Author Archives: moseszd

Same as it ever was…

This from the Daily Mail:

A senior adviser to David Cameron was arrested on child abuse images allegations, Downing Street said tonight.

Patrick Rock, who had been involved in drawing up proposals for internet porn filters, resigned after being questioned by police. Officers from the National Crime Agency examined Downing Street’s computer systems and offices used by Mr Rock, 62.

He was an been adviser to the Conservative party for 30 years and got to know Mr Cameron in the mid-1990s when they were both worked for Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary.

The Prime Minister brought him into Downing Street in 2011 to work in the Number 10 policy unit. He took responsibility for home affairs issues and was among officials who were involved in drawing up controls against internet images of child abuse.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “On the evening of February 12, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency.

“The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter.

“Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

“This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.”

The Daily Mail quoted a friend of the Prime Minister as saying: “He has known Patrick for a long time and never expected anything like this.”

It’s amazing how often you see things like this. Putative ‘do-gooders’ who will ‘save us from ourselves’ balls-deep into the very problems they’re wishing to ‘save us’ from.

Even worse, all the accomplish is to curtail our freedoms while doing nothing substantive in fixing the problem or the reasons for the problem.

Doom!

Doom

Twenty years ago I downloaded the shareware version of Doom.  As a FIDONET sysop enrolled in the US Robotics SYSOP program, I had a US Robotics HST Dual Standard modem which was the fastest thing you could get at the time.  It was also as expensive to beat all heck. Even with the 50% SYSOP discount, it cost $600 in 1990 dollars.

When I downloaded Doom, it took about half-an-hour to download the zipped 5.5MB file and I managed to play about half the game before I decided it really wasn’t for me.   Yesterday, on a whim, I downloaded the game to give it a lark-play.

It took about 1 second to download the game. In fact, it took me longer to choose what directory to store it in, than to download it.

Sadly, Doom is as ugly as ever and I still don’t see the appeal. But it got me to thinking at how fast things have gotten over the past twenty years. At 14.4K, a typical speed back at that time, you’d only be able to download about 150MB/day. It would make digital distribution a nightmare for today’s high-poly, high-res 35+ gigabyte game at those old speeds. Though I’m sure it’d take a massive bite out of game piracy.

SJWs — Playing Fast and Loose with the Facts — College Education Style

Pulled this from a ‘typical’ Social Justice Warrior Tumblr explaining why, as a white male, I have all this privilege which translates into life being easy for me:

Image

 

First of all, the person who drew this cartoon is conflating admissions with graduation. These are not the same things. But, for the sake of criticism of the implicit meta-argument being made (white privilege), we’ll accept the proposition.

But here are some cis-white-male privilege facts for us to digest:

72.8% of all bachelor’s degrees are awarded to whites.*
Of which 56% are awarded to white women and 44% to white men.

10.3% of all bachelor’s degrees are awarded to blacks.
Of which 66% are awarded to black women and 34% to black men.

8.8% of all bachelor’s degrees are awarded to Hispanics.
Of which 61% are awarded to Hispanic women and 39% to Hispanic men.

7.3% of all bachelor’s degrees are awarded to Asians/PI.
Of which 55% are awarded to Asian/PI women and 45% to Asian/PI men.

0.8% of all bachelor’s degrees are awarded to NA/Eskimos.
Of which 61% are awarded to NA/Eskimo women and 39% to NA/Eskimo men.

*This includes anyone not black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Eskimo or Native American Indian. Totals rounded, initially, to 100.1%, rounded down the largest group to get to 100%. (NCES Fast Facts)

Now, what can we tell from these numbers when compared to our most recent census demographics? (Wikipedia is your friend.)

First, whites are performing at the same level as their representation in the population. Asians/Pacific Islanders are well over-performing their demographic representation, while blacks are under performing; each group by about 2%. Hispanics are a demographic mess in the census and we can only infer they’re tracking to their demographics as the NA/Eskimo is statistically insignificant (though tracking to demographics) and all other major groups have been accounted for.

Second, the women continue to substantially out-perform the men. So, if there is white-privilege incorporated into the baccalaureate results, it’s a mystery where. If there is male privilege, it’s the most horrible sort of privileged imaginable because, clearly, in the real-world, men are not succeeding in the educational environment which, as many of us have recognized over the years, caters to girls/women at the expense of boys/men.

Phil Roberston (Duck Dynasty) has Trolled You

As many of us are aware, Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the TV show Duck Dynasty said some socially unacceptable things (at least in certain quarters) about gays and gay sex. Taken at face value, from a ‘biblical’ standpoint, Robertson is ‘correct’ though not all that great at explaining it.

I let pass because I don’t watch the show and I look at the whole issue somewhat differently.

First, I think we can be sure that most of the people who have been ‘outraged’ over the comments are Christians who go out of their way to ignore those parts of the Bible they don’t personally agree with.  It is an unavoidable truth that there are lots of things in the bible that are pretty horrible and pretending what Robertson said doesn’t have a solid grounding in Christianity is silly and hypocritical.

Far better, in my mind, for Christians to examine their religious doctrine and explain why honestly, if some what ineptly, professing that doctrine is now ‘wrong’ considering it’s the ‘eternal word of God.’

Second, what I find really funny is how people are like “he’s just an ignorant redneck so of course he says stuff like that.”   NO. He’s got a Masters Degree in Education. He’s built a multimillion dollar business.

So while he might be some ‘good-old-boy’ kind of guy who loves his fishing and hunting, he’s hardly an ‘ignorant redneck.’

And, last, he’s an ACTOR who is PLAYING A ROLE in a REALITY show which means it’s anything but ‘real.’

Dear Carl, You’re Enabling the Demagogue Myers

So, I struck a nerve with Carl Zimmer:

Image

Is it unfair?   I don’t think so.

First, unlike you Carl, I actually have a very good idea of what Myers accomplished, and failed to accomplish, as a ZFIN scientist.   He truly was not a top-drawer guy and he did fail to thrive once he got away from UO – ION and the incredible lab there.    His ZFIN career is here:  http://zfin.org/action/profile/view/ZDB-PERS-960805-655    If a publication doesn’t have a PubMed reference, it was not considered a worthwhile publication for one of many possible reasons.

Myers has 5 PubMed inclusions in his ZFIN work.   From 1984 through 1997 (14 years inclusive), he managed to make five worthy papers.   That’s as many ‘worthy’ papers my wife has made in the past two years.   My wife is a good, but certainly not ‘elite,’ working scientist.

Second, Carl, Myers is a demagogue and Wikipedia has a good description of demagogue:

A demagogue /ˈdɛməɡɒɡ/ or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives.

Anyone who has been around the Skeptic and Atheist communities, as well as the science blogging community at large has seen Mr. Myers in action.   We have Crackergate, Gelato Man, smearing Michael Shermer with third-hand rape allegations, as well as a long and tawdry history of personal attacks against Dawkins, Krauss, and a list of Skeptic/Atheist luminaries as long as my 35″ arms that are far more important and accomplished than him peppering his resume.

Last, is Myers a scientist?   Well, that’s a matter of debate.   My belief is that if you’re not in active research and have not been pursing active research or at least keeping up with your field to get back into active research, you’re (at best) a former scientist.    One could stretch the definition of scientist broader, but I find that difficult because then even I would qualify as a ‘scientist.’   And I’m really not a scientist.

But if you go with the loser definition (training) rather than conduct, sure.   I’ll give you that, Carl.

So, was I out of line?   I don’t think so, Carl.   It was people like you, by excusing or turning a blind eye to his recurrent trollish behavior, who enabled Myers become the ranting demagogue that he’s become.    That you continue to protect him against a very natural and logical consequence (push-back) of his trollish behaviors only serves to make the problem worse.

The Culture War on Christmas

Last night I learned that a holiday so thoroughly divorced from its origins that the origins are meaningless is yet another way white people keep minorities down through white cultural imperialism.  And that we racist white people need to ‘check our white privilege’ and stop having a white Santa because the easily offended are getting the vapors.

This proposition came from reading the most recent Aisha Harris column at Slate.  For those who haven’t heard of her, Aisha Harris is a Social Justice Warrior working at Slate or, as her by-line indicates a “Slate culture blogger for Brow Beat.”    She’d written one of those multicultural, stop white domination of Christmas columns, though it was a bit tongue-in-cheek it did play to the usual culture war garbage:

That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a  “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).

Strangely, she doesn’t bring up the ‘yellow-as-default’ imagery of China and the far east.  She also doesn’t bring up the ‘brown-as-default’ imagery of South America and the Middle East.  And, of course, she doesn’t bring up the ‘black-as-default’ imagery of sub-Saharan Africa.   Of course, why would she?  She’s probably never been anywhere in her life and has no idea how things work anywhere but the US.

Here’s Asian Jesus from 1879:

Here is Southern/Central European Jesus from the 6th Century:

Here is black Jesus from 1899:

This is ‘Hispanic’ Jesus:

jesushis.jpg

Who used to be ‘Italian Jesus’ but was purchased and shipped to a predominantly Mexican Church in San Antonio, Texas to replace their old ‘white Jesus’ a few years ago.

So, clearly, as we can see, ‘everybody does it’  and that mythological icons tend to conform to the racial characteristics of those that hold and/or illustrate them.

Yet, in her follow up column written to attack white people under the guise of ‘aren’t they a bunch of unthinking cultural imperialists, therefore racists’ she continues on with her premise and writes:

Earlier this week, I argued that our image of Santa Claus should no longer be a white man, but, instead, a penguin. I hoped the piece would come across as a little tongue-in-cheek, while at the same time expressing my real concern that America continues to promote the harmful idea of whiteness-as-default. Over the past couple of days, I’ve received a lot of responses. Some of them were positive—mostly because, as I said in the piece, people love penguins.

But many responses have (unsurprisingly) been negative. I’ve been labeled a “racist” more times than I can count, and more than one person has wondered whether or not I think snow should no longer be white. Some of it’s pretty amusing, actually.

While I thought the snow comment was funny, I thought racism comments missed the mark.  She’s not being racist, she’s being a SJW demagogue who lives her life finding fault with any group not part of her ‘in group’ which includes the vast bulk of the people in the United States (and possibly Europe) and its (their) society (societies) dominated by ‘white’ people and their European cultural roots.

Normally I’d laugh and move on as she’s just another clown seeking to create a controversy and blog hits.   But, somehow, Fox News addressed the very same issue (though it probably had nothing to do with her) Wednesday night and the whole thing has blown up.   And while I think Fox News is abysmal and not worth watching or, in almost all cases, defending somehow the topic came up.

But the “controversy” reached its apex last night when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, along with three (white) guests discussed the topic on her show, The Kelly File. Just before diving in, Kelly made sure to emphatically declare, “For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.” It doesn’t get much better from there:

Well, of course he’s white.   Just like Shango (African god of storms) was black.  This is natural, Gods and Cultural Icons tend to look like the people who created them.

So, like it or not, the dominant culture in the US is a mish-mash of predominantly of European origin, as is Santa Claus.  Hence, you get ‘White European’ Holidays (featuring ‘white’ cultural icons such as Santa) like Christmas being celebrated in a country that is, and has been for hundreds of years, mostly ‘white.’

At this point her column continues on making irrelevant points while she plays her SJW game with the origins of Christmas and throwing in that Jesus wasn’t white (which is probably true).  Nothing particularly surprising or excessively vitriolic, though I found these two things to pretty idiotic:

And yet Kelly and her guests not only say repeatedly that Santa is real and definitely white, they also equate him with Jesus, who, historians generally agree, was a Jewish man who grew up in Galilee. Was he white? Probably not. But the truest answer is that we really don’t know. Also, whiteness is a historical construct. And, again, Santa isn’t real.

I have no doubts Megan Kelly knows Santa isn’t real.   But this a TV show being broadcast into homes with children that are still playing the ‘Santa is Real’ game.  So she plays along.  That Kelly’s consideration and respect for others becomes a mocking point only serves to heighten, at least to me, the deliberate fault finding and just how shallowly the author thinks these things through in her rush to score ‘victim points.’

And ‘whiteness’ is a historical construct?   I wonder if she ever took a biology course.  ‘Whiteness,’ which is almost impossible to pin down in any meaningful way, is a evolutionary adaptation allowing for the production of Vitamin D in low-light/short-day conditions.   Not that the ‘historical construct’ she rails against prevents her from using ‘white’ when she wants to attack ‘white’ people and any of their relatively common ‘white’ cultural practices like Christmas.

In the end, it’s pretty sad, really.   There comes a point in time where you need to focus on real problems and not whine about silly distractions like a holiday featuring a fat, white male icon while trying to make it a symbol of racial oppression.  And yet, here we are.   Not fighting real fights.  Not improving the world.

But, rather, pointlessly attacking a traditional holiday icon that’s been illustrated in this particular form since, at least, the days of Henry the VIII.

Though he rode a goat back then…

Real Women Have Bodies

I was looking for a particular image from the Real Women Have Curves campaign.  A Zero-Sum campaign that, as far as I can see, is intentionally shaming thin women (and men of all sizes) on the behalf of women who don’t so much have curves as rolls of fat.

I didn’t find it, but this particular image popped up into my search and  I found it rather duplicitous:

Now, I don’t know who all these women are because I don’t know where the original photo comes from and I’m not much into pop-culture to identify most of them.   But I at least found out that the woman in the pink bikini is Heidi Montag  (search:  Heidi Pink Bikini).

Heidi’s picture is just one photo, of many, in a photo shoot.   When I see this photo, and the others in the shoot what I see is a very sexy, almost predator-like woman with great muscle tone and nice curves.  In short, she’s a curvy woman who happens to be fit.

Yet she’s one of many fit women used as feminist poster objects as part of shaming campaign and is being likened, in this campaign, to a ‘dog bone.’

Really?   A dog bone for the male dog?   Well, as a man, I’m sort of immune to this particular bit of gratuitous, sour-grapes male-bashing as I know what it’s really about.

But I wonder if feminists really think that taking a woman, objectifying her, shaming her (and any man that finds her attractive) for being fit is really a positive message that will move your campaign forward?    Would you argue the converse?

I don’t think so.

I think that kind of shaming campaign will breed blow-back and charges of hypocrisy when we view the male sex symbols women fawn over:

Tom Hiddleston

All of them are considered to be male sex-symbols.  And each and every one of them is fit to go with pleasingly featured.  And they all have great hair, too which is not an absolute requirement.  But, as we know, baldness really hurts the ‘celebrity sex symbol’ potential of any male entertainer; hence all the rugs, like John Travolta (caught here without it):

Relaxation: John Travolta hung out on a hammock in Hawaii as he left his weave at home during a family vacation for his 57th birthday

But beyond the ‘fit shaming’ that goes on, who says the women in the bottom row aren’t still considered hot?   It’s false to say that we went from the bottom-row to the top-row in female beauty when, in fact, those women on the bottom row still have analogs on TV and in the Movies today, like Kristina Hendricks (currently in Mad Men):

christina hendricks emmys dress 2013

She’s obviously far, far closer to the four on the bottom than the four on the top and is a ‘real woman.’   But so are the four women on the top.

Except, I am told by the SJW crowd that I’m a dog, obviously wrong and that the four women on the top aren’t ‘real women.’  That, somehow, they’re ‘defective’ for being thin (and possibly small breasted for three of them) and fit.    And that men are ‘dogs’ for liking them.

The Gender Wage Gap — Revisiting a Persistent Feminist Myth

Just over three years ago the Wall Street Journal reported:

The earning power of young single women has surpassed that of their male peers in metropolitan areas around the U.S., a shift that is being driven by the growing ranks of women who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs.

In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.

Since then, it’s only gotten worse for men and the updated (2012) figures tell us:

These findings held true for 147 of the largest 150 cities in the US. The best news came out of Atlanta and Memphis, where women in this demographic group are earning up to 21% more than men. The same higher earnings trend for women exists in other large cities including New York (17%), San Diego (15%) and Los Angeles (12%), and even smaller urban areas such as Raleigh-Durham, NC (14%) and Charlotte, NC (14%).

You’d think feminist leaders, advocates and organizations would celebrate that young women are succeeding.  That these clear and unambiguous results would be acknowledged.  And yet we still get articles like this from just last week:

Women have made tremendous gains in education, employment and earnings in the past 50 years, but there is still a persistent gender pay gap. Even young working women continue to lag behind men.

Among recent college graduates, full-time working women on average earn 82% of what their male peers earn, according to a study released today by the AAUW (American Association of University Women). The report is based on 2009 U.S. Department of Education statistics.

Sadly the very partisan AAUW refuses to look at the actual data that says young women are doing better than their male contemporaries, or account for actual causes in wage disparity, which includes:

  1. Men are far more likely to choose careers that are more dangerous, so they naturally pay more.
  2. Men are far more likely to work in higher-paying fields and occupations (by choice).
  3. Men are far more likely to take work in uncomfortable, isolated, and undesirable locations that pay more.
  4. Men work longer hours than women do.
  5. Men are more likely to take jobs that require work on weekends and evenings and therefore pay more.
  6. Even within the same career category, men are more likely to pursue high-stress and higher-paid areas of specialization.
  7. Women business owners make less than half of what male business owners make, which, since they have no boss, means it’s independent of discrimination.

Think about #7 for a minute.   Nobody is forcing women into these businesses.  These women have made choices and their choices have caused them to earn less.   And this gets us to the US Department of Labor’s observation when they studied this issue in 2009:

“This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.

Which is something that has been observed and argued since the 1990s, though it hasn’t been a popular position that when women’s choices are accounted for, the gap becomes so small that it could be moot.