Linky Friday #111: Pit-Fight Edition


William S. Truman

Will. Flipping. Truman.

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110 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    L1: Labor and theater issues combined. Sounds like Saul bait.

    L2: If Americans are being laid off for immigrant laborers that it seems that Americans can and will do these jobs.

    G1: I kind of agree with this. Video games were always more popular than anime but they had a similar scene. During the 1980s and early 1990s, before anime became available through commercial companies, getting anime wasn’t easy. You needed to resort to fan subs and similar things. This created a small and intense fan base for anime that operated as a nerd secret society of sorts. When anime become more commercially and easily available in the United States, a lot of old time fans felt that their secret society was being invaded by outsiders who had it easy.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      G1 — Yeah, there is a ton of explicit rejection of women and minorities in gaming. Furthermore, I’ve heard pro-GG people state outright that they want to keep women out of gaming, cuz where the women go the “alpha jocks” go, and such men abuse the nerds.

      This is status defense. You have a bunch of people, mostly socially awkward men, who have formed their own subculture. Which, yay. On the other hand, that subculture recreated (quite badly) many of the same broken patriarchal structures of the mainstream culture, just in a form the mainstream avoided, letting the nerd-boy at last be king of the hill.

      In other words, it is not that they truly understood and rejected the toxic social structures from which they fled. Instead, they were rejected by those social structures, and then filled with lingering resentments and unresolved pain, they rebuilt them in their own image.

      The thing to notice, however, is this is not about external invasion. At least, it is not only that. Nerd-hood and awkwardness exist by degrees, and many men in nerd-space are growing older, getting jobs, and figuring shit out. They are realizing that, hey, having women around is pretty cool. And back then there were never enough mega-nerd girls around. Plus, if you limit this number according to the capacity of mega-nerd girls to operate in hella sexist spaces, the number shrinks even more.

      On latter point, many young women who might have enjoyed fantasy roleplaying were steered away by the immature men in the hobby. But we always existed. I was a gamer — more tabletop stuff than vidya. But still. Definitely I have nerd-cred.

      And if I hadn’t been trans and passing as male, would those spaces have been welcoming to me? Probably not. In fact, I dropped out of gaming for some time, as I grew into my authentic gender. Just, the dudes.

      OMG the dudes. The sexism. The pettiness.

      All this said, there is a difference between being awkward and being loathsome, and even in nerd-space plenty of men are completely righteous, and plenty more would be righteous with a bit of encouragement, if given the choice, if they could see. This is happening. Nerd-space is getting a clue and letting more women in.

      To do this, it is having to change.

      So then we get the holdouts, the truly shitty men (and a few not-men), irredeemably broken inside, hating women with every bit of their toxic minds — those people cluster in gamergate.

      Some will come around. Some will not. Those who don’t, fuck ’em. Let them live in caves.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

      [G1]: Isn’t any highly-insular scene kind of like this? I’ve certainly been to concerts or bars/venues where if you weren’t seen as part of the “scene”, you could get a hostile reaction.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Glyph says:

        Maybe to degrees but Gamergaters seem to be the masters of serious and violent on-line harassment to keep the scene theirs. Did anyone threaten to beat you up or was the hostile reaction, the cold shoulder?Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Depends on the venue/situation. Anything from cold shoulder/bad service, to being told explicitly that you need to leave for your safety. I never personally got into a physical fight over it, but it certainly happened, at least back in the day.

          Doesn’t excuse it, obviously, but I do think it’s useful to recognize that the behavior itself is nothing new or specific to gamers.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Glyph says:

            I can’t say I have ever been to a place where I was cold-shouldered or told I need to leave for my safety.

            I’ve heard of the Portland Freeze and the Seattle Freeze though. It is apparently very hard for new arrivals to make friends in those cities because everyone has their groups/cliques and they don’t accept new members easily.

            What kind of bars told you that you needed to leave for your safety?Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Me and a buddy walked into a Latino bar just thinking we could get some beers, and after one round of very bad desultory service and high tension, were told we should go. We did.

              Went to Meow Mix (defunct NYC lesbian bar that was later featured in Chasing Amy) a few times back in the day, but only with my gay cousin and his lesbian friend; according to them, I would not have been particularly welcome there without them escorting me.

              At a Goldie show back in the mid/late-90’s, I am told (I was pretty drunk and dancing around like a fool, so I didn’t really notice) by my friend that there was a group of “hard” jungle kids there giving us the stink-eye, and he was worried we were going to get our asses kicked. I’m not sure if “musical subcultures as gangs” is still a thing, but it was, once upon a time.

              Try being the goth kid at a hardcore show in 1986, or the preppy kid at the industrial club.

              ETA: for anyone that doesn’t know, “jungle” there refers to the musical style, later/also known as drum’n’bass, and does not have anything to do with the race of the kids (I don’t recall what race they were). I use the older term, because that was actually part of the factioning – “jungle” being the preferred nomenclature and music style of those who wanted to keep the music “hard/underground/street”. Think of them as equivalent to the “gangsta” faction in rap.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Glyph says:

            In our first year or so in Edmonton, we went to a now-defunct after-hours club because the DJ that night was a bit of a hometown hero for us. The billed theme was something like “pure fetish”, and the DJ used to play monthly “pure [monthly costume theme]” nights back home, so we dressed up. We were the only people in the place other than the DJs who did.

            A very large bouncer told me early on that I needed to put a shirt on, so I did. Didn’t keep me from getting punched later in the night by a guy with the build of a mid-sized bear, and I give considerable credit for our getting home without being jumped and severely beaten outside, to my wife’s superior diplomacy skills.

            [EDIT] specifically, the place is defunct because the city shut it down after a string of violent incidents there culminating in a murder.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:


              The one time people convinced me to go clubbing, there was a murder in the club*. This convinced me to never going clubbing again.

              Say what you will about bars filled with hipsters and drinks on the expensivish side, they tend not to have much violence associated with them. Plus they play music at a reasonable volume and you can have conversations!


              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                @saul-degraw holy crap! Yeah, my in-town dancing is mostly at the yoga gym downstairs from an ungodly expensive raw food restaurant these days. No big-name acts, but the worst that’s likely to happen is someone gives a too-vigorous hug to their friend and spills kombucha on you.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:


                Nothing happened to me beyond being annoyed at a lot of drunk and high kids.

                The police were trying really hard to do their investigation and keep everyone calm while also making sure no one could leave. Their tactic for this was to try and let the party continue for as long as possible. Eventually the kids figured it out though and there was anger and panic. The club had a door that let out to a sandlot near the street/freeway. This was usually used as a smoking area. The police decided to let people exit this way in a slow manner while asking questions of the “Did you see anything?” variety.

                The way to the sandlot was a hallway and kids were shouting stuff like “I have my rights. I’m going to sue your ass.” Someone might have thrown up in these tight quarters from drinking too much and people tried to use this to bum rush the police and use critical mass to get through.

                All of my friends who do crim law are public defenders and I have a large amount of sympathy towards that work but this night made me very sympathetic to the police especially because the SFPD was being highly professional at this juncture.

                FTR the reason I don’t like clubbing is that I feel out of place and I don’t like most club music. Murder aside, Temple was filled with people much younger than me (early 20s) and the next closest contingent were a bunch of middle aged guys with paunch bellies and/or typical male pattern baldness trying to hit on 22-24 year old girls. I am obviously not going to compete with a 22 year old guy with a perfect bod and I don’t want to be considered like those middle aged sketchy dudes.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                A murder would convince me not to go clubbing again to. The safest places to dance are partner dance events because everybody is in the scene and generally well-behaved according to scene etiquette. Most of them take place at dance studios or in rented out space in bars. I agree with you about hipster bars to.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Glyph says:

        @glyph — To some degree, but there are other forces at work. This is not only about the small gaming group that is slow to accept new members, nor necessarily the small gaming shop that is resistant to letting in another “queen bee.” Those are real things. But they are not the same as the -chans.

        “All of video gaming” is more like “all of sports.” The GG crowd doesn’t like their broad culture changing.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to veronica d says:

          Is it that they don’t like their culture changing or that they object to the nature of the change? And by that I don’t mean the change itself. I mean the way that those who want the changes go about making it happen.

          No one likes being lectured on how they are horrible people, especially when they are people who’ve never felt particularly privileged. Maybe they are wrong, but that’s a bit beside the point. No one likes posers, especially people who are posers themselves. Authenticity debates tend to operate a bit like a crowded subway commute. For the people on the platform, there is always room for one more in the car, but often the moment that they get inside, the car is suddenly too full for anyone behind them.Report

          • Avatar morat20 in reply to j r says:

            I can’t speak for GamerGate, but I can speak to a similar issue in sci-fi fandom at Cons.

            The precipitating issue was, literally, having to tell people to stop sexually harassing other people at the cons. It wasn’t subtle. It was Saturday Afternoon Special levels — fondling, grabbing, lewd comments, massive invasions of personal space — that sort of thing.

            It got some people kicked out, others told to cut it the heck out, and somehow THOSE people (the ones groping strangers and harassing them) played it off as both a martyr card AND sneered it was okay because those women weren’t ‘real fans’ anyways.

            In short, they’d like to claim it’s the invasion of ‘social justice warriors’ red-carding people for using incorrect pronouns, when in reality it’s “The culture has grown big enough that plenty of people are willing to say “Dude, WTF? You can’t just grab someone’s butt like that” and “WTF, dude? Who says that kind of crap to people?”.

            Where the general affronts that get called out? They’re at or worse than the level of stuff that’d get you yanked into HR and fired or heavily counseled at any company. In short, it’s not the sort of thing accepted anywhere.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to morat20 says:

              Those people are horrid. Of course, the attention whores are horrid as well.
              Idiots tend to attract more idiots.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to morat20 says:

              Physically harassing people and playing video games that have scantily clad, under-developed female characters don’t sound all that similar to me. One is about real immediate harm and the other is about a disagreement over abstract ideas.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r says:

                Well, no, those are not “abstract ideas.” Instead, they are the actual games, made manifest and playable. They are the very content of the subculture. In gaming, what is more central than the games themselves?

                Of course they will be criticized. In fact, gamers are quite pleased to criticize games and will do so quite eagerly. It is only when women speak up with their perspective that it becomes a massive hissy fit.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to morat20 says:


              I’ve been to a few general purpose CONs when I was in college. I seem to remember that there were “friendly” reminders about no staring and grouping back in the late 1990s and early Aughts. There was also a common semi-joking but not really refrain of “15 will get you 20”. As in needing to remind older dudes not to hit on teenage young women.

              IIRC there were two kinds of social groups at these cons, ones that were fairly mixed and co-ed (like mine) and ones that were all male of the “We were socially isolated and stigmatized for decades” for liking this stuff variety.

              What I really remember though were that there were a lot of reminders for personal hygiene because a lot of the guys did not have the most regular bathing habits ans things got funky by the middle of day 2. I heard (but never saw) that some cons used to hand out soap or have signs that said “got soap”*

              *Years later I remember an internet conversation about hygiene and fandom and cons. A bunch of guys said that they were basically allergic to nearly every soap and deodorant on the market including those meant for people with serious allergies. Since this is the Internet, I have no idea whether it is true or not. If true, it made me wonder about whether fandom has alway been a place where those who really can’t fit in anywhere else are accepted and the mainstreaming makes people worry about whether they will have to retreat further.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to veronica d says:

          Haven’t had a chance to play 4chan’s dating sim completely yet, but from the demo, it seemed to be decent and sensible and actually kind of nice.

          Thank Raita?

          Quinn decided to exaggerate a bit on what exactly happened to her (specifically the doxxing), which she rightly got called out for [claiming that 4chan did something 4chan actually didn’t do? not smart.].Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

        My experience with the scene was something to the effect of “Oh, I don’t listen to (band) anymore. They got popular.”

        Same band. Same debut album. Now unlikable not because anything has changed except for the other people who like it.

        Now, I suppose I have some sympathy for the “Hey, I liked this genre when it was catering to me, rather than the lowest common denominator!” (see, for example, the difference in gameplay between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 (if we’re talking about companies that will never get another penny of mine)) but I also know that that is an uphill battle. A company that says “if we make this change that will lose Hardcore Gamer as a customer but will pick us up four additional customers!” is a company that knows which side its bread is buttered on.

        That said, I wonder how many companies out there have said “if we make this change that will lose the gamer audience but pick us up four casuals!” have been wrong about the four casuals.

        With *THAT* said, the Gamergate argument is one that I’ve heard a million times and I’ll use the example of Farmville from years back. Someone calls themselves a gamer because of Farmville and “real” gamers sneered. We’re talking about Farmvillains who would set their alarm clocks for 3AM in order to harvest their crops and then go back to bed. (If that ain’t “Hardcore”, I don’t know what would be.)

        But I don’t know how many Farmvillains went on to buy games that were deliberately formulated to no longer appeal to self-styled hardcore gamers. My suspicion is that it isn’t even close to 1:1 replacement but, if it is, it doesn’t count as a mistake.

        Anyway, to bring us back to Gamergate, if games are changing in such a way to more than make up for the self-styled hardcore gamers being lost, then they’re being smart. If they aren’t, then the companies trying to chase after the margins by losing their core are going to find themselves wondering where everybody went. (I’m reminded of the difference between the responses to the Dixie Chicks vs. the responses of Ted Nugent’s criticisms of the President.)

        We’ll see, of course.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        What I find interesting about these subgroups is that they often simultaneously complain that their pet interest isn’t more broadly accepted/popular while simultaneously driving away all new comers.

        Soccer fans do this in the sports world.

        “Hey… I’m watching the World Cup!”

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    Not sure if the V1 link is correct (also, “Mathematics”).Report

  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    [T1] makes me kinda sad. This:

    “It’s also perfectly viable as a business connection,” insisted Jon Worth, a consultant who started taking night trains as a means of discovering Europe and now uses them to travel between meetings. “You don’t need to book a night in a hotel and you wake up in the morning at your destination.”

    …was exactly how I liked to use sleeper trains when I was traveling there. If you have to have a place to sleep, and you have to be getting from one place to another, why not combine the two?Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A1: Very oversimplified. The Reform and Franchise Expansions were epic struggles.

    L1: This is a very fierce debate. My stance is yes, the theatres should be required to pay actors the minimum wage. Some of these theatres have 7 figure budgets and some of the producers are major Hollywood Players who run the theatres as side-gigs/passionate hobbies. If you have a 7 figure budget and can’t afford to pay a minimum wage, you are doing it wrong. It is also important to note that the Equity plan does have some exceptions for self-producing and/or collective works. So a group of young theatre artists can produce themselves and not pay themselves minimum wage. I am not firm on all the details though.

    L2: I can see this being true. The big problem is that many American workers are probably more expensive because they understand the cost of real estate more and are unwilling to live in less desirable neighborhoods and/or make long commutes.

    G1: Maybe. As I understand it, a lot of GamerGaters are very young. Under legal drinking age young and almost certainly under-25 young. As evidence:

    Maybe this is not a representative group but these do not look like people who grew up in the years when gaming was a marginalized hobby that was socially unacceptable in post-adolescents. I think the people in the group above look like they grew up in an age when gaming was a done by everyone and a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Though I think it can be true that these guys (and some women!) do see Gamergate as being that their little treehouse/basement is being invaded.

    I will say this though, I do know a lot of people from college who are coming out as surprise geeks or people really into comic books and animation. My college did have a SF/Fantasy/Gaming/Anime Club. I was involved but managed to degeek my reading and viewing happens post-college for a variety of reasons (changing tastes including getting less impressed with CGI as a substitute for plot and writing, bored with the overuse of violence, the fact that videogames were taking way too long to complete, I don’t want 50 million subquests, plus a hunch that it was hurting my dating life). But now I see a lot of people from undergrad (who were not part of the Geeky club) talk about comic books and Dungeons and Dragons on facebook! I find it odd. Did these people just hide their geek hobbies for four years of college for social reasons?

    I am not questioning their interest and I don’t think it is new but I am perplexed a bit how and why they were able to successfully keep it underwraps at undergrad and I was not.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw —
      Here are some actual people involved in the GG debate:

      (Note, those are somewhat older Tumblr posts. I am linking to them with the trust they no one here will harass those posters. If you want to talk about the content, please do so on this forum and I will answer as best I can. I will refuse to discuss the quality of those individuals.)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:

        These don’t give me any sense of how old the gaters are.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Fair enough. I get the impression an-animal-imagined-by-poe is in her early 20’s. I have no idea about the others. So yes, they’re young. But the point is, these are not a bunch of bro-dorks being stupid in a nudey bar. They are in fact quite socially-marginalized, in an-animal-imagined-by-poe’s case due to rather notable autism. (The others I know less about.)

          Also note she is a woman, she is very smart, and she is truly eager to explore her own prejudice. (I’m a fan of hers, if that is not obvious.)

          The point is, this is not your raging, woman-hating chan-trolls that we usually think of. But then, we will learn nothing from the chan-troll, except how easy it is to feel contempt. So listen to the nerds who are smart and thoughtful. There are plenty of them.

          In case it is not clear (I’m pretty sure it is clear), I despise gamergate. It’s a hate movement. But I love nerds. I am one. Gamergate is a distraction from a real conversation.

          (For the record, I very much dislike hatefollows, but for reasons unrelated to that post.)

          (Leave those people alone, unless you naturally would be part of that conversation.)Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to veronica d says:

            I think this is one of those exceptions that proves the rule, though.

            GGers I run into are young. Most of them aren’t obnoxious 8channers partying at a strip club or spamming their enemies with guro… But they’re very much the sort of nerd that hasn’t yet realized that even nerds need social skills.

            What’s so fascinating (but ultimately unsurprising) is how many anti-gg folks are male nerds in their mid-twenties who look at GG and say “I’d have been part of this a few years ago”. Hell, 19-year-old me might have been one of them*.

            Most GGers are from that subset of nerds that was ostracized for stuff like wearing the wrong shirt. We realized pretty early on how fished up it was that people were avoiding us because our shirt wasn’t in fashion.

            Avoiding us when that shirt hadn’t been washed for a week, though, wasn’t nearly so fished up. And it took some of us a good long time to recognize the distinction.

            *Or maybe not, given that gg is a video game thing. My D&D books were full of chainmail bikinis, my novels had covers inspired by Frazetta, but my video games had Governor Marley, Rosella of Daventry, and that version of Zelda where she was a kickass ninja sage. Video games were the most pro-feminist aspect of my formative geek experience.Report

  5. Avatar Chris says:

    [T2] Based on the argument I had on Twitter a week or two ago with an Austin urbanist about this literature, it’s not true that everyone knows bike helmets reduce bicycle injuries. He believes that the evidence is so convincing that they don’t prevent injuries that he said he tells his child not to wear a helmet.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Chris says:

      I’m not quite at that point. I believe that wearing a helmet in certain conditions is warranted – conditions including youth, inexperience, and technical trail conditions including the long months of Canadian winter. But I also don’t wear a helmet on ordinary commuting rides when the snow is gone, and I think I’m no less safe, possibly slightly safer that way.

      I’ve done a certain amount of digging into studies on the efficacy of bicycle helmets, and it seems the only thing we’ve got any decent evidence of is that they reduce head injuries if it’s already a given you’re going to crash badly enough to get hospitalized for something. As you back the focus out from people already in crashes, the evidence evaporates very quickly, and by the time you get to mandatory helmet laws the evidence is unquestionable that they make cycling more dangerous – almost the exact same number of injuries happen, but the number of bicycle trips drops sharply.

      My understanding of it is these effects are present
      – wearing a helmet makes the rider feel a bit safer, so they overcompensate by riding a bit less safely.
      – wearing a helmet makes motorists think of the rider as less vulnerable, so they overcompensate by giving them less consideration, e.g. less space when passing or more likelihood of right hooking them (left hooking in the UK and Japan I guess), making the significantly less safe.
      – making helmets mandatory, or socially stigmatizing those not wearing them, leads to fewer people riding – and a major thing that makes cycling safe, bigger than almost any other factor, is having a lot of it happen, so motorists are used to cyclists and look for them.

      For example, about a year ago there was a study on injury trends in cities with successful bikeshare programs (and hence a larger number of inexperienced and helmetless riders). Most of the headlines on that study screamed “The proportion of head injuries went up!” What you didn’t find out unless you spent some time digging into it, was that it was only the proportion of head injuries that rose – their absolute number fell, just not as fast as the absolute number of other kinds of injuries, even as the number of bicycle trips rose considerably.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I’ve had a fall on a bike that would have put me in the hospital if i hadn’t been wearing a helmet. As it was i had a sore shoulder for a couple weeks but no concussion or skull fracture.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to greginak says:

          I’m absolutely not saying that doesn’t happen. I’m not saying helmets are ineffective at reducing head injuries, particularly in collisions at the speed of a bicycle vs. a stationary object such as the ground (which is what helmets are actually designed and tested for).

          I’m saying there is (a) some indication helmets may offset, and (b) considerable evidence that helmet laws much more than offset, any benefit in those circumstances, by contributing to more collisions of the type where helmets are not nearly as useful – between bicyclists and cars moving at much greater speeds.

          Of course that’s harder to study, because the ground has no internal psychology – once you fell it was bound to accelerate toward you at about 9.8 m/s^2. But you never know for sure whether a driver would have given you enough extra passing distance to have avoided a collision, had you not been wearing a helmet.

          See for example

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to greginak says:

          For instance:

          This stat stuck out for me:
          Risk of head injury when not wearing a helmet, per million hours of activity:
          Cyclist – 0.41
          Pedestrian – 0.80
          Motor vehicle occupant – 0.46
          Motorcyclist – 7.66

          So sure, bike helmets may reduce the risk of head injuries for cyclists – but if cycling is the mode of transportation with the lowest head injury risk to start with, why helmets specifically for cyclists?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to dragonfrog says:

            Yeah, I know that study. As someone for whom walking is my primary mode of getting from A to B (bus to and from work, walk almost everywhere else), I found it really interesting.

            I think it’s abundantly clear, at this point, that helmet laws are a mixed bag (they’ve done well in some places, much worse in others, particularly Australia and California). I think the evidence against the effectiveness of helmets themselves is weaker, particularly when you look at case-control studies.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to dragonfrog says:


        How do they make it MORE dangerous? I’ve heard theories about increased risk taking and automobile drivers being less cautious in their presence. Is there anything else to it?Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

          @kazzy – Which, the helmets, or the helmet laws?

          The arguments I’ve heard for the helmets making things more dangerous come down to increased risk-taking, both by the wearers and others interacting with them on roads. At most those effects seem likely to be small – but since the safety benefits of helmets are themselves very small since cycling is already a safe activity, they may be enough to cancel each other out.

          The much bigger effect of both helmet laws, and cultures of widespread censure of non-helmeted cyclists, is that they create an impression of bicycling as something at a level of danger comparable to other things we do with helmets on – as bad as construction work, football, ice hockey, horseback show jumping, and cliff climbing; but less dangerous than rugby, rodeo riding, rock climbing at the gym, or figure skating. In reality you could bicycle in flip-flops half drunk with one malfunctioning brake and still be safer than all those things.

          And the result of that impression is that far fewer people ride their bikes. In turn, that has the result that riding a bike is much more dangerous – the single biggest thing that makes bicycling safe, is for there to be a lot of people who ride bicycles – when drivers are used to looking out for bicycles, there aren’t as many SMIDSY accidents, and motorists don’t tend to fly into a panic and losing their Schmidt when they see a person riding a bicycle.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

          (and, if the study alluded to above is to be believed, even the people who stop bicycling are put at more risk, because they are likely to switch to modes of transportation more dangerous then cycling without a helmet, such as walking or driving.)Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to dragonfrog says:


            Thanks! Very helpful! I think you said it up above, but do you think helmets should be mandatory for youth riders? Where would you set the age cutoff? Would you have any geographic specific laws (e.g., people riding on city streets versus those on country lanes)? The former, to me, seems much more dangerous. But what do I know?Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

              @kazzy – I don’t personally think helmets should be mandatory except in very special circumstances (like, by the policy of individual cyclocross races and such high risk rides). It’s probably a good idea for young riders to wear them but I wouldn’t go as far as getting the state involved.

              If nothing else, given the state of the bikes I’ve seen some kids ride, I think it would contribute more to safety for parents to invest the cost of a helmet into annual bike maintenance instead – and also make riding more fun.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Thanks, @dragonfrog .

                Let me ask this: If someone says, “I’m going for a ride. Should I wear a helmet?”

                What are the circumstances under which you’d say:
                A) “Absolutely, you fool!”
                B) “Not a bad idea but probably unnecessary.”
                C) “No! It’ll make you less safe!”


              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy given how I will go on about the topic, most people have the sense not to ask me 😉

                If someone would feel more comfortable wearing a helmet, they should wear one so they can enjoy their ride. If they’re going to feel really annoyed by a helmet, they shouldn’t wear one so they can enjoy their ride.

                The only person I’d feel I have the authority to say anything like A to is my daughter, and I want her to wear a helmet until she gets some proficiency riding and the experience and maturity to make her own call on that front.Report

  6. Avatar j r says:

    L2: Workers who are here on some kind of guestworker visa face a bit of a catch 22. Part of the reason that guest workers are cheaper is because they are captive. The visa is attached to the job, so workers cannot leave for a better offer unless that better offer comes with a visa. And since there is a cost to applying for a visa, lots of workplaces are hesitant to do it unless there is a clear case for getting a great worker at a lower price.

    So, as long as the process for applying for visas is restrictive and onerous, guest workers will be forced to take less money. If you let immigrants compete freely for jobs, they most likely would demand wages similar to what Americans make.

    Just another way in which we’ve constructed some convoluted market distortion that amplifies the effect of the distortion in a feedback loop.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    T1: This makes sense. I was supposed to take a Sleeper train from Nice to Italy when I was in Europe in 2002 but this plan got stymied by a 36-48 hour train strike. Instead Lee and I spent an extra day in Southern France. We then got to spend time on a non-sleeper train with a group of more typical American post-college travelers meaning that they were doing a hell of a lot more drinking at 10 AM than we would do.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Historian of Sexuality livetweets her son’s abstinence-only sex education class, hilarity and tragedy ensues

  9. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [L3] I’m a militant double-spacer, but I’m probably one of the first generation to have had easier access to computers than typewriters. I posted this on my facebook a while ago, and there erupted the exact kind of impassioned argument the comic is about.

    [A3] I am absolutely persuaded that the outcome of scrapping the census was exactly what the government was after – if they don’t count aboriginals, recent immigrants, and the poor, they can pretend they don’t exist. This is a government that has consistently shown a serious distaste for accurate and reliable data – verging at times on a vampire’s reaction to the sun, if a vampire had vampire-wing talk radio to write its weather reports.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dragonfrog says:

      When I was young, I used to hate the fact that quoted lines were limited to one-paragraph-per-speaker. It seemed to me that if the second person’s words were a part of the same thing as the first person’s, they should be in the same paragraph.

      “I think Jesse Ventura would have made a fantastic president!” said Tom. Jane replied, “I agree. I mean, he may be a little bit nuts, but my political preferences transcent mere sanity.” Tom replied, “Which is very broad-minded of you.”

      I don’t know why I thought this, other than a desire to conserve paper.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

        The style APA guide used in my professional field prefers two spaces. Awfully convenient for me, since I was taught the two-space convention and don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of switching.

        As far as my resume, though, I use the XKCD third way: line break after every sentence, as the bulk of it is a collection of bulleted lists. I figure anything complicated enough to merit a multi-sentence paragraph is more appropriate for the cover letter. Is that a thing professional people are allowed to do, or am I committing an even worse resume sin than two-spacing?

        The thing about the one-space vs. two-space debate that really pisses me off is this: the ascendant standard was developed and propagated by a profession that views actual written content as a distraction, when it should be whole goddamned point.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to dragonfrog says:

      I’m a militant double-spacer too. But it’s not just the habit of typing it, I find that it increases readability (and it breaks my heart that many places, like this one, simply discard it. If I put a space there, I mean to have a space, dammit!)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

        All your spaces are belong to us.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:
          Let's see if this works.  I suspect it will not.


          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

            Hmmm. Well, it did, not quite in the way I expected though.

            And all I’d have to do to retain my spaces would be to use enclosing tags every single time, and also I’d look like a robot talking! Win-win!Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Glyph says:

              You can put a nbsp in a span beside a normal space. This will get a double space in most browsers.

              Of course, you shouldn’t. Because.

              Myself, I mostly follow Chicago, except for when I don’t. In any case, they recommend single space. I dutifully follow.

              All that said, that article was crap, completely devoid of empiricism.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to veronica d says:

                Sure – what should happen is that the website should conserve the double-space and pass it on to browsers, which are after all user-agents, and so it will be up to the user whether they want to see the double-space or not.

                The notion of browsers as meaningful agents of user preference on rendering is quaint now, apparently.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Glyph says:

              The quick-and-dirty way to force a double-space is to tack a non-breaking space to the end of the sentence, after the period.  This comment should have two spaces after each sentence.  Unless, of course, the WordPress gods are watching, in which case they may strip it out.  Pain in the butt, though, to add that   to the end of each sentence.  Will also screw up some kinds of justification.  The default content editor at Blogger inserts the   automatically if you put two spaces at the end of the sentence. Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:


      Are you part of the People’s Front for Two Spaces After a Period or The Popular Front for the Appearance of Two Spaces after a Period?Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The Universal Shining Whitespace Militia.

        People’s Front for Two Spaces After a Period? Ptooey! Bunch of traitors! And the Popular Front for the Appearance of Two Spaces after a Period are a hive of Oxford Comma refuseniks.Report

    • I resemble the guy on the far right of the cartoon. I cut my text-formatting teeth on troff at Bell Labs, and I still tend to do simple HTML things in a text editor, inserting my own mark-up, with line breaks at the end of phrases and sentences. Decades ago, when WYSIWYG was first coming out, Bell Labs did some controlled tests and found that for getting the bulk text of a first draft in place, a simple text editor with manual mark-up was significantly faster than WYSIWYG — people couldn’t overcome the urge to futz with the layout if it was there in front of them. The reverse was true when the task was getting all of the odd bits of final formatting ironed out. I am always surprised when I look and see how many “distraction free” writing tools there are available whose purpose is to (a) provide something similar to that sort of environment, and (b) take over the screen so you can’t get to your e-mail or browser.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to dragonfrog says:

      edit: double post.Report

  10. Avatar j r says:

    L3: I prefer to double space after a sentence. But, know what I hate more than single spaces after sentences? Grammar pedantry.

    The purpose of good grammar is to facilitate expressing your point in a clear, concise and non-confusing manner. If you see grammar as a way of demonstrating your knowledge of arcane rules or signalling your aesthetic preferences, I hate you… a little bit.Report

  11. Avatar Damon says:

    A3 Did we ever finally kill the ACS? I’ve not heard about it in a while. There appears to be some rumination about not releasing the next go around. If my info is so important to business and gov’t, you can damn well pay for it.

    L1 There’s been something similar in the DC area as a local awards program has basically changed the qualifications for nomination to include living wages. The consensus among the theatre folk I know was that this was a universal negative.

    T2 “This means that either wearing a helmet protected the body as well as the head, or that bike helmet laws worked by getting fewer kids to ride bikes. The researchers also saw an 11% increase in injuries from other wheeled activities. This would support the idea that some kids just started riding other devices, and still kept getting injured.” Gee, perhaps something like this study should have been done BEFORE the laws making helmets mandatory were passed.

    T4 TSA does nothing but security theatre, other than irradiating my ass when I go through the scanner. How can anyone support an agency that has documented sexual harassers and is so incompetent that firearms and ammo routinely get past them?Report

  12. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Doing away with non-dom status will lead to a race to the bottom.Report

  13. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of Gaming and Hipsters:

  14. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Chait believes that the rise of negative partisanship destroys the idea of incumbent fatigue and this is potentially good news for Democrats in 2016:

    Basically incumbent fatigue data all comes from a time when the Democratic and Republican parties were more heterogeneous and this is not true anymore or as true.Report

  15. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Saul Degraw: *Years later I remember an internet conversation about hygiene and fandom and cons. A bunch of guys said that they were basically allergic to nearly every soap and deodorant on the market including those meant for people with serious allergies. Since this is the Internet, I have no idea whether it is true or not. If true, it made me wonder about whether fandom has alway been a place where those who really can’t fit in anywhere else are accepted and the mainstreaming makes people worry about whether they will have to retreat further.

    I suspect there is a lot of truth in the idea that fandom and other subcultures attract people that are incapable of following ordinary social conventions for sustained period of times. There are plenty of socially well-adjusted people in fandom and other cultures. When I was deeper into anime fandom, I did tend to notice a lot of social misfits though. My theory is that the various pretend elements of various fandoms allows people to pretend that they normal in away by giving them a space where most people can’t conform to conventional social behavior. I think that this explains a lot of the hatred involving girls in gaming and the accusation of the fake geek girl. Girls are criticized for being fake because a lot of male fans assume that they are more capable of socially conventional behavior and could survive in the outside.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I’ve known geeky guys who were honestly uncomfortable interacting with girls… any girls… outside of an actual game.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:


      There is a whole body of sociological work on social misfits and outsiders and the idea is that they have their own rules and codes and it is more complex than just being unable to follow the rules of normal society:

      This goes beyond fandom. Howard S. Becker first came to his theories when hanging around with marijuana smokers (this is pre-Rock n’Roll) and a lot of Jazz musicians told him that smoking pot has its own learned rituals and rules and behaviors.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Countercultures are different from “general misfits”.
        People who you can’t disagree with without having them scream their bloody head off (for 10 minutes) are not people who have “different rules”, they are mentally challenged on a social level.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I’m wondering if misfits are drawn to certain hobbies and interests because they can’t conform to mainstream social expectations in the first place. You like gaming or anime because your weird rather than being weird for liking gaming and anime.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I’m wondering if misfits are drawn to certain hobbies and interests because they can’t conform to mainstream social expectations in the first place. You like gaming or anime because your weird rather than being weird for liking gaming and anime.

          While there’s likely a reinforcing effect, the genesis is probably “weird because you like gaming/anime” rather than the other way around.

          Pre-adolescent social understanding is very dependent on classification and status. If someone has different preferences from those of their peers, that’s often seen as a bad thing, and can cause the person to be the target of harassment.

          That harassment can seriously inhibit the harassed target’s own social development. So someone who likes nerd stuff is pretty likely to be bullied for it, and the common target of bullies is likely to become something of a social misfit.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think nerd-space has some particular differences from general sub/counter-cultures. For one thing, there is a lot of weird gender stuff, combined with a broad lack of female participation (traditionally) and a very unhealthy relation with sexuality. This makes it rather unlike other things one might compare it to.Report

  16. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    I thought T4 might have been about preferred boarding order for the flight itself, which I would like to see be done away with. I don’t have a problem with pre-screening though from an egalitarian standpoint. They give up something in order to get something.Report