Franklin’s Journal Presents: How to Make Your Own Latex Catsuit…

…in just a few easy steps.

Things you will need:
One half-naked chick
Liquid latex
Foam brushes
One drop cloth
One Unitard
Saran wrap
Silicone-based sex lube (ID Millennium works well)

The first thing you’ll want to do spread out the drop cloth. In fact, it’s remarkable how many things one can do on a Saturday afternoon that start with "The first thing you’ll want to do spread out the drop cloth"…but I digress.

Now, take the saran wrap…

When urban legend becomes policy

More and more often, when I pump gas at a gas station, I see warnings on the gas pumps advising motorists to turn off their cell phones:

Supposedly, this is to prevent fires. Everyone knows, after all, that sparks from a cell phone can cause gasoline vapors to ignite and start a gasoline fire, right? I mean, there’s even an Internet email circulating that talks about how cell phones can start gasoline fires, right? So it’s only wise to put up a warning about cell phones on gas pumps, right?

Problem is, it’s strictly an urban legend. Cell phones don’t make sparks, and cell phones can’t ignite gasoline vapors.

Hell, the Discovery show Mythbusters attempted to use a cell phone to ignite a gasoline fire, and failed. In fact, they filled a pressurized chamber with gasoline and oxygen, disassembled the cell phone so that its battery and electronics were exposed directly to the gasoline vapors, and still failed.

Which is about what anyone who knows anything about electricity would expect.

If gasoline could be ignited by a cell phone, then you’d expect explosions left and right just from filling a car. You see, your car’s electrical system is powered by a big, high-capacity battery, far more powerful than the puny battery in a cell phone…and your car’s electrical system is still active even when the engine is not running. After all, if you’ve ever replaced your car’s battery, you know that your radio loses all its presets and your clock gets all scrambled when you take the battery out.

Even when it’s just sitting parked with the engine off, your car is consuming far more power than a cell phone. There’s far more likelihood of arcing, because the voltage and current present in your car is far greater than that in a cell phone–but your car doesn’t blow sky-high every time you refuel it!

But what about that CBS News story about a fire in New York that was triggered by a cell phone–you know, the one that quotes the fire marshall as saying “Don’t use their cell phones when they’re pumping gas. Really, it’s deadly.”?

It’s bunk. In fact, the fire marshall CBS quoted has actually come right out and said “”After further investigation of the accident scene and another discussion with the victim of the May 13 gasoline station fire in New Paltz, I have concluded the source of ignition was from some source other than the cell phone the motorist was carrying.”

Yet this particular urban legend is so common, so widespread, and so often believed that a state senator in Connecticut wants to pass a law banning cell phone use at gas stations.

As urban legends go, the cell phone legend is a good one. It preys on fear, as all good urban legends do; it relies on the fact that people know a little bit about electricity (electricity can make sparks, sparks can start gasoline on fire), but not a lot; it sounds plausible to someone who knows a bit but has no real background in electronics (which is to say, most people).

Yet there has never been one single confirmed case of any cell phone ever starting a fire, and attempts to start fires intentionally with cell phones have always failed. Put most simply, a cell phone can not start a fire without being attached to a detonator of some sort.

That’s a common technique used by insurgents in Iraq, by the way–rigging a cell phone to an electrical detonator and then setting off a bomb by sending a signal to a cell phone–but I don’t know anyone who’s carrying a cell phone modified to be connected to a detonator, and can only assume someone who had such a thing most likely wouldn’t be chatting on it while pumping gas. But I digress.

The picture of the cell phone warning at the top of this post is pretty crappy quality, and for that I apologize. I didn’t have my good digital camera with me while I was filling my car, so I took this picture with the camera in my cell phone.

Some thoughts on logic and emotion

I know people who consider themselves rational and logical, and deny that their emotions control or even influence them.

I know people who are highly emotional and intuitive , and who make decisions based on their feelings and their intuition.

In my experience, both paths tend to lead to disaster.

The person who strives to be rational and logical often ends up making many of his decisions completely emotionally. Why? Because he has not developed the tools to understand his emotions, or even to recognize them for what they are. So he does what seems right to him, unaware how heavily what “seems right” is influenced by his emotions…and without the tools to understand his emotions, he often ends up completely unaware of the reality of the effect they have on his decisions.

On the other hand, the person who lets her emotions have the driver’s seat–the person who allows her emotions and feelings to tell her what to do–is no better off.

You see, there is no part of human perception that is without flaw. Just like you can think you know something intellectually, and be wrong, so can you also FEEL something, and still be wrong. Emotions, like rational thought, are not infallible. Emotions and reason are not two different things, and they are not subject to different rules.

Emotions are nothing more than the way the ancient parts of our brains–the parts that do not have language–communicate with us. Emotions happen for a reason, and the things you feel have a source.

However, it is possible to feel that something is true–to feel it so completely and so absolutely that you KNOW it, more surely than you know your own name–and still be wrong.

People who put their emotions in the driver’s seat often tend to believe those emotions without question. If they feel defensive, that means that they MUST have been attacked. If they feel frightened, that MUST mean that there is something to fear.

And emotions tend to create the reality they exist in. Feelings color and flavor our perceptions of the world. When we feel that something is true, we tend to see things that support that feeling and ignore things that don’t. The irony of this is that by doing so, we can actually take something that we feel is true, but is actually false, and MAKE it true. The person who feels that he can not trust someone, or that someone is hostile to him, may end up behaving in ways that actually do make that person hostile to him. The person who believes that her partner wants to leave her, and that her partner doesn’t love her, may behave in ways that alienate her partner, and make that feeling come true.

Feel with your heart, but check your facts.

Understand your feelings. Don’t deny them, but don’t put them in the driver’s seat either. Examine them. Look at what they are saying, and then decide for yourself whether or not what they are saying is true. Decide for yourself whether or not the things you see are real, or are fabrications ceated by your feelings to try to support themselves.

People who deny their feelings can, in extreme cases, become monsters, and commit acts of atrocity. People who trust their feelings implicitly, and who let their feelings guide them, are easy to manipulate and easy to lead; it’s no accident that the overwhelming majority of cult members are people who are very intuitive and who trust their feelings. In extreme cases, feeling that something is true and not challenging that feeling also leads to atrocity; a person must have passionate feelings indeed in order to fly an airplane into a building.

Feel with your heart, but check your facts.


Wow, it’s been busy lately…I’ve been working six days a week, ten to fifteen hours a day. As a result, I haven’t had time to read my flist, or in fact do much of anything else.

I have, however, finally managed to update my Web site, by taking my laptop to McDonald’s with me every day and working on it on my lunch break. Uploaded it from McDonald’s yesterday; this revision affects nearly every page of the polyamory section.

Most significantly, I’ve finally put the Mono-Poly Dialog up. After five rounds of editing, it still weighs in at about seventeen thousand, five hundred words, so it’s a significant read…but I didn’t want to cut any more out, as I wanted to preserve the feel and the content of the original conversation.

And now, off to work.

Study: Misperceptions linked to support for war on Iraq

“A new study based on a series of seven US polls conducted from January through September of this year reveals that before and after the Iraq war, a majority of Americans have had significant misperceptions and these are highly related to support for the war in Iraq….

An in-depth analysis of a series of polls conducted June through September found 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been found, 22% that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq. Overall 60% had at least one of these three misperceptions.

Such misperceptions are highly related to support for the war. Among those with none of the misperceptions listed above, only 23% support the war. Among those with one of these misperceptions, 53% support the war, rising to 78% for those who have two of the misperceptions, and to 86% for those with all 3 misperceptions.


The frequency of Americans’ misperceptions varies significantly depending on their source of news. The percentage of respondents who had one or more of the three misperceptions listed above is shown below.

Variations in misperceptions according to news source cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the demographics of each audience, because these variations can also be found when comparing the rate of misperceptions within demographic subgroups of each audience.

Another key perception—one that US intelligence agencies regard as unfounded—is that Iraq was directly involved in September 11. Before the war approximately one in five believed this and 13% even said they believed that they had seen conclusive evidence of it. Polled June through September, the percentage saying that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11 continued to be in the 20-25% range, while another 33-36% said they believed that Iraq gave al-Qaeda substantial support. [Note: An August Washington Post poll found that 69% thought it was at least “somewhat likely” that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11—a different question than the PIPA/KN question that asked respondents to come to a conclusion.]”

Quite frankly, these results really, really surprise me–not that misperceptions are related to support, but that this day and age there is any human being left anywhere in the world who actually believes any of them.

I think it’s sad and also revealing that there are still people left who believe that there was any link between Al Quaeda and Saddam Hussein–a misperception that is a stunning testament to the depths of the profound ignorance Americans have about the realities of the Middle East, as Saddam Hussein is a member of a Muslim sect deeply at odds with the sect to which Al Quaeda’s leaders belong, so much so that cooperation between the two is about as plausible as cooperation between Hamas and the Israeli Army–and even more sad that any human being with a brain can believe there is even the remotest possibility of a connection between Iraq and 9/11.

I can’t rightly get my head around the depth to which someone would have to be confused about the Middle East in order to believe any of these things, but it does offer insight into why, billions of dollars and thousands of lives and no weapons of mass destruction later, there are still those who believe that invading Iraq was actually a good idea.