Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 11.19

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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27 Comments

  1. RE: TSA

    Good article until the last paragraph. Let’s leap right to inferring a cause that fits with out preconceived opinions.
    I’d ask her for evidence, but I’ve been told that would be an act of marginalization.

  2. I didn’t watch the Satanic training video but it brings up some interesting history related to a lack of skepticism in some communities. Most of the Satan worship sacrifice sex crime crap started with an evangelist conman in the 1970’s named Mike Warnke. Mike was exposed as a serial liar and fabricator of stories and was almost solely responsible for a major freak out over Halloween and Satanic Cults in the conservative Christian community and later in Law Enforcement. Sadly the residue of this man’s lies fueled a number of witch hunts that destroyed families and put many innocent people in prison for crimes against children that never happened.

  3. @im_robertb: As brought up in the comments over at Jezebel, that quote does marginalize that many men are sexual abuse survivors as well.

    @mrmisconception: The bullying article had some discussion and advice of how to deal with such situations and the transgenic fish article seemed like a well-reasoned request for more planning from the FDA, with specific advice given. The TSA article, well, there’s been plenty of coverage on the protests happening over the new screening process, so it probably seemed redundant to cover that yet again.

    @captsam: I didn’t get that sense from the transgenic fish article. It’s not “omg, we’ll be eating mutant fish!”, it’s more about concern over what will happen if these fish are bred in massive quantities on fish farms. Did you see the mention of how it takes 3lbs of wild fish to produce 1lb of salmon? So GMO fish farming might be unsustainable because of its reliance on wild fish populations.

  4. While I don’t have any advice for the victims of bullying, I would like to advise all parents to teach their kids to not be bullies, starting from a young age. This point often gets overlooked because no one wants to think that their kid could be a bully. But if you don’t talk about it with them, you can’t take it for granted that they’ll get the right idea.

    My boss brought up this issue once and I asked if he had taught his son not to bully others. He insisted that his son wouldn’t bully anyone because he has a sister with special needs. Well, I’m sure the kid is sensitive about that one particular area, but would he bully other for being poor, nonathletic, gay, unfashionable, etc.?

  5. @Amanda: Sadly yes and even into the 1990’s when one of the most horrific cases was in my state. And one of my biggest irritations about that case was that when it was clear no crimes had been committed, and that the alleged suspects were convicted as a result of their poverty and limited cognitive abilities, the Federal government (Janet Reno) refused to consider charges against the social worker and detective. A brief synopsis is here.

  6. @Amanda
    Here’s the way I see it.

    The bullying article brought up an interesting issue, school bullying in early grades, but quickly turned into a rant about how girls can like Star Wars too. While that is true, and a perfectly worthy topic, the basic idea of early-onset bullying got short shrift.

    The transgenic fish article also started out with a decent premise, what should the role of the FDA be and how much foresight can be expected of them, and through a poor choice of rebuttal material turned into “BEWARE THE FRANKENFISH”.

    This particular TSA story was just light on anything more than simply stating the concerns, no commentary, no thoughts on solutions, nothing to recommend it over Buggirl’s comments from earlier in the week.

    I guess my problem was more that the only article that wasn’t just a cursory look at the subject went completely off-track.

    This wasn’t a dig at you. Some news days are more “newsy” than others.

    @scribe999

    True. But it failed to address the problem of the sugar gliders’ propensity toward showing her girly bits on the intertubes. :)

  7. The FDA doesn’t need to concern itself with whether salmon farming is sustainable (at least along that axis), if salmon frames use up that much protein, it’ll become too expensive to keep operating the farms, and salmon farming will shrink. It’s a self-correcting problem.

    Besides which, is it any surprise the FDA, and organisation whose raison d’eitre is focusing on food safety. Shouldn’t the EPA or something be worrying about environmental impacts?

  8. @James Fox: That is completely awful. :( I’m going to need a hell of a lot of cute animals to feel less depressed now.

    @mrmisconception: The bullying article just really touched a nerve since I got told that I shouldn’t like “boy things” all the time as a kid. It felt good to see all the support for this little girl, since all us picked-on nerd girls and tomboys can’t go back in time and tell our younger selves that we will grow up to be awesome.

    Also, “True. But it failed to address the problem of the sugar gliders’ propensity toward showing her girly bits on the intertubes.” has to be COTW nominated. Those damn immoral sugar gliders are ruining the youth of America!

  9. @Amanda: I loved the responses to the bullying article. The fact the Katie and her parents have sat down and read through the comments together and that they are going to make a scrapbook for her to look through makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. There’s a piece of me that wants to see Carrie Fisher show up in the comments there as the ultimate comment. Maybe I’ll just go over to Twitter and ask her…

  10. Is it really within the FDA’s purview to consider the economic and environmental impact of salmon farming practices? It seems to me like evaluating the fish for human consumption safety is their only real job in this matter. They are certainly legitimate concerns, but I’m not certain who should be looking into them. USDA perhaps?

  11. The bullying article gives me hope for the internet. We’ve seen over the past couple of years how much easier it makes things for bullies; now let’s see how much it can help those who are targets.

    I love the people who are flocking to this, but I love her mother for actually listening to her and reaching out so much more. When I was a kid being bullied, my parents accused me of overexaggerating the extent of my bullying until the incident where a few girls cornered me in a bathroom and threatened to kill me. During all of this, Star Wars was my haven, and it infuriates me that these kids would try to take that away from a little girl. Here’s the chance–for me, anyway–to give a kid the encouraging words that I wished someone would have told me. Maybe the next geek girl to come along and get bullied will see this and realize that she’s not alone. Maybe the general outpouring of well-wishes will help the next person to be bullied for whatever reason realize that there are people out there who would rather help than tear down.

    Yes, the article does turn into, “Girls can like Star Wars, too!” It’s what was the last straw in this particular bullying case. I’m mentoring a twelve-year-old right now who is really starting to bear the brunt of the “Girls shouldn’t like math” attitude despite it being her favorite subject, so I’m bolstering her confidence on that every time we meet up. At twelve, I quit Girl Scouts, which I’d loved, because the girls in my troop drove me out. This experience could have been a negative and taken away something she loved forever, and now it sounds like she’s taken it back for herself.

  12. I’ve been reading a few of the comments on the TSA screening proceedures. — Regarding the comparison of Pat Downs Sexual Assault. – One that the two are not the same. – An assault case where a 16 yr old was drugged, and held down. — Though I can relate to the PTSD aspect. So it might trigger a bad memory.

    I saw a few of the new machines, on my way to TAM 8, but they weren’t in use yet. — Though by the time TAM 9 comes around, they might be — and I’m wondering what I’d do given the choice.

    First, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my traveling companions. — 2nd, if the Pat Down is so innocent, let them do it in public where it can be seen. 3rd I wonder what would happen if I requested a female agent, rather than a man (I’m a man btw) — I mean why not? I’ve know both men and women who are victims of assault, why assume same gender is preferred.

    Lastly there seems to be talk of kicking the TSA out, and employing private contractors instead. — Trouble with this is they are still doing the same thing. Maybe a private contractor will be better in the ‘customer service’ area, and more polite. But the methods, x-raying shoes, and tossing out shampoo, and toothpaste will still be in place. — They won’t be doing anything more useful, like interview questions, or having more air marshals on board. — I really think TSA and Homeland Security need to look at how the Israelis handle security.

  13. @James Fox: @Amanda: There is a case here in Austin that is STILL winding its way through appeals almost two decades later. A couple who ran a day-care were both sentenced to 48 years in a ritual satanic abuse case that included recanted confessions, coercion, public hysteria and almost no admissible evidence by today’s standard. But, you know Texas…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Hill_satanic_ritual_abuse_trial
    http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A759086

  14. That video needs to be renamed to “A law enforcement guide to jumping to conclusions.”

    I’m torn between laughing and crying, since, as James Fox pointed out, this crap really hurt innocent people.

    Re: the Star Wars bullying. I’ve been thinking of getting involved in something like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I’d like to try and mentor a young skeptic – does anyone here have any experience with that organization, or do any of the actual skeptic orgs have any programs like that? I don’t really have any younglings in my life except one, and she has no confidence issues whatsoever, due to pretty awesome parents :)

  15. @mrmisconception:

    but quickly turned into a rant about how girls can like Star Wars too. While that is true, and a perfectly worthy topic, the basic idea of early-onset bullying got short shrift.

    But the entire reason she was being bullied was because the boys thought she shouldn’t like Star Wars or use a Star Wars water bottle because she is a girl. That was … why she was bullied. Because she should like “girly stuff”. This is just as much about expected gender roles as it is bullying. A lot of bullying, in fact, is because not all children (and humans in general) fit society’s expectation of gender roles.

    It seems odd that you would think a mother trying to teach her daughter that it is okay to like Star Wars, even if some people think it’s not okay because you are a girl, is somehow … not pertinent. Is it because you felt it was “suddenly” about gender, when before it wasn’t? If so: It was always about expected gender roles.

    Sad that even six year olds have pre-conceived notions about gender.

  16. I watched the entire police training video on ritualistic Satanic killings. It’s only three minutes, so even with my limited bandwidth, it was an easy download.

    The “dead body” is a cute girl in a two-piece. And I found it amusing that she’s obviously breathing. ;-)

    The whole thing struck me as kind of lame and stupid and redundant: *ANYTHING* one can find that is odd, or is in common with other killings can be useful to narrow down the suspect pool — and can provide evidence for conviction. (Why not include the tell-tale signs of ritualistic Christian killings?) And really, most serial killers are not all that well educated or well read — so you can’t count on them to perform any of the religious rituals correctly. Also, since these symbols are so common in modern movies, I would think that many people have seen them and might use them without having any idea what they mean.

  17. My winter-bike is a gucci-pink mountain bike. Admittedly the choice of colour was accidental. I’m bad with colour and inside the shop it looked like gold, not to mention it was half off, but I dare anyone to tell me I can’t like pink bikes because I’m a boy.

    Also I miss my Yoda thermos. Unfortunately, if you leave milk standing in one for too long too often, it gets permanently stinky.

  18. @James K: It might self-correct eventually, but by the time it does, the feeder fish populations might be too low to rebound, and predators may have gone extinct. The last thing the oceanic food web needs right now is more pressure from fisheries.

    On that note, does anyone who knows more about fish than me know why we can’t feed salmon vegetarian feed? I know that I can feed my cat vegetarian food if I want; it just needs to be supplemented with taurine and arachidonic acid. Couldn’t we switch some of our corn crop to soy, then feed the soy to the salmon?

  19. @mrmisconception: It’s okay. :) But just remember that most bullying really is about expected gender roles. That’s why so many young people commit suicide for being teased about being gay, whether they are or not.

    Now, that’s not the only reasons bullies bully, of course, but it’s probably one of the most common, even among adults.

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