I’ve already shared this one on Google+ so if you’ve already seen it there I apologize for the repetition, but I know my mother would get a kick out of this so I’m sharing it here too.
I’m old enough now that snot nosed kids can make me feel old pretty easily. Especially when it comes to stuff I grew up with. Stuff like dealing with a rotary phone:
Even though touch tone phones were introduced well before I was born, it took awhile before they were ubiquitous. Growing up we mostly had touch tone phones in the house, but we had a couple of the old rotary ones around too. I don’t recall when I learned how to use one though I’m sure I had to be taught. These days I don’t even have a landline anymore. It’s just an added expense that doesn’t make much sense when I carry my cellphone with me everywhere. That doesn’t stop this video from making me feel really old.
… just watch what happens when the Simple Misfits run an experiment with two different people — one white and one black — attempting to break into a car.
Not only do the police show up within minutes of the black guy’s attempt, but at the end it looks like they have half a fucking squad there to handle him despite him being completely cooperative with the officer. Meanwhile the white guy spent half an hour doing the same thing and a passing cop didn’t even stop to question him about it.
A few years back ABC News did a similar experiment in a park where they staged a bike theft:
In that experiment some folks did question the white guy who admitted that he was stealing the bike and then didn’t bother to do anything else about it, but when the black guy showed up suddenly it was a showdown. Even more interesting is when they bring out an attractive blonde woman to steal the bike and people actually help her do it.
To be fair, there’s more than racism at work here. This is a perfect example of cognitive bias in action. Specifically in relation to racial stereotypes. Our culture has long reinforced the idea that white people are good and black people are bad and when confronted with situations such as these that bias tends to show up. The best way to avoid being biased is to be aware of our tendency to engage in it when and where we can. At its worst it ends up putting innocent people in jail and/or allows guilty parties to escape.
I hear you asking: Who the fuck is Dave Daubenmire? He’s another Bible Thumper who made a name for himself by being sued by the ACLU. Seems he used to be a high school football coach who had a tendency of coercing the kids he was coaching into praying which brought on the lawsuit back in the late 90s. After settling the case he decided to leave behind his career as a high school coach to become a Coach for Team God. Not a bad decision as far as future athletes at his high school are concerned. Since then he’s attracted a bit of a following with a number of YouTube videos and setting up his own ministry called, ge this, Pass the Salt Ministries. Think of him as a less popular version of Joe the Plumber.
Anyway, he caught my attention with a recent YouTube video he did for NewsWithViews.tv in which be bemoaned being tempted by pornography while surfing on the Internet and a call to recriminalize it:
There was almost a coherent argument in that little rant. He starts off by talking about how he was minding his own business on the Internet when a popup window suddenly appeared with an ad for a porn site and he was strongly tempted to click on it. He doesn’t say if he did click on it, just that it’s one of the greatest temptations in all of society. He then tries to explain why he thinks we should criminalize porn. As near as I can tell his argument is that because we are a “rational people” we want ban smoking and guns and drunk driving and bullying so we should also ban porn because he feels it’s more dangerous than all of those things combined.
That’s about the extent of his argument, though he does try to use shame to convince you it’s legit. He wonders aloud on just how many people in any given business or church are regular consumers of porn and marvels at what a “dark, dark secret” it is. He goes on to say:
“It’s nothing that anyone likes to own up to. Nobody likes to talk about the fact that they’re looking at pornography because we know this, don’t we, that the end result of pornography in most cases when men in particular are looking at pornography it ends up in, what, masturbation. No man wants to talk about that. No man is proud to say that he does that.”
I don’t have a problem talking about it. I occasionally watch porn with masturbation being the whole point of doing so. There’s not a whole lot of other reasons to watch porn. The acting is pretty terrible, the story all but non-existent, no real special effects to speak of in the majority of it. Some of it can be pretty funny, sometimes even intentionally so, but not enough to make that a reason to watch it. The simple truth is that my libido and my wife’s occasionally don’t sync up and I have a choice. I can make myself into a royal pain in the ass trying to get her to engage in sexy time or I can go blow off some steam with a little porn. Am I proud of it? Never really occurred to me that it’s something to be — or not be — proud of. I don’t advertise the fact that I watch porn mainly because I don’t think anyone really is interested in whether I watch porn, but I don’t consider it a dark secret that I won’t own up to.
“Coach” goes on to claim that porn is “laying waste to this land” and destroying families and careers and, oh my goodness, our young people! He doesn’t elaborate on how, exactly, it’s doing this. He just tosses the claim out there and expects you to accept it as true. I can’t speak for anyone else, but so far it hasn’t ruined my family or career, but then I have managed to develop a halfway decent impulse control as I’ve gotten older. To borrow a turn of phrase from the gun nuts: Porn doesn’t destroy people. People destroy people.
So, in summary, his entire argument seems to be: I was tempted to look at porn and I have bad self-control so I think we should ban it. Perhaps “Coach” would do well to install any of the dozens of porn filter applications on his computer that’ll block any websites that might contain temptation inducing naughtiness from his system? Or maybe he needs to hang out on a better class of website that doesn’t accept porn ads. It’s very rare that I have a popup for a porn site show up on my system, but then I don’t tend to frequent sites that are likely to accept those kind of ads. If I see pon on my screen it’s because I went straight to it.
At the start of the video he says that what he’s about to say “…may seem really radical to ya…” and it’s really not because it’s not a new idea. Porn was banned for a long time and people were prosecuted for both making it and consuming it. Technically it still is illegal in many places as none of the laws have been removed from the books as far as I’m aware. Enforcement is rare because that’s easier than the political process of revoking the laws, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t used on occasion or couldn’t be used again in the future. The truth is: Much like alcohol and (increasingly) recreational drug use, banning it doesn’t seem to abate people’s desire to partake of it.
You were right when you said it was a “supply and demand” problem. What you don’t understand is that getting rid of the supply side won’t do anything to eliminate the demand for it. And when there’s enough demand there will always be someone willing to provide it no matter what the risks.
I like this music video for obvious reasons not the least of which is that it’s done using Team Fortress 2 characters:
It’s kinda weird how many things I’ve been fond of in my life that have become trendy. I got into computers back when they were a novelty. Nerd Culture has gone mainstream. Doctor Who is not only heard of, but popular in America. Shaving your head is in and now beards are back in a big way. Many of the things that used to make me feel like an outsider are now popular. Sure, otters as a favorite animal is still a niche thing, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before folks catch on to that as well.
If I didn’t know any better I could be forgiven for thinking I was a trend setter.
I’ve got to give Disney credit. I’m not a huge fan of their classic animated features as I find them just a bit on the saccharine side for my tastes, but their live-action twist on Sleeping Beauty where we see the story from the villain’s point of view has me very intrigued:
For all I know the movie may end up being crap, but the casting of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent seems absolutely spot-on. The CGI is a little dodgy, but I’m willing to cut that some slack to watch her tear up the scenery. The new rendition of Once Upon A Dream by Lana Del Ray is just chilling. Oh, and that smile! She’s living up to her name with that smile.
That seems to be the question being answered in the video B E A U T Y by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro. In it he takes many famous classical paintings and animates them with the results being both lovely and creepy. You will definitely want to watch this one full screen and in HD. Note: There’s some amount of nudity and violence in this so consider it NSFW:
One of the things that occurred to me as I watched this is that a lot of classic paintings have some pretty twisted subject matter to them that’s really highlighted when you animate it. Granted, the animation in this is somewhat limited, but even the small amounts that are done are impactful. You can find the full list of all the paintings used here.
The folks at It’s OK to be Smart have a cool little video up on YouTube that talks about snowflakes, how they’re formed, and whether or not it’s true that no two are exactly alike:
One of the things I love about snowflakes is that they’re a great example of order and complexity from chaos. Just a few simple rules of physics produces the amazing variety of patterns a snowflake can take on. All from a bunch of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that bonded together and then bumped into each other.