RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive93

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This is an archive page, last updated 28 February 2011. Please do not make edits to this page.
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This should make Andy happy[edit]

Since he hates bookstores.

After months of rumors, Borders has filed for bankruptcy. MDB (talk) 13:55, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

No real shock. Borders has been struggling for years now. I'm not sure what they did wrong, and B&N did well, or if it's just delayed for B&N, but for a decade or so, Borders has been having trouble. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 14:38, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
In the UK (where they have already closed their shops a few months ago) they always seemed to be more expensive than other places. Particularly with competition from the internet as well, it seems that charging people more to buy the same product from a slightly nicer shop isn't a viable model any more.
Don't know if it's the same in the US.--

Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 14:18, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Damn. No more apple cider at the mall.ТyTalk. 14:35, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I mention B&N because it's similar to Borders. I prefer B&N, but mostly because growing up, there was never a Borders near by. (And I always got Borders gift cards from my grandparents!!) Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 14:38, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Borders' key mistake was completely bollixing entry into the on-line marketplace. Their web presence was originally just a partnership with amazon. Once that deal ended, amazon was far too established as the on-line book store for anyone to compete with them. They couldn't compete with amazon on book prices, and they couldn't even compete with Best Buy, Wal-Mart and the like on music and DVD prices. They were better for finding obscure music and DVD's, but even then, you could beat the prices on-line.
They also had a crummy customer loyalty program. Rather than just do a "pay a fee every year, get a discount" system like Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million, they had a mish-mash system of accumulating points plus regularly e-mailed coupons. And the coupons rarely beat on-line prices anyway.
And as the company started doing poorly, it wasn't the book and music lover's paradise it used to be. Selection weakened, especially in music, and general store organization and cleanliness suffered. MDB (talk) 14:49, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Borders in the UK split off from the US parent in 2007 and went bust independently.  Lily Inspirate me. 10:45, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Gotta love the internet[edit]

In bed reading, waiting for the night's meds to kick in and knock me out and started pondering what colour to paint one of the 28mm scale dragons I have. Decided I'd go for a white dragon with a mother of pearl finish and so at 04:57 was able to order mother of pearl acrylic paint to do the project. Brilliant.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 05:00, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

You crazy kids and your white dragons. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 09:13, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Dungeons and Dragons has had White Dragons since 1979. ТyTalk. 14:46, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh yeah? Well Mahjong has had White Dragons since 1879. So how do you like them apples? ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:16, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
What apples? ТyTalk. 19:20, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Mmm, spot the Pratchett fan.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:04, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Page protection[edit]

How do I request poge protoction around here, I do not wish new or anonymous users to edit my talkpage header. --Myrtonos@ 10:49, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

It's not our policy to lock pages here, especially talk pages, unless it's for short periods, if a specific page is being vandalised. --Ψ GremlinTala! 11:01, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
It's my talkpage and I use liquid threads on it (which means that new or anonymous users shoud have no reason to edit the header), and as I said I do not wish new or anonymous users to edit it. Are you saying that unlike wikipedia and (to my knowledge) most other wikis, you do not protect userpages by request. --Myrtonos@ 11:04, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
(EC) We don't have conditional protection, locking a page would prevent any non-sysop from editing. Our general ethos is actually against page protection, although there are a few examples. If someone does something to our talk pages that we don't like then we just revert it, if they continue to do it then they get vandal-binned or short-term blocked. If you really insisted then I suppose you might be able to set up your talk page as a separate template and transclude it into a fully protected page but my wiki-fu is not strong enough to help you with that. Also, talk pages are regarded as community property.  Lily Inspirate me. 11:08, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, if the the page is using LQT, there's no reason not to protect the underlying talk page. Nx and I have both done it, and it doesn't stop non-sysops adding topics or replying to an existing one. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:15, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I don't think headers for LQT talk pages are part of the "community property" idea. Blue (is useful) 22:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Lily, Do you mean that semi-proctetion has been disabled? "If someone does something to our talk pages that we don't like then we just revert it, if they continue to do it then they get vandal-binned or short-term blocked." If you do not wish new or anonymous users to edit your userpage or discussion header at all then surely page protection is more preventitive than just reverting them or vandal bining or blocking them, the latter two affecting their ablity to edit other pages. User and user talkpages are regarded as community prorpety on pretty much all other wikis including wikipedia and on amny of these sites, user page semi-protection is done on a request basis. "Actually, if the the page is using LQT, there's no reason not to protect the underlying talk page." If it is an administrator's talkpage and they do not wish non-admins to edit their underlying user talkpage (as opposed to adding topics or replying to extisting ones) then yes their is. Similarly, if an autocomfrimed users does not wish new or anonymous users to edit their talkpage header there is a reason to semi-protect it. I was not intending to provont new or anonymous users from adding or replying to topics, just editing the header. --Myrtonos@ 11:22, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Lily on this. Should someone edit the page, it's easily reverted. We haven't had a policy about locking pages and I don't think we need one now. Besides, why do you feel newbies are single out your page to mess with? --Ψ GremlinZungumza! 11:24, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on the MW software but I think that semi-protection is an add-on rather than something that has been disabled (I may well be wrong) as it has never been discussed here. You have to remember that we have some idiosyncrasies here which are left-over from when people edited at Conservapedia. CP frequently locked pages which they didn't want "liberals, atheists or evolutionists" to amend or (as we might say) "correct". Only a small group of sysops were therefore allowed to edit certain pages and people were summarily blocked for disagreements or inserting "false" information. When RW was set up we took a much more liberal stance to open editing and blocking only for very short periods. By empowering almost all established editors it was assumed that the community could counteract vandalism using the undo button and hoping that vandals would eventually get bored. Any persistent reverter or POV pusher is "vandal-binned", which restricts their editing rate.  Lily Inspirate me. 11:48, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
The relevant instructions are user pages, talk pages, protection and this from the guide.--BobSpring is sprung! 12:02, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
There's a difference, though. With LQT there's still an "Edit" button, but it's not what people should be using to add a comment to the page. Protecting the underlying page will hopefully stop silly mistakes and get people to use the "Start a new discussion" link instead. The standards need updating in the light of new information. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 12:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
SuspectedRelicant is correct in this case, however. In LQT, you can lock the header without locking the talkpage itself. Thus, the header and associated stuff is protected, but the talkpage itself is not, and BsON and new editors can still add stuff to your talkpage without being able to fuck with the header. The Goonie Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 14:57, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
To jump in here, how can I lock LQT itself? I am wholly uninterested in anything nonsysops have to say to me, as anyone who's been here more than three days and isn't a troll or vandal is a sysop anyways, so it's not like there is some vast underclass of people on the wiki without at least autoconfirmed/sysop status. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 22:55, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
You'll have to spill the beans on how to do that one because I can only find the button to lock the whole page, not just hide the edit button to visitors or lock the header. Scarlet A.pngmoral 01:29, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Birtherism as White House strategy?[edit]

Karl Rove: ""Look, the President could come out and say 'Here are the documents,' but they are happy to have this controversy continue. Every moment the conservatives talk about this, they marginalized themselves and diminish themselves in the minds of independent voters." Hee! I hadn't thought about that - maybe I *do* like birthers after all. --Leotardo (talk) 18:26, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Alex Pareene: "That is patent nonsense, but it's clever nonsense. This way, Republicans who denounce birtherism don't have to take responsibility for the fact that Republicans allowed it to spread far and wide." --Leotardo (talk) 18:29, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Help Please[edit]

Doing my personal statement for the UCAS application, this is what I've got so far:

Receiving a chemistry set when I was 9 cemented within myself a love for science, and a love for chemistry in particular, and it has been an interest that I have followed through the years. I own a 4.5" reflector telescope, that I enjoy using, and to this day I follow news of the latest scientific discoveries as much as possible as an amateur.

I am an active member of the loose alliance of movements dedicated to the refutation of both the anti-science movement and pseudoscience, both here and in the US. I am a regular follower of the blogs at http://scienceblogs.com, as well as being an active participant in other sites.

I also have an active and interest in politics, again both in the UK and the US, and am a member of the Liberal Democrats. I follow debates that take place within the Houses through BBC Parliament and, when matters of particular interest crop up, follow House of Representative and Senate debates and votes through the US media and through CSPAN.

In addition to my interest in politics I also have an interest in the law and legal proceedings. I have worked as an advocate for those with mental health issues where the job of advocate dealt with an extremely wide range of interests, including housing, housing law, being assigned a GP, referrals for counselling or assessments by the local CMHT, as well as emergency assessments by the Duty Officer of the CMHT, applications for disability benefits, and, where necessary, preparing the casework and representing clients at Benefit Appeal Tribunals, a process that requires a good knowledge of the law of each the benefits in question. During that time I also studied and passed the relevant ILEX qualifications to be a paralegal. I have kept up my interest in the law and recently, for instance, followed through CSPAN the arguments made before the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, or as the case is more popularly known Proposition 8 or California Proposition 8.

My personal hobbies include reading (mostly fantasy genre) and over the years have managed to amass a small, personal library. I also enjoy strategic and tactical boardgames and computer games and am an avid wargamer. I collect, mod (modify) and paint wargaming miniatures and over the years have managed to improve my skills in this area to the point where I would describe my work as being of a professional standard, albeit on the lower end of that scale. Additionally I maintain an interest in technology including the building and maintaining my own PC.

Over the years I have sought to maintain my interest in learning, both in practical areas as well as theoretical ones. I enjoy cooking and experimenting within that area, and in addition to playing board and wargames also enjoy designing my own.

Any suggestions for improvement, or go with what I've got? (Please bear in mind I only have 4000 characters, including spaces and punctuation to work with).--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:54, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

It's very good and shows you to be an individual who's pretty rounded and dedicated. It's also creepy that we both spend our time following BBC Parliament, the House of Reps through CSpan and watched Perry v. Schwarzenegger... and are are member of the Lib Dems... and have such a soft stop for reading fantasy and such.... and like building/maintaining your own PC..GET OUT OF MY HEAD... My only suggestion needs a question: Are you applying for different courses? If you're applying for Chemistry and Law at different places, fantastic... if not, I feel it needs to be more focused on the thing you're applying for. It might be better if you cut out "through CSPAN the arguments made before the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals in the case" to save a little space and said something closer to home, such as keeping a keen eye on the ECHR, Supreme Court, etc... Hope it goes very well, where do you hope to end up? DalekEXTERMINATE 19:09, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Let me clarify that... if you're just applying for Law, great. If you're applying for Chem/Law, get an extra science line in. If it's just a science course, i think it needs pointing that way. DalekEXTERMINATE 19:11, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
The second sentence of the fourth paragraph is long. -- (talk) 19:48, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
They don't really read the personal statements, you know. Scarlet A.pngmoral 19:51, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
It's a good draft, but could be a bit more focused towards what you're applying for. If you're applying for chemistry courses, say why you've chosen it & how the skills you've developed in your past studies & extra curricular interests help qualify you for it. Ditto if you've chosen law. If you're applying to different courses in different universities (e.g. law in some, chemistry in others), tread carefully. It's probably best to avoid directly saying that you're applying for such different courses, as the admissions tutors may interpret this as being uncommitted. The best way round it is probably to mention your strong interest in chemistry & science, & your strong interest in law, then link the two by saying that you are especially interested in areas of the law relating to science. This will probably satisfy tutors for both sciences & law, & it's good to indicate that you already have a specialisation (even if you're exaggerating a little; you won't actually be committing to pursuing that specialisation within the course).
Re the extra curricular interests & activities: it's really good to mention your membership of the Lib Dems & involvement in internet science forums etc., as these things show that you like to to get involved in topical issues & make a difference. Don't be afraid to say so. Tutors want to see students who are proactive, not just passive learners. Re your other hobbies (e.g. computer games, wargaming), is there something you can say about the skills you have learned in them that you can relate to your chosen course? E.g. attention to detail, strategic thinking, problem-solving. If not, maybe say less about them - e.g. cover them in a shorter sentence or two (e.g. "my other interests include computing, wargames, fantasy and other fiction, and cookery"). WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:53, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm applying to study Chemistry, but my very little employment and educational experience since leaving school has been in law, so I'm kind of stuck with having to keep some of it in to explain what I've been doing before applying as a mature student. I could probably pare it down a bit, and stick in how, although it hasn't been science related, I did continue with my education and that I am able to study and work in a field that requires a sound knowledge of the subject, a good grasp of being able to obtain facts and evidence, and the ability to use all of this in a logical manner, especially in regards to creating, defending and deconstructing logical arguments. As for highlighting the skills I've picked up in my hobbies I was kind of hoping to get away with subtlety, but yes, given that whoever is reading it probably has to wade through 500 others just like it I think I need to be a whole lot more obvious in the skills that my hobbies have given me. Thanks for the info gus, I'll be back with an updated version.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 20:10, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
(EC)The sentence "I have worked as an advocate for those with mental health issues where the job of advocate dealt with..." doesn't seem right to me. Is that what you meant to say, or did you repeat 'advocate' by mistake? Other than that, it seems pretty good; maybe you should tone down the personal hobby section a bit and pimp up the chemistry/science section; the bit about the chemistry set will be a common line in most of the personal statements. The paragraph on mental health advocacy and law is well written, concise and to the point. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 20:15, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Okay, draft the second:

Receiving a chemistry set when I was 9 cemented within myself a love for science, and a love for chemistry in particular, and it has been an interest that I have followed through the years. I maintain a keen interest in discovering the how and why of the way things work and follow what I can through both online media and the more traditional broadcast media, although I do find that there does seem to be dearth of good quality programming aimed at the amateur that deals with chemistry rather physics. One of the reasons I chose Durham specifically to (hopefully) study chemistry is Durham University's record on research, and the use of that within the chemistry courses. There is something about taking the theoretical knowledge of a subject and applying it in a practical manner really speaks to me. As to specific areas of chemistry that I am interested in I would have to highlight nanomaterials as being very much top of the list. Also having a very keen interest in technology means that I am very aware that humanity can only keep up the current rate of technological improvement through the continuing development of new materials and through continuing the outstanding work done in the field of miniaturisation and, of course, nanomaterials are such a big part of ensuring that technology can continue to develop.

I am an active member of the loose alliance of movements dedicated to the refutation of both the anti-science movement and pseudoscience, both here and in the US. I am a regular follower of the blogs at http://scienceblogs.com, as well as being an active participant in other sites.

Additionally I have an interest in following both the law and legal proceedings and recently, for instance, followed through CSPAN the arguments made before the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals in regards to Proposition 8. I have also studied and passed the relevant ILEX qualifications to be a paralegal.

It is almost inevitable that having an interest in the law meant that I also have an active interest in politics, again both in the UK and the US. I am a member of the Liberal Democrat Party and have been for a number of years. I also follow political debates that take place within the Houses through BBC Parliament and, when matters of particular interest crop up, follow US House of Representative and Senate debates and votes through the US media and through CSPAN.

I a member of the mental health community and I have worked as an advocate for those with mental health issues. The job of advocate meant dealing with an extremely wide range of problems, many of which were legal in nature including gathering evidence and preparing the casework required to represent clients at Benefit Appeal Tribunals.

As a result of undertaking both studies and applications of legal work within those areas I believe that I can show myself capable of undertaking studies in areas where I have no previous experience as well being able to build upon the knowledge and experience that I have previously obtained. I also believe that the paralegal training and work as an advocate shows that I am capable of gathering evidence, that I have the ability to such evidence in a logical manner, that I am capable of crafting, defending, and deconstructing logical, complex arguments, and that I am capable of presenting both evidence and arguments in a manner required by the system that the process is taking place in.

My personal hobbies include reading (mostly fantasy genre) and over the years I have managed to amass a small, personal library. I also enjoy strategic and tactical boardgames/computer games and am an avid wargamer and as an adjunct to that I collect, modify, and paint wargaming miniatures up to what I would consider to be a professional standard. I also own a 4.5" reflector telescope, complete with a sun filter that I have built to go with it.

Too much on the sixth paragraph, or what they're looking for?--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:34, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Oooh, and whilst I remember, I get the feeling that they'll be reading the PS's this year, massive numbers applying to avoid the 2012 fees.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:35, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
It's looking good, but best not to mention the U of Durham specifically. If you apply to more than one uni (& it's a good idea to have a back-up) or if you later make another application through UCAS extra or clearing, they'll all receive the same personal statement, so mentioning your first choice of uni in the ps may be a mistake. Explain why you choose the course (i.e. chemistry), & (if you like) say that you hope to study at a prestigious university / one with a good reputation for research, but don't mention it by name. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:45, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm only applying to Durham. It's cheaper on the UCAS form to only apply for one course at one uni, and I've been at Durham Uni before so it's a natural choice for me. I'm in no hurry to get on the course, I mean I'm Welsh so the fees will stay the same for me this year or a later one and it isn't essential to my future to do this course. If I don't get accepted this year, I might reapply next year, I might even have a look at York, and if I got in there I might even get to annoy a certain user here. Oh, and I'm not going to go through clearing. I don't mind competing with other prospective students during the first hurdle, but as I said, it isn't essential for me to get on the course this year, so I don't think it's right for me to knock an 18yo out of the running during clearing.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:58, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
"There is something about taking the theoretical knowledge of a subject and applying it in a practical manner that really speaks to me". EddyP Great King! Disaster! 22:03, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Thnx, missed that one. And I read it out to my ex as well with that wording. Tad worrying.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:18, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Heh, heh. Just realised. I'm going to have to put a dedication page at the front of the application. 'Thanks to the folks at Rationalwiki, this work wouldn't have been possible with them' !--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't mean to be rude but some of the grammar is a bit sloppy. OK, I realise that it is only a personal statement but you might like to smarten it up a bit. I'll do it for you if you wish.  Lily Inspirate me. 10:41, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
You certainly need to at least polish the first couple of sentences. Ideally you should split them up. You should also consider a stronger opening sentence. I'm afraid that the one you have reads like you started in the middle of something. Good luck.--BobSpring is sprung! 13:04, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Spot on, Bob! It was the opening lines that I was referring to.  Lily Inspirate me. 14:44, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
The line "My personal hobbies include reading (mostly fantasy genre)..." screams NERD. Drop the fantasy bit and, when asked, stress non fantasy authors. I know, I know, but unless your assessors are fantasy fans as well all they will see is "doesn't read real books", horrendously unfair but true. Jack Hughes (talk) 15:53, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
And along the same lines I'm not sure you want to stress the wargames quite so much and you've understressed the astronomy. If you own that sort of telescope you can describe yourself as a keen astronomer. As regards the wargames - stress the social bit to make sure they know that you're not a lonely looser. Again I know how unfair all this is but you're painting yourself as one of the characters from the IT Crowd and undoing all the good work you've put in place earlier - more stress on the mental health bit - that's a winner, btw. Jack Hughes (talk) 16:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately, because of the space limitations, I am forced into the situation of having to loose an intro. As that statement stands now, I've got 146 characters including spaces left, and I'm not sure about how to rewrite the first paragraph to have an intro and keep the info already there. I have deliberately understated the astrononmy, mostly because I just plonk the telescope down and point it at interesting bits of the sky, I don't bother with alignment and setup and so I don't want to make the astronomy a big thing and then get questioned on it at the interview. That would sink my chances big time. As the statement stands I can get away with saying that I use the telescope when the fancy takes me, but I'm not an enthusiast.

Lily, I've decided to split the first paragraph into two beginning at the sentence, 'As to specific areas of chemistry that I am interested in I would have to highlight nanomaterials as being very much top of the list.' so the paragraph isn't as blocky, but as you've pointed out there's grammar that needs tightening up. Could you point out the bits for me? That would be a great help, thanks.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 17:04, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

As this is a personal thing why not move it to your talk page (or a sub-page) and post what you have so far. I'll cast an eye over it then.  Lily Inspirate me. 17:31, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I've posted it here.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:12, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Although it's always good to demonstrate awareness of current affairs, I'd edit out your political party affiliation if I were you. Two reasons. 1. Universities can sometimes be wary of political activists. 2. There are a few LibDem haters in academia at the moment. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:23, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

PZ Myers on AM950's "Atheists Talk" this weekend (for those interested in tuning in)[edit]

For those interested, PZ Myers will be interviewed on Minneapolis local station AM950 KTNF this Sunday morning. The show broadcasts at 9:00 a.m. central time (I think that's 14:00 GMT). To listen, go here and type 55423 as your zip code. The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 14:33, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Argh, I'm going to be in church at that time, trying not to sleep/laugh. Anybody willing to record?ТyTalk. 14:36, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there is a reason that Atheists Talk is on during the time most are in church... The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 14:44, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
-_- ТyTalk. 14:50, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Speech class[edit]

We all had to do speeches, and they actually cheered me up with the topics. A sampling: Remove creationism from schools, increased funding of public education, and anti-vaccine denial-ism. So far the only one that I found questionable, was that China should make Christianity it's state religion. You know, like it is here. ТyTalk. 16:59, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Hold a speech against human space travel if you need to get discussion. -- (talk) 17:24, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I already did mine. ТyTalk. 17:25, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Lowest GCSE grades...[edit]


My old high school is on this list! (well, strictly speaking it's what my old high school turned in to, it doesn't technically exist any more) Scarlet A.pngmoral 18:34, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

So why are there so many church-sponsored schools in the list if they are supposed to be "better"?  Lily Inspirate me. 20:34, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
They're not. They often give an illusion of better performance because they're non-comprehensive in their intake. So they get good results from getting good pupils in. Scarlet A.pngmoral 20:37, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Texas (sigh)...[edit]

It's really sad to see my home state degenerate further and further into a third-world plutocracy. Now, Governor Perry is defunding public schools because of a silly political squabble. Really cringeworthy is this:

You may not be surprised to hear that Governor Perry has rejected new taxes. He’s also currently refusing $830 million in federal aid to education because the Democratic members of Congress from Texas — ticked off because Perry used $3.2 billion in stimulus dollars for schools to plug other holes in his budget — put in special language requiring that this time Texas actually use the money for the kids.

But when you combine it with this...:

“Abstinence works,” said Governor Perry during a televised interview with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune.

“But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country,” Smith responded.

“It works,” insisted Perry.

“Can you give me a statistic suggesting it works?” asked Smith.

“I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” said Perry, doggedly.

...you really know that the inmates have taken over the asylum. And for those of you jackasses who would just write off Texas anyway, you should keep in mind that Perry has his eyes on the White House. He's a handsome political powerhouse too, which should make any half-sane American lose sleep. Junggai (talk) 19:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I particularly like the last two lines of the quote. Does he have any children?ТyTalk. 19:41, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, two. Junggai (talk) 19:45, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Screw evidence, we have personal anecdotes! ThunderkatzHo! 19:46, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
So, Perry is as dogmatic as the last governor you all sent to the White House. Is he as stupid? MDB (talk) 20:22, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
He's not as stupid, but he has about 5% of Bush's integrity. Junggai (talk) 22:25, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Not voting for him in the primary. ТyTalk. 14:05, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Garra rufa fish[edit]

So I've just been sent this. It's a fish which is supposed to eat the dead skin on your body and release an enzyme which has a "vitalising effect" on new skin. It's all sounds pretty implausible to me - especially the "vitalising" enzyme. Any opinions? Worth an article?--BobSpring is sprung! 20:59, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Well, they do eat dead layers of skin. Whether that's actually useful or not I don't know. All other claims about it are bullshit. There's one of these places in the mall near me. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 21:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, it would exfoliate it. I like to go swimming in lakes around here, as the minnows do the same thing. It tickles. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 23:18, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I've had this done several times. It has almost no effect, it's just fun. Probably worth an article, since it's very woo.--ADtalkModerator 01:45, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
You have to be careful about how skeptical you are because sometimes these things can be efficacious. I have also seen these things opening up in shopping centres and from the street you can oggle the punters sitting with their legs in a tank of fish. However, maggots were also seen as some crazy idea but are now used therapeutically to remove necrotic tissue. It may be that for people with certain skin conditions having dead skin removed in a fairly gentle and benign way by fish is useful. We also know that in mammals saliva contains enzymes which help healing; whether that could also apply to fish in water is a different question. Extrapolating the whole to a generic beauty treatment may be a step too far.  Lily Inspirate me. 17:42, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the dead skin eating might have something in it as you can see how evolving that might give some benefit to the fish. But I can't see any reason why a fish would evolve an enzyme which would have this claimed "vitalising effect" on new skin. That is assuming that we're dealing with unguided evolution.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:08, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
That's why I am not convinced about the enzymes being transmitted from the fish to human in a watery medium. However, just because something hasn't evolved for a specific purpose in one domain doesn't mean that it cannot have therapeutic value; after all, we have managed to find quite a lot of medicinal use for willow bark. I'd really like to see some medical studies to judge whether it's woo. Of course most of the fish therapy is confined to the limbs and I'd really like my revitalised skin around my face.  Lily Inspirate me. 20:30, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Good point. But even the word "vitalising" sound suspicious to me. If I look I'll bet that I find "natural" as well. --BobSpring is sprung! 20:35, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
And while I'm thinking about it, why should a fish enzyme do anything to a mammal? And how is it transmitted?--BobSpring is sprung! 20:37, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
There's a human enzyme that works across kingdoms, i.e. on vegetable starch. It is found in saliva. The crossover can go the other way, too. The vegetable enzyme papain works on animal tissue, and is used as meat tenderizer. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:41, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Fish slime is essential to their well-being, and clings to them in a watery environment. Anglers who wish to release their catch are advised to handle the fish with wet hands for this reason, to avoid disturbing the slime coat too much. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:52, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Now this looks interesting...[edit]

Out of body experiences, via hologram. If this can be up and running, along with the holographic TV then I can think of only two things left on my list that I want to see in practical application before I die.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:17, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

That's very exciting, actually. Blue (pester) 00:55, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Someday *sighs wistfully* ТyTalk. 02:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
And speaking of cool, anti-lasers.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 00:29, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Great, I just order hubby #1's birfday present a 445nm blue laser...now if the ballons he's looking to pop have one o'dese antilasers it'll be $300.00 down the drain! 01:11, 18 February 2011 (UTC) C®ackeЯ
I thought the anti-laser would be a bit cooler, like the effect you get in a CGI engine when you set the intensity of a light source to negative numbers. Scarlet A.pngmoral 01:22, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Nah, the creation of a major component for optical computing is more than cool enough for me.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:29, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

More interesting stuff[edit]

Anthropologists trace human origins back to one large goat Blue (is useful) 04:10, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Alright, who here works for the Onion? ТyTalk. 04:13, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
That would be very much a dream job. Blue (pester) 04:16, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. ТyTalk. 04:21, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Even more interesting stuff[edit]

fish evolve at speed Number Six (talk) 20:53, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Twitter abuse[edit]

Wow, this guy really needs to get laid. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 12:01, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

He'll be okay, he has an iPhone. -- (talk) 12:53, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, the iPhone is quite similar to the flu, only more expensive. In some cases it seems to become chronic though. --Idiot numbre 188 (talk) 14:03, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I get myself iMmunised to avoid being another casualty of the iMusthaveonetoo epidemic. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 14:08, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Stephen Fry hates Hod? Scarlet A.pngmoral 17:59, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm getting me one of these Apple treadmills, the Iran. C®ackeЯ
I hate Apple even more than I hate Microsoft, and refuse to buy their products. ТyTalk. 14:04, 19 February 2011 (UTC)


"Doesn't make much sense, does it ? Homeless go without eating; Elderly go without needed medicines; Mentally ill go without treatment; Troops go without proper equipment and Veterans go without benefits that were promised. Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first! 1% will re-post and 99% won't. Have the guts to re-post this. I KNOW I'm in the 1%"

A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook. I didn't bother posting back and pointing out everything wrong with it as I don't do arguments over the internet as they are pointless, boring, and make whoever takes part in them look like total fucking idiots, especially on Facebook where "real" people can see them, and especially if the matter is political, as both sides are usually horrifically uninformed. I've never claimed to have any great political knowledge, but it always seems that the people who hold these kind of views ("we're helping other people, even though we're totally fucked!" etc.) seem to be either ridiculously susceptible to media sensationalism that makes things out a lot worse than they really are, or just selfish cunts. I grew up with the Daily Mail as the paper of the house and I've never believed any of the stuff I found in it, or taken any of my values from that fucking rag. I'm fucking sick of uninformed, anti-foreign aid, anti-immigrant right-wing populists. Why is it that some people are far more open to the "poor Britain, we're the victims" thought train than others? SJ Debaser 23:18, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I think tabloids have a lot to answer for in fostering these ridiculous attitudes & myths, & it's very easy for people to perpetuate them on the internet. Also a lot of people love to feel cynical & negative about governments & will believe pretty much anything as long as it's critical of the government (cf Tea Party movement in US). & Facebook can be really eye-opening in terms of finding out that people you know have a disturbingly warped world-view (&/or believe every reactionary canard they hear). WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:52, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Regardless of how "fucked" we may be, we've really never had it so good in the developed world. Medicine it top notch, food supply is secure... stick these moaners in the middle of a refugee camp in Africa following a civil war and famine and lets see them shut the fuck up. Scarlet A.pngmoral 01:03, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
"Homeless go without eating; Elderly go without needed medicines; Mentally ill go without treatment; Troops go without proper equipment and Veterans go without benefits that were promised. Yet we donate billions trillions to other countries before helping our own first! Wall Street, insurance companies, and defense contractors." Fixed. The foreign aid thing has gotten some play here too, even though it's complete chump change in budgetary terms, as well as the fact that most of the money goes to dictator welfare (cough, Mubarak) and Israel's military. I don't know how true that is of the UK, but I recall you guys re-routing foreign aid money to pay for the Pope's holy five star hotel. Awesome. Also, growing up with the Daily Fail? Ouch. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:26, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
@Armondikov- that's always been my thinking. People here don't realise how good we have it, and it seems the only way to open their eyes is to visit half the countries in Africa, or the slums of Rio de Janeiro, and then try and complain about "how fucked" we are.
Weirdly enough my parents still get the paper even though both of them are fairly apathetic politically. My mum would never vote for a Tory government on principle - she's of Irish working class stock and her father (my grandfather) remains to this day a Labour party member. My dad's upbringing was more comfortable, but his opinion of the rag is similar to mine - sensationalist bullshit. SJ Debaser 11:57, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
On that note, Everything's Amazing & Nobody is Happy. Junggai (talk) 15:24, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
One thing that I have learned in my years of travel is how good we do have it in the west. The UK may not be the best off compared to Germany, Scandinavia and Netherlands and we are well behind most of the US (although I have seen some third-world stuff in Alabama). Old SuperMac took a lot of flack for his "you've never had it so good" quote but he was right and we have come a long way since then. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 17:58, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
And the real problem is that when people do think that "the country is going to the dogs" you end up with knee-jerk reactionary policies and attitudes. You think crime is going up? Let's blame it on immigrants!! Scarlet A.pngmoral 20:04, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Is there a botanist in the house?[edit]

I'm in the U.S. Midwest. There's this one type of deciduous tree; its leaves all go brown in November, but for the most part, stay on the branches through the winter and only come off late in the winter/early spring. What's the tree, and is there any reason why it does this? P-Foster (talk) 23:25, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

In the UK beech and hornbeam do the same.  Lily Inspirate me. 23:34, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Wow. Pics? It sounds like an Oak tree, but it's hard telling. And mostly, they just have a stronger bond at the base of the leaf, so the tree doesn't "shed" them until new growth starts coming in. If it's a windy enough area, they'll get blown off, but otherwise will happily sit on the branches all winter. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 02:00, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Brown is not a beautiful autumn colour, therefore it is an atheist tree. --Kels (talk) 02:25, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Oak, beech, and hornbeam are examples of trees with marcescent leaves. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:52, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
They're oak trees, it would seem. Thanks! P-Foster (talk) 03:06, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, both beech and oak trees do that up here... but no one has answered "why?" Is there an evolutionary advantage to this, other than pissing off homeowners who have to rake both fall and spring? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:50, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Some species of oak do that in Spain. The only suggestion of "benefit" I have heard is that dropping them in spring means that whatever nutrients they may have will rot into the ground in the spring when the plant is starting to grow again. I present this not because I believe it (it sounds a bit dubious to me) but because it's the only explanation I've heard.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:22, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Could be that their presence keeps the local temperature up? Number Six (talk) 10:31, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
It's obviously a transitional tree. It's the missing evolutionary link between evergreen and deciduous trees. --Idiot numbre 188 (talk) 10:45, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, Sprocket's link up there suggests it's to keep deer (and such) from eating the delicious buds durring the winter. I think it's just because the atheist trees want to remind us there is no God, by keeping their ugly brown leaves all winter. Damn New Atheist trees, can't they just keep their disbelief in God to themselves?? Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 13:49, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
"I think it's just because..."
Who says it can't be both, and then some? Without an omnipotent deity to keep things on a single track, many things are possible. Thank you for your cooperation. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:04, 19 February 2011 (UTC)



I was editing the Egypt article when my fingers hit a strange combination of keys, pretty much at random. Instead of Firefox Beta now displaying things properly I now get this, including the black lines. Any ideas on how to correct? Thanks.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:27, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Try using Chrome --SeanieBoy (talk) 01:51, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Remove the strips of electrical tape from your screen. Also also, stop using beta? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:39, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Looks like censorship by me. Perhaps you were not meant to read those links. Please fill out this questionnaire to clarify the position:
  1. Do you live in a Muslim/Arab country?
  2. (If yes) Do you want democracy? (if you presently do not have it.)
  3. Do you lie in China?
  4. Have you ever looked at wikileaks?
  5. Have you ever done anything which would make CP report you to the FBI?
If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" you may wish to consider moving to another country.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:17, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Still no idea what weird combination of key presses caused it, but resetting all the user prefs to default sorted it out.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:54, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Alternative Vote[edit]

So, the referendum is officially kicking off here. Clegg called AV a ridiculous compromise, which it is, but obviously had to change his tune when the coalition shot down any chances of proportionally distributed STV. But there is so much bullshit coming from the no2av campaign (any group that uses "2" in the place of "to" deserves nothing but contempt, even if it is just in a URL). I'm pretty hacked off with their picture of a soldier with the caption "he needs a bulletproof vest, not an alternative vote". Of course, I'm immune to this heart-string pulling, but even so can anyone fall for that crap? Yeah, lets pretend that the Tories who are against any voting reform aren't cutting back the armed forces budget, so we can pretend it's being stolen by those horrid Lefties for their proportional representation campaigns! Scarlet A.pngmoral 01:33, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

AV for me. STV would be better, but AV will do for the moment.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 02:49, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I will certainly vote for AV, and will encourage anybody who will listen to do the same. While it is a poor compromise, I think it is certainly an improvement on FPTP. And the bullshit from the "No2AV" folks has pissed me off. Those soldier/baby adverts ("She needs a maternity unit, not an alternative vote") adverts are annoying, and all the bullshit about "some people getting to vote more times than others" is an effort to confuse. When you explain AV in terms of, "Imagine if we had round-after-round, eliminating the weakest candidate, one-by-one, so that it whittles it down to two candidates, then we vote between them! It's like that, but all in one go," then it's not important that people get 'more votes' - it just means they changed their vote a couple, where others stayed the same, each round. I HOPE that AV passing will help us to get electoral reform on the table as a matter of discussion, and the next time the Lib Dems are needed for a coalition, we can hopefully get a referendum for STV with 5 or 6 members per large constituency. I've yet to hear a convincing argument for FPTP. The arguments of, "Produces a stronger government," always make me freaking angry, because all it means is, "distorts the result to the extreme." As I see it, if 35% of people vote for a party, and that produces a "strong government" with 60% of the seats, it is not a good thing. DalekEXTERMINATE 03:32, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not believe in proportional-representation voting, but if I had a vote in the U.K., I would vote for AV. We have it here in Minneapolis for municipal elections, and at the very least it eliminates complaints that a vote for someone from a smaller party is a vote thrown away. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:46, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I like to think of AV as the first rung on the ladder towards a more equitable system. "So what" if a minority party can no longer command a parliamentary majority? Many stable European countries manage very well with consensus politics. It's time to put the left-right oscillations behind us. But first, I have just cast my postal vote for the Welsh referendum. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 09:58, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
As someone who has lived under both FPP and PR systems (in NZ) I would not go back to FPP. Consensus politics has moderated our process so we no longer have massive changes every 6 or so years. Now we have more moderate and slower changes in which a consensus of different factions is required. I like it better, though NZ is a unique case of where FPP can harbour radicalism as we have neither an upper house or a written constitution. DamoHi 10:37, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Massive changes every few years are also part of the problem. Everything we face, economically, socially, environmentally and technologically are all LONG TERM things. If governments chop and change and swing left to right every four years, or even every decade if they get lucky, we're not in a position to deal with long term issues. The political incentive is to do short term goals to get re-elected, and we end up switching from one government to another and each time it's the case that the majority effectively voted against it. Scarlet A.pngmoral 12:02, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
For myself, I'm modestly in favour of the AV thing. As much as I hate to agree with LX about anything, I also don't much like proportional representation. I think that would end up concentrating far to much power in the hands of very small sections of the country, and result in governments that favoured the interests of people who lived in large urban areas more or less exclusively. Local representation seems the fairer system to me. Plus, the Lib Dems want it, which for me is almost reason enough to be suspicious in and of itself. They've always given off the stench of people who'd do or say anything for power, and their recent escapades in government have only served to solidify that as a reputation. I don't know how effective AV will be in unsettling entrenched candidates, but if it does anything at all to make the Tory arsehole round here work harder for his safest of safe seats, it'll be worth it. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 03:30, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
If you feel the need to agree with me on something again, Jeeves, just chalk it down to the stopped clock phenomenon. I would agree with your reasons for opposing proportional representation; the most significant one for me, though, is local representation. Candidates vary widely by region, even when they are of the same party. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX
How can a local representative actually represent their locality when up to 7 out of 10 voters didn't actually vote for them? With the option of second choices made (which is what AV is, it's not properly proportional as STV is) you can be sure that any winner has at least the backing, even if it's not first choice backing, of a majority. But I cannot see how you're concluding that proportional representation concentrates power any more than the FPTP system concentrates the real power in marginal regions. Why should it be that where you live, essentially an accident of birth, decides how much of a vote you get? Scarlet A.pngmoral 11:45, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Encyclopedia Dramatica[edit]

Went there for the first time today. My eyes! Also, I'm pretty sure the FBI will be coming for me soon. That place is wrong. P-Foster (talk) 05:28, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Now imagine what it would have been like if every other word linked to "nigger" or other hate terms. Compared to how it was a few months ago, the modern ED is a lovely, fluffy site fit for home viewing. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 05:56, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
No, most of that is still there. The N-word has been removed from a few templates & page titles, but is still there in the text on a lot of pages. Some die-hard ED trolls are screaming for blood over this, but very little has actually changed yet. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:40, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
ED soon became creepy for me, with their stalking of various WP nutjobs. Altho I do like their take on little Jessica in the CP article. These days, my guilty pleasure is TVTropes, where I can learn about such wonders as the Paper Fan of Doom. /watches evilly as activity on RW grinds to a halt... --Ψ GremlinSermā! 09:22, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Linking to TVTropes should be a bannable offense. If there was any weight in banning, of course. Blue (is useful) 05:23, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
TVTropes is definitely the better one. It's branching out into more than just television and film and getting to be a good resource that's both informative, hilarious and addictive. Although ED is good for documenting drama-whores on YouTube and DeviantART you have to wonder what sort of person would find that info actually useful. And if it's not full of hate and vitriol it's not lulzy enough for the place. Some of it is way too much, where they're actively out to persecute people for pretty much no reason (I don't mind if there's a good reason, though). It just reads like a bunch of teenagers masturbating in their parents' basement over their own non-jokes. Scarlet A.pngmoral 12:09, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Once upon a time, it was actually funny. Once upon a time, it also was solely about LJ drama. ТyTalk. 14:03, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
"Went there for the first time today." -- You're not very good at being from the internet. There's a tiny collection of funny articles there but it's really not worth the time when most of them are about some internet drama I don't give a shit about that always include "OVER 9000 PICTURES OF GOATSE!!11!!" or tubgirl. The "not being serious business is serious business" attitude that's spilled out to other places is really annoying as well -- if you don't respond to a post without OVER 9000 goatses, lulz, you are too SRS BSNSS and therefore a hater/neckbeard living in his parents' basement. Probably lots of projection going on there but at least they make fun of themselves sometimes. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:11, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Sounds familiar... :P Scarlet A.pngmoral 20:01, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I remember when I first visited Encyclopedia Dramatica. Now, I have to live that knowledge for the rest of my life. - Gameboy (talk) 23:32, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Baah, ED is pretty useful to me. Maybe it's just because I like stupid drama on the internet tho. Being a oldfag will do that to you.Quackpack11! | Talk! Scream! Share! 23:45, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I haven't been to ED in about 4 months, but the article on My Immortal was quite funny. ТyTalk. 03:39, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I think in the UK now you can actually go to jail for viewing some of the stuff they have on ED. I'm not sure if that says more about how dumb our laws are, or how dumb ED is. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 03:55, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Eh, maybe they will actually run out of money rather than barely scraping through another year. As a smar/tg/uy I don't care about /b/ etc. we have our own MSFW encyclopedia.ТyTalk. 03:58, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, some of us *do* like to edit ED, you know...seriously, I wonder why so many of you are anti-ED around here, it provides laughs for those of us who prefers their netdrama comedy to not be dumb as shit (sorry Uncyclopedia.) Quackpack11! | Talk! Scream! Share! 08:28, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Because its idea of humour is based on how violently hateful you can make the article? I'm not "anti" ED, I just don't think it's that good.Scarlet A.pngmoral 11:39, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I've been on it a few times and I'm guilty of laughing at some of the stuff they have on there. That said, I'm a n00b, so it's to be expected. SJ Debaser 11:59, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
@Rascaljack Anything is funnier than Uncyclopedia. Wikipedia's policy pages are funnier than Uncyclopedia(No seriously, read some of them, they can be hilarious). ED can be funny, just most of the funny stuff is older than everything else, or was locked for being "best of ED" or some such. I find Tvtropes, 1d4chan, Rationalwiki, and Magmawiki provide all my wiki based humor needs. ТyTalk. 13:01, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Some of the coverage of internet culture & memes at ED is OK, but the heavy reliance on nigger/jew/faggot jokes (sometimes unconvincingly passed off as ironic) & shock images makes visiting ED a usually unpleasant experience. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:13, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I had a lot of hope for Whatport80, but the writing is appallingly bad, and coverage is poor. ТyTalk. 13:20, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
The ED article on Amitakh Stanford is absolutely brilliant, much better than ours and we need to steal more of it - David Gerard (talk) 13:31, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Pi crankery[edit]

On a recent SGU episode, they brought up an old court case where some crank was attempting to legally redefine the value of pi. We have that and the Biblical value of pi on the RW page. I've heard brief or vague mentions before of some "debunkings" of pi or claims to the "real" value of pi. Or is this just based on that court case? Anyone know about other pi crankery? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:56, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Everything I could find on mathematical crankery with reliable sources, without buying a (well-reviewed) book is covered at Pseudomathematics. Enjoy! DalekEXTERMINATE 19:58, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

The Smithsonian & video games[edit]

They're allowing the public to vote on which games should be included in their "Art of Videogames" feature [1]. Prepare for a 40-year trip down memory lane! --Ψ GremlinSiarad! 12:27, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

For all you Angry Birds fans[edit]

Best. Birthday. Cake. Ever!! --Ψ Gremlin말하십시오 12:58, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Meh... he failed the level and the birds don't even explode. --Idiot numbre 188 (talk) 13:18, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Do not be alarmed[edit]

That extremely loud bang you just heard was every not-to-be-named device on the planet exploding just after this got posted. That is all. Carry about your business.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:13, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

"...it's just me, Al Gore." SJ Debaser 22:13, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Royal Mail[edit]

Wtf? LoveFilm shipped my latest rental DVD to me on the 8th, and it's just arrived today, 10 days later, in a standard Royal Mail "We're sorry, this item was damaged in transit" bag. Except by "damaged" they mean "opened". Are Royal Mail employees intercepting rental DVDs, taking them home to watch them, and then posting them back on? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 13:28, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Very possibly. My main grievance with royal mail is how inconsistent the service is. Where I am now, it's great. The postman actually comes in the morning (before 9am), stuff comes on time etc. The last place I was at I had missing post, opened packages, stuff that came late, those "sorry you were out" forms when I was in all day waiting for them etc... So frankly, I wouldn't be too surprised if that was happening to you. X Stickman (talk) 13:45, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Write formal complaint letters, cc to your MP. This shit was endemic in E17, for example, but got cleared up after some serious MP attention - David Gerard (talk) 09:55, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Mrs K. sent a couple of parcels to her sister in the US in early January. They were sent by airmail but have only arrived in the last few days. She was cursing Royal Mail but it turns out that the Department of Homeland Security has prevented all packages over a certain size travelling on passenger planes. Of course, packages in the opposite direction appear to have been unaffected. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 08:53, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, eBay sellers have been getting burnt by this one - David Gerard (talk) 08:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

This time last week, I had some pretty decent abs...[edit]

...Today, my abs are a mess of ugly gashes, staples, bruising, and post operative swelling. Fuck you, Appendix. Fuck you. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:04, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Ouch. At least I got some vicodin out of my appendectomy -- walked around House-style for the next week. Then I took the empty bottle and used it to hold breath mints. Really easy to screw with people, especially when you just chug ten "pills" at once. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:47, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I'd laugh, but it hurts when I do. Worst. Pain. Ever. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:51, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Now you know what it feels like after a Caesarian (possibly).  Lily Inspirate me. 16:16, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
The pain wasn't even that bad at first. I thought I was just constipated for the first day, and I only walked to the A&E as the discomfort (and pain had increased a bit) stopped me from sleeping. All pain subsided waiting to be seen, and right up 30 mins before my op, I thought if I could have a big poo, I'll be alright. 15 mins before my op was due though, my appendix must have exploded cos I suffered the worst pain I have ever had. Morphine didn't help. I dread to think what would have happened if I had waited till morning to go the hospital as was my original plan, and my appendix had gone when I was at home. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:35, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
At least you're ok? Sort of, considering staples and swelling and 3.5 pack abs? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I am ok, thanks. Just sore, weak and more than a little bit bewildered - I've never had anything more severe than flu before AMassiveGay (talk) 13:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
So, I take it this is a bad time to ask you about your thoughts on intelligent design? Sen (talk) 18:39, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My sympathies. I had gall bladder surgery at Chrismas of 2007 (thanks, Santa), and I know how much that sucked, including the most agonizing pain of my life. MDB (talk) 19:04, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Cracked delivers again[edit]

20 Tacky Religious Products Guaranteed to Anger God. Maybe Ken's got a sideline marketing the "Praise Workout Circuit Training Video." --Ψ GremlinZungumza! 07:36, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Hehehe, my husband has long advocated "Chocolate Jesus on the Cross" as Easter merchandise. (#14).RagTopGone sailing 10:33, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
In a similar vein, my sister-in-law gave me some "Impeachmints" peach-flavoured mints with a picture of GWB on the tin. Also, in Catalonia they have in their nativity scenes a "caganer" - a shitting shepherd - so in the doggy version would they have a shitting Pyrenean Mountain dog? Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 14:49, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

No. 7 - sooo creepy. Anyway, I found a blog containing a load of Jesus kitsch (it's in Hungarian, but it's the pics that count). Highlights include Jesus & JFK, suggestive light switch, & the other "Jesus is My coach" statuettes (American football, karate). ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:35, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Yikes. A whole range of those statues. & If the gymnastics one is creepy, it's nothing compared to the golf one. Ewww. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:44, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Jesus is being a dick in those statues anyway. Vulpius (talk) 22:52, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

WIGO:Blogged - David Gerard (talk) 08:29, 22 February 2011 (UTC)


The news coming from Wisconsin is truly shocking. I can't claim to be 100% sure on the facts but if I have the right end of the stick (that Wisconsin faced a budget surplus, and an enormous budget deficit was created by a corporation tax cut, with the Governor then facing down public workers and their unions to end it), then it's both disgusting and the tea party agenda is truly exposed for its values: Big business all the way.

A governor FACING an insurmountable budget crisis, who targeted public workers, could perhaps be excused, if all other options were exhausted. But to CREATE a budget deficit then to go union-busting to try to fix it shows an unhinged movement: What is, ultimately, the difference between lowering corporation tax then cutting public education and simply giving part of the schools budget to big business? The fallacies of trickle-down economics and "Cut taxes to stimulate the economy!" are becoming more and more prominent.

I just, sincerely, hope that the American public get the facts and see the truth. The left have been poor at getting their message out lately; if they get it out well on this one, then they could destroy the Tea Party Movement. In fact, perhaps giving control of a state to the Tea Party and watching the mess that is created will be the first step to them shutting up permanently. DalekEXTERMINATE 15:58, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

I smell strikes. -- (talk) 16:10, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
(EC)There was a tea bagger on the news this weekend, talking about how bad "big government" is, and he was going to go protest in support of the governor. But doesn't giving the government power to disband unions.. make a bigger government? And his wife is a teacher. So he's going to protest in support of him and his family losing pay and health insurance. I'm pretty sure they're far beyond reason. If we just let them fuck over a state, they'll praise how awesome it is that there's no longer any police, public roads, or schools. It's a utopia! Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 16:10, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
The "Scott Walker created the deficit" narrative is a Maddow-talking point that has been bouncing around the moonbat-osphere. See Politifact's article on this. Nevertheless, Walker is on a naked union-busting crusade, conveniently not targeting any unions that didn't donate to his campaign funds. The unions also agreed to concessions before Walker just up and decided that they would lose most of their collective bargaining rights. Natch, Breitbart and Koch toadies swooped in as fast as they could. Breitbart has been peddling some story about bogus doctors' notes. Lobbyists Americans for Prosperity has a "Support Scott Walker" petition up and held a "counter-rally" against union protesters. I posted a link to their stupidity in the WIGO Clogosphere. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:16, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Sadly, huge and sweeping cuts to public education and teachers' pay packages (which will make worse candidates become teachers) will have its effects in the future, not immediately. The Tea Party will be claiming Wisconsin as a success story long before their children are some of the worst-educated in the country. It might seem arrogant, but I feel that being comfortable with "the man" is an important part of political maturity. Wanting a smaller state, wanting to cut taxes and public spending, wanting to weaken unions... these can be reasonable political positions: But carried out with a strong ideology of 'government is bad,' under one-party control and with the speed and determination of a lunatic, we're watching the most severe excesses of democracy. DalekEXTERMINATE 16:59, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
It's just more Reaganism. The GOP has been the union-busting party since the days of St. Ronnie. Any problem can be reduced to "unions diddit," which is also a useful cover story for the kleptocrats at AFP who would like to see all unions gone. During the recent (or ongoing I should say, it never ends) Snowpocalypse here in NY, Bloomberg utterly failed at getting the plows out. First reports on the news? Speculation that unions told workers to intentionally skipped work, later proven to be a complete fabrication but repeated endlessly in wingnut circles. State budget shortfall? Unions diddit! Education suck? Unions diddit! Shitty weather? Unions diddit! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:40, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
But wait - it gets better. He's selling the state's assets (heating, cooling, and power plants) to the highest bidder, i.e. Koch Industries. --Ψ GremlinRunāt! 20:37, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
None of this crap is new to cheeseheads. Ever read about the Kohler Strike? Here's the story about how out-of-state union thugs came into terrorize a town. Obama did nothing new when he reanacted a bitter moment in Wisconsin history by rallying his out-of-state goons. nobsdon't bother me 02:48, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Walker declares himself dictator. This is getting pretty shameless. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:45, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Wait. What? I'm not sure an article about a similar thing going down in Michigan is "declaring himself dictator". But I do think that's just great. Auto Unions have too much power, and are the downfall of our civilization. So anything to weaken unions in Michigan can only end well. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 14:59, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Linked to the wrong article. Here's the one about him trying to give himself various "emergency powers." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:16, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Send in the clones! ТyTalk. 16:22, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, since you posted the Michigan story. Detroit to cut half of their schools, bringing classroom size to 60 students/class. I can't tell you how happy that makes me, especially since I'm supposed to be moving there in the next few months. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 17:39, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Since you mentioned it, obligatory KFM link[2]. ТyTalk. 17:42, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

It looks as though most people see through this thinly veiled power play to take people and bend them over the coals for wealthy interests. What scares me are the number of people that would be directly hurt, by lowering of school standards and reductions in services, that are rabidly championing their own screwing. ~ Subsound ~ 19:03, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Have no idea if this is related[edit]

Toddler's death linked to shoddy sterilization practices by a Wisconsin medical products firm. --Ψ GremlinSprich! 19:18, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Doubtful in relation to this fight between educators and the state government, as the FDA is a Federal regulator. What it does show is the human cost when regulators are so under funded and stripped of power they cannot do anything about private companies violating regulations. If people want to decrease their taxes and cripple regulators based on rantings about "Socialism", pushed by the companies themselves to reduce their tax burden and loosen regulations on their products, they need to accept the cost to people that could have been their own family. ~ Subsound ~ 22:24, 22 February 2011 (UTC)


Nothing confirmed yet, but it sounds like Libya just went the way of Tunisia and Egypt.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:22, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Better elucidate I suppose. There's protests and rioting in Tripoli now, rumours that Gaddafi has left the country, apparently the Navy is now bombarding parts of Tripoli, two fighter jets, two helicopters and crew have defected to Malta, the fighter jets apparently looking to avoid strafing runs and bombings against Tripoli, and there has been a mass resignation of Libyan diplomats, mostly at the UN, but also in other places around the world, with the diplomats who have gone asking for Libya to be blockaded so Gaddafi can't get mercs in.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:27, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Mmm, mixed news. Troops have pulled back from the border with Egypt, making it easier, at least in theory, to get in and out, and yet Libyan airspace is now closed, trapping who knows how many foreigners.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:49, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Topped off with reports of the navy bombing Tripoli.. Nice. It does appear to be over for him, it's just a matter of how long he's willing to hold out. To be honest, I'm kinda' hoping for a violent revolt in that area of the world. Somehow it's more satisfying to see the former leader dragged through the streets, as opposed to just running away. al-Gadaffi may yet make my wish come true. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 21:55, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Word is that Muammar Gaddafi is to address Libya. This……isn't going to be good.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:14, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
And the address? "fuck you, I'm still here". Awesome. My wife says; "it's like listening to Peter Griffin give an excuse" in reference to "A statement described the protesters as "terrorist gangs made up mostly of misguided youths", who had been exploited and fed "hallucinogenic pills" by people following foreign agendas." Here. If nothing else, this guy has balls. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 00:46, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
True, and he'll be lucky if they stay attached.
The same is true of his head, for that matter. MDB (talk) 14:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
"I will be a martyr" Fuck yeah! Do it! Hold on 'till the end!! :) I just think it will be a much bigger message to the other leaders in the region if we see his burning corpse hanging from the capitol. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 16:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
What's the Arabic translation of sic semper tyrannis? MDB (talk) 16:19, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
You called? ТyTalk. 16:23, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

You're not fooling anybody, Sarah[edit]

Something else from the leaked book about Saint Sarah of Wasilla: despite having laser vision correction surgery, she still wears glasses to make her look smarter.

She also didn't even support McCain in the primaries. (Though that's hardly unusual -- Bush the Elder was so opposed to Reagan getting the nomination, he ran against him.) MDB (talk) 13:53, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I thought it was because the glasses made her look more attractive. ТyTalk. 15:59, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
They do. -- (talk) 16:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Sure. In the same way putting lipstick on a pitbull makes it more attractive. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 17:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I have a thing for glasses. ТyTalk. 17:23, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
As prominent conservative women go, Sarah Palin is one of the better looking ones. She's definitely more attractive than Ann Coulter. MDB (talk) 17:26, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I cannot understand why people find Coulter attractive. ТyTalk. 17:27, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
What, you're not turned on by a horse-faced harridan with an Adam's Apple and the emaciated body of a heroin addict? MDB (talk) 17:34, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I also have a thing for glasses, and have done my best to keep the Mrs from getting lasik surgery. But I also have a much, much stronger aversion to stupidity. That combined with a concern for where I put my dick means I just find both of them so off-putting, that even trying to rank them on a "hotness" scale is just a silly exercise. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 17:34, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Note that Palin is not on my list. She looks far, far, too much like my mother. Who now dresses and does her hair like Palin, whom she adores. ТyTalk. 17:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Meh, you socialists just can't handle the fact that there are hot, conservative women. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:00, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
They may have also found her secret facebook account. She uses it to praise herself and Bristol.--Thanatos (talk) 18:09, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
We won't have to deal with her anymore. I watched GWAR hack her to death on stage on Saturday. Aboriginal Noise with 4 M's and a silent Q 20:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Interview with mama Schlafly[edit]

Here's a hint, feminists crave divorce--Thanatos (talk) 18:04, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

More self-deprecations and of the morality that misery is good. Sometimes I suspect that people like her are simply jealous of not having the willpower to do (or have lost the chance to do) what they see others doing. "boo, look at those liberals, being all free and dandy and ending something when they don't like it, instead of suffering until the end of their lives as it is proper" Sen (talk) 18:26, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Wow, she is a piece of work...I would have a hard time finding such a collection of bullshit and insanity in one place. I love her stating that women have such great freedoms they don't need legal help, even though those freedoms came from the leverage of legal protections over the years. Just before her stating freedom is that women need to be forced to stay with one man forever if they get married, and real conservatives not seduced by liberals never get divorced ever. ~ Subsound ~ 21:23, 22 February 2011 (UTC)


Indiana House Democrats have left the statehouse to prevent Republicans from stripping away collective bargaining rights for workers. Seems to be going the same way as Wisconsin. --Ψ GremlinSnakk! 20:02, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Good for them. Maybe shutting down state governments will get people to pay attention. ТyTalk. 20:12, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Union-busting: Coming to a state near you! I can guarantee this is going to heat up in some other states as the state budget crisis spreads. When it comes to financial issues, Republicans only know how to play two games, which I like to call "Seven Degrees of Gummint" and "Seven Degrees of Unions." All evils in the world can be attributed to either. The "unionsdiddit" meme was already out in full force before Wisconsin, anyway, and it's still just as bogus as creationism. CBPP has two articles with some actual research on the crisis, state shortfalls and their origins. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:33, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Om nom nomination bump[edit]

RationalWiki:Bureaucrat nominations#Tyrannis. Blue (is useful) 21:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Juan Pujol Garcia[edit]

Just watched a documentary on BBC4 about "Garbo", a Spanish double-agent who fed the Germans a load of bull during WWII and thereby ensured the success of the Normandy landings. His motive was to usurp the attempts of authoritarianism to subjugate society. He would have been a great RationalWikian. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 22:33, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

You Kiwis alright?[edit]

What with the earthquake and all? P-Foster (talk) 01:13, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I am in Wellington so OK but our friend AD is in the epicenter. Ace of Spades 01:15, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Nasty nasty. Ace of Spades 01:18, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Police say "multiple fatalities" have been reported at several locations in the central city. This includes two buses crushed by falling buildings. Not good at all. Ace of Spades 01:29, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Good luck to AD and all our Kiwi friends. A link.RagTopGone sailing 01:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
This fucking terrible...TVNZ has had unconfirmed reports of houses being flattened in Lyttleton, near Rapaki and Tamatea. One caller heard from scared family, saying there are boulders and other debris that have come down and taken out cars and houses. Awful fucking news. The president of my company is down there and I haven't heard from her....worried. Ace of Spades 01:42, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Not good. I have yet to hear from my brother. The images on TV are shocking. DamoHi 01:51, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I haven't got a TV in my office but all the pictures are awful. Ace of Spades 01:52, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Thw link I posted above has updating footage from Sky & TV3. It's pretty grim stuffRagTopGone sailing 02:04, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Terrible stuff to wake up to. However, good news is that AD is ok. --Ψ GremlinПоговорите! 08:47, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Phew, that is good news. Terrible news about the quake though.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 10:16, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

This probably isn't funny or very relevant, but a huge tool I know had just been gearing up everyone he knows for his big move to Nz. Telling you how cool Christchurch is and showing you his scrapbook pictures that you aren't really interested in seeing. Telling us how things are just different over there, and that the grass is greener, women are more beautiful, beer is free, etc... haha. But seriously, I still hope he gets the fuck out of America. Occasionaluse (talk)

On a similar note, God must really hate NZ, what with killing her miners and flattening her cities. --Ψ Gremlin講話 15:57, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Ace, did you feel the shock from your place? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
@Cruindy - Didn't feel it, no. @Occasionaluse - lol. Ace of Spades 20:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

It's been crazy.--ADtalkModerator 04:32, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Line-Item Veto[edit]

As I understand, an act was passed (and found unconstitutional) allowing the President to use a Line-Item Veto, and since then, various constitutional amendments have been suggested, including in, "A More Perfect Constitution." Now, I understand that this would be very useful for removing "earmarks" and other crappy amendments made during the legislative process. But, unless I'm missing something, there're some crazy issues with this. I'm just wondering if anyone's ever thought about this, or if someone found a way around it?

1. What about bipartisan agreements? For example, Congress has to extend X funding for something, or it stops, and the democrats want it. But the republicans want a Y tax cut, and they agree on it. With a line-item veto, would the democrats and republicans ever agree, as they'd both fear that when the bill went to the president, the president would just scrub out the opposing party's terms and conditions?
2. I imagine that you could find DOZENS of bills whose meaning would be changed by the removal of certain sections. Wouldn't such an amendment be incredibly dangerous, as the President could "Pick and choose" sections of the act, pass it into law, and congress could not repeal it? DalekEXTERMINATE 03:33, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The reasons you listed are common arguments. It gives the president near-full legislative power. In reality, it also fails to address the problem it's supposed to fix. The president isn't going to sit there and cross out all the earmarks -- he's most likely going to leave the earmarks in because getting rid of them could cost him a future vote from the Congressman whose earmark he erased. On top of that, he probably couldn't get every earmark if he tried. Most of these earmarks are hidden using a load of legal-ese and even a crack team of lawyers probably wouldn't catch every one. Further, the president doesn't really care about some $100,000 earmark for underwater basket weaving grants in Podunk. That's chump change anyway, so he doesn't have a lot of incentive to go through and pick out the earmarks. Earmarks are an infinitesimal portion of the total budget, so he most likely wouldn't really care. Even more, it would open the floodgates for some epic bullshit. Bills are already written like spaghetti code with different parts referencing each other and other laws, so laws would get increasingly labyrinthine as legislators attempt to make them veto-proof by loading them up with even more cross-references and legal-ese. Basically, while most of the time in Congress now is spent on legal dickery, probably 99% of it would be if we had the line-item veto. I believe many governors have a limited line-item where they can cross out dollar amounts but not prescriptors. However, that still means the president can now just defund anything he doesn't like. Probably a lot worse on the national than the state level.
tl;dr, sounds like a crap idea to me. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:36, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
It was in the Contract on America (they wanted Reagan to have it), but amusingly was never brought to a vote when Gingrich got in - since a Dem was president at the time... what they wanted was a "line item veto for a GOP president to use on bills passed by a Dem. Congress", to expand the phrase to include "truth". ħumanUser talk:Human 04:19, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

On the Middle East[edit]

Is what we're seeing in the Middle East now the equivalent of what we saw in Eastern Europe as the Soviet Bloc collapsed? MDB (talk) 12:55, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

As an East European: Too soon to say. Wait for the dust to settle. I wonder what Gaddafi thinks of wp:Ceauşescu. :D--ZooGuard (talk) 13:02, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
It's getting nasty there though - Libyan soldiers burned alive for refusing to shoot protesters. --Ψ Gremlin말하십시오 13:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
(EC)It's got sort of similarities. But also differences. It's the first Black swan that I've seen since reading the book.--BobSpring is sprung! 13:11, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Dear God.
As for Gaddafi and Ceausescu, I had the same thought. I've read that the Ceausescus were clueless dolts who had no idea how hated they were; it remains to be seen if Gaddafi is that ignorant. MDB (talk) 13:11, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Well, Gaddafi's speaking and he seems to be using Glenn Beck ideology to hold onto power; to wit, all the troubles are being stirred up by ragheads people with beards and turbans. Honest to Goat, that is how it's been translated over the Beeb.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 15:57, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Holy Shit! I've just realised: Beck and Gaddafi are the same person! Hey, have you seen them together in the same room? Oh, and he's still bashing the people with beards and turbans.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:01, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
"US planes are firing on houses, people" Sweet. This guy just keeps getting better and better. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 16:02, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Apparently all the damage caused in Libya has been caused by "young people taking drugs, hallucinogenic drugs that made them attack police stations like mice". Apparently these young people, 16 or 17, are emulating what they see elsewhere. And the reason they are emulating them is because of the drugs pushed on them by drug pushers. The people shot aren't the real instigators, it's the people staying at home who are pushing the drugs. Sorry if this sounds like a stream of nonsense, paraphrasing Gaddafi live is.....a challenge.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:06, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Yep, back to US and UK attacking Libya.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
CNN cut the feed, as it was just rambling about drug dealers and the US full on attacking him. I'm still not sure which it is.. Apparently the drug dealers got them to riot, and we're attacking the rioters. But I'm not sure why we would do that.. I suspect next he will have become the Incredible Hulk, and singlehandedly bring about the end of the protests. Gadaffi Smash!! Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 16:10, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Holy shit...he just used the phrase 'liberate and purify' in regards to Benghazi.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:11, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
"It's the Americans and the Italians who have got the youngsters in Benghazi drunk and drugged so they don't know what they do."--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:13, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
This guy rants worse than Andy. One line he's cursing the protesters saying that having one gun makes them think they're strong, a few rants later Gaddafi is saying he can't resign, he holds no position to resign, he's just one person with a gun. Now he's calling on the Army and Police to attack the protesters, tomorrow I think. Calling the protesters cockroaches, again said that they're drugged...apparently Gaddafi built Benghazi brick-by-brick. City of Darnah destroyed, held by cockroaches....do you want the US to occupy Libya like Afghanistan or Somalia....the US wants to bring occupation back to that part of the world.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:19, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Switching to Al Jazeera, Hague on at the Beeb at the mo. Gaddafi is mostly just threatening the protesters with death at this point whilst reading from his Green Book. Oh, interesting, Gaddafi is claiming to have not given authorisation to use bullets on the protesters. Biggest fucking sigh I've ever heard just came from the Al Jazeera translator. Threatening that Libya could fall to civil war (Gaddafi, not the translator).--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Something about Yeltsin, and Russians living like rats after that civil war. Ah, back to US bashing and all the places they've leveled around the world.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:27, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

So, the Beeb's Diplomatic Correspondent is doing the translation of the translation and frighteningly, the above is about correct.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:31, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it's reasonable to speculate at this point that Gaddafi may have gone mad. He's always been odd, but this is kind of like when the spooky neighbor who keeps to himself, setting on his front porch muttering starts firing off shotgun blasts at passing cars. MDB (talk) 16:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, no. I've heard a few Gaddafi speeches over the years, this is about standard. Or to put it another way, if you just listened to his speeches you would always have had the thought that he was batshit insane.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:40, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
By the way check out the top right hand corner. Very interesting. Back to Gadaffi, apparently all the scenes of trouble on non-Libyan State TV is old footage.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:40, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The article and image are indeed quite interesting. ТyTalk. 17:12, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, he's back into familiar territory now, Yeltsin attacking the Russian parliament, the US government attacking 'the davidian sect', 'blacks being shot when rioting in LA', the protests in Tienanmen Square, this all justifies Gadaffi's actions, even though in the next sentence he says this is a different matter. He's telling the families of the protesters to go to the protesters and 'teach them about security, tell them to become police, tell them to become engineers'. 'These young people haven't been taught history, which is why they're rebelling. Have you seen people who are civilised or own a coffee shop taking part in the protests...all of this is down to young people who are drugged and we can't touch them because they are underage...it's all the fault of the adults provoking them'. 'Peaceful demonstration is one thing, armed rebellion is another'.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:47, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Translation of translation (Beeb): Gaddafi seems to be warning that he's willing to use any level of violence to bring the country back under control. Libya seems to be disintegrating.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, he's gone into standard Gadaffi routine, basically hectoring with a lot of repetition of every point he's already made, mixed in with poetry readings. Seriously, he's reading out poetry. Unless something major comes up that's it for this unalive blog, at least from me.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:58, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks SD, and yes, this all sounds amazingly like 1989 to me. Power to the people! I live in hope. Jack Hughes (talk) 17:00, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
No probs. Even Al Jazeera English has given up covering the speech. That's funny.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 17:01, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
We could easily see a shitstorm for years to come and places where the military already has power like Egypt, there's bound to be some funny business going on. Good time to be optimistic but don't drop the confetti and pop the champagne just yet. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:22, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Anyone care to make any predictions? ТyTalk. 17:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Hollywood will be stunned when J-Lo announces her engagement to Roger Schlafly.
Oh, wait, not that kind of prediction. Nevermind. MDB (talk) 17:44, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
-_- ТyTalk. 17:45, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Holy crap. Thanks for live-blogging that. Every time Brother Leader opens his mouth, he's always come across as slightly nutty; now he's gone into full-on delusional mode. How anybody watching in that Libya can't think that he has to go, I dunno. --Ψ Gremlin말하십시오 18:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Prediction for Egypt: Don't be too sure about the military keeping overall control. Reading between the lines it's almost certain that there are schisms between the military generalship, but that's not so important as Mubarak's deployment of the army into Tahrir Square. He brought in elite units, he didn't use the regular army and that suggests that the military brass can't trust the rank and file to stay behind them. I seem to remember seeing something on Newsnight a few years back that said pretty much the same thing when they did a piece on the Egyptian Army. If that is true, and the military council tries the same old tricks as before, and the same protests happen again as before, it could very well be a case of real civil war, the regular army against whatever elite units stay loyal to their particular general.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Break 1[edit]

"Nobody knows what form Middle Eastern democracy will take" - so said the BBC reporter on the scene (sorry, bud, I didn't get your name).

I think that quote is fractally valid - the man/woman on the street doesn't know; the mob doesn't know; the political parties don't know; the region doesn't know; the world doesn't know. That's one reason why oil is spiking right now. Going back into the fractal from the individual, most of them probably don't know what alternatives there'll be.

Egypt has been in more direct contact with the modern world for longer than any other part of North Africa, so what happens there might not reflect the rest of the area. It's just possible that might translate to a system closer to Western norms than the current situation, but on the other hand there might be a backlash. With countries like Libya and Bahrain... I don't think anybody knows.

Let's remember that the ol' saying "May you live in interesting times" was an Arabic curse originally. Looks like the Arabs, Berbers and others from that neck of the woods are about to live the curse. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 22:47, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

(Pedantry corner)May_you_live_in_interesting_times: Chinese surely. Or possibly not. Not Arabic anyhow. 22:54, 22 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Yeah, I thought Chinese. But eternal, nonetheless. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:14, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

A game where you cannot win (and, no, not THAT one)[edit]

Spent, a new game that let's you experience "virtual poverty" in the United States. Speaking as someone who's lived below the poverty line more than a few times in life, I wonder how many Michele Bachmannites would say that the games protagonist (you, the player) is being "just lazy"? AnarchoGoon Swatting Assflys is how I earn my living 16:29, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I was able to make it through the month with $316 left over, but at the cost of my teeth. It baffles me that politicians can say such things while calling themselves Christian.--Thanatos (talk) 18:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
They fall back on the "there will always be poor people" defense. Or scream Socialism/Communism/Liberal. ТyTalk. 18:26, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
A former pastor of mine had an interesting take on that. The passage is from John 12:8, and is actually "you will always have the poor with you." His argument was that the meaning of that is not so much "there will always be poor people", but "Christians will always be surrounded by the poor, because they're so busy caring for them."
Now, said pastor was somewhat naive, and a borderline socialist, but I think it definitely beats the usual right-wing interpretation that it means "you can't eliminate poverty, so don't bother trying." MDB (talk) 19:16, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
From what little I know of Christianity (mainly via Islam), I would interpret that passage in the exact same way he did. The teachings of both Islam and Christianity emphasise charity and collective responsibility of the believers, not some fraked up form of Objectivism combined with religious fundamentalism. As for the game, made it through with $115, but had my electric cut off. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 23:14, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
From my reading of the text some woman with an inferiority complex bows down and washes Jesus's feet with expensive perfume. That old killjoy Judas points out that the money could be better spent helping the poor. Jesus, who is enjoying a nice foot massage as well as a bit of D/s play, replies:-
You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me
There's some guff about Judas steeling from the poor box but they would put that, wouldn't they. Here we have, right from the start, justification for the priesthood living in luxury whilst all about them people are starving. Jack Hughes (talk) 16:55, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Whilst on the subject I've always felt for Judas. If Jesus is so good at seeing into our souls and all why didn't he have a quiet word with Judas about (a) dipping into the funds (if he was) and (b) the whole betrayal thing. A quick "Hey Jude, the betrayal thing, you'll only feel bad about it and you'll be hated forever." could have sorted things out nicely. No, he was stitched up from the start. Every story needs a villain and he fitted the part. Jesus didn't care one jot for his soul. Jack Hughes (talk) 17:01, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I find it seriously disturbing to see massive, ornate, palatial churches (especially the superbly OTT catholic ones) that were built at a time when people were literally dying of hunger. Yeah christians, that was a great way to spend the money... DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 17:07, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

This game is heartbreaking, and while not perfectly accurate, reminds me too much of so much of my (post-Reagan economy) life. Thanks, Goonie! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:06, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Judgement day[edit]

Can some clever technogeek make a countdown clock to 21 May this year? 23:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast

The Rapture has already ended. (refresh) ТyTalk. 00:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

WOT, no Minutes? 00:58, 23 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
According to the documentation, at <1hour, minutes will be show. at <1minute, seconds will be shown.ТyTalk. 00:59, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Also, is set for GMT. ТyTalk. 01:00, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
'WOT' ? Exclamation, or subtle jibe with the Wheel Of Time initials? I know, I know, I'm irredeemably nerdy. *Hangs head in shame*--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:08, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
P.S. Do I hell. I'm an escapee from the eighties. Nerdy is a badge of honour for me.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:08, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Not Wheel of Time but Chad. I'm an escapee from the 60s. 01:18, 23 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Hey, hey, I remember him, admittedly as Kilroy, but it was something to doodle in the margins whilst I was being bored with how rivers really like to flow to the sea.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:29, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I can't wait until the 21st comes and goes without incident. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the site. Tetronian you're clueless 04:10, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
And to think my older kid is supposed to -- excuse me, was supposed to -- graduate from college on the 22nd. All that hard work down the drain. Doctor Dark (talk) 06:50, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Typical. The weekend before payday too, so can't even go on a pre-Rapture bender. Hmmm, maybe I'll just empty the petty cash. I'm mean, who's gonna know right? --PsyGremlinPrata! 07:55, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to see the Rapture just to see how many right wing fundie nutjob get left behind. AMassiveGay (talk) 12:14, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I'd love to Andy's MPR post "Liberals are baffled as to why millions of people have suddenly vani... OH FUCK!" --PsyGremlin말하십시오 12:16, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
In all seriousness, Andy has never indicated he buys into the End-Time beliefs common among evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. He probably considers the Rapture predictions to be as big a load of crap as we do it.
Heck, even among Christians who believe in the Rapture, there's a lot of scoffing at the idea of setting a specific date. "No one will know the day or the hour", after all. MDB (talk) 14:07, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
You know, that site counters "the day or the hour" thing. Just sayin'. And I read it, trying to figure our how they got May 21st. I had to give up, as I couldn't figure out wtf they were smoking. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 14:17, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Does this mean that Duke Nukem Forever is going to be delayed? Sen (talk) 16:43, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
The sun rose this morning; therefore, Duke Nukem Forever will be delayed. QED. MDB (talk) 18:04, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Speaking of countdowns there are 666 days left until the 2012 Apocalypse. ТyTalk. 23:33, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Rush Limbaugh calls the kettle black!!![edit]

Really? Like that asshole is one to talk. Punky Your mental puke relief 00:01, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

That's about as petty as it gets. His audience must be really thick if they find personal insults like that convincing. Tetronian you're clueless 00:05, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
This is El Rushbo we're talking about here. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:52, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Limbaugh calling Michelle Obama isn't the pot calling the kettle black, it's the coal calling the snow black. MDB (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Good point. And I'm totally stealing that for future use. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 14:15, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Doctor Who news[edit]

The Brigadier has gone to the great blue box in the sky. I sincerely hope he gets a 'Five Rounds, Rapid Fire!' salute at his funeral.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 17:37, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh that's sad. I liked the Brigadier (altho I seem to remember him most as the Colonel) back in things like Dr Who and the Green Death. John Pertwee was still the best Dr. You're free to disagree, but you'll still be wrong. --PsyGremlin話しなさい 17:43, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Pertwee and Baker (Tom, obviously) hold joint top spot in my list of old Docs, with Tennant thrown in if you include the new ones. Troughton runs a very, very close second.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 17:46, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Very sad. I shall geek out with a Brigadier DVD evening tonight in memory of the man. Totnesmartin (talk) 19:35, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I only ever though of him as Lethbridge-Stewart. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 19:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
That's sad. My favourite doctor is Matt Smith because his testimony allowed my people to activate the progenitor. I'm not sure of my favourite doc, I'd need to think. DalekEXTERMINATE 20:11, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, surely your favourite Doc isTom Baker, 'cause he didn't kill all you lot off at origin when he had the chance?--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:28, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Wealth distribution in the US[edit]

I don't imagine it's much different here in the UK (Via misscellania) 17:49, 23 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast

I imagine that the distribution is similar but the absolute values are lower. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 19:44, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Christian Terrorism[edit]

Canvassing be damned: the WP article on Christian terrorism is currently under attack from a small number of fundies who want to whitewash the whole thing. Should anybody want to stop this happening, that'd be great. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:47, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

It's on my watchlist now, and I see one or two few reliable types are intervening. I may pitch in in between trying to stop someone using wikipedia to sell his bigfoot book. Totnesmartin (talk) 19:38, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that even here that would be a tendentious title for an article, as it gives you multiple problems.
  • Defining "terrorism" in such a way that it as distinct from "freedom fighter", "persecuted minority defending itself" or whatever.
  • Defining "Christianity" in a way that all Christians would accept. That is, in such a way that it was broad enough to be accurate, acceptable to any Christian and did not automatically exclude the possibliity of a Christian being responsible for a Terrorist act. (I see no true Scotsman in the future.
  • Defining "Christian terrorism" in way way which would be acceptable to all. I strongly suspect that for many it would be a contradiction in terms. It would mean "an evil act carried out because the person was a Christian". While I've got no doubt such a thing is possible - even common - I suspect that many Christians would refuse to acknowledge even the theoretical possibility.--BobSpring is sprung! 13:46, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Watch this one run and run. Should we create an article "Christian Terrorism" and invite editors to build it here?--BobSpring is sprung! 13:46, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Your requirements for a definition are too strict, and reflective of an unquestioned double standard. No one polls the whole Muslim world to ask if a group of thugs planting bombs in the name of Allah can justifiably be called "Islamic Terrorists." With people using the term it's enough for them that the group claims to be furthering the cause of Islam, so the name sticks no matter how many Muslim leaders condemn acts of violence. There are plenty of calls for violence in the Bible, so it's a bit weaselly to say that a Christian terrorist is a "contradiction in terms" just because most Christians have moved beyond that. Junggai (talk) 15:21, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

UKian rant[edit]

FFS the Irish, the Greeks and the Turks can rescue not only their own citizens but thousands of Chinese workers from Libya, we can't even get a plane off the ground. - me on facebook earlier. I just wanted to say it twice. Totnesmartin (talk) 19:51, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

This whole uprising in North Africa has shown that the bloody government seems to be 3 steps behind everyone else. I don't suppose it helps that we don't have an aircraft carrier or the right kind of aircraft to launch off the French aircraft carriers to impose a no-fly zone over Libya whilst we fly in some Hercules to pick up our oil workers out in the desert, and our people at the airport.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:34, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't help either that our glorious coalition can't organise a pissup in a brewery couple of charter planes in a hurry. But don't worry, they're going to have an inquiry about it. *eyeroll* Totnesmartin (talk) 00:15, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Wonderboy says he is "very sorry" for the delay. He sounds just like a pre-recorded railway station announcement. Totnesmartin (talk) 10:45, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
We could just do a Berlusconi and say "hey, pretend you're on holiday!!" Scarlet A.pngmoral 13:15, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't recall spending my last holiday almost running out of food, not knowing what was happening and wondering if I'd last the week. Totnesmartin (talk) 13:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
(comedy pause) Actually it was at the Edinburgh Fringe, so, um, yes I did spend it like that. Totnesmartin (talk) 13:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)


I would like to install the LiquidThreads extension on my wiki, but I do not have command prompt access to the server. Would it be remotely possible for someone to point me in the right direction? Blue (pester) 21:06, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

You need access. I think that is how Nx did it, as you need to extract to the extensions folder, and modify several files. ТyTalk. 21:36, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
*points at server* Occasionaluse (talk) 21:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I have access to the server, just not command prompt. All the files are in place, I just can't do the "php maintenance/update.php." Blue (is useful) 21:42, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Why do you not have command prompt access?ТyTalk. 22:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. I think I'll email Nx. Blue (is useful) 22:58, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Just kick it until it works. --Idiot numbre 188 (talk) 23:04, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
As Nx is part of MediaWiki, that is probably the best idea. ТyTalk. 23:21, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Nx is coded in PHP? Amazing. He seems so real. --Idiot numbre 188 (talk) 00:01, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, amazing isn't it! And javascap is coded in Java! Why, in fact, there are only 2 real users on this wiki! The rest are all chatterbots. (The other real user is, of course, Lumenos) ТyTalk. 00:06, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I was originally written as a PHP background process in MediaWiki 1.0, but Nx hacked me for use here. Blue (is useful) 00:10, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm a really heavily upgraded version of megahal being run on several super computers. ТyTalk. 00:12, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
There is at least one hack to give you command-line access through PHP, so you could use it to run the script. MARCVS ANTONIVS 20:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Deletion of "Off Mission" articles[edit]

Is there any particular reason why articles that are admittedly "Off Mission" should be deleted? They take up just as much room on the server whether they're visible or not. I cite Category:Roman history and its member articles. Not Mission, certainly, but interesting nonetheless. I have no particular axe to grind on this subject but it seems a waste if the fruits of someone's (misguided?) labour is thrown away purely for protocol reasons. 03:18, 24 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Because some of us actually see this wiki as one day becoming more. ТyTalk. 03:22, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not support deletion of off-mission articles. I do, however, strongly support deletion of pointless articles. Articles which don't add anything to the wiki, for example. Blue (pester) 03:25, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Agree with everything blue has ever said or will say. Ace of Spades 03:29, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Why aren't more men like Ace? Blue (is useful) 03:45, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The world couldn't handle that much machismo. Ace of Spades 03:52, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
*swoons* I lack macheesemo. I do not get much attention from those Hispanic ladies. Blue (pester) 04:18, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
What's Ace on tonight? Seriously though, I've one of probably 3 or 4 people who has read every mainspace page in this wiki. And quite a few of them are pointless shit, or belong in Consevapedia/drek-space. ТyTalk. 03:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Ace is at work so just wine. Ace of Spades 03:43, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Must be nice! ТyTalk. 03:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I wholly agree with Blue. I think that, as Tyrannis says, that as the wiki grows and gets better, we're going to have to have a serious discussion on what will and won't be deleted (when it comes to off-mission articles), which will no doubt end in a massive argument. Yey. In that discussion, I'll be advocating that non-mission articles of general interest (in a few, clear areas), which aren't of poor quality, should be kept. I have other thoughts on the matter, but I'll save those for later. DalekEXTERMINATE 03:51, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. ТyTalk. 03:52, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I barely contribute to this wiki so my opinion doesn't count for a lot, but why keep an off-mission article unless it's funny and/or says something that wikipedia doesn't? ONE / TALK 09:55, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
(EC KILL SMASH MAIM WRITE WHINY LIVEJOURNAL ENTRY) maybe it's time to finally set up science:space and/or some kind of atticspace for articles which are off-mission but still worth having around? Totnesmartin (talk) 09:59, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Attic space gets my vote - I'd set it up but I haven't got the wiki-foo. Just like my real attic it could be a dumping ground for anything that can't quite be thrown way and, unlike my real attic, it won't need a clear out every decade or so. Jack Hughes (talk) 10:38, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think us peons can create new spaces, or there'd be dozens by now. Totnesmartin (talk) 10:43, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
While I can see the temptation towards moving things to new namespaces (science, attic), I would argue against it. If we had a proper deletion policy, I imagine that all mission-related articles would be kept (as even an on-mission stub would be improved well), while quality of the article would and should be important in off-mission articles. For example, an article about physics or politics which could hardly be argued to be on mission, should be kept if it is a high quality article and deleted if it's poor, incorrect or a very short article. Indeed, in deciding to delete things or not, a balance between relevance and quality should probably be found. An excellent article on something unrelated to the mission would have more merit than a poor, off-mission article... while two articles which are bang on-mission, one poor and one great, should both be kept. (Sidenote: I guess the reasoning is that you'd expect other uses to improve mission articles, but non-mission articles are much more likely to stagnate). As such, if our reasoning for keeping an article is that it's good enough for the wiki, then it is (and should be) good enough for the mainspace. Anything which we feel isn't good enough for the mainspace shouldn't be kept, or should be improved... not hoarded away in an admission of inferiority! DalekEXTERMINATE 12:24, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem with keeping things which are "off mission but excellent" is this. It justifies literally any article. I could write an excellent article on 15th century Hungarian art well, I'm sure I could if knew anything about it but the fact that it is excellent should not justify its inclusion here.--BobSpring is sprung! 12:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
But we could get New Gwenson back. And Enrique Inglesias. Totnesmartin (talk) 13:35, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
so maybe there should be a "not even the attic" policy Totnesmartin (talk) 13:36, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I see your point, and so would say that in the balance of quality and relevance, both are required - no amount of quality can make up for zero relevance. But the important thing to remember here is building an excellent wiki. A hugely important part of this, is being able to link to quality, off-mission, relatively short articles. Lets say we engage in a project to improve each country's different page, writing about the country's history of authoritarianism and fundamentalism. Such an article would be VASTLY improved by being able to have multiple links throughout the history, to articles about regimes, leaders, revolutions and movements. If we included the information in the article, they'd become far too wordy and long. If we don't have the information, people will go to Wikipedia - which is often not as useful for a summary. If I were reading about a pseudoscience, and didn't understand the science involved, but a link took me to a 1000 word article which gave me a broad overview and let me understand the pseudoscience article, without having to read a 20,000 word Wikipedia article, then that article improves the mission-article. Similarly, if I wanted to understand Stalin's rule, and could read short articles about events (the Holodomor, a revolution, etc) then it would improve my understand of Stalin's Rule. Because of this, a huge number of economics, science, history and politics articles are very relevant to the wiki. Infact, I'd add the tenet to any policy that "If an on-mission article is notably improved by a wikilink to an article explaining something, then that article inherits a certain missionality." Eventually, I envisage quality articles roughly taking this format: An article about Mugabe could link to the history of Zimbabwe and how it gained it's independence, to articles about economics, about controversies... thus being improved, without being made unreadably long. DalekEXTERMINATE 14:03, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Actually there are other things we could do with country articles - such as identifying local rational communities or sites for example. Or taking about local influence of creationism or homoeopathy. Though that's probably something country natives to add.

Science is a problem for us in my opinion. (Though this is only my opinion and others do not agree.) Anything we write on science will be done better by CP WP. What you seem to be suggesting is that we have science articles, but that we have a limit on article size. While I can see the logic behind that I think that actually holding that line will be difficult. Can you really imagine well-written text being deleted on the basis that the article is "big enough already"? I would submit that will will lead to even bigger debates than debates about the mission.

Conversely, though, anything that we do on pseudoscience should (theoretically) be better than WP. The field is wide open to us and we should play to our strengths.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:38, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I imagine that by CP you mean WP?
Opps. Fixed--BobSpring is sprung! 19:57, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
And if so, that's what I'm thinking. There will ALWAYS be a comprehensive Wikipedia article on any science topic, but it can take a lot to digest. I'd argue that even left unabridged, such an article would be less-detailed and more manageable than any Wikipedia Article... but I think that proper, quality editting of articles.. if done well... will generally gain acceptance. I hope so.. DalekEXTERMINATE 19:42, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I think creation of a science namespace would solve a lot of problems. We could even make a sort of project out of it - RationalWiki's abbreviated science, or something. Blue (pester) 19:50, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
If it were specifically for hard science and mathematics, without reference to pseudoscience, but just the scientific concepts, neatly and consisely explained, I could really go for that, leaving economics and other social sciences in the mainspace, as there's much more interpretation and opinion to it. But then, I think it'd only work if we had proper rules and guidelines, which many seem to hate. DalekEXTERMINATE 19:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I think we could pull it off. We are a decent folk, RWians. Blue (pester) 19:58, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Who is going to get Trent of Nx to make it though? ТyTalk. 19:59, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Please have in mind that putting the science stuff in a separate namespace will make linking to it a bit more difficult/inconvenient. --ZooGuard (talk) 20:08, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Yarrr, all we need be doing is making redirects, which movin the article makes, and then be takin them out one atta time matey. Yarrr. ТyTalk. 20:11, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
While I personally think this would be a good idea it has been debated multiple times and rejected. for example here and here. That doesn't mean that we can't re-address it, but you need to be aware of the history. The last time Trent was not keen.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:22, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Rather than "Science" namespace, something like "Reference" namespace. Covering stuff like History and Literature as well as science i.e. stuff that could required knowledge to understand a mainspace article without going in to WP style depth. 20:42, 24 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Wow, I actually agree almost completely with that. Reference namespace! Yes. Blue (is useful) 21:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
There's also the fact that many of these off mission articles are part of RWs own history. Should we compost the Mappa Mundi because its not how we see the world now? What riled me was the ADC template: like it or not it was part of our history and explains the "Fun" workspace. Just because someone wasn't there when it was used is no reason IMHO. 22:02, 24 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Well, that particular template made very little sense. And it did very little to "explain" the ACD. Blue (is useful) 22:17, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Whether an off-mission article gets deleted, kept or moved depends on the qualities of the individual article & should be decided on the talkpage. I get anxious when people start talking about deleting all off-mission articles or some such, as it usually ends with stuff being done unilaterally without checking individual pages & the baby is thrown out with the bathwater, like all the musician articles being shunted into funspace. I don't see any harm in a few (arguably) off-mission articles being kept in mainspace as long as the community supports them being there. It should be done on a case-by-case basis, not a precedent basis. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh dear. Nobody has said a word about deleting all off-mission articles. Blue (is useful) 21:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Do we really want people's favourite bands in mainspace - even if they are well-written articles?--BobSpring is sprung! 21:58, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Not on the basis of them being people's favourite bands, but on the basis of them being relevant to the site missions of themes. It's an example of a bunch of articles getting shifted because of what category they were in rather than their article content, which is a very bad way to go about things. The starting point of this thread is the same thing - Category:Roman history is mission tagged, while the individual articles aren't. People might have those individual articles in their watchlist but not the category, which means they won't even be aware that movement or deletion of the articles is up for discussion until after it's happened. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:18, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
They are now. ТyTalk. 22:22, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Off-mission articles are okay, I guess. My problem is people like ListenerX creating pet woo articles that endorse his crazy beliefs. And the dickless peons who let him get away with it because he is elsewhere productive. Occasionaluse (talk) 22:20, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Sign0017.gif ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:33, 24 February 2011 (UTC)


Remember or friend Johanan of MemeShock? He's got a youtube account and crazy things to say! Occasionaluse (talk) 14:10, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Wow, nice find! I had almost forgotten about him. Also: this video of his is a special kind of crazy. Tetronian you're clueless 14:20, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Didn't him and Jpatt have a special sodomy... I mean relationship at one point? I see to remember Johnny X-Ray posting some of his stuff on CP. --PsyGremlinParlez! 14:25, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Federal Debt Limit[edit]

While it seems unlikely, if the "No More Red Ink" campaign was successful and the House of Representatives refused to raise the Federal debt limit, then it would effectively require the Federal Government to stop borrowing entirely, stopping all deficit spending. This would mean immediate and enormous spending cuts. Surely anybody with a clue can see that balancing the budget in a single go would absolutely ruin the economy, likely driving a massive recession. But have any serious bloggers or economists written about what would happen if the budget were to be balanced immediately? DalekEXTERMINATE 14:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Very bad things. Very very bad things. ТyTalk. 14:51, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Same thing that happened 15 years ago? At least as far as no more debt being accumulated. Federal government was shut down for a few months, at least. I was in Arizona for xmas that year, most of the rand canyon was closed from it. It also killed the Republican party in the following elections. So I can only hope. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 15:11, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The "rand canyon" sounds like South Africa's budget deficit. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 15:28, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Heh. My keyboard is fucked up, sometimes it doesn't register key presses. Usually I catch it. Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 15:45, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Is Rand Canyon the same as Galt's Gulch? Vulpius (talk) 16:30, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
True the government shut down before... but the economy wasn't being propped up by deficit spending (as much) at that time. The spending cuts which would happen because of a refusal to increase the federal debt limit would, I believe, cause 20%+ overall spending cuts overnight, kicking out the stool from beneath the economy. True, the Republicans would probably make themselves unelectable, but it would be very bad for the USA. DalekEXTERMINATE 15:15, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
According to Bush it's just an IOU anyway. You know what those are worth. And I suppose it depends on how much it's bolted down. in 1995/6 they were allowed to pay interest, and keep "essential" things open. Like welfare, medicare/medicaid and, as I said, a couple of the places at the Grand Canyon did stay open. If it's a complete shut down, then yes. It would bring about utter chaos. I'm also not so sure about being less dependent on national debt then. Also, I like the link I posted has 1/2 the national debt in 2005 as we have today. We're doing just great! Quaruaviator - You can't explain that! 15:45, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
It's a completely batshit insane idea. The US would most likely default on its debts for the first time in history, wrecking our credit rating and thereby driving up interest rates, meaning it would make the deficit even bigger. The bond markets would go apeshit (US bonds are so safe that they're like gold, they always get bought up when there's uncertainty in the market), the US, and thus, the world, spirals back into recession, and people previously on welfare programs flood the streets and start rioting. The debt ceiling political theater isn't serious, the same thing happens every time it comes up -- only the most deranged Bachmannites think it's actually a good idea. Bruce Bartlett: "It is the most monumental insanity" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Taxes would raise. -- (talk) 15:42, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Talk about a downward spiral effect if something causes US bonds to fail... then every since investor, whether it's a country, person, institution, etc, all suddenly have toxic investments. And... the world economy collapses under the weight of our failed sovereign debt obligations. Hope I'm never around to see that. άλφαTalk 18:04, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Drawing your attention...[edit]

... to Template talk:Countrybox. I'm happy to do the work, as I said, but we should have the discussion first! DalekEXTERMINATE 16:47, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Heads up: last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery[edit]

I almost forgot it. :( It can be watched live here (HD) or here. (At the moment, the astronauts are boarding the orbiter.) There may be only one more shuttle flight, if STS-135 is not funded.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:45, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh, and the launch itself is in three hours, 16:50:27 EST. :) --ZooGuard (talk) 18:48, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm home sick today and this is just perfect viewing material. So incredibly boring yet so fascinating at the same time. DogP (talk) 20:01, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
T-5 Minutes!Junggai (talk) 21:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Power Balance![edit]

Just jumped off a plane and went to go pick up my hire car. The guy behind the desk was wearing one of those Power Balance bracelets I laughed at him and told him it was bullshit. He told me it worked in his mind so I tried to sell him my magic piece of crumpled paper. Poor wee lamb got all upset and ran away, hand wrapped protectivly around his prized magic band. Ace of Spades 23:40, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I hope you had the common sense to do that after he handed you the car keys. ;) (And didn't one of the makers recently admit that their claims are bullshit? I think I saw something like that in my RSS Reader...) --Sid (talk) 23:43, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Hey, that actually was PowerBalance! XD --Sid (talk) 23:48, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I have lurked for some time[edit]

I have followed this website for some time. Now I have joined. What do I do now? JeanPaul (talk) 00:33, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

What would you like to do? WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:36, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Probably just blank a load of pages and insert creationist nonsense? JeanPaul (talk) 00:39, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
The above was a joke, followed by the blanking of a single page with creationist nonsense. Guess i missed the target audience. Thought you guys would laugh? Please unblock me now please ~JeanPaul.
You're not blocked. You're vandal binned. You can still edit, just 2 per 30 minutes. Enjoy RationalWiki! Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk 00:56, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Alright, alright, no need to be a dick about it. Learn to take a joke, batman. JeanPaul (talk) 01:00, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

DOMA and executive privilege[edit]

A legal scholar friend of mine -- firmly left-leaning -- is having an interesting debate over the question of DOMA and executive privilege. The idea comes down to this--> what does it mean when the president starts to decide what laws the state will and won't enforce, and why you should, if you were someone who got all shirty at Bush's abuses of executive privilege, at least in principle get shirty over the call to ignore the law of the land re:> DOMA, even if you agree with the politics of the question. P-Foster (talk) 16:29, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I got all shirty over Reagan deciding which laws to enforce and which ones (environmental, say) to ignore. Nice to see the good guys playing by the same rule book for once. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:04, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
No. The Obama Admin WILL STILL ENFORCE DOMA. Blue (is useful) 13:39, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I accept, at first glance, that the executive should defend all laws, and let the courts decide, because it is the law of the land, passed by a democratically-elected legislature and signed in by the President. However, on a deeper glance, I become more cautious. If the government defended had no option, and had to defend all laws, then they could sabotage the court case by just entering a shitty defense and not making the effort. This would block a proper defense. However, upon deciding that they don't want to defend the law, I think the proper thing to do is to give up the attempts to defend it. Why? Because, even without meaning to, they perhaps won't make the best possible defense of it, if they really do not support it. And so the proper thing to do is to stand aside and let somebody who supports it defend the law - namely Republicans in congress. Plus, if you take an extreme and hypothetical example, I once again come to the conclusion that they should not defend it. If the Republicans passed a TERRIBLE, GROSSLY OFFENSIVE act, far worse than DOMA, should the Democrats defend it, if they believe it is immoral? Or should it be left to republicans to defend? It's a tricky issue, though. DalekEXTERMINATE 16:35, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
"should the Democrats defend it, if they believe it is immoral?" When the President swears an oath to to so, is he not legally obliged to do so? At a certain level, does filling the constitutionally-mandated obligations of the office not transcend the question of party politics and personal belief in what constitutes morality? P-Foster (talk) 18:18, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Not sure where you're coming from on this - the president is not constitutionally required to defend the constitutionality of laws in court, he/she is required to execute the laws. Obama's administration will still enforce DOMA. Blue (is useful) 19:35, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy has a cogent debate going. First statement by Kerr here, and a rebuttal and further reply here.--ADtalkModerator 21:38, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The Guardian makes an interesting point. Corry (talk) 03:55, 25 February 2011 (UTC)