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Guest post: Wanna be a brain in a vat?

Sep 11th, 2022 4:33 pm | By

Guest post by James Garnett.

More and more these days I keep seeing pop technologists ranting on about AI and “transhumanism”, which is to say, moving beyond biology and injecting our consciousness into machines. There is so much wrong with this even from a merely technical standpoint that I don’t even know where to start.

So much of our consciousness and the way we understand and interpret the world is tied up with our physical bodies and the inseparable link between them and our minds (yes, I said “inseparable”) as to make talking about one without integrating the other almost nonsensical. It betrays the blindered standpoint of persons without disability or dysfunction; people who can mostly ignore the presence of … Read the rest

California’s rice fields

Sep 11th, 2022 11:39 am | By

Global warming–more frequent droughts–crop failures–famines.

California rice fields:

Normally, by September, the drive north from Sacramento on Interstate 5 showcases vast stretches of flooded rice fields on both sides, farms bustling with tractors and workers preparing for fall harvest.

Not this year, said Kurt Richter, a third-generation rice farmer in Colusa, the rice capital of California where the local economy relies heavily on agriculture. “It is now just a wasteland,” he said.

As drought endures for a third year with record-breaking temperatures and diminishing water supplies, more than half of California’s rice fields are estimated to be left barren without harvest — about 300,000 out of the 550,000 or so in reported acres, provisional data from

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Their grief?!

Sep 11th, 2022 10:52 am | By

There’s an awful lot of flapdoodle around over the public’s supposed “grief” – and not for the first time.

Ours what? Our “grief”? Come on.

The queen said so herself – the fictional one at least.… Read the rest

Make that GENDER discrimination

Sep 11th, 2022 9:27 am | By

Erin Friday on the move to change Title IX at the expense of women and girls:

While U.S. citizens, and particularly women and parents, should be celebrating the golden jubilee of Title IX, marking 50 years of protection against sex discrimination, they are instead feverishly trying to stop the Biden administration from implementing sweeping changes to the 1972 federal civil rights law. The proposed regulations undermine the initial premise of Title IX, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. These regulations will chill speech and enshrine gender identity as a reality…

When reality, oddly enough, is the very thing it isn’t.

Imagine changing federal laws to enshrine other fantasies. Affirmative action for white people who … Read the rest

Always intertwined

Sep 11th, 2022 9:03 am | By

Call to action.

The trans and lesbian communities have always been intertwined??? Meaning lesbians have always been intertwined with men who claim to be lesbians? I don’t think so. I really really don’t think so. Why would they be?

Also, there’s no such thing as a “trans lesbian.” Men can’t be lesbians. Men aren’t lesbians. Lesbians are under no obligation to “validate” or embrace or protect or prioritize or defend or scrub … Read the rest

Respectability gone

Sep 11th, 2022 6:43 am | By

I remember when Republicans and the right wing were all about law n order. Seems like a century ago now.

Donald Trump’s non-stop drive to paint the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago to recover classified documents as a political witch hunt is drawing rebukes from ex-justice department and FBI officials who warn such attacks can spur violence and pose a real threat to the physical safety of law enforcement.

But the concerns have not deterred Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and other Trump allies from making inflammatory remarks echoing the former US president.

The unrelenting attacks by Trump and loyalists such as McCarthy, senator Lindsey Graham, Steve Bannon and false conspiracy theorist Alex Jones against law enforcement have continued despite

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The audacity of Plaintiff’s legal theories

Sep 11th, 2022 6:05 am | By

Judge throws out ludicrous lawsuit:

A federal judge in Florida dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, saying there was no basis for the former president to claim that Clinton and her allies harmed him with an orchestrated plan to spread false information that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

What means this word “basis”? If Trump thinks it, it’s true; that’s how the world works.

Trump “is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum,” Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida wrote in a scathing 65-page ruling released Friday. The

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Truth in packaging

Sep 10th, 2022 5:20 pm | By

How to pretend women are included even when they’re not:

Bros review – Billy Eichner’s all-LGBTQ+ romantic comedy is a winner

What the Guardian goes on to describe, though, is a movie about gay men. Which is fine, but don’t pretend it’s also about lesbians.

Billy Eichner’s slick Judd Apatow-produced gay comedy Bros carries with it the specific sort of baggage that only a “first” is forced to carry. As the first theatrically released studio gay rom-com, the first studio film co-written by and starring an openly gay man and the first studio film with a majority LGBTQ+ cast, it’s a light movie made heavy with expectation – will it be gay enough or good enough or accessible enough or

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Wounded narcissist

Sep 10th, 2022 4:58 pm | By

One of the two toxic traits, so of course I had to decide what the other was before reading on.

A former lawyer who served in the White House during Donald Trump’s administration, said the ex-president is a “deeply wounded narcissist”, claiming that’s one of the two toxic traits that dictate his actions and decision making.

Well of course the other one is obvious, it’s just that there are a lot of ways to name it. Complete lack of conscience is one way; complete lack of any kind of regard or concern for other people is another. Brutality is another; piggy selfish bullying mean rude aggression is another. It’s why I’ll never understand his popularity. I can grasp … Read the rest

Psst drop the “mothers”

Sep 10th, 2022 11:05 am | By

Stonewall to Oxford: don’t refer to mothers as “she” if you want to score well.

Stonewall told Oxford University to stop referring to mothers as “she” in order to win a higher place on its controversial employer scheme, new documents have revealed.

The university had tried to keep its correspondence with the lobby group secret. However, it was ordered to release the documents after the information commissioner ruled that participation in the Workplace Equality Index allowed Stonewall to “exercise a significant degree of influence” over the policies of public organisations.

And in doing so, telling them to erase women from the language.

Oxford University was ranked 93rd in the 2019 Workplace Equality Index. A year later, it climbed

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Sewage and flood waters

Sep 10th, 2022 8:35 am | By

More from Pakistan:

Between 5% and 10% of the city’s population of 350,000 are still stuck in their flooded homes. Those who can, travel around by boat. Others swim in the flood waters with a stick to get about. Sewage and flood waters have mixed to a dirty green. Interviews with local people painted a picture of a disaster on a scale that the government and NGOs were unable to cope with.

Dadu and neighbouring Qambar Shahdadkot are the worst-affected districts in the Sindh province, itself the worst-hit province. Flood water inundates roads for miles, making many towns inaccessible. Displaced people live in tents and makeshift homes on roadsides.

Manzoor Ali, also from Nurang Chandio, said villagers

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A monstrous super-flood

Sep 10th, 2022 8:21 am | By

Fatima Bhutto tells us about the disaster in Pakistan:

This summer, erratic monsoon rains battered the country from north to south – Sindh, the southernmost province, received 464% more rain over the last few weeks than the 30-year average for the period.

At the same time, Pakistan’s glaciers are melting at a rate never seen before. These two consequences of the climate crisis have combined to create a monstrous super-flood that has ravaged the country.

Ninety per cent of crops in Sindh have been damaged; Faisal Edhi, who runs Pakistan’s largest social welfare organisation, the Edhi Foundation, has warned that those who don’t die from the floods risk death by starvation.

A famine is coming; the only question is

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The imbalance

Sep 10th, 2022 5:41 am | By

Prospect gives us a typically smug “what’s all this fuss about trans rights?” piece by a typically smug dude who isn’t affected by the issue the way women are, and who is so smug he doesn’t notice or care that he isn’t affected by the issue the way women are.

You may have noticed, whether or not you are interested in transgender issues, a fascination with them in the press that borders on the obsessional. 

Ur hur hur, fascination, obsessional, ur hur hur, Y R people so interested?

It’s no skin off his ass so why is it skin off anyone else’s ass?

You may have got the impression, because much of the writing asserts or implies this, that trans

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Frightening realities

Sep 10th, 2022 4:57 am | By

China’s heatwave:

[T]he heat wave that baked China for weeks was startling in its scale, duration and intensity. Through July and August, it shattered temperature recordsdried up riverswithered cropssparked wildfires and caused deaths from heatstroke. It may have been the most severe heat wave ever recorded.

And it laid bare frightening realities about how humanity is expected to adapt.

With temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit, electricity usage soared as hundreds of millions of Chinese switched on air-conditioners. But where was that power supposed to come from? Severe drought had dried up the rivers on which the country depends for much of its clean hydroelectricity, crippling output.

This forced China,

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Special guest

Sep 9th, 2022 3:43 pm | By

How did I miss this?? Republicans cheering Viktor Orban:

All you need to know about the state of the Republican Party today is what happened at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Thursday [last month]. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been destroying his country’s democracy, received a standing ovation less than two weeks after he gave a speech in Romania in which he endorsed the white supremacist “replacement theory” and denounced a “mixed-race world.”

Texas Monthly has more:

Last month, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán traveled to Romania to deliver a fiery speech denouncing the “mixing” of European and non-European peoples. “We [Hungarians] are not a mixed race . . . and we

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The amount that’s already occurred

Sep 9th, 2022 9:50 am | By

More on this we’re definitely going to pass a lot of tipping points story today:

The drought- and flood-stricken summer of 2022 has shown the impact of 1.1° Celsius of global warming — the amount that’s already occurred since pre-industrial times. Now a major scientific reassessment finds that several critical planetary systems are at risk of breaking beyond repair even if nations restrain warming to 1.5°C, the lower threshold stipulated by the Paris Agreement. 

At that level of warming, coral reefs may die off, ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic may melt and permafrost may abruptly thaw, according to a new paper in the journal Science

Which will cause a whole lot more critical planetary systems to … Read the rest

Culture warrior

Sep 9th, 2022 8:14 am | By

Dirt dirt and more dirt. Ginni Thomas is in it up to her neck.

Ginni Thomas, the self-styled “culture warrior” and extreme rightwing activist, has links to more than half of the anti-abortion groups and individuals who lobbied her husband Clarence Thomas and his fellow US supreme court justices ahead of their historic decision to eradicate a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

A new analysis of the written legal arguments, or “amicus briefs”, used to lobby the justices as they deliberated over abortion underlines the extent to which Clarence Thomas’s wife was intertwined with this vast pressure campaign.

On the one hand, we’ve got the left zealously campaigning to destroy women’s rights via “trans rights,” and on the … Read the rest


Sep 9th, 2022 4:23 am | By

The tipping points aren’t in the future.

The climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, according to a major study.

Or not to the brink but over it.

It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date.

These include the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, eventually producing a huge sea level rise, the collapse of a key current in the north Atlantic, disrupting rain upon which billions of people depend for food, and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost.

But we will continue to do nothing about it.… Read the rest

Mermaids and the fox killer

Sep 9th, 2022 3:27 am | By

On the calendar today:

A judge will consider an appeal by the trans rights charity Mermaids on Friday against the Charity Commission’s decision to award charitable status to the new gay rights organisation LGB Alliance. It is understood to be the first time one charity has attempted to strip legal status from another.

The highly unusual hearing will focus attention on increasingly fractious debates over sex and gender identity, and the legal definitions of same-sex attraction and sexual orientation.

I for one hope it will also focus attention on what people mean when they talk about “rights” without ever defining them. What does it mean to call Mermaids “the trans rights charity” as Amelia Gentleman does in the first … Read the rest

Senate candidate tells voters to fuck off

Sep 8th, 2022 3:41 pm | By

Dems tie themselves The left ties itself to the mast as the bow of the ship points down.

Actually there are a lot of reasons to say anything else. About 4 billion or so.

Read the rest