Back to School Repost Post

As our school and college students prepare to head back to school, I thought I’d go ahead and round up some things I’ve said over the years (mostly, with a couple new links too) for your entertainment:

Have a great school year.

In closing: I think this BlogHer post might have been talking about this one!

Shorties: The Reawakening

Sorry for the tab dump here. I’m in the progress of migrating RSS readers and all is madness.

Gee, I wonder why that would be!: These big events tend to inspire copycats. Well maybe if we didn’t glorify the asshats who do this stuff….

On Bad Trade Deals: Um, yeah, we need to keep paying attention.

It’s All Greek to Me: No?

On the Redditpocalypse: I was beginning to think the place was too big anyway. I have yet to evaluate alternatives.

On with the body count: Our police violence problem has gained international attention.

YSK: Ponzi and pyramid schemes.

Meanwhile: How dare people — particularly young people — want jobs that pay a living wage! Particularly in these 10 states…

An interesting view: On consent.

Lemmings: Well, I suppose inasmuch as illegal immigrants are by definition here illegally, sure. But by that standard, lots of people have “bad intent.”

Finally: Via my old and dear friend Rachel, a misplaced dominant seventh chord was once all it took to land you in jail. Listen for yourself near the bottom.

Shorties Box

Congrats to Jon Keeyes and Nightmare Box on its multiple nominations in the Winter 2015 Macabre Faire Film Festival.

Serial: High school students may be more, er, connected than they thought. And not in a good way.

The ugly truth: The NYPD work stoppage is showing how little what they do impacts public safety.

Economic Noble Truths: Who knew that Buddhism and economics had anything in common?

Fly Like an Eagle: To Lake Mead.

I’ve only been saying this since 1991: Colleges have no business whatsoever prosecuting crimes.

Pattern of Misconduct: Ferguson isn’t the first time that prosecutor presented a misleading case against a cop.

Republicans and Social Security: interesting.

And Finally: The Big Fat Book of Offensive Religious Cartoons.

See everybody tomorrow!

Hard Habit to Break

Today I’m actually using the official prompt:

Have you ever tried to break a habit and failed? What made it so difficult to break?

Ok, this is a weird one. I’m still not quite over this habit: I have a hard time passing up things that are cheap or free.

I’ve got dozens of books on my Kindle that I don’t know when I’ll have time to read them, but they were free! I’ve got canned food in my pantry that I only have because it was on sale — and theoretically I’ll use it eventually. I’ve been known to buy clothes that fit but aren’t really my style because they were so inexpensive.

Why is this a hard habit to break? Well, because it’s easy to think I’m being thrifty. In the case of free ebooks, it doesn’t actually cost me anything. In the case of food, well, I guess I’m well prepared for an emergency. In short, one person’s bad habit is another’s good habit.

Oh hey, and just the other day I got this free ebook on how to break bad habits!

In Closing: the case of the blonde MIT student; Ha Ha Harvard; not entirely sure how one solves problems without strong reading and math skills; crime, security, and privacy; and the intellectual heirs of MacHack.

Moment of Silence

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor.

Last week, I did see one of these on the road:

IMG_20130420_135727

 

These guys are still out there.

In Closing: having a hard time working up sympathy for the lady who’s so scared of being a “bag lady” that she buys a fur coat. Thank heaven at least one person — Rep. Loretta Sanchez — had the good sense to ask the right question. And an accidental flash of common sense (don’t worry, we won’t let any of that near a school again!).

Music Monday: October 31

Sure, that’s Halloween. It’s also the anniversary of the founding of the Great State of Nevada. And there’s an interesting story concerning that. It involves lost documents, the most expensive telegraph ever sent, and Republicans trying to steal elections garner additional electoral votes.

So in honor of Nevada’s 150th birthday, please enjoy some Nevada items.

In Closing: how dare victims call sexual assault what it is; sugar; Russians turn back time (in a way); some nice juicy NSA items; wages; Israel; War on Drugs; some random global climate change (formerly global warming) items; maybe they’re not overpriced after all; diversity; smile, you’re on cop camera; fixing COLA would require admitting that inflation is higher than most people know; and American cat cafe.

Fear-mongering at its finest.

The TSA really doesn’t like that Apple and Google both have products they can’t just hack remotely. As in, they are trying desperately to make them stop it. Poor babies may actually have to get search warrants. Oh, and here’s a nice article on some of the NSA’s computing issues and an item on how this mess got started.

In Closing: our rising police state; bankers gone wild; be afraid!!!; don’t you have anything better to do?; and adorable kittens.

Shorties Untold

Appetizers: Let’s start with the NSA poppers, and perhaps a beer flight to wash it down?

Soup or salad: The soup du jour is puree of police violence and race issues with a hint of civil forfeiture, topped with prison visit data. Perhaps the lady would prefer our Cosmo-inspired salad with cranberry vinaigrette?

The main course: Make sure it has enough protein! It’s good for you.

A few quick words about your server: Don’t forget that he or she works for a living.

Can I interest you in dessert?: My local news is excited about a study that says we are relatively safe city compared to, say, any major city in Oklahoma. Among the data collected was crime (both violent and property), cops, and traffic fatalities per capita — seems legit. Also included was the number of sex offenders per capita. A quick look at their data table without breaking out the stats tools would tend to make me think that the number of sex offenders has little to do with much of any other data they collected. It’s as if they put it in because they thought it would be important, or thought it made their data look more complete. What makes several California cities, Scottsdale, Augusta, Mesquite, and Chicago more safe than Tulsa despite having at least ten times the number of sex offenders per capita? Could it be that the risk sex offenders will re-offend is overrated?

Oh, need a doggie bag?: Here you go, tips for dealing with strange dogs.

Music Monday: Life Finds a Way?

The Russians think they have found life. Life, on the outside of the International Space Station. It’s from Earth, all right, they just don’t know how it got there.

 

In Closing: hopefully a few last words on Ferguson, the militarization of our police, the death of the right to peaceably assemble, and the press (but it won’t be the last because of race); a “difficult decision“; hey now, don’t get too skinny!; don’t think I’ve forgotten about the NSA; and children in poverty.

Joe Average and the Economy

The bad news is that hourly wages have declined. Look at the first chart, and you’ll notice that’s even true for the top quintile! In other words, ThinkProgress is soft-selling the fact that most of us — on average — are making less per hour in favor of pointing out that those at the very bottom have it worst.

So then, how can CNN turn around and tell us that wages are up? Two things. First, they mean that median income is up, which can be explained away by more people working and people working longer hours. Second, even they admit that “the gains are not spread evenly“.

So the Very Intelligent People are wringing their hands over the fact that none of us seem to have much savings, and don’t we know we will retire one day, the fact is that for many average people, these savings tips are a cruel joke. Ha, put aside 10-13% for retirement, and reduce your debt (heh), and “Don’t make emotional purchases”? Emotional purchases like what, replacing the dead transmission in the car so you can get to work? Maybe if we just teach the middle and lower class how to manage their money better somehow they can magically make all their bills less.

When one in seven people are at the food bank, they don’t have anything to put aside at the regular bank for a rainy day; it’s already pouring.

In Closing: support staff; No Fly; bulldozer improvements; grittier than Melissa Gilbert’s portrayal; and no, this will not do what it advertises. There is no such thing as a master list of sexual predators; there is only a list of people who have convictions for certain crimes involving genitals. Ways to be put on this list include having a significant other who is underage (even if they lie about it), peeing in the wrong location, or happening to be naked in one’s own home. Schools that use this system will wonder why parents aren’t lining up and spending $20 for a background check and the honor of being allowed to chaperone a field trip or shelve library books.