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Go to Unfogged.com home

 

Title for sale

Posted by Ben
on 04.19.08

To someone who posts about politics. Suitable for use in many contexts involving Senator Hillary, or you could save it for later: Good ladies must be drastic.


 

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Ante up.

Posted by Apostropher
on 04.19.08

It feels like it's about time for this:

yayyyy wiggles

Mix 'em up and post 'em, monkeys.


 

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Details

Posted by Ogged
on 04.19.08

How the AP covers it.

A CNN reporter was arrested Friday in Central Park with a small amount of methamphetamine in his pocket, but he avoided jail time by agreeing to undergo drug counseling and therapy.

Richard Quest, 46, was arrested around 3:40 a.m. on a count of possession of a controlled substance -- a misdemeanor that usually refers to a personal use amount of a drug. He was also charged with loitering; the park officially closes at 1 a.m.

How the NY Post covers it.

CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.

 

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I Want To Date A Libertarian

Posted by Becks
on 04.19.08

Only so I can break up with them by saying "I'm sorry. This is just the market correcting itself."


 

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Canned

Posted by Ogged
on 04.18.08

I'm off to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall in a moment, but the good news of the sacking of perhaps the most hatable Chicagoan of all time, little Isiah Thomas, has inspired me to ask you to share the best, most satisfying firings that you've witnessed or can recall. Who really fucking deserved it, and then got it?


 

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Why We Fight

Posted by Ogged
on 04.18.08


 

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Get It Out

Posted by Ogged
on 04.18.08

I probably don't need to encourage you to read an article entitled "When the Ex Blogs, the Dirtiest Laundry Is Aired."


 

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Filial Bonds

Posted by Ogged
on 04.18.08

The annals of perfidy are infinitely large, but this kind of thing still makes my jaw drop. (Thanks to W Breeze for the pointer.)

My wife and I have been debt free for over 3 years now, meaning no credit card debt and only our mortgage.

When I ran our credit report the other day (which I do annually), I noticed 3 cards under my wife's name with balances of $2K, $3K and $12K. This shocked/worried me for obvious reasons. My wife said she did not open them, so she asked her mom and sister. They admitted to opening the balances under my wife's name! My wife was still receiving credit card offers at her mom's house, so they took advantage of the offers AND of my wife's excellent credit.
They have been making payments and have never been late..........yet. We want them out of my wife's name asap, but therein lies the issue. They can't open any credit cards in order to transfer the balances into their names, PLUS my wife thinks if I report this as fraud/stolen ID, they will go to jail. She doesn't want this to happen due to our 4 year old niece.
I really want to get this resolved, but am at a loss re: how to handle it. They also really need financial advice/counseling, but that can wait, IMO.

 

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Speaking Of Which

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.08

Hermione just turned 18.

Now it's too late to perv on her. Sorry, procrastinators.


 

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Played by Paper

Posted by Ben
on 04.17.08

I don't read Paper. Let's get that clear from the get-go. This was a one-time thing, an action in which, to be frank, I simply don't recognize myself. I've forgiven myself, and I hope each of you can find it in h/hself to do so as well.

When I took my seat at one of the few cafes at which I can reliably get work done, my gaze fell on an issue that a previous patron had left behind. If only I had had the restraint that this happy person had! The cover, which contained a surprisingly unflattering picture of Joanna Newsom in ugly shoes, promised "64 more beautiful people", and my powers of resistance, having been distempered both by an unusually heavy breakfast (roast leg of lamb; risotto with peas and green garlic) and other factors too numerous to mention, were no match for my appetitive faculty. I acted straightaway, entirely without proairesis, turning first to the table of contents and then to page 74. But our story begins on page 79.

Now, with the distance my new information provides, I can calmly identify a few factors that should have weighed a bit more heavily on my initial assessment. The bracelets on the left hand are a bit much. A lighter hand with the kohl* wouldn't have been taken amiss. But really even these considerations are misplaced. For, as I learned shortly after thinking she''s hot to myself as soon as I saw the picture, when I turned my attention to the little biographical blurb in the upper left, the person depicted—Taylor Momsen, of whom I think I've never before heard—is fourteen.

Thanks for squicking me out, Paper.

*or whatever; it's playing the same functional role.


 

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And Today's Winner Of The Internet Is...

Posted by Becks
on 04.17.08

I needed to track down a really random piece of information: the address of the place I lived when I was a summer intern after my junior year in college. It wasn't an apartment building; just the attic of someone's house. Since I only lived there a couple of months almost 9 years ago, I couldn't find any paper trail, despite being a massive packrat of both documents and data: no lease, no entries in Quicken (the owner insisted I pay in cash), no emails to my parents in that era containing an address, no listing on my credit report, etc. I wasn't even sure what town it was in.

I could only remember four pieces of information about it: that a shopping mall opened on my last day in town (it was all over the news), that I lived within walking distance of a Blockbuster, that there was a huge hill at the other end of the street where I would sometimes do sprints if I wasn't feeling like making the 20 minute drive to the gym, and that there was a huge bush of hydrangeas in front of the house (I'd never seen them before).

I researched which shopping mall opened in the timeframe I was in the region and then did a search on Google Maps for all of the Blockbusters near the shopping mall and then switched to terrain view to see which ones were near a hill. Bingo. I found the street. I then switched to the satellite and street views to check out the yards (for the hydrangea bushes) and houses (for the attic and to see if I recognize them) and think I've found it.


 

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That Said...

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.08

...you can't beat Neo.


 

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Cocky

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.08

Obama talks about last night's debate (which, if you haven't been following the coverage, seems to have been a series of questions like "why don't you wear a flag pin?).

I was a little amused by his dig at Clinton for taking digs at him. But is he too cocky? Too much swagger? I do think that's his weakness, and his character flaw. Second terms always seem to be an unraveling according to the central character flaw of the president and if he gets to a second term, I expect we'll hear the term "high-handed" an awful lot. Anyway, let's hope we have that problem.


 

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Not Even The Swimmers Will Care

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.08

Someone on YouTube has uploaded several high-quality videos of old(er) Olympic sprints. A few observations:

- Coverage was even more US-centric back in the day, if that's even possible.
- The color guy in the '92 50 free refers to Popov's kick as an "Evinrude." Now that's being down with the heartland.
- It's funny to hear, in the talk before the 100 free in '92, about how "unorthodox" Popov's stroke is, considering that his stroke has since become the model and the "proper" way to swim for everyone.
- Gary Hall Jr. used to be really skinny.
- Anthony Ervin was downright scrawny when he won the gold medal in the 50 free in 2000. It's still all about technique.


 

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Finally, Science

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.08

We've discussed the question of how many five-year-olds you could take in a fight. Now, via Stras, there's a site that will help you find the answer.

30


 

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Sexist!

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.08

1. Everyone can stop sending me this one now. Young couples in which the wife is more attractive than the husband seem to be happier/more mutually supportive than couples in which the wife is less or equally attractive. (Followed by some of the free-form speculation about reasons that we love about EvPsych.)

2. This one is slightly more interesting. A game theorist tries to explain why there are fewer desirable bachelors than there are desirable single women. The gist is that women are the ones who choose, and more desirable women tend to hold out for something better, while less desirable women snap up what they can get, which, voila, leaves lots of desirable women and very few desirable guys. For what it's worth, Tyler Cowen doesn't buy it.

It's funny that if you put these two claims together, you have a recipe for a bunch of unhappy marriages. Evidence!


 

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Never Wear Anything But Jeans And A T-Shirt

Posted by Ogged
on 04.16.08

This is a fun site that catalogs fashion in clothes, hair, shoes, and accessories in the sixties and seventies.


 

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Which Is Fussier?

Posted by Becks
on 04.16.08

1) That the gym I've been trying out wants us to wipe down the machines with baby wipes when we're done, not just towels.

2) That I don't want to because I don't want my hands to smell like baby wipes.


 

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I know what you want and you know what I want: intuitions. Intuitions. Intuitions.

Posted by Ben
on 04.16.08

Is "Celery" a boy's name? A girl's? Either? If either, is it more like "Chris" or "Alex", or more like "Carol" or "Evelyn"? (I can hear you protesting now: but with "Evelyn", the pronunciation differs! Well, I'm sure it's all right.)


 

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I was a legacy from the middle class

Posted by Ben
on 04.16.08

The author's history described, and himself defended — the value of a tradition — the situation at Harvard — a case considered — a contrast between traditions — a modest proposal is made, and a sporting analogy drawn — an opportunity for corruption noticed, and its significance downplayed — the author's debt to his informant acknowledged — notes

The title is half right; I was a legacy at Chicago, but not, if we're totally honest, exactly from the middle of the middle class. But "middle" fits the rhythm best. I like to think that I would have been able to get in without my legacyhood, but who knows? It's a competitive school. And my endowment, qua legacy, was rather impressive. (Fully six fairly close relations had graduated from there by the time I applied.) So I can't really deny that I've benefited from the existence of the legacy system.

As far as I can tell, the most respectable justification of making legacies primi inter pares has to do with the value of preserving Tradition. After all, to bring a son (or, sometimes, a daughter) closer to a father (or, sometimes, a mother)—to enable a youngster to bestride—nay, to stomp—the fair college green once stomped by his, or her, forebears—pumps there a heart so invidious as to deny that this has intrinsic value? Surely not.

Maybe you could even make the case that the more forebears one has who've stomped those grounds, the more value there is in one's same-grounds-stomping. That seems quite a bit more disputable. Of course, none of this goes so far as to justify favoring a legacy applicant over someone who is otherwise more qualified, or regarding whom there are other familial or historical reasons to want to extend some generosity to. But we know that there are lots of cases in which you can't really judge from the substantive application material which of two candidates is better, and you might want to look to legacyhood there. Fine.

The other justifications have to do with getting money. It seems a bit meretricious to, basically, sell one's favors to donors who ostensibly aren't paying for admission, but rather expressing their gratitude to the university for the education they received their or the collegial spirit that lives on in them as a result of the tradition thereinstilled or whatever, but, after all, that shit don't stink, and if Harvard, for instance, has been so beggared by recent events that it needs, full, I don't doubt, of regret, to lower itself to such a state, then I can only hope that it is able to lift itself out into financial health as soon as possible, with no lasting ill effects to its soul.

And, while we may get admissions from admissions officers that some people are "development cases", and while it's obvious what the real purpose of certain well-timed large donations may be, we still get public justifications like this:

"I don't feel guilty," the youth said. "A lot of people I know at Harvard are very, very, very, very intelligent, but they just sit on their asses. With my work ethic and potential, test scores that may be a little less than some others' shouldn't get in the way of possibilities for me and my life." He added that his father donated to Harvard out of love for the institution, not to sway admissions.

Of course he did, youth. No one wants to come out and admit what the purpose of the donations are, so they're (a) called donations, instead of bribes and (b) described as coming from the very sort of traditionalism that the other, more palatable justification for legacy preference is supposed to promote.

Note also that this kid hasn't explained why his potential and work ethic weren't enough to make him a viable candidate from the get-go, or why that potential and work ethic can only be actualized at Harvard. It's also somewhat ironic that the "work ethic" of Jews—who aren't very, very, very, very intelligent, but will grind through everything to get high marks—was originally one of the motivations for seeking tests that would measure raw intelligence, so that the Jew could be excluded.

Since it's plain that people who make these claims about large donations and tradition are just mouthing them, without belief, we should frankly acknowledge the mercenary motive here. Or rather, we should be frank about what sort of tradition we might be dealing with: namely, the tradition of bribing people to get your way. A real tradition, into which wealthy legacies are likely really being inculcated; not, however, of obvious value.

Therefore I make the following pair of suggestions. Harvard should see how many slots it presently allocates to underqualified bozos with money (or, better yet, discover—perhaps by hiring consultants!—what the optimal number of slots is), and auction them off. Start the bidding at the average contribution for the average mediocre applicant and watch the shekels* pour in. Alternatively, they could just publish a price list, prices varying with SAT and class rank. Say, SAT in the range 1400–1450, class rank 70th percentile: $500,000 guaranteed admission. And it would only go up from there. After all, the present system has the disadvantage that the range of potential buyers is artificially limited to those who've attended Harvard before. But Harvard is selling a product that lots of people want. If I've got $1,000,000 to drop on admittance to Harvard for my kid, why should it matter to them if the money comes from an alum or a nobody? Here again we do well to consult Vespasian.

Now, they couldn't sell all their slots this way. Just as walk-ons help foster the myth that undergraduate sports are actually an amateur undertaking, done out of love of the game**, so too would Harvard require at least a passel of conventionally-admitted students, so that those who bought their way in could think that the enterprise as a whole is sound. But they could still make some bucks.

They could potentially make much more money this way than they currently do, especially if other elite schools followed suit. Competition might lower prices initially, but just think what would happen once US News got into the act: how much a school could sell admittance for would presumably enter into its calculations of rank (this is, after all, no less crazy than their present system), and once a school was ranked in the top three, it could start charging more—and people would be glad to pay, because of the school's high ranking. A little positive feedback later, and your endowment's greater than the national debt. An enterprising US News editor might feel the temptation to manipulate the rankings in return for a bit of the proceeds, but I have a hard time believing that those rankings could really get significantly more corrupt anyway.

via Amber.

*Is it unacceptably antisemitic of me to use this term in this context?

** I was pretty surprised to see one of the people interviewed make this point explicitly, even though absolutely nothing is done with it in the rest of the article:

By making that attempt, walk-ons serve an important purpose in society, says Dr. Richard Southall, director of the College Sport Research Institute at the University of Memphis. "Walk-ons provide validation to the myth of college sports, which is that everybody is doing it for the love of the game."

Yeah, "in society".

— fin —


 

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The McCain Problem, By Friedrich Nietzsche

Posted by Ogged
on 04.16.08

From Beyond Good And Evil.

The intellectual haughtiness and loathing of every man who has suffered deeply--it almost determines the order of rank HOW deeply men can suffer--the chilling certainty, with which he is thoroughly imbued and coloured, that by virtue of his suffering he KNOWS MORE than the shrewdest and wisest can ever know, that he has been familiar with, and "at home" in, many distant, dreadful worlds of which "YOU know nothing"! ... Profound suffering makes noble: it separates.

I think it's best to read the first part as being about the person who suffers--and that explains McCain's habit of making sweeping pronouncements about things he doesn't understand--and the second part as about where the person who has suffered fits in society: "suffering makes noble." It's that second part that makes McCain such a tough opponent.

Of course, if we were somewhere like Iran, this could be quickly deflated by any of several thousand people who could stand up and say "I was tortured too, what makes you qualified to lead?" So maybe the real problem is that we're not torturing enough Americans.


 

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Shiny = Unhappy People

Posted by Becks
on 04.16.08

Yeah - why is it so hard to find a laptop with a matte screen these days? That was actually my dealbreaker on how I ended up with the MacBook Pro. I find the glare on those shiny screens to be too distracting and, apparently, I'm not the only one. I thought it was only a Mac thing but then I was walking through Best Buy the other day and the Windows laptops were all like that, too.


 

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The Column Labs Should Have Written

Posted by Ogged
on 04.16.08

A guide to the conservative blogosphere. It got several laughs of recognition out of me.


 

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Deeply Divided

Posted by Becks
on 04.15.08

Can you even imagine if a U.S. politician did this?


 

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The Pony Business

Posted by Ogged
on 04.15.08

So John McCain just said, when talking about Iraq, "Maybe I'm digging for the pony here." Is this derived from the same "and a pony!" locution that started with Calvin and Hobbes and was introduced to the blogosphere by Bell Wearing (quoting John H.) and popularized by Atrios? Or is the phrase popularized by Atrios derived from something else?


 

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Chocolate Update

Posted by Ogged
on 04.15.08

I finally had the chocolate/bacon bar. It's good! The flavor is mostly chocolate and salt, which is tried and true. Then there's a hint of smokiness from the bacon. Yummy in my tummy.


 

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Count No Man Happy...

Posted by Ogged
on 04.15.08

The other day my mom, who lives in a condo complex, heard someone screaming in the hallway. "No! He's going to kill me! This is not my husband! Don't let him kill me!" So she went outside to see what was up. There she found her neighbor, a woman of about ninety, with...her husband. I saw this couple, who still play tennis, just a few months ago when I was in Chicago, looking a bit older and a bit more stooped than when I saw them last, but still spry and independent. But the woman seems to have undergone a sudden and steep mental decline, and now only sometimes recognizes her husband, and spends the rest of the time thinking he's a murderer. My mom and another neighbor managed to calm the woman and reassure her that her husband was in fact her husband, at which point the husband begged my mom to come inside with them for a while, because now he's also terrified of his wife. These people have had long, happy, healthy lives, but to end them like this, in mutual terror and unrecognition, seems sad beyond words.


 

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Why the Islamofascists will kick our sorry asses.

Posted by Apostropher
on 04.15.08

Also, protective headgear must be worn during the entirety of the spring chorus recital.

A playground pastime is getting a timeout this spring at a McLean elementary school. Robyn Hooker, principal of Kent Gardens Elementary School, has told students they may no longer play tag during recess after determining that the game of chasing, dodging and yelling "You're it!" had gotten out of hand. Hooker explained to parents in a letter this month that tag had become a game "of intense aggression." [...]

Many schools nationwide have whittled down playground activities in response to concerns about injuries, bullying or litigation. Dodge ball is a thing of the past in many places, and contact sports are often limited at recess. The Fairfax County schools' office of risk management maintains a list of activities that are prohibited at any school-sponsored events. In addition to bungee-jumping and scuba diving, students are not permitted to break dance or play dodge ball or tug-of-war.

Bungee jumping and scuba diving I can see, though I can't imagine the school function that would feature either one. But tag? Break dancing? Sheesh. We may never win another war again.


 

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A good start.

Posted by Apostropher
on 04.15.08

Via TPM, Will Bunch asked Obama about the potential for prosecuting Bush administration officials for torture. His answer:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.

Obviously, that's a touchy question that merits a guarded answer during the campaign, so while I'd much rather hear, "Oh, hell yes," it's nonetheless refreshing to finally hear somebody of import in the Democratic Party even tiptoeing up to the line.


 

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Get It Away

Posted by Becks
on 04.14.08

Why are the Red Hot Chili Peppers in such heavy rotation on the few remaining alternative rock radio stations? You'd think the DJs would have had enough years to realize they suck.


 

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Lemonade!

Posted by Ogged
on 04.14.08

Maybe being called "boy" by a congressman will do for Obama what "Iron my shirt!" did for Hillary.

Well: The fellow has apologized.


 

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A Poll

Posted by Ogged
on 04.14.08

How many of you putative Americans have never had a Slurpee?


 

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Homicidal Thoughts While Driving, Reconsidered

Posted by Ogged
on 04.14.08

The standard model of homicidal driving thoughts attributes the crazed reactions of the angry driver to the safety and anonymity of the automobile. I've argued in the past that what's really at work is that the driver has an ideal version of the trip in mind, and it includes no appreciable traffic, green lights all the way, etc., and so every intrusion of reality is experienced as frustration and disappointment. But today, while driving, I hit upon the key and missing piece of my theory, which is the decontextualization of other drivers (or bikers, or pedestrians). When someone cuts you off in traffic, or blows through a stop sign when it's your turn to go, that act constitutes almost everything you know about the person, and there's nothing redeeming about it. What's more, you always have just enough extra information to construct a plausible theory of the person's whole personality, and because their transgression is the origin of the construction, the person will have no redeeming qualities. So the middle-aged guy in the Mercedes who blows through the stop sign is the very picture of insensitive male privilege, and a poster-boy for the evils of capitalism to boot. Loathesome in every way. Ditto if it's a young man driving a beater, who is inconsiderate, irresponsible, ill-bred and ill-raised. It's no wonder, then, that drivers are so angry, when they're free to be so, and when each trip is a catalog of disappointments visited upon them by evil people.


 

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Eat It Up

Posted by Becks
on 04.14.08

Spencer Ackerman's insightful analysis: now available in regular or extra spicy.


 

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I think this one will really work

Posted by Ben
on 04.13.08

Any tips? (These links will allow you to access the account with which the profile's associated, so you can edit things, so—don't.)


 

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Badass

Posted by Ogged
on 04.13.08

One of our own is at this moment participating in the Arizona Ironman triathlon. That's in Tempe, where it's currently 92 degrees. Good luck, person the status of whose pseudonymity I can't recall! If you know his name, you can track his progress here.

Wow. He did it. Under twelve hours. Congrats.


 

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Modern Love: Those Poor Kids Edition

Posted by Becks
on 04.13.08

If you're going to write an article for the New York Times about the high-end sex toy that you and your husband bought, don't mention the highly Googleable names of your children. This is going to be the top hit for the rest of their lives.


 

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Spectrum

Posted by Becks
on 04.13.08

One thing I find interesting about Facebook is how friends describe themselves politically, especially people I don't keep in touch with very much. I assume that the labels people assign themselves are strongly influenced by their location and where they fall relative to people they interact with every day. Is a friend from Small Town, Midwest who describes herself as Very Liberal in fact more conservative than a friend from Big City who describes herself as a Moderate?

Have there been any studies that you know of comparing self-disclosed political preferences by age, geography, etc. to some kind of neutral benchmark?


 

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