semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
Saw a tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson in my TL retweeted by someone (though I could SWEAR I had been following him directly - nevermind, the weird add/drop bug of Twitter is another matter entirely) and it was:

"Odd that drivers of fuel efficient cars often get more green-praise than those who chose to live where they can walk to work."

A few people jumped in with things that make a one-off statement like this seem truly uninformed over economic truths:

@Hidoshi said that "the flip side is that a lot of people can't afford to live close to where they work thanks to housing prices in cities"

@Dracos_snitch said it's "probably because it's harder to find a place to live close to work when you also have other needs for you and your family."

@RationalPastime called Neil to the carpet by saying it was "odd that you think living close to work is a choice for most people" and then Neil was further mocked by @SoundCheckMama when she commented "If only we could all live where we work. Or work where we live.

My knee-jerk reaction was to think backward to when we purchased the house my family is currently living in. A house that we chose because it was halfway between my job and my spouse's job (at the time.) Although my spouse has moved on to another position that is - mostly - in the same direction of my job but much closer. I would LOVE to live closer to my job (either halfway between or closest to mine since I have less incentive to job hop in my profession) but this is where we are stuck.

Just after we bought the house, the market crashed hard. I saw it coming and was able to make sure we purchased something at a price low enough that we wouldn't go underwater, though we've come close a couple of times according to Zillow...

I live in an area of my city that has NO sidewalks - though it IS on the sidewalk master plan for the city and will "eventually" get them. The road is marked as a 25mph "country road" but, since it is constantly used as a thruway between one side of the city as another, people tend to drive an average of 10-15mph over the limit, even on the hairpin turns. This isn't discoverable until you move in and have lived on the street for a while. This results in a dearth of walking or bike riding because all the surrounding roads are like this as well.

Another thought that popped into my head is that I didn't pay any more for my hybrid car than the regular version of the vehicle, JUST AFTER the tax break for purchasing hybrid vehicles lapsed. Yes, I drive a hybrid, in a culture that requires you to have a vehicle to go anywhere (safely) and I would love to move closer to my job, and have access to sidewalks, and bicycle trails, and food shopping within walking distance, etcetera, etcetera. Heck, I'd love for even the rumored high-speed commuter rail line that supposed to connect all the way up to Montreal to get built posthaste.

MOST OF AMERICA IS NOT BUILT TO FIT IN WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE THINKING NEIL, OR WHATEVER WELLSPRING YOU ARE DUNKING THAT BUCKET FROM WHICH YOU'RE DRINKING. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT I CHOSE, IT IS SOMETHING THAT I WAS BORN INTO AND MY VOTE HAS NEVER RESULTED IN MY LIVING ENVIRONMENT CHANGING INTO SOMETHING FRIENDLIER TO THE ENVIRONMENT AT LARGE.

Maybe the green-praise is by working from within the system that we are stuck in and making the most acceptable choice that we can live with, within our individual circumstances. I'd like to sum this tirade up with what @anneleonard said:

"Choosing to live where one can walk to work is a privilege."

Check your privilege, Neil.
semiotic_pirate: (it's over)
Perhaps not so bad as falling, but something terrible has occurred. Anyone remember the fashionable 80's? Specifically the ever so wonderful shirt-dress? I actually had one of these and thought it was quite sweet at the time, with one of those wide belts to cinch it... but seeing it now, paired with one of those super-short vest-jackets. *shudder*

(the vest-jacket addition is featured in the email I got, couldn't find a pic of it on the website)

much as I like french cuffs... blech. not only does it make women appear like they are partially undressed they do the additional insult by dehumanizing the model herself with the deletion of the top of her head. this top of the head missing from the model is a signature for gap, btw.

-------------------

Lack of commenting and posting otherwise is due to working on the infamous paper. Which is coming along nicely I believe.
semiotic_pirate: (sewn-shut mouth)
Clemson coach warned against pregnancy
Report: Seven abortions to keep scholarships
Associated Press
Tuesday, May 15, 2007


COLUMBIA -A Clemson track coach told her athletes that becoming pregnant could jeopardize their scholarships, but the school said Monday that no students lost their aid and the policy was later dropped.

The warnings came to light Sunday when ESPN, citing an anonymous female athlete at the school, reported that at least seven current and former Clemson athletes had abortions for fear of losing their scholarships. The athlete told ESPN that she had an abortion after a school official told her she could lose her scholarship by being pregnant.

Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said in a statement posted on the school's athletic department Web site that track coach Marcia Noad had presented her team with written rules, which included the lines, "Pregnancy resulting in the inability to compete and positively contribute to the program's success will result in the modification of your grant-in-aid money. Please consult your coaching staff immediately to discuss."
Read more... )
Okay... I am all for female athletes. I am all for athletic competition. Schools these days invest a LOT of money attracting athletes and competing between other schools for championships and standing. I just graduated from Uconn - who tout their women's basketball team to no end.

I need to understand something. Up to a certain point, you can be pregnant and still play, but after that you are on the bench. You may or may not have an "easy" pregnancy/birth/recovery and that will affect your ability to participate in said sport. If you were given the scholarship to be a member of an athletic team, to compete and win glory for your university... aren't you breaking the contract by becoming unable to play? Or does this fall under injury/accident clauses, like when a player blows a knee or breaks a leg or pulls a muscle, making them unable to play?

Just because you aren't out on the court, or on the field, doesn't mean you cannot participate. Hence, I believe, that is why the coach (or school, they aren't exactly clear on who originally came up with this idea) put in the caveat of "positively contribute to the program's success" and that the scholarship could be modified depending on the level of contribution. Hrm. Sounds like someone wants to have one rule for "regular" medical snafus and another for pregnancy. Maybe it is a policy thought up to keep students from "free-riding" the system to a degree. Whatever the case, you can't have it both ways.

This feels similar to the policies of the military - especially when you are in your initial training period. If a female gets pregnant during basic training, she (and not the male who contributed to her condition) gets kicked out... Of course, you'd have to already BE pregnant to really get dinged for it, most women who are in tip top condition physically don't begin to show until after the three months it takes you to get through basic training. If someone can get "split-training" to accomodate school, why not to accomodate pregnancy? Why does the military frown on pregnancy of its female soldiers? If you aren't in a situation where you are directly in the line of fire, it shouldn't make any damned difference.

With the sports scholarship... whether it is negligence or purposeful, or just plain dumb luck, it shouldn't make a difference either. Because that's how "regular" accidents and injuries occur. A woman who is in peak physical condition can do A LOT of physical activity (and I can hear people starting to chatter about contact sports being rough and so forth, and she could just as easily slip or have some other kind of accident and get a similar result). Continuing with a physical training regimen will actually make childbirth easier for a woman's body. Which means recovery would be that much quicker.

Example: Woman works in a factory, which requires regular lifting of 50+ pounds frequent bending and ocassional running to and fro in the course of a 12 hour shift. Said woman works until she is a week away from her due date, and only goes home at this point because the staff don't want her to give birth on the premises... Three hours labor, start to finish, and woman walks out of hospital with a flat stomach, still in perfect physical condition. Gets to stay home for two weeks because of maternity leave but could go back to work immediately if sufficient support structure in place to care for infant.

Example: Woman rides horses all day, trains and fights in battles as necessary to protect tribe. Works up until labor begins - gets off horse, has baby, gets back up on horse. Sound familiar? Amazons really might have existed, we just don't have definitive proof. Similar incidents occur around the world for women who's work is physical labor, like farming.
semiotic_pirate: (wild at heart)
"So a bunch of men in the world are in love with Mary Jane, and they buy a model of her standing in a sey pose. Big deal. You can belittle the men in this case all you want; and you’re probably right, who the hell pays 125 dollars for a comic figure. That being said, they arent the only men to ever fancy an unrealistic representation of a woman.

I will never understand what modern feminists are trying to accomplish. Equal pay for equal work, ok I can see that one. Fair representation in science and math? Maybe there wouldn’t be such an issue there if all of the “smart” women became mathematicians instead of women’s rights studies majors (yawn).

But seriously. On the one hand, you people are all about sexual empowerment and liberation. And then you complain when men look at you as sexual objects! You glorify the female body and defend the right of any women to dress the way she wants without attracting unwanted desires. And then you condemn men for picking out figures of women wearing sexy clothes. You obsess over shows like Sex and the City for depicting women in an empowered position. But when men see that show, all they see is four shallow, slutty, shoe shopping, man obsessed, gossipy, but most importantly, TYPICAL - as in fitting all of the most negative sterotypes men have about women. And yet somehow it is empowering. So we just dont get it. "


Quote from this reponse to a post by pandagon regarding the Mary Jane collector's statue ($125).

Okay, lets take this one point at a time, shall we?

1. "Love" is not what men feel for MJ, especially not this depiction. That would be lust, pure and simple.

2. By enclosing the word smart in quotation marks, this person, whose screen name is White Male, is deliberately implying that women in general are not smart at all and that is why there is not equal representation in math and science. That it has nothing to do with decades of socialization, etc.

3. Sexual empowerment & liberation does not equal being objectified. It means that we can be sexual beings who can make their own choices about when, where, how, and with whom. It does not mean that we want to be objects, implying that we are just property to be bought. It is one thing for a man to admire and desire a woman (or even a distorted representation of a woman) it is another for that man to want to OWN said woman, as an object - that said woman is not a person in her own right.

4. Women who like Sex & the City do so because the women depicted are the ones CHOOSING to do what they do. They make their own money, and spend it the way they want. They make their own decisions about who, where, and how to satiate their sexual needs. They are a community of four, who are growing and evolving in their wants and needs through life. Are they "shallow" because they think about themselves?

Please, someone else give me a hand in explaining the HUMAN side of this explanation.

This is the image of the statue in question:


I liked this (quoted on pandagon from feministe in another response) take on the whole issue much better: "When a girl or woman picks up “Wizard” and can’t make it 5 pages in without being grossed out by the softcore and the sexist jokes, or when a woman walks into a comics shop and sees statues like MJ, Emma and Supergirl proudly displayed in a place of honor, and when (as you said) she can’t buy JLA without the Peej cover– or when a woman goes to a website and sees misogynist ads with a woman who’s got a lock over her mouth– more likely than not, she’s going to put down the magazine, walk out of the comics shop, and close the website. If the creators and retailers are okay with the fact that, *to the average person*, they look like a bunch of creepy perverts, then fine– they don’t need to change anything they’re doing.

But I don’t think, judging from the response from DC, that they even realize how bad the Peej cover looks. They really just do not *get* that most people, if you showed them that JLA cover without any context and asked them to guess what the comic is about, and who it’s for, would probably guess “It’s about huge breasts, and it’s for men who want specialty fetish porn about huge breasts.”

They don’t realize *how they look* to people that aren’t familiar enough with the superhero comics industry to know that this crap is just business as usual. *That’s* what makes this a big deal.

The women who got their comments deleted from Sideshow’s website– most of ‘em, I can say with some degree of confidence, are Internet nerds of one stripe or another, and most of them are probably within the target market for Sideshow’s Buffy or LOTR or Star Wars or manga collectibles. Sideshow just spit in their faces. Similarly, the women who left reasonable comments on Quesada’s blog and got those deleted? Yeah, they basically just got told by Marvel’s *Editor-in-Chief* to get the fuck back in the kitchen and make him a sammich.

And for every woman that left a comment and got it deleted, there were probably 20 more lurkers that watched it happen. And again, that’s what makes this a big deal– the fact that a lot of the people who are *really upset* about this *could* have been comics fans, and now probably never will be. I know a lot of people on my livejournal friendslist, mostly women, who have never bought comics before– but lately, they have been going into comics shops to buy the Buffy S8 comics, or the Supernatural prequel comics, or Joss Whedon’s run on “X-Men” or “Runaways.” And I know a lot of people who like the Spider-Man movies, and back when the last movie came out, I was recommending Ultimate Spidey left and right.

But these days, man. I just cringe when I think of a friend of mine walking into a comics store and seeing that Peej cover, or other covers like it. *I love comics*. And I love superhero comics. But some days, they do stuff that’s just indefensible, and I can’t in good conscience recommend DC or Marvel comics to my friends any more. And, yeah, that’s what makes this a big deal."

This is so true. I was a major comic book geek-fan throughout the late 70's and 80's. Life started happening and I fell away from that part of my life, but now I have begun to look back and to check out what's on the shelves at the local stores. When I would occasionally see stuff between then and now, it would all be about the extreme distortion of both male and female physiques. It made a parody of what the human body actually looks like, the story-lines were degraded and overly oriented towards sexualizing and objectifying the women. The dross outweighed the good stuff and made it so I couldn't make myself wade through the morass to get to it either. We will see if I can find anything worth getting hooked enough on this time around to subscribe to.

Another pet peeve: Before, the universe of characters were loosely knit, that way if you just wanted to read ONE series, you could, and not suffer from missing "vital" parts of the story-line. These days, you cannot do that. They cross-market and cross-pollinize their story-lines all over the place. Talk about annoying.
semiotic_pirate: (OH NOZ!)
Okay, there was an article in the NY Times about a book getting banned by a lot of elementary school librarians. You've probably already read about it or heard about it by now, however, me doing my homework all day, this if the first time I've seen it. It won the Newbury Medal... what do all of you think?



With One Word, Children’s Book Sets Off Uproar
By JULIE BOSMAN

The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.

Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”
Read more... )

Begin Reaction
Squicky!

It sounded medical and secret, but also important.

The above sentence, coming from a girl of ten, after overhearing the word scrotum smacks of female penis worship and envy. Medical in this sentence is akin to "sacred" because doctors are the priests of science - of the medical profession. So lets see, we have sacred, secret and important. Something to be worshiped. That which is worshiped by someone who does not have said object brings about envy. Blech. Great message to give to elementary shcool level kids.

Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much.

That this is the sentence previous to the one I just dissected is like an attempt to bait and switch in advertising. Yeah, it may be something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much... but it is still sacred, secret, and important.

*shrug* I guess I would have to have a more indepth look at the book and give it a read-through to really assess it. However, off the cuff, my reaction to it is negative. It isn't the inclusion of the word scrotum, it is the symbolic meaning given to the word represented by Lucky's first impression of it that bothers me.
semiotic_pirate: (ExhibitA)
Note/Warning: Severe rant induced by following article to come. Call me on my mistakes and if you opinion differs, I encourage debate.

Yeah, this sums it up nicely... Why are people so aggressive about needing/wanting their "own" kids when there are plenty out there who need to be adopted? If you have difficult conceiving due to age or infirmity of your genetic content it would be safer and better to adopt anyways. I know of plenty of people who, realizing their genetic carrier status of a specific disease will purposely deny themselves child-bearing but they don't deny themselves child rearing. Adoption. Why is it still viewed as some hideous option for well to do people? Why do people continue to look at these children as someone elses leftovers/byblows and as unworthy-of-my-family-name?? What type of incentive program could be devised in order to market these children as viable alternatives to the extreme expense of IVF and all the other hoo-ha?

Is it because you have to qualify as a good potential parent or family unit to adopt but you don't just to get pregnant? (This getting pregnant is for both the women and the men in a couple or singleton situation, m-kay?) What about foster home caregivers? Are people not willing to do this because then they won't "own" the kid outright? Is it because people expect to be some juvenile delinquent that will ruin their comfy little existences? What? You can "start a family" without getting physically pregnant using your own genetic material.

----->In some small way I understand those religions that deny medical treatment and the over-the-top lifesaving or lifegiving techniques of modern technological medicine. We cannot get around the fact that natural selection exists for a reason. I also think this is why so many folks are tenaciously against abortion of any kind because if the fetus is viable then it is healthy enough to be born and should because it would contribute GENETIC variation and so forth. (Not counting rape, incest, or where the mother's life would be endangered by said pregnancy.) Look at what is going on with the Battlestar Galactica crew - no abortions allowed and pro-baby policies because of a desperate need to continue the human species' existence. Of course, we are in no danger of extinction, look at how the population grows continuously on our little fragile planet.

Here's another reason to consider foster-care and adoption. Oh, and BTW, adopt kids from your neighborhood or at least your own country first because we cannot help others until we help OURSELVES. And that isn't selfishness on my part, just common sense.

And, realize that this sentence: "But the experts stressed the overall risk was still relatively low." is referring to the risk added to possible defects and such only as caused by IVF and fertility treatment itself. The treatments themselves don't add much risk to the already RISKY situation of why the couple or person is infertile in the first place.

---------------------------------------------------------------------




Infertility link to autism risk

Couples with fertility problems are three times more likely to have a child with serious conditions like autism and cerebral palsy, research suggests.

The extra risk is likely to be caused by health problems that make it difficult for these couples to conceive in the first place, scientists believe.

Fertility treatments, such as IVF, may contribute too, an American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting heard.

But the experts stressed the overall risk was still relatively low.

They said couples should be counselled about the risks and encouraged to improve their health before undergoing fertility treatment.

Professor Mary Croughan, who led the University of California research on 4,000 women and their children aged up to six years, explained those with fertility problems were also more likely to have other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, and were more at risk of pregnancy and labour complications.

She said: "What has caused them to be unable to conceive goes on to cause problems.

"It is as if a brick wall has stopped you becoming pregnant. Treatment allows you to climb over the wall, but it is still there and it goes on to cause problems."


Raised risk

Her team found the risk of five conditions - autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures and cancer - was 2.7 times higher among the children born to 2,000 women who experienced fertility problems than among those born to the 2,000 women who did not have difficult conceiving.

For autism alone, the risk was four times higher.

Moderate developmental problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities or serious sight or hearing disorders were also 40% more common in the children born to the couples who struggled to start a family.

Stuart Lavery, a spokesman for the British Fertility Society, questioned how valid the findings were because of the wide range of fertility problems and treatments the women had.

"There is no doubt that people who have difficulties with their fertility have difficulties conceiving and carrying pregnancies, although it has not been shown that it is the infertility that is causing the problems," he added.

Clare Brown of Infertility Network UK said continued work was needed to ensure treatment was safe for couples and potential children.

At the same conference, doctors heard how Britain should consider paying women thousands of pounds to donate their eggs.

US clinics often pay women up to $10,000 (£5,200) per IVF cycle. In comparison, British clinics can offer £250 plus travel and childcare expenses.

A spokesman for The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said it had no plans to review the £250 cap, set last year.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/6086824.stm
semiotic_pirate: (Pirate Grrl - RIOT)
Well, I know it isn't new to some people but it is new news to me so...

I've got a service going with The Washington Post to get updates about computer security issues. One of the blurbs in the email led me to this article:

Jury Finds 2 Guilty of Felony Spam
Loudoun Convictions Are First in Nation
Read more... )

BEWARE: There will be a series of short rants following the article - a bit of a stream of conscious type of thing going here. Started this post around 2.5 hours ago and have been distracted by other things going on and have finally finished... I think. It was either that or I would've ended up with one of those multi-post days. END.
semiotic_pirate: (PirateWildKate)
The following excerpt was posted on a community I follow and participate in (feminist) and I just thought I would share it (and my comment made on the post) with everyone who so dutifully reads my blog. The bold is the person who posted the stuff to the community, the italics is the stuff (s)he found elsewhere, regular script is my comment.

Side Note: Just went to see The Incredibles again... I love being able to go to the movies for free!! And no, pJammer, I didn't write the number down, sorry. However, check out their official site for lots of kewl downloadable stuff! www.incredibles.com

Enjoy!

Read more... )

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