Ramblings & ephemera

Arguments against gay marriage make no sense

From Theodore B. Olson’s “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage” (Truthout: 12 January 2010): What, then, are the justifications for California’s decision in Proposition 8 to withdraw access to the institution of marriage for some of its citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation? The reasons I have heard are not very persuasive. The […]

How male water striders blackmail females into sex

From Ed Yong’s “Male water striders summon predators to blackmail females into having sex” (Discover: 10 August 2010): Water strider sex begins unceremoniously: the male mounts the female without any courtship rituals or foreplay. She may resist but if she does, he starts to actively strum the water surface with his legs. Each vibration risks […]

The Irish Church lies in creative – and evil – ways

From Patsy McGarry’s “Church ‘lied without lying’” (Irish Times: 26 November 2009): One of the most fascinating discoveries in the Dublin Archdiocese report was that of the concept of “mental reservation” which allows clerics mislead people without believing they are lying. According to the Commission of Investigation report, “mental reservation is a concept developed and […]

Programmer jokes

Q: How do you tell an introverted computer scientist from an extroverted computer scientist? A: An extroverted computer scientist looks at your shoes when he talks to you. Knock, knock. Who’s there? very long pause…. Java. Saying that Java is nice because it works on every OS is like saying that anal sex is nice […]

Cell phone viruses

From Jim Giles’ “The inside story of the Conficker worm” (New Scientist: 12 June 2009): Earlier this year, smartphone users in China started to get messages promising a “sexy view” if they clicked on a link. The link led to a download. That download was a spam generator which, once installed, sent identical “sexy view” […]

Extreme male brains

From Joe Clark’s “The extreme Google brain” (Fawny: 26 April 2009): … Susan Pinker’s The Sexual Paradox, which explains, using scientific findings, why large majorities of girls and women behave almost identically at different stages of their lives – while large minorities of boys and men show vast variability compared to each other and to […]

Gottman on relationships

From THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE: A Talk with John Gottman (Edge: 14 April 2004): So far, his surmise is that “respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them. It may differ from culture to culture how to communicate respect, and how to communicate affection, and how not to do it, […]

Protected: Students, schools, civil rights, & the f-word

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One group files 99.9% of all complaints about TV content

From Christopher M. Fairman’s “Fuck” (bepress Legal Series: 7 March 2006): The PTC [Parents Television Council] is a perfect example of the way word taboo is perpetuated. The group’s own irrational word fetish – which they try to then impose on others – fuels unhealthy attitudes toward sex that then furthers the taboo status of […]

Protected: American courts and government and the f-word

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Protected: Taboo acts and language and how they work together

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Denise-ism #62

Last night Denise was speaking to my Blogs to Wikis class about the legal implications of social software. She was going over exceptions to the 1st Amendment and was discussing obscenity and child pornography. “Child pornography is a completely different animal altogether. Especially if you’re using animals.”

2 years that changed the pr0n industry

From James Wolcott’s “Debbie Does Barnes & Noble” (Vanity Fair: 22 August 2005): In terms of production techniques, two years mark key inflection points in porn. The first was 1982, when X-rated producers abandoned celluloid for videotape. The other pivotal year was 1998, when Viagra was introduced. Performance anxiety, begone!

Fouche’s blackmail of Napoleon

From Napoleonic Literature’s “The Court and Camp of Buonaparte: The Ministers: Fouche“: [Fouche,] who was so profoundly versed in the state of parties, — who was obeyed by one, courted by another, and feared by all; who, by means of his countless agents, could at any time congregate the scattered elements of resistance to the […]

India’s transgendered folks

From Henry Chu’s “Bullied by the Eunuchs” (Los Angeles Times: 7 June 2006): I was being hit up for a handout by one of this country’s many hijras. They are eunuchs or otherwise transgendered people by birth, accident or choice. Something between male and female, they are shunned by Indian society as unclean. Many make […]

History & numbers on prison rape

From Daniel Brook’s “The Problem of Prison Rape” (Legal Affairs: March/April 2004): In his 18 months at [the maximum-security Allred Unit in Iowa Park, Tex.], [Roderick Johnson, a 35-year-old African-American who is suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice] did time as the property of the Bloods, the Crips, the Mandingo Warriors, and the Mexican […]

The Mann Act as problematic law

From Roderick M. Hills, Jr.’s “The Federalist Capers” (Legal Affairs: May/June 2005): BY CONTRAST WITH THE COURT’S RECORD IN ECONOMIC MATTERS, the pre-New-Deal court was oddly reluctant to impose any limits on federally sponsored cultural conservatism. The Mann Act, which prohibited any person from aiding in the interstate transportation of a “woman or girl” for […]

James Jesse Strang, Mormon King of Michigan

From Geoffrey Gagnon’s “King James I, of Michigan” (Legal Affairs: September/October 2005): One letter that isn’t on display is the one that James Jesse Strang said he received from Smith just before the Mormon leader was murdered in June 1844. In the letter, which now resides in a university library, Smith bequeaths the nascent Mormon […]

When newspapers began to cover trials

From Caleb Crain’s “In Search Of Lost Crime” (Legal Affairs: July/August 2002): In American cities in the 1830s, 1- and 2-cent newspapers for the working class abruptly challenged 6-cent newspapers published for merchants and political parties. As Patricia Cline Cohen explains in The Murder of Helen Jewett, an account of the 1836 killing of a […]

30 seconds to impress

From The Scotsman‘s “Men, you have 30 seconds to impress women“: HALF of all women make their minds up within 30 seconds of meeting a man about whether he is potential boyfriend material, according to a study on speed-dating. The women were on average far quicker at making a decision than the men during some […]