Nineties Kids Remember

December 1, 2015

(Have I really not posted in three months? Ugh. Well, let’s see how far this December thing goes this year…)

You know those posts that float around social media saying “only 90s kids remember this” or someone else whose adolescence occurred entirely or in part prior to the turn of the century?

Cassette tapes. Getting film developed. Car windows that roll up and down by use of a hand crank.

Yeah, I, a 90s kid, am glad to be rid of all that shit, too. Thanks for reminding me.

Oh, but the next generation won’t appreciate not having annoying things like this anymore because we have digital media files and power windows? Well, good, it gives them more room to find what’s lacking in the current technology so they can in turn improve on that! Yay, progress!

And then there are the posts suggesting today’s kids will never know such bygone things like, say, a Pez dispenser or ending friendships by playing a well-timed Draw 4 card in Uno.

Except they can because Pez and Uno are totally still around, so I don’t know what the fuck these people are talking about. *shrug*

Tyson the Christmas Troll

December 29, 2014

On Christmas Day, Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted the following:

On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642

Hehehe. Cute. I shared it. Why not? 🙂

Then, as I should have expected, a bunch of idiots complained that this was offensive to Christians. Tyson tweeted a bunch of tweets on Christmas, all of them a little snarky, yet somehow this is the one that pissed people off so much.

How the hell is this even news? Is anyone that surprised?

Well, actually, I’m a little surprised. This Newton tweet was just a clever play on words. I can’t even find anything in it that would even be offensive to Christians.

If anything, it’s some of the other tweets they should take issue with. Like this one:

Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA).

Two problems with this one.

One, Pagan IS Religious. It’s so often that the non-religious calling out Christian hypocrisies talk about paganism as if it’s some other thing entirely, forgetting that pagans are also religious, just not members of an Abrahamic religion. This sort of statement implies that only the Abrahamic religions are truly considered “religions” and that those that aren’t are just something else. Which is, needless to say, rather disrespectful and othering.

Two, yeah, the USA is not even close to the only country that spent the past month in a shopping frenzy. Come the fuck on! 😆

But aside from that, well played, Tyson. Well played.

The Right to Privacy

December 12, 2014

How can people honestly worry about their right to privacy in this age of social media? People tweet constantly. People share their meals on Facebook all day long. They share their exact locations whenever they migrate to a different location. How, oh, how can people do all this while worrying about the government or police or whoever spying on them and knowing where they are and what they’re doing at all times when they share all this info freely anyway?

Easily.

Because the important difference with all the social media sharing is that it is freely chosen. Not everyone shares all these details or is interested in having a wide audience for these things. Some people do. And those people retain the right at any time to no longer share these details.

With other entities spying, it is outside of one’s control. It is invasion and coercion at that point. It is the removal of one’s autonomy.

Autonomy is so undervalued. :pissed:

Christmas in Africa

December 11, 2014

You’d think I should know better now after what happened last week, but I’ve continued browsing cool Christmas stuff on Wikipedia. And so far there has been significantly less child abuse.

I was looking through the Christmas Traditions article, with what countries all over the world do at Christmas. It’s pretty neat. Haven’t gotten all the way through it yet.

I had the radio on, playing the Christmas music. And guess what notoriously geographically-impaired song came on!

“There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time. The greatest gift they’ll get this year is light. Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow… do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”

Umm…

Christmas in South Africa is a public holiday celebrated on 25 December. Many European traditions are maintained despite the distance from Europe.

Christmas trees are set up in homes and the children are given presents in their stockings. Traditional ‘fir’ Christmas trees are popular and children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The gift bearer is Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas meal is mince pies, turkey, roast beef or a barbecue outdoors. The meal is finished with Christmas Pudding. Christmas crackers are used to make noise.

Okay, I guess they don’t mean South Africa. Surely the rest of Africa is devoid of holiday spirit- oh…

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Nigeria which is always marked by the emptying of towns and cities as Nigerians that have been successful returning to their ancestral villages to be with family and to bless those less fortunate. As the towns and cities empty, people jam the West African markets to buy and transport live chickens, goats and cows that will be needed for the Christmas meals.

On Christmas Eve, traditional meals are prepared according to the traditions of each region. Rather than having sweets and cakes, Nigerians as a whole tend to prepare various meats in large quantities.

Huh. Okay, Nigeria seems to have this whole Christmas thing down. But then again, that song was more specifically about Ethiopia, right? And it’s not like they- oh, look at that!

Christmas Day in Ethiopia is celebrated on January 7. Many people who are Christian in Ethiopia, go to Church on the Eve of Christmas, and stay there all night until 4am the next day on Christmas while doing many spiritual prayer and rituals like Liturgy and Holy Communion.

Oh, snap!

Well, alright. Ethiopia has a lot of Coptic Christians. They in fact do know it’s Christmas time, just like Nigeria and South Africa. But maybe it’s just them, and that the rest of Africa doesn’t know about Christmas…

Or they do, since according to this map, only in Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia, SADR, and Somalia is Christmas NOT a public holiday.

Though the song is from 30 years ago so who knows what’s different between then and now. And there’s some new version of it out now that seems to have changed the above line. That’s something. But the original is played frequently, complete with misleading information. And it’s stuck in my head now and I’m still annoyed because it’s three weeks into the Christmas music and I’ve only heard them play Canon twice with its nice lyrics of not-totally-sure-what-but-at-least-not-geographical-misrepresentation. :irked:

Tumblr Temps

December 10, 2014

So often on Tumblr when a post so much as includes mention of a temperature, I know what’s coming.

Let’s say it says something like “This is 50 degrees in Michigan” and there’s a picture of people wearing t-shirts, shorts, and sandals. Then it says “This is 50 degrees in California” and in that picture everyone is wearing heavy winter coats and shivering.

But in the replies, before long at all, there will be some idiot who says “I live in England where we use Celsius so I was confused.”

No you fucking weren’t. You’re pretending to be confused. You’re in England, so while the Fahrenheit scale is not in use anymore, you all are at least aware of it. Hell, you all switch back and forth between it and Celsius in some contexts. And even so, you’d know full well the US is on Fahrenheit and that the locations mentioned in the image are in the US, so you could probably deduce as much.

Enough of this “tee hee, I don’t know the other scale” nonsense. Context, people! If someone is referring to 35 degrees as being hot, it’s Celsius. If cold, Fahrenheit. If referring to the day’s weather being 80 degrees, it’s obvious Fahrenheit, because 80 degrees Celsius isn’t exactly livable.

But that one wasn’t as bad as a similar one, where the temperatures -40, -30, -20, and -10 were shown in four respective pictures, showing Canadians considering them warm comfortable weather. And even in this context, there was some temperature scale confusion.

First of all, it’s negative temperatures. That’s still below freezing on both scales and still fucking cold. What’s to be confused about?

Also, and to mimic Futurama’s Morbo for the moment…

MINUS FORTY FAHRENHEIT AND MINUS FORTY CELSIUS ARE THE SAME FUCKING TEMPERATURE! GOODNIGHT!

Annoying Popular Article

December 23, 2013

There is this article going around that you’ve most likely seen by now. I think half my Facebook friends have shared it, most hating it but a few agreeing. I’m not going to link it because it’s obvious click-bait and they’re getting enough attention anyway, so I don’t need to add to it.

It starts off good with the little bit about the light switches, and then seemingly out of nowhere it goes into a nonsense diatribe on gun rights and making weird and unexpected comparisons to the Spanish Inquisition. Next was something about the writer’s niece baking gluten-free brownies and this tied back into the light switch thing somehow.

You know the one I mean.

I enjoyed this line:

When we arrived at Chicago O’Hare, the airline had lost my sled and accidentally sent it to Detroit. So I had to get to my aunt’s house without a gift and ran by 7-11 real fast and had to settle for giving a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.

It proceeded to blame ObamaCare for a few rude mall security guards.

I don’t get what the ending about the narwhals was supposed to be about.

But in all in all, it wasn’t terrible, but again, obvious click-bait. The crap people write these days!

Screen Time

December 10, 2013

Now for a glowing connected edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

Enough! Enough with all the stupid little stats and complaints and lamentations about young people’s “screen time.” In other words, how much time they are watching TV, playing video games, or using computers or smart phones.

What if a young person spends seemingly every waking hour engaged in these screen activities?

Honestly… I don’t care. And neither should you.

“But it’s BAD for them!”

Even if it is, that’s their business. And there’s plenty of entertainment and, yes, contrary to common belief, even cognitive value to some of these things. Not to mention that, well, you don’t seem to care when adults use these things, by either totally ignoring their use and/or perhaps implying they don’t do it as often. Come on, aren’t adults often in front of a computer screen all day at work?

“But these things cause special harm to developing young minds!”

How convenient. A supposed age-based safety differential giving someone carte blanche to say “It’s fine if I do it but BAD BAD BAD if you do, so your use should be shamed and restricted!”

Actually, how healthy the activity is isn’t even the point. It’s an excuse, a grasping for straws when called out on a statement made for entirely other reasons. And those reasons are just repeating “common knowledge” for the purpose of trying to make a point or further some other agenda. Sadly, I even see things like this done in youth rights circles (though they tend to recant when pointed out).

Though in those cases, it’s that use of such devices is seen as being a slave to some kind of corporate machine, that this is the only refuge of young people because they lack proper social engagement. Well, there’s the obvious in that every one of these screen activities can and often does involve interacting with other people. It also ignores that, well, maybe it isn’t the result of being some kind of corporate slave but rather simply one’s chosen leisure activity or method of work or communication or entertainment. I wonder that such statements are made without much thought but just with the assumption that everyone agrees with you so elaboration is unnecessary.

That kids watching TV is just such a given taboo, that adults are supposed to hiss at the very idea, that every second must surely be damaging their brains. Why, it might damage their brains so much they grow up into adults who have nothing better to do than obsess over how they spend their leisure time when such time is spent much the same way as adults. But if kids do it, it must be up for scrutiny, of course! 🙄

World News

August 21, 2013

Just a little while ago, a friend of mine posted to Facebook about the high death toll from some attacks in the Middle East being mostly ignored by mainstream American media. It’s a typical complaint, one that I even agree with. In fact my comment to that status was “That’s because people outside the US aren’t people, especially if they’re yucky brown people. Duh!”

Then I thought about it some more.

While it is in fact a shame that such disasters on other continents get mostly glossed over, and that there are often crypto-racist reasons for it… Have you looked at the world news section over on Google News or something? Every single damn article is about either some political scandal or some explosion or natural disaster or attack somewhere that left a nasty death toll. Imagine if all of those always made the headline news.

We’d be right back at square one, in that you’d just tune it all out after a while.

Then the mold is broken by some news that doesn’t involve tons of devastation, such as Prince George’s birth or something. Nice to have happy news for once, right? And then the response is “Why should I care about that? I’m an American, damn it!”

I’m beginning to think all anyone really cares to talk about with international events is whether or not anyone should be talking about it.

This has been Day 90 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 13.

Estimating Earth

July 25, 2013

I hate this fucking game.

GeoGuessr

Go ahead. Give it a try.

I’m awesome at it. I think my highest score was up over 28,000. I often get over 25,000 anyway and seldom lower than 20,000. I’ve mastered the art of pinpointing the exact spot to within meters. I very rarely check Wikipedia or the like, and when I do, usually it’s a matter of “okay, I know the name of the town and what country it’s in, I’ve just been panning all over the country’s map looking for it and am getting impatient.”

And oh dear God, the constant panning! Dear Lord at the long barren usually-Australian roads. Yeah, I can pinpoint exact locations within meters after a LOT of panning and clicking down a road, hoping that there will be a sign showing the name of a nearby city or at least telling me what language is spoken in this place. Or the number of the road.

Only twice have I screwed up so badly that I didn’t even pick the right continent. Once wasn’t too long ago. A lot of locations in the game are in Brazil, and usually a sign or something in Portuguese can be spotted before too long telling this, along with rather obviously tropical scenery. Well, sure enough, at one point when I couldn’t identify any town names, was on some endless forest road, and saw some signs in Portuguese and finally guessed a random spot in Brazil and hoped it was close… it was in Portugal! :irked:
Continue reading “Estimating Earth”

#16tovote on the 16th – Just a Step Among Many

December 16, 2012

So today is sort of #16tovote on the 16th. I don’t run it anymore, though. Not from NYRA anyway since I no longer run that Twitter account due to some internal NYRA politics I don’t care to get into right now. But in sticking with tradition, I’ll say something else about it today.

There’s more to being a youth rights supporter than merely supporting a few goals. It’s a deeper conviction, a deeper consciousness. In the nearly three years since #16tovote on the 16th began, there have been a fair number of participants, though that’s considering participation can mean as little as retweeting one thing with a #16tovote hashtag on it.

A question might be… are all of these people youth rights supporters?

No.

I think I can safely say that. Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of them are. Plenty more might be if they learned more about the issues and philosophy. But supporting lowering the voting age to 16, if there is in fact even that much support and they don’t merely find the idea non-seriously interesting, does not alone indicate support for youth rights.

The way to decipher that is why they support lowering the age. And I don’t just mean the age-old (LOL) battle of lower vs abolish. I mean, for example, if they want a lower age because they believe it might help more Democrats get elected. Or they see it as a feel-good measure. Or they see it as part of a youth involvement campaign. Not that the last one there isn’t pro-youth rights in its own way, of course, but some youth involvement or engagement types have a way of operating under the idea youth are supposed to serve the wider community moreso than others.

Or even if their reasons for a lower voting age are genuinely for the sake of youth having the same voting rights in their own city and country as anyone else, you might wonder how they feel about other youth rights issues. A couple participants in #16tovote on the 16th I’ve seen also supporting corporal punishment or some other token of “parental property”. Or perhaps they make derogatory remarks about teen moms. Or express disgust at a young person swearing. This says they only support youth a little bit, that they like the idea of them voting but probably see them as rightfully inferior in other ways, for whatever reason.

Then again, supporting youth rights goes well beyond a laundry list of goals and issues. The other thing to consider is the individual’s politics and worldview. Sometimes, when an otherwise youth rights supporter seems surprisingly unsupportive of a certain youth rights issue, it might be less a blindspot or lack of understanding, and more that they have certain other values that have led them to that particular conclusion. How this usually manifests, however, is not so much an outright disagreement with the pro-youth rights goal but often a separate option or goal entirely that keeps youth rights very much in mind. And there’s value to the movement in this, as it provides more insight into our own issues and opens up more possibilities for the change we want to see.

It’s also wise to remember not every issue is a clear and cut choice between “pro-youth rights” and “anti-youth rights”. Sometimes both or all sides are a little bit of both.

Why even make this distinction? Well, it’s merely a matter of knowing who does and doesn’t really understand what we’re about, or how close or likely they are. When it comes to support for lowering the voting age, though, surely all the support it gets is welcome, since it’s the same first step regardless of reason or further goal. But it’s only wise to keep the further direction and overall philosophy in mind and let it be known. Otherwise things can go in strange other directions.