medium-length thoughts

1)since in my last post I declared the internet connection to be good, it of course crapped out (apparently, caine and I used too much broadband watching videos, so we’re locked out of the internet for 4 days), which is why I’m posting this from Barnes & Noble in Bismarck, and why the post I was going to write will have to wait. Instead, some mostly shallow, shortmedium-length thoughts.

2)I thought the Minot Daily was unreadably conservative and stupid, but the Bismarck Tribune has them beat, by publishing Ross DoucheDouthat (of “women on birth-control turn me off” and “straight marriage should be special because I like being special” fame) in their Op/Ed section. I’m thinking the only way to sink lower than that is to let O’Keefe or Breitbart write for your paper. Or, you know, turn into the Whirled Nut Daily.

3)I have found my copy of Yes Means Yes, and as soon as I’m done reading Matt Taibbi’s Great Derangement, I’m going to re-read it and take notes. I’m still not entirely sure how to sum up its awesomeness, but I figure writing general evaluations of their sub-themes, plus highlighting their most personally thought-provoking sections will be the way to go here.

4)I’m reading SKEPTIC right now, and one of the articles was about Public Intellectuals, and whether they’re needed, what their use is supposed to be, and whether the Public Intellectual is in decline in the US right now. Fascinating article, especially because it touches on something that I’ve been talking about for a while now: the need for a well educated and voluntarily/happily self-educating populace. The article itself doesn’t really talk about this, but it mentions on the one hand that the role of the Public Intellectual is to do what the average person doesn’t have the resources, education, and time to do (think deep, long, and hard about all sorts of social issues), and on the other the fact that in the US, the quality of the Public Intellectual has suffered, because who becomes a widely known PI is determined by their entertainment value and how well their messages confirm the opinions and biases of the general population, rather than the thoroughness and quality of their argument/presentation. It also mentions that the role of the PI has shrunk to academia, where it used to include artists and other non-academic professions. All of which, as far as I’m concerned, are consequences of the way universities work in the US. for one, as they become more expensive, fewer people go; two, for the same reason, people treat them like paying tuition is buying a degree, thus causing grade inflation and similar loss of quality; three, people treat them like investments in their career, and therefore become Fachidioten with a very narrow education in only the areas they find directly relevant to their future careers. On the other side of this are free(ish) public universities in Europe, where people study “useless” shit for fun, where a larger percentage of the population goes to university, and where in general consider knowing stuff a positive trait. From a directly, purely economic POW, the US model is certainly more profitable, but OTOH it does result in a country full of teabaggers. So yeah, heavily subsidized universities are good for the health of a country, because it produces more, and better quality, Public Intellectuals. Whole populations of public intellectuals, for that matter.

5)So… purely hypothetically… what are the prognoses for Hawaii, in re AGW? Is it still going to be a livable place some 15-25 years from now? For that matter, is much of it still going to exist by then…?

10 comments on “medium-length thoughts

  1. Jadehawk says:

    6)I’m sitting next to some high-schoolers slowly writing an essay about some patriotic-y event and how awesome it was. The phrase “a sea of red-white-and-blue cheered on the patriots” was used. I feel my braincells dying in great agony.

  2. Paul says:

    From a directly, purely economic POW

    Freudian slip in a sentence mentioning teabaggers?

    5)So… purely hypothetically… what are the prognoses for Hawaii, in re AGW? Is it still going to be a livable place some 15-25 years from now? For that matter, is much of it still going to exist by then…?

    Some quick googling turned up this. Short term looks fine when it comes to sea level at least. Even medium term (I seem to recall mention of 3-6 meters rise over a century or two as a dire estimate?) leaves no great issue unless you live on the beach. Granted I’m just going by the images, I skipped over most of the text so maybe I’m contradicted there. I guess I’m making the assumption you’re not talking about basic temperature increases, as those can be mitigated fairly easy in various fashions unless you work in outdoor construction.

    6)I’m sitting next to some high-schoolers slowly writing an essay about some patriotic-y event and how awesome it was. The phrase “a sea of red-white-and-blue cheered on the patriots” was used. I feel my braincells dying in great agony.

    Did you ever go to American public school? I cannot recall. After awhile you simply become numb to that sort of thing. In fact, I went to a rather decent state university and I could see a good number of students in one of my English classes producing similar sentences.

  3. David Marjanović says:

    apparently, caine and I used too much broadband watching videos, so we’re locked out of the internet for 4 days

    There are still people who make you pay per download volume instead of per month? In 2010? Fucking assholes.

    “straight marriage should be special because I like being special”

    Is that a direct quote?

    Fachidioten

    “Idiots of a [particular] discipline”. The kind of people who learn more and more about less and less till they know everything about nothing.

    So… purely hypothetically… what are the prognoses for Hawaii, in re AGW? Is it still going to be a livable place some 15-25 years from now? For that matter, is much of it still going to exist by then…?

    It will still be there, and it will be exactly as tropical as it is now. It consists of tall mountains, it’s not a (barely) emergent coral reef like the Maldives or Tuvalu; and global warming/cooling has strong effects on the poles and very little on the equator.

    I’m sitting next to some high-schoolers slowly writing an essay about some patriotic-y event and how awesome it was. The phrase “a sea of red-white-and-blue cheered on the patriots” was used. I feel my braincells dying in great agony.

    <hug>

    On the field trip we drove by a church with a flagpole right next to its front wall. <headshake>

    The talk that is probably going to win the Romer Prize mentioned the idea (which it doesn’t support) that at the end of the Cretaceous there were separate dinosaur faunas in the northern and southern parts of the west side of the US heartland/flyover country. It showed a map marked with a US and a confederate flag. Hilarity ensued. :-) The author is English.

    Freudian slip in a sentence mentioning teabaggers?

    Priceless! :-D

  4. David Marjanović says:

    Loud thunderstorm right now!

  5. Paul says:

    There are still people who make you pay per download volume instead of per month? In 2010? Fucking assholes.

    Rare is the ISP that has you pay by volume in the US, unless you’re talking about dedicated website hosting. However, those that pay “per month” can tack on quotas that if you exceed, you either pay extra per GB or simply get cut off. For instance, my Comcast connection has a quota of 250 GB that was put in to curb P2P traffic after they got smacked down for interfering with P2P traffic.

  6. David Marjanović says:

    On the field trip we drove by a church with a flagpole right next to its front wall. <headshake>

    Also, there are lots of billboards where lawyers advertize themselves. That’s completely unknown where I come from. Moreover, at least half of those billboards are by lawyers that have specialized on enacting revenge after medical malpractice. At least one of them is Malpractice Lawyer of the Year.

    Also too, there’s a billboard that says: “I believe many things in life are not a choice. Happiness is. — My name is Vance Taylor, and I’m a Mormon. — mormon.org”

    …Is Vance one of those names that only Mormons ever have?

    those that pay “per month” can tack on quotas

    That’s bad.

  7. Jadehawk says:

    hah, yeah, POW was a rather interesting spelling mistake, heheh. And no, i never went to US high-schools (one year in a canadian high-school was the closest i ever got there), so such hideous stupidity still hurts.

  8. Jadehawk says:

    talking about malpractice lawyers landed your comment in my spam folder. that should tell you a lot about malpractice lawyers right there, hehe

  9. Paul says:

    That’s completely unknown where I come from. Moreover, at least half of those billboards are by lawyers that have specialized on enacting revenge after medical malpractice.

    I put in some HTML as a test to see if I end up in spam folder. Around here, most of the lawyer billboards are for DUI lawyers. Ads in mailers and such are split between DUI lawyers and divorce lawyers. Regional differences, perhaps?

    I agree that internet usage quotas are bad, but in practical terms the alternative is metered service Australia-style. Especially when it comes to cable service, where there is potentially significant performance degredation if others on the same branch are consistently using large amounts of bandwidth. It could possibly be avoided with significant investment in better infrastructure, but as you know we Americans don’t go for that sort of thing (especially California folk, don’t raise our taxes*!).

    * There’s a radio ad against a Lieutenant governor candidate I hear multiple times to and from work every day. Yes, it’s just against him. You have to listen closely at the end to know who paid for it. The complaint is that he said he would not raise taxes, but then went on to vote to cut school funding. Somehow, somebody thinks that is a coherent thought showing how he’s a hypocrite and how he “is what’s wrong with Sacramento”.

  10. David Marjanović says:

    talking about [censored] landed your comment in my spam folder. that should tell you a lot about [censored] right there, hehe

    It does!!! :-D

    Regional differences, perhaps?

    Likely. There were lots of ads in the buses for the marriage counseling service twogether.org.

    The complaint is that he said he would not raise taxes, but then went on to vote to cut school funding.

    :-o Wow.

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