May 4th, 2017

# Pro-tip: it’s not a great idea to be incredibly sensitive about how someone asks a question

Someone is a bit sensitive:

Source

May 2nd, 2017

Interesting:

If one person convinces a second, says Blackford, then a third person will be far more likely to agree with the majority view. This effect exponentially increases with each person who agrees with the others. “We soon have a sociological effect whereby everyone knows that, say, a certain movie is very good or very bad, even though everyone might have ‘known’ the exact opposite if only a few early voices had been different,” says Blackford.

The cascade effect can help explain ...

April 26th, 2017

# Social purity in 1903

What an interesting image:

Now we’ve established that if you, like “A Childless Wife,” have chosen to be child-free, you are empty of soul, selfish and controlled by your basest desires. It is also likely that you are suffering an inflated sense of your value to this world. A Childless Wife also had a rather long whinge about the likelihood that she would die during delivery. She was staunchly against dying. And yes, maternal death would have been a concern ...

April 26th, 2017

# English is not Latin

This has always been an idiotic rule:

There is a traditional view, first set forth by the 17th-century poet and dramatist John Dryden, that it is incorrect to put a preposition at the end of a sentence, as in where do you come from? or she’s not a writer I’ve ever come across. The rule was formulated on the basis that, since in Latin a preposition cannot come after the word it governs or is linked with, the same should be ...

April 23rd, 2017

# See something, say something, watch the authorities overreact

This is the result of trying to find policies that force various agencies to act on auto-pilot:

Long story short: A dad returning from Mexico with his 3-year-old daughter was briefly detained on suspicion that he was engaged in sex trafficking. (And not to pile on, but it was a United flight.) Despite papa having her passport, his passport, and a notarized letter from the mom saying that she gave them her permission to travel, the authorities felt compelled to ...

April 23rd, 2017

# Jennifer Jason Leigh talks about Quentin Tarantino

This is a really interesting comment about Hollywood:

What accounts for this comeback you’ve had (1)? Was it a change of management or just good fortune?

I am well over 40. I feel like the door was closed, and I had made my peace with it and I was fine. I worried a little bit about money. “Am I going to work again … Maybe I’ll go more into writing.” But I’m very happy being a mom. I just thought I had ...

April 15th, 2017

# Gender ideals in sports in Germany before the Nazis

Interesting:

He completed his Ph.D. in 1925, and the following year he dashed to global fame, competing in seventy-six races, achieving four national records, three world records, and beating two reigning Olympic champions. His racing style was brash and incautious, reckless even, relying on his blistering pace on the home straight to seal victory. It mirrored his combative personality; his on-track success was accompanied by stories of frequent confrontations with coaches, teammates, opponents, and the stuffed blazers who ran German athletics ...

April 13th, 2017

# Anti-gay human rights abuse in Chechnya

Really awful:

At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods.

As they tortured him, the men shouted verbal abuse at him for being gay, and demanded to know the names ...

April 13th, 2017

# Jack London was his own lawyer and he won

Interesting:

Jack London advocated a different revolution, a Socialist one. The various books, articles, and speeches referred to as his Socialist writings, though now little read in the United States, sold well when first published and have been avidly read all over the world. The Iron Heel, for instance, sold over 50,000 copies in hardback, and Wikipedia lists translations of the novel into thirty-two languages (including Esperanto). According to Alex Kershaw (in his Jack London: A Life), the novel “was…passed ...

April 13th, 2017

# English adventurers in the Black Sea just before the First Crusade

This is sort of a precursor to the Crusades, with less of a goal, and more random adventuring:

This sequence of events appears to underlie all four of the sources mentioned above and is moreover supported by contemporary Byzantine sources too, as Jonathan Shepard has convincingly argued.(2) As to the date of this emigration of disgruntled Anglo-Saxon lords and their followers, Christine Fell makes a good case for it having taken place in the mid- to late 1070s, after the death ...

April 13th, 2017

# Sweden is a nation of introverts

Interesting:

“Swedish culture isn’t exactly known for its extroversion and mingling,” says Sophia Skinbjerg, a 25-year-old Australian-Danish marketeer, who is based in Stockholm. “Connections, whether personal or professional, are often fostered from a very young age. So as a foreign person, it’s very difficult to break through and establish your own network quickly.” Risk avoidance With one of the highest standards of living in the world and a booming start-up scene, Sweden has attracted growing numbers of expats and economic migrants in recent years, ...

April 13th, 2017

# When were women active in politics

Measured by how many women testified before Congress, it seems women’s political mobilization peaked in the mid 20th Century:

First, far from retreating from public life in the post-suffrage and postwar decades, women and their organizations were out in force. Working through mass membership federations, to which Theda Skocpol has called our attention, women testified collectively on a wide range of issues including but not limited to foreign policy, affordable housing, children’s well-being, military readiness, public education, tax policy, and immigration. ...

April 13th, 2017

# The alt-right has always been part of the USA political scene

Interesting:

American historians’ relationship to conservatism itself has a troubled history. Even after Ronald Reagan’s electoral-college landslide in 1980, we paid little attention to the right: The central narrative of America’s political development was still believed to be the rise of the liberal state. But as Newt Gingrich’s right-wing revolutionaries prepared to take over the House of Representatives in 1994, the scholar Alan Brinkley published an essay called “The Problem of American Conservatism” in The American Historical Review. American conservatism, ...

April 13th, 2017

# The decline of the public intellectual

Interesting:

If you were a certain sort of ideas-oriented young person coming of age in the 20th century, it was very likely you would give yourself a label and join some movement. You’d call yourself a Marxist, a neoconservative, a Freudian, an existentialist or a New Deal liberal.

There would be certain sacred writers who would explain the world to you — from Jung to Camus, Dewey or Chesterton. There’d probably be a small magazine where the doctrines of your sect ...

April 8th, 2017

# Manhood in the age of Trump

Interesting:

For some decades now, since I was a child, I’ve heard people talking about how our understanding of gender would need to change, and how men would need to reinterpret what it needs to be a man. But apparently, open mindedness on this issue is easier for men when they know their wages will be going up for some decades. In the USA, men were tolerant of the surge of women into the workforce during the 1930s and 1940s. In ...

April 8th, 2017

# Britain in south east Africa in 550 AD

Amazing to think that British merchants reached Tanzania in the mid 500s. If there was still so much trade going on, why did the economy collapse to completely?

Tanzania? A small number of beads have been found on the East African coast at Dar es Salaam and Kisiju, Tanzania, which have been considered to be early Anglo-Saxon in origin by a number of researchers, including Richard Hodges and Barbara Green, as was discussed in a previous post. Given their likely origin, ...

April 8th, 2017

# Octopus can kill dolphins even after the dolphin has swallowed them

Interesting:

Essentially, the octopuses’ tentacles keep fighting, blocking the dolphins’ airways, even after most of their bodies have been swallowed. It’s a terrifying way to die, but Sprogis and the researchers observe that octopuses must be such valuable prey that they are worth it. Over seven years of observation, she and her team watched 33 dolphins “handling” octopuses in ways that made them meal-ready. Typically, the encounter would start with the dolphin biting the octopus’ head off, followed by tossing the ...

April 8th, 2017

# The Vikings raided Africa and then took slaves back to Ireland

One of the great puzzles of history is why a particular region might suddenly become active and attack another region. Why was Scandinavia not a factor during Roman times but then suddenly a volcano that spewed attacks outward like a volcano throwing out lava? Why did the Vikings suddenly come onto the scene? What had they been doing previously? Why did they attack Africa, rather than the other way around? Why has there never been a time when Sub-Saharan Africa ...

April 8th, 2017

# Korzybski on linguistic relativism

Interesting:

Sapir/Whorf contemporary Alfred Korzybski was independently developing his theory of general semantics, which was aimed at using language’s influence on thinking to maximize human cognitive abilities. Korzybski’s thinking was influenced by logical philosophy such as Russell and Whitehead’s Principia Mathematica and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.[72] Although Korzybski was not aware of Sapir and Whorf’s writings, the movement was followed by Whorf-admirer Chase, who fused Whorf’s interest in cultural-linguistic variation with Korzybski’s programme in his popular work “The Tyranny of Words”. S. ...

April 7th, 2017

# Maybe naked mole rats are simply very good at fighting off cancer?

If a tumor is only a dozen cells, scientists would have difficulty finding it. Previously, researchers thought naked mole rats could not get cancer. Then they found one who got cancer but then healed. What if naked mole rats do get cancer at a normal rate, but their immune system is good about destroying all tumors before scientists can detect them? Interesting:

Dr. Delaney and her colleagues have studied lesions on naked mole rats for more than a decade, but it ...

April 7th, 2017

# Mojica was overcome, and found himself with tears in his eyes

Interesting:

But every time Mojica and his colleagues repeated the experiment, the same pattern—30 or so bases that appeared over and over again, separated by lengths of seemingly unrelated DNA—reappeared. Reading journal articles in the library, Mojica learned that a Japanese group had noticed something similar in the genome of E. coli a few years before. Despite the fact that the repetitions did not seem to be connected to H. mediterranei’s predilection for salt, he put a chapter on them at ...

April 7th, 2017

# The alternative media on the right

Interesting:

“The long, lucrative right-wing grift is blowing up in the world’s face”: “Because there was a lot of money in it for various hucksters and moguls and authors and politicians, the conservative movement spent decades building up an entire sector of the economy dedicated to scaring and lying to older white men. For millions of members of that demographic, this parallel media dedicated to lying to them has totally supplanted the ‘mainstream’ media. Now they, and we, are at the ...

April 6th, 2017

# Clean decimals are limited to primes of your base

Interesting:

Floating Point Math

Your language isn’t broken, it’s doing floating point math. Computers can only natively store integers, so they need some way of representing decimal numbers. This representation comes with some degree of inaccuracy. That’s why, more often than not, .1 + .2 != .3.

Why does this happen?

It’s actually pretty simple. When you have a base 10 system (like ours), it can only express fractions that use a prime factor of the base. The prime factors of 10 are ...

April 4th, 2017

# Have I been shadowbanned from Hacker News?

None of my comments are appearing there. I wonder if I have been banned? I can’t imagine why this would happen. I believe I offer good comments that move a conversation forward.

Why do developers who could work anywhere flock to the most expensive cities?

To which I responded:

(Please forgive the side-story, I believe this comment eventually forms a cohesive story.)

Once upon a time I had ...

April 2nd, 2017

# Language is the only homeland

The only homeland. This strikes me as the only way forward for Europe, and perhaps the world, though I realize there are some groups, such as African-Americans in the USA, who might strongly disagree, as they use the language of the oppressors. But maybe if we can interpret the words broadly enough, then the idea fits everyone? Beyoncé recently sang:

My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bama

So where is her homeland? What ...

March 29th, 2017

# Another blow to the indie Web: the Deck ad network closes down

LONG STRANGE TRIP

We started The Deck in 2006 and for the first couple years it struggled. By 2008, it was an OK business and by 2009, it was a pretty good business. From then through 2013, The Deck was going along just fine.

THINGS WORK, UNTIL THEY DON’T

Things change. In 2014, display advertisers started concentrating on large, walled, social networks. The indie “blogosphere” was disappearing. Mobile impressions, which produce significantly fewer clicks and engagements, began to really dominate the market. ...

March 29th, 2017

# 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

Source

March 29th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 29th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 28th, 2017

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

Good lord, this song is good:

Source

March 27th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 27th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 27th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 27th, 2017

Interesting:

Source

March 27th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 27th, 2017

# 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:

Source

March 27th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 26th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 25th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 21st, 2017

# 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 ...

March 20th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 20th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 18th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 17th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 17th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 17th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 16th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 16th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 16th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 14th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 14th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 14th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 12th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 9th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 9th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 8th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 8th, 2017

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 ...

March 6th, 2017

# 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 ...

March 3rd, 2017

# 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 ...

March 1st, 2017

# 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 ...

March 1st, 2017

# 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 ...

March 1st, 2017

# 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 ...

March 1st, 2017

# 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; ...

March 1st, 2017

# 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 ...

March 1st, 2017

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 ...

March 1st, 2017

# 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:

Source

February 28th, 2017

# American politics has gotten really weird

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

Source

February 28th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 28th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 23rd, 2017

# 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.

Source

February 23rd, 2017

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.

Source

February 20th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 20th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 16th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 16th, 2017

# 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. ...

February 16th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 15th, 2017

# 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 ...

February 14th, 2017

# 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.

Source

February 11th, 2017

# 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.

August 3rd, 2016

# 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 ...

August 2nd, 2016

# 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 ...

August 2nd, 2016

# 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 ...

August 1st, 2016

# 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 ...

July 25th, 2016

# 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 ...

July 23rd, 2016

# 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 ...

July 21st, 2016

# 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 ...

July 21st, 2016

# 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 ...

July 20th, 2016

# 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

# 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 ...

July 13th, 2016

# 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 ...

July 13th, 2016

# 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, ...

July 10th, 2016

# 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, ...

July 10th, 2016

# How to be a writer

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 ...