1. As I was driving home I tired of the music I had available on my filled-at-random mp3 player and turned on the radio, hearing thereby "99 Problems", which, I discovered, I cannot but hear not merely in the context of, but rather in terms of, as if this about-to-be-mentioned thing were primary, the to a large extent on "Helter Skelter" based Grey Album version.
2. Whenever I get to the traffic-check part of that song, I become really upset at the pretense of the fictional cop that the questions he's asking are really just pro forma and not actually related to his legal ability to carry out the relevant actions or demand the relevant actions of the pulled-over Jay-Z. If you will allow me to speculate ignorantly (since the one lawyer I know whom I feel I can call up to ask random questions is not answering his phones, which I'm sure is unrelated to my tendency to make free with his time), it seems as if this is a case of something like strict liability—that is, you don't need to know that you're granting consent to the officer* to do something when you respond affirmatively, you just need to issue something that can be construed as an affirmative response to something that can be construed as a request, even if it's presented as something else.
3.&dagger I've listened to a good number of Joe Frank shows recently and the following strike me as especially good monologues from them (though some of them are monologues-by-editing, phone conversations in which Joe's side has been removed to give the impression of continuous speech by the other party): Larry Block's opening monologue in "Predator" and the not-quite-monologue at the end of "Evening Sky"; Debi Mae West's in "At Last"; Joe Frank's in "The Box", "Mountain Rain" (the K2 ascent), and "Mercy Now" (the entire show); and whoever it is toward the end of "Black Light".
*I think one could reasonably argue, from either felicity conditions or general considerations regarding what it takes for an action to be ascribable to an agent, that in the sort of situation at issue no one has granted consent at all.
†I didn't say there wouldn't be any unrelated things.
Also this cracked me up.
Politics as she is spoke over the water.
Long but amazing. h/t Flying Rodent.
From Heebie: This helped me get a handle on what exactly is going on:
A very sad yet utterly insane story here of how the Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom quickly metastisised from a bunch of loopy bloggers complaining about being robbed by the sociofascist state, into a small cadre of shits robbing and taking advantage of a bunch of loopy bloggers.
Also I'm embarrassed by how long I puzzled over the idiom "spoke over the water".
It's a nasty habit to go about highlighting the foibles of others, especially if those others are other countries and you happen to reside in a rather foible-ridden country yourself. (Hello, world!)
Moreover, we USians will bestow celebrity upon, frankly, anyone, although we show a particular fondness for people and/or animals doing embarrassing things on camera. (What can we say, really? It's never not going to be funny to some of us to see someone getting clocked in the gonads by a zebra. It's part of our national character.)
All of which is to say, it'd be pretty goddamn rich of me to mock our neighbors to the north for honoring people of completely fabricated importance on their postage stamps. And yet I feel the need to speak up about this pressing issue:
...is Jordan Furlong, who writes about the rise of third-party litigation that funds family-law cases where one spouse can't afford to sue the other, but there are significant assets at stake:
[The customers of one such third-party service] fall into a pattern. They are women. They generally do not have jobs. They often are raising small children. And their husbands run their own businesses, making it tough to obtain financial information. A stay-at-home mother with three children spent 16 months trying to compel her husband to produce current financial statements for his solo law practice. She was running out of money when Balance Point agreed in August to provide financing.
(Furlong is quoting a NY Times article there.) He adds:
You'd have to be pretty stone-hearted to say that these plaintiffs should be deprived of any form of assistance they can find, and I'm not advocating that these sorts of programs be outlawed. But I do contend two points. The first is that third-party litigation funding, especially in family law, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what a lawsuit actually is, a misunderstanding that has dire implications. And the second is that third-party litigation funding is the wrong solution to a very real problem, and if lawyers don't fix that problem, someone else will fix it for us.
Third-party litigation funders refer to their clients' lawsuits as "investments." [...] The problem with treating lawsuits as financial investments is that it treats a lawsuit as a means to an end, not an end in itself: the lawsuit's value is stripped of its human component and reduced to a competition, a calculated wager that one side will do better than the other.[...]
A lawsuit is the operational expression of a serious interpersonal conflict, usually marked (especially in family law) by great physical or emotional misery for the people involved. Ripping that lawsuit from its human moorings and treating it purely as a financial vehicle is literally a dehumanizing act, one that disregards the law's primary function of facilitating the resolution of personal conflict by peaceful and orderly means.
The fact that third-party litigation funding is flourishing, bumping up against the basic principles of the justice system, should be a grave embarrassment to the legal profession. These companies are emerging because the price of bringing a problem to and through the court system for a solution exceeds what 80% of the population can afford, and 80% of the reason those costs are so high is because of us: not just the fees we charge for our work, but also the labyrinthine, process-drenched, time-devouring system of justice we've created and currently oversee. The justice system works for judges and lawyers, because we made it and we run it and we work in it every day; it demonstrably does not work for anyone else.[...]
[Witt again]: Maybe I'm just a sucker for moral righteousness, or maybe I've beaten my head against the wall too many times in trying to get pro bono help in (much poorer) family law cases. But I read this article and come away with an overwhelming sense of appreciation that there's a lawyer somewhere willing to say these things publicly.
So I was just listening to this TAL episode (specifically, the part about cryonics), and I remembered: that mussel-slurping juicebag about whom I told you? Totally had a special bracelet because he'd made arrangements to be frozen upon death.
I'm inclined to think uncharitable thoughts about his motivations for seeking out such such services. But it does leave me wondering whether some people with more redeeming qualities about them might go in for this sort of fountain-of-youth business.
The whole thing seems way silly, but I'm willing to be convinced I'm wrong on that point.
John Emerson gets around.
Occasionally, I'll read a science-y news story and be pleasantly surprised along the lines of: Huh; I figured that would happen someday but had no idea it's totally already happened. To wit, doctors can transplant hands?! Neat.
What else have I missed, internet?
So this story is making the rounds:
A J. Crew ad that shows a mother painting her little boy's toenails pink has sparked a storm of Internet outrage, with much of the vitriol directed at some pundits who swiftly criticized the online ad and asserted such behavior might make a boy question his sexuality.
Presumably, none of you wants to talk about it.
I ♥ Boobies. Needless to say, I detest this campaign and the "Save the Tatas" ilk.
I mean, really, forget "Save the Ta-Tas." How about save the woman? How about "I ♥ My 72-Year-Old One-Boobied Granny?" After all, statistically, that's whose rack is truly at risk.
To take it one step further, my mom is in remission from esophogeal cancer. She had her esophagus removed. That is great! We did not have much love for the organ that was killing her, it turns out.
Let's not enumerate them all, but just agree that there are many problems with worrying.
One problem in particular is that whatever you worry reflects your weird little brain, and isn't terribly linked to the trauma that ends up walloping you. I can fret about cars and accidents all I want (and I do) and then be blindsided by the sinkhole that opens up in our backyard.
So: on the occasion that the object of your worry does come true, does the worrying make you more readily able to deal with the emotional fallout? Is there any protective benefit in that one case?
Hawaiian Punch is two today! To celebrate, we gave her a marshmallow test. In my imagination, she was going to squirm and contort and do funny kid things, before happily popping it in her mouth. But the footage is actually kind of boring. Thwarted!
Also I thought I timed her for five minutes, but I forgot to wind the timer and in fact it's only about a three minute test. The real test is fifteen minutes long, so nothing we've done here is actually predictive. I was mainly concerned that she wasn't grasping the proposition, so I kind of beat her over the head with it.
So, anyone know what the implications are? From a naive outsider perspective, what it looks like is straightforward politicking: there have been a lot of arguments from non-rightwing economists that worrying about debt reduction when unemployment is this high and the US can borrow this cheaply is lunatic, we don't have a debt problem until we have trouble borrowing. And so this looks like an attempt from Wall Street to signal that they can make the US have trouble borrowing if we don't obey.
But honestly, I don't have enough knowledge of the situation to have an informed opinion. Kevin Drum links to an article on "motivated reasoning", discussing research into how people's reasoning tends to be strongly affected by their pre-existing opinions and feelings. Obviously, this happens: an underdiscussed reason for why it happens is that on most important issues, we don't have anything like enough information to actually have rationally supported opinions about them.
People tell me I appear to be on the rational end of the spectrum, more likely to have a logical argument for why I think what I do than most. From inside my own thought process, I've got enough information to really think through my opinions on very few subjects, and one of the big ones is New York State civil procedure, which doesn't come up much outside of work. Everything else is rules of thumb, and figuring out which set of arguments that I can't quite follow of my own knowledge is coming from someone who seems trustworthy (or, more likely, which set of arguments is coming from someone who isn't trustworthy). Really thinking about things is hard, both building up the necessary knowledge base to reason from, and then doing the reasoning, and it's not surprising that people hardly ever do it.
(I'm experimenting with new capitalization conventions for post titles. Rejected title: The Atavism of Young America. Yes, that's right; even though I rejected it I'm still telling you about it, because I want credit for my bad ideas, too.)
"If I see a man walking down the street wearing loafers with his suit", writes Jesse Thorn, " I don't assume he's a rebel. I assume he's a doofus." Why the possible rebelliousness of such a person is even in question (as if anyone who wears loafers with his suit must be trying to rebel, even if ultimately he is a doofus) is unclear, as, for that matter, is why such a person should ultimately be dubbed a doofus, for, although Mr. Thorn assures us that the diktats of style are "[t]ypically … grounded in practical considerations, and serve as a shorthand for a complex web of reasoning", we are not told what those considerations are or that reasoning is in the present case or in the case of, for instance, the buttoning or otherwise of one's bottom button.
The mystery deepens when one considers that, if the picture heading the post is anything to go by, the rules about city and country dress which Thorn feels free to disregard as being irrelevant contribute as much, and more holistically, to conveying an impression of doofusness than merely wearing the wrong kind of shoes ever could: I, at least, seeing in an urban environment someone clothed as the pictured gentleman is would be unable to prevent myself from immediately determining him to be an ass. Whereas I do not think I would come to the same conclusion in a rural environment.
Those of you who may remember my feelings about those men of my generation who affect to wear hats should rest assured that I can defend myself from charges of inconsistency with recourse to only somewhat Jesuitical logic-chopping.
Okay, it's hard to read this article without smirking.
I was recently at a talk by a mathematician who was collaborating with economists. The talk went: "I was given some highly idealized initial conditions and assumptions, and a recursive equation, and asked what I could do. So we pulled in some rather high-powered mathematics, and eventually got a pretty curve. We gave that back to the economists and they went nuts."
I found the math interesting, but I couldn't get past my aggravation that no one person on the team seemed to be willing to understand entire research project. If your assumptions are wildly idealized - and these were - it's completely ludicrous to think that your economic conclusions are more robust because the math is super high-powered.
At one point someone asked what kind of problem might be modelled by this, and the mathematician answered: "Anything! I just need to know what parameters to set for α and β," which to me felt like a dodge, because she knew it smelled fishy, but she personally was just in it for the math.
Hello good people of unfogged!
We are moving to a cheaper host. Sometime today, ogged will tell the registrar what the new nameservers are and you should at some point thereafter start ending up t^Hhere.
In order to effect an ORDERLY TRANSITION, I am going to do the following after ogged tells me that he's update the nameserver information: close comments to all posts except this one in the database on the to-become-old
(i.e., the current) server, and update this post (only on the currentold server) to reflect that fact. I'll also, after all the info has been copied over into the new server, update this post (only on the currentold server) with the new server's IP, for the benefit of people who like to edit their hosts file.* There will be a version of this post on the new server which indicates that it is a new-server-dwelling post.
*Now would be a good time to check, people who like to edit their hosts file, whether you edited your hosts file the last time we had a server move and/or dns issue, and never un-edited it.
UPDATE: you are now on the new host. Congrats.
A further update: you may find that although you see this page, your comments still show up on the old page. I'm not sure what might be causing this though I'm tempted to mumble something about caches and "unfogged.com" and "www.unfogged.com" being treated differently. In any case, a possibility of which to be mindful.