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Barry Freed -- NYC Meetup?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.18.18

Barry's around and available until 12/20 -- anyone want to come out for drinks? If so, name an evening and a bar.



 

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Extracurricular showcases

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.18.18

There's a thing which sort of bugs me, which I don't think is sexist in intent, but ends up having disparate impact, but I can't figure out how else it should be. The issue is extracurricular activities, and team sports versus everything else.

Team sports have weekly spectator and cheering opportunities. Or sometimes twice a week. Every other activity I can think of has a single spectator/cheering opportunity at the end of a season - an art portfolio gets taken home or hung in a public space, a ballet or instrument recital, a play is performed, or if it's an individual sport like gymnastics there's maybe an invitation for parents to come watch a special session.

(I suppose tennis and swim teams have weekly matches? I don't really know. I took tennis lessons for a few years as a kid and never actually played a match, for reasons I was never clear on.)

The effect for us is that eight weekends in a row, we pay attention to the kid(s) playing on a team sport, and the weekend gets shaped around that event, and then twice a year we pay attention to the kids who are not doing team sports. The gap bugs me.



 

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This Is A Thing?

Posted by Ogged
on 12.17.18

WTF?



 

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Guest Post - Opportunistism

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.17.18

Lurid Keyaki writes:I feel this one should be in the pipeline too (via):

Harvard is using its $39 billion endowment to snap up massive amounts of rights to aquifers all over California, making a dark bet on water scarcity to profit off forthcoming mega-droughts

miss you guys

Heebie's take: This whole topic makes me so uncomfortable - private interests angling themselves in the world of climate change - that I can't think straight and logically, and just keep thinking of reductionist one-liners about who should stay out of what. I mean, it's a cliche that every natural disaster is an opportunity for investors to buy up public assets and privatize them. This isn't worse than that. Both make me uncomfortable!

Amusingly: back in 1997 or so, my dad got ahold of the local Unitarian Universalist bank account, and invested it in the tech bubble, and made them a small mint before getting them out with gracefully prescient timing. They now have a much nicer facility on a pretty patch of land than the one I grew up attending.

(The tangential association being a nonprofit investing in the real world.)



 

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J&J Carcinogens Powder

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.15.18

OMFG. Remember our old discussion the story about how Johnson & Johnson was getting sued because its baby powder was carcinogenic when women used it to stay fresh? In our discussion, there was definitely a sense that it was not clear whether J&J had acted in bad faith because baby powder seems so safe, or whether they knew it was carcinogenic and withheld it from the public.

Guys. Guys. Guess what. Good news! Baby powder is safe, after all! It was the asbestos in the baby powder that was making everyone sick.



 

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Gift of gab

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.14.18

Here's a reductionist article about how Jews aren't rude, just misunderstood:

Cooperative overlapping -- talking as another person continues to speak -- is typical of Jewish conversational style, according to linguist Deborah Tannen, and can be a way of showing interest and appreciation.

Yes, of course we all know what she means. And maybe it's Jews, or bi-coastal elites, or rootless cosmopolitans, or all the Venn diagram in different ways. We can argue about it in the comments.

This is the part I want to comment on:

Other features of Jewish conversational style include a preference for personal topics, abrupt shifts of topics, unhesitating introduction of new topics and persistence in reintroducing a topic if others don't immediately pick up on it.

Come on, this is just being charming. People who don't do this are people who are so scared of being rude that they're just dull.



 

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Time dilation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.14.18

I had cause to remember recently that just ten years ago, W. was still president. (Now, it was barely true by December 2008, but I was remembering the summer of 2008 when it was more assuredly true.)

It feels like it's been way longer than ten years, like some wrong end of the telescope to remember that. And I know the mind has a tendency to distort the size of the most recent events, but it feels like the Trump presidency has gone on for fucking ever already. A way slower two years than any two years of Obama's time in office.

(I don't have this dilation when I think about my personal life over this period, but the mind creates domains, and time distorts differently in different areas.)

Anyway, I'm livid this week over the destruction of the butterfly sanctuary in South Texas to make way for this stupid, stupid wall. It's popped up on my radar in a local way since 2016, and I just assumed, naively, that there would be a big, visible battle when push came to shove. That it would register as more than a blip.



 

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