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Topics - random poet

Please watch this video about a Canadian doctor being silenced for calling out sexism.

Then donate to her legal fund so she doesn't have to to bankrupt to defend herself against this baseless suit:

Funny how the freeze peach guys are so against speech they don't agree with.
The small town of Baldwin, in the swamp near Jacksonville, Florida, lost its only grocery store. Municipal authorities decided to open one. But, they insist, this is not socialism!
QuoteSean Lynch, the town's mayor, rejects the notion that this model is socialism. "We take the water out of the ground, and we pump it to your house and charge you," he told The Post. "So what's the difference with a grocery store?"

"See, socialism is evil, and we're just tryin to help people, so it's definitely not socialism!"

Some highly clear-sighted and not at all reality-impaired people are debating whether or not we should be shooting bigfoot (or "harvesting the body for science"), when we find him.

There are a lot of unstated premises and begging the question involved. There is no question or debate about the existence of said being, for instance. Indeed, they make pretty wild claims:
QuoteThere's people that claim there's only a breeding population, that there are only two to three thousand. They're not out doing what we do. They're sitting behind a desk. And we're out in the woods.
Out in the woods, smelling poop, misidentifying tracks and fur, eating bacon...

They are basically armor-plated tanks.
Quote"You would need a heavy-duty rifle," according Jim Lansdale, co-founder of the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO). "I would suggest a 30-aught-six or better; .458 or something like that. Maybe a seven-mag'. But it's all shot placement and you'd have to shoot him in the head. You can't body-shoot him. They're too big."
He knows this for a fact! Somehow?

But anyway, they are not a protected species, so shoot away! (I just love that picture.)
Unless you are in across the border in Washington:
QuoteSkamania County, Washington, passed an ordinance that made premeditated slaying of the Saskquatch a felony offense.
Other Media / The last remaining Expo
April 24, 2018, 01:17:44 PM
This is the best article ever.

But they failed to mention that he is the last active player to have played for the Expos. And the weird thing is that he will probably face Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr., the sons of two of his Expos teammates.

I just love this guy and his "laser-guided meatballs."

And this:
Uber is definitely one of the most egregious examples of the excesses of the current savage capitalist regime. Exploiting a weakness in the taxi industry, too slow to adapt to new technologies, they have been on a crusade to undercut and bankrupt an entire livelihood, which used to allow workers from some of the most vulnerable classes of society to make ends meet.

I had been hoping that, following examples like Austin, Paris and other municipalities passing bylaws to tamp down the exploitation of its workers (and they are employees, even if Uber refuses to admit it), more and more local governments would fight back (since wider instances are afraid to touch any con Silicone Valley dreams up), but of course Uber has been swinging its huge and litigious assets around to squelch such efforts. Instead of the obvious workers' rights issues and predatory business model, not to mention the fact that they have yet to turn a profit, allegations of widespread harassment of their female employees was the breaking point for investors. I suppose we should be glad something broke, and hope that this gap will be the beginning of a wider collapse.*

However, I am not optimistic about the possibility of improvement. Even if Uber were to completely disappear, there are plenty of copycats in the market (Lyft and etc.), and the lack of action by governments around the world makes it glaringly obvious who is actually in charge.

*I don't wish to minimize how sleazy these "tech bro" companies are in their behaviour towards women. They are predators in every sense of the word. But compared to Uber's effect on the worldwide taxi industry, it was a much more localised problem, and I have no doubt that it would have been tolerated if they had managed to turn a profit.
What if there were a way to retrofit our innards to install a charge port for electronic devices. (USB-C, probably, or whatever you'd need.) What kind of power do we run on, how much energy could we output to a phone? (See maths below.) What would that do, physically? Would one get exhausted after a few minutes? Or hours?

Google says you get 1 KwH for every 860,420.65 calories (small C).

It also says that if you charge your device for 2 hours every other day at 1.2A. That means you'll spend 365 hours charging your device in a year. At 6 watts, that's 2190 watt-hours, or 2.19 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Which means that's 1,884,321 cal, or 1,884 Cal food units. That's pretty close to all the energy the average adult uses over a day, but spread over a year. Doesn't seem so bad. But it also seems really, really low. I feel like I'm missing something.
Games / Tracer is gay
December 22, 2016, 04:16:06 PM
Blizzard had been teasing a reveal about a gay character on their Overwatch roster for over a year, and now it was finally revealed, in a holiday comic.

And here I was hoping it would be Roadhog. My dreams are crushed.

(But yeah it's a pretty big deal having the face of the franchise being queer. Good on them.)
Other Media / MLB Playoffs 2016
October 04, 2016, 03:32:48 PM
RANDOM POET (Blue Jays) VS AQB (Orioles) in the AL Wildcard showdown!


Who will win? Who will salvage their almost-good-enough streaky season and face the Sox in the first round (Toronto, that's who (No, I don't care that you have the best closer in history, shut up.)!)?

Also, will the Cubs have a shot at winning the pennant and ushering in the apocalypse? FIND OUT SOON!
General Discussion / We've reached peak Canada
December 22, 2015, 01:44:48 AM
Get in your votes for the most Canadian story ever.

This has to be in the top 3.

QuoteA Manitoba Zamboni driver was arrested on the weekend after damaging the rink between periods of a hockey game while operating the machine. He also appeared to be drunk at the time.

Officials cancelled the game due to the damaged rink, despite being reassured by the Zamboni driver the ice surface was in fine condition.
Games / People who are good at shooters.
November 12, 2015, 03:43:48 PM
So here's an excerpt from Tycho's blog post on Penny Arcade, today.
QuoteWe have a diagram on the whiteboard behind Gabriel's desk that describes how he, Kiko, and myself acquire targets in an FPS.  Kiko, the most successful, hipfires at center mass while pulling the sights up, raking upward to the headshot.  Gabriel, if I remember correctly, starts a little above the target and rakes down.  For some reason - and I didn't understand this is how I did it at all before that conversation - I start to the lower left or right of the target, sight in, and then draw a diagonal line upward that crosses the head.  It goes without saying that this is the least effective system.  There are certain contexts where I'm obsessed with what I see as the optimal play, and firing over the sights is one of them, so I don't even pull the trigger until I'm sighted in and it is making me a LOSER.

All right, so, I had heard about this type of thing before; it was a video about a CS pro, showing how and where to shoot most effectively, but at the time it had gone completely over my head. It was the kind of thing where you needed an advanced understanding of the jargon and of techniques to even get half the words he was saying.

But anyway, how do you shoot? I can't even remember my own way. I don't think I ever stopped to analyse it like that. But yeah, now that I think of it, I do think I zoom in the sights before I start shooting, in those games where such a thing is possible. (Gears has it, Halo doesn't.) I also generally go for the headshot and ignore the rest.

(For reference, my skills at shooters are serviceable, especially in Gears, and Quake III back in the day, but I'm no tournament player.)

(And please pay no attention to Tycho's horrible habit of putting two Goddamned spaces after every period. His posts are often the best thing I read online that day, but I'll be damned if they don't need a [sic] after the whole thing, every time.)

(Also on iTunes.)

Obama has been trying real hard to reach people in "new media" outlets lately. He's been all over YouTube and now he's just done a round of podcasts. His interview with Mark Maron is great. I don't know if you listen to Maron, guys, he's a pretty good interviewer in general, and I always tune in when he's interviewing someone I know. (Mostly it's comedians I've never heard of so I skip em.)

But this is different, obviously. Different for Maron, but also pretty different for Obama. I believe he was pretty candid about stuff, and he is a thoughtful, affable guy to start with, and he spoke about his ideals a lot. One thing I noticed is that he basically said he was non-religious, which implies his whole thing with going to church during the campaign was just for show. Which I think we all knew, right?

Anyway. Great interview. Go listen.
This story is hilarious, surreal, and so frustrating. The Chinese government (the officially ATHEISTIC Chinese government who ostensibly doesn't believe in reincarnation or in Buddhism in the first place) has long said that they would be the ones who would pick the next Dalai Lama. They have in fact already picked the successor of the Panchen Lama in 1995, causing a division in the faith.

The Dalai Lama doesn't like this, obviously, and everyone who cares about human rights agrees, because Dalai Lamas are picked by a council of elders in the church. The Chinese government is trying to take control of the church with this transparent plot, so the Dalai Lama is countering with another transparent plot to "end the line" of reincarnations of his office.

This is really important for all sorts of political reasons, and it's driving me nuts, because IT'S SO STUPID! There is no such thing as reincarnation! And those guys know it! Maybe the Lama believes in it — although this political chicanery calls it into question — but Beijing sure doesn't!

Anyway here are some links.

Of course we already all know how this will go. The Chinese brass will pick their guy, who will be in their entire control; the Dalai Lama's followers will pick another, who they can safely spirit away; and the church will be further divided. And I will continue bashing my head against the wall.

The Lama had already said he might reincarnate as a woman (*GASP*) or as a bee, which would be the best ever. Best case scenario, all this bullshit will just expose the whole church as a fraud (which it is, like all religions), and drive people away. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like it's getting a lot of attention in mainstream media. I mean this story came out last week.

(Edit for a typo.)
Any of you people heard of this? Is it on the news anywhere else? It's the only thing anyone talks about here.

Last February, the liberal government (which is very badly named, because it's actually conservative, at least as much as the Harper government) announced a sharp tuition hike for universities in the province. They had already started a few years ago by raising it by about a third over four years, and now they were going the rest of the way, adding 75% over the next five years. Many colleges and universities immediately declared unlimited strikes. About half the post-secondary student population was on strike at one point or another, and the ones who voted against going on strike are still almost universally against such a hike.

It has now been over three months. The government has refused all negotiation of the hike with the elected student association leaders. They have made one offer, which included a compromises on some minor points, and a higher, but more spread out, hike (82% over 7 years). Students took it as insult and provocation, and the demonstrations have only been ramped up. There are now marches in the streets of various towns almost daily. Here in Montreal there are various demonstrations during the day, and a night-time march that has occurred every day for almost a month.

Last week, the liberals held a special session in parliament to adopt a "special law" which heavily restricts the rights of demonstrators. Each of its articles is either against the constitution of Quebec, or of Canada, or in violation of our Charter of Rights. They have clearly decided to crush the student movement under the boot of anti-riot police, instead of negotiating. The students have responded by holding more demonstrations and breaking more stuff. It is of note that the demonstrations are rarely violent; 99% of people there are peaceful. But the riot police makes no distinction. They even arrest (and tear-gas, and beat) bystanders, journalists, and people sitting on the patio of a bar.

Here are the news from the last couple of days.
QuoteThousands of protesters outraged by two laws passed Friday to tamp down civil unrest marched through downtown Montreal on Saturday night, many of them wearing now-illegal masks or hoods.

Authorities declared the protest illegal about a half-hour after it began at 8:30 p.m. ET. Then, a little after 11 p.m., Montreal police ordered protesters to disperse and called in the provincial police force's riot squad.
QuoteAbout 300 people were arrested and 20 were injured during overnight protests in Montreal in defiance of Quebec's contentious Bill 78, which cracks down on student-stoked demonstrations sparked by the province's proposed tuition hikes.

Ten police officers and 10 civilians suffered minor injuries in the latest protest. One person was taken to hospital with a serious head injury that emergency services called "non-life-threatening."

Just before midnight on Sunday, about 5,000 people gathered in the streets in the heart of the city's Latin Quarter, alternating between cacophonous cheering and chanting.

"Devrait pas nous fâcher," they yelled — "You shouldn't get us mad."
QuoteThe movement picked up some celebrity backing in the last few days, with documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and Montreal band Arcade Fire lending their support.

Moore is calling Quebec's student movement "amazing," and on Sunday tweeted: "Canadians are in revolt in Quebec over new gov't law limiting democratic rights. No news of it in US press. Their uprising is inspiring #ggi."
The student movement's most popular hashtag is #ggi (grève générale illimitée, French for general unlimited strike.)

The international hacker collective Anonymous has also taken an interest in the growing Quebec movement.
It would be nice to get more international attention. Shame the government into action before this place turns into more of a police state.
Music / Garbage - Shirley Manson Interview
April 26, 2012, 06:48:18 PM
So, Garbage are putting out a new record. I always liked Shirley, but now I love her even more after reading her interview, and this bit in particular:

QuoteDoes any part of you long for the industry of the '90s — platinum sales, chart positions, big video budgets?
There is not one single shred in my entire body that misses that. And I'll tell you this also, though I'm sad to say it: To see those fat cunts lose their jobs gave me an unbelievable sense of satisfaction. To know we've outlasted them makes me feel so victorious I don't even know where to start. Because they treat you so well when the money's pouring in — they're up your fucking jacksie — but the minute things are not so sweet, you can't even get them to pick up the phone. Now they're getting a taste of their own medicine.

and also

Quote"I can live without you. I can live without fame. I can live without success or money and I will be okay. I can make my life exciting for me. Go buy some hooker on 42nd Street because this isn't for sale."
Giant science fail on Gizmodo today. Like the title says, it's about this paper on acupuncture which they say proves... stuff. Then they start citing a bunch of crap about other studies which were already discredited. What's wrong with these people? This is a completely credulous article, which actually goes along with the whole "chi" thing. Seriously? I don't think they are allowed to call themselves a science website anymore.
Music / Refused getting the band back together.
January 19, 2012, 06:30:52 PM
This is great news, you guys! They are easily among the best punk bands of their period. (Even if one of their songs is called "The Apollo Program Was a Hoax".)

The official statement:

QuoteWe wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who've kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes.
     We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual.

     See you in the pit.
Other Media / Greta Christina's blog.
October 26, 2011, 06:28:44 PM
She recently moved to the new FreeThoughtBlogs domain (the one PZ Myers just co-founded). (And that Boobquake girl, Blag Hag, is also on there now.) This lady runs a great blog, you guys, and if you're not reading it, you're missing out. I'm looking at you, elevatorgate deniers. She's the one who wrote that great piece about atheism and anger, which someone here linked to a while ago.

She doesn't exclusively write about feminism, however. not even "mostly." I'd venture an estimate of about 45/45/10 split on topics, the 45s being gender/LGBT issues and atheism, with 10% of "other."

Today's topic is the "Echo chamber or picking fights" problem. if we're not "strident and overly aggressive," then we're only "preaching to the choir." Yeah, that annoys me too. But the post i really liked was the previous one, about how coming out as an atheist is fundamentally confrontational. She makes some good points about the differences and similarities of "coming out" as atheist vs gay.

Plus, she has great glasses.

So yeah. Go read it. And discuss.
General Discussion / Worst Canadian Poll
August 31, 2011, 04:47:31 PM
Canada is not to be outdone!
Music / attn Nirvana fans: free CD
August 05, 2011, 05:12:17 PM
The place you want to look is here:

QuoteSPIN's August issue pays tribute to the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind, and as part of our package we tapped some of our favorite contemporary artists to cover the influential album's 13 songs, in their original order. The download is called Newermind, and it's our gift to you.

We were happy that two of Kurt Cobain's personal faves -- the Meat Puppets and the Vaselines, both of whom Nirvana famously covered during their MTV Unplugged taping -- joined our effort. Below you'll find the complete album tracklist, with reflections from each contributing artist.

what they don't tell you in this article is that Pacioretty was able to tell his side of the story today, and he said that Chara obviously and intentionally pushed his face towards the post. it is gruesome to watch. and the league did nothing? we need legal action. this is out of control. this league can't protect its players anymore.

(move this if needed; i don't really know where it should go.)

QuoteJohn Isner won the longest match in tennis history Thursday, taking the fifth set against Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in an epic struggle that stretched over three days and 11 hours.

The American closed out the victory with a backhand passing shot, then collapsed to his back as he tossed his racket in jubilation and relief.

The final score of the first-round match read: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.
Member Creations / Stop Believin'
June 11, 2010, 02:48:38 PM
just stop. enough of that.

best skeptical shirt ever? could be. could be.
Other Media / video games are so art.
April 23, 2010, 05:38:53 PM
so there's been a new iteration of the same debate the past few days about whether or not video games are art. the people who work in video games say the question need not be asked because they are obviously an artistic medium, and the people who don't know anything about video games say they are not art.

this time, it started with a TED talk by one kellee santiago, a game developer from thatgamecompany. (the folks who brought the spectacularly boring and innane "flow" and "flower" to the xbox360 and ps3 -- but let's not hold that against her. she seems nice.) this produced a response from roger ebert, who brilliantly demonstrated he had never even seen a video game in his life. the guys at penny-arcade were unimpressed and offered a response which was mostly a dismissal, and a wonderfully imaged and insulting one at that (see "reeking ejaculate" and "wretched, ancient warlock"). santiago also responded to ebert's article, and she was far more polite. and finally PZ chimed in with a defense of the old fogey argument, for some reason. it's weird because i had never thought of PZ as an old fogey, and had agreed with pretty much everything he'd ever said before. and really, the same could be said of ebert, who has written some great articles about humanism and skepticism.

so i guess my personal heroes (skeptics and gamers) are now clashing? great.

ebert seems to have some trouble with his definition of "art," or lack thereof. seems like he's using some subjective "artistic merit" criteria to decide what should count as art. like, a good movie is art, but a bad one is not. what the hell? art is not subjective. the viewer does not get to decide what will be counted as art, specially since everyone would have a different definition since they have a different expericence. but if andy warhol can put a brillo box in an art gallery, and marcel duchamp can hang a urinal there and call it art, then maybe we should bring some video games to a museum so these old farts can change their minds?

no. art is defined by the artist. if a person or group of persons set out to "make art," then it's art. whether other people like it or not has no bearing on this. trolls and ridiculous people often trot out an argument similar to "oh yeah? does this mean i can press a mixture of my blood, feces and semen between two plates of glass and call it art?" well, yes. but don't expect other people to like it (tho i bet some would). bad taste will still be bad taste even in art.

which bring me to another point. the medium. it doesn't matter! since art is defined by the people making it, that means they are free to use whatever means they have at their disposal along with any abilities they have. nobody would contest "interpretative dance" as a medium, even tho it's dumb. so why would they deny video games?

another point ebert makes is that he sees art as "the work of one artist." i can't fathom why he would say that. does he mean that a collective work can never be thought of as artistic? it takes a lot of people to make a movie, old man. you just said you thought some movies were art. nice contradiction there. and is he saying that two painters painting on the same canvas would automatically be disqualified? one composer covering another's music? this is a ridiculous argument.

now i know that some people might not agree with me when i throw the "esthetic merit" argument out the window. you might object that a five year old dipping his hand in a paint bucket and smearing it across a wall in the approximate shape of a doggy is not making art. well, i think it is. i also think it takes years of training and some talent to make good art. art is not defined by its worth, but i have no problem with saying that some art sucks and some is great. obviously i'm not a great painter and any accumulation  of paint i happen to apply to canvas will not be as good as a picasso. but that's another discussion. the lack of artistic value of a piece of art only makes it bad art. not un-art. now i feel like i'm repeating myself.

PZ has a good argument, but i think it fails upon further thought. he says that games can't be art because they have a goal other than "representation of human experience." video games have a goal and a means to "win," so they can't be art. but what if a movie (an artistic medium which he would probably accept) had two endings, and the viewer had to pick one? what if one of them was good and one was bad? does that lessen the "art" factor of the piece? what if, instead of the one choice, the viewer had ten choices to make, which would create a branching-off effect and end up with 1024 endings? how many choices (which are the basic for form of interaction) does it take before a movie becomes a game? how much interaction is allowed before a novel becomes a "make your own adventure" thing and suddenly stops being art? how wide is your grey area? i think there isn't a grey area. the whole thing should be lumped in the "art" pile.

another argument of PZ's is that watching someone else play a video game is boring. or recording one in order to watch it later. (i would argue that some of them can be fun to watch when you know what's going on, but let's say we accept his point for a minute.) he's basically saying that if you can't hang it on a wall for people to look at and "have an experience," it is not art. has he ever watched someone reading a book? now THAT is some boring shit. novels must not be art either then. watching someone listen to music (in headphones) also sucks. so music is out. video games, as an experience, are geared towards interactivity, and if you're not a part of the interaction, you're not getting the full experience. i don't see how that lessens their value in the least. it is simply the way to experience them. just like a novel which you actually have to read, or else it's just some paper with marks on it.

i've also seen a weird argument that basically divides art and entertainment. as if art can never be entertaining. i'm sorry, but i find classical literature quite entertaining. it was written with that precise intention in mind, actually. but television or video games can't be art because they are somehow "mindless?" i agree that a lot of the crap on TV is mindless. but that just makes it bad art. good art should make you think, and it should provoke a wide range of emotion. plenty of video games do that. and the ones that don't, well, maybe they are bad art. still art tho.

defining what is and isn't art is a debate that's been going on for millenia. the whole philosophical discipline of esthetics is devoted to it. i encourage anyone with an interest in it to look it up. but the arguments put forward by myers and ebert are not part of this learned debate. they don't hold any water when you examine them closely. it reminds me of true believers coming up with arguments that have been debunked a hundred times over. one constant in the age-old debate is that whenever a new medium comes along, there will be old farts who denounce it as not being art. the same happened to movies and photographs. (kind of like the blaming stuff for crimes and immorality. it used to be books, then it was movies and TV, now it's grand theft auto.) video games are already accepted as art by the young generation. PZ and ebert's opinions are relics of another time. but not really, since they seem to be repeated in each new artistic era.
Member Creations / coffee
March 22, 2010, 06:24:04 PM
i think it would be cool to inaugurate the new section with something i am working on.

i wrote the first act of a play. it's about people drinking coffee.

it's cheesy but i had fun with the dialogue. the next acts are going to be about similar moments in time during the relationship in act 2, and breakup in act 3, i think. i have a rough outline i need to spend more time on to know what i want out of this story.

tell me what you think.


GUY: A man in his early twenties. Casual attire.
GIRL: A woman in her early twenties. Should be dressed casually and conservatively except for a plunging neckline.
PATRONS AND STAFF: Ten to fifteen random extras. This particular coffee shop has a clientele and staff composed mostly of university students.



   Small, busy independent coffee shop. All the tables are occupied and there are few empty seats left. [note: there should be people getting up and leaving, and being replaced by new customers, throughout the scene. They pantomime ordering, paying, conversing among each other. Some are reading or using laptops.] GUY is sitting alone at a small table in the farthest corner from the counter. He is writing in a thin spiral-bound notebook, his forgotten cup next to it on the table. GIRL just received her order and turns around, looking for a place to sit, looking surprised and disappointed--she had not noticed it was so crowded until now. She walks up to the GUY's table, but hesitates, looks at the other couple of free seats for someone more inviting.

GUY (looking up from his writing, suddenly noticing there is someone standing in front of him) - Oh, hey. You can sit here if you'd like.

GIRL - Er... you look kinda busy. What are you writing?

GUY - Oh, just some bad poetry. Come, sit; I promise I won't make you read any of it.

GIRL - (with a small laugh) All right, if you promise.

   GUY resumes writing. GIRL sits uneasily, sips her coffee, casts looks around the room, looking uncomfortable. GUY mumbles to himself, nods, or crosses out passages on his notebook periodically whenever there's a silence.

GIRL - So... what's it about?

GUY - Beg your pardon?

GIRL - Your bad poetry. What's it about?

GUY - Oh, right. Well, you know, heartbreak, oppression, revolution, global warming; pretty run-of-the-mill poetry subjects, really.

GIRL - I don't think I've ever read poetry about the greenhouse effect.

GUY - And with a little luck, you'll never have to.

   Another laugh from GIRL.

GIRL - Come on, it can't be that bad.

GUY - I assure you, it can, and it is.

   A pause. GUY resumes writing. GIRL resumes looking uncomfortable.

GIRL - ... So, do you always write in coffee shops?

GUY - Yes, actually I do. I can't work at home; too many distractions.

GIRL (gesturing to the bustle around them) - And this doesn't count as a distraction?

GUY - It's not the same. This isn't something I need to get involved in. The most crowded spaces are precisely the places one can be the most alone and undisturbed.

GIRL - I guess you're right. Nobody pays attention to anyone around them.

GUY - Apathy is another of my themes, incidentally.

GIRL - Ah yes. Must go well with the revolution one.

GUY - I do enjoy a good contradiction.

   GUY, while looking up during his previous line, suddenly notices GIRL's shirt gives a clear view of cleavage. His eyes widen, but GIRL doesn't notice, being in mid-sip. GUY quickly drops his eyes back to his notebook and resumes writing. He takes another peek after a few seconds. This time, GIRL notices, clears her throat emphatically, and he smiles guiltily.

GUY - (With a chuckle) Ah, you caught me. Well, I'm not sorry. It was worth getting caught, and I'd do it again.

GIRL - Just how long have you been sneaking looks, then?

GUY - Actually, I had only just noticed your... exposition. I feel rather annoyed at myself, frankly, I wish I'd noticed sooner, but I was so concentrated on my notes, I hardly looked up at all. I'm a lunatic, most the time, I am sorry about that part.

GUY finally takes the time to look at GIRL carefully. GIRL's look of annoyance fades under this scrutiny; she blushes slightly.

GUY - Well! You're really quite pretty!


A park, with many trees and paths winding around the underbrush. There is a large fountain in the middle, surrounded by a brick walkway, and park benches. It is dusk, and the park is lit feebly by some post lamps and the setting sun. GUY and GIRL are sitting on a bench; while they are sitting in the middle, they are still about half a metre apart. They chose a poor place to sit, as the sunset is actually behind them. They don't seem to notice. They are drinking coffee out of a thermos in plastic canteen cups.

GIRL – So you finally did call me.

GUY – I'm sorry. I'm not good at calling people. I have to say three days for me is more or less the same as immediately.

GIRL – I see. But it was four days.

GUY – Ha ha! Yes, right. Sorry.

GIRL – You know, I almost didn't come.

GUY – That would have been in poor taste, seeing how you were the one who gave me your number in the first place.

GIRL – But who would think of inviting a girl to a park, at this hour?

GUY – I wouldn't think of inviting you to a park at any other hour, actually. This is the best time of day. The park is empty, but the city around it is teeming. It is a tranquil place, but not yet secluded as it is at night.

GIRL – I guess that's one way of looking at it.

They stare at the fountain's jets in awkward silence. GIRL sighs and shivers, the wind has picked up the cool night air.

GUY – This is the part where I should be saying something insipid and trite like: "One thing about running water is that it always sounds the same, no matter where you are in the world; it always has the same white noise."

GIRL – I guess that's true...

GUY – Yes, but who would say that and keep a straight face? Anyway, I don't know who came up with that cliché about water making a white noise. Anybody who knows what they're talking about will tell you that water is a warm blue-grey sound, sweet and refreshing, always alive. To call it white is like saying it's dead.

GIRL – How do you do that?

GUY – Do what?

GIRL – It's like I'm hearing water for the first time. It never seemed alive to me before.

GUY – I don't know. It always seemed obvious to me.

GIRL – Maybe you're not such a bad poet after all.

GUY – I'm starting to think you're the one bringing it out of me.

There is another silence, but it is no longer awkward. GIRL shivers again. She slides over to snuggle against GUY, who puts his arm around her. She sighs contentedly.

GIRL – I wouldn't make a good muse. I would leave. I'm flighty.

GUY – That's what muses do, I thought. Who ever heard of a muse who stays put? I consider it a productive day if I've had fifteen good minutes of inspiration.

GIRL – Who says I want to see you everyday?

GUY – I don't know if it would work over the phone.

GIRL laughs quietly. She pulls her coat tighter around herself. The night birds have started singing, drowning out the noise of nearby traffic.

GIRL – It won't work over the phone if you never call.

GUY – You're right. Guess we'll have to see each other every day then.

GIRL – Will I get to read anything you write?

GUY – Absolutely not. I promised I would never subject you to my bad poetry.

GIRL – What's the point of writing it if nobody ever reads it?

GUY – It doesn't need a point. I feel the need to write it, either way. Maybe when I'm dead they can find seven or eight pages worth publishing in an anthology somewhere.
apparently every time we experience such a big earthquake, it changes the earth's rotation.

so according to them, it adds up. how much speed might we have gained over earth's entire history? a few minutes?
As some of you probably know, there is a strong community of atheists and critical thinkers on youtube. one popular atheist youtuber is called dprjones. he is a barrister from the UK.

He has been planning a great charity event on his blogtv channel. the show starts this saturday, september 12, at 9 am GMT, and will run for 24 hours; there will be something like 23 guests. most are famous youtubers from the afore-mentionned atheist community.

As if this weren't interesting enough for us skeptics, one of the guests will be Hayden Panetierre You might recognize her as one of the stars from the popular show "Heroes." (in case you're interested, i will try and find out the exact time when she's supposed to be appearing, and i'll post it here when i do).

of course, the idea is that this is all for charity the charity is Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders in the u.s.). this organization does very important work to give people access to medical care in some of the poorest places in the world, and i feel this is a fine choice.

there are two websites where you can makes donations:

and you can also bid on some ebay auctions, featuring items donated by the various guests or by the community. i imagine you could donate items to be auctionned off if you were so inclined, but you'll have to talk to dprjones about that. you can reach him easily on his youtube channel.

anyway, i encourage you to check out the youtube vids about the show and the charity, and to get info on MSF thru their website. come watch the show on saturday; and, of course, donate if you can!

i spoke with him yesterday and he said he was aiming to raise fifteen or twenty thousand dollars. tonight, i heard he was already at fifteen thousand! this is looking pretty good, i'd say.
Skepticism / Science Talk / i can a lot
July 13, 2009, 05:07:11 PM
so i watched the million-dollar challenge test thing from TAM7 this weekend (actually i watched pretty much all the streamed online broadcast), and i was wondering if we have any news from the discredited danish dowser that failed pitifully at finding playing cards in envelopes with her divining crystal thingy.

any updates on her? did she rationalize a reason for her failure yet?
TV & Movies / Millenium
July 09, 2009, 11:48:58 PM
swedish film. based on a series of books by steig larsson. best movie i've seen all year. casting was perfect. chick who played salander was super hot. so glad the swedes got the rights to this and not someone else. i saw the original version with (french) subtitles, and i want to learn swedish now.

anyone else seen this? or read the books? totally worth it. unless you really don't like detective novels.

the guy, larsson, wrote 3 books. then died right after handing them to his publisher. then they turned into runaway international bestsellers. great story, right?
General Discussion / micheal jackson died.
June 25, 2009, 08:44:06 PM
so, who had him in his deadpool? lotta points to be had.

i can't believe he called his sons Prince Michael I and Prince Michael II. what a nutjob.
Other Media / red faction
June 20, 2009, 08:29:31 PM
holy shit you guys. download the red faction demo on xbox live. this game is amazing. i know i said i was sick of shooters on the 360 but damn, this is just perfect. kinda rpg elements to it, and territory sort of like "just cause," remember that one?

and you can literally destroy everything (and i'm using "literally" in the most literal sense, i assure you. well, except for like, rocks and mountains. but everything else.). you get this sledge hammer, and you can walk up to building and bash the walls until the whole thing collapses on top of you. SO satisfying.

anyway, yeah. too much coffee and excitement about this game. the more i play this demo the more i like it. gonna rent it as soon as i find it.
General Discussion / SGU video teaser
June 19, 2009, 10:26:26 PM
well, this just appeared on youtube:

what the fuck? well, at least it's hilarious.
General Discussion / flying penguins.
May 13, 2009, 08:37:52 PM
some of this stuff looks so cool (too cool) it should be CGI. but i guess it's real? have i been scammed?

anyway i want some of those flying penguins. i would get some with built-in lights and use them instead of lamps.
General Discussion / rebecca in webcomic form!
April 29, 2009, 06:41:16 PM
the guy who makes the webcomic "overcompensating" apparently went to boston's skeptics in the pub, and he made a comic about it. it's full of tequila- and rebecca-induced goodness.

here's a link.
General Discussion / Pontiac to be shut down
April 27, 2009, 10:33:10 PM
GM is shutting down its pontiac brand as part of its major restructuring. i can't say i'll miss it. does anyone actually like pontiac? we're still seeing the remnants of the sunfire epidemic here. it's been a long recovery.

here's a story:
General Discussion / old skeptico post
April 21, 2009, 10:05:54 PM
i found this, just now, and i thought it was pretty good: it's about homeopathy. and water. also i thought it was worth posting here because dr. novella is quoted (with his name altered).

if this story has been posted here before, well, i'm sorry, but that must have been before my time, as i haven't seen it (it's from march 2008). anyway the best ones always deserve a repost.
welcome to the thread where i failed to stop people from post-whoring. now i just change the title a lot.

kind of like a stealth-mode cycling. you know, like the only way to kill borg is to switch your weapons faster than they can adapt to them? whores are like the borg, is what i'm saying.

nothing to see here, move along!
update: changed the title as per JimS' suggestion.
update again: trying reverse psychology.
further update: nothing seems to be working, so i'm going for the surreal.
now i'm just copying other brands and/or threads.
sometimes you just have to wait for the right title to come along.
felt the need to re-organize this post. so ocd.
now i'm just slandering this guy. but he deserves it.
as per special request. which i had sort of forgotten about.
apparently, someone forgot what this thread was about.
back to mimetic nonsense.
as per JimS' suggestion. you guys are makin me hungry with those peanut rings.
had one from jkessler before, should have mentioned it.
this is a quote from richard "the dick" coughlan (coughlan666 on youtube), on how much better whores are than regular people. (actually it was about being a youtube partner, but i think it applies to both.)
the full quote, from his youtube video:
"I'd rather be a whore than a sidehugging virgin. Whores don't only have sex a lot, they get paid for it. 'Cause they're that good. So sidehug you. Yes, I'm a whore. If you want to spend your life avoiding financial gain from giant corporations, then you might as well kill yourself or go live at the bottom of the sea."
another (and another!) suggestion by JimS. full of ideas, this man.
and a fine thread title by beleth. (my pick for worst whore in sports is dany heatley, btw.) (but last year it was marian hossa.)
i can't tell who suggested this one because it's from a whoreamid and i don't know what the hell's going on. anyway i should have thought of it myself to follow the "all your base" one. so i'm taking credit for it. and there's nothing you can do! bwahahahaha!
my own self being an ass now. +1
so skulker happened to say "who's that noisy?" and i happened to think of a new title.
i am nintendo brought this upon himself.
Thespis and many people suggested a variation of this, but i get to pick the final version. i am mad with power!
100 pages at 50 posts a page, yes. clearly your page count is inferior (even though it might be higher).
i may elect to start a series of titles making fun of the banana man. i have two now. that's officially a series.
sounds like someone needs to grow a sense of humour.
gotta watch out for those zombie threads.
someone had to finally put that debate to bed.
ok morvis; motion passed.
jkessler with a request. then i modified it.
karyn said she wouldn't post her announcement in an official thread, so i made it all official for her. congrats.
Forsooth! is a cool word, so Karyn gets her wish.
god, that pirate thing was dumb. i'm changing it to: all your thread names are belong to me.
it's more consequential because it's bigger.
now this is just nonsense.
i had a hard time deciding whether to leave the spelling mistake in this one, but i just couldn't bear to look at "unviels" anymore.
Green Ideas with the good ideas.
man, another whoring thread. too bad it was moved to explicit, huh? hey, let's move this one to explicit too!
setting our sights on the next target.
this is the catchiest title ever. i can't believe it nobody's been using it for the headlines on the current fucking-up of history textbooks in texas. (i came up with it just now but i can hardly believe nobody else has thought of it.)
another piece in my series of titles that make fun of the banana man.
o god this thread is one year old today. what the sidehugging sidehug?
i bet you can guess what the next title will be.
wow, that was a fast title change. usually i wait till a few pages have gone by, but i didn't want to forget this idea. inspired by the "Racism" thread, obviously.
right. my comment about guessing the next title still stands, it will be next, for real this time.
is it sad that i was really excited about getting to this title? (yes. it is.) nobody guessed it, but i guess nobody tried. not sure if that's a fail or a win. seeing how this whole thread is a fail, i'm gonna go with that.
time to move on.
this is a good one. yoink! x3
damn seaotter and his necromantic ways.
i prefer calling him "ray cumfart."
somehow you managed to whore to 10k without getting this thread sent to explicit. i am impressed, but also disgusted.
this is a sport i might watch. wait, isn't that pretty much what those "big brother" type reality shows are anyway?
we're getting shut down! fight the powah!
this thread is so useless.
the question for the ages.
as was mentionned on the SGU podcast, the canadian minister of science is a giant tool. i guess the prime minister figured he was "some kind of doctor" and owed him a favour, so he appointed him to that office. i'm gonna send an angry letter later.

the point of this post is that we also do some things right. the Gerhard Herzberg gold medal is an award for science achievement, and is worth a million dollars, sort of like an anti-templeton prize. (except in canadian money, which is back below 80 cents to a dollar u.s. now, i guess.) recently it was awarded to this physicist who is using lasers to film atoms. i guess he wanted to put them on youtube or something?

here's a link
General Discussion / the (atheist) apocalypse
December 10, 2008, 03:37:35 PM
it's a comic. has it ever been posted?

recognize anyone?

it does have one negative aspect, however; the guy is wearing a québec nordiques t-shirt!