Pixel Scroll 11/30 The Doom That Came to File770

(1) TOLKIEN AT THE PLATE. Pitchers’ faces turn almost gargoyle-like at the moment they deliver the baseball. Major league baseball blog Cut4  decided it would be amusing to match those expressions with melodramatic quotes from Lord of the Rings.

The pitch face. Completely uninhibited, wholly pure. Every pitcher has one. It takes a lot of effort to throw a pitch 90-plus mph, after all, and pitchers can’t exactly worry about what arrangement their features make while trying to hit their spots. And so, the pitch face is one of baseball’s most totally human elements.

Below, some of the best we saw this year. And to explain their greatness, we captioned them with quotes from the only movies as epic as these faces: The Lord of the Rings trilogy….

“A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.”

pitcher

(2) SWEDISH SF ART. A fine gallery accompanies a brief interview with the artist in The Huffington Post’s, “Sci-Fi Painter Simon Stålenhag Turns The Everyday Into Dystopia”.

One artist working actively to infuse visions of the future into scenes from the present is Simon Stålenhag, whose narrative paintings have recently been collected into a book, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. The paintings in Tales from the Loop show children and adolescents traipsing across gray plains, energetic in spite of their glum surroundings. Power lines and radio towers dot the skyline, alongside foreign machines, hefty and ominous.

That Stålenhag’s imagined robots stand beside clusters of desktop computers, scoreboards and hatchbacks makes their existence that much more believable. “Look what we’ve created,” he seems to suggest. “Imagine what else we can create.”

staylenhag art

(3) FERMI PARADOX REDUX. A long time ago there was a famous commercial for a hamburger chain that mainly consisted of an elderly woman interrupting a rival’s ad copy, shouting “Where’s the beef?” The Fermi Paradox has a similar effect on speculations about intelligent life in the universe – and Jim Henley’s new post puts a dent in a favorite corollary — “Fermi Conundrum Redux: The Singularity as Great Big Zero?”

Half the objections come from transhumanist types saying that “We’ll just send our robots” or “mind-uploading” or “frozen genetic material raised by AI nannies” or self-replicating Von Neumann machines etc. – the whole LessWrong kitbag of secular eschatons.

But it occurs to me that all that does is bring those notions into the orbit of the Fermi Conundrum, née Fermi Paradox*. The Conundrum, as we all know, runs, “Where is everybody?” That is, we should see evidence of intelligent life Out There or right here or, if you’re especially cynical, should have been wiped out by another civilization before we even evolved this far, just to be on the safe side. The answer, “Maybe there just aren’t any other intelligent civilizations,” almost has to count as the most probable answer to the conundrum at this point.

(4) NEWITZ BIDS GOODBYE. Today was Annalee Newitz’ last day at io9 and Gizmodo. Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders co-founded io9 in 2008. In “I’m Heading Out to the Black. Farewell, io9 and Gizmodo!” at io9, Newitz announced:

And this is where my path diverges from io9 and Gizmodo. This past year managing both sites taught me that I’m not actually interested in being a manager. I want to write. That’s why I got into the writing business, and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. So I’ve accepted a position as tech culture editor at Ars Technica, where I’m excited to be devoting all my time to writing about the cultural impact of technology and science.

Did I mention that change is scary? Actually, it’s terrifying. And amazing. And a fundamental, banal part of being trapped in linear time. Anyone who loves the future, or who looks forward to a tomorrow that’s different from today, has to accept the uncertainties of change. Your Utopian vision might lead you straight to the shithole. But sometimes, your one-year speculative experiment grows into a giant robot that saves humanity from giant monsters. You won’t know until you actually veer off the road you were on, and steal a little plutonium to fuel your dreams.

Newitz says Katie Drummond will carry on Gizmodo.

(5) NaNoWriMo PROGRESS. Misty Massey asks “Did You Win NaNo?”  at Magical Words,

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, a gloriously insane thirty-days of writing like your head is on fire and your booty is catching. I’ve participated for a whole lot of years now, although I never win, because this kind of writing is just not what I do. Despite having been told time and again that I should just write it all down and fix it later, I can’t. It needs to be as perfect and wonderful as I can manage the first time, so my writing style is Eeyore-slow.  But I still sign on for NaNo every year, just in case.  I managed about 9,000 words. Which, for me, is a stunning achievement.

(6) FAVES. Stephanie Burgis lists her “Favorite MG Novels of 2015”. And lo and behold, Ursula Vernon, you are Number Six…

  1. Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon, is a wickedly funny fantasy novel with a fabulous heroine, and it turned me into a huge Ursula Vernon fan. You can read my full review here.

(7) JESSICA REVIEW. Jim Henley’s post “Jessica Jones (And Her Amazing Friends): A Netflix Original Series” sounds like he’s going to keep watching, if you ask me.

(8) BANGING ON. Larry Correia notifies his readers “JP Enterprises is now offering MHI [Monster Hunter International] and MCB logo AR-15 lower receivers” – a logo etching on a gun part.

I just had a fun thought. While certain other bestselling novelists are writing sanctimonious ignorant tweets bleating for more gun control, Larry Correia offers you custom rifles. 🙂

JP-MHI-1024x867

(9) THE RACK IS BACK. Lou Antonelli made sf and fantasy the dominant genres sold at the Dollar General store in Mount Pleasant, TX, as he explains in “Help the spin rack make a comeback!”

In talking about publishing original fiction [in a 2008 article by Antonelli], [Tom] Doherty mentioned that those paperback spin racks we used to see in stores and pharmacies were often a point of entry for people to the s-f and fantasy genres.

They used to be ubiquitous – those tall, vertical wire racks that you could spin around to see all four sides loaded up with mass market paperbacks. Doherty noted how the consolidation of book distribution had all but eliminated them. He said he hoped the fiction published by Tor.com would serve the same function as a point of entry for new readers in the digital age.

…Now, fast forward two and half years, to the summer of 2011. I was scheduled as a panelist at ArmadilloCon in Austin, and one of the panels was on “Secret History”. The Thursday before the convention I stopped at a local Dollar General in Mount Pleasant to pick up some groceries on the way home from work, and while standing in line, I caught sight of a spin rack.

Yes, Dollar General still believes in the spin rack. I walked over and saw that among the books was a copy of Steven Brust’s “The Paths of the Dead”. While I don’t read high fantasy, I bought the book because Brust was on the panel with me.

The following Sunday afternoon, as the panel on Secret History broke up, I stopped and pulled the book out. I told Steve “you know you are a best-selling author when you’re on the spin rack in the Dollar General in Mount Pleasant, Texas! That means your books are sold EVERYWHERE!”

(10) OUT WITH THE OLD. Jeff Duntemann’s photo of “Samples from the Box of No Return” is like a fannish time capsule.

I’m packing my office closet, and realized that The Box of No Return was overflowing. So in order to exercise my tesselation superpower on it, I had to upend it on my office floor and repack it from scratch.

I hadn’t done that in a very long time.

You may have a Box of No Return. It’s downstairs from the Midwestern Junk Drawer, hidden behind the Jar of Loose Change. It’s for stuff you know damned well you’ll never use again, but simply can’t bring yourself to throw away. A lot of it may be mementos. Some of it is just cool. Most of it could be dumped if you were a braver (and less sentimental) man than I….

There follows a descriptive paragraph of the treasures discovered. And things less that treasured.

I tossed a couple of things, like my SFWA membership badge. SFWA wanted to get rid of me for years for not publishing often enough; I saved them the trouble. Rot in irrelevancy, you dorks; I’m an indie now, and making significant money. Some promo buttons were for products I couldn’t even recall, and they went in the cause of making room. But most of it will go back in the (small) box, and it will all fit, with room to spare for artifacts not yet imagined, much less acquired.

(11) Today’s Birthday Boy

  • Born November 30, 1835 – Mark Twain

  • Born November 30, 1937 – Director Ridley Scott

(12) ONE STARS. Scalzi, Leckie, Rothfuss and others reading various one star reviews out loud.

(13) ABRAMS INTERVIEW. “J.J. Abrams Is Excited for Mothers and Daughters To See Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Star Wars: The Force Awakens director stopped by Good Morning America on Monday to talk about the upcoming release, and how he’s hoping it won’t just be a “boy’s thing.”

Star Wars was always a boy’s thing,” Abrams said. “I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers could take their daughters to as well.”

In the interview, Abrams also confirmed that he at first refused the offer to direct the new Star Wars film, saying that it was a franchise he so revered that he “thought it would be better just to go the theater and see it like everyone else.” After talking to producer producer Kathy Kennedy, however, Abrams said the opportunity was “too delicious and too exciting to pass up.”

Video of the GMA interview is at the link.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Paul Weimer, Mark-kitteh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg.]

Update 12/01/2015: Corrected the link to Jim Henley’s review of Jessica Jones.

654 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/30 The Doom That Came to File770

  1. Our gun laws assume that everyone without a criminal record is a “good guy with a gun” until proven (often lethally) otherwise. But realistically, we’re also giving the irresponsible, the untrained, the domestic abuser, the person with poor anger management skills, etc. easy access to firearms. In NRA World, if you want to be protected from those people, you get a gun. Period. That’s your only recourse. If you are unable to use a firearm, or unwilling to shoot another human being, or just a toddler in a home where guns aren’t stored properly, that’s your problem. In a civilized society, we would have better ways to protect ourselves. One of those ways is reasonable gun safety regulation — training, licensing, registration, insurance, etc. Gun safety laws are self-defense.

    tintinaus: To be fair, the terrorist watch list is kind of a shitshow. People have no way of knowing whether they’re on it, how they got on it, how to get off, etc. That should really get fixed — not that I’m holding my breath for the GOP (or, let’s face it, the Democrats) to fix that.

  2. TooManyJens,

    That was the excuse I saw Carly Fiorina and Paul Ryan make. So how about the Govt. fix the gun laws to stop terrorists from getting them and fix the watch list so it doesn’t include babies. Paul Ryan is after all Speaker of the House of Representatives, I am sure he could get some legislation through or set up an inquiry to fix things instead of crying crocodile tears.

  3. Speaking of which – what about Trayvon Martin’s right to defend himself? When did that go away? A weird stranger with a gun starts stalking him, he responds with nonlethal force, and the paranoid, murderous stalker’s the one in the right? How in hell does that work?

    THIS! So much. This.

    If I was a barely 17 year old kid who’d had some weird guy staring at me angrily from his car, who I then found had gotten out of his car and followed me back toward where I was staying, I’d might have reacted, too. Trayvon had a right to feel stalked at that point, imo.

  4. Gun safety laws are self-defense.

    This

    Govt. fix the gun laws to stop terrorists from getting them and fix the watch list so it doesn’t include babies

    This – the terrorist watch list needs work and a way to appeal if you find out your on it and it obviously isn’t working if it has babies listed and can’t tell which “John smith*” is the one marked “terrorist” given technology today

    *example as I don’t have real duplicate name at hand

  5. Speaking of which – what about Trayvon Martin’s right to defend himself? When did that go away? A weird stranger with a gun starts stalking him, he responds with nonlethal force, and the paranoid, murderous stalker’s the one in the right? How in hell does that work?

    This also

  6. Speaking of which – what about Trayvon Martin’s right to defend himself?

    Had Zimmerman not had a gun, he likely would not have felt the need to go confront Martin. He likely would have waited until a police officer arrived, at which point the possibility of a fatal encounter would have been reduced. There was no need for Zimmerman to confront Martin: The only reason it happened was the macho swagger Zimmerman had as a result of being armed.

    I wish I could say that seeing ammosexual Phantom descend into frothy stupidity and racism is surprising, but it was all too predictable.

  7. Well no Aaron, the problem is you keep getting it wrong. In Israel everybody who was ever on active duty stays in the reserves. They are ready for call-up all the time, they carry all the time. That’s called arming everybody.

    I know it’s already been pointed out more than once that this is not true about Israel. But I’d like to add: I’m in the reserve forces in my own country. As a part of that I have my personal kit at home. When I go on exercises I generally need to take multiple trips from the closet to the car to get all my gear with me.

    That reservists, in Israel or elsewhere, will carry their gear along at all times so they’re “ready for call-up” is absurd. It implies that either the Israeli reserve forces are made up of civilians with with no more gear than a hand-gun, or that the average Israeli citizen carry not just an assault rifle all the time, but also a large bag with uniform and kit. Never mind that it’s wrong as a description of Israel. It’s something that can only be said by someone with zero knowledge of military matters, and who have never had the “pleasure” of spending day after day carrying an assault rifle close to hand.

  8. @Lenora Rose

    Just look at Trump’s rallies. Or the various “protestors” outside of mosques. Heck, I’m I’d guess our boy the Phantom here knows some of those types personally. Limit guns from anyone on a terrorist watch list and that’s a lot of good ole’boys with white hoods who can’t buy guns.

  9. @TooManyJens:

    Our gun laws assume that everyone without a criminal record is a “good guy with a gun” until proven (often lethally) otherwise. But realistically, we’re also giving the irresponsible, the untrained, the domestic abuser, the person with poor anger management skills, etc. easy access to firearms.

    This is very well said.

    The whole sharp divide between “bad guy/good guy with a gun” comes from the problem that US conservatives are, for the most part, bad Christians – by which I mean, they are bad at Christianity. They mistake salvation – an act of grace bestowed by the Lord – for some kind of essential goodness within themselves. They hear “All my sins are washed away” and confuse that with some condition of stainless purity that puts them beyond further error or temptation.

    This is making Forgiveness into something it literally can not be: a badge of purity. But one could never be forgiven if one hadn’t done wrong, and so long as we remain human, we remain not only prone but fated to do wrong. When these people want to argue Grace-Not-Works they quote “All Man’s righteousness is like filthy rags next to Christ.” But when they want to argue weapons regulation, suddenly Good Guys with guns are the cleanest of cloths. They not only can’t sin, they can’t get confused, can’t get angry and can’t make mistakes. In po-mo terms they view “goodness” with an essentialism they’d have a hard time finding support for in the actual Bible whose every word they hold to be literal truth.

  10. Food for thought: France could have a mass shooting on the scale of the November 13 attacks in Paris every month, and they would still have a murder rate lower than that of the U.S.

  11. I’m not going to carry a gun. I don’t care if a San Bernadino style shooting happens every hour, on the hour, across the country. I still won’t carry a gun.

    I have a lot of talents. Firearms ain’t one of them, except if we’re talking Resident Evil 4, which is not the same thing. And I, at least, am self-aware enough to know that an idiot waving a gun that they don’t know how to use around helps no one and makes any situation a lot worse.

    I don’t plan to be that idiot. Other people, of course, are free to choose whatever form of idiocy makes them happy. I merely wish they would choose it very far away from me.

  12. I see a lot of dancing but I don’t see anybody addressing the point I made to Cat. Which is that the study she touted is BS, and it is just like probably 20 other identically designed studies cluttering up the literature.

    No, you’d rather talk about dog whistles, and Zimmerman.

    Zimmerman was and remains an IDIOT. He is the very posterboy for bad judgement and getting in over your head.

    Even Mr. Idiot Zimmerman didn’t fire until he was absolutely sure he was going to DIE. Given his injuries, he was probably correct. He was going to die, or be very badly and permanently disabled indeed. We’re talking blindness and wheelchair. That’s what happens when you beat a guy’s head on the pavement.

    Anybody want to answer the question of would he have been further ahead to just let Martin kill him? No? Just want to rage on about dog whistles.

    Ok then.

  13. Obviously straying very far from sci-fi, but tomorrow the New York Times will run its first front-page editorial since 1920 on the need for gun control.

    It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing

    Three different friends of mine, from three different parts of the US, know people who were killed or wounded in San Bernardino shooting. I so hope strong, effective regulations will come. As The Phantom has unwittingly demonstrated, there simply are no good arguments against them.

  14. The Phantom: I see a lot of dancing but I don’t see anybody addressing the point I made to Cat. Which is that the study she touted is BS

    Okay, if it’s BS, please link to objective evidence which shows why. Oh, right, you can’t.

    The Phantom: Anybody want to answer the question of would he have been further ahead to just let Martin kill him? No? Just want to rage on about dog whistles.

    Zimmerman stalked and attacked Martin — despite being emphatically told by police not to do so. Martin was defending himself. If Zimmerman had died, it would have been because he brought it on himself.

    I do not feel the slightest bit of sympathy for Zimmerman now — nor would I have felt sympathy if Martin had killed him in self-defense.

  15. That is a very pretty picture you paint Teh Phantom. A pity is that is all it is since the only evidence to back up your version of events is Zimmerman’s testimony. I am more inclined to believe that he approached Martin and initiated the confrontation. Prove me wrong.

    It is only thanks to bad legislation like Stand Your Ground(that we can see is applied very selectively in the states where it is law) and an willingness by authorities to assume that blacks are always to blame that Zimmerman got off.

  16. The Phantom on December 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm said:
    Zimmerman was and remains an IDIOT. He is the very posterboy for bad judgement and getting in over your head.
    Even Mr. Idiot Zimmerman didn’t fire until he was absolutely sure he was going to DIE. Given his injuries, he was probably correct. He was going to die, or be very badly and permanently disabled indeed. We’re talking blindness and wheelchair. That’s what happens when you beat a guy’s head on the pavement.
    Anybody want to answer the question of would he have been further ahead to just let Martin kill him?

    I don’t know, does anyone want to answer the questions of
    1) Given Zimmerman’s previous brushes with the law, if there were reasonable gun control laws, would Zimmerman have had a gun with him that night?
    2) If Zimmerman had not been carrying a gun, is there any chance he would have approached Martin on his own, without waiting for police back-up?

  17. @The Phantom: “He was going to die, or be very badly and permanently disabled indeed. We’re talking blindness and wheelchair. That’s what happens when you beat a guy’s head on the pavement.”

    And yet, he didn’t pursue any medical care. No ambulance, no ER visit… oh, wait. He had a Band-aid on the back of his head in the police station, didn’t he? Yeah, that spells “going to die” to me. Ayup.

    Man, this bus has great shocks! I barely felt a thing when you chucked Zimmerman under it!

  18. The Phantom:

    If you don’t want to talk about Zimmerman, you shouldn’t have brought him up. And you shouldn’t continue to talk about Zimmerman to defend him.

    We are talking about a person with serious anger management problems, so serious that having therapy for them in 2005 was the only way he could avoid jail. Also, a person with known racist associations.

    And you are defending his actions. That says a lot about you as a person.

  19. Phantom: A simple question: if you’re being stalked through the dark streets of your neighborhood by a guy in a car, and then he gets out of the car and he’s got a gun, do you, or do you not, have the right to defend yourself against him with anything up to and including lethal force? Yes or no?

    If not, why do you advocate carrying guns for personal protection; aren’t they tools of lethal force?

    If yes, why aren’t you hailing Martin as the hero who tried, and failed, to defend himself? If he’d had a gun, surely he’d have been within his rights as you’ve presented them to have shot Zimmerman. Or is defending yourself without a gun not allowed?

  20. But here’s Cat, telling me I’m some sort of bad/wrong person because this study proves… what now? I would love to see one of you supposedly superior intellects break that study down and explain what’s being measured, who is in the sample, what can be concluded from the data, and if the paper’s conclusions and claims have any relationship to the data at all. Because I’ll tell you right now, sight unseen, that they don’t. It’s bollocks Cat, and you fell for it. Lock, stock and two smoking barrels.

    Wow, your still going.

    OK
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715182
    What can be concluded from the data: Guns kept in homes are more likely to be involved in a fatal or nonfatal accidental shooting, criminal assault, or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.
    Is this supported by the data? Yes.
    Who is in the sample? They reviewed the police, medical examiner, emergency medical service, emergency department, and hospital records of all fatal and nonfatal shootings in three U.S. cities: Memphis, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington; and Galveston, Texas.
    Is the study a fraud or bunk or nonesense? No. Does it say everything about owning guns? No because that wouldn’t be supported by the data.

  21. I see a lot of dancing but I don’t see anybody addressing the point I made to Cat. Which is that the study she touted is BS, and it is just like probably 20 other identically designed studies cluttering up the literature.

    No, you’d rather talk about dog whistles, and Zimmerman.

    1. Support your claim that the study cited is bunk
    2. *You* brought up Mr Zimmerman, as a defence to your arguments. You continue to do so. If you want the conversation to be about other things, there’s a very simple step you can take.
    3. I’m still waiting for you to provide the relevant citations and quotes from the FBI Uniform Crime Report that support your claim that there have been instances where someone with a gun has stopped/ help stop a mass shooting incident. You said it’s there, but you’ve yet to demonstrate it.

  22. Zimmerman was and remains an IDIOT. He is the very posterboy for bad judgement and getting in over your head.

    I agree with you – but I think this is a puzzling insight coming from an opponent of better gun regulation. After all, Zimmerman was allowed to carry a gun – and despite calling him an idiot you seem to think that’s a good thing. To say that USA needs softer, not stricter, gun regulations is to say that more people like Zimmerman – more idiots with poor judgment – should be armed.

    I understand that people want to own guns. Shooting is fun, hunting is nice. I get that. I even understand that people want to carry a handgun in daily life – I disagree with their reasoning behind that, but I can understand that for them, personally, having a gun on the hip feels safer. But I really don’t understand why so many americans oppose any attempt to keep guns away from people like Zimmerman – people who they themselves consider to be idiots.

    Norway have gun laws which the NRA would consider absolutely, totally, crazy strict. Still, approximately 10% of the population is a licensed gun owner, and both hunting and target shooting are popular pasttimes. The regulations are not perfect – on one hand there’s an occasional crazy person who gets a licence, on the other hand regulations can feel overly restrictive for some gun owners. But overall, the regulations we have do a fairly good job of keeping guns away from criminals and idiots, and they don’t prevent people from hunting or target shooting. I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.

  23. I appreciate all the people who are providing links and citations to reputable sources and supporting their arguments with facts rather than bluster and bald assertion.

    It makes it very easy to tell who has any credibility.

  24. Zimmerman was and remains an IDIOT. He is the very posterboy for bad judgement and getting in over your head.

    Reader, I armed him.

  25. Even Mr. Idiot Zimmerman didn’t fire until he was absolutely sure he was going to DIE. Given his injuries, he was probably correct.

    Exactly what life-threatening injuries did he suffer? Did he go to the hospital to have them treated? Did he seek other medical attention? What were they? Be specific and cite medical documentation of his injuries.

    If you can’t, you’re just spouting more bullshit. Which seems to be your modus operandi.

  26. Because I’ll tell you right now, sight unseen, that they don’t.

    Saying that you haven’t bothered to read a study before dismissing it doesn’t actually help your case. It just further confirms that you are an idiot who has a religious belief in guns.

    What has become painfully obvious to everyone who has been reading your inanities is that you don’t actually have any valid arguments. You don’t actually know much of anything about the subject of gun control: You have spent your time searching for those tidbits of information that support your preferred conclusion rather than actually looking at the data as a whole, because you want a particular conclusion. That’s why you keep looking like a fool here, because every time you spout a half-truth, evasion, prevarication, or outright lie, people point it out. This must be very frustrating for you, since you don’t seem to be handling people using actual facts very well.

  27. @Phantom

    I agree with Tasha. I’ve already answered your question, yet you seem to be ignoring me. Is it because we, shall we say, lack testosterone or something?

    Anybody want to answer the question of would he have been further ahead to just let Martin kill him?

    Zimmerman would have been further ahead to have never initiated the confrontation in the first place, as the dispatcher told him to do.

    I also notice you never answered Rev. Bob’s question.

    What happened to Trayvon Martin’s right of self defense?

    I mean, you keep coming back here to spout nonsense and, basically, throw out ones and exclamation points. Why won’t you answer the questions we give you?

  28. On a different note, and because the folks here tend to care about attention to detail, may I point out that San Bernardino has TWO “r”s in it? San Bernardino as in Saint Bernard (not “Saint Bernad”).

    The pronunciation “san bernadeeno” is an artifact of the “California wooden-lip” lazy enunciation that’s so common here, similar to the way “Los Gatos” gets pronounced “luss GADuss” and “Vallejo” is “vuhLAYho”. (Oh, and for anyone who wants to sound more like a local, “Concord” is pronounced “conquered”, not like the grape.)

  29. In Concord, Mass. and Concord, NH, home of the grape, it is pronounced “conquered”. Who pronounces the grape any other way?*

    How is Vallejo properly pronounced? (Oh, wait, it’s “va-YAY-ho”, yes? I misread your pronunciation guide at first)

    *ETA Mind, in New Hampshire et al. “conquered” is pronounced “KONK-ud”, so there is that.

  30. Snowcrash said: “1. Support your claim that the study cited is bunk.”

    I did. At length. You are ignoring what I said. I will now say it again. This time, try reading it.

    A) Suicide, murder and accidental death have different causation. The thing that CAUSES those events is not the same. The study treats them as the same. This is not science.

    B) Shooting an intruder is -not- a desirable outcome, yet the study treats it as the -the only- desirable outcome. This is not science.

    C) I mention Zimmerman as the poster boy for exactly how undesirable an outcome shooting the intruder is. My point, OBVIOUSLY, is he’d have been further ahead with the brain damage. Which, getting back to the study, demonstrates WHY so few intruders ever actually get shot. Because everyone in the world with a brain knows not to shoot them.

    Which, dear Snowcrash, is why a study that posits shooting the intruder as “success” is fundamentally, irretrievably flawed.

    Therefore considering all of the above, the study design in principle cannot discover anything at all about the risk of having a firearm in the house. QED. It is meaningless bunkum.

    Are we communicating yet?

    I will include more examples to elucidate the point. Just in case anybody still doesn’t understand what I meant.

    A study compares the number of smokers in a city to the number of deaths from heart disease. Such a comparison means -nothing- because of one simple thing, the people doing the smoking are not the ones doing the dying. There is no meaningful information to be had from the bare correlation of those two things.

    No doubt the anti-smoking zealots will now sound off. It’s an example, not a defense of smoking. Smoking causes heart disease, yes, we know. But you can’t tell from that study. The study is crap. Get it?

    Here’s another example, a classic. A study correlated robberies with ice cream sales. It was found that ice cream sales were better on days with more robberies.

    Do ice cream cones cause crime? Would a ban on ice cream reduce robberies? If police arrested robbers would ice cream sales suffer?

    Is it dog-whistle racism to mention ice cream?

    Yes, that last bit was mockery. The dog-whistle goof p1ssed me off.

    Incidentally all of you people should go hunt down your university statistics teachers and beat them. They ripped you off.

    And now, Aaron. @ Aaron said: “What has become painfully obvious to everyone who has been reading your inanities is that you don’t actually have any valid arguments.”

    I think at this point what is painfully obvious is that you, sir, have adamantly refused to address the arguments I have put forth.

    Apply yourself to this argument I have made in this post, for example. To recap, again: Are accident, suicide and homicide caused by the same thing? I say they are not, and that treating them as the same invalidates the study, or any study of similar design. Of which there are many, and I gave a citation of same earlier. I go further and I say that these studies are made this way deliberately, knowing they are flawed, for use as political propaganda.

    Discuss. If you can.

  31. redheadedfemme said: “I agree with Tasha. I’ve already answered your question, yet you seem to be ignoring me. Is it because we, shall we say, lack testosterone or something?”

    Of course I’m ignoring you because you are a woman. All gun rights proponents are misogynists. They give you medication to make you that way when you sign up.

    “Zimmerman would have been further ahead to have never initiated the confrontation in the first place, as the dispatcher told him to do.”

    Obviously. I’m not defending him, he broke every rule of Neighborhood Watch that there is. I’m using him as an example of why shooting the intruder is a failure state. How many times do I need to say it? This is three time now, I think.

    “I also notice you never answered Rev. Bob’s question. What happened to Trayvon Martin’s right of self defense?”

    If you want to say that sitting on a stranger and pounding their head into the sidewalk is self defense, I’d say he was exercising his rights. His problem was he brought his fists to a gun fight. Not a good move, tactically speaking.

    “I mean, you keep coming back here to spout nonsense and, basically, throw out ones and exclamation points. Why won’t you answer the questions we give you?”

    I did. You just don’t read the answers. It’s annoying.

    You should maybe assume less about me and read more. Your prejudgement of who I am is making you blind to what I said.

    Maybe try thinking about what public health studies are supposed to look like, and then compare that to the study we’re talking about. The point of a gun study is to discover what the risk/benefit of a gun is. If you declare the benefit to be zero before the study begins, it isn’t science is it? That is what has been done in gun control studies since the 1960s, and that is what I’m talking about.

    Are we communicating yet?

  32. Phantom, having a gun, and knowing how to use it, isn’t going to help in an emergency. I will refer you to my great-great-grandfather, who was out in the field with his team, when the CSA raiders came through looking for horses. Great-great-grandpa ended up dead, and his rifle broken over the gatepost (all this within sight of the house and his family).

    You can whine all you want about how necessary firearms are, but they aren’t useful if you’re military/law enforcement or pot-hunting. They’re a danger to everyone, especially when being held by people who think they’re mighty warriors.

  33. The Phantom.

    You need to learn more English. What you are calling a cause is really a motivation. The study correctly identifies the cause of injury or death as being gun related. The motivations may be different but the instrument in which each incident is carried out is the same.

    This is SCIENCE!{Kicks The Phantom’s faulty reasoning into a pit from which hopefully it never returns}

  34. Suicides are not caused by gas ovens, but suicide rates went down, rather than just transferring to other methods, when gas ovens were replaced. Suicides are not caused by guns, but suicide rates go down, rather than simply transferring to other methods, when guns are not in the house.

    How is this not relevant to a gun control issue? How is a study noting this not a valid study?

    I know I know. You say:

    A) Suicide, murder and accidental death have different causation. The thing that CAUSES those events is not the same. The study treats them as the same. This is not science.

    But actually, in all three cases, regardless of motive, the numbers go up when a gun is in the house. The numbers go down when a gun is not. This is because the gun is not the motive, it is the opportunity. When three things with wildly different motives but identical opportunities show the same effect when the opportunity is removed, there is a correlation, and a fairly good argument for causation. If anything, the fact that they have vastly different motives makes the study’s look at guns stronger, not weaker. Because if the real connection were something other than the gun, the numbers should be different for each.

    And actually, I didn’t see any answer to Tasha’s questions. Anywhere. Feel free to copy and past or link back to your answer if you gave one, I’d be happy to be wrong. If not, try answering again.

    You’ve repeated yourself plenty of times already at your own behest. If you think you’re repeating yourself again, it shouldn’t be any more painful for being at someone else’s.

  35. George Zimmerman is not an example of why shooting an intruder is a failure condition. Trayvon Martin wasn’t an “intruder;” he was a teenager walking home through his own neighborhood at 7 in the evening, when it was still light out.

    Zimmerman stalked him when the police dispatcher said not to, and initiated the confrontation.

    George Zimmerman is an example of why guns in the hands of fools is a failure condition.

    Having to actually shoot an intruder is a problem. It doesn’t necessarily mean you screwed up, though you will have to satisfy at least the investigating officers on that, and potentially a jury. But if you really needed to do it, it’s better than being dead.

  36. The Phantom on December 5, 2015 at 11:22 am said:

    I did. At length. You are ignoring what I said. I will now say it again. This time, try reading it.

    No, you sort of ranted about it and made demands of the study that made no sense.

    A) Suicide, murder and accidental death have different causation. The thing that CAUSES those events is not the same. The study treats them as the same. This is not science.

    The study doesn’t assume a common cause nor does it need to. Imagine a study that compared the output of apples and oranges from fruit farmers in a given country. According to your theory of science such a study is insane because apples are proverbially not oranges.

    B) Shooting an intruder is -not- a desirable outcome, yet the study treats it as the -the only- desirable outcome. This is not science.

    Again, this is just your odd spin on the study. If we decide that shooting an intruder is NOT a desirable outcome then nothing about the study changes. The relative probabilities of those outcomes remain the same. That is why it *is* science. The study works regardless of what ideology you may have.

    C) I mention Zimmerman as the poster boy for exactly how undesirable an outcome shooting the intruder is. My point, OBVIOUSLY, is he’d have been further ahead with the brain damage. Which, getting back to the study, demonstrates WHY so few intruders ever actually get shot. Because everyone in the world with a brain knows not to shoot them.

    The study was a study of shootings. You are objecting to the study of shootings because it didn’t include NON-shootings. You are also objecting to the study because you think two different kinds of shootings are so utterly different that they are incomparable (despite the study having a straight-forward way of comparing them) but you also want the study of INJURIES AND DEATHS to also cover non-injuries an deaths because…actually I have no idea, I doubt you do either.

    Therefore considering all of the above, the study design in principle cannot discover anything at all about the risk of having a firearm in the house. QED. It is meaningless bunkum.

    No, it can simply show that guns kept in homes are more likely to be involved in a fatal or nonfatal accidental shooting, criminal assault, or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.

    If you wish to debunk the study what you need to show is THAT conclusion is not well founded.

    I will include more examples to elucidate the point. Just in case anybody still doesn’t understand what I meant.

    A study compares the number of smokers in a city to the number of deaths from heart disease. Such a comparison means -nothing- because of one simple thing, the people doing the smoking are not the ones doing the dying. There is no meaningful information to be had from the bare correlation of those two things.

    No doubt the anti-smoking zealots will now sound off. It’s an example, not a defense of smoking. Smoking causes heart disease, yes, we know. But you can’t tell from that study. The study is crap. Get it?

    Here’s another example, a classic. A study correlated robberies with ice cream sales. It was found that ice cream sales were better on days with more robberies.

    Do ice cream cones cause crime? Would a ban on ice cream reduce robberies? If police arrested robbers would ice cream sales suffer?

    Is it dog-whistle racism to mention ice cream?

    Yes, that last bit was mockery. The dog-whistle goof p1ssed me off.

    Incidentally all of you people should go hunt down your university statistics teachers and beat them. They ripped you off.

  37. Cally said: “Phantom: A simple question: if you’re being stalked through the dark streets of your neighborhood by a guy in a car, and then he gets out of the car and he’s got a gun, do you, or do you not, have the right to defend yourself against him with anything up to and including lethal force? Yes or no? If not, why do you advocate carrying guns for personal protection; aren’t they tools of lethal force?”

    Leaving aside the very long, expensive and contentious trial which concluded that is not what happened in the Martin/Zimmerman case, and accepting for the moment that the whole thing was Zimmerman’s fault, let us consider your question.

    A guy in a car follows me at night, and then gets out of the car and he has a gun. No Cally, you can’t shoot him just for that. Possession of a firearm is not punishable by death. Not yet anyway. But let us consider the question farther/

    Does he show me the gun? Does he wave the gun? Does he point it at me?

    Let’s say he gets out and points it at me. I have to assume that I’m going to get shot right then. That is the level of threat required before lethal force is reasonable. Just showing it, or waving it, is insufficient. Him yelling at me and being a d1ck is insufficient. Him creeping me out is insufficient. He needs to be actively trying to kill me, and I can’t get away.

    Next question, “If not, why do you advocate carrying guns for personal protection; aren’t they tools of lethal force?”

    Why do you keep life preservers in a boat? They’re expensive and pretty much a waste of space. Lots of arguments to be made about the futility of life preservers in a boat. That is the argument -you- are making. Nobody needs a life preserver.

    My argument is, I’d like to be the one to decide.

    Not you. Not the government. Not those clowns who construct bogus studies and pretend to be great guys. Not people who think they’re smart enough to say who should have what and when.

    Me. I decide.

    This is called -freedom-, and it is a concept antithetical to your argument that There Oughta Be A Law. No, there shouldn’t oughta be a law.

    My freedom is not important to you. You think it’s Far Too Dangerous to just let me decide if I should have a gun or not. You don’t think I can be trusted, basically. You think people are stupid, they’ve got to be controlled. You have faith that the government can and should control who gets a gun and who does not. I should know my place and not arrogate to myself the powers of my superiors. You’ve decided that it’s time for me to shut up and do what I’m told.

    Problem is, I just don’t believe the government can keep me safe. It is not in their power to do so, and lately I don’t think they even want to. I have a variety of evidence for this, some of which I have shared with you here.

    I just don’t believe there’s anybody out there smart enough to decide how my life should be. So I keep bringing up these pesky issues that don’t agree with your beliefs, because I’m not the type of guy who’s content to sit and let the steam roller drive over me.

    I believe if a government strips you of the power to defend yourself, and something bad happens, you’re f-ed. Historically speaking, something bad -always- happens.

    So I’m going to decide for myself, and do what I think is right. That’s the whole thing, in a nutshell. If that makes me a bad person, then I’m a bad person.

  38. tintinaus said: “You need to learn more English. What you are calling a cause is really a motivation. The study correctly identifies the cause of injury or death as being gun related. The motivations may be different but the instrument in which each incident is carried out is the same.”

    Seriously man, is this your argument? What utter bollocks!

    What -causes- a suicide to kill himself is not the instrument he chooses to kill himself with. What -causes- a murder is not the murder weapon, it is the volitional choice of the murderer. What -causes- an accident is not the same as either murder or suicide.

    Give that pretzel another twist.

  39. Camestros Felapton said: “You are also objecting to the study because you think two different kinds of shootings are so utterly different that they are incomparable.”

    Yes. Finally. Accidents are not caused by the deliberate volition of human beings. They are caused by carelessness, ignorance, drugs/alcohol or unforseen circumstances.

    Murders are caused by deliberate volition. As are suicides, but the motivations there differ from murder.

    One of these things is not like the others. You can’t merely correlate them and then claim the correlation means anything at all. Ice cream correlates with robberies. Ice cream does not cause robberies.

    That you obviously don’t like that this is true is unfortunate, but beside the point. Randomized controlled double-blind trials exist to solve the many and obvious flaws in this study. Even those can be wrong, but at least the guys doing them are trying.

    The clowns who wrote this are taking you for a sleigh ride.

  40. The Phantom,

    Find me a coroner’s report that states that the cause of death is “suicide” and we can talk. Before then you need to stop being quite so brazenly disingenuous in your arguments.

  41. PJ Evans said: “Phantom, having a gun, and knowing how to use it, isn’t going to help in an emergency.”

    Mr. Evans, with all due respect to your ancestors, I think I shall make that determination for myself.

  42. @Phantom

    Let’s say he gets out and points it at me. I have to assume that I’m going to get shot right then. That is the level of threat required before lethal force is reasonable. Just showing it, or waving it, is insufficient. Him yelling at me and being a d1ck is insufficient. Him creeping me out is insufficient. He needs to be actively trying to kill me, and I can’t get away.

    This is a side point, of course, but maybe you should tell that to all the police officers who have gunned down (usually) young men of color, such as Tamir Rice, who was killed within two seconds of the police car pulling up.

  43. Lenora Rose said: “But actually, in all three cases, regardless of motive, the numbers go up when a gun is in the house.”

    Lenora, your faith in these studies is touching but misplaced. Because the numbers go up and down when a dog is in the house too. Yes, there IS a study where possession of a dog was more highly correlated with death by gunshot than possession of a gun. I can’t be bothered to look it up, but the author was probably Kellerman or Reay.

    tintinanaus said: “Find me a coroner’s report that states that the cause of death is “suicide” and we can talk.”

    Isn’t the whole point of a coroner’s report to determine if a death was suicide, murder or accidental/natural causes?

    Your pretzel is very twisted indeed sir. Give it another.

  44. redheadedfemme said: “This is a side point, of course, but maybe you should tell that to all the police officers who have gunned down (usually) young men of color, such as Tamir Rice, who was killed within two seconds of the police car pulling up.”

    The Tamir Rice thing was probably bullsh1t. I saw the video, it didn’t look good. Hard to say when you are not the cop though. I guess we shall see what the investigation turns up.

    I have a much better one for you. Sammy Yatim was executed by a policeman on a streetcar in Toronto. The video is, shall we say, damning.

    This kind of thing is becoming much more common. Here’s a great one you didn’t hear about: http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2015/08/as-ive-been-saying.html White kid shot by police, you didn’t hear about it because it doesn’t fit the news template.

    Police shoot the wrong people all the time. How is it a good idea to trust them with your defense? Are you kidding me?

  45. The Phantom on December 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton said: “You are also objecting to the study because you think two different kinds of shootings are so utterly different that they are incomparable.”

    Yes. Finally. Accidents are not caused by the deliberate volition of human beings. They are caused by carelessness, ignorance, drugs/alcohol or unforseen circumstances.

    Murders are caused by deliberate volition. As are suicides, but the motivations there differ from murder.

    And as this wasn’t a study of motivation, nothing you just said there undermines the study. Let me give you an example – is it more likely that I will die in a car crash than eat a lemon? Answer: no, it is more likely that I will eat a lemon.
    Now you can say a number of things: that the comparison isn’t a very useful one for example. However what you can’t say is that because you don’t find the comparison USEFUL or perhaps applicable that somehow the two probabilities are incorrect.

    In this study we don’t have anything nearly as absurd. It is straight-forward: check medical records for cases of gun shot injuries and trace back to the circumstances. Your objections is that the circumstances are different! To which the right response is obviously – the point of the study is to see how the circumstances DIFFER so to say it flawed because the circumstances differ. That is rather like complaining about an academic paper on the causes of the WWI on the grounds that it is all set in the past.

    One of these things is not like the others. You can’t merely correlate them and then claim the correlation means anything at all. Ice cream correlates with robberies. Ice cream does not cause robberies.

    Ice cream might not cause robberies but they can still be correlated. Ice cream not causing robberies does not invalidate a study that found they were correlated. Assuming the correlation was statistically significant this would indicate that there was some reason why they were correlated. For example two independent temporal trends in both data sets might result in a correlation – finding this tells us SOMETHING. Alternatively some third parameter relates to both of them – a socioeconomic factor that leads both to more ice cream sales and more robberies – hoorah, we’ve found something else.

    Either way the fact that the two things correlate does not vanish even if we are sure that one does not cause another. WHich is beside the point because the study we are looking a isn’t correlative.

    That you obviously don’t like that this is true is unfortunate, but beside the point. Randomized controlled double-blind trials exist to solve the many and obvious flaws in this study. Even those can be wrong, but at least the guys doing them are trying.

    Yes, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial is a methodlogically strong way of testing a medical intervention – or other kinds of interventions. They don’t occur in the field of home-defense gun ownership because I doubt you’d ever get people or politicians on either side of politics to agree to it and the ethics of it would be quite extraordinary.

    However, I think I have found a setting for an amazing SF story because now I have to try and imagine what a PLACEBO gun would be like – particularly one for a double blind trial (i.e. the subject can’t know that they have a placebo gun – I’m imagining one of those comedy guns where a little flag saying ‘bang’ pops out when you pull the trigger).

    In the meantime, the gun industry isn’t short of a few dollars. If you think a randomized controlled double-blind trial is what will prove everything is hunky-dory, you should maybe get a proposal together and get them to fund one.

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