Monthly Archives: October 2004

New Comment Policy

Due to a recent torrent of comment spam, I have finally started closing old threads. The policy will be that posts more than 10 days old will be closed to comments; this is also when a post disappears from the main page. If you want to comment on a closed post, please use the most recent open thread.
Congratulations to, who managed to post a diet pills ad to an old thread about ten seconds before I ran the mt-close script.
Since this should cut down hugely on the spam, I have re-enabled HTML in comments.
I should also remark on the recent lack of posts: I have been buried in work, and am about to go out of town for a few days, during which I may or may not have Internet access. Therefore this is likely to continue until Tuesday, when I will probably return for live coverage of the election returns in some form. I would like to post a detailed set of endorsements before the weekend, but I may not have time.

100% reliable [Open Thread]

Last week’s quote (You shame science with your lies.) was from this Scary Go Round strip. I only discovered Scary Go Round a couple weeks ago but it’s already one of my favorite webcomics. If you have a few hours, you will be well rewarded by reading through the archives. Also, J. D. Jackson’s indispensible textbook Classical Electrodynamics should absolutely be retitled Electromagnetism: One Bad Mother.
New quote is difficulty: Formidable, 4 points.

Scientists: Slaves to the hormones

Arcane Gazebo correspondent and pornomaster Mason sends along the following item:

Index Fingers Point the Way for Male Scientists
Male scientists are good at research because they have higher-than-average levels of the female hormone oestrogen which aids analytical skills, a study on Bath University academics today revealed.
The survey found that male scientists tended to have longer index fingers than other men, indicating high levels of oestrogen present in their bodies.
Men studied had levels of oestrogen as high as their testosterone levels, which caused the right side of their brains responsible for spatial and analytical skills, to develop more strongly.

This study raises many questions: Does this mean that scientists are girlie-men? To what degree should Arcane Gazebo attempt to compensate for this by engaging in traditionally manly activities (like, I don’t know, watching football or belching or something) to boost his testosterone? Or should he artificially increase his estrogen instead, in the hopes of becoming better at physics and thereby graduating earlier? And why is he talking about himself in the third person?

Metaphorical Baseball Thread

If the Red Sox win the World Series, I will consider it a sign of the apocalypse. If the Red Sox win the Series and Bush wins the election, I will repent my sins, because the rivers of blood and dead rising from the grave won’t be far behind.
Speaking of the election, it is important that the Astros lose in order to avert the Boston vs. Houston series that will result in endless dumb comparisons to Bush and Kerry. Some may consider this a betrayal of my Houston roots, to which I say: of course it is! I betray my Houston roots all the time! I make up alternate histories for myself in which I was born in California and large portions of my extended family moved to Texas by chance!
The alternative is Boston vs. St. Louis, which is (if you’re a Republican) a battle between the decadent, elitist coastal enclaves and the patriotic, traditional American heartland, or (if you’re a Democrat) a battle between Boston and St. Louis. In any case, my dislike of the Red Sox borders on the irrational, so I will give my endorsement to the red state team and then probably not pay very much attention.

No, I’m not here. Hence the recorded message and the beep.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of messages on my answering machine of the form “Hello, is Travis there? [long pause] [caller hangs up]” I have a hard time believing that there are people confused by the concept of answering machines, so my best guess is that these are telemarketers (or, given the season, phonebanks for political campaigns) using autodialers that have crude answering machine detection. My recording is somewhat brief so I am speculating that some software is getting fooled into thinking that a human has picked up the phone. Anyone else experiencing this?

Vampires are creeps. [Open Thread]

Last week’s quote (I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming text.) was from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, episode 2×11 (“Ted”). One of my favorite Giles quotes. New one is difficulty: Severe, 5 points.
I’m still recovering from my weekend, which was consumed in a Star Ocean binge. At least I made it to the bonus dungeon! But I should probably get out more.

Is there hope for Georgia?: Halloween edition

Via Tbogg:

Sunday Halloween Irks Some in Bible Belt
NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) – Across the Bible Belt this Halloween, some little ghosts and goblins might get shooed away by the neighbors – and some youngsters will not be allowed to go trick-or-treating at all – because the holiday falls on a Sunday this year.

I just love this explanation:

“You just don’t do it on Sunday,” said Sandra Hulsey of Greenville, Ga. “That’s Christ’s day. You go to church on Sunday, you don’t go out and celebrate the devil. That’ll confuse a child.”

So, it’s ok to celebrate the devil as long as it’s not on Sunday? I would think that if one accepts the premise that Halloween is equivalent to worship of Satan, the question of what day it falls on would be somewhat secondary. But then, theology has never been my strong point.
Anyway, I don’t know why these anti-Halloween types would pass up the opportunity to hand out Chick tracts to impressionable young trick-or-treaters on a Sunday. [Disclaimer: the management of Arcane Gazebo is not responsible for brain injury incurred while reading this link.]