A Voice For Men: willing to publish libel to "prove" points about fake rape claims – part 1, math

Today I woke up to a lovely morning — the birds were singing, a cat clambered up onto the bed demanding affection from my wife and me, it was reasonably cool and not terribly humid, and I had a phone notification buried in amongst the pile of work server notifications that I’d received a pingback on my blog from A Voice for Men.

I’m really moving up in the world, building a genuine rogues’ gallery of people hellbent on making my life miserable. I must be a real threat to some people’s blinkered worldviews now! My name is apparently splattered across the front page of their antifeminist conclave with the epithet “confessed rapist” attached. Two days ago it was r/MensRights, now it’s the Alpha Males themselves beating their chests and beating on my reputation.

Why? Because I believe Shermer’s accusers and believe that he’s probably a lot looser with consent than he should be, possibly up to and including being willing to rape unconscious victims. And that I’m willing to believe this even despite my having personally experienced a fake rape charge at 16. Instead of becoming an angry man shouting down those uppity feminists for advocating for clear consent, I sided with the feminists, and therefore I am the enemy. Therefore I am a monster. And I must be STOPPED.
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A Voice For Men: willing to publish libel to "prove" points about fake rape claims – part 1, math

Math or maths?

A linguist American living in the UK explains the difference. Apparently there’s a folk etymology built up that “math” is plural because “mathematics” ends with an S. But that’s not the only reason something might end with an S — there’s also the collective noun, like “linguistics”.

Interestingly, she’s gone native, saying “maths” despite knowing better, just to avoid the fight. I’m thinking now about other language patterns or other “in-group signals” that people might evince just to avoid a fight despite knowing better.

Math or maths?

Will we ever run out of new music?

Some fun math for your Friday. Vsauce discusses whether or not it’s possible to ever run out of new music, directly challenging the thought that the lack of originality in popular music is due to us hitting some sort of “peak creativity”.

The number of possible combinations of bits that make up a valid mp3 might be significantly less than an admixture of every possible bit combination therein, of course — mp3s have a file structure that must be present to be readable. But for the purposes of this thought experiment, let’s assume a file format like mp3 that already has its header accounted for, and the rest is just a blind read of bits.

Will we ever run out of new music?

How to get more women in STEM? Stop telling them they don’t belong

Sometimes it takes someone saying something so gobsmackingly obvious that it makes people ashamed they didn’t realize it before, to clue people in that there might actually be a problem, and how to address it. This post, I truly hope, is one of those times.

Sometimes, men talk about the gender disparity in tech communities as if there’s some big mystery. I have to conclude that these guys haven’t talked to women who currently work in computer science academia and the tech industry, or who did and then left. As someone who was perceived as a girl or woman doing computer science for 12 years, my solution to the lack of women in tech is:

Stop telling women that they aren’t welcome and don’t belong.

Sounds pretty obvious, right? Well, you’d think. But read on to see what counts as telling them they don’t belong. A tip — it’s not just making the blatantly sexist comment, like Prof. Doaitse Swierstra’s saying that more women in Haskell’s programming school would make the program “more attractive”.

When I watched the video, what I heard after Prof. Swierstra’s comment about attractiveness was laughter. No one called him out; the discussion moved on. I might be wrong here, but the laughter didn’t sound like the nervous laughter of people who have recognized that they’ve just heard something terrible, but don’t know quite what to do about it, either (though I’m sure that was the reaction of some attendees). It sounded like the laughter of people who were amused by something funny.

Continue reading “How to get more women in STEM? Stop telling them they don’t belong”

How to get more women in STEM? Stop telling them they don’t belong

A scientist believes in God and invented some numbers and really bad math. Therefore, religion wins.

This should hardly be newsworthy, but The Laredo Sun thought it was. Turns out Daniel Friedmann, CEO of a Canadian aerospace company and proud owner of a master’s degree in engineering physics, believes that the non-overlapping magisteria argument is wrong, that science and religion are in fact overlapping, but he also believes that they’re compatible because they point to the same answer: that Goddidit. Oh, and he apparently wrote a book called The Genesis One Code. (Starring Brobert Blangdon maybe?)

But they both agree on the timeline for the development of the universe and life on Earth, Friedmann says. He has developed a formula that converts “Bible time” to years as we know them.

When applied to calculating the age of the universe and life on Earth, the Bible consistently matches scientific estimates derived from the study of fossil timelines, the solar system and the cosmos.

His formula — 1,000 X 365 X 7,000 –was derived from references in religious texts and science. The first number is found in Psalms, which says a year for God is 1,000 years for mortals.

The second refers to the amount of days in one solar year. The third comes from scriptural study that indicates one creation day in Genesis equals 7,000 God years.

When those numbers are multiplied in human years, each creation day is an epoch of 2.56 billion years, he says. Using the formula, the biblical age of the universe is 13.74 billion years.

Scientific estimates put the universe’s age at 13.75 billion, plus or minus 0.13 billion, he says.

Continue reading “A scientist believes in God and invented some numbers and really bad math. Therefore, religion wins.”

A scientist believes in God and invented some numbers and really bad math. Therefore, religion wins.

Think of the children!! (Donors Choose – Last Big Push)

Folks, the Donors Choose campaign is almost over, and while your generous contributions are flowing freely, there’s a lot of projects that are still as yet unfunded. Like this one that caught my eye early on and I’d really love to see happen even though it’s less science or mathy than my usual picks. It involves getting kids active, teaching them an important part of Native American history, and all the benefits that come from learning to work together as a team:

We are requesting the equipment needed to run Native Games. Teaching traditional sports such as Lacrosse will not only allow the students to build upon their teamwork and communication skills, but also to be given a chance to recognize the historical and cultural aspect of the sport itself. Another example of Native games that will be played is the traditional Eskimo Olympic games which will be not only challenging, but will teach the students about patience, following directions, and leadership qualities. With a curriculum that provides a full year’s worth of diversity in Native games, and with enthusiastic staff and students, all that we need is equipment.

Having the equipment to run our Native Games curriculum can be life changing. Most of our students are still trying to find their place in the world, and the Native games curriculum will focus on the development of our students’ identity and community building skills through the incorporation of a long history and culture that has much to share.

The Native Games project needs $236 still. Can you help make it happen?

Or this one, for the less sports-inclined, unless you’re into full contact chess: a project called Checkmate.

I have played chess for several years and I am excited to play chess with students in middle school. They love games and competition. Chess is an awesome way to challenge students to maximize their critical thinking and encourage a more active participation in math and science.

My students are in a high poverty inner city area. Chess sets are a luxury that their parents would not be able to provide for them. My students are enthusiastic learners and are challenged by hands on activities. Self discipline and structure needs to be encouraged through their active participation in this strategic game.

Dip into your chess tournament winnings and sponsor this project, they have $178 to go.

Or this one, which looks like it will have high impact in a needy area. Give to Scientific Fun Is Scientastic:

Have you ever wondered why about things? Science opens up a whole new window of whys.

My students are inquisitive, bright third graders. They attend their neighborhood school. They love their school, and they have great school spirit. Our school is a Title I school and 97% of the students are impoverish, but the students are eager to learn.

Hands-on activities make learning fun. Students will engage in experiments using science activities, magnets, eyedroppers, magnifiers, thermometers, and writing journals. These tools will help students discover the answers to their questions in a “scientastic” fun way.

And this project would be an awful shame if it doesn’t get the $129 it needs in the next two days — yes, they’re time limited!

If you can give, please do so. These kids deserve it. If you can’t give, direct this page to someone who can. If the idea of giving kids in impoverished areas the tools needed to learn to work in a team, learn to use logic and math, and discover the scientific method isn’t enough, I’ll tell you what. Anyone who donates from now onward to these three projects can officially claim the title of Honorary Canadian.

(This title grants you nothing but the ability to make certain classes of people in the United States want to beat you up. But it’s yours!)

Think of the children!! (Donors Choose – Last Big Push)

Astrology’s “obstetrician strawman” is no strawman

So, one among the dozens of ridiculous claims made by Ed Kohout in this thread was that the claim famously posited by Carl Sagan in Demon Haunted World, that the obstetrician in the room imparts more gravitational force on a newborn baby than does Pluto, is a strawman. Edit: To clarify, he referred to gravitational and tidal forces as proof that the planets have an effect on human lives (which we, of course, understand and can measure!), and handwaved away the Sagan quote preemptively as though it was a strawman caricature of the actual astrological arguments about gravity (which he didn’t, by the way, expand on). This strikes me as a bit of a Courtier’s Reply, and the fact is, the argument about gravity actually knocks gravity out as a potential vehicle for whatever influences are claimed about the planets’ influences — especially given that these influences are purportedly equally strong/subtle for any of the planets. The Sagan quote about Pluto’s gravity being less than the obstetrician’s is a sound-bite form of a knockout argument for one of the four fundamental forces.

Well, Ed said Jupiter instead, but I’m willing to crunch some numbers to see how right he is. For these calculations, since I’m no math genius, I’m using this Newtonian gravity equation calculator. Yeah, yeah, Newtonian physics have been superceded by relativity, but I’m not about to try to calculate this out using relativity, that would be ridiculous. Newtonian physics hold in this case anyway.

I’ve expanded out all the numbers from scientific notation to straight digits. Average baby weight is 3.4kg, so let’s go with that. As some commenters helpfully point out, this assumes the force from the center of a spherical mass, so assume a spherical baby and a spherical obstetrician. Because gravitational calculations are wibbly with oddly-shaped objects.

Jupiter at closest approach to Earth, weight rounded up:

object 1 mass (m1) = 3.4 kilogram
object 2 mass (m2) = 1900000000000000000000000000 kilogram
distance between objects (r) = 628743036 kilometer

gravitational force (F) = 0.000001090388427237 newton

Continue reading “Astrology’s “obstetrician strawman” is no strawman”

Astrology’s “obstetrician strawman” is no strawman