Re: The Tabapplet thing

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For most values of "long-form," I'm agin it. Like, your typical NYRB piece or longer, I'd much rather read on paper illuminated by one of those old-fashioned light bulb thingies, which is so steampunk, I know.

Apple sure knows how to roll out a product, though. Reading about the padapple, I thought, I can't imagine really wanting one of those. Now I want one. So somebody give me one, please.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:26 PM
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No comments in here yet still? Really?

Okay, fine, I'll bite: I've heard this ow-the-backlighting-is-burning-my-eyes thing before, and I don't get it. I like to read paper books. And I like to read on my iPhone. I don't notice a big difference. Do I have insensitive eyes or something?

The iPad is groovy, though, even though I have no real use for one (well, it would be cool to be able to mark up PDF's). Pretty. I love toys.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:28 PM
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I would hypothesize that teo isn't merely plant-based, but a thoroughgoing plant.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:30 PM
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Do I have insensitive eyes or something?

Unlike a device that uses reflected light, the Slamaculate, when you look it it, looks back at you. To be bathed in the pale light of an electronic display is the very condition of possibility of the leeching-away of one's humanity. Or you have insensitive eyes.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:38 PM
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But I can use my iPhone as a rudimentary flashlight, which suggests that I could use the Tablet of Heaven as a somewhat brighter rudimentary flashlight. Surely that's worth $499.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:43 PM
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Like, your typical NYRB piece or longer, I'd much rather read on paper illuminated by one of those old-fashioned light bulb thingies, which is so steampunk, I know.

Do you print long comment threads?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:53 PM
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Remember that the resolution on this thing (sorry, I'm not going to try to come up with yet another clever name for it) is something like 132 ppi, whereas your laptop screen is 72 ppi, so you can anticipate that it will be more pleasant to read from than is your laptop.

I have a Kindle now and have certainly found myself reading more over the month that I've had it; I think the experience of the lighter, more compact "volume" and the gee whiz factor of one page dissolving into the next with a touch of a button is contributing to this uptick in reading.

Paper books (what will be the "snail mail" or the "landline" of the ebook revolution?) are just so, you know, analog.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:56 PM
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It's too big to be usefully portable and it's too facile to be usefully useful. Also, buying one gives money to Steve Jobs, who is possibly the nastyiest human being on god's green earth. Fuck it.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:57 PM
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I read at least 2-3 books a week on my computer, not counting the thousands (tens) or words I read everyday online.

I no longer enjoy touching or handling those hideous paper things.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:57 PM
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I probably should have specified "immersive reading", not long-form prose generically. Having the lickable screen with the internet heaving anxiously beneath it is not conducive thereto.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 3:59 PM
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I much prefer the oculo-tactile experience of reading paper books, but much prefer the immense capacity for distraction provided by flitting insensibly from tab to tab online.

In general, media illuminated by reflected light is classier than media illuminated by internal light. Ergo, the humble video projector.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:02 PM
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Really, though--have you guys realized that most paper books don't even have an MP3 player built into them?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:03 PM
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I saw someone holding their mobile phone up to their ear the other day.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:05 PM
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who is possibly the nastyiest human being on god's green earth

Worse than Larry Ellison? Really?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:06 PM
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So I take a break from reading a pdf just now to check Unfogged and find that my habit of reading pdfs is mentioned in the top post on the front page, glaring at me and leeching away my humanity.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:08 PM
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Worse than any number of people? Really?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:08 PM
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Yes, my habits glare at me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:10 PM
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It's eerie.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:10 PM
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Well, he had that mysterious disease. You can't trust that kind of person.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:10 PM
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19 to 3.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:12 PM
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And now, back to the pdf. (Next section: Results. Oh, the suspense!)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:16 PM
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When I print things out, they pile up and take up space and get left in my office when I need them at home or vice versa. Much better to just read PDFs on the screen and never print anything.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:19 PM
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I like reading from illuminated screens just fine. I've read a gajillion novels onscreen, and even a few on my iPhone. As soon as I can get a non-DRM'd-out-the-wazoo e-reader, I'll do it. That said, what I really want is the Microsoft Courier dealy that was probably vaporware but gave me serious chub.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:22 PM
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I see. It's me against the vast chloroplast conspiracy.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:24 PM
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Do you print long comment threads?

No, silly, I have them read to me as I get toted about on my palanquin.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:25 PM
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I will have an iTampon (as a friend calls it) as soon as they are available for purchase. Life: soon to be changed. Or perhaps leeched from my body. It's hard to say.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:25 PM
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I'm with you, meat brother!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:26 PM
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No, silly, I have them read to me as I get toted about on my palanquin.

There's an app Python script for that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:27 PM
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I love it and hate it all at once. I'll probably wait for the second generation.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:31 PM
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Jobs is worse than Ellison or whoever just because there is a chance that he will successfully enslave humanity.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:34 PM
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28: Consider the appropriate xkcd incorporated by reference.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:35 PM
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I'll probably wait for the second generation.

What, wait a year for when they add some whiz-bang feature and drop the price by $100? I can't imagine Apple would do such a thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:35 PM
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Finished the pdf. Turns out the turquoise came from several sources.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:35 PM
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Ari, dude! You should live-blog the SOTU! Then we can watch all hope crushed out of you in real time!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:36 PM
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So, Pyrex. Not so shatter-proof.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:37 PM
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Reading pdf's on screen is way better than having piles of them to file away, especially if you can annotate with something like skim and dump the juicy bits into some kind of reference file or database. When there's Skim for the iPad, then I want one.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:38 PM
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Sorry, pal, but hope will live within me at least until I get my new iTampon. I hear it has a robust public option.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:38 PM
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Walt you fucker why don't you just go back in time and make Fantasia a politics thread, too?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:39 PM
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37 to 34.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:39 PM
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Maybe it should be called the iTarpon.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:40 PM
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I see. It's me against the vast chloroplast conspiracy.

The stack of printouts to my left shows you're not alone.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:41 PM
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I can eat glass. It doesn't hurt me.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:41 PM
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I'm looking at this unsheltered bowl of yogurt and thinking, would Brock eat this? Yes he would.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:43 PM
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MMmm, Skim. I would want the Plastic Logic thing (specifically for pdfs)but I don't think it's going to get Skim, or anything else, really.

what will be the "snail mail" or the "landline" of the ebook revolution?

"Dead tree version".


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:48 PM
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Clew reminds me: why would I want to buy "apps" from the "app store" over against downloading "programs" from the "internet"?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:51 PM
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My mother's Kindle -- Sifu, we seem to share an iMom; Does yours have one? -- is pretty cool. But I have taken up reading very cheesy things via the Kindle app on my iPhone, because CA is a delicate flower who can't bear the lights on when he tries to sleep and I have to read for hours before I can fall asleep.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 4:52 PM
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Excited Apple fan's conjugation: iPad, iPaid, iPeed.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:00 PM
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Sifu, we seem to share an iMom; Does yours have one?

Of course. Actually, she's on her second, having shattered the screen of the first one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:02 PM
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48: Ha! Mine's on her second too, but because she needed the new one when it came out.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:02 PM
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Actually, she's on her second, having shattered the screen of the first one.

Did she eat it?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:02 PM
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50: if only it were that simple.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:04 PM
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Kindles are like a very poor audio quality MP3 player where you have to pay for both the download for portability and the CD for listening at home. If I could afford to buy two of every book I really wanted to own, plus a few junk travel reading just for the Kindle it would make sense, but I can't.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:04 PM
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The ebook format for the iWodge is apparently DRM free.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:09 PM
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45: Because "programs" you download from the "internet" run on "commodity hardware" that "sucks ass".


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:14 PM
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Having just watched the promo video at the Apple site, I find myself lusting for the product and hating the pitchmen (all men!) in something like equal measure.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:23 PM
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Apple hardware is lovingly crafted by dedicated engineers with very small hands and very powerful magnifying glasses.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:27 PM
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Because "programs" you download from the "internet" run on "commodity hardware" that "sucks ass".

My Apple laptop is totally sweet -- it doesn't suck ass, not without consent. I want my Apple iCaramba to be just like my laptop, but slimmer and more strokable.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:29 PM
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Apple hardware is lovingly crafted by dedicated engineers with very small hands and very powerful magnifying glasses.

Many of them go on to be highly sought-after assassins.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:30 PM
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7: Paper books (what will be the "snail mail" or the "landline" of the ebook revolution?) are just so, you know, analog.

9: I no longer enjoy touching or handling those hideous paper things.

Why are you people harassing me like this?

No, I haven't read any further.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:32 PM
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Having just watched the promo video at the Apple site, I find myself no less baffled than I was before about what niche it's supposed to fill. I already have the best way to browse the web and send email! It's called a Macbook, and it also does all the calculations I need and processes LaTeX and compiles code and does zillions of other things the iPad can't do.

And I already have the best way to view video! It's called a television. Miraculous device, really.

e-book reader is the only advantage I see for the iPad, and it's just not worth the cost. (The battery life is nice, too, if it's really 10 hours.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:36 PM
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I just remembered I had a dream last night with parsimon in it, and we met IRL, and details about her identity I thought obtained, did not obtain!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:36 PM
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I already have the best way to browse the web and send email! It's called a Macbook, and it also does all the calculations I need and processes LaTeX and compiles code and does zillions of other things the iPad can't do.

And it's much much more expensive!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:39 PM
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54: Have you been a widower the past few months?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:39 PM
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61: Certainly, everything I've said here has been wrong.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:40 PM
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Is this designed to take the place of the Eee? I don't think the world needs an iEee.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:41 PM
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61: was she a male african-american college professor? did she let life or death stand in the way of, um, was it a good dream?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:41 PM
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Damn it, Ned, stop making me laugh. I'm trying to cultivate some ennui over here.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:42 PM
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Oh, text, it was a very good dream. We were racing each other on magic carpets, except then they weren't carpets but beefsteak tomatoes, and we were Farmers of the Land. Then we led the local militia to victory over New Coke.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:45 PM
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Magic! It's gonna change the way we do the things we do everyday! It will suck your ass if you let it! A single piece of multi-touch glass! You don't have to change yourself; it will fit you! Your dealer is holed up in a lousy neighborhood? No problem! Order-of-magnitude-more-powerful apps! It just feels right! Killing hobos has never been easier! To hold the internet in your hands as you surf it! Tap it! Tap that ass! It's completely natural! Just do! The best way! The correct orientation! Wait, what? FUN!!!!! Reading an e-book is such a pleasure! Now we have three phenomenal stores on the iPad! The most advanced piece of technology! It will replace you in the labor force! The largest mulit-touch! You really feel the power that multi-touch can offer! Wait, what? Wow, this is a really vibrant display! This product responds so well! Seriously, what? Apple's the one place that you can really do this! An affordable price! That's really exciting! Steal this e-book! Millions and millions of people are going to be instantly familiar with it! In many ways, this defines our vision of what's next!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:45 PM
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I think ari's broken.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:47 PM
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braggart


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:47 PM
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You're just jealous I got to vanquish a soft drink with dream-parsimon.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:50 PM
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And I already have the best way to view video! It's called a television.

Shit no. A projector's way better.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:50 PM
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68: That dream is not disagreeable. Beefsteak tomatoes are okay. Portobello mushrooms okay too, particularly if marinated. I don't know why so few people understand marinating.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:52 PM
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I don't even have a television iPad dream parsimon recollection of how I intended to finish this sentence.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:53 PM
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I had a dream last night in which SomeCallMeTim made an appearance. He was an oddly hairless, scrawny, elven creature.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:55 PM
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I actually find reading long pieces on my iPhone much easier than on a laptop or desktop, because the screen is less busy with different windows, adverts, and tabs. Also, I use a really big font. Something like the NY Times IPhone App is a perfect reading experience for me.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:55 PM
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59:The paper things do look very nice on my walls, pars.
Thousands and thousands, all in bright shiny colors, or muted dignified colors.

I vacuum them once a year.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:56 PM
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I miss SomeCallMeTim.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 5:58 PM
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He was an oddly hairless, scrawny, elven creature.

Like this? If you'd loved him, he might have assumed his princely form.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:00 PM
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The largest mulit-touch!

Great news! But that's not how you .


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:01 PM
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Me too, apo.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:02 PM
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How exactly did the words "spell it" get removed from my link, leaving only the sentence-final period? Oh well


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:03 PM
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So many lost to the ages.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:03 PM
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Why did SCMT leave? Why??


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:08 PM
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I uh told him we didn't like him anymore. What, you guys are going back on me now?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:10 PM
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I think I want one, but I'm curious what Google's version will look like. I should probably just go buy a Kindle or a Nook or something and wait for iPad 3.0 vs. Nexus Big.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:11 PM
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85: Because we're boring as shit these days.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:11 PM
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I sort of want to buy an iPad, cover the back with velcro, and then put velcro stations all around my house, like on the kitchen cabinet (for recipe reference) and the bathroom.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:15 PM
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Maybe Tim is still among us, using a different name and prose style and wearing a differently-colored hat than usual.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:16 PM
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I don't even have an iPad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:18 PM
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Maybe Tim is still among us, using a different name

You know, I thought IUsedToBeCalledTim had a familiar style...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:19 PM
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No, but you have an iPwned.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:19 PM
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I'm waiting for a stand-mixer that makes and receives calls. The multi-touch version would let you vary the speed of the mixing and the degree to which incoming calls sounded like they were placed by chipmunks.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:20 PM
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Elsewhere on the internet, I have been called a hater for suggesting that the iPad is not a godsend to everyone who ever goes to a conference. (Because a Macbook is just so heavy, apparently.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:23 PM
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A regular MacBook is heavy! Not my Air, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:24 PM
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It ain't heavy, it's my laptop.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:27 PM
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The screen is wide, with many a vibrant dot
That give it a bulky size--
Like my thighs


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:30 PM
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Back to the reading of NYRB-length, or longer things, Standpipe is right upthread about immersive reading: it's just not nearly as pleasing, not nearly the same experience, to read such things on a small screen. There's no way in hell I could fruitfully read philosophy or literary or political theory/criticism on a hand-held screen.

I read the NYRB on the couch in the living room, and pause once in a while to stare gaze out the window, or at the plants sharing the room with me, or at the spines of the other books in the room. You will say that I may do this equally well with a Kindle or like thingum in hand: I say no. I like flipping the pages back and forth. Sometimes I go back to a previous paragraph! I hear tell that that's a pain to do on e-readers. I also have things stacked near the couch (and elsewhere), turned to wherever I left off. I imagine the same is technically possible with an e-reader. But really: doesn't going back to things sometimes quite a while later become less likely when they're stored on a single hand-held device?

An e-reader reinforces the tendency to attend only to what's in the forefront of one's mind. So I submit.

I acknowledge that I haven't actually used one, but put it this way: if I were to look only at what I'd been looking at in the past few weeks or month, I'd be dropping a lot of things.

Yes, no? I do have an interest in how these things are affecting us and our reading habits. Our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. I need to see the books, in physical form, in order to maintain continuity.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:33 PM
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Our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter.

I always hear this tossed about, but I don't actually believe it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:38 PM
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Look, a shiny thing!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:40 PM
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One of the great things about being old and boring is that there's no pressure to get the next new thing.


Posted by: Ccarp | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:40 PM
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I have seen people dismissing the iPad as "just a giant iPod Touch," to which I say: IT'S A GIANT IPOD TOUCH WHEN CAN I BUY ONE PLEASE?


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:40 PM
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99: tl;dr.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:40 PM
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I'm commenting from my son's hockey practice on my iPod. Even the old boring people are doing it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:43 PM
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Amber, this is the only bathroom reading you need.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:44 PM
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Er, Eroticon is, that is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:44 PM
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(Because a Macbook is just so heavy, apparently.)

My 15" MBP is almost 6 lbs. Having a perfectly serviceable email-and-web terminal that weighs a quarter of that really is a difference of kind, not of degree.

I want my Apple iCaramba to be just like my laptop, but slimmer and more strokable.

Category error.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:49 PM
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100 I always hear this tossed about, but I don't actually believe it.

Believe what?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:49 PM
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A very amusing (and imperturbably retrograde) imitation of the classical oriental love manual, from a celebrated contemporary Greek novelist ... whose casual sexism is obviously calculated to elicit strong reaction.

You know, I gave you the benefit of the doubt with that professor-sleeping-with-younger-woman book, but this is the line.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:51 PM
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Category error.

Ham, this doesn't make sense. Why can't his Apple iCaramba run programs downloaded from the internet? Because it isn't made with commodity hardware? If you run programs downloaded from the internet on a phone- or tablet-like device that is made with commodity hardware, is that still a category error?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:51 PM
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And all the cute hockey moms stayed home to watch the President. This is not the Change I voted for.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:52 PM
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I don't know what the "casual sexism" line is supposed to refer to. I mean, it's pretty strange, but it's hard to imagine it eliciting a strong reaction from anyone with half a lick of sense.

Here's part of a chapter and here's all of another.

Also, Springer isn't a professor, he's a novelist.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:54 PM
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104: I don't follow that, essear. I'm grumpy about this upcoming state of the union address. Grumpiness descended over the course of all of 10 minutes.

Do y'all think it's important to actually watch the video display, or is listening on the radio sufficient? I am curious about who's giving the subsequent Republican response.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 6:59 PM
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111: My initial response about commodity hardware was flip and not intended to be supportable.

The reason you can't run random downloaded crap on the iPad is that Apple wants to make money on apps, and want to have higher-quality apps on the platform.

The category error is that the iPad is not a general purpose open-development computing platform. It's a media appliance.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:00 PM
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104: I don't follow that, essear.

It was a joke. "tl;dr" is internets-speak for "too long; didn't read".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:01 PM
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want to have higher-quality apps

Yeah! Not crap like emacs or latex or python.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:02 PM
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want to have higher-quality apps on the platform

Well, I'm happy to know that at least all the current iPhone fart apps will run on the iPad.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:06 PM
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116: Gotcha. I know.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:06 PM
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117: Category error. Those arguably aren't even apps, at least in the context of a media appliance.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:08 PM
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I wonder if those morons who run linux on PS3s and use them for research purposes know that they're making category errors—those are game consoles!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:09 PM
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118: Yeah, I knew someone was going to mention that. The fact remains that to get a fart app in the store, a developer has to fill out some forms, make herself accountable for anything malicious she attempts, and pony up $100. The stuff filtered out by that low bar makes a fart app look like solid gold.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:10 PM
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The reason you can't run random downloaded crap on the iPad

If it's like any of the other itruck you totally can - you just have to drop the file you want in your itunethingy. I think this is what they are planning on people doing.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:11 PM
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The stuff filtered out by that low bar makes a fart app look like solid gold.

Ok, so, like, there must be some things on freshmeat that answer this description.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:13 PM
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Freshmeat! There's a website I haven't looked at in, like, seven years.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:14 PM
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121: Whatever. Look, obviously people are going to jailbreak the iPad and brag about how they're sticking it to the man, man! Likewise, my new stand mixer makes a really good paperweight.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:14 PM
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After I posted 125 I realized that I didn't know if anyone still used it.

HL, the point is that it's only a "media player" or whatever because apple won't let you put whatever on it. It's not like that with your stand mixer, whose components are kind of going to waste if you use it as a paperweight. I mean, the thing's got a real processor, right? It could process things.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:16 PM
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(The fact that the first iteration(s) of the PS3 let you put, or had, or whatever the story was, linux on them without being hacked proves this!)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:18 PM
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Freshmeat doesn't even have a fart app on it. So your open source community is pretty much failing to serve a well-known demand for an app.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:18 PM
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127: With very few exceptions, you can put whatever you want on it. You or another developer ponies up the entrance fee, puts the app on the store, and it installs really easily. A few particular categories of apps aren't allowed, because Apple and their partners reserve that right unto themselves.

Likewise, I can put palm fronds on the shaft of the stand mixer and call it a fan. I'm not allowed to put sarin gas dispensers on it because the US Army reserves that right.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:23 PM
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I would love to buy the iPad, provided I had the money, to use as a controller for my computer-music shenanigans. As a closed system, though, it won't have the flexibility (and hackability by people like me who are fairly ignorant of programming) that I need. If it ran OSX or Linux, it'd be great, and I assume the processor is capable of running an open OS.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:48 PM
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I read Roderick Hudson in its original serialized form from the Atlantic Monthly off the Making of America website, in a succession of single page pdfs.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 7:50 PM
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Just to go back aways, I'd be surprised if Skim* doesn't end up on the iPad (for the record, a stupid name IMO) - I think that's precisely the sort of thing for which it's really well-suited - you don't need a 350 GB hard drive and 3 GHz processor to annotate a PDF; but annotating PDFs becomes a much easier/more pleasurable thing to do if you're doing it on something highly portable.

On that last bit, I concur with whoever noted that the iPad is a fraction the weight of a MacBook. I bring my MacBook to meetings sometimes, but it makes my bag feel like I'm carrying a safe. I know it's lighter than old laptops, but it's nothing like effortlessly portable.

All that said, I don't see one anywhere in my near future - I like traveling light, and so the iPhone suits me perfectly. Longer term, I could see one working great as a first floor computer for our household - quick recipe reference, idle internet during odd downtimes, media access (including running our hard drive-based music setup), etc. But I'm skeptical that it's the game-changer everyone had hoped for; could be, but I doubt it.

* or a functionally identical app


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:22 PM
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Actually, on reflection, I realize that 90% of the stuff on freshmeat offers worse user experience than a fart app.


Posted by: HamLove | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:23 PM
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My Macbook weighs four and a half pounds. A Macbook Air weighs three pounds. The iPad weighs a pound and a half. These differences are really notable for you people? I mean, I'm a pretty lightweight sort of guy, and I don't feel like four and a half pounds is a noticeable amount of weight to carry around.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:24 PM
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Maybe JRoth is just a total pussy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:25 PM
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A difference of three pounds, when you're already carrying a lot, for a while, is a big difference.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:31 PM
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Want to check email and browse the internet but don't want to carry a lot of weight around? That's why God made iPhones.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:34 PM
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Want to check email and browse the internet but don't want to carry a lot of weight around? Go to the gym, fatty.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:37 PM
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I'm imagining a treadmill-powered internet connection. The faster you run, the faster you download.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:39 PM
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I carry an iPhone and a Macbook. Laydeez.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:40 PM
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My laptop - larger than the one I replaced, and larger than what you crazy people recommended I buy* - does not actually feel heavier in my backpack than the one it replaced. But it's at least a pound heavier. It is true, however, that when I carry more things, the laptop seems to be heavier, but I think that's more out of weight distribution and perception than anything else. The solution is to not carry more things if I don't have to.

*I'm very happy with the larger screen. But I would buy a netbook for note-taking, additionally, if I had the money, and if I weren't still thinking they're a bit too new for me to buy an existing model.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:42 PM
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Never mind new technology, let's go back to old technology. Apparently there just aren't as many printing presses in the U.S. as there used to be. Robert Groves of the U.S. Census Bureau:

You'll get an advance letter from me the first week of March. You'll get the questionnaire the second week of March. [Next] we send a reminder card. And then, for the first time, after looking at 40 years of research [showing] that replacement questionnaires help response, we will have a replacement questionnaire in areas that historically have lower response rates in early April.
[W]hy aren't we doing replacement questionnaires everywhere? It turns out that the country doesn't have the printing capacity to do that. We have almost blown out the entire printing capacity of the country in just getting the questionnaires done.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:47 PM
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143.last is kinda cool. And printers could really use the business these days.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:49 PM
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Remember when Judd Gregg was going to be in charge of the census as part of all that great and wonderful bipartisan wonderfulness?

Sorry, I just violated my own political thread ban.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:50 PM
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Oh my word, it gets better. Indiana Jones!

To give you a sense, this is one of our warehouses. Do you remember the last scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? That's nothing. These are pallets, seven high. Every one of these boxes has been bar coded on the box to know what local census office or post office we have to deliver it to.

(You have to click on my link in 143 to see the picture)

Inside these things are sometimes questionnaires, sometimes things that we call kits that are given to field workers to do different things. Sometimes the kits have questionnaires in areas where we actually drop off the questionnaire; leave it on a hanger on your door. But this is one aisle of, I don't know, 50 aisles.
The whole point of these two pictures is to remind us that you can't just sort of decide to change something at the last minute. The logistics of this operation are such you have to frontload warehouses with materials because you don't have much time to get everything out.
It's a little harder than fighting a war because you have to fight it in just a matter of months. You win or lose in a matter of months. And there are a lot of places that look like this. This'll give you [an idea] of why we were close to burning out the printing capacity of the country for several months.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:52 PM
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Why doesn't the census bureau just use special iPads that people fill out on their doorsteps?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:54 PM
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At least we aren't witnessing Diebold roll out a special electronic census device for this moment when government once again fails and monopolistic outsourcing is the only way to get things done economically.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 8:59 PM
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I heard over dinner that a college friend is in Haiti covering the aftermath and had apparently commented that they were adding bodies to the death toll only when they found an actual body, to which my immediate thought was "Census!' but then I realized it was a problem-riddled idea.

Anyone heard anything about this? Admittedly, it's like fifth-hand information at this point, and I don't know how else to come up with a number.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:00 PM
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Geeze, I am geeking out to such a degree. Everybody has to go read this Census thing. It's so cool. GPS mapping for better return results! Cartoon characters visiting schools! Super Bowl outreach! Daily tracking surveys! Filipino rice cookers vs. Chinese rice cookers! And a website where you can search by zip code to track your neighborhood's progress against competitors others.

In my next life I want to be a demographer.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:00 PM
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149: From an Australian news site of unknown reliability:

Haiti's communications minister says the death toll is based on a body count done by a state company that has been collecting corpses in the capital and burying them in mass graves.


It pains me to do this, but Slate recently covered this in an Explainer article.

(I found it by Googling! Promise.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:06 PM
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It's going to be my first census! I'm excited and a little nervous.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:06 PM
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Wait, what? Are Mormons conscientious objectors or something?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:09 PM
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151: Thanks, Witt. I was a bit surprised that I hadn't seen more about the methodology.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:11 PM
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Oh, I missed this the first time:

We have people in all of our regions called partnership specialists, and one effect of the stimulus money was to quintuple the size of this staff.

Oh, quintupled. That explains the avalanche of phone calls and friendly visits. Really, I'm on board, Census people! Enthusiastically. Evangelically, even.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:12 PM
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It's not my Mormon side that balks at the Census; it's my crotchety libertarian father from the frozen tundra. However, the tales of government persecution of Mormons have only fed his determination to give the census workers nothing but the number of adults in the household. If I'm remembering correctly, and he only counted the adults, then I've never appeared in the population count!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:18 PM
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155: I heard some NPR story I can't turn up that the current Census' staff is the most highly qualified ever, in part because they're getting out-of-work advanced-degree workers applying. It was very much a yay!/crud! moment.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:19 PM
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Oh, those wild Canadians.

Interestingly, we apparently haven't asked a question about religion on the census in at least a half-century. I hadn't realized we ever asked as many as we apparently did in the late 19th century.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:21 PM
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Oh, quintupled. That explains the avalanche of phone calls and friendly visits. Really, I'm on board, Census people! Enthusiastically. Evangelically, even.

As far as I've seen, the spotlight of this census has not yet fallen upon our house.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:23 PM
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I hadn't realized we ever asked as many as we apparently did in the late 19th century.

Yeah, they asked a lot of intrusive questions, including, (and this asked of married women): to how many children have you given birth, and of that number, how many are still living? which provides some insight into child mortality rates, of course.

I'm a total census geek.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:26 PM
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The census worker in my neighborhood was almost insanely persistent. I was selected for the "American community survey" (more detailed than the general census) and avoided filling out the forms for a few weeks, mostly because it was kind of minorly burdensome. The worker left menat least 3 phone messages a day for a week telling me to fillp the thing out, and finally showed upnat the house at 8 am on a Sunday morning and spent about 30 minutes going through the questions. I was happy to do it (and would have sent in the form at some point) but the doggedness of the census worker was really amazing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:27 PM
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157: My guess is that NPR was talking about the enumerators rather than the partnership specialists. The enumerator test is notable for weeding out a lot of people, because it selects for a very specific set of skills. (See, e.g., page 7.)

Also, because the Census Bureau needs to hire enumerators everywhere, the labor markets vary dramatically. Around here they pay $17+ an hour, which is extraordinarily good money, and therefore brings people out of the woodwork. But it's rather laborious work, and requires somebody who is an odd blend of persistent, personable, comfortable in bad neighborhoods, and detail-oriented.

So last spring, when they were doing the first round of enumerator hiring (for address verification purposes), I knew a number of super-smart retired people, super-educated pregnant women, suddenly-laid-off white-collar workers and the like who were all heading for census jobs.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:28 PM
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I haven't really decided whether or not I'm going to participate in the census this year. It seems almost a shame to break a streak.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:30 PM
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19: Oh, they're not reaching out to individuals now. This is just to organizations and contacts in Hard to Reach (tm) communities.

You'll get your own personal response (a la Halford) if you don't send your form back promptly in late March and start making your tract look un-American bad on the comparison blog.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:31 PM
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I'm not sure why you would decline to participate in the census.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:33 PM
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I think they still ask about religion in the UK census and maybe Canada's, right?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:36 PM
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Don't make Witt sad, JM! She's so excited! Everyone is doing it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:36 PM
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165: Some people are afraid the government will use the info to track them down for unpaid traffic tickets.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:37 PM
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Actually, I was a bit concerned about that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:38 PM
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165: I remember reading "No taxation without representation." So, if I'm not counted in the congressional district, I don't have to pay taxes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:38 PM
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Wait, what sort of questions DO they ask?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:38 PM
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DO IT, Jackmormon! Be one of The Counted! It's awesome, knowing you count. The first time I participated in the Census, I was fresh out on my own (where "on my own" means that I was attending college under heavy parental subsidy), and they had put up signs saying that we could fill out Census forms in the lobby of our dorm. And so on the appointed day, I marched down to that lobby, just like a real man, and I put pen to paper and I dropped that motherfucker in the box! (Or stuck it in an envelope; I don't really remember, tbh.)

So, somewhere out there there is a record of me being a resident of the City of Chicago in the year fucking 2000, man! That's deep.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:39 PM
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What I mean is, there's some part of my lizard brain that tells me to hide information from the government, or they'll get you on traffic tickets and whatnot. I know that the information is kept strictly separate, blah blah, but it's hard to get over the paranoia.


Posted by: Rober Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:40 PM
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I do vote and pay taxes, Otto. I count!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:41 PM
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Come to think of it, I have no idea if I was counted in the 2000 Census, when I was 18. I suppose my dad must have reported my existence as part of the household (that year, I was living (1) at home (2) abroad or (3) in university housing). But I've not seen any document from the Census asking my personal info this time around.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:41 PM
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10 questions! 10 minutes! So easy. They even tell you why they ask every single question.

(Unless you get selected for the ACS like Halford. But you won't.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:42 PM
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Do they ask your name? I don't remember that. I had some vague recollection that it was pretty much all demographic information. Number of people in household, incomes, education level, stuff like that. It's been a while. 10 years, I guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:43 PM
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Otto and Stanley: contributing to the double-counting of white UMC college students everywhere.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:43 PM
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"Census" is such a misnomer. It's an inventory and the state will treat us like cattle and make us into soylent green.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:43 PM
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179: That's why the government is pushing veganism. So the soylent green has less transfat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:45 PM
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Otto and Stanley: contributing to the double-counting of white UMC college students everywhere.

Why double counting? Would the university have reported me as being there? If so, that's troubling.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:46 PM
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Why, in a ten-question form, is there one question asking whether you're hispanic of some sort and another question asking you to state your race?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:47 PM
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181: I was kidding you and Otto, Stanley, but it is a real problem, routinely. College kids get the form at their dorms and fill it out for themselves, and their parents get it at home, and fill it out again, ignoring the directions and count the kid as living at home *too.*

So you get double-counts of all of these (relatively well-off, because they're attending residential colleges) students.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:48 PM
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182: That's nearly always how they handle that. Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race, and you can be Hispanic in combination with any race.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:50 PM
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183: Well my mom is a fastidious follower of directions, so I can't imagine she would have done that.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:51 PM
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183: Right. I figured you were having a laugh. I'm now wondering if my dad figured I'd get counted at the university, which I don't think I was, so I might be the odd reverse-trend example. Or maybe U.Va. sends numbers in separately? No idea.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:52 PM
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184 addendum: By "they" I don't just mean the census, but the government in general as well as nearly all people doing research that involves social or demographic characteristics.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:52 PM
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182: Because the US still considers "Hispanic" to be an ethnicity, rather than a race.

(Most of the rest of the world is not with us on this.)

It's like having a separate category for whether you were born in the US or not, and whether you speak English as your first language. A lot of people would say that US-born=native English speaker, but it's not true. Similarly, while a lot of Anglos define Hispanic as its own "race," many Hispanics/Latinos define themselves as white, some as black, and some as Mexican/Salvadoran/other nationality/heritage group.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:54 PM
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Why, in a ten-question form, is there one question asking whether you're hispanic of some sort and another question asking you to state your race?

Because those people are inscrutable. Like, they'll answer the first question "Yes, I'm Mexican," and the second, "Persian."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:55 PM
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Aren't there a ton of other ethnicities floating around as well, then? "Jewish" is the one that leaps to mind first.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 9:58 PM
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This degree of suspicion is a little surprising to me. Don't get me wrong, I understand the impulse to protect one's privacy.

As I understand it, the census is used to gather information about the clusters of people of differing ages, education and income level in different areas. The figures are used to set policy in budgeting for social spending and so on.

It's something we'd need to provide the government with if we believe that government is trying to do something actually sensible and reality-based in its spending and allocation of funds. People use these kinds of figures in order to draft grant proposals backed by data. If those inclined to hide themselves underreport themselves, their areas get less funding, and their needs are less likely to be addressed.

(/earnest)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:01 PM
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I mean, it seems to me that pretty much the only reason to break out "Hispanic" as an ethnic group needing its own question in a 10-question form is to provide fodder for political talking points.

If they want to know the language spoken at home, they should ask about that.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:02 PM
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190: Yes, but most of the other ethnicities floating around map much more neatly onto one race or another, at least in American usage. Though there may be some people who are Jewish and use that as the basis for Asian-American as a race.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:02 PM
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190: It's arbitrary. And there's a lot of inertia to changing it, because as Moby said, there's a phenomenal amount of research done using the same or similar categories.

And also, there are just numerically more Hispanics than almost any other group that people are going to call themselves (that won't be an option under the "race" category).

You know what I'm wondering about now, though? Why just M/F? No trans option! No intersex. Hmmmmmmm. Why does our government hate people with nonstandard genitals?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:02 PM
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How does the census work? Should I be getting a form in the mail or something? I was still in high school during the last one, presumably.

My dad has some sort of part-time job with the census bureau now, but he's in an interval of several months in between work.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:03 PM
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"Hispanic" as a category fails to include Brazilians (and others) as a rule and unintentionally includes Spaniards, because it just means "Spanish-speaking". It's actually an ongoing low-level battle of words in government offices, as I understand it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:03 PM
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I'm imagining a treadmill-powered internet connection. The faster you run, the faster you download.

Even a fat-ass like me could lose weight with that device. Hell, I could stand on it with peanut butter in one hand and butter butter in the other and still lose weight.

As for the iPad (worst name ever), it fills a gap I don't have in my life. I have an iPhone and I have a MacBook. I'm good, thanks. That doesn't mean that someone else doesn't have mad use for it, but in my vision of how I hope the phone and the laptop will converge the offspring device has the capabilities of both, or at least doesn't lack the most central capabilities of both: voice and multi-tasking.

If I could place calls with it I'd sell a kidney tomorrow to get one and I'd cart it around in a messenger bag with one of those douchecaster Bluetooth headsets in my pocket. If it could multi-task I'd see it as a light alternative to the laptop when I just want to sit on the couch and browse or chill at the coffee shop. If it can't do either, no thanks. Maybe next year.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:04 PM
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it fills a gap I don't have in my life. I have an iPhone and I have a MacBook. I'm good, thanks.

This is what I've been telling people all day. Some high-school acquaintance of mine on Facebook was giving an elaborate justification of why a MacBook and an iPhone just won't do when on a train or in a plane or in a meeting, but an iPad would, but it was all gibberish to me. I can't imagine why one of those two wouldn't be adequate in any circumstance I ever find myself in.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:07 PM
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The figures are used to set policy in budgeting for social spending and so on.

And, of course, to reapportion House seats, and therefore, electoral votes. So if you want your milieu to have more of a say in these things, it's good to speak up.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:07 PM
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Oh, and I categorically reject long-form, immersive reading on a screen. Paper all the way. They can plant new trees.

Also, people, please: do not fear the Census. Do not be that person. Your county's tax office website already offers up enough public, searchable information about you to begin making informed guesses about your income and expenses. Let the nice person from the Census Bureau just do their damned job.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:08 PM
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Maybe we need a whole hierarchy of devices in sizes ranging from "thumbnail" to "wall", and we should carefully select precisely which one we need in each situation. Taking the subway: a phone with a 3" screen! Taking commuter rail: a pad with an 8" screen! Taking the Acela: a Macbook Air!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:08 PM
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201: Or better yet, one device that is itself resizable.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:10 PM
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For apportionment, though, don't they just need to know the number of people in each household?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:10 PM
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Should I be getting a form in the mail or something?

Yes, but not until March. See my 143, and trust that Bob Groves was speaking right to you.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:10 PM
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The thing is, there are situations in which I can absolutely see it being ideal. Honestly, my parents should have this, not the desktop for which they paid too much. I can think of lots of work environments in which this would be ideal for users and support staff alike. If it had some specific extra features, or enough of them, I would absolutely get one. I just don't feel a desperate need for it.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:11 PM
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199: Sure. Goes without saying.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:11 PM
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Got Census hesitancy? Just fill out the form accurately, then move. No privacy problems, correct data.

(OK, moving is a hassle. But we need your participation.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:12 PM
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196: Yes, but that's the kind of low-level battle that is only a couple of steps above the one fought by people who spent December 31, 1999 reminding drunk people that the new millennium didn't start for another year. Using the literal meaning of words, you could count a white nationalist from South Africa as 'African-American' if they moved to Peru. Generally speaking, the categories that are used are used to account for populations that you see in the U.S. and only new immigration or effective political lobbying with shift those categories.

I can also say from experience that you will get white people putting "Native American" as their race either through ignorance, making a statement about whatever problems they feel they have experienced because of affirmative action, or general pain-in-the-ass derived literalism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:12 PM
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I've also heard as a sort of urban legend that "Latino" came down from Maximilian I, that pesky Frenchman sent to take over South America, with the explanation that being Latino would mean being of Latin origin, so English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese were cool. Hence, we're all Latinos. But I've not read of this.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:14 PM
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English counts as Latin origin?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:15 PM
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210: No. I think Romanian does, technically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:15 PM
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Are the people who don't answer surveys the same as people who do answer surveys? Depends on the survey, says my new non-creepy blog crush. (Scroll down to endearingly earnest video.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:17 PM
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white nationalist from South Africa as 'African-American'

I knew a girl in high school who had been born in South Africa - she diligently checked African-American on all of her college applications, despite her blond hair and blue eyes and nary a black ancestor to speak of. While I'm generally all for milking the system, this always struck me as deeply unfair.

(On the other hand, I supported a friend with an Argentinian mother (but I think of German descent?) checking the Hispanic box.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:17 PM
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"Technically"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:17 PM
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I just meant that it was a Romance Language this is often forgotten, especially in a Western Hemisphere context.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:20 PM
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I knew a girl in high school who had been born in South Africa - she diligently checked African-American on all of her college applications, despite her blond hair and blue eyes and nary a black ancestor to speak of. While I'm generally all for milking the system, this always struck me as deeply unfair.

I think a lot of Saffas feel this way, even not racist ones.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:20 PM
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214: I don't think the French, as the argument goes, were going for linguistic purism, so much as land.

Like I say, overheard in a lecture. Could be bogus.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:21 PM
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I see. Romanian looks/sounds to me like mangled Italian, in the same way that Portuguese looks/sounds like mangled Spanish.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:21 PM
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216: Yeah, obviously it's a tricky situation and I don't mean to deny white South Africans the right to call themselves African - just one of those odd juxtapositions of history, politics, geography and language.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:24 PM
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Portuguese looks/sounds like mangled Spanish.

I can have sometimes very complicated conversations with Italian- and Portuguese-speakers. It's really weird to 78% or so communicate.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:24 PM
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In school, I knew an extremely wealthy Russian-Jewish Argentinian Jew who was fond of providing perspective "as a Latina person of color," which was really just taking advantage of US ignorance of Argentina.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:26 PM
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Anyway, there are lots of people trying to make a more accurate and inclusive way of categorizing people by race/ethnicity. Sometimes they get a very detailed plan and collect the data with great care.

Then the analyst comes along and, nine times out of ten, mushes it all into "white," "black," and "other" or some similar reduction. Because, no matter how proud and distinct your little ethnic group is, if you don't account for a certain percentage of the sample, I can't use that distinction. Also, if I have to match work done 20 years ago, I have to use categories that were used at both time points.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:28 PM
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Yeah, most (but not quite all) of the Argentinians I know seem to have much more in common culturally with Europeans than with other people from Latin America. But, as with white South Africans, it would be odd to not consider them to be Latin American.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:29 PM
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Hey, at least most Argentinians do actually speak Spanish, thus, as Stanley pointed out, making the Hispanic label fit. Those Brazilians, though?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:31 PM
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I was semi-OK with the "Latina" self-identification, but the "person of color" bit was truly bogus.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:32 PM
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224: Eh, they're just mispronouncing it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:33 PM
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It's really weird to 78% or so communicate.

Yeah, I figure in my everyday conversations I'm operating at around 50%.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:36 PM
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It's as if race is a social construction, and you could line every human up from the whitest white person to the blackest black person and then draw lines arbitrarily, and then still be confused. I'm stunned.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:37 PM
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Brazil is an issue, but not really. Haiti is a bigger difficulty as the language is not at all Spanish-related, "Caribbean" really isn't used as an ethnicity in the U.S., and African-American smooshes away a world of difference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:39 PM
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What is this social construction that you speak of?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:39 PM
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One of the biggest mistakes I made in the first course I taught was assuming the students knew what social construction was.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:40 PM
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Brazil is an issue, but not really. Haiti is a bigger difficulty as the language is not at all Spanish-related

And don't forget Suriname and Trinidade!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:41 PM
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232: And Turks and Caicos. The Americas are an embarrassment of colonialism.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:45 PM
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228: Even that over-simplifies it. As you see with the whole race/ethnicity issue, it isn't just a uni-dimensional socially constructed "race." Even the number of dimensions to be socially constructed is socially constructed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:48 PM
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231: Let me guess: you had to explain to them what a concept was? Heavy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:50 PM
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Grenada and the USVI/BVI should be on any list, come to think of it. Really, the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, too. Easter Island, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:50 PM
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234: Yes, exactly. I don't know how to get good demographic data on people who live anywhere in North and/or South America.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:53 PM
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what social construction was.

Like a barn-raising?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:54 PM
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235: If that's the sort of sympathy on offer here, no longer shall I confess my mistakes.

It was just one of those dumb first-time teaching mistakes one makes - giving a lecture that's based on what to you seems like an elementary concept and realizing when it's pretty much done and over with that they didn't get any of it because they didn't understand the underlying principle. Voila, you just wasted an hour of their time and an hour of yours and have to go back to the beginning.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 10:54 PM
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I like identifying as "caucasian" because the actual people from the Caucus Mountains seem like swarthy, crazy badasses.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:00 PM
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237: Except that it isn't that hard in practice. If it is biology-type medical research, you probably care only about where the ancestors are from. If it is social or economic research, you can nearly always do black vs. other or black vs. hispanic vs. other. In that case, self-identification is all that matters and you would usually ask people who gave more than one race another question asking them which race they identify with. There are types of research where being much more precise matters, but that will be left to experts in whatever area.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:04 PM
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Some high-school acquaintance of mine on Facebook was giving an elaborate justification of why a MacBook and an iPhone just won't do when on a train or in a plane or in a meeting, but an iPad would, but it was all gibberish to me. I can't imagine why one of those two wouldn't be adequate in any circumstance I ever find myself in.

Given a choice, I'd really rather not read much of anything on a screen as small as an iPhone's, I don't want to carry a laptop everywhere, and I'm used to carrying something roughly the size, shape, and weight of a book (i.e., a book), so a tablet makes perfect sense to me. It's almost as if tastes differ!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:06 PM
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239: Sorry, Parenthetical. I have no idea what kind of course you would have been teaching, and of course everybody's first lecture probably didn't hit its target, in just the way you say.

I was kind of fascinated by what it would take to explain the notion of a concept to people. There was also a play on "social construction" versus "social construct."

Anyway, no worries. I hope.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:07 PM
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224 -- Provincia Hispania Ulterior Lusitania.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:09 PM
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243: I should have put a joking tag on the first line. No worries.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-27-10 11:12 PM
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one fought by people who spent December 31, 1999 reminding drunk people that the new millennium didn't start for another year

The really tough sell was telling people that the 1990s decade didn't end until December 31, 2000.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 12:35 AM
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Quitters. The 90s never ended!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 1:02 AM
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Quit living in the past, man.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 1:05 AM
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But, as with white South Africans, it would be odd to not consider them to be Latin American.

Why would it be odd not to consider white South Africans to be Latin American?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 1:18 AM
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Why, in a ten-question form, is there one question asking whether you're hispanic of some sort and another question asking you to state your race?

Also, also. Before Census changed question 2 to multiple choice these were two separate, one answer, questions. So Microsoft Census kept the structure that way for backward compatibility. Keep comparing 1 to 1 and 2 to 2, although the latter gets more difficult.

The federal government then went and changed its internal form (SF 181) to reflect the new multiple choice and then (oh, fun) resurveyed the entire workforce. A problem is that for historical records the ERI data doesn't map easily across the gap. But there are instructions…

For demographic info about federal employees, use OPM's FedScope.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 6:18 AM
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216: I've run into this issue. I'm African by any reasonable definition (OIW any definition that lets people of European descent call themselves American), American by birth, and don't check the "African-American" box on forms because I know they don't mean people like me. It's a little irritating that people won't just say what they mean, but as stupidities goes it's relatively minor, and fighting it just opens up a huge can of worms, pisses people off, and would change nothing.

My preference would be to drop race as a category and go with something more like tribe, which seems like a much more natural way to distinguish groups of people. Tribe is also much more malleable and better reflects the way people actually behave.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 7:57 AM
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251: I figure the way to think about it is that "African-American" is a term of art meaning "those residents of the US who could alternatively be described as Black", rather than what it sounds like, an ad-hoc compound noun referring to the country or region of one's recent ancestry on the pattern of "Italian American."

So you're not African-American, but you are Bostwanan-American. Same with white South Africans -- African-American no, South African-American yes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 8:05 AM
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252.1 is pretty much my take on it. Still a minor irritation that people won't say what they mean.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:00 AM
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253: If you get too worked-up about people not saying what they mean, life gets really frustrating and playing Pictionary becomes an ordeal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:16 AM
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One of the biggest mistakes I made in the first course I taught was assuming the students knew what social construction was.

I'm thinking of reinventing myself as a social construction worker. There's money in that field.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:25 AM
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re: 231

I've spoken to people who ought to really know better* who can't give a clear definition of what they mean by social construction [and where the definitions they go give are often confused or incoherent].

* i.e. academics, who use the concept in their work ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:29 AM
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I don't actually know what social construction means in any rigorous way. What's a good clear definition?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:39 AM
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I keep looking at "Tabapplet" as some sort of surname and wondering about its ethnicity. Belgian?

A bastardization of "Tabachnik"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:50 AM
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Wherever the teacher from the Simpsons, Mrs. Krabappel, comes from.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:52 AM
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257: I've always taken social construction, as used for epistemology in the social and behavioral sciences, as a sensible compromise between positivism (there is an objective reality that can be measured) and phenomenology (there is no reality outside of how something is perceived by an individual). The former is pretty clearly beside the point when you study something like public opinion and the later makes statistical analysis and methodological rigor seem pointless.

I guess that really isn't a definition. For a definition, I'd say the central idea is that while there is no objective reality, there are more or less widely shared ideas of reality which are important to understand.

There are many other uses of the term that are probably more common. I think in some fields social construction is a sub-type of phenomenology. And my understanding could just stem from idiosyncratic factors in my education. I never went out of my way to learn any epistemology that I wasn't going to be tested on and I haven't taken a test since Clinton was president.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 9:53 AM
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Maybe I'm revealing my ignorance here, but isn't social construction simply the assignment of meaning or properties to a thing based on a common understanding rather than on the intrinsic qualities of the thing? IOW it's about what people think of the thing not what the thing is absent any social context.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 10:22 AM
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From the census story: We're running multinomial logistic regression models every day. And loving it.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 10:35 AM
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262: With Stata, it is much easier than it used to be.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 10:42 AM
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I just meant that it was a Romance Language this is often forgotten, especially in a Western Hemisphere context.

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

It's really weird to 78% or so communicate.

When my dad was captured in WWII and handed over to the Italians to be looked after, they had to communicate for a while through a guy who spoke Spanish. He said it was a bit hairy because they never knew if they'd got it right and how the guards would react if they hadn't.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 10:44 AM
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You ain't seen nothin' yet.

I was not aware a substantial minority of Swiss spoke lolcat.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 10:56 AM
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i can haz las parts da la proposiziun?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 10:58 AM
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251: My preference would be to drop race as a category and go with something more like tribe, which seems like a much more natural way to distinguish groups of people. Tribe is also much more malleable and better reflects the way people actually behave.

This is interesting, if only, initially, because my first reaction was "Tribe? What? No" and my second reaction was that it makes sense. My third reaction might differ yet again. I can haz problematization, after all.

261: isn't social construction [...] about what people think of the thing not what the thing is absent any social context.

I'd say it goes beyond that: it's the construction of a, or the, thing out of whole cloth. In the case of race, we have constructed the categories "white," "black" and so on -- obviously -- when we might not have done so, but might well have viewed these things as a continuum.

The 'whole cloth' phrase there is a bit wrong-headed: of course there are real things on which we base these constructs. It's a matter of what we've chosen to emphasize, a question of what we think matters to us. In any event, once we've marked out the territory and named it, it becomes something we view as a pointing out of objective fact, when it is not. It's a social construct!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-28-10 12:41 PM
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