The globe is getting warmer all the time

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“Before he talked to me about comics, he gave me something approaching an oral examination on 1950s EC Horror comics, and challenged me on using a phrase of his in an issue of Miracleman I’d written.”

“Farewell to George Thomas Thornton, an American visionary who understood that few dreams are worth pursuing that don’t involve dynamite and the rotting carcasses of charismatic megafauna.”

“A lot of people who’ve been through my experience would be wanting their money back, but my goodness have I gotten my money’s worth.”

It’s called necromology.”

“If your faith is so fragile that the mythic bogeyman can destroy it, then it is nothing more than a child’s blanket fort easily crumbled to begin with.”

“Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.”

“What’s needed here is not just Biblical literacy, but historical competency.”

“If I were to dress up as Satan, I would probably wear a $600 suit, manicured fingernails and go as a banker.”

“‘That’s nice Mr. LaBarbera,’ replies the visibly uncomfortable manager, ‘But what experience do you have making lattes?‘”

“For business, planning for a 2C world is about business resilience. Planning for a 3C or 4C world is about business and societal survival. It’s not a world any of us should be planning for.”

“Having some liberal academic in the White House tell you what to do, and whether you can use asbestos filler in toys, goes against the spirit of independence that made our country great.”

“The whole idea of mainstreaming references to Star Wars prequels is pretty disheartening. But if you’re going to do it, at least think about what you’re saying.”

“‘I love my pets.’ the woman said, as if someone had questioned it, or as if this was somehow an unusual or praiseworthy way to feel about pets.”

“Add broccoli, cover and let cook for an additional 7 minutes. Meanwhile, go back outside and tell the story about the train with the coal-burning engine that stopped in a barren, dust-filled landscape on a moonless Yugoslavian night in 1965.”

“Church Sign Epic Fails: ‘Jesus, Not Boobs‘”



The earth spins on and on and so much news is bad
Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 31: 'Scream 2 morality'
Congress sides with predatory lenders vs. military families
Scenes from the class war (4.30)
  • Original Lee

    I have noticed that a lot of psych/soc papers and books have questionable math in them. I recently expressed skepticism about a book where the author, in the first chapter, straight-up added percentages of different cohorts together instead of weighting the percentages based on total population. The sum that the author got and used as the basis of the main theory in the book was approximately three times what the actual sum should have been (because some of the cohorts overlapped). The person to whom I expressed skepticism promptly banned me from the blog and refused to answer e-mails, even though I sent links to statistics texts explaining how these numbers should have been handled. The author sent me a “cease and desist” letter. So I gave up.

  • TheBrett

    Yglesias is right about the Jedi Council in the prequels being a major epicenter of fail. They got so distracted fighting the Clone Wars that they didn’t notice the political ground shifting beneath their feet, and by the time they did, it was too late – Palpatine was a dictator in all but name. Then they tried to mount a coup attempt in a period where extremely delicate political maneuvering and investigation was called for, and gave Palpatine the opening he needed to ban and persecute the Jedi.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’ve never seen Star Wars. I still know enough about it to at least fake a conversation, and enough to make references. If I can get that much from cultural osmosis, it’s probably at least somewhat mainstream already.

  • Carstonio

    Now I understand why a friend who is about the same age was shocked when I said I have never seen The Breakfast Club. Apparently for Generation Xers, that film was a touchstone in early adulthood as the original Star Wars trilogy was in childhood.

  • Carstonio

    There aren’t enough Ughs in the universe to sum up my reaction to this. Revealing that the despicable scare tactics are only about “she-males” and not the reverse. And is there a correlation between the ugliness of the design of fundamentalist propaganda and the far worse ugliness of the ideology?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I *have* seen Breakfast Club. It was pretty good.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    That’s pretty odd, because psych/soc students usually HAVE to take at least beginner stats (even if they don’t need the calculus part of it, since there are standard tables of numerical results for Gaussian curves once you renormalize the data set).

    I smell someone trying to flimflam their audience.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve never seen the BC, and more shockingly enough I have never seen more than bits and pieces of SW (and I refuse to watch the newer ‘prequels’.) :P

  • Baby_Raptor

    Another person whose never watched Star Wars?

    I’m NOT the only one!

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I get that when the vast majority of people tend to sort themselves out into fairly well-defined gender-sexual categories, it can be unsettling to realize there is a plethora of minorities who don’t easily fit those categories.

    But the answer is not to get all up in arms over the fact and in particular what is really offensive is the cheap shot those folks took by going straight to the OMG WUT ABOUT THE CHILDREN hot button.

    The only thing left those jerks need to do is hit the PEDO PEDO PEDO red alert button just to really get in that last coup de grace.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah. I watched portions of it in the ’80s, but I never really sat down and actually marathoned the entire series.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    “For business, planning for a 2C world is about business resilience.
    Planning for a 3C or 4C world is about business and societal survival. It’s not a world any of us should be planning for.”

    The irony of all this is that the motivation for taking global warming seriously is that the folks with irons in the fire (IMF = in charge of third world debt and needs to know their ability to repay, large property insurance companies = at risk of higher payouts if their actuarial tables are wrong, etc) had to at least explore the likelihood that what the climate scientists were saying is correct.

    Explore they did, and they don’t like what they have to see unless things Get Done.

    PwC also acknowledged that business can’t solve this thing alone, that governments need to act. Again, Herweijer: “Businesses can do a lot by themselves but they can’t provide all the answers. Companies want and need governments to minimise the risks they will face; they want clear, consistent and long-term government policies and investment that will prevent warming beyond 2C”

    *snerk* I guess unlike with forex you can’t buy heat derivatives.

    (in all seriousness, some numbnuts out there has probably already suggested that you can just pick the temperature increase you can tolerate by buying the appropriate number of carbon derivatives, which means the government can sit there and be useless according to their ideology.)

  • P J Evans

    I saw the first three, the original versions. I haven’t seen the ‘prequels’ or the re-edited versions. I’d rather keep my illusions intact.

  • Jenny Islander

    That was one of Lucas’s good bits of plotting IMO.

    But there were so many actually talented authors who would have given a limb to be able to write those scripts! I still think that Lois McMaster Bujold should have been given the job.

  • Carstonio

    Of course it can be unsettling. I admit that when I first began reading Greek mythology, I laughed at the image of Pan running in terror and revulsion from Hermaphroditus. (The concept shows up often enough in films that this may be an archetype rooted in insecurity about masculinity.) But part of emotional maturity is acceptance of differences and acknowledgement that there’s nothing wrong with being different, and in no way am I claiming to have reached that maturity.

    No disagreement about the offensiveness of the demagoguery – they’re presenting a minority as demonic freaks.

  • Jamoche

    I minored in math and had to take beginner stats – it was mostly plugging numbers into formulas, no understanding of math involved. The most difficult part was deciding which formula to use – I never did really get that.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Still, any responsible scientist, when told that they’re misapplying a formula or a theorem, would acknowledge the mistake and try the alternative.

    I had to do that when I was trying a polynomial fit on something that turned out to be better represented by a combination of exponential functions which were derived from an analysis of the underlying physics involved.

  • Oswald Carnes

    I’ve watched Star Wars, even the prequels. I hate each and every one of them.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    I’m of the opinion that the actual framework plot of the prequels is pretty good. It’s a fairly solid story of deception, complacency, manipulation, and hubris that scales up and down from the personal to the interstellar pretty well. But the execution thereof…

  • smrnda

    What kind of books are we talking about? There are real scholars, and then there are pop-psych-soc frauds. Regrettably they get better press, mostly since they aren’t so heavy on the maths.

  • stardreamer42

    I have never seen The Breakfast Club, and see no reason to do so. (OTOH, I’m a Boomer, not an Xer — my equivalent is probably The Graduate, which I did see once.) I watched all the original Star Wars movies, but have seen only bits and pieces of the prequels and will probably never bother to do more than that.

  • stardreamer42

    My partner would certainly welcome unisex restrooms. He has “shy bladder” and prefers one-holers.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    I think it’s probably a mix of demographics and ideology. If I recall, MtF is a little more common than FtM, making it more visible and thus an easier target. And then you have the even-rarer gender-fluidity, gender-neutrality, and other forms of genderqueer that would probably make some people’s brains pop.

    (Though there’s a potentially rather tangled discussion of learned behavior when young, carrying forward from assigned gender to claimed gender. Since most people treat children as if their physical sex and social gender line up right from go, they inculcate children with prescribed gender roles. This could perhaps create a situation where at least some transwomen, raised as boys, learned and internalized that they should be more assertive; while some transmen, raised as girls, were taught to be quieter and more reserved. So there might be a tendency to “gendered” behaviors learned young and then carried forward that influences how trans* people socially do their transitions and claimed genders, and skews broader perception toward transgenderism and transsexuality in favor of higher MtF visibility. But this is just a loose hypothesis and I’m not too invested in it as an idea, so my apologies if I just said something terribly wrong-headed or offensive. I don’t think I did but I would be bothered to have upset anyone anyway. For all I know this has already been researched and dismissed.)

    But yeah then we get into ideology of these asshats and it’s all tied up in how they think gender roles and physical sex are supposed to have a 1:1 correlation. When you get a fundamentally patriarchal line of thinking going, anyone biologically male who wants to step away from their assigned gender must be doing it for some kind of perverse or malicious reason. It can’t be “maybe some people don’t feel comfortable with their genitals or genders,” it must be “they’re looking to get some thrill out of it.” There’s also something of the naturalistic fallacy there, that if your ground state is X, then X is what you ought to be and should be good enough, dammit.

    And FtM gets disregarded because either demographics, or patriarchal condescension toward any biological female seeking to claim manhood. “Her” claimed masculinity isn’t seen as legitimate enough to feel threatened by, and… and actually maybe they conflate FtM with lesbians and feminism, now that I think about it.

    Because I know I’ve heard of the creepy-as-fuck idea of lesbians just not having met a good enough penis to master over them, and these asshats would probably think the same thing about FtM (disregarding that a transman might very well be gay, but since they’re not “legitimately” men then they’re not really gay now are they?). Plus the idea that feminists just want to take power from men to put women in charge (the mistake of anyone who says they’re not concerned with feminism, they’re concerned with equality, not getting that that’s the same damn thing), so a transman’s claimed masculinity might be rolled up in their parody of feminism and thus safely dismissed.

    (As a side note, I say “claimed” about trans* people and gender roles in the sense of how anyone lays social claim to a part of their identity. A transman claims masculinity the same way a cis-man claims it. I don’t mean it in the sense of a liar claiming something false to be true, though the word does have at least a little of that connotation in colloquial use, unfortunately.)

    So maybe demographics of trans* people, maybe not, but definitely bucket-loads of condescension toward anyone assigned female at birth. I’d put good money on that last one bearing out.

  • Alex Harman

    Heh. Can you imagine Chancellor Palpatine trying to outwit Miles? There’d never have been an Empire.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    That’s why Bujold would have to write Chancellor Palpatine as Miles. Sith Lord Vorkosigan would have toppled the Republic during his vacation.

  • TheBrett

    About ten years ago, that might be shocking, but now I’m pretty “meh”. The last Star Wars movie came out in 2005, and the original films are all more than 30 years old. Eventually even classic films that everyone has saw just become classic films that nobody really watches anymore.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    The prequels are actually pretty good, if you remove the dialog first.

  • BaseDeltaZero


  • Lori

    Many unisex bathrooms are singles—one toilet and a sink, you go in there by yourself and lock the door. People with “shy bladder” have a very difficult time peeing near other people, so a bathroom where they’re guaranteed not to have to share is a big help.

  • P J Evans

    It’s been known for years among fans that Lucas can’t write dialog that’s any good.

  • mistformsquirrel

    It’s funny really, for me, I don’t like the prequels (due to the poor execution); but I’m simultaneously glad we have them because while their execution is questionable – the ideas behind them give some really awesome stuff for people in the expanded universe to use. (Midichlorians not withstanding.)

    I mean it’s flawed, but I really enjoy The Old Republic for example; and it draws – by necessity – quite heavily on elements from the prequels. If you play a Jedi you spend a lot of time with the council; and unlike the prequel council, they’re pretty decent.

    I dunno, folks mileage may vary of course.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    There are a lot of “bad” stories that actually have really good ideas, but horrible execution. Star Wars has a lot of them spread out among its movies and expanded universe. Fortunately, as a franchise it’s been strong enough to allow others to come along later, pick up the good ideas, and give them a bit of polish so it’s easier to see them for the good ideas they are.

    From the way a friend talks about Star Trek Online, it sounds like it manages to do the same kind of thing for Trek as TOR does for Star Wars, sifting gems out of some of the more… questionable installments throughout the various series and movies.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Ah. I know what you mean, I’ve just never heard it described that way.

    The ones that confuse me are the single-stall bathrooms that *aren’t* unisex… I mean… there’s no reason…

  • J_Enigma32

    I’d rather see him try to outwit one of the Minds from the Culture Series; preferably the Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints, one of their most advanced and arguably most unstable warships.

    That may just be a tad bit overkill, but still…

  • Kenneth Raymond

    My Methods of Sociology professor was a very nice person, but I can just hear her taking these people to task over such a freaking elementary mistake like that. I know we didn’t have a ton of focus on the doing of the math in the bachelor’s program, but damn if we weren’t taught enough about how stats are read to catch something like that.

  • mistformsquirrel

    Warning: Massive nerditry follows!

    Yeah, I play STO as well as TOR hehe – it has some excellent stories that they’ve grown out of iffy episodes and barely hinted moments in the show. It also has it’s share of flaws too. (The Romulan faction is imo the best example of what the game can do; it’s a really well done storyline that makes you really feel like you’re a part of the new Romulan Republic. Imo the Federation currently has the worst content as most of it’s missions are years old and done before a lot of improvements were made later in the game’s life.)

    I should mention – STO is a really weird game in a lot of ways – it launched in craptacular condition and a lot of the old junk is in the process of being cleared away for much, much better stuff – it’s a great game when it lets itself be, but you can see the scars of a difficult birth and questionable design decisions early on too. (And I’ll add that being F2P it’s very expensive if you want any of the shiniest ships… on the other hand here I am all these years later still playing and buying ships, so they must be doing something right.)

    That said. STO does two things really well, especially lately:

    1) Space combat with big ships blowing the snot out of each other. The only other game that even tries that that I know of is EVE; and EVE is… unappealing to me for a lot of reasons. Most games, if they even bother with ship combat, it’s tiny ships like fighters… so there’s a significant appeal for me in being able to fly a kilometer long starship.

    2) The writing. The missions from early in the game’s lifecycle have good storylines (mostly, there’s a couple iffy ones), but meh execution. The more recent missions have excellent elements in both areas. (Like the new Sphere of Influence mission – they even got Michael Dorn to play Worf for it!)

    … and now I feel the need to play some more STO >.<

  • J_Enigma32

    IMO, the Jedi were jackasses. They got what they deserved (note: the Sith are total idiots, too).

    If you look closely, they’re basically an unregulated version of Xe/Blackwater/Akademi/Whateverthehellthey’recallingthemselves; that is, an unregulated private military. What’s worse, they were the column supporting the Republic even when it was supposedly a democracy*; Without them there would have been no republic. Rulership, then, fell to the hands of individuals chosen by pure quirks of biology to protect the Republic. They were not elected. They were not appointed by someone who was elected. They were self-selected, self-appointed, and there was absolutely no type of citizens oversight committee to pause the first movie and say, “You know, this Anakin kid – let’s get him to a therapist first, then talk about training him second.” Even in the second film, when it was more obvious – the poor kid’s clearly got borderline personality disorder; get him help. A citizen’s committee probably would’ve had him pulled after he massacred the Sandpeople (maybe; but if that wasn’t enough, the attitude and demeanor on display probably would’ve certainly been enough to have his ass yanked and benched until he could get his ducks in a row).

    There was no oversight of any of their actions at all (that I can remember); they were an autonomous entity acting independent of the Republic but, at the same time, running many of its affairs. The only reason we know they do good is because the narrative tells us they do; they’re heroes, except when they’re not, and the narrative makes that painfully clear, too.

    I’ve got zero sympathy for them (well, maybe the council; the younger Jedi and bottom of the totem pole I have some sympathy for, since I doubt they had a say… I wonder, do you think the Jedi are union?)

    * Even under the Emperor, they’d still be a republic. Because the role of Emperor was not hereditary, he would simply be considered an autocrat and the Republic could still legitimately be called the Galactic Republic.

    (It should be mentioned the above is said with a tongue in cheek tone)

  • J_Enigma32

    The old republic is awesome. Frankly, that’s my favorite period in the entire EU canon. Whenever I entertain the possibility of running an Star Wars game, it’s always Old Republic.

    Later periods are just depressing for me. I mean, here we are, nearly 8,000 years later, if not more, and you mean to tell me technology still has not changed any? It’s only gotten worse? What was it they were fighting for in the original movies again?

  • Kenneth Raymond

    I would be right on board with you and my friend in the USS Nerdtrain if my computer could play STO safely. My computer’s been having problems and while I got through the tutorial and into exploring some of the random systems and quests, after a bit STO started glitching out and crashing my computer entirely. I did enjoy the hell out of what little I got to play of it, though, especially ship combat. If I ever get the chance to fix or replace this machine, I’ll likely be diving back in if only to mess around with my friend some online.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    Star Wars basically follows fantasy rules, which means the old magic is always the most powerful, the ancient peoples were always the most accomplished, and whether one knows it or not the protagonists are always living in the shadows of fallen grandeur. Great for having a mythic past from out of which dangers and ancient conflicts loom like an iceberg in the fog, a little harder to buy when dressed in science fiction trappings.

    Also, the years leading up to the Great Hyperspace War, for me. Still Old Republic, but just before the Sith enter the scene. It’s got a lot of potential as part of that transitional period from mythic past to the Jedi/Sith cycle of conflict wearing down the galaxy slowly but steadily.

  • Matri

    Darths And Droids

    Perhaps you’ll like the alternative interpretation of the two trilogies better.

  • mistformsquirrel

    That sucks, I’m sorry for your PC I just got a new one in the last year so I’ve been very fortunate. Also – LOL USS Nerdtrain! >_> That’s priceless. (I fly the USS Courtain myself, a captured and refitted Jem’hadar Dreadnought)

  • mistformsquirrel

    I largely agree hehe – the Old Republic setting is awesome. My favorite bits of the EU come in the immediate-post ROTJ period though. I adore the Thrawn Trilogy for instance, and the various X-Wing books by Stackpole.

    Really the TOR and immediate post ROTJ period almost feel like two seperate genres a bit. The former is kind of science-fantasy with the hefty focus on the Jedi and the Force, while the latter is almost Mil Sci-Fi lite, with the focus largely being on mundane people with blasters and starships. Both are pretty awesome though.

    Not however a fan at all of the later EU stuff like the Vong series and after. Having the New Republic collapse actually made me nerd rage pretty hard >.< and I'm not usually prone to that!

  • Kenneth Raymond

    My actual ship was the USS Thule from the random name generator, though I may have to use the Nerdtrain name if I get the chance again. My character was pretty much Captain Generic of the Starship Generic because I was going to scrap him and start again once I figured out what I wanted to do.

  • Matri

    Mine’s the Odyssey-class USS Tenryuso.

    We should get together and blow up some space dinosaurs sometime when the zone opens next week.

  • mistformsquirrel

    I’m a total nerd myself, I have 6 level 50s and another 5 non-50s, all with their own story and crew theme. I play far more than I ought to lol

  • mistformsquirrel

    Haha, yeah, I’m very curious to see how the Voth zone is going to work out. I’m just coming back from a long break, so I’m actually just now getting my Omega reputation up, hoping to have it finished not long after Season 8 starts.

  • SororAyin

    I’m with you on that. I manage to be a fan only because the books are so much better.

  • Matri

    I only have the one.

    I barely have enough time to tend to him as it is, much less start another.

    Winter Wonderland should start up again next month, if I’m not mistaken.

  • reynard61

    Maybe a few members of the original cast should have been sent with copies of the new scripts to wave them under his nose while shouting “SAY THIS!”