Skepchick Quickies, 5.17


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. “There is a very reasonable possibility that given his cultural background and limited insight into laws and sexual behaviour, he didn’t realise that having intercourse with somebody who is unconscious and therefore not consenting is a very serious crime,” Mr Algie told the court.

    Can I say “double-you tee eff?” This is why I despise moral and cultural relativism!

  2. There are so many things wrong about that rape story. First the obvious: I don’t care if your culture condones abusing and raping women; you don’t get a free pass because you were raised to be a bad person. Secondarily, how fucking creepy is this guy: he leaves honey on her doorstep MONTHS later. Has he been stalking her this whole time? I wonder if there was a note and if so, I’m curious what it said- too creepy to think about, really.

    Last note on this and it’s unrelated to the rape- this girl should get new friends. Who leaves their passed out friend in the cab to fend for herself while everyone else hits a new bar? I might be in the minority here but when my friends are doing stupid shit- like trying to lay down in the street “because it’s cold” or passing out at the bar- that buys them my company home for the night, if for no other reason than to make sure they remember how to get into their home.

  3. The UFO picture is useless. There are no foreground objects or even clouds or anything, so the size is a complete mystery. It just looks like a balloon you would use to make balloon animals, but I’m thinking that a regular balloon would have gotten too high too quickly for people to be staring and reporting it, although that might explain the lack of other pictures or videos.

    As for the rapist, it’s standard practice to hold people accountable to the laws of the place they live whether they know them or not. I can’t imagine it would be any less so in a case of rape.

  4. His Lawyer “… at the lower end of the scale.” WTF! I know his lawyer has to say something but I repeat – WTF!

    “… didn’t fully appreciate the severity of the crime under Australian law.”

    In other words, the Iranian DID know his actions were illegal and wrong, but it was just a drunken female, so who cares, right?

  5. Who knew that over 50 million metric tons of Henrietta Lacks have been grown in secret laboratory vats over the decades since her death? I want a HeLa Lives! T-shirt.

  6. Hi there!

    I wonder if the balloon-thing is one of those large fan-driven promotional thingies that go all squiggly in the wind outside of car dealerships and sale events. You’ve seen them, right? They’re like 20 feet tall, sometimes they’re shaped like stick people? I wonder if one of those broke loose from its moorings and went into the sky it would be aerodynamic enough to maintain lift?

    Or am I just over-analyzing it, and it’s an untwisted twisty-animal balloon? :(

  7. Re: Taxi Driver Rapist. I’d argue that’s a stupid defense, but I honestly wonder if that’s the moral standard in Iran, considering the other heinous crimes against women that have been in the news.

    That doesn’t mean the guy shouldn’t get a full sentence, as he still committed the crime, y’know, in a country that’s not a hellhole. Same rules as if you come to America and violate the age of consent; it doesn’t matter what the age of consent was in your home country, you still get slapped with statutory rape.

  8. Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man
    Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man
    Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man

    Hi, I’m Al Harrington, President and CEO of Al Harrington’s Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man emporium and warehouse. Thanks to a shipping error, I am now currently overstocked on Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men, and I am passing the savings on to you.

    Attract customers to your business. Make a splash at your next presentation. Keep grandma company. Protect your crops. Confuse your neighbors. African American? Hail a cab. Testify in church. Or just raise the roof.

    Whatever your Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man needs are. So come on down to Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man emporium and warehouse. Route 2 in Weekapaug.

  9. The UFO is probably a solar balloon. You can make one by cutting the bottoms off a bunch of black trash bags and taping them end-to-end to make a tube. You then tie off one end, fill it with air and tie off the other end. The sun will heat the air enough to lift the whole thing.

  10. @Peregrine: & @Draconius:

    Had the exact same thought. Well, the same thought that it was a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man. I want to know what Peregrine sprinkled on his/her breakfast cereal this morning…

  11. @Zapski: Yeah, looks like fun. Apparently it works best on sunny mornings when the air is still cool. Maybe somebody could organize fake UFO build/launch parties at skeptical events.

  12. @Steve: I’d love to give it a try myself, but only after some research into the likelihood of an FAA fine for messing with air safety. Perhaps a twenty foot long aluminum foil tail would get someone’s attention!

  13. I don’t care what background your from or even what period in human history you come from you know that rape is wrong, it is ingrained in the human psyche.

    It’s even more ridiculous if you actually look into Iranian law, in Iran the cab driver would be executed. I don’t know how you can say that is less serious than it is in our culture. It’s a red herring, the lawyer just wants to distract the judge, I really hope it doesn’t work.

  14. 6 people who saved your life:
    Yay, they included the eradication of smallpox, the single greatest achievement of humanity.
    However they missed Fritz Haber, who invented the Haber process for synthesizing ammonia which makes fertilizer which (according to Wikipedia) is “responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth’s population.” (Perhaps he is too famous for them? Unlike their selections, he doesn’t meet the ‘you’ve never heard of’ criterion, at least for me.)

    I skipped the taxi-rape story, this one looked like it would be much less depressing.

  15. @filias cupio
    I thought the same thing when I read that thing! I was waiting for Fritz Haber (paired with Bosch, although the list is for 6 people, I guess) to appear, but alas, I was disappointed. :( And I think he does meet the “never heard of” criteria. Most people probably would have a question mark above their head if asked who Fritz Haber was.

  16. Fritz Haber was also the man who sucessfully pushed for the mass use of poison gas by Germany in WWI. The first trial of chlorine against the British was very sucessful but the German generals were not ready to expoit the opening and fortunately the British were more prepared next time.

    Haber’s wife was also a scientist and wanted to work in partnership with him but he wanted her barefoot and in the kitchen. When Haber went to the Eastern front to pioneer the use of cyanide against the Russians, the poor miserable girl shot herself.

    Although Haber acted like a typical Prussian reactionary militarist, he was in fact from a Jewish family and was expelled from the 3rd Reich. He went to England to work further on poison gas but the British ostracised him. In the late thirties he eventually “died of a broken heart” in I think Austria.

    He was a prime example of extreme evil although one of the greatest scientists ever.

  17. @Tortorific: As I understand Islamic law (and I’d be grateful to hear from an expert, which I am not) there is an assumption that a man and an unrelated woman left alone ARE having sex, regardless of what they are actually doing, so his attitude might have been “Here we are doing the nasty, might as well get some enjoyment out of it.”

    Death penalty DOES not apply to premarital sex, that is a whipping offence, and since being alone with him would have been viewed by him as not only implied consent but actual initiation of the act, my guess is he was expecting lashes rather than a jail sentence.

    Hardly a reason to let him off, but you might sentence leniently.

    The honey bit completely baffles me, though.

  18. Oh, and as “I don’t care what background your from or even what period in human history you come from you know that rape is wrong” goes… not only did the ancient Greek heroes take their right to rape their conquests for granted, even their GODS were rapists (see Apollo and Daphne, for example, or Zeus and just about any human female he met).

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