Linky Friday #95


Will Truman

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

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167 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    You forgot to number your links Will:

    Ed1: People love teachers as individuals but hate them as a collective. They like the dedicated teacher who takes time for his students or uses her own money to buy classroom supplies. When teachers gather together in union to bargain for higher pay, benefits, or a better school budget than they are not liked.

    I3: I think that the author is reading way too much into YA dystopian fiction. Most of YA dystopian fiction speaks to how teenagers think and reason rather that rightist libertarianism. I also think the Hunger Games more heavily attacks conservatives if a political motive could be read into it. It involves imperialism and empire rather than the welfare state.

    I5: This is a good summary on why many liberals are suspicious of state rights arguments to. A smaller community is one with more consensus and more able to beat down on those that can’t or won’t conform. A larger body politic has to adopt a more apathetic stance towards many individuals behaviors and eccentricities out of pragmatism at least.

    M3: I really disagree with Mr. Salam on this. I think the reason why assimilation is or at least seems slower these days than it did in the past is because of modern communication technology rather than the internet. In the late 19th and early 20th century, it was much more difficult for immigrants to import their home culture. Italians could start an Italian-language newspaper and Jews might build a Yiddish theatre but no group could really and fully import their home culture. It needed to be built a new in the United States or elsewhere. The Internet, cable, and video allows for much more cultural importation. Korean immigrants can watch Korean TV and Indians can buy Bollywood movies. The greater ability to import culture might make assimilation slower.

    M5: As far as I can tell, the Chinese government in its various incarnations held this stance since the 19th century.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Thanks for the heads up. I thought I finished awfully quickly.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

      When teachers gather together in union to bargain for higher pay, benefits, or a better school budget than they are not liked.

      When you write in the passive voice like that, God kicks a puppy.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Since the second century? They don’t call it the Middle Kingdom for nothing!Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

      This is a good summary on why many liberals are suspicious of state rights arguments to.

      When there is a region — more than a single state — that has to be occupied to some extent periodically to enforce the rules… When you have to resort to the federal court system on a nearly continuous basis to enforce the rules… When the federal court system begins to tell you that some of the rules are unenforceable… When you find yourself saying “Surely the next generation will be better” for the fifth or sixth or seventh time… When the region seems to be expanding (or at least, opposition to some of the rules seem to be spreading to other states)… Does it ever become appropriate to say “irreconcilable differences” and give up on enforcement? Or send them packing?

      The original post made a big thing over Scotland. Seems worth saying that the referendum was much closer than anyone thought originally, and that was after England basically promised late in the game, “We’ll give you almost everything you want if you’ll just not leave.” It’s not over. Now everyone waits to see if England gives those things to Scotland (my bet is that they weasel out). But if England does deliver, what do Wales and Northern Ireland then demand?Report

      • The biggest complicating factor is that there are a lot of black folks down there who are American citizens.

        The second issue is that secession has little popular support.Report

      • Not all of the complaints are related to racial discrimination. Abortion. Religion. Opposition to many of the things that have been done using the authority in the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. Attitudes toward social services (certainly there’s racial considerations there, but there also seems to be a whole thing about poverty independent of race). Department of Education “meddling,” although the money is often welcomed.

        In this particular case, I was thinking less of secession than of being kicked out. Presumably still requires an amendment, although it might be interesting if Congress and the White House passed an act that said “State X is no longer part of the United States. Individuals are still citizens of course, but we don’t protect your rights any more than we do if you live in Canada or Somalia.” And then acted that way no matter what the Supreme Court said.Report

      • Not all of the complaints are related to racial discrimination.

        Definitely true! But a lot of them either revolve around civil rights or the perception thereof. Minorities, women, poor people, etc. Given that they are disinclined towards federalism on these matters, I suspect they would be even more disinclined to leave southern minorities, women, etc “to the wolves.” And if southerners ever started making serious noise about secession, those are the first questions that would be asked.

        But you’re talking about expulsion, which I think is even less likely. Partially because of the above. It’s really the long way around of addressing the various problems when they could, if they were really insistent and not concerned about the above, accomplish with federalism or a quasi-federalism (interstate pacts) that would nonetheless allow them to claim southern real estate and exert some degree of control… or alternately use that to freeze them out so that they do leave voluntarily. Still have the wolves problem, though.

        On a personal perspective, I do hope you’re wrong. If you’re right, we’d more or less have to return to the South (even if the law didn’t require it), and living in the SSA is not high on my list of things to do.

        Now, I will say that if the WSA did split off, I think a mutually agreed to north-south split (oir a northern secession because they’d be the losers in the new balance of power) would become a vague possibility. I think the western states honestly act as a bit of a mediating influence. I could see the two have a lot more difficulty living together than they presently do.Report

      • I admit that I’m surprised at the notion of (my 11-state) WSA acting as a moderating influence on anyone east of the Great Plains. So many things are different: federal land holdings affecting the state/federal relationship, ease of ballot initiatives both statutory and constitutional [1], fire and water, general degree of urbanization [2], etc. IIRC, Pennsylvania has the most aggressive renewable energy mandate east of the Mississippi, but would be fairly half-hearted in the West [3]. If you add them up, the majority of ballots cast across those 11 states are cast by mail [4], which the rest of the country seems to think is insane [5].

        [1] It’s just routine that a few weeks before the election I get a little blue booklet that explains the five to ten ballot initiatives that I’ll get to vote on.

        [2] The West has always been much more non-rural than most people think. Geography has tended to concentrate the population into a few areas. Outside of those areas, things are really empty. I was looking at a map of Indiana the other day, and they’ve got little cities and towns everywhere.

        [3] The big thing is that most eastern mandates allow cheating — the utilities can buy green energy credits somewhere else far away. The western mandates generally don’t. Even with cheating, most eastern states are not going to meet their mandates; most of the western states are on track to do so.

        [4] California has passed the 50% mark, Arizona has passed 60%, and Colorado/Oregon/Washington are >80%.

        [5] I have friends on the East Coast ranging from liberal to conservative who all believe that massive fraud of some sort must be going on, but western states are just too stupid to find it. Granted, they think about different kinds of fraud, depending on whether they lean left or right.Report

      • The west doesn’t moderate because it is moderate. It moderates because they are different and neither party can win without western votes.Report

      • It moderates because they are different and neither party can win without western votes.

        If that were the dynamic in play, I would expect to see both parties playing regional cards. Promises to leave Yucca Mountain shut down (makes everyone but Washington happy). Promises to clean up the Hanford Reservation much more promptly (makes Washington happy). Fund more BPA transmission capacity, including transfers to California. Promises to invest in desalinization in SoCal. Local veto power over federal land holding status changes. Give states all of the federal mineral royalty revenues. Assurances that wildfire mitigation and national forest fire fighting will be fully funded. Big-time concern over the WIPP radiation leaks. Both parties working to address large numbers of illegal immigrants and their impacts on local resources (say undocumented if you prefer that — essentially, non-citizens who don’t hold resident visas of any sort).

        Fundamentally, the West can be bought — but neither party is offering to do so.Report

  2. Re: article about autodidacticism:

    I agree with it, especially this:

    And it’s likely that they [the small number of people who truly are autodidacts] had more help along the way than is generally acknowledged.

    As a child, I devoted a couple summers to teaching myself Latin and German. I learned something from those endeavors, particularly about grammar. But probably because I didn’t interact with any teachers (or people who already knew Latin or German), I never got a firm grasp of those languages.

    There are probably degrees of autodidacticism, or it’s a spectrum thing. I also suspect it depends on the subject/discipline. I further suspect that one function of formal education is to teach people how to be autodidacts. I may not be the world’s greatest historian, but my training in the field has let me know how to figure out what I don’t know, and the confidence to teach myself, when necessary.

    Finally–and anecdotally–I find Will’s point that the education establishment probably assumes too quickly that others learn as the members of the establishment do. While I can’t speak for the “education establishment” itself, the times when I have taught, I often approached it from how I would like to learn, or from what was successful for me as a student. And because I am self-directed when it comes to history, a lot of what worked for me was either over my students’ heads, or just didn’t respect that they had different ways of learning.Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    Text messages on the movie screen: Alamo Drafthouse does that for some movies (It’s one of there events, though at the moment I can’t remember what they call out). Basically you make fun of the film in real time, and they put it on the screen.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    Tax subsidies to turn land in San Francisco into undeveloped garden parcels… but the rent is too damn high. Proof positive that no matter how idiotic people may be as individuals they can never match the heights of group idiocy.Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask in reply to North says:

      Reminds me of this.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


      The issue is that those subsidies potentially came in during a time when San Francisco was more affordable and community gardens were good ways to reclaim violent communities and get people fresh fruits and veggies. Plus have some environmental benefits

      Policies can make sense when they are created but turn out to be extremely problematic later when say a tech boom takes place. But it is also very hard to taketh what was once giveth especially after gardens are developed.

      It turns out that the Flood Insurance Act that you disliked was created after a flood destroyed much of the housing in Kansas City in the early 50s. It took a long time for Kansas City to get relief from Congress.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        And then in the 1990’s, we fixed the Midwest flooding every dangnab year.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Sounds reasonable- what I don’t get is how it could possibly sustain itself in the wake of your current housing issues. Rent control at least has hordes of idealistic and practical supporters but how many votes can garden subsidies glean?

        So I can blame ruby red GOP Kansas for federal flood insurance? Never let it be said you never gave me anything Saul ol’ buddy!Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to North says:

      Remember once upon a time I posted a link about turning warehouses into farms?

      Why can’t we have mixed use housing like that? Or just build a housing complex with a rooftop garden & setup to allow vertical gardening on the sides of the building?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I would support that.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        We do things like this in pittsburgh.
        Come visit!Report

      • We can MRS, but unless some horrific disaster destroys a big chunk of the world’s farmland it’ll get outcompeted by produce grown under more traditional methods.

        That said I gather lettuce and certain other specific crops might have a an economic niche (there was an article about cargo pod farming in Georgia on The Atlantic at some point)- that offers promising prospects since the tech will develop which might bring more crops into economic reach. A virtous cycle though I suspect you’d face a lot of resistance from neighbors.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Are these urban gardens really trying to compete with commercial farming, or just helping urban dwellers connect with nature & their food a bit more?Report

      • @MRS Yes I think I see your point- definitely but this urban garden policy is about land owners basically being able to keep their land idle and realize tax savings by playing to the preferences of upper class liberals. Vertical farming would be pretty capital intensive and thus wouldn’t be appealing to the land owners.Report

      • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        This is a great idea for about a thousand different reasons.

        1. People eat fresher produce because it’s grown in their neighborhood, so you get positive dietary benefits.

        2. People breathe cleaner air, because the plants buffer air pollution, exhale oxygen, and in many instances sequester a lot of carbon. So you get substantial cardiovascular benefits.

        3. Having green roofs is also better for energy efficiency. You can save a LOT of money on cooling costs if you have a bunch of plants on your roof, because instead of the sunlight heating your building, the plants eat it.

        4. Green roofs can also help regulate stormwater runoff. Plants are great at absorbing and retaining water for later, and the way their roots lay in the soil makes it porous, like a sponge. (This explains the apparent paradox of flash-floods in the desert: Because there’s not as much vegetation, the soil is less disturbed by roots, more compact as a result, and can’t absorb rainfall as well as in other bioregions.) About half the time it rains in New York City, the sewers overflow and dump sewage into the waterways; this could largely be avoided if the city had more vegetation.

        5. Vegetation is often associated with lower crime rates, perhaps due to its effect on stress. As long as vegetation isn’t arranged so that it can easily hide illicit activity, introducing greenery to an area can reduce crime by upwards of 50%.

        Most of this country’s health spending goes to health problems that could be substantially mitigated by more eatable urban greenery. Why the idea isn’t more popular is beyond me.Report

      • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist @north Another point: There are certain dimensions along which even the best trucked-in food simply can’t compete with local food. For a lot of produce, local is a huge advantage because transport isn’t easily workable — witness heirloom tomatoes, for instance, which grow like crazy but are expensive at the supermarket (if it’s even available) because they’re kinda fussy in transport.

        There is a pretty big farm on top of a roof near my Queens apartment, and the produce there is literally picked the day I get it, or even right before my eyes. It’s more expensive than the supermarket, but not ridiculously so, and it stands to reason that prices would go even lower if more players entered the market.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        All those points are certainly true.
        One thing that needs to be pointed out, though, is that urban farming can’t compete on price.
        There are those like me who believe that a small increase in food cost is more than offset by the improved health and well being of the consumers.

        But I think we need to address this issue head on (an not only in the issue of food!)

        When we allow the concept that “Cheaper is always Better” we surrender the ability to recognize any larger or related issues.Report

      • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @lwa I agree entirely, with the caveat that if we internalize the externalities and internalities of trucked-in food, urban farming really can not only compete on price, but in many instances beat the transported competition.

        But honestly, what I have in mind isn’t even commercial farms, but rather community gardens and co-ops, so the price “problem” isn’t as clearly salient.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I agree entirely, with the caveat that if we internalize the externalities and internalities of trucked-in food, urban farming really can not only compete on price, but in many instances beat the transported competition.

        I’d like to see the assumptions and calculations on that. Given the annual value of a square foot of urban land and how much produce you can grow on a square foot of urban land per year, I’m extremely skeptical of this claim.

        And that’s just the first-order analysis. If you’re going to get really fancy and start looking at more loosely-connected externalities, how much environmental cost do you apply to the number of commuter miles you create by moving some people who might have lived on that land out of the city they work in? You can’t just calculate the cost of shipping turnips into the city and not consider the cost of shipping commuting workers in from the suburbs, an pound for pound, commuters use a ton more fuel than turnips do.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        these folks are talking rooftop gardens. But even if you aren’t, you need to externalize the heat island effect that plants mitigate.

        I’m honestly a bit skeptical of rooftop gardens being good for the environment. Watered soil on roof means that leaks come easy… (and every time it leaks, you need to replace far more than the roof.)Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It reminds me of the developers who’d buy up land near airports, build houses and then sue. If I’m reading this correctly it’s basically requiring developers to take soundproofing measures and provide full disclosure when building next door to live music clubs. That doesn’t read badly to me.Report

  5. Avatar Gaelen says:

    I just wanted to point out that there are some factual problems with the Frum immigration piece.

    First, Frum states that applicants can leave the US for up to six months multiple times and still meet the continuous residence standard. But the six month standard he cites does not apply to Dreamers, who are judged by a much harsher standard.

    Second, he says (without, I’m guessing, talking an immigration attorney or doing any research whatsoever), that a person arrested for speeding, driving while intoxicated, and resisting arrest would still be eligible because each charge is a misdemeanor, and all three would be counted as one. While totally ignoring the fact that only minor misdemeanors are ok. Driving while intoxicated is listed as a significant misdemeanor, and resisting arrest would likely count as one as well. He could have easily avoided making this simple mistake, but apparently going to the USCIS dreamers page to look at the standard was just too much work.Report

  6. Avatar j r says:

    [E1] : Marche is a little bit right, but damn if he doesn’t express himself exactly in such a way as to sound exactly like the stuffy, self-important form of literary criticism that Dead Poets Society decries. There has got to be some middle ground.

    [I1]: I’ve long been joking that we are at peak feminism and this is a pretty good summation of what I mean. Radical ideologies are overreaching. Hopefully, this won’t lead to a reactionary move too far in the other direction.


    If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids exposure to the “freedom” expressed in YA dystopian fiction.

    I fear that this is not parody.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to j r says:

      re:E1. Ayiyi. Yes. Wagner has done much more harm to the theory of writing than Dead Poets Society ever will. Writing is a craft, like any other, and requires study and patience and care. Not sitting in the middle of the night writing in the throes of madness. That just gives you crap.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to j r says:

      Re: I1, Oh man, you must be young.

      When I1 went around Twitter the other day, I was remarking about how that is basically the article every former activist ever writes in his or her head. That is, you become disillusioned with activists who behave in various counterproductive or just plain unproductive behaviors in lieu of actually doing things to create change. Ideas suffer for their (loose) adherents behavior, and you get equally ineffective ex-activist pseudo-pragmatists/moderates.

      I guess the current generation of young activists’ pointless-to-counterproductive behavior is internet outrage and extreme policing of everyone for everything.

      There are, it should be noted, productive activists in all sorts of domains. It’s just that they tend to have less time to spend fretting about the meetings.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris says:

        Not that young. I was in college in the 90s, through the first round of the PC Wars, which were themselves probably largely a replay of the what went on on college campuses 20 years prior to that.

        From my perspective, what makes this different is the internet. So yes, the activist left has always been working through these issues, but this time it’s happening on a stage that the rest of us can see what is going on in the wings and back behind the stage.

        No doubt that there are productive activists. Unfortunately, movements tend to get pigeonholed by their most mockable factions. As an example, note the number of people who think that they are offering some profound criticism of libertarianism by saying mean things about Ayn Rand.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Chris says:

        @chris I think it’s different now. When you and I were youngsters, it took a freaking lot of effort to maintain the radical activist mindset and get the badges of honer needed to maintain cred in X movement.

        Today it seems to require pretty much zip effort, past setting up a twitter account and retweeting things other radical sounding people said.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        That’s it, I’m back in!Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

        if all it takes is twitter, then you can be simultaneously a revolutionary and counter-revolutionary.
        Twitterbots exist, and people do sell their twitter accounts.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        the badges of honor needed to maintain cred in X movement.

        I.e, to impress the female members of the X movement.

        Today it seems to require pretty much zip effort, past setting up a twitter account and retweeting things other radical sounding people said.

        You can get laid just for that? Kids today have it so much easier than we did.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chris says:

        @tod-kelly — Well, I passed into that space and out of it. In fact, you all kinda got to see me do that. Anyway, I think that, yeah, Twitter is amplifying this process, and there has been a big surge the past few years as people find their way to social media, but I’m not sure if this can be sustained. There is just too much infighting and I know tons of people who last year were ranty-mc-rantypants but who these days are being more thoughtful.

        Cuz we’ve each been at some point the target of our “own side” and folks are saying, “Okay, wait, this doesn’t generalize well.” Plus gamergate is just fucking tiresome.

        Anyway, this stuff ain’t going away cuz it is a self-sustaining broken system, but I do think that the past few years have been a high part of the cycle.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Chris says:

        From your lips to God(ess?)’s ear my dear @Veronica D.Report

  7. Avatar Kimmi says:

    Our driveins close in the winter. Maine, etc, isn’t that cold in the summer.Report

  8. Avatar Kimmi says:

    H1: when you completely misdiagnose the issue, it’s no surprise that your ideas fall flat on their faces.
    My prescription: raise taxes until they’re at NYC levels — that’ll reduce the use of housing as reserve currency, through opening up an entire other city — more supply means prices can go down again.Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    L3: a few comments about 7 programming myths –

    #4 “Cutting edge tools produce better results.” If “tools” means languages, then it’s definitely not something that programmers believe. If “tools” means software, then actually, I don’t think anyone believes that anymore either. Every new environment and system is created to handle twice as many situations 90% as well.

    #6 “Great programmers write the fastest code” and #7 “Good code is ‘simple’ or ‘elegant'”. These two are closely related. Most people spend .02 seconds of CPU time running a program in the background while they’re on eBay for twenty minutes. Speed is almost irrelevant, unless you’re dealing with monster programs or files. Most users would consider the reduction of keystrokes to be a higher priority than the run time of a program.

    As for elegance, I consider intuitive code to be more elegant than something that uses only 3 lines of obscure code. There is such a thing as long and confusing code, but there’s also long and clear, short and confusing, and short and clear. The ideal is the last. I agree with the article that I’d rather face something longer and clear than shorter and baffling. But short, baffling code is so satisfying to write! There’s also the problem that some things can’t be done clearly. Some operations involve so many backflips that you either have to write it long and confusing or short and confusing. There’s no good answer there.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Pinky says:

      I found L3 to be true, but only slightly less cliche-ridden as the ideas it’s attacking. I kind of agree with most of the main points, but then my internal skeptic (which may be an internal contrarian) kicks in and says, “well, it’s complicated”.

      However, I strongly believe that long hours don’t result in much increase in productivity. But since it’s very difficult to measure productivity, it’s hard to prove. But that applies to the 10x idea, too. Most of the 10x’ers turn out, in my experience to have simply ignored work that someone has to do somewhere later down the road.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        I had a job once where “lines of C code produced” was actually measured and the winner mentioned at the weekly meeting. For a while, I was writing YACC parsers and won every time.

        The 10x stuff can be true, but it’s hard to measure. Way, way back, I was working on a system which was simply trying to run too many programs at once so it intermittently would fall over and die. A buddy and I figured out how to rebuild the OS to give it more data space. There wasn’t anyone else on the team who understood the OS internals well enough to have come up with that idea, much less implemented it.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        In my experience, the 10x is easy to measure. They’re the people who wind up doing the “impossible,” whether that’s producing 100,000 lines of code without a bug (Gov’t bitched!), or pulling down more data from the internet than is theoretically possible (that’s why it’s a Theory! also, I love parity!).

        And they’re the people who know how the CPU optimizes things, so that they don’t get burned by using old optimizations.

        But a real 10x programmer? Writes wonderful designs that are easily testable.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        The most productive programmers I know don’t write a thing. They know the old code well enough that they can cut and paste new programs in seconds. They often overlap with the ones who write code that’s so generalized that they simply don’t need to write as much – their product can be tweaked by the user as needed.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        “The most productive programmers I know don’t write a thing.”
        I could say the same thing… except that I’d follow it up with “they let their code do the optimizations itself.” Teacher not programmer.
        [Not strictly true, of course. But good enough.]Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        On the 10x programmer thing, I actually know Ed Kmett. I mean, I don’t know him well, but I know him. I’ve seen him code.

        So, yeah, it’s a real thing.

        Wanna know the truth, I’m a 10x programmer. I just am.

        On #4, @pinky point is correct. Good tools matter a lot. A good build system, good source control, good test frameworks — this shit is a big deal.

        On languages, okay, so I work on a large program in Common Lisp, like literally a half-million lines of Lisp (plus about a half million lines of C++). It’s crazy huge and complicated.

        The application deals with finding optimal pricing for airlines, which is a tremendously complex problem space involving about sixty years of compounding regulation and practice, plus every imaginable exception and special case. And our code is fast. It uses very sophisticated and very non-obvious algorithms. A computation that is simple on paper is hard in the code cuz we actually compute one part here and another part there and another part some other place cuz we need to do only the bits we *must* do and sometimes we have to do some of one thing before we can decide to reject a solution, and which parts we need to do when is different all the time.

        And nothing is actually simple on paper, cuz maybe you can only use this fare when it is combined with some other two fares but you can only use those when you do this other thing and, oh by the way, this only applies on when changing airlines in Heathrow and only if your connection time is less than six hours and your final destination is in Greece.

        And that’s just this one fare. That other fare is totally different.

        I’ll say this flat out, this monstrosity could not have been produced in Java or C++, or any of the other popular languages back then. I mean, “could not” is a strong thing to say, but believe it. The computational models of Lisp let us say more with less. There is an economy of code that allows an economy of thought. This matters. And the team did (and still does) have some 10x types. It needs them. It is that complex.

        So anyway, look, if you’re writing a storefront application, then Ruby or Python will be just fine, or maybe just some off-the-shelf thing. This is a solved problem. The mainstream tools are sufficient. (And Ruby is mainstream now.) Likewise, if you’re writing some big mess-a-code for a banking application, then you might as well choose Java. The shit is boring anyway so you may as well get a boring tool for the boring people you’ll hire. (She says arrogantly.)

        Anyway, yeah. Software engineering is a big enough field that whatever you think, you will find some exception somewhere.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        is that the sort of thing where they blindfold the contractors? ;-P
        (seriously, this has happened to programmers I’ve worked with — along with black helicopters to take them to where they’d work onsite).

        I don’t count myself as a 10x programmer, but that may just be because I know a 10x designer, and his code can beat the pants off mine any day of the week. (He has broken companies by having too many good ideas.)Report

      • There wasn’t anyone else on the team who understood the OS internals well enough to have come up with that idea, much less implemented it.

        I encountered this multiple times in my tech career (each time in a test-and-measurement setting). I put it in a different category from the 10x thing, since it basically boils down to “You can put as much of the team to work on the problem as you want, but most of them are not capable of that one insight that makes a solution feasible.”

        Years ago, when I had to take a class on process optimization, there was a story about Henry Ford and an efficiency expert (used as a warning). Ford hired the expert to streamline the headquarters operation. After some time, the expert reported to Ford, “You’re already very well organized. But there is this one guy, sits three offices down from you, who reads the paper or stares out the window all day. I recommend you fire him.” Ford answered, “Four years ago that guy had an idea and it doubled our profits. Two years ago he had another idea and it opened up a whole new line of business. I can afford to fire anyone but that guy.”Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        yeah, it becomes a problem when that guy comes up with a new idea (a year’s development) every week. Then you fire him to save your company.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Pinky says:

      But short, baffling code is so satisfying to write!

      We had a developer we had to get rid of because they loved to write tight, compact code that did very interesting things, but they absolutely refused to comment the code. Their attitude was that if the rest of us needed long comments in order to parse their logic, we weren’t really developers & should go find another career.

      Except that was never the problem, the rest of us could always figure out what this person was doing with their code, but absent comments, we’d have to spend 15-20 minutes walking through it before we had the big picture, which was 15-20 minutes we weren’t doing something productive.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Yeah, that’s an issue… I hate it when folks think that they’re clever and all that.

        … all good image processing code comes with a rant about Adobe. (seriously, you wind up special-casing because Adobe refuses to follow standard file conventions). But that’s also known as commenting the “weird crap”Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’ve always liked the rule, “Document your code. ‘Self-documenting’ code only documents what it actually does, not what you meant for it to do. Those aren’t always the same thing.”Report

  10. Avatar Will H. says:

    I saw Lightfoot in a small theatre (3000-seater) when his opening act was snowed in. Of course, Gord made it through the snow; but he came on as his own opening act. You could tell he wasn’t prepared for it, because there was one song he started, then couldn’t remember the rest. But he did it. And I’m glad I got to see him on that night.

    Similarly, I saw Joan Jett when she was opening for Iggy, and Iggy got snowed in at Denver and didn’t show. Joan Jett, as always, rocked the house. I saw her again opening for someone else, and she blew the headliners away.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    L4: I am not super concerned with the demise of the teenage job. I suspect it is something that was more romanticized than ever really about teaching skills or independence.

    E1: I think this is overstating the case but he has some points. Literary tastes change and there are still plenty of people who love dense 19th century novels. They might not be writers but they are out there. I have friends who were fanatics for Victorian literature in college and went on to study it in grad school. There are still antiquarians out there. Yes there is a memoir craze going on and I want this craze to die but there are plenty of novelists who write about things other than themselves.

    I3: I love that the Guardian will print essays like this. In the U.S., an essay like this would be confined to a smaller magazine like The New Inquiry, N plus 1, The New York Review of Books, etc. Or Slate would published a simplified version (maybe). I think the author has some very good points but I don’t think the Hunger Games is going to give rise to a new wing of right-wing warriors.

    E2: I think it is entirely possible that teachers are well-respected by many people but can still feel
    attacked because the people doing the attacking are generally “very important people” with lots of money and influential voices. It doesn’t matter if most Americans respect teachers. What matters is that Michelle Rhee and a bunch of other rich people with ideologies want to overhaul education and make it more free market and less of a social good.

    H3: Things that are too good to be true usually are but this does not prevent people from buying into things that are too good to be true. People are still people and educated professionals can still fall for the allure of easy money.

    H4: I am going to agree with Conor here even if I gave some pushback to North above.

    I1: I really liked this essay and it explains my own relationship with the far left in many ways especially as someone who is critical of Capitalism but not completely hating of it. I am a wet mixed market kind of guy who ends up being too far to the right for socialists and too far to the left for neo-liberals.

    P1: I am not trusting anything that Twitchy has to say about anything especially something where she can insult the Bay Area. I am a bit sad that Mad Rocket Scientist and you thought it was cool to publish such partisan hackery.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      L4: I am not super concerned with the demise of the teenage job. I suspect it is something that was more romanticized than ever really about teaching skills or independence.


      Huh. My first organized job where I got a paycheck with withholding was at 15.5, as soon as I could legally work in the state of California. Prior to that, I mowed lawns, babysat, cleaned the neighborhood pool, vacuumed houses. We didn’t get “an allowance”, Dad’s philosophy was “if you need money, ask me for it. If you want a job, tell me and I’ll give you something not on the usual chores list and we’ll negotiate a deal for it.” I hardly ever asked for money outright, it was always a trade: I’ll pick all the oranges in the orange tree for $10. I’ll tear down the patio you want taken down for $100. I’ll trim the tree for $25.

      Almost every dollar of spending cash I had from the age of twelve onwards was money I earned through work.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick says:

        As opposed to the kid who looked at his parents’ sense of fiscal responsibility, and started making money “Just in case we need it”… because his parents were clearly fiscally incompetent (in all fairness, they bought new cars).

        It’s hard to work legally in America, if you’re a kid. (Sidenote: if you do class projects, and submit them later to get published for $$$, can you be in violation of child labor statutes?)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        For one set of people, their teenage years are going to be the only time they’re going to be doing certain kinds of work that I think everybody should do at some point in their lives.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:


        I am not sure why there are certain jobs that everyone should do. This goes into the kind of stuff where Hanley hammers at me for saying stuff like critics have a responsibility to tell their readships about stuff off the beaten track or upcoming new artists.

        Has there ever been a world where everyone does X kind of job? We are heading to a more technologically advanced world where even servers at restaurants might be robotic. Many retail jobs have been destroyed by on-line shopping, etc.

        FWIW I did have a summer job before my junior year of college that was working maintenance in the parks department of my suburb for a bit. My main job was being a watcher at the wading pool but I was hired before the pools opened so they gave me a few weeks on the maintenance crew. I liked the guys I worked with. Interestingly it was my fellow summer workers who made fun of me for being bookish, not the full-time crew.

        If you really want to bring back some kind of universal experience, the best way would be through a large scale thing like a new Civilian Conservation Corp or a new Works Progress Administration. I don’t see this going over well in the U.S. these days. A lot of people would scream that this is coercion but there could also be a lot of overlap between people who think the CCC and WPA are coercion but would also morn the death of the teenage job because of high minimum wage. I find this odd (not necessarily saying that you are one of those people)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick says:


      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:



      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick says:

        “critics have a responsibility to tell their readships about stuff off the beaten track”
        … I’m sorry, I have a review for “The Tribe” in the works, but it doesn’t have a commercial distro, so I’m not sure if Jaybird’s going to actually post the review. [yet another reason why film festivals rock, and why having me review things at one is a poor idea — Pittsburgh’s runs in November, which is after everyone else.] (it’s also a response/rebuke to the idea that shock is dead.)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick says:

        I wanted to write a comment in response to yours but all that came out was incoherent yelling.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        @saul-degraw I’m not sure there’s a whole lot I can add that I didn’t mention here, but I’ll try!

        Historically, not everyone has worked precisely the same kind of job. Nonetheless, I think it’s troublesome to have more and more young people skipping straight to older, more professional work (after college). Among other reasons, I think it’s good to have a degree of forewarning that all of your jobs are not going to pay well, they’re not going to have you doing what you want to do, they’re often surprisingly not easy, they’re not going to offer anything in the way of prestige. But they’re what you do because you need to do them, even if only so that you can get tickets to see a movie on Friday night. A lot of people have an explicit or implicit sense of entitlement about such things. Millenials have a reputation for this, but I definitely saw it in my own generation.

        I don’t know what the future holds for such jobs. I honestly think automation has little to do with it. But immigration is having an effect, and so is culture.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:


        Look at my comments to Tod below. Why is it wrong to suggest that social and technological changes also caused the demise of the teenage job?

        Why would you hire a high school sophomore when you can hire a 23 year old with a degree in early childhood education to be your babysitter?

        Does this just cut across precious libertarian talking points?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:


        Maybe not automation but I think technology does lead to the death of teenage jobs. And for immigrants, I am more concerned with getting people out of countries where they could be subject to persecution and/or starvation than I for saving the teenage job.

        We are roughly the same age. I think that e-commerce and technological advancements during our time in high school and college did a lot to kill the teenage job. See the death of stores like Tower Records and Sam Goody because of Itunes and Pandora. The death of malls also helped kill the teenage job.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick says:

        Oh, these aren’t libertarian talking points you’re treading across.

        These are blue collar democratic voter talking points you’re stepping on.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        It’s lead to the death of some teenage jobs. If you want a job at a record store, then ecommerce has definitely played a role. But… there the service sector has a lot of jobs that haven’t gone anywhere. Lots of grocery stores, fast food places, restaurants, retail outlets, and so on.

        (Note, I’m not saying “There’s a job out there if you’re a yungin that wants one!” Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, depending on where you are. I’m just saying that record stores themselves aren’t emblematic of much. I still see plenty of jobs around that I would want Lain to work for at least a time.)Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick says:

        that grocery store job pays as much as it used to. But 15 years ago, $10 an hour went a looong way. I gotta wonder what we’re teaching our kids, if they’re just being paid to be a bunch of hands, not even really getting enough to have spending money (def of spending money: enough to buy car? enough to buy clothes? enough to go to movies occasionally? unsure).

        Is it a better idea to let them build and run a business, profiting off social instability in other countries? By hiring orphans?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        @kimmi Those jobs paid little more than half of $10/hr fifteen years ago, where I lived.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick says:

        what do you want to bet they pay $7.50 now?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick says:


        Sorry, I have no idea what Twitchy is. I just thought the protester complaining about jail food that actually looked pretty decent to be funny.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:


        Twitchy is a site run by Michelle Malkin. She is a hyper-Republican hack. Andrew Sullivan defines the Michelle Malkin award as:

        “The Malkin Award – named after blogger, Michelle Malkin, is for shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric. Ann Coulter is ineligible – to give others a chance.”

        In short, it is just a partisan hack job at attacking silly Berkeley liberals.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        I have little use for Malkin or pretty much anything else she’s done, but Twitchy definitely has its moments.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw “L4: I am not super concerned with the demise of the teenage job. I suspect it is something that was more romanticized than ever really about teaching skills or independence.”

      Saul, I find this comment odd– bizarre, even — without further context about your own life.

      My first response to this was going to be something along the lines of, “Spoken like a single guy who’s never had a kid that wants an X-Box/concert tickets/college tuition/pizza/etc.” But then it hit me that you’re not that old, and that it wasn’t that long ago since you were someone I would have assumed needed a summer job.

      How did you acquire things like college tuition, books for school or pleasure, CDs, games, pizza, concert or theatre tickets, burgers, money to take out a date, tux for high school prom, etc.? Did you come from a family where the money for those things were always provided for you by your parents, or did you just decide to never do any of those things until you were out of college (that you did entirely on credit)?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        We got a reasonably weekly allowance. Our parents wanted us to study and do well in school.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Yeah, my mom wanted that for me, too. She thought that the best way for me to study and do well in school was to explore the only jobs I’d be able to get if I didn’t.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Oh man, there are soooooo many unkind and privileged assumptions of people who are not you wrapped up into that small, tiny sentence.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Operating a mop at the Nathan’s my dad managed was an educational experience. Didn’t really help do better in school since i was set on massively underachieving in HS. But still a good motivator later on in life.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


        See my response to Will above.

        I’ve had typical teenage jobs when I was in college. I worked as a camp counselor and then for my local parks department.

        That being said, I do think that there is a lot of ideological mismatch going on when conservatives moan the death of the teenage job. These are often the same people who praise technological advancements that undercut the need for the types of jobs that “every teenager should have.” I don’t think teenage jobs are necessarily going away just because of a higher minimum wage. That seems like an ideological scapegoat to me. I think people are looking for reasons to be opposed to a higher minimum wage and the end of the teenage job is one of them.

        How about how Internet e-business caused the death of the teenage job? When I was in high school, there was a big Sam Goody music store in my suburb. I knew a few people from high school who worked here but Sam Goody is gone because almost everyone buys or streams their music on-line now. The only music stores I can think of are indie businesses like Amoeba that are not likely to hire teenagers.

        Babysitting used to be a teenage job but because you have so many college students who are underemployed, there are a lot of college and above educated people willing to do babysitting for extra bucks now and on-line sites that promise all their babysitters are college educated semi-professionals that can do enriching activities with your child.

        I think some people I went to law school with did babysitting for a while because they couldn’t get any other job. I know a lot of actresses who make babysitting their way to get money (and lodging) in NYC. Tech 2.0 comes up with sites like Urbansitter so yuppie parents can find babysitters with degrees in early childhood education or something else that is enriching.

        There was a woman in my town who ran a weekly flower delivery service. She employed the friends of her sons as the delivery people.

        Lots of fast food restaurants are switching to automatic ordering.

        So there are a lot of factor that are leading to the death of the teenage job and many of those factors are often championed as being good free market stuff because it drives costs down for consumers. But many of these people are seemingly also the type of people who romanticize the idea of a teenage job teaching self-sufficiency and whatnot. So I see contradictions. When I hear people talk about how higher minimum wages will hurt teenagers getting jobs, I think it is false. I think they merely don’t want Wal-Mart workers to have higher wages.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        ” camp counselor and then for my local parks department”
        … those aren’t typical teenage jobs. Those are cushy teenage jobs.
        Typical teenage jobs leave you with burnscars that you’ll have for the rest of your life.
        **is it obvious enough that I know comedians?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


        1. Ohhhh…..Nathan’s

        2. See my response to Tod. I don’t disagree but I think those jobs are largely not there anymore because of societal and technological changes that largely started happened when I was in high school. Itunes means no more places like Tower Records or Sam Goody. The mall is largely dying or dead as a shopping center. I suppose Amazon could offer teenagers jobs at warehouses but those tend to be on the outskirts of cities. The type of retail that remains seems to be largely higher-end and those places never really hired teenagers. So if you want to dig deeper into the death of the teenage job you are looking at a lot of technological change.

        Plus those jobs don’t get kids into college when they are competing against those who are working at exclusive internships.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        as for me, who didn’t have a job until my senior year, I didn’t buy CDs or go to the theater (without my mom being along, which hardly counts). I did ask for money occasionally to go to the movies, or to the local food court (both of which were rare treats).

        Books were seen as educational materials, no matter the content (I didn’t buy Private Parts, that might have been frowned upon). Those my parents bought, and in quantity at used book stores.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        We got a reasonably weekly allowance. Our parents wanted us to study and do well in school.

        [Head explodes.]

        So, uh, yeah, what was it like growing up with a mother who was a psychiatrist and a father who was a Seattle cop? That must have been weird, right, I mean the differences in personality and background? Odd conflicts at home, I imagine.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        There are two kinds of teenagers who work: 1) those who are trying to learn “skills or independence,” and 2) those who are not. I’m pretty sure group #2 is much more concerned than group #1 about the loss of teenage jobs.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I think I have a better inkling into the dating thing.

        New advice: redo your adolescence and have more really crappy jobs. Have a manager who tells you “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean”. Have another manager who isn’t as smart as you but knows the job better than you do. Have another manager who tells you that if you are 10 minutes early, you are 5 minutes late.

        I seriously think that this will help you.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        To be fair, I too got an allowance. A pretty generous one in retrospect. I was also expected to do well in school. This did not at all conflict with the expectation of getting a job, though, once I had a drivers license and more things to spend money on.

        Of course, I struggle a bit. One of the things I got a job for was so that I would have a computer to take with me to college. I plan to supply that to my kids regardless of whether they work or not. They’ll also likely have access to a car. I also hope that their college is paid for. I do worry about this a little, if they have nothing they really want that justifies getting a job.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Chris, that’s definitely a fair point. I mention #1 because that’s the group I am more familiar with (and the one that is more relevant to me personally). I actually wrote a piece about #2, though couldn’t quite come out with it in a way that didn’t sound condescending. I did not mean to suggest that it’s the most important group.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I got an allowance too. I don’t actually remember how much it was ($20, maybe?), but I do remember that it was also my lunch money for school, which meant that I ate chips and an ice cream bar most days so I’d have money for cigarettes and the arcade… heh. I’d also occasionally get money to grab some food while I was out (like for a Boy Scout or club meeting, say), and because I became the family taxi service (shuttling my siblings around to ballet, swim team, trumpet lessons, etc.), my parents paid for my gas (which included my trips to Melrose to play pool with the bikers). My parents were definitely very generous. I still got a summer job, though, because I wanted to play laser tag and my grandfather told me that having spending money when you went to college was a really good thing, and my grandfather was always right.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


        1. Did your son work when he was in high school?

        2. Since you live in an urban environment, do businesses like Powells and Stumptown Roasters hire high school students? If not, why do you think they don’t hire high school students? What sort of businesses do you think are more likely to hire high school students over 20 somethings?

        3. Why is it better to have teenage jobs over say helping someone get out of a war-torn land somewhere where they are a persecuted minority?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Will, yeah, I was mostly responding to the “I’m unconcerned” attitude.

        Youth unemployment is a very real problem.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Ben and Jerry’s hires high school students!

        As to your last point, I tend to think that getting your 15 year old a child bride is probably bad for both parties. Please don’t do this. It’s worse if you expect her to work as a maid for you.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I do worry about this a little, if they have nothing they really want that justifies getting a job.

        That is scary. Not because of your kids so much, but because the notion at that some point people will say “OK, I have enough stuff now” undermines the entire foundation of our economic system.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I think I’m pretty much there now.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        3. Why is it better to have teenage jobs over say helping someone get out of a war-torn land somewhere where they are a persecuted minority?

        [Remnants of my head reconnect so that they can explode again.]Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        But many of these people are seemingly also the type of people who romanticize the idea of a teenage job teaching self-sufficiency and whatnot. So I see contradictions. When I hear people talk about how higher minimum wages will hurt teenagers getting jobs, I think it is false. I think they merely don’t want Wal-Mart workers to have higher wages.

        I’m not worried about higher minimum wages hurting teenagers from getting jobs. I’m not worried about Wal-Mart having to pay folks a higher wage.

        I do think teenage jobs teach a huge number of things, other than just self-sufficiency. The value of your own labor. Your own ideas about what you want to do with the rest of your life. Respect for folks who do shitty jobs because you did that shitty job once yourself. Patience. Ability to work with others. Ability to work with others who aren’t good workers. The ability to admire craft in basic work. The ability to recognize different types of smarts. I could go on.

        (Now do keep in mind that I’m one of those folks who routinely rants about the perversity of “work culture” in the U.S.)Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Working on farms, and as the cleanup guy in a butcher shop/slaughterhouse, made sure that there was nothing the Navy could throw at me that would roil my stomach.

        So there is that.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The thing about I3 that leaped out for me was that I initially thought ‘This writer must hate-hate-HATE left wing politics and leftism in general if they describe it the way they are”. Then I reread the article and realized they were both a left winger and serious and then I thought “Man they must sell some nasty wierd crack rocks in England for this dude to smoke.”Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    There are many people who can be involved with a School of Rock Musical and make it good. Andrew Lloyd Weber and Julian “Downton Abbey” Fellows are not two of those people. I would have a hard time thinking of people who rocked less:

  13. Avatar Kimmi says:

    I4: ooh, lemme play!

    “The Red Tribe is most classically typified by conservative political beliefs, strong evangelical religious beliefs, creationism, opposing gay marriage, owning guns, eating steak, drinking Coca-Cola, driving SUVs, watching lots of TV, enjoying American football, getting conspicuously upset about terrorists and commies, marrying early, divorcing early, shouting “USA IS NUMBER ONE!!!”, and listening to country music.

    The Blue Tribe is most classically typified by liberal political beliefs, vague agnosticism, supporting gay rights, thinking guns are barbaric, eating arugula, drinking fancy bottled water, driving Priuses, reading lots of books, being highly educated, mocking American football, feeling vaguely like they should like soccer but never really being able to get into it, getting conspicuously upset about sexists and bigots, marrying later, constantly pointing out how much more civilized European countries are than America, and listening to “everything except country”.”

    I think I’ve got 8 on Red Tribe and 8 on Blue tribe. (notably, owning guns and thinking guns are barbaric. Check please!)Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Kimmi says:

      It strikes me that self-report is rather deadly here. we know people will report nosepicking but not racism. I think hatred of the other political party is more like nosepicking (if not “vaccination”) than racism.

      OTOH, the IAT isn’t about self-report…Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kimmi says:

      The writer of Slate Star Codex needs an editor worse than anyone I’ve ever read. I’ve tried to read his stuff before, and there are some good insights in it, but he just makes everything a slog. I did love this passage, though:

      I notice that, no matter how many long rants against feminism I write, everyone continues to assume I am a feminist. It’s like, “He doesn’t make too many spelling errors, his writing isn’t peppered with racial slurs – he’s got to be a feminist. He probably just forgot the word ‘not’ in each of his last 228 sentences.”

      That’s why he’s so frustrating. The guy can write.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Pinky says:

        You haven’t read most of my writing then. (granted, some of that is done while sleeping, so it tends to be more stream of UNconsciousness)Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Pinky says:

        he does tend to ask a lot of the reader, which at this moment in time is probably ill-advised. on the other hand he’s so niche it hardly matters.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Pinky says:

        This should not go unnoticed:

        granted, some of that is done while sleeping, so it tends to be more stream of UNconsciousness

        Said by anyone else, this is a corny joke, but I have become convinced that Kim is a performance artist of the highest caliber.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Pinky says:

        What do you think I’m really like, then?
        Just calling me a bot is a copout.

        … and you are seriously tempting me to post some of what I write as I fade into sleep, and snap back out of it.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Pinky says:

        never fear, it was ALSO intended as a corny joke. 😉Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kimmi says:

      I have 3 on red (assuming it doesn’t count that I’m not enjoying the 49ers much this year) and 7 on blue.Report

  14. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    [P4] Gordon Lightfoot is a gifted songwriter. It’s a shame that his material isn’t covered more often.Report

  15. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The graph in L4 is awful and the entire piece is maddeningly short on facts. “It hasn’t been this hard for teens to get summer jobs since 2010” is a patently ridiculous time frame. What is the long term secular trend? The WSJ and the Atlantic owe it to their readers to go back to at least the early 90s to at the very least more easily identify if this is indeed a generational shift. And that’s not even asking the hard work of splitting the numbers out by the socioeconomic circumstances the 16-19 year olds are in and if that has a correlation with summer employment or lack thereof.Report

  16. Avatar Kazzy says:

    P3: We have a drive-in theater near me in Orange County, NY but it is only open during the warmer months. That said, they now play the audio via car radios (on a dedicated FM station) so you don’t necessarily need to get out of the car. However, many people prefer to sit in lawn chairs or blankets or whathaveyou.

    P5: Basic LEGO sets are easy to find… IF you know where to look…

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      Thanks! EBay is also a good place, though that’s going to consist largely of things that used to be themed sets.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        That is but one set at one website. I would say to peruse other school supply sites/catalogues and you’ll likely find some others that may be better suited for you based on quantity and/or price. In general, these outlets are great for more open-ended and affordable stuff… Lincoln Logs, unit blocks, all sorts of manipulatives. And you don’t need to be affiliated with a school to order.

        Of course, Lain is too little for these, but she is probably ready for her first set of Duplos!Report

      • She’s already got some!Report

  17. Avatar Patrick says:

    [L2] This is a mess of a piece.

    Almost every “person problem” is really a structure problem—a crack in the system where the rule-makers have failed to effectively communicate with the rule-followers.

    Wow, is that totally backwards.

    Yes, telling grown adults when they can take breaks, exactly how to slice a scone out of a baking sheet, and exactly how many minutes late they can be before getting a “write-up” feels paternalistic. But it eliminates the uncertainty at the root of most management-employee clashes.

    Aargh, I hope this isn’t supposed to be delivering the message I’m getting out of it, but the message I’m getting out of it is terrible.

    But establishing which rules are non-negotiable, and making sure that everyone understands them with crystalline clarity, is a matter of fairness.

    *That* is true. It’s knowing which rules are non-negotiable that is the tricky part.

    It’s the thing I wish I could go back and do over—not because it would have saved my business, but because everyone, myself included, would have been so much happier.

    This seems presumptive at best. “It was only this one thing I did that was wrong”

    I allowed my coffee shop to become characterized by permissiveness. Some took advantage of this permissiveness by making up excuses for being late, or by trying to do as little work as possible. Those who didn’t take advantage became resentful of the other employees, and of me. It brought out the worst in everyone.

    Yeah, I can see that. But “permissiveness” != “being nice”. If she’s equating the two, I can see why she had trouble.
    The idea that we must tell adults what to do and exactly how to do it is a hard pill to swallow for most. Writing about it now makes me pleased that I don’t have to do it anymore.

    Dealing with employees like human beings is hard, so set strong rules so that you don’t have to do the hard part, just follow a formula. That’ll totally work. I learned this lesson so well I don’t do this job any more.


    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Patrick says:

      What about zero tolerance don’t you find optimal?Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick says:

      “I lost my watch.”
      “Where did you lose it?”
      “In the sewers. Guess who’s going to look for it?”
      *Long Sigh* “Me.”


      “I went through the sewers, it’s not there.”
      “Well, I guess you’ll just have to do it again…”
      *Longsuffering sigh*
      “Huh. Here it is, on my wrist. Lucky for you.”

      (You’d have to know the guy, but I can vouch that he had actually just discovered the damn watch on his arm. Despite having been wearing it during the earlier conversation).Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Patrick says:


      What message are you getting from the second quote? I actually like the message it sends!

      I’m a big believer in being as precise as possible with language. Don’t tell me to simply dress appropriately for work and than cite me because I wore slacks and a sweater. If slacks and a sweater — appropriate for any number of situations — is inappropriate for this particular one to the point that you would cite me, make that known explicitly in advance.

      Such micro-managing is problematic when it is not necessary. If you have 8 hours of work to do and a 9 hour work day and your work is such that it doesn’t really matter when you do it, micro-managing breaks is unnecessary provided the person gets his/her work done. But if you own a bakery and have a slim margin on your scones and someone is cutting them too large, well, yea, they should be corrected. You have a job to do: cut scones to an appropriate size. If you aren’t doing that, it seems immature to balk at your boss correcting you. And if you don’t want to be corrected, then certainly don’t balk at being told in advance what the expectations are.

      But then again, I work with young children where clear, explicit, and exact is the name of the game when you need something done a particular way and I tend to think that all adults are really just giant 4-year-olds.Report

  18. Avatar nevermoor says:

    [M4]: The argument that [Group] has bigger problems that [Specific thing] so [Specific thing] is not worth addressing is always always always stupid.

    The confederate flag is a symbol created specifically to describe a rebel government that caused the worst tragedy in United States history (measured by number of U.S. deaths) in order to protect the right of white southerners to own black people.* A right which no one had even tried to take away when the South opened fire.

    You want to express Southern pride now? Use a different symbol.

    You want to argue that black people face larger problems? Fine, that’s obviously true. Doesn’t mean this isn’t a problem.

    *If you want to argue this point, read this first and engage with it in your argument. Otherwise I’m not interested.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to nevermoor says:

      @nevermoor It’s not an argument that I would make, since I believe it’s up to each group to decide what their priorities are (and I am on the record opposing flying the Rebel Flag anyway). But John McWhorter isn’t me and has more standing to make that argument.Report

  19. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I4: How does anyone write a piece that long about great intolerance of those who are not quite like you without mentioning the term RINO?Report