How stupid can some people get?

Unless you are a small child or flying for the first time, airplane flights are a drag. No one takes airplane rides for the fun of it. The whole business of going to the airport way ahead of departure time, going through security, and sitting in a cramped seat for hours, has eliminated any pleasure that the experience may have originally had, at least for me. You do it because you must.

Any person who has ever had their flight canceled at the last minute knows that it causes a real disruption in one’s plans, even if it was just a vacation trip. So it baffles me when people who had planned to travel by air do things that they must know will get them kicked off the plane.
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An inside look at the awful working conditions in ‘fulfillment center’ warehouses

A recent episode of the radio show Radiolab had a story from seven years ago by an award winning writer and investigative reporter Gabriel Mac who managed to get hired at an internet retailer warehouse. The show is careful not to mention the name of the company where he was a ‘picker’ and worked in a giant warehouse that was the size of about 17 football fields, referring to it by the generic name of Amalgamated. He said that at the beginning of the day they are given these scanner devices that tell them where to locate an item on the shelves to put it in a plastic bag and place it on a conveyor belt. The items seem on the surface to be placed on the shelves at random with the same item scattered all over the warehouse and placed in bins with other unrelated items. But the seeming randomness is misleading. The computer knows where things are and they have been placed so as to make collecting the items ordered by customers quicker.
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An editorial note on comments on transgender issues

As long time readers know, I am reluctant to ban commenters but have done so on two previous occasions when it became clear that the people were not interested in a conversation with others but in merely repeating the same points over and over again, thus creating an unpleasant haranguing tone that spoiled the cordial nature of the discussions that I seek to encourage here.

The situation has arisen again with transgender issues where commenter Holms has created a similar problem. The issue of transgender rights is a very important one and there are many issues concerning it that I seek to highlight, partly as a learning experience for me and partly to create a broader awareness. But it has come to the point where I almost dread preparing a post that relates even tangentially to this topic because I know that Holms will once again create the exact situation in the comments that I seek to avoid.

Hence I have made an editorial decision that stops short of an outright ban. For details, please read my comment on the post An in-depth look at the trans experience.

I have not made this kind of partial ban before and am not sure how well it will work. I do read every comment that is posted and will continue to monitor the situation closely to see if any further action is warranted.

The downside of meditation

Sri Lanka, the country that I grew up in, is made up of about 90% of Buddhists and Hindus, religious traditions that have meditation as a part of their tradition and yet, growing up there, I did not know anyone who was a real devotee of the practice. I do recall dropping in with a friend out of curiosity to a place that was supposed to be a meditation center and listened to the leader of the program tell us of the need to ‘open our third eye’, which my friend and I found pretty funny, conjuring up as it did the sudden appearance of an eye in the middle of our foreheads like Cyclops, and tried to suppress our laughter. We never returned.
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Film review: The Day Shall Come (2019) and FBI entrapment

Back in 2019, I wrote about a comedy film that had just been released that I wanted to see. Unfortunately, because of the Balkanization of offerings that streaming has created, a problem that I wrote about recently, I could not because it was being streamed on Hulu for which I had no subscription. But my daughter visited me recently (we are both vaccinated) and she subscribes to that service so we watched it.
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An in-depth look at the trans experience

The radio program On the Media devoted this week’s entire 52 minute episode, titled Trans* Formations, to talking with trans academics, doctors, activists, historians, and artists, starting with a discussion on the many anti-trans laws that are being passed in state legislatures around the country based on various misconceptions and outright distortions. While the earlier efforts to pass bathroom bills seem to have run out of steam, the recent efforts to keep trans women from taking part in sports and athletics seem to be more widespread and successful.
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New documentary on opioid drug profiteering

Alex Gibney has a new documentary The Crime of the Century that looks at the opioid drug crisis and the shameless role played by the big pharmaceutical companies like Purdue and the Sackler family who profited greatly from the deaths of many people and the destruction of families and communities, topics that I have covered many times before. They were aided and abetted in their crimes by government officials and lawmakers who cut deals with the Sacklers and top Purdue executives to allow them to escape the consequences of their actions and retain their ill-gotten billions.

Here is a detailed review by Saloni Gajjar.
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