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A helpful infographic from the WHO.  (having trouble reading the poster? “control + and control – ” may be able to help you out check the large version)


the-cat“You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.

If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”

On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.

The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.

There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?

Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.

This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.

So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.

For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.”


an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced

“Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Shrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it.

Which is where you come in.”

You see it every day, the micro aggressions against people, the sexism, the put-downs.  Make your corner of the world a safe space for everyone, it is the least you can do as a decent human being.


The Arbourist:

Forced Birthers Lying (again) for Jesus – How shocking.

Originally posted on Everysaturdaymorning's Blog:

The escorts and clients hear lies coming from the anti’s all the time. The breast cancer link that doesn’t exist, the “fact” that 20% of all women who have abortions attempt suicide, the curious item about how the equipment the clinic uses is 27 times more powerful than your home vacuum cleaner (although the anti recently upped that to 29 times, I guess people weren’t being properly scared at the lower number). The list goes on and on. These are all attempts to scare and unnerve the clients but are easily dispelled with a little Google-fu. Lately though there have been a couple of examples of the antis lying to their own flock.

In a recent article by Matt Damico in the Southern Seminary Magazine he said “There are a number of Catholics and other individuals who also do sidewalk counseling – although the number of escorts usually outnumbers the…

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Tragic accidents happen.

“A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been launched by the parents of a student who almost died after being strangled by a lanyard at his school in Bearspaw just west of Calgary.”

You don’t sue people for not thinking of every possibility that might happen.  If this isn’t the case , I look forward to our children being encased in foam for their protection and certainly not using potential hazardous materials such as pencils or pens.



How-to-inflence-People1Working in behavioural education means that much of this stuff is old hat for me, but sometimes isn’t as common knowledge as I think it is for others, so lets review some the tricksy-hobbit ways P-sychologists work their magic.  We’ll pick up midway though the article:

I asked Dahl what he does with his children when he wants to influence them.

His answer? He uses techniques from a clinical method called “motivational interviewing.” Motivational interviewing has proven effective in motivating behavior change in teens in difficult arenas, like drug and alcohol abuse, disordered eating, and risky sexual behavior. Dahl’s advice was to learn to use it as a parent for the more mundane areas where we’d like to see growth in our children, so that if we need it for a bigger problem we know what we are doing. Here are five motivational interviewing techniques that decrease kids’ resistance to our influence:

(1) Express empathy. Kids and teens are much more likely to listen to us if they feel understood. Resist the urge to give advice or to “finger-wag”—two things that tend to create defensiveness and resistance to our great ideas. Instead, reflect back to adolescents their position on things.

This is hard, you need to practice to make it sound like you are actually meaning what you say and listening to their point of view, even if the other person is most decidedly full of shit.  The neat thing is that sometimes through careful listening and empathy you determine that you’re the one full of it, and can change your position.

(2) Ask open-ended questions to understand their position. We want to encourage our teens to share with us their innermost motivations. To do this, we can phrase our questions non-judgmentally in ways that will prompt the adolescent to elaborate. Even if we are giving kids a choice about what to talk about (“Do you want to talk about what it is like when you lose your temper at school, or do you want to talk about what makes it difficult for you to eat a healthy lunch?”) Dahl recommends that we always also throw in a super-open-ended question like, “…or maybe there is something else you would rather discuss? What do you think?”

Roundabout and redundant?  I’d like you to reflect on your thinking processes when you get angry or defensive – is going straight for the problem always the best solution?

(3) Reflect what they are saying, not what we wish they were saying. This can be a simple restatement:

Adolescent: You say that I have to do all these things to make the team, but I think I’ll make the team even if I don’t jump through those hoops.
Parent: You’re not sure all this work is necessary.

Or, you can reflect what they mean but use different words:

Adolescent: I’m not an alcoholic!
Parent: That label really doesn’t fit you.

Or, try reflecting what they are feeling:

Adolescent: I’m not an alcoholic!
Parent: It really makes you angry when you think you are being labeled in that way.

Finally, try amplifying or exaggerating—without sarcasm!—what they are saying if the adolescent clearly expresses some ambivalence about their resistance to your influence:

Adolescent: I’m really not sure that I need help or treatment to deal with this.
Parent: Your life is really fine right now, just the way it is.

Let’s face the facts gentle readers, communication is hard and often inaccurate even at the best of times.  Throw in a hot button issue or three and you have the recipe for a bevy of misunderstanding and usually a shouting match.  Reflecting, paraphrasing and mirroring provide the time and brainspace for both parties to understand what they are actually saying and the motivations behind them.

(4) Show them their inconsistencies—gently. One thing that we can reflect back to our teens, using the above strategies, are their conflicting motivations—the inconsistencies between what they say their goals or beliefs are, and their current behavior.

What to say, then, to that teen who wants to join the garage band, but has not been practicing regularly or learning the music? First, ask her permission to tell her what you see.

If she says she’s willing to listen to your perspective, gently point out the discrepancy between what she says she wants and what she’s doing to make that happen in a non-judgemental, factual way: “You really want to join Jack’s band, but before they’ll let you audition, you need to learn all the songs on their playlist. You haven’t started learning those songs yet. It seems like the play is taking up a lot of the time that you might spend practicing, and that when you get home from play practice, you just want to chill out in your room instead of practicing more or starting your homework.”

Do you like playing with hand grenades? Then this is the step for you.  What counts most is your relationship with the person in question, you know how they are, how they will react – “ish” – so go slow and careful for the best results.

(5) Support their autonomy and emphasize their personal choice and control. Teens are most likely to change when they recognize the problem themselves, and when they are optimistic about their ability to solve the problem. We can help by expressing our confidence in their abilities, and by emphasizing that we can’t change them—that the choice about whether or not to change is the adolescent’s alone. Dahl recommends saying something like this: “Whether or not you make any changes in your activities or your behavior is entirely up to you. I definitely would not want you to feel pressured to do anything against your will.”

All of these techniques take practice.

Not always applicable, but setting yourself up on their team, supporting their goals and aspirations as oppossed to telling them they are the express train to WrongVille, can sometimes win the day for both of you.



Not owning a television is one of the best decisions TIO and I made.  Well, we do have a TV but no cable so we can watch the occasional DVD if we so desire.  What the media focuses on and what is important is often two very different sets of ideas.   There are multiple cases of human suffering and abuse going on in the world at any given time; but often we are inundated with the very important happenings of celebrities and the random piffle they do as a substitute for what is actually happening in the world.  As pointed out by Christian Christensen in his opinion piece on Al Jazeera “More Guantanamo and Global Warming and Less Knox and Justin Bieber.

Amanda Knox has, with her second “guilty” verdict for the murder of Meredith Kercher, re-entered our media landscape. There is nothing inherently wrong with some coverage of the Knox case, but the level of exposure afforded the story since it first broke in late 2007/early 2008 has undoubtedly been magnified by a heady mixture of sex, drugs, violence and a lead character with an image and nickname many editors seem unable to resist. The murder of Kercher is tragic, and it appears that the Knox conviction is highly suspect. Yet, as with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, the volume of coverage afforded vacuous, salacious and/or sexed-up stories should lead us to consider what would happen – at the very least politically – if equivalent levels of journalistic time and energy were devoted to other issues.

    Consider where Christensen thinks we ought to be spending our time rather than the current (ongoing)Bieber/Cyrus/Knox dramas.

Iraq: Since 2008, over 37,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq. That’s just over twelve 9/11 attacks, or the equivalent of 370,000 civilians dying in the US (Iraq’s population is 10 times smaller of that of the US). In other words, like wiping out a city the size of Tampa, Florida. Since the bulk of the US media were more than willing to cheerlead a war based on a blatant falsehood, a recalibration of the coverage of the aftermath of this debacle is perhaps in order.

Global warming/climate change: The US remains the home of more political climate change sceptics than any other country in the so-called “developed world”. Despite the near-unanimous position of scientists around the world, US politicians continue to display mind-boggling scientific ignorance (wilful or otherwise). Not surprising, in retrospect, from a country where 50 percent of Republicans believe that humans have existed in their present form since the dawn of time (which would be about 7,000 years ago), and politicians claim with seriousness that women’s bodies are able to miraculously prevent pregnancy in cases of rape.

Death Penalty: Between January 1, 2008 and February 2, 2014, there have been 266 executions in the US. In 2012, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US were the top 5 global executioners. Disturbingly, earlier studies have shown that US prosecutors were twice as likely to request the death penalty for a black defendant who is charged with killing a non-black victim versus a black victim; and, white defendants were twice as likely as non-white to be offered a plea agreement to reduce their sentence from execution to life imprisonment. The death penalty gets coverage, but far too many of the “What-did-he-have-for-his-last-meal?” variety.

Sexual assault: At an average of 240,000 per year, according to a study by the US Department of Justice, there have been 1.5 million rapes and sexual assaults in the US since the start of 2008. Those are big numbers. However, this study has been challenged by a study administered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which it is suggested that the correct number of rapes and attempted rapes alone may be an astounding 1.27 million over 2013. If this is taken as an average per year, then that would be 7 million rapes since 2008. If the vast majority of victims of these assaults were men and not women, would we perhaps see more coverage? That’s a rhetorical question.

Guantanamo: Many inmates, in violation of the US Constitution, remain incarcerated without charge, denied of their basic right of habeas corpus. A lengthy hunger-strike in 2013 to protest this legal limbo was afforded a low level of media coverage. Guantanamo is a national and legal disgrace.

Everyday gun deaths: Since the start of 2008 there have been just short of 200,000 gun-related deaths in the US. While tragic mass shootings such as Columbine and Sandy Hook generate the headlines, the fact remains that gun-related deaths in general, and homicides using firearms in particular, have become a banal part of everyday life in the US. To get some sense of the relentless and often invisible flow of gun violence in the US, follow @GunDeaths on Twitter. It’s sobering.

Chelsea Manning: The person who provided the material for thousands of newspaper articles was arrested in 2010, placed in solitary confinement and subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison. Coverage of Manning before and during her trial by the US news media was abysmal: a particularly damning indictment of journalism given the importance of the case for the future of whistle-blowing and, hence, freedom of the press.

Military spending: In 2011, of the 14 leading countries in the world when it came to spending on national defence, the US was, of course, first with an offensive $711bn budget. Even more offensive? The fact that the 13 countries underneath the US spent $695bn on national defence…combined. And, this US budget does not include the estimated $6tn (that’s $6,000,000,000,000) the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will likely wind up costing the US taxpayers. And Manning is the one who gets 35 years in prison.

Watch the news.  How much do you see of the later versus the former.  Consider that without some serious media triangulation what you are ingesting is the equivalent of the Roman bread and circuses put on to keep the population stupid, obedient and passive.

Tell me again about those so called charitable rich people…?  Onwards brothers and sisters to the class war.  This vid is pretty much everything I’ve said on the blog and what I rail against a on regular basis.  Go Ted Talks Go.

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