Do Something Real for #NotFunnyFacebook

When I heard about the Twitter campaign against Facebook's rape joke pages my first thought was, "come on, Internet, seriously? This is why we can't have nice things!". I mean, don't get me wrong, my generation is the Web 2.0 generation and most of the time I loves me the intertubes, but this is the kind of totally ineffective action that gets the whole internet generation dismissed as irrelevant. #notfunnyfacebook may raise awareness about Facebook's fucked up obscenity standards (rape jokes = hilarious, breastfeeding = BANNED!) in some places, but not among the people whose opinions matter to Facebook.

Because here's the thing. People expect a company to care how their customers feel about their service. But people need to realize that on Facebook we are not the customers, we are the product. And companies really don't care how their product feels about anything. What we need to do is hit Facebook where it hurts: in the advertisers. So here's what I recommend. It's more work than just tweeting a hashtag, but I think it's much more likely to be effective.

Step 1:
- Go to one of these pages of rape jokes. They can be hard to find because most articles about them decline (understandably) to link to them. I've so far found two, here and here. (It should go without saying, but trigger warning for sexual violence on those two pages.)

Step 2:
- Make sure you can see the ads. If you use AdBlocker Plus like I do, you need to set it to "disable everywhere" and reload the page.

Step 3:
- Hover your mouse over an ad and a little blue/grey x will appear in the top right corner. Click it.

Step 4:
- A drop down menu will appear with two options. Select "Hide all ads from [this provider]". Then Facebook will ask you why. Select "Other" and type "Supports a page that endorses rape".

Step 5:
- repeat steps 3 and 4 until all the ads on that page are hidden. Then reload the page and go back to step 3.

I don't know for sure if this will work. I don't know if anyone reads the comments when you block an ad for "Other" reasons. But I do know this: The only thing, and I mean ONLY thing, Facebook cares about is their advertisers. And if enough people start to do this, in a regular and sustained way, it should cause a blip in either Facebook's or the advertisers' analytics and someone might pay attention.

Tweeting a hashtag is great, but it's only ever step one. To be effective, we need to move on to step two.


The Danger of Smart Algorithms

The question came up today, why are marginal effects, in multi-variable statistics, called marginal? So I googled the phrase (without quotes) "etymology marginal effect regression".

The second hit, highlighting in the original result, was
constant forces the regression line to pass through the origin! ... linear specifications (of


Summer means time for a drink

Because this is Southern Ontario, and we can go from rainy and miserably cold to sunny and miserably hot in 48 hours, it's all of a sudden time for my awesome and refreshing ginger lemonade. It's so easy it's kind of silly:


Proportions are all approximate, as are cooking times. Feel free to tinker.

I took a 2" piece of ginger and grated it directly into a pot. It was a smallish saucepan, holding 2.5 quarts (or so it says on the bottom). Any stringy bits or chunks that got too small to grate just went straight into the pot too. Don't be picky. I filled the pot about 2/3 - 3/4 with water and let it boil, uncovered, for about half an hour or so. When I got tired of supervising it I turned it down to low, and eventually all the way off, but I let the ginger sit in the hot water for a total of about 1.5 - 2 hours while we had dinner and stuff.

Strain the ginger water into a jar or other good storage container. I did this by putting a coffee filter in a funnel, and then pouring the ginger water through it. It takes for fucking ever though, so you might want to use a tea strainer or something. Put the jar in the fridge for when you want to make ginger lemonade.

To actually make the drink, you basically make regular lemonade, but use the ginger water instead of plain water. For two people I use about 1.5 tsp sugar, the juice of one lemon, and enough ginger water to make up the volume of 1.5 cups. I take two smallish glasses, fill them with ice, and pour the stirred mixture over the ice. If you want to have booze in yours, pour it over the ice before adding the lemonade. Dave had his with a shot of Screech rum, which combination I can't recommend but he seemed to like it. I like mine with a half a shot of Bushmill's.

ginger lemonade