19 Dec 19:59

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales Isn’t Taking Any of Gamergate’s Threats, Tells Them Off Spectacularly - *Slow clap.*

by Dan Van Winkle

Thank you for a great response on GamerGate, @jimmy_wales, despite knowing that they will ignore & scream censorship. pic.twitter.com/ap18WqVy7h

— Randi Harper (@freebsdgirl) December 19, 2014

The tough duty of defending the editing of Gamergate Wiki entries for accuracy has fallen to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and he’s handling it admirably.

The flak Wales is currently taking from Gamergate supporters is in regards to a deleted Wiki page. Gamegaters want to know why a list of people who made anti-Gamergate statements was considered unfit for the Wiki, and Wales has answers:

. @musashitomoe Wikia doesn’t allow attack pages. If you care to make sure gg is an ethical movement for journalism you should agree.

— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) December 17, 2014

. @LoganMac91 it was a long hitlist of editors. Much nastiness. Exactly the kind of viciousness that gg is famous for.

— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) December 17, 2014

Then there’s the email he supposedly sent in response to Gamergate emails threatening not to donate to Wikipedia because of a perceived lack of impartiality over the incident, which is pretty perfect. The only thing I’d add would be “You shouldn’t append ‘gate’ to the end of anything you want taken seriously. ‘Gate’ suffixes are only for sarcastic derision at this point.”

Here it is with small additions in bold for clarity (original Reddit post here):

[Email sender]

I emailed as well.
Hello Jimmy,
I’ll keep this concise. I’m a computer science student, and Wikipedia has gotten me through just about all of my undergrad schooling. I am immensely grateful for it, and as such I donate a meager amount of money at every donation drive. It’s the least I can do. I’m very near graduation, and will soon be living off of a software engineer’s salary, not student loans. I’d like to start giving substantially to Wikipedia in order to pay that knowledge forward.
Here’s the problem: Wikipedia’s complete lack of any sort of attempt at neutrality regarding Gamergate is giving me serious ethical qualms about doing so. I don’t want to financially support an organization that claims to be a neutral, impartial source of information on all things that then goes on to try to push an agenda and spin a narrative of an author’s choosing. And then after the deletion of the Wikia page documenting editor abuse and corruption, I CERTAINLY don’t feel comfortable giving money when the founder of the site publicly condones such actions.
I’ll still use your site to look up mathematical formulas and listings of TV episodes, but you’ve lost respect and credibility with me. I won’t be donating again until/unless Wikipedia starts to address glaring issues.
Sincerely, [name]

[Purported response from Wales]

Hi [name],
I’m happy to inform you that our current fundraiser is the most successful in our entire history.
But there’s something deeper that is wrong with your argument – Wikipedia is not for sale, not to any donors, so even if donations were dropping, that would not mean to me that we should compromise on our principles of quality and neutrality in response to a pressure group.
My point here is not to say that there is nothing wrong with the article – I actually think it needs a fair amount of work. But I want you and others to understand that threatening people is not helpful.
I’ve recently seen web pages in which people who are – and I don’t know how else to put it – vicious assholes – are gathering data to attack the personal lives of volunteers. It is very difficult for me to buy into the notion that gamergate is “really about ethics in journalism” when every single experience I have personally had with it involved pro-gg people insulting, threatening, doxxing, etc.
No, not all pro-gg people. But there’s a huge contingent to the extent that for good people – and I respect your letter and assume good faith that you are a good person – the name “gamer gate” is toxic.
Even if 90% of the supporters are good and 10% are bad, the bad are poisoning the message for everyone. That’s not an evaluation of right and wrong, just an observation of a clear fact.
You see, a big part of the problem is that #gamergate is not a movement, but a hashtag. And so there is literally no way to have any quality control of any kind. There is no way to see what is or is not a position of gamergate.
I have had several people over the past weeks say to me “It is not about mysogyny.” I was prepared to believe that. But discussions usually very quickly move to attacking a female game developer for events surrounding her personal life. That’s sick.
The contingent of people who are interested in putting pressure on institutions within game journalism to expose corruption need an actual organization – with a mission statement, with a board of directors, with elected people who represent the movement. Barring that, you should very much expect the media to continue to accurately report that the Gamergate community is associated with online harassment and misogyny. But actually, in fact, it is.
I know that may pain you to hear. You thought you were taking part in a movement that would be about ethics in journalism. A movement that would stand for the rights of all gamers. That would welcome women into the world of gaming and would shame those who would engage in personal attacks on the basis of gender. I admire all of those things.
But #gamergate has been permanently tarnished and highjacked by a handful of people who are not what you would hope.
You might not be the person to lead it. I don’t know who is. But I strongly recommend that someone organize a “gamer’s union” of sorts, with a real mission statement, with real rules, with real organization and leadership.
Bitching and moaning on a twitter hashtag is getting you nowhere, particularly for the reasons I have outlined in this note.
–Jimmy Wales

And… well… yup.






uther clapping

riker clap

Brb. Donating to Wikipedia.

(via Randi Harper, image via Wikipedia)

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19 Dec 10:00

Friday Night Deploy

by sharhalakis

by Caio

19 Dec 05:00

December 19, 2014

21 Dec 12:00

Dream Cabin Loft, Wollemi Cabins, Blue Mountains, Australia....

Dream Cabin Loft, Wollemi Cabins, Blue Mountains, Australia. (Photography: Jochen Spencer)

21 Dec 09:06


21 Dec 07:16

NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

by Soulskill
HughPickens.com writes: "Sarah LeTrent reports at CNN that NASA just emailed the design of a socket wrench to astronauts so that they could print it out in the orbit. The ratcheting socket wrench was the first "uplink tool" printed in space, according to Grant Lowery, marketing and communications manager for Made In Space, which built the printer in partnership with NASA. The tool was designed on the ground, emailed to the space station and then manufactured where it took four hours to print out the finished product. The space agency hopes to one day use the technology to make parts for broken equipment in space and long-term missions would benefit greatly from onboard manufacturing capabilities. "I remember when the tip broke off a tool during a mission," recalls NASA astronaut TJ Creamer, who flew aboard the space station during Expedition 22/23 from December 2009 to June 2010. "I had to wait for the next shuttle to come up to bring me a new one. Now, rather than wait for a resupply ship to bring me a new tool, in the future, I could just print it."

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21 Dec 05:44

How hand sanitizer works. (comic by ScantronPattern)

How hand sanitizer works. (comic by ScantronPattern)

21 Dec 04:48

Here is the newest member of the family. Happy PDXmas, everyone!

Here is the newest member of the family. Happy PDXmas, everyone!

20 Dec 23:49

xenophonspeaks: weirdbitterdays: Point blank. Ok, so story...



Point blank.

Ok, so story time. I have never experienced a point in time where this was as powerful and as obvious as my freshman opening week back in college. They group everyone off and make you talk, people introduce themselves right and left, everyone talks about hobbies, and to me there was just this really cool vibe of, “Yeah, it’s easy to make friends, everyone is cool, yay!”

This quickly went away when I began to notice a disturbing pattern. I’d spend a while talking to someone only to mention something about my boyfriend (who by the way is now my husband) who also was starting at the same university with me. Usually along the lines of, “Yeah, me and my boyfriend both do this medieval fighting reenactment thing, it’s super fun. We’re hoping to start a club here,” because that’s pretty much all I could talk about at that point in my life. Almost immediately the face of the guy I was talking to would go from smiling and friendly to openly hostile, and he’d be like, “You have a boyfriend?” And after I gave any sort of affirmation, the person would instantly walk away and never speak to me again.

I was on a campus where the guy to girl ratio was 5 to 1, so as you might imagine, this happened to me way too fucking much in the span of a week. I was so fucking upset over it I remember sitting in my dorm alone in the evenings trying not to cry, feeling like an idiot and wondering why I wasn’t good enough for people to want to be friends with. A majority of my friends in high school had been guys, so the fact that these guys were solely interested in getting laid rather than making friendships really hurt (not to mention made me question a lot of the friendships with guys I already had). I had never made friends with girls easily (still don’t), and I was originally pretty pumped with the guy to girl ratio just because I much prefer to hang around men, so realizing that none of them would want anything to do with me unless it was for sexual reasons made me incredibly pessimistic about what my friendships would look like for the next four years.

However, there was ONE GUY the whole week who stuck around and stayed my friend. He ended up being good friends with both me and my boyfriend. We hung out all the time, joined the same clubs, went to parties together, etc. At the end of sophomore year, he actually came to visit our hometown (my boyfriend and I grew up in the same town but had attended different schools) and even stayed at my family’s house in the guest room. I was super pumped, because I saw him as a really good friend to both me AND my boyfriend. We were going to have like five whole days to hang out and show him the town, right? Come to find out, the only reason he’d been friends with me the entire time was because he was waiting for me to break up with my boyfriend so he could date me, and when that hadn’t happened after two years he actually got mad at me while I was letting him stay in my fucking house. He spent the rest of his stay telling me what a horrible person I was, how terrible my boyfriend was for me, and making me feel physically uncomfortable in my own home— literally telling me I owed him something for the two years he “put up with me.” To make a long story short, we haven’t spoken now in five years, and I don’t regret that at all.

Like I get it, the friendzone sucks, no one likes rejection. But holy fuck, I would much rather be rejected sexually than be rejected as an entire human being.

20 Dec 23:00

Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

by Soulskill
SternisheFan writes: The original Starship Enterprise was on a 5-year mission, but the original series was canceled after the third year. A continuation of Star Trek:TOS is being created by a dedicated cast and crew intent on keeping true to the spirit of Gene Roddenberry's television show. From recreating the original sets with incredible accuracy and attention to details, staying faithful to original storylines has been a true labor of love for all involved. Here are a series of videos showing the progress being made on recreating the iconic series. (And if you missed it last time, here's the first episode they produced.)

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20 Dec 19:00

(comic by Chris Hallbeck)

(comic by Chris Hallbeck)

20 Dec 16:42

Video: Charlie the Venus Flytrap Wishes You a Merry Christmas

20 Dec 15:00

One small study that explodes the myth that inequality is efficient

by Matthew Yglesias

If you want people to consume less water, there are roughly two ways you could do it. One is to raise the price of water, and the other is to simply mandate that everyone cut back on their water consumption.

Either will work, but they work in different ways. And an important recent study from Casey Wichman, Laura Taylor, and Roger von Haefen suggests that the difference in how they work has crucial implications for how we think about a wide variety of issues. When economic inequality is really severe, using prices to regulate the distribution of scarce goods can be seriously unfair. At the same time, using non-price mechanisms can be seriously inefficient.

That means that inequality is preventing us from adopting efficient solutions to a wide variety of problems, ranging from drought response to traffic congestion to climate change.

Expensive water hammers the poor

First, the study. The authors got their hands on a dataset of monthly water consumption for almost 2,000 households across six municipalities in North Carolina over a 30-month period. That data lets them compare municipalities that responded to droughts by raising the price of water to those that took different approaches. The authors also know the income and lot size of each household, which lets them seem whether poor or rich households bear more of the burden of water conservation.

From this, they were able to empirically demonstrate something that non-economists probably think is obvious — when you cut water use by raising prices, most of the cutting is done by the poor and almost none is done by the rich. As they put it, "the conservation burden falls primarily on lower-income households" while "high income households are significantly less responsive to price."

By contrast, a command-and-control approach — that is, just mandating that people use less water — cuts water use across the board, among both rich and poor households.

Microeconomics needs macrofoundations

This is an important example of a case where, as economist David Glasner puts it, microeconomics needs macrofoundations. Microeconomics is the study of individual markets and how to make them operate effectively. While economists have deep disagreements about macroeconomic topics like recessions, economic growth, and the distribution of income, the basic tenets of microeconomics are not very controversial inside the economics profession. When people say that "economics 101" supports something like Uber's surge pricing during a terrorism panic, they are talking about microeconomics.

Microeconomics tends to tell us, again and again, that life is best when sellers can set prices to rise and fall with the ups and downs of supply and demand. The idea is that markets should "clear." Everything that's produced should be sold, but you shouldn't have shortages that force people to wait around forever and ever.

This is an appealing idea, but as Steve Randy Waldman has written, it tends to brush distributional issues under the rug.

When people say that a price-based scheme for rationing water is most efficient, they mean that prices will deliver the most efficient distribution of dollars and water. The idea is that how much people are willing to spend on something is a good proxy for how much they care about it, or how important it is to their well-being. Different people like different things, but you can buy all kinds of different stuff with dollars, and seeing what people choose to spend their money on tells you a lot about their preferences.

But dollars aren't a perfect proxy for well-being, because money means different things depending on how rich or poor you are. To a middle class American, $5,000 is a really big deal. To a multi-millionaire like Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton, it's totally trivial — the value of their stock portfolios bounces up and down by that much all the time. To a person living paycheck-to-paycheck with no access to credit beyond very expensive payday loans, $5,000 could be a life-changing amount.

The technical term here is the "declining marginal utility of money." A given dollar produces less happiness in the pockets of a rich person than a poor one. That means that in a society with substantial economic inequality, an efficient distribution of dollars and water isn't going to be the same as an efficient distribution of happiness and water. This is what we're seeing in the North Carolina water case — the dollars are just a lot more important to the poor than the rich, so all the burden of adjusting to reduced water usage falls on them.

Equality can cure inefficiency

For contrarians, trolls, and Uber-haters the analysis can stop here. A tiny dose of complexity refutes the Econ 101 argument, so the world is safe for economist-bashing and conceptual arguments in favor of price controls.

And yet it continues to be the case that allocating scarce goods through prices is much more efficient. Joseph Stromberg's recent piece about the advantages of demand-responsive parking is a case in point. By charging more when parking spaces are in high demand, cities can eliminate pointless (and environmentally destructive) circling for parking. They can also capture revenue that can be used to cut taxes or boost services. Roughly the same is true of "congestion pricing" to alleviate traffic jams, and carbon taxes to tackle the even bigger problem of climate change.

Even back to the water case, the argument in favor of prices really does seem sound. Different people care a different amount about being able to use water lavishly — why shouldn't the reductions be done disproportionately by the people who don't care so much, while those who care a lot pay more?

To the extent that inequality undermines arguments for efficient price-based schemes, the correct conclusion is to reject inequality, not reject pricing. It's probably no coincidence that the three countries to really embrace congestion pricing are either egalitarian (Norway and Sweden) or dictatorial (Singapore). Efficiency-enhancing economic schemes often simply assume a background where there's not too much inequality, in part because, in many cases, they were hatched during the decades when the income distribution was much more even. But to actually implement these schemes in the real world, we need to also deliver the equality.

There's an old saw in the economics profession that there's a tradeoff between egalitarian outcomes and efficient ones, but empirical research consistently fails to find evidence that inequality boosts growth or redistribution slows it. One reason is that needs conditions of macro-equality to make micro-efficient schemes tolerable.

20 Dec 13:00

American college students say they would rather study with real books, not laptops

by Sonali Kohli
Pen and paper, all the way.

Ebooks, tablets and computer-based learning might be pervading elementary and middle schools throughout the US, but college students are still old-school. A Student Monitor survey of about 1,200 students in 100 American colleges in October found that for almost every type of schoolwork, students prefer to use a book rather than a computer.

Tap image to zoom

If you combine all digital preferences (including desktop, smartphone and other digital, not included in the chart), they outnumber print, which could be bad news for text-book publishers, who are trying to find a way to stay relevant. But in everything other than scheduling assignments or research (with so many academic papers online, students don’t seem to feel the need for a library), students would still rather use the paper version, by a large margin, than any other single option.

It’s the smart choice. Some research has shown students are able to focus better using print materials to study, rather than digital media. But that might also be derived from the fact that the current crop of college students doesn’t have much previous experience in learning on screens and tablets, says Jordan Schugar, an assistant professor of English at West Chester University, who has researched the topic. Schugar found, using small samples, that college students who read on Nooks in one study and younger students on iPads in another both saw decreased performance on a test of that material, compared to their performance when reading on print.

As tablets improve and become more like books, simulating the page movement and with better note-taking and annotating ability, Schugar says they could become a more viable option for college students.

20 Dec 09:52


20 Dec 03:49

keyframedaily: Tilda Swinton by Peter Hapak.

20 Dec 03:33

undoherdamage: I was looking up Snowpiercer stuff and this one...


I was looking up Snowpiercer stuff and this one site was like “based on your browsing history you may also like” and recommended The Polar Express

They’re basically the same right


19 Dec 23:20

Stunning Photos of an Ice-Encased Ski Resort in Slovenia

by EDW Lynch

Stunning Photos of an Ice-Encased Ski Resort in Slovenia

On December 9, 2014, photographer Marko Korosec visited a ski resort at Mount Javornik in Slovenia and discovered a stunning ice-encased wonderland. Korosec found the ice-covered trees and structures at the mountain’s summit. According to Korosec, some of the icicles were more than three feet long. Korosec posts his latest photos of storms and other weather phenomena on his Facebook page.


Stunning Photos of an Ice-Encased Ski Resort in Slovenia

Stunning Photos of an Ice-Encased Ski Resort in Slovenia

photos by Marko Korosec

via Colossal

19 Dec 23:04

NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

by Soulskill
astroengine writes: In a mesmerizing new video released by NASA, the Dec. 5 reentry of the Orion test space vehicle is chronicled — and it's a phenomenal 10-minute ride from fiery reentry to sudden splashdown into the Pacific Ocean. (YouTube Link.)

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19 Dec 22:00

Pastor whose church preaches against gay sex accused of soliciting another man

by Staff Reports
Gaylard WilliamsThe victim told police that Pastor Gaylard Williams grabbed and squeezed his genitals, and then requested that he perform oral sex.
19 Dec 22:00

(comic by cyanide&happiness)

(comic by cyanide&happiness)

19 Dec 21:30

Spotted in Woodstock, Vermont. (photo by moldycrackers)

Spotted in Woodstock, Vermont. (photo by moldycrackers)

19 Dec 20:15

stunningpicture: Its not a model. Actual image of floodwaters...


Its not a model. Actual image of floodwaters in the village of Jeram Perdas, Malaysia.

19 Dec 20:00

Спокойной ночи

19 Dec 19:17