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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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57 Responses

  1. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    C4: Oh, so that’s what Modern Seinfeld was talking about! Fun.Report

  2. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    [A4] I ran across an article about Svalbard some weeks ago & posted it Facebook. One of my Bleeding Heart Liberal friends was just horrified that the place has no social services & forces people to leave if they are unemployed or unable to care for oneself. She could not wrap her head around the fact that going there is voluntary, the residents know what the deal is, and if you do have to leave, you get a free trip to Norway, which has extremely robust social services.Report

  3. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    [E6] I can’t find it now, but there was a mild defense of the Berkeley email, so far as the idea of encouraging civil discourse & taking care to not offend people out of spite. The defense did a re-write of the email which focused more on why we want civil discourse (to keep everyone engaged, because offensive speech will shut people down & kill the discussion).Report

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    A4-Interesting mostly as a curiosity. It is notable the leading employer is a state subsidized coal company.

    C4- I admit to loving stock photos. The idea that some photog was taking a zillion different poses and set ups that will end up in something none of them could guess at the time is amusing.

    H1- There are a lot of good criticisms of AA. It certainly does not work as wonderfully as its biggest proponents. Some of their logic is circular and doesn’t really say much. However the social support offered by AA is wonderful. Having a national org that an addict can always find some group to pop into to get a welcome and support is special and valuable. AA works for a lot of people, although it is likely mostly due to the semi-cult like way it brings people in. ( i’ve known more then one addict who loved AA/NA who called it a cult but in a good way). Lots of addicts need a brand new social life and world to dive into completely to get away from their old life.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

      A4 – My understanding is that Svalbard itself is a profit-center for the otherwise money-losing company (and that Svalbard’s anomalous nature relies primarily on its mineral wealth).Report

    • There’s a lot about AA and related organizations I simply don’t know about, but one thing I don’t see discussed often is the relative monetary cost vis-a-vis therapy. Isn’t AA more or less free or very low cost to members? If it is and if, as the one linked-to article suggests, it can be as effective as therapy, isn’t it therefore a good thing?

      That gets at one of my pet peeves when some people talk about addressing some mental disorders. Therapy is offered as the solution, but often with little acknowledgement that it can be prohibitively expensive to get. Other options, like good self-help books or self-help groups could be a second-best choice for many people who otherwise can’t afford therapy.Report

  5. Avatar zic says:

    H2 — the fluoride added to our town’s water has become a political issue, and will be on the ballot in Nov. And I do not know a single family that’s had their well water tested for fluoride; that’s even bothered to have their wells tested at all. Radon, I’ve heard, is another issue for water from granite. Here in western ME., it’s probably more common for folks to have a driven point into water flowing through sand (more a spring) then a deep well, drilled into cracks into the granite bedrock.

    T2 — I just purchased a hybrid yesterday — the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. I’m thrilled with it. I didn’t purchase it because of the hybrid system so much as the combination of transmission/regenerative breaking, which seems to minimize some of the lurching in vehicles that cause neck discomfort to me. At first, I wondered if I was imagining this, but two other friends also test drove the vehicle and noticed the same thing; and there is no other hybrid that will go some of the places I regularly go; and we need a vehicle good for snow, since my sweetie travels long distances for his job.Report

  6. Avatar Kim says:

    L2,
    The only rule of writing is clarity first.
    Clarity is the first, and only, rule of writing.
    Break whatever you must, but be easily understood.

    Passive voice is great, when you want to set the sentence on its haunches, when the actor is already understood (“by him” is an awful construction), and when you want to spotlight helplessness.

    It’s far from the only rule that should be occasionally shattered — to good effect.Report

  7. Avatar Roger says:

    Regarding E3,

    The conclusion that this reflects plunging incomes does not necessarily follow from the presented data. We would also need to look at the distribution changes within the categories. If the lesser educated groups are shifting over time to the higher educated groups, then what we could be seeing is further segmenting as the better students are moving to a higher educated group and leaving the less educable behind.

    Interestingly, if this is the trend it is actually possible to see incomes drop in all categories while going up on average in total.

    Absent this additional info, there is insufficient data to reach any conclusion.Report

  8. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [C3] I sure do look forward to our discussion every decade at Linky Quintidi…

    If we made our months actually coincide with lunar cycles again, that would be interesting. It would be nice, for example, to always have the day off after a full moon, so you spend time out at night admiring the moon, and reliably not have to get up early the next day.Report

  9. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    V1 — An enjoyable speech, if not a particularly profound one. Of course, he wasn’t going for profundity.Report

  10. Avatar Michael M. says:

    [T5] – An alternate view about why free parking is bad for business, from the experience of Salem, OR.Report

  11. Avatar Michael M. says:

    Kids, this is what people had to do in the dark ages before Twitter: How the 9/11 attacks played out on Metafilter..Report

  12. E5 – This actually seems pretty normal to me. I used to work at an online high school. All teachers were independent contractors (except when the owner/principal, a certified teacher, led a course). They were paid by student and they were paid a certain amount when the student enrolled, another sum when the student reached the halfway point and the final amount when the student finished the course (whether the student passed or not). No one ever complained. It was a pretty simple way to encourage the teachers to help the students get through the course.

    Granted, no two situations are going to be exactly the same, but this system worked quite well for us.Report

  13. Avatar Chris says:

    [H3] reminds me why I hate the internet.Report

  14. “[L1] Mental Floss asks “When did Americans lose their British accents?” Relatedly, I don’t like superfluous ‘u’s, but it sure would be simpler if we’d never deviated from British spelling.”

    Good point, Wil. 😉

    [L2] – I’m sure we’ve all heard the command to never use the passive voice, and as the article notes, it’s good advice in general. But there have always been sentences that just seemed so weird if you didn’t. this was a good explanation.

    [H3] That was a pretty powerful read.

    [T5] I won’t agree that people deserve free parking, but the point that parking fees shouldn’t be used primarily as a revenue-generating tool is sound. It’s punitive, and it means that cities might want *more* cars than is optimal (note: different cities, towns, regions, etc. will have different levels for “optimal”). It’d probably be better if dense urban areas just starting getting rid of a lot of parking, rather than bilking drivers.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

      L1 — Downeast accent is closer to the British accent of the 1700s; so I’d suggest the Americans didn’t lose their British accent, the British developed all these affections that make them sound different from the real British accent, still in use in a neighborhood near you and I, @jonathan-mcleodReport

    • L1: Who knows when and where accents for the English language change. The Great Vowel Shift took 300 years, no one knows why it happened, but it made contemporary English pronunciation very different from what it was before. It changed spelling rules. That ‘e’ on the end of name? The word used to have two syllables, roughly nah-muh. The a changed to a long a, the e became silent, but was retained in printed form as a signal for the long a.

      Something similar appears to be happening cities around the Great Lakes.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The Great Vowel Shift

        I heard a linguist refer to this once as the great vowel movement.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

        I though the Great Vowel shift was caused by the English Aristocracy switching to French for a few generations, then switching back to English (after the French were…removed) which by that point they more or less had to grab from the peasants, who hadn’t made the switch.

        Or am I thinking of the OTHER upheaval in English? It’s been a long time since English lit, but the basic (20+ year old info) timeline I had was “French invaded, peasants kept English alive, aristocracy converted back to English now heavily drifted via generations of peasant versions, and then someone decided to gild the lily and try to meld grammer rules from another language onto English (Latin maybe?) giving us the unholy thing that is the English language, where “grammer” is either arcane mysticism or the province of “Keep saying the sentence in your head until it sounds right””Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Cain says:

        I remember hearing about the Great Vowel Shift in a psycholinguistics course many, many years ago that was primarily about the evolution of language and languages, and focused heavily on the self-organization of vowel sounds. Anyway, what I remember is a.) it was (and probably still is) a big mystery, and b.) the professor, who has his own theory of how languages change, had his own theory about that change that had something to do with the self-organization of vowel sounds (did I mention there was a lot about the self-organization of vowel sounds?).

        Canadians have reversed some of it, though, with their “walking aboat” and “going oat for a beer” and such.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Michael Cain says:

        “That ‘e’ on the end of name? The word used to have two syllables, roughly nah-muh.”

        That would be the german pronunciation of the word.

        Meine Name ist Aaron.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The Great Vowel Shift happened when the English started eating more roughage.

        But don’t think of it as a unique event; sounds change. The “p” in Latin (pater, piscis) is an “f” in English (father, fish) because of a change in one or the other (or both) of their ancestor languages.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The word used to have two syllables, roughly nah-muh.”

        That would be the german pronunciation of the word.

        Or the Mark E. Smith one (just add an ‘-uh’ to the end of all your words.)

        Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Cain says:

        What makes the Great Vowel Shift unique, if it is a single grouping of historical events rather than a bunch of fairly normal historical changes, is that it doesn’t quite fit with the rules of diachronic change in speech sounds. In fact, one of the things that’s come out of it is a bazillion attempts to draw lessons for theories of diachronic change from these specific changes. There are a bunch of cottage industries in academic linguistics trying to answer questions about why, in what order (dipthongization then raising, or raising then dipthongization) the Great Vowel Shift occurred, and even a literature on what is the surest indication that something important is happened: the denial that anything important happened (that is, the denial that there was a single, coherent Great Vowel Shift) after decades of heated debate about the nature of the important thing that happened.

        I’m typing dipthongization again, just to type it. Dipthongization.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Oh that stress is a schwa to us
        and you know another bigger phonic shift
        see you making that twang not latin ish.
        with a word of two i’s still pluralish.

        You had that France in the tip top spots.
        So you hyper corrected to be not like Scots.
        Just the long vowels not the short
        cause english is not tonal.

        E with I makes pie pie pie
        C rule no lie lie lie
        and semivowels? wye wye wye

        I think still no chronemes.

        E with I makes pie pie pie
        C rule, no lie lie lie
        and semivowels wye wye wye

        All long front. Let us make diphthongs. Dipthongs thongs thongs thongs thongs thongs.

        (with apologies to Sisqo and AP English teachers everywhere)Report

  15. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    [T3] And there’s always kipper class!Report

  16. Avatar zic says:

    14-year old faces up to two years imprisonment for posting photos on FB showing him getting a (fake) bj from a Jesus statue.

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/09/11/photographing-fake-blow-job-from-jesus

    Sigh.Report

  17. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    E4: No shit. Many in education like to talk about the newest generation as “digital natives”. I think that giving students access to technology that has lots of bleeps and bloops but doesn’t let them produce anything is a symptom of a trend that might be best described as “digital colonialism”.Report

  18. I used to be an almost passive voice aboslutist, but I do think the argument in L2 is a good one. Still, I do think the anti-passive-voice injunction works well as one of those rules that must be learnt in order to be broken properly. I’ve written some very bad active-voice sentences in my day, but doing so reminded me of who the agent in a sentence is and forced me to keep clear what I was talking about.Report

  19. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Remember the black guy who was shot because he was “brandishing a sword”?

    “When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, preliminary evidence suggests that Mr. Hunt brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot,” (County Attorney) Taylor said.

    However, according to what Edwards told the paper on Sunday, this account is contradicted by the autopsy.

    Because the guy was running away!

    “It would appear difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these facts with the story released by the Utah County Attorney’s Office that Darrien was lunging toward the officers when he was shot,” Edwards said. “We continue to hope that a full investigation will reveal the whole truth about this tragedy.”

    Maybe when we’re training cops we should focus on the simple things. “This is the front of a person [pointing].” “This is running away [pointing].”Report

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