Tuesday, May 16, 2017
If you can find North Korea on a map, you're not so into the idea of a military solution.
I'd like to talk more about legal immigrants' disdain for illegal immigration. It's not--as sometimes dismissed--'I'm in now close the door' or even 'I struggled now you struggle.' There's some legitimacy to the sentiment and also nuance.
This was a week or two ago:
I asked Jerry Taylor, the president of the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank, if he had ever seen so much skepticism so early in a Presidency. “No, nobody has,” he said. “But we’ve never lived in a Third World banana republic. I don’t mean that gratuitously. I mean the reality is he is governing as if he is the President of a Third World country: power is held by family and incompetent loyalists whose main calling card is the fact that Donald Trump can trust them, not whether they have any expertise.”Carolyn's chat has some good stuff, especially this piece on accepting your kid's vegetarianism (hint: it's about more than food). I think most of us are turned off intuitively by the idea of eating animals and are socialized into it.
Ah, Dovegate. Specifically, Dove's new body-shaped bottles lead to backlash.
Women get fat-shamed and fit-shamed.
I'll let you google Avocado Toast gate yourselves. I didn't know that was a thing until yesterday (although I have put avocado on toast). I've not ordered it at a restaurant, which is maybe why I have a house (just kidding).
There were many good (bad) reviews of IT's new book. Here's one.
Goodness knows America doesn’t love a woman who tries too hard: Look at the response to Hillary Clinton, the ultimate striver. What we do appreciate, however, is a hint of hard work. There’s an understanding that a person should have to put in at least a modicum of effort to get — and stay — in a position above ours. President Trump’s original appeal stemmed in large part from his purported bootstrapping to business success. And much of Ivanka Trump’s promise lay in the way that, although a child of privilege, she seemed willing to work hard and maybe even make a difference for others.Ladybug oragami wings and cute interspecies moms!
Sunday, April 30, 2017
The story of the Carl Vinson debacle.
George Takei urges us to remember internment.
About that Agreed Framework.
Beware of respectable-looking kleptocracies.
Some women play at self-oppression, but it's less fun to live it. See also.
Reproductive rights are an economic issue.
Does Germany have an arrogance problem?what have I just read pic.twitter.com/C4RVbRt9qT— polls (@PollyRosey) April 27, 2017
This thread on electronics, absolescence, and the human/environmental cost.
Look at pictures of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Don't get too excited about fusion reactors.
If science is to have spokespeople, there needs to be more than one.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Gotta love the all-male panel.
On the artificial distinctions we make:
And yet, the process of constructing norms — however imperfect — is, by and large, how human beings have chosen to deal with the fact that states continue to settle disputes with violence. As our technological capacity to wreak destruction has grown from machine guns to poison gas to nuclear weapons, more than a few people have observed that our species’ tendency to resort to violence may be our undoing. Eliminating war, though, seems unlikely. And so, falling short of that lofty goal, we try to prohibit the worst weapons — those that cause unnecessary or gruesome suffering and, most important, those that do not discriminate among combatants and noncombatants. If our lines are imperfect, we know they are better than no lines at all. If our restrictions are too narrow, we believe that others will come along who will try to broaden them.
FFS, women can show up however we like and still be women.
Want to do your part to help the planet? Cut back on meat.
Every pig deserves a life like this one.
Airline workers, no longer taught to deescalate, more commonly choose to handle customer service issues with security solutions.
This absolute-zero-to-absolute-hot infographic is phenomenal.
So great was the hue and cry that a competing dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, was created to wrest the language out of the debasing hands of the longhaired pinkos at Merriam.How the moon determines when Easter is.
Friday, April 14, 2017
In the former Soviet Union, there was misinformation everywhere but people knew what was going on.
This was self-consciously an attempt to create a valid and verifiable news source. The Chronicle demanded that its contributors be “careful and accurate” with any information they passed along and even ran regular corrections to previous items (pioneering a practice some Western media organizations only adopted years later). As the scholar of Soviet dissidence Peter Reddaway, writing in 1972, put it, “the Chronicle’s aim is openness, non-secretiveness, freedom of information and expression. All these notions are subsumed in the one Russian word, glasnost.”Superbugs, brought to you by the pork industry.
Sunday's assault was not United's first rodeo. Here are some collected responses to the incident.
I love this, from the man who gave us lithium-ion batteries.
When I asked him about his late-life success, he said: “Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking.” This crawl through life can be advantageous, he pointed out, particularly if you meander around through different fields, picking up clues as you go along. Dr. Goodenough started in physics and hopped sideways into chemistry and materials science, while also keeping his eye on the social and political trends that could drive a green economy. “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together,” he said.Don't read that awful NY Post piece from the man who'll no longer date "hot women." It is unfortunately not satire but two excellent pieces of satire have emerged in response.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
We've been commiserating about the impact of safetrack on out commutes, even those who drive and have seen a spike in traffic as those who would normally metro opt to drive instead. I've been cycling as much as I can, weather permitting, which is about 60 percent of the time, and generally I love it. I even love that safetrack has pushed me to bike on 'questionable' days (when my transit system is functioning, I'm very much a fair-weather biker). Some days are easier than others, and some parts of the ride are tough every day. Like the Hill. That Hill kicks my ass every time.
I was noting as much to a friend in the new/temporary office, and stopped myself before I added, 'but it's for the best; I need to be beach-ready by May.' I'm at least ten years older than this woman, and--not that she cares or is influenced by what I say--I didn't want to set a bad example. I didn't want to put it out there that anyone--especially someone at my level of fitness--wasn't ever beach-ready.
It's true that I'm hitting the beach two weekends in a row (and again a few weeks later). And it's true that I've put on weight (mostly by virtue of going to restaurants because I was dating a dude), and I'd be lying if it told you I didn't care at all. I gained enough weight that I can see it on my face, and in how my clothes fit. I'm not going to pretend I'm entirely unbothered. But I'm not going to casually muse, in front of young women, about being bothered; I'm not going to normalizing lamenting one's weight as if it's something that people do. I'm going to normalize feeling powerful in the powerful body that gets my ass up that hill in the morning.
Monday, April 10, 2017
“In any other country, when the president wants something, he gets it,” Mr. Hakky added. “The fact that a lowly judge somewhere can basically stop the most powerful man on earth with a simple ruling is gratifying, and it shows what this country’s all about.”
The patient was called and gently but firmly informed of the diagnosis. Given the nature of the identified specimen, the information was presented in a nonjudgmental, respectful manner so as not to offend the sensibilities or sensitivities of the patient. The patient was informed that no treatment was necessary at this time and his anxieties and fears were allayed.I also had a lot of reactions to this piece about immigrants and food. Including this part not about food:
James Baldwin wrote that American media is “designed not to trouble, but to reassure.” American movies and TV shows help sustain a fantasy of innocence that masks our country’s violence. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie referred to America’s “addiction to comfort”; Junot Díaz to our commitment to “narratives of consolation.” The soothing myth of American exceptionalism depends on maintaining its comfort and innocence, however false.
The relationship between Americanness and consumption was a complicated one.
I’d hungrily devoured what I had believed to be American normalcy, but I was still being seen as American adjacent. Maybe there was no such thing as American normalcy; or maybe the normalcy was in itself a performance.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Call your elected representatives and complain about the TSA, ICE, and CBP.
So I, needless to say, grew up among immigrants. Even once my family 'joined' the middle class--it was still a very immigrant-based middle class--the people McPherson describes here were very much part of my world.
That involved a lot of paperwork but not a lot of lines, and I am very glad to live in subsidized housing with a number of people who really run the gamut. One of them is the great-grandson of Leo Tolstoy. Another fled Bulgaria as the Communists were taking over, eventually came to the United States, speaks several languages, and worked for the Library of Congress. There are refugees from one regime or another, from all parts of the world. They come in all colors. Some were trained as lawyers, some have doctoral degrees, some were teachers. There are journalists and writers.Now, immigrants are serving as much-needed EMTs in Maine. But some immigration officials have tried to deport neurosurgeons.
Yeah, I grew up during the Cold War and I've gotten 'are you a spy' cracks since childhood. They get old.
Being good at one thing--if you are even good at that one thing--doesn't make you good at everything else, and being good at business certainly doesn't make you good at government.
Yes, some women's issues are centered in the genitals that some of us have, and we mustn't dismiss those, but this is a solid argument for getting the movement out of the genitalia.
Dairy is as cruel as meat.
This takedown of Piers Morgan is delightful.
Monday, March 27, 2017
My grandmother heard what she wanted from a leader who promised simple answers to complicated questions. She chose not to hear and see the monstrous sum those answers added up to. And she lived the rest of her life with the knowledge of her indefensible complicity.What is it about The Handmaid's Tale that so resonates today?
But in her willingness to talk about a subject few members of her generation would, she taught me the vital importance of knowing better.
When it comes to jobs, there's quality as well as quantity.
On self-care via leisure.
When Charlotte Perkins Gilman experienced post-partum depression, her doctor prescribed the now-infamous “rest cure.” She was to “lie down an hour after each meal. Have but two hours’ intellectual life a day. And never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live.”
This prescription made Gilman so much worse that she began to talk of suicide. Eventually she separated from her husband, traveled, got better and wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a story about the horrors of lying in bed all day. Virginia Woolf was also prescribed the rest cure, also hated it, and also went on to write about it in disparaging terms, in “Mrs. Dalloway.
It’s a tough moment to be a woman shopping for business attire.But wait...
The store does not offer discounts or use promotions, which have practically become table stakes in the apparel business. Its $200 to $300 price tags are an invitation to middle-class cubicle warriors to change their mind-set about shopping, to scoop up investment pieces rather than constantly refreshing their wardrobes with cheaper goods.
Plus, even though many women say they are tired of poorly made clothes and are ready to shell out for higher quality, MM.LaFleur might find that’s a hard sell for others. We live in a time when consumers are splurging on experiences, when the idea of investing $250 in a dress may be a non-starter for a woman who thinks nothing of spending that kind of money on dinner.We make a difference by eating less meat. Also, cows know you're taking their babies away.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
What's left of one man's life and apartment in Aleppo.
Beautiful story about refugees and chocolate. Canada is lucky to have them, and they, Canada.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Which is why I have not historically biked to work as often as I might. It's usually too easy not to, even when Metro is late and overcrowded. It just takes more initiative to get on the bike. That's changed a bit with my new/now job: cycling gets me there as fast as or faster than metro, and it's even more trails than streets. And yet, it's been easy to just hop on the train. Until this week, when Safetrack hit my line with a vengeance. My options are cycling, an overcrowded, roundabout metro ride, or an expensive bus that drops me off a ways from the office. And keep in mind that metro is overcrowded on a good day; this overcrowding means waiting for multiple, infrequent trains before you can get on.
So cycling it has been (except one day that I had to stay late and metro home/bus in the next morning). Most of the week, it was enjoyable, even Monday morning when it was very cold. By Friday morning and especially Friday afternoon, when the strong winds were enough to push me and my bike in various directions (especially going over the Potomac), it sucked.
But what I'm here to tell you is that there's power in pushing through that which sucks, and once you've overcome it, it's all the more amazing. You've just done something you didn't think you could do, something you would have wanted to stop doing if that were in option. But you pushed through and you did it. It's an amazing feeling.
The men fell in line behind Mr. Weah and complained that the women supporting Mrs. Sirleaf were sexist. Given the choice between a soccer player with no credible college education and a Harvard-educated development expert, the top male presidential candidates who fell short of the runoff, with one exception, endorsed the soccer player.No woman is surprised that people are more difficult with women.
In the meantime, Mr. Weah, honing a message explaining why he, and not Mrs. Sirleaf, should run Liberia, settled on an ''educated people failed'' theme.
But what the men who endorsed that strategy failed to realize was how much that very idea was angering the market women. Those women may not have been educated themselves, but they worked in the fields and the market stalls to send their children to school. Now the men were telling them that education wasn't important.
You can't fight against bodily autonomy and still claim feminism:
If you demand that every girl and woman who becomes pregnant bear a child no matter the consequences to herself, and if you call on the government to back that up through criminal law, there isn’t a lot left to the ideals of equality and self-determination that are fundamental to feminism. One sperm can derail a woman for life. The patriarchal religions that sustain the anti-abortion movement explicitly oppose those ideals and correctly recognize that reproductive rights are what make them possible.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
At some point, the joy in freedom and more time may turn into an enhanced loneliness, but so far it's all freedom and time. I was thinking during the workweek how less stressful it was to not have to worry about having to leave to meet someone before I finished something. Is that a good freedom--the freedom to stay at work as late as I need to? Having just started a new job, I need that flexibility right now (and I don't end up staying late often). Should I meet someone, I'll manage a way to do both. I know realize the extent to which that last relationship, though mutually convenient in ways, was largely on his terms.
I needed this weekend to myself, too. I don't know where it went. I did briefly think, as I was watching the St. Patrick's Day parade yesterday, that M. would have enjoyed it, and that I might have enjoyed it more had he been there, but the thought didn't pain me; I just shrugged it off. One of the things I felt profoundly during the relationship--particularly when I was happy and hopeful--was how little changed. Sunsets were equally beautiful, not more so, when you enjoyed them with someone you cared about. Movies and plays were just as good or bad. Some things were more enjoyable--for example, it was fun to wander into Katsucon at National Harbor a couple of weekends ago and marvel at the cosplay--but this would have been so with any other companion. And, as Dar Williams would say, I have many great companions.
A major culprit is the cultivation of soy, which has jumped more than 500 percent in Bolivia since 1991, to 3.8 million hectares in 2013, according to the most recent agricultural censuses. Little of that soy is consumed domestically. The vast majority is processed and exported as animal feed in a commodities trade that serves a global appetite for hamburgers, chicken and pork.You have to work with the system to improve working conditions and human rights in general, but at what point does the system coopt you?
The travel ban is, unsurprisingly, hurting travel.
Planned Parenthood saves lives.
The deportation craze is a boon to abusers.
Denver city attorney dropping 4 domestic violence cases because witnesses won't testify for fear of deportation https://t.co/yZvr7n3TYW— Melissa Jeltsen (@quasimado) March 3, 2017
What's poisonous and what's venemous?
The Doomsday Clock is a gimmick.
Shakespeare didn't say these things.
Who's not surprised that DC is expensive AF.
The study compared current rental listings with minimum recommended living space and the minimum salary required to pay the rent. According to this survey, no more than 29 percent of a household’s gross income should be spent on rent per month. The minimum amount of space used to calculate and compare rent-per-square-foot is a little small by American standards: 420 for a single person and 797 for four people.
Using those metrics, Washington renters would need an income of at least $57,670 to pay the average rent of $3.33 per square foot, or $1,398 for a 420-square-foot unit or a minimum of $109,756 to pay for an average rent for a family of four of $2,654.Cute cat, ugly baby.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
I couldn't believe he didn't (not) feel it to, but he did. We were walking around after dinner, and he stopped and asked me if I thought the relationship was working. He didn't think it was. I agreed. We were both sad. I was less so, because I'd gotten my sad out a couple of days ago and at this point I was mostly left with relief--that post-break-up relief of no longer having to dismiss the accumulating dealbreakers. I'd say, also, that the complete, instant closure--the lack of misunderstanding or recrimination, the absense of any need to wonder what went wrong--goes a long way toward easing the pain.
This was, interestingly, the first time my friends didn't try to talk me out of trusting my instincts. Out at trivia the other night, I enumerated the things that weren't working and said I just had a bad feeling about things. I expected my friends, who were in the throes of dating, to tell me to count my blessings, but they acknowledged that my instincts were probably onto something.
The man, on the other hand, was not as forthcoming. I'd felt for at least a week that it would be better to break it off, but that breaking it off was going to hurt. Last weekend, when I didn't hear from M. for, say, 36 hours (eventually, more than 48), I suspected something even though I knew he wasn't the ghosting kind. I started to emotionally prepare myself for our not being together, and I was mostly okay with it but it stung. To the point where, when I did hear from him latish Monday, I was relieved--even though I felt that we were just postponing the inevitable.
So here's what's interesting: I told him explicitly that I'd started to plan for not seeing him again (i.e., I'd made certain decisions around the assumption that we wouldn't be getting together on Tuesday night, as previously planned). He was shocked. He just had a lot of work, he said. Did I think things weren't going well? The way he asked implied that the very thought was absurd. He wouldn't just ghost, he assured me. I knew that, I told him, but there are levels of emotional distancing lesser to ghosting.
He wasn't feigning the shock; it just hadn't all come together for him. After I called him on it, he started wondering why he hadn't texted me all weekend. Sure, he was busy, but that hadn't ever stopped him before. [This, my friends, is a lesson in 'He's Just Not That Into You,' and I picked up on it even before he did.] This made him think about our relationship, which meant coming to the conclusion that things weren't working. It wasn't all in my head--either the dealbreakers or his distancing, even when his words tried to tell me that it was.
So we got together on Tuesday. We didn't talk about it, even though I brought it up. Being with him was more exhausting than anything else, not just because we were both tired. It felt like work. On Wednesday, I vented to my friends. On Thursday, I came home and cried. On Friday and this morning, I reverted to denial, but part of me knew the denial wasn't sustainable. This morning and early afternoon, getting together with another friend, I talked about how I just didn't think it was going to work. This evening, I saw him and I felt nothing. Later in the evening, we broke up, and I felt relief. I haven't cried, even though there's a tinge of sadness. I haven't thrown out his flowers and feel no need to. I feel no need to purge my house or electronics of signs of him. He asked if I wanted to stay friends, I demured. I believe in a clean break and don't really see the point. He said goodbye to the cat--he liked her at least as much as he liked me--and left. We parted on very good terms. I'm a little sad, but I don't feel a gaping hole in the fiber of my being.
Even the immediate, pragmatic things I'm relieved about--having the rest of this evening and tomorrow to myself; having the bed to myself; not having to go to yet another restaurant tomorrow because this guy doesn't like to eat in--are things that would've been of no comfort to me two months ago, and would be of no comfort to me now at the expense of a relationship I wanted to be in. It's time to move on when you think, oh, good, I'm not going to wake up next to him tomorrow.
I don't regret that we dated; I think we learned a lot from each other. I enjoyed getting to know him as a person. I benefitted from getting a stronger understanding of what wasn't negotiable to me, even when I tried to tell myself it wasn't a big deal. Maybe one or two of those things would've been fine, but they were adding up. I feel entirely comfortable holding onto them. I feel more comfortable than ever being who I am, and either knowing that there's someone out there who's looking for it to, and/or it's nevertheless who I am and what I need.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Love is quite far down on the list of things that humans “need”—in fact, it’s not on the list at all. Humans need oxygen, water, and food, in that order. Everything else is optional (though clothes and shelter are nearly essential, depending on the climate). Humans are perfectly capable of living an entire life without love. Squirrels don’t love and they seem to be doing just fine.and,
But “true love,” minus the “one,” somehow persists. It exists in opposition, apparently, to fleeting love—to flings, crushes, and affairs. But really it’s just another form of social elitism: If we believe we have found true love, we are better at life than those who have not.Which dovetails into the second:
You see, I don’t believe that my relationship constitutes a happy ending. I don’t want a “happy ending”. I don’t want an ending at all, particularly not while I’m still in my goddamn twenties—I want a long life full of work and adventure. I absolutely don’t see partnership as the end of that adventure. And I still believe that being single is the right choice for a great many young women.and
Today, whatever else we are, women are still taught that we have failed if we are not loved by men. I’ve lost count of the men who seem to believe that the trump card they hold in any debate is “but you’re unattractive”. “But I wouldn’t date you.” How we feel about them doesn’t matter. Young women are meant to prioritise men’s romantic approval, and young men often struggle to imagine a world in which we might have other priorities.and
Men are allowed to think of romantic love as a feeling, an experience, a gift that they expect to be given as a reward for being their awesome selves. That sounds like a great deal to me. I wouldn’t want that challenged. Women, by contrast, learn from an early age that love is work. That in order to be loved, we will need to work hard, and if we want to stay loved we will need to work harder.and!
The trouble is that there aren’t enough of them for all the brilliant, beautiful, fiercely compassionate women and girls out there who could really do with someone like that in their lives. Those men are like unicorns. If you meet one, that’s great. You might think you’ve met one already—I’ve often thought so—but evidence and experience suggest that a great many unicorns are, in fact, just horses with unconvincing horns. If you don’t manage to catch a real unicorn, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.There was also this piece in the Post about how finding love is a fluke; the writer has no answers.
This was not the first Valentine's Day that I wasn't single, but it was the first that the man I was with insisted on celebrating--insisted that we spend the actual day (well, evening) together, though it was hardly different from any other Tuesday night, except that Deep Fried Masters wasn't on (he has cable). He got me some lovely flowers, which lit up my cubicle (did I mention that I started a "new" job--just for a year, and then I go back--and now I have a cubicle?) for a few days and are now lighting up my dining room. I walked straight from his place on Wednesday morning to work, flowers in hand, profoundly aware that this was a fluke--this year, I happened to get flowers. Later that afternoon, I overheard (such is cubicle life) someone talking about a recent breakup, and I felt for her. Breakups suck, and it's not the time to have other people's relationships shoved in your face.