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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
[...] If you’re Bill Keller, say, or Tina Brown—whose Daily Beast gets one-tenth of Gawker Media’s readership on a good month—it’s much easier to view Denton as an upstart thug from nowhere, as opposed to an equal who’s kicking your ass. That plays directly into Denton’s strategy: Thuggish is the reputation he wants. [...] Here’s another hard truth: Denton himself has become more of a mainstream media baron than he admits. These days, Gawker Media’s blogs net up to 17.5 million U.S. visitors per month, making the company America’s 45th most popular online property, well ahead of nytimes.com (55) or TMZ.com (59). [...] The audience of the sci-fi blog i09 has more than doubled. [....]
It's a looong profile.
Of summer of 2002:
[...] He had been working on a news aggregator, and thought a blog—a format back then understood primarily as someone’s online diary [....]
Bullshit. Of course, who was doing the understanding? Not anyone paying attention to blogs then. Sigh; much could be annotated here, but I have neither time nor energy at present. And from Ben McGrath's New Yorkerpiece:
That summer, he abandoned the science-fiction novel he’d been working on [....]
Later note: it suddenly hit me, and a script for "So You Want To Work In Publishing" is writing itself in my head, but unfortunately I'd be apt to be out of date on some details too funny to want to leave out. Oh, I know! I shall sell this idea to an author and we can split the money when we sell it to a publisher!
See what I mean about it writing itself?
Apropos of nothing, I really do intend to at least have a blogroll again as soon as I can get to it after moving. (Then a full new format, ASAP after that; again, any volunteers for help with that welcome.)
Scott Edelman posts full videos of the World Fantasy Convention panel on "Failing Better - WFC 2010: The Moral Distance Between the Author and the Work," featuring Eric Flint, Nancy Kress, Paul Witcover, Kathryn Cramer, and Jack Skillingstead. And yes, first up after intros is an argument about Elizabeth Moon, or rather, arguing about whether to argue about Elizabeth Moon. And then more general discussion.
Good, smart stuff, and so far nothing I disagree strongly enough to bother mentioning.
[...] The Navy’s experts didn’t believe that China was capable of reverse-engineering the plane’s N.S.A.-supplied operating system, estimated at between thirty and fifty million lines of computer code, according to a former senior intelligence official. Mastering it would give China a road map for decrypting the Navy’s classified intelligence and operational data. “If the operating system was controlling what you’d expect on an intelligence aircraft, it would have a bunch of drivers to capture radar and telemetry,” Whitfield Diffie, a pioneer in the field of encryption, said. “The plane was configured for what it wants to snoop, and the Chinese would want to know what we wanted to know about them—what we could intercept and they could not.” And over the next few years the U.S. intelligence community began to “read the tells” that China had access to sensitive traffic."
Hey, I know Whit Diffie; we've bought rounds of beer, with Avedon having introduced us.
You should read Avedon. We disagree some of the time, agree much of the time, but Avedon Carol is always essential reading if you want to follow politics from a leftist sui generis perspective and extraordinary talent, and one of the most amazing people I've ever known.
[...] In early 2009, Keating brought the issue to the new Obama Administration. If China had reverse-engineered the EP-3E’s operating system, all such systems in the Navy would have to be replaced, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. After much discussion, several current and former officials said, this was done. (The Navy did not respond to a request for comment on the incident.)
Admiral McVadon said that the loss prompted some black humor, with one Navy program officer quoted as saying, “This is one hell of a way to go about getting a new operating system.”
In 2009 NPR revenues totaled $164 million, with the bulk of revenues coming from programming fees, grants, contributions and sponsorships. According to the 2009 financial statement, about 40% of NPR revenues come from the fees it charges member stations to receive programming. Typically, NPR member stations raise funds through on-air pledge drives, corporate underwriting, and grants from state governments, universities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from local funding and 10% of their revenue from the federal funding in the form of CPB grants. NPR receives no direct funding from the federal government. About 1.5% of NPR's revenues come from Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants.
Let's play one of those lines back, kids! "NPR receives no direct funding from the federal government."
So, by all means, we're going to save a lot by cutting that NPR federal funding.
Professor David W. Blight of Yale reviews Bruce Levine's Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War and puts paid to the revisionist false claims that substantive numbers of slaves fought for the Confederacy as fourth graders in Virginia have now been taught via textbook researched on the internet. No, really. No, really.
Partially via the always under-read Thomas Nephew, and in this case a piece on Facebook on our Yankee Heritage: Honor the soldiers who put an end to slavery group you're welcome to join.
I'm trying to decide how much of this I agree or disagree with (at the moment). I probably agree with about 80%-85%, depending upon how much you weigh that I definitely don't want to eliminate capitalism entirely; what I want to do with it is more complex than I can sum up here, but "keep it under the control of, and for the benefit of, the people" might cover it if you understand that I have Sweden in mind, not Lenin.
Beyond that, I'm predispositioned against absolutist generalities, much though they make for more compelling rhetoric, but they may also contain larger truths that my hedgings and shadings obscure, and my predispositions aren't to be trusted, and are apt to be products of my own fear, blind spots, and defensiveness, as much as they might also be products of good sense and experience.
So, on with the daily work of thinking about it all. And you, well, it shouldn't surprise you if you know me that I'd think this is at least worth thinking about. Chris Hedges usually is.
TIME KEEPS ON SLIPPIN'. Date slippage. Various things having cropped up to slow moving preparations, I'm now moving to Oakland on November 11th, rather than the 3rd.
I'd hoped to spend my birthday in California, but it's not a big thing, and the relief of less time pressure is entirely worth the minor trade-off.
Raleigh, NC to Oakland, CA
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Travel Time 8 h 25 m
(1 stop, includes 1 plane change)
Depart Raleigh/Durham, NC (RDU) 12:45 PM
Arrive in Chicago (Midway), IL (MDW) 1:50 PM
Change in Chicago (Midway), IL (MDW) 3:10 PM
Arrive in Oakland, CA (OAK) 6:10 PM
I really hate moving.
And, yeah, now that I'm spending money I'm being money anxious again, so subscriptions and donations immensely welcome.
My old friend, Bill Patterson, speaks at the Cato Institute on his essential Heinlein biography, via the miracle of video.
Dr. Robert Runte, onetime fan, and now academic, reports:
In Toronto for the Canadian History of Education Association's annual conference, and by lucky coincidence, tonight was also the launch of It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis at the Merril Collection (Toronto Public Library). Choosing between this evening's presentations on history at the conference, or meeting Chandler Davis, who is history, was easy. And I was not disappointed. The panel at the Merril was one of the most stimulating academic events I have attended in years.
Robert has a whole bunch more good stuff, and picks.
You're probably not familiar with Chan Davis, but aside from his sf writing career, as Wikipedia notes:
[...] Davis—along with two other professors, Mark Nickerson and Clement Markert—refused to cooperate with the House Unamerican Activities Committee and was subsequently dismissed from the University of Michigan. Davis was then sentenced to a six-month prison term where he was able to do some research. A paper from this era has the following acknowledgement:
"Research supported in part by the Federal Prison System. Opinions expressed in this paper are the author's and are not necessarily those of the Bureau of Prisons."
Among other attendees were Emily Pohl-Weary, grand-daughter of Judith Merrill and Fred Pohl.
Probably my last Obsidian Wings post until I'm settled in Oakland, but I'll try to keep adding more links to this post as I can and seems appropriate., so check back.
[...] The government reported this week that the real wage and salary income of finance industry employees based in Manhattan rose nearly 20 percent in the first quarter of this year. [...] As can be seen in the accompanying graphic, the average financial industry employee earned just over $100,000 in the first three months of the year, a figure that was up sharply from the same period of 2009 but still below the payouts in the previous three years.
The fact that those averages include bank tellers and trading desk clerks, as well as senior investment bankers, shows just how large many of the bonuses were. [...] In the first quarter, only 4.6 percent of the finance workers in the country worked in Manhattan. But they received 14.7 percent of the income paid to all finance workers — giving the average Manhattan worker income about three times as large as the overall figure.
Since income inequality doesn't matter, we must all be rich! Yay!
How it works here may be more obvious if you look at how it works there.
[...] Without exception the festivals have been staged with the help of local governments that have come to realize that pierced rockers flailing around a mosh pit are not necessarily interested in upending single-party rule.
Or two-party rule.
But, hey, China's Woodstock!
[...] Offstage, vendors hawked vintage Mao buttons, bunny ears, glow sticks, neon-colored clown wigs, penis-shaped water guns and stuffed 'grass-mud horses,' a mythical creature that has become a protest symbol against Internet censorship.
Theoretically, one could imagine a situation where armed intervention at an early stage might prevent large-scale conflict. The problem is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict the outcome of violence. That it will be just is not guaranteed at the outset – it will only become clear in hindsight. The only certainty is that where there is violence, there is always and inevitably suffering.
This guy may be on to something. He keeps coming up with good stuff.
Acceptance of suffering does not mean we should not do everything in our power to solve a problem whenever it can be solved. However, acceptance of the suffering that we are already undergoing helps us not to make it worse with the additional burden of mental and emotional suffering. For example, there is not much we can do about old age. Far better to accept our condition than to fret about it.
If we develop concern for other people's welfare, share other people's suffering, and help them, ultimately we will benefit. If we think only of ourselves and forget about others, ultimately we will lose. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes.
Best of all, he doesn't send me any Facebook game requests.
DA MOVE. I'll probably toss up another link-dump post following this, to be added to as I note occasional items of interest, but this is notice that until I've made my move to Oakland on November 3rd, and then gotten unpacked and settled in, any sort of posting here will be pure gravy, as I'm moving into Full Nerves on moving.
Although money is not an immediate issue, I've certainly lost many $5/month donors over the past six months, along with a larger one or two, and right now a $50/month regular seems to be in suspension (to be fixed shortly, I hope), so subscriptions and donations will not be sneezed at, though I'm not, I repeat, in a crisis at this time, either. How much the move, and settling in, will cost remains to be seen, but I won't know more about that until the New Year.
See ya in California.
LATER: You know, actually, realizing that it's certainly going to be hundreds and hundreds of dollars of shipping, plus who knows what else, yeah, I really don't object in particular if people might sign up for some long-term subscriptions, small or large, or make donations. No, no, I really don't object at all.
Also, does anyone have any recommendations for cheap cell phones that will work in both Oakland, CA, and Raleigh, NC, and tide me over for a month or two with no contract involved, and will let me keep the same number, since I conveniently just broke my cell phone this week? I need to get something this weekend, and don't have a lot of time for research.
Need: cheap. I've lived with a minimalist non-smartphone and no data plan, and can probably continue; in any case, I'll decide on a longterm phone later. The entire point right now is to get something ultra-cheap to just tide me over for a month or so.
Folks on Facebook have variously suggested Virgin Mobile and Tracfone. However, I may have trouble keeping my same number, and particularly when this phone is now broken and I can't confirm anything with it. Might have to give up on that idea of keeping the number. Any thoughts, quickly, are welcome, as I'd like to, if possible, go out and get a phone on Saturday, or at least order a quick delivery.
[...] Here's what PTSD is like, and why people kill themselves over it. Think of life like a cave. If I send you into a cave with a lantern and tell you there are no bears in the cave, you feel safe. You will walk around the cave and enjoy yourself. Now what if I give you a lantern and a gun and tell you that there is a bear in there? You can still go down, but you'll be careful to look for the bear and ready to run or shoot if you see it. Now, what if I send you down there with a gun but no lantern and simply say "bear" to you? Pretty soon, you're in there, you can't see the way out, and every rock you bump into feels like a bear. After a long enough time being down in the cave, you realize you don't have enough ammo to shoot everything that might be a bear. It has nothing to do with running out of food or water or feeling like you're fighting some unwinnable battle with the bear. You just get sick and tired of the uncertainty. Are you going to live through the night? Are you going to wake up to a bear gnawing your intestines? You get to the point where you just wish the bear would come along and end it. And when he doesn't come, you decide to do it yourself.
Suicide isn't a surrender, it's a reassertion of power.
Excerpts from Taibii's new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That is Breaking America:
[...] After a few years of that he decided to take a step up morally and flee to the Middle East to go to work advising a bunch of sheiks on how to spend their oil billions.
Aside from the hot weather, it wasn't such a bad gig. But on one of his trips home, we met in a restaurant and he mentioned that the work had gotten a little, well, weird.
"I was in a meeting where a bunch of American investment bankers were trying to sell us the Pennsylvania Turnpike," he said. "They even had a slide show. They were showing these Arabs what a nice highway we had for sale, what the toll booths looked like . . ."
I dropped my fork. "The Pennsylvania Turnpike is for sale?"
He nodded. "Yeah," he said. "We didn't do the deal, though. But, you know, there are some other deals that have gotten done. Or didn't you know about this?" 7
NOTHING TO SEE HERE as the weekend link-dump begins. There's no Stuxnet in Iran, and what was has all been taken care of, and it was never there anywhere, even though those responsible have been arrested.
Can it be that American military bases abroad, usually thought of as 'stabilizers' in tough neighborhoods, are really the primary cause of radical terrorism against the US and its allies?
My answer: yes, or a significantly large secondary cause so as not to matter.
[...] Pape and his co-author Feldman have broken down every recorded suicide terrorist incident since 1980 and noted an eruption of such incidents since 2004. From 1980-2003, there were 350 suicide attacks in the world, only 15% of which were anti-American.
In the short five-year period since, from 2004-2009, there have been 1,833 suicide attacks, 92% of which were anti-American.
Pape argues that the key factor in determining spikes of suicide terrorism is not the prevalence or profile of radical Islamic clerics or mental sickness but rather the garrisoning of foreign troops, most often US troops or its allies, in these respective countries.
Pape and Feldman show for example that even in war-torn, beleaguered Afghanistan, suicide attacks surged from just a handful a year to more than 100 per year in early 2006 when US and military deployments began to extend to the Pashtun southern and eastern regions of the country beginning in late 2005. Pakistan also deployed forces against Pashtun sections of western Pakistan, which Pape and Feldman note also saw large spikes in suicide attacks.
I'm sure having a Chinese or Russian military base sitting adjacent to my town/city, with only a few rapes and fights per year, would absolutely make me feel more secure and in love with China or Russia.
Doesn't everyone feel more secure with armed foreigners with overpowering force living in your neighborhood, while not being subject to your laws?
[...] When Dr. Mitchell scanned the “baked goods” category recently, he noticed a clear pattern. NELL was at first quite accurate, easily identifying all kinds of pies, breads, cakes and cookies as baked goods. But things went awry after NELL’s noun-phrase classifier decided “Internet cookies” was a baked good. (Its database related to baked goods or the Internet apparently lacked the knowledge to correct the mistake.)
NELL had read the sentence “I deleted my Internet cookies.” So when it read “I deleted my files,” it decided “files” was probably a baked good, too. “It started this whole avalanche of mistakes,” Dr. Mitchell said. He corrected the Internet cookies error and restarted NELL’s bakery education.
Speaking of cookies, I also use the Firefox add-on BetterPrivacy to eliminate LSOs, and you might want to, as well.
Snippets of spider genes let mutant silkworms spin silk stronger than steel. Scientists have coaxed miles of spider-like silk from a colony of transgenic silkworms, opening the door for large-scale production of super-strong, tough and flexible fibers. [...] In the wild, some spiders’ silk can be up to 10 times tougher than Kevlar. A spider recently discovered in Madagascar spins threads tougher than any known biological substance.
“We haven’t gotten a hold of that sequence yet, but you can bet that’s going to be something we’re going to engineer into our silkworms,” Fraser said.
The researchers attached another fluorescent protein to the spider genes to make the silk itself glow green. The silk was just as strong, tough and flexible as before, indicating that scientists could attach other genes without diminishing the quality of the silk. One potential application of this feature is making bandages that stimulate the growth of regular skin instead of scar tissue.
Now to adapt them to human wrists.
It's Monty Python Day; on October 5, 1969, the show premiered. On this anniversary, AmygdalapresentsMonty Python's Flying Circus's most important contribution to our culture:
The survey confirmed several attributes of the Tea Party movement. Compared to the general population, they are more likely to be non-Hispanic white, are more supportive of small government, are overwhelmingly supportive of Sarah Palin, and report that Fox News is their most trusted source of news about politics and current events.
But the survey challenged much of the other conventional wisdom about Americans who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement:
Nearly half (47%) also say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement. Among the more than 8-in-10 (81%) who identify as Christian within the Tea Party movement, 57% also consider themselves part of the Christian conservative movement.
They make up just 11% of the adult population—half the size of the conservative Christian movement (22%).
They are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
They are largely Republican partisans. More than three-quarters say they identify with (48%) or lean towards (28%) the Republican Party. More than 8-in-10 (83%) say they are voting for or leaning towards Republican candidates in their districts, and nearly three-quarters (74%) of this group report usually supporting Republican candidates.
In the department of pay attention:
A majority (54%) of voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported health care reform, including 51% of independent voters and 79% of Democratic voters. Nearly 6-in-10 (59%) Republican voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported health care reform.
Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans favor a policy that provides a future path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for several years. Three-quarters of Americans also say immigration reform policies should be decided at the national level.
Public support for same-sex marriage increased by 8 points from 2008 to 2010 (29% to 37%). Half of Democrats, 4-in-10 independents, and less than 1-in-5 (17%) Republicans support allowing gay and lesbian people to marry.
Over the past five years, significantly more Americans report their views have shifted on the issue of rights for gay and lesbian people than on the issue of abortion (25% to 14% respectively).
On the whole, outliving wrongheaded views is slowly working. Slowly.
[...] There’s something comforting about this story: even Nobel-winning economists procrastinate! Many of us go through life with an array of undone tasks, large and small, nibbling at our conscience. But Akerlof saw the experience, for all its familiarity, as mysterious. He genuinely intended to send the box to his friend, yet, as he wrote, in a paper called “Procrastination and Obedience” (1991), “each morning for over eight months I woke up and decided that the next morning would be the day to send the Stiglitz box.” He was always about to send the box, but the moment to act never arrived. Akerlof, who became one of the central figures in behavioral economics, came to the realization that procrastination might be more than just a bad habit. He argued that it revealed something important about the limits of rational thinking and that it could teach useful lessons about phenomena as diverse as substance abuse and savings habits. Since his essay was published, the study of procrastination has become a significant field in academia, with philosophers, psychologists, and economists all weighing in.
I have to get around to finishing reading this story.
Just kidding. Finishing reading is rarely something I have a problem doing, so long as it's under novel length, and I have at least three days, even though I typically have 7-8 tabs open at once.
It's doing stuff beyond reading that I procrastinate about.
[...] As various scholars argue in “The Thief of Time,” edited by Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White (Oxford; $65)—a collection of essays on procrastination, ranging from the resolutely theoretical to the surprisingly practical—the tendency raises fundamental philosophical and psychological issues. You may have thought, the last time you blew off work on a presentation to watch “How I Met Your Mother,” that you were just slacking. But from another angle you were actually engaging in a practice that illuminates the fluidity of human identity and the complicated relationship human beings have to time. Indeed, one essay, by the economist George Ainslie, a central figure in the study of procrastination, argues that dragging our heels is “as fundamental as the shape of time and could well be called the basic impulse.”
[...] What would happen in the many communities now allowing medical marijuana had been a subject of much hand-wringing. But few predicted this: that it would be a boon for local newspapers looking for ways to cope with the effects of the recession and the flight of advertising — especially classified listings — to Web sites like Craigslist.
But in states like Colorado, California and Montana where use of the drug for health purposes is legal, newspapers — particularly alternative weeklies — have rushed to woo marijuana providers. Many of these enterprises are flush with cash and eager to get the word out about their fledgling businesses.
“Medical marijuana has been a revenue blessing over and above what we anticipated,” said John Weiss, the founder and publisher of The Independent, a free weekly. “This wasn’t in our marketing plan a year ago, and now it is about 10 percent of our paper’s revenue.”
It is hard to measure what share of the overall market they account for, but ads for medical marijuana providers and the businesses that have sprouted up to service them — tax lawyers, real estate agents, security specialists — have bulked up papers in large metropolitan news markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.
“This is certainly one of the fastest growing industries we’ve ever seen come in,” said Scott Tobias, president and chief operating officer of Village Voice Media, which publishes alternative weeklies across the country.
It's only going to keep, er, growing, with Colorado leading the way for the time being.
[...] After months of negotiation and delay, Warner Brothers and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are on the verge of an agreement that would allow the director Peter Jackson to begin shooting a two-part version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Hobbit” early next year.
Barring further hitches — and there have been many, as the studios wrestled with their dual ownership of the project over the last year — a financial deal should be in place over the next few days, according to several people who have been involved in the bargaining.
And JRRT thought the paperback book was a tawdry thing to see his work associated with.
Read The Rest Scale: as interested in the other details. This is another daily link-dump post, to be added to until midnight, so check back.
[...] Hamid Alipour, an official at the state-run Iran Information Technology company, has said that the worm is spreading. “This is not a stable virus,” he said last week. “By the time we started to combat it three new variants had been distributed.” He said his company hoped to eliminate it within “one to two months.”
A really nice, long, interview with John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, from 2002.
[...] The other, Gliese 581 g, lies in the habitable zone and has a 37-day orbit. Its mass is between 3.1 and 4.3 times that of Earth.
Its relatively low mass means it should be made mostly of rock, like Earth. [...] The host star is a low-mass red dwarf that is just 1 per cent as bright as the sun.
Because it puts out so little light and warmth, its habitable zone lies much closer in than does the sun's. At such tight distances, planets in the zone experience strong gravitational tugs from the star that probably slow their rotation over time, until they become "locked" with one side always facing the star, just as the moon always keeps the same face pointed towards Earth.
That would mean perpetual daylight on one side of the planet and permanent shadow on the other. A first approximation suggests the temperature would be 71 °C on the day side and -34 °C on the night side, though winds could soften the differences by redistributing heat around the planet. [....]
[...] He points out that photovoltaic liquids will only become commercially viable if they can convert at least 7 per cent of the energy in the light shone on them into electricity.
Korgel admits his team is not there yet. "Our best efficiency in the lab is just over 3 per cent," he says. To try to squeeze out more electricity, they are now working to eliminate irregularities in the sprayed nanocrystal layers.
The team has also come up with a partial workaround, namely to stack the spray-on cells on top of each other. This can increase the efficiency to about 4.5 per cent.
[...] In a test of short-term memory skills, only users of "skunk"-type strains exhibited impaired recall when intoxicated, whereas people who smoked hashish or herbal cannabis blends performed equally well whether they were stoned or sober.
The findings suggest that an ingredient more plentiful in some types of marijuana than in others may help to reduce the memory loss that some users suffer.
[...] What the researchers found is that the intelligence of individual group members was not a good predictor of how well the group as a whole performed. The teams that did best rated high in social sensitivity: their members interacted well, took turns speaking and included more females than groups that did poorly.
[...] The Sadrists present on Friday did not explain their drastic and sudden swing, but in a statement two days ago, issued from Iran, where he is studying theology, Mr. Sadr himself sounded a pragmatic theme. He cited a saying of his father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, a revered Shiite leader who was killed in 1999 under Saddam Hussein.
“Politics has no heart,” Mr. Sadr said, in response to a letter from a follower. “Be informed, politics is giving and taking.”
From 1946 to 1948, American public health doctors deliberately infected nearly 700 Guatemalans — prison inmates, mental patients and soldiers — with venereal diseases in what was meant as an effort to test the effectiveness of penicillin.
American tax dollars, through the National Institutes of Health, even paid for syphilis-infected prostitutes to sleep with prisoners, since Guatemalan prisons allowed such visits. When the prostitutes did not succeed in infecting the men, some prisoners had the bacteria poured onto scrapes made on their penises, faces or arms, and in some cases it was injected by spinal puncture.
If the subjects contracted the disease, they were given antibiotics.
“However, whether everyone was then cured is not clear,” said Susan M. Reverby, the professor at Wellesley College who brought the experiments to light in a research paper that prompted American health officials to investigate.
The revelations were made public on Friday, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized to the government of Guatemala and the survivors and descendants of those infected. They called the experiments “clearly unethical.”
“Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health,” the secretaries said in a statement. “We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”
In a twist to the revelation, the public health doctor who led the experiment, John C. Cutler, would later have an important role in the Tuskegee study in which black American men with syphilis were deliberately left untreated for decades. Late in his own life, Dr. Cutler continued to defend the Tuskegee work.
His unpublished Guatemala work was unearthed recently in the archives of the University of Pittsburgh by Professor Reverby, a medical historian who has written two books about Tuskegee. [....]