RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the world?/Archive4

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This is an archive page, last updated 15 December 2010. Please do not make edits to this page.
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Mel Gibson[edit]

Not really WIGO-worthy, but wow... how the man has melted down. Audio of his racist comments while beating up his girlfriend. Hollywood values, or God's punishment for that awful movie? --PsyGremlinParlez! 15:06, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

"You're an embarrassment to me. You look like a ------- pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n------ it will be your fault." it sez 'ere 15:29, 14 July 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Why does Mel Gibson know what a pig in heat looks like, that's what I want to know. I have no idea what such a pig looks like. Just like a regular pig, I imagine. X Stickman (talk) 01:21, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Assisted dying[edit]

The story just got a brief mention on BBC News that I have running in the background right now. Someone on it seemed opposed to it (I didn't notice who, as I said, it's just on in the background) on the grounds that "what may seem right for a vocal minority might become an obligation for a vulnerable majority" - what horseshit. The vast majority of people will probably never end up in the situation where they need to make this decision. The entire point regarding assisted dying is that it is someone's own personal choice, and if it was ever put into practice or legislation no one, even its strongest supporters, would accept it without adequate and as-close-to-foolproof-as-possible safeguards that meant people wouldn't be forced into it. It always seems to be the case that people who are against it aren't the people who have to face the choice; not a totally unknown paradigm either. But it's stupid slippery slope arguments like that which are counter-productive. Scarlet A.pngpostate 21:26, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

The argument (at least the one I'm thinking of) isn't that people will be "forced" into it, it's that the suicide option could become such a socially accepted thing that people would feel it's the thing to do, kinda like how most women shave their legs, not because it's necessary for anything other than aesthetics, but because it's the social norm to do so. Still not a totally convincing argument, but it's more subtle than the claim that people will be forcing elderly relatives to kill themselves. X Stickman (talk) 01:19, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Guilt (at being a burden to the carers) might also have a part to play. 01:23, 20 July 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
I do see where that's coming from, and yes, it's far subtler but I'm not convinced it would ever get to the point where it was considered socially compulsory. This is still something that is pretty much set up to be a fringe activity that's heavily controlled, even though it should be a near universal right. I'm also not sure if people putting forward that argument actually use that more subtle version of it; they always seem to word it in the sense that they feel pissed off people are going to "bump off" their ageing relatives for inheritance. Scarlet A.pngpostate 07:54, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Glenn Beck claims he's going blind[edit]

Regarding the Glenn Beck is going blind entry...

I always heard about one thing that could make you go blind, but I just figured that was what Beck's audience did while listening to him. MDB (talk) 10:48, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Australian bible study[edit]

When I was in secondary school in the UK (I left in 2004), RE was compulsory and a great deal of that involved reading the bible (while we went over the basics of other religions, we never once read the various texts of them). Of course being kids we generally just looked for swears and generally messed about, but the sentiment was there. Anyway, my point is, is it really such a rare thing? X Stickman (talk) 01:20, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

People in Australia are hitting the fucking roof over it. Remember that while both are pretty secular countries, the UK has an established state religion and Australia does not. Personally, I'm all for it (sources: RationalWiki) - David Gerard (talk) 07:53, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Heh, nice link DG.  Lily Inspirate me. 08:51, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Oh, having read to the bottom I now see it was just a blatant bit of self-promotion. Oh, well I still enjoyed it.  Lily Inspirate me. 08:56, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Hey, I got all the research from RW! - David Gerard (talk) 19:26, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

On Marines saving kittehs...[edit]

One quote from the comments on the story:

"Is it safe? They are a bunch of evil souless killing machines that at any instant may snap and harm those adorable Marines." MDB (talk) 18:47, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Nice one! ħumanUser talk:Human 19:10, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
I actually laughed out loud at that one. Nice. --Gulik (talk) 20:22, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Westboro WIGO[edit]

Now, I hate to sound like the Grinch who overrode WIGOs, but 1941 was preceded by 1888 which says basically the same. Or maybe not. --PsyGremlinZungumza! 16:22, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

1888 shows that they plan to do it. 1941 charts the result, and is only about a week or two old. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:30, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Book burning[edit]

Considering the images and associations book burnings conjure up why would anyone think this a good idea?--AMassiveGay (talk) 15:37, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Who knows what goes through the minds of the [Godwin's law warning]Fascisti when they get the bit between their teeth. 16:04, 7 August 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Jet Blue Flight Attendant[edit]

Not only did Steven Slater quit his job in a manner most people only dream about, one report says he was arrested while "having sexual relations". MDB (talk) 12:07, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

What always amazes me is that this sort of thing is not a weekly occurence - but then flight attendants probably have higher tollerance levels than me. Jack Hughes (talk) 12:17, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
My boyfriend has spent pretty much his entire working life doing customer service of one form or another (he's currently a public librarian). I get numerous stories of obnoxious stupid, just plain wrong, or not even wrong customers from him. It's amazing you don't hear stories about people in customer service freaking out on a regular basis. MDB (talk) 12:23, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I must admit, I have respect for airline staff, they put up with a lot, from dragging the drinks trolley up the aisle as the plane's still climbing, to drunk and obnoxious passengers. That said, I can't say I'm cheering for this guy. By all means, put the passenger in her place, but to throw a hissy fit and then damage the plane, is childish. --PsyGremlinZungumza! 12:34, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think any reasonable person is going to say he did the right thing. It's more of an acknowledgement of someone that actually did what most people just dream about doing -- basically saying "fuck this lousy job, I'm going out in style" and then following through.
From the adult point of view, he's an idiot. He'll probably never work in the airline industry again, and may go to jail. Probably the best he can hope for now is a few months on the talk show circuit and a quickie book deal. Still, though, if you've ever worked at a job you hated, if you've ever even had a really shitty day at work, doesn't some small part of you say, "I wish I had the nerve to go out like he did"?
I've not heard he damaged the plane, though. He stole a couple of beers and deployed the emergency slides, but I don't think that qualifies as "damaged". MDB (talk) 12:43, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I dunno, I think they were charging him with damaging the plane. Maybe deploying the chute is the same as an air bag going off in your car. --PsyGremlinTal! 13:03, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
It's pretty standard in criminal cases to charge the suspect with everything the prosecutor can think of. You may well be right that deploying the slide is like a car's air bag deploying, but "damaging the plane" makes it sound like he took a hammer to the instrument panel. MDB (talk) 13:05, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree with PsyGremlin. It could be that the slides are one-shot only, and they smash their way through a panel. Also I doubt the plane could fly until the panel is replaced (drag and all), and probably not with passengers until the slide is repaired (incase the slide is actually needed). Modern aircraft are too expensive to have sitting around waiting for repairs. According to the ever-reliable wp:Evacuation_slide#Inadvertent_deployment, accidental deployment costs $20m per annum in North America alone. However the citied link is dead. CS Miller (talk) 13:17, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Good point. However, "$20m per annum in North America alone" isn't a meaningful statistic unless it's coupled with how many times it occurs. If it happened twenty million times (which is admittedly ridiculous), that means it costs a dollar each time and is roughly equivalent to a passenger spilling a drink on carpet that has to be cleaned. MDB (talk) 13:38, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Let me assure you that the slides do not pop out of one time panels. The slides are contained in a box on the inside of the door, if the door is opened when armed then the slide deploys. However, there are undoubtedly one time components that need to be replaced when one of these used. Also as it is essential safety equipment there would also be an expensive delay while a replacement was fitted & tested, and you can imagine that these things don't come cheap so it wouldn't take a lot for this to mount up to $20m. I don't condone what the guy did but it is certainly annoying when people start opening the overhead lockers before the plane has stopped, I have also be hit by falling objects thanks to these selfish bastards. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 13:24, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Not to be outdone[edit]

Girl quits with 33 photos revealing her thoughts. Might be more satire than real, but still pretty funny. HOPA! Scarlet A.pngpostate 18:26, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Not quite as epic as the JetBlue guy, but on the other hand, she's not going to jail. MDB (talk) 18:45, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Pity it was staged. Still it was entertaining http://thechive.com/2010/08/11/a-word-from-jenny-16-photos/. CS Miller (talk) 09:05, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Aww, I wish it was real. I thought it was really funny, especially the guy playing FarmVille for almost 3 hours a day (considering that they work 7 days a week), not counting playtime at home. ~SuperHamster Talk 04:17, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Monckton[edit]

I've taken the liberty of altering the wording of a story about Lord Monckton. I've changed the wording "is no longer a member of the House of Lords" to "was never a member...". Monckton's father Gilbert was a member of the upper House because all peers were at the time, but that was ended in 1999, before Christopher Monckton inherited the title. See the Wikipedia article for details. --Tony Sidaway (talk) 02:00, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Costa Rica[edit]

The poll was based partly on phone surveys, which is a flawed method in less developed countries. In such places, a lot of poor (and therefore unhappy) people don't have phones and thus never get asked. Totnesmartin (talk) 09:57, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Phone polling in general is becoming increasingly inaccurate.
  • People got so fed up with telemarketing that they won't respond to pollsters, either.
  • Increasing numbers of people are going "cell-only" (especially the yound and/or affluent), and pollsters can't legally call cell phones without permission first. MDB (talk) 13:03, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
That poll is just garbage, not only for the reasons listed above, but because "happiness" is simply not a real statistic that should ever be used to compare countries. --Sir Onion Kneel before my vegetable might! 13:09, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
To add to MDB's comment, a lot of poor people are going "cell-only" as well. A second-hand cell with a cheapie pay-as-you-go plan can be a hell of a lot cheaper and more useful than a land line, and if you're the sort who has to move a lot (as I have been), your number stays the same and you don't need to lay out installation fees. I remember a lot of talk about that subject after the Right tried to roast Obama over the cell phone pic at that soup kitchen a while back. --Kels (talk) 13:55, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
And who exactly has been "yowling about the "exploitation" of Costa Ricans"? Social legislation in Costa Rica is pretty good, especially for Latin American standards. M the T (talk) 00:06, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Cat in a bin[edit]

I'm not sure why this is included - except, possibly, to annoy Susan G. I'm certain that it doesn't pertain to the RW mission or any sort of snark. Jack Hughes (talk) 13:15, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Half of these things don't, really. That's what the red arrows are for! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:01, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Darwin was wrong[edit]

I can't see why people down voted that. It's quite an interesting study and quite an intriguing hypothesis as an alternative to conventional natural selection. I don't think it completely replaces the whole aspect of "competition", this is just highlighting the potential power of one specific aspect with respect to competition and natural selection. Still, quite interesting stuff. However, the wording of the WIGO seems to have completely missed the point. It may need re-written. Also, we could possibly do with a "Darwin Was Wrong" article about pop science doing that sort of thing in its headlines. Scarlet A.pngpostate 09:07, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

I totally agree - and it wasn't so much "Darwin Was Wrong", natural selection still plays a hand but prhaps environmental niches rather than competition hold the Aces. The WIGO wasn't worded great though. AceX-102 09:17, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
So if I understand this correctly: environmental factors play a bigger role in the absence of competition. I'm not really sure why this is surprising, seems pretty obvious to me. Why would there be a selective advantage of moving into new environments if not to escape competition? And why would this mean Darwin was wrong? Jaxe (talk) 09:32, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Because "Darwin Was Wrong" makes an awesomesonic headline. But it's not necessarily that he was wrong, although he certainly was inaccurate on a few details. In this case it's that he said competition, usually as a predator/prey relationship drives natural selection primarily, this new study suggests that competition for living space might be a major, if not, primary factor in some areas. Indeed, it's not surprising to find that this plays a role in natural selection, the question is; to what extent, and in which areas. Scarlet A.pngpostate 10:25, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I have altered the WIGO. May read up on it in a minute or two, I don't think it's a particularly new hypothesis, this just looks like evidence in favour. Scarlet A.pngpostate 13:36, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Salmonella[edit]

I commented out the second post on salmonella as it appears to be covered by the earlier one. Unless the second poster thinks that their entry is materially different?  Lily Inspirate me. 12:08, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. Barikada (talk) 12:13, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Strange thing is, here I sit in a 3rd word country and salmonella poisoning from eggs is virtually unheard of. Ditto mad cow disease for that matter. Then again, I suppose when farmers are receiving massive subsidies, anything the state can do - such as not paying for vaccinations or enforced cannibalism - to save money, helps. --PsyGremlinSnakk! 12:20, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
"A 3rd word country"? And that word is what exactly?  Lily Inspirate me. 12:32, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Clearly not "education" :) --PsyGremlinParla! 13:14, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

"Running equal sign"[edit]

It took me a while to figure out what this means (I assume my grasp of maths is so firm that I just can't conceive of not knowing it!) but its very interesting once I figured it out. So students don't see "4+3+2=x+2" and think "solve for x" but see "4+3+2=..." as question, and then fire on from there; hence 4+3+2=7, and 7+2=11. This is a fundamental misunderstanding that comes from reading a mathematical expression as a linear statement, where each thing executes one-by-one, rather than a complete whole that executes all at once. Perhaps it's due to an over-reliance on calculators, which make all the symbols mere button-pressing procedures? Seems like a more plausible explanation than just textbooks being crap (although it is Texas) to me, as if you learn maths with a pen and paper, it's difficult to make that sort of mistake. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:00, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

I've seen elementary school students taught that arithmetic expressions are "number sentences", and that the various symbols are merely shorthand for words. The equals sign, for example, is merely shorthand for "is". Of course, this is a crippled explanation, since meaning in English is very dependent on word order. (I saw those same kids protest that the expression "2 x 3 = 1 + 5" could not possibly be true, and defended their confusion by making appeals to the grammar of the sentence the expression was supposed to represent.) I can't help but think that teaching "shortcuts" like the idea of the number sentence are partially responsible for the lack of abstract thinking ability. --MattF (talk) 12:21, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Something a middle school math teacher taught me has stayed with me for thirty years, and it's relevant here: shortcuts may work temporarily, but the hard way is the only way that will always work in math. MDB (talk) 11:06, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
That's the strange balance educators have, isn't it? It's easy to understand that certain concepts are pretty important for kids to understand well by the time they leave the school system. The educator needs to present the topic in a way that will be easily absorbed by students who couldn't care less and don't see the point, while at the same time giving the material treatment that is thorough enough *not* to trip students up if they pursue the topic in more depth later on. The most straightforward answer is teaching them *how* to think, so that they understand the need for learning and can work out confusing things about what they "know" when new information comes to light, but there doesn't seem to be a highly successful, well-understood way to do that. --MattF (talk) 12:21, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Talking of balance - that's exactly the term I was taught as an image for what the equals sign does. I was taught to think of a set of old fashioned scales. If it balances then both sides are the same. Moreover it doesn't matter what you do to one side as long as you do it to the other (ignoring for the sake of the metaphor dividing or multiplying by zero). It's an easy metaphor to understand and has stood me in good stead ever since. Jack Hughes (talk) 15:57, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Just today I was getting some kids to learn that "per" basically means "divide by" when you're talking about converting units into expressions and helping the units guide whether your equation is right. I.e., "miles per hour" means "miles divided by hours". I think that is fairly acceptable. But I can see where the number sentences thing might cause issues. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:49, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, that certainly seems to have some utility; even the concept of "per cent" can be seen as "divided by 100". The only thing I wonder about is how this translates to times when your metric is changing, e.g., an accelerating car. You could mark off the start point and the end point and record the time the car required to get from one to the other to get an average number of miles per hour, but if it accelerated the whole way, it was only traveling that speed for an instant. Is there a good way to teach the concept that sets the kids up for the idea that a quantity represented by division can itself be subject to a rate of change? (I seem to remember that fellow students stumbled over this in introductory calculus courses -- that there is a sense in which a single point on a graph has a "slope" representing the instantaneous rate of change. But maybe that's just because calculus is hard.) --MattF (talk) 12:21, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, acceleration is distance per time per time, so it works. But I think, as you said, you also need to introduce - preferably early on - that this "divided by" thing indicates that variables can change - usually with graphs, showing that one axis, divided by the other, shows your change, which is a slope. Transferring that to a "real world" situation may be more difficult because people like to think more in animation than in graph form. Scarlet A.pngpostate 12:53, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Reminds me of trying to teach my 8 year old sister calculus. It didn't "take". But you never know, it might have! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:50, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I also remember acceleration being described in some of my classes as "length per time squared" (e.g., meters per second squared); those who had grown accustomed to square units representing area tripped all over the idea of "square seconds", or couldn't wrap their heads around what miles per hour *per hour* could possibly mean. MattF (talk) 16:29, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I think you'd be pretty mathematically badass to wrap your head around square seconds. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:30, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Your assessment made me think of something. When I was very young, my father showed me how to use his RPN calculator -- well before I got to know conventional calculators. I'm pretty sure this made me think about math differently (I *still* prefer RPN, given the choice), but I don't think I write problems on paper in a way particularly consistent with RPN. Of course, when I went to school, calculators of any kind were verboten, so maybe it's an unfair comparison; the sheer amount of usage calculators get among today's kids whenever math is done may create some pretty strong patterns of thinking. My complaint about calculators generally is that sometimes they're wrong. Unless your calculator represents more digits internally than it displays, for example, it will get (4/3*3) wrong; and even those extra digits don't save you when the math gets more complex and potential errors compound. It would be nice for students to know when they should trust the calculator and when they shouldn't, but how to teach that, and when? MattF (talk) 13:05, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Bjørn Lomborg[edit]

OK, so it may not have the same impact but Bjørn Lomborg was not a climate change sceptic, he was sceptical of the efforts to combat it from a purely economic point of view - after all, he's an economist not a climate scientist. However, it appears that both sides seem to have completely misunderstood his work. Plus ça change...  Lily Inspirate me. 12:58, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Teabagger pyramid scheme[edit]

That's brilliant! This could be one of the most successful Ponzi schemes ever! You've got to hand it to the organisers, you couldn't target a better group.

  • Those who are inherently selfish.
  • Those who care about their own wealth more than anything else (the greediest fish are the easiest to catch).
  • Those who are lacking in intellect.
  • They've thrown the term 'patriotic' around quite nicely (I also like the use of 'liberal tyranny')
  • I would recommend they also chuck in a few 'Jebus wants you to do this' and anti-science sentiments, and they're on to a sure-fire winner!

Hopefully the Arsefly will pick up on this and encourage CPers to 'invest'! DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 15:10, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Obviously, liberal mathematicians lead people to deny the efficiency of multi-level marketing. MDB (talk) 17:25, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Strippers vs church[edit]

I'm not into titty-bars, (I've been twice and I just found it so fake - and I don't just mean the tits) but on this occasion I think I would frequent that place just to annoy the bible-bashers (although that Lola does look a bit ropey!). On a more serious note, that that pastor calls a strip club 'evil' shows that many christians seriously need to calibrate their moral compasses and get a sense of perspective. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 15:27, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

"God has no gender"[edit]

Ha, the ELCA has been pulling that stunt for years; recently they revamped the hymnal to exclude as many gender-specific pronouns as they could. But on the bright side, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" is another step closer to being an overtly Odinic hymn. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:07, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I think you'd find a number of mainline to liberal Protestants who'd express a sentiment at least somewhat similar to that, perhaps under the concept of "all things to all people". It's probably not a majority view, but it's not terribly unusual, either. MDB (talk) 20:34, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

DADT and Title 10?[edit]

Can someone for the love of God please tell me why the media is constantly referring to USC 10 654 as "Don't ask, Don't tell"? From my reading of Title 10 it is the out and out ban of homosexuals in the military that codified the existing military ban into federal law. Don't ask, Don't tell was a directive from Clinton for the purposes of an end run around this statute. The suit by the Log Cabin Repubs specifically was aimed at the federal statute not the directive. So isn't the ruling not halting "Don't ask, Don't tell" but rather the outright ban on gays? If this really was a ban on "Don't ask, Don't tell" wouldn't that simply leave the military able to proactively ask and investigate service members orientations; thereby being a victory for the Anti-gay crowd? NetharianCubicles are prisons! 19:53, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I think the issue seems to be that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a nice sounding, easy to remember, media friendly term. As it's the loophole to effectively circumvent the ban on open homosexuality, it could also enter the popular culture as synonymous with the ban; and thus in this soundbite driven world, "removing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" is somehow synonymous for removing the reason for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Scarlet A.pngpostate 23:32, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

"Paki"[edit]

"Paki" is, I understand, only an ethnic slur in its U.K. usage. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:49, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

That's what I thought - I've never come across an American use of the word before. This probably just an unfortunate coincidence. Totnesmartin (talk) 06:36, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
They probably thought that "Paki" was the demonym instead of "Pakistani." It shows how ignorant they are, at least. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:41, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
It's one of the more amusing ones as "paki" gets thrown at anyone from asia half the time, leading to the part on skins where there are kids shouting "paki!" at a shopkepper who them turns around and says "I'm Indian, I fucking hate pakis!!" But to be fair, I think in the UK most racial slurs aren't meant in the same way as elsewhere. There's a world of difference between some twat in England saying that they're going to the paki shop round the corner, and someone in the US using the term "nigger", which usually is meant in a "bring back slavery" kind of way. Scarlet A.pngpostate 09:15, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
It's an odd situation, because really it should be used as shorthand for "Pakistani", in the same way as people refer to me as a "Brit". But as Armond said, it's used primarily as a derogatory term for anyone from the middle east (my wife has had chavs screaming "Paki" at her, despite being of Indian descent). Amusingly, I did see a news article a while ago about an asian guy who was trying to claim back the word by releasing a clothing range called "Pak1", and so he was trying to get asian people in England to walk around with "PAK1" on their shirts[1]. I'm guessing that fell flat on its arse. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 09:52, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
I've always been less than convinced about Paki being a term of abuse. It probably arose because of the term "Paki-bashing" when racist thugs used to beat up those with darker-coloured skins. There is no reluctance sbout the other "stans", Afhanis, Baluchis, Turks, Tajiks but then they do refer to tribal groups. Pakistan is a made-up word either an acronym of regional tribes or 'Land of the Pure' in Urdu. The problem is that words attract cultural baggage and once the PC crowd decide it's taboo it gets put in the naughty corner.  Lily Inspirate me. 09:30, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
It really depends on the intent of the person using it. I've seen a store called 'Pakifoods' which I presume catered to their culinary demands, so the owner probably didn't mean it in a bad sense. It's a natural contraction of 'pakistani'. EddyP (talk) 09:50, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
There's also the transitional fossil Pakicetus, which is pretty obviously not a slur. Totnesmartin (talk) 09:56, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Chocolate Genome Project?[edit]

I'm not sure what's more important. Sure the Human Genome Project could cure diabetes, but the Chocolate Genome Project could undo all that work! Jsonitsac (talk) 01:48, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

I keep reading this as "Chocolate Gnome Project".

Helium[edit]

<bad attempt at sarcasm>As if we didn't already have enough shortages and problems, now soon the art of having a really high voice at parties will be forever lost to time. I can take the devastating losses to science, medicine, and technology, but the art of having a really high voice at parties is what's really important to the Joe 6-packs of the world and they are going to be devastated.</bad attempt at sarcasm>

Seriously, since there is no chemical way of making it, we should consider conserving it a little better. Unless we find some in, i dunno, space or something. --Sir Onion Kneel before my vegetable might! 13:55, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

There's loads of it in the sun. Let's send the pope to go fetch it. 62.40.36.14 (talk) 13:58, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Your party balloons will be nothing when you realise you can't keep MRI's superconducting anymore and you have to switch to either RT-permanent-magnet or EMF-NMR instead. If you think 40 minutes for a scan is bad, try sitting still for 8 days. Scarlet A.pngpostate 00:49, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Hey, if you really want to talk in a high voice at parties I'd be more than happy to kick you in the nuts. DickTurpis (talk) 00:54, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm old enough to remember a CW-NMR (OK, barely), and shimming literally with a screwdriver. The helium shortage is a serious problem for chemists. Sterile cinderblock 01:09, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not worried. The hydrogen bomb creates helium, right? We'll just set of a few hundred thousand of those and we'll be fine. DickTurpis (talk) 01:10, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Or we won't have too if we stop wasting it on party balloons and the like. --Sir Onion Kneel before my vegetable might! 01:15, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Pretty funny/sad to be running out of the second most plentiful element in the lumeniverse, isn't it? Of course, the crap is so light it escapes our atmosphere (right?). ħumanUser talk:Human 04:00, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I know Hydrogen escapes though not sure about Helium. TO THE BOOK DEPOSITORY! AceX-102 04:05, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I think the annoying thing about this is that the helium is being sold at a fixed price rather than market rates. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 07:56, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd say "trust the Americans to screw things up", but that might be a little unfair. But yes, helium should escape like hydrogen, as both H2 gas and helium essentially weigh the same and should travel at the same speed, which is above the escape velocity from the upper atmosphere, it doesn't take more than a few years I think. Scarlet A.pngpostate 09:02, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. Too light to stay in the atmosphere, given enough time. Knowing the temperature of a gas gives us the root mean square velocity of its particles; if the particle is moving fast enough and has too little mass to be retained by gravity, it will never come back. MattF (talk) 16:29, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Just perfect hydrogen fusion in an economical energy producing and not destroying its containment way. Simples. Sen (talk) 18:02, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
ok, I propose that ALL party balloons from now on be filled with hydrogen gas. Save the helium for the deep sea divers. Hamster (talk) 05:15, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Its come to this.....[edit]

Interesting news, The Pope has just broken Godwin's Law. I wonder what other internet laws he's broken. --Sir Onion Kneel before my vegetable might! 20:27, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

"However, the Catholic Church has moved to play down the controversy, saying the Pope knew 'rather well what the Nazi ideology is about'."
The Church is rather bad at PR. You'd think the Pope and his minions would avoid talking about the Nazis so much, since they seem to have egregiously fallen down on the job of "promoting morality" in Europe in that case. --Quantheory (talk) 01:50, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I improved Onion's OP tremendously! ħumanUser talk:Human 05:43, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Too bad Blue undid it. (he's > she's) ħumanUser talk:Human 06:02, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Yah, sorry, I just figured someone would have to do it eventually... Seme Blue 06:04, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

And they wonder why I call my hometown 'Knoxvile'[edit]

Lesbian couple's East Tennessee home burns down, arson and hate crime suspected. (The spray-painted 'Queers' would seem to be a hint...)

On the plus side, lots of donations are being collected, including from the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. You may remember that was the church that was shot up a couple of years ago by someone who wanted to kill liberals. MDB (talk) 11:27, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Diaspora... and?[edit]

Ah, so it is real. When I last saw it, it was begging for donations but didn't give any indication of how it worked, what it looked liked, what it's capabilities were, what the features were, what the infastructure was, what the hosting was like, what the user interface was, what it did, you know, any of the sorts of thing you expect from a program or website... all I detected were buzzwords about "privacy" to cash in on the fact that people were too thick to understand Facebook's privacy settings (which by my reckoning means most people will be too thick to comprehend "open source") so I naturally assumed it was some sort of scam. The fact that it's even named itself in honour of supposed dissatisfaction with Facebook leads me to believe it's probably going to be a flash-in-the-pan job, or a long-term failure in denial, perhaps the Citizendium of the social networking world. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:24, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

I hope it does kill facebook. That site bores the shit out of me.--AMassiveGay (talk) 09:06, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Then visit bored.com or something, instead. Scarlet A.pngpostate 13:54, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
It's being written by Free Software nerds. It'll make Facebook look like the most interesting thing in history - David Gerard (talk) 13:58, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Athough I'm not a Facebibliophile, as a generalisation 'safe' is not usually as much fun and ultimately it's on the fun side of things like FB that appeals.  Lily Inspirate me. 13:02, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
We will have to add it to the list of social networking sites, too. Scarlet A.pngpostate 14:49, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
[2] [3] Heh. I mean, honestly, if I'd donated I'd ask for my money back. Scarlet A.pngpostate 12:37, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Repeated WIGO[edit]

Sorry to be a spoilsport but isn't "Another Baptist televangelist is accused of homosexualist shenanigans." reporting the same story as "One more homophobe goeth gay"? I'll join them up but others are welcome to change them back, if they disagree. I hope this helps, NotANumber (talk) 10:19, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

It's best just to comment them out or ignore them or the ID numbers start messing up. Scarlet A.pngpostate 13:28, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that ADK. Also thanks to Susan for cleaning up my messy wiki formatting. NotANumber (talk) 16:48, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

WIGO Media?[edit]

Would it be reasonable to change the title of this page to "What is going on in the Media" in accord with new #4 reason to be RW. Probably not change the name but mothball it and replace it? 22:04, 21 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

I'm not 100% convinced, although I see where you're coming from. I think if that were to happen, we'd want it as a new category, and refine what goes on in both. Although I'm unsure as to what exact distinction to make. Do we want bad reporting or woo reporting, for instance? Something that doesn't really go with "clogosphere" because it's not an opinion piece? "WIGO World" implies "world events", which not all WIGO World entries are, but the ones that aren't "world events" wouldn't fall under WIGO Media. Scarlet A.pngpostate 22:09, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I get what you mean Susan, but I think that WIGO World is still appropriate, a place to highlight news stories of the day relevant to 'us'. Your suggested WIGO Media would be an interesting addition, a place to highlight good, bad or controversial reporting in 'De Meejah', where the focus of the WIGO would be as much about the journalism or behind-the-story issues as it would be about the story itself. DogPMarmite Patrol 10:21, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
I like the idea of splitting off media stories into their own WIGO. I could fill with WND crap quite quickly. but here's a: Question: how would it differ from WIGO:CLOG? Totnesmartin (talk) 13:21, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
(Forgotted all about this) I think that it was more the commercial press and broadcast media that I was thinking of. I often find things that I don't know where to put 'em. Clogs, blogs & media seems more differentiatable(is word?) than the present clogs, blogs and world as either of the first two could be in the third. 13:30, 1 October 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

I do not think that word means what you think it means[edit]

Regarding Mr. Nzimande, in much of the world liberalism = classical liberalism (the modern US equivalent is libertarianism). Nzimande's words are not surprising; he's talking about the free market crowd (or at least he thinks he is), not socially liberal leftist progressives. --Quantheory (talk) 14:12, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Religion Test[edit]

Want to take the religion quiz mentioned in the current WIGO? (I think that's it. My NYT account registration is borken right now.) Here you go.

I got a perfect score, but I did have to make an educated guess at the last one. MDB (talk) 10:57, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

I got it to work eventually. I've switched your link to the one I used to get it working. Scarlet A.pngpostate 11:09, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
15 out of 15. 95th percentile as always! Scarlet A.pngpostate 11:11, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Embarassingly only 14, I didn't know about the First Great Awakening and guessed wrong (but at least I didn't select BG). However, even this put me in the top 3%. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 11:32, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
14 too, also bombed out on 15. --PsyGremlinTala! 11:47, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Another 15 but, like others, I had a lucky guess at the 15th question. However, give our mutual interests, I'd be disappointed if any RatWikian scored poorly. We have to know what we're refuting. Jack Hughes (talk) 11:56, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
A certain somebody we know would refuse to answer the Islam, Hindu & Buddhism questions on religious grounds. And as for the "in the classroom" questions... --PsyGremlinParla! 12:18, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
13/15 here. Looking at the detailed breakdown of the results, I'm not too surprised that most theists don't know much about other religions, but it's their ignorance about central tenets and documents of their own faith that's astonishing. 45% of Catholics don't know about transubstantiation, and a whopping 80% of Protestants don't know about salvation through faith? Two thirds of Catholics and more than 40% of Protestants can't name the four gospels? Granted, many of these respondents probably just inherited their religion and never really bothered with actually practising it, but still...Röstigraben (talk) 12:20, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
14/15 - same problem as everyone else, the FGA. That was a guess and a wrong one. DogPMarmite Patrol 06:26, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
BTW the data tables seem to indicate that there are 32 questions but the sample test only has 15. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 12:22, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Here's the complete listing of all the questions and responses. MDB (talk) 12:31, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Some of the questions remind me of Jamie Lee Curtis' lecture to Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda: "Aristotle was not Belgian, the central message of Buddhism is not 'every man for himself', and the London Underground is not a political movement." (Kline's character thought he was a great student of philosophy. He wasn't.) MDB (talk) 12:36, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
This must be the talk of the 'net as that link is just giving me a "Server is too busy" message. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 12:53, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
36% don't know who the Vice President is... 21% seem to think lasers involve sound waves... not bad, really. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:12, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Also of note, 16% came out as "unaffiliated" but only 1% actually came out and said the "A Word", which shows the power of wording because a little later it's revealed that 6% don't believe in God. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:16, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Couldn't the other five percent be agnostics? Or people who don't consider themselves to believe in any god, but believe there's something "more", for lack of a better word? MDB (talk) 18:50, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I called myself a Deist, then a Taoist for years because I was raised in an environment where atheists were considered mean, sad, small-minded, arrogant people. Although by any strict definition I was an atheist, for years I would have been counted in that other category. Also, 14/15. As soon as I answered the Jewish Sabbath question, I thought "wait, they said 'begins'", but it was too late.
This survey is not too surprising. It's already well-established that atheists are better educated than believers on average. In addition, a lot of people seem to have an idea of religious tolerance that involves not talking about it too much, which encourages a certain degree of ignorance. And "religious education" for many people means "sit in church for a couple of hours every Sunday (or Easter and Christmas) and try not to get bored". Someone who self-labels as an atheist is more likely to be critical of religion and thus more likely to get a certain amount of information about it. --Quantheory (talk) 08:59, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
An atheist is someone without religion or without God. There's already a "nothing in particular" group on the survey. If we combined all the groups of "non-religious" the figure is higher than 6%, and it's still quite surprising that only a minute fraction would actually be happy to label themselves with the correct term. Scarlet A.pngpostate 11:59, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
The unaffiliated tag doesn't mean atheist/agnostic, it usually means believers who don't belong to a particular church. With regards to the Sabbath question I was surprised by how many Jews got that one wrong. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 12:27, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
It's not "unaffiliated" it's "nothing in particular" in reference to a religion, not a specific sect. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:01, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

A Similar Survey[edit]

Here's an article on a similar survey, the one that (in?)famously found 12% of Americans thought Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. MDB (talk) 13:01, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Well done the Weekly World News[edit]

Their response to the Fox jetpack story is superb. Truly the WWN is The Onion, before The Onion. Except they have been doing it for real for years. DogPMarmite Patrol 15:52, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Note that as far as chimps hosting a morning show goes... it's been done. Seriously. MDB (talk) 15:54, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
What was Fox's angle on it, because it would appear as if somebody's fact checking was way off. Was it a case of, "those damn Dems spending our tax dollars"? In other words, were they blinded by right-wing bleh? --PsyGremlinTal! 16:24, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
As I remember from the clips I've seen, that was it. "Look at what the government is wasting money on now!" MDB (talk) 16:37, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I really have to ask; in what universe was that story even plausible??? Scarlet A.pngpostate 21:13, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Foxnewsiverse, where anything that makes government look bad must be true. MDB (talk) 00:28, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Economic literacy[edit]

Investing in bonds rather than stocks is the least of our worries for educating the masses. Understanding the basics of compound interest and debt are far more crucial issues. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 12:52, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree ultimately the most important type of economic literacy is to understand credit and how if you're not careful with it credit is an economic WMD. In fact, that might have been a lesson several ban executives needed... Jsonitsac (talk) 13:03, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm a little bit confused about the criticism, as if a link were missing. My understanding is that stocks generally pay higher returns than savings bonds because there is more risk involved. I can certainly see the objection to that view if one is looking at a historical analysis of stock returns, or one is looking at a probabilistic return on the money, but even among bonds, riskier bonds pay higher interest than less risky bonds. Am I completely wrong in my understanding? Also, is a link missing where the post talks about undeluding "this sixth"? Imarcuson (talk) 03:33, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Greater risk generally equals greater payoff - perhaps. Bonds are generally less risky than stocks, especially in a bear market, when stocks are struggling. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:50, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
So if I understand correctly, the issue is one of context (bear as opposed to bull market). Imarcuson (talk) 16:24, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

19th Century Firefighting[edit]

The reasoning behind the extortion racket insurance subscription service is elaborated on in a follow up article. Still, gotta cut those taxes! Scarlet A.pngpostate 18:58, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I note one thing about the article... they say that if the fire on "unprotected" property threatens "protected" property, they'll fight the fire.
So, if your house in unprotected and burning, it is to your advantage if it spreads next door. Therefore, it would seem the logical choice is not to pay for coverage, and surround your home with dried brush and oily rags.
You've got to sympathize for the firemen in this case. They're actually at a fire, and have to watch it burn, rather than do the job you're trained to do and presumably like. MDB (talk) 19:33, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Even if you buy the firefighting-coverage-is-like-insurance thing (I don't buy the analogy, in part because it seems too easy for people to die in this little game.) this policy doesn't make sense. For one, shouldn't they allow people to buy on a per-call basis, and just charge them way more? I mean, people without health insurance still buy health services (even if paying out of pocket is messy and way more expensive).
When the policy is justified with "If we saved the house anyway, people wouldn't buy the service and it would go under", it's basically a nicer way of saying "We need to let this house burn down in front of us, because then it serves as an example to everyone else and they'll feel compelled to pay our fee."
Additionally, isn't this policy also somewhat cheating the neighbors who buy the service? One can easily imagine that the firefighters could extinguish a flame confined to one house, but if they sit around letting it burn, neighbors' property could be damaged in a way that's unavoidable by the time the firefighters go to put it out.
Isn't this policy also making firefighters take their jobs less seriously? We encourage doctors to be altruistic through cultural memes like the Hippocratic Oath, despite recognizing (no, in fact because we recognize) that doctors are not always paragons of virtue. Do we want the culture among firefighters to change such that they are no longer bothered by watching someone's home burn to the ground?
Besides which, how anti-tax do you have to be to prefer making people buy the local firefighting service to just allowing a $75 property tax increase that would be more effective and cover everyone? --Quantheory (talk) 23:24, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
By the way, this system seems way too easy to cheat. You can just say "I think someone's in there", and they are compelled to go in (and presumably also try to control the fire in order to assist a rescue). Of course, it's morally irresponsible because you are encouraging a firefighter to enter a burning building for no good reason. But it seems easy to defend, legally. If you claim that you legitimately thought that someone could have been in the house, and you felt compelled to report that "just in case", it seems hard for them to prove that you knew no one was in there. --Quantheory (talk) 23:29, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
In the UK the early fire-brigades were run by insurance companies. Buildings would have plaques with the insurance company's logo and the different fire-fighting teams wouldn't touch those of a competitor. It was the incorporation of large cities that begat the idea of a fire service for the general good of the community.  Lily Inspirate me. 13:44, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
You can still see a few of the plaques around. I didn't realise they had 'em in America though: wp:Fire insurance marks. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 13:56, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Aren't most roma EU citizens?[edit]

Is so, wouldn't it be illegal to deport from an EU country?--AMassiveGay (talk) 13:30, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Illegal according to whose laws? According to the French, these are people who are there without a work permit: wp:French Romani repatriation. --ZooGuard (talk) 13:59, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Oops, I see now that Italy has joined the fun, too. :) --ZooGuard (talk) 14:01, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I thought one of the benefits of the EU was allowing people relocate and seek employment anywhere within the EU without the need for permits. I believe this is the situation in the UK at least.--AMassiveGay (talk) 14:33, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
My impression is that France is acting illegally for that reason. That's why the EU is upset. Problem is the the EU doesn't like putting its teeth in.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:07, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Reading about the Roma on WP, they seem to be treated dreadfully by nearly everyone. Persecution of the Roma seems almost to be socially acceptable. Appalling.--AMassiveGay (talk) 15:23, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
It's all rather NIMBY. "You'd better not be nasty to them, but if they come near me, I'll kick 'em out." 15:28, 12 October 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Certainly in Essex, where I grew up, 'Gypo' and 'Pikey' are very popular insults. I can remember a teacher who told us that they were all thieves--AMassiveGay (talk) 15:35, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Essex is a dreadful place. Avoid it.--AMassiveGay (talk) 15:37, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Of course they're not all dumbass crackers...[edit]

Ft. Worth city councilman Joel Burns' moving testimony and renunciation of the bullying and abuse gay youth suffer is worth watching. The story was picked up by Huffpo to mostly positive comments, some very personal and themselves moving. But PZ took it as an opportunity to take a weird shot at Texans, quipping like he's somehow surprised that not all Texans are dumbass crackers. No, of course they're not. Kids suffer this abuse everyday everywhere on Earth and the responses to it are not always your typical fundie hate the sin/hate the homo nonsense. Anyway, the video was moving. Go watch it if you have a few minutes. Nutty Rouxnever mind 01:33, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

I thought PZ's comment was weird too, but given what I know about him I think it's mostly just an awkward, failed attempt to lighten the moment than anything else.
Anyway, I'm glad to see this getting into something as widely read as HuffPo. I saw it in my daily skimming through gay trashy tabloid blogs internet media, but it gets lost in the sea of vaguely similar content there. It's really important for gay kids to hear messages like this, particularly from people who have an understanding of what they're going through. I think many (most?) teens who realize that they're gay, really haven't had any experience preparing them to deal with that, or to understand what that does or doesn't mean, and without some kind of social support they're especially vulnerable to harassment and humiliation. --Quantheory (talk) 04:37, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I watched it yesterday. I've seen several of the "It Gets Better" videos. That was the first one to make my cry. MDB (talk) 12:31, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Regarding Obama on Mythbusters...[edit]

While it's cool the President is going to be on Mythbusters, I think the best news is the closing line of the article:

"If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House," Obama said last year when he launched his Educate to Innovate campaign intended to improve the performance of U.S. students in math and science. "Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too."

MDB (talk) 12:51, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Quality control[edit]

It would be nice if each wigo world told its story in full, of course with links.

Example of lesser writing: "And the new frontrunner in the 200 meter backpedal." It's not even a sentence, and it doesn't tell me why I should care.

Example better: "According to a Florida lawyer representing more than 3,000 foreclosed homeowners, mortgage lenders were so hot to foreclose on as many properties as possible that they hired hair stylists, WalMart floor workers, teenagers and assembly line workers as "foreclosure experts.""

The better example stands on its own - it tells me the story, and of course also has an interesting link. Example the former makes me wonder if the poster is even literate, let alone whether I would bother going to a link they posted.

Why this bitchfest? I suspect the crap example I used is probably just as interesting - it's just not being presented well, which makes me not want to click the link (since I don't even know what the topic is), or even just vote it down. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:11, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Sometimes WIGOs work in a joke-punchline format. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Scarlet A.pngpostate 13:14, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Yup.  Lily Inspirate me. 13:02, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Usually, if the punchline is in the link, the joke doesn't work, due to lack of interest in clicking it. I think the links should act as 'refs' and the wigo should stand alone as a commentary. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:53, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Anita Hill WIGO[edit]

I won't go so far to rewrite the piece, as I don't think it's my job... But I gotta say, that is one of the most biased WIGOs I've seen in a long time. SirChuckBEl...ipses are Cool... 07:11, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

I toned it down somewhat. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:14, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
It's also not completely accurate. Hill didn't contact the FBI; she contacted the security office at Brandeis (where she teaches) and they contacted the FBI.
I'd still say contacting the security office is an overreaction. MDB (talk) 11:29, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
To a demand for an apology for being abused 20 years ago by the abuser's wife? In academia, the threshold for threatening behavior is rather low, and probably should be. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:51, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
As the story comes out a little further, Anita Hill thought it was a prank caller and reported the call to campus security as a precaution (pretty standard for most colleges and universities. My college has a similar policy) and they forwarded it to the FBI. They are not investigating... They're really busy with the CP vandal case at the moment. SirChuckBA product of Affirmative Action 08:15, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I lolled, thank you. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:12, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Palin & Pennsylvania[edit]

Awesome! That's all I'm saying. --PsyGremlin講話 10:04, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

FWIW, if that were any other politician who actually has two brain cells to rub together, you could just chalk that up as a gaffe. It's certainly not as embarrassing as Gerald Ford in a 1976 debate with Jimmy Carter repeatedly insisting Poland was not under Soviet domination. But when it's a politician already widely viewed as a dolt, it's really embarrassing.
My pet theory is that the Republican strategy is currently "prove that the last Republican idiot wasn't really that stupid." Look at the pattern. People thought Ronald Reagan was stupid, then they gave us Dan Quayle. People thought Dan Quayle was stupid, so they gave us George W. Bush. People thought George W. Bush was stupid, so they gave us Sarah Palin. People thought Sarah Palin was stupid, so they gave us Sharon Angle. And people thought Sharon Angle was stupid, so they gave us Christine O'Donnell. Our only hope as a nation is that eventually they'll have to resort to "unable to dress and feed themselves." (Who would probably still be endorsed by CP. "It's only Liberal claptrap that the ability to live independently is a requirement to hold public office." MDB (talk) 10:43, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I'd give thanks to St. John that I live in a country far away from these morons if it wasn't for the fact that the US possesses the greatest military capability that the world has ever seen and dominates global finance through the hegemony of the dollar. As it is, it frightens me that very much that the dolts in charge really do seem to be getting worse. Oh how we laughed at Reagan, at least he had better speech writers.  Lily Inspirate me. 11:29, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, hell, today's Republicans would Reagan out of town on a rail, just for directly supporting amnesty for illegal aliens. MDB (talk) 11:58, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me stupidity is necessary for these to people to hold on to their insane views.--AMassiveGay (talk) 12:31, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Religion quiz[edit]

Here's the Pew Center quiz that got the fundies all lathered up. Atheists, agnostics, Mormons, and Jews scored highest. I just got 14/15, missing the question about such and such being identified with suffering and obedience. Do you feel lucky? Well do you? Nutty Rouxnever mind 00:48, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

14, but nobody cares about the preacher who participated in the First Great Awakening, so there. 24.13.203.96 (talk) 00:52, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

14/15 - got the last one wrong. Atheist Dalek (talk) 00:54, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

I got 13. i9 00:56, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
15 out of 15. Go me. SirChuckBWill Sysop for food 06:44, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I took it before. 15/15. I owe RW for teaching me 1/3 of the answers probably. Also also, it was really easy. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:48, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Looking at the break down at the end, no one gets the First Great Awakening thing. But its interesting to see how many Catholics know relatively little about their own doctrine. Scarlet A.pngpostate 14:41, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Quasi-Christian(attends methodist, but not a member), missed only the great awakening one. Tyrannis (talk) 20:00, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Felony murder law[edit]

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-19/william-murphy-and-the-felony-murder-rule/full/

Surely the Daily Beast must be leaving some facts out of this story, because there is no way that this is justifiable. It makes no logical sense - harsh sentences don't work as a deterrent because of the impulsiveness of crime, and as pointed out, doubly so when no one has a clue that that law exists. These kids weren't rationally appraising the potential for extreme punitive measures, the only criminals that do that are the organised crime bosses that are rich enough to afford the lawyers to get them off! Secondly, why is a lethal shooting in self-defence legal without a verbal warning or warning shot first? Police have to go to extreme lengths to warn people before using force, so why are the public exempt? (this is why I think that perhaps the Daily Beast isn't reporting it fully, if there was no warning or immediate in-your-face threat then it's intentional first-degree murder for fucks sake!)

It just seems to me that the entire situation is yet another symptom of the US just wanting to appear "tough" on crime (frankly, there must be some underlying and deep rooted insecurity in the US, it doesn't half like to wave its dick about with things like this) rather than actually tackling it. As I said before, if they were serious about being tough on crime they wouldn't allow situations where fancy lawyers can get people free. And of course, 50 years for a 16 year old... yeah, because he's going to come out of that as a reformed human being. But hey, at least the state will get some cheap labour out of him!!

But what's possibly more disturbing are the comments of the people supporting this - granted, they're a minority in that comment section but they stick out. These comments don't seem to be backed up with any form of rational discourse - it's all "thugs breaking into my house in the middle of the night deserve to die!!", because a group of juvenile delinquents pissing you off by throwing a hammer at a window in broad daylight is exactly the same as a group of masked men breaking into your house armed and wanting to rape and harm you. The law is entirely broken because the point of punishment is to punish people for crimes that they both did and wanted to commit - otherwise what is the point of punishment as a deterrent if it can be arbitrarily applied? This case is fundamentally no different than the police arresting someone on the street randomly and putting them in prison for no sound reason. Scarlet A.pngpostate 11:16, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

You have to know the history of the laws.... Florida has long been known as a haven for guns in America. Check out any book by humorist Dave Barry and you'll find several references to that (Fun fact: a man once shot a bazooka from the Miami docks at a Polish ship because it had come from Cuba... seriously). For many years, there were reports of criminals committing crimes in groups with some of them getting off. For example, a group of person's A,B,C and D would attempt to rob somebody, and person A would shoot the victim during the crime. Under the old laws, person's B,C and D could only be charged with the robbery, not the death. This infuriated stupid people who can't divorce themselves from their caveman lust for vengeance, so the laws were strengthened so that anybody who participates in the original crime can be charged with the results, even if they had nothing to do with it. Now add to that the horrible problem of prosecutors having incredible power when it comes to who is charged with what and how (in this case, who would be charged as an adult and who would be charged as a juvenile). They decided that because this young man was actually swinging the hammer that broke the window he should be charged as a adult.
Most states have what's known as the "make my day law," sometime referred to as the "castle law." Basically it allows for the use of deadly force in certain situation. A majority of states, my home state of Colorado for example, require anyone using deadly force to believe their life is in danger, but other states allow it for pretty much any perceived threat, including trespassing and a "threatening approach" (there was a great story about a man who shot a stranger on the street because he (the stranger) walked up and asked for the time. The shooter thought the victim was setting him up for a mugging and shot him (the victim survived). Florida law allows for deadly force "Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping." source All those thing combined into a perfect storm of this steaming pile of shit known as the Florida justice system. SirChuckBThis country needs more Rutabegas 11:51, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The victim "grabbed a .40 caliber semi-automatic Glock handgun from his nightstand". Defensive.gif Gotta love that second amendment. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:22, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The thing is, I'm not totally against the Felony Murder Law. Yes, it's definitely the "caveman lust for vengence" but you can at least see some logic behind the maddness. It's just that in this case it makes the prosecution wall-bangingly arbitrary, which destroys the entire fundamental point of having law and a criminal justice system! But Florida seems like that sort of fucked up place, and undoubtedly these people would feel smugly superior to the likes of Saudi Arabia. Scarlet A.pngpostate 12:27, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm also definitely in favour the "castle law" about self-defence, I'd like to know the law's on my side if I took to an intruder's face with a cricket bat. But that shouldn't make killing or even injury lawful - that's just retarded. That guy should still be facing a murder charge but very well able to use the self-defence law as a legal defence, not as an automatic ability to make the killing legal. There's a similar UK-based story with Tony Martin, but the self-defence appeal didn't wash when they noticed the gunshot wounds were in the kid's back. Scarlet A.pngpostate 12:32, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The castle law is pretty dubious, IMO. Most all legal systems have some provision for self-defence as a legal defence against charges of murder or manslaughter. But castle laws (especially like this one in Florida) basically give citizens a protected right to kill any intruder. Since the home-owner in this case aimed & shot the two guys in the head & stomach, I figure he must have been shooting to kill, & probably doing so in the certainty that he would not be charged. He could have just threatened to shoot, or fired a warning shot, & the kids would probably have scattered. Without such a rigid castle law in place, maybe that's what he would have done, & nobody would be dead or facing a murder charge as a result of this incident. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:45, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
But that would be "soft" on crime and wouldn't allow gun nuts the excuse to wield their penis replacements... But it does make me think a little, should I ever want to kill someone and just have the desire to feel that cold-blooded lust, I just need to move to Florida, smash my window with a rock, invite two kids in off the street, shoot them both, claim they were trespassing and bask in my machismo. Scarlet A.pngpostate 12:48, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

To the son of a bitch who posted the Iraq death map from The Guardian...[edit]

Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My friend, SGT Shawn Dunkin, was killed in an IED attack in February of 2007. I have been in contact with his sister for some time now and all she wanted from the Army was an 8-digit grid coordinate to the location of the attack so she could add it under the date of death on her memorial tattoo. I knew the rough location, since I was tasked with pulling outer cordon security during the recovery phase, but not enough to know exactly where it happened.

Shawn's attack is listed, right about where I thought it was, but now I have an exact LAT/LONG with which I can plot an accurate 8-digit grid off of the patrol map I kept.

So thank you, from me, on behalf of SGT Dunkin's family. The information you provided will go a long way in providing them some closure.

-The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 17:21, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

I am so glad that something posted here helped your friend's sister, and you, to find some solace. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:41, 27 October 2010 (UTC)


A very interesting use for it. I'm glad it's helped someone positively as I've often thought the Wikileaks thing may have been leaking for leakings sake. Certainly the map brings home the reality of the war, but where it matters - in the minds of the politicians and, preferably, the over-macho American public - I don't think it'll work. But if knowing some more details and being able to see it there helps with someone's closure, I think it's pretty good. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:28, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
What the fuck are you babbling on about? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:41, 27 October 2010 (UTC)