Linky Friday: A Conspiracy Of Us


Will Truman

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

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57 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    There might be a link between St1 and (part of) St3: How often are people under stress told things like “sleep, meditate, hydrate” (and also, in the wellness plan I’ve experienced: exercise, get a group of friends together to walk, etc., etc.) Where the “magic pill” for stress is some OTHER life practice that requires a commitment of time.

    Most of the stress I have stems from having a lot of work to get done and not much time to accomplish it, and also some long-term goals (e.g., planning future research) that keep getting back-burnered because of the urgency of teaching, grading, dealing with student problems, advising, committeework, editing for a small journal, etc., etc. There never seems to be an acknowledgement in the work-world that maybe a way to have people be less stressed would be to give them more time to just BE.

    Nope, it can’t be that we’ve got too much to do. No, we need to tack on an extra half-hour of exercise a day. Or twenty minutes of “mindfulness practice.” Or spend the extra time to cook 100% from scratch, possibly using ingredients you have to drive far afield to buy…Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      Interesting perspective. I really appreciate your offering it as it jells with thoughts I couldn’t crystalize.

      I actually saw an article somewhere that we actually need to stop the mindfulness train (maybe it was even here)… especially for young people.

      I’m currently tasked with managing mostly millenials (I myself am on the edge of millenialhood but they are younger than me by 2-10 years). They pushed for more responsibility and are caving under the pressures of it and their response is to take some more me time, engage in more self care, to leave work early and put away their phones.

      NO! NO!!!!! You are people with minimal responsibilities and you are struggling to meet them and you are not going to get better by shirking more of them! You are going to get better by learning strategies and skills to manage responsibilities and stress. Because one day you will be a *real grown up* with a *real job* that does not coddle you like we do and taking 2 hours to walk because you had a hard morning WILL NOT BE AN OPTION!Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        I find myself thinking about people of the past, for example, people who worked v. long shifts in defense plants during WWII (I read somewhere, but could be wrong, that at its direst, people in the UK were working 12 hour shifts, six days a week). And I wonder how people survived.

        Or do you just kind of shut down under those circumstances – wear the same shirt three days running because you don’t have time for laundry (and hot water and soap are rationed anyway)? Eat all your meals at a British Restaurant because then you don’t have to queue up to get rationed food? I’m guessing that’s yes.

        I wonder if perhaps more is expected of us now outside of work. I know that a lot of people have written about how “labor saving” housecleaning devices (e.g., vacuum cleaners) raised the bar on what was “clean enough” – so the amount of time a person had to work to have a “clean house” didn’t necessarily reduce much.

        Or, it’s possible we’re all wusses. I don’t know. I teach three or four classes a semester, and do research, and do volunteer work (both on campus and off) and have to keep house for myself (single, live-alone) and have to do stuff like marketing (and cook, because I have dietary restrictions that make cooking at home less fraught than doing the restaurant thing) and some days it feels like too much….and I wonder if I’m trying to do too much or if I’m just not a very good adult.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          I find myself thinking about people of the past, for example, people who worked v. long shifts in defense plants during WWII (I read somewhere, but could be wrong, that at its direst, people in the UK were working 12 hour shifts, six days a week). And I wonder how people survived.

          My last full-time gig was on the staff for the Colorado legislature’s Joint Budget Committee. Standard hours from early November to early January are about 5×10. Once the session starts in early January, running through early May, many weeks are 6×12. Leaving the office at 10:30 pm and getting back the next morning to staff a 7:30 am Appropriations Committee meeting happened too often. VPN made it possible to do some of those hours in the evening from home, but still… When I interviewed for the position, one of the staffers said, “You know that saying about ‘You don’t have to be insane to work here, but it helps?’ Around the Capitol, it’s just ‘You have to be insane to work for the JBC.'”Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          I think its a lot of shifting expectations. Life is better in so many ways and easier in so many ways but also demanding in other ways.

          I’m a single dad (joint but primary custody)… two kids under 5. Work provides a generally family-friendly schedule but involves 2+ hours of daily commuting with the elder son in tow. And he has some mild needs that present difficulties both in terms of supporting him and scheduling/finances. But I manage. What choice do I have?

          So I dunno… call me cold but when a 27-year-old with no kids and a 20 minute commute talks about, “I think I need to take more me time. Emailing parents is so stressful,” I just kind of want to yell.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            @kazzy It’s not that I think you’re cold – and I’ve honestly had exactly those feels even without the added burden of kids, just because of my disability stuff and general grown-up responsibility awareness – but when I do have those feels I try to think:
            1) What could they have going on that they’ve never told me?
            2) Is the problem this person, or is that I actually need to take a sick day *for myself* (not on behalf of anyone else) and I won’t let myself because I’m not willing to be non-self-sufficient-enough / show myself to my colleagues as vulnerable enough to need one?
            3) Regardless, would society be better off if expectations better matched what they take for granted or what I take for granted?

            About…. 50 percent of the time, they need to put on their big kid pants and I need to help them make that happen (which is just extra annoying, btw, because JEEZ LOUISE I’ve got enough to manage in this job already kid, do you not know I have 22 direct reports and many of them need things that aren’t stupid like your thing that I now have to be gracious about???). But the other 50 percent of the time, they’re actually in the right.

            Maybe your instincts are more finely honed than mine though. Or maybe my millennials are just better people than yours :D.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:


              Those are my internal reactions in my worst moments.

              In reality, I’m on the phone talking a crying 20-something through a panic attack so she can get to work… for her own sake and the school’s. Or carefully designing nudges. Or questioning my heartlessness. And, occassionally, trying to give myself a bit of permission to be human.

              I’m an outlier for my own reasons, perhaps even moreso than them.

              As my similarly-mind-but-far-more-empathetic colleague said, “Public smile, private scream.”

              “Of course, we’ll help you figure out how to take your 3rd 9-day weekend of the year. Maybe do some of the work that will accumulate in advance. And, just so you know the policy — which believe me I hate also — these days off will put you over your max and will be unpaid. I’m not saying don’t go… but I thought you’d want to make an informed decision, naturally.”

              Your people are students, right? Grad students? Many of mine are in grad school (which we’re helping pay for) but this is still their workplace, which may change things a bit.

              We’re increasingly realizing our school may be a bit of a lab school for teachers… learning the ins and outs of the profession and, ya know, “adulting”.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Mine are undergrad students, actually, but they are employed by the college, so this is their workplace, and I am their direct supervisor.

                However, they’re also mostly people who have worked their asses off either at actual work or at school to get there, due to the workstudy situation. I don’t think it sounds like your teachers are as likely to be like that? But the person crying on my shoulder (literally) for quite frankly illogical reasons is quite possibly also working 25-30 hours a week between several different jobs, going to school full-time, helping to look after her nephew on the weekends, and trying to find a post-college job. Plus have some sort of a social life and/or arrange for blocks abroad.

                And just because I know that one student worker’s actual story, doesn’t mean that someone whose story I don’t know isn’t equally burdened in different ways. I try not to assume, although I definitely also have employees just like the one you describe. (I’ve also encountered part-timer non-student employees like the ones you describe, though the trappings are slightly different and their frequency is not so high, we’re pretty good at weeding them out in interview.). … But that’s kinda what I tongue-in-cheek meant by suggesting my millennials might be better than yours :).

                I def wouldn’t have assumed that you were mistreating them in any way, I just find (after, gosh, 19 years of managering, how did that happen? 8 of which happened in retail and one in front-of-house) that I’m happier in myself if I both vent the frustration AND try not to hold on to the frustration. Letting myself see 50 percent of them as right and asking myself the questions I mentioned above help a LOT with the latter part of that.

                The other thing that I find helps, and, again this is not telling you how to live but just musing on what gets me through things, is a set of questions from Tara Cousineau that I recently came across. (Warning to all, these are VERY VERY squooshy and stereotypically “feminine”.)

                • What really matters here?
                • Am I acting in alignment with my
                • How can I connect with the heart of
                the matter?
                • What would happen if I just let this
                go and move on?
                • Who could help me make this better?
                • What’s just one thing I can do right
                now to ease the tension?
                • What am I not seeing?

                She calls her approach “kindfulness,” and while a lot of it I find annoyingly obvious, I *also* find that keeping that set of questions in my gmail near the top where I can find it does a lot to keep me from screaming on the inside.

                I don’t usually answer all of them and sometimes I don’t answer any of them! But just taking the time to ask them usually gives me a perspective shift all on its own. When I manage to remember.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          I think some of the changing expectation people have relate to the ubiquity of advertising and media. For example there were those old ads aimed at women suggesting they could have it all; work, family, children, pantyhose that don’t run, etc. Well that was nonsense. Men didn’t “have it all” back then, they sacrificed family for work very often. Or movies would present young struggling folks with, somehow, large fashionable apartments and not show all the real stresses. This kind of thing has distorted what we think is possible or realistic.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            I also think there was a trend among parents to shield their children from the realities of life… the toil that made their standard of living possible… and thus some degree of mystification at how it all happens.

            I saw this with Zazzy.
            “Why do you have to cut the grass? You’re spending hours out there every week.”
            “Well, if I don’t cut it we have to pay someone.”
            “How much?”
            “Probably $100 or more per week.”
            “What else would you like us to do?”
            “I don’t know.”
            “Who cut your grass growing up?”
            “How did your grass get cut?”
            “I don’t know. It was just always cut.”

            The illusion of chore/work/task/effort fairies has real consequences.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              Yeah but i think this is more about adults who have skewed expectations based on media/ advertising. We are surrounded by it from when we are little so it’s part of how we see the world. What i’m saying really isn’t about parents. Modern capitalism through all the images it sends us offers us so many things which it can’t deliver. It takes a lot for us to learn what buying and having stuff can actually do.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    C5: I imagine after deep fakes hit once or twice, people will demand some kind of video validation scheme to more decisively determine if a video has been edited.

    I have no clue how we could do that.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      You could integrate cryptographic signing into the camera. But I don’t know how viable it would be to prevent someone from getting the private key out of the camera.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        In any case, if fakes become truly indistinguishable from unedited video, people are likely to figure it out pretty soon, in which case the problem won’t be falsified evidence, but rather that we won’t be able to trust video anymore.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          people are likely to figure it out pretty soon

          Man, people still haven’t figured out that people writing text on a web page and that web page getting shared on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s true.

          Hell, a lot of them seem somewhat dubious about whether or not _memes_ can hypothetically contain false information. They think that information typed in front of a picture, and that picture put on Facebook, is automatically more truthful than someone just typing that information into a Facebook post.

          People are eventually going to ‘figure out’ that video can be faked, and by ‘figure out’ I mean ‘eventually all the people who have grown up trusting video and still do so will die off’.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          There’s indistinguishable and there’s indistinguishable. I doubt it will ever be sufficiently indistinguishable that experts won’t be able to pick it apart. We still have trouble with that with photographs.

          So it’s not what we will or won’t be able to believe. It’s what we will and won’t want to. That’s the main threat. Not that we will be unable to tell, but that it’ll be the video equivalent of “too good to check.”Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            … more likely, disputed experts. Whether genuine dispute or motivated reasoning.

            Plus… the initial impact seals the deal, not what the reasoned response clarifies.

            I’d like to say that we’ll all just realize that the medium has been compromised and downgrade the medium… but that argument has already been tried and ignored.

            Right now we’re thinking of all the negative ways… it will be sold though in the positives.

            Imagine an Actress giving Hillary Clinton promotions… all of an actresses gifts for expression, body language and delivery… that’s potentially one really likable person. Sure, she’s a little awkward in person, but who isn’t?Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              I just don’t think it will be that ambiguous. Fake stuff is hard to fake past the naked eye. Coming up with pixel-by-pixel flawless video is going to be insanely tough.

              Now, what is a liability is that there will always be some huckster calling real videos fake, and they will be more believable. But that again falls under “want” rather than “can”. People are bad right now at sticking to facts that can be verified. This sort of thing will make that worse. But more because of signal-to-noise than anything else.

              The fault will not lie with the technology. It will rely with us.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                I can’t argue the technical challenges one way or another; so if it is easy to spot technically always, then the only problem will be the initial “hit job” until it gets debunked… I still think that alone might be powerful enough.

                Besides the salutary and voluntary upsell by proxy I noted above, what about “re-enactments” where the video is clearly marked as “re-enactment” There’s nothing illegal (or immoral?) about that. Is there? Digitally superimposing public images of a person in a (non-defamatory/slanderous) performance?

                Maybe the medium is the message after all.

                p.s. also meant to ask whether your confidence in detecting fakes extended beyond beta and v.1 releases?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                A year ago I might have agreed with you. Since then I’ve looked at some of the new capabilities in the ray-tracing rendering engines and am not so sure. Also, on-chip compression, which creates quite a lot of noise and artifacts, is a big advantage for the bad guys — they don’t have to be pixel-by-pixel flawless, they only have to be pixel-by-pixel good enough to get post-MPEG flawless.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            I doubt it will ever be sufficiently indistinguishable that experts won’t be able to pick it apart.

            The thing about machine learning is basically if we _can_ check, we can just feed whatever we used to check back into the learning systems and shortly it won’t make that mistake anymore.

            This, in a way, is somewhat worse than not having a way to check. We’ll come up with ways to check, algorithms we can run video through that will correctly tell us if it’s fake or not…for a couple of months, and then all video starts registering as true, because the computers were taught not to do that specific thing.

            And again.

            And again.

            There isn’t ever going to be any objective way to figure this out, because any objective way, any way using a known algorithm that people can use to check themselves, any detail people can point at as ‘fake’, means that machines can just be taught not to do that.

            And do you think someone who shows up on TV and says ‘This video is looks fake to me, despite the fact I cannot point any specific reason it looks fake or detail indicating fakeness.’ is going to be taken seriously?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Brandon Berg: You could integrate cryptographic signing into the camera. But I don’t know how viable it would be to prevent someone from getting the private key out of the camera.


      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        You could integrate cryptographic signing into the camera. But I don’t know how viable it would be to prevent someone from getting the private key out of the camera.

        And that’s not the only problem.

        Even if the signing chip cannot be altered or the key read, if you can, at any point, find the unsigned video pathway, you can record something using the camera, strip the signature off, alter it, and then run it back through the signing chip of the camera.

        In fact, there’s a fun hypothetical in there: Even if we make it completely impossible to tamper with the insides of cameras, and every camera perfectly records everything and we will know if it is tampered with…what happens when we make _displays_ so realistic that cameras can’t distinguish them from real observations?

        So you alter or create the footage at highest resolution, put it on a perfect display in front of the camera, and have it record that. It’s security footage, or phone footage, you have an excuse as to why it’s recorded at standard HD, and it won’t notice the pixels on your 8k or whatever monitor.

        Which proves that eventually all technology comes full circle, because way back when people would physically touch up photos, they sometimes wouldn’t produce the altered photo…no, they’d take pictures of the altered photo, and develop those. Now no one could detect any physical alterations, and now they also had _negatives_ so could ‘prove’ the image was real.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Me2: There always is something missing in these types of essays. On the one hand, they are factually true in many ways. Global poverty is going down. On the other hand, they seem to want human beings to be Vulcans. There is more to life than what can be quantified and Economic types often tend to miss that. There is the fact that while global poverty is going down, wage stagnation and income inequality in the United States remains persistent. The housing crisis in many parts of the United States remains persistent despite numerous essays in the media saying that the solution is: build, build, build. This feels more like Cato upset that libertarians don’t dominate the media.

    Me3: It isn’t going to help that Sinclair is going to turn local media into pro-Trump mouthpieces.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Me2: I think it’s fair for people to want more, but the belief that things are worse than they are has lead to bad things. Including, quite probably, Trump.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        If you don’t want people to be “Vulcans” you’re going to experience the joy of competing narratives.

        This is all well and good when the right narratives win…Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      So Me2 makes a claim that the media is only reporting bad things, and your objection is that there are bad things for the media to report on? Do you get that your objection is influenced by the fact that the media focuses on reporting bad things?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Saul’s objection is more that people aren’t going to be moved by stories of global poverty going down if they see themselves as being pinched. A former unionized factory worker who used to earn high wages isn’t going to be happy that global poverty went down because the corporation decided to move the factory to Cambodia.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          I don’t really care too much about global poverty rates and I’m not being pinched particularly. I have concentric circles of concern, starting with my family, my friends, my neighborhood, my community, my state, my country and finally the world. And I’m not disinterested in “the World,” but the requirement to give me an interesting story is higher. A line graph isn’t interesting, particularly if its measuring something that I believe the poorest countries are unlikely to reliably report anyway.

          I would probably read a story about Cambodia before I read a story about “the World” also. “The World” is just an aggregation of different places.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          From a political perspective, this is absolutely true. We had this discussion 100 times over in 2016, with people using charts to explain how not-bad things actually were in the Trumplands. It didn’t work.

          That doesn’t mean that the media should continue to feed into the misperceptions, though. Or that it isn’t important to keep an eye on more global (in both the literal and comparative senses) states of affair.

          If nothing else, it might keep the next guy who comes along preaching an apocalyptic creed from making so much headway.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Saul’s objection is more that people aren’t going to be moved by stories of global poverty going down if they see themselves as being pinched.

          Not even pinched, necessarily. Disparate gains are a problem too. If people see the poor and the wealthy making *more* gains than they are they’ll be pissed.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Why should the poor be making so many gains? I’m the one who went to grad school for 8 years!Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine says:

              Sometimes when you hide the truth in snark it tastes better.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Doubtful that the former union worker who saw his job get shipped overseas has 8 years post-graduate behind him. That person sees data showing decades of little to no wage growth in the US coupled with massive increases in profits for the wealthy and decreased poverty world-wide. For those folks, the poverty-reduction argument is played as a moral trump-card, one which is *supposed* to over-ride their own economic interests. It’s not surprising that it doesn’t play well.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      The problem with Boaz’ argument is that it lacks a conclusion.
      “Things are much better than before…”
      Aaaand then it just hangs there, with all of its puzzling and intriguing implications left unexplored.

      So why are people so unhappy?
      Is there some mass delusion causing people to be unhappy, that if it broke we would all realize how wonderful things are?

      Or, more probably, there is something beyond material wealth that humans need which isn’t being met that Boaz chooses not to talk about.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


        The argument is related to the way mass shootings are covered. If you are constantly barraged by reports of mass tragedy, your ability to accurately asses the risk of the same happening to you is skewed to be more likely to happen. Likewise, if all the media reports on is how precarious the economy is, and how bad things are, people will asses their personal economic risk as high, even if it isn’t.

        Certainly there are people who are at an increased risk, but the media generally does a poor job of talking about how one can indentify that increased risk, or what one can do to mitigate it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Even (maybe especially) if there is another cause of the tension aside from material wealth, trying to have non-material tension dealt with on material terms remains a problem.

        The perception from people that things are getting worse might result in a revolt in favor of more economic redistribution, or scapegoating immigrants and minorities. The media feeding that misperception doesn’t become good or bad depending on where people’s minds go with it.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          Well, this is a good point, but I would put it a little differently.

          It doesn’t help when the media takes non-material anxiety (like white resentment) and spins it into economic anxiety because that leaves the actual source of unrest unaddressed.

          I mean, I wonder how Boaz’s advice would have looked like, applied to the Soviet Union circa 1988.
          Pravda could, with total truthfullness, have run chirpy articles comparing the lives of citizens to the 1918 baseline, and told them how by every conceivable metric, things had never been better for the citizens of the People’s Republic! There was no reason at all for them to be unhappy with the USSR!Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      On your Me2 comment: I think you hit something. I got an e-mail from one of the organizations I give to with the title “Families are sleeping on the street in Syria” and my immediate thought was “families are sleeping on the street in my city” (there is currently a big push from one of the Tribal groups and a couple faith organizations to try to set up a foundation so they can build and maintain a homeless shelter). Granted, the people in my town sleeping on the street aren’t being bombed or gassed, but still….the poor are always with us and they are also everywhere, and I think it’s hard to rejoice about “the overall level of poverty is getting lower” when you know there’s poverty in your own town. (And my own income has taken a hit these past few years….)Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        But is the thing about the poor in your town a result of there being more, or a result of you being more aware because of media attention? The former is bad. The latter is good if it causes people to take action to help the poor, but if that awareness is coupled to people feeling helpless to do something, it can result is some significant negative effects for the rest of the population.Report

        • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

          I think it’s a little of both. We tend to get things a few years late, the economic downturn of ’08 hit a couple years ago and we’ve not recovered yet. But we’ve always had a population of people who are homeless. (One difference: the city finally seems willing to acknowledge that those people exist and yes, maybe something should be done to help them.)

          Honestly, I think I can do more concrete things to help the local poor (volunteering at food banks, giving to the foundation that is forming to build a shelter with counseling and job-help) than I can to help the situation in Syria, which seems fairly hopeless.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            I’ve stopped listening to the longer form reports on $CURRENT_WARZONE that are on NPR every few days. They offer information, but no possible path for me to do anything significant to stop the tragedy, and I just can’t deal. Call it empathy fatigue, or a lack of fucks to give, or what have you, but when they come on, I switch to the local pop station so I don’t sink into a morass of despair.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Conspiracies: As a member of a group that is on the receiving end of conspiracy theories, I don’t find conspiracy theories that fun or funny.

    Me4: Media exists to sell copy and bad things can result because fueling sensation tends to be a money maker.

    Ec1: Many very wealthy people in the past earned their fortunes by making a lot of money and being tight wads for years or decades until they were really filthy rich. Very few people have the discipline for this because how many people want to live like the earn 50,000 a year when they earn 500,000 a year? People like their creature comforts. Extreme frugality is also very bad for the economy overall because the free market economy is based on spending. If everybody embraced the extreme frugality life style, the economy would collapse.

    Fa1: The idea that children should move out of their parents home when they become adults is a very Anglophone or maybe Germanic concept. Outside the Anglophone world, there really isn’t any shame in living with your parents during adulthood. In Chinese families, the eldest son tends to live with his parents until they die and he takes the house. I went on a date with an upper middle class woman from Italy that lived with her parents whenever she was in Italy and felt no shame about that.

    Fa5: How are we defining marriage men because to put on my cynical hat, it seems that a decent number of women have a very traditional definition of marriageable men despite the changes brought about by feminism. That is even though they might be quite capable of earning a very decent living because they went to law school and work in big money law, they still want a man to be a big earner himself rather than marry that kindly art major who could be a great house husband. Wanting to have it both ways is very human but something has to give.

    St3: Articles like this remind me of articles that my friends post on the lack of touch is killing men while also posting tough stuff on the importance of concept. We all know that loneliness, lack of touch, and sexual frustration are bad for humans. We also know that nobody has to be your friend and can exclude you from their group for any superficial reason they like, touch you even if you really need some physical affection, or be in a romantic/sexual relationship with you because nobody owes a social obligation to anybody else. Therefore, if consent is really to be an important part of any platonic or romantic human relationship we need to accept that there are going to be a lot of lonely people that really need to be touched and that nothing can be done about this.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      Also, on Fa1: I think in the US, grown children living with parents (sometimes even after marriage) was a much commoner thing prior to the 1940s or so….postwar prosperity made it more possible to buy a house or land.

      I lived with my parents when I was in grad school. (I was going to the university my dad taught at – in a different department. And no, I didn’t get reduced tuition). It allowed me to avoid taking out loans. A lot of my fellow students thought I was seriously weird but not having to repay loans after grad school made it worth it.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        My grandmothers lived at home until they got married. I think at least one grandfather did to. That being said, I think the American experience of leaving home when you become an adult was common before the 1940s. Cities were filled with housing for single men and women of various income levels. Bachelor pads, residential hotels, etc.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    [Lb3] I’ve always had a hard line in the sand. I’ll do what it takes to get the job done, and I’ll work from home for convenience or making appointments, but when I’m done for the day, I’m done. Only a few people have my personal cell number and none at work. This is why I’m also not on social media…it’s a damn time sink. I see more women waste their time on it than anyone else.

    [Fa3] Life’s about choices. Choice wisely. You can’t have it all.

    [Fa5] Why SHOULD i get married and have kids? Odds are in 15 years I’ll be divorced and she’ll be taking a lot more than half of my money and i won’t be seeing the kids often. There’s a good chance she’ll make up some lies and get a restraining order to pressure me in the divorce. Pass. Besides, 40+ year old dude aren’t thinking of kids, all you single women who are still childless. They are thinking of retiring and having fun. I’m commitment phobic because I don’t see the RETURN in being any other way.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Fa3: One of the things we learned going through IVF, if you are going to harvest and freeze eggs, do it while you are young (under 25). You get way more viable eggs per harvest, and your body can better handle multiple harvests in a row. As to the cost, I’m willing to bet that an egg bank would allow a woman to harvest and store some eggs in their facility in exchange for one batch being set aside as donor eggs.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      I absolutely agree that anyone who looks at a potential spouse and sees someone who, there is “a good chance,” will not merely seek a divorce but will make up lies to get a better deal, should not consider marriage. It would be an absolutely terrible idea.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Marriage is one thing. Having kids in marriage is another.

        I was very clear with my first wife I didn’t want kids. As for the current gal, she told me “I’m an unconventional woman, I don’t think I need to get married again”. Fine. Don’t come back and demand to know why I haven’t proposed.

        And I see what you did there about “a good chance”. That was purely a comment about the probability of someone using allegations as legal leverage. Don’t assert it doesn’t happen. It does. You don’t expect the worse case scenario, but you might want to plan for it. And, as I tell some co-workers, “no prenup, no ring”.Report

  6. Avatar Will Truman says:

    C3 was included under “conspiracies” by accident, so I refashioned it as X3.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      Sure. By ‘accident’.

      Are we supposed to assume it is a coincidence that it ended up with X3, or, to expand that out, XXX? Which some would assume is a reference to the movie rating, but is actually a reference to the xXx (Pronounced ‘Triple X’.) movie series.

      That series, in order, has the following plots:

      1) Stopping rogue Russian agents from using a biochemical weapon
      2) Stopping a coup against the president
      3) Keeping the Russians from stealing a US sat weapon that can be used to assassinate people

      I think we can all work out the parallels to what is _really_ going on. #1 has already happened (Although they switched to a pure chemical weapon, perhaps the biochemical was too hard to handle.), and #2 is well on the way.

      Who are you really working for? The Russians? Or are you trying to get information out?Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [Me1] um, dude. duuuuuude. When a businessman without a visible public income stream, with vauge-but-significant ties to an element of the Iranian government that is trying to set up a chain to launder money and arms purchases that will be sent directly to terrorists…when this guy invites you onto his private yacht and hands you a “business plan” and suggests that you’d be perfect for a vice-presidency role in that business?

    THAT IS A BRIBE ATTEMPT, DUDE. THAT IS WHAT BRIBERY LOOKS LIKE. You don’t “handle that” by politely declining and not telling anyone about it and explaining how managing tricky sources was your own business. You handle it by going immediately back to your bosses and telling them how the IRGC just tried to bribe you. Jump off the damn boat and swim to shore if that’s what it takes to get out of there.

    Because–as this jabroni learned–even if you don’t take the money, now they can say that they offered it to you, and there’s no third-party corroboration that you refused.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Always amazing how easily ostensibly smart people fall victim to bribe attempts. Either they say yes, or they say no, and think they are in the clear, without realizing that once the bribe is offered, you need to CYA 6 ways from Sunday.Report

  8. Avatar KenB says:

    Me5: See this from Tyler Cowen — the paper didn’t actually say what everyone’s saying it said.Report