Otterday! and Open Thread

This week’s open thread is brought to you by Tazo, an orphaned Alaskan sea otter pup whose home is now the New York Aquarium.

A young otter in a white room with a green wire-mesh window comes forward to look into the camera lens

Tazo, a 5-month-old sea otter rescued in Alaska, gets T.L.C. at the New York Aquarium. (Image Credit:

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

Tags: , , ,

39 replies

  1. There’s been another sexual assault in the tech geek community, the survivor’s account is here. One specific question arising from the discussion on her post: does anyone have a good 101 level link in response to the “you shoulds” (“you should go to the police” mostly)?

    • I’m getting an “Unable to Connect” at – I hope this doesn’t mean that she’s feeling overwhelmed by unhelpful responses.
      EDIT: Ah, the page is loading now.

      • OK, the page there keeps crashing when I want to make a comment. I can’t think of such a handy resource right now – but in terms of going to the police a case like this has all the usual negatives of dealing with the police with respect to sexual assault charges and none of the possible upsides with regard to even having DNA evidence that might be used. There’s no way that a groping incident like this is ever going to end up being prosecuted in a court. For me, naming and shaming him and essentially daring him to sue her for defamation if he’s going to deny it is much braver than going to the police anyway.

  2. tigtog: unfortunately it was linked from major tech news sites; I don’t know whether she was overwhelmed with comments at her own site (probably), but the site was probably overwhelmed in a technical sense and the comments at the news sites themselves were pretty damn faily.

  3. The argument I’d like to link to in cases like this, if someone has been patient to make it succinctly and 101-style, is the one that says that “you should go to the police” or “you must go to the police” further disempowers the person who was assaulted: they didn’t get to decide not to be assaulted, they should get to decide whether to go through reporting and so on. It can also be quite silencing: if you didn’t do what you “should” and report, then you don’t get to talk about the assault or receive support. (In fact, early on in the linked comment thread someone tried to argue directly that naming an assailant who has not actually been convicted of a crime is libel.)

    • @Mary, I know I have read posts discussing how that “should” is disempowering in exactly the way that you describe, my google-fu is failing me on finding any of them though.
      While we’re on 101 stuff, I’ve got someone riding a pomposity stallion in the moderation queue over at FF101 about how natural variation just happens to put men in higher numbers than women in both the top and bottom of IQ distributionss, and oh look men are in higher numbers at both the top/elite and the bottom/homeless of the socioeconomic order, and so our male-dominated society is not even all that but even if is is it’s all just biology, you silly feminists. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel on all the things going counterfactual in that one, but I can’t find a good post on it right now either. Anybody?

  4. I was browsing Alan Sinfield for a quote on early modern perceptions of sexual orientation (as one does), and I came across a line I have to share. After quoting a nasty Edwardian poem about how dreadful effeminate chaps who don’t play cricket are, Sinfield responds: “It may seem obvious today that the misogyny in this hearty little verse does not betoken an effortless heterosexuality.”

  5. but it is full of reasons why the cops might not be one’s first port of call after being assaulted.

    (This link contains some pretty awful accounts and some other potential triggers. Feel free to edit, repost or drop if it’s not helpful.)
    From the Guardian: If I were raped today, I would not report it – October 25 2006: Julie Bindel on why she has lost faith in the system.

  6. GF is working for me now (I also couldn’t contact it for a while) and doesn’t have a post on the ApacheCon assault, so I guess it was a coincidental blip.

  7. pomposity stallion
    I have seen the IQ curve comment around so often lately. In blog comments, in the letters page of the paper, on the radio; is there a campaign going on, or is this argument just so spectacularly irritating that I notice it more than others?

    • What I especially lovehate about the IQ curve argument is their assumption that (even if there weren’t all those cultural bias problems with IQ that we all know about) that somehow being outliers on the IQ curve is somehow self-evidently the natural qualification for leadership positions. Even if we posit that there is perhaps such a thing as an LQ (and how do we measure it?) , why should LQ have any correlation whatsoever with IQ?

  8. Background briefing had a nice show about the abortion trial in Queensland. Some comments from anti-choice spokespeople, but otherwise it was factual. Downloadable audio and transcript should be up sometime this afternoon.

  9. Have you seen this?

    • I hadn’t seen it, pilgrim. Thanks for the link.
      For others, here’s a summary of the premise of the video:

      Girls living in poverty are uniquely capable of creating a better future. But when a girl reaches adolescence, she comes to a crossroads.
      For Her And For Everyone Around Her
      * She gets educated.
      * She stays healthy and HIV negative.
      * Marries when she chooses.
      * Raises a healthy family.
      * She is illiterate.
      * Married off.
      * Is isolated.
      * Is pregnant.
      * Vulnerable to HIV.
      The first way means that she has the opportunity to raise the standard of living for herself and her family.
      The second way means that she and her family are stuck in a cycle of poverty.

      It’s nicely done.

  10. Thanks for the summary of the video, tigtog. It’s a good message.
    Just used the wii-fit for the first time in six months. Apparently I’ve gained less than a kilo (wii-fit tells me this is a problem – now apparently overweight?). But I was all sore and all my muscles were tight before, and now I am only a little sore. Yay exercise!
    I love this otter. ❤

  11. And I’m enjoying reading Oddly Specific. I found it a few days ago 😀 Another member of the cheezburger network that I now enjoy 😀 😀
    Some excellent signs can be found below 🙂 You may or may not actually find them funny.

  12. There are other parodies on youtube as well. The ‘deleted scene’ one is nasty and potentially triggering and generally a huge fail. I’d recommend not watching it.
    The one with the purple monster with horns is okay.

  13. If we’re sharing funny youtube videos, then it’s definitely Tim Minchin o’clock.
    Uni is finally over, and my plan is to sleep in until Christmas. I’ve spent the last fortnight making an animation of a piano that bounces like a puppy and pees musical notes. Next year I’ll be taking comedy writing as an elective, which I’m really looking forward to. Step 3: profit?
    Thanks for the link, pilgrim.

    • Ok, that’s officially Tim’s creepiest video yet. I prefer him when he’s being a little less shocktastic – it dilutes the impact of his satirical nuggets when they’re wrapped in that much shockjockism.

  14. Ach, I apologise for the inappropriate choice of video. To compensate, here’s some kittens on a slide. (FWIW, I think I’ve been desensitised to verbal horror by our year’s celebratory zero punctuation marathon. I just didn’t pick up the disturbing imagery in the clip, and now my brain’s trying to justify it. Interesting.)

    • @TAK, no worries re the Minchin. I’m definitely engaging my gripping hand in weighing up my reactions to that one! It does do a neat job of showing just how creepy a partner who wants to be part of everything you do can be, and how the “if you really loved me” whine can be used with such cumulative manipulative effect, so I salute Tim for showing that so well. It’s just that creepy partner is really creepy.

  15. I love the Grover video! I have loved it since I first saw it.
    I also love this one of The Swedish Chef making de Pöpcørn . Bonus points to whoever decided to subtitle it phonetically (mostly).

  16. Over on Geek Feminism, bluebec pointed out that s.e. smith has written the link I wanted: But, You Have To Report It!.

  17. Was feeling like a faker in the Drs this morning, telling him that I had been coughing for over three weeks and wanted to be checked for whooping cough, while my chest and breathing were all clear. Luckily the cough struck while I was in there and he agreed that it didn’t sound good. Also have a child off school for five days with alleged whooping cough, but he really does look and sound sick. The antibiotics should help I hope. If it comes back positive everyone gets to go on antibiotics and I have to do a lot of ringing around friends I have been in contact with and let them know too.

    • Mindy, sorry to hear about your illness – I hate extended coughing bugs. It might well not be whooping cough, there are other conditions which can leave you with a cough that hangs on for weeks, but it’s no fun whatever the cause.
      mr tog and I just had our booster shots for diphtheria/tetanus/whooping-cough last week. It’s a good reminder that unless you’ve deliberately organised it, the last time most of us were immunised for these was in our teens, and the vaccination starts to lose effect after 10 years.

  18. Thanks for the sympathy TT. I’m hoping it’s not whooping cough because I’ve been working with a pregnant lady recently and I’d hate to have passed it onto her. Also beginning to suspect that the antibiotics might be worse than the cough. But enough whinging I’m going to spend the afternoon being happy that I’m not a mother magpie this time of year. Those babies really do never stop crying. Even when they are full.

  19. Just received the hooray-you’re-working-at-the-election! manual, and thought you ought to know that the disabilities section is just brilliant. It’s really really good. Not sure how much I’m allowed to reproduce, but it has a very clear explanation that PWD are people first, tips on vocabulary and behaviour, examples of difficulties some people may experience, and a very blunt list of “don’ts”. The right of every voter to be respected and enabled is very clear.

  20. Kim: Should that not be public info? I’m really curious to read it. Because, yeah, at least one poll worker I encountered at the last election could do with some training.

  21. @Lauredhel
    Everything on the VEC site is aimed at voters; I can’t find the guide for election workers. The VEC training manual has just 7 pages of disability 101 stuff, but that’s still better than the AEC. Here’s the list of “Don’ts”
    1. Don’t use words like “handicapped”, “disabled”, “victim”, “suffers from” or “deformed”.
    2. Don’t tell an individual that you admire their courage or determination.
    3. Don’t express sympathy for the individual or presume that they are more fragile or sensitive than others.
    4. Don’t assume that someone with a speech or hearing impediment is intellectually impared..
    5. Don’t stare at or avoid looking at a physical disability.
    There’s about 2 pages of “Dos” before that, containing things like “Address the person with a disability by his or her first name only when extending the same familiarity to all others” and “Ask the person whether they would like any assistance, but don’t assume that all people with a disability will need it or require it. Some people with a disability are independent and may decline your offer of help”.
    There are also tips in the summary of duties for each election worker. Queue Controllers have “clear the queueing area of obstacles that could obstruct an individual with mobility problems” and “advise electors queueing that assistance is available if required (e.g. seat-level voting compartments, maxi pencils, magnifiers, etc.)”. Handing-out-ballots people have “Speak in plain English; do not point or say ‘over there’”.

  22. @tigtog *winces in sympathy*

  23. @ TT – hope someone is spoiling you while you recline tonight.
    @AK – sounds good, lets hope they read it!

    • Well, I just got given a bunch of flowers!
      Luckily I was planning roast stuff for this evening anyway, so that’s an easy dinner to sort out with able assistants.

%d bloggers like this: