Shanghai Building to be Demolished

Philosophy

June 15th, 2019

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Nicholas Sparks helps oversee a homophobic school

Given the kind of emotionally manipulative and retrograde fiction that he writes, this isn’t a huge surprise:

And now for a bit of news as predictable as his novels: Per an extensive report from The Daily Beast, prolific heteronormative romance bro Nicholas Sparks- who also co-founded and runs the Epiphany School of Global Studies in North Carolina – is currently embroiled in a legal battle for an alleged pattern of discriminatory behavior that took place in his school. If you feel ...

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June 15th, 2019

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An interview with Kelly O’Donnel, theater director

(This interview also appears in the book How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer)

Kelly O’Donnel is one of the co-founders of the Flux Theater Ensemble in New York City.

The following interview was conducted on January 18th, 2019.

Krubner: I’ve done a lot of these interviews, as part of a larger project, and I’m so excited to talk to you. I’ll start off with some personal questions, because even though I’ve sort of known you a ...

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June 15th, 2019

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Life in San Francisco in 2019

This is part of the history of our era:

Source

June 14th, 2019

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No longer the best and the brightest

It’s often said that Gordon Liddy was a symptom. He was not the illness himself. He was a minor character. But the fact that he was tolerated at all teaches us something about the kinds of people who were attracted to President Nixon.

Likewise:

Louise Linton, Baroness of the United States Treasury and Hermés scarf owner, was recently profiled by Los Angeles Magazine. You might ask: Why is the Treasury secretary’s wife being profiled by a magazine for retired sit-com stars? ...

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June 14th, 2019

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Jeff Franklin accussed of misogyny and creating a toxic work environment

Interesting:

THR obtained a copy of the sworn declaration, intended to support Behar’s attempt to have Franklin’s lawsuit thrown out. It reveals that Warner Bros. first received a complaint about the Full House creator back in 2016, well before the allegations against Weinstein were made public. The studio launched an investigation into “Franklin’s handling of pregnancy-related requests for time off for doctor appointments as well as concerns about equal treatment for male and female writers for the show.” Though Franklin received ...

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June 14th, 2019

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A mother regrets her career choices

an excerpt from How The Young Anna Barnev Established Her Career As A Graphic Designer:

——————————-

On the lucky side of things, Anna now had several commercial design gigs: an ice cream store that wanted a font that looked frosty, a financial startup that wanted a logo that looked reliable to the point of stolid, opening credit fonts for a documentary about the spirituality of an aboriginal group of Guatemala.

On the less lucky side of things, each of these gigs paid poorly, ...

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June 13th, 2019

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Why doesn’t lasciviousness hurt Trump?

For any other President, this photo would have ended their Presidency:

It is gross to see a married man flirting with a younger woman so openly. But this photo did not hurt Trump, and likewise, when he was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women, it did not hurt him. I am curious why he is so utterly insulated. There is roughly 40% of the country that is willing to follow him no matter what. There is absolutely nothing he can ...

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June 11th, 2019

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How does an author know when they are done with a series?

Interesting:

Eva Chen In your two series, [To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Summer I Turned Pretty,] who do you think are the most underrated characters?

Jenny Han Oh, whoa! No one’s ever asked me that!

Eva Chen I am a good interviewer.

Jenny Han It’s hard to say, because I feel like all the characters are very appreciated, and everyone has their own favorites.

Eva Chen Okay, so let’s go the other way. If you had to play favorites —

Jenny Han So my personal favorite characters? From ...

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June 11th, 2019

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In a bad situation, where do young people find advice?

I wonder how common this is, where people find themselves in bad situations, and don’t have a local friend to ask, so they turn to an online community for support and advice?

Source

June 10th, 2019

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Is television harmful to us?

Are children spending too much time on their phones? One response I hear is “The same concerns were raised about television, but we all grew up watching television, and we turned out just fine.”

But is that true? Did we turn out just fine? Let’s say the children born around 1960 were the first children to ever be raised with television, this cohort went on to become:

1.) the first generation in USA history to see lower real male wages than previous ...

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June 10th, 2019

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Social norms and cell phones

Interesting:

A small part of the celebration was focussed on the younger ice hockey teams, including the Finnish under-18 women’s team, who came third in their world champsionship this year. Each player’s name and number was called out, and one by one the girls walked out onto the stage, to applause from the audience.

I kid you not, more than half, and maybe as many as three quarters, of the girls were *on their phones* as they walked on stage, and stayed on them for the entire ...

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June 10th, 2019

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The new authoritarians: a blend of Orwell and Huxley, cruelty and entertainment

This is true:

We are living with a new kind of regime that didn’t exist in Orwell’s time. It combines hard nationalism—the diversion of frustration and cynicism into xenophobia and hatred—with soft distraction and confusion: a blend of Orwell and Huxley, cruelty and entertainment. The state of mind that the Party enforces through terror in 1984, where truth becomes so unstable that it ceases to exist, we now induce in ourselves. Totalitarian propaganda unifies control over all information, until reality is ...

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June 7th, 2019

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Bringing up your own pain endlessly is emotionally fraught work

The recent revival of progressive movements, after 50 years of dormancy, have also revived the reality of the progressive movement having fractures. The one that I knew nothing about, until this last year, was the fracture within the LGBQT community; in particular, the conflict between lesbians and transexuals. This is a subject I’m still learning about.

Interesting:

honestly we need to stop engaging in good faith with people who have no respect for the suffering that lesbians have historically gone through/are ...

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June 7th, 2019

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Why are women still pleading for their humanity?

Interesting:

Why are women still pleading for their humanity over everything tbh. Saying women will die if we outlaw abortions doesnt matter to the men in charge because that’s not their priority. They literally see women as incubators doing their duty, as subhuman or different and less important than men, etc. How are you going to appeal to humanity when they dont see you as fully human and deserving of the same autonomy and rights? How are you going to appeal ...

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June 6th, 2019

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The end of the union of conservatives and libertarians

I once ran a libertarian blog, but I am happy to see a split between libertarians and conservatives, because not having religious and moral conservatives speak up in defense of their values leaves too much of the culture exposed to the idea that consumption in the marketplace is a moral choice equal to any other.

As I said at the top of this piece, the debates over libertarians and conservatives, Sohrab Ahmari and David French, are really about a very ...

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June 6th, 2019

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USA journalism failed to describe the rise in violence in Central America

At one point in my life I followed news in Central America closely. And at one time, this used to be easy, because there was more mainstream coverage of it. When Reagan was President, there was a lot of focus on the Sandanistas, which incidentally meant there were a lot of journalists in Central America, writing about it.

Apparently, things have gotten bad in Guatemala and El Salvador in recent years. I knew nothing of this, till this year. Now ...

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June 6th, 2019

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Taking care of one’s parents

I’m taking care of my mom. My grandparents are from Eastern Europe, but my parents were born in the USA. We are Americanized, in most ways. Still, I am taking care of my mom.

Here is an immigrant take on the subject:

My husband and I never really discussed the fact that I’d be supporting my parents. It was just a given. I never hid anything. I was open about the fact that my parents had no money. They speak ...

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June 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Nils Meyer: there are advantages to containers, but fairly easy to get wrong

Here is a comment that Nils Meyer on LinkedIn, in response to something I said. I can agree that I would see some use to Docker/Kubernetes in a non-virtual world, the irony is that I’ve only seen Docker/Kubernetes used in virtual setups.

I would agree that using packer and treating the VM like a container (or rather a pod in Kubernetes Parlance) is the easier approach. It’s also somewhat bizarre that a tarball of multiple tarballs and shell scripts concatenated ...

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June 5th, 2019

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Rainbow Rowell didn’t set out to write YA

Interesting:

But such nebulous (and, frankly, elitist) labels are not useful in explaining Rowell’s appeal. Her voice is welcoming and inclusive; she’s primarily interested in interpersonal relationships, but she’s also strongly influenced by genre writing and fan fiction, and has been vocal in her admiration for YA mega-franchises like the Harry Potter and Twilight books — both of which had a pronounced influence on Carry On.

Rowell’s success is indicative of the changes mainstream young adult fiction has undergone in the past ...

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June 3rd, 2019

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Socrates says that Trump is unhappy

A reminder:

First, he describes how a tyrannical man develops from a democratic household. The democratic man is torn between tyrannical passions and oligarchic discipline, and ends up in the middle ground: valuing all desires, both good and bad. The tyrant will be tempted in the same way as the democrat, but without an upbringing in discipline or moderation to restrain him. Therefore, his most base desires and wildest passions overwhelm him, and he becomes driven by lust, using force and ...

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June 2nd, 2019

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Pretty Much Screwed, by Jenna McCarthy

I just got done reading “Pretty Much Screwed” a novel by Jenna McCarthy, a novel set in Florida during the period 2010 to 2015. It is interesting to read this novel right after I read Eliza Kennedy’s novel “I Take You” (read my review of I Take You). The central characters could hardly be more different. Lily Wilder, from I Take You, is sexually adventurous and full of controversial opinions. By contrast, Charlotte Crawford, the main character of Pretty Much ...

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June 1st, 2019

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I Take You, by Eliza Kennedy

I recently read “I Take You” by Eliza Kennedy.

How The Young Lily Wilder Established Her Career As A Lawyer

Source

June 1st, 2019

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Blanche Krubner resigns from the Jackson Township Environmental Commission

You might recall some of the drama of my mom’s reappointment in 2009, which I’ve linked to before. When the Republicans gained power, they were anxious to push my mom out:

The issue surrounding Krubner came to the attention of the public several weeks ago when Reina did not reappoint the longtime Jackson resident and former teacher to the environmental commission or to the Planning Board.

The mayor said at the time, “Like all other towns, things have to change, and we ...

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May 30th, 2019

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Drama inside a fandom

Interesting:

Then the girl with the Destiel shirt was being villainized all over the place. I felt bad for this poor girl (little did I know I’d soon take her place). She has something she likes. It got noticed. Lots of people feel the same way. [Just to be clear, I neither ‘ship’ Destiel or Wincest nor am I homophobic - it seems you are one of those three in this fandom]. She got called all kinds of ...

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May 29th, 2019

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Is it bad to be a serial killer?

Remarkable how comfortable some people are referencing the love of Villanelle as an aspirational relationship goal, without regard to her profession.

Source

May 27th, 2019

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Moby did not apologize

Moby wrote a book and said he dated Natalie Portman when she was 18 and he was 33. She then responded and said no way, he was just an older creepy dude and she was polite to him. Now he has “apologized” but he does not actually retract the claim that they dated:

Source

May 27th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

The winners of globalization will now fight it out in the political sphere

Interesting:

First it was the left, now it’s the turn of the right to fade from the French political landscape. We have a new faultline: one that separates “progressives” from “populists”. This realignment is no accident, but the result of the political world catching up with real changes in society. The traditional left-right divide is giving way to one that reflects a fundamental class conflict that will define the west in the 21st century: the working classes whose livelihoods have been ...

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May 25th, 2019

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Single women are happier

It takes a lot of religion to keep people from seeing this:

We may have suspected it already, but now the science backs it up: unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers, according to a leading expert in happiness.

Speaking at the Hay festival on Saturday, Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said the latest evidence showed ...

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May 24th, 2019

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Anna Barnev, examples for the book cover, design by Leah McCloskey

In chronological order, starting in January of 2019, these were the designs that Leah McCloskey came up, to try to capture the spirit of the Anna Barnev story.

Here was the first batch, which she sent to me on January 14th, 2019:

Of these, I liked the hand drawn version of Anna, because she looks confident, and I thought it was important to have a cover where she looked confident. So I asked Leah to follow up on that idea.

On January ...

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May 19th, 2019

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Whatever happened to This Chick Digs Chicks?

I previously linked to a blog on Tumblr called this-chick-digs-chicks. The woman behind that blog wrote a lot on the subject of an appropriate relationship between transexuals and lesbians. Others called her a terf, but she made good points about the need to have a movement of those whose lifetime experience was that of being a woman. Almost everything I’ve read on the subject I learned either from her or from the stuff she linked to.

But now it looks ...

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May 16th, 2019

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YouTube is the ultimate reality TV

Somehow modern reality TV reminds me a bit of the explosion fake religious leaders that happened during the English Civil War. In 1649 the English people were acting without precedent — there had never been a political revolution in which peasants rose up and executed a king. The public could only understand it in religious terms, surely this cataclysm must mean that the Second Coming was near? And then more and more people began coming forward who claimed to be ...

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May 14th, 2019

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Peaceful and safe

Interesting:

Source

May 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

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What does it mean for a young person to become an adult in 2019?

There is truth here:

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May 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The lust to blame on Tumblr

A lot of modern politics is being shaped by little moments such as this:

“oh man, remember how john green has a This Machine Kills Fascists sticker on his laptop despite never in his life even thinking about doing anything subversive ”

I’m so over the dumb shit with this cursed dead-end site. He and his brother provide free educational videos contradicting white-washed/cis male-washed history and science. He has always listened to reasonable critique on his work and apologized for anything he ...

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May 12th, 2019

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they aren’t your fictional ships and they aren’t you representation quota

Well said:

Source

May 12th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why is Meghan McCain famous?

Meghan McCain is the daughter of John McCain, the great war hero. One thing that bothers me, intensely, is when someone tries to claim someone else’s greatness as their own. I’m curious what has Meghan McCain done that justifies her national reputation? Being the daughter of John McCain is not, itself, a qualification.

This is interesting:

McCain’s response to this polite, reasonable, question was to go on an outraged and borderline incomprehensible tirade in which, in between splutters, she continued ...

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May 11th, 2019

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Trump is bad at golf

Amazing that this is so important, and yet it is:

Well, this story isn’t in the book but it’s wild. While Trump was meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, a club championship was held at Trump International, the course Trump built near Mar-a-Lago in Florida. So later on, Trump’s back on the course there with the Secret Service and the SWAT team guys and all that stuff. And he sees Ted Virtue, who was involved in the financing of the ...

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May 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Battle Of Winterfell

I just watched this while falling asleep last night. While I agree that the battle could have been shorter, I also feel that every single episode of Game Of Thrones could be shorter. I’m constantly stunned about the amount of extra footage that any competent film editor would normally remove, but which somehow makes it into this show. Is this done to pad the time? Is the goal to stretch the show out as long as possible, because it is ...

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April 29th, 2019

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High heels

Interesting:

Brennan circles around the shoes from all angles, and her brief chapters add up to a kaleidoscopic view of feminine public existence, both wide-ranging and thoughtful. She describes the high heel shoes she wore for her own job at the United Nations, and she describes falling down stairs in the course of doing her job while wearing them. There’s another short chapter about the tall tale that expensive high heels don’t hurt, only cheap ones do, so if you’re in ...

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April 19th, 2019

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She has some lovers along the way

A comment from a friend regarding some fiction I wrote. This is the nicest thing that anyone has ever said about my writing. I can’t even imagine a comment that would make me happier than this one:

That’s about it. Really, Lawrence, I think it is very strong. There is a lot of humor and a lot of great discussion about art and the building of a career outside the “mainstream” process. I love how her various lovers ...

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April 19th, 2019

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Why explain dialogue?

From my friend Kat:

First, just an overall note about what irritates me in terms of some writers’ dialogue – it bothers me when writers write a scene with a certain tone and then also explain that tone through exposition. So, for example a character says something sarcastically and then the author explains that they said it sarcastically

I feel exactly the same way. Every one else who reads my novels gives me the opposite advice, and I thought perhaps I was ...

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April 18th, 2019

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The rise of sincerity as a progressive answer to the alt-right

Interesting:

Wholesome circa 1998 was the ’50s. Wholesome was father knows best. Wholesome was a mother vacuuming in pearls and high heels.

And for most of the ’90s and the ’00s, “wholesome” and “pure” were nearly synonymous with sexual chastity, with wholesome family values and evangelical Christian purity. Girls would put on purity rings at purity balls, which were a “wholesome event” for fathers “bringing up daughters to live in purity and in truth.” Daughters would pledge to remain virgins until marriage, ...

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April 16th, 2019

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The rising importance of fanfiction

Interesting:

The Archive of Our Own has had a fundamental role in altering the way we think about fanfiction

That empowered attitude arising among fans who built and used AO3 would coincide with a sea change in the way we think about fanfiction.

The creation of the AO3 in 2009 happened parallel to the rise of social media. This was a highly significant coincidence for fandom. AO3 was formed as an independent, fully non-corporatized community just when the internet was dividing into venture ...

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April 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Another fanfic doing well

Almost any story about fanfiction doing well makes me happy. Although, I wonder why the stories tend to lead to bland movies? Is that because of the young demographic?

In 2013, a 25-year-old named Anna Todd self-published her work of serialized fan fiction on Wattpad. It blew up almost instantaneously and reached over one billion reads. After became a success largely for its steamy scenes, which drew comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey—and because its male lead, Hardin Scott, was stylized ...

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April 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Women are tough

Here is an odd article from the Russian press. It seems to be saying that Western feminism is wrong because women are actually very tough:

There’s a railroad in Siberia that my grandmother and other Soviet women built. Married twice and twice divorced, she was always so busy at work that she didn’t have time for her own children. At the age of 17, her daughter, my mother, moved from a small city in the north and went to Russia’s ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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There was this logo on a red bus, saying our money should remain in the UK — that’s why I voted for Remain

This is a priceless story:

The day after the Brexit referendum in 2016, I went to Romford. I was keen to talk to people in one of the highest Leave-voting constituencies.

In a pub on South Street, I chatted to an elderly lady who was sitting at a table next to her two sons. Both had voted for Leave. She had voted Remain. Why? I asked her.

“There was this logo on a red bus, saying our money should remain in the UK. ...

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April 14th, 2019

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Brienne and Daenerys

I love this:

Source

April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The difference between conspiracy theories and conspiracism is the first tries to explain an event, whereas the second simply invents events

Suppose you believe in an evil force, such as Satan or Communism of aliens from another planet. You believe this evil force wants to take over the planet and destroy the entire human race. And you believe that I am loyal to this evil force. Is there any reason why you should then respect my right to vote? If my side wins the election, is there any reason you should feel the election was valid?

Promoting conspiracies about the rising ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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What if we kiss in your Paris apartment after I stab you in the stomach?

I admit, I really like this show. I don’t allow myself much time to watch television shows, but I will make time to watch this one.

Source

April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The cat named Brexit

Very good:

Some have responded with humour. Nathalie Loiseau, France’s Europe minister, said recently that if she had one, she would call her cat Brexit: “It wakes me up miaowing because it wants to go out. When I open the door, its sits there, undecided. Then it looks daggers at me when I put it out.”

Source

April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why can’t all books be like this, I started thinking midway through, just 280 pages of pure human relationship?

Interesting:

Even if we can’t picture them, the characters are wildly, freakishly attuned to every sensation they experience, surveilling their emotional and physical reactions and analyzing the gestures and comments of everyone they encounter.

In fact, there is so little external physical description that when it comes along it functions as a mental speed bump, drawing attention to the artifice. The spell of the book is broken, temporarily, as if Rooney has remembered to insert some description of rain “silver as loose ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Bad writing in Game of Thrones

Funny and true:

There are sentences we hear in our lives that stick with us and grow deep, strong roots in our souls. We remember these idioms because they are poetic and resonant, disturbing and brilliant. They become mantras, guiding lights. We seek these phrases in times of joy or need. I myself hold onto one of these sentences: a beautiful sequence of words that has rattled around my brain since 2015 when “Mother’s Mercy,” the season five finale of Game ...

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April 14th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Curse words in Scientific American?

The world is getting more and more informal, but I’m still surprised that Scientific American allowed this use of “fucked”:

Beyond that, the historiography of science in the 60s and 70s centered on distinctions between the “internal” history of science, or the internal logic of scientific ideas and their disembodied development over time, and the “external” history of science, or the grubby social and institutional contexts in which serene natural philosophers built on the work of their predecessors. What fucked Kuhn ...

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April 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

3 Comments

Abuse on Wikipedia

Interesting:

In countries where it is more dangerous for L.G.B.T. individuals to be open about their identities, harassment on Wikipedia can be particularly virulent. Once, an administrator on a Wikipedia page blocked an editor simply because that person’s username suggested that the editor could be gay, said Rachel Wexelbaum, a Wikipedian who works to improve L.G.B.T. content on the website. Eventually, she said, Wikimedia’s Trust and Safety Team got involved, and the administrator was blocked for those actions.

In some spaces, the ...

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April 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Abusive people know they are abusive

Back in 2001 I had a friend who needed to hear this, and I told her, many times, but she did not listen to me. She kept writing long letters to the guy who abused her, hoping he would understand what he had done. My feeling is he always understood, he did not need anything explained.

Source

April 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The sexualization of Brexit

Apparently this is a real quote? If so, I’m horrified.

As far back as last year, Boris Johnson was casting himself as the man “to put some lead in the collective pencil”.

Whatever happened to Britain? For centuries it was regarded as one of the sanest places on Earth. It will be a long time before anyone regards it that way again.

All of this makes me sick:

Happily, not one of them feels miscast in this hypersexualised action hero role. “How ...

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April 1st, 2019

In Philosophy

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The big shift in USA politics

I’m glad this is happening, but I wonder why this is happening now? My parents were heartbroken when the nation began to shift to the right after 1968, and I’ve been waiting my whole life to see something like this:

Source

March 30th, 2019

In Philosophy

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For the generation born in the 1960s, the American dream has undeniably vanished

Interesting:

The declining prospects of America’s working class are widely discussed and hotly debated these days, from the anthems of Bruce Springsteen to the “deaths of despair” research of Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton.

A recent paper from the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute explores this downhill trend for less-educated men and women by comparing life outcomes of two cohorts born 20 years apart. It shows that for the more recent generation, the American dream has undeniably vanished.

“The Lost Ones: ...

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March 29th, 2019

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It’s astonishing that a Democratic backbencher could get this much attention and get so famous at the beginning of her first term

So true:

The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump analyzed Fox News segments between January 1 and February 15 of this year, comparing the number of segments mentioning AOC to those focusing on at least one of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates. It turns out she got more coverage on Fox than any candidate save one, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also a right-wing boogeyman. Ocasio-Cortez got significantly more Fox News coverage than fellow democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It’s astonishing that a Democratic ...

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March 28th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Groups is the thing that all social networks need

If there is anything that would cause danah boyd to “Just say no” it is probably collapsing contexts. And that is something that Google+ got right:

Google plus had circles

… so unlike with twitter I didn’t have to spam everyone to reach those two followers who’d actually care about that topic.

Example: I could add Norwegians I knew to my “Norwegians” circle so I could share links to Norwegian pages only to people I knew could read Norwegian.

Facebook has this as groups, ...

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March 27th, 2019

In Philosophy

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No p-value can reveal the plausibility, presence, truth, or importance of an association or effect

I don’t understand why this started, 100 years ago, why it lasted as long as it did, or why right now it is coming to an end. I’m pleased to see this nonsense end, but I’m very curious why it happened at all. I suppose this was an expression of some aspect of the class war during the 20th Century, the rising importance of a certain group of professionals?

Scientists should stop using the term ‘statistically significant’ in their research, ...

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March 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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A new “fandom is broken” article and the ensuing avalanche of responses is only the latest iteration of a familiar cycle

Two comparisons occur to me:

1.) to the extent that fanfic suggests the amateurs who can undermine the power of the professionals, there is an echo here for the criticisms that journalists made, over and over again, when the blogosphere existed, during the period from 1999 to 2008. That conversation when the blogosphere was destroyed by Facebook and Twitter.

2.) to the extent that gender is a factor in the hysteria of the reaction against fanfic, there is some overlap between ...

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March 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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South Korea has gone crazy because 552 refugees

So very disappointing:

It is easy to be disappointed at this response coming from a liberal administration, one that was born out of the heroic monthslong protests that resulted in the impeachment and removal of the deeply corrupt and authoritarian President Park Geun-hye. Yet polling reveals the dispiriting reason why the Moon administration is at least partially pandering to anti-refugee sentiments: The issue potentially poses the greatest threat to the administration’s stability yet, as it strikes at the foundation of its ...

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March 24th, 2019

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Does reality exist?

The problem in this paragraph is the use of “we”:

Morris, who calls his philosophy “investigative realism,” writes, “I feel very strongly that, even though the world is unutterably insane, there is this idea—perhaps a hope—that we can reach outside of the insanity and find truth, find the world, find ourselves.” Kuhn, for all his faults, goaded Morris into writing a brilliant work of investigative realism. For that, if for nothing else, he, and we, should thank Kuhn.

If we replace ...

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March 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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The ongoing Young Adult wars are about power—about who has traditionally wielded power in publishing, and how that balance is shifting

The subject that is very much at the forefront of my mind nowadays:

The YA book world has gone through a few high-profile controversies in the past few months involving authors who pulled their books shortly before publication after a group of angry bloggers accused them of racism. Each cancellation sparked a slew of hot takes, but this New Yorker piece from Katy Waldman is by far the most nuanced and careful one I’ve seen:

The ongoing Y.A. wars are about power—about ...

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March 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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These people are bent out of shape by their hidden selves

I’ll have to track down whatever her best book was and read it:

These people are bent out of shape by their hidden selves. There is something of another contemporary, Henry Green, in Johnson’s invigorating harshness. As Elsie passes on her way to school, Parsons ‘gave her a sidelong glance, sniffing up the hairs in his nose. Sidey little runt, he thought.’ Elsie, abruptly adolescent, is in love with her art teacher, Miss Chavasse, who is having complicated thoughts about her ...

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March 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Parents unthinking use of social media

Parents who embarrass their kids is a phenomena as old as time, but doing so on social media means a larger audience, and the possibility the incidents will remain public forever. Parents should really think twice about this.

There, for anyone to see on her public Facebook account, were all of the embarrassing moments from my childhood: The letter I wrote to the tooth fairy when I was five years old, pictures of me crying when I was a toddler, and ...

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March 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Almost readable Greek

As sometimes with the Russian alphabet (and for similar reasons) I can sometimes almost read a Greek word, and it always surprises me. Here is an alphabet that is clearly different from Latin, yet so tantalizingly close to Latin that I can almost read it.

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Misogynist morons misogynize Captain Marvel

Interesting:

In February, as Captain Marvel’s first pre-release screenings were held for press, the movie became the subject of several negative user reviews posted to the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes by people who hadn’t even seen it, blasting Larson’s performance and trashing the movie itself. Although, to call their assessments “reviews” is generous, as they primarily complained about Larson for being sexist against men, expressing anger that seemed to stem from Larson being vocal about the lack of diversity in ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Senator Martha McSally talks about her sexual assault in the military

Interesting:

Sen. Martha McSally, the first female Air Force fighter pilot to fly in combat, said Wednesday that she was sexually assaulted by a superior officer, and later, when she tried to talk about it to military officials, she “felt like the system was raping me all over again.”

The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the military’s efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur. Lawmakers also heard from ...

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March 15th, 2019

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While describing their “unruly” intellectual style, Israeli scientists often employed an emotional “language of fire” in contrast with German cold cognition

Interesting:

Cultural misunderstandings like this are growing as campuses internationalize. In recent interviews with scientists at Harvard, M.I.T., Boston University and other institutions, I found that respondents embrace diversity in their workplaces but also raise concerns about puzzling behaviors of their international students. They say that cultural diversity in research settings is crucial but point out that some international students are “too obedient” or “hard working yet lacking in originality.” Without training in cultural sensitivity, they are often surprised and occasionally ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible

Interesting:

“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible, ”Albert Einstein famously once said. These days, however, it is far from being a matter of consensus that the universe is comprehensible, or even that it is unique. Fundamental physics is facing a crisis, related to two popular concepts that are frequently invoked, summarized tellingly by the buzzwords “multiverse” and “uglyverse.”

…With the advent of the multiverse, this has changed: As unlikely as a coincidence may appear, in the ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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What makes for a heartthrob?

Interesting:

When Beverly Hills 90210 first aired in 1990, producers miscalculated. They thought Brandon Walsh was going to be our heartthrob. It was an easy mistake to make: Jason Priestley had eyes like the sea, capped with a gossamer mane you just wanted to reach up and push back. The problem wasn’t Priestley. It was Brandon.

Brandon Walsh plays basketball and might have to be home early to study for his trig final. He had a paper route back in Minnesota, where ...

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March 15th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Strict churches are strong?

Interesting:

Jennifer, a young mother and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in northern Virginia, is honest about the challenges of being Mormon in America today. “It’s not an easy gig,” she says. It’s not just the expectation that you will adhere to strict religious standards when it comes to dating and sex. Or the 10 percent tithing requirement. The prohibition on caffeine or alcohol. It’s the time, she says. “My husband and I teach Sunday school ...

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March 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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The second shift that women work

Interesting:

Source

March 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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A safe space is exclusive

Interesting:

unpopular opinion: safe spaces have to exclude some people to be safe spaces because otherwise those the people in that space need to hide from can literally just enter at any time. An all inclusive liberal “safe space” isn’t safe at all

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February 28th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Gendered on-ramps are important to get women into software development

A year ago I wrote “Why are women being pushed away from the tech industry?” Women made up 35% of all software developers in 1990, but are only 26% of all software developers now. Women are getting pushed out of the tech industry. There are lots of articles explaining why, and I link to some of them in that earlier essay.

But why did women’s participation in software development peak at the end of the 1980s? I know at least ...

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February 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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She says, nobody had to teach me how to be kind

Interesting:

“Women, teach your sons to be better!” but why? but why? nobody had to teach me how to be kind, i learned it naturally, i learned it easily. i watched and listened and took turns and sat pretty. i don’t understand. what could i teach them better than they could learn just from breathing? why is it my job to curb my brother’s anger when i’ve got my own well stewing and bubbling? why do i have to reign in ...

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February 23rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Are you near New York City?

If you live near New York City, then I would like to get to know you better. Once a month I host a gathering. This used to be exclusively a tech event, but lately I have opened it up to the artists that I know. This is very informal. You might have seen my earlier post about one of the dinner parties I threw last summer?

Contact me if you are interested.

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February 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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Online conversations are undermined by anonymous communication

A long sad goodbye to one thread on Reddit:

But instead it was always that the the thread was “dominated by” or “only had” or “was an echo chamber for” homophobic transphobic alt-right neo-Nazis, which always grew into the claim that the subreddit was dominated by homophobic etc neo-Nazis, which always grew into the claim that the SSC community was dominated by homophobic etc neo-Nazis, which always grew into the claim that I personally was a homophobic etc neo-Nazi of them ...

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February 22nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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The new Conservatism includes tax subsidies for big corporations

When I was younger the Conservatives in the USA had a rhetoric of “small government” and they were nominally anti-subsidy. In reality, the government grew under Republican governments, and no government questioned the many billions of subsidies given to the farm sector. Still, there was a rhetoric that suggested subsides are bad. I don’t see any trace of that rhetoric anymore. It is worth noting how much it has vanished, given that it was important to Republicans for several decades. ...

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February 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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When to use Tumblr instead of Twitter?

First of all, it looks like Tumblr creates a copy of a post when a blogger decides to reblog it, but how can this be allowed under the GDPR? Here is a case where it looks like the original blogger deleted a post, but the post still exists where it was reblogged. Does anyone know the legal implications? How does the original blogger say “I want all of my material erased from this website.”?

The original post was reblogged here, ...

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February 21st, 2019

In Philosophy

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Any comparison of a standard of living over time is blurry

I wrote this as a comment on Hacker News.

It’s also worth examining if our typical ways of measuring inflation (in the USA, the Consumer Price Index, or CPI) is an accurate guide to the real costs of raising children. The CPI currently takes into account a very diverse range of goods, including canoes and guns and lamps and kitchen wares and music and coffee grinders. The CPI tries to avoid the assumption that some purchases are more important than ...

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February 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

3 Comments

Don’t waste your life on Twitter

The energy that goes into writing tweets is also energy that could instead go into works of lasting value. I’ve noticed that with all of my favorite writers, the moment when they turn to Twitter seems to be a moment when their production of high quality books/essays seems to go into decline. One of my favorite economists had a 10 year streak when he was absolutely on fire, then he started tweeting on Twitter, and his production of books and ...

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February 16th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Seeing Romeo and Juliet for the very first time

Interesting:

oh! I have to tell you guys a great story one of my professors told me. So he has a friend who is involved in these Shakespeare outreach programs where they try to bring Shakespeare and live theatre to poor and underprivileged groups and teach them about English literature and performing arts and such. On one of their tours they stopped at a young offenders institute for women and they put on a performance of Romeo and Juliet for a ...

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February 6th, 2019

In Philosophy

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USA schools are child jails

Interesting:

I have a saying when my peers compare themselves to the Zuckerbergs and Gates and Musks of the world: How many hundreds of thousands of dollars did your parents spend on your education? Because you have to realize that is who you are competing with. I went to a VERY RURAL high school. We had 3 math classes that everyone went through… none of them college level. My math class decided it was funny to rip up the floor tiles and ...

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January 24th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why are young people interested in computer science?

The New York Times shows this graph, which shows a dramatic decline in the number of students interested in computer science, followed by a dramatic uptick. I find it frustrating that the article focuses on the uptick, without making any comment on the decline. The article says that enrollment in CS majors has doubled since 2013, but it doesn’t mention that it was only in 2014 that enrollment got back to the level of 2002. That’s a 12 year lull, ...

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January 20th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Actor autonomy when disagreeing with showrunner

It’s an interesting idea, how much autonomy the actor should have, in relation to the showrunner:

it makes me think back to bering and wells. the femslash ship that was captained by the two actresses themselves. and how the showrunner dug his heels in, not wanting them to be in a relationship, but the actresses played all their scenes romantically despite it. and to this day it holds semi-canon ship status. because the actors made sure to show (and say ...

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January 19th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Why Tumblr survives

This is actually an important post, with a message that the rest of the tech community would be wise to listen to:

What the experiment demonstrates is that I will put up with all of that just to use a site that shows me posts that I asked for in chronological order.

and this:

the key function of this site is not asking me for my real name/phone number and not using my contact list/other apps to find people/let people find me.

Source

January 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Should children ever be considered transexual?

Interesting:

In response:

This young man is in the SAME situation as Jazz Jennings. No puberty = no sexual maturation. No sexual maturation = no genital development and libido.

PLUS hormones and puberty blockers that cause genital atrophy, libido loss, urination problems etc.

But HOW FUCKING STUPID are parents like this?? The goal was stopping puberty from ever happening and now they act surprised that their son is basically dead down there. Fucking idiots.

And also:

This is what I meant when I said trans ...

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January 18th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Hopepunk is Camus

Alexandra Rowland has more to say about her word “hopepunk”. This definition is nearly identical to Camus’s “Myth Of Sisyphus”:

The work is never finished. The work will never be finished. There will never be a nice, comfortable utopia where we can rest on our laurels and sip strawberry daiquiris by the pool and trust that now things are Fine and we can all relax. Utopia is not a stable system. It doesn’t last. The best we can hope for is ...

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January 17th, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

When will the era of CyberPunk end?

People complaining about is the first sign of something ending.

Interesting:

This was science fiction perfectly tuned for the Reagan-Thatcher era. Its connection with punk music and subcultures is, of course, contingent. (Who knows what might have happened if Bethke decided to call his story Techno-Hipster.) Yet the clichéd punk imperative to “Do It Yourself” is in fact perfect for a kind of fiction whose ethos is that you have to survive in a world where unstoppable megacorporations control every aspect ...

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January 13th, 2019

In Philosophy

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To protect children, don’t send report cards home on a Friday

Apparently child abuse spikes when report cards are sent home, but the effect is especially strong if the report cards go home on Friday:

While talking to a pediatrician and fellow early-childhood researcher, Dr. Melissa Bright heard something that stopped her in her tracks: Child abuse spikes after report cards come out.

Bright, a research scientist in the University of Florida’s Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, couldn’t find any studies to back up what doctors have long observed. ...

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January 11th, 2019

In Philosophy

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It will consume it

English is a flexible language. Perhaps it is too flexible?

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as “the smoke alarm … telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it.”

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January 4th, 2019

In Philosophy

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb accidentally argues against 4 year school degrees

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has an excellent essay about why science works to advance the human race, and how to structure a research program for maximum benefit. However, it is also the strongest argument I’ve ever seen for ending 4 year school degrees. Consider this bit:

1) Convexity is easier to attain than knowledge (in the technical jargon, the “long-gamma” property): As we saw in Figure 2, under some level of uncertainty, we benefit more from improving the payoff function than from ...

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January 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

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What queers these heteros be

I’ve been watching the HBO production of My Brilliant Friend. I love it. I think the acting is great, the direction is great, the recreation of the past is great, the tension is constant. Everything about this is great. But I saw this Lesbian review on Jezebel, and I laughed because it seems so true. The two women are often in these situations, staring at one another, close together, bonded by some deed or secret, and its possible to imagine ...

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January 3rd, 2019

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Argument about attraction and sexuality and trans

Interesting:

Source

January 2nd, 2019

In Philosophy

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The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk

A good article at Vox, of obvious interest to me:

“The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk,” declared Alexandra Rowland, a Massachusetts writer, in a two-sentence Tumblr post in July 2017. “Pass it on.”

…When pressed by other Tumblr users to expand on her two-sentence Tumblr post that coined the term, Rowland elaborated on what she meant by “hopepunk,” touching on themes present in both her own psyche and in the spirit of resistance and political agitation all around her:

Hopepunk says that genuinely ...

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December 29th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Everyone has a gender identity now

Interesting:

One of my butch friends is a “They” now. A couple years ago we went to pride and I remember her specifically saying she’s happy to be a butch woman and she likes her breasts. I don’t know what has changed since then but I think the queer stuff has gotten really outrageous. She used to be a happy butch and now she doesn’t feel comfortable calling herself a woman. It seems crazy that women over 30 years old will ...

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December 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The rom-coms lie

An interesting comment over at Jezebel:

When I was single, I remember talking politics with some guy I’d met at a party. He tried to call me out for something, and I sternly nailed him back with facts and data. I sincerely thought he was a jerk because of the way he smugly raised his objections to my argument and rolled his eyes. I walked away.

For the remainder of the night, this guy would not leave me alone. He had to ...

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December 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Motivations of Trump

I’m not sure this is correctly stated, but it is interesting:

Some of this may reflect personal values: Putin, bin Salman and other strongmen are just Trump’s kind of people. But it’s hard to escape the suspicion that Moola — financial payoffs to Trump personally via the Trump Organization — plays an important role. After all, unlike leaders of democracies, dictators and absolute monarchs can direct lots of cash to Trump properties and offer the Trump family investment opportunities without having ...

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December 27th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The Democrats should offer Trump a full pardon

Two points which I think are obvious:

1.) The USA should have never gotten into the ridiculous situation where its President is being blackmailed by a foreign power.

2.) However, once we ended up in this sad scenario, it seems to me important that the political system offer the President a full pardon, both so the blackmailers lose their power, and also the President can safely resign.

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December 24th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Text don’t tweet

Web 2.0 lasted from 2002 to 2008 and it will be remembered as the peak of the fun times on the Web. It was killed when Twitter and Facebook became popular in 2008. But it wasn’t till 2016 that we began to see how awful things could get. This is part of our learning process:

And maybe the things you don’t even need to whisper should be whispered. I’ve been slowly trying, as much as one can who works on ...

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December 22nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The first task of the writer is to establish trust

Interesting:

The difference between a book that grabs you from the beginning vs. one that you’re on the fence about tossing out the window is winning your trust. It’s why it’s “easier” to read books by authors you already know, or fanfic where you’re familiar with the characters. Winning the reader’s trust as quickly as possible should be your first goal as a writer when you’re going back and editing your first draft. This can be accomplished by things like: speaking ...

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December 22nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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She or they?

Interesting:

at work today i was training with my coworker and our supervisor had a pic of her and her gf on her desk–coworker asked who “he” was, honest mistake as gf is butch. supervisor laughed it off and said it was a pic of her and her girlfriend, and very explicitly used “she” to refer to gf. and then my coworker, who is Queer, kept asking questions about the supervisor’s gf but using “they” like “what do they do” and ...

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December 18th, 2018

In Philosophy

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A planet/exo-planet was discovered that is almost 5% of the way to Alpha Centauri

Interesting story.

So this object is a bit more than 11 billion miles from the sun?

And Alpha Centauri is 4.2 light years away, which is 24,635,923,200,000 miles?

So this object is roughly 0.046% of the way to the next star?

Assuming that the Alpha Centauri system reaches out to us as much as our system reaches out to Alpha Centauri, I am surprised that the two systems reach out to each other as much as they do.

Almost 10% of the distance between the ...

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December 13th, 2018

In Philosophy

2 Comments

Yair Lapid: What does it say about us that Israel has become the only democracy in the world in which Jews don’t have freedom of religion?

I don’t follow politics in Israel, but my mom does. I did not realize how bad things had gotten, till she pointed me to this article, about the arrest of a rabbi who committed the crime of marrying a couple in a Conservative way, rather than in an Orthodox way.

Haiyun said he was shocked by his detention and said Israel was becoming an Orthodox theocracy.

“Iran is here already. I am not an offender, not a murderer, not a criminal,” ...

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December 10th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Why are beds so poorly designed for sex?

People do a lot of important things in beds, but one of the most important is have sex.

(Please note, nothing I say in this essay is meant to be a criticism of other locations for sex. If you’re into forest groves, mountain tops, office desks, bar bathrooms, or the kitchen floor, please know that you are valid and I support you.)

First of all, beds are too small for sex, even if you limit yourself to just two people. These ...

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December 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Will the tech industry ever have AI that can recognize porn?

Tumblr has decided to delete all porn. They are going after images that are clearly not porn:

I’m curious if Tumblr is using AI, or if they are using humans to delete these images? If AI, why is the AI always so terrible? Why does the tech industry talk about breakthroughs in AI, yet actual use of AI tends to be absurd? This story would be a bit more familiar if the deleting is being done by humans, especially if the ...

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November 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The people for Brexit are children who failed to grow up

Interesting:

That’s what a seven-decade period of general peace and collective prosperity does for you. It makes you think it’s normal, rather than a hard-won, fragile rarity in history. It makes most people complacent, and turns a small but unfortunately influential number into the kind of adolescent romantics who think you can smash up everything in the house and stick two fingers up to Mummy and Daddy because, no matter what you do, they will always be there to make it ...

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November 29th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Shame is the opposite of art

A woman writes to an advice columnist. The woman says she has wasted her life. The response is very good:

Shame is the opposite of art. When you live inside of your shame, everything you see is inadequate and embarrassing. A lifetime of traveling and having adventures and not being tethered to long-term commitments looks empty and pathetic and foolish, through the lens of shame. You haven’t found a partner. Your face is aging. Your body will only grow weaker. ...

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November 25th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Jenna Marbles follows after a Bob Ross painting tutorial

Funny!

Source

November 22nd, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

LGBQ loneliness

Specifically “L”, though I suspect every category of LGBQ suffers its own special kind of isolation. Interesting:

I hate how the queerio community acts like being a lesbian means “UwU I love girls and every gorl is soft n precious and we wear matching flannels and both SLAY together!!! Wow being a lesbian is so cute and fun OwO.” When in reality, being an actual lesbian means growing up hating a part of yourself you cannot change, worrying that you come ...

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November 22nd, 2018

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Hillary Clinton keeps making the same mistakes

This woman is a mess. For 30 years she’s been pushing the idea that we should accept what the right-wing says, at face value, and try to give into their demands, in the hopes that if we give the right-wing what they want, then they won’t be so angry anymore. It’s difficult to understand how she can continue to make the same mistake, over and over and over again.

Except immigration is not stirring up right-wing populist fury, rather, right-wing populist ...

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November 21st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Social media fights of the 1600s

I recently read “The World Turned Upside Down” and I was surprised by the parallels:

https://www.amazon.com/World-Turned-Upside-Down-Revolution/dp/0140137327/

During the English revolt, the censorship of the press was suspended, and people could publish anything. And they did. And the number of inaccuracies spread rapidly.

It became common to argue that England had once enjoyed a rough democracy during the Anglo Saxon days, even though there is no evidence of that.

It became common to argue that studying the Bible was unimportant, compared to the importance of ...

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November 21st, 2018

In Philosophy

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It’s crazy how far people will go to protect the status quo

I see a comment on this page that starts with “It’s crazy how far people will go to protect the status quo.” I agree with the sentiment. It is true when we talk about personal relationships, or personal friends, or defending professional colleagues. It’s also true in politics. And sometimes those overlap:

As has been widely reported this week, Marcia Fudge, currently the Democratic representative of Ohio’s 11th district, was one of the letter writers. “Lance Mason is a good man ...

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November 19th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Girls mature faster?

Interesting:

Source

November 16th, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

Fast story telling: non-boring or plothole?

I have a rule that when I write books the books should be 60,000 words or less, because I want people to be able to read my books in a single day. Because of this, I sometimes move fast and skip over things. I rely on the intelligence of my reader to guess at the gaps. I suppose some people hate this? I’m intrigued by the preferences suggested here:

Source

November 16th, 2018

In Philosophy

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What can we expect from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

I donated $400 to the campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That is the most that I have ever donated to any political campaign. What can we expect from her, while she is in Congress? During the next 2 years, I suspect the answer is “nothing.” The Democrats don’t have much power. And she faces at least two great difficulties:

1.) governing is a complex skill which takes 10 years to learn and she is a complete novice

2.) soon she will have to ...

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November 14th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Fired Up, the movie

I just saw Fired Up! the movie. Some of the dialogue is very much an inspiration for the kind of comedy writing I want to do. In particular, repeating this 3 times:

Angela: What?

Nick: What?

3 times? That seems excessive, but it works in the movie.

Shawn: What to the panthers have that you don’t have?

Sylvia: Skills.

Bianca: Athletics-isms?

Caryl: Kick-ass cheers.

Sylvia: Laser hair removals?

Angela: Big ass titties!

Bianca: Hm?

Sylvia: What?

Angela: Well, I’m just sayin’.

Shawn: CONFIDENCE! They’re cocky-ass holes! Like Nick, he’s the cockiest ass ...

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November 12th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Another look at Lost In Translation

I liked this movie and I liked this review:

Returning to the movie, I feared that this relationship, too, might be diminished by time: both the length of time that has passed since the movie’s release and the moment of time in which I watch, weighted with a hyper-vigilant attention to all that can go wrong between older, more powerful men and younger, less powerful women. But Bob’s interest in a woman 20 years his junior strikes me as even ...

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November 12th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Simon Wren Lewis: I began writing my blog mainlymacro because of my anger at austerity

Interesting:

I began writing my blog mainlymacro because of my anger at austerity, and the fact that the view of the majority of macroeconomists that it was a bad idea was largely ignored by the media. When the media did talk to economists, they tended to be from the financial sector. Financial sector economists are biased in two directions: they tend to be right wing and they tend to talk up the importance of a capricious financial market and their own ...

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November 10th, 2018

In Philosophy

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He also criticizes the use of execution to punish theft, saying thieves might as well murder whom they rob, to remove witnesses, if the punishment is going to be the same

It is interesting, if a bit sad, to realize how common it is for some intellectuals to speak out against the injustices of the age, while having no power to stop those injustices. The injustices continue for another several centuries. This was written in 1516:

The first discussions with Raphael allow him to discuss some of the modern ills affecting Europe such as the tendency of kings to start wars and the subsequent loss of money on fruitless endeavours. He also ...

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November 10th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Sylvia Plath’s tragedy

Interesting:

“Being born a woman is an awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording —all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to ...

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November 6th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Who paid for the Glorious Revolution?

Interesting:

“People who used the epithet revealed how narrow and myopic was their perspective, for obviously ‘Glorious Revolution’ could apply only to England, not to Scotland or Ireland” 2. But is this entirely true? As noted above, the English Parliament took pains to portray the bloodless coup in England as passing on the crown post abdication. But this argument could not be used in Ireland. The war that raged from 1689 to 1690 was called in the Irish language Cogadh an ...

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November 5th, 2018

In Philosophy

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danah boyd comments on the methods of modern media manipulators

danah boyd is always good and this is one of her best:

Accusations of anti-conservative bias are not evaluated through evidence because reality doesn’t matter to them. This is what makes this stunt so effective. News organizations and tech companies have no way to “prove” their innocence. What makes conspiratorial messages work is how they pervert evidence. The simplest technique is to conflate correlation and causation. Conspiracy makers point to the data that suggests that both journalists and Silicon Valley engineers ...

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November 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Even when Larry Summers claims to have an epiphany, he’s just reconfirming what he already believed

This starts out well, and then goes down hill. Larry Summers and his wife did a drive across rural America, and Larry Summers feels he learned something important by visiting these rural backwaters. Likewise, when I was younger I spent 2 years of my life hitchhiking all over the USA, so visiting these rural backwaters was a formative experience for me.

Larry Summers starts out sounding like he learned something new, but in the end he concludes that the Democrats ...

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November 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The contradictions between wellness and corporate profits

Interesting:

But here’s the truly wonderful thing about neoliberalism—as it turns us all into paranoid, jealous schemers, it offers to sell us bromides to ameliorate the very bad feelings of self-doubt and alienation it conjures in our dark nights of the soul. Neoliberalism has not only given us crippling anxiety, but also its apparent remedy. It is no coincidence that as we become more nervous, “wellness” and “self-care” have become mainstream industries. Over the last few decades, workplaces have become ever ...

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November 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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CIA hacked because too many people were using an informal channel

The real question is, why was it easier to use the informal channel? What about the formal methods of communication were difficult?

The CIA does appear to have lucked out when it comes to Russia. The Intelligence Agency ring fences its Russian activities and the report states that intel chiefs were quick to harden up its Russian communications channel at the first sign of trouble.

But the rest of the agency had become too reliant on the system, which was originally ...

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November 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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A story about forced marriage, of young women who grew up in the USA

Parts of this are outright illegal, and then other parts should be illegal but are frustratingly legal. Sad to think about these sisters (off-topic, but on the same theme, check out the Turkish film Mustang):

In 8th grade, our class took a field trip to tour the high school. No one wore uniforms, like we did in middle school! I could even wear my skinny jeans there. Yep, as strict as my mom was, she did buy me skinny jeans that ...

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November 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Guy rejected by girl, acts pathetic

This guy is pathetic:

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November 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Don’t say sorry

Posting some Tumblr links so I can remember where I saw this stuff:

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November 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Queer is the new gay

LGBTQ language has been changing, in interesting ways. Much of the debate, and the problems arising, come from the difficulties of including transexuals into conversations about gay and lesbian issues. Especially problematic are when people born as men declare themselves to be women and want to have sex with women, declaring themselves to be male lesbians — this seems to raise a serious challenge to LGBQT alliances. The issues seem to get the most discussion on Tumblr.

So for instance:

I ...

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November 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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When your little brother is alt-right

A sad/funny story about dealing with a brother who is alt-right, written by a sister who is not alt-right:

the cool thing about having an idiot alt right supporting brother is when he gets mad over dumb shit my sister and i go “It’s concerning how such a small thing triggers such a strong reaction from you.” in the family groupchat and he’ll see the word “trigger” in relation to him and go fucking nuclear

the downside about having such a dipshit ...

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November 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Changing norms in USA political debates

Interesting:

Meanwhile, his supporters say they believe his line that he’s not responsible for extreme rhetoric in politics or a sense of division in American life. A new Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 80 percent of Republicans agree with Trump’s recent claim that the national media has done more to divide than unite the country since Trump took office.

Trump himself has refused to take any responsibility for his language, particularly at rallies where crowds jeer immigrants, Democrats, and other Trump dissenters. ...

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November 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Unicode Egyptian Hieroglyphs are sometimes censored?

Interesting to me because I’ve been writing fiction about Unicode:

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October 27th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Cognitive decline in ones 20s from the stress of running a startup?

Interesting if true:

I experienced severe cognitive decline in my 20s from the stress of running a startup.

The most alarming part was the loss of vocabulary. I was an avid reader and couldn’t call to mind fairly simple multi-syllablic words.

It took 5 years of bumming around in the mountains to heal the damage.

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October 27th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Depression can strike anyone, even the strong, even the healthy, even the young

After my dad died, in 2007, I was a zombie for a year. Taking Paxil helped. I identify with stories such as this. A beautiful story that everyone should read:

I lost my grandaddy to throat cancer. Lost my grandma to heart disease. Lost my best friend Geracy to the streets. He got stabbed to death in 2004, when we came back home for the summer.

I’m not saying that for sympathy. Everybody goes through darkness. I’m just saying that I kept ...

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October 19th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Trump praises a politician who beat up a journalist

Worrisome and alarming. Under this President social norms that help with the functioning of a healthy society are being violated on a constant basis:

Trump’s comments “mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil,” added the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Trump fondly reminisced about the physical assault that occurred on 24 May last year when Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, asked Gianforte a question about healthcare policy ...

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October 19th, 2018

In Philosophy

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I really liked Elizabeth Warren until she proved she is a complete idiot

So sad!

Imagine an 8 year old comes home from school crying and says “Mom, there is a bully at school, he called me fat!”

What happens next? Does the mom then say “No, honey, you are within statistically normal ranges. We can print out some charts from the World Healthy Organization. You know what you should do to get back at that bully? Next time he teases you, take your charts and attempt to demonstrate that your body weight is ...

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October 13th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The beautiful work you will never see because it won’t ever exist

Hazel Cills, making a point I’ve thought about often, the work that does not exist because of the oppression of women:

For every woman who comes forward, I imagine a second version of her, one who could freely pursue the art she wanted, claim the space she desired, without worrying that a man would come along and render her disposable. I’d much rather read stories on these women, who made news for the lives they lived than the ways in which ...

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October 13th, 2018

In Philosophy

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An authoritarian party that is waiting to take power

From Paul Krugman, very interesting:

About that conspiracy theorizing: It began in the first moments of Kavanaugh’s testimony, when he attributed his problems to “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” motivated by people seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” This was a completely false, hysterical accusation, and making it should in itself have disqualified Kavanaugh for the court.

But Donald Trump quickly made it much worse, attributing protests against Kavanaugh to George Soros and declaring, falsely (and with no evidence), ...

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October 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Susan Kare invented the modern world

Some inspiration for a story I’m writing:

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October 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Trevor Noah does not know how to handle Anna Kendrick being on someone’s list

Some girls says her boyfriend wants to sleep with Anna Kendrick. I think I’m a bit surprised that Trevor Noah doesn’t know how to handle this moment. I’m also impressed with Anna Kendrick for being so ready to roll with it. I think I assumed that a professional comedian like Trevor Noah would handle awkward moments like this at least as well as Anna Kendrick.

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October 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Account suspended without any cause given?

Tumblr or Blogger are fine if you are 19 and posting cat pictures. But if you are building a professional audience? A reminder that it can be terrible to rely on a free blogging service for professional use:

But earlier this month, when I published a new article, Blogger prompted me to post it on Google+, and I did. A few hours later I discovered that my Google+ account had been suspended for violating terms of service, but I got ...

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October 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Lock her up?

Worrisome:

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October 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The old German middle class feels itself losing out to the hipsters

It is worrisome, that globalization has produced so much anger. Clearly, one can not build a global ecconomy, without first building global institutions.

A very good article on right-wing rage in Germany:

The success of the right-wing populists has a lot to do with changes that have occurred in Western societies, where a new class of disadvantaged has developed out of the erstwhile economic and political center – a new class which unabashedly took to the streets next to neo-Nazis in ...

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October 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The police in East Germany still don’t know what their job is in a liberal state

It’s a bit depressing to see Germany struggling with a neo-fascist movement, and the police unclear about what their role is:

Let’s first look at the police, who, just as they did in Lichtenhagen in 1992, stood by helplessly – and hopefully not in quiet acceptance – unable to prevent the worst excesses. Twice in just a few days, the Saxony police showed that they have no clear idea as to what, exactly, their job entails in a democracy. The first ...

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October 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Teaching immigrants about sex in Germany

One of the many difficult issues that immigrants face in Germany, is that native Germans grow up with excellent sex education, whereas the immigrants often come from countries where there is no sex education:

This article is from Die Zeit:

My experience thus far shows that the sooner young men attend a sex education course, the better are the chances to prevent the kind of group dynamic where sexual posturing combined with alcohol results in sexual assault. Sitting on colorful chairs ...

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October 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Consider a birdcage

An interesting metaphor for the limits that women face:

Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. Furthermore, ...

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September 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Incel is a sickness like anorexia and bulima, you can not cure it by feeding it

A woman doesn’t cure anorexia by losing weight, and an incel does not cure being an incel by having sex. Both are a kind of mental illness. With anorexia, the rage is directed inward, and among the incel, the rage is directed outward, as this disgusting story make clear:

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September 27th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The role of elite schools in maintaining elite power from one generation to the next

Interesting article:

Elite schools spend a considerable amount of time and resources projecting a positive public image. Their image is necessary for legitimizing the elite status that they enjoy and all the advantages that come along with that status. Silence is necessary to maintain this image. All the not-so-good parts must remain hidden to continue being viewed as the best of the best.

This positive image obfuscates the real purpose of elite schools: From their inception, the core function of elite schools ...

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September 19th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The difference between women’s tennis and men’s tennis, and how it effects Serena Williams

My friend Kathryn sent me this in an email, and I thought it made a good point, so with her permission I post it here:

I watched the Women’s final on TV and have been reading and listening to the commentaries. I feel a little of both sides on this – I think Serena behaved badly and ultimately she needed to keep her cool and she didn’t. I also think the official overused his power unnecessarily and inserted himself ...

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August 26th, 2018

In Philosophy

2 Comments

What’s wrong with Hacker News

I often post comments on Hacker News. Over the years I’ve become increasingly frustrated with how the community works. I’ve been thinking about why, and I think it comes down to this:

1.) I want to read the comments by highly experienced people, reflecting the wisdom gained over the years. I’ve been doing tech work for 20 years now, and I’m especially interested in comments from peers.

2.) the audience at Hacker News skews young, and the comments are given prominence ...

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August 25th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How fasting helps the immune system

Interesting:

Some of the most promising recent science has come out of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. In 2014, researchers there found that a three-day fast involving less than 200 calories per day could help revitalize the immune system on a cellular level.

Reporting their findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the study authors observed that when cells went without standard fuel from regular meals, the body switched to survival mode and ...

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August 21st, 2018

In Philosophy

2 Comments

Has the Internet destroyed our ability to read?

I first read Hadrian’s Memoirs when I was 14 and I loved it. I was a serious intellectual back then. I re-read it in my 20s and I still loved it. But I recently re-read and I was disappointed at how slow it is.

I don’t blame the Internet, I just think I’m older and I tend to skim more often than before.

So this is an interesting alternative view

Wolf resolved to allot a set period every day to reread ...

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August 21st, 2018

In Philosophy

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LiveJournal and SomethingAwful helped shape the toxic culture of today’s Internet

Interesting:

As a teenager in the early 2000s, I was a member of a large, passionate, and loosely affiliated community of Harry Potter lovers (known, like other, similar communities, as a fandom), mostly gathered on LiveJournal. We discussed the books and characters; we wrote fanfiction and long diatribes about the movie adaptations; and we formed friendships and relationships with one another from behind our keyboards.

One particularly memorable community member was a poster named MsScribe. MsScribe was, like most of us, just ...

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August 2nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The best thing about Real Housewives is it shows older women doing stuff

Interesting:

I am a huge reality TV watcher. I’m a huge Bravo fan, and really the idea of putting these women on a reality TV show came from feeling like I used up a lot of my own life in Luckiest Girl Alive, and I was kind of out of gas, and I didn’t know where to turn for inspiration.

The premiere of the 13th season [of Real Housewives of Orange County] was last night, and I’m looking at Vicki Gunvalson, and ...

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July 31st, 2018

In Philosophy

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The mistake of treating a culture as a static thing

A good comment by jacobwilliamroy:

“My impression as to your cheap labour was soon disillusioned when I saw your people at work. No doubt they are lowly paid, but the return is equally so; to see your men at work made me feel that you are a very satisfied and easy-going race who reckon time is no object. When I spoke to some managers they informed me that it was impossible to change the habits of a national heritage.”

This excerpt appears ...

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July 29th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How did writing begin?

Interesting:

The direct antecedent of the Mesopotamian script was a recording device consisting of clay tokens of multiple shapes (Schmandt-Besserat 1996). The artifacts, mostly of geometric forms such as cones, spheres, disks, cylinders and ovoids, are recovered in archaeological sites dating 8000–3000 BC (Fig. 1). The tokens, used as counters to keep track of goods, were the earliest code—a system of signs for transmitting information. Each token shape was semantic, referring to a particular unit of merchandise. For example, a cone ...

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July 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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College students have given up on the humanities

Back when the USA was a middle-class country, lots of people chose to go to college and get a degree that would allow them to teach in the public schools. Huge numbers of women did this. For a long stretch, the only requirement to teach in K-12 schools was a college degree, and the specialty did not matter much. Since 2008, for the first time in history, some states cut back on the number of K-12 teachers they were employing, ...

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July 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How to get perfect eyebrows

I’m doing research for a bit of fiction I’m writing. The main character has uneven eyebrows. So I’m reading this advice:

Gel isn’t just for people with already-thick brows. Martin suggests starting with it as a baseline: “You want to see how big your brows can get naturally,” he explains. This will give you a better idea of how much you need to fake it till you make it. Brush in the direction your hair grows. Usually, that means you’ll ...

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July 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How to make the economy grow faster

I’m with the radicals here. I suspect that government intervention doesn’t seem to help economic growth, because the various Western governments have not attempted political and social revolutions since 1945. If a nation has a particular growth rate, and you’d like to double that growth rate, you need to make very radical changes. Among the more obvious things Western nations could do would look at the various constraints that keep women from fulfilling their potential. We have half the ...

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July 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Social media witch burning

This is exactly the kind of mindset that used to get women burned at the stake:

But in September 2015, she was suddenly plunged into an American nightmare. She got a call at 6 a.m. one morning from a colleague at Re/Max telling her something terrible had been posted about her on the Re/Max Facebook page. Glennon thought at first she meant that a client had left her a bad review, but it turned out to be much worse than ...

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July 26th, 2018

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Why do women drop out of co-ed sports?

Interesting:

So why do men play in co-ed leagues at all, if they don’t want to play with women? This question was best crystallized for me recently by standup comedian Hannah Gadsby, who in her Netflix special Nanette calls out misogyny by posing a question: “If you hate what you desire, do you know what that is?” She then graciously answers her own question: “Fucking tense.”

Quinn quit playing after three seasons of playing in an “open gender” basketball league (where both ...

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July 25th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Terrible wage growth for writers

The first 70 years of the 20th Century saw big wage gains for almost all groups. But since then, things have gone downhill, and the era of the Internet has been an especial disaster. Writers have never been well paid, but their activity is a social and political necessity. At some point the government will have to subsidize this. This is the wrong way to handle an essential service:

My second internship was a much better experience, and I think ...

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July 21st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Sports are the original reality TV

Interesting:

This is what came to my mind when Josephine Livingstone argued Thursday in the New Republic that women’s media is a scam. I won’t belabor the validity of Livingtone’s argument here because, for one, it was nothing that wasn’t said to me more than a decade ago when a copy editor saw me bring an issue of InStyle to the newsroom and told me, “You read that advertorial garbage?” What struck me as curious wasn’t whether or not women’s media ...

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July 18th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Edward Tufte should be furious

Kerning! For god’s sake, kerning!

From Qz.com “American cheese is no longer the most popular cheese in America”. There is no space between “90″ and “%” so it reads like they belong together.

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July 15th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Yeats updated for 2018

Yeats

The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

Source

July 11th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How to stop Brett Kavanaugh: threaten to expand the Supreme Court to 11 members

Brett Kavanaugh sounds like a really bad dude. If he made it onto the Supreme Court, he would take the USA in a terrible direction. How should the Democrats stop his nomination? Since they lack power right now, they need to make use of power they will have in the future. They need to credibly threaten to end the independence of the Supreme Court, the next time they hold the majority in Congress, and hold the Presidency.

This is known ...

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July 11th, 2018

In Philosophy

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You back up, you back up, you back up, eventually you’re against a wall

Those on the offense are complaining that the other side is trying to defend itself. This is like the abusive husband who hits his wife and then asks “Why’d you make me hit you? I can’t take any more of this!”

The one thing protesters and customers seemed to share was a fervent want to express their beliefs – as well as a frustration with the political moment that sparked the Red Hen incident in the first place.

“What happened ...

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June 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Maybe there was no Neolithic Revolution? Maybe agriculture goes back 45,000 years?

Absolutely amazing if true:

It all started about 45,000 years ago. At that point, people began burning down vegetation to make room for plant resources and homes. Over millennia, the simple practice of burning back forest evolved. People mixed specialized soils for growing plants; they drained swamps for agriculture; they domesticated animals like chickens; and they farmed yam, taro, sweet potato, chili pepper, black pepper, mango, and bananas.

École française d’Extrême-Orient archaeologist Damian Evans, a co-author on the Nature paper, said that ...

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June 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Web trolls take over Ukip?

Given their intensity online, an interesting fact about right-wing web trolls is how little they have so far managed to do on their own. Without help from state actors such as Russia, it would seem they are incapable of getting anything done in the real world. If they are able to take over Ukip, that would be a first sign that they are able to accomplish something in the real world. So far, web trolls with hundreds of thousands of ...

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June 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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These are the kinds of practical arrangements working women make the world over – the novelty here is that it is a prime minister who is making them

Imagine a world where it seems normal for a world leader to go on maternity leave:

She nearly doubled the Labour vote, wrangled herself into office with a complex multiparty coalition, and just passed a social democratic budget. Polls have held. The most recent gives her party and one coalition partner, the Greens, enough votes to govern between them. Her personal approval rating is a thumping 76%.

To understand why is to look beyond policy and into her representation of it. What ...

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June 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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President Trump is very popular

In normal times, it is normal for a President to be popular when the economy is good. President Bush 2001-2009 was very popular while the economy was good. So was President Clinton and President Reagan. At the top of every business cycle, there will be a few years when the public is happy, and credit often goes to the President, even if the President did very little to create the current prosperity.

So if Trump was a normal President, it ...

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June 30th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The guns keep blazing

Heartbreaking stories of mass murder:

Yesterday, Jarrod Ramos allegedly murdered five journalists at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Maryland. Ramos had sent countless threats to the paper, after one journalist reported on his harassment of a former classmate. The woman went through what she called a “year-long nightmare” of intimidation and threats before Ramos was convicted of misdemeanour harassment. Ramos was apparently furious that the Capital Gazette wrote about him as if he’d done something wrong.

Of 95 mass shootings ...

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June 25th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How does the tyrant rule? In a word, badly.

Shakespeare’s view of tyrants. Interesting:

The tyrant’s triumph is based on lies and fraudulent promises braided around the violent elimination of rivals. The cunning strategy that brings him to the throne hardly constitutes a vision for the realm; nor has he assembled counselors who can help him formulate one. He can count—for the moment, at least—on the acquiescence of such suggestible officials as the London mayor and frightened clerks like the scribe. But the new ruler possesses neither administrative ability nor ...

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June 24th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The great mystery of bureaucracies

Interesting:

See, things have changed since I went to college in the ’80s. Everything has gotten much more intense. You have to do much more now to get into a top school like Yale or West Point, and you have to start a lot earlier. We didn’t begin thinking about college until we were juniors, and maybe we each did a couple of extracurriculars. But I know what it’s like for you guys now. It’s an endless series of hoops that ...

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June 23rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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My recipe for pasta with scallops and shrimp

I also posted this in my post about the dinner party last night, but I thought I would also make it a standalone post, in case anyone wants to ask specifically about this dish.

Some people asked me for the recipe for the pasta and seafood dish that I made. I post the recipe here:

For the dinner I made last night I used 2 pounds of scallops and 1 pound of shrimp.

In a frying pan, melt butter with some salt and ...

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June 23rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Everyone was amazing and you’re awesome

A big thanks to all of the lovely and amazing people who came to my dinner party last night. Some people left early and some arrived late, but I think this photo captured most of us:

Some people asked me for the recipe for the pasta and seafood dish that I made. I post the recipe here:

For the dinner I made last night I used 2 pounds of scallops and 1 pound of shrimp.

In a frying pan, melt butter with ...

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June 21st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Everyone knew that slavery was evil

This is well said:

Whenever anyone mentions the historical atrocity of chattel slavery, white people will emerge from the dark crevices of humanity to gnaw away at the assertion like roaches on a discarded Cheeto. They will explain how most white people didn’t own slaves. They will offer a convoluted explanation about the Confederacy and Southern heritage. They will introduce the concept of “presentism”—the idea that we shouldn’t judge the actions of people in the past using modern-day standards—as if the ...

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June 18th, 2018

In Philosophy

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We must sin if we wish to grow

Interesting:

Over the last couple of years, for reasons I’d rather not disclose, I have learnt a thing or two about how rehabs work. An alcoholic or an ice-user, for example, will be asked to examine what it was that first got her hooked. In my case it was Molly’s monologue, the music of it, but I’ve since realised that there was something else in that passage, implied in Molly’s words, that I found deeply attractive. And that was Joyce’s attitude ...

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June 16th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Wealthy and bitter about divorce?

This is sort of like the high-brow, well educated version of incel rants:

In virtually all states it is more profitable to have children with multiple partners than to have multiple children with the same co-parent. Residents of most states can enjoy a higher spending power by collecting child support after a one-night sexual encounter than by working at the median wage for a college graduate.

I have never met a woman who would prefer to raise children alone. Every woman ...

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June 16th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Changing one’s name after marriage

It’s the personal marriage stories that interest me. For instance, this:

I’m annoyed at how much of an Issue this is becoming for me. As a lady, I’m not sure whether to take my partner’s last name or not when we finally do the official knot-tying thing. Do I keep mine because I know I won’t have kids, and I kind of want to keep my dad’s last name alive as long as I am? Do I take his because Tradition ...

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June 12th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How to Finally Beat Procrastination

This podcast was good

Procrastination. We’ve all done it and we tell ourselves we’ll never do it again. So we come up with an elaborate time management system to get us on track only to find ourselves continuing to put things off. While some procrastination can be mildly infuriating, chronic procrastination can be financially, professionally, and personally devastating — overdue bills result in calls from collection agencies, late reports result in getting fired, and undone chores turn your house into a ...

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June 11th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Now she misses the idiot from Texas

Source

June 10th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Caitlin Moran embarrasses her daughters

Funny:

“Why do you keep writing books with lots of sex in?” they ask me, as a new release pops up on the schedules. “Why do you keep writing books that start with a teenage girl masturbating, and then go on to describe having sex with a man whose penis is too big, and a subsequent urinary tract infection that feels like the battered genitals ‘are like a castle under siege – with panicking princesses with pointy hats getting jammed in ...

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June 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The most successful entrepreneurs start in their 40s

Interesting:

`Among the 2.7 million founders in their dataset, the average age of a company’s founder at the time of founding was 41.9 years.

However, that analysis included all kinds of firms, from tech companies to nail salons to restaurants. The researchers were chiefly interested in high-growth new ventures—the kinds that can transform the economy—and understanding whether the Silicon Valley mythology was true. So they limited their dataset to include only technology companies, and further winnowed that down to the fastest-growing 0.1 ...

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June 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs changed his views

Interesting story. I recall Little Green Footballs as a blog of right-wing extremists, but apparently the owner of the site evolved. Conversion stories are so rare, I consider them automatically interesting:

JH: They’re not even controversial, Charles. Along the way, and correct me if I’m wrong because I was an outsider looking in, it seems the tipping point came in 2007 when you had this epic flame war with Pamela Geller, who remains one of the country’s biggest bigots to this ...

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June 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Joy Reid and why we need multiple Web archives

Interesting:

Most of those dates are pretty early in web archiving times, when the Internet Archive was the only archive commonly available, and many (all?) of the mementos in other web archives were surely originally crawled by the Internet Archive, even if on a contract basis (e.g., for the Library of Congress). Nonetheless, with multiple copies geographically and administratively dispersed throughout the globe, an adversary would have had to hack multiple web archives and alter their contents (cf. lockss.org), ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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Linkrot and Joy Reid

Linkrot has been a major part of the Joy Reid story, though not many people have commented on that aspect. Shelley Powers brings up this aspect of the story:

Weblogs were less like the Washington Post and more like Facebook or Twitter of the time: a stream of conciousness, separated into timestamped chunks. Every once in a while we’d carefully research and write longer pieces (still called “long reads”, even today), but for the most part, we tossed up whatever ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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Burnout is universal but the right kind of sleep, food, and exercise can help

Depression can end your career, end your marriage, and end your life. But long before most people find themselves facing a serious depression, they typically pass through an earlier stage, more mild and more subtle. What if we could all catch ourselves at that earlier stage?

I’m talking about burnout. Perhaps we can think of it as the mildest form of depression, or a mid-point between true mental health and outright depression. How do we identify something so subtle? Specific ...

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June 2nd, 2018

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More bad behavior in the gaming world

So sad that this continues to happen. Seriously, what is wrong with these guys? Why are they so negative? Do they realize that they have to option to demonstrate some leadership and raise everyone up to a positive place?

After Annemunition posted the video, one of the players who’d given her gallons of shit tried to apologize. In a sense. “I am extremely sorry for the way you feel, ” he wrote in a tweet from an account that’s since ...

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May 31st, 2018

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Identity in the Alogos

Interesting:

If our particles have no identity, how can we?

If the elements are all identical with each other, then it seems like the only measurable identity you could attach to sets of elements is cardinality, right?

Reviving the a notion of “monad” from Leibniz from the 1600s, as a thought experiment:

Imagine beings that exist outside of time and space, in a space that is without dimension. These creatures initially lack cardinality or identity. They are “lazy” in the computing sense, they ...

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May 28th, 2018

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Shelley Powers comments regarding Joy Reid

Shelley Powers site has been online since 1996. As such, she knows a bit about having a voice that changes over the years. As such, she is very much worth reading, regarding the changing voice of Joy Reid:

I’ll have more to say in a later piece on what it means to be a writer putting yourself online, especially over the years. For now, I think that the Daily Beast has an accurate read on what’s happened.

I’ve had considerable pushback on ...

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May 28th, 2018

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The importance of blogs

Since 2008, I’ve been sad about the death of the blogosphere, and the way things moved to Twitter and died there. Paul Krugman posts this reminder about the importance of blogs:

An aside: the way this discussion is taking place marks a kind of new frontier in the mechanics of scientific communication – and, I think, an unfortunate one. Once upon a time economic debate took place in the pages of refereed journals, but that stopped being true at least 30 ...

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May 28th, 2018

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Does economics matter?

Interesting:

Rightist politics also become more comprehensible once we recognise that economics doesn’t matter. The strongest case for austerity and immigration controls is that these have nothing to do with economics. Like Brexit, they are instead attempts to assert that governments have control over social affairs. Their supporters just don’t care about their economic consequences because other things matter more: sovereignty and an assurance that the government is on top of things.

Brexiters talking about economics are like dogs walking on their ...

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May 27th, 2018

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Leimgruber reviews my book

I like this review, posted to Amazon:

—————————

A well written, highly amusing, and cathartic read for anyone who has survived or is facing similar ridiculous/toxic workplace situations or relationships.

The author, Lawrence, brings you right into the trenches along with him as he slogs through challenge after challenge determined to do his best to prevent impending fiasco. Fortunately, its not his first rodeo, so he keeps a life-line on his sanity through the co-author, Natalie; and so the book is ...

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May 27th, 2018

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The failure of the ÜberSeeles

Regarding the rise of current populist movements and their craving for charismatic leaders Übermensch is the wrong word for what we are seeing, because Übermensch is basically a secular term, and so it misses the primitive religious feelings and primal mysticism that animates current populist movements. ÜberSeele is a better term: over-soul, the soul beyond. It’s important to have a term with some mystical connotation.

I apologize that most of my examples come from the Western tradition. I’ve studied ...

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May 10th, 2018

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After 1968 France and the USA went in different directions

I had no idea the history was so opposite:

In this new context, the salaries of executives and engineers rose structurally faster than the low and medium-range salaries in the 1950s-1960s and at first, nobody seemed to be worried. A minimum wage had been created in 1950, but it was almost never re-valued thereafter, with the result that there was a wide gap in comparison with the evolution of the average wage. Society had never been so patriarchal; in the 1980s, ...

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May 10th, 2018

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Dark Web Intellectuals

Interesting article:

The repeated outbreaks of fascination with the question of whether women and racial minorities are inherently unequal were not quite the product of the disinterested pursuit of the truth, Kitcher argued; otherwise, the same unpleasant questions would not keep appearing in radically different pseudoscientific forms. Instead, the recurrent interest stems from public and elite eagerness to believe that discrimination against women and minorities was justified.

This was reinforced by individual intellectual incentives to cultivate contrarianism for the sake of ...

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May 10th, 2018

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Epigenetics was suggested decades before it was accepted

My friend Lark points me to this, and I am surprised to realize that the theory of epigenetics was around for a long time before it gained acceptance:

McClintock and the Theory of Epigenetics

Beyond her discovery of TEs and her revolutionary cytogenetic research techniques, Barbara McClintock was also the first scientist to correctly speculate on the basic concept of epigenetics-or heritable changes in gene expression that are not caused by changes to DNA sequences. Mainly, she recognized that genes can be ...

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May 1st, 2018

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We all die

Interesting:

In Ehrenreich’s hands, wellness, for example, isn’t just a trend, but a reflection of the interplay of class, power, and health (a word, she argues, that’s meaning is too class-based to be useful to wellness gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow). Wellness, she suggests, eliminates the appearance of “conflict…endemic to the human world, with all its jagged inequalities,” emphasizing instead the harmonious individual—a body and mind in complete accord. But, to what end? “To feel good, of course, which is the same ...

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April 30th, 2018

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Soliders who criticize children

This is a solider who fought in combat and who is extremely critical that children at a school failed to act the way he behaved on a battlefield. One can never underestimate the complete insanity of the gun debate in the USA. There should not be a need to say this, but a 14 year old in biology class should not be expected to behave the way a solider, after years of training, might behave.

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April 29th, 2018

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Aunt Coulter

I suspect this will last. It’s a phenomena that needed a name, and this is actually a good name. A hundred years from now, this might be the only thing that is remembered from this particular event.

Wolf continued: “I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Sanders looked stony faced ...

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April 26th, 2018

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You’re so irrational

[[ My thanks to Natalie Sidner for editing this essay. All names in this essay have been changed. ]]

While it might be admirable to aspire to be as rational as possible, what I’ve noticed, over and over again, is that people overestimate how rational they are. Or they imagine themselves to be objective and unemotional, when in fact their behavior is driven by strong emotions. The accusation “You’re emotional, I’m objective” tends to be a manipulative power play. I ...

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April 23rd, 2018

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Six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree

Interesting:

Despite Mr. Trump’s considerable flaws as a presidential candidate, he effectively diagnosed the reasons the Republican Party is widely disliked, even by its own voters. It has become the party of the white working class — six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree — but it has done next to nothing to address the terrible problems that disproportionately affect that class.

These afflictions include economic stagnation, the opioid epidemic, family dissolution, high rates of work force ...

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April 21st, 2018

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My father did not die peacefully in his sleep

The Onion has a reputation for humor that cuts close to the bone, and this really hits me hard:

“‘Your Father Died Peacefully In His Sleep,’ Assures Hospice Nurse Who Spent Past 6 Months Watching Man Wither Away In Agony”

In an attempt to console the family of the deceased, Mountain View Hospice nurse Sam Bakshi—who watched his patient wither away for half a year in unrelenting torment—told relatives of the late Dennis Ridges on Tuesday that the man had died peacefully ...

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April 21st, 2018

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Generous narcissism

Interesting:

In 2013, scholar Mehron Abdollmohammadi coined the phrase “generous narcissism” to describe a kind of self-expression they’d observed in online queer communities: “a generous practice of mutual and excessive attention that worries excess… a becoming-self, a care for the self that recognizes and celebrates the strength of the slippage between self, image, and other… fashioning, from the refuse of culture, tools with which to navigate the crippling distance between one’s sense of self and the vehicle of self, the body.”

I ...

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April 21st, 2018

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The new revolution of gender

Unlike the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the change of the last 10 years has been dramatic but less talked about.

“I just have one thing to say about promise rings,” said Jordin Sparks, then a newly-minted American Idol winner, as she took the stage in 2008 to present at the MTV VMAs. She was gearing up a response to host Russell Brand, who earlier in the night had made a dig at the band the ...

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April 21st, 2018

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Technology starts off promising freedom and later is used by dictators

Interesting:

In 1982, eleven clandestine Radio Solidarity radio stations were shut down across Poland. The scientists who cooperated in the balloon project were risking serious jail time in addition to the loss of their career and livelihood.

Their act of defiance didn’t bring down the state. It didn’t do much more than give hope and brighten the day of a few hundred people. But it went straight back to that first idealistic promise of radio: that there existed magic, invisible rays that ...

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April 21st, 2018

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The reaction against Facebook

This seems about right:

I think a very inconvenient and ugly truth is slowly dawning on Facebook and society in general: connecting people at mass is bad. Facebook may go down in history as the next Big Tobacco or Big Fast Food that touted new innovation as a mass utopian relief, only to be later debunked as charlatan science Zuckerberg has always touted Facebook’s core mission as “connecting people throughout the world.” The mission is so fervent you get socially deranged executives ...

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April 21st, 2018

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The endless lies of depression

There is always some lie at the heart of depression, some fiction. A large body of research suggests a link between creativity and depression. I think the link must be the ability to go over the same story a thousand times, and slowly refine it. I assume Bach did that with his cello suites, and Victor Hugo must have rehearsed Les Miserable a thousand times to get the structure of the narrative down. Over and over we go, repeating ...

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April 20th, 2018

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The end of old-fashioned useful banking

Interesting:

Something has happened to big banks along the way, where they no longer actually provide banking services to their customers. When I walk into a Wells Fargo branch now and sit down with a “banker” to take care of my accounts, it consists of sitting next to them while they call 1-800-WELLSFARGO for me and talk to a call center. There simply is no service anymore. I walked into my local branch to open up an IRA last week before ...

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April 20th, 2018

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The corruption of Italy

Interesting:

What began in Italy is now manifest in the US and beyond, public discourse degraded into a sick tabloid fantasy, of sex, corruption, violence and lies. What began with Berlusconi continues with Trump and Weinstein. All are men in positions of power and of a now all-too-familiar type, who view women as chattels to serve their sexual lust and to puff up their fragile egos, and who then, later, try to cover up their crimes with bribery, threats and intimidation. ...

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April 20th, 2018

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She was everywhere, then she was nowhere

An interesting example of an artist whose star burned brightly for many years, then faded completely. I’ve never heard of her before this.

Walsh died of tuberculosis in October 1926 at the age of 31, leaving Boyle pregnant with his child, born in March 1927. Her husband, Richard, invited her and her daughter, Sharon, to return to live with him in Stoke-on-Trent, England, where he had found a job with the Michelin Tire Company. Out of options, Kay accepted. She ...

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April 18th, 2018

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The epidemic of loneliness

Interesting:

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy summarized his experience as a doctor in an article in September in The Harvard Business Review: “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

Patients came to see him partly because they were lonely, partly because loneliness made them sick. Weak social connections have health effects similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and a greater negative effect than obesity, he said.

Over the ...

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April 16th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Poland was shockingly liberal during the 1400s

I feel like my teachers lied to me. The version of Western history that I was taught in school mostly focused on Spain and Portugal during the 1400s and 1500s, France and Germany in the 1700s and 1800s, Russia and Germany in the 1900s, and Britain during the whole era from the Dark Ages onwards. But I never learned anything about Poland, except for the weird fact that Copernicus showed up, out of nowhere, and suddenly invented modern science. Except ...

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April 15th, 2018

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Japanese humor in advertisements

I have trouble imagining this working for an American audience. There is a level of cuteness and irony that is popular in some USA sub-cultures, but never seems mainstream enough to be addressed in an ad.

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April 10th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Our species evolved in Asia, not Africa

As soon as the Denisovan were discovered, it should have become necessary to update our ideas about where homo sapiens first arose. It’s simply too much of a coincidence. Neanderthals and Denisovans and Sapiens seem more similar to each other than to homo erectus, therefore they must have had a somewhat recent common ancestor, and if Neanderthal and Denisovans first evolved in Asia, that means Sapiens must have evolved there too. Roughly, the most likely theory at the moment is:

1.) ...

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April 9th, 2018

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The FBI raided the office of Trump’s lawyer

I’m not clear how they got around attorney-client privilege, but I assume the exception here was similar to the one used against lawyers who work for the Mafia: if you know you are protecting criminal behavior, then your privilege is revoked. Clearly, the FBI raid against Trump’s lawyer represents a huge escalation of the investigation against Trump.

Trump sounds just barely coherent in his response:

The president also complained about Session’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a longtime sticking ...

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April 8th, 2018

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Can there be a history of slaves?

In 1855 Jules Michelet claimed he had invented “Universal history,” a history that included everything, and Marx increasingly thought of history as involving more than just kings and battles, but true social and economic histories didn’t becomes widespread till the 1890s, and perhaps saw their best expression with Fernand Braudel, in the mid 20th century.

My point is, it is extraordinary that anyone in 1832 would raise the possibility of writing a history of slaves. This was really ahead of its ...

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April 7th, 2018

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Cuttlefish sex ratio

I wonder why some species have such lopsided ratios of male/female?

Male cuttlefish challenge one another for dominance and the best den during mating season. During this challenge, no direct contact is usually made. The animals will threaten each other until one of them backs down and swims away. Eventually, the larger male cuttlefish mate with the females by grabbing them with their tentacles, turning the female so that the two animals are face-to-face, then using a specialized tentacle to insert ...

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April 6th, 2018

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Fire gave rise to babies

Homo sapiens have an unusual reproductive system. Whereas apes rarely have more than 5 children, humans typically had 20 to 25 children. What lead to the huge increase in the number of children? One possibility is fire, which lead to cooked food. One can reason from the opposite of this paragraph:

This hypothesis stems from a few modern observations. When you eat cooked food, you have access to many more calories than if you eat the same food raw. There ...

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March 31st, 2018

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Science is dying and it drags down those who make their careers with it

Interesting:

Here is an explanation from 1994 by Dr. David Goodstein of Caltech, who testified to Congress on this back then, whose “The Big Crunch” essay concludes: https://www.its.caltech.edu/~dg/crunch_art.html “Let me finish by summarizing what I’ve been trying to tell you. We stand at an historic juncture in the history of science. The long era of exponential expansion ended decades ago, but we have not yet reconciled ourselves to that fact. The present social structure of science, by which I mean institutions, ...

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March 27th, 2018

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The Wing is a private club for women

Interesting:

If you live in New York City or Washington, D.C. and work in a certain kind of industry, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Wing. If you haven’t: Founded in 2016 as a private social club and co-working space for women, the company currently operates three locations, collects dues from more than 1,500 members (including Jezebel’s Editor-in-Chief Koa Beck), and attracts the sort of media coverage that most publicists can only dream about. All of this has drawn ...

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March 21st, 2018

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Peer review is new

Interesting:

Of course the thing may exist before the word: but one thing I’ve found invariably in looking at these etymologies is words usually do not march straight out of the primordial ooze into widespread use for no reason at all, particularly words describing so specific and unpoetic as a practice like this. Usually there is some reason, some new thing in the world that requires a new term to distinguish it from what has come before.

So what new thing gave ...

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March 17th, 2018

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The video: NYU Varick Street incubator

The events in my book “How To Destroy A Tech Startup In Three Easy Steps” happens at the NYU Varick Street startup incubator, in 2015.

Of the incubator where these events occur, my co-author, Natalie Sidner, produced a 4 minute for her family, back in June of 2015:

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March 15th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Tribalism in USA politics

The right-wing has become a tribe. This has been true at least since Newt Gingrich won the congressional elections in 1994, but it has only recently become fashionable to say this out loud. And the New York Times is both unwilling and unable to represent that tribe on its opinion pages:

Here is the scary truth that NYT editors and readers alike resist: US politics today is not a contest of ideas or governing philosophies. We are witnessing a massive revanchist ...

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March 9th, 2018

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How long can two people share a life before they are dating?

An interesting glimpse of a sub-culture and a meme (a somewhat extreme take on the “useless lesbian” meme):

My wife and I literally would make out, sleep together, moved in together, adopted a dog together, go to family and work functions together, and built a life together for about three years before she proposed. Only to catch me by surprise, because I didn’t realize we were dating, thinking this was just normal friend stuff. She still likes to remind me that ...

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March 5th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The quiet censorship of PR firms managing interviews

I would have found this very frustrating:

I started to ask about Mad Men’s discussion of the issue of harassment in the workplace, citing a Boston Globe piece from earlier this year titled, “Before #MeToo, there was Mad Men.” Before I could ask about whether it struck Hendricks that Joan’s final storyline was in many ways prescient in terms of how this conversation would come to play out just a few years later, the publicist interrupted:

“I’m so sorry, but we ...

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March 3rd, 2018

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Remembering where politics was in early 2018

I’ll write this down, just so I can remember it later. Below I post an example of incoherent writing. It is possible the person who wrote is struggling with some mental health issues. But those are interesting in themselves. I’ve read that before 1960, people suffering from schizophrenia, in the USA, mostly commonly said they were being persecuted by Satan, but during the 1960s and 1970s, they most commonly claimed they were being persecuted by the CIA. Even those with ...

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February 26th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Is there a new openness regarding the use of racist language?

It is worrisome to think that politicians now feel comfortable using racist language, in a way they have not felt comfortable these last 50 years. I recall when I was young people said “The older generation is racist but the younger generation will change things.” But nowadays, some of the leading racists are younger than I am. And the trend seems to be getting worse instead of better.

Here is a rather overt example from the heartland of the USA:

According to ...

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February 26th, 2018

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What can people hope for from romance?

Interesting:

Could any single relationship not fall short of such expectations? Maybe these women were on to something — valuing their marriages for the things it could offer and outsourcing the rest, accepting the distance between the idealization and the actual thing, seeing marriage clearly for what it is and not what we’re all told and promised it will be.

My friend told me she felt this way of thinking was the only answer, and the way she’d come to reconcile her ...

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February 25th, 2018

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If we give powerful people everything they want, maybe they will be nice to the rest of us?

At the end of the English revolutionary period, during the 1660s, a conservative reaction set in, and even some peasants were infected with the conservative spirit. Some wanted England to become a monarchy again, and they openly called for the return of the King. They had a saying: “All will be well when the King enjoys his own again.”

In the 1970s, conservatives began to promote “supply side economics” which is the modern, pseudo-scientific way of saying “All will be well ...

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February 22nd, 2018

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The notion that posting a policeman at a school makes the school safe has been proven wrong

No one wants to die. The police don’t want to die. Faced with death, the police panic. Fantasy deludes some gun advocates, in particular, the fantasy that every cop will act like Bruce Willis did in the movie Die Hard. The notion that posting a policeman at a school makes the school safe has been proven wrong.

The police officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resigned Thursday, under investigation for failing to enter the building as a ...

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February 22nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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If favorable news coverage is bribery, what should we think of Fox News?

This is an interesting interpretation, but what does it mean if applied to Fox News?

Reality needs to be called what it is. Systematically skewing coverage and providing a false picture of reality to the public constitutes a financial benefit on a huge scale. When a senior politician gets a series of flattering articles from a publisher, it’s worth a lot more to the politician than a box of cigars or a suitcase of cash to finance primary election activists. When ...

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February 18th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The smart way for Russia to help Trump: manipulate votes to elect Democrats

(The following is about the USA, obviously)

I know of Democrats who are currently dreaming of winning a large majority in the House Of Representatives in the elections of 2018. Then they can proceed to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump.

There is an obvious way for Russia to help Trump, and that is to hack the election machines and so ensure that some Democrats win. Bonus points for candidates who were expected to lose — their wins will later seem ...

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February 18th, 2018

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A quote about Nature that sounds smart but is wrong

This initially sounds smart:

“We like to romanticize the wild, raw, majestic beauty of nature. But when you take a closer look, nature is really just a giant fuckfest. That beautiful bird chirping? It’s a mating call. That pretty little bird is trying to get laid. And why does the peacock have such beautiful feathers? To attract females. Because he’s trying to get laid.

Animals in the wild spend their entire lives trying to stay alive, and to mate. That’s it. They ...

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February 16th, 2018

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Alex Tabarrok hates children

The population of Bulgaria is in decline. Alex Taborrok raises the question of whether this should be a concern:

A correspondent wrote me asking what to do. I responded what’s the problem? Of course, there are plenty of things one could do to make Bulgaria a richer and better place to live, some of which Bulgaria has been doing and some of which they have not. The more fundamental question, however, is why the number of a particular type of ...

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February 16th, 2018

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How to raise children the German way

Interesting:

Zaske argues that thanks in large part to the anti-authoritarian attitudes of the postwar generation (the so-called “68ers”), contemporary German parents give their children a great deal of freedom—to do dangerous stuff; to go places alone; to make their own mistakes, most of which involve nudity, fire, or both. This freedom makes those kids better, happier, and ultimately less prone to turn into miserable sociopaths. “The biggest lesson I learned in Germany,” she writes, “is that my children are not ...

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February 16th, 2018

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Eroding political norms is a good thing if the old norms violated fundamental rights

Interesting:

The authors want to posit the 1850s as a moment that “undermined America’s democratic norms,” strongly suggesting that prior to the 1850s, there was a robust enjoyment of democratic norms in America. Most of us would argue that when one portion of the people enslaves another, denying them their humanity (and the vote), there’s no real democratic norm in play. (Not to mention that one-half of the population, white and black, didn’t have the suffrage at all.) And while it ...

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February 15th, 2018

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The paradox of freedom: Germans have more freedom driving because the government insists on more training

I was in Germany this summer. My friend and I went to visit her parents. Her parents wanted me to see a historic town nearby. We got in the car. The father drove down the road at 190 kilometers per hour. The other cars were also going fast.

I saw cars at an intersection make turns, in front of other cars, that I would never do in the USA, because I would never trust the other drivers to behave correctly. ...

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February 14th, 2018

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France has no age-of-consent laws

Interesting:

France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship – although the country’s top court has ruled that children aged five and under cannot consent. Lawyers for the suspect argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what she was doing, while lawyers for the girl have said she was simply too young and confused to resist.

…In a decision that shocked many, the prosecutor’s office in the town of Pontoise decided ...

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February 10th, 2018

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Wasting 5 million dollars

While I’m in favor of a stronger safety net for the sick, if people are able-bodied, I think they should work. This sounds like a good reason to let copyright lapse when an author dies:

Mr. Clarke was a rascally nine-year-old when he inherited that jewel. Ever since, as “Goodnight Moon” has drifted toward the center of America’s collective consciousness, he has floated on the fringes of society. No steady job. No fixed place of abode. Dozens of arrests. Rarely has ...

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February 5th, 2018

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Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe

This is amazing. This tool, for burnishing leather, is still in use today. It is perhaps the only tool that the Neandertals invented and which we still use today. Neandertal culture lives.

However, we cannot eliminate the possibility that these tools instead indicate that modern humans entered Europe and started impacting Neandertal behavior earlier than we can currently demonstrate. Resolving this problem will require sites in central Europe with better bone preservation.

How widespread this new Neandertal behavior was is a ...

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February 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Great creative partnerships are rare, and it is such a shock that people throw them away

Of the many tragic aspects of predators such as Weinstein, one is the waste of a great creative partnership. For now, this seems like a minor part of this story, a tiny thing compared to the actual violence and harm of these stories, and yet I wonder if, many decades from now, we might look back and wonder about what might have been, if the film industry had not been full of predators. What if these women had been in ...

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February 3rd, 2018

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Born free, but still needing to be freed by courts in 1655

Interesting story. Apparently slave children with white fathers were considered free in the 1600s. And then they changed the law in 1662 to make it far more oppressive.

Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Key, was charged with fathering Elizabeth, which he at first denied, and as result he was brought to court to be forced to support her and arrange for apprenticeships so that she could learn skills. That was the protocol at the time for anyone seeing to get a “bastard” ...

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February 2nd, 2018

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Adam Smith summarized: everyone sucks

Interesting:

In their mad ambition, they try to rule the world (see Davos): “…the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind” (Book 4, Ch. 3, p. 621). Short of the world they try to rule countries: companies of merchants (the British and the Dutch East India Companies) grew immensely rich by mismanaging and exploiting India and Indonesia: “The government of an exclusive company of merchants ...

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February 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Chatbots are dead?

Interesting:

But now we’re really changing things up, killing off what was once our sacred cow — a Digit experience built on messaging. We’ve redesigned our app with a graphical UI to make everything clearer and more intuitive. The old conversational UI is still there, in the background. But all the functions you want are now on tap, not commands to type. And we’re happy to admit openly what we’ve long considered quietly — chatbots aren’t the answer for keeping an ...

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February 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

How to chase down a bug

This is a good story, and it communicates how insane things can get when one is chasing down a bug.

Having calculated the theoretical peak throughput, I decided there was no good reason this microprocessor shouldn’t be able to maintain a much higher level of throughput. Time to do some low-level packet analysis.

I set up Wireshark and started capturing packets. At first, everything seemed ok but looking at the timestamps showed clearly that the transmissions were very bursty. Sometimes there ...

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January 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Some women waited their whole lives for the Wonder Woman movie

Interesting:

I’m 6 years old, and I’m Luke Skywalker, blowing up the Death Star in his X-Wing and using the Force… until I go outside to play Star Wars with the neighborhood kids, and I’m told I can’t be Luke because I’m a girl. I have to be Leia instead. Nothing wrong with Leia, but she’s the girl. She’s my only option, otherwise, I’m not allowed to play.

I’m 7 years old, and I’m She-Ra, with a pegasus and sword and… and ...

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January 26th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How software gets written

This is the history of almost every software project I can remember:

When I started preparing for teaching the chain rule in my class, I didn’t like the way the book did it. I felt like the proof was overly complicated and seemed to deliberately avoid an easier method. I couldn’t figure out why the author approached the proof the way he did. I started writing up different notes that I thought would be more clear. After a few hours ...

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January 25th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Am I completely insane?

I’ve reached a point in my life where I think only two possibilities can explain my relationship to the world:

1.) Over the last 25 years, I’ve gone completely insane.

2.) The world is insane, and over the last 25 years, I’ve become more aware of this.

I worry about the sheer number of things that seem painfully obvious to me, and yet which are met with widespread resistance from many groups, often the overwhelming majority of all people who care ...

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January 17th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Sometimes The Onion is exactly correct, part XXXVII, Honey Boo Boo

When Jane Austen was 17 years old she visited some cousins, who had some old copies of the Spectator. Since she recognized the name, she started to read the famous magazine. She was horrified. The vulgar language, the sexual terms, the gross metaphors invoking shit and maggots and eating babies — everything disgusted her. She said that she could form no liking of an era that had tolerated such coarseness.

The Onion reminds us that we will surely someday have ...

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January 16th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The continuing power of tradition, as it effects gender

An interesting bit from Barbara Kingsolver (I am a fan of her novel The Poisonwood Bible):

Most progressives wouldn’t hesitate to attend a football game, or to praise the enlightened new pope – the one who says he’s sorry, but women still can’t lead his church, or control our reproduction. In heterosexual weddings, religious or secular, the patriarch routinely “gives” his daughter to the groom, after which she’s presented to the audience as “Mrs New Patriarch,” to joyous applause. We ...

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January 9th, 2018

In Philosophy

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A child struck by a car

Very sad story:

I’d been praying that maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked, that maybe he would be OK. I remember just leaning over and crying, and then trying very hard to get hold of myself.

The police agreed to let me wait in one of the neighbour’s houses. She was so kind. She had a daughter just a few years younger than me and I think she knew that her daughter could just as easily have been the perpetrator, ...

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January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

Why do social media designers think we want to see posts out of chronological order?

Interesting:

Source

January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

The best argument for mandatory education

I had not thought about this carefully enough, but as soon as you stop requiring education, you weaken the rest of this chain reasoning. The question then is how to extend this reasoning to college.

Source

January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

The current changes to the Labour Party are likely to be long lasting

Interesting:

This is a transformation of Labour as dramatic as anything that happened under Tony Blair in the 1990s. Arguably, it is much more significant. During his time as leader, Mr Blair did not put in much organisational effort to ensure that his ideological shift was a permanent one. New Labourites just assumed – how wrong they turned out to be – that the hard left had lost the arguments so comprehensively that it could not revive. New Labour never attempted ...

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January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

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A few random thoughts about how a country gets to a constitutional crisis

What is the difference between heart disease and a heart attack? One is a long-term condition whose risks can be managed with careful effort, the other is a short-term crisis that demands immediate attention. It is somewhat uncommon to have a heart attack, without first having heart disease. Likewise, what is the difference between a constitutional malaise and a constitutional crisis? Again, one is a long-term condition whose risks can be managed with careful effort, the other is a short-term ...

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January 6th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The influence of the MeToo movement

Interesting:

Yesterday, one of these men asked jinni if he could share her table. The other tables were taken, so she said ‘of course’. He tried to chat her up but she simply responded monosyllabically, and returned to her book. He stared at her openly for about twenty minutes. Finally, she decided to leave (mostly because he also had a hacking cough). When she put her book in her bag, he again tried to kick up conversation with her, this time ...

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January 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The importance of bridges

After so many years of crumbling infrastructure, I’d like to think the USA is finally going to invest in itself again. I’m encouraged to realize that something like this can be popular with the young crowd that hangs out on Tumblr.

Source

January 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

Why is the USA press so relentless on the issue of Israel?

I pray for peace in the MidEast. I don’t think we can get there by arresting a bunch of 15 year old girls.

Source

January 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

God should have made girls lethal when he made monsters of men

Interesting:

“God should have made girls lethal/when he made monsters of men” reads a line by poet Elisabeth Hewer. The line has stuck with me since I stumbled upon it in another book, not just because it’s striking, but because I resent its truth. I’m bored with dissecting my own victimhood but I also feel choked by it, held in place by its reality.

…I’ve had many men (and it’s only been men) tell me that the Weinstein fallout is a watershed ...

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January 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The total number of fatal knife stabbings in London in 2017 rises to 80

This is a large amount of knife murder:

The new year attacks – three on 31 December and a fourth on 1 January – pushed the total number of fatal stabbings in London in 2017 to 80. The incidents occurred within a 15-hour period at locations in north, east and south London.

The region of New York City is a good 50% more populous than London, and they had 286 murders last year, mostly from guns.

Source

January 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

No Comments

Cosmetics as self care

This article raises the question of self-care and cosmetics:

n 1908 guards stormed into a cell in Milan, tearing away bed sheets, flipping over mattresses, and yanking off pillowcases for a piece of contraband that had left the warden mystified for the preceding couple of weeks. The prisoner stood to the side, patiently watching her cell get turned inside out, her cheeks painted in cheerful red circles like a ballerina.

They were after her blush like it was a brick of cocaine.

No ...

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January 2nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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A Tory has no friends, and brags about it

What a blind thing to do. Toby Young got married, and very few friends showed up for his stag party. He is a vile person with vile politics, so it makes sense that no one likes him. But he decided that most people aren’t loyal. And he wrote an article about it. You’d think he’d be embarrassed that so few people like him, but he apparently doesn’t realize how his readers are likely to see him.

It was on my ...

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January 2nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The company’s male administrators deleted her most virulent speech from the first production

I have wondered about this. The speech, which calls out gender injustice, sounds like it was written in 2018. I can hardly imagine how it sounded in the year 1784.

When the play finally reached the Comédie-Française, the leading French theater found further problems with it. The ardently feminist character of Marceline (who was to become Marcellina in the opera) so disconcerted the company’s male administrators that they deleted her most virulent speech from the first production, declaring that no actress ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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What I admire about the Daily Mail

In terms of the content of the Daily Mail, I think this songs sums up the situation:

.

However, I admired the design of the site. They combine hard news with celebrity news in a clever way, but above all, the page is very long and packed with hundreds, perhaps thousands of stories. They make the assumption that their audience is actually interested in their content, and wants to see more. They don’t rely on Javascript-infinite-scroll, the design appears to be hard-coded ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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The case to end the British monarchy

From 2015:

Elizabethan will mean whatever you want: certainly vanishing empire and influence, her colonies and dependencies now no more than an archipelago of tax havens. She has reigned over nearly twice as many Conservative years as Labour. Whatever social progress that marks her era came mainly from those Labour punctuations – abolition of capital punishment, Race Relations Act, abortion and homosexual law reform, equal pay and sex discrimination acts, civil partnerships, minimum wage, Sure Start, devolution, human rights, nursery ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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A reminder of the horrible abuse that was allowed at Catholic schools

My grand-father was deeply Catholic and committed to the Church, so he demanded that my dad go to Catholic school. My dad hated the school. I once asked him why and he said the nuns were absolute sadists who looked for any excuse cane the students. That was in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s. My dad committed himself to science and I grew up in a secular household.

Things were even worse in Britain, where ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Education teaches us to argue better

Interesting:

The same effect has also been captured in relation to the myth that the healthcare reform bill empowered government “death panels.” According to research by Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, Republicans who thought they knew more about the Obama healthcare plan were “paradoxically more likely to endorse the misperception than those who did not.” Well-informed Democrats were the opposite—quite certain there were no “death panels” in the bill.

The Democrats also happened to be right, by the way.

The idealistic, liberal, ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Why didn’t Hypatia have a husband?

Just thinking out loud here.

Let’s take a moment to explore the issue of why Hypatia did not have a husband.

Since she didn’t have a husband, is there a chance that she had girlfriend? I don’t mean to bulldoze the option that she was ace, but let’s consider the girlfriend angle for a minute. Maybe she ended up dating Asclepigenia? If she was in love with Asclepigenia, it would explain why she didn’t want to marry a man. ...

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December 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Richard Feynman believed in failing fast

Was just reading this:

Feynman concluded: “for my money Fermat’s theorem is true”. This is of course not very formal from a mathematical standpoint and is far from the real 110 pages long proof of FLT that took A.Wiles years to put together, notwithstanding it’s a really good example of Feynman’s scientific approach and genius. As Feynman used to say:

the main job of theoretical physics is to prove yourself wrong as soon as possible.

This is another way of stating the ...

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December 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Why be political?

Things have to be going really well in your life before you can think of political activity as a choice. If you are doing very well, you might like to believe that the current structure of the world is a natural one, and not amenable to political action. That is a self-gratifying belief. But unless you are lucky, you often have politics pushed upon you, often with very little choice on your part.

I like the way “Raquel” sums up ...

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December 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Are things getting worse for women?

Interesting article in the Guardian about Joan Wallach Scott.

Given the rise of Trump, and especially the rise of outfits such as Wikileaks, I’ve been rethinking a lot of what I thought I knew about the era since 1960.

Organizations such as Wikileaks uses the language of progressives (expose the facts, speak truth to power, attack the elites, shake up the government) while in fact working as a propaganda outfit for an authoritarian regime (Russia). Yet people are drawn to Wikileaks ...

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December 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

The rising divorce rate in rural areas

Interesting:

Source

December 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

The only appropriate death tax is 100%

(Posted in response to a conversation on Hacker News)

The only appropriate death tax is 100%. The goal is not to raise money for the government, the goal is to protect society from oligarchy. Most oligarchs come from wealthy families — that kind of vast wealth accumulates over the course of generations.

So as to allow minor things, such as a house, to pass from parents to children, a low level exemption is reasonable, so the tax does not touch the poor ...

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December 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Rick Webb: an apology for Utopian idealism regarding the Internet

Interesting:

Silicon Valley likes to think of itself as a bastion of rationality. But if you think about it, Silicon Valley, like virtually every other organization or entity, has a set of core beliefs at the bottom of its philosophical pyramid that are just that: core beliefs. They extend beyond rationality. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” our declaration of independence begins. Every good philosophical treatise starts with these. Every debate starts with the polite agreement about defintions.

What if Silicon ...

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December 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Anna North: sexual harassment is not sex, it is abuse of power at work

Interesting:

Melissa Gira Grant puts it well at the New York Review of Books: “Sexual harassment is a form of discipline, and it has already led to so many women being cast out from their work and the attention that is rightfully theirs. When men use sex to push women into inferior, undervalued, and invisible roles, that isn’t sex; that’s punishment.”

It’s become common, as #MeToo matures, to ask what we should do about behaviors that fall short of violent sexual assault. ...

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December 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The problem with dating apps

I’m currently writing a comedy about a guy who is launching a new dating app. To that end, I’m reading endless Tumblr. It’s comedy gold. I have to be careful not to slip into plagiarism.

Source

December 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

The Baby Boomers are uniquely awful

Back in 1996 I made this case on the maillist of Left Business Observer. I said that the Baby Boomers were uniquely awful and they’d been terrible to the country. Doug Henwood gave me a hard time about this. I thought about what he said and decided that generational conflict is never progressive — in every generation there is a working class that is struggling for its fair share, and there are marginalized people struggling for justice. So I’ve never ...

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December 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Do men become warlike if they do not have women?

The Economist has an article with the title “The link between polygamy and war“:

Wherever it is widely practised, polygamy (specifically polygyny, the taking of multiple wives) destabilises society, largely because it is a form of inequality which creates an urgent distress in the hearts, and loins, of young men. If a rich man has a Lamborghini, that does not mean that a poor man has to walk, for the supply of cars is not fixed. By contrast, every time a ...

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December 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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This was the one and only time in the last 300 million years that the wood-rotting ability evolved

Interesting:

Here is the crux of our problem: lignin made the lycopod trees a little too successful. Because their leaves were lofted above many herbivores and their trunks were made inedible by lignin, lycopods were virtually impervious to harm. They grew and died in vast quantities, and their trunks piled up in swamps, eventually becoming submerged and locking huge quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for good in the form of coal. Without any decomposition to recycle this carbon, ...

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December 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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12 year old girl attempted murder, gets 25 year sentence

Keep in mind that the charge is attempted murder, not murder, and that the girl was 12 years old at the time. How do you end up with a 25 year sentence, given those facts? The majority of all murderers don’t get sentences that long (I’m using the word “murder” in the legal USA sense, so you should avoid thinking about first degree murder, which is rare.)

From the article:

If medical professionals and the jury have deemed Alyssa Weier not ...

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December 24th, 2017

In Philosophy

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All our generation wants is a small apartment and a spouse that loves them back

The incredible thing is that this now seems so unlikely, so hard to achieve, so distant. We’ve come a long way from 1958 (the best year of the ratio of average wage to average rent).

Source

December 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

The casting couch in Hollywood, as depicted by Hollywood

Interesting:

Then I read the original reviews of the movie and began to doubt my understanding of what I’d seen. To critics at outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor, this was not a story of women subjected to predatory men. Many of the reviews don’t even mention the producer, focusing instead on the rivalry between Rogers and Hepburn, the remarkable dialogue, and the superiority to the play. When Menjou comes up, it ...

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December 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

People really love Tumblr

People worry about the death of Tumblr, and their worry arises from love. I would be very proud if I had created something like Tumblr (myself and my business partners spent 6 years trying). I feel real rage when I consider how incredibly incompetent the management at Yahoo has been. Yahoo buys startups, and then kills them. This has happened over and over again. No one can believe in the efficiency of our economic system, if they know the history ...

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December 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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The surprising lack of anger regarding gender relations

I was too young to have any encounters with the feminist militancy of the 1970s. I caught the fading light from that scene in the late 1980s. I worked at Macks Apples and the apple pickers there had a long tradition of hiring one of their own to be the full time cook, because if we each tried to make our own meals, the kitchen would be destroyed in chaos. It was best if we all kicked in $25 a ...

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December 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Children playing with Barbie

Interesting:

When my female friends recount playing with Barbie they also mention how much sex was in their play, which tends to get left out of the television commercials.

Source

December 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

How to sell Clojure

Apparently there is need for starter kits, and starter code. This gives me an idea for my next book.

Source

December 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Caryn Vainio‏: my friend died, but I didn’t know, because algorithms

Interesting and sad:

For those of you who work in social media, I need to share the story of my friend who died, and I didn’t know because algorithms.

A friend I’ve known mostly online for 15+ years died this weekend. Our friendship started on an old gaming forum, but continued on Facebook.

He was part of a group of friends, and we’ve all stayed connected via Facebook. He didn’t post much, but he liked and commented a lot.

I met him once years ...

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December 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

What makes the Sims franchise so go

So legit.

Source

December 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

When a job interview goes bad

Sometimes I go to a job interview, and they are looking for specialists in some area of computer programming that I know nothing of. And then I end up sounding like Matthew Peterson.

Source

December 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

White women voted for Roy Moore

Somewhat surprising?

The gender and race breakdown of Alabama’s senate election was reminiscent of last year’s presidential election, where black women overwhelmingly voted for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. The majority of non-college educated black women (95%) voted for Clinton, compared with 34% of white women. The numbers were just as stark among college educated women, with 91% of college educated black women voting for Clinton, compared with 51% of white women with college experience.

Source

December 12th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

An invitation to play

(Tonight I’m dumping some of my notes, from my riffs.txt, onto my blog. Not sure why I kept these for years without publishing. I was probably waiting for a moment when I could write a longer essay about them.)

Why I hate books about Design Patterns

Imagine two girls, both nine years old, decide to play tea. They put on nice dresses and bonnets. The one goes over to the other’s house.

“Mrs. Worthington, it is so nice to see you,” says the ...

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December 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

How do you wake up in the morning when you’ve got a project running late?

Personally, if a project is running late, and I’m working till 4 AM, and waking up at 9 or 10, then I need coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Feel free to post your own story in the comments.

This is from How To Destroy A Tech Startup In Three Easy Steps:

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Because of the chronic sleep deprivation of the proceeding weeks, I developed this peculiar protocol to ensure that I actually woke up in the morning. Before ...

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December 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Brad Delong: For some 400 years the Anglo-Saxon governance model offered liberty and prosperity, but no longer

Interesting:

For some 400 years, the Anglo-Saxon governance model – exemplified by the republican semi-principality of the Netherlands, the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, and the constitutional republic of the United States of America – was widely regarded as having hit the sweet spot of liberty, security, and prosperity. The greater the divergence from that model, historical experience seemed to confirm, the higher the likelihood of repression, insecurity, and poverty. So countries were frequently and strongly advised to emulate those ...

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December 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

50 percent of women who experience harassment leave their jobs within two years of experiencing that harassment

Sad:

There is a study that was just done recently by a researcher who found that 50 percent of women who experience harassment leave their jobs within two years of experiencing that harassment. When the harassment is particularly grave, that’s 80 percent, and many of them leave their professions altogether.

We can’t imagine what the world would’ve looked like if this systemic behavior hadn’t been in place. We don’t have the buildings that were built by women or the food that was ...

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