Rater of Gater Haters

My Cracked article on #gamergate went up last week, and it was glorious. The comment section was Conan’s best in life streamlined for the internet age. “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” That stuff gets pretty easy when they flock to drive themselves past you in a whining parade, pre-crushed, and there’s a 33% time-saving with nary a lamentation to be had.

The only thing that could have made it better would be if I was on a cruise across a caldera in the Mediterranean at the time. Which was actually the case. Nothing like basking in the beauty of the world while ignoring the “asshole alert” in your pocket.

"You have a message from 'Spank Bitchoker'. Would you like to read it?" "No. No, I don't think I'll be doing that."

“You have a message from ‘Spank Bitchoker’. Would you like to read it?”
No. No, I don’t think I’ll be doing that.

The piece got over five thousand comments. Well over a hundred thousand words. I usually enjoy reading the comments, one way or another, but that pushed it over the Commentasekhar limit of collapsing into a one-way hole of sucking, an infinitely compressed ball of hatred from which no useful information can be extracted with modern science.

Hard to say which wastes more energy (Image: NASA)

The only difference is that real black holes can be interesting.  (Image: NASA)

The length of the posts I did see was insane. And the sheer number of people who had no preconceptions or real interest in the issue, but just coincidentally happened to drop by to point out a few things at short story length, wow. It was enough coincidence to power at least three lottery jackpot wins. Which is even-more-coincidentally the amount you’d have to pay me to read them all.

It’s inverse SEO. Hordes of idiots searching for certain words which are already online and then writing volumes of repetitve bullshit. But SEO is a reversible process, because no matter which direction you run it in the results aren’t good. And it’s a thermodynamic process, because no matter which route you take it makes everything worse.

What these War and Peace-of-their-mind dumping gaters don’t get is that quality still counts over quality. All their thousands of words don’t cancel out even one comment from someone whose opinion I respect. Related: holy hell:

gate scalzi

gate wendig

gate doctorow

gate manna phrozin

If you don’t know those names, great, you’ve just found lots more good stuff to read. Gaters trying to astroturf over people who actually make and think might as well be wallpapering Jupiter.

But since they’re trying so hard, I will give them one bit of helpful advice: seriously, if your username or icon is about bitches or the choking thereof, you really aren’t getting read.


Games are fun! Other things aren’t!

A Perfect Pulsar In The Cosmic Clockwork

Bonus material for my latest Cracked article on awesome stars, because it makes my day when the science articles do so well. The sweetest things in science are the problems. The best problem when talking about the universe is that there will always be more than you can cover. I could write a book and have to leave things out. I could write all the books and have to leave things out. Here’s one of them:

#3B The Perfect Pulsar In The Cosmic Clockwork

This was the binary system stirring spacetime like a giant spoon made of neutronium, sending out waves of gravitational radiation. What I didn’t have time to explain was why PSR J0348+0432 was so perfect.

A neutron star is as dense as matter can get without sinking out of all sight behind an event horizon. Even if light can escape, most matter can’t, and the neutron star grows as it consumes everything around it. If it’s spinning this creates jets along the axis, high energy particles squirted out at the poles. If the whole thing is rotating around another axis (imagine a wobbling spinning top – the top is spinning around its axis, but that axis is rotating around and around as well) these polar jets sweep out a circle around the universe. If you’re in the path of this beam, you’ll see a regular pulse as it sweeps past. That’s why it’s called a pulsar.

Source: ESO

Source: ESO

The most compressed mass engine possible thus powers a combination of a cosmic lighthouse and the speaking clock. These pulsars are the most accurate timekeepers possible: when you have for octillion tonnes spinning twenty five times a second, there’s very little you can do to stop it. That’s something twice the mass of the sun twisting at 1500 rpm. At least ten rotations in less time than it takes you to blink. And the whole thing made of solid neutronium: that’s a grindstone which could cut Mjolnir to powder and not even notice. It’ll run down eventually, as all things will, but you’d need to sacrifice a star to alter its timing in any way we’d be around to notice.

So you’ve got the most unstoppable clock in the universe, slap-bang in the middle of the spacetime distortion system we want to measure. It’s the most perfect experiment possible. If astrophysicists had access to God’s sandbox menus, that’s the experiment they’d build with their cosmic Gmod.

Theory predicts that the loss of energy in sending out gravitational waves will cause the pulsar and white dwarf to spiral closer together, shortening their orbit. The measurements matched this theory. The measurements were also 8.6 plus or minus 1.4 millionths of a second, per year, measured from over six thousand light-years away. That’s a measurement of one part in three thousand billion. That’s precision. That’s science. And that’s what people should remember the next time they see someone with shiny teeth and a chat show wibbling about “alternative” theories.

For more spectacular sciencery, I enjoy the echoes of creation known as Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations, and the pure plasmapunk that is the Z Machine.

The Sixth Reason Homophobia Is Unmanly

BONUS CONTENT: Sometimes parts have to be cut from other articles, like this one about how homophobia is unmanly.

6. Blaming Someone Else

The epitome of unmanliness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. The vast majority of dickhaters offload their assholishness on someone who’s not around to disagree, and honestly think that makes their argument stronger. “It’s not me!” they say, “A big boy did it and ran away. Over two thousand years ago.”

"Hey, don't pin this on me.  I AM ALREADY MORE THAN SUFFICIENTLY PINNED." (Source: wikimedia commons)

“Hey, don’t pin this on me. I AM ALREADY MORE THAN SUFFICIENTLY PINNED.” (Source: wikimedia commons)

Their advice isn’t totally pointless: if your invisible friend tells you who you’re not allowed to have sex with, listen to them, because the less chance of your broken-ass crazy getting passed on the better. But you don’t get to command other people.

Besides, the whole story of God hating sodomites is suspicious. Sodom literally gave its name to homosexuality, and in the Bible god claims he searched it thoroughly and couldn’t find ten good men, so genocide is fine. He carefully searches a city known only for man-bangin’ with all his omniscience, then destroys it with fire? That’s the divine equivalent of  “Clear history”. When Lot’s wife looks back – because hearing an entire city destroyed with fire behind you is the sort of thing the survival instinct tends to take notice of – god turns her into a pillar of salt. That’s the most extreme version of screaming “don’t look at that!” when someone walks in possible. I guess god doesn’t need to alt-tab when he can just kill people.

Read the other 5 Reasons Homophobia Is Unmanly