Showing posts from April, 2014

Taking Away Our Words

The thought police seem to think they can do what religion and philosophy have failed since time immemorial to do: Force peace upon the world. They do it in the most misguided manner possible: By trying to take our words away, as if words are merely weapons and we can be disarmed.

Maybe they missed the fact that oriental Martial Arts exist because taking actual weapons away from The People also failed to keep them sheeple. People still contended. People still defended themselves. They just learned to make their hands and feet and farm implements into weapons after being deprived of implements designed specifically to be weapons.
It’s one thing to decide what you wish to be called. It’s another to seek to scrub words and identities from the lexicon, to snatch them from the hands of the people who created or claimed them before you were even born.

These words are not yours to control. You do not use them. You do not embody them. You did not create them. And you do not have the right…

Cult of The Moon Goddess: Feminism Done All Wrong

The summer we turned 27, my then husband and I bought a house together. He was still a role playing gamer. We had both been gamers when we met but I largely gave up this very time-intensive hobby when I had my first child. But I was still willing to play hostess to his hobbies when we first lived there. My willingness to do so changed while we lived there, but that is a different story, perhaps for another time.

At that particular duty station, most of his gamer buddies were college students. One was a 19 year old single mom. She was living with a couple of people, one was her boyfriend, and their situation got bad. They needed a place to stay in a hurry. Since we did own our own home, I talked my husband into letting me offer her and her baby a place to stay temporarily.

I initially assumed this was a nice young girl from a bad family doing the best she could. In the brief time she lived with us, she managed to alienate me and lose all of my sympathy, for a long list of reasons. She …

Murdering a Meme: A Case Study in Promoting Cultural Diversity in Online Forums

Metafilter currently has an interesting MeTa going: (mis)handling non-US content I like talking about things like forum culture and how to do it better but I know I am not really that respected on MetaFilter (because I am just a five dollar newb, so good luck with that) and I get a certain amount of crap off of people on Metafilter for "talking too much about me". So I started this comment and decided, yeah, I don't even want to hear it. But decided that, with a little editing, it is still worth saying, just not over there.

I don't spend a lot of time on "The Blue" (the main part of Metafilter where FPP's are posted and which is the topic of this MeTa discussion). I spend most of my time on "The Green" -- aka AskMe. I like being helpful and I don't really like arguing with people (because most internet "arguments" are arguments in the sense of fighting, not arguments in the sense of respectful intellectual debate) so the culture …

Living Safely is Not Mere Luck

In a recent (long) comment on MetaFilter, I said (in part):
The other thing that makes it super hard to talk about preventive strategies is that if you walk away before anything really bad happens, you can never prove that you prevented something terrible from happening. You just can't. And trying to argue that you did prevent some big thing from happening tends to make you look a little desperate and crazy. People are only absolutely sure you walked away from terrible abuse if you were already being beaten, not if you left before it ever went that far.

People have an extremely hard time measuring what did not happen but "should" have/would have.
This was a discussion of abusive relationships. Part of the ongoing discussion was a debate between people who felt they had not been abused because they knew what not to do and people who felt that such a view amounted to "victim blaming." I wish I had explicitly stated that this difficulty in measuring what sho…

Lemon Meringue Pie is Better Than Sour Grapes

Wow, people don't like this comment of mine on Hacker News. Currently at -4 karma. (Or the other comment of mine in the same discussion -- also in the negatives.) This is about a blog piece called When Life Gives You Lemons... by The Tesla Motors Team.

Having had some time to reflect, my issue is not that Tesla defends themselves. It is that they try to make the "Lemon Law" lawyer look guilty. If they had stuck with spelling out that they are innocent and carefully avoided suggesting the other folks are guilty, I would have zero issue with it. I would feel it was a good PR move which will also stand up in court. But that isn't what they did. (And I am not the only person who doesn't like it. But others were not necessarily downvoted into hell for saying they don't like it.)

One of the problems with getting into a pissing contest is that you may win the battle but lose the war. I tend to take a bit more of a long view than a lot of people seem to, possibly in…

On Beauty: Modern Lies, Underlying Meaning and Inherent Conflict

Edited excerpt from a piece published under the title Beauty on 2011/12/08. I have cut a fair amount of the text. The initial post was inspired in part by a conversation with someone I knew at the time who had some really negative things to say about a photo of me when I finally supplied them with one. The excerpt is a critique of what I think is wrong with modern ideas about "beauty" -- how magazines and movies poison our minds with unrealistic ideas and make us feel inferior. It is followed by other thoughts on how beauty is still a potentially valuable measure. I think beauty is perhaps not as shallow as it sometimes seems and I hope we can find a way to relate to the concept in a healthier manner and not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Here is the photo she found so mortifying:

I made the point to her that real people don't look like celebrities/photos in magazines/movies and she should google for celebrities without make-up. She found a photo of Madonna wi…

She's a Man, Baby

My dad spent 26.5 years in the Army. In his twenties, he had malaria. When his fever was 106, most of his hair fell out. It never grew back. He had typical male pattern baldness (nothing on top, hair around the sides and back) for the rest of his life.

With spending so many years in the Army, he got a hair cut once a week for basically the rest of his life. I don't think I ever saw him with hair that was much more than a quarter of an inch long.

Two days ago, for medical reasons, I had my head shaved. Humorously, I am practically the spitting image of my bald father (but on a smaller scale, with more delicate features). I had no idea I looked so much like dad.

Right after I got my head shaved, I stopped at the bank and opened a safe deposit box. The banker who assisted me said "yes ma'ame" to me more than I have heard in a very long time. This was not at all the reaction I had expected.

Maybe it was weird coincidence and had nothing to do with my newly bald head and …

HN Moderating Transparency: Achievement, Unlocked

So, Hacker News has publicly announced who the moderator is (in a piece called Meet the People Taking over Hacker News). And now folks are making a call for transparency.

I recently emailed the newly named moderator a congratulatory note and a link to my piece on Lynch Mob Culture. He asked for an example and I sent him a link to something of mine and a few explanatory comments.

Today, I have been informed that they have removed the rate limit on my account and he indicated he did not know why I had a rate limit. So, for me, the increased transparency of Hacker News is already pretty apparent and already helping me feel more welcomed and all that. (This is somewhat funny to me given how worried I was that "pending comments" would mean I would never get to post again.)

Again, congrats to Dan G. (dang) on his role as moderator for Hacker News. And thank your for already starting to improve the place by giving the moderating more of a human touch and less of a Robocop feel. …