Tag Archives: skeptic’s guide to the universe

More Women in Skepticism

I’ve started a new blog!

More Women in Skepticism: A Handy Guide to Addressing Sexism within the Ranks

I’ve started a blog to list strategies skeptics can employ to increase the number of women within the ranks. Each day I will post one recommendation that will hopefully provide insight into a woman’s experience within the skeptical movement and a suggestion for a behavior (either to engage in or refrain from) that skeptics can perform if they want more women working for their cause. I have found that it’s always easier to have a productive discussion if it is limited in scope, which my blog is. If all goes according to plan, it will be a space in which people can discuss a woman’s experience without hyperbole and derailment, and maybe open a few minds. I welcome comment and suggestions, especially from people who have experience recruiting members to organizations.

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A Google Bomb

It’s my week to muck around with Google, I guess. Because I don’t believe that stars and planets align to affect my life in any instance, it’s rocking my world that I am getting so many signs to exploit the power of Google–two in the last two days. I’ve carefully considered the possibility that Google is such a powerful machine that I’m just going to coincidentally run into it, and that I have a confirmation bias because I did all that stuff with Google Analytics yesterday so when I see the word Google I’m more likely to pay attention to it, but I think it’s that code I inputted yesterday that gave the computer permission to control me.

Anyway… I am participating in a Google Bomb. The year 2012 is coming, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Fortunately, our biggest predictable problem that year will be the presidential election, and even that will be over long before December 21 (unless Barack Obama’s computer cancels the elections). There’s not going to be a celestial apocalypse, and no heretofore hidden planets in our solar system will come into view and yank us out of our orbit. There’s no significance to the Mayan calendar ending that year greater than the significance of your Hallmark kitten calendar ending last year. The reason you got to go to the store and buy a new one for 2009 is that your civilization didn’t die. If the Mayan civilization hadn’t disappeared, you’d see all the 2012 calendars on sale that September to make room for the 2013s on the shelves.

But don’t take my word for it–take the Skeptoid’s:


Since the people at SGU and ILS have started Google Bombing, the page has risen in rank from like 154 to 45. Not bad. Not bad at all. I consider myself pretty fortunate to have participated too late in the game to have to spend time worrying about it, but early enough to take credit later when the world is applauding our success on December 22, 2012 and for many, many years afterwards.

Baby steps to glory is what this is. Hallelujah, Gentle Reader. Google will take care of us all.


Tap to Click and Other Computer Adventures

Before I say another word, I must send mad props out–

(that’s the lingo, right? mad props? a grip of props?)

–mad props out to Redfox, Ducky, and Identity4 from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe chat room for walking me through the various and sundry computer quirks that were keeping me from enjoying all my streaming video and avi files on my new LCD/HDMI/laptop hook up. I would also like to that the other people in the chat room, like Karyn and Louzer, for putting up with my dominating crap. I was treating the room like my own personal help desk and they were treating me with–get this–respect. So next time you, Gentle Reader, are hanging out at irc.rizon.net in the #sgu-fans channel, give them all a holler for me

But boy is “Extended Desktop” teh awesome! I was mucking around in “clone” for a while, which was cool, but with a codec here and a window there, I could be watching me some avi files on the big screen while opening up work files on the computer screen. If that’s not the fast track to productivity, I don’t know what is.

So tonight on the computer, instead of working (or even bothering to open work files), I am experimenting with tap to click. On the Dell Inspiron I hated tap to click. Hated it. It had this weird affinity for it, too; periodically you’d see the screen do this quick refresh out of the corner of your eye and then you’d brush the touch pad with the heel of your hand and end up at ChristianSingles.com or something. And don’t get me started on that stupid scroll function that I never learned how to do right, even with their little maze tutorial.

Have you seen that maze tutorial?


I’m not sure I could make it through that maze with a pencil, much less with the scroll function on a Synaptics Track Pad device. Vertical scrolling was pretty bad, but losing control of a horizontal scroll in an Excel document or on some Google map? I’ve been trying to identify a snorkel spot in Hawaii and ending up in Asia too often. Plus, once you get one of those Google maps scrolling, you can’t really stop it without resorting to end task, which is a pain.

But BFF comes to my house sometimes to print, and she ends up typing on my laptop, and expresses surprise every time that I’m not using tap to click. She raves about tap to click. She tells me that her brother doesn’t like tap to click, either, as if the two of us are some kind of freaks, outdone only by the likes of those people who don’t like cilantro. (You freaks!) Come to find out, I’m at my mother’s house tonight where there are several fancy new Mac machines with these giant, beautiful track pads, and I’m learning that pressing buttons to click isn’t cool anymore. Everybody’s tapping to click these days. So the last thing I want to do is be left behind, and I am dutifully practicing my taps to click tonight. I figured I learned how to put one space after periods instead of two in a few days–how hard could this be?

(That’s what she said!)

I jacked up the sensitivity gauge to the maximum setting. Or the opposite of that–I’m not sure what the terminology is, but I am one setting below as far as it can go to the right, so I almost have to pound the thing to trigger the click. I still have to use the buttons to drag windows around, highlight text, and scroll, but that’s OK. It’s one thing to be annoyed because my thumb is too long to hit the button so I have to move my whole hand around to follow a link, but quite another to click, hold, and move–you are moving your hand around anyway. It isn’t really an imposition.  Yet. I do miss the scroll wheel that I had on the external mouse, but I was getting real sick of schlepping around the external keyboard and external mouse while the keyboard was on the fritz. I could attach the mouse directly to the computer, but it tracks with that red laser light and it doesn’t work on a lot of surfaces in my house–like my desk.

Ah, the adorably painted desk in the new office that we built a whole wall for that I don’t use… it’s a lovely piece of furniture. Of course, the adorably painted chair to match cracked down the center, and the polyurethane coat we put on top of the desk to protect the writing surface turned the white stripes to a pee sort of yellow… but it was fun while it lasted. I am still at the kitchen table. It’s all banged up. There’s a repainting, refinishing day in someone’s future around here. We get into a bind because Husband used to work for a painting company and doesn’t like the quality of my work, but he prefers to golf on the weekends. So I can do something poorly by his standards and expend effort, or I can wait and wait and wait until he gets around to it. It’s a tough call, and I don’t really have moral high ground to take, because I am as lazy as him. Lazier, in fact. Much, much lazier.

So, yeah… streaming Internet on my TV, tap to click acclimation, and my drunk is already started hours ahead of schedule. The TV is already wall mounted, so the only project we have left is to see if we can neatly install the wires for the TV inside these wall channels that I bought at Lowe’s. They are plastic. I’m not thrilled with them, but the metal ones that look so much neater only take one wire at a time. Plus these plastic ones purportedly are paintable. That would be nice to make them the same color as the wall, which is “Camel” by Behr.

On an unrelated subject, I am sort of annoyed that no one got my Lebowski jokes in this thread (well, teethering got them), but pleased to have actual confirmation that I am too cool for school. Too cool, my friends.


And now you guys are privy to all the new shit.

Vanity, Thy Name Is Karen

Well! I won’t go so far as to say that my worlds have collided, but I’ve been mentioned by name today at both the Freedomain Radio forum and the Liberating Minds forum, so I guess I’ll have to start addressing my gentle readers in the plural. I’ll take what notoriety that I can get, but my compulsion to use lots of words and my desire to set things straight combine to form this shortish mid-day post.

Jimmy at FDR has outed me as a member of The Skeptic’s Guide discussion board. Yes, that’s me! That’s why I link to that discussion board in my blog roll–it’s where I spend the bulk of my Internet time right now. This is what he had to say in a thread called “Freedomain Radio and Liberating Minds” (I have probably linked to already, but who’s counting?):

I am absolutely astounded at how much energy the folks at LiMi put into this. I don’t think I fully realized it until now. I browsed through the site after the most recent controversy and….wow. I mean, some of the people over there write essay length rants on a regular basis. And now this Karen person from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe forums is knee-deep in writing treatises on the subject. I can’t figure out if it’s sad, funny, or creepy. A lot of it is mindless attacks and smearing; but I sort of expected that.

What I found even more strange is the multi-page (sometimes well over 5 & 10 pages) posts and essays analyzing every facet of FDR podcasts and conversations. And if my memory serves me right I do believe the newest basher’s (Karen from the SGU forums) husband is an FDR listener. I remember from Nex’s brief interaction at the SGU boards reading posts where she insulted her husband (calling him naive and silly, etc.) and blamed Stef for problems in her marriage. It’s all just bizarre. I just can’t keep thinking about all of these people hovered around their computers for countless hours, typing insults, rants, and essays about one little ole person who they all seem to agree is a rather unimportant philosopher. I mean, you only live once; why not actually enjoy it?

Following are my points of correction. I would have brought them up directly (and without embellishment) at the FDR forum, but new user accounts can’t be created right now. I will have to hope that Jimmy reads this blog again.

1. I am not knee-deep in writing treatises on the subject. When both little kids are up and around and here and there and everywhere, it’s hard for me to work but it’s easy for me to spout. Heck, we’re all there at the kitchen table, and there aren’t really any good shows to watch online anymore. A girl’s got to say something. And this is driving traffic to my blog, which is good for all the other topics. Someday, I know, this duh-rama will no longer be useful. I am making an investment in my future. It’s just like Miss America Vanessa Williams and those naked pictures.

Those pictures caused her a lot of trouble at the time, but look at her now! She’s had record albums, she’s got a starring role on Ugly Betty, and she’s been famous ever since abdicating her crown. Can you even name another Miss America? I bet the closest you come to a name is “That Deaf One.”

2. Husband was not an FDR listener. Husband’s friend was, and it trickled down to me. I blame the friend for all the problems I had in my marriage, so there! For that and my dry, listless hair (which has since bounced back to full glossy–the haircut helped).

3. I am enjoying the writing and the blogging and the attention. How could I get it otherwise? I mean, I like soup, but people aren’t flocking to my write-ups about soup. I like books, but my real life book club meets less than once a month and I have more enthusiasm than confidence about the Skeptic’s Guide/International League of Skeptics book club ever getting off the ground. But speaking of soup and SGU, I would like to make a veiled allusion to an Amish mushroom soup recipe that is on deck for tonight’s dinner and small Amish doll (made in China) that is on a display shelf in the living room. I can say no more at this time.

4. Jimmy is getting his information second-hand from Nexalacer, who is the person who started the infamous anarchy thread that went almost a hundred pages and to which I am perversely linking now. I didn’t insult my husband, although I was quite angry at him and did say along the lines that I could never trust him again to not be stupid, and I am sorry for putting that in print. We’ve both learned a lot from 2008. I will say it again, however, that to believe that anarchy and voluntarism will solve and/or preempt the world’s problems is naive and that many of the complicated arguments for it that rely on the absolute best behavior of people who don’t even know you are just silly. Sorry. It’s a big thought experiment about a house of cards.

I am glad, though, that me–one little ole person–has gotten some attention from the followers of an unimportant philosopher (in the discussion board and in the chat room–I noticed some click-throughs from there because I love checking my stats) and from some other guys. What I need to do is start watching Babylon 5 again to get my other fan back on track. It’s another fun show I can watch from my computer, and I can find just as much to say about it.

But I’ll let these fingers say something else:

I’m going to burn in hell for that, but I think it was worth it.