Go To Main Page

About Unfogged
About Unf
About Ogged
About Bob
About Fontana Labs
About Alameida
About LizardBreath
About Tia
About Apostropher
About Becks
About Ben
About Heebie-Geebie
About Stanley
About Standpipe Bridgeplate
Email to blogger name at domain dot com

Site design gratefully adapted from Burke & Wells

Fewer cock jokes at the Unfogged Reading Group.
Search Blog
Archives
05.25.14-05.31.14
05.18.14-05.24.14
05.11.14-05.17.14
05.04.14-05.10.14
04.27.14-05.03.14
04.20.14-04.26.14
04.13.14-04.19.14
04.06.14-04.12.14
03.30.14-04.05.14
03.23.14-03.29.14
03.16.14-03.22.14
03.09.14-03.15.14
03.02.14-03.08.14
02.23.14-03.01.14
02.16.14-02.22.14
02.09.14-02.15.14
02.02.14-02.08.14
01.26.14-02.01.14
01.19.14-01.25.14
01.12.14-01.18.14
01.05.14-01.11.14
12.29.13-01.04.14
12.22.13-12.28.13
12.15.13-12.21.13
12.08.13-12.14.13
12.01.13-12.07.13
11.24.13-11.30.13
11.17.13-11.23.13
11.10.13-11.16.13
11.03.13-11.09.13
10.27.13-11.02.13
10.20.13-10.26.13
10.13.13-10.19.13
10.06.13-10.12.13
09.29.13-10.05.13
09.22.13-09.28.13
09.15.13-09.21.13
09.08.13-09.14.13
09.01.13-09.07.13
08.25.13-08.31.13
08.18.13-08.24.13
08.11.13-08.17.13
08.04.13-08.10.13
07.28.13-08.03.13
07.21.13-07.27.13
07.14.13-07.20.13
07.07.13-07.13.13
06.30.13-07.06.13
06.23.13-06.29.13
06.16.13-06.22.13
06.09.13-06.15.13
06.02.13-06.08.13
05.26.13-06.01.13
05.19.13-05.25.13
05.12.13-05.18.13
05.05.13-05.11.13
04.28.13-05.04.13
04.21.13-04.27.13
04.14.13-04.20.13
04.07.13-04.13.13
03.31.13-04.06.13
03.24.13-03.30.13
03.17.13-03.23.13
03.10.13-03.16.13
03.03.13-03.09.13
02.24.13-03.02.13
02.17.13-02.23.13
02.10.13-02.16.13
02.03.13-02.09.13
01.27.13-02.02.13
01.20.13-01.26.13
01.13.13-01.19.13
01.06.13-01.12.13
12.30.12-01.05.13
12.23.12-12.29.12
12.16.12-12.22.12
12.09.12-12.15.12
12.02.12-12.08.12
11.25.12-12.01.12
11.18.12-11.24.12
11.11.12-11.17.12
11.04.12-11.10.12
10.28.12-11.03.12
10.21.12-10.27.12
10.14.12-10.20.12
10.07.12-10.13.12
09.30.12-10.06.12
09.23.12-09.29.12
09.16.12-09.22.12
09.09.12-09.15.12
09.02.12-09.08.12
08.26.12-09.01.12
08.19.12-08.25.12
08.12.12-08.18.12
08.05.12-08.11.12
07.29.12-08.04.12
07.22.12-07.28.12
07.15.12-07.21.12
07.08.12-07.14.12
07.01.12-07.07.12
06.24.12-06.30.12
06.17.12-06.23.12
06.10.12-06.16.12
06.03.12-06.09.12
05.27.12-06.02.12
05.20.12-05.26.12
05.13.12-05.19.12
05.06.12-05.12.12
04.29.12-05.05.12
04.22.12-04.28.12
04.15.12-04.21.12
04.08.12-04.14.12
04.01.12-04.07.12
03.25.12-03.31.12
03.18.12-03.24.12
03.11.12-03.17.12
03.04.12-03.10.12
02.26.12-03.03.12
02.19.12-02.25.12
02.12.12-02.18.12
02.05.12-02.11.12
01.29.12-02.04.12
01.22.12-01.28.12
01.15.12-01.21.12
01.08.12-01.14.12
01.01.12-01.07.12
12.25.11-12.31.11
12.18.11-12.24.11
12.11.11-12.17.11
12.04.11-12.10.11
11.27.11-12.03.11
11.20.11-11.26.11
11.13.11-11.19.11
11.06.11-11.12.11
10.30.11-11.05.11
10.23.11-10.29.11
10.16.11-10.22.11
10.09.11-10.15.11
10.02.11-10.08.11
09.25.11-10.01.11
09.18.11-09.24.11
09.11.11-09.17.11
09.04.11-09.10.11
08.28.11-09.03.11
08.21.11-08.27.11
08.14.11-08.20.11
08.07.11-08.13.11
07.31.11-08.06.11
07.24.11-07.30.11
07.17.11-07.23.11
07.10.11-07.16.11
07.03.11-07.09.11
06.26.11-07.02.11
06.19.11-06.25.11
06.12.11-06.18.11
06.05.11-06.11.11
05.29.11-06.04.11
05.22.11-05.28.11
05.15.11-05.21.11
05.08.11-05.14.11
05.01.11-05.07.11
04.24.11-04.30.11
04.17.11-04.23.11
04.10.11-04.16.11
04.03.11-04.09.11
03.27.11-04.02.11
03.20.11-03.26.11
03.13.11-03.19.11
03.06.11-03.12.11
02.27.11-03.05.11
02.20.11-02.26.11
02.13.11-02.19.11
02.06.11-02.12.11
01.30.11-02.05.11
01.23.11-01.29.11
01.16.11-01.22.11
01.09.11-01.15.11
01.02.11-01.08.11
12.26.10-01.01.11
12.19.10-12.25.10
12.12.10-12.18.10
12.05.10-12.11.10
11.28.10-12.04.10
11.21.10-11.27.10
11.14.10-11.20.10
11.07.10-11.13.10
10.31.10-11.06.10
10.24.10-10.30.10
10.17.10-10.23.10
10.10.10-10.16.10
10.03.10-10.09.10
09.26.10-10.02.10
09.19.10-09.25.10
09.12.10-09.18.10
09.05.10-09.11.10
08.29.10-09.04.10
08.22.10-08.28.10
08.15.10-08.21.10
08.08.10-08.14.10
08.01.10-08.07.10
07.25.10-07.31.10
07.18.10-07.24.10
07.11.10-07.17.10
07.04.10-07.10.10
06.27.10-07.03.10
06.20.10-06.26.10
06.13.10-06.19.10
06.06.10-06.12.10
05.30.10-06.05.10
05.23.10-05.29.10
05.16.10-05.22.10
05.09.10-05.15.10
05.02.10-05.08.10
04.25.10-05.01.10
04.18.10-04.24.10
04.11.10-04.17.10
04.04.10-04.10.10
03.28.10-04.03.10
03.21.10-03.27.10
03.14.10-03.20.10
03.07.10-03.13.10
02.28.10-03.06.10
02.21.10-02.27.10
02.14.10-02.20.10
02.07.10-02.13.10
01.31.10-02.06.10
01.24.10-01.30.10
01.17.10-01.23.10
01.10.10-01.16.10
01.03.10-01.09.10
12.27.09-01.02.10
12.20.09-12.26.09
12.13.09-12.19.09
12.06.09-12.12.09
11.29.09-12.05.09
11.22.09-11.28.09
11.15.09-11.21.09
11.08.09-11.14.09
11.01.09-11.07.09
10.25.09-10.31.09
10.18.09-10.24.09
10.11.09-10.17.09
10.04.09-10.10.09
09.27.09-10.03.09
09.20.09-09.26.09
09.13.09-09.19.09
09.06.09-09.12.09
08.30.09-09.05.09
08.23.09-08.29.09
08.16.09-08.22.09
08.09.09-08.15.09
08.02.09-08.08.09
07.26.09-08.01.09
07.19.09-07.25.09
07.12.09-07.18.09
07.05.09-07.11.09
06.28.09-07.04.09
06.21.09-06.27.09
06.14.09-06.20.09
06.07.09-06.13.09
05.31.09-06.06.09
05.24.09-05.30.09
05.17.09-05.23.09
05.10.09-05.16.09
05.03.09-05.09.09
04.26.09-05.02.09
04.19.09-04.25.09
04.12.09-04.18.09
04.05.09-04.11.09
03.29.09-04.04.09
03.22.09-03.28.09
03.15.09-03.21.09
03.08.09-03.14.09
03.01.09-03.07.09
02.22.09-02.28.09
02.15.09-02.21.09
02.08.09-02.14.09
02.01.09-02.07.09
01.25.09-01.31.09
01.18.09-01.24.09
01.11.09-01.17.09
01.04.09-01.10.09
12.28.08-01.03.09
12.21.08-12.27.08
12.14.08-12.20.08
12.07.08-12.13.08
11.30.08-12.06.08
11.23.08-11.29.08
11.16.08-11.22.08
11.09.08-11.15.08
11.02.08-11.08.08
10.26.08-11.01.08
10.19.08-10.25.08
10.12.08-10.18.08
10.05.08-10.11.08
09.28.08-10.04.08
09.21.08-09.27.08
09.14.08-09.20.08
09.07.08-09.13.08
08.31.08-09.06.08
08.24.08-08.30.08
08.17.08-08.23.08
08.10.08-08.16.08
08.03.08-08.09.08
07.27.08-08.02.08
07.20.08-07.26.08
07.13.08-07.19.08
07.06.08-07.12.08
06.29.08-07.05.08
06.22.08-06.28.08
06.15.08-06.21.08
06.08.08-06.14.08
06.01.08-06.07.08
05.25.08-05.31.08
05.18.08-05.24.08
05.11.08-05.17.08
05.04.08-05.10.08
04.27.08-05.03.08
04.20.08-04.26.08
04.13.08-04.19.08
04.06.08-04.12.08
03.30.08-04.05.08
03.23.08-03.29.08
03.16.08-03.22.08
03.09.08-03.15.08
03.02.08-03.08.08
02.24.08-03.01.08
02.17.08-02.23.08
02.10.08-02.16.08
02.03.08-02.09.08
01.27.08-02.02.08
01.20.08-01.26.08
01.13.08-01.19.08
01.06.08-01.12.08
12.30.07-01.05.08
12.23.07-12.29.07
12.16.07-12.22.07
12.09.07-12.15.07
12.02.07-12.08.07
11.25.07-12.01.07
11.18.07-11.24.07
11.11.07-11.17.07
11.04.07-11.10.07
10.28.07-11.03.07
10.21.07-10.27.07
10.14.07-10.20.07
10.07.07-10.13.07
09.30.07-10.06.07
09.23.07-09.29.07
09.16.07-09.22.07
09.09.07-09.15.07
09.02.07-09.08.07
08.26.07-09.01.07
08.19.07-08.25.07
08.12.07-08.18.07
08.05.07-08.11.07
07.29.07-08.04.07
07.22.07-07.28.07
07.15.07-07.21.07
07.08.07-07.14.07
07.01.07-07.07.07
06.24.07-06.30.07
06.17.07-06.23.07
06.10.07-06.16.07
06.03.07-06.09.07
05.27.07-06.02.07
05.20.07-05.26.07
05.13.07-05.19.07
05.06.07-05.12.07
04.29.07-05.05.07
04.22.07-04.28.07
04.15.07-04.21.07
04.08.07-04.14.07
04.01.07-04.07.07
03.25.07-03.31.07
03.18.07-03.24.07
03.11.07-03.17.07
03.04.07-03.10.07
02.25.07-03.03.07
02.18.07-02.24.07
02.11.07-02.17.07
02.04.07-02.10.07
01.28.07-02.03.07
01.21.07-01.27.07
01.14.07-01.20.07
01.07.07-01.13.07
12.31.06-01.06.07
12.24.06-12.30.06
12.17.06-12.23.06
12.10.06-12.16.06
12.03.06-12.09.06
11.26.06-12.02.06
11.19.06-11.25.06
11.12.06-11.18.06
11.05.06-11.11.06
10.29.06-11.04.06
10.22.06-10.28.06
10.15.06-10.21.06
10.08.06-10.14.06
10.01.06-10.07.06
09.24.06-09.30.06
09.17.06-09.23.06
09.10.06-09.16.06
09.03.06-09.09.06
08.27.06-09.02.06
08.20.06-08.26.06
08.13.06-08.19.06
08.06.06-08.12.06
07.30.06-08.05.06
07.23.06-07.29.06
07.16.06-07.22.06
07.09.06-07.15.06
07.02.06-07.08.06
06.25.06-07.01.06
06.18.06-06.24.06
06.11.06-06.17.06
06.04.06-06.10.06
05.28.06-06.03.06
05.21.06-05.27.06
05.14.06-05.20.06
05.07.06-05.13.06
04.30.06-05.06.06
04.23.06-04.29.06
04.16.06-04.22.06
04.09.06-04.15.06
04.02.06-04.08.06
03.26.06-04.01.06
03.19.06-03.25.06
03.12.06-03.18.06
03.05.06-03.11.06
02.26.06-03.04.06
02.19.06-02.25.06
02.12.06-02.18.06
02.05.06-02.11.06
01.29.06-02.04.06
01.22.06-01.28.06
01.15.06-01.21.06
01.08.06-01.14.06
01.01.06-01.07.06
12.25.05-12.31.05
12.18.05-12.24.05
12.11.05-12.17.05
12.04.05-12.10.05
11.27.05-12.03.05
11.20.05-11.26.05
11.13.05-11.19.05
11.06.05-11.12.05
10.30.05-11.05.05
10.23.05-10.29.05
10.16.05-10.22.05
10.09.05-10.15.05
10.02.05-10.08.05
09.25.05-10.01.05
09.18.05-09.24.05
09.11.05-09.17.05
09.04.05-09.10.05
08.28.05-09.03.05
08.21.05-08.27.05
08.14.05-08.20.05
08.07.05-08.13.05
07.31.05-08.06.05
07.24.05-07.30.05
07.17.05-07.23.05
07.10.05-07.16.05
07.03.05-07.09.05
06.26.05-07.02.05
06.19.05-06.25.05
06.12.05-06.18.05
06.05.05-06.11.05
05.29.05-06.04.05
05.22.05-05.28.05
05.15.05-05.21.05
05.08.05-05.14.05
05.01.05-05.07.05
04.24.05-04.30.05
04.17.05-04.23.05
04.10.05-04.16.05
04.03.05-04.09.05
03.27.05-04.02.05
03.20.05-03.26.05
03.13.05-03.19.05
03.06.05-03.12.05
02.27.05-03.05.05
02.20.05-02.26.05
02.13.05-02.19.05
02.06.05-02.12.05
01.30.05-02.05.05
01.23.05-01.29.05
01.16.05-01.22.05
01.09.05-01.15.05
01.02.05-01.08.05
12.26.04-01.01.05
12.19.04-12.25.04
12.12.04-12.18.04
12.05.04-12.11.04
11.28.04-12.04.04
11.21.04-11.27.04
11.14.04-11.20.04
11.07.04-11.13.04
10.31.04-11.06.04
10.24.04-10.30.04
10.17.04-10.23.04
10.10.04-10.16.04
10.03.04-10.09.04
09.26.04-10.02.04
09.19.04-09.25.04
09.12.04-09.18.04
09.05.04-09.11.04
08.29.04-09.04.04
08.22.04-08.28.04
08.15.04-08.21.04
08.08.04-08.14.04
08.01.04-08.07.04
07.25.04-07.31.04
07.18.04-07.24.04
07.11.04-07.17.04
07.04.04-07.10.04
06.27.04-07.03.04
06.20.04-06.26.04
06.13.04-06.19.04
06.06.04-06.12.04
05.30.04-06.05.04
05.23.04-05.29.04
05.16.04-05.22.04
05.09.04-05.15.04
05.02.04-05.08.04
04.25.04-05.01.04
04.18.04-04.24.04
04.11.04-04.17.04
04.04.04-04.10.04
03.28.04-04.03.04
03.21.04-03.27.04
03.14.04-03.20.04
03.07.04-03.13.04
02.29.04-03.06.04
02.22.04-02.28.04
02.15.04-02.21.04
02.01.04-02.07.04
01.25.04-01.31.04
01.18.04-01.24.04
01.11.04-01.17.04
01.04.04-01.10.04
12.28.03-01.03.04
12.21.03-12.27.03
12.14.03-12.20.03
12.07.03-12.13.03
11.30.03-12.06.03
11.23.03-11.29.03
11.16.03-11.22.03
11.09.03-11.15.03
11.02.03-11.08.03
10.26.03-11.01.03
10.19.03-10.25.03
10.12.03-10.18.03
10.05.03-10.11.03
09.28.03-10.04.03
09.21.03-09.27.03
09.14.03-09.20.03
09.07.03-09.13.03
08.31.03-09.06.03
08.24.03-08.30.03
08.17.03-08.23.03
08.10.03-08.16.03
08.03.03-08.09.03
07.27.03-08.02.03
07.20.03-07.26.03
07.13.03-07.19.03
07.06.03-07.12.03
06.29.03-07.05.03
06.22.03-06.28.03
06.15.03-06.21.03
06.08.03-06.14.03
06.01.03-06.07.03
05.25.03-05.31.03
05.18.03-05.24.03
05.11.03-05.17.03
05.04.03-05.10.03
04.27.03-05.03.03
04.20.03-04.26.03
04.13.03-04.19.03
04.06.03-04.12.03
03.30.03-04.05.03
03.23.03-03.29.03
03.16.03-03.22.03
03.09.03-03.15.03
03.02.03-03.08.03
02.23.03-03.01.03


Creative Commons License
Go to Unfogged.com home

 

Isla Vista

Posted by Ogged
on 05.24.14

There are so many possible subthreads here that I'm not sure where to begin. So just a few links. The Times story gets some background about the bullying he endured, and the fact that this was no surprise to people who knew him. He was the subject of a reddit thread days before the rampage. The Times story contains his final video, the rest are here.

Personally, I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that this guy was serious. He posted on a weightlifting board, got made fun of, and responded like this.

I do NOT look like a geek in that video. I look exceptionally handsome in the video, see how the sunlight reflects off my beautiful exotic eyes? And that blue sweater I was wearing is by Prada. Geeks don't wear Prada.

You have to think this guy is joking. Then, three bodies in his apartment (which the other people on the board basically predict, based on his videos). So it turns out that homicidal pathology is indistinguishable from ham-handed trolling.


 

horizontal rule

 

The Curious Case Of The Case For Reparations

Posted by Ogged
on 05.24.14

Here's the piece, which is long, and which you won't read before commenting. Much has been written; two things struck me.

1) It's not really about reparations. The piece is mostly a brief history of black oppression in America, focusing on slavery, jim crow, and redlining. The short summary of the content is "At every turn, whites have done their utmost to harm and dispossess blacks." But the short summary of the emotion of the piece is "You motherfuckers did this to us. You owe us." I think that "you owe us" is what leads Coates to reparations, but my sense is that he wants something psychological, not material--some kind of realization, acknowledgment, affirmation that, as he puts it,

white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it

Of course, the fundamentality of that force makes it difficult to even imagine what whites taking responsibility for it would look like. The "Yes, but" is also a reflexive part of the oppression.

One minor note on this: what the piece also isn't is a call for a "conversation" about race. No one needs to sit through "Howcome we can't say 'nigger'?" It's more of a call for a national shut up and listen about race, or a national shoot whitey in the face about race.

2) A meta point about the piece. It's pretty good. Nice writing in some parts, overwritten in others, a competent, if not razor sharp summation. I'm no great student of history, but there was little in it that was new to me (I knew about redlining, but not contract housing; I knew about the slaves of the founders, but not specifically about Oney Judge). So when I hear people say that this is "essential" or that this should be added to the curriculum of every school, I can't help but wonder what the hell people are learning in their history classes. You should know all this! If you didn't know it, and you've ever opined on race in America, punch yourself in the face, and then go punch your teachers in the face. If, on the other hand, people are assuming that everyone else doesn't know all this, it's fine to praise it, and pass it along, but even better would be to think about what public policy should look like today, and to call people out when they're acting ignorant.


 

horizontal rule

 

Greener grass

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.24.14

Some good friends are moving to the Raleigh-Durham area. I just picked them up from the airport, returning from their (successful) house-buying trip. The house sounds wonderful and charming, as does the neighborhood, local schools, and general outlook on life.

I am...so envious. I love my house and town and local group of friends, and my job is basically solid, and I'm not concretely envious of anything in their situation (except for the weather. I am specifically envious of the North Carolina weather and existence of seasons.) I can't put my finger on what sounds so appealing, except maybe the adventure and fresh start of it all. Just the fantasy that life will be permanently fresher and more invigorating as soon as this big change happens - that fantasy is really taunting me.


 

horizontal rule

 

Sis-Boom-Bah

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.23.14

Professional cheerleaders are really downhill of quite a lot of shit. Is the most insulting part of all that they're named things like the "Ben-Gals" or "Buffalo Jills"?


 

horizontal rule

 

Reporting

Posted by Ogged
on 05.22.14

--I think the word is chutzpah. NY State's assembly speaker claims a different Sheldon Silver did those unpopular things. That guy's widow? Totally confused about what jobs he had. Amazing. Solid reporting for the Times to nail him so convincingly.

--One of Facebook's managers says "Hey, why does the news suck so much?" Reporters say, "Because of Facebook!" Ezra Klein shows up in the comments to defend himself and Vox. Lots of motes and beams and eyes in this one, but worth a quick read.


 

horizontal rule

 

MeFi

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.22.14

Why is Google killing MetaFilter? Basically MeFi keeps getting tangled in Google's anti-spamware algorithms, and getting docked and pushed further and further down the rankings. Although that's all speculation because obviously Google's formula is a bigger secret than Oklahoma's execution injection recipe. But MeFi is really getting pushed to the point where they are having layoffs and it's not clear how long they'll be able to keep the site alive.

Whoops, I left off the via: lw when I posted this.


 

horizontal rule

 

Educating the least privileged

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.22.14

I mentioned in the comments yesterday that every now and then, it just seems wearying to live in a red state. I don't want to give ammunition to all you bi-coastal arugula-elites, though.

Chris Y sent in this:

Students from families with low parental education levels have the highest proficiency rates in Texas (28%) and New Jersey (25%), putting them, respectively, in 7th and 12th place internationally. Those rankings are well ahead of Massachusetts and Minnesota (both at 18%), which puts them in 19th place internationally. Virginia and Florida are at about the U.S. national average, while New York, in 27th place, falls slightly below. California (9%), West Virginia (6%), and Utah (5%) rank at embarrassingly low levels.

which is very nice to read. I'm not sure what the demographic conditions are that led to that, but I'll take it.


 

horizontal rule

 

A Story

Posted by Ogged
on 05.21.14

A little before we arrived in our little hamlet on the rez, aka the remotest place on earth, a pack of dogs had taken a chunk out of one of the doctors--who was a fit middle-aged guy who managed to fight them off literally to the door of the ER--and gotten one of the pharmacists--a tough, adventursome, petite Chinese woman who had been out for a run--on the ground, which is seriously bad news, until someone driving by had jumped out of his truck, picked her up and threw her in the back, and drove her to the ER.

They were both fine in the end, and the pack of dogs had been put down before we arrived, but everyone was a bit on edge for a while, until we all reverted to what seemed to be the norm there, which is utter pity for all the stray animals, who would usually be around one summer and gone by the next spring. (I can't think of a single person who moved there and didn't adopt a stray dog or cat.)

About two years later, one of the dentists sent out an email saying that his two dogs had gotten out and he'd found them shot on a trail everyone frequented. One was dead, the other was injured but survived. I was reminded of this by Blume's story of the accidental shooting in her hometown, because were were all freaked right out. The shot dogs were enormous, over 100lbs. each, and the shooter had likely come upon them on the trail at dusk, so there was a lot of sympathy for someone in that situation. Nevertheless, the thought that someone was carrying a handgun on this trail that we all used, and was prepared to start firing, was really pretty scary, and the fear was compounded by the fact that no one had come forward, leaving us all wondering if we were dealing with someone responsible but embarrassed, or a trigger-happy yahoo.

Time passed, no one came forward, there were no real clues other than a few shell casings, and we mostly put it out of our minds. Then one day, the dentist, having heard just enough through the grapevine to make him wonder, said to the petite Chinese pharmacist, "Did you shoot my dogs?" She broke down on the spot, crying and apologizing for not coming clean earlier.

The end.


 

horizontal rule

 

More, More

Posted by Ogged
on 05.21.14

A while back, I said that it would be great to get over the belief that everyone in America is some kind of small-d democrat, and get a taxonomy of actual political types. Henry's post on David Brooks is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.


 

horizontal rule

 

Even the losers

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.21.14

As far as measuring luv in the lab, this approach seems so...reasonable. It starts out conventional:

Mate value is predicated on people's ability to reach some degree of consensus about one another's desirable qualities....Psychological research on first impressions has shown that men and women do in fact reach some degree of consensus about each other in precisely this way.

Then it gets so much more lifelike:

Yet alongside this consensus is an equally important concept: uniqueness. Uniqueness can also be measured. It is the degree to which someone rates a specific person as lower or higher than the person's consensus value....In initial encounters, consensus and uniqueness are in tension. Which ultimately prevails?
In answering this question, it is crucial to keep in mind the obvious (but underappreciated) fact that most people do not initiate romantic relationships immediately after forming first impressions of each other.

And what they found is that over time, uniqueness trumps mate value. Hooray!


 

horizontal rule

 

Look

Posted by Ogged
on 05.20.14

I'm recycling some kottke links here, but I'm the only one who still checks kottke, right?

--This is a great idea but I can't tell how good the eras I don't know are, and find the eras I do know only so-so.

--The Met has a huge portion of its collection digitized and online, often in quite high quality. Worth a look.


 

horizontal rule

 

Dillhole P.D.

Posted by Ogged
on 05.20.14

The spirit of charity compels me to say that surely, somewhere, sometime, there has been a video, the watching of which might compel the viewer to say, "Huh, I guess the police were telling the truth, after all."

Typically, one finds oneself saying, "What a brutal bunch of racist, lying, evidence-destroying assholes."

The job of a police officer deserves respect. To take the obvious example, there really were a bunch of cops in the towers on 9/11. And when there's a crazy person waving a gun around on your street, you can pick up the phone and have someone who is, crucially, not you, come and deal with it. This is an extraordinary service, and one reason I don't get bent out of shape when I hear that some police officer made a boatload of money on overtime. It's a physically demanding, emotionally draining job, distinguished by long stretches of tedium, punctuated by dealing with people none of us wants to deal with.

But I think it's fair to say that respect has slid into license, and there's a national, cultural problem with police behavior, so I'd like it to become national policy that if a cop is on the clock, he's on film. Let the various coalitions work out who gets access to that video, and under what circumstances, but make sure it exists.


 

horizontal rule

 

Commercial value

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.20.14

The Piketty thread is for very smart discussion, so I figure this thread should be the complete opposite. How about a thread where we recommend products that we really like? Whoever recommends the first product that I end up buying wins the thread. Whoever recommends the product that the most other people end up buying also is a winner.

I will start: I recently bought some spin pins. They function like bobby pins except they can actually hold a ton of hair. They're super quick and easy. Three cheers for spin pins.


 

horizontal rule

 

Piketty Reading Group: Introduction and Chapter 1

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.19.14

[Below the fold is Halford's epic take on the introduction and first chapter -- future posters should not feel pressured to match his length and level of detail, but anyone who does, I'm impressed. (At the end of the reading group, longest post gets a set of steak knives.)

Rules: Anyone is welcome to comment, whether you've announced your intention to participate or not. Preferably you will have read the chapters being discussed, but if you haven't, but still have something to say that seems on topic, go for it. Do try to keep the conversation roughly about the book, or at least vaguely related, though. LB]

Reading group. Summarizing. Drinking bourbon. Thinking. Misunderstanding the book. Not knowing economics. Taking down capitalism. Or are we? Is that the point of this book? Let's find out. Reading group. Do it.

Initial Thoughts

Let's acknowledge the audience here. 98% of the people reading this, including me, agree that capitalism in the United States is deeply screwed up, and that we'd all be better off with some version of something like a Northern European welfare state. The massively unequal distribution of wealth in the United States is certainly part of the reason why we have been pissed off at current US capitalism. But distrust of US style capitalism isn't based on inequality alone, and this book isn't just a confirmation of pro-social-democratic prejudice. Indeed, one of the really interesting things about the book is that it largely deals specifically with the case of France, which is indeed a capitalist country but also the kind of European social state most people here aspire to. It's important to keep that in mind -- the analysis here is going to run deeper than merely saying social welfare state GOOD US Republican party BAD. To be clear, the book is both consistent with and broadly supportive of the conclusion that a social welfare state is GOOD and the US Republican party is BAD. But it is much more interesting than that.

Most important: Piketty's work is a rejection, or at least a very serious qualification, of the idea that "[Economic] Growth is a rising tide that lifts all boats." In my view, the "rising tide lifts all boats" belief is not just the province of the right wing idiots this blog and its commentariat loves to hate. Instead, it's fundamental to all sides of the political debate in the United States, including the Democratic party and essentially every adviser to President Obama, and has been dominant in the bipartisan
technocracy since at least the 1950s. I think we've all been brought up on the idea that economic growth, with a reasonable minimum of competent management, will ultimately lead to reasonably-shared benefits for everyone, and increased social harmony; at least this is what the mainstream Democratic party certainly thinks. These benefits justify the maintenance of what look like fairly large short-term injustices created by capitalism, as everyone seems to agree. The main difference between mainstream liberal and mainstream conservative approaches to the economy in the US, both Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong and their University of Chicago opponents, has to do with precisely how to technocratically manage the economy and deal with short-term fluctuations and distributions, given this system, and how much one can do to correct the short-term injustices without interfering too deeply with the long term growth.

Piketty's book, I think, is something else. At a minimum, he deeply qualifies the "growth is a rising tide that lifts all boats" belief. And, he claims, this qualification not just a matter of theory, but as an empirical matter. Growth hasn't been, and won't be, a rising tide that lifts all boats, unless (a) growth is maintained at levels that look unsustainable for any modern developed economy and (b) internal reforms are imposed to keep top-
level managers from taking as much income as they can get, and (c) other reforms, like a capital tax, are imposed to keep capital from inexorably benefitting those who already hold it, at the (relative) expense of everyone else. This, I think, gives the book more radical implications than it sometimes seems to realize itself. To be clear, the book unambiguously says both that we need growth and that high growth is key for reducing inequality. Growth is good. But we don't know how to produce growth, and certainly not in the quantities we'd need to have evenly-shared growth without massive populist intervention. Unless we figure out ways to reduce the power of owners of capital, especially inherited capital, and reduce the ability of successful CEOs and hedge fund chiefs to self-deal, the kind of growth we can reasonably anticipate in the future will not proceed smoothly, will not benefit everyone, and will not lift all boats (or, at least, will lift some boats so much more than others as to make the analogy meaningless).

We're on the road to a world that looks like Europe in 1850 unless we get a hell of a lot more radical than we are right now. But that's an implication of the book - not its core message, which is much more empirical.

Onto the summarizing.

Introduction

Piketty sets out his project. Here are the two key questions: what does his study of the income distribution, and the capital/income split, in the major industrialized countries for the past 250 years, tell us about the relationship between the distribution of wealth and the mechanics of capitalism? Does it tell us that capitalism itself creates inequalities that are destructive for the underlying social structure of society?

He gives us short synopses of three 19th century theorists, each of whom had different, but ultimately pessimistic, views about the effect of the market on the long-
term distribution of wealth: Malthus, Ricardo and Marx. Each of these three theorists thought, for different reasons, that unrestrained capitalism would ultimately destroy the society from which it emerged -- for Malthus, this would be because of inexorable pressures of overpopulation, for Ricardo, because the value of land, as an irreplaceable resource, would continue to rise almost infinitely as the rest of the economy developed, and thus that the share of national income paid to landlords would reach socially unsustainable levels, and for Marx, because of his law of infinite accumulation, an inexorable tendency of capital to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

In fact, empirically, Malthus, Ricardo, and Marx were wrong. An increasingly productive economy, and changes in population trends, meant that Malthus' population-based model didn't hold; the decreasing importance of agricultural land, and the boom in agricultural productivity, was fatal for Ricardo's predictive theory, and Marx's theory of a falling return to capital/infinite accumulation by the capitalists also foundered on the fact of an increasingly productive economy. However, even if wrong, each of these theorists had interesting insights into the way that market mechanisms themselves can ultimately destroy the social fabric.

Piketty then introduces his foil: what he calls the "cold war" "fairy tale" of Simon Kuznets, the mid-century American economist. Kuznets came up with the "Growth is a rising tide that lifts all boats" line. He did so based on looking fairly limited data set of US incomes between 1913 and 1948, that showed that the percentage share of national income to the top 10% of earners had dropped, in that period, from between 45-50% to 30-35%. From that study, Kuznets drew the conclusion that inequality everywhere, in all industrial countries, would follow a bell curve pattern -- rising inequality at first, as the benefits of industrialization went to a few, but then, as an industrial society developed and became more advanced, a broad distribution of the fruits of industrialization to a more technologically-advanced workforce, which would reduce inequality. Capitalism had short-term hiccups but in the long term created social harmony and class equality.

Piketty is clear: this story is false, both empirically and theoretically. Much of the book is devoted to explaining why. Even in the long term, growth won't necessarily lead
inexorably to a reduction in inequality, and it won't do so just because of some general process of technological advancement in the economy.

Piketty then describes his data sources and the data sets he has for estimating income, wealth, and share of capital in the economy. Largely, the data comes from income tax records, but there's also important older information from estate tax records. Piketty says that the entirety of his book comes from his analysis of this data set. This, in turn (he claims) is what makes him better than Marx, Ricardo, Malthus, and Kuznets -- he has the data, and we can now reach some broad, but empirically-based, conclusions about the state of inequality since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

Finally, we get to the conclusions. What, in general, does his delving into the data tell us? Let's see:

First, there is one, and only one, force driving a reduction of inequality under capitalism. While it's very important, and really has reduced inequality by an enormous amount, it isn't really "capitalist" at all. It's the diffusion of knowledge, including both the pure diffusion of knowledge and an investment in training and skills. At a global level, this has had spectacular results in alleviating poverty and in closing the gap between rich and poor countries. But Piketty makes clear that this is driven by a knowledge-
diffusion effect, and not, in any very important way, by "free trade," international movements of capital, or other purely economic arrangements.

Second, two commonly offered mechanisms by which capitalism's defenders have claimed that it will reduce inequality do not, in reality, do so. Many people (HINT SILICON VALLEY LIBERTARIANS HINT) believe in something called the "rising human capital hypothesis" -- the idea that, as production technologies over time require greater skills on the part of workers, labor's share of income will rise as that of capitalists and owners of inherited wealth fall, as capable managers and masters of technology claim a greater share of income from passive stockholders, owners of real estate, or inheritors of wealth. In fact, this story is almost completely wrong; over the length of the industrial and technological revolutions, he says, there is little change in labor's share in national income, and "nonhuman" capital is as important now as it was in the early 19th century.

Another story that people tell themselves is also wrong: the "intergenerational mobility" hypothesis. In this model, people save over their life cycle, so that people accumulate wealth while younger to spend in their old age, and so inequalities of wealth are primarily between generations. This is also totally wrong; inequality of wealth exists primarily within age cohorts, and inherited wealth is still dominantly important. To the extent capitalism reduces inequality, it is almost entirely through the knowledge diffusion/skill investment effect described above.

Third, there are two primary forces by which, in the modern economy, it seems like capitalism is inexorably leading to much greater inequality:

(a) In the United States, and, to date, pretty much only in the United States, there has been a spectacular, and historically unprecedented, explosion in the incomes paid to the very top percentage of the labor force. That is to say that the very top level of managers in the United States earn a spectacular, and unprecedented, amount, and this in and of itself is leading to a substantial increase in inequality in the United States.

In the rest of the world, the trend is in this direction, but is nowhere there yet. Piketty says that there is little evidence that this spectacular rise in compensation to top managers reflects anything about the underlying economy; it mostly reflects the fact that top managers have been able to set their own compensation. Nonetheless, importantly, this trend is an increase in income paid to labor, even if it's income paid to a tiny, minuscule segment of the labor force.

(b) Everywhere, Piketty says, there is an increase in the power of capital when the rate of return on capital exceeds the underlying growth rate of the economy for a long period of time. This is the famous "r>g" equation, and can be explained simply as follows: if the economy grows slowly, past wealth naturally takes on a disproportionate importance in the economy as a whole. People with inherited wealth (or who have otherwise accumulated some capital) need only save a portion of their income from the capital to have it grow more quickly than the economy as a whole. And this is exacerbated by other trends, like the fact that wealthier people may tend to save more, and people with more capital may be able to obtain a higher rate of return. Note that here, he isn't speaking of returns to CEOs or high-flying hedge fund managers; it's that if growth is slow, inherited wealth and capital will take on an increasing, and inexorable importance.

Now, can he show any of that? We'll see.

Chapter 1

This chapter is incredibly important but also incredibly boring to summarize. He's setting out definitions that will be used in the rest of the book. The key issue is defining what "capital" is and what goes into the capital/income ratio. Let's just list some definitions. These are important!

1) National income=the sum of all income available to the residents of a given country in a given year, regardless of the legal classification of that income.

2) National income is similar to, but different than, GDP. GDP measures the total value of goods and services produced in a given country in a given year. National income includes that measure, but modifies it, because (a) National income does, but GDP doesn't, subtract out depreciation on existing capital, which is substantial and important, and (b) national income includes net income from abroad, which was historically very important (think colonialism) but now mostly nets out among the rich countries.

3) At a global level, total global income=total global output of everything, that is all goods and services produced in a given year, less depreciation. At a national level, income might not equal output, because it also includes net income from other countries.

4) National income=capital income (net of depreciation)+labor income. So national income includes income generated by capital.

5) "Capital"=the sum total of non-human assets that can be owned and exchanged on some market. Capital includes all forms of real property, financial property, and things like plants, infrastructure, machinery, etc.

6) "Capital" as used here, is net of debt.

7) "Wealth" and "capital" are used interchangeably.

8) "Capital" includes not only private capital but capital available to governments, or public capital, so that National wealth=public wealth + private wealth.

9) Since "capital" is wealth net of debt, in almost all the rich world "public wealth" is near zero or negative, due to the large size of the public debt. Almost all capital is currently private capital.

10) Income is a flow (goods and services produced in a year); capital is a stock.

11) The capital/income ratio is simply the stock divided by national income for a given year.

12) The overall capital/income ratio tells us nothing about actual inequality within a country. But it is an important measure of the overall importance of capital in a society, so you need to look at this first before moving on to address inequality. A higher capital/income ratio means greater overall importance of capital. In most of the Western world, the capital/income ratio is somewhere between 4 and 6, and has increased substantially in recent years, to levels last seen before World War I.

13) The "rate of return" on capital isn't just the interest rate or the "rate of profit." Rather, it is the yield on capital over the course of a year regardless of its legal form -- profits, rents, dividends, royalties, capital gains.

14) To find the share of capital income in total income, we can multiply the rate of return on capital (for a given year) by the capital/income ratio. This is a pure accounting identity -- if you define the rate of return as the overall yield on capital within a given year, the overall share of capital income in total income will automatically equal the rate of return times the capital/income ratio.

Definitions done!

Piketty then takes an -- in my view somewhat unrelated -- excursion to examine inequalities between countries. Here, I think the details are less interesting and important than the conclusions. First, the global distribution of production looks like it's exhibiting a "divergence, then convergence" pattern -- Europe and America got way ahead, but it appears that the period of divergence in per-capita output is now ending, and that between countries, output per head will significantly converge. This reflects a massive "catch up" by poorer countries with richer countries in terms of what they produce. Second, income is more unequal than the global distribution of production.

That is, wealthy countries are still able to achieve substantial (if relatively small) increases in their national income through owning capital located in other, especially poorer countries; the richer countries keep the return, even if the production takes place in the poorer countries. This was tremendously important in the colonial era; it is less so now but still significant, particularly in Africa.

What about the idea that "convergence," that is, equality on a global level, can come about through rich people in rich countries investing in, and owning the capital of, poorer countries? According to classical economic theory, it is efficient for capital in savings-
rich countries to flow to poorer countries, increasing the productivity in those countries and closing the gap between rich and poor countries. This is a core underpinning of the idea that free flows of capital will reduce global inequality (which, if only at a moral level, might be a reason for encouraging free and unrestrained flows of capital more generally). In fact, however, he finds that this theory of global convergence is lacking in two major ways. First, even as a theoretical matter, capital invested in poorer countries only reduces the production and output gap, not the income gap -- the income still goes to the rich country, even if the poor country is more productive. Second, as a factual matter, it seems like capital ownership by rich countries has done almost nothing to actually develop poorer countries. None of the Asian success stories benefitted substantially by foreign ownership of their capital; on the other hand, colonized countries, like those in Africa, seem to have fallen further behind.

We then get the conclusion: it is the diffusion of knowledge, not capital investment from rich countries to poor countries, that has allowed convergence between countries at the international level. While "free trade" might have been important in this process, it is only important for secondary reasons opened up domestic economies to foreign influences and markets for goods and services, thus increasing diffuse knowledge and skills. Free capital flows were not important. Again, this is important, because it suggests that restricting capital flows at the domestic level will not kill off the long-term process of international convergence between rich and poor countries, which it is pretty clear Piketty thinks to be a good thing. In short, restraining international capital won't make the poor world stay poor.

That's it! Writing these summaries are exhausting. Somebody pay me. In conclusion, make me emperor.


 

horizontal rule

 

Quantity

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.19.14

So when cooking, I generally make one dish, and if it doesn't have much in the way of vegetables, I'll steam a vegetable to go on the side. Or maybe a loaf of bread to go with soup. But basically I plan one single item per dinner. Women's mags imply that everyone is making several dishes for any old weekday night, and that's gotta be nonsense, I assume.


 

horizontal rule

 

A Calorie Is An Evil Demon Out To Deceive You

Posted by Ogged
on 05.18.14

It does seem that they're nearing case closed on what makes us fat. Here's a paper, the short version of which is that eating refined carbs sets off a vicious circle in which what you eat is more likely to be turned into fat, rather than more readily available energy, which in turn leads to hunger and more eating. Here's the summary.

Ultimately, weight loss requires consuming fewer calories than expended. A common interpretation of this thermodynamic principle deemphasizes the importance of dietary composition and instead places focus on behavioral methods to establish a negative energy balance. Although reduced energy intake acutely decreases fat mass, predictable physiological and behavioral adaptations progressively lessen the ability of most people to maintain voluntary energy restriction. According to an alternative view, the metabolic effects of refined carbohydrate (consumed in greater amounts now than in the 1970s, with adoption of the low-fat diet) and other environmental factors cause the adipocyte to take in, store, and trap too many calories. Subsequently, energy expenditure declines and hunger increases, reflecting homeostatic responses to lowered circulating concentrations of glucose and other metabolic fuels. Thus, overeating may be secondary to diet-induced metabolic dysfunction in the development of some forms of obesity. If so, treatment focused on dietary quality, rather than advice to eat less, could help address this sequence of events at the source and produce better long-term weight loss. Mechanistically oriented trials with well-differentiated diet groups and comparative effectiveness studies addressing this controversy are under way.

And here's the authors' own write-up in the Times.


 

horizontal rule

 

Stripping

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.18.14

J, Robot sends in the link of this PhD who strips instead of adjuncting. It's very compatible with the prostitution thread.

I took a stand years and years ago that stripping irritates me in a very different way than prostitution. Something about that clicked here. In prostitution, I'm mostly concerned for the prostitute's mental health and physical well-being. Whereas stripping promotes a world where people are men, and "a woman's No. 1 value is her ability to be physically attractive to men" as the author puts it. The fact that prostitution is largely behind doors and not communal means it has less of that social scene thing going on than stripping does, and I don't think most men who frequent strip clubs necessarily compartmentalize the experience very well. In other words, it's easier for me to picture a hypothetical enlightened, topless Norwegian prostitution existing in a utopia, but not a strip club. Maybe if the dancers and the clientele were equally both male and female? Actually, I suppose I'd be okay with that.

That said, I don't have animosity towards actual strippers nor some of the clientele, at least. It's not like I'm in a problem-free industry. We're all just trying to get through the day and go back to bed.


 

horizontal rule

 

Powered by Movable Type