Weekly Open Thread with Andrew’s Cross Spider

One of Australia’s less scary spiders is the host of this week’s Open Thread. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

a small brown spider sits in the centre of a distinctive web - there are four bright lines making an X shape, and the spider has arranged its eight legs so that each bright line has two legs sitting on it - this makes the spider look like a St Andrew's (saltire) cross

St Andrew’s Cross Spiders (Argiope keyserlingi) are named for their bright, cross-shaped web decorations.
[Image credit: TTaylor, shared under CCL on Wikimedia Commons]

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

Similar Posts (automatically generated):

About tigtog

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
This entry was posted in Life, Politics, Popular Culture, The Cultural Canon and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

130 Responses to Weekly Open Thread with Andrew’s Cross Spider

    • tigtog says:

      There’s a draft post being worked on as we write, dc.

    • Miguel says:

      That’s a horrible story. The age of consent should probably be 16, but there should be exceptions for people who are close in age, such as an 18 year old with a 14 year old girlfriend.
      Also, sex offender laws are out of control. I haven’t studied the issue in any depth, but it appears sex offenders are no more likely to re-offend than other criminals. And apparently one can get labelled a “sex offender” for urinating in public. It’s all part and parcel of this mindless, idiotic “zero tolerance” mindset that became fashionable about twenty years ago.

      • Li says:

        I haven’t studied the issue in any depth, but it appears sex offenders are no more likely to re-offend than other criminals.

        Citation needed. Preferably with breakdowns of type of sex offence. Because, yes, sure, there are definitely a number of things categorised as sex offences in various jurisdictions which should not be (and don’t get me started with the practice of continuing to list people who have been arrested for consexual homosexual sex long after such statutes have been repealed), but there are definitely a number of offences which are absolutely appropriately being listed as sex offences and they are frequently crimes which tend towards a high level of seriality.

      • Miguel says:

        I don’t have a citation. Off the top of my head, I do know that Lisak said most rapists were serial rapists, which lends some credence to the point you’re making. However, I think I read somewhere that child molesters were slightly less likely to re-offend that the typical criminal.
        In any event, we can both agree that sex offender registries are out of control when an 18 year old lesbian is put on the list for messing around with her 14 year old girlfriend.

      • Li says:

        I think I read somewhere that child molesters were slightly less likely to re-offend that the typical criminal.

        I am not sure that is an argument against sex offender lists.

      • Mr Rabbit says:

        Miguel, child molesters are prolific reoffenders. You’re either really confused or deliberately making stuff up.

      • Li says:

        From the AIC.

        It is certainly the case that many studies of child sex offenders have found low levels of recidivism (Doren 1998). Measuring sexual recidivism is, however, a challenging task (see Falshaw, Friendship & Bates 2003 for a discussion) and it is important to be aware of the limitations of these studies…

        In most studies of general reoffending, recidivism is defined as a reconviction for a new offence. As sexual offences are often not reported (Abel et al. 1987; Bates, Saunders & Wilson 2007) and sexual offending against children has one of the highest rates of attrition of any offence (ie a relatively small proportion of cases progresses successfully through the criminal justice system; Eastwood, Kift & Grace 2006), studies of child sex offender recidivism that rely on reconvictions as a measure of recidivism provide only ‘a diluted measure of true reoffense rates’ (Doren 1998: 99).

        As a result, some studies of child sex offender recidivism have defined recidivism as an arrest or charge (rather than a conviction) for a new sexual offence. This approach is also limited, but is likely to provide a more accurate measure of recidivism than reconvictions…

        … the longer a period over which recidivism in measured, the higher the rate of recidivism is likely to be (Tresidder, Homel & Payne 2009). While child sex offender studies often show low levels of recidivism, Salter (2003) argues that these studies obscure the reality that in the long term, rates of recidivism can be much higher (see also Bates, Saunders & Wilson 2007)…

        While better quality evidence is required on the question of child sex offender recidivism, the existing research literature indicates that some subgroups of child sex offenders have higher rates of recidivism than others. For example, those who offend against children in their own families have access to only a small number of children, thereby limiting opportunities for recidivism to occur…

        The research literature indicates that among a subset of child sex offenders—those who target male victims outside of their family—reoffending in the long term is likely and far more likely than for child sex offenders who target female and/or family member victims.

      • Li says:

        I think I’m missing an ellipsis in there but you get the general idea.

      • Try reading the transcripts from the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse by priests, or the Royal Commission into the same thing, to see just how “unlikely” child rapists are to be serial offenders.

  1. Andie says:

    House full of preadolescent girls tomorrow for eldest kiddos birthday, so tonight will be a quiet night… Since tomorrow night won’t be.

  2. agreywood says:

    Anyone else at Wiscon?

  3. A4 says:

    Just went from 544 facebook friends to 15. Feels good.

  4. dc says:

    (cool. thanks tig.& cool spider.she rocks)
    females 50mm- wow!

  5. Aaliyah says:

    So my father just got me a job. My first job ever. I’m supposed to do Ruby on Rails stuff for a bookkeeping company. He got the job for me because he knows the guy who runs the company.

    It’s nice that I have a job for the first time ever (even though it’s minimum wage), but…I hope I don’t sound ungrateful for saying this, but I’m really not comfortable with the idea of having this job. I feel like I have no agency because I was basically pressured into this job. I have so much Ruby on Rails to learn (and even Ruby itself – it’s weird how my father taught me more about Rails than Ruby).

    And lastly, I wanted some time to rest because I feel emotionally overwhelmed these days, especially after this horrible semester had passed. Speaking of that semester, I did so badly in one of my classes that my offer admission from UCSC may be canceled; I got a D in an advanced physics course. Although it’s a UC-transferable course, it isn’t required for my major. So I might still have a chance.

    I think at least half of what contributed to my slipping grades was my poor mental health. Anyway, I have backup plans for getting on my feet financially and moving out, but I don’t know how I’m going to handle all the disappointment. Everyone I know is so excited about me going to UCSC.

    This has been an awful week for me. I hope that my mental state isn’t going to affect my performance at work.

    Oh, and my father forced me to get another haircut; he wanted me to look “presentable” in front of my employer. I’m so fucking sick of him.

    • Willard says:

      Have you contacted anyone involved in handling the transfer process with your concerns? I looked at their transfer policy and holy frack is it draconian looking, but there may be nice people hiding behind all the angry verbiage. If things do end up working out with them I highly recommend getting in to mental health counseling followed by the disability services office. Knowing where safety nets are prior to needing them goes a long way.

      I feel for you on the potential of dealing with familial disappointment. Hugs if you want them. \o/

      • Aaliyah says:

        I’ve emailed someone who deals with admission stuff at the Baskin School of Engineering (the one I hope to get into), but she has yet to reply. My sister told me that I should call that person soon. I’ll do so tomorrow if I have time.

        Come to think of it, I know someone else who might help, so I’ll email hir as well.

    • Miss S says:

      I’m sorry, that sounds like a lot to deal with. It’s good that you have a backup plan for money. Take care of yourself and put your mental health first. And try not worry about everyone else’s disappointment, even though I know it’s hard.

      I had to look up Ruby on Rails- it sounds like something totally different- like a children’s television show or something.

    • xenu01 says:

      Sometimes the hardest parents to deal with are the ones who make like they are doing it all for your own good.

      Also, you are SO not in the wrong for a)wanting to rest and b)not wanting this job. One of the worst fights I ever had with my mom was when I left an interview for a volunteer job that I had researched and set up on my own to find her “visiting a friend” who just happened to be the person I just interviewed with. I told her not to bother doing what she still denies she has plans to do, because if she continued up those stairs to that office, I would turn down the job even if they DID offer it to me.

      Which is to say this: 1)mental health is like any other kind of health. When you pull your brain out of wack, you need to rest up just like if you broke your leg; and 2)do you have any savings/a couch you could crash on? Have you contacted your future college about possible work-study options? If you have any way of not taking the job- is no an option or will you not be able to eat or pay for college?

    • A4 says:

      I understand that Ruby on Rails is not your choice, and it feels like your father is forcing you into a situation without thinking of you as the person who you are. That is really unimpressive and gives me a low opinion of him.

      Still, in this economy, a minimum wage job programming Ruby on Rails is excellent for you. It will give you experience, technical skills, and money, and those things will lead to more of the same. Your father has, knowingly or not, given you the start to a place where you will get to choose exactly how much control and influence he has in your life.

      That’s my perspective anyway, as a epically queer computer nerd from an absurdly religious family.

      • Aaliyah says:

        Oh, I completely agree there. I understand that knowing RoR is very advantageous for me, and so I’m eager to learn it. I’m grateful that he at least helped me get started on RoR, and to be fair he is still going to train me on RoR even while I have this job.

      • A4 says:

        I can’t imagine learning from your dad will be fun. Mine was not a particularly effective educator.

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      Aaliyah, just curious. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? And what do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a writer when I grow up, so that’s why I’m back in school.

      • Aaliyah says:

        Some day I want to get some career in health care, such as nursing. I’m also fond of the idea of becoming a professor and doing research. So I’m a bit torn.

  6. Chataya says:

    My younger sibling came out to me as trans* today. So I just want everyone to know:

    I have a little sister!

    • Donna L says:

      I think she’s very fortunate to have you as a big sister!

      • Aaliyah says:

        Seconding Donna. And it must feel nice to know that your sister trusts you enough to come out to you. =]

      • GracieGrace says:

        So many warm fuzzies inside!

      • Thirding! Little sisters are awesome ^__^

      • Chataya says:

        Thanks Donna and Aaliyah! I can only try to somewhat counteract the inevitable shittiness from the rest of the family. There has already been an attempt to “straighten [her] out” by enlisting our older brother and his wife (because being around straight men is the solution to all your non-cishet problems) which backfired hilariously when they took her out shopping for makeup and girly clothes.

      • Aaliyah says:


        At least she has a supportive sister like you. Have you gone shopping with her? If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you do. I think she would really appreciate a supportive family member going with her, especially since she’s already facing prejudice from other family members.

      • Chataya says:

        Unfortunately we live several hours apart (I was in town for a family emergency) and getting her away from our mom long enough to Do Stuff Together is a pain, especially since I was only there for 2 days. I’ll have to try again in the future when I stay longer.

      • matlun says:

        …which backfired hilariously when they took her out shopping for makeup and girly clothes

        Does this mean that at least your brother and his wife are supportive also?

      • Chataya says:


        Yes, they are. Unfortunately they too live several hours away from her.

      • bookshopcat says:

        I’m sorry to hear that people are trying to make things difficult for your sister already, but your brother and sister-in-law’s way of ‘helping’ the effort gave me a much-needed sort of laugh. It’s really too bad they don’t live closer to her.

    • Andie says:

      Woohoo! Having sisters is great :)

    • Yay for having a little sister (speaking as a little sister)! :)

    • Willard says:

      Little sisters are awesome!

    • Victoria says:

      I got teary when I saw this. I love stories of accepting family members. Much happiness to you both!

      • Chataya says:

        Thanks! It’s not going to be easy with our family, but she knows she has someplace to go that will accept her.

    • miga says:

      A word of caution:

      Little sisters can be a big fat pain in the ass :p But I’m sure as a big sis you already know this…

    • PeggyLuWho says:


  7. GracieGrace says:

    Three things:

    1) HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE! I’m volunteering with a nearby fundraiser run on Sunday, which always makes for a good weekend.
    2) I was privileged enough to be able to go to Disneyland this past weekend. It was nice to get away from the cloudy BC weather for a couple days and just relax, but one incident caught my eye (proverbially). I was on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and there were several very loud, irritating teenage girls behind me. There’s this one part where an animatronic woman is chasing a man, and I hear from behind me ‘you know, it used to be a man chasing a woman, but they found it offensive, so they changed it.’ My heart soared, expecting to hear her continue on, perhaps…. But when one of the other girls asked ‘Why did they find it offensive?’ she just replied ‘I dunno.’ *sigh* I wanted to turn around, grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her.
    Aaaaand 3) Things with my father are getting worse. My younger sister is starting to take after him, with a holier-than-thou attitude, thinking rules don’t apply to her, etc.. I think next time he’s back from work, I’m going to need to sit down and have a chat with him. My poor mother has to deal with constantly being talked down to and treated like a sub-human, and I just can’t take it anymore, especially not when I can see it manifesting in my sister as well :/

  8. karak says:

    I accidentally left a suitcase at my convention–a suitcase with thousands of dollars of clothes in it. I’m so thankful to the person that found it and turned it in, because the one place that someone would know the value of those clothes and where to resell them would be Acen.

    Glory to the good Samaritans of the world.

    • Alexandra says:

      That’s lovely.

    • Sweet! It’s nice to hear a faith-in-humanity-reaffirming con story…

      • karak says:

        Especially with the cosplay =/=consent crap that’s going around (and by “crap” I mean OBVIOUSLY IT DOESN’T WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE).

        Good things do happen at cons, and if we keep the assholes from screwing it up, everyone can have a great time.

  9. Alexandra says:

    Has anyone else here seen the film Pina? I didn’t get a chance to watch it in theaters, but I’ve been watching snippets of it tonight and I think it’s just fabulous.

    For those who aren’t familiar, Pina Bausch was a German modern dance choreographer who died very recently, and the film is partly a documentary and partly just lengthy excerpts of some of her most famous dances. What’s so striking while watching the dances is that, unlike many other dance companies, Pina Bausch had dancers of all ages and a variety of body types (far more than you see in, say, ballet). And the movements are just COOL.

    Here’s a good example: Rite of Spring

    …and after all, it is the 100th anniversary of the ballet :-)

  10. Deep thought spawned by tequila shots:

    “A key that opens many locks is a master key, but a lock opened by many keys is a bad lock.”

    “Well, a donut dunked in many coffees is soggy and limp, but a coffee which has had many donuts dipped in it is flavourful and awesome! There, I gave you a shitty metaphor back.”

    • Li says:

      Did, like, everyone independently decide to go out and do tequila shots last night? Because boy am I feeling it today, and a large number of friends appear to be in the same boat.

    • Donna L says:

      A key that opens many locks is a master key, but a lock opened by many keys is a bad lock.

      The old double standard strikes again.

      • Yep. I get real tired of seeing it directed at people, though no one’s actually said it to my face (probably because I project nonsexuality very aggressively and deliberately).

        …there needs to be a word for “this thing, that has never happened to me personally, is still a thing that has beaten down so many of my loved ones that it makes me incandescently angry at its very mention.”

      • Li says:

        I get these feelings about the term “Rice Queen”. Which is typically used to describe white men (and which someone was once unwise enough to use in reference to me), but is obviously primarily impactful against Asian men. It seriously gets me to tears-of-rage levels of anger very very quickly because it is just such a perfect storm of gay men and racism. It’s one of the few terms (alongside “skinnyfat” and a few others) that automatically trigger my skipping any type of social justice outreach and going straight to the curse words.

    • Victoria says:

      This is great! I may use this if ever the need arises (and living in college town after college town, the need will arise).

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      I locked myself out of my apartment on Saturday. Had to call the locksmith. The first guy couldn’t get it, and after three hours, had to call in reinforcements.

      Boy, was my lock worked over.


  11. Willard says:

    Donna, since that other thread is on lockdown I’ll answer your question here.

    Willard, if you don’t mind my asking, does this mean what I think it does?

    I don’t, and it does.

    I’m searching for a specializing therapist with the help of my old one, who’s super supportive but not focused in GID and I was seeing him via on campus resources so those ties got cut with my diploma. I still can’t quite bring myself to actually say it really. I’ve spent the last two years torturing myself over academic, social, and financial meltdowns with a lot of self-gaslighting and keeping a nice thought for myself, from myself really helps. As long as it’s not quite real I can’t fuck it all up and things will remain shitty but manageable. That doesn’t stop the bit of my brain with control of budgeting software from deciding we need to know how much to start saving though.

    The internal transphobia is wearing down though and with things generally looking up I’m starting to think about the second half of my twenties less as a premature twilight and more of just normalish twenty-something stuff.

    I’m going to take a bath now

  12. Mr Rabbit says:

    St Andrew’s Cross spiders: I remember when I was young, tra-la-la-ing in the bush. Then I look up and see hundreds of St Andrew’s Cross spiders in the trees, each with their own web. Totally screamed! And I still shiver about it.

    Yeah, I got a “thing” about spiders.

    • tigtog says:

      That’s why I made it very clear in the thread title that a spider was present – I know it’s a common “thing”, and I didn’t want anybody to get a nasty surprise.

      • karak says:

        Spiders are scary-but-interesting, but please, please never have the picture be a clown or a ball-jointed doll, because THOSE are truly the source of fear.

      • TomSims says:

        Are you referring to the Brown Recluse Spider? They are as nasty as it gets.

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      I’m a-okay with spiders, but cannot cope with snails or slugs. Everyone has a “thing”.

    • I had a nasty fright this morning. I was sitting on the bed, dressing, and a whopping big house spider (think the size of your thumb joint) came across the floor toward me at high speed.

      It is now an ex-spider. Heavy boots for the win.

  13. Miss S says:

    So I have this guy friend…and he’s really freaking me out. This is long, I’m sorry, but I have to tell all this to someone.

    He has had a myriad of health issues the past few years. He lost his vision and had to have two organ transplants. He has to have some sort of maintenance surgery every month as a result of the transplant medication (I think that’s why, at least). He’s been depressed and sort of…. not there, sometimes.

    I stopped speaking to him not too long after the transplants and vision loss because he was freaking me out. We lived about 40 minutes away from each other, and if I went out with my friends or a guy, he would tell me later that he sat outside my house under the balcony while I was gone. I went on a date with a guy and when he found out later he called me a whore and a slut. That sort of thing. He would complain about “girls like me” not giving guys like him a chance, nice guys finish last, blah, blah, blah.

    We connected through a mutual friends years later and he seemed fine. For the most part. But about a month ago he confessed that he was in love with me. I’m not in love with him, I’m not remotely interested, and I made that clear in the nicest way possible. BUT, i started dating someone new recently, and he knows. HERE WE GO AGAIN.

    (I’ll continue in the next post so it’s not too long).

  14. Miss S says:

    Trigger warning for sexual stuff

    He’ll call me and say things like, women need to grow up, and stop going after bad guys and not giving guys like him a chance. He seems to have a hatred for all women who aren’t sleeping with him, which is ALL women at the moment. He will call and tell me details about sex he’s had in the past, even though I’ve told him I’m not comfortable with it. He brings up sex in almost EVERY conversation, and talks about how he isn’t sleeping with anyone and that’s why he’s depressed. Then he says he’s happy to be celibate because sex is evil. Then he says there are several girls who want him, but they aren’t good enough for him. He’ll ask me if I’m sleeping with anyone, or he’ll say randomly in the middle of a conversation about something else that I should go “F*** that guy” I’m dating. He puts me so far down sometimes -I was considering a career in secondary education and he said that was because I peaked in high school. He’ll bring up a day in the past and mention that he thought I looked fat and gross that day. Other times, he’s full of compliments and encouragement.

    I’ve suggested therapy and he told me that he went to therapy, but the doctors were amazed by his intelligence and told him that he was the smartest person he ever met, and told him to leave because he was too smart for them. Which obviously didn’t happen. I’ve suggested support groups for people who are visually impaired, and he went, but was angry because the other blind men had a girlfriend or wife, so he never went back. He’s told me that he wishes he could see so that he could massacre people in the medical field because he blames them for his vision troubles. He used to date a friend of mine, and he always tries to tell me about how bad the sex was, blah blah. He basically just finds opportunities to put down women, while talking to me.

    The weird thing is, I don’t think he’s saying stuff like this to everyone, just me. And I’m the most feminist minded out of most of the people we know, so it’s extra weird to call and bash women to ME of all people. Almost EVERY conversation becomes a heated argument, which might be exactly what he’s looking for.

    So, I just needed to vent. I don’t see this guy hardly ever because I live so far, so it’s not like I have to physically distance myself. But I’ve already started answering the phone less. I think it’s just going to happen the way it did the first time, and we end up not speaking at all. I just needed to get ALL of this off my chest- and honestly, that’s not even all. Also, has anyone ever known a guy like this? I was reading about the incel guy on Jezebel (very disturbing) and I was struck by how similar that guys’s thought pattern is to my friend. I think it forced me to see this a bit more objectively.

    • Donna L says:

      What a horrible situation. If it were me, no matter how old a friend it was, I would cut off communication immediately. And think about changing my phone number. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re getting anything positive out of this friendship, or that there’s any reason to maintain it.

    • debbie says:

      That sounds like a really abusive dynamic. Could you block his number?

    • Oh my god, run. This person is creepy and dangerous and abusive to you. I’ll go with thirding the recommendation to block his number. Or maybe lay out some communication that can be recorded, that says you don’t appreciate X and Y behaviour (like calling you names, because omg), just in case his behaviour escalates this time – that way you’ll have grounds for a restraining order, or something.

      I’m really sorry to hear this is happening to you. You are a good and smart person and you don’t deserve this shit. (Not that anyone deserves this shit, but you know what I mean.)

    • (BFing) Sarah says:

      I’m so sorry you are dealing with this, Miss S. It sounds draining and I’m glad you decided to vent. I did have a male “friendship” that reminds me of this, but it was not nearly as extreme, while I was in grad school. The guy alternated between crying and confessing his love for me and saying nasty, abusive things to me (sometimes for not loving him back, sometimes for the things I would wear, say, do, etc.). I definitely think you should answer the phone less and try to cut him out of your life. You don’t deserve to be treated that way and his unhappiness is not an excuse for saying and doing what he is saying and doing.

    • tmc says:

      Holy shit. Run! And let him know that if he ever shows up uninvited on your property again, that you are going to call the fucking cops on his ass.

  15. Andie says:

    Finally finished a painting I started over two years ago. I’m really proud of how it turned out so I wanted to share

    linky linky

    It’s an acrylic reproduction of a photo the gentleman friend took outside of Sault Ste. Marie a few years back. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

  16. A4 says:

    A week ago I shaved my head and today I was wearing blue and white striped pants. My friend told me I look like a holocaust victim, you know, cuz I’m so skinny.

    It’s a Jewish friend who is dying from a terminal disease though.

    I just laughed.

    What the fuck though.

    • Willard says:

      I hadn’t gotten that comparison lobbed at me in a couple years, then out of the blue today a guy at works said “You look a lot better with your hair longer, less concentration campish.” Who da fuck thinks that shit is acceptable?

  17. Donna L says:

    Since my question got lost in the thread where I originally asked it, does anyone know what “boosh” means? I tried googling it, but I’m still not sure what the person who used it meant.


  18. A4 says:

    My mom sent me this article this morning. I think EG in particular might be interested in it, based on her comments about mistrusting the medical industry’s eagerness to surgically remove body parts coded as female.


    • Donna L says:

      A-4, I’d be interested in seeing some evidence — even anecdotal evidence — for the statement that the “medical industry” is currently “eager” to remove women’s breasts, prophylactically or curatively. Given that the trend has certainly been in the other direction for many years.

      The link you provide is to a website that’s a rather notorious hotbed of anti-vaccine nonsense. Ugh.

      And, sorry, I have a very strong distaste for rhetoric about “the power we all have to change the expression of our genes.” Of course there are things one can do in terms of diet, not smoking, etc., to reduce health risks. But phrasing it as “the power we all have” strikes me as a combination of magical thinking and victim-blaming.

      • But phrasing it as “the power we all have” strikes me as a combination of magical thinking and victim-blaming.

        Yes. Also, culty as fuck. I’m not even exaggerating; the cult in which my family was entangled when I was a kid phrased it in almost identical fashion (substitute “genes” for “destiny” and there you have it), and it led to all kinds of creepiness and emotional-breakdown-fueled abusive dynamics. And our family was only on the fringe, ffs.

      • A4 says:

        A-4, I’d be interested in seeing some evidence — even anecdotal evidence — for the statement that the “medical industry” is currently “eager” to remove women’s breasts, prophylactically or curatively.

        That’s nice. You should go look for it!

        The link you provide is to a website that’s a rather notorious hotbed of anti-vaccine nonsense.

        I’d believe that. This wasn’t about vaccines at all though. So it’s not a very relevant criticism of the article.

        And, sorry, I have a very strong distaste for rhetoric about “the power we all have to change the expression of our genes.”

        That’s nice, but epigenetics is a real thing and more research is needed into the way gene expression works and is controlled in the body. Having a patent system that makes such research prohibitively expensive and proprietary is definitely a huge roadblock to that research.

        Apparently everything you have to say is about how you don’t like things that this article reminds you of or is tangentially related to, which is a very strange way of responding to something.

      • matlun says:

        That’s nice, but epigenetics is a real thing and…

        Is epigenetics becoming the new quantum physics? A misunderstood theory used by quacks everywhere as a hand waving “explanation” for their wacky theories.

        While the author of that article is correct in the single observation that the US patent system is screwed up, everything else appears to be just woo and unsupported speculations of an ignorant mind.

      • Donna L says:

        I’d believe that. This wasn’t about vaccines at all though. So it’s not a very relevant criticism of the article.

        Nonsense. It’s incredibly relevant. Why should I pay attention to anything on a website that pushes a creepy anti-science, anti-vaccination agenda AND the “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” garbage.

      • Donna L says:

        The fact that the science of epigenetics exists doesn’t make her hyperbolic rhetoric about how we all supposedly have the power to change the expression of our genes any more acceptable. Or any less an example of thinking that is, in fact, ultimately victim-blaming and magical. Try telling that to people who have the genes for Huntington’s Disease, or Tay-Sachs Disease.

      • Donna L says:

        Mercola.com is an even more notorious quack website than I thought:


        What a repulsive human being, trading on human misery and gullibility to make money. But that’s “irrelevant.” Bullshit. Why in the world should anyone believe a single word that’s published on that website?

      • Donna L says:



        Do you understand that people die because of shit like this?

        By the way, I picked up on EG’s comment and thought this article was written by someone else (a woman), but “Dr.” Mercola (who isn’t a real doctor) apparently wrote it himself. And speaking of offensive rhetoric, nice way to infantilize Angelina Jolie and assume that she’s just a poor, naive, deluded victim of a conspiracy:

        To me she is merely a victim of sophisticated and clever techniques that have successfully twisted common sense on its head. She has learned to trust and believe in the system that has created this insanity. The PR campaign that catalyzed her decision is clearly aimed at deceiving naïve and preoccupied people into an utterly flawed system motivated primarily by corporate greed not by any compassion or desire to decrease human suffering.

        So you can take your patronizing comments and shove them.

      • Aaliyah says:

        …My mom is a huge fan of Joseph Mercola and has even bought stuff from his website. Now I’m worried about her.

        Thank you very much for those articles, Donna. I have just sent them to her.

      • Fat Steve says:

        I’d believe that. This wasn’t about vaccines at all though. So it’s not a very relevant criticism of the article.

        If credibility is not relevant, what is?

    • EG says:

      Certain parts of the article were interesting to me–certainly I’ve seen doctors’ discomfort with ambiguity before–but overall the thing has too much of a conspiracy theory set-up for me, as well as that idea that if one just leads a virtuous enough life, all will be well–don’t drink alcohol, drink a pint of green juice, eat turmeric–to say nothing of the throwaway line about emotions affecting one’s chances (oh, I’ll just avoid negative emotions then, shall I?). It sounds very talismanic to me. The idea that individual choice can solve medical problems…sure, to a point…but people make their choices in circumstances beyond their control. And she elides prevention in women with the mutation and prevention in women without the mutation in a way that I think is really a problem; sure, only a very small percentage of cancers are caused by these genes, but when you have them…well, I don’t think I’d screw around with green juice and uncharred meat, not unless she can point to studies comparing women with the genes who made such drastic lifestyle changes to women with the genes who had a preventative mastectomy instead.

      Or perhaps I just don’t want to buy it, having had a needle biopsy a few years ago.

      • A4 says:

        I agree, it’s got a lot of parts and not all of them read as trustworthy as others. Still, i thought it was a good read.

  19. Willard says:

    Anti-vaxxer, advises the drinking of whole raw milk, denies link between HIV and AIDS, harps about ionizing radiation then says microwaves cause cancer. Read with extra dose of skepticism and avoid buying anything (he tries pretty hard most of the time).

    • Willard says:

      Oops, thread fail, meant to go with A4, concurrent to Donna’s post.

      It takes me too darn long to write stuff.

    • A4 says:

      Yes but it had a good discussion of the effects of the US patent system on continuing research into the link between genetics and breast cancer.

    • Willard says:

      His points about the patent system (until he jumped into the conspiracy mineshaft) and the linked op ed from the Daily beast were good, but like I said and Donna backed up, huge extra dose of skepticism for most of it. The whole raw milk advice can literally kill you and his track record on most science is pretty bad.

      I generally wouldn’t pile on, since fair warning has already been amply given, but I managed to get my own little thread!

  20. Mirshana says:

    I’m rather proud of myself.

    I drove across 6 states on my road trip from California to Denver, by way of the Grand Canyon and home by way of Salt Lake City.

    It was really interesting to see that much of the US and realize how spoiled we are in California, where we can see nearly any type of terrain withing a 6 hour drive or so.

    • Alexandra says:

      I love that drive. When my family moved to California from Rhode Island, we traveled by way of I-70 – we’d initially planned to take I-80, but rerouted halfway through when we realized we really wanted to drive through Colorado and Utah again. There is very little quite as beautiful as the first glimpse of the Front Range heading in to Denver, or as stark and surreal as south-central Utah.

  21. PrettyAmiable says:

    Every time I fight with the hot chick in the office, my (dude) coworkers make me feel like I’m failing feminism. When they work with jerks, it’s because they’re jerks. When I’m mad at THIS jerk, it’s because “women can’t work together.”

    I guess the bright side is that they don’t think “women can’t work with men?”

  22. Dr Henry Morgentaler is dead. Just so everyone knows.


  23. PeggyLuWho says:

    It’s officially my birthday. It’s now legal for me to have sex with someone half my age.

  24. EG says:

    Thought we should note the decision of El Salvador’s highest court to condemn a woman to probable death rather than allow her to abort a fetus that will certainly die within hours of birth:

    “The threat to her life is not actual or imminent,” they said, “but rather eventual.” They also said “The rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those of the fetus.”

    “Everyday, the health of Beatriz is [getting] worse. If they wait another week or two weeks, she will be too feeble to endure the operation,” her lawyer says.

    Of course, the forced-birthers are claiming that they’ll give her whatever she needs. What she needs, however is an abortion. Barring that, she needs an immune system that does not have lupus.

    • Lolagirl says:

      This is such a horrible story, I just don’t even have the words to express my outrage (and compassion) for Beatriz. This just shouldn’t be happening, not in the 21st Century, and yet it is, and it’s so horrendously terrible.

  25. EG says:

    Sadness. Final grades are due today, and I found that a student has plagiarized a significant chunk of her final paper. This has happened before, of course, but what makes me sad is that this student has taken a class with me before, and when you get repeat students, who seem–actually, I think she is–genuinely interested and committed to their education, you, or at least I, as a teacher, tend to feel a certain rapport with them, and I know she knows better, so plagiarism, on top of its immorality and its waste of education, ends up being…disappointing, because I know this student is better than that kind of behavior. I also know that she’s had a difficult time this semester for personal reasons.

    Even so, though, the thing to do would have been to see me and ask for an extension or an incomplete or extra help or something, some consideration, as many students I’ve had who have encountered rather devastating problems during a semester have done (and I have given them that consideration–I don’t think a student has ever come to me with a significant–or even not so significant–problem and I’ve just brushed it off and told zir to suck it up). Plagiarism was the absolute wrong choice to make. As I wrote to her, I wish she had not put me in this position, because now I have to fail her and file a report with the Office of Student Conduct. This is not something I enjoy doing regarding any student, much less one whom I like and know to be in some difficulty.

    But actions do have consequences. As a friend of mine once put it, if I’m standing on a corner and a student drives her car into a lamppost, I give an accurate account of what happened. She’s the one who took the action; I’m a witness.

    • A4 says:

      In my experience, students are way harsher in judging themselves for their poor class performance than professors because students know about every one of their procrastinatory practices. You get to the point where you’ve let things slide so far and blame yourself for it and think that everyone else would judge you harshly if you asked for help and even if they didn’t they SHOULD because you totally fucked yourself over on this and you KNOW that I promise I swear. You don’t think about how other people didn’t have to deal with their parents money troubles and your anti-depressants getting screwed up accidentally and trying to work enough minimum wage hours to pay for your prescription. You just see the places where you should have been more responsible but weren’t.

      So then you do something very stupid half out of the hopes of making all your sins go away and half out of the self-loathing you have for having “let” things get so bad.

      Or maybe I’m totally way off base. I never actually plagiarized anything in college, but I do know all about not asking for help from professors.

      • EG says:

        You’re probably right. It just makes me sad because…I understand! Shit happens! My anti-depressants get screwed up too because I hit the yearly prescription cap on my insurance! My parents get ill! I’d be happy to help make allowances. Let me help you! But too many students, I think, think that professors have no sympathy, and I hate it every time I hear, say, a student with cancer or an unexpected pregnancy tell me that I’m the only professor who’s allowing her to take an incomplete or do a paper instead of take the final or whatever (I am not making up these examples), or because whenever a professor refuses to help or make allowances or just generally behave like a decent human being, it just makes it less likely that a student will ask in the future, and then we wind up with situations like these.

        But with plagiarism…it backs me into a corner where I can’t help, because it’s the one thing I have no sense of humor about, the one thing I make it very clear in class that I can’t let slide and there’s no excuse for.

      • A4 says:

        But with plagiarism…it backs me into a corner where I can’t help, because it’s the one thing I have no sense of humor about, the one thing I make it very clear in class that I can’t let slide and there’s no excuse for.


      • You sound like an awesome teacher to have, EG! I lucked out awesomely with most of my profs, mostly because I’m of the “better paranoid than past deadline” crowd, but I also think professors are sometimes not that much to blame, either. I work(ed? I’m going back next fall) at my college’s writing skills centre, and last year, I couldn’t count the number of students I had to talk off the plagiarism/just not going to submit ledge on two hands. In all but two cases (one refused to listen to me, the other simply had awful citation skills and couldn’t be arsed to do it right, so I’ve no idea wtf happened with her), they hadn’t told their profs anything about struggling, or asked for an extension, or any of those things. For things like “my dad’s dying” and “I have a crippling migraine and can’t see out my right eye as of last week and my doctor can only see me today”, which, seriously, omfg. and they all got extensions, after I got them to email their teachers while sitting with me so they could be calm about it. I dunno. I think people are trained not to ask out of shame, particularly mature students, or ones who are high-achieving, or usually high-achieving studetns doing their required English or science-based breadth requirements. It’s really goddamn sad.

        Either way, Im’ really sorry you have to deal with this shit! Plagiarism decisions are the worst.

    • Donna L says:

      I’m sorry you’re in that position. Not wanting ever to have to handle such a situation is, I think one of the many reasons I would not be good at teaching. (I try to think of all of them whenever I start regretting my decision not to go to graduate school. Which happens frequently!)

  26. Rant: I really, really hate the exhaustion part of fibromyalgia. The days when I’m alert and in massive pain are still better than the days like this one, where I’m in massive pain,but I literally can’t stay awake or form coherent thoughts when I am. I hate it. My mind’s all I have going for me, and it scares me when I can’t rely on being coherent, because parenting, school, work, commutes, etc. (I have done fascinating things like falling asleep while standing by the open door of a train, or zoning out while going down stairs and forgetting how to walk right, leading to a panicked freeze.) So I’m anxious and sleepy, sleepy and anxious. Hooray. I think I’ll nap again now. I’m sure my final essay will write itself.

    On the plus side, I won a student writing award. Though I’m not sure what I won, because the judge hasn’t announced it yet o_O

    • EG says:

      On the plus side, I won a student writing award.

      I feel no surprise whatsoever. Congratulations! I have every confidence that your piece was well-deserved and a pleasure to read. Seriously.

      I’m sorry about the pain and confusion. It sounds awful and frightening and also maddening. I hope it passes soon and you return to yourself.

      • Thank you for the wishes, EG. I had a nap and I feel somewhat better. -_- Better enough to remember I missed deadline on an assignment. Fuckity. But I know the prof and he knows I’m sick, so it should be okay.

  27. tigtog says:

    A new Weekly Open Thread went up a few hours ago, so I’m going to close comments on this one now.

Comments are closed.