Shared posts

23 Oct 10:06

What's financialism, and how is it destroying your life?

by Cory Doctorow

As businesses start retaining and investing larger cash-reserves, they're turning into banks. Banks, meanwhile, need to find another line of work: they become asset traders. Meanwhile, your wages have been stagnant for decades, which means that in order to survive, you must become a debtor. Read the rest

23 Oct 12:20

A scientific visualization of the importance of race

by PZ Myers

The image below is a phylogram, illustrating the degree of variation in a sequence of mitochondrial DNA. The concept is fairly simple: if two DNA samples are from individuals that are evolutionarily distant from one another, they’ll have accumulated more differences in their mitochondrial DNA, and will be drawn farther apart from one another. If the two individuals are closely related, their DNA will be more similar, and they’ll be drawn closer together. That’s the key thing you need to know to understand what’s going on.

There are other, more complicated analyses going on in the figure, too: the branching pattern is determined by analyzing subsets of shared sequences, and it takes a fair bit of computing power to put the full picture together. You’ll just have to trust me on that one, but all you need to know is that the branches are objectively calculated, and that the distances between the tips of the branches and their last branching point tell you something about the degree of genetic disparity in the group.

Unrooted phylogram of mitochondrial DNA sequences. Gagneux P1, Wills C, Gerloff U, Tautz D, Morin PA, Boesch C, Fruth B, Hohmann G, Ryder OA, Woodruff DS. (1999) Mitochondrial sequences show diverse evolutionary histories of African hominoids. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96(9):5077-82.

Unrooted phylogram of mitochondrial DNA sequences.

Gagneux P1, Wills C, Gerloff U, Tautz D, Morin PA, Boesch C, Fruth B, Hohmann G, Ryder OA, Woodruff DS. (1999) Mitochondrial sequences show diverse evolutionary histories of African hominoids. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96(9):5077-82.

Isn’t that a lovely family tree? You can see that the orangutan branch is a long, long way from the human branch, as expected, and that the chimpanzee and human branch point is closer to us than to the point where gorillas diverge from chimpanzees and human, also as expected.

But look at the modern humans, in red. We’re a sadly cramped little cluster; there may be a lot of us individuals, but we’re all relatively closely related. Modern humans only arose roughly 100,000 years ago, and our branch expanded numerically fairly rapidly, but we haven’t had all that much time to accumulate as much genetic variation. We’re a close-knit side branch of the primate family tree, or we ought to be close-knit — we’re brothers and sisters together.

We’re definitely set somewhat apart from Cousin Neanderthal, the light blue line. But even there, the range of genetic diversity is pitiful compared to the chimpanzees.

The exuberant flowering of the chimpanzee lineage, all those blue and green and orange lines, tells us that these come from deep, distinct populations. All those beings we just lump together as chimps are actually genetically diverse, representing multiple long-established lineages — Central Chimpanzees are more different from Western Chimpanzees than we are from Neanderthal. Western Gorillas are far more distant from Eastern Gorillas than any branch of the modern human tree. The orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo, two islands separated by a few hundred kilometers, show far greater genetic differences than Chinese and African humans.

The patterns of descent we see in that stunted bud of humanity may be real, but they’re tiny when compared to the grand bouquet of chimpanzee genetics. So how can we fight over the few small superficial differences that mark human races? I guess we’re just really good at squabbling with our brothers and sisters.

23 Oct 11:06

Rage more

by PZ Myers

Chris Kluwe posts on #gamergate. He’s not nice about it.

Dear #Gamergaters,

Do you know why you piss me the fuck off?

Because you’re lazy. You’re ignorant. You are a blithering collection of wannabe Wikipedia philosophers, drunk on your own buzzwords, incapable of forming an original thought. You display a lack of knowledge stunning in its scope, a fundamental disregard of history and human nature so pronounced that makes me wonder if lead paint is a key component of your diet. You think you’re making piercing arguments when, in actuality, you’re throwing a temper tantrum that would embarrass a three-year-old.

The GamerGaters raged. So much hate. But not much else.

Felicia Day posts on #gamergate. She’s sad and regretful about it.

I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline. I did one simple @ reply to one of the main victims several weeks back, and got a flood of things I simply couldn’t stand to read directed at me. I had to log offline for a few days until it went away. I have tried to retweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I am terrified to be doxxed for even typing the words “Gamer Gate”. I have had stalkers and restraining orders issued in the past, I have had people show up on my doorstep when my personal information was HARD to get. To have my location revealed to the world would give a entry point for a few mentally ill people who have fixated on me, and allow them to show up and make good on the kind of threats I’ve received that make me paranoid to walk around a convention alone. I haven’t been able to stomach the risk of being afraid to get out of my car in my own driveway because I’ve expressed an opinion that someone on the internet didn’t agree with.

Immediately, some GamerGater posted her home address and phone number.

At last it’s slowly beginning to sink in to them, though, that they’ve driven away most of their support.

For someone who’s sick of the abuse, these 8chan threads are pure schadenfreude:


Among the fallen heroes mentioned: Patton Oswalt, Seth Rogen, Felicia Day, William Gibson, Tim Schafer, cartoonist Mariel Cartwright, Joss Whedon, writer Greg Rucka, Wil Wheaton, writer Jim Sterling, John Scalzi, Adam Sessler, Jon Stewart, and the creators of Raspberry Pi, who came out forcefully against #gamergate.

But at least they’ve still got…Adam Baldwin.

I’ve also noticed something on Twitter: any time I mention this awful #gamergate bullshit, I get a flood of dismissive, insulting comments, and I have to exercise the block button frequently. Usually, I’ll take a look at who this person is: and most often, it’s some account with 0-50 followers, a few hundred (at most) tweets, and if I look at their twitter history, it’s all raging about Social Justice Warriors and #gamergate. The channers have been doing a good job of ginning up lots of fake accounts and making noise on the internet, but they’re all Quaker cannons — ignorable.

Now we just have to persuade the atheist movement that these raving anti-feminists are all bark, have no credibility, and are damaging every group they join.

23 Oct 15:44

Two more weeks of this...

by Minnesotastan

The "caller ID" no longer works on my office phone, so yesterday when I answered it, I heard "Hi !! This is [politician].  I know everybody hates robocalls, but..." [click]

I have grown not to just despise the politicians, but to hate the process.
23 Oct 15:28

How to Boycott Me, I Mean, REALLY Boycott Me

by John Scalzi

Ah, I see some GamerGaters are whining to Tor that I am being mean to them. Well, good luck with that tactic, kids.

— John Scalzi (@scalzi) October 23, 2014

So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet, because apparently Tor is my dad. So maybe this push to boycott Tor because of me has legs after all! Hooray!

That said, my takeaway from these furtive attempts to make me shut up about the fact that GamerGate is basically a bunch of terrible human beings being shitty to women, up to and including threatening them and publishing their personal information online in an obvious attempt to silence them is to be just a little bit sad. Not because a few of these human-shaped pieces of ambulatory refuse are trying to do it, but because they’re thinking too small about it.

I mean, seriously, boycotting just Tor Books? Why limit yourself? Sure, it’s the largest publisher of science fiction and fantasy books in North America and possibly the world, but it’s just one imprint of Tom Doherty Associates. There are several other imprints, including Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen and Seven Seas. You should boycott those, too. That’ll show me!

But even then, you’d be thinking too small. Tom Doherty Associates is itself just one appendage of the publishing giant known as Macmillan, with offices in 41 countries! It publishes thousands of books a year! What a target! You should boycott all of Macmillan. Man, I’m quaking in my boots just thinking about it. But even then, it’s small potatoes, for Macmillan is just one part of the mighty Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, with annual sales in the billions of euros. Boycott it all! No doubt all of Stuttgart shall fall into a shambles at the thought.

But even then you are not done, boycotters! For you see, I am crafty and have diversified my revenue stream. I have many publishers and many people I work with. You must punish them all for having me in their midst. All of them. And not just the tiny imprint or sub-company that works with me directly. That’s what a coward would do. And are you a coward? Well, yes, probably, because the tactics of GamerGate have been astoundingly cowardly right from the start. But still! Think big, my friends. Your boycott must not just take out a few targets, it must nuke them all from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

With that in mind, here are your other boycott targets:

In the UK I am published by Gollancz, which is part of Orion Publishing Group, which is in itself part of Hachette, which is part of Lagardère Group. Crush them!

In Germany I am published by Heyne, which is part of Random House, which is itself owned by Penguin Random House, which is jointly owned by Pearson and Bertlesmann. Squish them!

In audio, I am published by Audible, which is owned by Amazon. Surely it is worth giving up your sweet Amazon Prime subscriptions to make Jeff Bezos shake in his chinos!

But wait! We’re still not done. Because as you may know I have TV deals! One is with FX, which is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, which is part of 21st Century Fox (yes, it’s 21st Century Fox now. Look it up). You will need to boycott it all. Yes, even Fox News. Be strong! It’s for the cause!

Another is with Syfy and Universal Cable Productions, which is part of NBCUniversal, which is itself part of Comcast. So for this one, some of you will have to give up cable, and possibly your Internet connection. Keep your eye on the prize! It will be worth it!

My third TV deal is with Legendary TV, which is part of Legendary Pictures. And you’re thinking, whew, at least they aren’t part of a multinational corporation! True, but they make films that are distributed through a number of film studios, including Warner Bros (basically, all the DC Comics movies) and Universal. They also own both Geek & Sundry and Nerdist Industries. Noooooo! You can’t get your nerd on anymore! Stay focused! Your pain will make victory that much sweeter!

So, in short, in order to effectively punish my business partners for me having thoughts you don’t like, all you need to do is boycott three of the five major US publishers, two of the five major film/television studios (plus selected product of one of the other ones), and the largest single online retailer in the world. Which, well. It will keep you busy, at least.

Which, to be clear, I am fine with. While you are off whining to these corporations about me, perhaps you will be too busy to, you know, threaten death, rape and assault against women who also dare to express thoughts you don’t like. And you know what? I think that’s a fair trade.

So please: If you’re going to boycott a company because of me, at least do it right. Do it big. There are all your targets, laid out for you. Go get ‘em! I’ll be rooting for you, kids!

And in the meantime, just remember this:

If you think threatening women is a legitimate tactic for anything, feel free to stop reading my work. I don't need you or your money.

— John Scalzi (@scalzi) October 11, 2014

Still true, people. Still true.

21 Oct 20:17


23 Oct 00:56

Gamer Felicia Day on Gamergate

by Xeni Jardin
Felicia Day. Photo: Cristina Gandolfo.

Felicia Day. Photo: Cristina Gandolfo.

Gamer and online personality Felicia Day hasn't said much about Gamergate. Today, she opened up on her blog. “Why have I remained mostly silent? Self-protection and fear.” Read the rest

22 Oct 20:47

bob-artist: Orzo and Ebo not feeling this song.


Orzo and Ebo

not feeling this song.

22 Oct 19:10

birdsbirds: tootricky: conures in bird-love (source) oh my...



conures in bird-love (source)

oh my god this is the cutest thing of the day that’s it you won thanks

Birds of a feather

22 Oct 15:36

Semi-rigid, cubical rubber bands

by Cory Doctorow

From designer Nendo, "the geometrical shapes make the bands easy to find in a drawer and easy to pick up." Eye-watering pricetag, though: about $10 for three from Mark's.

cubic rubber-band (via Colossal)

(Image: Akihiro Yoshida)

21 Oct 16:01

Comparing butter and margarine

by Minnesotastan
21 Oct 22:07

herebos: The Steller’s Sea Eagle Locarno, 13/9/2014 Just...


The Steller’s Sea Eagle

Locarno, 13/9/2014

Just chillin’ at the park with my eagle. NBD

21 Oct 04:10

Air puppets: their strange past and stranger future

by David Pescovitz

"Air puppets"? I guess if you have to deal with them on a daily basis, it does take a long time to say "Can you turn the wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man?"



Over at Re:form, Sam Dean tells the fascinating history of air puppets, from their invention and 1990s golden era to the laws that banned them in urban locales to their rebirth as scarecrows.

21 Oct 12:38

Real life hoverboard introduced via Kickstarter campaign

by Caroline Siede
Hoverboards are now a reality thanks to a Silicon Valley think tank. Caroline Siede chats with inventor Greg Henderson about the board's design and the company's newly launched Kickstarter campaign. Read the rest
20 Oct 03:52

Familiar film scenes in Lego

by David Pescovitz

A film by Morgan Spence.

21 Oct 13:00

Paranautical Activity Pulled From Steam For Death Threats

by Graham Smith

An artist's representation of the threat.

First-person shooter Paranautical Activity has been pulled from Steam after its creator tweeted a death threat about Valve founder Gabe Newell. Mike Maulbeck’s tweet – since deleted – followed an all-caps rant in response to the game being incorrectly labelled as being in Early Access. Because I guess this is the world we live in now.

… [visit site to read more]

20 Oct 21:09

Vultures circle GamerGate

by Matt Binder
The mainstream media finally discovered the Internet's latest subculture of hostile, cynical, easily-led youngsters. Matt Binder on the narcissists, grifters and creeps arriving in its wake. Read the rest
20 Oct 20:09

Realistic cactus cupcakes

by Xeni Jardin


From Alana Jones-Mann, a baker, culinary artist and DIY enthusiast in Brooklyn, cupcakes that look like miniature cacti. They're so cute, they're even planted in crushed graham cracker soil.

Read the rest

20 Oct 18:46

Powered by the stars themselves

by Iain

Spanning two decades and achieving worldwide popularity, the Stargate franchise gave Star Trek a pretty good run for its money – and is now even up for a movie reboot. The final spin-off, named Stargate Universe, tried to lure fans by adopting the grittier realism of shows like Battlestar Galactica. Unfortunately that shift didn’t gel with audiences, and the show was cancelled after just 2 seasons.

I’m a huge SG-U fan and was sad to see it go. So when German builder nameless_member produced this beautiful model of the star ship Destiny, it was nice to be reminded I wasn’t the only one…

I really love the compactness of this build – it’s probably the smallest scale that you could build Destiny at and still do it justice. It has just the right level of greebling, and the ship’s distinctive curvature is perfectly captured, as you can see from this rear angle. Even the shuttle craft have been included!

20 Oct 13:27

Man convicted over "illegal" cartoons

by Rob Beschizza
18 Oct 17:11


18 Oct 19:03


18 Oct 20:11


by Brinke


From Laughing Squid.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Hip #hashtag attempt, Owls, The Big J
19 Oct 23:53

To All You Hipsters In the Gypsy Tag:


[TW: Talk of sexual assault, physical assault, violence and antiziganism.]

I’ve sat here, combating the ignorance individually. I’m done with that. I’m done trying to reach you on a one on one level. You continuously ignore anything from me, you ignore the people I talk to on here who are Roma. You say we’re “Being too sensitive,” that “Gypsy is just a word,” that it stands for “Being free spirited, moving from place to place,” and the best, “I’m APPRECIATING your culture.”

First, gypsy is a slur. No matter what you think, it has been a slur for centuries.  It’s where the term “gypped" comes from. It was believed that the Roma would rip gadje (non-Roma) off for money. Roma who escaped the fate of death at the hands of the SS and their dogs, the ones who weren’t killed right away, were branded with a "Z", which stood for Zigeuner, the German word for "Gypsy". They were shipped to death camps, where barely any suvived.

It is a slur still used today. Roma are called “Gyppos” while being beaten, forced out of their settlements, forced to move. They are called this when they are assaulted and even raped. They are victims of forced sterilization, forcible eviction of settlements, harassment by both law enforcement and citizens, fingerprinting simply because they are Roma, they are often ecxluded from schools.

I want you to look at this:


This is from 2009. This is a Roma woman being assaulted WHILE CARRYING HER CHILD in Dublin! This is what the word “Gypsy” stands for.

This is Natalka Kudrikova. She is a little girl who was severely burned when antiziganists threw molotov cocktails into her family’s home:


This is also what the word “Gypsy” stands for. This happened in 2010. Systemic violence against a culture, an ethnicity, that just wants to be treated equally, to not have their way of life treated horribly. You can be sure, as these acts were going on, the word “GYPSY!” was being screamed in a way meant to incite fear and terror in those hearing it.

You dress up in flowy clothing, half-naked or naked except for a shawl. Do you have any idea how insulting that is? It contributes to the fetishization and sexualization of the Roma. Women are assaulted physically and sexually, because of this type of thing. They are raped, simply because they are believed to be “Easy” because of these “Positive stereotypes” you’re so quick to buy into.

It’s damaging to the culture when you treat it as a costume. Do you know the meaning behind the long skirts, or the “head scarves” that you’re so fond of donning? Do you know why the Roma wear these? It’s not for fucking fashion.

When you wear these things without a a care, you take away the meaning of these items. You take away the deep cultural roots the have. The skirt is worn because the lower half of the body is traditionally seen as “unclean” due to marime, or the code that’s followed. That “scarf” is known as a diklo, worn by women when they are married.

When you dress like this, you are spitting in the face of that culture, these people that are treated like they’re less than garbage TODAY. Not centuries ago, this is STILL HAPPENING

So, before you tag that picture as “Gypsy” or say you want to “Lead a gypsy lifestyle,” look back on this post. Think about what that word means, and what you’re saying. Think about how fucking disrespectful it is. Think about the racism involved with that word. And realize that you are contributing to the ignorance that allows violence like these 2 out of countless incidents that occur. You are turning the Roma into a trope. This positive stereotype allows people to ignore the violence and hatred that Roma are still facing, because everyone thinks that being a “gypsy” is all about freedom, when really, they face oppression daily!

You’re not cool when you do this, you’re contributing to racism and violence.

19 Oct 23:53

deathbecomesheather: somnia-maior: co-gi-to: untamedcomets: T...





This is important


teach your sons and daughters not to rape, not to put drugs in drinks, teach them to be nice 


17 Oct 23:11

"I was the first female captain to walk onto the bridge of a starship and issue the signature..."

“I was the first female captain to walk onto the bridge of a starship and issue the signature command, “Engage.” I was also the first captain to have more than seven hairdos within a season, a corset sewn into her space suit, and a bra that resembled an alien species. I was puffed and shorn and stuffed and lit and scrutinized by every executive on the lot. I was criticized and cajoled, alternatively patronized and petted. It’s as if they had all gone out of their way to find this exotic animal who could, in fact, walk and talk and act at the same time, and yet when she appeared on deck, they were stunned to discover that under that feline coat was, God help us, a feline.”

- "The Influence of Captain Janeway" by Kate Mulgrew (Foreward to Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture, 2010)
19 Oct 22:55

Men’s Rights Activists: Most gullible people in the world, or most gullible people in the universe?

by David Futrelle
If you believe this, a career in Men's Rights Activism might be for you!

If you believe this, a career in Men’s Rights Activism might be for you!

So I was idly perusing Janet “JudgyBitch” Bloomfield’s Twitter yesterday, and I came across an alarming tweet. It seemed as though Bloomfield had somehow penetrated the 47 levels of security protecting the Feminist HIgh Council to discover incontrovertible evidence of Operation Wicked Succubus. You know, the feminist plan to eliminate all men (except for me).

Lol! Comparing feminists to Nazis is just so weak! #KillAllMen #WomenAgainstFeminism

— JudgyBitch (@BloomfieldJanet) October 18, 2014

Her followers were aghast:


And naturally one of them brought up #GamerGate.


There were a few others, but you get the idea.

It never occurred to any of them to, you know, try to find out just who the bald man advocating killing all men was. Or who exactly he was talking to.

So I decided to do some serious investigative journalism to see what I could uncover. I typed out “‘eliminate men as a gender’ security” into a little known internet “search engine” called Google, and boldly clicked on the first result.


This led me to a Tweet with a URL in it. Bravely, I clicked on that URL and found myself looking at a video of a presentation at something called Monitorama PDX 2014 — clearly the code name for one of the Feminist Conspiracy’s conventions.

I looked it up in Google and discovered a web page for the event, which had been held in May. It was described as an “An Open Source Monitoring Conference & Hackathon.”

Ah, clearly a clever Feminist code name.

And then I decided to look up the name of the speaker: James Mickens. Turns out the guy works at Microsoft, one of the companies at the center of the Misandrist Conspiracy. Mickens is also the author of a number of papers, with titles like “Pivot: Fast, Synchronous Mashup Isolation Using Generator Chains” and “Mugshot: Deterministic Capture and Replay for JavaScript Applications.”

Obviously, some high level feminist theorizing.

Then I decided to watch the video. And I was shocked!

Because it wasn’t a speech about killing all men after all. It wasn’t even a feminist speech. No, it seemed instead to be a highly technical talk about internet security issues, illustrated with a lot of silly slides. Like this:



And this:


I must confess that I didn’t get the overwhelming majority of his jokes. But he audience seemed to find these slides, and much of what he said, hilarious. So if you ever need to hire a comedian who can joke about Synchronous Mashup Isolation Using Generator Chains, Mickens is your guy.

So where does the whole “kill all men” thing come from?

Well, I skipped ahead a bit in the video until I found a section in which Mickens talked about the dumb things people do that can undermine even the most sophisticated security setup.

His example: gullible, horny men who are tricked into “friending” hackers on Facebook posing as hot babes — even when there are pretty obvious indications that the hot babes aren’t really hot babes at all.

Things like: saying they graduated from Central University, even though there is no school by that name in the US, or spelling the name of their profession wrong.



These are all good clues, he said, that the hot babe you just friended on facebook was really this guy:



Given that men are regularly duped with simple tricks that play on their horniness and gullibility, Mickens joked, maybe the real goal for people trying to design secure systems should be the elimination of all men.


So that’s where the slide comes from.

And by the way, that whole bit of his killed — not as in “killed all men” but as in “got giant laughs from the mostly male audience.” Expecially the part about killing all men.

If you want to see the whole bit, starting with Mary and ending with “eliminate men as a gender,” it starts at around 20:40 in the video.

Men’s Rights Activists: more gullible than guys who friend Mary from Central University on Facebook.

NOTE TO EXTREMELY LITERAL-MINDED MRAS: That bit about the feminist plot to kill all men (except me) at the start of this post was a joke. Feminists don’t really intend to kill all men (except me).

Or do they?

18 Oct 02:49

ostolero: samurott: why do gamers need a gate anyway



why do gamers need a gate anyway


18 Oct 21:38

Jailed former dictator Manuel Noriega suing game maker Activision

by Xeni Jardin
The former leader of Panama says he's entitled to compensation because his image appears in "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" without his consent. Read the rest
18 Oct 19:20

If you don't agree to the new Wii U EULA, Nintendo will kill-switch it

by Cory Doctorow

When you bought your Wii U, it came with one set of terms-of-service; now they've changed, and if you don't accept the changes, your Wii seizes up and won't work. That's not exactly what we think of when we hear the word "agreement." Read the rest