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Rules for Gentlemen

Actually, the Rules for Gentlemen are the same as they’ve always been, but unfortunately, there has been one major change: all the get-out-of-jail-free cards have been cancelled. Rendered null and void. Deleted. They aren’t making any more. If you try waving one, it’ll just make you look more corrupt — what made you ever think you deserved an exemption?

So I’m going to be specific. We don’t get to make these excuses ever again.

  • The autistic/mentally ill exemption. Ugh. Gross. Do not ever pull a James Damore and blame your bad behavior and ignorance on autism. Autism doesn’t turn you into an asshole. Neither does mental illness. You don’t get to drag down a lot of innocent people with you and increase their stigma to save your butt.

  • We men are such lovable klutzes. Wrong. Pretending to be ignorant of the rules of normal human behavior isn’t lovable at all. Especially since 5 minutes after you beg unawareness of how to do laundry and complain about the impossibility of navigating the complex social mores of interacting with feeemales, you’re going to hop on the internet and brag about how your sex includes Alexander the Great, Gutenberg, and the guy who invented http among its members.

  • It’s our Man Genes. Nope. There are no such things as Man Genes that dictate your behavior. From the raw material of our genetics, society constructed Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, and Nelson Mandela. People are complicated and your naive reductionism is noted and dismissed as stupid.

  • The she-was-a-slut excuse. The grossest. It doesn’t matter if she posed for Playboy, had sex with the Philadelphia Eagles, and was standing naked in front of you coated in lube — if she says no, if she doesn’t give consent, you don’t have an invitation to demand so much as a kiss. Her sexual history does not give you liberty to take liberties. I don’t understand why, but this seems to be extraordinarily hard for some people to grasp.

  • But it was only once! It’s never only once. But even if it was that miraculously solitary, incredibly rare, unusual exception of an event, it doesn’t matter. The harm was done. We don’t get permission to run a stop light just once, or to commit murder just once — you don’t get a crime punchcard that lets you off the hook once for each error of judgment.

  • The punishment is too severe. All right, I sort of sympathize with this one — we seem to find ourselves in a world where the only choices are “look the other way” or “nuke it from orbit”, with no gradations in between. But the problem is…we built that world. We looked the other way for everything shy of cannibal baby rape, and our failure to respond to constant escalation of harassment means we haven’t created an appropriate social response to all those intermediate offenses. We put off paying the prices for millennia, and it’s all finally coming due.

  • OK, but I’ll get to pick my penance. Sneaky. You’ll request an ethics review of your actions. By your peers. Who are almost all men. Who include a majority of Republicans. It is very brave to be willing to abide by their judgment, when you know the outcome will be a pat on the back, apologies for dragging you through this process, and uninterrupted resumption of your privilege. Christ, we saw Jeff Sessions glide through his pro forma hearing, suffering only a little finger wagging and ending up…still the attorney general of the whole goddamned United States.

Got it, gentlemen? Pull out your wallet and dump out all those cards granting you exemptions, splash them with a wee bit of your whisky, and set them on fire. You can sit back and sip the remainder of the bottle while weeping — that’s fine. You probably feel naked and vulnerable now, just like everyone else. It’s extremely uncomfortable.

Maybe we can start from scratch and build more equitable principles for dealing with others that gives all of us some protection.

Christian Conservative Lawmaker Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Trafficking

Family Values: Former Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey faces life in prison after pleading guilty to child sex trafficking. After being caught in a hotel room with an underage boy, conservative Christian and former Oklahoma lawmaker Ralph Shortey has entered a plea of guilty to child sex trafficking charges in hopes of receiving a more […]

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A mirror held up to who we are

Wow. Tom Björklund has been making these amazing paintings to humanize Neandertals. Here are a few examples:

It doesn’t take much — a father teaching his child, a flower in the hair — to wrench one away from the usual distanced view we have of dead bones and stone tools. These were people.

I’d like to see a similar approach to australopithecines. We can see emotions in a chimpanzee — you know that Lucy had just as rich a repertoire of feelings as they do. We can only imagine how they expressed them.

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A different version of the Onion Test

The denizens of 4chan/pol have got it into their tiny little heads that the way to Save Western Civilization is for them increase their testosterone levels. There are a few little problems with that idea: they haven’t made the connection between “more testosterone” and “civilization”, and given that testosterone is an extremely common steroidal hormone in all vertebrates, and that bears get rather high testosterone levels without building cities and discovering writing, any connection would be tenuous. But apparently they’re fixated on this idea about manliness, and are looking for ways to naturally elevate their testosterone, and so have started consuming onions.

4Chan /pol/ users are eating onions in an effort to increase their testosterone, and it’s not going well pic.twitter.com/jSX9MD4Oyo

— Will Sommer (@willsommer) November 20, 2017

Wait, why onions? There’s another tenuous connection. Onions are high in antioxidants that help break down free radicals, free radicals are produced in greater volumes in metabolically active cells, some very active cells are sperm cell precursors that are dividing rapidly, so we should eat onions to preserve our precious Western male bodily fluids! There have been serious studies on this subject, and I found one in Experimental Biology and Medicine that reports a substantial increase in sexual activity in rats fed onion juice.

Onion (Allium cepa) is one of the most commonly cultivated species of the family Liliaceae, and has long been used in dietary and therapeutic applications. Treatment with fresh onion juice has been reported to promote testosterone production in male rats. Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for enhancing sexual libido and potency. This study aimed to investigate the effects of onion juice on copulatory behavior of sexually potent male rats and in male rats with paroxetine-induced sexual dysfunction. Sexually experienced male rats were divided into seven groups: a control group, three onion juice-treated groups, a paroxetine-treated group, and two groups treated with paroxetine plus different doses of onion juice. At the end of the treatments, sexual behavior parameters and testosterone levels were measured and compared among the groups. Administration of onion juice significantly reduced mount frequency and latency and increased the copulatory efficacy of potent male rats. In addition, administration of onion juice attenuated the prolonged ejaculatory latency period induced by paroxetine and increased the percentage of ejaculating rats. Serum testosterone levels increased significantly by onion juice administration. However, a significant reduction in testosterone because of paroxetine therapy was observed. This reduction was restored to normal levels by administration of onion juice. This study conclusively demonstrates that fresh onion juice improves copulatory behavior in sexually potent male rats and in those with paroxetine-induced sexual dysfunction by increasing serum testosterone levels.

So, in this one study, they found that rats who were juiced on onions had sex more often (and more quickly, but let’s gloss over that). I guess if you think ejaculating rats is a good proxy for civilization, that might be suggestive.

Except…

Don’t tell /pol/ this, they might panic…

The authors of the study are…Mohammed Z Allouh, Haytham M Daradka, Mohammed M Al Barbarawi, and Ayman G Mustafa. This might throw them over the edge. They’re already suspecting that they’re being tricked into gnawing on raw onions.

Now the /pol/ users are arguing over whether leftists are tricking them into drinking onion juice as a trap. But so far, onions are winning out. pic.twitter.com/lZkCL8NYnl

— Will Sommer (@willsommer) November 20, 2017

Should we tell them there are different varieties of onions, and not all of them are as sharp or astringent as the ones they’re suffering with? My father used to eat raw onions — but they were varieties like the Walla Walla Sweet onion, which as you might guess from the name, has a gentler flavor. He was also civilized and manly, which meant kind, supportive, and hard-working. I don’t think that’s the kind of civilized those guys are aiming for, though.

Exoplanet hunters rethink search for alien life

By Alexandra Witze

Steve Desch can see the future of exoplanet research, and it’s not pretty. Imagine, he says, that astronomers use NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to scour the atmosphere of an Earth-mass world for signs of life. Then imagine that they chase hints of atmospheric oxygen for years — before realizing that those were false positives produced by geological activity instead of living things.

Desch, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University in Tempe, and other planet hunters met from 13-17 November in Laramie, Wyoming, to plot better ways to scout for life beyond Earth. Many are starting to argue that habitability — having liquid water on a planet’s surface — is not the factor that should guide exoplanet exploration. Instead, the scientists say, the field should focus on the chances of detecting alien life, should it exist.

“Planets can be habitable and not have life with any impact,” Desch told researchers at the meeting.

It turns out that water worlds are some of the worst places to look for living things. One study presented at the meeting shows how a planet covered in oceans could be starved of phosphorus, a nutrient without which earthly life cannot thrive. Other work concludes that a planet swamped in even deeper water would be geologically dead, lacking any of the planetary processes that nurture life on Earth.

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Does West Virginia’s “Christian Heritage Week” Violate Church/State Separation?

By David G. McAfee

From now until next Saturday, West Virginia is honoring “Christian Heritage Week,” where the state government promotes Christian lessons, songs, and prayers… and raises valid concerns about church/state separation.

The ACLU of West Virginia has called on this to be the last Christian Heritage Week by sending a letter to the state’s governor. The group said on Thursday that the courts have “been clear” that “no religion should have the appearance of having special privilege, favor or endorsement from the government.”

“Christian Heritage Week” certainly violates the idea that no religion will be given special favor. People of other faiths including Muslims, Jews, indigenous religions and even those who proclaim no religion have all made substantial contributions to the growth and development of West Virginia. Yet no other religion is singled out to celebrate their history or heritage; this gives the appearance of favoring one religion over others. It is similarly troubling that “Christian Heritage Week” routinely falls on the week of Thanksgiving — because it entangles a national, secular holiday with a celebration of a particular religion.

This is exactly right. Every year, for 26 years, West Virginia has proclaimed “Christian Heritage Week” to overlap with Thanksgiving, in essence trying to hijack the holiday for a particular faith. That’s not a coincidence.

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Why evangelicals are again backing a Republican despite allegations of sexual misconduct

By Astead W. Herndon

WASHINGTON — Allegations that Roy Moore sexually assaulted teenage girls decades ago have turned many Republicans against their party’s Senate candidate in Alabama, but one bloc of conservative leaders is standing by their man: evangelicals.

It is the latest example of a shift in attitude among Christian conservatives, who polls show are increasingly willing to overlook sexual misbehavior if a political leader is firmly committed to opposing abortion, gay marriage, and transgender rights.

In today’s hyperpartisan environment, ideology trumps personal transgressions for these religious leaders, who years ago called on President Clinton to resign over his liaisons with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Now, conservative evangelicals have rallied to the defense of Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who once defied court orders and kept a memorial of the Ten Commandments in the state judicial building. To his evangelical supporters, Moore is a victim of a media witch hunt.

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