Afternoon InquisitionRandom Asides

AI: What’s Your Beef?

Well, we tried this once before with decent success, so I’ve decided to give it another go. After all, I’m sure there are a whole host of new and different things that have you riled up; at least to some degree. Atheist ads, asshole mass murderers, bad science, Oprah. . . . The list should be long and varied.

So in the spirit of good griping, I’m just going to open the floor and allow you all to unburden yourselves of anything that’s bothering you. Go ahead and complain about an injustice, whine about something nit-picky, bitch about something that’s bothering you, rail against something outrageous, or pick a fight like a street thug; whatever.

Let’s hear it:

Skepchick readers, what’s your beef?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. well, today my beef is instructors who don’t respond to emails. I emailed one of mine to let him know that no one had notified me that the class time had been changed (from Tuesday to Thursday) and by the time I found out, I had made plans involving a hospital visit for pre-op tests and could not be changed. I asked him to please let me know if I needed to do anything to make up for not being there, and to let the staff at the distance center know to tape the session for me. That was almost exactly three days ago. No response. What would it hurt to just shoot me quick email back? He has a habit of doing this, as i learned last semester. I find it very annoying.

  2. My beef: skeptical arrogance. WTF is up with skeptics thinking that anyone who isn’t skeptical about everything deserves what they get?

    It makes me ragey.

  3. I don’t think the concept of “Burden of Proof” is appropriately applied by skeptics who disagree.

    Person 1: I subscribe to Concept X

    Person 2: I disagree with Concept X.

    Person 1: What’s your evidence against Concept X?

    Person 2: I don’t need any evidence, you’re the one making the claim.

    I think it’s intellectually lazy to just say “you have the burden of proof” while not bringing anything to the table. When ghost get investigated by those who don’t believe, we don’t sit down and say “I don’t have to prove it’s not a ghost, you have to prove it is”. No, the investigator finds an explanation which accounts for the most information presented, without adding unnecessary variables.

    When we take on anti-vaxxers, we don’t just sit down and say “you have to prove it does”. We bring evidence to the contrary, the multiple studies that show no connection between vaccines and autism, the facts about thymerisol, etc.

    I’d even be happy with point out the logical fallacy. “I disagree with Concept X, because it’s premise is Concept Y, and Concept Y has the premise of Concept X. It’s circular reasoning.”

    Now, as a caveat, I would like to point out that I’ve seen this mostly on the skeptalk mailing list. So, this may not be representative of the skeptical community as a whole. I know when I disagree with someone, not only will I say I disagree with Concept X, but here’s why. Because I want to be right, so I’m going to make their burden of proof harder to bear. I want to either win, or not lose, so I’m going to come in with guns facts blazing.

  4. What’s my beef?

    ” July 2011 has 5 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, this happens only every 823 years” or something like that…

    I’ve seen that at least 5 times today on Facebook, not counting every time I’ve seen it earlier this week. I commented on it the first couple of times, by linking to snopes, but I can’t be bothered to do it anymore.

    For those that don’t know it, 5 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays happens in periods of every 6-5-6-11 years for every month with 31 days.

  5. People who bring out the “you’re being too PC/you should stop caring about what other people think/why are you so sensitive?”-card while arguing with me. Basically translates to “I have no what idea what I’m talking about so I will just attack your character” :P

    Work, because it’s ridiculously busy and I have to work on Saturday when I was planning on just taking a nice bath and relaxing with the bf & cats.

    My current mostly vegetarian state, because I could really go for a big, bloody steak right about now.

  6. My beef is we’re running an in-depth psychological background investigation into the attacker from last weekend’s AZ shooting, but we’re neglecting to do the same thing to the leadership of the United States who are responsible for the deaths of thousands worldwide each year. Or does the fact that they’re in our government and our military give them a free pass?

  7. @jtradke: Let me join you in the hysterics! I’m a Saggitarius instead of a Capricorn now and didn’t know it! Whatever shall I do? Whereever shall I go?

    I lol’ed at the comment at that article in which someone pitied those that now have the wrong tattoo on them.

    My beefs:

    Sam reusing topics. Admit it, you were in the middle of getting your chakras aligned and realized, “Oh crap, it’s my turn to post! What am I going to post about!” So you skipped your homeopathic acupuncture appointment and came up with this, didn’t you? *

    Minor beefage of the moment: Stupid complicated diets. A friend was saying she’s on some diet that wouldn’t let her take cold medicine because because it’s got starches and sugars in it. She’s been on other diets that have her doing complicated hop on one foot while eating 5 dingleberries sort of stuff.

    Major beefage: The anti-vaxxers who I’ve seen posting after the latest Wakefraud stuff has come out and they are still as true believer as ever. It’s discouraging.

    *I keeed, of course :)

  8. Co-workers who can’t keep a schedule.

    We’ve got a number of hours that we have to spend on the desk, helping customers. The rest is for other things… childrens librarians prepare programs, I read voraciously and juggle tax forms. However, we have some co-workers who more or less refuse to show up on time for their desk time. We’re talking 10-20 minutes late for an hour shift.

    Drives me batty.

  9. @Skulleigh:

    Sam reusing topics. Admit it, you were in the middle of getting your chakras aligned and realized, “Oh crap, it’s my turn to post! What am I going to post about!” So you skipped your homeopathic acupuncture appointment and came up with this, didn’t you?


  10. My beef the fact the every time I’ve tried to make a comment on the AI my mind goes blank. Like it has now…

  11. @Skulleigh:

    Yes on the diets!

    I guess I wouldn’t care if I didn’t have to hear about them. Hey, you can’t eat carbs by your own stupid choice. It’s taking everything in me to not tell you to just exercise more and eat less if you want to lose weight. So please don’t post in all caps how hard it is to find no-carb pasta!

  12. +1 on instructors who don’t email. Especially the ones who send out emails with “Welcome to XYZ class! Here’s a pre-assignment, due first thing on the first class day! Oh, and please email me if you have any questions or problems with the assignment!”

    And then never reply to an email asking her to verify when the first day of class is, since Monday’s a holiday here, and the three different official computer and hardcopy systems have conflicting start days listed. That’s right, specifically invite emails, and then don’t answer them.

    I’m going to end up just showing up on Tuesday morning at 8am to a locked door. Thank you very much, Instructor X!

  13. OK…my beef is with my 3 college aged kids. I am sooooo ready for them to go back to school. The mess. The surly attitudes. The sleeping until 3 PM. AARGH!!

    Long time beef is with the attitude that everything happens for a reason, or that you are only dealt difficulties in life that you are supposedly able to handle. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard and I hear it ALL THE TIME!!! AARGH!!!

  14. I’m a new graduate nurse and there are NO FUCKING JOBS.

    Dear Baby Boomers: Die off or retire or something I don’t even care just quit so I can have a job. Rage rage rage.

    The average age of nurses in america is mid forties. So retire already so the job market favors nurses over hospitals. I want mah monez for being a helpful atheist humanist damnit!

    Gonna go have a beer. This felt good.

  15. Every time I read anything about this story: The case involves John Freshwater, a middle school science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, who was accused of inappropriate religious activity in the classroom — including displaying posters with the Ten Commandments and Bible verses, branding crosses on the arms of his students with a high-voltage electrical device, and teaching creationism.

    I get to the part about “branding crosses on the arms of his students with a high-voltage electrical device” and my brain just shrieks in rage. Why the HELL did it take TWO YEARS for this ASSHAT to get fired? Forget the whole christian rhetoric and constitutional issue, HE BRANDED CHILDREN WITH AN ELECTRICAL DEVICE!




    And it took TWO YEARS to FIRE his ass!

  16. My beef? People who have the nerve to criticize the audience at a memorial service. Yes, there was a lot of cheering. People’s hearts were full, many of the audience was young; there were a lot of examples of heroism to cheer, as well as dead and wounded people to honor.

    The audience was not a bunch of random people. We were friends, colleagues, fellow students, and constituents. Mark Kelly was there. He got to hear wild cheering when the crowd heard that his wife opened her eyes for the first time since the shooting. Danny Hernandez was there, and he got to hear us cheer wildly for his heroic actions. We cheered the ever-lovin’ fuck out of Dr. Rhee and the other trauma surgeons.

    Was that embarrassing for people watching on TV? Too damn bad. It wasn’t all about you.

  17. Also, it’s spelled TUCSON. TUC-SON. The ‘c’ comes before the ‘s’. Please get this right from now on. Thanks.

  18. My beef (for today) is people who don’t move out of the way of the subway doors to let you OFF the train when they are trying to get ON the train. It’s so simple! No one is going anywhere until you move out of the way!!! You can’t get on the train if I can’t get off the train.
    After so many years of it I just bump the person out of the way now.

  19. @Loki: “Dear Baby Boomers: Die off or retire or something I don’t even care just quit so I can have a job.”

    Well, right now I’m eating a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, so maybe that will show that I’m dying as fast as I can. My retirement plan is to turn 65 and drop dead.

    Then again, since I’m a garbage man, maybe you don’t want my job anyway. I know I don’t.

  20. My beef is that my apartment is dirty, I have a few overdue assignments, and my pants are a little tight. I realize those are all easily fixable, but I don’t want to, damn it! How can I be expected to be a productive member of society when there is bad television to watch? Why won’t the world just let me be lazy?

  21. What are you lookin’ at dickhead? Yeah! You got a problem, huh? Why don’t you come over here? Fuckin’ punk-ass!

    Street thuggish enough?

  22. My Beef?
    People who think I can diagnose and repair their kid’s, parent’s, husband’s, wife’s, brother’s . . . computer from the half-assed description they give.
    “He dropped it and now the screen doesn’t work.” is just so fucking helpful.
    And then, if you manage to corner me for several minutes and I give you an answer, don’t tell me, “That’s what tech support said on the phone last night.” because that’s just an invitation to bitch-slap the stupid right off your face.

  23. People who try to critique logic as a whole yet don’t know anything about logic to begin with.

    Other: “You see, argument X is very logical. However, we can see that its conclusion is plainly false. Therefore, logic is refuted – and your argument against my belief in [insert wacky belief here] is unfounded.”

    Myself: “No. There’s an unstated premise in argument X that can be shown to be false. While logically valid, not all the premises are true. Argument X was never an example of a sound argument in the first place – so the first premise of your argument itself is incorrect. And that’s even without the fact that you’re trying to use logic to disprove logic.”

    Other: “Sure. No-one understands logic but you! I can’t know anything, because I disagree with you – right?”

    Me: “Okay. Name five logical fallacies.”

    Other: …

    Me: “Can we get back to [wacky belief], please? Quit changing the subject, already.”

    Other: “Scientism! Scientism! Lalalalalalalala! I can’t hear you! Lalalalalalala! Logic is dead!”

    Me: *fumes*

  24. @jtradke: I was always a Taurus and I never felt like one. Now that I’m an Aries my affinity for water makes more sense. Or about as much sense as astrology in general. What really makes me laugh are all those people who’ve tattooed their sign and are now stuck with it – like my daughter.

    What makes me mad are people who insist on trying to convert me to their argument even though I’ve made my position clear. Like the stupid door-to-door religious nuts who knock on my door even though I have an obvious sign telling them to go away.

  25. Can I also go rageasaurus on unsolicited parenting advice? I don’t give a shit if it worked for your kids. I don’t care what priest, chiropractor or random person in the mall told you. I don’t care what your grandmother did for your oldest uncle.


    And if you insist on pressing the issue, I have no qualms about going all “well actually…” on your mutha fuckin’ ass.

  26. I think Imma just leave this tab open for the rest of the night.

    Fuck off. If you think I’m too stupid to get the joke, don’t publish it. I don’t need to have DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A GODDAMN JOKE THAT YOU’LL THINK IS FUNNY plastered above it.

    Now I’m too annoyed to even read the fucking article.

    This is why people hate atheists.


  27. I must agree with Scribe999’s beef. I have heard WAY more about astrology today than I ever want to hear. Ever.

  28. Government paperwork delays. How is thirteen months not enough time to issue a car title? I can’t legally do anything with the truck until you issue a title. I can’t even start to get the paperwork needed to get it registered. How long will that take?!?

    @Gabrielbrawley: Barry White.

  29. @Elyse: re: other people’s opinions on how to raise your kids:

    My beef? Bone headed, or just plain rude, people who DON’T EVEN LISTEN to what you are saying. They just do that eye-glancing down thing, wait for you to finish (or maybe not even then), and then barrel right over what you just said. Is it too much to fucking ask that people actually LISTEN and process what I am trying to say??! A conversation has to have more than one person involved otherwise you are just a CRAZY PERSON who talks to him/herself. O_o

  30. My family. They’re smart, scientific people with a weird woo-woo veneer. My mom is a chemist, for fuck’s sake, and when I scoffed at a TV ad for “all-natural baby remedies”, she said, “What’s the harm?” Or my sister, who said, “I totally believe in vaccines, I just don’t know if kids should get them all at once. It’s so many chemicals in their little bodies.”


    Also, this is just a newbie-atheist beef and I’m sure I’ll grow out of it eventually, but was anyone else bothered by all the God-talk and Scripture-quoting at the AZ memorial service? Scripture? Really? I mean, if nothing else, Giffords is Jewish – shouldn’t that at least have given you pause, Mr. Prez, before going all Christiany on us? It’s just disturbing to deconvert and then realize the mind-boggling extent to which Americans assume everyone works from a basis of Christianity.

  31. Chiropractors.

    For all the obvious reasons. But at my retail job I’m leaving thanks to finally securing a full on teaching position, we’ve had a rash of accidents thanks to weather related falls outside in the poorly maintained parking lot and in October, I myself had the awesome honor of getting a minor concussion from an unsecured shelving unit thanks to insipid managers.


    the general store manager recommends to everyone to go see a chiropractor. I was in a lot of pain following my accident and pretty shaken up- go see a doctor? No. Go to a chiropractor. She didn’t even have the company recommended doctor list OR current hospital information but she somehow has every updated quack’s contact information readily available.

    When I told her chiropractors are not licensed physicians and I do not feel comfortable seeing a practitioner who does not practice science based medicine, I was put on the shitlist. With each customer incident we’ve had, she tells them to go see a chiropractor, instead of real physical therapy and I cringe every single time. I’m in the extreme minority on this one. As in singular minority. So glad I’m leaving- I can’t stand another passive aggressive comment about my lack of belief or being convinced chiropractors are sound science. But I feel hopeless for those who have had injuries or will in the future and might be subjected to or succumb into the misinformation. =(

    Oh, and trailers that show the whole movie in them. Just irks me.

  32. The spoonbending guru on his now inactive

    My last message to Skeptisch
    Deepak Chopra – October 03, 2007

    I have always maintained there is no such thing as supernatural or paranormal. All observed phenomena, if accurate, are natural and normal. We call something supernatural or paranormal when we can’t explain it. Once we know the explanation, its science. Before that it’s spooky. Everything I write about can be understood if you understand non locality and non local correlation and the inseparability of mind and matter as different expressions of consciousness. Let’s not waste any more time on spoon bending. For millions of people it’s now a trivial example of mind and matter as inseparably one.
    Love and God bless!

    P.S. Dear Skeptisch, please come to NY at your own expense and I will make sure you can experience spoon bending for yourself. If you can’t, or don’t want to do that, then stop talking over and over again about the same thing. It’s boring.

    Skeptisch offered to be in New York at Chopra’s convenience but never heard back from him. After this exchange his was never the same it is now longer active.

  33. Oooh! I have a long, drawn-out complaint!

    In the past, my children’s school district has required a background check for volunteers. The parent paid $5 and the school paid $5. The form was kept on file at the school, and all volunteers had to check in at the office, exchange their driver’s license (or other ID) for a volunteer tag, and have their status checked so they could go on field trips or work around the school with supervision for a teacher or staff member.

    Last summer, a parent was arrested for a sex offense. This parent had NOT been a volunteer. NOW, volunteers have to fill out a form, have it signed by the principal, take it to the district office during their volunteer workshop hours (once a month on a Saturday between 10 and 2, so most of us had to bring our kids with us), stand in line to turn it in, sign up for a class, return to the district office during volunteer class hours (whenever they feel they should schedule it), stand in line to register, take the on-line class, return to the district office during volunteer workshop hours, stand in line to receive the results of the “test” from the class, complete background check authorization, return to the district office during volunteer workshop hours, stand in line to confirm passing the background check, get the body cavity search done (okay, I made that one up, but I guess they might as well do that, too!)and have a photo made, return to the district office during (blah, blah, blah) to receive the photo ID, go to the school office to have a photo of the photo ID taken and filed with all the paperwork and the background check documents, then one can check in at the office, leave one’s car keys with the secretary, and get one’s status checked to go on field trips or work around the school with supervision.

    This new procedure, while I no longer have to pay my $5, is costing the school district $45 per volunteer. Our school alone, last year, had over 300 volunteers on file. Our school is currently begging parents to bring fracking COPY PAPER and KLEENEX in to help out. Teachers are crying that they have no volunteers anymore due to the onerous and time consuming procedure.

    This new procedure will not stop any volunteer who might be arrested next summer for a sex offense from volunteering in school this year.


    Complaint #2: My friend continues to take her 5 year old and 8 year old daughters to the chiropractor weekly, even after reading the articles I’ve given her about the dangers of “adjusting” children. Once she bragged about how much it had helped their asthma right before asking me if she could borrow an albuterol ampule because her youngest needed a nebulizer treatment and she hadn’t picked up the new box from the pharmacy yet. GAAAH!

  34. @Maleficent: I R A government type and I think many of our rules and policies are complete bully shyte. However I’m a big fan of background checks for volunteers in schools. You should be to considering in 1982 Mr Friendly may have been porking third graders in another state and served ten years for his crime, and now he wants to read stories to your kiddo.

  35. Arrogant debaters of all kinds. There’s _always_ a chance you could be wrong or mistaken, or that you’re misunderstanding your opponent because you’re stupid or he’s illiterate, or that he’s misunderstanding you or not accepting your argument, not because he’s stupid, but because you are no fucking good at presenting your views.

    If you’re on my side of the debate I’d rather have _you_ drawn and quartered than our opponent, because you’re making our side look bad, and if you’re an opponent I’m not even going to bother with an answer since the debate is useless and will only piss me off. Serenity now! Dammit!

    Oh, and people dragging up seriously old news like Ophiuchus and the moving signs and going on about _astrology_ just because of some barely relevant _astronomy_ news. If I was an astronomer I’d want the whole astronomical zodiac banished to the rubbish heap of history.

  36. Ooh ooh just thought of some more, pens on chains that are not long enough to for left handers to use. Anti-clone slots on cash machines again that are difficult to use left handly. People who say “calm down” when you are upset or angery it’s never helped.

    Why am I knee deep in bile now??? Better clean it up and try to think of more later

  37. I can’t _fucking_ _believe_ Danmarks Radio had a “Astrologers Discover New Planet” story this week. Just what fucking century are these people living in??? Ignorant, arrogant, self-satisfied journalism graduates who think that just because they work for a national broadcaster they don’t have to check that the arse-dribble they serve-up to their lumpen audience satsifies the most basic standards of accuracy. Wankers. And the same goes for that airhead on BBC Five Live who gave us “Gillian Barre Syndrome” a couple of weeks ago and managed to make a similar pig’s breakfast of “Agent Provocateur” this morning. Get a fucking education or get off my radio you moron!!!

  38. For me, it’s bits of American English. As an Englishman, I sometimes get precious about how the language has evolved in America – moreso, now I’m so much more exposed to it.

    I used to get annoyed at all the z’s, the dropped u’s, but I’m fully aware that America has no monopoly on idiosyncratic spelling.

    The letter ‘zee’ used to annoy me, too – mostly when playing with my baby nephew, who had a UK toy which repeated the alphabet, ending with ‘zee’. Now, I’m happy to accept the difference, at least until the time I hear ‘zee’ in a British Accent.

    Now, I’m just down to two things that *really* frustrate me.

    The first is “erb”. I don’t have any real issues with why this has come about (attempts to emulate the french etymology of the word, maybe?), but in an American accent, it almost sounds glottal. It messes with the flow of the language. As a Londoner, it’s interesting, as I probably drop about half my aitches, but I believe my sentences still flow regardless of this particular affectation.

    At the moment, though, my number 1 annoyance is ‘Healthful’. While the word doesn’t affect the flow of sentences, it’s just an unnecessary word, and, talking sceptically (skeptically?), It really sounds like an alt-med word, designed to avoid lawsuits which may be caused by claiming health benefits for extract of caterpillar, or rhino horn.

    In fact, until I heard Steve Novella use it *repeatedly* on SGU, I actually figured Americans generally thought the same. Hearing a real, live doctor use it got me freaked.

    My English ain’t perfect, not by a long way, and doubtless others have similar issues with how I (or we) talk, like, but please, either tell me what’s wrong with ‘healthy’, or STOP USING HEALTHFUL AS IF IT’S A WORD!

    Phew. *deep breaths*.

  39. Humans and their inhumanity to other humans.

    Also why has the price of chickens breasts gotten so expensive? It’s just chicken meat, it’s not kobe beef!!!

  40. @Loki: My wife and I are both “Boomers” and my wife is an RN BSN. We both say “No.” ;-)

    I don’t give a rat’s a$$ what my so-called astrological sign is. A Libra as unbalanced as I am should be THE definitive refutation of astrology.

    Using nouns as verbs. If I hear one more person use “grow” as a verb, I’m going postal. I.e. You do not “grow” your business.

    Service industries that claim to have “products,” like an airline that has a “First Class product,” a “Coach product,” etc.
    A$$hat, you deliver a service. A “product” is a tangible item, like this hammer that I’m about to smack you over the head with!

    People that think government can do nothing right and want to abolish it (I’m looking at you, Newt, Sarah, Michelle, etc.) .

    People that lie for a living, like Beck, Palin, Rush, etc. “Opinions are free, but facts are sacred.” C. E. Snow(?)

    And “Hello Kitty.” WTF is THAT all about!?!?

  41. 1) My office mate became a vegan out of the blue. She used to make great cinnamon rolls.

    2) My IRB has lost it’s damn fucking mind.

    3) The biosafety committee has also completely exceeded it’s scope

    4) I got a flat tire last night.

    5) Everyone thinks they are my priority and none of them are, actually.

    6) Shop clerks who think they are better than I am because they work in a cool store.

    FUCK!!!! One of these days, I’d have a damn stroke, if my blood pressure wasn’t so good…

  42. My beef is the appeal to nature fallacy. I especially hate the way organic produce is touted as the ultimate health food, and pushed onto people who are dieting like it’s a magic pill to make you less fat.

  43. Charities that I donate to sending me snail mail solicitations on an almost DAILY basis.Hey!Guys! I sent you the f**kin money already! At least wait a couple months before asking for more! I’m lookin’ at you EDF! You’re trying to save the GD environment,so quit chopping down trees to fill up my mailbox 3 times a week.I have email you know! Of course you do! You fill that up daily too,but at least I don’t have to recycle that! Pant…pant..pant…OK…I think I feel better now…sigh ;)

  44. @DiscordianStooge:

    My beef is with skeptics who think that eat less, move more is effective advice for losing weight, despite any lack of evidence that it actually works long-term. Telling people to just not eat food when they’re hungry is about as effective as telling teenagers to just not have sex until marriage. And do you really think that most people haven’t already tried just eating less and moving more?

    I don’t think it’s very rational to ignore the numerous factors involved with gaining weight.

  45. @QuestionAuthority:
    Hmm, to the best of my knowledge, ‘grow’ can’t be used as anything but a verb, and most definitely not as a noun, or else you could say things like this: *”What is a grow?” or *”How much grow/how many grows do you want?”
    Perhaps your beef is with metaphorical extensions of meaning? So “grow a tree” is okay, but “grow a business” is stretching things a bit too far. Fair enough, but there’s no need to falsely accuse an upstanding verb of nounhood :)

  46. @catgirl-It is actually effective:

    The problem is that people return to their old ways.That is a problem with all weight loss strategies. That still doesn’t mean that it is bad advice though.At the very least,exercise can improve your fitness,which is good ,regardless whether you lose weight or not.

  47. Oprah. I guess I’m just obsessive, or maybe vindictive. She promotes dangerous quackery, and yet she is hardly ever criticized or held accountable. Everybody worships her like she’s God!

  48. @elianara: People who get nit-picky about small details, like 1) July 2011 has never had 5 Fridays, 5 Sats, and 5 Suns before, and never will again (after this year), because July 2011 is unique! However, July in general has the 3 of each any time the 1st of July is on a Friday, which happens on average once every 7 years. The previous time was July 2005. 31 day months have 3 of each day on average once a year (since there are 7 of them in the calendar.) Last time was all of 3 months ago, October 2010. (There were 2 last year, Jan and October.)
    2) The skew in the intervals is due to leap years, which throw off the cycle by a day. 6+5+6+11 = 28, which is the least common multiple of both 4 and 7, so the day of the week cycle and the leap year cycle repeat. Century years that aren’t multiples of 400 aren’t leap years, so they throw off the cycle, so if your 28 year cycle spans 1900 or 2100, it won’t work.

    I hate people who make pedantic comments like this just for the sake of technical accuracy. However, I hate mindless moronity like this easily checkable false meme even more. Are we going to get this email every time an approaching 31-day month starts on a Friday for ever, just like the stupid “Mars is bigger than the Moon” email every August?

  49. @DiscordianStooge and @Skulleigh: Last SitP we were trying to invent a new alt-med. We decided an important feature is it should include something that was almost impossible to follow, like a bizarre dosage schedule. This way, when it didn’t work, we could always blame the patient for screwing up. Same with diets.

  50. @Loki: No, you want us to get sick so we need nurses (ongoing), not to die so we need grave-diggers (one time only.)

    I dealt with 4 nurses yesterday. 4 wonderful people, 4 truly awful jobs. Well, the post-recovery nurse job was fine, she just had to ply us (me and another guy in the same boat) with cranberry juice and repeatedly call the people who had committed to picking us up and weren’t answering their phones. And the prep nurse just had to get me set up and stick an IV into my hand, etc. But the procedure nurse and the recovery nurse jobs were pretty disgusting. Recovery was probably worst; she had to keep telling me to fart and praise me when I did…

    Good luck with your nursing career; I hope you soon get a job you love ;-)

  51. Alright, just got my pet peeve triggered again, so I’m gonna vent.
    Dude! We’re animals. Mammals. Apes. Yep we talk a lot, good for us. But there is really nothing that fundamentally sets us apart from the other animals.
    I understand that we were all raised thinking human is special, human is better.
    But Human is just us.
    Most animals have an affinity for and special understanding of their own species.
    You want to be ready to communicate with aliens when they finally figure out how to get here? Learn how to converse with lobsters or chimpanzees.
    You think we’re so smart? Then how come we expect our dogs to learn our language instead of thoroughly learning theirs?
    Shutting up and going back to my regularly scheduled day.

  52. @girl_noir: That is called Christian privilege. And no, it’s not a newbie thing, it never, ever goes away. Every time someone mentions god saving them in an accident, or someone thanking god for doing well on a test, or someone saying that “they’re with god, now,” it’s like a slap in your face. A subtle reminder that you’re not part of the “club.”

    As for my beef, well the same thing it is every day: sexism, misogyny. I’ll be frank here, and say that I wish Skepchick would focus more on issues like these, because it tends to have a decent male readership, and honestly, men need more exposure to how sexist our culture really is.

  53. @tmac57:

    If very few people can stick to it for a lifetime, then it’s not good advice.

    Ignoring why people return their old ways is not very rational. Aside from the many, many external factors, a policy of telling people to be hungry forever is set up for failure.

  54. @Danarra:

    I’m with you. It always gives me special pleasure to hear some wacko go on about how he/she can’t believe we evolved from apes (doesn’t quite work if they go with monkeys or some other variation). I love telling them we ARE apes, and inviting them to look it up.

    But seriously, the problem with the language thing is that we can’t grasp the possibility that other animals may be capable of it. And part of that problem is that we mostly have biologists trying to answer a question that can only be answered by linguists. It’s not a life science question folks. I don’t go to a surgeon to interpret an ancient Greek manuscript. But with my limited training in linguistics, I can say this:

    Take cetaceans – there is some evidence that: they understand the significance of word order; they have names, which they introduce themselves with; they understand such abstract concepts as “left” and that my left and your left are different if we are facing each other; for FSM’s sake they have regional dialects. Why is it that we can’t get over ourselves long enough to get a field linguist or three to actually do some relevant work here? O wait, if it actually turned out that dolphins and orcas have complex language, like we do, we might have to come to terms with the fact that we just aren’t that special.

  55. @gwenwifar: More fun if they swear.

    Also, to chime in on the weight loss thing. Absolutely, restricting your calories will cause most humans to lose weight. So will standing on their heads while eating. Most people will not be able to maintain a habit of standing on their heads while eating for a lifetime. Same with calorie restriction. Don’t know why. Calorie restriction seems easier, until you hungry enough. Then it isn’t.
    Having said that, I have lost 45 lbs. in the last 6 months. I am under no illusions that I’ll be able to maintain the weight loss. I’ve lost twice that amount before. Each time I swear I’m not gaining it back. Each time it seems like the easiest thing in the world to just maintain the restrictions that helped me lose the weight in the first place. Each time, the restrictions become too restricting and I go back to eating “normally”. There’s only so much standing on your head a person can do.

  56. My beef? It’s actually about beef!

    See, I’m not a native English speaker, I’m a student at a Polish university and we had these fun English classes where we’re assigned a topic and we’re supposed to have a mature discussion for one and a half hours. Sometimes even three hours with a bit of a break. So last year there was a woman in my group who was into all kinds of woo – astrology, “positive thinking”, whatever. At a certain time were supposed to talk about human eating habits and their consequences, and she offered to make a short presentation because that topic was apparently “close to her heart”. Sounds scary already? Well, a week passes, we have the class, I’m there all happy to talk about environmental consequences of eating, problems and solutions in industrial farming, inadvertent killing of tons of animals during harvest, personal dilemmas, hell, even cow squeezing machines! (google them, and their inventor – awesome stuff) Then my now hated female colleague starts with her presentation, which can be summarized so: “It’s entirely barbaric to kill for food large mammals who possess emotive faces and huge, melancholic eyes, because it makes me very, very saaaaaad. Ergo: we should not eat animals, but rather poultry and fish”. And this from a 25-yr-old woman in an MA program.

    Anyway, the first thing I do, I go: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” I’m tearing you down, you stupid cow (har, har). But, as you can probably surmise, my attempts to reclaim animal status for fish and birds fell on flat ears. The sob-story took stone-grip claim on the hearts of the entire group and I was quickly removed from the discussion as a sad, combative troll. So, if you ever meet a Polish person with an academic degree, be warned: they may be of the opinion that eating meat of highly developed mammals is “bad” because these animals’ have the ability to make convincing facial gestures. And that in turn makes some women “sad”.

    So YEAH, I got beef with most of my ex-groupmates and I got even greater beef with one specific vegetarian, pescetarian, chickentarian, whatever other nonsensetarian leotarded groupmate. Argh. Argh!

  57. @catgirl-

    If very few people can stick to it for a lifetime, then it’s not good advice.

    Hmmm…How about “You should save for your future” ,is that good advice?

  58. @catgirl:

    I didn’t say to be hungry. I eat less than I used to and am not hungry. I ate too much before.

    Why do people stop exercising? Because it’s hard work and takes time. That’s why it’s suggested people do exercise in a way they like.

    What is your scientific suggestion on how calories in vs. calories burned is not how people gain weight?

  59. 1. That bitch on the bus who gave me the stinkeye for asking her politely to move so the 10 people behind me could get on the bus too.
    2. People wearing sweat/track/yoga /pyjama pants in public. Please show that you have enough respect to put on proper clothes before you leave the house.
    3. Whatever evil motherfucker that dumped my (and any other) poor kitten out in the snow. Yes I love him and I am so happy to have rescued him, but I shouldn’t have to.
    4. “Mediums” and the fact that my own mother still won’t accept that the “medium” she saw was full of shit.

  60. You guys! Only 4 more comments until we beat the original ‘Beef’ thread from 2008. Come on! Let’s beat it together. Let’s beat the living shit out of that old thread and the bastards who commented there, lo these several years ago! COME ON! If we don’t do it, all those jerks from the old thread will WIN (granted they are mostly the same jerks from this thread).
    DO IT!

  61. @Skept-artist: So you want me to add to the comments here in the name of “winning” some imaginary competition?

    What makes you think I can be so easily manipulated into helping you in your obscure and, I can only assume, nefarious scheme?

  62. @DiscordianStooge Your problem is assuming that an equation is the same as a causal statement.

    energy gain = energy in – energy out

    is true. But that doesn’t mean that energy gain is caused by the difference between energy in and energy out. One might equally write

    energy in = energy gain + energy out

    or any other rearrangement you like. They’re still not statements of causality.

    In fact most people, including most overweight people, live in homeostasis most of the time so actually

    energy out = energy in

    captures the reality of the situation better – ie the body adjusts appetite and energy expenditure to hold weight approximately constant. That’s why
    significant permanent weight change is hard.

  63. @gwenwifar: As a sometimes-overwhelmed instructor, I can only plead that you have a little patience when it comes to emails. When I teach I can have up to 300 students in a lecture, which often means 15-20 emails per day in addition to all my normal work email. Things can and do get lost in the shuffle, so I always ask my students to email again if they don’t hear back after 24 hours.

    On a related note, my beef is with students who email me to ask questions that are clearly and definitively answered on the course syllabus, website, assignment sheet, or even the (gasp) FAQ. These are easily 90% of the emails I get from students, and they create so much clutter it’s very common for the legit questions to get lost at the bottom of my inbox.

    @catgirl: I agree–calorie restriction may work, but someone with a very slow metabolism might have to eat so few calories a day to maintain a lower weight that they would find it impossible to keep it up while still enjoying a normal relationship with food. My real beef, though, is with those people who have never struggled with their weight (you know the ones–eat loads of food, never really exercise, but have always been skinny) who feel entitled to give this kind of advice.

  64. I’m mad that college students discount the value of a graduate education. They want all of the toys of life in 2011 and fail to realize how important it is to be the person on the next edge, of the next wave of discovery.

  65. @James Fox: Agreed James Fox! I have no beef with the background checks per se. My beef is with the extreme increase in costs plus the extreme difficulty for potential volunteers to be approved – above and beyond the actual background checks! And all because of Mr. Friendly, who would have been approved to volunteer, under either procedure, prior to his arrest.

  66. @Reverend Kel: Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I’ve done a little onlne research. There are even a few grainy pics taken with those ancient cameras. I realy liked the one of the buffalo herd mingling with the ducken flock. From what I read they sounded like thunder when they were all on the move. But the crockducks got theirs when they were hunted and trapped to extinction to feed the shalow fashion trend for ducken skin corsets and thong underwear.

  67. @csrster:

    I would also guess that most people don’t actually need to lose weight as much as they think they do. Maybe my real pet peeve is people who think they’re fat when they aren’t?

  68. Actually one of my pet peeves is people who think that the best reason to exercise is to make yourself look good. I’m a lazy slob, I admit, but when I _do_ exercise it’s purely and simple because I want to live longer.

  69. My beef today is no one suggested a question for this Thursday’s inquisition. How am I going to maintain my reputation as a lazy, loveable slacker if you all don’t do the work for me?

  70. My beef is that my nursing program keeps slipping ‘alternative medicine’ stuff into class. Stuff about herbal supplements I get, because they’re popular and I should know the (variable) pharmokinetics/interactions, but Energy fields and chiropractic? Out, out!

  71. @csrster: I exercise because, A) it gets me out of the office for an hour or so, and B) it helps with my depression and back problems. Looking good doesn’t hurt either, but it’s not my first priority with exercise.

  72. @Maleficent: Yep, anyone who hasn’t been caught has a clean criminal record; and given the current economic conditions user fees and costs directed at program participants will only increase with time.

  73. ok, right this minute my beef is that Amazon seems to have joined the legion of folks trying to convert me. Along with my textbook order, I received a book I didn’t ask for, telling me my life is missing “emotionally healthy spirituality”.
    Customer service is sending me a return shipping label, so i’m sending it back. I guess it was just a mistake, rather than a “gift”. But I’m still ticked.

  74. @Skept-artist:

    We were hoping no one would notice.

    But now that I’m here, I have to record my beef for today: Apparently when fans of American Idol talk about it online, they refer to the show as “AI”. Everyone knows that “AI” stands for Afternoon Inquisition. Stupid copycats.

  75. Long list of beefs:
    1. I was out of a decent net connection, and I missed this AI.
    2. People who attack evolution because they don’t know what it means or don’t understand it.
    3. Evolutionists/skeptics who attack evolutionary psychology because they don’t know what it means or don’t understand it.
    4. Atheists who are so much in favour of NOMA that they end up being used by religionists against evolutionists/freethinkers.
    5. Arrogant people who complain about everybody else…

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