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Go to Unfogged.com home

 

Taylor Swift Trial

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.12.17

For the record, I already loved Taylor Swift.


 

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Tiki torches

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.12.17

This white supremecist rally in WV is really shocking. It just seems so anachronistic. Just two years ago, the big conversations about race focused on microaggressions and unconscious bias, and now we have a hundred white supremecists openly marching in a city, with torches of tiki.

One thing that stuck with me was from the election, a thing Ogged posted, about how racism is at its heart, a scam. It appeals to the same kind of people who buy all the shit from Alex Jones, who believe that Glenn Beck's gold investment opportunity is in their best interests, etc. It's a quick fix, easy sell, accounts for the problems of the world by telling you that you're great and that the answer is really simple - those baddies who are super easy to identify.

The explanation is so mundane, and the suckers so fucking complicit and evil.


 

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Good Old Friday WTFuckery.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.11.17

Two from Apo elsewhere:
In Indiana, Republicans increased early voting stations in all the white places and decreased voting stations in all the black places and now we're all going to die in a nuclear winter.

Meanwhile, Hamilton County added two additional early voting stations in 2016, giving it one station for every 100,000 voters, as opposed to one for more than 700,000 voters in Marion County. The results were significant.
The number of in-person absentee ballots cast in Hamilton County rose from 32,729 in 2008 to 53,608 in 2016, representing a 63 percent increase. At the same time, there was a 26 percent decrease in Marion County, from 93,316 to 68,599. During that period, the percentage of absentee ballots rose from 25 percent to 34 percent in Hamilton County, and fell from 24 percent to 19 percent in Marion County.

Also Republicans are fascists and don't really know that democracy and freedom entail more than just writing country music lyrics to sustain them:

According to a poll conducted by two academic authors and published by The Washington Post, 52 percent of Republicans said they would back a postponement of the next election if Trump called for it.
If Trump and congressional Republicans proposed postponing the election to ensure only eligible citizens could vote, support from Republicans rises to 56 percent.

It reminds me of the poll showing most Republicans think higher education is writhing den of liberal brainwashing insofar as I reach for the same explanation in response: perhaps a lot of business-selfish-Wall Street Republicans who are greedy but not detached from reality are currently not identifying themselves as R in these polls. That there is selection bias and we're just measuring the 27% crazification factor.

As to our impending nuclear wasteland, I've seen a couple of "Calm down, Tweaker," responses by hyper-lefty-academics, like this one ...well now I can't find one. I swear I saw more than one in the last day or two. How comfy are we feeling?


 

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XXX FURY

Posted by Ben
on 08.10.17

Trapnel says:

X. Trapnel and Iberian Fury will be back in the United States for a
whirlwind tour! Would there be any interest in:

1- A Boston-area meetup Thursday night, August 10th?
2- A meetup for brunch in NYC Sunday, August 13th?

Apologies for the lack of flexibility -- we need to visit 4 states in
10 days, plus a wedding. But we would love to see you all!

UPDATE: Boston is TONITE, at Brick and Mortar, at 8:30!


 

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Reading Group: After the Family Wage

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.10.17

Lifting from the comments, Criminally Bulgar writes: can we do Unfogged reading groups for essays? This one would be an interesting discussion:

What new, postindustrial gender order should replace the family wage? And what sort of welfare state can best support such a new gender order? What account of gender equity best captures our highest aspirations? And what vision of social welfare comes closest to embodying it?
Two different sorts of answers are currently conceivable, I think, both of which quality as feminist. The first I call the Universal Breadwinner model. It is the vision implicit in the current political practice of most U.S. feminists and liberals. It aims to foster gender equity by promoting women's employment; the centerpiece of this model is state provision of employment-enabling services such as day care. The second possible answer I call the Caregiver Parity model. It is the vision implicit in the current political practice of most Westem European feminists and social democrats. It aims to promote gender equity chiefly by supporting informal carework; the centerpiece of this model is state provision of caregiver allowances.

Heebie's take: Things to determine in this thread:
1. Who is interested in reading this and having a discussion group?
2. Who might not read but is still generally in favor of reading and participating in the posts that result?
3. Is this one single scheduled discussion, or does it need to be broken into chunks?
4. Volunteers for writing either the singular post, or writing up a chunk?


 

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Litmus tests

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.10.17

I'm seeing a lot of fury on Facebook about the Democratic party being willing to sell out women's rights. It's not nearly so clear cut for me. On the national level, I'd be horrified if the Democrat party leaders softened on the abortion rights. But within a red state, that's just not what's on the table. Between a Republican shithead like Abbott and a pro-life Democrat for governor of Texas? I'd be thrilled to get the Democrat in office. They wouldn't be worse for Planned Parenthood clinics; they wouldn't scorch PP in order to score points with tea partiers. And they'd deal with school funding and possibly begin to repair the horrifying foster care system and stop waging war on the cities and on and on. Let's staunch the bleeding in the red states before anything else. (Not that kind of bleeding.)

I have a slightly higher standard for Congress. A pro-life Democrat who is willing to accept face-saving gestures in exchange for voting to fund PP when it counts is fine with me. I don't need actual lip service, but they must vote correctly when push comes to shove.


 

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Update: Guest post: Airbrushing S-town

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.17

Heebie's update: We listened to this on the drive home, so I dusted off this post and put my opinion at the end. This was originally posted back in May.

Witt writes: I haven't listened to the podcast S-town, because I knew from descriptions that the topics covered weren't for me.

But I have read several reviews and critiques, and I thought this one was the best. Maybe just because it matches my own instincts and biases.

Excerpt:

So when, for example, Tyler Goodson describes and defends his intention to cut off the fingers of a man he suspected had stolen some valuable property from him, [the journalist] Reed is shocked and horrified, but won't pass judgment.
"I've tried to understand his justification for some of the choices he makes," Reed says, opting not to solve the mystery of why Tyler thinks it's okay to maim someone who has stolen something from him. And when Tyler asks if Reed thinks he's a bad person--explaining that he wants to know what people think of him--Reed again refuses judgment. "No, man, I see you as a complicated normal person," he says. "I disagree with some of your decisions. But you've also had a very different life experience than I've had."
The way that Reed says "man" in that moment--the "man" that one man says to another man to remind them both that they are men, together--speaks to the social bond they've built, as a subject and an informant have also become friends. Tyler is testing that bond, asking Reed to stand in for "what people think" and pass judgment on him, inviting him to choose between saying what he really thinks--that such violence is horrific and indefensible--and in re-affirming that they are buddies, and that no explanation is necessary. Reed takes the latter path. He does not call Tyler innocent, but neither does he say that it is vile to cut off a man's fingers because you think he stole something from you.
Put differently: Reed holds Tyler to lower standards than the basic decency of not dismembering other people. Tyler, you see, has had "a very different life experience."
I want to suggest another interpretation, one that Reed's closeness to Tyler does not allow him to explore: Sometimes judgment is warranted. We know Tyler runs with a rough crowd, but Reed presents that "roughness" in terms of colorful eccentricities. ...
Reed portrays him as haunted by fears that he'll turn out to be like his father, and perhaps this is true. But it also might be that Tyler knows how to tell a story in which he is the victim of great oppression, and that he's very, very good at telling that story--and it might also be that he knows exactly the kind of story Reed wants to hear. It might be that he was testing Reed to see if he would buy that story....
It might be that [Tyler] succeeded in utterly controlling the story that Brian Reed told. It might be that the price Reed paid for access, the exchange he made for his subject's trust, was becoming "trustworthy," becoming someone that would tell the story the way someone like Tyler Goodson would tell it.

Heebie's take: Haven't listened to it - figured we'd listen on our roadtrip this summer. Plus, whatever happened to Sayyed's appeal???

August Update: Ok, the excerpt above is totally wrong and off-base. Reed has a plenty horrified reaction in his narration, and he does call Tyler out on the finger thing, even apologizing for harping on it. He just does it in that cliche TAL "I'm so understated I'm overstated! The more I understate, the more you get that I'm really overstating!" kind of way.

That said, I had some minor irritations with the podcast:
1. This podcast literally only exists because John B. McLemore has a great Southern accent (yet is liberal). NPR listeners absolutely love the shit out of people who look like rednecks but are progressive.

(Also I thought his last name was Macklemore until I just looked up this old post.)

2. This one has some spoilers, so I'll put it below the cut.

Spoiler: when the story fails to materialize in every way, shape, and form, the whole thing is just resting on the thick southern drawls. They invested a lot of time in something that seemed promising, and then they had to carve a story out of not really anything. I think this is a case of NPR people being too in love with their own story-telling.

That said, it held my attention. Especially, as Swope says in the thread, the second to last episode is particularly touching. However, the linked piece is overthinking everything. There's no story, there's no plot. It's just a snapshot of how a bunch of people live and interact.

The only reason there's a plot is because Reed chooses to portray people one way at the beginning, and then differently as it progresses. The entire plot is Brian Reed saying, "Can you believe I had the good fortune to meet this guy before he committed suicide, so that from my personal POV there is a plot???"


 

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Guest Post - Allergies

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.17

Lw writes: Interesting overview of developments in understanding allergies. I only know a little about the immune system, so I am missing some background to full comprehension, so I'll be doing some homework. But the ticks whose bites induce anaphylactic allergic response to red meat should be interesting for a broad audience. They live in the southeastern US and are spreading. As yet no evidence that they are an engineered weapon against America's freedom to steakhouse.

Heebie's take: Central Texans complain a lot about allergies - "everyone who moves here gets them eventually!" - to the point where I believed we were unusually beset by allergens. (I do not get seasonal allergies myself, but maybe eventually I will. Once in a blue moon I think the cedar gets me.) Anyway, according to WebMD, we are not the worst. The worst seems to be a strip roughly down Appalachia, and across the Great Plains.


 

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Strangers

Posted by Ogged
on 08.08.17

Some of you are too young to remember "My Tivo thinks I'm gay" but boy howdy does Spotify think I'm a country-lovin' good ol' boy. Dammit, Swedes, you know nothing of my tastes.

This would be a better genre if it included things like "My coworkers think I'm a serial killer" and "My mother thinks I have a job".


 

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Eat Charge The Rich

Posted by Ogged
on 08.08.17

I love this story.

Those residents value their privacy -- and their exclusivity. Past homeowners have included Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her financier husband, Richard Blum; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi; and the late Mayor Joseph Alioto. A guard is stationed round the clock at the stone-gate entrance to the street to keep the curious away.

So imagine the residents' surprise when San Jose residents Cheng and Lam wound up with the street, its sidewalks and every other bit of "common ground" in the private development that has been managed by the homeowners since at least 1905. That includes a string of well-coiffed garden islands, palm trees and other greenery that enhance the gated and guarded community at the end of Washington Street, just off Arguello Boulevard and down the hill from the Presidio.

 

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Nerds!

Posted by Ogged
on 08.08.17

There's a lot of amazing medical technology, but this was one that made think, "They did what now?"

The team reveal that they used the technique on mice with legs that had had their arteries cut, preventing blood flow through the limb. The device was then put on the skin of the mice, and an electric field applied to trigger changes in the cells' membrane, allowing the genes to enter the cells below. As a result, the team found that they were able to convert skin cells directly into vascular cells -with the effect extending deeper into the limb, in effect building a new network of blood vessels.

"Seven days later we saw new vessels and 14 days later we saw [blood flow] through the whole leg," said Sen.
The team were also able to use the device to convert skin cells on mice, into nerve cells which were then injected into the brains of mice who had experienced a stroke, helping them to recover.

 

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We Have A Problem, All Right

Posted by Ogged
on 08.07.17

I tried to read the Google anti-diversity memo, I really did. I even powered through the part where he said that deprecating products too quickly is an example of a leftist failing, but I just couldn't do it. If you'd like to discuss how you, too, couldn't make it through the whole thing, this is the thread for you.


 

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Impetus and Inertia

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.07.17

I read Oliver Sacks' Awakenings years ago, but one of the things that stuck with me is how the patients struggle with impetus and inertia. If you haven't read it, they've got a rare form of Parkinsons which was caused by a 1920s encephalitis outbreak. IIRC they all start out very locked in, and then they have wildly varied responses to being given dopamine in the late 60s. They do wake up, but it's complicated. Very few of them are unqualified success stories, but many of them have at least some good parts to their mixed bag of outcomes.

A common theme is that they have problems stopping and starting. There was one woman who kept marbles in her pocket, and when she wanted to walk somewhere, she could manage to toss a marble out in front of her, and then watching the marble would allow her to find the impetus to get up and follow the marble, and then once she was in motion she could stay in motion.

I think impetus is interesting to think about in the context of ordinary people. The difficulty of impetus: why haven't I jumped into the nice cold lake, even though I know I want to? why am I sitting here when I know I should stand up and do the pressing thing -change a diaper, start dinner, take the kids to brush their teeth - that I need to do?

It's not quite the same as being tired or having energy, although those are related. It's also not quite the same as whether you love or hate the thing you're about to do, although that also plays a role. I'm really focusing here on those last few seconds when you're still sitting in the chair, wondering why you're not already doing the thing you're about to be doing.

And then the kids seem to have so much impetus. They're out of their chair before they even have a fully formed notion of why they're up, and then they're back down again, and then they're off again. Just the tiniest impulse turns into impetus. When did I lose that? I'm pretty sure it was gone by my early 20s.

The other half of this in the Parkinsons patients was momentum - they often couldn't stop a motion that had begun. Lots of tics, lots of compulsions, lots of colliding with walls when they can't stop walking, lots of increasingly frenzied behavior that sets them on a collision course where they'll need intervention to break the cycle.

I don't see any of that in my life whatsoever. I always have an easy time stopping and being lazy. I see it in my kids though, and in my mom. My mom has a tendency, when she's a little overtired or hungry, to become increasingly frenzied about her to-do list until there's some sort of collision/outburst/interaction that rights her again. The kids often get amped up and have no way to bring it back down again without the situation exploding, some sort of forcible intervention.

I guess reading the internet. Or reading in general. I can get relate to that difficult-to-stop momentum there. Snacking. I don't know if these count, since they don't involve large motor movement.


 

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Start me up

Posted by Ben
on 08.06.17

Via Mossy Character, an article about the default Windows XP background image. Never let it be said that Microsoft always cheaps out:

O'Rear agreed to sell Microsoft all the rights to his photograph. But when he tried to mail them the negatives, FedEx balked. Microsoft had valued the image so highly that none of the shipping companies could cover the insurance. In the end, O'Rear hopped on a plane to the company's Seattle headquarters to hand-deliver the photograph.

(Makes one wonder about Robert Fripp's payday for recording the Vista startup sound.)


 

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