Wednesday 30 December 2015

A new Camel for Snoopy

Because I gave the other one away to someone whose need was greater than mine. This one's lighter, and made of stiff card reinforced with matchsticks and an internal PVA coat.

His opponent is not the Red Baron Manfred Von Richthofen, (despite the colouring) but Austrian ace Godwin von Brumowski.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Limits on Neuroplasticity - and the infamous BSTc layer

I found a wonderfully informative site I wasn't aware of, by an author whose talents at conveying complex concepts to a lay audience exceed my own. Even though I'm the one who's supposed to have a Grad Cert in Science Communication from the ANU.

It's Liz - Day by Day, a blog that apparently started as a record of Transition, but has since become an excellent resource on the science of Sex and Gender.

A bit like this blog, though I started it many years before my own atypical and non-volitional transition. (Zoe kicks herself again for not doing it earlier, not having the courage to).

Anyway, from this site, a graphic illustration of one area of the brain where women tend to have one structural pattern (OK, we've not found any exceptions, just degrees) and men another.

As they say, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Now onto Neuroplasticity - the quality of the brain to change its structure due to environment.

A good article on the limits to it is Equal ≠ The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain

"But wait," argue the anti-sex difference authors, "the brain is plastic"-that is, molded by experience. One group of authors uses the word plasticity in the title of their paper three times to make sure we understand its importance.29 (As someone who has studied brain plasticity for more than 35 years, I find the implication that it never occurred to me amusing.) By the plasticity argument-also made explicitly by neuroscientist Lise Eliot in her book Pink Brain Blue Brain-small sex differences in human brains at birth are increased by culture's influence on the brain's plasticity.30 Eliot further argues that we can avoid "troublesome gaps" between the behaviors of adult men and women (a curious contradiction, by the way, of the view that there are no behavioral differences between the sexes) by encouraging boys and girls to learn against their inborn tendencies.

It is critical to understand where the fallacies in this argument lie. First, it is false to conclude that because a particular behavior starts small in children and grows, that behavior has little or no biological basis. One has only to think of handedness, walking, and language to see the point. Second, this argument presupposes that human "cultural" influences are somehow formed independent of the existing biological predispositions of the human brain. But third, and most important, is the key fallacy in the plasticity argument: the implication that the brain is perfectly plastic. It is not. The brain is plastic only within the limits set by biology.

To understand this critical point, consider handedness. It is indeed possible, thanks to the brain's plasticity, to force a child with a slight tendency to use her left hand to become a right-handed adult. But that does not mean that this practice is a good idea, or that the child is capable of becoming as facile with her right hand as she might have become with her left had she been allowed to develop her natural tendencies unimpeded. The idea that we should use the brain's plasticity to work against inborn masculine or feminine predispositions in the brains of children is as ill conceived as the idea that we should encourage left-handed children to use their right hand.

29 Fine, C. et al. Plasticity, plasticity, plasticity. . . and the rigid problem of sex, Trends in Cognitive Sciences November 2013, Vol. 17, No. 11.
30 Eliot, L., Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps -- And What We Can Do About It, 2009; HMH Publishing.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Serious Stuff

Some quotes from a person of questionable sanity:
" I don’t want to reach the evil fuckers and give them more information, to teach them how to con more Lesbians. I want them gone permanently. "
Pseudo, you’re right — they’re the ones who kept taking about violence and murder. But really, they should be careful about giving some angry women those ideas. I can’t imagine that every one of them hasn’t raped or molested a female at some point. They’re male and that’s what males do!
I knew those fuckers were disgusting, but really, they’re worse than I thought in how they don’t even pretend to care about females. To blame us for them being killed by other men? Their arrogance and oppressiveness is amazing. It is funny though that they are so used to Feminists immediately bowing before them that they don’t know how to deal with that we don’t care what happens to them. They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.
oh my god, Margaret and Fab — I can just imagine their gloating if they can get female body parts and reproduce (not to mention how reproduction is destroying the earth and the likelihood of birth defects and bad health from babies coming from such a place.) There are no words to describe them. There are tiny parasitic wasps who paralyse small animals (spiders, caterpillars, etc.) and lay their eggs on them, so the animal is alive while being slowing eaten by the growing baby. But the wasps aren’t deliberately cruel. These men remind me of a deliberately female-hating version of that. They’ve prove what I’ve been saying for decades — they are more female-hating than even many het men. The character in Silence of the Lambs who skinned women to wear really seems more accurate all the time.
Those quotes are all from just one person, Bev Jo Van Dohre, on just one website (since made private) in 2010. There are many others by her elsewhere just like those.

That wouldn't matter too much, except in light of her influence on the organisers of the Seven Sisters Festival, who don't seem to be aware of her true agenda.

And her influence on certain Australian academics.
Thanks, Sharon. I agree it’s good to get and share support from all potential allies, but it’s loaded for me when you name someone who I feel oppressed by and censored (Dirt) — or plagiarized by (as in the case of Sheila Jeffries, who got some of her politics from us and our book.) Because of her academic privilege, she’s in a position to reach more, and I’m glad about that, but quoting her to me as if I hadn’t been writing about the trans cult for years earlier is annoying to me.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Curse you, Red Baron!

There are times I realise I'm being entirely too serious.