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Athletic Prowess, Breath Family Style

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.30.12

Newt, not much of an athlete, mentioned a while back that it'd be cool to run a marathon. Keeping it realistic to start with, I told him I'd run with him if he wanted to train for a 5K. We've been doing the Couch to 5K program (kinda. We started on week 2, because week 1 just looked hopelessly bogus, and then somewhere around week 8 quit with the incrementalism and just ran the 5K already.) The plan was to sign up for an actual race, which was today, to celebrate finishing the training. Sally, more of an athlete, but a swimmer rather than a runner, decided that she wanted to run too, so I signed her up, as did my 73 year old father with the titanium hip (he puts in a slow, steady, 20-25 miles of jogging a week, so this wasn't a big deal for him.)

The weather was ghastly: 95°F and blazing sun. The race started and finished on a track with bleachers, but left the track to do most of the length along a bike path, doubling back on the same path rather than doing a loop. Sally tore off from the start at high speed, leaving Newt and me plodding slowly in her wake, and my dad plodding even more slowly, bringing up the rear. About a mile and a quarter in we caught Sally, who was by then alternating running and walking, and plodded slowly away from her. At the halfway point, we doubled back and passed Sally, and then a bit further on saw my dad, who had tripped, fallen, skinned his knee and both hands, and then picked himself up and kept running: in the finest Breath family tradition of being astonishingly clumsy but too pigheaded to let the resulting damage get to us. He waved us past, so we left him bleeding (he was still running, admittedly, but I did leave my elderly father, injured, with over a mile left to run.)

Newt, the rotten little twerp, ran me into the ground -- he set a pace I couldn't keep up with (not a fast pace, mind you, but too fast for me given the heat), so I told him to keep going while I dropped to a walk to catch my breath. He finished in about half an hour, with me a minute or two behind. Sally came sprinting onto the track (presumably the sprinting began just before she was visible from the stands) in fine style maybe another seven or eight minutes later, and Dad plodded in, having run (albeit very slowly) the whole distance, most of it bleeding profusely from the fall he took, to a round of applause from the stands (which were full of people waiting for a track meet that was about to start.) We had a couple of the race organizers come over and essentially thank him for neither dying nor looking like he intended to sue anyone.

I'm really proud of Newt, who was having trouble jogging for three minutes two months ago, and very reassured that the family durability seems to hold out to at least past seventy. I did tell Dad to take some painkillers before bed tonight though -- I bet tomorrow morning's a bitch.


 

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Guest Post - E. Messily

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.30.12

Long, long, ago, in the olden days of April, Castock linked to a video of a hearing woman, Kristin, claiming to teach people how to say "die in a fire" in ASL. She has a youtube series of many more "super smutty sign language" videos.

A brief discussion ensued (starting at) about the accuracy of her signs (not so much!), whether she is using ASL or another sign system (neither, really) and the target audience for the videos (do people want to be able to insult deaf signers, or just claim knowledge about smutty phrases? We may never know)

Now, Kristin has gotten a book deal and the Deaf community is pretty pissed off! People are tossing around lots of "cultural appropriation"s and "misogyny"s and "privilege"s. Mainly because (a) Kristin does not actually know how to sign (b) she is not a member of, or associated with, the Deaf community (c) the phrases in her videos tend toward the violent, the sexist, and the racist (d) but are inaccurately produced and grammatically incorrect, and finally (e) most of the videos are not captioned, meaning that actual real live deaf people who know the language she is claiming to teach don't have any access to the things she is saying about it.

It seems possible that the mineshaft would like to argue with each other about this topic. Who is being oppressed? Who owns a language? How much is everyone overreacting? How many comments before we're arguing about copyright laws pertaining to squirrels in ancient Japan?


 

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Guest Post - Parodie

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.29.12

I think the unfogged community might appreciate the challenge offered by the world's hardest sudoku puzzle.

The designer of the puzzle claims that "On the difficulty scale by which most sudoku grids are graded, with one star signifying the simplist and five stars the hardest, this puzzle would score an eleven."

Heebie's take: I don't think the article writer has a clear sense of what makes Sudoku puzzles difficult. Or else he can't explain it well:

Instead of being able to spot where a number goes based solely on the boxes that have already been filled in, most moves will face you with two or more spaces where a number could fit.

That doesn't seem that challenging.

Mr Inkala said the most difficult parts of the grid require you to think ten moves ahead, exploring a series of permutations at each stage in order to eliminate all routes other than the right one.

That sounds harder, but I don't really understand what he means by "moves". Simultaneously consider ten squares in order to fill in a number?

At the level I'm at, typically the hardest part of the puzzle involves considering 4-6 unknown squares simultaneously, and the payoff is that you eliminate a possible answer in one of the squares - you don't actually get a number, until after a few of these moves whittle down the possibilities.

I'll happily believe that this sudoku is super hard - after all, my dinky app has three levels too hard for me - but maybe I'll just have to try it anyway.


 

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I have a hunch.

Posted by Stanley
on 06.29.12

I have terrible posture. In particular when I'm sitting down (including playing the drums), but even when I'm standing, it's not great. (Possible exacerbating factor: I have the impression that my torso is longer than average for my height, so, you know, it's, uh, heavier.)

Accordingly, I've been trying to add a few core exercises to the end of my run. But it's really a haphazard effort, and about 25% of the time I just skip it all together.

Has anyone in the 'tariat successfully worked to improve their posture as an adult? I have a vague feeling that it might be too late to start caring about it at the tender age of 30. But it'd be kind of nice not to feel like a slouch.


 

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Non-orientable

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.29.12

Texan Republicans have their heads so astonishingly far up their own assholes that they form a Klein bottle. Among the various parts of the 2012 platform:

- Increasing corporal punishment
- Opposing critical thinking:

"Knowledge-Based Education - We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

- Repeal any government program that deals with early childhood development.
- Repeal the minimum wage.

And on and on. Party of fuck-ups, complete and utter.


 

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Yes, I would think so

Posted by Ben
on 06.28.12

I spoke to a nice lady from the Forest Service today, asking whether one needs bear canisters in Glacier Peak Wilderness or if one can simply hang food from trees. She assured me that she just hangs food, and also that they don't have many grizzlies, just black bears, and went on to explain (these are not the ipsissima verba, but the gist is correct) that "in Park Service land, they don't hunt bears, but in Forest Service land we do hunt bears. When the bears are hunted, the learning process is different."

In case that might be thought too reassuring, though, she then said that "Fish and Wildlife sometimes sends problem bears to our land."


 

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Fast and Furious

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.28.12

Nathan Williams writes:

Generally I hate "The truth about Foo" stylings, but this seems like a good article, and undermines the idea that Fast and Furious, as a particular program, was as stupid/incompetent/evil as it's been made out to be. Instead, it's mostly full of organizational failures and institutionalized petty bickering.

For a personal connection, it notes that one of the original F&F agents hailed from the sheriff's office of my old stomping grounds, Loudoun County, VA.

(spotted via Pandagon).

Heebie Also, from the comments, Drum and Crooked Timber. Basically everyone links back to the article above, which is really, really long but believable.


 

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PPACA it up, PPACA it in. Let me begin.

Posted by Stanley
on 06.28.12

Decision expected around 10am. So which will it be: doom or gloom?

Oh, right: this happens tomorrow. So you've likely had a more auspicious start to your day than I have. Pat yourself on the back!

Update: Now it's time! [- Heebie]


 

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Well, bikes are exceptional.

Posted by Stanley
on 06.28.12

Pictured below is my favorite road sign in town. I confess that it's my favorite for petty reasons: because I like the idea of it pissing off drivers who've been dicks to cyclists.

But I'm also interested in what the city's done to that street. It's a one-way street for cars with parking on both sides. But they've shifted the parked cars over on one side, such that they now park about seven feet from the curb. In that seven-foot gap, the city installed a bike lane heading in the opposite direction, hugging the curb, and a buffer zone between the new bike lane and the parked cars (presumably to allow the car occupants to open their doors and exit without compromising the bike lane).

I like it! And it can totally work on this light-traffic street. Does anyone live in a place that does this sort of thing on busier streets?

Except%21.jpg


 

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Next big hit amongst the Unfoggetariat

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.27.12

What song do you feel strongly right now that everybody needs to know about? I don't have one, but you know me, still singing "Tenderoni" to Jammies.


 

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Microparenting and spoiled kids

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.27.12

I can't stand this article, and simultaneously I have no idea what responsibility to grant our 3 year old, who is clearly chafing under constant supervision.


 

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Prediction Time

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.27.12

I have a theory that an undergraduate degree from a private university will become the next barrier to access to high-paying jobs. It's already the case that a Master's degree is often necessary, and I'm not saying that will disappear, but just that this new barrier will appear in addition.

First, as public universities get their budgets slashed and continue to raise tuition, the sticker-shock between public and private will diminish. But along with raising tuition, I bet there will be a trend to increase enrollment, to also bring in revenue, since this is more viable as an income stream once tuition grows.

What private institutions offer (to employers) is a limited number of spots. Employers like easy ways to sift through job applications, and here's one that confirms all these ideas that are simpatico with slashing education and generally denigrating public funding.

The public spin will be something like this - that private universities can keep classes small and thus teach their students more deeply. While I do in fact believe that small classes results in better teaching/learning, that will be the cover story for the driving force - the limited number of seats.

(Exceptions: for those going into academics, working with state school researchers will always help. Those with a 4.0 who stand out at a state school will also be exceptions. But a student with a 2.75 GPA from State U will be increasingly fucked compared to his wealthy counterpart with a 2.75 GPA from local private U.)

(I don't know if I believe my theory. I'm just throwing it out there.)


 

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I believe this counts as good news

Posted by Ben
on 06.26.12

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the first-ever regulations aimed at reducing the gases blamed for global warming. In my opinion, whoever was involved in this case on the Sierra Club's behalf should get much more than a 5% raise and Ansel Adams print.

Also:

The judges, when presented with these arguments in February, cautioned the industry groups and states to be careful what they wished for. If EPA chose to follow the letter of the law, they said, greenhouse gas regulations would place even more of a burden on industry and other businesses.

Lawyers for the various states said that if that were to occur, Congress would pass a law to stop it.

Citing a "Schoolhouse Rock" video, the judges in their opinion reminded petitioners that "It's not easy to become a law." They even provided a link to the popular video that explains how bills become laws.


 

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A Reputation for Poorly-Designed, Unsafe Rides; Inattentive, Underaged Employees;[2] Intoxicated, Unprepared Visitors; and the Consequently Poor Safety Record.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.26.12

I bet people here have been to Action Park. But did you ride the looping water slide?

Via Tweety.


 

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Failure Is Something I Accomplish

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.26.12

Is it just me, or is this the most obnoxious, depressing motivational Top 9 list ever? Maybe I'm just lazy.


 

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Overgeneralizing about abrasive people

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.26.12

I had lunch with a friend last week who is perpetually single. A large part of the problem is that he is attracted to abrasive, ball-buster types, and that is heavily stamped out of most Texan girls. By which I mean conversationally aggressive, will get on your case about everything types. (He himself is somewhat aggressive by Texas standards, which probably turns off a lot of girls, in kind. By East Coast standards he is not at all aggressive.)(He would move except he has a kid here.)

I am ambivalent about that abrasive, ball-buster trait. I think it's great fun and enjoy it heartily until it abruptly seems tiresome and exhausting. When I've spent extended time in groups of conversationally aggressive people, I eventually want to shout "You're making every last thing so damn difficult! Just let it go and let's get on with life!"*

But mostly I never come across abrasive types down here. (Occasionally, in Austin, you meet someone who will turn it on if they're around simpatico people. At Heebie U, never ever.) I miss that style of conversation, although I get some of that from Unfogged. But I would never want to be in a relationship with an abrasive, ball-buster type unless they were finely tuned into when to turn it off.

(The opposite of abrasive ball-busters is the slow-talking elderly Texans. They start with a five second "Weellll" and then a long pause where they communicate a million hidden cues that I cannot read. They talk so fucking slowly. It makes my skin crawl.)

* Non-abrasive types are perfectly capable of making every last thing so damn difficult as well. But it's easier to bully them into just picking something and sticking with it. They respond better to displays of impatience.


 

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That's not how you make dashi

Posted by Ben
on 06.25.12

Some woodblock prints of mischievious raccoon dogs. As one of the commenters on that page writes:

Fascinating. The carefully executed woodblock printing seems to anoint these images with an undeniable credibility and honesty. The medium is most certainly the message.

Now how bout some big DICKED WALRUSES???


 

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Show me your papers.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.25.12

Supreme court decision on Arizona immigration is out.


 

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"Let's profile a pair of privileged dipshits!"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.25.12

Linked in the comments already, but this Gawker article trashing the stupid Brant Brothers NYT article is great. Let's all relish it.

Look at this fucking article:
Harry, 15, and his 18-year-old brother are the well-spoken product of cross-pollination of the Übermenschen.
I want to take this sentence, drag it out into the backyard, and beat it to death with a shovel. That sentence alone justifies every single conservative criticism that the Times exists with its head perpetually up its own ass. These two kids are the product of rich people. No pollination was involved. Terms like "Übermenschen" exist strictly so that pretentious assholes will use them to no effect.
"Everybody loves celebrity children," said Stephanie Trong, the editorial director of The Cut.
No, they don't. That's wrong. Just last week, I prayed to Jesus that Jaden and Willow Smith would each get hit by a milk truck. No one loves celebrity children. Even Tom Hanks couldn't be stopped from siring obnoxious offspring. What fucking galaxy did this lady emerge from?

Heh.


 

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Guest Post - Witt

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.25.12

Witt writes:
Would love to know how accurate this article is:

This just-completed trial in downtown New York against three faceless financial executives really was historic. Over 10 years in the making, the case allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.
The defendants worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street - not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more - these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America.
The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes - from "virtually every state, district and territory in the United States," according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being ­cheated

From Heebie:
Is Matt Taibbi known for exaggerating or something? I remember posting something from him and it was met with a lot of eye-rolling, and I wasn't sure what the underlying criticism was. What's unserious about his investigative journalism?


 

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Knitty-gritty

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.25.12

Don't mess with Ravelry.

Via J, Robot


 

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