Skepchick Quickies 12.6


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Anyone else find it a little disturbing that the ‘Kilobots’ are a single letter swap away from ‘Killbots’?

    1. Luckily, killbots have a predetermined kill limit before they shut down. All we have to do is send wave after wave of soldiers at them.

      Cookie if you get the reference. :D

    2. The critical part of the article is this:

      “Building Kilobots, though, requires specific experience.”

      The question is: “Do the Kilobots themselves have this experience?”

      If so: “Are they currently vulnerable to gunpowder propelled projectiles?”

      Otherwise, we’re done, people. Last one out get the lights.

  2. Quick note on Skeptixx:

    I (and some of our readers) did find there were some definite problematic, trans-exclusionist implications to their name, and the casual use of the term “XX Chromosomer”… but their writer Julia Lavarnway has been very understanding and receptive to comments made regarding that, has addressed the issue in a more recent post, and it seems like it’s all being handled very amicably. It’s really nice and encouraging when these sorts of things go as well as they have here.

    1. I just read their post about the “symbolism” choice, and I wasn’t impressed myself. I still think it’s a fucked up choice of symbolism that reiterates a lot of jacked up thinking.

      I still don’t feel comfy there, but that’s why I suppose it’s nice that there are so many skeptic sites. There’s something out there for everyone.

      1. Well, as an example, not every woman is very comfortable with the term “chick”… there’s also Godless Bitches, which includes a word that bothers lots of women (I’m on their latest episode, btw!).

        Personally, I don’t take issue with the name WeAreSkeptixx as simply symbolically suggesting that it’s a site for women skeptics. I did find use of the term “XX Chromosomer” to be a bit more problematic, but that’s been addressed and I’m sure they’ll be more careful about it in the future.

  3. I have to say, I am thankful to be an atheist serving in the Canadian Forces. Not once has my lack of faith ever been a problem.

    I remember during my first week in boot camp, we were visited by the Military Padre. He told us that while he himself was a Catholic Padre, anyone could come to him regardless of faith or lack thereof. He included atheists in his speech as well.

    I’ve never, not once, heard of a Padre trying to convert anyone. I’m quite sure they’re forbidden to. I’ve used the services of a Padre once. It was very nice to have a neutral person to talk to in a difficult time. What my beliefs were did not come up once. He just listened.

  4. Amanda,

    So Harvard is developing Kilobots? Interesting. I hope they don’t kill us all! : )

  5. Amanda,

    Wouldn’t “atheist chaplains” be more like psychiatrists? Isn’t a chaplain by definition, a religious person.


    That’s better than sex! The potential implications for exploring other planetary bodies in our solar system are mind-blowing.

    Just drop a bunch of cheap little bots onto mars, titan, or Europa and we’ll have a myriad of new data that will make scientists foam at the mouth.

    Mmmmmmmmm……. swarm botsssss….

      1. I didn’t notice that. Oh, because it hasn’t aired yet in the USA. Rats. What good is it having USAian privilege if we don’t get our Bad Universe fix?

  7. I need to rant. I’m involved in local politics so it isn’t unusual for town residents that I really don’t know to friend me on facebook. I’m just about to unfriend one because she is going on about the NPR article. Of course she linked to a biased commentary on the NPR story. When I pointed out that he wasn’t trying to stop soldiers from praying but having to pray she said he should have just sucked it up. I could go on but enough from me.

  8. Thanks, Skepchick! I might have missed the kilobots story. I’m working on a novel that features little bitty robots with swarm intelligence, and this link was very helpful.

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