Female orgasm, caught on tape

You can still call a digital three-dee brain MRI a “tape”, right?

Remember the very recent paper that Scicurious, PZ Myers and Greg Laden all covered, regarding the hypothetical reasons why women have orgasms analogous to men’s, considering that women don’t output eggs during orgasm the way that men output semen? I guess female orgasms are apparently a big mystery to science, and all sorts of reasons for the female orgasm have been postulated, but the fact that it’s possible to become pregnant without a woman’s orgasm seems to completely stymie people in the scientific community. (Dare I say, even, baffle?)
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Female orgasm, caught on tape

Female protagonists in video games as eye candy and as role models

Via reader Aliasalpha, Kotaku Australia has a piece up about a Street Fighter panel at NYU’s Game Centre where Capcom staffer Seth Killian (a.k.a s-kill) was asked, point blank, “why so sexist?” He said he was going to “take it on the chin”, but proceded to blame cultural differences between Japanese and Western cultures, playing his answers for laughs from the crowd.
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Female protagonists in video games as eye candy and as role models

God: “It Getteth Better”

An absolutely shameless marketing strategy by Simon & Schuster to promote A Last Testament: A Memoir By God. But I’ll bite, because it’s sacrelicious.

Also, there’s a great little scuffle going on right now between Simon and Schuster and the National Organization for Marriage. NOM is DEEPLY OFFENDED by this, and has reuploaded the video to their own Youtube account rather than contributing to the S&S account’s hit counts by embedding the original. They evidently have a long history of swiping copyrighted material without proper attribution or permission from the authors.

God: “It Getteth Better”

The Problem with Privilege (or: Predatory Behaviour)

Post 9 in an ongoing series. See the Master Post for previous entries in The Problem with Privilege.

From blacklava.net. Buy one today! (If you're privileged.)

In the last post in this series, comments diverged from the topic of overzealous application of skepticism to the idea of whether it’s right and rational for women to assume that all men are potential rapists. I made the following analogy, as regarding a comparison to assuming all Muslims are terrorists:

I also suspect you’re suggesting that there is a visual difference between Arabs and Caucasians, but you substituted “Muslim” for it. Muslims don’t necessarily have to look like brown people in turbans, you realize.

And as for assuming all of them are terrorists, there are just as many non-Muslim terrorists in recent history to suggest that what you mean is that you’re justified in thinking that anyone who is overzealous about some particular dogma is a potential terrorist. Meaning animal rights activists, Christians, men’s rights activists, anti-abortionists, et cetera. The problem with that is, you can’t visually distinguish that someone is an adherent to a dogma unless they do something to self-identify, like wearing some distinctive symbol. And even then, your fear responses shouldn’t automatically trigger or you get incidents like where clerics are arrested for praying in an airport.

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The Problem with Privilege (or: Predatory Behaviour)

A newly minted published fiction author in our midst

Holy hell, Stephanie Zvan got a piece of fiction published in Nature! If you ask me, it’s about time someone published her — I’ve had the privilege of reading a number of her unpublished works; there’s more than one reason she has earned my respect and the only official title I’ve ever bestowed on anyone in my capacity of Blog Dictator. I have it on good authority she’ll be posting it as her Saturday Storytime, but the piece is just too good to wait. Read it now, then read it again on Saturday and post your comments when she posts it.

No spoilers here, though. At all.

Well, okay, some spoilers in my tags. And maybe the categories too. If you need a synopsis before your interest is piqued, wait til Saturday when she’ll post it on her blog.

In the meantime, join me in congratulating her on breaking into the writing biz! I expect great things from Our Lady of Perpetual Win.

A newly minted published fiction author in our midst

The Problem with Privilege (or: Evidential Skepticism)

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so to catch you all up, here are my prior entries in the series.

From blacklava.net. Buy one today! (If you're privileged.)

The Problem with Privilege (or: you got sexism in my skepticism!)
The Problem with Privilege (or: no, you’re not a racist misogynist ass, calm down)
The Problem with Privilege (or: missing the point, sometimes spectacularly)
The Problem with Privilege (or: after this, can we get back to the actual issues?)
The Problem with Privilege: Manifesto for Change
The Problem with Privilege (or: cheap shots, epithets and baseless accusations for everyone!)
The Problem with Privilege: some correct assertions, with caveats

It appears that many of the bloggers now on FtB, once from various corners of the intertubes, are embroiled once again in the total catastrophic meltdown of reason that is discussing the nexus of sexism and skepticism.

The focus this time? The same as every other time — how Rebecca Watson can’t be trusted at her word, and how one must be skeptical — SKEPTICAL, I SAY — of anything she says because she’s making the obviously extraordinary claim that someone asserted his privilege to flirt over her request to not be treated that way. I mean, who’s going to believe THAT tall tale, right?

Stephanie Zvan challenges the Elevator Guy Apologists to try assuming Watson isn’t lying, and see what you think about EG’s actions thereafter. A number of folks dance around the challenge but ultimately refuse to participate. Some idiots took the opportunity over at Xblog to turn a post promoting Dawkins’ new book Magic of Reality into another thread about how poorly we’ve been treating Dawkins over his dismissive and sneering post regarding Rebecca Watson. And Ophelia Benson posted an evisceration of the meme that a man “cannot know” that a woman is interested until he cold-propositions her as a perfect stranger in an elevator at 4am.

What do these threads have in common in what’s driving their commentariat? Well, aside from having two trolls (Justicar and DavidByron, both making flat unevidenced assertions and ignoring all counterpoints to their chosen points of view) in common, the posts’ comments also run the gamut of questioning every aspect of Rebecca Watson’s story and present every conceivable method of character assassination of Rebecca Watson herself.

But isn’t that how skepticism works?

Continue reading “The Problem with Privilege (or: Evidential Skepticism)”

The Problem with Privilege (or: Evidential Skepticism)

It might not get better after all.

I love the “It Gets Better” campaign, started by newspaper personality Dan Savage. The message he has to deliver though, that bullying and oppression that you might experience by coming out as gay or transsexual or any other non-hetero orientation will eventually wane as others mature and learn to embrace plurality, might be… shall we say, inaccurate? Via sinned34’s blog:

President Obama to gay victims of bullying: “It gets better.”

Family Research Council to those same kids: “No, it doesn’t, you goddamned queers!”

Yeah. Really. Hardly any exaggeration there.

I honestly wish I was joking about this, but here’s the mailing the Family Research Council sent out recently.

EGADS! A homosexual extremist! I fully expect Dan Savage to strap on his pink Hello Kitty AK47 and bomb churches with fragmentation grenades shaped like dildos now! And I’m sure his terrorist attire would match his pumps, too! Seriously, people on the right throw around the word “extremist” to mean “people who advocate things that we don’t believe in”. It’s a pejorative that’s lost all meaning today, such that when you point to religious fundamentalists who stockpile guns and bomb buildings and call them extremists, the word just doesn’t capture their extremism any more.

The Family Research Council is not an extremist organization by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a religiously motivated single-issue political organization built around the idea that the only Biblically-acceptable family unit is one of man and wife, and any other family unit is evil and immoral. The people making up any non-heteronormative family unit are equally evil and immoral according to these chuckleheads.

Homosexuality, despite all the bloviating by these fools, is probably genetic.

The Family Research Council is therefore casting as a “moral failing” something that these children can no sooner control than they can control their handedness or hair color. Sure, you could train yourself to write with your right hand despite your natural inclinations; sure, you could dye your hair; but neither action will change your genetics. The fact that some really old book can be interpreted as saying that homosexuals are evil, doesn’t mean that anyone with that particular confluence of genes is actually evil. There’s nothing immoral (in the sense of “objectively harmful to society as a whole”) for people to be attracted to whomever they’re genetically predisposed to be attracted to. The only argument I’ve ever seen that might make it objectively harmful to society is one where you extrapolate out homosexual behaviour to the populace as a whole — if everyone were to switch to homosexuality, the human race would stop breeding and would die after a generation.

But that’s not what anyone’s suggesting here; what we’re suggesting is that we accept that proportion of the population whose genes direct them to be attracted to the same sex. We’re suggesting that you just live and let live. Love who you want to love. Tolerate who doesn’t love what you love. Be intolerant of people who are intolerant of others for stupid reasons like what genes they happen to have. Treat homophobes the same way as we’d treat someone who called being left-handed immoral and sinful. It is incumbent upon us to achieve a more perfect morality than the morality handed down by some goat-herders in the Middle-East who knew less about genetics than they did about the shape of the Earth or the orbits of the planets. We’re better than those morals. We deserve better than those morals.

Unless we can stomp out this bigotry, this intolerance, this hateful adherence to really old prejudices, then it might not get better. It’s up to us. Do we want it to Get Better? Because if we let bullshit like this slide, then it might not get better after all.

It might not get better after all.

The Problem with Privilege: some correct assertions, with caveats

I really want to get on with other things. Seriously, I do. Which is why I want to cede a bit of ground — or at least it might seem that way to the casual observer, given all the things I’m about to agree to. It would pay dividends in furthering the conversation if you do your best not to skim before replying.

There are a number of arguments in this whole privilege debacle surrounding the so-called Elevatorgate (a timeline, for you newbies) that, while not actually rebutting the issues in question, are in themselves valid and correct. Here’s a few of them, and why they don’t address the problem at hand.
Continue reading “The Problem with Privilege: some correct assertions, with caveats”

The Problem with Privilege: some correct assertions, with caveats

Gay couple cage, beat adopted son to death in Chicago

Note to people coming from NJ.com: THIS POST CONTAINS HEAVY SARCASM. Read everything past the last blockquote. Jesus fuck, some people are dense.

Two incredible and incredibly synchronous events came across my feed reader today, events that may change my mind about a lot of things that I’ve blogged about in the past. This may be a relatively difficult post to get through, but bear with me.

It was recently discovered that thirteen-year-old Christian Choate was beaten to death in Chicago after years of physical and mental abuse by his (I presume adopted) parents, Riley Choate and Kimball Kubina. The gay couple removed Christian from school claiming to then home-school him, but instead kept him locked in the bathroom most of the time. They eventually upgraded his accomodations, locking him in a dog cage bought from a neighbor during the last year of Christian’s short life after Christian had made an escape attempt from the bathroom prison and was found and retrieved at the local drug store.

Even more disturbing than the simple fact of his incarceration were the home-schooling subjects Kubina gave to Christian to complete:

Kubina wrote topics on top of some of the pages including, “Why do you want to play with your peter? Why do you still want to see your mom? Why can’t you let the past go? What does it mean to be part of a family?” DCS records state.

Thankfully, this horrible mental abuse lasted only as long as it did before one of Riley’s blows mercifully ended Christian’s tortured existence. The family then buried Christian in a shallow grave, covered the grave with concrete, then moved to Kentucky where Christian’s disappearance would go unnoticed and his body undiscovered for two years. This is a brutal example of exactly how inhumane gay people can be, and it’s a sad testament to the state of families today if couples like this can get the license to adopt and destroy the lives of young children.

Meanwhile, in New York, gay marriage is now legal after a vote in a Republican state senate that can only be described as historic.

When New York’s state Senate passed the bill, 33-to-29, cheers of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” erupted in the chamber. The historic vote followed an 80-to-63 vote in the state Assembly last week (the fourth time the lower house had passed a marriage equality bill) — and more than a week of parliamentary maneuvers by conservatives and Republicans to keep the bill from coming to a vote. In the end, the Senate passed the bill into law despite a Republican majority and despite the G.O.P. making gains in the 2008 election. Although gay marriage has yet to win a single statewide referendum, its legislative success in New York on Friday shows that it is quickly advancing in nearly every other way, from legal victories in California courts and throughout the federal judiciary to an increasingly enthusiastic ally in the White House.

I can’t help but think of all the damaged lives that will result if these inherently chaotic and depraved gay people continue making inroads — first they get marriage, then they get discrimination-free adoption, then they can kill all the babies that us breeders couldn’t care for in a disturbing display of social Darwinism. This truly is a slippery slope.

Thankfully, there are organizations like the National Organization of Marriage to defend sanity in this upside-down world. They’re pledging to devote $2 million to overturn this legalization of child-murder gay marriage “to make sure Republicans get this message loud and clear: Voting for gay marriage has consequences.” NOM operates in defense of traditional Christian values like marriage being only for men and women, who are then free to breed as stipulated by the Bible: “Go forth and multiply.” Since there’s no prerequisite for heterosexuals to have children, there’s nothing stopping them from having healthy, happy Christian children in this crazy world — so long as organizations like NOM exist to defend marriage’s inherent heterosexuality.

At least there’s some small glimmer of hope in this ridiculously backward world. Riley and Kimball were both charged:

Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina have been charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent, confinement, obstruction of justice, moving a body from a death scene and failure to notify authorities of a dead body. They have both pleaded not guilty.



Now why did I read that as Kimball?

Carry on, those of you who came expecting Christians to stand up against the real villains in this world. Nothing to see here.

Gay couple cage, beat adopted son to death in Chicago