06 July 2010

Tab Clearing

One of my favorite internet retailers, Woot, got purchased by Aamzon. The letter from their CEO announcing the deal is fantastic. The conclusion:
This is definitely an emotional day for me. The feelings I’m experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about getting a check from my folks combined with nausea from a hellacious bender the night before. I remember fondly that time when an RA turned on the lights and yelled “WHO OWNS THESE PANTS?” Except this time, the pants are a company, and the RA is you, and the sixty five hours of community service is a deal that will ensure the Woot.com experience can continue to grow for years and years and years, like a black mold behind the Gold Box. Join us, because together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Also, there will be six muffins waiting in the company break room, courtesy of the nice folks at Amazon.com. Welcome to the family!
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Don Colacho’s Aphorisms | #1,372

A man is called a Communist if he fights for the state to assure him a bourgeois existence.
Ha! Someone hire a sky writer and paint this above Athens.

(Via Brian Dunbar)

I also like #1401:
Will the revolutionary learn some day that revolutions prune rather than uproot?
#1358:
On the wide-open steppe the individual finds no protection against the inclemency of nature, nor in egalitarian society against the inclemency of man.
and #1350:
Let us not complain of the soil in which we were born, but rather of the plant we are.
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Via TJIC, a list stereotyping people by their favorite authors. For example:
Hunter S Thompson — That kid in your philosophy class with the stupid tattoo.

Tom Clancy — People who skipped school by hiding out in the gym.

Albert Camus — People who went to art school after “trying it out” at a public university.

Terry Pratchett — People who really like monkeys.
 Funny and surprisingly accurate. At least it is as far as Mrs SB7 is concerned:
Stieg Larsson — Girls who are too frightened to go skydiving.
That's her.
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Are you reading Catalog Living yet?  You should be.  "A look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs."  Some samples:

Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”
Leaving my basket of secondary shells under the table allows me to rotate in new shells at a moment’s notice!

Just in case anyone doubted that Gary and Elaine valued books over television, Gary brought in the secondary book stool to drive the point home.
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dispatches from TJICistan | TJIC | my craziest belief / two instruction paths diverged in the code base, and the CPU universe took both … and that made all the difference

If humans, within 50 years of beginning to fart around with integrated circuits, can develop such weird counter-intuitive processing techniques (and can make bugs in the way it works), I have no doubt that a sufficiently advanced set of alien grad students (or monotheistic Creator) could have occasional precognition or other psychic effects occur as an inadvertent bug.
As a grad student, I must confess to liking the idea that if the Simulation Hypothesis is true, then the Simulation would probably be a research project, and that means it would be the celestial equivalent of grad students doing all the gritty work of building the universe. That's right, Descartes' deceptor god isn't evil, he's just working on his thesis.

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Ideas | David Friedman | Breaking the Walled Garden of Childhood

I have long held that there are two fundamental views of children: That they are pets who can talk, or that they are small people who do not yet know very much. The wrong one is winning.
Bingo.

Not only do people see children as talking pets, they see them as extremely fragile and vulnerable talking pets.

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Cato @ Liberty | David Boaz | The Not-So-White Tea Party

USA Today is out with a new poll on Tea Party supporters. Near the top of both the article and the accompanying graphic is this point, also singled out by Howard Kurtz in his Washington Post report on the study:
They are overwhelmingly white and Anglo,
Not too surprising, perhaps. Economic conservatives, we hear, are more white than the national average. But wait — here’s the rest of Kurtz’s sentence:
although a scattering of Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans combine to make up almost one-fourth of their ranks.
“Almost one-fourth of their ranks” is “a scattering”? Sounds like a pretty good chunk to me, especially in a country that is after all still mostly white. Let’s go to the tape. The data-filled graphic says that 77 percent of Tea Party supporters are “non-Hispanic whites.” And this 2008 Census report says that the United States as a whole is 65 percent non-Hispanic white. So the Tea Party is indeed somewhat more “white” than the country at large, but not by that much. Twelve points above the national average is not “overwhelmingly white,” and 23 percent Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans is not “a scattering.” At a rough estimate, it represents about 14 million non-Anglo Americans who support the Tea Party movement.

How does this compare to the demographics of other movements? Strangely enough, I can’t find any real data on the demographics of the enviromental movement.
Never let number or facts get in the way of your conclusion.

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Speaking of which, I never got around to linking to LabRat's take on the "All Tea Partiers are Racist" line of reasoning, but I should have.  I tend to agree with this:
What’s more, the attempt to frame a group that more than a quarter of the public identifies with with a redneck bigot stereotype feeds extremely well into another frame that the Republicans have been using to great success for decades: that of “the liberals” being rich urban elitists who fear and loathe the common heartland American. The pickup truck-as-coded-racism thing was so facepalmingly stupid precisely because nobody who does NOT live in an elite urban environment where there’s no need for pickup trucks because you’re paying somebody with an ethnic last name to do all your manual labor would ever make a connection between pickups and race. If you live in the suburbs, an outer section of the city, or a rural environment, pickups are ubiquitous among all racial groups- because they’re equally useful. The more they bang the “they’re actually all RACISTS so you should hate and shun them!” drum, the more it comes off sounding like “We suspect everybody not of our social and economic class of being racists- including you. And we hate you, too. Vote for us!”
I don't have a lot of love for the Tea Party. A lot of them are irrational and uninformed.  (This is true of every movement ever.) But I can appreciate that a lot of them — most, in fact — have pretty reasonable grievances.

I don't like seeing their opponents, especially the professional, supposedly intellectual class of commentators, dismiss arguments they disagree with by waving their hands and declaring everyone in the Tea Party to be raging, or racist, or psychotic, or delusional. That is a cowardly way to deal with opposition.  My reaction is to sympathize more strongly with the people who are being dismissed.

I guess it's the same way that some people like to read formerly banned books, or cheer for the team that's the victim of a bad call.

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Reflections of Me | Clementine | Football Fields Around Europe

Over the past decade, Dutch photographer Hans van der Meer traveled around Europe to capture photos of different types of football (soccer) fields.
Some great shots in there.

I always notice sports fields when I travel. I especially love the little ones that are tucked into inhospitable land, one level bit of clear, graded land jammed between rocky hills and stone buildings.



This one reminds me of the Juneau High School segment in the Football America documentary.



(Via The Kids' Table)

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