Nick S writes: Alyssa Rosenberg on the way in which quotas have been useful for the Chris Hayes show.
It makes clear that including women and minorities in a show -- in addition to potentially serving social justice concerns -- can also be a type of formal experimentation. They have committed to producing a specific format of show, and that experiment has worked well for them. Hopefully other shows can also think about the composition of their guest list as not just a consequence of their interests and the show that they want to do, but one of the decisions about the show that they want.
Yesterday I thought I might have pinkeye. So I spent two hours at a med clinic and found out, yes, I do. Today it's much worse, so that's awesome.
Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?
This quote annoys me disproportionately. For not-very-interesting reasons I see it more often than I'd like to.
Is the Monsanto Protection Act a big deal, or not? I can't really get an handle on it. (Techniques include not reading anything.)
When I was about 16, I had a very stark experience of grasping concepts at an accelerated rate. It was basically a mental growth spurt, or I've always thought of it that way, which occurred vividly enough for me to observe it in real time.
My most vivid memory of this phenomena is that I dropped out of AP physics at the beginning of my junior year, because I was so baffled by the idea of vectors. When I came to them next (either in regular physics or in math, can't remember) I couldn't recall what had made them confusing. It was like a whole different brain. (Obviously this is an anecdote which is easily disputed: maybe it was just the repeat exposure that made the concept click. I'm just saying it's a vivid memory, during a period of time when I was noticing tons of examples.)
I've had a very different growth spurt over the past 6-7 years here on Unfogged, where I'm amazed at how much better I've become at criticizing arguments and phrasing my point of view. That's from pure exposure; I don't think I hit some critical window in development. I've picked up all sorts of techniques, which I use in real life, like commenting on the framing of the issue or pointing out that a comment isn't quite responding to the comment before it, and it's much easier for me to see the moving parts of an argument and untangle them. (I think I come off as much smarter than I used to.)
(In contrast, I don't think I had any kind of mental growth spurt in college, although I learned a normal amount of content. And a very specific version of the latter in my first two years of graduate school, which isn't very surprising.)
Anyway, the Unfogged experience has really driven home for me how environmental education is. And how life-long learning can be, if you'll permit me to be a cheeseball.
Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer sure are photogenic. (This photo essay is totally lovely. Go read.)
In the Tennessee capitol building, they renovated some of the facilities and lowered a utility sink onto the ground, to be used as a mop sink. UH-OH What if MUSLIMS are actually planning on using the mop sink to wash their feet before praying? What if the whole Big Mop Sink industry is a cover for Muslim extremists seeking to pray all over the place?
It's hard to imagine how Republicans can get any dumber, but then they surprise you.
The news seems dominated by gay marriage and the Supreme Court, and we've already got a thread chatting about all that stuff.
Want to chat about Cyprus?
This is such a stupid thing to get your panties in a twist about. The children won't be able to take notes by hand as adults because they're not learning cursive! (You can tell the guy is a blowhard because the lede is:
A recent news item cut me to the nib. Many public schools no longer teach cursive writing;
You were cut to the nib, were you. How nib-cutty.)
Right after I read the article, I looked at a piece of coffee shop art involving a cursive capital G, the kind like so, and it occurred to me that it had probably been well over a decade since I last saw a cursive capital G.
Anyway, two actual points about why this is so stupid:
1. Everyone can figure out on their own how to modify printed letters to be fast and sloppy and connected, which is all you need in order to take notes.
2. More importantly, the general trend is to add material to curriculum and never, ever cut anything, and it's a real problem. It's got to be possible to cut archaic material in order to make room for new lesson plans.
I just talked to a physics professor here who spent decades as a safety engineer in the oil industry, and who I generally trust as someone right-thinking. I was asking him about the dangers of fracking, and he said there were three big problems:
1. That the situation in regions with fragile geology and shallow natural gas reserves (ie 2000 feet down in Pennsylvania) is vastly different than the situation in regions with rock solid geology and very deep gas reserves (ie 7000 feet down in Texas). That in Pennsylvania, you'd been getting natural gas in the water supply for decades, partly because of the coal industry and the generally fragile geology. The shallow wells are a lot more likely to have excessive fracturing in these places.
2. Incompetent well construction. That it's well understood how to build solid wells (he said Exxon and Shell are actually known for being risk-averse), and that smaller companies operating on thinner profit margins tend to be the worst for cutting corners. (Although BP being a large company known for cutting corners.)
3. Improper disposal of contaminated water, once it comes back up from the well. That they give it to a contractor who dumps it in the local river.
(In particular, there isn't a risk (in his opinion) of the fracking chemicals showing up in the water supply via the underground aquifers, via the bottom of the wells and horizontal drilling. I hadn't been clear on that detail.)
Mostly I'm posting this because I wanted to write it down, to help me remember it, and then I figured I might as well write it down here.
Chief Justice Robert's gay cousin from San Francisco is attending the Prop 8 hearing with her partner that she'd like to marry. (He didn't explicitly invite her to be there, but she did get tickets on account of being family.)
It seems impossible that Prop 8 and DOMA won't be struck down, but conservatives are very talented at pulling off impossible shit.
Anyway, I think, psychologically, it's good that a gay person he's known for a very long time is going to be sitting there in the audience, making at least some dent in his consciousness, during the hearing.
You know how your hair gets coarser as it greys? Over the last year mine's changed texture enough that I can put it up securely with a couple of sticks through it. That never used to work -- it'd just fall out as soon as I moved my head.
This is great -- a sloppy, zero effort French twist is much more work appropriate than a sloppy zero effort ponytail, which is how I used to have to get my hair out of my face if I wasn't going to put any work into it.
The NPR article on the 14 million people receiving disability checks is interesting and worth reading. It's a complex picture, because being too disabled for manual labor is very different than being too disabled for a desk job, but desk jobs aren't available for millions of Americans. Also because going on disability moves you from the state picking up the tab and getting counted in the unemployment numbers, and onto the federal tab where you become invisible.
There's something vaguely lascivious about the way these people are dancing.
This is a week old, but it was about the most ridiculous and yet horrifying thing I've seen for ages. Apparently areas in southern Russia are recreating semi-official bands of Cossacks to 'preserve public order' by beating up Muslim immigrants:
This rapid change is unsettling to ethnic Russians in Stavropol, who sometimes refer to the newcomers as "shepherds." Gennady A. Ganopenko, 42, said he grew up in a city so homogeneous that "the sound of a non-Russian language was grounds for a brawl.""Earlier, this was the gate to the Caucasus," he said. "We opened the gate, and then the gate came off the hinges."The Cossack revival seeks to slow this trend. Last summer, Aleksandr N. Tkachev, the governor of the Krasnodar region, to the west, took aim at his neighbors in the Stavropol region, saying so many Muslims had resettled there that Russians no longer felt at home. The region, he said, no longer served its traditional function as an ethnic "filter."To crack down on illegal migration, he announced the creation of a salaried force of 1,000 Cossack patrolmen, which -- he explained in a speech to law enforcement officers -- would not be restrained by the law as the police are. He put it this way: "What you cannot do, a Cossack can."
I mean, it's funny, but in that "Wow, I bet the Brownshirts looked pretty comic from a safe distance" kind of way. Were you wondering if these Cossacks were making direct comparisons between immigrants and a deadly disease infecting the Russian homeland? Wonder no more, after this quote from a Cossack leader:
"If a person has a cancer and metastasis has begun, if a professional doctor doesn't take care of this metastasis, he will die," he said. "It is the same with society. If there is already metastatic cancer on the territory of Stavropol region, one has to take appropriate preventive measures."
I'm just sitting here hoping this is one of those stories in the Times with very little relationship to objective reality.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together flour and salt & pepper. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened.
Am I batty, or is that backwards? Why would you heat dry ingredients and then slowly whisk in the milk? I'm currently heating the milk and planning on whisking in the flour.