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The Only Things I Know Are What I Read In The Papers

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.21.12

According to Dan Hurley in the Times, playing this game will raise your IQ.

I plan to spend the next couple of weeks playing it obsessively until I get smart enough to figure out that sort of thing is unlikely to work. That makes sense, right?


 

horizontal rule

 

Guest Post - lw

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.20.12

Energy economics are very strange now.
-Japan has disabled 40% of electrical generating capacity (nuclear plants have not been turned back on after routine maintenance)
-Argentina just nationalized its (mostly foreign-owned) oil+gas company (link) The Miami Herald is OK for news about South America; I haven't figured out if there are any particularly strong or weak individual journalists to follow or scorn, does anyone know? Pemex, the nationalized public-private hybrid of Mexico, has a big stake. By the way, the empirical history of nationalized entities in terms of environmental impact and corruption is pretty dismal; basically, I think that the nationalized energy companies are preferable in those cases where doing nothing is better than doing something.
-Natural gas prices are at 10-year lows, and fracking causes earthquakes in Ohio.

The last point is good for global warming in the short-term, since natural gas electricity produces about half the CO2 as equivalent coal.

Interesting and hilarious figure from Oil privatization earlier this century. It is unlikely that Kuwait would exist but for this dude.

Heebie's take: I guess I don't have a take. Keystone pipelines to produce oil that will be sent to other countries, disgustingly dirty coal fire plants, no hope for any global cooperation on any environmental measures, etc. I don't even know.


 

horizontal rule

 

There is pleasure, too, in being in a place where dormice are: knowing that somewhere above your head, dormice sleep and feed on insects and hazel nuts. The wood feels like a better place for the knowledge that there are dormice in it.

Posted by Ben
on 04.19.12

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how I feel about David Rees. Let us consider the accomplishments with which he can be credited, and the activities he has undertaken which make him a worthy object of esteem:

- Get Your War On and other webcomics, e.g. this one.
- URL shortening service for twitter
- Sharpens pencils for $$
- Infectiously exuberant and apparently totally sincere commentary on amateur covers of popular songs on youtube. (The other Friday Face-Offs are in the left sidebar. You should probably read and watch several more. Unfortunately many of the actual videos are no longer available. I recommend "All These Things That I've Done", "Replay", and "Use Somebody".)
- Looks kind of like Jim Jarmusch

I find the whole pencil-sharpening thing delightful, partly because he seems to either take the sharpening itself seriously, or, if it's all an elaborate put-on or satire, to be taking that seriously (which, as we know, comes to the same thing); he does, after all, actually sharpen the things.


 

horizontal rule

 

Guest Post - Witt

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.19.12

Witt writes in:

This op-ed in the Harvard Crimson is pretty surprising:

After forty years, a Latino Studies Center is still missing on campus.
[...] [There is a Harvard Latino Student Association campaign] that aims to establish a Latino Studies Center at Harvard University.
Since 1994, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies has been a great resource to students on campus. But the Center's leadership also recognizes that their charter, focused on Latin America, cannot provide adequate coverage of the "U.S." part of the Latino identity. In fact, in our Spring 2011 efforts to establish HLSA, the Rockefeller Center was unable to serve as our sponsoring entity because of this very issue.
If the proposition is so clear, then why doesn't Harvard already have a Latino Studies Center? For nearly forty years, students, faculty and staff have asked the same question. Earlier attempts to establish a Center in 1971, 1979, 1993, 2001, and 2005 were all rebuffed by Harvard administration.

I find this boggling in its anachronism. Regardless of your political beliefs about ethnic studies, these kinds of centers have been around for decades if not a half-century or more at other universities. And it's not like American Latinos -- as opposed to international students -- are unknown in New England. For one thing, the US is home to several million Puerto Ricans, most of whom live on the East Coast (including, ahem, a number in Massachusetts).

So what's going on at Harvard?

Heebie's take: My guess is that the momentum for establishing these kinds of centers fizzled around 1978, and so if whichever racist pricks made a point of preventing its establishment through 1978, it was then doomed for the next 30+ years.


 

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I give a damn about my bad reputation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.19.12

I'm a terrible drunk. Actually I'm mostly just a terrible sleeper after I drink. I feel like I didn't sleep for more than 10 minutes straight last night, although I must have.

We've got friends who are super fun and love to stay up late, drinking and chatting. I want a reputation as someone who is game for this type of thing, and who should be invited along, but wow, it's actually really hard on me.


 

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Complainionship.

Posted by Stanley
on 04.17.12

I had band practice tonight with a dude who's playing his CD release show to a backing track with a metronome click. So my left ear, where the CLACK-click-click-click was is totally ringing right now.

Also, every time I get out of my car, I shock myself. I think it must be my rigorous clutch foot, trying to be all speedcar racer, and generating static electricity.

These are my petty grievances. Let this be a thread for the petty grievances of one and all.


 

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Also outrageous!

Posted by Ben
on 04.17.12

A summary of the UCDavis report (and a followup post). Assuming it's an accurate summary, the whole thing was an amazing clusterfuck.


 

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This is outrageous

Posted by Ben
on 04.17.12

California State University is withholding financial aid for about 20,000 needy graduate students—money that pays their tuition—pending a decision that could permanently end the cash grants, The Chronicle has learned.

Graduate students across the 23-campus system began receiving financial aid notices this week and were astonished to see that the State University Grant that takes care of tuition for low-income students was missing. In its place was the offer of a federal loan at 6.8 percent interest.

From the end of the article: "Asked why San Francisco State had sprung the news on students without explanation, Jo Volkert, associate vice president for enrollment management, told The Chronicle that the campus would e-mail an apology."

That will certainly be an adequate response!


 

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ATM: Let's not stay together.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.17.12

The person requested that I put this under the fold. Therefore I'm doing things backwards:

Heebie's take

Break up now.

A commenter writes in:

I have been in a long-distance relationship for quite a while now. We met through an ex of mine (first bad idea), who was also one of her best friends (second bad idea), and spent all of one week together before she went back to her country (across the Atlantic). We became a couple officially when she came back to visit for a couple of weeks and have seen each other for a grand total of two and a half months in one and a half years of relationship.

As young couples are wont to do, we quickly became very fond of each other. I felt very optimistic about things and agreed (you might even say encouraged) to meeting her parents when I flew over for the holidays. By the time I bought my ticket for the holidays we'd already discussed moving in together when I went there to study (this was before the whole US scholarship thing happened). However, a few weeks before buying the ticket I'd started to have minor doubts about the relationship, which had become major doubts by the time I got there due to a number of incidents (all of which happened, clearly, over skype).

As of today I see her as someone I care about deeply and would like to keep around in some fashion, just not in a committed relationship. I've recently (yesterday) told her I didn't think moving in was a good idea (shortly after telling her I am finally going to be able to go there to study; yes, I'm a jerk; no, I'm not coming to America after all), as a way of easing into an eventual break-up once I'm there and can do it face to face. She's clearly freaking out, hates me, and wants to have a long, long conversation about it, which I'm dreading.

I already know I want out, and my objective is to get out while minimizing the damage caused to her. The question is: should I wait until I'm there to pull the plug, or should I take this freak-out and impending three hour long discussion to strike the fatal blow? Also: do these have different values attached for the probability she'll ever speak to me again? What do you think is the sensible way to go about this?

Longer Heebie:
Break up now. Face-to-face break-ups are a courtesy, not a mandate, and it doesn't apply now. It is more important to end a dead relationship when you know it's dead.

As to three hour long discussions: you owe her a 10-20 minute discussion, and that's all. There is no perfect explanation that makes it not hurt. It hurts, and you're hurting her, and that's why romance is fraught. You have to go through with this, and I'm sorry, and do it asap.

As to future friendship: let it go. If it arises organically in the future, that is a nice thing. But it is off the table during the break-up and post break-up period.


 

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Neurotic obsessions

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.16.12

Today I took a group email and forwarded it on to one person, so that I could snark and be bitchy. Obviously this is a dumb thing to do, and no, I didn't mistakenly reply to the whole group.

Ever since I sent that email, though, I've compulsively re-checked my sent mail about 50 million times to reassure myself that it didn't go to the whole group. I've become obsessively gripped by this dumb neurotic detail all day. Good god, conscience, leave me the fuck alone already.


 

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Feel bad.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.16.12

When I'm really frustrated with a class for blowing a test off, I like to give a little speech about how "While there was was a wide range of scores, on the whole I'm quite pleased with the overall performance!" so that they feel like their failure was individual. If I read them the riot act about how disappointed I was in the whole class, then they'd have safety in numbers.


 

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Cory Booker: History's Greatest Monster?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.16.12

JRoth implies yes, by sending along this link. All I know if that if Cory Booker, Stalin, and Hitler were in a room, and I had two bullets, I'd make double-sure that Cory Booker did not get out to wreak any more havoc amongst us.


 

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What you say is very reasonable

Posted by Ben
on 04.15.12

Ok, I get it; you don't care about that other stuff. That's fine! Now I know, and I can better serve you. For instance, I am certain you will all dig this animation of the allegory of the cave, with narration by Orson Welles (only Socrates' lines, Glaucon's omitted):


 

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