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Ebay, Skirts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.15

I'm bidding on a skirt right now on eBay. I virtually never wear skirts. Part of it is vanity - I feel like they're unflattering on me. Part of it is identity - I am very androgynous, and wearing skirts is feminine in a way that feels awkward sometimes. But I love the idea of skirts, and so I'm perpetually curious to see if there's a skirt that would actually make it into my regular wardrobe rotation.

Let's see if I win!



 

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Guest Post - Science!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.15

Nick S. writes: Very impressive.

[S]ince 1988, the Harvard Forest has also been a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, funded by the National Science Foundation. This designation broadened its mandate to observe other aspects of forest dynamics, focusing on its rivers and streams as well as changes in the air that sweeps by.

...

Aside from signal-sapping foliage, nature has other devilry. Animals chew on cables, ice builds up on metal equipment, and storms knock down trees and cables. But the main enemy is lightning. Every summer, dozens of bolts surge into the towers. The towers are well grounded, of course, so many strikes are not even noticed. However, says Boose, "last summer we had three or four episodes of significant damage. Our insurance company realized that this was no longer a good business model for them, so we aren't able to insure any longer." To keep replacement costs down, the forest now uses hand-me-down switches and access points from the main university campus.


 

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Big Kitty

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.03.15

I'm going to have to put Big Kitty to sleep, at some point in the next month, I think. His kidneys are failing, although he doesn't seem unhappy about that yet. His arthritis is pretty bad - every few days, he has an accident, and during the 30 seconds or so that he's having the accident, he is in agony.

I found this - The HHHHHMM Scale - to help you figure out when to put the pet down. It stands for Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, More Good Days Than Bad. If your pet is worse than halfway on at least half of the items, then it's time to put them down.

When I had his brother put to sleep, I opted not to take the body home to bury it. There was a $35 let's-pretend-he's-going-to-the-country-for-a-burial option, and then disposal via medical waste was free. After I had a few months to get some distance from it, I knew perfectly well it was all pretend. Now that's sort of tormenting me - I don't want to take Big Kitty's body home for burial since he can't be next to his brother, so I feel like I must do the fake-out-for-$35 choice, only it's harder to pretend. Mostly I'm just sad about this upcoming fact.



 

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Guest Post - Moral-fact-less

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.03.15

Witt writes: this is linkbait for philosophers. Luckily the NYT readers are on it. The "Readers' Picks" comments are especially choice.

Heebie's take:

For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:
Me: "I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?"
Him: "It's a fact."
Me: "But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion."
Him: "Yeah, but it's true."
Me: "So it's both a fact and an opinion?"
The blank stare on his face said it all.

I assume his face said, "My dad is an obnoxious blowhard".



 

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Here are two good pieces about birds

Posted by Ben
on 03.03.15

Something old:

People who do not understand pigeons-and pigeons can be understood only when you understand that there is nothing to understand about them-should not go around describing pigeons or the effect of pigeons. Pigeons come closer to a zero of impingement than any other birds. Hens embarrass me the way my old Aunt Hattie used to when I was twelve and she still insisted I wasn't big enough to bathe myself; owls disturb me; if I am with an eagle I always pretend that I am not with an eagle; and so on down to swallows at twilight who scare the hell out of me.

And something new:

Thus does hawking, as Macdonald practices it in her bereavement, become a zero-sum game: as the bird grows tamer, she grows wilder. She spends her days stalking with Mabel through field and forest, her pockets full of dead day-old chicks, snapping the necks of rabbits the bird would otherwise eat alive. She stops seeing friends, "jumped in panic when the postman knocked on the door; recoiled from the ringing phone."



 

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In The Final Analysis

Posted by Ogged
on 03.03.15

The most important finding here is that hand-stretched length and erect length are, indeed, effectively the same.



 

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Is Yates v. US A Good Sign for King v. Burwell?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.03.15

Yates v. US is what might be described as "the fish case" -- Sarbanes-Oxley, in a provision that's obviously about the destruction of corporate records, forbids the destruction of "any record, document, or tangible object". Yates was convicted of destroying undersized fish, and a five-judge majority including Roberts and Alito decided that 'tangible object' was ambiguous as to whether it it applied to objects like fish that really weren't corporate records, and so considerations of the legislative history of the proceeding and the whole law in context means that 'tangible objects' should only be read to mean 'tangible objects that are in some sense corporate records'. As I said the last time we discussed this, I would have gone the other way (what the Court actually did seems sensible and reasonable to me, but not quite what they're supposed to do): while it seems very clear that Congress meant "tangible objects that are corporate records", it also seems completely unambiguous that the law literally says "tangible objects", and by god fish are tangible objects because I've touched them. In the absence of any ambiguity, the Court is supposed to do what Congress said, not what it meant, and I think there's no ambiguity here, and fish are tangible. But, as I said, the Court disagrees, and five justices see enough ambiguity in that clause to look deeper.

You see where I'm going with this, obviously. In King, plaintiffs need to show that there's no ambiguity at all in the much more complex provision, using terms without a clear natural meaning, that arguably denies subsidies to federally established exchanges, and that the Court has no choice but to apply the wording of the provision literally without consideration of legislative history or the goals of the statute as a whole (oh, they're making an argument that Congress meant to deny the subsidies, but it is weak to the point of being almost literally unbelievable). It's going to be really, really hard for the same justices who said that it's ambiguous whether a fish is a 'tangible object', to say that the subsidies provision is so unambiguous that it cuts off further analysis; while Roberts and Alito could do it, it would be really shamelessly openly inconsistent in the service of a desired result, in a way that seems out of character to me.

So, a cheerful thought? (Someone find me a link to where someone who does this for a living has either made or rejected this argument? It seems obvious enough that someone professional should have brought it up somewhere, but I haven't seen it yet.)



 

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Guest Post - Nebraska is a winner

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.02.15

Witt writes: I thought this NPR article was interesting, as much for what it doesn't say as what it does. It's basically a marketing pitch for the city of Lincoln.

No mention of weather or inconvenient distance to other parts of the country. And several coded mentions to the work ethic, which at least in my experience is usually a not-very-subtle racial judgment. (Lincoln is 86% white and just 4% black, with small populations of other races/ethnicities.)

Heebie's take: yeah, wow. That reads like a press release. Weird.



 

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Education lessons

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.02.15

Five Lessons Education Research Taught Us in 2014. They're all interesting.

From #2:

When a teacher's curriculum is perfectly aligned with a set of standards, meaning they're teaching exactly what they're told to, will students' test scores rise?

The answer is:

The results did not show a meaningful relationship between the two. Meaning, perfectly aligned curriculum is no more likely to be associated with gains in tests scores than perfectly unaligned curriculum.

This is one of those things that makes me think that sometimes we need a control that's not in the school system whatsoever. I have this thought about college, too: what happens to the learning ability and knowledge base of 18-24 year olds who are not in college?



 

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Calm Ur Tit

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.01.15

Subversive cross stitch is so 2000-and-late, but this one still made me laugh.



 

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Final Tweet

Posted by Ogged
on 02.27.15

Some analogies have been earned.




 

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