Am I the only one who misses external cell phone antennae? I think they were lots of fun. I would have included Academic Lurker's query about the word dude if it hadn't been so definitively answered by moi. (And others.) Dump your insignificant queries about the world here.
Also an observation: I haven't been to my childhood home without Jammies and/or kids since maybe 2005 or 2006. It's unexpectedly familiar and fundamentally different than bringing the family here.
The first time I visited home after starting graduate school, it felt like I hadn't been home since moving out. The reason is that in Michigan, for undergraduate, I was always depressed and had this overly clingy desperation to being back in Florida. Once in Texas, the SAD lifted and it just felt like going home, for the first time in years, no desperate strings attached.
Witt sends in: It's hard to write about losing your job with any real emotional perspective. This guy manages it pretty well, I think.
Heebie's take: I'm seeing this linked elsewhere, so it's jumping the queue of submissions.
Tomorrow I fly to my hometown to sort through the house that I grew up in, room by room, with my mom, and make a list of my preferences for all the items - what do I want when they move, what do I not care about, what do I want right now, etc. (It's not clear when they'll move, but my mom wants to be ready to do it on short notice in case either of their health turns.)
This is a hard and stressful task for me, and I feel like I need to harden my resolve against excess sentimentality. (This is actually the house I grew up in from birth to age 17, and my mom is a (tidy, organized) mega-accumulator of generally cool stuff. And the house is 3000+ square feet of small rooms with lots and lots of shelving and closets. All packed full. Oh my god I am dreading this.)
The Geebies are going to purchase a 12x12 brick in downtown Heebietown. We can write text on it! Help the Geebies come up with something that is the best. Our real last name has ten letters in its singular form, if that matters.
Text writes: I would like to bleg people to read my books. They can all be found here, and are available for a dollar via kindle download. The kindle app can be downloaded for free onto any computer, tablet, or smart phone. People can also buy paperbacks if that's what they want. They should do so via createspace.com, which enables writers like me with no ready audience to format and publish books on demand, or via amazon.
Heebie's take: Text, you are prolific!
This app is a lot of fun (ios only, as far as I can tell). I have zero musical talent, but still enjoyed making simple tunes with it. Here's one, and here's another. Yes, I brought the funk. Labs made one, too. Post 'em if you got 'em.
Growing up, I was taught absolutely not to talk about religion. And if religion came up in conversation, I should keep my mouth shut about my beliefs. The reasons were serveralfold: not to invite negative reactions, or get myself written off, or invite mean behavior. But also to protect the more religious Christians and their fragile sensibilities. This is north Florida in the 80s, which probably decently resembles mid-Texas in 2014.
This seems like a parenting strategy that could be improved on. But I have no idea how to. Tampering with my parents' message seems to leave the kid vulnerable, and I'm not sure what to supply in its place.
(There are a whole host of issues where I was taught to lay low and not speak up, where I feel conflicted about encouraging my kids to be awesome and speak out.)
Unintentional: no way.
Benjamin Bratton wants to rip on TED talks. Sounds like fun! No it doesn't, because christ this guy is dumb.
But have you ever wondered why so little of the future promised in TED talks actually happens? So much potential and enthusiasm, and so little actual change. Are the ideas wrong? Or is the idea about what ideas can do all by themselves wrong?
The future? So the TED talks of 2011 were all supposed to materialize by 2013?
So I ask the question: does TED epitomize a situation where if a scientist's work (or an artist's or philosopher's or activist's or whoever) is told that their work is not worthy of support, because the public doesn't feel good listening to them?
I submit that astrophysics run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilizational disaster.
Well yes BUT.
He goes on to deal with the letters T, E, and D individually, and when he gets to E, he swaps in Economics for Entertainment for no apparent reason. I imagine that he did this because if he had to address Entertainment, then his entire house of cards will crumble.
TED talks are entertainment! The end.
There is nothing more smug than a facebook status about how the gyms are empty now, but they're about to be swarmed and GAWD so annoying, but from past experience, it'll only last a month and then be back to normal.
Nick S writes: Ta-Nehisi Coates contributing to wonkblog:
If you look at the chart, in the first generation, 62 percent of black people but only 4 percent of white people lived in neighborhoods where 20 percent or more of the people were poor. The numbers aren't much different in the second generation. And in both generations, only a third of black people live in neighborhoods with under 30 percent neighborhood poverty. Only 1 percent of all white Americans lived that way.
I have no analysis to offer, but I will off this bit of navel-gazing commentary: I grew up in a relatively white town, in the Pacific Northwest, and it took me a long time to feel like I had any personal basis on which to respond to or understand the challenges of presence of racism in the country. As I learned that I still had a default assumption that, however real the problems were, things were improving. I feel like, for whatever reason, over the last couple of years I've been feeling more conscious of, and depressed by how ways in which racial discrepancies are not improving (see also).
Maybe it's just me, but it feels so contrary to my intuitions about the world that it's taking me a while to make sense of and internalize.
Heebie's take: I'm having a stupid blindspot and failing to see exactly why the chart illustrates quite what Coates claims it illustrates.
Black people -- regardless of class -- live around way more poverty than even poor white people.
I'm getting too hung up on trying to tease apart how the graph conveys this, even though I generally assume Coates is right about things.
You have two more days to continue your slothful and ineffective habits, or, if you're that way inclined, to do something stunningly ill-advised, before it starts counting for 2014. Planning to take advantage of it?
I'm back! Armed with a bunch of topics, plus time, plus some that were sent in. For now I'll note some airport observations and share my own story.
1. Yoga pants really are everywhere, aren't they. I'd mostly seen this as a punchline and found it believable, but hadn't actually witnessed it.
2. I think women are using the curling iron again for non-formal occasions. (Not the same women as that wear the yoga pants, though.) I saw lots of romantic waves in the last six inches of long hair, where I think a few years ago it would have just hung straight. (Braids are also out in huge numbers, but that's something I see in my local circles. The romantic waves were in young women who want to look more polished or affluent or what have you.)
3. Scene: I'm nursing Ace in an aisle seat. I have a technique which is sufficiently innocuous that I don't think most people even notice. The flight attendant passes, which is of course the one angle to get an eyeful.
"Can I offer you a blanket?" she says.
I think It's boiling hot and I'm wearing a sweater and nursing a baby. I say "Nope, but thanks!"
She says, pointedly, "Are you sure?" and I still miss the undercurrent of what she's getting at. Instead I think, Ace would just pull it off or fuss, and she's probably hot, too, and say "Yep! I'm fine!"
Then she says "Suit yourself," and huffs and stalks off. Only then does it dawn on me that I was being chastised.
On the whole, I've had overwhelmingly positive experiences nursing in public. I attribute this to four things:
1. The public is basically supportive
2. The public often just doesn't notice.
3. Those that would give me the stinkeye either are too polite to do so, or they do so and I don't notice the stinkeye (which is the type of thing I'm likely to not catch on to)
4. I pull my shirt up from the bottom, revealing unattractive rolls of fat, rather than pulling down the neckline or unbuttoning, which reveals more breast. It's just a method preference, and I will fight for women to breastfeed however they prefer, but I don't think my version generally sets off bells with potential jerks in the same way.
I think you all guys tried this dialect quiz when it was on some glacial academic server. Now the Times has it.
It tells me I talk like I'm from Rockford/Aurora/Madison, none of which I've been to, but which are all pretty close to where I grew up. But yesterday a guy told me he was from Rockford, and I said, hey, apparently I talk like a Rockfordian, and he said that I had been gravely insulted.
I got a patdown over some baby food at TPA today, from a big dude with a New York accent. When he was on his knees in front of me, I said "You're not from Tampa." He laughed, although I'm not sure we were laughing at the same thing.
Also, LOL My Thesis is amusing.