Oct 312019
 

Today it is Samhaim, I spotted an off-the-cuff remark on Twitter about women being executed for ‘witchcraft’ in the past, and I also knew that many men were executed for ‘witchcraft’ in the past, so I decided to see if I could get some half-reasonably accurate data on the genders of executed witches.

I got rather rough lists of names from both Wikipedia and here. Processing the two lists was not fun :-

  1. First I removed duplicates where possible.
  2. I flagged as M(ale) all the names that were obviously (to me) male. Or where there were other clues (“husband”).
  3. I flagged as F(email) all names that were obviously women, those where there was some doubt, and those where there was a hint (“daughter”).
  4. I flagged as F(emale) all surname-only names.

This quite possibly over-estimates the number of women executed for witchcraft, and is nowhere near accurate (a list of 477 names out of tens of thousands is a hopelessly small sample).

Out of that list of names, 384 were women (approximately 75%) and 113 were men (approximately 25%). This is nowhere near equal, but neither were male executions so rare that you can honestly say “women were executed for witchcraft”; it has to be “women and men were executed for witchcraft” (or some variation of that).

Having said that, it would be nice to see some proper historical statistical work done to see if a more accurate ratio could be determined.

The Red Door
Oct 302019
 

I was recently involved in a bit of a twitter spat when I ‘came out’ as an atheist in a religious thread. I was agreeing with a sentiment that a religious moderate put out (except for the “god bit”).

In response, I had two religious fruitcakes going on about how I would find god if I suffered enough.

No, I won’t.

And how condescending is it to assume my unbelief is only skin-deep, and at the first sign of trouble I’ll start asking for help from an infectious imaginary friend?

Put the boot on the other foot: Do christians give up their god at the first sign of trouble? Do muslims? Imagine ‘coming out’ to an atheist that you’re a christian, and the response: “Never mind; maybe sometime you’ll regain your sanity and become god-free”

Impertinent isn’t it?

Giving The Sky The Finger
Aug 172019
 

There is a quite amusing social media feed shaming the poor behaviour of airline passengers which is fair enough – some of the behaviour is quite nasty and shaming it is quite reasonable.

But they also seem to have a foot phobia – naked feet are themselves considered sufficient to be worthy of public shaming. Why?

Now I am not talking about sticking your naked feet in someone’s ear, or anywhere else that closer to someone’s nose than necessary. But on the floor? Why not?

Well there are those who are horrified by the sight of naked feet, and without a good reason there is no harm in not horrifying them.

But there are sometimes good reasons – I have psoriasis and wearing socks and shoes in a warm environment results in sweaty feet. Which in turn results in socks feeling like a cheese grater on my suppurating sores on my feet.

So screw your anti-foot fetish; I’m getting my feet naked whenever I feel the need for it.

The Window

Jan 302019
 

There are a bunch of people out there who jump on every single piece of ‘evidence’ they can find or construct that supposedly contradicts the evidence that the climate is changing for the warmer (and that it is mostly human activity driven).

Why?

In the beginning, some of them may have been honestly dumb, and objected to the notion of global warming simply because it challenged some of their favourite activities. After all who could believe that people could influence the climate?

And after all, what do climate scientists know? They’re just book smart and everyone knows that common sense beats book smart every time.

But over time, something else creeps in (and in some cases is there from the beginning) – a tendency to abuse the human liking for controversy to get more “hits” and a higher profile than would otherwise be the case.

And money of course.

So when you find random people on the Internet throwing rocks at the experts, bear in mind that they might just be innocently dumb or they might have an ulterior motive.

But let’s face it: They’re not after the truth no matter how much they claim otherwise.

Rusty Handrail
Jan 032019
 

It seems Piers Morgan has got in all of a lather about vegan sausage rolls being introduced to a well known pastry shop :-

The funny thing is just how pathetic he is with this comment. Personally I’ve never been to a Greggs simply because the vegetarian selection was so rubbish (it’s been a while since I checked). So that’s one customer that Greggs have missed out on, although now I may pop in for a vegan bloody sausage roll just to annoy Piers (although I somehow doubt they’re actually bloody).

Piers is an example of the kind of person who shouldn’t be put in charge of a waste-paper basket never mind anything more important. He’s under the impression that his choices in life are what everyone should be doing, which can be very dangerous indeed.

Greggs are perfectly free to change their menu at will and offering choices to vegetarians and vegans seems a perfectly sensible thing to do. It increases their potential customer base, and frankly the only meat-eaters who complain are the kind of stodgy thinkers that Piers is.

After all Greggs isn’t going to stop stocking “real” sausage rolls whilst they still have plenty of customers buying them.

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