Category Archives: Social Sciences

REBUTTAL: Why scientists will never create life | The Christian Post

Umm…if life begins at conception (as Ray Comfort believes), then scientists create life whenever they create embryos in a lab. In vitro fertilization wouldn’t exist if scientists couldn’t create life!

As for the idea that scientists could never create “life” from nothing in a million years, humans have only existed in their present form for about 200,000 years (a fifth of a million) and science as we know it has only existed for about 500.

Most people living a hundred years ago would never have imagined  half the technology we have today. I certainly can’t imagine what the world will look like in 2119!

All I know is that a million years is a hell (lol) of a long time and the one thing I am certain of is that the world will be a much different place, if the last million years is any indication.

Norfolk teen who was pepper sprayed by officer will be charged with a crime, police tell family | Courts & Crime |

“The video starts with the two officers pulling out of the parking lot of the Cook Out on Monticello Avenue and Tariq walking down the street, Muhammad said.

The officer in the passenger seat asks Tariq if they can talk to him, Muhammad said. Tariq tells them he has nothing to say to them and keeps walking.

The cruiser stops, Muhammad continued. The officer in the passenger seat gets out and “snatches” Tariq’s shirt and book bag “in a very aggressive way,” spinning him around.

Tariq pulls away from the officer who’s grabbing him and tells him to get his hands off of him, Muhammad said.

That’s when the second officer, the one who’d been driving the cruiser, pepper-sprays Tariq in the face, Muhammad said.”

The police had no right to grab at him until they investigated why he wasn’t in school! He could easily have a pass for late arrival or any other valid reason for being late on that particular day. I remember getting stopped a few times as I walked late to school usually do to SOL testing or final exams. I was a person with a study hall my senior year for one of my last classes of the day (block scheduling so my last block was 7 on A days and 8 on B days). Rather than get the pass so I could go home early, I got a year long pass to go to the library so that I could surf the internet (since we had dial-up at home).

Literally my encounters with the police were: “Why are you late for school?” Me: “SOL testing.” Or “Final Exams” and the cop would say something along the lines of “Okay. Good luck.” And they’d drive away.

Being a cop doesn’t give anyone  the right to put their hands on anyone! How do I know this? First responder training. In search and rescue, if we find someone and they are conscious, we have to ASK  if they want us to check out and treat their injuries before we can put our hands on them. If they say no, they’re happy where they are, we can’t just manhandle them to get them to safety! That’d be assault!

When you go to a hospital, if you are conscious, you MUST give consent to treatment! Even though consent is technically implied because you drove yourself there, if you are conscious when you get triaged, you must give explicit consent. It’s one of the forms you sign before anything more than blood pressure and temperature get done (if that much).

The only legal implied consent in the medical field is when the patient is unconscious. THEN you are safe to assume that they would want you to do everything in your power (that you are cleared to do within the scope of your training) to save them. But, first you must determine the extent of the unconsciousness! You must speak loudly and clearly to them to see if they wake up. You must still ask for consent before touching them! If they don’t answer, you can assume implied consent, but if they were merely napping and wake up, that’s assault if you touched them without attempting to wake them up verbally first.

On a related note, you should never attempt to awaken a potentially injured person by shaking them. Jarring a spinal injury can cause serious damage. Always assume there is a spinal injury unless it’s extremely unlikely (or the surrounding area is more dangerous than the risk of spinal damage); it’s better to be safe than sorry!

The medical profession has extensive protocols and training about consent and informing the patient about exactly what will be done to them before anyone lays a finger on them (for anything more than routine blood pressure and temperature). 

I’m curious about informed consent and assault training for police officers. When it comes to “routine” stops where there’s no time to get a warrant (personally, I think there is ALWAYS time to get a warrant!), at what point are cops legally allowed to commit assault?

I think policing would go a lot smoother for everyone if the rules were more clear cut:

  • Officers cannot put their hands on (or point their weapons at) anyone until they determine that a significant type of law has been broken. This can include assault on the police officer, in those cases where the suspect swings first.
  • Arrests can’t be made without a warrant. This includes putting someone in handcuffs “for their own safety” while they sit in the back of a cruiser. Unless, of course, a significant type of law was determined to be broken as described above.
  • Before touching and/or arresting someone, the officer must clearly describe exactly why they are touching and/or arresting the person. This is where implied vs. explicit consent come in most clearly. Asking to search a person or vehicle is obtaining explicit consent. Having “probable cause” to search a vehicle is implied consent, but it’s like giving CPR to someone taking a nap. Rather than determining whether the person is truly unconscious the “rescuer” has decided on their own that they’re dying. In truth, taking an extra few moments to determine that they’re just sleeping isn’t going to hurt anything, as is waiting a few moments for a warrant or other confirmation from a reputable source that a search is valid.

The rules must be consistently enforced! A white girl and a black boy should not have such completely different interactions with police when rhey are both equally late for school! And honestly, when it comes to truancy, the police should be given a list of names of kids not in school on a particular day (only those kids with a confirmed history of truancy; so essentially a warrant has been issued on these particular kids) and they can only stop kids who match the description (photo??) of kids on that list.

Though, really, how involved should police be with truancy? I think this is a problem best solved by the school, parents, and courts. Rather that worrying about the bandaid issue of one kid skipping one day of school, there should be a stricter structure for the kids skipping multiple upon multiple days of school without just cause.

Britain’s Supreme Court rules bakery didn’t discriminate in ‘gay cake’ case | Fox News

Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland refused to make the cake iced with the characters after the owners argued they shouldn’t’ be forced to put messages on their products at odds with their Christian beliefs. The high court agreed with the owners. The five justices on the court were “unanimous in their judgment,” the BBC reported.

“In a nutshell, the objection was to the message and not to any particular person or persons,” Judge Brenda Hale wrote in the decision. “It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics. But that is not what happened in this case.”

The message was Bert and Ernie characters “Support Gay Marriage”.
I’m not of the camp that thinks Bert and Ernie are a secretly gay couple, but I have watched enough Sesame Street that I know for certain that Bert and Ernie DO support gay marriage, so that characterization is correct.

As for discrimination, yeah, I think that the bakery discriminated against the message rather than the couple. But I find it difficult to believe that a bakery that wouldn’t make a Support Gay Marriage cake would make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Is gay marriage even legal in Northern Ireland yet? A commitment ceremony cake, then. Would the bakery make it? Probably not.

Or if they did make it, they’d bitch the whole time about government oversight and lack of religious liberty. They’d do the bare minimum and customer service would probably suck.

 I still think discrimination should be legal with the caviot that a sign be displayed saying exactly who isn’t welcome so that the people who are served can make an informed choice and shame anyone who shops somewhere where some people aren’t welcome. Unfortunately, antidiscrimination laws don’t change people’s hearts or minds. Just because people are served, it doesn’t mean that they are served well and people who are given good service have a hard time believing discrimination exists because they don’t experience it.

An open letter to any agency arguing against the Trump Administration’s decision to separate families

When it came out that the Trump Administration was separating families at the border, I was heartbroken, but not surprised.

What did somewhat surprise me has been the level of chaos attached to the reunifications. Not so much the fact that they deported, what, 500 parents through various means, but that it would take hours or days to determine where the parents and children were in relationship to each other. It’s almost like they were using paper forms that were being filed in a cabinet!

My purpose for writing this letter is to highlight exactly where I think ICE and the Trump Administration should be the most damned:

When you check into a hospital, you are issued a hospital bracelet. It lists your name, birth date, and whatever other pertinent information necessary for your care (such as the color identifying what department you belong in and/or that you are a fall risk, dementia patient, etc). Most (if not all) hospital bracelets include a barcode or QR code that is scanned every single time a doctor, nurse, tech, whatever does anything. This is in addition to them verbally asking for your name and birth date to ensure that you are who they think you are. The scanned code links directly to your hospital medical chart and should link to your overarching medical chart if you are within your primary doctor’s system (and should link to your medical chart regardless of whatever affiliation the medical facility you are in has, but that’d make too much sense). In this way, with a few clicks of a mouse they can look at your medical history and see whether there’d be any harmful interactions with whatever procedures/medications they’re providing in the hospital.

(I’m pretty sure a bracelet system is done in most prisons, too!

This same technology should  have been used with the separated families.

Upon being incarcerated, each family should have had an account opened and it should have listed every member of that family. Each member should have been given a bracelet with a bar/QR code that quickly accesses the file of that family and which is regularly updated with the pertinent details of the individual members:

They scan Mom’s bracelet when Mom wants to know where daughter Suzy is. “Oh! Suzy is currently being transferred to San Diego. She’s currently on XYZ Bus. The attendants on that bus have a phone number of (123) 456-7890. Let me call them real quick to double check that she’s there.” [calls the number, the attendant goes to the seat assigned to Suzy, checks that her bracelet matches the information provided, and confirms Suzy’s location all while still on the phone with wherever Mom is.] “The attendant has confirmed her location. They should arrive in San Diego at 8pm their time. Would you like to speak to Suzy? You have 5 minutes.”

It’s not freaking rocket science! The technology exists and has proven itself as nearly flawless time and time and time ad nauseum. On the rare occasions when the technology fails (yes, mis-identifications do happen at the hospital) it is always the result of human error: a simple typo, outright negligence, etc. This is why there are backup procedures in place: they ask your name and date of birth despite it seeming redundant; the surgeon writes on your skin while talking to you about the procedure so that you are able to correct him. I always double check with whomever is doing a procedure that we’re there for the same thing if they don’t volunteer that information themselves or use unfamiliar jargon (sigh).

Even in the case of the deported parents, the bracelet system would work. Their file (which would remain open so long as other family members are still in the system) would be updated to show that they were deported and include an address, phone number, email address, whatever where the parent can be contacted. At the very least, the parent will have an incredibly easy way to locate their children once they do find a stable place to stay; just walk in with the bracelet and have the bar code be scanned (or hell, type in an ID number!). That would still show where the child has been placed.

These bracelets can be equipped with a photo of the individual printed directly on it and are essentially photo IDs.

A (slightly) more expensive bracelet exists which can activate a security system.

We still rely on dog tags to quickly identify service members and access their records.

While I can kind of understand the use of DNA testing when there are definite suspicions that an adult is claiming to the the parent of a child that doesn’t act like most children do with their parents, but having to do a DNA test on every single parent and child is insane. BUT, that would mean that trained individuals would have to witness these regular everyday parent-child interactions which can’t be done if the child is in San Diego while the parents are in Houston.

In other words, in addition to not having a way to quickly find the records of the entire family group, ICE created the problem where they couldn’t monitor the parent-child interactions and determine unscientifically that the children are with their parents.

I’ll leave discussion of the harm caused by the psychological trauma of these separations  to the experts. For anyone trying to blame the parents for knowingly “giving” their children away/putting their children at risk of separation simply for crossing the border, I’ll suggest you read The Cut Out Girl.

‘I’m constantly asking: Why?’ When mass shootings end, the painful wait for answers begins. – The Washington Post

Toward the end of their interviews, Reid asked Holmes what he believed caused him to kill others. Holmes boiled it down to hard numbers: 45 percent was caused by his belief in the point system, another 45 by the feeling it would prevent his suicide, and 10 percent by his broccoli-like hatred.

Reid, however, said he found those answers lacking.

“You could call them excuses in a way, because they don’t make sense,” he said. “People break up with their girlfriends every day; that doesn’t mean they become killers. They struggle with depression and impulses; that doesn’t mean they become killers. These things are associated with the action, but they are not predictive.”

Reid is a forensic psychiatrist who clearly has no clue how mental illness works.

This sounds exactly like OCD to me, except instead of checking the locks 3 times or washing hands for exactly 45 seconds to prevent bad things from happening, Holmes was certain that killing people would save his life because he knew the alternative was him committing suicide, something he knew he didn’t want to do.

While this seems like an unsatisfactory answer, it is one that shows that there is a way to prevent future attacks of this type. OCD can be treated.

Now, I’m sure that some people are thinking, “well, such bad thoughts can be shut down; they’re a choice.” Uh no. They’re not a choice. People don’t get to choose what their obsessions are or what works or doesn’t work (for them).

I have a problem with songs (and thoughts) getting stuck in my head for hours on end. Hours. But I randomly found a trick that works to stop the repetition: I’m a Little Teapot. Yep, somehow this nursery rhyme a) doesn’t get stuck in my head and b) is capable of shutting off whatever has been on repeat when nothing else has.

You may be thinking, “well, I get songs stuck in my head all the time!”

For days on end? 

With no relief?

Where you happen to stumble upon one thing that brings you quiet for a little while?

This forensic psychiatrist has unintentionally shown exactly what’s wrong with the current system: we don’t recognize universal symptoms as universal when it’s easier to assume that there must be a deeper problem.
 I get why this happens. We don’t want t stigmatize all OCD as the same. We don’t want to stigmatize the issue. And that’s fine! That’s great! There are many many different flavors (from mild annoyances to severe “I can’t live like this”)!

But ultimately, it is all the same. And it needs to be treated as such if we want to move forward as a society. Not because a handwasher and door-lock-checker can suddenly become a serial killer (actually, since these are coping mechanisms they’d be less likely to “snap”), but because everyone deserves to live in peace and while we may think of handwashers and door-lock-checkers as quirky and harmless when compared to people whose coping mechanism is murder, neither group gets to live in peace. Both are slaves to their obsessions. That’s not fair to them.

What makes the Parkland shooter different is that everyone in his life knew he was troubled and wanted to gwet him the help he needed.

But their efforts were stymied by red tape. The type of red tape that seems to stem from a lack of money invested in mental health care.

Calls for putting more police officers in schools, arming teachers, and installing bullet proof glass and metal detectors all strike me as reactionary. They are all things that will respond to the next shooting, but will do absolutely nothing to prevent it. 

I think such money would be better served by creating an in-school suspension system that focuses on mental healthcare rather than just shuffling troubled kids along. And there should be a seemless transition between graduation and adult mental health care. Cost should be no object because anyone asking for help for themselves or a loved one should receive it. Period.

Made My Evening:

“Cultural differences occur in pragmatics, even within the same spoken language. For example, Shirley Brice Heath (1989) spent many hours observing White middle-class parents and African American families who were poor. She found that the adults asked different kinds of questions and encouraged different kinds of “talk.” White parents asked test-like questions with right answers, such as, “How many cars are there?” or, “Which car is bigger?” These questions seem odd to African American children, whose families don’t ask about what they already know. The African American child might wonder, “Why would my aunt ask me how many cars? She can see there are 3.” Instead, Heath found that African American families encourage rich storytelling and also teasing that hones their children’s quick wit and assertive responses.”

–Child and Adolescent Development; Woolfolk and Perry 2015

That time I wrote my entire 25 page Thesis in a single evening.

Post inspired by reading: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins.

My last semester as an undergrad, I was in my history degree’s mandatory Thesis course. Well, mandatory as in we all had to write a 25 page Thesis to get the degree, but each 10-15 person class had a separate main theme, to best match content to interest rather than being entirely open ended (I LOVE UVA!).

The one I chose was “Gender in the US Civil War Era” though my paper ended up being only marginally gender oriented. While I tried to draw up the female angle in my sources, mainly I was writing about the difference between what was really going on in Washington vs. how local people (SE VA and NE NC) viewed what was happening/laws that were passed.

Remember the fainting ladies of Portsmouth!

Anyway, the whole course was centered around guiding us down the path of writing our paper, teaching us how to find and vet sources, coming up with our topics, actually finding sources; all of our assignments were to keep up on track (while we actually did learn about gender issues during the CW Era.

Anyway, in early April (Graduation was May 22) our homework was to have 5-6 pages of rough draft to go over in class. I misunderstood and thought we had to have the whole rough draft. 

I’m also a procrastinator, though I’d spend weeks letting my paper “perculate” in my head, drafting and redrafting paragraphs and arguments, but never actually writing much down.

So, the night before class, I had all my sources read and had notes from them (because of the work we’d been doing the past 3 months in class), I just had to buckle down and write. 

Which I proceeded to do.

All 25 pages (double spaced, thank god).

Actually, it may have only been 23, but that 25 wasn’t  set in stone and I did know that out was just a draft that was due. Drafts can be shorter than the final project.

I wrote all through the night. I think it took me a good 15 hours (including some distractions) total.

This was the only all nighter I did in college and I have no regrets. Rather than be embarrassed when I walked into class and learned that I’d screwed up, I was happy. The paper that I had been dreading all semester was done! Sure, it’d need some tweaks, but as every scholar knows, you can’t write a proper introduction until you’ve written the paper and came to your real conclusions (instead of just what you think you will be talking about). Research is fun because you don’t know where you’re going until you get there (if you are doing it right, of course).

I’m writing about this today in part because of the story I’m reading and also because the semester started this week for school (I’m getting a MSED in Elementary Education online) and between my two classes (Human Development and Public Speaking), I will be writing 5-10 research papers (though P.S. forbids reading off a manuscript and all speeches must be given with just notes; it’s still all the work of a paper). Given the time frame, I expect they’ll all be 3-5 pages (double spaced), which is less than many of my ranty blog posts (which yes, if possible for P.S., I will be using my blog posts for inspiration).

Honestly, I’m just worried that P.S. is going to be super boring to learn because it has to be generic. It’s one class that everyone must take, but it’s taught en masse rather than in small sections where each topic is different so you can study in the context of what interests you (like my thesis course and the undergrad writing requirement at UVA). I’d much prefer to study Public Speaking in the context of the Civil War Era, or the Guilde Age, American Presidents, 20th c. World Leaders, the Civil Rights Movement, scientists begging for funding…

‘Cuz, we ALL know that this generic class is going to focus on the most famous speeches known to mankind ( the ones studied to death). The Gettysburg Address is important, but what about comparing it to the counter speeches given by Jefferson Davis? Or the “I have a dream” speech vs. a speech by Malcolm X?

Hmm. I think I just found another good topic for that class!

AnyHoo. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for this month! I can’t link to it from my tablet, but you can find it at the top of the page 😊. There are some really fun card challenges that I’m hoping to enter this weekend, if I don’t have too much trouble with school work.

Klansville U.S.A. | American Experience | Official Site | PBS

It’s way too easy to draw connections to what was going on in 1960s North Carolina and 2017 in Charlottesville and other places where the Alt-Right has been causing trouble.

Teaching Everything Using the Scientific Method

Mmkay. So, I had this epiphany (it’s like the last thing I wrote) a few weeks ago about how pretty much everything is learned through the Scientific Method:

  1. Background Information/Observation,
  2. Hypothesis,
  3. Design and Conduct the Experiment,
  4. Evaluate the Data,
  5. Draw a Conclusion

In other words, think up a question (Why is the sky blue? What year was the Declaration of Independence signed?), offer a hypothesis (Because it is. 1776.), Design and Conduct the Experiment (I will look in my textbook(s)), Evaluate the data (do I agree with my textbook? Can I verify this information using another source?), and Draw a conclusion (The sky is blue due to the angle of sunlight hitting water molecules in the atmosphere, 1776 because I saw a real copy of the Declaration in the UVA library).

I wish I had realized this earlier while I was reading through the Language Acquisition and Reading (Creating Literacy Instruction; Pearson 2016) textbook. Even though they have used various different terms, pretty much every strategy for teachers to use has boiled down to the Scientific Method as described above.

Here’s the latest example:

Mini-lessons used as a part of a Reading Workshop for lessons using Independent Reading. These mini-lessons have 5 basic parts (I have block quoted them to make them easier to read, but the analysis is mine alone):

1. Connection (Background information and Hypothesis)

2/3. Teaching and Active Involvement (Conducting the Experiment)

4. Link (Evaluate)

5. Follow up (Conclusion)

I have to create 3 different lesson plans for the class, due Dec. 3rd. My hope is to have them comply with my theory of universally utilizing the Scientific Method, but honestly my first goal will be ensuring that they meet any and all requirements that my professor has for the assignment (because I’d prefer to pass the class since I don’t have real students to test my lesson plans on). However, once the class is over, I’m thinking about creating some of these lesson plans over winter break. Of course I’ll post them here unless and until I decide to use them for a future class and aren’t allowed to plagiarize myself.


My dad is the letterpressman at the shop we work at. His press is a 1962(?) Heidelberg Windmill, though we used to have a C&P hand-feed press.

It’s so shiny! This is not his press, but a photo borrowed from this website.

A few weeks ago, we were offered a ticket to see the new film about letterpress: Pressing On and he went to see it. Ooh–the first press shown in the trailer looks like the hand press that the shop got rid of (and the press that I most want for my own).

Anywho. My dad is not a graphic designer. He’s not artsy at all. He likes chatting with old pressmen, but mostly he went to the movie to see the presses. It was a bit too people-centered for his taste, but he enjoyed it.

What really annoyed him was the letterpress printed drink ticket they gave him! Yes, I’m laughing as I write this because he ranted to me the next day about how crappy a job they’d done printing it!

“The ink is too light! It’s a weird color and the ink isn’t even.” (It’s a seafoam-ish green color and yes, it’s heavier and lighter in places.)

“They beat the ever loving shit out of the paper!” (Okay, he actually said they beat the crap out of the paper, but I’m exaggerating his words because of how huge a deal this is for him.)

You see, my dad entered the printing industry back when offset printing was just starting out and just about everything was printed letterpress. Type was real type and a typesetter was literally pulling upper and lower case letters out of upper and lower cases. As they competed with offset printing, the sign of a good letterpressman was that the printed material looked indistinguishable from offset. If the paper looks even slightly embossed, the paper is hitting the type too hard and you’re going to wear out your type too fast. Since type does wear out, it’s critical for the typesetter to build up the low characters to match the higher ones so that the ink hits flat and smooth.

Pretty much everything that makes modern artists squeal about letterpress is everything that my dad would have been yelled at for as an entry level pressman. Of course, I am on the artsy-side and I while I don’t need the paper to be beat to crap to know it’s letterpress, I do love it when the ink isn’t perfectly placed on the paper either because the type isn’t perfect or because it’s not lined up 100% correctly.

My dad has a new favorite museum in Colonial Heights, VA and they have some old printing presses and stuff to play with  show off to visitors. At a special event a few weeks ago my dad was very confused by the way they were creating “original letterpress printings” by letting two colors of ink mix on the pallet of a handpress each time someone created a print. Like I said, he doesn’t really get letterpress as art, haha.

And, he really doesn’t understand how anyone makes money off letterpress. He likes to talk about how they’d print business cards at 5¢ a piece in quantities of 20-30. Business cards were really generic back then and they mostly just threw a new name into an already set base. He can’t understand why anyone would pay $5 for one letterpress greeting card.

Of course, he as fond memories of making $2.50/hour when the minimum wage was $1.25.