Re: Dance, my little puppet.

1

Isn't this partially the plot of that new Dane Cook movie?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 3:49 PM
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I believe it is, yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 3:52 PM
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YOU LADIES JUST GOT VIRAL MARKETED! OH, SNAP!


Posted by: Dane Cook | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 3:53 PM
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If there's one thing that globalization has taught us, it is that sex in Japan is frickin weird.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:04 PM
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It's kind of hard to feel sorry for the man who beats his wife. Actually, it's hard to feel sorry for any of the people; the whole thing is bizarrely amusing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:21 PM
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The bitch is back!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:23 PM
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Heh. I have sickness! And writing to do! Waaah me!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:25 PM
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I have been putting off writing a particular seminar paper for FOUR YEARS and now finally have to finish it tonight. This is extremely annoying.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:28 PM
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I too am working on a four year old paper, trying to rewrite it for its fourth submission. Actually, four years ago is when I first submitted it. It may really be a five year old paper.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:31 PM
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Didn't people used to do this (well, the seduction part) in the US before divorce laws changed?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:40 PM
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Isn't this a nasty sex thread? People with writing to do sho go over the Scott E. Kaufman's site.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:44 PM
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Mon.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:44 PM
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Tues.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 4:46 PM
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Wed?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:04 PM
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I thought you'd never ask!


Posted by: Your beloved | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:05 PM
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My writing is for cold, hard, cash money. Neener neener.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:05 PM
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"It's much easier to seduce a man than a woman," he goes on...Men are also much less hesitant about having sex with someone they hardly know....Added to which, women are not usually satisfied with just sex - they want love.

The veldt strikes again!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:19 PM
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It's an interesting variation on the principles by which torturers sometimes operate: the goal is not so much to determine whether the accused is guilty but to produce a state of affairs where you no longer have to ask the question.


Posted by: zz | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:21 PM
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Does that fall under the Bush administration philosophy of "creating reality"?


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:36 PM
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16: Mine is too. If I finish this goddamn paper by tonight, I can advance to the next "level," be ABD, and my tuition drops by like $1500.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:40 PM
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I'm with Bitch. OTOH, working for one of these companies sounds like a really interesting job. I'm not really that good at lying, cheating, and deceiving people, but if I was I'd totally work for these guys. After having my conscience surgically excised. There are times when I really wish I was a sociopath. Life is so much easier for those people.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:42 PM
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21 is exactly what sociopaths say to put our minds at ease. Everyone watch out for that togolosh.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 5:48 PM
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21: Why would you need to have your conscience excised in order, to, say, entrap some guy whose wife wanted a divorce and he wouldn't give it to her? Or to manipulate two people into meeting each other again (which friends do all the time, for free)? Or even to tell someone, look, you need to dress better and be more considerate if you want to get her back?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 6:07 PM
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B's conscience has already been excised.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 6:08 PM
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23: Maybe because it involves massive amounts of deception and manipulation?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 6:08 PM
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23: up to a point I agree. But if you're going to make a career of it, sooner or later there will be cases that aren't as clear cut. Also, what m/tch said.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 7:07 PM
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This column, linked on the sidebar of the seduction piece, contains a real gem of a line:

I'm not on holiday because there's no one I want to go with, ever since my best friend and I inexplicably chose to travel to Gujarat last October and fell out over a difference in opinion about a woman's amputated arm.
What sort of argument over an amputated arm could lead to you not wanting to travel with your best friend anymore?

"She clearly lost that arm in a car crash."
"No, you idiot, it was obviously amputated after it was caught in some machinery at her factory job."
"Oh fuck off, I'm going back to London."

(Clearly the above should be redone with the appropriate British invective.)


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 8:08 PM
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What sort of argument over an amputated arm could lead to you not wanting to travel with your best friend anymore?

"I'm sick of you carrying that amputated arm with you everywhere we travel. You don't even know whose it is, and it's starting to rot."

"Sorry, dude, this is my lucky arm."


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 8:21 PM
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I had a friend at the hospital's shipping and receiving department who lost a toe that was being shipped out for specialized testing. He said that losing a toe is about the worst thing you can do in that kind of job.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 8:39 PM
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In some ways the procedure is the same, explains Mishima.

The procedure named, I'm assuming, is seppuku followed by kaishakunin?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 8:44 PM
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25: I have no problem with manipulating and lying to people in a good cause.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:03 PM
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31: How is it you're certain that all of the cases would be good causes?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:06 PM
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Because I would only take cases that were. DUH.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:08 PM
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33: Liar.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:08 PM
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I believe we have reached an impasse.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:13 PM
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36

Sweet. Imps have great asses.


Posted by: Satan Mayo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:17 PM
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37

I believe that B is trolling or drunk or both.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:18 PM
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38

I believe that B is sincere. But B, would you have specific hotness criteria? Or just despicable/worthy of manipulation standards?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:22 PM
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39

Believe what you like.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:23 PM
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38: Hm, excellent question. I think one would have to have *some* kind of hotness standards. For instance, Dick Cheney is definitely despicable and worthy of whatever evil one would wish to do to him, but I just don't think I'd be capable of going there.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:24 PM
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40: Just lie still and think of America, B.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:31 PM
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I hope that B is drunk or trolling or both.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:31 PM
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I'm a little disturbed by the hint of uncertainty implied by "I just don't think..." Hmmm, I don't think i could do Cheney, but maybe a little wine, soft lighting...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:32 PM
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43: Well, wouldn't it depend on the stakes? I mean, like, what if he were trying to flee the country because he was wanted for a war crimes trial, and the only way to hold him long enough for the cops to show up was....?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:38 PM
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You are a far more committed patriot/humanitarian than I. I could learn to live with knowing he got away, if it came to that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:44 PM
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46

more like, if getting it on with cheney would involve his being whisked away immediately afterward by a buddhist demon to the hell of the iron mortar and pestles...


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:45 PM
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47

46: hottt!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:48 PM
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Where are your priorities people! I would get it on with Cheney if it would get him before a international war crimes tribunal. I'm certain Molly would understand.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:49 PM
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49

What about a younger, slenderer, healthier Dick Cheney.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:49 PM
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46, 48: See? Alameida and Rob understand.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:51 PM
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49: No, I wouldn't sleep with John McCain either.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:51 PM
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Di, would you sleep with Palin? If you knew it would sink the ticket?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:52 PM
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50: It puts my mind at ease to know it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:52 PM
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52: Huh. Turns out I'd consider it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:53 PM
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See? Everyone has their place in the grand scheme of life.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:53 PM
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(But not until she's been more thoroughly vetted!)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:54 PM
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Molly would understand, I'm sure, as would her new husband.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:54 PM
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If you knew it would sink the ticket?

Whoa.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:55 PM
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59

I mean, like, what if he were trying to flee the country because he was wanted for a war crimes trial, and the only way to hold him long enough for the cops to show up was....?

Of course it would be wrong to sleep with Cheney under any circumstances. C'mon, your hypothetical is the sexual-ethical equivalent of the 'ticking bomb' scenario.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:56 PM
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60

I go away for a day or two and the U.S. financial system nearly collapses. I mean, honestly.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:56 PM
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61

60: Correlation is not causation, Profe.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:57 PM
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62

your hypothetical is the sexual-ethical equivalent of the 'ticking bomb' scenario.

Well, yes, this is true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 9:57 PM
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61: So I've heard. But clearly I can't turn my back for one second, all the same.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:00 PM
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64

It's because you refused to sleep with Cheney, Gonerill. That's all it would have taken to prevent the financial collapse.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:02 PM
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63: The only thing preventing its complete and utter collapse is your ongoing lefty-foreigner-tenured-radical critique of capitalism. Let's have a look at your course syllabi to see how you're doing with that.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:06 PM
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66

It's because you refused to sleep with Cheney, Gonerill. That's all it would have taken to prevent the financial collapse.

Well, in that case pass the tinned sardines and some clips for the Glock.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:11 PM
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67

For survivalist purposes, I mean --66 is not a window into Cheney's sexual predilections.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:12 PM
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68

66 is not a window into Cheney's sexual predilections.

How about 69?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:13 PM
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69

That I did not need.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:17 PM
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70

Yep.


Posted by: Window Into Cheney's sexual predilections | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:18 PM
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71

And now the comment sequence is mocking me. Lovely.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:18 PM
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72

Now the speculation begins as to what is required of Cheney's dessicated figure to engage in a "70."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:20 PM
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73

Introducing TNR's New Election Blog: THE FLACK By Howard W-lfs-n!


Posted by: Cheney's sexual predilections | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:21 PM
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74

How about 69?

Soon after I started teaching, I was doing some class once about Schelling Points and said to my class, "Write down a number on a piece of paper -- I'll give everyone an A on the midterm if you all write down the same number. No talking to each other." They write down a number. We ascertain they didn't all write the same number. "Now, are there any numbers that might have served as a focal point, something with a lot of salience?" A woman at the front of the class perks up and says, "Sixty-nine!"


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:21 PM
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74: I want to date her!

I bet the Cheneys had a pretty hot sex life before the heart attacks. Lynne Cheney wrote a couple of novels that were apparently full of softcore porn. Perhaps the whole evil warmonger thing is a reaction to having to be celibate due to heart disease.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:49 PM
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74: This will probably only be funny to people who've been summer associates at big firms, but in one of my classes in law school the professor asked: if we knew we were supposed to meet a colleague in NYC on a particular day but we didn't know when or where, what time and place would we choose (I think the point was to demonstrate something about the proper default assumptions for laws or regulations). After a little discussion everyone agreed that the time should be noon. Then we moved on to deciding what the place should be. Someone near the front earnestly volunteered "Nobu?".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:52 PM
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By the way the answer the prof was looking for was Grand Central Station.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 10:53 PM
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Tomiya seems to be splitting hairs in claiming that this isn't prostitution because the agents are salaried rather than hourly.

Also, the really fucked up part isn't the messing with the targets, but rather the spouses/significant others of the agents who don't know what their partner is really doing for a living.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:03 PM
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Unfortunately, this answer--under the big clock at Grand Central Station at noon--only works for people who have read Thomas Schelling's book The Strategy of Conflict. The rest of you tend to spread out to places like Grant's Tomb, 59th and Fifth, the top of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Balducci's in the village, Tiffany's for breakfast, 47th Street Photo, et cetera...


Posted by: gnoLeD darB | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:05 PM
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79: Yeah, that's what I thought too! Both in terms of where my prof got the example from and likely outcome.

Comity!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:10 PM
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79 is right. I'd pick the Empire State. Though Nobu is an *excellent* choice, too.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:10 PM
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81: But Nobu is PACKED at noon, B.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:14 PM
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83

79 is true. Salience is the unanalyzed concept in the argument.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:23 PM
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82: See? Food snob.

Actually a former student of mine, now a corporate lawyer, and always a reactionary asshole (but I like him anyway) has long been after me to come to NY so that he can buy me dinner. Earlier today I couldn't think of where to make him take me. Now I know.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:28 PM
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85

I wonder if any guys get have their female friends call the seducer service to set them up with somebody. And then they trick the seducer into thinking they're married and just have lots of sex. It'd be an expensive way to get laid, but more socially acceptable than hookers, and I guess you'd like it if you got off on being one-up on someone who was trying to deceive you.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:30 PM
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86

Neil, you might want to seek counseling.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:31 PM
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87

But, b, in your moral universe, is 85 better or worse than just going to a brothel? I'm honestly not sure of your response, which should tell you something about the moral confusion that you spread.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:37 PM
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My actual thoughts about prostitution are always already contradictory. I just argue strenuously in one direction for a while, then the other, as one argument or another seems more sound to me.

That said. In my moral universe, it's more the "if you got off on being one-up on someone" thing that would be the problem, and it's probably something that the hypothetical person in this scenario and a lot of johns have in common, really. But inasmuch as the hypothetical person is getting his female friend to engage in the deception with him, that's crappier. Inasmuch as most working prostitutes probably don't get paid as well (and are less safe and more socially stigmatized) as the Japanese investigators, going to a brothel is crappier.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 7-08 11:42 PM
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89

#29: Dude, I can get you a toe by 2 o'clock.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:43 AM
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90

89: While I appreciate the fact that you're trying to compete based on earlier service, I'm going to stick with my current toe-provider. I don't need the toe before three o'clock anyway, and Walter might get upset if I used somebody else.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:01 AM
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74 - clearly a Bill and Ted fan. Are you sure she didn't say, "69, dude!"?

I would have written π .


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:23 AM
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86: I think it'd be cool if I had those fetishes instead of my current relatively humdrum ones.

I think it's bad if your female friend is creeped out by it, but it can be way better than prostitution if she thinks it's funny. My biggest problem with prostitution is that some guys are mean to hookers, and as long as that's out of the way and people are having safe sex, this is a deal to warm my utilitarian heart.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:37 AM
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||
For the price of the Iraq War, we could've bought a brand-new Toyota Prius for every household in America.

NtEW, I doubt that Toyota could make a Toyota for every household in America in a year. Or 50.
|>


Posted by: disaggregated | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:46 AM
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93: I don't consider supply constraints (on one side) or volume discounts (on the other), because they basically make the price of everything impossible to calculate. I mean, maybe Toyota would build thousands more Prius factories and unleash economies of scale unheard of in the auto industry, driving prices down?

And it's quite possible that all those vibrators would exhaust the global diamond supply. But I have no way of telling, and I don't even know how much platinum goes into the vibrators either.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:23 AM
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79: Huh. Brad, if you're still around -- is the population you're talking about California undergrads, or people who've been to NY? Because I'd think of Grand Central as a pretty strong attractor point; it beats out pretty much all the other places you mention on ease of access, and matches them on familiarity and uniqueness.

No one (for hyperbolic values of no one) familiar with New York would guess that they were going to meet on top of the Empire State Building, because it's half an hour of waiting in line and buying a ticket to get to the top. The Statue of Liberty is the same but much worse. Grant's Tomb is a hassle to get to -- it's a real walk from the subway. Any business loses on failure of uniqueness: a New Yorker thinking of Balducci's is going to instantly realize that if they're going to meet in an iconic grocery store, the other person might end up at Fairway. 59th and 5th is actually not bad, except that it doesn't work well physically: it's a huge intersection with a lot of things blocking your line of sight, and no one obvious place to stand. I wouldn't arrange to meet someone there even if they knew we were meeting there; you could stand on different sides of the statue or by the park entrance or by the Plaza for an hour and not see the other person.

I'd really be surprised if most populations who'd spent a significant amount of time in NY didn't come up with GCT as at least a strong mode. Maybe I'm wrong -- I just can't see those answers coming from people with any physical, as opposed to media-based, familiarity with NYC. (Other than whoever said 47th Street Photo. That one's just odd.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:48 AM
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Because I'd think of Grand Central as a pretty strong attractor point; it beats out pretty much all the other places you mention on ease of access...

You darn well would think that, since you live within walking distance.

MC and I did meet LB at GSS last January. Now I understand why: Schelling.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 6:13 AM
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I read a story including two Afghan brothers who'd sworn to meet in Kabul in the fall, but didn't specify the year. Each of them would come to Kabul in the fall whenever possible, but in the story they hadn't met up yet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 6:15 AM
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98

LB joins the War on Humor.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 6:46 AM
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99

95: live S/B "work".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 6:54 AM
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100

No one (for hyperbolic values of no one) familiar with New York would guess that they were going to meet on top of the Empire State Building, because it's half an hour of waiting in line and buying a ticket to get to the top.

Yeah, but for those less familiar with NYC, there's that Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie (referencing some classic movie?) where the gimmick is "meet me on such-and-such date on the top of the Empire State Building." Setting aside the propriety of confusing a meeting with a colleague and a bad romantic comedy, it's at least a shared cultural reference...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:10 AM
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the hell of the iron mortar and pestles...

This actually seems to have been reinvented in the form of video games, specifically the Japanese interpretation of the online first person shooter. I remember these being more or less painless, absurd diversions, best played over the LAN in the university computer lab. But even back then, an hour or so of Doom left you with small puddles of stress chemicals in your major muscles, and the feeling that maybe such was not a good thing.

I bring it up because recently I had the stupid, stupid idea that it might be fun to challenge my teenage nephews to an online shoot-out. Must practice first, obviously, so as to be a respectable match. And it'll be fun. As it happens, the situation with contemporary online shooters is this: your investment in high-definition large screens, projectors, surround sound systems and what not, all of which can only enhance the joy when applied to the showing of films, brings only sustained horror when you attempt to simulate the shooting of other people in the head. You discover that your online opponents are pitiless robots whose accuracy with the simulated M4 carbine never falters, and so you instead get to watch a simulation of yourself getting shot in the head; you then fall to the floor and lie still in a simulated pool of your own blood. This scene is played over and over in what looks to be some back alley in Fallujah, Iraq. The game designers use realism when it suits them; the shafts of sunlight, the burned out cars, and the sound of bullets whipping past are faithfully rendered. However, they also can't seem to resist adding their own touches; such as, say, having your character emit a blood curdling scream at the moment of death. Every single time.

The expression 'blood curdling' was well invented. After only a few minutes of this treatment there is nothing but cortisol in your veins.

What could it mean for society? Throw in pizza and regular non-exercise, and you'll surely see a demographic dent emerge in time.

Anyway, one for Dick Cheney to try at Christmas with the grand-kids.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:27 AM
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102

Unfortunately, this answer--under the big clock at Grand Central Station at noon--only works for people who have read Thomas Schelling's book The Strategy of Conflict.

Aren't these the only people worth meeting?


Posted by: OPINIONATED ECONOMIST | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:29 AM
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103

Desperately seeking strangers seeking salience. The bench near the creepy looking guy at The Battery.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:39 AM
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104

100: Yeah, that's the thing -- I figure that sort of attractor point only works with a reasonably well defined population. If you told me to meet someone in Moscow, I'd head for the main entrance of St Basils, because it's pretty much the only thing in Moscow I can picture. And I'd feel pretty good about that if I were meeting another American.

A Russian meeting a Russian, or much more so a Muscovite meeting a Muscovite, would be likely to have a much broader range of 'places it makes sense to meet' in their heads, and someplace I've never heard of might be obvious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:44 AM
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104: but you're discounting people's second-order considerations; given the set "everybody", you might try to put yourself in their shoes, and think "well, where would a total neophyte to the city think of?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:53 AM
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106

True, but (and of course this is going to be different city by city) for NY I don't think there is a 'total neophyte' equilibrium; if you're trying to meet someone whose sole acquaintance with the city is media images or some light tourism, I think you're SOL, because there are too many different NY "establishing shots".

Other cities are probably different, in terms of having a strong attractor point for people who don't know anything about them. I'd figure Paris you'd get a 50-50 shot with the base of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe (actually probably weighted more towards the Tower). Moscow, again, I'd bet pretty heavily on St. Basils. And so on. But NY, Chicago, and LA, I'd say are all hopeless unless you're a local or semi-local meeting another. (Like, when we talked about this when I was at the U of C, noon on the steps of the Art Institute was a pretty strong mode. But I don't think most people who haven't spent a lot of time in Chicago have even heard of the Art Institute. And I couldn't begin to guess about LA -- if you can get to the Hollywood sign, I might go there, but I don't have any idea if it's even accessible.)

(And the Nobu thing was very funny.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:02 AM
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if you're trying to meet someone whose sole acquaintance with the city is media images or some light tourism, I think you're SOL, because there are too many different NY "establishing shots".

Well, so, wasn't this the specific example tested, where the people ended up at the top of the Empire State Building?

It wasn't everybody's first choice, but everybody ended up there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:06 AM
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Omit extraneous italics.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:07 AM
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I suspect Hollywood and Highland or the Capitol Records building would end up being the spot in LA, and they're right next to each other, so there you go.

The Sunset Strip and Venice beach are also possible, but I think they would end up being too big to really support a single meeting spot, and people would figure that out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:08 AM
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Well, so, wasn't this the specific example tested, where the people ended up at the top of the Empire State Building?

I missed this. Brad said his class was all over the map -- ESB, Statue of Liberty, Balducci's... what group of people all ended up at the top of the ESB? (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan made a date to meet there, as did whoever it was in An Affair to Remember, but that's different.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:09 AM
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110: god, I can't remember. It was either in Freakonomics or something by Gladwell, and I think they were talking about the research to which gnoLeD was referring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:11 AM
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"well, where would a total neophyte to the city think of?"

Starbucks?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:14 AM
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I suspect Hollywood and Highland or the Capitol Records building would end up being the spot in LA, and they're right next to each other, so there you go.

Never heard of either of those places. Perhaps you mean "Hollywood and Vine".

The Sunset Strip and Venice beach are also possible, but I think they would end up being too big to really support a single meeting spot, and people would figure that out.

My next guess after those two would be the Mann's Chinese Theater. I don't know where that is or what it is, but it's the only building I can think of in LA.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:14 AM
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I think LAX is the only possible answer in LA. (Maybe if it is evening, Grifftih Observatory for the romantic or the teenage angst ridden.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:15 AM
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Mann's Chinese Theater.

Oh, nice. If I'd thought of it (Mann's is the name? Why did I think Grumman's?) I'd end up there.

And gnoLeD sounds like a past-tense verb.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:16 AM
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Perhaps you mean "Hollywood and Vine".

A block away from Hollywood and Highland.

Mann's Chinese Theater

Right next door to Hollywood and Highland. Actually connected to it.

(Hollywood and Highland's where they do the Oscars.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:17 AM
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115: "Mann's Chinese Theater" is now part of the Grauman theater chain, and is called "Grauman's Chinese Theater", but, you know, same difference.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:17 AM
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So some googling reveals a sense among some that the top of the ESB has supplanted the clock at GCS as the primary Schelling Point in people's minds as train travel has become less central to our lives.

I wish I could find the article where they went ahead and tested it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:23 AM
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Or alternately, I wish darB would show back up and waste most of the day explaining this to us.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:23 AM
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Or just announce a NY Unfogged meetup... but don't give a time or place!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:30 AM
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Pace 118, I'm imagining myself at GCS on the phone to the rest of the group. "You waited in line and bought tickets? Do the words 'central station' mean nothing to you?"

I'd have to think that in Chicago, the Art Institute would quickly emerge as the consensus choice. A complete n00b would have to acquire some knowledge of the city to make any choice, whether by wandering around or reading the introductory section of a travel guide, and the AI steps just make sense.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:31 AM
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"Everybody's here at Fresh Salt at 7PM?!? That's amazing!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:31 AM
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121: my first thought was the millenium blob.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:32 AM
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Or the Sears Tower, or Chicago General, or Ferris Bueller's high school.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:32 AM
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I've taken the train to New York about eight times and always ended up in Penn Station, never Grand Central. My vote would be for Madison Square Garden anyway, although there's no obvious one place to stand there to meet people.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:34 AM
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118: I found a Marginal Revolution post suggesting that, but I think Cowan was speculating, and forgot about the continuing salience of subway travel.

To be a strong Schelling Point, you need a bunch of different qualities: salience in the 'everyone's heard of it' sense; uniqueness (that is, if there are three strong possibilities in a city -- two museums and a train station, I think the train station wins because there's no good way to decide between the museums); functionality as a meeting place (that is, having the salient point be small enough that you'd actually find the other person. This is why Times Square isn't a Schelling point); and accessibility/convenience (the Oval Office is probably the most salient spot in DC, but not a plausible place to meet).

I think you're only going to have a S. Point emerge when you've got a population sufficiently acquainted with the target city to have a sense of how the most salient points score on the other axes; the winning point is going to be the most salient that's at least adequate on accessibility and functionality.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:35 AM
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126: well, I think the Empire State Building actually scores quite well on a number of those axes; it's not particularly convenient to get from the lobby to the observation deck, but other than that it's as recognizable as any building in the world, it's right in midtown, it's not that big a space, and so on.

Plus, this anecdote I can't find totally proves me right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:37 AM
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Or where there's one head-and-shoulders above the pack winner on salience.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:38 AM
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But does the Empire State Building serve oysters?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:41 AM
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I suppose the Schelling Point for London would be Trafalgar Square, by the lions and/or fountains. Not sure about Glasgow, a couple come to mind.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:42 AM
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Piccadilly Circus is a possibility for London, no? I can't remember if there's an obvious specific spot. Or the plaza in front of St Paul's.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:44 AM
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129: you can't fool me with your trick questions. New York City was once known as "The Big Oyster", the Empire State Building serves the Empire State, of which New York City is a part. Ergo, there is at least one oyster served by the Empire State Building.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:44 AM
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New York City was once known as "The Big Oyster"

Ah, yes. To the young innocent coming to the big city from out of town, it can seem hard and rough on the outside. But with hard work and luck, one can penetrate through the forbidding shell to the true gloopy and mucusoid heart of the city.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:47 AM
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re: 131

St. Paul's would make no sense to me. Piccadilly Circus is basically a busy road junction and the pavements around it are sodden with people.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:48 AM
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ESB or SOL are the answers for NYC. GSS is nuts. But I think this whole "theory" (is that even the right word?) is full of shit. In any town over 50,000, you're not going to find the people you're looking for. Deal with it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:48 AM
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I don't know why I find this fascinating -- I'm not actually all that interested in whatever point Schelling was trying to make, but whenever it comes up I find myself riveted by arguing about how you pick a really good Schelling point. Like, if I thought about it really hard I'd be practically prepared for meeting people in cities worldwide without specific prearrangement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:49 AM
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135 was me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:49 AM
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133: also it's salty, raw, allegedly an aphrodisiac, and can contain toxins.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:49 AM
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135: the anecdote I still can't find says you're wrong!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:50 AM
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"Everybody's here at Fresh Salt at 7PM?!? That's amazing!"

This happens to me all the time. But usually on Friday night around 10.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:55 AM
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ESB or SOL are the answers for NYC. GSS is nuts.

And you, my anonymous friend, are not from around NY and wouldn't be successful in meeting someone who was. There's no reasonable way to meet someone at the SOL.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:58 AM
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There's no reasonable way to meet someone at the SOL.

Unreasonably, however, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man could ferry you rather quickly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:00 AM
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"No one meets people there anymore, it's too well-known."

Yogi Berra is the anti-Schelling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:00 AM
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The Staten Island Ferry


Posted by: Spalding Gray | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:02 AM
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You can meet Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:04 AM
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Argh. This was all a fiendish plot to drive me nuts looking for the article that empirically (if hardly rigorously) tested the Manhattan problem.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:07 AM
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Isn't the obvious answer now Ground Zero? Don't you guys know that 9/11 changed everything?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:14 AM
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f you can get to the Hollywood sign, I might go there, but I don't have any idea if it's even accessible

A friend from out of town was hiking by the Observatory and found a great view of the Hollywood sign. "It looks so close!" he said to himself. "Surely I can walk to it."

The road became windier and steeper and then not so much of a road. He found himself scrambling up rocks. As he approached the 'D', a helicopter rose from the other side of the hill and blasted "YOU ARE TRESPASSING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. TURN AROUND NOW."

He was in no condition to fight off a helicopter, so he trundled down the hill. He staggered around the chichi hill neighborhood, dehydrated and lost, until someone let him drink from their hose and gave him directions. Later that night he passed out at the restaurant.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:14 AM
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Oh. SOL is Statue of Liberty. I've been trying to figure out where in New York is the Scrape-Off Layer.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:17 AM
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144, 145: Excuse enough for me to put in my case for Millay to be Unfogged Poet Laureate (dead white female version) based on "The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge".

What should I be but a prophet and a liar,
Whose mother was a leprechaun, whose father was a friar?
Teethed on a crucifix and cradled under water,
What should I be but a fiend's god-daughter?

...
...

In through the bushes, on foggy days,
My Da would come a-swishing of the drops away,
With a prayer for my death and a groan for my birth,
A-mumbling of his beads for all he was worth.

And there sit my Ma, her knees beneath her chin,
A-looking in his face and a-drinking of it in,
And a-marking in the moss some funny little saying
That would mean just the opposite of all he was praying!

He taught me the holy-talk of Vesper and of Matin,
He heard me my Greek and he heard me my Latin,
He blessed me and crossed me to keep my soul from evil,
And we watched him out of sight, and we conjured up the devil!
...
...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:19 AM
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I suppose it could also mean shit out of luck, but that describes quite a few place in NY, based on my limited experience. In fact it's pretty much everywhere that isn't the one true Schelling point if you are trying to meet up.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:20 AM
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There's no reasonable way to meet someone at the SOL.

Ah, but the problem itself is an unreasonable one, and assumes a significant commitment to meeting on the part of the participants. Picking the wrong place results in the expenditure of effort for no result, so it's worth a bit of effort to get to the right place.

So Brock would successfully meet up with me (if he picked the ESB).

I'm not a New Yorker, though.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:23 AM
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152 was me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:23 AM
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149, 151: Heh. The acronyms keep making me instinctively think people are suggesting you'll be shit out of luck if you don't order the extra special bitter...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:24 AM
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Finally, they came up with a new Law & Order spinoff show. Looks like the grittiest one yet.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:26 AM
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148: much easier to get to it from the top. That's what suicides usually do.

Those are some steep damn hills around the Hollywood sign; the San Gabriel mountains are the steepest in the continental US, I think, although I'm not quite sure if the Hollywood Hills technically count as part of that range.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:26 AM
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I'm still trying to figure out "GSS." I'm guessing Grand Sentral Station.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:27 AM
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156: I think they are technically part of the Santa Monica Mountains. Not sure, though.

Grauman's is a very good choice. We could meet in the valley formed by the impression of Clint Eastwood's cock.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:34 AM
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156:They are actually an eastward extension of the Santa Monica Mts. LA really is in a freaking incredible natural setting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:35 AM
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I've hiked up to the Hollywood sign -- it's a long way, and I wasn't able to get right up to it. The sign was separated from where I was by a little ravine, and by the time I was there I was, as Wrongshore describes, exhausted and dehydrated and didn't feel like trying to cross it.

I was with a couple friends from NY, who wanted to go on a hike and showed up in wool pants, a white skirt, leather shoes, ballet flats. These were all completely thrashed by the time we got back home.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:41 AM
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I vote for the carousel at Griffith Park.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:42 AM
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158, 159: still and all, they're pretty damn steep, like the rest of the (southern?) coastal ranges. Steeper than the Sierras.

Yes, though, it's true: it took a hell of a lot of discount tire stores to make that a place that beautiful look like a bleak urban dystopia. Well, and you had to pave an awful lot of rivers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:44 AM
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Grand Central is the obvious choice, and I say this as someone who has probably spent no more than two weeks in NYC, summed over my lifetime. Maybe three.

In Chicago, I think the Bean might now surpass the AIC, as 123 suggested. Though depending on who I was meeting, the Seminary Co-op might come to mind.

Other cities seem trickier. Boston? Nothing comes to mind, and I've spent much more time there than in NYC. Maybe next to Out of Town News in Harvard Square, if we're allowed to go out of Boston proper?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:59 AM
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I think LAX is the only possible answer in LA.

Bad idea. Hollywood and Vine or the Chinese Theater, good ideas.

The Statue of Liberty is fine, but *on top of*? Why?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:59 AM
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it took a hell of a lot of discount tire stores to make that a place that beautiful look like a bleak urban dystopia.

This is impressive, isn't it.

Luckily, LA isn't exceptional in this way ... the west coast has a lot of stunning settings, and LA wasn't the best of them even before the blight.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:01 AM
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163: for Boston: the common? Union Oyster House? Fanueil Hall? Harvard Yard?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:02 AM
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165: and if you can get a little above or away from the average streetscape, there's plenty of beauty left in LA. I was just being a jerk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:04 AM
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What's the best choice in Rome? The Spanish Steps?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:04 AM
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Boston? Nothing comes to mind

The weird-ass looking conrete-y city hall thingy?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:05 AM
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I was just being a jerk.

Well, that too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:05 AM
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169 made me think of Faneuil Hall, which isn't even concrete.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:06 AM
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168 - It's got to be the Colosseum.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:08 AM
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You know what would be a challenging city for this game? Houston.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:10 AM
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166: Boston Common or the Harvard Yard seem a bit large for trying to meet someone, no? The other suggestions work pretty well.

172: I considered the Colosseum and rejected it, because it's large, there are huge crowds, and there's no one well-defined meeting spot. Or maybe there is, nearby: next to the Arch of Constantine?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:11 AM
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168, 172: Trevi fountain! Geez.

173: Johnson Space Center? The Astrodome? Yeah, that's a toughie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:14 AM
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the west coast has a lot of stunning settings, and LA wasn't the best of them even before the blight.

SF is actually a rather ugly city once you correct for the fact that it has one of the most beautiful natural settings on the planet for a city. But you can't ruin the Bay. And thank god for the parks, which are exempted from this critique (Golden Gate Park...wow!).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:17 AM
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But you can't ruin the Bay

Indeed. And if we're allowing the whole continent, I'd say Vancouver has it beat for setting. The west coast is just lousy with beautiful settings. Perhaps too much so. From what I've seen, most of the continent has a lot of bleh, punctuated by beautiful spots --- which makes you pay attention to them. Parts of the west coast encourage you to be jaded about it. Hawaii's like this too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:23 AM
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The Spanish Steps are a bit crap, but when I was there in March, there did seem to be a lot of people using them as a meeting point.

If I had to sit and wait for someone, Trevi fountain, definitely. Just a nicer placer to be.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:29 AM
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SF is actually a rather ugly city once you correct for the fact that it has one of the most beautiful natural settings on the planet for a city.

You're a weirdo.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:30 AM
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Portland, OR is Pioneer Square. Open and shut.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:33 AM
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179: parts of SF (the sunset, the mission) are pretty darn ugly. In general, though, yes, PGD is a weirdo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:35 AM
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I was referring to the idea that you have to correct for where the city is.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:36 AM
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If you do correct for natural setting, though, Amsterdam is undoubtedly number one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:42 AM
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re; 183

Are you kidding?

Seriously?

Odd.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:44 AM
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I used to think that Vancouver was the best anywhere, but DS informed me about the grim alcohol situation there. Forget Vancouver.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:44 AM
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173: You know what would be a challenging city for this game? Houston.

It would be someplace in Austin.

Maybe the Galleria (mall out by 610 West if I recall) Houston, like LA is a car place (per my deprecated LAX solution). If you are the rare outdoor walker downtown, the pool/fountain at City Hall, otherwise wander the downtown tunnels.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:45 AM
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but DS informed me about the grim alcohol situation there. Forget Vancouver.

I guess you missed the part where DS was wrong.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:57 AM
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Maybe the Galleria

I thought of that too. It's a pretty deep condemnation of a city when a mall is high on the list, I think.

Perhaps the museums.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:59 AM
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In Chicago, I'd actually go with the Sears Tower (skydeck entrance) before The Bean or Art Institute. I mean, c'mon, the tallest building in North America and formerly tallest in the world for a few decades, can be seen from (nearly) everywhere in the city, plus it's right next to Union Station and a major L stop.

Global cities make this much harder. Sydney's a piece of cake, and Paris would be pretty easy, but I'm having a hard time thinking of too many others even among cities I know pretty well. I'm trying to remember if there's a single viewing place closest to the Merlion in Singapore.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:59 AM
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No, I had the same experience, but I thought it was exceptional, or lack of information on my part. I found nothing within what most people call walking distance of UBC. I did find something, but I don't normally want to walk five miles for a couple of beers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:00 AM
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The Trevi fountain is indeed better. I'm a moron for not thinking of it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:00 AM
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but I thought it was exceptional, or lack of information on my part.

But you were pretty much right. UBC is weird area. It's not hard to find a drink in most of the city, and the 1am thing is both avoidable, and not specific to the area (i.e. it's much of the country).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:01 AM
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This is too important to take chances with, SB.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:07 AM
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This is too important to take chances with, SB.

Vancouver perhaps underperforms slightly, but Richmond is the only real problem area


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:11 AM
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189: But the Sears Tower is really sort of in the middle of nowhere, unless you work in banking or something like that. Being near Union Station doesn't seem like a plus to me. In any case, it won't be the tallest building in Chicago for much longer.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:11 AM
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But the Sears Tower is really sort of in the middle of nowhere

This is the real problem with cities like Houston. Everything is sort of in the middle of nowhere.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:14 AM
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The traditional place for culchies (rural hicks) to meet in Dublin is under Clerys' clock. (Clerys is a department store on O'Connell St., the main street of the capital.) Not sure where two Dubs would choose to meet. The GPO (also on O'Connell St. and the main locus of the 1916 Rising) would be a reasonable choice.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:18 AM
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So, a few years ago my parents and siblings and some friends were all meeting in Italy (where none of us live) for a week. Everyone else flew into Rome and drove north to the small villa where we were staying but my brother was on some other schedule. So the actual plan was that we would drive to Orvieto one day, and my brother would fly into Rome and take the train to Orvieto, and we would all meet "somewhere in the town square, sometime in the afternoon."

That was the entire plan. It probably would have worked better if my stepmother hadn't misremembered what day it was supposed to happen.

Also it hadn't really occurred to me before that this is probably the fault of my dad being an economist. Crazy game theorists!


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:22 AM
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Is there a reasonable answer for Edinburgh? I've only spent a week there, and most of what comes to mind suffers from the "ambiguity" problem that LB noted. (The Castle or Holyrood Palace?) The place that for some reason seems compelling to me is "on top of Calton Hill", but I have no idea if anyone else would think of that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:23 AM
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Did he write you all up?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:24 AM
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The distance between the Sears Tower and the Art Institute is probably the average distance between any two adjacent buildings in Houston.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:24 AM
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200: nobody got any prizes, that's for sure


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:27 AM
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I think the answer for LA residents (not out-of-towners, who probably have never heard of it) is Runyon Canyon. At least, in years of walking the dog there, I've run into the greatest number of people. Plus, it's beautiful.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:27 AM
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Piccadilly Circus seems to be the S-point for London, in that it is always thronged with foreign people looking for other people they've arranged to meet there, and not dying quite so much since the area around the Eros statue was pedestrianised.

Rome is definitely the Trevi, Paris the foot of the Tour Eiffel - the Arc de Triomphe will get you killed by the traffic - Berlin the Brandenburger Tor...

Edinburgh?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:29 AM
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199: Waverley Station.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:30 AM
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The real answer for London is, of course, that you all check each other's entries in Who's Who in advance and meet at whatever club the largest proportion of the group are members of.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:31 AM
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205: ugly place and difficult to see someone in... why not the Esplanade?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:31 AM
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This all seems like a very pre-mobile-phone sort of game.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:40 AM
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parts of SF (the sunset, the mission) are pretty darn ugly

Racist.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:42 AM
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Why, for those of us who've read extensively about London's many attractions and unique local color, the answer is obviously the Millwall football stadium.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:43 AM
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the right London answer is obviously the Mornington Crescent station.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:45 AM
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Portland, OR is Pioneer Square.

For shame, John. Pioneer Square is in Seattle. Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland's living room, where you can rub elbows with the cream of the city's homeless youth.

This is all a fascinating demonstration of how different people balance iconic status with centrality and functionality as public space.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:53 AM
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In Mitchell, SD, the Corn Palace. No question.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:55 AM
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Jesus is a stickler, and I say we should nail him up immediately. You think the motherfucker would learn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:55 AM
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Wall Drug.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:56 AM
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Jesus, what John is getting at is that if you want to meet in Portland, you should go to Seattle.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:57 AM
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Wall Drug is in Wall, ben. We'll come pick you up after we meet in Mitchell.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:58 AM
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195: If you consider Sears Tower to be the middle of nowhere, you'd consider the Eiffel Tower to be like agreeing to meet in Patagonia. Virtually every major train line in or into the city stops within a couple blocks of it, and it's probably also the single easiest place to get to via a two-bus route.

Hong Kong's also tricky. The Star Ferry (Kowloon side?) would be way too busy at noon. Victoria Peak just has too much crap on it these days, it would be difficult to know which shopping center to meet at. Does the International Finance Center have a major lobby aside from the mall entrance?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:58 AM
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Wobegon's downtown is two blocks one way and one block the other way, a "T" except that the top part is longer than the bottom. No problem.

Unfortunately, the bars are all at the edge of town because of peculiarities in the liquor laws.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:59 AM
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I know where Wall Drug is. I was suggesting a place to meet in Wall. I didn't say so because I thought it was obvious.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:00 PM
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Japan is an interesting case for this question: the "machiawase basho" (rendezvous point) is a well-understood concept, with examples for many (most?) major train stations.

I just asked my Japanese co-worker the question for Tokyo, and without hesitation she replied "Hachiko." This is a famous bronze statue of a dog next to Shibuya Station, where for much of the day there will be scores of people milling around waiting for their friends/SOs to arrive.

Artifact of much more widely-used public transportation, I suppose.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:01 PM
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218: Fair enough; I would probably also characterize the Eiffel Tower as "middle of nowhere", but it wins major points for iconicity in a way that the Sears Tower doesn't. The AIC seems to me to be every bit as iconically "Chicago" as the Sears Tower, and significantly more convenient. YMMV. No Paris equivalent of the AIC comes to mind, but I've spent more time in Chicago than in Paris by a factor of several hundred, which probably affects my perceptions.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:07 PM
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In Wasilla, Alaska, you'd meet at the multi-use sports complex.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:09 PM
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Also, I would guess that just about everyone who visits Paris as a tourist goes to the Eiffel Tower once, whereas the Sears Tower doesn't seem to be a major part of the Chicago tourist itinerary. Maybe I'm projecting, though; I've been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and have neither been nor have any particular desire to go inside the Sears Tower or the Empire State Building.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:09 PM
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I would probably also characterize the Eiffel Tower as "middle of nowhere"

Except you can walk anywhere in Paris, and the Eiffel Tower is dead easy to get to that way or by several transit routes.

For non-locals to London, the lions in Trafalgar square probably work.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:11 PM
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209: Since when does thinking the Mission is ugly make you racist? The Latino population has long since been replaced by Google employees.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:19 PM
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parts of SF (the sunset, the mission) are pretty darn ugly

Lies. The inside of El Farolito is one of the most beautiful places on God's earth.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:21 PM
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Whereas the Sears Tower doesn't seem to be a major part of the Chicago tourist itinerary

True. I've never been to the observatory either, only the office portions. I think I just naturally gravitate toward the tallest structure as a way to define a single unique place, provided it's fairly easy to get to and there's no dominating cultural landmark. That's why I suggested the IFC for Hong Kong, even though it's super-recent and not iconic.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:23 PM
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135: In any town over 50,000, you're not going to find the people you're looking for. Deal with it.

After my sister graduated from high school (in India), she and some school friends went on a tour of the country, as did the rest of us old folks in her family.

We met, at random, about a week later, in front of the Taj Mahal.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:36 PM
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In any town over 50,000, you're not going to find the people you're looking for. Deal with it.

Yeah, this is just empirically false.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:38 PM
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Also, I would totally meet in front of the Bean.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:43 PM
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Though probably not in the middle of winter.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:43 PM
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My father-in-law worked at Wall Drug as a boy.

In Philadelphia, the iconic meeting place is Pat's Steaks at 5th and Passyunk.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:44 PM
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I think the better answer for Paris is the Île de la Cité, right in front of Notre Dame.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:44 PM
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Luxembourg gardens? Better yet, Dalloyau right there.

Oak street beach in midwinter for Chicago.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:49 PM
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For Edinburgh, I'd guess that monument to Sir Walter Scott.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:51 PM
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We met, at random, about a week later, in front of the Taj Mahal.

If I may be so littlebitch, that's not technically success in "looking for" them.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:52 PM
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For Seguin, definitely the second largest pecan in the world.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:53 PM
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And for Brussels, maybe the Mannequin Pis.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:53 PM
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And in Montgomery, definitely the Flea Market.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:54 PM
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In Austin it would have to be either the UT Tower or the Capitol Building.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 12:55 PM
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In Austin, we could probably just use our phones, M/tch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:01 PM
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242: A phone is a terrible choice for a meeting place. It's small and too easy to move around.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:03 PM
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Isn't that called the Whitman Tower now?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:03 PM
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I think I just naturally gravitate toward the tallest structure as a way to define a single unique place, provided it's fairly easy to get to and there's no dominating cultural landmark.

It's not the tallest, but I've always found the Hancock superior for both navigational and touristical purposes in Chicago. I've improved with age and now actually know a street or two, but for the longest time if I did anything downtown, I had to look for the Hancock to orient myself. Also, a drink on the 95th Floor or dinner at the Signature Room is far, far superior to the stupid Sears tower observation deck.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:10 PM
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I could think of a place, and then we could play Hot and Cold until you got there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:14 PM
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237 - true, but still. In a country of one BEEEELION people.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:15 PM
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Wall Drug is too big to meet at. It's got like thirty goddamn stores and restaurants.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:18 PM
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Yeah, Wall Drug is scary. You just know that there are a lot of perverts and criminals in a place that big.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:20 PM
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If you're in Michigan, meet at Frankenmuth. That way you can celebrate Christmas while you wait, even in July.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:22 PM
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For Seguin, definitely the second largest pecan in the world.

The world's largest pysanka isn't centrally located, but it seems the natural meeting place in Vegreville.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:24 PM
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If you're on campus, let's meet at my office.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:26 PM
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Wall Drug is too big to meet at.

What, and Grand Central Station is small?

If you're in Bishop, the natural place is Schat's Bakkerÿ.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:29 PM
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If you're in Bishop, the natural place is Schat's Bakkerÿ.

True, partly because the only other nearby options are Death Valley or the top of Mt. Whitney.

To make that explicit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:30 PM
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In Baker I would argue that the world's largest thermometer is the place to meet, but I'm willing to be corrected.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:32 PM
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Not so! You could also go to the ancient bristlecone pine forest, or Manzanar.

Actually, though, neither the forest, nor Manzanar, nor Mt Whitney, nor Death Valley is in Bishop.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:32 PM
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Schatz's, yes, unless it's during Mule Days, in which case, people, you want to go to Mule Days.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:33 PM
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If you're in Spuzzum, BC, you're already in the right place.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:35 PM
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Is 255 in response to a comment of mine that has since disappeared? Because I wrote one about Baker (Mad Greek or Bob's Big Boy), and now I don't see it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:35 PM
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You can also meet me at the biscuit conditional, if you want to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:37 PM
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That's what happens when the tribute is insufficient.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:37 PM
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Seattle: Space Noodle or no? I guess for certain people I might head to Elliot Bay, but Space Noodle seems like the only obvious pick.

Pike Place Mkt maybe, right in front of the fish. Or clock. Are there fish near a clock there? I don't remember.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:38 PM
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Doesn't Seattle have an ogre? I would meet by the ogre.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:40 PM
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I do not deprecate the biscuit conditional. I up-recate it. It makes perfect sense unless you're a poorly written Turing test. (oh yeah, creeping descriptivism! Hah!)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:40 PM
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262: I like Pike Place Mkt. We honeymooned in Seattle. I vomited for three days straight, but I still rather like the city.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:40 PM
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263: I thought it was a troll?

I can't figure out if I actually used a biscuit conditional in 255.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:41 PM
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You did not.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:41 PM
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I vomited for three days straight

Oh, that was just rain.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:42 PM
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With hail!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:42 PM
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263: I think it's a troll. Under a bridge.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:42 PM
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I can't figure out if I actually used a biscuit conditional in 255.

Not as I understand them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:43 PM
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The ogre is in the Fremont neighborhood, I think, so out of the way. The Space Needle shares the same iconic value vs. location problem; I was thinking the market would probably be the best choice.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:43 PM
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271: "If you're in Baker, the world's largest thermometer is there." Regardless of whether you're in Baker, the world's largest thermometer is in Baker, so it's a biscuit.

Even "If you're in Baker, the world's largest thermometer is the place to meet" doesn't satisfy the biscuit, because if you're not in Baker, you shouldn't be meeting at the world's largest thermometer.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:47 PM
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But clearly I would argue that it's the place to meet even when I'm not in Baker; I just did so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:49 PM
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If you're in Thimphu, the natural place would be Clock Tower Square, but it should really be the archery range at the base of the valley. It's big and open, plus it would be downhill for everyone!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:50 PM
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If you're space aliens, where do you go if you just know you're to meet Earth?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:54 PM
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If you're space aliens, where do you go if you just know you're to meet on (sorry) Earth?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:54 PM
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If you're space aliens, where do you go if you just know you're to meet on (sorry) Earth?

The Great Pyramid of Cheops, duh. They built it, after all.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:57 PM
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277 : N or S pole, depending if you're aliens favor right-handed or left-handed co-ordinate systems.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:59 PM
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277: Isn't Area 51 the extraterrestrials' Schelling Point? Have they read Schelling?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 1:59 PM
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North pole or south pole (whichever's closer), when the earth is at the furthest point from the sun or closest point to the sun in its orbit that year (whichever's closer).

That's why I'm not allowed to plan company meetings anymore.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:00 PM
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Silly soup biscuit, aliens don't have "hands". Pyramid is better.http://www.europa.com/~edge/pyramid.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:01 PM
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i>If you're space aliens, where do you go if you just know you're to meet on (sorry) Earth?

Alf's house?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:02 PM
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279: Ooo... good one. I suppose it would be the North Pole then, since the electromagnetic force suggests a right-handed co-ordinate system as a universal.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:03 PM
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Presumably the aliens would know to converge on Frank Chu.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:06 PM
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In Wilkes-Barre, the natural place is Public Square, by the fountain.

In Scranton, the natural place is...the statue of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, I think.

In Dallas, the natural place is probably by the Friendly's, where routes 309 and 415 split/join.

In Kingston, the natural place is where Market St meets the Ave, probably in the parking lot of that new drugstore.

In Shickshinny, the natural place is the furniture store with the gorilla in front of it.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:08 PM
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In Dallas it's outside the Texas Book Depository, of course.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:14 PM
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Silly soup biscuit, aliens don't have "hands".

Silly TLL, handedness doesn't require hands.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:14 PM
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288. Which tentacle is dominant, the seventh or the eighth?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:17 PM
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289: That's pre-9/11 thinking, TLL.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:21 PM
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289: It's the dimensionality of the space that determines the axis, not your particular biology. They might have a different counting system, but their (implicitly) living in the same 3D + time universe.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:22 PM
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291: okay so what if trans-dimensional aliens from a universe with no chirality come to earth, where should they meet?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:24 PM
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290. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:27 PM
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291: okay so what if trans-dimensional aliens from a universe with no chirality come to earth, where should they meet?

They are always already meeting


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:28 PM
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furniture store with the gorilla in front of it.

There are statues of the Blues Brothers that flank the entrance of one forever going-out-of-business carpet or furniture store after another in a 6-mile radius. Meet me by Elwood. Alternately, the buffet with Fu dogs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:32 PM
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In London I'm undecided between Eros and Nelson. Though I did also wonder about Buckingham Palace.

What about in Oxford? Carfax? Radcliffe Camera? The train station?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:51 PM
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This all seems like a very pre-mobile-phone sort of game
so true, i could find people in NYC given directions and location and doing frequent calls
if i can find places, anyone can
to find the same place for the second time is difficult though


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 2:55 PM
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What about in Oxford?

In front of the Bodleian Library?

I can't think of a good place for Cambridge either. Perhaps King College Chapel.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 3:06 PM
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You can tell you've really pissed off Sifu when he starts using the word chirality. I think it's hacker-speak for "fuck your mother".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 3:25 PM
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In London I'm undecided between Eros and Nelson.

Lie back and think of England.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 3:32 PM
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292: at the core.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 3:45 PM
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re: 298

People always think the Bodleian is the wrong building, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 3:56 PM
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302: Do they always mistake it with the Radcliffe Camera?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:05 PM
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re: 303

Yeah. Every time, pretty much.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:14 PM
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Well... It is prettier.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:16 PM
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Unless there are a bunch of mislabeled images that pop up on google, they look remarkably similar. I suppose it does look as if the Radcliffe Camera has more empty space around it, so you can see it more easily from street level.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:42 PM
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I believe the Bodleian library is the squarish pointy building at the bottom of the Google Image Search for "Bodleian library", not the circular domed building at the top of the Google Image Search for "Bodleian library".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:47 PM
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Yeah, mislabeled images. The Radcliffe Camera holds part of the Bodleian Library (i.e. the actual books), but the one single building that would be referred to in Oxford as the Bodleian Library is this one. (Which is opposite the RC, to add to the confusion.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:50 PM
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(And that building has more than one entrance, so I wouldn't meet anyone there.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:51 PM
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It's hard to tell, but giving the top results (possibly undeserved) credit for being accurately labeled, maybe the dome is attached to one side of the squarish pointy building? That is, it's the north facade and south facade or something? I can't see how anyone could mistake the pointy building for the Radcliffe Camera.

But presumably both ttaM and Po-Mo know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:52 PM
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Ah, pwned by Asilon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:55 PM
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You can see it better in this photo. The Radcliffe Camera is the round thing in the middle, and the 'main' Bodleian Building is the copper-roofed fish/key-shaped building to the north.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:56 PM
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And then the New Bodleian is just over the road, and the other dozens of libraries are scattered about, and under that square and all around are miles of tunnels ....

And the little copse of trees nestled up against the Bod is my College garden.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 4:58 PM
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Boy, it looks like murder to find your way around unless you know exactly where you're going. Do they lose a lot of tourists in Oxford?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:01 PM
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Boy, it looks like murder to find your way around unless you know exactly where you're going. Do they lose a lot of tourists in Oxford?

Inspector Morse, call your office!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092379/


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:06 PM
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Wow, all of those buildings look great. And exactly alike. Wouldn't the small round one set aside from the others be the one you'd want to meet up at?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:06 PM
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Yes!

ttaM, were you in Oxford when they redid the lawn around the Radcliffe Camera? One half was turfed, the other seeded. I have tasked C with finding out why, but he seems unenthusiastic.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:15 PM
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Wouldn't the small round one set aside from the others be the one you'd want to meet up at?

You want to meet at whichever one is the library at, asshole.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:32 PM
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Better hope he knows the joke, Ben.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:35 PM
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I don't think there's a living soul who doesn't know that joke. That joke is so old that when I first heard it I laughed so hard I kicked a slat out of my crib.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:37 PM
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In your case, Ben, that doesn't make it particularly old as jokes go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:40 PM
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Yes, I believe in the original joke the fellow looking for the library was Walter Camp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Camp


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:45 PM
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Especially since I was sleeping in a crib until I was 18.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:47 PM
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Last time I was in Oxford and undeservedly staying in a somewhat spiffy college location, I wasted a lot of time finding excuses to go in and out of the doorway in order to have my photo taken by tourists and generally pretend I owned the building.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:50 PM
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That joke is so old that when I first heard it I laughed so hard I kicked a slat out of my crib.

Babies don't actually do this. a) They don't understand jokes. b) The exertions they make when they're gleeful are no greater than the exertions they make when they're, say, tired and hungry. c) Cribs are designed to withstand the relatively minor force of a baby's kick.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:51 PM
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But he slept in his crib until he was 18, Jesus.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:53 PM
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Thank you for your informative comment, Jesus, but I wasn't talking about babies in general.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:54 PM
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Most cribs can also withstand the relatively minor force of W-lfs-n's kick. To what extent a) and b) are also true, I leave to others to say.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 5:57 PM
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generally pretend I owned the building.

Ostentatiously noting bits of dust on the exterior, and muttering to yourself about how hard it is to get good groundspeople these days?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 6:15 PM
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Ostentatiously noting bits of dust on the exterior, and muttering to yourself about how hard it is to get good groundspeople these days?

Yeah, a general nonverbal effort to convey a casually proprietorial air.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 7:38 PM
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284: the electromagnetic force suggests a right-handed co-ordinate system as a universal.

Is this some kind of joke I don't get?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 8:27 PM
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331: I don't think so, but it's been about 7 years since I took calc-based physics. Wouldn't an electric current running around the equator generate a magnetic field that flows up through the north pole?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:32 PM
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That depends on the direction of the flow, doesn't it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 9:43 PM
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Aren't magnetic North and South purely arbitrary? The polarity of the earth's magnetic field reverses every couple of hundred thousand years, so it's only coincidental that the right hand rule for electromagnetism happens to agree with the right-hand rule for the Earth's rotation.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:00 PM
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332, 333: Yes, depends on the direction of the current. The "right-hand rule" is just a convention. Electromagnetism makes no distinction between left- and right-handedness. The weak interactions do*, but not really in such a way that one can say left- or right- is "preferred," just different.

(* Err, I'm glossing over subtleties, but "morally" this is true.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:04 PM
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335: Hmm... Yeah, I knew there were some other subatomic forces that had handedness, since that's where some interesting symmetry-breaking results came from, but I didn't know any more than that.

As for electromagnetism, is right-handedness just a convention instead of a universal because the supposed direction of a magnetic field is not obvious and observable in the same way that the direction of an electric current is? How does ferrous metal behave in an electrically generated magnetic field? Isn't its path of attraction in the same direction as a right-handed axis to the direction of current flow?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 10:34 PM
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The choice of positive and negative for electric charge were also arbitrary (originally assigned by Ben Franklin; he was kind of wrong, but it didn't really matter).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:07 PM
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They could just as easily have called them Fred and green.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:13 PM
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As for electromagnetism, is right-handedness just a convention instead of a universal because the supposed direction of a magnetic field is not obvious and observable in the same way that the direction of an electric current is?

But which direction does the electric current flow in? The direction in which electrons move, or the opposite?

Geographic North and "Right" are defined in relation to the direction in which the earth rotates, but I admit I don't know if we've been able to figure out the angular momentum of the universe as a whole.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:32 PM
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I would bet money that "right" has humbler origins than that, though it may have been redefined by some uppity scientician or other.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-08 11:35 PM
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Sure. Right is the side your heart isn't on, and North is that way (points). But to the extent that Right and North have meanings beyond people and Earth...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 12:14 AM
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re: 317

Yeah, I was. I'm not sure. Part of the area around the Radcliffe Camera has stuff under it -- so perhaps they turfed the area that is over a roof and seeded the part that's just dirt all the way down. IIRC, they had problems with leaking into the 'sekrit chambers' underneath and then had to strip it back up and reseal it.

under that square and all around are miles of tunnels

Not really 'miles' but yeah, they are fairly extensive. Like a lot of people, I have keys for 'em. They don't have the little train that apparently used to run through there anymore, though, just a conveyer for the books.

re: 324

Wearing robes is the way to get photographed endlessly by tourists.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 12:26 AM
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Never arrange to meet anyone anywhere except in a pub.


Posted by: Herbert McCabe | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 2:38 AM
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The original North Dakota meeting place was the mouth of the Yellowstone.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 4:39 AM
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Everybody knows that the place in Boston is Deep Ellum.

But to be serious, Government Center/City Hall is probably a good choice. I'm inclined to meet people in Copley Square, and I'm sure that my going to church there has nothing to do with it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 5:42 AM
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The secret tunnels under the Bodleian are obviously the place to meet. There's a very narrow passage that leads down to them from the corner of Parks Road and Broad street.
You can then harry your adversary through the endless moving stacks shelves until he eventually trips over a volume of 19th-century sermons and plunges to his death.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 6:35 AM
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337, 338: But isn't an electric current effectively a flow of electrons in one direction within a conduit? If nuclei are still (more or less) while electrons flow (more or less) in one direction, doesn't that provide a natural system for classifying the direction of the electric current? Or do the nuclei move as well, making it impossible to say which is the direction of the current depending on whether you say nuclei or electrons are the important particles in motion?

These are all earnest questions, I really just want to figure out if there's some way to produce a constant axis system from this. I really thought there was.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 7:19 AM
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There's a very narrow passage that leads down to them from the corner of Parks Road and Broad street.

Really? I wasn't aware there was an external entrance. I've always got into them via entrances internal to the various library buildings.

I have gotten lost in the book-stacks several times, though. You could get stuck in there and never find your way out.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 7:20 AM
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347: Well, that might be the easiest way to define it, and it is exactly in that sense that Franklin was wrong (since he picked the easily flowing particles to be negative instead of positive). And, yes, in most electric current, only the electrons move, but it isn't always that way.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 9-08 11:56 PM
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348: There's a Michael Innes mystery novel claiming that there's some kind of vent/airshaft you can climb down to get into the tunnels. I've got no idea whether it's true, ut from the tone of the book it's meant to be at least plausible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:29 AM
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Jesus Christ, LB, what are you still doing awake?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:30 AM
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Just got home from work and had dinner, and am annoyingly wired.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:34 AM
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350, The Paper Thunderbolt! His best novel maybe.


Posted by: Caitiff | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:36 AM
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That sucks. I'm trying to figure out why I'm still awake, and I'm three hours behind you.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:36 AM
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But I'm going to try to sleep now. There's more stuff to do tomorrow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:36 AM
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353: That was it! I couldn't remember the name, I love the linguist trying to interpret "There was a man in Miles' cat." Innes generally, I'm very fond of -- the combination of straightforward mystery and weird-ass silliness works very well for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:39 AM
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That sucks. I'm trying to figure out why I'm still awake, and I'm three hours behind you.

No doubt fear of the impending doom by particle-accelerator-created black hole. I plan to drink whiskey at midnight, and if I am still present at 12:15, go to sleep.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:45 AM
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re: 350

That's possible, I suppose. The main tunnel is basically a single straight line connecting 3 or 4 buildings, but it connects to the various underground stacks, and I'd assume some of those have ventilation outlets.

There aren't any noticeable ventilation shafts in between the New Bod and the Old Bod. It runs under a main road and two paved courtyards. But there might be around the Radcliffe Camera.

It's also possible that there are other tunnels that connect in somehow (via the stacks): I'm pretty ignorant on this. I only know the main one that runs from the New Bod to the Radcliffe Camera (via the old Bod).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:47 AM
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357: Whiskey sounds like an eeeeeeexcellent idea.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:48 AM
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You know, I might prefer a planet-destroying black hole to a McCain presidency. At least in the first scenario there wouldn't be any happy evil people mocking the less fortunate, we'd all be dead together in solidarity.


Posted by: Satan Mayo | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 12:58 AM
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360: Reason #137 why Bérubé's WAAGNFNP thing, silliness and all, was actually very compelling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 6:17 AM
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360: Liberal bloggers hate McCain so much they now wish to destroy ALL LIFE ON EARTH! Could there be any better proof of how sick, sick, sick liberals are? We need to keep the Dumb-o-craps away from nuclear weapons!


Posted by: OPINIONATED WINGNUT | Link to this comment | 09-10-08 9:19 AM
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