Link Farm and Open Thread, Brain Scanning Dead Fish Edition

This is an open thread. Post what you like, when you want to. Self-linking makes you smell better and will put a spring in your step in the morning.

  1. It’s science! Researchers hooked a dead fish up to an fMRI machine. The fish was then “shown a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations. The salmon was asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing.” The salmon did great! This shows that dead fish are very smart; or, as Figleaf suggests, it shows that brain-scanning experiments without strong statistical controls have dubious validity.
  2. “The stars are aligning for a winnable and worthwhile fight on U.S. policy in Afghanistan in the next several weeks: stopping the Obama Administration from sending more troops.”
  3. Former deputy chief of the counterterrorist center at the CIA: Preventing a “terrorist haven” in Afghanistan isn’t worth the costs.
  4. Female lawyers with masculine names are the most likely women to become judges. (But sexism is just a myth, right?)
  5. I am female bodied, but I do not identify as a female or in a feminine way. My gender presentation is masculine, but I don’t identify as a man or male. I am on the trans spectrum, but not in the sense that I’m transitioning…”
  6. Awesome Golden Girls tattoo.
  7. Both rape and false accusations of rape result from rape culture. (Via.)
  8. The singular “They” and the many reasons it’s correct
  9. Why does Ms. Michelle Bachmann get more attention than all the other ridiculous far-right Representatives? I’m not sure I agree — I’d have to compare the statements of the other contenders and see if they really are as extreme as Bachmannisms are — but it’s a reasonable concern.
  10. Did you read Newsweek’s article on how infants and young kids learn about race — and how by pretending race isn’t there, adults encourage racism? If not, you should go read it.
  11. If if the jury finds you “not guilty,” you can still be sentenced to prison for the crime. This has been upheld by higher courts, and the Supremes chose not to examine the issue. Scary. (Via.)
  12. More on the politics of Black hair
  13. The History of Jobs in America. I’m linking mainly because the graphic is so pretty.
  14. XKCD presents: The Search For Intelligent Life Out There
  15. Matt Bors gives out the first award for excessive labeling in a political cartoon (the winner is Anne Cleaves). The cartoon in question is a doozy.
  16. Juan Cole provides a good round-up of links about Iran’s apparently non-existent nuclear weapons program.
  17. Once again, pundits are claiming that women’s happiness has plummeted. And once again, Language Log is pointing out that the statistics don’t support that claim.
  18. Contrary to what I and many other lefties have claimed in the past, the SATs are actually pretty accurate at predicting success in college grades.
  19. Siditty discusses the definition of racism.
  20. Yet Another White Person Who Feels Entitled To Touch Black Women’s Hair
  21. Inside Edition On Nightclub Sexual Predators.
  22. The UN Human Rights Council could become worthwhile — but only if the US puts a huge amount of effort into remaking it.
  23. Asshats of the world, please stop calling Kayne West a nigger.
  24. Great post by Little Light: “Let’s let vulnerability be radical. Let’s embrace it.”
  25. The problem with making health care reform “cheaper” by lowering subsidies is that if since people will still be required to have insurance, all you’re really doing is making middle-income people spend more money, in order to spare the government the pain of taxing rich people to pay for subsidies.
  26. In defense of the claim that better family planning can help save the environment.
  27. The UK offers paternity leave for the first time. Molly calls this a baby step forward for working moms, and she’s right, but I’d add that it’s also a step forward for working dads.
  28. What ACORN hysteria is distracting us from.
  29. Reading, Pennsylvania: Where you get three years in prison for taking consensual nude pictures of your girlfriend, but cops who expose their penises in the office aren’t penalized at all. UPDATE: Figleaf follows up on this, and finds that it’s a heck of a lot more complicated than that.
  30. Counterpunch Magazine, which has published a lot of articles I like in the past, publishes a pile of anti-Semitic lies. So, fuck Counterpunch, I say. (Via.)
  31. In Iraq, Freedom Is Marching Backward
  32. Five Hard-To-Kill Houseplants For Your Home Or Office
  33. And finally, via Womanist Musings:

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26 Responses to Link Farm and Open Thread, Brain Scanning Dead Fish Edition

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    The SAT thing conforms to my expectations and observations, and for that reason I am suspicious of it. :)

  2. 2
    Aftercancer says:

    I finally got around to putting up my Bonnaroo posts for Friday, Saturday and Sunday (what’s three months really). And I need the five impossible to kill houseplants because I have murdered the hard to kill ones already.

  3. 3
    Jake Squid says:

    Just last night I was having a conversation with my recently deceased pencilfish about pointilism. She was understandably distracted by being eaten by a shrimp, so the conversation wasn’t all it could have been.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    That article about all the attention being paid to ACORN has some valid points, but it also reminds me a lot of what the 11-year old kids in my Boy Scout Troop do when I catch them doing something they ought not to. It looks to me like the distracting here is being attempted by the author, trying to keep people from dealing with ACORN as it ought to be dealt with by diverting their attention elsewhere. “How come you’re yelling at me when Joe knocked over the spaghetti pot?” Sorry, that’s true but it doesn’t excuse you and you still need to be dealt with. There’s resources enough to take care of both.

    People are focusing on ACORN because of the attention that came upon it during the campaign. Pres. Obama’s history of being a community organizer and his associates’ use of ACORN has brought a lot of attention on just what community organizers are and what they do. They’re not going after it just for what it’s done, but for what people wanted to do with it, such as help run the census. When you’ve got an organization that’s being indicted for vote fraud and is quite free with advice on how to get government money to assist them in child prostitution you have to wonder about the motives of any politician who would vote to fund them with public funds. One or two local groups doing something like that can be sloughed off as individual actions. But when three groups do something like this it’s starting to look like a pattern of systemic attitudes and beliefs that pervade the entire organization.

  5. 5
    figleaf says:

    Thanks for the link, Amp. The fish experiment doesn’t disprove the possibility of tracking gender differences with fMRI technology so much as it further strains the credibility of a heck of a lot of the, well, bottom-feeding gender researchers (i.e. “evolutionary psychologists”) who often lack the biological and statistical chops and funding for sufficiently large and diverse sample sizes to justify their pronouncements.

    Oh and by the way, based in large part on a complaint about work safety from one of your readers the last time you linked to one of my posts I’ve cleaned up the site to roughly PG-13 standards. I’ve been meaning to for some time and that comment pushed it to the top of my list.

    figleaf

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    “The problem with making health care reform “cheaper” by lowering subsidies is that if since people will still be required to have insurance, all you’re really doing is making middle-income people spend more money, in order to spare the government the pain of taxing rich people to pay for subsidies.

    I”d say the problem is that the amount of money that is called for to “reform” healthcare is so huge that rich people don’t have enough money to pay for it no matter how much you tax them. You rack up trillions of dollars in new spending and there’s no way that taxes don’t go up.

    How much money do you have to earn or have to be considered “rich”, anyway?

  7. 7
    Will says:

    I recently posted about the CBC’s Quirks and Quarks (for you Canadians out there). They did a show discussing whether or not humans are inherently violent, and not surprisingly, women never really came up.

  8. 8
    PG says:

    Re #8:

    I’m not sure where the “they is singular” guy got his edition of the Canterbury Tales. The UVa e-text version of The Pardoner’s Prologue says,

    “And whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame,
    He wol come up and offre in goddes name”

    Indeed, when I ran a Google search for “whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame,” the only hits that had “They” instead of “He” were websites making the “they is singular” argument. I suspect all of these folks are getting bad info from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, which in turn appears to have been misled by a Danish scholar. The websites that had “He wol come up…” were publishing the text of the whole tale rather than trying to advance a particular grammatical argument.

  9. 9
    PG says:

    Re #18: Contrary to what I and many other lefties have claimed in the past, the SATs are actually pretty accurate at predicting success in college grades.

    I’m the opposite of Robert — the idea that the SAT predicts college grades violates my experience. I scored a 1590 on the SAT right after the scores were re-centered in the mid-90s, yet I wasn’t proportionately successful on college grades.

    As I recall, the predictive ability of SAT scores relative to one’s parents’ home property value is greater than even the 76% cited in the study, and that one does accord with my experience. Parents who invest in their kids’ academic success, and have a basically smart kid who is a good multiple-choice test-taker, can produce a child who does well on the SAT and various other exams. That doesn’t mean they’ve produced a child who will be just as successful at college as they were at test-taking. I suspect that high school grades, when adjusted for how difficult the school and courses were, are actually better predictors of college grades: my friends who were honors graduates of excellent high schools, yet who had much lower SAT scores than I did, had better grades.

  10. 10
    FilthyGrandeur says:

    Filthy movie reviews: 9 SPOILER ALERT. my review of the movie 9.

    on elder abuse: my grandfather is being verbally abused by by grandmother–basically my thoughts on a miserable situation. any suggestions are appreciated.

    Dead bodies having sex…ohhh nooooeeeesss!!: Body Worlds new exhibit features plastinated bodies in sexual positions…and i’m not offended in the least.

    Gender, sexuality, and objectification in Lil Wayne’s 2009 performance of Lollipop: disclaimer–I’m a huge fan of Lil Wayne.

    it’s for her; says so right on the can!: new energy drink for ladies just further exemplifies how clueless people are when it comes to marketing to women.

  11. 11
    figleaf says:

    Not sure why but I followed the links in item #29 and while it’s really, superficially accurate the real story is way more complex. Complex enough that I followed up on it in a post here.

  12. 12
    Rich B. says:

    SATs are better at predicting Freshman Year grades, but GPA is better at predicting graduation rates.

    To me, it seems whether you graduate or not is more important than whether you have a 3.3 or 2.5 after Freshman Year.

  13. 13
    moose says:

    #5 – could be me
    #7 & #23 make me weep for humanity
    #10 makes my head hurt. Well so do some of the others.

    The concept of “color-blind” really pisses me off. “I’m not a racist, I don’t even notice people’s skin color!” Gah! So what you’re saying is that you think you’re a good person for denying someone their heritage and part of who they are?

    The whole point of anti-racism — or so I thought — was that you don’t use the irrelevant details and/or background of someone to make a judgement about them. Not that you sweep all such details & background under the rug.

    “The Lathe of Heaven” for everyone. George GOrr says hello.

  14. The Language Log post is most excellent. I add more about the Stevenson-Wolfers study which lies behind this most recent pseudo-scare.

  15. 15
    PG says:

    I posted both of the links at #7 on Facebook, and a friend commented, ‘when I was working at the Brooklyn DA, I ended up having a LOT of scary conversations with male friends who did not seem to understand how they sounded when they wanted to discuss increasingly elaborate “what if” scenarios.’

  16. 16
    Sailorman says:

    ABW’s post on reacting to people who say something inappropriate made me wonder how to judge what IS appropriate. There has to be a point at which reacting to someone doing bad things IS itself inappropriate… or does there?

    What do you do?

    Say Dude A says something inappropriate to me–let’s hypothetically say he comments on my Jewish nose. I have three general levels of reaction:

    1) I can lecture him “normally,” i.e. at a level which might be effective if everyone did it, and at a level which reflects my own personal insult at hearing that comment directed at me.

    2) I can react to him in a more angry fashion, reflecting the fact that I believe most people won’t/don’t say anything, and that I believe Dude A is also insulting other people.

    3) I can react to him in an even worse fashion, reflecting everything in #2, PLUS the fact that Dude A’s behavior plays right into horrible social stereotypes which Dude A is perpetrating, and that so many people just like Dude A will never have anyone say anything at all, and so on.

    Now:

    Say that I do #2 or #3, and Dude A says “hey, what the fuck? You’re overreacting, you crazy asshole.”

    Is Dude A right? Does the fact that I’ve passed four other people on the same street, all of who commented on my nose, mean that any extra anger I feel towards Dude A is all his fault?

  17. 17
    chingona says:

    Sailorman,

    I’m having a really hard time understanding your question. Given that the socially acceptable and conventional response to any kind of insult – whether particular to me or toward a group I belong to – is to just ignore it, any kind of response at all will be “inappropriate.” Our social norm is that people get to be rude and bigoted, and the person who says anything (even – “Hey, that’s rude and bigoted” – in a normal tone of voice) is the one worthy of contempt and gross breach of social convention.

    Are you trying to create some objective standard by which to judge a response as proportional to the level of insult?

  18. 18
    PG says:

    Sailorman,

    If Dude A is a stranger commenting on your nose — when there’s no shared history between you to make it clear that he’s joking or is himself Jewish or anything that might ameliorate the insult — then I’m not sure what verbal response could be an overreaction, so long as it isn’t coupled with any action (e.g. if Dude A walks away, you don’t raise your voice to yell after him nor follow him nor attempt to detain him physically).

  19. 20
    Myca says:

    I’m not sure what verbal response could be an overreaction, so long as it isn’t coupled with any action

    Yeah. This is sort of where I am too. It seems to me that if someone opens the door to random rudeness (and not just rudeness but anti-semitic rudeness) to someone on the street, then when that person rounds on them with a furious and vicious rejoinder, they don’t really have grounds for complaint.

    There will always be people who will laugh off any response, from calm explanation to angry rant, but there’s not much you can do about those people. The best one can hope for in that kind of circumstance, I think, is operant conditioning … if the “Jewish-nose-commenter” is swatted hard and often enough for being an asshat, maybe next time, even if he doesn’t agree that he was smacked for a good reason, he’ll avoid doing stuff that gets him smacked.

    —Myca

    PS. ‘Smacked’ in this context is used to mean “yelled at/taken to task for his racism, anti-semitism, and general rudeness,” and of course should not be read as an endorsement of physical violence.

  20. 21
    Ampersand says:

    Is anyone else finding themselves reminded of this scene (in its various incarnations)?

  21. 22
    Elkins says:

    I did see #10, last week, and actually considered e-mailing you the link to it, because I thought it was awesome. I’m glad to see you found it on your own.

    I am, however, torn between feeling glad and feeling somewhat disappointed to see that the comments on the article are now closed and can no longer be perused. It was some of the scariest shit I’ve ever seen. People not even pretending not to be Stone Racists. I mean, we’re talking Klan rhetoric here. It scared the crap out of me.

  22. 23
    Radfem says:

    Wall to wall coverage on the Acorn scandal here since some of it happened in San Berdoo.

    The neonazis are coming to town to rally again this weekend at some (for now) undisclosed location. So there’s going to be a confrontational counter-rally and a nonconfrontational counter rally of peace. They’ve been trying to start a new chapter in the IE for quite awhile. The city’s new slogan (and our city government LOVES coming up with new logos and slogans), “City of Arts and Innovation…and Nazi rallies”.

    I might blog on it later.

  23. 24
    PG says:

    I have to admit, the more I hear about what happened with ACORN, the more ashamed I am of my initial knee-jerk reaction. The drumbeat of the right-wing haters seems to have wriggled into my unconscious.

  24. 25
    earwicga says:

    [Note from Amp: The link contains a very disturbing photo of a mutilated child victim of rape.]

    http://earwicga.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/apparently-there-are-people-who-do-not-know-this/ Pass it on.

  25. 26
    Doug S. says:

    So, Season 2 of Dollhouse has started. Thoughts?