What I’m Reading, September 18, 2014

There’s nothing “shocking” about growing up, Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon, September 11, 2014

Along with the gotcha! wardrobe malfunction, the “Can you even believe it that a human being is subject to the laws of time and physical progression?” story is a reliable page views grabber. Throw in wrinkles, weight or any possible cosmetic surgery and you’re particularly golden. Three years ago, the Internet blew a gasket when Sinead O’Connor, who was once 20 years old, appeared in public, in the words of an Inquisitr headline, “No Longer Bald or Skinny.” Fortunately, she had the decency to lose weight before the release of her new album earlier this year, prompting inevitable headlines about her “dramatic makeover.” And when the 81-year-old Kim Novak appeared at the Oscars this winter with an unusually taut, immobilized countenance, critics were swift to mock her “wax museum” appearance. These are your options, people. You can get older in whatever natural form that may take and be made fun of for it, or attempt to remain youthful and be made fun of for it. Basically, unless you master some vampire-like secret of remaining a fixed age and size for eternity, you’re screwed.

Colorblindness is the New Racism, Lauren Rankin, Policy Mic, July 22, 2013 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, September 17, 2014

The “death of adulthood” is really just capitalism at work, Andrew O’Hehir, Salon, September 12, 2014 (h/t Kjerstin Johnson)

It’s all very well to discuss feminism as a force of cultural liberation expressed by Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Lena Dunham, but for millions of women in the Western world it has also been an economic imperative, one that set them free from some (but not all) traditional expectations and thrust them into a job marketplace where they are often underpaid relative to their male counterparts. This is too complicated an argument to develop here, but I suspect that the “death of adulthood” is so much more evident among men than women because women are still called upon to perform productive labor – the bearing and nurturing of children – that cannot be or generally is not performed by men. In that sense the death of adulthood is just another name for the fabled “crisis of masculinity” we’ve been hearing about for 30 years or longer, in which men often feel that their power has been undermined by ball-busting feminists when what’s really happening is that their economic role has changed and they don’t know what the hell to do about it.

Fox News Correspondent Tries to Slam Obama, Instead Proves Trickle-Down Economics is a Scam, Allen Clifton, Forward Progressives, August 16, 2014 Continue reading


A Post About Updog

A glorious thing occurred on Twitter the other day. Behold:


There Is No More Boot

Printed maps of the state of Louisiana typically show a “L”- or boot-shaped state, but the state hasn’t actually had that shape for quite some time (h/t PZ):

According to the U.S.G.S., the state lost just under 1,900 square miles of land between 1932 and 2000. This is the rough equivalent of the entire state of Delaware dropping into the Gulf of Mexico, and the disappearing act has no closing date. If nothing is done to stop the hemorrhaging, the state predicts as much as another 1,750 square miles of land — an area larger than Rhode Island — will convert to water by 2064. An area approximately the size of a football field continues to slip away every hour. “We’re sinking faster than any coast on the planet,” explains Bob Marshall, a Pulitzer-winning journalist in New Orleans. Marshall authored the series “Losing Ground,” a recent collaboration between The Lens, a non-profit newsroom, and ProPublica, about the Louisiana coast’s epic demise. Continue reading


No Otisburg…….Yet……..

The “Six Californias” initiative will not be on the ballot in 2016, after the California Secretary of State disqualified the petition for having too few legitimate signatures. I see two lessons here:

1. As karoli at Crooks and Liars says, “professional petition gatherers [are] terrible at what they do,” charging “Six Californias” mastermind Tim Draper around $1.5 million for signatures rejected by the state.

2. Trying to carve your own personal fiefdom out of the nation’s most-populous state never seems to work: Continue reading


An Open Letter to the Chinese Government

Look, we get it. You’re powerful. You have a great deal of power over most facets of Chinese society.

But even you cannot compel the Dalai Lama to reincarnate if he doesn’t want to.

Maybe a better (or at least more scientific) way of putting it is that you cannot force Buddhists to accept your own Dalai Lama appointee if the current Dalai Lama doesn’t want to reincarnate, because come on, everybody would see right through that.

Get over it.

"Bos grunniens at Yundrok Yumtso Lake" by Dennis Jarvis [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Here is a Tibetan yak, for no reason.

Photo credit: “Bos grunniens at Yundrok Yumtso Lake” by Dennis Jarvis [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.


Pasta vs. MBAs

The existential question of the week:

If the MBAs in charge of Darden Restaurants, parent company of Olive Garden, allowed the pasta water to be salted again, thus forfeiting the extended warranty on Olive Garden’s pots, would Olive Garden’s pasta still be terrible?

"olive garden penne" by Krista [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)], via Flickr

Photo credit: “olive garden penne” by Krista [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr.


Monday Morning Cute: Wombat Employment

The Sleep Burrows Wombat Sanctuary, located in New South Wales, Australia, offers ten possible employment opportunities for wombats. You should definitely check out all ten, but I’m still stuck on having them do your laundry.


Behold the Crocoduck

Remember the crocoduck? Its non-existence is the supposedly definitive proof against evolution presented by aging teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron. Well, it turns out that such an animal, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, actually existed:

This is “the first water-adapted non-avian dinosaur on record,” said University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno in a press conference yesterday. Sereno is part of a team of researchers that was finally able to reconstruct Spinosaurus in full using newly discovered fossils and information gathered from the dinosaur’s initial discoverer, a German paleontologist named Ernst Stromer. According to their reconstruction, published today in Science, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was a gigantic fish-eating, water-paddling marvel; one that, in Sereno’s words, was “a chimera — half duck, half crocodile.”

[Emphasis added.]

By Insomnis (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

And Spinosaurus wasn’t the only one to fit the arbitrary “crocoduck” description: Continue reading