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Topics - Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / Swingers
« on: May 24, 2015, 11:42:58 pm »
So my housemate had an experience last night which helped me pinpoint exactly why I am skeeved out by swingers. At least, by people in the Portland swinger scene.

A woman contacted him on OK Cupid and explained that she and her husband are poly, and she is looking for a new boyfriend. So far so good, right? That is pretty much Portland standard. They chatted a bit, and she asked him whether he'd like to meet the two of them for a drink. Sort of an unconventional date, but I was like, hey sure whatever, why not? Then he asked me if I knew where the Bungalo bar is, and I was like, oh, are they swingers? Because that place hosts a lot of swinger events. He assured me that they were not, so I wished him luck and off he went.

Texted me an hour later with "They are totally swingers! I'm out of here."

So he came home and told me about how it was a swinger event, and for the brief time he was there he had to fend off several people who were aggressively hitting on him. We laughed about it a bit, he went to bed, and this morning got up really early to go fishing in a remote spot on the mountain.

When he came home from fishing, he told me that when he returned to cell range he had EIGHTEEN texts from the woman, inviting him to another event, telling him how lucky he is to be part of the group because they don't usually invite men, and how he'll have more fun at this one because her ladies like him. She apparently also told him that the whole group got kicked out of the next bar they went to because "they didn't like our lifestyle" and patrons were complaining about them making them uncomfortable.

Lady, it's not your lifestyle that was making people uncomfortable. Nobody fucking cares about your lifestyle. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that it was your behavior.

So in short, this woman:

-lied to my housemate about the nature of her relationship
-lied about what she and her husband were looking for
-deliberately misled him in order to get him to come to a swinger party
-did not pick up on the fact that she had put him in an uncomfortable position
-did not recognize that leaving after one beer was a signal of non-interest

And that's when it crystallized for me. The thing about the swingers I've met is that they just plain don't respect other people's boundaries. Maybe they can't see them, maybe they don't care, but the net effect is the same; they tend to assume that the absence of no is yes, and that underneath no is yes if they just keep pushing. And they seem to think it's cute, and edgy, and that the reason people don't like them is because of their lifestyle, rather than because of their behavior.

For the most part, nobody gives any fucks if you have a lot of sex with different people. People start giving fucks when you lie, pressure, manipulate, and cross boundaries in pursuit of having a lot of sex with THEM.


Erik Sorto, 34, has been paralysed from the neck down for the past 13 years. However, thanks to a ground-breaking clinical trial, he has been able to smoothly drink a bottle of beer using a robotic arm controlled with a brain implant. He isn't the first patient to control an arm with a neural prosthetic device. But this represents the first time the implant was placed in a region of the brain thought to control the intention to perform movements, rather than the ensuing mechanics of movement. This difference created surprisingly natural movements and has the potential to work for multiple robotic limbs.

We really need laws that prohibit the exploitation of children as performers. Just as there's no good reason to have underage children working in our factories, there is no good reason to have them working on our stages.

Perhaps a few of you remember a couple of years ago, when I posted about an unwitting motorist getting stuck in the bike lane on Williams while trying to turn right, and getting screamed at by a bicyclist who refused to move when the light turned green, based on some principle of which apparently only he (and MMIX, who proceeded to inform me that I was wrong about the whole incident based entirely on looking at the street on Google Earth) were aware?

Well, in the ongoing saga of bike lane development here in Portland, the city has resolved that issue by simply moving the bike lane to the LEFT side of the street, and making it a combined bike/turn lane.

Which of course, is perfectly safe and makes all the sense in the world [/sarcasm].

It has certainly gone some way toward cutting down on bike traffic on Williams and Vancouver, by virtue of making those former bicycle thoroughfares absolutely fucking terrifying.

Techmology and Scientism / The rich club phenomenon in the classroom
« on: April 25, 2015, 05:33:35 am »
So, the rich club is this network theory phenomenon in which the most highly-connected nodes tend to be connected with other highly-connected nodes. It's a big deal in connective neural networks, and the discovery of rich club networking in the brain appears to be taking network scientists by storm for some reason.

Anyway, while I was looking up a rich club neural network article for class, I came upon this, and thought it was really interesting for a variety of reasons.

Here's the abstract:

We analyse the evolution of the online interactions held by college students and report on novel relationships between social structure and performance. Our results indicate that more frequent and intense social interactions generally imply better score for students engaging in them. We find that these interactions are hosted within a “rich-club”, mediated by persistent interactions among high performing students, which is created during the first weeks of the course. Low performing students try to engage in the club after it has been initially formed, and fail to produce reciprocity in their interactions, displaying more transient interactions and higher social diversity. Furthermore, high performance students exchange information by means of complex information cascades, from which low performing students are selectively excluded. Failure to engage in the rich club eventually decreases these students' communication activity towards the end of the course.

Interested in hearing other people's thoughts about this, even if you just read the abstract and not the whole article. I'll chime in with my own as well, but I don't want to taint the thread with my ideas about it before the discussion gets rolling.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / HEY HOWL
« on: April 03, 2015, 06:03:07 am »

I'm starting this thread for a couple of reasons. One is, I would love to have a repository for my ramblings about preparation. Another, because I will be mostly off the grid for a couple of weeks, but I might be able to get online here and there and it would be cool to have a place to check in with you terrible people. Lastly, if I don't make a hole to put it in there is a possibility that I will get random ramblings all over the place, and nobody wants that.

Today I finished my travel shopping, which meant a ton of hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and Pepto Bismol. I could tell the checkout guy was a little uncomfortable.

I was researching power-trippers today, and stumbled upon this article:

If you can't open that link, Google the author's name and you should find her website, it's available to read free there.

This research seems interesting and important; it seems directly relevant to discussions we have had about bad leadership, and the desire to impose an ideology over others even when it comes at a net social expense.

I'd write more but I'm sitting in a doctors office right now so it will have to wait... I just wanted to post that link before I forgot.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / So this is a thing
« on: February 15, 2015, 04:41:02 pm »
Apparently the good folks at Croteam came up with a fictional philosopher, Straton of Strageira, for their game:

They've done a touch of astroturfing to make him more convincing:

I particularly like this made-up quote:

It behooves us to be cautious when particularly taken with any philosopher’s claims, and to consider whether our reaction is due to the logic of his claim or due to the poetry of his words. A beautifully-phrased sentence is an accomplishment in oratory, not philosophy, and the pleasure we take from it should not be mistaken for truth.
The philosopher must be like the architect: to write well is important, but not more important than building an edifice that will not collapse. Some philosophers construct dwellings that seem pleasant to the eye, but are traps for the unwary.

He sounds like a cranky old fuck, and I want badly to believe that somehow his character is based on me. Unfortunately, it's far more likely that it's based on Strato of Lampascus, who was also a crotchety materialist.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / TWID TWID TWID TWID
« on: February 12, 2015, 12:55:27 am »


He is just stringing words together in a way that sounds like they make sense, but they don't.

Aneristic Illusions / Jezebel magazine and Mean-Girl Feminism
« on: February 08, 2015, 06:34:02 pm »
Relevant to Tumblr SJW Culture, fart-huffing, and the ongoing theme of Being Better at The Cause Than you, I encountered this post today:

It's really worth reading the whole thing, but the synopsis is that a lesbian planned a fairly large outing to a strip club for her birthday, and after getting some texts that made her concerned that things might no go smoothly, wrote a humorously tongue-in-cheek email to her friends with advice on making the night a win for everyone, including the staff at the club. Someone thought it was funny and forwarded it to a writer at Jezebel, who, with the help of an alleged stripper friend, proceeded to rip the email to shreds because apparently, in her estimation, the 25-year-old lesbian birthday girl just wasn't doing it right enough.

If anyone isn't familiar with Jezebel, it's a "feminist" online magazine that seemed to get off to a decent start, but then rapidly degenerated to something that is essentially a faux-feminist bully clearinghouse version of Cosmopolitan that spends more time ripping on women for not being perfect than it does analyzing or challenging the patriarchy, rape culture, or other feminist issues.

This seems to me to be very relevant to, and illustrative of, much of the conversation we've had over the last couple of years about movements and causes, particularly online, and how they so often start cannibalizing themselves by preying upon any of their own members they view as weak, vulnerable, or imperfect, because elevating oneself within the structure of a small group by climbing over one's comrades is easier by far, and more immediately gratifying, than tackling the larger societal structures that are causing harm to everyone. In this way organizations such as Jezebel actually perpetuate that which on their face they claim to oppose, fundamentally doing the patriarchy's work for them.

Literate Chaotic / Study abroad essay
« on: January 31, 2015, 05:56:52 am »
Any of you writing spags what writes want to look this over and give me feedback on whether any of it is terrible, doesn't make sense, or sounds like I'm just throwing words together to sound like I'm saying something when I'm really not? I feel like it might be a little too jargony.


As an aspiring neuroscientist with environmentalist values and a strong interest in epigenetics, I am working toward a personal understanding of how I can integrate my values and diverse interests into my future research work. I believe that the principles of sustainability are not only essential for our long-term survival as a species, but is also critical in order to create human systems and environments that foster the intellectual and physical health of their inhabitants.

I also believe that it will be necessary to change the hierarchical, single-discipline structure of most biomedical research studies, and reach toward something that is far more interdisciplinary and community-oriented, in order to find the origins of some of the complex neurobiological diagnoses which have emerged or grown dramatically in the last few decades. I hope that participation in this project will give me insight into how my ideals can inform research that will help to drive our culture toward healthy, sustainable communities.

As a matter of personal enrichment, I have been fascinated with the people and cultures of Peru since I first learned that, as the birthplace of the cultivated potato, they have a potato museum with over 5000 recorded varietals. That amazes me; what a contrast with the monoculture of American agribusiness! As a person of Native American descent, the ruins left by multiple ancient cultures there speak to my curiosity about and emotional connection with indigenous civilizations in the Americas, as does the rich living culture there.

It is my hope that my participation will contribute to the goals of the program by bringing to it my energy, enthusiasm, and unique perspectives from my life experience as a nontraditional student.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / ATTN: PEEDEE
« on: January 25, 2015, 04:56:08 am »
If you are not currently high, get real high and watch this:

I am not high on the marijuanas, but I am eating enchiladas and that is basically the same thing.

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