Invisible

“If you suffer from any mental illness, you know how many people will put you down for the pain you feel. I may be only one person but please hear me when I say: There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not alone.” – Lauren Rabin

Speculating about someone’s mental health status is one of the most damaging and dangerous things a person can do. Mental illness is what is termed an invisible disability, one that can be terminal. Those who struggle with it and continue to win the battle should be supported and applauded, not belittled and shamed. Read more

Gone…Will they be forgotten?

“Who is walking with our brothers?”

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There are few academics and media outlets who focus on the epidemic of violence that is a reality for the Aboriginal peoples in this country but it is undeniable. First Nations Canadians are 6 times more likely to die as a result of violence as compared to Caucasian Canadians. In total this group comprises a mere 5% of the population and yet accounts for 23% of its homicides.
This is shocking and it is unacceptable.

Those who do shed light on the brutal reality facing our Indigenous communities primarily focus on the plight of female victims alone, portraying the missing and murdered among this group as “human beings, worthy of justice”, and advocate that these mothers, sisters and daughters “should not be forgotten”. Let me be clear that these victims are most certainly deserving of justice, and this process often requires advocacy. For this reason, this treatment is both necessary and kind and should be applauded and encouraged.

Sadly this compassionate dignity is not often paid to male victims, which defies both reason and logic in the context of the science on this topic. Aboriginal men are nearly 3 times more likely to die than their female counterparts, meaning that slightly over 70% of all violent deaths in this community are of men and boys. Being male and Native in this country is clearly a dangerous birthright, yet as blogger Mônijâw so aptly opines:

 “Aboriginal men are murdered extremely often, relative to all other groups, and their homicides are more rarely solved. And nobody really cares. And you can even say you don’t care in public, as a representative of the police. Because you know nobody else really cares either.”

Following this script closely, the Trudeau government has yet to even speak to the reality of the violence that faces Aboriginal men. As they push forward with their proposed inquiry into murdered and missing women and girls with an almost smug sureness that few among us will fact check the numbers on this issues, or be that bothered by what they show, I have to wonder – are they right? Does anyone besides the families of these murdered and missing men care if they receive the justice that they are equally worthy of?

I am not sure how an inquiry which neglects almost 3/4th of victims is meant to produce solutions, I just hope it somehow still does. The need for them is clear and urgent, and this sad fact is evidence based.

There is a petition for a gender inclusive inquiry here.
Please take a minute to show your support.

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Not-so-pretty Pony.

Not-so-pretty Pony.

I am going to let you in on something that might come as a shock. I need you to just have faith that we can handle this together.

I am a human woman. I know that this is a bombshell. Here you all believed me to be a pony this entire time. Deep breath, because I am not even close to finished yet. I am not always as attractive in real life as I am in my profile pictures. I use the best pictures I can to represent my brand on this page and my site. I then use filters, and crop the images further, to make these best likenesses of myself into something even better. Deep down I suppose I want you to all like me, and think I am pretty. I am sorry I have been so dishonest with you. As you can see, I look different in different pictures. Sometimes I look attractive and sometimes a picture isn’t actually about simply documenting my loveliness for future generations:

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Two Things

Two Things

 I found out last night that the man who died because of injuries sustained in the fire, my next door neighbour Gregory Alan Fenton, was discovered in my apartment – unit 303. I am in shock. I now understand why the police were so eager to speak with us first.

I am told that Greg lived in the building for almost 20 years. No one I have spoken to remembers interacting with him, and I had never met the man. I had never even seen the man. The police believe that he must have seen me, though, and known that I have small children and was often alone overnight. They suspect that he was making sure that I had got the children out, and was overcome by the smoke. He died in the hospital on Friday December the 4th and was laid to rest this Saturday. He was 54.

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Why vaccines matter to me.

 

dollnMy father was severely crippled by polio and I grew up with a visible, ever present reminder of the damage that vaccine preventable diseases can cause. Immunizations save lives and reduce suffering.

In other parts of the world this is widely accepted to be evidence-based. Over 60 vaccine workers have given their lives in Pakistan trying to bring these gifts of life to the citizens of this country. The concept that people in the west would endanger their children and others around them too young or sick to vaccinate, to the families of those who have died for this cause, is simply mind-boggling.

This is my daughter Cailin. She is 3, fully vaccinated, and perfect. She will never have to bear the burden that her grandfather did.

Because science gave us vaccines.

 

 
My name is.

My name is.

A note to my followers.

Many of you follow me on this site, Twitter or my Facebook page because of my outreach work in science forums like Healthy Skepticism and Parents who Science, or know me from my time at SF both as a moderator and board member. Some of you became aware of me because of my #sciencetroll activities, relating to Vaccine Resistance Movement​ and others.

“Facebook”.

Clearly these are both two very different sides of the same coin. In the forums I strive to be the most civil, charitable, and evidence-based version of myself that I can be,while I employ both snark and sarcasm frequently as a science troll. My goals, desires and frustrations are identical with both pursuits but my methods vary greatly. The juxtaposition between the two, I have no doubt, is probably too great for some and results in them unfollowing me. I can understand and respect that. Those of you who remain in spite of this are true, loyal, friends and your participation in this journey is what makes it worthwhile.

Science Pony is also a character. While she is very close to my real life self and closely mimics the way I think, talk and act, she is just one snapshot of these aspects of my personality. The character is not me, no page or website could even accurately reflect a real person – but, and I need this to be heard and understood – I am one. I am a real person. My name is really PennyLane Handley and I really do love science. I also love my family and am wary of anything that threatens to harm it. It might be easy to forget that there is a flesh and blood human being behind these posts, which are sometimes snarky, sometimes silly, sometimes funny, sometimes trying to be funny and falling short, but I implore all of you who read this to remember that I am a person, someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, and I deserve that same respect as is due to anyone else.

I have no advisors or assistants, I am not part of any secret group of science shills. I have my friends, Destroyed by Science​, The Mad Virologist​, The Credible Hulk​ and James Fell  and I have my own passion and desire to spread the good word about science and my own judgement, and sometimes that judgement is flawed or just plan wrong. I can honestly say that I am trying, and will continue to try because I believe in consensus. I believe in the importance of vaccines, in the importance of countering health woo before people turn their backs on evidence-based treatment methods. I believe that we are all better under the light of science than stumbling around in the darkness of ignorance.

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The internet is exhausting.

To those persons who have recently decided to come to my page and impede my ability to outreach because of petty issues and silly squabbles, please take heed:

I am used to dealing with antis, I expect them to troll myself and others who spread science and consensus on these here internets. I never expected that the worst trolling I ever experienced would be from people who claim to support the same goals that I do. It is beyond bizarre. If you don’t like my message, change the channel. But please, and I cannot express this more clearly or loudly or firmly, do not tell me how to run my page. Do not try to enact change to it through ultimatums or threats. Do not think for a second that I would not walk away from this page skipping and whistling a jaunty tune rather than have a group of irrelevant, self righteous little pissants tell me how to do my job.

Fierce friends.

The arrogance it must take the honestly believe that you have the right to tell a perfect stranger what they are and are not allowed to post to a personal Facebook page is astounding to imagine. I posted a conversation that had the second participant’s name redacted. It might be guilty of being low hanging fruit in terms of comedy but it is not in violation of any law, civil or criminal, and it is not in violation of Facebook policy. I don’t know who you think you are but understand who I am – someone who would rather die than kowtow to the harassment and bullying of a few trolls on a Facebook page. So I invite you all to absolutely fuck off secure in the knowledge that if you comment on any of my posts you are banned.

To the rest of you, those who came for the science and stayed for the snark, and vice versa, I am really very sorry about the uninvited house guests, I realize that my desire to give everyone a voice I might have let some truly awful people kill your science buzz. I promise moving forward to do my best to remove the squeaky wheels so you can go back to the reason we are here – so this science groupie can help sneak you backstage at all the best science concerts. I totally can you know. I know a guy.

As always, I love you guys all *THIS* much.

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Hungry Boy

This was a special day. After almost 2 solid months of lurking in a 20 thousand member anti-vaxxer echo chamber called Vaccine Resistance Movement, Science Pony made a comment on a post and set of a chain reaction that included 12 straight hours of (mostly) civil consensus pushing followed by a full on science troll invasion.

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This was grabbed about 5 hours in, you can see that Science Pony is beginning to lose her Principle of Charity – it could be exhaustion, or maybe hunger, or maybe it is the idiots calling her a slut and making fun of her father’s Polio? It is hard to pinpoint causation, as we are all aware.

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The forum was unusual because it had one administrator for 20 thousand people, and allowed anyone to add anyone without approval. And we did just that. This was the shills when VRM has no moderator watching:

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This led to a call to action and a coordinated science troll invasion. There were 20 -30 shills, working together to create havoc in the forum while the ONE(!) moderator slept. It was legendary.

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Well there you have it. That is our tale for today. VRM changed its open add status and kicked out most of our heroes. We still have a few members in the forum, reporting back and waiting for the next chance to troll for science.