31 December, 2017

Why we fight about Iran - Vox

Why we fight about Iran - Vox:

"The Iranian nuclear program is not really what opponents and proponents of the recent deal are arguing about," Jeremy Shapiro, of Brookings, wrote nearly a year ago, and it's still true. It's never been about nukes or boats or prisoners but rather whether America should deal with Iran at all. Is this, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher's famous quote about Mikhail Gorbachev, a country that we can do business with? And that question itself hits on divisions in US foreign policy that go way beyond this one county and are much older than this one issue.
Iran has become the subject of America's most heated and divisive foreign policy debate in perhaps a decade. But the vitriol is driven not just by competing readings of Iran, or even by partisanship, but by a confluence of deep and long-running disagreements over fundamental questions of America's place in the world.
'via Blog this'

Cult Leaders Indicted for Forcing Almost Daily Sex Rituals With Underage Girls, Said God Would Destroy Their Families if They Refused

Mormon Cult Leaders Indicted for Forcing Almost Daily Sex Rituals With Underage Girls, Said God Would Destroy Their Families if They Refused:


A group of Mormon cult leaders is being charged with organizing sexual religious rituals with underage girls and threatening them with damnation if they did not participate, according to court documents filed in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday.
Defendants Warren Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs and Wendell Leroy Nielsen are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), an offshoot of the Mormon Church that still practices polygamy over a hundred years after the mainstream Mormon Church abandoned it. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the group as a white supremacist, antigovernment, totalitarian cult.
According to the court documents filed Wednesday, girls between the ages of eight and 14 were forced to participate in sex acts that were filmed by members of the church. The practice came to the attention of the authorities after one of the girls came forward.


'via Blog this'

A Letter to Jamie Dimon – Chain

A Letter to Jamie Dimon – Chain: "there’s a lot of noise. But there is also signal. To find it, we need to start by defining cryptocurrency [ie bitcoin or other blockchain currencies].

Without a working definition we are lost.



Most people arguing about cryptocurrencies are talking past each other because they don’t stop to ask the other side what they think cryptocurrencies are for.

Here’s my definition: cryptocurrencies are a new asset class that enable decentralized applications. 



 If this is true, your point of view on cryptocurrencies has very little to do with what you think about them in comparison to traditional currencies or securities, and everything to do with your opinion of decentralized applications and their value relative to current software models."



'via Blog this'

BostonBlackCat comments on Neurosurgeon stabbed 14 times at work, calls for better hospital security.

BostonBlackCat comments on Neurosurgeon stabbed 14 times at work, calls for better hospital security.:

Two years ago, my hospital went on lock down. We came to find out that cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. ­Michael Davidson, one of the top in his field, had been shot and killed on his clinic floor. He was a father of young children and his wife was pregnant, avid in community work, and by all accounts a wonderful human being.
He was shot by a man who was angry that his 86 year old pack a day smoker mother had died while under the care of Dr. Davidson, who he blamed for her death.



'via Blog this'

My month with chemtrails conspiracy theorists | Environment | The Guardian

My month with chemtrails conspiracy theorists | Environment | The Guardian:

Tammi and her boyfriend, Rob Neuhauser, are among the estimated 5% of Americans who believe that various global powers, including the US government, run clandestine and harmful chemical-spraying programs.
Versions of the chemtrails (or “covert geoengineering”) theory abound, and Tammi’s goes roughly like this: to mitigate global warming, mysterious airplanes spray chemicals into the atmosphere to form sun-blocking artificial cloud cover. This is done in secret, because these chemicals wreak havoc on environmental and human health, causing “Alzheimer’s, all sorts of brain problems, cancer”, she says.


'via Blog this'

30 December, 2017

Thought some of you would like this photo - here's to 2018 : Military

Thought some of you would like this photo - here's to 2018 : Military:




'via Blog this'

IASC: The Hedgehog Review - Volume 19, No. 3 (Fall 2017) - On Being Midwestern: The Burden of Normality -

IASC: The Hedgehog Review - Volume 19, No. 3 (Fall 2017) - On Being Midwestern: The Burden of Normality -:

As the geographer James Shortridge puts it, “The Middle West came to symbolize the nation…to be seen as the most American part of America.”23 Nor is average Americanness quite the same as average Russianness or average Scandinavianness, for the United States has always understood itself, however self-flatteringly, as an experiment on behalf of humanity. Thus, Midwestern averageness, whatever form it may take, has consequences for the entire world; what we make here sets the world’s template.



'via Blog this'

Let's talk about that mirror scene! : StarWars

Let's talk about that mirror scene! : StarWars:



When she is first meditating, she feels all the light, the motion, the life. The balance of things. It makes her see that she's part of something bigger. But in the cave, the only thing there is her. There is nothing and no one. The dark side is about shutting out others and focusing on just yourself."

Some people might find that empowering, in a Nietzschean will-to-power kind of way. The dark side offers you control in a chaotic universe. It tells not only that you matter, but that you are all that matters.

'via Blog this'

rirez comments on What is something you cannot believe people still think is true?

rirez comments on What is something you cannot believe people still think is true?:

The whole vaccination thing can be blamed partially on simple, primal anger on behalf of the parents.
For some parents, having a "not normal" kid (as they would say it) is an extremely stressful realization. There are some parents who need to go through more therapy than their kids do, because they simply can't accept that their child isn't the perfect bundle of joy they expected.
We've seen it tear families apart, fathers blaming mothers, in-laws blaming each other, "you ate wrong while pregnant", "I told you not to watch TV", "you didn't sleep enough", "you should have drunk more/less coffee".
And here's where the vaccination fear jumps in. It's a convenient scapegoat.


'via Blog this'

Star Wars: The Last Jedi finally proves that the Jedi suck - Polygon

Star Wars: The Last Jedi finally proves that the Jedi suck - Polygon: "The Force is changed in a lot of ways, from the powers it grants people to how it works, but most importantly, it’s finally freed of its connections with religious orders and old texts. It’s freed of the Jedi, who interpreted it so strictly that it resulted in the fall of the Republic, and it was abused by the Sith, who only wanted its raw power. In The Last Jedi, it’s finally found a gray area where it has room to evolve. And if the Jedi cannot evolve along with it, then, as Luke says, it’s time for them to end.

"



'via Blog this'

Xconomy: Former GE CEO Immelt Talks Uber, A.I., and a Rejected Bid for Epic

Xconomy: Former GE CEO Immelt Talks Uber, A.I., and a Rejected Bid for Epic:

Immelt said his shortest meeting ever was in 1996 with Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic, the electronic medical records software company. Immelt was in charge of GE Healthcare at the time, and he drove from his office in the Milwaukee area to Epic’s headquarters near Madison, WI, about 90 minutes west.
Immelt suggested GE and Epic work together, and perhaps GE could acquire parts of Epic’s business, Immelt recalled saying. (GE makes X-ray machines and other medical equipment, but it also sells electronic medical records software.)
“She just said, ‘No, no interest,’” Immelt said. “It was a five-minute meeting.”


'via Blog this'

Why the Post Office Makes America Great - The New York Times

Why the Post Office Makes America Great - The New York Times:

I noticed that Americans were a particularly patriotic bunch: So many of them had red flags on their mailboxes. Sometimes they would put those flags up. I presumed it was to celebrate national holidays I did not yet know about. But why did some people have their flags up while others did not? And why weren’t they American flags anyway? As in Istanbul, where I grew up, I assumed patriotism had different interpretations and expressions.
"The mystery was solved when I noticed a letter carrier emptying a mailbox. I was slightly unnerved: Was the mail being stolen? He then went over to another mailbox with the flag up, and emptied that box, too. I got my hint when he skipped the mailbox with the flag down.

Yes, I was told, in the United States, mail gets picked up from your house, six days a week, free of charge."


'via Blog this'

29 December, 2017

Three Months After Maria, Roughly Half of Puerto Ricans Still Without Power - The New York Times

Three Months After Maria, Roughly Half of Puerto Ricans Still Without Power - The New York Times: "In its statement on Friday, the authorities said power restoration has been slow because of the sheer scale and complexity of the damage. Much of the island’s 2,400 miles off transmission lines, 30,000 miles of distribution lines and 342 substations were damaged in the storm, they said. Carlos D. Torres, the system’s restoration coordinator, said workers were finding “unexpected damage” in some areas even as they make repairs in others.

"



'via Blog this'

The Problem With ‘Problematic’ | by Francine Prose | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

The Problem With ‘Problematic’ | by Francine Prose | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books: "After receiving more online criticism from readers, not all of whom seemed to have actually read the book, Kirkus removed the star from its American Heart review—a major demotion given that we have been trained from kindergarten to want stars, a reflex reinforced each time we’re invited to rate (with stars) everything from a Lyft ride to a haircut. The Kirkus review was reposted, in a revised and less enthusiastic form: “Sarah Mary’s ignorance is an effective world-building device, but it is problematic that Sadaf is seen only through the white protagonist’s filter.”

"



'via Blog this'

The Lies of ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Post’ - WSJ

The Lies of ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Post’ - WSJ:

Why does all this matter? Because we are losing history. It is not the fault of Hollywood, as they used to call it, but Hollywood is a contributor to it.
When people care enough about history to study and read it, it’s a small sin to lie and mislead in dramas. But when people get their history through entertainment, when they absorb the story of their times only through screens, then the tendency to fabricate is more damaging.
Those who make movies and television dramas should start caring about this.
It is wrong in an age of lies to add to their sum total. It’s not right. It will do harm.


'via Blog this'

28 December, 2017

Silicon Valley Techies Still Think They're the Good Guys. They're Not. | WIRED

Silicon Valley Techies Still Think They're the Good Guys. They're Not. | WIRED: "But even if things stay the same inside the Silicon Valley bubble, change is coming from the outside. Critics from the government, the media, and watchdog groups are calling for regulation, be it antitrust, compliance, or transparency around advertising. Some execs are beginning to acknowledge their personal roles in the shift. But for a lot of them, it’s business as usual. They are still preparing their apocalypse bunkers. They’re still privately wondering if the sexual harassment accusations are turning into a witch hunt. They’re still hiring models to fill their holiday parties. They’re still one-upping one another at Burning Man. They’re still asking if it’s possible to do something, and not whether they should.

"



'via Blog this'

The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth - The New York Times

The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth - The New York Times:

But the contractors said the other issues cited by the M.T.A. were challenges that all transit systems face. Density is the norm in cities where subway projects occur. Regulations are similar everywhere. All projects use the same equipment at the same prices. Land and other types of construction do not cost dramatically more in New York. Insurance costs more but is only a fraction of the budget. The M.T.A.’s stations have not been bigger (nor deeper) than is typical.
“Those sound like cop-outs,” said Rob Muley, an executive at the John Holland engineering firm who has worked in Hong Kong and Singapore and visited the East Side Access project, after hearing Mr. Lhota’s reasons.
In Paris, which has famously powerful unions, the review found the lower costs were the result of efficient staffing, fierce vendor competition and scant use of consultants.


'via Blog this'

What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? – MattBruenig | Politics

What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? – MattBruenig | Politics: "So, you are 2.5x more likely to be a rich adult if you were born rich and never bothered to go to college than if you were born poor and, against all odds, went to college and graduated. The disparity in the outcomes of rich and poor kids persists, not only when you control for college attainment, but even when you compare non-degreed rich kids to degreed poor kids!

"



'via Blog this'

We Asked 615 Men About How They Conduct Themselves at Work - The New York Times

We Asked 615 Men About How They Conduct Themselves at Work - The New York Times:

The victims of sexual harassment who have recently come forward are far from alone: Nearly half of women say they have experienced some form of it at work at least once in their careers. But there has been little research about those responsible.




In a new survey, about a third of men said they had done something at work within the past year that would qualify as objectionable behavior or sexual harassment.


'via Blog this'

27 December, 2017

Navigation Apps Are Turning Quiet Neighborhoods Into Traffic Nightmares - The New York Times

Navigation Apps Are Turning Quiet Neighborhoods Into Traffic Nightmares - The New York Times: "“Without question, the game changer has been the navigation apps,” said Tom Rowe, Leonia’s police chief. “In the morning, if I sign onto my Waze account, I find there are 250,000 ‘Wazers’ in the area. When the primary roads become congested, it directs vehicles into Leonia and pushes them onto secondary and tertiary roads. We have had days when people can’t get out of their driveways.”

"



'via Blog this'

25 December, 2017

Rian Johnson on the evolution of the Force in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' and more spoilers – Los Angeles Times

Rian Johnson on the evolution of the Force in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' and more spoilers – Los Angeles Times: "Not in this story it doesn’t, which is not to say it wouldn’t be interesting — they might explore it in the next movie or elsewhere. I wrote this script before “The Force Awakens” came out, so when I wrote it, the “Who is Snoke?” mania hadn’t arisen with the fans yet. Even if it had, my perspective is it’s similar to how the Emperor was handled. The first three movies you know nothing about the Emperor because you don’t have to, because that’s not the story. You know exactly what you need to know. Whereas in the prequels, you know everything about him because that is the story.

"



'via Blog this'

The Story Behind the Music of The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Story Behind the Music of The Muppet Christmas Carol: "“When I got sober, the career I thought I had was pretty much gone,” says Williams. “I just fell in love with recovery, I felt like that’s all I wanted to do, and I didn’t know if I was ever going to write music again. And then I was asked to write the songs for The Muppet Christmas Carol. Every now and then, the universe will line up to do something at the right time in your life.”

"



'via Blog this'

24 December, 2017

Iraqi businessman erects tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad

Iraqi businessman erects tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad:


A Muslim businessman has erected the tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad as a show of solidarity with Christians during the holiday season.

Yassir Saad told The Associated Press on Thursday that the initiative aims at "joining our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations and helping Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul," where Iraqi forces are battling the Islamic State group.

The 85-foot-tall (26-meter) artificial tree, with a diameter of 33 feet (10 meters), has been erected in the center of an amusement park in the Iraqi capital. Saad says the initiative cost around $24,000.


'via Blog this'

21 December, 2017

Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore? | The New Yorker

Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore? | The New Yorker: "The desire by mid-twentieth-century leaders to foster more widespread coöperation between evangelicals and downplay denominational differences cut believers off from the past, some religion scholars have found. The result was an emphasis on personal experience rather than life in a church with historical memory. This has made present-day evangelicals more vulnerable to political movements that appeal to their self-interest, even in contradiction to Biblical teachings, for example, about welcoming the immigrant and lifting up the poor."



'via Blog this'

20 December, 2017

How a summer of hurricanes smashed towns and FEMA - CNNPolitics

How a summer of hurricanes smashed towns and FEMA - CNNPolitics:

But the man in charge of answering all those pleas is sounding his own cry for help. FEMA Administrator Brock Long, chosen by Donald Trump to be the nation's top emergency manager, wants everyone to understand three fundamental truths:
  1. FEMA is broke.
  2. The system is broken.
  3. If this is the new normal, Americans can't rely on a federal cavalry when disaster strikes. They will have to take care of themselves.
"I haven't even been here for six months yet, and what I hope to do is inform Americans about how complex this mission is," Long says. "I didn't come up here to do status quo, I'm ready to change the face of emergency management."


'via Blog this'

19 December, 2017

Send_Lawyers comments on Donald Trump's national security adviser has accused Russia of "a sophisticated campaign of subversion" to undermine free and open societies.

Send_Lawyers comments on Donald Trump's national security adviser has accused Russia of "a sophisticated campaign of subversion" to undermine free and open societies.: "They are conducting these operations around the free world. In Eastern Europe they support far right candidates. In England they support brexit and extreme nationalism. Their destabilising information campaign is working incredibly well at dismantling the liberal world order that was constructed at the end of the Cold War.
"



'via Blog this'

Deliverance From 27,000 Feet - The New York Times

Deliverance From 27,000 Feet - The New York Times:

Apparently abandoned at his time of greatest need, he was a mute embodiment of their worst fears. One climber stepped on the dead man and apologized profusely. Another saw the body and nearly turned around, spooked by the thought of his own worried family back home. Another paused on his descent to hold a one-sided conversation with the corpse stretched across the route.
Who are you? Who left you here? And is anyone coming to take you home?


'via Blog this'

18 December, 2017

(1) BBCParl: Speaker Bercow defends MPs and how they vote against voters (18Dec17) - YouTube

(1) BBCParl: Speaker Bercow defends MPs and how they vote against voters (18Dec17) - YouTube:



'via Blog this'

Wealth Divides

Wealth Divides:

The growing gap between the top and bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder has been a prominent topic of public discourse in recent years. Statistics vividly portray this phenomenon. According to the Institute for Policy Studies, the top one percent of earners enjoy twice the share of the nation's total income than they did in the mid-20th century.
And for the first time in recorded history, the middle class no longer constitutes the nation's economic majority, as upper- and lower-class households together comprise over 50 percent of the population.


'via Blog this'

11,341 abandoned rape kits identify 817 serial rapists in one Michigan county / Boing Boing

11,341 abandoned rape kits identify 817 serial rapists in one Michigan county / Boing Boing:

In Michigan's Wayne County, Prosecutor Kym Worthy has spent years processing 11,341 rape kits. The kits, found in 2009, were forgotten in a police storage warehouse, where they were routinely dumped without investigation.

Over 800 serial rapists, criminals who have struck 10-15 times without being stopped, were identified. 127 convictions have been made this far.


'via Blog this'

Why Aren’t Any Bankers in Prison for Causing the Financial Crisis? - The Atlantic

Why Aren’t Any Bankers in Prison for Causing the Financial Crisis? - The Atlantic:

The difficulties that government prosecutors face in cobbling together fraud cases against even the most nefarious executives illuminates the fact that, legally, corporations are big, fancy responsibility-diffusion mechanisms. It’s what they were designed to do: Let a bunch of people get together, take some strategic risks they might otherwise not take, and then make sure none of them is devastated individually if things go south.



'via Blog this'

What’s a "Let that sink in" fun fact? : AskReddit

What’s a "Let that sink in" fun fact? : AskReddit: "You can place all the planets of our Solar system between Earth and Moon and even have a bit of spare space after.
"



'via Blog this'

Millennials Are Screwed - The Huffington Post

Millennials Are Screwed - The Huffington Post:

This is what it feels like to be young now. Not only are we screwed, but we have to listen to lectures about our laziness and our participation trophies from the people who screwed us.

But generalizations about millennials, like those about any other arbitrarily defined group of 75 million people, fall apart under the slightest scrutiny. Contrary to the cliché, the vast majority of millennials did not go to college, do not work as baristas and cannot lean on their parents for help. Every stereotype of our generation applies only to the tiniest, richest, whitest sliver of young people. And the circumstances we live in are more dire than most people realize.

'via Blog this'

17 December, 2017

Barbed Wire Telephone Lines Brought Isolated Homesteaders Together - Atlas Obscura

Barbed Wire Telephone Lines Brought Isolated Homesteaders Together - Atlas Obscura: "Left to telephone companies and their bottom lines, farm people would not have had telecommunications at all. Building lines was expensive, and hardly worth the effort in sparsely populated areas. But, according to historian Ronald R. Kline, manufacturers underestimated the entrepreneurial, innovative spirit of these men and women. “Ranchers and farm men built many of the early systems as private lines to hook up the neighbors,” writes Kline, “often using the ubiquitous barbed-wire fences that divided much of the land west of the Mississippi.”

"



'via Blog this'

This Evangelical Leader Denounced Trump. Then the Death Threats Started. - POLITICO Magazine

This Evangelical Leader Denounced Trump. Then the Death Threats Started. - POLITICO Magazine: "“This year I became painfully aware of the machine, the Christian Machine,” she wrote in April on her blog. It was Good Friday, a somber day for Christians to observe the crucifixion of Jesus. Hatmaker wrote that she understood now the machine’s “systems and alliances and coded language and brand protection,” not as the insider she had long been, but “from the outside where I was no longer welcome.” During the election season, she added, the “Christian Machine malfunctioned.” It laid bare the civil war within her Christian community.

"



'via Blog this'

16 December, 2017

Better late than never: Rome revokes the exile of the poet Ovid, 2,000 years after his death

Better late than never: Rome revokes the exile of the poet Ovid, 2,000 years after his death: "Two thousand years after he was banished to the outer edges of the empire, the city of Rome has formally revoked the exile of the poet Ovid.

"



'via Blog this'

Google Thinks I’m Dead - The New York Times

Google Thinks I’m Dead - The New York Times: "I’m not dead yet.



 But try telling that to Google.



 For much of the last week, I have been trying to persuade the world’s most powerful search engine to remove my photo from biographical details that belong to someone else. A search for “Rachel Abrams” revealed that Google had mashed my picture from The New York Times’s website with the Wikipedia entry for a better-known writer with the same name, who died in 2013."



'via Blog this'

Millennials Are Screwed - The Huffington Post

Millennials Are Screwed - The Huffington Post:

The effect of all this “domestic outsourcing”—and, let’s be honest, its actual purpose—is that workers get a lot less out of their jobs than they used to. One of Batt’s papers found that employees lose up to 40 percent of their salary when they’re “re-classified” as contractors. In 2013, the city of Memphis reportedly cut wages from $15 an hour to $10 after it fired its school bus drivers and forced them to reapply through a staffing agency. Some Walmart “lumpers,” the warehouse workers who carry boxes from trucks to shelves, have to show up every morning but only get paid if there’s enough work for them that day.
“This is what’s really driving wage inequality,” says David Weil, the former head of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor and the author of The Fissured Workplace. “By shifting tasks to contractors, companies pay a price for a service rather than wages for work. That means they don’t have to think about training, career advancement or benefit provision.”


'via Blog this'

15 December, 2017

A Sheriff, a Mystery Check and a Blogger Who Cried Foul - The New York Times

A Sheriff, a Mystery Check and a Blogger Who Cried Foul - The New York Times:\

DECATUR, Ala. — One evening last fall, an informant for the Morgan County sheriff entered the office of a small construction business near this old river town and, he said, secretly installed spyware on a company computer. He had no warrant.
The sheriff, Ana Franklin, wanted to know who was leaking information about her to a blogger known as the Morgan County Whistleblower.


'via Blog this'

The USDA Rolled Back Protections For Small Farmers. Now The Farmers Are Suing : The Salt : NPR

The USDA Rolled Back Protections For Small Farmers. Now The Farmers Are Suing : The Salt : NPR:



"Four packers control 82 percent of the market," explains Joe Maxwell, executive director of OCM, "and they've carved the country into regions and don't compete with each other. Farmers feel threatened by packers because in their area, there's only one choice."

Weaver says contract poultry farmers like himself are wooed by slick sales pitches from meatpackers, then "have to put their home in hock" to raise the $1.5 million to $2 million it takes to start a poultry operation. "Then you have to take what the companies give you," he adds, "or take your chances on losing the farm. Companies abuse that, shamefully."

'via Blog this'

14 December, 2017

LSE BREXIT – Brexit appealed to white working-class men who feel society no longer values them

LSE BREXIT – Brexit appealed to white working-class men who feel society no longer values them: "Our focus is on subjective social status, namely, a person’s sense that they are accorded the social respect or status associated with full membership in society. There are good reasons for thinking that economic and cultural developments have combined to depress the subjective social status of white working-class men.  Since social status is typically conferred by levels of income and the quality of one’s occupation, shifting patterns of employment that have eliminated well-paid, medium-skill jobs and forced many men into more precarious positions may well have undercut their own sense of where they stand in society.  At the same time, shifts in cultural frameworks, marked by an increasing emphasis in mainstream discourse on racial and gender equality, may have threatened the subjective social status of any who may have relied on the notion that they were white or male to underpin their own sense of social standing.

"



'via Blog this'

13 December, 2017

Mimi O’Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction - Vogue

Mimi O’Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction - Vogue: "Twelve-step literature describes addiction as “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” It is all three. I hesitate to ascribe Phil’s relapse after two decades to any one thing, or even to a series of things, because the stressors—or, in the parlance, triggers—that preceded it didn’t cause him to start using again, any more than being a child of divorce did. Lots of people go through difficult life events. Only addicts start taking drugs to blunt the pain of them. And Phil was an addict, though at the time I didn’t fully understand that addiction is always lurking just below the surface, looking for a moment of weakness to come roaring back to life.
"



'via Blog this'

Sasha Cohen: Olympic figure skater on life away from rink | SI.com

Sasha Cohen: Olympic figure skater on life away from rink | SI.com: "As you might imagine, competitive life didn't leave me much time to fully develop personally or experience the many rites of passage that those in the normal world go through, like prom, joining a sorority or summer backpacking. When I competed I was constantly resting between practices, in bed early and visualizing my next performance as I fell asleep. I didn't have the bandwidth or desire to be involved in the social fabric of life. I couldn’t believe what my first year of retirement was like: Without the stress and mental weight of upcoming competitions, life felt like a permanent vacation. I could now enjoy the Fourth of July instead of being the only one training at the rink and running sprints at the track. I could go to bed late, eat pasta and simply goof off with my friends at the rink. It seemed too good to be true—and it was, because it came with a price.

"



'via Blog this'

ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?

ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?: "The results of this are not a coincidence. Waste in the medical system accounts for $750 billion of $3.2 trillion in total expenditure (nearly 1 in 4 dollars) (If I paid $120 for running shoes and the salesperson immediately threw $30 in the toilet, I would feel scandalized that I paid $120). This is the result of, in order of significance: 1. Repetitive or unnecessary services - especially labs, 2. Ballooning administrative costs, 3. Inefficient care, 4. Inflated prices, 5. A set of smaller factors that, together, are significant. And when it comes to increasing costs, JAMA articles point to Rx, medical devices, and hospital care accounting for >90% of pricing increases.
"



'via Blog this'

ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?

ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?: "The results of this are not a coincidence. Waste in the medical system accounts for $750 billion of $3.2 trillion in total expenditure (nearly 1 in 4 dollars) (If I paid $120 for running shoes and the salesperson immediately threw $30 in the toilet, I would feel scandalized that I paid $120). This is the result of, in order of significance: 1. Repetitive or unnecessary services - especially labs, 2. Ballooning administrative costs, 3. Inefficient care, 4. Inflated prices, 5. A set of smaller factors that, together, are significant. And when it comes to increasing costs, JAMA articles point to Rx, medical devices, and hospital care accounting for >90% of pricing increases.
"



'via Blog this'

10 December, 2017

The Russian family of six, cut off from all human contact for 42 years in the Siberian wilderness | Abroad in the Yard

The Russian family of six, cut off from all human contact for 42 years in the Siberian wilderness | Abroad in the Yard: "In this week’s Smithsonian Magazine, writer and historian Mike Dash recounts the amazing story of the Lykov family, who fled from civilization to the Siberian wilderness in 1936 to escape the Communist purges.  They were discovered living in a mountainside shelter by Soviet geologists in 1978, having been totally isolated from the outside world for 42 years.

"



'via Blog this'

09 December, 2017

Andrew Sullivan: Let Him Have His Cake

Andrew Sullivan: Let Him Have His Cake: "The smartest and most nuanced take I’ve read on the subject is that of philosopher John Corvino. He argues that there is indeed a core right not to be forced to create something against your conscience but that in this particular case, the act of creation is so deeply entwined with hostility to an entire class of people that antidiscrimination laws overrule it. It’s worth reading, but he still doesn’t quite convince me. The baker is clearly not discriminating against an entire class of people; he is refusing to endorse a particular activity that violates his faith. Kennedy was absolutely right in oral arguments to make a distinction between an identity and an activity. The conflation of the two is just too facile.

"



'via Blog this'

07 December, 2017

The Adopted Black Baby, and the White One Who Replaced Her - The New York Times

The Adopted Black Baby, and the White One Who Replaced Her - The New York Times:

Marge Sandberg slowly blotted out her cigarette in an ashtray.
“Listen carefully,” Amy recalled her mother saying, “because I’m only going to tell you this story once.”
It was around 1970 in Deerfield, Ill., and Ms. Sandberg told her youngest child a closely guarded secret about a choice the family had made, one fueled by the racial tensions of the era, that sent a black girl and the white girl that took her place on diverging paths.


'via Blog this'

RaeADropOfGoldenSun comments on This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.

RaeADropOfGoldenSun comments on This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.:

My friends and I occasionally get bored and play The Library Game. We each have 5 minutes to think of a question, then we trade questions and have an hour in the library to answer them with no use of technology whatsoever. The questions get really complex (like last time mine was “you’re shipwrecked in the South Pacific in the 18th century and you lost all your money in the wreck, you need to be back in Spain in a month. What do you do?”) and the person with the most complete answer wins.
I’ve learned by now that librarians tend to react to “Hey, I have a weird question and also you can’t use your computer for it....” with a lot more enthusiasm and a lot less scorn than I’d expect. Especially if it’s a slow day and you can tell they were bored too.


'via Blog this'

(1) Desafinado by Joao Gilberto - YouTube

(1) Desafinado by Joao Gilberto - YouTube:





'via Blog this'

06 December, 2017

XanderTheGhost comments on Before and after - 95 days clean from heroin today. I had money to buy myself new clothes for the first time in a very long time and I feel amazing.

XanderTheGhost comments on Before and after - 95 days clean from heroin today. I had money to buy myself new clothes for the first time in a very long time and I feel amazing.: "It's amazing how, at only 95 days, my thoughts and actions are literally completely opposite of what they were when using. Yes, the guilt is crushing at times. Oddly enough, despite the shit things I've done, the one that sticks with me is that I stole my dead grandfather's pills from a safe after he died. Feels like he knows but I can't make amends with him. I don't let the guilt consume me anymore though. I can't. My life is too happy and I'm starting to give back to the world finally instead of always being on the receiving end of help. My goal is to have my cup overflow so that I have enough stability and happiness to do for others what so many people did for me. Thanks everyone. Means the world."



'via Blog this'

STELLAReportFinalFinal.pdf - Google Drive

STELLAReportFinalFinal.pdf - Google Drive:

A common experience was "I didn't know that it worked this way." People are surprised when they

find out that their own mental model of The System (in the Figure 1 or Figure 2 sense) doesn't match

the behavior of the system.



More rarely a surprise produces astonishment, a sense that the world has changed or is

unrecognizable in an important way. This is sometimes called fundamental surprise (Lanir, 1983; Woods

et al., 2010, pp 215-219). Bob Wears four characteristics of fundamental surprise that make it

different from situational surprise (Wears, R. L., & Webb, L. K., 2011):



1. situational surprise is compatible with previous beliefs about ‘how things work’; fundamental

surprise refutes basic beliefs;

2. it is possible to anticipate situational surprise; fundamental surprise cannot be anticipated;

3. situational surprise can be averted by tuning warning systems; fundamental surprise

challenges models that produced success in the past;

4. learning from situational surprise closes quickly; learning from fundamental surprise requires

model revision and changes that reverberate.



'via Blog this'

Tina Dupuy: I Believe Franken’s Accusers Because He Groped Me, Too - The Atlantic

Tina Dupuy: I Believe Franken’s Accusers Because He Groped Me, Too - The Atlantic: "D.C. was decked out and packed in for the inauguration of a young and popular new president. The town was buzzing with optimism, and one of the many events on our list was a swanky Media Matters party with Democratic notables everywhere. Then I saw Al Franken. I only bug celebrities for pictures when it’ll make my foster mom happy. She loves Franken, so I asked to get a picture with him. We posed for the shot. He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.

"



'via Blog this'

Why are America's farmers killing themselves in record numbers? | US news | The Guardian

Why are America's farmers killing themselves in record numbers? | US news | The Guardian:

Dr Zidek says the wellbeing of farmers is inextricably linked to the health of rural communities. “The grain prices are low. The gas prices are high. Farmers feel the strain of ‘I’ve got to get this stuff in the field. But if I can’t sell it, I can’t pay for next year’s crop. I can’t pay my loans at the bank off.’ And that impacts the rest of us in a small community, because if the farmers can’t come into town to purchase from the grocery store, the hardware store, the pharmacy – then those people also struggle.”
Indeed, it is Saturday afternoon, and downtown Onaga is practically deserted. There’s a liquor store, a school, a few churches, a pizza place, a youth center and boarded-up storefronts. “You need to have a family farm structure to have rural communities – for school systems, churches, hospitals,” says Donn Teske of the Kansas Farmers Union. “I’m watching with serious dismay the industrialization of the agriculture sector and the depopulation of rural Kansas … In rural America,” he adds, “maybe the war is lost.”


'via Blog this'

Why are America's farmers killing themselves in record numbers? | US news | The Guardian

Why are America's farmers killing themselves in record numbers? | US news | The Guardian:

We were growing food, but couldn’t afford to buy it. We worked 80 hours a week, but we couldn’t afford to see a dentist, let alone a therapist. I remember panic when a late freeze threatened our crop, the constant fights about money, the way light swept across the walls on the days I could not force myself to get out of bed.
“Farming has always been a stressful occupation because many of the factors that affect agricultural production are largely beyond the control of the producers,” wrote Rosmann in the journal Behavioral Healthcare. “The emotional wellbeing of family farmers and ranchers is intimately intertwined with these changes.”
Last year, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people working in agriculture – including farmers, farm laborers, ranchers, fishers, and lumber harvesters – take their lives at a rate higher than any other occupation. The data suggested that the suicide rate for agricultural workers in 17 states was nearly five times higher compared with that in the general population.
After the study was released, Newsweek reported that the suicide death rate for farmers was more than double that of military veterans. This, however, could be an underestimate, as the data collected skipped several major agricultural states, including Iowa. Rosmann and other experts add that the farmer suicide rate might be higher, because an unknown number of farmers disguise their suicides as farm accidents.


'via Blog this'

TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers | Time.com

TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers | Time.com: "This uncertainty can be corrosive. While everyone wants to smoke out the serial predators and rapists, there is a risk that the net may be cast too far. What happens when someone who makes a sexist joke winds up lumped into the same bucket as a boss who gropes an employee? Neither should be encouraged, but nor should they be equated.
"



'via Blog this'

On the soul of the College: Reflections on the importance of reflection – The Williams Record

On the soul of the College: Reflections on the importance of reflection – The Williams Record: "It’s one of the great structural paradoxes of this place that reflection – so essential to learning – is so counter-cultural to the routines of campus life. If an extra hour were to fall out of the sky into today, most of us would spend it knocking a few more items off our lists, doing a little more thorough job on an assignment or grabbing some much-needed play-time with friends. These ways of spending time are necessary, important. But the tendency among us is all toward filling spaces up – not emptying them; all toward productivity, not pondering.

"



'via Blog this'

Life Without a Destiny — Susan Fowler

Life Without a Destiny — Susan Fowler:

Sometimes I look at this list. Then I look at people who have singular destinies, and I'm in awe and I'm jealous. It hurts a little.  I want a singular passion. I want to be driven by only one goal, not ten thousand goals. Because having ten thousand goals is paralyzing sometimes, and you can never truly dedicate yourself to something the way that that something deserves. Because having ten thousand goals means you always feel like you're searching for the one
People tell me I can't do all the things I want to do, and they are of course wrong, because I can and I do and I will. But I still can't ever reach my greatest, deepest, most secret goal, the goal I left off that list: to have a singular passion. Maybe that's ok. Maybe my life will always be about running toward that unattainable goal, trying and loving everything I find along the way. And maybe at the end, when I have to give an account of my life, I'll say that I never was anything, but I was everything


'via Blog this'

FBI Agent Peter Strzok & Robert Mueller Investigation | National Review

FBI Agent Peter Strzok & Robert Mueller Investigation | National Review:

I am not claiming that there is never crossover between law and politics. There are, after all, philosophical disputes inherent in the law, and a lawyer’s adherence to one side or the other tends to track his political bent of mind. As long as these arguments are made in good faith, though, this is healthy. Ironically, in the Clinton pardons matter, I was more sympathetic to the liberal-Democrat Clintons than were some of my liberal-Democrat colleagues: I have an originalist predisposition that executive power is meant to be checked by political restraints (Congress and the ballot box) rather than by judicial means; progressives tend to see the executive law-enforcement agencies as a quasi-independent check on the chief executive, and the courts as the means of ensuring the president is not above the law. Still, these arguments take place within well-known jurisprudential lines, and they matter in only the rarest criminal investigations. By and large, even if a suspect is a Marxist, the politics of the people investigating him shouldn’t matter any more than the politics of the surgeon who operates on his aching back.



I don’t know Agent Strzok, but people who do tell me he is an exceptional intelligence agent. They say his transfer — effectively, his demotion — to the FBI’s human-resources division is exactly the sort of thing that should be celebrated . . . in Moscow.


'via Blog this'

Life Without a Destiny — Susan Fowler

Life Without a Destiny — Susan Fowler: "Sometimes I look at this list. Then I look at people who have singular destinies, and I'm in awe and I'm jealous. It hurts a little.  I want a singular passion. I want to be driven by only one goal, not ten thousand goals. Because having ten thousand goals is paralyzing sometimes, and you can never truly dedicate yourself to something the way that that something deserves. Because having ten thousand goals means you always feel like you're searching for the one. 

"



'via Blog this'

05 December, 2017

Weinstein’s Complicity Machine - The New York Times

Weinstein’s Complicity Machine - The New York Times: "In recent weeks, Ms. Paltrow has started to connect with some of those who said Mr. Weinstein cited her name in disturbing encounters. She said the phone calls with the other women have been devastating. “He’s not the first person to lie about sleeping with someone,” she said in an interview, “but he used the lie as an assault weapon.”

"



'via Blog this'

IOC suspends Russian NOC and creates a path for clean individual athletes to compete in PyeongChang 2018 under the Olympic Flag - Olympic News

IOC suspends Russian NOC and creates a path for clean individual athletes to compete in PyeongChang 2018 under the Olympic Flag - Olympic News: "The conclusions of the Schmid Report, on both factual and legal aspects, confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved”.

"



'via Blog this'

04 December, 2017

(1) Jurassic World, Jurassic Values - YouTube

(1) Jurassic World, Jurassic Values - YouTube: "I dislike Jurassic World. Here's one of the many reasons why.
"



'via Blog this'

03 December, 2017

drunk-snail comments on Just let me know when you’re ready? Thoughts and reflecting back on the loss of son a year ago today.

drunk-snail comments on Just let me know when you’re ready? Thoughts and reflecting back on the loss of son a year ago today.:

‘Just, let me know when you are ready.’
What? Ready? Ready for what? My worst nightmare had just come true. My newborn child had no chance of surviving more than a couple hours. I was in so much pain, they were giving me everything they could, I had gone into labor so fast they couldn’t do anything, now they were taking pitty on me, morphine and all her cousins made an appearance that night.
So I laid there, Husband sobbing at my bed side, my small little baby dying as he lay so peacefully on my chest. What could we do? Hold him, talk to him, just let him know that he was loved as I tried so hard to fight all the pain meds and stay awake.
‘Just, let me know when you are ready hun.’


'via Blog this'

White Supremacists Were Ready for Violence in Charlottesville. The Police Were Not. - The New York Times

White Supremacists Were Ready for Violence in Charlottesville. The Police Were Not. - The New York Times:


During the main rally, the police did not keep the factions apart, and officers were stationed around the protesters, but not in the crowd, where they could have responded to incidents more quickly. At first they did not have riot gear with them — as violence escalated, officers had to leave to retrieve the equipment from staging areas blocks away.
When the police finally moved in, forcing the crowd out of the park and onto city streets, the violence worsened. “When violence was most prevalent, C.P.D. commanders pulled officers back to a protected area of the park, where they remained for over an hour as people in the large crowd fought on Market Street,” the report said.


'via Blog this'

Actually, a Roy Moore Victory Could Set Back the Pro-Life Cause for Years | The Weekly Standard

Actually, a Roy Moore Victory Could Set Back the Pro-Life Cause for Years | The Weekly Standard:

If you care about the actual impact of supporting Moore—rather than preening in public about how you want people to view you—you start by looking in the mirror and thinking about the next compromise you’ll be asked to make.
Because the only thing a vote for Moore will change is you.


'via Blog this'

Russia’s House of Shadows | The New Yorker

Russia’s House of Shadows | The New Yorker: "My apartment building was made to house the first generation of Soviet élite. Instead, it was where the revolution went to die.
"



'via Blog this'

Russia’s House of Shadows | The New Yorker

Russia’s House of Shadows | The New Yorker: "My apartment building was made to house the first generation of Soviet élite. Instead, it was where the revolution went to die.
"



'via Blog this'

Postmortem: Every Frame a Painting – Tony Zhou – Medium

Postmortem: Every Frame a Painting – Tony Zhou – Medium:

The Internet, and YouTube in particular, is a massive echo chamber of people asking you to write the same book over and over again. For your own sanity, you need to keep those voices at arm’s length. But because of that combination of dopamine and fear, it seems as though a lot of people end up leaning into what the audience wants.
We’re not asking you to ignore the audience completely; it’s more about setting clear boundaries between you and them.
My belief is that if you give the audience exactly what they ask for every time, they will probably enjoy it, but on some level they’ll lose respect for you. Hell, you’ll lose respect for yourself.


'via Blog this'

02 December, 2017

Former GE CEO Says the Company Tried to Buy Epic and Cerner | Healthcare Analytics News

Former GE CEO Says the Company Tried to Buy Epic and Cerner | Healthcare Analytics News: "As head of GE Healthcare in the 1990’s, Xconomy reports, he held the shortest meeting of his executive career. Epic Systems founder and CEO Judy Faulkner rebuffed him almost instantly when he suggested that the two companies could work together, or that GE could acquire part of the business. “It was a five-minute meeting,” he reportedly said.
"



'via Blog this'

29 November, 2017

The Great Baby Bust of 2017 – In a State of Migration – Medium

The Great Baby Bust of 2017 – In a State of Migration – Medium: "I am worried about fertility in 2017. I am very concerned about fertility in 2018. I am scared of what fertility numbers will be in 2019, especially if a recession hits somewhere in that period. Our fertility decline is on par with serious, durable fertility declines in other big, developed countries, and may be extremely difficult to reverse. I have no happy ending to this blog post.
"



'via Blog this'

No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic - The Atlantic

No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic - The Atlantic: "Many people have a simple understanding of addiction. They think it happens only to dysfunctional people from dysfunctional families, or to hopeless people living on the street. But our addicted population is spread across every segment of society: rich and poor, white and black, male and female, old and young.

"



'via Blog this'

28 November, 2017

Whats a big industry secret that isn't supposed to be known by the general public? : AskReddit

Whats a big industry secret that isn't supposed to be known by the general public? : AskReddit:

Tennis: whatever racquet your hero is using, you won't be able to buy it. Babolat was actually sued because of this. They are mostly old models or prototypes, with a paint job to make them look like whatever the company is currently peddling. EDIT: because of the interest shown, here is a nice article about this practice. EDIT 2: Wilson Pro model, H22 I guess, painted as a Burn 100
[–]jaggington 4333 points x2 
If people complained vociferously about this deceptive practice, it would be a racquet racket racket.


'via Blog this'