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Guest post by Leo Igwe: Save the Kano Nine: An Open Letter to Buhari, Ganduje and Sanusi

Jul 2nd, 2015 1:31 pm | By

To President Buhari
To Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje
To Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

We are writing from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, a human rights advocacy organisation accredited as an NGO at the United Nations Human Rights Council. We write to express our distress and deepest concerns over the death sentences reportedly handed down to nine individuals in Kano state this week. Our concerns include the following:

We are appalled that a death sentence should be considered a legally enforceable punishment in any circumstance. In this case where the “offence” committed appears to be little more than the expression of a minority religious belief, the death sentence is particularly disproportionate and constitutes an egregious violation of the right … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Distortion up front, correction at the back

Jul 2nd, 2015 1:10 pm | By

The Guardian wrote an editorial on the Tim Hunt question…a shockingly misleading one for the first two paragraphs. Wouldn’t you think newspapers would manage to get the basic facts right, especially three weeks in?

Those first two paras:

It is three weeks since Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize winner, shared his sexist opinion of female scientists – distractingly sexy, prone to weep when criticised and best segregated at work – with a room full of science writers. His remarks were relayed into the Twittersphere by several of those present, including British-based science writer Connie St Louis. At once, he came under global and sometimes viciously personal attack on social media. He delivered a non-apology on BBC radio. According

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Everything is aired in the bracing dialectic wind

Jul 2nd, 2015 11:19 am | By

From Rebecca Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex:

Plato presents the journey to the light as a largely solitary one, though some unseen person does yank the prisoner out of the cave; but the format of the dialogues (as well as his having founded the Academy) encourages the view that, on the contrary, Plato conceived of philosophy as necessarily gregarious rather than solitary. The exposure of presumptions is best done in company, the more argumentative the better. This is why discussion round the table is so essential. This is why philosophy must be argumentative. It proceeds by way of arguments, and the arguments are argued over. Everything is aired in the bracing dialectic wind stirred by many clashing viewpoints. Only

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No Fifth for you

Jul 2nd, 2015 10:51 am | By

Poor Duggars. They’re still in the weeds, trying to figure out why god won’t pluck them to safety.

According to In Touch, which first broke the molestation story involving the former “19 Kids and Counting” star, one of 27-year-old Josh Duggar’s victims who isn’t in his immediate family will be filing a civil lawsuit against him.

The anonymous source who told In Touch about the lawsuit added that it could be very damaging not just for Josh, but the entire family, because as a civil proceeding about a crime whose statute of limitations has expired, neither he nor his parents would be allowed to plead the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination.

Aww…so they have to spill or be in … Read the rest

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How The Times science journalism rolls

Jul 2nd, 2015 9:27 am | By

Chapter 72 or thereabouts.

Hilda Bastian ‏@hildabast 4 hours ago
@deborahblum @david_colquhoun @David_Dobbs How The Times science journalism rolls http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article4485280.ece … 1/2 #Yeesh

Honorary fellowship is conferred by UCL to people who “have attained distinction in the arts, literature, science, business or public life”. The Times approached those fellows whose contact details were available online. Of those who responded, 21 criticised the university, four were neutral and none backed UCL.

Notice the problems? How can they know “those who responded” were representative of anything? How can they know people who took the opposite view didn’t just decide not to give the Times any more oxygen? How can we know the Times really did approach “those fellows whose contact details were … Read the rest

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Guest post: So, should I make poutine instead?

Jul 2nd, 2015 8:23 am | By

Guest post by Anthony K, inspired by a conversation about multicultural cooking and eating as “appropriation.”

“Hi, you’ve reached ‘Livin’ Liberal’. Anthony from Edmonton, you’re on the line.”
“Hey, love the show. First time caller. It’s Canada Day, and we’re going to a party. My wife wants me to make avocado dip. Is that allowed?”
“Well, that depends. What’s your nationality?”
“Canadian. So, should I make poutine instead?”
“Do you speak French?”
“I know where my aunt’s pen is.”
“Then, non. What’s your ethnicity?”
“Croatian and Lithuanian. But I don’t speak those languages either.”
“Alright. Well, what’s the first thing your parents taught you to cook?”
“Breaded fried chicken.”
“No good. What else?”
“Oh, I remember we ate a lot … Read the rest

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What’s next? Donating the proceeds from sale of his unicorn?

Jul 1st, 2015 5:20 pm | By

A blistering explanation of what’s sexist about the backlash against the response to Tim Hunt’s day out by medical doctor Amy Tuteur.

Tim Hunt made offensive comments about women scientists in front of a group of women scientists. He apologized and he resigned.

Many men feel very bad about this.

No, not bad about the fact that Hunt felt free to humiliate women at a meeting designed to honor them. Be serious! They felt bad that any male scientist should be held to account for his not so subtle put down.

Maybe they wouldn’t mind it so much if he were a young bench scientist – but Tim Hunt is senior and important. Senior important guys shouldn’t be held … Read the rest

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Just like treat her like you don’t even like her

Jul 1st, 2015 11:13 am | By

Frontline did a show on trans children and adolescents yesterday.

One was Alex Singh.

As he and his family navigate this new landscape, Alex also been forced to grapple with fundamental questions about gender and identity — beyond a beard or an Adam’s apple, for example, what does it take to be a guy?

“I always like see these really cool guys and I’m always like, I want to be like them,” says Alex. “Morgan and Ben were those like cool guys that I wanted to be like. Once I really realized that they were perfectly fine with me being transgender, it was like a whole new world for me.”

In the show you see the three of them … Read the rest

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Church fires

Jul 1st, 2015 10:02 am | By

An AME church burned to the ground last night in Greeleyville, South Carolina. It was burned down once before, twenty years ago. An anonymous fed told reporters the preliminary indications are not arson.

The predominantly African American congregation is more than 100 years old. Their church building had previously been burned to the ground in June 1995, almost exactly 20 years before Tuesday’s blaze.

Two young white men with ties to the Ku Klux Klan were arrested in connection with the fire, according to documents from House Judiciary Committee hearings held in 1996. The men were members of the KKK during the time of the burnings, but since renounced their membership, their lawyer said.

Arrested but not tried or convicted? … Read the rest

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Quite the rabbit hole

Jul 1st, 2015 9:20 am | By

Phil Plait says ALL the things.

He starts with Tim Hunt’s day out.

He made a series of sexist comments, saying that the problem with “girls” in science is that they fall in love with the men, the men fall in love with them, and when you confront them they cry. He then went on to suggest labs should be single-sex.

He thought at first it was a very bad joke, but found there’s more to it than that.

Many science journalists were at the lunch and witnessed the whole thing, including Deborah Blum, Ivan Oransky, Charles Seife, and Connie St. Louis. After discussing what they saw and heard, they decided St. Louis should write an article about it

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Thankfully former

Jul 1st, 2015 8:22 am | By

Tim Fenton at the blog Zelo Street has, like me, been watching the obsessive bullying by Louise Mensch of anyone who reported on Tim Hunt’s crappy sexist “jokes” at that fateful lunch in Seoul.

[A]s the first paper to indulge in whataboutery over Hunt’s comments was the Murdoch Times, it should surprise no-one that (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has gone off on one about the story – and is still at it, two and a half weeks later. “He said it in a very lighthearted manner with no outward hint of malice, condescension, or derision” she claims of Hunt’s remarks, omitting that this was someone’s opinion, delivered after the event.

He shares a lot of … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



If a highly respected and liked Nobel Laureate can say it

Jun 30th, 2015 5:27 pm | By

Something Hilda Bastian said in a comment on Dorothy Bishop’s post on the media spin of Tim Hunt’s day out.

The differences here do not seem to be so much “what” was said, but whether or not it was meant to be “self-deprecating.” And that is rather beside the point. The statements included some extraordinarily hurtful stereotypes about a gender, and about one gender in the scientific workplace. That sends a message, if a highly respected and liked Nobel Laureate can say it, then there’s something ok with it. The outpouring of both sexist, misogynist, and now racist statements across the comment streams of newspapers and the internet generally, with people clearly thinking they have some kind of common cause

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“Bigoted is a huge word that gets thrown around”

Jun 30th, 2015 3:38 pm | By

Have the sick-basin handy for this one.

You’re not alone. [voice choked with tears] You’re not alone.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6PPk2NOQXsRead the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Call him a cynic

Jun 30th, 2015 3:28 pm | By

One of those think-pieces that just don’t need to be written…by Charles White, Deputy Editor of The Tab Durham.

Last week saw a landmark moment as LGBT and straight people celebrated equal marriage in America and another year of Pride –– just by changing profile pictures on Facebook.

You must have seen the rainbow photos which started appearing on your newsfeed from Saturday. If you’re straight you can add the colours to your profile and everyone will know you’re down with Pride.

Call me a cynic, but how long do you really think these pictures will stay up? In a few days, they’re bound to disappear –– one by one, Rainbow filters will be replaced by Instagram Valencia

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Illustrious company

Jun 30th, 2015 11:44 am | By

Even someone who writes for the Telegraph thinks it’s bad and revealing that people are saying Tim Hunt did nothing wrong. Cathy Newman is a presenter for Channel 4 News and she thinks the “nothing wrong” claim is full of wrong.

[A] week after the pro-Hunt bandwagon really started to gather speed, broadcaster and writer Jonathan Dimbleby has leapt aboard and resigned his honorary fellowship at University College London in protest at its treatment of the Nobel prize-winning scientist.

He’s in illustrious company. The mayor of London Boris Johnson and fellow scientist Richard Dawkins have already publicly accused Sir Tim’s critics of a gross over-reaction.

So have Brian Cox and Brendan O’Neill.

Notice something? They’re all pale men – they’re … Read the rest

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Patients can be tricked into feeling better when they’re actually not

Jun 30th, 2015 10:18 am | By

Originally a comment by latsot on Ask the rocks.

The placebo effect is real, no disputing that. It’s weird, it’s complicated and it’s wonderful. There’s no doubt that it’s helpful, sometimes.

But let’s be clear, it ain’t gonna cure your broken leg, your cancer or even that ache in your knee that everyone older than 40 gets on a Monday morning that makes them think about phoning in sick. That might just be me.

And let’s be doubly clear: many if not most of the advocates of things that are really placebos are trying to persuade vulnerable people that whatever horrible thing they are desperate to have cured can be cured by snakewater. Lots of people die because of … Read the rest

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Jonathan Dimbleby

Jun 30th, 2015 9:14 am | By

Energizer bunny still going.

Jonathan Dimbleby has resigned from his honorary fellowship at University College London in protest at its treatment of biologist Sir Tim Hunt after he made controversial remarks about women in science.

The broadcaster and writer accused the college of a “disgraceful” rush to judgment in forcing the Nobel prize-winning scientist to quit his honorary fellowship at UCL and urged other fellows to help change the college’s mind.

Dimbleby said: “The college has a long and honourable tradition of defending free speech, however objectionable it may be. Sir Tim made a very poor joke and it quite rightly backfired. He then apologised for that,” he told the Times.

The principle of free speech does not mean … Read the rest

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From an infinite supply

Jun 29th, 2015 4:53 pm | By

Emily Willingham on those misappropriated metaphors for being sharply criticized:

How many Nobel laureates does it take to screw up a position? By my current count, nine. I’m sure someone, somewhere, has already observed the rich irony of using the collective privilege and power of the Nobel to try to shut up the less-powerful by claiming that they’re going to chill freedom of expression. If not, consider that observed.

The Tim Hunt story is redux redux, as though every time a stone is shifted from the power structure, another one simply takes its place from an infinite supply of the components of existing power.

Well – there’s a sentence I wish I’d written.

Just as nine Nobel laureates are

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The World Future Forum is the big annual event of the Secular Policy Institute

Jun 29th, 2015 4:03 pm | By

Edwina Rogers is emailing people to get them worked up about a thing they can go to. (Tim Hunt will be there, doing standup.) (I kid, I kid.)

Hi [your name here]

You’re invited to the most VIP political gathering in secular history.
The World Future Forum comes October 25-26 to DC.
It’s run by the Secular Policy Institute, the world’s biggest secular coalition and world’s biggest secular think tank.
Network with members of US Congress, big donors, international secular leaders, and top thinkers like emcee Lawrence Krauss, bestselling author and physicist, and keynote Gregory Copley, former US National Security Advisor.
Tickets will sell out quickly! Get yours at https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/world-future-forum-2015/.
-Edwina

It’s the world’s biggest biggest biggest biggest biggest. Go … Read the rest

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Ask the rocks

Jun 29th, 2015 3:16 pm | By

Let’s have some refreshment – wisdom from a witch.

[screams, cries of “witch hunt! witch hunt!”]

No no no no, not that kind, and not the kind who object to sexism; the other kind.

While a big part of magic is claiming the parts of ourselves that are powerful, for me it’s also about discovering a solid set of tools to heal myself and my community. So however you identify on the witchy spectrum, here are five simple witchy practices that anyone can do to take care of themselves, and that most of us should be doing more often.

Eye of newt, toe of frog? No, casting circles of protection.

Each and every one of us has the right

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)