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Predictions

Posted by Stanley
on 01.01.11

Mine: this will be the year of the Canadian shanty's rebirth, spearheaded by a handful of hardscrabble Newfie indie-rock bands.

Yours?


 

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Twenty eleven sounds like a made-up number

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.31.10

Happy New Years! My new year's resolution is not to have a baby this year.


 

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Please get out of my dwelling!

Posted by Standpipe Bridgeplate
on 12.31.10

Two guests down, four to go.

I am a bad host.


 

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Syne You've Been Gone

Posted by Stanley
on 12.31.10

What's with everyone always writing "Happy New Year" with all initial capital letters? Anyway, a belated happy new year to the Pacific 'foggedtariat. To rest of you lot, wait your turn. Sheesh.


 

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When Did Employers Stop Training People?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.31.10

I was just talking to Buck about high-end electricians -- the guys who install major industrial power systems (yeah, breakfast-table conversation in the Breath household is sparkling). Apparently (according to Buck, I haven't checked), this is one of the many areas where there's a generation of skilled workers retiring, without people on line to follow them.

Generally, talking about getting a job today, it's a commonplace that you can't get looked at for anything unless you have experience doing exactly that thing. It's a Catch-22 for job-seekers: you can't learn how to do anything useful in school, you need on the job training, but employers don't voluntarily do on the job training anymore. And it's not great for the employers either, because it's hard to find people with perfectly tailored experience for your openings, so if you don't expect to train your hires, you end up hiring any idiot who fits the slot.

When did that change? It seems as if employers used to accept that largely, they were going to hire generally competent people without all that much specific knowledge of the job, and train them, but that assumption went away across the board sometime in the last couple of decades, and nothing functional has replaced it.


 

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Now See Here

Posted by Stanley
on 12.30.10

Via this, I bring you the recently discovered work of Vivian Maier, Chicago-based street photographer.


 

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When in Rome, don't pet the pigeons.

Posted by Stanley
on 12.30.10

Recently, I found myself party to a conversation that began by my interlocutor saying, "I need some advice."

Being too clever by half, I didn't hesitate to offer up, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." But almost immediately, I was dissatisfied with my answer. Surely, there must be better generalized aphorisms one could have at-the-ready for opportunities such as these.

Which thought soon wandered over to the realization that coming up with a list of random pearls of wisdom (and I'm not sure, but I think the less likely to be immediately applicable the better) seems a task uniquely suited to the talents of the Unfoggedtariat. So, by all means, have at it.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I had a very strange Unfogged-based dream last night. Very, very strange.


 

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It might be the weird hand-caressing.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.29.10

This hand model creeps a lot of people out on Facebook:


 

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Indeed!

Posted by Stanley
on 12.27.10

I'm disproportionately delighted by the product descriptions on this page:

Milk, a natural product overflowing with nutritious and taste properties, has been consumed by humans for over twelve thousand years by several civilisations. Dairy products, with milk as the top ingredient, are established partner to a balanced diet for people of all age.

Milk is the archetypal vital food, a dietary resource and symbol of purity, synonymous with wealth and abundance. It travelled through centuries and still remains one of the most established foods present in our daily diet.

[...]

Centrifuge skimming was invented at the end of the X1X century and changed the whole process dramatically: cream is obtained within minutes. Pasteurization, a process invented around the same period, ensures its preservation. Fresh and authentic, Chagnon creams will surely fulfil your gastronomic cravings.

[...]

The basic principle of butter-making has remained the same since at least... five thousands years!

[...]

Ice cream is part of Québécois' taste legacy. Indeed, who is able to resist a hot piece of pie served with ice cream?

[...]

Start your day on a good note with a glass of orange juice, or freshen up on a hot summer day with cold lemonade, or please the kids with our famous grape beverage: Chagnon juices are always appropriate.

That's right: always.


 

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Die, bankers, die! Of embarrassment.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.27.10

From an article* about the bank bailout in The Week:

Last week we learned that JPMorgan Chase had hit up the Fed for secret loans on seven different occasions, utilizing a program created to spare banks from having to "embarrassingly make their needs known to the public." Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn told the "whopper" that his firm could have survived the crisis without the Fed's help. In reality, the firm "turned to the Fed every single day during the darkest weeks of the crisis," for a total of 84 loans.

A secret program to save the banks from embarrassment?!? Did everyone know about this except me? From EMBARRASSMENT? Somehow it is extra infuriating that we were concerned about the poor dears being embarrassed.

* I have a subscription to The Week, but online it's behind a paywall. They're summarizing an article from CrainsNewYork.com, which is also behind a paywall. Hunting around, I wasn't able to find a free source that I felt like quoting.


 

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Would you like to come up and look at my deep packets?

Posted by Stanley
on 12.27.10

In a sign that I apparently have something approaching zero expectation of privacy, I kind of sort of figured this sort of data mining was already happening:

Computer security expert Joshua Wright says over the past five years or so, a lot of ground has been lost when it comes to online privacy. Wright tells Linda Wertheimer that Internet service providers, ISPs, are realizing there may be some new business opportunities with collected user information.

Hm. The full transcript isn't available yet. It's the kind of encroachment I want to feel all up-in-arms about, but in actuality I end up with a reaction of "ho hum, whatevs, I'm not doing anything unusual or illegal online, so what do I care?" which I think is probably a pretty common reaction, which in turn makes this sort of thing inevitable. Which bugs me. But apparently only enough to write about it. On the internet.

Update: Transcript up. Relevant bit below the fold.

Mr. WRIGHT: An ISP is in a unique position to monitor all of the Internet activity from your computer. Where you might visit Amazon.com - and Amazon.com knows about the activity that you do when you're on their particular website, they don't necessarily have access to other websites that you browse, as well. But the ISP does have all that information. And so they're in a very powerful position to be able to collect and mine all of that data.

When you go to use Amazon, you are arguably opting in to that service. You're deciding to do business with Amazon. They provide targeted advertising to you to continue selling their products. And most people find that reasonable.

What we have with this deep packet inspection from ISPs is a different situation, where it's not opt in, and in some cases it's not even opt out. The ISP is collecting all of this information and using it to deliver targeted advertisements to you, but you don't have any influence to say I want to receive these or I do not want to receive these.


 

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Christmas Roundup

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.26.10

(1) Snowflake ornaments made from royal icing should be hung on high branches of the tree. Unless they were actually intended as dog biscuits.

(2) Note to a small girl of my acquaintance who arrived at dinner with a Nerf machine gun that looked like something the Marines in Aliens would have been carrying, immediately began chasing Newt around the apartment while peppering him with Nerf missiles, and then later came to me complaining that he had spoken harshly to her: As I said last night, that's one of the disadvantages of gunfire -- after the shooting stops, sometimes hurtful words are said.

Everything else went off like clockwork, though. Today will be devoted to sitting about slothfully, occasionally shoveling leftovers into our gaping maws. Happy St. Stephen's Day!


 

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