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This exchange at Boing! Boing! — in an item over companies lobbying against the stupid card check union bill that will almost certainly become law — left me giggling,
Watching BB’s moderators is like witnessing some school yard insult contest.
The British Medical Journal recently published a piece arguing that the concern over nut allergies in Western society has gotten to the point where it more closely resembles a mass hysteria rather than a legitimate health concern. The claim is not that there are not people with extremely severe allergies to nuts, but rather that from that point there is a wide ranging exagerration of the risk of such allergies and a corresponding overreaction in efforts to protect people with those allergies.
Joel Stein wrote an op-ed for the LA Times referencing the BMJ article which has the very unhelpful title, Nut allergies — a Yuppie invention (however, at most newspapers, op-ed columnists do not write headlines, so the headline is probably due to some smart ass editor rather than Stein). The article itself is very clear — echoing the BMJ article, Stein says there are a small number of people who have severe nut allergies but that the absurd overreaction at publich schools and elsewhere is really due to a mass hysteria-like condition.
Mark Fraunfelder at Boing! Boing! then chimes in with what is little more than a non-sequitur,
I wonder if he would have written this piece had he witnessed a child go into anaphylactic shock, as my daughter did when she ate a cookie with hidden nuts in it. It was very scary.
If Stein had said there was no such thing as people with severe allergies to nuts, that might be a valid complaint, but that wasn’t Stein’s point at all. This is a bit like someone chiming in everytime Boing! Boing! posts about the latest failings of the TSA with “I wonder if they would have written that piece if they’d had a friend who almost died on 9/11. That was very scary.”
And, of course, because this is Boing! Boing!, Mark is free to introduce his daughter as a trump card over science, but commenters on the blog are not free to call him on it.
A poster who claims he is a biologist points out that while he’s sorry to hear about Fraunfelder’s daughters problem, that the issue Stein is raising is a scientific question that you can’t simply dismiss by invoking a single anecdote (and goes on to say the post sounds a little like Jenny McCarthy’s explanation of her anti-vaccination/autism nonsense).
Of course this is what it looks like after the Teresa Nielsen Hayden brigade gets done with it,
Whl ‘m srry bt yr dghtr’s llrgy, Mrk, yr s f hr spcfc cs t nswr Jl’s cs tht sm ppl s thngs tht rn’t thr — wll, t mks y snd lttl lk Jnny McCrthy nd hr ntvccntn/tsm wrrrs. Thr’s scntfc qstn hr tht sn’t ddrssd by th xstnc f spcfc ncdtl css, nd yr drvby n-lnr t th nd f yr pst msss th pnt. Cngrtltn n sng th pwr f lrg nmbrs t mk nc gy’s lf dffclt fr fw wks.
It’s not enough that Mark invoking his daughter in that context is simply a cheap emotional trick to try to shut down debate, but TNH and her minions have to go the rest of the way and censor anyone who calls him out on it.
Well, that’s Boing! Boing! these days.
John Brownlee over at Gadgets.BoingBoing.net (about the only BB property worth reading these days) has a basic overview of Apple sending a cease-and-desist to Wired Gadget Lab over a piece there showing how to install OS X on an MSI Wind. Yeah, newsflash — Apple sucks. They’re just Microsoft with a much smaller market share.
However, this part of Brownlee’s post had me snorting diet Coke through my nose,
Ars Technica’s Clint Ecker then asks if Chen (and other Conde Nast writers) are allowed to discuss it publicly, or cover it as news.
Chen’s Twitter response (since deleted):
Probably. We’re supposed to favor radical transparency here, right?
It certainly doesn’t look like it. The video to the guide in question has already been pulled and replaced with a random stream of CES 2009 videos. The YouTube mirror has been pulled as well.
Okay, if I were writing about Boing! Boing! the last thing I’d want to bring up is other sites’ lack of transparency given the whole Violet Blue episode and the more recent efforts by the ongoing efforts of Boing! Boing! comment moderators like Teresa Nielsen Hayden to insult and disemvowel anyone who dares show up with a different point of view.
Antinous, one of the moderators of the comment threads over at Boing! Boing! has finally surpassed Teresa Nielsen Hayden in his moderation skills. I am in awe after running across an exchange between Antinous and a user going by the handle “Harveyboing.”
Good old Harvey made the mistake of posting a comment critical of a CNN piece claiming George W. Bush had been snubbed at the G20 summitt. Harvey made the mistake of opening his post by saying, “Hey, give me a break” which Antinous righteously transformed to “h, gv m brk” before disemvoweling other parts of the post.
Harvey found this a bit hypocritical and the following exchange ensued,
Antinous is right, some of us will never get it. And, frankly, I hope I never become the sort of person who does.
I’m just hoping they don’t take away my birthday; that might actually be difficult to reclaim.