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RECIPE: Greek Nachos [Apr. 14th, 2014|10:08 pm]
by Talzhemir

Take the chicken off of four split breasts. Cut into 3/4" chunks. (Put away half in the fridge or freezer.)

Leave overnight in 1/8 c water with juice of 1/2 a lemon (slice & leave the peels in!) and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Warm 2 tsp olive oil, 1 heaping tsp dried onion bits, 1/2 tsp garlic. Brown chicken in this. While it sizzles, sprinkle on 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp dried pepper (of the sort used on pizza), 1 tsp dry parsley.

Mix 1/2 c Greek Yogurt and 1/2 cup Buttermilk Dressing. (For reduced sodium, use buttermilk and a pinch of No Salt.)

Slice a cucumber, then cut into quarters. Mix into the dressing.

Spread pita chips on a platter. Top with the chicken, then the yogurt dressing.
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Sex and Text Roleplaying Games [Jul. 25th, 2013|10:58 am]
This is: http://talzhemir1.livejournal.com/97203.html

SEX AND TEXT ROLEPLAYING GAMES, Part 1. You might be wondering why, when there are so many beautiful and easy-to-play games you can play FREE...There are still all-text games out there. WHY? There are many parts to the answer, but one thing that stands out the most is that RPGs are extremely puritanical.

The mass-market graphical roleplaying games are mainly about combat and commerce. They give no window for sexual expression other than whether one is male or female in appearance. (As if to overcompensate for their prudishness, the females are consistently dressed and given facial expressions and physical poses the way our culture pictures prostitutes.)

It's not just that the RPGs are worlds of where everyone is "neutered". There are hardly any other relationships at all of ANY kind between players. Games like "World of Warcraft" don't do anything to suggest your characters can be friends, parents-and-children, brothers-and-sisters, cousins, employer-and-employee, or even liege-and-vassal, which would be appropriate in a feudal world.

Outside of facilitating 'raids' and 'guilds' with 'ranks' and tools to enforce rank, they don't care about any other form of relationships. All they support is more combat and more commerce.

They *are* "roleplaying" games... but only if your fantasy is to be a sexless orphan merchant in a pseudo-military setting. Even "City of Heroes", a superheroes RPG, was strongly slanted this way. I'm enjoying playing "Champions" (also superheroes) but the hours that my character is a -butcher- far outweighs the momentary attempts of the canned civilians to make me feel like a -hero-.

Most all-text RPG worlds are very different. They have moved considerably beyond their all-text "MUD" ancestry. These resembled an eternal game of Dungeons and Dragons where you kill-monsters-and-take-their-treasure.

I don't mean to say the text RPGs are all wall-to-wall sexual encounters. There is a wide range of activities possible.

Some don't allow mature content or strong mature themes. You don't get murder and drug runner plots in Narnia or Equestria.

Some allow "mature themes" but sexually explicit talk is not allowed. A character in a Harry Potter MUSH could be kidnapped and tortured. The MUSH may specify that any such events take place "off-camera". They happen but they are not played out with dialog and descriptions.

SEX AND TEXT ROLEPLAYING GAMES, Part 2. The World of Darkness setting claims the lion's share of the all-text games. You may never have played any of these tabletop RPGs but most supernatural TV series are based on it. "True Blood" is World of Darkness warmed-over. So are "Supernatural", "Lost Girl", and "Dresden Files".

There is extensive coding for character generation from the tabletop games. Anyone can start their own MUSH, and a complete World of Darkness character generation machine is easily installed as a "module".

Two of the WoD character types are 'vampires' and 'werewolves'. NO other setting gives players clearly-defined supernatural abilities. The rules of each MUSH describe to what extent these abilities may be used upon other players' characters.

As described by its authors, in the rulebook "Vampire: the Masquerade", the daylight-impaired blood-dependent sorts are known as "Kindred". They are ALL capable of various forms of mind-control, such as feeding one drop of their blood to a mortal to cause infatuation. Some World of Darkness MUSHes are especially for players who want to roleplay non-consentual sexual situations that this enables. Ethically speaking, this goes past 'assault' (as using a needle on somebody to draw blood would also be) and on into virtual date-rape.

In "Werewolf: the Apocalypse", the WoD shapeshifters are known as "Garou". They have a quirk in that they may not mate with each other. They are required to find half-human half-werewolf mates known as "Kinfolk". ALL werewolves are capable of a specific form of mind-control that causes the victim to be helplessly aroused. Again, this is a form of fantasy date-rape. (The books specify it's also used on wolves, so, throw in an off-stage background that includes bestiality rape.)

The games' creators didn't intend for these rules to be applied to player-characters, just NPCs. But, rather than being something done by six friends for four hours once a week, MUSHes daily, 24/7, and involve hundreds of players. The players often wish to roleplay these situations out, as both perpetrators and as (out-of-character willing) victims.

These powers are part of a canon setting, the owners of the MUSHes have found themselves powerless to rewrite it. (You have the right to do so, but if you start making house rules, you drive players away.) Since they can't ban it without destroying their own game; they are only able to regulate it. (This has major implications for anybody who wants to write an RPG. What you want the game world to be like, it will be. Unlike tabletop, where the GM can alter the setting at-will, you have far more power as the designer than online GMs.)

A huge part of development of rules for online RPGs has been devising rules for the real-life social end of this kind of setting. To what extent when one opts-in to playing a World of Darkness game must one also consent to strangers roleplaying out date-rape scenarios?

After a decade, the most common default is that players must give out-of-character consent to any scene. Injury of the character, artificial alterations to their psyche, any kind of "removal" of the character from the MUSH, and permanent death require a player's okay. ("Removal" covers being held captive permanently, having a huge bounty placed on the character, etc. Being unwilling as a player to play the character does not.)

Online RPGs that make use of tabletop rules and mechanics allow the player's characters to attack one another. A blanket "consent rule" could allows a player to cause a situation and then dance away. Some MUSHes completely accept this and say, "If you don't like how someone plays, do not play with *them*."

Others uphold a that "consent" does not trump in-character actions leading to in-character consequences. So, if you are in the Mos Eisley Cantina on the Star Wars MUSH, and you walk up to someone and pose drawing a blaster, you must automatically consent to the logical possibility that someone else does the same and shoots first.

* The frequency of the need to resolve this kind of situation and give players fair opportunity to react has driven most non-dice "storytelling-oriented" MUSHes out of existence. They still do exist, though.

(See next post for a look inside Shangrila, an all-text MUSH that's sexually-oriented...)
SEX AND TEXT ROLEPLAYING GAMES, Part 3. "Shangrila" is a bit unusual as a MUSH in that it is not based on any established movie or book setting. It's one of the few "indy" MUSHes that is popular. EXTREMELY popular. At any given time, you'll find about 300 players are on. The typical MUSH has between 20 and 60.

It is adults-only. As all you need to connect is a computer and a MUSH client, there is no way to verify this. Like web pages, they post a rule and players must affirm they are of-age. There is no age-verification being done. This amount of effort has sufficed, legally, for 18 years.

Here's Shangrila's disclaimer:

This is an Adults Only game! For those who are at
least 18 years or older. We take no legal responsibility
for what is written on your screen, regardless of your
age. Proceeding further than this screen means that
you waive any legal action towards the staff, players,
and anyone else connected to this MUX for any reason.
If it is discovered that you are not of legal age, your
character will be @nuked immediately and removed
from the game. Period. If you cannot accept these
terms then type 'QUIT' now.

Although it isn't based on any tabletop RPG with stats, the character generation process is VERY long. Why? First, there's the commands of the MUSH to comprehend; how to talk, emote, use an exit. Second, there's familiarizing oneself with Shangrila's rules.

For example, speaking foreign languages is "regulated" through in-MUSH game commands. New characters start out knowing two languages. To learn more requires an in-character teacher, i.e. another player's character. It takes 15 sessions to learn a language. (A "session" is a scene, typically 2-4 hours long, with no more than one per 24 hour period.)

The third part of character generation is cosmetic details. You can set these other optional attributes about your character: eyes, hair, skin color, species, height, weight. Also, a player openly tags their character with a gender, gender-preference, and age. As a rule, no character may be under age 13, nor may they LOOK as if they are under 13.

The fourth part is familiarizing oneself with Shangrila's proprietary unique custom setting: a dimension in which human society consists of several "castes", including slavers at the top and slaves at the bottom. The rules specify:

--- Do not use boards or channels to request scenes involving ---
--- characters or settings from other media or out-of-Shangrila ---
--- scenes. ... Do not conduct faction- or government-related ---
--- roleplay without first obtaining consent from faction leaders. ---

The ban on other settings effectively prevents players from heaping supernatural abilities on themselves AND expecting others to react as if it was valid. A character can come from a world where they were an "Elder" of the Skubidu Vampires; here, they're just another bloodsucker, until they have earned their prestige in the context of this world.

The fifth part is one's list of +Kinks. All other players who have created a character will be able to view your Kinks. When they look, if you happen to be online, you will be notified they are checking you out. (You can opt-out of this notification, though.)

If there is something a player does NOT like, they can specify this, as well. Everyone has their "kinks". It's a really important insight that everyone also has their "squicks"-- their major turn-offs.

In the interest of keeping this post "safe for work", I won't display Shangrila's +Kinks list here. However, I *will* give a link to it. If you are not of legal age in your community, do not look. This is adult material from an adults-only all-text game.


SEX AND TEXT ROLEPLAYING GAMES, Part 4. Players on the all-text MUSH "Shangrila" can also tag their characters with special "flags". While most people would not want other players to impose events on their character... many players DO. From here, my "tour" takes is into darker territory. (For some, the words "CREEPY AS HELL" may apply better.)

Non_Consent is a flag that announces the player doesn't want to be asked OOC if something is okay. (They have already given consent; please don't break the mood.)

" When a players sets the NON_CONSENT flag on, they are authorizing *all* other players to initiate *any* scene with them. This means OOC consent does not need to be sought to begin a scene, including difficult scenes. However, the player may bring the scene to a halt at *any* point. "

The "Victim" flag is a more extreme version of the Non_Consent flag:
" ...this is considered a special request on the part of the character to be abused, humiliated, vilified, and in any other way victimized by others. Victims cannot be killed, unless they are also prey. "

"Don't become a victim unless you ENJOY being made into a victim -- frequently. If it's just nice for an occasional thrill, nothing says you have to be an official victim. If you want to spend your days at the rough mercy of others, by all means be a victim."

The "Prey" flag is even more extreme than "Victim" in that the player has consented for their character to die. Prey can be a slavering beast that needs to be put down, or a lost damsel in the woods, or a renegade warrior who is marked for death. It can be an innocent bunny rabbit (provided the bunny rabbit is at least age 13, of course).

This includes what is referred to as "snuff". In the case of a vorarophilia scene, there might not be any sexual references made at all. The news files provide extensive description on how such a scene is carried out. This is one of the VERY few places the game's staff step in to enforce In Character action. It is done via the +deathpact command.

Both players must "sign" that they consent to this kind of scene. Once it's done, the Prey is going to be removed from the database of the game; the player will not be able to appeal for the saving of their character on any grounds. (In all of Shangrila's years of operation, it's never happened.)

Now, here's one of the places where Shangrila's social status system comes into play. To *be* a killer, a player's character must be of the Master/Mistress caste, the rulers of the society. They alone have power of life and death in this way. If the virtual "slave's" fantasy is to be under the threat of in-character death, this mechanism makes sure the player really really knows what they have signed up for.

Shangrila is not solely a "bondage parlor", however. There are MANY players who really don't want any part of the "S&M" side of this game. They can opt for the Castes of "Citizen" or "Denizen" instead. It's just that, being more obscure, prospective slaves and Masters/Mistresses have to advertise more, and thus seem more... hehe...

SEX AND TEXT ROLEPLAYING GAMES, Part 5. On most MUSHes, characters can meet serendipitously on "the grid", non-private "locations" described in a paragraph. There are often +hangouts to which you can teleport; you can see a list and how many people are already there. A medieval tavern, an internet cafe, and a sunny beach can be +hangouts.

+Hangouts can have rules specific to their setting. A posh nightclub might require disarming via a pat-down. Some +hangouts are set up to favor particular factions, with enemies of the faction not allowed, by OOC plot device/plot assumption.

Although it has factions, Shangrila doesn't really have many active +hangouts. Most players find roleplay via the filtered search functions to find out if someone else online fits particular criteria. For example, you can search for a list of all male/gay/Masters or all female/bisexual/slaves. Then, they can pore over one another's +Kinks hoping to find someone appealing, and then send a whisper-page hello.

The person invited can look over the profile of the person approaching them and decide if that's to their tastes. If they are already engaged in a scene, they may arrange to meet at a later time and date.

An additional possibility is that of the 100% pre-arranged scene. On Shangrila, players are allowed ONE post per day on the public message boards.

By allowing these +BB posts, players can form IC connections between their characters by pre-arrangement. This isn't unique to Shangrila and it's not just done for sexual arrangements. On the MUSH "City of Hope", I could request someone to play my character's aunt who happens to be the owner of an art gallery. I might play a Ghoul and want a vampire to serve, or I might play a doctor and want an orderly. I could put together a team of mercenaries who originally served in the military together.

On Shangrila, though, the +BB requests are often pretty kinky. A player can post a synopsis of what they would like to play out. It can be general, it can be very very specific. It can be open-ended but there is more often an assumed ending/outcome, with only a very limited number of surprises. It can be a full story-arc spanning many sessions. Here's excerpts from a request post:

...In Ken's case, he doesn't plan for there to be any others in his daughter's life. He plans to be her first, and her last, and to influence every aspect of her life, from what she wears, to where she goes, and whom she sees...Seeking someone interested in this setting. I'm looking for more than TS, I also want a story and character development. One possibility includes keeping your character a virgin till she's reached a certain age. If interested, or to discuss more / chat about ideas, feel free to page, +finger, or @mail me. Human females only.

It can be a one-shot (referred to as a "sandbox" scene):

Pretty simple concept, I want to play out a scene where Zackery gets turned into a monster by another monster. If this is how the monster reproduces and makes Zackery its child, all the better, particularly from a mommy monster but either gender is possible. Bonus points if the loving parent teaches the hungry newborn how to feed on unsuspecting humans so that he grows up big and strong . Page me if interested.

Sometimes a player sees a +BB request and makes an alt (new alternate character) just for another player. Sometimes a request is so successful that the person who posted it makes an alt, running several versions of their +BB request. Ken's request for a slave-girl daughter will be VERY VERY VERY popular. Incest is a major kink-- while watching two women get it on has become a "Who cares?"

If you live in the United States, this is probably news to you. If you are from anywhere else, which requests turn out to be popular will probably not shock you, because it's far more likely to have come up in casual conversation.

I've been running online games since before there was Windows. I think that kinks are not "the exception". They're "the rule", and our culture in the United States insists on trying to keep all of this secret. Despite the abolition of arranged marriages, we often get married not really know one another sexually. The questionnaires from matchmaking services ask what your income is, and what your skin color is, and what your favorite kind of restaurant.

Text roleplaying games are one of the very very rare arenas where people with something in common sexually can find each other. If you happen to be looking for a mate, wouldn't it also be nice to know in advance that they are amazingly turned on by shaved privates or having spaghetti thrown in their hair...? It's rather unlikely that will come up while playing Guild Wars using headphones and microphones.

I think there's room in the market for RPGs that are not oriented towards combat and merchantry, but instead, simulations of social interaction. Some will be as extreme as Shangrila. Much of it will be more "vanilla"-- settings as banal as the Anytowns in which countless Silhouette Romances and softcore porn novels take place. (He was a young doctor... she was a stunningly successful socialite florist...) When it hits, it'll be as shocking to Americans as the billion-dollar success of FarmVille.

SEX AND TEXT ROLEPLAYING GAMES, Part 6. One reason I've been "making much" of the sexually-oriented text RPGs because they have consistently been the source of useful and successful social rules for online play. What we learned there, became useful in the non-sexual RPGs.

Combining a "consent rule" and a theory of In Character Actions Yields In Character Consequences ("ICA->ICC") has led to a fair balance between granting all players their in-character due and protecting players from abuse by other players. By introducing character sheets and dice, fair and neutral resolution is possible.

Online text RPGs are changing.

I think that the sex-oriented MUSHes, with their +kinks and other "amenities" have made prowling around for X-rated interaction on other MUSHes obsolete. In general, hunting for sex on "adventure-oriented" places becoming less and less acceptable.

Also, for the past five years, player-versus-player combat has become less and less popular. It is being replaced by player-vs-NPC (non-player character) action. New mechanics enable a player to be a temporary or permanent GM/storyteller for these "PRPs" (player-run plots). Obviously, these are just those +BB scene requests without the sex.

This has a huge advantage over tabletop in that the player has more of an ability to request a particular opportunity, one more relevant to their character. If you are playing a demon-hunter, you can request a demon hunt. If you are a werewolf that engages in eco-terrorism, you can request that. You can go through a PRP as a solo player or you can bring along your Coterie/Pack/whatever group.

PRPs allow the player to fulfill the role that they wrote for themselves. Arguably, what we do in a typical Dungeons & Dragons session is play a generic group "role" of "We're some adventurers". The Elf rarely has a chance to do ELVEN things; the Bard rarely feels like a Bard. To a large extent, many tabletop games are frozen at a stage of a boardless board game serial. (Moving beyond this has to come from the game designers. It is going to require innovative mechanics, and not be some vague grail for the GM to jump and try to grab.)

Player-motivated requests can finally tie in very cool backgrounds written up by players to the present play. If you have an enemy in your character's background, a check can be made to see if they come after you (a la Champions/Fantasy Hero). Events that ought to emerge from a character's established history can finally occur, with events being a surprise to all players involved (including the one acting as referee).

...It's been extremely difficult to get my older friends to see the point of the player-run plot. They tend to view requesting a scene as being "high maintenance". They're used to doing what the group does, at the GameMaster's direction. The PRP concept is mainly coming from a younger generation of players who are free of their elders' self-limiting preconceptions. :)

One of my favorite scenes I ever requested was the chance to go to Alaska and sign on with a crab boat. The Storyteller made me come up with a plan of how I would get around the taboo that many captains have against hiring women crew. I made saving throws against being washed overboard by icy swells. When a fellow sailor was pulled overboard, I discreetly used my supernatural abilities to rescue him, with no-one the wiser. There were luck rolls to see if the crab pots were full or empty.

The text of the scene was captured and logged and sent to the MUSH's administrators. They skimmed the text, and rewarded my character financially using admin-only game commands. As a greenhorn I only got 1 'share' but in game terms, that was enough to bring my character from 'Resources 2' to '3'. My character went from renting to owning a house, which let me offer other players a place for their characters to dwell.

PRPs are regulated by recording what they are meant to be, and registering a commitment to the continuity by choosing a Risk Level. Inspired by the high mortality rate that real-life crab fishers face, I signed on for a "death fully possible without my OOC consent" adventure. Deciding this on an adventure-by-adventure basis works much better than trying to do it as a permanent "blanket" setting. I made a kind of "wager with fate".

If a player wants to, they can reciprocate by running a scene for others. Unlike tabletop, since the bookkeeping is automated, and it's short-term, more people can handle the complex task of being the GM. I've run a LOT of PRPs.

In the years since the release of many RPG rule books, online text gaming has become very sophisticated. Conversely, it has made *playing* the games *easier*.

Unfortunately, the rule books are still being written mainly with tabletop in mind. Game designers are neither taking advantage of the opportunities, nor showing they are aware that choices that cut a game off from successful online adaptation is a big handicap.

One of the least successful, overall, of the World of Darkness games is "Mage the Ascension". Its continuity is a minefield of plot disasters and later editions only made it worse. It can only be run online with major house rules kluged on. As a tabletop game it's fine. As an online game, it's a dinosaur's dinosaur.

Dresden Files (the game), by contrast, is doing extremely well, despite a $50 "entry fee" for the two books required to be a GM. Both the rules and the canon history adapt to online better. (Dark Spires MUSH comes to mind.) Make a game that runs well as a MUSH, and you'll sell a lot more copies.

If you're curious about what the current MUSHes are, MudConnector keeps a list, and links to the various web sites.

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The +Kinks of Shangrila [Jul. 25th, 2013|08:01 am]
>> Roleplay Kinks >>---------------------------------------------------------
 R1. Other                R16. Enslavement          R31. Romantic            
 R2. Ageplay              R17. Fanfic               R32. S/M                 
 R3. Amazon               R18. Fantasy              R33. SciFi               
 R4. Angst                R19. Force                R34. Seduction           
 R5. Anime                R20. Gender_Bender        R35. Soap_Opera          
 R6. Anthropomorphic      R21. Group_Sex            R36. Social              
 R7. BDSM                 R22. Hi_Tech              R37. Superbeings         
 R8. Blackmail            R23. Historic             R38. Supernatural        
 R9. Capture              R24. Incest               R39. Tentacle_Rape       
R10. Coercion             R25. Magic                R40. Transformation      
R11. Combat               R26. Mind_Control         R41. Transgender         
R12. Comic_Book           R27. Non_Sexual           R42. Vampirism           
R13. Dirty_Talking        R28. Political            R43. Violence            
R14. Dom/Sub              R29. Pregnancy            R44. Interracial         
R15. Employment           R30. Ritualism                                     
>> Personality Kinks >>------------------------------------------------------
 P1. Other                P12. Male                 P23. Submissive          
 P2. Bisexual             P13. Masochistic          P24. Switch              
 P3. Bottom               P14. Maternal             P25. Top                 
 P4. Committed            P15. Monogamous           P26. Vanilla             
 P5. Dominant             P16. Passive              P27. Voyeur              
 P6. Exhibitionist        P17. Paternal             P28. Anthro              
 P7. Female               P18. Polyamorous          P29. Rescued             
 P8. Gorean               P19. Sadistic             P30. Rescuer             
 P9. Hermaphrodite        P20. Same_Sex             P31. Predatory           
P10. Heterosexual         P21. She-Male             P32. Prey                
P11. Homosexual           P22. Single                                        
>> Fetish Kinks >>-----------------------------------------------------------
 F1. Other                F13. Hair                 F25. Piercings           
 F2. Anal_Sex             F14. Lactation            F26. Rubber              
 F3. Ass                  F15. Leather              F27. Schoolgirl          
 F4. Big-Bodied_People    F16. Legs                 F28. Shaving             
 F5. Body_Art             F17. Lingerie             F29. Spermplay           
 F6. Breasts              F18. Magical_Creatures    F30. Stockings           
 F7. Cheerleader          F19. Medical_Play         F31. Tattoos             
 F8. Clothing             F20. Menses               F32. Uniforms            
 F9. Crossdressing        F21. Neck                 F33. Urine               
F10. Experimentation      F22. Oral_Sex             F34. Wet_and_Messy       
F11. Feathers             F23. Orgasm_Control       F35. Diapers             
F12. Feet/Footwear        F24. PVC                                           
>> Method Kinks >>-----------------------------------------------------------
 M1. Other                 M7. Fear                 M13. Public              
 M2. Availability          M8. Force                M14. Punishment          
 M3. Bodymod               M9. Humiliation          M15. Rape                
 M4. Bondage              M10. Hypnotism            M16. Torture             
 M5. Discipline           M11. Imprisonment                                  
 M6. Display              M12. Mind_Control                                  
>> Hardplay Kinks >>---------------------------------------------------------
 H1. Other                H14. Clamps               H27. Objectification     
 H2. Asphyxiation         H15. Clit_Torture         H28. Pain                
 H3. Beating              H16. Cock/Ball_Torture    H29. Scarification       
 H4. Bestiality           H17. Cropping             H30. Scat                
 H5. Blade                H18. Electro_Torture      H31. Sensory_Deprivation 
 H6. Bloodletting         H19. Enema                H32. Size_Queen          
 H7. Branding             H20. Fire_and_Ice         H33. Snuff               
 H8. Breast_Torture       H21. Fisting              H34. Strangling          
 H9. Breath_Control       H22. Forced_Exhibitionism H35. Transformation      
H10. Caging               H23. Forced_Orgasm        H36. Violence            
H11. Caning               H24. Genital_Torture      H37. Watersports         
H12. Catheter_Play        H25. Hairpulling          H38. Whipping            
H13. Chastity_Belts       H26. Mutilation           H39. Sounding            
>> Softplay Kinks >>---------------------------------------------------------
 S1. Other                S12. Hugging              S23. Stroking            
 S2. Anal_Sex             S13. Intercourse          S24. Teasing             
 S3. Biting               S14. Kissing              S25. Tickling            
 S4. Blindfolds           S15. Massage              S26. Toys                
 S5. Cunnilingus          S16. Masturbation         S27. Vanilla             
 S6. Fellatio             S17. Mutual_Masturbation  S28. Wrestling           
 S7. Flirting             S18. OTK_Spanking         S29. Autofellatio        
 S8. Flogging             S19. Playpiercing         S30. Autocunnilingus     
 S9. Foodplay             S20. Rimming              S31. Pegging             
S10. Hairpulling          S21. Slapping                                      
S11. Hot_Wax              S22. Spanking                                      
>> Bondage Kinks >>----------------------------------------------------------
 B1. Other                 B7. Cuffs                B13. Immobilization      
 B2. Art                   B8. Display              B14. Japanese_Rope       
 B3. Breast                B9. Exposure             B15. Mummification       
 B4. Clamps               B10. Forced               B16. Plastic/PVC         
 B5. Consensual           B11. Gag                  B17. Rope                
 B6. Control              B12. Genital              B18. Spreader_Bar        
>> Training Kinks >>---------------------------------------------------------
 T1. Other                 T6. Display              T11. Stretching          
 T2. Anal                  T7. Leash                T12. Puppy               
 T3. Bodily_Functions      T8. Orgasm_Control       T13. Pony                
 T4. Cock_and_Ball         T9. Orgasm_Denial        T14. Pet                 
 T5. Corset               T10. Public_Use           T15. Cookies             
>> Lookingfor Kinks >>-------------------------------------------------------
 L1. Other                L12. Male                 L23. Submissive          
 L2. Bisexual             L13. Masochistic          L24. Switch              
 L3. Bottom               L14. Maternal             L25. Top                 
 L4. Committed            L15. Monogamous           L26. Vanilla             
 L5. Dominant             L16. Passive              L27. Voyeur              
 L6. Exhibitionist        L17. Paternal             L28. Anthro              
 L7. Female               L18. Polyamorous          L29. Rescuer             
 L8. Gorean               L19. Sadistic             L30. Rescue              
 L9. Hermaphrodite        L20. Same_Sex             L31. Predator            
L10. Heterosexual         L21. She-Male             L32. Prey                
L11. Homosexual           L22. Single               L33. Long_Term           
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NON-FICTION: Spread the Anti-Fallacy Memes [Jun. 1st, 2013|08:07 pm]
This is: http://talzhemir1.livejournal.com/96622.html


I'm really fortunate. I happen to live in a community of rationalists. Rationalism has led a large number of the people I know to a conclusion of atheism.

I'm starting to realize, though, that rationalism puts me in a separate sub-culture. Our outlook on the world is profoundly different in ways of which many of us are not aware. The differences are divisive in an emotionally charged fashion.

Today somebody criticized something I said because I "stated it as if it was a fact". I asked him to explain. He meant that I had not prefaced what I said with "I think...". On those grounds, he accused me of being 'arrogant'. To my perception, I was just being clear and succinct.

...Suppose what I had said was, "A mouse is a mammal."

My "tone"-- I seem to "sound certain"-- doesn't affect the truth content. A mouse will still be a mammal (or not) regardless of how I feel (or appeared, to them, to feel).

The clarity with which I express myself doesn't imply an absolute level of commitment. In other words, it doesn't mean I don't think I can be wrong. I'm not uncomfortable admitting that I could be wrong.

I'm also not dogmatic. I don't 'believe' a mouse is a mammal. If it was a 'belief', taken on 'faith', I'd be forced to automatically assume any new information to the contrary was somehow wrong.

I 'accept as working theory'. If information to the contrary comes along, I can, and might, change my mind. (This idea, this meme, of the difference between "believe" and "accept as working theory" is crucial. We need to share this a lot more.)

I very well *could* have said,
"I sort of think that maybe a mouse is a mammal..."

To some people, to the people who don't come from a rationalism-oriented culture, that sounds 'modest', 'humble'. It might even carry positive moral connotations, such as wanting to be cooperative, egalitarian, and open-minded.

It might make them more willing to hear what I had to say. What would it cost me to try to speak that way? Unfortunately, probably a lot.

First, it's inaccurate. If I'm expressing something that I think is strongly probable, this kind of language risks giving the wrong impression that I think it's merely a weak possibility.

(Example: "I think evolution is a fact.")

Second, it's cowardly. Words like that mean I'm not willing to commit to my acceptance of a working theory.

Third, it's an attempt to manipulate people's feelings. Some people are uncomfortable with certainty; they wrongly equate it with dogmatism and faith. They may become more receptive but the statement is being phrased with false modesty.

Since I despise cowardice, and I dislike intellectual dishonesty even more, I simply state whatever I accept as working theory. That I didn't begin it with "I think..." doesn't mean I'm unwilling to debate the statement.

The "something" that I said early this morning was something the person hearing did not want to accept was accurate. Being from a non-rationalist background, they felt perfectly free to try to cast aspersions on my statement by complaining about "my attitude". It was a pointless ad hominem attack to criticize my tone.

Maybe it's worth remembering that, to somebody from a non-rationalist culture, plain and simple statements are threatening. It seems nutty to me, but if I say something somebody doesn't want to hear, and I don't attach some kind of disclaimer that it might be inaccurate, I'm automatically arrogant.

I don't think rationalists are going to adopt starting everything they say with "I think..." for a social lubricant when speaking to others. In rationalist culture, having to put a verbal disclaimer such as "What I'm about to say could be inaccurate." on everything is ridiculous. It's stupid because, rationalist culture, it's assumed.

In rationalism, there is such a thing as requiring extraordinary proof for an extraordinary claim. Expecting to be believed without the evidence and reasoning appropriate to the assertion, that can be arrogance. But, making the statement in the first place? No.

Therefore, I think that the following rationalist position needs to be repeated more often, so it spreads: Whether or not somebody seems to "sound certain" has no effect on whether or not the statement is true. Therefore, apparent certainty is not grounds for criticism.

The ability to reject this type of ad hominem fallacy is a critical meme to spread. Our very ability to convey the simplest information without getting accused of "arrogance" depends on it.
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Paternity: A Report from the Cold War of the Sexes [Sep. 10th, 2012|02:12 pm]
PATERNITY: A report from the Gender Cold War.
Once upon a time, a man divorced. A DNA test proved the genetic father of their daughter was the man his ex-wife then married. “I pay child support to a biologically intact family. A father and mother, married, who live with their own child..."

"...And I pay support for that child. How ridiculous is that?” (Full article here.)

This subject came to mind partly because I was thinking about a roleplaying world called Tekumel. Although it's a science fiction setting, it's also fantasy in that it has what appears to be magic, and the technology is medieval.

One facet of this world is that both men and women have multiple spouses. A player character might have half a dozen mothers and fathers. They live in large houses with extended family.

They approach child care with a casualness I associate with the Polynesian cultures that practiced neither monogamy nor marriage.

There's an old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Polynesians took this literally. A youngster might call all older women 'Mother' and all older men 'Father'. (The words for Aunt and Uncle are the same as Mom and Dad.) Food was handled communally, so there was no question about who was supposed to feed the child.

Eventually the child would be taken under the wing of an adult for training in some livelihood. That person then casually, serendipitously became the person mainly responsible for the youth.

Since they didn't practice inheritance of property or titles as we know it today, the identity of the genetic father was unimportant. It was also utterly unprovable. (Thus, many cultures simply went with matrilineal inheritance.)

In many other cultures, the inheritance of property and noble titles based on genetic relationship to the male parent was considered very important. Though we still practice customs such as giving children their father's surname, this preoccupation has fallen away in our society.

Today we're more accepting of adoption, birth out of wedlock, and raising the children of a spouse's former mate. We're more secure, more enlightened, more accepting of the concept that "parenthood" is not just a DNA certificate...

Or are we....?

I'm going to try to "tread lightly" on this next section. To some of us, it won't have much meaning, but to others, it may be very "close to home". ...After DNA sequencing became available to the medical community in the 1990's, a HUGE push was made by government welfare agents to blood-type children and alleged biological fathers.

The moral agenda was to hold male parents accountable in the manner that is traditional (though, as I've mentioned, not "a human universal"). The financial motive, however, was simply to relieve the burden on the state from a record numbers of unwed mothers.

American culture appears to have changed to equate genetic paternity with financial responsibility for any child. This view was especially endorsed by conservative Christians because it seemed to mesh with traditional gender roles for men (breadwinners outside the home) and women (childrearers closely tied to household and homestead).

Although it's often presented as "natural" or "ancient" law, this was not the standard view of American law or the English precedents from which it originally grew. According to 500-year-old common law, the presumption was that a husband is the father of any child born to his wife during a marriage. This is "old-fashioned" in a different way.

After a divorce, it was nearly automatic that the ex-husband's wages would be garnished on behalf of the children. DNA testing has upset this quaint old apple cart.

The organization U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud formed to change laws so that men who discover they are not the biological father can stop paying child support. They also oppose laws that require a man to prove such a claim before a certain number of years (often 2) have passed.

There are still many judges who follow the antique British common law view and insist that fatherhood is the natural bonding that occured over time between children and those who believed they were the genetic fathers. These words often don't mesh with their next action-- which is to revoke all visitation rights.

USCAPF characterizes this as a double standard: DNA testing can be used to demand a man pay child support, but when a man attempts to use the medically proven "mispaternity" to shake off financial responsibility, he is denied. Suddenly, it is his presence at the time of birth that matters.

How big of an issue is this, really? Probably not as big as we think, owing to certain popular misconceptions. Various studies before the 1960's, when DNA was discovered, often estimated "mispaternity" at 20% to 40%. The data usually came from sources such as asking mothers.

Medical students are still taught that the figure is a dramatic 10-30%. Science doesn't agree, which makes this an urban legend... one that transmits the nasty cultural subtext that one in ten mothers had an affair that resulted in pregnancy.

According to Carolyn Abraham, writing for the Globe and Mail, "It's now widely accepted among those who work in genetics that roughly 10 per cent of us are not fathered by the man we believe to be dad." This was claimed in 2002.

According to a 2005 paper, Australian sociologist Michael Gilding concluded the nonpaternity rate for Western countries is between 1 and 3 percent.

So which is it...?

According to the Stanford University geneticists who, in July of 2012, announced a way to sequence the DNA of a fetus from its mother's blood without need for a father's blood sample, "the incidence of non-paternity is estimated to be between 3% and 10%."

The "home" DNA paternity kit has only been available to the public since 2008. According to DNA test companies that sell the discreet over-the-counter kits, 30% of men who question their paternity are not the genetic father. But, this is a "sample" limited to men who are suspicious.

It's such a sensitive issue that to peek at the data risks revealing information that could be very upsetting to families that were doing just fine all along. Because it has medical implications, to withhold the information is also considered unethical. So, despite technical ability to find out, we don't really know.

Often, child care payments are made by the government, with "obligors" (parents who pay child support) reimbursing the government. In effect, this has led to non-payment of child support becoming criminalized. For example, men who do not pay may be required to spend their weekends in prison.

This has also led to the creation of bizarre courts whose exclusive role is to handle child support non-payment and assessment of these debts. These special courts are not accountable to the law the way normal courts are. We essentially now have "debtor's prisons", a throwback to unacceptable legal principles existing within modern society.

(If marijuana ever gets legalized, their next best bet for filling up the new privatized prisons with contracts requiring 90% occupancy is men who are behind on their child support payments.)


I characterized this situation as a "cold war" between the sexes. I think that there's a large number of men who are put-upon, and they have not yet achieved solidarity with each other. I think that there is a very valid need for a "Men's Rights" movement, and a need for legal empowerment that the government is denying them.

I suspect many men are resentful of their current situation, in which they are required to support children that they never see, whose upbringing they cannot participate in.

The divorce rate amongst the GOP politicians is significantly higher than the general populace. Several of the presidential candidates are divorced X2 and married to a third wife. The divorce rate amongst conservative Americans is also known to be unusually high. The number of men who pay child support is correspondingly higher.

So, what does this all mean...? This is, I admit, a wierd theory... but...

I think that behind the bizarre attempt to reverse the law that makes abortion legal... is bottled rage from men who must "carry" the burden of a child with absolutely no realistic way to contest it. It seems to me like maybe they're trying to make two wrongs into a right.

I'm inclined to the opinion that men who are not the genetic father should be relieved of child support payments and reimbursed. The U.S. government should not be in the business of criminalizing nonpayment of child support; the normal laws protecting a debtor should apply, not the crazy kangaroo courts a number of states employ.

I don't agree with USCAPF that what is happening should be dubbed "Paternity Fraud". That attitude, of automatically painting the mothers as some kind of criminal mastermind, or a villainess, is ridiculous. It's needlessly hostile, sounds hysterical, and counter-productive. The mother is not the one making the unfair laws and running the courts.

(For example, the mother didn't establish Delaware's anomalous two year rule.)

What I do agree with, is that the men should organize, and get educated, and that they deserve justice. Sure, there's a need for women's rights awareness. But, there's ALSO a very STRONG need for MEN'S right's awareness.

...and our respective issues may actually be more related than we thought: Why do a bunch of men think it's okay to force a woman to be a mother? Because they live in a twisted system that dictates it's okay to force a man to be a mealticket.
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Unemployment Figures Don't Validate or Condemn A Presidency [Aug. 23rd, 2012|02:52 pm]
RAIN. There is, on all of Planet Earth, no subject more significant to humanity than rainfall. We shouldn't be looking at drought, flood, freeze, and other 'climate change' disasters as trivia. Presidents are being judged on unemployment figures yet these are directly due to weather. Both Republicans and Democrats do this, and it isn't rational.

Now, I think the Republican criticism that "global warming is a myth" is ridiculous. Climate change is very real. We're in a
drought the World Health Organization says began in 1967.

That's important because every major violent conflict is preceded by a drought. Every world war began with crop failure. It frees up able bodies to be hired for pennies, converted into soldiers. It usually spirals: destruction of farm land and less people farming means the food supply drops even more drastically. People with adequate water and food are much less likely to take jobs as soldiers. War is initially sparked by drought.

Many Democrats' general reaction to the Republicans' religion-based denial of climate change is to assume the opposite must be true. There's this New Age dogma that blames all climate change on human fuck-ups. It's a Guilty-First-World-Person superstition. We enjoy cars. Much of the rest of the world doesn't. Crops are failing. It must be our fault. Therefore,
"Using Gasoline -yields-> Drought."

On a side note, it's an incredibly egotistical conclusion to draw. It persists because, while on the surface, we condemn ourselves (evil, bad, naughty White People with no respect for Mother Earth!)... it is also a twisted form of boasting (We did that. We're so powerful! We ruined an entire planet. Us!)

The question of how pollution affects the environment, and how much or how little, shouldn't be controversial. It's like evolution. It's either a fake controversy, or we need more research. Was use of fossil fuels since the 1800's a factor, and if so, how much? Can we now influence weather through emissions control or not?

Maybe. Maybe not. The only thing I know for sure is that it's more important to YOU than any other question in government. The single greatest drain on the U.S. treasury is spending for war in desert nations that have suffered drought... for 5000 years.

About 17% of the U.S. workforce are employed in agriculture or jobs immediately dependent on it (such as driving pig-carrier trucks or washing lettuce).
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Women's fantasies [Aug. 20th, 2012|01:52 pm]
This is circa 2006.

In general, the women had one fantasy that never wore out. The men tended to, also.

Having anonymous sex (with a biker, a cop, or pirate.
No-strings-attached pleasure. Interestingly,
the so-called anonymous partner usually had a
clear identity: somebody off-limits because they
were "taken" in real life. Women wrote things
like, "he's really modeled on my sister's
boyfriend" and "I based him on our minister."
I guess this is mainly a fantasy about "the

Being a female dominatrix (complete with corset and
whip but no actual infliction of pain. They
specified the male partner was to be humiliated,
with verbal abuse, and made to do menial tasks.)

Bondage of a male partner (very rarely did this involve
forced sex; they usually specified the partner
was willing. Often, it was about the power of
being a tease-- something normally very frowned
upon in society.)

Having a threesome (about 3/4 wanted it to be 2 men.
This one was often a mild domination fantasy, but
mainly it seemed to be about being desired and

Spying on people having sex (frequently, getting caught,
then coerced into participation to avoid being outed.
Rape fantasies were EXTREMELY rare, except as part
of this scenario. The focus was on sex as a 'bad'
thing that gets turned into something guilt-free.)

Being a teacher seducing a student (usually specified
age 17 or 18. I had no idea this was such a
common fantasy. A few specified that this wasn't
an "affair" with one specific student, it was
a "teacher gone wild" making one after another
stay after school.)

Being tied up (they almost always specified, NOT
forced sex, but rather, bondage with someone they
trusted and wanted to have sex with)

Forced exhibitionism such as being an exotic dancer
(often included light bondage, such as a collar.
--Princess Leia in a bikini is dead on the mark!)

True-love sex with a stranger (who then falls in love
and proposes marriage. A heavy accent is placed
on the longterm such as, "I am yours FOREVER."
The irony is that while it seems to be about
freedom, it is all about commitment and how this
feels right because it was "always meant to be".)

Prestige mate. (this is often relatively "vanilla" sex
with someone who is financially well-established
and a leader. The male equivalent of a "trophy
wife". Older women named Al Gore, Donald Trump,
Tiger Woods, etc. This fantasy is a classic.
The medieval version was the crown prince. Princes
Andrew and Harry are popular with women in the U.K.
The supernatural-flavored version is any vampire
lord: True Blood's Erik; Anita Blake's Jean Claud.)
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NON-FICTION: A Glimpse at "Stonepunk" and Historical Atlatls [May. 7th, 2012|02:30 pm]
This is: http://talzhemir1.livejournal.com/95589.html

ATLATL KITS. Thunderbird Atlatl offers finished goods, but also has kits. The most basic is the model called the Nanticoke, which is one of two that I use regularly. They use exceptional wood such as Osage Orange, with the peg of Ironwood, but a scavenged piece of very ordinary pine can be used to make a great spear-thrower.>>>

Many of their designs are what we call "Stonepunk". That is, they draw upon actual principles and some historical precedents, but the shape is largely coming out of a modern imagination, not any 100% indigenous tradition. They're beautiful, and EXCITING.

This design's page says that it was "inspired by Mayan Warriors holding atlatls in a picture depicted on temple walls that had been unearthed in the Yucatan Peninsula". Personally, I think it resembles EGYPTIAN scepters found in AFRICA.

With its ergonomic handle, Thunderbird's Wyalusing model atlatl is clearly meant for a "hammer" style grip. The Mayans used a "first two fingers" grip. The "hulche" had fingerholds made of shell and jade. At the top of this picture is the atlatl found in a Texas rock shelter. It has a T-shaped end for the same style grip.

This array was made by Chris Henry of PaleoArts. He's geared up for the Christmas season. On the far right, the jutting peg and finger holes are far-north American, from Alaska to Quebec. The long ones in the middle are Australian "woomeras". The long bowl or flat area was used as a plate to hold grubs before roasting.

The triangular handles on the left are Chris's "Egyptian" series. Historical? Not quite. :) There is, as yet, no conclusive evidence of atlatl use in Africa. It's the only continent without them. These are "Stonepunk" extrapolations on spear-throwers that North Africans might have loved.

This picture shows the flat wooden carving on a New Guinea atlatl. It's a dart rest. They throw "sidearm", not overhead.

Here's my own design, called the Pine Pony. It is specifically meant to be cut out with a jigsaw from an inexpensive or scavenged plank. The parrot is a dart rest. I use this for demos.

Ancient European spear-throwers often had animal head and body motifs. The horse head on the Pine Pony is a tribute to the many beautifully carven horse-shaped spear-throwers that have been found. http://www.occpaleo.com/images/378_brunhorseA.JPG

This atlatl head was carved out of reindeer antler. It's 12,500 years old. http://www.britishmuseum.org/images/horse_of_selene_homepage.jpg

This detail of a codex shows a warrior with an atlatl in one hand and a fistful of feathered darts in the other.

Meanwhile, over in Central America, this pair of carved pieces of shell, once restored, reveal a different motif than one might first guess. When the bindings are in place, completing the item, it becomes apparent that this isn't one long frog, it's two, engaged in frog procreation.

Here's my handout that includes the details of the "Basketmaker" culture style. It's the kind of atlatl the so-called "Anasazi" people used. http://fav.me/d2332ix
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NONFICTION: The Mysterious Sky Penis [Apr. 17th, 2012|09:40 pm]
This is: http://talzhemir1.livejournal.com/95366.html

In 1954, Maud W. Makemson made nutty claims about primitive astronomy in an article in the Journal of Bible and Religion called, "Astronomy in Primitive Religion." A legitimate anthropologist, her credentials lent an odor of credibility to a theory she irresponsibly propagated, based on a single artifact: the Sky Penis.>>>

She cited as her source the writing of Marcel Baudouin who claimed in 1921 that the item must be of extreme antiquity because the markings represented the constellation of Ursa Major (the Big Dipper).

Here's what astronomers project the Big Dipper looked like 40,000 years ago (shortly before the Neandertals went extinct).

Here's the Big Dipper around 14,000 years ago. Other constellations have changed a fair bit but the Big Dipper has stayed fairly similar.

Here's an animated version, showing the Big Dipper 100,000 years in the past, projecting up to 100,000 years in the future, based on our actual knowledge of the stars' placement and the earth's position. At no point does the Dipper look anything like the Sky Penis's diagram.>>>

The identification of the markings on the Sky Penis rely strongly on this pair of markings here. I've traced the diagram and outlined the two alleged stars with a square. Mizar and Alcor are the names of the famous "Horse and Rider" stars of the Big Dipper's handle.

Photos of the Sky Penis are reproduced in the article, which is published in the French Journal of Astronomy (La Grande Ourse et le Phallus du Ciel).>>>

The other markings are fairly distinct. One of those identified as Mizar and Alcor, however, is clearly just a light-colored smudge. I've used Gamma Correction to make the photo clear.

And now, the sensational identification of this as a symbol of the masculine generative principle of the universe is totally blown, as you can now make out that this isn't a cosmic willy, it's a little monk in a hood. You can make out an ear and a beard if you look carefully.

The stone out of which it's made is a fossil. Misidentified as an urchin several places online, it's actually a sponge. That the markings are incised at all becomes highly dubious. Fossils of sponges can have holes and indentations naturally.

(Phymatella trilobata)

That explains why the markings are little crescents and not dots or crosses or some of the more traditional ways to depict a star. But, supposing that maybe, just maybe, this is an artifact decorated with markings to commemorate something in the sky, I think the Pleiades are a much better match than Ursa Major.


By the way... The markings on the face of this aurochs may depict the Pleiades. This is from the Gallery of the Bulls, in the Cave of Lascaux. http://www.students.sbc.edu/matyseksnyder04/lascaux%20markings.jpg

The markings over another aurochs at the same cave might also depict the Pleiades. http://blackville.nbed.nb.ca/sites/blackville.nbed.nb.ca/files/lascaux_bull.jpg

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NONFICTION: Why No Ancient Bones? [Apr. 11th, 2012|05:14 am]
This is: http://talzhemir1.livejournal.com/95125.html

THE BIBLE SAYS people used to live much longer than they do today. The Old Testament gives these numbers: Adam 930, Seth 912, Enosh 905, Kenan 910, Mahalalel 895, Jared 962, Methuselah 969, Lamech 777, Noah 950, Shem 600, Arpachshad 438, Shelah 433, Eber 464, Peleg 239, Reu 239, Serug 230, Nahor 148, Terah 205, Abraham 175.


One principle of critical thinking is that absence of evidence is sometimes evidence of absence. When something people believe is something that *OUGHT* to leave evidence, then its absence *IS* evidence against it. In this case, we have suspicious shortage of human remains of people nine centuries old.

Haft Tappeh ("Seven Mounds") is in Iran. It's the site of the world's oldest vault. Beneath the vault is a catacomb. The site dates back to 4000 years ago. None of the numerous human remains are those of a person who lived past a century.


Going back further, the village of Jarmo, in Iraqi Kurdistan, dates back to 9000 years ago. Once again, no multi-centenarian skeletons are to be found there. Jarmo is amazing because it is an agrarian civilization but they also use stone age tools such as obsidian extensively.

Jarmo Neolithic village archaeological site (7,000 B.C.)

Çatalhöyük (I cut and pasted *that* one) is in Turkey. It was settled 9500 years ago. When family members died, it was customary to bury them under and inside the house. There is not one skeleton of a person who lived to 300, 500, 700, or 900 years old.

Çatalhöyük: Human Remains

It's very obvious that people 9 millenia ago didn't live longer than people do today. At an educated guess, they made it into their 40's, and sometimes their 50's, and, on very rare occasions, their 60's. It's also obvious that the human lifespan is not decreasing as the Biblical list of patriarchs implies.

In Africa at this time, the Sahara had transformed from a lush green region to a desert. It happened around 9700 years ago. The Gobero site is a grave of about 200 people. Because of the conditions, the skeletons are in amazingly good shape. Any centenarians? Even just one? No.


Though I'm not religious, the "Holy Land" is special to me because it really was the "cradle of civilization." In 2006, a handful of teeth became the world's oldest known human remains. Found close to Tel Aviv, Israel, the remains are 400,000 years old. Teeth don't re-grow; chewing those whole foods for centuries would be obvious.


There's another good clue as to the age of a skeleton, and this is a field of study that's relatively new. Just like trees, human bones have growth rings. As people age, there are also degenerative changes in bone structure. Even without the rings, it is possible to determine how old the person lived to be.


But, do these structural details survive over time? Yes, they do. In 2006, the technique was applied to Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons. They determined that T. rexes could live to be 30 years old.


So, as you can see, the absence of evidence in this case is evidence of the absence of people living longer "back then". Long before we get to this point of questioning, there's actually another principle of critical thinking to invoke, and that is, the "Burden of Proof".

There are so very many things vying for our belief that the only sane and sensible default is a neutral lack of belief. Because of that, rational people place the burden of proof on the person positing that something exists (in this case, ancient people who were 900 years old). It's not our job to disprove. It's their job to prove.

It's very important to know that "lack of belief" is different from "disbelief". To demonstrate- say I hold up a box and claim it contains an orange. You could believe me. You might think the box contains a live mouse, or a rock, or you might just say, "I don't know what that box contains." Those are examples of "lack of belief".

"Disbelieving" means you think that box is empty or holds anything BUT an orange. To sum it up, there's three possible answers, not two, to the question, "Does the box hold an orange?" They are "Yes.", "No." and "I don't know that to be true."

Did people in olden times live extraordinarily long lives? I say "No." What's pushed me from lack of belief to disbelief is the absence of evidence that is evidence of absence. Abraham was supposed to have lived a mere 4000 years ago. Human remains from 4000 years ago just aren't 175 years old.

On the ethical side of things, not the critical thinking side, I think human beings have the right to accurate information. That's not the same as 'truth'. Truth is a description of that which is real; by definition, it is that which is independent of subjective judgment. Accuracy is when we get as close to the truth as we can.

Withholding information is a form of inaccuracy. Sometimes we call this 'lying by omission.' Not giving young adults full information about how modern birth control works gives them a false impression of the world. It's unethical to do that. Because doing this leads to bad consequences for human beings, it's wrong.

Perpetuating misinformation is also a violation of people's rights. So, when someone claims the Bible is true, and I can demonstrate gross factual errors, I consider what they are doing to be wrong. Not necessarily 'evil'-- they might have everybody's best interests at heart-- but a very bad idea.

...My talk of Mount Ararat, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel makes it all seem a bunch of safely distant questions. Today I happened to glance at somebody's claim that the world is only 4000 years old. Half an hour from where I live is an archaeological site that's at least 9000 years old.

As amazing as it might be to think that the city of Catal Hoyuk was 7000 years old when Abraham was supposed to have existed, it's even more amazing to me that human beings clearly had reached Austin, Texas by that time. Where did these particular Paleo-Americans come from?

"You figure somebody else pulled another creation over in the next county somewhere?" --Matthew Brady, in the 1960 movie "Inherit the Wind", the dramatization of the true story of the Scopes Monkey Trial (1925)

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