Linky Friday #38

RealityBites-long

Science:

[S1] We’re apparently making monkeys dumber.

[S2] Our kidney shortage hits the unemployed hardest.

Writing:

[W1] I am quite pleased to see my friend Abel participating in the petition by LDS authors to get a uncancel a book by a gay author on account to his acknowledging his partner.

[W2] Eleven words that can’t (easily) be translated into English. Cool.

[W3] The emotional toll of recording your own audiobook.

Politics:

[P1] Karl Rove points out that the Republicans have ideas for health care, too. You know when would have been a good time to talk about these things and perhaps negotiate these things? When we were having a national debate on health care.

[P2] Andrew Gelmen explains how and why the Democratic Party because the party of Very Serious People.

Entertainment:

[E1] Dear Dylan was brilliant. So brilliant that NBC ought to make a sitcom out of it. Their answer to The Big Bang Theory, if you like.

[E2] A Reality Bites TV show? Well, I hated the movie, but it could be fun. I also hate how it’s considered the quintessential General X film. I hope it’s not true because we come out of it looking awful. But… could be fun.

[E3] Charlie Jane Anders asks why Warner Bros can’t incorporate Arrow into their plans for the Justice League. I was skeptical of the idea at first, but I can’t why really come up with a good reason not to do it. The more tying-together the better, probably, unless it sidetracks stories. Which it wouldn’t here, I don’t think.

[E4] It used to be that place-kickers in football were short guys with foreign names usually of poor-ish countries (Latin America, Eastern Europe). That’s changed.

Capitalism:

[C1] A new kind of nuclear reactor could lower electricity costs by 40%.

[C2] Amir Efrati updates us on self-driving cars. Google is designing one. On Twitter they’re talking about Google and Apple buying Tesla. They could probably get Mitsubishi for a song right now. They could have gotten Saturn really, really cheap.

[C3] Adweek writes on a Samsung video with terrible, terrible acting. One of the actors responds with why the acting is so, so terrible.

[C4] David Wilezol argues that you can get a good job without college. He is technically right, of course, but that still doesn’t make it a good bet in the current economic environment if you’re the type of person capable of doing the sorts of jobs listed.

Britain:

[B1] Will fracking undermine Scottish independence?

[B2] The Conservative Party of the UK is going to bat for working mothers.

[B3] Britain’s health care system sometimes seems to be more popular abroad than it is at home.

America:

[A1] The most expensive real estate in New York? Rikers Island.

[A2] We’re #1! We’re #1! At porn website hosting, anyway.

[A3] The waiting list of Louisiana’s online voucher program continues to grow.

[A4] From Vikram Bath: “A Montana judge has come under fire after handing down a 30-day sentence to a former high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student and for making statements in court that the victim was ‘older than her chronological age‘ and ‘as much in control of the situation” as her teacher’.”

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70 thoughts on “Linky Friday #38

      • The better question is where does Pump up the Volume fall on this spectrum? To me, the ‘quintessential Gen X movie’ needs to have been produced between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the death of Kurt Cobain. (which also excludes Heathers).

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      • Most of the people I went to high school with. I remember, all too well, getting caught in the middle of discussions about whether Clerks or Mallrats was the better movie. The times when I recall such conversations are the times when I recall why I got the hell out of a small town.

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      • I never got the Mallrats hate. I think people who loved Smith for his “indie”-ness saw it as a sellout from Clerks (adding Shannon Doherty, using color stock, making an attempt at a more mainstream-looking “Hollywood” comedy) and people who were used to more mainstream Hollywood filmmaking couldn’t get past the indie feel of it (or, to be less kind, the unprofessionalism of Smith & co.)

        So it fell in the cracks, neither fish nor fowl. But I thought it was hilarious.

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      • I never found Kevin Smith’s movies to be particularly good. However, his podcast before he made Zack & Miri… was excellent and witty. After that movie bombed he became a pothead and a lot less interesting.

        If you want to hear a whining C at full-blast, listen to his audio book. He has every excuse in the book for why his career tanked.

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    • I admit that 12 year old me thought that my 20s would have me being like the Matt Dillon character in Singles.

      Officially I am one of the last years of Gen X. Unofficially I exist in a purgatory between Gen X and Gen Y. I consider people born between 1965-1972 to be prime Gen X. Will is definitely Gen X but not prime Gen X.

      In short, it is people born around 1979-1981 like me who probably put Singles and Reality Bites into the Gen X cannon because we watched it as impressionable adolescents and thought this is what adult life is going to be like.

      I also have a grand unifying theory that there is not that much of a difference between the Grunge set and Hipsters in terms of lifestyles and such. After all, the 90s are still alive in Portland might be the most true line from a TV theme song.

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      • I agree. Ben Stiller’s character represented all the compromises that you need to make in order to be an adult. If Wyona Ryder’s character ended up with him, it would have been seen as giving at least some of her artistic “integritiy” in order to make it. Ethan Hawke’s character allowed for more childish purity.

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      • Until ND pointed it out above and I looked it up, I thought Matt Dillon and Supertrain were in R-B, not Singles. I have not seen either movie since the late 90’s, but am now re-evaluating my opinion of their comparative merits. (I still believe though, that, ipso facto, Cameron Crowe cannot make a ‘quintessential’ Gen X movie, even with the quintessential Gen X actor, Ethan Hawke)

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    • Helium remains almost completely inert, both chemically and with respect to nuclear processes, even at very high temperature and pressure. This greatly simplifies a number of reactor design considerations. While nitrogen is “nearly” chemically inert at standard temperatures and pressures, that goes out the window under typical gas-cooled reactor conditions. Nitrogen will also absorb neutrons and emit other things, which can be problematic. It’s just poorly suited for use as a nuclear reactor coolant.

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  1. P2: There is something odd and paradoxical here. Paul Krugman is the star columnist for the NY Times. His pet insult is against the Very Serious People stance that is needed to to keep lawyers, doctors, and other professionals in the Democratic Party stance happy yet many of those professionals love Paul Krugman for his liberalism.

    In short, I’m not buying this. I do think that the upsurge for Bill De Blasio especially among “white liberals” shows that even many upper-middle class people feel like they are being left out of the wealth building race.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114509/bill-de-blasio-and-twilight-bloomberg-era

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    • Sure, many professionals do love that aspect of the Democratic Party. However, are those the votes they are at risk of losing? Well, they should be good in New York either way. But New York is a very poor testing ground for UMC values. The situation of UMC voters in NYC is unlike the vast majority of the country.

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  2. Re W2, just to be pedantic, it’s not really that they’re difficult to translate, it’s that they’re difficult to work into a translation (because there’s no single word or phrase that captures them). “Untranslatable” (their word, not yours) suggests that there’s no way even to capture the meaning in our language.

    BTW, the Russian one is based on the word for “why” — basically like calling someone a “why-er”.

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    • It’s a quote from the article itself. (When I do that, I add quotation marks around the item – though in this case I guess it looks like I’m quoting Vik.)

      That said, it was legally rape whether it was physically forced or not. She was young enough, and the age different great enough, that I can’t really argue that what happened shouldn’t be quite illegal.

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      • Fine, then the paper was being intellectually dishonest.

        I have no problem with him being found guilty. He broke the law so he should go to jail. The paper is being intellectually dishonest because they know full well that no one was forced. If what he did was so bad, just say it without misleading the readers.

        Bravo to the judge for recognizing the totality of the circumstances.

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      • … but it was, legally speaking, rape. She couldn’t legally give her consent.

        Even if it was something that I didn’t think should be legally rape, say a 20 year old sleeping with a sixteen year old, it wouldn’t be dishonest to call it that. Because, legally, the sixteen year old can’t give her consent (in most states).

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      • Le sigh…

        Dishonest and intellectually dishonest are not synonyms. For example, if someone arguing against raising the minimum wage states, “The minimum wage is at its highest level ever” he is being intellectually dishonest because he knows that he is not using constant dollars.

        Likewise in the link, the writers purposely used the phraseology they did in order to make the crime sound worse than it really was.

        Here is the wikipedia article on intellectual honesty. Once you comprehend it, feel free to come back to the debate.

        Kthxbai

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      • Yep. I forgot to put the word “intellectually” in front of dishonest. My bad. But the point still stands. I don’t think it’s at all clear that they used the phrasing to make it sound worse than it was. I think they used the phrasing because that’s what we call it when a 54 year old has sex with a 14 year old: rape. Or statutory rape. Or rape. It’s not just called that for effect.

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      • That is truly an anachronistic understanding of rape to put it as nicely as I can. FYI for the Neanderthals in the audience, under the age of consent or anywhere near inebriated will get you the deserved moniker of rapist.

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      • That’s true in the statutory sense, which is why I think the article is okay. In the moral or descriptive sense, it gets iffy at the margins. The exact same act is legally rape in one state, but not in another, and neither state is clearly in the wrong. Which implies gray pretty strongly to me.

        The question, in this case, is whether a fourteen year old can consent at all with a fifty-four year old. I am inclined to say no. But even then, I consider it categorically different than if she were held down as he physically forced himself on her.

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      • Hmm, to find a State that’s going to allow fourteen as an age of consent you’re going to have to go abroad or get married some place in the South. Just because some nations allow for wife beating or honor killings doesn’t actually make it a grey area. The notion that your going to separate violent rape from the more traditional garden variety, is a rabbit hole I can’t follow you down.

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      • If you cannot see the difference between a 15 year old girl willingly being with a 20 year old guy and the same girl being sexually assaulted against her will by a stranger, you are being obtuse.

        Both are illegal. Both are wrong. They are night and day.

        I dismiss your claim of “unsavory” as ad hominem.

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      • There’s no getting around this being a pretty egregious example. But still quite different than a case where she was held down. We disapprove of anybody being held down against their will for sex. That’s forced sex, every time. Definitionally so. The same applies to a woman who is so drunk that she cannot consent. The same applies to an eighteen month old*. But a fourteen year old? We don’t deny that a fourteen year old can consent to sex. The state of Montana believes that she can, if he’s not eighteen or older. So we’re dealing with a situation that is somewhat different than being held down, or immobile. This, to me, is a rather important distinction. Even though I don’t precisely object to calling both “rape”… one is different than the other. That she was apparently a consenting participant, to the extent that she could consent, is indeed pertinent**.

        It’s worth noting that the defendant here got thirty days in jail. Which is actually thirty days more than a whole lot of people in his situation – male and female – actually get. The reason he did go to jail, and the reason so many people are upset, is that the girl later killed herself. It’s uncertain whether the two are related. The words that the judge is in trouble for saying are basically expressing his view that they mostly are not, and that she was a consenting participant to the extent that she could be. Both of which are, or should be, mitigating factors if true.

        * – I found out that someone I went to middle school was just arrested for having sex with his 18-month old granddaughter.

        ** – In between the two would be the Louisiana prison guard case mentioned last week. In that case… it’s much easier to disregard the notion of her being able to consent. Which is what… a third area? One in which a student-teacher relationship might also apply. Another indication of the complexity of categorization here.

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      • >the word “rape” implies physical force against consent

        I disagree. I think most readers would understand it to mean “sex without consent”. And the LATimes quote includes the judge’s justification that the victim was “as much in control of the situation” as the man. I as a reader understood then that this was not likely a case in which a stranger beat up his virgin victim.

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      • You can dismiss whatever you like. One could try to develop a range of charges like murder so that one could say “Well, I’m not a first degree rapist. I mean we were on a date and she led me on.” Rapist you will remain. 15 and 20 doesn’t get you into Romeo and Juliet territory but then again this is about a 14 year old who ends up committing suicide and someone way outside of an excusable range. Intellectual honesty?
        Please.

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      • Vik, that’s a reasonable view. I do know that when I hear the word “rapist” I am not thinking of a nineteen year old who has sex with his fifteen year old girlfriend. Though I agree in the specific case here, where I could tell in the quoted portion precisely what occurred and is alleged to have occurred.

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      • You are correct about Goldberg. I forgot she said it in the context of the Roman Polanski case.

        But she was correct that there is a difference between statutory rape and “rape rape”. In Polanski’s case, however, he committed “rape rape”.

        Then again, Hollywood tends to have a blind eye when it comes to Roman Polanski. Hell when he won his Oscar, he got a STANDING OVATION. Even Jack Nicholson stood up and applauded. I am shocked SHOCKED that they disabled comments on the clip…

        Also, Mike Tyson seems to have been forgiven.

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      • PLEASE tell me that the guy who was arrested for raping his granddaughter is in one of those old class pics you posted.

        Obviously if this happened it is terrible and he should be locked away for a very long time. I don’t know what happened, but I can only hope it was a servere misunderstanding. It frightens me that someone could actually do that sort of thing.

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      • Wow. That is amazing to me. Some people don’t deserve to live.

        As an aside, don’t you find it odd that someone you went to school with could be a grandparent?

        Once of my classmates’ children just graduated from our high school this past June. THAT made me feel old. I also lost a classmate on September 11, but not in THAT way, it was just a coincidence.

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      • Yes, hence it was intellectually dishonest. I never said it was incorrect.

        When Sarah Palin whined that David Letterman was making jokes about her daughter getting raped, she was being as dumb as a fox. She knew that by using that word, she would get her base to foam at the mouth and force Letterman into an “apology”.

        Of course, if someone thinks there is no difference between someone being forced against her will and someone saying “yes” when they were too young to legally do so, feel free to say so. To me, these are night and day. They are both illegal and both wrong, but there is a vast difference of degree.

        Whoopi Goldberg was mocked for using the term “rape rape” but her point was valid.

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  3. C1: Explain to me why this is filed under “Capitalism”, please. There are a number of small modular reactor designs kicking around on paper and/or simulations, each claiming higher efficiencies through higher operating temperatures, much higher burn-up rates, lower prices through standardization, passive safety, etc, etc. Most of them, including this one, seem to have reached the point where the company says, “Now, if the federal government will just provide us with several hundred million dollars, we’ll build a prototype and see if it actually works.” Or some other government — IIRC, Bill Gates has been talking to the Chinese government about a billion dollars to build a version of the traveling-wave reactor he has invested (a much more modest) amount in. Isn’t capitalism supposed to be about private rather than taxpayer funding?

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    • Because it involves capital? Because this may become a more capitalist enterprise sometime in the future?

      Honestly, because categorization is tough and it’s an inexact science. Business would have excluded C4 (mostly), Economics would have excluded the spirit of most of them. So I chose Capitalism.

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  4. W3: Almost 20 years ago now, I worked on a project involving an early prototype of video-over-IP streamed into a window in a browser (yes, I’m an old geek). Technical management wanted a nice package bundled up and available in our demo lab so it could be shown to visiting senior management and outsiders. One of my coworkers had been a child actor (his claim to fame: “I made Marcia Brady cry”) before going into computer interface research. He helped me record a batch of audio-video clips where I explained how the technology worked, the demands it put on the network, why it was important, what to look for when others wanted to sell us more sophisticated versions of the tech, etc. I came out of that experience with an enormously greater respect for the actor’s craft. Just trying to sound interested in the subject when you’re on the fifth take of a 30-second spiel because you keep stumbling over the same damned word is an awful lot of work.

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