I was just at a banquet, where the author of this book related the following story. The year is 1961, at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas:
H. S. Vandiver of the University of Texas was the invited speaker. I did not know at the time that five years later I would elect to write a dissertation on semi-rings, and then discover that the structure had been defined first by Vandiver. I just knew that he was supposed to be the world's foremost living authority on Fermat's Last Theorem and I was interested in what he had to say. In his address, he began recapping the progress which had been made on the puzzling proof, and in the middle of the address, he got an idea of something he had evidently never tried before.
He apparently forgot that he had an audience and for over an hour, he worked on the two portable chalkboards which had been placed on the stage of the auditorium. Professor Vandiver was a little gnome of a man and he was wearing a large baggy coat with large pockets. As he worked, filling the boards, then erasing them, he would occasionally stick an eraser into one of the pockets of the coat. When he "ran out of erasers," I, as a member of the arrangements committee was dispatched to a classroom across the hall to get a new supply of erasers. As you know, he did not resolve Fermat's Last Theorem that day, but I am certain that, if he had worked until midnight, no one would have walked out or interrupted him.
If you like to micro-litigate police/citizen interactions, does the NY Times have a feature for you.
Passed along mostly without comment. I have a doohickey that let's me adjust playback speed, which helped a lot. I was able to guess exactly what was going on in the first video, for example. Have fun.
Use of baby powder (in your nether regions) triples your risk of ovarian cancer. Enough that women are winning lawsuits against Johnson&Johnson over it. This keeps popping up in my BRCA Facebook page, where we're already at substantial risk for ovarian cancer.
This is truly an instance of corporate malfeasance where I've internalized the marketing: "But it's just talc! Baby powder is safe!" to such a degree that it was extremely surprising to learn this.
You often hear coaches and management say a player showed "poor judgment" in situations where the phrase is horribly inapposite, like, he punched his wife in the face: lapse in judgment! But D'Angelo Russell, now there's your poster-boy for poor judgment.
Russell, who has a reputation as being a prankster and immature even for his 20 years, had videotaped [his teammate, Nick] Young, talking about women he had dated. Unfortunately for Young, he is engaged, to the rapper Iggy Azalea. Unfortunately for everyone, the video somehow found its way to the website Fameolous.com and was posted on the Internet for all to see.
Now Russell's teammates aren't talking to him and the hometown fans are booing him. Which seems totally fair.
Go, Team! Go!
On Thursday, five of the biggest stars on the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) -- Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo -- filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) with wage discrimination.
Last year, the women's national team pulled in $17.5 million dollars in revenue, while the men's team pulled in $9 million*. They make 40-70% of what the men make.
*wait, that's projected revenue gap for 2017. In 2015 they made much less. Still, they did win the World Cup last year.
J, Robot sends in this blood-boiling story of a black kid at coding camp who tries to cash his stipend and gets arrested.
Washington state also saw strong monthly sales gains in 2015 -- growing some three fold -- with $75.3 million in sales for December from $18.8 million in January 2015. Sales of edibles and extracts in Washington already number in the hundreds of thousands of units in a single month.
Either way, that's a huge amount of money going into newly-created businesses. And, remember, many African-Americans are excluded: (article is long but very good).
Many of the black people who have tried to get involved in marijuana have already encountered the same racism and disproportionate policing as before pot became legal. BuzzFeed News ... heard the same frustrations again and again: the secret decision-making that drives local politics . . .
Heebie's take: My friends tell me that pot is so developed these days that you can specify things like "no munchies, please" or non-drowsy or a certain kind of stonedness, when you order at the counter in Colorado.
Are these distinctions legitimate, or is it just a giant placebo effect? Are my friends gullible? Or can I actually design my high?
I ordered the new small iphone. I had my old phone - a plain iphone 5 - for exactly three years. It seems ridiculous that a phone should be replaced that often, but it was getting pretty creaky, and it really is one of my all-time favorite possessions.
This is a neat story. Washington Post wonkblog writer dashes off a post based on some census data saying that Red Lake County in Minnesota is the worst place to live in the US. He gets so much flack from the folks there that he visits, and they're so kind to him (and his current commute sucks so much) that he's decided to up and move there.
We consider a move like this just about weekly. The current plan is for me to work long enough to be a viable candidate for a remote job, and then assess in a year or two. Having lived in the Teo-Certified Most Remote Spot on Earth, and having friends in small towns, and having looked into this for years now, the draw is strong, but the issue is that you just can't have it all. Do you care about access to an airport; good local schools; liberal neighbors; local culture; opportunities for your kids; restaurants; good weather; physical safety; quiet etc. etc. You have to give up some things, and it's hard to know what will be fine and what won't, particularly with kids in the mix.
Nick S. writes: Yesterday I read this article about an upscale restaurant chain that I hadn't heard of, and I've been trying to think about what makes it so appealing.
It is, first of all, well written. Breezy, entertaining, with some good punch lines, and name-dropping which actually serves the article. But more than that it describes an experience which is both good and designed to minimize the chance of disappointment, and makes the case for why that should be celebrated, as a populist achievement.
Michelin-starred chef Michael White, who knows how challenging it is to run multiple restaurants--he has 11 spots in and around New York--said, "We chefs take ourselves a bit too seriously. Where Hillstone succeeds is pinpointing what people want and giving it to them."
He describes taking his wife who is skeptical of his enthusiasm to dinner at one of the restaurants in New York.
[T]hen something happened that really got Christina's attention. Before she had time to respond, she was holding a glass of Champagne and I was sipping my 50/50 gin martini. If this had been any other place in New York, we'd still be trying to get the bartender's attention. In less than three minutes, we had confirmed our reservation with the smiling hosts, checked our coats, snagged some space at the bar, and ordered drinks. A small miracle that, I could tell, was making her a believer. When, halfway through my martini, a bartender swooped in to replace my glass with a chilled one, her jaw dropped. Now, Christina has worked at a lot of special-occasion dining spots in town--some featuring chefs with TV shows and others that have won James Beard Awards for service -- but she'd never seen that before. "Welcome to Hillstone," I said, beaming like a proud father.That's the point I was sold. I don't even drink, and that sounded lovely.
Personally I tend to prefer downscale dining, and I'd much (much, much) rather pay $8 for a tasty meal at a small ethnic restaurant where I'm eating at a Formica table, and have to re-fill my own water glass than pay $18 for a meal at a place that has table-clothes, uses slightly more expensive ingredients, and has more obtrusive service but doesn't do any better (and probably slightly worse) at preparing the food. It pains me to pay twice as much for things that signify a higher-class restaurant but don't actually add to the experience.
But, of the memorable meals in my life, there is exactly one in which the service was remarkably good and genuinely made the meal. It was the only time I can think of when, from beginning to end, I never felt like the server was obtrusive or trying to hard, I never felt like there was something passive-aggressive about being asked if I was enjoying my meal, I didn't feel like I was disappointing them by not ordering a drink or appetizer, I just felt welcomed and taken care of the entire time (including when I spilled a glass of ice water across the table and felt like a total klutz). It was lovely.
That is the sort of feeling that I get from the article's description of Hillstone -- the emphasis on creating a experience which serves the customers, and even if I never eat there it was surprisingly satisfying to read about.
Heebie's take: I'm sure most of us also prefer the downscale dining, in general. There has been a time or two where I've actually felt pampered in a way that translated into extra-relaxed. For me, it tends to be space-related: sitting on a large patio with tables spread apart. Feeling like the kids can be rambunctious in an open area without bothering other people. Cramped together tables can be totally fine and I can enjoy myself, but it's not that extra-pampered feeling.
E. Messily writes: The Ashley Treatment is when parents of a severely disabled child get their doctor to medically inhibit growing up. They inhibit it with hormones and medicine and surgery. The kids stay small enough to use carseats and be carried around.
Parents like it because the baby will be able to sit on their laps for whole life, plus it's easier on their backs. The Disability Community hates it because it bolsters the widespread tendency of people to treat disabled adults as though they were children. And also because doctors make mistakes all the time especially about brain function.
I dislike discussions (here) of topics like this because I'm emotionally involved and take everything personally. So I can only argue about it with people who like me and can give me a hug after.
Heebie's take: The original Ashley received the following procedures:
1) "the estrogen estradiol, which effectively reduced her future predicted height by approximately 13 inches"
2) "a hysterectomy to preclude the discomfort of painful menses as well as the uterine bleeding that can accompany estrogen in high doses"
3) "the removal of her breast nodules to forestall the growth of breasts"
4) "For the treatment they called "growth-attenuation therapy" to be most effective -- resulting in a shorter and lighter child -- a careful monitoring of calories was also required."
First of all, (3) seems totally gratuitious and infantilizing, and (4) sounds potentially torturous.
On the two camps of parents:
The pediatric bioethicist Nikki Kerruish, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has analyzed the perspectives of parents who support the therapy and those who oppose it. In the journal Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, she explains that the very definition of "quality of life" is disputed between the groups. Parents who object to curbing growth prioritize their child's pleasure and comfort but never at the cost of higher-order concerns like bodily integrity and self-determination. They equate "growing" with "thriving." No amount of cognitive impairment justifies nonessential medical treatment; growth attenuation is always inappropriate. Conversely, parents who back growth attenuation tend to believe that maximizing pleasurable experiences and minimizing unpleasant ones is the best way to serve a child with extreme disabilities. If this can be achieved by caring for that child as if he or she were a young infant, then that is entirely appropriate.
The Disability Community perspective:
But whatever the level of impairment, Shogren says, "there's an inherent conflict between the Ashley Treatment and the current way of thinking about disability," which is expressed by the modern mantra of her field: Presume competence. In that light, medical treatment can never be justified on the grounds that a child "does not have the potential to take on adult roles."
At its core, the battle over growth attenuation is a battle between old and new ways of thinking about disability: the old "medical model," which regards disabilities as a problem to be fixed, and the new, "social model," which frames disability as a natural facet of the human experience. The social model promotes self-determination for those who have even the most complex disabilities; society should adapt to them, not the other way around.
The problem is that society is wildly failing to support both disabled people and their providers, and this entire discussion takes place inside more-or-less a crisis of exhaustion and financial ruin.
For example, this professor of philosophy is vocally against the Ashley Treatment and also has a severely disabled adult daughter:
Kittay remembers the anxiety she felt in Sesha's infancy that life with her daughter would only get harder with the passing years. In fact, she says, they have achieved a rhythm in their lives, with Sesha dividing her time between the family home on the weekends and a residence and school for people with disabilities on weekdays. Kittay says that she hopes new parents considering growth-attenuation therapy will not rush into an intractable decision while still coming to terms with a child's diagnosis of intellectual and developmental disability.
I mean, if that balance were guaranteed for everyone, then probably not many people would be interested in the treatment?
Michael Robbins seems like a weird dude who feels duty bound to pass judgment on every piece of cultural production, but I give credit to any man who can get this printed in the Chicago Tribune.
But access to basic elements of health care and sanitation remains outrageously disproportionate. It is the poor who will bear the brunt of disease as long as they are forced to drink from the rivers in which they defecate and to seek budget meat at black-market stalls; as long as private corporate tyrannies ravage public forests for profit; as long as first-world financial institutions strangle third-world economies to reclaim odious debt; as long, in short, as the world is ordered along principles of exploitation.
Witt writes: There should be a word for the fallacy of pretending that Washington gridlock would be solved if only people had personal friendships that could transcend their appalling policy disagreements.
(Occasioned by this piece of clickbait: 6 Friendships that Prove Washington DC is Not Totally Polarized.)
Heebie's take: I have no puns! I bet you do.
Some Turk named Ahmet figured out my strategy and beat me three in a row yesterday.
This petition to make open carry legal at the Republican Convention currently has 32,000 signatures. What a beautiful thing. Each day I can't imagine that the Republican party could fracture and implode on a new dimension, and they keep surprising me.