Shared posts

10 Oct 01:40

Google Releases An Open Source Font That Supports 800 Languages

by EditorDavid
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Hot Hardware: It's been working on the project over the past five years in collaboration with Monotype in hopes of eradicating so-called "tofu" -- the blank boxes you see when a PC or website can't display a particular text -- from the web. Noto, or No more tofu, is Google's answer, and it's available now to download... "We are thrilled to have played such an important role in what has become one of the most significant type projects of all time," said Scott Landers, president and CEO of Monotype... Monotype played the biggest role, though Google also collaborated with Adobe and had a network of volunteer reviewers. As far as Monotype is concerned, Noto is one of the expansive typography projects ever undertaken. There's 110,000 characters, and Google says the project "required design and technical testing in hundreds of languages."

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

13 Oct 17:40

UN Names Wonder Woman Ambassador! Fuck Everything About That

by Rebecca Watson

The United Nations has just announced that Wonder Woman will be named an honorary ambassador as a “women’s champion.” Did you hear that, fellow nerdy comic-book-loving feminists? Rejoice, for the days of women’s subjugation will soon be at an end. Our savior is here!

Wait, hold on…I just double-checked Wonder Woman’s Wikipedia page and I learned that she’s….fictional? Can that be true? So the new women’s champion appears to be the first wholly fictional character to ever be an ambassador for the UN, which seems like more of a coup for fictional characters than for women.

Don’t get me wrong–this wouldn’t be the first time I thought the UN missed the mark on an ambassador. After all, the Honorary Ambassador for the Decade of Literacy is Laura Bush, a woman who couldn’t even teach her own husband to read. But Wonder Woman pisses me off like nothing else, for a few reasons:

  1. SHE IS FICTIONAL. There are actual, living, breathing women who can “promote messages about women’s empowerment and gender-based violence.”
  2. She is a product. I know, this is tough to hear. You’ve bonded with this strong, beautiful female character. You cheered when she came out of the closet. You can’t wait to see what she does next. But you also bought her comic books, and her Underoos, and her officially licensed t-shirts and purses and earrings and action figures. And in a few months, you’ll buy tickets to her new movie. Yes, Wonder Woman is a beloved character of literature, but Wonder Woman is also a product that is very carefully marketed and sold to you. Yes, it feels good to be able to support a character that seems to line up with your own feminist ideals, but your support is a transaction that DC Comics has noted in a spreadsheet and used to make decisions on how they can extract more money from you and your friends to improve their bottom line.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead and read to the end of the BBC article I linked above. Pay attention to this bit:

The campaign is being sponsored by Warner Bros and DC Entertainment

And don’t forget this:

There is also an upcoming Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot of Batman v Superman fame, due out in the UK next year.

This is known as public relations. Someone in the marketing department at DC or WB came up with this way to make you buy more movie tickets, and they probably got a bonus for it. Those billion dollar corporations then either gave some money to the UN (great!) or just allowed them use of the Wonder Woman license (eh) in exchange for an absolutely tremendous amount of publicity, as all the feminist nerds dutifully rush to support the venture.

I fully admit that I often buy things I don’t need just because they reinforce my philosophies. I’d rather reward faceless corporations for being progressive than for being regressive. At the same time, I get sick of feminism being bought by conglomerates, repackaged, and sold back to me. Wonder Woman is great, but she’s not going to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” as the UN has laid out in their 17 goals to transform the world. That takes more than a corporate sponsorship from companies that continue to focus on telling men’s stories while shoving scantily clad women into refrigerators. That trope, of course, was popularized by Gail Simone, the amazing comic writer who writes Wonder Woman, amongst other titles. She’s great, and she’d be a great choice of someone to work with the UN on empowering girls through comic books. Even more than that, she’s a real human being who can actually accomplish things, unlike Wonder Woman, who is a fictional character who can only say and do whatever the man or woman writing her allows her to say and do.

An even better idea than nominating an actual living human being to the role of Women’s Ambassador might be for the United Nations to not give 9 out of 10 senior positions to men, or to just once in its entire history nominate a female Secretary-General. Those would be actual steps toward gender equality, and not empty PR stunts that are more capable of selling movie tickets than empowering anyone.

13 Oct 18:44

dduane: camwyn: niamhermind: keepyourhandsbusy: hyena-butts: everybodyilovedies: thepioden: ro...










people who complain about dinosaurs “not being scary anymore” because its been discovered they have feathers and are closely related to/ancestors of birds are so bizarre like

  • its not about how scary they are, they are/were real life animals and what matters is learning more about them, not how well they fit into your science fiction horror film lol
  • can you imagine a 13 foot chicken running at you with full intent to eat you??? thats fucking terrifying holy shit

peacocks are synonymous with vain, frivolous beauty and they will attack cars. they will attack you while you try to get to your car. they’re like six feet of useless feathers and they will destroy you. imagine if they were carnivorous and had functional spurs. 

a t-rex could look like a gay disco ball and i guarantee that you would fucking book it if it had a problem with you



have you ever met a swan

if anything the birdier they get the scarier they are

Australia literally fought a war against giant birds AND FUCKING LOST


Overheard in the student lounge:

“Oh man, I can’t deal with birds ‘cause they’re dinosaurs and sometimes it’s like they get this glint in their eyes and they remember.”

“Have you ever interacted with a goose? ‘Cause those things are dicks.”

If chickens were still the size of a T-Rex we’d all be dead. No question.

Feathered creatures that give some serious lie to the idea that feathered dinosaurs ain’t scary:

This is a bearded vulture, or lammergeier. It’s four feet long and has a nine foot wingspan and it eats bones.

This is a shoebill stork. It dropped the duck without biting down shortly after the picture was taken, but if it had decided not to-

… it could have been the end of the road for that duck.

This is the last thing a fish sees before a macaroni penguin eats it.

This is a secretary bird in the act of demonstrating to Lord Voldemort that he came to the wrong neighborhood, ese.

This is a goose.

This is a vulture.

This is a cassowary on the attack. 

Be glad I couldn’t find the actual gif of a pelican swallowing a fish, because it’s freakin’ Lovecraftian in its HEADS SHOULD NOT BEND THAT WAY factor. You’ll have to settle for the idea of a feathered dinosaur suddenly going GLORP and devouring its victims whole just like this lady here.

Steven Spielberg didn’t create these. These are the feet of an emu.

And this is what happens when a swan (this one is named Asboy; his father was Mr. Asbo, the first swan in the UK to get named after an anti-social behavior order in ‘honor’ of his tendency to attack boaters) decides it doesn’t like you. I should probably note that this one attacked a cow.

Respect the feathered dinosaur, yo.

Terrifying. The last two illustrate why you did not fuck around with the Children of Lir.

13 Oct 17:11

"For years, Republicans managed an exceptional acrobatic act: to mobilize right-wing populist anger..."

“For years, Republicans managed an exceptional acrobatic act: to mobilize right-wing populist anger and white working-class voters behind a program whose benefits flowed to the economic elites….The assumption was always that the base would get the noise and the elites would get the policy. Now the noise is deafening, a dangerous and profoundly flawed man leads the party, and its candidates cannot move one way or the other without falling off the wire. No one expected an implosion this spectacular.”


How the GOP’s Big Tent turned into a house of horrors

The GOP deserves this so much, but it’s going to take a generation for the country to recover.

13 Oct 15:56

nudepumps: omg



13 Oct 15:05


13 Oct 15:02

'Which EU Law Are You Most Looking Forward To Losing?'

'Which EU Law Are You Most Looking Forward To Losing?':


Ashley from Pinner said that he was willing to take a “short-term” hit on his business in order to free Britain from the bureaucratic red tape of the EU.

James asked for just one European law that he was excited to repeal. And Ashley couldn’t name a single one.

Eventually, Ashley laughed as he said: “The shape of your bananas.”

But James responded: “It’s not funny, is it? The pound is at the lowest it’s been since 1985, you just said “any law” and I’m just asking you to name one.

“We both know that bananas was a lie made up by Boris Johnson. Remind me which side he was on during the Leave campaign.

“What is the law? You know you were going to take short-term economic damage, you knew that all your customers would do as a newly-formed electrician company. Every single customer in the country is going to be potentially worse off than they were before the vote.

“So I’m just wondering what those laws are that you won’t have to obey any more that made you vote for this short-term economic hit.

“Can you name one?”

Ashley’s response: “I wouldn’t be able to, no.”

This is exactly what happens when the Mail, Express, Sun go on about “meddling Brussels” and “EU bureacracy” time and time again. Repeat the soundbites, and people will believe them as truth. But ask them to tell you what it means and they haven’t got a fucking clue. And the gullibility and stupidity of these people are exactly why we’re going to be utterly fucked.

12 Oct 11:37


by Author
12 Oct 16:41

One health care chart to rule them all

by Minnesotastan

Life expectancy on the vertical axis vs. inflation-adjusted health expenditures on the horizontal axis, over a forty-year time period, in 24 countries.

There are of course a huge number of factors that influence longevity other than health-care expenditures (genetics, lifestyle, diet), and longevity is not a priori the best measure of quality of life.  And one can probably quibble over methodology.  But anyone who has personally experienced the U.S. health-care system will have a gut feeling that the data shown are what one would expect.

Note: "Over the period shown in the chart above violence and homicides have fallen in the US more than in other rich countries and this should have led to a narrowing of the difference to other countries and not to the increase that we see."

Lots more charts at the OurWorldinData website.

Via BoingBoing.
12 Oct 13:19


11 Oct 04:01


by Robot Hugs

New comic!

Alas, it is indeed time to say goodbye to my faithful Sony PRS-650. It was the best of companions and there shall never be an equal.


11 Oct 21:09

Self-defense ?

by Minnesotastan

Via the Enough Trump Spam subreddit, where the image credit was attributed to Imgur user, FayeKalius.  The image may be a composite; if the hand positions have been Photoshopped, I'll take the post down, but a Google Image search shows other similar photos.

Addendum:  a tip of the blogging hat to reader The First for locating other images from the second debate to confirm that the arm positions are not Photoshopped.  Example here.
08 Oct 14:34

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Punishment



New comic!
Today's News:
10 Oct 12:30

Good Reason to Kill #64: Threw Away Your Lego Collection

by Kevin

The apostrophe doesn't help me cope with the weird Americanism that is the pluralisation of Lego.

Image: Wikipedia

I’m in Oxford (the one in England, not Mississippi) at the moment, and surprisingly everyone here is not staying up all night to watch the U.S. presidential debate, so I won’t either. In the meantime, of course, there is other important news to report.

This isn’t it, but I’ll report it anyway.

According to The Smoking Gun, a Florida man and his 19-year-old son came to blows on October 4 after the latter learned the former had thrown away his collection of Lego bricks. I’m assuming it was a collection of some sort, at least, because I’m not sure anybody goes to war over just a brick or two. The police report notes only that both men conceded the argument was about the father’s disposal of his son’s “Lego’s,” and even setting aside the apostrophical problem the report is sadly lacking in detail.

Alcohol was involved, but we could have guessed that. The number of Legos involved, whether they were assembled or not, the reason for the disposal, and why this is something a 19-year-old man would get worked up about are all important facts missing from the report. Probably there is some underlying issue that caused the father to retaliate against the Legos, but on the other hand, maybe he had just stepped on one. That would put this in a very different light, I think we’d all have to agree.  But the officer noted that he was “unable to determine a primary aggressor in this incident” because of a lack of independent witnesses, so both participants were charged with misdemeanor battery.

This is the first Reason to Kill that has involved Legos, it appears, but for some reason GRTK #6 (“Messed With Your Dungeons & Dragons Character“) seems at least vaguely analogous.

10 Oct 15:23

Interesting obituary

by Minnesotastan
"William Ziegler escaped this mortal realm on Friday, July 29, 2016 at the age of 69. We think he did it on purpose to avoid having to make a decision in the pending presidential election. He leaves behind four children, five grandchildren, and the potted meat industry, for which he was an unofficial spokesman until dietary restrictions forced him to eat real food.

William volunteered for service in the United States Navy at the ripe old age of 17 and immediately realized he didn't much enjoy being bossed around. He only stuck it out for one war. Before his discharge, however, the government exchanged numerous ribbons and medals for various honorable acts.

Upon his return to the City of New Orleans in 1971, thinking it best to keep an eye on him, government officials hired William as a fireman. After twenty-five years, he suddenly realized that running away from burning buildings made more sense than running toward them. He promptly retired. Looking back, William stated that there was no better group of morons and mental patients than those he had the privilege of serving with (except Bob, he never liked you, Bob).

Following his wishes, there will not be a service, but well-wishers are encouraged to write a note of farewell on a Schaefer Light beer can and drink it in his honor. He was never one for sentiment or religiosity, but he wanted you to know that if he owes you a beer, and if you can find him in Heaven, he will gladly allow you to buy him another. He can likely be found forwarding tasteless internet jokes (check your spam folder, but don't open these at work). Expect to find an alcoholic dog named Judge passed out at his feet.

Unlike previous times, this is not a ploy to avoid creditors or old girlfriends. He assures us that he is gone. He will be greatly missed."

Published in The Times-Picayune on Aug. 12, 2016.  Condolences at the source.
09 Oct 21:36


10 Oct 01:14

Chris Foss meets Star Wars

by Andrew

One of the stranger vessels to emerge from this year’s SHIPtember build challenge is this bulbous oddity by F@bz. At 112 studs long, this is a proper SHIP. The builder says he built the underlying frame early in the month, and then it sat there for two weeks before he started adding the structure around it, with nothing more in mind about the end result than that he wanted to use stripes. What’s particularly striking about this spaceship is the contrast in textures along the interior sandwiched between the upper and lower hulls — from a mass of greebles to two large domes and then a smooth section. Reminiscent of the rebel transports that escaped Hoth, the stripes evoke sci-fi artist Chris Foss.

Silure 33 (01)

09 Oct 21:51

Walk through time with a LEGO history of Roskilde Cathedral

by Caylin

I am fascinated by how buildings change through time. It’s so interesting to see how they are built, rebuilt, and modified as the needs of a community change. Lasse Vestergård has built this evolution of Roskilde Cathedral, a beautiful cathredral in Denmark. It serves as the final resting place for Danish royalty, and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 1995.

Lasse has provided a ton of history and backstory for each iteration of the Catherdral, starting with the Danish King Harald Bluetooth in 980 CE all the way up to 2016. I invite you to view each build and read its history!

Year 980 CE

Year 1080

Year 1230

Year 1280

Year 1465

Year 1683

Year 2016

08 Oct 17:27

"Trump is bragging that he can and does force himself on women and that he can do so with impunity..."

Trump is bragging that he can and does force himself on women and that he can do so with impunity because he’s a star. It is quite literally his privilege. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” That’s not just inappropriate. That’s illegal.


Trump repeatedly gropes, touches and forces himself on the victim, assuming she’ll eventually give way and only stops (at least in these two cases) if the woman literally fights him off.


A Few Thoughts on the Video

It isn’t about the words. It isn’t about “using vulgar language”. It’s about bragging about getting away with sexual assault. Any politician who does not disavow Trump and withdraw their endorsement needs to be held accountable for enabling and implicitly supporting him and his behavior.

Trump must face the electorate on November 8, and he must lose in a landslide. He and everything he stands for must be repudiated by the voters, if we are to begin the long recovery from this awful election.

08 Oct 21:06

Paint me a better world

by Nannan

The artistic builder who goes by Why not? presents an untitled work depicting a painter creating his own world of tranquility amidst a menacing cityscape. Is this a stark vision of the future or a grim reminder of the past? Either way the message is strong!

08 Oct 17:54

OASIS-class deep space exploration ship

by Andrew

We’ve grown used to seeing precarious cottages and luxurious modern architecture from talented Portuguese builder César Soares, but a large-scale spaceship was not something I expected to see in his photostream — even during SHIPtember. César has built a near-future interstellar colonization ship full of believable details — all pulled together with a great schematic that points them out.


The ship looks great from any angle, with the circular warp drives at both ends of the vessel.


My favorite details are the spots of orange, just below the round hydroponics bay, along with the tan color blocking in the sections that extend out from the ship’s hull.


I also really like the fencer’s foils that César has used throughout the ship as antennae. This shot also shows off the (presumably) sublight engines in gray tucked under the white spaceship.


04 Oct 21:23

A Response to Jordan Peterson

by Will

An interview with University of Toronto Psychology professor Jordan Peterson has been circulating around social media for a few days now. In the interview, Peterson says a number of disturbing things, using his position as an academic to cloak his claims in the authority of expertise. Mostly for my own satisfaction, I want to address the points Peterson made in this interview because many of his claims are not only fallacious but also hypocritical.

The interviewer, Carol Off, begins by asking “why have you said you don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns you use to address them?” Peterson replies:

That’s right. I don’t recognize that. I don’t recognize another person’s right to decide what words I’m going to use, especially when the words they want me to use, first of all, are non-standard elements of the English language and they are constructs of a small coterie of ideologically motivated people. They might have a point but I’m not going to say their words for them.

The first thing to notice here is Peterson’s use of the singular “they” in a statement complaining about the non-standard usage of “they” in the singular: “I don’t recognize another person’s right…especially when the words they want me to use…” This is a pretty clear demonstration that the singular “they” not only makes sense when used but is also commonplace.

The second point of hypocrisy in this statement is that Peterson is using the ideology of prescriptivism to argue against the use of ideology in shaping language use.

Peterson continues:

I’m not claiming that a person is free to use any words, in any context. But what I’m saying is that I’m not willing to mouth words that I think have been created for ideological purposes.

This is an untenable position. Arguably any word can be created or repurposed for ideological purposes, but Peterson leaves unexamined how one decides if a word has been “created” for ideological purposes. Is he the arbitrator of that? Are prescriptivist grammarians? Are any ideologically-created words off limits, or only those Peterson doesn’t like?

Peterson then moves on to argue that what he’s really upset about is a change to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code proposed by Bill C-16. His concern is “that it’s loosely written enough that the kinds of things that I’m talking about [concerning making it illegal to use the wrong pronouns for a person] could be transformed into hate speech almost immediately.” Full disclosure, I am not a Canadian, nor a lawyer, so I have no expertise or nuanced understanding of the Canadian legal system. However, when I look at Bill C-16, all I see are protections that already exist for race, ethnicity, skin color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, and disability being extended to transgender and non-binary people. Most of the changes to the laws are simply the insertion of the phrase “gender identity or expression” into the text of the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. There is nothing in this bill about pronouns. If Peterson thinks the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code are “too loosely written,” that’s a different complaint than the slippery-slope argument he’s making about gender and pronouns.

Next, Peterson makes a series of claims that, frankly, anyone who has studied gender in an academic setting would recognize as full of problems. Here’s the question and answer:

CO: You have said that you don’t believe that there is enough evidence that non-binary gender identities even exist?

JP: No. I didn’t say that actually. If I’m going to be accused of saying things I have to be accused of exactly what I said. There’s not enough evidence to make the case that gender identity and biological sexuality are independently varying constructs. In fact, all the evidence suggests that they’re not independently varying constructs. I can tell you that transgender people make the same argument. They make the argument that a man can be born in a woman’s body and that’s actually an argument that specifies a biological linkage between gender identity and biological sex. I’m also not objecting to transgender people. I’m objecting to poorly written legislation and the foisting of ideological motivated legislation on a population that’s not ready for it.

Let’s take these claims one-by-one.

1) “There’s not enough evidence to make the case that gender identity and biological sexuality are independently varying constructs. In fact, all the evidence suggests that they’re not independently varying constructs.” I don’t know of anyone in academic gender studies who would make this argument today. I am sure there are people who make this argument around the internet, but at least in scholarly studies of sex/gender and sexuality, this is a straw man. Without Peterson pointing to specific scholarly literature he’s trying to refute with this statement, it’s hard to tell who exactly he is trying to argue against.

2) “[Transgender people] make the argument that a man can be born in a woman’s body and that’s actually an argument that specifies a biological linkage between gender identity and biological sex.” This “born-in-the-wrong-body” narrative is, of course, invoked by some transgender people to try to explain their experiences; however, this narrative has been criticized from a number of perspectives within the scholarly literature. Historically, the analytical disaggregation of gender identity, sexuality, and (biological) sex was a political move first promoted by feminists in the mid-20th century in an effort to free themselves from the sociocultural assumptions that domesticity was an inevitable result of biology (see Gayle Rubin’s sex-gender system). This distinct analytical separation has, unfortunately, become quite embedded in popular discourse; however, among gender studies scholars there is no recognition of a clean break between the social and the biological (see Donna Haraway’s work from the 1970s and 1980s if you think this is a new development).

3) “I’m also not objecting to transgender people. I’m objecting to poorly written legislation and the foisting of ideological motivated legislation on a population that’s not ready for it.” Ah, the old “you’re going too fast” argument against civil rights. Aren’t we so lucky to have Peterson, the arbiter of language ideology and population preparedness for social change, to tell us when we will be ready for codified respect and protection of transgender and non-binary people?

And the interviewer makes this point, though less sarcastically than I have:

CO: Well, transgender people are ready for it and they have been feeling a great deal of discrimination and that’s why they were seeking this type of redress in the law. Do you appreciate that?

JP: I don’t believe that the redress that they’re seeking in the law is going to actually improve their status materially. I think, in fact, it will have the opposite effect. I believe that the principles on which the legislation is predicated are sufficiently incoherent and vague to cause endless legal trouble in a matter that will not benefit transgender people.

How would Peterson know what the effect of extending rights and protections to transgender people will be? Is he psychic? It’s almost as if Peterson has not read the bill at all, which again literally only inserts the words “gender identity and gender expression” into the already-existing protections in the Canadian Human Rights Act. If that Act is “incoherent and vague,” and would cause “endless legal trouble,” why has that not apparently been an issue up to this point?

Further on in the interview, Peterson is asked about the legal definition of gender in Ontario:

CO: In Ontario, the law states that gender is a “person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, or neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum.”

JP: Yes. That particularly statement I regard as logically incoherent to the point of dangerousness. I think that the reason it’s been rushed into law is that people haven’t been paying attention. The mere fact that I don’t want to use pronouns that some else [sic] has decided I should use doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that transgender people exist. It also doesn’t make me a bigot. Regardless of how hard people try to push me into that corner — I’m not a bigot.

Peterson here does not even attempt to support his claim that that definition of gender is “logically incoherent to the point of dangerousness.” It seems a perfectly legitimate definition of gender to me, particularly for a legal context where it only needs to be defined to a practical rather than theoretical extent. Peterson does not even try to convincingly argue in favor of a strict gender binary. Further, the idea that such a thing has been “rushed into law” and that “people haven’t been paying attention” would be laughable if it weren’t so disconnected from reality, where trans and queer people have been having these discussions and pushing for protections for decades.

Peterson then argues in the interview that trans people suffering from discrimination due to lack of legal recognition does not mean it’s correct to extend such protections. When asked whether or not he sees value in accommodating trans people, he says, “it depends on the nature of the accommodation and at what price? I don’t believe that it’s reasonable for our society to undermine the entire concept of binary gender in order to hypothetically accommodate a tiny minority of people.”

This is something he says after just saying that he is not a bigot. He is making the argument that accommodations for minorities should be predicated on (1) the size of that minority’s population, (2) that such accommodations don’t “cost too much” for people in the majority, and (3) if that minority fits within normative cultural beliefs. According to Google, a bigot is “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.” I don’t know how much more plain bigotry can get than a person arguing that a minority group does not deserve rights and protections because they’re not normative.

As far as the argument that not using a person’s preferred pronouns could become a criminal offense, again I’m not that familiar with the Canadian legal system, but a quick read over the Canadian Human Rights Act’s outline of prohibited discrimination only covers denial of goods, services, facilities, or accommodations (here referring to the legal definition of business accommodation not accommodating one’s preference for pronoun usage), real estate discrimination, employment discrimination, and wage discrimination. The Criminal Code, which Peterson seems to be most concerned about, makes “hate propaganda” a criminal offense, and the things included in this section are advocating genocide, and publicly inciting or willfully promoting hatred, which has protections for good faith expressions of opinion based on religious belief or the person believes their statements are the subject of public interest. The other section of the Criminal Code that Bill C-16 amends is about sentencing guidelines which adds “gender identity and gender expression” to the list of protections already in the Code, and thus is not directly related to his slippery slope argument about it becoming illegal to refuse to use someone’s preferred gender pronouns.

At the end of the interview, Peterson said something that made this anthropologist shake my head at the ignorance and hypocrisy. Here’s the final exchange:

CO: Isn’t it also the role of a society to make people feel included and to have inclusiveness?

JP: No. It’s not the role of society to make people feel included. That’s not the role of society. The role of society is to maintain a modicum of peace between people. It’s not the role of society to make people feel comfortable. I think society is changing in many ways. I can tell you one thing that I’m very terrified of, and you can think about this. I think that the continual careless pushing of people by left wing radicals is dangerously waking up the right wing. So you can consider this a prophecy from me if you want. Inside the collective is a beast and the beast uses its fists. If you wake up the beast then violence emerges. I’m afraid that this continual pushing by radical left wingers is going to wake up the beast.

There’s a lot to unpack here. First, for him to say “it’s not the role of society to make people feel included” demonstrates to me that this psychologist has absolutely zero understanding of social theory. The notion that one of the roles society plays is making people feel included, feel like part of a group, goes back at least to Emile Durkheim’s notion of social solidarity and has been argued by countless sociologists and anthropologists since Durkheim’s writings at the turn of the 20th century. That being said, society does not just serve one role, and in fact the idea that society functions for a particular reason (which changed depending on the theorist) is an outdated school of theory known as structural functionalism. One problem with this view is the inability to account for variation in social structures across time and space. The argument that the role of society is to “maintain a modicum of peace between people” is highly debatable on any number of other grounds, which I won’t go into at length here because this post is already long enough. Needless to say, Peterson’s claim that the role of society is peace maintenance does not bear out in the sociological and anthropological literature.

His final Lovecraftian appeal to fear is premised on perhaps the most hypocritical stance of any he takes in this interview. His argument boils down to this: “the political correctness of the radical left is dangerous because it will result in a dangerous right wing response.” Yet, his solution to this political correctness is … political correctness. Essentially, Peterson argues that it’s politically incorrect for those of us on the left to advocate for the rights and protections of trans and non-binary people, and thus seeks to make it politically incorrect to engage in such advocacy.

So there you have it. A bigot who hides behind the authority of academia, espousing views that are unsupported both by his own words and in the literature he clearly has never even dipped a toe into. Peterson, if you’re going to make these kinds of arguments, the least you can do is familiarize yourself with the actual current state of scholarship. Until then, how about you keep your bigotry to yourself.

07 Oct 02:15

Maple trees on a Japanese mountain range crest

by Minnesotastan

Image via imgur.  Discussed in this Reddit thread.
06 Oct 14:35

LEGO announces Old Fishing Store as next LEGO Ideas model [News]

by Caylin

The LEGO Ideas Blog has announced the next set in the Ideas line: The Old Fishing Store, by Robert Bontebal. The design was selected from a group of nine models who reached 10,000 supporters between January and May 2016. Pricing and availability are not yet available.

LEGO Ideas Blog interviewed Robert earlier last month, and he shared that fishing is a long time hobby of his along with LEGO. You can read more of the interview here.

The remaining projects that were not selected are below.

05 Oct 23:17

How (not) to tow an unevenly distributed load

by Minnesotastan

I presume this video was originally created to illustrate for U-Haul renters why their heaviest items should be loaded in the front of the trailer.  Here in the upper Midwest, it's a good object lesson for the legions of people hauling boats to and from the lake on weekends.

05 Oct 08:47


05 Oct 09:45

How and Why to Delete Your Yahoo Account

by Kevin

Here’s how:


That’s from Yahoo’s help page. The image is linked to the termination page; follow the instructions carefully, except to the extent No. 2 will try to persuade you not to terminate your account. Ignore that part.

Here’s why:

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

That’s from Reuters‘ recent report that Yahoo not only caved to the government but affirmatively helped it search every single email message its customers got—likely billions of messages in hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts. This is said to be the first time a U.S. internet company has agreed to help wiretap its customers’ messages in this way.

Google and Microsoft both said they had never conducted this sort of warrantless dragnet email search. Microsoft declined to say whether the government had ever asked it to do so; Google said it had never received such a request, “but if we did, our response would be simple: ‘No way.'” You may recall that Apple was asked to create special software to break into a single iPhone (the one used by the San Bernardino murderers), but it said “no way,” and the government later dropped that demand. But Yahoo said “okay!” to creating software that let the government snoop on every single one of its customers.

It may be that Yahoo didn’t think it could win if it put up a fight. If so, it might very well have been right about that; it did fight a government demand to search specific email accounts in 2007, and it lost. That’s almost always the result in the FISA court anyway, of course, because it’s not much more than a rubber stamp. But so what? Nobody thought a bunch of X-Men trainees could beat Apocalypse, but they did. (That was my in-flight movie.) Two hobbits couldn’t simply walk into Mordor, only they did. (That was a previous in-flight movie.) There’s a word for somebody who fights even though they are almost guaranteed to lose, or maybe more than one word, but who cares because none of them apply to Yahoo.

In any event, FISA experts cited by Reuters said this time was different because the demand was so much broader and because it required Yahoo to affirmatively help by creating software that didn’t already exist. That is, it’s one thing to just hand over existing information—although asking to see a warrant would be nice, because, you know, Fourth Amendment and all—but another to create a tool to help without even being ordered to do so. And some at Yahoo reportedly did think it should have fought, like its security chief Alex Stamos, who Reuters says quit over the decision. The report says, in fact, that Yahoo’s leadership did not even keep the security team in the loop, instead having the email engineers just write the program. The security team only learned about it because they found it during a security check—they assumed at first that hackers had done it, according to the report.

As Mike Masnick explains at Techdirt, there is a lot we still don’t know about this (it’s classified, and you’re only a citizen), but “[a]t the very least this seems like yet another example of totally secretive rulemaking by the US government on what surveillance capabilities are legal, without any public review or adversarial process designed to make sure that civil liberties are protected.” The fact Yahoo helped with this is a good reason to delete your account.

The recent giant data breach and the fact you haven’t used your Yahoo account in the past decade are probably also perfectly good reasons, but if you need another one, here you go.

05 Oct 05:24

Even LEGO cars need a tune up from time to time

by Jennifer

In addition to his LEGO-fied versions of the il Duomo di Milano, the mosque of Al-Zaytuna in Tunis, and the busy streets of Amsterdam, the LEGO architectural-wizard, brickbink is adding a humble mechanic’s garage. That’s right, a garage. And it is spectacular!

le garage

The simple design of the building, roof, and the two styles of lettering on the facade are perfect. Brickbink also filled the interior of his building with mechanic goodies including various tools, car parts, jacks, toolboxes, and even a tiny fire extinguisher. And the placement of all these items makes the garage look truly authentic. Perhaps the only thing missing is a few oil spots on the floor.

le garage

02 Oct 14:00

12 Classic Sauces Everyone Should Be Able to Make, and How to Make Them

by Alan Henry

We’ve talked about sauces that everyone should be able to make , and all of the meal options they can go into, but this graphic packs 12 of them into one handy graphic. Master a few or all of them, and your dinners will never be boring again.


03 Oct 23:54

TBB cover photo: October 2016

by Iain

Our cover photo for the month is this slick Stargate SG-1 scene from Bavarian builder nameless_member. This little tribute to the classic sci-fi show hits all the bases with its brick-built forced perspective background, cleverly constructed set of transportation rings, and instantly recognizable set of custom minifigs.

Want to see your own LEGO creation featured across TBB social media for a month? Then read the submission guidelines and send us your photo today.

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