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Consider This Your Fruit Basket For Today

Posted by Alameida
on 09.17.05

A young Havard punk, Matt Yglesias

was, in matters of spelling, a lazy-ass.

Then dogged fan ogged

sighed, repining, and blogged:

"Labs and I love the manly grace he has."


 

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Listen to yourself.

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.17.05

NYT:

Alexia, who wore a cross pendant, prayed all through the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Delta State University in Mississippi. At 23, she was having her third abortion. "My religion is against it," she said, adding that she is a Baptist. "In a way I feel I'm doing wrong, but you can be forgiven. I blame myself. I feel I shouldn't have sex at all."

 

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At What Point Do I Regain My Virginity?

Posted by Ogged
on 09.17.05

Despite going last night to see The 40 Year Old Virgin on Weiner's recommendation, I didn't actually expect it to be any good. I was wrong, Weiner was right, it's a very funny movie. You wouldn't think the line "Is that Steve Austin's boss" could be a joke, but it had me laughing painfully hard. So there you go, two recomendations you shouldn't trust.


 

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Tom Hi/lde, Still Stinging

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.05

The troll who keeps on giving.

You have to admit it's a little bit sad that a grown man can be so obsessed with telling the world that some 20-something pundit Is Not All That Either!! Lucky for us, his inability to admit to himself that that's all he's saying makes him a moral cretin who can be freely abused.


 

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Fear of heaps

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.15.05

Reading the comments to Ogged's post, I'm reminded of a pet peeve of mine, the argument from

1. It's impossible to give principled reasons for stopping one bad thing while continuing to do some other bad thing

to

2. Thus, [don't bother with] it all.

I recently ran into this once in the form of "I don't pay any attention to, e.g., sweatshops, because I accept that my purchases will never be completely pure." Well, half a loaf is better than none, sometimes. It makes me crazy. On the other hand, this easy for me to say, since I know how to cook about two things, and neither contains meat. Back to my brown rice enclave, then.


 

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Murder Most Fowl

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.05

This makes me feel like a damned NRA member.

Veterinarians and animal rights activists on Tuesday described in graphic detail how geese and ducks suffer while being force-fed to create the liver delicacy known as foie gras.

...

The way ducks and geese are force-fed is "outside the bounds of acceptable conduct in a society that values compassion," said Gene Bauston, president of Farm Sanctuary, an organization he described as the nation's leading farm-animal protection organization.
"Their livers expand up to six to ten times their normal size. With a liver that big, the other organs are being pushed. Their legs are being pushed out, so it's hard to walk. It's even difficult to breathe because the liver is pushing up against their lung sacs," Bauston said.

I love foie fras. Love it. Mmmmm. But how it's made really is terrible, and I wouldn't mind a ban, if I weren't worried about those damn rabble-rousing activists coming next to take away my veal, and then my beef. Then they'll take my chicken, and there will be no one left to squawk for me.

The interesting issue here is whether there are any principled lines to be drawn, or whether we really have to go down the slippery slope from ceasing barbaric treatment of animals to ceasing all eating of meat. I'm sure bajillions of words have been written about this, but my ignorant first response is that it's a mistake to equate killing an animal with causing it suffering. It's pretty hard to hide from a human that you're going to kill it, humans being fairly clever. But you can treat an animal well, then kill it quick and sneaky like, and the thing had a good life, and never suspected a thing. My meat policy: kill them all you want, just don't treat them mean.


 

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Travel

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.05

By the way, I'll be in Chicago as of tomorrow, so posting will be light until Tuesday or so. Of course, I always say that and end up posting anyway. But this time I'll really try to let you down.


 

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A Request To The Internet

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.05

You know what there should be? A song lyric wiki.

(Yes, I saw that one. We need a good one.)


 

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Author meets critics

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.14.05

The interesting thing about the Garrison Keillor discussion, I think, is the way it emphasizes how our enjoyment of fictional characters (and surely the PHC "Garrison Keillor" is one of these) can be affected by our view of their creators. I can't enjoy Lileks (James) even when he's not being a [jerk], and knowing that the actual Garrison Keillor is a [jerk] will affect my enjoyment of the radio character "Garrison Keillor," who sometimes says funny things though he should sing less often. While this isn't a very interesting observation, it allows for a Corner-like exchange between Ogged (aka Pgged, pronounced "pegged" and bringing to mind images from "Savage Love") and me/myself/I/F. Labs.


 

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The Good Stuff

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.05

Garrison Keillor might be a dick, but his Mr. Blue advice column has been one of the joys of my internet reading. You can start here and go backward or forward through the results.


 

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"Prairie Ho Companion"

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.14.05

Is this conclusive evidence that Garrison Keillor is a [jerk]?

Via Instapundit-- there's a link on the left if you can't find his site on your own.

UPDATE: anti-GK bit here, via the MNS comments.


 

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God Save The Senate

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.05

A great line from Dahlia Lithwick on the Roberts hearings.

Here's a man long accustomed to answering really hard questions from extremely smart people, suddenly faced with the almost-harder task of answering obvious questions from less-smart people. He finds himself standing in a batting cage with the pitching machine set way too slow.

 

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On the access road to hell

Posted by Unf
on 09.13.05

Should you, for whatever reason, need to suck away someone's will to live, I would suggest checking them in to the Philadelphia Airport Hilton. It has an almost perfect combination of drab decor, poor service, indifferent employees, and shitty facilities. Forever shall those three words chill my soul.


 

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Suck It Up! I Always Say.

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.05

Is the fact that they can use words like "footy" when talking about elective amputation the reason that people who love Australians, love Australians?

An Australian professional football player plans to have one of his fingers amputated in an attempt to improve his game ... he has suffered from pain and restricted movement since he broke his left ring finger three years ago ... "To chop a finger off, that's a bit drastic," Backwell told the ABC. "But I love my footy, and love playing sport, and if that's going to help me to succeed at this level then it's something you've just got to do."

My own toughness is legendary, which might explain why my first thought was, "Dude's got low pain tolerance." YMMV.

More: Mr. Blackwell, loving his footy.

Jeez: "Onballer," is a position if Australian rules football?


 

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Foreign

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.05

If you haven't been reading Susan's dispatches from Georgia (Republic of), you should.


 

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Oh No! He'll Never Work Again!

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.05

Elijah Wood, cool guy.

Elijah Wood is finally addressing those gay rumors. And unlike certain megabucks stars Tom Cruise, for instance he's not threatening to sue. In fact, the "Lord of the Rings" star seems amused. Wood says he likes to surf the Web and look at doctored photos that put him in compromising positions with men.

...

Wood says some of the "photos" are pretty realistic. "I was actually at a film festival once... and this fan came up with a gift... I open the gift in front of all these people that I'm talking to and it happens to be a photo from one of these Web sites of me and [LOTR co-star] Dominic Monaghan making sweet love," Wood explains." If you didn't know any better, it kinda looks real. These people have a lot of time on their hands and my hat's off (to them) because it's very good work.""

Uh...: In some ways, this is probably not safe for work, and I, personally, am scandalized, but it needs to be linked. (Thanks, 27.)


 

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Flash Impression

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.05

Turned on the Roberts hearings for ten seconds, and heard Roberts answer that sometimes the president's commander-in-chief power conflicts with Congress's power to regulate the armed forces, "when Congress does something that, in the president's view, interferes with his command authority." Now, that strikes me as a very telling answer, begging for a follow up question. So what does Pat Leahy do? Move on to the next question on his list, of course.


 

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I Knew He Wasn't Right In The Head

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

We've picked some nits with Michael Totten over the years, but now he's moving to the Middle East to see for himself what's going on and to do some reporting. Much respect and the best of luck to him.


 

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Disillusion

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

We know it from watching other people, but we don't want to believe that it's true for us too: you can never alt-tab, or minimize, fast enough.

Also, there's no Easter Bunny.


 

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Show Me Bang Bang

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

Despite the fact that this must get Kevin Sites more tail than any man should have, and the discomfiting sense of "war as entertainment," the Hot Zone is a pretty cool idea. Sites is going to blog, and take photos, and shoot video from most of the world's major war zones. Speaking as someone who follows the news reasonably closely, and still doesn't know what the hell they're fighting about in the Phillipines (and Filipinos are so friendly!), I appreciate the roving war educator.


 

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You Might Have Missed

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

Following up on our discussion of Gladwell's healthcare article here, thought I'd pass along what Gladwell emailed Kaus about one of Kaus's criticisms of the piece.

I didn't mean at all to suggest that i was opposed to small amounts of cost sharing on health care--like $20 copays. they are probably harmless. my concern is with the kind of high-deductible plans that the RAND experiment told us were so dangerous and that are at the core of the Bush Administration's plans for Health Savings Accounts. When deductibles get into the $500 or $1000 range, i think they get problematic. A reader wrote me, by the way, with what seems like a very sensible suggestion. What if we classifie[d] medical treatments according to what we know about their cost effectiveness? So things that are very cost-effective have a zero co-pay (getting your moles checked) and things of dubious cost-effectiveness have a very high co-pay.

 

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Gotcha

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

I thought I didn't have an opinion about this, but I do. The "Rapex" is a plastic sheath with barbs that a woman can insert in her vagina, so that if she's raped, the barbs will hook into the man's penis, and give the woman a chance to get away. It's being marketed in South Africa, which has the highest rate of rape in the world, nearly four times that of the U.S.

Look, if use of these becomes common, rapists are just going to check for them, or rape women with objects, or do other horrible things. This isn't an argument against women defending themselves, it's an argument that "Rapex" provides no meaningful defense. The one thing that's for sure is that there's way too much crime in South Africa.


 

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Geek Anywhere

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

Really, just for the geeks: Bootable USB flash drives are all the rage, and while some Linux flavors have had the capability for a while, I hadn't seen anyone claim that they could get Windows XP to boot from a flash drive. Now Tom's Hardware has the instructions.


 

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Sugar Water!

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.05

Seth Roberts is an interesting guy. via MR [update: paper available here. See pg. 30 for fructose water.]

Seth Roberts is a 52-year-old psychology professor ... he decided that he would use his own body as a laboratory. Thus did Roberts embark on one of the longest bouts of scientific self-experimentation known to man - not only poking, prodding and measuring himself more than might be wise but also rigorously recording every data point along the way ... he found that his morning insomnia could be cured if, on the previous day, he got lots of morning light, skipped breakfast and spent at least eight hours standing ... the fix he discovered for lifting his mood: at least one hour each morning of TV viewing, specifically life-size talking heads - but never such TV at night.

With one result that will be of interest to lots of folks.

It was also the Stone Age that informed his system of weight control. Over the years, he had tried a sushi diet, a tubular-pasta diet, a five-liters-of-water-a-day diet and various others. They all proved ineffective or too hard or too boring to sustain. He had by now come to embrace the theory that our bodies are regulated by a "set point," a sort of Stone Age thermostat that sets an optimal weight for each person. This thermostat, however, works the opposite of the one in your home. When your home gets cold, the thermostat turns on the furnace. But according to Roberts's interpretation of the set-point theory, when food is scarcer, you become less hungry; and you get hungrier when there's a lot of food around.
This may sound backward, like telling your home's furnace to run only in the summer. But there is a key difference between home heat and calories: while there is no good way to store the warm air in your home for the next winter, there is a way to store today's calories for future use. It's called fat. In this regard, fat is like money: you can earn it today, put it in the bank and withdraw it later when needed.
During an era of scarcity - an era when the next meal depended on a successful hunt, not a successful phone call to Hunan Garden - this set-point system was vital. It allowed you to spend down your fat savings when food was scarce and make deposits when food was plentiful. Roberts was convinced that this system was accompanied by a powerful signaling mechanism: whenever you ate a food that was flavorful (which correlated with a time of abundance) and familiar (which indicated that you had eaten this food before and benefited from it), your body demanded that you bank as many of those calories as possible.
Roberts understood that these signals were learned associations - as dependable as Pavlov's bell - that once upon a time served humankind well. Today, however, at least in places with constant opportunities to eat, these signals can lead to a big, fat problem: rampant overeating.
So Roberts tried to game this Stone Age system. What if he could keep his thermostat low by sending fewer flavor signals? One obvious solution was a bland diet, but that didn't interest Roberts. (He is, in fact, a serious foodie.) After a great deal of experimenting, he discovered two agents capable of tricking the set-point system. A few tablespoons of unflavored oil (he used canola or extra light olive oil), swallowed a few times a day between mealtimes, gave his body some calories but didn't trip the signal to stock up on more. Several ounces of sugar water (he used granulated fructose, which has a lower glycemic index than table sugar) produced the same effect. (Sweetness does not seem to act as a "flavor" in the body's caloric-signaling system.)
The results were astounding. Roberts lost 40 pounds and never gained it back.


 

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Diversions

Posted by Ogged
on 09.11.05

Always ahead of the curve on the pop culture beat, I saw Wedding Crashers tonight. Dude, Vince Vaughn is funny. The whole movie is pretty funny (though Christopher Walken was wasted in his role).

Did you know that Isla Fisher, the young horny sister, is engaged to Ali G?

In other news, Salon Personals has completely revamped their site, and are now charging nearly $30/month (!) just to be able to see people's full-sized pictures and etc. Slim pickins are fun when they're free, but I'm not paying $30/month just to be able to amuse y'all from time to time.


 

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I went to State and even I know better than this

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.11.05

Ah, Yglesias, the butcher of Baghdad and of our language. Smarter than me, but prey for pedants nonetheless:

Everyone understands that our adversaries are waging 'assymetric warfare' but the relevant people don't seem to grasp what that means. The United States has a level of global conventional military superiority without precedent in world history. As a result, our adversaries adopt 'assymetric' tactics that can't be combatted with our conventional military strength. That's conventional wisdom, but it could use italics. They adopt assymetric tactics that can't be combatted with our conventional military strength. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, so into Tal Afar went the tanks and the helicopter gunships and we "won" the battle except insofar as the enemy "decided to bail out."

On the other hand, the idea of waging ass-a-licious warfare--perhaps involving the deployment of weapons of ass destruction-- is really appealing.


 

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Mental block

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.11.05

In Luxury Fever, Robert Frank argues that we allocate resources unevenly between spending categories because of an interesting asymmetry: the value of certain goods (the conspicuous consumption stuff) depends heavily on context and relative position (the SWB increase provided by your big house depends on whether your neighbors' houses are larger or smaller) while the value of other goods (social ties, etc.) is less dependent on relative position (the benefit you get from "inconspicuous consumption" is less position-sensitive).

Here's the thing I'm blocking on: Frank claims that when we face these sorts of resource-allocation problems, we'll devote more and more resources to the category of (more-) context-sensitive goods-- because we're involved in a prisoner's dilemma sort of arms race. This sounds right, but I'm sort of failing to reconstruct the argument in my head. Suggestions?

(It might be just that a minimal level of goods in the first category is required, and once we're committed to achieving a certain level of benefit, we're already stuck in the arms race.)


 

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