All entries by this author


Jun 19th, 2019 12:48 pm | By

Another strange thing to think.

Universities & colleges should be sanctuaries, not spaces where staff & students are exposed to oppressive attitudes from those charged to teach them.

Really? Universities and colleges should be sanctuaries? What about being places where people on the edge of adulthood learn things they didn’t know before, and learn how to learn new things, and learn to question things they thought they knew, and to ponder why they thought they knew them?

In short, no, universities and colleges should not be sanctuaries. They should of course be places where people are treated decently, and where the older professionals in charge don’t use their status to bully or abuse students or other underlings…but sanctuaries, no. … Read the rest


Jun 19th, 2019 11:56 am | By

Trump loves to say US air quality is getting cleaner and cleaner thanks to him. Is he right?

Pfffffffff. Of course not.

Over the last two years the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data shows. While it remains unclear whether this is the beginning of a trend, health experts say it’s troubling to see air quality progress stagnate.

There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.

Some of that has to be because of the summer wildfires … Read the rest

She FEELS she has executive privilege

Jun 19th, 2019 11:16 am | By

Hope Hicks is refusing to answer questions. They think they’re gods, don’t they.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks is not responding to any questions about her time at the White House in a closed-door congressional interview Wednesday, angering Democrats who say they expect to go to court to force her to answer their questions.

White House attorneys are objecting to all questions related to the White House, Democrats say, all the way down to where Hicks sat in the West Wing. But Hicks is answering questions about her time on the Trump campaign, which is not covered by executive privilege.

None of it is covered by “executive privilege.”

The White House is not asserting executive privilege, but

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Jun 19th, 2019 10:24 am | By

Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham and President of Humanists UK, has been Twitter-arguing with people who found the Natural History Museum’s tweets about queer giraffes and non-binary gorillas absurd.

This one is particularly interesting to me:

It’s her reply that interests me, but I’ll just note about the quoted passage from her book…I wonder if she would write that now. I wonder if now she would … Read the rest

Come on where?

Jun 18th, 2019 5:41 pm | By

A woman expresses passionate eagerness to erase the very category of women and girls.

So after all these years of trying and trying and TRYING to get marketers to stop dividing humans into strong bold brilliant boys and weak pretty stupid girls were a big mistake? So we actually shouldn’t be trying to tell girls they can be strong and bold and brilliant? We should actually stopRead the rest


Jun 18th, 2019 5:22 pm | By

The Smithsonian Magazine notes that concentration camps started long before Hitler took power.

Spain was having trouble persuading the Cuban people to stop rebelling, so they decided to round up the peasants who were supporting the rebels.

Civilians were forced, on penalty of death, to move into these encampments, and within a year the island held tens of thousands of dead or dying reconcentrados, who were lionized as martyrs in U.S. newspapers. No mass executions were necessary; horrific living conditions and lack of food eventually took the lives of some 150,000 people.

These camps did not rise out of nowhere. Forced labor had existed for centuries around the world, and the parallel institutions of Native American reservations and

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If you don’t want Auschwitz, don’t stand by while they build Dachau

Jun 18th, 2019 4:53 pm | By

Many people have reacted to Liz Cheney’s “internment camps for migrants are not the Holocaust, learn some history” tweet.

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We’ll leave it at that

Jun 18th, 2019 4:13 pm | By

“Dreyfuss était coupable!”

Trump says “You have people on both sides of that” when asked if he has any plans to apologize for trying to get the Central Park 5 executed.

H/t Acolyte of Sagan… Read the rest


Jun 18th, 2019 12:17 pm | By

Speaking of climate and emergency – Chennai (formerly Madras) has run out of water. That’s 11 million people.

The southern Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) is in crisis after its four main water reservoirs ran completely dry.

The acute water shortage has forced the city to scramble for urgent solutions, including drilling new boreholes.

Residents have had to stand in line for hours to get water from government tanks, and restaurants have closed due to the lack of water.

In the Arctic the permafrost is melting, and in southern India the water supply is drying up.

The water crisis has also meant that most of the city has to depend solely on Chennai’s water department, which has been

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Camps are an early step

Jun 18th, 2019 12:04 pm | By

Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, thought she had a gotcha on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

It’s Cheney who needs to learn some history. The Nazis didn’t go from zero to Auschwitz in 30 seconds; it took them years to get to Auschwitz. It was a process, with stages. Herding people into camps was an early stage. Trump is putting us at that stage. There is no magic mechanism guaranteeing that we won’t go on to further stages. That’s AOC’s point, … Read the rest

Look at all the thermokarst

Jun 18th, 2019 11:53 am | By

Turns out permafrost isn’t perma.

Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.

A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilised the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia.

They flew an old prop plane to extremely remote areas up there.

Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognisable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had

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That domestic violence was PRIVATE

Jun 18th, 2019 11:29 am | By

It’s strange how men who assault women, or defend other men who assault women, keep turning up in Trump’s administration. The acting secretary of defense just resigned.

The Washington Post pressed the button to launch this story at 12.58PM ET today, one minute ahead of the time logged when Donald Trump announced Shanahan’s withdrawal from the process to find his forever home at the Pentagon.

It’s pretty raw, beginning:

In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he

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Map of what is not up for debate

Jun 18th, 2019 10:21 am | By

A philosopher sent Brian Leiter a guide to Philosophical Discussion of Trans Identity.

Members of the profession have doubtless seen the recent letter from MAP, objecting to the participation of Kathleen Stock at a recent meeting of the Aristotelian Society. As the letter writers thoughtfully advised: “scepticism about the rights of marginalised groups and individuals, where issues of life and death are at stake, are not up for debate. The existence and validity of transgender and non-binary people, and the right of trans and non-binary people to identify their own genders and sexualities, fall within the range of such indisputable topics”.

Junior members of the profession may be wondering what sorts ideas may be discussed and

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Never being able to get flat enough

Jun 18th, 2019 9:51 am | By

The NY Times is still normalizing breast-mutilation.

A recent Times article on chest binding prompted a discussion among readers about the practice, which some transgender and gender-nonconforming people use to compress their breasts and treat body dysphoria, as well as how we covered it.

I bet it did.

So the Times asked readers to report on their adventures in binding. They got more than 200 responses, mostly from very young people (of course – this wasn’t a fashion ten years ago).

I am 31 and have been wearing constrictive sports bras since I developed breasts in high school. I didn’t know about binders until well into my 20s. I wish I had. Without the availability of binders, many people

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Our support for policies and practices which are inclusive and supportive

Jun 17th, 2019 4:58 pm | By

There’s a counter-letter to yesterday’s letter to the Times. Of course there is.

The title is “University support for LGBTQIA+ people”…as if the letter to the Times were about refusing to support people.

The letter is bad. It’s bad the way these things are always bad – it’s all buzzwords and rote phrases that are abstract and not defined. Academics shouldn’t be writing bad letters of that kind.

As academics and other colleagues working in higher education, we are writing to register our support for policies and practices which are inclusive and supportive of our trans colleagues and students.

What does that mean? Inclusive in what sense? Supportive how?

There is reasonable inclusion, which means not excluding people … Read the rest

Applying the social pressure

Jun 17th, 2019 4:05 pm | By

Ok ok yes I know I can’t force people to believe ridiculous things…but I sure as hell can bully them into pretending to believe them!

Useful, in a way, to see one of them admit it. “Come here, bitch, I need to apply some social pressure to you.”

Well, by claiming that sex/gender is an identity, trans dogmatists are intellectually and politically harming feminists. Impasse? How about we … Read the rest

Meet the queer gorilla

Jun 17th, 2019 11:00 am | By

The Natural History Museum – the one in South Kensington, next to the V&A –  has lost its mind.

The opening shot was June 1.

A rebellious member of the public asked what they were talking about.

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Jun 17th, 2019 10:16 am | By

The BBC pulls out a few items from Trump’s 30 hours of talking.

Mr Trump argued that no president has ever been as mistreated as himself, including Abe Lincoln, who was shot dead.

“If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly,” he said. “But nobody’s been treated badly like me.”

Mr Trump, who calls himself a student of history, has previously drawn comparisons with the 16th president. During a rally last September in Montana, Mr Trump said Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address “was excoriated by the fake news”.

And during his first election campaign, Mr Trump claimed: “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held

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Jun 17th, 2019 9:52 am | By

This is great. Mere human dares to cough while Trump is talking.

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Taller, bigger and stronger on average

Jun 16th, 2019 5:22 pm | By

Sean Ingle at the Guardian:

The International Olympic Committee’s guidelines for transgender athletes are unfair on female athletes and should be suspended while more research is carried out, according to a group of former and current Team GB athletes surveyed by an academic.

In the survey of 15 female British Olympians, most of them answering anonymously, 11 also agreed with the view that “it can never be fair for transgender athletes who have been through male puberty to compete in female sport”, with another declining to answer.

Among those questioned – who came from track and field, swimming, rowing and modern pentathlon – were Tessa Sanderson, the 1984 Olympic javelin gold medallist, and Sharron Davies, who won a

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