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Sterling!

Posted by Ogged
on 04.26.14

So Donald Sterling is dating a mixed-race woman who is welcome to bring black men to his home and sleep with them. Surely this puts him in the top 0.01% for tolerance. He just needs new friends!


 

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Go Ask Alice

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.26.14

A book I haven't thought about since I was young enough to take it as gospel, but seriously gospel truth. So poignant.

(A few of the lines I think ring true that they're mocking, though. Overall it's fun to mock.)

Via elsewhere


 

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ATM: Personal Blog

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.25.14

Hawaiian Punch is just about reading, which forces my hand on a dilemma. Up till now I've been able to passively hide from her my personal blog, because she (nor Pokey, nor Ace) knew that I was writing, but not what. (My habit is to blog on Saturday mornings.)

At this point, I'll have to actively hide her from finding out, or let her find out. At what point is it wrong to write about someone without their knowledge?

Like I've said before, I'm no longer terrified of getting outed as Heebie in real life, for various reasons, but it is a genie in a bottle, and the archives are long and bend towards gossip. Also I basically prefer to have an intact firewall.

I doubt she'll be very curious about reading the content on her own, if I told her. And when I blog, I do so with the idea that eventually the kids, when they're older, will have it available to them, if they're curious about their childhoods. But right now - if Hawaii knows that I have a pseudonym, the genie is essentially out. Out of my control, at least.


 

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Selection

Posted by Ogged
on 04.24.14

But he let the essay run just a few lines onto a new page! How the fuck did he get in anywhere??

Of course, we all know the obvious answer, which is that he's a smart-enough (the essay is good, if not stellar) black guy who plays an instrument and wants to be a doctor. But I was trying to think of a way to formulate what the most selective colleges are after such that this guy is an obvious admit, but "perfect SATs, one sport, one instrument, two clubs" might not be, and a little googling doesn't turn this up as an established answer, so I submit to you that what those schools are after are people who will become what the marketing world calls brand ambassadors. Yes, there will always be spots for rich white people who went to the right schools and want to be ibankers, but getting those is about your parents and basically a numbers game/lottery--for the people getting in on actual merit, what they've already done and how likely they are to do well at college don't really matter (college isn't a reward, and it's not a test), except as predictors of how likely they are to do something that redounds to the credit of the institution. I think of the Patagonia Ambassadors: people who put a brand on their forehead and make it look cool. Put that way, it's obvious that a smart grinder who checked all of what he was told were the right boxes is doing it wrong, and he would have been better off--as a person and an applicant--if he'd just done what he loved, as well as he could, and hoped that what resulted was good enough and that the soup of cultural factors that make something "cool" or "awesome" lined up in his favor.


 

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Links

Posted by Ogged
on 04.24.14

--This movie, which is out now, about reverse-engineering what might have been Vermeer's method, sounds fascinating, for the subject itself, and also as an example of obsessive tinkering.

--The 1% divide as it affects gay nightlife. Capitalism wins again!

--A Consumer Reports-style guide for rehab.

--An interview with Seattle's socialist council member. You have to start somewhere.


 

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Taking Stock

Posted by Ogged
on 04.24.14

Having passed now into my early forties, I reflect with sadness that if someone I know is in a jam, I can't credibly say, "Relax, I know a guy."


 

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Meet-up DC!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.23.14

Ydnew writes: DC folks are trying to plan a get together before the Stranded in Lubbocks skip town. April 20 (Easter) or 27th have been proposed as possible dates. Location is undecided. I think it would help to know whether we should be kid-friendly based on who's interested. We'll try to get some fresh air and sunshine, though. We can work it out in the thread and update with the consensus.

Says Stranded: "Hey, people. Torrey pine, x. trapnel, Iberian Fury, and the Strandeds will be meeting for breakfast at the Busboys & Poets near the U Street metro this Sunday, 4/6, at 10:00am, if anyone else would like to join us. If not, looking forward to seeing everyone later this month!"

Update: The current plan is to meet on April 27 around Georgetown Waterfront Park


 

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Learning

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.23.14

E. Messily sends in Ditch the 10,000 hour rule!

Heebie's take: First of all, we all hate Gladwell, so great! Let's ditch him!

Second, this coincides nicely with what I personally believe about learning: that learning occurs during the retrieval process. Being able to fetch the concept or detail out of context means that you've learned it. The gist of the article is that spacing out practice and changing it up is more effective than massive one-task-at-a-time practices. (Something about ten minute swim class, I dunno.)

It happens all the time that someone will make some truism about learning - learning happens when you make mistakes! - and I will vehemently disagree, but keep those thoughts to myself.


 

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What Was I Supposed To Say?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.22.14

Sally's writing something for a history class, and asked "So, 9-11 was the pretext for the Iraq War, but what was the real reason?" I had no idea at all what to say. Ten years later, I don't have an answer to that question that doesn't sound nutty to me. I ended up mumbling something about "To manipulate Bush's domestic polling?" What would you say as a shorthand summary of the real reason for the war?


 

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This post is easy to believe.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.22.14

The grammar of a clickbait headline. With a graph showing the surge of the phrase "restore your faith in humanity" coinciding with the launch of Upworthy.

I Am Here to Take Back the Clickbait. In Three Simple Steps, Find Out How Upworthy Titles Create Cognitive Problems In Readers. But What Happens If You Don't Click? You Won't Believe What Happens Next.

Not quite the same, but I got this advertisement just now:
"Diet Soda - Warning. Warning - Don't quit diet soda until you see this shocking report!"

Why not? Why not quit even without knowing the harm? Is the shocking report going to say that there is special timing to exactly when you should quit?


 

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McDonaldsin'

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.14

McDonald's has been marketing to black people since the 1970s. Also they pride themselves on employing lots of black people.

I can't quite figure out the linked piece. It's not merely "Look at goofy vintage advertising!" because it seems to be trying to make some point that McDonald's and black people have an especially mockable history. Aside from the fact that McDonald's cannot, for its life, hang on to its gs, I can't figure out what the big deal is. Why is it extra funny when the hamfisted 70s marketing is aimed at black people?


 

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Domestic Terrorism

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.14

Why are we such wussies about going after domestic terrorists?

"But when it comes to the proven and interconnected threat of the armed, American extreme right wing, we're still treating every attack by them like a surprise, still treating those attackers like a lone wolf, regardless of however many letters you find between them," regardless of the places where they talk to each other online, "regardless of the tide of evidence that these organizations exist and are operational."

My guess is:
1. Rightwing terrorists don't actually pose any statistical danger, compared to, say, domestic disputes and ordinary gun violence (and neither do foreign terrorists).
2. No one on the bloodlust maniac rightwing side is screaming about going after these groups, the way they are about Islamist groups, so there is no political fallout for ignoring these groups.


 

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Seeing things clearly

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.14

1. I restarted playing soccer at age 23 or so, in graduate school. I'd played all through high school, both the school team and a select team, and thought I was pretty good.

As an adult, I finally figured out how to get better - my basic insight is that if you want to get better, it starts by you working harder. Concentrating more, for longer, sprinting to stay available on more plays, tackling harder - basically delivering more effort at every step. Being more tired at the end.

This insight has become one of those things I reach for all the time, in all sorts of contexts. The point isn't to increase my effort in all spheres of life, the point is to understand the trade-off. Studying more effectively actually means working more intently, and with your whole brain. On a given area, I might ask myself: Do I want to work hard enough to get better results? Y'know, I really don't. On this I shall coast.

2. When we were in California, Airedale said this about being a lawyer:
"My first hurdle was learning to make an argument that I felt was emotionally dishonest. The next hurdle was much harder - learning to make an argument that was intellectually dishonest. But once I got past that, I became a much better lawyer."

I enjoyed that line very much.


 

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