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 ...

July 10th, 2016

# 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 ...

July 10th, 2016

# 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 ...

July 10th, 2016

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

These are great quotes:

Source

July 9th, 2016

# 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, ...

July 9th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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, ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 29th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 25th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 21st, 2016

# 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 ...

June 15th, 2016

# 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? ...

June 15th, 2016

# Trolling is more and more a professional specialty

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 ...

June 15th, 2016

# When a pregnancy isn’t viable

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 ...

June 14th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 14th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 14th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 11th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 11th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 7th, 2016

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 ...

June 7th, 2016

# 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 ...

June 7th, 2016

# 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 ...