Shared posts

27 Aug 12:36

I am not a number

by PZ Myers


I endorse this article: 5 Ways That Science Supports Feminism – Not Gender Essentialism. It’s making the point that when you actually study the relevant sciences, you discover that they fundamentally support a more complex view of sexuality than the usual boy/girl dichotomy. Here, in brief, are the five points it makes:

1. There Are More Than Two Sexes, Not to Mention a Vast Range of Gender Identities
2. The Environment Impacts Human Development from the Very Beginning at the Cellular Level
3. Socialization Is a Powerful Force
4. When Studies Do Find Gender Differences, They Are Often Too Weak to Serve as the Basis for Generalizations
5. Gender Means Different Things in Different Cultures

One other factor that leads people to adopt gender essentialism is a kind of innumeracy — I swear, I think the only statistical measure most people understand is the mean. But statistics was developed to describe variation, in addition to taking data sets and crunching them down to a single number.

There is also deficiency of logic. If you take any diverse set, divide it in two, and calculate the mean of any given parameter for both, you’ll get…two numbers. This does not validate your initial division as appropriate. It does not mean your artificial dichotomy reveals an absolute truth about the world. It does not mean you have encapsulated the essence of your two groups in a single simple metric. In particular, it’s possible to have a mean that does not describe a single individual in your group accurately.

25 Aug 14:35

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Super Efficient


Hovertext: All telepaths are now employed by high-speed trading firms.

New comic!
Today's News:

 Over half of general admission tickets for BAHFest East have sold out already! You geeks are the best :)

26 Aug 16:36

Pete Best, the Beatles' original drummer, still doesn't know why he was fired

by Mark Frauenfelder


In 1960 a Liverpool band called the Silver Beatles asked Pete Best to join them as drummer. Best was already in a band called the Blackjacks, but he took the gig and for the next two years he played with the band (which eventually dropped "Silver" from its name). When the band auditioned with Decca, Best played drums on the first recording of "Love Me Do." Things went downhill quickly from there, writes Maggie Malach of Mental Floss: Read the rest

26 Aug 16:42

Photo of a kitchen damaged by a pressure cooker explosion

by Mark Frauenfelder

Here's what happens when the safety features on a pressure cooker fail. It also shows why pressure cookers are used by bad people to make bombs.


26 Aug 19:30

"Conservative media and Fox News in particular have spent years - decades, if you count talk radio -..."

“Conservative media and Fox News in particular have spent years - decades, if you count talk radio - training their audiences to believe that exhortations against sexism and racism are nothing but the “political correctness” police trying to kill your good time. Indeed, one reason that Trump was able to get so much attention for his presidential run in the first place is that Fox has spent years building him up, knowing that their audience enjoys vicariously needling imagined liberals and feminists with his loud-mouthed insult comic act.
As Jill Filipovic as Cosmopolitan recently explained in a feature piece about the conservative website Twitchy, there are entire sectors of the conservative media dedicated to getting the audiences to spend all day and night trying to piss off liberals, believing themselves to be courageous freedom fighters against the P.C. police. Women, in particular, are favorite targets. There’s apparently no getting tired of the pleasure of feeling naughty because you say mean things about women and racial minorities for conservative audiences.
Well, conservative media built Twitchy Nation, and now it looks like they have to live in it. You can’t tell people, day in and day out, that nothing is more fun than putting some mouthy broad in her place and then get upset when they continue to think it’s fun, even when the mouthy broad is one of yours.”

- Why Fox News’ Defense Of Megyn Kelly Is Going To Backfire
26 Aug 20:32

The sad, lonely world of Ashley Madison

by PZ Myers


Lately, I’ve been getting a fair amount of email from people who’ve been browsing the stolen Ashley Madison subscriber list, telling me what famous or semi-famous person had an account there. I haven’t been impressed. A lot of it seems to be men who were looking for dates, and the thing is…I really doubt that any of them found anything approximating love or sex there. It’s peculiar to accuse people of cheating on their spouses through Ashley Madison, when it’s highly unlikely that any man was making contact with any women there.

A detailed look at the Ashley Madison database reveals…

What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.

31 million men begging 12,000 women for dates. That’s just pathetic. And it gets worse.

The first field, called mail_last_time, contained a timestamp indicating the last time a member checked the messages in their Ashley Madison inbox. If a person never checked their inbox, the field was blank. But even if they’d checked their messages only once, the field contained a date and time. About two-thirds of the men, or 20.2 million of them, had checked the messages in their accounts at least once. But only 1492 women had ever checked their messages. It was a serious anomaly.

The pattern was reflected in another data field, too. This one, called chat_last_time contained the timestamp for the last time a member had struck up a conversation using the Ashley Madison chat system. Roughly 11 million men had engaged in chat, but only 2400 women had.

The hackers of the Impact Team who broke into the database were right about one thing, for sure: Ashley Madison was a colossal scam that took advantage of men. But then releasing all that membership data was simply another strike against the victims of the scam. Some of them may have been salacious hypocrites (see Josh Duggar), but that’s not a crime…and many of those victims might have just been lonely single people, fumbling futilely on the internet.

26 Aug 13:04

Library of music genres

by Rob Beschizza
musicgenres 1: Every Noise at Once assembles all the genres of music into a star-chart of simple click-to-play examples. 2: The random musical genre generator.
21 Aug 16:22

Free six-part course on encrypting email and securing your network sessions against snooping

by Cory Doctorow

Jeff sez, "Tuts+ has made my six part introduction to PGP encryption, email and networking privacy available to readers for free." Read the rest

25 Aug 20:23

Platform Cooperativism: a worker-owned Uber for everything

by Cory Doctorow

Nathan Schneider writes, "The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance." Read the rest

25 Aug 12:50

Samsung fridges can leak your Gmail logins

by Cory Doctorow

Researchers at Pen Test Partners took up the challenge to hack a smart fridge at Defcon's IoT Village, and discovered that they could man-in-the-middle your Google login credentials from Samsung fridges. Read the rest

25 Aug 17:01

Brevity is a virtue

by PZ Myers

I am very much enjoying the vicarious thrill of reading a Feminist on Tinder. Tinder seems to be ground zero for embarrassingly ignorant mansplaining, and this woman put up a profile that says “hello i am a feminist,” which prompts so much stupidity to be put down.

For example:


I thoroughly despise anti-feminists, but it’s my male privilege that makes me just as angry at guys who abuse evolution.

25 Aug 20:52

This is Rape Culture: That Virginia frat and its terrible banners

by David Futrelle
They ruined three bedsheets for this?

They ruined three bedsheets for this?

The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive is on! Please consider donating through the PayPal button below. Thanks!


So the Sigma Nu house at Old Dominion University in Virginia apparently decided last weekend to reinforce the not-exactly-unjustified popular perception that fraternities are basically giant petri dishes for growing rape culture by hanging these lovely banners out for all incoming students to see.

People have already come out of the woodwork to defend the banners as “politically incorrect” humor, as Amanda Marcotte points out on Pandagon, and suggesting that they can’t possibly be referring to rape. She quotes one Washington Post commenter, who claims that while

the signs are crude and dumb … this repulsive habit of charging “rape culture” every time a male mentions sex with a female is even more crude, more dumb, and far more dangerous. There is absolutely nothing in the signs (at least not the ones in the photo above) that even implies non-consensual sex. These lunatics throw around “rape” the way Joe McCarthy flung around “communist” and with just as much concern for truth and justice as he did.

Marcotte, who has encountered more than her share of mansplainy MRA trolls over the years, points out the fundamental bad faith of this “argument.”

Just because the signs imply rather than overtly call for force does not mean they aren’t rape culture. This is how rape culture is, in fact, created: Through winks and nudges, rather than overt calls to force sex on women.

While the banners do not overtly say “rape” on them, the implication is easy enough to see, even for people pretending they don’t see it. …

If you think of consent as something that is freely given and enthusiastic, the coercive element of these signs, which portray women as basically fuckholes who have no say in how they’re used, is staring you right in the face. …

But, of course, that comment shows what rape apologists always do: They suddenly pretend they are aliens from another planet and only learned human language last week and therefore are incapable of picking up on humor, implication, non-verbal communication and nuanced language. They pretend to ascribe to a form of communication so literal that even the slightest bit of metaphor or implication, to hear them talk, sends them spinning into a state of confusion.

Sounds like more than a few MRAs and GamerGaters I’ve encountered in my day. Actually, it sounds like almost all of them.

Happily, the school administrators at Old Dominion University are having none of it, suspending the frat pending an investigation.

Over at Fox News’ Outnumbered show — the one with all the women on it — co-host Harris Faulkner resorted to the old “boys will be boys” argument, saying that

these guys are teenagers and in their twenties and they were probably drunk when they were writing the sign … they’re just having a good time.

Later in the show, after co-host Kennedy Montgomery jokingly suggested she would send her own daughters to a convent to keep them safe, Faulkner declared

I’m going to keep them home in the kitchen.

For anyone playing along at home, this is rape culture too.


25 Aug 14:03

Re-solidified coconut oil forms hexagonal cylinders

by Minnesotastan

A totally unexpected result is lucidly explained in the top comment at this AskScience subreddit thread.

Hint:  it's the same reason that Devil's Tower and the Giant's Causeway are formed of cylindrical hexagons... if that helps...
23 Aug 16:30

Life with the Dash button: good design for Amazon, bad for everyone else

by Fast Company
On a sunny Saturday morning, seven Amazon Dash buttons arrived to my apartment. Dash is a decidedly Jetsonian future come to life. A Wi-Fi connected button for my every need! Push one in my toddler's bedroom, and Huggies diapers would appear at my...
24 Aug 16:04

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Joker


Hovertext: Better put a little booze in there to mellow things out.

New comic!
Today's News:

 Tickets for all three BAHFest shows are now available! San Francisco, MIT, and Seattle! Featuring, Kris Wilson of Cyanide and Happiness, Abby Howard of The Last Halloween, and Matt Inman of The Oatmeal!

25 Aug 01:31

Watch this birdie do a pretty much perfect R2D2 impersonation

by Xeni Jardin

“We taught Bluey the budgie how to do R2-D2 and now he drives us crazy! He has two other budgies in his cage, and I think he's driving them crazy too!”


24 Aug 04:41

In The Karate Kid, Daniel is the REAL bully. Watch this proof.

by David Pescovitz

"After local busybody, karate master and child-batterer Mr. Miyagi intervenes, Daniel convinces him that this is somehow all Johnny's fault." (more…)

24 Aug 14:11

The most loved and hated TV finales, charted

by Rob Beschizza


A simple methdology: compare the IMDB rating of the final episode vs the show's average. Dragonball Z and Dexter share bottom spot, but who wins?

24 Aug 18:32

Being a Jerk About the Hugos: Not as Effective a Strategy as You Might Think

by John Scalzi

(Warning: Hugo neepery. Avoid if you don’t care.)

As most of you know, at last Saturday’s Hugo Awards ceremony, the voters, of which there were a record number, chose not to offer awards in five categories rather than to give the award to nominees who got on the ballot because of the Sad/Rabid Puppy slating campaign. In the categories in which awards were given, in nearly all cases the Puppy nominees in the category finished below “No Award.” The only category where a Puppy nominee prevailed was in Best Dramatic Presentation, in which one of their choices was Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s not a lot of credit they can take for that one.

Why did the Puppies fare so poorly? There has already been much speculation and analysis on the matter, and there will continue to be for some time. But in my estimation (and leaving out issues of literary quality of the nominations, which is super-subjective), the reason for their massive and historic failure is simple:

They acted like jerks, and performed a series of jerk maneuvers.


  1. They created slates for awards that are meant to be about an individual’s personal tastes and choices. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They gloated about the slates getting on the ballot, and the upset that this caused other people. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They created an imaginary cabal of people and asserted without evidence that this cabal indulged in slate-making, and used this assertion to justify their own bad action. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They spent months insulting the people they associated with their imaginary cabal. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They spent months crapping on the writers they dragooned into their imaginary cabal, and crapping on the work those writers created. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They spent months denigrating the award they went out of their way to build slates for. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They spent months pissing on the people who love and care about the awards, and the convention that hosts both. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They expected the people who they’d been treating with contempt to give them the respect they would not afford them. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They pretended they didn’t actually care about the awards for which they put in months and sometimes years of effort to get work on the ballot. That’s a jerk maneuver.
  1. They had the poor grace to whine about people potentially voting “no award,” which is fully allowed by the rules, after gleefully pointing out that slating was not disallowed. That’s a jerk maneuver.

The first of these points in itself would almost certainly have been enough to motivate people to vote against the slates, and the nominees who willingly (or, sadly in a number of cases, unwittingly) found themselves on them. But the other nine points didn’t help, and a lot of the people who declared themselves Puppies or allied themselves with them went out of their way to do some or all of those points. Repeatedly, and with increasing foaminess as things went along.

Here’s the thing: If you perform a bunch of jerk maneuvers, people are likely to treat you like you’re a jerk.

Consonantly: If you perform a bunch of jerk maneuvers, you might, in fact, actually be a jerk. Not always. But the correlation is there, and that correlation gets increasingly significant the more jerk maneuvers you perform.

There is (usually) no crime in performing a jerk maneuver, or acting like a jerk. Everyone can, and has, acted like a jerk from time to time. It’s a regrettable but natural part of the human experience. But most people have the good sense to understand that acting like a jerk should not be a lifestyle choice, and that if you make it one, people will respond to you based on your choices.

As they did, in this case, with the Hugos. The Hugo vote against the Puppy slates was not about politics, or cabals, or one species of science fiction and fantasy over another, no matter what anyone would like you to believe — or at the very least, it wasn’t mostly about those things. It was about small group of people acting like jerks, and another, rather larger group, expressing their displeasure at them acting so.

Mind you, I don’t expect the core Puppies to recognize this; indeed I expect them to say they haven’t done a single thing that has been other than forthright and noble and correct. Well, and here’s the thing about that: acting like an jerk and then asserting that no, it’s everyone else that’s been acting like a jerk, is the biggest jerk maneuver of all.

(Comments on this piece off for now, because I’m about to start an event and have a super-busy day today. I might turn them on later.)

23 Aug 17:45

thysweetpoison: Understanding How Depression Feels (via...


Understanding How Depression Feels (via buzzfeed)

23 Aug 21:42

Car information security is a complete wreck -- here's why

by Cory Doctorow

Sean Gallagher's long, comprehensive article on the state of automotive infosec is a must-read for people struggling to make sense of the summer's season of showstopper exploits for car automation, culminating in a share-price-shredding 1.4M unit recall from Chrysler, whose cars could be steered and braked by attackers over the Internet. Read the rest

23 Aug 21:29

Dropoff on LV-426 – microscale Aliens Cheyenne dropship & APC

by Andrew

Kiwi builder Grantmasters has been plugging away at the Cheyenne dropship from Aliens over this past week. Calling it done for now, he’s shared this fantastic build that highlights the dropship and an APC (which fits inside) in a cool diorama. While the highly functional dropship is excellent, I also really appreciate the contrasting backdrops — the planetary surface and the power plant.

The Drop Off by Grantmasters on Flickr

23 Aug 14:15

We Now Know For Sure How Life Did Not Begin on Earth

by PZ Myers


Hey, how about these article titles?

Comet Impacts Really Could Have Been the Catalyst For Life on Earth
Comet Impacts May Have Produced The Building Blocks For Life On Earth
We Now Know For Sure How Life Began on Earth

We’re getting this sudden flurry of articles touting the contribution of organic molecules from cometary sources to the origin of life on Earth. They’re all bullshit. The media hype machine is going crazy again over science the journalists haven’t thought through.

There’s nothing wrong with the core of the original paper that sparked this frenzy of nonsense: the investigators showed that the energy of comet collisions can drive the assembly of amino acid monomers into short linear peptides. They made extremely cold pellets of glycine ice and fired them with a propellant gun into a block, and presto, they got tripeptides out of the collisions. I can believe that.

What I can’t believe is that early cellular biosynthesis was catalyzed by comet impacts. This explains nothing. It is not enough to postulate that there was, once upon a time, a cold soup of organic subunits in the ocean, that just sort of congealed into life — it doesn’t work. The authors made no calculations about the concentrations of their tripeptides in the prebiotic ocean (it would have been an exceedingly thin, dilute soup), don’t consider that these compounds were probably degrading as fast as comet-smashing was making them, and that their mechanism does not say anything at all about what reactions early precursors to life would have been using to synthesize peptides. I’m certain the answer didn’t involve waiting for a giant ball of ice to smack into the protocell.

For some reason, journalists and the public love these scenarios of cosmic forces colliding in big explosions to create life — it’s as if they desperately want Michael Bay to be in charge of biology. It’s not how it would have worked. If you want to look for answers to the origin of life, you need to look at conditions that generate a gentler flux of energy that is a better analog to metabolism. It’s about flow, not bang.

The best summary of how actually abiogenesis would have occurred is Nick Lane’s The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life. You know how crimes can be solved if you use the principle of Follow the Money? Life can be understood if you try to Follow the Electrons. It makes no sense to look for life’s beginnings in cataclysmic collisions, you need to search for gradients and reactions with energies that wouldn’t disintegrate cells.

Or you could try reading a paper by the always-entertaining William Martin, if you’re in more of a hurry.

The very familiar concept that life arose from some kind of organic soup is 80 years old and had best be abandoned altogether. The reason is that life is not about the spatial reorganization of preexisting components, it is a continuous chemical reaction, an energy-releasing reaction, and a far-from-equilibrium process. The proposal that life arose through the self-organisation of preformed constituents in a pond or an ice-pore containing some kind of preformed prebiotic broth can be rejected with a simple thought experiment: If we were to take a living organism and homogenize it so as to destroy the cellular structure but leave the molecules intact, then put that perfect organic soup into a container and wait for any amount of time, would any form of life ever arise from it de novo? The answer is no, and the reason is because the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen in that soup is at equilibrium: it has virtually no redox potential to react further so as to provide electron transfers and chemical energy that are the currency and fabric of life.

If not soup, what? Life is about redox chemistry, so the site and environment of life’s origin should be replete with redox reactions. Alkaline hydrothermal vents provide a good model for understanding early chemical evolution because they have some similarity to living systems themselves. Perhaps similar to some types of hydrothermal vents observable today, such as Lost City, alkaline vents during the Hadean would have offered a necessary and sufficient redox potential (in the form of the H2-CO2 redox couple) and catalytic capabilities (in the form of transition metal ions) to permit organic synthesis at a specific location in space and stably over geological time to give rise to the chemical constituents of life and to foster the transition from geochemically contained chemical networks to bona fide free-living cells. Why, exactly, are alkaline hydrothermal vents conceptually attractive in the origin of life context? There are a number of reasons, many of which are old as the discovery of vents themselves but they remain current.


These ideas have been around for years, but they never seem to get the kind of press extraterrestrial bullshit gets. It’s the lack of explosions, I suspect.

21 Aug 23:23

What’s the buzz in Seattle?

by PZ Myers



I imagine everyone must have read the NY Times article on the working conditions at Amazon — it’s interesting that the article actually tries to be objective and lay out the good and bad points of working for weird out-of-touch slavedriver Jeff Bezos, yet the reaction from Amazon has been flat denial. Unless they’re going to show that there isn’t high turnover, overstressed executives, and blue-collar workers treated as machines, which I don’t think they can do, the guy at the top declaring that he simply doesn’t recognize the sweatshop he runs is not particularly persuasive.

The Seattle newspaper is clearly in an awkward position: how do they criticize a major employer in the region? Answer: they avoid the issues. This was also Seattle’s curse when I was growing up, having a single dominant employer, in that case Boeing, with every one trembling in fear of criticizing them, while they wrecked lives with a boom-and-bust cycle of hiring surges followed by layoffs.

Geeks, of course, downplay the article. There’s a strong whiff of elitism and libertarianism in the excuses offered, and I’m also kind of dismayed that a news source would interview current employees and not discount their cheerful affirmations of the power of the Amazon way. Most cults don’t have the grip on their acolytes economic well-being that Amazon has.

More interesting, despite its clumsy digressions and clunky dismay, is this article on the effect Amazon has had on Seattle. It’s the angriest, but it resonated with me — I have steered completely clear of urban Seattle on this trip. The horrific traffic, a product of the tightly straitened geography of the region, is enough to scare me away. I was visiting family in the southern suburbs, and seeing the lines of locked-in-place traffic every evening convinced me to stay home, or run away to empty wilderness in the far corner of the state. And to imagine hordes of smug brogrammers taking over south Lake Union…no, thank you.

Capitalism really needs to figure out how to file off the rough excesses of successful businesses. And take those businesses out of the hands of sociopaths.

22 Aug 00:09

Those whales. Such jokers.

by PZ Myers

Here’s a scientist talking about the great difficulty of finding whales out on the open ocean. Wouldn’t you know it…?

That’s excellent comedic timing.

I hear they’re also big-hearted.

21 Aug 05:56

Amazing DIY computer control panel

by David Pescovitz

If only all computer interfaces were as gloriously sci-fi as this excellent "DIY Overhead Control Panel" hand-built by a maker called Smashcuts. It features a slew of LEDs and 100 programmable buttons and switches that activate shortcuts on his PC, open apps, control volume and screen preferences, etc. Read the rest

21 Aug 22:46

If you’re giggling over Josh Duggar’s comeuppance…

by PZ Myers


You need to consider this:

The Saudi Arabian government is using the recently leaked data from Ashley Madison to track down homoesexuals in their contry. As homosexuality is a crime, punishable by death, in Saudi Arabia the leak is estimated to result in the death of hundreds if not thousands of gay people in Saudi Arabia.

Or if you prefer your news with fewer clumsy typos, here’s another source.

The Ashley Madison leaks, as many observers began noting yesterday afternoon, will have real world, devastating consequences on thousands of users worldwide. When the dust clears, it will be most vulnerable among us — LGBT and women in repressive countries — that will ultimately pay the price. And unlike Josh Duggar, their price will not be paid in snarky internet comments but rather loss of employment, family, and, in some cases, possibly their lives.

Yeah, Josh Duggar is going to come out of this oozing piety. Other people won’t be so lucky.

21 Aug 16:15

Look at the size of this grizzly bear paw

by Mark Frauenfelder

From West Coast Native News: "This is how big a grizzly bears paw is – by the way, the bear is sedated and about to be tagged."

21 Aug 21:51

Ben Radford Has Threatened to Sue Me

by Rebecca Watson

On July 15, 2015, lawyers working on behalf of Ben Radford sent me a cease and desist letter, demanding that I remove some unspecified portions of some blog posts of which he does not approve, including but not limited to the reports on the fact that Karen Stollznow had accused Radford of sexual harassment.

While a document apparently signed recently by Stollznow states “it would be wrong” for people to have believed her earlier accusations, the fact that she made those accusations remains true and a matter of public record, in dozens if not hundreds of places.

As many skeptics understand, the use of libel threats to censor criticism is a well-worn tactic of pseudoscientists and bullies. Radford may not have paid attention at the time, but here at Skepchick we staunchly advocated both publicly and behind the scenes for UK libel laws to be changed so that scientists and journalists threatened with libel wouldn’t be facing bankruptcy for even successfully defending themselves.

Unfortunately, even here in the US, a libel threat is a serious concern due to the exorbitant cost of simply retaining an attorney.

Faced with Radford’s demands and his threats of a lawsuit, I established an indiegogo campaign to start raising the initial costs of hiring a lawyer and defending my freedom of speech.

In response, Ben Radford wrote on Twitter the following:

@Tigzy_J No, I'm not. She was merely asked to remove 3 posts with false info about me. I wish she'd de-escalate & talk.

— Benjamin Radford (@BTRadford) August 19, 2015

The idea that I was “merely asked” to remove blog posts is astonishing. Radford at no point attempted to communicate with me to ask me to remove or edit any blog posts. Instead, I received the cease and desist demand from his lawyer, threatening a lawsuit. Here are a few choice quotes from that letter (bolding mine):

…if you continue to publish with knowledge of the accusations’ falsity, or in reckless disregard of whether the accusations are false, you can be held liable for defamation. I urge you to discuss this with another lawyer knowledgeable in the area of defamation.

Accordingly, please remove from websites and other social media accounts controlled by you all of Stollznow’s accusations…Mr. Radford will not sue you for defamation if you take these steps. Accordingly, taking these steps will…protect you from legal liability to Mr. Radford.

There is no grey area, here. This is quite clearly a threat, telling me that if I don’t remove unspecified portions of posts, I will be sued for defamation. Requests over the past few weeks to clarify exactly which portions he believes constitutes defamation and any legal basis for the claim of defamation remain unanswered.

It is not “escalation” to respond to a libel threat by taking Radford’s attorney’s actual advice and hiring a lawyer, nor is it “escalation” to attempt to pay for the legal fees. “Escalation” is attempting to rewrite history by using legal threats.

Radford’s supporters have grabbed a hold of his response claiming he has not threatened a defamation lawsuit, using it to spam anyone who posted a positive link to my legal defense fund:

Eddie Glandspouter

Thank you to everyone who has provided support thus far, whether that be through a donation, helping to spread the word, or just offering me kind words. As the misogynist trolls get riled up in support of Radford on Twitter and elsewhere, I greatly appreciate any and all support.

20 Aug 00:20

Urban Dictionary | 624.png