Re: OMG NBD LOL?

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I'm not really getting it -- or at least I'm not coming up with anything outside pop culture or tech. I may be overstating how 'boggled' you'd have to be: there are certainly things from the news that'd be surprising ten years ago (I'd probably have been surprised that the president was black). But if by 'boggled' the meaning is that I wouldn't have understood what you're talking about, I can't see what that'd be likely to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:02 AM
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"Quantitative easing" seems just as much like the sort of thing a ban on pop-cultural and tech-related stuff is meant to ban: a reference to a specific thing that's baffling because that one thing was unknown, rather than because the situation described is bafflingly foreign. You could do the same thing with politics (something about Benghazi, say). But if the point of the exercise is to demonstrate How Different Things Are, it doesn't really work.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:09 AM
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Maybe we should just allow pop and tech references. A black president on his smartphone just angered Teabaggers!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:14 AM
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I can't remember how fast gay marriage has moved -- ten years ago might be long enough that Minnesota's legislature passing a bill would be boggling, but I think the ball was rolling already, wasn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:15 AM
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"A paleo-oriented bison program will be one of the key components of Halfordismo, but not all will be forced at axe point to go full POBAD."

Maybe that makes no sense now, I'm kind of collapsing into myself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:15 AM
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the site linked seems to be down

Yeah, he was tweeting last night that there had been a major meltdown on the server that hosted his blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:17 AM
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5: Most axes fail to have points.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:18 AM
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Well, here's a variation on the question: what should the time window be to optimize the shock:time span ratio?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:18 AM
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Roberto is presumably thinking of an axe like this.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:21 AM
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If we go back ten years, fashion has changed so much that the clothing from then appears strange.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:21 AM
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&: But what do you home in on then?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:22 AM
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Europe's politics and finances are really strange now. "German bankers decide the terms of bailing out Russian savings in Cyprus; Greek bond issues may become possible again next year."

Widespread streaming video is less than ten years old; maybe that's to be considered a tech reference, but "I lost all of last weekend watching House of Thrones back to back" describes a lifestyle change as well as a technology.

Are there still raves? Those seemed pretty durable ten years ago.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:22 AM
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& s/b 7.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:23 AM
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Kids born today have never not known all pop and tech references.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:25 AM
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From the cache of the blog post (which has no comments), he has "Department of Homeland Security proposes relaxing ban on toenail clippers", which is a good one.

Part of it, I think, that can be separated from ephemera, is the changing of what society gets obsessed with, which can be hard to follow. In one of the Merchant Princes books there was a headline in the New Britain world, "House May Impeach Crown for Adultery", not about an actual scandal but about tinkering with the checks and balances between parliament and royalty.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:25 AM
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Oh, the collapse of newspapers. "Scumbag developer resells gutted Chicago Tribune after having bought it for a song."


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:25 AM
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12: Is there a Game in the House?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:26 AM
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Since he was a paleo were were not surprised that he refused the bread, but we had not realized that he was also a locavore now, so he also wouldn't eat the roast beef since we had no idea of the source, or the Wisconsin cheddar or the Washingon apples. We picked him some dandelion leaves from the yard so he wouldn't go completely hungry.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:26 AM
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9. Since it's Halford, I imagined one of these.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:27 AM
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It's a card game. "House of Games" was actually a pretty good movie.

Knowing that this is a 2013 sentence: "Jane Fonda wows crowds with hot dress." Who was the crummiest celebrity ten years ago? The thread where I complained about Kim Kardashian would be confusing.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:30 AM
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15.2. Perhaps a better game would be to imagine a headline as recently as possible that a bright 20-year-old today would no longer understand.

But 18 wins this thread.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:31 AM
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19: I sort of want to learn how to make those.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:31 AM
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19: Or even something like this*.

*Yes, I know, not directly relevant. Shut up.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:32 AM
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"I don't think Obama handled the housing crisis very well."


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:34 AM
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15: no fair using one that Stross himself came up with.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:35 AM
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"It sure was surprising when Sarah Palin's kid turned out to be pregnant out of wedlock, wasn't it?"


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:35 AM
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he has "Department of Homeland Security proposes relaxing ban on toenail clippers", which is a good one.

Is it? Would that have boggled the typical 2003-er? Weren't we already doing crazy shit at airports?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:37 AM
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I had enough background knowledge to make sense of maybe a third of newspaper articles at 20. I need to do background reading for lots of French headlines now.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:37 AM
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27: No, say 1993 to 2003.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:39 AM
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"I think the pragmatic way in which Bill Clinton governed as president makes even Republicans want to get the bumper strips that say, 'I miss Bill,'" [a prominent Republican*] said, "because he understood that in governing you do have to sit down and work out your differences."

*Huckabee, it turns out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:41 AM
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27: No, say 1993 to 2003.

Ok, but that's the wrong time frimae!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:48 AM
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"Some random Brony keeps sexting me."


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:49 AM
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Oh, I see, he was providing it as an example of that time frame. Well.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:49 AM
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Ten years from now, I'll know what a "time frimae" is.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:50 AM
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Who was the crummiest celebrity ten years ago?

Paris Hilton. Yes, it's been that long.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:51 AM
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That was back when celebrity sex tapes meant something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:53 AM
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The Frimae and the Belgae sacked Avaricum in 219.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:53 AM
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Franco's General Hospital stunt casting doubles as MOCA art exhibit


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:54 AM
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37: for which 1914 was legitimate payback.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 8:54 AM
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Yahoo Serious Festival


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:02 AM
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38: I was just barely able to guess the meaning of that now.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:02 AM
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I don't really agree with the suggestion in the OP, or at least it's highly audience specific. Quantitative easing wasn't a mainstream central banking tool in 2003 (only Japan had used it among developed economies), but the theoretical concept and the name was well known. I'd have been somewhat surprised to read that sentence knowing it referred to real events 10 years in the future, but I wouldn't have had any trouble understanding it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:16 AM
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"IRS Questioned Tax-Exemption for Tea Party Groups" - several levels of boggle, including "WTF is a Tea Party Group?" and "Wait- you can have tax-exempt political groups?"

Probably more boggling, though I can't boil it down to a simple headline, is Robert's logic in upholding the Affordable Care Act: Congress can't penalize you for not buying health insurance under the Commerce Clause (even though they can keep you from growing wheat for your own use), but it's ok, because it's really a tax even though both political parties insist that it isn't.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:43 AM
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4
I can't remember how fast gay marriage has moved -- ten years ago might be long enough that Minnesota's legislature passing a bill would be boggling, but I think the ball was rolling already, wasn't it?

Vermont had civil unions in 1999 or 2000. Not exactly marriage, but part of the ball rolling. DOMA was in 1996, so clearly it was on someone's radar way back then, even if only in the negative sense.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:44 AM
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It's an extension to the notion that "Free speech" means "Unlimited political advertising", thanks to the unique freedom of the uniquely non-misguided First Amendment. If a charity or a religious group can have tax-exempt status, surely you can't deny it to something that claims to be a charity even though it does nothing but buy political ads and give politicians money. Who's to draw the line?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:45 AM
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The Simpsons episode where they make an offhand reference to "gay guys getting married" as one of the distinguishing features of Hawaii aired in January 2000. Then in February 2005 was the episode where Springfield attracts tourism by legalizing gay marriage.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:48 AM
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"Some random Brony keeps sexting me."

Texting was very much a part of life in 2003. Even if the word "sexting" didn't exist, the concept wouldn't have boggled many people.
The concept of a Brony, OTOH, boggles me now.

I think anything involving the fact that we're still in Afghanistan would boggle most people in early 2003. Back then it was looking rather optimistic. Partly because we weren't looking very hard.



Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:50 AM
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This probably gets into the tech ban, but from an actual news story: "In a May 2011 goof, Weiner publicly tweeted a lewd picture of his crotch that was intended for a woman he was flirting with online. The shot went to all his 67,000-plus followers... His re-emergence on social media, however, appears to be the latest sign that the former official, who has largely stayed out of the public eye since the scandal, is gearing up for a run for the mayor's office."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:57 AM
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"Determined to kill or capture a murderous Mekong River drug lord, China's security forces considered a tactic they'd never tried before: calling a drone strike on his remote hideaway deep in the hills of Burma."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 9:59 AM
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It might have been pretty boggling to a Californian in 2003 to know that (a) there's a Democratic supermajority and (b) a majority voted for broad new taxes. Though I wasn't here at the time.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:00 AM
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One of my coworkers just used said, "I hashtagged it."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:04 AM
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Probably more boggling, though I can't boil it down to a simple headline, is Robert's logic in upholding the Affordable Care Act: Congress can't penalize you for not buying health insurance under the Commerce Clause (even though they can keep you from growing wheat for your own use), but it's ok, because it's really a tax even though both political parties insist that it isn't.

Was Roberts nominated by 2003? Anyway, how about: "Roberts finds Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional as a regulation but constitutional as a tax."

Or, more mellifluous but still baffling: "Supremes say government can't make you buy health insurance but it can fine you for not buying it."


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:05 AM
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52: Both the new right-wing extremists were added in Bush's second term. One because Rehnquist died, and one because S.D.O'C. tragically retired to take care of her husband.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:08 AM
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even though they can keep you from growing wheat for your own use

Lots of people think of the wheat they used when they were kids and call it a harmless habit, but what you've got to keep in mind is that today's wheat has 20 times the carbohydrates of the wheat used in the 60s.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:08 AM
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Lo-rise jeans with exposed thong are unfashionable. Teeny tiny cars are popular, though. Also small cell phones are out.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:09 AM
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43, 52 -- I'm not sure of the rules of the game, but if I'd read of that decision in 2003 it would have seemed comprehensible, but incredibly stupid and a violation of clear precedent, just as it does now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:10 AM
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it's really a tax even though both political parties insist that it isn't.

Let us not forget the other justices on the Supreme Court, none of whom agreed that it was a tax.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:11 AM
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Microbrew and human trafficking: Montana towns adjust to life in a post-boom world.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:11 AM
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Disallowing tech and pop culture references entirely seems like it's going too far. Sure, it would be trivial to win by listing the names of specific people who weren't celebrities back then or filling up the sentence with tech slang and jargon. But some changes in those areas would be just as incomprehensible from the past's perspective as changes in politics, and just as significant for its part of life.

Something like this in 1994, for example: "The Lord of the Rings trilogy set records for Oscars, despite controversy about the actors behind CGI characters being ineligible for awards."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:11 AM
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It might have been pretty boggling to a Californian in 2003 to know that (a) there's a Democratic supermajority

Not really. The California GOP has been a dead man walking ever since Prop 187; the only surprise was that it finally fell below 33%.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:15 AM
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Er, I should have more coffee. Everybody knew it would happen, the only question was when. So not really much of a surprise at all.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:16 AM
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2005. (Linked story is how I remember the timing).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:16 AM
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Disallowing tech and pop culture references entirely seems like it's going too far

I'm inclined to agree, that the point is to rule out trivial examples (though I did like, "Galaxy Nexus: Android Ice Cream Sandwich guinea pig").

Obviously 10 years isn't that long a time-frame, so it's almost impossible to think of something which was completely unknown 10 years ago and isn't completely ephemera. So the goal should be to find something which was mostly unknown 10 years, and not particularly ephemeral.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:19 AM
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This is the sort of thing that would have been easy if you bracketed the breakdown of the USSR -- coming up with a headline that would make it clear that something inexplicably huge had happened, but not quite what: Czech Republic Leader Cites Zappa, Plastic People of the Universe As Main Musical Influences would be pretty boggling in 1985.

I can't think of anything close to that size in the last ten years, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 10:59 AM
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There's an excellent one in the original article that no one has yet mentioned (perhaps because you need a longer timeframe to make it work): "Hello, I'm on a train." The words are simple and the sentence is on the face of it meaningful, but it can't occur in any real conversation before some time in the 80's.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:01 AM
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Unless the conversationalist was Maxwell Smart.

No one ever marketed a wearable shoe-phone, did they? I suppose it'd be kind of gross.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:07 AM
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The words are simple and the sentence is on the face of it meaningful, but it can't occur in any real conversation before some time in the 80's.

No soap! Radio:

If the present plans of the Chicago Elevated Railroad do not miscarry, the patient straphangers will gladly pay the present fare of 8 cents without any murmur, and be willing to donate an extra dime or two for the privilege of riding on the elevated. The elevated system is figuring on installing a radio system on its cars and furnishing its passengers with songs, music, and even grand opera, on their way to and from work. Pretty soon it will be a privilege to work; not only will the passenger be entertained, but it will be possible for you to call your home while in transit and suggest what kind of meat you want for dinner.

Maybe not actually becoming widespread, but certainly within the realm of possibility.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:09 AM
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64. Egypt's leader addresses crowd in person, opens jacket to show that he's not wearing armor.

Libyan election tallied in close vote.

Bush attacker plans hospital. (The shoe throwing dude)


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:12 AM
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And possibly it was widespread at one point:

It is one of the most incredible miracles of telephony that a passenger at New York, who is about to start for Chicago on a fast express, may telephone to Chicago from the drawing-room of a Pullman.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:12 AM
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67/69: I stand corrected. Very neat! Although I'm not sure if that's a real counterexample: the sentence itself implies that the speaker isn't initiating the conversation, and expects the listener to not know about the speaker's on-trainness; I don't think those would both apply to the radiophone. Regardless, if presented to someone 30 or 40 years back out of context, it'd still seem bizarre.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:22 AM
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On further reading, I think my 1911 reference in 69 was talking about service available only when the train was stopped at a station, and that it wasn't until later that they started working on radio hookups to the phone network.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:53 AM
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"Occupy Group Kills Zombie Debt"


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 12:19 PM
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"Best of all, the White House has created a special Twitter hashtag for this conference, a hashtag ripe for the hijacking."


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 12:19 PM
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"Calm down, tweaker"


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 12:39 PM
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Those last ones are pretty good.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 1:39 PM
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There's nothing new under the sun...except iPhones.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 2:34 PM
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Thinking more: It hardly seems so perplexing if you can explain the sentence with one other sentence. "Libya had a revolution" or "Subject headings from the social media service Twitter are used as a shorthand for important pop culture themes." Explaining the Android one might take a couple, but it's hardly something that would blow people's minds in 2003. I doubt you would shock folx in 1993 that much if you said: "In 20 years the various programs designed for ubiquitous mobile phones with relatively advanced computational power will be of interest to many people."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 2:41 PM
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Ok, let's come up with the most shocking sentence for someone in 1893.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 2:50 PM
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social media service

What was a "social media service" in 2003? LiveJournal?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:13 PM
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78: The European Union exists.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:20 PM
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79 -- Friendster.

e


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:24 PM
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78: If we could only persuade every Westerner to lengthen his shirt-tail by a foot, we could keep the mills of independent East Bengal working round the clock.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:32 PM
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Mainstream democrats argue, contra anarchists and Marxists, that although the President's record on human rights is not so great, this is more than compensated by the subsidised healthcare provided to the poor.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:32 PM
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79: Huh, yeah, I guess the term wasn't invented until 2004. Friendster and MySpace were around in 2003, though. Even if you just said "short-format news and gossip website" people would probably get the idea.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:39 PM
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83: Surely you wouldn't have had to look too far in 1893 to find people advocating free (or cheap) health care for the working classes. Admittedly, they would probably be anarchists and/or Marxists, so if that was your point, I guess that might surprise the average person a bit.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:43 PM
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Did you bring your ID card? I want to pick up some edibles at the dispensary before the Phish concert.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:44 PM
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OK, rewrite 83 then -- "Liberals are good with permanent war, universal surveillance, and social security cuts so long as we get our private health insurance voucher program!"


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:47 PM
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I think one thing that would surprise people in 1893 was that, despite having the technology from about 1943 on, videophones still haven't really caught on in 2013.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:49 PM
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Medicine is one of the most respected professions and seen as a guaranteed money-maker.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:53 PM
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90

Oh, 1893? That's too easy. "President Barack Hussein Obama gets street cred because he married into a prominent Chicago black family, but really he's only half-African from his Kenyan father. Plus his mother left him in Hawaii with her parents after she divorced that Indonesian guy, so he went to an elite Hawaii private school".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:55 PM
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The House of Commons has voted to legalize gay marriage in England and Wales.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 3:59 PM
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It's almost like the times keep changing!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 4:02 PM
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I need to send a flash drive to the German consulate in Thailand. Am I too late for the 4:30 mail jet?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 4:04 PM
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82 is funny.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 4:05 PM
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I couldn't find work in Las Vegas, so I moved to North Dakota.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 6:18 PM
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"We are the 99%" might be a pop culture reference, but I don't think it would have been easy to explain to someone ten years ago.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 7:16 PM
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95 is the best one yet.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 7:30 PM
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Does the Bill Richardson spaceport have more than one bar?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 7:32 PM
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"I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear..."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 7:45 PM
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Instead of flying cars, we're just going to let Google drive cars from now on.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 7:55 PM
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In a similar vein from commenter Hob at LG&M in a thread on Bill Keller's fatuous "Bring Back Ken Starr" piece:

I vividly remember this one moment when, sitting in front of a computer at my computer programming job, it hit me on some deep level-- which I'd been anticipating ever since I got into science fiction as a kid-- that I really was living in the future, a future that I, as a person born in the past, couldn't possibly be ready for. And it wasn't because I had this job doing Internet stuff that would've made no sense to anyone 20 years earlier; it was because what was on my computer screen was a 115,000-word volume of half-hearted pornography produced by the federal government... and distributed to me at my job free of charge... with the intention of making me angry.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:28 PM
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Can't sleep, eh?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:42 PM
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Yes. Going to be a bad day tomorrow. Busy as hell, too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:53 PM
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That's too bad.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:54 PM
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It's better than rust, though.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-13 11:57 PM
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I hear it never sleeps either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 12:00 AM
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Also a nuclear war in the early '80s. My impression of the time was generally the same as what Carp has been arguing, but this gave me some pause.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 12:03 AM
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Also better than a ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 12:04 AM
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Huh. That's all before my time (quite literally*), so I don't really have an opinion on it. I'm glad there wasn't nuclear was in the early '80s, whether or not that was a realistic possibility.

*I think one of the clearest generational divides between Millennials and Gen-Xers (along with Boomers, of course) is our lack of any coherent memory of the Cold War era. I first became aware of current events and global politics during the "End of History" era in the nineties, and that's the context in which I first developed my sense of how the world works. The aughts sure were a shock.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 12:18 AM
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64. I think anyone from before 1989 would be interested more than surprised that the Soviet Union had ceased to be Communist; surprised as well as interested that it had also abandoned its forward defensive strategy (line of buffer states across Eastern Europe) without intervening, whether still Communist or not; very surprised that it had broken up; astonished that it had broken up more or less peacefully without Russian tanks in Tallinn, Kyiv, Almaty etc.; and flat out flabberghasted that the peaceful breakup had respected the borders between republics that had been invented by Stalin.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 2:08 AM
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I read one in the paper just today: "Pope Francis tweeted his sympathy for the victims of the Oklahoma City tornado". Think about that in 2003.

"Surely you wouldn't have had to look too far in 1893 to find people advocating free (or cheap) health care for the working classes. Admittedly, they would probably be anarchists and/or Marxists..."

That well-known anarchist, Freiherr Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of the German Empire, for example.

On the other hand, the sentence "The German Chancellor's policies are short-sighted, narrowly nationalistic, and are leading Europe into a historic disaster" would probably be completely unsurprising to anyone from the last century or so, though admittedly some of them might be startled that she's called Angela.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 2:39 AM
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|| I think I have just come across a Hyperbole and a Half reference in the very sober network security report I am reading. "Part of our challenge, as an industry and intelligence community, is to balance the investment in data
collection and management against our ability to answer future
questions. While it'd be great to collect and record ALL THE
THINGS, it's naïve to expect all partners and organizations have
an equal amount of technical ability and resources to devote to data collection."

Caps in original. Nice one, unnamed Verizon tech writer!
|>


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 4:15 AM
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The sheer delusional audacity of the aughts shocked a lot of people.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 5:26 AM
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think I have just come across a Hyperbole and a Half reference

You sure have! How pleasant.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 6:51 AM
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114: and another?

"For instance, compare the grid for the 621 confirmed data compromise events to the one for all 47,000+ security incidents shared with us for this report (Figure 7). Striking, isn't it? Upon seeing that emerge from the data, we initially had something of an "Ermahgerd" reaction."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 7:10 AM
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111: And Pullman, and some of those English factory owners with model towns for workers and stuff. Yeah, universal health care might shock someone from 1793, but not too many people a century later.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 7:30 AM
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"Hipsters vote to end flouridation of Portland water supply".

It's mind-boggling to me right now.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 8:59 AM
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"Hipsters vote to end flouridation of Portland water supply".

I think they never had it.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 9:09 AM
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And never will.


Posted by: Opinionated 7 Up | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 9:14 AM
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Oh.

Well, that's also surprising.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 10:21 AM
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110: Okay, here's one I think would be flabbergasting to a 1989ian: "The accession of Deng Xiaoping in the PRC of the late 1970s has been vastly more important to the global economy and geopolitical concerns than Mikhail Gorbachev's appointment as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 10:37 AM
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the joke in 83 was at the expense of the anti-Castro cold war left, for whom the idea that healthcare and the welfare of the poor was remotely commensurable against civil liberties was the ultimate indicator of moral corrruption, right up until it wasn't.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:13 AM
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I don't know what the sentence is, but something that illustrated the wild financial ride of Iceland over the past decade--I think most laymen would not have yet had Iceland banking on their radar in early 2003 so something that conveyed where they got to at their peak but that it was now years in the past might be a bit mind-boggling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:20 AM
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I can remember spending the 1990s deeply convinced about the soundness of Icelandic banking. It was a common topic of conversation at Bjork concerts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:22 AM
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What part of laymen did you not understand?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:26 AM
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125: Is that a synonym for baller?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:28 AM
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Jeez, peep, learn to use Bing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:36 AM
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127; The mayor of Detroit? He was quite a baller in his day.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-22-13 11:41 AM
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