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Go to Unfogged.com home

 

Primer

Posted by Ogged
on 01.25.14

A nice piece putting cold snaps into the context of global warming. Probably not much you don't already know, but maybe helpful for the climate change deniers in your "Facebook" "feed".


 

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I Call This Tranch My Home

Posted by Ogged
on 01.25.14

Just one more manifestation of income inequality and the concentration of wealth, but one hitting people, literally, where they live.

cash3.gif

Who are the cash buyers?

The investors are largely hedge funds and private equity, as well as international buyers, such as upper middle class Chinese buying in California

This is bad news.

On-the-ground concerns for communities and renters go beyond neglect, however. The rising influence of financial titans turned local landlords could threaten all sorts of public services. In the case of Huber Heights, OH, the hedge fund Magnetar Capital has become the largest landlord in the whole town and is using that influence to try to extract lower property tax charges from the town -- a change that would undermine funding for schools and other public services for locals, but boost the bottom line of the Illinois-based financial giant.

And, of course, the purchased properties are being securitized, which could lead to very familiar problems; read the article at the last link for details. In the meantime, enjoy your complete lack of wealth!


 

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It's An Unalterable Sentence Extending Beyond Even Death, Not A Choice

Posted by Ogged
on 01.25.14

That bizarre, dystopian future, with its unholy mixture of science and religion, where only the truly innocent, the unborn, are fully human--we're living in it.

For the past seven weeks, a hospital in Fort Worth has refused to take a brain-dead woman off of the machines that are keeping her body alive. This is despite the fact that keeping Marlise Munoz on life support violates the wishes of her husband, parents and Munoz herself. The hospital is continuing these measures because Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time that she collapsed in her home from what is thought to be a blood clot in her lungs.

It's straight-up ghastly.

tests revealed serious fetal abnormalities, including hydrocephalus, deformed lower extremities and a possible problem with the fetus' heart


 

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Vindicated.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.25.14

Remember our debate about whether or not Soylent was a joke? Post is here, and LB first proposes that it is satire in comment 55.

The debate hinged on whether the word "soylent" and a joke about running an irrational (3.14 miles) distance were tip-offs that the whole thing was a hoax, or if they were cutesy winks to the audience, trying to be friendly and sales-pitchy.

I love rehashing old debates when I'm so right. E. Messily sends in the link.

Less than a year ago, Rob Rhinehart published a blog post explaining how he had stopped eating food and begun living entirely on a greyish, macro-nutritious cocktail. Today, he told Motherboard that he's sold more than $2 million worth of Soylent to tens of thousands of post-food consumers worldwide--and that it's on track to ship next month.
"We have crossed 2,000,000 in revenue from over 20,000 customers, with more every day," Rhinehart told me. "International demand is really picking up as well."
This despite the fact that Soylent isn't technically on the market yet, and has thus far only been available to beta testers. Rhinehart's company spent much of last year tinkering with the formula--the version he tried first was deficient in sulfur, and contained since-jettisoned ingredients like cow whey. But there's been a steadily building crescendo of publicity--both positive and negative--around the project since its inception.

Also another guy test-drives Soylent for 30 days. His girlfriend is sensible:

Like its most acid-tongued critics, she hated Soylent. She hated that it meant we couldn't eat meals together for the next month, at home or out, and she loved cooking. She hated the philosophy that propelled it; she was a staunch proponent of eating healthy, whole foods, of the importance of eating meals together.
"Eating just for the nutrients is like having sex just to procreate," she said.
She pointed out, as had many nutritionists in the wake of Soylent's rise, that nutrition science was ever-evolving, and we still don't have a complete picture of how exactly the body absorbs nutrients. There's certainly no firmly agreed-upon quotient of nutrients and calories, no one-size-fits-all recipe for fueling the body.

It may be dumb, but it is very much not a hoax.


 

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Overly Honest Methods.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.24.14

Scientists explain themselves.


 

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Guest Post - Can't tell the players without a scorecard.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.24.14

LW writes: So the Arab-speaking world is pretty interesting these days. I found this article really interesting. It's in French, google translate does OK, introduces a little confusion. Two highlights:

Riyadh offers 3 billion (2.19 billion euros) to the Lebanese army to buy , among other things, the French arms, a gesture interpreted as a "tactical divorce" with Washington.

Egypt is broke, dependent on loans; I had missed this detail over the summer:
Mohamed Morsi is suspended. July 3, General Al-Sissi gently deposed the first democratically elected Islamist head of an Arab country, with the blessing of religious authorities. A new interim president, Adly Mansour, is appointed. Everything is overhauled: new authorities promised a new constitution and elections within six months. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates welcome the change with loans and grants to the tune of $ 12 billion (8.8 milliars euros).

I sure hope there's less polio in Syria in a couple of years, now that India's free of human cases for three years.

Also, how different would the world have to be for an article like this one to appear in a US daily. That is, longish summary of tumultous changes, written in a way that doesn't place the US at the center of the world.

Heebie's take: Or even moreso - for domestic articles about the US to be placed in an international context on a regular basis.


 

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Inside Cricket

Posted by Ogged
on 01.23.14

Preet "There Can Be Only One" Bharara does not fuck around. Dinesh D'Souza indicted. But even in this moment of pure joy, one notes:

It is not clear from the court documents what led investigators to Mr. D'Souza in a fund-raising case involving relatively small donations

Oh, it's clear alright.

In a slightly more substantive vein, this seems like a great idea to get rents in places like San Francisco down to reasonable levels.


 

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Fashion!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.23.14

I used to think that I had a good eye for distinguishing high end clothes from cheaper clothes. But in the last decade, it's become harder to distinguish, sometimes. Cheap clothes have become savvier about imitating expensive clothes - they may still fit poorly, but on a college student, all clothes fit well - and expensive clothes often look like the sale bin at Talbot's. (I think Talbot's is a fine place to shop, to be clear.)

Either that, or eight years living outside a city and working someplace where the students have no fashion sense has taken its toll on me.


 

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Guest Post - Social Experimentation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.23.14

Nick S writes: A carefully written, long-form article about artisanal toast in San Francisco that turns into an odd and fascinating story about an interesting woman.

But Carrelli's grip on stability was still fragile. Between apartments and evictions, she slept in her truck, in parks, at China Beach, on friends' couches. Then one day in 2006, Carrelli's boss at Farley's Coffee discovered her sleeping in the shop, and he told her it was probably time she opened up her own space. "He almost gave me permission to do something I knew I should do," she recalls. It was clear by then that Carrelli couldn't really work for anyone else--Farley's had been unusually forgiving. But she didn't know how to chart a course forward. At China Beach, she took to her notebooks, filling them with grandiose manifestoes about living with guts and honor and commitment--about, she wrote, building her own damn house.
"Giulietta, you don't have enough money to eat tonight," Glen said, bringing her down to Earth. Then he asked her a question that has since appeared in her writing again and again: "What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?"
The answer was easy: she was good at making coffee and good with people. So Glen told her it was time she opened a checking account. He told her to go to city hall and ask if they had information on starting a small business. And she followed his instructions.

Heebie's take: Just from the quoted section, I'm reminded of this Cracked list

If you want to know why society seems to shun you, or why you seem to get no respect, it's because society is full of people who need things. They need houses built, they need food to eat, they need entertainment, they need fulfilling sexual relationships...[T]he moment you came into the world, you became part of a system designed purely to see to people's needs.
Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving, and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

 

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Extended unemployment benefits

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.23.14

I'm erasing a post about extended unemployment benefits, because I can't put my finger what I want to say without risking being misinterpreted as wanting to hang unemployed people out to dry. I don't want to hang unemployed people out to dry. Our current system of extended-extended-extended benefits is obviously a bootstrap solution because it's not feasible to create a new program that supports people adequately. And it's stupid to criticize a bootstrap solution for it's bootstrappiness. I still hate the rhetoric of extended-extended-extended-extended benefits, though, because I feel like it plays into Republican narratives and that drives me crazy.

(And that is why I'm a terrible political blogger. I do this sort of thing because I figure that within the first twenty comments, someone will write the post that I should have written.)


 

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1991

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.22.14

Also a long time ago, guess who was so very sassy.

Via Natilo, who was browsing


 

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A Long Time Ago

Posted by Ogged
on 01.22.14

Remember when Ezra complained that my NY meetup writeup was longer than my DC meetup writeup? Ha HA.


 

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Bleg: 33 RPM

Posted by Ben
on 01.22.14

We all know what an unfogged person in need of a bike is supposed to do: somehow get word to the elusive Von Wafer, who has inside knowledge about nice bikes on the cheap.

I don't need a bike, though. I, having recently been given around 30 LPs by my sainted mother, would like a turntable. The only turntables I have ever used have been technics 1200s, at radio stations, but I assume they aren't the only reputable options out there, and I don't know what a decent price for them or any other would be.

Persons of unfogged, can you aid me?

Since the only sound-producing device currently part of my life is my computer, I also just have speakers that plug directly into it, so if you've got opinions about that, too, speak up.


 

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Mary Poppins

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.22.14

We've watched a lot of MP in the past few weeks. A few observations:
1. Basically it's held up really well.
2. I don't think I realized, even as a young adult, quite what a buffoon Mrs. Banks is. "The ladies locked in the penitentiary are waiting for me to lead them in song!"
3. Good lord, Dick Van Dyke's accent is atrocious.


 

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Dunk.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.21.14

This is a pretty great gif.


 

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Rules

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.21.14

A guy I know is in an academic department, with the following department rule: if you change your mind as a result of discourse, you must speak up and say "So-n-so's point about [X] changed my opinion like so..." I wouldn't have thought to formalize an official rule along these lines, but it seems very sensible.

The department that houses this rule is a social science department. At least at Heebie U, faculty meetings that have just math and science people have a very different degree of discussion than meetings that have people from across the campus, and this rule would be more helpful with the faculty at large, and less so with just the science people. Far be it from me to stereotype, so I will just leave it at that.


 

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Moment Of Clarity

Posted by Ogged
on 01.21.14

In a situation that was infinitely less ominous than it sounds, a few years ago I was standing around a fire with some good ol' boys in semi-rural Alabama, when somehow the conversation turned to Taos, NM. Then one of the guys stared off and said, "I remember standing on top of a mountain in Taos on April 6, 2003, thinking, 'Son, you done fucked up.'"

I looked confused, and his friend leaned over and whispered, "That was his honeymoon."


 

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I'm going to define a new operation and call it 6.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.20.14

This might get a bit technical in the middle, but it's basically a good explanation of why the 1+2+3+...= -1/12 video is irritating.

[T]he video's "wow" factor comes from the fact that it makes no sense for a bunch of positive numbers to sum up to a negative number if the audience assumes that "sum" means what they think it means. If the Numberphiles were more explicit about alternate ways of associating numbers to series, they could have done more than just make people think mathematicians are always changing the rules.

Exactly.


 

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MLK Day

Posted by Ogged
on 01.20.14

I got a letter from All-Pro Stanford graduate Richard Sherman the other day. I opened it, and read it. It said you're a racist.


 

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Person Future

Posted by Ogged
on 01.19.14

So, three-year-olds: can't live with 'em, and, according to an admittedly cursory reading of the statutes, can't have them discreetly assassinated. Babies cry and shit and puke. And you're ready for that; you can deal. Two-year-olds are mobile, destructive babies who nevertheless charm you with brief flashes of cogitation; there's just enough light at the end of that tunnel to help you go on. But three-year-olds are the Jedi mindfuck of human interaction. It's a person! It's an insane person! It's still a baby? Why did it outsmart me?

Mine came up to me the other day, and said this. "Baba, I have an idea. My brother is asleep, so I can play with my cars now. Will you fix my track, please?" My boy! Not five minutes later, he was melting down because I put the white car in front of the red car, on a looped track.

I know this is bog-standard toddler stuff, but you all just had babies--brace yourselves.

(On "Baba:" My southern in-laws love to render this as "Bubba." Sure, why not?)


 

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