Monday, December 7, 2009


Dear Friends and Readers,

I've gotten fed up with blogger and maintaining all my different gmail accounts, so I've moved here. If you have me on your RSS feed/blogroll/etc, I'd appreciate if you updated the link. I hope to see everyone on my not really new blog.


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Monday, November 2, 2009

J.B. Handley, Misogynist

J.B. Handley has decided that his organization aimed at peddling dangerous pseudoscience about vaccines didn't make him enough of an asshole, so he decided that go for the tried and true way of proving douchebaggery: misogyny.

In case you missed the multiple smack-downs posted by some awesome science bloggers, here's some background: Amy Wallace writes an article on how anti-vaccination loons (henceforth called antivaccaloons) are creating panic out of thin air and ignorance. J.B. Handley does his usual job of throwing shit at anyone criticizing him and takes it one step further by emailing Wallace some pretty fucked-up shit. Here have it straight from the horse's (or rather horse fucker's*) mouth:

Warning: discussion of rape and date-rape drugs
I often write and then re-write pieces. When I first wrote the piece about Ms. Wallace's Wired article, which I wrote right after reading that horrible piece of shit, here is how it began:

Paul Offit Rapes (intellectually) Amy Wallace and Wired Magazine

By J.B. Handley

"The roofie cocktails at Paul Offit’s house must be damn good, I really don’t know how else to explain the intellectual rape that lead to the writing and printing of Wired magazine’s cover story on vaccines and autism that you can now read HERE..."

I was so amazed with the article. As a student of Paul Offit's talking points for years, it was as if he had put his brain inside Ms. Wallace head and written the piece for her. As is often the case, I forwarded my essay, via email in advance, to Ms. Wallace the night before it ran.

In his defense he didn't end up running the article, but then again in his defense this was his defense:

With some reflection, I decided that although "intellectual rape", a relatively commonly used term, and "sexual rape" were very different things, the use of the word "rape" was ultimately in poor taste, would distract from the article, and would most certainly offend some readers, and could appear demeaning of women, which wasn't remotely the intention of the piece or my words. So, I changed the article to the one you all have read, and then AoA ran it the next day. And, I sent Ms. Wallace, via email, the new piece.

Because you know using rape as a metaphor for what you perceive to be shoddy scholarship has absolutely nothing to do with "sexual rape". It's just that that word that's the problem, not that fact that you're trivializing a very real and horrific experience so you can insult someone -- yeah fucking right.

And that thing about "demeaning of women", Handley's title and one paragraph didn't just appear to demean women, it fucking damn well did demean women. Using rape and date-rape drugs to illustrate how much he dislikes Wallace is all about demeaning her as a woman. Using that language to describe her writing reduces her to a sexual object. It also illustrates how much of a fucking misogynist he is because he jumps at using rape to make his point against a woman when the kool-aid metaphor he later used would have been more fitting and he just doesn't actually see what's wrong with that.

Bonus stupid:
"Ms. Wallace appears to have gone exclusively to Google University to research her feeble attempt at describing a very complex topic" - J.B. Handley

* J.B. Handley does not in fact fuck horses, but he is is about as morally bankrupt as as a horse-fucker.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

ID, it's fucking everywhere

Yes, even in a 4th year class on developmental biology.

I decided to take a seminar class on dev-bio for the following reasons: the topic is pretty damn interesting, I really liked my dev-bio and evo-devo classes last year, and the profs teaching the course are the most engaging instructors I have had at university. What I had failed to take into account was that class content would be highly determined by the students enrolled and that some student would have managed to get through three years of a biology degree believing in Intelligent Design. Apparently, this was a huge oversight.

It didn't help that the person presenting decided to spring this on us as a wild change of topic. He started off doing a pretty good overview of some aspects of sex determination in mammals and how one model of this was creating. After about an hour of this he finished and put up a slide about how the stuff we learn in class and in the labs should effect the way we view the world. My immediate thought was: "Awesome, we're going to talk about sex/gender/intersex people/etc!" Oh, how wrong I was. The segue wasn't for that; it was for a slide with the words intelligent design plastered all over.

*Sigh* What followed that was an entirely uncomfortable 45 minutes.

He started off with an exercise involving us pretending we knew nothing about several objects and trying to intuitively place them in either designed, natural, probably designed. I, of course, decided to object because if I don't know anything about these object I can make no judgement about their origins. It's also pretty damn hard to pretend you know nothing about a lion or a pyramid. As you can guess, this was all about making us go "complexity = design" because obviously our "cognitive biases = reality".

This was all to prime us for the magic that is -- wait for it -- Kirk fucking Durston. Was it rude to giggle at that point?

My problem right now is that I need to give this guy a mark (wee! for peer marking), but I have nod idea how to go about that. Do I give him a good mark because he did a good job presenting the science-y bits? Do I give him a terrible mark because he used the science-y bits to legitimize wasting my time on inane, drivel? Is it right to give him a zero because, while he can parrot biology he seems to have not learned the core of the subject?

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Mr. Deity, PZ, and gay jokes

I generally like PZ Myers and the Mr. Deity show, but I'm not at all cool with the latest episode starting at about 3:10 minutes in ...

I know it's comedy, but can we please do funny without icky ideas of gender and stereotyping of gay men? Gay jokes aren't funny. The old "personal grooming and style isn't for men, it's for teh laydeez and the gays" routine isn't funny. It's offensive and it makes me go sadface.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tomorrow Is a New Start

Last week, I got to run through the immunocytochemistry protocol I'll be using from dissecting out the tissue to taking pretty fluorescent pictures and, as can be expected of most first attempts, I failed completely (OK, maybe not completely as I did get one cell that looked like it could be usable data, but pretty damn close). It's frustrating because I really wanted for things to go well so I could prove to that part of my brain that has no self-esteem that I'm not just wasting everyone's time and money with my incompetence.

So, that week didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but tomorrow I'm back in the lab and it's a new week. I have some idea over where I could have gone wrong so maybe my failures will be more minor.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How long until Thanksgiving?

Today was the last day of the second week of school (UofT has decided to create massive confusion with a schedule that makes sense but is still so fucking stupid) and I think I may be settling in with this going to lectures business and 10 hour days. I miss being a lazy good-for-nothing.

General updates on life:
  • I spend more than the course recommended amount of time working in the lab on my fourth-year project. I'm currently in the lab honeymoon phase where I'm convinced my supervisor is awesome (even if she intimidates me), the research I'll be doing is pretty cool, and the grad student teaching me is not a controlling asshat who thinks I'm an idiot. Now I just wait until everyone realizes that I'm an incompetent idiot.
  • I've had a quick intro to neuroscience in three of my classes which is almost all repeat of stuff I've already learned (in one class I've even gotten the same lecture I had two years ago by the same prof). At this point, I think I may be learning more about the various ways to give this lecture and the different things you can emphasize.
  • The only non-physiology course I'm taking this term is with the two awesomest professors I've had at UofT. I took a course run by them last year and it freaking blew my mind. Since I'm sure someone will make a wrong assumption on the subject, it's a science course.
  • I've got a lot of events to help setup as club exec and circumstances keep conspiring to give us even more stuff to do. I'll also, hopefully, be volunteering at the Centre for Women and Trans People. Yeah for non-class stuff to keep me busy!
  • The last two days have been crappy emotionally. Everything external to how I feel is pretty good, but my reactions to stuff are completely inadequate. Anytime I'm not mentally occupied I start feeling panic-y, like I'm about to screw something up.
  • If I could have any superpower, I'd want to be able to stop time while I nap/sleep...
...and on that note I should go to bed.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Search Term WTF

At this point, I'm used to seeing various combination of "vagina", "penis", "marbles", "lost", "in", and "recover" when I check Google Analytics, the follow is new and full of WTF:

"if someone has been masturbating before for the past six years and he stop it. is it possible for the person to recover all the lost sperms"

Does anyone else wish to answer this reader's question with something more articulate than "WTF?!?!?!"?

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