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Overheard

Posted by Stanley
on 05.18.13

"What if you really liked someone but then found they were way into RenFaire—like, every single weekend into RenFaire?"

On its face, it seems like a typical price-of-admission/dealbreaker question. Is this characteristic something I can abide, or do I run screaming for the exits now?

Every single weekend at Renaissance Faire, if that's even possible (about which I'm doubtful), is a lot. It'd be a lot for any one partner's hobby to gobble up all the weekends.

On the other hand, meh, who knows. If you're with someone you really care about, there are probably worse things in life than RenFaire.


 

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Republicans, lying, etc

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.17.13

So they lied about the content of the Benghazi emails. The thing that befuddles me is, isn't it monumentally stupid to lie about content of emails, when the other side can easily produce the actual email and reveal you to be a lying liar that lies?


 

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Ask the Mineshaft - Playlist

Posted by Stanley
on 05.17.13

Di Kotimy writes:

Running my second annual 10-miler next weekend and need to start working on my playlist for the race. I think I can safely say I'm looking for somewhere between 1:45 to 2 hours of tunes to keep me energized. Music thread?

Personally, I've been running to a lot of Blink-182 songs, especially the hyper-produced ones off the self-titled album, like "Feeling This". But other people can probably make suggestions that don't suck.


 

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You can smoke crack, and you can be on video, but you can't...

Posted by Stanley
on 05.17.13

I was surprised by the news that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was reportedly caught on video smoking crack. When I went to read a little more about Mr. Ford, I was even more surprised I hadn't heard of him previously. Some highlights:

  • In June 2006 Ford came under fire for making a controversial remark during a Council meeting. During the meeting Ford spoke out against the city donating $1.5 million to help prevent AIDS. Ford argued that most tax payers should not be concerned with AIDS because "If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's bottom line...those are the facts." After then Mayor David Miller pointed out that women are the largest growing demographic of people contracting AIDS, Ford responded that it must mean 'they are sleeping with bi-sexual men'.
  • On March 7, 2007, Ford made controversial comments about cyclists' use of the roads, saying, "What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you're going to get bitten... Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day." On May 25, 2009, Ford said, "It's no secret, okay. The cyclists are a pain in the ass to the motorists."
  • At a council meeting on March 5, 2008, Ford said, "Those Oriental people work like dogs. They work their hearts out. They are workers non-stop. They sleep beside their machines. That's why they're successful in life. I went to Seoul, South Korea, I went to Taipei, Taiwan. I went to Tokyo, Japan. That's why these people are so hard workers (sic). I'm telling you, the Oriental people, they're slowly taking over." Ford later apologized for using the term "orientals", but stood by his remarks, claiming that they were meant as a positive assessment of their work ethic.

This guy's mayor of a major Canadian city that's not located in Alberta? Seems like a real gem.


 

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Welcome to the microbiome.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.13

Everybody's talking about the Microbiome. Is this good scientific journalism? I have no idea. (All I know is the tic in my brain is incapable of reading micro-biome, and insists on reading my-crobby-yami. The same part that insists on reading "snow peas" as "Snoopies" and goarmy.com as, well, how would you say goarmy?)


 

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Only the Lonely

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.13

The Science of Loneliness. Some very good parts and some weak parts to this article. (As Nick S. put it, when he submitted this article independently, "I have lost track of whether the New Republic is a reputable source these days, but this article is interesting.")

It's not news that moods have a biological manifestation, and that that can add up over time to have health implications. But the specific studies and what they've gleaned is still interesting. I'd say more but I gotta run.


 

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Guest Post - Persecution of Falun Gong

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.15.13

JRoth writes: Mostly this is a hivemind question, but one I think well-suited to the Mineshaft:

There are billboards around town, and sometimes people handing out fliers, about organ harvesting in China. I think I've seen claims of 30,000 Falun Gong adherents killed for their organs.

On the face of it, this seems implausible, at least at that scale (yesterday's Atlantic article about the death penalty in China suggests 3,000 executions a year, presumably most being non-FG). On the other hand, I've seen stuff suggesting there's at least some basis for the claim (that FG is pretty brutally suppressed, that some organ harvesting occurs). I don't trust Google to tell me much, since it'll be a ton of partisan articles.

So I've got a 2-part question: how true is this, and what could be done about it anyway? I feel as if US influence in China is really close to nil - if the USG had any sway, they'd have protected Disney's copyrights.


 

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Five Times

Posted by Alameida
on 05.15.13

My daughters are getting old enough to do things by themselves. Narnia is proverbially safe, so long as one is not trusting blandly smiling evil-doers--and may I say here that my local grocery store has begun carrying some really excellent turkish delight, which I ate mere moments ago. They are called Cold Storage. Hmmm. However, as it is always summer and always Christmas (motherfuckers put that shit up at the start of November) things cannot be quite like that. And I say this as a true lover of Christmas. Our only real problem is a traffic one--there's a terrible crossing to get to the nearest mall/MRT station.

But anyway, Girl X is almost 12, and can take public transit by herself now to see friends or go to the main library, and has tiny boobs and so forth. So I sat her down for a serious conversation about how, if she takes public transit, guys are going to grope her, or flash her, or maybe even like jerk off in the seat next to her or something, at least five times in the next 10 years. This seems right, female commentariat, don't you think? And that this was totally not counting the times randos would say something weird to her (Narnia doesn't have much street harassment compared to US cities, but it's not none.) No, this is straight-up, I wish the police were here, someone is grabbing my ass on the crowded bus and I can't see who it is. And she was pretty horrified, like, why would they even do that? Aaaaannd something is wrong with them I don't know.

We discussed what to do, and how often it's you who feel really embarrassed, and how that keeps you from saying anything, and then if it goes on any longer you feel like maybe you're participating or something. So we said you should grab that hand as hard as you can and shout "this pervert is molesting me!" Narnians are annoyingly passive, and sometimes I doubt their willingness to step up, but they are a nation of narc-y McNarcersons and they will damn sure take a photo of the guy with their Samsung Galaxy and then send it to the Straits of Cair Paravel Times. And then the dude will get arrested. Cute 12-year-old girls with french braids, in freshly-ironed school uniforms that are basically Sailor Moon outfits, are definitely the winning side in popular opinion vs perverts. Unfortunately, for perverts, cute 12-year-old girls with french...fuck.

If you guys come on here and tell me I'm a mutant outlier and no one ever gets groped on the subway ever I'm going to be annoyed. By guys I mean gals, naturally. I shopped around the five times things with friends and it seemed reasonable, but as the sample pool included me and my sister, and mom, maybe, um.


 

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The Art of Concentration

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.14.13

Nick S. sends along this:

1) The moment that makes it not merely extraordinary, but emotionally affecting is the look on her face after she's finished balancing everything. She looks very happy and also completely exhausted, like she can barely compose her face.

2) Most performance arts allow the opportunity for a performer to recover from mistakes. Throughout the second half I just found myself thinking how stressful it would be to have done that much and know that if you do make an error, it can't be salvaged,.

3) It is always interesting to know what to make of the feeling of being just slightly bored by something that somebody has obviously spent years (or decades working on). I had that feeling a little bit at the beginning and it feels so disrespectful but, at the same time, impossible to avoid completely.

Heebie's take: "The Incredible Power of Concentration" refers to the viewer, of course. I skipped around.

Also, I'm nuts about this song:



 

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Titties, away!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.14.13

Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy. If you're new here, I've got the same mutation and am planning on having the ol' milk jugs lopped off, as well.


 

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ATM: Lock Up Your Daughters Edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.14.13

Jimmy Carter asks: My wife Rosalynn and I have grossly different perceptions of certain risks, which leads to a certain amount of conflict with respect to child-rearing. She is terrified that our pre-teen daughters will be abducted and/or molested by a stranger, and is therefore extremely protective of them. I subscribe to something closer to Free Range Kids philosophy. For example, I see nothing wrong with sending the older one to the grocery store two blocks away to buy something, but Mrs. Carter is adamantly opposed. She won't even let them play in sight of the street, and she freaks out at every forwarded email she gets from the other mothers with the latest rumors about pedophiles trying to lure children into their cars somewhere in (almost crime-free) suburb.

After the Cleveland kidnapping came to light, Rosalynn emailed me and asked, "Now can you see why I don't want the girls left alone?" I started to compose an email reply in which I was going to tut-tut that stranger abduction is vanishingly rare, and that these stories get endlessly publicized because they make for good ratings and newsstand sales. Something like this. I was confident that I was being the rational, logical one, while she was letting her emotions (and past personal traumas, which are several, and disturbing) interfere with her judgment.

But when I went to look up statistics, I found something surprising. On the one hand, the most authoritative study I could find, which dates from ten years ago, supports the view that "stereotypical kidnapping" of a child happens as good as never (the authors count 115 instances in one year). But that's using a strict definition of kidnapping ("A nonfamily abduction perpetrated by a slight acquaintance or stranger in which a child is detained overnight, transported at least 50 miles, held for ransom or abducted with intent to keep the child permanently, or killed."). If you take a broader category of "non-family abduction", they count 58,200 child victims per year. Almost half of those victims were sexually assaulted. That's one out of every couple thousand American children every year. Under simplified assumptions of equal and independent probabilities, that means a probability greater than 1 in 200 of a child being abducted and sexually assaulted over the course of an 18-year childhood. Far from "almost never", that's a couple of girls out of every elementary school. The probability is much higher than the odds of dying in a car crash, which is a risk that I, ever the rational logical one, am genuinely cautious about.

So tell me, Mineshaft, is Rosalynn right and I am wrong? Am I thinking about this the wrong way? Are the statistics from the government report somehow implausible? How protective should I be of two adorable girls in a safe neighborhood?

Jimmy Carter

Heebie's take: The last link goes into quite a bit of detail about how they're defining their terms. "Non-family abduction" is:

(1) An episode in which a nonfamily perpetrator takes a child by the use of physical force or threat of bodily harm or detains the child for a substantial period of time (at least 1 hour) in an isolated place by the use of physical force or threat of bodily harm without lawful authority or parental permission, or (2) an episode in which a child younger than 15 or mentally incompetent, and without lawful authority or parental permission, is taken or detained or voluntarily accompanies a nonfamily perpetrator who conceals the child's whereabouts, demands ransom, or expresses the intention to keep the child permanently.

It happens mostly to teenagers, and they give a lot of examples.

My answer to Jimmy is two-fold:
1) Train your daughters to recognize risky situations - but you can't shelter them from risky situations, so you might as well let them bike to the store. Kids get raped at school, at slumber parties, and at church barbecues. All you can do is get them to check in with their spidy sense about situations.

2) Something awful happens to lots and lots of kids, so address that part as well - here's what you do if you do get sexually assaulted, etc. Be explicit about how it might be really hard to speak up about it, but here's why we need you to do so. If you don't address this possibility, then kids are going to fill in the blanks with "...and if it happens your life is OVER OVER!" So discuss it as a hurdle to overcome, not a life-ender, because it does happen to lots of kids.


 

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Life's a dance you learn as you go

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.13.13

I fasted two days last week. It wasn't a terrible idea, because I like to try things and I was curious, but it was a pretty terrible experience, because of the nursing. I was ravenously hungry, far more than the testimonials - "your hunger will come and go, and you'll see that it's not the end of the world!" - and even woke up in the middle of the night from sheer hunger.

I'm pretty sure, given my experiences with my normal erratic eating habits, it won't be so bad when I try again, in the future. But not while nursing.


 

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Resume Writing

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.13.13

I got roped into helping out Sally's rugby team at a resume writing workshop -- I figured that since I spent the week before last going through stacks of them trying to hire a new admin, I'm in some sense the audience they're writing for.

At the 'hiring an admin' level, which is probably roughly appropriate for the rugby team given that they're still in high school, I found that I was looking mainly at formatting. The actual experience described was moderately interesting, but there wasn't any way to tell much from it. But someone who's handing out a weird-looking document with inconsistent spacing between paragraphs and margins that don't line up, and who goes back and forth between resume-speak and standard English (is there a word for resume-speak? That thing where you describe your duties in past jobs but leave the subjects out of all the sentences?) rather than picking one or the other, you have to worry they won't do anything else right.

Anyway, the workshop is tomorrow, and I just realized that I have no idea what a high-schooler puts on a resume, given that they probably don't have much work experience. I can tell them what not to do (e.g., if your email address sounds silly, get a new email address that doesn't; make it look respectable) but what's a resume supposed to look like for a kid getting a first job? Highschool coursework? An expanded "Skills" section? Anyone who knows anything, tell me in comments. (I should say that someone who does this sort of thing professionally is teaching the workshop, I'm just there to work with a couple of the kids on their resumes individually.)


 

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Super renowned!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.12.13

Don't make fun of renowned Dan Brown.

The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as "His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack." They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.

I would have posted this earlier, but I'm not going to pay $15 for internet for one night, Hilton Hotel.


 

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