Wednesday, September 07, 2005


As someone who has been married and divorced four times, I think it might reasonably be said that my appreciation of the female sex verges on insanity. So although I am critical of much in feminism, it does not at all mean that I am particularly critical of women. Feminists probably never did speak for a majority of women and posts such as this one confirm that they certainly do not do so now. Today's post on Dissecting Leftism, however, puts me on the wrong side of feminists so I think I might as well venture a bit more incorrectness. I want to tell a little story that does I think sum up my attitude to both women and feminism.

Some years ago, back in the dim Dark Ages when the internet was only in its infancy, I had a hobby business buying and selling old games computers -- Amiga 500s and Atari STs in particular. To this day I still have the special screwdriver you need to take Amigas apart and fix them. For some reason, quite a few of the computers offered for sale secondhand were owned by women. So when I answered an advertisement by someone who had such a computer for sale, a woman often answered. It took me no time at all however, to find out that in such cases ownership did not equal understanding. So I soon got into the habit of asking for the owner of the computer that was for sale if a woman answered the phone. Very often the woman answering would say brightly: "It's my computer, so I can help you". Not wanting to waste time, I would then ask: "Does it have an EGA or a VGA monitor?" To which the INVARIABLE reply was: "Just a minute. I'll get my husband".

I would not of course have dared to ask a man such a dumb question as he would have replied: "Don't be ridiculous. They all have RGB monitors". (For Atari buffs: Yes. I know all about the ST Mono monitor. I have one).

So that sums up to me a basic male/female difference: A normal woman can deal with technical matters if she has a set of standard answers drilled into her but she is at a loss if she encounters something that is outside her set of standard answers and requires real understanding of the matters concerned. It almost always takes a man to really enjoy and thus really understand technical matters. And that is a conclusion from someone who is demonstrably NOT a misogynist. Both men and women have strengths and weaknesses but the strengths and weaknesses of the two sexes differ. And anybbody who says otherwise is not in the reality-based community.

But there are of course exceptions to every rule. The computer language I program in is FORTRAN -- very definitely a boffin's language -- designed particularly for mathematical applications and now used almost exclusively in universities. And the person who taught me FORTRAN back in my student days was a woman! Her name was Gail. And when I praised Gail to a female student who also knew her, the reply was: "Yes. But you wouldn't call her clothes exactly a ball of fashion, would you?" And that, I think, tells its own story too.


Great to see the importance of free speech acknowledged

Broadcaster John Laws [a bit like Australia's version of Rush Limbaugh] has been cleared of breaking broadcasting codes of practice by calling an openly gay television personality a "pillow biter".

But the Australian Media and Communications Authority (AMCA) found today Mr Laws' radio station 2UE in Sydney had committed a breach by not responding to complaints about the comment quickly enough.

On November 3, 2004, Mr Laws on his morning show described Carson Kressley, the star of US reality show Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, as a "pillow biter" and a "pompous little pansy prig".

In its judgement, the AMCA found that while the comments were offensive and tasteless, the licensee of 2UE did not breach clause 1.3(e) of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice. It said the comments were "unlikely to have incited or perpetuated hatred against or vilified any person or homosexual identifying people as a group, on the basis of their sexual preference". But the AMCA also found 2UE did breach the codes by not responding to the complaints within the 30 days stipulated in the codes.

"In arriving at its decision, AMCA acknowledged the sensitivity that the gay community may have to matters such as that broadcast," the judgement said. "However, ACMA also recognised that it was important for community views on such issues to be aired."

2UE has apologised for the breach and "it has reminded staff of the importance of ensuring that responses to listener complaints are dispatched promptly", the judgement said. "ACMA considers that these actions address the compliance issues raised by the investigation and will continue to monitor the licensee's compliance with this requirement," the judgement said.

Gay rights activist Gary Burns has filed another complaint with the NSW Administrative Decision Tribunal (ADT) about the comments.



Sometimes it doesn't even take ten years. And it is a "preservative" that is good for you! How awful!

Hot dogs to the rescue: "Could the salt that preserves hot dogs also preserve your health? Scientists at the National Institutes of Health think so. They've begun infusing sodium nitrite into volunteers in hopes that it could prove a cheap but potent treatment for sickle cell anemia, heart attacks, brain aneurysms, even an illness that suffocates babies. Those ailments have something in common: They hinge on problems with low oxygen, problems the government's research suggests nitrite can ease. Beyond repairing the reputation of this often maligned meat preservative, the work promises to rewrite scientific dogma about how blood flows, and how the body tries to protect itself when that flow is blocked. Indeed, nitrite seems to guard tissues — in the heart, the lungs, the brain — against cellular death when they become starved of oxygen".

The article goes on to say that hot dogs are still "artery-clogging" but in another 10 years time we will probably have a "Hey Presto" on that one too

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