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Jesus cares more about what we do than what we believe.”

“It may not be possible for us to create a world in which no innocent children suffer, but it is possible to create a world in which fewer innocent children suffer. If we try to do that, if we look to the Christians and do not find help, where else will we go?”

“The implication is that this is some sort of victory, a notch in ‘our’ belts. But when we frame evangelism as warfare, it means there will always be loss.”

“Following the young man’s principled opposition to 50 years of settled law concerning the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, atheists everywhere were heard to hiss ‘I’m melting!’ as they gave up on their plans to secularize the nation and institute Sharia law. Or they may have just rolled their eyes; reports are mixed.”

“The two trends are mutually reinforcing — the one a manifestation of a darkening time, the other a world view in which those who are not with us are beyond redemption.”

“In the future, everyone gets to be canonized for 15 minutes.”

“Yes, it’s another Objectivist For Christ, on fire with the pure, sweet gospel of selfishness.”

“No it’s not a lie it’s well-documented is phantom hands.”

“Even though energy drink makers might brag about awakeamine, dontfallasleepaurite or other ‘special’ proprietary concoctions designed to keep you peppy, energy drinks don’t work any better than ordinary caffeine at helping people pay attention.”

“It’s like the most interesting whodunnit ever, and somebody’s ripped out the last three pages.” (via)

“Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the MacGuffin is that it contains the word ‘guff,’ which means a load of nonsense.”

“A person capable of repentance has greater possibility than a person who, for the time being, has all the right opinions.”

“We’re moving both toward and away from certainty; we may be less sure about abstract theological questions, but we’re becoming positive that loving our neighbor and do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a good place to start.”

“She sat me down in a chair which I believe had been his chair and she said, ‘Please … just talk to me.'”

Where’s the sanctuary?

Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.”

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  • hidden_urchin

    From the Stan Rogers link:

    This is why we study history. This is why we write history. This is why we revel in history, even faux history, being turned into art by the poets and troubadors.

    Knowing history, and knowing the art, we can stand up to demand that money to inspect ships for safety be restored to the federal budget, that money to build safe air transport be revived, that politicians stop blocking the doors to the hospitals and clinics (Rick Perry, Greg Abbott), and that justice be done on a thousand other scores where cynics and highway robbers tell us it cannot be done or it’s too expensive.

    So I’ll add a link of my own to Heather Dale’s “Hero.”

  • Ross

    “Even though energy drink makers might brag about awakeamine,
    dontfallasleepaurite or other ‘special’ proprietary concoctions designed
    to keep you peppy, energy drinks don’t work any better than ordinary caffeine at helping people pay attention.”

    It really bugs me that people keep trotting this out as if it means something. Like “We proved that shotgunnign a two-ounce watermellon-flavored sweet drink has no more effect than shotgunning a 12 ounce cup of hot coffee to your alertness, therefore energy drinks are worthless, because ‘except that doing the latter would be an incredibly unpleasant experience and might severely burn you'”

    It’s one of those Misleading Truths like “A glass of wine, a mug of beer and a shot of whiskey all have exactly the same amount of alcohol in them, so you won’t get any more less if you have a beer with dinner than if you were to try to sate your thirst with whiskey. Provided you were twelve times less thirsty in the latter case”

  • Lori

    That’s not what people are saying about energy drinks. I know people who swear by Red Bull or one of its cousins. They have told me with great conviction that it gives them more energy than coffee or soda. This belief is what leads them to be willing to pay way more for energy drinks instead of simply having coffee or soda. (I don’t know anyone who drinks that stuff because they think it’s just that yummy.) That’s the reason people keep pointing out that energy drinks don’t actually do what they claim. If folks simply prefer energy drinks as their caffeine delivery mechanism that’s their choice, but most people are paying for something they’re not actually getting.

    Also, who the hell drinks whiskey to sate thirst? You drink whiskey because you like it and/or to get drunk. Anyone drinking it to sate thirst is either confused or has a serious alcohol problem.

    And the point of telling people the alcohol equivalents of different drinks is so that people don’t play mental games, like thinking they can chug endless beers and be “fine” because after all it’s just beer, not hard liquor. With some caveats, the issue with getting drunk is how much alcohol you consume, not the form it takes.

  • SisterCoyote

    I’m trying to picture a scenario in which someone could be confused enough to be drinking whiskey to quench their thirst, and it is not a pretty mental picture…

    (Maybe it’s a sign I’ve been up too late, but I can’t stop giggling at it.)

  • AnonaMiss

    While this isn’t exactly the scenario you’re looking for, there is a clear anise liquor called Raki (rock-uh) which I found out too late is supposed to be mixed with water. When you’re gauging the strength of a drink by how other people are handling it, but they’re drinking half-and-half and you’re drinking full liquor, you’re going to have a bad time.

  • The_L1985

    “I don’t know anyone who drinks that stuff because they think it’s just that yummy.”

    Ain’t that the truth! I had a Rockstar once. It tasted like bubblegum in drink form–which, as it turned out, is not a pleasant taste for anything but bubblegum and maybe children’s ice cream.

    I’ve never had an energy drink that I liked the taste of, and I refuse to buy them. Both times I’ve had one it was given to me for free by a friend.

    That, and–caffeine is nice at helping you stay alert, but it isn’t energy. Caffeine tricks your body into thinking it isn’t tired–which is why the “crash” is so bad afterward. Calories are actual energy consumed. Anything else is just a pretty illusion, and we should bear that in mind.

  • Alix

    My brother loves Red Bull. I cannot stand the smell of it – just being around an open can makes me queasy. It smells like some sickly sweet combination of cherry candy and nail polish kicked up past 11.

    We’ve had some pretty epic fights about the fact that I don’t permit it in my house – and when I say I don’t permit it, I really mean that. If he insists on drinking Red Bull, he has to finish it and dispose of the can off my property.

  • David S.

    You can get most energy drinks in a form carrying as many calories/ml as soda. I’m not sure it’s a good idea, but I’ve downed a 2L of Mountain Dew in one setting, and that can’t have been great for me either.

    I find people’s dislike of energy drinks interesting. I can’t stand beer, but enough people seem to drink it. I drank a brand of canned ice tea for that metallic twang, so perhaps my tastes are a little miscalibrated.

  • Alix

    There’s a particular brand of peas I’ll get when under the weather that I get specifically ’cause they’re the perfect mushy-but-not-too-mushy texture, and have the metallic tang from their can. >.>

    ‘Course, as a kid I used to suck on car keys that I’d stuck in electrical sockets to roast for twenty minutes or so, for the coppery taste.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I knew someone who’d had one and managed to literally stay awake the next ten hours through the night. The price you pay for that is the after-drink crash when you HAVE to sleep.

    I’ve always distrusted energy drinks and this only confirms it. That shit is not normal.

  • Lori

    In fairness, enough caffeine in any form will do that to you. I know someone who once made double coffee in order to pull an all-niter for an exam. By double coffee I mean brewed a pot of coffee, then brewed another pot using the first pot in place of water. The person had no trouble staying up. They did have to keep jiggling their foot all through the exam in order to be able to keep their hand steady enough to write, but they were awake. About an hour after the exam the crash hit and they were asleep for like 14 hours. Conclusion: never doing that again.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    That said, to do it to yourself with coffee you have to try REALLY hard. An energy drink is like that in one Coke can.

    *peers at energy drinks even more suspiciously now*

  • ATBenning

    Eh. Most energy drinks have about the same amnt of caffeine as a tall coffee, the big ones are like a venti.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Tall coffees do not keep someone awake for an entire night. The same person who related me this story is someone for who a coffee of that volume would only have had a mild effect.

  • Alix

    Depends a lot on personal tolerances and the like, I think. I know quite a few people who either rarely drink coffee, are small in stature, or have just a really low tolerance for caffeine for whom a tall coffee is more than sufficient to trigger an all-nighter.

    Also, energy drinks vary wildly in the amount of caffeine/stimulant in them, and also in how various people tolerate/metabolize them, so there’s not a perfect comparison, I suspect. And there are other factors people don’t take into account – how much is a person eating? Eating supper at the wrong time is more likely to keep me up for a whole night than drinking anything caffeinated. Do they have something to focus on? I’m not the only person I know who can stay up all night without even realizing it because I was concentrating on something. That sort of thing.

    Shorter me: humans are weird, yo.

  • Alix

    Regular doses of caffeine + something for my brain to focus on will do that to me. (Sometimes even just the latter; during my long bouts of being strictly stimulant-free, I still ended up pulling the accidental all-nighter.) I have a serious problem with staying up for over 24 hours straight because of that. :/

    The jitters, the crashes, and the irascibility are horrible, which is why I try not to pull those stunts, but sometimes they just happen. Dunno why. (Stupid brain.)

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I did know someone who could get the coffee jitters just from one cup, but in general that reaction seems pretty rare.

  • ATBenning

    “I don’t know anyone who drinks that stuff because they think it’s just that yummy.”

    You do now. I cannot stand the taste of coffee and energy drinks provide more caffiene per oz than sodas, and some of them taste pretty good IMO.

  • renniejoy

    I once saw someone buy sugar-free, caffeine-free Mountain Dew – tastes are definitely YMMV.

  • Ross

    And the point of telling people the alcohol equivalents of different drinks is so that people don’t play mental games, like thinking they can chug endless beers and be “fine” because after all it’s just beer, not hard liquor.

    Except that as far as I know, no one does that outside of PSAs about the dangers of drinking.

  • Lori

    You have been very blessed with smart friends, family and coworkers.

  • SisterCoyote

    I dunno if it’s that energy drinks are worthless – more that they’re a lot more expensive than coffee, which does generally the same thing (and tends to have fewer unpronounceable ingredients). There are times when I’ve preferred an energy drink to a coffee, for whatever reason*, but they’re definitely different beasts.

    I sorta think these articles are more of a reaction to the increasingly annoying commercials for energy drinks that were going around last I checked – “Tired at 3:00? Don’t reach for a cup of coffee! Try our magical amazonian wonder drink! It’s made of all natural corn sy guarana, and lasts longer than coffee!” They also make all kinds of claims about making you “sharper” or “more focused,” and DEFINITELY don’t give you the jitters. Which is usually several kinds of bull.

    Five Hour Energy was the worst. If you ever read the labels, there’s a footnote to tell you that the “no crash” guarantee refers to a sugar crash… meaning that you’ll still have a caffeine crash. Dishonest, tasted awful, and probably way worse for you than anything made with coffee or guarana.

    *power outage, generator at work with dad, unable to find a book of matches to light the stove, unable to wait for cold-brew, and the convenience store was all out, for example

  • Jon Maki

    The problem for me is that coffee can never be cheap enough for me to be willing to drink it.

    So saying, “Just drink coffee because it’s cheaper and has the same effect” isn’t a compelling argument. You might as well try to convince me to drink kerosene. Alternatively, you’re more likely to convince me to just give up caffeinated beverages entirely (which I did for years, until I ended up in a job that had me working from 6 AM to 6:30 PM, and I haven’t managed to go back to giving it up in the years since).

    I understand that coffee drinkers have difficulty understanding that there are people who don’t like coffee and are unwilling to perform the mental gymnastics required to convince themselves that they like coffee – “I love coffee” is, I think, a lie that people force themselves to believe – but it’s true. There are people who want caffeine but don’t want to drink coffee.

    For the record, while I do think Red Bull tastes awful, I like Rockstar and Monster. In fact, I like Monster enough that I would probably drink it even if it weren’t for the caffeine – which is really all I’m trying to get out of it; I’ve never believed any of the other claims about alertness or whatever. (So Lori now can say that she does know someone who drinks the stuff because he thinks it’s yummy)

  • themunck

    2 of my classmates quite enjoy the taste of Monster as well.

  • AnonaMiss

    I like the taste of Monster too. It’s an odd sort of sweet-and-savory that you don’t find too often in drinks. The closest comparison I can think of is a mojito, though oddly I don’t like that.

    Of course Monster is best mixed with Jaeger, so that’s neither here nor there…

    (I usually prefer coffee or tea unless it’s quite hot outside though. I dislike iced coffee and iced tea, so energy drinks and soda are my summertime caffeine sources of choice.)

  • Lori

    Further (totally unnecessary) proof that tastes differ—I literally made the yuck face just reading the the word Jaeger.

  • The_L1985

    All I could think was how horribly bad for you it has to be to drink up that much alcohol AND that much caffeine in one sitting.

  • Lori

    Mixing alcohol and Red Bull is A Thing. As my ex says, the goal is to be wide awake drunk.

    Most people I know of do it with vodka, which is bad enough. I can’t imagine the tastes of Red Bull and Jaeger combined and for that I thank my limited imagination. For me that’s two nasty tastes that must taste unspeakably vile together.

  • AnonaMiss

    Well I don’t chug it: it’s a ratio of one can of Monster to two shots of Jaeger, and it’ll generally last all evening. It’s a pleasant fizzy sipping soda, excellent for multiplayer gaming. The Monster helps keep you out of the fire, and the Jaeger keeps you pleasant despite having to repeatedly remind your raiders not to stand in the fire.

  • AnonaMiss

    Er, a single Monster’s worth of the mixed drink will last all evening, I mean.

  • ShifterCat

    I love coffee. And no, it’s not a lie.

    Mr. ShifterCat dislikes coffee. So no, I don’t have trouble understanding that.

    You know that most teas have caffeine, yes?

  • Jon Maki

    Well, it’s a lie you believe – that’s kind of the point of an acquired taste (and I’m mostly joking when I call it a lie anyway).

    And yes, I do know that most teas have caffeine, and I do like tea (much more than I like coffee, at any rate), but energy drinks are just my preferred caffeine delivery system.

  • ShifterCat

    I understand “acquired taste” to mean that you didn’t like it the first time you tried it, but came to like it later. The first time I had coffee, I liked it.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    There’s less, and tea has theophylline in it which has different properties – for example it can relieve headaches, so it’s obviously got some vasodilation properties which caffeine doesn’t have.

  • Lori

    Pretty much any form of caffeine can help my headaches (because of the vasodilation properties). I get my caffeine from both tea and Coke* and they both work equally well for me.

    *Put me down as another person who loves the smell of coffee, but can’t stand the taste. I never drink it and I don’t like foods that have it in taste-able amounts either.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Funnily for me, I like coffee quite a bit – in the mornng. If I try to drink it much past 11 AM it seems to taste rather unappetizing.

    I wonder what physiological part of my biorhythm does that.

  • Alix

    Oh, interesting. I have the inverse problem with food – I almost always either skip a solid breakfast or have a late one ’cause anything more solid than yogurt I’m just plain averse to for several hours after waking.

    More along the drink line – I can only stand drinking pure water when I’m really seriously thirsty; any other time, I find the taste off-putting.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    In particular coffee with breakfast is wonderful. I think it must be the particular combination of flavors from eggs and toast and coffee that does it. :)

  • Alix

    I love the smell of coffee and things like coffee ice cream, but I don’t think I’ve yet found any drinkable version of coffee (and my brother’s fond of buying me various sweetened, creamed, flavored, and iced monstrosities when he’s trying to be nice) that didn’t leave an unpleasant burned/bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

    I have a similar reaction to grape wines, actually. Love the smell, they make fine sauces, never found one that’s not unpleasantly vinegary when drunk in any form. Which is sad, because my grandma gave me her mulled wine recipe. :/

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Also, I know people who get horrible coffee headaches. Tea doesn’t affect them the same way.

  • Lectorel

    Black Blood of the Earth might interest you. It’s, quote, “cold vacuum extraction coffee concentrate,” with less bitterness and a hell of a lot more caffeine. One of the selling points of it was that it tastes like coffee smells.

  • Fusina

    Regarding coffee, yes, smells great–love the smell in the morning–or anytime really, but the taste just doesn’t do anything for me.

    I drink mostly diet coke (HFCS gives me horrid stomach aches) and tea. I tried to drink the suggested amount of water recently while also cutting down on the amount of cola, and ended up with a two week long migraine. Ain’t doing that again in a hurry. And it was the first migraine I’d had in years, too.

  • Alix

    Ouch, migraines. *wince*

    I can’t drink the vast majority of diet things – aspartame not only tastes unbearably foul to me, but it gives me raging headaches. Sucralose is better in that it doesn’t give me headaches, but it’s sickeningly sweet.

    Caffeine helps me sleep, if I’m timing things right. Whenever I’ve tried to get off caffeine, I can do it with only a mild headache the first day … but then I end up horribly scatterbrained and with just about zip energy. So.

    Pisses me right off, ’cause I don’t like being addicted to things on general principle, but on the whole I very much like my caffeine, yes. *pats soda*

  • ShifterCat

    Argh, artificial sweeteners. I wouldn’t have nearly such a hatred for those things if every product that had them were clearly and obviously labeled as such, and if manufacturers didn’t try to come up with ways of fooling customers.

    Dear manufacturers: stop repeating the lie that artificial sweeteners taste like sugar. To many of us, they taste unpalatably nasty.

  • Alix

    I second this entirely, especially the hate for bad labeling. Like I said, aspartame gives me raging headaches, but people try to sneak it in in all sorts of ways, not least by putting ingredients in really really tiny type and hiding the important words in a wall of text. >.<

    It's at the point that if I'm looking over a product and I can't read and identify all the ingredients on the list quickly, I just won't buy it. And it annoys me, because a scary large amount of things have aspartame in them, and it's not always obvious that they would. Gah.

    Clear labeling, people! It helps! Really!

  • The_L1985

    I love the smell of coffee, but can’t stand the taste. So I understand people not wanting coffee. But tea is just as cheap, and isn’t as strong-tasting. Black teas also have as much caffeine as coffee (green tea has less), so it’s still a nice pick-me-up.

    And isn’t Monster just Mountain Dew with a wider range of flavors?

  • Jon Maki

    *Shrugs* I suppose you could put it that way. But I used to like Mountain Dew as well, so it works out.

    What it boils down to is that I like sweet/sour flavors more than I like bitter flavors, I prefer cold drinks to hot drinks, and since I’ve cut way, way down on sugar/carb consumption because of the diabetes, I find that I like sugar-free energy drinks more than I like other sugar-free soft drinks. (And my consumption of energy drinks is pretty moderate anyway. The average coffee drinker probably drinks a lot more coffee than I do energy drinks.)

    Anyway, the point is that I like energy drinks in spite of the deceptive claims, not because of them. So saying “Energy drinks don’t do what their manufacturers claim they do” is irrelevant, because I never believed the claims anyway.

  • Ross

    There are people who like mountain dew? I thought everyone just drank it for the street cred.

    Seriously, the stuff looks like piss and tastes like… Well, actually piss, but of someone with uncontrolled diabetes on the verge of DKA.

  • Alix

    Hee. I like Mountain Dew. Don’t drink it much – Dr. Pepper is my first love, with homemade chai or homemade hot cocoa tying for second in the stimulant-of-choice category. But every so often (usually when I have to try keeping up with my sis for an afternoon) I pop down to the drug store and buy a bottle.

  • Jon Maki

    And in the continuing theme of people having wildly-differing tastes, I absolutely can’t stand Dr. Pepper. I find the idea of liking it to be even more unfathomable than liking coffee.

    I will say that the ads for Diet Dr. Pepper are pretty accurate, though, in that it really does taste like regular Dr. Pepper. Which is to say that it tastes awful.*

    *Per my taste buds.

  • Alix

    Only time I ever hated Dr. Pepper was when I had one on a trip to England. I have no idea why it tasted different – different formulas, maybe? I don’t know. But it tasted vile, and it put me off Dr. Pepper for years, until my (really seriously clueless) brother bought me one and I reconfirmed that it is indeed still my favorite soda.

    Aside from IBC cream soda, which is in a class of its own, and got me stopped by the school cop once, because he was convinced I was brazenly carrying around an open bottle of beer on my high school campus. XD

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Soft drinks apparently are routinely reformulated for different countries. Canadian Coke and Pepsi both taste different from their American variants and I suspect the principal difference is lack of high-fructose corn syrup.

  • Alix

    Interesting, and that makes sense.

    Frankly, I prefer the real-sugar sodas, when I can track them down – one drug store in my area (I want to say Walgreen’s, but I don’t recall) used to stock the sugar ones pretty regularly, but I think they stopped. :/ I know they had real-sugar Sprite, at least for a while, and that was pretty good.

  • Fusina

    To me, at least, HFCS tastes lemony, but not the nice one you get from lemons, an artificial lemon flavor–not at all nice– I can tell if I am drinking cola vs diet cola by this. The other downside is that I am HFCS intolerant–it gives me the same symptoms as if I drink milk–and I am lactose intolerant–milk tastes sour to me, in a milk gone off sort of way–with all the usual other effects of the intolerance.

    I switched to diet cola in the mid-eighties. Remember New Coke? My suspicion is that they knew about the lemony flavor some people tasted and so they rolled out the new and improved with a bit of lemon flavor added–I don’t remember anything about the flavor honestly–and then went back to classic coke with the HFCS, only no one noticed because the flavor wasn’t as strong. This is only my theory though. On the other hand, this was about the time when they started using it. And they use it in damn near everything. I read labels too, because they use it in so many things. There are a lot of products I don’t buy because of the HFCS and not wanted to get the horrid stomachaches.

  • Jon Maki

    Meh, beer can often look like piss and can often taste just as terrible, and of course, as mentioned, I can’t stand coffee.
    I can’t honestly say that anything tastes like piss, as I’ve never tasted piss. I do know what it smells like, and smell and taste are related, so I think I can safely say that Mountain Dew doesn’t taste like that.
    Anyway, that was years ago. Even when I went back to drinking caffeinated stuff I never actually went back to Dew, and now I only drink diet and have found that Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are the only sugar-free sodas I find palatable.
    (Also, I always thought that Mountain Dew looked more like radioactive waste than piss, and even that didn’t bother me.)

  • Alix

    I always expected Mountain Dew to glow in the dark, myself, and was horribly disappointed every time it failed to do so. XD

  • Ross

    Black tea has almost exactly half the caffeine of coffee.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I love coffee but feel the same way about beer and wine. Not that I’ve never enjoyed them, but I’m always aware that a soda or iced tea would taste so much better.

  • Lori

    (So Lori now can say that she does know someone who drinks the stuff because he thinks it’s yummy)

    So you’re the one. :)

    Like I said, if they’re your preferred caffeine delivery system and you prefer them enough to pay their premium price then that’s totally fine. I won’t be joining you, but I have no issues with your choices (and I don’t delude myself that it would or should matter if I did).

    The problem is with people who believe the claims in the ads, which are doing the fine print dance right on the edge of being illegal false advertising.

  • ATBenning

    Also re: premium price, it’s only really premium if you brew the coffee yourself. If you’re a person who goes to starbucks every day, you’re not saving any money.

  • Ross

    I like coffee. But it takes me an hour to drink a cup of coffee, and about three seconds to drink one of those shot-size energy drinks, and they cost almost exactly the same as an espresso.

  • MarkTemporis

    I always mentally conflate ‘guarana’ with ‘guano’, which makes me leery of most energy drinks. In the same vein, the High School class my friend teaches sort of independently came up with the amusing theory that ‘taurine’ was derived from ‘taurus’ and ‘urine’ and was thus bull piss.

  • AnonymousSam

    The first link reminds me of the post I made awhile ago in response to Pope Francis and his message, “Yes, all of us! Yes, even atheists!” and the immediate ‘clarification,’ “No, only the Catholics.”

    Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have
    been doing, and they will do even greater things than these

  • Enopoletus Harding

    “Redeemed” and “saved” are distinct and different concepts in Catholic theology.
    Also, a downvote less than a second after I posted my comment-Wow.

  • Baby_Raptor

    ““It may not be possible for us to create a world in which no innocent children suffer, butit is possible to create a world in which fewer innocent children suffer. If we try to do that, if we look to the Christians and do not find help, where else will we go?””

    …To everyone else? Christians aren’t the only good people, or people interested in ensuring everyone lives comfortably, et cetera.

    I get that this quote was most likely meant more to mean “Come on guys, this is what Jesus taught!” than “Only Christians are interested in social justice,” but still. He’s being more than a bit insulting when he phrases it in a way that implies that there’s not anywhere else to find ‘help.’

  • AnonymousSam

    I read it as a statement of exasperation, because it shouldn’t be possible not to find it among Christians, although, sadly, certain denominations seem intent on making sure that no one ever finds it among Christians.

  • Mordicai

    I have a French facsimile copy of the Voynich Manuscript; one of my pride & joys.

  • banancat

    I’m glad someone else cares about the Voynich Manuscript. I am so exited, I actually tweeted the link to that article, just so all 5 of my followers will know.

  • Alix

    I’m fascinated by it, too, but I have to admit it’s hard to keep up with the tug-o-war between “Hoax!” and “Not Hoax!”

    I wish like hell we could crack it once and for all, though. This is the only downside to mysteries, for me – it drives me batty when there’s no solution.

    Which is, admittedly, a problem, since I love these kinds of historical mysteries, and if they had solutions they … wouldn’t be mysteries. XD I never claimed my brain made sense.

  • banancat

    You might be interested in a book called The Six Unsolved Ciphers. I read it a few years ago and I found it quite fascinating as an amateur with an interest in breaking codes.

  • Alix

    Ooh, I will have to check that out! Thanks for the rec.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Jackson finished law school, passed the bar, and then entered the
    ministry. Within a few years, he had left the Democratic party,
    partially under the influence of Ayn Rand’s writings.

    -What the fuck was a minister doing reading “Ayn Rand’s writings”?

  • Alix

    I didn’t realize there were things people were banned from reading based off of their profession.

    I read an awful lot of stuff I disagree with – for fun and because I like to know what other people are thinking – and even a lot of stuff antithetical to my deeply-held views. I don’t see what the problem is with a minister reading Ayn Rand.

    I see a problem with anyone following her teachings, but that’s a different kettle of fish entirely.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    I wasn’t suggesting that “there were things people were banned from reading based off of their profession”. My question is why a minister would be reading Ayn Rand-I do not think it is all that common for ministers to be reading the writings of atheists (and then basing their politics off the politics of those atheists!).

  • Alix

    The parenthetical I’ll grant you, somewhat, though it’s not exactly an uncommon way for someone to deconvert. I do know quite a few ministers and other church folk who do read atheist writings, because why not? Curiosity, “know your enemy,” whatever.

  • Ross

    I can think offhand of a collection of several thousand people who legally can’t read certain things.

  • Alix

    …my brain is fried today, so all I can think of is people under 18 not legally permitted to read “adult” materials. >.< Which, for the record, I think is stupid.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Creators of media that’s been fanficced aren’t generally supposed to read the fanfic, lest they be sued by the fanficcer for subsequent use of the fanficcer’s idea, but I don’t think that’s a legal barrier so much as a legal let’s-be-careful…

  • Alix

    True. (I didn’t think there was much law governing fanworks, though? I could see that getting really messy if a fan sued…)

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Huh? Wouldn’t the original creator just sue the fanficcer for copyright infringement? Since fanfiction is technically maybe-illegal, only tolerated because people aren’t making a profit from it, since it’s taking the author’s original idea…

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fanfic’s noncommercial transformative fair use, and the parts of it that aren’t fair use are copyright the fanficcer.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    It’s been decided as such then? Interesting news!

    I was always under the impression that fanfic was technically an infringing derivative work, so that is good news.

    The flip side of it, though, that apparently a fanfiction writer can be an asinine arselumpish fuckmook and sue the original canon writer – that really just isn’t on.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know whether there’s any actual case law. See what the Organization for Transformative Works says.

    Somebody did. I forget who, but they sued, or tried to sue, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Hence the general policy of ‘a media creator does not read fanworks of their media’.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I suspect that in secret, canon writers sometimes do read fanfic of their stuff. However, in official announcements they always stress that they don’t, and I can see why that would be. Even before fanfic became A Thing in the popular consciousness I recall that some authors would have to explicitly state that they could not accept manuscripts by mail and would return them unopened.

  • Ross

    There’s some folks pioneering a new business model whereby fanfic can get officially published and sold, with the caveat that the original author’s publisher gets a cut and if they find anything in there that they can monetize, they also get to nick any ideas or characters they want, and they have absolute ownership over the IP rights, even to any original characters or situations you include, and they never owe you anything more than that that you got your name out there a bit.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I’m not very enthused about that model. given how much of your rights you effectively give away by going in on that sponsored thing – like, ISTR that you effectively lose all downstream control over derivative works of your derivative works. One could argue sauce for the goose, etc, but suppose you create an original character as part of your fanfic. What happens when Warner Bros. wants to use that OC in a movie?

  • Ross

    Except that “fair use” is defined in law as “Whatever the plaintiff can convince a judge of.” Content owners have long maintained that absolutely nothing even vaguely resembling a derivitive work is fair use, and judges mostly side with publishing companies.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, being a fanficcer, I’d rather believe the OTW.

  • Ross

    Only works can be copyrighted, not ideas. You can copy all the ideas you like, it’s only infringing if someone decides that what you produced counts as a “derived work”

  • AnonymousSam

    Don’t forget the flip side of the coin: non-disclosure agreements. One of those is why I’m not legally allowed to identify myself, so I use a pseudonym to create a certain element of plausible deniability.

  • Ross

    Or why I’m not going to say which people and which documents I was thinking of.

  • Alix

    Fair enough, and I take your point, even if I’m still wallowing in the clueless end of the kiddie pool, here. XD I may have mentioned before I can be more than a bit slow on the uptake.

  • P J Evans

    I can be more than a bit slow on the uptake.

    That’s not unusual.

  • Alix

    True story: I buy my T-shirts at an art store ($3-ish a shirt is a good deal, dammit! and pretty colors!) and patch or paint them (if I feel like it). One day I’m there and I find the most obnoxiously bright orange shirt I have ever seen in my life. I jokingly ask my mother if she can find a patch that’d work on it, and she goes “Funny you should mention that…” and hands me a little obnoxiously-yellow-and-green patch.

    It reads “I smile because I have no idea what’s going on.”

    …I totally bought that patch and shirt. XD And then inadvertently wore it to my first day volunteering at the new age shop.

    As my grandma said once, at least it means life for me is never boring!

  • Fusina

    If it is the same art shop I get mine at, totally, and the colors are great. Even better, the shirts are well made and good fabric–they don’t get thin and flimsy after a couple washings like some shirts do.

  • Alix

    Yup. It’s pretty sad when I can get good quality shirts in many colors from an art store for a few bucks – in my size, too – when it costs me several times that to get one in a normal clothing store.

  • Ed Darrell

    Thanks for the shout out (to Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Nice collection of thoughts, and Hidden Urchin’s comment goes to a great song and singer, neither of which I knew before.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “Objectivist for Christ” — gotta remember that!