Blog Entries



Threats and gender-treason: #GamerGate goes weird.

Posted 31-Oct-2014 at 09:11 AM (09:11) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 31-Oct-2014 at 10:27 AM (10:27) by Gurdur

Most of you know about #GamerGate, the huge fuss going on inside the gamer communities. It's a controversy on which I've blogged before. Less than half a day ago, it got worse. Over Twitter and on his blog, Bobby Oliveira - @bobbyo1967 - accused the feminist scholar Christina H. Sommers of "gender treason", and threatened to keep on harassing her until Sommers denounced #GamerGate. If Bobby Oliveira could accomplish that, he threatened then to go further and to harass others until they too denounced...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6297 Comments 4 Gurdur is offline

The bizarre smears used against Michael Nugent by PZ Myers & co.

Posted 11-Oct-2014 at 05:03 AM (05:03) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Oct-2014 at 09:13 PM (21:13) by Gurdur

PZ Myers, an associate professor at a small college, and a minor albeit populist and influential figure in the world of atheism, bravely stood up to Mick Nugent, and broadcast that commentators on Nugent's blog included a whole lot of rapists. PZ Myers wasn't able to name one single rapist, not one single one, which made it all a bit of a mystery. But if PZ Myers claims there are rapists running rampant among the commentators on a blog, he must be right, or? It's just not possible PZ Myers could...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6925 Comments 6 Gurdur is offline

A very sad day for #scicomm: Science Online to close down, cancels #scio15

Posted 10-Oct-2014 at 03:20 PM (15:20) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

In a fairly short statement, the Science Online board have said they will be closing down ScienceOnline, and cancelling the #scio15 conference planned for February. The statement is up here. While not totally unpredictable, this is a very sad day; most of us very much wanted #scioX to go on and go well.

Financial insolvency, and the inability to raise enough funds for a paid position of executive director, are among the grounds given. Of late the #scioX community at large was much...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2477 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Ophelia Benson finds it "a little sickening"

Posted 10-Oct-2014 at 12:33 PM (12:33) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-Oct-2014 at 05:57 PM (17:57) by Gurdur

Ophelia Benson decided to take exception to a tweet of Christina H. Sommers'. Benson just didn't approve of what Sommers (@CHSommers) had sent out. Benson (@opheliabenson) in her blog post had the following to say:
"Christina Hoff Sommers is congratulating herself on playing a part in #GamerGate.
... [screen-capture image of Sommers' tweet snipped] ...
@Nero is an associate editor at Breitbart. Here’s what Anita Sarkeesian thinks of #GamerGate:
... [quote snipped] ...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 5993 Comments 6 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

What on Earth, Center For Inquiry? CFI-DC Melody Hensley calls for boycott of Peter Boghossian over issue of PTSD from Twitter

Posted 25-Sep-2014 at 09:19 AM (09:19) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 26-Sep-2014 at 12:48 PM (12:48) by Gurdur

Melody Hensley (@MelodyHensley; please do not tweet at her unless you are sure your tweet is acceptable to her, since harassment of any kind is not tolerable) is the Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. branch of the Center For Inquiry, which says about itself that the "mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values". So we know where we stand, then. Last night, Melody Hensley called for all atheist and humanist...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 19789 Comments 11 Gurdur is offline

What Scotland's independence vote tomorrow - and the UKIP - could mean for science

Posted 18-Sep-2014 at 12:44 AM (00:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Scotland votes tomorrow whether to go for eventual full independence, or to stay in the Union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. What does it all mean for science, especially science in Scotland? The science world is worried; some are putting off takig up professorial or research positions in Scotland until the result is known. There is also some discussion of it all in the science press, as for example here.

What I haven't yet seen is any discussion of the Scot independence...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6171 Comments 2 Gurdur is offline

Why doesn't ˇi˛ek understand Orwell's 1984, or freedom?

Posted 17-Sep-2014 at 09:31 PM (21:31) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 17-Sep-2014 at 10:40 PM (22:40) by Gurdur

Slavoj ˇi˛ek misunderstands freedom and control. He doesn't get George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). Why is that, and why is it important, and what does it say about us all? ˇi˛ek (you can just call him Zizek) is one smart guy; he's a philosopher and culture critic who has quite often written on theological issues. He's quite famous these days (VICE magazine calls him a superstar), and he's proud of thinking dangerous ideas. We as a public need to be confronted with dangerous ideas, we need...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 3378 Comments 2 Gurdur is offline

Personal update

Posted 17-Sep-2014 at 09:05 PM (21:05) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 17-Sep-2014 at 09:11 PM (21:11) by Gurdur

I was very ill. I am now somewhat better. At least I have avoided so far needing to have any major operation done, which I find to be quite an accomplishment, since the past four years have been marked by needing to have at least one major operation done on me each year, along with more minor ops (still done though under general anesthetic).

It's going to take me a while to catch up with everything. I am sorry I have been absent for such a long time. Please bear with me as I slowly...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2106 Comments 4 Gurdur is offline

Questions for the Longitude Prize

Posted 18-Jun-2014 at 09:45 PM (21:45) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I have written - elsewhere, on Medium - a post on some of the reaction to the Longitude Prize. I do have some questions for those managing the Longitude Prize; chiefly,
Is the public impact of the Longitude Prize being measured, and its impact over social-media being mapped (for example with Gephi)?

This seems to me to be an important part of measuring and enhancing the positive accomplishments of the Prize.



divider line

Comments are welcome! Please keep in mind if you are not registered that comments posted here to this blog post may take a while to appear - up to 16 hours after you post them, since they go onto a moderation queue and have to be individually approved, in order to stop spammers. The answer to the so-called "Random Question" is always "human".

Posted in Uncategorized
Views 3643 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

An #ff for @RazaRumi - journalism, literature and culture in Pakistan

Posted 20-May-2014 at 12:44 AM (00:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Dec-2014 at 03:47 PM (15:47) by Gurdur

Raza Rumi is one of the courageous journalists in Pakistan who risks being murdered daily. He is also an editor and networker who has helped a good many other journalists and activists in Pakistan, and he has stood up at all times in the defence of minorities inside Pakistan, whether Ahmadis, Christians or whomever. Through his writing and his use of social media, he has consistantly promoted others and their own efforts. others such as Sana Saleem, and he has consistantly promoted Pakistani culture,...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 4520 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Nerdist throw astrophysics in the crab-bucket?

Posted 14-May-2014 at 01:13 AM (01:13) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-May-2014 at 06:29 AM (06:29) by Never (fixed typos)

Astrophysics, what use is it? The stars are far away, and as Cassius in Shakespeare's play says, the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings. You could add the fault is in ourselves, not in our stars, when we are ignorant, or simply stupid. Put all that in a different way: when I was a teenager, working in cruddy factories and on worse building-sites, reading a book was seen socially as a bad thing, akin to Communism or being gay. Reading a book was a major no-no. Oddly...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6149 Comments 2 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

Understanding life through the Strandbeest art of Theo Jansen

Posted 11-May-2014 at 07:28 PM (19:28) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Dec-2014 at 03:38 PM (15:38) by Gurdur (fixed typos)

On Saturday May the 3rd, I drove up to the Hague. It was easier than I had thought; it only took three hours. I was enormously lucky to catch the last day of an exhibition of the Strandbeest art of Theo Jansen in the Electriciteitsfabriek in the Hague (Den Haag), in the Netherlands. The building is a former power-station - its name in Dutch translates to "Electricity factory". The building is huge; it was very suited to the exhibition, done up there as a mock dig for fossils, with several of his...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 4440 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Science-communication (#scicomm) in East Africa - Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda

Posted 08-Mar-2014 at 11:10 AM (11:10) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 09-Mar-2014 at 07:27 AM (07:27) by Gurdur

There's far more dedicated #scicomm in East Africa than you might have ever thought. It more than deserves recognition, interest and support outside East Africa. Unfortunately it simply doesn't get any interest or recognition outside Africa almost all the time. One of the major sources for observing and interacting with science-communication in East Africa is the site SciDev.Net. Just to pick four to follow on Twitter: there's @SciDevNetSSA, the Twitter account for SciDev's "Sub-Saharan Africa" section;...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 14170 Comments 5 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Various initial and unsorted thoughts about the #scio14 conference

Posted 05-Mar-2014 at 11:48 PM (23:48) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 06-Mar-2014 at 12:13 AM (00:13) by Gurdur

The #scio14 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, 27 February to 01 March inclusive, went pretty much as you could expect of a #ScioX conference. That being reasonably well within certain parameters or limits. It was a lot more successful than certain flamers beforehand opined it would be. It could have done better on certain aspects. Overall, it functioned mostly as it should. The conference schedule opened with a day of non-conference field-trips and the like organized by others, on Wednesday...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 5794 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

Dedicated to having and making a good #scio14 conference

Posted 28-Feb-2014 at 07:42 AM (07:42) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 28-Feb-2014 at 07:47 AM (07:47) by Gurdur

A couple of tweets today (Thursday) came mighty close to deriding some for attending one #scio14 session and not another. Other tweets derided the ScienceOnline board for not doing whatever the flamer thought they should be doing, or for being what they are rather than something else completely. Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door, to explain in minute detail endlessly why your better mousetrap is something they scorn.

The ScienceOnline board have...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 3386 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 13 votes, 5.00 average.

#Scio14 in (Ki)Swahili

Posted 25-Feb-2014 at 07:04 PM (19:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Feb-2014 at 08:19 PM (20:19) by Gurdur

I will be doing the best I can to do reports in (Ki)Swahili on the #Scio14 science-communication (#scicomm) conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, February 27 to March 01 inclusive this year, i.e. in a couple of days' time. I will make a new Twitter account, maybe, to do the Swahili tweets. I will also tweet in (bad) German occasionally. One first part in KiSwahli is below. I will be doing my best to promote Tanzanian scicomm and science-reporting people, and to make them known to the scicomm...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 4317 Comments 1 Gurdur is offline

Last-minute tips for newcomers to #scio14 (#scioX)

Posted 25-Feb-2014 at 08:42 AM (08:42) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Feb-2014 at 07:11 PM (19:11) by Gurdur

The general #scioX hashtag refers to (all) the different ScienceOnline conferences and activities, while the #scio14 hashtag refers to the ScienceOnline conference at Raleigh, NC, Feb 27 to March 01 this year.

Join In
The most important thing is simply to join in. Of all the complaints in the past about anything to do with #scioX, quite a few seemed to be from people who simply wouldn't join in - who did not make any effort to participate in any group activities, who waited...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6909 Comments 1 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 25 votes, 5.00 average.

You do not get to hog suicide risk or depression all to yourself: @mjrobbins, @BoraZ, #scioX and implosions

Posted 03-Jan-2014 at 06:18 PM (18:18) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-Jan-2014 at 09:44 PM (21:44) by Gurdur

At an awkward time for me personally, yet again the science communication (#scicomm) world implodes, and that fairly close to an upcoming conference, the #scio14 one in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am on an urgent trip to Australia for only one week, from where I live in Germany, for the funeral of my father in Perth. While here I have also been informed that my paternal aunt is also dying, in Sydney, right on the other side of Australia (the very last relative left on my paternal side); I am simply...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 53264 Comments 1 Gurdur is offline

Information on how to donate for children etc. in Tanzania

Posted 13-Dec-2013 at 05:08 AM (05:08) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Dec-2013 at 05:30 PM (17:30) by Gurdur

A couple of people have asked me how they can help children in Tanzania, given what I described in a previous blog post. While I donate myself, I am cautious about promoting charities in this area, since there are many scams and scammers operating, and I bear a responsibility towards the readers of my blog. The needs in Tanzania are large; it is a poverty-stricken Third-World country, with almost half of its population being 15 years of age or younger. I will recommend only what charities I trust,...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 5862 Comments 6 Gurdur is offline

A child: a photo-essay on depicting life in Tanzania fairly

Posted 05-Dec-2013 at 06:48 PM (18:48) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 05-Dec-2013 at 08:41 PM (20:41) by Gurdur

Once I begin blogging in full about my travels in Tanzania, and putting up a lot of photographs on the net, you will see that there are comparatively few pictures of people. There is a reason for that; a great many people in Tanzania don't like being photographed. One of the more common attitudes sems to be a resentful rejection, based on rightly or wrongly feeling objectified; other attitudes (such as superstition, or xenophobia) also play a part with some. This causes problems; it tends to skew...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6578 Comments 2 Gurdur is offline

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 04:08 PM (16:08).


Credits and thanks:
Basic Style design: Design By: Miner
(much altered by Gurdur)

For smilies:

Koloboks, including Aiwan, ViShenk, Just Cuz, Laie, Connie, snoozer, Viannen,
and especially Mother Goose too.
KitKatty. and PederDingo, and phantompanther.

For help, coding, and/or modifications:

Different people at, and a whole lot of people -- too many to be individually named, sorry -- at

For artwork, avatars, backgrounds and so on:

KitKatty, and verte, and britpoplass

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright is asserted for the Heathen Hub itself and for its owner by its owner, from 2008 onwards. Copyright of individual posts remains the property of the original poster, however by posting on the Hub the poster grants the Hub the rights to host and present the posted messages for perpetuity. The Hub is in no way responsible for opinions or messages posted in any way on the Hub by its members. Please also see this here. Copyright of individual icons and other graphics, as for individual vBulletin styles, remains the property of the original owner/creator. Copyright for the vBulletin software itself, and the vBulletin Blogs software, remains with Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd, as in the copyright notice above.
Welcome to a place to talk about atheism, religion, science, humanism, evolution, politics, Creationism, literature, reason, rational inquiry, logic, cooking, reading, and travel - the Hub: a community for everyone.