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September 05, 2021


I do realize that, for lj and any other linguists among us, this may count as old news. On the other hand, several recent threads (not to mention older ones) seemed to get bogged down in what looked rather like people mostly taking very different views based not on merits or on politics/ideology, but just due to them taking different meanings from words. Or from what their personal experiences led them to believe were normal approaches to any topic where there was room for different views.

Link was faulty....i think it's fixed now.

aka the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or 'linguistic relativity'.

Or from what their personal experiences led them to believe were normal approaches to any topic where there was room for different views.

Otherwise know as culture? Or, for another term that underlines what you say about what we study affecting how we communicate: Discourse Community.

A discourse community is a group of people who share a set of discourses, understood as basic values and assumptions, and ways of communicating about their goals. Linguist John Swales defined discourse communities as “groups that have goals and purposes, and use communication to achieve their goals.”

(Taken from Swales' longish meditation on the concept twenty years later: https://journals.openedition.org/asp/4774?lang=en )

We can argue about the meaning of words, or about the strength and validity of a particular claim and its backing, but we may be missing a lot of the actual meaning of the conversation if we do not also understand the context(s) and culture(s) in which the conversation occurs and the purpose(s) - shared and/or opposed - that the participants are working towards.

And here I am especially attuned to those argument that seek to suppress, for the sake of deliberation, examination of context and purpose in the name of scientific objectivity. In my experience, those moments in a discussion usually mark the places where the most active and vexing open questions live.

Thanks, Janie!

So, bilingual people are more likely to be schizophrenic?

My first language, Greek, has gendered nouns; my adopted language, English, does not. Although I have been more fluent in, and more comfortable with, English for decades now, I still tend to think of cats as female and dogs as male, because that's what they are in Greek. Make of that what you will.

It's not that Greek lacks words for male cats and female dogs; you just inflect the root word differently. It's just that, in my own youth anyway, the feminine form for cat and the masculine form for dog were the defaults. Cats, dogs, and even children can also be neuter. Curiously, boys and girls can only be neuter.

I have no idea how contemporary, monolingual Greeks would react to a dog using a cat's litter box, FWIW.


Or from what their personal experiences led them to believe were normal approaches to any topic where there was room for different views.

Otherwise know as culture? Or, for another term that underlines what you say about what we study affecting how we communicate: Discourse Community.

I would say that a Discourse Community, if I'm understanding the term correctly, is what we Anthropologists would call a sub-culture. For example, a bunch of engineers would take a disagreement and try to hammer out something concrete to show which view was more correct. Whereas a group of lawyers would (in my perception) look more on who could come up with the most overwhelming argument both for their preferred view and simultaneously putting down the proposed alternatives. A lawyer who came up with "a real zinger" would earn the admiration of his peers. And engineer who did the same, would be considered counterproductive.

Massively overgeneralized, I realize. (I've been in some engineering arguments which got both nasty and personal.) But in general, that's not the sub-culturally encouraged way to discuss an issue.

Although I have been more fluent in, and more comfortable with, English for decades now, I still tend to think of cats as female and dogs as male, because that's what they are in Greek.

I was particularly taken with the idea that speakers of a language where the word for "bridge" was female were more likely to praise one for being "beautiful," whereas speakers of a language where it was male were more likely to praise one for being "strong."

I certainly see a lot of overlap between discourse community and subculture as concepts, but I think that they are differentiated based on what the object of study is. The anthropologist is looking at lifeways and the linguist/rhetorician is looking at the form of communication (genre).

As soon as we start digging into the ensuing mush more deeply, we are inviting in the philosophers and shambling towards Wittgenstein.

I am probably not up-to-date but to my knowledge the only area where there is rock-hard data about language influencing perception is colour. The idea is not new (the later British prime minister Gladstone talked extensively about it in his studies on Homer) but got heavily ridiculed.
But newer studies have shown significant differences where people put the border between colours depending on their mother tongue (e.g. native speakers of Russian have a different idea about where green ends and blue begins on a spectrum from pure blue to pure green from speakers of e.g. English or German [who show no such difference]).

I know that having studied chemistry changed my perception of the world significantly (doing Latin on the other hand did not to a degree that I notice).

A thing about languages that I first read when I was very young was that language shapes our mental map - how we perceive the world, how we think about it, and (to be very meta) how we think about what we think.

It would be fascinating to compare the mental/conceptual maps of (say) an Egyptian of the New Kingdom, a Han-era Chinese person, an Athenian, and a 13th Century Florentine. Those countries and languages were considered the pinnacle of power and knowledge of their respective eras, so they would have about the same level of education and sophistication. Everything else about them would be wildly different.

Their mental maps, and how they perceived the world, would be really really interesting to compare and contrast.

I keep a short mental list of historical figures I would like have an evening with dinner and drinks with, assuming the communication problem (well, and time travel) was solved. The top of the list is always Elizabeth I. Most people think I mean the accent, and perhaps a bit the vocabulary because they think it's just a variation on English. I usually think the big hurdle would be the worldview.

Michael Cain - Oh, Elizabeth would be an excellent choice! She was a highly intellectual, learned person who also believed prophesies and omens. Did she see that as a conflict? Could she comprehend a society where the govt didn't care what religion you believed, or even whether you believed in any of them?

One of mine (assuming the same as you; i.e., able to talk to, and the time travel), would be a tradesperson from the First Dynasty in Egypt. What was non-royal daily life like, how much autonomy did people have? And someone from Mycenae, same thing: what was daily life like? What and who were the bull dancers?

As wonderful as it would be to spend an evening chatting with the Medicis or Isaac Newton or Madame Curie, I have to say I am most interested in spending time with people from Very Long Ago. Different belief systems, different social assumptions... anything from before the Greek and Roman conquest/Christianization of the Western World.

Michael, that’s pretty cool.

And, just want to say, you are an observant and important voice.

Michael, that’s pretty cool.

And, just want to say, you are an observant and important voice.

FYI, the "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis" is the one that claims that Inuit have lots and lots of names for "snow".

It *is* true that Hawai'ians have many words for types of lava, at least some of which are now official geologic classifications.

Also consider how many words there are in English for "stupid".

Rather than old hat, I'd say evergreen. The wikipedia entry on Whorf is quite good


and when I was a grad student, it was being discussed quite a bit. John Lucy has a good book (1992) and here is a 1997 article.


The LinguistList, which has a new site and interface, has this FAQ with links to postings related to the question


Unfortunately, they used the light on light design, which I find unreadable. But looking thru it has lots of back and forths and upset at people getting things wrong on the internet.

Strangely enough, debates about Sapir-Whorf never really got me going. I always thought it was neat that comparison of Indo-European epics were getting at a lot of things people assumed were unrecoverable by focussing on frozen and archaic expressions in the epics and comparing them.

About color, Berlin and Kay were the researchers who pushed that forward, again, the wikipedia page on that is quite good
and has several things I hadn't seen.

At least for me, using Firefox, the linguistlist.org site delivers very basic HTML and several script files fail to load. Those presumably do the actual layout work.

Reminds me to finish the post one of the powers that be semi-invited on the topic of consistency of presentation for e-books and web pages.

The idea which I was trying to articulate (and did so, at best, by inference) is not so much that different languages lead to seeing the world. It is that even within a single language, different groups (based on career, experience, etc.) can have very different views of what sort of behavior is polite.

Which is generally innocuous when it comes to in-group communications. But can be seriously problematic when individuals from different groups interact.

wj, there are strong regional aspects to that too. Around here (Berlin, Germany) being polite (in the way it is usually understood) can be a special way of insulting people while being 'rude' can be a sign of affection. Berolinians are (or at least were) (in)famous for being very direct (and honest) in a way that is considered as rude by people not used to it. And it used to be more or less independent of class or background (some difference in verbiage of course based on education but that's more about expanded vocabulary than different use).
The insult by politeness is also said to be a Viennese trait but they start from a baseline of 'overpoliteness' in the first place, so verbal rudeness does not carry the positive notion. That is likely one reason for the strong mutual dislike between the people from these cities.

Another difference in what is considered "proper behavior" could be gender. To take a, perhaps unexpected, example, consider restroom (group toilet) behavior. In my experience, in men's restrooms there is no talking -- even if those present were just talking before entering. It simply isn't done.

In contrast, my impression (having no experience, I confess) is that in women's restrooms conversation is not uncommon. Ladies, feel free to correct me.

Might be an adjustment for trans individuals. Not the biggest one, of course, but perhaps one of the more unexpected ones.

wj - Women chatting in restrooms happens occasionally, more often if you're in there with a friend. It's not an every time, all the time thing, though.

A trans individual shouldn't feel they need to make a special effort to converse in a woman's room. Even if you walk in on a lively conversation among the people already there, it's perfectly OK not to join in.

I didn't know conversation was Not Done in men's rooms. Makes sense, trying to create an illusion of privacy in the least private spot ever.

some men talk in men's rooms. drunk men who know each other, usually.

some men talk in men's rooms. drunk men who know each other, usually.

Possibly drunk enough to be unclear on where they are. Or to be indifferent to polite behavior. (The latter seems quite likely.)

I didn't know conversation was Not Done in men's rooms.

Well, if the guys know each other, there can be three to five-word sentence small talk.

When I was in the military, one of the bases I was at hosted some British marines for training exercises. Some of the American marines thought they might all be gay because of all the butt slapping and verbal antics in the restrooms.

There's a lot of homophobic norms that get socialized into male identified children in the US starting in elementary school:

-Do not pick the stall next to another person if you can pick one that leaves a space between you.

-Do not look down and to the side if there is someone there. Eyes straight ahead, or on your own business.

-Conversation can happen, but it should be brief and addressed to the wall ahead of everyone or slightly to the side. Absolutely no eye contact or looking at anyone else's business.

-When waiting for a urinal, you should keep as much distance as possible and pay as little attention as possible.

-If you violate any of these rules, you need to make some sort of power move that shows you are being manly in a totally-not-gay way.

These norms seem to be relaxing generationally over time as younger males grow up in cohorts more open to homosexuality and non-binary behaviors.

-Do not pick the stall next to another person if you can pick one that leaves a space between you.

The male restrooms in the schools I went to all the way through high school had no stalls. The best you could do was not pick a toilet next to an occupied one. Don't know whether the female restrooms had stalls.

I see no homophobia, just ordinary respect for privacy. If there were some sort of mixed gender urinals (yes, I'm aware of the anatomy) then I wouldn't be looking at the women either.

I see no homophobia, just ordinary respect for privacy.

It's not the behavior itself that marked it as homophobic for me, it was the method of enforcing the norm and punishing the violation of the taboo. Violating the rules got you called all sorts of homophobic slurs and treated as a boy of suspect masculinity, not as a rude person who did not value individual privacy.

Restrooms are icky places by nature, so for me keeping distance is just normal behaviour. Can't remember any gay or anti-gay antics in these places.

I think an easy solution to the restroom problem (at least for buildings that have multiple ones) is to just designate one as 'neutral', i.e. free for persons of any orientation. I know some buildings where the restrooms are distributed floorwise e.g. all toilets on the odd floors are for females, those on the even for males and the only difference being the presence or absence of urinals (I assume that the necessary pipes are available in all of them, so a switch could be done quickly). And often restrooms are single person in the first place (often with no urinal), so no sex designation for use is necessary anyway.
So, imo most of the controversy is not about practicality but pure culture war.

I think an easy solution to the restroom problem (at least for buildings that have multiple ones) is to just designate one as 'neutral'

i agree.

i'd go a step farther and eliminate gendered bathrooms altogether. first, get rid of the 'lobby' concept and then just make single person rooms.

I know some buildings where the restrooms are distributed floorwise e.g. all toilets on the odd floors are for females, those on the even for males ...

On a couple of occasions, I forgot which floor I was on.

The women’s bathrooms issue was a telling example. Not only the students, but all women found them lacking—from the secretarial staff to the faculty. In some cases, the lack of women’s bathrooms actually hindered women at MIT. According to Mary Rowe, MIT held whole day examinations in Walker, which were very taxing and challenging. However, the only women’s bathroom in Walker was in the basement and at the other end of the building. Women students explained that this walk took them out of their exams for 10-20 minutes, while men could simply walk across the hall and use the bathroom there. This was only one example of the lack of women’s restrooms at MIT in the early 70’s, and was one of the issues tackled at the Women’s Forum.

From here.

This stuff is within my living memory. I wouldn't take the old days back for anything you could give me. (I knew Dottie Bowe, whose MIT history is written up at that link.)

It's not cheap to build new bathrooms.....

no doubt.

but lawsuits aren't free either.

The male restrooms in the schools I went to all the way through high school had no stalls.

Ours all had stalls. Routinely with, barring vandalism, doors.

The Colorado State Capitol building plumbing required extensive changes when women started getting elected. One of the residual consequence years later when I worked there was that the only restrooms open to the public were in the basement. The men's and women's restrooms in the rest of the building were locked and only members and staff knew the code.

My office was across the street in the Legislative Services Building, which was originally the State Museum, so had always had sane restrooms.

"Restrooms, as US citizens know them, aren’t the norm around the world. Even the very act of sitting on the porcelain throne is not always the norm — 15% of world’s population practice open defecation, which means they go to the bathroom in fields, forests, or other available outdoor space, according to World Toilet."
Here's what bathrooms look like all around the world

"Even for the rest of us, who don’t suffer a clinical level of anxiety, the public bathroom is a place that has ingrained behaviors and social rituals—leaving space at the urinals, avoiding conversation even with people you know—that we’ve all experienced, if not daily at an office, then out in the world, at restaurants and ballparks and airports. The public collides uncomfortably with the private in the bathroom as it does nowhere else, and the unique behaviors we perform stem from a complex psychological stew of shame, self-awareness, design, and gender roles. If you boiled this stew down, though, it’d come down to boundaries—the stalls and dividers that physically separate us, and the social boundaries we create with our behavior when those don’t feel like enough."
The Private Lives of Public Bathrooms: How psychology, gender roles, and design explain the distinctive way we behave in the world's stalls (April 16, 2014)

Jean Paul Belmondo died - not sure if many remember him on the US but he was huge in (continental) Europe. Of course in the 60s with Godard and Melville, but I remember him from the 80s for his action / adventure films Man from Rio (rerun on TV) and The Professional (Morricone soundtrack).

I wouldn't take the old days back for anything you could give me.

You could go back there as a guy. White of course.... [/sarcasm]

But seriously, another point of disjunction, Charles' Atlantic article mentions Japan, but doesn't even scratch the surface.

This one has the video advertisement that sparked the washlet boom

In a project launched by the Nippon Foundation, 16 well-known architects were asked to renovate 17 public toilets located in the public parks of Shibuya, Tokyo. Shigeru Ban designed restrooms that are surrounded by transparent tinted glass, which allows a person to evaluate the interior before entering.


In the Japanese customer-service industry, toilets are thoroughly cleaned. This is because many managers think that the cleanliness of the restrooms reflects the service and attention the business has for the customers. For this reason, toilet-cleaning happens several times a day, and the bathrooms are always kept clean.

Which is very true. My university and a number of others are spending a lot of money to update our bathrooms. And I ended up putting off my prostate surgery (that's a point that will resonate with the bulk of our readership here!) because if I was out in town or any urban area, I was within 500 meters of a clean toilet.

There are a ton of links that come up with you google Japanese toilet, a number with cultural musings about how it is Shinto or the fact that kids clean the toilet as part of their responsibilities at school, which are interesting, but more telling to me is the fact that whene I talked to students going overseas, (not so much recently) I had to explain that where they are going, they have their toilet in the same place as they have their shower and bath, which is why you ask to go to the bathroom. Usually, at some point, I see the face of a student or two cloud over when they realize 'you mean they take a dump in the same place that they bathe? WTF???'

lj - Even here in the States, some homes (upscale or upscale-wanna-be) have a separate alcove or closet - but within the bathroom - for the toilet.

Which makes no sense to me. I like the idea of putting the toilet in a separate room/niche/whatever, if only so someone can use the toilet while someone else is in the shower, without anyone's privacy being violated.

I'm not squeamish about having both in the same room for hygiene reasons, but I have been the person hopping around outside the bathroom waiting for whoever is in there to finish bathing! (Ever since, I have insisted on at least 1.5 bathrooms wherever I happen to be living.)

CaseyL, that's true, but if you think about it, it's not for cleanliness, it's for privacy. Which underlines the cultural position that bathrooms occupy in the American psyche. I suppose someone will argue that you put in an alcove to eliminate the possibility that someone in your family is going to purposely flash their junk to another member of the family.

A funny men’s room conversation I had once:

“How’s it going, Hal?”
“I’m holding my own”

I’ll see myself out…

The men's urinal, always a great place to cross streams....

Usually, at some point, I see the face of a student or two cloud over when they realize 'you mean they take a dump in the same place that they bathe? WTF???'

they must not visit many "western style' hotels, then!

i feel a similar (though milder!) confusion about seeing clothes washers and dryers in kitchens (as is common in the UK). i get the reasons it makes sense (counters, plumbing). but clothes and food are different things and need different spaces!

That's an interesting point. I think that they feel like a western style hotel is obviously going to save space, none of them would go to an expensive hotel, it would be like a business chain where the room is less that 20 sq meters and the bed takes up almost the entire room.

Of course, knowing when the rules are enforced and when they are suspended is the key to understanding a culture, but I remember when a student finally asked me 'why are they in the same room' and it took a bit to figure out what 'they' was.

In Germany it's not uncommon to find the clothes washers and dryers in either kitchen or the bathroom. Both rooms are often back to back, so the location of the washer is more or less fixed and it's just the question of where to put the dividing wall. Otherwise it tends to be simply a question where one can spare the needed square meter and the kitchen tends to be more roomy.
That's for apartments/flats. In houses all the appliances concerned with clothes (washing etc.) are often located in the basement or the attic (the usual place for in-house drying, if ones does not use a drying machine).

The Taliban and al Qaeda are convening investigative commissions to ferret out how and why the FAA and lax security by the New York Port Authority permitted two fuel- and passenger-loaded commercial aircraft, piloted by President Donald J. Laden's lieutenants (box cutters? what box cutters?), to accidentally on purpose collide with the two World Trade Center Towers on Sept 11, 2001:


Questions will be raised about why those two buildings were constructed directly in the re-directed flight plans of the two aircraft decades before (who knew what and when) the day of infamy.

Additionally, investigators will look closely at evidence linking the human beings seemingly leaping from the upper floors of the buildings to certain death below to a little-known but bizarre cult of well-dressed, business-suited acrobats who were known to set themselves on fire in the middle of the day and then try to defy gravity and fly to safety as they hailed taxis by waving their arms on their way down.

And what in the world, the investigators will ask, did platoons of Port Authority security officers think they were doing by entering the flame- and smoke-filled buildings, climbing to the upper stairs and, allegedly (we've nothing more to add, mind you) pushing innocent folks out of the windows and then allowing the building to fall ON them.

It was reported that the fire and security officers were carrying picnic baskets and bottles of champagne into the building.

Is that anyway to be prepared for the horror that awaited them, unless of course they were merely going to imbibe a sumptuous midday repast after carrying out their mysterious and nefarious deeds on the upper floors.

The Republican Party, every stitch of it, is a bullet-riddled corpse.

If it is permitted to live, America dies.

Trump Akbar.

My preference, if living in a house with a garage, is to put the washer and dryer in the garage. That way, if there's a water leak, damage can be kept to a minimum. And it also keeps the noise, heat, humidity, smells, and lint in the air out of the house.

"No one seems to agree exactly where the laundry room should go. These rooms were once afterthoughts, installed in out-of-the-way closets or the corner of the basement. Over the years, new homes have started prioritizing laundry room location to increase convenience, improve efficiency, and ensure safe ventilation.

But where is the best place for the laundry room? There isn’t one right answer to this question, but everyone has their preferences. If you’re building a new home or considering relocating your existing laundry room, explore the benefits of each possible place to install your washer and dryer."
Best Places for the Washer and Dryer

I incline to putting the laundry in proximity to the bedrooms. That is where clothes come off at the end of the day, and where clean clothes will be stored for future use.

Admittedly, if I lived somewhere that resulted in my getting muddy outdoors a lot, I might make a different choice.

I am gratified that the subhuman conservative animals, at whom racist voting restrictions are not aimed, in these videos are wearing gender-appropriate clothing when they use the mile-high crappers:


Memorializing suicidal self-aborted fetuses:


My decision with laundry room placement is always going to depend on the surrounding climate. Ours here in So Cal is outdoors on the patio in a closet. Would not be my choice if we were living in Duluth.

if I lived somewhere that resulted in my getting muddy outdoors a lot, I might make a different choice

our mashing machine is right next to the garage door entrance. so i can just step inside and throw my muddy/sweaty stuff straight into the washer.

A tangent on toilets...

"That's when Robar decided to express his feelings about the town's leadership, artistically.

He started to put toilets all over his property and filled them with fake flowers. When he needed more toilets, he went dumpster diving. And when he finished with one garden, he started another, and another.

These porcelain gardens did not sit well with the city elders, who sued Robar for local code violations in 2008. The case was dismissed when the code enforcement officer arrived at court without the documents against him.

Robar continued to frustrate Potsdam's poobahs by creating more and more of his art. Sometimes he added bathtubs and wash basins, but toilets and urinals dominate."
Meet the Property Owner Who Created a Toilet Garden to Protest Local Officials: "I have my First Amendment rights," says Hank Robar.

Also consider that in the US a different type of washing machine is in use than in the rest of the world (which splits between two other systems, one preferred in East Asia, the other in most other places). Different water temperatures, different water consumption and different mix of detergents (plus some more specialised stuff that I can't remmber at the moment).

our mashing machine

because we run a distillery from our house.

the washing machine is right next to it. behind the condensers.

because we run a distillery from our house.

Until recently, I might have asked, "Can I come live with you?" But now I live in a city with more craft breweries than I will ever manage to sample thoroughly, and a growing number of craft distilleries.

For Michael Cain at 6:27:

I have come to console myself about the abundance of craft breweries/brew pubs (which me and my home brew partner from the 90s would have been thrilled about) with the weight of my experience: most of the styles that seem to be popular are not to my taste, and most of the versions of styles that appeal to me tend to range from fair to poor. The occasional exceptions do occur, but then you go back to that establishment another time and their lineup has changed.

The Front Range still has a lot of really fine craft brewers that have core beers that predate the need to chase trends and stay ahead of the hop variety shortages. Same with our area of So Cal.

But I am mortally weary of finding coolers full of hazy IPAs and sours, and am glad that we are heading towards stout season.


I switched to cider a few years ago and never looked back. I’ll have a Guinness if there’s no cider on offer, but otherwise I’ve basically lost my taste for beer.

I love cider too but only the dry one.
Unfortunately it contains more alcohol than the sweet variety and my body and alcohol are not on good terms (plus I hate the mere idea of being drunk). So my consumption has to be very limited.

But I am mortally weary of finding coolers full of hazy IPAs and sours

i've been waiting for the IPA fad to die out for a decade now.

and i wish it was easier to find porters and stouts that weren't full of coffee/chocolate/peanut flavors.

also, there are too many kids on my lawn.

Geez, Russell, now I've got to add the half-dozen craft cider places here to the list...

"the washing machine is right next to it. behind the condensers."

but are you using the traditional "scrap truck radiator" for a condenser?

I hear it provides that artesanal "hint of ethylene glycol" to the flavor.

our Prestone Gin is the envy of the holler.

These days I mostly drink Yuengling or good Tequila on the rocks. I do like a Pabst Hard Coffee every now and then. Although, I do like to go to places that have a variety of local beers and work my way through the menu once in a while, I skip the ones described as fruity or citrus, if I want a citrus beer I will just have a Corona with a lime. I generally don't remember which ones were good. But then we have previously established I have no taste in beer.

On bathrooms, the first time I went to the Air Canada lounge in the Toronto airport I was stunned to find each stall was a room. Floor to ceiling walls and doors, heavy wood actually, with standard width and extra depth to accommodate your luggage. I was in heaven. It was quiet and private and clean. I thought all Canada must be this way. But alas no.

Rationing health care. Remember that?


Rationing health care. Remember that?

My county is reporting as of yesterday afternoon ICU beds at 110% utilization. Beds that are not normally ICU beds are being re-equipped. The big local university is apparently able to provide some additional skilled staff.

This is a bad time of year for Covid to do this -- we're still in the outdoor trauma season when we would typically be at 75-80% ICU occupancy anyway. Covid patients are only about 40% of the ICU patients.

Looking at various sources, my take is that we are being overwhelmed by neighboring exurb/rural counties where the vaccination rates are much lower than ours.

The county's 14-day moving average for new cases has clearly turned down. My estimate at the local Kroger chain yesterday is that masking is back above 80%. Vaccinations continue to tick up, but not dramatically.

COVID cases in my county are down 33% in the last week. The largest hospital has reduced ICU patients by 50% and the 7 day moving average for infection rates is down 25%. We have 25% of the expanded ICU still available, with COVID cases accounting for 60% of ICU occupancy.

There could be several reasons for all that. I live in a county that approaches 65% vaccinated. The kids are all wearing masks to school(I am not convinced of the efficacy of that, they spend a lot of time in common rooms that limits the effectiveness of masking) and we have hit a cool spell where people are outside more. Or it is just running out of unvaccinated people that haven't already had covid.

I suspect the latter two.

I'm busy preparing for a return to the physical classroom in a couple weeks. Admin are busy telling us that this will be in-person teaching (with vaccine and mask mandates in place) and not a hybrid classroom. They are also telling us, though, that we need to be ready to "pivot" if the situation changes. Notably, they are not paying us for any of the work that goes into preparing two different versions of the class. The precautions are supposed to keep break-through cases at a minimum, but I've been hearing from colleagues at other schools who have the same sorts of precautions that they are having to shift to remote teaching two weeks in. We shall see.

Local cases are down 30% over the last 14 days, but ICUs are packed (86-100% occupancy). 70/56% partial/full vaccination rates locally. 96% on campus.

And in beer news, I may as well confirm McKinney's deepest suspicions and admit that I am a big fan of imperial reds.

Rationing health care. Remember that?

Can "death panels" be far behind? Cue the outrage!

There are now thousands of beers to like and dislike. Ain't deregulation great?!

Number of US Breweries, 1873 to 2020

Well, I'm one of masses who still likes a good IPA, particularly the hazy, juicy, New England-style IPAs, though I have taken the opportunity recently to have an old-school, piney, West Coast IPA when on offer to reminisce with my pallet about what the usual IPAs used to be like.

The last beer I had was a strong, golden ale - 8% ABV - brewed according to what is purported to be Thomas Jefferson's recipe. It was a nice change of pace. Not much for sours, but I've had a few that weren't so bad. Also, too, love stouts and porters, especially strong ones (imperial and Baltic), and am looking forward to them in the cooler weather.

And who doesn't like a nice Belgian any time of year?

Ain't deregulation great?!

as a rule?


contrarianism masquerading as principle is not a sound basis for dealing with actual human beings.

Well, I'm one of masses who still likes a good IPA, particularly the hazy, juicy, New England-style IPAs

I have nothing against the style, I just resent that the style seems to have supplanted all the other styles that used to be on offer, and also that so many craft breweries are trendfollowing rather than looking to expand variety.

Beers that I have loved that I wish would show up again - Green Tea IPA, Coconut Curry Ale (which I had to make myself), Smoked Vanilla Bean Imperial Stout, pretty much any Red IIPA that has a strong malt backbone to support the IBVs. I've also been drinking more straight up British Ales and Belgian Strong Dark Ales.

But mostly I've been drinking Clausthaler during the week and saving the others for the weekends. It's keeping me better hydrated and holding the alcohol related inflammation at bay, which keeps me running more and taking fewer recovery breaks.

And I think the craft brewing explosion was not a victory of deregulation, but rather of something more like the current decriminalization of weed. It wasn't that government was trying to control brewing, it's that moralists were attempting to prohibit people from having opportunities to partake. That's a bit of nuance that I think is important.

And who doesn't like a nice Belgian any time of year?

indeed. i buy a lot of Belgians (and US-made Belgian-style ales). and wheats (German, usually). and red ales (Red Oak). and i always keep some Peronis on-hand for those simple times when i don't want to bother.

...pretty much any Red IIPA that has a strong malt backbone to support the IBVs.

A brewery near me, Double Nickel, has a beer they produce "occasionally" called Brickface. It's one of the most delicious things I've ever poured into that hole in my head where stuff disappears. The IBU is listed at 99 on the can, but damned if the malt doesn't mostly cover it up for me. It's 10% ABV, so not for quaffing.

i buy a lot of Belgians

And here I thought slavery had been outlawed....

When state alcohol beverage control boards find beer labels, if not the beers, in bad taste.

"'The regulation is, on its face, in constitutional 'bad taste,' as it is in clear violation of the First Amendment,' attorneys for Flying Dog, including veteran First Amendment lawyers Greg Doucette and Marc Randazza, argue in court documents. They say banning the beer label is an unconstitutional viewpoint-based restriction on speech, similar to restrictions that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down."
North Carolina Banned This Beer Because Bureaucrats Dislike the Label: Now they'll have to explain to a federal judge how this isn't a violation of the First Amendment.

The eidos of reds for me are Eagle Rock Brewery's Red Velvet Imperial Red Rye (slightly sweet, bitter, boozy, spicy) and Three Weavers' Blood Junkie (drier, with notes of cara cara, cacao, and caramel) .

In states that were later to craft brewery/brew pub growth, the restrictions and regulations were supported by both moralists and lobbyists for the entrenched domestic bohemoths. Florida was a wasteland for overseas imports through container-size restrictions that posed no concerns for Anheuser-Busch, et.al. In the early 90s when Pete's Wicked Ale arrived in Georgia in 22 oz. bottles I would have to smuggle some done for friends and family to try on visits to Florida because that was not an approved bottle-size for sale.

And here I thought slavery had been outlawed

is it really slavery if they only last a half-hour?

I do have to admit that I'm much less adventurous about beer in my dotage, more often than not simply going for the mild amber ale or amber lager. Fortunately, the two biggest craft brewers in Fort Collins -- although it's better to call New Belgium a former craft brewer these days -- both got their start with an amber ale, those remain their flagship brews, and almost every eatery in town will have one or both of them on hand.

Just caught this little gem on the radio (KCBS). Texas not only will not allow school districts to require masks. They also will not allow pubic schools to offer virtual learning! Presumable lest any child might be able to avoid exposure to covid-19.

Somehow, the pro-life rhetoric seems to have been replaced by the opposite . . . except, of course, when sex is involved. Sometimes, it seems like they are determined to make the Puritans seem like liberals.

Ain't deregulation great?!

I wait for your paeans to Jimmy Carter


However, it is, as we all know, nuanced, which, as we also all know, is tough.


I personally like the take by Kain in the second link. You create the expertise and spread out the knowledge which then allows change to happen. It's not so much that regulation acts as a barrier for people doing things, it's that it creates structural circumstances that then lead to particular outcomes.

Special for JDT, the next time you are inclined to say something harsh about "all Republicans":

Some of you may remember that I have homegrown software for generating cartograms and prism maps. This morning it finally sank in that that software uses a whole bunch of big data files that will have to be updated as the Census Bureau releases stuff. Crud.

One of those times when I long to have minions/graduate students.

Everybody should have minions.

big data files that will have to be updated as the Census Bureau releases stuff.

part of my day job is maintaining software to geomap street addresses to lat/long, and then grab census tract, district, etc. data, from TomTom's geo data. our customers are chomping at the bit to get the updated data, but TomTom is slogging through it as fast as they can. and there's a lot of it.

Everybody should have minions.

Even minions.

Even minions.

And things get meta real fast.

I should also say that I'm not dealing with data on the scale cleek describes. There are, after all, only 3000+ counties (and equivalents), 435 Congressional districts, and 49 states+DC, which is all that I deal with. I'm just whining, mostly.

Keep telling yourself "Hey, if it was easy, just anybody could do it. Instead, they had to hire me."

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