Open Thread and Link Farm, I’m The Frog What Was In There Edition

  1. Is puberty delaying treatment ‘experimental treatment’?
    Lengthy, but well argued and worth reading.
  2. There’s racial bias in our police systems. Here’s the overwhelming proof. – The Washington Post (Alternate link.)
    Lengthy list of studies, divided into subject areas.
  3. Why The “Hoax” Paper of Baldwin Should be Reinstated (pdf file)
    A neuroscientist argues that one of the “grievance studies hoax” papers – the one about fat bodybuilding – should be reinstated, and discusses what it means for a paper to be a hoax.
  4. Cole Carini, Virginia Man Inspired by Incel Killer Elliot Rodger, Was Making Bomb: Feds
    It appears that an incel accidentally blew his own hand off while making a bomb for killing “hot cheerleaders. I’m just glad he failed. “Incels” have been linked to at least 53 deaths in recent years.”
  5. Why Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary – Vox
    “Americans do not primarily vote as a member of an economic class, but rather as a member of a party and identity group (race, religion, etc.).”
  6. Leftist Policy Didn’t Lose. Marxist Electoral Theory Did. | Washington Monthly
    “The reality is that leftist policy has never been more ascendant in the Democratic Party since at least the 1960s if not the 1930s. The Biden 2020 campaign platform is well to the left of the Clinton 2016 platform, which was itself well to the left of the Obama 2008 platform.”
  7. A White Woman, Racism, and a Poodle | FranklyWrite
    It took her a while to realize why the cops were suddenly pulling her over all the time.
  8. On TV, Cops Are Always the Main Characters
    “TV has long had a police’s-eye perspective that helps shape the way viewers see the world, prioritizing the victories and struggles of police over communities being policed.”
  9. NYPD Officer Caught Planting Marijuana in a Car — Again
    In the second case, the innocent man – who had fresh stitches in his abdomen that the cops opened by throwing him to the ground – took a plea bargain, and I can’t blame him. A recent reform law in NY might help some (for example, by giving defense attorneys timely access to body cam footage), but the cops are lobbying to have the reforms undone. The two cops who have now twice been caught on video planting evidence are still employed, still on patrol.
  10. How I Defeated the Tolkien Estate – The Toast
    “Little did I know I was heading into a legal and scholarly Midgewater when I wrote and published The Lord of the Rings: A New English Translation.” (Thanks to Marnanel!)
  11. Covid-19 Does Not Discriminate by Body Weight | WIRED
    The links between fat and Covid-19 are not nearly as well established as the media has been telling us.
  12. How U.S. Cities Tried to Halt the Spread of the 1918 Spanish Flu – HISTORY
  13. The Fine Art of Comics Pantomime, with Little Lulu and Company.A really fun, curated selection of wordless one-page strips by John Stanley. Some lovely cartooning here.
  14. On Gender Stereotypes | Growing Up Transgender
  15. Want to know how many people have the coronavirus? Test randomly
    They’re not suggesting that ALL testing should be random. They’re suggesting that a small percentage of our overall testing should be used to test a representative sample of 10,000 Americans, in order to get a better picture of what’s going on.
  16. Sex Work and Stigma: Why Won’t Woke Boys Pay for Sex?
    This article is a bit all over the place, and I don’t agree with it all, but it brings up a lot of interesting issues.
  17. You’re Worrying About the Wrong Bees | WIRED
    Mandolin showed me this article – I hadn’t realized how much bee variety there is. Just because honey bees can survive won’t be enough to preserve the bee’s place in the ecosystem.
  18. Honey Bees Have Gone From Endangered To Dangerous – And That Is A Science Journalism Problem | American Council on Science and Health
    Another interesting bee link from Mandolin. “…our use of honey bees as an agricultural tool, moving them from pollination site to pollination site, is equivalent to introducing a new, extensive species into each area.” “Beekeeping is an agrarian activity that should not be confused with wildlife conservation.”
  19. The Day Treva Throneberry Disappeared
    A fascinating and sad multi-year true story.

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17 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, I’m The Frog What Was In There Edition

  1. 1
    Michael says:

    @#16- I think the reason why many men are reluctant to have sex with prostitutes is simple- when you meet someone on eHarmony or Tinder, there’s almost no chance that they’re being forced to go out with you by someone at home. There’s been a lot of debate about how many prostitutes are trafficked but the chances of sleeping with a trafficked prostitute without knowing they’re coerced are a lot higher than the chances that a “normal” sexual encounter is somehow being coerced without your knowledge.

  2. 2
    J. Squid says:

    Back around 2000 when I was an active member in my Neighborhood Association, the old timers used to tell a story. By “old timers” I mean folks who’d been in the neighborhood since the 70s or earlier. Anyway…

    The Portland Police raided the Hells Angels club on NE Alberta and a gun battle ensued. When it was all over and they were recovering the bodies, they found the drugs the police were going to plant in the club on a dead cop.

    It’s a story as old as police, isn’t it? No accountability equals no restraint.

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    Michael – reading your comment made me wonder if the number of men (and women, but I assume it’s mainly men) hiring sex workers went up in New Zealand after it was legalized. It seems intuitive that it would have gone up, but I don’t think there’s any way of measuring; even surveys wouldn’t be able to distinguish between clients who became willing to pay for sex after the law changed, and clients who are more likely to admit paying for sex after the law changed.

  4. 4
    J. Squid says:

    #19 is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a while. It’s made all that much sadder by the fact that she was prosecuted and thrown in jail. We are an awful polity.

  5. 5
    Gracchus says:

    @Ampersand: Jan Jordan, New Zealand’s leading researcher on sex work, found it incredibly difficult to do research on the clients of sex workers, largely because almost none voluntarily came forward even post legalisation.

    Anecdotally, paying for sex is not normalised in New Zealand. It is treated something like adultery, e.g. it isn’t illegal and most people don’t think it should be, but it is generally still considered generally “wrong”. And yeah this is true even among people who were advocates for legalisation.

  6. 6
    nobody.really says:

    Supreme Court strikes a mighty blow for gay rights.

    Henceforth, people will celebrate this event with the annual Night of the Mighty Blow.

  7. 7
    nobody.really says:

    Query: Under the Supreme Court’s LGBT decision, may I fire an employee for “acting gay”–that is, acting like Jack McFarland in Will & Grace?

    The 1964 Civil Rights Act bars firing people “on account of … sex.” The majority argued that if you fire women for behavior that you would not fire men for, that violates the act. Likewise, if you fire men for behavior you would not fire women for, that violates the act.

    However, I would regard Jack’s behavior to be odd, regardless of the gender of the person engaging in the behavior. “Acting gay” would not seem to fall within the protections of the 1964 Act under SCOTUS’s recent decision.

    Let’s write the law school exam question on this case: Can we think of examples when a discriminator might say, “I disapprove of LGBT people–but not because they engage in behavior that I would find unobjectionable if pursued by cisgender people”? If, for example, hormone therapy came from lab animals, would an animal-rights employer be justified in refusing to employ people who take hormones? Etc.

  8. 8
    Mookie says:

    The use of animal-based hormone therapy is certainly not limited to trans people, so I imagine you’d first have to find an employer that already regularly queries these treatments (down to the precise substance one takes) and also universally rejects applicants/dismisses current employees who answer in the affirmative.

    Straight people have successfully sued and settled lawsuits with their employers for work-based homophobic abuse, yes, and in some cases citing Title VII, yes.

    I don’t know much about the program you’re referring to. What was “odd” about the character? You say it wouldn’t matter if the character were a man or a woman, but what would that have to do with someone performing gay ‘wrong?’ In other words, if this character’s behavior is wholly uninformed by his orientation (how do you determine that?), why bring it up in this context? What would be homophobic about disliking how a person behaves (but, pinkyswear, not ‘cos they’re gay)?

    I’m really interested to hear how someone acts gay (stereotypically?) in a way that you suggest is genderless. Gendered homophobia certainly exists, along with differing double and triple standards for different alignments, but I don’t know of any case where someone committed actionable homophobia against, say, a lesbian, but got off on a technicality because they also persecuted a gay man in some other instance, so gEnDeR dOeSn’T mAtTeR, checkmate.

    Also, “acting gay” is a bit misleading, placing the onus on the victim. As far as I can tell, the courts relied upon the perception of the harassers and their behavior, not the victim’s personality, camp or otherwise. (This has also been the case for racist harassment; it doesn’t matter if the victim’s ethnicity has been ‘incorrectly’ determined by the harasser.)

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Hey, N.R., some LGBT people might enjoy an amusing academic exchange about theoretical ways employers can legally fire trans employees for being LGBT. And certainly, if one of the LGBT posters here chose to start such a discussion, I’d trust their judgement.

    But I think a lot of LGBT people would NOT find such a discussion enjoyable. And I’d prefer not to have that discussion started here, unless (say) Grace or Mandolin start it.

  10. 10
    nobody.really says:

    [M]ay I fire an employee for “acting gay”–that is, acting like Jack McFarland in Will & Grace?

    I’d prefer not to have that discussion started here, unless (say) Grace … start[s] it.

    But not Will?

    Ok, fine. I have a notion that many discriminators may discriminate against the LGBTQ due to their status (members of a “transgressive tribe”) rather than any individual’s conduct as such. And I have a feeling that the majority’s textualist opinion does not fully encompass this distinction–although I haven’t quite hammered out how to illustrate the argument. I’ll try to develop those ideas elsewhere.

  11. 11
    Grace Annam says:

    nobody.really, I have no objection in principle to such a discussion. Sounds like a great late-night dorm discussion. But when you proposed it, frankly, I just felt kinda tired. Now that Barry has replied, I’ll just put it out there that I don’t feel like moderating a discussion in which we drill down on just where, exactly, the safe line to discriminate against me runs.



  12. 12
    nobody.really says:

    In other news, Alas, a Blog faces a little less competition.

    Last week I talked to a New York Times technology reporter who was planning to write a story on Slate Star Codex. He told me it would be a mostly positive piece about how we were an interesting gathering place for people in tech, and how we were ahead of the curve on some aspects of the coronavirus situation. It probably would have been a very nice article.

    Unfortunately, he told me he had discovered my real name and would reveal it in the article, ie doxx me….

    I live with ten housemates including a three-year-old and an infant, and I would prefer this not happen to me or to them. Although I realize I accept some risk of this just by writing a blog with imperfect anonymity, getting doxxed on national news would take it to another level.

    When I expressed these fears to the reporter, he said that it was New York Times policy to include real names, and he couldn’t change that.

    Who knew the risk of blogging from a group home on the West Coast?

  13. 13
    Ampersand says:

    Yeah, I’ve been tweeting a bit about that today – although calling “Alas” competition for “Slate Star Codex” is like calling my niece’s video blogs competition for HBO.

    My basic take is that if an anonymous person isn’t doing something that genuinely newsworthy outside of their anonymous identity – if they’re not secretly the Pope, for example, or a serial killer – then it’s unethical and damaging for reporters to reveal their real names. The Times should apologize to Scott and promise not to dox him.

    Scott has a huge fan base; hopefully they’ll pressure the Times to do just that.

  14. 14
    nobody.really says:

    [I]f an anonymous person isn’t doing something that genuinely newsworthy outside of their anonymous identity – if they’re not secretly the Pope, for example, or a serial killer – then it’s unethical and damaging for reporters to reveal their real names.

    Hm. I hadn’t considered the alternative: Maybe Scott Alexander IS the Pope or something?

    Imagine if someone were regularly publishing things while having a secret identity. Someone should make a cartoon about that. Maybe a series.

  15. 15
    Petar says:

    It took me less than 15mn to get the real name. Scott Alexander (not the real name) is not following any compartmentalization procedures. He uses associated usernames on different media, and has not bothered dead ending his subscriptions into a throw-away e-mail.

    This is not a closely held secret.

    This said, if the New York Times makes exceptions for ISIS combatants, it should make an exception for a blogger who has hurt no one.


    Talk about the stars aligning. My defaults for Alas’s username/email have because inapplicable. So I am being asked to supply them, and I since it has been years since I have been banned, I briefly considered just using a regular e-mail that can be traced to me without the need for a government agency (no need for warrants, that’s not been needed for a while)

    So, if my e-mail has changed, do not worry admins, it’s a valid one. Just not necessarily the same one I gave last time.

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    This is not a closely held secret.

    I think Scott said as much in his I’ve-taken-the-blog-down post. But there’s a big difference between “people who put effort in can suss it out” versus “it’s in the New York Times.”

  17. 17
    J. Squid says:

    It took me less than 15mn to get the real name.

    I imagine that’s true of most of us. I’ve always thought that if somebody put in a little effort, they could easily find my info. But I’m probably an exception in that I’ve actually thought about it. The vast majority of us have not.