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So, Who's In For Tacos With Me in SF On Wednesday?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.09.17

Taqueria Vallarta, 6 pm on the thirteenth. I'll be disappearing at eight to drive to the airport.

I have no understanding of what Taqueria means, other than that they serve tacos. Can a local tell me if we need a reservation or if that's absurd?


 

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Oh, Hill.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.08.17

Obviously I've only glanced at a couple headlines that claim Clinton is publishing a book that primarily blames Sanders for her loss. I haven't even bothered to read one single article so that I could link it. If this is in fact the case, it's downright bizarre. Nobody is thinking about Clinton vs. Sanders anymore. They were basically identical, policy-wise, and to the extent that Sanders energized a different platform than the one associated historically with Centrist Clintons, that is clearly the direction of the Democratic party, and moreover, we're all so obsessed with minimizing the damage of the current administration that this feels like she's dusting off a pop culture rivalry from 2010 of which perhaps some commenter could supply the specifics.

Or whatever politics you want to talk about. Like Trump besting Ryan and McConnell. What a weird fucking world.


 

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Oopsie!

Posted by Ogged
on 09.08.17

This Equifax hack seems like a very big deal. 143 million people has to be just about every credit-having person in the US, and now all those (our) social security numbers and birth dates, which are de facto IDs for almost all the business we conduct, are public. This is going to take more than one free year of Equifax "identity protection" to handle. Time for a national ID card?


 

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Outed

Posted by Ogged
on 09.08.17

This is disturbing and amazing in about equal measure. AI can identify The Gay 81% of the time based on one picture of a face, 91% of the time with five pics. Women are a little trickier, but we knew that.


 

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Meet-up, Oakland edition!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.07.17

Sir Kraab is coming your way. Whyncha have a couple drinks with her?


 

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Climate Horror

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.07.17

Between Harvey and Irma, and the fires in Montana, Oregon, and California, it feels like we're leveling up in our apocalyptic progression. The last time I felt like we ratcheted up was in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit, and there were massive fires in Colorado. This current August/September feels again like we're entering a new board.

Two thoughts:
1. We'll actually get practice and improve at having whole cities suffer mass destruction. The first couple times it will go really badly, and then we'll bring our human flexibility to the problem, and get used to the idea that massive parts of cities are regularly destroyed, and we'll bring ingenuity and creativity to mitigating the disaster by 5%. Then we'll focus and celebrate the 5% improvement. The mass disasters in 2027 will feel routine! By then we'll have a whole new familiar vocabulary to discuss the scale of the destruction. We'll be so good at talking about it.

2. Jammies and I are the type of couple who starts off agreeing that we should be at the airport 90 minutes early, and then we increase the buffer at every step of the way, and so we actually arrive at the airport four hours early and spend two hours at the gate. It's borne of anxiety, or rather (for me at least) the practice of avoiding anxiety by having an extreme buffer.

I'm doing something similar, unconsciously, with climate change - my brain is so resigned to climate change, yet I do not have a very practical grasp on it, that I keep making leaps like being surprised that we still experience winters in some places. Really? Snow will still come this winter?

This particular August/September so far has been bizarrely unseasonably pleasant here, and I really can't make sense of it.


 

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Flippy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.06.17

First of all, obviously we all bristle at the construction that the housing crisis was caused by home buyers whatsoever, let alone poor people buying homes with subprime mortgages. It was obviously caused by greedy fucks on Wall Street.

That aside,

Mounting evidence suggests that the notion that the 2007 crash happened because people with shoddy credit borrowed to buy houses they couldn't afford is just plain wrong. The latest comes in a new NBER working paper arguing that it was wealthy or middle-class house-flipping speculators who blew up the bubble to cataclysmic proportions, and then wrecked local housing markets when they defaulted en masse.

If I'm apportioning blame, I'm happy to place house-flippers somewhere on the list. What they did to interior decorating during the mid-2000s is truly despicable.


 

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The Seed and the Soil

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.06.17

I read this article a few days ago and can't get it out of my mind: on the reasons that some cancers metastacize and others don't. (Via J, Robot, elsewhere)

The article posits that the conventional paradigm for metastasis - that you want to contain the primary tumor before any of it sloughs off and gains traction somewhere else - is mostly wrong. Rather, tumors continuously shed tons and tons of cancer cells, and only sometimes do they take root in a new location. So the focus of the article is that we should be studying the locations of metastasis, and especially, the environments which are not locations of metastasis. Why are some people and organs hostile to metastasis and others compatible?

Maybe I'm overstating, but I found this article paradigm-shifting for me. I'm surely overstating it. Nevertheless, I keep thinking about it.

A while back, J, Robot posted a different article about metastasis, and how the sloughing off of cells does not mostly happen around the margins, but through the primary blood vessel that the tumor is feeding through. This makes a ton of sense, and also is consistent with the fact that some itty bitty tumors have already metastacized.

The metastasis of cancer is really the heart of the scary part - if your tumor wasn't capable of spreading, your treatment would be wildly kinder and less ravaging. (It's weird and upsetting how little resources are dedicated to studying metastasis and people with Stage IV cancers. I'm thinking particularly of the criticisms lodged at Susan B. Komen and things like that. Perhaps this is beginning to change.)


 

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See how they glisten

Posted by Ben
on 09.05.17

THORN WRITES:

Friends are linking to this piece on books as friends approvingly but I'm not convinced. Still thought it might be good fodder for nerd fights and status arguments.

She also suggested the title ehhh, "friends", but I am exercising my right to use whatever title pleases me at the moment.

The answer to the titular question ("can your best friends be books?") seems to me to be obviously "no", except on an exceptionally idiosyncratic conception of friendship, which, to be fair, the author does seem to have, in the course of whose none too compelling development she says several other idiosyncratic things ("Friendship was once a topic that engaged the great philosophers, from Aristotle to C.S. Lewis"; literally everything, as far as I can tell, she goes on to say about eudaimonia); anyway, whatever the merits of what she says about reading, and about friendship, independently, to me she never comes close to convincingly bringing them together.

Also, I would have preferred the sentence "Defiantly, she insists that, while inanimate, they were true friends." to run either "Defiant, she insist ..." or "She insists defiantly that, ...", and for this sentence to settle on a single system of imagery and stick to it:

In light of this confession, the breathless, anthropomorphic adjectives she piles up to describe her book-friends ring like a defense--the bricks of a sad, shy child's makeshift fortress, arrayed against the potential accusation that books can't be real friends, and that relying on them as such indicates a deficit of social skills, a failure's inclination to escape into fantasy, or just too sensitive a soul.


 

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Guest Post - Rickie Lee Jones

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.05.17

Nick S. writes: Rickie Lee Jones tribute to Walter Becker is a remarkable bit of writing. It is sincere and personal without pretending that she was an intimate of his (though they did work together and know each other), and it says a great deal about the seventies and about her experience as a woman in music, without feeling like she's grandstanding or taking the spotlight.

I moved back to Santa Monica College. We were four of us, hanging on the lawn during breaks, going to clubs on Main Street some nights - Pink Elephant, a newly discovered gay bar, we'd go dance to "I Will Survive" on the jukebox. Turned out one of us had not yet come out of the closet, but that's another story. The best musician of our group loved his Steely Dan, and that was how I came to hear "Bodhisattva," "My Old School," "Pearl of the Quarter." Lines about Annandale and oleanders with pesky stomping bass and drums. I mean these guys knew how to make music. They had a hit on every record - I mean a thing that was played on the radio over and over - that became part of how we saw our collective selves.

I was brought up, you might say, on writing thick with imagery and subtle implication and I loved it. I loved the innuendo, the humor, the sting. The genius was as much in the part we filled in, the lines they didn't write. That was where the sticky stuff of memory made their music a part of our own personal history. I knew about hiding behind the oleanders, heck I grew up in Arizona. (In case the Orb forgot to tell you) It wasn't the specific line, it was the sorrow and fury of the melody, "Bring back the Boston rag. Tell all your buddies that it ain't no drag."

I was only 19, and I wanted it to come back and I didn't even know what it was. . . .

Heebie's take: Steely Dan is so near and dear to young Heebie that I'm a little hesistant to talk about it, lest it get tainted retroactively somehow now in conversation. I don't want to find out that everyone else knew all these details I was never curious enough to discover, nor do I want to find out that it was such a basic, obvious obsession that blocked me from unlocking something cooler and more sophisticated I might have loved even more. I just want it to stay my own fond thing.

I will say that the second paragraph quoted above is spot on.


 

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One Nightmare, No Charge

Posted by Ogged
on 09.05.17

What the fuck? What language is that? Snakes really live up to their reputation sometimes, don't they? Also, what the fuck?


 

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