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Podcast Episodes / Re: Episode #477
« Last post by arthwollipot on Today at 01:28:45 AM »
Since so many people have pointed out the "exception proves the rule" problem I'll just note that Steve also got the definition of "fell" wrong. It means excessively cruel or vicious but does not necessarily mean deadly.  (The only use in modern English outside that phrase seems to be the root word of felony)

The winged creatures that the Nazg├╗l rode on in Lord of the Rings were referred to as "fell beasts".
Skepticism / Science Talk / Re: Nothing on JREF LA/DJ Grothe?
« Last post by Beleth on Today at 01:09:00 AM »
The use of the word "acting" strongly suggests to me that it is a temporary measure.

A friend of mine is an atheist, he doesn't want his family to know until his grandparent pass away (his own reasons..whatever). He works at a place where his step-mother is the HR supervisor. One of his coworkers who is a vindictive busy-body went to his step-mom and told her that he was an atheist (something he confided in his coworker in confidence). His step-mom gave him the whole, "you're just going through a phase" talk...AT WORK...isn't this shit illegal!?!

This has really pissed me off on his behalf. What can he do?

Maybe it's just the way you're telling the story, but I'm not seeing what the issue is (besides the coworker's betrayal of course).  Unless she's using the argument to manipulate him in the workplace, keeping him from his work, belittle him in front of others, or further spread his personal secret without consent by discussing it publicly, it just sounds like a mother wanting to talk to her son about something she feels is important and not waiting to get home.

Not saying you're wrong, I just don't have enough information to really understand your outrage.
Religion / Philosophy Talk / Re: Modern art is just bad, Mmmkay?
« Last post by pusher robot on Today at 12:52:06 AM »
We so often wonder why so many artists are paupers and ignored in their time and then elevated in the centuries following their death. I think it's generally because in their time they are viewed as hipster doofuses by culturally normative views.

Sure, maybe.  Taking into account that about 90% of everything is crap, even if I think everything is terrible I'll still be right almost all of the time.  Perhaps social rejection is the acid that washes away the crud and leaves the gems?  But even so, my harsh comments are not directed at the artists, who after all, are the ones putting themselves out there, but the critics and consumers, who (in my view) are so often willingly manipulated and use the artists mainly as props in their own personal theater of self-validation.  Maybe I'm unusual, but I'd actually rather hear somebody say they hated something I created, and give a well-thought reason, than to say that they love it because it vaguely assuages their sense of superiority to be a kind of person who would love it.
Skepticism / Science Talk / Re: Nothing on JREF LA/DJ Grothe?
« Last post by arthwollipot on Today at 12:50:34 AM »
The official notification says

James Randi has taken over as acting President.

The use of the word "acting" strongly suggests to me that it is a temporary measure.
Skepticism / Science Talk / Re: Nothing on JREF LA/DJ Grothe?
« Last post by Dionysus on Today at 12:36:57 AM »
Meh, hopefully it marks the beginning of the end for the old guard. I'm guessing Randi taking over again is just a placeholder until a new president is found. I can't imagine they plan on running things with him unless they truly plan on shutting down for good.

Revenue for Skeptics Society has also fallen/stagnated since 2008...
Religion / Philosophy Talk / Re: Modern art is just bad, Mmmkay?
« Last post by The Latinist on Today at 12:00:44 AM »
It was nice of him, though, to allow that Monet, Renoir, and Degas created at least passable artworks.
Religion / Philosophy Talk / Re: When someone tries to use atheism against you at work.
« Last post by seamas on September 02, 2014, 11:25:46 PM »
Occasionally the topic of religion will come up where I work--but usually in regard for the the December holidays, etc.
Employees are typical for the NYC  suburbs--a big portion of Catholics, followed by Jews and then a smattering of mainline protestants and at least one evangelical.
I'd say most aren't all too observant, and then there is any number of unaffiliated, or lapsed christians.

The funny thing is the boss is apparently a lifelong atheist--and I suspect his dad, who started the company was as well.
He actually got me slightly nervous at a small office party when he started asking the group a number of pretty snarky questions about certain aspects of the Easter holidays (Good Friday, etc).
Not that I was offended, but thought he, as the boss, should have toned it down just slightly. I mean I agreed with him, but someone in his position probably shouldn't get boorish about the subject.
Religion / Philosophy Talk / Re: Modern art is just bad, Mmmkay?
« Last post by seamas on September 02, 2014, 11:15:44 PM »
The messy reality is that sometimes art is an accident. People don't like to hear that, but the reality is, and almost any honest artist will tell you, that capitalizing on an unforseen outcome is transformative in art. The urinal may have been presented as an F* you, but that act of trolling is the art itself. Nowadays that sort of thing wouldn't fly of course, we've reduced trolling to something mundane for kicks, like portraits to selfies. :P That urinal is a statement and a reaction. All of art is a statement and a reaction. How is it not art?

I see where you're coming from with that but I have a really hard time accepting trolling as an art form. I have a hard time seeing Duchamp's Fountain as art for the same reason that I have a hard time seeing a raised middle finger as art, because that's effectively what that urinal was. It was Duchamp taking the piss out of the people organizing the exhibition and then later unintentionally getting taken seriously.

I don't think there was anything unintentional about Duchamps or any of his art. The man was a true mindfucker, a true individual and one hell of an artist. He wasn't trolling anyone who didn't want to go for the ride.
General Discussion / Help vetting "anti aging" speaker for CafeSci
« Last post by theinternetmademedoit on September 02, 2014, 10:56:06 PM »
I've been running a branch of Cafe Scientifique for past three years. During that time I've had to field inquires from various crackpots and the like.

Most of the time that's easy to do. But sometimes it's more of a border line case. And I've got one of those cases right now, and I was hoping the hive mind might help me out?

www. vita longa asia . com

I've got a rep from the above clinic wanting to speak about "anti aging and contemplative practices." The site looks dodgy but I'm just not 100% certain.

I should add to that I haven't been given much in terms of what exactly the talk would entail (other than a general topic). But references to spirituality, holism, and "alternatives" has me on the defensive.

What do you think? Keep and open mind and explore or respectfully decline? Advice is greatly appreciated.
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