Shanghai Building to be Demolished

Philosophy

March 29th, 2017

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The rise of neo queerbaiting

The actress, who is contractually obligated to defend the storyline that the corporation decides to advance, offers a diplomatic answer regarding her character’s possible romance with a man, versus her answer regarding her character’s possible romance with a woman:

Also

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March 29th, 2017

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How long can sha-1 crypto survive?

Interesting:

SHA1 was meant to be a replacement for MD5. MD5 has an output space of only 128-bits, where as SHA1 has an output space of 160-bits. SHA1 is also designed differently than MD5, and is meant to not suffer the same sort of weaknesses or attacks that MD5 faces. However, over time, cryptographers have been able to severely attack SHA1, and as a result, they’ve all been warning us to get off SHA1, and move to SHA2. It should ...

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March 29th, 2017

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After 121 years of terrible journalism, the DailyMail is finding ways to be worse

When every article you publish is terrible, it takes something unique to stand out from the debris and make people say “That is much worse than usual“.

The meeting presented a new low for the newspaper, its perpetually disappointed proprietor and its lickspittle columnist: as if it weren’t bad enough that women held high office and didn’t have the grace to think the same about things, they were also each in possession of not one but two legs. Who knows where ...

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March 28th, 2017

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It’s absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail

Good lord, this song is good:

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March 27th, 2017

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Complexity emerges when a system has transitions that demand a different kind of math

Interesting:

When we observe the largest scale behaviors of a system, we simplify the mathematical description of the system because there are fewer distinguishable states, and only a limited set of possible behaviors. This also means that systems that look different on a microscopic scale may not look different at the macroscopic scale, and their mathematical descriptions become the same.

An important example of this arose in the study of phase transitions using the new mathematics of renormalization group. The transition ...

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March 27th, 2017

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Did sleep paralysis start the Salem Witch Trials?

Interesting:

Sleep paralysis researchers Brian Sharpless and Karl Dograhmji have collected 118 different terms from around the world that describe sleep paralysis-like experiences: Germans have terms for hexendrücken – witch pressing – and alpdrücken – elf pressing. Norwegian folktales include svartalfar – evil elves that shoot people with paralysing arrows before perching on their chests. The Japanese have a term, kanashibari, in reference to being magically bound by invisible metal. In parts of Switzerland people speak of tchutch-muton, an evil ...

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March 27th, 2017

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Will we live in a society where everyone needs an advanced college degree?

It’s amazing that this was written back in 1903, when less than 4% of the population had a college degree:

Human nature is once for all so childish that every reality becomes a sham somewhere, and in the minds of Presidents and Trustees the Ph.D. degree is in point of fact already looked upon as a mere advertising resource, a manner of throwing dust in the Public’s eyes. “No instructor who is not a Doctor” has become a maxim in the ...

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March 27th, 2017

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Do researchers have momentum?

Interesting:

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March 27th, 2017

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Kids make people hate each other

It’s funny, but it’s also serious, how many relationships go downhill once a couple has kids.

How Not to Hate Your Husband is a book for messy reality, but I can’t shake my frustration that its twin, written for men, isn’t out there somewhere: How to Keep Your Wife From Hating You After Kids. I’m disappointed that on top of doing far more housework and childcare than men, it also falls on women to patiently and strategically negotiate the terms ...

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March 27th, 2017

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The endless jargon wears me down

Microcanonical distribution? I find myself thinking I need to read something else before I read this. But then I find an article that is suppose to be more basic, and that too has jargon that makes me think I need to read something still more basic. I wonder where the starting point is?

Every time I try to get through an essay like this (almost every day) I find myself worn out dealing with the endless jargon:

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March 27th, 2017

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Facebook activated my dormant account and it won’t let me deactivate it

I am angry. I will walk you through the steps of what has happened. Here is the historical background:

1.) In late 2008, I signed up for Facebook.

2.) In early 2012 I deactivated my account.

3.) On March 14th, 2017, Facebook suddenly reactivated my account. I received this email:

I have done nothing to reactivate my account. I do not want an account on Facebook. I have been happy to live without Facebook for the last 5 years. The ...

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March 26th, 2017

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What happens when there is no agreement on the sources of facts?

Interesting:

But what happens when political participants step out of bounds and violate shared norms? Is it the press’s role to defend those norms, to push back, or merely to report on what has happened?

It’s a dilemma. For one thing, no clear line separates legitimate subjects of political dispute from what is off limits or out of bounds. As circumstances change, those lines shift and warp at the margins. Collective values are always in flux. Things that were subject of dispute ...

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March 25th, 2017

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Government says: Don’t Be Afraid to Racially Profile Your Friends, Neighbors and Coworkers

Worrisome:

Peterson opened his remarks with an anecdote about the San Bernardino shooters, who you’ll recall were a married couple. He noted that a neighbor failed to call the cops on the pair before the shooting, despite seeing them in their garage doing something murky. She feared being thought of as “racist,” Peterson said.

Peterson described this as an example of “political correctness run amok.” He encouraged us not to let a distaste for treating people differently based on their race ...

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March 21st, 2017

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Why does anyone bother?

Interesting:

How Not to Hate Your Husband came about because Dunn and her husband Tom had fallen into a deep rut of arguments and resentment about their household distribution of labour. Tom, despite good intentions and a warm personality, left almost all of the household management and childcare to Dunn, and her resentment became explosive. (Sound familiar?) Their six-year-old daughter, Sylvie, was often witness to their conflicts, and Dunn began to worry about the negative impact that this repetitive dynamic ...

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March 20th, 2017

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Maybe you should write fan fiction

This is great:

You know when professional writers say, “We’re not writing fan fiction”? My immediate reaction is almost always – well, maybe you should be.

Maybe you should be the fan writer who spends a lovingly long time getting into characters’ heads and making sure they’re internally consistent? Who cares more about interactions and dynamics than pulling the rug out from under audiences’ feet.

Maybe you should be the fan writer who chooses to show characters in love even ...

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March 20th, 2017

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Telling your family that you’ve been laid off

This was from a fiction workshop I was part of. This was my effort.

Jeffery and Anthony pulled up to the curb in front of the house. Jeffery looked out the house, but he did not move.

Anthony, who was in the driver’s seat, watched his friend for a long moment, and then said, “You’ve got to tell them.”

There was no reaction from Jeffery. Perhaps he had not heard.

“You’ve got to tell them,” repeated Anthony.

Jeffery took a ...

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March 18th, 2017

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The age of religion never ended

This does not strike me as new:

All this adds up to a depressing picture for those of us who aren’t ready to live in a post-truth world. Facts, it seems, are toothless. Trying to refute a bold, memorable lie with a fiddly set of facts can often serve to reinforce the myth. Important truths are often stale and dull, and it is easy to manufacture new, more engaging claims. And giving people more facts can backfire, as those facts provoke ...

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March 17th, 2017

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Life in the country

This person asserts we should leave the big cities and go where life is easy:

The “horribly stacked life” card is, in my experience, most often played by people trying to get by in the overly competitive environments of large cities. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear it, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere trying to work and live in a major city, do yourself a ...

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March 17th, 2017

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Authoritarianism: certain constellations of personality traits seem to travel together

It’s interesting that certain constellations of personality traits seem to travel together, even in different cultures, and in different centuries. The cult-of-personality goes with the authoritarianism, which goes with the desire to delegitimate all criticism, which goes with particular ideas about sex, and the relations between men and women. So again, in 2017, we see the revival of the same united set of personality attributes that are described from the 1930s:

His vainglorious sexual boasting (‘They say I’ve got the most ...

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March 17th, 2017

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The quiet damage of gaming addiction

Very interesting:

It is not always clear when gaming is the refuge of the trapped and when it is the trap. Ashley, aged 37, is certain that gaming is not the source of his problems. He played video games in his youth, but not obsessively; like other teenagers he made plenty of time for football and skateboarding. The games took on a different cast in his 20s, when he spent time abroad teaching English: he played heavily as a way to ...

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March 16th, 2017

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Computer programming is now treated as a career for the young

I wish I knew why this was. Unlike other white collar professions, computer programming is treated more like being an athlete, something that becomes increasingly untenable after the age of 40.

The problem is that our industry, unlike every other single industry except acting and modeling (and note neither are known for “intelligence”) worship at the altar of youth. I don’t know the number of people I’ve encountered who tell me that by being older, my experience is worthless since all ...

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March 16th, 2017

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Compare and despair

Interesting:

When we scroll through our feed we want to see something that’s either aspirational or motivating. We go on Instagram to escape from our problems or worries and to upload the best parts of our lives so that when we look back on our feed we think, “Wow, what a great few months I’ve had.” I guess it’s like looking back at our own gratitude list and I love social media for that, for allowing us to curate a ...

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March 16th, 2017

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Dealing with long-term illness

Interesting:

My experience of feeling unwell for years before I got a diagnosis turned out to be typical. According to aarda, it takes an average of nearly five years (and five doctors) for a sufferer to be given a diagnosis. Patients can end up consulting different specialists for different symptoms: a dermatologist, an endocrinologist, an immunologist, a neurologist, a rheumatologist. A lot of people with autoimmune diseases would like to see the establishment of clinical autoimmune centers, where a single doctor ...

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March 14th, 2017

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How to discover one’s voice as a writer

I also like this:

So I went back and was looking at some of your clips and thought, oh man, I remember these pieces, just not that you had written them. And what I think is interesting about that book is how much I can see how your voice and your style has changed. You can see the trajectory. When you look at that book—and that book is very much a product of where you were at then and the pieces ...

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March 14th, 2017

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Nobody ever gets everything they want

I like this:

Yeah, or like… Now that I’m through the other end of the grief, I’m really happy with my life, and I’m really grateful for a lot of things that came out of that—like the humbling that losing most everything that mattered in a deep way, except for my friendships and my writing and my family. I think I have much less of the delusion of control now than I used to, and I’m grateful for that. I ...

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March 14th, 2017

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Downvoted on Hacker News

I’ve been following Hacker News for 8 years now, and over the last 2 or 3 years I’ve noticed the commenters there have become more political and right-wing. I try not to post comments there, but when I do, more and more, I find myself getting downvoted for saying things that are obviously true. So, for instance, recently the actor Shia Labeouf had an art project to promote the anti-Trump message “He will not divide us” and some right-wingers were ...

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March 12th, 2017

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Having black children

One woman’s account:

My half-black son was born Sept 5th, here in Kansas City, while those protests raged across the state. Because the AA communities in StL and KC are so intertwined I actually am friends with one of Micheal Brown’s cousins, and not thru my husband.

I have been with my husband since 2009, and experienced firsthand racism and bigotry with him and without him, but I never lost that thread of stupid-suburbanite optimism until I was 37 weeks pregnant ...

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March 9th, 2017

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Google’s Featured Snippets are often drawn from fringe sites peddling crazy ideas

Interesting:

Google needs to invest in human experts who can judge what type of queries should produce a direct answer like this, Shulman said. “Or, at least in this case, not send an algorithm in search of an answer that isn’t simply ‘There is no evidence any American president has been a member of the Klan.’ It’d be great if instead of highlighting a bogus answer, it provided links to accessible, peer-reviewed scholarship.”

…What about a system that thinks Barack Obama is ...

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March 9th, 2017

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Truman was racist

Interesting:

Even his reverential biographer, Merle Miller, admitted in the Truman biography “Plain Speaking” that later in life “privately Mr. Truman always said ‘nigger’; at least he always did when I talked to him.” He also often privately referred to Jews as “kikes.”

Truman’s racism and anti-Semitism may surprise many Americans because he has been sanctified in recent years by hagiographic biographers such as David McCullough and by Democrats and Republicans who admire his leadership during the Cold War. As the country ...

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March 8th, 2017

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Health care is complicated

Funny opening:

President Trump, long at the forefront of intellectual discovery, last week came up with a major finding: Health-care reform is hard. “Unbelievably complex,” in fact.

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” the president said.

Actually, we all knew. That’s why Republicans’ successor plan to Obamacare, “repeal and replace,” became repeal and delay. That’s why House Republicans kept their draft legislation under guard in a secret, GOP-only “reading room” in the Capitol, so copies wouldn’t leak. That’s why ...

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March 8th, 2017

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Academic romance

Interesting:

Philosophy has long had a reputation as a work environment inhospitable to women, even though there have certainly been significant improvements on this front over the past few years. Did you face gender-specific obstacles as a woman trying to make a career in a male-dominated discipline?

Well of course in those days every discipline was inhospitable to women. There was only one tenured woman in the whole of Harvard when I arrived there, the classicist Emily Vermeule, and she was ...

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March 6th, 2017

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The distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility

Interesting:

The distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility, It is natural to suppose that as much as has been done today may be done tomorrow: but on the morrow some difficulty emerges, or some external impediment obstructs. Indolence, interruption, business, and pleasure, all take their turns of retardation; and every long work is lengthened by a thousand causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be recounted. Perhaps no extensive and multifarious performance was ever effected ...

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March 3rd, 2017

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The economics of intentional communities

Interesting:

But even with the best organisational acumen, intentional communities are often heavily criticised for the backward progress they tend to symbolise. Bronson Alcott (the father of Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women) was characterised by the essayist Thomas Carlyle as a ‘man bent on saving the world by a return to acorns’. In 1843, Alcott founded Fruitlands, an experimental community in Harvard, Massachusetts. An agrarian commune influenced by transcendentalist thought, and built on renouncing the ‘civilised’ world, Fruitlands ...

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March 1st, 2017

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Has there ever been so great a gulf in USA politics?

One thing that seems unique about the current moment in USA politics is how decent most of the national Democrats are, and how loathsome the national Republicans are. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where one party was so full of honest and decent people, while the other party was so devoid of any.

This bit with Gabby Giffords is the extreme case:

According to the Washington Post, Louis Gohmert [R-Texas] released a statement earlier this week clarifying his decision ...

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March 1st, 2017

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Can you imagine having 2 duplexes in New York and not throwing a party every night?

I would throw a party every night, if I had that much space in New York. These two were definitely depressed.

After my success in Blue Denim I expected to be working again immediately, since my agent could now get me into most producers’ offices. I auditioned for every upcoming Broadway show, but to my great disappointment, I wasn’t cast in any of them. I longed to be given a chance to play high-strung, defiant young women. Instead I would appear ...

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March 1st, 2017

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We never escape loneliness

This is wonderfully written:

Her son had recently died, and she said she did not know what to do now. She had so much time on her hands, she was so bored and weary and sorrowful that she was ready to die. She had brought him up with loving care and intelligence, and he had gone to one of the best schools and to college. She had not spoiled him, though he had had everything that was necessary. She had ...

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March 1st, 2017

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The increasingly forgotten class war of the 40s and 50s

What a bizarre thing to write:

Not surprisingly given McAdam’s long history in the social movements research field, McAdam and Kloos argue that social movements are commonly relevant to electoral and party politics; they suggest that the period of relatively high consensus around the moderate middle (1940s and 1950s) was exceptional precisely because of the absence of powerful social movements during these decades. But during more typical periods, national electoral politics are influenced by both political parties and diffuse social movements; ...

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March 1st, 2017

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Madeleine Davies talks to Jessa Crispin

Interesting:

Why do you think so many current self-proclaimed feminists feel the need to distance themselves from the second wave definition of feminism and, even more so, second wave radicals like Andrea Dworkin or Catharine McKinnon?

Once assimilation became a possibility—and I feel like this happens with pretty much every marginalized group that’s fighting for equality—once assimilation becomes a possibility, you kind of abandon your principles because it’s much easier to just enter the system than destroy it. The more radical thinkers ...

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March 1st, 2017

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Dangerous extensions to copyright

Interesting:

One dangerous idea that rightsholders continue to push for is a “notice and staydown” system. This sounds like a minor edit to notice and takedown, but in reality it would amount to mandatory filtering of the Internet for the purpose of policing copyright. Last summer we noted many of the general reasons why this idea is both dangerous and impractical. In our most recent comments, we focus more specifically on the direct threat such a system would pose to the ...

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March 1st, 2017

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Kellyanne Conway puts her feet on the couch while she’s wearing shoes

This seems like the pose of a child. I am not sure how to understand this level of informality at the White House:

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February 28th, 2017

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American politics has gotten really weird

What used to be the paranoid fringe is now elected to leadership positions in the government:

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February 28th, 2017

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The dictatorship of the myths of intelligence

This essay is too long, but there are some bits that are good. Interesting:

Plato’s novel idea fell on the eager ears of the intellectuals, including those of his pupil Aristotle. Aristotle was always the more practical, taxonomic kind of thinker. He took the notion of the primacy of reason and used it to establish what he believed was a natural social hierarchy. In his book The Politics, he explains: ‘[T]hat some should rule and others be ruled is a ...

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February 28th, 2017

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Twitter’s lack of context keeps me away

The lack of context is exactly what keeps me away from Twitter. I want more context, not less.

Last week I had coffee with Hunter Walk who said he deleted his Twitter data and now auto-deletes Tweets regularly, so it becomes a transient outlet instead of permanent. As an experiment I downloaded my entire archive and randomly started poking through it. Without context, without the situation at hand, I wanted to punch the avatar of myself that came across in ...

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February 23rd, 2017

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It’s not self-care if someone else is doing your hair

This is obviously wrong, but it is a great reminder of the other issues involved:

It’s not self-care if someone else is doing your hair.

Obviously it is self-care. But right, there is someone there who also has needs.

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February 23rd, 2017

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Bad Wikipedia pages: French Romance Novels

I get used to information being found in Wikipedia, so I am surprised when I find a page an anemic as this:

You would expect them to list thousands of books, instead of 2 dozen. They don’t have the one I’m looking for, from the 1700s.

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February 20th, 2017

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Women without kids

I used to think that Vox was the most boring site on the Web, but lately I’ve been reading the site often.

This is from Sweden:

“I am an archaeologist,” I told the gynecologist with the relative calm of someone answering an emotionally loaded question with a rehearsed response. “I don’t know if I’ll be living in a country where abortion will be available to me should I become pregnant.”

This was no exaggeration. I still lived in Sweden, where I ...

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February 20th, 2017

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Anyone know how to say that in German?

Interesting:

That morning, my boyfriend had to go to work, but a decision on what to do had to be made quickly. So he stuffed a wad of Euros into my hand and put me on a train to the Netherlands, the closest neighboring country where the pill can be bought over the counter.

The need for women to cross borders, and spend beyond their budget, just to receive reproductive health care is nothing new. Northern Ireland—which, let’s not forget, is in ...

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February 16th, 2017

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It’s never too late to become a computer programmer

Interesting:

BECOME A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER AT 35

Aimee Morgan, a former Stanford University Libraries archivist, enrolled in an online course to learn Python programming language at the age of 35. She fell in love with programming so much that she decided to start Hackbright Academy, a coding boot camp that teaches software development to women. Her skills led her to become a software engineer on the backend team at Flixster (an American community where users watch and rate movies, this company ...

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February 16th, 2017

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The drift of the Republican party

Interesting:

The drift of the Republican party from being liberal to illiberal, from being secular to Christian, from being environmentally aware to climate change deniers, from supporting minorities to attacking ‘welfare queens’, did not happen all at once but has been a steady process. Of course there were key moments in that process, such as Nixon’s ‘southern strategy’, Reagan’s adoption of tax cuts for the rich that would ‘pay for themselves’ and neoliberalism more generally, to the Tea Party most recently. ...

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February 16th, 2017

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Reasons to have beer with smart people

Funny:

This seems a good moment to revisit “He seems like he’d be a good guy to have a beer with,” the shorthand explanation for the rank anti-intellectualism that put George W. Bush in the White House 17 years ago and later flowered, in our somehow even dumber present, into “Uh actually stupid idiots are good” and made Donald Trump, a boiled bologna condom stuffed with Viagra, the most powerful person in the world. … Dolts are not good for having a beer ...

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February 15th, 2017

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Insane work schedules and coffee

Interesting:

From nappy:

Balzac drove himself relentlessly as a writer, motivated by enormous literary ambition as well as a never-ending string of creditors and endless cups of coffee; as Herbert J. Hunt has written, he engaged in “orgies of work punctuated by orgies of relaxation and pleasure.” When Balzac was working, his working schedule was brutal: He ate a light dinner at 6:00 P.M., then went to bed. At 1:00 A.M. he rose and sat down at his writing table for ...

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February 14th, 2017

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What is this woman thinking?

I love this photo, taken by my friend Natalie Sidner. I love the mystery of the situation. I find myself wondering what has this woman so intrigued.

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February 11th, 2017

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Dan Nainan’s passive aggressive act

The worrisome thing is how aggressive Nainan behaves, even though he claims he is not being aggressive. His need to lie is enough to put everyone else on guard. The fact that he lies about his age, claiming to be 35 when he is 55, suggests he is fundamentally dishonest.

I just received the initial deposit for a corporate show in Dubai that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. The show pays $8000, yes, that’s right, EIGHT THOUSAND US ...

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February 11th, 2017

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The end of sexual ambiguity

The era of trying to define one’s sexuality in exact terms is surely a temporary outcome of contemporary political struggles? Interesting:

All five of Edward and Minnie Benson’s adult offspring distinguished themselves in public life. Arthur Benson served as the master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University, wrote the lyrics to Edward Elgar’s hymn “Land of Hope and Glory,” and was entrusted with the delicate task of co-editing Queen Victoria’s letters for publication. His brother Fred was a best-selling writer, well ...

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February 11th, 2017

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The world would be a better place if Nicholas Sparks had never been born

I’d be embarrassed if I made a living off of fictional dead women. But I do get how a young teen could find these stories intensely moving.

The skin tones don’t even match up! How could you possibly be upset by that? Of course, it gave Landon the opportunity to reveal himself as a “good guy.” It probably wasn’t great for my emotional and sexual development to believe that some asshole teen boy might come around and be nice ...

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February 10th, 2017

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Immigration in the USA

The main benefit of the rule of law is suppose to be an absence of arbitrary enforcement, but that is not what is happening now:

“Almost everyone is a deportation priority,” William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told me of the guidelines, which are a strict departure from the Obama administration’s stated focus on removing criminals, undocumented immigrants in the country less than two years, and individuals caught while crossing the border. Trump’s order, by comparison, includes a ...

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February 9th, 2017

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The purity test

“He also shamefully ignored the interests of African Americans and interned Japanese Americans during WWII.”

This sounds exactly like a purity test based on race, so these 2 paragraphs make no coherent sense together:

The reformist left was a big tent. It included people who thought of themselves as communists and socialist as well as moderate left-of-center Democrats. What united them was a devotion to pragmatic reform; there were no purity tests, no totalizing calls for revolution, as was common among ...

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February 9th, 2017

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The confidence, or overconfidence, of the rich

Interesting:

Many of us, though, wouldn’t even have tried the hurdle. If I’d had Ms Sands otherwise decent CV, I’d have looked at that job spec and ruled myself out as unqualified. Ms Sands, obviously, did not.

In this, she’s following many others. Tristram Hunt has become head of the V&A despite no experience of curating or of running large organizations. David Cameron wanted to become PM because he thought he’d be “rather good” at it – a judgment which now looks ...

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February 8th, 2017

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How to message on Tinder

Interesting:

Before I met my current girlfriend, I decided to master Tinder. I know Tinder is not a game. I didn’t necessarily want to win Tinder, but I did want to be good at it. And the reason was simple: I was terrible at dating. And the reason for that was simple, too: at the age when everyone else was learning how to date, I was extremely closeted.

I came out at the very end of college, and I struggled. I didn’t ...

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February 8th, 2017

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Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz to head Vogue Arabia

Interesting:

So it’s no surprise that she’d already appeared in New York’s fashion-on-the-streets Look Book section prior to this profile (there, she copped to loving Jessica Simpson’s lip gloss). The writer, Larocca, describes meeting Abdulaziz in front of Barneys New York in 2004: She was well dressed but normally so for the neighborhood, an uptown woman out for a stroll in expensive but quiet versions of things: a Prada T-shirt, Miu Miu shoes, an Hermès bag. I was scouting for a photo ...

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February 8th, 2017

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The strength of conservative grassroots

Interesting:

I grew up in the far-right evangelical conservative (Christofascist) movement; specifically, I was homeschooled and my parents were part of a subculture called Quiverfull, whose aim is to outbreed everyone for Jesus. I spent my teen years being a political activist. I was taught by every pastor I encountered that it was our job as Christians to outbreed the secularists (anyone not a far-right evangelical Protestant) and take over the government through sheer numbers. I was part of TeenPact, Generation ...

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February 8th, 2017

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Gayzing

Funny:

This year, like many years before it, we as a human race have continued evolving, getting ever-so-much-closer to a utopia in which everybody is gay. 2016 was a banner year for Coming Out, in which a multitude of folks all across the fame spectrum proudly declared their allegiance to my favorite lifestyle choice and Kristen Stewart publicly admitted that she had a girlfriend. (Kristen Stewart was on last year’s list though, not this year’s, because she has been coming out ...

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February 8th, 2017

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Charles Erwin Wilson hated research?

I am puzzled by this Wilson character, who seems to hate research:

The term dynamic programming was originally used in the 1940s by Richard Bellman to describe the process of solving problems where one needs to find the best decisions one after another. By 1953, he refined this to the modern meaning, referring specifically to nesting smaller decision problems inside larger decisions,[15] and the field was thereafter recognized by the IEEE as a systems analysis and engineering topic. Bellman’s contribution is ...

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February 8th, 2017

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The end of reassuring stories

Interesting:

The final story, which continues on both the left and right, is that Trump and his team are inexperienced buffoons who will quickly make fools of themselves, and will be brought to heel by the checks and balances of the US constitutional system. Its too early to tell, but the signs so far do not look good. Take the holocaust statement. According to this story, leaving out any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism from the Holocaust Day statement was perhaps ...

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February 8th, 2017

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India is run by criminals

There was the old saying, in places like Italy, “When the state is weak, the mafia takes over.” This is now happening in India, with the formal endorsement of the electoral system. Very worrisome:

Sadly, this is not a book about some small, shady corner of Indian politics: 34% of the members of parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha (lower house) have criminal charges filed against them; and the figure is rising (see chart). Some of the raps are peccadillos, such ...

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February 1st, 2017

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Syrian family deported

Nothing ever changes. No matter how many books get written about fascism, the same kinds of people keep voting for it (in particular, those with doctors, lawyers and engineers, who seem to reliably back authoritarian governments on the assumption that the authoritarian government won’t come after them).

Source

February 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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End of the neoliberal consensus

Interesting:

For a few decades we thought the end of history had arrived and political battles in most OECD countries were between centre-right and centre-left parties arguing in a narrow political spectrum, but largely agreeing on issues such as free trade, the benefits of immigration, the need for flexible efficient markets, and the positive role of global finance. This consensus was reinforced by international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and OECD, and the Davos political and business elite.

In ...

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January 31st, 2017

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Bibi Bourelly – “Sally”

It’s the right attitude for everyone trying to keep our fighting spirits and remember the good people.

Source

January 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What will happen to the USA?

It’s hard to know how we bounce back from here.

Source

January 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Imagine two countries

Imagine these two countries:

In the first, the government has a tradition of due process and liberal rights for most adults, all adults have right to vote, and elections are free and fair, yet the country has been stripped of all of its labor unions.

In the second, the government is authoritarian, there are no free elections, but the people have managed to organize a vast labor union, noted for its militancy and enjoying great popular support.

What happens next?

We know ...

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January 28th, 2017

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The kind of testimonial that a social media site should dream of

Back in 1968 Joan Didion wrote an essay about why she left New York. Maybe that was the first of the “Why I am leaving the city” genre. Or maybe the genre existed earlier, but she is certainly the most famous representative. These essays are typically written by women between the ages of 27 and 40 who have decided it’s time to stop partying and start having children.

In our more recent era, over the last 20 years, there has ...

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January 28th, 2017

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Children are scientists

Interesting:

There is a theory in psychology called the theory theory. It’s a theory about theories. While this might sound obvious, the theory theory leads to counterintuitive conclusions. A quarter-century ago, psychologists began to point out important links between the development of scientific theories and how everyday thinking, including children’s thinking, works. According to theory theorists, a child learns by constructing a theory of the world and testing it against experience. In this sense, children are little scientists – they ...

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January 28th, 2017

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Actually understanding the problem you face is better than vague statistics about the problem

This is a very long metaphor about bad business reasoning versus situational awareness, but I like the point being made:

The battle of Thermopylae (the tale of the three hundred) and the clash between the Greeks and the mighty army of Xerxes has echoed throughout history as a lesson in the force multiplier effect of landscape. Themistocles devised a strategy whereby the Athenian navy would block the straits of Artemisium forcing the Persians along the coastal road into the narrow ...

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January 28th, 2017

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Tribal indentity in politics is stronger than people realize

This bit is interesting:

It is little appreciated how much liberal democracy depends on strong parties, and a revitalized, re-understood liberalism adequate to the moment will have to overcome a traditional distaste for partisan politics.

…I suggested in my previous essay that “voting patterns didn’t change enough between 2012 and 2016 to justify big claims about new national moods or about Trump’s distinctive appeal. I believe the consequences of this election will be deeply abnormal. But the voting behavior that brought ...

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January 27th, 2017

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Birtherism from Melania

Sad:

If the past is any indication, Melania is no passive victim. Recently a 2011 interview with Melania on the Joy Behar Show went viral on Twitter. In the interview, Melania defends her husband’s adamant commitment to the birther conspiracy born of the Tea Party—his belief that President Obama is not an American citizen, that he was born in Kenya and that his Hawaii-issued birth certificate was, in fact, a forgery. “Do you want to see President Obama’s birth certificate or ...

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January 27th, 2017

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Is this appropriate for a psychologist?

Very worrisome that this would come from a psychologist who works with families:

Dathan Paterno, a school board member in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, called the marchers “vagina screechers,” as the Chicago Tribune reports, part of a string of good tweets about women:

The tweet read: “Most of these vagina screechers didn’t vote, but they mean business. Riiiiiiiight. What a farce.” The remark followed a few other provocative posts last week about the march, including one that referred to it ...

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January 27th, 2017

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A bias that never fades is best thought of as a religious conviction

I’ve largely given up having conversations with people on the political right, mostly on the same grounds that I no longer try to debate religion with people. We all must take certain assumptions about reality as a starting point for our understanding of the world, and if someone’s most fundamental assumptions are sufficiently different from mine, we simply don’t have enough common ground to have a meaningful conversation. If someone believes that Jesus is their personal Savior, I won’t try ...

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January 27th, 2017

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Jason Brennan has no respect for ignorant voters

Interesting and funny:

I think this illustrates what gets Lehmann’s goat. Perhaps Lehmann views the right to vote as a kind of honorific. And she’s right that it is. In most modern societies, people use the right to vote as a kind of public affirmation of who matters and who doesn’t. We load suffrage with all sorts of expressive value. Getting the right to vote is like getting a gold star and a pat on the back. Being denied suffrage is ...

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January 27th, 2017

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The sun is much bigger than the planets

This is a great story about the moment when we humans first learned that the planets were small, and the sun was very big:

Gassendi’s most important observation was made when Mercury passed in front of the sun on November 7, 1631. Only Mercury and Venus can be observed from the earth during their solar transit. Similar passages took place in the months of May and November, around the 7th and the 9th of the month. For Mercury, one could expect ...

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January 27th, 2017

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Who supports a policy can sometimes tell you whether you should support it

This is good:

I’m prompted to say this by the fact that at least one decent Leaver thinks May’s Brexit strategy is wrong. Pete North calls it “unhinged lunacy” and a “clueless gamble.”

Some of us, though, had an inkling of this months ago. This wasn’t because we had greater powers of foresight. Instead, what strengthened my antipathy to Brexit was simply that many of the people who supported it were racists and charlatans. Of course, not all Leavers were by any ...

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January 27th, 2017

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Where does reality come from?

Interesting:

The best-known and most thoroughgoing exponent of active mechanisms was Gottfried Leibniz. Convinced that the closed mechanical systems described by Boyle and Newton could not explain motion or change, Leibniz posited a vis viva, a living or vital force. It was a “principle underlying all material events.” Instead of impenetrable, indivisible, insentient atoms, Leibniz proposed that the fundamental units of matter were a species of metaphysical points, with, as Riskin remarks, “something vital” about them.17 These were the monads, elementary ...

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January 27th, 2017

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Stanislav Datskovskiy: Employers much prefer that workers be fungible, rather than maximally productive

I’ve linked this before, but it is worth linking again:

Where Lisp Fails: at Turning People into Fungible Cogs.

A favorite conundrum of many Lisp aficionados is why the language appears to languish in disuse. Talk of cultural problems, “the library question” (which usually boils down to nonsensical circular reasoning), too many parentheses, and other absurdities simply dances around the blindingly obvious explanation – one which is able to make sense not only of the obscurity of Lisp, but of ...

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January 27th, 2017

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God, computers, and complexity theory

How do we measure complexity? Is Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem just another way of stating Turing’s Halting Problem? A very interesting combination of ideas:

For Leibniz, a law must be expressed by a simple equation. An equation that is forte composée is meaningless. There is always one loitering about. This kind of theoretical criterion does not apply to individual cases. We are trying to understand what it means to say there is a law governing these points. That does not mean we ...

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January 26th, 2017

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Security at the White House

Funny and also pathetic:

Source

January 26th, 2017

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Six days with a new President

Worrisome:

As of this very moment—and this is an incomplete list—the Trump administration has ordered a freeze on most federal hiring, reinstated the Global Gag Rule, helped kick off an Obamacare repeal, invented a universe of “alternative facts,” moved forward on the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, manifested a voter fraud crisis and promised a “major investigation” into it, appeared to plagiarize a Batman villain, prepared an order that would enact “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in U.S. ...

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January 26th, 2017

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1962 was not 1955

I disagree with this:

Once upon a time, way back in the middle of the twentieth century, America was all about tomorrow. Consider the Jetsons, which premiered in 1962, just a few years after the launch of Sputnik opened the Space Age. Matt Novak positions the television cartoon within the golden age of American Futurism: “The Jetsons” was the distillation of every Space Age promise Americans could muster,” he says. “It had everything our hearts could desire: jetpacks, flying cars, ...

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January 26th, 2017

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Constance Wu goes after Casey Affleck

It’s interesting how often this is happening now, with people in Hollywood calling out other people in Hollywood:

In a series of tweets (that she has not deleted, by the way) she sounded off on allegations that the actor sexually harassed and physically intimidated women several years ago, writing:

Men who sexually harass women 4 OSCAR! Bc good acting performance matters more than humanity, human integrity! Bc poor kid rly needs the help! Boys! BUY ur way out of trouble by settling ...

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January 26th, 2017

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Hollywood gives a lot of second chances to certain stars

Worrisome:

Affleck’s turn has already garnered rave reviews, as well as magazine profiles that are usually reserved for Oscar favorites. A few of these stories—like October’s Variety cover story on Affleck—feature an aberrant footnote. Nearly 2,000 words into the profile, there’s a brief mention of sexual harassment. Asked to comment on two sexual-harassment suits (here and here) that were brought against him by women who worked on I’m Still Here, Affleck responds, “People say whatever they want. Sometimes it doesn’t matter ...

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January 18th, 2017

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Olympia Snowe speaks about the Senate

From 2012. Interesting:

Some people were surprised by my conclusion, yet I have spoken on the floor of the Senate for years about the dysfunction and political polarization in the institution. Simply put, the Senate is not living up to what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

During the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison wrote in his Notes of Debates that “the use of the Senate is to consist in its proceedings with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, ...

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January 14th, 2017

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President Tyler has grand-children who are still alive

Interesting:

Consider: He conceived so many kids and kept making babies for so long that two of his grandchildren are still alive. You read that right: two grandchildren of a man born in 1790, a few weeks after George Washington gave America’s inaugural state of the union address, a guy whose dad roomed with Thomas Jefferson at William and Mary, has two living grandchildren. No greats. Grandchildren.

Here’s how that works:

Tyler had eight children with his first wife, Letitia Christian.

A mere six ...

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January 10th, 2017

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The advantage of centralized government

I saw this interesting bit on Hacker News: by bhups:

The United States is a federation of self-governing states within which there are open borders and free trade…just like the European Union. The United States has a population of 320 million people, while the EU has a population of a similar order of magnitude: around 500 million. To many voters, the idea of enacting broad social welfare programs in the United States sounds just as infeasible as enacting similar programs ...

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January 10th, 2017

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How to solve the problem of gerrymandering

All of the problems with gerrymandering can be solved by eliminating districts and holding all elections at the national level.

As a thought experiment, assume a society that is ruled by a legislature of 29 people. Each year, society votes and elects a single individual, who then serves for 29 years. One person elected per year for 29 years gives you a legislature of 29 people. If all local, city, and regional voting districts are abolished (the districts still exist, but ...

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January 8th, 2017

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The zeta function

If only all of math could be taught with essays as beautifully done as this one:

This builds up to an explanation of the Riemann Hypothesis

Source

January 8th, 2017

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Publish only mode as the cure for burnout

This is an interesting idea:

So, instead, I decided to fix the root of the problem. I realized that I was letting too many people into my world, not delegating enough, and needed help maintaining my projects. I didn’t want to lose what I valued most about my position within our community—being able to influence the world I cared so much about.

So, I unfollowed everyone on Twitter. Every single person. I stopped paying attention to tech trends and reading hacker ...

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January 8th, 2017

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The collision of modern dating and traditional Islam

Interesting:

But Leyla would never allow anyone to dictate to her about whether she can wear tight jeans or high heels. And she does not want to feel ashamed for having had sex outside of marriage. Leyla dated a second man for two years and shared her past with him. But, she says, he treated her less respectfully with time, was often jealous and tried to stop her from going out with her friends. When Leyla finally broke it off ...

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January 8th, 2017

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An anti-natalist quote from Schopenhauer

Interesting.

The conviction that the world, and therefore man too, is something which really ought not to exist is in fact calculated to instil in us indulgence towards one another: for what can be expected of beings placed in such a situation as we are? From this point of view one might indeed consider that the appropriate form of address between man and man ought to be, not monsieur, sir, but fellow sufferer, compagnon de misères. However strange this may sound ...

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January 8th, 2017

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Crazy times in Western democracies

Interesting:

The year that has passed dealt three tremendous shocks to Britain’s parliamentary system. Taken together, they constitute a quiet revolution: potentially the most significant recasting of how Britain is governed since the coming of universal suffrage. Understanding how this has happened, why it matters and what should be done about it is essential, if we are not to sleepwalk into new and potentially more dangerous forms of government in the year ahead.

The first great shock was Brexit, which struck the ...

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January 8th, 2017

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Gender confusion and abuse

This is a tough story to read:

When I was three years old, I saw my father break my mother’s ribcage. I also saw my baby sister being born. As she herself grew, Emily became everything I wasn’t- pretty, good at making friends, she just fit in so well as I struggled with interactions outside my home. I was very shy. I didn’t “click” well with other children and would prefer to spend hours or days by myself, making elaborate stories ...

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January 8th, 2017

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Conflict between mother and daughter

Such a sad story. This young woman died later that night of suicide.

According to a recording of that nearly five-minute call, a copy of which was obtained by KyCIR, an angry McMillen alternately screams at Gynnya and talks to the 911 operator, while the girl periodically cries out in the background.

“You dumb-ass whore, you gonna spend the rest of your goddamn 2½ years in a goddamn insane asylum with the rest of the retarded kids,” McMillen is heard ...

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January 8th, 2017

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The new political religion

I like his metaphor comparing this to a religion:

Sean Illing

Tell me why you decided to end your show. You say the show was a kind of experiment to see if it was possible to call it straight and tell the truth to a (mostly) conservative audience. Why did your experiment fail?

John Ziegler There are a lot of reasons why it failed, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the election of Donald Trump. The part of this equation your ...

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January 8th, 2017

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Why was stagnation so normal?

A bit of history has me wondering, once again, why stagnation was so normal for the last 200,000 years.

Davis and Stocker are interested not in the ruination of the palace, however, but in its beginnings. For several hundred years before the palace was built, the region was dominated by the Minoans, whose sophisticated civilization arose on Crete, with skilled artisans and craftsmen who traded widely in the Aegean, Mediterranean and beyond. By contrast, the people of mainland Greece, a ...

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January 8th, 2017

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An aggressive, unpopular government

For the sake of stability and the rule of law, I see a need for governments to survive, despite being unpopular. But in those cases, the individual politicians need to be protected from voter anger, since the only benefit of allowing governance by the unpopular is so they can push through their laws their own constituents would hate.

To me, it seems like the worst of all possible forms of government to have rule-by-unpopular-minority combined with every-politician-is-vulnerable-and-afraid.

Which is what ...

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January 8th, 2017

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The nostalgia of the Star Wars saga

I think this is true of all the Star Wars movies, there is an avoidance of anything that resembles “science” or “technology” instead it’s all mysticism. It is a fantasy story that just happens to be set in space.

To explain: David Edelstein notes that the movie “it rehashes the plots of about a thousand World War II and/or Western films in which a brave squadron — a Magnificent Seven, a Dirty Dozen, a Force Five — prepares to sacrifice ...

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January 8th, 2017

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Where is there misogyny on Hacker News?

I’ll save this in case I’m ever asked this question again. lacampbell’s rant (apparently by Lewis Campbell) basically amounts to “I want kids but I don’t want to pay for them”. Astounding that this kind of ranting still goes on:

Source

January 8th, 2017

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The injustice of the market

Interesting: Compare with Hayek’s Law, Legislation

and Liberty volume 2, pp. 73-74

It has been argued persuasively that people will tolerate major inequalities of the material positions only if they believe that the different individuals get on the whole what they deserve, that they did in fact support the market order only because (and so long as) they thought that the differences of remuneration corresponded roughly to differences of merit, and that in consequence the maintenance of a free society presupposes the ...

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January 1st, 2017

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The One Book religions

A friend wrote to ask me how I thought circumstances effected religious belief. I wrote this response.

—————————–

A fascinating fact is how much human religion was shaped by the lack of the printing press. Judaism, Islam, Christianity. These religions all arose after writing had been invented, but before the printing press. These are all One Book religions — the whole religion exists in a single book. In hindsight, it’s incredible how important this was. Before the printing press, there are ...

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January 1st, 2017

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Flashback to 2006: Stefan Esser quits the PHP security team

I think I linked to this many years ago, but the original blog post seems to have disappeared and now it only exists in the Wayback Machine, so I’ll link to it again:

Last night I finally retired from the PHP Security Response Team, that was initially my idea a few years ago.

The reasons for this are many, but the most important one is that I have realised that any attempt to improve the security of PHP from the inside ...

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January 1st, 2017

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Things I worry about

I thought this was a parody, but then I went to Twitter and I looked and it turns Trump actually wrote this.

He will be President of the United States in 3 weeks. This is simply incredible.

The election of Trump will be remembered as the worst self-inflicted disaster in history.

Source

December 30th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Jia Tolentino talks to Rebecca Traister

Interesting:

Jezebel: Your book starts with a big first line.“I always hated it when my heroines got married,” you write. You talk about Laura Ingalls Wilder, and how as soon as you look at the book cover for The First Four Years, you know her story is over now: she’s a mommy, she’s a wife. There’s Jo March, who suddenly phones it in, gets married and opens a school for boys; there’s Anne Shirley, who passes the narrative to her daughter.

I’m ...

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December 30th, 2016

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Madeleine Davies is angry

Interesting:

It’s strange that until recently, domestic literature is seen as dull and boring compared to tales of male adventure, especially when a woman’s life, beginning to end, is filled with violence. We’re born, we learn to be afraid, learn to be looked at, learn to be quiet, we bleed, we give birth, we age, we’re forgotten, and then we die. So much of what we encounter—marriage, raising children—is meant to hold us painfully still. Those who don’t offer gratitude for ...

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December 29th, 2016

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We have learned something crucial about how humans learn

The biggest disappointment regarding the Internet is surely that there has been no increase in the rate of discoveries. If you’d asked me in the 1980s, I would have guessed that a world wide network of information would increase the speed of scientific breakthroughs. I would still have said the same thing in the late 1990s.

From the point of view of intellectuals, the Internet seems like Utopia: so much information!

How could such an incredible resource fail to help ...

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December 29th, 2016

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Gatekeeper moms

This is an interesting German magazine that I just discovered:

“The affected woman desperately attempts to be the most important person to the child and outdoes the father because she perceives him to be a threat,” says Leipold. These mothers, therefore, put the parenting bar so high that the father is bound to fail.

This behavior arises because of entrenched traditional roles where household duties are unequally distributed. These roles are so deeply embedded in the subconscious that they are hard to ...

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December 29th, 2016

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Zakiya Acey: We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it

The student learns nothing when the student is a consumer. Learning means maturing. Learning means becoming the change that one wants to see.

Interesting, but problematic:

Acey, who insists that Karega’s posts were more anti-Zionist than anti-Semitic, thinks professors often hide their racial biases. “But they’ll vote in a way that does not benefit the students,” he says. “Like, the way the courses are set up. You know, we’re paying for a service. We’re paying for our attendance here. We need ...

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December 28th, 2016

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The weakness of the technocrats

I like this, but it is not an original point. The same point was made about Kerensky:

Trump called Mexicans rapists and demanded a ban on Muslims entering the country. Clinton countered with plans for a “comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship,” including measures to “fix the family visa backlog,” to “end the three- and 10-year bars,” and have “targeted” immigration enforcement.

Trump bragged about grabbing women by the “pussy.” Clinton planned to address “issues that affect ...

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December 28th, 2016

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The last romantic battle

Interesting bit from 1914:

A century later, it’s easy to dismiss all the remembrances and tributes as being overly sentimental and maudlin. What’s often forgotten, however, is what the temporary peace represented in the larger scheme of things. There’s a very good reason why a truce never happened again in this war and in subsequent wars — and much of it had to do with the changing nature of military strategy, the changing role of soldiers and how they engaged with ...

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December 28th, 2016

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Rising expectations versus Trump

This is well said:

This year is not the worst ever. Steven Pinker has argued, in his 2011 book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and elsewhere, that the world is actually growing less violent with time. What hurts so badly right now, I think, is this sense of unexpected retrenchment—the fear that decades of incremental progress will be rapidly eradicated by an empty-headed demagogue who appears to be doing everything on a whim. Perhaps 2016 feels so terrible partly because ...

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December 28th, 2016

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Scientists on gender versus objectivity

Interesting:

Both male and female scientists felt that female scientists (light bars) were more objective, intelligent, etc. than male ones (dark bars), although the differences were larger when it was female scientists making the ratings.

Source

December 27th, 2016

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Intelligence is a trade-off

Funny, and I also think this is true:

The Argument From Wooly Definitions

The concept of “general intelligence” in AI is famously slippery. Depending on the context, it can mean human-like reasoning ability, or skill at AI design, or the ability to understand and model human behavior, or proficiency with language, or the capacity to make correct predictions about the future.

What I find particularly suspect is the idea that “intelligence” is like CPU speed, in that any sufficiently smart entity can emulate ...

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December 25th, 2016

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The insanity of utopian thinking about Artificial Intelligence

Interesting:

Since I’m being critical of AI alarmism, it’s only fair that I put my own cards on the table.

I think our understanding of the mind is in the same position that alchemy was in in the seventeenth century.

Alchemists get a bad rap. We think of them as mystics who did not do a lot of experimental work. Modern research has revealed that they were far more diligent bench chemists than we gave them credit for.

In many cases they used modern ...

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December 25th, 2016

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Charles Dickens reports on poverty in 1856

Interesting:

Economists might also wince just a bit… Dickens writes: “I know that the unreasonable disciples of a reasonable school, demented disciples who push arithmetic and political economy beyond all bounds of sense (not to speak of such a weakness as humanity), and hold them to be all-sufficient for every case, can easily prove that such things ought to be, and that no man has any business to mind them. Without disparaging those indispensable sciences in their sanity, I utterly renounce ...

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December 24th, 2016

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Adam Smith on the division of labor

Interesting:

In some cases the state of the society necessarily places the greater part of individuals in such situations as naturally form in them, without any attention of government, almost all the abilities and virtues which that state requires, or perhaps can admit of. In other cases the state of the society does not place the part of individuals in such situations, and some attention of government is necessary in order to prevent the almost entire corruption and degeneracy of the ...

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December 22nd, 2016

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But as writer qua writer

It’s an interesting personal quirk that I understand entirely the need of skill when giving a talk, but I’ve always discounted the skill of writing qua writing. This is Menken reviewing Fitzgerald:

What gives the story distinction is something quite different from the management of the action or the handling of the characters; it is the charm and beauty of the writing. In Fitzgerald’s first days it seemed almost unimaginable that he would ever show such qualities. His writing then was ...

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December 20th, 2016

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Management theory is increasingly obsolete

I love the analogy to the Catholic Church before the Reformation:

The similarities between medieval Christianity and the world of management theory may not be obvious, but seek and ye shall find. Management theorists sanctify capitalism in much the same way that clergymen of yore sanctified feudalism. Business schools are the cathedrals of capitalism. Consultants are its travelling friars. Just as the clergy in the Middle Ages spoke in Latin to give their words an air of authority, management theorists ...

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December 20th, 2016

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Paul Krugman: American democracy is very much on the edge

Paul Krugman on how democracy might end in America:

Consider what just happened in North Carolina. The voters made a clear choice, electing a Democratic governor. The Republican legislature didn’t openly overturn the result — not this time, anyway — but it effectively stripped the governor’s office of power, ensuring that the will of the voters wouldn’t actually matter.

Combine this sort of thing with continuing efforts to disenfranchise or at least discourage voting by minority groups, and you have the potential ...

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December 20th, 2016

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One family’s struggle with unemployment

This is a sad story:

I fret that I’m setting a bad example for my kids. I’m afraid that they see me as a cautionary tale, not a role model. When I talk to them, I try to emphasize the importance of hard work and being careful with money. I hope this is the side of me that gets through to them, not the man on his computer, endlessly clicking through applications, unable to muster up the courage to even tell ...

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December 17th, 2016

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Tracy Chou on discrimination in tech

This is an interesting essay, from Tracy Chou:

To be fair, no one is being intentionally sexist or rude (okay, some people may be, but they’re a known entity). The problem is that people are inadvertently being sexist or reaffirming sexist stereotypes. The problem is in the subtle, unspoken biases conveyed in tone of voice, brief hesitations, careless exclamations.

I don’t want to cast overarching generalizations over my gender, but for the sake of argument, females in engineering tend to have less ...

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December 16th, 2016

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The legacy of Obama

This article is interesting:

In the last two years, however, Obama has assumed his historic role with admirable eloquence and moral seriousness, in part, one suspects, because he accepted the fact that his presidency would not be transformative, and that he could, at best, be a bulwark against the racist furies that it unleashed; a civilized counterpoint to the vengeful white noise of the red states. As Régis Debray famously argued, “revolution revolutionizes the counter-revolution,” and so it has been with ...

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December 16th, 2016

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President Lyndon Johnson on race relations

This is an interesting story:

That’s the context of one of the most famous statements on race ever attributed to President Johnson, an off-the-cuff observation he made to a young staffer, Bill Moyers, after encountering a display of blatant racism during a political visit to the South. Moyers tells it in the first person:

We were in Tennessee. During the motorcade, he spotted some ugly racial epithets scrawled on signs. Late that night in the hotel, when the local dignitaries had finished ...

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December 16th, 2016

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What happens if linkrot takes away John Rogers?

I’m thinking about Trump and thinking again how funny this old quote is:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

What happens when John Rogers dies and this disappears?

And what happens, generally, ...

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December 14th, 2016

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Noah Smith offers 1930s Spain as an example for the USA today

Interesting:

This means that if the U.S. had a civil war along currently existing left-right lines – i.e., Republican voters vs. Democratic voters – the right would win. It would probably win more quickly and decisively than the Spanish right won. This is not just because of military sympathies and gun ownership, of course. The American right has a population advantage among men, who are more likely to fight in war than women. It also has greater organization, being mostly unified ...

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December 14th, 2016

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What does astrology teach us about President Trump?

This is good:

Tr

ump was born under a lunar eclipse. An eclipse is disruptive to the cycle of light and dark. It blocks energy. Like putting your thumb over the bottle of soda and shaking it: an eruption is inevitable. Moon energy is also emotional. Trump is the embodiment of erratic emotional energy spraying out from the pressure valve of conscious control. Honey-boo-boo on three cans of Mountain Dew has better control of her emotional presence than our ...

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December 14th, 2016

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The saddest thing in the world is realizing that some people won’t ever change

I really laughed when I saw this one.

Source

December 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Sneering at the white working class

This article is interesting:

I’m not here to get into a fight with Krugman, but come on. Sure, the right-wing media fans the flames of this stuff, but is there really any question that liberal city folks tend to sneer at rural working-class folks? I’m not even talking about stuff like abortion and guns and gay marriage, where we disagree over major points of policy. I’m talking about lifestyle. Krugman talks about fast food, and that’s a decent example. Working-class folks ...

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December 10th, 2016

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Shelley Powers on gender and tech, and also some of my reflections on how the blogosphere operated at its peak

I’m gathering notes for a book. Below are some quotes Shelley Powers wrote about women in tech. You will perhaps recall that I quoted Powers often in my essay “RSS has been damaged by in-fighting among those who advocate for it”

I notice that her essays from 2003/2007 have suffered quite a bit of link rot. Many of the essays that she linked to are now gone. If there is an argument for RINA to replace the Internet, it is surely ...

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December 9th, 2016

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Kathryn Jezer-Morton shares the national disaster with her kids

This is both funny and sort of sad and also true:

There is a part of me that wants my kids to feel, at least in some relatively painless and abstract way, that the world is fucked.

I know that denying my kids presents won’t raise their consciousness; they’re three and six. A cheerful pile of gifts is not analogous with the sewer drain into which so many of my hopes for progress and assumptions about cultural cohesion have disappeared. But I ...

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December 9th, 2016

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Hacking online dating

I got a laugh out of this article:

In the same vein of thinking, I thought I’d make a small checklist of my own. As enticing as emails from IWantToTasteYou and DroopyEyzzzz69 are, I may need to heed Amy’s advice and change my approach.

Following are a few items from my checklist:

1. How do you feel about whiskey? 2. Are you allergic to cats? 3. Have you ever seen Human Centipede? 4. What are your thoughts on Archer? 5. Boxers, briefs, or boxer briefs? 6. Do you ...

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December 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What is politics?

I am astonished at how naive this is:

Political conflicts cause harm here. The values of Hacker News are intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation. Those things are lost when political emotions seize control. Our values are fragile—they’re like plants that get forgotten, then trampled and scorched in combat. HN is a garden, politics is war by other means, and war and gardening don’t mix.

Worse, these harsher patterns can spread through the rest of the culture, threatening the community as ...

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December 9th, 2016

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Hacker News commenters ranting about gender

This thread has some darkly reactionary comments:

As the stereotypical white-cis-male-scientist, this sort of statement has always bugged me. I was pushed from science at every turn- multiple teachers said I would be no good, wasn’t allowed to take advanced courses in HS, was seen as a wannabe by friends and peers, but at every step I also saw a concerted effort to get women and minorities into my field of choice (physics). Support groups, gender or race only clubs (never ...

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December 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Matrix multiplication example

I love this

Source

December 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Beautiful poses for those with ugly politics

This is so good:

In Italy under Benito Mussolini, virility was reified and the “projection of the martial male body” became the personification the powerful and colonial state. Written onto that body are a series of myths about heroics, potency, and victory, as a model of masculine behavior, it was untouched by an (ostensibly immoral) social permissiveness. As a stand-in for security and normalcy, the martial male body masquerades as nature, as many have pointed out it substitutes “normalized” for historic ...

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December 6th, 2016

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Sampling versus Provenance

Why not record everyone’s name? Why not list everyone you sample from?

At the time of this writing, I haven’t heard a word from Arctander, or the curator, or the photo editor. The gallery responded only to one reporter, with one paragraph. The only person who has responded to my emails has been Hilton Als, who apologized (maintaining my fandom effortlessly), and asked how he could help.

He can’t, really. Because Arctander splattered paint over our image, it’s “good enough” to ...

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December 6th, 2016

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There are no facts?

This is where we are right now:

Scottie Hughes is most famous as a Trump surrogate who got frequently trashed on live TV by anti-Trump Republican Ana Navarro. Hughes is still making the rounds defending Trump now that he has become our president-elect. The latest insane Trumpism she’s spewing word vomit on is his assertion that “millions voted illegally” in the election.

On Wednesday, Hughes appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, where she argued about the nature of facts: facts are now ...

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December 4th, 2016

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Did the Stoics want us to be happy?

Interesting:

In order to develop this further we might consider a popular critical image of Stoicism: a Stoic is someone who is powerless in the real world and so pretends that his or her happiness is something completely internal and within their own control. Got no money? Easy, just say that money is unnecessary for a good life and the problem is solved. According to a long line of modern critics of Stoicism from Hegel onwards, the Stoic is someone who ...

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November 28th, 2016

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A fictional Thanksgiving

I went to a writer’s workshop where we we were given the following scenario: I live in 2 story house and I sleep upstairs. I invite people over for Thanksgiving Dinner. After dinner I say goodbye to people and go to sleep. I wake up middle night and go downstairs. 5 people, heavily armed with guns, are in a Mexican standoff.

We were given 10 minutes to write. I couldn’t think of anything original so I went with a riff that ...

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November 27th, 2016

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If Sanders had been the candidate

If Sanders had been the candidate, it wouldn’t be so easy for people like Tim Duy to write essays like this:

That sense of hopelessness would be justifiably acute in rural areas. Economic development is hard work in the best of circumstances; across the sparsely populated vastness of rural America, it is virtually impossible. The victories are – and will continue to be – few and far between.

The tough reality of economic development is that it will always be easier to ...

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November 27th, 2016

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Sima Qian: The remorse I felt at the prospect of leaving the achievement dearest my heart incomplete

This is an impressive dedication to one’s art:

In surrendering alive Li Ling destroyed the reputation of his family. When I followed by submitting to the “silkworm chamber ” I became a second laughingstock. Oh, such shame! This is not something I could ever bring myself to recount to an ordinary person.… A man dies only once. His death may be a matter weighty as Mount Tai or light as a feather. It all depends on the reason for which ...

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November 27th, 2016

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We could build a progressive movement that makes life better for everyone

Interesting. But these assertions can not be reconciled, they contradict:

One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled ...

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November 26th, 2016

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Secrecy is contagious

Interesting:

Imagine the scenario: you’re a security officer working at Los Alamos. You know that spheres are weapon parts. You walk into a technical area, and you see spheres all around! Is that an ashtray, or it is a model of a plutonium pit? Anxiety mounts — does the ashtray go into a safe at the end of the day, or does it stay out on the desk? (Has someone been tapping their cigarettes out into the pit model?)

All of this ...

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November 26th, 2016

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Devin Faraci Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death

Interesting:

All of this is hugely disappointing, because Faraci has always presented himself as a feminist and has written extensively about female representation in pop culture, the dearth of female directors, etc. We’ve even quoted him and his work here at TMS. So, to know that he is also someone who may have allegedly committed an assault like the one described in the tweet above is hugely disappointing, because actions like this always feel worse when they come from people you ...

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November 25th, 2016

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Emily Witt talks about the non-conformist marriage

Interesting:

In the book, you also write about your friends getting married but trying to divest themselves of the traditional patriarchal signifiers of marriage. This is such an “educated person” trend in marriage, the idea that a couple is going to engage in this really traditional institution in an untraditional way…

It’s a whole generational thing, to not be conformists.

You seem very wary of the claim that you can sever the institution from its history.

A lot of people will probably criticize ...

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November 25th, 2016

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How Paula Scher remains productive

Interesting:

What is your biggest challenge as a designer? Not to repeat. I’ve been designing for over 40 years now, so the question becomes how to approach something with a new point of view. How am I not jaded?

Do you have any productivity tricks? I have a productivity trick that I didn’t know I had until I heard about it on a radio program. NPR did this interview with experts about boredom. iPhones and other forms of digital media were disrupting boredom, because ...

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November 25th, 2016

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The bird with 4 sexes

Interesting:

Every summer for more than 25 years, Gonser and his wife, Elaina Tuttle, had made the trip to this field station in the Adirondack Mountains — a 45-minute boat ride from the nearest road. Now, as he moored his boat to the shaky wooden dock, he heard a familiar and short song that sounded like ‘oh-sweet-Canada’. The whistle was from a white-throated sparrow calling hopefully for a mate.

What he didn’t hear was the voice or laughter of his wife. For ...

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November 23rd, 2016

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Doping at the Olympics

This is sad, but the opposite is also very interesting: 25 athletes took performance enhancing drugs and failed to win at the Olympics. That says a lot about the limits of such drugs. They don’t ensure victory.

More than 75 athletes from those two Olympics have been found, upon further scrutiny, to be guilty of doping violations. The majority are from Russia and other Eastern European countries. At least 40 of them won medals. Disciplinary proceedings are continuing against other ...

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November 22nd, 2016

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An interview with Emily Witt

This is an interesting article:

There’s this book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, and it’s about search data and it argues that men prefer visuals and women prefer stories. I do think that men tend to be more visual but visuals work on women. Visuals work on me, I just didn’t want them to. I experienced getting turned on by something like that with panic and anxiety. When I let myself recognize that it was happening, that it was me by ...

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November 18th, 2016

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Why didn’t Lindsey Graham ever marry?

The article doesn’t raise the issue of Graham being gay. In the year 2016, that is what everyone reading will think of first.

Speaking of marriage, Graham writes: “I haven’t been lucky that way. But I have a family.”

“I have Darline, and her family. She’s married and the mother of two, and a respected professional, who runs the public information office of the state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation,” he writes. “I’m as proud of her as my parents would have ...

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November 18th, 2016

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How Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne fell apart

It’s always a bit sad when a great artistic team can’t get along with each other:

For more than a few comic-book readers, it doesn’t get much better than the run writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne shared on Uncanny X-Men at Marvel in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The nearly four years they spent together chronicling the adventures of the Children of the Atom produced some of the most beloved Marvel Comics stories of all time, including “The ...

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November 18th, 2016

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Larry Summers has a new attitude about the phrase “political correctness”

Larry Summers lost his job at Harvard because some people felt some of his remarks were sexist. At that time he complained about “political correctness”. I am cheered to see him come round on this issue:

I have made no secret over the years of my conviction that the sensitivities of individuals or members of various group should not be permitted to chill free speech on college campuses. I have the scars to show for speaking out against overdoing the idea ...

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November 18th, 2016

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The hate machine

The rule “Don’t feed the trolls” has to be balanced by the occasional moment when journalists go on the record to record the hate they receive.

Source

November 13th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When the government is weak, people turn to the Mafia

Or the public turns to fascists such as Mussolini. Interesting:

References to a criminal group resembling the ’Ndrangheta first appear in the late 19th century. But it was not until 1955 that a derivative of the name appeared in print – and even then with a slightly different spelling – when the Calabrian writer Corrado Alvaro tried to explain the mindset of the inhabitants of his poverty-stricken birthplace. His fellow Calabrians, he wrote in Corriere della Sera, were helpless in the ...

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November 13th, 2016

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The consent of the governed

from the Declaration of Independence.

I hate Thomas Jefferson for several reasons. Not just because he is a rapist pedophile, although that doesn’t win him much admiration, does it? I also hate him because of his intellectual laziness and incoherence. Consider these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure ...

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November 13th, 2016

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Lady Parts reacts to the election

One of the many reactions from the artistic community, of what I assume will soon be a mass movement:

The sensation I felt as the electoral map started bleeding red Tuesday night was deeply familiar to me. It was that sickening, unshakable sensation that begins somewhere behind your navel, subtly shifting your center of gravity as it prepares your body to fight, fly, or freeze. It was the sensation that pools heavily in your core, forcing the air from your lungs ...

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November 13th, 2016

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Poland’s tragic rejection of the West

Very sad to see Poland fall so low, but I suppose the USA has also fallen just as low:

Law and Justice’s particular resentments, above all its virulent anti-Communism in the absence of actual Communists, may be distinctly Polish. But in its revolt against European liberalism, the party stands at the forefront of a growing movement. The one unifying feature of Western democracies today is the rise of nativist, nationalist parties. All of them tap a deep and thickening vein of ...

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November 13th, 2016

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Your headscarf isn’t allowed anymore

It is worrisome that this can happen in the USA in 2016:

“Quit overreacting, it’s just politics,” crow the Trump sympathizers (because truly, anyone who says that, even if they didn’t vote for him, is a Trump sympathizer). Tell that to the Muslim high school teacher who received a note from a student suggesting she hang herself with her headscarf.

“Your headscarf isn’t allowed anymore,” read a flag-adorned note addressed to Mairah Teli, a 24-year-old language arts teacher in Georgia. “Why don’t ...

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November 13th, 2016

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Lady Chatterley’s Lover as a weapon against censorship in the USA

Interesting:

In 1954, when Grove Press was still in its infancy, Mark Schorer, the distinguished literary scholar and professor of English at Berkeley, wrote to me suggesting that we publish an unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. D. H. Lawrence’s last major work had long been banned in England and put on the “proscribed” list by the United States Post Office Department. Now, Professor Schorer, whom I had never met in person, had placed the Lady on our doorstep. Here she ...

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November 13th, 2016

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The performance aspects of men announcing they voted for Clinton

Interesting:

In the waning moments of the presidential election, my co-workers and I have noticed a certain trend: self-identified liberal men who are desperate to perform political awareness. They are eager to tell you that they voted for Hillary Clinton, while subsequently outlining all of the reasons why voting for her was a Herculean task in which they miraculously overcame themselves. Their endorsements of Clinton aren’t necessarily endorsements, but rather an acknowledgment that voting for Donald Trump is unconscionable.

It’s a kind ...

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November 12th, 2016

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Angela Merkel reacts to the election

How incredibly weird that Germany is now the last defender of the West. I suppose this is when it can pay back its moral debt.

Much like her initial response to the Brexit vote — urging calm and expressing the intent to work for a close relationship with Britain no matter what — Ms. Merkel’s reaction to the election of Mr. Trump was deft.

On a fateful date when Germans are usually preoccupied with remembering Kristallnacht — the Nazis’ pogroms against ...

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November 12th, 2016

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Harry Reid reacts to the election

He writes:

“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking ...

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November 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Jean Paul Sartre, Troubled Sleep, Donald Trump

I look forward to moving past the shock, but never the outrage. I am pleased to think that the outrage is just getting started. What I mean by that is something like the feeling expressed by Jean Paul Sartre, in his novel Troubled Sleep, about World War II.

In the novel, Germany invades France, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are at war.

The Germans destroy village after village, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are ...

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November 9th, 2016

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Alex Pareene reacts to the election

He writes:

Blame white people. Blame white men in particular, but reserve plenty of blame for white women. Blame old people, too. Blame rich people, as always. Blame the public at large for Donald fucking Trump getting more votes than Donald Duck. Democracy enacts the will of the public; this is what the public wants.

Blame the Founders for enshrining white supremacy in our constitution and making it nearly impossible to fully expunge. Blame a political system that advantages rural areas at ...

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November 9th, 2016

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Kelly Stout writes about the election

She writes:

The Clinton campaign itself responded to Trump’s historic hatred with an ad that featured young girls listening to Trump’s words as they inspected themselves in the mirror. The ad’s implicit promise was that a vote for Hillary Clinton might unsay Trump’s words and deliver us a nation in which little girls can get dressed for school without ever having heard Donald Trump’s voice in the other room saying, “A person who’s flat-chested—it’s very hard to be a ‘10.’” Your ...

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November 9th, 2016

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Rich Juzwiak on the election

He writes:

I started getting mocked for being gay in the second grade, before I even knew what “gay” was. To cope, I learned the power in selective listening. We need to rely upon the world to tell us about ourselves, and yet as early as 8 or 9, I knew I had to temper my credulity. And no matter how much hurt I might have felt when I was derided, I knew they were wrong. The wrongness of hating ...

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November 9th, 2016

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Clover Hope reacts to the election

She writes:

Last night, the hidden factions of white supremacy fully emerged, though we know they were never really hidden. You could call Donald Trump’s win a shock, but that’s also another lie. The blinding red map last night that looks so much like blood, and feels so much like a relapse, is simply the reality of existence. Did you need to see it?

Overwhelmingly, white people voted to preserve whiteness. Fifty-eight percent of white Americans, according to CNN’s exit polls, voted ...

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November 9th, 2016

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Krugman reacts to the election

He writes:

First of all, it’s always important to remember that elections determine who has the power, not who has the truth. The stunning upset doesn’t mean that the alt-right is correct to view nonwhites as inferior, that voodoo economics works, whatever. And you have to hold to the truth as best you see it, even if it suffers political defeat.

That said, does it make sense on a personal level to keep struggling after this kind of blow? Why not give ...

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November 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Please finish this paragraph

This is from an article about “The 15 Coolest Neighborhoods In The World”. What strikes me is how international the definition of “cool” currently is. How many neighborhoods could we write this paragraph for?

_____ is a hothouse of alternative culture and creativity. A young population have flocked to the area in recent years, leading to an upsurge in cool and quirky shopping, eating, drinking and partying venues. This neighborhood is renowned for its vintage shopping scene. A must-visit is ________, ...

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November 5th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Boring and failed attempts to produce a story about something strange and new

Interesting:

Later in 2012, Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall told Empire Online that an (unnamed) HBO executive producer would lean over him and egg him on to include more full-frontal nudity, and that he “represents the perv side of the audience.” In 2014, True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto told BuzzFeed that there’s a “clear mandate in pay-cable for a certain level of nudity.”

As it turns out, SNL wasn’t all that far off.

Even setting aside HBO’s proclivity for more nudity at ...

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November 5th, 2016

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The sacrifices of dancers

Interesting:

At 35, Alexandra has only recently come to a realization that most of us are forced to reckon with much, much earlier: “You can try to do everything right and it still may not work.” Though she spends many of her days in an office, she says she’s not an office person. Learning to communicate verbally has been a challenge. “I didn’t realize how introverted I was. I had been so used to emoting silently and physically.” Nonetheless, she is ...

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November 5th, 2016

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Why we need more queer stories

Interesting:

The plot of As I Descended both hinges on the characters’ queerness and transcends it—there’s nothing about the book that would be inaccessible to a straight reader, but same-sex romance is an inextricable part of its plot. In a literary environment where LGBTQ representation is still catching up from centuries of erasure, it’s refreshing to see a queer protagonist like Maria, not a stereotype nor a trope but a deeply flawed, complicated person battling conflicting desires. When Maria gives in ...

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November 5th, 2016

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Criticizing sexism in Hollywood

There is clearly new energy in the movement to give women equal standing in professional fields. I wonder why this energy runs so strong in some decades and disappears in others? It was running white hot in the 1970s, then faded in the 80s and 90s, and now its back. An example of our times:

In an open letter titled “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again,” published on her husband Ashton Kutcher’s website A Plus – underwritten by Chicken Soup ...

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November 5th, 2016

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Hiding gender politics in games

Games can have invisible politics, and the fact that the politics are hidden in the mechanics of the game makes the message much more powerful than if it were overt. Consider that these words are more controversial than the game they comment on, and you’ll realize the political power of games:

In an article headlined “How RimWorld’s Code Defines Strict Gender Roles” writer and academic Claudia Lo dug into RimWorld’s code and found that “there are no bisexual men, only ...

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November 5th, 2016

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The death of the crow

Linda Guzynski tells a story about a crow, who eventually dies. She offers this bit of astrological wisdom:

Sometimes we come to an astrologer to be told when the next great dollop of goodness is going to come our way. I am guilty of looking longingly at my chart, calculating the next ease from the “benifics” and scorning the heavier transits from the “malefics”. I do know that this life is not about being effortlessly served bon-bons of our whimsy, ...

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November 5th, 2016

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When corporations try to use copyright law to silence their critics

Interesting:

But as Audrey Alford found out, actors can’t even sound the alarm about it.

Alford, co-founder of the New York-based Ivy Theatre Company, first saw the casting call for a Nick Jonas summer tour video partially quoted in an actor friend’s Facebook post in May. The job description, which had been posted on Actors Access, requested “stunning female models,” “the kind of girls Nick Jonas would have a crush on,” as in, “mainly Caucasian,” with possible, “ethnic flare, like Indian ...

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November 5th, 2016

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What progressives should say to people who want to vote for Jill Stein and the Green party

The correct way to deal with folks who want to vote 3rd party is to talk about amending the Constitution so that America can have 3rd parties, like other Western nations. There is clearly a large group in the USA who would prefer to have a parliamentary system as is common in Europe.

This is potentially a good idea, so it is curious that it doesn’t get more discussion. Perhaps we all know the right-wing will oppose any amendment to ...

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November 5th, 2016

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The New York Times reacts to sessesion

This is from 1861:

Among the many voices raised in Europe over the disaster of secession, amid the groans of sorrow, cries of indignation and tones of sympathy which reach us from many lands beyond the sea, there is one neither loud nor mocking, but which, like the endless monotone in the poet’s description of the uproar in hell, is more tormenting than all the other sounds combined. We mean that complacent “We told you so” of the friends of the ...

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November 1st, 2016

In Philosophy

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In the Alogos, the algotrons have an identity function

Very interesting:

The reasoning behind the idea comes from several earlier discoveries by physicists, such as a 2006 paper by Shinsei Ryu and Tadashi Takayanagi showing a connection between entanglement and the geometry of spacetime. Building on that work, in 2013 Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind found that if two black holes became entangled, they would create a wormhole—a shortcut in spacetime predicted by general relativity. This discovery (nicknamed ER=EPR, after physicists’ shorthand for wormholes and entanglement) and others like it ...

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November 1st, 2016

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Failures at adulting

I can relate to the feeling of not having real adult stuff, though my parents and family were never a reference point for me. Rather, I went the other way: my parents moved out of New York, to live in the suburbs, I moved out of the suburbs to move to New York. I have never struggled “to find relevance in a slew of anachronistic cultural detritus” but rather was happy to invest new cultural expressions. But I didn’t exceed ...

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October 31st, 2016

In Philosophy

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Voter fraud in Iowa

I am having trouble thinking of the last time another Western nation had a vote with this much irony.

An Iowa woman arrested on charges she voted twice for Donald Trump attempted to explain her behavior by stating that “the polls are rigged,” according to Iowa Public Radio.

…Vote fraud is extraordinarily rare, despite Trump’s repeated claims during the campaign; a comprehensive study found 31 fraudulent votes in one billion cast. And when it does happen, basic safeguards identify the ...

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October 30th, 2016

In Philosophy

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I like echo chambers

It’s rare for people to argue in good faith on the Internet, which is why I think people look for walled gardens, where they can talk to people who agree with them.

You know what I’ve decided? That I like so called echo chambers, like Jez, and I’ll admit it. The reason I say this is that no one argues in good faith. I love hearing differing opinions and sharing mine but Jesus fucking Christ everything is a damn gotcha ...

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October 29th, 2016

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Being judged incapable of producing your own work BURNS

So true!. This happened to me in 4th grade. My teacher asked a question about the coast of Africa. I answered the question, then added that South America had split off from Africa, and, according to the theory of plate tectonics, all of the continents had belonged to the super continent Pangea, which began to break up about 180 million years ago… My teacher then cut me off with an abrupt “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ...

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October 29th, 2016

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Democracy is a colossal swindle

From Mencken. The parts of this paragraph that arise from direct observation are very good. The parts that don’t arise from direct observation are very bad.

I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: ...

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October 28th, 2016

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It sets a trap like a spider building a web, or a witch casting a spell

Starbird Astrology is using her skills to decipher Hillary Clinton. I think this description of a Scorpio sums up Clinton very well:

Hillary’s Sun, Venus and Mercury are in Scorpio, also a feminine sign. Mars the warrior is the traditional ruler of Aries and Scorpio. Unlike his Aries’ direct and naive persona, the Scorpio soldier requires different tactics. Scorpio is a nocturnal sign and charging rashly forward in the dark is not wise; you might fall off a cliff or ...

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October 28th, 2016

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She had not asked such questions before

Such a tragic waste of resources, especially the brilliance of these minds:

For example, while studying the epidemiology of HIV and tuberculosis, one of us (T.O.) realized that many people with these infectious diseases in urban areas also have non-infectious conditions, including hypertension and obesity. Hardly anyone was examining how and why, or investigating strategies for integrated prevention and management. Her proposals to research these topics were not well received by peer reviewers, who commented that she had not asked such ...

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October 27th, 2016

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Why are Americans so good at sports and so bad at math?

Interesting:

Yet my children’s experience of school in America is in some ways as indifferent as their swimming classes are good, for the country’s elementary schools seem strangely averse to teaching children much stuff. According to the OECD’s latest international education rankings, American children are rated average at reading, below average at science, and poor at maths, at which they rank 27th out of 34 developed countries. At 15, children in Massachusetts, where education standards are higher than in most states, ...

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October 27th, 2016

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Until 1896, not a single Election Day passed in the United States without someone getting killed at the polls

Interesting:

Most Americans have forgotten how rough our elections used to be. But early in the republic, political violence was the norm, not the exception. “Until 1896, not a single Election Day passed in the United States without someone getting killed at the polls,” historian Jill Lepore writes in the New Yorker.

The most notable period of election-related violence came during Reconstruction, the Northern effort to rebuild the South after the Civil War and empower black citizens. The postwar attempt by black ...

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October 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When The Nas looked out his window and wrote what he saw

Nobody knows what caused the crime in the USA from 1963 to 1993. Nobody knows why it ended. It’s is the most important cultural event of the last 60 years, waiting to be explained. One lens we can use to talk about it is Hip Hop. And New York played a special role in that crime wave, and any explanation needs to tell a special story about New York. And those who were there at the time, and looked out ...

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October 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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This was the war witnessed by Thucydides

So true! Thucydides has very few equals.

Thebes and Plataea were separated by only seven miles. That is barely a shadow on the frontier of the greater ancient empires. Even the fabled Sicilian campaign, whose distance robbed Athens of her empire, was only half as far away as Caesar wandered from Rome, and only a fourth of the distance Han warriors traveled from their capitals at Chang’an or Luoyang to the farthest frontier of their empire.

A bit less than three hundred ...

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October 18th, 2016

In Philosophy

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In 2024 Michelle Obama will become our second female President

I think this is obvious, but it is still worth saying. And I believe she will be a good President.

Source

October 13th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The odd rhetoric for expressing outrage, in the Republican party

Interesting:

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, used a written statement of displeasure with Trump to identify himself as “the father of three daughters.” This was apparently a wellspring of his pique, which didn’t rise to the level of actually rescinding his endorsement of Trump. Would a fourth daughter have done the trick? A fifth?

“As a husband and father” was how Mike Pence, who has a son and two daughters, commenced his own short-lived reprimand of Trump. Jeb Bush tweeted that ...

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October 13th, 2016

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The stagnation in the USA

All 4 of my grandparents were born overseas. They arrived in the USA in the 1920s. They would be surprised by the recent stagnation. Interesting:

When progress is the norm, it feeds on itself. People can trust that their own sacrifices will usually pay off. They can endure hard times without becoming cynical and can be generous toward others.

Now, imagine a different reality: one in which your family — or whole community — had known scant progress for decades.

You couldn’t tell ...

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October 13th, 2016

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Chimamanda Adichie talks about Beyonce

Interesting:

Her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men. Did he hurt me? Do I forgive him? Did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the ...

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October 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Anti-Chinese sentiment in New York City in 2016

This is a surprising story, in New York City of all places! And in the year 2016!

An editor at the NY Times used Twitter to recount an extremely disturbing incident that unfolded in Manhattan today. Or it just sums up what America has turned into, a depressing cauldron of resentment and ignorance. Michael Luo tweeted, “Well dressed woman on Upper East Side, annoyed by our stroller, yells: “Go back to China…go back to your f—ing country.” #thisis2016.”

Then he continued, “I ...

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October 9th, 2016

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California history foreshadows modern politics

Interesting:

Who are the Golden State thinkers who have helped build a sophisticated case for the proudly unsophisticated presidential candidate? In the northern half of the state, there’s Victor Davis Hanson, the celebrated Hoover Institution classicist who has favorably described Trump as a “D-11 bulldozer blade” against a bankrupt Acela establishment, and Ron Unz, an idiosyncratic Bay Area political activist and entrepreneur who publishes the Unz Review, a Trump-friendly, highbrow online journal with a devoted following.

Curtis Yarvin, the software developer ...

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October 9th, 2016

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Ross Douthat describes post liberal thought

Interesting:

The liberal system’s weak spots did not go away. It delivered peace and order and prosperity, but it attenuated pre-liberal forces – tribal, familial, religious — that speak more deeply than consumer capitalism to basic human needs: the craving for honor, the yearning for community, the desire for metaphysical hope.

Those needs endured, muted but not eliminated by greater social equality and rising G.D.P. Nonetheless the liberal consensus seemed impressively resilient, even in the midst of elite misgovernment. 9/11 did ...

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October 9th, 2016

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Samuel Beckett looks miserable with success

Interesting

He remains hectically, miserably busy. ‘Forgive delay in answering yours of Jan 18,’ he writes to Alan Schneider in February 1966. ‘Have been up to my eyes since Xmas. Preparing and shooting here film of Play, then London for Eh Joe with Jack and a record and poetry reading with same. Back now finishing film and rehearsing new show at Odéon. Play, Come & Go, Pinget’s Hypothèse and two Ionesco shorts — Délire à Deux & La Lacune.’ When he’s ...

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October 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Distrust the other

This is a rather pure expression of the bias that comments can not be trusted unless they come from someone who looks just like us.

Source

October 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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An elected House Of Lords would fix this

If true, this would be an argument for having leaders who are elected for very long periods of time. Something like the Supreme Court, long enough that they would not have to worry about their re-election. An elected House Of Lords.

The basic idea may also be put this way. A left wing government might not want to pass policies to educate the masses or open markets to small business firms because such policies are likely to be successful ...

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October 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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A Nobel Prize for the describing the details of autophagy

Interesting:

The term autophagy was coined in 1963 by Belgian scientist Christian de Duve, who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries on cell structure and organization.

But before Ohsumi’s research, scientists “didn’t know what it did, they didn’t know how it was controlled and they didn’t know what it was relevant for,” said David Rubinsztein, deputy director of the Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge.

Now “we know that autophagy is important for a host of important ...

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October 3rd, 2016

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There is no cure for depression

There are treatments for depression, and sometimes people are happy, but life can always hand them shattering events, at which point their underlying depression is brought to the surface again:

Godelieva, who taught anatomy to nurses, had been in therapy since she was nineteen. With each new doctor, she embraced the therapeutic process anew, adopting her doctor’s philosophy and rewriting her life story so that it fit his theory of the mind. She continually dissected the source of her distress. “I ...

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September 30th, 2016

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The rarity of a game that allows much expression of femslash

Overwatch fans and femslash

Slash, as this is known in fandom circles, has a long history of sparking the imagination, stretching as far back as Star Trek. Historically, a lot of slash has focused on men’s relationships with each other (M/M), while fan-created material about women’s relationships (also known as femslash, or F/F) feels an underappreciated but no less ferocious wing of shipping. An informal 2013 count of the tags in on Archive of Our Own, a popular fanfiction library, shows ...

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September 30th, 2016

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An unusual election in the USA

This isn’t normal. This will be a reference point for decades to come. The Republican nominee has a strange obsession denouncing a woman who disappointed him 30 years ago. And as one commenter said, the use of “my” in “my worst Miss Universe” is absolutely creepy. He doesn’t own her.

Source

September 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why wouldn’t people buy Hermione Granger and the Philosopher’s Stone?

This is an interesting argument, that Hermione might have been one of the more original aspects of Harry Potter, and perhaps its most tolerable aspect.

This is something that the Harry Potter fan community has been discussing for years: Hermione drives the story because she has her own story. No one in their right mind would trust 13-year-old Harry Potter with a Time Turner, but Hermione gets one and she deserves it. She dates a celebrity, and she outsmarts Rita Skeeter, ...

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September 27th, 2016

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Inequality ruins romance

Interesting article:

Lily is, essentially, upper middle class. She has enough money and status to play bridge and attend balls with the truly wealthy, but she is living beyond her means, and her debts are always mounting. In order to secure a place for herself in society and to pay off her debts, she has to find a rich husband. Lily’s story illustrates the strain of the upper middle class trying to achieve true wealth—and the terrible consequences of failure—in a ...

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September 20th, 2016

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Software as a metaphor for human behavior

I’m focusing on “sensitivity chip”. Interesting:

Jennifer Aniston is interviewed by Vanity Fair’s Leslie Bennetts. In the profile, titled The “Unsinkable Jennifer Aniston,” Aniston (crying the whole time) speaks on her marriage to Pitt, telling Bennetts, “We’re divorced, and you can see why,” referring to the aforementioned W spread.

She adds, “Brad is not mean-spirited; he would never intentionally try to rub something in my face. In hindsight, I can see him going, ‘Oh—I can see that that was inconsiderate.’ But I ...

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September 18th, 2016

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Women at the White House amplify what they each say, so as to avoid being ignored

This is brilliant:

In the early days of the Obama White House, nearly two-thirds of Obama’s senior staffers and advisors were men. The Washington Post reports that the “women complained of having to elbow their way into important meetings. And when they got in, their voices were sometimes ignored.”

So, the women of the Obama White House banded together and sketched out a strategy that would effectively force their male colleagues to listen to them. They called it “amplification,” a simple ...

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September 18th, 2016

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The universe as a Church encoding

I think it is extremely messy that math has integers, fractions, irrational numbers and worse. If I was rich, I would work on a model of the universe where the only primitive is the function. One has to admit, the idea of a universe with only one primitive is extremely attractive.

In mathematics, Church encoding is a means of representing data and operators in the lambda calculus. The data and operators form a mathematical structure which is embedded in the ...

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September 18th, 2016

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What sort of apps would we get if everyone could program?

This issue has been brought up many times over the decades, most especially with Hypercard, and then again with the invention of the Web in 1989. Are there categories of software that we don’t get now because the only people who create software are highly skilled specialists?

Here is a story of a young woman creating an app, and it suggests what the world might be like if anyone could create software:

A lot has changed since I was in ...

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September 18th, 2016

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Video games as a supplement to other mental medications

Interesting:

At a young age I knew I was different, but always just hid behind a theatre kid exterior and chalked all my anxiety up to “budding creativity” that just needed an outlet. Surprise! Turns out my anxiety is actually a chemical imbalance in my brain that kept escalating until it exploded. I was nearly 21, living at college, and having a full-on anxiety attack every day. After dropping about 10 pounds (I’m very small to begin with) and not being ...

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September 18th, 2016

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The economy is a collection of many distinct but interconnected practices

Or as Joseph Schumacher said, “The social process is really one indivisible whole!”

This is interesting:

We should see our economy not simply as a capitalist market system but as a collection of “many distinct but interconnected practices”. Neither the traditional economist’s focus on firms in markets nor the Marxist political economist’s focus on exploitation of wage labour by capital is a viable way of understanding the real economy, and the book takes some steps towards an alternative view.

Both of ...

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September 18th, 2016

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Post-Real Theory

I think this is actually happening in most fields, not just economics. It’s happening in physics, in biology, in computer technology:

In response to the observation that the shocks [in DSGE models] are imaginary, a standard defense invokes Milton Friedman’s (1953) methodological assertion from unnamed authority that “the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions (p.14).” More recently, “all models are false” seems to have become the universal hand-wave for dismissing any fact that does not conform to the ...

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September 18th, 2016

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Is this a story about women in journalism in the 1920s, or is this a story about burnout?

Since I’ve dealt with my own episodes of burnout, I would say this sounds a lot like burnout. If you both love a profession and find yourself unmotivated to do the work, then you are suffering from depression/burnout.

The couple married in 1934. Velva sold her automotive Corona and would soon retire to the serenity of the Outpost Estates home where Rick grew up. She was free from the rat race.

And yet, when I looked in city directories for the ...

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September 17th, 2016

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How not to transition from celebrity life to politics

Ivanka Trump is used to getting easy questions from the celebrity press. She is surprised to face tough questions now that she has entered politics. Interesting:

For the rest of the interview, she’s combative: “You said he made those comments,” she says to Gupta. “I don’t know that he said those comments.” When Gupta reiterates that, yes, Donald Trump said pregnancy was an inconvenience, Trump responds, “There’s plenty of time for you to editorialize around this, but I think he put ...

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September 17th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Americans are less enamored of the status quo

Interesting:

Politics is seeping into American public life — and with it, the belief that the status quo isn’t worth saving

We’ve seen in this cycle — in the candidacy of Bernie Sanders as well as Donald Trump — the appeal of a politics that puts forward a robust alternative vision for society. A politics that doesn’t just promise improvements to the lives of individual voters but declares what America itself ought to be.

That’s not a vision that can be put into ...

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September 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Could crime prediction software force patterns of crime to continue as they have in the past?

If a town starts off, years ago, policing an area heavily because that area is black, and therefore many incidents in that area are formally reported, and then software is used to look for patterns of reports, and the software highlights the black areas, then we are using software to legitimate the over-policing of certain neighborhoods.

Very interesting article:

The fact that we even call these systems “predictive” is itself a telling sign of excessive confidence in the systems. The ...

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September 11th, 2016

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Rolling coal is sheer aggression

This is an interesting point:

Entire dissertations could be written about rolling coal. Even more than Trump’s ascension, it seems to perfectly capture a moment in time, an inarticulate yawp of protest from angry white men. They feel disdained and overlooked and they will blow thick black smoke in your face until you pay attention.

There’s no faux nostalgia involved. Unlike with, say, hunting, there’s no tale of rugged rural self-sufficiency to draw on. This is not some sturdy heartland tradition ...

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September 11th, 2016

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When co-workers doubt complaints of sexual harrassment

This is a story that I think will become a reference point, in future years, for how badly one’s co-workers react to this kind of thing:

Skepticism of women who report sexual misconduct is deeply ingrained in our culture. It’s a reflexive, often subconscious bias that can be hard to shake. Some people will take longer to shake it than others — even in the relatively hip-to-feminism era of 2016 America.

So it’s always encouraging to see people realize and publicly ...

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September 11th, 2016

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Women generally do more housework than men, but this pattern varies immensely in degree across countries and over time

The most interesting sentence:

These patterns of behaviour exist even among individuals living alone

This is a great article, but it doesn’t mention the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. But this seems to be an example of Sapir–Whorf:

Women generally do more housework than men, but this pattern varies immensely in degree across countries and over time. Why?

Using time-use survey data from the US, we show that female immigrants coming from countries whose dominant language relies on sex-based grammatical distinctions bear a far larger share of ...

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September 8th, 2016

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Political reactions to recent protests in Dallas

Interesting the way some people see broad conspiracies in what is probably a small terrorist plot:

Walsh gained a reputation while in office for aligning himself with a group of politicians who showed themselves to be rape apologists just before the 2012 election (which Walsh lost to Rep. Tammy Duckworth). Walsh, who is pro-life without exception, also somehow misinterpreted science so grossly that he stated publicly that it was virtually impossible for a woman to die from a pregnancy.

“This is an ...

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September 5th, 2016

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Hausdorff space

What is fully normalized data? Reading up on this, it is fascinating to consider the overlap here between database schemas and topology:

In topology and related branches of mathematics, a Hausdorff space, separated space or T2 space is a topological space in which distinct points have disjoint neighbourhoods. Of the many separation axioms that can be imposed on a topological space, the “Hausdorff condition” (T2) is the most frequently used and discussed. It implies the uniqueness of limits of sequences, nets, ...

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September 5th, 2016

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What is continuous?

I like this simple set of examples:

As an example, consider the function h(t), which describes the height of a growing flower at time t. This function is continuous. By contrast, if M(t) denotes the amount of money in a bank account at time t, then the function jumps at each point in time when money is deposited or withdrawn, so the function M(t) is discontinuous.

Source

September 5th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Social media is the highlight reel of other people’s lives

Interesting comment:

Social media and the internet has made it incredibly easy to see the various people out there who are in the top of their league at any particular hobby, vocation or activity, and made it seem like that’s the ‘norm’. If you’re an entrepreneur, it can feel like everyone’s making millions off their startup ideas and that anyone who isn’t is a failure. If you’re a web developer, it can seem like the majority of developers are experts in every ...

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September 5th, 2016

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The oxytocin receptor gene comes in several variants

Interesting:

“The oxytocin receptor gene comes in several variants, and there are indications that some of these variants make you respond in less reactive ways to oxytocin in your blood,” explains Luc Goosens, a developmental psychologist at the University of Leuven in Belgium. If you have the most common genotype of the oxytocin receptor gene, GG, you may be more attuned to the emotions of others but also more sensitive to rejection and more likely to end up feeling lonely.

In a ...

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September 4th, 2016

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A virus that breaks itself up into 5 pieces before it spreads

And biology is also stranger than we can know:

A team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has found a mosquito virus that’s broken up into pieces. And the mosquito needs to catch several of the pieces to get an infection.

“It’s the most bizarre thing,” says Edward Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney, who wasn’t involved in the study. It’s like the virus is dismembered, he says.

“If you compare it to the human body, ...

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September 4th, 2016

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A galaxy of almost pure dark matter

The universe is stranger than we can ever know:

But now scientists have found something entirely new: a galaxy with the same mass as the Milky Way but with only 1 percent of our galaxy’s star power. About 99.99 percent of this other galaxy is made up of dark matter, and scientists believe it may be one of many.

The galaxy Dragonfly 44, described in a study published Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, is 300 million light years away. If scientists ...

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September 4th, 2016

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The political divisions in working class towns

The end of this article was where it got interesting:

Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Traficant, who went by the nickname Jimbo, annoyed and defied members of both parties, dished out scathing personal insults, blasted Washington insiders and purported to speak for the average Joe. He proposed sending troops to secure the Mexican border and criticized free trade. He even sported a flamboyant and gravity-defying hairdo, though it proved to be a toupee.

Back in Youngstown, the fondness for Mr. Traficant lingers despite ...

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September 4th, 2016

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The end of the 58 year old political cycle

Why did the the Western countries favor trade liberalization after World War II? There were many reasons, but a lot of it was driven by war. The USA wanted to create a free-trade zone that would be solid against Communism. France wanted to bind Germany in the European Coal and Steel Community to make World War III impossible. The great European empires collapsed, and the newly freed Third World had to be tempted away from Communism. The trade opened ...

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September 4th, 2016

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Normal_gaussian: The communication benefit group chats gave me was phenomenal

Interesting comment:

I was in school when msn and facebook were big. I lived in the same town as the school, which was a twenty minute drive from the village most of my friends lived in. They eventually forced me to use Facebook, and it changed my social life drastically. The communication benefit group chats gave me was phenomenal. Nowadays facebook lets me organise my climbing life, and makes a handy contact book for acquaintances. I’m on snapchat. I follow Justin because its funny, ...

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September 4th, 2016

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Mitochondrial genes show a similar pattern of change in a vast array of creatures

Interesting study:

We found the same two mitochondrial genes (cob and nad5) under selection in lineages that independently invaded the land. This was a strong hint that similar selective forces left their footprint in the mitochondrial genome; both genes encode enzymes deeply involved in the energy production pathway, which is in line with our assumption that adaptation to the land environment required changes to cope with the increased energy demands.

Mitochondrial proteins are vital to organisms, and as such are highly conserved ...

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September 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Will shows like “The Girlfriend Experience” ever explain the industry they cover?

Sad and lonely.

Empty.

Have there been good movies on this theme?

Why so few good shows for television or Netflix?

Some stories are written by those from the inside, but they never seem to get wide attention. Why?

It’s sort of like 50 Shades Of Gray. There have been hundreds of great novels written about BSDM. How is it possible that such a terrible novel carried BSDM into the mainstream? Why not one of the great novels? What is it about ...

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September 1st, 2016

In Philosophy

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I stopped counting, she said, because it was too upsetting

This is a very dark and tragic story:

With her co-op board’s approval, Linda set up another security camera in the hallway of the third floor, and pointed it at Alex and Jonas’s apartment. She would watch the footage periodically, and over the next two months, Linda began sending Detective Nugent still photos of what she had seen. “They would come in with women who were happy and relaxed, and the women would come out—woman after woman—would looked stunned and upset ...

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August 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The relentless criticism of sorority recruitment videos

An interesting point of view:

Despite the popularity of the 2016 Delta Gamma video, the comments it received on YouTube and Facebook are full of anger and criticism, particularly from men. The comments typically characterize the women in the video as shallow, dumb, slutty, time-wasting, privileged, un-diverse, and ignorant. “I look forward to seeing how little each of you contribute to society,” ran one typical piece of user feedback.

The existence of the video was an excuse for viewers to lash ...

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August 25th, 2016

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The alt-right meme

I had literally not heard of the “alt-right” until yesterday. And now I see there are several articles about its influence on politics in the USA. I suppose this is a case of a particular movement hitting some new level of power and so everyone needs a label for it?

For instance, Hillary Clinton is complaining about the alt-right:

In her most direct critique yet connecting the Trump campaign to white nationalists and the conservative fringe, Mrs. Clinton is framing Mr. ...

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August 25th, 2016

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End of the unacknowledged advertisement on social media?

Very slowly, the Internet is being forced to obey all the rules that apply to the rest of society:

Look at them, following rules! Only time will tell if these displays of somewhat honest business practices will stick or if they’re just playing along now while the story is still hot.

The Kardashian krackdown follows a report that the FTC is planning on getting tougher about sponsored content for all the C-list actors, reality stars and Instagram celebrities out there.

For now, an ...

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August 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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City as skyscrapers

Interesting point:

One of the weird cultural things in the US is the equation of “urban” with “downtown” and “downtown” with “Manhattan-like.” Basically, the city is where the skyscrapers are. NIMBYism related to density in urban areas that experience it (San Francisco especially these days) always raises the specter of 2-3 story residential neighborhoods being turned into “Manhattan” (And by Manhattan they mean Midtown or Downtown. You know, where the skyscrapers are).

Not everybody wants to live in Manhattan! Fair enough. ...

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August 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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How much did war contribute to the strength of the early blogosphere?

Or rather, how much is debate energized by having an important issue to talk about? I think of this in relation to Andrew Sullivan:

And after 9/11, General Sullivan enlisted in the Fighting 101st Keyboard Kommandos, otherwise known as the “warbloggers,” whose primary mission was to fight America’s most important enemy, the enemy at home known as “Americans.”

In the Sunday Times of London on September 16, 2001 (!!), Andrew had these lines:

The middle part of the country – the great red ...

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August 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The 20% of Real America

The math behind this is interesting:

If you’re one of these “real Americans,” you’re in the majority in almost every respect. Most Americans are white, most are Christian, most don’t have college degrees, and most live in the South or Midwest Census Bureau regions. And yet, only about 1 in 5 voters meets all of these descriptions.

Source

August 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Blinded by its simultaneous romanticization of and contempt for working-class America

A very interesting article:

But most of all, this kind of punditry, while ostensibly praising the Real America, is in fact marked by deep condescension. One pats the simple folk on the head, praising their lack of exposure to quinoa or Thai food — both of which can be found in food courts all across the country. Sorry, but there are no country bumpkins in modern America. Most of us, in all walks of life, have a pretty good sense of ...

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August 19th, 2016

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When is a woman a woman?

A great article about Caster Semenya and the unfair way that the Olympics tries to narrowly define what it means to be a woman:

What is it, exactly, that makes me a woman? Is it my breasts? If so, is it because they are a certain size? Is it that I have a womb? Does it matter that I have no idea if my womb works because I’ve never tried to get pregnant? Is it my two X chromosomes or my ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Unnecessary amounts of gender at the Olympics?

Interesting:

Indian gymnast, Dipa Karmakar, just missed an Olympic medal by a small margin. She is the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics. Dipa is one of only five women worldwide who have successfully completed the Produnova, the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics. Here is an excellent article by Sharda Ugra of ESPN on Dipa, on the northeastern state of Tripura where she comes from, and on the story behind gymnastics’ unusual popularity there. ...

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August 19th, 2016

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Limits on hate speech in Western democracies

An interesting article about hate-speech:

The second kind of argument concerns hate itself, and the insidious effects that hateful ideologies have on individuals, groups, and the polity. EU reports make an effort to capture the essential nature and harms of hate (link). Hate incites mistrust, disrespect, discrimination, and violence against members of other groups. The social effects of hate are toxic and serious. Do these effects suffice to justify limiting hate speech?

This is a difficult argument to make within the context ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The Roman economy was in danger of continuous secular stagnation

Here is Mark Koyama, who sounds stupid while trying to sound smart:

For Brown’s thesis to hold, therefore, the Roman economy must have been in danger of continuous secular stagnation.

Of course, every single economy in the history of the world was in continuous secular stagnation before 5,000 BC, and nearly all economies were in continuous secular stagnation from 5,000 BC to 1,500 AD. Escape from continuous secular stagnation is rare. Continuous growth, for several decades, is extremely rare in human ...

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August 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What the culture gains and loses from gay dating apps

Interesting:

My biggest concern about my use of Grindr is that it will inflate my ego—and that I’ll furthermore get used to that inflation so that the day it pops, and I realize I’m too old to be considered desirable by any but a small niche, will fling me into a free fall. But for men whose egos have been already deflated by cultural stereotypes—as is the case for a gay Filipino-American academic I talked to for this piece, Anthony Ocampo, ...

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August 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The big new insult of 2016

Interesting:

Although “cuckold” has been used since the thirteenth century (the word itself derived from cuckoo birds, which lay eggs in another’s nest), “cuck” was added to Urban Dictionary in 2007. Any more exact tracing of its origins is lost in the dense knot of the internet and the speed with which its population seized upon an insult to emasculate others. The word gained political potency during the 2016 election in the portmanteau “cuckservative” (cuck + conservative) used to imply that the ...

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August 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The problem with Terry Richardson

This is a good point about Terry Richardson:

His style reflects the non-aesthetic of the grunge 1990s, when Richardson began work as a photographer, and his punk youth as a heroin addict. Subjects ranging from Beyonce to President Obama stand in front of a white backdrop, captured in candid and unexpected, yet still flattering moments strongly reminiscent of a rawer, sexualized Jeurgen Teller. Images posted to Richardson’s Twitter showcase mundane, unsurprising locations. The photographer appears in front of the camera ...

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August 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The viewpoint of police in Germany

Interesting:

Another reason for that is the difference in prison sentences. If I was a drug dealer in the US and I had 20 pounds of coke in my trunk when a cop stops me for a broken taillight, I’d seriously calculate my chances of killing him and getting away. There is simply no reason for me to do that in Germany. The prison sentences are laughable here. It’s just not worth it. If they arrest me with the coke here, ...

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August 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The popularity of artificial languages in the 1800s

Interesting:

Volapük was a hit! Volapük clubs started popping up throughout Europe. Large conventions were held first in Friedrichshafen in 1884, then Munich in 1887, and finally Paris in 1889. The first two conventions were held in German, but by the third conference, everyone was speaking in Volapük, even the waiters!

Kerckhoffs, who was an early friend and popularizer of the language, would subsequently sow the seeds for its destruction. Kerckhoffs was unhappy with some parts of the language and thought they ...

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August 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Confusing French

Hilarious:

Gender’s a bitch. Le poêle: a stove. La poêle: a frying pan. A man’s shirt, une chemise, is feminine, but a woman’s shirt, un chemisier, is masculine.

This is also good:

Another way to try to rate the difficulty of a language is to consider its unusual features: putting the verb before the subject in a sentence, for example, or not having a question particle (“do”). Researchers analyzed two hundred and thirty-nine languages to create the Language Weirdness Index, anointing Chalcatongo Mixtec—a ...

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August 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What causes burnout?

A very interesting article:

We commonly use the term “burnout” to describe the state of exhaustion suffered by the likes of Steve. It occurs when we find ourselves taken over by this internal protest against all the demands assailing us from within and without, when the momentary resistance to picking up a glass becomes an ongoing state of mind.

Burnout didn’t become a recognised diagnosis until 1974, when the German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger applied the term to the increasing number of ...

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August 6th, 2016

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You don’t have plenty of time

I love this:

“Plenty of time” is a fat bankroll, and you’re buying drinks at the bar. “Plenty of time” is wasted training cycles when you weren’t taking care of business. “Plenty of time” is failing at the little things, but it’s cool because it’s NBD. “Plenty of time” is spent before you know it. “Plenty of time” isn’t.

I’m not talking about priorities. You should have those, and believe me, Powerlifting hasn’t been #1 in my life maybe ever. I’m fine ...

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August 5th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Conversations which have not changed in 50 years

I relate to the bit about this conversation being tired:

How tired are you of talking about “women in comics?” Can the conversation move on to something more nuanced/complex or in your opinion is it still a necessity to highlight the gender disparity in your field?

I’m so tired that I could be medically dead. It’s historically and culturally ignorant; like, if you don’t know who Marie Severin is and why she’s important, you don’t fucking know comics. Period. To act like ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Prison should not be a government’s profit center

A very worrisome attitude among some government officials:

The next to fall in Mississippi will be workers at regional jails that have lost 20 percent of their inmates. Officials in Stone County and George County said that around 40 employees in each would be laid off if the jails were forced to close, a necessity if the inmate population or the state reimbursement doesn’t increase. The counties are losing $72,000 per month each, officials said. Both counties still owe significant sums ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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A Swede lands in Silicon Valley and is disappointed

A very interesting point of view:

I encountered levels of homelessness and mental illness that I was entirely unprepared for, but was repeatedly discouraged from donating any spare change by my new American community. It’s not your problem, that was the mantra that un-ironically flowed from the lips of entrepreneurs that otherwise convinced themselves that they were making the world a better place, presumably for themselves and the people who were their problem. There was something absurd and almost obscene about ...

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August 2nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why do people join hate groups?

This is an interesting article:

But it is problematic to use data garnered in externalist studies to draw conclusions about micromobilization since it is not possible to infer the motivations of activists from the external conditions in which the group emerged. Because people are drawn to far-right movements for a variety of reasons that have little connection to political ideology (Blee 2002)—including a search for community, affirmation of masculinity, and personal loyalties— what motivates someone to join an anti-immigrant group, for ...

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August 2nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Grief regarding the end of the old political system

My sense is the changes will eventually involve fundamental constitutional revision. For now, people are talking about minor changes of policy:

The emergence of the Trump and Sanders insurgencies in the US, the Brexit vote in Britain, the formation of ultra-nationalists movements in Europe, are obvious markers of the new mood. The sea-change presents itself in different ways in different places. ISIS is a protest too.

Writers on the left have been taking positions on these issues for years, not ...

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August 1st, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why people hate Clinton

This is an interesting point of view:

My research indicates that the reality — the facts (I realize facts are immaterial when talking to many Trump supporters) — are that Hillary Clinton is one of the most honest politicians tracked by the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking project Politifact. I would also call upon Jill Abramson’s piece in the Guardian. Most of you probably know Abramson from the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Abramson writes:

As an editor I’ve launched ...

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July 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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This is one dirty latrine

I’m trying to imagine how dirty a latrine gets after 220 years of use?

Cambridge researchers Hui-Yuan Yeh and Piers Mitchell used microscopy to study preserved faeces on ancient ‘personal hygiene sticks’ (used for wiping away faeces from the anus) in the latrine at what was a large Silk Road relay station on the eastern margins of the Tamrin Basin, a region that contains the Taklamakan desert. The latrine is thought to date from 111 BC (Han Dynasty) and was in ...

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July 23rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The rigidity of gender norms

An optimistic take would be that the people most willing to reconsider gender norms are non-conformists who see no need to get married. So the lack of flexible marriages doesn’t indicate a lack of flexible relationships. A very interesting article:

Bargaining models of the household assume that households are able to bargain – that men and women can change the way that they relate to each other; they can change the way that they spend money and allocate tasks. And ...

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July 21st, 2016

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Milo Yiannopoulos is proving the power of the modern troll

Milo Yiannopoulos has a style and humor that could only work in the era of Internet. He first gained fame from Gamergate. Trolls need attention, but they also get attention for getting attention — that is, their fans are often minor trolls themselves, all hungry for attention, so they give props to the better trolls, for being good at it, just like a tennis player might admire another tennis player of exceptional skill.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a bleach-blond Brit whose ...

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July 21st, 2016

In Philosophy

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Honey Lee Cottrell is dead

I haven’t read Susie Bright in a while, so I missed this:

Honey Lee was my second butch girlfriend, but she was my first famous love, my first older woman lover . At the end of our first date, she dropped me off on the curb and said, “Bye–You’re a nice kid.” I was put out by that, but I was dutifully intimidated. Honey Lee had already been partners with a string of women who were like the Who’s Who of ...

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July 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The Republican National Convention

I laughed:

Jenkins also reportedly asked the crowd to “raise your hand if you believe in science,” to which they responded with boos.

Source

July 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Germs protect from allergies, biting nails helps

A very interesting theory:

When they tested at 13 for allergies to common things such as dust, grass, cats, dogs and molds, they found that 38% of those who had an “oral habit” tested positive — whereas 49% of those who didn’t suck their thumbs or bite their nails tested positive. This “protection” was still there at 32.

This fits with the “hygiene hypothesis,” which says that when children are exposed to germs early in life, their immune system gets trained to ...

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July 13th, 2016

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You are dragging this man by his ankles, through sliding glass doors down wide empty aisles

Isn’t this a brilliant opening paragraph?

You think: I want a flathead screwdriver. You imagine a large hardware store by your house. You are dragging this man by his ankles, through sliding glass doors down wide empty aisles, his pinkish, chewed down nails clacking against gray tile and his mouth still flapping though not saying too much of anything useful. In a word, blathering. Yammering. Prattling, etc. An unending tape loop of your yadda-yadda-yaddas.

That’s from Matthew Thompson. I worked with him ...

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July 13th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why national legislators in the USA are ignorant about important topics

A very interesting article about the political process in the USA:

What now surprises me is when I come across a member of Congress who really does understand a particular issue in detail. And this sometimes does happen. Little pockets of expertise are scattered hither and yon all throughout Capitol Hill — especially when members dig in to work on idiosyncratic pieces of legislation that are off the radar of big-time partisan conflict. But on most issues, most of the time, ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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How people get sober

A good article. And the struggle to learn new habits:

The modern world is designed for loneliness. Podcasts, Netflix, Amazon streaming. All that technology can disconnect us, yes, but it can also keep us tethered when real human contact feels like too much work. I spent six months in hiding, and do you know what I discovered in that time? How common it was. So many people drop out of life for MUCH more dire reasons than mine. Medical diagnoses, ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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How to be a writer

I love this article:

I became a writer relatively late, well into my 40s. That makes me a second-career or mid-career writer, even though by now, I rarely use the qualifiers at all. Like millions of other people in the world, I now identify myself simply as a writer. It seemed like a great act of personal delusion (or vanity) to think I could join the ranks of such an exalted club, the one full of people whose tools are only ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Asymptotic

I’ve always known what this word meant yet I don’t think I could have come up with so clear an example:

A simple illustration, when considering a function f(n), is when there is a need to describe its properties as n becomes very large. Thus, if f(n) = n2+3n, the term 3n becomes insignificant compared to n2, when n is very large. The function f(n) is said to be “asymptotically equivalent to n2 as n → ∞”, and this is ...

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July 10th, 2016

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Emi Bryant Lotto moves to Kodansha

I worked with Lotto at Open Road Media. She is very in-touch with current trends in certain segments of the culture. In particular, new genres and new media formats, of which she can be said to be at the very cutting edge. From Japanese Kanji to manga to whichever genres of novels are doing well in the current publishing environment, Lotto is always absorbing more about this unique moment of rapid cultural evolution. I learned a lot from her.

Perhaps most ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you

These are great quotes:

Source

July 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why are Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston pretending to date each other?

I admit, I am utterly intrigued with this story, since this is apparently how young people, and their celebrities, are adapting to the Internet. In an era where celebrities can’t have real privacy, the only way for them to control the narrative is to go to war with it.

Most telling, though, is Swift’s own demonstrated self-awareness about her image. Swift — not to mention her team of publicists and agents — is savvy about the realities of media attention, ...

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July 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why the police sometimes abuse their authority

This is an interesting point of view, written by a black police officer:

And no matter what an officer has done to a black person, that officer can always cover himself in the running narrative of heroism, risk, and sacrifice that is available to a uniformed police officer by virtue of simply reporting for duty. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted of all charges against him in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both black and ...

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June 29th, 2016

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In Pergamon there is a huge marble altar, forty feet tall with large sculptures: it also includes a Gigantomachy (Battle of the Giants)

This sounds amazing:

In January 1880 the great Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, author of Fathers and Sons and one of the most cosmopolitan Russian writers of the time, was visiting Berlin, when he paid a visit to the Altes Museum. What he saw there not only made a profound impression upon him personally but marked the beginning of a momentous transformation in European understanding of the art and culture of the ancient Mediterranean world. He had been standing before a group ...

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June 29th, 2016

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Ленин — гриб

I would say this is an example of how dangerous it can be to remove all humor from a medium — people become more vulnerable to hoaxes:

Lenin was a mushroom (Russian: Ленин — гриб) was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast on 17 May 1991 on Leningrad Television.

The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program Pyatoe Koleso (The Fifth Wheel). In the interview, Kuryokhin, ...

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June 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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That strange isolation of raising kids

Very interesting:

Pregnancy and motherhood can be both a source of social detachment and foster an intense need for community, all at once. I’ve never felt simultaneously so siloed and also so much a part of the fabric of humanity than I have this past year, which hit me with endless contradictions. Pregnant, I felt incredibly special and also like a freak. I felt like an assembly-line conformist breeder and also an earth mama gushingly, glowingly, united with the cosmos (“like ...

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June 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Maybe students and professors need to push back against the University?

This is interesting:

I study Classics professionally, so I have more at stake in this issue than most. I taught Antigone just last semester. And I hope that students never stop being disturbed by it. If you’re mocking students for having a strong emotional response to that text, you haven’t read it. (It should but doesn’t always go without saying that, if you haven’t read something, you have no right to an opinion on its appropriateness for the classroom, particularly ...

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June 29th, 2016

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The importance of taking a break

Such a good point about burnout and mental health:

I’ve definitely burnt myself out in the past. I’ve often worked morning till late night, most of the time, for months (years, since the breaks didn’t feel like they really counted?). And before that, being a broke student working multiple jobs wasn’t exactly great in terms of stress.

Part of me looks back and realizes that this is partially my fault, partially my managers’. The senior people around me also worked a ...

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June 29th, 2016

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Merav Michaeli changes the Hebrew language

What an interesting fact:

Michaeli has long lobbied for action against sexual harassment and sexual assault, and has urged Israeli women to refrain from getting married until civil marriage is an option (in Israel, the rabbinate has jurisdiction over such matters; women married under Jewish law cannot get a divorce unless their husband agrees to it); she recently passed legislation creating alternative dispute solutions for couples seeking divorce. Perhaps most interestingly, she has had a remarkable influence on the Hebrew language ...

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June 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The arrogance of computer programmers

I think there is something to this:

As computer programmers, our formative intellectual experience is working with deterministic systems that have been designed by other human beings. These can be very complex, but the complexity is not the kind we find in the natural world. It is ultimately always tractable. Find the right abstractions, and the puzzle box opens before you.

The feeling of competence, control and delight in discovering a clever twist that solves a difficult problem is what makes being ...

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June 29th, 2016

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Everyone who becomes a writer becomes a writer in their own way

A very interesting article:

I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember the awkward conversations during the most self-doubting times. There was, for instance, the dinner party where my friend, the hostess, seated me beside a Pulitzer Prize-winning author as if we had something in common. I had recently finished the first draft of a novel, and on my desktop floated the files of a dozen or so essays that were in the process of being ...

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June 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What age group stans on social media?

When the blogosphere was at its peak in 2005, I noticed that people only started blogging on political topics when they were about 24 or 25. If they were 18 or 19, large-audience blogging made no sense to them. At 18 or 19, what they wanted was a blog for their personal friends. They might have had a LiveJournal blog, and they expected a few of their friends to follow their diary. But blogging for a bunch of adults who ...

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June 21st, 2016

In Philosophy

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VioletBlue writes of being harassed by Jacob Appelbaum

I am worried about psychopaths like Appelbaum and how they manage to go on with their harassment, year after year:

When Jake got hired, he started giving tours. I only went on one of them. I had invited my editor and colleagues from the Chronicle to that happy hour, and we decided to go with him when Jake began leading people through the buildings for his tour. Kink’s main offices at that time were a wide, open-plan floor, with no ...

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June 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When your trusted friends take the side of a charming psychopath and gang up against you

Wow, this is a very sad and shocking story:

Because the last thing anyone needs is to be targeted by Jake Appelbaum, I purged everything this person and sent and refused to hand over anything on privacy grounds. I explained what my reasoning was for doing what I did, was chastised further, let it go and considered the matter over.

But really, I thought, why would Jake be so defensive about some random LT that might have otherwise gone completely unnoticed? ...

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June 15th, 2016

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Trolling is more and more a professional specialty

Sad and sickening:

A few years ago, Jamie Bartlett, a social media analyst and author of The Dark Net, met up with the man behind a popular online white supremacist account in the UK. The meeting took weeks to set up—numerous calls and emails were exchanged before the man (whom Bartlett calls “Paul”) agreed to meet him in the small northern English town where he lived. When the two finally linked up, Bartlett said he was surprised to find that the ...

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June 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When a pregnancy isn’t viable

This is a sad story:

What happened at 31 weeks?

We went back to get a growth scan, and we saw the growth had fallen off a cliff. And this was the first time that we had been presented with this idea that there was something deeply wrong with the baby that had nothing to do with me. Until that point, all the really bad news had been with me, and my weird body. He had been thriving despite the environment.

But on ...

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June 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Tech forums can be nasty

And Hacker News is already a million times better than places like Reddit. We need more diversity in tech, but some folks seem willing to undermine the project of reforming the industry. I still see comments like:

He was privileged to be a black man since this drastically improved his odds of getting into Princeton. It’s not anywhere near as much of an achievement as you are making it out to be.

As of 2006, between 2/3 and 5/6 of black ...

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June 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Mother and daughter and a short skirt

Just now. At the corner of Broadway and 96th street in New York City, daughter is 12 or 13, mother is 40 or 45, they are talking about a woman they just passed, who did not notice them. The woman was perhaps 20 and was wearing a red dress and holding a black purse.

Daughter: I so love her purse! And that dress! Such an outfit!

Mother: It was too short.

Daughter: And the fabric and…

Mother: It was too short.

Daughter: … the earrings ...

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June 14th, 2016

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A screaming lunatic

True story:

Yesterday I went to the park along the Hudson River, near 96th st, and I started running north. I do a circuit up to 125th st, then back down to where there is construction around 88th st, and back, about 8 kilometers total. The path on the right side is sometimes for bikes and sometimes for a mix of bikes and pedestrians.

I’m running north and there is a guy on a bike coming toward me. He is extremely ...

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June 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Math is confusing even for those who are good at it

Always be learning:

Many people who are in this position, trying to learn mathematics on their own, have roughly two approaches. The first is to learn only the things that you need for the applications you’re interested in. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s akin to learning just enough vocabulary to fill out your tax forms. It’s often too specialized to give you a good understanding of how to apply the key ideas elsewhere. A common example is learning very ...

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June 11th, 2016

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Inemuri

Interesting:

However, this experience of sleeping in the presence of others as children is not sufficient on its own to explain the widespread tolerance of inemuri, especially at school and in the workplace. After some years of investigating this subject, I finally realised that on a certain level, inemuri is not considered sleep at all. Not only is it seen as being different from night-time sleep in bed, it is also viewed differently from taking an afternoon nap or power nap. How ...

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June 7th, 2016

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Meditation can lead to madness

Interesting:

“Recovery,” “permanently ruined”—these are not words one typically encounters when discussing a contemplative practice.

On a cold November night last fall, I drove to Cheetah House. A former student of Britton’s, I joined the group in time for a Shabbat dinner. We blessed the challah, then the wine; recited prayers in English and Hebrew; and began eating.

Britton, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior, works at the Brown University Medical School. She receives regular phone calls, emails, and letters ...

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June 7th, 2016

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The thugs in Russia

There is a worrisome authoritarian movement in Russia. Many of its members are known criminals. They go after anyone who is vulnerable, just to demonstrate their contempt for the rule of law.

Datsik has a huge criminal background. He is an ex-fighter and boxer. Datsik has been imprisoned several times. He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union, which has similar political ideologies as Nazi Germany. The Slavic Union was banned in Russia because of their promotion of ...

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June 7th, 2016

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Anna Rose Holmer is a genius

I saw a screening of this movie at the Gawker offices. I loved this movie. And Royalty Hightower is an amazing talent.

ANNA ROSE HOLMER: We started to talk about the film as a coming of age film—and even now, I’m so hesitant to use that phrase because it comes with a lot of baggage, particularly for stories about girls and young women. I think often it’s placed like five years later when you’re talking about sexual awakening, the idea that ...

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June 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What does it mean for a criminal to express remorse?

Interesting:

I fully respected his right to a trial, but even after twelve jurors unanimously convicted him guilty of three felonies, all he has admitted to doing is ingesting alcohol. Someone who cannot take full accountability for his actions does not deserve a mitigating sentence. It is deeply offensive that he would try and dilute rape with a suggestion of promiscuity. By definition rape is the absence of promiscuity, rape is the absence of consent, and it perturbs me deeply ...

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