1. rq says

    That’s good news, WMDKitty!
    Even better news would be some affordable/covered Hep C treatment. :/


  2. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    Well, I wasn’t expecting that, though knowing your dirty sense of humour, I should have been at least somewhat prepared. :P

    You missed Page 2.

  3. says

    Smart young man!

    Fifteen-year-old Angelo Casimiro from the Philippines has just invented a smart shoe insole that produces enough electricity when you walk to charge small USB devices. The gizmo consists of piezoelectric materials, which, as Angela explains, can generate an alternating current voltage when actuated. (Solid materials like certain ceramics and salts exhibit this effect, which was discovered in the late 1800s).

  4. says

    Please excuse my cross posting from Thunderdome:

    @ All Legal Minds

    I have a quick question for the legally inclined Pharyngulites: Below is a part of a contract that looks a bit iffy. I was of the understanding that such a clause would generally not be allowed in most countries. It almost smacks of old fashioned indenture, and is probably quite open to abuse by the employer.

    Termination of Employment
    i. Before commence [sic] of the commence date of your employment:
    After having signed this contract but before commencing your employment with T.H.R.U.S.H you may only terminate this contract upon giving T.H.R.U.S.H two months’ written notice and payment of damages equivalent to two month’s salary specified hereinabove.

    (The name of the organisation in question has been changed, even as it retains its accuracy of description.)

  5. chigau (違う) says

    As an actual member of U.N.C.L.E.
    I find your invocation of T.H.R.U.S.H to be problematic.

  6. numerobis says

    theophontes@505: I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even play a lawyer on the internet, but that doesn’t look like indenture. The day you start work you can immediately quit, if I read that correctly — it’s that if you accept the job and then change your mind, they try to hit you up for cash. It seems to be a signing bonus in reverse, basically.

  7. bassmike says

    Thanks for the support everyone. I feel that my problems are nothing compared to the stuff that the likes of FossilFishy and Tony are having to put up with so I’ll add my *hugs* to the pile for all who need them.

    Tony it’s disgusting, the way you’ve been treated. In the UK I would think that you had solid grounds for unfair dismissal. But the employment laws in the US seem woefully inadequate at supporting the employee in these cases.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    New process designed to make Na-ion batteries an effective alternative to Li-ion

    An interesting supplement to Li-ion batteries.
    Question: I have heard of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, but never graphite oxide. The others form a gas at room temperature. So this solid allows the graphite sheet to remain intact, in between sheets of oxygen. And with a bit of clever juggling, you can fit in Na ions.

  9. gussnarp says

    @Beatrice #462 – August is the Tattoo and the Fringe in Edinburgh, as well as peak tourist season generally, so prices are sure to be inflated. It’s been over a decade……crap, I’m old….. since I hosteled there, in August, but I don’t recall it being much different price wise from any other hostels in major cities at the time. I don’t remember my room there at all, but I’m sure it wasn’t a big dormitory, probably a six or eight person? It was a classic hippy kind of hostel, not one of the big ones. If I can come up with the info, I’ll post it, but things may have changed over the years, so maybe it’s as expensive as any other. Could also be that it’s still cheap, but all full. I recall it was the only advanced reservation I made on that trip….

    Ah, the memories. I had a severe toothache and could barely eat and no money for dentistry. I lived on haggis, shepherd’s pie, and Guinness, the only things soft enough to choke down…

  10. gussnarp says

    Well, the internet isn’t going to help me find that hostel, there are dozens in the general area and the one I though might be it doesn’t look familiar at all. My memory may have been clouded by the tooth pain. Probably wouldn’t help anyway, it’s probably just as pricey as the others now and would have come up in your search too.

  11. says

    @ numerobis

    Check out the following: Link here & here to CD’s articulate response on Thunderdome. Essentially you are protected by labour legislation once employment begins. The period before is in stark contrast to this. Although I, personally, find this unethical, it is apparently legal.

  12. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I wanted to go in August because of Fringe, and thw possible little get-together with Pharyngupeoples.

    It doesn’t really make a difference if it’s a dorm for 8 or 28, if I’m going alone and am supposed to sleep in the same room with a bunch of strangers. I wish I was so easy going that I could do that, but I’m not.

    But thanks for trying to help.

  13. Dhorvath, OM says

    That’s horrid. Take as many hugs as you need, I wish there was more I could do.

  14. Pteryxx says

    re the Seattle university shooting, Amanda Marcotte: source

    While the police believe he intended to kill many, many people, he only hit four and only one has died. That is because, as reported, a hero student hall monitor bust in and disarmed the shooter while he was reloading. The Seattle Times reports:

    Jon Meis, a student working as a building monitor, pepper-sprayed the shooter as he stopped to reload, then put him in a chokehold and took him to the ground, according to police and a friend who spoke with Meis after the shooting. Then other students and faculty members rushed to hold the shooter down until police arrived.

    Which means that pepper spray now has a better track record in defeating a bad guy with a gun than good guys with guns do.

  15. yazikus says

    Oooooh, I just saw in the paper that Neil deGrass Tyson will be visiting Local Little College in my town this fall. Tickets go on sale Tuesday. This could be fun.

  16. David Marjanović says

    The things I learn about kohlrabi around here…

    Anyway. This paper of mine was published online on July 4th, 2013. Eleven months and two days later, it finally has page numbers and a dead-tree version!

    It’s not just scientists anymore: what programmers say, and what they mean. The jokes about Vi and Emacs are explained here (scroll down to “Text Editors”).

    Paul Krugman uses a case of unusual stupidity as a teachable moment.

    The second most common religion in the states of the US.

    This is, apparently, the first ever sex-ed class in China.

    Ah, that explains a few things.

    Like the couple a few years ago where the woman couldn’t get pregnant because they both didn’t know that you need to insert tab A into slot B first.

    Looked up prices for ho(s)tels in Edinburgh in August.

    Wow. Almost twice as much as I payed in Florence, and that’s for a dorm that I would share with 10+ people (which is not going to happen).

    Oh crap.

    The superstition about sex before athletic activity (by men) impairing said activity is very widespread; I’ve also seen interviews with a number of American sports figures who say similar things. AFAICT it’s based on a General Ripper-esque beleif that semen is or contains some kind of ‘manly essence’
    which is supposedly essential to rugged ‘manly’ activities like that, and if you use it up on sex you won’t have any left to be macho with.

    Isn’t the idea simply that sex is so exhausting that afterwards you’ll be too weak to play? After all, one of the coaches cited above explicitly allows masturbation.

  17. says

    Like the couple a few years ago where the woman couldn’t get pregnant because they both didn’t know that you need to insert tab A into slot B first.

    While amusing, that story was fictional.

  18. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Isn’t the idea simply that sex is so exhausting that afterwards you’ll be too weak to play? After all, one of the coaches cited above explicitly allows masturbation.

    I always thought the point wasn’t so much weakness as in exhaustion*, but weakness in the sense that sex makes them content and mellow instead of a bunch of manly men just waiting to spring and football.
    Also, frustration. No sex -> more incentive to beat the other team because you have to do something with all the sexual frustration.

    *because really, I don’t think non-acrobatic sex can be that exhausting. But I’m obviously no expert

  19. says

    Anti-gay sentiments affect Utah police duties:

    A Salt Lake City police officer has been put on leave due to allegations that he refused to work at this weekend’s Utah Pride Parade. […]

    about 30 officers are scheduled to provide traffic control and security for the 120-entry parade, Utah’s premier LGBT celebration. The parade begins at 10 a.m. Sunday in downtown Salt Lake City. […]

    Police Chief Chris Burbank has marched in the parade in previous years; this year three deputy chiefs are marching in his stead while he is out of town. The police department also will have a community outreach and recruitment booth at the Utah Pride festival on Saturday, and participates in a standing committee to address public safety issues relating to LGBT residents, Jones said.

    “We have gay men and women that serve in the police department,” Jones said. “One officer’s situation does not reflect the vast majority of officers that work in the Salt Lake City Police Department, and certainly not Chief Burbank’s.[…]

    At least the officer who refused to work at the Pride Parade was benched and is being investigated. That counts as progress in Utah.

    The officer’s refusal to to help with security at the Pride Parade reminds of PZ’s post about the Republican Party platform in Texas. Those Texans made sure we knew they were anti-gay on all levels, and that they were for “religious freedom” for Texas Christians (and Mormons?) who wanted to be free to discriminate against gays.

  20. says

    I just completed the online form to get cable internet!

    Kind of a lame thing to get super-excited about, but I’ve been limping along on this horrible AT&T DSL for about ten years now. I’ll get (ostensibly) ten times faster download speeds for about the same price.

    Now comes the more difficult decision. Do I also cancel my landline phone and go cellular solo?

    Anyone have pros/cons to offer about that?

  21. says

    Yes, students who play sports get special treatment at universities in the USA — but it’s worse than you thought:

    In an interview with ESPN’s news magazine show Outside The Lines, former University of North Carolina basketball star Rashad McCants detailed the program’s don’t ask, don’t tell attitude towards academics, saying that he could have been ineligible for the team’s 2005 national championship run had he not taken “bogus classes” and had improper assistance from tutors, and that he made perfect grades one semester despite not attending classes. […]

    Think Progress link.

  22. Rob Grigjanis says

    Beatrice @526:

    because really, I don’t think non-acrobatic sex can be that exhausting. But I’m obviously no expert

    Ah, but once you allow sex, it’s a slippery slope to acrobatic sex!

    For the decades I’ve been aware of this policy in soccer, the reason given has been that it weakens the legs. Nonsense, of course. I think you’re right, that managers are afraid their players will lose some of their aggression.

  23. says


    Nonsense, of course. I think you’re right, that managers are afraid their players will lose some of their aggression.

    It’s funny, as I was typing a response to this, I changed my mind. Initially I was going to say that I’m surprised to find woo in professional sports. But then I realized that it’s present in so many other walks of life, so what would be surprising about finding it in sports?

  24. says

    Good guy with a gun actually stops the bad guy with a gun.

    A man armed with explosives and an assault rifle might have entered a north Georgia courthouse Friday if not for a deputy who was wounded in the shootout with the gunman, Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said.
    Authorities killed Dennis Marx outside the courthouse, Piper said during a news conference, adding that the gunman planned to wreak more havoc once inside the building.
    “Mr. Marx’s intention was to get in that front door and take hostages,” he said. Authorities don’t know why.
    A witness’ video shows officers, guns drawn, closing in on a silver Nissan SUV on a wide walkway in front of the courthouse. Orange smoke spews from a device near the vehicle.
    A shot rings out, then another. Two more shots are fired before a 15-second torrent of gunshots. Dozens of officers then surround the vehicle, as three construction workers peek out from behind their backhoe at a construction site across the street.

  25. says

    Tax return came in.

    Debating how to handle getting my own apartment. There are some cheap places I can move into pretty much right now and they basically don’t care who they rent to. Internet research and chats with friends suggest they don’t care about much else, either. Not quite bad enough that people wonder why the housing authority or fire or health departments don’t shut them down, but their reputations are not much better than that.

    The better places require 12 months continuous employment(I’m at 10), and 6-12 months rental history(I have 0). Larger deposits and/or a cosigner can overcome these, but even so, it would be tough and I’d expect some nos. If I wait till I at least have the continuous employment, I’m guessing I won’t see many outright nos, but larger deposits and/or cosigners are probably still on the table.

    Thinking about one of the cheap places in the interim, rather than waiting. Some of them offer a 6 month lease. I could get that, get my rental history in, and keep an eye out for a new place when I get to around 4 months in. Not that I’d pay for an empty apartment, but so i have some time to actually check places out and research them before movein. Ideally it would time so that I have no overlapping rent periods.

    Any thoughts? To my knowledge, none of the cheap places are so bad that I’d look into security precautions beyond being a little quicker to request lock repairs, and the maintenance problems I’ve found in researching are mainly comfort issues.

  26. yazikus says

    Fuuucccckkkk, loungers. This is a really weird week. I’m heading out of town tomorrow to commemorate the two year anniversary of my loss (some of you know what that is, to those who don’t, it is something super sad). And then I just found out that one of my favorite classmates passed away yesterday. We had been planning to bbq & play croquet soon. He was 36. His wife wanted to let me know that our shared classes and study groups were the highlight of his days and that he was happier in school than he had been in years. He was a really neat person, so smart, and was headed to do awesome things in the world. He wasn’t religious, so his wife is planning a memorial. So sad.

  27. yazikus says

    Thanks Tony. I’m just kind of stunned right now. I had texted him earlier to check in on bbq timing, and I knew something was off when he called right back and it was his wife, not him. I’m sort of on auto pilot, packing for our trip. We’ll be visiting a women’s monastery, so I’ll have to remember to pack appropriate clothes. That is always fun.

  28. says

    bassmike and Dhorvath:
    Thank you both.


    Pakistani police chopped off the left hands of two men accused of theft after they refused to confess to stealing electrical wire and mobile phones, the victims told Reuters on Monday.

    The two men, Ghulam Mustafa, 38, and Liaquat Ali, 42, said that police hacked off their hands with a large butcher’s knife on Friday.

    “Four or five policemen held me down and cut my hand. I fainted from the pain,” Mustafa said in hospital in Bahawalpur in Punjab province.

    “I and Liaquat were arrested eight days ago after local people falsely accused us of stealing and handed us over to the police who beat us and tortured us. Then on Friday, they did this.”

    Police disputed their version of the story, telling Reuters the men had cut their own hands with razor blades in a suicide attempt, though it was not immediately clear how they could cut their hands off.

    Medical staff said the men had been brought to the hospital by two policemen about eight hours after their hands were cut off. Both had lost a lot of blood.

    Yeah, I’m not buying the argument that the men tried to cut their hands off with razors.
    This retributive justice violates the autonomy of these men. Moreover, what if they’re innocent? At least they’re still alive, unlike innocents who are sentenced to death for their crimes, but still I find this abhorrent.

  29. yazikus says

    Tony, they are aesthetically quite nice, peaceful, quiet & with lots of pretty iconography and music. For dress, the menfolk ought to wear long sleeves, and long pants, probably no sandals. No flashy colors or logos. For the lady folk, long skirts, ‘modest’ shirts or blouses & a head covering, again, muted colors are preferred. We’ll probably skip the monastery itself and head straight to the cemetery, but there is a good chance we’ll happen upon a nun or priest.

  30. cicely says

    *liberally spraying the [Lounge] with hugs*
    Tuning in late, as usual.


    Now comes the more difficult decision. Do I also cancel my landline phone and go cellular solo?
    Anyone have pros/cons to offer about that?

    We just recently cancelled our landline phone—partly because we needed to trim expenses, exacerbated by a never-ending monthly hassle with The Phone Cops People about things we weren’t supposed to be being charged for. The Husband eventually got tired of the charade; argue with whoever answers the call, get put on (lengthy) hold, eventually talk to someone who (allegedly) has the authority to Make Decisions, and who promises to deal with it, and see to it that it doesn’t happen again.
    But it does.
    Myself, I’m not altogether pleased to have given up the landline. In the first place, we’ve had that number for…hmmm…25ish years. It is one of the three numbers I can effortlessly remember—and one of the other two is Avogadro’s.
    In the second place, when we had some vicious ice storms a few years back, and while we lost both cell and landline service, the landline came up first. And I stress about being unable to call out for help in the event of an emergency.
    In the third place, there are now people who might want to get in contact with us, people we haven’t interacted with in years, and whose Current Whereabouts are Unknown, who would be hard-pressed to track us down, because that landline number is the only one they’ll have. If the current state of affairs had obtained a few years back, we still wouldn’t know that a good friend had died; we only learned about it several months after the fact, when one of his in-laws found our number in an old (dead tree) contact list. We’d just thought that we hadn’t heard from him lately because he was still pissed off at The Husband over a DMing decision that didn’t go his way.

    gworroll, the plan you’ve outlined may be your best bet. It’s pretty much the one my ex-daughter-in-law had to settle for, with the added hurdle of her having no meaningful work record, either.
    At least, with no rental history, you don’t have a bad rental history.

    yakuzis, I am so sorry for your loss.

    I used to have a cat who could spend hours playing with one of those springy doorstops.
    Especially in the dead of the night, when all the human people in the house were being all boring.

    Tony!: Utterly abhorrent.

  31. yazikus says

    Thanks, Cicely. I’ll try to dream dreams of Shadowcamels to distract myself. I’ve got to get myself some super positive stuff to share in the lounge, instead of being such a downer! I do have a great blueberry salsa recipe if anyone is interested.

  32. cicely says

    I’d forgotten about the Shadowcamels, what with more recent inputs (like Spelljamming borg squid). Good times!
    I’ve never heard of blueberry salsa! Do tell!

  33. yazikus says

    Cicely Blueberry salsa is delicious, but I can’t take real credit. I got the recipe from Shakesville, from Zuzu.

    Blueberry Salsa

    1 pint blueberries (half of them smashed)
    1 to 2 jalapenos, diced fine (seeds and ribs can be removed to make it less hot)
    1/2 Vidalia or large white onion, diced
    1 clove garlic, smashed
    juice of 2 or more limes
    a handful of cilantro, to taste

    –Mix together, let sit for an hour to let flavors blend, and enjoy.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I do have a great blueberry salsa recipe if anyone is interested.

    Ooh, the Redhead loves blueberries.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I would like a little medical advice from those doctors and nurses in the horde.

    The Redhead has developed edema in her legs, and this led to the legs “weeping”. Her doctor prescribed a diuretic, but due to my schedule of still working full time, we were unable to do twice a day for 7 days straight as he prescribed. Her right leg has dried up, but her left (weak) leg still weeps, but the amount of weeping seems to correlate inversely in my mind with the amount of diuretic taken.

    The weeping has caused her left foot to be wet for a few weeks, and some pain has resulted.

    1) Is the diuretic appropriate with no other indication of heart/kidney disease?
    2) Is there any dressing that will help dry out the “weeping”?

  36. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    I made bread therefore we also made pizza.
    The pizza is (as usual) divine.
    It is possible my bread-making is approaching perfection.
    Too bad that I don’t have an actual recipe.

  37. cicely says

    Hmmm…the jalapenos are a problem; perhaps I could just leave those out.
    And the cilantro.
    To (not) taste.

  38. says

    That blueberry salsa sounds delightful.
    Question though (for anyone): how would use make use of it? I’m accustomed to eating chips and salsa, but this type of salsa doesn’t seem suited to that. Perhaps a topping for an spicy chicken or fish dish?

  39. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    Salsa should be … hot-ish.
    One could use something milder than jalapeños.
    If we still did dead porcupines dying in a fire, that is where cilantro should be.

  40. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    Salsa is for everything.
    On your eggs at breakfast
    on toast
    over rice or noodles

  41. cicely says

    Peppers, in general, taste like pain.
    Sometimes with Added Swelling.

    Cilantro belongs with the peas, out behind the Horse-pen.

  42. says

    Cilantro is the best thing EVAH. Sprigs on a tortilla with grilled chicken and lots of cheese and salsa and fresh sliced tomatoes are the best fajitas.

    Jalapeños are to be used sparingly if at all. Cilantro and onion spice most salsa up plenty. Bell peppers on the other hand are to be sliced and eaten raw to appreciate the sweet cool crispness.
    My brother in law was obsessed with those Power Band things, which is probably why they stand out in my memory as sports-woo.

    Yazikus *hugs* that is the suck to lose a friend.

  43. cicely says

    I just don’t feel that most foods are enhanced by The Great Taste Of Soap.

  44. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    parsley sage basil rosemary thyme lovage
    spawned in the depths of Hell
    deeeep riiiifts!M!!!

  45. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    To me, cilantro does not taste of soap.
    It tastes of cilantro.
    I also hate pineapple.
    It tastes like pineapple.

  46. says

    I’ve never come across fresh cilantro so I don’t know what it tastes like. I bought a bag of dried cilantro, which tasted like a whole lot of nothing, and then read that it loses its flavour when cooked or dried. Oh, well.

  47. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Meetup in Seattle just ended. yay! I met A Noyd! And Funny Diva! And lots of folks whose nyms weren’t recognizable to me, but who seem just as cool.

    Dinner was good except for the agedashi tofu…and when they saw I didn’t eat it, they took it off the ticket, b/c…why? I don’t know. I ordered it. I would have paid for it. But hey! Didn’t have to. And the yaki udon was great. I would have made it a bit spicier, but then I like everything pretty moderately-highly spiced, so that’s no surprise.

    PZ was soft-spoken and quite engaging. Ophelia was with us for the evening, but not for the late dinner, and she was across a big circle from me, and was her (usual, I’m told) quiet self, so I don’t really feel like I know her any better. We met – yay! but getting to know each other will be a different trip if it happens.

    Hope everything else is going well around here. Not reading up on comments just now, so condolences/congratulations/etc. as necessary.

    I’ll comment again from Canada tomorrow.

  48. A. Noyd says

    chigau (#560)

    To me, cilantro does not taste of soap.
    It tastes of cilantro.

    To me it tastes like chewing tin foil with fillings.


    Crip Dyke (#563)

    and when they saw I didn’t eat it, they took it off the ticket, b/c…why? I don’t know.

    Maybe because when you ordered, it sounded like you were really looking forward to it, and then it didn’t live up to expectations. Plus, now that you mention it, it could be a Seattle thing to take food off the bill at the drop of a hat. If I ever leave more than half a dish uneaten or have to comment on the food in anything less than glowing terms, unless it was literally inedible, I’ll say something to prevent a refund. Sometimes something as blunt as “don’t give me a refund.” The one time I actually asked for a refund (since I wasn’t hungry enough to eat an entire replacement meal), the head of the kitchen came out, sat down next to me, took my hand, apologized sincerely, and said everyone in the kitchen had gotten a stern talking to for ruining my food. No joke.

    And yeah, it was great meeting everybody. I think I used up my sociability for the month, but it was totally worth it.

  49. says

    Good morning

    I’m green with envy for all the Seatle people. Well, you got PZ and such on your continent, I got a mostly gun-free zone. Only the Canadians, they are cheating.

    Big hugs for everybody and Gute Reise for rq

    *dragging this over from TD, ’cause it kind of belongs more to the Lounge*
    Speaking of Tamora Pierce, I’m kind of dreaming about writing my final thesis about her books. If I can’t get the linguistics topic, that is. Well, I can dream, right?
    The description for the department is the following:

    North American Literary and Cultural Studies

    We study all things American. In particular, our research and teaching engages North American literatures and cultures from early colonial encounters to postmodern cultural practices. While we study the literary and visual cultures from the colonial period up to the 21st century, there is a strong focus on early American literatures, Latino/a literature, Canadian literature, and the global dimensions of U.S. American 20th-century literature. In general, our research projects take transdisciplinary, transhemispheric, and comparative approaches and include the theories and methods of Cultural Studies, Body Studies and Gender Studies. Visit the North American Literary and Cultural Studies homepage.

    So I would totally like to look at gender in Tamora Pierce’s books. Or do a comparative study to how it is constructed in her books as opposed to, say the Twilight series. I mean, Alice Walker and Margaret Atwood are totally cool, but who apart from us reads that for fun? So, talking about popular literature should be interesting, right?
    I have NO clue if I can do something in that direction, but did I mention that a girl can dream)

  50. opposablethumbs says

    yazikus, I’m very sorry. I hope you are/soon will be OK.

    CD, ANoyd et al – I’m very envious! And glad that you (all those present) had what sound like such a great time!

    cilantro … what is this cilantro of which you speak? Oh, of course, you mean fresh coriander. Weeelll … it’s OK in small amounts, or in Indian food where it seems to work just fine, but on its own it does have a certain eau de soap aroma.
    Dried and ground coriander is much more useful, but I’m not even certain this is the same plant :-\ (oh I see, it is the same plant but it’s the seeds. Fair ’nuff).

  51. says

    Cilantro’s like Durian fruit. Whether it tastes good to you or not is apparently genetic; some people find the taste of cilantro pleasant, other people find it tastes like soap. Similarly, some people find the taste and smell of durian appealing (these people include both my parents, which makes me suppose that the gene must be recessive, because I’m in the other category: that of people to whom it tastes and smells like burning sewage poured on a landfill.)

  52. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    You’d think sewage would be too wet to burn well. O.o

  53. says


    Now comes the more difficult decision. Do I also cancel my landline phone and go cellular solo?

    :) My parents have a land line, and the only person in years to call that instead of their mobiles is my grandmother. She’s 93 and flat out refuses to participate in this newfangled mobile whachamacallit.

    Yet, they’re not in a hurry to get rid of the it, either: they had to buy stock in the phone company to get it installed, it’s quite stable in value and costs next to nothing to maintain.

  54. says

    Her sons actually got her a mobile phone, a simple one with large buttons and screen, and all her sons’ and the emergency number preset in the speed dials. I don’t think she touched it more than once.

  55. says

    Whether it tastes good to you or not is apparently genetic; some people find the taste of cilantro pleasant, other people find it tastes like soap

    What a ridiculous notion. Clearly what’s happening is that a massive, world-wide conspiracy is producing two identically-looking herbs and switching them around when people aren’t looking.

    One conspiracy or two gene alleles? Ockham’s Razor.

  56. blf says

    One could use something milder than jalapeños.

    Fells oof his choir in astashmont…
    (Well, Ok, the vin at lunch probioably halped…)

    Jalapeños are mild. And they taste great! Stuffed with cheese and (typically) roasted they are another reason to ________ (insert a favoured activity, squared). Even without the cheese or roasted they are ________. An essential ingredient!!!!1!!

    (Speaking as someone who just bought about a hundred grammes of fresh organic Jalapeños less than an hour ago — No bias here…!)

  57. blf says

    The one time I actually asked for a refund (since I wasn’t hungry enough to eat an entire replacement meal), the head of the kitchen came out, sat down next to me, took my hand, apologized sincerely, and said everyone in the kitchen had gotten a stern talking to for ruining my food.

    I had an somewhat similar experience once in a quite good restaurant in Bath, England. After an excellent dinner I order a chocolate tarte-like thingy for desert. Which is also excellent.

    However, it happened to contain a very small piece of metal. Tiny. Around the size of a ball-point pin’s ball-point. Probably wouldn’t have been dangerous (or even noticeable?) had I swallowed it, but as it happened, I “felt” it with my teeth and more-or-less spat it out, putting it on the plate. Then I finished the rest of the desert.

    What the waitperson came to take away the plate, I thanked her for the excellent desert, but pointed to the metal bit on my plate and said something to effect that the bit of machinery should perhaps be omitted. The lady looked mortified, and extremely quickly, the owner(?), an elderly lady, was asking if I was Ok and apologizing. I assured her I was fine and the incident didn’t bother me, the entire meal, service, et al. was fine. She said they wouldn’t charge me for the desert, albeit I then said that since I ate all of the desert I was quite happy to pay for it.

    Nonetheless, they didn’t charge me. I’m not complaining, but would not have complained (in this case) the other way, especially since there was an apology and I consider the entire incident quite minor and obviously unintentional.

    Unrelated, it happened to be at that very same restaurant I got one up on a Tory government minister of the day. It was when the Tories were having their annual conference in Bath, not too long after the book about the Neil Hampton “LIAR!” affair was published. I had that book with me that night. Unsurprisingly, a minister was having dinner that night in the restaurant, being rather loud and borish, and (so it seemed to me) insulting everyone who didn’t vote Conservative.

    They had to pass right my table went they finally left…

    So I made fecking certain the book was on prominent display when they did leave. At least one of the minister’s party made a nasty face at me, and a bit later the waitperson gave me a big grin and a thumbs-up…

  58. blf says

    Peppers, in general, taste like pain.

    I fink you mean chilis. “Pepper” by itself is misleading (when “chili” is meant), and potentially confusing when used with “chili” (also spelled chilli).

    Sorry if I sound like a grammar pedant, but this happens to be a pet peeve of mine… Blame Columbus, who is also (at least notionally) responsible for the misnaming of Amerindians and other confusions, albeit the “America” confusion isn’t his fault.

    To be fair, however, it was essentially a result of the Columbus-lead invasion that chilies and other good things from the Americas started to spread across the world. On the other hand, that invasion also was, and resulted in, genocides and additional slavery, amongst other unforgivable crimes.

  59. says

    cicely @542

    In the second place, when we had some vicious ice storms a few years back, and while we lost both cell and landline service, the landline came up first. And I stress about being unable to call out for help in the event of an emergency.

    This is pretty much why I’m having second thoughts about ditching it.

    Weed(less) Monkey @570

    … it’s quite stable in value and costs next to nothing to maintain.

    Mine costs over $40 a month. No long distance, either. Pretty much why I want to ditch it. Plus, it would just be a really satisfying experience to tell AT&T to go piss up a rope.

    Thanks for your input, guys. I think I’m leaning towards cell phone only. But I’ll have to look into upgrading my cheapo prepaid plan.

  60. says

    Don’t have sex outside of hetero marriage. In fact, don’t even talk about having sex or about gays. If you do state a positive opinion about gays, you are immoral.

    A revised teachers’ contract in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has forced some teachers to leave their positions even after years of service.

    First-grade teacher Molly Shumate and high school English teacher Robert Hague are among the veteran teachers choosing to leave the diocese over a ‘morality clause’ included in the new contracts. The clause reportedly prohibits teachers, whether Catholic or not, from having sex or living with a partner outside of marriage, using in-vitro fertilization, leading a gay “lifestyle,” or publicly supporting any of the above.

  61. says

    Followup to comment #578:

    Shumate, a lifelong Catholic who talked to msnbc’s Tamron Hall this week, felt the need to resign because the archdiocese’s “morality clause” would pit her against her own gay son. “For me to sign this (contract),” Shumate told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I feel like I would be telling my son I’ve changed my mind, that I don’t support him as I did. And I won’t do that.”

    Robert Hague, who has taught high school English for 50 years and is now leaving the archdiocese, added that the church’s new contracts represent “an embarrassment and a scandal.”

    It’s worth noting, of course, that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is a private religious institution, which is free to establish its own rules of conduct for its employees, and which is not subject to anti-discrimination laws. None of the teachers who’ve quit will be able to seek legal course.

    That said, Ohio is one of several states that allow private school religious vouchers, which means taxpayers can subsidize the same parochial schools that are imposing “morality clauses” on their employees.

  62. says

    Daily Kos link.

    Never mind that much of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is crumbling, that many of their schools are in deep financial trouble, or even that they are mired in a critical state pension crisis. Pennsylvania legislatures have zeroed in on a real problem for residents, the lack of signage in schools with the words “In God We Trust”:

    Legislation that would allow schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust” and the Bill of Rights passed the state House on Monday by a 172-24 vote.

    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny, doesn’t carry any mandate for schools. But Saccone said it informs schools that they would have the state’s permission to post these patriotic displays.

  63. says

    Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is urging parents across the country to pull their children out of public schools in response to a Washington, D.C., principal’s decision to come out to his students and school staff.

    The principal of Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington D.C. publicly announced that he is gay at a Pride Day event yesterday, thanking students and community members for their support.

    Perkins was of course appalled, urging his Washington Watch listeners yesterday to pull their kids from public schools: “If you have your children in the public schools, unless you’re in a district where you know exactly what’s going on in some rural part of the country where values are still embraced, you really need to think about whether or not you want to expose your kids to what’s happening in our public school system. I would encourage you to look for other alternatives.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

    Well, that’s a novel way for the rightwing religious doofuses to attack public schools.

  64. says

    Chris Hayes produced a great segment about Kansas towns having to close their public schools thanks to a Republican Governor and Republican-dominated legislature defunding schools.

    You may want to watch the overall summary of Kansas wingnuttery that Hayes presented. It is excellent.

    Chris Hayes reports on Kansas’s journey from being the heart of the left populist movement to now being the laboratory for ultra-conservative ideas.

    And, there’s the added awfulness of Kansas blocking access to healthcare in various ways.

  65. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Nerd, have you gotten answers re: the Redhead’s edema?

    If not, here’s some advice. Please be advised that I am not a doctor, I am but a nurse-in-training.

    In regards your first question, diuretics are routinely prescribed for people who have excess fluid (edema) in their tissues. Many people with heart problems and kidney problems have this, but many people who are edemedous have perfectly fine hearts and kidneys.

    In regards something you can do to help her still-edemedous leg, there are three things:
    (1) elevate it. Seriously, this works wonders. It’s not necessary all day, but if you’re sitting at home, prop that leg up.
    (2) compression stockings. These can help as well. Any medical supply store can sell them, and you can buy ordinary socks that function like them at many stores. Basically, you want them to be tight without cutting off circulation. They should be about as difficult to get on as pantyhose. Don’t wear them all day, and you”ll periodically need to check and make sure the circulation is fine (an easy test for this is to pinch a toe – the color should immediately return).
    (3) massage. Do this while it’s propped. Rub her feet and legs! She’ll probably enjoy this, and it can promote the fluid to leave. When you rub, you want the dominant pressure to go up (i.e. towards her hips), so stroke that way.

  66. says

    Chris Hayes also covered the history of extremist anti-abortion actions in Kansas. The segment begins with stomach-churning clips of Bill O’Reilly saying that Dr. Tiller would “execute” babies for $5,000, and other clips showing mainstream media Faux News emphasis on Tiller as a “baby killer.” They took no responsibility for ramping up the hate that culminated in Tiller’s murder.

    Hayes covers current abortion services in Kansas, and how extremist anti-abortion action is ongoing, is backed by the Republican Governor.

  67. A. Noyd says

    blf (#574)

    She said they wouldn’t charge me for the desert, albeit I then said that since I ate all of the desert I was quite happy to pay for it.

    Yeah, if I’ve eaten it all, then I feel guilty for getting a refund, since obviously the problem wasn’t all that terrible.

  68. David Marjanović says

    Quick link drop-off—there’s a new Things I Won’t Work With entry!
    Friendly, Welcoming Triazides. No, Really.


    Bizarrely, though, the page is empty. The post can be read on the main page, but not on its own.

  69. David Marjanović says

    re: kohlrabi
    I remove the rind, too. Like with most root vegetables, it’s tough and usually tasteless – too stringy for my delicate palate. The innards? Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I usually fry in butter with salt and pepper

    Do you boil it first?

  70. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Now comes the more difficult decision. Do I also cancel my landline phone and go cellular solo?

    I did that around two years ago and never looked back, partly because of the “bills always higher than they’re supposed to be” issue and partly because the only use my landline ever got were wrong-number calls for an apparently shady preacher-type and mom immediately calling it next if I didn’t get to my cell phone in time.

  71. says


    Salsa is for everything.
    On your eggs at breakfast
    on toast
    over rice or noodles

    I’d agree with that, but only tomato based salsa. I’m reluctant to try blueberry salsa with my eggs.

  72. rq says

    If you fry them in hot enough, they’re soft on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside.


    Errrmagerrrrrd freaking out. I can’t find like two pyjama tops and while they’re not the most important thing, they’re the only thing I can’t find right now!!!

  73. says

    Executing people is harder than it sounds. That’s what Ohio discovered in 2009 when it tried to kill Romell Broom, a man who had been sentenced to death for abducting, raping, and killing a 14-year-old girl in Cleveland in 1984. Broom was scheduled to die by lethal injection, but when officials brought him to the death house, the execution team could not find a suitable vein to insert the IV that would deliver the lethal drug. Members of the team, none of whom were doctors, spent two and a half hours jabbing him with needles, to no avail. After an hour, corrections officials managed to bring in a prison doctor with no experience in executions to assist, but that didn’t help either.

    After being stuck with needles 18 times, Broom was crying from the pain and emotional trauma. He insisted on seeing his lawyer, who was not allowed to enter the room with him. She eventually contacted state prosecutors, who alerted then-Gov. Ted Strickland about the situation, and the governor halted the execution.

    The state tried to reschedule the execution for a week later, but Broom’s lawyers succeeded in blocking it with an appeal over the central question: If someone survives an execution attempt, can a state legally try it again? Or does the process itself constitute such torture that it qualifies as unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment? Those arguments have been working their way through Ohio’s courts until this week, when the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

    State sanctioned executions shouldn’t be legal in the first place, so no, there shouldn’t be a second attempt.

  74. says

    More bad, or at least unethical, news associated with the story about all the Irish babies the Catholics killed in the first half of the 20th century:

    […] What was bad enough, a story of the children of unwed mothers subjected to systematic institutional abuse and neglect by the Catholic Church, is now tied to Big Pharma. It’s not enough the children suffered outrageous mortality at the hands of those who were supposed to care for them; they were also used as medical guinea pigs. […]

    Scientists secretly vaccinated more than 2,000 children in religious-run homes in suspected illegal drug trials, it emerged today.

    Old medical records show that 2,051 children and babies in Irish care homes were given a one-shot diphtheria vaccine for international drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome between 1930 and 1936.

    There is no evidence that consent was ever sought, nor any records of how many may have died or suffered debilitating side-effects as a result.

    The scandal was revealed as Irish premier, Enda Kenny, ordered ministers to see whether there are more mass baby graves after the discovery that 800 infants may be buried in a septic tank outside a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway.

    Daily Kos link.

    […] Note the dates here. The vaccine trials were going on as late as the 1960s; what’s new is the revelation that they began in the 1930s. What Catherine Corless has begun has pulled back the curtain on a far larger horror show involving criminal conduct that touches on the Catholic Church, the government, and Big Pharma. We’ve hit the trifecta. (Never underestimate the power of a historian – or a determined woman.)

    This story has hit a lot of nerves and it’s not done yet. It’s part of the War on Women, in that these children who have been so victimized were born of unwed mothers who were themselves victimized and dehumanized. It touches on the separation of Church and State, because it shows what happens when government delegates moral authority and power to an organization without oversight or accountability to those whom it is to serve. It touches on the Catholic Church and the latest revelation out of centuries of bad behavior. It touches on the private sector and the willingness of those to profit from the misery of the powerless. […]

  75. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Wow, I’ll never watch the scene about the Catlick father selling his huge brood for medical experiments from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of life” quite the same way.

  76. David Marjanović says

    If you fry them in hot enough, they’re soft on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside.

    Good, I’ll try tomorrow. :-)

    Wow, I’ll never watch the scene about the Catlick father selling his huge brood for medical experiments from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of life” quite the same way.


    What a clusterfuck. *headshake*

  77. cicely says

    blf, I meant what I said. Peppers, in general, taste like pain. I have a strong contender for the World’s Wimpiest Mouth Contest (“Heat” Division), which takes care of the jalapenos and such-like, and an unfortunate inability to eat the—so I’m told—“completely harmless”, but beguilingly attractive bell peppers. They are so pretty…and do such awful things to my lips and mouth. It’s a different kind of burning sensation.
    Someone has suggested that an allergy to the bell peppers may be the problem. All I know is to approach with caution any such thing, regardless of whether it is introduced to me as “sweet”, or “not hot at all”, and regardless of how thoroughly it has been de-boned and seeded.

    Wow, I’ll never watch the scene about the Catlick father selling his huge brood for medical experiments from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of life” quite the same way.

    I had no idea it was a historical drama.

  78. opposablethumbs says

    I found myself wondering earlier today (actually, that would be yesterday – I’d forgotten how way past midnight it is here) what peak value is predicted by world population projections, and when the peak is predicted to occur … and of course projections vary quite a bit depending on who’s working on the figures.
    What to do? Ask the Horde, of course. I reckon chances are high to very high that somebody here has the knowledge and expertise to suggest which are the more reliable sources.
    Any thoughts as to whether it’s likely to be the case that world population could peak in around 2050-2070? And what level that might be? And how much it might potentially decline thereafter?
    In unrelated thoughts: Best child-wrangling wishes to rq, wherever you are right now … !

  79. says

    New phone YAY!

    Upgraded from a Samsung Galaxy Precedent. Don’t let the “Samsung Galaxy” fool you. This is a horrible phone. GPS navigation is nice, of course, and I could fit Facebook and 1 or 2 other smaller apps. But that is it without rooting and pulling every crazy stunt in the book. And then that slows down an already laggy craptastic phone.

    New phone? Motorola Moto G. Not top end, but not “are you sure the lawyers will let us call it a smartphone?” either. It’s a really solid phone. No UI lag, no wondering if my phone has crashed, it has features like a camera flash and FM radio, larger, higher resolution screen… this thing is awesome.

    It also gets me away from relying on Walmart. Had Straight Talk, now Boost. I know Boost has a terrible reputation for customer service, but with a new phone, and it works off Sprint towers like Straight Talk did, I should be OK. I am a little nervous about how number porting will go once Straight Talk gets back to me with some information Boost needs. But, I’ll be away from Wal Mart. Living where I live a full boycott of Wal Mart isnt’ very feasible, but still, I don’t like their labor practices and I’m voting with my wallet to the extent I can.

    This is the closest I’ve been to the top end since the T-Mobile G1. And being on the top end then was basically cheating because that was the only Android device on the market anyways.

  80. says

    I’m going to be out of touch all day. I’m at the airport, boarding shortly, then a long flight, long wait, long shuttle drive, home around 7.

  81. says

    PZ, fly casual.

    Border members all, I don’t post much, but I lurk a lot, and I care and worry about all of you. I have hugs as needed/wanted.

  82. says

    gworroll I had Boost for some time a few years back, and my dad still has that line. We’ve had really good luck with it. He got on during the price drops $5 every 6 months promotion, so I hope you got that too. He’s down to like $30/month which I think is the minimum.

    Probably going to go see Maleficent tonight. Here’s to hoping it’s not crap.

    I’m hesitant because while I’ve mostly enjoyed Once Upon a Time due to how dark it is, the only other Disney recent thing I’ve seen was Frozen, and aside from the princesses rescuing themselves, I didn’t really like it. So we’ll see.

  83. Pteryxx says

    Voices from Serbia – severe flooding and landslides have been followed by widespread internet censorship of any criticism of the government’s response, including arrests.

    Serbian blog collective BlogOpen-BlogClosed posted this open letter via BoingBoing:

    The recent, dramatic floods in Serbia provoked loud civil criticism of the government, especially over the plight of vulnerable people. The response was repression: three people were imprisoned for nine days, and around 20 people have been taken in the police for an interview for allegedly “spreading panic” (on Twitter and Facebook) with respect to the number of floods victims, which was the major issue of public concern (and still is).

    An atmosphere of fear and insecurity now reigns. One of the people detained for “spreading panic” was an 18 year old flood volunteer who spent nine days in prison, sharing a cell with a drug dealer and an accused murderer. He came out of it saying “I will never use Facebook again”.

    The bloggers are calling for international attention to the plight of their country at a live web meeting this Tuesday, June 10.

    Background on the flooding in May: BBC,

    Both countries already have opened negotiations with the European Union to support reconstruction efforts. Separately, Bosnia’s Serb region has opened talks with its ally Russia.

    The flooding affected 40 percent of Bosnia, Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said. It wrecked the main agriculture industry in the northern flatlands, wiping out infrastructure, farms, buildings and homes. One quarter of the country’s 4 million people have been affected by the six days of floods and 2,100 landslides. […]

    Serbia’s minister for construction, transportation and infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlovic, said 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of roads have been destroyed or damaged and 30 percent of railway lines are closed.[…]

    Bosnia has one of the weakest economies in Europe and an unemployment rate of up to 44 percent. Almost no one has property insurance, meaning many residents lost virtually everything. […]

    Serbia, like much of the Balkans, is poor. The country’s economy has failed to recover fully following the wars and international sanctions in the 1990s, and also is hobbled by mismanagement and corruption. The unemployment rate officially stands at 20 percent but is much higher in reality.

    and NYT:

    Red Cross officials said that 300,000 people were already without water or electricity in Serbia, and another 50,000 in neighboring Bosnia, also hard hit by the flooding. Relief workers from across Europe were rushing to help tens of thousands of Serbian and Bosnian soldiers and rescue teams.

    Zlatko Lagumdzija, the foreign minister of Bosnia, said that 100,000 buildings in that country — homes, schools, hospitals — had been rendered unusable by the flooding, and a half million people had either been evacuated or fled. A state of emergency had been declared in 14 municipalities.

    There and in Serbia, government officials worried that some of the estimated 100,000 land mines left from the 1992-95 war in the region had been lost or dislodged in the thousands of landslides caused by the floods.

    “The consequences of the floods are terrifying,” Mr. Lagumdzija told reporters. “The physical destruction is not less than caused by the war. The only difference from the war is less people have died.”

  84. Pteryxx says

    and two of many articles linked by the Serbian bloggers on the censorship they’re experiencing:

    OCSE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe)

    As the floods became severe, the Serbian government instated a state of emergency, which also gives authorities the power to detain individuals for “inciting panic during a state of emergency.”

    Online content perceived as critical of the government’s reaction to the recent flooding in the country has been removed from several websites in Serbia. Entire websites such as “Druga strana” and “Teleprompter” were also temporarily disabled last week. Additionally, Dragan Todorović’s blog on the website of “Blic” daily was deleted last Friday.

    Further, according to media reports three individuals have been detained, and 20 more people have been invited by the police for an interview for allegedly spreading panic with respect to the number of floods victims in Obrenovac.

    “Arresting individuals because of their blogs, comments, or other forms of writing is not acceptable; it has a chilling effect on the general press freedom situation in the country and can lead to self-censorship. I urge the Serbian authorities to put an end to this, and stop interfering with the work of online media outlets,” Mijatovic said.

    and LSEE (Research on South East Europe)

    The website was hacked and disabled for a while after publishing several texts about the PM (“Vučić’s CV: Censorship as a specialty” and ”Appeal: Vučić to stop self-pity and being pathetic“).

    Another blog was hacked because of a post entitled “Dear State, we wouldn’t take any more of your time“, which again lists the Government’s failures during the floods.

    Only a day after the Ombudsman issued a statement maintaining that citizens are free to criticize and that the state has an obligation to protect criticism, not to repress it, the Parliament reduced the number of the Ombudsman’s researchers and associates by half.

    Journalist Srdjan Škoro was transferred from his original job as desk chief at Večernje novosti daily newspapers to the sports section of the same media outlet – to report about sports, which he had never done before. This all happened after he, on the day the new Government took an oath in the Parliament, expressed some doubts about the PM’s choices for Ministers.

    After numerous appeals against censorship, mostly by the online community, the OSCE reacted by issuing a statement defining the Government’s online censorship in Serbia as a worrying trend. PM Aleksandar Vučić replied that he ‘would not allow anyone, not even the OSCE, to attack Serbia’ and he asked for specific evidence for their accusations. He also challenged the media outlet Blic ‘to say if the Government censored the text [“I, AV, am resigning”], which was anyway idiotic.’

  85. says

    *sigh* dunno if we’re gonna go to the movies after all. Looks like Husband has pink eye, though he’s being stubborn about going to the doc about it. Wouldn’t worry me except that he is on immunosuppressent medication.

    Anyone here have experience with pink eye and if/when a doc visit is needed?

  86. says

    a_ray, thanks for the Truth via Monty Python. “It’ll have to be medical experiments for the lot of you.” Pretty much right on.

    Pteryxx, thanks for the news about the floods in Serbia. As for arresting people who are often just seeking help or trying to survive, shades of Katrina in New Orleans, only worse. Police in New Orleans actually shot some people, ignored others.

  87. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    re: floods
    I’m trying to backtrack in our newspapers to see how floods in Serbia were reported about here. But since we had our own share, I’m mostly finding talk about that.

    I do remember reading some articles about people protesting about not getting food, even though they could hear reports on the radio about huge amounts of donations being sent their way.

  88. carlie says

    Rawnaeris – medication is always needed, else it will run like wildfire through everyone. It’ll be like this. Depending on the relationship you have with your doctor, we got to the point that sometimes we could just call in and say what it was, and they trusted that we knew what it was and just prescribed the meds over the phone, but that’s not very common.

  89. says

    Bloomberg News link.

    The cost of a college degree in the USA has risen by 1200% in the past 35 years. That increase outpaces food costs (244%), medical expenses (601%), — ditto for cars, gasoline, and well, just about everything. I would have thought that medical expenses were at the top of the list when it came to increased costs for basics.

    Can we assume that something has gone seriously wrong with higher education in the USA?

    Blame has fallen on professors (oh, those professors like PZ, rolling in dough), utility bills, students who demanded better student housing, diversity standards, technology demands, etc. None of these excuses accounts for that much increase.

    Here’s one real reason:

    Unlike tenured faculty, university administrations actually have grown by 369 percent since the mid-1970s.

    Those administrators also built a bunch of new sports facilities.

    And then there is the political backstory, which tries to stay hidden, but really the “free market” approach, along with the screw-the-poor Republican policies, screw-the-middle-class conservative policies, privatize the loan system, and privatize higher education to an unprecedented degree, etc — this all plays a bigger role.

    College should be a public good.

  90. Pteryxx says

    re flooding in Serbia

    Lynna and Beatrice: apparently if aid’s not getting through, or if flood survivors are getting mistreated, nobody is being allowed to discuss it, which is basically the front-end problem. For example, all the (English-language) news reports I’ve found so far report a nationwide death toll around 35 or 50 or so. But that volunteer was imprisoned for posting on Facebook that “300 hundred” had died just in the village where he was working. (I assume he meant three hundred (300) obviously.) If the official death figures are off by a factor of 10 then the international community providing aid needs to know that. Heck, 42 people died in *a single landslide* in Oso, Washington, and the count for Hurricane Katrina is somewhere between 1600 and 3500. (Still in dispute years later: source) So I can see how the official numbers may not be credible.

  91. says

    Utah’s Pride Parade went off without a hitch, despite one uniformed officer who refused to serve on the security detail, despite opposition by most mormons, and despite the significant presence of Boy Scout troops and gay former troop leaders.

    A group of uniformed Boy Scouts carrying the flags of their nation and their state would be a non-event at almost any parade, but not at the Pride Parade. And that’s before adding Geoffrey McGrath, a former scoutmaster in Seattle dismissed by the Boy Scouts of America three months ago for being gay.

    McGrath led about 10 former and current Scout leaders and Scouts at the beginning of the Pride Parade on Sunday, […] Among the group was Peter Brownstein who made the same walk with Scouts in 2013, only to get reprimanded by the Great Salt Lake Council and threatened with being removed if he made a repeat appearance.[…]

    The Boy Scouts don’t allow its uniformed members to participate in political events and the Great Salt Lake Council considers the Pride Parade political. Brownstein argues that it is cultural. […]

    The Scouts have allowed gay youths to join its organization this year but still have a policy against gay scout leaders.

    McGrath, an Eagle Scout and a software engineer, founded a troop last fall sponsored by the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which promotes LGBT equality. His sexuality was mentioned in a NBC News story that prompted the Boy Scouts to remove him from his post in a letter dated March 31.

    Two Jaguars, a handful of drag queens a group of dozens waving large pride flag represented a new LGBT group in Utah — the Provo Pride Council. [Provo is soooo mormon, it’s hard to overemphasize how mormon Provo is — more so than Salt Lake City.]

    Not even a year old, it’s the group’s first time participating in the annual celebration. Founder Tosh Metzger said the council formed to assist Utah’s homeless youth and address gay suicide rates. “We wanted to form the Provo Pride Council to form awareness for the LGBT community and to support them and let them know they have a place in Utah county and to reduce the gay suicide rate.”[…]

  92. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    The number we heard here was around 35 too. This is not the first time I hear speculations about censure, and now that I’ve been searching a bit, I found some articles and it clicked that I have already read articles with titles like “Dead bodies floating in Obrenovac.”
    But when they were followed by articles about spreading of panic and how the death toll isn’t nearly as high, I put it to sensationalism.
    I guess not? Unfortunately. I’d rather it was sensationalism than the actual number of victims.

  93. says

    As a followup to comment #614, in reference to the Great Salt Lake Council (mostly mormons) considering the Pride Parade political, another reader of the Salt Lake Tribune article pointed out, “Of course it does, because that supports it’s self-serving agenda. Actually it’s no more political than the Pioneer Day parade.”

    Pioneer Day parades are celebrations of mormon ancestry and of mormon rule in Utah.

  94. says

    Hi there
    No, I have not forgotten you, just enjoying a wonderful summer weekend :)
    Also, tinight is Sherlock, so Mr. has to put up with me watching TV even though he is here (I usually don’t do that and instead enjoy the time we have together)

    Also: Why does Android think it would be a good idea to move all the symbols and buttons around with an update?

  95. Pteryxx says

    Beatrice, I hear that. I’m guessing that only 35 deaths might match a best-case scenario for evacuation and support, if such had happened with a competent, attentive government. Since even the big wealthy US managed to screw that up, I can see Serbia not being able to pull it off.

    This blogger on HuffPo (sorry!) says the Serbian censors are allowing religious, anti-gay, and anti-Western speculation about the floods to stand while shutting down suggestions of government failure to prepare or respond adequately. Yes, they’re blaming Teh Gays.

    Serbian Patriarch Iriney blamed the Serbia gay community for the floods seeing them as God’s wrath due to upcoming gay pride celebrations. Bishop Amfilohije, a proven homophobic, went a step further concluding that Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst could be responsible for the Balkan natural disaster. He said that the Balkans was punished for celebrating Conchita’s Eurosong triumph. At the same time, this “biblical meteorologist” as “Bild” called him, was deeply and masochistically grateful for the suffering of the Serbian people finding it as an evidence of Jesus’ love. “Internet’s Censors” ignored both, “spreading of the panic” and hatred toward the LGBT population. […]

    The Serbian PM wants the Serbian nation to believe in irrational dogmas as they could not rationally insist on political responsibility of the Government. But he cannot avoid it. There is no excuse that none of them had known of the upcoming disaster. Simply, it is impossible.

    Three days before the disaster even an Italian insurance company informed their Serbian clients about upcoming squall weather and ” torrential floods”. If Vucic had collaborated more with meteorologists and scientists than the church dogmatists, maybe these of 33 people would still be alive.

    Most of the sources are in German or… um, Serbian, I assume on looking at them, so the best I can do is alert the good folks here in advance of that Tuesday net event.

    And maybe Ed, Ophelia, or some of FTB’s UK bloggers? Who covers eastern Europe around here?

  96. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Oh, the speculations! Those, I’ve heard. Both about Conchita and Teh Gay. These stupidities were of course mocked, only for our papers to start talking in all seriousness about an old prophecy by baba Vanga who is said to have predicted princess Diana’s death, among other things.

    By anti-western speculation, you’re probably talking about blaming HAARP?

  97. Pteryxx says

    Beatrice: Yep, the Serbian blogger referenced HAARP-blaming.

    I’m trying to run one of the government-critical posts, which is now back up, through Google’s translation engine (which does have Serbian as an option).

  98. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Pteryxx, I can translate for you if you want

  99. says

    The quick way of telling Serbian from Croatian is Cyrillic letters: Serbian uses them, Croatian doesn’t.

    I was pleased to note that our local expat community – we have large communities of Serbs and Croats in my region, as I know from my days as a football ref; they regularly used all-women crews because it tended to help keep the game from getting out of hand, benevolent sexism ftunexpectedw! – came together really well to provide aid to the whole region over there. Joint events were held, and the local Rumanian and Hungarian communities came in on it, and it raised a fair bit of money. And from what I’ve read, the cooperation among nations that were in fierce wars within recent memory has been really exemplary too. In a time of increasing nationalism and xenophobia everywhere, that was really heartening to see.

    Sad to see a few small-minded assholes jumping on the usual targets. 300 years ago it would have been witches; now it’s Teh Gay&Tranz. The dreaded G&T! not a nice drink anymore, not like it ever was, but now a deadly way to ensure climatic catastrophe, which is in no way related to climate change nuh-uh.

    Would that we had anywhere near so much power as to affect the world around us. I’d like to think we’d think of something better than devastating human tragedy to make our point, but then we’re not sadistic imaginary sociopaths.

  100. Pteryxx says

    Beatrice: Oh, you don’t have to do me so big a favor as that! I’m just trying to see what’s so controversial about the vanished material, and look for any specific claims in there past the one “300 hundred” quote. If you get a chance to look into it further that’s all I’d ask.

    Anyway, this source is cited in several of the articles I just linked as a blog post with a list of criticisms. It’s back up now. (For all I know someone in Serbia’s recording my Texas IP. *waves*)

  101. Pteryxx says

    *and I should clarify “anti-western speculation” is the HuffPo source blogger’s phrasing, not mine.

  102. says

    I’m taking it easy on a grey afternoon here; rain always pops my safety valve on ouch, so I’m relaxing on the couch and watching the lovely and slightly goofy Ookiku Furikabutte (Big Windup!), a show based on a comic about a boys’ baseball team in a Japanese high-school tournament.

    Craig’s been here regularly now for a week, and it’s going really well. Instead of paying rent this month, he’s helping me get the apartment re-worked. He’s cleaned most of the kitchen already, and yesterday we re-wired the living room and our Internet setup, to change over to the much better service he brought over with him. Our d/l speed doubled – actually, it’s better than double – and with two routers, my signal-killing apartment is now wi-fi-enabled throughout. I’ve been trying to get some of these changes made for ages, so this is great. It’s a load of dominoes*: moving stuff in the living room allows me to move a chair out of my bedroom, which lets me rearrange the bedroom, which should make it more livable, and give me a reading-space in the living room with a big comfy lying-down chair. For sore days like today, that’s a big big plus.

    And we had a great (though losing – Chaugnar Faugn is hard!) game of Arkham Horror last week, and we’re trying to figure out if we can link up our PS3s and have a WAN game instead of an Internet game. If we can, we could bring some friends over and have some ultra-low-latency fun. He says he might buy me GTA V when he gets his first paycheque in July, because then we can all play online together, and I can be the getaway driver again. :D

    So, measured against loss of privacy and space for hermitting (the latter of which is not itself a necessarily bad thing), I’m going with net-positive for now.

    * Dominos? Google-fight is inconclusive, due to presence of right-wing-favouring pizza chain.

  103. David Marjanović says

    Not caught up, just…

    The quick way of telling Serbian from Croatian is Cyrillic letters: Serbian uses them, Croatian doesn’t.

    The trick here is that both alphabets are used in Serbia – almost at random (beyond only using one per text). If you’re standing on the street in Niš/Ниш and can’t read both, you’re illiterate.

  104. says

    True, DM, but if you’re looking at a thing online, you can assume that if you’re seeing Cyrillic much, it’s probably Serbian and not Croatian, which is what Pteryxx had expressed confusion about: telling one from the other.

    Doesn’t help in those places where Serbian doesn’t use it, but it does where it does. Thus my comment. :)

  105. Pteryxx says

    …That would explain why, on these blogs. some of the comments are using the Latin alphabet (with lots of extra squiggles…) and some are using Cyrillic. (And most of us in the great US of ‘Murrica can’t be bothered to learn even one other language in *the same* alphabet…)

    So, a flood volunteer was imprisoned for “inciting panic” for writing “Unfortunately, there are 300 hundred drowned in the city of Obrenovac.” on his Facebook wall, according to the BlogOpen collective. The commenters on the Druga Strana (Other Side) post linked in my #624 report the vanishing of an official web page from the City of Belgrade instructing the citizens of Obrenovac not to evacuate, but stay in their homes, assuming I and Google Translate are reading it correctly. That page is cached on Scribd here and here. This is one of the pieces of evidence the Serbian bloggers are claiming demonstrates a failure of emergency preparedness, a failure which is now being actively covered up, if the death toll discrepancies are accurate.

    More from Global Voices Online on the response to censorship here and the flood response criticism here: Serbians take flood relief into their own hands which includes this translation of part of the Druga Strana post.

    Let’s clarify the following immediately: all praise to the people of this country. If we didn’t have us, we would have fallen through ages ago. Observing the self-organization and force of solidarity that have been raised in a very short time, one cannot help but feel proud and immediately understand on why we have survived all sorts of things throughout history.

    Because we are, at the end of the day, there for each other in the worst situations. Perhaps in normal circumstances we take that for granted too often. We imagine we are alone, that everyone fends for themselves, but this, what we are seeing these days, isn’t quite so.

    On the other hand, the state has shown unseen laziness, unpreparedness, and complete lack of organization. And who needs a state like that?

    and discussion continues on hashtags #uLiceCenzuri (“In the Face of Censorship”) and #ZatvorUp (“PrisonUp”). From the first Global Voices post:

    Another popular hashtag accompanying #uLiceCenzuri is #ZatvorUp, which translates to #PrisonUp. Apparently, in spite of Serbia’s notoriously slow judicial system and overcrowded prisons, people are saying that they are willing to be jailed to defend their freedom of expression in a country that is desperate for reforms, rule of law and much needed recovery.

  106. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, scared to hit “submit comment”. What will happen? Will everyone know that I’m different? What if my secret is terribly exposed? Can people just tell what I am? Will they still love me?

  107. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    You read that correctly. I found other reports (In Serbian) confirming that the mayor of Belgrade called for citizens in Obrenovac to stay in their homes. Same article also mentions that the number of victims is “dramatically higher” than reported.

    A message from a woman in Obrenovac also mentioned something about “people knowing that they were protecting Belgrade with their lives and homes”… which I’m understanding as speculation about Obrenovac being sacrificed to protect Belgrade.
    I know there were similar speculations about one of the damns in Slavonia, but while I was googling I found some whacko conspiracy theorists claiming that Croatia and Bosnia where being deliberately flooded to save Serbia.
    especially considering that the Serbian part of Bosnia was most heavily impacted.

  108. says

    Moment of Mormon Madness, brainwashing teenagers and veiled threats categories, oh, and recruiting missionaries category:

    Read the whole letter, so fucking cult-like, so offensive. Here’s an excerpt:

    […] The Lord sent to earth at a very pivotal time, when He is preparing the world for His Second Coming. An essential element of this preparation is the the gathering of His elect children across the earth. You have an important role to play in this gathering scene.

    Prophets have long counseled that every young man should prepare and live worthy to serve a mission. We hope you are considering how this admonition applies to you. […]

    Before you complete your senior year in high school, we expect you to participate in a full 10-week cycle of the Missionary Preparation class that is held weekly at 7pm on Sundays at the stake center. […]

  109. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Crip Dyke:

    What will happen? Will everyone know that I’m different? What if my secret is terribly exposed? Can people just tell what I am? Will they still love me?

    Well, now you sound like me.

  110. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    that part about defending Belgrade is from

    I na kraju, da se zna. U Obrenovcu, Bariču i Umci se branio Beograd. Našim životima i našom imovinom. [In Obrenovac, Baric and Umca Belgrade was being defended. With our lives and our property.

    I dunno. Could be just desperate people looking for the “bad guy”. Although, that ass of a mayor definitely counts as one.

  111. says

    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu @605-

    I’ve had two contacts with their customer service. Once to set up my account, once to port my number.

    Setup… well, the phone worked, but I don’t have the slightest clue where the rep got my personal information that he put into my account data. Dropped letters seemingly at random from my first and last name, put me in a state I’ve spent all of 10 minutes in passing through, I really have no idea what was going on.

    The rep that helped me with the port(I needed some info from my old provider so I had to call back later) was great. More polite, cheerful, and actually got things done without making me think they rolled dice to figure out how to screw with my account.

    The service works well enough, better than my old Straight Talk did. Which is to be expected. The network is the same, and the handset is much better. So some improvement in performance and reliability would be expected, though being on the same network I didn’t expect as much as I got. Really shows just how bad my old phone was, and how much of a difference a quality phone can make.

  112. says

    Hulk Fucking Smash!

    (I recommend not reading the comments)

    Trigger Warning: Rape, victim blaming

    At Pensacola Christian College (PCC), a fundamentalist school similar in ideology and purpose to Bob Jones University and Patrick Henry College, there is a saying: “attending PCC is a privilege, not a right.” Students who attend here agree to abide by the Pathway, the school’s honor code, as well as signing an agreement that gives PCC the right to expel any student for any reason at any time.
    When Beth* and David* signed this agreement, they had no idea they were going to be expelled for being raped.
    Beth started attending PCC in September 2002 and almost instantly hit it off with a young man in her English class. He was on the “Praise Team,” one of the college’s PR efforts, and charmed everyone he met. He was friends with her brother, well-liked by her father, and by April they were “courting.” Beth innocently thought she had found the man she would spend the rest of her life with.

    One night in May, however, she was grabbed, dragged into a construction area, beaten, restrained with bungee cord and duct tape, and then raped. As he was leaving her there, she recognized him as her boyfriend. A campus security guard discovered her, still restrained with the cord and tape, and took her to the campus clinic to file a report. In the next 24 hours, she went to the hospital, reported her attack to the police, and stayed the night with her parents. However, when she arrived back on campus with a black eye and a broken arm, her family was confronted by the dean of women and told that Beth was being expelled “because she is a fornicator.”
    PCC took no action against Beth’s boyfriend. He graduated with honors and is now a pastor.
    David started his college career intending to study law, until he realized that his heart belonged to the stage. But, in December 2012, during his sophomore year, his roommates in his male-only dormitory woke him up in the middle of the night, restrained him, gagged him, and then gang-raped him.
    Confused and scared, he told his floorleader what had happened. A few days later he was called into a meeting with his residence manager who refused to listen to him and then gave him the maximum number of demerits for being “deceitful.”
    But, the meetings didn’t end there. He was also called into Student Life, where he met with the assistant dean of men, “who asked me if I had been ‘harassed.’ I said ‘Yes, but…’ and he cut me off.” The dean then told him that he was being expelled.
    “I had just been raped, and no one would believe me — it was a nightmare. The specific wording was stone cold professional. He kept quoting passages from the Bible about the evils of lying.”
    David has been in counseling for the last six months, trying to overcome not only the horrible trauma of aggravated rape but also trying to heal from how the administration responded to him. Instead of being believed and respected, he was called a liar and then expelled.
    Sexual violence on college campuses is a wide-spread problem that has drawn heavy media attention recently — it’s even gotten the President’s attention, and there is now increased focus on how universities respond to victims and their needs. Thanks to organizations like GRACE, many people now know that sexual violence isn’t isolated to secular colleges, and that just because a college is religiously-oriented doesn’t mean that they respond to victims appropriately.
    Some have contended, however, that strict honor codes like PCC’s Pathway might actually prevent sexual violence from happening. Some have even gone so far as to claim that administrations at colleges like PCC have the right to be “suspicious” of victims because “rules at that school make it nearly impossible [for a victim] to even get into a situation like this.”
    The problem isn’t just that universities like Pensacola Christian College, Bob Jones University, and Patrick Henry College are steeped in “purity culture” — a culture that teaches women who have sex are like used toothbrushes and half-eaten candybars: in a word, women are disposable. Purity culture is worth examining, but the heart of the problem at PCC is that purity culture is enshrined in the Pathway – and the Pathway makes it virtually impossible for victims to come forward, even more so than the roadblocks facing victims at secular colleges.
    Whitney discovered exactly how the honor code makes it difficult for victims when she was expelled five days before the end of her junior year. She started dating one of her close friends in the beginning of the school year, in 2009. Almost immediately he began using threats and coercion against her, manipulating her, ignoring her repeated attempts to tell him no. She says that she “pleaded with him” to stop, but he never did.
    Eventually, someone noticed and reported her to Student Life. After she’d been interrogated for over an hour, she “finally saw a chance to get help.” Instead of listening to her, however, they accused her of lying and told her that she was the one truly responsible for her boyfriend’s assaults. At the end of their meeting, the dean of women looked at Whitney and said that she was a “dirty vessel, and God can’t use a dirty vessel. He is done with you.” She was expelled that afternoon, and tried to commit suicide twice in the following month.

  113. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, apropos of nothing, does anyone know of a good primer on blogging with WordPress?

  114. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    No. But thanks, Tony!.

    It’s more about doing actual formatting. I hand-coded a link into my Drunk post and it showed up as a mess. Not sure how to fix it. I can understand the blog ignoring hand coding so someone doesn’t accidentally break things if they don’t know what they’re doing, but … that requires me to learn whatever process WP wants me to use to format. And I don’t know it yet.

    I don’t feel intimidated by it. I just don’t happen to know the features yet and would like an intro to WP formatting and features-use.

  115. says

    Pig—the name of this Akita mutt—is not one of those ridiculous photoshops of animals with short necks. She was born like this in the woods northeast of Atlanta. Nobody gave a damn for her life except her owner, Kim Dillenbeck: “The lady who found her, the vet told her to have her put down.”


    Pig is missing part of her spine, several ribs, and “her hips and joints are rotated in the wrong positions.” But, according to Dillenbeck, “Pig doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with her.” She’s now eight months old and 15 pounds, which about less than half the weight a dog of her size and age should be.

    However, don’t smile and go awwwwww just yet. The sad news is that Pig is not fully grown yet, as Dillenbeck told “She’s still gaining weight. At this point, she has the potential to gain another 20 pounds, and that would probably kill her.” Dillenbeck says she feels very lucky to have Pig in her life, even while she knows she’s going to die sooner than a normal dog.


  116. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Is fossilfishy around?

    My daughter is going on a trip with my grandparents. My grandfather wants to bring her bike on the trip, which will involve mounting it to a camper. He asked me for a picture, and dimensions; I sent him pictures, and measured axle to axle for scale.

    Here’s his reply:

    Frame geometry causes problems if there is insuff clearance tween top tube & bottom tube. On chance’s bike, the interior of the frame diamond is too small to admit the support appliance on my bike carrier. I really need to know full frame dimensions.

    …does “full frame dimensions have an agreed-on meaning, or is he just being difficult? >.> Any sense of what specific measurements he’d need?

  117. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Hey Azkyroth, what he needs is a conversion bar. It attaches under the seat and under the handlebars to give you a bar with enough room to go on the carrier. Obviously you need to make sure that the seat, seat pole and handlebars are properly attached. They seem to have no standard name, but a search on Amazon for “bicycle adaptor bar” brought up lots of choices.

  118. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Just to be clear, hopefully, not being able to put kid’s bike on a carrier is a common problem. The above product solves that problem.

  119. blf says

    An alternative method of carrying a child’s bike is to superglue or otherwise securely attach the child to the bike, attach a rope or chain from the bicycle’s headtube to the rear bumper / towbar, and drive off.

    This method has numerous advantages. Except for the superglue and chain / rope, there’s nothing to buy, the child gets to experience high-speed cycling for extended periods and learns to stay upright very quickly, and lots of nice armed people with bright flashing lights and loud sirens will keep on eye on you to make sure everyone is safe and happy.

    It is a bit trickier with a unicycle…

  120. blf says

    a good primer on blogging with WordPress?


    (From the School of Concise and To-the-Point User Manuals.)

  121. rq says

    Well, I’m here.
    – Middle Child screaming in full voice in the middle of the Atlantic upon witnessing the spider entry in the second Hobbit movie;
    – “Why aren’t we there yet?” “We’ll be there soon, it’ll be another hour.” “But I want to get off NOW!!!” (repeat ad nauseum for the final hour and descent of any six hours plus transatlantic flight);
    – nearly lost all our money, passports and other assorted essentials in a Dutch bathroom (we flew via Amsterdam);
    – had an extra hour of ‘exciting’ waiting time in Montreal because (a) our flight arrived early and (b) our ride arrived late;
    – border guards will not believe you if you say you plan on spending 40 days visiting Ottawa;
    – 5AM wake-up call by assorted children this morning (I was counting on 8).

    Sorry, CD, I missed some exercises on your workshop. I’m going to try and do them lag-time and catch up eventually.

    Thanks for that photo, Azkyroth. It’s perfect. :D

  122. David Marjanović says

    After numerous appeals against censorship, mostly by the online community, the OSCE reacted by issuing a statement defining the Government’s online censorship in Serbia as a worrying trend. PM Aleksandar Vučić replied that he ‘would not allow anyone, not even the OSCE, to attack Serbia’

    Ah, the paranoid side of nationalism: anyone claims there’s any problem with my country? noooooo, must be the conspiracy spreading lies again to destroy us!!!1!1!1

    I was almost missing it.

    The cost of a college degree in the USA has risen by 1200% in the past 35 years. That increase outpaces food costs (244%), medical expenses (601%), — ditto for cars, gasoline, and well, just about everything. I would have thought that medical expenses were at the top of the list when it came to increased costs for basics.

    Can we assume that something has gone seriously wrong with higher education in the USA?

    Duh. Compare the cost of a college degree in the USA to the cost in any other country.

    A group of uniformed Boy Scouts carrying the flags of their nation and their state would be a non-event at almost any parade […]

    The Boy Scouts don’t allow its uniformed members to participate in political events

    Wait. What? How is carrying a flag not a political statement!?! Especially at an event that isn’t even international.

  123. birgerjohansson says

    Re. 3D printed guns.
    Isn’t this like “snake handling”? If you have the right faith, you will not be harmed.
    (cue encouraging ammosexuals to fire-test the gun)

  124. David Marjanović says

    Hulk Fucking Smash!

    [unnecessary nonsense cut off from URL]

    Oh wow. The whole institution (“college” my ass!) should be closed, and the whole administration should have a day in court for aiding & abetting crimes.

    This is big. A computer has successfully managed to fool a bunch of researchers into thinking that it was a 13-year-old boy named Eugene Goostman. In doing so, it has become the first computer in the world to have successfully passed the Turing Test.

    Interesting indeed!

  125. David Marjanović says

    Discovery: one of the tastes of large amounts of cinnamon in hot chocolate is that of salt.

    That must be why there’s always salt in hot chocolate from coffee automats! They’re trying to fake cinnamon!

  126. David Marjanović says


    There’s been another shooting rampage. This time it was two “revolutionaries” in Las Vegas.

    When I hear “revolutionary”, the first thing I think is “communist”. Nope, not this time: Comradde PhysioProffe links to this.

    The 9/11 terrorists wanted to kill as many Americans as possible.
    The 6/8 terrorists wanted to kill as many members of “the government, the cops, the feds” as possible.

  127. opposablethumbs says

    Well, I’m here.


    – Middle Child screaming in full voice in the middle of the Atlantic upon witnessing the spider entry in the second Hobbit movie;

    Oops ….

    – “Why aren’t we there yet?” “We’ll be there soon, it’ll be another hour.” “But I want to get off NOW!!!” (repeat ad nauseum for the final hour and descent of any six hours plus transatlantic flight);


    – nearly lost all our money, passports and other assorted essentials in a Dutch bathroom (we flew via Amsterdam);


    – had an extra hour of ‘exciting’ waiting time in Montreal because (a) our flight arrived early and (b) our ride arrived late;


    – border guards will not believe you if you say you plan on spending 40 days visiting Ottawa;

    They won’t? Why on earth not? :-D

    – 5AM wake-up call by assorted children this morning (I was counting on 8).

    That’s it; that’s the deal-breaker. Send them back. (well, not really. But I bet there was a second there when you might have been tempted :-)

    Hope the stay is wonderful, and exciting-but-not-TOO-exciting-(or-the-wrong-KIND-of-exciting). Phew. You made it! confetti and cheering!

  128. says

    It’s hot here

    Yay for safe trip, rq
    Sound’s like the normal program when travelling with little ones

    A joke for those who speak German, created entirely by #1 herself:

    Frage: Wie heißen die Früchte, die an Brennnesseln wachsen?
    Antwort (mit englischem Akkzent lesen): Brennberries

    As I watched Sherlock last night I noticed one of the tropes of toxic masculinity. One of the running jokes of the show is that Watson has to constantly deny being in a relationship with Holmes. Because two guys can obviously only be close to each other and love each other when they’re gay. Conventional masculinity does not allow for that kind of relationship among them.

  129. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Welcome to North America, rq.

    Forty days in Ottawa? Well, on the bright side, you should know the city well by then.

  130. rq says

    I already know the city. :) But I guess for some people, 40 days is just too much!

    Ha, thanks for the review! The 5AM was almost a deal-breaker… Now it’s 9 and they’re all hungry again for second breakfast (am I in a hobbit movie?).

    Normal program? I’ll take it. We made our connection and tantrums were reduced to a minimum. Acceptable. :)
    Your #1 is clever. :D I like!

  131. says

    I think rq is actually from Ottawa, isn’t she? :)

    I’m awfully glad you’ve come through it, and sorry to hear about the early wakeup. I remember my grandparents coming to visit once when I was about 7, and my sister (4) and I waking them (in their late 40s) up at some inhuman hour by jumping on their rollaway bed, to the horror of my mother. We had a tiny flat with a single bedroom, which my parents used, my sister and I sleeping on camp beds in the living room. We borrowed a rollaway when people visited. Hey, it beat the caravan we’d lived in just after my sister was born.

    rq‘s flight sounds par for the course, though the bit in Amsterdam sounds a little hairy. When I was in Thailand, I went into a bank just after arriving to change some money (after a memorably uncomfortable experience on the street trying to get change of a 1000-baht bill for a 150-baht cab ride), and having done so, walked happily back to my hotel. I was slightly alarmed when I realized that the shouting person behind me, rendering my name in beautiful Thai (several sounds in my name are non-phonemic in Thai; the l/r and t/s distinctions not being made clearly – and thus not immediately recognizable as mine, coming out as “kye-so-REEN” [kɑj so ‘lin]), was a uniformed man. He caught up to me, made a lovely wai, and explained that I’d left my passport in the bank, and would I be kind enough to come back and get it?

    Oops. I was very glad I’d taken the time to learn some Thai, though. Wish I still remembered most of it, but it did make my time there much more pleasant.

    Sigh. I love Thailand and Thai people so much, it breaks my heart to see them having such an awful time of it with the military. It’s the only hot place in the world I could ever see myself wanting to live, just because Thai culture and people are so, so pleasant to be around.

  132. blf says

    Forty days! Forty days? It’s going to take you forty days to become absolute ruler — Potatoe № 1 — of Canada?

    What are you going to do for the first thirty-nine or so days, hide in a cupboard until the World Cup is over? (Not a bad idea, actually, …)

  133. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    I already know the city.

    Sorry. Trying to be funny.

  134. bassmike says

    Glad to hear that you got to Canada safely rq . Even if the journey was more eventful than you would have liked.

    I’m struggling at the moment. My depression has manifested itself as anger and keeping it under control is not easy. I feel a bit guilty bringing this up as there are many lounge denizens whose circumstances are far worse than mine.

    Also my daughter has been suffering with diarrhea over the weekend which has not been fun to deal with.

    I’m just adding some more cushions to my fort for them moment.

  135. rq says

    *passes the sledgehammer*
    There’s some no-longer-needed junk of various fragilities and sizes out back, if that helps any. No instruments, though – I have banned piano- and guitar-bashing in my presence (someone’s going to run with that, I know). There was a non-antique and rather worn solid oak chest with several drawers, last time…

  136. bassmike says

    Yoohoo! A sledgehammer and a superfluous piece of furniture – I’m there. I’m with you on the destruction of musical instruments: my heart sinks at the thought.

  137. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Hey bassmike as one of those who you singled out as being worse off I’m going request that you go easy on yourself about this. There is no competition, there is no scale, no judging, no points or awards when it comes to suffering. And unfortunately, there’s also never a clean dismount, ever.

    All there is pain and difficulty in all its awful, subjective misery. The things I’ve gone through, and let’s be clear about this: the past tense is appropriate, have no bearing on your own situation. If it makes you feel better to consider that others might have it worse then fine. But from my experience, and I have great gobby bucket loads of it when it comes to depression, all that does is add a layer of shitty guilt to the already shitty pile that is depression.

    You don’t need that.

    You don’t deserve that, no matter what your lying depression is trying to tell you.

    So, if you feel it would help to share then please, please, do so. I won’t speak for anyone else; I can’t speak of anyone else come to that. But I would be honoured if you trusted me enough to let it out as much as you are able. If you don’t want to do so publicly, drop me a line: coelecanth28, appending the usual suffixes for the google mailinator thingy.

    And with that sincere and heartfelt plea, I have to admit that I can’t really talk just at the moment. It’s 12:40 AM here and I really should be asleep. Stupid of me to post and run in this situation, but I didn’t want to let this pass until whenever I can come back.

    And hey bassmike if you can’t or don’t want to talk about it we could always argue talk about music. rq knows a thing or two on that subject too. My adventures in the Lydian mode have taken a turn for the good thanks to consciousness razor over on the Name That Tune thread. Just as there’s alway someone worse off than you, there’s also someone who knows more, and sometimes they share at just the right time. :)

    I’m with you on the destruction of musical instruments: my heart sinks at the thought.

    Neither of you have considered building a trebuchet on top of the highest nearby building, dousing your instrument in petrol, and flinging it off into the void to die a fiery, shattering death? Really? Huh, must just be me then…