Open Thread and Link Farm, That’s A Photo Not A Painting Edition

Uralkali Potash Mine in Berezniki, Russia. Photo: Edward Burtynsky.

  1. I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave – Mother Jones
    “My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine.” A very disturbing article; thanks to Grace for the link.
  2. For-Profit Firefighting Was Terrible for America. Climate Change Is Bringing It Back.
    “Welcome to our climate future: disasters will get worse, and the rich will pay to sit them out.”
  3. Is a “Ladies’ Lingerie” Joke Harmless or Harassment? – The Atlantic
  4. Trump’s immigration policy is scaring families off food stamps, study finds – Vox
    A completely predictable outcome.
  5. “I Don’t Want to Shoot You, Brother”
    Interesting longread about a police officer who was fired for not firing his gun at an armed suspect.
  6. Evaluating the One-in-Five Statistic: Women’s Risk of Sexual Assault While in College – The Journal of Sex Research (via SciHub).
  7. No, BDS Is Not Anti-Semitic – Peter Beinart – The Forward
  8. The unbelievable tale of a fake hitman, a kill list, a darknet vigilante… and a murder | WIRED UK
  9. Porn Docs and Humiliating Women | Noah Berlatsky on Patreon
    What faux-forced sex porn and anti-porn documentaries have in common.
  10. Abrams pulls controversial graphic novel about a suicide bomber — The Beat
  11. Psychology’s Replication Crisis Is Real, Many Labs 2 Says – The Atlantic
    “With 15,305 participants in total, the new experiments had, on average, 60 times as many volunteers as the studies they were attempting to replicate. The researchers involved worked with the scientists behind the original studies to vet and check every detail of the experiments beforehand.”
  12. The new lawsuit challenging Georgia’s entire elections system, explained – Vox
    “Each of these issues fueled their own series of lawsuits (several of them successful) in the weeks before and after the election, but this latest lawsuit cites them collectively to make a larger point: Georgia’s current election system created an unconstitutional series of obstacles that are disproportionately likely to disadvantage, and in some cases completely disenfranchise, voters of color.”
  13. It’s Time to Retire the Media’s Sad Transgender Trope – Rewire.News
    “Transgender writers shouldn’t have to perform sadness or pain just to get published.”
  14. They’re Made of Meat
    Fun, very short science fiction story by Terry Bisson. (Thanks, Mandolin!)
  15. Gender pay gap: new report says it’s much worse than you’ve heard – VoxRather than looking at an annual wage gap, they measured a 15-year wage gap, which was 49 cents for every dollar men made. The difference is due to women taking more time off (usually for caretaking), and also because women’s wages are penalized more for taking time off than men’s.
  16. A Most American Terrorist: The Making Of Dylann Roof | GQ
    A Black reporter (who is an excellent writer) investigates Roof’s life.
  17. Who Does She Think She Is?
    Laurie Penny on harassment (so, content warning). “The internet does not hate women. The internet doesn’t hate anyone, because the internet, being an inanimate network, lacks the capacity to hold any opinion whatsoever. People hate women, and the internet allows them to do it faster, harder, and with impunity.”
  18. Researchers built a smart dress to measure how often women are groped at clubs — Quartzy
    Thanks to Grace for the link. “In just under four hours, the [three] women are touched a combined 157 times.”
  19. Dog trying to steal another dog! (Video).
  20. Women cut their hair short for Facebook likes from other women who secretly think they look ugly, Red Pill doofus explains :: We Hunted The Mammoth
    It’s so hard to think of a cartoon about this guys that 1) would be explicable for people who aren’t already aware, and 2) would be worst than the reality.
  21. Purdue accused of ‘chilling’ retaliation for sexual assault reports
  22. I love this cartoon by Jen Sorenson.

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26 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, That’s A Photo Not A Painting Edition

  1. 1
    Douglas Scheinberg says:

    A good short film adaptation of “They’re Made Out of Meat”:

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    Hm. Link 1 is disturbing. It’s also 6.5 years old. I picked up on that when there was a comment about it being cheaper to buy from Amazon than from Target even though the prices were about the same because you don’t have to pay sales tax on good from Amazon. I said “Wait, that’s not right” and then scrolled up to see the date. Which means that the various links to economic statistics are 6.5 years old, the state of the economy that the author talks about are not applicable, etc.

    Which doesn’t invalidate the experience described. But it invalidates considering it to be a description of current conditions.

  3. 3
    Grace Annam says:


    Which doesn’t invalidate the experience described. But it invalidates considering it to be a description of current conditions.

    Did someone claim that it was a description of current conditions?


  4. 4
    RonF says:

    I certainly thought it was meant to do so until I picked up on the sales tax detail and then went back to check the date.

  5. 5
    Grace Annam says:


    I certainly thought it was meant to do so…

    Well, okay, I guess. The date was right at the start of the article, next to the byline. I noticed it when I read it, so I supposed that other readers would, too.


  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    One of many, many stories from 2018:

    Amazon Working Conditions: Urinating in Trash Cans, Shamed to Work Injured, List of Employee Complaints

    So if things have changed since 6.5 years ago, they have not changed enough.

    Also, Amazon is paying people to tweet nice things about its warehouses. That really muddies things up, imo.

  7. 7
    desipis says:

    Re #21: What is the appropriate punishment for someone who maliciously abuses Title IX systems to harass other people?

  8. 8
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Re #21: What is the appropriate punishment for someone who maliciously abuses Title IX systems to harass other people?

    When this happens, there is often a successful lawsuit. I realize that’s not really punishment, or at least, the overzealous diversity officer doesn’t suffer this punishment directly, but it’s still justice, and likely works as a future deterrent which is what you want, right? You want to be careful not to disincentivize these officials from pursuing real cases.

    The only time I’ve ever wanted to see anyone punished over one of these cases was after reading about the false accusations against Canadian author Steven Galloway and his resultinginvoluntary commitment. That had me fuming.

  9. 9
    desipis says:

    Jeffrey, the case isn’t about malicious staff. It’s about malicious students manufacturing false complaints. I’m not sure I’d describe suspending a student who does such a thing as “chilling”.

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    I’m not sure I’d describe suspending a student who does such a thing as “chilling”.

    I’m a little confused about what you mean by this. Jeffrey didn’t use the word “chilling,” as far as I can tell.

  11. 11
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    desipis, I didn’t realize you were referring to the punishment of accusers.

    Let’s use a real case. Which accuser, if given due process, would be found guilty of something like harrassment, and should be punished?

    I’m sure these cases exist. But I’m not sure these accusers weren’t punished in some way, perhaps in a civil court.

  12. 12
    Mandolin says:

    Involuntary commitment? Yikes.

  13. 13
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    desipis, I’ve been thinking about this, and I think an argument could be made that the students who launched Title IX investigations against Laura Kipnis could be accused of abusing the system to harass her, but perhaps that’s a case where University officials enabled or even encouraged this abuse. Students are young, and sometimes act stupidly. University officials shouldn’t help them start a harassment campaign. I have little respect for any student who would do something like that, and I’d support norms where students who do this sort of thing lose rather than gain status on campus, but I’m still leery of punishing them in any official way because of the incentives that could create.

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    The Kipnis case is interesting, because every single time, she’s been cleared of title IX charges. Her career has not been ruined; she has not been fired or suspended; the grad student didn’t get what she wanted by making a title IX complaint; Kipnes did not get tried in a kangaroo court determined to find Kipnes responsible without regard to evidence. In short, Kipnis’ own experience seems like a rebuttal of what Kipnis claims happens when Title IX charges are filed. (I’m swiping this point from this article which is skeptical about the attacks on Title IX).

    It seems to me the problem, in Kipnis’ case, is that Northwestern apparently has no process for a quick dismissal in cases that seem on their face to have little merit and be unlikely to prevail. It’s my understanding that motions to dismiss exist in civil court cases; should they also be a thing in Title IX cases?

    (Of course, if such a tool existed, it would inevitably be abused – campuses could use them to quickly dismiss legitimate cases without any real examination).

    Kipnis makes some startling admissions about what she called in a second essay for The Chronicle her “Title IX Inquisition”: “In light of the many horror stories I’ve heard about despotic treatment in Title IX cases, I have to say I was treated extremely courteously.” She confesses she had complete confidence she would win and that “academic freedom would prevail.”

    And she indeed won. All charges were dropped. Freedom of speech prevailed. Unwanted Advances makes a familiar claim that campus misconduct hearings are “stacked against the accused”; that there “is no adequate method for sorting legitimate from specious claims”; and that “the safer path is to simply throw everyone accused of anything under a bus.” None of which were true in her case.

    Far from a malevolent netherworld of rigged results, Kipnis admits her investigation had been “thorough beyond belief” and that the “investigators had “bent over backward” to clear her. More startling, she confesses with self-sabotaging frankness that she wished the investigation had been “a little less thorough.” She even “half-hoped” she would “be found guilty.”

  15. 15
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I don’t think the Kipnis case is evidence that the status quote works. From the New yorker (

    Kipnis told me that she was surprised when Northwestern once again launched a formal Title IX investigation of her writing. (A spokesperson from Northwestern did not respond to a request for comment by press time.) Kipnis said that investigators presented her with a spreadsheet laying out dozens of quotations from her book, along with at least eighty written questions, such as “What do you mean by this statement?,” “What is the source/are the sources for this information?,” and “How do you respond to the allegation that this detail is not necessary to your argument and that its inclusion is evidence of retaliatory intent on your part?” Kipnis chose not to answer any questions, following the standard advice of counsel defending the court case.

    She came out of this because she didn’t answer any questions. The way I see it, that means an investigator choose to pursue a case where a winning defense is doing nothing at all. Why should tax payers subsidize the salary of this investigator? What happens if the professor being investigated doesn’t have tenure? I imagine the verdict would be the same, but will a university hold it against a tenure candidate if they’ve had multiple title IX investigations against them? I’d say yes. Not only are the optics bad, but there is a financial incentive to avoid employing professors who might cost a university money because they refuse to give in to the demands of students who would use Title IX as a weapon.

    But anyway, the real question is whether or not the students who would abuse Title IX against Laura Kipnis should pay some kind of penalty for that. I don’t really think so, I’d rather see these kinds of cases dismissed such that it’s the students who are wasting time by trying to abuse the system, rather than high-payed employees.

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    I wouldn’t say the Kipnis case shows that the status quo works; it is evidence that the status quo is not the complete farce and kangaroo court system that some paint it as.

    I do think that the Kipnis case shows the need for some form of quick dismissal of meritless cases. But even though I’d like such an option to exist, I also think it would inevitably be abused sometimes, and we should acknowledge that. The truth is, ANY system is going to be abused sometimess.

  17. 17
    Sebastian H says:

    The Kipnis case doesn’t show anything about how a Title IX operates with respect to students, it show a totally different case of how it operates in conjunction with tenure, a status which provides more process rights than essentially any other group in the US (including criminal trials).

    As to early dismissals, the format of current Title IX investigations makes that highly unlikely. The low burden of proof, the lack of detail provided to the accused, and the evasion of police involvement all mean that very few allegations can be thrown out an early stage.

    number 5 is interesting but infuriating. Our whole concept of the police ought to interact has gotten far too confrontational.

    Returning to an old topic of open thread conversation, Antifa mobs aren’t very good at beating up only Nazis. See horrible link here.

    As a meta note, we need to realize that the lack of wide scale reporting on this assault does our side no service, because it lets those of us who think that Antifa violence is well targeted continue to avoid noticing that it isn’t well targeted.

  18. 18
    desipis says:

    Amp@10, I used “chilling” because it was in the article title, which you quoted. I was clarifying what I was responding to in my first comment, not specifically to Jeffery’s comment.

    Jeffery, I don’t necessarily want punishment for the student in the accusations levelled against Kipnis. As far as I’m aware, the student made no false allegations of fact.

    Making a morally false claim against someone is quite different from making a factually false claim. “This article is harassment / retaliation against me” when the person actually wrote the article is a very different claim from “This person sexually assaulted / raped me” when no such thing actually occurred. I think it’s quite justifiable to punish the later (while simply dismissing the claims of the former).

  19. 19
    desipis says:


    The truth is, ANY system is going to be abused sometimes.

    We have a system that is structure for strong independence and battle-hardened against all sorts of abuse over centuries. It’s the criminal justice system. It might not be perfect but it’s the product of significant refinement and far less likely to cause additional injustice than some system concocted by university administrators in response to political pressures.

  20. 20
    Ampersand says:

    Sebastian H, I’ve grown a little skeptical about accusations made against antifa.

    FACT CHECK: Did an ‘Anti-Fascist’ Stab a Man Over a ‘Neo-Nazi’ Haircut? Answer: No.

    Tucker Carlson Hissy Fit Doesn’t Deny He Lied About ‘Antifa Cracked My Door’ Claim | Crooks and Liars

    Proud Boys Operated Fake Antifa Accounts on Facebook: Antifascist Report

    Google and YouTube spread false claims Texas shooting suspect had leftwing ties | US news | The Guardian

    ‘Antifa’ Falsely Linked to Amtrak Train Derailment by Right-Wing Conspiracy Peddlers

    The incident you refer to sounds terrible, and if the accusations are true, I hope Tom Keenan and Thomas Massey (who have both turned themselves in) and others see some jail time.

    But so far, we’ve only heard the story from one side, and the story seems a little… off to me. (Of course, sometimes true stories can seem a little off.) Given the pattern of false accusations against antifa, I’d like to wait for a trial before assuming that because antifa members have been accused, they are guilty.

  21. 21
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, regarding the criminal justice system and its avoidance of injustice: One in 25 Sentenced to Death in the U.S. Is Innocent, Study Claims

    Not to mention systematic injustices like civil forfeiture. Or police shootings. Or prosecutors using the plea bargain system to get innocent people to plead guilty. Or, hell, the cops killing people’s dogs, and there’s no recourse because the justice system makes it nearly impossible to hold cops accountable, even when their acts are completely irresponsible.

    That’s just a few examples. I could go on and on.

    The justice system is frequently, systematically unjust, and its capacity to destroy lives – including by literally killing people, in some cases – is miles above that of any college investigation.

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    I used “chilling” because it was in the article title, which you quoted.

    D’oh! Thanks for clarifying.

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    Jeffrey, the case isn’t about malicious staff. It’s about malicious students manufacturing false complaints. I’m not sure I’d describe suspending a student who does such a thing as “chilling”.

    If some kind of due process should be required before punishing students accused of rape, then it should also be required before punishing students accused of false rape accusations.

    Jane Doe, according to the complaint, was never even informed she was being investigated until they expelled her, let alone given a chance to reply to changes. I can’t imagine you’d find this acceptable for a college that was kicking out a male student accused of rape (I certainly wouldn’t).

    (As far as I can tell, Roe was also not given a hearing or a chance to respond to the case against her, but I’m not as certain about this one.)

    And of course, treatment like this is chilling, in the sense that it chills speech – it tells female students to shut up and not report it if they get raped.

  24. 24
    Sebastian H says:

    Amp one thing to notice in your links is that the first hand reports were by right wing partisans. That isn’t true in the case I linked. There is also the Multiple August reports of reporters being assaulted that seem to have held up just fine. See here for example (Washington Post).

    Will we hear about the Antifa trial?

  25. 25
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    If a student can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a false accusations was made against them, I’m pretty sure there would be some kind of code-of-conduct violation, and yeah, a punishment is warranted. I’d want to see the accuser expelled.

    But how do you know schools aren’t punishing students that make false accusations, or that they would if only they had such a case in front of them. I don’t think there are very many provably false accusations, for the exact same reasons that it’s so hard to prove a sexual assault allegation. Do you have a real case in mind?

    All this talk makes me think universities would do well to hire something like a student legal advisor, a person who works on these investigations alongside the diversity officer or Title ix coordinator, but whose job it is to represent the students under investigation or disciplinary measures, point in when due process is not being provided, and warns the school if they are opening themselves up to a lawsuit by violating rights. I’m a fan of adversarial systems for getting to the truth.

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Amp one thing to notice in your links is that the first hand reports were by right wing partisans. That isn’t true in the case I linked.

    Sincere question: How do you know this?

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