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The Poor Door

Posted by Ogged
on 10.22.16

I don't have any interest in watching it myself, but it's another sign of the shittiness of 2016 America that the Cubs game isn't on broadcast TV.


 

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Argh, centrists.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.21.16

This guy is the exact kind of person I'm worried about, as the Republican party self-destructs.


 

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Sein Zum Tode

Posted by Ogged
on 10.21.16

I really loved this article. You think kids need more freedom? How about toddlers on the roof! But it does such a great job of capturing what's great and nuts about the Silicon Valley "disruption" mindset--he damn well did something about what he saw as a problem; on the other hand, the glib confidence is...well, probably a prerequisite to doing it.

And this paragraph really nailed the dynamic in our family, with me as the worrier.

It was clear that we conceived of risk in entirely different ways. He thinks of risk in terms of probability: How likely is it that any given child will plummet to his death? Google has an answer to that question (about 150 children in the United States die from falls from roofs, windows and balconies annually), but I know we would regard that number quite differently. Mike's decisions aren't curtailed by statistics, anyway. There's a quirky, utopian libertarian quality to Mike's philosophy; he is a man guided above all by his theory of how life should be. For him, low-probability events are very unlikely and therefore dismissible; for me, they are tragedies that befall someone. I think of playing on the roof more like entering a lottery in which, if everyone's kid plays on the roof, someone's kid won't grow up -- and I don't want a ticket. The real question is: Do you believe that the child who falls could be yours?

Although when I told my wife about kids on the roof, she said "that's neglect."


 

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ET, phone Moby

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.20.16

Moby wanted an astronomy post, and periodically I wonder about that crazy space bridge located on the distant planet that Ogged posted about. The one where we were all like, "There you have it, undeniable proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Now back to work." I always thought it was weird that it wasn't a major game changer in all of our lives - a "where were you when the challenger blew up?" kind of moment. Now I can't find a single thing about it, including Ogged's original post, and so I'm wondering if I dreamt the whole thing.


 

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Cold Fusion

Posted by Ogged
on 10.19.16

Sciencies, is this nothing or a very big deal?


 

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Consistency

Posted by Ogged
on 10.19.16

Michael Lewis reviews a Trump book in 1990.


 

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Surgery

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.19.16

I'm having surgery today. It's minor surgery - scar revision and some fat grafting to fill in some dents, outpatient - but it does involve being under general anaesthesia for 3+ hours, which isn't fun.

My family is weirdly true believers in the health benefits of longterm fasting - 4 to 5 days. One family member was a patient in a similar study to this one and saw great benefits, and is also himself in a nearby field of study. My mom fasted for three days before her hip replacement surgery and healed, anecdotally, incredibly fast and well.

Like I said, mine is minor surgery and it would have been better to try it for the actual mastectomy last year, but I was too stressed out by the surgery to consider taking anything extra on. My reasons this time are:
1. curiosity - how hard is it actually to fast for four days? This is as good a reason as any to try it out.
2. Maybe it will improve my recovery enough that I can carry the kids a few days earlier than they tell me to. That would be nice.

I last ate a real meal on Saturday night. Since then I've had about 70-80 calories of broth each day, usually around dinner. I had some problems with significant lightheadedness, but adding some extra salt to the broth fixed that.

I never felt particularly hungry, but it was weirdly boring. Time passed slowly. It was easier when I was busy at work. Food tastes nice, and it punctuates your day with something pleasant, and the day seems to dilate and drag without it. My surgery is at 1:30 this afternoon - knowing that I'm near the end is making me impatient.


 

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Guest Post - Shabbat dinner with the Nazi

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.19.16

Minivet writes: Rather gripping story of someone born into Stormfront central, raised as its heir, then slowly moving out to liberalism. Kudos to the corrupting ivory tower!

Heebie's take: Super interesting! First off, the kid Derek Black grows up moderating the kiddie version of Stormfront, and lives a life 100% saturated in white supremacy.

You can skim the article until you get to this part:

Derek finished high school, enrolled in community college and ran for a seat on the Republican committee, beating an incumbent with 60 percent of the vote. He decided he wanted to study medieval European history, so he applied to New College of Florida, a top-ranked liberal arts school with a strong history program.

New College?!? New College maybe isn't as well known as Reed or Oberlin or Evergreen - I'm not sure - but holy shit, it is as liberal as it gets. That is where you should start reading.


 

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Guest Post - What does it mean to feel like an adult

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.18.16

Nick S writes: Charlie Stross tries to figure out why and how his internal sense of "adulthood" doesn't match his own lived experience.

I turn 52 next week, and I have a confession to make: I feel like a complete failure at "adulting". Adulting, loosely defined, is that set of activities and behaviours which we judge to be characteristics of grown-ups. You can stop now and make your own list: what I'm going to suggest, speculatively, is that you probably feel like a failure at adulting too. (If you don't, you can stop reading here.)
I'm not alone in this self-defined failure. Lots of people I know, my own age and younger, also admit to feeling like failed adults: "I haven't grown up" is merely the tense-shifted version of "I don't want to grow up". But what does this really mean?

I actually feel fairly comfortable as a middle-aged adult. I still feel like a weirdo in all sorts of ways, but I don't feel like I'm failing at "adulting." I'm not sure why, I don't think I've achieved any sense fo what being an adult means; I've just accepted that who I am is an adult.

Heebie's take
: The thing that make me feel most like an adult is having internalized something my mom used to say: when I'd complain about having to get up early or something, and I'd want commiseration, and ask her, "But don't you hate doing [X]? Every single day?" She'd answer, "I don't think about it, I just do it."

For me, that is the hallmark transition of my adulthood: to not think about whether or not I feel like doing something that I have to do every single day, over and over again. To just do it. The ones that are hard for me are things that involve staying organized or cleaning up. So I'm with Nick - I basically feel like an adult. (Although my life very closely resembles the TV trope of adulthood, so I'm not really struggling with Stross's dilemma.)

(Also this is wrong: "I haven't grown up" is merely the tense-shifted version of "I don't want to grow up". No it's not. Not even in spirit.)


 

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Polite Society is Evolving

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.18.16

Ten years ago, it was a thing for young college students to believe racism was over (a view they undoubtedly got from their parents) and it wasn't particularly affiliated with a party or political orientation, and there was a nontrivial number of kids of color included in that. I used to get into conversations about how the most salient forms of discrimination - applying for jobs, housing, bank loans - might not show up until they were graduated and done with college, so they might not have seen it yet, but trust me, it exists.

I deliberately have stopped putting myself in situations where I have to talk politics with students, but my intuition is that those conversations are long gone. Over the course of the Obama administration and Black Lives Matter, denial of racism is now seen as a form of racism itself, and implies a partisan affiliation, and even super uninformed young students wouldn't do it. Polite apolitical society has absorbed the message that racism exists. This is kind of amazing!

Clearly the beginnings of this is happening with sexism - I myself had a very gradual awakening to sexism, where I saw it only in very blunt obvious forms in college, but didn't think it affected me in any way, and then had my eyes opened more fully in my 20s. I know that my colleague who teaches Women's Studies generally starts out with students who aren't attuned to sexism. But the Trump-Clinton dynamic, and the Clinton presidency, is going to trickle down and our kids are going to grow up in a world that accepts that sexism exists and is a problem. I'm genuinely pleased about that. Denial is itself coming to be seen as a form of sexism.


 

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Riffs

Posted by Ben
on 10.17.16

"Oren Ambarchi is backed up by a badass rhythm section from Texas, and together they ride the endless riff into the goddamn sunset.", per the label.


 

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omg lead is to blame for Trump

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.17.16

Kevin Drum quoting the LA Times:

....Violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and assault, rose 4% among older whites but decreased by 2% among those under age 30....Over the last 25 years -- even with falling crime and recent reforms that reduced California's prison population -- older whites are the only group that has shown increased levels of imprisonment, while rates for young people of color have plummeted.

But the real lede is buried at the end:

POSTSCRIPT: I've written about this before, and the key metric here is that violent crime in California is down among all young people and up among all older people. Why? Because older people are part of Generation Lead. Younger people aren't. You see? Millennials don't have it all bad.

But really, could the critical thinking skills of Trump's constituency have been compromised by lead? Is there are correlation between lead exposure and thinking Obama is a seekrit Muslim?

Dylan Matthews wrote a good piece berating journalists for being too scared to call a spade a spade:

The American press is overwhelmingly made up of left-of-center white people who live in large cities and have internalized very strong anti-racist norms. As a result, it tends to be composed of people who think of racism as a very, very serious character defect, and who are riddled with anxiety about being perceived as out of touch with "real America." "Real America" being, per decades of racially charged tropes in our culture, white, non-urban America.

Basically that Trump primary voters are not best characterized as blue collar salt-of-the-earth types, they're best characterized as racist shitheads. While addressing the economic concerns of a struggling middle class is the right thing to do, on principle, Matthews asserts that addressing their economic woes won't fix their racism:

I actually agree that the current capitalist regime is failing. We need truly universal health care, universal child care, a universal child allowance or basic income, and programs to address deep poverty. Redistribution is a very good, necessary thing. But we have a good case study we can examine to see if Western European-style welfare states can prevent far-right racist backlashes from popping up. It's called Western Europe.

I think he's right, but I am not as worried as he is. As he mentions several times, there's a big difference between Trump's constituents in the primaries and Trump's constituents in the general election. As gross as they are, I don't see much evidence that the racist shitbag primary constituency is gaining momentum. I mean, we've majorly decreased the amount of lead exposure. Just keep cleaning up that lead dust, folks.

Post script: When you quote someone, is it wrong to mess with their paragraph structure? I collapse paragraphs all the time and figure that the meaning has been preserved.


 

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Guest Post - Affection in Football

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.16.16

J, Robot sends along:

At Houston, coaches knight players with swords. Game-day breakfasts have been known to feature random smoke bombs -- part of what is known in the program as "training for chaos." Before last season, Herman promised to get a diamond grill -- dental jewelry popular in hip-hop circles -- if his Cougars won their conference. When they did, he kept his word."

Heebie's take: The link is mostly about all the physical displays of affection that the coach has instituted amongst its players, and omg, so sweet. I mentioned it to Jammies, who said that the Houston coach is everybody's newest great sensation, and he'll have his pick of contracts if he wants to move to a big school.


 

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