Republicans Are "Dismayed" Again. Oh.

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:30 am
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

LBCF, No. 144: ‘Two Swell Guys’

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:40 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

“The scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward” (I Timothy 5:18). So tip 20 percent. At least. Divide by five and round up. If you also plan to: A) say grace aloud before the meal; B) ask your server if he/she is “saved;” and/or C) leave a gospel tract on the table when you leave, then make that 40 percent.

We Hunted the Megalodon

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:56 pm
[syndicated profile] pharyngula_feed

Posted by PZ Myers

Since David Futrelle is currently offline, dealing with some nasty migraines, I guess I have to step in and cover the incel beat. Incels, for those blessedly ignorant of them, are “involuntary celibates”, sad deprived people who can’t get a woman to touch their penises, and who then blame all of womankind for their selfish unwillingness to have sex with them. They also tend to aggregate in places like r/incel where they indulge in increasingly vicious rounds of reinforcement of inappropriate blaming. It gets ugly.

Anyway, here’s an example of bad biology and misogyny from an incel.

OK, forget the bad biology — that’s irrelevant in the context of this person’s contemptible beliefs about women.

Without their shit tier brains they would be nearly perfect beings, which could be used by men for the better of society.

Yeah, ladies, if you were smarter men could use you, so we’re going to pith you so men can use your bodies. It’s all about using you.

Hey, I’m sort of understanding how Futrelle could feel bad after concentrated doses of reading this crap, but my discomfort seems lower down, somewhere in some heaving guts.

How do we end this bullshit? I think it’s safe to say that reddit makes it worse by allowing these people to clump into self-reinforcing clans suffering from self-fulfilling prophecies. Maybe reddit should take some responsibility and shut down wildly demented hate groups? Nah. Free speech uber alles!

G Man puts the smack down on me!

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:26 pm
[syndicated profile] pharyngula_feed

Posted by PZ Myers

I got into a conversation with a creationist in a hangout late one night, and now, wouldn’t you know it, he has announced that he “humbled” me. Funny, that’s not how I remember it. He cut up a few bits from our discussion and created a video in which he thinks he has rebutted me, with much bluster and arrogance.

PZ Myer just got owned! all the down votes are from butt hurt atheists who worship PZ Myers and want to protect their religion called evolution!

In case you don’t want to sit through 13 minutes of ranting, I’ll summarize it for you.

He says I allow these atheists to puff my head up because I broke the world record in math. I have no idea what he means; what is the world record in math, anyway? So I’ll let that slide, just as I’ll skip over the fact that he spells my name two different ways in his description and consistently mispronounces it.

He claims I said two stupid things.

The first is that he said something bizarre — that humans have 43 chromosomes, while tobacco has 48, and that this is a fact that evolutionists use to argue for evolution, calling it the chromosome argument which, he says, 40 or 50 atheists use.

My reply was that chromosome number is irrelevant. After all, it varies in a rather arbitrary fashion across species, and it seems to be a highly variable character. While it may be useable as a comparision across closely related species, just tallying up chromosome numbers gives you no clue to relatedness. Here’s a table of some representative numbers, for instance:

If you just thought those numbers were sufficient to indicate ancestry, you’d have to conclude that humans are more closely related to zebrafish than they are to horses. So, no, we don’t use the chromosome argument, or the argument from chromosome numbers.

I asked him if he knew how many chromosomes he had. His answer: 43 or 45. Both wrong. Not just wrong in detail, but in concept — we’re diploid, so we’re going to have an even number of chromosomes.

In his rebuttal, he mangles the statement that chromosome numbers are not a good metric for relatedness into a claim that no evolutionist uses chromosomes as evidence for evolution. Then he shows a clip of Ken Miller dismantling a common creationist claim, that because the other apes have 48 chromosomes and we only have 46, we can’t be that closely related. Miller shows from the content of chromosome 2 in humans that it is a product of a fusion of two ancestral chromosomes. He is explaining how chromosome numbers can vary.

Then he cuts to Kent Hovind. It’s Hovind who thinks these numbers are significant. He shows slides of chromosome numbers like the one I posted above, and makes strange arguments. Chimps have the same number of chromosomes as tobacco, which for some reason the audience finds hilarious and guffaws loudly.

Chickens and dogs both have 78 chromosomes, so they’re identical twins. Ferns have the largest number of chromosomes, so evolutionists think that’s the ultimate goal of all evolution. Opposums, redwoods, and kidney beans have the same number of chromosomes, and then in a non sequitur, he argues that the similarities are indications of a common designer.

It’s creationists like Kent Hovind who use this bogus chromosome argument, not biologists. Our creationist then summarizes by saying he was not demonstrating his ignorance, he knows what he’s talking about. Sorry, guy, you’ve only demonstrated that you’re as ignorant as Kent Hovind. Do better.

He says the second stupid thing I said was to cite the fossil record.

Actually, what I did say was that there were multiple lines of evidence and that I thought the molecular evidence was most persuasive, but he had a canned rant about how he doesn’t believe in fossils, so he latched onto that.

Here in this rebuttal he then cuts to an ancient clip from Dick Weisenberg (I knew him; he was a colleague at Temple University) from the 1990s (ancient history — look, he’s using an overhead projector!). What this has to do with me, I don’t know, especially since I disagree with a few of the things he says. But what seems to have caught his attention was that Dick was caught in a contradiction: he first tells the audience of creationists to look at the fossil evidence, that the bones “prove” evolution, and then later he dials it down and says that the fossils are consistent with evolution. I agree with the latter, not the former. It’s one of the difficult things about doing debates when you’re not a trained debater — it’s easy to get tripped up by the colloquialisms and casual conversational use of words.

But the thing is, pointing out someone else’s error does not address anything I said. It also doesn’t rebut the fact that the fossil record is consistent with the theory of evolution, but not with creationism.

He lectures me at the end about my arrogance and how I should have more humility when dealing with Christians.

My time is very important to me, and I don’t like wasting it on people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

OK, Mr 43-or-45-chromosomes, I agree.

Courtesy of Facebook's On This Day

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:32 am
[syndicated profile] james_nicoll_feed

Posted by james_nicoll

I just got to a series of posts from 2014 Wiscon harassment meltdown. Ah, memory lane.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

Advantages of a two-house household

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:36 am
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
For those who don't know, we live in an up/down duplex. Marna, Ian and I live upstairs and Lorayne has the downstairs, with two spare rooms for any guests of upstairs or downstairs.

Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.

It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.

So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.

Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.

Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.

They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.

Also, the lack of dog.

Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.

His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.

And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.

ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.



Jul. 20th, 2017 11:37 pm
[syndicated profile] questionable_content_feed

Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.

Alice Grove is finished. I'm going to take some time to just do QC for a while and then start another side project sometime in the fall. Patreon subscribers will get sneak peeks, advance previews, and other stuff as it develops. Thank you for reading my comics.

Question of the Day

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:00 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker DesertRose: "If you enjoy reading, do you have a 'comfort book' or several? What is it/are they? One of mine is Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which got me through my degree, because the main character is an English major as I was, and re-reading it helped lift my spirits and remind me why I was doing what I was doing."

Throwback Thursdays

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of me standing in a road, holding a CD, on an Edinburgh street
Edinburgh, 2001.

In the photo, I'm holding a Clann an Drumma CD, which I'd just purchased after seeing the band perform at the Scott Monument. I'm standing on the street leading into the housing estate at which Iain lived at the time.

[Please share your own throwback pix in comments. Just make sure the pix are just of you and/or you have consent to post from other living people in the pic. And please note that they don't have to be pictures from childhood, especially since childhood pix might be difficult for people who come from abusive backgrounds or have transitioned or lots of other reasons. It can be a picture from last week, if that's what works for you. And of course no one should feel obliged to share a picture at all! Only if it's fun!]
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Glioblastoma multiforme killed my grandmother. And then, years later, it killed my mother. That's what this disease does. It kills people. It is, as we keep hearing today in the news, a very "aggressive" form of brain cancer. There is no cure. It is a matter of months. Perhaps a year, but not two.
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Rebecca Shabad at CBS News: Senate GOP eyes Tuesday for Health Care Vote, But Exact Plan up in the Air.

Calling the plan "up in the air" is far too kind. Republican Senate leadership straight-up don't want potential objectors in their caucus to see the bill before the vote, so they don't know what they're voting on and thus can't mount substantive objections.

If you imagine that's hyperbole, I assure you it is not:
Senate GOP leaders are eyeing Tuesday for a health care vote, but no one knows yet which proposal will be voted on.

Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said the first vote will be on the House-passed health care bill from May just to open up debate and the amendment process.

"The motion to proceed will be just to get on the House bill and the substitute [amendment] will be, you know it'll be a judgment call the leader will make, at some point between now and Tuesday," Thune told reporters.

Asked if the substitute amendment would be the repeal only plan, Thune said, "It could be that, or the other," referring to the repeal and replace plan.

"Who knows?" he shrugged as the doors of his elevator closed.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday that 50 people are ultimately going to decide whether there's an "outcome" in the end.

"Any three people can kill the bill at the end if they're not satisfied," he said.

But when asked if senators would want to know the plan beforehand, Cornyn said, "Yeah, but it's a luxury we don't have."
Knowing what they're voting on isn't a luxury in any normal democratic process. It is not unusual that federal legislators don't have time to read bills in their entirety (which is bad enough), but it's unheard of that they wouldn't even know the basic details — and most bills aren't as significant as a "healthcare" reform that will affect 1/6th of the United States economy.

Republicans just refuse to slow down the process to give senators the "luxury" of knowing what's in the bill before the vote, because they know their proposal will be such garbage that even some Republicans won't reflexively vote for it.

And instead of making the bill better, they are just making the process of passing it worse, because the objective is to get a win as fast as possible.

A win for them, that is. A loss for all the rest of us.


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