into 7 hour drives.
  • 4: No single motel can provide a decent "Continental Breakfast"
  • 5: Travel-battleship is a fun game.

Oh, and theres a town called "Little America" in Wyoming that can afford around 50-60 billboards for around 60ish miles away from it both directions. It's a crappy tourist trap with a playground, motel and diner.--Miekal 07:17, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

You think that's bad, man, you should try train-hopping and hitchhiking around out there some day. Only then do you learn to appreciate the fact that Nebraska has nothing in it. And I mean that that's what I found there: nothing. 174.20.37.132 (talk) 08:44, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Little America? Not a town. Just a freaking huge gas station whose gimmick is 50 gas pumps, one per state. If those bazillion signs bother you, stay away from Wall Drug in South Dakota. Even if they don't, stay away! Nebraska and nothing? I remember a 60 mile stretch where I saw four other human beings and everyone you see waves MarmotHead (talk) 14:22, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Drove through Kansas once. It has corn. That's about it. Tyrannisan iron, yet caring fist 14:35, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
I went to Wall Drug back in the early eighties and it was marvellous in a totally hideous way. A sort of "If we build it they will come" tourist trap where you could buy cheap tat but nothing of any value. However, I gather the intervening thirty years (bloody hell, thirty years! God I'm getting past it) have not been kind. Cloud Yeller (talk) 14:51, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
It's the same marvelously hideous it's ever been. For me, once is enough, but it's worth going for similar reasons people might tour mobile home parks after a tornado. MarmotHead (talk) 15:25, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Try hitch-hiking across Canada some time. "Are we still in Ontario?" Father Vivian O'Blivion talkModerator 14:56, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

At least in Australia you expect the fucking nothing whatsoever. Meanwhile, the speed limit in Victoria is still 100km/h - David Gerard (talk) 12:04, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Here in Queensland, you're lucky to get speed limits over 60 km/h. MESSIAH OF DOOM Within her hands are gifts for the damnedDolan.png 13:34, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Consider contributing at the travel guide Wikivoyage. Pashley (talk) 15:19, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

BORING? Gimme a break, you were on the mother fucking Oregon Trail. You were driving the route taken by Timothy O'Sullivan as they photographed the west. It's a landscape full of history and it's pretty stunning too if you keep your eyes open. As for how people live there. They have the following items: beer, off road vehicles and guns. They aren't bored. --Marlow (talk) 19:40, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
'beer, off road vehicles and guns' - sounds both boring and terrifying AMassiveGay (talk) 16:34, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
I did the Oregon Trail. Motherfuckers coudn't keep the wagon level when I would ford the river. Useless pricks. --Revolverman (talk) 00:37, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
20 feet deep and like 500 feet across shouldn't stop my wagon train of dreams.--Miekal 05:35, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Skepticism vs Pseudoskepticism[edit]

What I gather is that a skeptic is someone who looks at the evidence and bases their beliefs on that, while a pseudoskeptic is someone who denies something no matter what the evidence says. Now, the thing is, I would wager that many people who self-identify as skeptics (such as myself) lack the mathematical and scientific knowledge to actually be able to analyze the evidence in question. For instance, if someone pointed me to a study that claimed ESP was real (or AGW was fake, or homeopathy worked, etc…), I would not be capable of looking at the data to see if it backs up the claim. There's this great quote I came across on some RWian's user page that goes along the lines of "You know open-minded skepticism has turned into cynical doubt when you ask 'What evidence would convince you?' and you get the answer 'I couldn't say.'" This could very well apply to me, and I imagine to many non-scientist skeptics too. Is it really possible to be a skeptic about alternative medicine or parapsychology when one is not scientifically literate? Or are all "lay" skeptics (like me) really pseudoskeptics?--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 15:55, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Scepticism is not basing beliefs on evidence, it's about not blindly accepting authority. When someone says "X is true" the sceptic says "how do you know?". Now, we can't all be experts in every thing so we have to accept some authorities but again, the sceptic acceptance isn't blind. It's more "From what authority does this person speak?" and "Do other experts in the same field agree."
I know very little about medicine but when one practitioner says "my methods work and I know this because I've done double blind studies that are fully peer reviewed" and another says "my methods work and I know this because of all these endorsements" then I know which one I believe more. Cloud Yeller (talk) 16:35, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
I recall a section in Massimo Pigliucci's Nonsense on Stilts that deals with this. Essentially, the buck has to stop somewhere and sometimes we just have to choose which experts we think are more reliable. This is not arbitrary, though -- he provides some detailed examples. When it comes to parapsychology and other forms of pseudo-psychology, that is an easy case for me as I actually have training in that. Knowledge in one are can often be applied elsewhere, especially with something like statistics. It makes it much easier to see certain weaknesses in studies across the board. However, much pseudoscience is just so logically flawed and erroneous on the most basic facts that it doesn't take a degree to see why it's wrong. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:00, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
There's skepticism and expertise and the two don't necessarily have to overlap to be legitimate. If you're skeptical and ignorant (as in lacking knowledge, not being a dumbass), you don't become a "pseudoskeptic" unless, I suppose, you are unaware of or act in spite of your ignorance. MarmotHead (talk) 17:03, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Skepticism is a healthy attitude to take in any situation which is open to doubt, but I've always found the idea of "skepticism" as a movement, ideology or identity to be a little silly. "Pseudoskepticism" just seems to be about othering some self-identified skeptics for not being skeptical enough or not being skeptical about the things one thinks they should be. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:11, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
^This. "Pseudoskepticism" seems like a contrived label to me. Nullahnung (talk) 17:14, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
For some things the evidence and the scientific conclusions drawn are very easy to understand even for the scientifically illiterate. People like James Randi are particularly good at demonstrating this. He will explain in simple terms things like double-blind experiments and then demonstrate those experiments to you, even using proponents of the very claims he's disproving. For us "lay-sceptics", we can instantly see why claims such as dowsing are nonsense. And most scientific experiments and their conclusions are the same in principle differing only in the complexity of their samples, repetitions, statistical analysis, instrumentation and so on. It's possible for us, while never hoping to understand a lot of the science itself, to understand how the processes scientists use work. The theories and the discovery of the Higgs particle, for example, are well beyond our reach. But we can look at how the science itself is done and draw the conclusion that the results are trustworthy. (Or not). Ajkgordon (talk) 17:15, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
In my experience "psuedoskeptic" is just a snarl word thrown around by woo pushers at people who don't buy into their nonsense. — Unsigned, by: Marlow / talk / contribs 19:26, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Is that so? — Unsigned, by: Krej / talk / contribs 19:32, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Usually, yes. However, that does not mean that skeptics never engage in pseudoskepticism (i. e., dogmatic denialism) as well. For example, Werner Walter is infamous among people interested in UFO research by constantly coming up with knee-jerk mundane explanations (stated as fact, not as a suggestion) for UFO sightings that don't even fit the evidence. (For example, that "Bremen UFO" from January which he explained away as a radar anomaly even though it was also seen, including by two policemen. Police eventually declared it to have been a private aircraft, possibly a remote-controlled one, like a drone.) Which wouldn't matter if he was not constantly cited in the press as a UFO expert.
Even as a true skeptic who is (unlike the true UFO believers) open and even inclined to the possibility that all UFO sightings have completely mundane, boring explanations, that doesn't mean you can simply make up mundane explanations, come hell or high water, and declare each and every case solved. That's just dishonest. There are UFO sightings that have no satisfying explanation – I don't see how anybody could deny that. That may be due exclusively to boring reasons such as insufficient evidence, unreliable witnesses, faulty descriptions, plain mistakes and the like, rather than spectacular reasons like Aliens (at least in some cases), but that does not mean that we can claim to know that. After all, the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial beings visiting Earth, however unlikely, is not completely against everything we know about nature. Perhaps there are other explanations for unexplained UFO sightings, phenomena that are still unknown or obscure – explanations other than mundane or Aliens. We just can't know.
Walter has already made his mind up about the whole UFO business. He is certain it's all bunk and uninteresting, unlike other skeptics who suspect this as well but admit UFOs are a potentially interesting problem. Hell, even we concede this point. Walter, instead, assumes the conclusion (and I get the impression that nothing could ever make him doubt his stance, even being confronted with living extraterrestrials pointing their laser guns at him). And that's the hallmark of denialism. It's the reverse fallacy of having "Aliensdidit" as your standard explanation; it's the fallacy of explaining every problem lazily away. A pseudoskeptic in this sense is the mirror image of a hardcore believer. According to the definition "a person who cannot be turned", both are a type of crank. --84.151.131.168 (talk) 21:14, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
To take a different tack than those above, I think you can develop the tools to test any hypothesis or argument. It's pretty easy to do.
You take one of two positions, whether you're endorsing a new idea or an old idea
  1. The hypothesis position. This is the harder of the two to defend. Essentially, you're arguing a measurable phenomenon exists. This is like asserting that carbon dioxide absorbs the infrared spectra that heated air radiates; it's true, but the subject rejects the idea. This is a relatively simple thing to demonstrate, because you can identify what you mean, and test in a lab. Most of the time, if the experiments already exist, you can find a paper on it, and anyone but a pseudo-skeptic should accept it.
  2. The far easier position to take(and the one that occupies most of skepticism's time, as a rule) is the null hypothesis position. This is to assert that the body of science either rejects a new claim, or has an alternate, more accurate explanation for "what's going on". The only demand that this approach has is that you follow the socratic method with the person asserting the new claim, until they delineate a definite difference from the null hypothesis(e.g. how at this point that carbon dioxide emissions trap heat). That difference, once expressed in a definite form, can be tested by examining existing data for accuracy, or in rare cases, devising simple tests that express the difference from the status quo.
Now obviously, that can be a challenge if you aren't familiar with the status quo interpretation, but then your job is neither to accept nor reject the suspect information, but you'll find that often claims are so extraordinary that you can identify such differences, and help the subject to highlight that difference for themselves. Then just test it. — Unsigned, by: Ikanreed / talk / contribs
That's all very well but both scenarios assume you know what you're talking about. As I said in my example, I know very little medicine. How then am I going to be sceptical about the Health Ranger's claims? Here I am forced to look not at the evidence per se but at how that evidence is obtained. I cannot prove the the snake oil salesman is fraudulent but I can be wary of those who appear out of nowhere with bottles of elixirs which cure everything. Cloud Yeller (talk) 14:14, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Wonderfully, you're not required to personally accept anything at all. Obviously you'd like to know for sure if something is true or false, but even within the bounds of skepticism, sometimes you can do neither. It should be apparent in any field if someone is living up to a scientific burden of proof, though. Hitchens' razor and all. Ikanreed (talk) 14:59, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
@Ikanreed: How do you propose to test ideas that are not amenable to experimentation? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:08, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
You'll have to clarify what you mean. If it's not mediated by experimentation, then it's pretty unreasonable to suspect it as having much bearing on reality, except in cases where scale is beyond reason in some way. The vast, vast, vast majority of phenomena show up in both small and large scales, and controlled observation is a class of experiment. Ikanreed (talk) 15:22, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
So we can throw out history, archaeology, paleontology, astronomy, etc. then? Or are those acceptable becuase the "scale is beyond reason"? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:26, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I see what you're getting at. Different standards of proof. You can throw math, law, and philosophy as having different methods in too. I assumed we were talking about how things work, not the other classes of information, given the context. Ikanreed (talk) 15:35, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Okay then, but I still don't see how those fields do not explain how things work.
I still disagree about the ability to obtain first-hand knowledge. Despite the fact that a lot of scientific data is publicly available, your average person is not going to have access to experimental apparatus like cell cultures or the know-how to interpret the data that is publicly available. The buck has to stop somewhere. However, there are still ways to make an informed and wise bet. Take Mr. Health Ranger for example. Does he provide citations? Rarely, and when he does they often don't even say anything close to what he claims they do. Does he have any credentials in the field? No. Are his views in line with the consensus in the field? No. Does he promote ideas that are flawed on the most basic, fundamental level? Yes, e.g., homeopathy, which takes only a grade school-level understanding of chemistry to debunk. Does he promote other dubious ideas outside the health field? Yes. (Chemtrails are real! 9/11 was an inside job!) Therefore, it is easy to tell that Adams is not a credible source with only a minimal, if any, level of expertise. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:49, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
It may be difficult to conduct experiments in archaeology, paleontology, astronomy; but it is possible to make predictions about expected future discoveries. It's also hard to experiment directly with human behavior when consciousness might get in the way, but it's possible to make testable predictions about how they can be expected to act. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:10, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
I was under the impression that psychology was hard because of pesky ethics boards keeping us from lobotomizing infants and raising them in boxes? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:42, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm always very very slightly tempted to side with mad scientists in movies who get annoyed that the establishment thinks their experiments are unethical. And then they never have any sort of experimental control groups. Why, Dr. Frankenstein, did you not create multiple monsters to allow for differing variables? Why? Ikanreed (talk) 18:17, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Stabby: "Think how hard physics would be if particles could think." -Murray Gell-mann Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:50, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Losing a test case on purpose[edit]

I wonder if it is possible to lose a test case (or whatever such a case is called) challenging the constitutionality of a certain law on purpose. Let's say that you've had a law on the books for quite some time which you as the president, as a people, or an attorney representing the executive power deem highly immoral (such as a law that prescribes the segregation of black and white people); could you go in court, where the constitutionality of the law is being tested, just to forfeit, to put up no serious defense, such that the court would have no other choice but to rule the law unconstitutional even though the judges themselves, being very conservative, might be heavily in favour of that law?

Or in other words, could the Obama administration forfeit a law suit which challenges the constitutionality of forbidding same-sex marriage anywhere in the United States just by telling in court to the other party "good point, never thought about it that way, we don't have anything to say"? Of course this would have political ramifications in the next elections, especially if the majority of the population opposes same-sex marriage, but if you've made same-sex marriage nationwide possible, then I suppose that counts as something, especially if you truly believe in it. Who cares about getting re-elected anyway if you've successfully fought for something you believe in? I believe that the end of slavery, the end of segregation, allowing same-sex marriage nationwide, and the end of the war on drugs are examples of irreversible decisions and the only reason that such things are still on the books is because conservative powers have successfully prevented change, not because society at large thinks that right now the reverse is such a good idea. -Strangelove (talk) 14:28, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

A number of state attorney generals have essentially done this. This is also why last year's DOMA ruling turned out as it did; the Obama administration chose not to further defend the law, leaving the ruling valid while confining its effect to California. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:45, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Ordinarily courts frown on being abused in this way. One of the (many) things wrong with the Supreme Court's write up in Windsor is that the majority had to jump through hoops to pretend that they'd seen a serious controversy, which is the legal requirement, rather than (as was reality) being offered the opportunity to rubber stamp an earlier decision that was not seriously contested by the losing party. Don't get me wrong, Scalia's position on this was odious, but he had a point when he says the majority had no legitimate excuse to rule on it at all.
So, test cases are an abuse of process, albeit an abuse to which courts sometimes turn a blind eye. The purpose of courts is to deliver justice in specific individual cases, not to make sweeping moral decisions. If you want a sweeping moral decision, please go to the people or the legislature, not the courts. Tialaramex (talk) 15:40, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
If one entire group is done injustice, then the courts are to rule on it, right? I think it works the other way around. The legislature represents the majority and is there to make laws that the majority favours. The courts represent the minority and are there to make sure that the laws that are made by the majority at least do not infringe on the rights of the minority. Some might call it sweeping moral decisions, others would prefer to call it making sure that the equal protection clause is not violated. -Strangelove (talk) 15:05, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that would be in an idealized world. the comcept of moral justice didn't work so well in cases like in Citizens United, Dred Scott or Hobby Lobby. As such, caution is required in when you bring up such a case. ThiehZOYG I edit like Ken! 02:03, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
I imagine the justices, since those are usually not jury trials, need to write lengthy opinions for the case in question. So by using these cases to challenge the constitutionality of a law, if most justices favors it, isn't all they have to do is to write their way out of the mess if they wish to keep the law? Afterall, it's not like you can impeach all of them for incompetence even after the opinion and arguments are made public. Or are there such cases? K61824[Talk needed] 12:49, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Andy Coulson sent down for 18 months[edit]

Looking back over the whole phone hacking debacle, I am struck at what shit journalists they all were. They used all these illegal methods - phone hacking, bribes to police, etc. - not to uncover serious crimes or corruption in public office, but for gossip. Who was fucking who. They didn't even uncover any of these celebrity paedophiles like savile, Harris or clifford, despite the news of the world claiming to be some vanguard against these sex offenders. Fucking useless hacks. AMassiveGay (talk) 10:42, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I concur. Oxygen thieves, the lot of 'em. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:35, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, the interesting thing is that the News Of The World was actually well known for breaking stories and probably some of those stories were broken by illegal methods. It was well known newsroom policy that the NotW editor would have your back for any story, no matter who it went after, if you could prove it was true. Don't write "Rumour has it..." go find out the truth and we'll print it. Even Private Eye is often not so bold (of course its owners don't have such deep pockets either). The "Fake Sheikh" (Mazher Mahmood) was a News Of The World thing for example, and Mahmood clearly broke the law, relying on a public interest defence if he was arrested. Mahmood didn't catch paedophiles, he caught dirty politicians and business people which I (though it might be unpopular to say so) think is more important. The NotW was thrown under the bus as soon as this scandal turned too nasty to blow over without a sacrifice. Tialaramex (talk) 20:15, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

England and Wales, religious data from 2011 census[edit]

Some interesting interactive maps available showing the distribution of religion (and no religion) in England and Wales. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 11:29, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Question on Judaism the religion[edit]

Is there such a doctrine in Judaism about Tanakh being divinely revealed? If so, does it apply to all sections or just the Torah or some specific sections of it? What about literalism/inerrancy/infallibility? ThiehInsomnia? Masturbate till you pass out 12:43, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Strict Orthodox Judaism holds that all the Tanakh and the entirety of the Oral Law is divine in origin. Strict Reform Judaism (insofar as Reform Judaism could be said to be "strict" about anything) holds that both are flawed products made by flawed humans. Most Jews lie somewhere in-between these two extremes. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 13:17, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
"Most Jews stand (or sit) between these two extremes" sounds better, and is not open to misinterpretation. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 13:50, 4 July 2014 (UTC)