Thursday, November 26, 2015


As a psychology undergrad I was sent out to record the sitting postures of men and women.  The theory, generally supported by this new data, is that men are more likely to sit with their legs spread apart, and women with them together or with legs crossed. These days spread apart legs can cause issues in places like a train where it leads to guys taking up more than their fair share of he seating (a.k.a. manspreading)

Then, as now, I think it is incorrect to treat seating posture as purely a matter of gender-conditioning.  Dudes do have some stuff that can more easily get squished in a closed or cross position, especially in tight trousers.  While women are more likely to be wearing shirts and need to avoid giving the person sitting opposite a show. These things are gender-related but in a physically tangible, way not a purely psychological one.

That said, dudes who think sitting cross-legged is unacceptably ladylike need to take a lesson from he bad-ass Victorian naval officers shown below.  Totally rocking the cross-legged look and also somes beards modern hipsters only aspire to in their wildest dreams.

Friday, November 20, 2015


I do have to say that I am getting a little tired of the Paris-sympathy-shaming. I think we need to expand the moral circle, not contract it. If people feel a special bond to Paris before and after the attacks, that needs to be accepted and expanded to equally deserving communities because sympathy and support is the right response. We just need to extend it to places that lack some of the immediate fame/privilege/whatever of a European capital.

I understand the anger of those who are being over-looked. It is a completely valid response. But nothing is achieved by tearing Paris down or belittling what was experienced there. Cycles of compassion are the only answer to cycles of violence.  Decades of research has shown that knowing about people and places directly causes more sympathy for them. And very few cities in the world are as famous as Paris.

Places that are seen as remote, or unimportant, or unfamiliar, or flat out disrespected for racist or other prejudiced or ignorant reasons, they need to be raised up into the light beside Paris.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

You can now offically get Frozen themed *anything*

The Mote and the Beam

Two days ago this sign was finally taken down.  But why was it every put up?  The crusades were five centuries of religiously motivated war against the people of the Middle East.  The only reason to remember them should be to realize that the trite phrase currently circulating in the wake of the Paris attacks ("not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims") is an order of magnitude wrong.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Emilio Cavallini tights

So adorable

Unisex does not always mean traditionally masculine

In Praise of "They"

While I am indifferent about The Oxford dictionary choosing an emoji as word of there year, I whole-hearted support the runner up: "they" as a gender neutral singular.  This use of "they" is common across most of the world and needs to also be adopted by US style guides.  It is functional, sleek, simplifies phrasing, and has a long lineage of being used to refer to an individual without specifying gender.

They: "Used to refer to a person of unspecified sex," according to Oxford Dictionaries.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pin Ups en pointe

It's kind of weird how many vintage pin up pictures show women en pointe.  I guess once you have dressed up as a "sexy pilgrim" any chance of the image making sense has pretty much gone out the window.  So... armed pilgrim turkey ballet. Why not?

I can only assume that:

1) Quite a few of the nice looking pin up models had ballet training, and

2) Once 5-8 inch heels are a common prop that only really leaves one more place to go.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My pet peeve: Cogs that would not function as a symbol of good process

There is often an unnecessary disjoint between what a company does and the graphics they use. This poster for Brake Engineering is meant to emphasis their meticulous process and the quality of their parts.  Illustrated by a line of cogs that would not actually function by successfully transferring movement in the first cog to movement in the last cog in the line.  Which rather undermines the message. Bad cogs are a real pet peeve of mine.  It would have been just as easy and far more effective to illustrate a system that would actually work.

Monday, November 9, 2015

I know it is very immature of me, but....

I want the next head of FIFA to be Tokyo Sexwale.  Just because, well, I want to hear the BBC newscasters say Tokyo Sexwale on a regular basis over the coming years.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Quote from the Man who got C-sized breast implants on a bet and kept them for 19 years

 "It hasn’t hurt my ability to get girls. They don’t give a shit.”  -- Brian Zembic

The solution to the "birth control insurance mandate" is socialized medicine.

An endless court battle is occurring in America as to whether religious employers must ensure that their employees to have health insurance that cover birth control.  As USA Today phrases it: "it pits reproductive rights against religious liberty".

Mike Licht, / / CC BY

Well, technically it pits reproductive rights against the right to impose your religious beliefs on people you employ.  Because anyone who depends on another person for income clearly cannot be allowed to have control of her own uterus.

But whatever, I will try and play devil's advocate with myself. Some people genuinely think God will be mad with them for providing no-strings-attached secular health insurance to their employees.  And the solution to this is obvious.

A person's health care options and choice should not have anything to do with their employer.  That way neither the employer, nor God (presumably), will get confused about who is responsible for choosing to use birth control, as 99% of sexually active women do.

The church, Hobby Lobby and the entire sector of Busy-Bodies Incorporated should stop trying to get exemptions from Obamacare and start pushing for universally available socialized medicine not linked in anyway to employment.

Then every citizen can get on with doing whatever they feel is right and accepting the consequences.  After all, isn't that the American way?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why do Middle-aged White Americans Keep Dying?

All across the world people are living longer.  With one notable exception.  White American men and women in their middle decades  (USW, see below)

And what are they dying of?  Basically misery,  Specifically medical complications from the use of alcohol or drugs, and suicide. Which begs the question of just what white people in their mid-forties to mid-fifties are so damn miserable about?

It seems to be a patchwork of increased prescription of opioid drugs, an disproportionate tendency to respond to stress with suicide, which has a bigger impact in those with no more than a high school education, and reaches a crisis in mid-life. All of which sounds like an explanation until you consider that each of these risks should apply to all races in America, and to the white people in other countries shown on the graph above.

Is it then that white people, used to a position of considerable privilege in the US, have not developed the culture of resilience, and so are disproportionately vulnerable when facing the middle-life crisis of the new millennium on an increasing level playing field?