Open Thread for the wandering Horde.

So, Ta-Nehisi goes off to his fancy geek school to conversate, and we’re left high and dry? Never fear! The student lounge is open.

Also, and as always: If you’re not one of the folks who usually joins in the conversation at The Atlantic or in these alternate open threads, please feel free to jump in! We’re a very friendly, if overly-geeky, crowd. Pinky swear.

Previous Post


  1. “We’re a very friendly, if overly-geeky, crowd.”

    Well, not all of us are that friendly. I reserve the right to remain reserved.

    • By the way now that my sitting area is right next to the window I am freezing all day long. Plus it’s cloudy and gloomy.

      Tell me something to cheer me up. Deadlines are whizzing by my head keeping me dizzy.

      • JHarper2

         /  November 29, 2011

        Our ancestors, who put heavy curtains that could be drawn tight on days that were gloomy and cold knew what they were doing. Even a half curtain across the lower part of the window, which was another of their tricks works well to mitigate the cold while allowing in some light.

        Stupid modern buildings.

      • A FAT CAT SAT on a HAT, saw a RAT on the MAT, got a BAT, had a CHAT with a GNAT that he’d PAT in a VAT that was FLAT, OH YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!

        • Anibundel gives me fun and whimsy and JHarper FROM CANADA brings me stories.

          I am feeling better. Now I will go look in the refrigerator to see if my lunch has magically appeared.

          • Moist-heat heating pad (the kind you microwave) at the small of the back, and ginger tea at your side.

            I’m telling you, man.

            • helensprogeny

               /  November 29, 2011

              Also blankets. Draped across one’s shoulders and/or knees. Or both.

            • I need the ginger tea.

              Really, I am so cold.

              I just looked up at the ceiling and realized (a) there is a missing tile in the ceiling and (b) I am right next to one of the concrete pillars.

              On the plus side: if you would like a place to hang meat to let it cure, this is the place. Not quite 32 degrees, cold air, and easy access to the elevator.

  2. I will not let today frustrate me.
    I will not let today frustrate me.
    I will not let today frustrate me.
    I will not let today frustrate me.
    I will not let today frustrate me.

    Go Crazy? Don’t mind if I do!

  3. Photo of the Day. It’s a little gloomy today so I give you the Dead Tree Bog.

  4. JHarper2

     /  November 29, 2011

    Emily, thanks for opening the lounge.
    /comes in, puts feet on coffee table, takes feet off coffee table, then remembers that he is not at TNCs (and we all know how he is about his coffee table), puts feet back up in comfortable position.
    Says to Emily, you know, you are right, this is an awesome couch.

    By the way, Fahrenheit 451 (Celsius 232.7777777777778 in Canada) is coming out as an ebook.
    This may mean the end of civilization as we would like to remember it.

  5. David L

     /  November 29, 2011

    Today in knee injuries: doctor pokes around at the front of my knee for a moment, frowns, starts feeling the side of my knee, then feels the good knee. Taps the front of my knee. “That’s not your kneecap. That’s just swelling.” Rubs a bump on the side of my knee: “THAT’s your kneecap.”

    Long and short of it is that they need to go in and fix it late Thursday morning. It’s going to be an outpatient procedure, so I’ll try to post to whatever open thread is available that day as soon as I can get my hands on my iPhone.

    • Oh I was wincing while reading that. Hope the outpatient surgery goes well.

    • JHarper2

       /  November 29, 2011

      oh dear, so sorry you are having surgery.
      If they are going to keep you in recovery, always remember to take a book or book-like device with you to a hospital or doctor. There is always waiting involved and stress, and both are alleviated by a book that is an old friend (or a new friend).

      All the best from one who knows hospitals.

    • Oh good lord my stomach just turned over. Yeesh!

      Good luck, man! (Hey, did you ever tell us if you got the boy after all was said and done [and injured]?)

      • David L

         /  November 29, 2011

        I have to admit to a moment of “Which boy?” there until I went back to check my posting history and realized that one of them hadn’t come up here.

        The one who talked me into this whole thing (or at least the race that led to the injury) doesn’t go my way, but I’m a sucker for a pretty face and/or a nice body. He didn’t even make it out as he’s imminently headed “downrange” to Afghanistan with the USAF reserves.

        The one with whom I spent most of last Saturday (the day before I got hurt) flirting in person and with whom I’ve exchanged a few comments over social networking since, on the other hand, does go my way. I think we’re both interested in the other but just too chicken to actually make a move. But that one has potential if it gets off the ground, I think. It’s the first guy in a while where my first interest was above the neck rather than below the waist.

        • : )

          Regardless, always best to be interested in the boys who go our way. Saves a lot of angst & unnecessary ice-cream.

          • helensprogeny

             /  November 29, 2011

            “unnecessary ice cream”…ain’t no such thing.

          • David L

             /  November 29, 2011

            Oh, yes. I’ve learned the “don’t fall for straight boys” lesson the hard way.

            Although my comment elsewhere about medication reminds me of a comment that I made on FB the other day. Flirtation boy posts “Sometimes we take chances, sometimes we take pills.” [Comma splice sic’d]. I respond: “…and sometimes we take pills because we take chances.” which garnered likes from him and reservist boy. I had a moment of reveling in my wittiness bringing all the boys to the yard.

            • “My wittiness brings all the boys to the yard” <- The next tshirt I want to buy.

            • Ian

               /  November 29, 2011

              Technically that’s a comma splice, but stylistically it’s fine. When you’ve got two short independent clauses expressing some kind of contrast, it’s good style to separate them with a comma.

    • taylor16

       /  November 29, 2011

      Oh, ewww. Sorry you have to have surgery. 😦

      Orthopaedics is my billing specialty, so summon me at the first sign of insurance trouble. Good luck and be healthy soon!!!

      • David L

         /  November 29, 2011

        I have already made comments to the effect of “I know someone who will help me out if I have any questions about the billing if I think something isn’t right.”

        • taylor16

           /  November 29, 2011

          Good!! I’m glad to hear it.

          Also, while disgusting, the whole “patella floats out of place” thing is more common than you’d think (at least among the patients I deal with). So…I’m sure all will go smoothly and you’ll be on the road to recovery soon!

    • helensprogeny

       /  November 29, 2011

      This sounds ungodly painful. I was sort of cringing all through your post; I can’t imagine what it must be for you, who have to live it live. So sorry you have to have surgery, but I hope it goes well and you’re dancing again before you know it. Keep us posted.

      • David L

         /  November 29, 2011

        It is not very sore, really. I’m just on some heavy-duty antiinflammatories (Rx-strength naproxen) and those are enough to keep it down.

        Before the last ten days, I have never been so glad about not being very squeamish. I think I’ve accidentally triggered a couple of coworkers by being pretty matter of fact in describing everything.

  6. On the plus side – wrote 12,000 words yesterday for the new novel, and have only 19000 left to write by tomorrow night. Then I win the awesome award of having written 50000 words in November. (The thing speaks for itself, by the way: the reward is that you have the reward.)

    This novel is far, far different from previous writing in that it is a first-person dreamtime telling of memory and experience in 1962-65 in Southern California. I don’t think a single person would ever read it, but it brings in elements of the French Resistance, an ambiguous marriage, an unexplained death, the boom of the aerospace industry, and the eyewitness account of the burning of Watts. Some of the characters I was sure would be central just keep forgetting to show up, and there are people now who just appeared and want to tell their stories.

    Why did I wait until the last four days to write when I knew since September I had the deadline? Because I like deadlines and the feeling of doom that keeps me typing far into the night.

    • Good luck on the NaNo! You’ve definitely did a better job of sticking to your effort than I…

      • I do best if I sprint. I’m not a long-haul kinda guy. So I write 2-3 short stories and essays a week. But the novel? It’s a slog.

        +1 for your correct use of the “than” comparative with “I” and not “me.”

  7. The one drawback of listening to The Muppets on the way to work is you spend all day with the soundtrack stuck in you head. And my co-workers were already muppety enough without the background music….

    • David L

       /  November 29, 2011

      Thanks to having Mahna Mahna stuck in my head, my visit to the ortho today was like: “I hate to perform surgery on someone as young as you (Doot dooooooo do-do-do!), but it’s going to be worse if I don’t. (Do do-do-doot!)” I think I would have found it funny if it was someone else experiencing it.

    • I had that damn “pizza is a vegetable” song that I posted running through my head for DAYS, and (given that I’m often at various stages of wakefulness in the 2 am to 3 am hour) NIGHTS.

      Finally, one night, I got up and listened to Satchmo sing “It’s A Wonderful World” about six times in a row, and went back to bed. If I’m going to be up, and if I must have music in my noggin, at least let it be sung by a legend, and full of good cheer.

      The only failure of logic in your tale, by the way, is that you appear to reallyreallyreally like The Muppets. Calling your co-workers “muppety” makes them sound much less painful to be around than I presume them to in fact be….

      • There’s only one who is painful–the one who I was complaining about this morning. This is the same one who I out passive aggressived last month. She’s also the same one who did not take Rosh Hashanah seriously as a holiday I should be taking.
        I actually really like most of the others. Especially my two direct superiors. Which is odd, but nice.

        • O_O I did not hear the Rosh Hashana story! Oy mein Gott.

          Well. All right then. That sounds very nice! I have a forever changeable relationship with my co-workers, as they are all me, and who can tell how we’ll be getting along on any given day.

    • socioprof

       /  November 29, 2011

      Are they like the Muppets or the Moopets? I hope it is the former.

  8. Holy crow!

    I post the thread, finish the post I was working on (oh, it’s a pip, it is, nothing but good times! “The vocabulary of bad behavior: Adultery, harassment, assault, and rape.”) and – BOOM! 17 comments!

    I’m nearly in the bigs!

    • “Nearly”?

      TNC appointed you as the freakin’ hall monitor!


      • Wasn’t it bouncer? I think it was bouncer. I know I was checking IDs.

        I’mma go with bouncer.

        • OK, you made me laugh. And I’m freakin’ cold here, so that’s an accomplishment.

          I. AM. SO. COLD.

          HAH -BRRRRRR – HA

        • caoil

           /  November 29, 2011

          Thank goodness I’m old enough to pass an ID check, and quiet enough to not get bounced once in! *mops brow*

  9. taylor16

     /  November 29, 2011

    I was going to post this in the OTAN today, but I guess it’ll have to wait … which is probably for the best, since I only have two posts.

    But I finally started my medical billing FAQ’s blog!! There are a whopping two posts now, and one is a silly introductory post and the other one is rambly and long. But I’m going to add to it from here on out, and I will get more concise and less rambly as time goes on and I get the hang of it.

    Feedback is welcome! The first few posts will be general “definitional” type of posts (what is a deductible? What is coinsurance? What is a PPO?), and then I’ll move onto advice about handling common problems.

    Hopefully the insurance companies won’t sic their lawyers on me for some kind of weird “telling our secrets to the masses” kind of violation…fingers crossed!

    • Yell at me to open the bills. I couldn’t do it lat night. They were thick and scary.

      • taylor16

         /  November 29, 2011

        Heh … well, this early on they probably aren’t bills. Just statements from your insurance? Or else first-round bills. And there’s still plenty of time to correct any mistakes that come up.

        Make sure you know how much your deductible and coinsurance are before you start. Then sit there with a calculator and add up your deductible and calculate what percentage of the charge you’re being charged for coinsurance. If anything seems off (or if there are any flat-out denials), set them aside and we’ll talk about them soon.

        It’s far better to look now and get out in front of any problems. Do it!! 🙂

        • They’re statements from the insurance company.

        • I have NO IDEA how much my deductible or my coinsurance is. All I know is I chose HMO over PPO, because it was cheaper, and I didn’t have a doctor I wanted to make sure I went to.

          • taylor16

             /  November 29, 2011

            Okay, well first step is to know how much that stuff is. Do you have an insurance brochure that they sent when you got your first card? If so, pull that out because the info should be in there.

            If not, I should be able find out the basic info for you through work. What insurance company are you with?

            • I probably filed the booklet somewhere in my house. It’s Care First Blue Preferred HMO.

              • taylor16

                 /  November 29, 2011

                Oh okay, I can look up your benefits at work. I shall shoot you an email… 🙂

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  November 29, 2011


        Open them! Fear not their vast papery mass, for each sheet is a coward and they bundle together solely for the coward’s solace in like-minded company.

        Rip them open! Tear them apart! Isolate one from the others and force them to watch, in mute horror, as you slowly draw and quarter it as an example to the others.



        • helensprogeny

           /  November 29, 2011

          We so need a “like” button here.

          • I so love you both. I’m someone who has spent a not insignificant chunk of my adult life terrified of mail — for no rational reason whatsoever — and I’m like the least phobic, least allergic, most hardheaded son of a bitch you’ll ever meet. I’m going to print off Darth’s mockery and post it on the wall beside the front door next to my keys so I quit fearing the mailbox.

        • Huh. Not the response I was expecting her to get!

          Or perhaps you have a powerful dislike of people named Bill.

    • JHarper2

       /  November 29, 2011

      I have book-marked this in case I am ever well enough to go travelling again. Then I will need travel insurance and this will be a most excellent primer.
      People like you who can navigate the maze for the masses are the best. Late this summer I had to apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits. It was just as complicated as you would imagine a Federal Medical Bureaucracy to be. I struggled with the forms and documents for almost a month and made no headway, even though I think I am reasonably intelligent and together. I called the social worker at the kidney clinic and made an appointment for two days after I called. I brought the forms into the office. Long story short, and she made it short, she had collected statements and histories from the clinic, my specialists, and my charts, and we tackled the forms one by one, piece by piece and after an hour and a half, everything was ready to mail.
      Three weeks later, I got a call from Service Canada who administers these things, and everything had sailed through on the first try, they specifically mentioned how well organized and presented all the information was.
      Did I make a personal trip to her office to thank her, and did I make sure her supervisors knew how well she did her job and how much I appreciated it. You bet I did.

    • helensprogeny

       /  November 29, 2011

      You. Are. Awesome!!! This is so necessary and so important. I hope it becomes a massive success for you. (But not so massive that you don’t have time to visit with the Horde, of course.) And lucrative.

      And you might consider consulting a lawyer if you think something you post might be “iffy”. Money spent avoiding a lawsuit is always well-spent. Also, you’ll have a number all ready to dial in the unhappy event that some cranky insurance company *does* object to what you write (whether it’s actionable or not).

      • taylor16

         /  November 29, 2011

        Aww, thanks. 🙂

        I think I’ll avoid any honest-to-god legal issues because I would never post any identifying patient info and don’t plan to bash any companies by name or to post any information specific to a particular company.

        But I guess anything’s possible, so I’ll be very careful. If I ever do morph this into some kind of patient consulting business, that portion of things would be run very “behind the scenes.”

        We’ll see how it goes. I’ve been slow to get it started with work* and the holidays, so it remains to be seen how quickly things get moving…

        *For some reason, after arriving home from 8 hours of working with insurance and doing medical billing, I haven’t been all that motivated to write about billing and insurance in my spare time. Shocking, I know. 🙂

        • But we love you! And we need it! And thanks for starting it. So, so valuable. We’ll take whatever we can get!

  10. Sorn

     /  November 29, 2011

    Hey all,

    Does anyone have any useful tips relating to GRE study? I take the test on december 9th.

    • All useful test-taking tactics from your SAT days don’t apply, because it’s a computer-generated test. So the questions will get harder or easier depending on your answers, and you can’t skip and go back in order to be sure you finish as many as possible in the time allotted. (I’m really good at standardized tests and general knowledge, and that *pissed me off*.)

      Otherwise, I knew going in that I’d completely bomb the math half (and I did) and that it wouldn’t matter for the programs I was applying to, so that was all right. I don’t know if the test still has an “analytical” section but if it does, that’s all logic problems and the best way to study for that is to grab a $0.99 puzzle book and go to town. (I remember actually drawing those tables on scratch paper, to solve the puzzles.) And the verbal section is pretty much the SAT all over again, eerily so. Brush up on analogies (car is to boat as banana is to ____ ) and any particular rules of grammar that you’re likely to forget.

      • wearyvoter

         /  November 29, 2011

        My husband does incredibly well at logic problems, while I do not.

        I worked my way through an LSAT study guide eons ago, and when it got to the logic section, I ran screaming. There were problems like “A,B,C,D, E, and F” are riding an elevator. Only certain people will get off on certain floors with certain people. By the time I read through the second question related the set up, I wanted option E, where I could say that they all need to get off the elevator on the floor where the psychiatrist’s office is.

    • All I can say is do practice exams until they’re coming out your ears. I found it really easy, but I think that’s because I had done so damn many practice runs.

    • dragonflyingash

       /  November 29, 2011

      Well I just took it last month and the most important thing to know is if you are getting any study guide books, make sure they are up-to-date because the GRE changed as of August this year. I saw more than a few books that were still based on the old format.

      I think the verbal section is a bit harder than it was in the previous GRE, and also the GRE is less like the SAT than it was before.

      I used the ETS GRE guidebook as well as the new Kaplan book with accompanying online practice and thought it worked out well. The math review in the ETS book was particularly helpful as I hadn’t taken a math course in well over 10 years and some of the math is basic calculus.

      A quick review of the word/root guides in those books was also useful. Review the common question types often, because the wording I think is designed to screw you up.

      Hope this helps!

      • socioprof

         /  November 29, 2011

        I took a class in high school and then in college that emphasized root words. That and taking French really helped boost my SAT, ACT, and GRE scores. That and logic books are among my most-given testing recommendations.

    • taylor16

       /  November 29, 2011

      Definitely buy a test prep book that includes a few paper practice tests and a disc with some computer practice tests. It’s worth the investment.

      The paper tests will get you used to how the questions are worded, and the practice book will give you some hints about educated guessing and a review of basic math and vocab stuff you might need. And the computer-based practice tests are self-explanatory … you’ll get used to taking the test on the computer so it won’t be foreign when you sit down to take it.

      Basically – don’t kill yourself prepping. You won’t know all of the answers (particularly since the test is designed to get harder if you do better). But the practice books can be very helpful just for reviewing basic skills and taking tons of practice tests. Definitely buy one. Good luck!

    • Jetamors

       /  November 29, 2011

      Definitely at least do a little math prep. I’m the kind of person who usually takes tests like this cold, but there are a few specific geometry-type things that always come up, and that you wouldn’t remember at all outside of that specific context. I just did the little prep booklet that came with the test, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to do more than that.

    • MightBeLying

       /  November 29, 2011

      Drill. It is an eminently drillable test. My prep materials:
      * purchased vocab flashcards from Kaplan or some such (probably overkill but good when you are feeling anxious)
      * Algebra 2 textbook from the library. Just do a bagillion problems by hand until you remember what 9th grade felt like
      * Kaplan test prep CD so that you can go through the experience of taking the full computerized test – timed! – once or twice

    • wearyvoter

       /  November 29, 2011

      Also: If you take the essay section, if the instructions say that they want you to write a 5-paragraph essay, set it up in 5 paragraphs. The rubrics for that sort of thing for the graders are such that they will have to dock you several points for not having 5 paragraphs.

  11. CnNaevius

     /  November 29, 2011

    I’m definitely going to post this at TNC’s once I get a chance, but for those of you here: if you ever wonder whether something is racist, there is now a way to find out for sure. Just enter it at

    Seriously, everyone of his answer’s is exactly right. Check it out.

  12. cofax

     /  November 29, 2011

    I am late, but I wanted to share this excellent video about OWS, set to Bruce Springsteen. It’s pretty awesome. Too Big To Fail.

  13. Need advice, guys.

    Spouse’s mother is, as you may recall, pretty much totally evil. I do not like this woman and she has gone to great pains to be an explicitly terrible person this year. He and she have not had a civil conversation since mid-July and haven’t had a conversation at all since mid-August. (This is the woman who, for his birthday in October, sent a $1 Amazon gift card with no message.)

    In short, they’re estranged and it’s for good reason on his end. She’s a classic emotional abuser. (You go through one of those checklists and you can tick off about 80% of it for her, from gaslighting to being generally demeaning.)

    She’s also in very ill health, as a general rule. And today, she went to the hospital with another break in her neck (not the first, probably not the last) and is in the ER and they are planning to arrange surgery for her on Thursday if not tomorrow. We know this because her landlord (the neighborhood gossip and also the only person around still willing to talk to or keep an eye on her) let M know through a series of Facebook private messages.

    So. Should he call her?

    • cofax

       /  November 29, 2011

      If she dies in surgery will he wish he had?

    • Bookwoman

       /  November 29, 2011

      Yes, for his own sake. I’ve found in life that it’s generally best to take the high road whenever possible. Doing a kindness, even if it’s pro forma only, is better for the soul.

    • The only thing that matters here is your husband’s peace of mind. Whatever he does, it will still be the thing he did 5 years from now, whether she’s still alive and evil, or whether she’s dead and gone.

      What will he want to have done 5 years from now? What will allow him some measure of peace? In my own life, there have been one or two people about whom I have had to say “Even if this person dies, I will need to know that I didn’t feed the crazy. I’m not making contact.” I don’t know if that’s how I would feel about my mom, if she were the one with whom sanity demanded distance, but it might be.

      And bear in mind that whatever he does, there will be a downside. The hope is that the downside will be less important to him than the upside.

      • I couldn’t agree more. It’s hard to look into the future and think, “what will I wish I had done?” The first instinct is to call and as Bookwoman says, do the kindness, take the high road. But, if it will only open the door to more contact and that’s only a bad thing, will it be worth it?

        I’ve faced a similar dilemma and come to a different conclusion than other family members, so every person has to weigh the balance individually, I guess.

        • That’s my issue with advising him, is that it’s basically all a bet against the future. Will a future him have thought that a high road basically lined with crushed glass and festooned with self-flagellation is worth having walked?

          And that’s one it’s almost impossible to answer.

          • It’s one only he can answer.

            I tried to be estranged. I gave in when I decided that taking the high road was the better option and I was emotionally strong enough to handle myself. But mine also held the gate keys to the rest of my family, so i consider there to be extenuating circumstances.

            My BIL has been estranged from his mother for a decade and counting. Because holy god, some things really are that unforgivable. Remind me to tell you sometime not on the interwebs.

          • Is there any way to get her a letter beforehand? I can’t remember how far away she is – could he write an email if necessary?

            “It’s too hard for us to talk right now, but I want you know that…”

            And then future him won’t have to deal with nearly as much crushed glass. One hopes.

            Or, and I really mean this: He just doesn’t get in touch with her. She frankly sounds mentally ill, and one cannot be rational with those who are essentially, fundamentally irrational. He can mourn the loss of the mother he deserved, and give himself the life-affirming gift of not feeding into the illness of the one he got. Sometimes, that’s the best we can do.

          • And PS – Good luck to you, too. It is very hard to watch people we love struggle with painful family bullshit, especially when our own family life is hardly trouble-free. You both deserve hugs and a good night out on the town, as far as I can see from here in the Middle West.

    • At the risk of invoking the eternal ire of one of the regulars (who shall be unnamed but rhymes with Kraig) – I’ve found Billy Joel’s “My Life” useful in this situation. My oldest son and I are Billy Joel fans. There was a time when my ex – a similarly emotionally abusive and manipulative woman – was pressuring him (he was 14 at the time) to do something highly unethical. He asked me for advice and I used Billy Joel’s line “Anyway – it’s OK – you wake up with yourself”. Whatever your spouse needs to do to wake up with a sense that he did the best he could…..

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  November 30, 2011

      I had a similar but not exact situation. My Mom’s last years were increasingly irrational and immune to logic, but she never went outright Evil …

      My advice to *him*: Send her good wishes, but don’t actually talk to her.

      Send a telegram, a card, a letter, a $1 bouquet with a note, whatever. Or leave a message with the hospital to be jotted down and delivered. Let her know she is loved (because no matter how infuriating she is, loving her isn’t exactly a choice one gets to rationally make), but do not engage in any dialogue that will give her a chance to be unhinged at you.

      It’s tough. And not actually talking, should she die, will of course mean that the last conversation with her will retroactively have been that last unpleasant one in August. But that is my honest advice, having done so myself: my last conversation with my mother was, retroactively, the unpleasant one from a few months before her passing, and I did not talk to her in her last days. But I did let her know I loved her, and did wish her peace and good tidings, and I don’t regret handling it that way.

      My advice to *you* is to let him know you love him, and to support whatever choice he ultimately makes regardless of your own (fully justified) animus against the woman’s behavior toward you.

  14. Hey Emily!

    How does that “Pizza Is a Vegetable” song go again?


    Just trying to be helpful.

  15. cofax

     /  November 29, 2011

    In other news, apparently Siri (Apple’s new voice-activated AI) can’t or won’t find abortion or emergency contraception services: check it out. Also here.

    I find it really hard to believe Apple meant to do that. But then again…

    • taylor16

       /  November 29, 2011


      I have to admit, I feel better about my decision to never own an Apple product.

      • cofax

         /  November 29, 2011

        To be fair, one of the commenters notes that it’s probably a collateral effect of a biased dataset from the original creators of the project, rather than any sort of intentional policy statement.

        But it’s still pretty uncomfortable.

        • taylor16

           /  November 29, 2011

          Yeah, I’m not really placing the blame on Apple, per se.

          I’m just not NOT putting the blame on them. You’d have to have a pretty damned biased database to not pull up some answers if you ask it where to find “birth control.”

  16. dmf

     /  November 29, 2011

    • Huh! Arrested Development! It’s been a very long time since I last heard that name and didn’t think “TV show.”

  17. socioprof

     /  November 29, 2011

    Has anyone seen my keys?

  18. caoil

     /  November 29, 2011

    corkingiron, as you seem to be here today, I need a book recommendation! Am I remembering rightly, that a while back you said you were reading a book related to the slaves that escaped to Ontario? Can you refresh my ailing memory?

    • corkingiron

       /  November 29, 2011

      It’s Samuel Gridley Howe’s Report “The Refugees from Slavery in Canada West” available on google books “fer free”!!

      I don’t know why that didn’t come up as a link and I’m not going to try and fix it cuz I’ll probably wind up sending Emily off into cyber-space….

      You might also google Benjamin Drew’s “A North-Side View of Slavery” – written circa 1850.

      These are closer to primary documents than to a “good read” – but they are very interesting nevertheless. Howe was one of the “Secret Six” who helped finance John Brown’s campaign. He had to flee for a while to Canada after Harper’s Ferry.

      • caoil

         /  November 29, 2011

        Thank you for this! After finishing ‘Life and Times’ I wanted to know more about the escapees he alluded to!

  19. I just wanted to say that I read Sullivan very carefully today — before noon, anyway — and his post on science and politics was flaccid and his “response” to TNC was just sad. I got “tired lion” off both. I know he doesn’t write everything and I hope to hell he didn’t write the science and politics post because the first link contradicted the point he claimed it made and the second was mostly irrelevant. But the response post was particularly lame as he seemed most eager to quote TNC’s affirmation that neither were in favor of slavery — whew! that’s a relief — and to have completely missed his critique of the science — backed up by the Lost Battalion of Statistically Literate Hordians, whose comments he seems not to have deigned to read.

    • helensprogeny

       /  November 30, 2011

      Nora, thank you for posting this. My own very personal response to the conversation was a profound disappointment in Sullivan, so profound that I discovered I couldn’t read him or his reply. I don’t know. I’ve forgiven him bombast, arrogance, hysteria, Trig Palin, sexism, his near-hostility toward women, his conservative nonsense. But this feels so ugly and so sad to me – I feel this morning like I don’t want to read him anymore. Because he IS so much better than this. And maybe he will come around and really understand what he’s trying to defend here. But for now, just – no.

      Interestingly, the whole conversation reminds me of a back & forth Sullivan had with Ross Douthat awhile back in which Douthat was trying to defend his anti-gay marriage position. It was really similar and it’s interesting that Andrew is now in the position of trying to defend an indefensible and inherently discriminatory point. Still very sad to me.

      • Thanks for the thanks, HP. Your last paragraph reminds me of the Melissa McEwan essay that k___bee posted about “intellectual, clever engaged” men arguing about feminism. I didn’t read the Douthat/Sullivan exchange but as a long-time Sullivan “psychoanalyst,” I honestly doubt he was hurt by it in the way TNC said he was hurt by this. Sullivan is so convinced of his general superiority in all things (“you prove them wrong if you deserve to” [which I so self-evidently do]) that I think it’s possible for him to completely subtract himself as a person from debates like the one with Douthat. He does not identify with “the gay community,” and has said so publicly on many occasions. He thinks he’s better than most of “them.” The contrast with TNC could not be starker. For Sullivan being gay is at one and the same time an utterly core identity and a pesky nuisance when other people don’t like it. There’s often the whiny child just beneath the surface, pleading for an answer to the question, “why can’t you like me?” With the unspoken subordinate clause, “when I’m just like you.” Because he is: white and educated and privileged.

        I spent most of the 80s and 90s as a lesbian, working politically with gay men in the Democratic Farmer Labor Party in MN and various other political actions in various other places. I didn’t meet a gay man of color until much later; these were all white dudes. Because this was the commie-pinko DFL, one didn’t see this attitude much, certainly not openly displayed, but there was a small fraction of the white gay male community in Minneapolis who wanted nothing to do with lesbians or feminism, and who believed in their secret heart of hearts that they ought to be the masters of male supremacy because they didn’t have anything to do with those fishy-smelling cunts, unlike their pussy-whipped straight brethren. I honestly believe that if you gave Sullivan truth-serum and/or hypnotized him, that you would find he believes the same.

        Doesn’t change the fact that he can write like a motherfucker.

  20. I swear I am not making this up. My quote for the day:

    “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen

    I’ll be offline for a few days. While I will be in Tucson, I probably won’t have any free time, so chances of a meet-up of any kind are slim.

    • helensprogeny

       /  December 1, 2011

      SM, Please know that our thoughts are with you and that you have Horde physically present with you in Tucson, whether you see us or not. Our hugs fly through the ether to you.