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17 Is A Pattern

Posted by Ogged
on 11.22.14

The only question now is whether Bill Cosby or Jian Ghomeshi will accuse the other of sexual assault first.


 

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I Will Not Use The Word "High" In The Title

Posted by Ogged
on 11.21.14

This story seems to be funded at least in part by GE, so maybe it's all about appreciating their brain imaging equipment, but the researcher seems legit, and his finding is so interesting. There's something known as "The Utah Paradox" which is that people in Utah consistently report the highest levels of satisfaction with their lives, but the state also has much more than its share of depression and suicide. The theory is that the main culprit is altitude, which makes people not predisposed to depression euphoric, and people who are predisposed to depression depressed.


 

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International Development

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.21.14

DQ sends along The Problem With International Development. It's a great article.

The repeated "success, scale, fail" experience of the last 20 years of development practice suggests something super boring: Development projects thrive or tank according to the specific dynamics of the place in which they're applied. It's not that you test something in one place, then scale it up to 50. It's that you test it in one place, then test it in another, then another. No one will ever be invited to explain that in a TED talk.

Furthermore, the current vogue of ranking charities includes a target overhead budget of 10%, which sabotages the kind of intimate relationship building and site-specific knowledge needed in order to help one single village in Kenya.

(I kept thinking that the author's voice sounded familiar while reading the article. And lo! We've long been a fan.)


 

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Family Man

Posted by Ogged
on 11.21.14

Listen, sweetheart, if Bill Cosby hasn't sexually assaulted you yet, you can tell us. He's been so busy, and it's definitely not because he doesn't want to. Just be patient.


 

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Core competencies

Posted by Ben
on 11.20.14

You know what? I'm just sick, sick to my, I don't know, but it sickens me, when every time I turn on the TV news or open up the paper news I have to simultaneous see and hear, or read, about bad sex in fiction. Why can't there be programs or articles about good sex in fiction once in a while? You know? Some good news now and then?

I know this is possible because there are well done sex scenes in such works of fiction as Tlooth (and possibly Cigarettes by the same author? but I haven't read it in a while) and Springer's Progress. Perhaps, though, you can all mention worthy works of fiction in the comments (I think it would be more interesting if one limited one's selections to works of fiction whose overall thrust (yes, that's right) is not erotic or pornographic, but rather belongs to the same gross categorization as the works generally criticized in the Bad Sex in Fiction award, but, you know, whatever).


 

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Bags Full

Posted by Ogged
on 11.20.14

Yes, yes, that's rather unpleasant. His comment about the determination of teenagers is right on.


 

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Economics

Posted by Ogged
on 11.20.14

I can't say I have my finger on the pulse of the white working class (WWC), but this seems like a really solid point from Drum.

So who does the WWC take out its anger on? Largely, the answer is the poor. In particular, the undeserving poor. Liberals may hate this distinction, but it doesn't matter if we hate it. Lots of ordinary people make this distinction as a matter of simple common sense, and the WWC makes it more than any. That's because they're closer to it. For them, the poor aren't merely a set of statistics or a cause to be championed. They're the folks next door who don't do a lick of work but somehow keep getting government checks paid for by their tax dollars. For a lot of members of the WWC, this is personal in a way it just isn't for the kind of people who read this blog.


 

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Run

Posted by Ogged
on 11.20.14

Speaking of cabs, this piece on The Knowledge, London's famous test for cab drivers, is a great read: some history, psychology, arcana, and personal drama. Worth the few minutes to read it.


 

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Mo Money

Posted by Ogged
on 11.19.14

Lewis is a bit glib about the possible effects of the superrich on politics (what about those taxes, and how likely are they to go up?), but the survey of research and anecdotes about what unhappy assholes the very rich are was pretty satisfying.


 

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Not A Good Week For Rhymes-With-Uber

Posted by Ogged
on 11.19.14

Apparently Uber doesn't limit its "hardball tactics" to its business competitors. (Buzzfeed with the scoops, eh?) One exec suggested using oppo researchers to go after critical reporters' "families" and "personal lives" and another exec used the service to track and confront a reporter. I've happily used Uber in the past, but this is (way) too much.


 

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Hi Everybody

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.19.14

Introducing Rascal Geebie, born 8 lbs, 7 oz, at 8:41 pm last night.

November%2019%2C%202014%20%282%29.jpg


 

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Administration

Posted by Ogged
on 11.18.14

I'm sure Wesley Snipes had a lawyer, but he should have just hired Al Sharpton. It's kind of epic and kind of amazing.

On a related note, is there not one other African-American who could have a mainstream show? Surely some producer somewhere knows someone who knows a black person?


 

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Continuing Michael Brown aftermath

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.18.14

Jay Nixon activates the National Guard in anticipation of the jury decision coming out in the next week or two. This certainly feels like the calm before the storm.


 

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Insufficiently Fetching

Posted by Alameida
on 11.17.14

Dear The Fashion Industry: stop trying to make Blake Lively happen. It's been like five years or something. She's thin and blonde. Thin and blonde and boring. No one cares. There are literally a hundred thousand thin and blonde girls elsewhere in America of equal or superior attractiveness, many of whom are undoubtedly also interesting. One's probably a scholar of symbolism in medieval tapestries for Sotheby's who also has a trust fund and devastatingly good fashion sense. You can just go walk around by Madison and 85th or something and grab them coming out the the Jack Roger's boutique or whatever. (This was so exciting when later it and, first, the one on Newtown Lane in EH opened. In the golden days of youth one could only get them in Palm Beach, and one's grandmother had to buy them for one!) So just give up. Get a new thin blonde girl.

Dear Mineshaft: you may be separately interested along a train of thought suggested by the tedious continued ritual offering of Ms. Lively to me on the stained altar of Vogue covers, to know that the book Queen Bees and Wannabees, which (loosely) inspired the movie Mean Girls, was written after a long period of reporting at my high school. Yes. That's how horrible girls are to one another at a prestigious girl's school. None of this bogus boy-style bullying where you cruelly beat someone repeatedly so that his mouth tastes of copper every time he approaches the pierced stone archway through which he must pass to get to the dorms, fear heavy and leaden on his heart. Nonono. Serious for real bullying. Methodical, months-long, and ultimately successful campaigns to crush the souls of the meek, or to bring low the mighty. Of my class of 68 girls four had anorexia/bulimia that was serious enough that they had to be hospitalized at some point. Think what the rate must have been overall! In the bathroom closest to the cafeteria, after lunch, you could just hear people booting in the stalls while you waited. Constant, subtle criticism of the target's weight is a key element in the girl bullying toolkit, needless to say...I knew of four suicide attempts also (one personally as you know.)

Amusingly there was almost nothing people could say to faze me at all, because my home life was ratcheted up so high. Were these people 6'2", angry drunks, telling me I was a worthless whore and about to punch a hole in the drywall by my head? No? Sorry, not scared. Don't. Caaaarre. Only when everyone turned on me at once, like a vicious swarm of mink hellbent on eating my flesh while I was still alive, did they get me. That was because everyone (except my few true friends) was mad at me for getting the most popular teacher at school fired for "well that was clever, it technically wasn't statutory rape wow you know her birthday and everything." Varying groups at a time making various salvos, I was OK there. Of course I had some "are we best friends or not?!?" Lumpy Space Princess drama in 7th and 8th grade. That was intra-group jockeying for status, though, among cool nerds. (We were cool nerds.) When they all turned on me though, it was unbearably bad. When girls get mean, they don't even go for the jugular; they go for the femoral artery. Some girls tried to contact me later in college, through friends, to apologize; obviously they grew the fuck up and realized what they had done. I refused to speak to anyone. Mean girls. "Mean" doesn't begin to cover it.

P.S. I didn't really intend to reflect on this, but only to diss Blake Lively. I was thinking about it because in the story about the abusive swim coaches there were the parents and other student-athletes vigorously defending the coaches and more or less calling the victims lying sluts, or saying, "well he never touched my kid." (Worst. Defense against sexual assault. Ever.) I feel like I'm a giant crybaby on this blog sometime, like all I ever do is whine about my past problems; my life is actually pretty awesome. I just mostly can't talk about these things with a lot of people and writing (somewhat) pseudonymously makes me feel better about it. It really was hard to have the students all turn against me and the administration make no effort to stop even loud public displays of support for the teacher and demands that I be suspended or expelled (literally someone advocated these things using a mike in front of the whole upper school and got a standing ovation). My brother had to sit through a whole class at our "brother" all-boy's school in which the case was debated and the teacher took the majority position that I deserved to be punished also. He felt embarrassed to defend me and then afterwards he felt sick and he cried at home that he didn't stand up for me. I told him it was OK and it's a lot harder than it sounds to be the one person saying the right thing in a room full of loud wrong people. So whatever, you guys can just hate Blake Lively in this thread, she's super-boring.


 

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Play

Posted by Ogged
on 11.17.14

--Game company makes a sim about game development, and releases their own pirated version, in which it's impossible to win due to piracy. Clever! What blew me away was the stat that 93% of their players were playing the pirated version. That's, you know, stealing.

--This article about a gamer's big contract and training and life didn't have a whole lot in it that was news to me, but it did have the effect of making me feel one million years old.


 

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Family mystery

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.17.14

I had a rather exciting day, yesterday. On Thursday and Friday, Charleycarp set about uncovering the mystery of my grandfather, which was to say we knew virtually nothing from before he met my grandmother. (And not for lack of trying - I think my mother and her brothers pestered him endlessly for details about his past. But fruitlessly.)

Charleycarp turned up everything - massive identity change, photos from when he was a teenager, probably family of origin, etc. It's absolutely astonishing.

Anyway, yesterday I told my mother, and then from there filled in the aunts and uncles and my siblings and so on. It was mostly incredibly fun because I was the Holder of Secrets, and got to supply answers to all these eighty-year old mysteries. But also because seeing the photos was very sweet and lovely and shocking, all at once.

People's reactions ranged from deliciously thrilled to more mixed, and reeling at the scope of the deception. (He painted a cultural background that was as plausibly opposite his actual background as possible.)

I don't really have a point here, except that 1) I will probably never have such an experience again, and 2) how wild is it that you can securely bury your past in the early 1930s, and keep that secret until your death, and then 80 years later, people can access your high school yearbook in their living room and uncover all your secrets?

My mother-in-law's comments have been that that generation was incredibly secretive. Obviously with the internet, it has become utterly impractical it is to keep secrets these days in the same way. There's plenty of secrecy around abusive relationships and vulnerable populations, but not the wholesale reinvention of one's history or massive details about one's past. But even pre-internet, it feels like it became much less of a coping strategy in the latter half of the 20th century.


 

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Results

Posted by Ogged
on 11.16.14

Nothing really new, but a nice summary of the state of happiness research. This is the kind of precise and practical finding we should demand from all our social research.

you would need a 40% raise to offset the added misery of a one-hour commute

News you can use! (On twitter, I saw that explained as compared to walking to work. Is that right? Don't care.)


 

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