July 2, 2015

At the Red Leaf Café...

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... you can say what you like.

(And please use my Amazon portal if you need to do any on-line shopping. I keep forgetting to remind you to do that, and I appreciate it when you remember! Need some actual ideas? Here: fluff flip flops.)

Bubble Wrap without the pop.

"... iBubble Wrap is laid out in columns of connected air pockets, so when pressure is applied to one 'bubble' the air gets pushed into neighboring bubbles."

iBubble Wrap?

iBullshit!

"Hayuk’s claim says Starbucks 'brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar' to her own..."

"... and the 'Frappuccino Campaign is essentially identical to the Starbucks campaign 72andSunny proposed to Hayuk.'"
The language here is important, and it shows why artists often have a hard time proving copyright infringement.... Proving substantial similarity is a thorny issue. It isn’t enough for her work and Starbucks’ campaign to look alike....

Do you hope Hayuk wins?
 
pollcode.com free polls

"I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was 'buffed' with red paint. However, graffiti outside of the red area would be removed via pressure washing."

"This prompted the start of an experiment. Unlike other works, I was very uncertain as to what results it would yield. Below is what transpired over the course of a year."

"Nicholas Winton, a Briton who said nothing for a half-century about his role in organizing the escape of 669 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia..."

"... on the eve of World War II, a righteous deed like those of Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg, died on Wednesday in Maidenhead, England. He was 106...."
It was only after Mr. Winton’s wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home in 1988 — a dusty record of names, pictures and documents detailing a story of redemption from the Holocaust — that he spoke of his all-but-forgotten work in the deliverance of children who, like the parents who gave them up to save their lives, were destined for Nazi concentration camps and extermination....

“You can’t throw those papers away,” she responded. “They are children’s lives.”

“I did not think for one moment that they would be of interest to anyone so long after it happened,” Mr. Winton recalled later. But he reluctantly agreed to let her explore the matter....

"The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate."

"[I]nitial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them."

"When I come here to California I am not in the West, I am west of the West."

"When I speak to you who dwell beside the Pacific, I, who have come from beside the Atlantic, am speaking to my own people, with the same thoughts and the same ideals."

Said Teddy Roosevelt, quoted by the L.A. Times in an effort to make a contrast to something Justice Scalia wrote in the same-sex marriage case:
[T]he Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers 18 who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans 19 ), or even a Protestant of any denomination.
Seems to me that TR and Scalia were saying the same thing about California. But the L.A. Times says TR "understood the synergy of geography and nationhood better than his fellow Harvard man, Scalia." Teddy was saying there's "the West" and something beyond it, further to the west, but not The West.

The Times tries to put some definition into the idea of the West: "home to people from all over the world who have the gumption to pull up stakes from placid and settled places and start fresh, to invent and reinvent themselves and this country."

Google's Photos app kept tagging black people as "gorillas."

"On June 28th, computer programmer Jacky Alciné found that the feature kept tagging pictures of him and his girlfriend as 'gorillas.' He tweeted at Google asking what kind of sample images the company had used that would allow such a terrible mistake to happen."

Google didn't explain. It apologized... and removed "gorilla" as an option for the machine to misapply.

Meanwhile, at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg enthuses about how amazingly helpful the computers of the future are going to be:
People will... be wearing augmented-reality glasses to assist them on an everyday basis....

... Zuckerberg expects technology to evolve to a point that we can share whole thoughts and full “sensory and emotional” experiences, telepathically....

Zuckerberg was... curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we care about. “I bet there is,” he said....

For vision, [computers] may be able to recognize everything in an image or video, from people to objects and scenes. They’ll be able to understand the “content of the images and videos,” he said....
Amazingly helpful, but helpful to whom? To the people whose needs are getting anticipated and shaped... not necessarily yours. That the automatic tagging didn't work for black people is horrible — or did you laugh? — but just a little warning, a signpost on the path to the future.

"I am a person of faith — and the Donald’s entry into this race can only be attributed to the fact that the good Lord is a Democrat with a sense of humor."

Burbled Begala.

"There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem."

"The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless."

"And in the naked light I saw/Ten thousand people, maybe more..."

Nah, I didn't see them, but they were there. 10,000 people — maybe more — filled the Coliseum, here in Madison, Wisconsin, to see Bernie Sanders. I know you wanted me to go. I asked "Should I go?" and you were all...
Oh, yes, by all means. Take photos and/or video, and share your report with us....

I say go--just for the spectacle of it. You'd be witnessing the Democratic Left in its distilled form. Plus, if by some long shot Sanders takes the nomination, you'll have seen it in its ground floor....
But it was a night rally, on a day where I got up at 3:30 AM. And it wasn't at some outdoor place — like Ron Paul on the Union Terrace in 2012, where you can walk up casually and wander about taking pictures of the people. This was indoors, at a big arena, where you have to drive up, pass through a gate — probably have to stop and pay for parking — find a parking space, observe how many fellow citizens heeded the advice to arrive early to be able to get a good seat, worry about finding a seat at all as you scurry along from your distant place in the parking lot, pass through security, scramble to find a seat, any 2 seats together, and be stuck in one spot in that crowd, from which you won't get too many different photos and you must endure all the speechifying, all the emotion of the others from which you are alienated, wait for it all to end so you can finally have the release of exiting the arena as a component of the slow-moving human mass, wend your way back to your distantly parked car, where you can finally be an individual again and have your conversation about whatever it was like to be bowing and praying to the neon God that is Bernie Sanders and when are we ever going to get out of this parking lot and back home?

So we were back home all along. I was reading, and I'm reading now. I'm reading that Bernie Sanders proclaimed: "Tonight we have made a little bit of history... Tonight we have more people at any meeting for a candidate of president of the United States than any other candidate." The "we" didn't include me. I didn't get to make a little bit of history with Bernie.

As The Guardian put it (yeah, I'm getting my Madison news from the UK):
[His] message resonated in Madison, the state’s reliably liberal capital and home to the University of Wisconsin. It stood as a sharp contrast to Wisconsin’s own conservative White House hopeful Walker, who is preparing to enter the crowded field of GOP candidates. The governor is expected to make his announcement on or shortly after 13 July.

Sanders immediately went after Republicans and Walker... Walker, whom the crowd loudly booed whenever Sanders mentioned his name....
I'm quite sure I'm not the nighttime rally type.

ADDED: From the local Madison newspaper, quotes, like this one from a social work student: "I really like that he values the human life over money. I’m really excited to hear his ideas and see him, finally, in person. It’ll just be so real." She arrived and got in line 4-and-a-half hours early so she could get a good seat and "be focus on him and not the whole crowd."

July 1, 2015

At the Zinnia Café...

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... we're just getting started.

"If you listen to something on audio, every flaw in a writer’s work, the repetitions of words and the clumsy phrases, they all stand out."

"As a writer, I say to myself, how will that sound?," says Stephen King, who's obsessed with audiobooks.

"Here's how libertarianism has led me and my partner into polyamory, and why America will have to grapple with this issue next."

An article at The Federalist:
“This is it!” I thought. I’d finally found what seemed like a desirable alternative to the wedded misery I saw all around me. Brad—although skeptical about my motives—was thrilled at the prospect of opening up our relationship. After much philosophical and emotional discussion, we decided to give polyamory a chance. Wanting a fresh start, we decided to move away from our old jobs and friends in Raleigh to Asheville, a progressive, “poly”-friendly town in the Appalachians....

Since we’ve discovered polyamory, we don’t care about new houses or new cars or vacations. What really makes us tick is the idea of falling in love, over and over and over again. Now, we have the best of both worlds....
I'm not agreeing with this. Just thought you might want to read it and talk about it. The description of married sex that begins the article is the dumbest self-confessed behavior by a woman I've read since yesterday when people were linking to that Pajamas Media writer who got locked in a bedroom.

Anyway, the Federalist writer isn't even married to her Brad — whose privacy she blithely invades — so I don't know what this has to do with the recent same-sex marriage issue or why America should have to grapple with it. It's your life, lady. There's no legal issue, no role of government that needs to be figured out. We don't need to "grapple" with what makes you "tick."

Libertarians! I thought they're supposed to want to be left alone. Leave me alone.

Post-hysterectomy, a woman is prescribed testosterone, and she describes "What it’s like to live like a man."

This is by Ann Mallen, a "writer of literary fiction and nonfiction":
[The doctor] warned me of “odd symptoms,” but she didn’t mention this constant sexual distraction. Or the irrational anger. The day before, I dropped a fork in the kitchen and kicked it. It clattered into the base of the cabinet, but that wasn’t enough. I picked it up and threw it into the sink with a force intended to harm. When the mailman carelessly slammed a box onto the front steps, I resisted the urge to slap him silly....

Living for a few weeks with extra testosterone gave me a new understanding of men.... Could I have achieved this compassion any other way? Empathy is complex...
I know: A woman becomes more like a man and gets empathy and finds it complex? That's after the prescription is corrected.

She ends with some cogitation on transgenderism:
[T]he standards of care for people transitioning hormonally to the opposite sex are stringent and include significant counseling and monitoring by a medical doctor. Some people transition though, and some, like me, spend time with the wrong prescription. We then process the world through a different lens of emotion and analysis. Yet, the lens is the transient thing.

It is possible to live as either male or female. Which means, of course, underneath the high-pitched whine of our sex hormones, underneath the lens, we are neither.
Of course? It's amazing the insights people bring home from their drug journeys. (If that last part were true, what is the problem to be solved with hormones?)

"After much soul-searching, I am filing a civil-rights lawsuit on Wednesday against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm."

"I fear his retaliation, given what I know of his methods, but the Chisholm campaign against me that began at dawn on Sept. 14, 2011, requires a legal response to discourage the prosecutor’s continued abuse of his office," writes Cindy Archer in The Wall Street Journal (where you can get past the pay-wall by Googling text for your own link). Read the whole thing to see what happened to Archer.
I was targeted because of my politics — in plain violation of the First Amendment and federal civil-rights statutes.
She doesn't mention whether she's suing in federal or state court, but she's citing federal law as the basis for her claims.

I've read Archer's story before, but the presentation of the facts in this new piece highlights some aspects of the invasion of privacy that I had not noticed. The arrival of government agents at her house "was so unexpected and frightening that I ran down from my bedroom without clothes on." I don't know if that means completely naked. The agents "yelled" at her to get dressed. Let into the house, they "barged into the bathroom where my partner was showering," so a second woman was exposed naked. And, in the search: "My deceased mother’s belongings were strewn across the floor."

These are very sympathetic facts. 

Today's Freddy Martin tune.

In case yesterday's "Somebody Goofed" (1954) was not enough, here's "Managua, Nicaragua" (1947)(scroll forward to 1:12 if you want to begin at the vocals):



The lyrics are, by present-day standards, politically incorrect — "Managua, Nicaragua is a heavenly place/You ask a señorita for a 'leetle' embrace/She answers you, 'Caramba! scram-ba bambarito'/In Managua, Nicaragua, that's 'No'" — but at least "no" means "no."

Here's the Wikipedia article on Freddy Martin (born 1906, died 1983). Excerpt:
Freddy Martin was nicknamed "Mr. Silvertone"... He has... been idolized by many... saxophonists.... Although his playing has been admired by so many jazz musicians, Freddy Martin never tried to be a jazz musician. Martin always led a sweet styled band. Unlike most sweet bands that just played dull music, Martin's band turned out to be one of the most musical and most melodic of all the typical hotel-room sweet bands. According to George T. Simon, Freddy's band was "one of the most pleasant, most relaxed dance bands that ever flowed across the band scene."

"So, how about polyandry?"

Hagar asks in the comments to "Jonathan Rauch doubles down on the supply-of-women argument for why polygamy is not like same-sex marriage." Briefly, the supply-of-women argument says that government may exclude polygamists from the fundamental freedom to marry because if some men marry more than one woman, there will be fewer women available to pair up with unmarried men thereby cure them of their dangerous destructiveness.

Hagar is suggesting that polyandry could solve the problem. Everyone's picturing polygyny, which Jonathan Rauch called "almost invariably the real-world pattern." Rauch also points to a map, showing the prevalence of polygamy in countries that where women are not equal. But, as I say in the earlier post, this is America, and the question is what will happen going forward. The supply-of-women argument asks us to worry about what will happen going forward.

So Hagar's question is apt. Why must we deny women the right to choose to be one of multiple wives in a polygynous marriage if the same interest — marrying up the unmarried men — could be served by empowering, encouraging, and even subsidizing — rampant polyandry? That ought to vacuum up the excess men that are screwing up the world (according to the supply-of-women argument!).

"Notably absent from this top five... are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (6%, down from 14% in May) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (6%, down slightly from 10%)."

"Both had been top five candidates in each of the last two CNN/ORC polls, and Walker had been in the top five since February."
Trump's competitiveness among those older and more conservative Republicans also helps explain Walker's and Rubio's declines. In April, 16% of Republicans age 50 or older backed Rubio, 14% Walker. Now, Rubio has just 6% among this group and Walker has 7%. Trump grew from 2% in May to 14% now."
Wow. Trump is really helping Jeb!

That's an exclamation point at the the end of a sentence I'm exclaiming, not me doing the Jeb! logo.

Anyway, Jeb is at 19% in the new poll, up from 13% in May. So, the high-name-recognition Trump is drawing attention away from the newcomerish Walker and Rubio, right when they need to get traction. It's all working out as if Jeb! and Trump! planned it all in a backroom.

Jonathan Rauch doubles down on the supply-of-women argument for why polygamy is not like same-sex marriage.

Here's my earlier post, "I've got a problem with the supply-of-women argument for distinguishing polygamy from same-sex marriage," poking Rauch (and Richard Posner) for relying on the social interest in preserving more women for men. They seem to think women are "some kind of natural resource to be conserved for the benefit of males." Like there needs to be a bag limit.

Rauch now has another article, going on at greater length and still failing to take account of the problem:
[W]hen a high-status man takes two wives (and one man taking many wives, or polygyny, is almost invariably the real-world pattern), a lower-status man gets no wife. If the high-status man takes three wives, two lower-status men get no wives. And so on.

This competitive, zero-sum dynamic sets off a competition among high-status men to hoard marriage opportunities, which leaves lower-status men out in the cold. Those men, denied access to life's most stabilizing and civilizing institution, are unfairly disadvantaged and often turn to behaviors like crime and violence.
In this view, women are society's tools, to be used to tame men. If some men are successful in winning too many women — if, after getting one woman, they can continue to take additional women out of the pool of potential wives — then there are fewer women left over to do the dirty work of civilizing the less desirable men, men who, undomesticated, run wild and do destructive things.

Rauch does pause to look at it from the female perspective: