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Oh fuck you:

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.30.14

August%2030%2C%202014%20%2811%29


 

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Sorry Swifty

Posted by Ogged
on 08.30.14

Looks like we have to kill all the cops after all.

Yeah yeah, he should have stopped. He should have been totally complaint. He shouldn't have assumed he was reasoning with human beings. Whatever.


 

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Visual Aids

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.30.14

What happens to teen pregnancy rates when you teach sex-ed and contraception in schools? I actually think the state maps at the end undercut the case more than assist it. (My favorite study is the one that shows that '16 and Pregnant' has a measurable decrease on teen pregnancy.)

Also, labeling the axis from 0% to 100% on this graph annoys me.


 

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Contrarianed themselves all the way to being right.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.29.14

There was an ESPN interview, where the reporter was kind of obsessed with whether or not Michael Sam was wigging other men out in the showers. Slate gets it right:

Given that openly gay men are a truly new phenomenon in the shower, let's take Vilma's question seriously: Are straight men right to be afraid? The majority of responses to this question have taken an overcompensating "come on, guy!" approach that insists a gay man could never be attracted to his straight shower pals enough to sneak a look.

...

The truth is, it is within the realm of possibility that a gay man might be physically attracted to a straight man, and he might even steal a glance at that man's body--perhaps unconsciously, perhaps on purpose. Either way, this does not make him a bad person or render him in violation of some kind of gay-straight peace accord; in fact, it merely means that he is a human being expressing sexual attraction in a way that our culture authorizes straight men (and increasingly women) to do as a matter of course. It is a particularly noxious expression of male privilege for a straight man to insist that he not be an object of desire while he sees no problem with passively enjoying a cheerleader's acrobatics or a female colleague's flattering blouse. And it is exceedingly homophobic to demand that a gay man downplay, police, or actively "cover" the most harmless sort of sexual expression simply to preserve a straight guy's precarious sense of his masculinity.

Buck up and be lusted after, men.


 

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Predictions

Posted by Ogged
on 08.29.14

Someone set up an alert so we can come back to this after results are in: a substantial non-partisan disagreement about polling forecasts.


 

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Books

Posted by Ogged
on 08.29.14

Rick Perlstein is an interesting reader. Nice interview.


 

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Orange is the New Occupy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.29.14

Follow-up on Cecily McMillian, the Occupy protestor who elbowed the cop, and is fresh from 90 days at Riker's Island. In her own words.

I wonder if it's Cosmo's editing that makes this objectively sympathetic story seem like whining. This part made me laugh:

People often ask if jail is like Orange Is the New Black, but I see nothing similar in incarceration and entertainment. Every day in jail, you are belittled and berated. There's no library, no computers or cell phones. A TV blasts Criminal Minds. I went through a surreal fight for weeks just to get a pair of sneakers so I could run around the yard.

Because really? That sounds just like OITNB.

Even being set free became a trial. On the day of my release, my friends on the outside had helped me set up a press conference across the Rikers Island bridge, to speak for the women in jail. But a CO told me he had been ordered to drive me to a subway station 45 minutes away. I protested but no one would help, so that's where I ended up.
I borrowed a stranger's phone to call my friends, who brought me back to the bridge. I gave my press conference, describing how the women were treated. These women had sustained me, becoming my friends, my confidantes and advocates. And now I am their advocate. I walked into Rikers Island as part of one movement and left as part of another.

Every time she describes a hardship, it ends up sounding...fluffy. Or at least nowhere near what her fellow prisoners are going through.


 

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The Ivory Tower

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.29.14

Lw writes: Possibly this is controversial: I studied engineering, not English. I still can't find a job.

Solving the issue of inexperienced teachers may be even simpler: have schools relax academic requirements for professors and focus far more on hiring effective businesspeople. With a little more leeway, academically-minded candidates will have more freedom to gain job experience, and schools may even attract more talent directly from the business world.

Heebie's take:
The author is kind of an idiot? "Colleges should be more like business internships" (I'm paraphrasing.) Maybe businesses aren't monolithic, and should train their hires better to fit the job they want done, and we should have public policy that fosters a strong workforce and cheaper college?

It's true that in college, you're learning from someone that has very little experience in the kind of job that you'll most likely be doing. Jobs that don't need the skills that you get from college (becoming a better writer, thinking more critically, reading and manipulating abstract symbols and diagrams) shouldn't require a bachelor's degree, but of course weak labor market blah blah blah.

Anyway, I've been meaning to digress: This is sort of the flip side of another other phenomenon I've been meaning to post about - how you can earn up to 24 credits in places like this by "submitting a portfolio for life credit", ie an oldster with a couple decades of experience can now pay to have that partially credentialized.

On the one hand: how depressing that now you can pay money to have your past few decades of work turned into magical college credits that acknowledge that you've continued to learn on the job for the past few decades, so that employers will acknowledge this as well. On the other hand: I can see how this must seem like an urgent band-aid solution for older workers who are trying to get a degree as quickly as possible so that they can return to the workforce or move ahead, and who have genuine skills from experience that are going underappreciated.


 

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ATM:Book Writing

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.28.14

Cryptic Ned asks: How did you write your books? (Layout software?) I think it would be better to ask you [Heebie] because kids' books aren't just a collection of paragraphs, they're laid out complicatedly.

And more importantly: Does it make sense to write the kind of book I want to write? It would be mostly a collection of interesting public-domain material with my introductions and notes. If something is a suitable age, I can do what I want with it, right? Even if the journal still exists and claims that you have to pay for stuff from 1870 just like it was from 2010?

Heebie's take: My mom illustrates our books, and then actually prints out text, tapes it in different spots until she finds where she likes it, and then (I believe) uses photoshop to manually insert text around her illustration. (However, it's largely been moot, because publishers do whatever the hell they like with the layout.) But IIRC, other people here have had useful answers for software for the first question. (I think Text swore by some platform at some point - he's probably available over email, since it's been awhile since he commented.)

For your second question: I think it depends what your goals are for, with your book. If you consider self-publishing to be a perfectly reasonable outcome, then by all means I think you should write the book. Long tail of the internet, etc. (I'm curious about the topic.) Bottom line: is your own time worth the gratification of having this compiled in one place and having it accessible by other people? Are you going to enjoy the process enough to stick with it, or will it become a horrible albatross around your neck?

However, if you've got your heart set on a traditional publisher (like my mom does), then it's a rather brutal, demoralizing process, and no, go start a PhD in art history instead. I'm guessing, since the topic seems obscure, that you're not in this category.

Finally, is a book clearly the best format? Or would a website, with all its inter-linkiness and flexibility, offer some advantages?


 

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Undoubtedly

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.28.14

I've been seeing this stat that about 6% of women are responsible for most false accusations of rape. They're sociopaths. In addition to fostering a culture of intervention among men and women, shouldn't we publicly make the case that men shouldn't get drunk around shrews they don't trust? Can we at least tell them that privately? Criminals, lying whores, tornadoes, and earthquakes exist: prudence isn't a betrayal of MRA.


 

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Maybe

Posted by Ogged
on 08.28.14

Trigger warning: this post might be indistinguishable from trolling.

I've been seeing this stat that about 6% of men are responsible for most sexual assaults. If this is true, shouldn't it cause a major revision to how we deal with the problem of sexual assault on campus? I'm inclined to assume that it's not the case that those 6% just haven't seen they flyers or read the pamphlets or gotten the message. They're sociopaths. In addition to fostering a culture of intervention among men and women, if we're not going to allow people to publicly make the case that women shouldn't get shitfaced around guys they don't trust (and I understand why--inevitably that becomes the basis for victim-blaming) can we at least tell them that privately? Criminals, rapists, tornadoes, and earthquakes exist: prudence isn't a betrayal of feminism.


 

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Brains

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.28.14

I was listening to an interview with Nate Jackson last night, who turns out to be a former pro-football player who wrote a book. The interview turned towards CTE, and I was struck by the similarities to the mental problems that veterans have coming home from war.

Obviously these are not super similar situations, but I was specifically thinking about the sheer lack of understanding that the young kid has about what it might be like to struggle with serious brain and emotional injuries for years and years.

On a different note, I am beside myself with excitement that they're putting wallpaper in today.


 

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Guest Post - a game!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.27.14

Sifu writes: Okay, here's a game for people: read this extremely technical post from a vulcanology blog and figure out if potential events in Iceland that they describe as "slightly troublesome" and "quite interesting" are actually terrifying, and if so, how terrifying.

Heebie's take: The author does have a way with words:

At the going rate the intrusion will slam into the eastern side of Askja's magmatic system in 2 to 3 days. The effects of that could become slightly troublesome.

Oh look, this pulsing volcano is being eccentric and quirky! How droll.


 

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The Northland

Posted by Ogged
on 08.27.14

Growing up around Chicago, Wisconsin was always that other state with that other city that wasn't Chicago in it. But it's a large, rural, and very pretty state. We were way up by the Apostle Islands, on our friends' family's 110-acre apple farm. I don't think the kids have ever had so much fun--picking fruit, going fishing, making fires, and just running around in the fields and on the coast. It sure does make suburban life feel like a poor substitute for letting kids be in the real outside. On the other hand, I got a tick bite and the littler boy bought himself half a dozen wasp stings when he stuck his hand in a nest, so I maintain my antipathy to flora of all sorts for harboring terrorists.

I went sea-kayaking on Lake Superior ("sea" insofar as I was in a sea kayak). That's...surprisingly scary. I had no idea what I was doing, obviously, and hadn't practiced rolling over, or getting out, or anything else, and the water was pretty choppy (they sent out a boat to help people who had gone farther out than we did), so I was constantly in fear (without basis, I was told, repeatedly) that I was about to tip over. We made it back, and the water got even choppier, so our friend, who is a woman in her mid-fifties, took her kayak way out and rode and the waves in, over and over, like a kid on a slide. I M TUFF.

On the way back, we made a short side-trip to that greatest of all places to live, Duluth, Minnesota. I was only there for a couple of hours, but it reminded me of Oakland, California, of all places. Some of the same gritty, pretty, becoming-hip port town vibe. Except that it was sweater weather and it's August.


 

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Superbuggy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.27.14

My doctor told me, on my last visit, that of her four kids, only two of them had ever been on antibiotics, and each of them only once. The kids are all probably upwards of eight years old. It was part of a general "I don't believe in supplements and want to keep things as simple as possible" (which I generally approve of) but she added "Plus my kids will be protected against superbugs". She added something about MRSA.

This is total nonsense, isn't it? Whether or not a bug develops resistance to antibiotics is not specific to how medicated the patient has been. I find it very weird that she would have said something factually inaccurate to me, and I don't doubt that she understands the actual scientific mechanism. What I think is that she likes connecting with her patients on a crunchy, holistic side of things and just thought I'd appreciate the gobbledy-gook.

Anyway, I also give the side-eye to claims about how virtuously unmedicated someone has been. There's overtreatment, yes, but there's also appropriate treatment, and kudos to you that you haven't needed appropriate treatment?


 

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The coat rack cost $50.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.27.14

How militarized is your local juridiction? Find out here.

My county is 18 pages long, but by the second page we've got four $8K bipod machine guns and 1 $350 birthing doll. The thing that's most notable is that they don't seem to be getting particularly good deals on the items that I'd recognize, and I thought the whole point was that the military was holding the flash sale of the decade.


 

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Piketty Reading Group: Chapter 15

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.27.14

The reading group ends with Fake Accent's post on chapter 16 next Tuesday -- also a good time to get some thoughts together about the book as a whole.

Minivet's notes on 15 below the fold.

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 Eight -- Lw
Chapter Nine -- Bave D
Chapter Ten -- Rob Helpy-chalk
Chapter Eleven -- LizardBreath
Chapter Twelve -- Chris Y
Chapter Thirteen -- Thorn
Chapter Fourteen -- Parenthetical

Not a GWOT but a GTOW (global tax on wealth)! Everyone's been skipping ahead to this idea, so I'll try to be briefer than before.

Piketty proposes a progressive tax on net wealth, imposed globally, on all types of assets, and enabled by full intergovernmental sharing of asset information. It's needed on top of income and capital gains taxes because even 100% top marginal rates can only halt growth in wealth inequality, not turn it around. Estate taxes, of course, are just once a generation and have their own problems. The true wealth taxes that exist in France and Italy have all sorts of exemptions, making them ineffective. And of course even a very tiny rate (0.1%/year) will be immensely valuable by collecting good information on wealth. That could enable a better policy dialog that leads to a more effective tax rate of perhaps 5-10% at the highest range.

On the global aspect. I have a hard time telling whether Piketty is really making the perfect the enemy of the good here, or holding it up as an ideal standard, a yardstick to judge actual policies by. It is true that half measures are likely to be ineffective - as long as a few effective tax havens exist, this will be pretty evadable. But then if enough powerful countries get in on the act, they'd have the clout to extend the regime to the holdouts like the Caymans, such as by punitive tariffs. But then even if a vast political wave swept North America, Europe, and East Asia, the mechanisms and habits of sovereignty make it hard for me to imagine a uniform tax system being worked out as he describes. He bemoans that the EU doesn't tax at all, but there's a reason for that; taxation is one of the most utterly national undertakings there is. An international community that could impose a global wealth tax would be two-thirds of the way to a world government.

Piketty cautions that the alternative to reining in wealth globally is doing it nationally, with trade and capital controls, and protectionism scary oo. Setting aside trade (which seems nonessential but maybe someone can explain the logic), could capital be adequately reined in by major countries for themselves alone with tight capital controls alongside free trade? He suggests the GTOW is a good, liberal counterbalance to the capital liberalization that was instituted on absolutist laissez-faire terms starting in the seventies, but skims over whether tight capital controls could work on their own to enable national taxes on wealth. They certainly don't have nearly the collective action problem.

In sum, perhaps "yardstick" is the best way to think about the GTOW. Think global, act national.

Of course then there's the issue of lower-income countries. Upper-income countries getting together and making more coordinated democratic decisions is one thing. Expanding that regime to, say, Africa starts to feel squicky.

Miscellaneous notes:
* I was surprised to learn that not even multibillionaires who pay taxes normally report income of no more than a few tens of millions, but it makes sense on reflection.
* Does Piketty seem like he's being naive about US state-level property tax regimes on p. 520? I thought there was a lot of distrust out there of assessors' valuations.
* On pp. 530-531, he talks about usury bans. A bit of another swipe at Graeber? Probably not, but it's a good point that land rents have probably oppressed people just as much as debt has over the millennia, just in a more stable way.


 

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At the Races

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.26.14

Democrats will retake the senate in 2016! Ie, good god November is going to be depressing.

We've had a nice hiatus from campaign threads and politics, but we really should start despairing if we're going to be braced for this fall.


 

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Fight! Airplane fight!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.26.14

The knee defender is a gadget that keeps the person in front of you from reclining their seat. If that doesn't load, there's a picture of it in this article.

A United flight was grounded recently over a fight where the guy used one, a flight attendant asked him to stop, he wouldn't, and the woman whose seat was being kept rigid turned around and threw a cup of water in the guy's face. So they landed in Chicago, ejected both passengers, and continued on to Denver.

Both passengers had been sitting in United's "economy plus" section, which advertises four more inches of legroom.

Off-topic: Observe the top photo in this article. See how the tray table is in the upright and locked position, and has a built in cup holder underneath the tray, for use in the upright and locked position? ONE TIME. One time I have flown on a plane with that feature. I do not understand why we can't all have tray-underside-cup-holders.

Via Jammies and E. Messily, each in their own way



 

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Guest Post - Frivolity

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.26.14

Thorn writes: Look, it's Buzzkill Thorn! I read this "Your Gender Expression in Art" thing on The Toast today and thought that unfogged people could have fun with/destroy it.

I'm also interested in what hobbies people have, because I'm kind of getting interested in hobbies in general, but that could be a separate post if I ever figured out what to say about it. (I'm currently sewing a skirt out of this cheap Ikea fabric and it's going to be ridiculous and possibly awesome. I mean, the fish are bigger than my hand! And I learned how to install pockets! etc. This kind of detail is not of general interest, but I love hearing stuff like Flip's freezer o' denim and so on. )

Heebie's take:
1. I put them together as a single post.
2. My gender expression in art: Maybe Miss Hannigan from Annie?
3. Hobbies...there are a bunch that I like the idea of, but none that I seem to be doing. I like the idea of gardening and sewing. I suppose blogging is a hobby, and one that I take fairly seriously at that.


 

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Back to School

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.25.14

Around here, it is the first day of school. (Hawaii looked so gravely serious in her kindergarten class! I don't think she uttered a word the whole time I was in there with her.)

An observation, more about college students in math classes than kindergarteners: The girls approach the class with the attitude, "It is very, very important that you know how hard I tried, regardless of my grade." The boys approach the class with the attitude, "It is very, very important that you know how little I tried, regardless of my grade."

Funny, that. (It's not universal. But it's common. Now, I don't know that the attitude correlates completely with effort, and not just saving face. I'm guessing it varies.)


 

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Not the same.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.24.14

Last year, this article came out, written by a young woman who dressed up as Laura Croft for Halloween. She was out, running around and having a lot of fun, and someone snapped an unflattering photo of her. The photo was then uploaded to a website that exists to make fun of how people look, and went viral, and she had an enormous number of people treating her very cruelly. It sounds awful.

Recently, this article was written, with a similar bent: the woman made it onto a Ur Doing It Wrong list, and was the butt of the joke. A number of people were specifically cruel about her body, which is entirely rude and unjustifiable. So let's separate insults about her body from people who were laughing at her behavior.

What was she doing? She had finished exercising on the treadmill, changed back into her street clothes, and wanted to watch the rest of House, so she hauled a lawn chair back onto the treadmill and sat there to watch it. Someone snapped a photo.

That's funny! The problem is the scale of the laughter: I don't feel bad for her that people probably chuckled as they walked by the storefront. That's an okay scale for that kind of ridiculousness. I do feel a little bad for her that it went viral - but only sort of.


 

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Guest Post - Responses to Ferguson

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.24.14

Witt writes: Mild-manner St. Louis artist Mary Engelbreit is best known for cute drawings of children. But her compassionate artwork in response to Mike Brown's death triggered a wave of support and then controversy.

Fans who purchased the art helped raise over $25,000 for the Mike Brown Fund, but others labeled Engelbreit's post on the topic offensive, leading it to be deleted by Facebook. (It has since been restored.)

The whole situation reminds me of the tightrope that Norman Rockwell walked in depicting school desegregation and other civil rights topics on popular magazines in the 1950s and '60s. A lengthy and fascinating analysis of Rockwell's stance in the context of magazine covers of the time

Also: This St. Louis Public Radio interview with Engelbreit gets interesting around the 11 minute mark.

Heebie's take: I think I've found white backlash to Ferguson to be the most awful and depressing aspect of the situation. Possibly worse than the actual police violence and corruption is a supportive majority.


 

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