Occam's electric razor

CBC: Government accused of anti-female bias

A political science professor at Simon Fraser University says the Campbell government has an abysmal record in its dealings with female-dominated trade unions, including the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

Women currently make up about 70 per cent of the BCTF membership who have been out on strike for the past two weeks.

Marjorie Griffen-Cohen, who teaches women’s studies and political science at SFU, notes this isn’t the first time the Campbell government has tangled with a female-dominated union.

She points to the fight with the Hospital Employees’ Union over the past few years as an illustration of the government’s real attitude toward women workers.

Griffen-Cohen notes that the B.C. Medical Association – a male-dominated group – has fared much better in the past in their negotiations with the government.

That’s one interpretation. Another might be that (a) the BCMA isn’t really a union and (b) members of the BCMA are more likely to vote for the Liberal Party rather than members of the HEU or the BCTF, and in politics, it tends to be hard to fuck over your supporters and have them still support you (current counterexamples to this theory notwithstanding). At the time I remember wondering exactly why the Liberals felt it was a good idea to alienate one of their natural support groups, and perhaps that logic finally penetrated through. Or, you know, maybe the government’s just a bunch of bastards.

Lookit: The BC Liberals do not like labor unions. Period. There’s plenty of reason to get pissy about this, if you’re so inclined, without having to drag sexism into it.


I periodically run into people in my line of work who absolutely insist on mangling the pronunciation and/or spelling of perfectly normal words for absolutely no reason whatsoever. 95% of the time, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Ok, I understand if you’re not from around here, or if you trained somewhere else, and I don’t even get bent out of shape over people who absolutely insist on spelling it “anaesthesia” and “paediatrics” (this is Canada, after all). But what in the name of all that is holy is a fricking sontimeter? (Answer: A centimeter measured by someone who has hung around with too many obstetricians.) I remember the first time I spent any time in the OR, and the anesthetist I was hanging out with insisted on talking about sontimeters of water (cmH2O) for airway pressures. Part of me wanted to know whether he measured blood pressure in millaimeters of mercury. The origins of the sontimeter are confusing and mysterious, but I suspect it has something to do with the French, since it’s sort of halfway to being a “sontimaytre,” which would be the proper way to pronounce it. I’m not normally one to go on a tear about French, but in this case, they’ve gone too bloody far. (Can you tell I spent a chunk of the recent past listening to someone who continually referred to sontimeters? Grrr!)

It’s the same thing as people who refer to the “cervyecal spine” instead of the “cervical spine.” I’ve heard this rationalized as being unrelated to the part of the female reproductive tract, but since cervix itself means “neck,” it’s a pretty fair bet that the female reproductive chunk was named after the thing that holds your head up, not t’other way around. Cervix is sir-vicks, not sir-vikes; it’s sir-vi-cal, not sir-vye-cal. Why this eludes people eludes me.

On a totally unrelated note, I stumbled on this again earlier today. “Can you imagine what the net’s raw content will look like when all the half-literate morons in the U.S. can publish any text that their tiny minds ooze? The very thought makes me want to refill my glass with the ’56 Chateau Lafite. America’s Intelligentsia will need some serious Digital Butlers guarding our Offramp on the Digital Highway’s Mailing Lists (damn metaphors) when this comes to pass.”

Umm, I dunno. A lot like blogger.com?

Mixed messages

I have to say I love the idea behind this contest. Back in the 80s there was a thing where you committed to do 15 minutes of aerobic exercise and phoned it in, with the object of being the least-lazy community in Canada; this is almost better, since it requires basically no effort on my part, or anyone’s part, for that matter. And literacy is an easier thing for me to support than non-fat-assery. Read for 15 minutes? Hell, I’d read enough for ten people on that day (thank you, annoying academic programs!).

But I had to take a moment and check myself when I saw the prizes. Um.. are the CPL guys sure this is sending the message they want to send?