Quickies: Locker rooms, conversational computing, and a virus with spider DNA

  • Why I’m scared of white women – “Under this strange gaze, I saw white girls get away with arbitrary racism without scrutiny. Like their celebrity counterparts (Taylor Swift, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, etc.), they are praised and protected by racism sold as feminism. White women use their own oppression, by white men, to absolve them from accountability.” From Ray.
  • Not all locker rooms, but yes, some locker rooms – “Which is to say, Trump is not a singular creature. He was not created in a vacuum. If there are millions of women assaulted, then there are millions of men doing the assaulting. We need to believe what these women are telling us.”
  • The virus with spider DNA – “How on earth did this nested set-up evolve? How did a spider gene end up in a virus that lives inside bacteria that live inside the cells of insects?” (Note: large spider photos!)
  • Looking for a choice of voices in AI technology – “Conversational computing is holding a mirror to many of society’s biggest preconceptions around race and gender. Listening and talking are the new input and output devices of computers. But they have social and emotional dimensions never seen with keyboards and screens.” From Donna.


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

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  1. Re: locker room banter.
    1. I haven’t heard a lot of bragging in locker rooms, even back in high school. If there are 30 guys listening to you brag, word’s getting back to the girl you’re bragging about. Now, I’m in Canada, and “football team” doesn’t get you the entitlement it does in the U.S., so your mileage may vary.
    2. There is a lot of crudity in the locker room. “Hey, is it cold in here?” “I’m horny. Bend over, ” and responds “” etc.
    3. I have received terrible advice about “pushing a little” after she says “stop”. Because you “have to do that” if you expect to “get anywhere”. Not having *any* experience at the time, I just assumed I was a wimpy sort of guy that I didn’t feel like ever trying to pull that off. I later realized what a stupid, awful way to have a relationship *that* would be.
    So yeah. Men talk like that. I can’t pretend to have a good statistical sample, but they exist and it’s utterly uncorrelated with a “locker room”.

    1. It’s not in any way typical around the States. Joe Pakootas was quick to say “As a coach, I know this is not ‘locker room banter.’ This is language that encourages rape and sexual assault and it must not be tolerated.”

  2. Men like Trump have hundreds of victims. The college-age date rapists interviewed by David Lisak were all multiple offenders.
    A short version:
    Lisak figured that his sample included 1-3% sexual predators. That’s enough to generate a lifetime of toxic experience for 100% of women. And, it appears, that pop-culture and social media are enabling a whole culture of enraged, abusive, Trumpish monsters.

    Those of use who AREN’T predators, have to make the imaginative leap required in order to grasp that we definitely DO know men who are. I can still feel the sinking in my gut when I realized I was dealing with a classic stalker. And I recall that absolute unwillingness of others to believe me when I tried to warn them.

    Nowadays it seems that Trump’s behavior, thanks to wealth and ‘stardom,’ was tolerated, and even encouraged by the culture that surrounded him.

    There really are cliques and subcultures in which the kind of ‘locker room’ talk on the tape is considered normal. The rest of us men need to get over the feeling of being accused by reports about them.

    1. The interesting thing has been the centrists over on Daily Kos trying to say this is typical of men of lower economic status. Which is the first time I’ve ever heard Trump called “lower economic status”.

  3. Glad some men are acknowledging rape culture. Now your next step is to challenge it whenever you see it. It’ll probably be uncomfortable. Sure, but it’s uncomfortable for women to be treated this way, too. Raise your sons differently. Raise them to respect women as people and not to get a ‘no,’ but an enthusiastic ‘yes!’

    (I hate that I have to say this, but don’t get offended if you’re already doing this stuff. Great. I ain’t talkin’ to you. I’m talking to those who aren’t doing this.)

    1. You are absolutely correct that it was hard at first. It got easier rather quickly, when I discovered I wasn’t getting much in the way of negative reactions.

      There’s nothing wrong with talking to the men who are speaking up. It reinforces me; encourages me to try to get dialogs going, not arguments, where no one hears what anyone else is saying.

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