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The Real Interrobang -- You STILL Can't Do That On Slashdot
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in realinterrobang's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, April 28th, 2016
10:54 pm
Quotes, I Survived the Week Edition
I wish the 'fairtrade, protect the environment, treat others fairly, reduce reuse recycle' stuff didn't get all mixed up with the 'woo'. I want to be a science-based hippie.
-- Simba, Science-Based Medicine, comments

sad? lost? confuse? it ok frend. be like snek. shed old skin, become anew. leave old self and past behind, slither away into setting sun~
-- @DangerNoodle, Twitter

Oh we're pacifists alright we are about to pass a fist right through your face.
-- Tumblr user try-lullaby, spotted on Buzzfeed Canada

Saggy pants have been around so long that I'm thinking the best thing to do is enthuse about how you look JUST like your Great-Uncle Henry in that outfit, isn't it SWEET.
-- ethelmay, More Words, Deeper Hole, comments

Fuck the “disruptors.” As far as I can tell, all their “disruptions” do are make things better for the upper-class and suckier for the rest.
-- Luthe, Balloon Juice, comments

Even if it is only Thursday night!Collapse )

Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
10:22 pm
Strange, very strange
This is weird. I've never before prepped for a job interview in part by loading the work I was planning to do on the trip onto my laptop...

And I mean like remunerative work, not "I am, therefore I write" kind of work.

Current Mood: exhausted
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
5:16 pm
Quotes, Clean ALL the Things??? Edition
Coors Brewing... not only does background checks but also runs prospective employees through a lie-detector test. One of the things they're looking for (and I swear I am not making this up) is "communists".
-- BigHank53, Alicublog, comments

[A]nd there's no way to say this without sounding like a judgmental asshole, is the role of family planning in exacerbating the already dire situations in which these people find themselves. You practically want to scream at the pages, please stop having more kids. There are numerous tales [in this book] of people living on something like $650/month in total income…and they have three kids, and they have more kids as the story unfolds. There are a lot of issues balled up here: lack of effective sex education (in or out of school), lack of sufficient access to methods of birth control, and using children to fill an emotional void or try to hold onto a relationship partner. I can't put myself in the position of anyone in this book, and I have no idea what I'd do if I were. But if there's one thing the people described here are good at, it's figuring out how to survive. In many ways they are highly rational and they make decisions that eliminate anything that isn't absolutely essential. In that light, it's confusing to try to understand why "I shouldn't pay this month's rent because I'm about to be evicted anyway" makes sense (and it does) but "I shouldn't have a fifth child" does not.
-- Ed, "Sympathy for the Devil," Gin and Tacos, comments

Fucking idi*ts
-- Dani Weigert, Facebook, comments

I have come across people who didn't believe that cats had lungs. Worst part is on researching this, they weren't the only one.
-- Simba, Science-Based Medicine, comments

The owner of a sandwich kiosk at the site suffered a broken hip and shrapnel in his stomach from the blast. He ironically named his small shed next to the bus stop, which had also been targeted in a similar bombing in 1994, “Pitzutz Shel Kiosk” or “Blast of a Kiosk.”
-- Dave Bender, "One Year Later," Times of Israel blogs, on a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem on 23 March 2011

Yes, clean all the things...again...Collapse )

Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
9:11 pm
HumoUr
An American friend asked me to explain Canadian Tire, in the context of my saying I was excited to make a trip there to get housewares. How to explain Canadian Tire to a non-Canadian who's never been in one... I said:

Um. I'm not sure I can explain why Canadian Tire is called that, but suffice to say it's kind of like a Lowe's, only with more stuff and auto parts as well, and a vague aura of magic.

They usually have really good prices on housewares. You could pretty well fit out most of an apartment with what you can find at Canadian Tire, with the exception of the major pieces of furniture (although you can certainly find bookcases and nighttables and endtables and things).

You can also buy barbecues, cleaning products, reproduction Victorian light fixtures for your next renovation, toilets, guns, touch-up paint for your car, the odd assortment of clothes (mostly t-shirts with outdoorsy slogans, plaid flannel jackets, and belts with funky buckles), bicycles, a few drinks and snack items, fishing and hunting gear, cleaning products, plants, and I once even saw a paddleboat for sale there.

One of the reasons I like shopping there is that you never quite know what oddments you're going to see there next. Like a paddleboat. Or live trilliums in pots for your garden. Those cool plastic Israeli plant pots that hang over balcony railings. Or a no-assembly-required (save filling and plugging in) garden fountain that runs on house current. What else is there to say?


Current Mood: tired
12:34 am
Can We Seriously Regulate Drones Yet, or Do People Have to Die First?
Agence France-Presse reports that a BA Airbus A320 on approach to Heathrow hit a drone. According to the article, "The UK Airprox Board, an air safety agency, said last month there were 23 near-misses between drones and aircraft in the six months between April and October last year. In one incident on September 22, a Boeing 777 reported narrowly passing a drone as it was taking off."

Drone owners are turning into the ATV riders of the skies. If drone flyers haven't got the common sense to not fly one of these things around an airport, they don't deserve to fly them at all, particularly since if they're intruding on approach or departure corridors, especially around large, controlled airfields (that is, airports that have air traffic controllers on duty), they're automatically flying their drone into restricted airspace. I'm glad nothing untoward has happened, but if and when it does, I hope the offending drone owner gets the book thrown at them, followed by the entire bookcase, followed by the entire law library. And those drone owners who fly their drones into restricted airspace should face the same penalties as anybody else. In this particular case, the person flying that drone should be looking at the same consequenses as a clueless general aviation pilot who wandered into an approach corridor at Heathrow and caused a minor incident.

At least a lot of general aviation aircraft carry transponders so the ATCs can see they're there and tell them to GTF out of harm's way. Hobby drones do not. They're invisible to ground-based and onboard radar.

Mid-air collisions are not a good idea, even when the other craft is something as small as a drone. Two problems I can see right off are engine ingestion (that is, the drone getting sucked into an engine), and the drone colliding with the airplane's cockpit windows. Losing an engine suddenly on takeoff or landing because your Airbus has just sucked in some asswipe's drone could be quite perilous, especially since those are the most task-heavy times of an entire flight, and pilots don't really expect to have one of their engines suddenly die like that.

And it doesn't take much to really do damage to a jet engine. To give an extreme case, the Concorde burnt up on takeoff from one of its engines ingesting a piece of runway debris that was only ~40cm long. Even something metal the size of a bottlecap can damage a jet engine, which is why airports try to be scrupulous about keeping runways clear of any detritus. Comparing a drone ingestion to a bird strike isn't really accurate, because birds are made of, well, meat (and get turned into what's technically called "slurry" in an aircraft engine, not unlike putting a meatball in a food processor), and drones are made of metal and plastic, which makes runway debris incidents more accurately instructive to look at.

A drone getting sucked into the engine of a single-engine aircraft...well...

On USAir 1549 (the "Miracle of the Hudson" plane), the front windows were partially broken from impacting Canada geese, at ~12 pounds each. So it doesn't take much, given the speed at which airplanes travel.

Also, there could be problems if a drone hit any of the control surfaces of an airplane. As Patrick Smith writes at AskThePilot.com, "A jetliner traveling at 250 miles per hour (in the U.S., that’s the maximum speed when flying below 10,000 feet) hitting a 25-pound UAV creates about 40,000 pounds of impact force. A collision with even a lightweight drone could result in serious and expensive problems. A small drone impacting an engine would be unlikely to cause a crash, but it could easily cause the failure of that engine and millions of dollars of damage. Windscreens and other components are vulnerable as well." If you're wondering about impact forces, remember that in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, NASA engineers fired a one-pound block of foam, moving 500mph at a Shuttle wing panel, and it smashed an enormous hole in it. Now, the Space Shuttle's wing panels are more friable and lightweight than aircraft parts, but one pound of mass travelling at 500mph creates much less impact than 25 pounds of mass travelling at half that speed.

If, as in these examples cited, the problems are happening around takeoff and landing, which are critical times anyway, things could really go wrong in any scenario. And you can multiply the problem factor by about 10 when you're talking about a drone contacting a general aviation airplane, since they're smaller and lighter, and some of them only have one engine, and the standard of competence for pilots is so much lower. I'm not even going to talk about helicopters here, since I don't know much about them, but I do know a lot of rescue and similar agencies preemptively ground helicopters if drones are reported in the area, because of risk.

So I have nothing against people wanting to fly drones, or RC airplanes or helicopters or styrofoam gliders or whatever, but I really don't want people to fly them near airplanes or helicopters or things carrying people through the air, either because they're idiots, or because they've let the "ooh shiny" moment override what passes for sense. And while there are regulations on the FAA's books, they're more honoured in the breach than the observance. Transport Canada is developing regulations for hobbyists and already requires people using drones for work or research to apply for permits.

Maybe hobby drone purchasers should have to take a licensure test before they can get some kind of critical part for the things, and drones should definitely carry identifiable, traceable Vehicle Identification Numbers, and large drones should probably have to be equipped with transponders, so they're not radar-invisible.

Unfortunately, I suspect people are going to have to die before anything changes. That's the way it usually works. However, most of the time, the aviation industry and people in general don't get this much obvious advance notice.

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, April 17th, 2016
9:24 pm
Quotes, The High-Pitched Screams of the Half-Sours Edition
Stockholm ain't just a river in Egypt.
-- AGoodQuestion, Alicublog, comments

As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land, Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.
-- George Monbiot, "Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems," The Guardian

An owl carried my cat off once. He came back hours later with half an owl and requiring 20 stitches.
-- darthbiscuit, imgur, comments

[T]he legendary Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős seemed to do little else besides publish prolifically, cram amphetamines into his body in legitimately alarming quantities, and devise new ways to be weird.
-- Ed, "Affirming the Consequent," Gin and Tacos

Bill Nye the Science Guy v. Ted Cruz the Human Ooze
-- post title, Shakezula, Lawyers, Guns, and Money

And the stentorian whirring of the lambs.Collapse )

Current Mood: tired
8:20 pm
Squeam
I have a health problem for which (don't laugh or judge, and no word of a lie) a dildo is a significant aid to rehabilitation. But for the life of me, I'm vaguely too shy to go into a sex shop by myself, and I don't want to buy one online because I can't tell how big they are from the measurements they list, and I don't want to get one that's roughly the size of the Ron Jeremy of the elephant world.

What a stupid-ass problem to have. And yes, I know this is totally irrational. I mean, shit, I've been in sex toy stores before. *sigh*

Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
6:34 pm
Quotes, Walked Into a Random Cloud of Fuckup Edition
"The Revolution Will Be Televised."

And there will be many, many commercials.

"We'll be back with more of the bloodletting after these words from our sponsors."
"Guillotines in Times Square! brought to you by Gillette."

The, uh, riffs on that are endless.
"You've been rioting all day, and you've worked up a hard to bust thirst. This Bud's for you."
"Accidents happen, but you needn't worry about blood stains on clothes with Tide!"
"Come for the revolution... stay for the spa treatments. Hyatt Hotels."
"When your car's been overturned and set on fire, just Go Greyhound!"
"When you've forgotten your pitchfork, you'll remember TrueValue Hardware."
"Head split open? Ask your doctor if Oxycontin is right for you."
"Overthrow the government? That's powerful. Verizon Wireless."
"The revolution will be televised. And you can see it all on DirecTV."
-- Derelict, montag2, Derelict, and montag2, Alicublog, comments

I still think we should take the Reagan approach, except instead of invading Grenada, invade the Cayman Islands and seize all the assets there as suspect "drug money". It's not like it takes probable cause to seize assets like this. We can even occupy the place. If nothing else, the Caymans have got to be a better billet than Baghdad.
-- Kaleberg, Gin and Tacos, comments

Business profits are NOT the be-all and end-all of human existence -- not even close. We must stop treating them as if they are.
-- Tom Smith, Facebook

I'm Mexican. My wife is white. I met her family for the first time when we started to date at her Aunt's annual Halloween party. My wife's parents didn't know I was going to be there. They were dressed up as Mexicans. As in full-on colorful sarapes, sombreros, dark wigs and her dad has the thickest fake mustache. They walk in, my wife is speechless. Her parents look at me and the whole house gets quiet. I look at them for a second, pause, then ask: "Mom, Dad, what are you doing here?". Everyone started laughing. The rest of the night was a blast and they're the coolest inlaws ever.
-- Reddit user CobraCommanderp, in Julianne Adams, "25 times people met their significant others' parents and lived to tell the horrifying tale.", Some Love

The disparities between British and American English always amuse me.*

*No, Canada, nobody cares about Canadian English.**
**No Australia, "Australian English" isn't even a thing.***
***South Afri-what?
-- WLU, Science-Based Medicine, comments

They lurk! Theeeeey luuuurrrrk!!Collapse )

Current Mood: sleepy
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
1:48 am
Quotes, Potsherds of Sleep Edition
There’s a ‘real’ life? Why didn’t anyone tell me?
-- N__B, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, comments

"This is not rocket science." Fortunately I am an aerospace engineer, and have done some rocket work.
-- Chris, Science-Based Medicine, comments, responding to an obnoxious and maybe illiterate troll

what's the difference between a fetus, a corporation, and a woman? Conservatives only consider the first two to be people.
-- Daniel, Stonekettle Station, comments

As Paul Krugman points out, Very Serious People are taken seriously because they are conventionally wrong rather than unconventionally right.
-- mclaren, Balloon Juice, comments

Nazis. Goddamned Nazis. I haven't even finished my first cup of coffee and already, I got Nazis.
-- Jim Wright, Facebook

Going to find it again soon, maybe?Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
2:28 am
Yeah, I'm Still Squeamish About Charlie Hebdo
I was squeamish about their being lionised a little over a year ago, because I felt that their brand of satire often crossed the line into being bullying, and kicking down when it should have been punching up. I'm even more convinced now that my instincts -- after having looked at as much of their art/commentary online as I could find -- were on the money. (I didn't do all that training in discourse analytics for nothing, I guess.)

Their recent editorial, roundly and rightly criticised by various other commentators (including Daniel Politi at Slate and the sources he cites), pretty much sums that up, given as since I think it was supposed to be a defence of laïcité (official secularism)*, but manages to do so in a circumlocutory way that more directly implicates ordinary practicing Muslims -- and, by extension, any publicly-visible expression of (Islamic) religion -- as being an offense against laïcité, an infringement against other French people's ability to exist as they please (because, gosh sakes, if someone won't sell you a ham sandwich at his Muslim-owned deli, then he's obviously trampliing your rights...or something), and a brick in some kind of wall that allegedly forbids anyone from making any criticisms of Islam whatsoever without being labelled Islamophobic...and then leads inexorably to the kind of climate that allows terrorism.

Maybe if the Hebdo editorialist didn't want to be labelled Islamophobic, he wouldn't insinuate that there's somehow a causal chain between not being mortally offended by lectures on Islam, hijab-wearing women, men with "little prayer bruises" on their foreheads who buy hypothetical delis (one wonders if he has the same problem with kosher delis, and what he thought of the Hyper Cacher shootings), and the extremists who blew up the Brussels airport. (If you really want to get a feel for how badly it reads and you can't see it to begin with, change any of the relevant signifiers in the text to those equivalent signifiers in Judaism. Julius Streicher would be proud.)

This is a kind of "tolerating intolerance inevitably leads to the intolerant taking over" argument, but it is spectacularly clumsily executed, and, in the context of overflowing anti-Islamic sentiment in France, and Europe generally, the broader context in which people are generally careful to be nuanced about criticisms of Islam vis-a-vis all Muslims in general (namely that while Muslims are, in fact, doing some damn horrible things in certain places, they're also being oppressed in other places, and a lot of that oppression is the fault of North Americans and Europeans), it strikes me as incredibly ill-advised, short-sightedly self-justifying (so they can continue kicking down at Muslims), and roughly on a par, writing and argumentation-wise, with some of the bullshit that gets posted at National Review Online and Breitbart.

And here I thought these people were supposed to be leftists.

______________
* I'd have more faith in their execution of this concept if they hadn't had Vichy coinage in circulation into the 1970s (!!), and a bad reputation for rampant antisemitism and anti-immigrant sentiment (particularly directed at Eurasians and Africans from former French colonies), and if their spiritual kindred here in Canada bruit loudly about the same damn thing but won't take the cross off the wall off their provincial legislature, because "heritage."

Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
6:53 pm
Quotes, On the Razor's Edge Case Edition
You can't have an honest conversation with someone who is dishonest.
-- jennofark, Alicublog, comments

My sister's cat says, "Don't refer to humans street harassment as cat-calling. My species doesn't do that bullshit."
-- Twitter user @JenKirkman

It's upsetting how hard it is for people to differentiate between whistleblowing and smoke-blowing.
-- Amy Cook, Facebook, comments

It's in your best interest to make sure you're not out of toilet paper. Seriously.
-- secret from PostSecret, 3 April 2016

Corporations are the supreme welfare queens.
-- mclaren, Balloon Juice, comments

Defy expectations!Collapse )

Current Mood: cranky
4:26 pm
Robert Pickton Speaks...Sort Of
The Walrus' Lori Shenher has written a really good article on the police's interrogation of Vancouver serial killer Robert Pickton. This is quite contrary to literary myths about serial killers. (I wrote about this already, since I seem to have a thing about serial killers.) The guy wasn't some kind of mythical evil supergenius, he was a slightly unhinged, mixed-up dude who referred to a certain terrorist mastermind as "Bill Laden," and had issues with women. He also really liked to kill.

Current Mood: annoyed
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
8:43 pm
Sexism, Harassment, Tabletop Gaming, and What it All Means for Our Canadian Police Culture
I'm not a tabletop gamer. I'm not much of a gamer of any sort, to be honest, although I do like some casual games (I don't have the hand-eye coordination etc. to play FPSs and things well at all), like mahjongg and Bejeweled. But this post by Tumblr* user De Scriptorice lays out once again that the kinds of subcultures that overlap with mine (the nerdy/geeky, like gamers and fen and suchlike) have a terrible, terrible sexism problem:

I am at Keycon, waiting for a friend to finish her Shadowrun game. One of my male friends hands me a pepsi. I take it and thank him. I wake up in a hotel bed I don’t remember. A man’s hand is inside me, jabbing and painful. I try to scream but nothing comes out. I try to move but I cannot. After what feels like a lifetime, I stagger away, ripping his hand out of my jeans. The convention whirls around me like a nightmare kaleidoscope as I beg for help. Eventually, someone takes me aside. “This is a safe convention. We have a reputation to protect. If you go to the police, we’ll say you were never here.” I nod numbly. I think I am crying, but no tears fall. I stumble into a bathroom in the lobby coffee shop and sob until I can’t breathe. When I am calm, I call the police and report the attack. “You sound drunk. Were you drinking? I’m not filing a report for some drunken slut.” The officer hangs up.

This article also highlights that Canadian police have a terrible, terrible apathy problem when it comes to any group they don't feel they need to listen to (which is pretty much anybody who isn't a white, able-bodied man over about the age of 25 or so, a wealthy white woman of over age 50 or so, and so on) -- it basically excludes anybody of postsecondary student age, women below the threshold of sounding like they're established taxpaying property owners, transpeople, the mentally ill, other handicapped people, gays and lesbians (particularly -- or even -- if they [only] "sound gay" on the phone**), people of colour, Native Canadians and others, allophones (non-native English or French speakers), and so on. I've got some personal horror stories, to be honest.

How the BC Police Fucked Up the Amanda Todd Case, where people slut-shamed a young woman to death, and the police essentially sat around with their thumbs up their asses.

In 2011, a Toronto police officer said that women should avoid dressing like "sluts" to "avoid being victimised," which launched the worldwide SlutWalks.

The local police beat an 87 year old man here bloody because he was trying to walk toward his dementia-stricken wife, who was by a police cruiser, and then charged him with resisting arrest. He was convicted, because he apparently shoved a police officer, but he says they didn't give him time to explain the situation. The pictures of the man's face in the paper were horrifying.

Personally...

I called the police once because a random guy used a key to walk into my apartment unanounced, and I didn't know him from Adam. Turns out he was a property agent from the company that had just bought the building, but they are supposed to give 24 hours or "reasonable" notice. When I called the police, they said, "Yeah, we know about him; he does that all the time. What do you want us to do about it?"

Back in 2011 I was getting a series of obscene phone calls in the middle of the night from some creep who wanted me to talk dirty to him. I called both the local police and Bell Canada and got caught in a vicious catch-22 -- Bell Canada wouldn't give out the harasser's information until the police contacted them, and the police told me that they couldn't do anything until Bell Canada gave me enough information for them to follow up on. So some asshat out there got away with a dozen or so harassing calls, and may have moved on beyond me once he wasn't getting any fun out of it anymore.

Several years ago, I was walking downtown with a friend, and a police officer pulled over and started questioning us as to whether we'd seen a woman with a toy gun walking around, and did we have any toy guns. It was bizarre, to say the least.

At second hand, a former student of mine when I was teaching business writing at the local community college disappeared from classes for about six weeks. I thought he'd dropped out, which wasn't actually all that uncommon. Near the end of the semester, he reappeared, wearing a watchcap pulled really low over his face, and asked me to close the door so he could talk to me in confidence. He told me that his "psychotic housemate" had put a bunch of household chemicals in his shampoo, and when he went to wash his hair, he was terribly chemically burned and nearly blinded (would have been blinded, except he had the shower running and had the sense to get his eyes under the stream quickly). He said he'd been in the hospital for a few weeks. When he took off his hat, his head was entirely bald, and scarred, and he had almost no eyebrows left. When he went to the local police, they told him that he would have to have the college police (i.e. "Campus Security") handle it, because it was a "campus matter." The campus police told him that it was felony assault, and well past their pay grade to handle, and that he needed to work with the local city police, who basically refused to talk to him because he was a community college student. (And, I think relevantly, of perceived-to-be lower socioeconomic status than the local university^ students.)

A friend of mine from ex-work had his cellphone stolen by an aircraft cleaner after he accidentally left it on the plane after a long flight home from a client site in the US. My friend confirmed that the only people who had been on the flight were the cleaners, and used his phone's geolocation utility to triangulate its location to within four houses. He called the police and told them what he'd done, and would they please find the person who lived there who cleaned airplanes for a living for Air Canada at the local airport, and retrieve his phone? They declined.

Seems to me like this might be the real downside of Canadians' famous laissez-faire attitude -- live and let live. Sometimes living and let live and not interfering with other people's business allows a lot of bad stuff to go on...in our subcultures and with our police.


__________________
* Why does anybody use Tumblr? It's like a real blog but harder to figure out and with fewer moving parts.

** Don't tell me that "sounding gay" or the perception thereof isn't a thing, because it totally is. There is definitely a defined stereotype of what a gay man sounds like, whether or not gay men in fact actually do or do not sound like that.

^ The difference between community college and university in Canada is that a community college is a post-secondary diploma-granting institution, generally aimed at vocational or technical training, and a university is a degree-granting institution which may or may not also have graduate degree (i.e. Masters and PhD) programmes.
Thursday, March 31st, 2016
10:32 pm
A Contentious Article from the Atlantic -- Sterilising Incompetent Handicapped People
I actually think this is a very thought-provoking article on a topic that almost certainly draws a lot of knee-jerk reactions. Once again, we're possibly facing a visit from the Ghost of Eugenicists Past, but on the other hand, I think there's something to be said for the argument in this piece, which is that for certain mentally-incapable people, sterilisation is a kinder choice than not. How do you explain menses and how to deal with them to someone who has the mentality of a permanent infant or toddler? What do you do about physical maturation when the mind doesn't come with it? And most scarily, sexual abuse of handicapped people (particularly mentally handicapped people who are in institutions) does happen, and so do unintended pregnancies.

I used to know someone whose sister had Down Syndrome and had had a few strokes. She wasn't really competent to take care of herself, so she lived in an institution near Ottawa. When she was a preadolescent, her parents had made the decision to have a hysterectomy done on her. Last I heard, she had a boyfriend and an active sex life, with no possibility of accidental pregnancy. My friend (her brother) said, "You'd be amazed at how much sex goes on in places like that." In this article, there's an anecdote related about how the parents of a mentally-handicapped woman were trying to have her sterilised as she'd had seven children already and her parents had taken custody of all of them. I don't want to get into "three generations of imbeciles are enough," but on the other hand, I do feel badly for the woman's parents -- and for the eight eventual children.

The article does discuss long-term birth control options, which seem to be the way to go in most cases, but there are always edge cases where the long-term birth control options just don't or won't work. (Not everyone can tolerate Depo-Provera, my own sister included, and birth control pills or patches may be too complex for some people to use properly.) Not to mention that quite a few of them have contraindications or side effects that some people can't tolerate.

I think this is a thoughtful, nuanced article that explores some real grey areas rationally and with good real-world examples, which is probably why it'll infuriate the usual suspects.

Current Mood: nauseated
Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
4:37 pm
Non-QOTD: Gender Inequity in Canada
Blogger The Oracle of Chappelle Street takes on the Ghomeshi verdict...sort of. She chronicles exactly how the Ghomeshi verdict is the rational outcome of long-standing systemic sexism and sexist double standards (exacerbated, of course, by the Conservative government). I was going to try to take parts of this out as entries for my next quotes post, but I just couldn't find pieces of it to excerpt as free-standing bits. Read the whole thing, but
According to court documents, Justice Minister Toews had two extramarital affairs, one of which was with the family babysitter, who was of a questionable legal age and who he impregnated. He was also a deadbeat dad who failed to pay child support. All the while serving as an MP and cabinet minister. Following his voluntary retirement from politics, Toews was appointed to the Manitoba Queen's Bench.

Maxime Bernard, Conservative MP, left classified NATO documents at his ex-girlfriend's place for over a month. His ex had longstanding ties to organized crime, sparking international embarrassment over security concerns within the NATO community. For his misdeeds, he spent three years without a cabinet position and is now contemplating a run at leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. ...

Lori Douglas, a former Manitoba justice, made headlines when it was revealed that her husband, [emphasis mine] without her knowledge or consent, published photos of Douglas engaged in sexual acts on the internet. Douglas was subject to a judicial inquiry that dragged on for four years, resulting in four years of public humiliation and forced retirement.
[In case you didn't grasp that, the Manitoba government ended Douglas' career because she was the victim of revenge porn by her husband. -- ?!]

I think women should email this to the PMO and to their local non-Conservative MPs. And maybe their local non-Conservative MPPs, too. (No point in e-mailing this to the CRAPs; they don't give a shit about women anyway.)

Holy fuck.

Current Mood: angry
12:46 am
Quotes, Precipitationing Edition
Starting with the easy stuff doesn’t generally lead to reform. It leads to complacency about progress.
-- Hogan, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, comments

This might sound weird, but for some reason I've always suspected that the day after I die, scientists will announce they've discovered some sort of gene therapy thing or other miracle drug that will extend human life indefinitely; that I will literally be one of the last people to die. Actually, it does sound weird. I don't know why I believe this or where this belief comes from, but there it is.
-- Germy, Alicublog, comments

Adherence is important because, well, we don't want people to die because a treatment is unnecessarily hard to follow. It could be the best treatment in the world, but if you can't do it, it's the same as no treatment at all.
-- Simba, Science-Based Medicine, comments

I like my digms by the dozen, not just a pair.
-- schmannity, Wonkette, comments

Donald trump look like a fat carrot
-- Twitter user @RealCarrotFacts

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Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
10:11 pm
QOTD: Infamy
I just found this in an actual job posting. I only wish I were making this up.

As a Solution Consultant, you will be responsible for solutioning leadership from pre-sales, to project kickoff, through to ongoing oversight and engagement evolution for specific clients within an assigned region. This role is the most senior person responsible for the development of the overall vision and transforms that vision through execution into the solution. You will lead the process that aligns our foundational technology components and the enterprise infrastructure to business systems initiatives.

"SOLUTIONING"?!?!?!?!?!?!!


Behold, the strength of my facepalm...

Current Mood: cynical
Sunday, March 27th, 2016
9:04 pm
Quotes, The Eternal Suppertime of the Feline Mind Edition
Move all Zergs for great social justice!
-- Pere Ubu, Alicublog, comments

Yes, I so love it when the therapist says how exercise is good for depression. Well, you putz, if I came to you because I can't drag myself out of bed most days, how the hell am I supposed to exercise? They always say I'm "hostile". Am I the only ACTUALLY depressed person they've ever seen?
-- knotfreak, Science-Based Medicine, comments

"ISIS" is not a target. Are we supposed to bomb the alphabet? Should we bomb their rocks, maybe try to turn them into gravel? Boomers' inability to get their minds out of the Cold War has produced shitty policy for three decades. There is no ISIS Kremlin that we can blow up to kill ISIS Brezhnev, and their surface fleet at Murmansk is a vest and 8 ounces of liquid.
-- Gin and Tacos, Facebook

Anything we depend on has the capability to mess with us.
-- dglenn, telephone conversation, 21 March 2016

I have a standard form listing reasons why I might not pet a kitty that tried to get my attention. Today's example:

Dear kitty, I did not pet you because you are not in fact a cat but
[ ] a bear or bear cub
[ ] a skunk
[ ] a racoon
[ ] a weasel-thing
[x] a surprisingly large house centipede
-- James Nicoll, Facebook

Or, How to Drive Your Hoomin Nuts in One Easy Lesson!Collapse )

Current Mood: blah
Monday, March 21st, 2016
3:12 pm
Why I Am a "Curenik"
Ooh, she may be weary
Young girls they do get weary...


This post is intended to provide a counterpoint to a lot of the narrative around disability online, which is often a strict social-constructivist model -- that is, that ableism in society creates "disability" per se, and that if society were perfectly accommodating of disabilities, they would cease to be any problem.

This, of course, is unmitigated bullshit.

It's also symptomatic of a lot of progressives' tendencies toward postmodernist relativism, which basically posits that everything is socially constructed, and no one construction is more valid than any other, therefore changing the social construction is equal to changing consensus reality.

This, of course, is also unmitigated bullshit.

And because of this line of bullshit, they walk right over to the completely unreasonable position that anybody who advocates curing or remediating conditions (more to some conditions in particular, but I think it's fair to say that most of these people would apply this generally to any and all conditions) is consequently advocating genocide of handicapped people, because if our conditions were gone, then we as a class would also be gone. Never mind that only the class itself would cease to exist (and only in the case of those who actually want to be cured/remediated), not the people. I think this is a category error of some type.

I find this class-removal-as-genocide argument spurious because a) genocide is a real, literal thing, and to ascribe moving people from one set (category) to another doesn't eliminate those people, and to say that it's literally or semantically equivalent is to trivialise genocide; b) people cross sets all the time -- living people become dead people; unborn people become born people; citizens of one country become citizens of another; Christians become Jews, believers become atheists, men become women and vice versa; and c) while disability or the experience of disability certainly shapes handicapped people's identity, it isn't necessarily the defining characteristic of their identity (which I would argue is "humanity," in any case), and probably isn't at all the defining characteristic of their identity. So while moving disabled people from the class "disabled" to the class "able-bodied" [Isn't this a bit like object-oriented programming?] might alter their identity, and perhaps in extremely profound ways, it doesn't destroy their humanity, their personhood, or their literal existence.

Ergo, genocide, my ass.

Which brings me to another point about consensus reality as opposed to socially-constructed reality. I really don't know why a lot of people in progressive or social justice circles have such a problem with admitting there is such a thing as pathology, and that pathology is a real thing that exists in consensus reality.

Well, to be honest, a lot of them also seem to have trouble with the idea that there is such a thing as consensus reality; i.e. that which doesn't go away when you stop believing in it, or start taking your meds again, or which can be observed using "externalisations of our senses" -- thank you Marshall McLuhan -- like scientific instruments of all sorts. In fact, some very clever externalisations of our senses can observe things for us that we cannot observe directly, like neutrino detectors.

However, I collected a quote by psychologist "TWT," who, despite writing a very nuanced blog about trans issues, often says things that are directly relevant to the disability community. He writes,
Progressives are absolutely allergic to the idea of pathology and tend towards the idea that calling anything pathology is “stigmatizing”. ... They are quite correct that stigmazing causes harm. I think it is harmful to stigmatize people based on their conditions, however we should never lose track that some things are healthier than others. For me the question of whether something is healthy is not whether it is normal but rather whether it is functional. Even being functional in some environments is sufficient, that is just a matter of getting to the right environment. ... I think refusing to understand that there is a such thing as health and a such thing as pathology causes problems, especially if you are in a profession where you are supposed to be an agent of health. Pathology should not be mistaken for diversity.

Accommodation and eliminating ableism allows diversity but it does not necessarily eliminate pathology. In some cases, it can't. Some pathologies are deeply intrinsic to the physical being of the person with the condition in question, and can't be "identified away," or "destigmatised out of existence." Even if society is perfectly accommodating, that doesn't remove all of the ways having a condition can suck -- chronic pain, inherently impaired function (e.g. my proprioception has gone wonky and I can't really find my hand, my legs don't bend properly; my brain is in a permanent state of trying to kill me, whatever), a worldview that's permanently tangential to everyone else's, even just things about yourself you can't bring yourself to like or maybe even accept.

Let me emphasise and reiterate this point too: A lot of people need to get comfortable with the idea that it's not bad or wrong for people with conditions to have things about themselves they don't like or can't accept. It's okay to be upset that things about your body or mind suck and that maybe sometimes -- or all the time -- you just wish they'd go the hell away. It is actually and really all right to be The Angry Cripple despite the fact that that's how some people will see you. That's their problem, not yours. You have other problems to deal with. Like, for example, how bloody sore your hip flexors are today.

And that's not rejecting your identity or hating yourself, or anything. You are allowed to have actual physical or mental flaws, the same way as everyone has character flaws, annoying personality traits, and that kind of thing. But pay attention to how the societal narrative treats disability-type flaws, vis-a-vis character and personality flaws. Most people, if they are honest with themselves and have a shred of integrity, have things about their personality or mentality that they'd like to change or improve. Most of us want to become better people, and, say, get over our tendency to narcissism, or whatever. But G-d help you if you want to get over your too-short Achilles tendons, or your hearing loss, or your incapacitating mental illness. Then, you're (by extension of the same logic) killing yourself. And if you think that the option should be open for people to take advantage of any cures and remediations that are or should become available, you're advocating genocide.

I certainly am not saying that all disabled people should be forced, coerced, or abused into accepting any cure or remediation; this should be voluntary. If you are content with yourself, be yourself -- just like we would say with any other member of any other class type. If you like being a Christian, don't convert to Judaism. If you're comfortable with your existence as a woman, don't transition. If you accept your disability and you can function adequately, don't take the cure.

These are some of the reasons why I, as someone with cerebral palsy, hate a lot of the social-constructivist narrative around disability (of all types).

But if someone announced a cure for CP tomorrow, I'd be calling their clinic and saying I wanted to be first in line, for what it's worth, which doesn't mean I hate myself, it just means I've been coping with this crap for 41 years, and the mechanical wear and tear on my body is breaking down my joints and prolapsing my bladder and messing up other bits and parts and I just want it to oh God stop already. I don't know that it's entirely possible for the temporarily able-bodied to understand just how weary you can get after a lifetime or so...

Current Mood: apathetic
12:53 am
Quotes, Three Tons of External Musicians Edition
h/t dglenn for the title!

It was a minor revelation to me when, in my twenties, I realized you could get business cards printed that said literally anything you wanted.
-- Ellis Weiner, Alicublog, comments

One of my favourite moments is when I said “Cheers, y’all” when leaving a room. NC + UK = linguistic hilarity. (I have no idea why I combined them. I only recognised that I did it when all the Brits looked at me funny.)
-- Bijan Parsia, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, comments

A Dubai based flight crew of a 787 airliner flies into Saudi airfield. The flight crew is all female, capable of managing a jumbo jet, yet are not considered capable of driving a car in that country.
-- MTDoc, Science-Based Medicine, comments

We have a long hair cat that absolutely loves water. Like turns the faucet on to lay and play in the water. we were gone for a long weekend and left a neighbor in charge of watching the house. On Sunday morning they called and asked "Hey, how good is your home owners because its raining in your kitchen" Turns out the cat turned on the faucet, laid in the sink until their hair clogged the drain then ran for drier pastures. From the looks of it the water ran for somewhere around 24-30 hours. Flooding the upstairs bathroom and going through the floor into our kitchen. In our 115 year old house.
-- Reddit user Perrch, quoted in Laura McCallum, "17 Pet Owners Were Asked: 'What's The Dumbest Thing Your Pet Has Ever Done?'," Knowable

Ask any depressive and they will tell you that the worst case can become the scenario.
-- Matt Haig, Facebook

Batteries not included!Collapse )

Current Mood: ditzy
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