I keep thinking about this life expectancy map that I saw on Twitter a few weeks ago:
(I haven't looked up the original source.) It's wild that there's a gap this big. I don't even know if that's pre- or post-covid.
Obviously SES, race, politics, environment, etc etc all play a role, and this is impossibly complicated. But all of those are exacerbated by bad politics.
I think about people who vote Republican, and how impossible it is to change anyone's mind, despite how one party is literally enacting policies that shorten lives significantly.
I also think about that study from Europe that showed the persistence of geographically-specific antisemitism, from the plague or something to WWII. That basically, if you lived somewhere in 1400 that really leaned in hard into blaming Jews for the plague, five hundred years later, your same town was likely leaning in hard for Hitler as well. I think there was a similar study in the US about slavery rates and being pro-gun ownership. (Although maybe that is just my brain making stuff up. It sounds too pat.)
Under the jump, a video clip from Jordan Klepper, the Daily Show guy who constantly interviews people at Trump rallies. It's not an insight that you've never heard before, but I still think it gets at one of the core things going on. (Plus racism. But racism as an identity.)
The Dark Mirror
It is all of us.
GPT-4 has considerably tightened up what it knows about Unfogged.
Unfogged is a group blog that began in the early 2000s. It is known for its intellectual, eclectic, and often humorous discussions on a wide range of topics. These can include politics, philosophy, culture, academia, personal experiences, and more. The blog has a dedicated community of commenters who contribute to the discussions, creating a lively and engaging atmosphere.
The blog's name, Unfogged, suggests the idea of clearing away confusion or providing clarity on various topics. The blog is characterized by a casual and informal tone, which makes it accessible to a diverse audience. Unfogged has been mentioned in various media outlets and has gained a reputation for its unique blend of intelligent discourse and humorous banter.
However, as the blog's focus is eclectic and not always on current events, it may not be the best source for the latest news and information. Instead, it offers a space for engaging, thought-provoking discussions among its community members.
My students are very into the BeReal app, which is cute as far as these things go. (At a randomly-chosen time each day, you're prompted to hold up your phone, and it takes a photo using both your front and back camera, and posts it - ie, what you were actually doing at that moment in time. As soon as you've posted yours, you can see everyone else's. You can snooze the prompt, but other people will be able to see how long it took you to take the photo.)
Anyway: apparently BeReal (and also SnapChat) will let you know if someone takes a screenshot of your photo. Somehow this surprises me: I would have thought that phones had an internal firewall that prevented apps from knowing about things that were external to that app. That the phone-makers would want to reserve some power from the apps, I suppose.
On a different note: it seems dumb that my phone can't recognize a QR code when it shows up on my screen, in an email or something. The QR code has to actually pass through the lens of the camera, as though the brain is hooked up to the eye and can't also see its screen? That is silly.
The common thread of these two complaints is that the workaround is to use two phones, so that one camera can capture the other's screen.
Last week, I went to my first high school dance booster club meeting. In general, this is more Jammies than me, but he had a conflict, so I went. Afterwards, I really wanted to go to bed and pull the covers over my head, because it's so insanely much work.
Basically, the goal is to raise $10K, and they do it through endless fundraisers that each pull in $300-$1500 dollars. So you're selling shirts, or carnations, or staffing concession stands, or selling sometimes-nonsensical goodies like shout-outs at a performance or space in printed programs, plus shaking down local businesses (and friends and families to some degree) for sponsorships. So much work, piled on the least-resistant parents of the dancers.
(One thing I wonder: is this a situation where everyone loathes fundraising, and I have an obligation to share the burden? Or is this a situation where some people don't loathe, and I can justify finding different, less loathsome ways for me to contribute?)
Anyway: why $10K? Where does this number come from? In Texas, high school extracurriculars are governed by something called UIL. Probably due to recency and other peculiarities, dance isn't a UIL activity. So the dance competitions are run by private companies who charge $2-3K per team (at least at the JV level that I'm learning about). It's such a racket and it makes me so irritated.
It's not that different from the shakedown for travel club sports, except that it's infiltrated the public school sphere. The whole premise of making tired parents hustle to raise so much money for these businesses irritates the crap out of me.
Guest Post: One more for the fear box
Snarkout sends in:
No cheating: guess the "controversial" photoshoot location pic.twitter.com/qXAJMiNLpt— Evan Rytlewski (@Evanryt) April 22, 2023
Answer under the cut.
The location that CBS 58 has framed as "controversial" for high school students to visit is...— Evan Rytlewski (@Evanryt) April 23, 2023
the Milwaukee Public Library pic.twitter.com/PXqgWRsEz7
And Snarkie writes: Admire this tweet, in which a local TV news station simply directly states that downtown Milwaukee is too much of a lawless Mad Max hellscape for a group of suburban teenagers (from 93% white New Berlin, in what Dave Weigel always refers to as "critical Waukesha County") to go to for their prom photo shoot. We talk a lot--rightly!--about Fox News making people afraid of the world, but it feels like *all* television news is like this, and with the hollowing out of local papers, there's not another easy way for people to keep up on what's going on around them. Maybe they can listen to the calm, racially egalitarian voices of their neighbors on Nextdoor.
Heebie's take: I did not come anywhere close to guessing correctly.
Ralph Yarl et al
I didn't post about Ralph Yarl and the other horrible shootings last week because it's hard to say anything about that kind of fear-based wrong-place violence.
However, I've definitely noticed dialogue afterwards taking the form of "scared old white Fox News viewers are extremely dangerous", and it is nice to see this spoken more often. We've got to have a national conversation about fear-mongering. How do you walk back mass extreme fear, especially among aging and cognitively declining retirees? (Should we perhaps just... not arm them to the gills?)