Wednesday 26 February 2014

1956 GOP Policy

Methodological Questions in Childhood Gender Identity ‘Desistence’ Research

Friday 21 February 2014

An Oopsie in Arizona.

HB2153 was supposed only to target GLBT people. But the way it's been drafted means it goes rather further than that.

Sec. 2.  Section 41-1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
41-1493.01.  Free exercise of religion protected; definition
A.  Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.
B.  Except as provided in subsection C, government of this section, state action shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
C.  Government State action may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it the opposing party demonstrates that application of the burden to the person person's exercise of religion in this particular instance is both:
1.  In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
2.  The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
D.  A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.  The person asserting such a claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief.  A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.
E.  In For the purposes of this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.
F.  For the purposes of this section, "state action" means any action by the government or the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether the implementation or application is made or attempted to be made by the government or nongovernmental persons.

While the government has a compelling interest in preventing murder in general, it's arguable that there is no compelling interest in preventing the murder of gays, just as there is no compelling interest in preventing them from being arbitrarily fired. The state often sanctions killing, by police in the course of their duties, or execution. There are thus obvious exceptions to the general rule.

Similarly, while the the state has a compelling interest in preventing the murder of children in general, does it have a compelling interest in preventing the sacrifice of a particular child by the child's parent?

This bill is so broad in its exemptions that such cases are at least arguable, and I think, the defendant would succeed on the wording if not the intent.

It's not just *an* interest, it's a *compelling* interest the government must have, in that particular case and those particular circumstances, not in general. And the law must not be over-broad, it has to be the minimum needed to satisfy the *compelling* interest. Exceptions are allowed.

So yes, they have just legalised human sacrifice, if it's done in the name of religion. In fact, all laws unless very narrowly drafted as the minimum to accomplish a goal that is of *compelling* interest no longer apply, if religious belief is invoked as a defence.

That apparently wasn't the intent, but judges have to interpret the law as written.

Friday 14 February 2014

You probably missed this. A game changer.

It's a long video. You can't afford to miss it. The world has changed when we weren't looking.

If that's too long to watch, and too full of marketing hype, here's how it works.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Puff the Magic Dragon

This song always bothered me. This lovely song seemed just plain wrong, and far, far too sad. I always instinctively felt there was something missing.
And apparently, there was.
The original poem had a verse that did not make it into the song. In it, Puff found another child and played with him after returning. Neither Yarrow nor Lipton remember the verse in any detail, and the paper that was left in Yarrow's typewriter in 1958 has since been lost.
Before I found this out, here's the verse I composed myself, a long time ago, as a child.
My song is nearly finished.
All good things have their ends.
But there are new beginnings,
And dragons find new friends.
Puff's new friend's Suzy Alice,
They laugh and have great fun.
For Suzy's great-grandfather
Was Jackie Paper's son.
Consider it released under the Creative Commons license for anyone else who wants to sing a more complete version.

A slightly variant form of this appeared in the comments at

As far as I'm aware, the lyrics of the original verses, though not this one are (C) Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow and no challenge to the current copyright owners is intended.

Saturday 8 February 2014


Earth, as seen from Mars

Friday 7 February 2014

Restoring Natural Sensory Feedback in Real-Time Bidirectional Hand Prostheses

Restoring Natural Sensory Feedback in Real-Time Bidirectional Hand Prostheses Raspopovic et al Sci Transl Med 5 February 2014:

More please, and faster.
Hand loss is a highly disabling event that markedly affects the quality of life. To achieve a close to natural replacement for the lost hand, the user should be provided with the rich sensations that we naturally perceive when grasping or manipulating an object. Ideal bidirectional hand prostheses should involve both a reliable decoding of the user’s intentions and the delivery of nearly “natural” sensory feedback through remnant afferent pathways, simultaneously and in real time. However, current hand prostheses fail to achieve these requirements, particularly because they lack any sensory feedback. We show that by stimulating the median and ulnar nerve fascicles using transversal multichannel intrafascicular electrodes, according to the information provided by the artificial sensors from a hand prosthesis, physiologically appropriate (near-natural) sensory information can be provided to an amputee during the real-time decoding of different grasping tasks to control a dexterous
hand prosthesis.
This feedback enabled the participant to effectively modulate the grasping force of the prosthesis with no visual or auditory feedback. Three different force levels were distinguished and consistently used by the subject. The results also demonstrate that a high complexity of perception can be obtained, allowing the subject to identify the stiffness and shape of
three different objects by exploiting different characteristics of the elicited sensations. This approach could improve the efficacy and “life-like” quality of hand prostheses, resulting in a keystone strategy for the near-natural replacement of missing hands. 

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Satisfaction with Genital Surgery and Sexual Life of Adults with XY Disorders of Sex Development:

Satisfaction with Genital Surgery and Sexual Life of Adults with XY Disorders of Sex Development

Koeler et al, Jnl Clin Endoc Metab Vol 97 Issue 2, February 1, 2012.
Dissatisfaction with function of the surgical result (47.1%) and clitoral arousal (47.4%) was high in XY,DSD partially androgenized females after feminization surgery. Dissatisfaction with overall sex life (37.5%) and sexual anxieties (44.2%) were substantial in all XY,DSD individuals. Problems with desire (70.6%), arousal (52.9%), and dyspareunia (56.3%) were significant in XY,DSD complete females. 46,XY partially androgenized females reported significantly more often partners of female (9.1%) or both sexes (18.2%) and dyspareunia (56.5%) compared with controls. Individuals with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome stated significant problems with desire (81.8%), arousal (63.6%), and dyspareunia (70%).

Care should be improved in XY,DSD patients. Constructive genital surgery should be minimized and performed mainly in adolescence or adulthood with the patients' consent. Individuals with DSD and their families should be informed with sensibility about the condition. Multidisciplinary care with psychological and nonprofessional support (parents, peers, and patients' support groups) is mandatory from child to adulthood.

While I'm not real thrilled with the "XY, DSD" terminology, a nose by any other name would smell. The point is, don't surgically change Intersex kids unless it's immediately medically (not socially) necessary