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Archive for the ‘You can’t make this up’ Category

Asleep at the intersection

Today, while waiting to cross the street, I saw something that should never happen.

Here in BC, at many intersections, there are left turn lanes. In some of them, the traffic light will show a green arrow that gives right of way to those turning left. The crosswalk I was at was one such intersection. And as you might expect, the left turn arrows came on in both directions. However, there were no vehicles in either left turn lane.

Is it not obvious that the above situation leads to unnecessary idling, and therefore wastes energy? I see no reason why it is impossible to put a sensor in a left turn lane that, that while the light is red, detects and counts the cars passing over. Perhaps it could detect cars by pushing down slightly when a set of wheels passes over. This will happen twice per car (once per axle). The cars’ weight could press the sensor down. While not perfect (a semi or other long vehicle with more than two axles would result in an incorrect number of vehicles) this will be a good enough approximation to form a sensor system. The number of cars passing into the left turn lane could then be used to decide whether to activate the arrow the next time the light turns green. This system would prevent unnecessary idling due to unneeded turning arrows, and ought to be relatively simple to implement (a computer could probably do it).

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And another irony meter bites the dust

Look at this rubbish by one of Serena Joy’s relatives. I’d like to draw your attention to the big photograph accompanying it at the top (screenshot below).

Screenshot

Does the big photograph right below the title look familiar?

Look familiar?

It should, because the photograph is actually one of Lela McArthur (left), and Stephanie Figarelle (right), the first same–sex couple to get married at the Empire State Building.

In other words, a screed against gender equality is accompanied by a photograph of a same–sex couple, an example of an institution that helps to increase gender equality.

You really, really can’t make this up.

And speaking of same–sex marriage, I strongly suspect that much conservative opposition to it is rooted in misogyny. As Echidne (and others) have argued, same–sex marriage subverts traditional/stereotypical gender roles. In (say) a marriage between two women, it can be a partnership of equals or not. If it is a partnership of equals, than neither is in the stereotypical submissive “feminine” role. If it is not  partnership between equals, than one partner (who, be definition, is female) must be in the stereotypical dominant “masculine” role. It therefore means that some woman is adopting a stereotypical masculine gender role in her marriage. The same reasoning applies to a same–sex marriage between two men. If it is a partnership of equals, than neither partner is dominant or submissive. If it is not a partnership of equals, than one man must be in a stereotypical submissive feminine role. Either way, either neither partner is in their sex’s stereotypical gender role, or else one partner is, but you cannot tell which purely by determining their gender. As Echidne put it (my emphasis):

“I cannot help thinking that those who are opposed to same-sex marriage might be opposed to the idea of a marriage where they cannot tell, right off the bat, who should be the high priest and who the congregation in the family. In other words, they treasure the patriarchal form of marriage more than the idea that the partners should be of different genders.”

Via Jessica Valenti.

Update: The picture has been removed. But I saved a screenshot. The internet never forgets.

Update 2: Figarelle released a statement. You can read it at Feministing.

Worst argument against marriage equality EVER

I think we should file this under the “You can’t make this up” category (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON — Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can “produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.

By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, “substantial advance planning is required,” said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

This unusual defense of traditional marriage was set out last week in a pair of opening legal briefs in the two gay marriage cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring.

This argument from shotgun wedding pretty much shows how opponents of marriage have no real arguments. That’s why they’ve come up with an argument that actually comes up with a reason to support same–sex marriage. Also juxtapose how many of those who oppose marriage equality also attack Planned Parenthood and seek to restrict access to abortion and contraception.

The apparently disturbing thing about this argument is that it has been used before and apparently accepted by some US court.

Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money.

Link farm and a random thought

In no particular order:

The ultimate in data storage. Scientists have found a way to store digital information in DNA. The storage method is sophisticated enough that all information currently in hard drives could fit into the palm of your hand.


Quote of the day (emphasis added):

“What always interests me about defenders of creationism is how they clearly don’t think of children as people in their own right, but instead property that you use to enact your ideological obsessions.”

I personally would edit that quote to include the entirety of the rotten parental rights movement. Those people really do see their own kids as enemies and who’ll do anything to prevent those children from thinking for themselves and not being a projection or perfect reflection of the parents. Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has emphasized this point multiple times.


Solar power is well on its way to becoming cheaper than coal. It might reach that point before the end of the decade. This is important, as it would eliminate much of the point of burning coal, which is important for climate change mitigation. (It’s still better to start today, however).


I fully agree with these suggestions on how to write a better fantasy story. (Via all these people).


Did you know that (supposedly) the committee of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women supposedly “Told Libya to re-interpret the Koran in the light of CEDAW”? To rational people, this is an excellent reason to support the CEDAW. But, Echidne found out, wingnuts actually use this as a justifiation for opposing the CEDAW. To their credit, at least they’re honest.


Two of the comments on a post on Brute Reason have won awards. You just have to see them.

And yes, I did manage to read and finish what is visible of the first comment. It starts repeating itself part way through Can’t it be all new woo?

This post has been edited since publication.

Hmm….

Let’s juxtapose this (via) and this.

Child of the random stuff

In no particular order:

Jeannieology of a not–Poe

I’ve seen any number of ridiculous objections to the birth control mandate in the US, but this one has got to be one of the loopiest. I found it at Sadly No!, and I swear that it is not a Poe. It’s by someone named Jeannie DeAngelis, and is titled “Is Obama purposely altering America’s religious complexion?”. Considering that Ms. DeAngelis’ writing has also been found at websites like The American Stinker pretty much sums up all you need to know about her. And since I haven’t done a fisking in so long, DeAngelis’ screed provides the perfect target.

Just like a benevolent government that has worked hard to help provide naïve young girls with parent-free abortions,[…]

All women and girls have reproductive rights. Parents don’t own their kids, and they shouldn’t suffer because they happened to be born to fetus fetishist parents. Abortion (and contraception, although DeAngelis didn’t mention it in this context) are legal.

[I]t stands to reason that ‘patriarchal’ Christianity would be next in line to be undermined.[…]

If patriarchal religion is being undermined I’m all for it.

When it comes to challenging authority, the President seems to be particularly obsessed with using birth control and abortion as a weapon.

“Birth control and abortion as a weapon?” You have until the count of ten before I pump your guts full of pills!;)

[…]Barry seems excessively concerned about ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, credo or upbringing, can obtain free condoms, morning-after pills, sterilization, and abortion-on-demand.

Actually, economic and other barriers ensure that most women don’t have abortion or contraception on demand. Additionally, the Hyde Amendment and other laws ensure that federal tax dollars and none of your money™ are not being used to fund (most) abortions (cite).

The only religious group Obama respects and is careful not offend, whether religiously or parentally, is Muslims.

Bush emphasized on a number of occasions that he was fighting Islamic terrorists and extremists and not the vast majority of Muslims who are neither.

The Muslim faith has drawn a line in the sand and the President, who feels very comfortable defying every other authority from the Vatican to the parents of 14-year-old girls[…]

The Pope runs his own country. And again, children shouldn’t suffer because they had the misfortune to be born to parents who abuse them by denying them legal health care.

[A]cquiesces, without question, to the tenets of the Koran.

This conspiracy theory that Obama is a secret Muslim has been debunked a million times.

Barack Obama knows full well that “Muslims believe that health insurance is ‘haraam,’ or forbidden, because they liken the ambiguity and probability of insurance to gambling.” Thus, without question the Obama administration has decided that, unlike other faiths, “This belief excludes them from any of the requirements, mandates, or penalties set forth in [Obamacare].” Obama respects the Muslim stance on gambling, and presto! Muslims are exempt from health insurance, and more specifically the birth control, sterilization, and abortion mandates that accompany it.

Actually, as Snopes and FactCheck make clear, while some Muslim groups object to life insurance, most Muslims have no problem with health insurance or other insurance required by law. Considering that no Muslim groups objects to Social Security, which Christian groups granted exemptions under the appropriate laws do, it is unlikely that any Muslim would be granted an exemption. As Snopes puts it, “[N]o Muslim group has ever qualified for an exemption under the guidelines which define which religious groups would be exempt from the health care law.”

And furthermore, there is no abortion mandate.

DeAngelis then goes on to quote some Catholic dogma about human reproduction and sexuality. The appropriate response to this is, of course, to point out that if one is concerned about abortions (like DeAngelis herself mentioned as recently as last month) and wants to reduce the number of abortions, improved access to contraception is the number one way to do it. That, along with better sex education, is how places like the Czech Republic (cite), Georgia (cite), and elsewhere (cite) have reduced their abortion rates.

Barack Obama, who’s obsessed with everyone else’s sex life[…]

“[O]bsessed with everyone else’s sex life?” I thought this article was written by Jeannie DeAngelis, and not Yagotta B. Kidding.

The question arises as to why a President so focused on controlling so many Americans’ reproductive habits and overriding religion[…]

98% of sexually active Catholic women use contraception. A Majority of Catholics support no–cost contraception (cite). The only religion being overridden is that of the professional virgins almost no one listens to anyway. In addition, as David Frum (a Republican) pointed out, those who oppose the birth control mandate on the grounds of “freedom of religion” are incoherent, much less the fact that several states have required churches to follow similar rules several years already.

[…]Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Barack Obama have joined forces, blocked the exits, and are distributing free condoms at the contraceptive circus.

Contraceptive circus? Really?

Meanwhile, Islam is exempt.

See just above. DeAngelis mentioned this in the part of the paragraph that I skipped over. She sure does know how to rant, doesn’t she?

The President is urging and actively assisting in lowering birth rates in a Christian community whose tenets reject contraception and abortion and stands by while, according to Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life population projections, “Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades.”[…]

Ooooh, alert alert, it’s the scary foreign people! That aside, if you read such demographic reports, you’ll find out that the fertility rate in the Muslim world is plummetting. The reason for the continued increase is, of course, population momentum: When you have a large cohort of people of prime reproductive age, the population will almost certainly go up even with a low birth rate.

DeAngelis continues ranting the same stuff for her last paragraph, reiterating her previous wingnut word salad about Muslim exemptions and pretty much nothing that hasn’t been debunked above.

Update: This post used to have a picture, but I removed it on the grounds that it added no value to this post.

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