Re: Productivity

1

I think it actually does not fully explain why you're writing a blog post with your thumbs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:33 AM
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The back-end of the site is blocked on my work desktop. But my phone has signal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:34 AM
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I've come to the conclusion that it's a mistake to work first on the biggest priority item, because when I procrastinate on that one, it means that all the smaller items are getting pushed back as well. Whereas I'm pretty good at bursts of productivity that get a bunch of small tasks done, and then most of my to-do list is cleared, even if the bulk of the work remains.

I don't claim that this is an original insight, but it is one that I need to remind myself of, because Big Project Deadline tries to claim priority for itself, but that never works for me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:45 AM
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Speaking of phones, what sort of person buys a phone which costs $8000 and isn't even 4G enabled?

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Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:53 AM
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3: Yeah, that's exactly the problem I have. But I do have a very hard time doing what I know to be the right thing: just getting something done, whether or not it's significant or high priority, and then something else, and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:55 AM
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3: But when there's a big dreaded task that needs to be done -- doesn't doing other less important, small tasks just become another form of procrastination?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:57 AM
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It is, but at least the other stuff gets done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:01 AM
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Why can't I remember which cartoon strip/sitcom back in the day had the "Job Jar?" Wait, it was freaking "Hi and Lois," wasn't it? Probably more germane to a splitting domestic responsibilities thread, but I think all the FPPs should create a Job Jar and put in a liberal number of pieces of paper with "Post on Unfogged." My virtual Job Jar is packed with of "Comment on"s.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:04 AM
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Ugggh. I sometimes think that I've learned useful techniques for dealing with being non-productive. The last month or so has made me question that belief.

[It isn't that bad, but it's a reminder that any techniques I've learned only work when I am actually motivated. If I'm unproductive and I don't have a reason to buckle down and get something done . . .]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:05 AM
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7: Exactly. As long "other tasks" doesn't devolve into pencil-sharpening or receipt-alphabetizing, it's all stuff that needs to get done. Furthermore, by redirecting the pressure of the big deadline towards little things, they gain an urgency they otherwise can never attain.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:06 AM
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I'm bored witless, and I handle it really, really badly -- I end up doing a terrible, sloppy job on things I could have done well, and just leaving things undone. Somewhere out there is the perfect snowflake of a job that would amuse me into putting out full effort, or the perfect snowflake of a boss who I'd either want to impress or feel bad about letting down, but I'm not expecting to run into either.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:08 AM
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Isn't that structured procrastination?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:10 AM
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I was writing "I was writing a blog post with my thumbs" with my thumbs when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something to myself like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe someone else should post. . . ." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around me and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the office, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"

Then it was quiet again.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:12 AM
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13 -> 11. I think.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:12 AM
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I have found (and have become intensely boring on the subject of having found) org-mode to be incredibly useful for breaking down dreaded big tasks into the sort of manageable small tasks I might actually take on. The downside is the newfound temptation to spend lots of time tinkering with my .emacs file to optimize my use of org-mode itself, rather than doing the small tasks I now know I'm meant to be doing.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:30 AM
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I like org-mode for that, too. Unfortunately, I cannot persuade any of the people I collaborate with to use it (even the Dwarf Lord, who can turn in his micromail undies. Betraying the nerdism!) so I'm on Astrid and Trello.

Having three systems is not ideal.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:38 AM
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Yeah, I haven't even tried to get anyone in my lab to use it, as by their standards I am way out on the nerd fringe by even knowing what Emacs is. But after a certain amount of browbeating Scomber Mix did start using it, so now we have a shared household agenda and shopping lists and things. That's gone a surprising distance towards changing the balance of some tasks, actually, which has been great.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:55 AM
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I've been sick in bed all day and can only now focus my eyes enough to be online, but wow is bed a wonderful place! I know not for alameida and all that, but for one day of being sick and miserable and dead to the world in a house that's actually quiet, it's lovely. So that's my advice for the rest of the productive cough crowd.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 12:01 PM
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I am happy with changing the balance of attention and worrying and assuming that the balance of actual effort will follow.

Trello kind of annoys me -- it takes up SO MUCH screen space -- but some people really like that, the pictures are nice, and the keyboard accelerators are well thought out.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 12:30 PM
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20

It's hard to get the small things done and ignore the big project when you have someone shouting at you every day demanding to know why the big project wasn't finished yet. Although preparing lectures for my classes seems to be eating up a really, really large fraction of my time. Maybe I should have gone the lazy route of following a textbook instead of thinking "I'm gonna be awesome and rederive things from scratch in the most intuitive and reasonable way!", because it's all getting kind of muddled.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 12:31 PM
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Although preparing lectures for my classes seems to be eating up a really, really large fraction of my time.

This is what happens to pretty much everyone at first. And then it gets better. Excelsior!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 12:35 PM
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20: Wasn't there a bit in the Feynman autobiography where the year he started teaching, he thought he'd gotten too old to do creative work anymore, because he never had any interesting thoughts outside of the work he was doing preparing lectures? And then he realized that no, prepping lectures was just hard enough that it was using all of his energy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 12:44 PM
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Since 12 didn't have a link, here.

I have found it a surprisingly helpful framework, except then I need to build in time to just stare dumbly at something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 1:02 PM
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I've tried structured procrastination now and then. It works for what it does, but the biggest problem with it is that it's hard to force myself to make it work. If I fall into a busy week or month at work and at home, then I'll wind up keeping up fine, but I haven't managed to just say, "I have these really brilliant comments to post on Unfogged. I'll get right on that after I touch up the paint in the living room and bathroom, put up the wall hangings, e-mail the catering company, and finish my novel." I'm not quite that good at lying to myself.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 2:16 PM
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LB, not that you're looking for a new career, but I've gathered that I'm pretty similar to you in this way--very easily bored and procrastinate a lot, bitchy kind of lawyer. I find that my current practice of law (representing psychiatric patients) is perfect for me. Seriously, never a single dull moment, everything is very fast paced so there's no time to procrastinate, and you can't bear to let anyone down because it's actual people who you like (mostly), who are just sitting in a shithole, powerless, if you do nothing.

Like, oh here's your new client, yup you have a hearing tomorrow with said new client. Go! It does wonders for one's productivity.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 3:55 PM
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Yeah, about 10% of my workload is at that kind of speed, and that stuff is never a problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 4:03 PM
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20, 22: Yeah, prepping lectures -- particularly the first time, and particularly if you want to do it well -- follows Hofstadter's law: it takes way more time than you think it will, even taking Hofstadter's law into account.

On the plus side, as long as your class isn't cancelled in subsequent years, the work pays off for a long time. Also, tweaking old lectures is both much quicker and also kind of fun. I find it's a good way to remind myself of the big questions in the field and the new insights into those questions. Sometimes I've even generated research ideas from lecture prep. This probably doesn't say great things about the depth of my research ideas, but hey.


Posted by: Forza | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 6:35 PM
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25:

I love that kind of a practice. I hate interrogatories and appeals. I don't want unlimited time. I envy those who excel at that kind of practice. It is not me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 6:42 PM
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If anybody here was curious for some reason about whether "synthetic marijuana" could have amphetamine-like properties it appears that some of the newer versions are shipping with cathinone which is very much a stimulant.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 6:48 PM
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29 cont'd: methedrone (one of the ingredients commonly associated with bath salts) is a cathinone, for instance.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 6:50 PM
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If anybody here was curious for some reason about whether "synthetic marijuana" could have amphetamine-like properties

Depends. Do they help with productivity?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 6:54 PM
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32

What are you trying to accomplish?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 6:55 PM
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33

No SOTU thread? I declare this the SOTU thread, then. Let the games begin!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:02 PM
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34

Can't you just smoke pot like a normal teenager?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:02 PM
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35

I'm hoping Ted Nugent goes ballistic and starts screaming obscenities.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:04 PM
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32: I'm trying to build a data charting application. Which is, of course, why I'm commenting here.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:04 PM
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37

36: ah, dunno. Might work good for giving more blowjobs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:06 PM
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38

So I guess that's similar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:06 PM
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37 to 34.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:10 PM
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40

I do not like Joe Biden's tie.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:18 PM
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37 to 40.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:21 PM
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42

Obama is going hard on the commie 'tax the rich' thing. Good.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:24 PM
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43

Actually I rather like the Union.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:24 PM
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44

I'm drinking a sidecsr but I don't think I made it right.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:29 PM
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45

go science!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:33 PM
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46

Act before it's too late! Except it's probably too late.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:35 PM
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47

What about Schumer's tie?


Posted by: Count Fosco | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:39 PM
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48

29 is interesting and appreciated.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:39 PM
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49

Hm. Some of my procrastination is related to resentment. If I think the world does not need a task to be done, or if I am angry at someone else who was supposed to do it, I may put it off and put it off.

Doing smaller tasks doesn't work for me -- or rather, it works perfectly. The challenge is that I could easily put in 80 hours on my small-to-medium-size tasks and never touch a big one.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:39 PM
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47: Also ugly. Sad, really.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:41 PM
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51

49.1 is the rightest thing very.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:41 PM
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52

German kids! better than ours! How can this be?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:44 PM
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53

You know who else praised German youth...


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:46 PM
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54

Zoom to Biden thinking "20 years? Holy crap I'm old."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:50 PM
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I'm pretty sure I complained about the structured procrastination link before, so I won't repeat myself too much. My primary gripe isn't with the system itself, but the examples he gives. They seem to show a pretty obnoxious disrespect for other people's time.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 7:50 PM
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56

I liked the climate change stuff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 8:19 PM
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Specifically the threat to just start doing things by executive fiat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 8:20 PM
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20: This is the part of the show where I normally get miffed with friends on cushy 1-1s going on about how hard it is to write with all these honors students as I sit here with my 4-4 trying to write papers for the same conferences, but... you're right. There's immediate feedback with teaching, and it can suck up all your time if you let it. So set a budget for it and really, don't go over it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 8:28 PM
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Schumer's tie looked like delicious, delicious lox.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 8:52 PM
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20 It's hard to get the small things done and ignore the big project when you have someone shouting at you every day

I like how I've gotten the point where I write little passive-aggressive comments like this all over the place without even remembering that I did it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 9:51 PM
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60: ??????


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 9:52 PM
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So, nobody watched the State of the Union address?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 9:53 PM
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It seems likely that Jackmormon, LizardBreath, SP, Count Fosco, and togolosh did, at least.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 9:55 PM
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Does it count as passive-aggressive if the target is almost certain never to see it?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 9:57 PM
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64: I was wondering that myself. So maybe I should have just said "little bitchy comments". Also, I should have said "gotten to the point" instead of "gotten the point".

And Cala gets it right, I shouldn't complain about my cushy job. I am going to have to get the hang of that "set a budget for it" thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:00 PM
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Just do it, dude. It is worthwhile to be good at teaching; the marginal value of being excellent is next to nil, even if one is in a teaching position. Which you're not. Figure out how much time you need to spend to be good, and block it out on your schedule.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:07 PM
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A professor of my acquaintance has developed the strategy of deciding how many hours something will take well in advance, and then never ever starting to work on it until that many hours before it is due. It is not procrastination, but a reliance on just-in-time scheduling to keep various tasks from expanding endlessly into his life. It seems a little terrifying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:16 PM
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68

67 sounds insane.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:17 PM
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69

Yeah. I get the sense that he thinks that he's going to have deadline stress no matter what he does, so might as well make it work for him. I hope to... not be in that position myself one day?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:28 PM
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70

How does he determine how long each task is going to take?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:30 PM
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Sort of by fiat, I guess. I mean, I can understand being able to come up with reasonable estimates for how long something should take you. He just forces himself to hit those targets.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:34 PM
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67 is basically my time management strategy. I guess it "works" for some value of "works" but in fact it is an unbelievably terrible idea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 10:58 PM
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73

I've been meaning to read that structured procrastination link for years. Seriously.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 11:56 PM
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74

I adopted the "take no longer than X" strategy for my non-history grad school. It mostly worked, but I have a good sense of how long it takes to write papers I'm not invested in but are still good faith efforts at completing assignments.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 12:06 AM
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Man, patrol is great, you don't have to plan a damn thing. Calls come in and you go handle them. When it's busy you're hopping around call to call and the time flies by. If it's slow because of the cold or whatever you can sit and shoot the breeze with a buddy or roll around and look for shitheads with warrants, drugs and weapons, or whatever and take them to jail. Then graves goes available and you take your lunch hour and work out before linedown.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:07 AM
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I've used 67 for academic work a lot in the past. Up until final-stages-of-doctorate it worked pretty well. I had a good sense of how long things would take, and I would start work well in advance doing the prep type work -- reading, getting together stats/examples, etc. The sorts of things that I could fit into the odd hour between other things. But I'd usually leave the actual writing until pretty close to the last possible minute where I knew I'd get it finished in time.

Total fail when it came to the very late stages of writing up, though, as my sense of how long things would take just totally broke down and I cocked up a lot.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:14 AM
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Speaking of phones, what sort of person buys a phone which costs $8000 and isn't even 4G enabled?

Presumably the sort of person who has until now, many, many years into the iOS/Android era, been buying "highly priced handsets designed for the Symbian operating sysem".


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 9:07 AM
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I tried 67 once or twice in college -- I had been stewing over long-term assignments for weeks, but not getting anything concrete done until the last minute. So I figured I'd skip the stewing and just do it at the last minute.

Bad move. Turned out I'd been doing necessary thinking during the stewing process, and when I tried to write things at the last minute without fretting over them first, I didn't have anything to say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 9:09 AM
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Turned out I'd been doing necessary thinking during the stewing process, and when I tried to write things at the last minute without fretting over them first, I didn't have anything to say.

I appreciate you validating my sense of reality (I feel like I've made similar similar comments in previous threads about productivity).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 9:36 AM
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As per 76 I used to read and ''stew' for a while but without making any conscious attempt to organise. Reading without trying to shoehorn the reading into writing, so just grazing across the material doesn't really feel like work so can be sneaked past the procrastination reflex. Hey presto, when the time comes to panic at the last minute the ideas have percolated for ages.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 9:46 AM
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81

That's exactly it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 9:48 AM
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82

so there's no time to procrastinate
Woah, let's not give her ideas.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:04 AM
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||
I am slightly surprised that there has been no discussion here of the TNR profile of Ezra. Are people worried about rattling bob's cage while he's being quiet?

My verdict: better than the TNR hatchet job of venerable tradition, but still small-minded and strained. It could have been the platform for a much more interesting piece.
|>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:08 AM
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Eh. I feel bad about Klein, because I'm violently bored by Wonkbook, and I sort of think of that as a personal flaw: it's the kind of thing that I think I should be reading. But I don't actually want to, and when I do I'm not really paying attention.

I'm honestly not sure what it is -- I found his stuff interesting right up until exactly when he moved to the Post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:12 AM
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85

Goddamnit, I was getting to that. Now you don't get a post before I go to class. Hmph.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:15 AM
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86

Nah, put it up. New threads are good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:18 AM
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I hadn't actually finished reading the profile, nor do I have much interesting to say, and I have to go teach, so enjoy a folk-art post.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:19 AM
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86: New threads are good.

On other people, if I remember your comments in fashion threads correctly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:23 AM
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Antiproductivity: man, I do not like gmail, and none of the instructions to use it as IMAP have worked for me. Also, the way the university/Google switched us leaves me with more personae than I want to manage.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 12:33 PM
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90

Topical to the OP!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 12:38 PM
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89: hm, I have several gmail-linked accounts running via IMAP through a mail client. I bet there's a solution out there. Do use SSL? Don't use SSL?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 12:41 PM
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92

Oh, and if you want to score the quiz in 90, answers somewhere here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 12:43 PM
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93

I have never been able to get a to do system to work for me. I complicate things unnecessarily or forget to look at it or something. Currently, I'm using a dead simple pomodoro app and a sticky note app that lets me have multiple notes on my phone home screen. They're working ok for now. (Pomodroido and Color Note, respectively.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:13 PM
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92: Couldn't make it through the quiz. Got distracted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:17 PM
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95

Yeah me too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:20 PM
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96

Couple times now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:20 PM
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Tweety, I think it's a combination of not all gmail features being supported for my institution, and some IMAP features I particularly liked are among them. I've tried... lots of things.

Am now attempting to make a virtue of necessity, organize different tasks into different personae, and use that to help me manage my time. Eurgh.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:20 PM
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Does anybody here have enough expertise to say whether the idea of periodic mass extinctions (w/ something like 30 million year periodicity) is well-supported by data?

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Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:23 PM
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Where "expertise" could even mean something like "read a credible-looking magazine or newspaper article about it in recent years".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:24 PM
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I know paleophylogenists. If I asked that question, they would start quibbling about `mass' and complaining about false negatives. (And then probably agree.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:26 PM
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I think googling 'extinctions Nemesis' would get it -- the only thing I recall reading about periodic extinctions suggested that there was something on a really really long orbit coming in and killing everything, and I'm pretty sure Nemesis was the word.

It may be nonsense, but I'll bet that finds what there is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:27 PM
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Oh! now that I've done some reading, I don't think anyone I know would go in for the *really* periodic extinctions by our Dark Neighbor; more likely to think that ecosystems are vulnerable to a lot of things, some of which happen.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:29 PM
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Unless you had a really good model for why that happened it doesn't seem immediately plausible that there would be good enough archaeological data to make a statistical case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:32 PM
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101: Yeah, I know about the Nemesis thing, at least as one hypothesis for explaining the periodicity. But I'm wondering how reliable the periodicity is independent of that, and whether there are recent developments.

Unless you had a really good model for why that happened

That's kind of the question.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:36 PM
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I'm just thinking the Nemesis thing is catchy enough to get name-checked in something recent on the subject, even if just as nonsense that no one believes any more. Although I suppose I could google it myself rather than telling you to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:40 PM
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My understanding is that initially the data fit a periodic model reasonably well, but that now we have better data and the fit is no longer good. I don't know where exactly I read that though.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:40 PM
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107

Wikipedia cites to a 2010 paper.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:41 PM
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108

Boy, if that's not nonsense they aren't doing a good job of making it not sound like nonsense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:45 PM
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Yeah, poking around more suggests that there are plenty of people who still think periodicity fits the data. Looks like there's not a clear consensus.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:51 PM
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It's all probably nonsense, but it's really fun nonsense. It turns out one of the benefits of having a frustrating but famous senior collaborator is that person goes and talks to Pa/ul Dav/ies about our wacky new paper and comes back with a not-obviously-totally-insane story, based on our specific weird model, according to which da/rk mat/ter killed the dinosaurs. I'm trying to figure out if this is worth taking seriously or not, because it sounds a hell of a lot more fun than anything else I could be working on, but I don't want to be a crackpot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:52 PM
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A problem with these periodic argument is that for the dinosaur extinction, there really was a giant impact wreaked havoc and was not caused by d//a//r\/\k m\\a//tter.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 1:58 PM
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The periodic argument is that something else stirred up the Oort cloud, scattering stuff, one of which could be the asteroid that caused the impact. (Nemesis wouldn't be directly hitting Earth, either...)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:00 PM
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110: hahaha. Okay, whatever I said you should definitely pursue that because what the heck, awesome.

People in your field do the "I don't care if this model is right or even terribly plausible, I'm going to publish on it because it's awesome" thing, right? That's not just us?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:00 PM
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Because I'm weirdly paranoid, even though the odds of my boss colleague finding this thread are tiny, could "da/rk mat/ter" be google-proofed in 112? It turns out googling "da/rk mat/ter" and "dinosaurs" actually does produce other hits, which look seriously crackpottish, but still.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:02 PM
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115

You mean 111?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:07 PM
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You should pursue that just because it would really improve the Puppy University Press Office's day to write about it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:09 PM
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Is the current mass extinction supposed to fit the periodic pattern? If so, we know what's causing this one and it ain't astronomical.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:15 PM
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Atomospheric D/ark M/atter makes people stupider. Drum missed the nut.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:17 PM
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116: I thought about that and have very mixed feelings about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:41 PM
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117 is excellent.

it doesn't seem immediately plausible that there would be good enough archaeological data to make a statistical case.

I understand that a lot of more testable/less theatrical theories founder on this. The record, it is broken.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:46 PM
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... Also, don't dinosaur-specific people now point out that the dinosaurs seem to have been declining well before the impact?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 2:48 PM
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117: Yeah, it's clearly not related. I think the last identifiable major extinction is the one 65 Myrs ago. So maybe we just got lucky the last time or two around?

115: Yes. Thanks!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:27 PM
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I wonder if a random matrix type model would fit better than periodicity. There's reason to think that mass extinctions repel each other. It may be that with only 500my of data the right sort of random model ends up looking roughly periodic for some period. After all there's no theoretical reason why 27 should be the number to look at, so having a good fit for some unknown period might not be very impressive.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:35 PM
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This thing about spiral arms also sounds kind of plausible. I should read it. I wouldn't think it would be strictly periodic.

Hmm. I bet there are a lot of these things I can propose wacky particle physics explanations of. The Late Heavy Bombardment is pretty well understood now, right? Maybe the Faint Young Sun....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:40 PM
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After all there's no theoretical reason why 27 should be the number to look at

For us, if we decide to pursue this, and for some other people who worked on a different version of the idea, there is, because it's about the time scale on which the solar system oscillates vertically around the galactic midplane.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:41 PM
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Do the extinctions happen at a theoretically significant point in that oscillation? E.g. when we hit the plane.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:44 PM
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126: I'll have to read more before I know. It seems required by the previous explanations, but I don't know how well they can check; there's a fairly large error bar on the Sun's current height, which might make it difficult. Our hypothetical explanation would have an unknown parameter related to where the other stuff we're hypothesizing is relative to the plane.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:49 PM
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123 is plausible and it seems like in assessing statistical evidence something along those lines is what people should be comparing to.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 3:51 PM
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I have no idea what 123 means, but I find the idea of a simple periodic explanation so boring that I hope it's true.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 4:32 PM
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Walt's periodically bored.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 8:00 PM
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... gentlemenz


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 8:01 PM
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Unless you had a really good model for why that happened it doesn't seem immediately plausible that there would be good enough archaeological data to make a statistical case.

I think you mean "paleontological" rather than "archaeological" (although this general problem is common in archaeology as well).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:21 PM
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As a third-grader I found this book very convincing - just look at the cover art! But I was also a third-grader who would start weeping at bedtime because there were no longer any extant dinosaurs, so it may be I just needed something to hold on to.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:36 PM
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Speaking of famous extinctions...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:40 PM
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Speaking of famous extinctions...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:40 PM
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||

Roses are red
Violets are blue
This is my first Valentine's Day single in like 22 years
Cry cry masturbate cry

|>


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:43 PM
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Aw, poor Ham-Love. My sympathies.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:45 PM
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Correction, Feb. 7, 2013: This article originally misstated the width of the Chicxulub Crater as 10 miles wide. In fact it is 1000% more awesome.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:46 PM
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It's not really that bad, but I needed to get just about that much whining out of my system.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 10:47 PM
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98

Does anybody here have enough expertise to say whether the idea of periodic mass extinctions (w/ something like 30 million year periodicity) is well-supported by data?

It is my understanding that "well-supported" would be an overstatement and that the putative signals do not really stand out above the noise level.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 11:09 PM
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I have only not been single on Valentine's Day something like three or four times.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 11:15 PM
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I have always been single on Valentine's Day.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 11:18 PM
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Val-en-tine's Day?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-13-13 11:30 PM
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|| I just watched The Deer Hunter. Never saw it before: I wasn't really a movie goer when it came out, and hadn't gotten around to it until now. Having seen Heaven's Gate a bunch of times, I have to say the slow pace and attention to details that do not move the story forward weren't a surprise. Nearly an hour for the wedding scene! Anachronistic beyond suspension of disbelief! Essentially apolitical! I'd be interested to know, folks, which of you think The Deer Hunter is one of the X -- you pick -- best movies of all time. I think it comes in second of the films mentioned in this comment, but maybe that's just me.|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 12:02 AM
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This is my first Valentine's Day single in like 22 years

Ouch. My sympathies.

I'm single again, as usual--I think I've been non-single 6 times, though since I've only had about 15 years of dating, I suppose that's not so bad. And I suppose being single on Valentine's Day is better than being broken up with on Valentine's Day.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 12:14 AM
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I think all of the single folks here should sign up for CrazyBlindDate, just for tomorrow, and report back.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 12:15 AM
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There appears to be exactly one person who is available for me to date via CBD. I think I'll pass.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 12:19 AM
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I think the last identifiable major extinction is the one 65 Myrs ago.

How mass do you like your extinctions. The Eocene/Oligocene event at c. 33.5 ma wasn't up there with the big five, but it was pretty damn inconvenient to an awful lot of taxa.

Link to Wikipedia because I can't be arsed to look for anything more serious.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 3:17 AM
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144: I think it comes in second of the films mentioned in this comment, but maybe that's just me.

Well, it most certainly is not me. And that's some because I think DH* is pretty good (not overall great, but pretty good), but more because I think HG's general reputation is well-deserved**.

*The hunting scene was the one that irked me, because otherwise I thought he caught the small town coal/steel town culture pretty well.

**So maybe I should see the new (2012) cut, but I loathed the version I saw.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 5:00 AM
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Not just the asteroid?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 5:23 AM
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||
Chubby Checker is still alive? (He's actually not all that old.) Perhaps more astounding, HP's marketing department comes up with a pretty creative cock joke (or possibly it's just in their apps store and someone else named it).
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 7:00 AM
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||

Is this the science thread? Why do I keep feeling that this isn't necessarily a brilliant idea?

To help answer these questions, scientists are now drilling into the heart of one of the top contenders for the next blow-up: the Campi Flegrei caldera, a crater that is 13 kilometres wide and includes the city of Naples. Since 1969, the ground at Campi Flegrei has bulged upwards by as much as 3.5 metres, and researchers are eager to find out whether the culprit is underground steam or a pool of magma. Previous bouts of volcanic activity in the caldera came after the ground surface had swelled up by several metres or more2, and researchers think that major activity could occur within the next few decades or centuries. To investigate the risk, scientists at Campi Flegrei plan to drill more than 3 kilometres into the crater, despite concerns from some researchers that the drilling could trigger earthquakes or an explosion.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 9:02 AM
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The hunting scene was the one that irked me

Me too, beginning with the early morning drive from western PA to the North Cascades.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 10:08 AM
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Yes, that was the irksome part.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-13 10:09 AM
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153 -- Lots to be irked about in the hunting scenes. Including, what exactly is that animal?

Just watched Heaven's Gate again. Ok, we jump back and forth between Two Medicine Lake and the North Fork of the Flathead, but that's nowhere near as jarring as the Pennsylvania Cascades. Or the 1 year tour in Vietnam that lasts from 1967 until, what, 1974?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:55 AM
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that person goes and talks to Pa/ul Dav/ies about our wacky new paper and comes back with a not-obviously-totally-insane story, based on our specific weird model, according to which da/rk mat/ter killed the dinosaurs

Davi/es has sort of slowly marched off toward crankville over the years, hasn't he?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:28 AM
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