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At least it's not a tattoo

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.02.08

Go check out Cakewrecks because it made me laugh a lot.

Like:
cakewreck1.jpg


It's bad enough that this cake seems to be using "full belly" as some kind of euphemism. Add in the picture of the scruffy-looking guy with his arms around a couple of kids, and surrounded by other children in various states of frolicking - all while in a secluded forest, I might add - and you've got some seriously disturbing cake imagery going on.
Considering the degree of wrongness already reached by those two issues, I almost feel petty in pointing out that there's no "a" before "dream".
Just call me petty, I guess.

Or:
cakewreck2.jpg


Yes, it's supposed to be a foot: a "Chinese Lotus (Bound) Foot" to be precise. (It's what the Chinese used to do to their women's feet, back when the thought of fallen arches struck terror in the hearts of mere mortals.)
Yes, it was for a podiatrist. Because when a doctor is forced to look at and/or handle other people's feet all day every day, I'm sure said doctor can think of nothing more appealing than eating a giant version of one of the most hideous foot deformities possible. ("Alright! Please, tell me you got Pistachio ice cream to go with!?!")

Via In The Form Of A Question


 

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A blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand.

Posted by Becks
on 08.01.08

Does anyone read this article from this weekend's NYT Magazine and not think it was the reporter getting trolled?


 

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The Panopticon Is Here To Help

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.01.08

Some students in the Netherlands have designed a tool for analyzing and giving feedback on social interactions between kids entering high school:

Ennea, a project from students at the Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the cooler things I've seen in a long time, developed during a six week design class. The students focused on an interesting problem - the problems incoming Dutch high-school students have in building socialization skills. The Dutch education system doesn't have middle schools, so students go directly from an elementary school to high school, a transition that can be difficult and stressful. Schools assign "tutors" to groups of pupils, and they meet for an hour a week to work on socialization skills. The designers talked with tutors and realized they had very little information about how their students were doing, and designed a fascinating social tool that works as a very clever form of surveillance and behavior tracking.

The designers produced a set of small, cute, wireless-aware objects that students carried with them for a few weeks. The objects measured interactions between children, timing the interactions each child had, and whether they were with individuals or groups. This information allows the designers to describe each child's interactions in a two-dimensional matrix based on interaction diversity and intensity. (Meet a lot of people and you're more diverse. Spend a long time with a person, and it's more intense.)

Rather than scoring the children on good or bad types of interaction, the device characterizes a user as one of nine animals: Lions are very diverse and very intense in their interactions. Their opposites are Polar Bears, who interact infrequently and briefly. Users can change roles over time - the device vibrates when your state changes, but you can only see what role you've taken on by "mating" your device with another person's device, giving the opportunity for conversation and interaction. For "complementary" roles, the animal icons will glow gold.

While the students only see what animal currently represents them, the tutors get rich data on student interactions and can see how individual students are doing. Both have evidently found it useful in prototype - I can imagine scenarios in which tutor "surveillance" becomes worrisome, especially if certain behavioral patterns lead to interventions from the tutors. But it's a lovely way to generate useful feedback data from wireless social interaction, and it's possible that this will become used within Dutch schools.

(I found this reading Sherry and Megan's (FTA) new blog, which is great stuff. Sherry's thoughts on the Dutch project particularly are worth reading, as is an older post of Megan's on scarcity, that I got busy and didn't have time to write something about. But you should go read it.)

My instant reaction to that sort of surveillance is "Get that thing away from me!", even for young teenagers. On the other hand, the goal of easing the transition into high school sounds commendable, and the project sounds like something that could work if the 'socialization tutors' are competent and well intentioned. Really, what it comes down to is trust that it's safe to give people in authority information that they could use to help you, but could also use to hurt you: I don't trust school administrators, but if the kids involved in this project do, they may be better off for it.

These trust issues underlie all sorts of discussions of government power, from health care to FISA. The emotional argument against single-payer health care is that we don't trust the government not to screw us over in the provision of health care, which argument sounds somewhere between baffling and insane to anyone actually living in a country with single payer. On surveillance, we're in a world now where there's no way to practically limit the access of a goverment willing to flout the law to any amount of information about us. There's got to be some way to attack these problem by making institutions with that sort of power more trustworthy and controlled, because I can't see any way to reduce the practical capabilities they have.


 

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100 Pushups

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.01.08

Who's actually doing this 100 pushups thing? I just finished the first week, but looking ahead I have to say that I don't have a whole lot of faith this is going to work. Eh, I hadn't been working out, and there are worse things than restarting by doing something silly.


 

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Eh?

Posted by Becks
on 07.31.08

Late to the Greyhound decapitation story because I was at work but I don't think I've had a story captivate me as much since that weird pizza delivery dude with a bomb around his neck one a few years ago. (What ever happened with that, anyway? It just disappeared.)

I love how the bystanders always have to be called "heroes". Yes, you're a hero because you ran screaming out of the bus, making a couple of people fall and trampling on them, and then locked the dude inside. No, that's called "self preservation".

And via a friend of the blog, this dude gives great interview.


 

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Hör mit Scherzen

Posted by Ben
on 07.31.08

Anymore, I only post when something pretty directly related to me is involved. I know, it's a bad habit, but at least it means I do occasionally post, which is—well, anyway, it happens. In fact, I can think of two things to mention!

1: the guy I subbed for two weeks ago needs subbed again this week and next (8/1 and 8/8), and I'm doing it, so tomorrow from 3 to 6 pm Western Whatever Time on KZSU (90.1 FM for those in the area) I will be playing the work of musicians including, but not limited to, Elephant9, Jason Ajemian, Donovan, Bill Dixon, King Crimson, Zentralquartett, Mucca Pazza, Josephine Foster, Roy Buchanan, Arbete och Fritid, Guapo, Keiji Haino & Tatsuya Yoshida, the Dead Brothers, and Evan Parker with the Transatlantic Art Ensemble.

2. What's your problem?


 

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Fagette

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.31.08

Lyrics are not safe for work. But it's so great! Give it up for Pansexuali-TAY!


By the Athens Boys Choir. Via Feministing.


 

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Christ, What An Asshole

Posted by Becks
on 07.30.08

What happens when you combine the snooze-factor of an NPR reporter trying to describe cartoons on the radio with the insufferability of the New Yorker caption contest? The worst idea ever.


 

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Like Toby Keith, I love this blog

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.30.08

Why talk about having sex when you can fight? Fuck art, let's kill. (I had a button with that slogan when I was in college. Good times.) Unbridled antagonism is my form of life.


 

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I couldn't possibly think up a pun involving Kaine

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.30.08

I'd be furious if Obama picked a running mate who was pro-life and anti-gay-marriage. So is Kaine pro-life? I googled it and it turns out that his policy is to be so incohenent on the issue that people will stop pursuing it. Eventually I found Media Matters' explanation. They say "In fact, while Kaine has expressed opposition to abortion as a matter of personal faith, he made it clear during his campaign that he supports legal access to abortion" and "As Kaine demonstrates, one can simultaneously oppose abortion and support legal access to abortion procedures."

(Of course, this is an obnoxious strawman, because nobody is encouraging abortions. Besides conservative dads. Did you know there's an Austin rumor that Jenna Bush got an abortion in high school? The story goes that she had an appendectomy scheduled at a local hospital two weeks in advance. Or something like that.)

Anyway, can we just run on our goddamn platform instead of finding hedge monsters to soften our message so baby Jesus won't cry? Our platform is solid and ethical. Let it speak for itself.

When I started writing this I intended to talk about VPs, but I've grown weary, so TAKE IT FROM HERE, COMMENTERS!


 

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In your favor

Posted by Standpipe Bridgeplate
on 07.29.08

Dismay! But then, joy! But then, dismay.

I'm not even going to take it out of its translucent plastic wrapper, this $350 lens they sent me instead of the $65 one I paid for.

Scruples, pooples.

Update: My eternal soul will have to live without the beetle portraits. There was no debate, really, but I did like this from baa in comments:


Even if you think we live in a moral void, selling yourself out for $285 bucks is gauche. Aim high, people.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft - Quick Sputnik Edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.29.08

A lurker reads the recent thread and e-mails me, saying that they very much need help from The Mineshaft, because we're willing to talk frankly about sex, and give real advice in between cock jokes. And because he e-mailed me, we get a hearty dose of psycho-babble flavored advice along the way.

Dear Mineshaft,

My wife and I have been going through a rather long dry spell (years) in our
physical intimacy. In the past couple of weeks we have
started talking about it more than we ever had in the past, and taking
some steps toward getting back together in bed. It's marvelous,
blissful! feels kind of like the first time! except for one little
thing: I seem to have lost a lot of stamina. The foreplay is great up until
the moment of penetration, but then it's all over pretty quickly. It seems
to me like the reason could be: 1. Totally psychological -- I'm so overjoyed
to be back in there, I get frightened and leap ahead to the finish; 2.
Physical -- we're doing a lot more foreplay than we ever did in the
past, which is great, but a lot of that is cunnilingus which is
getting me really excited, then by the time we are fucking it's like
I've been stimulated that whole time; 3. Catastrophic -- I didn't use
it, and I have lost it, or 3a. this is karmic retribution for one of
my many instances of being a bad person.

Any ideas? Have any of you experienced anything like this, and been
able to solve it? 1. and 2. both seem like they might just pass as we
get back in the saddle a little more, it's mainly 3. that has me
worried. Any advice about what I, she, or we could do to help me last
longer would be very much appreciated. I'm horribly embarrased/ashamed
and frightened about this.

A lurker

I'm assuming that the lurker means that he finishes quickly, not that the wind dies down. And presumably years ago, he was a normal fucker.

My answer after the jump:

Here's my take: 1 and 2 are overwhelmingly likely to be the explanation. 3 is only a possibility if the individual is fixated on it, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I think part of the key to unravelling this whole thing lies in: " I'm horribly embarrased/ashamed and frightened about this." Your anxiety needs to be dealt with just to give you some peace of mind.

One thing that I want to know: Even if you two have addressed the reason for this drought, maybe you're worried and anxious that there could be another, unexpectedly? So you're waiting for the other shoe to drop? I think the fear that you might be on a limited run might contribute to false starts.

Speaking as a doctor, I prescribe lots and lots of talking and listening and trying again and again until you two lay down new habits and routines that you gradually come to trust as permanent. Readers?


 

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Adam Kotsko funked your mother.

Posted by Apostropher
on 07.29.08

And this was the soundtrack.

Just add water, makes its own sauce!

Bow-chicka-bow-wow! Since you can't punch someone over the internet, your sole means for defending her honor is dropping your own mix in the comments. 'Til then, your mother is so funky, George Clinton keeps her backstage.


 

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What do you make of this?

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.29.08

I know a guy who got married recently and changed his name. But the new name wasn't his wife's name or some combination of their names. It was a common English adjective with no connection to the family tree. Here's the twist: he's not at all annoying. Weird, huh?


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Angle of Incidence Edition

Posted by Becks
on 07.28.08

So I was out with some guy friends tonight and the topic turned to erections. Specifically, all were glad to have more control these days than when they were 13 and had to walk around Junior High carrying a strategically placed book.

One remarked that they should enjoy it now, being in the fleeting golden years between The Blackboard Walk Of Shame and Viagra, when people started questioning when those waning years begin.

So, on behalf of the assembled, I ask: If you're in your mid- to late-twenties, how many years do you have left before you start to have trouble getting and keeping it up without assistance?

Presidential pseudonymity is of course welcome in this thread.


 

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Not that shaggy

Posted by Ben
on 07.28.08

You know, I heard your mom's so ugly, that when she was in high school, all the other kids made fun of her, sometimes playing really exorbitantly cruel pranks (like one of the popular kids would pretend to be her friend, and then humiliate her in public after inflating her hopes as much as seemed possible), so that she was depressed for much of her youth and even after graduation, and was convinced for a long time that no man would ever really be interested in her. I heard that that's why you yourself have body-image issues including a touch of dysmorphia. Supposedly this has also negatively affected your mom's earning potential over her lifetime compared to that of a more attractive woman or an ugly man.

What's more, your mother's so stupid that she has trouble performing tasks that most of us consider simple, with the result that she's only ever been able to hold down extremely menial jobs, on which most people look down. While she is bright enough to recognize the rudiments of her situation, her attempts to claim equal worth with everyone else come out so garbled that only the most bleeding hearts even bother taking them seriously, and even they have trouble putting it into practice.

The really awful thing, though, is that she's just so damn fat that she stands at a greatly increased risk for heart disease and diabetes—and even though her condition has genetic factors, as well as environmental factors beyond her control, she's generally held up as a paradigm case of lack of self-control, as if she is completely incapable of passing by a comestible or potable without ravening it thoughtlessly. Ironically, these depictions have given rise in her to a fatalistic outlook on her own condition, as she comes to identify with the terms in which she's been described, so that she really does frequently eat against her own best judgment, because, what the hell else is she going to do? None of her best efforts to lower her weight have met with any encouragement. God, she's so disgusting.

I also heard that she's a giant slut.


 

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Shotgun

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.28.08

It seems inapt to describe the Knoxville church shooter, Jim Adkisson, as "everyone's friend." Now it looks as though he was motivated by liberals. Make of this what you will.

(Oops, left out: Links via Instapundit.)


 

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Son of a millworker!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.28.08

Have we talked much about the Edwards thing? I think I mostly agree with Lemieux. He links to Rosin and Bazelon as well. As far as I know Edwards is now an ex-Senator with a desire to end poverty, which puts him pretty low on the public-figure totem pole. On the other hand, and without knowing the facts of the case, I'm tempted to say, yeah, him too.


 

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On my way to St. Ives, I met a septi-polygamist.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.28.08

There are plenty of problems with Warren Jeff's compound out in west Texas, and many problems confiscating all the kids, and just as many weird drapy haircuts and monobrows. It is a bad idea to confiscate a ton of kids based on a loony false tip out of Colorado. And they're so religious! Holiness is next to cleanliness is next to entertaininess is next to Big Love, which brings me to my point: What a great show. We just started Season Two.

Bring on the plural marriage! What seems most clear is that polygamy would be a royal pain in the ass to actually undertake.


 

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Teammates, a woman needs my penis

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.27.08

If you've ever wanted to read a comic book about Tom Brady's penis--as so many do-- now is your chance.


 

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The "P" stands for "pedagogy"

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 07.27.08

Last thought on the Myers thing, at least from me, at least for now: one background irritant is my conviction that playing Mr Cracker on the internet affects how Myers does his job. Letting everyone on campus know just how strongly he feels about religion, religious people, etc. means that the students sitting in his classes will know, and this has an effect on how he can interact with them.

Hilzoy, for example, uses a pseud so that it's not all that easy for students googling her to learn in great detail what her political views are. She thinks, rightly, in my view, that being seen in a certain light by her students creates pedagogical difficulties. Similarly I'm pretty tight-lipped about most of my normative commitments because I sometimes teach issues related to them, and I don't want students looking at me through a lens tinted by my internet (or office-door) ravings.

Granted things are easier in the natural sciences, where there's a clearer line between course content and "one's own personal beliefs" as the saying goes.* Still. Being a hero to the "freethinkers" also means being seen as a jerk by some others. Sometimes these sorts of consequences are inevitable or they're justified by some bigger payoff, but there is a definite cost to this sort of thing.

*Oh, you naughty LaTour, you behave.


 

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