Can You Laugh So Hard Your Lungs Come Up?

This quote, from Fundies Say the Darndest Things, via Pharyngula, made me laugh so hard I thought I'd puke. Ready for it?

Remember, this is said in complete seriousness. Really.

Okay, here it is:

One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it.

For those who don't believe me, here is the quote in its original context.

Let's all join PZ and point and laugh at the stupid people.


Breaking My Heart into Little Pieces

I know I've been posting more links than content lately, and I don't generally like to do more than one link post in a row, but I think everyone needs to read this most amazingly powerful post over at Baghdad Burning about how war destroys the human soul.

From the post:

In war, you think the unthinkable. You imagine the unimaginable. When you can't get to sleep at night, your mind wanders to cover various possibilities. Trying to guess and determine the future of a war-torn nation is nearly impossible, so your mind focuses on the more tangible- friends. Near and distant relations. I think that during these last two and a half years, every single Iraqi inside of Iraq has considered the possibility of losing one or more people in the family.

I try to imagine what would happen to me, personally, should this occur. How long would it take for the need for revenge to settle in? How long would it take to be recruited by someone who looks for people who have nothing to lose? People who lost it all to one blow. What I think the world doesn't understand is that people don't become suicide bombers because- like the world is told- they get seventy or however many virgins in paradise. People become suicide bombers because it is a vengeful end to a life no longer worth living- a life probably violently stripped of its humanity by a local terrorist- or a foreign soldier.

I strongly encourage you to Read the whole thing. And then come back here and tell me this war was justified.


I learned something from Jesus

Well, not from Jesus directly, but from his General. And since the General is a manly heterosexual man who loves Jesus in a purely heterosexual way and claims to speak on Jesus's behalf, well, I have no reason to doubt him.

Anyway, this is what I learned from him:

  1. I learned that the Leader of the decreasingly Free World has a blog. And some thieving thiever has thieved his strawberries!
  2. I also learned about another Mr. Manly Man who went to a Promise Keepers meeting and touched other men only in appropriate ways.
  3. In addition to that, I learned that I still find jokes about Bill O'Rielly's falafel funny.

Okay, that last one is a bit embarrassing to admit, but overall I'm quite pleased. If the General keeps being this informative I may have to add him to the blogroll.


Consent Talking

I apologise in advance for the writing in this post. I'm usually careful to craft my posts; I'm picky about how my writing sounds. This time I had a rant that just needed to come out and I knew that if I tried to craft it I would just end up stifling it. So here it is in its raw, unedited form. Be kind.

I want to talk about sex. In particular, I want to talk about consent, and how it's given, or, more frequently, not given.

I want to share a quote from a training I received recently. This training was for becoming a facilitator for workshops that raised awareness of, among other things, sexual assault, and during this training there was one thing that was said that I want to share. Ready? Here it is:

'No' is an answer to a question that's almost never asked.
I had never put it in those terms before, but it immediately rang true to me.

The fact is that we almost never say 'yes' to sex. Yes is considered to be the default answer, and we're expected to speak up only if the answer is no. I find this to be deeply disturbing. I think it sets us up for a situation where we are constantly risking violating each other's boundaries, and are only informed of a problem when it's already too late.

I think silence should default to 'no'. I am made exceedingly uncomfortable by people who hit on me and who take my lack of response as an invitation to push further. I am not comfortable with a dynamic that forces one person to say "back off" rather than expects the other person to say "is it okay if".

I'm not saying we can't flirt or hit on each other, or that we have to stop and ask explicit permission before each activity from eye-contact onwards (although I certainly don't think that talking deserves the bad reputation it gets). What I'm saying is that we need to be aware of each others' reactions. We need to pay attention, and if we're not getting an explicitly welcoming or inviting response we need to back the hell off and wait for one.

I've put this in gender-neutral terms because I think it is one of the few things about sex and consent that really are gender-neutral in terms of roles. I don't, however, think that it's gender-neutral in terms of context.



It's snowing!! Enough to accumulate!!

Check out the back staircase:

And this car:

And the grass of a neighbour's backyard:

Winter's really and truly coming!



There are three things I have to mention here. I've made a minor change to the template, and added a few things to the sidebar (that's two), and a post of mine has been chosen for the 21st Skeptic's Circle (that would be the third).

Firstly, template. The time of posting at the bottom of the posts no longer links to the post. Instead, the title of the post does. I find this much more intuitive.

Secondly, sidebar. I've removed the Einstein quote, because it was getting on my nerves. I had intended to collect a number of them and ask Dave or Q. Pheevr to write something that would display a different quote each time the page was loaded, but I've changed my mind. Instead I'm providing links to resources for women in North America who need a bit of help. The abortion in Québec link points to the Morgentaler clinic's homepage, and the one for the rest of Canada points to Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada's find a clinic page. I also provide a couple resources for women in the US who need emergency contraception. Those last two links, as well as the idea of providing these resources, were stolen directly from Bitch, Ph.D.'s sidebar. The button that serves as a heading was made with Adam Kalsey's button maker.

I've also added Pharyngula and Pooflingers Anonymous to the Us section of the blogroll. These are two excellent science blogs that inspire me to keep thinking and acting and stay skeptical.

And, thirdly, Skeptic's Circle. I submitted my posts In Defense and Why do we Bother to the Skeptic's Circle, and the latter one made it in. This is very exciting to me, as I only learned about the Skeptic's Circle very recently and am still not a hundred percent sure what it is. Being part of something I don't entirely understand is always fun! As far as I can tell, the Skeptic's Circle is a monthly (weekly?) collection of skeptical posts by skeptical people about things of which they are skeptical. It's not at all clear to me how the posts are chosen, but I understand it's quite popular; certainly having been chosen has driven more traffic to this site than anything else. My daily hit count has just about doubled! For a little while I was considering holding a silly contest, a la litigious moron and offering to send a cookie to my thousandth visitor, but then I realised that that was too silly, even for me, and furthermore it wouldn't work because if my thousandth visitor was Australian (you never know!) then I would have to insist that they send me a cookie instead because we can't get Tim Tams in Canada and it's just Not Fair. So that put an end to that idea.

Ultimately I decided that the only thing to do was to write another post. This one doesn't count, obviously, as it's rather devoid of content, but I've had one brewing for a while about why providing women with the resources mentioned above is so damned important. I have thrown reams of metaphorical crumpled paper over my shoulder in trying to compose that post and I make no promises about when it's coming, but it's definitely brewing.

And that's all she wrote.


Snail Porn

By popular demand, here is a picture of my snails doin' the nasty:

And the results thereof:

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the truly revolting intermediate stage (100+ slimy, shiny eggs that seem to just ooze out of the adult), but I'll get a picture next time it happens (which it will, have no fear).

See the mole-like lump on the side of the snail's neck in this picture?

Well, that lump is what eventually develops into the white stabbing spear you saw in the first picture. They only have that lump when they're horny.