Re: The Nutrition Experts

1

Those people at Nature are probably a bunch of fatties anyway.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 6:21 AM
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2

I bet their thighs touch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 6:25 AM
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3

"Scientists Just Jealous, Call You Fat."


Posted by: OPINIONATED PUBLIC TRUSTED WITH COMPLEXITY | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 6:46 AM
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4

This is rich--Worse, he says, these findings can be hijacked by powerful special-interest groups, such as the soft-drink and food lobbies, to influence policy-makers.--given the degree of commercialization driven by body image issues.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:32 AM
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5

I really don't see many fat scientists, though some are. Usually, I feel fat at science things and thin when wandering around the Target.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:39 AM
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5: Check out the "Scientists of Wal-mart" tumblr.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:43 AM
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7

I don't even see nutritionists. At least not very often.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:59 AM
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8

Since this is the health thread:

OT: Sarah Kliff at the Wonkblog has an update on the Affordable Care Act health exchanges that are being rolled out. Of particular interest for those who are self-employed:

Under the Affordable Care Act, each state will have two health insurance marketplaces: One that sells to individuals and another for small businesses.

Ah, I did not know that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 12:27 PM
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9

Remember when I was talking in the lead thread about the generally low quality of research in the policy-oriented applied social sciences? This is the sort of thing I meant:

There was also a spectacular irony in Willett's complaints about Flegal's study that will not have gone unnoticed in scientific circles, namely that Willett was the co-author of a study published last fall that generated enormous controversy when its dramatic conclusions were retracted at the last minute by the publicity team at Harvard's teaching hospital, Brigham and Women's. The study had been promoted to the media as showing a link between aspartame and cancer: "The truth isn't sweet when it comes to artificial sweeteners," said the press release. But the truth was that the statistical findings were so weak and confusing that no such claim could be supported, especially given that many systematic reviews of the evidence on aspartame had not found any such link.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 2:41 PM
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10

Teo, just because a piece of medical science is poorly supported doesn't mean it gets demoted to social science.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 2:45 PM
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11

Public health seems like sort of a gray area between the two.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 2:46 PM
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12

10: I wonder how far you could get predicting field just from effect size and N?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 4:49 PM
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13

Our place (not my group) had some press problems with ENCODE, that keeps getting thrown around now as How Not To Do It.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 5:01 PM
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12: Effect size, N, and grant dollars would probably nail it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 6:58 PM
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15

Fat, thin, vitamins, no vitamins. Science is ambiguous when it happens outside of test tubes.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:01 PM
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16

Yes. And bench scientists are way smug.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:07 PM
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17

Five sigma or STFU, bitchez.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:14 PM
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18

Smug AND thin. But so very poorly dressed.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:23 PM
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19

18 to 17.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:27 PM
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20

One nice thing about my subfield is that it's often possible to get hilariously powerful effects, such that statistical analyses aren't really necessary. This is even better, in the sense of allowing us to feel superior, because the wider field is often quite terrible about chasing tiny effects in non-replicable ways.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:33 PM
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21

The Nutrition Experts sounds like the title of some very ominous Gernsback-era story about social engineering and food pills and stuff. And one man who would break free from the tyranny of the Nutrition Experts!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:46 PM
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22

First you get the statistical significance, then you get the grants, then you get the women. Then you get the sexual harassment training.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:47 PM
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23

Not all vitamin supplements are megadoses. And not all are antioxidants. But antioxidant megadoses sure seem to kill. As do multivitamins.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:47 PM
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16: sorry, can't talk right now, Moby; I've got to go check my reaction. Organic chemists do it for up to 48 hours, don't you know. /smugness

NB I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the American Chemistry Society.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:50 PM
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25

This seems relevant.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 7:54 PM
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26

Joron-6L's heart pounded underneath the shimmering iridescent lavender surface of his uniclothes. Here, in the disused section of Sublevel 12 where he had fled, the pounding of blood through his temples thrummed as loud as the Alert Tone issuing from a telepad on Metabolism Check Day.
Could the Diet Command have followed him here, despite his long-planned evasive maneuvering? Joron-6L simply didn't know, and that was what had pushed his vital energy scan level to crisis.
Even now, with the flavor of smuggled scraps of illicit natural foodstuffs clinging to his hard, confident lips, Joron-6L wondered if his attempt to escape was worth it. The new food pills were calculated to be delicious to every palate, but their sweet, savory, tanginess only brought back the horror of his mate Veena-Q9's denutrification 4 cycles previously.
Joron-6L recited the calming chant that he had learned so long ago in First Sustenance. He resolved to go on, to break free of food pills and random mass checks, the yawning abyss of artificial satiation that was the domain of the Nutrition Experts!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:07 PM
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27

I'd read that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:17 PM
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28

You want to know whose field gets such strong results that statistical analyses aren't necessary? ...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:18 PM
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29

Crossfit?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:19 PM
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30

English lit?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:20 PM
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31

Plastics!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:23 PM
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32

Strawberry?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:24 PM
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33

16, 18: smugness is a common side-effect of the academic peer-review system!


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:24 PM
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34

24: Present company excluded.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:25 PM
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35

28: math!

Though we could be screwed pretty badly if there really is a problem with the axiom of choice.


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:28 PM
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36

What if set theory is wrong? Would that be a problem?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:30 PM
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37

Depends on how wrong it is, and how much you like the status quo.


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:31 PM
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38

Though we could be screwed pretty badly if there really is a problem with the axiom of choice.

This reminds me of a riddle someone was telling me involving countably many dwarves in hats. It may have been an attempt at a counterargument to the axiom of choice, but I think it was an actually an argument against dwarves with infinite memories.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:32 PM
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39

16, 18: smugness is a common side-effect of the academic peer-review system!

As opposed to grant proposal reviews, which turn out to be soul-crushing and awful!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:33 PM
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40

Dwarfs do very well at remembering hats, but infinite hats is a lot of hats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:34 PM
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41

Oh wow there's a whole Wikipedia page about hats puzzles.

I'm pretty sure I found my way into an infinite corridor of little stalls selling hats in Seoul. After walking in a straight line for an hour or more the stalls started repeating. It was like the Lost Woods in the Legend of Zelda.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:38 PM
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39: I have a cousin at an R1 school who spent hours of a family get together muttering about how all he needed was a couple million dollars for his microscope. I hope you get piles of money from renewable sources.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:40 PM
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38: It's not just infinite memories, it's infinite communication and infinite perception. That is, in order to get the expected result the dwarves need to 1) All agree before hand on infinitely many choices (which cannot be specified algorithmically) and 2) See all (but finitely many) of the infinitely many other dwarfs hats in a finite amount of time. That doesn't even get into the issue of the fact that they not only need a uncountably infinite memory, they need finite time random access to a non-algorithmically generated entry in their memory. I think at this point it becomes clear that they're Gods not dwarves, and you really shouldn't be surprised at anything they can do.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:47 PM
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I sometimes wonder about what theologians think about the axiom of choice and God. Like does anyone believe there is a God and that he can do countable choice but not arbitrary choice? Or a God who can run arbitrary algorithms in finite time, but not do anything that can't be algorithmically described?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:49 PM
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45

40: Agreed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:52 PM
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46

whose field gets such strong results

This guy's.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:54 PM
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47

Oops, 45 to 43, but also 40, why not?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:56 PM
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48

I really should start working on my next grant proposal soon. It's so tempting to just have fun with it and make it all about dinosaurs and the moon.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 8:59 PM
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49

How many hats can Booz Allen count?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:02 PM
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50

My advisor was really into those hat problems.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:06 PM
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51

No, but really, the moon: how weird is this? The moon, the sun, they're like exactly the same size when viewed from Earth. How weird is that? No, I'm serious, I want to quantify how weird it is. To serve a polemical point. And because it's kind of fascinating.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:08 PM
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One time at a conference, I went for a jog. I passed my advisat, and he spontaneously started jogging along side me. Street clothes, keys jangling, etc. Ok, fine.

Then he started chatting. I'm having a hard time keeping up the pace, trying to decide the route, and also maintain conversation.

Then he starts asking me various brain-teasers. The infinite hats one, some with ants on a log, cups on a spinning table, etc etc. On the one hand, fuuuck youuuu! On the other hand, I wouldn't have solved them under any context so at least I had a ready, wheezy, dry-heaving self-explanatory excuse. I just kept saying "I give up. What's the answer?" and then feigning interest even though I couldn't follow the answer.

I forgot all about that, until looking at the hats wiki page just now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:16 PM
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Oh, and then eventually we got back to campus and bumped into people we knew, me in my jogging clothes and he all sweaty in his regular clothes, and it was all vaguely embarrassing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:18 PM
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54

For how much time (including both the past and the future) is the size of the moon and the sun within say 5% as viewed from earth?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:22 PM
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55

What other planets have at least one moon appear to be within 5% of the apparent size of the sun when viewed from the surface of the planet?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:24 PM
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56

I give up. What's the answer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:26 PM
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57

Do any of the planets with multiple moons have lunar-lunar eclipses (one moon passes into the shadow of another as viewed from the surface of the planet? Or as viewed from the surface of a third moon?)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:27 PM
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58

Wait, I'm supposed to know the answer when I ask the question? Send it to Randall and let him figure it out.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:29 PM
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59

These are interesting questions!

I'm thinking about this in the context of anthropic debates where some people seem to be more comfortable with part-in-a-hundred or part-in-a-thousand coincidences if you can argue they're necessary for life. The eclipse thing is often brought up as an example of a totally random part-in-a-hundred accident. I'm wondering if the moon's stabilizing role in Earth's climate makes it less of an accident than that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:30 PM
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If I'm doing the calculation right, the Moon has been roughly the same size as the sun for as long as there have been creatures which could see. But I think running back that far the naive calculation probably doesn't hold up.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:30 PM
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Ah, here we go:

The late Precambrian (c. 650 Ma) year contained 13.1 (+/-0.5) lunar months and c. 400 (+/-20) days, and the late Precambrian lunar month c. 30.5 (+/-1.5) days. These value suggest an average equivalent phase lag near 3[deg] since late Precambrian time rather than the present value of 6[deg]. The period of 19.5 (+/-0.5) years determined for the lunar nodal cycle c. 650 Ma ago indicates a lunar distance 96.9 (+/- 1.7)% of the present distance.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:34 PM
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The "general audience paper" linked from here claims that a geologist named G. Williams estimates that the moon was about 10% closer 2.5 billion years ago. So it's moved over time, but not dramatically.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:52 PM
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Whoa, WolframAlpha totally doesn't blink at things like: Arctan((radius of the moon)/(distance to the moon))*2*60*180/pi. This gives an angular diameter of 29 arc minutes for the moon, which is at the bottom range of the real answer because, get this, Wolfram Alpha is not using the average distance to the moon but is instead using the distance right now (which is as far as it gets).

Ok, so right now the sun is 31 or 32 arc minutes and the Moon is between 29 and 34. That range comes from the Moon's distance varying by a factor of about 13%, so changing the average distance of the moon by 3% really doesn't change much at all. This coincidence was still true in the lat precambrian. So any creature to have ever seen the sun or the moon saw them as roughly the same size.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 9:58 PM
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64

The moon used to be closer.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 10:14 PM
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65

Yes, but not significantly closer during any time since anything had eyes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 10:30 PM
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66

Organist.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 9-13 10:37 PM
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67

I love Wolfram Alpha.

So, who here gets Nature then? Anyone get the genetics company tattoo out of last week's? Had the alarming sight on Facebook of my dad, in his garden, with the tattoo on his bare chest.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:34 AM
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The moon, the sun, they're like exactly the same size when viewed from Earth. How weird is that?

Mentioned but not picked up in the (not very good) Iain Banks novel Transition: one character has a theory that aliens will come to Earth as tourists, and while big mountains and canyons and so on are common everywhere, the Earth's (probably) unique feature is solar eclipses; so if you want to find aliens, go to the totality track and look for odd-looking vehicles with smoked glass windows.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:42 AM
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69

55. Tralfamadore.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:55 AM
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70

OT: On the way in to work, a stranger asked to borrow my cell phone. I said no and she called me mean. Not that she looked dangerous (or even dishonest) or like she could outrun me, but there's just say too much stuff on there. Or am I an asshole?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:57 AM
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It's not socially tactful to outright say "no" - you're supposed to lie and say you don't have one or something. So I think she was taken aback by your rule-breaking in a way she wouldn't have been with a transparent white lie.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:00 AM
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72

That's probably it. But she could have told me a transparent white lie as to why she needed the phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:05 AM
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73

Sharing the love for 26, by the way. Nice one Natilo.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:08 AM
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74

What was her reason for needing the phone?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:10 AM
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75

That's it. She didn't give one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:11 AM
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76

"Can I see your secrets?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:13 AM
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77

She was wearing an NSA t-shirt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:22 AM
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78

26 should be a Rush song. Well played.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:41 AM
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79

I once asked someone for their phone - I had locked myself out of the house and wanted someone to call my wife. It was winter and I was in a bathrobe and slippers. She wouldn't hand me the phone, but was very nice and made a call for me, which is really what I should have asked for in the first place.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:16 AM
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80

"Hi, you don't know me but I'm standing here with your semi-naked husband... hello? Hello? ...Sorry, she hung up."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:46 AM
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81

73, 78: Thanks!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:19 AM
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