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PWPL

Posted by Stanley
on 06.16.12

Today while I was jogging, I was flagged down by a white woman in a minivan, asking directions to a local store. The odd thing is, she really had to flag me down—I was jogging with headphones and frankly kind of checked-out. Meanwhile, there was a black guy walking down the other side of the street who would have been much easier to flag down, as he wasn't wearing any headphones nor was he jogging.

My question: is that racist?


 

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I'm aware that I'm rubber; you perceive that you're glue.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.16.12

Wise words from my facebook feed:

Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.

Complete with a haunted-looking gaunt girl leaning against her reflection in a window pain with lots of rain running down it.


 

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Partial Dream Act

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.15.12

Obama signs order to stop deportation of young undocumented immigrants.

The new deal will be open to anyone who:
• came to the US before the age of 16 and is under 30 years old
• have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States at the moment;
• are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• and have not been convicted of any crimes or significant misdemeanours.

Idle question - how come something like this doesn't have to be legislated by congress?

Via Chris Y in the comments


 

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Paperback Writer

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.15.12

What's your secret novel about? Or, if you were going to write a novel, what would it be about?

Me, I just cannot come up with plots. I always thought I'd enjoy being a ghost-writer for someone else's awesome plot.


 

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Anachronisms

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.14.12

Fascinating article on the historical inaccuracy of the speech patterns in Mad Men.


 

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Academics

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.14.12

I was chatting with biochem guy, who said that it costs 1-2K to publish in a prestigious biochem journal. I've never heard of such a thing! Charging authors to publish in an academic journal? He said you cover the costs out of grant money, and that if the journal isn't top tier, then you don't get charged.

In a lot of ways, I think math as an academic discipline lags about 30 years behind other disciplines, because funding math is very, very cheap, and it's a huge service department, and so relative to other departments, math departments are financially secure. So a lot of crap that stems from having such meager rewards is absent.

On top of that, people just freely share their math, and there isn't a fear of poaching, the way there is in other disciplines. A different virologist I know has said that if he has a great idea, then when he applies for grants, he describes a similar but less-interesting project that's worth doing, but unlikely to get poached. He said he's had ideas poached by grant reviewers before, and that even when people's intentions are good, the idea still gets planted in their mind and people inadvertently poach each other's ideas.


 

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Women's voices

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.13.12

Women contribute much less to op-ed columns, wikipedia, and that kind of public discourse.

"Submissions from women are more likely to be from writers who are particularly informed, while a much greater share of submissions from men are 'dinner party op-eds' - pieces written because the author has an opinion on the subject, not because of any particular standing or expertise."

I like to believe that I can bloviate without expertise, just like the most manly of men on Unfogged, Halford.

Via Tedra


 

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Why Sports Matter In Progressive Politics

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.13.12

From Nick S:

It's a good argument. I'd like to agree with it and, as an NBA fan, I'm inclined to think that pro basketball has a (small) positive impact on racial politics. But I also think sports have changed a lot since the 70s and become more corporate and more controlled.

"You cannot tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement without talking about Jackie Robinson," [Dave] Zirin said. "You cannot tell the story of the 1960s without talking about Tommie Smith and John Carlos on that medal stand with their fists in the air. You cannot tell the story of women's liberation without telling the story of Billie Jean King. It is so much a part of our history and fighting for freedom, and it's an absolute sin that it's not a history that we claim."

From Heebie:

Yeah, I don't agree. Sports were ripe for civil rights issues because the principles of sports - meritocracy and winning - were directly at odds with segregation. And while Title IX was a victory for women's sports, and they've come a long way, women in sports fundamentally lose out to the meritocracy and winning aspects of professional sports. (Give or take tennis and gymnastics.)

Should sports be held to a higher progressive standard than other industries? Not necessarily. Has sports shown itself to be unusually progressive? Not necessarily. (As far as battleground industries go, probably the public school system is where progressive battles most often play out.)

Also you can tell the story of the 1960s just fine without two people I never heard of.


 

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Turn up the BOC in the Choomwagon!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.12.12

Barry was an enthusiastic pot-head.


 

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Farmer Bill

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.12.12

Nice infographic explaining the Farm Bill, although probably more introductory than people here really need. Somehow I hadn't realized that the bulk of the farm bill is food assistance programs - I'd thought it was just the controversial subsidies to Con-Agra and Big Corn Syrup.


 

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Taxonomies

Posted by Ben
on 06.11.12

STOMP!

Somehow Moscow to the End of the Line has wound up categorized for me as a book which I will look for in new and used bookstores (always, thus far, in vain), but not one which I will simply order from the internet, even though, obviously, the possibility of doing so has occurred to me. Three-Cornered World, back when that was the name of the only available translation of what is now much more readily under the untranslated but transliterated title Kusamakura, was a previous occupant of that category, and eventually I did find it. (Though I bought Kusamakura, when I bought that, from Amazon.)

Isn't that interesting? Not, perhaps, the history of my attempts to purchase two books, but the odd binning. Ok, perhaps not that either, but nothing now can stop me from finishing this sentence and hitting the "post" button, thereby putting this post on the front page where you, reading, will mentally digest all that it says, boringly.


 

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Bedbug threads

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.11.12

This might be a delightful stroll down memory lane, or it could be the most toxic thread ever. Anyway, which thread got under your skin the most, at the time? In recent memory, the fashion thread was a doozy for me.

(I'm talking about where you're so ensnared that you're mentally composing new comments arguing arcane points while you're trying to go to bed that night, not actually threads where one person insulted another and things got bad-heated.)


 

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Exercise science

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.11.12

Is it possible that I already have osteoarthritis in my lower back? That would be shitty.

I just finished reading The First Twenty Minutes, which is total exercise porn - she's a science writer for the NYT and wades through and boils down all the exercise science and tells you about the studies. I loved it, but I would.

Massage came up. Conventional wisdom held that muscles got sore after exercise due to storing lactic acid, and that massage helped relieve soreness by releasing lactic acid and increasing blood flow to the muscle. They've disproved that mechanism - massage does not help get rid of lactic acid, and it significantly reduces blood to the muscle, because it compresses blood vessels. Also a bunch of studies show that massages don't speed recovery of sore muscles or increase performance.

I realize this doesn't contradict the back massage conversation we had earlier - massages could still help with knots in your back and injuries/PT. And you all seem to like them. I'm only partially smirking.

Ice baths don't help with sore muscles or improved performance, either. The only intervention they've been able to show consistently improves performance is to take a day of rest here and there.


 

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Baby Safe Drops

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.10.12

Chris Y. sends along this link about baby hatches in Europe, which are usually called safe baby havens or drop-offs in the United States - places to abandon your newborn where someone will keep them alive and try to place them into the foster care/adoption system.

What I find interesting is that the European narrative surrounding the safe havens differs so much from my narrative. Caveat: I am SUPER UNINFORMED on this topic, and just have vague impressions. First:

Since 2000, more than 400 children have been abandoned in the hatches, with faith groups and right-wing politicians spearheading the revival in the controversial practice.

I thought in the US, baby safe havens were generally promoted by liberal leftwing types. I have no idea what the conservative position on baby havens is, but any time you have a service targeting young, poor (scared) women, I assume that the people involved are liberal. It is very hard to work in social services here and not believe that we need some redistribution of wealth.

(Although I know tons of people who are religiously conservative and local-social-services-liberal. Maybe this is the group I should picture spear-heading the European movement?)

Another difference:

"There is growing evidence that it is frequently men or relatives abandoning the child, raising questions about the mother's whereabouts and whether she has consented to giving up her baby," he said. "You also have to ask whether an anonymous drop allows the authorities to check whether there's a chance for the baby to remain with its family in the care of other relatives."

My (again, uninformed) narrative was of the secretly pregnant girl* who panics and drops off the baby. The media here loves the hell out of prom-dumpster-baby stories. I suppose I thought the typical story was just a less dramatic version. It hadn't occurred to me that the people on the hook financially for the mother and/or baby might just decide to drop off the baby, against the mother's wishes.

Chris Y's own reaction: "I don't know why I find it so shocking, probably because it's something I instinctively associate with the 18th century." Whereas I'm like "omg, nbd, it's totes '12 to ditch your beebz."

* it's one thing to hide your pregnancy from your family. But I will always and forever be amazed by girls and women who do not know they are pregnant until the baby appears. I know, rationally, it's because they are so freaking frightened and scared, but that is one hell of a self-preservation reaction.


 

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