Guy Fawkes Day Randomness

It’s day celebrating the patron saint of Anonymous.

It’s two days after the great fall, and I have spent most of the day in bed on opiates.  Part of this is that I have been sleeping a lot, but more so because sitting in a chair is very uncomfortable since I cannot bend my leg.

I’ve been reading various blogs, partly to amuse myself, and partly to find things to write about, since the opiates make me fuzzy-headed. (Because I have to write at least 1800 words today.  I am sure that this post will be absolutely scintillating.  Not.)

So  just a few observations:

About the Congresswoman who demanded of Kathleen Sebelius when had a man ever gotten pregnant, implying that men should not be forced to pay for maternity coverage?  The obvious answer to that is, when has a woman ever gotten testicular or prostate cancer?  (I thought of this when I first heard of it, but a lot of bloggers, including Brian Beutler in this Salon piece, have said the same thing.)

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Mike the Mad Biologist makes an important observation regarding people “giving away their privacy.”  I agree to TOS and privacy policies every day that I do not like because I need the product.  (Not always free products, either.) Companies are so arrogant about this that when I was signing up to use Docusign, the link to the Terms of Service that you were required to agree with was broken and I had to call customer service to get the working link.  In the TOS, you were required to agree to a Privacy Policy they did not even link to.  I decided not to sign up for the service, since there was literally no way for me to read what it was I was agreeing to.  I emailed them, so they may have fixed the problem, but I have no inclination to check.

Speaking of privacy, Apple released a report on requests from law enforcement across the world.  They take a deliberate swipe at some other tech companies *cough*Google*cough*:

Perhaps most important, our business does not depend on collecting personal data. We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers. We protect personal conversations by providing end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime. We do not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form. … Unlike many other companies dealing with requests for customer data from government agencies, Apple’s main business is not about collecting information.

Heh.  Of course, most of Apple’s products are not free (OS X Mavericks not withstanding) so you pay up front.  There is no free lunch, and with Apple you know what you pay for, pretty much.  (Not completely, but certainly more than with “free” services.)

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When I am more coherent and better able to formulate ideas, I want to write on the state of scientific research.  Various bloggers and writers have been sounding the alarm about papers being trumpeted as significant when the results have not been replicated, for example, or studies with adverse findings being unpublished.  It is a problem — Andrew Wakefield was an aberration, but there are still problems out there.

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Because, of course, the victim brings it on herself: “Student Op-Ed Argues ‘Drinking Responsibly’ May Reduce Risk of Rape.” This was written by a young woman.  Her argument?

Men might be less likely to try to take advantage if women “quit putting themselves in situations where they appear vulnerable,” she wrote. “If the media would focus more attention on the fact that the majority of the women who are sexually assaulted are intoxicated, as opposed to stating and restating how horrible the perpetrator is,  then maybe young women would start to listen. [emphasis mine.]

“The details on the offenders should not be omitted, but how are young women supposed to learn from the incident when they don’t know the details?”

First of all, how does she know the majority of rape victims are drunk? And the media is not supposed to restate how horrible the perpetrator is?  This is victim-blaming at its worst, although it is of course cloaked as being simply common-sense advice. Funny, no one asks if the victim of a mugging was drunk.

Rape is the fault of the rapist. Always. And yes, the media should state and restate how horrible the perpetrator is, because he is.  And young men should be told frequently that inebriation does not equal consent.

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A politician caught plagiarizing.  When will people realize that, in this Internet age, it is almost impossible not to get caught?  But Rand Paul, unable to admit anything wrong, accused the people challenging him as being “footnote police.”  Yep, they’re out there… the footnote police. Sheesh.  The most annoying comment on that story (when, oh, when will I learn not to read the comments?) was the gentleman arguing that it was impossible to plagiarize Wikipedia: “Wikipedia is a registered trademark, and that is all. Nothing written there is under copyright: nothing can be plagiarized.” First of all, plagiarism is a matter of ethics, not law.  Secondly, Wikipedia is distributed under a Creative Commons License. Of course it is copyrighted.

I am trying not to let my generalized dislike for Rand Paul color my opinions here. Aaron Blake’s take on this, that it shows sloppiness on Rand’s part, and that sloppiness is not anything you want in an elected official, is spot on.  It is possible to plagiarize because of carelessness (I’m sure I’ve occasionally done so, although I do try to use actual quotes and link wherever possible), but the answer to getting caught is to admit and apologize.

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Art lovers everywhere should rejoice in the 2012 recovery of some 1,400 art works which had disappeared during W.W. II.  from a Munich apartment.   It’s wonderful. Except that the Bavarian police have pretty much lost track of the guy who was holding the art works, stating they don’t have enough information for an arrest warrant. Ooookay….  Anyway, it took them long enough to announce the discovery.  There are a lot of families who are going to want their art back.

So much was lost under the Nazis.  This find just reinforces my belief that there are a lot of works out there hidden in back rooms by people who know their provenance as looted works and who just do not care.  Although it also strikes me that this would also be a great opportunity for a forger: if you have a twentieth century work that was “lost,”  it might be easy to recreate it.

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Well, I have not written nearly as much as I should have today.  Tomorrow I hope to write more, and more importantly, write more coherently.

This entry was posted in Art, Miscellany, Politics, Social Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

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