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8 Billion Dollars

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.24.15

Via Benquo, elsewhere: You have 8 billion dollars. You want to do as much good as possible. What should you do?

We've had variations on this game, but never with a firm dollar amount like this, I think.

What would I do? Compulsively sing this song, for starters.



 

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Invisibility

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.24.15

Via Tedra, elsewhere:

Now neuroscientists in Sweden have simulated the effect [of being invisible] using virtual reality and found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the sensation of being transparent makes people less anxious in front of a stern-looking crowd.

This is a very entertaining, but maybe silly, thing to study. Isn't watching TV kind of like being invisible already? No one feels nervous when they pan a crowd of people who seem to be staring right at you.



 

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Guest Post - "You're sure they're not beatniks? WE have beatniks in Cleveland."

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.23.15

Dairy Queen writes: Wonderful photos and article on a tour bus excursion in the Haight, 1967. Freakiest bit - back then we had *rain*!

Heebie's take: Super cute. Not the same, but I'm mildly reminded of John Larroquette on Night Court saying, "Did you know all those dirty people on the street are homeless? I thought they were Indians!"



 

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Doorbell to doorbell

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.23.15

I asked a college student xfitmate the other day about her summer plans. She's going to Tennessee, to sell books door-to-door. "That sounds awful," I said sympathetically. She said she wasn't looking forward to it - it's hot and hard, and most people drop out. "But you can make really good money," she said. "You can make 8K in one summer, if you can stick it out." I asked what you have to do, and she said you have to make two sales per day. What an awful, awful summer. Here's a related link, via Tedra elsewhere, about the awful scam that is these door-to-door sales companies and how hard it is to regulate them.



 

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Those Meitivs

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.22.15

Oudie sends along more on those kids in Maryland, from the neighbors' perspective.

I've spoken to 12 parents who do know the Meitivs--none of whom have called the authorities about the family--about what it's like to be the neighbor of a free-range family when you yourself are raising non-free-range kids. Most of these neighbors didn't want their quotations attributed for fear of being attacked by free-range advocates (whether on social media or at the local playground). This admittedly adds to the ambience of gossip and police-state conjecture around the Meitivs, of course, and it doesn't help that the Meitivs are "respectfully declining all media interviews"

...

One neighbor told me about the time the Meitiv kids were escorted "through the crowd at the Takoma Folk Festival to look for their parents because they didn't know where they were." Another told me, "I watched the kids cross a street without looking for traffic, and a truck driver had to hit their brakes to let the kids cross."
Again, this might all sound like so much gossip. None of these stories are damning--they only tell us that the Meitivs are kids who act like kids. And of course, a free-range parent might respond that there was no cause for adults to intervene in any of these situations.

I keep reading Meitiv to be pronounced like Medvedev - the latter which I hear on the news, but almost never read with the right pronounciation, and the former which I keep reading but haven't heard spoken outloud.



 

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Gig

Posted by Ogged
on 04.22.15

I guess we were holding him back.



 

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Core Groups

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.22.15

From the comments, Buttercup links to this article on social networks:

Researchers have paid increasing attention to the core discussion network, the set of people we turn to when discussing important matters. Because the core discussion network is theorized to be composed of people's closest ties, not fleeting acquaintances, it is expected to be largely stable, evolving slowly over the span of people's lives. However, recent studies have shown that networks are strongly affected by the contexts in which people interact with others, and as people experience life course transitions, they also often enter new contexts - school, college, work, marriage, and retirement. We ask whether, as actors enter new social contexts,the core discussion network remains stable or changes rapidly. Based on original, longitudinal, qualitative and quantitative data on the experience of first-year graduate students in three academic departments in a large university, we examine the stability of the core discussion network over the first 6 and 12 months in this new context. We testfour competing hypotheses that focus on strength of ties, new opportunities, obligations, and routine activity and predict, respectively, stasis, expansion, shedding, and substitution. We find that the core discussion network changes remarkably quickly, with little or no lag, and that it appears to do so because both the obligations that people face and the routine activities they engage in are transformed by new institutional environments. Findings suggest that core discussion network may be less a "core" network than a highly contextual support network in which people are added and dropped as actors shift from environment to environment.

This is one of the things that makes Unfogged amazing - elsewhere, when a hot political topic arises, I've already heard extremely intelligent people try out different arguments and discuss the merits and weaknesses. I'm not counting on my external friends and family (besides Jammies) to be my core discussion network, (although I certainly turn to them for other kinds of love and support). But when it comes to looking smart and knowing what's going on in the world, having a core group here is like nothing else in the world.

To the actual article, my reaction is sort of that that seems obvious. But I still get why obvious things must be concretely demonstrated, and it's nice that the obvious was confirmed.



 

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Mwahaha

Posted by Ogged
on 04.21.15

Via K-Dru, a nice counterpoint to the Atlantic article on ISIS about a stash of document that show it to be, at least in its inception, the brainchild of an evil mastermind who used religion merely as a propaganda tool.

To that end, Haji Bakr compiled lists such as the following:
List the powerful families.
Name the powerful individuals in these families.
Find out their sources of income.
Name names and the sizes of (rebel) brigades in the village.
Find out the names of their leaders, who controls the brigades and their political orientation.
Find out their illegal activities (according to Sharia law), which could be used to blackmail them if necessary.
The spies were told to note such details as whether someone was a criminal or a homosexual, or was involved in a secret affair, so as to have ammunition for blackmailing later. "We will appoint the smartest ones as Sharia sheiks," Bakr had noted. "We will train them for a while and then dispatch them." As a postscript, he had added that several "brothers" would be selected in each town to marry the daughters of the most influential families, in order to "ensure penetration of these families without their knowledge."

That's from the German press. Wonder if it will work its way over here.



 

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Guest Post - trolling Ogged

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.15

Nworb Werdna sends in: "I found that rather sordid"

Heebie's take: Paywalled, but it lets you see the ledey lede-lede:

A large number of French Olympic swimmers regularly use cocaine and one was seen snorting the drug from between the breasts of a press attachée at the 2012 Games, a leading member of the team has claimed.


 

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Pressing matters

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.15

I like to have a physical paper calendar, instead of keeping track of things on my phone. I bought a two year calendar at the beginning of 2014, for 2014-2015, and I've really liked having it.

Is the point of a two year calendar that you replace it every year, so that you always have a two year horizon? Or is the point that you replace it every two years, and just have a long history for the second year?

Specifically: I'm starting to get dates for 2016 that I want to write down, and I'm not sure if I should buy 2015-2016 or if I should buy 2016-2017 and just have two calendars for the next six months. This can be one of those posts that gets 5-6 comments and my feelings won't be hurt.



 

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Guest Post - Does Anyone Else Find This Framing Bizarre?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.15

Dairy Queen writes:

For every 100 black women not in jail, there are only 83 black men. The remaining men - 1.5 million of them - are, in a sense, missing.

Trying to be charitable, and being completely in agreement with the article's goal of highlighting the atrociously disproportionate incarceration of black men, nonetheless reading further we get this:

African-American men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young, but the scale of the combined toll is nonetheless jarring. It is a measure of the deep disparities that continue to afflict black men -- disparities being debated after a recent spate of killings by the police -- and the gender gap is itself a further cause of social ills, leaving many communities without enough men to be fathers and husbands.

Because clearly the only people who can be fathers and husbands to black children and women are black men and their scarcity to fulfill those functions is the big hook why the readers should lament their staggeringly disproportionate incarceration?! Yuck.

Heebie's take: It seems worthwhile to have an article about how the incarceration rates of black men are so high that the absence of these men leaves a vacuum in the communities that they're drawn from. But it's definitely a topic that needs to be handled with great sensitivity.



 

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