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Maturation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.13.11

How old were you when horrors from history actually felt horrific to you? What about current events? Not horrors-of-politics, but the more heartstring-tuggers. I remember that I couldn't finish a book involving a hurt animal, but was pretty blithe about, say, the holocaust.

I'm betting people's answers are all over the map. Actually, I bet in a real sample, you'd get answers all over the map, but that within Unfogged people skew towards grasping the horror earlier.


 

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Fork me on github

Posted by Ben
on 08.12.11

I was browsing the Jargon File, as one does, and came across the entry for forked, in which we read:

1. [common after 1997, esp. in the Linux community] An open-source software project is said to have forked or be forked when the project group fissions into two or more parts pursuing separate lines of development (or, less commonly, when a third party unconnected to the project group begins its own line of development). Forking is considered a Bad Thing -- not merely because it implies a lot of wasted effort in the future, but because forks tend to be accompanied by a great deal of strife and acrimony between the successor groups over issues of legitimacy, succession, and design direction. There is serious social pressure against forking. As a result, major forks (such as the Gnu-Emacs/XEmacs split, the fissionings of the 386BSD group into three daughter projects, and the short-lived GCC/EGCS split) are rare enough that they are remembered individually in hacker folklore.

How times change, and all that.


 

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25 inches of excitement!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.12.11

This is the type of thing that I would get disproportionately pissy about: Ridiculously Long CVS Receipts Will Remain Ridiculously Long.

The reason, the company says, is that the receipts are, apparently, exciting to customers. "When you give rewards, you want people to feel excited," a company representative told Lazarus. said. "You want them to know that they've earned the reward."


Fortunately, Walgreen's is closer to our house than the CVS is.


 

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Some Of Us Really Just Are Terrible At Faces

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.11.11

A buddy directed me to this online test of facial recognition skills; it's the "real vs. computer generated faces" link on the linked page, and I believe it's collecting data for actual science rather than silliness. I came out at the twentieth percentile for ability to recognize faces, which confirms everything I've ever known about myself.

I'd like everyone I've ever squinted at quizzically and then not said hi to to take this post as a personal apology for my cognitive deficiencies. Also, this is my excuse for not attempting a political career -- it's just not something I could possibly do.


 

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Put her in her pumpkin shell

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.11.11

From E. Messily, HIV expert jailed for keeping woman as slave in London flat. There are far too many teasers that demand more explanation in this brief story. What do you mean, HIV expert? What do you mean, cut her bra? Six months in jail and £3,000 in compensation?

I do know one family well enough to disapprove of how they treat their nanny, specifically with the demands on her personal time and extended hours and short notice. Their situation is not parallel to the story above, but it's plausible to me that people who seem normal enough can turn into sadistic employers of domestic help. But maybe scientist Rebecca Balira is a total wacko on many levels.


 

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Fall Guy

Posted by Stanley
on 08.11.11

If you ever think you're having a bad day, just think of Donald Currey. Now there's a guy who had a bad day.


 

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TBA, TBA

Posted by Stanley
on 08.11.11

It has come to my attention that I will be in the Cereal Bowl of the Nation soon.

Specifically, I'll be in LA on Saturday, August 13th, and have vague plans to meet k-sky, Halford, and any lurking Dikembes for dinner and drinks at around 6pm. Taix seems to be leading the race, but I gather the location is somewhat fungible. Taix is out. We're meeting at a secret residential location.

Moreover, I'll be in the Bay Area on Wednesday, August 17th. Minivet, Josh, and countless others requested a thread to organize. Time and place seem to be up in the air on this one. I defer to the will of the people.

And finally: Davis. I'll be there, probably on Thursday, but not long enough to toss burning couches from the rooftops meet the internet. Apologies.


 

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Snap Your Lips

Posted by Stanley
on 08.11.11

Listening to Diane Rehm while driving just now, I heard the beginnings of a snappy talking point. I paraphrase, "The UK is in the midst of an experiment right now, an experiment to which the US should pay close attention. That experiment: Can the UK simultaneously grow the economy while shrinking the size of government?"

Okay, that's not very snappy. But at this point in my longing for a clever (yet strident!) left-wing party in the States, I'm willing to award points just for trying.

Your snappier talking points welcome.


 

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Everything is terrible.

Posted by Stanley
on 08.10.11

But I like this song:



What do you like?

[via a lurker]


 

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Visibility of the grotesquely rich

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.10.11

Given: wealth of the top 5% has skyrocketed in the last two decades, while the median income has been level or declining. What I'm wondering is: how visible is this disparity in different parts of the country? For example, San Antonio has some wealthy people, but it doesn't have WEALTH the way other parts of the country have WEALTH. It's surely the visible disparity that leads to social unrest.

But maybe not - Wisconsin has been marvelous this past spring, and I don't think they've got much of a visible divide.

I've got a belief that the superrich have become better able to hide themselves from the rest of us over the past two decades, except within very dense urban areas. I'm wondering if this invisibility has played a part in the suppression of social unrest that really ought to be here.


 

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Pitching woo

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.10.11

Over the next year, Jammies and I have three weddings of very close friends, and I'll throw a fourth married couple in as an extra data point. My conclusion: courtships by people in their 30s are very different than courtships by people in their 20s. People just become extremely efficient at identifying whether they are compatible or not, and the whole process condenses dramatically.

I think that's enough over-generalizing for one post, so I'll leave courtships by people above 40 for the comment thread.


 

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So, Forty.

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.09.11

Funny, didn't think turning forty was going to bother me. And yet it does.

I have a good job, at which my work is well thought of; two clever, healthy, attractive, and well-behaved when they want to be children; a happy marriage, with a husband I can't say enough good things about; and a pleasant, spacious apartment that will be paid off in three and a half years. Wanting to run away and join the circus is not a reasonable way to feel. It'll pass.

Anyway, I don't know how to juggle.


 

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Talk of mysteries!

Posted by Stanley
on 08.09.11

For instance, bugs!

In a desperate search for a solution, the Environmental Protection Agency recently approved limited use of two insecticides to help control the pest, and researchers at a government lab in Delaware are conducting studies to determine whether a non-stinging parasitic wasp that preys on brown marmorated stink bug eggs in China, Japan and South Korea can be introduced here.

The Asian wasp isn't much bigger than a period that ends a sentence, but introducing the insect is risky because it, too, could become invasive and attack native insects that are beneficial to the Mid-Atlantic's ecosystem. If the wasp became a threat, it would join a host of species from Asia on the government's most unwanted list of harmful plants, insects and animals.

But the risk might be worth it, entomologists said. Detected in 33 states and the District, the brown marmorated stink bug munches on hundreds of varieties of plants and trees. It has a taste for fructose, stabbing its mouth -- or proboscis -- into apples, peaches, grapes and other fruit at the start of harvest season. Last year, it ruined nearly half of Pennsylvania's peach crop, worth $15 million, said experts at the Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Moreover, birds!

Nunez, though, makes clear that condors do not kill livestock, nor do they fly off with children. Rather, they are a vital part of one of the most unusual ecosystems in the world, the high paramo, with its carpet of squishy plant life that collects huge amounts of water, which nature sporadically releases to feed Colombia's rivers.

"They keep the mountains clean," said Nunez, noting that an adult can quickly gulp down several pounds of decomposing flesh, using a tubelike neck to poke around inside a carcass.


 

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Listening to NPR while making dinner

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.11

Oh NOES! Wall street has JITTERS and is having flashbacks of 2008 and we must take URGENT UNPRECEDENTED FED ACTION and on and on, and excuse me for finding this unbelievably smarmy in the face of three years of indifference to 10% unemployment.

I do get that markets have real implications for hiring practices. Although trickle-down something something with all this freaking out.

(I do care about the London riots, but feel totally inadequate to comment on them.)


 

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Delayed vaccination schedules

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.11

Helpy-Chalk, in the Rawsome thread:

Pasteurized milk, like vaccination, can divide the science-minded public health left from the hippie-be-free-and natural left. This is a difficult one for me, because I belong to the science-minded public health left, but travel in circles dominated by the hippie-be-free-and-natural left. I don't make nearly as much of an argument about pasteurization as I do about vaccines, though.

I could have written this exact comment, and I suspect I'm not alone here.

Currently I see a lot of be-free-and-natural emphasis on delayed vaccination schedules. It gets my shackles up, because I instinctively read it as being anti-vaccine, and just giving lip-service so that they don't get lectured by people like me.

I'm wondering if there's a reasonable argument that herd immunity works best if kids get the vaccines as early as (safely) possible. Or am I just being overly sensitive?


 

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Every person must invoke The Overton Window daily.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.11

Does the Overton Window exist?

To begin with, the Overton window is an atheoretical, poorly substantiated notion dreamed up by an anti-public education activist and popularized by Glenn Beck. It is often invoked as a magical salve that justifies any form of extreme rhetoric. But when people try to really dig into the underlying dynamic that Overton was trying to describe, that simplistic approach doesn't work.

Under certain conditions, though:

the audience must be able to clearly see the difference between the radicals and moderates--and more important, they must be motivated to care that there is a difference. If it's easier to write off both groups based on the loudest voices rather than discriminate between them, that's what will happen.

And specifically why the fringe atheists may not be shifting the window:

The other thing they'd have to do is articulate some sort of clear policy goals, list of target audiences, etc. And so far they haven't done so, not in a consistent way, and certainly not in a way borne out by their actions. Overton was successful because he laid out a clear set of policy preferences, and stages between the current situation and his preferred situation.

via


 

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It's not okay.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.11

"Every day, [long rambling description of routine] would happen, and today was no exception" is probably the sentence construction that makes me cringe the most.


 

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Because it's ham-fisted?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.08.11

Why exactly do I find this photo essay of "'Where Children Sleep': A Round-the-World Tour of Bedrooms" so annoying?


 

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Milk and Eggs

Posted by Stanley
on 08.08.11

Clearly a menace:

August 3rd was a telling day for the U.S. government's role in controlling our food safety and food security. In Los Angeles, the Rawesome raw food club was raided by armed federal and state agents who arrested a club volunteer and seized computers, file folders, cash, and $70,000 worth of perishable produce. The bail for volunteer James Stewart, 64, was set at $121,000 -- higher than the bail amounts assessed to narcotics dealers and domestic abusers in the courtroom that day. And, in a rare move, Stewart was denied the right to use a bondsman.

Of the thirteen counts against Stewart, 12 regarded raw milk and products made from raw milk that were distributed to club members in a Rose Avenue warehouse. (The other count involved unwashed, room temperature eggs). No illnesses have been reported in the club's 12-year history. And if a problem were to occur with the club's food, members say, they would be able to quickly figure out the source. This was the second such raid on Rawesome, the first having happened in June of 2010.

[…]

Rawesome started 12 years ago as a small group of raw milk drinkers who would occasionally pool their money together for an order. Someone, often Stewart, would take the money to a local farm and score some fresh unpasteurized milk to be divided among the group. As more and more people joined, the club grew from a cooler in a parking lot to a rented storage space to the current warehouse. The inventory diversified as the club evolved, but the layout stayed minimal: in piles, barely labeled.

Rawesome members sign a form attesting "as a member of this private members-only club, I demand access to food that is 1) produced without exposure to chemical contaminants such as industrialized pesticides, fertilizers, cleansers or their gases; 2) complete with its natural unadulterated enzymes intact; 3) may contain microbes, including but not limited to salmonella, E.coli, campylobacter, listeria, gangrene and parasites; 4) the cows are grass-fed and the goats are pastured on a regular basis; 5) fowl are regularly given the opportunity to range outdoors and not fed soy products; and 6) eggs are unwashed and may have bacteria and poultry feces on them."

via E. Messily


 

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Never meant to be, scorned by society.

Posted by Apostropher
on 08.07.11

Because I'm lazy (but still avoiding the work I brought home to finish this weekend), I'm just going to copy a friend's Facebook status whole.

Okay, I got this one: If Emma Goldman and Eric Cartman had a little baby and hired Anne Sexton as their nanny -- that lovechild would totally be ME. Whose passionate, disparate lovemaking would produce YOU?

Seems like ample fodder for a slow Sunday night around here. My top-of-my-head answer was "If Jerry Lee Lewis and Noam Chomsky hired Phyllis Diller to be their surrogate..."


 

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