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Miami

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.12.14

Miami is so fucked:

Tidal surges are turned into walls of seawater that batter Miami Beach's west coast and sweep into the resort's storm drains, reversing the flow of water that normally comes down from the streets above. Instead seawater floods up into the gutters of Alton Road, the first main thoroughfare on the western side of Miami Beach, and pours into the street. Then the water surges across the rest of the island.
The effect is calamitous. Shops and houses are inundated; city life is paralysed; cars are ruined by the corrosive seawater that immerses them. During one recent high spring tide, laundromat owner Eliseo Toussaint watched as slimy green saltwater bubbled up from the gutters. It rapidly filled the street and then blocked his front door. "This never used to happen," Toussaint told reporters. "I've owned this place eight years and now it's all the time."

I kind of knew that climate change was battering Miami, but this part of the article is striking:

It a devastating scenario. But what really surprises visitors and observers is the city's response, or to be more accurate, its almost total lack of reaction. The local population is steadily increasing; land prices continue to surge; and building is progressing at a generous pace...Not that they are alone. Most of Florida's senior politicians - in particular, Senator Marco Rubio, former governor Jeb Bush and current governor Rick Scott, all Republican climate-change deniers - have refused to act or respond to warnings of people like Wanless or Harlem or to give media interviews to explain their stance, though Rubio, a Republican party star and a possible 2016 presidential contender, has made his views clear in speeches.

So nothing is happening. Scientists are being treated like Chicken Little. (Also there is a nuclear reactor nearby.)


 

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Crossfit litigation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.11.14

Here's the thing about Crossfit: the cultural ethos is kind of arrogant and obnoxiously dismissive of kinesiology and sports science fields, as a whole. The thing about kinesiology and sports science fields, as a whole, is that there's a whole lot of old wives tales and hocus pocus mixed in with the actual science.

The kinesiology and sports science folk are super aggravated by the arrogance and general smug jerky dismissal, but for some reason they don't ever address that. Instead they claim that they've got magical, mystical knowledge of safety, and Crossfit is dangerously negligent by neglecting the knowledge. For example: One should never power lift for speed. Frex, from the comments section of the article I haven't gotten around to mentioning yet:

Every personal trainer / athlete / gym rat I've ever known has said that slow reps with controlled form is the safest and most effective way to lift. Pretty diverse backgrounds with different ideas on nutrition and such but "slow reps, good form" is the one thing they all agree on. I'll go with their advice over the CrossFit psychos who think that the exact opposite is better for some reason.

Crossfit (rightly) thinks this is silly. By all means, drop to a safe, lighter weight where you can maintain good, safe form, and do a different exercise called "lots of fast reps" instead of "really tough, slow, hard reps".

So you've got people talking at cross-purposes - the kines/sports sci people saying "It's too dangerous!" when they mean "You're so fucking annoying!" and the Crossfit people saying "We're not dangerous!" while continuing to do all the annoying braggadocio things everyone hates.

You know where a lot of people got injured? Adult soccer. No warming up, no stretching to speak of, no practices, playing on hard baked clay, etc. Yet kines/sports science types never concern-trolled about the dangers of adult soccer. Adults get injured when they exercise, and so what. Then you heal. Then you keep going. And you, Crossfit, stop being obnoxious.

This originally stemmed from this lawsuit, of Crossfit suing some researchers who had really positive things to say about them, but did mention the number of participants in the study who got injured (16%), as well as mentioning that this was on par with things like rugby.)


 

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Would Date!

Posted by Ogged
on 07.11.14

Of course, he'll be dead at 60, but this is good.

A lot of people probably think I'm not athletic or don't even try to work out or whatever, but I do. Just because you're big doesn't mean you can't be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn't mean you're going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I'm not going up there trying to be a fitness model.

The photos at the link are important to a proper appreciation of the point.


 

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Scandalous!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.11.14

The Journal of Vibration and Control apparently is retracting over 60 articles, because there was a giant peer review scam.

In 2013, the editor of JVC, Ali H. Nayfeh, became aware of people using "fabricated identities" to manipulate an online system called SAGE Track by which scholars review the work of other scholars prior to publication...After a 14-month investigation, JVC determined the ring involved "aliases" and fake e-mail addresses of reviewers -- up to 130 of them -- in an apparently successful effort to get friendly reviews of submissions and as many articles published as possible by Chen and his friends. "On at least one occasion, the author Peter Chen reviewed his own paper under one of the aliases he created," according to the SAGE announcement.

Shame, shame, everybody knows your name.


 

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O HAI

Posted by Alameida
on 07.10.14

I'm still clean and sober e'erybody! Well, I actually have to take serious pain medication, because I'm in terrible pain all the time, and sometimes I think that's kind of dicey, but I never get high off it (because of my wicked mad cray fucked up high dag-y'all-that's-just getting-weird tolerance) and what else am I going to do, really? But I'm not free-styling pain treatment. And I haven't had a drink since June 10, 2006! AA and NA are really awesome, dudes. They seem all lame, and like the combination of a true believer Episcopalian trying to keep it low-key until he can spring salvation on you, Dale Carnegie, and a lady you met at the bead store who thinks crystals have healing powers.

BUT. Actually a ton of people get and stay sober like that and it is genuinely helpful to have a lot of other people who understand your utterly ass-backwards thinking. Then again, are the rates of success so high? Unclear because it's not clear what counts as 'intake.' Or 'trying.' AA'ers can dismiss failures as people who weren't trying hard enough to do what they were told. It works for the people for whom it works? That doesn't inspire confidence. At the beginning of meetings someone usually reads a section of the AA "Big Book" (it was called that as a joke in the beginning but since it is a bible of sorts now it has a quite unintended exalting effect) that says, "rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path." And in my experience this is true! I have rarely seen a person fail who has followed all the suggestions thoroughly. If you think you might have a drinking problem, you so definitely already have a drinking problem (rilly tho). You should probably stop drinking so you don't (further, completely) fuck up your entire life and the lives of everyone who loves you. They do love you, you know. They will want to help you quit. It is bumming them out hardcore how you are slipping down into a spiral of madness and despair leavened with bottled good cheer.

Anyway, also, sorry for bumming you guys out since it occurred to me recently that you all must think I relapsed because why the hell didn't I post about my anniversary?! I just had a pre-travel freak-out where I discovered via FB chat with my aunt that I had booked all my plane tickets and hotel reservations for my trek through the US for the wrong dates and had to painstakingly re-book them all at great cost and in a process which involved speaking on the phone to humans at expedia.com.narnia (surprisingly nice and intelligible; it involved transferring me from a local, native-English-speaking Indian woman to a man who I think was Czech but at any rate was an Eastern European person, who also spoke very good English, and solved my problems rather admirably). And then I've been in NYC with jet-lag and some desire not to give myself a migraine and on the Vineyard with both spotty wifi and a determination to do useful, pleasant things that do not involve the internet in any way.

And--God a family member stole an entire box of oxy from my room which Jesus fuck, like, maybe the reason I have so much powerful pain medication is that I'm in serious pain and not 'oh heh daaaamn she's set up with some shit, I'ma snake a whole BOX outta here.' My husband is seriously pissed off that I have to carefully plan and ration myself back to Narnia and then go to the doctor the day I get there when I should have had enough for another week and a half, and it's hard to convince him not to complain to anyone about it. Especially when they turn up for a dinner that I helped cook low as hell, pinned-out-pupils insouciantly eating a second hamburger while their one beer gets them shitfaced all on a sudden. Other people's family can be difficult. Wait, no, I guess my own family can; it's just on balance I am way more happy to be with my beloveds than I am pissed off about this. I have enough to where I'm not going to be pissing out my ass for the last week. A thing ain't nothing but a thing.


 

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On The Diversity Of Diversity

Posted by Ogged
on 07.10.14

I'm all for the various kinds of "diversity" and horizon-broadening that kids are exposed to, whether it's a mixed classroom, or mission trips, or volunteering. Good things! But, speaking from the perspective of UMC white folks now, one thing these activities almost always do is to reinforce for kids that their family/community's way is the right way, because they're coming in as helpers, or because they're more successful in the mixed environment. In a narrow sense, this is fine, because the UMC way is the mainstream way, and being socialized into that is part of the project of education. In another, more important sense, it really narrows their view of the possibilities for fulfilling lives.

I wasn't really aware of this as a problem until, in New Mexico, where, because of my wife's job and our social circle, we only interacted with Navajos who were ill, or injured, or addicted (which can't help but color your view of people) until one day we went to a youth rodeo, and here were these beautiful, hale kids and young adults, riding and lassoing easily, looking like royalty on their horses, and suddenly the vague talk of tradition, and being on the land came alive as a viable and wonderful way of life. Crucially, it was 1) different 2) great and 3) at least on a first pass, I and my kids would suck at it.

Maybe this kind of humbling diversity is right under my nose and I'm not even seeing it. In any case, now I want to be on the lookout for it, and when the kids are a little older, point it out to them at every opportunity.


 

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And then what?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.09.14

I think I've been to enough Christian sermony things to declare today's funeral's sermon on the completely batshit deranged end of the spectrum. The pastor kept referring to the recently deceased as "a pile of ash before Jesus" which seemed a bit cruelly corporeal. The topic was "Sin and Death Go Together". He described Hell for several minutes.

Also he had an awful smirk. He told a story of a brash senior in high school who visits the guidance counselor (like the deceased), and is super excited about college. The guidance counselor asks him "And then what?" The kid speculates about post-college. The guidance counselor asks him "And then what?" about five more times, and the kid gets less sure and less sure, the further out he tries to predict his life. The pastor got smirkier and smirkier as the kid's answers got vaguer and more unsure. Somehow the moral of the story was that the kid should have been certain that his life would get him into Heaven? He was supposed to be super cocky and have all these right answers about how his life would unfold, instead of not knowing? I really hated this pastor. Stop calling Jammies' aunt a pile of ash.


 

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There But

Posted by Ogged
on 07.09.14

Good little piece about how a double-income professional couple wound up on food stamps. Despite the title and the central anecdote, the real value of the piece, I think, is in describing the not-very-unlikely series of events that landed them there, and, of course, the programs that helped them get back on their feet.

You'll be shocked to know that the comments on the story are not edifying.


 

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A Fierce Enthusiast

Posted by Ogged
on 07.08.14

Just yesterday I made the only Warren Harding joke I've ever made in my life, and today the Times runs a series of letters that Harding wrote to his mistress in which he refers to his pajayjay as Jerry, who is, it seems, excitable, literate, and loyal. Also interesting for the fact that his mistress was a big fan of Germany during WWI, so the later letters are basically "I'm jerking off to you right now, but for the love of God, shut up about Germany."


 

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The Semis

Posted by Ogged
on 07.08.14

A thread for your World Cup needs.


 

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The popular hair texture of choice will be curly.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.08.14

Via Tweety, Tyra Banks has ten specific, concrete predictions about the future.

9. For those who choose not to go for plastic surgery, beauty ingestibles (active waters, etc.) will give instant, yet temporary results: contoured cheekbones, rosy cheeks, arched eyebrows. However, one must use them repeatedly to maintain results.

She's a shrewd one.


 

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I can't smile they call me sourpuss.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.08.14

Vintage photos with self-deprecating captions. This you can throw out the window or into the fireplace.


 

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Now, I'm no philosopher of science

Posted by Ben
on 07.07.14

But this essay, which seems to basically mount the claim that as soon as an experiment gives the appearance of offering evidence for a proposition, no number of failed attempts to replicate the experiment can possibly cast doubt on that proposition, seems not exactly as well argued as one would want from something making a claim of that strength.


 

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Trolling, The Next Generation

Posted by Ogged
on 07.07.14

Short of revealing family secrets, just about any "embarrassing" thing a three-year-old can say is still mostly haha embarrassing. But, like the master troll that he is, my three-year-old has homed in on something that makes everyone either cringe or wonder, just a little bit.

"Baba, I want you to poop on my head."


 

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Jerk Chicken

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.07.14

Rotisserie chicken is super cheap because they're cooking up the quick-sell chicken. Isn't that kind of nice, for a change?

If you think you're surrounded by idiots, you're probably a jerk. A theory of jerkitude. Full disclosure: tl;drallofit. But I thought the tagline was nice.

We're driving up to Kansas today. Picture me rolling. Sorry about making you think we were going to talk about jerk chicken in this post, but if I know you all, and I do, you'll more than compensate.


 

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Piketty Reading Group: Chapter 8

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.07.14

Bave has chapter 9 next week, and fake accent has chapter 11 in three weeks. Volunteers for 10, and 12 solicited in this week or next week's thread. Lw's summary of 8 is under the fold, which is I think the first summary to realize that we could link to online versions of the charts. That probably would have clarified things some if I'd done it last week.

Prior reading group posts:

Piketty Reading Group Setup
Initial Scheduling Post
Introduction and Chapter One -- Robert Halford
Chapter Two -- Minivet
Chapter Three -- Essear
Chapter Four -- Unimaginative
Chapter Five -- X. Trapnel
Chapter Six -- Conflated
Chapter Seven -- LizardBreath

Chapter 8 looks at the sources of income of people in the top decile of the distribution of income, with special attention to the top centile. In contrast to most of the other chapters, looking at the figures pretty well summarizes this chapter. The very wealthiest derive most of their income from returns on capital, and Piketty breaks out in detail how the size of this group that lives from capital returns has changed in France and in the US. They're referred to as rentiers, such a shame that there isn't a more common English word for them, it's a useful idea.

Before WWII, France had a lot of useful capital in private hands and a large group of people who lived on its proceeds; now there are about 1/10 as many of these as before. Compare early
http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/capital21c/en/pdf/F8.3.pdf
with late
http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/capital21c/en/pdf/F8.4.pdf
For an alternate view of the same effect, look at the contribution from capital of the income of the top centile over time:
http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/capital21c/en/pdf/F8.2.pdf

Piketty identifies extremely well-compensated managers as a feature of the post-1970 increase in inequality in the US. The source of their wealth is more complex than just wages or capital return, mostly due to stock and option compensation. The US tax code allows tracking capital gains as a component of income, most other countries' tax codes do not. Capital gains are only a component of upper-centile income, not the majority. Since trusts and inheritance obscure capital gains from US taxes, the reported amounts are less than the actual total, who knows by how much.

There's interesting detail about the effects of political action on the income distribution in France-- a raised minimum wage following the 1968 riots. He explicitly notes that profits are procylical while the share of wages to the bottom half of earners is anticyclical due to political intervention, at least in France.

An excellent footnote:"The visceral appreciation of the economy is sometimes particularly noticeable among economists teaching in US universities but born in foreign countries (generally poorer than the US), an appreciation that is again quite comprehensible." There's no anticommunist as vehement as a refugee, it's true.

Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, and Paris Hilton are all heirs of billionaires who are also managers (Hilton manages fragrances, while Stark and Wayne are industrialists).

The US has had effective supermanagers who didn't inherit wealth: Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc, Sam Walton. Also lots of supermanagers who were compensated just as generously while being unambiguous parasites: Angelo Mozillo, Al Dunlap, the latter serving as a model for Danny DeVito's character in the American soap opera "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." The fines they paid were a small fraction of their compensation.


 

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ISIS

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.06.14

Ok, I get that ISIS is awful because they're extremely violent and believe in the most brutal form of Sharia law. Basically I want to ask an extremely dumb question without being treated as if I'm super stupid.

Is it obvious that redrawing the borders in Syria and Iraq along ethnic lines is a terrible idea, in and of itself? If it weren't a supremely violent group that was putting it forward? I get that the new countries would all have new minorities, because it's not like people are ever perfectly segregated, and the new minorities could be in great danger. And extremists governments might run these countries. But it's not like things are hunky-dory with these hundred year boundaries, as is.

Oh god this is a post where I'm either going to get slammed or treated with kid gloves.


 

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Venturing Outside The Bubble

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.06.14

Cookout yesterday about an hour and half outside the city, where I found myself in a vehement but not hostile conversation with a Fox-watching NRA member who was fascinated by meeting someone who was willing to use the word 'socialist' without spitting in disgust. I felt a bit like a zoo animal, but it was amusing. Some highlights were being told that if I just moved outside the city for a year and experienced freedom (that is, from all those urban restrictions on my liberties) my politics would get straightened out, and later when he asked if my husband agreed with me about all this stuff (answer: not necessarily in fine detail, but roughly), and then a few minutes wandered over to find Buck and check.

Newt was listening to the conversation, and commented sotto voce as we were leaving "That guy's a psychopath, right?" We should probably get him out of the city and talking to people more.


 

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