• Octopus robot makes waves with ultra-fast propulsion – “Scientists have developed an octopus-like robot, which can zoom through water with ultra-fast propulsion and acceleration never before seen in man-made […]

    • Paul replied 4 years ago

      I hate how men are rewarded for being aggressive, assertive assholes, while even a MILDLY assertive woman is smacked down.

      In a better world, assholes would be smacked around until they adjusted their attitudes and people with real drive and ambition are rewarded regardless of their sex, and no one demands they spend more time with their kids or questions their ability to serve a company’s interests.

    • Conservation of anxiety: Just when there are some glimmers of hope of new, radically different antibiotics and increased public awareness of the problem of multiple-antibiotic resistant bacteria (largely due to over-prescription and factory farming), along comes “every drug ever consumed by anyone anywhere is slooowly accumulating in the biosphere and it’s just a matter of time before bad stuff happens.” Crack-addled possums? Really? As if the regular (Aussie) ones aren’t addled enough!

      Maybe the cure is 1) testing all new drugs to determine what happens when they are ingested, digested, excreted and then pass through standard waste treatment (to get a handle on the problem each might cause), and 2) create specific remediation for each one that might cause a significant problem. Maybe time-release an enzyme that breaks it down in the same pill as the drug or add a specific tertiary stage to standard treatment plants to deal with it or bio-engineer a little buggy that eats it for lunch or whatever? Or dose the pond slime with speed if they are getting too much depressants or dose it with Valium in areas with lots of meth factories, or both at the same time. What fun!

  • What’s up with cats and boxes? – Including a discussion of the “If I fits, I sits” principle.
    Utah Republican pretty sure you can’t rape your wife – Is spousal rape really such a difficult concept to […]

    • AJ replied 4 years ago

      Ah, now I have an excuse to crank the heat when I’m cold. Kitty needs it. He’s freezing in here!

  • What would Spiderman have to eat for breakfast in order to swing around New York? – “In order for a spider’s body to produce silk, it needs protein; so Lorch figured Spider-Man would operate in much the same […]

    • drken replied 4 years ago

      I’ve noticed lately that the biggest indicator of the power of the Patriarchy is that even when our dehumanizing stereotypes are about men, it’s everybody else that has to change their behavior to accommodate us. If we thought Sorority sisters were uncontrollably violent and unable to control their sexual desires, we wouldn’t punish Fraternities by keeping them away. If the frats are so dangerous, maybe they’re the ones that have to be locked up at night.

    • I got all on the literacy question except 6. My answer was different than the one from #1 and (IMO) my answer was better than his. My answer is that race lines, as we draw them, do not reflect our actual ancestry that we can now prove with molecular analysis.

      Specific example: people from the Middle East are often classified in the same group as Europeans or at least as a closely related race. However, Europeans are roughly 2/3rd central Asian (areas that are now places like Turkmenistan, whose Y chromosome haplotypes are in the European “R” group) and 1/3rd northwest African. Middle Eastern haplotypes and Y chromosomes are ancestrally farther from most Europeans than central Asian people (often grouped with the east Asian “race”) or north African Berber people (often grouped with the sub-Saharan African “race”).

      Why I don’t like his answer: even racists often recognize the intermixing of the races. Also, recent common ancestors does not exclude wide divergence or even speciation. Modern humans seem to be about ten thousand generations old. There is plenty of time for divergence with even mild selection or genetic drift alone.

    • Given the threat, the Fraternities should be shut down on Saturday. Apparently NON-sorority members are fair game?

  • Rutgers Law dean tells students to stop evaluating female professors’ attire – “If you have any doubts that posterity will somehow muddle through without the benefit of your fashion advice, allow me to dispel […]

    • Ugh, evaluations… No matter how bad the comments we men get, the women can always top us for bad comments…

      Probably not exact quotes, but all pretty close:
      “Her sandals are ugly.” “What a babe.” “She’s fat.” “I hate girls with short hair.” “I would like some of that!” Advice on how to do makeup suggests it is not just the male students doing this.

      I have never seen a set of evaluations for a female TA or teacher in a class of over a dozen students that did not include comments on her appearance.

    • Re: American antivax campaigner cancels tour –

      I am a parent and can totally understand the anger at an antivax campaigner – if for the sake of argument one had lost a child to an outbreak of a vaccine – preventable disease (caused by falling vaccination rates). I would be furious.

      But death threats are never acceptable and I too hate it when our side does something stupid and loses the moral high ground by going too far.

    • I like the rules in Ontario (the one in Canada). Your kids don’t get into a public school unless they’re vaccinated or they are medically determined to be incapable to getting the vaccines.
      Have fun at your homeschool otherwise. I hope they don’t let people have non-medical excuses.

      As for clothing, Engineering never really bothered with female instructors back in the 90s, but I had female TAs. I don’t remember ever feeling inspired to mention their clothing in their evaluations.
      Does your clothing smell so bad I need to recommend a laundromat?
      Are your dangling bits poking me in the eye?
      No? Then how is it my problem?
      I try not to give strangers fashion advice, and I’m rarely tempted.

    • Paul replied 4 years ago

      I never once noticed how my female professors were attired. Come on, people, is it that hard?

      Apparently for some dips it is.

  • Sexism is making women sick – “A study published this month in the journal Sex Roles reveals that some of the sexism women face – from catcalling and sexual harassment to sexual objectification and violence – […]

    • Amanda,

      Man that bigoted idiot Pamela Geller is going to be so angry now. People like her already hate Marvel for their “pro Islam” stance.

      • “Pro-Islam”? Someone will have to explain this one to me. And I’m normally the one that criticizes my fellow leftists for treating Muslim countries with kid gloves. Is it because Dust is a Muslim?

    • Vandalism to fight hatred? Outing people who disagree with you?

      I really don’t like it when our side uses “the ends justify the means” logic.

      • Mrmisconception,

        Good point. I would have preferred the buses just not run the hateful ads in the first place.

      • There is such a thing as constructive vandalism. They’re not spray-painting the ads or tearing them off, they’re defacing/refacing them in a clever, pointed way.

        In Alabama, pointing out a politician’s hypocrisy is not “outing people who disagree with you” because it’s directly relevant to their ‘rationale’ if-that’s-the-word for opposing gay marriage.

    • Can I remind people that we had a very similar problem with the Boston Marathon, but with ableism on top of sexism? There were a lot of people talking about Meb Keflezighi being the first American to win since 1983, when a woman won the woman’s marathon in 1985…. and the women’s wheelchair winner was from America from 2012-2014, plus Jean Driscoll’s record setting 7 straight victories from 1990-1996, and more wheelchair winners both men and women since 1983? A lot of wins by Americans?

    • Why doesn’t Ms. Marvel wear a head scarf?

      • Peter Smith,

        Because for one thing, not all Muslim women wear head scarfs. Muslim women often walk around with their heads uncovered, just like non Muslim women. That’s kind of like saying why doesn’t this Jewish character wear a yamaka, or this Christian character wear a cross.

    • And what was ‘Islamophobic’ about these ads? Apparently the accusation of Islamophobia removes all responsibility for argument. I am not, in theory, opposed to ‘wheatpaste’ attacks on public advertising. But there has to be a real reason, not the usual ‘taking offence.’ As the Marvel character is unveiled, the paste-overs might be censored in many Muslim countries. And since the character is female, the Haredis in some neighborhoods in Israel would vandalize the boards for THEIR ‘offended’ sensibilities.

      Someone objected to the ads and covered them. By invoking the magic word, they are under no burden to say what was wrong about them. At the moment I am suspicious. Too many ‘islamophobic’ materials turn out to be simple quotes from the Quran-Hadith-Sunnah.

      • John the Drunkard,

        Have you seen the original ads?

        Here’s more on Geller’s anti Muslim ads. She’s been paying to put these on buses for sometime now.

        Shocking anti-Islam ad campaign coming to MTA buses, subway stations

        There’s a reason the Southern Poverty Law Center, labels her “American Freedom Defense Initiative” and “Stop The Islamitization Of America” as hate groups.

      • If these ads targetted ANY group at all other than muslims, there would have been demonstrations, picketting, and vandalism like you wouldn’t believe.

        Geller really is a sociopath; some day, when she finally loses it completely, she’ll be funny – but right now she’s scary.

  • New atheists are wrong about Islam. Here’s how data proves it – “New empirical evidence shows anti-Islam crusaders misunderstand Muslim countries, a political scientist tells Salon.” From mrmisconception.
    <a […]

    • The study is as unsurprising as a study saying the clergy have different attitudes than Roman Catholics as a whole or that Pat Robertson’s attitudes are more extreme than a typical self-described evangelical. This does not surprise me nor should it surprise anyone.

      But, hey, if a prominent, bigoted Christian and a prominent, bigoted atheist team up with the mutual agreement that Christians are better than Muslims they both get media attention and get to pretend to not be bigots with the “one of my best friends is an atheist/is a Christian” trope.

    • “When it comes to class inequalities, Muslims tend to be distinctive — but they tend to lead. They tend to lag when it comes to gender inequality, but if we look at indicators of socioeconomic inequality, it seems that the socioeconomic inequalities are lower in predominantly Muslim countries than they are in other countries outside the Muslim world.” Shenanigans. I Google Abu Dhabi labor and find all sorts of things we wouldn’t tolerate here. And of course, Mauritania is the only country that still has ‘official’ slavery. (I mean, unless you consider ISIS a country.)

      • Will replied 4 years ago

        The author is talking about general trends in aggregate data, and you find 2 cases that don’t fit the trend. That doesn’t mean the trend is incorrect, it means you found outliers.

    • If you are interested in reading M. Steven Fish’s book & have a library card or are a student, it is widely available on Worldcat as an ebook. For example, this is the Boston area availability:

      and voila! For free,you can access the primary document, no speculating “what he means” based on a brief interview.

    • The way the first story is written, he didn’t get into too much trouble when he was just harassing cis-women, but harassing a transwoman got him into trouble. Why couldn’t he have been ousted for harassing women earlier?

      (I’m ashamed to admit that the unfortunate phrasing that went through my mind was that he found a victim with the balls to stand up to him.)

      • In my experience it takes about 3 women coming forward before these allegations are taken seriously. They stood up for themselves, they just stood alone and were ignored.

    • Amanda,

      Over at the “Larry Wilmore on Bill Cosby” thread, Some guy going by the name of Razerzpeed, left a comment in reply to me, where he claimed that 45% of women lie about being raped. Off course he didn’t cite a source for that statistic. I have a feeling he just pulled it out of thin air.

      • I suspect a position down and back from thin air.

      • Well, according to a comment by a user named “John Galt” I found via Google:

        “Steve Moxon in his book ‘The woman racket’ quotes a statistic from 1985 in which 45% of all rape claims were marked as ‘no crime’ by UK police, which essentially means that after extensive investigation there was no evidence a crime occurred at all.”

        • which essentially means that after extensive investigation there was no evidence a crime occurred at all

          From what I’ve read deciding that a rape claim is a “non crime” (or no crime) can happen when the report is made, by the officer taking the report, with zero investigation at all. So unless it is different in the UK that statistic is not only sickening but also almost totally useless.

          I suspect that “John Galt” (someone voluntarily took that name?) decided that was what it meant because it fed his narrative without so much as a cursory amount of investigation, much like those officers taking rape threats; and it all comes full circle.

          • Unless it was Steve Moxon that claimed that, which actually makes it worse because it is in a book which should allow for more research then a simple internet comment.

  • Thank you so much! Intersectionality and representing diverse viewpoints is really important to us and it’s always wonderful to hear from readers who appreciate it.

    And though I’m not on the spectrum, the author’s experience of having her own self-identity ignored and ridiculed by others really resonated with me.

  • Doxing victim Zoe Quinn launches online “anti-harassment task force” – “The Crash Override site, built by Quinn and game developer Alex Lifschitz, offers free services from “experts in information security, […]

    • I feel compelled to say that one of the things that I absolutely adore about the Skepchick network is the coverage of intersection between non-neurotypical presentation and sex/gender identity. Even as a cis-, male, non-autistic-spectrum person, this is incredibly dear to me as a bisexual, otherwise-neuro-atypical, really-believes-in-justice person. So, many thanks for the toast article.

      • Thank you so much! Intersectionality and representing diverse viewpoints is really important to us and it’s always wonderful to hear from readers who appreciate it.

        And though I’m not on the spectrum, the author’s experience of having her own self-identity ignored and ridiculed by others really resonated with me.

    • Its important to emphasis that a disability is not a static thing, you still grow old, you still learn, you mature, you cope all in varying degrees, just like the rest of us.

    • Re: nerds vs jocks, nerd entitlement etc.
      What to make of the world when the starting line of an NFL football team are playing nerd board games.
      Gah! It’s almost like categorizing people according to 1960s high school cliques is meaningless!

    • The article on Nerd/Male privilege was very thought-provoking for me. I have grown up a white male in a first world country. I spent the majority of my time growing up feeling afraid and victimized and thinking that things couldn’t be worse.

      It’s strange how age and exposure to the plights of others broadens our perspective. Consider how privileged we all are for being able to have this discussion online.

      I find now I no longer want to deny that I have privilege. Nor do I want to give it up to be honest. Now I just want it to become universal.

  • DIY bot fly – “Entomologists are not like other people. Lucky enough to score a cool parasitic larva burrowing in your skin after a visit to Central America? The obvious thing to do is to rear your maggot out […]

    • Don’t let the criminalizing court clerks bill distract you from the real threat. There is another bill that has a better chance of passing in Texas that would forbid any non-discrimination ordinance that does not protect a class already protected under Texas and/or Federal law.

      Unlike most states, Texas government is mostly run by commissions of civil servants. Civil servants are very powerful in the state of Texas and any law that pits civil servants (like Cecil Bell’s bill criminalizing civil servants) against the legislature is likely to result in the legislature losing. The civil servants can protect themselves in the state of Texas and they will fight any bill criminalizing their jobs tooth and nail. If worse comes to worse (very unlikely), the people who would be prosecuting them depend on those court officers for their jobs.

      Jeff Leach’s bill (outlawing non-discrimination ordinances) is much more likely to pass and can result in real damage. If you are going to write letters, give money or otherwise support gay rights, please direct your attention to the Leach bill. Leach and company are framing this as religious freedom and falsely claiming people are being criminalized (as in being given criminal records, which is demonstrably false). They can easily win.

    • Amanda,

      So Russian homophobic/transphobic bigots have found a new way to oppress non cis gendered heterosexual people. No wonder our religious right hate mongers so love Russia.

  • Compound from soil bacteria may help fight dangerous germs – “Curiously, the researchers didn’t set out to find new antibiotics. Kim Lewis and his colleagues at Northeastern University in Boston were actually […]

    • Yes, that law is in the Texas constitution but it is no longer enforced, if it were to be enforced and then challenged it would be found unconstitutional even with our current conservative court. But, to get rid of it would require a constitutional amendment that would never pass in Texas at this time.

      All kinds of goofy laws remain on the books after they are no longer enforced (anti-adultery laws, for example, are still on the books in ~20 states) and even in Texas the anti-sodomy laws that Lawrence v Texas struck down is still there.

      This is a non-issue that we need to stop worrying about, we’ve got much bigger fish to fry.

      • Well put. The moment a candidate is barred from taking office, or from the ballot, because of one of these laws, we should raise hell and support a legal challenge, which would definitely be successful. Until then, these laws are exactly as meaningful as the ones you read about in lists of “crazy laws,” like “it’s illegal to walk your dog in front of a barber shop after 4 pm on a Tuesday in Nowheresville, IN.” North Carolina has a ban on atheists holding public office on the books as well, and it hasn’t stopped an out atheist from serving on Asheville’s city council, despite his political opponents’ attempts to make an issue of it. All the story from Texas reveals is that one candidate either has a pathetically weak grasp on the nature of law, or is willing to cynically misrepresent the law to her constituency to score political points.

      • “even in Texas the anti-sodomy laws that Lawrence v Texas struck down is still there”

        You don’t believe that stopped Texas from passing laws designed specifically to hurt homosexuals, do you?

        While I agree with the “this is not important” sentiment, the idea that Texas is merely ignoring unconstitutional laws that are leftovers from a meaner past is wrong. Texas is still passing laws like this.

        Example: in 2009, long after Lawrence v Texas, Texas decided to amend the penal code regarding under aged sex with minors. They kept the close in age exception of 3 years, but excluded the close in age defense if the relationship is homosexual (sec 21.11, if you don’t believe me). This brazen violation of equal protection aimed squarely at persecuting teenage homosexuals was passed in 2009, 6 years after Lawrence v Texas.

        Now, I suspect any District attorney worth his salt is not going to try and prosecute in a 18 yo/ 16 yo homosexual relationship because he knows full well any conviction won’t survive a court challenge, but my point is Texas legislators are still passing laws against people certain segments of the conservative Christian population hate. This is not a relic of the past. This is today.

        • I agree completely, in fact anti-gay legislation is an example of the bigger fish I was talking about. I used Lawrence v Texas as an example from Texas as the actual unconstitutional law remains in place but unenforced, I wasn’t suggesting that it’s proponents weren’t looking for a way to replace it.

    • On another blog I wrote a parody of Sound of Silence for this campaign, but it’s… got adult language and discussion of adult behaviors. Might be NSFW, but it’s all text. Is that ok to post here?

  • Welcome to 2015 everyone! I hope it’s off to a good start for you all and that it will only get awesomer.
    Women in STEM: 2014 in review – From nowoo.
    Hopes for the new year ahead – “To kick off 2015, […]

    • Amanda,

      I knew you guys would like that story I sent you from Nature about the 40 young scientists and their hopes for 2015. Happy New Year, by the way!

    • Amanda,

      That comic about how to make Legos appeal to girls is hilarious!

    • I stopped hating on Lego Friends and you should, too.
      I hate that Lego turned everybody’s Lego into boys’ Lego over 20 years.
      Are there some completely horrible “girls are only interested in fashion and shopping” sets? Yep, and we should be critical of them. But unless you’re equally critical of the “violence is the only solution” toxic masculinity sets for the boys, your Lego Friends hating is mostly based on “ewwww, girl cooties”.
      There are, btw, pretty cool sets like the Jungle sets, though they still have too many pink bows for my liking and are still too much about caring and nurturing. But they also have helicopters.
      My daughters find everything in Lego Friends I loved about my Legos 25-30 years ago. They build their pony ranch and then use my old bricks to add a paddock.

    • When it comes to women and the Economist, I’m not entirely convinced they know that women are people.

  • 5200 days in space – “An exploration of life aboard the International Space Station, and the surprising reasons the mission is still worthwhile.”
    On nerd entitlement – “Hi there, shy, nerdy boys. Your […]

    • Re: nerds
      Scott: I’m a nerd. I was oppressed. I had no privilege!
      Me: Name a female nerd from your high school
      Scott: … there weren’t any.
      Me: Really? Or were they just under your radar? Let’s meditate on that a moment.

      The weird thing about being a childhood nerd and bully victim, which I was (which is to say, I’ve been beaten unconscious at school), is that it has made me more sympathetic toward other types of victims.
      I really don’t understand how being abused can make a person want to put down other victims, as if There Can Be Only One.
      Yeah, dude. Imagine all that shit you went through, PLUS people tell you you’re genetically bad at math and computing from basically the day you’re born.

      • Did Scott really “want to put down other victims”? He might have been unaware of them, but I really don’t see how a fair reading of his words can suggest that he wanted to put down other victims.

        • “putting them down” isn’t quite accurate. More like “refusing to acknowledge that others had it worse.”
          But really, I meant the “shy nerd culture” people in general. It seems like there’s this weird belief in nerd culture, and in atheist culture too, that we’re the big victims and other people couldn’t possibly have it as bad.
          That’s what he’s saying when he rejects the notion of himself having privilege.
          Having read all of Scott’s original post, I entirely sympathize with his position. His childhood, and his paranoia regarding women, are very similar to my own.

          • Regarding Scott in particular, and not “shy nerd culture” in general —

            What I take him to be saying is that his subjective experience was not one of privilege. He felt miserable and anxious and suicidal, and did not feel privileged at all. I’m sure if you were to have asked teenage Scott whether he felt that he lived a very privileged life relative to women in Taliban Afghanistan, he would agree that he did. I’m sure he does not and did not dispute that others had it much worse than he had it in some objective sense (although, in a subjective sense, once a person is seriously considering suicide, there’s not that much lower to go).

            I think there’s a reasonable question as to whether the language of “privilege” is the most effective way to talk to and reach miserable people who are considering suicide (for instance). A conversation among college-educated and college-bound Americans about the word “privilege” sometimes turns into a bunch of people who are among the most privileged human beings on Earth (top 1%, easily) discussing which of them have to acknowledge privilege. I’m just not sure that this is the best way to get to a more equitable, gentle world. It might be, I’m just not convinced.

            Simply put, I don’t think Scott was rejecting anyone else’s victimhood. He just felt like within the world of his high school social sphere, he didn’t have the privilege of having a great deal of social capital. I don’t think he was claiming to be at the bottom of the ladder, either — he’d surely acknowledge, for instance, that a disabled kid who’s (say) a male nerd had it worse in an objective sense than he did.

            • Perhaps but one of the things he says is that he feels he was part of the “least privileged class in society.” To me, that doesn’t seem at all to acknowledge that others might have it worse, despite his own suffering.

      • FWIW, his followup is probably worth reading too:

        What I believe

    • Jews had nothing to do with building the pyramids. Nor were they slaves in Egypt. Not that this should result in the movie being banned, but it’s kind of a shame that so many people think the Exodus myth has any significant basis in reality.

      • To be fair, it is based on myth.

        To be fair, though, much of what we say about the Middle East is part fact, part myth.

    • Happy New Year! Also, could someone see what’s wrong with Grounded Parents? I’m getting a “Website is offline” error from my ISP (error 522)

    • Many years ago, Daily Kos traced the ‘war on Christmas’ to anti-Semitic propaganda by Henry Ford.

      And yeah, I would think, especially when the cyberterrorists make sure to tell you they know where you live…Do people think the internet is a fucking videogame?

  • Against domesticity – “Whenever I speak to friends, and ask what they think of domesticity, many say they enjoy living with their partners or spouses. They say they love the familiarity, the comfort, the movie […]

    • The “Against Domesticity” article is a bit weird to me. The teaser quote and the story about the author’s mom make it sound like she is setting up an argument against domesticity which will be about male exploitation of female labor in domestic relationships. But then the rest of the article is about her personal preference against “boring conversations,” and statements like “I never, ever want to talk about the toilet brush with someone I want to fuck. Ever. There is nothing less appealing to me.” Which, okay, fair enough, but that preference is hardly universal. It kind of seems like the author just doesn’t get anything emotionally out of domestic relationships, but wants to allude to larger social issues to “justify” her personal preference.

      My partner and I have had a great domestic relationship for about seven years. Sometimes we have to talk about the toilet brush. Sometimes we have to do harder work and have more difficult conversations to ensure that neither of us is being unfairly taken advantage of in the domestic work or other aspects of our relationship. Sometimes we have to make an effort to keep things from getting boring. But overall it suits both of us, and we’re happy with it. Evidently the author of this piece would not be, which is fine — there’s plenty of room in the world for both people who enjoy the type of intimacy that comes with a domestic relationship, and for people who prefer a little distance in their romantic relationships.

      Basically, I think the article conflates domesticity-as-relationship-style (toilet brushes) and domesticity-as-patriarchal-social-structure (story about the author’s mom). Smash the latter, but plenty of people (male and female) like the former, and I think there’s nothing wrong (nor inherently superior) with it.

    • re – “its not about you” While I agree that women don’t exclusively dress for men, the notion that ‘you dress for yourself’ seems to me to be a bit untestable. How can one be objective in a society that ‘teaches’ women to dress from cradle to grave?

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