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Worrying Scientist Interviews

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They always try to explain that they're called 'solar physicists', but the reporters interrupt with "NEVER MIND THAT, TELL US WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SUN!"
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kvolk
79 days ago
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jad
79 days ago
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Nightmare scenario: local journalist interviewing a panel of arachnologists
Rockville, MD
alt_text_bot
79 days ago
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They always try to explain that they're called 'solar physicists', but the reporters interrupt with "NEVER MIND THAT, TELL US WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SUN!"
mareino
79 days ago
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Off the scale bad: you are a minor character in a movie, and your scene is interrupted by the TV news.
Washington, District of Columbia
HarlandCorbin
79 days ago
Not sure if the marine biologist should be much further down or higher. I'm ~6 hrs drive or so from the coast.
rraszews
79 days ago
If it's national news, lower. If it's local news, much, much, much higher.

Existential Bug Reports

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ISSUE: If we wait long enough, the Earth will eventually be consumed by the Sun. WORKAROUND: None.
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kvolk
231 days ago
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GuuZ
242 days ago
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:)
alt_text_bot
250 days ago
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ISSUE: If we wait long enough, the Earth will eventually be consumed by the Sun. WORKAROUND: None.
Andi_Mohr
250 days ago
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Re: alt text. There's a workaround. Ask Wesley Crusher some time.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Superhero We Need

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Later, it turns out Patient-Man and Existential-Crisis-Man are the same person.

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Just two weeks left till BAHFest West!

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kvolk
411 days ago
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Linear Regression

4 Comments and 15 Shares
The 95% confidence interval suggests Rexthor's dog could also be a cat, or possibly a teapot.
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kvolk
476 days ago
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jth
475 days ago
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This!
Saint Paul, MN, USA
marcrichter
476 days ago
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Lovely :)
tbd
alt_text_bot
476 days ago
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The 95% confidence interval suggests Rexthor's dog could also be a cat, or possibly a teapot.

In Support Of A Total Ban on Civilians Owning Firearms

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I support the argument that the United States should enact a total ban on civilians owning firearms.

Oh, I don't support the ban. I support the argument.

I support the argument because it's honest and specific. It doesn't hide the ball, it doesn't refuse to define terms, it doesn't tell rely on telling people they are paranoid or stupid in their concerns about the scope of the ban. The argument proposes a particular solution and will require the advocate to defend it openly.

That elevates it above most gun control dialogue.

I've argued before that gun control debates would be improved if people avoided culture-bundling and cared about the meaning of words. Most don't. Too much looks like this:

derpitude

There's a very good reason to care about what you mean when you argue that "assault weapons" should be banned: the term is infinitely flexible. If you think it inherently means something specific, you haven't bothered to inform yourself about the issue. "Assault weapon" means whatever the definers decide it should mean. Banning "assault weapons" is the gun version of banning "hate speech" or "disruptive protest" or "dangerous persons" or "interfering with a police officer" — it's a blank check. And I don't like handing out blank checks to the government to ban things and jail people.

I'm not making an argument that it's impossible to define assault weapons.1 I'm not even making an argument that banning "assault weapons," defined with reasonable specificity, would violate the Second Amendment. There's an argument to be made about that — an argument that's still in its jurisprudential infancy, given the recency of Heller — but it's not my point. My point is that if you won't even try to define what you want to regulate, and how, the argument about practicality and constitutionality is both abstract and premature. It's the same with defining automatic and semi-automatic. I don't want gun control advocates to acquire some vague grasp of what those mean because I'm eager to have my neighbor own a machine gun. I want advocates to learn the difference so I can have some level of confidence that I know what kind of proposed government power we're debating. Right now the debate seems choked with people who don't know, are proud of not knowing, and think you're a redneck gun-nut asshole if you want them to know because they feel very strongly about this. I decline to take that seriously.

Gun control advocates may argue that it's pointless to define terms because gun control opponents will oppose gun control laws no matter how they are crafted. That's a fair description of the behavior of some — perhaps even most — gun control opponents. But it's not a logical or moral excuse for not trying. Urging vague and unconstrained government power is not how responsible citizens of a free society ought to act. It's a bad habit and it's dangerous and irresponsible to promote it.

This is not an abstract or hypothetical point. We live in a country in which arbitrary power is routinely abused, usually to the detriment of the least powerful and the most abused among us. We live in a country in which we have been panicked into giving the government more and more power to protect us from harm, and that power is most often not used for the things we were told, but to solidify and expand previously existing government power. We live in a country where the government uses the power we've already given it as a rationale for giving it more: "how can we not ban x when we've already banned y?" We live in a country where vague laws are used arbitrarily and capriciously. We live in a country that is about to nominate Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President of the United States: a man who wants to limit free speech, ban people based on religion, and generally jackboot around. We live in a country where his opponent is a long-time advocate of the security state who got famous helping label young black men "superpredators."

Maybe gun control advocates won't define terms because they know that the defined terms they want won't sell. That's not unusual; it's typical politics. That doesn't make it right. You have no moral or rational claim to your fellow citizens' support for a deliberately vague law. Cowboy up. Define what you want and argue for it. Anything else is either silly and self-indulgent, or deliberately deceitful.

Copyright 2016 by the named Popehat author.
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kvolk
547 days ago
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satadru
545 days ago
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Completely agree. It's time for second amendment repeal. Americans are smarter than thinking that private gun ownership is somehow a divinely inspired right, or that private gun ownership protects them from tyranny by governments that already have far more capable weaponry.
New York, NY
VenTatsu
545 days ago
Umm... did you read more than the headline? From the actual article: "Oh, I don't support the ban. I support the argument." From your comment I would argue that you don't "Comeletely agree."
jsled
545 days ago
While I don't believe it's "divinely" inspired, I do believe self-defense is a fundamental, inherent right to a human.Private gun ownership demonstrably protects hundreds of people daily. I leave arguments about "government tyranny" to the birds, but to argue that the second amendment (or its much more direct State constitution equivalents) are bunk is ridiculous
jsled
547 days ago
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"Urging vague and unconstrained government power is not how responsible citizens of a free society ought to act. It's a bad habit and it's dangerous and irresponsible to promote it."

Me rn.
South Burlington, Vermont

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Billions and billions

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Hovertext: AND NOBODY CLEANS UNDER THE SEAT. NOBODY


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kvolk
635 days ago
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