A Date with an MRA

Here’s a tale of a woman’s one (and only) date with a man who, she learned from verbal cues during conversation, appeared to be a rather strident men’s rights activist (MRA). The date started out okay, she says, but did not end well at all. Trigger warnings should abound.

Now, I’m sure not all MRA’s are like the doucherocket described by this woman (more on that below), but the level of sexual entitlement on display in this account (“He tried repeatedly to get me into his car…He said that I was untrained. He said that I owed him for the drive. A drive, mind you, that he suggested and made willingly. He kept pleading that I wasn’t giving him a chance to prove himself.”) is shocking for at least two reasons: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, July 23, 2014

The Barbarism of ISIL, the Taliban and Wahhabism and collapse of hegemonic ideology, Ian Welsh, ianwelsh.net, July 19, 2014

Don’t use barbarians as your proxies. Saudi Wahhabism and its offshoots is fundamentally in opposition to secular Western enlightenment society. Doing business with such people undermines the core ethics of our own system of ideology.

This does not mean neo-con style perma war. It means showing that our ideology produces better outcomes for them than their own ideology does. Through the fifties and even into the seventies, secularism rose in the world because it was seen as providing better outcomes. It was constantly undermined by the actions of the United States in overthrowing democratic governments they didn’t like. Noticing that the West didn’t believe in its own ideology (at least not for Muslims, and today not even for its own citizens), and that they could not share in the prosperity of secular democracy and socialistic capitalism, is it any wonder that many turned to another strong ideology?

Not every international crisis is about Obama, Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, July 21, 2014 Continue reading


Scientific Illiteracy Can Be Adorable

Such as when it leads this kind-hearted Craigslist user in Richmond, Virginia to refer to a ferret as a “cat snake” (h/t Paul):

Found! Cat Snake? (Richmond)

Click to embiggen.

If you can’t see the screenshot, and the Craigslist post gets removed, here’s what it says:

Found! Cat Snake? (Richmond)

[Picture of ferret.]

Found (assuming) pet. Some sort of cat snake? Long and nimble but with dryish fur and cat teeth. Seems to like cat food, but isn’t a cat. Please come take this off my hands it smells weird.

I hope the cat snake finds its way home.

(To be fair, ferrets are also sometimes known as polecats, and the possible origin of that name just became clear to me.)

(Yes, I realize there’s an above-even chance that the Craigslist post is a joke. It doesn’t alter the likelihood that many, many people don’t know what a ferret actually is. I’ve spoken to people who think they are rodents. They’re actually much more closely related to cats, and would probably take offense at either comparison.)


What I’m Reading, July 22, 2014

Why don’t these ‘Women Against Feminism’ get their sweet asses back in the kitchen? Robyn Pennacchia, Death and Taxes, July 15, 2014

I say, if you’re a woman opposed to feminism, then you should damn well put your money where your mouth is. Stay the hell home and have babies, why don’t you? Don’t vote. Don’t wear pants. Don’t spit in the face of everything feminism has given you and then continue to take advantage of the fruits of that labor. You’re like spoiled children complaining about your parents while living off of a trust fund they gave you.

Women Who are Ambivalent about Women Against Women Against Feminism, Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, July 21, 2014 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, July 21, 2014

Should International Refugee Law Accommodate Climate Change? allAfrica, July 3, 2014

Ioane Teitiota, a Kiribati national, lost his asylum appeal in New Zealand this past May in a case In the case of cross-border movement, we’re looking at a gaping legal hole that would have made him the world’s first-ever “climate change refugee.” Mr. Teitiota moved there in 2007 with his family, claiming his island home was sinking and becoming too dangerous to live on. His lawyers argued that Mr. Teitiota was being “persecuted passively by the circumstances in which he’s living, which the Kiribati Government has no ability to ameliorate.”

New Zealand’s Court of Appeal ruled that while climate change is a major and growing concern for the international community, the phenomenon “and its effect on countries like Kiribati is not appropriately addressed under the Refugee Convention.” That 1951 treaty defines a refugee as a person who “has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

“We don’t have, in international law, or any kind of mechanisms to allow people to enter a State against the will of the State, unless they’re refugees. And even then, they don’t technically have the right to enter, but they cannot be punished for entering,” the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, told the UN News Centre. His mandate has been awarded by the Human Rights Council and his work is supported by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

I’m sorry for coining the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”, Nathan Rabin, Salon, July 15, 2014 Continue reading


The Internet Has All Kinds of Great Uses

Like connecting people who share a rare, life-threatening genetic condition:

In 2012, Matt Might sat down to write a blog post. The 5,000-word essay titled “Hunting Down My Son’s Killer,” which was also republished on Gizmodo, documented his and his wife’s harrowing attempt to make sense of their son’s mysterious illness. The post went viral online—setting the family down a road that could change medical research. In the New Yorker, journalist Seth Mnookin tells the story of what’s happened since.

Might’s son, it turned out, has an incredibly rare condition involving a gene called NGLY1. When I say “rare,” I mean too rare to draw the pharmaceutical industry’s attention:

With only one known case of this disorder, writes Mnookin in the New Yorker, “there was virtually no possibility of getting a pharmaceutical company to investigate the disorder, no chance of drug trials, no way even to persuade the F.D.A. to allow Bertrand to try off-label drugs that might be beneficial.” So Might went to find other patients.

Continue reading


Monday Morning Cute: The Coquettish Koala

The caption on Reddit is “Hey gurl…”, which is also pretty good, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to alliterate.


“We stopped dreaming.”

Forty-five years ago today, we accomplished something astonishing.

Then we stopped dreaming.

You remember the 60s and 70s. You didn't have to go more than a week before there's an article in Life magazine, "The Home of Tomorrow," "The City of Tomorrow," "Transportation of Tomorrow". All of that ended in the 1970s. After we stopped going to the Moon, it all ended. We stopped dreaming.

Then the Moon got lonely.

Via I fucking love science on Facebook

Photo credits: “Tyson – Apollo 40th anniversary” by NASA/Bill Ingalls [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; “sad moon” via I fucking love science on Facebook.


#LikeAGirl, Part 2

Kacy Catanzaro did what some unknown (by me, anyway) number of people, including many dudes, cannot even imagine doing.

People who say that her tininess (5′ tall, 100ish lbs.) gives her an advantage, note her tiny arm span. She didn’t just cross from one pole to another, she jumped. Give badassedness its due.