A Balanced Programme on Balance

"Speaking as a scientist the computer modelling and data shows that if we continue to put CO2 into the atmosphere at this rate there could be a rise of 4-5 deg C which will destroy civilisation and devastate life. And so speaking personally Please can we stop???!!!" *

The BBC’s usual marginalisation of women and cringing avoidance of political controversy were strongly in evidence on last week’s The Infinite Monkey Cage.

A program on balance was happy with 4 men and 1 woman, and she was The Target, a comedian and theology graduate who was all too like Tim Minchin’s Storm.

The excellent Paul Nurse didn’t get to say too much as she said scientists should accept the rules of media and political debate and not expect them to be like the rules of scientific debate. Scientists may say there is no evidence for astrology, but people may still want to believe in it and should not be deprived.

Yes OK astrology but what if it matters? Scientists should change their “hat” if they want to express a political opinion.

Paul Nurse: So I say “the computer modelling and data shows that if we continue to put CO2 into the atmosphere at this rate there could be a rise of 4-5 deg C which will destroy civilisation and devastate life. And so speaking personally Please can we stop???!!!” 
" and we have run out of time"
Gee thank you BBC what a surprise.

But we could be on to something. Scientists soberly putting the facts on climate change then saying
"but it’s not my business to tell you what to believe; of course I understand that you don’t want to accept how terrible life will be; speaking personally I cry myself to sleep every night."

* quotes are approximate, I don’t have a transcription



get ********

Some people should be denied the oxygen of publicity (I wish), but sometimes you just need to hurl insults at them don’t you?

So here’s my compromise, it can be sung to the tune of The Cutty Wren, (used to excellent effect by Seize the Day) with handclaps for ********


won’t someone get ******** ha ha only joking
it’s no use protesting to the BBC
the scurrilous sleazeball the high priest of diesel  
won’t someone get ******** before he gets me

he thinks murdering women is OK, it’s funny
tries to get me run over when I’m on my bike
he threatens me weekly because I’m a greenie
now he wants to shoot me coz I went on strike


while poor hapless twitterers are labelled conspirators
banged up in jail for their flippant remarks
but if you’re iconic just say it’s ironic 
when fatuous fatwahs spew out of your lips



Only builders will profit from Cameron’s sub-prime mortgages

A great article from Simon Jenkins in the Guardian says what I always say about the housing shortage, (but so much better) Thanks.

Here are some excerpts, but please read the full article 

… With ministers said to be panicking about growth, every lobby in the country is rushing to town waving bottles of snake oil. Few are as powerful or persuasive as the housebuilders, sharing with bankers a responsibility for the world’s current woes.

There is no shortage of houses in Britain, indeed there is a raw surplus. Many are just too expensive for those who want to live in them

…Under Margaret Thatcher housing subsidy wheeled upmarket, to promote homeownership. Tax relief was explicitly deployed as a means of sucking wage earners into homeownership (and Tory voting)

Today’s constant reference to the plight of young people “struggling to get on the housing ladder” reflects the reckless politics of the sub-prime crisis. It humiliated renting, inflated house prices, impoverished young people and ruined thousands in a frenzy of the “homeownership” bubble. Home owning peaked at 70% of Britons, against between 40% and 55% in Germany, France and the Netherlands. It leached savings from the economy and made British workers starkly immobile, compared with Germans or Japanese.

weather woman

weather woman (for everybody with BAD or MAD*)

goes with the flow
cries in the rain
droops with the mist
basks in the sun
goes wild in the wind
sleeps under the snow
rages with the storm
swims against the tide 
worries she is increasingly unstable

* Barometric affective disorder, or meteorological affective disorder

The sun’s out -
log out and
go out

evomolutionary psychology, sociobiology, whatever, how to miss the point

Polly (pervocracy) mocking Cosmopolitan's ”I fully believe females are smarter and more evolved.”

"How we got to be "more evolved," when we only breed with males, is a mystery scientists have yet to solve. (They’re still working on an evolutionary model that explains how 1950s American gender roles and 2010s American beauty ideals are the correct ones for all times and all places, according to evomolution.)”

So true. Let’s suppose there is something relevant to learn about animal (usually sexual) behaviour and look at our closest relatives the apes. The results are amazing, we have:

pair bonding gibbons 
solitary orang utans
polygynous (harem) gorillas
horde chimpanzees (females on heat mate with lots of males, alphas first)
and the bonobos - one of the few animals to have recreational sex (though apparently gibbons when mating for the first time have lots of sex too, and they sing to each other first)

This is an astonishing amount of variation in a small superfamily. If it suggests anything it is how plastic our behaviour is,  we can see examples of all these in different human societies. We can choose, and clearly it’s the bonobos and gibbons having most fun.

The chimps and gorillas male sobios are so fond of only mate for procreation, and non preferred males may never do so. And they have no sexual preferences at all, any male will mate with any receptive female. Only pair bonding males choose females (and vice versa of course).

Imaginary Feminism 101

This made me laugh: 

Polly (pervocracy) was reading the blog Manboobz, ”which is fascinating in a sort of constantly infuriating way, and has, er, “lively” debate in most of the comments sections, and realized that there was a fundamental disconnect there between the Men’s Rights types (MRA, Men’s Rights Activists) and the feminists. The feminists were arguing in favor of feminism, but the Men’s Rights fellas were arguing against Imaginary Feminism, or IF. And they were right to do so! This is a truly toxic movement! Let’s explore IF in detail.

Imaginary Feminism is monolithic.
This is very important. Anything said by anyone calling themselves a feminist can be assumed to be true of anyone else calling themselves a feminist. Some random thing Andrea Dworkin said in 1973 is tattooed on all IF’s chests backward so they can read it in the mirror. All IFs simultaneously subscribe to the beliefs of Valerie Solanas, Catharine McKinnon, Betty Dodson, Phyllis Schlafly, Twisty Faster, and that person who wrote those weird articles about Firefly. Or, I mean, all the beliefs you know about. Don’t feel over-pressured to actually learn anything about these people.

If an IF tells you she does not hold a particular belief, there are two possibilities, and only two:
1. She’s lying. She’s got the SCUM Manifesto printed on her ceiling so it’s the first thing she sees when she wakes up, and you know it.
2. She’s not really a feminist at all! And she didn’t know it, poor thing! She’s been suckered! Pat her on the head for being “one of the good ones” and welcome her into the MRA fold.”

It made me think

1) I wish someone would do this for imaginary environmentalism Yes I mean you Mark Lynas “Mark brackets all environmentalists together - despite the wide diversity in people, groups and opinions - and then creates a crude and grossly inaccurate caricature, painting us all as Luddites, ideologically driven, anti-capitalist, naively romantic about rural life, dreamers and scientifically illiterate.”

2) Sadly MRAs don’t just hate imaginary feminists. They hate women.