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December 20, 2010

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Open thread? OK, how's this:

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE! Cool!

'Course, when I was walking home from work, it was all clouded over...

Hours to go till it starts. We'll see.

This lunar eclipse, that is.

A total lunar eclipse will take place on December 20/21, 2010.[2] It will be visible after midnight Eastern Standard Time on December 21 in North and South America. The beginning of the total eclipse will be visible from northern Europe just before sunrise. The end of the total eclipse will be visible rising at sunset for Japan and northeastern Asia; it will also be visible to the Philippines just after sunset (as a partial lunar eclipse). It will be the first total lunar eclipse in almost 3 years, the last being on February 20, 2008. [3]

It is the second of two lunar eclipses in 2010. The first was a partial lunar eclipse on June 26, 2010. It will be the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the day of the Northern Winter Solstice (Southern Summer Solstice) since 1638, and only the second in the Common Era.

Hi, Tim!

"We'll see."

Or not. I'm not counting on much here in the Bay Area, where it never rains or has fog, and where it hasn't rained once since I got here!

Aside from most every day.

Which I mostly like!

Aside from, it turns out, the whole gout thing, and perhaps other arthritis, and also that bright light is good for me.

But: cool cool bright light. We must be cool, as well as kewl.

Don't hold doors open for Seeing Eye dogs.

A couple of years ago, I was walking into a restaurant. The entryway was a glass double door. A Seeing Eye dog was leading a blind woman out of the place as I approached. Like a total idiot, I did the gentlemanly thing: I held open the right-hand panel of the door.

The dog walked through the open door without breaking stride. The lady, following a pace behind and to the left, did not break stride either, of course. BLAM!! She walked right into the still-closed left panel of the door.

I have done many stupid things in my life, but that was the stupidest.

--TP

David's hints about communicating with disabled people are quite good. I work at a university with a strong Social Welfare (translation from the Japanese, I have a feeling the equivalent phrase might be different in other places) faculty and a strong commitment (in Japanese terms) to 'barrier-free' (the phrase is used in Japanese as a loan word, which suggests that it is a rather radical concept) It's a bit more challenging when you are communicating with disabled and are going thru a second language, and almost all of the comments ring true.

However, one thing that I had a question about was this

When speaking with a person in a wheelchair or a person who uses crutches, place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.

Obviously, if you are someplace where you can sit down, that's optimal, but conversations outside seem to be a bit problematic, in that you would squat down or lean over to put yourself at eye level. I've never considered doing that and haven't seen anyone else doing it here, so I'm wondering if this is more common in the states, or if it is simply in the context of there being places to sit. Unfortunately, the blog post doesn't load, so I just see the introductory paragraph.

Nonetheless, thanks for that, it will be a good thing for my students to read and reflect on.

LJ, this post? I probably made the link too obscure by placing it under "Are you familiar with ways to talk to disabled people?" and then not quoting for another couple of paragraphs; I've added the link again under the date after "David," if that helps and this was the problem.

I'm not a spokesperson for anyone but myself, and I don't know the "David" I quoted; this same kind of advice can be found all over, and frankly I just grabbed the nearest decent example that Google tossed up that was okay with; I don't know about the put yourself on eye-level thing, but I can certainly see how if you're head-immobile, as various people are, it would make a complete difference to actually be able to see a person's head, and not, say, their crotch or stomach.

But, yes, if the able-bodied person can't sit down, it may certainly not be practical. Those are just thoughts from the top of my head, as a person who has never (yet) used a wheelchair other than when required to in a hospital.

I most certainly encourage qualified and experienced folks to put forth their views and experiences here.

I've been having six weeks of learning that, here and now, for various reasons, I'm currently a lot more physically limited in ability to walk -- pretty much at all -- then I've ever been since some weeks in 2001, and a smattering of times since, during which periods the ability to walk wasn't very important, hard as that may be to believe.

But it involved living in a small apartment, or at least a single-floor house.

And I'm simply experiencing a major increase in gout-impairment than has previously interfered with my life.

Although in fact it's been steadily growing worse in the past year and a half.

That simply didn't matter much to my life in Raleigh. Here, I have to stay frequently on the move, and it's... good exercise and great for dieting.

And allows one to feel various triumphs and wins throughout the day, at small tasks, as well as vastly more educated about the experiences of others. There's a lot of benefit.

Also owwie.

Thanks Gary, I clicked on the link to David, but it only gave the first paragraph and I couldn't go the post. I only noted that in case he addressed that in the post. Thanks again for passing that on.

I think Laptopistan is a shallow New York journalist's wannabe-a-story fantasy of what coffee houses are like. I'm someone who wrote several books at one in 1990-1994 -- when he was the only one with a laptop in the joint. I watched and talked to fiction writers, web developers, and musicians working happily and surfacing for conversation during the great dotcom boom.

I've spent time, since then, doing things like connecting musicians with family during the New Orleans flood, helping people get their email, exploring the wonders of Google with those less computer-obsessed than myself, and so on.

I don't agree that people who bring their computers to coffee houses are particularly dysfunctional and dweebish, oblivious to their surroundings, etc., etc. (I was probably dweebier, myself, when I went through my phase of carrying my guitar with me everywhere I went.)

John Perry Barlow notwithstanding, I don't think there are more computer-using nerds subscribing to silly manifestos about cyberspace inside of coffeehouses than there are hiding out in their own homes.

In re the more general coffee house phenomenon: I do find it harder now to start conversations in coffee houses and than I did 10 or 15 years ago with book readers, artists & general lurkers.

You might want to blame that on more people bringing computers with them, but I just blame it on myself getting old.

A quite good piece by Max Blumenthal -- whose work is worth following, agree or disagree -- on "The Great Islamophobic Crusade:
Inside the Bizarre Cabal of Secretive Donors, Demagogic Bloggers, Pseudo-Scholars, European Neo-Fascists, Violent Israeli Settlers, and Republican Presidential Hopefuls Behind the Crusade."

It's reasonably accurate, as those who have been following along can testify and support, while one might quibble about some language.

I commend it to those who haven't been paying close attention, though most readers here have to a large degree, as have many poliblog readers and, of course, blogs.

[...] I don't agree that people who bring their computers to coffee houses are particularly dysfunctional and dweebish, oblivious to their surroundings, etc., etc.
Len, thanks muchly for the comments, and your perspective as such a longtime and deep participant in coffeehouse laptop culture. Much appreciated.

Could you expand, perhaps, if you feel like it, on how much you agree or disagree with the final ten paragraphs of Sax's Laptopistan piece?

That is, all that follows from:

[...] My long-held notion that Laptopistan’s citizens were just sitting around e-mailing other writers in other cafes around the world dissipated as I got to know the MacBook Pro owners around me. [....]
It's a bit much to quote, and unnecessary, but I'm curious what you think of the entire conclusion.

"John Perry Barlow notwithstanding, I don't think there are more computer-using nerds subscribing to silly manifestos about cyberspace inside of coffeehouses than there are hiding out in their own homes."

I'm not clear what it is about Barlow you are referring to. Link, perhaps?

I'm assuming you're referring to something he's written this century, yes? That is, post 2000? Or, better, something in the past five years?

I'm assuming you're not going back to 1996 to comment on what the culture of the past two or five years is like.

I only sporadically have followed anything by Barlow in the past decade, so I'm not in the least surprised to have not noticed any number of pieces by him, or forgotten some of his writing in the last decade, or even earlier, by him, though he's, of course, a man of great talent and accomplishment, and I am only an egg.

In re the last paragraphs of "Laptopistan," my impression is that they're an attempt to temporize and mitigate the initial thrust of the post: that coffee house laptop users are nothing but participants in an elaborate circle jerk.

Reality gets in and -- unlike John Scalzi, living in the midwest and writing a book titled "You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee house" -- the author of "Laptopistan" discovers that some of the people sitting at those tables are using their machines to do creative work.

The thing that gets to me is the mystique that some people seem to build around this. I'm guessing that I feel the way I do because most of *my* coffee house experience has been in the San Francisco Bay Area. Around here, carrying a laptop into a coffee house *now* is little different from carrying in a math textbook and paper to do homework.

Maybe I'm the geocentric one, because I'm immersed in an atypical social climate. In far off Ohio, or even in New York, maybe there is some kind of social mystique about carrying a computer into a cafe. I don't know. Are people who bring textbooks into coffee houses to do their homework also members of a "secret society?"

In the Bay Area, in the late 1990s, we had "Desktopistan." A "public" community of geeks. Before the days of the Internet, we had networks of bulky PCs in coffee houses connected by modems and coinslots. A lot of the people who were attracted to this were also involved with Goth subculture. Years before that, Lee Felsenstein, one of the members of the early Homebrew Club, designed a system of networked mainframes in Berkeley called "Community Memory."

In San Francisco, maybe 10-12 years ago, I think I remember some middle-class romanticism about laptops in coffee houses. Along with that, there was a corresponding sense of contempt exhibited by some highly literate and well-read people directed toward members of a peer group who ruined perfectly good conversations about life, love and art with lots of buzz about bytes, baud, and bitrate. (I learned to shut up about that stuff. except when I was getting paid to write about it.)

The way the "Laptopistan" article struck me was that it was a flashback to a bygone era of social assumptions and memes.

In re John Perry Barlow: I was actually referring to his 1996 declaration on the independence of cyberspace as a reductio ad absurdum of the attitude the author of "Laptopistan" seemed to be suggesting exists as a current day mindset in New York City. He is/was a phlegmatic and charismatic character. You may be right that I shouldn't play Carrasco to his Don Quixote over 14 years of hindsight.

"Before the days of the Internet" read: "before the days of wireless Internet."

Ask before you help – don’t just jump in.

Damn, THIS!

Specifically:

* If someone with constrained mobility is approaching a door, but slowly (because they have constrained mobility), do not stand there holding the door open and grinning like a loon for thirty seconds - you are putting THEM under pressure to move faster than they're comfortable with, and may call them to fall.

* If someone with constrained mobility is getting into or out of a car, bus, train, coach and six, etc. do not NOT attempt to help unless or until they have told you what you can do. They have given a lot of thought to how best to keep their balance and are concentrating on this. If you try to pull them, push them or guide their feet, you are interfering with their careful plans to keep their centre of gravity underneath them, and you will probably bring both of you down.

I could go on, but I won't.

/rant

Love the Chesterton, Gary.

Everybody's got some sort of disability - some of them are just more obvious than others. Good manners work pretty well with anyone. Honestly meaning well - while keeping in mind that everyone, including yourself, has disabilities - will stand you in good stead, in my experience. Good advice about petting the seeing eye dog, though.

Buried in snow here in the Midwest. Oh gee, that means I should just stay home and compose. bwa ha ha ha ha

As the father of a speech- (and otherwise-) impaired child, I have to say that for me, there is no blanket success in communicating with people with disabilities; there are only good intentions, with some adherence to the guidelines Gary linked to, and mostly good outcomes.

If the speech-impaired person is, for instance, a teenage daughter, and consequently possessed of possibly a global minimum of patience, tolerance and emotional stability, there's just trying to do right, along with the satisfaction that comes from having made a good effort, even if communication still mostly failed.

I've been watching people who aren't all that familiar with my daughter's disability for years, now, and it's interesting to see that there's a common thread. One common assumption that gets made is that since she has trouble speaking, she's not very smart. The reality is that she's a straight-A student. Another assumption is that since she has a really awkward-looking gait and she's tentative and slow with her hands, that she's not very strong. The reality is that she's more than strong enough to hurt me (at half my weight), and she can do more pushups than most people I know, male or female. Her hands are strong enough to easily break someone's fingers, were they unwise enough to try and manhandle her.

She's got a right hook to the midsection that, if you're not conditioned and ready for it, would almost certainly bring you to your knees, or lower.

As the advisory says: get to know people. You might be surprised at the personality you discover.

- The way the "Laptopistan" article struck me was that it was a flashback to a bygone era of social assumptions and memes.

Par for the course for a NY Times "lifestyle" piece, in other words.

- The Chesterton quote is truly a thing of beauty. Half of me wants to send it to The Hubby, the other half fears that he might not take it as good-naturedly as I did. [Sondheim]It's not so hard to be married...[/Sondheim]

- Sang a holiday concert with my new chorus on Saturday and I've been walking on air ever since. This new group is a huge step up for me in terms of the demands of the repertoire and the caliber of the singers around me...it's pushing me to be more aware and focused and in-the-moment than I've ever been, and I love it. Now I'm trying to figure out how I can afford voice lessons in the coming year...

- Happy Solstice to my fellow winter-lovers. A little snow would be nice, but we're enjoying a week of clear, crisp, cold weather here in NYC (what I call "peppermint patty weather") and that's good enough for me.

- New Year's Resolution (well, one among many): either disconnect entirely from politics and current events (including the reading of blogs like this one), or learn how to put the Serenity Prayer into practice. Because I've never felt so thoroughly beaten down and discouraged about politics as I do right now...

- ...except that we just got rid of DADT, which is huge. (Corollary to aforementioned New Year's Resolution -- it's almost never black or white. Learn to embrace the infinite shades of gray.) I remember expressing on this very blog the opinion that the focus on DADT was misguided when ENDA would affect far more people and thus should be a far bigger priority. It was Jesurgislac who convinced me that in American society as presently constituted, the repeal of DADT was going to have an enormous positive symbolic impact on all the other struggles, including ENDA. And I was convinced by her argument. So yay.

- Where is Jesurgislac, anyway?

chris y, please go on, and rant on as you like (within bounds of the posting rules); I couldn't agree more with your words, and the only reason I'm not ranting myself here is, well, that may yet happen; I've certainly been having long chats along those lines with myself, and the cats, and the mirror, and trying not to inflict it on other people, but, yeah, I have lots of notes now, myself, on what it's like to start being unable to walk.

And people being completely cluess about the implications, any implications, absent seeing you in a wheelchair, at best.

Open threads are places to rant. Go for it, so long as you have time and impulse again.

I'd consider it a personal favor on this subject, at the moment, as it saves me from saying something I perhaps don't want to say to people.

The impulse to take my cane and break people's feet so they can find out what it's like, for instance, isn't one I expect to follow through on, but the thought has occurred, and does occur.

If I'd simply made the analogy to "New York subway" from BART, which I'd have done if I'd had a minute to think about it, I'd have known how completely stupid it was to try my second ride:
a) at night
b) a Friday night
c) a Friday night the week before Christmas
d) a Friday night the week before Christmas break in multiple university town/area
e) a Friday night the week before Christmas break in multiple university town/area when it's raining.

But I did get some faintly colorful stories out of it, and it was very memorable and educational, and in the end, I don't regret it.

I also won't be doing quite that again any time soon, until circumstances change, or I've got other methods of guarding my feet that don't cause people to deliberately run over them when I ask them not to, etc.

Not using BART during rush hour, or when it's raining, is a start.

I had notes for BART on handicapped access before I even tried getting into my first station (Rockbridge), since it turns out the escalator (broken anyway, of course) is on the *other* side of the street, and there's no signage; then there are the lack of benches; then there are... many things.

jonnybutter: "Everybody's got some sort of disability - some of them are just more obvious than others."

Indeed. And one of them is not noticing other people very well, let alone thinking about the disabilities of others, and the implications of what then is necessary for the disabled/constrained person to do, which is not the same as what the able-bodied or minded can do.

And, most of all, so many disabilities are non-visible. Few people consider that, clearly.

Especially, I might add, issues of mental illness -- but there are endless physical ailments that are not visible to others, because of that whole complicated "inside/outside" notion.

If you have stomach cancer, say, and are in agony, the only way people may know is if you're doubled over in pain; etc.

But otherwise if you're in public, they may elbow you to make you laugh, or just not care.

Good manners work pretty well with anyone. Honestly meaning well - while keeping in mind that everyone, including yourself, has disabilities - will stand you in good stead, in my experience.
Always. That is, one might not get good results, but it's the way to go, in any case, if possible.

If we actually had Sekrit Mind Control Satellites, first thing I'd use them for is to beam down to the people of the earth, all of them, fifty times the amount of patience they currently have: most of all, myself.

But also everyone else.

Uncle Kvetch:

Par for the course for a NY Times "lifestyle" piece, in other words.
Quite. As have been endlessly ragged on in the blogosphere: well, that's part of what the news/politics blogosphere has always been inclusive of, of course: ragging on the famously bad specific traits of specific publications, writers, and so on, as well as more general topic.

Then there's, oh, Deborah Solomon.

But NY Times Lifestyle piece-ripping is such a staple (hey, read unfogged.com, or almost anywhere in the blogosphere of the past almost decade), that like a lot of things in the blogging world, I tend to forget that Not Everyone Knows This.

(Actually, this is like a lot of things in My World and head, if not most things that aren't what I think of as mildly esoteric.)

Slarti: excellent words and points; thanks.

Also, hope to meet your daughter and family and self someday, perhaps.

I've always felt guilty that I had a friend -- now dead for some years, alas -- who had a cleft tongue, and major speech impediment, and, unfortunately, I'm poor from the start at sorting voices, and sorting multiple aural input (or currently much multiple input at any time, let alone when I'm trying to Do Anything, and most of all, the Simplest Things -- for most people), and simply am very poor at making out accents, or even, often, normal speaking voices, let alone someone with problems.

And so I'd end up having oral conversations where I consistently couldn't understand what my friend, whom I very much wanted to understand, was saying, and I knew he was saying smart things, but it seemed so impolite to ask for yet another repetition of the same sentence after 4-5 times, that at that point, I'd often fall back on nodding and indicating "go on," and hoped I'd be able to get the next sentence, and more context.

Every time this happened I felt badly that I was failing my friend, because, in fact, lots of our mutual friends seemed to have relatively little problem understanding his speech.

It's just one of the infinite number of things I'm bad at.

I'm sorry I failed my friend so often in that way.

(Sometimes I'd ask him to write it down on a notepad I had, but still.)

I might clarify that it's a friend I only saw either a few times a year, or then less, at science fiction conventions or parties, so I didn't get to see him often enough to get much practice with him, which didn't help.

[...] Where is Jesurgislac, anyway?
I would be absolutely delighted to have her back. Truly, really.

Despite whatever impression she or anyone else might have, I've always admired and enjoyed most of her writing, and found her to be thought-provoking, smart, very interesting, and very much someone I like to have as part of the conversation, because I tend to agree with her the overwhelming majority of the time, and think she makes excellent points much of the time.

That sometimes we disagree simply makes things much more interesting.

And that sometimes things get a bit heated, well, that's where we all could perhaps all use some orbital patience rays; certainly I could.

But I'd like to be clear for the record that I really like Jes, and would love to see her around and about here, keeping us -- or me -- honest, challenging us, and giving us her views.

No matter how wrong she is now and again, or over-generalizing. :-)

I, myself, have been known to be wrong, once in a great while. :-)

[...] ...except that we just got rid of DADT, which is huge.
And the START treaty looks cleared to pass, which is also important.

Now if we can just get the Democratic majority in the senate to effing CHANGE RULE 22 in January, that'd certainly cheer up my New Year (if done in any way that's an improvement).

I've been trying to transfer my car title from Kentucky to Georgia so that I can renew my registration when it expires at the end of December. Georgia has made it practically impossible for me to do so. Concurrently, the car has been failing mechanically and has been steadily turning into a black-hole money pit.

Last Saturday, a friend of mine surprised me with a new car. I mean, it's used, but it's new to me. No one has ever done something like that for me before.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around it; I feel like I'm in a state of shock.

"Where is Jesurgislac, anyway?"

Yes, that's been nagging at me too.

I was disappointed to find out that Christmas Day was on Saturday this year. I do have all of next week off work though, just in time for another visit to the Frozen North (Milwaukee).

DADT repeal is good, but the DREAM Act failed despite a majority supporting it in the Senate, and that's just a disastrous sign for the state of democracy in America. Democracy is a principle, an idea, not just a set of formal rules to be exploited for loopholes. When you claim to be a supporter of democracy but vote with a minority to block legislation with clear majority support, you aren't acting in accordance with the idea of democracy. Democracy is not about unanimous consent, nor is it about the ability of the majority to compel the minority to submit to their will. It's about the minority willingly accepting the legitimacy of the majority in the knowledge that in future they will form part of a different majority.

I miss Jesurgislac too. And that Chesterton quote is absolutely right. Having had one long relationship that didn't work like that (no joking allowed coz he was all about the dignity) and one, now, that does, where almost any problem can be fixed with a humorous sideways glance, I feel the truth of it somewhere very deep.
Gary, commiserations on the gout. I remember as a clumsy child falling over my uncle's extended gouty foot and being completely startled by the howl, of a kind I'd never heard from an adult. I felt bad about it for decades. I hope you can find some relief soon.
I'm just starting on a long summer holiday, badly needed. Thanks for all the intellectual stimulation I've found here this year.
And Jes, if you're out there, come back, okay?

I'm looking forward to what is sure to be the most awesomest Congress evah!

Just what crazy hijinks the House GOP (and their Senate counterparts) has in store for the US of A I don't know, but I'm sure it will be great fun to watch (if you're, like, not gay, or poor, or hispanic or african-american, or a woman, or a muslim, etc.).

All leading up to the 2012 GOP Presidential Primary. Yee. Ha.

@Lenny Bailes: Those desktop computers with coinboxes in Berkeley Cafes (actually more laundromats than cafes) WERE Community Memory - in its third and last incarnation. The computers ran a text browser we wrote and communicated on hard-wired 2400 baud phone lines. The server was a Unix box.

The first incarnation opened in 1973 at a student-owned record store in Berkeley. It was tied over dial-up line to a mainframe in San Francisco.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View will be including one of our kiosks from that era in their new exhibit.

We now return you to the discussion in progress.

I'm sort of hoping that the 2010 House will be so completely insane that they finally do put people off voting them in again. A lot of the really loopy candidates in the last election actually lost, because there is a certain level of craziness beyond which even Republican voters will not go.

Worst case would be if a big enough group of "moderates" from both parties can get together to pass a bunch of Village-approved austerity crap that further obliterates the real economy and/or cuts Social Security or Medicare.

Harmless, veto-able lunacy is a lot safer. And eventually they'll have to come to the table to pass, like, a budget. Or we can have another government shutdown, because that worked so well last time.

CosmicLint:

[...] Last Saturday, a friend of mine surprised me with a new car. I mean, it's used, but it's new to me. No one has ever done something like that for me before.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around it; I feel like I'm in a state of shock.

Because you are. In a good way.

That's great!

And now you know what that feels like.

The neat thing is that, in all likelihood, you've made your friend feel really happy and pleased at having done such a nice thing.

There are few things to make one's self feel as good as making someone else feel good, so long as it's a decision, not an obligation, I tend to think.

Works for me.

Mileage varies, and may you have much with yer new car.

Jacob:

"Where is Jesurgislac, anyway?"

Yes, that's been nagging at me too.

Although, of course, people drift in and out of blog communities just as they may do with any kind of community they're not forced into, as lives and priorities change, you may not have noticed how many former regulars have left over the past couple of years.

I don't know if anyone follows the Site Meter stats but me, but I'd gently note that unique visitors and page views are perhaps half what they were since Hilzoy left, as well. (I can't tell more precisely, other than by my quite unreliable memory, since the unpaid SiteMeter only goes back one year; but as I recall, ObWi used to commonly get get 15-20K page views per month, and significantly more whenever there was major linkage, which was, uh, much more common then, and in years past.) Now.

To be sure, nobody's goal here is to Reach Big Numbers, and it shouldn't be something paid much attention to.

But the numbers and trends in the past three years at ObWi have been objectively in decline, unless my memory is really off (which is entirely possible).

(Also keep in mind that I read less than a few hundred words on ObWi during the entire calendar year of 2009, so that's a gap in my having paid attention to ObWi; the only such gap of more than a few weeks since I hooked up with ObWi in its second month, December 16th, 2003.)

Which reminds me, I'm looking forward to my 9th blogiverary with Amygdala on December 30th.

Maybe I'll even get up a new post by then.

Jacob:

[...] I do have all of next week off work though, just in time for another visit to the Frozen North (Milwaukee).
Family?

On Jes:

[...] Yes, that's been nagging at me too.
She was fairly unhappy with Hilzoy over a variety of things, let alone much more so with others.

Although I've always liked Jes, no matter what she thinks, or cares, I don't think it's reasonable to expect my presence here to be other than, alas, a repellent to her, as well.

But one never knows what the future might bring.

[...] Democracy is not about unanimous consent, nor is it about the ability of the majority to compel the minority to submit to their will. It's about the minority willingly accepting the legitimacy of the majority in the knowledge that in future they will form part of a different majority.
Well said.

Emma:

[...] And Jes, if you're out there, come back, okay?
Now that I'm a front-pager, I will do my best to honor Jes' former desire that I not respond to any of her comments, she should know, just in case that makes any difference.

If anyone she feels friendly, or at least not hostile to, would like to email her a link to this thread, I think that would be nice.

ObWi is still on her blogroll, for whatever that's worth.

She has an email address on her "About Jesurgislac’s Journals" page, he hinted.

Lee Felsenstein:

[...] The Computer History Museum in Mountain View will be including one of our kiosks from that era in their new exhibit.
Don't suppose you know Chris Garcia? (Who works there, who I know slightly.)

Jacob:

[...] A lot of the really loopy candidates in the last election actually lost, because there is a certain level of craziness beyond which even Republican voters will not go.
But that's entirely contingent on the district. Given gerrymandering, but also simply the vastly disparate nature and polities of communities even a few miles away in some cases, or still only measurable in two digits of miles, in others, I find it most useful to discuss district by district, area by area, demographic by demographic, and so on.

(Precinct by precinct if doning local politics, then block by block, and down to the Party's or organization's records on individuals and households, naturally.)

One can, of course, usefully talk about the politics of an entire state, but only insofar as it affects the state as a whole, which, again, varies completely if we're talking North Dakota versus Rhode Island versus California versus Kentucky versus Alaska versus Ohio, and, well, most being rather different.

Minnesota 6th, for instance, does not vote Republican in the way New York 3rd does. Etc.

(I'm tempted to digress into the various schemes for remapping the country, such as Garreau, and such, but not now.)

Huh. I should have noticed that my words were going out on Twitter since there's an outgoing feed been added in the past year or whenever, apparently (yes, I saw the link on the left sidebar; I've been busy, and didn't think about it, since I don't use Twitter, and it's not in my view for the most part), but no one mentioned it, or asked my permission to put my words on Twitter.

It would have been nice to have been informed, but, hey, it's the internet, and words are loose once posted.

No huhu. Just a WTF? of suprise: I didn't give anyone permission to do this, and wasn't asked.

I get really hinky about words and permissions, and courtesy, by instinct, and history of dealing with lots and lots of contracts about rights, even on Teh Interwubs.

But now I'm done being surprised, so no discussion needed. It's fine.

The twitter feed of new post titles here has been going for a year or more.

Re fools and the suffering thereof:

I told Miss Rasmussen over and over again what a wonderful statue it was; my shame at having misjudged her so--for to me she not only had looked like, but had also been, a potato-bug, and I had been polite to her exactly as one puts the little thing on a leaf and tells it to fly away home--made me more voluble than I should otherwise have been. She was pleased and grateful, though she was still too dazed with her statue to find my words anything more than the echo of her own veins. She talked to me about the statue for a while, and I saw, not in dismay but in awe, that to appreciate what she said you still would have had to be an imbecile: she said about the East Wind exactly what she had always said about those welded root-systems of alfalfa plants that her studio was full of. She was a potato-bug who had been visited by an angel, and I decided--decided unwillingly--for the rest of my life to suffer potato-bugs gladly, since angels are not able to make the distinctions that we ourselves make between potato-bugs and ourselves.


Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution

"The twitter feed of new post titles here has been going for a year or more."

Which means it was installed in 2009, the year I wasn't here.

Thus the whole not particularly noticing thing until Google Alert sent me the note this morning, for the very first time ever saying that something of mine from ObWi had been tweeted.

Which caused me to react in surprise and mention it here as soon as it happened. For the first time ever.

Which seems to suggest that something is wrong between the tweet feed and Google Alert, or somewhere along the line.

I'll look into it eventually, as possible.

We seem to have also drifted into open-threaded type conversation over here, which might flourish better over here, and let Doctor Science's post get more comments on its substance.

Or not. We're not being overwhelmed with comments at present, or so much in recent years.

Me:

[...] Which seems to suggest that something is wrong between the tweet feed and Google Alert, or somewhere along the line.

I'll look into it eventually, as possible.

Actually, I'll ask here: Doctor Science, Eric Martin, Jacob Davies, russell, Sebastian H: who is in charge of maintaining the Twitter feed, the sidebar, SiteMeter, the RSS and other feeds, keeping up Wordpress, answering the mail,doing blog maintenance, and paying for the place these days?

Asking privately doesn't seem to work. Neither does email to the kitty.

Before 2010 draws to a close, it would be useful to at least me to find answers to these questions from someone.

Since Moe quit, it's been more and more difficult to get answers to questions along these lines, it seems. For me, at least.

Also, is there a list of past front pagers who should be listed on the sidebar who aren't? Apparently That Left Turn In Albequrque... well, what's the story on that? Have there been other front pagers who have come and gone without being on the sidebar, or listed since?

Non-guest posters, that is.

I don't know who, if anyone, is in charge of those things, Gary. And I've been sick, and not answering any of my email. Particularly not that which winds up in my work inbox.

But feeling better, and not ever feeling as if I've a right to complain, given that others have it much worse than I.

hilzoy is still paying the bills. She wants to, is why. I hope I haven't violated any trust by saying that.

Just some short historical observations.

I don't believe that That Left Turn In Albequrque ever officially become a front pager. I may be not remembering but I don't recall an intro or announcement.

The Twitter feed was part of a valiant attempt by Publius to turbo charge the list. At a few points, Publius mentioned there were Big Changes Afoot, but I think the Twitter feed was the only thing that came of that.

HTH

Slart:

And I've been sick, and not answering any of my email. Particularly not that which winds up in my work inbox.

I'm fairly sure I haven't sent you any email since the last time I heard from you.

Sorry to hear that you've been ill. And what's an open thread for if not to complain about it?

Not to pry, of course, or that I need to explain digestion of gallus domesticus reproductive products to you.

LJ:

I don't believe that That Left Turn In Albequrque ever officially become a front pager.
Here:

@Gary Farber:
Thanks for the kind thoughts and nice to see you ‘round about these parts.

Ironically (given the topic you are asking about on this thread) I was demoted from posting to lurking-only status at O.W. after a site redesign which disabled the commenting features of that site as rendered using the antique browser which I’m stuck with on my even more antique home computer. Not that I should complain too much seeing as how I’m slowly turning into something of an old fossil myself. At this rate who knows, in a 1000 years even I may be worth something, someday.

Italics in original.

Jeebus I'm tired.

There was an ObWi site redesign? WTF? I think I'd have noticed. But?

But feeling better, and not ever feeling as if I've a right to complain, given that others have it much worse than I.
Since there's always someone worse off, until they're dead, this is a recipe for why no one but people moments from their death should gasp out their one complaint in life.

It seems a problematic policy for everyone to follow.

Complain. Everyone needs to at times. Our lives are all equally important. Every life a universe.

Your complaints matter as much as anyone and everyone else's.

It's not as if the open thread were crammed with too many comments to follow.

Hi Gary. I'm pretty sure he was using 'posting' as 'commenting'. A common mistake that you have pointed out on several occasions.

Over at Taking it Outside, there were a few threads where we happy band of brothers (and sisters) gave our various opinions about site design when it came up and Publius came over to say thanks and note various points. That's about as far as it got, I think. I'm not sure if there was any relation to the outing of Publius or other things, but you might want to try to write him directly.

[...] Hi Gary. I'm pretty sure he was using 'posting' as 'commenting'. A common mistake that you have pointed out on several occasions.
Hokay. Thanks. Will either find out, or not. Either he'll come back, or he won't.

I still have no idea what "after a site redesign which disabled the commenting features of that site" refers to, unless he was caught by one of the Typepad glitches of the hour or day, and gave up thereafter, never to try again. Anyone have an explanation on that?

I suppose I should go back to Balloon Juice and see if he has an email address; trying to reach someone there via their open threads seems kinda useless and pointless -- my experience was asking the same question over a dozen times in the past eight months, and never getting a response, and then when I posted a long response to a direct question to me, as soon as I saw it, via Google Alerts, all of OMG, 12 hours later, the thread was already dead, and there were by then several new open threads, each with hundreds of comments. They appear to have new open threads several times a day.

It seems a lot like swimming in an ocean, shouting at whomever happens to be floating past for a moment, and then hoping you'll float past again some day, if you just devote your life to it enough.

But every community is its own, and we all approache the internet and life with different strategies, and it's lovely that so many people enjoy BJ, and that John has had such great success over the years.

And quit going on about how Ronald Reagan was teh greatest ever, and everyone should stop criticizing Republicans.

He got better.

I wonder what he thinks of Reagan now; how many people reverse their political views in just eight years? A fair number, I suppose, and if it's because they've become better informed, who could ask for anything more from the blogosphere, or the life of the mind?

I'm not sure if there was any relation to the outing of Publius or other things, but you might want to try to write him directly.
Thanks, but I have no desire to bother someone with queries about their past and things for which they have no responsibility.

If we had a long chatty private correspondence in the past, or somesuch, and still were in touch, that might be different, but it isn't. Thanks muchly for the suggestion, though.

If you're discussing ObWi at TIO, which would make sense, you or may not wish to keep in mind that I haven't read it since... well, you may recall the last email I had from you. Or not. It's been a while, but I don't forget when people express strong wishes to me, and issue orders.

If you ever change your mind, you know where to reach me.

(No hard feelings, as should be obvious; you were the one who was mad, not me; I'm just reminding you that I wouldn't and haven't been seeing anything there in years, and aren't apt to unless I'm informed circumstances are different from where you left them.)

Gary, if you have some questions you wish to ask or anything I can do to help you with ObWi, please drop a line to my libjpn at gmail etc.

I understand not wanting to disturb Publius, but since he did a lot of the under the hood work (twitter feed, etc), it might be a good idea to ask him if there are any other bodies buried. Or something like that. Again, I understand completely if you don't want to, but I wouldn't want you to be unpleasantly surprised again as you were with the Twitter feed.

The discussion of the site redesign came up around Oct 2009, when there was a rather vicious outbreak of trolling here. It was about that time (and possibly in response to the need for clean up) that Slart was given a shiny new set of keys to the blog. In fact, there is a thread at TiO on October 11th, 2009 entitled Troll Dynamics where we do the meta on trolls and then the meta on that meta. Publius wrote me part way into that thread and said (I think he asked me to share it at TiO, so I son't think I'm breaking any confidences):

As for the new site, when last we talked, I did discuss it with the others. Basically, we're a little afraid to pull the trigger. The new site is obviously better. But there are reliance issues -- basically, switching sites messes up things like RSS feeds, twitter feeds, technorati, bookmarks, blogrolls, etc. It's not a huge deal but it is a big enough concern that we're sort of unsure of what to do. That's where we stand right now.

Which is why you are still seeing the old Ford Station Wagon in the driveway.

You also wrote:
LJ, I prefer quality over quantity. Always have, and hope I always will.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make an implicit slam against ObWi, or suggest that it would be better to adopt a BJ pace, which is pretty frenetic. In fact, I was trying to underline how the slower pace here allows some folks to participate who might not be able to do so under other circumstances.

Again, let me know if there is anything I can do to help you here.

Sorry, I see that your comment was in the other thread. I had another open ObWi window and confused this thread with that. Sorry about that.

And what's an open thread for if not to complain about it?

Yes, to be sure, but overall my life is much better, I think, than that of the average joe. So complaining seems a bit misplaced, and my appreciation for the misplacedness of complaining puts my problem in somewhat more of perspective.

If that makes any sense. Maybe it doesn't.

I have family that loves me, flawed as I am. I have friends. I have property, and security. I can afford to give, say, 20 lbs of Cheerios to one of the local charities without much grievance to my checkbook. I can afford to donate any and all Wal-Mart gift cards to same charity, by expending them on needed goods, etc.

This, to me, means life is good, and unworthy of complaint. Even if I happen to have sniffles, headache and etc. that goes along with flu. This will pass, for me, and that: the passingness of misfortune, I can give thanks for.

Setting up my new bank account online, this does not impress me:

How do I change my account's Overdraft Setting?

You can change your Overdraft Setting by calling 1.800.[NUMBER], Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–10 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday 8 a.m.–5 p.m., or by visiting a banking center.

Nice way to comply with the letter of the law.

Because it's just so impossible to let you do that online.

This would seem to be an interesting read: Fallout
The True Story of the CIA's Secret War on Nuclear Trafficking
by Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz.

I should have thrown in at least this article to go with the previous.

Why are seven of the last seven posts yours?

"Why are seven of the last seven posts yours?"

Because I posted them, and no one else did.

I'm fairly sure that's correct.

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