THIS blog is sheer genius (which is why it probably won’t make a damn bit of difference, in the long-run):

This part is particularly lucid:

Gender identity disorder is a culture bound syndrome–not something you’re born with.

Culture bound syndromes include a wide array of medical issues.  Some are very familiar to Americans and Europeans, like anorexia and bulimia, which arise because of the complex interplay between our culture’s views on beauty, food, and (often) femininity.  Others, though, are experienced more frequently (or exclusively) in other parts of the world, which can give them the air of otherness.  For example, the phenomenon of koro–in which, depending on one’s culture, one believes one’s penis to have been stolen or to have started shrinking into nothingness–is experienced today primarily in West African nations and parts of Southeastern Asia and the subcontinent, although it has been experienced as an epidemic in European/American cultures in centuries past.

Similarly, Dhat syndrome is experienced by people who believe very strongly that they are losing energy and sexual function, and are experiencing extreme symptoms of depression and anxiety, because they are losing semen in their urine.  It happens because of religious views about semen and ejaculation in some cultures in India and Nepal.

The idea that trans identity is neurologically innate, set by laws of biology in utero, is one that can only come from a perspective that is blind to historical and anthropological realities.  In some cultures, people who are outside the gender binary believe quite fully that they have chosen their gender path.  In some, it’s a choice made after the mid-point of one’s life, while in others, puberty is when the issue is decided.  What’s more important is that in different cultures and times, the idea of gender identity and what it means to violate the gender binary and have a non-conforming identity is different.

If the transgender identity phenomenon was, as many people have said (ad nauseam with arguments that sound way too much like people saying that men and women have different brains that explain their culturally-assigned differences), genetic/epigenetic and determined at/before birth, this would imply that the phenonemon of painful, debilitating dysphoria would manifest in this way throughout history and in many cultures.  It doesn’t.  While there are gender non-conforming people throughout history, the near-obsessive, anxiety and depression provoking, dysphoric feeling that one’s primary or secondary sex characteristics are “wrong” for one’s brain is a phenomenon that isn’t reflected in all history or cultures worldwide. It’s culturally specific.

What that means is that some elements of our culture are leading to the ways in which gender non-conformity manifests here, including the phenomena of transgenderism, gender identity disorder, and dysphoria.

This blog looks to explore some of those cultural elements from what I hope will be a somewhat different perspective.  Before we start looking at the specifics, though, I’d like to lay out some basics of what I believe and don’t believe, so that we’re all on the same page and I don’t get hate mail based on the fact that one time you interacted with a radical feminist who was mean to you.

What I DO Believe:

The reluctance to acknowledge GID as a culture bound syndrome comes from a history of discrimination against gender-nonconforming people and the greater willingness of Americans and Europeans to accept gender non-conformity if they view it according to their biological/neuroscience model, in which gender identity is innate and unchanging.  In some way, this makes it “not the person’s fault,” which is a sad and upsetting way to see gender non-conformity viewed.

Dysphoria and GID are experienced as real, sometimes painful phenomena.

Gender non-conformity occurs in many cultures and is the result of the fact that the sex-based gender binary makes no goddamn sense.  GID and dysphoria–the specific ways in which gender non-conformity are experienced in our culture–are what I’m referring to when I say that transgenderism is a culture bound syndrome.

Gender non-conformity and non-compliance is different from culture to culture, both historically and in contemporary societies.

A phenomenal amount of energy is devoted to telling people that their gender identity is brain-based and innate, and that there are “male and female brains.”  This notion is incredibly destructive and has little place in feminist thought.

That “third,” fourth, and so on gender identities in other cultures are also culturally mediated, and that in some of these cultures third gender identities work to reinforce rather than subvert sex-based binaries (we’ll get into this later, I promise).

That the concept of transgenderism as currently manifested in the United States can lead to complex issues of identity, appropriation, and acceptance.

What I DON’T Believe:

That being transgender is a “born this way” phenomenon bound by genetics that is experienced in the same way in all cultures.

That referring to GID as a culture bound syndrome is transphobic.  It is not anorexia-phobic to refer to anorexia as a culture bound syndrome–it doesn’t erase their experiences or trivialize them.  Your culture is an important part of you, and it’s not surprising or abnormal that your culture would manifest in important parts of your gender identity and self-concept.

That being transgender, inclusive or exclusive of SRS and hormone treatments, makes you somehow a bad person.

That transgender and non-gender conforming people should be subject to employment discrimination, street harassment, et cetera.

That people with gender dysphoria or a strong aversion to their culture’s typical gender identity are “faking it” in some way.

That it’s off-limits to discuss the ways in which our culture mediates and creates the phenomenon of gender identity and transgenderism.

Interestingly enough, a rather stark bit of evidence for at least some variant of the above hypothesis is the phenomenon of forced sex-changes, in iran:


I have learned more by simply finding online resources, viewing/reading them, following “tutorials” etc. over the past several weeks, than I *ever* learned from Karl in nearly 30 years:

The most pleasant aspect of this (beyond the acquisition of knowledge itself), has been the fact that I have not had to sit through ass-face’s rhetorical questions about “how can I not know this stuff?” or “where have I been!!!!?”, or any of his other stock INSULTS.

Nor have I had to listen to him whining incessantly about how much his life sucks, how little money he has, how he doesn’t have “enough time” or “resources” to meaningfully sort through the detritus — er, I mean “computer collection’, etc.

I honestly hope that his rickety shit-bucket of a jeep has finally become utterly nonfunctional, resulting in him being fired from his job.  That state of affairs would probably result in him losing the storage units of scrap and (as a bonus) becoming homeless (due to nonpayment of rent) — ALSO resulting in the loss/destruction of the hoarded E-waste cluttering his trailer.

I genuinely hope the above scenario has occured.  There are very few individuals who i genuinely loathe — but I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that Karl is definitely one of them.


Trying to learn anything from Karl is an excercise in futility

I’ve come to the conclusion that any attempt to acquire information from Karl is utterly futile.

Several reasons:

  1. Any information I could possibly acquire from him is available elsewhere.  (The only real difficulty is figuring out where).  Typically, there are a myriad of potential sources.
  2. Given Karl’s track-record of abysmal ignorance in regard to other subjects (history, religion, politics, etc.), and his tendency to buy into viewpoints which are so abysmally stupid as to be “not even wrong” — it is  a safe bet that Karl is probably equally stupid with regard to the few subject areas where he does actually exhibit “skill” (Electronics, amateur radio, computers, etec.)
  3. He tends to resort to what Ayn Rand would have called the “Argument from Intimidation” with alarming frequency.

As Ayn Rand described the above “gimmick”:

The Argument from Intimidation dominates today’s discussions in two forms. In public speeches and print, it flourishes in the form of long, involved, elaborate structures of unintelligible verbiage, which convey nothing clearly except a moral threat. (“Only the primitive-minded can fail to realize that clarity is oversimplification.”) But in private, day-by-day experience, it comes up wordlessly, between the lines, in the form of inarticulate sounds conveying unstated implications. It relies, not on what is said, but on how it is said—not on content, but on tone of voice.

The tone is usually one of scornful or belligerent incredulity. “Surely you are not an advocate of capitalism, are you?” And if this does not intimidate the prospective victim—who answers, properly: “I am,”—the ensuing dialogue goes something like this: “Oh, you couldn’t be! Not really!” “Really.” “But everybody knows that capitalism is outdated!” “I don’t.” “Oh, come now!” “Since I don’t know it, will you please tell me the reasons for thinking that capitalism is outdated?” “Oh, don’t be ridiculous!” “Will you tell me the reasons?” “Well, really, if you don’t know, I couldn’t possibly tell you!”

All this is accompanied by raised eyebrows, wide-eyed stares, shrugs, grunts, snickers and the entire arsenal of nonverbal signals communicating ominous innuendoes and emotional vibrations of a single kind: disapproval.

If those vibrations fail, if such debaters are challenged, one finds that they have no arguments, no evidence, no proof, no reasons, no ground to stand on—that their noisy aggressiveness serves to hide a vacuum—that the Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence.

In karl’s case, this tactic takes the form of:

  1. Bloviating endlessly about whatever conspiracy-theory happens to have captured his attention at any particular time.  (Hint: he will be obsessively dedicated to doing “research”/”uncovering the truth” on whatever-it-is — for at most, a few weeks, after which it will merely serve as a source for convenient “catch-phrases”, and/or window-dressing for the next bout of idiocy.)
  2. Frequent use of phrases “rhetorical questions” such as “How can you not know this, already?”, and “Where have YOU been?” — inevitably prefaced by the same, exaggerated (and vaguely petulant) sigh — something which is undoubtedly intended to “communicate” both his own Olympian greatness and the claim that I should somehow be overwhelmingly glad that he even “bothers” to answer my ‘stupid” questions, at all.

I no longer see any value in wading through his ever-rising sea of bullshit, or attempting to placate him long enough to stave off the next tantrum.  Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for the fact that I live around a thousand miles away from him, I would find it extremely gratifying to punch him in the throat.


Did you ever wonder what Karl would be like if he had actual skills?

He’d probably be somewhat like Richard Stallman.

Here is an off-site link to Stallman’s publicity-packet thingy:!msg/mysociety-community/zkyZpOXjgoQ/_8xyXSxv9zYJ

Richard Stallman is a very strange man.  Having said that, he has actually done an amazingly  valuable thing by springboarding both the FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open-source Software) and “Free culture” movements.  These have both  fueled the “IP Skeptic”/pro-public domain movement.

At any rate, Stallman’s personal idiosyncracies are actually pretty charming and “eccentric”, as compared to Karl (Ka3rcs).  Plus, he devised  the GNU variant of EMACS, which is just about the most convoluted and over-developed text editor in history. 🙂

Plus, the “Friendly parrot” thing is…..funny?  I dunno.


Cool off-site link:

Appears to be a site compiling (as they call it) “netlingo”.

“Netlingo” (as they use the term) appears to be a morass of legitimate tech-related terms from engineering/electronics/computer-type fields, mixed in with a morass of “Leegspeak and pseudo-acronyms created to get around the (idiotic) 160-character flaw endemic to SMS.

On some level, I really, really, really, really, really hate it when people claim to “admire” something which originated as a “work-around”, for something which should never have been a problem in the first place.

A perfect example of this, is so-called “cursive”:

Cursive (in addition to being inherently ugly as fuck, and virtually impossible to actually read, originated because of the flimsiness of quill “pens”:

The origin of the cursive method is associated with practical advantages of writing speed and infrequent pen lifting to accommodate the limitations of the quill. Quills are fragile, easily broken, and will spatter unless used properly. Steel dip pens followed quills; they were sturdier, but still had some limitations. The individuality of the provenance of a document (see Signature) was a factor also, as opposed to machine font.[2]

Question: Do YOU write using a quill?

Answer: NO.  NOBODY encounters quill “pens”, inkwells etc. outside of historical reenactments.

There is literally NO excuse for ANYONE (other than amateur/professional historical reenactors) even being aware of the existence of “cursive”, at all — as anything other than a particularly shitty trivia question.

Much less wasting valuable class time “teaching” it, as part of the curriculum.

Guess what?  Gutenberg’s printing-press dealt a fatal bitch-slap to the “professional” scribe.   “Cursive” should be regarded as extremely obscure, and at least somewhat pretentious — much like caligraphy (which ALSO requires specialized writing implements).

Do we foist calligraphy classes on all students as a core aspect of the curriculum?


Why the hell not?  Cursive-fetishists seem to (mistakenly) regard the (purported) “elegance” of such “handwriting” as intrinsically valuable — so why the fuck don’t we go all the way?  ALL STUDENTS SHOULD BE FORCED TO WRITE EXCLUSIVELY IN ‘CURSIVE’ — USING A QUILL AND INKWELL.

“Penmanship”, my sweaty, wrinkled sack! 😦

Well, shit…..I’m off topic, again! 🙂


“The Boy Electrician” = a hell of a book

I’ve always been attracted toward “retro” informaiton sources.

One of the weirdest things I’ve ever discovered is: oftentimes, older texts do a better job explaining the technologies.   For one thing, they tend not to implicitly treat the real world as a pale shadow of the mathematical models.   There’s someting just conceptually ‘off” about starting from (garbled) descriptions of Bohr’s atomic model and only getting to observable (and thus verifiable) real-world phenomena such as magnetism, conductors/insulators etc. “downstream”

Quite frankly, a much better approach is one which recapitulates — at least conceptually — the sort of observations which culminated in what we can do with electricity/electronics/computers, etc.

That’s where “the boy electrician” comes in.

Quite frankly, as I said: it’s a hell of a book:

Not only does it recapitulate (in abbreviated form) the broad outlines of how human knowledge advanced in regard to magnetism/electricity/electronics, it also contains a myriad of designs which (in principle) would allow someone with the right tools/supplies to do the experiments, and/or build the devices.

The order of presentation is as follows:

  1. Magnetism and magnets
  2. Static electricity
  3. Static electricity machines
  4. Voltaic cells and batteries
  5. Electromagnetism and magnetic induction
  6. Electrical units
  7. Wires and accessories
  8. Electrical measuring instruments
  9. Bells, burglar alarms and annunciators
  10. Telegraphy
  11. Microphones and telephones
  12. Induction coils
  13. Transformers
  14. Wireless telegraphy
  15. Racio recieving sets
  16. An experimental “wireless” telephone
  17. Electric motors
  18. Dynamos
  19. An electric railway
  20. Miniature lighting
  21. Miscelaneous electrical apparatus

I mean, seriously: there’s even a section on winding your own resistors.