I have thoughts on elder millennials:
1. First off, it feels like I'm increasingly surrounded by wise elder millennials in the general ether, and I love it. I'm now of an age to accept wisdom from people younger than me, and I think it's great. They seem sensible and funny.
2. With the millennials solidly in their late 30s and hitting 40, there also seems to be a huge retrospective on their childhoods in the 90s and circa 2000, and it's all cultural phenomenon that I remember but was a touch too old for. It's interesting to kind of hear, "Oh, that's what that was all about?"
3. Man, poor Britney. I probably won't actually read her memoir, but I'm glad her legacy is getting reclaimed as a teenager who was horribly exploited from everyone that she was supposed to be able to trust, and being blamed for it all.
I have two questions:
1. Is there any reason why a ceasefire is not the obvious right thing to champion? I'm trying to be cautious of easy, pat answers, but "stop killing people" is a no-brainer, right?
2. It feels like "Ceasefire!" is at least a little incomplete. If there were actually a ceasefire, there'd better be some strong diplomacy ready to step in and manage the intensity. What's the next step? "Ceasefire and then...?"
I'm going to post a second post, just to balance the intensity of an Israel/Palestine discussion.
Suppose you're getting photos taken. Except for group photos, I haven't had a professional photo taken in probably over a decade, but it's a thing that happens reasonably often - for example, to my kids, for the yearbook, or the team, or the dance studio, etc.
I have not seen the following, but maybe it's normal elsewhere: there should be a screen, located wherever the photographer wants you to look, and it should show you exactly what the photographer is seeing through the viewfinder. That way you can be like, "oh shit, I hate when my hair does this," or "my smile looks menacing" or "my smile looks insufficiently menacing" and you can tweak it in real time.
Obviously photographers would not enjoy this, because it would slow down the whole process and force it to be collaborative, instead of their vision as an artiste. But surely there could be a little guardrail or etiquette to resolve that, like a countdown timer that gives you ten seconds to preen and menace before the photo is taken, like in a photobooth. Why can't we just have a goddamn mirror in this miraculous age of technology?!
On a separate note, a genuine question: when did it become the norm for a town/city to concentrate its trick-or-treaters onto a fewer number of extra-charming streets that go all out? I was too out-to-lunch to know if it was a thing when I was growing up, and that's kind of what I'm wondering - has this been a thing for the past 50 year? Or is it new?
We had no kids in our neighborhood, and trick-or-treated there anyway, and that's what I imprinted on: racing down a street to see if you could find one or two porch lights on, and sometimes getting someone who clearly forgot that it was Halloween and just goes to rummage in their pantry for something. We would maybe cross paths with one or two other groups of trick-or-treaters over the course of the whole evening.
(I do remember kids trick or treating at the mall, however. I never did, though.)
How close are we to an actual Hitchhiker's style babel fish, that sits in your ear and translates fast enough to facilitate conversation? I would like it also to have a speaker output so that you don't have to presume the other party has one tucked in their ear as well. (And a little screen that outputs someone signing in case the other person uses that.)
I'm guessing AI facilitates this dramatically?
It's been a long time since I travelled internationally, and I've always been a bit uneasy travelling to places where I don't speak the language. Usually I've gotten around it by having a person who lives there who I'm going to visit, and then I adore it.
I think one of the things I don't enjoy about a language barrier is how difficult it is to gauge whether you're actually connecting with the other person or not. You can have preliminaries, but you can't have a particularly interesting conversation. If I had a little babelfish, it all seems less intimidating and more interesting to actually connect with someone who I wouldn't otherwise be able to communicate well with.
(There are a lot of other parts of travel that I find exhausting and unrewarding. I believe I've complained here before about how "travel" is supposed to be this pure virtue and I'm lukewarm on the whole premise.)
Taylor Swift's concerts are adding billions to the economy!
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced this month that Taylor Swift's tour helped boost travel and tourism in the region, a claim also made by several other U.S. cities regarding the musician's widely popular concerts.
Market research firm QuestionPro estimated last month that her tour could help add $5 billion to the worldwide economy.
Taylor Swift's concerts are not adding billions to the economy, how could you be so dumb:
The challenge in calculating the economic impact of something is in measuring the "unseen" dollars that would have been spent somewhere else had Taylor's concert not stopped in the city. In economic terms, we need to consider counterfactual spending.
The money spent to attend one of Taylor Swift's shows likely would have been spent on other things, possibly other entertainment options, whenever people were attending the show. The concerts are simply the results of a reallocation of spending in a local economy, rather than in real increases in economic activity.
Economic impact studies often neglect to consider leakage, where a substantial portion of the money spent in the city does not stay within the local economy. But where does the money actually go? It can end up in the pockets of non-local entities like artists, ticketing platforms, and hotel chains. But the most significant recipient? Taylor Swift herself, who is estimated to earn $4.1 billion from the Eras Tour. And where does she take her earnings? Back to her home in New York.
I'm making the second guy seem like a massive killjoy, but the link as a whole isn't particularly dour. He's just explaining how journalism makes "economic impact!" sound more impressive than it really is.
But somehow this does tap into a question I've harbored for a while, about cities as little economic engines, which is this:
Does every town need an industry? Is it true that, at this point, a town can't really generate enough wealth just by supplying lawyers and doctors and plumbers and teachers to itself, to keep itself afloat?
You certainly could have a town in a bubble in, say, the 1800s, although it wouldn't be particularly wealthy. But since then, there's no way to have a town that doesn't have goods coming in from elsewhere, and so you must somehow be producing goods to send off to other locations. Is it conclusive that as soon as you're bringing in factory made goods and groceries that aren't local, your city had better be exporting something as well?
I'm trying to dodge the issue of labor exploitation, and get at whether certain small towns are doomed to be poor because they can't churn enough economic activity with all that leakage. (Whereas a town with a healthy industry might also be poor because the workers are all underpaid, but that's a situation that calls for a different sort of solution.)
(I assume people are modeling this sort of thing with differential equations: on some unit time, the resources plus labor produce the daily output, and then there's a daily amount consumed, and you want the difference between those to either accumulate or at least stay stable.)
The thing I'm most struck by in this articleis that the author considers Covid to be a three year major deviation from real life. And I'm not saying she's wrong. I'm saying there's enormous variation due to life and circumstances as to how big the deviation was for each person.
For our family, the deviation was probably nearly as small as possible. By September 2020, everyone besides me was heading out of the house daily to work and school. By the summer of 2021, regular life had fully resumed, just with masks. By the beginning of 2022, masks were gone.
I am really trying to describe this neutrally and not give it moral valence. If anything, I'm aware that it comes across as almost a humblebrag, as if it implies somehow that other people restricted more than necessary, and I am definitely truly not trying to do that. A lot of it comes from the nature of our life at that point: a life that largely consisted of sending six people out to schools and the grocery store, and coming home again. Not a lot of eating at restaurants or flying either way, and also not a lot of exposure to medically vulnerable people.
I am curious though: when did the pandemic end in your eyes?