Linky Friday #161: There Is No Antarctica

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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251 Responses

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    D1: It’s very important to keep in mind, while reading about the way the author was and her friends still are enthralled with men like Byron, that Game is just a bunch of misogynistic lies with no basis in fact. Otherwise you might get the wrong idea.Report

  2. j r says:

    E4: This is a step forward. But only going after the ITT Techs of the world is a lot like arresting all the corner boys and letting the mid-level dealers and kingpins alone. What has ITT Tech done, that half the law schools in this country aren’t doing right now?

    D2: There are quite a few mentions of porn in that article, but almost nothing that establishes a link between porn and all the bad behavior described. There is one survey study linked in the piece and the writer literally pulled out the one phrase that supports her conclusion, while ignoring all the others. Here is the full bit from which she quoted (I italicized the bit she included:

    This study suggests that adolescents who are intentionally exposed to violent sexually explicit material were six times more likely to be sexually aggressive than those who were not exposed. In contrast, adolescents who were exposed to nonviolent sexually explicit material “are statistically equally likely to report sexually aggressive behavior compared to those who report no consumption of nonviolent” (p. 14) sexually explicit material.

    Meanwhile, the majority of the three studies referenced in the part pertaining to sexual aggression, three of them came to conclusions similar to this:

    Their findings suggest that, for the majority of males, frequent exposure to sexually explicit material cannot be linked to increased levels of sexual aggression. However, among males “who have ‘predisposing risk levels’ towards aggressive sexual behavior, those who frequently consume pornography have more than four times greater levels of sexual aggression compared to their peers who infrequently seek out pornography”

    The same piece could have been written thirty years ago about heavy metal music and it probably was.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

      I do sort of agree with this. Rather, the article itself focuses on pornography but I consider it only part of the equation. What resonated with me is how culture, including pornography, is applying sexual pressure in all sorts of uncomfortable directions. I do think pornography specifically presents certain problems, but so to does the ubiquity of meet-sex plots even (perhaps especially) in innocuous-seeming entertainment. A lot of it plays on perceptions of normalcy that I believe are causing trouble.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        Do you think this also carries over to unrealistic portrayals of romance?

        I’m pretty certain it is true that people whose understanding of sexual relationships is fully or primarily informed by pornography are going to end up with warmed perceptions and expectations for such relationships. Which is why we shouldn’t leave it to pornography to teach sex ed. To say nothing of the violence and misogyny present in some porn, even the benign stuff isn’t realistic. No, you aren’t going to fuck for 55 minutes and, even if you do, you’re unlikely to be able to even get into most of those positions let alone sustain them and most of them won’t be pleasurable because they are employed in porn so that certain angles can be filmed.

        But, again, I think this is true whenever we leave it to the media to teach our kids stuff. It took me a while to realize that high school wasn’t going to be like “Saved by the Bell” because that is all I had to go by at the time.Report

        • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

          Kazzy, I think the idea that most people only watch pornography is dated. Nowadays, you’ve got tons of real sex videos online.Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kazzy says:

          No, you aren’t going to fuck for 55 minutes and, even if you do, you’re unlikely to be able to even get into most of those positions let alone sustain them and most of them won’t be pleasurable because they are employed in porn so that certain angles can be filmed.

          Well, there you go: the second half of your sentence answers the concern in the first. Stick to positions that are unpleasurable and there is little danger of climaxing before 55 minutes are up.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Stick to positions that are unpleasurable and there is little danger of climaxing before 55 minutes are up.

            And if you do it right, you can never climax at all!

            …no, wait.Report

            • veronica d in reply to DavidTC says:

              Stick to positions that are unpleasurable and there is little danger of climaxing before 55 minutes are up.

              And if you do it right, you can never climax at all!

              …no, wait.

              Oh, you poor boys. A mere 55 minutes?

              (Being a woman is great.)Report

              • El Muneco in reply to veronica d says:

                On the gripping hand, /some large percentage/ of women never orgasm from just intercourse, at all. And /just about the same large percentage/ of men don’t know this.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

          Do you think this also carries over to unrealistic portrayals of romance?

          Yeah, though I think the sex stuff amplifies what might otherwise be “Ouch, well lesson learned” on the romantic front.

          I’m really not anti-porn, and even think there may be something to “Porn reduces rape” thing. And even if I was anti-porn I’m not sure what I would really advocate doing about it. But I think it (along with other things) is feeding into a larger problem.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

            I didn’t take you to be anti-porn. Or even prudish about the matter. Just recognizing that porn — or at least porn as it tends to exist on the 2016 internet — is not without negative consequences (and positive ones, as you note).

            I don’t think there is much we can do about porn absent heavy regulation and that is both problematic from an abstract perspective and unrealistic from an execution perspective. What I think we need to do is really, truly comprehensive sex ed beginning at much younger ages that currently exists.

            If kids — boys in particular — know that porn is more Michael Bay than Ken Burns, that would be a very good thing.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

              “What I think we need to do is really, truly comprehensive sex ed beginning at much younger ages that currently exists.”

              This always confuses me because sex ed started for me in 6th grade (ie still in elementary school, in our system) and was comprehensive by 7th. I’ve never even experienced abstinence-is-better, let alone abstinence-only. (I was also lucky to have some really good teachers. And we got plenty of these-are-the-problems-you-can-face, so there was an IMPLIED abstinence-is-better, I guess… but I don’t think that was the intention of the teaching.)

              So when someone says something like this, I’m always like, “Wait, what? 3rd graders or something? Beyond the bodily autonomy stuff?”… and then I remember that that isn’t how it works for most people in this country. Doh.Report

              • Kim in reply to Maribou says:

                You want to be hitting it at least at fifth grade. We’re seeing a definite drop in when people hit puberty. (And you want full descriptions then).

                We had hard, hard “abstinence is better” teaching, both with the “use safe sex” and “you’re going to absolutely get pregnant”, via distortion of statistics.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Kim says:

                Not to mention – sadly, a lot of people’s first sexual experience is in the form of child molestation. Early sex ed can give them vocabulary to report what’s happening.Report

              • Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

                I don’t even want to think about that, honestly, as I knew someone who was assaulted when he was four years old. Asking kids that young to understand… well, anything, is difficult. Those are boys at the age where they’re still walking around not wearing pants, and not thinking anything of it.Report

              • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

                @dragonfrog I’m pretty darn sure (based on both research and my own experiences) that not reporting doesn’t happen because of lack of vocabulary. It happens because of lack of feeling safe to speak. And the bodily autonomy programs we got when I was in 2nd/3rd grade made me feel worse, not better. .. because it made me more aware of how fished up things were, and more helpless-feeling, since it was all phrased around stranger danger.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:


                Yea, I’d say that your experience is atypical. At my last school — which was a fairly traditional, relatively conservative private prep school, students got ZERO sex ed prior to 8th grade. I mean, they got some basics of anatomy in biology but the focus was entirely different.

                Oh, and guess who was tapped to teach health for at least one year… MOI! YOURS TRULY! Guess what… I’m a PreK teacher with zero background in health/sex education. And yet there I was, expected to teach 13-year-old girls about the menstrual cycle. Nope. I refused. I never say no at work. But I had to to that. That was too important a topic to leave to someone like me. My higher ups balked. “What’s the big deal?”
                WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?! But I think that shows the attitude that the higher ups (and most of the adults) had towards sex, sexuality, and girls/women’s bodies in particular. Sigh.

                I make a point to only use anatomically correct terms with my students. I say penis and vagina. I don’t talk about babies growing inside Mommy’s tummies. Now I get into the ins and outs of the, er, ins and outs? No. That wouldn’t be developmentally appropriate for a host of reasons. More importantly, that isn’t what the children are interested in.

                To borrow a phrase from Dan Savage, we need to help create a sex-positive culture and that starts young. Much, MUCH younger than we are even beginning in most schools… and most of those places aren’t particularly sex-positive.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                Does making the preschool environment sex positive include not shaming kids for exposing their genitals?
                [yes, honest question. answer as you please, it’s not a trick]Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kim says:

                Depends how you define shaming.

                I often take a “understandable but not acceptable” stance. If the kid is doing it as part of healthy self (or self/other*) understanding — which is the case the vast majority of the time — I let them know it is normal to be curious about their (or others’h bodies but there are other ways to learn. I wouldn’t call that “shaming” and would consider it sex positibe but I’m not an expert on the term/concept.

                * The “I show you mine, you show me yours” game is rarely “sexual” and generall an attempt to understand sex/gender differences.

                Maybe I should resurrect the “Teaching Social Norms” series…Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                I think you should.Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Will Truman says:

            A lot of folks seem to have a problem with the idea that you can be both “anti-X” and “anti-prohibition-of-X”, in that you think X is bad but imprisoning people for X and driving the practice of X underground would be far worse.

            Like, practically speaking, I think it’s perfectly possible to be “anti-porn” and also believe that banning porn would be unacceptable for all sorts of reasons – harm reduction, freedom of speech, etc.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

          It most certainly carries over into unrealistic portrayal of romances. How many people expect instant chemistry and passion at a first date because that is what happens in movies?Report

          • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Chemistry is just that… chemistry, and it’s quantifiable.
            If you’re saying something that definitely exists is “unrealistic”… what are you doing? Are you merely trying to bias towards inbreeding? (yes, it’s okay if you say yes).Report

          • Art Deco in reply to LeeEsq says:

            There’s also the sociological nonsense. One romance plot we recently came across while channel flipping in our house consisted of a multimillionaire bachelor (who is addled by no impediments to domestic life even though he’s 46 and has never married) bound and determined to bag a 40 year old widow with goofy little boy and a tedious adolescent daughter; he remains bound and determined even though her most prominent characteristics would be irritability and gracelessness and she gives him the brush off over and over.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

          I’d be interested to see similar questions from 30 years ago — because bluntly, sex and romance is something you can get some book-work in on, but ultimately end up having to learn on the job. I mean, I’ve been happily married for a long time, but neither my wife nor I even knew what we wanted sexually back then. We knew we wanted it (eh, hormones) but….it was a confused mess, because we didn’t understand ourselves — much less anyone else. Lack of experience, lack of self-understanding, and the fact that neurologically we weren’t done developing. (Yeah, teenagers aren’t skinny adults lacking experience. They’re like a beta release of adulthood. They’re not only buggy, but entire features aren’t running yet…)

          Some of the pull quotes from the girls in that sound awfully similar to things I recall hearing in high school 20+ years ago. (Which, admittedly, sounded pretty dumb to me). There’s a lot of stereotypes about gender, sex, and romance that lead to confused as hell teens.

          I think the most damaging isn’t likely porn — it’s romance movies and books.

          Because I remember high school. I’ve raised a kid through high school. My wife teaches at a high school, and if there’s one thing these kids know even less about than sex it’s relationships.

          Sometimes you just want to smack them and scream “NO. YOU’RE NOT SOUL MATES. YOU’RE NOT EVEN COMPATIBLE YOU TWITS” because they thing love is suffering and strife and that it’s not real without drama and decide that drama and strife = love.

          Because the person you’re dating at 16 is highly unlikely to be your soul-mate, because bluntly at 16 you’re not even done cooking. You’re nor who you’re going to be yet, so how on earth do you think you’ve found someone compatible — who also isn’t done cooking? Well you don’t, but you think the arguments and cheating and strife are the part that leads up to the magic reconciliation and then love ever after, because that’s how the movies work.


          I’m not kidding. And possibly it’s the fact that you HEAR about romance woes and not about sex woes from teens as an adult (teens might cry on a teacher’s shoulder about how Bobby cheated on them, but are highly unlikely to cry about the fact that Amy got dumped because she wouldn’t do anal or whatever).

          It’s a freaking endless parade that boils down to “Real life romance does not seem to be working like I was told in fiction”.Report

          • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

            If you’re neurologically done developing, you’ve lost neural plasticity.
            That’s not something to try to achieve.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

              That’s the second time you’ve said that, and it’s not any less wrong.

              I don’t even know where to START on how that’s wrong. I mean for starters, either you’re using a view of neural plasticity that’s more than half a century out of date OR you’ve invented your own meaning.

              Then you’ve conflated brain development with it.

              And then lastly, you’ve come to a conclusion that’s utterly ridiculous. It’s well demonstrated that brain development continues into your 20s, and that you literally don’t have all the brain architecture assembled and working until that point. It’s literally “parts not connected” at times.

              That doesn’t end neural plasticity, or else victims of brain trauma would never show ANY improvement, you’d never be able to pick up a new skill or learn a new thing, etc.

              I don’t know WTF you’re talking about here, but it’s not anything remotely resembling modern understanding of neurology.

              Also the “trying to achieve” line is classic. What is that even supposed to mean? I reached my full adult height at age 20, but not because I made a choice about it. That’s just when it all stopped growing. My brain finished maturing in my early 20s — not because I made a choice about it, but because all the bits and pieces of an adult brain were finally all in place. Strangely, despite the fact that my brain was fully mature and assembled, I still went on to learn new skills, get another degree, and somehow continue learning and adapting.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Inventing my own meaning, most probably.
                You’re familiar with the idea of dogs being “puppy-ized” wolves, are you not? Their cognitive functionality is quite a bit higher than wolves, and that’s because they’ve been bred to keep their window of “somewhat sentient” open.

                There, now I’m not playing “my citations are better than your citations” (but my research, being significantly less bound by IRBs, is better than yours).

                We know that sentient brains are slower than non-sentient brains (even computerized ones). Yes, you can measure that and say that “you don’t have all the brain architecture assembled”… but have you really done yourself any favors by doing so?

                I’d rather we bias towards creativity rather than raw performance metrics, myself. We’re going to need creativity going forward.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                Kim, you keep responding to an established biological fact.

                To be really honest, what you are saying is literally identical to the following:

                Me: “After puberty, sometime in your early 20s, you stop growing taller because you’ve reached your full adult height.”
                Kim: “When you stop growing taller, you start to die! Never stop growing taller!”
                Me: “WTF?”

                I mean literally as in “this is an exact comparison, no analogy needed”

                Brain development is like any other body development, which is there’s a point where it’s immature and a point where it’s mature, and the growth period in between. Your brain isn’t mature until your 20s, and by “not mature” I literally mean “All the bits aren’t wired in yet”. It has jack-all to do with neural plasticity, personal choice, acceptance or rejection of change, and is utterly immune to alteration. It’s just a biological fact of how your body grows.

                You aren’t born with a tiny version of an adult brain, only more malleable. You’re born with a brain that is a work in progress, because actual lumpy bits of brain aren’t actually hooked up to other lumpy bits of brain. At some point in your 20s, all the bits and pieces exist and are connected to all the other bits and pieces and viola — you have one fully functioning adult brain.

                And like the fact that you stop growing at a certain point, this is NOT a fact that can be changed, altered, accommodated, halted, slowed down, sped up, or otherwise manipulated. And it has jack-all to do with neural plasticity.

                You can see why I find this confusing. 🙂Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                How, exactly, are you measuring “fully functional”?

                What would you say if I could show you that certain people’s brains don’t “grow up” as quickly as other people’s? (that surely shouldn’t be so surprising?)

                Psychophysiologically speaking, we can show which brains are… “working harder” than others (oxygen consumption if nothing else).

                By administering other tests, we can show which people are sentient, and which people are not (simple tests of pattern recognition, or more complex tests of creativity).

                I’m tempted to raise your height comparison into talking about guys’ ball size, but I really don’t want to have to google citations for that.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                How, exactly, are you measuring “fully functional”?

                Here, try this.

                This occurs because of one of the cleverest things that brains ever evolved. During fetal development, mammalian brains generate far more neurons than are found in the adult brain. Why? Because the fetal brain holds a dramatic competition. Winning neurons get to migrate to the correct location and form the optimal number of connections with other neurons. Neurons that miss the cut undergo “programmed cell death.” Neuronal overproduction followed by competitive pruning (a process that has been termed “Neural Darwinism”) allows more complex and optimized neural circuitry, a wonderful example of less being more.

                The same plays out in the adolescent frontal cortex. At the beginning of adolescence, gray matter volume is greater than it is in adults, and subsequently declines, as less optimally connected neurons are pruned away. Within the frontal cortex, it is the evolutionarily oldest sub-regions that mature first; the spanking new dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, for example, does not even begin to lose gray matter volume until the end of adolescence. This delayed frontal cortical maturation means that adolescents aren’t at adult levels of expertise at various cognitive tasks, like recognizing irony or Theory of Mind—the ability to operate with the knowledge that someone else has different information than you do.

                In an adult, the frontal cortex steadies the activity of parts of the limbic system, a brain region involved in emotion; in contrast, in the teenage brain, the limbic system is already going at full speed, while the frontal cortex is still trying to make sense of the assembly instructions. One result of this imbalance is that emotions are more intense. Stick people in a brain scanner and show them pictures of faces expressing strong emotions. In the adult, there is activation of a prime limbic structure, the amygdala; shortly after, there is activation of frontal cortical regions, which damp the amygdaloid response: “OK, calm down, it’s just a picture of an angry/sad/happy/scared face, not the real thing.”

                But in the teenager, the frontal cortical response is muted, and the amygdala’s response is augmented. That means emotional highs are higher, and the lows are lower. This is shown in studies of limbic pathways that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter central to anticipation of reward and pleasure (cocaine, for example, works on this limbic dopamine system). Average dopamine levels in adolescents and adults do not differ; what differs are patterns of dopamine release. Put an adult in a brain scanner, give them a small reward, and there’s a small degree of activation of this dopamine circuitry. Medium reward, medium activation; big reward, big activation. Now do the same with a teenager. Medium reward, medium activation, same as in the adult. With a big reward, though, dopamine signaling increases far more than in an adult. Small reward and dopamine signaling decreases. A small reward feels like a punishment. This is a neurochemical gyroscope that’s way off kilter.

                All of which has jack to do with neural plasticity, and nothing you can do will alter brain development any more than screaming at the heavens will make you grow taller once you’ve reached your adult height.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Currently the average age of menarche is 12, though, for many girls these changes begin at 10, nine, eight or seven years of age.

                Citing Dahl on this one.

                Talking about the adolescent brain is poor practice — unless you mean things specifically tied to puberty (and there are remarkably few of those — mainly risktaking)Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                Talking about the adolescent brain is poor practice — unless you mean things specifically tied to puberty (and there are remarkably few of those — mainly risktaking)

                No, it’s accurate. It’s how neurologists talk about it. It’s how education specialists (how the developing brain works and processes knowledge is very useful information for them talk about it).

                They divide it into segments — early, middle, late adolescence ,etc. The big surprise (from the post-MRI era) was that late adolescence extends out to the mid-20s.

                Which, as noted, is what actuaries already knew from the effects, but didn’t know why.

                Risk-taking isn’t tied to puberty — it’s tied to the very brain development I was talking about. Impulsive acts are mediated by executive functioning, which is a critical area that’s not fully developed until….the mid-20s.

                While the hormonal cocktail of puberty has an effect, it’s merely to exacerbate the problem that the part of your brain that weighs risks isn’t working efficiently because it’s not fully mature.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

          I think [D1] is a good example of that.Report

      • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        You’re concerned about America??
        Jesus. Try watching some video from Brazil sometime.
        Unwilling girls openly being groped (in front of other students who don’t intervene) in school.Report

        • El Muneco in reply to Kim says:

          And Saudi Arabia, for another. Stopping public harassment is one of, if not the most, topical feminist issues there.Report

          • Kim in reply to El Muneco says:

            The buzz I got from Saudi Arabia was about pederasty (and this from Islamic message boards).Report

            • El Muneco in reply to Kim says:

              I can’t find it now – I saw it on one of my RSS feeds a couple of days ago. From what I remember, it’s not as much of a matter of what is the biggest concern, but what to make the issue that is the public face, the one that foreign journos will use for a quick story. Like what driving bans have been for the past few years.Report

      • Fortytwo in reply to Will Truman says:

        I know Bree, the girl in the article. That is to say, I had a couple lunches and dinners with her. I even knew her real name, which I’ve since forgotten. She was more sane than the other porn actresses I’ve met. She was a Republican and was saving money for when her career was over. She hoped to meet a nice rich man and settle down. She appeared to very much enjoy her career at the time. She made an assload of money. My wife counted it for her one evening at the titty bar, which didn’t count what she made later in special apperances. At the time, she was very confident with her life choices. I was, and will continue to be, suspicious that there is a certain amount of compartmentalizing and rationalization among women in this field.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

      E4: You do have a few people going after law schools like Paul Campos but it is a rarity. Law schools are safer from government investigation and prosecution than private colleges like ITT because even at the worst abusers of the law school scam, students still have to take the courses because there is a bar exam waiting them at the end of three or four years. The bar exams prevents law schools from acting too much like other for profit colleges.Report

    • veronica d in reply to j r says:

      It’s funny. The only thing I ever agree with @j-r on is porn.

      I mean, it’s something, I guess. 🙂Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

        Finding those areas of commonality is critical, it lets you have something of an anchor for the disagreements.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Right. It’s like,

          “You’re a fascist!”

          “Shut up SJW!”




          “But hey, did you see {title} where {so and so} did {action} to {other person} while {cosmically indescribable event}?”

          “Uh…” *ponder* “Actually yeah. That was hawt!”Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    D4: Before online dating existed many people turned to lonely heart classifieds in news papers for matches. There were also dating services that acted like online dating but done by actual people rather than computers. The problems seemed similar.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    E1: The liberal in me has a hard time allowing people to use tests that indulge their bad biases. Even if the outcomes disprove their bad biases. Yes this is an area where I just want people to be better.

    E4: Good!!

    L1: I think pay for play is going to become common in many industries including non-artistic ones. Employers seem to be doing everything to unburden themselves of any societal respinsibility and charge. We also have the death of entry level jobs. Almost all entry level jobs state 2-3 years experience required.

    L4: Is Alice a boy’s name? Also this seems like a legend rather than something with any veracity?Report

    • E1) If you’re responding more to the first link, I think a lot of it goes to the legitimacy of the test itself. Or the requirement. I hate the prospect of micromanaging, but I also recognize divergent interests between any given employer and greater society. So SMB2 doesn’t work for me, in the end. Though I would also like to see some scrutiny applied to college degrees, which is clearly pertinent for a lot of jobs but has drifted beyond that.

      L2) The 2-3 experience requirement seems to be the case for posted white collar jobs. It seems the jobs in that realm that don’t actually require experience are ones you often get through word-of-mouth, which is problematic (need a new word now that that one has been sullied). Or, I’ve often found, the 2-3 years isn’t actually required and just acts as a filter.

      L4) I missed the name! But yeah, it seems plainly fictitious to me. But amusing!Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

        It closes with “Your loving daughter, Alice”.

        Still, it’s fiction. In basic (remember I was Navy, the Corps is even worse), your ass is out of the rack at 0400, then the whole company has to shit, shower, and shave in 20 minutes, which includes getting dressed and making your rack, other minor things. Then it’s a quick march to the galley, before a full day of classes, fitness, training, etc. It’s lights out at 2200.

        That said, once you get into the rhythm, it’s like summer camp, with more pushups and yelling.Report

  5. Chris says:

    [C2] Ladybird Lake is filled with fun stuff. I once saw a snapping turtle catch a pigeon drinking at the water’s edge, and what came to the resulting feeding frenzy was a veritable cornucopia of creepy critters: other turtles, eels, carp, catfish, and who knows what else. After about 20 minutes, all that was left was some floating feathers.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

      Which Peter Jackson movie are you talking about? Because I can’t accept an Earth on which such a scene is reality.Report

      • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        The thing that really gets be about Austin is not the eels and snapping turtles, but the poisonous snakes. Before construction ran them off, I used to see moccasins regularly in Waller Creek downtown, and my old neighborhood about 3 miles from downtown was home to all 4 types of poisonous snakes found in the continental U.S.: rattlesnakes, moccasins (a creek went through), copperheads, and we once found a small Texas coral snake in the woods.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris says:

          Texas, the Australia of America.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Thick, often indecypherable accent: Check
            Approximately 150 years ago, a place that violent people that didn’t fit in with polite society ended up: Check
            Kangaroos: Nope
            Dangerous wildlife, including dangerous snakes: Check
            People there often claim dislike the country next to them, but the place actually has almost everything in common with them and sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart: Check
            A bunch of desert parts in the middle for some reason, who designed this place?: Check
            Just too many snakes in general: Check
            Too many scorpions: Check.
            Seriously, like, way way too many snakes: Check.

            Hrm. Are we sure they’re not the same place, and just *hiding* the kangaroos when they’re claiming to be Texas? Has anyone actually *looked* for the kangaroos while in ‘Texas’?Report

  6. Marchmaine says:

    D1 and D5b are the same article. And, I suspect that Byron, Evan, Willoughby and Ferrars are all equally fictionally true.Report

  7. Kazzy says:

    E2: I think issues with tracking are less to do with “Tracking is inherently awful” and more to do with “The way we tended to track students.”

    A few years before I went to high school, there was a huge issue at the school about institutional racism (the school was predominantly students of color with the bulk of that group being African-American). As I understood it, students only had one opportunity to test into honors/AP classes and there were concerns about the subjectivity of assessment. There were also real issues in terms of the quality of instruction between the honors/AP classes and the gen ed. The result was allowing open enrollment in all courses. This created a mixed bag. There was undoubtedly some watering down of the upper level classes by students (of all races) ill prepared for the demand. But at the same time, a global studies class that featured a very diverse range of students presented value that the same offering with an all-white class simply couldn’t.

    I think the school would have been better off had it revised its tracking system instead of scrapping it. It sounds like this data supports that.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

      Tracking in the United States is a lot more benign than how many European countries track students. At least in my experience, honors programs in the United States are basically supped up versions of regular classes with the possibility of a test that will give you college credit if you do good enough. I got to skip a few college requirements because of that. European tracking tends to mean separate academic and vocational tracks with multiple types of secondary schools. There standardized tests make the SATs and SATIIs look like a cake walk.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      A lot of people seem to object to tracking in any form, either because it runs contrary to their sense of egalitarianism or believe it can never be fair. I’m not very sympathetic to the first argument, though I think there is some merit to the second. I still think the pros outweigh the cons. (And I say this as someone who was detrimentally affected by tracking.)Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

        Being a military brat, I was enrolled in a wide variety of school systems over the years, of wildly differing quality. I much preferred systems with tracking. In the opposite extreme, I got a strong sense that the school was using me as an unpaid instructional assistant. 8th grade in particular would have been a complete waste had I not taken typing: an important skill that I use to this day, indeed to this very second.

        I recognize the down sides to tracking, but still… When there is no tracking, the de facto ambition of the system is to achieve consistent mediocrity.Report

        • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          my school simply “untracked” history. Everything else was separated (math, science, english)… though you really could “double up” and catch up with the tracked kids if you wanted to.Report

        • @richard-hershberger

          When there is no tracking, the de facto ambition of the system is to achieve consistent mediocrity.

          To my detriment, I took advantage of this in high school. I observed at the time “The great thing about regular classes is that it can only move as fast as the fifth slowest student in the room.”

          In retrospect, maybe I wouldn’t have disliked school as much as I did if it had been moving at a speed that bored me less.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

            I got lucky. Once I hit high school the family stopped moving every couple of years, since Dad retired from the military and transitioned smoothly into a church in the same town. This was a smallish, heavily military town. Perhaps counterintuitively, this meant that the high school was very good. Most of the kids (or at least a large plurality) were military brats like me, which at that age meant that their fathers mostly were either field grade officers or senior NCOs. Discipline was not a problem with this crowd, and neither was lack of ambition. The football players and cheer leaders often were also in the calculus class.

            I was lucky, both in going there and in knowing that I had it good. I had ample experience with lesser environments to know that a bookish band geek like me would have had a lot more trouble elsewhere.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:


        I agree with this general sentiment. We also need to think about when we track and what opportunities we give students to change tracks (or have their tracks changed). Young students — of all abilities — can benefit greatly from being in heterogenous groupings, both academically and otherwise. Other students can be more readily grouped in large part because they are going to specialized classes.

        As @leeesq , other countries’ tracking tends to be much more rigid and deterministic and I would object to that in part on egalitarian grounds.

        What I think we must avoid doing is creating second- (or third- or fourth-) class students. No, not everyone can or should be in honors or AP or advanced or whatever. But that doesn’t mean the rest should be relegated to a subpar education with incompetent teachers. That is what tended to happen in my school district. AP/Honors got great teachers and SpEd classes got great teachers and everyone left in the middle got really shortchanged. That should not be what happens. But, again, that is an execution error.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

        I support tracking, although I think tracking can be done more fairly. Thing is, as much as I recognize the need for resources to flow to those who need it most (the kids struggling), some resources also need to flow to cultivate the minds that excel, or we risk them getting bored and falling out, rather than falling behind.

        One way advanced kids could be cultivated is to voucher them. If a given school can not afford to shunt physical resources to keep advanced kids involved, then perhaps those schools should facilitate the kids going to a charter/magnet/private school that can.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          “Thing is, as much as I recognize the need for resources to flow to those who need it most (the kids struggling), some resources also need to flow to cultivate the minds that excel, or we risk them getting bored and falling out, rather than falling behind.”

          Well, the reality is we just need more resources.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          My highschool had a few tracked courses – English and math had remedial, general, and advanced tracks, and I think chem just had general and advanced.

          The remedial tracks I think had special curriculum materials and smaller class sizes. The advanced tracks were the exact same as the general ones, except all the kids in them had gotten an 80 or better in that subject last year.

          It was a godsend for avoiding boredom for me – it meant the typical spread between the person having the most difficulty with whatever was being covered, and the person who had understood it soonest and was going to get bored if the discussion didn’t move on at some point, was smaller.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

        My largest problem with tracking is that thanks to things like the way we fund schools in general and how curriculum is decided on a local level that basically, kids in Marina Heights at the school with the new Olympic sized swimming pool, brand new iPads, etc., and so on that kids that will be better off at vocational school will never get tracked there because of backlash toward parents while at MLK High where the roof is leaking and the schoolbooks are from 1975, kids who would do great at college are being told that “you’d be a better fit” at the vocational school.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Kazzy says:

      So, tracking is interesting, because it becomes a political question very quickly. Of course it’s better for high-achieving students of color who are appropriately put in the top tracks. But it’s pretty much always better for anyone put in the top tracks (i’d guess that even middle-track students who were accidentally put into the track above where the should be would do better than otherwise). It’s also shitty for a bunch of people who aren’t put in the top track.

      Even if you work your way around the potential for racism to infect the system, at the end of the day you’ll face the question of whether it’s more important to do right by the top 20% of students or the bottom 80%. I personally favor systems that try to split the difference, by placing high-achieving younger students in classrooms with lower-achieving older students. All students are working within the level of their understanding, but you avoid the problems of having entire classes full of low-achieving students.

      In particular, I don’t think the Brookings Institute study tells us much. Insofar as “tracking” is simply a proxy for “offering students the opportunity to take algebra in middle school”, of course that’s going to improve AP results–those results are for AP calculus tests, and you’re basically measuring whether or not these students take Calculus in high school.

      I’d be much more interested in looking at something that tests mastery of HS level math, like SAT scores or statewide standardized testing. A high achieving student is still going to perform better on those tests than a low-achieving one, but it will be a measurement of mastery of the material rather than whether they’ve taken the classes that cover it.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Alan Scott says:

        (i’d guess that even middle-track students who were accidentally put into the track above where the should be would do better than otherwise)

        This seems non-obvious to me, at least in the general case. There might be cases of students who are motivated, and get a boost from the other students in the room. (This is, it should be noted, consistent with my critique when I was in high school of being used a a de facto unpaid teaching assistant, rather than you know, actually learning stuff myself.) There also will be cases of students who can’t hack it and get discouraged. This is not hypothetical. My wife teaches AP high school classes in a largely white middle to upper-middle class school. There are kids who are in AP classes due to family expectations, who can’t hack it.

        It’s also shitty for a bunch of people who aren’t put in the top track.

        This too is non-obvious to me. If a kid has middle-track aptitude and interests, then the middle track is appropriate and likely to produce the best plausible outcome. It is shitty in the sense that it might be better for the kid to have a brilliant and inquiring mind, with an aptitude to lucrative fields. But that’s a different discussion.

        This is unless what you mean is that it is shitty that the brighter kids aren’t being drafted as unpaid teaching assistants. Not having unpaid labor working for your benefit is shitty in a sense, but it is a sense I can live with.

        I personally favor systems that try to split the difference, by placing high-achieving younger students in classrooms with lower-achieving older students.

        This moves beyond “non-obvious” to “clearly a terrible idea.” It supposes that the lower-achieving students are motivated, striving to do their best but progressing a bit slower than some of their age peers. Really, was this your experience in school? Really? Will placing them with younger, less physically developed kids who have been officially designated to be braniacs inspire the older, lower-achieving students to work harder to attain the best possible results? Or will it put targets on the pipsqueaks’ backs. I know where I would put my money.Report

        • Alan Scott in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Here are my operating assumptions:

          1) Nearly all students, on the balance, would rather do well in school than do poorly in school. If students find the environment or material frustrating they may give up on this, but they won’t bomb a test because it’s cool to be stupid–because despite what some of us nerds remember, it was never cool to be stupid.

          2) A whole bunch of teaching and learning is about the energy in the room. The kind of energy you want is supported by mostly-high achieving students, and disrupted by mostly low-achieving students.* Good students in a room don’t improve the learning in that room by being unpaid teaching assistants, they do it by providing positive example.

          3) Because a student’s ability to learn is about both the energy of their environment and the difficulty of the material, students placed in a classroom where the material is difficult for them but the environment is supportive instead of distracting will benefit, as long as the difficulty isn’t too much of a stretch.

          4) Similarly, because the classroom environment in lower tracks is disruptive, students will fail to learn even though the difficulty level of the material is tailored to their learning needs. This is especially true when bright but disruptive students are kicked out of higher-track classrooms into lower-track classrooms.

          5) On your response to my last example: Officially designating kids as brainiacs is a bad idea in general, but I think mixing age groups is likely to have positive rather than negative effects at the HS level. Bullying is about establishing and preserving status, and I just don’t think that a junior being in the same geometry class as a freshman would be seen as a status issue by either one, unless the school really fished up the way it established those classes. Certainly it’s less of a status issue by a freshman being in honors geometry and a junior being in remedial geometry, and that’s the primary alternative.

          *This is a big generalization, though. Really bright kids who need to be the center of attention are disruptive, for example. I was one of those kids. Similarly there are low-achieving students who are quiet and behave and don’t disrupt the energy but still don’t learn much of anything.Report

        • I was in split courses for a few grades in elementary school (3, 5, and 6, I think) – and while my social life was definitely not good in grade 5, that was mainly due to my peers rather than the older kids. I liked the split classes because when I was done my own work, I could listen in on what the older kids were learning, which was usually interesting.

          In my experience, putting the high-achieving kids with the low-achieving kids and teaching to the middle level just ends up boring the high achievers without helping the low achievers. I was a de facto TA in some of my easier high school courses, although I wasn’t any good at it – I could tell the other kids the answers to their worksheets when they asked me, but I didn’t have the skills to explain things in such a way that they figured out the answers themselves. It didn’t hamper my learning – it kept me from being as bored as I otherwise would have been – but I got more out of the courses that challenged me than out of the ones where I was “TAing”.

          Granted, I’m a girl. Putting younger, “nerdy” boys with older, larger, less academically skilled boys could have more issues in the way of bullying.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


          Where I think tracking fails is with people who can be described as academic misfits and that was people like me. I was always a reader but I never really cared much for the rat race of grades unless a class interested me. If I did well I did well, if not, so what? I went to an upper-middle class high school where lots of students really cared about grades and getting into top universities but I never sensed that they cared too much about the subject themselves. There were some who did but for others it was all just for the well paying job at the end.

          I lucked out with getting into my undergrad alma mater but it was not really until grad school/law school where I learned to trudge through a class and get a good grade despite finding the subject matter uninteresting.

          I think in more traditional tracking cultures, I would have been out of the university track by age 11 but there would not have been a place for me otherwise.

          Basically there needs to be a place for the misfits. It isn’t just people who don’t have college work capacity or super-smart nerds. I don’t think anyone ever thought I was stupid but I am sure I frustrated teachers to no end by not caring about the academic rat race.Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to Kazzy says:

      I took AP English in high school. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any tracking (in the sense of “you must have such-and-such grades in order to take this course”), but the AP program involved taking an Honour English course in Grade 11(with the AP English Language test) followed by AP in Grade 12 (with the AP English Literature test). And Honours English started out with a fairly challenging assignment that you had to do over the summer before starting (reading and analysis of 1984) – meaning that any student who took the course knew, from the start, that this was going to involve plenty of work and have high standards. As a result, the people who took the course were ones who were more or less ready for it and willing to put in the required effort.Report

  8. Autolukos says:

    H2: Part of the animosity is just Jezebel’s house style. The other part comes from a lot of assumed context, in particular intersecting narratives about gentrification and the dreaded “tech millenial.”Report

  9. Kim says:

    What to say about this?
    1) Dealing with someone who is creative involves dealing with someone who is moody, a hell of a lot of the time. High maintenance people are high maintenance.
    2) The “Byronic Love” that she’s describing is the classic “you will meet a tall dark stranger” fortune (told by said dark handsome stranger, naturally). It’s not supposed to last. Have fun, have a quick fuck, get back to your “relatively boring” life.
    3) People who are confident about themselves don’t mind dating other people who are confident, and they don’t cry many tears if stuff doesn’t work out. “I went out and I had fun” is an okay reason to date, folks, you don’t need to look for “everlasting love” all the time.
    4) Anyone using the DENNIS system is a moron, even if it does actually work.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

      There would be a lot less complaining about tall dark strangers, bad boys, or however you want to call them among men if it was just as easy for heterosexual men to date or have flings with the female equivalents of Byronic men as it is for women to date or have flings with Dark Triad men. It isn’t though. I really fail to see why men should be forgiving on this.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        If you want women who are going to make you lose control (and enjoy things you didn’t think you’d like), I suggest looking at cougars. It takes a hell of a lot of self-confidence for a gal to pull off the Byronic shtick.

        And if you want women and men to be on an equal footing vis “asking people out” and “doing spontaneous things”… write your own damn media. Make it popular.

        Part of the reason women like the Byronic ideal is that women are trained to be really, really uptight about sex, and don’t feel like they can really admit that they like it and ask for it. Hence the idea of “it just happened” and “I didn’t mean to, but I got carried away…”

        Guys have a lot less of this baggage.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Kim says:

          +100 on cougars. Those gals will fuck your socks off.

          Myself, I literally won’t let myself date anyone under 30. Just, no, nope, no way.

          I won’t say I don’t have some cougar feelings, but I don’t have cougar behavior. Self control is a virtue.

          I’ve had my chances with folks in their 20’s, both women and men, and nooooooooooooooooo. Nothing good would come of that.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to veronica d says:

            Heh. At my point in life, not only are everyone under 30 all starting to look the same, I am beginning to not be interested by not just people who are basically the same as they were in college, but who haven’t been radically introspective and either reinvented or rebooted at least part of their selves.

            This does cut into my potential dating opportunities, but it’s the same as job interviews. By the time I get up to a whiteboard in a suit, we both know it’s a formality. Like when I worked doing process control for wafer FABs – identify failures early and either scrap or reprocess, the later you find out it’s bad, the worse for everyone involved.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to El Muneco says:

              A co-worker played me the 5 Seconds of Summer song “she looks so perfect” today when I said that I had never heard it.

              My only thought was “I am so glad that I am never going to go on a first date ever again.”Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kim says:

      I see this as the female version of the distinction between the girl you date and the girl you marry. The former category can be a matter of sex, but need not be, and given modern relaxed attitudes about premarital sex, it is a lot less likely to be merely about sex than back in the day. Understanding the merits of the latter category is a classic sign of a guy growing up.Report

      • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Actually… the female version of the Byronic Dude is the Crazy Bitch… she’s wild, funny, and kinda unstable… (and liable to make your life hell afterwards, by refusing to let go).

        Don’t date crazy…Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kim says:

          Sure, but let us not forget the immortal words of wisdom, “Crazy in the head, crazy in bed.” I think it was Confucius who said that. Or maybe Ben Franklin. (That last one seems strangely plausible…)Report

          • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Ben Franklin was indeed quite the ladies man.
            (but it’s more that people who are creative and intelligent find a lot more things to entertain themselves with. It’s generally people who aren’t willing to keep their brains plastic that fall into fetishes — as opposed to preferences (I must versus I like))Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

          Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the preferred nomenclature.Report

          • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

            For a completely different concept.
            Amelie is your Manic Pixie Dream Girl (the trope done well).
            I’m more thinking of Tori Amos, or the type of wicked, evil woman who makes you laugh as she cruelly cuts everyone around you — until you realize that tongue gets used on you as well (Blamy ring a bell?).Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

              It does not. But, I see, we’re talking a type like Mildred in Of Human Bondage.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

                Blamy’s an arrested development reference, to Amy Poehler by her then-current husband. And yes, Amy Poehler is one of those types.

                Not so much “emotionally unavailable and cold”… more… insightfully cruel?Report

        • veronica d in reply to Kim says:

          @kim — I dunno. The Manic Pixie Dreamgirl trope is a real thing. I know women who play to it and dudes who want it. It’s a nightmare of fail.

          Laurie Penny wrote about being the MPD half of this dynamic. She found it soul-crushing.Report

          • veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

            Oh, I guess @kolohe and I think alike. And no, @kim , MPD and not identical to “crazy bitch.” I’m sure you can find overlap, but they work from different “exemplars” in the Prototype Theory sense.Report

          • Kim in reply to veronica d says:

            If it’s not you, it’s not you. I believe it’s probably someone.
            (note: toning down intelligence is never okay).

            Laurie writes about writing as if she’s never honestly gotten a guy to talk about writing. Ooodles upon oodles of guys take up writing just to get girls (they, um, rarely succeed. And, of the one guy I have heard of who did succeed, he’s now trying to wank off to child pornography).

            Love to hear what she’s got to say about Amelie (or Kodocha).

            I’m not sure exactly what to say about her analysis of The Doctor, considering that’s a show consumed mostly by women because of the Byronic archetype that he represents.Report

  10. Kim says:

    “healthy sexual exploration”… Yeah, I’m pretty damn sure this person doesn’t know what that looks like. Probably wouldn’t like it if she did figure it out.
    Kids play, and that includes exploring how each other fits together, in an environment where “boyfriends and girlfriends” aren’t the dominant paradigm. (Eleven year olds, folks, eleven and twelve year olds).

    Also, it’s interesting to contrast this one with D1, where a lot of Byronic art could be described as pornographic and idealized.

    “My ideal is better than your ideal!” is something that needs to be proven.Report

  11. Richard Hershberger says:

    E4(b): Kasich’s optics benefit greatly from comparison with the other surviving Republican candidates. Merely by presenting a not-obviously crazy affect he gets credit for being the Great Moderate. In a more sane world he would be recognized as an extremist. Here we see his reaction to a group of people speaking to one another in a way he dislikes: keep them from talking to each other. A champion of civil liberties he ain’t.Report

    • In any other election cycle, Kasich’s campaign would be the most notably weird thing about it. I’m not convinced that it isn’t actually the weirdest thing but just covered up by a more flamboyant weird candidate.

      Earlier in the campaign I self-identified as “A Kasich Republican for Rubio” in big part because Kasich on paper and in theory is just right up my alley. He was my preferred candidate in 2000 and I thought at the time that he would have been a good running mate for GWB. And yet, he’s just been nothing but difficult this whole election cycle. And everybody I know involved in Ohio Republican politics says that yeah, he’s pretty much a prick through-and-through. Not that he’s too conservative, or not conservative enough, just a very spiteful and petty man.

      And yet, if I determine that my vote doesn’t matter, I’ll probably vote for him because he’s better than the other two. As I’ve said on Twitter, this feels like the election from Scandal wherein I ultimately would have voted for the guy who had his wife sent to prison for a murder that he committed because he was actually less dangerous than the other two.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

        I agree that he is the best of the three, but I don’t consider that high praise. Of course, as a lefty, my secret desire is to vote for Stalin. Or perhaps Mao. I can never quite decide which. Or maybe Obama. There’s not really any difference, after all.

        But seriously, my take on the Kasich campaign is that he is hanging around because (1) the post-Citizen’s United world removes a lot of the funding barriers to staying in, and (2) he is trying to position himself as the not-Trump-or-Cruz candidate in a potential contested convention. Without a realistic prospect of a contested convention, there would be no point. Given the very real possibility, I suspect some of the other guys are kicking themselves for having dropped out.Report

        • I think (1) is demonstrably wrong – demonstrated this cycle, even – though I’ll save that for another day.

          Even accepting Kasich’s aims as being what you say they are, his campaign’s actions don’t even make sense on those terms. The link (the Jay Cost portion) explains why not, but speaking broadly there were a lot of things he could have done to become a viable alternative to the other two and he just hasn’t been doing those things.Report

  12. All the stories have been told
    Back when it used to get cold
    There was Antarctica
    All the penguins that would march to and fro
    Don’t seem to matter now that they can swim where they go.
    There’s no more permafrost,
    Amundsen and Scott would just feel lost
    The ice caps are all gone
    I guess that’s change,
    But outside we’re as warm as we ever were.

    Living on an ice floe
    Tell me now, where am I supposed to go?


  13. I hate two-faced people. Two-face planets are even worse!

    And don’t get me started on two-faced commit.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Oh I could see Space Geologists having a field day studying such a planet up close. The heat transport through conduction on the solid side & convection on the liquid side would be fascinating. I wonder how deep the liquid side is (does it go all the way into the core)? Does the solid side ever melt from underneath? Is there a flow from the liquid to the solid such that the solid crust that exists today will someday be liquid? If so, how long does that take?

      Also, Space Archeologists are Space Awesome!Report

      • Ever read Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity? It’s the classic example of physics puzzles disguised as an SF novel.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Sounds familiar… I just found it on Kindle Unlimited and stuck it in my queue. I love hard SF like this, where the author has actually sat down and crunched the numbers, even if there is an element of Deus Ex to it. It was a lot harder reading stuff like this as a kid, because I had to press the “I Believe” button a lot.

          But these days, it’s a joy.Report

        • Ah, the joys of lucky chance. Mission of Gravity was the first SF I read and set a high standard for later quality (not that I could do the math then, but I managed to find a description of the concepts). Three Hearts and Three Lions was the first sword-and-sorcery fantasy, and similarly set high standards. Thanks, Dad, for having them on your bookshelf and letting the precocious fifth-grader at them.Report

  14. Michael Cain says:

    S3: One of the most interesting things in the piece is the estimate that the median global population for an alien civilization would be 50 million. That raises the serious question, “What level of tech could a stable population of 50 million support?” My own WAG for today’s human tech — using the multi-billion transistor integrated circuit as the reference point — is 30-50 million. Those integrated circuits sit at the top of an incredible tech pyramid — mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, optics, and more. Also at the top of an incredible human pyramid — teachers, plumbers, entertainers, all the other things needed to produce a stable society with that many people in it. And, for that matter, at the top of an economic pyramid — Intel seems to be in the process of discovering that Moore’s Law, as originally stated, stops for lack of demand at around 14 nm rules.Report

    • El Muneco in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Start in the hundreds of thousands as hunter/gatherers, progress through the millions during agriculture, pass a billion during the tech ramp-up, then slowly shrink as post-scarcity lack of labor demand means that you don’t really need billions anymore as a species?Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to El Muneco says:

        These days, I’m more inclined to ask “How do you avoid the crash on the back side of the fossil fuel spike?” but that’s just me.Report

        • El Muneco in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Ah, OK. I’m working backwards from the conclusion to try to find a reasonable premise. Given that, I’m kind of like Jack Ryan – “I don’t need to solve that, they already did or they wouldn’t have gotten there”.

          It might not be the same answer that we end up with – which I agree is kinda important to find – but they’re /alien/, it doesn’t have to be, it just has to be plausible.Report

        • Francis in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, I expect. But this time with nukes.

          (Last I checked, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are all high on the list of food-insecure countries expected to be hit hard by climate change.)

          The years 2050 to 2150 should be quite interesting for humanity. Is there any serious model that has Miami still in place by 2100?Report

          • KatherineMW in reply to Francis says:

            On the one hand, climate change is a serious issue; on the other hand, Ehrlich was predicting mass starvation in Asia for decades without being remotely right, so I’m not in a hurry to jump on that prediction bandwagon.

            Food distribution is an issue. I have trouble seeing total global food quantity being an issue.

            Disease? We’ve got the research skills to develop measures that prevent, alleviate, or cure most disease – it’s just a matter of willingness to invest the resources. The minute anything big starts hitting the developed world, those resources will be invested. Again, it’s a issue about most people (and all corporations) not caring when it’s poor people who are suffering – not about a fundamental lack of capacity.Report

            • El Muneco in reply to KatherineMW says:

              Food production is not a problem, we as a planet can feed 12 billion, we just won’t. Water is much, much more serious.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to El Muneco says:

                We as a planet? What an odd phrase.

                I don’t think, collectively, any amount of people make a planet. (And if someone actually does make a planet out of people, I do not wish to participate in that. Is there some opt-out I need to sign?)

                Water is only serious because we live in dumb places(1) and insist on using our electricity and other resources for things other than desalination. Oh, and watering golf courses in the desert.

                1) Humans living in dumb places is probably the cause of 10% of *all of human suffering*.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to DavidTC says:

                Maybe “we as a planet” was wrong, “we as a parochial species” was more correct? Technically and logistically the carrying capacity of the planet is far larger – double or more – than what we have now… In a perfect world. With the political divisions we are dealing with, we might not even be able to maintain the population that currently exists – wars might be fought over food, and I suspect they will be fought over water. Because we can’t – in the world we actually live in – make governments change, and resettle populations from their ancestral lands, and change policy to reapportion resources to where they would be most effective.

                This ain’t Civ 4, otherwise even I would already have won, and we’d already be in the endgame.

                In the world we actually live in, the biggest obstacle to the ability of people to get the basics they need to survive – is their governments, many of whom are actively holding those basics back for political reasons.

                The US fight over the ACA is just a microcosm.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to El Muneco says:

                Because we can’t – in the world we actually live in – make governments change, and resettle populations from their ancestral lands, and change policy to reapportion resources to where they would be most effective.

                Ah, yes, the ancestral Las Vegas.

                There are exactly three reasons that water is ‘serious’ in this world.

                1) A lot of places do not have modern sanitation yet, and their water is still very dirty. This is…completely and utterly stupid on our part, and the slightest amount of concentrated effort could fix it.

                2) People are forced to live in places with almost no water by governments, and would move if allowed.

                3) Dumbasses keep attempting to live, and even dumber, grow food, in places with almost no water, assuming the government will invent water out of thin air. This is, almost entirely, completely *new* dumbassary. People who had ‘ancestral homes’ where there was not enough water…MOVED.

                In the world we actually live in, the biggest obstacle to the ability of people to get the basics they need to survive – is their governments, many of whom are actively holding those basics back for political reasons.

                Going to have to disagree with you there. Oh, not in the fact that there’s plenty of resources to supply everyone with basics, and the governments are ‘holding it back’…but not for ‘political reasons’, and I don’t know what’s supposed to mean.

                They’re doing it so the people they’ve decided are the ‘owners’ of said resources can make more money.Report

              • Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

                Las Vegas is an oasis. So is Tucson. It’s Phoenix that’s dumb.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to El Muneco says:

                There’s loads of water in the world, and the amount isn’t decreasing. Part of the water issue could be solved by developing affordable desalination, which I don’t think is impossible. Another part could be solved by effectively using the resources we do have (e.g., don’t locate major farming areas in deserts – I am looking at YOU, California). But if climate change and deglaciation means that major rivers fuelling agriculture and cities dry up, then we’re going to be screwed. You can’t just relocate huge volumes of people, for numerous reasons (personal connection to home; financial cost; national borders; non-transferable economic skills making it hard for people to find a living in a new place; logistical issue with the sheer volume of people who would need to be moved).Report

              • Francis in reply to KatherineMW says:

                “don’t locate major farming areas in deserts – I am looking at YOU, California.”

                You know nothing Jon Snow.Report

              • Kim in reply to Francis says:

                Indeed. Also oregon and washington.
                deserts make farming very predictable, and big ag really likes that.Report

              • Francis in reply to Francis says:

                To be less cryptic, please take a look at the average annual flows out of the Colorado, San Joaquin and Feather Rivers.

                In most years, there is an enormous amount of water that is available to grow crops on some of the most productive soil anywhere on the planet.

                It is absolutely true that California ag has overplanted and is thus mining water from groundwater basins during this time of drought. But the idea that California is a “desert” and is a poor place for farming shows that the author should probably spend a little more time understanding the issues.Report

              • Kim in reply to Francis says:

                It is a desert. Just like egypt has been for ages.
                Deserts simply mean you don’t need to plan for rain.Report

              • Kim in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Give ’em to australia. They’ve already got the plans for genocide, after all.

                You WILL relocate huge volumes of people within the next 30 years. Possibly within the next 5-10 years.Report

            • Kim in reply to KatherineMW says:

              Have you been watching the Maple Syrup Production lately?
              I doubt I’m getting Michigan Cherries this year

              Every single crazy climate thing kills something. Cali’s drought may take out all of its food production, even with the El Nino.Report

  15. Oscar Gordon says:

    Another link for Space, from VOX (but surprisingly informative) about observing black holes.Report

  16. LTL FTC says:

    If the kid-sex-scare thing weren’t so old, [D2] would be more shocking. “Rainbow parties” were pre-smartphone and pre-social media and follow basically the same format as the current wave of moral panic articles.

    Also, let’s talk a bit about the complete and utter lack of agency ascribed to the girls in this article. Popularizers of the current panic have a lot in common with anti-sex-work activists. From Marxist false consciousness to today, “If you had any actual agency, you’d use it to behave exactly like me” is a very easy way to win an argument with/about your preferred straw-victim.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to LTL FTC says:

      The thing about the testimonies in this particular article is that unlike a lot of the legends, they actually ring true. Not from other stuff I’ve read that could be urban legend, but as a rather natural extension and outgrowth of what I saw more closely when I was coming up.Report

      • LTL FTC in reply to Will Truman says:

        “Ring true” is dangerous territory when it comes to evaluating things like this. These things are designed to ring true, confirm our preconceived notions and flatter our biases.

        Care to expand on what you saw growing up?

        I grew up in the ’90s and all my friends had dialup access to porn. It was images, not video, but the content was just as raw (think alt.binaries.*). IRL, that didn’t really matter because boys got as far sexually as the girls wanted to go, which often wasn’t very far at all. The result was a great deal of lying braggadocio that we knew, even at the time, was a stretch.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to LTL FTC says:

          OK youngster, lissen up.

          In MY day, back in the previous millennium, we had to make do with good old fashioned paper porn. That was back in the 70’s when guys all had porn ‘staches and the ladies had big hair, everywhere.

          “Penthouse Forum” they called it, and it was our best source of sex education for me and my chums. Many an afternoon we would read it after school and wonder which ones were real and which ones were made up. We always wondered where we could find girls like that. Apparently they all lived somewhere else, because when I pulled weeds for a neighbor lady, she never came our wrapped in just a towel.

          Oh, the old folks panicked then too, and my parents thought all of us kids were having regular orgies after school, but try as I might, I could never find one.

          Movies like Saturday Night Fever showed us what happened to girls like Donna Pescow who let boys have sex with her, they ended up crying and ruined.
          Donna Pescow, whatta fox! She went on y’know, to be that mom in that sitcom later.

          Anyway, where was I?

          Oh ya, pudding…I love pudding, can’t get enough of the stuff..Hey, that Bill Cosby fellow- the kids should probably straighten up and act like him.Report

  17. notme says:

    Do as I say, not as I do from liberals.

    PayPal, Apple lecture North Carolina, do business in countries far more hostile to gays.

    • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

      Not bothered by Apple and PayPal, and believe it is entirely appropriate for them to hold US states to a higher standard than foreign countries. For the most part.

      The governors and state legislatures trying to get into the act with “unnecessary travel”, though, seem mostly to be preening and showboating.Report

      • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

        So there are now two different standards for human rights? One for them and one for us?Report

        • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

          Some of it is a matter of double standards. A lot of it is a matter of being able to try to effect the change that you can. PayPal can just as easily set up a center in Virginia as North Carolina. With Malaysia, I’m not sure what comparable options there are for that region.Report

          • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

            What double standards? If homophobia is wrong, then it is just as wrong here in the US as in Malaysia. So your answer is that standards only apply to places you can change? The comparable options are that if you wont do business in NC then don’t do business in Malaysia.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

              Malaysia is wrong. Very extremely wrong. Far more wrong than North Carolina. But there is the world as we would like it to be, and the world as it is. We know what we can do with regard to North Carolina. It’s harder to know what we can really do about Malaysia. North Carolina might respond to economic pressure as Georgia did, and at relatively minimal cost. Will Malaysia respond that way? It seems extremely unlikely. So what does boycotting them accomplish, and at what cost?Report

              • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                So what does boycotting them accomplish, and at what cost?

                It lets folks know you are morally consistent. Its easy to call for a boycott when it causes PayPal no economic cost but I’d like to see if their morals stand up even when it hurts their bottom line.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                I cannot imagine one mind is changed about the decision to overlook Malaysia.

                You’re right that some boycotts are easier than others. If a local supermarket screws me over, I may go to another one. If my ISP does, I’ll… well I won’t do much because the sacrifice would be too great because we’d have to move. Does that mean I don’t care about customer service? Or does that mean that I have to make decisions based on what my options are?Report

              • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                It depends. If your morals are such that you’d boycott NC then don’t look like a hypocrite and do business someplace worse.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                The problem with having a kindergarten sense of justice is that it rarely survives contact with the real world. In the real world, you have to ask questions about what one is hoping to accomplish, the likelihood of accomplishing it, the costs of doing so, and all manner of other considerations.Report

              • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                kindergarten sense of justice

                Is that the best you’re got? Paypal wants easy victories so they can have good PR rather than actually doing anything substantive. I understand that is the liberal way.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to notme says:

                It lets folks know you are morally consistent.

                What if the purpose of the boycott is not about signaling to internet commenters that you’re “morally consistent” but about actually achieving some sort of change in the real world? If it’s about creating change, then picking your battles makes sense. If it’s only about theater, I suppose your point is a very good one. Throwing money away and achieving nothing is fabulous theater, much better than giving up a small amount of money and achieving something.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                What if the purpose of the boycott is not about signaling to internet commenters that you’re “morally consistent” but about actually achieving some sort of change in the real world?

                A million times this.

                This boycott…is working. I mean, it literally already worked in my state of Georgia, which looked at what was going on in North Carolina and say, maaaaybe not.

                And the idea that US companies shouldn’t do business in repressive countries is the same sort of weirdly delusional thinking that kept Cuba off-limits for decades. Which resulted in…nothing changing. It’s been demonstrated, over and over, that walling repressive regimes off gets you North Korea, and doing business with them gets you…well, China. It’s not *perfect, but it’s generally is getting better, and they now that they’ve tied their economy so closely to the US, they risk a *lot* if they try more repression.

                And you know what *changes* countries into being more tolerate? Exposure to tolerance! Like a Malaysian company having to implement *US corporate policy*. Suddenly, something that is literally illegal is also…required by policy to be tolerated by corporate management?! And, wait, did that executive we were just Skyping with mention *his* *husband*?

                And the dissonance starts happening, and people start questioning things.

                And I say this as someone who is opposed to allowing corporations to oversea jobs willy-nilly! But I oppose it because of the fact they don’t have US labor protections, so can undercut US costs. But even I will admit that it has a beneficial reduction on *repression*.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


      • Dand in reply to Will Truman says:

        LGM condemned gun manufacturers for threatening to leave New York if the state passed a gun control law then cheered when corporations did the same thing to Georgia. So in their mind it’s ok to threaten the jobs of Georgians but not New Yorkers.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Dand says:

          I think LGM is wrong there, too, but this is a case where the (usually subjective) legitimacy of the underlying complaint is pretty important. At least important to the question of whether they should do it (it’s within their rights either way, typically).Report

        • Autolukos in reply to Dand says:

          One might begin by asking whether everyone who writes for a site should be held responsible for everyone else who writes for the same site.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

        Not bothered by Apple and PayPal, and believe it is entirely appropriate for them to hold US states to a higher standard than foreign countries. For the most part.

        That’s perfectly arbitrary.

        By the way, striking attitudes against a state government because it doesn’t mollycoddle cross-dressers and damaged people who make themselves the meat and potatoes of shady surgeons and endocrinologists is not ‘holding the state government to a higher standard’.Report

    • LTL FTC in reply to notme says:

      Enforcing standards of behavior or discourse against people with a higher Oppression Olympics ranking would be tone policing, and that’s a big no-no.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

      Calling that a defense is…

      Oh, wait.. Breitbart… yep…Report

      • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

        Are the facts that Breibart are reporting someone how inaccurate? Is that your best defense of Twitter?Report

        • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

          I’m not defending Twitter and Twitter isn’t defending this woman. They said that the allegations in one complaint did not demonstrate a breach of their policy. They invited the person who filed the complaint to further substantiate their allegations.Report

          • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

            No Twitter isn’t defending Banks but they clearly aren’t apply the same standards they do for others. I can only imagine how fast a conservative would be kicked off for threatening a liberal or a minority.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

              Unfortunately, that isn’t clear. Far from it.

              Can you point to examples of conservatives being kicked off for threatening liberals or minorities? I know there was the one case we talked about a few weeks back. Have there been any others?

              We simply don’t have enough information on Twitter’s process for enforcing its policies to make any reasonable determinations about how fair, biased, or whatever it is.Report

              • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

                We simply don’t have enough information on Twitter’s process for enforcing its policies to make any reasonable determinations about how fair, biased, or whatever it is.

                How ironic you say now that someone complains about a liberal’s bad behavior. The secretive Trust and Safety committee was ok for kicking conservatives.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

                Who argued it was okay?

                I barely use Twitter. I have no idea how “common” her sorts of Tweets are or what response they tend to generate. @chris indicates she’s not particularly exceptional (in the process confirming Twitter to be the hellholeI imagine). So, again, we can look at a single data point and imagine a trend or we can look at real data. Your call…Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                She deleted the tweets. Given how often people make vile threats like that, almost none of whom face consequences (GGers say stuff like that all day, every day), this doesn’t seem unusual, particularly since it wasn’t long-term harassment, and the tweets are now gone (which is usually what Twitter demands when they suspend people).

                That said, what Banks said was truly vile, and she’s consistently shown herself to be a first-grade asshole, so I certainly wouldn’t bemoan her being booted.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

              You are free to imagine anything you like.Report

  18. Oscar Gordon says:

    L5 – Really hard to lament the loss of those good, union manufacturing jobs if the up & coming generation doesn’t want them. Then it makes sense to send those jobs to places where they are appreciated.Report

  19. notme says:

    Remember how the Obama admin assured us that they would thoroughly vet the Syrian refugees they want to import?

    U.S. ‘surge operation’ to clear 10,000 Syrian refugees in just 3 months, 600 interviewed A DAY

    • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

      What, exactly, is the problem?

      Is it the rate of interviews? Given that there is more to the process then interviewing, that tells us nothing about what the final number will be.

      And even if it did, if everyone is fully vetted, why not take 36K instead of 10K?

      Seriously, what evidence can they point to that people AREN’T being vetted? Exactly one family has made their way here. One. 1. Uno. Singular. Family. No s. What are you scared of?Report

      • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

        The problem is I don’t believe they can really vett that many folks in that short a time.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

          The article said nothing of how long the vetting process was.

          Again, this “surge” began on Feb 1. Today is April 8. Exactly one family has been processed. That indicates the process takes approximately 2 months. Is that insufficient?Report

          • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

            They are really going to vett 10 k folks and have them here by Sept 30? 600 interviews a day? When do you follow up the leads or questions from those interview? Once they are already here?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

              Given that we don’t know anything other than 600 interviews are being conducted a day (currently), it seems a little premature to declare the process flawed, doomed, or insufficient.Report

              • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

                Just b/c you conduct an interview means nothing unless you take the time to verify that what the person told you is true. I’m sure I could interview 600 folks a day if take just a few minutes for each one and assume everything they say is true.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

                Any evidence that is happening?Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to notme says:

      Canada brought in 25,000 people in 3-4 months. They’re glad to be here, and we’re happy to have them.Report

  20. Oscar Gordon says:

    S6: From the article,

    Lei and co say that solar and nuclear power will suffice but do not address the serious concerns that any nuclear-powered spacecraft in Earth orbit will generate.

    Unless they intend to orbit a couple of tons of Uranium, there are no serious concerns about nuclear powered spacecraft, just the concerns of un-serious people for whom the word “radioactive” is a trigger to shut down their higher cognitive functions.Report

  21. Dand says:

    An NYU professor provides more evidence that most high SES liberals hate rural and working class whites.

    New York University urban policy professor Mitchell Moss…

    “The Clinton campaign has to tell the truth — that Sanders is a rural know-nothing,” Moss said. “Vermont is filled with people who can’t make it anywhere — the skiers, the potheads and the people who tap maple trees. Hillary should challenge Bernie on his understanding of urban issues because he would fail.”


    • Kolohe in reply to Dand says:


    • KatherineMW in reply to Dand says:

      As a Canadian, I am offended by the aspersions cast on maple syrup farmers. They do invaluable work. Where would our pancakes be without them?Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Dand says:

      Mitchell Moss: A liberal because Dand says so.

      Mitchell Moss, in reality, serves on a few *non-partisan* groups and had advised Bloomberg in his *Republican* mayoral campaign, and had also advised the Democratic governor of New York.

      He seems to be…extremely pro-New York City (Seriously, everything I can find about this guy is, in some way, promoting New York.), and that’s all anyone can say about him, politically.

      But he must be a liberal. I’m sure Dand overheard him talking one day.Report

      • Dand in reply to DavidTC says:

        Did you read the article? He’s supporting Hillary Clinton, and according the the FEC he donated money to Bob Kerrey in the past.Report

        • El Muneco in reply to Dand says:

          I don’t have a dog in this fight, but Hillary Clinton is quite possibly the least liberal Dem with a serious primary run since… Scoop Jackson? And interestingly, in much the same ways – pretty soft on social things, but seriously a war hawk.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

            I don’t think you’re aware of how American politics works. EVERY Democratic candidate is the “most liberal ever”.

            Like John Kerry was the most liberal senator ever in 2004, and then in 2008 Obama was the most liberal senator ever. I’m not sure how that worked, maybe Kerry handed off a torch or something.

            So Clinton, if she wins the nomination, will clearly be more liberal than Sanders. By virtue of being the nominee, who is always the most liberal.

            I don’t know where you get weird ideas like that. Acting like Democrats aren’t all fighting out on the most extreme edge possible.Report

            • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

              I appreciate your concern. In the future, since I am tagged as a liberal, I will be sure to toe the party line, since any dissent will apparently be met with by scorn. And as a liberal, scorn will give me the vapors, forcing me to return to a safe space. Not that I will, I haven’t been a liberal for that long…Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to El Muneco says:

            @el-muneco Please look up Hillary Clinton’s platform from this year and compare it to John Kerry or Howard Dean’s in 2004 or even her own in 2008 and get back to me on the “least liberal Dem” since Scoop Jackson BS.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to El Muneco says:


            Scoop Jackson seriously believed in the Nationalization (like Clause 4 of the UK Labour Party levels of nationalization) of certain industries. He was a hawk but also advocated for economic stuff that even Bernie does not do. But I think the whole point of this is that dand comes from a long line of people who think that the whole of Brownstone Brooklyn does nothing but laugh at them. There are some serious fever dreamers in this country.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Dand says:

          Nothing in that article says he’s ‘supporting’ *anyone*. He has kinder words for Clinton than Sanders, and thinks Clinton should probably attack Sanders based on Moss’s pet issue (As everyone with a pet issue thinks.)…and that’s it.

          How that makes someone a ‘liberal’ is beyond me.

          I guess if I say that Ted Cruz should attack Donald Trump based on the fact that Trump ruins literally any business he gets his hands on, I’m now a conservative! Or, alternate idea, maybe I’m just a guy who has a theory about politics!

          As for his donations, considering that Moss has never donated to anyone else, and he donated to a *Nebraskan* Senate campaign, the really really obvious conclusion is that Moss and Kerrey know each other personally (Probably due to their positions in New York higher education) and are probably *friends*, and he was donating to a *friend*, not out of some political rational.

          My God. Friends with a liberal! (Not that Kerrey is *particularly* liberal, but whatever.) Well,that clearly makes him a liberal himself!Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Dand says:

      Did anyone ask the Professor of Urban Policy Studies why, if Vermont residents are so useless, the state’s personal income per capita is precisely the national mean (and, if you control for the fact that the population is 85% small town and rural, about 20% above national means)? What does he think about NYC boroughs who are below the national mean in this respect (as the Bronx and Brooklyn are)?Report

  22. Chip Daniels says:

    All kidding aside, there does seem to be a recurring moral panic about our children’s sexuality.

    It always seems to be treated as a supply problem, and as @ltl-ftc mentions above, the young people themselves are stripped of agency, treated as passive vessels. I would expand that to include the boys as well.

    The default assumption seems to be that access to porn creates unhealthy attitudes towards women.
    OK, so if this were true, then societies without access to porn, say, oh, like conservative Muslim countries, we would expect to see boys having healthy, respectful attitudes towards women.

    I don’t think this is the case.

    I think the arrow of causality is confused here. How do boys develop such brutal and cruel attitudes towards women?
    What sort of role modeling do their parents display, about healthy sexual lives and relationships? Whats going on in their lives that inhibits their ability to form healthy social relationships with the opposite sex?

    I mean, we are all sexual beings. Hasn’t anyone here noticed that our sexual appetites are as often as not, the end product not of simple biology, but our emotional state?
    That is, when we are stressed and disturbed, anxious and alienated, isn’t sex often a convenient way of self medicating?
    And when our emotional state improves, doesn’t our sexual relationship heal as well?

    If boys and girls are acting out in unhealthy ways, I don’t believe it is a entertainment supply problem- there is something else going on in their lives.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      The default assumption seems to be that access to porn creates unhealthy attitudes towards women.
      OK, so if this were true, then societies without access to porn, say, oh, like conservative Muslim countries, we would expect to see boys having healthy, respectful attitudes towards women.

      I would also expect the rate of unhealthy attitudes toward women in the US to have skyrocketed since the advent of the Internet.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        @troublesome-frog — That strikes me as a [citation needed] comment. Not that I think you’re wrong, but how would we know?Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to veronica d says:

          Assuming a non-negligible correlation with watching porn and given the staggering increase in porn consumption over that time (100x? 1000x?), it seems like something that would be really apparent unless whatever metric we use is something that only ever shows up in private and is never reported or talked about. I’m certainly not seeing evidence of it in the types of moral panics we see now vs then, the media’s median treatment of women now vs then, the types of things it’s appropriate to say/do to women in the work place, or the types of stories people of the two eras tell anecdotally. It would have to be one of three things I can think of:

          1) A very stealthy rise in these attitudes that cause misbehavior almost entirely behind closed doors. Even that would be hard to measure because a lot of stuff that used to be behind closed doors is talked about more publicly now (as if we didn’t have date rape in the 50s), so it would have to be something that stays behind closed doors effectively enough to buck that trend an remain hard to notice. It would also have to be something that doesn’t correlate with public behaviors that have improved. So porn is causally connected with some bad behind-the-scenes treatment of women that is also negatively correlated with rape and the acceptability of sexual harassment in the workplace? Maybe, but I’m very skeptical.

          2) A rise in some non-obvious metric. I suppose asking for nude photos would count, but that seems more likely to be driven by technology than anything else.

          3) A really weak but still positive connection. Maybe, but the connection would be so weak that we’re probably better off concentrating on other things.

          The “porn causes x” claims seem to be one of the great natural experiments in social science. We’ve had the a causal variable increase by orders of magnitude over a well-known period of time, so pretty much anything it’s causally connected to should be easy to see absent some really strong confounding factor. Unless the connection is something like, “Bank robberies increase proportionally to the square root of the log of porn consumption,” these should be just about the easiest models in the world to test and verify. People making the claim should have data easily available, and the fact that they can’t seem to scare it up suggests to me that it’s probably not there.Report

  23. DavidTC says:

    [D2] – That second article is the type of thing that needs a name.

    It’s when someone tries to discourage people away from something because *people will bully you* if you do it.

    And let me say this carefully: Fuck that.

    Bowing to that logic means the bully win. That exact logic could be used to say ‘Don’t stand out’ and ‘Don’t be nerdy’ and ‘Don’t admit you’re gay’.

    I don’t think being a porn star is a glamorous job, and it’s probably *not* for everyone. Being *any* sort of actor is a lot more work than people think, and the porn industry has so rapid a turnaround, and is so hard on people’s bodies, that it’s even more work. By all means, discourage people from entering the industry for *that* stuff. (Or the obvious fact it involves sex, which some people might not be comfortable doing with random strangers in front of a camera…but I’m pretty certain people already know that.)

    But don’t do it because people are *mean*. Posting shit like this means they get to feel ‘vindicated’. If the problem with being a porn star, or former porn star, is that people treat you like crap, the thing that needs changing is *that fact*.

    And this does nothing to change it. Or even try to change it. Jesus, read the comments.

    [l1] – Speaking of acting being a tough job: Yes, casting directors are essentially charging actors to get on their lists via ‘workshops’ they charge them for.

    Why the hell both the actor’s union (It is *explicitly* a union violation to charge actors for auditioning, and this is so damn close as to make no difference.) and the companies they work for (If the HR guy at a company started holding ‘How to interview with people like me’ for-pay classes in his spare time, and , *in his advertisement*, said he’d help you get on the short list for hiring at his firm…) have taken this long to crack down on it, I don’t know.

    It’s even *more* an issue for casting directors, who job is not to ‘hire the correct person who applies’, it is to *find* people. Their job is literally to go out to tiny little shows and things and *locate people*.

    [H2] – The level of animosity is *completely* justified.

    You know who needs SRO houses that resemble dorms with a common area? POOR SINGLE PEOPLE.

    Not people who can pay $2000 a month.

    Every time I see an article about how people are cleverly using space, every time there’s an article about how people can live in tiny area…it turns out to be something for *rich people*, or some pet project that isn’t going to actually be allowed to stand.


    • Trumwill in reply to DavidTC says:

      I don’t think the rents described sound especially high (or luxurious) for NYC.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Trumwill says:

        Perhaps I was not clear.

        I am pointing out that the only places that people are willing to build small housing are places with *insanely high housing costs*. These in New York, there were those tiny houses in San Francisco a while back, etc…

        Which means they end up building tiny housing with…very high rents. Not *as high* as other housing in that location, but still very high compared to the nation.

        Heaven forbid we find somewhere where rent is $800 a month on an entire house and build some nice, tiny SRO apartments and charge $200 a month. The entire idea is crazy!

        In fact,it’s so crazy it’s usually illegal.Report

  24. Rufus F. says:

    [D2] If they were looking to draw sweeping conclusions about what young men think about sex, there might have been a more direct way to find out than polling 600 young women.Report

  25. Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    Yay! Another Linky Friday!

    You had me scared last week: I thought you had said that it was your last.

    I was very sad.Report

  26. Jaybird says:

    Okay, you know the whole Colorado Republican Delegate thing?

    Well, one thing that has me boggling is the attitude of the #nevertrump folks when it comes to how clumsy Trump is when it comes to delegate machinations.

    Between snickers at how Trump doesn’t even understand the rules, they point out how they’re going to push for a long and drawn out voting process that will leave Trump out in the cold.

    They don’t seem to apprehend that this is something that will look bad to anybody who is not Establishment Republican. Trump is a proxy for a hell of a lot of things and one of them is the whole “Republicans don’t represent the guys down in the trenches”.

    They’re going to chainsaw their noses off to spite their face.

    I suppose this would bug me less if they seemed to understand this but just didn’t care.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

      Other things are more important than connection to the base (or a portion thereof being connected to whom they’re dubious about anyway).

      Namely, certain elements of the ideology that must be maintained at all costs. Which, depending on your view of things, is as it should be. (It’s not totally my view of things, though some conceptual elements of certain ersatz GOP commitments are certainly important to protect from Trumpism to the extent they really are commitments – see Dan’s essay on same for the deets. But I’m nevertheless at least partly with you on what you’re saying here I think.)Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I can, and do, sympathize with the desire of the Republicans to protect their ideological borders from unpleasant new arrivals. I’m not arguing that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.

        I’m more surprised by how unaware they seem to be of the optics of what they’re doing.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

          Have you considered that part of those optics might be intentional?

          Think about it this way: The *other* way to play this is to let Trump get the nomination, and then the Republican party spends the next election slowly backing away from him, and he loses.

          Ignoring the fact they’d probably lose House and Senate seats they’d have a lot of trouble ever winning back, what happens next?

          No, seriously, what happen next? What’s to stop Trump, or someone like him, from running in 2020? Or what’s to stop Trump or some random rich guy from propping up some other joke candidate…and I don’t mean a *conservative* rich guy propping up some ‘low taxes’ mouthpiece, but someone propping up Glenn Beck, for example.

          As much as we joke about the Republican party being for sale…if Trump wins, it turns out the nomination *literally* was for sale, and it doesn’t really seem like it was the establishment that was selling it. Which means the establishment is no longer, in any sense, in control of the Republican party.

          And they’re ‘not in control’ in the *wrong* way. It’s one thing to not be in control because the people who work for you have internalized *your philosophy* a bit too much, and get a bit excessive with it. (Or, looking at it another way, ‘the establishment’ is a bunch of competing interesting and people, and even ‘out-of-control shut-down-the-government Tea Partiers’ are serving *someone’s interest, at least in the long run. Because they are *pushing the philosophy*.)

          But it’s another thing when people who don’t follow your philosophy at all, and have no connection to you at all, come in and are suddenly in charge. Why should you let *them* have that?

          So the Republican establishment might be standing there, pouring gasoline on the ground and holding a lit torch. That might be the optics *on purpose*.

          If they go down, *they’re taking the rest of the party with them*. And, more important, if it turns out they *don’t* have to burn the party down, the next person will remember they were willing to.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

            But it seems to me that there are more people supporting Trump than merely the nativist racists who never voted Republican before in their lives.

            Sure, the nativist racists need to be expelled from the party forever, their fields burned and salted, okay fine.

            But the shotgun blast being used against Trump seems to be hitting more than just the nativist racists who have it coming. The low-information voters out there who could see themselves voting for Kasich or Trump or Rubio should not be left thinking that the game is rigged.

            If you’re playing an iterated game, that’s a very good way to get people to start defecting.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

              One of the biggest questions the GOP is going to have to figure out the answer to is who they are and what is driving them. Maybe it is something that can be accommodated in the future. Maybe it isn’t. But it’s an August question, or a December one.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      If you’re a great poker player going against a mediocre poker player, the psychological strategy of ‘I’m going to tell you exactly how I’m going to beat you, and then I’m going to beat you’ does work. It’s doesn’t work against a good player, (or against James Bond), but it definitely works against someone whose newish to the game and only has a stack of chips due to some lucky draws at the turn and the river.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

        While I can understand the short-term psychological benefits to punching Trump in the nose so hard that even his fans get bloody noses, and I suppose I can see the calculus involved in saying something like “screw those people, they don’t vote for us anyway” about the Trumpkins who have never voted Republican before…

        But it seems like they’re doing it in such a way that proves the points of trumpism.

        That’s bad for the Republicans in the middle run. Maybe even the long run.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

          I agree that when one side says “Hey the system is rigged”, and the other side then openly and loudly plots to rig the system, that would seem to play into the first side’s hands. (and that’s why Clinton needs – and is getting – a ‘clean’ victory against Sanders, with more votes & more delegates, before even any of the super delegates are counted. Reports to the contrary are media hype trying to generate buzz for the horserace)

          Trump, though, is unique in many ways. One way is that his message, to the extent that it’s been cogent & consistent (which is very little), is that ‘the system is rigged, because I’ve played in the rigged system all my life. I’m not going to unrig it, but I’m going to play the rigged game now in your favor’.

          So for the guy that’s made his main theme deals and winning and being superlative at whatever he sets his mind to, a public evisceration of that guy is a useful object lesson for his supporters. Especially when on the supporters big issue (immigration), the guy doing the disemboweling is largely in agreement anyway. (or can fake it well enough).Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

            Trump needs to be eviscerated in such a way that does not give his message legitimacy.

            Trump is just a buffoon, after all. His message, however, is one that needs to be discredited. If the only thing that the Republicans do is discredit Trump personally while, at the same time, proving Trump’s points, we’re going to play this game again.

            And maybe it’ll be against someone who knows how to play.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

              If we take the previous eras of increasing nativist sentiment as precedent, it will only go away if 1) there’s some other humungous existential issue that everyone is fighting over (the Civil War extinguished the know-nothings as a political movement, (though the same sentiment came back with the Klan after the war), or 2) the nativists win. (e.g. Chinese Exclusion Act, Emergency Quota Act).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                It’s not just the nativism (though, granted, that’s what got his foot in the door). The whole “the system is corrupt, I’m not part of the system” thing is doing a lot for him as well.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                but ‘the system is corrupt, I’m not part of the system’ minus the nativism (with an asterisk) is Bernie. (and adjacent to him, all the #ResistCapitalism clowns)

                This thought should probably go in Dyer’s tent post, but that’s the future of the two big political coalitions (if they every break out of their ethnic lock down they’re in now) – a party of the urban metroplex bourgeois that runs the system and is satisfied with it, and a party that is basically everyone else that’s outside that system and is dissatisfied with it.

                edit – like, conspiracy theories about Russia aside, how those outside the system on both wings united politically to reject the trade deal between Netherlands and Ukraine.

                *the asterisk is that both Trump and Bernie and people like Eric Loomis hate that Oreos and air conditioners will soon be made in Mexico by Mexicans.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

          I don’t want to get too deep into these weeds because I have a post going up tomorrow. However…

          It’s not enough to simply corral the delegates, you have to actually argue for the system’s legitimacy. If Trump doesn’t get to 1237, it’s going to come up. That’s not to say that it isn’t perfect, but it’s imperfect in ways that have benefited Trump immensely. Over and over again, he’s turned a third of the votes into 100% of the delegates. If we had a more democratic system, it’s far from clear that he would be any closer to the nomination than he is, and I suspect he would be further away.

          When this has been pointed out, the response has been (justifiably) “Hey, the rules are the rules.”

          Well, yes, the rules are the rules. It’s late in the game for the Trump folks to express outrage that they’re not being modified when they no longer benefit him.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

            I’ll try to hold off until tomorrow, then.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

            My recollection could be wrong, but I’m not aware of much argumentation from anti-Trumps along the way that the rules weren’t fair & have benefitted Trump unfairly. (Because the anti-Trumps are largely aligned with the party per se, and the rules are the rules of the party per se.) So I’m not aware of a lot of “the rules are the rules” responses from Trump.

            Indeed, when it comes to the rules, it seems like Trump has mostly gotten beaten at taking advantage of them. Trump’s argument in response to questions about the validity of his wins all along has been much more of a rules-be-damned appeal to popular results, not an appeal to the rules just as rules. As far as I could tell, the Trump response wasn’t “The rules are the rules,” but instead, “The winner should win. And I’m winning! Look: I got 35%, and he only got 31%! Anf that loser only got 22%! That’s winning! So I should get the delegates.” (I.e. implicitly, ‘FPTP winner-take-all *should* be the rule, even if it weren’t.’)

            Now that he’s being outhustled according to delegate rules, he’s crying bloody murder. But it seems to me by this logic he’s within his rights because, at least according to the logic of this comment, because 1) this is contrary to the vision he’d laid out about how it should go (which is itself contrary to the rules quite often) – the winner should win; 2) previously his adversaries have chosen to complain about the rules, so he’s within his rights to do so now, and 3), when his adversaries did so, his response was (implicitly) to defend the rules they were questioning on the merits, not just appeal to their existence as rules. He liked those rules, but not because they were the rules, but on the merits; he dislikes these other rules on the merits. That’s a consistent attitude about rules reflecting that they suit him when they suit him only because they suit him – not that he (and we) accept them because they are rules.

            Maybe you can supply the citation to show this is all wrong, though.Report

    • Autolukos in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’m old enough to remember when the combined Cruz and Trump vote was the “anti-establishment” vote.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

      They’re going to chainsaw their noses off to spite their face.

      And let’s be clear here: Trump supporters don’t actually belong in the Republican party anyway. All the evidence indicates they don’t, in any way, share the beliefs that the party says are important, and a lot of them are pretty nativist and somewhat racist, and make the party look bad. And, as has just been discovered, they can be lead by populist asshats anywhere.

      The party, in every sense except one, would be better off without them.

      Unfortunately, that one remaining exception is pretty important: Without their numbers, the Republican party will never win any elections ever again.

      Yes, a *lot* of Trump supporters aren’t normal Republican voters, so the Republicans have been winning without them…but a good portion of them are, and losing them would be disastrous. Additional, the Republicans have been somewhat short at the ballot box for quite some time, and that’s only getting worse. It’s only the gerrymandering of the House, the built-in gerrymandering of the states for the Senate, and the incumbency advantage, that has kept the Republicans in play to this point. They can’t just keep all their *existing* voters, they need *more*.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to DavidTC says:

        It’s only the gerrymandering of the House, the built-in gerrymandering of the states for the Senate, and the incumbency advantage, that has kept the Republicans in play to this point.

        If that helps you feel better about your electoral losses, go with it. Fiction doesn’t hurt anyone else.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Art Deco says:

          If you want to ignore the fact that, in both 2014 and 2012, Democrats gained ~4% less seats than their voting percentage, you go ahead.

          Now, you want to argue that the Republicans would have the House even without that. Well, fair point, the would have barely lost…which is because Democrats don’t turnout for mid-terms.

          But Republicans would have lost in 2012, though, ending up without a single branch of the government…and remember how the government is supposed to go to the *other* side in middle of an eight-year term ? Nope.

          Same with 2008, they would have lost it all! (In fact, they actually did lose all three in 2008, but it was incredibly drawn out.)

          So maybe I should amend: It’s only the gerrymandering of the House, the built-in gerrymandering of the states for the Senate, and the incumbency advantage, and the complete lack of Democrats voting in mid-terms, that has kept the Republicans in play to this point.

          So I stand corrected.

          As has been pointed out repeatedly, the Republican party is demographically dying, and they are reaching the point where the only reason they have any *national* power only because of how the government is structured.

          This is essentially the last *presidential* election they can win. Well, technically, if they win now they’ll probably win in 2020 also. And *possibly* they could win in 2016 if the Dems won now, but the incumbent didn’t rerun. But in the real world when presidents run for two terms and almost always get re-elected the second time…this is it. It will not be possible in 2024, barring some sort of weird situation where the Republicans are running an incumbent somehow.

          As for the House and Senate…those are almost entirely due to incumbency now. Even with structural advantage, they’d find it hard to get a majority if the entire thing was clean-slated. So it’s however long Congresspeople hang on.

          Unless they can get new people. (Trump is bringing in new people, but, uh, that has other problems.)Report

          • Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

            But Republicans would have lost in 2012, though, ending up without a single branch of the government

            That’s not clear, actually. The GOP has a natural distribution advantage apart from gerrymandering, and there was an incumbency skew.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Will Truman says:

              That link is bad, however, I know what you are talking about. Basically, there is a difference in where Dems vs. Repubs live, and that translates into a difference in elections. (Did I read that here?)

              That…is an interesting idea, but doesn’t really alter what I was saying.

              I think people are sorta misunderstanding my point. I was not trying to rail against gerrymandering. My point is that Republicans have lost the majority, and really have no direction to go to get it back, and the only reason they *still* have control of anything is because things are biased slightly towards their election.

              This bias might be gerrymandering, it might be a bunch of rural states, it might be distribution of population in general. I wasn’t really trying to complain about that. (Well, I’ll complain about Democrats *NOT VOTING* in midterms.)

              I was just pointing that *whatever* is causing more Republicans to be elected than they ‘deserve’ based on pure voters, it’s the only reason they’ve held on. (That and incumbency.) But although it’s extended things for them a few cycles, they’re reaching the end of *that* at this point. (For non-midterms, at least.)Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC says:

            Only a 4% difference between vote count and seat count? I should dream of such fair and representative gerrymandering!Report

            • DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog says:

              The point isn’t that gerrymandering is ‘extreme’, it’s not. The point is that the GOP is *right* at the point where they would have already started losing the House without it on non-mid-term elections.

              They *barely* kept the House in 2012, *losing* seats and also losing the popular vote. That’s not how it’s supposed to work in the middle of a two-term president, the other party is supposed to make gains, not lose 8 seats! If it *hadn’t* been for that 4% tilt, they would have lost it!

              But as that tilt it is not, in fact, very large, it’s only delayed things a few election cycles. I’m going to surprised if they *ever* control the House after a presidential election cycle after this current one. Although incumbency is always a bit odd.

              (Again, without some sort of major change happening.)Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                (Again, without some sort of major change happening.)

                Of course, with what is happening with Trump and the likelihood of the party in chaos after losing this election, I’ll also be startled if we get to 2020 *without* some sort of major change happening!

                So my observation about voting patterns is perhaps less useful than it would have seemed a year ago.Report