It's not exactly a game changer in a post-Dobbs world, but I can imagine it making a huge difference to women in financial straits who are trying their best not to get pregnant.
Not trying to make the blog overly Texan, but I did see the other day that it's estimated that 10,000 extra babies were born in a 9 month stretch following Texas's ban on abortions after 6 weeks. And 18% of Texans don't have health insurance. And even if you do, it's just so much easier to pick something up at the drug store when you need it.
I have a dentist appointment this afternoon. Obviously the way you win at the dentist is for your teeth not to bleed when they floss your teeth.
Mostly I like flossing and do it maybe half the time. But everyone should floss daily in the week before your dentist appointment, just for the halo of virtue it will earn you.
I have a newer hack that has seemed to work for the past 2-3 appointments. I always seem to have plaque on my two lower front teeth, on the tongue-side, right at the gumline. Hygienists tell me it's an extremely common place for build up, because of the location of your saliva gland. (My mind has filled in the blanks and concluded that you basically get hard water deposits wherever your saliva glands shoot.)
What I discovered is that every 1-2 months, I can literally locate a little plaque in that spot using my fingernail, and I just scrape it off, vaguely trying to imitiate the metal plaque-scraping device with my fingernail. There, that's my hack. It seems to make a noticeable difference with the hygienist.
Finally: I have an outsized reaction to the high pitched squeal of the little sonar plaque remover, and generally beg/plead for them to use the old-fashioned metal scraping device. Most hygienists are friendly about it and say something like, "As long as your teeth are not that bad, no problem. If your teeth get worse, we'll need to switch to the sonar thing because it does a better job."
Actually, I do have one more thought: my dentist is annoyingly pro-x-rays. Once a year, he gets x-rays done. I'm vaguely uncomfortable with this, although I know things like flying also expose us to higher levels of radiation, and I do that without balking. However, there was a medical physicist who talked to students as part of the summer program I'm doing, and someone asked this specific question, and he said, "I decline the dental x-ray unless there's some reason it will affect treatment or reason to believe something's wrong."
So with that as a recent memory, maybe I'll stand my ground on unnecessary x-rays this time? (I'm guessing that unnecessary x-rays are an extremely US-centric healthcare feature.)
Barry Freed is back from Arrakis once more, and will be making an appearance at Fresh Salt on Wednesday -- let's say 6:30. We'll be seated outside to accommodate Jackmormon's pet gorilla.
Lurkers, as always, welcome. Are there any lurkers left?
Update: To be revealed at the meetup! Exciting new dialect-based theorizing on the origin of the "you have another thing coming" error!
Mossy Character sends in No end to deadly violence in India's ethnically-divided Manipur.
That is awful. If we want to argue about something, we're going to have to crowdsource it, because I don't have it.
Nick S. writes: This article about the history of spotify is interesting:
I didn't realize that music revenues have been going back up.
The labels were worried that, like illegal file-sharing, Spotify would make people think music was something they no longer needed to pay for - whether that meant paying for streaming or downloads, or buying CDs. That year, the global recorded music industry made $16 billion, down from a peak of $24 billion in 1999 (the year Napster launched). The situation would get even worse: by 2014, revenue had fallen to $14 billion. The music industry seemed to be dying, if it wasn't dead already. But then things started to pick up. In 2021, revenue reached a record high of $25.9 billion (though in real terms this was only 60 per cent of what it had been in 1999), two-thirds of which came from streaming. This wasn't all down to Spotify: it has never launched in China, where Tencent's three streaming services - QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo - have more than 500 million users between them. (Since 2017 Spotify has owned 9 per cent of Tencent Music, and Tencent 9 per cent of Spotify.) But as the picture started to look rosier, newspaper articles claimed that streaming, and Spotify in particular, had saved the music industry.
On the other hand, I can't quite wrap my head around this
The two most played songs on Spotify, The Weeknd's 'Blinding Lights' and Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You', have each been played more than 3.4 billion times; ten of Sheeran's other songs have each been played at least a billion times. It was estimated last year that his total earnings from Spotify up to that point came to more than $80 million.
Finally, it's always interesting how the structure of the business affects the structure of the music
or a song to count as having been streamed - and for an artist to qualify for a royalty - it must play for at least thirty seconds. If an artist can't hold someone's attention for those first thirty seconds, they don't get paid. Some have adapted the way they go about making music accordingly. In 2010, less than 20 per cent of number one songs in the US had choruses that started within the first fifteen seconds; by 2018, almost 40 per cent did.
Heebie's take: It is a good article! They go into the gate-keeping and impossibility of profiting as a small-scale musician on Spotify. And also into the algorithm and it's determination to steer you towards mushy elevator music that you won't notice and hence turn off.
Both those things - gate-keeping and mushiness - have an analog analogy, of course. Same as it ever was.
(I remain terrible at music-delivery systems. I'm far too picky, (in non-praise-worthy ways) when I'm paying attention, and I can't block it out enough to do anything else. This means that I listen to the crap that gets played at the gym, and the stuff my kids play, and that's about it.)
This is old, but I only heard it the other day, and it blew my mind: in 2018, Beto beat Cruz among native-born Texans by about 3 points, according to exit polls.
In my head, the average Texan native comes from a family that's lived somewhere rural for generations, and they moved to the suburbs but still pretend they're on a farm when it's time to vote.
In my head, the average Texan transplant is someone who found California too expensive, and was maybe to the right of California, but pretty centrist in Texas. And not so craven as to vote for an obvious idiot like Cruz.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation has conducted two polls of registered voters to test attitudes between natives and non-natives. Its January 2020 poll of 800 registered voters found native Texans supported President Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 7-point margin compared to transplants, who supported Trump by a 12-point margin.
Non-native and native Texans voted the same between Trump and Biden in 2020.
I guess I hoped that conservative-for-other-states was still centrist enough not to make things worse here. I'm not so naive as to believe (anymore) that the demographics will turn us blue, but I also don't want to be on a Florida trajectory. This is really depressing to me.