The Twitter Report: Hands Off My Freeze Peach!

The Twitter Report: Hands Off My Freeze Peach!

It's a slow news day. How about some internet drama to liven things up?


As you all know, I've been writing a lot lately about sexism and misogyny in the atheist community. While most atheists are perfectly decent, rational human beings who understand the concept of treating all people as equals, and while we don't have anything like the centuries of accumulated prejudice and patriarchy of religious institutions, we do have a few retrograde individuals who think that sexist slurs and abuse are an appropriate way to express your disagreement with a fellow skeptic who happens to be a woman.

One such person, whom I've had the distinct pleasure of interacting with in the last few days, is named Reap Paden. If you'd like to know more about him, posts like this or this or this or this will probably give you a good general idea.

Anyway, this person came onto my radar as an excellent example of the kind of attitudes that are harming the atheist community. Just because he calls women "bitches" and "fucking bitches", and just because he makes taunting, obscene "jokes" about having sex tapes of women he dislikes (because, as you know, nothing discredits a woman more thoroughly than proof that she's had sex) - just because of that, I had the absolute gall to hint that he might be a misogynist! Well, he hit the roof, let me tell you, posting a string of angry tweets in which he loudly, repeatedly, and vehemently insisted that he didn't care the slightest bit about my opinion of him and demanded to know just who the hell I think I am:

@daylightatheism thats right and it doesn't bother me a bit. I'm happy to add as needed u dont know me man IDGAF watch and ull see

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 30, 2012

@rocko2466 @stevew68 @daylightatheism @stefanelli the guy is a complete tool. If he ever heard George Carlin he'd piss himself i guess

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 30, 2012

@stevew68 nah steve ya kno we are all good :) just giving adam his fair warning he seems to think i am gonna go away fuckin idiot he is

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 30, 2012

@daylightatheism i know you wanna be famous and all that but why not just learn a neat circus act or somethin ur already a great clown

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 30, 2012

@stefanelli @daylightatheism why doesn't he get a new hobby talking shit about me is not going to result in anything good for him

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 27, 2012

blogging about censorship, egotistical control freaks, and my right to use whatever words I choose so fuck u adam lee u whiny prick

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 27, 2012

@daylightatheism i'm sick of morons judging me based on shit they make up or bcause i dont bow to their demands on my word use

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 27, 2012

@daylightatheism you also should note that adam lee can kiss my ass. Adam since when are u my judge? In other words who do u think u r?

— The Angry Atheist(@1AngryAtheist) December 27, 2012

Surely, these postings are the product of a well-adjusted and emotionally mature individual!

Anyway, this person now seems to have posted a quite lengthy enemies list, on which I'm honored and amused to have pride of place. He doesn't really have an argument, as such; it's more a collection of spittle. You can read it if you want, or you can just consult the output of a random profanity generator, which is about as coherent and much funnier.

Judging by his raving about "censorship", Reap seems to think that by criticizing him, I'm trying to silence him (the so-called "freeze peach" mentality). Nothing could be further from the truth! Just as I said about Justin Vacula, it would never be my first choice to kick anyone out of the atheist movement, even if I had the power to do that. We need all the activists and the allies we can get. I just want them to drop the sexist attitudes and the gratuitous insults aimed at their fellow skeptics, and instead direct their anger at the real injustices in the world that are genuinely worth getting angry about.

As I've said many times, the Atheism Plus movement isn't creating a rift in the atheist movement, it's pointing out a rift that's always been there but that people have been overlooking. Unenlightened attitudes like this divide and weaken us; they discourage women and minorities from coming aboard for fear that they, too, will be subjected to harassment and abuse. I don't much care what Reap or his hangers-on think of me, but I do care about creating a community where people who aren't white men feel safe and welcome. Even if people like this have the legal right to be as nasty and vicious as they want, if they really care about the atheist movement, they ought to consider what message their attitude sends to people on the outside who are looking in.

Image credit: Shutterstock

A landslide is imminent and so is its tsunami

An open letter predicts that a massive wall of rock is about to plunge into Barry Arm Fjord in Alaska.

Image source: Christian Zimmerman/USGS/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • A remote area visited by tourists and cruises, and home to fishing villages, is about to be visited by a devastating tsunami.
  • A wall of rock exposed by a receding glacier is about crash into the waters below.
  • Glaciers hold such areas together — and when they're gone, bad stuff can be left behind.

The Barry Glacier gives its name to Alaska's Barry Arm Fjord, and a new open letter forecasts trouble ahead.

Thanks to global warming, the glacier has been retreating, so far removing two-thirds of its support for a steep mile-long slope, or scarp, containing perhaps 500 million cubic meters of material. (Think the Hoover Dam times several hundred.) The slope has been moving slowly since 1957, but scientists say it's become an avalanche waiting to happen, maybe within the next year, and likely within 20. When it does come crashing down into the fjord, it could set in motion a frightening tsunami overwhelming the fjord's normally peaceful waters .

"It could happen anytime, but the risk just goes way up as this glacier recedes," says hydrologist Anna Liljedahl of Woods Hole, one of the signatories to the letter.

The Barry Arm Fjord

Camping on the fjord's Black Sand Beach

Image source: Matt Zimmerman

The Barry Arm Fjord is a stretch of water between the Harriman Fjord and the Port Wills Fjord, located at the northwest corner of the well-known Prince William Sound. It's a beautiful area, home to a few hundred people supporting the local fishing industry, and it's also a popular destination for tourists — its Black Sand Beach is one of Alaska's most scenic — and cruise ships.

Not Alaska’s first watery rodeo, but likely the biggest

Image source: whrc.org

There have been at least two similar events in the state's recent history, though not on such a massive scale. On July 9, 1958, an earthquake nearby caused 40 million cubic yards of rock to suddenly slide 2,000 feet down into Lituya Bay, producing a tsunami whose peak waves reportedly reached 1,720 feet in height. By the time the wall of water reached the mouth of the bay, it was still 75 feet high. At Taan Fjord in 2015, a landslide caused a tsunami that crested at 600 feet. Both of these events thankfully occurred in sparsely populated areas, so few fatalities occurred.

The Barry Arm event will be larger than either of these by far.

"This is an enormous slope — the mass that could fail weighs over a billion tonnes," said geologist Dave Petley, speaking to Earther. "The internal structure of that rock mass, which will determine whether it collapses, is very complex. At the moment we don't know enough about it to be able to forecast its future behavior."

Outside of Alaska, on the west coast of Greenland, a landslide-produced tsunami towered 300 feet high, obliterating a fishing village in its path.

What the letter predicts for Barry Arm Fjord

Moving slowly at first...

Image source: whrc.org

"The effects would be especially severe near where the landslide enters the water at the head of Barry Arm. Additionally, areas of shallow water, or low-lying land near the shore, would be in danger even further from the source. A minor failure may not produce significant impacts beyond the inner parts of the fiord, while a complete failure could be destructive throughout Barry Arm, Harriman Fiord, and parts of Port Wells. Our initial results show complex impacts further from the landslide than Barry Arm, with over 30 foot waves in some distant bays, including Whittier."

The discovery of the impeding landslide began with an observation by the sister of geologist Hig Higman of Ground Truth, an organization in Seldovia, Alaska. Artist Valisa Higman was vacationing in the area and sent her brother some photos of worrying fractures she noticed in the slope, taken while she was on a boat cruising the fjord.

Higman confirmed his sister's hunch via available satellite imagery and, digging deeper, found that between 2009 and 2015 the slope had moved 600 feet downhill, leaving a prominent scar.

Ohio State's Chunli Dai unearthed a connection between the movement and the receding of the Barry Glacier. Comparison of the Barry Arm slope with other similar areas, combined with computer modeling of the possible resulting tsunamis, led to the publication of the group's letter.

While the full group of signatories from 14 organizations and institutions has only been working on the situation for a month, the implications were immediately clear. The signers include experts from Ohio State University, the University of Southern California, and the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses of the University of Alaska.

Once informed of the open letter's contents, the Alaska's Department of Natural Resources immediately released a warning that "an increasingly likely landslide could generate a wave with devastating effects on fishermen and recreationalists."

How do you prepare for something like this?

Image source: whrc.org

The obvious question is what can be done to prepare for the landslide and tsunami? For one thing, there's more to understand about the upcoming event, and the researchers lay out their plan in the letter:

"To inform and refine hazard mitigation efforts, we would like to pursue several lines of investigation: Detect changes in the slope that might forewarn of a landslide, better understand what could trigger a landslide, and refine tsunami model projections. By mapping the landslide and nearby terrain, both above and below sea level, we can more accurately determine the basic physical dimensions of the landslide. This can be paired with GPS and seismic measurements made over time to see how the slope responds to changes in the glacier and to events like rainstorms and earthquakes. Field and satellite data can support near-real time hazard monitoring, while computer models of landslide and tsunami scenarios can help identify specific places that are most at risk."

In the letter, the authors reached out to those living in and visiting the area, asking, "What specific questions are most important to you?" and "What could be done to reduce the danger to people who want to visit or work in Barry Arm?" They also invited locals to let them know about any changes, including even small rock-falls and landslides.

Your genetics influence how resilient you are to the cold

What makes some people more likely to shiver than others?

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images
Surprising Science

Some people just aren't bothered by the cold, no matter how low the temperature dips. And the reason for this may be in a person's genes.

Keep reading Show less

Harvard study finds perfect blend of fruits and vegetables to lower risk of death

Eating veggies is good for you. Now we can stop debating how much we should eat.

Credit: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • A massive new study confirms that five servings of fruit and veggies a day can lower the risk of death.
  • The maximum benefit is found at two servings of fruit and three of veggies—anything more offers no extra benefit according to the researchers.
  • Not all fruits and veggies are equal. Leafy greens are better for you than starchy corn and potatoes.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast