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Go to Unfogged.com home

 

The thread is dead! Long live the thread!

Posted by Apostropher
on 05.25.13

New meet-up day. New thread. J, Robot just made Baby Ace puke.


 

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Unfogged in DC

Posted by Ben
on 05.25.13

This thread will remain up here for some time (since the old one is getting cluttered this seems simpler than moving it up). I'm going to re-link the spreadsheet, though I'm not sure how useful its total unordered-ness will be for planning things, especially if people want to plan para-outings around the main event.

Update (Heebie): Email me at heebie dot geebie, gmail, for the address. Feel free to drop by on Friday, or any time really, and to treat it like Grand Central Station for congregating and meeting up. We can get in at 3 pm on Friday, and we have it until 11 am on Monday.

Weird details from the rental people: any extra linens that we use will cost $25. So maybe leave the closet alone. They request no stilettos nor sharp heels on the hardwood floors. (Not so weird. Leave those floors alone.)


 

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A Day Late And A Dollar Short, But I Suppose It's Gesturing At Motion In The Right Direction

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.24.13

Obama's speech on the Global War On Ghoulies And Ghosties And Long-Leggedy Beasties. I do believe in the virtues of hypocrisy -- someone who's not doing the right things, but is at least saying some of the right things, is better than nothing. So while it's not much, I appreciate that Obama's at least claiming that there's a plan to bring the current state of 'war' to an end.

The AUMF is now nearly twelve years old. The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF's mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That's what history advises. That's what our democracy demands.

He's passing the buck on Guantanamo, but again, at least claiming that he's going to make an effort to do the right thing and free the detainees who there's no reason to be imprisoning:

Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.

So, while the last four years are pretty unforgivable, this is better than nothing. Somewhat. I suppose.


 

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SF Magazine is staffed exclusively by illiterate buffoons

Posted by Ben
on 05.23.13

SO. The titularly identified rag is doing a feature in which relatively established writers in and around its titularly identified city slash bay area interview relatively less established writers in the selfsame environs. One such interview{,ee} pair comprises Helene Wecker (author of) and Kara Levy. The latter, as I suppose readers of the interview will learn, has an incurable Medical Condition. Naturally, whoever's in charge of such things at the rag in question decided to title their interview (please, sit down) …

"Helene Wecker Feels Kara Levy's Chronic Pain"

One can hardly imagine how anyone thought that that came anything close to being a good idea. It is just incredibly insulting to all concerned.


 

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Last minute assorted details

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.23.13

1. By royal decree: On Saturday night, everyone must wear a nametag with their pseudonym. Really, it's so much more fun when you know who you're talking to. And it's easy to forget whose face went to which persona, even if they introduced themselves.

So this is my one rule. I'm cashing in on the goodwill accumulated by doing all the party planning.

2. Party planning: I and whoever is around Saturday morning will draw up a shopping list, including spaghetti dinner and plenty of beer and wine. Someone with a car can do the actual shopping?

3. Let's say the party starts at 4. Spaghetti around 6:30-7. I like a long, leisurely party. (Feel free to drop in earlier and hang out, or later. This is just for planning purposes.)

4. Who wants to sex mutombo pick me up from the airport? Flying into Dulles, land around 11:30. I can entertain myself there if I need to wait for a while. (I can take public transit too.)

5. I'm both nervous and excited.

6. A big thank you to everyone who has donated money - I've gotten lots of donations without personally responding, but you're each awesome. And now I can attach a numerical value to your precise amount of awesome.


 

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Nikil Saval goes to Stanford

Posted by Ben
on 05.22.13

I have long—long, I tell you—thought that the "Intellectual Situation" bits of the N+1 front-of-the-book would be a lot better if they were acknowledged to be what they really are anyway, and written in a way that accorded with that: namely, personal essays reflecting on the various intellectual or psychological preoccupations that have cropped up in the lives of their authors, which might profitably be worked out on the page. Instead, they pretend to comment on the world at large—hence the name—and to do so with a generality that is, if anything, enhanced by the perspectival-yet-detached tone with which they're written. (By which I mean: it's written with constant use of a first-person plural pronoun, but not in a way that identifies the pronoun with any particular "we". Very easy to take it, then, as a we set apart from all that rot we're commenting on, a perspective outside the subject matter rather than embroiled within it. Long, long ago (I believe I've recounted this before, actually) one of the successors of n said that he hoped the particular details that did get in—"we were sitting on a park bench eating a hot dog when we started thinking about …" (and that is an actual example, and the one which, though not with those exact words, said successor cited)—would somehow undercut the pretentious tone. But it does no such thing. Perhaps they're not tonally adept enough to pull it off. But in the just-mentioned case, the figure of the hot dog–gobbing pontificator is familiar to us as someone who thinks himself above it all and well positioned to pass judgment. So it just doesn't work at all.)

This piece on a recent IS does nothing to change that.


 

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Not driving

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.22.13

From LW: People are driving less, younger people especially: "The U.S. PIRG study reveals how, after six decades of steady growth, both total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and VMT per capita have been falling since 2007. "

Heebie's take: That isn't new on the face of it, but this part is:

Young people ages 16 to 34 drove an average of 23 percent fewer miles in 2009 than they did in 2001, according to the report. If you consider that more than half the people in that age group were old enough to drive in 2001, too, that suggests that even as those at the older end of this generation enter their 30s -- presumably settling into more stable jobs and in some cases starting families -- they're still not switching over to a car-centric lifestyle at the same rate as generations before them.

The link attributes it to the economy and technology. I wonder if the success of the drinking and driving campaign had an effect, too: many more younger people take it for granted that socializing involves figuring out how to get around without driving drunk. So they encounter conversations about alternate means of transportation more often than older generations.


 

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I Should Pay More Attention To NYC Politics, But They Confuse Me.

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.22.13

I really need to develop a sensible opinion about the Democratic mayoral primary (where 'need' means that my having such an opinion will have no detectable effect on anything), but I haven't really been keeping up. My current thinking is that: Quinn has been Bloomberg's tool for the past decade or so, and I'm not a Bloomberg fan, so she's out; Thompson was just endorsed by Smiling Al D'Amato, the Shame of the Suburbs, so he's out; I've seen pictures of Wiener's junk, so he's out; and I know very little about de Blasio. Which means I'm voting for de Blasio unless I get a better idea.

Does anyone know about any issues where the candidates reliably differ? I hate voting on the basis of who seems more trustworthy and competent, but the limited amount of casual reading about them has all the candidates saying basically the same stuff. Local politics drives me batty.


 

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Haha, Baylor, go to hell.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.21.13

Baylor put Brittany Griner back in the closet. But now she doesn't play there anymore. Good for Brittany! Bad for Baylor!

Via Thorn elsewhere


 

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OMG NBD LOL?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.21.13

Nick S writes: This seems like a good one for unfogged.

Charlie Stross asks for examples of sentences which make perfect sense now but would have boggled a reader 10 years ago (to make it somewhat difficult he suggests avoiding pop culture or tech references). My favorite from the suggestions at his blog is:

"The default policy tool has tended to be more quantitative easing and a £25bn expansion at this week's [Bank of England MPC] meeting seems to be the most likely outcome."

Obviously that resembles a pop-culture reference in that "quantitative easing" is something which entered the culture recently, and is easy to understand as soon as you know the reference. But you expect that from pop culture, not from economics.

Heebie's take: the site linked seems to be down, actually. But the game still sounds fun. The key is clearly that pop and tech references are not allowed.


 

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Sociopaths

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.20.13

Confessions of a Sociopath is making the rounds on Facebook. It rings really phony to me. The tone reminds me of two things: 1) some of those memoirs which were found to be faked, and 2) from what I understand, it's common for people to show up at AA meetings for the first time and tell grandiose stories of how wild their life has been, rather than admit the shitty reality of addiction.

I can't identify which details might be made up - any one anecdote might very well be true. But all together they paint a picture which I don't believe. And which I bet omits a lot.


 

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Recommended, 2

Posted by Ben
on 05.20.13

Hennessy Youngman brings you CVS Bangers (volume 2).

Apparently Hennessy Youngman—before he was Hennessy Youngman—is person whose voice is sampled in "Harlem Shake". Now you know!


 

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Decrepit Houses

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.20.13

J, Robot writes: This strikes me as a reasonable response to issues faced by many cities, but then, I've neither owned nor renovated a house. I admit that I do find 'homestead' language squicky, but I might also be overly sensitive.

Heebie's take: I remember hearing about a program in one of the northern industrial cities with lots of abandoned properties, where the city would demolish houses that had become eyesores and give the property to the neighbor, who then had to keep it up. It seemed like a nice way to raise property values instead of saddling them next to a rotting house.


 

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A recommendation

Posted by Ben
on 05.19.13

This interview with Mel Brooks is very good (and also very long).


 

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Ad absurdum

Posted by Stanley
on 05.19.13

I'm alternately weirded-out and amused by Facebook's targeted ads, and for weeks now I've been getting one for a company named Beazer that makes houses. What I'm assuming happened is, at some point in the past month or so I read about New York City Transit Authority v. Beazer, and now that information is maybe paired up with the right demographics for prospective homebuyers something something ad.

Really, though, it's mostly just hilarious to think I could afford to buy a house at the moment. Ha!


 

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