All entries by this author

Cash for candidates

Jun 22nd, 2015 12:53 pm | By

No wonder Republicans are trying to pretend the Charleston terrorist attack was just some random “incident.” The New York Times reports:

The leader of a white supremacist group that apparently influenced Dylann Roof, the suspect in the killing of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz,Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.

Mr. Cruz, a Texas senator, said Sunday night that he would be returning about $8,500 in donations that he had received from the Texas donor, Earl Holt III, who lists himself as president of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

The council of … Read the rest

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“Vandals”

Jun 22nd, 2015 12:45 pm | By

 

Interesting priorities. This news item is from the reliably-reactionary Washington Times:

Vandals spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” and other racial messages on a memorial honoring fallen Confederate soldiers in the South Carolina community still rocked by a church shooting last week that left nine black people dead.

“Black Lives Matter” in red spray paint covered the inscription on the base of the statue, which honors the “Confederate Defenders of Charleston” who died at Fort Sumter, Yahoo News reported.

Oh no, vandals. The horror. And on a memorial to soldiers who fought for the slave-owning Confederacy, too – the horror the horror. The soldiers were “fallen” so it is not permissible to point out that they were fighting for … Read the rest

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UCL reserves the right

Jun 22nd, 2015 11:06 am | By

I posted that absurd comment by the guy who drew up an even more absurd petition to rescue Tim Hunt from the consequences of his own actions, one Stephen Ballentyne, on Facebook. A journalist friend told me the reason people there are angry is that UCL sacked Hunt without hearing his side of the story, a denial of natural justice that I shouldn’t go along with.

Well that’s certainly not the only reason for many people, but leaving that aside – is there any truth in the claim? I don’t know what the normal procedure is with honorary positions, so I crowd-sourced it and a friend found several universities that frankly say they can withdraw honorary positions at will. Knowing … Read the rest

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More unreconstructed every day

Jun 22nd, 2015 9:01 am | By

The morning update. Dawkins is still raging at feminism, still whipping up hatred against women who object to Tim Hunt’s contemptuous remarks about women scientists.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 8 hours ago
“The Modern Witch-hunt.” @TheTimes letter: “Competitive condemnation.” “Ugly race to condemn.” The wish “to be in the front row of the mob.”

Condemnation can be good. But Internet today makes it all too easy to whip up a baying mob & recapture the spirit of the playground bully.

The bully here is Tim Hunt. The bully here is Richard Dawkins with his 1.2 million followers. The bully here is the consortium of Famous Pale Male Scientists trying to defend their right to express their contempt for women as … Read the rest

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Sign that mofo

Jun 21st, 2015 5:15 pm | By

Connie St Louis set up a petition. It has only 195 signatures so far. Let’s do better.

Its time to elect a female president to lead the Royal Society

The Royal Society was founded in 1660. In that time there has never been a female President at its helm. This may not be surprising in the light of sexist comments made by one of it’s Nobel Laureates, Tim Hunt, in Seoul, Korea on 8 June 2015 at a lunch sponsored by the Korean Female Scientists and Engineers. Royal Fellow and Nobel Laureate, Tim Hunt took the podium: identifying himself as a “male chauvinist pig,” he declared that he found the charms of “girls” who enter scientific fields inherently distracting, 

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Utterly ruined by sexist speaker

Jun 21st, 2015 4:56 pm | By

Another item to include is Connie St Louis’s famous tweet, which broke the story:

Why are the British so embarrassing abroad? At #WCSJ2015 President lunch today sponsored by powerful role model Korean female scientists and engineers. Utterly ruined by sexist speaker Tim Hunt FRS @royalsociety who stood up on invitation and says he has a reputation as male chauvinist.

Then she quotes the trouble with girls bit, the falling in love and they cry bit.

not happy with the big hole he has already dug he continues digging “I’m in favour of single sex labs” BUT he “doesn’t want to stand in the way of women[“] Oh yeah! Sounds like it?

Then she repeats that part, then

Really does

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An unreconstructed backwoodsman

Jun 21st, 2015 4:11 pm | By

Because of all this nonsense talked by people like Dawkins and Brendan O’Neill and Dawkins and Brian Cox and Dawkins, I’m looking into the Tim Hunt question more than I did when it started. (That week was quite full of other things, what with going to a conference and a few other odds and ends.)

So now I’ve read David Colquhoun’s take, or rather takes.

15 June

It’s now 46 years since I and Brian Woledge managed to get UCL’s senior common room, the Housman room, opened to women. That was 1969, and since then, I don’t think that I’ve heard any public statement that was so openly misogynist as Tim Hunt’s now notorious speech in Korea.

Oh? … Read the rest

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Always happy to be reminded

Jun 21st, 2015 2:32 pm | By

Sean Carroll:

Sean Carroll ‏@seanmcarroll Jun 9 Always happy to be reminded that there’s no sexism in science, just that those girls keep crying in the lab. Sean Carroll added,

Connie St Louis @connie_stlouis
Nobel scientist Tim Hunt FRS @royalsociety says at Korean women lunch “I’m a chauvinist and keep ‘girls’ single lab

Uh oh, look out, witch hunt.… Read the rest

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Not pornographic cartoons of him being shot in the head

Jun 21st, 2015 11:56 am | By

I like Richard Carrier’s post on Dawkins v Feminists v Tim Hunt.

Dawkins cries watery tears whines hyperbolically almost every time he is criticized. (Just google around. The number of examples documented on the Internet is so bewildering it’s become a well known trope.) It’s always the same thing: someone exercising their free speech rights to express their negative opinion of him or things he said, becomes a “witch hunt” and an “inquisition” by a wild “angry mob.”

In fact it is never any of those things, but basically a lot of serious, thoughtful, often well-argued criticism. Mere free speech. And often well done and spot on at that. Not email bombs sent to his in-box to harass him.

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So gender specific

Jun 21st, 2015 11:37 am | By

This happened. The British Humanist Association publicly posted a Happy Humanist Day message on Facebook:

A humanist is someone who does the right thing even though she knows that no one is watching.

[Random bolding theirs.]

A good message, right?

Ah no, not so fast. There’s a problem.

Jane Brown Why the she? Big mistake to be so gender specific.

Did your jaw hit the floor? Mine did.

“She” is gender specific, in sharp contrast to “he,” which is not.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Anyway, happy world humanist day.… Read the rest

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Tim Hunt signals Dawkins and co to pipe down

Jun 21st, 2015 9:51 am | By

This is an interesting twist: the Observer ran a piece on Tim Hunt yesterday in which the reporter, Robin McKie, said disgusting things but Tim Hunt said some good things. Tim Hunt arguably took a fairer view of the reaction to his remarks than did the science editor for the Observer.

Robin McKie’s lead-in:

The beleaguered UK scientist Sir Tim Hunt on Saturday thanked the hundreds of female scientists who have written to support him in the wake of the furore triggered by his controversial remarks about women in science.

Hunt, who won the Nobel prize in 2001 for his work on cell biology, became the focus of furious online attacks earlier this month over comments about women in science

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The nature of the bubble

Jun 21st, 2015 8:53 am | By

Someone’s been arguing with me about Tim Hunt on Twitter on and off since yesterday. He started off a little aggressively but it became a conversation after that. He cops to some empathy for Hunt because he cringes at things he said himself ten years ago. Ok, but that’s not a reason not to criticize what Hunt said, or a reason to call that criticism “witch hunts” or “lynch mobs.”

His latest pair of tweets, last night, is interesting.

Atticus_of_Amber ‏@Atticus_Amber 13 hours ago
@OpheliaBenson Super successful people often live in a bubble. Their own fault; but they’re often unaware of it until they get a rude shock.

@OpheliaBenson My view is that we should be administering more of

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For the toolbox

Jun 21st, 2015 7:32 am | By

Well this is a useful thing to have.

Via Hayley StevensRead the rest

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As long as she lives, she will not be silenced

Jun 20th, 2015 5:33 pm | By

This is from April. I didn’t see it then. I’m glad I didn’t – I was freaking out enough as it was. It’s the Daily Mail:

There is no hint of fear in her eyes as feminist writer Taslima Nasreen tells Mail Today that Bangladeshi terror group Ansarullah Bangla Team is plotting to cross over to India and then travel to the Capital to kill her.

The group takes its ideology from Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda activist, and has been involved in the murders of America-based writer Avijit Roy and blogger Washiqur Rahman last month for “criticising Islam”.

Taslima, if Indian intelligence agencies are to be believed, may very well be their next target.

“Members of the Ansarullah

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Mezon, who hopes to be a journalist one day

Jun 20th, 2015 5:11 pm | By

This is a nice change from surly pig-headed anti-feminist science dudes – A Mighty Girl on another mighty girl.

Dubbed the ‘Malala’ of Syrian refugees, 16-year-old Mezon Almellehan goes from tent to tent each morning to encourage girls in her camp to go to school. “We have the right to attend school and I feel I have a responsibility towards the community,’ Almellehan told the Malala Fund. ‘As a girl, I can find friendly ways to convince a girl to continue with her studies.’”

Today marks World Refugee Day, an annual observance to raise awareness of the plight of the nearly 60 million refugees in the world today — more than any time in recorded history. Like four

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Tradition

Jun 20th, 2015 4:22 pm | By

Originally a comment by MrFancyPants on But we have to wait.

A related personal anecdote.

My mother’s family is Estonian, with a tradition of Saturday evening sauna baths. It starts in the early afternoon, with the women of the family preparing a large meal while the men do whatever. Just about the time the meal is being finished, the men go into the sauna and spend 30-40 minutes there. It’s a wet sauna, so they enter into a warm, dry, very comfortable sauna room, and proceed to get the benches very wet. After the hot sauna, we men then wash up in a connected anteroom, getting that room soaking wet as well, and then get dressed and begin the … Read the rest

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Ooops

Jun 20th, 2015 4:03 pm | By

Rick Perry called the terrorist shooting at Emanuel AME church an “accident” while complaining about Obama’s suggestion that unrestricted availability of guns is not a fabulous idea.

The former Texas governor was asked about the mass shooting at Emanuel AME church during an interview with the conservative NewsmaxTV. A spokesman for Perry later clarified that the Republican presidential candidate meant to say “incident,” but the soundbyte drew immediate attention and backlash.

Hi, just an ordinary citizen here, but I think “incident” is a pretty callous word to use too. That was no incident, that was a racist mass murder.

In addition to steering the conversation away from race and terrorism, Perry also accused Barack Obama of trying to take

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Guest post: Atheism in Zambia

Jun 20th, 2015 11:18 am | By

Guest post by Leo Igwe.

Like other countries in Africa, Zambia is a very religious nation and has the dubious of distinction of being officially declared a Christian nation by President Federick Chiluba in 1996. One need not look far to see where Chiluba got the political will to establish this Christian nation. Eighty seven percent of the population is Christian and only twelve percent profess other faiths. The number of non-believers is too low to measure. Apparently, Zambia is 100 percent religious and theistic.

But recently, the country’s religious demography has begun to change. Atheists are leaving their closets and are starting to organise. Atheists in Zambia are becoming assertive and are making their voices heard. They are standing … Read the rest

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Strange fruit

Jun 20th, 2015 10:43 am | By

Dawkins called the women scientists who object to Tim Hunt’s contemptuous remarks “lynch mobs.” He should read – and pay attention to – this piece from a few weeks ago by Charles Blow.

Last week, the Baltimore police union president, Gene Ryan,compared those protesting the death of Freddie Gray to a “lynch mob.”

Freddie Gray was the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died of grave, mysterious injuries after being taken into police custody. Gray’s family, citizens of Baltimore and indeed those of the nation have questions. And yes, there is a palpable frustration and fatigue that yet another young person of color has died after an encounter with police officers.

So, there have been protests.

Aaaaaaaand of all things … Read the rest

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Dawkins complains of a lynch mob

Jun 20th, 2015 9:57 am | By

The great man is still on the job.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins
Tim Hunt. Eight Nobel scientists condemn “lynch mob”
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article4475398.ece … “Chilling effect on . . . academic freedom” #ReinstateTimHunt

There is no lynch mob, not even in scare quotes. Tim Hunt hasn’t been harmed. He hasn’t been beaten or stabbed or dragged behind a truck or thrown in a river or hanged from a tree. He hasn’t lost a job. He lost honorary positions, and respect.

On the other hand Dawkins later tweeted a different thought:

Young woman at Doctor Who Cares asked me whether she should go into science. Yes yes yes yes YESS. Please do. We need more women scientists.

That’s nice, but it’s also … Read the rest

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