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Dystopia Now

Posted by Ogged
on 08.15.15

The thing about Amazon's work culture, which sounds insane, isn't that Amazon would treat its workers this way--it would do a lot worse if it could--but how much the workers themselves, most of whom surely have other options, actively participate in their own degradation. I noticed this in another recent article about the travails of the CEO who made $70k his company's minimum wage; employees responded in the fully internalized language of striving worker bees. There's no sense that this is a company, and what it really wants is to screw you, and you should always keep that fact tucked into your brain.


 

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Insider

Posted by Ogged
on 08.14.15

Here's a review of the Coates book that really makes this argument: Coates sounds like a Commie, and who has killed more people, America or Commies, hmmm?

But that's not why I'm linking to it. I'm linking to it because the author was part of the greatest, most bizarre C-Span segment in history.

I probably should confess that Helen and I dated for two years, so we've sparred about many things. It might come as a surprise to some of you that we dated for two years, not just because we have ideological differences, but because there are probably some people in this room who also dated Helen during those two years, given how tumultuous it got. It was sort of on again, off again.

Rittelmeyer: "I'm in favor of combativeness."
Seavey: "And, at at times her gamesmanship would include even coldly saying that she was gonna play matchmaker and set up a couple and then seduce the man away to play with his mind and hurt the woman, which when you think about it is pretty creepy. Kinda disturbing.
Rittelmeyer: "Is all this going on CSPAN?"
Seavey: "I believe five months later, she made good on this somewhat disturbing promise."
Jonah Goldberg: "Okaaaay."

 

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Too Cold, Too Cold

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.14.15

Back in 1991, Vanilla Ice starred in a movie.

Cool as Ice relies about 70% on the viewer thinking Vanilla is the epitome of cool, with the other 30% of the film's energy devoted to convincing you of that notion. Ice wears baggy, garish, branded clothing, has a brick texture shaved into his hair, and constantly pops wheelies on his bright yellow motorcycle. He's also a complete asshole, getting into fights and creepily stalking the nice horse-riding lady in the town he and his crew inexplicably descend upon. He's the kind of guy who actually tells his romantic interest to "drop that zero and get with the hero."

Heh. But this!:

The real star of Cool as Ice, though, from a filmmaking perspective, is the cinematography. It was shot by Janusz Kaminski, released two years before the perennial Spielberg collaborator would win an Academy Award for Schindler's List. Kaminski shoots the film like his life depends on it; clearly aware of how trashy the project is, he approaches each scene seemingly as an opportunity to add to his showreel. There's some absolutely gorgeous photography in this movie - it's full of colour, depth, and movement, regularly throwing surprising shots in your face, aided by Debra Goldfield's lively editing. It's an odd statement, but you can see echoes of later Kaminski films in Cool as Ice.

Huh. (Okay, I don't really know Kaminski from a hole in the ground, but this makes it sound like if I did, I'd be fascinated.)


 

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10 Years

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.14.15

The thing about Hurricane Katrina that struck me most as it was unfolding was the sheer length of time that the tragedy took to unfold. I was used to hurricanes lasting a few days, and I was familiar with wartime tragedies, earthquakes, and other disasters being nearly immediate. The fact that no one could stop and assess the damage and gather their wits for over a week seemed particularly horrifying to me at the time.


 

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Guest Post - Effectively Irritating

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.13.15

Dairy Queen writes: This article paints a different picture of SV charitable giving than that I personally experience. Typically, I find SV new money intensely irritating to pursue as non-profit funding because of the "disruptors" tic. This pretty reliably translates as re-inventing the grant application and reporting process to achieve in the end exactly the same results as using the typical process would have at much greater cost of staff time and resources. Also a time-suck play date with tech employees sent to discharge their annual obligation for community service.

But opinions may differ! The AI obsession would be more amusing if not for global warming staring us hotly in the face.

Heebie's take: The Effective Altruism enthusiasts described at the link sound like total dolts.


 

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Sexism, patriarchy, etc

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.13.15

1. What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name. So depressing. I had a childhood dream of being a writer, but decided as an undergraduate that I did not want that much rejection. The shadow-Heebie-not-realized takes this article as a personal smack.

2. This marathoner decided to run the race without a tampon or pad, while on her period. I applaud her bold expression but I have no idea what she was trying to communicate. I mean, I get it, because her point is made in the bold key pull quotes, loud and clear. But if I saw her running I wouldn't have gotten the political message.


 

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Quick hello

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.11.15

Greetings from Amarillo! The Oath-Keepers showed up in Ferguson? That is crazily fucked-up.

Regular posting will resume on Thursday.


 

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Cookery advice

Posted by Ben
on 08.10.15

Get some kind of tough cut of meat, like shanks or short ribs or cheeks or the like, and brown the hell out of it in a heavy pan, then pour in some wine or vinegar or broth or water or something to deglaze it, then add just a shitload of tomatoes, and also some aromatics if you're fancy, then cover it and put it in a medium oven for several hours. When you remove it, you will be greeted with three things: (1) some tasty, tender meat; (2) some rich, gelatinous, meaty and tomatoey stock; (3) a bunch of also flavorful roasted-ish tomatoes which can be passed through a food mill (NOT a food processor!!!1!) to generate a pleasing sauce. Will you regret doing this? If you are a vegetarian or vegan and undertake it you probably will, but otherwise you probably will not.


 

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Were You Feeling Cheerful About Anything?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.09.15

Clew forwards an article about how bad the drought currently is in the Pacific Northwest and the terrifyingly picayune and belated tactics people are using to respond: let's remove legal incentives for current water-rights holders to waste water if they don't have a current need for it! and maybe build more reservoirs?

And everyone I know passed this Rolling Stone article around on FaceBook a couple of weeks ago, but if you haven't read it yet, we're all going to die:

Thanks to the pressure we're putting on the planet's ecosystem -- warming, acidification and good old-fashioned pollution -- the oceans are set up for several decades of rapid change. Here's what could happen next.

The combination of excessive nutrients from agricultural runoff, abnormal wind patterns and the warming oceans is already creating seasonal dead zones in coastal regions when algae blooms suck up most of the available oxygen. The appearance of low-oxygen regions has doubled in frequency every 10 years since 1960 and should continue to grow over the coming decades at an even greater rate.

So far, dead zones have remained mostly close to the coasts, but in the 21st century, deep-ocean dead zones could become common. These low-oxygen regions could gradually expand in size -- potentially thousands of miles across -- which would force fish, whales, pretty much everything upward. If this were to occur, large sections of the temperate deep oceans would suffer should the oxygen-free layer grow so pronounced that it stratifies, pushing surface ocean warming into overdrive and hindering upwelling of cooler, nutrient-rich deeper water.

Enhanced evaporation from the warmer oceans will create heavier downpours, perhaps destabilizing the root systems of forests, and accelerated runoff will pour more excess nutrients into coastal areas, further enhancing dead zones. In the past year, downpours have broken records in Long Island, Phoenix, Detroit, Baltimore, Houston and Pensacola, Florida.

Evidence for the above scenario comes in large part from our best understanding of what happened 250 million years ago, during the "Great Dying," when more than 90 percent of all oceanic species perished after a pulse of carbon dioxide and methane from land-based sources began a period of profound climate change. The conditions that triggered "Great Dying" took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. But humans have been emitting carbon dioxide at a much quicker rate, so the current mass extinction only took 100 years or so to kick-start.

I figure building the sealed biospheres with the breathable atmosphere inside will at least create full employment, so there's that.


 

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Reading Group: BTWAM

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.15

Next up is Coates' Between the World and Me. Rather than subdivide the sections, we decided to have multiple responses to each section. Here's the schedule:
Part 1 - Monday, August 24 (Lizardbreath and LW)
Part 2 - Monday, August 31 (Minivet and Roberto Tigre)
Part 3 - Tuesday, September 2 (Thorn and Witt)

That gives everyone 1 week to acquire the book and 1 week to pre-read, in case you want to play along at home.


 

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