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Oh, good.

Posted by Stanley
on 03.26.11

I was considering this:

The administration has in recent days been discussing with its allies the possibility of supplying weapons to the Libyan opposition as coalition airstrikes failed to dislodge government forces from around key contested towns, according to U.S. and European officials.

France actively supports training and arming the rebels, and the Obama administration believes the U.N. resolution that authorized international intervention in Libya has the "flexibility" to allow such assistance, "if we thought that were the right way to go," Obama spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. It is a "possibility," he said.

Gene Cretz, the recently withdrawn U.S. ambassador to Libya, said that administration officials were having "the full gamut" of discussions on "potential assistance we might offer, both on the non-lethal and the lethal side," but that no decisions had been made.

And then this (from the same article):

"I think I am right in saying that the resolution is clear," British Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament on Monday. "There is an arms embargo, and that arms embargo has to be enforced across Libya." Legal advice "suggesting that perhaps this applied only to the regime," Cameron said, "is not in fact correct."

And I thought: if I found myself sounding zanier than David Cameron, I'd probably pause and reflect. That's just me though.


 

horizontal rule

 

A question for legal minds

Posted by Ben
on 03.25.11

Despite the restraining order to the contrary and the instructions of the sec'y of state, the union bill in Wisconsin has been published.

Quaere, how is this not asking to be rebuked by the courts? (I understand they have many divisions.) Does the existence of the restraining order mean anything for the law's enforceability now that it's been published? Is this not brazen and absurd and yucky?


 

horizontal rule

 

That's just me though

Posted by Ben
on 03.25.11

If some history prof wrote a blog post alleging that a certain heretofore almost entirely neglected organization had in fact been a strong influence on American politics for the past several decades, operating the shadows and aiming at social ill and whatnot, I wouldn't, if I felt compelled to make that professor the subject of a FOIA-like request pertaining to his email, include the name of that organization in the list of terms inclusion of which in an email causes that email to be included in the request's remit, because that might give the initial post some, you know, credibility.

(Plus the whole thing puts you in the position of saying really risible stuff.)


 

horizontal rule

 

Fogged

Posted by Stanley
on 03.25.11

It seems my willingness to post on trivial matters is directly proportional to the extent to which a current news cycle has me feeling despondent.

Which leads me to share with you: I have an ongoing, unresolved dispute with several different parties involving the proper way to defrost defog a windshield. Specifically, the disagreement hinges on whether one should deploy hot air or cold air.

For fun's sake, I won't tell you where I come down on the question, and we'll see where the Unfoggedteers shake out. Or you could all ignore me and talk about those Serious News Issues that have me feeling that all I can do is blahg.


 

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Ye Olde Wire

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.24.11

From K-Sky:

This maybe merits a post, perhaps with reference to some old Unfogged Wire/Dickens-blogging e.g.

From me: this is indeed great, although I'm embarrassed to admit I never watched the series. Jammies watched it, and I sat down with him at first, and just somehow was not usually interested in joining him when he had it on.

I do however agree that serial installments is the perfect format of film or video.


 

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ATM: Green Acres Is The Place For Me

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.24.11

Jimmy Pongo writes:

I was recently offered a two-year post-doctoral fellowship, which I quickly and gratefully accepted. It's a great opportunity and will hopefully put in a better position the next time I have to reenter the job market.

The fellowship is at a SLAC in a small Midwestern town. The SLAC and the Midwest are great and, particularly the former, the sort of place I'd like to end up; the small town, less so. I've never lived in a small town and so far my mental preparations for the move have consisted of figuring out ways to work around having to live in a small town (mid-sized cities within an hour, major metropolitan center only three hours away). My wife grew up in a small town and has largely negative feelings about them, though she's down for seeing how it goes over the next two years.

So my question is, what advice does the mineshaft have for someone facing this move? Especially those of you who grew up in cities and have then moved to smaller places, what should I expect and how should I be preparing myself?

To amuse myself and hopefully you all, I've created a mix of songs about places and going to them. If you felt like contributing your own, I'd like that.

Thanks,
Jimmy Pongo

My answer under the jump.

It seems that small towns have a wild array of personalities, and you can get stuck in a great one or a terrible one. (Our current town has about 40K, although a giant state university, and we're fairly close to major cities.)

The answer is really to find another 1-3 people that you get along with really well. I really don't think this is harder in a small town than in a big city. It's always hard, but the payoff is immense. Trawl the university and initiate happy hours with your colleagues.

Then there's outdoorsy prettiness to check out and fantastic movies on Netflix, and Unfogged, of course. With this internet thing, a small town is really not the desolate pit of isolation it used to be.

Next, what's your wife's situation? Is she able to easily find employment? It's really tough to move somewhere new and not be working outside the house, because of the sheer isolation. If she doesn't work outside the house, I'd make it a top priority for both of you to arrange some social structure for her that is considered sacred.

Finally, is there an embedded question here about moving from a blue state to a red state? Are you moving somewhere where the only grocery shopping available is WalMart, and you see a billboard near your house that says "WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?" (The latter is true for me.) For this kind of thing, the answer is to tell us here at the Mineshaft all about it, and let us get some vicarious amusement out of your predicament.


 

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NMM

Posted by Alameida
on 03.24.11

The recent death of Elizabeth Taylor is much more likely to lead to violation of Ogged's ban than most others. (As Chopper noted, Betty Page's death was similarly problematic.) What do people think about fictional characters? I mentioned, to my husband's surprise, that I had always wanted to have sex with Sherlock Holmes, who would surely be actually dead by now, not just in a Reichenbach Falls way. He shouldn't have been surprised, because I've told him this before, but I think I mentioned it immediately before actually having sex, such that he was distracted, etc. His thoughtful offers just now to wear a deerstalker cap and start smoking a pipe were met with a cursory "fuck you!" I believe I harbored similar feelings about Aragorn when I was 13.

This is obviously veering into fanfic territory that I don't want to know anything about, what with the Roy Orbison and the saran wrap and everything. God forbid I should end up working at Weakass Hospital (you should start at the beginning). But in general have you, gentle Unfogged readers, harbored lustful thoughts about literary characters? Not merely for the actors who play them in an unsatisfactory movie or television series, put the (im)pure products of your imagination? There is some wiggle room here as you draft various actual people to serve in your small, ideally cast production. It would be really great if one of you had a thing for Gilgamesh. I guess I'd totally hit Achilles.


 

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Not that it sounds very good

Posted by Stanley
on 03.23.11

A friend freshly back from SXSW claims curry ketchup will be the next big food thing. And if I'm just hearing about it now, that means it probably already was the next big food thing and has since passed. Why did none of you tell me?


 

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Notes for a contribution to a prolegomenon to an answer to Brad DeLong's refrain

Posted by Ben
on 03.23.11

Medill (which trained one of DC's hottest media types (off-air)), formerly known solely as a journalism school, lately became a school of journalism, media, and integrated marketing communications, but has apparently decided recently that the nominal pride of place journalism enjoys need not be reflected in its course offerings.


 

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Schlengths

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.23.11

From Chris Y:

It would seem wrong if Unfogged didn't indulge in meaningless and uninformed speculation about this map.

What deep underlying psychopolitical truths may be explained by the fact that Americans have smaller knobs than Mexicans and Canadians (or Brits than Frenchmen)? And what is it with Colombians?

Heebie's observations:

1. If that chart is in inches, I've been robbed.
2. I assume this chart can be explained by varying ratios of people with positive penis length to people with zero penis length.


 

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I had no idea sleeping next to someone was so dangerous.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.22.11

Has this radiation chart been linked yet? I found it helpful.


 

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Plus, complaining is like my thing I do best

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.22.11

I've had enough of people quipping "I know, I know, first world problems!" after complaining about something minor. It just sounds like such a nudge, hectoring you to always to be grateful. On the other hand, at least I'm not in a third world country where every time something funny or lovely happens, you have to remember to reign it in because you're having a first world moment.


 

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If you are not a fool you will like this

Posted by Ben
on 03.21.11

On these pages, I present solid information on (currently) 117 different spice plants. Emphasis is on their usage in ethnic cuisines, particularly in Asia; furthermore, I discuss their history, chemical constituents, and the etymology of their names

There's also a geographical index with brief notes on some herbs and spices that aren't given the full treatment.

Beyond the obvious interest that the etymology of the names of plants holds (in many cases underscoring the extent to which distant parts of the ancient world communicated with each other), there are lots of great digressions; for instance, the entry for epazote contains a discussion of teas and words for tea; the entry for bear's garlic, words for bear (The true Proto-Indo-European name of the bear is H₂RTḰOS, probably meaning "destroyer": bad ass); sesame discusses ways of obtaining oil.

The entries are all cross-referenced, too, sometimes in kind of baffling ways ("For examples of the usage of Sichuan pepper in Sichuan-style Chinese cooking, see orange"—in the entry on Sichuan peppers). (Amusingly, mugwort and horseradish each direct the reader to the other for more information.)

AND there are occasional interesting mistakes in the English, some of which may be Germanisms ("consume" for consumption). E.g., cold-pressed oils mustn't be subjected to high heat, "otherwise, the advantage of cold pressure is lost". "Pressure" here is not obviously (and is interestingly!) wrong, and has (compared to "pression", which is what I would have come up with for the purpose) the advantage of being an actual word.


 

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On the other hand, the coffee was absolutely delicious, and before that I really enjoyed some Picassos.

Posted by Stanley
on 03.21.11

Yesterday, I became very annoyed with a person. Specifically, I found very condescending his response to my inquiry as to the difference between mussels and oysters. (This all took place at a restaurant, at which our table had received a dish of mussels; shortly thereafter a nearby table received some oysters.)

"They're just different," he eye-rollingly, mussel-slurpingly insisted. Well, okay, but they're both bivalves, I countered, and not having ever tried either, I didn't think it a burden to ask him to explain what he perceived to be the difference to be between the two.

What a wank.

He failed to endear himself further when the conversation turned unexpectedly toward natural-gas extraction and I brought up the recent NYT series. He explained that harnessing natural resources for human consumption represented progress.

And then he invented a steam-engine locomotive which he sold me for five dollars.


 

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