Posts tagged important

Posted 1 month ago

mareeps:

the word ‘phonetically’ doesn’t even start with an f. shit like this is why aliens fly straight past us

(Source: neptunain)

Posted 1 month ago

Okay, but it’s not just about getting paid to prance around in a princess costume

lyrique86:

Let me tell you a story.  Once at a party, I had all the little girls sitting around me and I was asking them about their favorite parts of all the princess movies.  The birthday girl was sitting next to me, and tells me, “Princess, your skin is the same color as mine.”  I smile and agree, and try to move the game along, but she interrupts and says, “Your skin is brown and you’re a princess.  It’s the same color as mine, but you’re a princess.”

“Well, if my skin is brown and your skin is brown, and I’m a princess, then you must be a princess too.” I tell her.  And then I spent the next 10 minutes assuring all the black girls at the party that yes, they have lovely skin and yes, they can be princesses with me.

This happens at most of the parties I go to.  I have had my arm stroked, my hair patted, my skin color commented on more times than I can remember. I am not simply hired out to entertain a bunch of cute little girls dressed in poofy skirts who want to play with a big girl in a poofier skirt.  I am hired out because I am an affirmation. For these little black girls (and boys!  I’ve dazzled a few of them too) Princess Tiana is proof that for once, they can be special BECAUSE of the color of their skin, not IN SPITE OF.

Posted 1 month ago

crotchetybushtit:

50shadesofacceptance:

superdodirty:

it ok to not be ready

Please spread this shit like wildfire. People go on and sit through the whole experience and they’re uncomfortable because they just want to please their partner and they don’t tell them that they want to stop because they are not ready. It’s okay not to be ready. 

notice here that consent is revoked without ever saying no and consent goes so far beyond yes/no!!!!!!

Posted 1 month ago
I kinda still don't understand why autism speaks is that bad?! I don't know much about it, I read one of your post on it but I'm still confused a bit. Can you help?
grohl-randomness asked

goldenheartedrose:

theiredepartment:

goldenheartedrose:

bittergrapes:

goldenheartedrose:

nekobakaz:

goldenheartedrose:

deducecanoe:

goldenheartedrose:

autisticfandomthings:

goldenheartedrose:

maniacalfox:

fuckingrapeculture:

goldenheartedrose:

So having an organization that is supposed to speak for autistics but includes no autistics and speaks over us is not a good enough reason?

How about their association with the Judge Rotenberg Center?

Or the fact that they almost always side with the parents who kill their autistic kids, or at least don’t speak out AGAINST the actions?

Or that they’re searching for a cure which would no doubt be performed on us against our will (even though I don’t think, scientifically, such a cure could ever exist because we would literally have to have our brains completely rewired)?

Or that only 3% of their income goes to help families of autistic people, and most of that goes to either ABA (which is bad because it’s basically obedience training) or grief counseling for family members after their child/sibling/spouse is diagnosed with autism?

Or that in every single commercial, they paint us as burdens?

Or how about this Call to Action by Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, who has an autistic grandchild? http://www.donotlink.com/b8B

Seriously, I don’t understand how you can read anything about them and STILL think they’re acceptable or not see the problem?

"How about their association with the Judge Rotenberg Center?"

For those of you who don’t know, JRC literally tortures its patients. There’s a good roundup of info by autistichoya, but I need to emphasize that even though I have not followed all the links, this is deeply disturbing and very upsetting, so please be careful when you go there. Huge trigger warning for torture, abuse, medical neglect, and of course disablism. Really huge trigger warning, but if you’re up to it I do recommend you read some of this because this is horrific and terrifying and people need to know who they’re supporting when they support this organization.

Here is the link.

- Mod D.

ABA as obedience training? Way to sound just as ignorant as the people you are decrying. 

I’m sorry, but have you been subjected to it? Have you watched students you’ve taught be subjected to it? How bout your own kids? It’s nothing more than obedience training and it’s a big way that Rape culture specifically targets autistic people because in ABA therapy, autistic people (kids specifically) are touched without their consent. Their hands are held down to stop stimming. They are forced to perform hand over hand actions when they won’t comply. Their “No” is disrespected, whether it’s verbal or nonverbal.

Lovaas is responsible for the root of ABA therapy and while the Autism community (read: autism parents and “professionals”, not autistic people) celebrate this therapy, it has its basis in the therapy that tried to make gay people not gay.

So. Chew on those facts and don’t you dare call me ignorant when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Further reading on why ABA is really, really bad.
http://emmashopebook.com/2012/10/10/tackling-that-troublesome-issue-of-aba-and-ethics/
http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/naa_aba.html

Also this is heartbreaking and difficult to read (also read the article linked in the post) : http://loveexplosions.net/2013/01/30/the-cost-of-compliance-is-unreasonable/

The thing is, with most “therapy” including ABA, they’re not seeking to actually HELP the individual. They’re attempting to instill compliance. And if a student can’t/won’t follow the “therapy” or if they manage to not stim, but it leads to other “behaviors” because thye need an outlet (and often the times the point of therapy is not to actually teach the individual to cope with the world, but to make them look normal to make other people more comfortable) they are labeled as “non-compliant.” And the worst thing you can be called is non-compliant. my one therapist used to use the word “compliance’ with me, and I was in my 30s. And I’m like, fuck you lady. I don’t have to do things you “suggest” (like sit on my hands in interviews so they don’t move around egregiously) becuase I am a fucking adult, and I can advocate for myself. But yes, when I was seeing councelors in school, I was non-compliant because I wasn’t into the brainwashing. sayign NO is not an option. You are either incapable due to communicative issues, or not permitted to explain why you said no, and why you don’t want to/can’t do a thing. Fuck. This. Shit. Ok.

This. All of this.

There are a lot of reasons why me and psychiatrists don’t get along anymore

mostly cause I learned to practice CBT (basically talking and reasoning myself through anxiety and panic attacks) on myself so I don’t really see the point of them

Basically this. I do okay with actual therapists (ok, just one therapist who is amazing and not shitty), but psychiatrists are a no because of the way that they’ve encouraged me to “just get over” my phone anxiety and my auditory processing issues.

I’m with you - I’ve learned a lot from my own reading regarding CBT to be able to talk myself through anxiety and panic attacks, and my GP has no problem discussing medication for anxiety and depression with me. So. Yeah.

Psychiatrists are honestly so terrible most of the time. Mine has known me for three years and REFUSES to use my chosen name even though I told him I am transgender at the onset of going to him. He still calls me by my birth name and says my chosen name is an ‘alias’ as if I’m just using it to fuck with him. 

Ew. That’s so gross. I’ve encountered the same problem with psychiatrists, even though my chosen name is literally my middle name. It isn’t an alias or anything like that, but they still can’t manage to call me by it. It’s so frustrating and I can imagine it’s even more frustrating for people who don’t have documentation with their name on it.

Why are psychiatrists so terrible? I assume it has to do with the fact that the way they are taught about psychiatric differences is very ableist and negative in nature.

It’s also because of the dirty little secret about any profession where people get to exert a lot of legitimized power over others: people self-select into those occupations for less than noble reasons. I’m not saying that this is the case with every psychiatrist, police officer, caregiver, etc, but a frightening amount of people seeking out a position of power do so because they get to abuse it.

Having the power to decide, once and for all in the eyes of the community and the state who’s sane and who’s crazy, whose perspective is legitimate and who needs to be denied autonomy “for their own good” is an incredibly attractive prospect for people who have a tendency to abuse power and authority.

Having almost absolute authority over a classroom of people whose perspective is generally disregarded, whose testimony is considered suspect, and whose legal rights and autonomy may be compromised is a really great position for one of these people. Imagine what they can get away with - if there are complaints, nobody will believe the people complaining. It’s an abuser’s paradise.

this is actually pretty well reflected in studies about something called Social Dominance Quotient and police work. Police have a disproportionately high concentration of people with very high scores, which basically means that they think power imbalances are good and right, some “kinds” of people are inherently better than others, and they want to be at the top of a social ladder with those below them suffering and denied autonomy. High scores are also found in social and political conservatives, which accounts for their desire to control the lives of others around them.

In other words, the world is full of people who actively desire and promote unfairness and injustice.

I’m not aware of any research that has been done involving psychiatrists, but anytime I encounter a person who has sought out a position that involves a high degree of power over others with little to no checks on that power I have to be automatically suspicious of their motives.

This is the absolute truth, and really really good commentary. Also, it makes me wonder about the successful vs. unsuccessful teachers, because it seems like the ones who are the most “successful” in terms of test scores etc. are the most terrifying ones.  

Posted 1 month ago

hang-the-bastard:

ladywarblerforever:

hang-the-bastard:

sfveganyogi:

Maggie Menu

On the menu for Maggie tonight is puréed sweet potato, puréed brown rice, sprouted organic tofu, chia seeds, and digestive enzymes. Does she look excited? She is!

This dog does not look excited, this dog looks malnourished.

The diet you are feeding your dog places a huge burden entirely on the pancreas, forcing it to produce large amounts of amylase to deal with the starch, cellulose, and carbohydrates in plant matter. (yes, even with your supplements) The carnivore’s pancreas does not secrete cellulase to split the cellulose into glucose molecules, nor have dogs become efficient at digesting and assimilating and utilizing plant material as a source of high quality protein.

When this stuff sits in the pet’s intestine (yes even with your supplemented enzymes) it not only irritates the lining of the bowels but also provides the perfect warm, wet environment with plenty of undigested sugars and starches as food for bacteria.

I respect your choice in leading a vegan lifestyle, but please do not force this on your pet who does not recognize the difference, your dog absolutely needs a healthier diet or it is going to develop health issues and I guarantee you, will not live as long as it could otherwise.

side reminder that some dogs can have vegan meat and be completely nourished and content, loving and excited over their meals. See: Onision’s two dogs, Dobs and Leelu. Actually, his name is Greg. He, his wife Lainey, and their two dogs are all vegetarian, and both Dobs and Leelu thrive. They look very well nourished, are energetic, very loving towards both Greg and Lainey, and they are fed vegetarian foods. Do dogs and cats eat meat? Absolutely. With the right nourishments, can they live, thrive, and live a happy and healthy life without it? You bet your sweet ass they canStop bagging on this person for feeding this to their dog. I may advise offering meaty treats to your pet, perhaps chop some chicken or throw in some cooked red meat, but your dog seems very okay to me. The meat would be an added bonus that may please your pooch and also provide additional protein and minerals. He/She seems healthy to me, and also seems interested in the food you’re about to feed them. Do not let these people tell you that you’re abusing your dog. If you choose to continue their diet in this way, I would definitely look more into different kinds of treats that would help with the digestion more, though I don’t know too much in that area. Best of luck to both you and your puppy dog!

Hi hello you seem new to veterinary science and animal welfare in general so let me educate you on some topics that you are completely wrong about

1) “side reminder that some dogs can have vegan meat and be completely nourished and content, loving and excited over their meals.”

This is an assumption. The assumption that dogs are omnivores remains to be proven, whereas the truth about dogs being natural carnivores is very well-supported by the evidence available to us and is understood by many science welfare groups, universities, and doctors of veterinary science.

Dogs and wolves share 99.8% of their mitochondrial DNA, those who insist dogs did not descend from wolves must disprove the litany of scientific evidence that concludes wolves are the ancestors of dogs. And guess what? The wolf is a carnivore. Since a dog’s internal physiology does not differ from a wolf, dogs have the same physiological and nutritional needs as those carnivorous predators.

By stating otherwise you are ignoring and disregarding the work of contributing doctors, educators, and researchers who have compiled over 300 years of research and observations of the wild canine.

2) Do dogs and cats eat meat? Absolutely. With the right nourishments, can they live, thrive, and live a happy and healthy life without it?

No. But congratulations, you got one thing right, dogs and cats eat meat. Can they live a happy and healthy life without it? No they cannot. Cats and dogs health is largely dependent on the body’s ability to digest and make use of the food that is a part of their natural diet that is supplemented from meats. By creating a lack of naturally produced (meat, not supplements) protein in the body of the animal, you are putting your animals at risk for something called protein-losing enteropathy. Although this condition can affect any breed or age of dog, some dog breeds are more likely than others. That being said, feeding your dog and cat an all vegan or vegetarian diet and expecting them to thrive on it is a gamble at best.

There is an entire array of problems that can arise from a lack of natural protein. 

  • Occasional bouts of diarrhea
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy (lethargy)
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Legs and feet may be puffy or swollen (edema)
  • Cancer in the intestines
  • Infection in the intestines
    • Bacteria such as salmonella(from rotting plant material)
    • Fungal infection
    • Intestinal parasites like hookworms and whipworms
  • Inflammation of the intestines (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Food Allergies
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Problems with the movement of lymphatic fluid out of the intestines (lymphangiectasia)

3) “He/She seems healthy to me, and also seems interested in the food you’re about to feed them.”

Hey, wrong again. This dogs nose is dried out, it is almost a pale white pink, this is an indication of dehydration or something more serious. The eyes are not clear and bright as they should be, they are red and puffy around the edges, the lining of the eyelids should be pink rather than red. This dog also has a blank stare on its face, and the nose is not pointing at the food, this means the dog is uninterested and is a sign of lethargy. This dog is begging for this meal to be something nutritious. I work at a highly respected veterinary hospital and I see this more often than you would think, I know how to tell when a dog looks malnourished, and so would you if you worked and studied every day in the field of veterinary medicine.

Next time I hope you will take the initiative to educate yourself on these and other important topics on the care for your animal, before you preach something you have no idea about.

(Source: )

Posted 1 month ago
I kinda still don't understand why autism speaks is that bad?! I don't know much about it, I read one of your post on it but I'm still confused a bit. Can you help?
grohl-randomness asked

goldenheartedrose:

maniacalfox:

goldenheartedrose:

maniacalfox:

goldenheartedrose:

maniacalfox:

fuckingrapeculture:

"How about their association with the Judge Rotenberg Center?"

For those of you who don’t know, JRC literally tortures its patients. There’s a good roundup of info by autistichoya, but I need to emphasize that even though I have not followed all the links, this is deeply disturbing and very upsetting, so please be careful when you go there. Huge trigger warning for torture, abuse, medical neglect, and of course disablism. Really huge trigger warning, but if you’re up to it I do recommend you read some of this because this is horrific and terrifying and people need to know who they’re supporting when they support this organization.

Here is the link.

- Mod D.

ABA as obedience training? Way to sound just as ignorant as the people you are decrying. 

I’m sorry, but have you been subjected to it? Have you watched students you’ve taught be subjected to it? How bout your own kids? It’s nothing more than obedience training and it’s a big way that Rape culture specifically targets autistic people because in ABA therapy, autistic people (kids specifically) are touched without their consent. Their hands are held down to stop stimming. They are forced to perform hand over hand actions when they won’t comply. Their “No” is disrespected, whether it’s verbal or nonverbal.

Lovaas is responsible for the root of ABA therapy and while the Autism community (read: autism parents and “professionals”, not autistic people) celebrate this therapy, it has its basis in the therapy that tried to make gay people not gay.

So. Chew on those facts and don’t you dare call me ignorant when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

As an ABA therapist, I can honestly say I HAVE NEVER treated any of my clients this way. I care about them, and I want them to be able to become independent.

Um good for you? I mean, I never said that you as an ABA practitioner were a bad person, so I don’t know what you’re trying to prove with the “we’re not all like that!” bullshit.

I’ve worked with a child who didn’t know how to eat. Had I never used hand over hand or told her that “No, we can’t throw away your food” she would have been taken away by social services because she was severely malnourished. 

Didn’t know how to eat or was choosing something other than what you were offering? My daughter was almost six before she knew how to properly use a fork and spoon.  You know, you can teach these things by showing them how to do it, right? You don’t actually have to use hand over hand.  I mean, a lot of autistic people’s food problems have to do with therapists and parents ignoring their actual sensitivities and to me, if a kid wants to throw away their food, it isn’t because they don’t want to eat at all, but they might not want to eat that food.  That sounds massively abusive to me.  Maybe paying attention to what that kid is actually communicating (which translates in this scenario to me as a “ew, that food is gross, I want it out of my sight, so I’ll throw it in the trash”) would have been helpful here.  I hope the way you ignored what this kid was likely communicating doesn’t cause her long term problems.

Also, if she was that malnourished, as much as I dislike social services because they are often ableist and racist pieces of trash, if she was SO malnourished that social workers were going to take her away, well, maybe they should because clearly her parents weren’t doing their fucking jobs.


I perform hand over hand to HELP them accomplish their task. I stop their stimming so they can focus on the games I’m playing with them.

Yeahhhhh that sounds so much more important than allowing them to stim.  Or hell, finding another way to do that.  

I respect them when they tell me “no”, and I explain to them or show them why I will have to sometimes ignore it. I would never in my life try to make them feel uncomfortable.

You’re pretty much contradicting yourself here.  You respect their no, but then tell them that you can’t actually follow that because of x reason.  It’s one thing to tell them that they can’t do something because of safety (like run into the street), but stopping their stimming or forcing them to do something that makes them uncomfortable (whether you think it does or not) is super gross.


Don’t ever tell me that I’m mistreating these kids. Don’t ever undermine what I do day in and day out simply to make yourself feel self-important.

You are.  Sorry, I’m not going to mince words.  You have demonstrated in this very post that you care about the consent of autistic kids only when it suits your needs.  I’m not saying this to feel self important (are you fucking kidding me here? You are the one with the power over autistic people, not me).  I’m saying what I am to stop a potential abuser, which as an ABA therapist who behaves like you do? You ARE.

goldenheartedrose:

So having an organization that is supposed to speak for autistics but includes no autistics and speaks over us is not a good enough reason?

How about their association with the Judge Rotenberg Center?

Or the fact that they almost always side with the parents who kill their autistic kids, or at least don’t speak out AGAINST the actions?

Or that they’re searching for a cure which would no doubt be performed on us against our will (even though I don’t think, scientifically, such a cure could ever exist because we would literally have to have our brains completely rewired)?

Or that only 3% of their income goes to help families of autistic people, and most of that goes to either ABA (which is bad because it’s basically obedience training) or grief counseling for family members after their child/sibling/spouse is diagnosed with autism?

Or that in every single commercial, they paint us as burdens?

Or how about this Call to Action by Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, who has an autistic grandchild? http://www.donotlink.com/b8B

Seriously, I don’t understand how you can read anything about them and STILL think they’re acceptable or not see the problem?

I understand that organizations like Autism Speaks are full of crap and I avoid them like to the plague. But for those of us out there that want to genuinely help, and have helped, don’t lump us in with those assholes.  

You call me self-important and then try to make yourself look good by thinking you’re actually helping? No.  You’re doing compliance training.  You know you can obtain results while being abusive, right? I apologize and apologize for every little mistake because I was abused.  I still don’t consider myself a real life adult even though I’m nearing my mid-30s because I was ABUSED.  It’s clear you’ve obtained results.  That doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is GOOD.  

You need to read this:

http://loveexplosions.net/2013/01/30/the-cost-of-compliance-is-unreasonable/

http://emmashopebook.com/2012/10/10/tackling-that-troublesome-issue-of-aba-and-ethics/

I can see arguing with you is going to be a waste of time. You’ve already decided that you’re going to pick apart and twist my words to suit your own needs. Have fun being a stubborn jackass. I can only hope that whatever kids you have get the help and care they deserve.

You mean, like, actual support? Like things that actually help autistic people? Instead of this ableist dog training that you subject your charges to? Yeah, my kids have a lot of fucking support. Surprise! You don’t have to do ABA to help your children live up to their potential! You can, you know, meet their needs by figuring out how they learn best and allowing them to be autistic! I don’t expect my kids to pass as neurotypical.  That isn’t the goal for me.  But clearly that’s the goal for you.

But yeah, that was definitely a hit below the belt. 

I’m sorry, but I don’t tend to engage with abusive people like yourself unless there’s a chance that they are openminded enough to actually listen to the people they’re suppose to “help”.  Just the fact that you stop people from stimming is absolutely vile.

I’m not twisting your words.  If you meant something else, you should have said so.  I took your words at face value based on what I know of ABA and how it works (which is fairly extensive, and nausea inducing).  If you meant something else, you should have said so.  Otherwise, you should keep your stories about your clients to yourself.

Posted 1 month ago

Wow. Today is the day of total fucking bullshit on my dash.

goldenheartedrose:

deducecanoe:

I hate everything and need a zebra cake. They’re evil. But they’re good. You hear me? 

I’ve got like $2. I wonder how much zebra cake that will get me. 

God I am so sick of people who work with autistic children and they’re they’re doing some fucking huge favor for them by basically torturing them. You’re viewing the world and their problems through your NT eyes. Not theirs. No one ever asks how they see the world or gives a fuck to find out. They just know stimming is weird, and they appear to not pay attention. I appear to not pay attention to a lot of things I am absorbing. Repetition of words and making noises and stimming are weird and it makes people uncomfortable therefore it needs to be stopped. If they LOOK more normal, then we’re “helping” them because it will MAKE them more normal. They’ll never fucking be more normal. They’ll just learn how to pass for more normal.

That’s how I had my first nervous breakdown. Trying to pass for normal well past the point of enduring sensory overload every day because I couldn’t say “that doorbell is too loud it’s freaking me the hell out,” or “I can’t do this right now, I will try again later.” And I imploded. 

There are ways to teach people shit that aren’t abusive. But no one ever bothers to COMMUNICATE with autistic kids (because omg if we communicate with them the way they CAN communicate, they’ll NEVER learn how to talk, and talking is normal so it is one of our goals) and find out what they think about stuff, and why they have trouble with things. That’s the problem in this world. Everybody talks talks talks, and no one ever shuts the fuck up and listens. Too busy thinking of the next thing they’re going to say to make themselves look bright and beautiful. And in the case of dealing with autistic youth, like holy saints of god here to work with these difficult and trying angels on earth. 

I’m having a really bad day. Fuck you. 

THIS THIS THIS ALL OF THIS

Posted 1 month ago

Also it’s a really great integrated science; you get to talk about biology and ecology and and stuff. Photosynthesis, plant cell anatomy, how roots gather water and minerals, pollination and symbiotic life forms… it’s just a really rich interdisciplinary activity.

Posted 2 months ago

youarenotyou:

bigendeer:

gibelotte:

acceptable ways to trigger tag your posts

  • #trigger
  • #trigger ///
  • #trigger —-
  • #trigger 13434256245 (or any string of numbers)
  • #trigger cw
  • #trigger tw
  • #trigger for ts

NOT acceptable ways to trigger tag your posts

  • #tw trigger
  • #cw trigger
  • #~*~trigger~*~
  • not tagging it at all
  • #tw

blacklist scripts like blacklist on xkit and tumblr savior look for the word only in the first word when its a tag !!! please tag your triggers the right way and help your friends !!!!!!

also, please take note of the space between the trigger (replace the word ‘trigger’ in the examples with the trigger itself) and the slashes, numbers, and other stuff.

#trigger///, #trigger——-, #trigger9849324832, etc, are often not caught by the means ppl use to blacklist things!! please, please make sure the words in the trigger warning are separate from anything else, so they dont accidentally make it thru blacklisting scripts :(

oh i didn’t know that last bit

(Source: philipquast)

Posted 3 months ago

pervertsofcolor:

loryisunabletosupinate:

heyepiphora:

“Most people are shocked to realize that nobody is stopping companies from making sex toys out of whatever materials they want, then labelling them however they please,” laments Epiphora, a snarky sex toy reviewer with six years (and 400 sex toy reviews) of experience. “It upsets me to see people so disillusioned with sex toys.”

Read the rest: The Trouble With Toxic Sex Toys | Bitch Media

yeah, it’s very important to use sex toys made with safe materials and it’s amazing how many places sell toys and lubricants that aren’t good for you and i’m certain people buying those may not know that

Please please read this because toxic sex toys are on the market and I don’t want anyone to hurt themselves being kinky.

Posted 3 months ago

occupiedmuslim:

leonardnimoysdimples:

sp00ky-spock:

percychekov:

andurile:

it’s almost 2014 already are we still arguing on whether to give female characters the equal amount of screentime on movies as male characters

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#this is both an example of captain kirk being upset by it and of reboot being a flagrant offender

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THIS IS NOT EVEN UP FOR FUCKING DEBATE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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(x)

LOVE LOVE LOVE

Posted 4 months ago

This Week In Misinterpreted Scientific Research: Inherited Memories and Brainy Sexism

sapiens-sapiens:

jtotheizzoe:

This week struck me as a particularly exhausting one when it came to that certain brand of provocatively-headlined-but-probably-not-what-you-think-it-is science news that we know and love hate. 

As usual, it’s the science media click-machine that’s to blame, which is a polite way of saying that there exists a gaping void of careful, cautious, skeptical, dare I say scientific science writing out there amidst the great internet knowledge machine. It’s desperately hard to get people to read your articles or watch your videos, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to disengage the gravity of reason and drift off into the aether of just-so stories.

PHD Comics has summed up this vicious form of the science news cycle very well:

image

It’s not all bad, of course. There’s some real diamonds that we can regularly depend on to shine through amid the soiled throngs of pseudointellectual beggars out there, and I, along with others, try to highlight their work regularly. I shall do so again here. 

Here, I present two cases of “science things that were badly reported” and some links to better explanations. As usual, the defendants come from that tenuous intersection of neuroscience and behavior, because studying the brain is hard stuff, folks. 

1) Mice Can Inherit Memories: No they can’t. Well, maybe they can (although I doubt it), but that’s not at all what this widely-reported paper in Nature Neuroscience says. The poor authors of that study are probably at home, drinking, wondering how, after years of hard work, their paper about how mice may pass on sensitivity to smells got so twisted. Headlines ranged from declaring this the source of human phobias to saying that Assassin’s Creed is based in real science.

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What the researchers did was to condition some male mice to associate a smell (cherry blossoms) with a mild electric shock, which is mean, because that’s a nice smell! Naturally, the mice began to avoid the odor. The weird part is that their offspring, even two generations down the line, also seemed to avoid that specific cherry blossom odor, without ever encountering it before (and without their dads showing them). The dads’ noses all had more of the cells that smell that odor, as did the noses of their offspring. This did not happen with female mice and their offspring.

These kind of things aren’t supposed to be possible in a single generation. A mouse dad shouldn’t smell something, become afraid of it, and then be able to pass on a change to his kids. That’s precisely the kind of thing that got Lamarck and his giraffe necks laughed at more than a century ago. But it is possible that these mice were transmitting some sort of epigenetic change.

It’s possible that there was an epigenetic change passed down. But it’s not for sure. Beyond that, the way that statistics are applied to mouse behavior studies make it possible that the differences they see are just due to sample sizes, or not including certain controls, or some other random factor like that the humidity on a particular day happened to make the mice very jumpy. There’s also the fact that there is no known way for nerve cell changes or chemical responses within the olfactory bulb to be communicated to the testes, where sperm are made (there’s literally a blood-testis barrier to prevent that kind of thing).

Read this instead: At National Geographic, Virginia Hughes goes through the research in great detail, including comments from several people in the field who remain, shall we say, less than convinced. Extraordinary claims call for extraordinary evidence, and that’s lacking, at least in part. “More work needed” as they say!

2) Men and women’s brains are wired differently, therefore men are better at reading maps. That’s almost a verbatim headline from this news outlet. It speaks of “hardwired differences” (our brains are not hardwired) and is loaded with brainsplaining and neurosexism. This story is frustrating notsomuch because of the science, which is so-so, but because it is being misapplied by the media to reinforce cutsie-pie stories about what men are good at and what women are good at and never the twain shall meet and boy is it funny how men and women argue over getting lost?! GUFFAW!

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Read this instead: At DiscoverNeuroskeptic explains why the spatial resolution of the techniques used are like making a road atlas, while on the moon, using a pair of binoculars, and how the only real difference here may be that men’s brains are just slightly bigger than women’s (which doesn’t account for any noticeable difference in abilities, but can mess with scans a lot). And if you’d like a nice introduction to the idea of neurosexism and pigeonholing gender-based brain research into outdated social molds, might I suggest you read this article at The Conversation?

The fact is that men and women are mostly the same when it comes to their brains, but “Everyone can probably become pretty good at reading maps whether or not they are male or female, suggests common sense, not needing to be backed up by neuroscience” doesn’t make a very catchy headline.

None of this is to say that any of the results presented in the scientific papers are patently or provably false. But as we communicate the vagaries of Science In Progress, we must include the Don’t Knows and the Possiblys and all the other fine (and frustrating) forms of cautious optimism. It doesn’t kill the excitement. It just comes with the territory. I read it on a map somewhere.

I actually had a conversation with the roomies yesterday about the “mice inherit phobias” research. Reporting third parties on the internet, although useful and easily accessible, are often over dramatized or simplified to get the attention of the masses.

Be careful out there, science junkies!

Posted 4 months ago
Right now the United States is spending $100 billion a year to invade and occupy Afghanistan. That is $3,500 for every Afghan man, woman, and child per year. At the same time, everybody from right-wing pundits to zombies on NPR ask the question, “Is it too expensive to stop global warming?” There is always money to kill people. There is never enough money for life-affirming ends.
Posted 5 months ago

win-king-skeever:

friendlyangryfeminist:

lesbian pulp fiction was huuuuuuuge cottage industry during the 1950s, 1960s  - know your history, know that same-gender women existed before Stonewall and all that

but the novels wouldn’t be published unless, very explicitly and in text a woman DIED or was sent to an asylum because that was what loving another woman did. you deserved that punishment.

and like, can you imagine the lesbians of the 1950s, of the 1960s and this is literally the only available depiction they can see of themselves. because women who loved women bought these novels, desperate for connection.

and people kept writing us dying.

and still do

(Source: fauxcyborg)

Posted 5 months ago
shyfox:

lifewithboris:

While it may be easier to believe sensationalized, false “facts” about bully breeds that they attack unprovoked, most dogs do not. Dogs give very clear indications of their moods  when they are encountering strangers or new situations. LEARN THE BODY LANGUAGE.

YES. This essential for everyone who spends any time near dogs at any point of their lives.
“unprovoked” bites rarely ever happen, if at all. 

shyfox:

lifewithboris:

While it may be easier to believe sensationalized, false “facts” about bully breeds that they attack unprovoked, most dogs do not. Dogs give very clear indications of their moods  when they are encountering strangers or new situations. LEARN THE BODY LANGUAGE.

YES. This essential for everyone who spends any time near dogs at any point of their lives.

“unprovoked” bites rarely ever happen, if at all. 

(Source: brindlesandpibbles)