• Amanda wrote a new post, Quickies: Sexist AI, on the site Skepchick 3 days, 9 hours ago

    Alexa, are you making me sexist? – “This is all part of a bigger gender-bias problem afflicting the field of artificial intelligence. AI systems — including voice assistants — are being designed mostly by men. (In […]

  • The open access wars: How to free science from academic paywalls – “Academic institutions have to purchase exorbitant subscriptions priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars each year so they can download and […]

  • Why I’m no longer reading books by white men – I have also been doing this for about the past 4 years (with exceptions for LGBTQ+ men and very very few socially conscious men) and I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m […]

  • The world’s most annoying man – “Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker is that guy. He thinks many people are very unreasonable, and makes sweeping claims about their irrationality and moral imbecility, but often […]

  • How many bones would you break to get laid? – CW: This is about incels, so beware. “On forums, incels argue that the diagnosis is often a kind of reverse discrimination and that women seeking invasive procedures […]

  • The Ebola response effort is struggling. Experts say these steps could help – “ETCs, as they are called, have become a place of stigma, associated with death. In fact, people who seek care in treatment centers […]

  • Why the anti-abortion movement relies on white women leaders – “With the support of white women, anti-abortion activists can paint the many women who vocally protest their dangerous policies as hysterical and […]

  • How many more stories do we have to tell? – “It’s dispiriting that once again, women feel compelled to participate in what feels like an endless drip of confession, one whose intended audience refuses to not o […]

  • Men rigged a world built for them and called it ‘neutral’—women call bullshit –  “It’s not that I think we should rebuild the world for women, but it might be a decent experiment for, say, five years. Then men […]

    • 5″ of height gives average men an 8% longer reach, but, due to the square/cube law, 12% more mass and significantly more torque when making those long reaches… I wonder how they would fare on rock-climbing routes designed by and for women? I think this is a form of expectation bias… On average, everyone is like me, when by “average”, I mean “people like me”.

  • The unholy alliance of TERFs and the right wing – “It’s clear why religious conservatives have entered into a pragmatic alliance with groups like WoLF—recognizing that they have lost the cultural and political bat […]

  • Want to build a far-right movement? Spain’s Vox party shows how – “Opposition to Catalan and Basque separatism; opposition to feminism and same-sex marriage; opposition to immigration, especially by Muslims; anger […]

    • Oops. ‘Chum,’ as in ‘chumbox,’ isn’t small bait fish. Chum is usually half-rotten fish-guts and waste that’s dumped in the water in the hope of attracting schools to feed. So the term is even more contemptuous than the article implies.

      I guess there’s a kind of symmetry about it, since it’s the ‘gut doctor’ being promoted…

    • I’ve always enjoyed banana flavoring, but that’s because I’m messed in the head.

      On the chumbox thing: this specific scenario reminds me a bit of surfing for porn in the ancient days of the modern internet (so after searching around for file directories with pictures that would then take 2 minutes to load on my screen). You’d have places that advertised free galleries (usually as a way of trying to get you to subscribe to a site with more of the same), and some of the links would link to other places offering free galleries instead of actual pictures, and then it would just keep going around and around like that.
      I did get the mentioned chumbox link in the bottom of the Vox article, which was pretty fun.

  • Botanical sexism cultivates home-grown allergies – “In order to put the brakes on America’s allergy epidemic, we need to reverse the trend toward male-dominated landscapes and stop selling and planting any m […]

    • I noticed the astrology and woo stuff on some otherwise great podcasts a couple of years ago and did wonder about and have concerns about the same things brought up in that article! Its great to see skeptics speaking up but its sadly true that most people do have some supernatural beliefs and if traditional spiritual disciplines have no space for you then it makes sense to go to the ones that do I guess.
      Skeptics just seem few and far between no matter what community you are in unfortunately.

  • Amanda wrote a new post, (no title), on the site Skepchick 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    Unconscious bias is running for President – “I’ve just spent a month watching white male people in particular arguing about who has charisma or relatability or electability. They speak as if these were o […]

    • Hooray for the return of the quickies!

    • Brings back fond memories of wasting a couple of hours over breakfast every morning! Three interesting articles.

      Not long ago, I saw an article providing quotes from various people (i.e. white men) saying Elizabeth Warren is unlikable along with previous quotes from the SAME people saying how likable she was. Apparently, she’s only likable if she isn’t running for President.

      I don’t totally understand the traffic jam article. If you see a jamiton (the physicist in me loves that term for a traffic jam as a virtual particle, like a soliton or a phonon) in front of you, are you supposed to slow down early and gradually and if everyone did that, the jamiton would dissipate, as opposed to what everyone does in real life which is to approach it as fast as possible, jam on the brakes at the last instant, and try to bull your way through as quickly as possible? Or is it hopeless and you just need to ride it out? Also the article says that jamitons emerge even without drivers doing obvious bad things like weaving and tailgating and last-instant lane changes. But it doesn’t say if bad driving increases their frequency.

      Congratulations to the #YourSlipIsShowing women for recognizing and fighting trolls. I hope we all learn some lessons from their achievements and they can carry on and inspire others.

    • I saw a video a few years back in which the creator described his own experiences with another traffic issue, offramp merging backups. He employed similar tactics as described in the article here, maintaining a lot of space and adjusting his speed as needed, to help reduce the overall impact. I can also personally vouch for something else he mentions in the video: when I consciously choose to drive more considerately, allowing room for people to merge and not pushing forward or jockeying for position, I finish my drive much more relaxed and in a more positive frame of mind.
      Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGFqfTCL2fs

  • 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 […]

    • 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 […]

    • 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 […]

    • 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?

  • Amanda posted a new activity comment 4 years, 4 months ago

    Nope, not a typo!

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.)

      • 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.

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