Today’s Caturday post is a chick embryo (x6 magnification). I think it’s pretty cute; you might not. But that’s ok! It’s still interesting either way.
Monthly Archives: November 2011
This comic has been making the rounds because it’s pretty cute and makes a good point. However, some people noticed something in it. If you’ll take a look at the original comic, you may notice that one bunny (the irrational one) has on a dress and has pink speech bubbles, while the other (rational) bunny has on pants and has blue speech bubbles. I’m pretty sure most people in the western world can agree that these are fairly clear indicators of gender (not that they should be, just that they are in our culture). But apparently they’re not clear enough for a lot of people in this thread from Pharyngula, including PZ himself. As PZ Myers puts it:
Of all the…dear god, they are cute little toy bunnies. I refuse to consider their sex until they are stripped, flipped over, and I get to poke around with a teeny-tiny toy speculum.
That’s perfectly reasonable. I know that when I see a person in female clothes (in a way that indicates that’s what they normally wear, or they’re not cross dressing for fun) I ask that person to show me their genitalia before I accept that s/he’s female [/snark]. But how about we keep this in terms of toys: gender among dolls is generally indicated by clothing (e.g. female = dresses and pink; male = pants and blue); toy makers usually don’t like to make miniature genitalia on their children’s toys.
So, after everyone had moved beyond debating weather or not these bunnies have genders, we move on to the next annoying argument: Well, maybe the artist just picked gender at random (it’s a 50/50 chance, hurr durr derp). First of all, even if they did pick at random, that doesn’t mean that subconscious sexism didn’t play a role in the choice. Secondly, there’s no reason one had to be male and one had to be female. Both could have been male, or both could have been female. Or they could have had no gender identification at all: no clothes and different color bubbles would be easy enough. But apparently that would take out all the “visually interesting elements“.
Now, some of you might be wondering why I’m concerned about the reaction of people on the internet (SIWOTI syndrome?). Well, the problem lies in the fact that some of these arguments were made by PZ Myers, owner of Pharyngula and a feminist to boot, not some random MRA troll. I don’t want you all to be getting too up in arms about my criticism of PZ, though. I agree with PZ most of the time and I love Pharyngula (I spend way too much time there!). But no one is above this kind of criticism (or any kind of reasonable criticism). But I certainly wouldn’t want this to turn into an Elevatorgate situation. However, it shouldn’t. It was revealed that the artist who created this comic is a sexist ass! And PZ changed his mind about it when this new evidence came to light (because that’s what awesome people do).
This whole thing just goes to show that even feminists can miss sexism sometimes.
I’d like to end this post on something that a commenter said over there that I thought summed this up pretty well:
Nude adorable toy bunnies, green/yellow/purple/peach speech bubbles, and we’d have all agreed on a cute comic being pretty excellent.
Sexism is why we can’t have nice things.
So a really cool skeptic conference, called Skepticon, was held this weekend in Springfield, Missouri. It seems like an awesome event for those lucky enough to be able to attend, which would be about 1100 people (lucky bastards)! Now, Springfield is a smallish city, with just over 150,000 people, so you’d think local business owners would be psyched about 1100 more people to sell stuff to. And for the most part they probably were. Except for the owner of a local gelato shop called Gelato Mio. When the owner of this shop heard about Skepticon, he did what any normal business owner would do: he put up a sign telling them that they’re not welcome (seen above, from here).
Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian business
This sign didn’t stay up for too long, but just long enough for the attendees of Skepticon to know where not to go for gelato. And long enough for them to take pictures, which a few later blogged about. So, after everyone found out about this, the Yelp and Urbanspoon ratings plummeted, which caused the owner of Gelato Mio to post an apology to their website, which read:
RE Letter in the Window:
To the Public: I sincerely apologize for the posting of the note in the window. It was an impulse reaction to an event that I witnessed and it was only up for a few minutes before I came to my senses and realized it shouldn’t have been up at all.
So you know, nobody was turned away and everyone was given the same high level of service they have come to expect. Out of the hundreds of event attendees that I served on Friday and Saturday, all of them were extremely polite and enjoyed their time in my restaurant. The event that greatly offended me was conducted by one man and I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.
Even small business owners make mistakes, and I sincerely apologize to those whom I offended.
All the Best,
This “apology” raised a few questions (what event did he witness that freaked him out so much?) and generally didn’t satisfy many people (including me). While the downrating was happening on Yelp and Urbanspoon, many negative comments were being posted to their facebook page. But I guess at some point, whoever was in charge of the facebook page decided that s/he’d had enough. All of the negative comments were deleted a little after 10 pm last night (the 20th), leaving only positive comments (some of which made no sense anymore because they were in response to deleted comments). Well, people didn’t look too kindly upon that (including me) and some decided to post again, this time criticizing this silencing technique. I guess this time it was just too much, because at about midnight, the facebook page was taken down entirely.
This whole story is pathetic and sad, but not too surprising to me. I see and hear about stuff like this a little too often. What surprised me about this is how some fellow atheist reacted to this story. After the apology was issued, many (on the facebook page and in this comment thread) seemed to think that everyone should just shut up about this and forgive and forget. WTF? No! Why should I forget about something like this? Just because someone said “sorry”? That doesn’t make what they did ok. Especially when the apology isn’t sincere, like it clearly wasn’t in this case. Some people also brought up that this could make atheists look bad. This isn’t a PR thing! This is about someone who really thought it was ok (even for just a moment) to say something like this. It’s not like shutting up will convince everyone in the country that atheists aren’t so bad after all. Actually, being more vocal is probably better, which is why a lot of atheist groups have started campaigns to that effect (like the Out Campaign).
I know that I won’t shut up just because someone might think poorly of me or my group, and I hope the same is true for others. I also hope that things like this will happen less often as time goes on and more people speak out against it when it does happen.
Update: The owner of this shop apologized again and explained the “event” that bothered him so much.
This is one of many cute pictures that I’ve saved because it’s just too cute not to keep. It’s from icanhascheezburger.com
Today is the two month anniversary of of Occupy Wall Street. Occupy groups across the country and around the world will be having events to celebrate. Today is a great day to participate in an Occupy group near you! Or at least check out the live updates and livestream for Occupy Wall Street.
I’m going to try to head down to my local protest when I’m done with classes (I have quizzes, otherwise I’d skip).
(Not much quality video is available right now from the actual eviction).
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been evicted from Zuccotti Park overnight. There was no prior warning given to the protesters before the police raided their camp in the middle of the night. They tore down all the tents and threw away everything in the park (all of the protesters’ belongings), including a large book collection that the group had acquired to provide entertainment and education to protesters.
As confused and angry protesters tried to work out how to regroup, sanitation workers cleared away mounds of trash from the privately owned, publicly accessible park, where hundreds of people had camped, then swept and mopped the granite space.
What they failed to mention that those “mounds of trash” were actually people’s tents and belongings that the police came in and tore down, and the city told the sanitation workers to throw away. A lot of anchors and pundits are saying the same thing: ‘I know that this might have violated their rights, but it was really messy guys!”
Yeah, and so’s my house if someone comes and rips everything up.
The media is portraying these pictures and videos as if they were taken right as the protesters left. But they weren’t. They were taken after the police had come in and destroyed everything. The media weren’t present in the park during the eviction. The police refused to allow reporters to report.
In justifying these actions, Mayor Bloomberg said that the Occupy camp had become a ‘health and safety hazard’ and that this was not a violation of these protesters first amendment rights (or fourth amendment rights). He said that protesters would be able to return this morning but would not be allowed to bring tents, tarps, or sleeping bags. There is also supposed to be a 10 pm curfew. The Mayor had this to say:
Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.
I didn’t know their was a time limit on how long people had the right to peaceably assemble.
A judicial order appeared this morning that would allow protesters to return to the park. Mayor Bloomberg said that the city had known about the order, but were still not letting protesters back into the park yet. He also said the city would fight the order.
But this is only a minor setback. Occupy Oakland survived, and so will Occupy Wall Street. There are too many frustrated people to be silenced. ”You can’t evict an idea whose time has come“.
(More videos can be seen here)
Update: For more information about the court order, go here.
Update 2: The New York Supreme Court has ruled that the earlier court order will NOT stand. The protesters do not need to be allowed back into the park.