Blood Moon Tonight

Seriously.

 

Expect apocalyptic nut jobs at all times; remind yourself that for all the predictions, the world has yet to end.

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Heartbleed Beat

Ok folks, you could drive yourself mad trying to figure out the whole Heartbleed thing, so let me round it up for you.

What the heck is Heartbleed (thanks, Adam), and what does it mean?

How is the NSA connected? Or are they? Or are you really gonna believe they’re not involved, come on! (Bonus NSA linkage for your browsing pleasure!!!)

Ok, so what should you do now?

In Closing: Stupid kid; I’m not sure how you understand Nakba without understanding Auschwitz; let the dead bury their dead; why was it ever allowed in the first place??; circumcisionGlucosamine; priorities; and college.

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Posted in Random Thoughts by bmagnus. Comments Off

Need new workout clothes?

I am not getting paid a dime to say this, but I like Champion workout clothing. Let me tell you why.

I was sold on the original Champion JogBra years ago. It has since been replaced by higher-tech even-lower-bounce products. In certain activities, it’s very important that The Girls don’t move around too much. Some of the new models even have double layers for more support — and there’s space between the layers for your gym locker key or armor or something. But my love of Champion goes much further than just bras.

These products are durable. I have a couple items that are about 5 years old and still going strong. The only reason to replace them is to keep from getting bored wearing the same old thing. You just aren’t going to get that kind of wear out of the stuff you find at the local discount store.

Now I like fashion as well as the next person. Champion manages to have both “new hip styles” and classics that you will always be able to wear to the gym. Come on, a modestly cut pair of navy blue workout shorts isn’t going out of style. Fine, pair it with a workout shirt in the latest “in” color.

For those that are plus sized, Champion absolutely has larger sizes. I can’t imagine how demoralizing it must be to know you need to work out to lose weight, yet  have a hard time finding exercise clothes that fit properly. At the risk of a really bad pun, they’ve got big girls covered.

Champion products are also very reasonably priced. I’m a clearance rack junkie, personally, but I can get an entire outfit of stuff (sometimes two) for what one premium bra from Lululemon costs — and I don’t have to think about wearing something called a Ta Ta Tamer or supporting a company with questionable values.

And finally, this may seem like a silly point. It is clear that orders are processed and packed by a human being. I know this because when I order a bunch of stuff, my items are packed into “outfits.” Say I have two bras, two shirts, a pair of shorts, and a pair of capris? They will be in two envelopes, one top/bra/bottom in each, color coordinated. Personally, I think that’s pretty cool!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some new workout clothes to toss in the washing machine.

In Closing: one young lady’s solution to child marriage; blah blah Snowden NSA privacy snooping et cetera; Her Majesty; fighting among ourselves?. See you all next time.

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Posted in Eat, Drink, and Move That Body! Product Reviews by bmagnus. Comments Off

Shorties of Badassdom

When Kids are Smarter than the Adults: Apparently, being accused of twirling a pencil with a pencap on it is a problem that is best addressed by a 5 hour interrogation evaluation, including a strip search and blood testing. No idea whether anybody thought it would be a good idea to call mom or dad. Elsewhere — and I would totally like to believe this is an April Fools joke except that here’s local coverage including an interview —  police responded to a couple of kids building a tree fort with guns drawn. The child’s reaction was ”I was thinking that I don’t want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said.”

Tired of LinkedIn?: It was a pain in the butt to figure out how to close an account, so let me save you some effort.

You know you want this: Your dose of NSA, surveillance, spyingSnowden, privacy, and related links.

Jobs: A few items about the minimum wage, employment, job creation, and income equality.

A weighty subject: Some miscellaneous stuff about food, calories, obesity, diet, and exercise.

College Math: Sobering.

News headlines you won’t see: yeah.

And a reason to reach out to your Congressman: The Better Off Budget.

 

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Winning, Duh.

Believe it or not, the downhill slide towards graduation is underway for college seniors. On the flipside, high school students are finalizing their plans for college and some college students are setting up for graduate school. In the midst of this, NPR ran this item last week on a law school that is boosting its rate of employed graduates by simply employing them. Feel free to spend 5 minutes listening to the whole thing:

These students get a stipend from the school to work for nonprofits or in public service. That stipend can come out of the school’s budget or sometimes alumni donations. And when a school hires its own students, it can bump up its ranking. William and Mary Law School, for example, jumped nine spots this year. It employs 20 percent of its students on a fellowship program.

The school’s dean says the program helps students succeed by showing potential employers what they’re capable of.

Needless to say, critics call the program self serving. I see it as a win-win-win situation.

Of course the college wins! They do better on the metric of what percentage of students are employed after graduation, and can boast about it on marketing materials. Further, they can point out that these students are employed in their profession at decent wages that can pay their student loan debt, not minimum wage burger flipping jobs. The college gets a further win in the business community because employers will know exactly what the can expect out of new graduates. This sort of information improves the school’s reputation.

Students win too: they get a job! Even better, they get a job that will jump start their resume and give them references for future job searches. Student loans get paid, they don’t have to live with mom and dad, lower stress, and so much more in an environment where there’s a tough job market. Some of these one year temporary positions even end with an offer of full time work in a similar position.

The overlooked third win is the nonprofit or public service organization that takes on these new grads. Many of these organizations do great work in their communities on a shoestring budget. This program means work gets done that might not be done at all if they had to hire an established professional at prevailing wages.

You’d have to be a real cynic to avoid seeing that the benefit is more than a jump in school ranking. If you really value the work ethic and honestly think that education is the key to success, then you really have to like this program.

In Closing: a couple Vegas items; save this for next year; a school tries doing something sensible; the importance of microbiota; privacy, surveillance, NSA, fake reforms, terrorismyadda yadda yadda; petty Putin; exercise is good for you; on the minimum wage and poverty and the real center. Have a great weekend, folks.

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Posted in Teaching, Learning, and Education by bmagnus. Comments Off

There could be several reasons

It has not escaped my attention that Playa del Carmen resident David Guetta has spent every weekend of March in Las Vegas.

Maybe because he’s trying to escape the Spring Break madness. Maybe because things are complicated at home.


 

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Talking out both sides of their mouths.

The White House says they have a plan to end NSA collection of data, by which they mean they are going to make phone companies keep the data and see to it that the courts issue subpoenas when anybody with a badge asks have overview. Snowden says well hey, that’s better than nothing!

And of course, the new proposal only covers American’s phone records, and doesn’t even address the internet, so the rest of the world had better be careful what they say (or follow Mr. Carter’s lead and use good old fashioned snail mail).

Meanwhile, most of the Congress-critters critical of the NSA are quietly being removed from places where they might cause trouble.

Yeah, that sounds like tossing some glitter on “business as usual” and calling it “new and improved” to me.

In Closing: minimum wage; tuberculosis and diabetes.

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Music Monday: Modern Minimalism in March

Last week I introduced everybody to minimalism. Sure, there are “serious” composers doing minimalism, but I think that the dance music community has done a far better job with the genre. Notice the small selection of notes used and the repetition of slightly-changed thematic material. Oh yeah, and it doesn’t go on for a half hour:

 

In Closing: do you really think almost half of black preschoolers do things that warrant a suspension?; drug resistant bacteria are a problem; TPP; happy; random facts; birth control; on minimum wage, you can’t afford to live indoors; those damned tests; and marriage.

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The Sheep and the Goat

If you’re easily offended, don’t click the “read more.” I’m warning you.

So let’s start with In Closing: well now the support for Keystone XL makes more sense; just a few women’s interest items; perspective on winter; heh; income inequality and the collapse of civilization; Pope Francis on God and Science; LPT; be afraid!; and oops. Oh yeah, and Happy Spring Equinox.

Read the rest of The Sheep and the Goat

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Posted in Fiction by bmagnus. 1 Comment

Music Monday: Minimalism in March

 

The first half of the 20th century saw the development of atonal music — music with no “main note” you could hang your ear on as the center. Needless to say, it’s hard to compose something atonal that still has something cohesive going on, which lead to the development of serialism, a type of atonal music where each of the 12 notes of the modern equal temperament scale are played before any are repeated. I will spare you the discussion of how that works.

This was the scene when Terry Riley did something radical: he wrote a piece of tonal music; he used a limited number of notes, repeated often; he structured it to be for any number of instruments and any period of time;  and then he rubbed everyone’s face in the fact by simply calling it In C. It turned out to be one of the top classical music events of the year.

In Closing: clean water is important; a few items on the minimum wage and the living wage; branching out; Common Core; why exactly do we need a pink one?; the finest justice money can buy; police state; and grounded.

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