Update Schedule

This blog regularly updates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Archbishop Robert Carlson: Incompetent, Criminal, Liar - Pick Two

This is admittedly old news (from 2014), but I just heard about it a couple weeks ago:  Robert Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, said a while ago that he didn't know back in the 80s that priests who have sex with kids commit crimes in doing so.

Bit of an understatement.  Image by Bec Shaw/Brocklesnitch, found on me.me.

Let's take a little walk through his testimony, shall we?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Transphobia Busting #3: Isn't it deceptive? and, Isn't it homophobic?

No, on both counts.  From Assigned Male Comics.

These two are being combined, because they are both short and related.  They're also probably the most straightforward of the two, as I don't have to get into our changing understanding of biological sex or the politics of lesbian dating, as in the first two of this series.  In fact, if you've been reading along so far, you can probably answer the titular questions for yourself - but I wouldn't be a very good blogger if I left the bulk of my post as an exercise for the reader, so here we are.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

101 Interesting Things, part fifty-five: CRISPR

I don't have much by way of an intro for this one, so let's just say that CRISPR (pronounced "crisper," like the veggie drawer in your fridge) is the shit.  If you wanna watch a video, here's Kurzgesagt (whose channel I of course recommend for a million things) on genetic engineering, with a substantial segment on CRISPR:

Don't let the cutesy animation fool you, these guys rock the house.

John Oliver also did a show recently about CRISPR that reminded me how cool it is & how much I wanted to write about it.  His segment is really quite informative about the social context of it, but today I'm gonna bite into the nuts & bolts a bit.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

101 Interesting Things, part fifty-four (b): The WizKID Epistemic Framework - Theory & Practice

Last time, I introduced the information science department's WizKID epistemic framework and listed a few advantages it has over the philosophy department's JTB model of knowledge.  Today I'll be talking for a somewhat long time about some theoretical weirdness that comes up from the structure of the framework, and then for a considerably shorter time about some practical consequences and what they mean for our own knowledge construction.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

101 Interesting Things, part fifty-four (a): The WizKID Epistemic Framework - Intro & Advantages

Philosophers as a discipline are still stuck on the Justified True Belief (JTB) model of knowledge, even though Gettier showed pretty effectively where that breaks down.  But even better, information scientists have made a replacement model that works, is quantifiable, and more accurately reflects how we construct and use knowledge in real life.  I hope that one day philosophers manage to bring this better model over to their side, but I'm not interested in doing that because I'd have to fight against the tide and I'd really rather just do my own productive work.

But if you wanna know how knowledge really works, and get in on the ground floor of cutting-edge epistemology, then have I got something for you!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Transphobia Busting #2: I wouldn't date a trans person

Feeling's mutual, buddy.  From Assigned Male Comics.

The Cotton Ceiling is a fuckin' minefield.  Bearing that in mind, I want to get a few action items ticked off right away.  First and foremost, just so we're 100% clear, NOBODY IS EVER REQUIRED TO DATE OR FUCK ANYONE THEY DON'T WANT TO DATE OR FUCK.  MOREOVER, NOBODY SHOULD EVER PRESSURE ANYONE ELSE INTO DATING OR SEX:  RELENTING IS NOT CONSENTING.  OK, is that good enough?  Does anybody not understand that?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thoughts on Techno-Criticism

A Faceborg friend recently tagged me in a wonderful article on technology's mechanisms for hijacking the human mind.  Tristan Harris, the author, provides a lot of valuable in-depth insight at a very accessible level, but seems to miss the forest for the trees (no article can cover everything, though).  I wanted to rap a little about the bigger picture elements outside Harris' scope.  First, I'll provide some basics on sociotechnical systems, a little history on community informatics, and then I'll be talking about implications for media literacy.  As this is my primary area of interest and expertise, I'll mostly be riffing today, rather than providing the usual spray of links.

No, not - ugh, never mind.  (Image from... Pak's Wholesale?  What?)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

On Self-Reinventing Apples and Dumpster-Fire Oranges

Julia Salazar beat eight-term incumbent Martin Dilan this past Thursday, and now Bari Weiss is calling her "the Left’s Post-Truth Politician":  "According to The Washington Post’s running count, Donald Trump is averaging 7.6 'Trumpian claims' a day. One wonders how many Salazarian claims Julia Salazar has spoken."  Hmm, that depends on how we define "Salazarian claims" - if we mean it analogically, as in "things this person is known for saying," then probably a lot?  But I think Weiss pretty obviously means it synonymously, as in "just as bad."

I'm gonna go with "not nearly as many."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Transphobia Busting #1: The Myth of Biotruth

"It's just a fact."  From Assigned Male Comics.  (Updated.)

The idea that trans folks are irrevocably the sex assigned at birth is a myth, and a transphobic one at that.  The fact is, "biological sex" is a social construction; but to understand why this is, we'll need to go beyond high school biology.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Transphobia Busting #0: Grand Central Station

Being a good Social Justice Warrior, I occasionally wade out into the trenches of the intertubes to do battle with small minds and big, uhh, bigots alike.  I mostly try to fight my own battles (women, LGBT, atheism, etc.), though I do occasionally call-in those I know for problematic statements out of my field, and recently I did a whole bunch of Arguing on the Internet over a transgender greeting card.

The... offending? card.  From Ladyfingers Letterpress.

I found myself trotting out the same handful of arguments against the same handful of misconceptions, so I thought it would be useful for future arguments to have a series of posts I can link instead of boiling copypasta from previous comments.  Handily, I also ran into the following comic at about the same time.

This is true, but requires unpacking.  From Assigned Male Comics.  This comic has
been updated (see link), but this is what I shared and what I'm arguing, so there.

I shared it to the Faceborg and found myself arguing all over again, so I'm going to tackle the following transphobic tropes in a short series of posts:
  1. The Myth of Biotruth
  2. I wouldn't date a trans person.
  3. Isn't it deceptive? and, Isn't it homophobic?
Links to follow as the posts are complete.  Wish me luck!

EDIT:  We are wrapped up and all done!  Links are updated, and if you're reading this in the next hour, the final post will drop just before midnight.  I may or may not update this later with new installments in the event of other trans-related controversies, we'll see.  Cheers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

*cough!* Look at all the DUST in this place!

Hello again, The Internet!  You, uh, may have noticed some changes around here.

First & foremost, I'm out now.  I wasn't for a while, and it was kind of a mess.  I had to be real cagey about keeping my online and real life identities separate, because... well, long story.  I'm sure you understand.

But that's (mostly) over now.  So!  Hit me up on them social medias!  You can find me on Twitter @Theremin_Dee (and this is the most-liked thing I've ever done there).  I'm also on the Faceborg, but email me for that - my profile is fully private, and if we're not already friends then we probably have no mutuals.  I'm also on reddit and Tumblr, but my presence there is almost entirely NSFW; I'm not that hard to find, but let me know if you wanna be sure, and we can get our wires crossed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

On Souls

Yes, yes, long time, no write.  I have been as busy as the King of Couches - that is, Sofa King busy.  In fact, I should be sleeping right now, because I have to be awake in about five hours and if I don't get my happy ass outta bed then I won't get to do all the super cool things I need to do tomorrow.  Anyway, in bed, I was reflecting on a conversation I'd had earlier about emotional intimacy.  I said at some point that it was "souls touching," and my interlocutor asked, "But aren't you an atheist?"

"Well, yeah."

"So you don't believe in souls, right?"

"Of course not.  But that's still what I mean.  That's still what it feels like."

This "clarification" did not help things.