2012 Election | Books | Catholic Church | Newt Gingrich | Pope Benedict | Religion | Republican Party | Science

NEWS: Hosni Mubarak, Newt Gingrich, Science, Books, And Science Books


Road Hosni Mubarak gets life.

Road Kathryn Joosten, star of The West Wing and Desperate Housewives, has died.

Road Researchers Joshua A. Tabak and Vivian Zayas explain "the science of gaydar":

... our finding clarifies how people distinguish between gay and straight faces. Research by Professor Rule and his colleagues has implicated certain areas of the face (like the mouth area) in gaydar judgments. Our discovery — that accuracy was substantially greater for right side up faces than for upside-down faces — indicates that configural face processing contributes to gaydar accuracy. Specific facial features will not tell the whole story. Differences in spatial relationships among facial features matter, too.

Consider, for example, facial width-to-height ratio. This is a configural physical feature that differs between men and women (men have a larger ratio) and reflects testosterone release during adolescence in males. Given that stereotypes of gender atypicality — gay men as relatively feminine and gay women as relatively masculine — play a role in how people judge others’ sexual orientation, our finding suggests that cues like facial width-to-height ratio may contribute to gaydar judgments ...

Road Chris Mooney explains the science behind the the media giving his book the shaft.

Road Bryan Fischer explains why discrimination's great.

Road Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution -- was it misnamed?

Road The Pope says some nonsense about the beauty of priestly celibacy:

“The shining light of pastoral charity and a unified heart is sacerdotal celibacy and enshrined virginity,” Pope Benedict XVI told hundreds of clergy members in Milan Cathedral during the 7th World Meeting of Families.

“Without a doubt, Jesus’ love is for all Christians but takes on particular significance for the celibate priest and for those who take up the vocation of a life of devotion,” he said on the second day of his visit to Milan.

Road This psychiatrist feels the need to explain that there won't be a zombie apocalypse.

Gingrich Road Newt Gingrich isn't a very good Romney surrogate:

“[F]rankly, the Romney people did the only thing they could [against my campaign]. They used their strengths — which were money and the super PAC and a willingness to go after me very aggressively — to offset my strength, which was an ability to define a larger, better future,” Gingrich said. “It’s not bad to say [Romney] has proven he will do what it takes to beat Obama. It’s the nature of our current political culture that cynicism trumps idealism,” the former speaker added, coming very close to calling Romney cynical.

Road GOP congressional spokesman Jay Townsend thinks acid-attacks are hilarious.

Road Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 sounds pretty amazing:

A very few writers can at length sustain both the nothingness where characters, where lives, happen and also the tech and thrill where adventure occurs. Iain M. Banks, yes, almost always. And then there's Kim Stanley Robinson, whose new novel, 2312, is his boldest trip into all of the marvelous SF genres—ethnography, future shock, screed against capitalism, road to earth—and all of the ways to thrill and be thrilled. It's a future history that's so secure and comprehensive that it reads as an account of the past—a trick of craft that belongs almost exclusively to the supreme SF task force of Le Guin and Margaret Atwood.

Road A few years ago, quacks liked to give autistic kids a castration drug to "cure" their condition. It didn't work. Now the quacks have moved on to bleach enemas.

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  1. Jay Townsend isn't a member of Congress. He is a spokesman for Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.

    Posted by: Chance Wimberley | Jun 2, 2012 6:33:16 PM

  2. Jay Townsend isn't a member of Congress. He is a spokesman for Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.

    Posted by: Chance Wimberley | Jun 2, 2012 6:33:19 PM

  3. The discrimination article left me more confused than anything

    Posted by: Marky | Jun 2, 2012 6:49:12 PM

  4. @Marky, me too until I realized that I had been mistaking Bryan Fischer for Bryan Singer, probably because I had just finished watching "X-Men". I was really puzzled by this strange turn he was taking with his career.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Jun 2, 2012 7:10:03 PM

  5. Gaydar used to mean gay people's special ability to sus each other out using a variety of subtle social or behavioral cues, unfamiliar to straights, and specific to time place, culture, and context- still an important skill in many situations and parts of the world where it is dangerous to be unambiguously visible.

    Now gaydar is apparently being redefined as the universal ability to tell who's gay by our physical characteristics. Typically, the larger culture is moving both substantively to erase, and superficially to appropriate a gay cultural practice and survival strategy, while at the same time continuing its' obsessive search for quantifiable physical /biological difference in gay people - a search closely linked historically to the persistent impulse to define our existence as a medical condition.

    Posted by: Hank | Jun 2, 2012 7:11:05 PM

  6. I don't know what it is about the weekend on Towleroad, but the quality of journalism really suffers. The story about quacks and autism is the most-biased little rendering that suggests that maybe somebody is sleeping with someone at the Center for Disease Control.

    If you look at where the govt has spent most of their money over the last decades on Autism research you will find a whole lot of nothing -- these researchers have basically made no progress.

    Now for Towleroad to start taking sides on this vaccine debate - seeems kind of dumb.

    I guess if you're a drama critic by training and experience you know better.

    Anyway, it would be nice if a better journalist could fill in on the weekends.

    Posted by: Fahd | Jun 2, 2012 7:15:59 PM

  7. Fahd:

    Thanks for reading.

    Towleroad's always been pro-science and pro- critical thinking, and part of that's being against quackery, from reparative therapy to faith healing, chelation therapy to Lupron treatment for people with autism. Bleach enemas definitely qualify.

    I know the linked story isn't very well-written, but the sad truth is this: Most major newspapers don't have especially science-literate people on their staffs, so they tend not to cover medical quackery with the same vigor they employ in their coverage of political gaffes and murder investigations. To get the good stuff, one often has to go to blogs by amateur writers, who often also happen to be professional scientists.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jun 2, 2012 8:03:49 PM

  8. The category is: Before and After

    I'd like to solve Pat! Hosni Mubarack Obama!

    ... srsly there's a typo in the subject.

    Posted by: Wheel of Fortune | Jun 2, 2012 9:05:35 PM

  9. The gaydar "explanation" and Gingrich excuse are among the stupidest things ever.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 2, 2012 9:25:05 PM

  10. @Fahd: "I don't know what it is about the weekend on Towleroad, but the quality of journalism really suffers". Yes, you do. You complain and whine EVERY time someone else blogs. It is getting so old.

    Posted by: EYEROLL | Jun 2, 2012 10:58:44 PM

  11. Is it really necessary to post a direct link to the AFA website, surely that's equivalent to putting money in their pockets.

    Posted by: Sean | Jun 3, 2012 12:04:23 AM

  12. Fish-trolls article about why discrimination towards gays is a good thing may just come back and bite his holier-than-thou bloated ass.

    The next congressional challenge to DOMA or SSM will most probably (or at least should) contain that particular piece of "evidence", it quite nicely proves unmitigated animus towards gays from "leaders" of the anti-gay movement.

    Posted by: mikenola | Jun 3, 2012 12:11:04 AM

  13. @Fahd There's no "vaccine debate." There is absolutely no evidence that autism spectrum disorders are caused by vaccines (or any of the other things these people apparently consider causes).

    Posted by: LFB | Jun 3, 2012 12:59:57 AM

  14. I personally love Towleroad on the weekend. I think Brandon has a great eye for news, and his back-and-forth with readers is something I always look forward to.

    Posted by: BrianM | Jun 3, 2012 1:46:50 AM

  15. I always find the spin put out by scientists on their "gaydar" studies" very slanted. It seems they went into the study to prove one thing and when the proof was weak they spin it with their conclusion anyway.
    In this study (IIRC), the typical participant falsely categorized 18 straight men out of 48 as gay. In real life, if you think that more than one-third of the straight men you meet is gay, one would say that your gaydar is terrible.
    Likewise (IIRC), the typical participant misjudged 34 out of every 48 gay men as being straight.
    So the full story is that the vast majority of gay men were incorrectly thought to be straight (this is the part I think should really be emphasized), while the number of straight men misjudged as gay was just enough to barely even out the overall (gay plus straight) numbers for the study as a little better than would be expected from a coin toss.

    I am left wondering what the results of the study would have been if the proportions of sexual-orientation identities had been somewhat closer to real life. What if they had shown 90 photos of straight men, 4 of gay men and 2 of bisexual men and participants had been asked to classify them as gay, straight or bi? This might yield a better indication of how they are classifying people in real life.

    I don't think this should have any implications for legal issues regarding discrimination. It is very clear that people DO have perceptions about others' orientations. Whether we can prove that those perceptions are accurate or not is irrelevant to the very clear fact that discriminatory treatment might result from those perceptions.

    Posted by: GregV | Jun 3, 2012 2:28:47 AM

  16. Thank you, BrianM. Much appreciated. Hope you're having a faboo Sunday.

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jun 3, 2012 3:01:53 AM

  17. Hmmm. I'm a biologist that has done scientific reseatch for almost 25 years, and I have almost perfect gaydar that doesn't require a good hard look at someone's face. I' sure that paper has some interesting findings, but that's hardly the end all and be all of 'gaydar'.

    Posted by: Tarc | Jun 3, 2012 4:34:48 AM

  18. Oh, and Eyeroll is correct: there is no vaccine debate: vaccines do not cause autism. The one paper that suggest a connection was retracted by the guy that admitted that he FAKED the data. Dozens of studies since show zip, zero, nada correlation.

    Posted by: Tarc | Jun 3, 2012 4:39:34 AM

  19. Re: Catholic priests who elect stay celibate (all 6 of them worldwide.) To use Benedict's own analysis: they suffer from an intrinsic moral disorder. The idea that they are somehow superior beings belies the idea that they are largely sociopaths.

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Jun 3, 2012 8:43:15 AM

  20. @BKT

    The responding comment you've written really doesn't offer much explanation for your editorial choices. "Gay Blog Towleroad" is "pro-science" therefore you link to articles that discredits fringe crackpot treatments for autism? I don't see too many links to articles about fringe crackpot treatments for cancer or anything else. I could see it if it were fringe crackpot treatments for HIV-AIDS, which disproportionately affects the gay community in the U.S., but autism?

    There's undoubtedly more to the story of why you chose to include this item.

    The second part of your comment really doesn't make sense to me. What is "the good stuff"?

    A more interesting link would be one to a story about how our vaccine manufacturers control key appointments to the Center for Disease Control and that these pharmaceutical corporations have succeeded in having laws passed making themselves immune to lawsuits. For most people it is more comforting to believe those in power, so linking to a story about quacks, who btw will always be with us, is easier.
    Still, a little tangential for "Gay Blog Towleroad", but you're the weekend man in charge.

    As another option, maybe you could link to an article detailing all the progress mainstream autism researchers are making. Oh wait, they haven't made any.

    In any case, I don't know you, but I'm not into your work here on the weekend edition. There's invariably something weird like this or something misreported. Andy rarely, if ever, makes those kind of missteps, which in my opinion is the source of his success. He's an excellent editor.

    To each his own, however, I'm sure you have your fans and I'm sure you have Andy's support. And since I don't know you, I hope you won't take my criticism personally.

    Best regards

    Posted by: Fahd | Jun 3, 2012 11:10:38 AM

  21. "pastoral charity and a unified heart is sacerdotal celibacy and enshrined virginity"

    Oh papa! I love it when you talk dirty to me.

    Posted by: Joel | Jun 3, 2012 11:14:15 AM

  22. Newt Gingrich looks like he's ready to take anyone's d**k to get elected.

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Jun 3, 2012 11:26:18 AM

  23. "This is what public policy is all about: using good judgment to distinguish those behaviors that are worthy of public approval from those behaviors which ought to receive public disapproval."

    Bryan, that's exactly our take but you are indeed worthy of discrimination and being shunned by society due to your violence and antihumanity, not to mention your selectivity of the bible.

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Jun 3, 2012 11:54:45 AM

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