fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
This is my front page. If you want me to add you, drop me a line here. Or, add me. Either way, I'll check you out. You can also drop me a line here if, for instance, you don't have my email address. All comments here are screened.

This post also includes every tag I have -- this is because my current LJ style doesn't include a tag index. (At least half of my participation on LJ is on my phone. I chose this style because, as bare-bones as it is, it loads quickly and it's still readable on a small screen.)

I'd tell you more about myself, but that's what my profile -- and the rest of my LJ -- is for.
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
A lot of medical videos, to be exact. Some of the videos I've been watching, like lectures on Arterial Blood Gas collection, are really of interest only to vampires. Some of the videos I've been watching, like cyst and zit lancings, are just amusingly gross.

And one video (NSFW, contains beef and sausage) is ostensibly on choking and what to do about it, but one of the lecturers decided that if she was going to demonstrate things like the Heimlich maneuver on a live model, she was going to get one who looks good naked. It's a completely gratuitous display of nudity that no one can complain about because it's a medical lecture... and because my f-list is heavy on the ladies (and a few men who'll also appreciate it), I'm sharing it.

(I tried wiling away my lunch hour with the video game Candy Crush, but got sick of it in short order. As pretty as it was, it was murder on my phone's battery, it nagged me for money too often, it nagged me to join FaceBook too often, and after a while, it decided that I could only play once every twenty minutes unless I wanted to pony up money for it... at which point, I decided I'd rather go on YouTube. Or hell, read a book.)
fierynotes: Picture of a black sockpuppet. (footsie)
So, there's this study that's making the rounds about women prefering larger penises. And the article alludes to past studies that show women have preferences with respect to male body shape as well (tall and trapezoidal). Good news for guys who are tall, hung, and trapezoidal, right?

First, I'd like to get into the limitations of that study. Forgetting for a moment the limitations of any study with only 105 subjects... all it did was have women looking at images. "Women enjoy looking at larger penises" is a reasonable conclusion from that. "Women have greater initial attraction to men with larger penises" is also a reasonable conclusion. "Women enjoy sex more when the man has a larger penis" can be sorta kinda inferred from this study, but any scientist with a brain would want to do a separate study¹ rather than cite this one before making that conclusion. All we really have from this experiment is "women like looking at big ones" -- and considering what we already know about sexual selection in humans, this ain't a new revelation. (We seriously outclass all other primates with respect to penis size, and we probably don't stack up too badly against horses, either, if you account for the huge body weight difference².) One might wonder why this study needed to be done at all.

Or at least, that's what I thought until I read the comments. Wow, this article brought out the assholes. In fact, I think that the real experiment was to publish this study in a widely-read forum, and then count and categorize the responses.

To the guy who referred to this study as "junk science"? That was a bad pun and you should feel bad. I hate you for thinking of it before I did.

To all you guys who are complaining that women look at things and judge you unfairly on purely physical features? If you have ever watched a porno, you can shut the hell up. Women have been complaining about this for years, and you've been ignoring it. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you start whining?

To all you guys who are yelling about how a man's bank account is the variable that scientists should be looking at? I did a years-long experiment of my own, with a single test subject who is tall (constant), hung (constant)³, trapezoidal (varies over t)... and frequently broke. While there are obviously problems with a study using a sample size of one... my anecdata experimental data does not support your conclusions. But hey, as long as you get to shout some more about how women are gold-diggers by nature...!

And finally, to the commenter named Velvet? Assuming you're for real, and not either a very subtle troll, or a social scientist trying to gauge commenter responses to certain stimuli... you're being far too nice. Especially since some of the replies you're getting have been really rude, and you're still being nice. You're never going to get their approval. And more to the point, you don't need their approval.



    1. And can you imagine what that study would look like? I have several ideas of what that kind of study would look like, and most of them would result in a laboratory looking like a porno set. Using human men of various sizes is problematic, because the bigger guys are going to go into the experiment with more confidence that the smaller ones, and that variable is going to be hard to isolate. Using machines with replaceable heads of various sizes has problems as well, since there's a human element to sex that just isn't there if you're using custom jackhammers. The easiest way to do that would be to make a bunch of Gigolo Joes, from the movie AI, and equip them all differently but leave the programming identical... but obviously, our technology isn't there yet.

      While I'm sure a lot of scientists would think a study like this would be a really interesting way to spent grant money, doing a credible study on this would be a lot of hard work. And not "hard" in any of the fun ways.

    2. To verify this, one could take the penile volume of the average human and the average horse (remembering, of course, that a cylinder's volume is its length times its width squared times π/4), and divide them each by the weight of the average human and the average horse, respectively. If you are okay with having questions like "how big is a horse's penis" in your search history, I encourage you to crunch those numbers yourself.

    3. Usual disclaimer that when a guy claims he has a big dick on the internet, he should not expect to be taken at his word.

fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (creative)
A while ago (here on LJ, here on DW), I wrote a short post attacking the idea that women are intrinsically incapable of making substantial contributions to science, and offered five examples as proof that they were. I didn't know, per se, that it was International Women's Day at the time, but considering that I do spend time on the internet and the internet did know it, I'm not surprised by the timing of my post.

Over on Pharyngula, PZ Myers offers a much bigger list. Also, read the comments -- yet more names appear there. (PZ confined himself to women who won Nobels, or should have, and thus didn't mention Grace Hopper, for instance. Commenters did not. The only name on my list that didn't get mentioned over there was Wetterhahn, and that's likely because metal toxicology is a rather obscure and specialized field compared to computer science.)

(On a more personal note... my grandfather worked in computers, and had clearances up the wazoo. My dad knows relatively little about what his pop did because there was so little of it he could talk about, and not talking about work at all was easier than trying to decide what he could and couldn't. Still, from what little information I have, it seems it's possible that my grandfather knew Amazing Grace, and maybe even worked with her. Sadly, I doubt I'll ever know for sure.)
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
I've been reading various fonts of evo-spy online again. Let's not go into the reasons.

The people preaching Evolutionary Psychology have been known to spew lots of just-so stories, blatant overgeneralizations, and out-and-out lies¹, but there's one I've now seen a few times that I'd like to point out. Apparently, men invented civilization. Every advance humanity has ever made has been made by humans with penises. Women are simply not capable of doing the kind of work necessary to bring humanity down out of the trees, let alone forward into the future.

Now, I don't want to take away from those advances that were made by men, but this claim is utter bullshit. Well, historically, it has some basis in fact... if you're keeping women out of Higher Education, they're obviously not going to be able to contribute much in academia, which is where a lot of scientific development happens, and they're not going to be able to contribute much in business if business only hires people with degrees, where is where the rest of development happens. Why give women a chance at degrees when their job is staying home with the kids, right? So, yes. Many of history's scientific achievements were in fact made by men.

As for the belief that women are incapable (which is then used to justify the belief that women should just give up on being fully functional human beings and go home and have kids and keep house and fuck their husbands, as this is all they're fit for)... there are many counterexamples. What follows are a few of my favorites.

Lise Meitner: One of the pioneers in physics. She helped discover nuclear fission. She was offered a job in the Manhattan Project, and refused for moral reasons. (Please note that whether she took the job or not, she was clearly qualified, or it would never have been offered to her.) Her colleague at the time won a Nobel, and had the world been a fair place, she would have shared it with him. She currently enjoys an abstract form of immortality filling in space 109 on the Periodic Table, but since she helped fill in space 91 in life, she'd probably be pleased by that.

Grace Hopper: One of the pioneers in computer science. She wrote the first compiler, and trust me, if you want to write programs in something more than two steps above raw numbers, compilers are vital. She helped develop the idea of machine-independent code, which is wonderful if you want to just copy your program from one machine to a different one instead of rewriting it from scratch. She lectured regularly on the need for computers to be user-friendly, which is great if you want to use computers without being a computer scientist.

Hedy Lamarr: If you've studied cinematic history, you may be aware that Hedy Lamarr was stunningly beautiful. What doesn't get mentioned as often is her skills in math. She helped invent frequency hopping, which is wonderful if you use bluetooth devices, cellphones, or wi-fi.

Karen Wetterhahn: A towering figure in chemistry, specializing in metal toxicology. We humans owe her for a lot of knowledge regarding toxic metals, though sadly her best-known contribution is the one that killed her. Dimethylmercury, aside from being one of the most toxic materials on Earth, travels through latex gloves very easily. When she died, everyone who'd ever worked with the stuff immediately thought "oh, fuck, that could easily have been me!" Many safety regulations were revised in the wake of her death.

Rosalind Franklin: The name that doesn't get mentioned regularly with Watson and Crick... but should. She was as instrumental to discovering the structure of DNA as they were. Her field was X-ray crystallography, which is what makes it possible for us to know what a lot of molecules look like.

There are more. As I said, these are just a few of my favorites. And in the future, there will be more. And considering how rough the future might get if we bald apes don't pull our heads out of our asses, we're going to need all the brains we can get -- we can't afford to just casually reject half of our potential for stupid reasons.



    1. The actual scientists studying Evolutionary Psychology may be saying very different things. I'm not sure. I'd like to believe that the field itself is solid, and an altogether worthy field of study, and it's just been overrun by assholes with their own prejudices who are looking at the field as a convenient way to justify their prejudices.

fierynotes: Picture of a black sockpuppet. (footsie)
Some very bored statistician decided to create a cross section of performers in pornography, and came up with some startling figures. The average female performer is a brunette B-cup, rather than a top-heavy blonde, for instance.

Some slightly less bored video editor decided to create a video montage of male full-frontal nudity outside of porn (NSFW: contains sausage). There's some surprising variety here: little dick, big dick, glowing blue dick... and minotaur dick.
fierynotes: Picture of a black sockpuppet. (footsie)
According to a bunch of nuns in Ohio, birth control is bad. Very bad. World-endingly bad. It's bad for women because it kills their babies, makes them unattractive, ruins their libidos, and turn them into completely wanton sluts. (How a woman with a ruined libido turns into a completely wanton slut is never explained.) It's bad for men because the presence of pill-popping libido-less sluts will make them fuck each other, their pets, and/or their children. And it's bad for the world because all the unmetabolized hormones that make it into the water supply are turning the entire animal kingdom transsexual, which is almost as bad as letting women believe that they should have a say in whether they have children and when, since such a decision should be left in God's hands.

These nuns are so close to the truth. Did they somehow not realize that having a society full of slutty women and sexually indiscriminate men would create both a huge market and a cheap and plentiful labor pool for the porn industry? Surely this is a single facet of a massive conspiracy by the porn companies!

...which are, in turn, controlled by aliens.


(In all fairness, I should add that I haven't watched the video in question. If I do, I plan to have alcohol on hand, because I suspect I'll need it.)
fierynotes: Picture of Discord. (discord)
Most sci-fi looks to the future, but a little of it looks to the past. Of the stuff that does, a lot of it looks at one significant event in history and creates a narrative starting from that. For instance, at least two writers that I know of -- Spider Robinson and Jeff Smith -- have blamed Tesla for the Tunguska event, and come up with stories that had potentially universe-ending implications from it.

If you take this same idea, use a background of US Rocket History, add several doses of black humor and Things I won't Work With, and shake vigorously over the always-entertaining, sometimes-insane conversations you'll hear at conventions, you might end up with A Tall Tail, by Charles Stross. You would have to be one sick puppy to find this story funny... but since it made me laugh so hard that [livejournal.com profile] ologbu jumped off my lap in annoyance, I wouldn't fault you for it.

(On a more serious note, I should add that Stross ended up naming one evil compound that hasn't appeared in Things I Won't Work With... yet. Dimethylmercury is one of the most toxic substances known to humans, and the stuff killed Dr. Karen Wetterhahn in 1997 despite her taking every chemical safety precaution known at the time. It wasn't her fault the stuff travels through gloves like a ghost through a brick wall.)

Edited to add: Oops. He knows Dimethylmercury, and won't work with it.
fierynotes: Picture of Discord. (discord)
"65 percent of Americans say Obama better suited to handle alien invasion than Romney."

Not aliens, as in dem awful brown people. Aliens, as in dem awful green people.

Extraterrestrials.

...yeah, I got nothin'.
fierynotes: Picture of Jerry Springer surrounded by the flames of Hell, with the caption 'What the fucking fucking fuck?' (wft)
Once upon a time, there were these two Sodium atoms, and they were totally bros. They had these two hot babes named Chlorine and Fluorine, and they'd occasionally swap charges with them, but their relationships had gotten boring, so they decided to see what else was out there.

One day, out in public, they happened upon the sluttiest phosphorus atom they'd ever seen. Normally, Phosphorus is pretty eager, and seeing Phosphorus hook up with three other atoms at once is pretty common, but this one was hooking up with three Oxygen atoms and...

"Dude! That's your girlfriend," said one Sodium atom to the other.

Sodium looked on in shock, to see his girlfriend Fluorine up to her elbow in Phosphorus' M-shell. At the opposite end of Phosphorus, one of the Oxygen atoms had both hands in, up to both elbows.

"Five covalent bonds?" Sodium said to Sodium. "I didn't know that was even possible. I'm disgusted, repulsed, and yet I can't look away."

"Neither can I."

"You see those other two Oxygen atoms?"

"You mean the ones that aren't double-fisting Phosphorus?"

"Yeah. See their charges? That Phosphorus isn't enough for them. I think they both have openings we can fill."

"The both of us? At once?"

"Hey, stop worrying, we'll be at opposite ends. It's not gay if our electrons don't touch."

And before long, Sodium and Sodium were vibrating up a storm in that electron-sharing orgy, and Oxygen and Oxygen were begging to be filled in the L-shells with Sodium's hot charges. Before long, Sodium and Sodium fired off their negative charges into that ion, and they were all satisfied and exhausted.


Stories just like this one happen untold billions of times -- in your mouth! -- every time you brush your teeth. I just thought you should know. Those of you who remember more of your college chemistry than I do, please forgive any errors.
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)
Here, a whole bunch of weasels fall in love with one of the main characters. These weasels are supposed to be vicious -- they eat slaver wasps, after all -- but when they find someone they like? Awwwwwww!

This video is dedicated to all the youtube trolls out there. I love it. I want to create a sockpuppet called "WankingGibbon69" and post comments on this video along the lines of "the person who made this video is a total cnut." (Misspelling intentional.)

This clip is amazing, if you'll ignore the fact that for all her brilliance, Vi Hart isn't exactly the best singer. Still, this exploration of music from a mathematical viewpoint is the exact sort of thing I did in High School, except that mine was totally metal. If I'd had the camera, the software, and the internet, way back then, I would very likely have produced stuff like this. (But I would probably have used a guitar myself, because I'm not exactly the best singer either.) Her video on Pythagoras is fun, too. Actually, just watch her whole damned channel.
fierynotes: Picture of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, from Girl Genius.  He looks tired. (tired)
(Note: this post wants to be about psychology when it grows up. Unfortunately, I don't quite have the background to do it properly. I'll do the best I can with the tools I have, but I'm bound to make mistakes.)


We are all manipulated every day. As human beings, we have a wide variety of switches and levers factory-installed in our brains, and there are entire industries that exist to flip those switches and pull those levers to achieve various ends. Usually, it's not for our benefit.

I've written about this before. I'm written about the methods of pick-up artists, and how these methods are used by organizations ranging from advertisers to churches. I've written about how the music industry manufactures performers like Taylor Swift¹ by creating an image that a given demographic can easily connect with. Hell, my previous post, for all the clusterfuck it turned into, was about this kind of manipulation².

All these kinds of manipulation, and many more kinds, use our own existing mental attributes against us. The pick-up artist appeals to our existing need for the approval of others. Taylor Swift appeals to our existing need to connect to other human beings who understand us. Mass-marketed food appeals to our existing needs for salt, carbs and fat. All of these needs exist. They make us human. We are never going to conquer these needs, short of putting ourselves in metal shells and shouting "delete, delete, delete" as we fly across the universe.

Nor should we try to. Every good teacher you've had has made you want their approval, and then made you earn it -- if your parents were good ones, they did the same thing. No artist becomes a great artist just because their technique is flawless and their brushstrokes are pretty -- they are a great artist because their creations speak to the human heart. And just as McShitholes is trying to pull those three levers in your brain, your beloved grandmother's most special recipe -- be it borsht, lasagne, or a holiday roast -- probably pulls those same levers as well.

Still, it's good to recognize the tools when they're being used, especially when they're being used by someone who is using those tools to try to separate you from your money, or someone who benefits to your detriment from the status quo and is using these tools to preserve it. I'd like more science in general to be more in the hands of ordinary, everyday people... but if psychology were in the hands of ordinary, everyday people, the world would likely change very quickly.

To this end, I'm going to go through my old posts and add a psychology tag to certain ones. More importantly, whenever I see a post by someone who addresses some way that psychology is used against people (or a subset of people -- I fully expect that race, sex, orientation, and many other spectra that we use to divide ourselves will come into play here), I intend to link to it. If any of you see a well-written post that fulfills these criteria, send me a link -- I can't be everywhere, I can't see everything, and because of my own position on those spectra, there are things that I may not see without having them pointed out. If I get a lot of such links, I reserve the right to save several of them up and link to them all in one post.



    1. As much as Taylor Swift annoys me, I don't want to single her out. In ten years, she'll be a memory, and the machinery that put her on the pop charts will have new pretty faces putting out the same musical pabulum. After all, before she was a name, there was N'Sync. Before N'Sync, there was NKOTB. Before NKOTB, there were the Monkees and the Beatles. And before you start thinking that only lite pop has this kind of machinery behind it, look at how well Gene Simmons has marketed himself over the years, or how many times you've heard a rap or hip-hop performer mention their own name in a song. Whether you're talking about the Kiss Army or Juggalos, it's still all about creating brand loyalty.

    2. As I said in that post, it's easy to criticize Paula Deen. Too easy, really. In ten years, as with Taylor Swift, the machinery that put her in the spotlight will still be up and running, same as it is now. Whether Paula Deen will still be one of the public faces of said machinery is anyone's guess, but the machinery existed before she had a show, and it will exist long after her final expisode, no matter when that is.

fierynotes: Picture of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, from Girl Genius.  He looks tired. (tired)
So, I've been watching a lot of Paula Deen's video's lately... and you have a good idea where this is going already, don't you? Well, maybe.

Before I proceed, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am discussing food, not body shape. If Paula Deen's food is bad for you, it's bad for you -- period. It does not suddenly become healthy if the person eating it has a six-pack instead of a keg, and the decision to eat it is not any healthier if the person making the decision to eat it has a six-pack instead of a keg. I haven't used this journal to attack anyone for being fat up to this point, and I'm not going to start now. (Unless Chris Shugart (here on LJ, here on DW) suddenly gets fat, in which case I will mock him mercilessly... but since Shugart is an orthorexic asshole who treats fat people with contempt on his website so that they'll feel pressured to buy high-priced supplements, I'll hope that my motives for ragging on him clearly go beyond just him being fat.)


We, as humans, all have these three little lights in our brains that go off when we eat certain foods, labeled "fat," "salt," and "carbs." Way back in human history, these lights kept us alive. Now, we have to use "willpower" to keep them from slowly killing us. I put "willpower" in quotes because those three lights represent instincts that have driven us for millions of years, and the idea that we now need to resist those lights is a fairly new one by evolutionary standards. "Willpower" is not necessarily a useful concept here, any more than it's necessarily useful to expect teenagers to resist trying to trigger that other big light in our brains labeled "orgasms." Sure, you can "expect" it. You can "expect" the sun to glow bright green on Saint Patrick's Day, too. In either case, the real world doesn't give a shit about your expectations.

The amount of power these lights have over us vary by person. For instance, the friend who explained these lights to me in pretty sure that my fat light is defective, or at least miswired -- I'm mostly immune to the charms of bacon and butter. (When I made Crepe Suzette a while back, I used more butter in that one dish than I normally consume in a month.) It's possible my "salt" light is miswired as well. In other words, I'm a mutant.

A million years ago, my indifference (and frequent revulsion) to fats would have meant I'd likely starve to death. These days, my particular mutations are not only not a death sentence, but confer social advantages... but this represents a sea change in our culture and our society, not in our brains. Our brains haven't really changed much. (Just don't tell the Evo-Psych crowd I'm agreeing with their initial premise. I don't want those assholes thinking I agree with the rest of their bullshit.)

Which brings me to why I'm watching Paula Deen make things like Macaroni in a Lake of Cheese, Deep-Fried Cheesecake, and Donut Egg and Bacon Burgers, and why I'm reading her Deep-Fried Butter Balls recipe. I suspect Paula Deen is, like me, a mutant... but in the other direction. Where most people have light bulbs in their brains, and I have one light bulb and a couple of tiny LEDs, Paula Deen has enough neon tubing in her brain to light a street in Las Vegas.

This only explains her cooking -- not the fact that she has a show. It's easy to make fun of Paula Deen's cooking for how it hammers the fuck out of all three of those lights -- it's not so much shooting fish in a barrel as dropping a nuke on a goldfish bowl. Hell, the only show I can think of that's worse is Epic Meal Time, and their whole point of that show is excess for its own sake. But she's far from alone. Most fast food places consider salt, fat, and carbs to be the Three Food Groups. In many restaurants, you could make a drinking game of how many times the words "bacon" or "cheese" can be found on the menu, but you'd have to have a death wish to actually play it. In the frozen and convenient food sections of any grocery store, you'll see the same thing. This food sells, because we humans have those little lights in our heads. Companies make this food because it sells, and if they can make food sell better by hammering those lights harder, they will. If we become unhealthy, and some of us die, as a result of all this? As far as they're concerned, that's our problem, and their problem is only that the handful of people making these decisions, despite being stinking rich, aren't rich enough.

We, as human beings, really need to learn how our brains work. Right now, that knowledge is in the hands of a small percentage of us, who usually use it to exploit the rest of us. If we all understood how these strings pulled at us, we might have a faint hope of resisting them. Not that we'll ever be truly free of these strings, since every good cook alive pulls on them as well, but we can try. (And if you hadn't guessed, I'm no longer talking just about food marketing.)

Unfortunately, it's not really in the interests of anyone with the resources to educate us all about these strings to actually do so. So, we have to do it ourselves... despite the fact that most of us lack the tools.

Ugh. That's depressing. I'm going to watch Powerpuff Girls or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for a bit to try to cheer up.
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, looking very pissed off. (angry)
So, I've been digging through a website on PUA lingo. It's been illuminating, though a little enraging. As much as I hate to say it -- and believe me, I hate this -- whoever codified all this shit has some pretty solid psych background. Granted, it won't get the average guy into bed with every woman, every time... but psych doesn't work like that, anyway. Nor does it need to, in this case; if a PUA attempts to bed five women and successfully persuades one to go to his place, he doesn't care if the other four women think he's a complete douchebag.

In a bid to at least pretend to be charitable, I'll start with the positive.

I don't like how it's expressed, here, but I like the concept that PUAs refer to as an avatar. Indeed, I don't think it goes far enough. Most of us are the people our parents have made, but we then have the power (to varying degrees) to make ourselves. I only disagree with the stated motivation here. I haven't spent the last few years going to the gym, working on my anger issues, and making various other changes because I want to pick up chicks -- I'm doing all that because I like this new version of myself better than I liked the old version. Sometimes, being a new person is very hard work. Sometimes, we fail. Sometimes, it's impossible. Whatever the case, I'm not going to bash the PUA community for preaching this... not when I've got so many better reasons to bash them.

Negging, for instance. A neg is a casual insult a PUA offers to a woman to take her down a few notches, an attack on her self-esteem. It's intended to express disapproval, and is usually coupled with the PUA trying to establish himself as an alpha male, i.e. claiming authority. Since he has authority, his approval is important, and it means something that he's withholding it, but the woman in question has a chance to earn his approval. Gee, guess how?

Yes, this is slimy... but it works, and it's not limited to pickups. It's the reason that used car salesmen are sharply dressed and total assholes. It's why the Catholic Church has magnificent buildings, finely dressed officials, and a never-ending drumbeat of guilt, sin, and godly disapproval. It's why so many fitness gurus have perfect bodies and open hatred for fat people. It's why a lite beer ad campaign is depicting men as unmanly, but suggesting that these men "man up" by drinking their particular brand of insipid piss-water. It's why children try so hard to please their parents even if their parents are emotionally abusive. As disgusted as you might be by it, it gets results.

Of course, there are other weapons in the PUA arsenal. Anchoring, for instance, is a textbook application of classical conditioning, and PUAs use it both on themselves (warning: really fucking annoying song) and their targets. After all, if you're new to the whole "actively playing mindgames to try to get women to fuck you" routine, you need to be in the right frame of mind, right?

Of course, some women aren't instantly pliable fucktoys, and have their own responses when they don't like or trust a given man chasing them. And of course, these have been codified as well, with terms like Bitch Shield and Shit Test. Notice that these terms are much harsher than most of the other terms in the PUA lexicon. There's a reason for this -- it's to exclude the concept that women might actually have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to go to bed with the PUA. In the field of general semantics, there's something called a map-territory relation, and humans tend to confuse the map for the territory -- if we have no words for a concept, we can't really discuss the concept meaningfully, and even thinking about that concept is difficult. In codifying women's negative responses so harshly, the PUA is dealing with a map with a hole in it.

That hole is not there by accident. It's the same hole in the map that allows the PUA to dismiss his own failures. Remember those four women the PUA didn't succeed with in my first paragraph? They weren't actually people. They were bitches with bitch shields and shit tests, so he needn't judge himself for how they reacted to him. If one of them slapped him for attempting a kino escalation (read: touching her boob within ten seconds of introducing himself), the PUA lexicon makes it easy to dismiss her reaction as having her bitch shields on high. The concept of inappropriate contact is curiously absent from the lexicon.

One other thing about language: it can define a culture. People who share a language share a cultural bond. The PUA lexicon, deficient as it is, is enough to create a sort of cultural bond. Think, for a moment, of the person (or small group of people) who created it. By creating this language and this body of applied knowledge, they are creating a sort of brotherhood... and they are making money off of it.


This is all psychology. It works... or at least, it works enough to be worth using. If you are human, you are probably susceptible to these techniques, even if you're not necessarily a woman being picked up, even if you're not a woman at all. For instance, a tough salesman may not think that you're putting out indicators of interest or that your reluctance to buy something is a bitch shield, but he still thinks of your objections as buying signals, as things to be overcome.

All around you, people are trying to reach into your head. Some of them do it because they're human, and we all do it, often without realizing it. Some of them have made a science of it. And some of them use that science to try to exploit you.
fierynotes: Picture of Jerry Springer surrounded by the flames of Hell, with the caption 'What the fucking fucking fuck?' (wft)
The last video I posted was amazingly gory. So is this one. You can read all about it here. It's a little piece I like to call "How NOT to do Environmental Activism."



On the other hand, I would love to have one of those buttons, as long as I could recalibrate it for other kinds of targets. Of course, this means I should never be allowed anywhere near one...!
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
A while back, I typed up this post as an attack on some of the general bullshit that comes with fitness. Now, I have a specific example of bullshit to attack. Ladies and gentleman (and variations thereupon), meet Chris Shugart.

Go visit that link, and follow some of the links therein. Have blood pressure medication handy, if you're one of those people who need it. Take your time. I'll wait.


You back? Great. Sorry to make you go through an extra page like this, but there's no way in Hell I'm linking directly to Т-Νɑtɪ̇οɳ. Anyway, now that you're back, let's tear this guy's blog a few new ones.

First of all, just in case you're completely illiterate (because that's really the only way you could fail to notice), let me point out his contempt for fat people. Second, let me point out that his avatar photo screams "look at me, I'm in such great shape, and that he repeatedly points out that he used to be one of those Fatty McFatsalots that he now hates. There are two things going on here. One: he's undermining you, with a hint that you might be able to earn his approval later. Two: he's establishing authority, which means that his approval must be very important to you and you should therefore strive for it. (He's also trying to forge a connection with you: "I was once where you are now." But mostly, that's establishing authority, too -- he's worked hard to overcome this horrible horrible thing, so you should respect him.)

You've seen this psychology before. Many Pick-Up Artist try to establish that they are Alpha Males early in the exchange, and express disapproval by making little jabs at the women they target: the intent is that said women will be driven to try to earn their approval by, say, going to bed with them. The institution of the Catholic Church is practically built on this psychology, with its magnificent (and intimidating) churches, its finely-robed spokesmen, and its constant drumbeat of human sin and divine disapproval. Hell, go to a used car lot, and you'll find sharks in expensive suits who'll imply that the person you ought to be would buy this car... but clearly, you're not the person you ought to be, or you'd already have signed the paperwork.

The reason you'll see this technique used in so many different situations is simple: it works. Well, it may not work on everyone, but it works enough to be worth using. If a PUA fails on four out of five of the women he's trying to shame into bed... he's still succeeded. If four out of five people are unmoved to put money in the collection plate, that fifth person has still put money in. And if four out of five potential sales refuse to put up with that shark on the used car lot, there's still that one who paid full sticker price.

Which brings me back to Chris Shugart, and what he's doing on a website that pushes lots of expensive supplements. He disapproves of your fatty fatness, fatty, and you know what you have to do to redeem yourself. Buy those supplements. Buy lots and lots of those supplements.

(Please note that I'm not saying a word about how effective those supplements are. That must have slipped my mind or something.)
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
There are certain things that, if you're not going to get them done by a professional, you should just not get done at all. Liposuction, for instance. (This video is a bit squicky, so if the idea of watching a guy perform liposuction on himself in an unsterile environment bothers you, you probably shouldn't watch it.)



I can't help thinking that the result is going to look weird even if it is technically successful. This guy has a bit of fat on him in a pretty normal distribution, i.e. on parts of his body other than his belly. Before he started, he looked kinda soft, but, you know, normal. Now that he's sucked out some belly fat, he's gonna look like his gut is caved in when the swelling goes down. If he keeps at it and doesn't suction his chest as well, it's gonna look like gynecomastia.

This isn't healthy. Don't do it. I'm only using the "health" tag because in past, I've used it for cautionary tales (like my past meth use) as well as my own gym habits.

(The title of this post is a reference to a scene in Absolutely Fabulous.)
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
...a little more literally than usual.

A study shows that wearing red tends to make other people more attracted to you. I'm okay with this, and in fact it doesn't surprise me at all. It shouldn't -- I'm a redhead, so I count as wearing red all the time, and I do okay as far as people being attracted to me.

For that matter, red is one of the most basic colors there is. I forget where I first read this, but a lot of human languages don't have many words for colors, and colors tend to be named in very predictable order. In any language with only two colors named, they'll be black and white. As a language develops, if it gives a third color a name, it'll be red. (The fourth and fifth will be yellow and green, in either order, likely to refer to vegetation, and the sixth will be blue... but I digress.) Clearly, red is an important color to us hairless apes, so nothing here surprises me in the least. Overall, this is a nice little study, with a reasonably solid finding.

Now watch the evo-psych crowd fuck it all up.

"Females were found to view men wearing red-colored clothing as being higher in status and more likely to earn a better living."

"...the reason men were attracted to women in red was due to red's association as 'the color of sexual receptivity' in the animal kingdom."

After you've pulled out your bingo cards, notice the built-in gender politics, no doubt "justified" by claiming that "Science isn't PC" (O-1) and "it's a FACT, I don't need to prove it" (G-4). Notice, also, the assumptions that women don't exactly like the color red so much as the status and "ability to provide" that it represents (N-1), and that men like women in red because it speaks of sexual availability (B-5), whereas no one considers the idea that woman might also have an interest in sex (G-2).

Personally, I think if they're going to throw in sexist assumptions in the name of science, they should go all out. Let's go Captain Caveman here! "Women like their men to be warriors, and way back in the savannah days, men's clothing would get covered by the blood of all their kills. Since blood tends to turn brown and dingy after a while, only men who had current kills would be wearing red, and men wearing dingy brown would get reactions like 'sure, you've killed some animals/rival tribesmen way back when, but what have you done for me lately?'"

This doesn't explain why women who wear red are more attractive, but no doubt men equate such women with raw meat or some shit. It could be that women just might have hunted as well, but of course the evo-psych crowd would never entertain that possibility in a million years.

I like the study itself. Ever since I became sexually active, I knew I had certain unfair advantages (this is called anecdata, boys and girls), and it's nice to see one of them backed up by science. That said, there's something to be said for not drawing conclusions from a study that it doesn't support, especially if your assumptions about gender dynamics are stuck in the fifties (I-2) and you're scrambling for ways to "prove" them with science.
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
Saturday, at about midnight, I was having relations with an old ahem-friend.

Saturday, three seconds before midnight, this happened less than five miles away from us.

Now I'm not saying I was the cause or anything...! ;-)

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fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
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