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Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:48 am UTC
by Freakish
Since xkcd has members from across the globe, and travelling is expensive. I figured it'd be nice to have a place where questions that can't be answered in your location could be... Well... Answered. Just those little things that people wonder about during the day.

Do people with strong accents have hard time understanding American's/Canadians?

How are Atheists treated in Southern USA?

Do people believe that the water spins the other way in the Northern Hemisphere?

Is there Internet slang in other languages?

Is it really that hard adjusting to driving on snow in places where you don't see it often?

Can someone from Quebec and someone from France understand each other if they're both speaking French?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:52 am UTC
by fusillade2
Q. Is there Internet slang in other languages?
A. Yes.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:08 am UTC
by Teapot
fusillade2 wrote:Q. Is there Internet slang in other languages?
A. Yes.


We got a list of french internet slang from a french student teacher who was supposed to be helping us improve our accents... I can't remember much of the sheet though. I think MDR is french for lol.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:29 am UTC
by poxic
Correct, teapot. Mort de rire -- dead of laughing. I learned that when practising my French on IRC somewhere.
Other 'net slang in French, from my IRCing:
c = c'est (it is)
tt = tout (all)
ns = nous, vs = vous (we, you-plural or formal)
dsl = desole (sorry)
re = hello again, pretty much the same as in English
bo = bon, bonne (good)

Do people with strong accents have hard time understanding American's/Canadians?
According to the people I meet here (Vancouver, Canada) who are learning English, many Canadians and Americans have a "flat" accent. That explains why ESL is such big business here -- every downtown block seems to have at least one ESL school on it.

Is it really that hard adjusting to driving on snow in places where you don't see it often?
Heh, apparently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Ym-92LfiU. I think this was actually the aftermath of an ice storm, though, and not normal snow conditions.
In Vancouver, lots of accidents occur after a snowfall. It's partly lack of driver experience and partly the nature of the snow. The coast is warm and damp, and freezes overnight during the winter, so snow becomes wet snow over slush over ice -- verrry hard to drive on. Not the nice flat pack that the inland areas get.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:46 am UTC
by ParanoidAndroid
Freakish wrote:How are Atheists treated in Southern USA?


We lynch 'em or drown them in pools of sweet tea and BBQ sauce, depending on which takes less time. Don't want to be late to the tractor pull.

They're treated like normal people. I mean, it's not like they just walk down the street saying, "Hi, I don't believe in God." Yes, we do have a higher percentage of silly fundamentalists, but it's not like atheists are second class citizens or anything. But don't worry, I try not to make them the targets of my narrow minded religious intolerance too often.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:55 am UTC
by Day Tripper
Freakish wrote:Can someone from Quebec and someone from France understand each other if they're both speaking French?

Yes, in most cases. Grammar and everything is the same, but like with UK English and American English there are dialects that might make things difficult. Even Canadian French-speakers who have been taught "Standard French" can have trouble understanding joual or another highly ... regionalized/informal dialects. I can see you're from Ontario already, so I'm sorry if that was just a completely obvious answer...

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:05 am UTC
by Poochy
fusillade2 wrote:Q. Is there Internet slang in other languages?
A. Yes.

I can confirm this for Chinese, too - I have a couple cousins in Taiwan who use Chinese Internet slang a lot, which made it nearly impossible for me to understand anything they typed. I did pick up on "98" = 走吧 (roughly "Let's go", pronounced similar to the Chinese for "nine-eight")

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:19 am UTC
by Iori_Yagami
This might sound odd or unintelligent, but
Is it true that in US an 'average' family lives in its own standalone house with 2 stories, many appliances in it, garage next to it and a swimming pool in the yard?
Or this is a Hollywood created illusion?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:26 am UTC
by Poochy
Iori_Yagami wrote:This might sound odd or unintelligent, but
Is it true that in US an 'average' family lives in its own standalone house with 2 stories, many appliances in it, garage next to it and a swimming pool in the yard?
Or this is a Hollywood created illusion?

That's probably above average, though how much above average also depends on your location - a 2-story house in, say, New York or California costs a heck of a lot more than a 2-story house in a more rural area.

I'd estimate that maybe the 75th to 80th percentile in terms of income is when it becomes common to live in that kind of house.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:40 am UTC
by Raiku
Freakish wrote:Since xkcd has members from across the globe, and travelling is expensive. I figured it'd be nice to have a place where questions that can't be answered in your location could be... Well... Answered. Just those little things that people wonder about during the day.

Do people with strong accents have hard time understanding American's/Canadians?

No, as American TV has basically taken over the world, so an American accent is generally known as the worlds accent.

Freakish wrote:Do people believe that the water spins the other way in the Northern Hemisphere?

Well, it does, so...

Freakish wrote:Is there Internet slang in other languages?

Oh god yeah-on FFF (Final Fantasy Forums) there are whole areas devoted to other languages and internet slang... and I'm really pissed off I can't read them...

Freakish wrote:Is it really that hard adjusting to driving on snow in places where you don't see it often?

Depends-Snow used to be a regular occurence here in Scotland, but now... we're lucky if we get even 2 days worth per year, so... But seeing as the amount of snow only decreased recently, I'd say no-for now. But in other countries, I'd probably say a strong yes.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:13 pm UTC
by Amarantha
Freakish wrote:How are Atheists treated in Southern USA?


I'm not from there, but I recall reading somewhere (hell, it was probably here) that atheists are the only religious group (well, you know what I mean) banned from holding office in Texas. You don't have to be Christian, you just have to believe in some higher power. And there was a survey in the USA sometime in the last few years asking people whether they'd vote for candidates of this or that description. Fewer people said they'd vote for an atheist than would vote for a woman, gay person, old person, non-white person or person of any religion at all. So ya, it seems atheists are not popular anywhere in the USA.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:27 pm UTC
by Meowgan
Does milo exist in other countries?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:35 pm UTC
by doc leech
I can honestly say I have never witnessed any religious persecution in this area, be it against atheists or anything else. So at least one piece of the US seems to be free from that mindset, at least on the guy-on-the-street level... I'm not sure about higher level politics and such, since that's ignored as much as I can manage.

Really, I would think that many if not most other areas in this nation are the same in this regard.

(That is a guess, though, since I haven't visited enough places in this country to make a broader statement with any level of certainty)

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:44 pm UTC
by Dingbats
Day Tripper wrote:
Freakish wrote:Can someone from Quebec and someone from France understand each other if they're both speaking French?

Yes, in most cases. Grammar and everything is the same, but like with UK English and American English there are dialects that might make things difficult. Even Canadian French-speakers who have been taught "Standard French" can have trouble understanding joual or another highly ... regionalized/informal dialects. I can see you're from Ontario already, so I'm sorry if that was just a completely obvious answer...

Well, the grammar isn't exactly the same: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French#Syntax But the differences aren't huge.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:03 pm UTC
by spasarto
Iori_Yagami wrote:This might sound odd or unintelligent, but
Is it true that in US an 'average' family lives in its own standalone house with 2 stories, many appliances in it, garage next to it and a swimming pool in the yard?
Or this is a Hollywood created illusion?

As poochy said, it really depends on your area. I live in the midwest and two-thirds of the houses meets the first 3 requirements. Not many people have pools, but that also could be a matter of preference (it tends to snow a lot here.) It's worth noting that most of these homes aren't like the ones you will see on tv -- most of them have a very modest design and are usually pretty old.

The midwest housing market is much different than the rest of the country. I just bought a house this year, two stories, with a garage, and a double lot for about 130k. A house like this on the coasts would cost at least three times as much. But the demand for land is much higher there due to the fact that there is nothing to do in the midwest. :P

There are always exceptions though.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:27 pm UTC
by 3fj
Teapot wrote:
fusillade2 wrote:Q. Is there Internet slang in other languages?
A. Yes.


We got a list of french internet slang from a French student teacher who was supposed to be helping us improve our accents... I can't remember much of the sheet though. I think MDR is french for lol.

God i hated french :x

Chinese too. My girlfriend showed me a Chinese fora once. It amused me.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:26 pm UTC
by Iori_Yagami
Ok, it's fine. So most of the people live in standalone houses, posh or not. Probably public housing is not as common as in post-USSR area? As well as other 'public' services. I read somewere that in US even dinner plates are washed in dirty sink water because it is too expensive to leave the tap open while you do the dishes under running water.

I also have an impression that different countries have different values on different goods. They say highly developed world (Western Europe, North America, Japan) have much cheaper technical stuff (such as electronics or vehicles or production equipment), but more expensive food, clothing and other basic things. I mean, some 10 years ago it was uncommon in my area to have someone own a PC at home. OTOH, fast food and instant meals were uncommon, and nobody thought that vegetables, bread, milk are something 'special'. Now we are slowly moving to other pole - you can't find real butter anymore (at insane 10x price maybe) - only 'vegetable fat mixture' or some other fake. OTOH, now even kids on bus stops discuss NTFS benefits over FAT. :?:

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:47 pm UTC
by 3fj
I have a wad of questions for New Yorkers:
I want to live in a small flat in Manhattan, nothing fancy.
  • Whats the average rental cost?
  • Where do you get the bulk of your groceries?
  • Are there any stupid laws i should know about?
  • Hows the cost of living?
  • Hows the internet there? (Seems like a stupid one, by this i mean connection speeds/pricing)
  • Whats the cost of a pint of beer?

And for general American legal immigration:
  • If i wished to live in America all the time and retain my British citizenship, what would i need to get/do?
  • What limitations are there on foreigners living and working in America?

So... umm.. yeah :D

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:02 pm UTC
by Mr. Beck
Meowgan wrote:Does milo exist in other countries?

Ive never heard of it, so... no?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:03 pm UTC
by 3fj
Meowgan wrote:Does milo exist in other countries?

I've only ever seen it in Thailand.
On a related note, is it true that a mars bar is called a milky way in America? If so, what do you call a milky way (the same, minus the caramel)?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:05 pm UTC
by pseudoidiot
3fj wrote:
Meowgan wrote:On a related note, is it true that a mars bar is called a milky way in America? If so, what do you call a milky way (the same, minus the caramel)?


These seem to clear that up:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_bar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way_(confectionery)

Which is weird, because before I saw that, I could've sworn I've seen both here in the states. I guess I was wrong.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:11 pm UTC
by thecommabandit
Meowgan wrote:Does milo exist in other countries?

Are you talking about that hot chocolate powder stuff? If yes then it does. I was in Malaysia and Brunei a few weeks ago and it was a choice of Sabah tea, Nescafe or Milo for hot drinks. It wouldn't've been so bad if they had milk in Asia =/ I've never seen it here in the UK though.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:11 pm UTC
by 3fj
Hah! i Just found out that stonehaven invented the deep-fried mars bar.

I now have a new joke for my friend who lives there and surely helped invent it (ho-ho-ho)

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:00 pm UTC
by pkuky
for canadians (mostly toronto), how much snow do you get during the winter? is there permenent snow on the ground, or does it appear and dissapear at will? (I haven't been in canada since the winter of 1998, which was apperently a sucky one).

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:36 pm UTC
by Teapot
3fj wrote:Hah! i Just found out that stonehaven invented the deep-fried mars bar.

I now have a new joke for my friend who lives there and surely helped invent it (ho-ho-ho)


Yeah, there's a big sign outside the place that invented it declaring the fact proudly.

They're kind of tasty, but really sickly sweet :)

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:51 pm UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
Freakish wrote:How are Atheists treated in Southern USA?


I'm in Oklahoma, which isn't really the South, but is just as religious (maybe even more so.) It's fine. People don't bring up religion because everyone's Christian until proven otherwise really. When you do, people might give you an odd look and move on. Most people where I am aren't educated enough in their faith to actually argue for it, so it's not like they go into conversion spiels--or if they do, they don't last long because I've almost definitely done that argument more than them know my side. (Note that this isn't me saying "Christians are uneducated." This is me saying "most people around me aren't good at arguing for their positions on this stuff".)

Well, that's how atheists are treated in high school at least.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:48 am UTC
by 3fj
Teapot wrote:
3fj wrote:Hah! i Just found out that stonehaven invented the deep-fried mars bar.

I now have a new joke for my friend who lives there and surely helped invent it (ho-ho-ho)


Yeah, there's a big sign outside the place that invented it declaring the fact proudly.

They're kind of tasty, but really sickly sweet :)


They got greedy and went for the deep fried chomp, no?

Thats what grum said.

Hes a big (tall and wide :D) fella with long curly ginger hair. Say hi if you see him.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:18 am UTC
by rustedneurons
Do Americans really hate Vegemite? Can you even GET Vegemite?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:27 am UTC
by Ieatsoap6
Freakish wrote:Is it really that hard adjusting to driving on snow in places where you don't see it often?

It's not necessarily different as it is that we don't know the limits and whatnot. I can drive relatively quickly on wet roads because it's wet around here pretty often so I have experience. It snows maybe once a year and so most people around here have very little experience.

A question:
To me, an American, a British or Australian accent sounds really weird. It also sounds like other Americans have no accent. Is this true in other countries? Do all other British people sound pretty much the same? Probably a stupid question, but still...

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:35 am UTC
by (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
We can totally get Vegemite. Some people like it. Most people do not. My sister loves vegemite and marmite. She's never been out of the country that I know of.


Iori_Yagami wrote:Ok, it's fine. So most of the people live in standalone houses, posh or not. Probably public housing is not as common as in post-USSR area?

I would say that many families live in single-family homes, but not necessarily two-story homes. For the most part though, that's specific to suburban middle class families and upper-middle class families. I live in a somewhat urban area and there are both multi-family homes and single family homes up and down my street, but they're close enough together that two people in windows facing each other could have a conversation without shouting. There are very few garages. My boyfriend lives in a more suburban area and almost all of the houses are two-story garage-having homes with large yards and driveways. So the media is essentially showing you Connecticut. Which is fair because many of the rich assholes who work in NYC live in Connecticut.

As well as other 'public' services. I read somewere that in US even dinner plates are washed in dirty sink water because it is too expensive to leave the tap open while you do the dishes under running water.

Buh? Generally a person's dishwashing habits are their own, but I have a dishwasher. When I lived in homes that didn't have one, we did our dishes in soapy water, and rinsed them under running water. I'm not sure what that says about the expense. Most people I know don't consider running water expensive (in my area rent usually covers water bills) but people try to conserve water if they're conscientious.

Meowgan wrote:Does milo exist in other countries?

Being from the US, if I'd never traveled to New Zealand I would not know what that is.

Ieatsoap6 wrote:To me, an American, a British or Australian accent sounds really weird. It also sounds like other Americans have no accent. Is this true in other countries? Do all other British people sound pretty much the same? Probably a stupid question, but still...


This surprises me, because to me even my friends from neighboring states have different accents. New York, Boston, New Jersey, and yeah Atlanta, all have different accents.


Here's a question: Do people from outside the USA really assume we all own guns?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:39 am UTC
by cypherspace
Ieatsoap6 wrote:Do all other British people sound pretty much the same? Probably a stupid question, but still...

All Americans sound the same to you? Even I can tell the difference between Texas, New York and California. No, British people don't all sound even close to the same.
Do people from outside the USA really assume we all own guns?

No. Only the crazy Americans, which admittedly we do consider a large proportion of your population.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:47 am UTC
by (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Well Cyph, that's not even remotely unfair. Americans terrify me and I've been here since before I was born.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:51 am UTC
by Vox Imperatoris
I agree with the other posts about atheism. As long as you're not a (vocal) anti-theist, no one is going to say anything to your face except maybe the occasional nut. Besides, they probably won't know you're an atheist unless you tell them. However, it's true (and unfortunate) that proclaimed atheists are not likely to win public office.

Question: Europeans, (and yes, I know the answers will be different for different countries) you meet someone. Would you assume that this person is probably Christian? I'm not saying you would act super-cautious about it, but would you say it is more or less likely?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:59 am UTC
by 3fj
Meaux_Pas wrote:Here's a question: Do people from outside the USA really assume we all own guns?

Yes.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:13 am UTC
by ParanoidAndroid
Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Freakish wrote:How are Atheists treated in Southern USA?


I'm in Oklahoma, which isn't really the South, but is just as religious (maybe even more so.) It's fine. People don't bring up religion because everyone's Christian until proven otherwise really. When you do, people might give you an odd look and move on. Most people where I am aren't educated enough in their faith to actually argue for it, so it's not like they go into conversion spiels--or if they do, they don't last long because I've almost definitely done that argument more than them know my side. (Note that this isn't me saying "Christians are uneducated." This is me saying "most people around me aren't good at arguing for their positions on this stuff".)

Well, that's how atheists are treated in high school at least.


In my experience, most people here consider themselves Christians in that they go to church every so often and on holidays and their parents raised them that way. Basically, a lot of people, especially high school students, just don't understand or even care to think about what they claim to believe. Similarly, most of the atheists I met in high school just wanted to Fight the Man and basically didn't believe in God because Slayer told them not to.

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:36 am UTC
by poxic
3fj wrote:
Meaux_Pas wrote:Here's a question: Do people from outside the USA really assume we all own guns?

Yes.

When I was 12, we moved from Canada (Vancouver) to the US (Seattle area). We spent six years there because my father's company wanted him to run a branch "down there". (They closed shop in year 6 and brought us back north.)

My dad was pretty accurate when he said, "If we had stayed there much longer, I probably would have bought a gun. After all, everyone else has one [not true, but that was all the media talked about], so we have to protect ourselves!"

In other words, there's a lot of gun talk, debate, and propaganda, but actual gun ownership varies from everyone (some small towns) to only a few (some cities).

(At least, that was my experience.)

rustedneurons wrote:Do Americans really hate Vegemite? Can you even GET Vegemite?

It's findable if you really want it. Most Americans (and Canadians) simply haven't tried it, but the few who have seem to hate it muchly. One exception is strict vegetarians, some of whom use it (sparingly) to add a meaty flavour to prepared dishes.

I remember one Aussie saying it was an acquired taste, and that every Aussie liked it because their soothers were dipped in it when they were babbies. :D

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:28 am UTC
by Ieatsoap6
cypherspace wrote:
Ieatsoap6 wrote:Do all other British people sound pretty much the same? Probably a stupid question, but still...

All Americans sound the same to you? Even I can tell the difference between Texas, New York and California. No, British people don't all sound even close to the same.

It's not that all Americans sound the same, per se. More that if I heard a person talk, I can say "that's an American." I'm wondering if there's some characteristic that non-Americans pick up on to do the same. Having lived here, it's hard (for me) to figure out what an "American" accent is. There may simply be too much diversity to define only one accent.

Does that make more sense?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:32 am UTC
by Day Tripper
Meowgan wrote:Does milo exist in other countries?

Yes!

pkuky wrote:for canadians (mostly toronto), how much snow do you get during the winter? is there permenent snow on the ground, or does it appear and dissapear at will? (I haven't been in canada since the winter of 1998, which was apperently a sucky one).


Most of the time the ground is at least a white colour (meaning, no grass sightings). After a heavy snowfall, there can be a foot of snow on the ground. Most of the time there's less.

The statistical response from the Weather Network: "normal snowfall totals during [each of the months of December, January and February] range from 26cm to 32cm." (This is for Toronto, by the way.)

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:53 am UTC
by 4=5
Iori_Yagami wrote:Ok, it's fine. So most of the people live in standalone houses, posh or not. Probably public housing is not as common as in post-USSR area? As well as other 'public' services. I read somewere that in US even dinner plates are washed in dirty sink water because it is too expensive to leave the tap open while you do the dishes under running water.

I also have an impression that different countries have different values on different goods. They say highly developed world (Western Europe, North America, Japan) have much cheaper technical stuff (such as electronics or vehicles or production equipment), but more expensive food, clothing and other basic things. I mean, some 10 years ago it was uncommon in my area to have someone own a PC at home. OTOH, fast food and instant meals were uncommon, and nobody thought that vegetables, bread, milk are something 'special'. Now we are slowly moving to other pole - you can't find real butter anymore (at insane 10x price maybe) - only 'vegetable fat mixture' or some other fake. OTOH, now even kids on bus stops discuss NTFS benefits over FAT. :?:

If dishes are done by hand it is always with almost boilingly hot running water (put dish soap in the sink turn on the hot water and scrub some dishes handing each when done to someone else who rinses them in water too hot to touch and then another group of people dry them and put them away), water is very cheap. The relative lack of communal housing has to do with government attempts to stimulate the economy post world war two.

Speaking from washington state some californian accents are annoying and the new york accent is extremely annoying but the rest are generally ok. What is everybody else's view of other people's accents?

Re: Questions For The World

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:51 am UTC
by HadouKen24
I'm in Oklahoma, which isn't really the South, but is just as religious (maybe even more so.) It's fine. People don't bring up religion because everyone's Christian until proven otherwise really. When you do, people might give you an odd look and move on. Most people where I am aren't educated enough in their faith to actually argue for it, so it's not like they go into conversion spiels--or if they do, they don't last long because I've almost definitely done that argument more than them know my side. (Note that this isn't me saying "Christians are uneducated." This is me saying "most people around me aren't good at arguing for their positions on this stuff".)

Well, that's how atheists are treated in high school at least.


It's rare that there's much actual hatred expressed toward non-Christians, but there are always a few incidents now and then. In Edmond, Oklahoma a couple years back, for instance, there was a problem with the yearly See You At The Pole prayer meeting at Santa Fe high school. It's supposed to be just a bunch of students gathering to express their religious convictions, have a prayer, and maybe a bible reading. Faculty and administrators aren't really supposed to join in, but they often do anyway, and no one really has a problem with it.

Except for this time, when they passed around a piece of paper asking people to write down the names of known non-Christian students. The whole group prayed over the list that the people named would convert, and the names were nailed to a small cross. Which was then erected on school grounds by the flagpole, in clear view of the street. Several faculty present were overheard expressing their approval.

People don't raise a fuss about atheists and other non-Christians, for the most part, but that's simple politeness on the part of a substantial minority. Where there voices are anonymous or directed at atheists, non-Christians, and "secularists" in general, they show their true colors.