Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition 12.15

Today it’s your turn to ask the question.  I can’t guarantee you’ll get an answer, but ask away anyway!

If you could ask any Skepchick any question, what would it be?

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

Related Articles

151 Comments

  1. @Elyse: Fair call :) I’ll retroactivly accept the penalty.

    On a more serious note though; It’s a common question but I’m not sure if it’s been asked here. Of all the quackery that’s out there if you could pick one that turned out to be true, what would it be and why?

  2. Where do I start?

    “isn’t it your turn to walk the dogs?”

    “you drank how much?”

    “that’s a kinky idea – do you think teek would like to join in?”

    All of the above are normally followed by “are you going to stop hitting me soon?”

    (the questions change when you marry one of them ;) )

  3. @Steve DeGroof:

    I think the oddest link/question was after I posted about breastfeeding in public, Rebecca got an email from Hooter Hiders asking if they could link to us and put her on the mailing list.

    Now Rebecca gets updates on all the latest in breastfeeding gear.

    Of course, that’s just my favorite :)

  4. @Nicole: “Where were you ladies in high school when I was a lonely nerd girl?!”

    I got here as soon as I could!

    @Gold: “Of all the quackery that’s out there if you could pick one that turned out to be true, what would it be and why?”

    Homeopathy. Think of all the pain and suffering we could cure with water!

  5. @Nicole: Being a lonely nerd girl myself! Without the internet! I didn’t get access to the internet until I went to college. Then I got even nerdier.

    @TheSkepticalMale: That’s a topic I could go on about forever. I used to default to The Third Man, but as I’ve gotten older I think my tastes have changed a bit. Let me think about it some more and come back after I get home from work. :)

  6. I have this internal vision of you all as witty and urbane sophisticates. But from some of your comments I get the impression that it wasn’t always so. When did you become happy with who you are so that you became such attrative and interesting people?

  7. Do you think that feminists should push for more widespread gun ownership? To introduce the case in favor of more women owning guns, I can do no better than to quote Megan McArdle:

    I’m hardly the first person to make this observation, but I don’t know why it isn’t noted more often: guns are the only weapon that equalizes strength between attacker and attacked. It’s the only time when men’s greater speed, strength, and longer reach make no difference; if you pull the trigger first, you win.
    This is an enormous social advance.

    Agree? Disagree? Why?

  8. @Kaylia_Marie:

    “Any advice to a wanna be Skepchick?”

    Heh, wait for another Skepchick to retire? I’ve had this question from many others, and so many awesome ladies that would make wonderful writers. At some point I may add more on, but for right now your best bet is to become a kick-ass blogger in your own right.

    “Any advice to a wanna be kick ass blogger?”

    Oh, glad you asked! Find a niche. Commenter Krelnick, aka Tim Farley, made great points on his blog about the importance of new bloggers to grab little-publicized corners and claim them for skepticism. Someone recently wrote me about a new podcast where he reviews movies from a skeptical standpoint. Brilliant! Do something like that, but different.

    “How do y’all find the time to keep up this blog, have social lives, and work?”

    I’ve cleverly combined many of those things into one. I blog during lunch breaks at work, I work from home a lot as a freelance writer which allows for blog breaks, and my social outings mostly consist of Skeptics in the Pub meet-ups, lectures, and the like. Also I don’t really sleep (well, I sleep some: I get up at 5:30am and go to bed around midnight).

  9. @Rebecca: “Not a thing. It all led me here.”

    I’ve been through a lot of crazy shit this year, made plenty of mistakes over the last several years (I did some stuff right, too!) and when people ask me if I would change any of that, I give the same answer you did. :-)

  10. @Elyse: Seeing that she’s not a skeptic* and probably old enough to be your Mom, I don’t think that’ll work…

    *She’s not exactly devout, but she is a Christian. Her grandmother on her mother’s side was one of the first female Baptist ministers ordained.

  11. I have a questions: “If you could only save three books, currently in exsistance, from being destroyed by pan-galactic baddies intent on destroying all of humanity’s books, what would they be?”

    And “What 7 records +1 luxury item, would you take to a desert island if you were going to one? (your luxury can’t be escape or a person)”

  12. The first ten million years were the worst, the second ten million years were pretty bad, after the third ten million years, things really went downhill AND I’ve got this pain in the diodes all donw my left side. Here I am, Brain the size of a Planet, and they’ve got me holding the door open for them.

  13. @Kaylia_Marie: A rocket scientist, astromomer, geologist, computer scientist or professional sport fisherman. I’ve sort of had it all work out. I’m in IT/Information Systems, fish for bass on my own time in Florida, have a 2.0″ refractor for planetary observing, shoot off bottle rockets, and my born again brother tells me that I have rocks in my head.

  14. @Clemarchaeopteryx:
    “About the value of patience and good nature in the face of nonsense and egotism. I can’t do it. How do you all do it? DO you all do it?”

    We all do it, just not all the time. We’re all human, and we all get frustrated. I suspect that my own personal key to happiness is laughing more than I get angry, so I try to do that. So far, it’s actually working.

  15. @Gabrielbrawley: “Who is the cutest skepchick?”

    Isn’t it obvious? Whichever one you’re closest to.

    @TheSkepticalMale: “Rebecca: If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island with only one person, who would it be?”

    That’s tough. If I were going for pure survival, I’d say my friend Larry, because I know he’d be able to build us a house and a volleyball court and probably a Wii. And, he’d be fun to talk to for a few decades.

    But if I want to die young while having crazy amounts of sex, I may choose someone else.

  16. @russellsugden:i’d save american gods, the selfish gene, and the works of shakespeare.
    hmmm…7 records…
    nick cave and the bad seeds’ no more shall we part, ben folds’ songs for silverman (because i can’t live w/o jesusland), moby’s 18, beck’s midnight vultures, johnny cash’s at folsom prison, bowie’s heathen, promenade by the divine comedy.

    and my luxury item would be my macbook, because i think i would die without it.

  17. @Rebecca: Having positive things to focus on (like this blog) must help. When an individual (like myself) constantly concentrates on that which can only progess slowly, Brain Wreck begins to occur. What kind things do you find are uplifting in terms of general balance?

  18. @Gabrielbrawley: “I have this internal vision of you all as witty and urbane sophisticates. But from some of your comments I get the impression that it wasn’t always so. When did you become happy with who you are so that you became such attractive and interesting people?”

    I’m not sure at what point I became attractive or interesting, because that’s something that happens in other people’s heads. When did I become happy with who I am? Hm. I think I always have been. Not continuously, of course, I get my many low periods, but in general, I’ve always been pretty sure of myself.

    @TheSkepticalMale: “Oh c’mon! … I think somebody’s been reading too much about determinism lately.”

    Oddly, this has been a feeling that preceded my interest in determinism by a long, long time. I just always figured that the mistakes I made in life were unavoidable in a way. If I didn’t date that asshole when I was 17 (for instance), I would’ve dated someone just like him when I was 27.

  19. @Jacob Wintersmith: “Do you think that feminists should push for more widespread gun ownership?”

    No, personally, I don’t see it as that big a deal. A woman could “equalize herself” with most men and staying safe by studying martial arts, keeping physically fit, staying aware her surroundings, and using her intelligence. A gun isn’t a magical instrument that gives us equal rights while keeping us safe.

    @Finch: “The majority of the posters and, apparently, people who come to your get-togethers are male. Were you expecting that when you started this blog?”

    Yep, it was a given that we’d have to work to get more women actively involved. I was a bit overly optimistic in that I had hoped we’d get a much higher percentage than most other blogs and forums, but I knew it would still be mostly guys, since I had expected Skepchick to appeal to both sexes. That said, I think we’re growing on the female side, and our events tend to skew younger and girlier than most, so I’m happy with our progress and direction.

  20. @James Fox: “If you could pick a Sci-Fi alternate universe/reality to live in which one would it be?”

    Futurama. No [email protected]russellsugden: “If you could only save three books, currently in exsistance, from being destroyed by pan-galactic baddies intent on destroying all of humanity’s books, what would they be?”

    Okay, that’s basically like Sophie’s Choice and I don’t think I can even answer it. How about The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Simon Singh’s Big Bang, and the Joy of Sex?

    “What 7 records +1 luxury item, would you take to a desert island if you were going to one? (your luxury can’t be escape or a person)”

    Jesus. Off the top of my head, how about:
    The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs
    The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds
    Beck’s Mutations
    Built to Spill’s Keep It Like a Secret
    Getz/Gilberto
    Jeff Buckley’s Grace
    and, um, the Philly Orchestra doing Rachmaninov’s The Bells?
    and luxury: my MacBook with Wifi.

    @sethmanapio: “What does “Victory” look like for the Skeptics movement, from a skepchicks perspective?”

    There is no capital V “Victory,” just as there is no capital C “Certainty.” There are only the small, everyday victories as we work toward a more rational, happier world.

    @sethmanapio: “Flight or invisibility?”

    Invisibility. As John Hodgman noted, invisibility is for those of us with evil intentions.

    @Knurl: “What kind things do you find are uplifting in terms of general balance?”

    The emails I get from people who love learning new things. The stories of new scientific breakthroughs. Hearing kids ask good questions. More than anything, though, I’m uplifted by everyday happiness. It seems silly, but I derive as much joy as I can out of everything. The moon right now, it’s gigantic! I posted about it on Twitter the other night, and got a load of responses from people who were just as excited about it, about the fact that it was so big and close and bright. Things like that get me excited. I’m actually going to spend some more time on the topic of happiness and staying positive, in a blog post soon.

    @Cygore: “Rebecca, what do your co-workers think about your skeptical activism?”

    They think it’s great. They all have their various beliefs and whatnot, but all of them know what I do in my off-time and are very, very supportive. They voted for me in every round of the Talent Quest, they ask what I podcast about last night, they’re on the mailing list, and a few of them come to Skeptics in the Pub. They send me science news they think I’ll enjoy, and I help them out by explaining big science news like the LHC, or figuring out whether or not some company is a scam.

    I work with very creative, curious people who enjoy learning more about the world. I’d say I was lucky, but I suspect that most people are interested in the universe, and if you give them a chance and engage them in conversation, they’ll be just as interested as you are in science and critical thinking.

  21. @Kaylia_Marie: “What did you all want to be when you grew up?”

    An animated cartoonist. I didn’t have the confidence to stand up to my pragmatic dad and go to art school, though. So I bounced around to different things, and, oddly enough, ended up in a career that didn’t even really exist when I was in high school: web design. But it’s perfect for me, so it worked out. I also always wanted to write. That’s worked out too, but, again, not exactly as I envisioned it.

    @Jacob Wintersmith: “Do you think that feminists should push for more widespread gun ownership?”

    I’m not pushy, but I don’t have a problem with it. I think there is something to be said for allowing access to any means necessary for women to protect themselves.

    @JSug: “How do you take your coffee?”

    Why, are you buying? ;) In gigantic quantities and as strong and black as possible.

    @James Fox: “If you could pick a Sci-Fi alternate universe/reality to live in which one would it be?”

    Kind of lame, but I’ve wanted to be a Jedi since I was thirteen. No reason to switch now, I guess. If I could narrow in on the time frame with Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan, then even better.

    @wytworm: “The cuckoo clock!”

    I’ve seen that film upwards of thirty times, but that speech never gets old, does it? :)

  22. As to what I wanted to be when I grew up…I always wanted to be an airline pilot. I got partway there before health issues put an end to that dream for good. I did get as far as my Private license and was working on my Commercial/Instrument when I had to quit. :-(
    So I did the next best thing and went into airline ground operations. That did me in physically, though.

    I did go through periods when I was very young of the usual “1950’s boy” things like soldier, sailor, etc. None stuck for long. I wanted to be a Starship Captain, but seeing as the world has disappointed me by not creating the USS Enterprise yet, that was a non-starter. :-D

    I had the talent for writing, but not the interest until I got to my 30’s. I’m too old to go through Jedi training, I’m afraid. I wouldn’t do too good standing on one hand in the middle of a swamp with Yoda sitting on my feet.

    Coffee? High-quality Arabica only (like Gevalia), with nonfat cream. In large quantities. As frequently as possible.

    Alternative universe? Star Trek: TNG. Dr. Crusher could cure my ailments and I could attend Starfleet Academy. I wouldn’t let McCoy treat a hangnail. He kills everyone he touches except Kirk. (“He’s dead, Jim!” “Jim, he’s dead!” “It’s dead, Jim!” “She’s dead, Jim!”) Don’t they have medical board reviews in the 24th century!?! Christ, even his office plants are dead! :-D

  23. Not so much a question for Elyse, but a blog request:

    Elyse, I remember reading in a previous post that it took you a long time to conceive the Moose. My husband and I have been working on our first for about nine months with no luck, and we’re about to start getting poked and prodded to find out why. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all the woo that surrounds trying to conceive and pregnancy (“Try acupuncture! Try these herbs! Stand on your head! Just relax and it’ll happen!”).

    Thanks! :)

  24. @Rebecca: Ya, unless you were one of the winners in an epic space opera type novel. Most of the good sci-fi world are in the throes of devolution, about to be vaporized or under the oppression of a mad/evil galactic warlord. I suppose Futurrama isn’t that bad of a choice. And you could be snarky and witty while having two dimensional sex! (not to mention robots never need a break)

  25. @Elyse:
    I’d be entitled to agree, although I doubt the shark would get that far onto the shore.

    @carr2d2:
    I completely disagree here, only because a bear, even with an oxygen tank, would not be maneuverable enough in the water to take on the fast and versatile shark. Also, though bears have rather long and sharp claws, a shark’s flesh is rather thick and can take a fair bit of damage. Of course this all largely is based on the type of shark and type of bear, I am assuming that the question relates to sharks like the bull, the white and the tiger, all of which would easily be able to take on a bear.

  26. @Rebecca: “I like my coffee like I like my men: chopped up and in the freezer.”

    You chop up coffee? I just use a grinder. So I believe the correct punch line is “Ground up and in the freezer.” Wait, did I just correct Rebecca? If I don’t write in within the next week it will be because she tracked down my avatar and killed it in the night.

    Personally I drink my coffee the way I live my life. Bitter and lukewarm.

  27. @Jacob Wintersmith: One of my favorite statistics from the NEJM is that in homes that keep firearms for protection you are 43 times more likely to have a family member or friend killed by that gun, than you are to kill an assailant.

    Also while in the Coast Guard I had law enforcement duties in which I had to carry a gun. During our training it was drilled into our head that if we didn’t have our gun out at the moment of an attack (say someone was coming after us with a knife or was trying to assault us) we wouldn’t have enough time to get it out and use it. Rebecca is right, it is better for women, and even men, to take self defense courses and stay in shape. Pepper spray is good to. If you accidently pepper spray a loved one you may be able to laugh at it years later. Not so much with accidently shooting them.

  28. @killyosaur42: I completely disagree here, only because a bear, even with an oxygen tank, would not be maneuverable enough in the water to take on the fast and versatile shark.

    —————

    Minor quibble… I would think that ESPECIALLY with an oxygen tank, the bear is no maneuverable enough.

    So, I looked this up. It seems that adult Polar bears top out about where Tiger Sharks start, about 3 meters and in the neighborhood of 3oo kg (about 400 for the shark).

    Then I came up with some specs for a good cage match that would allow both animals some advantages and some disadvantages.

    Then I realized that, sadly, they are both losing… but the bear slightly more so. The Polar Bear is “vulnerable” where the tiger shark is the slightly more optimistic “near threatened”.

  29. @Rebecca:
    “That’s tough. If I were going for pure survival, I’d say my friend Larry, because I know he’d be able to build us a house and a volleyball court and probably a Wii. And, he’d be fun to talk to for a few decades.

    But if I want to die young while having crazy amounts of sex, I may choose someone else.”

    First, sex with Larry isn’t so bad.

    Second, if you were going to be on a deserted island together the rest of your lives, I would understand, and I would only use the voodoo dolls occasionally to soothe my betrayed and bitter heart.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close