Monthly Archives: May 2012

Conferences are Workplaces for Many: that does not mean they are not fun

The Workplace (photo: deVos)

To me, a conference or convention has always been a workplace. And, to some extent the Internet is too. I’ve sat on enough committees, had enough diversity training, and been involved with enough academic (mostly) disputes (hey, I was part of the Most Dysfunctional Department in the Universe for a few years!) that I tend to see human interactions gone bad in the light of mediation, HR rules and potential intervention, policy, and so on. This is why I am not real sanguine on the idea of working out how young men can go to conferences and a) not act like idiots and at the same time b) get laid anyway. Continue reading Conferences are Workplaces for Many: that does not mean they are not fun

Court Strikes Down Key Part of DOMA

U.S. Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to married gay couples unconstitutional: Appeals court

BOSTON — A U.S. appeals court Thursday declared that the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The unanimous ruling said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman discriminates against gay couples because it doesn’t give them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

The ruling was very narrowly defined and did not address the specific issue of same sex marriage.

JC Penny Out Gays the Homophobes

Remember that boycott against JC Penny because they did something gay? Which got totally Streisanded and converted into widespread pro-JC Penny sentiment? Well, JC Penny is giving back to the Progressives and Pro-Gay community with a pro-gay Father’s Day Ad.

The good news about Gay Fathers Day is that you didn’t have to get stuff for your mother of Mother’s Day. The bad news is …

Anyway:

According to the company, the two men who appear in the ad are “real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith,” and the jubilant children are their kids, Claire and Mason.

“First Pals: What makes Dad so cool?” reads the ad’s copy. “He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver – all rolled into one. Or two.”

source

Perhaps it is time that DJ Grothe resign as the President of the JREF…

DJ Grothe has done some great things and he’s taken the James Randi Educational Foundation a long way; he’s made an important mark and we should all appreciate him and his prior efforts. Hell, we should create an award named after him and give it to people every year. Thank you DJ Grothe for all you’ve done for the skeptic movement.

Read the rest here.

Is Road Train a reality?

Perhaps.

The project is a collective effort funded by the European Commission, and led by British company Ricardo which develops engines, transmissions, and vehicles systems among other things. Chief among the consortium’s participants is Swedish auto manufacturer Volvo.
Utilizing Volvo’s own automobiles, the project works by stringing together a group of cars in order to form a road train. This train (or caravan if you prefer) allows a group of cars to follow one another along any road autonomously. Guided by a lead truck driven by a professional driver, the group of autonomous autos can communicate wirelessly via advanced software, cameras, laser sensors, radar, and GPS-based technology in order to mimic the lead truck’s driving behavior. The drivers turn, the following cars turn. The driver slows down, the following cars slow down. All while maintaining appropriate distance and speed…Other than looking rather impressive, what’s the point? Well, not only is autonomous driving insanely awesome – representing the real-life fulfillment of one of our most beloved science fiction technologies — in this scenario it also happens to be incredibly fuel efficient thanks to the road train’s persistent drag reduction while along its route. Early estimates indicate as much as 20 percent more efficient when it comes to reducing fuel

Read all about it, and look at the interesting pictures and diagrams, here.

Here is an animation:

Let’s treat women badly, destroy resources to help them, and help the Republicans take over everything state by state

Sexism and Atheism: mutually exclusive, surely?

A single woman went to an atheist conference in a country she was not familiar with. While there, she spoke at this conference, about how she does not like to be sexualised out of context. Basically, her talk was about how to avoid making women feel uncomfortable, so as to create a more welcoming atmosphere and get more women to enter the atheist community…..

…and then…

Women’s Center In New Orleans Destroyed By Arson, Third Incident in the South

Thanks to the fast response of all of our supporters across the country, many of you have already heard that our office was broken into last night and set on fire. The worst damage was concentrated in our community organizing and outreach office where we store all of the resources we use to educate our community. We lost everything…

…and then...

Sex and the Keynote

Then, at the very end, when everyone was preparing to leave, and I was packing up the Hug Me table, answering questions, and generally socializing with other speakers and attendees, thinking about how fat my check is going to be from Big Pharma when one man and his wife, whom I’ve become vaguely acquainted with on Facebook in the last week, approached my table.

…and then…
Dirty Tricks In Wisconsin: Secret Group Shuts Down Phones Of Scott Walker’s Democratic Challenger With Spam Texts

One week before Wisconsinites vote on whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), a conservative group is engaged in dirty tricks that have shut down the Democratic challenger’s campaign phones.
According to multiple reports, independently verified by ThinkProgress, the following spam text message is being blasted out to many Wisconsin cell phones:

…and then…