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kleinbl00  ·  46 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 4, 2017

I've taken to referring to my time in Los Angeles for work as the time when I'm within the event horizon for the black hole. Communication in or out is tricky and time stretches to the point where your frame of reference is no longer valid.

This time last week I was in Los Angeles which appears to have boosted the Schwartzchild Radius.

My daughter is in an immunotherapy study. It's going to take years but there is a high likelihood that she'll be less allergic to peanuts on the other side. I phrased it to her as "how would you like to help other kids be less allergic to peanuts?" and she went all in, despite the fact that they had to make her back itch and draw her blood. Then her bloodwork came back with low immune response levels (probably because she had the sniffles) so she had to go in again. She likes the "magic cream that makes her arm tingle" but still, she's four and has had her blood drawn twice in two weeks with no complaints. The administrator told us that they really hope they can get her in because while they can't tell me her peanut IGGs, her regular IGGs are the highest in the entire study. Go kid. Glad you're more allergic than anyone else they've ever seen. not.

Had lunch with my buddy. Told him I'd done reasonably well in cryptocurrency, told him that if I couldn't use it for shit like chemotherapy copays what the fuck can I use it for, told him that the point you stop being able to be proud and refuse charity is well before the point where your relatives put out a GoFundMe for you and cut him a check for a thousand dollars. He cried and said it was really valuable to him to have long-term friends around (we've known each other since we were 4) so I punched him in the face and told him to stop being such a pussy. We now have a regular lunch date for as long as I'm in town.

Saw Front 242 and Severed Heads in Los Angeles. mk did not because he is lame. We got wasted - 60ccs of bone marrow aspiration be damned, I drank like four doubles of well bourbon and blasted my fucking mind out with EBM. The last time I saw Front 242 I ran lights for them and everyone was 20 years younger. The local alt-rag made fun of Front 242 back then for being totally into their music and dancing around like "a bunch of boojie boys" well past their primes because alt-rags are always bullshit. And here it is 20 years later and there's Jean-luc DeMeyer, 60 fuckin' years old, black leather jacket, sunglasses at night, rockin' it like it was '85. And the audience was not nearly as gothy as it would have been in Seattle - i mean, there was a guy in a hawaiian shirt and a fanny pack. And fuckin'A I was wearing goddamn cargo shorts so who the fuck am I to say anything.

one of my buddies is insecure. I told him to be more like Jean-Luc De Meyer - rock the sunglasses at night. That mutherfucker has known exactly who he is for 40 flippin' years and nobody remembers that bullshit alt-rag review but me while he's still sitting there headlining sold-out houses ten thousand miles from home. And then I got home and dropped my kid off at school wearing fuckin' house slippers and the same goddamn cargo shorts and realized that everyone else was all dressed for work'n'shit and I realized I have no fucks to give.

A friend turned me onto a Boeing gig doing tedious webcast shit. Sure, why not. So you talk to the recruiter. She wants a "resume." Oh, right. Out here in the world they still care about that shit. Fine, here's a thing I did in Pages like three years ago which I refuse to install on my computer to fix the address and email so here's a PDF with some wrong info because I can't be sussed. Then they want an "interview." Oh, right. Out here in the world they still care about that shit. Fine, okay, I'll pick up the phone, yeah, your rate is half what I make but so long as you give me enough work to not fuck up my unemployment checks until I get to my real job I'll take your money. What's that? You want me to fill out a profile on your website so that other recruiters can reach me? I mean, Okay...

At some point in the not-too-distant past I gave OftenBen a ration of shit about millennials because everybody harshes on the next crew but Millennials are the first posse that thinks it's okay to show up to an interview in flip-flops or some shit. It's a trope that's been in Forbes, Huffington Post, Time, whatever. Ben, I owe you and the rest of your generation an apology. Flip flops are what you wear to interviews you don't give a fuck about. The fact that you don't give a fuck about the interview doesn't say anything about you, it says a lot about the job being interviewed for. It says a lot about your regard for the culture that wants you to jump for their bullshit hoops.

I'm about to be 43 fuckin' years old and I have successfully opted out of that culture. My contempt is cushioned by disinterest and success; I can easily see it coming from a position of despair and resignation. Hipsters? Hipsters are the kids that aren't putting up with your bullshit and still feel kind of okay about themselves. A fully enlightened millennial generation will be a sea of vinyl-listening, avocado-toast-eating, flip-flop-wearing hipsters.

I've been to four watch-making classes. I'm learning not a lot and having the time of my goddamned life. The watchmaker at Vacheron Constantin recommended a book that is hard to find and very expensive. Turns out one of the instructors at the class scanned that fucker to PDF but never read it. It's DOPE. Did you know that there are really only five gears in a watch necessary to tell time? Did you know they're really fuckin' fun to take apart? Did you know that ten years building scale models, 20 years working with surface-mount electronics and 30 years tuning carburetors and otherwise performing fine work on motor vehicles gives you orders of magnitude more manual dexterity and fine motorwork than your peers? I didn't. I do now. I'm fuckin' good at this shit.

That's a pallet fork. It's about 4mm wide. Turns out that 10x macro lens that clips onto your phone that you got in your stocking can be really goddamn useful. So yeah. Took apart a pocketwatch and got it back together again in the amount of time it took everyone else to take it apart. LOVING IT. With a semi-decent CNC machine I could build these things from scratch all goddamn day long and be a pig in shit. I would be utterly and completely divorced from this bullshit "show the recruiter where on your resume the bad career touched you" society and walk around in my goddamn cargo shorts and house slippers all day because I don't have a boss to care.

Finally, my car is dying. It needed $1500 worth of work six months ago and still does. Then I gave a buddy a thousand dollars so he wouldn't fucking die and figured maybe, as a 43-year-old man, I deserve to drive something that doesn't smoke when it warms up and doesn't have gorilla tape keeping the headliner out of my hair.

So I'm negotiating on a Porsche 911 carrera cabriolet because my inner douchebag clearly wants out. Even better, it's the shitty 996 water-cooled one that Porsche nerds love to hate because apparently every time you turn the key Ferry Porsche spins in his grave because it's water-cooled and made with Boxster parts and has headlights like fried eggs and and and. Here's what I know - if I can get a car? That sold for $80k? With 21k miles on it, new tires and $15k worth of service just done on it for less than the price of a Prius C? I'ma do it.

State farm wants $7 less per month to insure an '02 Carrera than they do to insure a '95 Dodge. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

mk, thenewgreen, I might be rippin' through San Fran at some point soon because taking a ragtop Porsche up the PCH in fall sounds like a pretty nice birthday present to myself.

__________________________________________________________________

wellthatwascathartic

kleinbl00  ·  49 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mapping’s Intelligent Agents: Autonomous Cars and Beyond

    What I'm apparently failing to explain is that I want more consideration, not less.

What you're explaining loud and clear is that you feel the people responsible for the truth on the ground are not giving it the proper consideration. When I called you out for arguing (as a grad student) that you knew better than the law, you doubled down:

    That's not my luminary genius insight but professor after professor after professor has taught me.

I took one (1) acoustics class. It was taught by the two acoustics Ph.Ds at UW. And we started the class with one of the profs explaining the measurement rig he had pointed out the window: see, the buses outside were loud, but it was spring and soon the trees would be covered in leaves and it would be much quieter. et voila. Acoustics.

We believed him - I mean, I was 22 and the actual math of the attenuation of a shit-ton of leaves is intensive. Nonetheless we never did end up comparing beginning and end. Once I started working in the field I relayed this story to my boss and she laughed uproariously and showed me the B&K chart listing attenuation on the x and "meters of forest in hundreds" on the y.

These are acoustical professors with Ph. Ds prestigious enough in their department to fund a boat that flips on its tail for sonar studies. And we learned all sorts of great stuff about nodal analysis, resonance, deep channels and the like which provided a fundamental basis for the practical knowledge that I then picked up in the field. Because "practical knowledge" wasn't their thing - they were busy rewriting the theory. And for environmental acoustics, the theory was laid out by a dude a hundred years dead.

We'll disregard my profs' erroneous assumptions about the way environmental acoustics work. We'll even disregard the fact that when they were busted, they shined it on as if it never happened. We'll focus instead on their attempts to broaden the body of knowledge that we all benefit from and thank them for it. We'll even spot them the assumption that if my boss were to walk into that room and give them a lesson on the acoustical isolation of leaves, they'd listen interestedly, ask intelligent questions and have a rigorous debate about the mathematics at play.

Because nobody comes out ahead when we assume everyone else is a fucking idiot.

FIIC. Field Impact Isolation Class. A two-digit number that takes two trained professionals two days and ten thousand dollars worth of equipment to arrive at. Lucrative, no? I mean, we couldn't roll one for less than $3k. Which means we didn't get to roll them nearly often enough. And we spent a day burning through the math in custom bullshit Excel spreadsheets that sucked and that wasn't any fun either. So when we were presented with an opportunity to test some composite floors so we could build up some better mass law models, my boss paid me to schlep concrete and sand up to the 4th floor of a condo for six weeks so we could do our own testing. Contribute our own models. Put in our own research.

I billed out at $150 an hour, dude, and she sank 240 hours into it.

So I'm glad you're "all worked up." You should be. You "want the underlying assumptions, biases and structural issues unearthed and discussed" which can only mean you think they aren't. You "want to know in which context they work and in which context they don't" as if you think people don't fight over this shit every goddamn day. And I've been trying to say this a dozen different ways and you aren't hearing it, probably because it's offensive, and because it assails your worldview:

The experts in the field know more than the people they measure.

That's it. That's my beef. That's my fundamental observation, that in any esoteric body of knowledge, the practitioners of that knowledge know more about that knowledge than the people who encounter that knowledge glancingly. No matter how broad your evaluation of mapping and GIS, it will never be as focused as the mid-level bureaucrat in some forgotten town who has jurisdiction over where roads go in his township.

The argument put forth in your essay is that the experts are fucking idiots. When I tried to find something about objective vs. relational you came back with "no, it's that the experts are fucking idiots." When I came back with "you know, the experts I've worked with seem to know their shit" you came back with "they don't know it nearly enough because research." So yeah. I'm fucking offended. Your argument hinges on the idea that the practitioners of a science are incurious about the theory of the science, which is the argument people always make, so often that you actually whipped out

    So you sound to me like yet another arrogant engineer who thinks their numbers are always a good enough substitute for the truth.

Dude.

DUDE.

The "arrogant" engineers are the ones that know they know more than you and are sick of having to explain it. They're the ones whose knowledge is called into question because somebody just did a study somewhere. They're the ones being forced to (temporarily) rewrite their entire code of behavior because some expert somewhere in another unrelated field has better PR.

These are Assistive Listening Devices. They cost about $300 each, plus about $1000 for the transmitter. And thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you have an auditorium that holds more than a hundred people you have to have enough of them for five percent of the audience. That means if you have a school somewhere with a gym that seats 300 people, $5500 is going to be spent on shitty FM radios that nobody ever listens to... rather than band instruments, rather than gym equipment, rather than art supplies.

This happened because a well-meaning audiologist argued back in the mid-80s that deaf people were being left out of public events because they couldn't hear, and a lot of them couldn't afford hearing aids, so clearly any public building should be forced to pay to bring them in so that they would be "handicapped-accessible." And none of them ever get used - you wanna stick someone else's grody earthing in your ear? - but they're mandated by law and building inspectors across the US have to count the fuckers every time there's a permit issue. Millions of these things, mouldering away in closets.

Repeat for in-class reinforcement, smartboards, etc. What usually happens next is some journalist gets a bug up their ass to investigate waste and comes after whatever the it-thing is and administrators are pilloried for wasting money on that thing that only has one study to back it but ALS has hung on for three decades because the ADA was written by the Pope, effectively, so here we are. But fundamentally? People who don't know telling people who do know bones it for everybody.

My argument, simply put, is it's dangerous and offensive to assume that the people doing the majority of the work are in the knowledge minority. And the fundamental argument put forth by this argument - and by you - is that if we have a number, and everybody agrees on it, it reflects calcified thinking and oppression of the populace.

    I don't want to paradigm shift my way to glory, I want people to stop and think about the values and methods they pick.

The only way you could want this is if you hold deeply the idea that "people" aren't already doing it.

And fuck right off with that shit.

There's a great Frontline that answers all your questions. Unfortunately it hasn't been digitized.

The problem with trading up the chain, simply put, is that law enforcement only knows what criminals tell them. They are not constructing parallel cases. They're not making the roads safer, they're filling their quota of speeding tickets.

Torture doesn't work for the same reason - if you tell me you'll stop pulling my toenails off if I tell you who gave me the IED, I'll stick with the pliers so long as my source scares me more than you. Which means all I need to do is give up someone who scares me less than you do - and there's no downside to iteratively throwing names out there.

Let's say I've got four buddies - Alex, Bob, Chuck, Dave and Elvis. You've got my phone and you know that I call all of them. You're going to throw me down the forever hole unless I give up my dealer, and you suspect it's Alex, Bob, Chuck, Dave or Elvis. I play cards with Alex. Bob occasionally buys weed from me. Chuck's a single dad who hits me up for money. Dave gets me work sometimes as a bricklayer and also loves to share his collection of child porn. Elvis works for the Zetas cartel.

I'm going to give them up in the following order:

1) Chuck because he's a drag on my bottom line

2) Alex because I lose money when I play him, even if it's usually fun

3) Bob, because I'll miss that income

4) Dave, because I'll really mis that income

Never) Elvis, because I don't want my entire family to end up beheaded on the side of the road outside Amarillo

Presume, for the sake of kindness, that the DEA can rule out Chuck and Alex immediately. They are obviously, visibly harmless. Bob? The DEA is going to squeeze Bob, who will give up his own list that also doesn't include Elvis. Each one of the people on his list will be squeezed until eventually someone is stupid enough to flip a supplier. That supplier is then going to play the exact same fucking game. Elvis is doing just fine, the DEA is chasing their tails, and low-level addicts are suddenly drug kingpins because they're all narcing on each other.

Let's add some financial incentive to the pot, shall we? Every single person who gets implicated is also subject to DEA seizure. That means they get to take anything that touches drugs. Did you drive a car with drugs in it? it belongs to the DEA. Did you ride in a friend's car with drugs in it? It belongs to the DEA. Store drugs in your house? It belongs to the DEA. Store drugs in your landlord's house? It belongs to the DEA.

Along with everything in it.

Let's take my buddy Dante. He was addicted to Meth. He got clean for the sake of his life, and for the sake of his son. And then his buddy, who helped him get clean, told him that he needed 2 kilos of coke to make it across town by 5 or the Zetas would kill him. So my buddy Dante got the keys out of a mailbox, got in the car and started it up.

The car? The DEA's. The drugs? The DEA's. Dante's buddy? Trading up the chain, giving up Dante rather than the guys the DEA wanted because Dante couldn't make him show up headless on the side of a freeway outside Amarillo. Dante, of course, had no one to give up so he was charged with trafficking and faced a ten year bid for a first offense. Lost his truck, lost all his musical equipment, is a felon forever.

Well yeah. Shouldn't have gotten in the car. No shit. But if you think policing, public order, the war on drugs or any civil good has been advanced by this travesty of criminal justice you're not only high, you're evil.

And that's what's wrong with it. Dante is real. The seizures are real. The dead on the side of the road outside of Amarillo is my sister's ex-boyfriend. And here's the DEA, getting low-level smurfs to snitch on each other for fun and profit while the Coast Guard siezes 225 tons of coke.

kleinbl00  ·  60 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 20, 2017

    Welp. I'm in the hospital for a week or so. My transplanted kidney is experiencing some antibody mediated rejection. It's got some permanent damage, but with treatment and increased immune suppression, I should get a few more years of use out of it. Grateful for everyday since 2009. Grateful for my donor, and his family. Grateful for good healthcare. Grateful for my kiddos. Grateful for all the people who have supported me since my kidneys failed in 2007.

That's a buddy of mine, couple weeks ago. I've known him since I was three. He's center left. I'm center right. This was my seventh birthday.

He was my main rival through elementary school; the other smart kid. We were the twin towers of nerd-dom. Only he got distracted by other stuff and basically flaked out on school; I think he literally got perfect SAT scores but his academics blew. He now thinks it was the paint chips he ate as a baby because apparently he's got other hallmarks of lead exposure. Me? I started hanging out with the overpass kids and noped the fuck out of academics pretty hard so by the time anyone gave a fuck about achievement we were both too cynical to care.

    The out of pocket cost for these treatments will be approximately $5000. Worth it, but extremely difficult to cover, especially given the amount of unpaid leave from work he has had to take (2 weeks so far, plus at least another 10 days in the next two months for chemo). He's a good, hard-working man who hasn't been able to catch a break when it comes to his health.

We have lunch when I can find time; it's always striking to me because I show up wearing WTFever and he shows up in coveralls with his name on them. perfect SAT score. My life was no bed of roses but fuckin'A.

He's gonna die.

He's three months to the day younger than I am and he's gonna die. He's got two kids; one just graduated high school, I think, and the other is three or four years out. His wife got him all the way through recovery and then decided that she didn't want to be anyone's wife anymore. And his commute is miserable and he's gotta deal with shit like dialysis AGAIN.

I've done well in Ethereum. It's play money, too. And my instinct is to frickin' pay off his gofundme. I mean, there's a girl on the roster there a thousand miles away whose existence I'd forgotten until yesterday and she put $250 towards this guy she prolly hasn't seen in more than 20 years. I've had lunch with him like twice this year and I haven't been here for half of it. Maybe that'll buy him another couple years. But then I put my name on it and it hangs over both of us. Maybe I don't put my name on it and then it hangs over me. I don't know.

His parents are government employees with rippin' pensions but he doesn't talk to them anymore of course and besides, he's a grown-ass man. A grown-ass man whose sister is begging on the Internet to pay his medical expenses because we live in the most advanced Western democracy in the world with the best healthcare in the world and the best doctors in the world and we're crowdfunding someone's renal failure.

I make reality television for a living and my daughter's inhaler costs me $5. Her epipen costs me $5. Her ER visits? A whopping $70 ZOMG. I get hot towels when I fly and he finishes out the day with Gojo and growing up, his was the house the nicest one I'd been in and his mom was on the city council and their cars were always new and I hunted mice so I could sleep and here we are and I don't understand how we've created a society where a million little choices by a million little kids lead us to this place where I keep my bike tools in a Harry Winston bag and he's begging the Internet for another couple years on this earth, please.

So I'm home, and I slept in my own bed, and I started a class in taking apart watches and I've got a feature and a short to mix and what really fucks me up - and has been fucking me up - is my buddy.

I sent him a text saying we were setting up a standing lunch date, my treat, he picks the day of the week and the place. I haven't heard back.

America.

kleinbl00  ·  67 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I watched my patients die of poverty for 40 years. It’s time for single-payer.

I firmly believe that "single payer" would get a lot more support if people stopped talking about it in grandiose themes and noble vignettes and started talking about it in real terms. All the liberals I know are in heavy favor of "single payer" without any of them knowing what the fuck it is.

HERE'S WHAT THE FUCK IT IS.

I've got a medical facility - Al's Medicine. Al's subcontracts to Betty the Biller and Cindy the Client Specialist. I operate in a state where my medical facility is covered by Medicaid. We also take private (employer-provided) insurance, which is underwritten by the following insurance firms: Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

Al's must sign individual contracts with Q, R, S, T, U, V and W. These contracts are "take it or leave it" binding: they say that for ICD code 1, Q will pay Al's $7.50 but for ICD code 1.000000001, Q will pay Al's $0.00 because fuck you, Al's. Note that Q might pay Joe's $6.50 or $9.50 or pi.ie^2 for ICD code 1. Q is entirely within its rights to do so. Al and Joe, on the other hand, are contractually forbidden from discussing their rates for ICD Code 1. If Q gets wind that Al and Joe know what the other are getting, they can drop both because fuck you, Al and Joe. Also know that Joe might not get anything for ICD Code 1 because Q has decided that all of Q's contracted healthcare clients can drive 75 miles to Al's for those services because fuck you, Joe. Also know that Q can tell Al's they'll pay $7.50 for "services" verbally and in writing, but when the actual contract comes through the actual number listed is $2.25 because fuck you, Al's. Also know that they won't tell you what ICD codes they'll pay for, they'll just say "services" and let you resubmit your bills over and over and over again until you find the ICD code that pays out the most because fuck you. Also know that the ICD code they choose to pay for can and will also change because fuck you.

A few other notes: Al's might have to provide, for example, rhogam shots to prevent babies from dying from blood type incompatibiliy. These rhogam shots might cost Al's $28 but Q is going to pay $7 because fuck you, Al's. If you ever wondered why hospitals charge you $40 to hold your baby it's because they're trying to claw back the $21 the insurance company isn't paying for medicine they're required by law to administer (for example). Also note that your involvement, gentle consumer, starts when you get an "explanation of benefits" from the insurance company listing all the outrageous charges the doctor hit you with. It will provide no explanation. It will show how generous they were in all their disbursements and then show you that your doctor's office is going to bill you STILL MORE MONEY because they're such bloodsuckers.

This is where Betty Biller and Cindy Client Specialist come in. Betty makes 10% by pickaxing all the money she can get out of Q. Betty's whole job is knowing what Q pays out on. Betty knows which ICD codes Q pays out what on, and can turn your "normal child checkup" into 42 different codes that pay the maximum rate Q has contracted to pay. She is literally a medical billing bounty hunter. Betty is the back office side while Cindy talks to you, the client - here's what's coming, here's what it means, here's how to get your insurance to pay for this ahead of time, here's how to get preapproval for that.

For those keeping track at home, billing specialists outnumber doctors 2:1 in this scenario.

Multiply times insurance companies R, S, T, U, V and W, who all have their own rates, all have their own codes, all have their own geographic exclusion areas, and probably have seven or eight sub-plans so that it's not actually "V" it's V.a, V.b, V.c, V.d, V.e, V.f and so on. Suddenly, Betty and Cindy look positively useful and you will pay them gladly because the act of billing for care takes three to four times as many man-hours as actually providing that care. Betty and Cindy make good livings and their existence is entirely parasitic on the insurance companie's deliberately opaque, byzantine and antagonistic reimbursement practices.

Not Y and Z, though. Y and Z contract through Medicaid. Medicaid has no patience for that bullshit. They will pay the following amounts on the following ICD codes. Anybody who contracts through Medicaid bills those codes and gets that money. It is known. Y knows, Z knows, Al knows, Joe knows, and all of Al and Joe's clients can fuckin' look it up. And when Medicaid's reimbursements lag behind the real world, it gets turned into a bill that goes to the legislature that raises the rates for everyone.

Al's, in fact, might get better reimbursements out of Y and Z (because of medicaid) than they get out of Q, R S, T, U or V.

Unfortunately you as a patient don't get your insurance through Y and Z because you make more than the poverty level for your county. You get whatever insurance your job provides, which might be V.c, might be Q, might be nothing because you drive for Uber and fuck you.

As a provider, we get to choose who we contract with. We do not get to choose what those providers pay us. And if 50% of your clients work for Microsoft, you bloody well better be able to take V.c, despite the fact that they reimburse at exactly half what Medicaid reimburses at (which is funny, because all your Microsoft mommies make six figures). R, on the other hand, may decide that they'll never cover you because they have enough of your specialty in network, never mind that the nearest provider is a ferry ride away (because this way they don't have to pay for those services).

As an insurer, you get to decide who you contract with. You can pick the providers that are the stupidest, that will accept the lowest rates, that have the lowest conflict rate of you arguing over charges. And you get to discuss this with the HR reps of companies large and small, none of which have any background in medicine, medical billing, accounting or statistics. To no one's surprise, they choose on price.

But the poor people? They pay what the state says they pay, the insurance companies collect what the state says they collect, and they contract with the providers the state says they contract with.

THEY STILL MAKE MONEY.

They're still private insurance companies, privately managing your health care, privately paying out private doctors. It is not "socialized medicine." It is not "universal healthcare." It is not the National Health Service. The healthcare industry is something like a tenth of the US economy; you're never getting that. But you go single payer and all of a sudden things go from back-room knife fights between Q, R, Betty and Cindy to state-mandated pricing and state-mandated coverage.

My future is tied to health care. I've got more in a medical practice than you have in your house.

And I'm a big booster of single payer.

And so's Aetna, who in this example is R.

kleinbl00  ·  99 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A Flower Pot of Significant Personal Importance

Houseplants are important psychologically. They demand nothing from us other than water and light, yet they are a living thing whose existence depends on us. By requiring our care they allow us to shift our focus from ourselves to something else, but at a much lower concentration than pets or humans. They're useful for staving off depression. The hard part is when the depression wins.

Mine started about ten. I'd had a couple houseplants and an aquarium in my room in 5th grade; when we moved in sixth I took the opportunity to plan a large skylight (which I never got - my parents put them in two other rooms but) and hang up a couple 4' grow lamps. By the time I was sixteen I had maybe 25 pots of various foliage, two aquariums and a hand-me-down cage full of finches.

By the time I was seventeen my sister was stealing my shit to sell to her friends, my parents weren't interacting with me unless it was to give me shit, I was a full-blown exercise bulimic and I was trapped.

And I let it all die.

At one point I went away for four or five days and my parents broke into my room because they suspected there were things to be fed in there. They apologized when they realized everything was long since dead.

But they never wondered what the fuck happened, and they never did anything about it.

I like green, growing things. My own little Silent Running in the middle of the fucking New Mexico desert was my escape capsule. And the fact that I couldn't keep it alive still messes me up.

The fact that my parents never gave a fuck made me angry for a very, very long time.

kleinbl00  ·  132 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What happened when Walmart left

I've noticed a peculiar thing happening to my psyche. Whenever I hear the words "intersectionality" "privilege" or "coal miner" I find myself losing all sympathy and empathy. My hackles are raised, my interest in debate plummets and I go full "plague on both your houses" mode.

I have a couple friends in West Virginia and I don't give a fuck about West Virginia. As a country, we were talking about doomed fucking coal jobs in the '80s. And when your two choices of employment are the Walmart and the prison, your local economy is end stage already.

And can we level for a minute? Those of us who grew up in the Mountain West were surrounded by ghost towns left skeletonized by an end of mining, agriculture, ranching, you fucking name it. Everybody moved the fuck on. And while I appreciate that the mortgage is an excellent instrument for trapping workers in place for better predation by corporations, fuckin' take the hit and leave.

I spent a lot of time driving through rural Arizona back in the late '90s. I spent a little time driving through rural Arizona in 2010. Know what I saw? New ghost towns. Places where it made sense to live when Clinton was president but totally didn't when Obama was. Empty houses, empty stores. Fuckin' sunrise, sunset. Know what we call the people who left squalor and risked everything to find new opportunity? YOUR ANCESTORS. Know what we call the people who stayed? We don't. They've been forgotten by time.

    Given her mother’s health issues, Nicole Banks tries to compensate for Walmart’s departure by seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables in the surrounding area. But it’s not easy. The nearest replacement store, Goodsons, is too expensive, she says, and other Walmarts are an hour’s drive away along Appalachian roads that are as tightly coiled as the copperhead snakes that live in the local forest.

I mean, eat a dick. I grew up an hour from a fucking Taco Bell. Walmart? The first Walmart I ever saw was a two and a half hour drive away and even at the tender age of 11 I could tell it was a blight upon the community.

    It was into this stunning setting that Walmart descended in 2005 on the site of an old Kmart, like the spacecraft of alien botanists that lands in the forest at the start of the movie ET. And there it sat: a massive gash of concrete encircled by nature’s abundance.

Talk about burying the lede. So a store with higher profit margins crashed, so Walmart came in with lower profit margins, until even they were just losing money. But somehow this is about Walmart leaving rather than fuckin' McDowell County returning to the primordial "largest mixed mesophyte forest in the world" as is good and just and righteous and proper. Know how many people live on South Georgia Island? Two. Know how many lived there when whale hunting was legal? Hundreds.

    Wanda Church has been unemployed since that day when she cried as Walmart’s doors were closed for the last time; the company offered her a night shift at the next store along, but she couldn’t stomach the hour’s drive either way and wasn’t prepared to leave her home.

That howling sound you hear is every urban commuter reading this article and screaming at the top of their lungs that their commute is over an hour and that's just the way it is princess.

    The company had worked with all the employees who had lost their jobs to find them suitable transfers or give them severance pay. “We look forward to continuing to serve our Kimball area customers when they visit our stores in Bluefield, Princeton and MacArthur,” she said, (without referencing the hour’s drive.)

There are THREE fucking Walmarts within an hour. Workers at any supermarket chain you care to mention are quite used to suddenly having a shift an hour away. This happens in major metropolises and yes, I can say with authority that Walmart does it, too.

This is literally liberal disaster porn talking about those poor fuckers in coal mining country who no longer have a Walmart across the street but can drive 40 minutes to get to one. They're fuckin' 40 minutes from the goddamn interstate; time was going to forget them sooner or later and sincerely - from those of us "scots irish" who grew up in the goddamn desert, welcome to thunderdome, bitch.

Articles like this? They make me want the opioid crisis to accelerate, Obamacare to crash and global warming to destroy the economy of appalachia even faster. If the only thing that kept you hanging on was the talons of Bentonville Fucking Arkansas, you were ready to shuffle off the coil a long fucking time ago.

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin' and either way, know that I'm all the fuck out of sympathy.

    Being a schoolteacher, Phillips has a theory for what happened when the store closed. “Socialization. We lost our socialization factor. Now it’s hard to keep track of people, there’s no other place like it where you can stand and chat.”

    There was something else Phillips lost with Walmart’s departure. To illustrate the point, he reaches into his red pick-up truck and pulls out a loaded Para Ordnance Warthog .45 handgun and waves it at us, telling us not to freak as the safety is on.

    “Bought this in the Walmart parking lot,” he says. “Guy sees me reading a gun magazine and asks me was I carrying. He offered to sell me the Para warthog and I got it for $775.” Phillips took his new possession home and added to his collection of 140 firearms.

no words

kleinbl00  ·  171 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Homelessness up 26% in LA YoY, 10% in Seattle , *61%* among LA youthx 2

"These people" are "us people" under poorer circumstances. There's a real tendency for people to think that poverty reflects a moral or intellectual failing but it's a shamefully dismissive way to view the problem.

kleinbl00  ·  205 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Buying Silicon Valley's Horseshit

    “The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”

- Banksy, AdBusters interview backintheday

The issue is not that these choices are available, the issue is that these choices crowd out the sensible ones. There's a lot of fallacious product design in toothbrushes. At the same time, it makes sense to apply what we know about dental hygiene to what we know about human habit to what we know about materials science to what we know about merchandising because even an expensive toothbrush is what? $4? $5? That's before you get into the land of Sonicare and its ilk and there are justifications to that, too. I have a $140 toothbrush. It was recommended to me by my dentist over my $100 toothbrush because apparently I was brushing hard enough to require some repair at the gumline to the tune of $900 billed to my insurance. The difference? The new one tweedles at me when I brush too hard. First world problems? You betcha. Asymptotic improvement? Mos def. BUT it is innovation in pursuit of improvement.

Dollar shave club, on the other hand, doesn't help you shave better. What it does is provide you access to bottom-of-the-barrel no-name Chinese blades at substantial markup to you. Yeah - a bag of Bic safety razors is like $3 for 24 or whatever so obviously you don't have to purchase that, either, but Unilever spent a billion dollars buying Dollar Shave Club instead of, I dunno, making better razors.

Lather, rinse, repeat. You rightly state that you are not directly impacted by any of these deeply silly Silicon Valley choices but you are indirectly affected. As you state, you're a fan of Blue Apron - what if Silicon Valley spent $120m on improving the efficiency of produce delivery to wherever you are instead of $120m on ways to sell chopped fruits and vegetables for $10/lb?

Henry Petroski has argued many times that necessity isn't the mother of invention, luxury is - we do not invent a fork because we cannot eat without one, we invent a fork because it's easier to eat with one. The inventor/manufacturer profits off of the increase of ease he provides us, and we pay him gladly. The argument put forth in the article (not as clearly as it could be, no doubt) is that the Silicon Valley business cycle is not focused on efficiency, it's focused on inefficiency and predation. And while this is not universally true, the argument for "disruption" is not "make the world a better place" it's "break laws and make money until they legislate you out of existence."

I have thousands of hours of music on hard drives. I used to have hundreds of CDs. My access to music went up an order of magnitude with the advent of Napster... but I can't really say that MP3s improved the state of music. It used to be that technological innovation was largely in pursuit of quality-of-life improvement and that argument could easily be made about Napster et.al. However, the inefficiencies of the music market also provided a living for most of the people involved in its generation.

And that's another issue - companies like RentBerry and Fiverr are, at base, eliminating inefficiencies. However, in a marketplace that's even a little unfair or uncompetitive, "inefficiencies" are often the profit of the disadvantaged. On a perfectly level playing field, assembly line workers in Detroit should have no problems competing with assembly line workers in Guadalajara.

But.

    This article is annoying because it stands on the premise that someone offering a choice to you is the same as you being forced to participate, and that a choice you don't agree with is somehow this nefarious plot to screw your life up. Fiverr doesn't exist to destroy the middle class dream. It connects freelancers with people who hire them.

Hi. Freelancer. Years of experience. Union member, skilled laborer. And where I work, the middle has dropped out. I'm one of the youngest people in my industry that I know of and my 20-year reunion was a while ago. See, used to be you started out as a gopher PA and then you became a set PA and then you picked up a skill and then you started making a little money and your network grew and you started making more money and eventually you had a wife and two kids and a house in the Valley. But now there's a sea of film school grads who can work for free because mommy and daddy understand that you have to do that for a while in order to get experience so they'll pay Janie's $1900/mo rent for a studio in Panorama City while she struggles for free until eventually it becomes clear that as soon as she starts to ask for money there's ten more Janies eager to take her place so eventually she's going to go back to live with her parents in Dayton and take orders at Applebee's while meanwhile, the guys that are actually hiring new kids who don't know what they're doing are generally doing it with their parents' money, too, and they're going to fail out within however long it takes for their folx to get sick of paying for their hobbies and in the meantime, we're all getting older and we're all hanging on to the gigs we have and the kids? The kids are not coming up because the opportunities that are available to them are a mirage.

Make no mistake. I'm the other side of that divide. Comfortably. But the gig economy, in my industry at least, is a fucking meat grinder for those without protections. Multiply times everything.

kleinbl00  ·  208 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The French Election Is Way Too Close To Call

So a "fixed payment annuity" is effectively an agreement between you and whoever manages the annuity. The agreement says that if you make payments over the allotted time, when the annuity reaches maturity, the manager will pay you back. What's typical (what my pension looks like) is you work for a certain amount of time to be vested, then you contribute the requisite number of hours or days or years of employment, then when you've reached that number (and usually a prequalifying age), the annuity manager lets you flip the switch from "putting in" to "taking out" which you typically do until you die.

My grandfather was a regional president of the AFL. He was a tool and die machinist, and then he was a union foreman. His pension kicked in at 65 and provided him with something like 75% of his salary until he died, and then it was supposed to provide his wife with 50% of his salary until she died. I think his other choice was 100% until he died, and then 25% to his wife until she died. That pension was written in the '40s, kicked in in the late '60s, and paid him until the early '90s.

It's not atypical for the money that you get out of a pension will be more than the money you put into a pension. This shortfall is covered by the fact that the pension manager has your money now to pay you later so they can invest it, earn interest, make stock splits, etc etc etc. In other words, they're taking on the risk but also capturing any gains above and beyond what's necessary to pay out the pensions of the accounts under management.

Now take me - I've been in my union since 2008. I got enough union work to start earning healthcare and start vesting in 2013. At the end of this year, I'll be eligible to actually get money out of my pension when I retire - but I'm a six figure guy and as it sits, I think my pension payout when I reach retirement age will be like $137 a month. Now - if I keep mixing high-budget full-pop network shows under my union contract for the next seventeen years, my payout will reach.... drumroll please... $837 a month.

Now granted: That's nice money. But I earn more than that in a day every time I work on a holiday and once I retire, i won't be. And a lot of the reason is that the pension managers can't guarantee they'll make killer gains to cover the shortfall.

A lot of the reason is medical plans. See, retirement and medical benefits are often mixed together and when the 'boomers were getting their rippin' pension and health plans set up in the late '60s/ early '70s...

...they weren't expecting to spend a factor of ten what they were currently spending.

I've got great health insurance. It's good enough that I leave my family for three months a year to keep it. And COBRA on it is like $1800 a month. That's for three young, healthy people. Now - I got a buddy whose wife is currently dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's. I have another friend who has been dealing with skin cancer. And I have another friend who regularly tears himself up falling off of horses. And the medical plan pays out for all that.

Combine that with the fact that it's gotten harder and harder to make the kind of gains that pension plans are used to.

twenty fucking percent. And since like 2011 the interbank rate in the US has been close enough to zero that it might as well be nothing. The rest of the world? Something like 2/3rds of the world's currency was under negative interest rates for the past three years. And if your pension plan was set up on the assumption that it could make an easy 10% a year because it always had forever and ever amen, you have a massive pension shortfall.

So that's pensions. You put a set amount of money in, you eventually take a set amount of money out, and the pension manager covers the shortfall by profiting off your contributions. Great to be a pension manager if that's easy, shitty to be a pension manager if it's hard, used to be easy, is now hard. Pension shortfalls 101.

401(k)s? Those are just bank accounts. They're bank accounts with special tax status but they're just bank accounts. You put money in, your employer matches it, and you play the ponies. You get to see every month (or every second, depending on how interested you are) just how your 401(k) is doing and you get to rebalance it, reallocate it, contribute to it, draw it down, use it as collateral, tap into it under penalty, all that fun shit entirely on your own. If you don't have enough money in your 401(k) when it's time to retire, that shit's all on you - you should have saved more. You should have invested more wisely. Your employer has fuckall to do with it - it's their pension fund but it's your 401(k).

If your pension is with CalPERS, you're fucked because they ran out of money. If your 401(k) was with Enron, you were fucked because you folded your retirement plan into a house of cards.. If you were a public worker, you had no choice other than what CalPERS invested in. If you worked for Enron you had all the choice in the world - but it seemed like the smart thing was to invest in your employer.

Ironically enough, Steve Bannon blames the latter for his worldview.

kleinbl00  ·  210 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Blueprint for Coffee in a Changing Climate

Okay. Look. I get it. Save the earth one cup at a time. Do right by your supply chain. Get the girl, kill the baddies and save the entire planet. And hooray for having your heart in the right place and sure - this is not a large trade organization and it doesn't have a lot of power so at least they're taking on what they can take on.

But this whole paper is an excuse for inaction. Cliff's notes on Action Item 3, "Measure and Reduce your Carbon Footprint:"

- Farmer Brothers (1800 employees, $240m sales)

- Determined that 85% of their carbon emissions come from roasting coffee

- Determined that 14% of their carbon emissions come from driving coffee

- Determined that 1% of their carbon emissions come from being in business

- So they got their engines certified clean idle

- And bought some carbon certificates

- To advance their goal of reducing their carbon emissions by 80% forty fucking years in the future

How many carbon credits did they buy? So few it didn't even make their self-fellating annual report. And - and here's my beef -

it wouldn't do fuckall about the future of coffee anyway.

Your argument - more money in cows than in coffee. To acknowledge that briefly, ranching is generally done on public lands while farming is done on private but we'll ignore that. One cow takes about 1.3 acres per year and one cow is good for about 500lbs of trimmed beef (and byproducts). Argentinian beef trades wholesale for $330/kt (or so) or $330/2200lb or 15 cents a pound so your 1.3 acres is earning you 75 bucks or, wholesale, you're making $57 per acre.

How 'bout coffee?

I know a shit-ton less about coffee than you do. All I have available to me is public information. When I google "coffee yield per acre" I get an article that tells me traditional methods yield as little as 450lbs an acre while intensive farming can push that up to 3,000 lbs. So right there, I know that if a specialty coffee association member wants to make a difference, he needs to find a modern farm that isn't fucking around because apparently the agricultural multiplier is a factor of seven. But how much are we getting for a pound of coffee?

Good thing your buddies at the SCAA are available to tell me. Looks like $1.75/lb. So even fucking around with shade-grown don't-care cherries-roasting-in-the-sun agriculture, a coffee plantation makes about a factor of ten over beef. But, of course, the capital expenditures to plant an acre of coffee and raise it to harvest are intense and no doubt reflected in that.

So I come back to this point - the links in the paper you shared all indicate that a coffee plantation is good for 30-50 years. They also indicate that 50 years from now, coffee will be coming from very different places. And digging into it a little more, it becomes obvious that an enterprising coffee roaster that actually wanted to make a difference (as opposed to sit around the tradegroup campfire singing koom bay yah) might get involved with some agricultural NGOs attempting to get ahead of the production curve on a crop that has a heavy sunk cost, an admirable response to intensive agriculture and the demand curve of a luxury item.

THEIR REPORT SHOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS.

Because see, if southern Mexico is currently the world's 8th largest arabica producer, I'ma guess that in 50 years south-central Mexico is gonna be the world's 8th largest arabica producer and if white-boy me can have some influence now that pushes things closer to the 3,000lb/acre number than the 450lb/acre number, FUCKIN'A PUT THAT SHIT IN WRITING.

    OVER THE NEXT 25 TO 30 YEARS, SALES OF TIMBER HARVESTED SUSTAINABLY ARE ESTIMATED TO GENERATE APPROXIMATELY U.S. $1,264,820 IN SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME TO THE PARTICIPATING COFFEE FARMERS

At the most, that's the equivalent of 50 acres of coffee. That's a legit "who gives a fuck" statistic. But your trade group gave it a quarter of a page.

I drink coffee. I like it. I want to keep doing it. And for fuck's sake, if your industry is worrying about 50% of the available land going away in the next 50 years, fuckin' do something about it.

    IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS.

    Minimize travelling and transport distances. Choose airlines with green travel credentials and choose economy class.

If you're worried about the carbon imprint of your ass in business class, you're worrying about the wrong damn thing. I mean - sure. Maybe you feel better riding in economy class because your tradegroup told you to. But I'd rather know that you're taking steps to not burn more of the Amazon.

And this paper says fuckall about the Amazon.

kleinbl00  ·  228 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 5, 2017x 2

We had our first birth in the birth center last night. Success. And we get to bill for nitrous. That means the infernal machine needs to be used only nineteen more times to pay for itself. My daughter, on the other hand, called for attention every time I was about to fall asleep for the first two hours and then woke up from a screaming, bawling nightmare. My wife is asleep in the other room which prevents me from finishing the background pass on the not-very-good movie, unless I put on headphones, which I hate doing when I'm doing surround work.

Our burn rate is a few thousand dollars higher per month than we anticipated, due entirely to construction delays. This means it will be longer before the center is profitable. Nonetheless, confidence is high. My wife pointed out last night that it was effectively equivalent to me putting her through college all over again. This morning I'm mulling over the fact that aside from a brief, glorious nine months between relationships in 2002, and a semi-refreshing, maybe-we'll-make-it period of about a year before we had our daughter, I have given over the overwhelming majority of my earnings to the care of others for more than 20 years now.

I'm partly bitter about that and partly contemplative. A friend of mine was in Variety on Friday because he's got a show set up with Granada and Netflix. He, of course, came to LA about a year after I did. Then his wife (whose family is not just wealthy, they're royal) supported him while he did free work for two solid years, had two kids, went through treatment twice and lived i a $4k/mo apartment while we were grinding dried placentas to make ends meet. They don't tell you that: if you're trying to break in while earning a living, you're breaking in against dilettantes with zero cost-of-failure and infinite hang-time. Then Sunday I discovered that another below-the-line friend had died of a heart attack at 36.

It's all about anchoring, I guess. I've got a tree surgeon coming over to tell me what it's going to cost to make sure the three massive firs in the back don't fall on the house. I'm hoping I can afford it. At the same time I was talking to the neighbor Sunday; her roof is leaking because she got a deal from another neighbor's then-boyfriend but he's a junkie now so whatever warranty there was, yeah notsomuch anymore. Meanwhile they're building out, not up, because it's cheaper, because there's seven of them in there, six adults, and they've got one bathroom and fewer square feet than we do, and one of them is in a wheelchair. But she's on 100% disability, her daughter is on 100% disability, her son works two jobs, both of which are custodial, her one grandson got thrown out of his mom's house for fighting and her other grandson -

He was howling Sunday. Not sure why. It was dark, there was lots of shouting. We're debating calling CPS. He hangs out with me but he's rough. He's eight and enjoys the company of my 4-year-old daughter who is brighter than him by far. He's on the spectrum among other things and he breaks stuff. We let him play with our daughter out doors but he's not allowed in our house unless one of his family members are there. And we're crowded with three people and all our shit in this house but fuckin'A we can still park a car in the garage. They've got seven people in there and I don't even know who the seventh is.

They're building out. They're getting a loan. The contractor is a friend of a friend which worked out oh-so-well last time, right? There's seven of them, two fixed incomes and maybe three jobs between them, none of which make much money. I mean, they've got a blue tarp keeping the rain off half the house (not the roof leak; apparently that's just sort of happening without any remediation).

Anchoring. I don't have a blue tarp keeping the rain out of the family room, my toilet-to-person ratio is 1.5, and we have retirement savings as if we were 20 years older than we are now. And I'm not in Variety but I'm not in the ground, either. And as formidable as our burn rate is, we fuckin' made it this month.

This month, anyway.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 29, 2017x 2

Birth center is donezo.

I mean, there's a couple little things. Gotta put up some blinds. Need to replace a doorknob. One counter still needs a backsplash. But we spent $1500 on catering for 50 people at the open house Saturday and after three hours we had eight rolls of mortadella, a couple polenta cakes and about a melon's worth of honeydew.

Also got my call for work this summer, so our financial future is secure while we wait for, oh, $1500 worth of catering to come back to us as goodwill and consumer interest.

Also pulled off the taxes such that we won't starve prior to work starting again, was able to pay my daughter's tuition in full, was able to pay the accountants and was able to set money aside for retirement for me and the wifey for the first time since 2005 so that's nice. I also managed, through sheer blind luck and mk's tutelage, to leverage bitcoin and Ethereum such that... well, I'm pleased with the current price and guardedly optimistic as to its trajectory. We should be starving to death right now and we're not. We might be sitting on a half million dollars' worth of leverage but apparently that's between a third and a quarter of where we'd be with a dental clinic. I might be driving a '95 Dodge, my daughter's room might be directly across the hall from mine and I might not be sure if we can afford storm windows this spring but fuckin'A I have a reasonable expectation that whatever windows we've got, I'll still own their frames next year.

My insurance is good enough that I have a nutritionist and a physical therapist, and my daughter is going to have a shitty week because she's got shots tomorrow and the dentist friday. I also have a yoga instructor. Mine is a pampered fucking lifestyle. If my biggest complaint is that I'm now eating sixteen servings of fresh vegetables a day I'm neck deep in white people problems.

I dunno. You're supposed to be thankful in November. That's always seemed weird to me because that's right about the time you're going into ridiculous debt buying shit people don't need and busily accomplishing fuckall until January. For me, it's always been getting through February.

We're cooking the second 3lb chunk of corned beef for my father-in-law's birthday tomorrow. That means i will make Irish Tacos for the second time in as many weeks because they're fucking delicious.

kleinbl00  ·  252 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why I think the tech interview process is broken – Medium

Speaking as a twice-optioned screenwriter with an engineering degree, the divide is this:

The mathematically inclined - STEM-heads - know what something is. They function on the quantifiable and defendable. Their sphere of comfort is one in which data and facts and evidence hold the greatest sway.

The romantically inclined - liberal arts majors - know what something should be. They function on the desirable and intuitable. Their sphere of comfort is one in which concensus and persuasion allow us to achieve great things.

An engineer understands that the engines canna take much more of this, captain. The speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute. You can't fit ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. And they also know that all the hope in the world won't change that.

A poet understands that dammit, Scotty, we're counting on you. Laws are meant to be broken. You can be all that and a bag of chips. And they know that the bumblebee flies anyway.

We cannot function as a society without both aspects. We cannot function as humans without both aspects. HOWEVER

- Human Resources departments are never crewed by engineers.

- Boardrooms have few engineers in them.

- Lawyers are rarely engineers.

The tribe is led by liberal arts twits. They'd lead us all into the wasteland without people who understand double-blind testing but they'd still lead us there because your average stem-head generally believes that people should follow the evidence, not the leader.

But we don't.

It's an unfair stereotype to say that sciences majors are incapable of relating to liberal arts majors. However, it's an accurate stereotype to say that sciences majors do not relate to liberal arts majors as well as liberal arts majors relate to themselves, and it's fair to say that STEM-heads benefit from learning to meet the liberal arts majors where they live, if for no other reason than the parties tend to be less awkward.

That said, it's drearily routine for any liberal arts class inflicted on STEM majors to be seen as "humanizing" but any science class inflicted on liberal arts majors to be "degrading." "When am I ever going to use algebra again?" "How is the ideal gas law at all relevant to my future as a corporate raider?" "zeroth law? Can't you nerds even count to three?"

The STEM guys are far more likely to have a job, though.

kleinbl00  ·  262 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 5 Ways To Stay Sane In An Era Of Non-Stop Outrage

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if David Wong had started at Vanity Fair instead of Cracked, he'd be Hunter S. Thompson by now.

How half of America lost its fucking mind

The Monkeysphere

kleinbl00  ·  264 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: If life was fair would it still be interesting?

There will always be someone better off than you, there will always be someone worse off. For me, the goal is to always be better off than that guy I was last year.

kleinbl00  ·  293 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial Balloon for a Coup? Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours

I was busy. I have words. Watch this space.

_________________________________________________________________________

So. Furthering the conjecture and providing a little counterpoint, I believe that there are cogent issues raised but vital counterarguments left unasked. The author's analysis basically boils down to:

- The Trump administration deliberately gutted the State Department the same weekend they rolled out their Muslim ban in order to test the limits of executive power.

- They did this at the behest of Russia, which has sold of about a fifth of Rosneft without anybody really noticing.

- Trump has distanced himself from the American intelligence apparatus while also ramping up his personal security.

therefore, coup d'etat.

Did I miss anything?

All of this could be absolutely, 100% true and it does not support "therefore, coup d'etat." For example, sure: the Trump administration gutted the shit out of the State Department the same weekend they decided to write "ban all muslims" in crayon on a napkin and have Trump sign it. If you didn't want anyone from the State Department to tell you officially that it's a bad idea, unconstitutional and likely to cause unnecessary chaos for weeks/months/years, firing them all would be a great way to ensure your executive order gets rolled out how you want it.

If you wanted the State Department to lend legitimacy to what you're doing, it's exactly the wrong way to do it.

Right now, DHS is defying court orders and doing what Trump says. This is no doubt due to the fact that their lawyers looked over their charter and determined that they report to the Executive, not the Judicial, and that they're required to be goose-stepping thugs whether it's illegal or not. They are, no doubt, awaiting clarification or instruction from the chain of command their lawyers have determined they're bound by so that they can continue to do their jobs as charged.

But suppose Trump is literally Voldemort, Bannon is literally Skeletor, KellyAnn Conway is literally Cruella DeVille and RNCPRBS is literally Joseph Goebbels. DHS has a quarter million employees. You think they're all going along with this? Dunno about you, but at the airports I fly through they're mostly minorities and women. Shit, I've seen like a dozen in LA wearing hijabs. I've overheard them talking to each other in Seattle in Amharic.

I say this to celebrate it, not to denigrate it: we had two days of protests at ten different airports this weekend over 109 detained travelers.

A quote over the article:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.

Supposes that the protestors represent the minority opinion. They do not. We're rapidly reaching not protest fatigue, but protest normalization. I dunno about your Trump-voting Facebook friends, but mine were pretty goddamn quiet this weekend. They were the only ones. Moving on, Russia:

I mean, sure. It's entirely possible that this is all at the behest of Russia. It's entirely possible that Trump is doing it to get a fifth of Rosneft, just like in the dossier, for lifting sanctions against Russia. But sanctions haven't been lifted yet. More than that, any sanctions lifted can be reimposed by Congress with a supermajority if I'm not mistaken. Finally, throwing the nation into turmoil at the behest of an enemy power for personal enrichment is treason and/or terrorism and/or espionage. You wanna talk impeachable offenses, each one of those is a federal capital offense. So if Trump's gonna take the money and run, he better run far.

But right - he's gonna take over the country:

    Especially if combined with the DHS and the FBI, which appear to have remained loyal to the President throughout the recent transition, this creates the armature of a shadow government: intelligence and police services which are not accountable through any of the normal means, answerable only to the President.

Pretend none of those people are thinking, feeling human beings. Pretend they're orcs. There's 300,000 orcs willing to do Sauron's will. oh shit what will we do?

You might be interested to know that before you get dumb and talk army vs. fbi or any of that shit, there's about 800,000 cops in the United States, all of which have a long-standing interagency beef with everybody that isn't cops. Does the author really expect every other organization in the United States to roll over as the DHS attempts to consolidate power?

Does the author really think the Trump administation thinks that's going to happen?

    Trump was, indeed, perfectly honest during the campaign; he intends to do everything he said, and more. This should not be reassuring to you.

    The regime’s main organizational goal right now is to transfer all effective power to a tight inner circle, eliminating any possible checks from either the Federal bureaucracy, Congress, or the Courts. Departments are being reorganized or purged to effect this.

    The inner circle is actively probing the means by which they can seize unchallenged power; yesterday’s moves should be read as the first part of that.

    The aims of crushing various groups — Muslims, Latinos, the black and trans communities, academics, the press — are very much primary aims of the regime, and are likely to be acted on with much greater speed than was earlier suspected. The secondary aim of personal enrichment is also very much in play, and clever people will find ways to play these two goals off each other.

This can be absolutely, positively 100% true and still not matter. I don't know if you've been watching this administration. They aren't speaking like the Lords of Creation addressing the mortals from their seats in Valhalla. They're speaking like David Koresh from the basement. They don't answer, they lash out. They don't respond, they attack. The only support they've gotten - from anyone - comes in the form of "not objecting."

    A source familiar with Booker’s exchange with CBP officials told The Daily Beast that officials with the agency refused to see him face to face. Instead, Booker wrote questions on a piece of paper which he handed to police officers, and those officers gave the paper—along with a copy of Brinkema’s ruling—to CBP officials. Those CBP officials then wrote out their answers to the senator’s questions, according to the source. The source described it as a half-written, half-spoken game of telephone.

Those are your goose-steppers, by the way. The shock troops at the front of the new totalitarian wave. Doing everything they can to not have their names attached to this travesty. The simple act of doing what they're told and throwing 100-odd people in secondary hold for the weekend has them hanging their heads and hiding under desks.

Do you really think they like this any better than you do?

___________________________________________________________________

Look. Putin came to power by killing 300 innocent people and blaming it on terrorism. Theoretically, Trump could do the same. After all, without the Reichstag we've got no 3rd Reich, right? Except Putin was already popular. And at the Reichstag fire Hitler and Hindenberg had 80% of the vote. Neither of them were under investigation for colluding with foreign powers.

And there's something... confounding about the dualism necessary in these discussions. Either Trump is a greedy manchild bent on personal enrichment or he's a Manchurian candidate idealistically bent on sweeping the Muslims into the gutter of history. He can't be both.

    Mr. Bannon told a colleague in multiple conversations during the presidential campaign that he knew Mr. Trump was an “imperfect vessel” for the revolution he had in mind. But the upstart candidate and the media entrepreneur bonded anyway.

    In August 2015, Mr. Bannon told Ms. Jones in an email that he had turned Breitbart, where employees called certain political stories “Bannon Specials,” into “Trump Central” and joked that he was the candidate’s hidden “campaign manager.” He hosted Mr. Trump for friendly radio interviews and offered tactful coaching. This August, with the Trump campaign foundering, Mr. Bannon took over as chief executive.

Washington Post

Somebody's being used here, and somebody's using. The author's argument is that the Trump administration is using us because the Russians are using them. But do we really believe that Putin has a tighter leash on Trump than the rest of us? That Bannon does?

Or are we looking at the thrashings of an insular, inexperienced administration attempting to ramrod through everything they can while deliberately avoiding anyone who can tell them no?

_____________________________

Look. Russia has already benefitted immeasurably. This was a triple grand slam for Putin. Anything that happens from now only puts them further ahead. They have no real risks to worry about. But they're not crazy. They know that an erratic puppet on the throne will cause chaos and discord. They also know that whenever you put someone divisive in charge, you aren't going to get a lot of unity.

Don't get me wrong. This is all crazy shit, and many of us, myself included, certainly didn't predict it'd get this dumb this quick. I'd argue that's because we overestimated the acumen of the Trump team, not underestimated.

They're shifting the transmission into reverse without putting in the clutch. Gears are grinding. Sparks are flying. And Donald J. Trump, the man who doesn't exist if he isn't on television, is being pilloried by nearly everyone. Do you think he likes that?

Reading all this doesn't make me think "how long have we got?" it makes me think

how long has Steve Bannon got?

kleinbl00  ·  293 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wall

Trump is not the government. Trump is a part of the government - and a very powerful, very important part of the government at that. But the rest of the government has spent much of their adult lives becoming as powerful and important as they can possibly be and there's only so much to go around.

There are very few people in the government who desire a radical, disruptive change to the American way of life. All of them would like things to be more their way than the other guys' way, for sure... but you don't generally get involved in government unless you relish the grinding of sausage. Governance is a process-oriented profession. It is a life-long, avocational application of nuance. The goal is to get what you want, deny your opponents what you don't, and live to fight another day.

The Trump administration (still hard to say that) is governing as if they expect the world to end next week. They're blasting through everything they can. They're riding roughshod over everyone who stands in their way to make as much leeway as possible before they get mired in the mud.

Let's pretend you're Paul Ryan. You've been in Congress eighteen years - nine terms. You've built coalitions, relationships, alliances, non-aggression pacts and vendettas. You've put up with Democratic bullshit since Clinton was President and here you are, Speaker for the House.

And the President is acting like you aren't there.

And it's not like he's an ally. He's the guy that you couldn't publicly decry because apparently this is what we're doing now. And it would be righteous to have the House, the Senate and the Executive but apparently the Executive belongs to - wait for it - Breitbart. There are literally bloggers with more power than you.

How long are you going to take that?

How long are your friends going to take that?

Here's the thing: the gerrymandering has worked really damn well. You'll own the House for the next twenty years. After this dumpster fire, the Democrats will win the presidency. At least, you certainly have to consider the strong possibility that whatever follows, it's not gonna look great on the Republicans.

...unless you take a principled stand to check the power of the Executive in the name of stability, equality, and serving all Americans.

The Dems will go along with it no problem. Everyone that isn't Tea Party will go along with it no problem. You're kicking the shit out of any future Democratic president and ensuring that whoever runs on the Republican side next time, he'll be a Company man toeing the Company line.

Never attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by incompetence.

-Napoleon et. al.

We've seen plenty of evidence that the Republican Party doesn't know what to do with this dumpster fire. For the Democrats, it's easy: protest or be pilloried. For the Republicans, you're theoretically getting everything you want... along with a bunch of stuff you don't want... all at once, and with no real organization, and delivered to you as if you were on a not-very-good Reality TV show. But at some point you start looking long-term and you recognize that either they're going to take you down with them or you need to check the runaway excesses of an unprincipled Executive branch.

Trump is entirely too cozy with Russia. Russia helped get him elected. He's your guy, sure. But guys change. And who's calling the shots here?

Multiply times 248 for the House and 54 for the Senate. The Trump agenda may be closer to the Republican agenda than the Democratic agenda, but it's still the Trump agenda. And everybody who signed on enthusiastically before the election? They're cabinet members now.

kleinbl00  ·  302 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Democrats, it's time to hunker down

if Andy Kaufman were a blogger

kleinbl00  ·  305 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017x 2

a year in the life.

We had our first class in there last night. Coats were hung on coat hooks I had hung five minutes previously. The person running the class had my phone number for two days to coordinate everything she might need; instead she showed up half an hour after she said she would and expected I could make it all work. And I did. But it's galling - "Yeah, I've never been here before, or met you before, and the last time my organization stopped by the sheetrock had just gone up I'm sure you can make my three hours of powerpoint and Youtube videos work just fine, especially if I give you half an hour, despite the fact that I've been forewarned the internet is spotty I'm sure you can work it out."

And then my wife showed up and then I took the kid home and then she got home at eleven. I'm on my 3rd or 4th 10-11-12 hour day on this fucker. Monday night was two hours naked knee-deep in lukewarm water scraping blue protectant off a tub. Yesterday, on the other, was easier... but I discovered that the tub they were 3 weeks late in delivering (thereby setting us back 3 weeks) is a factory 2nd with a massive chip in it that will spread if I can't get it fixed. So that made me happy.

The difficulty is the minute that class got there, it was abundantly clear that I don't belong. Nobody in the birth community says "husband" because it's offensive. We're all "partners." And we're all "supportive" and we're all expected to get out of the way so they can focus on women's mysteries. Except during the birth where the philosophy is basically "thou art thy partner's bitch who is suffering more than you can ever know to bring about the miracle of life you're lucky we let you in the room worm now help your master breathe!"

So what I'm left with is I've spent like three years building a business in an industry actively hostile to my gender, that will never have anything to do with me, and which resents my participation. I am a fish building an airplane. It's a fuckin' P-51 Mustang to be sure but I still got gills, you know? The only thing I get out of it is gratitude from my wife, and despite spending the better part of two days cleaning and tidying and polishing that place I was denied any reaction from her last night because god forbid we speak too loudly to interrupt the class.

I realized yesterday that while I've been maintaining social media channels for two years and organizing ad campaigns and infographics and all the rest, I've never once mentioned the birth center on my own Facebook page.

This is really the only place I talk about it.

That probably says something.

kleinbl00  ·  334 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Star Wars Rogue One Bamboozles You

I don't wanna beat up Star Wars too much. The original film was a seismic disruption to the entire industry. It came out like 9 months after Logan's Run - you want some cognitive dissonance, watch Box and the Star Filters in the Disco Cave and then sit down to Alderan. Star Wars broke the mold, shattered the industry and remade it.

And honestly, it borrowed from good sources. It's just that once Star Wars and Empire were done, nobody was ever going to tell George Lucas what to do ever again so we kind of get Ewoks all the time now.

You can shout about nuance but it won't carry the weight of a whisper about simplicity.

Truth is optional.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah fuckin' blah.

LOOK

I give money.

I contribute to culture.

I make the arguments.

I financially support the candidates (FUCKING OUT OF STATE CANDIDATES).

Blah blah blah blah "The left gave the fuck up on a lot of "Flyover Country" and now they don't have the House, they don't have the Senate and they only control 26% of the state legislatures" EAT A FUCKING DICK.

This has been said so many times it's like the fuckin' koreans and their goddamn breath-stealing fans. "The Left gave up on Flyover Country." What the fuck does that even mean? Does that mean, like, when every liberal under the sun petitioned Scott Fucking Walker about unions despite the fact that we're pretty much never in Wisconsin? Does that mean giving to Planned Parenthood despite the fact that we're not young, not female, not pregnant and have absolutely zero difficulty pointing to eighteen places within a ten mile radius that perform abortions? Does that mean bussing to fucking New Orleans to help rebuild after Katrina? Because that's how the Left gave up on "Flyover Country." Meanwhile the shows we're showing you don't represent your values, the food we eat is somehow offensive to your deep-fried ass, the music we play offends your pedal steel heart and the fact that you fucks consistently vote against women, black people and the poor is somehow

OUR

FUCKING

FAULT.

So look. Y'all can pick your own fucking candidates, with your own fucking money, and twist in your own fucking wind. And yeah - the Republicans are going to take it all. Here's the difference: you shitheads wanted this. Us "coastal elites?" We voted for what we wanted, clear and simple, and got everything we wanted locally, clear and simple, and the values we represent, the values we live, the values we put forth? The ones that you're pissed off because somehow, we "abandoned" you?

Who's doing the abandoning, shithead?

Sure. Win some fucking elections. But you know what? If we don't know how to win YOUR fucking elections for you, STOP BLAMING US FOR TRYING.

I am legitimately sick of this shit. Because honestly? I can continue to fly the fuck over your country. Here, look: I can paint the problem with the United States in one fucking step:

1) Insist that homeownership is the key to happiness and increase accessibility to homeownership for all

Here, watch what happens next:

2) Watch housing prices increase due to easy access to ownership

3) Watch urban mobility go down due to lack of fluidity within housing

4) Watch cities and towns become more vulnerable to shock when industry changes because people are trapped in their houses

5) Watch blight increase as foreclosures replace tenant changeover; watch the savings of homeowners go to (coastal) banks, watch places without the ability to adapt to change (rural areas) become skeletonized wastelands while everyone of means bolts to the cities, where all the money is

JP Morgan Chase: NY, NY

Bank of America: Charlotte, NC

Citigroup: NY, NY

Wells Fargo: San Francisco, CA

US Bankcorp: Minneapolis, MN

Bank of NY Mellon: NY, NY

PNC Financial: Pittsburgh, PA

Capital One: VA

HSBC North America: NY, NY

TD Bank of America: Cherry Hill, NJ

__________________________________________

Know what? I want your side to start winning elections, too. But you're not going to. You're stupid fucking rednecks. Sure - not all of you. But enough of you. And you know what? Every time we try and help out the rest of you ungrateful little shits? We're not helpful enough. "What's the matter with Kansas?" It's a fucking shithole full of ignorant rednecks that want to go back to the barefoot, pregnant and syphilis days, duh. And that's why everyone with half a fucking clue moves away, and that's why your population is collapsing, and that's why there's nobody left to work the farm, and that's why you have a sea of fucking Walmarts instead of culture.

Because you've been screaming at the top of your lungs you want it that way since nineteen diggity two.

But hold the fucking phone if we listen.

kleinbl00  ·  382 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 2, 2016

The difference between "too much" and "not enough" is tied to demonstrating that you're interested and interesting.

"I am thinking about you" qualifies if you are in a committed, stable relationship. If you are 2 dates in, "I am thinking about you" violates protocol. And yes, there's protocol, you little simps. Your demonstrable ability to communicate your desirability is the one real task of courtship and the sooner you accept that it's a shorthand for a much larger discussion the happier you'll be.

Which is why "I am thinking about doing cool shit and would welcome your participation" qualifies early in a relationship. Importantly, this should reflect who you are at your best, not who you think she wants you to be. You must be genuine because you are effectively performing you and you must give a good performance. If you attempt to perform someone else she will feel betrayed (subconsciously) as soon as you cease to be that person.

"I think it would be fun to go to the fair, would you like to come?" is a great reason to contact someone. "I'm going hiking Saturday" works, too. Full disclosure: I haven't had to date since y'all were in grade school so I'm sure that some things have changed but to my sensibility, "netflix and chill" is something you use to cement a relationship, not develop one. The test is one of silence: are your silences comfortable or uncomfortable? If only one of you stops trying to fill the pauses with speech, you are not ready for "netflix and chill" or any other low-energy bonding pursuit.

One of the great things about kids is they allow you to pursue endeavors that you would not otherwise. Wanna go to the Lego store on a Saturday afternoon? Congrats. You have an excuse. How 'bout the Aquarium? Saddle up. Relationships are similar - there's a barrier to checking out that new cafe by yourself unless you are exceedingly comfortable with solitude. However, "I'm thinking of checking out that new cafe - wanna come?" demonstrates that you are sociable, interesting and fun to spend time with.

Note that it's important to consider you and to consider her. I had a girl bring me a stuffed gargoyle from the Disney store because she'd been to my place once and had noticed that everyone else used to buy me gargoyles (it's true). This demonstrated (A) she had paid attention but not enough to notice I hate Disney (B) she was thinking of me (C) she spends a lot of time at malls. From her perspective it was a nice, thoughtful gift and I took it as such. That relationship lasted four years. Later, I started dating a girl that had never gone hiking and was coming out of a difficult marriage that drained all her resources. I bought her a $200 pair of hiking boots. This demonstrated (A) that I wanted her to share my passions without any impediment (B) that I was very much not her soon-to-be-ex-husband (C) that I was willing to spend extravagantly on her. It was a risk - that's much too big a present for early on, particularly if $200 is dear to you - but it was a successful gambit. We're going on 15 years.

"Too much" is "I'm here, reminding you that I'm here." "Too much" is the "facebook poke" of relationships. "Not enough" is "I've heard I need to be distant so she doesn't freak out." IT'S NOT THAT. It's that you shouldn't say anything if you have nothing to say.

Courtship is about imagining someone else in your life and inviting them to dream with you. If you work at it from that perspective you'll gain some clarity on a process that both genders work diligently to obscure.