Open Thread And Link Farm: It’s Fucking Magic Edition


Above: An extreme close-up of the human eye. Suren Manvelyan, the photographer, has a whole gallery.

  1. Intent! It’s Fucking Magic! « Genderbitch: Musings of a Trans Chick
  2. Safety Regulators Don’t Add Costs. They Decide Who Pays Them. – NYTimes.com. I think the writer is exaggerating a bit; obviously, inefficient and bad regulations add costs. But too many Conservatives speak as if all regulations are bad.
  3. Privilege & Activism: Questioning the tendency of NSWATM to find equivalent male victimhood in everything.
  4. Unemployment’s here to stay | Felix Salmon So given that there is going to be substantial long-term unemployment for years to come, what should we do about it?
  5. A critique of Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” (Via).
  6. My hope for #occupy wall street: “Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly operates under a revolutionary “progressive stack.” [...] A progressive stack encourages women and traditionally marginalized groups speak before men, especially white men.”
  7. I want one of these chairs.
  8. Related to the above post, I debated a bunch about progressive stacking in an open thread on No Seriously What About The Menz.
  9. On Bringing Back the Firing Squad | The Agitator So lethal injection may actually be an extremely cruel and painful method; less painful methods are easily available, but aren’t used because they wouldn’t be as comfortable for spectators to see.
  10. Could You Forgive the Man Who Shot You in The Face?
  11. Kat Dennings Is a Goddess. So Stop Trolling. Yet another actress being criticized because she has a tiny bit of flesh on her bones and that’s JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE Y’ALL.
  12. EDGE: What Is The Most Important Invention of the Past 2000 Years?
  13. WRI’s Review of Climate Science 2009-2010: “As a Whole, the Literature Paints a Bleak Picture” | ThinkProgress
  14. Warner Bros. To Make Movie Out of Reddit Comment
  15. Four different Republican candidates for President believe that God told them to run
  16. Escher Girls: “This is a blog for pictures of female characters in impossible or ridiculous poses or with disturbing anatomy because the artists need to show teh sexy.” (Via).

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29 Responses to Open Thread And Link Farm: It’s Fucking Magic Edition

  1. 1
    EasilyEnthused says:

    Yes, and because I think Amp deserves it, I want everyone to know that he successfully changed my mind about “progressive stacking” in that NSWATM post.

    Yes, two people with differing opinions argued online and eventually one person changed their mind. I feel like someone should alert Wikipedia.

    Anyway, I wasn’t the only one – it seems that most people at NSWATM had the wrong idea of what “progressive stacking” was and after Amp came back and clarified – it was more widely accepted. Kudos to Amp for taking the time.

  2. 2
    K__ says:

    Feminists with FSD does Orgasm, Inc. – finally got around to watching the feminist documentary about female sexual dysfunction. As someone with FSD, I found it lacking in some important areas.

  3. 3
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I question that naming of the blog in @16 – Escher has never, to my knowledge at least, drawn distorted women for the goal of “sexiness”. I understand that they’re using Escher’s name as a shorthand for “spatially distorted”, but that just shows a severe misunderstanding of what Escher’s art was about. If nothing else, his art is neither careless nor ignorant of the shapes he plays with.

  4. 4
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Most important invention of the last 2000 years, huh?

    DRIVER DRILL!!!

    Ok, not really. But almost.

  5. 5
    Susan says:

    given that there is going to be substantial long-term unemployment for years to come, what should we do about it?

    We’re screwed.

    Conversation yesterday between me and my VERY highly paid oldest kid, in high tech in Silicon Valley:

    Him: “I’m going college recruiting now, because if we wait until closer to graduation all the good candidates will be snapped up.”

    Me: “Jobs with you guys (remember, highly paid) are so easy to get?”

    Him: “Yup, gotta get in there early, jobs fairs, early interviewing, or we’ll lose out.”

    Me: “There’s double-digit unemployment here in California. Overall. Who do you geniuses think is going to buy all this crap you guys are generating under these circumstances?”

    Him: “Well, I guess that might be a problem.”

    Ya think?

  6. 6
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    #6 is amusing because it simultaneously promotes the merits of “true democracy” and “progressive stacking.” That’s a bit like trying to have race-blind admissions and affirmative action at the same time: can’t be done.

    “Progressive stacking” focuses on identifying minority points of view and selectively bringing them to the forefront. (or, if you prefer, selectively identifying majority points of view and suppressing them. Same thing, really.)

    But if you’re privileging the minority over the majority by giving them disproportionate time to speak (or any other other disparate and beneficial treatment), then you’ve just tossed “true democracy” out the window.

    It’s delicious doublespeak.

  7. 7
    Sebastian H says:

    #2 is as irritatingly unproductive as the conservative side of the same argument. Yes, health and safety regs *can* just allocate costs, but they also *can* stifle the hell out of very useful innovations. If we had gone through the regular FDA channels instead of fighting like hell for to push for access to early AIDS medications, tens of thousands more would have died much earlier, and it isn’t at all clear that pace of medications would have come as quickly as it did.

    How many other diseases have the same problem but don’t have ACT-UP to get the FDA off its ass?

    I’m guessing the answer is a lot larger than zero.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    I’ve had to run a number of meetings wherein I noticed that some people talked a lot and other people didn’t say anything. So I’ve found it necessary to turn to someone who’s not been heard from and say “So, what do you think?” rather than just let people talk and select from those most eager to have something to say. There have been occasions wherein I’ve actually had to tell someone “You’ve had quite a bit to say; I think we need to make sure that everyone’s viewpoint is heard.”

    I can’t make a comment as to whether “progressive stacking” is a good idea because it seems to be different things to different people. If “progressive stacking” is a process by which it is ensured that no one group dominates discussion and that everyone is heard I think it’s a good thing. But if it’s implemented so as to communicate that one particular group’s thoughts are not as valuable or as worthy to be heard as others then I think you need to question whether that kind of discrimination is a good idea or is consonant with your principles. Presuming that the fact that someone’s skin is white means you can presuppose that they have certain beliefs and behaviors is as invidious as believing that the fact that someone’s skin is black means that you can presuppose certain things about them.

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    @ 15:

    So, four of the Republican candidates for President think that running for President is in accordance with God’s will for their lives.

    What’s the problem with that? I’m not clear why this is remarkable.

  10. 10
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    An article (probably the first of many such to follow) regarding a small interview-type poll, of a couple hundred of the 99%ers, at one particular site, on (I think) one particular day. As you can probably guess, I don’t know that you can conclude much from the poll ;) but it’s an interesting article anyway.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576637082965745362.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, I just think it’s funny. Although each individual candidate is, I think, implying that God favors their politics, taken as a whole it implies that God wants to split the far-right vote and make sure Romney is the nominee.

    Also, it’s cheesy for politicians of either party to conflate their own political ambitions with God’s will. Talk about a lack of humility!

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    G&W: I wish the actual polling questions and the results were available somewhere online, but they don’t seem to be (I checked the author’s website and his firm’s website).

    But in general, Douglas Schoen seems full of crap. For instance, he says that wanting to raise taxes on the rich is a far-left view, and independent voters want to cut taxes. But a bunch of polls have found that most independents favor raising taxes on wealthy households, and by large margins. (Example).

  13. 13
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    RonF says:
    If “progressive stacking” is a process by which it is ensured that no one group dominates discussion and that everyone is heard I think it’s a good thing.

    How? Those are almost always dichotomous.

    If you’ve got a stastical sample of U.S. population* in a big room, and everyone’s got a point of view who wants to speak their piece, then the whites are going to dominate conversation. That’s unsurprising; they’re 72.4% (or 63.7% if you don’t count hispanic whites) of the population.

    You’re going to have a hard time paying a lot of attention to the Pacific Islanders, who only get to talk for a minute out of every 8 hours.

    “OK,” say you, “I’ll just give them 10 minutes instead of 1 minute. Then we’ll hear their viewpoint.”

    But of course, in order to do so, you’ve got to take some time away from some white people (or some other group.) Some of THOSE folks have to sit down instead of speaking: there goes the “everyone is heard” goal.

    Some folks like to weasel around the problem by claiming that the “sit down” folks are fungible. Well, no: people aren’t fungible at all, even when some of their views are similar. (of course, most folks think that all Other Groups are fungible, and that Their Group is the sole exception. Bollocks.) Besides, the size of a group, and its internal consistence, can be really relevant.

    *I’m using http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

  14. 14
    RonF says:

    That’s the danger of using the left’s identity politics – that a given classification of people on the basis of sex, color or ethnicity can be presumed to have common interests past specific discrimination on those bases. If I’ve got a group of 100 people split 70:30::white:black and 5 white guys have held forth for the last 1/2 hour I’m going to make sure that the next couple of people who have some air time are black, and those particular 5 white guys are done for the day. But when the analysis gets more complex than that you’ve got problems.

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    Ron, I just think it’s funny. Although each individual candidate is, I think, implying that God favors their politics, taken as a whole it implies that God wants to split the far-right vote and make sure Romney is the nominee.

    Or that He wants to make very sure that whoever is nominated modifies his or her positions to accomodate the far-right vote. Kind of like what John Bohner has had to do in the House with so many Tea Party movement supported new House members. And perhaps He also thinks that we need more people like Sarah Palin, who while not in office now has far more influence in American politics than before she ran and lost.

    Also, it’s cheesy for politicians of either party to conflate their own political ambitions with God’s will. Talk about a lack of humility!

    If they came out and proclaimed unprompted “God wants me to be President” I’d definitely go with a lack of humility. If someone asked them “What role does your faith have in your candidacy” and in answer to the question said “I’ve prayed about this and I feel that God has called me to be a candidate and I trust in His judgement as to how it all end up” I don’t think it’s a lack of humility.

    BTW – it’s not a numbered citation above, but that woman with that sign about bogus mortgage securities could show up at any Tea Party movement rally and be very welcome, I should think.

  16. 17
    DaisyDeadhead says:

    I wrote about the debate last night, which wasn’t funny enough for a good post, but here it is anyway: http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/2011/10/las-vegas-republican-debate.html

    I just hope someone is criticizing Newt Gingrich in particular for his “you gotta have faith” comments… I found them damned offensive. The agnostics and atheists should be demanding his head… or maybe they just don’t consider him important enough to worry about. Still, I think that line is dangerous and oppressive. No, you don’t need faith to have good judgment! It certainly hasn’t helped Newt!

  17. 18
    RonF says:

    Elusis, I have no idea whether they’d endorse the columnist. I’m not familiar with his work. But they’d certainly endorse the content of that sign. If that surprises you, you are misinformed about the Tea Party movement.

  18. 19
    RonF says:

    Are You Smarter Than a Wall Street Occupier?

    Here are questions asked of 50 “occupiers” in Zuccotti Park in NYC. First, see what you think the answers are.

    1) What is the Dodd–Frank Act?
    2) Does President Obama control the Federal Reserve?
    3) Who is the chairman of the Federal Reserve?
    4) Is the U.S. economy currently experiencing inflation or deflation?
    5) Who is Elizabeth Warren?
    6) What is the “S.E.C.”?
    7) What is the top marginal income tax rate for the richest 1 percent?
    8) But many wealthy filers pay only 15 percent on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains. What should it be?
    9) What does the government spend more on? Health care and pensions, education, or the military?

    #8 is more of a survey question, no “right” answer is given. But this link shows what their answers were. Once there you can click on links to show the actual correct answers.

  19. 20
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Are You Smarter Than a Wall Street Occupier?

    Here are questions asked of 50 “occupiers” in Zuccotti Park in NYC. First, see what you think the answers are.

    I’m going to rename this the “are you smart enough to design a meaningful survey?” survey.

    1) What is the Dodd–Frank Act?

    Who the fuck cares if you know what the name is, so long as you get the general idea? I’m sure that there’s a name for half the acts i use, and I know few of them.

    2) Does President Obama control the Federal Reserve?

    this is a valid question. Almost 88% of folks got it right, if you include their “controls through board appointment” caveats.

    3) Who is the chairman of the Federal Reserve?

    Again: who the fuck cares? It could be Donald Duck so long as it’s run correctly.

    4) Is the U.S. economy currently experiencing inflation or deflation?

    Trick question for everyone who’s not an econ major.

    5) Who is Elizabeth Warren?

    The non-popularly-elected person who is, maybe, running some thing in Congress that everyone is fighting about and that has something to do with consumers, maybe, if it doesn’t get blocked…. Oh wait, that’s the wrong answer. What: people in NYC are supposed to know she’s a massachusetts senatorial candidate? or a freakin’ law professor? Please.

    6) What is the “S.E.C.”?

    Who the fuck cares? If I take the position “someone should keep folks in the NFL from getting concussions and killing themselves” it doesn’t mean I need to know who the coaches are. Come to think of it, I DO think that, and I have no idea who’s supposed to be enforcing the rule.

    7) What is the top marginal income tax rate for the richest 1 percent?

    Um, who the fuck cares, since–as everyone knows–nobody pays it anyway? “It should damn well be more than they actually pay” is a reasonable response.

    8) But many wealthy filers pay only 15 percent on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains. What should it be?

    A reasonable, though complex, question.

    9) What does the government spend more on? Health care and pensions, education, or the military?

    Well, i agree that this is a valid question. But it (deliberately?) obscures the issue: some things cost a lot but deliver outstanding value; other things cost a lot but delivery poor value. Most laypeople conflate (at least a bit) value and actual objective cost. that’s why Cristal is “expensive” and a $5,000 Yugo is “cheap.” It’s why the government “spends more on” foreign wars in the Stans than it spends on funding ER visits.

    So: Am i smarter than a wall st occupier? I dunno. But i’m sure as hell smarter than the person who wrote the article.

  20. 21
    RonF says:

    I think the “inflation vs. deflation” question has value in that it describes in part the status of the economy, which is of major concern right now. The SEC question has value in that it’s failure to do it’s job also is part of the problem. If you’re going to hold that the Federal government “should do something about Wall Street” you ought to know something about the components of the Federal government whose job it is to do just that. It also helps you understand news stories about Wall Street and it’s interactions with the Federal government. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s hell.

    I think the question about where Federal expenditures go has multiple values. First, it’s amazing to me that so many people are misinformed. What are they doing to be informed? Are they simply listening or watching propaganda? Second, it would inform expectations of how much $ can be made available for other purposes by reducing the military budget. It also would improve their understanding of how much the Federal government already supports healthcare and retirements and how much more it can reasonably expect to be able to put into them without completely bankrupting the country.

    i think that the “Chairman of the Federal Reserve” question is valid in that it tends to select who actually reads news stories about it and is informed about what it’s doing, since just about every story about the Federal Reserve mentions his name.

  21. 22
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    “If you’re going to hold that the Federal government “should do something about Wall Street” you ought to know something about the components of the Federal government whose job it is to do just that. ”

    Why?

    that’s not a snarky question.

    Obviously if you’re the one in charge of FIXING a problem, you need to have a deep understanding of the process. But if you’re simply recognizing a problem, you don’t need that at all.

  22. 23
    EasilyEnthused says:

    I actually tend to agree with G&W here – unless you’re pushing for specific legislation, you don’t have to be particularly educated with the mechanics of change to have your pain and suffering heard.

    Besides, that’s why we’re a republic – our representatives have been appointed to figure out how to work the system in a way to reach the attainable goals of their constituents.

    If you bring your car to a mechanic and say “I put gas in my car but it still won’t start” you shouldn’t expect to get grilled on your knowledge of the internal combustion engine.

  23. 24
    Ampersand says:

    Back to Doug Schoen: I came across the actual questions he asked, here. (Scroll down to the embedded document).

    I think it’s reasonable to say that Schoen mischaracterized the results in his WSJ op-ed, and in one case — the claim that OWS protesters want social security and medical care without regard to cost — he flat-out lied. (The question didn’t say anything about costs.)

  24. 25
    grendelkhan says:

    On lethal injection versus the firing squad, I’m rather reminded of the mousetrap problem. There are mousetraps with the spring-loaded bar, which snaps the mouse’s neck instantly and, I would assume, painlessly, and there’s the kind with glue on it, which one is supposed to pour vegetable oil onto and leave outside to release the animal. Generally, in the latter case, people let the animal die of dehydration; sometimes the mouse will gnaw off some of its own limbs… but people don’t get wigged out at the creepy sight of a mouse with a broken neck. It’s the same question–is it more important to be humane to the condemned or pleasant to the witnesses?

    Sebastian H.: How many other diseases have the same problem but don’t have ACT-UP to get the FDA off its ass?

    This can be roughly quantified by looking at how long helpful drugs take to be introduced.

    The problem is, I think, one of incentives. If the FDA approves Vioxx–which killed about five thousand people at most between its approval and its withdrawal–it gets a tremendous amount of bad press for doing so. I’d be surprised if someone didn’t get fired or heavily reprimanded. On the other hand, nobody got fired for taking seven years (from the start of the first trials) to approve Herceptin for anyone, and eight, then four more years to broaden its application, when it saves about five thousand lives every year. (I’m kinda handwaving these numbers, but they’re the right order of magnitude.)

  25. 26
    Jake Squid says:

    One of my sister’s friends was murdered by her husband who then killed their kids before killing himself. The initial coverage was a spectacular combination of embarrassingly bad journalism and quotes from his friends blaming the victim. More recent coverage has been better.

    Everything about this tragedy follows the standard pattern and I’m glad that fact finally made it into the papers.

  26. 27
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Random thought spurred by mandolin’s excellent post, but which is far too unrelated to post there:

    When you envision “equality,” or “removal of bias,” how does your vision account for the like/dislike problem?

    Are you assuming that nobody will have likes/dislikes? That folks will no longer have preferences to be with someone who is rich/poor, fat/skinny, endowed (or not) with your preferred-size body aspect; wearing makeup or not; of a particular skin color or hair type or physical or mental ability; etc.? How do you distinguish preference and bias?

    Or is it a balancing effect? Are you assuming that people WILL still have preferences–but that the preferences will be so random and spread out that one particular preference (or group of preferences) won’t be controlling to the extent that they are now, and that they’ll all balance out?

    I.e.: Are you assuming a society where nobody cares whether you wear makeup or not? Or are you assuming a society where some people prefer to hang with made-up folks, and some people prefer the opposite–but the balance is closer to equal?

    I have a lot of trouble processing the “nobody will care” prediction. Well, not for makeup, in particular, but for the long laundry list of things for which we’re not supposed to be judging people: from body odor to makeup; from intelligence to religion.

    Seems pretty unrealistic to imagine a post-everything society, doesn’t it? Aren’t we just going to invent our own new groupings that are just as invalid as the ones we’re striving to replace? You can replace the “wearing makeup” with the “using the proper terminology to describe wearing makeup” test. It doesn’t seem that different to me.

    Because after all, social progress requires an IN group and an OUT group. That’s what drives change. (Racism is an excellent example. The definition has changed so that a given percentage of people remain in the “racist” camp, and a limited percentage are in the “non racist” camp. Plenty of social positions which would have been considered non-racist in 1970 have since been redefined as racist, which correlates to the improvement in US race relations. As the ball moves; so does the first down line.)

    How can it be that we’ll still have in/out groups in everything where folks want them, and that we’ll magically avoid in/out groups everywhere else?

  27. 28
    Elusis says:

    This blog post has some interesting things to say about taking an active role in re-considering our desires and preferences, and engaging thoughtfully with how they are shaped by the dominant discourse.