Monday, 30 April 2007

Giving Religion A Bad Name

Christianity first : From Fundies Say The Darnedest Things and a post dated 9th April 2007:
"Has anyone heard of Linux? It’s a new kind of Windows, but it’s free. I’ve read up on it, and it seems that it’s created and supported by ultra-liberals. Its creator, Richard Stallman, is even a satanist.

They call themselves “hackers”, and their aim is to destroy every big company, everything that is conservative. I can’t tolerate this sort of persecution. The LORD himself was a conservative and he was nailed to a tree for it. It won’t be long before all of us are crucified too if Linux succeeds."
The Stupid... it Burns...

But really, such insanity in relatively harmless. I doubt that even a million people take it seriously, though I could be wrong. The point is, even those who think Linus Thorvald is one of the Spawn of Satan don't actually attempt to kidnap him and burn him at the stake.

The worst, the most evil things done in the name of Christ are usually done to one's own family. Case in point: Dr Jack Hyles. Much of what he says is good sense, giving children responsibility over money at an early age, for example. Yet much of the morality is taught as conditioned reflex. Thought is actively discouraged. At best, the tract is humourless
One of the most important things a child should be taught is to be cheerful at home since cheerfulness and cleanliness are both contagious. We must be careful to affect others properly with our personalities. A child should be taught to laugh. (Of course, this should also be done with propriety and temperance.) Laughter makes one more healthy. It causes the heart to beat faster and sends the blood bounding through the body. When a person laughs, respiration is increased, the eye brightens, the chest expands, bad air is forces out of the lungs, the internal organs are caused to vibrate, etc. Laughter has a good effect on the liver and gastric juices.
At worst...
Sometimes spanking should leave stripes on the child. Proverbs 20:30 says, "The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil; so do stripes the inward parts of the belly." Our natural man rebels a such punishment, but we are reminded in I Corinthians 2:14 that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. Hence, we have to trust the God Who knows more than we and obey Him.
...
During the formative years, yea, the infant years, the child should be spanked. As soon as his is old enough to walk away from his parents he should be spanked if he does not walk where they say he should walk.
...
The spanking should be a ritual. No mother or father should jerk the child up and in a fit of temper administer a spanking. In fact, no punishment should ever be given in a fit of temper. The ritual should be deliberate and last at least ten or fifteen minutes. (In the long run time will be saved using this method.) It should be a ritual dreaded by the child. He should not only dread the pain but the time consumed in the ordeal.
...
Deuteronomy 21:18-21, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that when they have chastened him, will not harken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shall thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

This is not to say that same thing should be done in this dispensation.,
I was beginning to wonder. Though he doesn't say it's forbidden, merely not compulsory.
Require strict obedience. This obedience should always be immediate, instant, without question or argument. What the father says do, the son does. He does it well, he does it immediately, and he does it without argument. The parents allow no exceptions to the rule. Hence, obedience is the law of the land and the child should not deem it necessary to have an explanation for the orders he has received from his parents. Many unconverted psychologists say that the parents should always take time to explain to the child why he should do certain things and that parents should never command a child to do something without the child knowing the reason. Nothing could be further from the truth! The parents should not have to convince the child the logic behind their orders. This same thing transferred into adult life will bring anarchy to a society.
Sieg Heil! And no, I'm not joking, this is exactly what Fuehrerprinzip is all about. Mindless obedience to Authority.
To be sure, all good Christian men want submissive, feminine, ladylike, and godly wives.
...
Teach her strict obedience. Other chapters stress the fact that obedience is the most necessary ingredient to be required from the child. This is especially true in the life of a girl, for she must be obedient all of her life. The boy who is obedient to his mother and father will someday become the head of the home; not so for the girl. Whereas the boy is being trained to be a leader, the girl is being trained to be a follower. Hence, obedience is far more important to her, for she must someday transfer it from her parents to her husband.

This means that she should never be allowed to argue at all. She should become submissive and obedient. She must obey immediately, without question, and without argument. The parents who require this have done a big favor for their future son-in-law.
By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them, and now listen to what the Fundamentalist Biblical Evangelist had to say about Dr Hynes and those he taught. This was after he'd been caught defrauding hundreds of thousands of dollars, in adultery, and his well-brought-up preacher son being prime suspect of the torture death of a 15 month old infant under his care. Read it, and weep:
In our electronic age there are many web sites, we understand, dedicated to exposing Dr. Hyles. May their tribe be multiplied. Unfortunately, those we have seen have little more to offer than what the sponsors gleaned from our past articles – and few of them give any credit to their sources. Alas, some didn't even get the facts straight. We are not complaining about their use of our material – we merely wish they would be accurate in what they publish. As for me, I am just glad the message is getting out. Hopefully, many lives and ministries will be saved as a result.

Unfortunately, the same sordid story is still going on. Out of many, many examples we could give, here is just one fruit of the Hyles mentality and practice, something we published in our May-June 2000 issue of The Biblical Evangelist. It will probably remind you of the David and Brenda Hyles situation with little Brent Stevens. This was the editorial:

ANOTHER TRAGIC HYLES FALL-OUT!

We consign this terrible tragedy to the Hyles syndrome because, for one thing, the man in question was formerly head of the Hyles-Anderson College Bible Department and billed by Dr. Jack Hyles as the greatest Bible teacher in Christendom, or words to that effect. For another thing, he is a Hyles clone, the man who testified publicly that he sometimes, in petitioning deity, catches himself praying, “Dear Brother Hyles” – a matter which may not miss the mark all that much for many of the Hammond elite. His name is Joe Combs and until recently he was pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bristol, Tennessee (now defunct).

This sad story began in 1977 when Joe and Evangeline Lopez Combs, unable to conceive children, decided to adopt a son. Evidently they were pleased and the following year the couple went to what is now the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries, Inc., in nearby Valparaiso, Indiana – a highly respected organization on the approved list of social agencies at the time for the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches – and selected a beautiful 4-month old girl. They signed an adoption agreement and took custody of her, naming her Esther Alice Evangeline Combs. (Strangely, the womb was then opened and the couple produced four biological children.) So far, so good.

Alas, this beautiful story ends right there. The Combses made that precious soul their personal slave and subjected her to a life of horror and abuse – physical, mental, emotional and social – one that ended only when she went to authorities in Georgia and told her tale, bringing to termination nearly two decades of horror. (She had been sent to that State to live with Joe’s brother and his family because Tennessee police had filed a petition for guardianship on Esther – and for the first time in her life she discovered living.)

A life of horror for Esther? Let me count some of the ways.

Å° Her earliest memory was of being thrown down the stairs while strapped in her high chair.

Å° At age 3 or 4, after accidentally dropping a spoon in a pot of hot oatmeal, her hands were burned when Mrs. Combs made her dig it out.

Å° Accused by siblings of jumping on a bed, Mrs. Combs hurled her against the wall and knocked out two front teeth, which were hurriedly placed back in their sockets and grew oddly spaced and crooked.

Å° On one occasion, in a fit of temper, Mrs. Combs threw a shoe at her, hitting her in the head and opening a bloody cut. Evangeline promptly sewed it up with needle and thread, then referred to the scars as “her marks of the beast.”

Å° She was beaten with a hose for falling asleep in church.

Å° Esther was treated as a slave for the rest of the family her entire life, told by the Combses that this was God’s purpose for her life. When she didn’t finish her duties on time, she was beaten.

Å° Over the years she was burned with a curling iron, beaten with a baseball bat, and tortured in other ways. Altogether, there were 410 scars on the poor girl’s body, all documented and charted by the prosecution for the jury!

Å° While the other children were home schooled, she rarely got to attend. When a baby sitter taught her to write her name, Esther was beaten and the greatest Bible teacher in Christendom told her that Jesus didn’t learn to read and write until He was 12 years old, and she shouldn’t either. By the way, this girl and another sitter testified that they suspected abuse, but were afraid of this highly revered Bible professor. The other girl did report her misgivings to the school president, but no action was taken. (The policy is, you may recall, If I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen; even if I did see it, I was probably mistaken; and even if I did see it and wasn’t mistaken, someone else had to have seen it in order to confirm that I saw it!)

Å° As a teen-ager, Combs bound a rope around her neck, then draped her over his back, cutting off her air supply until she passed out.

Å° It was also as a teen-ager that the greatest Bible teacher in Christendom raped her repeatedly, usually on church property (where they were living).

Å° Esther said Mrs. Combs repeatedly pulled chunks of her flesh out with a pair of pliers.

Å° On at least two occasions Esther ran away from home, not getting far either time and each time brought back by police – when she was severely beaten for her actions.

Å° Finally, as a legal teen-age adult, desperate and unhappy, she decided to end her life by drinking antifreeze. She was found unconscious and rushed by ambulance to an area hospital and the seeds for ending the abuse were planted. Physicians found layers of scar tissue from wounds and fractures than had not healed properly. She had no birth certificate, no school records, no medical records, and no Social Security. Because the frightened girl denied being abused, she was returned to the horror house, but a few months later the police filed their petition for guardianship.

Prosecutor Barry Staubus summed it up well: “Esther lived as a broken person, devastated by physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse without any other family… and deprived of self-worth.”

Is the above true? I would certainly be interested in someone explaining those 410 scars on Esther’s body in any other way! The jury concluded both were guilty on 15 of 16 charges (Judge Jerry Beck had dismissed four charges earlier, agreeing with the defense that the prosecution had not filed them in time – not that the pair was innocent of them) and the verdicts certainly pointed to their guilt. (By the way, the fact that the jury only deliberated four hours indicates the panel thought the evidence was overwhelming.) The only acquittal came on the charge against Mrs. Combs of aggravated assault, which her husband had committed but during which she had stood passively by and hence permitted and condoned.

Joseph Combs was found guilty on 11 counts, namely, charges of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated perjury, aggravated rape, and 7 other counts of rape. The jury imposed fines totally $240,000. Evangeline Combs was found guilty on 6 counts, namely, charges of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and 4 counts of aggravated child abuse. The jury levied $150,000 in fines against her. The actual sentencing was scheduled for April 25th (past our deadline for reporting) and, if sentences ran consecutively instead of concurrently, “the greatest Bible teacher in Christendom” could get 144 years in the slammer and Mrs. Combs 73 years. It is our conviction that neither should ever see the outside of a prison wall again, but we are enough of a realist to know that American jurisprudence in our day and age doesn’t work that way.

The big surprise to us was that the “great American emancipator of preachers from sin’s penalties,” Jack Hyles, didn’t fly to Tennessee and testify for the Combses, trying to get them off the hook – as he has done for so many others over the years. Perhaps he realized there was too much evidence for even him to offset in this case.
Now I am not a Christian, I don't consider myself worthy of that name. I lack faith, and I don't accept Jesus as my personal saviour. But I do know this : that those who can commit such acts, without repenting of them, are not Christian either. They may know the KJV forwards, backwards and sideways, but they Do Not Get It. Christ's Message.

For wholesale violence though, torture, slavery, conquest and Murder in God's name, you have to go to Islam now. Yes, they're not part the majority, but the minority is large enough for anyone who is not a Muslim to reach for a weapon for self-defence.



A partial transcript:
They want Islam to become Love and Peace. No my dear Muslim Brothers, Islam come to Dominate the World!...
Terrorism is part and parcel of Islam...
Offensive Jihad.. to Conquer, to establish the authority of the Sharia.
Mohammed... took part in 27 battles.. and all offensive Jihads!
All offensive Jihads, and we should follow them.
You may say to yourself no no no they are innocent. No Kuffar is Innocent! Innocence.. is only for the Muslims.
Kill him! And take his money, and his property! And kill them because they are Kuffar!

And according to a spokesman for the Muslim Public Affair Commission, he is not an extremist. And his arrest "does not go down well in the Muslim community".

Where the arrest of the unspeakable Combs pair was not just welcomed by the Christian community, they felt a deep sense of shame that one of their own could pervert Christ's teachings into such Evil. And felt some degree of expiation when the pair were punished.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Remembrance of Things Past

It is now nearly 2 years since my Transition started. In fact, if what we think is the cause is correct, 2 years ago today my metabolism was already starting to go completely haywire due to the anti-cholesterol drug regime I'd just commenced.
The first psychological symptoms cased by drastic hormonal changes showed up on May 4th. The physiological changes perhaps a few days later, perhaps two weeks, it's difficult to say. I really wish there had been someone taking measurements and notes, things happened so quickly and the changes were so stressful, I didn't keep records the way I should have.

OK, I was rather busy at the time.

Anyway, the record of how I felt is on this blog, and sometimes in comments elsewhere. I found some recently, that reminded me of the me that was, Zoe emerging from her chrysalis, yet still not complete.

It's over at Opinion Dominion. Here is the whole thing.

A Brain Change?
Goodness, what odd things can happen in this world of blogging. Alan Brain (see left) kindly recommended this site in a post a few weeks ago, and now appears to be undergoing a not unwelcomed dramatic alteration in his life, due to hormonal changes the source of which he says are a medical mystery. Not only that, he wants to complete the task, as it were, inviting donations.

I don't think he is joking; he sounds sincere. But unusually "matter of fact" about it. He wasn't on 4 corners tonight, was he?

No one has commented on this yet as far as I can see from my blog role. Certainly there are no comments on his site to his "new image" post. I can just imagine everyone out there being slack jawed like me wondering what to make of it.

That is all I can think of to say about it ....

posted by Steve at 11:57 PM

3 Comments:

Zoe Brain said...

It's hilarious - but I'm not joking.

As for "matter of fact", well, you know what happens to test pilots' voices when things start turning to custard.

As I flatly stated to the endocrinologist after calmly reciting various figures for weight etc over time "This is the way I deal with stress situations. I calmly and rationally analyse and externalise them. This is my panic reaction, and believe you me, I'm in a full-fledged panic right now."

It's only afterwards, when the fuss is past, that I gibber in the corner for a bit.

Though as of a few days ago, when I said "To heck with it, let the world know", I've felt a lot better, even starting to enjoy things.

I had a word with the CEO of my firm today - instead of transitioning to female appearance in January, as I'd planned, the male appearance is becoming so unconvincing that it might have to be in 3-4 weeks.

I can't wait.
1:05 AM

Zoe Brain said...

BTW the 4 Corners program was about as accurate as humanly possible. First rate.

I even cried twice. Firstly at the description of Kevin's Puberty Blues (you can have no idea how hellish it can be... really...) as I recalled my own, and then when they all lived happily ever after.

Kevin may be genetically XX, but he's a million times more male than I ever was.
1:08 AM

Zoe Brain said...

By the way, that should be "she sounds sincere..."

But you're forgiven. It took me a little time for me to get used to the concept myself, I don't expect others to do so in a hurry. :-)

And even I forget to do neccessary things, like change my Blogger ID...
1:06 PM
That was on July 25th, 2005. But on July 27th, I had a most distressing experience. I was taken for a "Butch Lez" by some drunks on the way to work. They threatened sexual assault. I wasn't passing as male, even in my normal office attire. Even hiding the changes under baggy clothing.

So on July 28th I went fulltime, not in "3-4 weeks" and certainly not in January 2006.

Me, the imperturbable, implacable and serene Zoe Brain, I was terrified. I just had no choice. Looking back, I am amazed that anyone could do it, least of all me.

But I had to survive. For my Boy.
Now look at you, you must be growing
A quarter of an inch a day
You've already lived near half the years
You'll be when you go away
With your teddy bears and alligators
Enterprise communicators
All the tiny aviators head into the sky
And while the others play with you
I hope to find a way with you
And sometimes spend a day with you
I'll catch you as you fly
Or if I'm worth a mother's salt
I'll wave as you go by

And if you should ever wonder
How the years and you'll survive
Honey, you've got a mother who sings to you
Dances on the strings for you
Opens her heart and brings to you
An honest lullaby



One of my favourite songs, always was. I'll never be my Boy's mother, but yes, maybe worth a mother's salt. He was and is my inspiration, and to be able to love my son without reservation, as mothers do, is a gift beyond price.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

It's all Bush's Fault

From an e-mail I got today :
Zoe,

A piece of paper will soon be placed on George Bush's desk in the Oval Office.

By picking up a pen and signing his name to it, he could end the war in Iraq.

The House and Senate united and passed a bill that would provide for our troops now and begin a redeployment from Iraq to bring them home.

We're just one signature away from ending the tragic mistake that has cut short thousands of American lives, cost tens of billions of dollars, and destroyed America's global moral leadership. But only if the president signs the bill.

I opposed this war from the beginning, and I would sign the bill to end it in a heartbeat.

If you would too, please take a moment to tell someone just how simple it would be to end this war:

http://www.barackobama.com/onesignature

All of the politics, all of the spin, all of the rhetoric means very little today.

The overwhelming majority of Americans want this war to end. The president must follow them.

America is one signature away.

Obama's Signature
Now you might ask why has an Australian gotten onto a US Presidential candidate's mailing list. Simple: what happens in the US affects the world, and as I don't have a vote, all I can do is ask questions, and contact the campaign raising issues.

This facile e-mail doesn't fill me with confidence. The US is not the cause of the war in Iraq - most of the casualties are innocent Iraqi civilians, kids choked and blinded by chlorine gas, and similar atrocities. Withdrawing support from the troops is like demobilising the police during a gang war.

I'm very glad Senator Barack Obama is not president of the US. I hope things stay that way.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Hi SportsFans!

"I am a transsexual sportswriter" says the LA Times' Mike Penner.
It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words. I realize many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them.

That's OK. I understand that I am not the only one in transition as I move from Mike to Christine. Everyone who knows me and my work will be transitioning as well. That will take time. And that's all right. To borrow a piece of well-worn sports parlance, we will take it one day at a time.

Transsexualism is a complicated and widely misunderstood medical condition. It is a natural occurrence — unusual, no question, but natural.

Recent studies have shown that such physiological factors as genetics and hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can significantly affect how our brains are "wired" at birth.

As extensive therapy and testing have confirmed, my brain was wired female.

A transgender friend provided the best and simplest explanation I have heard: We are born with this, we fight it as long as we can, and in the end it wins.
Yes. I know how she feels.

Christine is not the only sports writer to transition though. In 2005 Christina
Kahrl
stopped writing under the name "Chris Kahrl". Most readers of Baseball Prospectus didn't realise that her name had ever been anything else, a stealth "transition in plain sight".

Reaction to Christine's transition has been overwhelmingly supportive. That surprised me.

Some of us have independantly taken it upon ourselves to talk about the subject to Christine's peers over at SportsJournalists.Com. We've tried to educate rather than evangelise, to put a human face on the situation. Our reception was cordial, warm even. A follow-up article gave more details, and confirmed to some degree my speculation as to how long Christine had been in therapy, and on a hormone regime.

699. It is NOT natural. He has let the demonic perverseness of todays sick world take over his thinking. With liberal doctors and all, they can make anyone without faith and prayer most likely believe any of the devils lies. Wired at birth?? LOL! Prayer defeats ANYTHING. He should try that.
Submitted by: Mike
11:29 AM PDT, April 26, 2007
Oh well, there's always a Critic.

UPDATE: Christine now has a Blog at the LA Times.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

A Super Website

The Superman Website.
I was never a fan of that comic, too many illogicalities that bothered me even at the age of 6.

But this is a cultural Icon, the Super Hero sui generis, and on the site you'll find some pretty good fiction too.

And artwork, from the Art Deco of Action Comics #1 in 1938....



To the Realist Minimalist of All-Star Superman #1 in 2006



For Truth Justice and Freedom (and/or The American Way when I was young). Which makes it kind of ironic inasmuch as he was an undocumented Alien.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Reality isn't what it used to be

And what's more it never was.
An Experimental Test of Non-Local Realism :
Most working scientists hold fast to the concept of 'realism' - a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation. But quantum physics has shattered some of our cornerstone beliefs. According to Bell's theorem, any theory that is based on the joint assumption of realism and locality (meaning that local events cannot be affected by actions in space-like separated regions) is at variance with certain quantum predictions. Experiments with entangled pairs of particles have amply confirmed these quantum predictions, thus rendering local realistic theories untenable. Maintaining realism as a fundamental concept would therefore necessitate the introduction of 'spooky' actions that defy locality. Here we show by both theory and experiment that a broad and rather reasonable class of such non-local realistic theories is incompatible with experimentally observable quantum correlations. In the experiment, we measure previously untested correlations between two entangled photons, and show that these correlations violate an inequality proposed by Leggett for non-local realistic theories. Our result suggests that giving up the concept of locality is not sufficient to be consistent with quantum experiments, unless certain intuitive features of realism are abandoned.
Simple summary : "Spooky Action at a Distance" is not enough to save common sense interpretations of Reality. If a tree falls over in a forest, then it must make a noise, because if there's no-one there to observe it, the tree doesn't exist. Neither does the forest. Though if the Forest is observed, the tree does exist, as the Forest observes the tree...

A very insightful comment over at Slashdot :
You're not getting this.

Consider a cat of the Schroedinger subspecies. In the experiment, it is neither alive nor dead until observed. A rock, positioned near the detection apparatus, can observe the result. So for the rock, the cat is either alive or dead. But until YOU observe the rock, you don't know whether the rock is happy that the cat is alive, or sad that the cat will never again rub it's tail against the quartz inclusion on the rock's lower anterior surface. The quantum wave-function describing the cat has collapsed with respect to the rock, but to you the quantum wave-function of the cat and the rock are now entangled; in fact, by observing the rock and causing its quantum wave function to collapse, you will also cause the quantum wave function of the cat to collapse... but in both cases, it is collapsing for YOU, the observer. Every other observer has to make them collapse for themselves by either observing something the cat/rock, or observing something that has already collapsed those wave-functions for itself.

Sorry man, but the universe isn't obliged to live up to the expectations that you've developed based on your highly limited experience with the laws of physics. You've observed light in the 300nm to 800nm range, you've observed matter in the 1 milligram to 10 tonne range moving at velocities in the 0.0 m/s to 600.0 m/s range, and just maybe some matter in the 10 gram to 1 microgram range moving at velocities up to 1000 m/s. But man, that ain't shit. The world contains matter moving at up to 0.999999 C, blocks of matter so cold that void of space is over a trillion times warmer, particles that change from antimatter to matter for no apparent reason, and photons energetic enough to shred the nuclei of atoms like a Kattus-Schroedingerus shreds catnip-infused kleenex. There are particles whose position is so inherently imprecise that they have trouble turning because they would start colliding with themselves (like humble electron, for example). There are gobs of matter so weighty that they curve space forming telescopes that are light-years long.

If you think you have even the vaguest conception of how the universe works, then you are inherently wrong, because Human's can't conceive of how the universe works by any means. If you even attempt to apply common sense to the universe, you'll never be able to accept any of the research that actually explains how computers, lasers, DNA, proteins, and light-bulbs work.
Of course another insightful post replying to that one starts off "It isn't that simple....."

Monday, 23 April 2007

Here is the Weather Forecast

A Gregorian Anglican Chant I've been looking for for 40 years or so, since I first heard it.

An animated stereogram of a shark.

And finally, the TRUTH about Darwin.
Being a TRUE and IMPARTIAL account of the history of that damnable religion, the great EVIL of DARWINISM, also called EVOLUTIONISM and its attempts to bring the downfall of all moral and TRUE CHRISTIAN ™ virtue.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Based on accounts of the events which form this evil history written by the best historians of the evil devices of DARWINISM and EVOLUTIONISM, and based on the best scientific principle of SUBJECTIVITY, and rejecting utterly the ATHEIST doctrine of OBJECTIVITY which clouds the mind of mankind and leads to the rejection of TRUE CHRISTIANITY ™.

Written by a TRUE BELIEVER.

Chapter I

William Smith, his white shirt unlaced to show the bronzed muscular body it barely covered, pondered the rocks.

"Dig here, Lads" His commanding voice rang out across the assembled crowd of thugs and cutthroats, every one a devoted evilutionist intent on overthrowing true Christianity (TM). "We'll bury them here".

The foundries and factories had been working at full capacity for years, manufacturing exquisitely detailed ammonites, graptolites and molluscs by the million. The funds of the evilutionists were vast, and they had not spared any detail in their dastardly plot.........


UPDATE: In response to a comment on its provenance, the story of the Weather Forecast is available atBatesline.com. It is by the Master Singers, and was first broadcast (in the K, naturally) in 1966. I first heard it when I was on vacation from my boarding school.

And as a special treat, the UK Highway Code from the same group.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Left or Right?

Not Politics : Brains
You Are 30% Left Brained, 70% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Except that I'm a Dog person, am not into sports at all, and combine meticulous attention to detail (I write safety-critical software!) with a hefty dollop of feminine intuition.
So this is one survey I have my doubts about.

Parenthetically, I've also gone from being outstandingly good at intuitive thinking in my field to being just another female engineer. What was rare and prized is now expected as a matter of cpurse.

With the hormonal re-wiring, I genuinely have lost some degree of typically male cognitive ability, despite efforts to retain it. I can't even fool myself that I haven't. Overall though, my thinking efficiency is improved. I miss not having an instinctive awareness of direction, but I use landmarks more to make up for it. Most of all, I relate far better to people, and they to me. I like that.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

We Band of Brothers

Not that I would pass the physical now. Thank Goodness!

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;

Over at Bastards Inc, the story of two Majors receiving the UK's Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).



One Australian, One US Marine. And if that's not a vile pair, I don't know what is! Onya Guys. Bravo Zulu and Well Done.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Pre-Natal Hormones and Post-Natal Cognition

From PhysOrg.com :

In one of the first research studies to assess sex differences in cognitive performance in nonhuman primates, researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center have found the tendency to use landmarks for navigation is typical only of females.

This finding, which corroborates findings in rodents and humans and is available in the online edition of Hormones and Behavior, suggests there is not just a difference in how well females and males solve spatial problems, but also in which types of cues they use to solve such problems. Researchers are applying this knowledge to gain a better understanding of how the brain develops and functions.

Lead researcher Rebecca Herman, PhD, says the very fact females and males use different strategies suggests there are subtle sex differences in the way the brain develops. As an example of these strategies, Herman said men, when finding a location, generally use north and south as well as distance estimates whereas women prefer physical cues such as street names, signs and buildings.
...
All animals were studied once they reached adulthood. Researchers observed as the monkeys navigated an open area to locate highly valued food items in goal boxes. The researchers varied the consistency of the food locations (spatial information) and the presence of colored markers (landmarks) on baited goal boxes so they could assess the monkeys’ memory and use of spatial arrangement and markers.

"When both spatial and marker cues were available, performance did not differ by sex or prenatal treatment," said Herman. "When salient landmarks directly indicate correct locations but spatial information is unreliable, females perform better than males," she continued. “Male subjects whose testosterone exposure had been blocked early in gestation were more able to use the landmarks to navigate than were control males. They performed more like females. This suggests that prenatal testosterone likely plays a role in establishing the sex difference in using landmarks for navigation," said Herman. The researchers’ next steps are to study if males’ performance differs as their circulating testosterone levels change normally.
I think it will, based on my own experience. Even before we knew what was happening, I recorded differences like this. I find it remarkable though that this is not a characteristic of H.Sap, but in Primates in general. The way our brain-structure is sexually dimorphic - gendered - appears to be embedded deep in our evolutionary tree. It could be that instead of the social ordering of females as gatherers and males as hunters leading to the evolution of congnitive specialisation, but that the social ordering was already hard-wired in us from ancestors far more distant than the proto-chimpanzee that human, bonibo and forest chimps are all descended from.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Weekend Reading (and Writing)

Lessons from the Varsity if Life - how the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides came to be, by Baden-Powell himself. I wonder if my mother remembers explaining to me why I couldn't join the Brownies? I'd forgotten it myself until recently. No, I didn't join the Cubs, that wasn't me.

Some people have very odd ideas about Feminine beauty. Note: some pix not safe for work too.
One person nominated this site for the “most bitter website” award because it describes Heidi Klum as masculine. She was flabbergasted, like no doubt some other people are when they come across Heidi Klum being called masculine, which is likely not at a whole lot of places apart from this site.
My flabber was thoroughly gasted, anyway. Technically, he's correct, Heidi does show some effects of a normal female amount of testosterone in her face. But then, all women not overweight do, unless they're genetic males with CAIS.

Terchnology that could allow people with 46xx genes to be fathers. Also applicable to people with 47xxy genes, and those with 46xy genes but no gonads. Like me....

Pk = 2.0. The Japanese Lunge Mine. Yes, a Kamikaze weapon.
.

Thoughts on Women in the Military, from my unusual perspective. The main disadvantage is the effect on the menfolk when one of the gals gets killed or maimed. They tend to go berserk - which, contrary to many leftist pacifists' beliefs, is Not A Desirable Thing in the Military.

Fat Gene found by Scientists.
A Gene that contributes to obesity has been identified for the first time, promising to explain why some people easily put on weight while others with similar lifestyles stay slim.

Pictures of when Good MRI Machines Go Bad. Or rather, when someone lets a steel chair - or an oxygen tank - get too close to one.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Not that they're Biased, Mind You

They are a Union which just looks after its own members.

From the Jerusalem Post :
Britain's National Union of Journalists denounced Israel on Friday for its "military adventures" in Gaza and Lebanon, called on the government to impose sanctions and urged a boycott of Israeli goods.

By a vote of 66 to 54, the annual delegate's meeting of Britain's largest trade union for journalists called for "a boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions, and [for] the [Trades Union Congress] to demand sanctions be imposed on Israel by the British government."
...
The motion condemning Israel's "savage" behavior toward Palestinian civilians in the wake of "the defeat of its army" by Hizbullah passed by a wide margin.
...
On the same day the National Union of Journalists condemned Israel, the organization's international affiliate, the International Federation of Journalists, called on the Palestinian Authority to secure the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped five weeks ago by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza.

IFJ general-secretary Aidan White urged the "Palestinian government to do everything in its power to make sure [Johnston] is released immediately."

The kidnapping had done "great harm not just to journalism but to the development of the region in general by making it impossible for journalists to work safely and report on developments there," he said.

Johnston's kidnapping was not on the NUJ's agenda.
Course not. The Joos weren't involved.

Correction
Thanks to an (unfortunately anonymous) tip in the comments, the BBC is reporting
The UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has strongly condemned the abduction of BBC reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza more than a month ago.

Delegates voted unanimously to support the campaign to free him at their annual conference in Birmingham.
So they do look after their members. Well, sorta. You see, there's been no actual action against the kidnappers, unlike that against the Joos. Sorry, Zionazi slime. Ooops, Zionist Entity. OK, if you have to, Israel, but everyone knows how they feel about them.
Anyway, regardless of my opinion of Mr Johnstone and his colleagues, I hope he gets home safely.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Num Bao Sao Parn

One of the more unexpected side-effects of being TS is that often you end up Siamophillic.
That is to say, you fall in love with the chaotic, weird and wonderful people and culture of the Kingdom of Thailand. This is because so many of us go there for world-class surgery, better than is available in our own country, at very low prices.

Now I'm a Siamophile from way back, from 1990 in fact, when I first started doing pre-sales work with the Royal Thai Navy on the COSYS Naval Combat System. Originally for their Carrier, but the whole point about the system was its modularity, a subset of functions was fine for a Destroyer, and a smaller subset for a Patrol Vessel.

Here's a sweet song that is as undefinable, multicultural, and delightful as Thailand itself. It's by a group called "Carabao", and see how many different cultures you can see have influenced it.

Friday, 13 April 2007

To Kill A Mockingbird - Revisited

A Comment over at Catallarchy. Quoted in full.

Orange County, Ca, about 72 hours ago. A minority-group woman is accused by her ex-spouse of a crime. She has witnesses, photos, even photos posted on the web at the time they were taken, placing her elsewhere. The witnesses were willing to testify too.

But the prosecutor, when made aware of the defence, gets her 9 year old daughter placed temporarily in state care, as being “endangered". She’s told by the prosecutor that she will never see her child again - but if she wants her current spouse to retain custody, she better plead Guilty.

She does, and has been sent to serve her 11 month sentence - in a MALE prison.

Not Fiction, as I said, it happened 72 hours ago. In the USA. We couldn’t stop it, but we are working at gathering the evidence to prove it, and get oversight of the prosecutor, and the very compliant judge who approved everything. You can imagine what happens to a woman put in with the general male prison population. Some of the more hardened sex-workers it’s happened to have survived. This woman runs a web hosting service.

Now a quote:

Ann Coulter - Called one man a faggot.

Don Imus - Called a team “nappy headed hoes.”

Michael Savage - Called a murdered (minority group) woman a psycho freak. “Yeah,…. psychopath. [She] should have been in a back ward in a straitjacket for years, howling on major medication.” “But you know what? You’re never gonna make me respect the freak. I don’t want to respect the freak. The freak ought to be glad that they’re allowed to walk around without begging for something.“
---
From Transadvocates.com.

The Minority Group in question are Transsexuals - not “Transgendered” or “Part-Timers", but those born with HBS, Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome, who have mainly-male brains in mainly-female bodies, or the reverse. I sat “Mainly” because about 30% have some other Intersex condition apart from HBS, such as PAIS or Kleinfelter Syndrome.

The Railroaded woman has been living in a female role, has had enough hormone treatment to give her the usual feminine shape, give off female pheremones etc. But hasn’t had her operation yet - you see, with all the checks and balances, it requires at least a year of living fulltime, and not one but two separate psychiatric assessments before any surgeon will perform the surgery. She doesn’t have the $35,000 anyway, not yet. In fact, she ran out of money for her defence, and had to rely on a public defender.

She has a vengeful ex-spouse though. A prosecutor who is interested in nothing but a conviction. And an… eccentric… Judge, who had no time for such defendants. When it was pointed out that his actions were unconstitutional, he didn’t deny it, but said he was going to do them anyway. People tend to lose the power of rational thought when such an obvious pervert is accused of child molestation - even if they can prove they couldn’t have been near the scene, had such a crime occurred.

How many women reading this think that could survive 72 hours - let alone 11 months - in a male prison? How many think they could survive even 7 hours? But how many mothers would plead guilty, just for the sake of their step daughter? A child who they know they will never be allowed to contact afterwards as a convicted sex offender, even if they survive the ordeal?

It’s too late to save her, what she’s already been through means she will never be the same person again - assuming she’s still alive. But perhaps if we can gather the extraordinary evidence - for such extraordinary claims require such - we may stop it happening again.

That’s being far too optimistic of course, but maybe we can cut down the rate at which it happens.
It's different when it's someone you know, have spoken to on the phone, exchanged e-mails with.

Time to see if we can get anywhere with These Organisations.

My apologies to the many Americans reading this, and especially those who live in Orange County, California. Here am I, a Durned Furriner, interfering blatantly in your country's internal affairs. So Be It. All I can say is, feel free to do the same here in the Australian Capital Territory if you personally witness such an egregious Injustice. I will thank you for it.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Our Stellar Neighbourhood

Exosolar : a really neat Flash application enabling you to see our stellar neighbourhood. Great if you're writing SF:
"From Sol we jumped to the Inner Worlds of 61 Cygni, then Sigma Draconis, before heading to the colonies at Beta Canum Venaticorum and Beta Comae Berenices"
This application allows you to see where all the extra-solar planets we've detected are too. Extremely Cool.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Time for a new Look?

I stopped updating my blog picture about a year ago. Before then, I'd updated it about every month. Well, I had to, my appearance changed from month-to-month.
But around January 2006, when I finally went onto full-strength Hormone Replacement Therapy, guaranteed to cause changes.... things stuck. Or rather, instead of moving at inexplicably rapid speed, they proceeded at the normal, glacial rate expected when giving HRT to someone in her 40's.
Anyway, the blog picture on the left was taken a year ago - in late March 2006. Now I've been told I look younger now, and SRS sometimes does that. It sometimes increases effectiveness of HRT too, and in my case, it may be doing that as well. I just need to lose weight - some of my winter clothes DON'T FIT! AGH!
Anyway, I was thinking of getting a makeover and a pro photographer to take a glamour shot of me. I've never had one - heck, I still haven't had a facial - Heck I haven't ever had my hair styled! Or a Manicure, or a Pedicure, or any of a number of other luxuries I've promissed myself.
Then again, my budget just got hit with 4 $38 standard prescriptions for antibiotics, and with Andrew going to the Easter Show, well, money's tight.

I took a photo using my laptop's webcam, just to see what I looked like now. Not Bad, and maybe I should update my blog pic. Anyway, I thought I'd fish for compliments - so am I using the right bait? Answers in the negative will be given dirty looks, but not deleted, that's not my style.

You know, according to the Birth Certificate, that picture, unretouched, no makeup, is of a 49 year old man. I don't know about any of my readers, but I find that concept sidesplittingly funny!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

An Interview for Cosmos

A Freelance reporter for Cosmos Magazine interviewed me a little while ago. His article is on Intersex, and I'm sorta kinda the Australian National University's Ally Programme "Expert" on the issue. Scare quotes intended. I did tell him that "in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king", but he went ahead anyway.

I'm bound to cop some flak for my views in Transsexuality being just a subset of Intersex: some Intersexed people argue passionately that it isn't. They argue, and with justification, that the evidence for this theory is by no means conclusive. Yet the trouble is, if it isn't biological, how can we explain, well, ME??? That's the trouble. Yes, I'm a "lusus naturae", a Freak if you like, but it's not as if I could do anything about that apart from play the best hand I could with the cards dealt to me. No Black Queens marked "Myeloma" or "Sarcoma". Ok, well, yes, I did have a few bad cards that landed me in Ward C3 West of Royal Prince Alfred (Thoracic Surgery and Oncology), but I survived. Many didn't, and getting to know people who didn't make it has given me a sense of perspective that has helped me throughout my life. It's difficult thinking "poor little me" because of some bureaucratic persecution when you've seen people whose kids are dying.

But I digress.

The point is, that unusual as I am, I'm a "boundary case" if you like that I think has lessons for us regarding Intersex and Transsex conditions. I'd like to think that I'm exaggerating the natural changes, that my intense desire to have a body that fitted my mind has caused me to ms-interpret (sic) the evidence, and I have yet to have any professional medic commit themselves in writing to anything other than a safe, standard diagnosis of Transsexuality.

Verbally is a different matter. And in some e-mails too, I've been described as "endocrinally weird" and more. This is by people used to dealing with "standard transsexuals" - standard Intersex cases too.

I wish someone would study my case more - even if it's to examine the hypothesis that I'm exaggerating things. (But what about the photos? The blood tests? The Eye Witnesses for Goodness' Sake? Hush, Zoe). There are lessons to be learnt, I just don't know for sure what they are, being too close to the situation to be objective.

Anyway, the article may end up in the cutting-room floor, and never see the light of day. The Editor may take to it with an Axe, removing my "words of wisdom" in whole or in part. But then again, they may not.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Two Videos

The First, something of an anthem for people like me. Though if I had a body like that I don't think I'd have cause for complaint!


I was lost
And I'm still lost
But I feel so much better
'cause now I know
It's not so far
To were I go
The hardest part
Is inside me
I need
To just be
Just be

The second also has a message for us, and from such an unlikely source! I'm no great fan of the Kabbalistic Madonna, yet this one she gets exactly right, Madonna playing the role of Eva Duarte, woodenly acting the role of EVITA PERON! She captures the histrionic demagoguery seen in filmclips of the time exactly. Trying - and failing, yet no-one seems to notice - to be what Society expects.

Have I said too much?
There's nothing more I can think of to say to you.
But all you have to do, is look at me to know
That every Word is True

Useful Zaps

Zaps for getting rid of white backgrounds, or Cascading Style Sheets, or annoying Flash Games or Music, or cookies from the site you last visited.... Really Useful Stuff. From Bookmarklets.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Some Thing Like Me

Further to a previous post , from an E-mail by Christine Burns :
One story I CAN tell was the first to arrive, within a few minutes of publishing yesterday's article... A trans man wrote,

"... I found myself in a not dissimilar situation [to Claire] in January last year. I finally plucked up the courage to ask my GP for a smear test, and was told I would have to go to Charing Cross [GIC] and go through their checks before she'd do the test. I refused to go the Charing Cross for the unnecessary checks when all I required was a routine test and was then struck off. I've still not had that test!"

He adds,

"[This isn't the first problem I've had] ... The first GP I went to about my trans issues in 1998 was my family GP in Henley who I'd known for the best part of ten years. When I asked him if he'd help, he said, 'I can't possibly treat something like you. I'm a good Catholic!' "
Some thing like me. And he's a Good Catholic, hence by definition, a Good Christian.

Some people don't get it, do they? You know, 'Christ's Message'? Heck, they don't even get the "Hippocratic Oath".

I lived not far from Henley when I was young. It's not impossible that I went to school with this so-called doctor, that he could have been a member of one of the gangs that stoned me with broken bricks when I was 8. Unlikely, but not impossible.

When I read this, I was angry. Then I was depressed. Then I was scared, as such a thing could easily happen to me too. My GP warned me in a joking fashion who in the Clinic I could turn to (he's away for a week) if things turned nasty. Who could handle it - and who couldn't.

I still feel all of those things, but now I'm just overwhelmingly Determined. Enough is Enough, I have seen far too much of this now. As soon as my health is a little better, time to take up the fight again, for a passport, for human rights. I was content before to agitate for a transition from fourth class citizen to third. No longer. Enough people don't regard me as human at all, time to disabuse them of that notion. And third class is no longer enough.

Who's the guy in the picture? A film star. The star of the documentary film Southern Comfort :
SOUTHERN COMFORT is a 90-minute feature-length documentary about the life of Robert Eads, a 52-year-old female to male transsexual who lives in the back hills of Georgia. "A hillbilly and proud of it," he cuts a striking figure: sharp-tongued, bearded, tobacco pipe in hand. Robert passes so well as a male that the local Klu Klux Klan tried to recruit him to become a member.

Though his home is nestled among tranquil hills dotted with hay bales, Robert confronts a world as hostile to him as if he were an African American in the ante-bellum South. He was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, then turned away by more than two dozen doctors who feared that taking on a transgendered patient might harm their practice.

SOUTHERN COMFORT follows the final year of Robert Eads' life....
The film was made 6 years ago. It still happens today. And people like Robert die. People - Things - like me. Well I am not going to go gently into that Good Night, I am going to do a bit of Raging against the dying of the Light before it even starts to dim for me. I've had it easy. Time I did my duty and stood up for others.

Not Reassuring

From The Australian, about the "Cat's Meat" Mufti, the Thick Sheik, Sheik Taj al Din al Hilali:
AFIC President Ikebal Patel has today denied a report in Fairfax newspapers which claimed AFIC had sacked the sheik from the position of mufti, and abolished the position. "No, we haven't sacked the mufti ... (Sheik Hilali) is still the mufti," Mr Patel told Sky News this morning.

He said the report, which claimed AFIC had severed all ties with Sheik Hilali, could be discounted.

However, he confirmed the sheik's pay had been suspended some time last year.

"The position of mufti itself is very much there and the ... incumbent, while not being paid for the position, is still the holder of the position," he said.
...
"I will probably be scoffed at when I say this, but he's probably one of the most moderate of the imams in Australia..."
I have news for Mr Patel: no we're not scoffing, that is what we are afraid of. That the Sheik's views are not held by a Lunatic Fringe, but a sizeable proportion of the Islamic community here, including most of the Clerics.

NHS - No Humanity Shown

I'm still bringing myself to write about the Clarke Institute in Toronto. But to give you an idea of the kind of things that happened, and are happening now, here's a tale of the National Health Service in the UK. It's what happens when bureaucracy goes mad, were rules become instruments of abuse, and where the review panels designed to stop such silliness abdicate their responsibility.
A Halifax woman must undergo a thorough psychiatric assessment before she can see a specialist about an ordinary urological problem. If she refuses then NHS treatment will be denied.

This is the stark ultimatum presented to Claire Eastwood, a woman who underwent private vaginoplasty treatment in Thailand a few months ago, having given up the struggle to obtain an NHS (National Health Service) GIC (Gender Identity Clinic) referral with Calderdale PCT (Primary Care Trust) after more than eighteen months of waiting.

And the Leeds Gender Clinic, who insist she undertakes their twelve page standard evaluation, refuse to wave her through to a specialist -- even though the medical treatment she needs may not even require surgery.

***

Claire Eastwood's problems with Calderdale PCT are nothing new. Her original campaign to obtain a referral to Leeds GIC for NHS gender treatment has been covered in the past by local newspapers in Yorkshire, and by the BBC -- all sympathetic to her plight. She wrote first hand for PFC News about her campaign involving the council's health scrutiny committee earlier this year:

Calderdale UK: Standing up to the West Yorkshire PCTs

Her problems started because she simply could not obtain even a referral to a gender clinic within a reasonable time via local health administrators. This is because of the PCT's fixed annual quota for referrals to the clinic, which it was unwilling to exceed.

Having failed to budge the Primary Care Trust's stand through a series of solicitors' letters and the threat of court action, Claire eventually decided to cut her losses in 2006 -- and used the money she would have spent on legal action to hop on a plane to Thailand. There she received both breast and vaginal surgery without fuss and at a fraction of the costs quoted for NHS services in the UK. Overall she is delighted with the treatment she received there.

Unfortunately, as can sometimes happen with any treatment, Claire developed a small urinary problem as her new vagina healed. Such problems can be dealt with by any competent urological specialist; sometimes without any further surgery. Doctors call these kinds of minor adjustments "revisions". And revisions are commonplace in the NHS, even for people whose original surgery has been privately obtained.

But Claire's Care Trust responded to her trip abroad by announcing in writing that any medical treatment on the privately operated parts of her body would have to be considered in future by their "Exceptional Cases Committee" -- for the rest of her life!

It's unclear whether the PCT contemplated any exceptions at all, such as malignant tumours or urinary infections threatening the patient's kidneys. The PCT didn't appear to distinguish. And, without evaluation, who is to tell whether a urological problem is potentially life-threatening or not?

Department of Health policy advisors are on record as stating that penalising private patients in this way goes against health service policy. Yet according to Claire, in a February public meeting about local healthcare, the Deputy Director of Public Health for the area said in front of visiting senior civil servants that he didn't think such lifelong exceptional case treatment for private patients was "unfair".

In this case, of course, the PCT would claim that it hasn't refused a referral. It's just that it insists any treatment should go via the Leeds Gender Identity Clinic. And, if the Leeds GIC were acting rationally then Claire's problems might end there.

After all, Claire isn't seeking Gender Reassignment Surgery. She's had that, and she's glad and happy that she did. She's not even seeking surgery of any kind. A GP has already diagnosed that she needs to see a specialist to evaluate and treat her urologial problem. Nobody knows yet whether that requires surgery or not. She's not depressed. She's not suicidal. She's not seeking something irreversible. She clearly doesn't NEED a psychiatrist!

Yet none of this seems to have penetrated the Leeds GIC's mechanical approach towards anyone coming through their doors...

In a letter dated 23rd March a clinician wrote to Claire from the Leeds GIC :

"...The team discussed your case today. In order for us to recommend you for a surgery consulation [..] WE HAVE A DUTY OF CARE TO COMPLETE A PSYCHOSOCIAL ASSESSMENT" (emphasis added).

The letter continues,

"It would be the role of [the consultant] to assess in depth the physical issues in relation to revisional surgery. As you have not been through any NHS assessment for gender reassignment it is our duty to ensure this occurs before we can recommend for any type of surgery"

"In order for us to complete this assessment we would need you to fully co-operate with our assessment process. However if you do not wish to engage fully in this type of assessment then this is of course your choice, and we would then have to discharge you from our service. If you do choose not to engage in this process you would need to approach another healthcare professional, eg your own General Practitioner, who would then need to put a case together for the exceptional cases panel"

And then the "Catch 22" is delivered...

"The exceptional cases panel would then have to make a decision as to if such a request would be considered appropriate from outside of a gender service. We have discussed your case with the commissioners who fully support the assessment approach of the Leeds Gender Identity Service."

The "assessment" supplied to Claire when she requested a copy is a twelve page document labelled "Initial Assessment" which asks questions such as :

* The patient's sexual orientation
* Their religion
* Their school achievements
* Where they live and the type of accommodation
* Whether they are employed or not and
* If they have any convictions or have been to prison
That's the Initial assessment, remember. The really invasive stuff comes later.
And remember this has to be answered in full by Claire in order to see a specialist because of a problem with urinating!

At the moment Claire's position is unresolved. Instead of being seen by a choice of urologist within NHS waiting time limits, like any other member of the public in this position, her case has first been assessed by non-clinical staff because of a policy they've chosen to impose on her in a discriminatory manner. Then she has been further mis-referred to psychiatrists to assess whether she lives in the right kind of house and is sane enough for a proper specialist to look at her problem. And, if she quite reasonably refuses forced psychiatric evaluation in this manner, her urinary problem will go untreated with possibly serious consequences for her health.
OK, maybe time to swallow pride, fill out the stupid forms, jump through the hoops, whatever. Except....
Claire herself if quite clear about the mutual interests which she alleges are being served. In a letter accompanying a copy of the GIC's assessment documents, sent to me, she writes,

"...The GIC benefits [..] because it is paid £1,500 for an assessment"
She adds,"Furthermore the GIC is only paid to do one type of work and
that is to assess psychiatric assessments that the [Service Level
Agreement] insists must be no less than six interviews in duration over
six months. If it doesn't assess you it isn't paid, so in the spirit of
placing the needs of the PCT and itself above that of its patients it
will assess your psychiatric state or discharge you if you disagree."
Yes, it seems that in order to have a urologist assess her physical state, they must first have a program 6 months long assessing.... well, a programme 6 months long anyway. Because they have a "Duty of Care" to make sure that... well, a Duty of Care for something. They can't actually say what. But it's so important that even assessment before treatment must wait 6 months, no matter how much worse that makes the physical problem.
Psychiatrists and doctors who have seen these details are in agreement that the process being operated is improper -- ethically and medically.
Above all, psychiatrists have no business placing themselves between a patient and a specialist in a situation that is outside of their remit.
It has been suggested by one observer that such action is most probably actionable as malpractice.

What Claire will do next is not certain. Every day that passes means her simple medical problem is going unattended and may, as a result, deteriorate. Yet she is also quite right to reject inappropriate care under circumstances amounting to professional duress.

This story will clearly run and run...

- Christine Burns
Par For The Course.

Also Par for the Course is for them to state that as the result of psychiatric assessment, they cannot recommend referral at this stage. My bet is that they would be unable to recommend referral because the problem is obviously not psychological in nature. No matter, the next step would be barred anyway. You see, when there is evidence of such Bad Faith, Malpractice and Transphobia, it's not Paranoid to expect the worst, it's merely prudent. Heck, it would be insane to expect any other outcome!

Australia has a different setup, less bureaucratic, but also with rather more expense to the patient. But despite my dire financial state, I took one look at it and said "no". My decision was made easier by the fact that the procedure that was optimal for me isn't performed here (or anywhere else outside of Thailand). I would have ended up with a "Barbie Job"- no actual female genitalia, there wasn't sufficient raw material to construct any using the normal techniques practised here.

And for those who have been following my blog, the megadoses of Antibiotics have cleared up the infection, but as my GP predicted, have made me feel absolutely rotten. Good job it's a holiday weekend, there's no way I'd be well enough to drive to work. Or even get out of bed, much.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Inhuman Monsters

I recently read an article, written over a decade ago, that had me in tears. While reading it, I couldn't help bit say over and over again "But these were children... how could they do this to them....".

Let me explain. There are two clinical centres noted for their inhumane treatment of patients with gender issues. One I've mentioned before, Charing Cross in the UK. A woman I was in Chonburi with at the Suporn clinic, a serving member of the British Armed Forces, was given an appointment to see one of the "experts" there. Nothing too good for her, you see, the MO thought he was doing the right thing.

The brutal physical examination by this "expert" left her split and bleeding. The trouble is, he really is probably the best surgeon in the UK. The others are even worse.

That's Charing Cross. But worse, far worse, so bad that it is spoken of with a shudder, is the Clarke Institute in Toronto, Canada.

The article is about kids with the wrong-shaped brains for their bodies - either transsexual or gay - who are given "aversion therapy" - tortured, basically. Many are "cured", and only suicide after treatment. This is considered a "success", and no, I am not joking. I genuinely believe that a small element in the Psychiatric profession, really bright people (you have to be unusually smart, even a genius, to qualify as a psychiatrist), are so used to being amongst comparative morons that they cease seeing their patients as human. No cruelty is too painful if it leads to a "successful cure", and besides which, most of the rabble are better off dead anyway.

I've seen the same sorts of attitudes amongst many elites. The Hackers who are bright and can cut code, but are nowhere near as good as they think they are. The ones whose talents are large, but whose egos are far larger.

In Software, all that happens is that projects are late and the product is buggy. But let such people loose in positions of power, and see what happens:
When Daphne Scholinski was fourteen years old, her distraught parents
had her committed to a psychiatric institute in Chicago. She had become
unmanageable, they said. She was doing poorly in school, experimenting
with drugs, defying her parents. And she would not do anything to soften
her behavior or appearance. Her hair was short, she liked playing
baseball, and she wouldn't wear dresses. At Michael Reese Hospital, her
psychiatrist gave her a diagnosis: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
complicated by Gender Identity Disorder. He placed Daphne on a behavior
modification program along with individual and group counseling
sessions.

Part of Daphne's treatment consisted of cosmetics therapy: Every day,
Daphne's treatment partner became her beauty consultant, applying
lipstick, rouge, eyeliner, foundation, and eye shadow to Daphne's face.
Professional counselors talked to Daphne about ways she could appear
more feminine. Daphne was asked about her sexual fantasies. Her
friendship with another girl on her ward was treated as a problem. When
she spoke of male friends, she was told she was making progress.

Daphne spent four years in psychiatric institutions, all because she was
"an inappropriate female," she says today. Her "treatment" didn't change
her feelings about dresses or baseball or hair length. It only made her
feel insecure, as though who she was wasn't acceptable to the world. It
only made her sad.
...
Daphne Scholinski, the girl who underwent cosmetics therapy, was released at the age of eighteen ("just when my insurance ran out," she notes dryly). She felt no different than when she was admitted, even though her mental health counselors declared her "cured." For years afterwards, she says, she was wary of the world and intensely unsure of her place in it. She came close to suicide. As she writes in her memoir of those years, The Last Time I Wore a Dress, "In the hospital, I lost my ability to trust myself. In any interaction, I'm always thinking, I must be the one screwing up." Far from changing her, Daphne's treatment only delayed her acceptance of herself as a gay woman, she says. She couldn't think of herself as a lesbian until she was an adult.

These days, she is mostly sad and bewildered that she had to endure treatment for Gender Identity Disorder: "I still wonder why I wasn't treated for my depression, why no one noticed I'd been sexually abused, why the doctors didn't seem to believe that I came from a home with physical violence. Why the thing they cared the most about was whether I acted the part of a feminine young lady. The shame is that the effects of depression, sexual abuse, violence: all treatable. But where I stood on the feminine/masculine scale: unchangeable. It's who I am."
That was at Chicago, where the behaviouralist theories if the time held that that should have cured her. Brainwashing.

But there's worse.
Parents who brought their children to Rekers had to agree to participate in the "curing" of them. "Kraig," a four-year-old who participated in the UCLA Feminine Boy Project, was also monitored in the clinic's play-observation room. Only this time, it was his mother who wore the bug-in-the-ear, listening for her behavioral cues from the folks behind the wall. While playing, "Kraig would have seen her suddenly jerk upright, and look away from him toward the one-way window," Burke reports (based on transcripts of his case):

His mother was being prompted, through the earphones, by the doctor. She was told to completely ignore him, because he was engaged in feminine play. Kraig would have no understanding of what was happening to his mother. On one such occasion, his distress was such that he began to scream, but his mother just looked away. His anxiety increased, and he did whatever he could to get her to respond to him, but she just looked away. She must have seemed like a stranger to have changed her behavior toward him so suddenly and for no apparent reason . . . He was described as being in a panic, alternating between sobs and "aggressing at her," but again, when his distraught mother finally looked at him and began to respond, she stopped mid-sentence and abruptly turned away, as if he were not there. Kraig became so hysterical, and his mother so uncomfortable, that one of the clinicians had to enter and take Kraig, screaming, from the room.

Kraig's treatment continued in this vein. He was also put on the "token system" at home. Inappropriate, feminine behaviors earned him a red token, masculine ones, a blue token. Each red token earned him a spanking from his father. After more than two years of treatment, Kraig's behavior had turned around. He was now described by his mother as a "rough neck," and he no longer cared if his hair was neat or his clothes matched. But when he was eighteen, after years of being held up (under a pseudonym) by Rekers as "the poster boy for behavioral treatment of boyhood effeminacy," Kraig attempted suicide, because he thought that he might be gay.
How could they? How could they? Sorry, maybe I'll write about the Clarke institute, their crackpot theories and Mengele-like treatment later, I just can't stop crying.

How COULD they?

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Warning! Time Waster Ahead!

At the moment, I am flat on my back, taking huge amounts (about 3 grams/day) of antibiotics, trying to beat off a really nasty post-surgical infection.
You do all you can, use anti-bacterial soaps etc, but there will always be a certain proportion who get something like this. Now I deliberately took a risk, over-doing things in order to get a paper out in January, when I should have been resting. I thought that the malaise, pain and bleeding was a normal consequence of that.

Oops.

My GP was most unimpressed that I didn't see him before now - an emergency appointment, as I had a sudden bleeding attack at 5am, not the usual thimblefull, but a cupfull. Oops again.

Now between the painkillers, the anti-inflammatories, the 3 different antibiotics, the hormones, I am in no condition to do very much but lie here and let the air get at the wound. I tried doing some computer housekeeping, but after a while, I realised that took meticulous care, and I can't do that with fever spikes.

So I've been setting up online game accounts for my boy. And in the course of looking for such things, I found this addictive game : Desktop Tower Defence. You Have Been Warned.

Leaping Shampoo

When I was working in Hengelo, the Netherlands, with Hollandse Signaal Apparaten, every day I'd drive past the University of Twente. This University has a reputation in Computer Science and other engineering and scientific activities rather higher than its relatively modest size would indicate.
Now, Scientists of the University of Twente have won a prestigious place in the 'Hall of Fame' of videos about fluid-in-motion. They have made a video of leaping shampoo, in which they explain the so-called Kaye effect.

I have to say I find this one of the more convincing arguments for there being an Almighty. In any event, how wonderful to live in a Universe where such things are not just permitted, they are mandatory by Natural Law.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Question Answered

Regarding a Previous Post, I asked a not-so-rhetorical question:
There is no controversy, nor serious argument. But nearly 40% of Americans think there is. Why?
I got an answer from a dear friend of mine, and a Christian Gentleman in the finest sense of the phrase, old-fashioned though that term is. It fits.

Here it is:
Why?
And on the other hand, a lot of people aren't particularly rational or well-read--some people believe in astrology!--and that includes people who identify themselves as Christians. If you read Genesis, you'll see that chapter 2 or 3 says the EARTH brought forth the animals, which fits in with evolution tolerably well.
Some people don't recognize that parts of it are poetry, not literal history.
(On the other hand, some problems are probably translation problems--I suspect "the whole earth" should really be "the whole land" in several places).

And we're used to being lied to by experts pushing an agenda. I'm not familiar with the history of evolution and related hoaxes, but Piltdown Man was pretty prominent, and there have been others.
And the initial arguments weren't terribly convincing. "You see, a hundred zillion years ago, there was this chemical soup, and....uh...life happened. And then...it randomly got better. Grew eyes and feet and all that." That may not be a fair summation of the actual arguments but that's how it came across. There are no "evolution predicts this, let's see if that's what actually happens" so it doesn't come across as scince. Further, when half the scientists are arguing with the other half about, e.g., Punctuated Equilibrium, the public gets the idea these guys don't really know what they're talking about. And the ones who are most strongly in favor of evolution are also the most stridently atheistic--from one point of view that makes sense, but it hardly makes them look unbiased.
In addition, a lot of the people arguing for evolution don't actually show any evidence. They'll argue by assertion or by appeal to authority, but they don't show the fossil record, they don't talk about the DNA sequences. Or perhaps they do, and it just doesn't make it into the media.
There's a book by a Christian researcher who headed up the Human Genome project--can't think of his name at the moment--whose book makes a pretty good case for evolution.
Well Said.

I think the problem is that Religion deals with Certainties, Science deals with Doubt. Religion states eternal Truth, Science nothing but Lies-that-work-in-practice, approximations, models that we know are wrong or incomplete, yet are true enough to be useful.

Let's take the "Earth is Round not Flat" Theory. Every time you use a street map, you violate this principle, because locally, with small distances, the Earth really is Flat, the curvature is lost in the noise of hill and dale, valley and forest.
But the Earth is spherical at large scales, right? Well, it's more an oblate spheroid that is, a roughly spherical object definable by 2 different axes - something like a rugby or gridiron football. So it's not "spherical" at all.

There are alternative ways of specifying the dimensions of the spheroid other than by its major and minor radii a and b. The flattening, f, is defined by f=1-b/a, and the eccentricity e by e^2=1-b^2/a^2. For the WGS84 spheroid, a=6378.137 km and f=1/298.257223563. The eccentricity and flattening are thus related by: e^2=f(2-f)
From Ed Williams Spherical Geometry
So what's this "WGS84" bit? From a site on mapping:
North American mapping agencies are in the process of moving from the 1927 datum (NAD27), which uses the Clarke 1866 spheroid, to the 1983 datum (NAD83), which uses the GRS80 spheroid (identical to within a few mm to the WGS84 spheroid) derived from satellite geodessy. To further complicate matters, the 3-arcsecond digital elevation data compiled by the Defense Mapping Agency and distributed by the USGS uses an earlier satellite-derived spheroid, WGS72. The three spheroids differ not only in their major and minor semiaxes, but also in the location of the center of the spheroid relative to the center of mass of the Earth and in the direction of the x axis.
Platygeans could have a field day - those Atheistic Humanists can't even decide on what shape this so-called "Round Earth" is, let alone what size it is!

I'm old enough so that a lot of my work used in military systems used WGS-72, and it's still "good enough" for most purposes. Heck, a spherical Earth is good enough for most purposes, distances of around a hundred km.

Our understanding of evolution is like that. Until the discovery of DNA, and its role in Life-as-we-know-it, we didn't know anything about the mechanics. Even now, many of the minor details (like WGS72 vs WGS84) are unknown. But not unknowable. And WGS84 will be superceded in time as the need for even more precise measurements come up, and the Earth changes shape slightly due to tectonic forces.

Monday, 2 April 2007

The Defence of Marriage

Lisa Pryor in the Opinion pages of the Sydney Morning Herald:
The views I am about to express are not very fashionable. They are certainly not politically correct. But I believe what I am about to say must be expressed to protect the institution of marriage.

Too often in the media, currency is given to the theory that everyone should be allowed to marry regardless of gender, outlook and whether the two people are creating a suitable family environment in which to bring up children.

Well, it is time to ask some hard questions about this attitude. The only way we will save marriage is to reclaim the institution for the mainstream. Marriage is for normal people who want to raise children in a healthy and secure environment......
Please read the whole thing.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

A Good Story for April 1st

From Newsweek:
A belief in God and an identification with an organized religion are widespread throughout the country, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion. Christians far outnumber members of any other faith in the country, with 82 percent of the poll’s respondents identifying themselves as such. Another 5 percent say they follow a non-Christian faith, such as Judaism or Islam. Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.
It would be interesting to see how many of those who believed in the Creation also believed the Earth is Flat.
No, I do not wish to make fun or denigrate Evangelical Christians. I know too many who are really Good people to do that. I just find it hard to see how they can draw the line between the two beliefs, and believe in Creation (in accordance with the literal word of the Bible) while rejecting Platyheanism (which is also in accordance with the literal word of the Bible).

From Scientific Creationism, Geocentricity, and the Flat Earth :
The Genesis creation story says the earth is covered by a vault (firmament) and that the celestial bodies move inside the vault. This makes no sense unless one assumes that the earth is essentially flat.16 Isaiah wrote that “God sits throned on the vaulted roof of earth, whose inhabitants are like grasshoppers.”17 In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says God “walks to and fro on the vault of heaven.”18 That the earth was considered essentially flat is clear from Daniel, who said, “I saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth; the tree grew and became strong, reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds.”19 This statement makes no sense for spherical earth.

The New Testament also implies a flat earth. For instance, Matthew wrote that “The devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory.”20 From a sufficiently high mountain, one could see all the kingdoms of the world -- if the earth were flat. Finally, Revelation refers to “the four corners of the earth,”21 and corners are not generally associated with spheres.

16. See any Jewish encyclopedia, under “Cosmogony.”
17. New English Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), Isaiah 40:21- 22.
18. Ibid, Job 22:141
19. Ibid, Daniel 4:10-11.
20. Ibid, Matthew 4:8.
21. Ibid, Revelation 7:1.
Either the Bible is Literally (not Figuratively) True, or it isn't. How can so many Evangelicals Cherry-Pick?

The actual question asked is even more worrying: I'll quote.

12. Which one of the following statements come closest to your views about the origin and development of human beings? Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process (or) Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process(or) God created humans pretty much in the present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?


 

God guided process

God had no part

Created in present form

Other/Don't Know

Current Total

30%

13%

48%

9%

Evangelical Protestants

18%

4%

73%

5%

Non-Evangelical Protestants

42%

9%

39%

10%

Catholics

42%

11%

41%

6%

Agnostics/Atheists

27%

45%

13%

15%



13. Do you think the scientific theory of evolution is well-supported by evidence and widely accepted within the scientific community?

 

Well-supported

Not well-supported

Don't Know

Current Total

48%

39%

13%

    

Evangelical Protestants

25%

63%

12%

Non-Evangelical Protestants

57%

24%

19%

Catholics

58%

33%

9%

Agnostics/Atheists

73%

18%

9%

Now why am I worried about the second question? More worried than about the first? From Newsweek magazine 29 June 1987, p23: "there are some 700 scientists (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared 'abruptly'".

Yet a substantial proportion of Americans believe that Scientists are somehow divided on this. Well they are, 680-odd on one side to every 1 on the other.

There is no controversy, nor serious argument. But nearly 40% of Americans think there is. Why?