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
Personally, I think making everyone own a gun is just another form of taxation. But, he does make a point. If you shoot anyone who threatens you dead, taxes would be lower. Right?
It is actually very simple.
hat tip Rachel/Laura
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.
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 …
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.”
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.
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
Here is an animation:
I love the “Bwahahahaha” parts:
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…..
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…
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.
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:
For years scholars have argued over the meaning of a small smudge in the lower right hand corner of the signature page of the US Constitution. Finally, modern graphic enhancement techniques have been applied to clarify what the smudge means, and it does, in fact, seem to mean something. What do you think?
First, I want to say that tomatoes are a fruit. Here is a scientific definition of fruit:
Fruit noun, plural: fruits
(1) (botany) The seed-bearing structure in angiosperms formed from the ovary after flowering.
See? Tomato is a fruit.
Having said that, in common English parlance we do not call a tomato a fruit. We put the tomatoes in with the vegetables. Is this because we are unknowledgeable? No. It is because we are wise. Anyone who reads Fortune Cookies knows this:
There are two things that bother me about this. First, we don’t do this with cucumbers. Cucumbers are also a fruit. Or butternut squash. That’s also a fruit. Or peppers. Fruit. We only do this “I’m a smart skeptic look how smart I am” thing with tomatoes. Why? Perhaps because of all the “vegetables” that are “fruit,” tomatoes are the most fruit-esque, more near the vegetable-fruit line, more positioned, as it were, to challenge the common knowledge. Or, maybe the “knowledgeable” who like to make fun of the villagers by pointing out that this vegetable is a fruit don’t know that a lufa sponge is also a fruit. Personally, I think it is because tomatoes are red, and so are a LOT of fruits. (Most of which are inedible, it seems, but that’s another story.)
So, the first thing that bothers me is that it isn’t taken far enough. The second thing that bothers me is that it is taken too far. Tomatoes are not fruit, they are vegetables, as are summer and winter squash, carrots, lettuce, and onions. Why? Because that is what we call them in English. Oh, the scientists? They have a different set of terms for these things. In fact, scientists have a huge big pile of terms related to plants…Achene, Laevigate, Inframedial, Staminode, and Spinescent to name a few…and among those terms there are two that look a lot like common English words and that have overlapping definitions: Fruit and flower. Just as the word “fruit” in English does not overlap with the scientific term “fruit,” the English word “flower” does not overlap with the scientific term. You do know, for instance, that those showy red flowery things on Poinsettias are not flowers. Those are just red leaves. Yet, they are flowers. When you visit Grandma at Christmas time and she’s got a big Poinsettia sitting there on the side table, you don’t say “Oh my, Grandmother, what large and pretty leaves you have there!”
So, the second thing that bothers me is this: The “fact” that tomatoes are “fruit” is not true. In English, they are vegetables. They are in the vegetable section, separate from the fruit, in the store. We treat them as vegetables. They taste like vegetables. There is no fruit in a BLT. Oh, sure, in Science Tomatoes are “fruit” … I know this because I wrote my PhD thesis in Science on Fruit so I’m a total expert on the subject. But I also wrote my PhD thesis in Anthropology of human-plant interactions. And I noticed that while the scientific lexicon and the natural language lexicon often overlap, they are not the same. I’m not big on “separate magisteria” because that’s a bunch of crap. But if we see the world as having One True Terminology, then we see the world without its culture. That would be wrong, boring, and close minded.
So, this is the thing: Science can’t communicate by standing on a box and shouting out its rules and insisting that variance between science and culture is indicative of culture being wrong. Tomatoes are not fruit, and the word “theory” means an idea that is weak. In English. Scientists and science boosters can insist as hard as they want that everyone who believes these things are wrong, and if they insist hard enough, in intro science classes an on the Intertubes, then everyone will eventually get it and use proper botanical terms and make correct reference to The Scientific Method when talking about their’ boyfriend’s chance of getting a job at the Target. Not.
Besides. Did you ever ponder the scientific meaning of the term “Vegetable? Turns out, Tomatoes are vegetables if we consider that “The noun vegetable means an edible plant or part of a plant.” Vegetarians eat vegetables, including strawberries.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a vegetable. Wisdom is understanding that a seeming contradiction is not a contradiction at all, but rather, a reflection of the cultural complexity of science and the scientific complexity of culture.
Image by Nina Matthews
For the Black Lake Basin:
Continue reading Tropical Cyclone Names 2012
35.6 Mail Amusements
`M-x spook’ adds a line of randomly chosen keywords to an outgoing mail
message. The keywords are chosen from a list of words that suggest you
are discussing something subversive.
The idea behind this feature is the suspicion that the NSA(1) and
other intelligence agencies snoop on all electronic mail messages that
contain keywords suggesting they might find them interesting. (The
agencies say that they don’t, but that’s what they _would_ say.) The
idea is that if lots of people add suspicious words to their messages,
the agencies will get so busy with spurious input that they will have
to give up reading it all. Whether or not this is true, it at least
amuses some people.
You can use the `fortune’ program to put a “fortune cookie” message
into outgoing mail. To do this, add `fortune-to-signature’ to
(add-hook ‘mail-setup-hook ‘fortune-to-signature)
You will probably need to set the variable `fortune-file’ before using
———- Footnotes ———-
Please send FSF & GNU inquiries to email@example.com. There are also other ways to contact the FSF.
Please send broken links and other corrections (or suggestions) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.
Updated: $Date: 2007/06/10 18:26:22 $ $Author: cyd $
Timothy Caulfield’s book, The Cure For Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness, and Happiness, attempts to be a corrective in the area of personal heath (as in diet and exercise) management.
From the publisher: “In The Cure for Everything, health-policy expert and fitness enthusiast Timothy Caulfield debunks the mythologies of the one-step health crazes, reveals the truths behind misleading data, and discredits the charlatans in a quest to sort out real, reliable health advice. He takes us along as he navigates the maze of facts, findings, and fears associated with emerging health technologies, drugs, and disease-prevention strategies, and he presents an impressively researched, accessible take on the production and spread of information in the health sciences.”
Skeptical? No problem! Super Skeptic Desiree Schell will be interviewing Caulfield this Sunday on Skeptically Speaking. Also, Scicurious will be talking about Coffee. I won’t want to miss that.
Details for the show:
#166 The Cure for Everything
This week, we’re looking at what the evidence has to say about common claims about diet, exercise, weight loss and other hot health topics. We’re joined by health law professor Timothy Caulfield, to talk about his book The Cure for Everything! Untangling the Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness. And on the podcast, researcher and science blogger Scicurious looks at a new study of coffee consumption, and the effect it may – or may not – have on life expectancy.
We record live with Timothy Caulfield on Sunday, May 27 at 6 pm MT. The podcast will be available to download at 9 pm MT on Friday, June 1.