Posts Tagged ‘interesting’

Things you C*N’T say! (transcript)

July 3, 2014

[0:00] Thunderf00t: Today’s message is brought to you by Jessica Valenti, feminist author who, under the banner of “MORE FEMINISM, LESS BULLSHIT”, Tweets: “I truly believe that American culture prefers girls chaste and dead over slutty and alive.”

[0:17]: Well, thanks for letting us know what MORE feminism will look like, Jessica.

[0:22]: So, there’s ALWAYS someone out there telling you what you CAN’T say. I mean, let’s start from the very top. Some people think that the word ‘nigger’ is so offensive that they ALWAYS, and in many ways, childishly substitute it by calling it “the N-word”.

[0:39] clip from YouTube, “Charles Barkley discusses the N-word on TNT”: “I’m a black man. I use the n-word. I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends.”

[0:52] Thunderf00t: Even Seth McFarlane backs away from using the word.

[0:55] clip from Family Guy: “WHAT did you just call me?”
“I thought that was your name!”
“Hey—hey—hey—I’m cool, I’m cool. No problem . . . Could—could you pass me the oar, N-word Jim?”

[0:10] Thunderf00t: I mean, don’t these people realize that language is context-specific? The word ‘nigger’ is neither universally offensive-

[1:18] clip from Pulp Fiction (YouTube, “SHEEIT NEGRO!!”)

[1:30] clip from YouTube, “Chris Rock – Black People VS. Niggaz (Bring the Pain 1996)”
“Every time black people wanna have a good time, ign’nt ass niggas fuck it up . . . CAN’T DO SHIT . . . CAN’T DO SHIT! without some ign’nt ass niggas fuckin’ it up.”

[1:45] Thunderf00t: Nor does it make a lot of sense to always allude to it as the “N-word”.

[1:50—3:20] clips from YouTube, “Top Gear Presenter Jeremy Clarkson Apologises over N Word . . .” and from Life of Brian

[3:20] Thunderf00t: I mean seriously, what would be the point of having words that you CAN’T use?

[3:26]: And some people think that the word ‘cunt’ is so offensive that they always, and in many ways, childishly substitute it by calling it “the c-word”.

[3:36] clip from YouTube, “Paloma Faith On Meeting Diane Warren & The C Word”: “Her favorite word was the C-word.”
“OH NO, it’s not like that.”

[3:40] Thunderf00t: Well this video is about words like these, and the people who think that you shouldn’t be able to use them.

[3:48] clip from YouTube, “Ban Bossy—I’m not Bossy. I’m the Boss”: “Words matter.”
“Let’s just ban the word ‘bossy’.”

[3:51] Thunderf00t: Well, in the atheist community, it’s people like PZ Myers. Apparently, he thinks that every time someone uses the word ‘cunt’, every single woman on the planet is insulted, devalued, and demeaned.

[4:05] clip from YouTube, “Rebecca Watson – European Atheist Convention 2012”: “And when I point out that ‘bitch’ is a gendered insult that demeans all women—again—most people, get it.”

[4:13] Thunderf00t: In a recent article titled, “How to drive a Brit crazy” he states “It turns out to be really easy. All it takes is five little words. “’Cunt’ is a sexist slur”.

[4:24] Thunderf00t: So PZ tweeted this image here: which is meant to be a social-justice-warrior joke about what happens when the outraged-about-everything brigade want to point out that “‘cunt’ is a misogynistic slur”.

[4:38] clip from YouTube, Feminist Frequency, “Kanye West’s Monster Misogyny”: “’Misogyny, as defined by The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology, is a cultural attitude of hatred for females simply because they are female.”

[4:45] clip from Skepchick Video [?]: “-um, more that I think that there are a lot of things that are, uh, part of a misogynist culture or milieu that would go by unnoticed by most women. They went unnoticed by me for most of my twenties.”

[4:58] Thunderf00t: That is that it conveys HATRED for ALL women.

[5:05]: So PZ goes on: “I retweeted it, and then the replies came flooding in. The defenses are hilarious, irrational, and indignant. It’s incredibly common to see people protest that it’s a perfectly acceptable word; everyone says it in England; it doesn’t have any sexual connotations at all, because apparently, people in the UK are so stupid that they don’t remember that it’s a word that refers to the female genitalia.”

[5:34] Thunderf00t: Well actually, let me tackle that one. Not just as a Brit, you understand, but as someone who has travelled extensively in the wide world. Firstly, colorful language is rarely literal.

[5:47] clip from YouTube, “Trekkie Lingo! ;-)”: “Your use of language has altered since our arrival. It’s currently laced with—shall I say, more colorful metaphors.”

[5:54] Thunderf00t: When people are saying words like ‘dick’ or ‘cunt’, they are not literally referring to the genitalia of all men or women on the planet.

[6:03]: Secondly, no it doesn’t drive Brits crazy. Indeed, quite the contrary, it just shows that you are perfectly fitting into the stereotype of the archetypal American, as the culturally narrow-brained moron.

[6:16] clip from The Simpsons, (YouTube “It’s Chowder!”)

[6:24] Thunderf00t: -arrogantly thinking that your use of the language in YOUR culture is how ALL other cultures around the world must use their language. Sorry, but language just isn’t like that. It’s very plastic in its meaning.

[6:40]: So, for instance, in America, ‘fanny’ means ‘bottom’. It’s a nice way of saying ‘ass’, and it’s a term that you can quite happily use in polite conversation. Not quite so much in England. No, in England, ‘fanny’ means what ‘cunt’ means in America.

[6:58]: Indeed, when I was a kid in England, the terms were perfectly interchangeable. Yeah, there’s one hell of a learning curve on that one. So yeah, news flash social-justice-warriors, the whole planet does not revolve around YOUR use of language. Just because YOU swoon at the mere mention of the word ‘cunt’ does NOT mean that the rest of the world does too. Yes, words have very different associations in different places.

[7:29]: So for instance, in England what you call ‘pants’ in America, are called ‘trousers’. And what they call ‘pants’ in England, are called ‘underpants’ in America. Indeed in England, the term ‘pants’ can even be used as sort of polite and comical swear word in that if something is ‘rubbish’—ah—sorry, something is ‘garbage’, then you would say that it’s ‘pants’.

[7:52]: Well, when I was a kid in England, the word ‘nigger’ was nowhere near as offensive as it is deemed in America. And this is because we didn’t have the Deep South in England; which is where the name acquired most of its social connotations.

[8:08] clip from YouTube, “Where did the N-word come from?”

[8:19] Thunderf00t: There really weren’t that many African sorts in England. But if there were, the offensive term used in England dated back to the colonial days, which was to refer to black folks as ‘Wogs’.

[8:30] clip from YouTube, “Niggers & Wogs”

[8:41] Thunderf00t: But like I say, the term wasn’t that widely used, because there weren’t that many African folks in England. However, after WWII there was a fierce labor shortage in England. And lots of people came over from both India and Pakistan. And so it was that the name ‘Paki’, short for ‘Pakistani’ became a very offensive way of referring to people with brown skin.

[9:05]: Now for people who didn’t live in that culture, it’s probably difficult to see why it should. I mean, surely ‘Paki’ is just a contraction of ‘Pakistani’, right? Why should that be offensive?

[9:17]: But like I was saying, language is rarely that logical. And it carries a lot of the social baggage of its civilization. I mean you could claim that ‘nigger’ is just a phonetically contracted way of referring to someone from Nigeria.

[9:32]: Or maybe another more pertinent example, would be ‘Jap’, which could simply be viewed as a contraction of ‘Japanese’. But it picked up most of its negative connotations during WWII where it was widely used, especially in America, as a pejorative. And yeah, the term has much more offensive connotations in America, than elsewhere in the world. I mean, this is just the plasticity of language.

[9:58]: And, likewise, other contractions of nationalities or nicknames for cultures are not seen as offensive. So for instance, referring to people from Britain as ‘Brits’, or referring to Australians as ‘Aussies’, or Americans as ‘Yanks’, just isn’t offensive. Language can just be infuriatingly illogical like that.

[10:17]: However, yeah, in England, the term ‘Paki’ is seen as a very strong term. It’s almost like ‘nigger’ in America and is a derogatory way to refer to dark skinned people, along with other terms, like ‘coon’ or ‘the brown people’.

[10:32]: However, if you’re over to Germany, the ‘brown people’ refers to something entirely different. It refers to the modern incarnation of the nationalists—you know, after Hitler’s “brown shirts”. They are “the brown people”. And while we’re talking about things that can be UNfortunately offensive in German, ‘schwarze’ means ‘black’ in German. Whiiich, phonetically speaking, makes this one the most unfortunate names EVER.

[10:59]: And in parts of Germany, cats have seven lives, not nine. And you go a little east to the Slovak ones, and you find that dogs don’t go ‘woof’, but ‘haf’. And cows don’t go ‘moo’, but ‘boo’. And in Easter, they chase girls, and whip them, to make them strong and beautiful for the next year. And the girls have to give them candy in return. EEh, it’s kind of like trick-or-treating; which in itself is a pretty weird thing to do if you think about it.

[11:26]: And in places in Spain they throw tomatoes at each other. And one day a year in Germany, women are allowed to go and cut the ties off men.

[11:35] clip about weiberfastnacht

[11:45]: Or in England, once a year, we celebrate a guy failing to blow up the government, by making an effigy of that man and burning it on a fire. Seriously, that’s “family fun” in England—is burning an effigy of a man who’s been dead for a couple hundred years—on a fire!

[12:03]: Oh, and don’t get me started on all the different ways that cultures celebrate Christmas. It’s like they say: travel broadens the mind—it really does. And you know you’ve travelled enough, when you come back to your native country, and it feels like just another foreign land, with its own set of peculiar customs. And you just come to the conclusion that when in Rome, do like the Romans.

[12:28]: And it takes a special level of arrogance to expect every culture on earth to conform in every detail to what YOU find offensive in Minnesota.

[12:40]: As for the word ‘cunt’ demeaning all women, well like I was saying: language is rarely that literal. When people refer to someone as a ‘cunt’, they’re no more making a reference to the genitalia of women, than calling someone a ‘dick’ is a reference to male genitalia.

[12:56] clip from YouTube, “Trekkie Lingo!”: “Are you sure it isn’t time for a colorful metaphor?”

[12:58] Thunderf00t: Or that calling someone an ‘unclefucker’ is referencing someone who actually fucks their uncle.

[13:03] clip from South Park

[13:06] Thunderf00t: These are just colorful metaphors of our time. So no, around the world the word ‘cunt’ or ‘fanny’ means different things in different cultures, like in Australia, where the word ‘cunt’ can almost be used as a term of endearment.

[13:24] clip from The Sound of Music “what is it you can’t face”

[13:34] clip from YouTube, “Australia, Yeah, C**t – Australia’s new National Anthem”

[13:46] Thunderf00t: So what’s the point of all this, I hear you ask. It’s to let people like PZ Myers and the “I-find-that-offensive!” brigade, claiming that because the word ‘cunt’ is really offensive in America, that everyone in the entire world should find it as offensive as they do.

[14:05]: And the strange thing is these folks think that this is showing how wonderfully thoughtful, egalitarian and progressive they are. When actually, it shows the exact opposite—of just how arrogant, narrow-minded, and ethnocentric they are, to expect the entire English-speaking world to fall in line with their use of language in, say, Cowpoke [?], Minnesota.

Many thanks to Linda for supplying the transcript 🙂


Wednesday 20th July 2011, Ray Comfort, Round 2!

July 22, 2011

Wednesday 20th July 2011, The Ray Comfort Interview.

I guess of forgot to say that prior to heading up towards Mnt Wilson, I capped off a couple of emails, the first to Eugenie Scott, the second to Ray Comfort.  In the morning I was awakened early by a National Forest Ranger tapping on my window.  The first thought when this happens is of course ‘here we go!’.  I was just pulled in a large siding overlooking LA and there was by this time quite a lot of traffic on the road.  Turns out he was just giving me a heads up that if I wanted to do this sort of thing, that I needed a permit from the rangers station for ‘bird watching’ or something.  Either way I think he was just checking me out to see what sort of bum I was, and when it became clear this wasn’t a permanenty-type thing, that he would just let me go on my way.

View of LA coming down from Mnt Wislon

View of LA coming down from Mnt Wislon

Headed down to the nearest Starbux the GPS could find and to see what was going on.  Turns out Ray was interested, and whats more was interested in doing something ASAP.  Part of me ground my teeth at the prospect of driving across LA again, but thems are the breaks.  So almost no sooner had I arrived was I packing up again.  The drive across LA was probably easier in the busy morning than in the quieter dark.  Being able to see things I think helps a lot.  Not sure what time I met up with Ray, as I’ve lost my watch, and when I told Ray about this, he promptly undid his watch and gave it to me.  A very kind gesture to be sure, and the intent was clear.  Unfortunately when I get a watch, a barometer is probably going to be the primary feature.  I can tell quite well how many hours of light there are left in the day just by looking.  I have no such equal intuition about altitude (important if you are in the mountains).   We got some chairs and headed out into the car lot, and had about a 45 min discussion on morality.  We then headed back inside and I spent the next hour or so unsuccessfully trying to synchronize the files with one of the guys from Ray ministry.  During that time we had quite a long chat on ‘prepositional apologetics’.   I gave the obvious answer, which is, if you need to presuppose ANYTHING, then you can’t say for certain if anything is absolutely certain.  We then had lunch, and the conversation of lunch was probably more throughtful than the earlier discussion we had.  After lunch it was back to battling with the computers.  Eventually we got things working and I said my goodbyes and was out shortly before 2ish.  Driving across town was a miserable burden, made worse by the fact that I was feeling terribly fatigued.  Couldn’t figure out why though till I made it back to the starbux and saw myself in the mirror.  For the 40 min discussion with Ray, my pasty limey form had been under full sunlight`  I was mildly sunburned over virtually all my exposed skin, and this was doubtless related to my fatigue and headache.  I put my feet up and went to sleep for about an hour in the car, and woke up feeling much refreshed.  After that I had choices to make.  Mr Deity is in the coast area, and I tried a couple of times (unsuccessively) to contact him.  Decided to head up the coast towards San Francisco, hopefully to bump into Eugenie Scott enroute.  There was also the couple (L n H) who had put me up in Las Vegas, and I was meant to drop by and say ‘Hi’ to, but by this time I was a spent force, and was just looking for somewhere quiet to spend the night.  Headed out to the NW of LA and found a place just short of Filmore and just pulled over into a quiet and secluded siding and went to sleep.


Potassium explodes without Hydrogens help

June 20, 2011

Thus far almost all the stuff I’ve done on the alkali metals has been on ~250 mg quantities.

Self preservation says, “Start Small!”, and with good reason, the reactions of alkali metals with water are known to scale in treacherous fashions.

In the first instance I went for 1.6 g of potassium and 3.5g of sodium.

Note here there is not the slightest hint of green gas with the potassium!

Now the potassiums the one I’m going to focus on for the moment, simply as when this is played back at about 1/100ths speed it becomes clear that the hydrogen burning plays essentially no part in the violence of this reaction.

Fascinatingly the explosion appears to go in two stages here!

So potassium, molecular weight ~40, so 1.6 g is 0.04moles. 2moles of potassium gives a mole of H2 , so this reaction will produce about half a liter of hydrogen.  Just for scale the jug is about 3 liters.  It’s also fascinating to see the ‘springiness’ around this generated gas.

Why is Potassium gas Green?

June 18, 2011

So my interest was really spiked here when I found that when reacting with water, potassium gives off a green gas!

While the green of potassium gas has been known about for over a century, being found in Encyclopedia Britianica articles as far back as 1911, the origin of that green color is proving a little more elusive.

If you know what you are doing it’s relatively easy to observe.  250 mg of potassium is ‘the right’ scale to work with.  Much smaller and it’s all over before you get a chance to do anything, much bigger and you run into problems with the metal exploding, or the hazards of hydrogen build-up.  All you need is a heavy glass vessel of about the dimensions of a wine glass.  Insert a burning acetone taper through a small hole in the top of the vessel and to burn out all the oxygen, and then drop in your potassium.  The green color is easily visible.

I’m tempted to propose it’s due to the solvated electron, which is a hot research topic at the moment as it’s part of the principal mechanism by which radiation damage happens to DNA.  It’s known to be stable and blue in liquid ammonia, but survives only picosecond in water.

A bead of Sodium Potassium alloy in anhydrous liquid ammonia. The blue colouration is due to the presence of solvated electrons

It’s an interesting suggestion, but I think the observation that you get the green color when there is no water around pretty much kills this idea.

So how do you get a green gas.  Well the only other metallic gaseous vapor I’ve seen was mercury which I once boiled to test the calibration on a thermocouple.  That has no color at all that I can remember.

Well as you will recall virtually all the gases are colorless, e.g. all the Noble gases (helium, argon etc) and all the first period gases (nitrogen, oxygen, and mostly fluorine).  However the heavier halogens have colored vapors that get more heavily colored as you go down the group.  Chlorine, light green, bromine, brown etc.

Chlorine (left) and bromine (right).

The reason these gases have these colors is the same reason the sky is blue, Rayleigh scattering.  That’s related to the polarizability of the molecule.  This is a very different mechanism from the electronic transitions that give the classical flame colors of the alkali metals!

It’s well known that all the alkali metals have stable bound states as diatomic molecules, similar in electronic configuration to hydrogen.  IF K2 had a similar polarizability to Cl2, it may well be green like chlorine!  Regrettably finding the polarizability K2 is not as easy as it sounds.  A significant difference between H2 and K2 is the bond energy.  H2 has a bond energy of about 400kJ/mol, while K2 has a bond energy of ~50kJ/mol.  For reference, the hydrogen bond, the thing that holds water together as a liquid, has a bond energy of ~20kJ/mol.  If you heat any bound state and eventually the species will gain enough energy to separate and become individual species.  With water this happens at about 100 oC (boiling, ~400 K).  For hydrogen it’s about 3000 K.  You can actually do the real calculations, it’s just I’m too lazy at the moment, and so I’m just going to do a linear extrapolation between these two.  That gives K2 breaking up at about 2-300 oC.

Well that would fit nicely with green gas being evolved at lower temperature, but as the temperature rises, the diatomic species break up, and the relevant polarizability of the molecule, and hence the Rayleigh scattering, and hence the color is lost.

Great, so if this is a working hypothesis, then the diatomic metals should match their corresponding halogen right?  The bummer is sodium.  Sodium gives off a blue vapor when it boils.  Fluorine is almost colorless.  ARSE!

The game is not over yet!

I’ve decided I need to see sodium vapor for myself, but how to do it with only the junk I have to hand!  What I really need is a nice small sealed silica tube that can take temperatures over a thousand degrees C.  Hmmmm, thinking, thinking…..