It is Petrov Day again, partially thanks to Stanislaw Petrov.
CIVIC MYTHOLOGY – The neat part is, everything under this tag is true, it just uses poetic language.
“Canonically, the United States of America once possessed a unique artifact known as the Demon Core, but it was consumed in the process of summoning a miniature star”
The new Deadpool trailer looks fun. But why in god’s name would you put a joke that’s *older than I am* in the TRAILER? It sends the message that your writers are lazy, which is not a message you want to send in the trailer! (I’m referring to the “Wearing a red shirt to hide your blood, then making a crack about wearing brown pants, to imply someone is shitting their pants in fear” crack. I can’t say for sure the joke’s been around since the invention of red dye, but I know it was a classic before I was born. And yes, it’s a good joke, especially the first time you hear it. But why would you show off lack of originality in a trailer?)
While we’re talking about movies, I fully expect the Sad/Rabid Puppies to nominate Pixels for a Hugo next year.
An amazingly stupid motion is filed (“prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to order a defense attorney to stop calling them “the government” “), and the defense attorney hits them with an awesome rebuttal.
Yes I know I’m years behind the times, but I just found out how much fun the Crash Course in World History series is.
Huzzah for Amnesty International, coming out for legalization of sex work!
In depressing news, mass incarceration has caused more crime than it’s prevented. Some judges are harsher than others, but the judge you get is luck of the draw. So it’s possible to track people who commit the same crime but get difference sentences and see how the length of the sentence affects the likelihood of future criminal activity. Turns out, longer sentences increase the odds of re-offending.
“each year in prison increases the odds that a prisoner would reoffend by 5.6% a quarter. Even people who went to prison for lesser crimes wound up committing more serious offenses subsequently, the more time they spent in prison. His conclusion: Any benefit from taking criminals out of the general population is more than off-set by the increase in crime from turning small offenders into career criminals.”
Fascinating episode of Rationally Speaking. Ian Morris on, “Why the West rules — for now“. Similar vein to Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel”
“Geography drives development, but development changes what geography means … as geography changes its meanings, the parts of the world that are most developed keeps moving around.”
A hero of the people! Time Warner Cable owes $229,500 to woman it would not stop calling.
“Breathe in strength, breathe out bullshit”
Stupid Dinosaur Movies. “Hollywood has a neat little racket going these days: making mega-budget tent-pole action movies that so saturate the public consciousness with advertisements and brand recognition that they’re treated like major cultural events, but which are also so deliberately immaterial that anyone who criticizes them looks like an uptight buzzkill.”
Not only did teenagers not invent STI-detecting color-changing condoms, it was a straight-up stupid idea even in concept. It would do a great job of getting condom use to drop drastically and further stigmatize already over-stigmatized infections. The entire popularity of that report was just sex-shaming glee.
How long can a con man with no soccer talent whatsoever play soccer at the professional level before anybody catches on? 20 years.
Ginny being amazing again
Very well London. You win. You are the coolest city. Masked vigilante in London is being called The Bromley Batman.
(altho seriously, black pants and shirt + a bandanna is NOT a batman costume!)
A number of times people have asked me for some podcasting tips when they’ve decided to give this podcasting thing a shot. It just happened again, and I’ve decided to compile all my beginner advice into a post I can easily point to, rather than having to retype everything each time.
I will not be repeating the things that are already found on How To Podcast pages. Please follow their advice on setting up a WordPress Site, creating an RSS feed, and registering with iTunes. It’s much better than what I could give, and probably more up-to-date.
I will repeat a few things I said at my “Voicing A Character” page though, since that one is kinda hidden unless you’ve wanted to voice a character for HPMoR.
First, I want to reinforce anything you’ve read that advises you to create your RSS Feed through Google FeedBurner rather than using whoever your site host is. DO THIS. You will very likely want (or need) to switch hosts one day. This will make your life sooooo much easier when you do, with very little extra effort right now. I learned this the hard way.
For publishing, I use PowerPress from BluBrry. Simple and free, which is what I want.
Second, if you plan on doing more than a dozen episodes, it’s worth it to shell out the money for a mid-grade microphone. They make a hell of a difference. I use an Audio Technica 2020, with a USB converter.
Cheap hardware essentials that I didn’t realize were essentials until later: A microphone stand, so you don’t have to hold the mic and it stays a constant distance from your mouth. A sheet-music stand to hold my source material, so I don’t have to hold it in my hands and have the paper rustle in the mic. A pop-filter, to prevent the worst of those annoying pops and cracks.
I’m less sure of the spider-mount. I’ve found it helps just enough to justify the cost if you’ll be doing this for a long time. Some come with a pop-filter integrated, which helps defray the cost.
Minimize all background sound, these mics will pick up everything. Refrigerators, HVAC, even loud computer fans. Be aware of noise you can’t control, a truck driving by outside can be picked up. You’ll have to wait until it’s gone and then redo that sentence. Likewise, take a full breath when you reach the end of a page before flipping it.
Echo is the devil! It’s a stealthy degrader of audio quality that you don’t notice when you record, it’s hard to eliminate IRL, and it’s almost literally impossible to eliminate via software in post (some of the extremely high-end audio software claims to be able to get rid of some echo).
The best fix is recording in a closet. All those hanging clothes do *wonders* to absorb sound. Put egg-crate foam on the wall opposite you to nullify echo from that direction. For real. If your living quarters were to be picked up and shaken by vigorously by a giant, you should emerge unscathed.
For software, do your recording and editing in Audacity. It’s free, and plenty powerful for anyone who isn’t an industry professional. Save every now and then while you’re recording. Keep the raw file when you’re done, and do all your post-production work in a renamed copy, in case you screw something up real bad.
First thing you do before you start anything else in post-production is to run a Noise Reduction on the entire thing. It’ll make every type of editing easier, as the background hiss will be reduced.
The BIGGEST THING I WISH I KNEW FROM THE START is this: Whenever making edits in Audacity, always “jump to zero” after selecting the section you want but before doing ANYTHING ELSE. The hotkey for this is “z”. It’s the *best thing ever*!! Seriously, hit Z anytime you highlight any amount of track for any reason, or are about to paste something in. Make it a habit. Find yourself accidentally hitting Z after selecting text to copy out of an email or webpage, because you have such entrenched muscle-memory of “Releasing Mouse Button After Selection -> tap Z.” It’ll put a stop to so many of your post-production pops/clicks.
In terms of technique:
Modulate your breathing. That’ll save you a ton of post-production work. Plan when you will breath before hand, make sure it’s only at natural breaks in a sentence, like commas and periods.
Beware of throat phlegm, do your best to keep it clear, unless that’s the sound you’re going for. You’ll eventually figure out what works best for you to accomplish that.
When you flub a word and have to redo it, go back AT LEAST a few words. You need to get a nice flow and find natural breaks in speaking to splice the lines together, and in practice these very rarely occur between words. They’re more common between vowels and hard consonants. Best practice is to go back to the last natural pause – either a period or a comma – and continue from there. I always do so, and it’s invaluable.
Don’t be afraid to do a few takes if something doesn’t feel right and cut out all but the best one.
You’ll probably read too fast. Most people do. You should probably slow down.
Don’t worry about over-acting. That’s almost impossible when you only have your voice to convey emotion, rather than face, body, etc. It’s far more likely that you’re being too flat than that you’re overacting.
But the biggest piece of advice – realize that you will get better. And the only way to get better is to keep doing this. So don’t give up! You’ll never learn how to walk if you’re unwilling to wobble around like a flibbity-jibbit for a few months, figuring out how these “leg” things work. :)
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are an item! “Yes, they are Girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy.”
A lot of culture is story-telling and myth-making. Tom Cruise movies and video games are story-telling, and they’re as much a part of culture as religion is. The Game That Let Me Mourn My Lost Faith
Chris Christie suggests “An investor could pay a portion of the student’s tuition to attend college in exchange for that student giving the investor a certain percentage of their income for so many years.” I read an SF book with this theme that tried to pass itself off as a dystopia, but it was one of the best societies ever and I have no idea why this is a bad thing? They actually had to lie in the headline (“CHRIS CHRISTIE SUGGESTS STUDENTS SELL THEMSELVES TO INVESTORS TO PAY FOR COLLEGE”) to make it sound bad.
Much like the Velveteen Rabbit, I, too, curse my flimsy meat body and hope for a less gross replacement some day.
Chris Hedges explains why an uprising is coming. “We have, to quote John Ralston Saul, “undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion” and it’s over. The normal mechanisms by which we carry out incremental and piecemeal reform through liberal institutions no longer function. They have been seized by corporate power”
Scott Alexander, of course. :) Against Tulip Subsidies:
“Americans take eight years to become doctors. Irishmen can do it in four, and achieve the same result. Each year of higher education at a good school – let’s say an Ivy, doctors don’t study at Podunk Community College – costs about $50,000. So American medical students are paying an extra $200,000 for…what?
… 20,000 doctors graduate in the United States each year; that means the total yearly cost of requiring doctors to have undergraduate degrees is $4 billion. That’s most of the amount of money you’d need to house every homeless person in the country
… If I were Sanders, I’d propose a different strategy. Make “college degree” a protected characteristic, like race and religion and sexuality. If you’re not allowed to ask a job candidate whether they’re gay, you’re not allowed to ask them whether they’re a college graduate or not. You can give them all sorts of examinations, you can ask them their high school grades and SAT scores, you can ask their work history, but if you ask them if they have a degree then that’s illegal class-based discrimination and you’re going to jail. I realize this is a blatant violation of my usual semi-libertarian principles, but at this point I don’t care.”
I’m not familiar with the scene, but how the can can you have a nudist movement if you’re scared of the occasional erection? Floppy-Dicked Haters Kick Erect Man Out of Naked Bike Ride
“It’s like this…
You’re fourteen and you’re reading Larry Niven’s “The Protector” because it’s your father’s favorite book and you like your father and you think he has good taste and the creature on the cover of the book looks interesting and you want to know what it’s about. And in it the female character does something better than the male character – because she’s been doing it her whole life and he’s only just learned – and he gets mad that she’s better at it than him. And you don’t understand why he would be mad about that, because, logically, she’d be better at it than him. She’s done it more. And he’s got a picture of a woman painted on the inside of his spacesuit, like a pinup girl, and it bothers you.
But you’re fourteen and you don’t know how to put this into words.”
(more at link)
I love the hell out of this picture. Japan finally recognizes Godzilla as a resident and tourism ambassador
Speed Reading: Facts And Fantasy. (Spoiler: anything jmuch over 400wpm means a drastic drop in comprehension, and can’t really be coutned as “reading) What kinda worries me is just how many people do “read” at 400+ wpm and thus lose a lot of comprehension. I’d rather read less and have it mean more.
However, I am a bit wary that this article may be falling into my “This is something I want to believe” zone.
Molly Tanzer (fellow Coloradan and amazing person, I love hanging with her at cons) has a new book out which is getting awesome reviews from IO9 to NPR! I’m not sure which one is awesomer, mad props to her!
per Jai – It’s not cheating, it’s technique:
How to stop Android’s fucking profanity policing bullshit
Official Statement on the Leadership of NRx. Looks like the Neo-Reactionaries are trying to get organized. They’re taking the first steps from “bunch of internet crazies” to “actual movement”. I know these things peter out most of the time, but this is the same track the Libertarians were on in the 70s, no? I think they could very well end up a legit movement. And they’re just so damn fascinating to watch!
Home-Brewed Morphine Is Around The Corner. While I hesitate to share these sorts of headlines before a other critical eye has been cast on it (because science reporting in America is THE WORST) I love the implications of this if it pans out. Can’t wait for the heroin cartels to lose business as drastically as the weed cartels did after Colorado fully legalized pot. And for the drug laws in the US to suffer further undermining.
Lot of awesome spoken-word poetry by this guy, just found him recently. In this we learn why pawns can only move forward. Fuck yes:
I’ve heard it say that the only correct answer to the Trolley Problem is “I refuse to answer your hypothetical, and fuck you for asking me that question.” Here’s another way of saying that, that I liked.
“The correct utilitarian rule about torture is “don’t torture people, even if it’s the right thing to do; it is more likely you are mistaken than that torture is morally right.” Being repelled by torture to the extent that you can’t even consider that it’s correct in a thought experiment seems to me like the way that your emotions and intuition internalize that rule. By developing your capacity to be okay with torture in thought experiments, you are practicing being okay with torture.”
I keep forgetting to try this, and I really want to at the next gathering I’m at. How to train empathy.
Speaking of which, I just saw “The To-Do List“. I thought it would be a chick flick or some dumb teen comedy. Instead it was the most fun I’ve had with a movie in well over a year. :) It was fucking hilarious, but still touching, and smart! So much so, that I suspect the target demo isn’t teens at all, but rather people who grew up in the 90s (it’s a 90’s period piece). Anyway, if you’re looking for a comedy, totally recommended.
Your cyberpunk games are dangerous: How roleplaying games and fantasy fiction confounded the FBI, confronted the law, and led to a more open web. I kinda miss my cyberpunk future :/
Another story of legalized theft via “civil asset forfeiture.” Young black guy headed to LA to start a new career with $16k in cash he’d saved up is singled out for a search on a train by DEA. They decide (with zero evidence) he must be a drug dealer, seize the money, never charge him with anything. Now HE has to go to court to prove the cash WASN’T connected to narcotics.
Cosplayers Read Hate. It’s like Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweats”, but with cosplayers
I found this hilarious! :D Fictional Men I Believe Have Enjoyed Being Pegged.
“The way I see it, Cyclops is incredibly into it and Wolverine could probably take it or leave it alone except for the fact that Jean Grey ADORES it, so there’s a weirdly competitive vibe between the two of them over who loves getting pegged more.”
If your protagonist is literally Satan, and the most interesting thing you can think to do with that is put him in a glorified Police Procedural, you need to fire your ENTIRE CREATIVE STAFF >:(
Oh shit! My SO, much more concerned about animal rights than I am, may well be a better utilitarian than me. Ozy: We have seen the Utility Monster, and it is us.
An examination of the politics of the Harry Potter books.
“the whole Wizarding World in general, has been living under a continuous state of emergency for over three hundred years … Muggles are bound to find out in the end, unless the authorities and the population in general are allowed to react quickly and effectively without regard to constitutional niceties. … Since their society can’t have a proper rule of law (as we understand it) without risking its own existence, wizards have found another way of ensuring their safety and protection.
… the way power seems to work in the Wizarding World is the patron-client system, such as existed in Ancient Rome … Basically, the system works by otherwise unprotected wizards attaching themselves to a powerful “patron” and becoming his “clients.” The patron will smooth over any problems his client might have with the Ministry of Magic, and use his money and connections to help him out of his difficulties, and keep him out of Azkaban – as Dumbledore did with Mundungus Fletcher. In return, the client himself becomes a part of the patron’s entourage and connections. The patron ends up with a large body of wizards dependent on him whom he can rely on (a private army, in other words) which effectively puts him above the law ”
Killing the leaders of terrorist groups may make them more likely to attack civilian rather than military targets:
“Subsequent statistical studies have found that terrorism is not simply correlated with political failure; the attacks on civilians actually lower the odds of government concessions. This is because terrorism tends to shift electorates to the political right, strengthening hardliners most opposed to appeasement.
…It turns out that certain kinds of groups are significantly more likely to attack civilians than others – those suffering from leadership deficits in which lower level members are calling the shots. Leadership deficits promote terrorism by empowering lower level members of the organization, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians.
…In accordance with this new theory for terrorism, our study reveals that decapitation strikes with drones make militant groups more likely to attack civilians by weakening the leadership.”
First I thought this was an Onion article. Then I thought it was April 1st. Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover. What. The. Fuck.
Trolling for good. :) Satanic Temple: 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period is Against Our Religion “Turns out a core religious tenet of The Satanic Temple is control over one’s own body.”
The U.S. imprisons a much higher percentage of its citizens than any similar country and frequently fails to protect those prisoners from being raped or assaulted, even when they are kids. The FBI helped send multiple people to death row based partly on junk science that was also used to convict people for lesser crimes for two decades. DNA exonerations of longtime prisoners are legion. Asset forfeiture laws have police seizing the property of Americans who’ve never been convicted of anything. The War on Drugs has eroded the Fourth Amendment and undermined the sanctity of the home to an oppressive degree, such that it is no longer surprising to hear about no-knock raids where family pets are shot, flash bang grenades burn innocents, and people are killed. Black and Hispanic men are stopped and frisked dozens of times by police without having done anything wrong.
Many conservatives show no evidence of caring.
… If public school teachers or community organizers behaved as badly, the outrage on AM radio and Fox News would be constant. Yet police abuses as numerous and egregious as what the Baltimore Sun documented in this stellar investigation garnered orders of magnitude less coverage and outrage from conservatives than James O’Keefe stinging ACORN.
Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child?
“these beatings are the acts of a people so desperate and helpless, so terrorized and enraged, that heaping pain upon their children actually seems like a sane and viable act of parental protection.
The intensity of this fear is integral to the history of black Americans. Just as black parents have “the talk” with their children, listing survival tips for when they are confronted by white authority, black corporal punishment has been encouraged as the only way to make black children acceptable to society.”
A CEO explains why CEOs make so much money. Interesting perspective. In short: unintended consequence of regulation and public disclosure. No board wants to admit to having a cruddy CEO by paying him less than average, so below-average pay is increased to match the market rate, which brings the entire average up, rinse and repeat. We need to make this work for accountants! www.glassdoor.com here I come!
So much yes. Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy.
“Non-violence is a type of political performance designed to raise awareness and win over sympathy of those with privilege. When those on the outside of struggle—the white, the wealthy, the straight, the able-bodied, the masculine—have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not care, are not invested, are not going to step in the line of fire to defend the oppressed, this is a futile political strategy.”
“Militance is about direct action which defends our communities from violence. […] it is how virtually all of our oppressed movements were sparked, and has arguably gained us the only real political victories we’ve had under the rule of empire.”
“Telling someone to be peaceful and shaming their militance not only lacks a nuanced and historical political understanding, it is literally a deadly and irresponsible demand.”
(relinking You Are Not The Target Audience again as well – “[peaceful] protest, even at its most acrimonious, still takes the form of an appeal to power–it assumes certain institutions can be reasoned with. As such it risks effectively bolstering the perceived legitimacy of those institutions.
In contrast, physical resistance challenges not only the state’s appearance of control but also the legitimacy of their monopoly on force. “)
Video – Obama brings in his Anger Translator during the White House Correspondents dinner. :) That’s gotta be a life-goal for any comedian!
More fun comedy, 5 min video –Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Last Fuckable Day
Obamacare’s projected cost falls due to lower premiums under health care law, CBO says
“Apparently, only 8% of the people are aware of this fact.
Obamacare is currently coming in at 11% below budget – mostly because:
(a) Health care premiums are rising less than expected. They are still rising – but much more slowly than they used to. Accusations that companies across the country are raising costs dramatically are simply not true (though there may be a few local exceptions).
(b) Fewer companies than expected are dropping health insurance coverage for employees. Again, the charge that companies across the country will be dropping health insurance coverage have turned out to be false. Some have done so, but not as many as the CBO had predicted.” (quoting Alonzo Fyfe)
On Utilitarian Ethics (or why Utilitarians aren’t as insufferable as more traditional liberals):
“Many people have remarked on the paradox of an academia made mostly of upper-class ethnic-majority Westerners trying so very hard to find reasons why lots of things are the fault of upper-class ethnic-majority Westerners …
what if people are really, fundamentally, good? … Deontology very clearly says that if you cause a problem, it’s your job to help fix it … Utilitarianism tells us that we are perfectly justified in seeing the relief of suffering as a pressing need. We don’t need to justify it by positing facts that may later be proven untrue…
This theory implies that utilitarian liberals will have all the features of liberalism except the interest in blaming their own group for major problems. The utilitarians I know are very interested in helping the poor and in various other liberal ideas, but are more likely than other liberals to roll their eyes at talk about colonialism and stereotype threat.”
Hope everyone had a great Cake & Cunnilingus day on April 14th! (NSFW)
Thank all the gods! EFF Busts Podcasting Patent, Invalidating Key Claims at Patent Office
A quick primer on the Christus Victor idea. Christus Victor was the dominant view of the atonement for the first thousand years of the church. This was a fun read. I want more SF utilizing these themes.
Scott Alexander has some strong doubts about Growth Mindset.
“telling kids that they’re failing because they just don’t have the right work ethic is a crappy thing to do.
… Imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever, saying “YOUR PROBLEM IS THAT YOU’RE JUST NOT TRYING NOT TO BE STAMPED ON HARD ENOUGH”.”
This is even more fun than the original song. :)
For a break from the current drama: ‘Bees are good,’ Obama says as children scream.
“now THAT is how you write a headline” – Blake
The Angelarium. Awesome art of angels.
What the Web Said Yesterday
“The average life of a Web page is about a hundred days.”
“50% of the URLs within United States Supreme Court opinions do not link to the originally cited information”
“Last year, a tool called Perma.cc was launched, developed by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. It promises to create citation links that will never break & has already been adopted by law reviews and state courts”
This press release by the US House Judiciary Committee is the Republican argument against current immigration policy in “Animated gifs list” format. This is actually real. Why are Republicans so bad at pop humor, and why do they keep trying?
And while I realize that Congress’s primary purpose is to provide entertainment for those of us who enjoy political sport… couldn’t they use *some* of that campaigning money to hire people to read these bills? Missed Abortion Language Tangles Senate’s Trafficking Bill
“Blurred Lines” team was found liable for copyright infringement and ordered to pay nearly $7.4 million in damages. Copyright law is getting close to the point of needing a complete burn-it-down-and-overhaul-it treatment. Art is being suppressed to feed the corporate dragons, again.
“The reason we have copyright…at bottom, is about ensuring the flow and growth of culture. [This verdict] takes what should be familiar elements of a genre, available to all, and privatizes them.”
American Drone Operators Are Quitting in Record Numbers. There isn’t much glory in being a drone jockey. Obviously they’re recruiting the wrong type of person, and this is a problem the private sector could help with. There isn’t much glory in being an accountant either but we have plenty of them.
Just in case you haven’t seen this yet – this is crazy good! And the syncing is *spot on*.
Scientists Create Music For Cats. The music has to be in the frequency range that the species uses to communicate and with tempos that they would normally use.
I was part of the social experiment that was HPMoR. I can only echo DaystarEld’s words, posted moments before Chapter 114 went up (warning: spoilers up to Ch 114)
Also, HPMoR got an article at Vice.com. And it linked to my podcast! Yaaaaay!
Seth Dickinson vivisects a single sentence. Great demonstration of how actions build characters at every level. “People are specialists at thinking about people. It’s what we do. When we tap that power, we tell better stories.”
Crows are totally smart. “crows exhibit strong behavioral signs of analogical reasoning — the ability to solve puzzles like “bird is to air as fish is to what?” Analogical reasoning is considered to be the pinnacle of cognition and it only develops in humans between the ages of three and four.”
What ISIS really wants. Long, but fascinating. This particular religious offshoot has to hold territory to be considered legitimate by its own followers, and continually expand its borders.
The Firefly crew were villains. I love good villain stories!
From SSC- the Brain Preservation Foundation looks like a great place for charity dollars. Adding to my list.
“Long story short, they are funding and influencing some pretty important research on a fairly small (<$100k) budget. This research will likely have a significant effect on the quality of brain preservation technologies that will be available by the end of our lifetimes.”
You can always count on the Russians to find out what happens when you “accidentally” stick someone in front of a particle accelerator.
One Man’s Quest to Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake. Henderson has now made over 47,000 edits to the site since 2007, currently 70-80 per week. The entire process takes an hour, at most. He changes the despicable “is comprised of” to the more proper “is composed of” or “consists of”.
I was just alerted to the “Every Frame a Painting” channel. This shit is baller.
Image – well shit, I can’t argue with that. From Spiderman And The X-Men #2 (unverified), on sale now.
When a character receives gets a “First Edition” of The Iliad – The moment you know that everyone involved in this movie had run out of fucks.
Here’s a way I never thought of gender – “I think that some people don’t have that subjective internal sense of themselves as being a particular gender. There’s no part of their brain that says “I’m a guy!”, they just look around and people are calling them “he” and they go with the flow. They’re cis by default, not out of a match between their gender identity and their assigned gender.”
Google abandons basically all their archiving projects. :( “organizing the world’s information isn’t always profitable. Projects that preserve the past for the public good aren’t really a big profit center.”
FCC prohibits Wi-Fi blocking. Fuck yeah!
This story is *amazing*.
I feel bad quoting any part of it, because to take a tiny piece out of context doesn’t do either the piece or the whole justice. But just a tiny snippet…
“when it comes to beauty, we are insatiable. Art does not make us feel better. Love songs and Virtual Kenneths and Rembrandts only feed the fire that consumes us.”
The $3500 Shirt – A History Lesson in Economics. We’ve come a long way.
Quiet Hands, an article for the neurotypical.
1. When I was a little girl, they held my hands down in tacky glue while I cried.
2. I’m a lot bigger than them now. Walking down a hall to a meeting, my hand flies out to feel the texture on the wall as I pass by.
“Quiet hands,” I whisper.
My hand falls to my side.
An acquaintance recommended Rat Queens and it is awesome! Hilarious, tons of personality, and just a downright pleasure to read. Try to read the first five pages and not fall right in love.
A Career in Science Will Cost You Your Firstborn. Is there any career actually *doing something of value* that still pays decent money in the US? Or is it all just banking, admin, and finance gaming the system?
Backing up our intuitions with actual data – The first randomized controlled trial of police body cameras shows that cameras sharply reduce the use of force by police and the number of citizen complaints.
Eric Holder Orders End to DOJ Program that Shares Seized Assets with Police. I’m actually surprised that things can still become un-fucked. Does that mean I’m too jaded? I know it’s just one step, but it’s a very good first step!
France disappoints everyone by jailing people for speech days after the big freedom of speech rally in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. :(
The Expanse trailer looks awesome, hope the series lives up to it.
NASCAR’s Kurt Busch Testifies That Ex-Girlfriend Is An Assassin.
“She returned later to the hotel at which he was staying wearing a trench coat. Under it she was wearing an evening gown splattered with blood and other matter, Busch testified.”
Busch and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, are holding up Driscoll’s status as a mercenary to refute her claims that she was abused.
“I know that she could take me down at any moment,” Busch told his attorney Monday, “because she’s a bad-ass.”
United Replaces Unionized Baggage Handlers With Minimum Wage Contractors, Things Instantly Fall Apart. United! Stop screwing up my town! We’re doing really well, and we don’t need you destroying the super-important ski season.
The environment women were subjected to in the 40s-50s. Couldn’t even relax in their own home. (verified)
The Case Against Early Cancer Detection – “very few people die of thyroid cancer … And finding and treating more early cases of the disease did not change the death rate in any way”
Trolling level: Epic. “the European Union, not wanting to honor any country above any other, used for the background of the Euro banknotes pictures of abstract bridges that did not match any real bridge in any European country. So the Dutch went and built those exact bridges in the Netherlands.”
I am Samwise
“I suspect that the rationality community, with its “hero” focus, drives away many people who are like me in this sense. I’ve thought about walking away from it, for basically that reason.
Samwise was important. So was Frodo, of course. But Frodo needed Samwise. Heroes need sidekicks. They can function without them, but function a lot better with them. Maybe it’s true that there aren’t enough heroes trying to save the world. But there sure as hell aren’t enough sidekicks trying to help them. And there especially aren’t enough talented, competent, awesome sidekicks.
If you’re reading this post, and it resonates with you… Especially if you’re someone who has felt unappreciated and alienated for being different… I have something to tell you. You count. You. Fucking. Count. You’re needed, even if the heroes don’t realize it yet.”
The NYPD work stoppage – “the protesting police have decided to make arrests “only when they have to.” (Let that sink in for a moment. Seriously, take 10 or 15 seconds).”
Speaking of – The hiss on your phone line is artificial. It’s inserted there by the phone for your benefit
Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars’ injuries: A professional weighs in. “Kevin has moved from ‘defending his house’ into sheer malice, in my opinion.”
The Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank – the one thing I wanted for xmas… ;)
Finnish Heavy Metal for kids in cute Dino costumes. Why the hell didn’t I think of this??
If Economists Wrote Christmas Cards. It’s perfect. /tear
The Oatmeal’s report on riding in the Google Self-Driving Car. I’m still holding out hope that they’ll have a highway-capable one available for the average consumer before I have to replace my current car.
The Toxoplasma of Rage. “From the human point of view, jihad and the War on Terror are opposing forces. From the memetic point of view, they’re as complementary as caterpillars and butterflies. Instead of judging, we just note that somehow we accidentally created a replicator, and replicators are going to replicate until something makes them stop.”
Disney Princesses sorted into Hogwarts houses. I think Lilo and Jasmine should be switched, but aside from that – rock on.
When You Burn Off That Fat, Where Does It Go? “Oxidizing 10 kilos of human fat requires inhaling 29 kilos of oxygen to produce 28 kilos of carbon dioxide and 11 kilos of water.”
Just a reminder to anyone who’s into the Hugos – there’s only two days left to get your membership if you want to nominate 2014 works. And even if you just want to vote on the finalists and/or attend the con, rates go up after Jan 31. So now’s a good time to buy.
For those unfamiliar – the only requirement for voting & nominating for the Hugo Awards is participating in the convention. Everyone’s encouraged to go, but if all you want to do is nominate and vote, you can do that for significantly cheaper (Supporting Membership of $40). I would recommend going to the con for the full experience, it’s a lot of fun, but even if you just go for the Supporting Membership you get to be a part of SF history, which is awesome. Plus you usually get free e-copies of all the nominated works (but not always. I’m hoping that last year was an aberration).