CharleyCarp asks: What are people doing for the eclipse? We're going to try for Cascade, Idaho.
Heebie's take: what eclipse. just kidding. We'll be at home, far away from the dramatic part of the eclipse. I remember making a little box in elementary school to watch the shadow pass in front of the sunlight, and I don't remember much else about it. I also vaguely remember going to see Hailey's Comet way past bedtime.
If all goes well, this scheduled post will go live 16 days, 23 hours and 22 minutes before the actual eclipse in Caspar, Wyoming, which is where we're spending the night on Friday night.
Also Friday is Jammies' 40th birthday. He is spending his 40th birthday trapped in a minivan in 90+ degree weather with four kids. Give him some love.
We're starting the 3 day descent through the rings of hell, early tomorrow morning.
Mueller's grand jury: is this exciting? Can I get excited yet? This guy says we should be deliciously excited.
What's outraged me this week? There have been several horrifying deportation stories of late. There's the woman editor of Marvel Comics who posted a photo of herself with some friends drinking milkshakes and got absolutely ripped to shreds by internet trolls. (Sorry, I lost a lot of tabs to links.) There was this one about Facebook deleting the black person's posts where she's documenting the racist shit that had come her way through Facebook. Also the NAACP issuing a travel ban to Missouri - I don't know how to make sense of that one, because what about all the black people who live there? Is the travel ban strictly pro forma? That's my rambling about the US being horrible for now.
(Hold on to your hat...I'm going to try to do a scheduled post for tomorrow afternoon! I tried one when I first starting blogging here, and it didn't work, and I haven't tried since.)
I found this article on the repackaging of dieting companies very moving. Obviously there's tons of research on how losing significant weight is statistically impossible, how weight swings due to dieting are bad for you, and on how fat people are denied health care because doctors are myopic about their weight.
These questions began to filter into the mainstream. Women's magazines started shifting the verbal displays on their covers, from the aggressive hard-body stance of old to one with gentler language, acknowledging that perhaps a women's magazine doesn't know for sure what size your body should be, or what size it can be: Get fit! Be your healthiest! GET STRONG! replaced diet language like Get lean! Control your eating! Lose 10 pounds this month! In late 2015, Women's Health, a holdout, announced in its own pages that it was doing away with the cover phrases ''drop two sizes'' and ''bikini body.'' The word ''wellness'' came to prominence. People were now fasting and eating clean and cleansing and making lifestyle changes, which, by all available evidence, is exactly like dieting.
The article becomes very personal, however, the further you go. The author is so smart, and has dieted her whole life, and has tried radical-acceptance and HAES and is still stymied, and she writes very vulnerably about all this.
I wanted to quit dieting, but had come to realize that dieting was all I had. I was completely perplexed by food -- food! Stupid food! That's what this was about! I dieted because I wanted to maintain hope that I could one day manage my food intake, because my bewilderment around the stuff was untenable. When I didn't have that hope, I was left with too much worry about pain, about how much my knees hurt now and how much more they would in just a few years. I could be enlightened about my body. I could have acceptance. But nobody would tell that to the people who saw me as a target; nobody would tell that to my knees.
That quote might make her sound like a ruminating teen, but in context, it's the vulnerable bit in a well-researched piece of journalism.
Via J, Robot, elsewhere
I was Slacking with a co-worker and realized that my previous few messages could be pulled together and someone somewhere could be convinced to publish them as a poem. New Yorker material?
five kayakers die every day on the chicago river just from being splashed three die of ennui and one is run over by a large boat for a total of fifty people killed on the river every day
Enjoy a story about the mundane difficulties you might encounter trying to incorporate a Liberty City, which is a libertarian utopia.
Initially, the city would impose property and sales taxes, but the property tax would ratchet down to zero over time. The business-friendly environment would draw new economic activity to Von Ormy, and eventually the town would cruise along on sales taxes alone.
As mayor, Martinez de Vara's first priority was to lure chain stores with the town's low-tax, low-regulation branding. But there was a problem: Von Ormy lacked a sewer system and it would be expensive to connect to San Antonio's main wastewater system. The San Antonio Water System, which services most of Bexar County, told town officials that the connection would cost $4 million to $5 million.
It falls apart exactly as you'd expect. (Here's an older Liberty Cities article that I remember because it falls close to Heebie U. In this one, Von Ormy is head up as a exemplary demonstration of an A+ Liberty City, Most Liberty, Would Incorporate Again.)
Will Texas learn from Von Ormy? No.
Apparently white people assume black people go to college for free? Toting their Obamaphones, I suppose.
Robot overlords, etc.
An artificial intelligence system being developed at Facebook has created its own language. It developed a system of code words to make communication more efficient. Researchers shut the system down when they realized the AI was no longer using English.
I guess it's a known thing where you program AI and the little artificial beings start to improvise their own language and it gets harder to understand them. Shutting the system down certainly seems like the right move from a plot-based perspective. Nothing ticks off the robot overlords like hubris.
And then, lifting from the comments, Swope wrote:
I need to relate that the most recent episode of Radiolab has me much more terrified for the future than all this stuff about how global warming is going to burn us all up sooner than we thought.
tl;dr: software that makes it possible to create convincing (false) video of anybody saying anything is quite nearly here. Once Russian hackers/Newscorp employees get their hands on it, I am defo fleeing civilisation. I understand you can live off eating lizards in the Australian outback. (oh but wait, the global warming, fuck.)
None of this is real, it's just a big plotline for a movie. Unfortunately, these movies always kill a lot of civilians and destroy a lot of infrastructure. I know you're thinking what I'm thinking: it's so A Billion for Boris.
Dairy Queen writes: I'd like to delegate intelligent commentary to Megan. My own response: "!!!!!!!!!!alarm!!!!!!!!"
Heebie's take: It's a short, interesting read! Super depressing but in this day and age, we're all pretty good at choking down depressing-yet-interesting stories.