JK Rowling Defends Dumbledore’s Sexuality In Dumbest Way Possible

News is abound that Harry Potter author JK Rowling has responded to a tweet from a fan, in appreciation of the work, why the clarification that Dumbledore is gay. I myself would like to know the answer, and JKR does not deliver. Instead, she responds as if this particular detail was shoehorned in strictly as a Barty-Crouch-style political-face move for the sole purpose of brow-beating that gay identity as perfectly reasonable.

Yes, being gay is perfectly reasonable, but the reader’s question resonated with me in that, How is Dumbledore’s sexuality at all relevant? JKR instead only offers a brow-beating with a sermon on how gay people look like everyone else. I get that already, JKR, before you even said it. I could have told YOU that, but you’re avoiding the question. Why did it even need to be mentioned?

Dumbledore’s sexuality bears no relevance whatsoever to the story.. no other characters’ sexuality is mentioned. There isn’t even a hint of any sexual element in any of the books aside from a single kissing scene, but kissing means neither sexual activity, nor sexual identity. Barry Crouch, in the book, is a bad-side character in the novels and is preoccupied with ‘face’ and political appearance — and this detail about Dumbledore seems highly politically motivated just to set up someone else to take the fall for asking. At this point, I would not be surprised if JKR made a fake account just to ask this question and offer the ‘burn’ response.

SINCE someone’s sexuality bear no relevance to their personhood or rights or decent-human-being-ness, therefore even bothering to mention it seems exclusively to be a political move just to artificially insert a political statement. Might as well tell us that Dobby’s a climate-change skeptic, that Harry’s mother’s a scientologist, and that Professor McGonagall’s a pot-legalization advocate. None of those topics offer even the vicinity of relevance to their stories, but somehow Dumbledore being gay is somehow not allowed to be questioned without an eyeful of daggers.

Did the Aleppo Herald report Hermann Groschlin’s story of a converted ISIS fighter? Here’s proof.

I just read an article linked from my Facebook feed, about a priest named Hermann Groschlin of the Saint Dominican Catholic Presbytery of Ayyash. The article suggests word is being spread of the testimony of an ISIS fighter who was brought to him after being rescued from battle where the fighter received multiple gunshot wounds and was believed dead, who roused awake while being carried off for burial and told of visions about the afterlife and being forced to endure the deaths he had perpetrated as if he were the victim and seeking repentance.

The article appears to me to be fake, based on fact-checking of various elements — not to mention the fact that the site itself claims to be satirical.

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider also:

The white-bearded man described as the priest Hermann Groschlin may actually be a photo of a gent from the Ukraine. A larger image of him can be found in this photography composition entitled, “White beard. Old man. True Ukrainian.”

I’m not sure who is the original writer of the article found at this World News Daily Report article, but it seems to have been copied-pasted directly to/from this speisa.com article.

The latter contains a comment that suggests the man in the hospital bed is not actually an ISIS fighter, but is instead may actually be Abu Muhammad, supposedly an ISIL commander receiving treatment in Turkey. A large image of the headline photo can be found at this Hurriyet Daily News article from April 2014.

As far as my research has led me, there doesn’t seem to actually be a newspaper called the Aleppo Herald, or no one that even references it other than these copy-pasted articles. I have tweeted to @aleppomediacent, @AMCEnglish and PM’d the Aleppo Media Center on Facebook to see if they can verify the existence of such a media source. I’ll update this post when response arrives.

Ayyash is an actual place in Syria according to this Google map, at least.

Did ISIS Burn A Cage Full of Children? NO, it’s fake. Here’s Why.

A photograph has been circulating as a call to action against ISIS, showing someone holding a torch in gesture toward a cage full of children.

The photo is actually, according to a similar photo on Yahoo! News of an awareness-protest staged against the so-called Islamic State, not produced by IS themselves. The children, who are not actually in danger, are dressed in orange to represent the actual victims of IS.

According to an ijreview.com article the photographs were taken near Damascus on appx February 15, 2015, as a campaign to stir the emotions of Syrian’s president to take action against IS.

The photo continues to circulate as evidence of IS’s evil intentions, but is not, actually, even produced by IS at all.

In the background of the original image, people can be seen holding signs. Here is what one of those signs reads:

Should English Become The Official Language of the US? NO. Here’s Why.

It would be impossible for English to become the official language of the US, because English is not defined and has no rules.

You read that right — there are no rules for the English language, and that is why it cannot become the official language of the US. All of the rules you learned in your English class were the rules for passing that individual class and do not apply to English the language itself.

Think of it this way: are there rules for making a painting? Painting is an art, and there are no rules in art. In order to pass an art class, however, students must obey the rules that the teacher must create to conform to grading systems — but those rules do not apply to art itself.

A Bachelor of Arts in English, is an Arts degree. Art does not have rules. Art is a form of expression, and since the US constitution limits how the government’s suppression of expression, the government cannot establish an official art and remain constitutional. An official art that everyone must use would be like creating an official form of expression and eliminating or invalidating other forms of expression.

English doesn’t have rules? What about the dictionary?
English does not have rules. A dictionary is a kind of newspaper about a language, not a rule book. Think of a sports page of a newspaper that lists yesterday’s game scores. Is the newspaper suggesting that all games from those teams in the future must have those scores? No, it is merely descriptive of observations of the game. In the same way, dictionaries are descriptive of how language has been observed to have been used in the past, by the largest number of people.

Dictionaries are not prescriptive of how words are only allowed to be used, nor do they limit ways words must be used. Dictionaries serve as a troubleshooting tool to help you figure out what someone might have meant, or as a strategy to help you select a word that the largest number of people might understand with minimal questions of what you meant.

Think of a hashtag search on Twitter. If you perform a search of a particular hashtag on Twitter, you’re given a list of tweets in which that hashtag has been used in the past — not standards that limit how a hashtag must be used. A dictionary is merely a kind of hashtag search, which shows the most popular ways to use them — but not the rules for using them.

Dictionaries can be used prescriptively in certain styles of writing, but English does not have a governing style. Imagine if you were playing basketball and someone yellow-carded you for touching the ball with your hand, as if you were playing soccer. Styles of English are like different sports. Many styles are similar, such as Chicago Press Style and Associated Press Style for journalists.. similar to the way soccer and basketball both involve getting a ball into a goal. But the rules of one sport do not govern “sports” in the way that the rules you learned in English class do not govern English.

Lexicographers are people who study words and how they’re used. Lexicographers research by direct observation the ways people use words in everyday life.. in TV, newspapers, on Facebook and more, and keep a tally of the way people have used a word. Did they use it adverbially? Did they verb the word? This tally of ways people have been observed to use words go into a large database called a corpus, that dictionaries can draw statistics from about specific words. In what way was a particular word used the most often? Dictionaries then list those ways in the text of the dictionary, starting with the most frequent way, followed by other ways in descending rank.

When you look at the definitions of a word in a dictionary, you’re not looking at the only ways you’re allowed to use a word (nor spell, nor pronounce them, either). What you’re seeing is just a list of ways people have used words the most, from the past. If a newspaper were to report about a murder where the weapon used was rope, the newspaper is saying that it was observed that a murder took place using rope — not that rope must be used for all future murders. A dictionary only describes how words were previously used, by the most number of people.

In order to understand what someone from the past meant, it is important to look to a dictionary from that person’s time to see what other people from that person’s time meant when used a particular word. If a people are observed to use a word differently than the most frequent way of yesteryear, then the dictionaries will eventually change the ranking of the most frequent definitions of a word in order to be up to date. The addition or removal of a word from a dictionary doesn’t make it official or unofficial — the word simply becomes popular enough or becomes insufficiently popular to make the arbitrary minimum rank that the dictionary publisher chooses to set.

There was a recent controversy about the dictionary definition of marriage changing to match the way marriage is used. Since a dictionary does not limit the ways words are only about to be used, people who believed they did were upset that dictionaries were changing the rules on marriage.

The US cannot even plausibly enforce a law making English the official language of the US, because English itself has no rules.

References of Interest:

“Many believe that when (and only when) a word appears in a reputable dictionary it receives formal validation and can take its place in the English lexicon. … As one of a number of researchers who collect evidence of new usage for the OED, it intrigued me to think that I might be a member, even a junior member, of a shadowy cabal that sets the standards for all well-educated English speakers. No — the process really is as anarchic as it seems. This is actually a relief, since I’d hate to be held personally responsible for the current state of the language. … We are, in the language of the business, descriptive dictionary makers: we record, we collate, we analyse, and we describe what people actually say and write. If enough English speakers decide that some word or phrase has value, to the extent that those who encounter it are likely to need to consult the dictionary in search of its meaning, then it is put into new editions. .. This standpoint is sometimes misunderstood, and as often disliked. People who consult dictionaries most commonly want the tablets of the law, not a mirror to language.” — How Words Enter the Language.

“To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it’s used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them. Each day most Merriam-Webster editors devote an hour or two to reading a cross section of published material, including books, newspapers, magazines, and electronic publications; in our office this activity is called “reading and marking.” The editors scour the texts in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms–in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage. Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use. … Change and variation are as natural in language as they are in other areas of human life and Merriam-Webster reference works must reflect that fact. By relying on citational evidence, we hope to keep our publications grounded in the details of current usage so they can calmly and dispassionately offer information about modern English. That way, our references can speak with authority without being authoritarian.” — How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?.

“People often send us words they have made up and ask if we will add their invented terms to one of our dictionaries. Unfortunately, the answer is probably no, because we generally only add words that have been used widely over a number of years: we assess this by looking at all the evidence we have in our files and databases. Of course, some invented words do catch on and become an established part of English, either because they fill a gap or because they are describing something new. … New terms have to be recorded in a print or online source before they can be considered: it’s not enough just to hear them in conversation or on television, although we do analyse material from Internet message boards and TV scripts. … For every new dictionary or online update we assess all the most recent terms that have emerged and select those which we judge to be the most significant or important and those which we think are likely to stand the test of time.” — How do you decide whether a new word should be included in an Oxford dictionary?.

Apparently Bicycles/Bikes With Fat Tires Are A Thing Since ~2006

Bikes with fat tires seems to have been a trend popping up as far back as 2006, where Surly Bikes may have been the first mass-production company for bikes with such large tires.

The primary innovation and reason for having such bulky tires is for their far superior performance on loose terrain like dirt, sand, and snow — preventing making such deep ruts or sinking down into the surface quite so much. According to a Gearjunkie article, the size also permits riding on a much lower tire pressure, offering a slightly better cushion for landings on the tougher frames required for such wide tires.

The wikipedia entry for the term Fatbike offers an image reportedly dated from 1932 of the concept, but it appears the application never really caught on for another 80 years later.

Does CamStudio Install A Virus? Malware? Maybe. Here’s My Story.

So, I was browsing a site and being the advertising nerd that I am, discovered that a particular ad that I really liked wasn’t a standard animated GIF but was an embedded flash file that I still couldn’t save even by looking through the source or using SWF/FLV rippers, so I decided to use an old method of a program I thought was reliable — a screen recorder called CamStudio. I had used it for years on previous machines without an issue, but no longer after this.

The first red flag should have been that such a corny little program that, as I recall, had a generic windows installer before, now had what appeared to be a sleeker graphic/skinned installer with nontraditional windows buttons and options. I was sure to deselect all of the add-on options I could determine, even nearly hitting an accept button that was grey whereas the decline button was green as if it were a trick to get you to accept by accident.

The second red flag I encountered was that after installing CamStudio, supposedly from the official site, was that it closed all of the browsers I had open — and thereby losing the page where I had seen the ad I wanted to record. I was able to find it again in history and had to refresh several times to make the desired ad appear, and was able to record it. However, several sites that I knew didn’t have a particular kind of ad (such as Koreaboo) suddenly had a new kind of ad showing up as sidebars and a bottom-of-screen [x]-able javascript-looking banner that overlaid site text. I typically use Chrome so I checked extensions with no luck.

I decided to dust off the old Malwarebytes, and give that a run and it almost immediately detected something called NetCrawler. I paused the scan, shut down Malwarebtyes without quarantining and uninstalled Netcrawler independently, and tried the same sites again and the advertising had disappeared. So far so good..

Master List of Quicker Than/ Faster Than -Jokes

Here is a list of several of the best “Quicker than a..” or “Faster than a..” one-liners that I made up or found online. I was trying to come up with something funny for a Facebook comment about how quickly I would have kicked a romantic potential to the curb based on an action he had taken against a lady friend (installing password trackers on her computer), and had trouble finding very many good ones, so I decided to make my own list!

..quicker than your mother can unbutton her overalls.
..quicker than OP is a f[****)t.
..quicker than [fat celebrity] would sign up for a butter convention (groundhog-at-a-cabbage-convention, etc)
..faster than a cheetah could pounce on a limping [political figure].
..faster than a speeding ticket.
..left faster than a [race] man after hearing the pregnancy test results.
..disappeared faster than a [snack food] at a [diet program] meeting.
..faster than the wife can figure out a way to spend it.
..lost faster than an intern’s dignity at a cigar club meeting
..gone faster than a [container of indigestion remedy/domesticated animal] in a [restaurant].
..faster than a new version of anything by Microsoft needing to be patched.
..gone faster than a toupee in a hurricane.
..disappeared faster than a watermelon in the hands of Gallagher.
..gone quicker than a cheesy poof in the hands of Cartman.
..vanished quicker than [one hit wonder]’s music career.
..sold out quicker than a rainbow-print [clothing item] at an LBGT festival.
..faster than the babysitter’s boyfriend when the car pulls up.
..gone faster than a [expensive automotive item] at a [racial celebrity] concert.
..out quicker than [sports team] at the play-offs.

If you have any others, please feel to add in comments!