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Colleges, again.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.17.14

Average student loan by institution. Useful! It's making some unexpected results in terms of loan amount - many cheaper schools have larger student debt than pricey expensive schools. I suppose the wealth of the parents make a bigger dent than I expected. And the wealth of the institution to subsidize.


 

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Schedule For Piketty Reading Group

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.17.14

The schedule for now is one chapter a week, with posts going up on Mondays (or the Tuesday after Memorial Day).

May 19 -- Introduction and Chapter 1, led by Robert Halford

May 27 -- Chapter 2, led by Minivet

June 2 -- Chapter 3, led by essear

June 9 -- Chapter 4, led by unimaginative.

Email me your posts the night before, or really early that morning. Expectations are low for content, just write something. For people who are participating, try to come up with a couple of thoughts ahead of time, to get things started. I'll solicit volunteers for the next batch of chapters in a few weeks and talk about speeding up to a two-chapter a week schedule if that looks like a good idea then.

Discussion rules? Everyone's welcome to participate, Unfogged regulars or not -- ideally, you will have read the book, but even if you haven't but have something relevant to say, chime in. Obviously, I don't expect things to remain perfectly on topic, but try to take it to another thread if things are getting too silly.


 

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Roundup!

Posted by Ogged
on 05.16.14

--Meet the editor! Back in 2006, after his reporter at the LA Times had worked with a whistleblower on a story about NSA taps of AT&T data, Baquet killed the story.

"we did not have a story, that we could not figure out what was going on" based on Klein's highly technical documents

The surveillance state, how the fuck does that work? Someone else will have to figure it out! Also this, on why the Times didn't report the existence of a CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia.

"The Saudis might shut it down because the citizenry would be very upset," Baquet told Times public editor Margaret Sullivan. "We have to balance that concern with reporting the news."

--Greatest headline ever, right?

--I wonder if this guy watches Fox News.


 

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Goodness

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.14

I know it is not copasetic with the Unfogged aesthetic to link this sort of thing, but omfg. Especially, obviously, #10.

(Usually how these sorts of topics go is that people here assert that it's all fakers, and I wonder if I'm gullible, but also assert that hey - people really are that dumb, so why not stick to the real dumb questions instead of the faked dumb questions. (Similar argument - whether or not Jerry Springer and Judge Judy are faked. My take - why should they be, when real people are available?))


 

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You should.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.14

I am on board with shorty-shorts for men, (although perhaps with a little less preppiness than in the picture, and a little more vintage men's basketball. What, of course I'm a wannabe hipster.) Others are not.

I'm not particularly against longer shorts on men. I have strong opinions about which shorts are good-looking and which are not, but they don't necessarily hinge unilaterally on the length.


 

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A glass and metal kitten?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.15.14

Oh I hate this guy. Net neutrality might be doing all of us a big favor because have you thought about how soul-sucking the internet really is?

What is the Internet? As Evgeny Morozov argues, it may not exist except as a rhetorical gimmick. But if it does, it's as much a thing we do as it is an infrastructure through which to do it. And that thing we do that is the Internet, it's pockmarked with mortal regret:
You boot a browser and it loads the Yahoo! homepage because that's what it's done for fifteen years. You blink at it and type a search term into the Google search field in the chrome of the browser window instead.
Sitting in front of the television, you grasp your iPhone tight in your hand instead of your knitting or your whiskey or your rosary or your lover.
The shame of expecting an immediate reply to a text or a Gchat message after just having failed to provide one. The narcissism of urgency.
....
Notifications. Click me, read me, look at me, "like" me, buy me, contribute to me, respond to me, retweet me, for I am on the Internet.
The weight and heat of your smartphone in your pocket, silently whimpering for you, a glass and metal kitten with a small, fragile body.

Oh SHUT UP! Nothing makes me detest someone quicker than being a giant fucking blowhard, like this giant fucking blowhard.


 

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Fresh Salt Tonight

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.15.14

Md 20/400 is in town. I can get there between 6:30 and 7, but that shouldn't constrain anyone else's plans. (As per usual, lurkers welcome, if there are any left in NY who haven't either showed up already or decided that they'd rather eat bees than be in the same bar with the rest of us.)


 

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But It's A Very Pretty Glass Ceiling

Posted by Ogged
on 05.15.14

Oh man, this Jill Abramson story. Let's put the to be sure at the beginning: it's logically possible to be a bad, pushy, woman boss. And maybe the Times kept winning Pulitzers on her watch through institutional inertia. However! Given that Pinch Sulzberger is the embodiment of the idiot-manchild heir, and that every detail of the "newsroom management" charges I've read against her are standard sexist bullshit (click through for Farhad Manjoo's perfect four-tweet destruction of one of them), AND the fact that she raised questions about pay equity, I think we can safely say that whatever else went on behind the scenes, sexism was a big part of what happened to Jill Abramson.


 

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Liberal Dude Erotica

Posted by Ogged
on 05.14.14

Who knows what y'all will think, but it sure made me laugh.


 

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The Bechdel Tempest

Posted by Stanley
on 05.14.14

Have we discussed the Bechdel book ban at College of Charleston? I first read about it here:

The state's House of Representatives recently voted to cut $52,000 in funding for the College of Charleston as punishment for assigning students to read [Alison Bechdel's memoir] "Fun Home," the graphic novel that formed the basis for the play. House lawmakers endorsed a similar budget cut for the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg for using a different book with gay themes in its reading program.

Republican lawmakers also helped pave the way for the appointment of a controversial GOP state official as the College of Charleston's next president, sparking campus protests.

They've now reached a compromise of sorts:

The S.C. Senate voted Tuesday to punish the College of Charleston and USC-Upstate for assigning books some senators viewed as "pornography" by telling the schools to use the reading program money to teach the U.S. Constitution and other key historical documents.

I bet those eighteen year olds are pumped to be re-studying the Constitution. They'll probably get a lot out of this assignment.


 

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No really, I'm funny.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.14.14

The form of sexism that affects me personally, most often, is not the most insidious thing ever. But it does irritate the hell out of me. I like to make jokes and I like to make people laugh. There is a certain size group, a step up from a small, intimate group - say 7-10 people, loosely organized, where I can no longer make jokes, because nobody will pay any attention. If men make jokes in this size group, funny or not, it's on people's radar that it happened. But generally not me - nobody has their ears primed that I might make a joke, and so it is either entirely ignored or it disrupts the flow of the group dynamic if one person notices, and then it gets awkwardly repeated and explained if someone else notices the first person. (I can make a side joke to the person or two next to me, if there's someone close by who already thinks of me as someone who makes jokes.) But more often than not, I keep all these HILARIOUS thoughts to myself, jokes which would fly really well if a guy made them, unless I'm in a small group of, say, five or fewer. It is an ongoing source of irritation.

The most annoying scenario is having to bite back a joke, and then have a guy make a less funny, more poorly timed version of the same joke a little later, and have everyone in stitches. There's a similar phenomenon with non-joke comments in general - there is a heightened barrier to acknowledgment, where I feel like I have to be louder and more aggressive than I'm otherwise inclined to be - but quieter men probably face the same dilemma there, and also I don't have my ego on the line in quite the same way.

(A variation on this outraged Jammies the other day. A few months ago, while camping, a friend and I were goaded into reciting all kinds of 80s-90s rap lyrics, which we were probably evenly matched on. This got recorded into everyone's brain as the other guy's unique talent. At a party on Saturday, he was heckled and called onto the dance floor for a repeat performance, and Jammies was completely floored and pissed that no one seemed to remember our joint performance of the same exact song. I was sober and tired and mildly annoyed, but didn't actually want to get onto the dance floor, so did not pursue the opportunity.)


 

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Totally Fascinating Learning To Code Update

Posted by Ogged
on 05.13.14

So, thanks to the advice of people here and various readings on the webs, I decided to re-begin learning to program by learning Java. I'm using this book, which is pretty math-y, but which I like a lot (it also has an excellent "booksite.") I chose Java because it has a certification path; not necessarily because I want the kind of job where a Java certification is considered a good thing, but because one of the hazards of self-teaching and learning by doing is that you can become quite proficient in some ways, and yet have unknown unknowns that will become known and embarrassing when you start interviewing for jobs. Studying for certification, from what I can tell, is a good way to cover a lot of relevant bases, and one thing I really like about the book I'm using is that it has lots of well-explained snippets of code that I can copy and adapt, as well as lots of end-of-chapter exercises, which give me experience just generating lines of code, without committing to a project.

I'm not entirely sure if, after becoming comfortable with java, I want to angle for a consultancy job, which would expose me to a range of projects, or if I'd like to specialize. Lately I'm very taken with data visualization (it's shiny! and pretty!--basically what I liked about doing apps), so maybe I'll learn javascript and play with D3. I'm a little intimidated by the math entailed in data visualization, but there has to be a way for even an old man to learn what's necessary; maybe I'll attend some real math courses. But that's just the shiny thing du jour; we'll see down the road.


 

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All Joy

Posted by Ogged
on 05.13.14

The older boy climbed into my chair today. "Baba, I don't love you."

I laughed (right answer?) and said, howcome?

"Because you're an old man."

Don't you love Papa? He's even older.

"No."

Who do you love?

"My cousins, and Maman."

All younger than I am! Can't really argue with the guy.

In other kid news, he's now so practiced at posttussive emesis that he points to a bowl, comes over, barfs, and goes back to playing. Duke? Dartmouth? I think he's ready.


 

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I for one, etc.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.13.14

Should your driverless car be allowed to kill you? My family has had endless conversations on a variation of this problem, which is "will people's queasiness with the prospect of a car making life-death decisions prevent the industry from taking hold?"

My answer to the first is yes, and the second is no. But as I've said before, I think the order may end up being: unmanned drones -> passenger drones -> passenger driver-less cars.

Via elsewhere


 

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The Law, In Its Majesty

Posted by Ogged
on 05.13.14

In my ferry suggestion below, I specifically stipulated that the meal would be provided onboard, because we all know that if you try to take care of the homeless anywhere that isn't wholly, clearly, and indubitably yours, you'll be in violation of some ordinance.

Police in Daytona Beach also threatened them with arrest and incarceration, if they offer any more of their home-cooked meals at Manatee Island Park, a gathering the Jimenezes say they've hosted every Wednesday for the past year.

Sounds reasonable! Actually, I have some sympathy for the people who complained, because this is unpleasant.

some homeless people gathering in the park were defecating and urinating on the grounds, and that some were showing up drunk at dawn

Not that being drunk at dawn is a crime, right? But I think the mayor, who doesn't sound as malicious as some, gets at the problem here.

"There is a segment of the homeless population that is homeless by choice. I don't want to impugn them all. But some are homeless because they are sex offenders, substance abusers and bank robbers. That's why we ask (Good Samaritans) to coordinate with our social service agencies, because they know who needs to be served."

Nevermind this very Christian question of who "needs to be served"--"homeless by choice" is another version of "welfare queen:" something of which there are a few legitimate examples, which obscure, for people who would rather have it obscured, the fact that for almost everyone else, being homeless, like being on welfare, is lousy. "Homeless by choice" means that services and options for people who are ill, or addicted, or disturbed are so bad that even being homeless can be preferable.


 

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Piketty Reading Group Setup

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.13.14

Who is interested in participating, but still doesn't have the book? If you are, and you don't, when do you expect to have it? If everyone who wants to participate has a copy, does anyone object to starting next Monday?

Next, who wants to volunteer to take the introduction or one of the first four chapters? First person to claim a chapter in the comments gets it. What I'm envisioning as the post for each chapter is essentially a summary hitting the main points for discussion -- while insights into the implications and meaning are great, there's no pressure to come up with anything deep. Just identify the points Piketty is making.

Anything else I'm forgetting?


 

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Cards Against Humanity

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.12.14

I played Cards Against Humanity last night, which I'm led to believe is on trend? It's Apples To Apples except everything is off-color.

On the one hand, I had a great time and laughed really hard. On the other hand, it really feels like I was being manipulated by the game-makers who are just supplying predictably off-color punchlines (Auschwitz! Geese! A ball of semen and ear wax! The Three-Fifths Compromise! Meaningful personal connections! Along with a prompt like "What are you giving up for Lent?") having successfully understood my age group's sense of humor, and quantified and monetized it. Oh, are you edgy? Do you make daringly off-color jokes? Here, we'll make you slightly funnier than you would otherwise be, without the ten punchlines in your hand. (Also the game lends itself to racism. Our particular groups wasn't inclined to do so, but it definitely encourages people to be edgy in ways that are invariably going to play off Obama's being black, or brown children dying in ghettos, etc.)

It's a bit depressing to have your lack of edgy uniqueness so boldly flaunted. But also, I mean, it was fun to play.


 

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Familiarity

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.11.14

I've hardly been back to Boston in the twenty years since college, and I hardly remember anything specifically. But the feel of the city is surprisingly nostalgic; I wouldn't have thought of myself as having been attached to Boston, particularly, but walking in from the train station I was having flashbacks of feeling young and broke and harried. I used to take long prowls around Boston and wonder what I was doing with my life; I can't say I've ever figured that out exactly.


 

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Disruptive!

Posted by Ogged
on 05.11.14

Tech billionaire Vinod Khosla decided the beach is his, all his.

The lawsuit, filed in March 2013, accused the then-unidentified owner of the limited liability company of painting over a billboard welcoming people to the beach, putting up a locked gate in front of Martins Beach Road and hiring armed guards to keep people out - all technically property development that changed coastal usage and required permits from the California Coastal Commission.

By California law, the beach itself remains open to the public; it's just inaccessible by land. This is one of those moments that I wish I had a large pile of money just to fuck with other rich people. Ladies and gentlemen, announcing our free ferry service to Martins Beach. That's right, folks, the first 200 people to line up each day will be given a ride and a hot meal on their way to a day of frolic on Martins Beach. No shoes, no money, no ID: NO PROBLEM.


 

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FNL

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.11.14

Ydnew writes in: Thought maybe Unfoggeders might be interested in the scandal in Odessa, TX at Permian High, aka the school in Friday Night Lights. They've just have five (!) separate accusations of teachers having inappropriate relationships with students. One of the accused teachers resigned and killed himself. The other four are women, which seems a bit unusual. Most are coaches or athletic trainers, which doesn't seem unusual at all. This seems like it's going to get uglier and uglier.

Heebie's take: I cannot wait for Season 7. (The second link especially is pretty sad. And short.)


 

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