Re: Original Intent

1

I forget who said that it's sort of stupid to try to figure out what politicians really believe, since how they vote on important pieces of legislation is so much simpler to track and so much more relevant.* The same seems to be true in this case: I don't especially care if Clarence Thomas (or any other public figure) is nice or personally decent.** I'm unlikely to become friends with such people. I care how they vote. The same isn't true for people with whom I'm likely to have personal relationships. In those cases, terrible politics is a barrier to closeness, but not insurmountable.

* I'm pretty sure it was Yglesias.
** Particularly because they're all sociopaths.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
2

Yglesias has certainly said that, but I'm sure he's not the only one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
3

And if you live in a small enough state, there can be a surprising amount of overlap between public figures and people you have personal relationships with.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
4

I have, though, stopped talking to family members who won't shut up about their Islamophobia/homophobia/contempt for the poor. I mean, I haven't necessarily cut ties with them. And I'm polite (and sometimes even warm!) when I see them. But I'd rather excuse myself and go soak my head in a vat of lye than engage with them in conversation about matters of public policy.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
5

3: we might be using different definitions of "personal relationship." I've known quite a few senators and members of Congress. I even used to work for a former Senate committee chair. I went to his house pretty regularly and often socialized with him. But I didn't have anything like a personal relationship with him. I'm not sure he had personal relationships, at least not as I'd define such things, with anyone, actually. See above about sociopathy.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
6

5: Well, for example, I met this guy recently, in a purely social context. (Really interesting guy; he'll lose this time, of course, but probably has a bright future.) That's not really a personal relationship in itself, but you can see how something of the sort can develop out of encounters like that. Point taken about the sociopathy of politicians, of course, which may negate the whole concept under your definitions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
7

I think my error here is thinking that someone's manners offer more of a view to who they are than their politics, when, in fact, who you choose to ally yourself with reveals a lot more about you than whether you've learned not to act like a jerk.

I pretty much agree with you here, but I can't help wondering if I'm wrong.

I mean, when it comes to members of the cushioned elite, people who occupy privileged positions at the upper echelons of the power structure, I definitely agree.

But when it comes to regular voters, I'm not so sure. So much of political affiliation has to do with family background, regional (or other particularist) loyalties, social and cultural traditions, and so on; and so much of it is the product of heavy-duty political manipulation, misinformation, and outright lies ... For some (perhaps many) people, I suspect, politics doesn't really flow from who they are in the way that you suggest here. Or at least, it does flow from who they are, how/where they are situated, but it doesn't have the deeply ideological meaning that you ascribe to it. It's more like, which sports team do I support? Well, the Badgers rather than the Bears, of course, because this is Badger territory, and all right-thinking sports fans hate the Bears and root for the Badgers.

Needless to say, all of my friends are Bears Democrats, and I can't really imagine being close friends with a Badgers fan Republican voter. I'm as tribal as the next person (and we are all basically tribal, I fear and believe). But I am willing to believe there are Badgers fans Republican voters who are genuinely good (not just well-mannered) people, outside the arena of sports politics.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
8

One's private self and one's public self are absolutely divorced. Most people barely reflect on their public (political) beliefs but often think quite extensively on how they should treat those around them (private self).


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:45 AM
horizontal rule
9

I keep going back and forth on whether the OP is annoying if you live in a Red State. On the one hand, my god, I'm surrounded by genuinely nice people. OTOH, I'm white and innocuous. On the third hand, most of those who surround me aren't themselves white. On a different point but still relevant, my close friends all have liberal politics. OTOH to that, it's been easy to find plenty of great, lefty adults to be friends with. OTthirdHtothat, it is a college town which affects things heavily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:54 AM
horizontal rule
10

I'd say basically half of the people around me aren't white. "Most" May be technically true but it feels like I'm overstating things, probably because positions of power are majority white.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:56 AM
horizontal rule
11

Poor insomniac heebie.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:00 AM
horizontal rule
12

That said, I echo every part of 9 except the last, which I would just modify to replace "a college town" with "the largest city in the state."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:04 AM
horizontal rule
13

11: thanks! It's true.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:12 AM
horizontal rule
14

I just don't talk politics to people much in real lide, not that they have a hard time figuring out where I probably fall on the spectrum. So our elderly next-door neighbor who was sort of racist and homophobic was not thrilled about us being here, but we've been so helpful we're now the favorite neighbors and her grown son gets lectures all the time about why he can't be as mature and helpful as Thorn and Lee. I doubt that's the kind of shift that matters at the ballot box, but maybe it's something.

I know I've semi-recommended the book about the first class of black recruits at Holy Cross, which included Thomas as a transfer student, and the white priest who championed and mentored the young men. Even then, Thomas was both race-conscious and curmudgeonly, as the linked facts suggest.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:00 AM
horizontal rule
15

I've always understood Thomas' views to be the perfect embodiment of modern "I got mine" conservatism.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:08 AM
horizontal rule
16

3 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:17 AM
horizontal rule
17

I'm on the way to Nebraska, so maybe a bit topical.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:24 AM
horizontal rule
18

Most committed and serious political figures are probably interpersonally terrible people to hang out with. "You", which is to say any given individual, is not something they care about particularly. They're more interested in helping the world in the aggregate by the mechanism of humiliating the political opponents they regard as fools. Good! An overfondness for the people one knows in one's own life is exactly one of the things that leads rich people to believe that working on behalf of other rich people is morally acceptable. Of course it is! They know those rich people! They're good people!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:25 AM
horizontal rule
19

I've never coughed to the point of throwing up before. It's unpleasant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 5:50 AM
horizontal rule
20

I'm on the way to Nebraska, so maybe a bit topical

Can there be prairieblogging? or will you be flying over?

The states between your bar and Nebraska are the ones I know best, and have come to love best. Free WiFi in many rest stops.

Always sorry to miss exchanging in real time with Just Plain Jane whom I think is the same person who once used a different pseud reflecting her marginal status, and seems to come from the same part of North America I did originally. I'm always surprised how obscure that origin is. Watching Bletchly Circle with my wife last night, both the sets and the kind of people take me back to my earliest memories as a child among the ex-boffins.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
21

It's all very well to speak hypothetically about political views being divorced from general behavior (including kindness) but the fact is that modern conservatism includes the embrace of some seriously loathsome ideas and people. I'm willing to give a pass to the medically delusional -- because as a liberal I'm obliged not to hold a person's illness against them -- but for the non-sick, active conservatism is a sign of a character flaw.

Refraining from yucking it up in my presence about whatever hareful thing Rush said yesterday may be enough to make a person polite, but it doesn't make them decent.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:17 AM
horizontal rule
22

19: Sounds horrible. Hope you feel better soon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:37 AM
horizontal rule
23

21: the majority of people just do not spend much time thinking about politics. They loosely embrace one side and are not troubled by the truly loathsomeness because they're not dedicating any real airtime to it. It disqualifies them from being a truly great person, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
24

20: Flying to my parents for Easter. I'm in Midway now. I've never driven the whole way, though I have done Columbus to Lincoln.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:42 AM
horizontal rule
25

23 I think you might be overly charitable on this. Sure, it's way worse if people intentionally come to loathsome views after careful consideration, but IME the passively conservative folks (a) hold the loathsome views, even if it's fairly superficial and (b) they are absolutely aware that there's an alternative view.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
26

I had to buy a bag of popcorn, because you can smell Nuts on Clark over most of the B Concourse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
27

coughed to the point of throwing up

This is called posttussive emesis. FOR YOUR INFORMATION. It's more common in kids with asthma, so when the older one gets a coughing fit, we get a bag ready. He's young enough that he doesn't yet feel the terrible indignation that vomiting causes in adults, but it still doesn't look like fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
28

People sort of loosely believe all sorts of loathsome things about the President and his wife, for example. I'm not willing to give any of them a pass because they aren't troubled by their own loathsomeness.

And I'm saying IME there's usually some iceberg stuff going on.

You may remember that federal judge here who got in trouble and had to resign for forwarding an offensive email about the President's mother. I felt kind of sorry for the guy -- sure, it's a stupid and offensive thing to do, but he'll pay plenty, with his distinguished 40 year legal career coming down to an email forward, that'll be mentioned in his obituary, and certainly take up more space than any good he ever did. (And, you know, he had to think about the process by which the President's aides came to him to get a sign-off on nominating a replacement -- -yeah, this is the seat that's open because of the email thing' -- a pretty good humiliation in itself.) What happened next, though, is that there was an investigation, and he tried to suppress the report, but was unsuccessful: it showed hundreds of offensive emails. Ok, asshole's gonna get what he deserves.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
29

modern conservatism includes the embrace of some seriously loathsome ideas and people

It does, but there can be views that are loathsome when used to define the social contract of a country that are fine on an interpersonal level. There are conservatives whose sense of personal responsibility and self-reliance make them great to work with. My neighbor the ex-Marine Tea Partier has political views that are a disaster for the country, but there's some sense* in which they make him much better to have around as a cat sitter than the dissolute hipsters next door on the other side.

(*I am not saying you need to have rightwing views to be responsible and self-reliant. Or even that those views are more likely to make you self-reliant and responsible. All I am saying is that there clearly are people whose good interpersonal behavior flows partly out of trying to realize their political self-identity, even when that political self-identity is problematic).


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
30

29 -- And I think you're being overly charitable too. Is there really a causal relationship there? Which way does it run?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
31

I suppose it would be too much, on the basis of the listed facts, just to dismiss Clarence Thomas as a cynical follower embittered by years of the pity and contempt that cynical followers get and seeking revenge for it all.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
32

Perhaps I'm being overly charitable, but it's my fragile house of cards, and I'm defending it to the hilt.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
33

27: Any advice on dealing with asthma in little ones? We finally got that as Selah's official diagnosis 24 hours ago and I'm hoping it will be the kind she outgrows. So far it just means we practice counting to 10 with her breaths on the nebulizer and then she claps for herself when she's finished, but I suspect that will get old soon.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
34

I'm more than willing to assume that any lawyer in LA who is a Republican is a deeply evil asshole, just because there's zero cultural or personal necessity for becoming a Republican in such circumstances, and you need to be at least mildly political as a lawyer, and therefore you're clearly an asshole by choice. Traitors and those who are conservative by choice, not habit, get extra loathsomeness points (I think this reasoning applies to Clarence Thomas as well, though I will strongly defend him against liberal idiots who think that he's stupid or Scalia's sock puppet; he's not). But if your family, workplace, colleagues and church are all conservative Republicans, and you just vote that way and have vague sentiments in that direction out of habit but aren't particularly political, I don't really hold the political views against you personally at all. (Note that all active libertarians are still shitheads).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
35

I'd go along with 34.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
36

Even or maybe especially ATM, most of us encounter these opinions personally, from the mouths of living people in our families. People whom we love, and wish to think well of.

People from the big cities, like my wife, may not have any family like that, but their outlook on national life always strikes me as rather parochial. Not getting Elvis is a placeholder for this, a trivial one, but much of the country is truly alien to them. No wonder they can't contemplate living anywhere else without trepidation.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
37

36 is the opposite of my life.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
38

33: Epidemiologically speaking, you've already done the three most important thing for the control of her asthma: put her in an educated middle class home with good quality housing stock and comprehensive health insurance.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
39

Any advice on dealing with asthma in little ones?

We didn't want a broken kid, so we put him in foster care. So you can just...oh, wait.

I think the important stuff is stuff you'll inevitably learn: what sets it off (don't touch that cat, son) and strategies for getting her to take her medicine. He'll ask for his "mask" (nebulizer) and we give him flovent daily, which seems to help (and costs a lot). We also always have his albuterol inhaler with us, so he never really has a bad episode, which keeps it from becoming a big deal--he never thinks twice about running around.

When he's wheezy and resistant to medicine, which does happen sometimes, then I let him play with my phone on the condition that he keeps the nebulizer on.

My wife had it pretty bad, and has outgrown it, and it doesn't really slow him down, so it hasn't been a big deal.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
40

'Vague sentiments' that black people are moochers, that recent immigrants from Mexico are lazy scammers, that liberals are the real fascists, that concern about global climate change is delusional at best, but more likely motivated by a deep hatred of all humanity (or is it just Christianity?), that insistence on dropping official school prayer has led to social pathologies -- go ahead, pick any conservative folk position here -- don't get a pass. It's not 1962 people: there are no excuses for believing stuff that's plainly bogus.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
41

(I agree completely w 34 wrt idiotic opinions about Justice Thomas.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
42

What does giving a pass mean when you're talking about your family?
I prefer to find common ground and talk about other things. Puzzlement and sorrow, but the closeness governs my reactions to the whole phenomenon.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
43

(And just to round out the thought, here are some more vague sentiments that don't get a pass: that the President is (a) Muslim (b) Communist (c) a foreigner (d) a tyrant (e) too deferential to foreign leaders (f) not deferential enough to foreign leaders (g) not legitimately elected in any way shape or form (h) not presidential looking (i) married to a white-hating shrew (j) a hater of white people (k) a hater of the US.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
44

42 -- I don't talk politics with relatives with loathsome views, except in response, and only then after counting to 10. Usually only as fact-based as possible. I view holding views like those in 43 as the equivalent of having broken into a convenience store at night and robbed it: I'm not going to burn their houses down, and I'll still love them, but I'm not going to say I respect them as decent human beings. It's the manifestation of a serious character flaw.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
45

1,2: Lemieux at LGM has been banging that drum for a while now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
46

This thread is too polite! Time for some flame throwing.

Here's my take: It's phenomenally easier for me to overlook the ugly things my friends, family, and neighbors believe when there are only white people in the room. In other words, the interpersonal level "niceness" is a luxury that I can enjoy, but isn't available to other people. And it isn't available to me when I am with a friend/colleague/s.o. who is nonwhite.

I've had a half-dozen experiences in the last few months where people said or did incredibly unpleasant things, either because they assumed they were in safe (white, Christian) territory or because they were actively policing boundaries. Every time, it left me feeling slapped and gullible.

My experience of conservative people is that they often *are* more personally charitable and more logistically reliable than many self-identified liberals. The (or rather, A) problem is that their charity is discretionary and therefore utterly contingent on whether they think you are deserving + grateful enough.

(IME liberals can be equally subjective in their personal charitable decisions, but are much more likely to also support systemic solutions to the problems that create the need for charity.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
47

My Uncle and his immediate family are hardcore religious right fanatics of the sort who are actively preparing for the End Times. I deal with this by simply not talking to them. I can only take so much of "If you're not a reborn Christian you're going to hell," which is what my Uncle says to me every time we meet.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
48

46 is true too. Liberal religious people are such a pleasure. It's probably what makes heebie u so pleasant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
49

Taking this specifically to family members, my problem with conversations with my family (read, my mother) on issues of race and gay rights is that I can't really tell whether and to what to extent she's trolling me. (Presumably it's okay not to rise to the bait if being trolled, but problematic not to respond to sincerely held awful beliefs.) I mean, she clearly says things at least in part for the purpose of getting a rise out of me, and I don't think she believes all of them, but drawing the line is pretty difficult. I've tended recently to deal with some of it using statements along the lines of: "I don't think you really think that, Mom, and if you do you already know why I don't agree with it."


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
50

34: Traitors and those who are conservative by choice, not habit, get extra loathsomeness points [...] But if your family, workplace, colleagues and church are all conservative Republicans, and you just vote that way and have vague sentiments in that direction out of habit but aren't particularly political, I don't really hold the political views against you personally at all

This is an important distinction (though I'm not sure what "traitors" means). Hasn't it been pointed out that people are more likely to take liberal positions if and when they move up the economic and/or educational ladder? This is sometimes rendered as: politics is a leisure pursuit. The more freedom you have to take positions that aren't necessarily defensive of your own welfare, the more likely you are to spare a thought for the less well-off, for example.

I certainly give more of a pass to my country cousins (my mom's term for them!) up in NH over their political views than I otherwise might, not because they're family, but because they frankly haven't had much of an opportunity to consider other notions. They're roughly blue-dog Democrats: working class, pro-labor, resentful of elites of any stripe, anti-affirmative action because they're in competition with minorities. Liberal rhetoric that sounds cosmopolitan annoys them. It's a class-based thing. They haven't the time or emotional space to care about people far outside their own purview, especially if those people seem to be getting special consideration they themselves aren't getting. They could easily vote Republican if Repubs weren't so anti-labor and anti-women.

I'm to some extent repeating Just Plain Jane's 7, I realize. The point is that you're (one is) on firmer ground condemning someone for loathsome views if the person has the wherewithal to have deliberately chosen those views.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
51

36 is the opposite of my life

Which part and in what way?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
52

I'm not going to say that there aren't ignorant people. But once someone starts rejecting positions because they are held by an elite -- and what, on the Democratic side, does that even mean? -- or 'sound cosmopolitan' you're headed towards intentional ignorance at best, and bullheadedness in the more usual case.

There are a few people who can legitimately claim that AA has harmed them. Way way fewer than actually do, but some can. But the folk belief in wholesale victimization of white people is pernicious bullshit, and on my list of vague sentiments as to which no quarter need be given.

Parsi: don't be so quick to assume ignorance; they know exactly what you believe and why, and they're rejecting it. The fact that they're rejecting it because you believe it -- rather than after a thorough examination of the merits -- doesn't make them ignorant.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
53

Yeah, I dunno. Unless politics are pretty central to someone's life, such that they're making an active choice to listen to Rush, read right wing books, or whatever, I'm not going to hold their politics overwhelmingly against them. If they're personally racist or are racist in tangible, one-on-one social interactions, of course I'm going to conclude that they're pretty fucking racist, but we've all seen plenty of countervailing evidence of liberal people being racist in private and people who vote Republican not being so.

I mean it doesn't really matter to me personally, I don't think I'm now socially friends or friendquaintances with a single Republican, and the family is liberals all the way down.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
54

What Charley said in 52. Resentment is a powerful force everywhere, and this is the form it takes USA. Do you believe your country cousins don't know you're the cousin who went to Harvard?

A Chicago radio station a few years ago had a simple slogan on billboards: "Liberals Hate Us," and the call sign and frequency.

It you're the most educated member of your family, probably real common ATM, it's going to be part of your family dynamics most likely to be expressed on political and social issues.

I wonder sometimes if behind almost every resentful American isn't the awareness of someone: neighbor, cousin, inlaw, sibling, even child, with education and educated views. You ain't know better than me.

It feels personal because it is.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
55

Charley, I didn't say I liked them. Bullheadedness is about right, but there's not a lot I can do to change that in them.*

But once someone starts rejecting positions because they are held by an elite -- and what, on the Democratic side, does that even mean?

This I can answer. My aunt once worked at a small, local, private college as a cleaning lady. She cleaned the bathrooms of the privileged girls in the dorm. She really, really resented their cavalier carelessness, the way they looked past her as though she didn't exist. If they, and the college, espoused the belief that minority applicants should be given a leg up -- over, say, her own children -- because they were racial minorities, she sure as hell hated them. She really hated them. It doesn't matter whether she understood or misunderstood the nature of affirmative action programs.

She's a burdened person.

Parsi: don't be so quick to assume ignorance; they know exactly what you believe and why, and they're rejecting it. The fact that they're rejecting it because you believe it -- rather than after a thorough examination of the merits -- doesn't make them ignorant.

Confused about this: they don't reject what I believe because they know what I believe. It has nothing to do with me. They are, slowly, realizing that an elite education like I had didn't make me into an asshole. They do believe, bizarrely, that I'm made of money; they thought my mother was as well. I suspect they still believe these things.

* My brother has caused some changes in them. He's gay, and the country cousins have been generally homophobic. They've begun to notice that maybe my brother, who's an upstanding guy, might could possibly be pitching for the other team, and maybe that's alright. Maybe my mostly-vegetarianism is okay too. Small inroads.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
56

The ignorance excuse bugs me, because it's not just patronizing, it's often transparent bullshit, but widely accepted by people who want to be thought of as decent, despite some loathsome views. That duck hunting reality show guy who got in all the trouble last year over gays and blacks, was talking about how in his youth black people were perfectly content, and he doesn't remember anyone being angry about anything. It's like the whole thing was taking place somewhere far far away -- New York City maybe.

This is a guy who played college football at a university that admitted its first black students when he was a sophomore there. In the middle of a decade of very public controversy about desegregating educational institutions up and down his state. He's not ignorant, he's dishonest.

Maybe one reason I don't like excusing ignorance is because it's just too easy a dodge. Oh we never knew that those kids being escorted into the school [by the 101st fucking airborne] were in any way dissatisfied with anything, and if that whole thing upset them, well that must be the fault of outside agitators, because we never really thought anything bad about the coloreds.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
57

I wonder sometimes if behind almost every resentful American isn't the awareness of someone: neighbor, cousin, inlaw, sibling, even child, with education and educated views. You ain't know better than me.

It feels personal because it is.

Yes and no. I seriously do not think that my country cousins stand where they do because of me. Me personally. They actually love me to about the same degree that I love them, which is to say that we're living in different dimensions, but we have enough shared history that we respect one another.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
58

56: Charley, go with your rant, because there is a place for it. I want to be clear, though, that I'm not making an ignorance excuse for my country cousins: I'm explaining that they are really financially challenged, and most everything revolves around that. There's not a college experience among them. It's not patronizing of me to acknowledge it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
59

56 seems right. I think there might be a difference between ignorance as an excuse* for affirmatively ridiculous political positions, like Duck Dynasty guy, which is bullshit, and being a little charitable towards people who are basically apolitical, personally decent, but have not that well formulated right wing views because of their social or family milieu, which is I think what Heebie and I are talking about.

*Indeed, I think "ignorance" or lack thereof is a really silly way to think about politics.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
60

That is, it's dishonesty in service of a schtick: the goddam liberals are wrong about everything, including the signal liberal accomplishment of our lifetimes, because, well, things were just fine until they came and screwed it up, and isn't that how you remember it too.

Parsi, I'll leave your relatives out of it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
61

59 Yeah, I understand the importance of charity in everyday life. And while I'm not going to say that there aren't some few people living under rocks -- maybe rural and urban are about equal in this -- but I don't think this is nearly as widely spread as asswipery, especially on the right.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
62

"If you're not a reborn Christian you're going to hell...."

"I take it that you doubt the perfection and universality of Christ's love, then. Why? On what grounds? Are you confident that the Big J agrees with you? Do you believe that you know better than Him and the early Church fathers? That your understanding of 'born again' is superior to His or that of, say, Paul? Where do you site your condemning criterion among the passages printed in red in this Bible that I happen to have right here?"

Reprobates, Brothers and sisters, it's Easter. Don't indulge that consumer-presumptuous rubbish this weekend, at least.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
63

38, 39: This is a 110-year-old house and she's on Medicaid. We did find a new home for the cats in hopes that would help. So far it seems to just be that she gets hit extra hard by all the viruses going around and then can't breathe and eventually ends up in the ER. I have a half-baked theory this is linked to her reflux, which was apparently really bad last year and could have caused some sort of lasting damage. But she responds to albuterol and an oral steroid ended her wheezing, so now she's on a daily steroid inhaler and has the albuterol for rescue.

Mara had an asthma diagnosis, but our caseworker didn't find it in her medical history until she'd had two of the three attacks she ever had with us. It would be great for Selah to outgrow it at 3 or so too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
64

Parsi, I'll leave your relatives out of it.

Thanks.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
65

Good lord, I hadn't seen 47. That is a dreadful situation, indeed best dealt with by not talking to them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
66

62: I have no interest in rehashing why it bothers Lee that I'm going to hell, but I think there are a lot of people with that kind of belief system who don't really know or care about the bible. That's probably not the issue for this guy, who sounds like a regular apocalypse cultist.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
67

66: Pretty much. It just scrapes my nerves on Easter in particular.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
68

I'm inclined to Halford's position, but I wonder if Charley's isn't becoming more and more correct: everyone is on Facebook (well, except for me and Megan), everyone has seen the political rants, and pretty much everyone has picked a team, these days. It's just harder to wall off politics from your life. It seems like there's much less "I vote Republican because that's just what we do around here" and more "I'm no liberal."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
69

Just to share: one of the docs in NM was a former pastor who was easily in the exalted 1% as measured by Christian nutbaggery, and one of our good friends there was a gay activist doc from ABQ who did shifts at our hospital. Before she became friends with us, she would spend the night between shifts at their place. How was that? "They're really nice, but it's a little weird to sleep in a room lined with books about the homosexual agenda."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
70

pretty much everyone has picked a team, these days

Don't know what this has to do with Facebook, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
71

My dad asked me to bring home some Mogen David wine, because nostalgia and that's all gentiles in rural areas had for wine when he was young. Anyway, very sweet but drinkable. Box wine quality.

Also, if you ask where the kosher wines are in a Nebraska Hy-Vee, you get a look of panic that only abates when you say the brand name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
72

71 is fascinating.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
73

teo, did you jump at the reference to "the big J" in 62 like I did?

Just put your arm around him, Rev.; He's a good ole boy.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
74

teo, did you jump at the reference to "the big J" in 62 like I did?

No. Should I have?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
75

51: my family is full of the most leftwing people I've ever met. Lots of registered communists, etc, even today. I grew up and currently live around plenty of right wingers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
76

|| Fuck! We are out of tonic! |>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
77

All my condolences to 76! We're even out of gin. I think I need to take over liquor-buying duties again.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
78

I bought some delicious rye gin last weekend. It is now martini season.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
79

75:
My dad called himself a Socialist all his life. Not a communist, he'd gone to volunteer to fight in Spain but backed out when he found the CP in total control. No branches of the POUM in Nova Scotia, I guess. WL MacKenzie-King, Mike Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, the creators of the Canadian Welfare State were too conservative for him.

When we moved to Columbus, we were in a different world. Our next door neighbors and first friends were conservative Catholics, the first I'd ever met. This house SOLD on Goldwater. We met lots of people early on with characteristic wingnut views. Birchers, Goldwater People, NRA Freedom; at least I learned how to shoot.

When rightwing talk radio began to emerge in the nineties my wife's family were puzzled and to some extent still are, also frightened. To say as I do that this is familiar to me and I grew up around it doesn't help much.

That my brother and sister are respectively secular and Christian conservatives still amazes me. Neither finished college although both make a lot more than I do. They have only a vague conception of my dad's social and cultural views, while I talked to him about these things from before I was ten. They claim never to have heard of writers and poets he quoted constantly. Both are highly literate and good writers themselves; my sister was a columnist for some years.

Strange. I sometimes wonder if I dreamed the whole thing.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
80

I just shared a train seat with drunken West Ham supporters on their way back to my lovely town from London. Racist, homophobic, and yet nice as pie to me. Train conversation: "IS THAT COLOURED MUSIC? IT SOUNDS LIKE COLOURED MUSIC!" (directed at other passenger listening to hip hop loudly on headphones) "CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT GUY TRIED SOME FUNNY BUSINESS WITH YOU?" (directed at young male member of the party) "THIS GIRL! SHE'S FROM CALIFORNIA!!!!" (Me, cringing.) "WHY ARE YOU HERE????"


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
81

That had something to do with the OP when I started recounting it. I've forgotten what, now.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
82

Bonsaisue did a fair bit of train travel when she was at an English university for a year. I believe it was either rugby supporters or a rugby team that was acting out on one train to Wales that she related. I assume she has other stories in the same vein.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
83

I was just reading some stuff by Owen Flanagan on pretty much this topic. He starts by quoting Sartre to the effect that anti-Semitism is a personality trait that can co-occur with any other personality trait. So one can be a good father and and anti-Semite, etc.

Flanagan points out, first of all, that if in fact a father was constantly giving anti-Semetic rants in front of his kids, that would in itself disqualify him from being a good father. He then goes on to talk about the research on the authoritarian personality type and all the things it correlates with. Fascists, for instance, generally have an over-inflated sense of self worth. Humble fascists are rare.

I think the problem isn't just that people underestimate the importance of what you believe for who you are. Its also that they mistake "nice to me" for "nice."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
84

80 is really not doing anything to counter my preexisting stereotypes of West Ham fans.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
85

I know another professor of roughly my age in the Boston area who, when he was in grad school, got punched in the face on an English train when he was there for a conference. Apparently he was pretty drunk, an even drunker guy stumbled into him and demanded to know who he was, and he told the guy that he was a famous scientist. A black eye ensued.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
86

OT: I taught a coworker (in his 30s) how to use a wrench today. He didn't understand either leverage or which direction tightened or loosened. He just kind of wiggled the handle 30 degrees in either direction and didn't understand why the bolt wasn't getting looser. Wow.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
87

I hope he's not a physicist.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:07 PM
horizontal rule
88

I just bragged about this in the other place, but racist/homophobic/generally hateful/yet fantastic to the girls next-door-neighbor apparently had a screaming fight with her worthless adult son tonight because he hadn't bothered to mow the lawn yet and you can't just mow the lawn on Easter Sunday, as her grandson related to us when he came to dinner. So I snuck over just now in the dark and used my push mower to get her front lawn in decent shape. I hope she'll be happy (for a change!) when she wakes up and sees it. Woo, homosexual agenda!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:07 PM
horizontal rule
89

85 is pretty excellent, really.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
90

87: PhD in chemistry. (Yet another example of how having a PhD doesn't mean you're smart.)

88: Well done!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
91

86: Wow. You think maybe he saw someone use a ratchet wrench once and didn't understand how it worked?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
92

I am bound and determined to be discovered, apparently: I had a colleague who had to be instructed in the use of one of those little packing tape dispensers--like, its okay to use without leather gloves and safety googles. I am not kidding. Literally. I had to tell a dude that he would be safe enough without those things.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
93

He's seen me and others use that exact wrench. He was shown how to do this minor chore last week (not by me). He had his hand right at the crescent part and couldn't get the bolt lose at all. I explained he'd get more force if he moved his hand back on the handle. ("Like a lever?") Blank stare. I got it started for him. Usually I'm the one not quite strong enough.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:21 PM
horizontal rule
94

92: I feel better now!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
95

94: he also asked if, in an earthquake, he needed a helmet to shelter under our WW2-era steel desks. Because he might hit his head on one.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
96

I had the same thought LB did, that watching someone use a ratcheting socket wrench would leave that impression, because you'd need to watch closely to see the socket move in steps, only when the handle was rotating in one direction and not in the other.

But from your description, we're talking a much simpler tool, a spanner or crescent wrench. Guy doesn't understand threading.

Which is it?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
97

And my own story reminds me of an administrator at my college who, like me, lived near a particularly obnoxious football frat. This admin confessed to sneaking out at night and trimming the hedges around the frat. When asked why ze bothered since the fraternity brothers surely never knew, the answer was that it was so satisfying to see wealthy alumni on campus tours tut-tutting over how the current brothers were letting the place go to hell and not even keeping up with the shrubbery.

This was not as strong an inspiration to me as the mentor who kept a folder labeled Sho/cked & Appa/lled, because there'd always be something that belonged there, but still pretty impressive passive-aggressive stress relief!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
98

97.1: wait, I don't get it. They would trim the hedges so they looked untrimmed or something?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
99

90.1: Jesus.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:04 PM
horizontal rule
100

98: So there were sort of chunks missing, yeah.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
101

96: Yes, a crescent wrench, the cartoonishly large size that's maybe 16" long. Apparently, he's literally never tightened or loosened a screw before? He also nearly crossthreaded the bolt putting it back together (after I explained the righty-tighty rule because he was twisting it counterclockwise and not getting purchase). I had to tell him to switch to using his hands once it was loose and to start tightening with his hands.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
102

93: "Like a lever?"

This is actually the best part of the story.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:14 PM
horizontal rule
103

I have to ask: would this be more understandable or less preposterous if it were a woman?

I had "Mechano," the British Empire version of what USans always call "Erector Sets," from about age 6, and can date my knowledge of threading from then. Just typing that last reference reminds me again how much once-ordinary language is becoming taboo through innuendo.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
104

95: At least he's concerned about safety and risk-averse. That is amazing - helmets? Does he consider using blast shields when he microwaves lunch? I always worry someone's boneheaded error will accidentally injure me.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
105

103: It's more the age and education (and the fact that he just last week was taught how to do this!). I mean, he spent years working in a lab, bachelor's and PhD, so maybe 8 years. I'm not as incredulous when I have an undergrad or bachelor's level student who's not good with basic tools, since they might never have had to do a minor home repair or instrument repair. I don't think I've ever had one who didn't understand wrenches to this extent, but I have taught the lefty-loosey, righty-tighty rule pretty often. My current trainee needed me to show her how to maximize mechanical advantages a couple of times, but she knew generally how to use the tool. By the time you reach your mid-30s, how to use a crescent wrench seems like a basic skill nearly everyone should have.

To be honest, I wasn't great with tools until halfway through grad school when we rented a fixer house from a friend and I had to learn to do a reasonable amount of instrument repair at lab. Now, I'm sort of minimally competent.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
106

My dad was quite proud of how he had "quantified" the impact of stirring on the speed of a reaction in his graduate lab, just after the war.

The secret was fixing the spoon and moving the beaker. He mounted the spoon on apparatus, and brought the beaker up underneath it, then slid a record turntable under the beaker. The beaker was centered on the turntable but the spoon was offset.

The turntable has a fixed and rather reliable rotation speed, so calculating the input averaged over time is very straightforward.

Probably wasn't the only inventor but was the only one who thought of it where he was.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
107

||

A colleague has asked me for comments on a piece of science writing intended for the general public. It includes a paragraph that begins "Dictionary.com tells us that..."

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
108

Is it intended ironically?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
109

Nope.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
110

The dictionary of idiom defines grasping at straws as....


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
111

I get what he's trying for, and it's not far off. How about: "The dictionary--or Dictionary.com--defines Ootpik as..."


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
112

Changing a gas cylinder? Hopefully he knew to shut off the top first, and which way was off.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
113

80 is really not doing anything to counter my preexisting stereotypes of West Ham fans.

No, indeedy. Though he also kept showing me pictures of his adorable dog. That one didn't really fit in. (Like I said, they were nice enough to me, just very loud and very drunk - since he was basically sitting on me I felt that the best route was occasional make-nice conversation and then back to my headphones and book.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 4:52 AM
horizontal rule
114

80 et al. TRIGGER WARNING: Extreme antisemitism

In the 90s they used to sing from the terraces "I never feel more like gassing the Jews/Than when West Ham win and Tottenham lose..."

They (and Millwall) are the scum of the earth, even by English football standards. Why east London clubs in particular? You theory is as good as mine.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:20 AM
horizontal rule
115

Wubba lubba dubdub Happy Easter, my glipglops reprobates!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:28 AM
horizontal rule
116

You too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:55 AM
horizontal rule
117

114: Ugh, I had known that and forgotten.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
118

114: Hypothesis: Horrible human beings can't rhyme.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
119

Anyway, hard boiled eggs and jelly beans for breakfast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
120

I'm up watching the Amstel Gold Race.

What I don't get to hear anymore are the specialized, artistically-insignificant hymns for special occasions.

I'm thinking of Jesus Christ is Risen Today!.

Swept up by the memory. Southminster United Church, on Bank Street at the Rideau Canal, in the Glebe. What's the little cross street there, Aylmer?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 6:37 AM
horizontal rule
121

114: I knew about the National Front associations in the '70s and '80s, but I didn't realize that sort of thing had continued into the '90s.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
122

88: So awesome. Were you tempted to make crop circles in her yard?

101: Poor guy, I wonder if he has trouble opening bottles and jars. I probably shouldn't be laughing, though, as there's plenty of simple stuff I don't know how to do.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
123

Is there some kind of law that anyone writing something about dinosaurs has to include the phrase "walked the Earth"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
124

OT: Darwin-proof lawn darts, hooray.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
125

And why does Nathan Myhrvold's name get dropped in so many places?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
126

Is he the founder of dictionary.com?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
127

He probably owns the patent on dictionaries.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
128

This is the guy who sailed the reed boat across the ocean?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
129

||

My parents, who haven't seen each other for somewhere between five and ten years, are both over for Easter dinner. Another guest brought a very large pitcher of sidecars over, and everyone is four-fifths drunk. No one's gotten violent yet, but if you don't hear from me by tomorrow sometime, send help.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
130

I saw the Adam Scott movie A.C.O.D. on a plane a month ago. The premise was pretty similar to 129, so you should be careful not to walk in on them having sex.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
131

Is there some kind of law that anyone writing something about dinosaurs has to include the phrase "walked the Earth"?

It's to distinguish between the Age of Dinosaurs, when they walked, and now, when they mostly fly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
132

130: Also the plot of "That Old Feeling" with Bette Midler and Denis Farina.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
133

122: It's not the best mowing I've ever done, but certainly the best I've done in the dark. I was thinking about going over to fix it, but now I'm exhausted and really her son should just fix it. I put Easter photos in the pool.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
134

A large pitcher of sidecars shows a certain seriousness in an Easter dinner guest.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
135

Easter isn't really a drinking holiday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
136

Then what am I supposed to do with all of this blood of Christian children I collected? Oh right! Make more matzoh!


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
137

We had a dinner without wine because somebody who isn't me thinks somebody who also isn't me has a drinking problem and they just stopped. In support somebodies, I didn't complain.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
138

123: Don't know about that, but apparently it is the law that if you write about water in California, you have to say 'lifeblood'. At least the Twain quote has fallen out of favor. Now cheesy people say, 'I guess everyone is tired of that Twain quote that says' ...and then they fucking repeat it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
139

My parents didn't drink at all and neither did either of their parents. Before that I'm sure they drank plenty.

So references to "people who don't drink at weddings" always seemed alienating to me. Hey!, we're the people who don't drink at weddings!

138: About the weather or another one?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
140

The one about water and whiskey.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
141

If we had any whiskey we could have whiskey and water, if we had any water


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
142

Hipster Jesus turns water into rye.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
143

139.1 to 136.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
144

They've all left and nothing terrible happened -- the one moment when it looked like it might get ugly, Buck managed to maneuver Dad out of the line of fire by making an ice cream run.

The worst thing that actually happened was Mom deciding, immediately before dinner, that the mayonnaise I had made for the asparagus was too cold, and microwaving it. Microwaved mayonnaise gets oddly curdled.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
145

138: Also, any part of town zoned for industry is "gritty".


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
146

144.2: And then Buck took you for ice cream.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
147

On the topic of Easter and really nothing else, Lee's long-term best friend she'd sort of cut off because the friend was so judgmental about Lee's attitude toward Nia came by while she was in town today. Lee is offended that she only commented on some and not all the new furniture, which I think is stupid and weird. But right now Lee's being lovely to Nia and has been a lot lately, and it's really had a hugely positive impact on Nia.

They're currently talking about belief and that Nia is going to have to figure out what makes sense to her. Lee actually said that "There is no right or wrong; it's just a process you have to go through of finding out what makes the world make sense for you." So maybe she doesn't think I'm going to hell anymore.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
148

We had no booze at family Easter brunch, but my parents did give me a bunch of beer they had leftover from their St. Patrick's Day party.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
149

Hipster Jesus turns water into rye.

...

Go on.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
150

Visited the parents for Easter and unexpectedly went to the Matunuck Oyster Bar. Sat outside, which was chilly but lovely. Had the rather gimmicky special of lobster eggs benedict, which was delicious mostly because of the griddle cakes and eggs--the lobster was superfluous, if nice. The afternoon was an early draw on the bank of summer.

Now drinking wine and listening to From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music because I am just like that.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
151

I've had enough posttussive emesis to last me a very long time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
152

Worked full days yesterday and today on a moonlighting project, and I'm tired. Also drinking wine because I'm still observing passover, and beer is chametz.

The reviews of that box set are all positive but don't seem to agree on what they're hearing. I definitely remember Ray Charles' country singing.

The frisson in all this seems to come from categories and boundaries that don't make much sense musically, but of course from a business, marketing and cultural standpoint do.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
153

The worst thing that actually happened was Mom deciding, immediately before dinner, that the mayonnaise I had made for the asparagus was too cold, and microwaving it. Microwaved mayonnaise gets oddly curdled

Oddly? Is your mom familiar with homemade mayo and what it's made of?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
154

All right, it gets perfectly expectably curdled.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:06 AM
horizontal rule
155

Maybe she was checking to see that it was really homemade.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:21 AM
horizontal rule
156

I'm not sure what would happen if you microwaved Hellmanns,but I'm sure it would be nothing good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:51 AM
horizontal rule
157

Make sure to report back when you've tried it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:55 AM
horizontal rule
158

Paging urple.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
159

If you microwave Miracle Whip, you get Russian dressing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 6:05 AM
horizontal rule
160

Hipster Jesus turns water into rye.

And if he wanted to
He could have turned wheat into marijuana
Or sugar into cocaine
Or vitamin pills into amphetamines


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
161

Spent the weekend at my mothers' rejiggering the solar system. We're acutely aware of where the sun has risen. Also, the hens have started laying, hurrah!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
162

rejiggering the solar system

You would think the rest of us would have noticed. Wait, where did Jupiter go?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
163

Wait, where did Jupiter go?

Dude you're supposed to not only create the planet-destroyer ray but also CONTROL it. What am I paying for here?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
164

I mean if we're going to destroy Jupiter, great, but I want the pleasure of doing it intentionally.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
165

Wait, actually seriously, how bad would it be if we destroyed Jupiter? I guess some debris from the explosion could fuck things up here on Earth but otherwise, why not?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
166

This Yahoo answers page is inconclusive about what would happen if we destroyed Jupiter. Fuck you Yahoo Answers, I need to know!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
167

I know who you should ask, anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
168

Somebody who can't make links?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
169

Yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
170

No way am I asking that xkcd guy, he would just be all like "oh wonderment and amazement! all the planets are precious and wonderful! I love math!" Fuck that guy. I want information about the destruction of Jupiter from a pro-destruction viewpoint, or at least one not strongly biased in the anti-destruction direction.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
171

I mean, if we can destroy Jupiter, and the costs to the earth of doing so are small, why not?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
172

171: What's wrong, Halford? Kicking puppies just isn't doing it for you anymore?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
173

Jupiter isn't a living thing, peep. It's mostly hydrogen gas. We destroy or fuck around with hydrogen gas all the time, or maybe we do or don't but that seems like something plausible that people might do.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
174

Carl Sagan speculated that there was life floating around in the atmosphere for Jupiter in the original Cosmos, and he's like the Secular Pope, so we can't let you destroy Jupiter unless Neil deGrasse Tyson now says it's okay.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
175

Egghead, starch-eating liberals do weenie things like decertifying Pluto. Meat-eating men of purpose seek to destroy Jupiter.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
176

Jupiter isn't a living thing, peep

Well, you wrote that and were able to post it, and apparently were not struck by lightning, so I guess you're right. Guess I'll need to rethink my religion again.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
177

Destroying Jupiter would certainly destabilize the Jovian Lagrange points, sending the current occupants of those locations careening wildly about the solar system, smashing into things and generally causing chaos. The timescales for the chaos might be a tad long though, long enough for the rise and fall of Halfordismo. On that sort of timescale who really gives a fuck, I say. The only downside is the loss of the Jovian moons (which would also be careening around smashing into things, now that I think of it), one or more of which might contain some sort of weird-ass extremophile life form.

So if you're OK with destroying potential life forms and the possible eventual destruction of the earth, go for it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
178

I think the Xkcd guy would be totally on board with hypothetically destroying Jupiter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
179

Tonight I'll load the solar system on Universe Sandbox, delete Jupiter, and see what happens. From experience monkeying around on it I suspect some of the moons would be slingshot out of the solar system at high velocity, which could make a pretty horrible (if unlikely) collision. Plus maybe more ambient asteroids from them getting disordered and hitting each other, although I don't think the program will show that.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
180

179 before seeing 177.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
181

Wouldn't the moons just get recaptured by some other planet or the sun and get back into orbit?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
182

And (while I can't remember who around here objects to xkcd), I adore it. Just this weekend, Sally was complaining about her impoverished Spanish vocabulary -- she had to write an essay about renewable energy or something, and apparently what she ends up doing, out of being too lazy to look up words, is things like describing what a solar cell does in words of one syllable and then referring to it from then on as whatever the Spanish is for "the aforementioned device". Leaving me to respond "Like this?" And apparently yes, that's exactly her Spanish writing style on anything technical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
183

I mean I don't want to kill off awesome Ice Monsters that are probably definitely on Europa.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
184

Honestly, destroying Jupiter would be pretty anticlimactic. There would be just one less largish dot in the sky. Let's destroy the Sun. Consequences are for the weak-minded.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
185

We are liberals, after all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
186

Well, now, let's be more specific about *destroying*. Accelerating it out of the solar system? Or into the sun? Exploding it into a gassy version of the asteroid belt (containing its ex-moons)? The first seems minimal (nice pool-table effects, but we get some of that with most destructions); one big splash for the second, we could organize a benefit concert at collision; the third might allow integral trees.

Let's ignite fusion in Jupiter as a second sun.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
187

184: 'All's well that begins well and has no end/ the world will perish but there is no end to us!'

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/27/arts/theater-victory-over-the-sun.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
188

181: There would be considerable wandering around and potential smashing into things before everything stabilized. Probably some of the moons would get ejected from the solar system, some would eventually crash into something, and some would end up in stable-ish orbits. If you're worried about the Ice Monsters probably best to leave Jupiter alone and focus on one of the shittier planets, like Mercury.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
189

Since the dawn of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun.


Posted by: Opinionated C. Montgomery Burns | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
190

The only reason you can't see Europa with the naked eye is Jupiter, so arguably you should destroy it to improve the view.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
191

Hmm good point, let's go after Mercury, the loser planet, plus Mercury is a rock (I think) so we could maybe destroy it just by firing all the nuclear weapons we have at it, which would also get rid of nuclear weapons. Kind of like Superman IV but not as lame because at least we'd get to destroy a planet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
192

When you say destroy it, where do you envision the remnants going once we've fired our nuclear weapons at it? All the same stuff is still going to be there, just kind of rearranged some.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
193

170: Coming from a wow-so-math nerd ideology similar to that of the xkcd guy, you misunderstand us. Planets being destroyed is wow-so-math beautiful, too. Most of his what-if posts are about things being destroyed. The only time I recall him being squeamish about unnecessary destruction was one of the rare posts about completely normal firearms (in addition to the don't-do-this-at-home issue, he was apparently raised Quaker).

Of course however we do eventually choose to destroy Jupiter, we should do it in a way that lets us obtain its resources (regular hydrogen, metallic hydrogen, carbon core, giant monolith). Sadly that probably won't be as fun as blowing it the fuck up.

I recall hearing something about having gas giants being great deflectors for rogue comets/planets/whatever. Kinda like the effect the moon has, but at longer range. Having Jupiter et al might have protected earth during that critical evolutionary stage before life developed the power to destroy planets.

Otherwise, yeah, basically what you and togolosh said. Disclaimer: everything I know about orbital/celestial mechanics I learned from reading old sci fi, taking a differential equation once, and playing too much KSP.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
194

192 - Right, but rearranged into a more blown up format.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
195

let's go after Mercury, the loser planet

Pour encourager les autres.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
196

I don't think we have enough nuclear weapons to destroy Mercury in any meaningful sense.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
197

Jupiter, we should do it in a way that lets us obtain its resources

Titan just has huge lakes of natural gas. Have any of the "Let's mine the astroids!" types ever talked about going there for our energy needs, rather than, say, fraking in Ohio.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
198

Fracking in Ohio is at least not as much of an issue as fracking in Pennsylvania.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
199

For you maybe.

But seriously, the most valuable component of an asteroid is nickel. How much money can be made that way? We need to send our voracious hydrocarbon hunters into SPACE.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
200

How much money can be made that way?

As much as you like, five cents at a time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
201

199.1: Positivist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
202

199: the most valuable component of an asteroid is nickel

Actually it's the platinum group metals, which are present in much higher concentrations than in the best available earthly ores (which are for the most part asteroid impact sites). The nickel and iron are nice to have, though. Also water, if you want to build fuel depots in orbit.

Yes, I may have resembled one of those "mine the asteroids!" wackos in a previous life.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
203

More nickels. That's the best bulwark against 'dismo.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
204

202: Would platinum continue to have intrinsic value if you flooded the market, though? (I don't know its technical applications.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
205

202: Would platinum continue to have intrinsic value if you flooded the market, though? (I don't know its technical applications.)

It's the catalyst in "catalytic converter", I think.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
206

204: The thing that first turned me on to asteroid mining was a paper by Jeffrey Kargel in the early 1990s in which he explored a bunch of issues including what would happen if the market price collapsed for platinum group metals. The upshot is that there is still clearly a shit-ton of money to be made, assuming reasonable mining costs. The problem is that the up-front investment is insanely huge.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
207

On Jupiter, my understanding (see here, for instance) is that it's quite important (from an Earth/Halford-centric viewpoint) in "capturing" comets and other outer-solar-system objects so that they don't bombard the Earth quite so frequently. I've no idea how well supported that hypothesis is though.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
208

The problem is that the up-front investment is insanely huge.

Once true, but today, Nanobots.

Also, interestingly, most of the gold in the earth's crust is from meteor bombardment in the erath's early history.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
209

208: And of course with nanobots we get The Singularity!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
210

I quite like the slow-weak-lots-of-math plans for gently, gently tugging metal asteroids into Earth's L5s. Even better than planting oaks for your descendants (and not exclusive thereof).

If we need Jupiter as a collision shield, wouldn't it work even better if it were a sun? No? Okay, let's bang Mercury into Venus and see if it averages out as human-habitable.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
211

I quite like the slow-weak-lots-of-math plans for gently, gently tugging metal asteroids into Earth's L5s. Even better than planting oaks for your descendants (and not exclusive thereof).

The cosmos, in its majestic equality, allows the rich as well as the poor to tug asteroids into Lagrange points for their children.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
212

If the rich are nudged into investment rather than consumption, there's more around later for the poor to expropriate with torch and scythe and 3d-printed gun.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
213

210.2: Per the shell theorem, wouldn't it have an identical effect if it were a sun? Unless you're going to make it into a sun by stuffing it full of extra mass, like in 2010.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
214

Suns are bigger than Jupiters.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
215

Great, we can turn Jupiter and the Sun into binary stars. What could possibly go wrong?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
216

215


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
217

I realize I'm being a negative Nelly here, but my searches seem to indicate if you gathered up all the planets, moons, planetoids, rocks dust, etc. other than the Earth and Jupiter and dumped them into Jupiter, you still wouldn't come close to the mass needed for the barest fusion.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
218

Oh well. Next time.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
219

Fine, let's just destroy Mercury, film it, watch the awesomeness, and call it a day. No one has come up with any reason not to destroy Merury other than that we don't have enough nukes, which is a problem with an obvious solution and would also stimulate the economy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
220

Just don't do it while it's in retrograde. That'll screw up everything.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
221

Yahoo! Answers thinks that destroying Mercury would be nbd.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
222

Seriously, though, Halford, do you have a prediction for the Aereo case being argued tomorrow? It seems like a pretty big deal: is it?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
223

I predict we'll get to see the Justices embarrassing themselves with their ignorance of technology and the internet.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
224

Of equal interest to me is the "Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus" case to be argued tomorrow.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
225

I predict that Aereo will lose, but in a way such that it won't be a very big deal for anyone other than Aereo. 223 is probably right as well. But we will see.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
226

Noooo, thread-drift before I could get here to point out that you can all make and destroy as many solar systems as you like over here


Posted by: antipodestrian | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
227

Probably no one but Carp will care about this, but in my view the Solicitor General's brief in Aereo gets both the law and the facts exactly right, and for my money will be the approach followed by the Court. And the resulting ruling probably won't be much of a big deal for anyone but Aereo, which itself is a company specifically designed to exploit what it thought (probably wrongly) was a loophole in the Copyright Law, but one that Congress really did already close in the '76 Act.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 6:27 PM
horizontal rule
228

226: reminds me of a screen saver called I think emsaver where you could set up a bunch of charged and massive particles and let em rip. They'd reflect off the walls, but you could specify velocity, loc, charge and mass for each and set up amusing states.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
229

On Universe Sandbox, deleting Jupiter abruptly, Callisto went into an eccentric solar orbit (almost as far in as Mars, then back out), and the other three Galileans were ejected. A lot of the smaller moons stayed in a similar orbit as before, just spreading out a bit. Phobos left Mars orbit but that appeared to be a simulation flaw. So I guess knock yourselves out?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
230

I keep getting hung up on the whole "violating the conservation of energy" thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
231

I care, because I really want to subscribe to Aereo!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
232

The Solicitor General's brief suggests that you don't actually own your own antenna, and instead you get temporarily assigned one when you start watching. I'd previously thought that you actually owned your own specific antenna when you subscribed.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
233

230: Sigh. And I thought you had supervillain potential.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
234

229: Is that dependent on where the Jovian moons are w.r.t Jupiter when Jupiter gets deleted?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
235

SG is right, lots of news articles are wrong.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
236

I just tried out Universe Sandbox--very neat. Instead of deleting it, I blew Jupiter up. The largest fragment swept into the inner solar system and eventually caused the earth to have a highly elliptical orbit, going from inside Venus's orbit to outside the habitable zone. I'd say that's pretty bad and if we do decide to cause Jupiter to explode, we should do it with extreme caution.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
237

No texting while blowing up a planet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:48 PM
horizontal rule
238

234: Yes, I think the results would be different every time you tried it.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
239

I don't understand why TV networks both broadcast and try to stop people from being able to access those broadcasts. If they want people to pay for cable why don't they just stop broadcasting?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
240

The definitive guide, for Halford:
http://qntm.org/destroy


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:26 AM
horizontal rule
241

if we do decide to cause Jupiter to explode, we should do it with extreme caution.

This sort of attitude has no place in Halfordismo.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:46 AM
horizontal rule
242

I googled around a bunch and wasn't able to find any explanation of why broadcast TV still exists.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
243

242: Aside from the fact that some of us still use it (seriously, probably a lot more than you realize), I believe that broadcasters have access to this immensely valuable spectrum, but only get to use it if they, well, broadcast.

There's a lot of path dependency, of course - I don't think that, if all we had was cable and internet, but then someone came up with the idea of broadcast, it would result in giant networks, etc - but I don't think it's operating purely out of inertia in the way that, say, Sears or JC Penney continue to.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
244

That Silicon Valley prankster who was sent in to sabotage JC Penney still didn't manage to destroy it?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
245

243.2: I like the idea of an alternate reality where all broadcast TV is basically pirate radio.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:06 AM
horizontal rule
246

There's a lot of ruin in a lower-middle-class clothing chain.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:07 AM
horizontal rule
247

If its good for them to have lots of non-paying viewers than why don't they use new technology to give that option to people living in places where reception is spotty? Why have they been fighting for decades to restrict ways of getting more people access to broadcast?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
248

My main issue with destroying Jupiter is that it would take a crazy amount of energy, which could be put to better use, eg, re-orbiting Venus to form a born-again Earth.

(Assuming you're talking about putting enough energy into Jupiter to not leave something basically Jupiter-shaped behind, which would involve accelerating most of its mass out of its gravity well, which, see above.)


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
249

In a freakish coincidence, I was showing my daughter a picture of astronomers shooting lasers at the moon, and she spontaneously said "We should shoot a laser at Jupiter and blow it up!"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
250

243.2: I like the idea of an alternate reality where all broadcast TV is basically pirate radio.

Finally, an excuse to remake Videodrome.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
251

To completely destroy J. C. Penney, you would have to accelerate all of its component parts to escape velocity.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
252

To completely destroy J. C. Penney, you would have to accelerate all of its component parts to escape velocity.

Not precisely what they mean when they speak of "market segmentation."


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
253

I suspect the real issue is something complicated, like its difficult for local affiliates to measure users from Aereo and so they don't increase ad revenue from growth in rebroadcasts.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
254

249 makes me very happy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
255

253: Aereo lets users record shows and skip through the commercials. I don't think anyone is going to pay for those ads, no matter how many people are watching the shows that way.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
256

Obviously I understand why the networks hate DVRs. But, DVR capabilities were not the issue in Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Television, Inc. (about whether a town could share one antenna for better reception) which the networks fought, or the industry-backed legislation which overturned that decision and forced cable rebroadcasts to pay licensing fees.

(Ostensibly DVR capabilities are not the legal issue here either, and you can buy a DVR for broadcast TV if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with good reception.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
257

UPTEGI: to put this in an extremely simplified way: there are two different entities, a "broadcast network" and a "local TV station" generally owned by separate people. The network produces and owns content, and contracts with the local TV station to broadcast that content. The local TV station owns the FCC license to broadcast to a certain area, and owns and operates the broadcast equipment for an over-the-air broadcast. The local television station pays the network a fee for its content; in return, it gets the exclusive right to broadcast that content in a particular area. In the olden days, before cable, the local TV station made money from selling ads; the network made money both from selling national ads broadcast during its feed, and from money taken from the local TV stations. The two-tiered system was set up this way partly for historical, partly for antitrust/regulatory reasons, but in any event there was a difference between local broadcasters and networks.

When cable came along, you instantly had a different model, in which the cable company carries constant programmin from a range of networks to households that pay for cable. One option might have been just to abandon the old broadcast TV model altogether, and have the networks just run an "NBC" channel on cable. But, for a variety of reasons both historical (cable was a minority, luxury good at the beginning) and policy driven (Congress thought, for many good reasons, that it was important to preserve both some form of local broadcasters and some free/cheap access to the airwaves that didn't depend on buying cable) Congress decided to regulate the system in such a way as to maintain the network/local broadcast station structure even in a world of cable. So, now how it works is that cable companies in a particular area are required to carry certain local broadcast stations in that area, which in turn still carry (and pay for) network programming. The local broadcasters are required to maintain their broadcast licenses and broadcast capacity, and in turn receive mandatory "retransmission fees" that the cable companies are required to pay them for carrying the local broadcasts on cble (all under very complex rules). So, these days, local TV stations make money both from advertising and retransmission fees (but increasingly the latter); the broadcast TV networks make money from selling their feed to local affiliates and from national advertising.

Aereo threatens that model in two ways. First, it doesn't just act like a mini-antenna that lets you pick up the local feed of wherever you are; it broadcasts a single feed of network shows to individual antennas. This kills off the ability of local broadcasters to have exclusive rights (and thus sell ads) in their local markets. Second, by taking local networks off of cable, it kills the ability of local stations to collect retransmission fees. As a result (a) the local broadcasters suffer, because they lose money from both fees and ad sales (b) the networks lose money, because they aren't as able to collect in much from their affiliates, which is a big part of the business model. Meanwhile, the local stations are obligated to continue broadcasting to maintain their FCC licenses, even while Aereo is picking up that content for free. Aereo was designed to exploit a loophole opened up by the Secomd Circuit that plausibly seemed to make its model legal, but that was its business plan. If it really took off, the most likely result would be that many local TV stations would simply disappear and the networks would lobby as hard as possible to put all their content on cable and simply become cable channels.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
258

257 was me, of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
259

Also, I want to thank Ajay for the link in 240. It's really a case study in how to clearly and succinctly provide information about a complicated, important subject, in this case how to destroy the earth.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
260

Thanks! So my intuition that it involved a complicated interaction between networks and local affiliates seems right. I guess the point I don't understand is "This kills off the ability of local broadcasters to have exclusive rights (and thus sell ads) in their local markets." Aereo is still selling the local ads and only doing so to people who live in the local market. What is it about having an antenna located in a warehouse instead of on my house which changes the relationship with advertisers?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
261

selling s/b showing. I don't understand what makes me subscribing to Aereo fundamentally different from buying an enormous antenna.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
262

Is the point that the reason broadcast TV still exists is that it's a way to reach old people and poor people who can't understand or afford DVRs and so are particularly lucrative ad targets? Then the problem with Aereo is not the technology but rather that it's aimed at young people?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
263

Not really. Network TV exists because Congress has set up a series of rules designed to preserve free access to the airwaves and local broadcasters. Local broadcasters pay for their content, maintains the broadcast facilities, and then sell ads to make a profit; the networks in turn rely on the local broadcasters to pay them. Aereo pays no one, doesn't incur the maintenance costs for the broadcasting equipment, and allows you to download programs on-demand and skip the ads. So they make it much less profitable for the local TV stations (who still bear all the costs but now are no longer the exclusive providers of local programming in their area, and also will lose in retransmission fees) , and in turn for the TV networks, as their fees from both the local stations and advertisers decline.

It's the cable companies, ironically, who are really hoping that Aereo wins, because ultimately they want local stations to shut down and for them to stop being forced to carry them and/or negotiate with them. They'd love for CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX to just be regular cable channels which they could treat as regular cable channels.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
264

Sorry, "Network TV" in that second sentence should be "Broadcast TV."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
265

240 makes some good points: "Atmospheric considerations are ignored here since it is far more energy-efficient to manually remove the Earth's atmosphere, move the planet, and reinstall it."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
266

But broadcast TV already does all of that (if you have a DVR). Why is aereo the problem not broadcast TV the problem?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
267

Well, I don't understand what you are asking or are confused about. With a DVR, you can skip or fast forward through some ads (often in a somewhat cumbersome way) and time-shift your viewing. But with Aereo you both (a) undermine the availability of retransmission fees to local broadcasters, because you make carriage over cable less likely (b) allow people to effectively design their own broadcast schedule, thus undermining exclusivity in a way that goes well beyond just having a DVR. For both reasons, you're making the local television station far less profitable while giving broadcast rights to a competitor that hasn't paid for those rights. Also, the Second Circuit's reasoning doesn't require geographic restrictions and Aereo's own geographic restrictions are (apparently, I've never used the service) easy to evade, so that, if it's upheld, you could use Aereo to broadcast for free the local NY station even if you're in Chicago, which would obviously kill the local broadcast model entirely if it took off. So Aereo is a threat to the entire local broadcasting model, and its system for payments and broadcast model, in a way vastly greater than a DVR.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
268

How does Aereo go "well beyond just having a DVR"? I really don't understand how (a) doesn't apply already to ordinary broadcast TV and (b) to ordinary DVRs.

((c) I understand what's going on. If the claim is that it's precisely the slingbox capabilities that are the problem, then I can see that.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
269

Thanks for 257, Halford. It clearly explains a lot of stuff I didn't understand before.

Is it ok if I root for Areo because I find local TV stations annoying?

I suppose I also find cable companies annoying. Which option is most likely to lead to the death of all forms of non-internet TV?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
270

223 turns out to be not so accurate. Sotomayor seems to have really looked into things.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
271

The local broadcasters are required to maintain their broadcast licenses and broadcast capacity, and in turn receive mandatory "retransmission fees" that the cable companies are required to pay them for carrying the local broadcasts on cble (all under very complex rules). So, these days, local TV stations make money both from advertising and retransmission fees (but increasingly the latter); the broadcast TV networks make money from selling their feed to local affiliates and from national advertising.

Ah, that clears up a lot of my confusion. I'd thought the cable companies were paying retransmission fees directly to the networks, not indirectly through the local broadcasters.

That said, this seems to be a situation of creating a baroque legal and commercial edifice to preserve a transmission mechanism which is wholly out of date. If you're not going to have proper OTA TV with serious reach requirements, why not just go full cable/Aereo and use the spectrum and broadcast infrastructure for something more useful/valuable instead? Of course to do that you'd really need to have a proper anti-trust and open-access regime for the cable/internet infrastructure, but, hey, we should be doing that anyway.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
272

268 -- Well, the local stations take it on both ends -- retransmission fees and advertising revenue. To the extent that someone watches Aereo rather than the same local station network broadcast on cable, they are undermining the viewership base for the local stations on cable providers in the area, and thus lower the retransmission fees the local stations can collect. This is a huge concern for the broadcasters. Second, to the extent someone uses Aereo who would otherwise have just used a regular antenna, you're almost certainly lowering the ultimate rate that advertisers will pay to local broadcasters for advertisements shown during local broadcasts, because of the way in which the ad-skipping feature works. While of course you're right that there may also be a diminution in rates because of DVR use, this isn't really a problem for broadcast-only customers of the local stations, most of whom don't have DVRs. So, to the extent you're poaching people from cable, you're taking away retransmission fees; to the extent you're poaching pure broadcast viewers, you're lowering advertising fees.

In addition, from the broadcast network's perspective (though not from that of the local TV station), the network loses money because Aereo doesn't pay the network anything for content. As I say, if Aereo really took off it would force the collapse of the entire local TV station model, and the networks would simply become cable stations, which of course the cable operators want.

Which option is most likely to lead to the death of all forms of non-internet TV?

Neither one, really. But if you think cheap over-the-air broadcast TV is important than you should probably want Aereo to lose; if you want to stick it to the old-school TV networks for the purpose of sticking it to them and force them to become more like cable channels, then you should root for Aereo.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
273

From Clement's oral argument: " It ­­ it becomes a public performance on behalf of the sender, but it still would be a private performance on behalf of the receiver."

Is this a mainstream/judicially supported interpretation of the 1976 act? That a performance can originate as public at one end and be private at the other?

To the extent that someone watches Aereo rather than the same local station network broadcast on cable, they are undermining the viewership base for the local stations on cable providers in the area, and thus lower the retransmission fees the local stations can collect. This is a huge concern for the broadcasters.

But the local stations have a massive competitive advantage, namely that their customers don't have to pay a fee to watch them. In a "fair fight", they'd have the biggest audience by far and advertisers would pay for it (to the extent they'd pay for anything). Which is how it is in the UK and indeed in most of Europe and for all I know the world. Even after Sky bought basically all the live sport in the country, its audiences were and are* far smaller than anything on terrestrial.

*Various other companies have now made inroads into Sky's sports rights because of EU competition law and various other things, so it's not quite as dramatic any more.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
274

baroque legal and commercial edifice to preserve a transmission mechanism which is wholly out of date

That's certainly one legitimate way of looking at it. Another is that there's some social value in maintaining free over-the-air broadcasts that people can pick up with a cheap antenna, and also some value in locally-based television stations that produce some local content, and so there's a somewhat convoluted mechanism set up by Congress to provide those services.

Of course you're right that you can easily come up with better, more technologically useful and fairer systems for allocating the spectrum and for distributing content over cable, all of which require more active socialism (there's an extraordinarily strong case for state ownership of cable, combined with open access and public service rules), but as with so many of these issues if you're not going to have an actually useful and well-run socialist political regime subsidizing the creation and distribution of content you have to make do with the political compromises between interest groups that exist in the real world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
275

But isn't it also true that if ordinary broadcast TV really took off it would force the collapse of the entire local TV station model? (Because again, they wouldn't be getting paid by cable companies.) And if that's the case why don't they just shut down broadcast TV anyway without Aereo?

For example, what if someone just invented a better more convenient antenna, that you could install in NYC without needing a permit. (For concreteness, maybe it's in a helium balloon that you hang out your window and so it doesn't require a building permit.) Would that also cause the networks to stop broadcasting?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
276

Sotomayor seems to have really looked into things.

She is really proving to be a formidable intellectual presence on the Court.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
277

That's certainly one legitimate way of looking at it. Another is that there's some social value in maintaining free over-the-air broadcasts that people can pick up with a cheap antenna,

Well, that's begging the question, unless I'm mistaken. I mean, the whole reason Aereo exists is that lots of people can't seem to pick up the OTA broadcasts with a cheap antenna. And from previous conversations I've had on the issue, FCC licences don't seem to require broadcasters to reach a certain percentage of the audience in their market as they do over here. I can entirely understand the desire to support free OTA service for all, but the existing regime doesn't even do that.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
278

That is, the threat of Aereo is not that it's fundamentally different from what is already available, but rather that it could cause broadcast TV to grow. As long as the audience for broadcast is constant or shrinking it's not a threat, but if it becomes more convenient then the networks will kill it?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
279

I genuinely don't understand 275/278. Maybe I've said something that was wrong or too confusing. But, the networks make money from two sources: selling advertising and getting fees from their local affiliates. The local affiliates make money from basically two sources: retransmission fees they collect from the cable companies, and local advertising that they sell. If broadcast TV took off to such a large extent that it made inroads into cable, local TV stations and the networks would be thrilled. They probably see a reduction in retransmission fees, but would also see a gain in advertising revenue (in particular, as people stopped watching cable, so that they audiences for broadcast TV networks became larger). The networks could then charge their affiliates more for the network content feed, both the networks and the local stations could charge more for advertising, and everyone would be happy. So, networks and local stations would love your hypothetical antenna scenario.

Maybe the premise of your question is this: it's theoretically possible that Aereo could increase the audience for broadcast TV so enormously, and at such great expense to the cable companies, that it could lead to an enormous increase in advertising revenue to the networks and local stations sufficient to swamp the loss of revenue (a) to the local stations, from retransmission fees (b) to the networks, from the fees paid by the local broadcasters for content. But that is not a scenario based in reality, because of the ad-skipping feature and because of what advertisers will pay for internet advertising. In reality, widespread adoption of the Aereo service would see (a) decline in both the ability of the local stations to collect ad revenue and retransmission fees and (b) in the network to collect affiliate fees. Given the nature of watching TV over the internet, there is simply absolutely no way that any increase in the number of viewers of network TV through Aereo would make up for the losses caused by Aereo. The networks would then just do what most cable stations do, which is to make a little money from advertising but take the bulk of their revenue from carriage fees paid by the cable companies.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
280

I mean, the whole reason Aereo exists is that lots of people can't seem to pick up the OTA broadcasts with a cheap antenna. And from previous conversations I've had on the issue, FCC licences don't seem to require broadcasters to reach a certain percentage of the audience in their market as they do over here.

Neither of these statements is correct. First, Aereo doesn't exist because of problems getting HD broadcasts through antennas; it exists because Barry Diller hoped to create a cheap alternative to the cable companies for people who want to watch network TV content, like sports, over the internet, and don't want to pay for cable. It is not a competitor to, e.g., high strength TV antennas and it's business model is not designed as such. Second, the FCC does set various technical and other requirements for the power at which licensees need to operate their stations, in different areas. I'm not sure how the British system works at all, but there are signal requirements for broadcasters in the US.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
281

And, further to 280, it's not just that Aereo's business model isn't competing with high-end antennas; it's that the likely consequence, in time, of widespread adoption of Aereo would be the migration of networks to cable systems and the disappearance of local over-the-air broadcasters.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
282

276: Her dissent in today's ridiculous affirmative action decision was fantastic, and bonus points for clearly getting under the skin of Roberts and Scalia in calling out their willful ignorance of reality and history.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
283

But 279.1 is exactly the point of Aereo! It's an easier more convenient way to get a working antenna that doesn't involve buying a building permit and having to dangerously monkey around on your roof.

Is the point that Aereo includes the DVR themselves? If you had to buy your own DVR/slingbox and put it in your house but you rented the tiny antenna from Aereo would that change everything?

Is the real point that advertisers make a big distinction between identical situations of TV shows sent over cable lines to homes based on whether it's called TV or Internet and advertisers will put Aereo into the latter category and not the former?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
284

Honestly, I think I answered your question in 279.2. You are wrongly assuming that the end result in revenue to both networks and local stations from widespread adoption of watching network TV over Aero would be the same as rejection of cable and a widespread re-adoption of watching broadcast TV over antennas, which is just absolutely not the case. I could explain why again but I just explained why.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
285

279 is remarkably clear and informative.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
286

That was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
287

284: I understand why that's the end result of Aereo, what I don't understand is why that's not the end result ordinary broadcast television.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
288

I mean what I want is ordinary broadcast TV as an alternative to cable. Aereo seems the best way to get it given that I live right on the border of a metro region and so would have trouble getting a big enough antenna installed.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
289

287 -- put simply, because of what advertisers will pay for different modes of watching TV.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
290

Thing is, for Aereo to be as disastrous as the networks seem to think it would be, wouldn't a whole lot of people need to migrate over to it, if not immediately, then at least over time? But why would so many people want it? The DVR ability? Shitty reception? Won't most people just stay where they are because its free and there's no reason to change it?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
291

She is really proving to be a formidable intellectual presence on the Court

Closer watchers might have a different impression, but my impression is her intellectual fitness for the court was questioned more than any other recent nominee's. I'm pretty happy with her too, and her prestige among Hispanics, especially women is prodigious.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
292

Given the nature of watching TV over the internet, there is simply absolutely no way that any increase in the number of viewers of network TV through Aereo would make up for the losses caused by Aereo.

I'm kind of curious about this, because while I understand that advertisers pay less for "internet" ads, I really don't get why OTA TV ads on an Aereo-enabled device are more analagous to ads on, say, Youtube or Hulu than they are to OTA ads on a conventional TV. Certainly not a conventional TV in the UK, which is more likely than not to be connected to a DVR that is capable of, if not outright ad-skipping, certainly near-instaneously fast forwarding through an ad break. What is the "nature of watching TV on the internet" here that is different from watching it conventionally?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
293

276 - Sotomayor's nomination has definitely turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises of the Obama administration. (Question: was Jeffrey Rosen's fact-free smearing of Sotomayor more racist than it was sexist? Or was it just some sort of next-level concern trolling shit that transcends boundaries?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
294

293: I contemplated bringing that up as well. I think a bit of all three,


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
295

289: ah, good, now we're getting somewhere. So why do advertisers care so much about distance from screen to antenna.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
296

Look, I didn't sign up to be your goddamn tutor here. Look some of this up yourself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
297

I have two guesses:

1) The people deciding advertising budgets are old and technophobic.

2) The audience for network TV are different from the audience of streaming video.

In either case it seems like no matter what happens with aereo the networks will stop broadcasting soon. In case 1) because the ad execs die and in case 2) because the old people watching network TV die. Any influx of young broadcast TV watchers is going to consist of users who use DVRs.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
298

DVR use is at about 40% penetration, and rate of adoption is slowing. There's a huge non-DVR audience. Most people who use DVR's don't actually skip ads, which is pretty hard to do, or time shift. People watching on a Roku, and doubly so watching on a computer, are used to having no ads at all and are almost always time shifting. I don't know what you mean by "the networks stop broadcasting" or really what you're talking about at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
299

I mean, I really don't want to be a dick about this, but you really don't know anything about these issues yet for some reason seem annoyingly convinced that you do.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
300

Except Hulu, even the Premium, forces me to watch a gazillion fucking ads. So irritating.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
301

Lazyweb--

Is there a device out there that will record OTA shows similar to a DVD with skip forward, etc.? Any smart-ass that says VCR is first against the wall.

I don't mind springing for a nice antenna, I just cut the cord on cable TV and Hulu/Amazon/Netflix ain't cutting it for broadcast TV.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
302

I think you can buy a Tivo or equivalent that serves as a DVR and works just with an HD antenna.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
303

Here. Looks like you can also get all of your internet TV through the same thing without needing a Roku or equivalent.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
304

You could also get one of these. I don't know the specific product, but my impression is that the manufacturer Channel Master is pretty well-known and reputable in the (tiny, tiny) universe of OTA antennae.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
305

People watching on a Roku, and doubly so watching on a computer

I watch more TV commercials today with Hulu Plus than I have at any time since I was a teenager at home.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
306

I think it's fair to say you're a TV viewing outlier. Hulu Plus has, I think, two single 30 second ads per half hour of content, max. Maybe fewer ads. No commercial broadcast TV station has anything comparable.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
307

Most people who use DVR's don't actually skip ads, which is pretty hard to do, or time shift.

This is so shocking to me... wtf is the point, then?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
308

I don't think it's that people never use the DVR to skip ads. It's that much of the TV watching done is still done watching live TV, people often just forget they've recorded something and don't fast forward (I know this has happened to me) or, sometimes, are caught by a visually appealing ad.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
309

....

When we get fusion running on Earth (hah), we should be able to send a fusion reactor to Jupiter and just let it suck in everything. Gravity-feed hopper, like. So not turning it into a sun but setting it on fire.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
310

309: to what benefit?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
311

310 is crazy talk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
312

Most of what I want Aereo for is watching live (Oscars, major sporting events, presidential debates, etc.). I might also end up watching a few shows a day or week earlier than otherwise, but that's not something I care enough about to pay for.

I live really far from most broadcast TV, without a big fancy antenna we'd only get PBS and fundamentalist Christian TV. But I think we live just barely close enough to the nearby city that Aereo might still put us in the area.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 6:46 PM
horizontal rule
313

You can pay for a long distance antenna that will pick up any broadcast signal within 50-70 miles, for IIRC about $150. So, about a year of Aereo.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
314

They're all right around 60 miles away. It appears that in addition to an antenna you also need a booster and probably a rotor plus some luck with trees an hills. Total cost probably more like $250 plus at least a day's work with no guarantee that it'll work in the end. It may still be worth it once I buy a house, but definitely not worth it in a rental.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
315

there's an extraordinarily strong case for state ownership of cable

You think the heavy hand of state ownership would have delivered valuable consumer innovations like the World Fishing Network and God's Learning Channel? I refute you thus!


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
316

PBS, the CW, and TBN are the only stations that one can get without a lot of work.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
317

Paying for installation and equiptment looks like it would come out to around $500, or over 3 years of Aereo. That's without a DVR (useful for pausing and rewinding sports!), which would be another 2 years. And I'd be on the hook for any repairs that the antenna needed, DVR replacements, and energy costs. And that's without factoring in the additional features Aereo gives (like working during a storm, or being able to record when no one is home to play with the antenna direction).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:52 PM
horizontal rule
318

Boo hoo hoo hoo. Also, note that if you're actually out of the broadcast range, you should be out of Aereo's range, unless you screwed around with their system.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
319

Looking at maps for other metro areas it certainly seems like we'd be considered in range (which seems sensible, we're in range but it's difficult).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
320

All you ad skippers/Hulu Plus complainers are first up against the wall. Look you fuckers, people need to get paid and it's an easy way to pay according to popularity and shit. I don't want to fuck around with a bunch of nonsense, I just want some kind of Roku box or whatever to get me the equivalent of the network tv model for everything and I'll pay a few bucks a month for access and see some ads.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
321

I'm going nuts right now because I have Roku and can't seem to find any way to watch the NBA playoffs on it. I'm willing to pay money, why won't capitalism serve me?! (And don't even get me started on the horrible NBA league pass -- featuring every game you don't want to see, if you might want to see it it's blacked out).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:16 PM
horizontal rule
322

Around one in three games is available on TNT overtime. Otherwise can't get them for under a thousand dollars a year.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
323

I miss being on the west coast where I could watch sports in bars.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
324

321: Word.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
325

Don't blame capitalism just because you're not willing to spend 1K/year on the NBA playoffs!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:35 PM
horizontal rule
326

306 is way off. Hulu Plus shows 8-12 30-second ads per half hour. My experience is the same as 305: ten years ago I had a DVR; before Hulu I "stole" a lot of TV (no ads!); here I am in the future and I'm watching more ads now than I have since the 90s.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:49 PM
horizontal rule
327

(This is on new, broadcast-network shows. Ad loads seem to vary a lot depending on the show and the network.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:51 PM
horizontal rule
328

My beef with Hulu ads is the repetition. I'd be happy to fill out something giving them some guidance to products I'm interested in and my high degree of openness to ads featuring large breasted women.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
329

I ask myself What Would Ragnar Lodbrok Do?

He'd use watchseries.lt


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
330

328: Yes, that's right. 8-12 instances of 4-6 distinct advertisements in a half-hour show.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
331

I've generally come to the conclusion that tv isn't important enough to me to deal with the byzantine exclusion and inclusion rules for various devices that come with every service, including actual-paying-for-cable services. I'm starting to come to the same conclusion for films too. I still pay for Netflix (with discs) and Hulu Plus, and like everyone but Halford apparently, watch proportionally more ads on Hulu Plus than on any other service.

Just enable location on streaming tv and show me the local ads already. It can't be that hard. Unless you're business plan is to keep people on cable by tying everything to a cable plan, in which case a less opaque implementation might be more appealing.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:25 AM
horizontal rule
332

Yes, that's right. 8-12 instances of 4-6 distinct advertisements in a half-hour show.

Why would anyone watch it? That's more ads than commercial TV in the UK.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:37 AM
horizontal rule
333

332: it's fairly mysterious. I guess it still beats paying for cable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:49 AM
horizontal rule
334

Also, US TV sounds insane -- reception, and aerial stuff, I mean, not the content or pricing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:55 AM
horizontal rule
335

How much is cable anyway? It'd be about £20 a month in the UK, if you weren't subscribing to premium channels.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:57 AM
horizontal rule
336

This thread reminded me to cancel Hulu Plus, a service I haven't used in months. Thanks!


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:58 AM
horizontal rule
337

331 is where I am. It's not that I have a strong moral position about what entertainment should cost. But I hate everyone involved in the distribution of what used to be TV because I have to think too hard about how to find and pay for anything specific I happen to want. I really resent pointless mental effort.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:59 AM
horizontal rule
338

I pay about £45 a month for my package, but that includes my home phone line, 40Mbps broadband, PVR rental, and several premium [sport] channels.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:59 AM
horizontal rule
339

335: I don't know for sure but I think basic cable (that is, the standard cable channels, not just broadcast) is something like $60 a month at a minimum. When I got my internet they tried to sell me a bundle that consisted of non-HD versions of the broadcast channels for $50 inclusive. When I said "ha ah no thank you" they offered me double the internet speed (and no cable) for the same price. Okay?! Generally I think it's hard to have a reasonable cable + internet package (with maybe one pay channel) for less than $100 a month.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:01 AM
horizontal rule
340

re: 339

Jesus. As I said, I pay about that for everything. Phone, TV, and broadband, and the TV price includes a TIVO type box [actually a Youview/Humax DTR-T1000]. That includes HD versions for all of the channels that have HD versions, and 2 premium rate sports channels.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
341

The last time this came up I think I hurt Halford's feelings, but I am pleased to deploy my uncharacteristically strong leverage (I can get the shows for free) in an admittedly one-sided negotiation with giant media companies who evidently don't care about my business. It would be nice to watch somewhat more (mainstream) sports, but that's what bars are for.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
342

Comcast's current bundle (tv phone internet, no premium channels) is $90/month for a year, then,

After 12 months, monthly service charge for Starter XF Triple Play goes to $119.99 for months 13-24. After promotional period, or if any service is cancelled or downgraded, regular rates apply. Comcast's current monthly service charge for the Starter XF Triple Play ranges from $136.99 to $144.95, depending on area. TV and Internet service limited to a single outlet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:32 AM
horizontal rule
343

ttaM, when we moved to DC, our basic cable + internet was $170. Our unit is located so satellite isn't an option, and our building was wired for only one cable provider. Last year, a second cable company wired the building, and we now pay the much cheaper price of $110 and get a DVR. I think the original provider lowered rates or offered specials once there was a viable alternative.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:41 AM
horizontal rule
344

I don't have cable, and don't want cable. I'm not interested in watching some show when it's on, or going through the effort of identifying shows I might want to watch later, and then recording them as they run, and then storing the recordings. What I want is to be able to watch a whole season of some show -- maybe a season that ran 10 years ago, or maybe one that ran a year ago -- over a few weeks. Netflix or Hulu Plus are the right services for this, but there's a lot of crap in their inventories, and a lot of things that they just don't have.

(Crumb just reminded me to cancel Hulu Plus -- I was looking there for a movie last night, and really the thing is a wasteland. A wasteland of naked foreigners, apparently, but a wasteland nonetheless.)

I';e had a MLB subscription in prior years, and it's a pretty good way to pass an hour on the treadmill. Which is useful in May and June when it's too snowy/muddy to do much outside. I find, though, that after about June 15-20, I'm done with the treadmill, and it's kind of expensive to buy a whole season and only watch 6 weeks.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:43 AM
horizontal rule
345

What I find maddening about Netflix and Hulu Plus are the incomplete inventories. I don't mind at all waiting until something shows up after its initial broadcast, that's fine. But the deal where some seasons are available and some aren't, and some recent episodes are available and other slightly older ones aren't makes me want to frisbee the iPad across the room and enjoy the sound of Gorilla Glass breaking.

On the upside, I probably get more sleep now that I hate all filmed entertainment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:51 AM
horizontal rule
346

Re: sports playoffs. I must say that NBC Sports is actually killing it on the NHL playoffs this year (and I mean killing it in a good way). Two or three games available here at a time even when the Pens are playing (I do have a sports premium package mainly for the soccer and tennis so I may be getting one channel more than standard Comcast.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
347

TV and Internet service limited to a single outlet.

What does that mean? One house? To stop you sharing cable with an entire apartment block? Or literally, you can watch TV in one room?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:27 AM
horizontal rule
348

347: the latter. If you want to watch in more than one room you have to pay more per month.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:28 AM
horizontal rule
349

346: It's more hockey than I can consume, but I've actually left it on in a room I'm not in to help with the ratings ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:31 AM
horizontal rule
350

348: I don't think that's true here anymore, unless you need a second box. But I'm not sure. I don't even own a second TV.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:49 AM
horizontal rule
351

One of the better episodes of NPR's Planet Money (for once the "Economists teach us that we need more of the magic of the marketplace" message was accurate) compared internet service in the US to internet service in the UK. Apparently in the UK, people have more than one option for internet service providers. In the US, they interviewed the man who decided that the owners of the fiber would not have to let other companies provide service over the fiber (Colin Powell's son Michael), and he had been convinced at the time that allowing a monopoly over one technology would encourage new mysterious technologies to compete with it. But now he seems to regret it slightly.

Anyway, our ISPs use their monopoly pricing power to keep us subscribing to their cable services as well. Sometimes it seems like the options are $95 for internet, $100 for internet plus 10 TV channels, $105 for internet plus 100 TV channels, and $125 for internet plus 1000 TV channels.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
352

On the upside, I probably get more sleep now that I hate all filmed entertainment

How pleasant to read that! Some sort of rhetorical support.

My wife has found that Acorn, while having the same general characteristics, tilts heavily British and detective. We'll often discover a show on PBS then follow up, quickly exhausting it. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is the latest, but there won't be any more of those.

I have to admit recent British mysteries project a mood very congenial to me. In their somewhat different ways, Branagh's Wallender, DCI Banks and Broadchurch all center around decent, baffled solitary men, utterly without "swag," cordial but guarded with people who might be their friends, hungry for companionship but unable to maintain it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
353

Presumably there's a similar cartel-based explanation for why Brits pay, what is it, $200 on average for blue jeans?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
354

Re: Hulu Plus, true, there are 8-12 ads per half-hour of TV, but isn't that no worse and probably better than broadcast TV or cable? I haven't watched non-Hulu TV in a while, but I seem to remember that ad breaks were even longer back then. (Yes, America sucks, we get it.) And comparing it to foreign TV seems like apples and oranges. As I remember French TV, there were fewer ad breaks, but they were much longer.

Back to the original topic, yesterday I had forgotten it was Earth Day until an economist in the office sent us all an e-mail quoting, completely, uncritically and unironically, these two articles. I've already traded jokes about it with a few like-minded coworkers, but I'm wondering if I could or should do anything more about it. I think this article is a good counterpoint on the merits, but I'm not inclined to make waves and send it out, especially not to the whole office. Call me a wimp.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
355

343: Wow, and to think Teresa and I complain about our service. We pay about $70 a month for just Internet in DC.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:07 AM
horizontal rule
356

The thing that really bothers me about Netflix, beyond the spotty/incomplete inventory, is the lack of a makes-sense-to-humans way to filter and search said inventory. Unless I'm looking for a specific title, there's no good way to browse a genre unless it's a genre Netflix already thinks I like. I can't specify "show me all the movies/shows you have in French", so I have to settle for the crappy substitute category "Because you watched Spiral . . .". But then if I don't watch anything from that category for a while, it thinks I don't like that category anymore and it stops offering it to me, and then there's no way to tell it to show me that category again. Grr.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:11 AM
horizontal rule
357

I'd also really like a "don't even bother suggesting anything with less than three-and-a-half stars" option.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
358

I meant to include a second link in 354, but I guess I screwed it up. Trying again. It's no better than the first, but in the unlikely event that anyone was curious what I was talking about, there it is for the record...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
359

356, You can say "show me all the things you have by Director X, or with Actor X". On the Netflix website, at least. For example, I just discovered that they have a total of 1 streaming movie by either Truffaut or Godard. But they do have a documentary about them! Oh, Netflix. When will you change your name to DVDFlix+NetTVShows.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
360

The downside to Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is that I need to watch the costumes and set design and can't just knit or sew or be online. That was the last tv show I chose, but that was a few months ago.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
361

Brits pay, what is it, $200 on average for blue jeans?

For name brands, sure. In Marks and Spencer more like $45. I've no idea what the average is because I don't know what proportion of jeans wearers pay a premium to carry advertising on their arses.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
362

354: I believe a standard network ad load is 8-9 minutes/half-hour (16-18 30-second spots). Hulu is better, but you're still spending about 25% of your time waiting for the show to come back on.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
363

354,358:
One possibility is to force admission of climate change denial.

Today's CO2 PPM of 400 is an externality for markets. Here is the record of the last 800k years, range 200-300ppm. What's the market solution for this?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
364

I need to watch the costumes and set design and can't just knit or sew or be online

But is she ever beautiful! And the guy hopelessly in love with her is a former cyclist, to add interest for me.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
365

BBC Being Human had the most fantastic wallpaper ever-- really great sets.

356. The computer interface is much more powerful than the set-top one. Find what you like there, add dozens to your list.

Is there an online comparison of Netflix vs Amazon prime streaming inventory? Not a top-x hits we have list, but something searchable. I haven't found one.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
366

BBC Being Human had the most fantastic wallpaper ever-- really great sets.

356. The computer interface is much more powerful than the set-top one. Find what you like there, add dozens to your list.

Is there an online comparison of Netflix vs Amazon prime streaming inventory? Not a top-x hits we have list, but something searchable. I haven't found one.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
367

363: Oh, that's just precious.

To complement and offset the environmental hysteria promoted by Earth Day, IBD suggested an annual event called "Capitalism Day." What a great idea, especially if it was given "equal time" in our schools to provide some academic balance for Earth Day, but whose time unfortunately will probably never come.......

I mean, I don't even know where to begin. Neither The Onion nor Stephen Colbert could have done this better.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
368

Is there an online comparison of Netflix vs Amazon prime streaming inventory? Not a top-x hits we have list, but something searchable. I haven't found one.

Can I stream it?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
369

Oh, Jesus. This one's even better: On Earth Day, let's appreciate our fossil fuel energy treasures and the human ingenuity that transforms our natural resources


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
370

Ned in 351 gets it right; the main reason for overpriced cable is the last-mile monopoly over the pipes, which was a pretty obvious regulatory failure. That said, it's sort of ironic that the conversation started with interest in Aereo, a company that (if its model succeeded) would primarily benefit the cable companies.

Anyhow, everyone wants everything in the world available to them immediately, for free, with no ads. Great! Now, how do people get paid? There are better and worse ways to answer that question (most of the best ones rhyme with "mocialism" and are pretty unrealistic), but you do need an answer.

I hadn't known Hulu plus had so many ads; it must be because they think people are unwilling to pay sufficiently more for an ad-free service.

On the renting streaming media thing, ITunes also has a pretty good selection, and you can rent by the series/season with no ads. Or rent DVDs, admittedly an unthinkably horrible burden.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
371

I think Hulu's plan here is to first make the ads sufficiently annoying and then start charging a bunch to have them removed. At any rate it looks like they're considering an ad free version for $15 or so.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
372

On the renting streaming media thing, ITunes also has a pretty good selection, and you can rent by the series/season with no ads.

Maybe it's different in the US, but over here you can only buy TV series on iTunes, and it's ridiculously expensive compared to any other option. Like just under £2 an episode even for things like Children's Hospital that are only 10 minutes long. It's usually double the price of a DVD purchase, for less utility and a shit-ton of DRM. For some reason movies are a lot more reasonable.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
373

I hadn't known Hulu plus had so many ads

And you were giving other people shit for not knowing the basic facts?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
374

367/369: The response I sent to a few friendly co-workers was "The other 364 aren't enough?" One of them replied, "The Official T-Shirt of Capitalism Day: Every t-shirt you've ever bought." If we're keeping score, I had the quickest remark, but his was more original. A third person actually replied to the economist and said "So, in other words, it's working!"

363: I agree that there are a lot of good counterarguments to his e-mail, I just don't foresee them changing minds. See upthread. This is partly me being wimpy, like I said. Realistically I'm not worried about my job, but on paper I have a lot less job security than the other guy.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
375

how do people get paid?

Gwyneth Paltrow sells crap through a life-affirming newsletter and a foundation. She is currently indebted to the foundation, which also compensates her for her administrative management skill.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
376

In the last place I lived, internet alone was nearly $70/month for a starter one-year package. They offered me a deal to add less-than-basic cable + HBO (for a year) for an extra $2/month, which I took, not realizing it meant $10/month in additional taxes as well. The cable box never worked and I never got it fixed before returning it but I used the streaming services for a few tv shows. I got better resolution streaming to my laptop connected to a tv than I would have going through the cable box, since none of the channels offered would have had HD.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
377

373 -- about the broadcast industry, which is what we were discussing, yes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
378

People who are interested in watching the NBA playoffs this year should definitely not use nba-stream.com by searching something like "rockets nba-stream.com", as that site has good-quality video for every game of every series and has no ads that adblock can't handle and using it might discourage you from adhering to your moral principles by paying $1,000 for League Pass or w/e.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
379

368. Kubrick's The Killing is free on prime, but not listed there. I think they do not have Amazon's catalog.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
380

Or rent DVDs, admittedly an unthinkably horrible burden.

Nothing involving watching TV is an unthinkably horrible burden. Doesn't take much to get to more trouble than it's worth, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
381

so I have to settle for the crappy substitute category "Because you watched Spiral . . ."

I watched Downfall on NetFlix streaming, and for weeks afterwards NetFlix decided that I must be obsessed with all things Nazi and inundated me with Nazi/Hitler themed suggestions.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
382

381 - Netflix algorithms need to take things to the next level.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
383

Picture needs more archbishops.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
384

Anyhow, everyone wants everything in the world available to them immediately, for free, with no ads. Great! Now, how do people get paid? There are better and worse ways to answer that question (most of the best ones rhyme with "mocialism" and are pretty unrealistic), but you do need an answer.

It's my sense that the private efforts to extract rents from IP leads to major inefficiencies as people who would be willing to pay well over the cost of distribution get screened out of the market. Just the social effort to arrange the property rights to extract maximum payments leads to huge transaction costs, monetarily, in time and hassle for consumers, and just in wasted intellectual gamesmanship. (Of course, these transaction costs keep Halford well paid). I have always thought we would do well with the following quasi-socialist system:

--require licensing of all IP to a government or non-profit distribution platform.

--provide access to the distribution platform based on an annual subscription fee.

--distribute the subscription fee to content creators based on the number of certified downloads of their work.

--allow content creators to set an additional download fee in excess of the base subscription if they desired, and allow them to keep all income from this additional fee, if they felt their content could command a higher market price.

Something like this would basically socialize content distribution while keep pricing power for the content itself in the hands of content creators. You would still probably get middlemen who would promise e.g. advertising or publicity, but that could be delinked from control of distribution channels.

Since pretty much every household in America would gladly pay e.g. $50 a month subscription fee for a platform like this, you'd have a base of $50-60 billion in payments for content providers right off the bat. That's got to compare favorably to the $ size of the market now, but it would be far, far easier to use and provide much more public benefit and broader distribution than what we have now.

OK Halford, rip it apart...


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
385

How you do the details, especially the payment details, is very very important (advertising or no? who gets what? how much do you charge?) but assuming those can be worked out well I'm personally totally fine with something like the system proposed in 384. In the current political climate, though, it's maybe something like 5x more unrealistic than, say, single payer health care. Ironically the non-Comcast major content provider companies would probably enthusiastically go for such a system, depending on details, but the cable and major Internet companies would fight it to their last dime.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
386

380 is right. I probably spent more time on railroads in Minecraft than on TV.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
387

378: The 1k is for cable. You can't watch the NBA playoffs without a full cable subscription. It's the only way.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
388

I've generally come to the conclusion that tv isn't important enough to me to deal with the byzantine exclusion and inclusion rules for various devices that come with every service, including actual-paying-for-cable services. I'm starting to come to the same conclusion for films too. I still pay for Netflix (with discs)

This is pretty much me. When that TiVo antenna/DVR thing got linked above, I thought, "Oh, maybe this would work," but then I saw the ongoing service charge, and saw some asterisks on other features, and my brain immediately started to haze over. I just don't care that much.

I do even own a TV (antenna only), but I almost literally don't ever watch it. Maybe 1 hour since the Olympics ended? And from that baseline, it doesn't make any sense to invest money into TV, even if it would mean better options and/or a better viewing experience.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
389

But is she ever beautiful!

Oh, granted! But I'm mostly thinking, "Ooh, we could probably use that paint color somewhere!" and that sort of thing. Or wishing I dressed like her lesbian doctor friend.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
390

the main reason for overpriced cable is the last-mile monopoly over the pipes, which was a pretty obvious regulatory failure

Since this is pretty much the whole discussion, as far as I can tell, I don't understand why this topic always devolves into such a mess.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
391

If I still had the energy to troll, in my advanced age, I'd say something like this: The Wire and The Sopranos made TV watching respectable, so now people enthusiastically watch shows that are just slightly slicker pablum than what came before.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
392

The usual copyright-I-can't-get-what-I-want debate reminds me that I have tripped over this for real recently: I want to get some episodes of a certain TV show that will keep my kid quiet, and load them onto my tablet for use on an airplane flight. As best I can tell, since I'm not in the Apple ecosystem, I'm SOL for doing this legally; my least-bad option is to buy some DVDs and rip them myself (or possibly buy the DVDs and then torrent the contents because that's actually faster and easier).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
393

The Supreme Court website seems to be bogged down, but apparently Aereo is toast.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-25-14 7:33 AM
horizontal rule
394

Scalia, Thomas and Alito in dissent, apparently, but I haven't seen anything yet which says on what grounds.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-25-14 7:35 AM
horizontal rule