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Guest Post - Prison Guards
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.17.14

J, Robot writes: The NYT's recent coverage of problems at Rikers has been both fascinating and upsetting (though it matches what Law & Order had led me to suspect). The union head appears to be popular with his members, but I wonder how well he is serving them in terms of their day-to-day safety.

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Schemes and such
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.17.14

David Mumford and John Tate were asked to write an obituary for Alexander Grothendieck for Nature magazine. Then they were rejected for writing too mathy an obituary, which you may read here. Mumford is upset over the lack of mathematical literacy. I don't think the editors picked the best examples to convey to him why it will be incomprehensible - and I don't think the column was unsalvageable - but I think Mumford is out of touch with the mainstream Nature reader.

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Blow who?
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.16.14
Congressman Blake "Ducky Pajamas" Farenthold, who represents an area of Texas that runs from Bastrop to Corpus Christi, is the proud owner of Blow-Me.org, his spokesperson confirmed to Buzzfeed.

Stay classy.

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Festival of Lights
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.16.14

It's that time of year where I wish I did something to balance all the secular Christianity that my kids are swamped with. Enjoy!

Via E. Messily

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Genealogy
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.16.14

One of our commenters sent in a perfectly good guest post and then asked me to paraphrase it. Okay. Their friend Shmax wrote a website post. He was adopted, and did the 23andMe test mostly to find out about anything health-related. It turned up his biological mother, who turns out to be a journalist/poet/scholar/interesting person/Irish. He's still looking for his biological father now, so heads up to our Irish commenters. Make this anonymous. Don't print the above, maybe just paraphrase.

(Now in my own family, my mom also sent off for 23andMe, because we're all abuzz about my grandfather's identity swap, but we haven't gotten the results yet. In addition, my parents are visiting my grandmother, and went through some of her old files and found a bunch of love letters indicating that she did indeed know about the first marriage, because she was the other woman.)

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Peshawar
Posted by Ogged on 12.16.14

Might have taken that one a little too far, guys.

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Here is some quality music
Posted by Ben on 12.15.14

I claim that this is basically fantastic and extremely well done.

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Bad Reviews
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.15.14

Shit My Reviewers Say is funny. Sometimes you side with the author:

"I also would add that while I don't have anything serious to complain about, I also see this work as being pretty straightforward - there is no "big idea" that I see as especially imaginative or creative. Again, it is extremely solid, just not necessarily sexy."

Sometimes you side with the reviewer:

"The writing and data presentation are so bad that I had to leave work and go home early and then spend time to wonder what life is about."

Sometimes you know nosflow wrote the paper:

"The author's spelling of coordinate, while technically correct, is arcane and annoying."
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ATM: help with a holiday gift
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 12.15.14

Dairy Queen writes: Help requested from the hive mind!

Heebie's take: Significant other, you must not peek below the fold, should you stop by. Strictest orders.

Background: A huge, wonderful amount of recorded music goes through our house each year, and while I enjoy the vast majority of it, I am extremely bad at remembering names. Also, it was bad enough to keep track of everything when there were just lps and cds, but now we have an ever growing collection on a server in the basement organized according to what seems to me a somewhat whimsical logic. Lastly, a LOT of music only makes a brief stop here before it is resold. So every year at this time I get a bit panicked trying to find a recording my better half will at least find intriguing BUT he hasn't heard of. The self-created pressure is intense, because I've had some real successes in the past, and the duds have been at least noble attempts. But I'm ailing this year, and some of my sources of inspiration are just not working.

This is where all of you come in. I asked him for a list of his favorite "new to us" recorded music of the last year, across genres (see below). I'm tossing it out in the hopes that it may spark recommendations, and then I'll have to try and figure out whether we already have it, but that's a problem I have anyways.

Would be fun if the thread was an opportunity for others to ask for gift recommendations by the same method - list of books read with pleasure, wines drunk with delight, perfumes sniffed in rapture, etc.! And of course you all get to mock our musical tastes.

Here is the list from my better half:

Shostakovich quartets, Pacifica Quartet, especially 4, 8 and 10 (this collection was my gift to him last year, it was a huge hit)
Count Basie at the Sands (he added a parenthetical "(before Frank)" - I have no idea what this means)
Vessel, Punish Honey
Amarcord Wien and Elisabeth Kulman live record, Wer magt mich zu hohnen (get anything by Elisabeth Kulman, she is tremendous!!)
Mahler Lieder, Bernarda Fink
Davidge, Slo Light
Academia del Piacere, Rediscovering Spain
Eleni Karaindrou, Medea (another one to keep an eye out for, you won't be disappointed)
Maurice Emmanuel, Sonatinas and Songs
Renaud Garcia-Fons, Solo at Marcevol

Many thanks to all in advance, dairy

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What Binds Us Together
Posted by Ogged on 12.15.14

Nice little interview on the "new" psychological theories of procrastination, which see it as a problem of mood and emotion, more than one of poor time management. Worth reading. Some of it sure does ring true for me, and with the stuff about self-forgiveness, it seems they're getting closer to the "root causes" of procrastination, although it seems a bit preliminary yet.

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