Friday, October 31, 2008

Calling adults "girls"

Quite a few times I've heard middle-aged men (for some reason it's only ever middle-aged men) express confusion/frustration/anger that you aren't supposed to use the word girl to refer to a grown women, but sometimes grown women refer to each other as girls.

I've been working on clarifying this, trying to quantify it and make a mathematical formula based on age and balance of power, but my shower just gave me a much simpler rule:

It is acceptable for you to call another adult a girl (or a boy, as applicable) if it is acceptable for them to call you a girl or a boy in the same sentence in the same context.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to dress Betty Suarez

I'm not too thrilled with the wardrobe person on this season of Ugly Betty, because they have Betty dressed so ridiculously. It should be believeable that either a) Betty thinks she looks good, or b) Betty thinks she looks trendy. But this season, with multiple prints and too many colours (and this "too many colours" assessment is coming from someone who is currently wearing pink eyeshadow and purple nail polish with a shirt in one shade of red and lipstick in another shade of red) it's like she's a caricature of a caricature of a caricature.

In previous seasons, she'd wear for example a brightly-coloured dress, but her tights and shoes would be opaque black. With that, the average viewer could at least see where she's coming from. But a blue dress with a hideous-printed bow thing in colours that weren't found elsewhere with bright red tights? No way she thinks that looks good.

So what should she wear? She should wear something that is trendy on paper, but just doesn't work for her. Remember the poncho in the first episode? That's where her clothes should be going. In each episode, she should wear a gaudier, more colourful, misfired knock-off of whatever, say, Amanda was wearing in the previous episode.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things They Should Study: body language a sociolinguistic perspective

I don't wink. The best way I can describe why is to say that it isn't part of my active vocabulary (even though it isn't actually a speech act, although it does have pragmatic value). I do sometimes communicate flirtatiousness and "this is an in-joke" and conspiratoriness (or whatever the correct word is), but I do this with facial expression and tone of voice in a way that I can't quite articulate yet because I've given this about 30 seconds of thought so far.

I wonder, if you studied it, if there would be demographic patterns among people who do or don't wink as part of their active vocabulary of body language? And I wonder if there are similar patterns for other kinds of body language?


I decided to see how much I pace. I'm working at home today, so I put on my pedometer when I turned on my computer at 7:30 a.m. Now it's 5 pm, and I have 3,729 steps on my pedometer. This is after a day spent theoretically sitting at the computer all day. Realistically I'd go to the kitchen for food or coffee, and I was doing laundry so I was walking back and forth from the bedroom to the bathroom, but still, that's 3,729 steps within a 500 square foot apartment while doing 9.5 hours of computer work. Apparently we're supposed to walk 10,000 steps each day which is equal to about five miles, so that means I've walked about 1.8 miles today, just within the apartment. I haven't even done my grocery run yet!

So maybe people can stop telling me to walk for exercise now?

Sex and gender questions in Star Trek

1. In an early episode of DS9, Sisko gets mad at Dax and says something like "If you were still a man..." with the implication that he'd hit her but for the fact that she's now in a female body. I'm kind of surprised that the idea that boys shouldn't hit girls would still be around in the 24th century. It's an old-fashioned idea - don't get me wrong, I appreciate it, it makes life more convenient for me, but it is old-fashioned - and I can't see it being around 400 years in the future. I know they can't really go around showing on TV Sisko hitting Dax (or, rather, Avery Brooks hitting Terry Farrell) but they could make it because he's her commanding officer or he could smack his fist on the desk and get all in her face or do something different.

2. The Ferengis are sometimes idly touch their own ears. But it's a sex act for someone else to stroke a Ferengi's ears. So when they touch their own ears, is that masturbatory?

3. There's an episode of TNG where an alien from a genderless planet comes to the realization that she is female, and is ostracized for it. It was supposed to be an allegory for homosexuality. But the flaw in the logic is that how can you have a gender that doesn't exist at all within your species, that can't even be defined or explained within your gender framework? That's would be like a human coming to the realization that they are in fact a cogenitor.

I can't even get down to the gym!

Okay, fine, here's a real election night drinking game

I'm getting a lot of hits from people looking for election night drinking games, so I made one that's applicable to any election.

In every election, there's a key number. If you're in the market for an election drinking game, you know what it is. For example, in a Canadian federal election the key number is 155, because a party needs 155 seats to win a majority.

Take a shot every time someone utters the key number.

Things Blogger Should Invent: Delete Draft function on the Create Post page

I started writing a post, but it wasn't going anywhere so I stopped. However, in the meantime, Blogger had autosaved a draft. Now that draft is sitting there somewhere on my Edit Posts page, and if I want to get rid of it I have to go to that page and delete it.

This is inconvenient. There should be a function right on the Create Posts page (or that comes up when you exit the Create Posts page without publishing or saving) that allows you to delete the draft.

The Daily Puppy widget on my igoogle page keeps giving me puppies that are so cute I just have to share

Itty bitty bitty puppy standing in the grass.

Awesome puppies running.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things They Should Invent: indoctrinate children in boosting their peers' self-esteem

When I was a kid I had no self-esteem, mostly as a result of the way I was treated by my peers. Now I have better self-esteem (I'm hesitant to state in objective terms that I have good self-esteem because 10 years from now I might look back and laugh), mostly as a result of being treated decently by the vast majority of people I encounter, and that makes me a more pleasant person. A lot of the chips have fallen off my shoulders; I can be humble, I can be flawed, I don't feel the need to constantly prove myself worthy because I have a sense of self-worth. I don't need to be right - in fact, I try to always admit when I'm less than certain I'm right* - and that makes me much more pleasant to deal with.

Since the original problem was the treatment at the hands of my peers, and since this isn't an uncommon experience, that got me thinking: what if there was a way to explain to kids - to get them to really grok - that if they don't go around destroying their peers' self-esteem, those peers would be more pleasant to deal with? When I was a kid we got the "you should be nice to people" message and the "if you're good to people you'll go to heaven and if you're mean to them you'll go to hell" message and various storybooks and cartoons where the kind and cheerful heroine always wins everyone over and saves the day, but it was just there as a thou shalt. I wonder if it would be more useful to explain to the kids what the specific benefits to them would be instead of just the general message that if you're nice to people there will be certain nonspecific benefits in the future.

When you're really little they drill in please and thank you and you're welcome and excuse me and I'm sorry, but they don't teach the meanings and motivations behind them. They were at best magic words and at worst burdens (like when the parents made me apologize to people for stuff I wasn't sorry for) and for the longest time I didn't use them with my peers because they were just tricks the grownups wanted us to do. I wonder if that would have worked out differently if they'd been able to explain the reasoning to me better than "You have to be polite."

*I started doing this as part of translation brain. I tell my colleagues who look over my work how certain or uncertain I am about various things, so they know where to focus their attention. In my line of work it's not important for me to be right, it's important for the text to be right; if everything in the whole text has to be corrected before it can be sent out, that's a far better outcome than if I convinced everyone that the text was perfect and sent it out flawed. Then I started doing it in other areas of life too, and I like it so I'm keeping it. I keep reading where people think it's a sign of weakness to qualify your every statement, but I find in the long run it gives me a certain authority. Since I normally qualify everything and have been doing so for years, when I make an outright declarative statement people tend to listen.


On TV news shows, when the newsreader is reading off a teleprompter, who wrote the stuff that appears on the teleprompter?

Open Letter to lexicographers everywhere

Dear lexicographers, especially lexicographers of multilingual dictionaries:

You need to include profanity in your dictionaries. Why? Because if you don't, people looking up those words who honestly don't know what they mean aren't going to learn that they're profanity. If you don't know a language's profanity, it's very difficult to tell by googling whether it's profanity or just slang.

Helping non-native speakers catch these nuances before they make an ass of themselves is far more important than denying 12-year-olds an opportunity to giggle.

And please, whatever you do, don't put the literal meaning of the word but fail to mention that it also has a profane meaning! Unless, like, you want people walking around the dog park going "Hi you little bitch!"

Shiba Inu!

This is a Shiba Inu puppy.

I'd never heard of that breed before, but I think it might be my new favourite (insofar as I might have favourite breeds - I'm not a huge breed person).

Things Gmail Should Invent: recognize the word "spoilers"

In Gmail's inbox view, you can see the first line of every message. Usually this is convenient, but if the email contains spoilers you have to trust your correspondent not only to mark the subject line, but also to leave the spoilers out of the preview section, which might not occur to them if they're using a different email system.

What Gmail should do is if the subject line contains the word "spoilers", it shouldn't show you any previews.

Bonus points for also recognizing that "no spoilers" doesn't need to be hidden.

What if xmas decorations cause SAD?

I think the earlier I see xmas stuff in stores, the more the darkness affects me. It's really getting to me this year (yes, already - yes, even before daylight savings time ends), and I saw xmas cards at Shopper's LAST WEEKEND!!! BEFORE HALLOWEEN!!!

Xmas happens at literally the darkest time of the year. So I'm wondering if all this xmas stuff is adding to the psychological darkness, because the presence of xmas stuff always happened at the darkest time of the year? For the vast majority of my life, I wasn't really in malls and stores and stuff very often in the run-up to xmas. When I was a child I obviously wasn't responsible for errands, and in uni I lived on campus so I only went shopping off campus like once a week. I'd see xmas decorations at home and I'd see lights on other people's homes, sometimes they'd put up decorations in classrooms too, but this would never happen before December, right when the deepest of the darkness is firmly entrenched. But now I have to walk through a mall to get to the subway on both ends of my commute, and I'm preparing all my meals and maintaining a household so I'm buying way more stuff (groceries, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.) And every year as I spend more time in xmas-decorated commercial environments, the darkness gets to me even more.

Can we maybe test this theory one year by keeping xmas stuff out of stores until Advent?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An observation

I have been told that I should cut off and donate my hair about ten times as often as I have been told that I should donate blood.

Things They Should Invent: long hair compatible vacuums

Whenever I vacuum, I always end up with hair entangled around my vacuum brushes, which I then have to clean off.

Why can't they design a vacuum that will just suck long hair directly into the vacuum bag without it getting all tangled around the brushes and other vacuum parts?

Why does high school still matter to Betty Suarez?

Several times on Ugly Betty there have been plot points involving her baggage from high school. She's mentioned a couple times like it still matters to her that she stayed home from prom, and recently there's been a character who was her high school bully and she was excited when this girl invited her to go clubbing with her.

But why does this matter so much to her? She's been to university! Why doesn't she have any baggage from university? Even if high school baggage is necessary sometimes, it would be far more realistic if she had even more university baggage.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My hair is mocking me

My hair line is square and I hate that. Like there are actual right angles at the top corners of my face, and it looks disgusting and butch. But right now, right this exact moment, my hair has somehow arranged itself so it's covering the top corners and making my hairline look normal, and yet it isn't perfectly flat on top and it isn't falling into my eyes, both of which always happen with any attempt to hide my corners.

It has never done this before and I have no idea why or how it's doing this or how to duplicate the effect in the future.

(Today is Shallowest. Posts. Ever. Day)

How to make a volumized half-ponytail without looking like a polygamist

This works on long thin straight hair. I haven't tried it on any other hair types, I don't know if any other hair types need extra volumization in their half-ponytails. This volumizes the scalp part only; if you want the long part more voluminous too, you'll have to curl it or whatever.

You need:

1. A clip that is suitable for holding a half ponytail in your hair (I use a tiny claw, but whatever works for you)

2. A pronged headband i.e. this sort of thing


1. Let your hair dry pinned in a quiff on top of your head like this.

2. Once your hair is dry, brush it out like normal.

3. Put the headband in, not too far back.

4. Make a half-ponytail like usual, but push it upwards vertically so it's ridiculously poofy behind the headband - like a parody of Sarah Palin kind of poofy.

5. Remove the headband by gently pulling it straight forward.

Now the ridiculous poofiness at the back of your scalp will be distributed over the entire scalp and softened by the natural weight of your hair. The result is not perfectly smooth, it just looks like you casually and haphazardly put your hair in a half-pony and it just happens to be poofy because your hair is so very naturally voluminous.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The problem with moral absolutism

Whenever I say or do or think something particularly distasteful or soul-destroying, my reaction is to comment to whomever is in earshot "I am so going to hell for that!" If this comment is overheard by someone who has never been Catholic*, they tend to reply by trying to convince me that I'm not going to hell. I then feel the need to mention, just as a point of order, that barring some deathbed recantation, I'm going to hell anyway. Which is absolutely true under the Catholic doctrine of moral absolutism. At any given point in life, if I get hit by a truck or a piano falls on my head and I don't get a chance for deathbed absolution, I'm going to hell, and there's nothing I can realistically do about it.

And people wonder why I'm a nihilist.

*The Catholics and ex-Catholics already know I'm going to hell, so there's no need for any further discussion. If they're in a small-talky mood they might comment that they'll see me there, but that's really just chitchat to fill up space.

It's more afraid of you than you are of it

They always used to tell me this when I was a kid. But they aren't more afraid of me than I am of them. Because they come into my house! I wouldn't go into their house!

Things They Should Invent: Google Corpus

A lot of the things I dislike about Google (localizing search results, overdoing it with the "Did you mean…?", including synonyms, making assumptions about what I want) occur when I'm trying to use it as a corpus instead of as a search engine. These functions are useful for people trying to find information for real-life applicable purposes, it's just terminological/phraseological/linguistic research that it's unhelpful for (unless there's another area where it's also unhelpful that I can't think of right now.)

So why not make another Google just for our obscure langling needs? They already have everything they need - the Google index is probably the largest corpus in the world, and Google is, obviously, the best search engine in the world. Just take away the localization and other unhelpful functions, perhaps make a few more precision operators (so you can search for two words near each other, or have a wildcard that represents any preposition), perhaps make it possible to compare the number of results for multiple searches side by side (Googlefight has this functionality in its own unique way), integrate as many publications and academic databases as possible (if you're stuck on copyright issues, you wouldn't have to make the texts themselves accessible through Google Corpus, just show the applicable snippets in the results) and you'll have the best possible tool for us language freaks. You can improve quality of translations everywhere and make life easier for linguistic researchers (and anyone else who needs a corpus of naturally-occuring language), and it will take practically no effort. You could just remove the localization function, call it a Beta version, and put it up in Google Labs today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I wonder if the US subprime mortgage crisis will cause anti-Americanism around the world

I've been translating huge quantities of economics lately, with information from all around the world. And I'm learning so much too! I know several orders of magnitude more than I did just a couple of weeks ago (although I still haven't worked out the answers to all those questions I was asking everyone around thanksgiving and the election.) Economics is technical enough that you don't have to thoroughly grok it to translate it as long as you have good terminology sources, but I've gone through so much information that I'm picking up all kinds of stuff about cause and effect, globalization, monetary policy, all kinds of stuff I never thought I'd understand. (It's also put me firmly in the "ride out the economic turmoil by investing in developing infrastructure and green industry, even at the expense of running a deficit" school of thought, but that's another post.)

But there's one phrase that keeps turning up everywhere in this economic information, in all parts of the world, in all contexts: "...due to the US subprime mortgage crisis." It's screwing everyone over, including billions of people who had nothing to do with it! I wonder if this is going to cause major anti-American sentiment around the world? It does seem kind of representative of the whole American Dream/Roman Empire/hubris thing, so I could see that pissing off someone in some random country like Mongolia or something who had nothing to do with ill-advised mortgages or inexplicably investing in ill-advised mortages.

Also, we all know that the US is Canada's largest trading partner. So I was surprised to see it mentioned as quite a few other countries' largest trading partner too. So I went a-googling and and found that the US is the largest trading partner to a huge number of other countries (and there are more and different countries on subsequent pages). I can't quite wrap my brain around how that works. I keep trying to logic it out, but no matter how hard I think about it, I keep getting stuck on the idea that they'd have to have huge quantities of stuff cluttering up their country as compared with any other country in the world. Yes, I know, they do have a higher quality of life than a lot of countries, but there are also a lot of other countries with a similar quality of life, and I can't google up any that are quite as much of a trading partner slut. So maybe that's what they mean by being the world's only superpower. I always assumed that was just because they're big and loud and have lots of guns and missiles and stuff.

Analogy for opting out of Pascal's Wager

Previously I blogged about how the flaw with Pascal's Wager is that the best a person without faith can do is go through the motions of having faith, which is utter hypocrisy and not about to fool the deity anyway (and isn't it terribly disrespectful to the deity to presume to fool it just by putting on an act?)

Today my shower gave me an analogy:

Suppose you have a military in a society that values being a big brave strong soldier. There are also some pacifists in this society. Some of the pacifists opt out of joining the military, claiming conscientious objector status, and simply go about their everyday lives as usual even if it does attract scorn from society. However, other pacifists still want the societal respect that comes with being a big brave strong soldier, so they join the military. However, they don't care about achieving the military's goals or getting the job done, they just care about appearances. So they do the absolute minimum they can get away with and only when someone is looking. They use any excuse to get out of doing their duty. They don't care about the cause, they don't care about their buddies, they just care that people will look at them and go "Look, a big brave strong soldier!"

Now it's true that in some cases these closeted pacifist soldiers might still be helpful - sometimes you just need manpower - but mostly they're detrimental to your military's mission and reputation. And even if you don't agree with their pacifism, isn't what the conscientious objectors are doing more honourable?

It's a conspiracy I tell you!

Why do the very most horrid halloween decorations and the ditzier-than-I-could-ever-fake women loudly squeeing over petty details of wedding plans on the subway and the ignorantly anti-atheist people on internet communities and the painfully dull economics texts and realization gleaned from these painfully dull economics texts that none of the financially-knowledgeable people in my life actually know more than I do about the aspects of finance and economics that apply directly to my own life all have to converge during the very worst PMS day in my cycle?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teach me social conventions

When someone says "I haven't seen you in a while" but I didn't go anywhere and have just been going about life normally and happen to have not crossed paths with them, what kind of response are they expecting? I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound idiotic or snarky.

I'm getting this question from people I normally cross paths with when going about everyday life (non-immediate co-workers, random neighbours, food service workers) but with whom I don't have any particular social relationship and don't actively spend time with.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Great, so not only are you feeling inferior, but you're also being told that your not-letting-other-people-make-you-feel-inferior skills are inferior.

The solution to the economic crisis

Natalie Portman is smart. She has publications and shit. Listen to her:

See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A beautiful doggie blowing bubbles!

This is so just what I needed right now! Thanks Cute Overload!

Quick and easy volumization tip for long hair

After you get out of the shower, pin your wet hair up on top your head in an exaggerated form of that quiff thingy Kids Today are wearing. You can leave it there until it air dries completely, or just keep it for a little bit while you do your makeup or have your coffee. Then, when you're done the rest of your morning routine, unpin your hair and style it normally. It will be noticeably more voluminous at the scalp, even after violent brushing.

This has been tested only on fine thin straight hair. I have no idea whether it will work for other hair types.


This is a concept I've been carrying around for years but haven't been able to articulate. It isn't fully articulated here either, but a bunch of words just came to me so I'm putting them down before I lose them.

Some people like/appreciate it when others worry about them. I don't. I can't speak to why people would appreciate being worried about, but the reason I don't like it is when someone worries about you, they're putting the burden of their emotions on you. Now you have to comfort them or reassure them or otherwise manage their emotions, not just for the immediate worries but for whenever you happen to engage in a similarly worry-inducing activity in the future.

So when I don't want someone worrying about me, it's because I don't want to manage their emotions. And when I don't worry about someone, I'm sparing them the burden of my emotions.

I know, it's mildly fucked

I know, my font size or something is fucked up. I'll fix it tomorrow. If it really pisses you off, figure out how to fix it for me.

Self-esteem before puberty doesn't mean self-esteem after puberty

There was a commercial on TV where Dove was saying they created self-esteem workshops for girls, presumably to help them with body image issues.

Problem: the little girl in the commercial was pre-pubescent, probably about 8 years old. She's never had a zit in her life because she isn't old enough yet.

You know what? You can saturate a person with self-esteem at the age of 8, and that doesn't mean a thing once puberty hits. You want to do self-esteem? Do self-esteem on the girls whose faces are oozing pus, scalps are oozing oil, armpits are oozing sweat, and vaginas are oozing blood. Do self-esteem on the girls who suddenly sprouted more hair than they could possibly imagine and whose parents say they are too young to shave it, and who desperately want to quit swimming because they can't quite figure out how to keep all that hair contained in their regulation swimsuit and they just can't make tampons go in, but their parents and coaches tell them not to wimp out and be a quitter. Do self-esteem on the girl who gained six inches and 30 pounds and three shoe sizes over the summer even though her friends are still petite. Do self-esteem on the girl who is embarrassed that her nipples show through her white school uniform shirt, and is also embarrassed that the shape of her bra shows through her white school uniform shirt. Do self-esteem on the girl who can grow a better mustache than any of the boys in her class. Do self-esteem on the girl who needs glasses and braces in a school where people get extensively tormented for wearing jeans that are the wrong shade of blue.

Anyone can make an 8-year-old feel good about themselves. Try doing it for the kids who really need to feel good about themselves.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Things They Should Invent: slapstick comedy porn

Slapstick comedy involves usually an everyday activity, necessarily with some physical element, where things go hilariously wrong.

Sex is an everyday physical activity where when things go wrong it's hilarious.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Things They Should Invent:

I have a word in mind, but I can't remember what it is. I can think of a few words that sound kind of like it (start and end with the same few letters, probably same number of syllables long) but they mean different things. I have a general sense of its meaning, but everything I look up in the thesaurus is too strong - the word I have in mind is weaker and less intense - and I can't seem to navigate through a series of thesaurus words into weaker synonyms.

I want an online dictionary with a very advanced search function. Search by letter combinations found within the word, with wildcards available. A thesaurus with the attributes of each word, where you can search for synonyms with more or less of certain attributes. Maybe even get the geniuses who taught google how to correct spelling to make a "Did you mean..." for commonly confused words. This would save a lot of twirling around in my chair and staring at the ceiling and a lot of jumping out of bed to run to the computer just as I'm about to drift off to sleep!

Open letter to everyone who thinks profanity is uncreative

If you think profanity is uncreative, I want you to sit down and translate a court transcript of a case that involved profanity-filled threats being uttered by two very angry people, where every nuance must be properly captured to ensure that justice is served.

You find yourself walking around having conversations like this:

"So is this one like asshole?"
"Stronger than asshole"
"Piece of shit? No, I used that one earlier...fuckwit? cocksucker?"
"More than fuckwit, I think. You don't really want to use cocksucker because there are no homophobic connotations in the original."
"More than fuckwit...dickhead?"
"Is dickhead more than fuckwit?"
"I'm not sure...dickwad? Is that in common enough use?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When did they invent retro?

I recently discovered The Puppini Sisters, who are 1940s retro. Now 40s retro is awesome, I love the aesthetic and the music. But that got me thinking about the concept of retro. In the 1940s, would they have had retro? Would there have been bands in the 40s with the aesthetic and music of, say, the 1880s? I kind of doubt it. So when did they start doing retro? Who was the first person to do retro?

My client reserves the right to moan slightly

Why I want to be euthanized

Dan Savage describes his mother's death:

She could be put under and put on machines and live for a day or two in a coma, long enough for her other two children to get down to Tucson and say their good-byes, which she wouldn't be able to hear. Or she could live for maybe another six hours if she continued to wear an oxygen mask that forced air into her lungs with so much force it made her whole body convulse. Or she could take the mask off and suffocate to death. Slowly, painfully, over an hour or two.

This is why I want to be euthanized. Because I don't want to spend the last couple of hours of my life suffocating to death while being aware that I'm suffocating to death! It's not the pain that I'm worried about, it's the awareness. This is why I hate flying - not because I'm afraid that I'll die in the crash, but because I'll spend several minutes aware that we're about to die in a crash and helplessly unable to do anything about it. If my death ends up being a drawn-out process rather than a short sharp shock, I want to be anesthetized into complete unawareness or floating in a drug-induced happy-land or enjoying some sordid fantasy in some virtual reality system. I don't want to be lying there for two hours, suffocating to death and aware that it's happening!

The main argument against euthanasia seems to be a concern that people would abuse it and have people euthanized who really don't want to be euthanized. I don't expect everyone in the world to agree with me, but personally being euthanized against my will is so incredibly negligible compared with the prospect of suffocating to death while aware that it's happening! Please, I beg of you, don't make me go through that! Convicted criminals get to have lethal injections, why can't I?

Today I passed!

For the first time in my life, I wasn't carded by an LCBO cashier who was carding regularly! W00t!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Testing the Hill and Knowlton predictor

I decided to take the actual popular vote and plug it into the Hill and Knowlton predictor to see if it got it right.

Hill and Knowlton predicts:

Con 143
Lib 74
NDP 38
Green 0
Bloc 52
Other 1

Actual results:

Con 143
Lib 76
NDP 37
Green 0
Bloc 50
Independent 2

So that's 6 wrong out of 308, or 98% accuracy with perfect poll results.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voter's Resources

This is a post-dated post. If the date and time indicated for this post have not yet passed, there may be new material below.

Getting Started

First, go to the Elections Canada website and type in your postal code to find out your riding, your candidates, and where to vote.

If you have not received your voter information card, you can still vote on election day, you just need to take ID.

Your employer has to give you enough time off to ensure that you have three consecutive hours off during polling hours.


The platforms:

Bloc Quebecois (Click the link that contains "anglais" for the English version
Conservative Party
Green Party
Liberal Party

To help you figure out which party is best for you:

The Toronto Star's quiz

Strategy and Predictions

My "How to Vote"
My "Where to Vote"
My "How to Vote Strategically"

To help you with strategic voting:

Election Prediction Project
Hill and Knowlton Election Predictor You can use the poll results provided (scroll down to the Polls box at the bottom left, or the Globe and Mail's aggregate poll, or any other polls you can find.
DemocraticSPACE Strategic Voting Guide and seat predictions (PDF).

If I've missed anything or left any dead links, let me know.

No problem!

Dear Dear Abby's Correspondents:

You might be interested in my analysis on the use of "no problem" as a reply to "thank you".


Today I actually had to wait in line to vote, which has never happened before. It was the most crowded polling station I've ever been at. I'm not sure if this means high turnout, or if it's just because there are at least two (and possibly as many as four) new buildings in the hood since the last election. There were a lot of young voters there (or at least people who were dressed like they'd never been to the 80s before) and so many people were en couple that I felt kinda awkward not having a date.

I didn't get to pet a doggie (every election I've ever voted in that turned out positively I got to pet an awesome doggie on the way to or from voting) but I did see six awesome doggies (including an itty bitty baby puppy, a pointy pointy greyhound, and a little guy with the floppiest ears I've ever seen). I don't know how many awesome doggie sightings make up for one petting. I also saw like half a dozen cute babies/toddlers, but they don't seem to influence the outcome of elections.

I also saw scrutineers for the first time ever (unless they were there before and I didn't notice them). I saw three Conservative scrutineers and none from other parties. My riding is universally considered a safe Liberal riding.

I wish they timed the election returns better. The Atlantic returns come in, and then it's hours and hours until the rest of the country happens. Why not either everything at once, or staggered more regularly so there's a constant stream of results coming through?

Or I wish there were some way to let people who've already voted access the blacked-out information from other time zones. I've already voted! They can't influence me! Let me watch the returns!

Monday, October 13, 2008

On empathy

Recently there has been discussion about the importance/relevance of empathy when it comes to politicians setting/discussing economic policy. But I think people (or at least a few very loud people) are missing the point in this discussion.

When we talk about empathy, we don't mean getting a pat on our head and a hug and our feelings validated. We mean that the politicos grok our reality and govern accordingly. Even though most people would agree that it's important in principle, ultimately it doesn't matter to ordinary Canadians whether our economic indicators look good on paper. What actually matters to us is whether we can afford cheese and dental work and internet access. We don't care about the TSX numbers, we care about whether we will still be able to afford to retire at 65 as promised by our pension managers. We don't care what the unemployment rate or job growth numbers look like, we care that if today our household financial situation looks good and our job looks stable so we splurge and get our hair done, the situation doesn't suddenly reverse so that next week we're sitting there regretting our gorgeous red highlights because now our drug coverage is gone and we could have gotten a refill of our kid's prescription for that money.

Assuming that consumer spending is in fact important to a sound economy, the powers that be would do well to cultivate empathy. If we think they just care about on-paper indicators, we're going to batten down and hoard our assets to ride out the storm. But if we know that they've got our everyday realities in mind, we're more likely to go ahead and buy some gouda for a treat or get those red highlights.

Things They Should Invent: election night drinking game

Seriously. We need a drinking game for watching the returns tomorrow, but I got nothing.

If you're into placing bets, it would also be fun to place bets on what time the TV people are going to call the outcome of the election.

Edit: I prefer a more complex drinking game, where you drink based on random and unpredictable occurrences, or as punishment/reward. But failing that, here's a quick and dirty version:

Every time you find yourself yelling at the TV, take a drink.

Edit: I made one. Here it is.

Christina Aguilera vs. Andrews Sisters

Dear weather: WTF?

On Tuesday there's supposed to be a humidex of 30. Next Sunday it's supposed to go down to 2. WTF? No wonder the leaves are turning in the wrong order!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fleeing from buses

Heading home on the GO at night, driving through an eerie fog, sitting next to a creepy man who apparently had never seen a v-neck t-shirt before, my ipod kindly serving up Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (I don't even know why I have that on my ipod), I found myself thinking of Tim McLean.

Some people have criticized the other people on Tim's bus for fleeing the bus instead of fighting off his attacker. However, sitting there looking around my bus, it occurred to me that even if people in general were morally obligated to fight the attacker, everyone who was sitting in front of Tim was morally obligated to leave the bus.

Why? Because you can only exit the bus through the front door and the aisle is only one person wide. If anyone who was in front of the attack had tried to help, they would have had to run towards the back of the bus, thus blocking the aisle for anyone who wants to flee.

It is everyone's own prerogative to put their own life at risk to help someone else (or for any other purpose, really). But we don't have the moral right to prevent one innocent from saving their own life in order to attempt to save the life of another innocent. To run from the front of the bus back to where the attack took place would be like if firefighters ran into a burning building to save some trapped people, and in doing so blocked the way of people trying to flee through the fire escape.

ITunes questions

1. How do I get itunes to ignore album artwork? I don't care about the album artwork. I don't need it on my ipod, I don't need it on my computer, I don't need itunes taking up my valuable time and processing power fussing around with album artwork. How do I get it to completely ignore and disregard it?

2. Is there a way to get Genius to generate playlists without actually starting to play them? I want to play with Genius while I listen to music, but I don't need to hear every song I generate a playlist based on. I just want to play with it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weirdest disclaimer ever

The following is copy-pasted direction from the terms and conditions of the itunes software update:


Damn, there goes my plan to build an itunes-powered nuclear spacecraft!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another voting tool

To help you decide which party is best:

Again, pick your favourite answers to identify The Best Party, and your least favourite to identify The Worst Party. Keep the weighting the same.

I don't find this one as comprehensive, but it exists so I'm adding it to the list.

Discourse Analysis

Sitting for a taped interview with Steve Murphy, the anchor for CTV Halifax, Mr. Dion had been asked: "If you were prime minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper hasn't done?"

"If I had been prime minister 2½ years ago?" Mr. Dion replied.

"If you were the prime minister right now," Mr. Murphy explained.

Mr. Dion started talking about his 30-day action plan to tackle the crisis but had trouble enunciating and asked to start again. "I've been slow listening to your question."

Mr. Murphy repeated the question. Mr. Dion asked: "If I was prime minister starting when? Today?"

At one point a Liberal aide came in to explain the question.

There were language and communication problems here, but it was bi-directional. Let's walk through.

First, the interviewer asks:

"If you were prime minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper hasn't done?"

This is not phrased optimally because the wording of the first clause it not carefully chosen. As Anglophones, we can see what he's getting at, but it is never stated explicitly. The entire point that was misunderstood is contained in the words "would have done," which show that the interviewer meant what would Mr. Dion have done in the past and up to now during his mandate. However, French would not put meaning here and the Francophone brain therefore would not have thought to seek meaning here. French tends to use the conditional willy-nilly, when they're trying to be polite or trying to imply "allegedly" or to add more syllables to make it sound better, so the mere presence of the conditional is not necessarily meaningful. The Francophone brain would therefore look for temporal cues elsewhere in the sentence. And there is in fact a temporal cue elsewhere in the sentence in the word "now", but it is misleading. The interviewer doesn't actually mean "right this minute, on October 9, 2008." He means "in the run-up to and during the current economic crisis."

A better wording would have been to clearly state "If you had been Prime Minister since 2006, what would you have done..." or even to remove the red herring and emphasize that the meaning is in the conditional with "As Prime Minister, what would you have done..."

To properly interpret this sentence, Mr. Dion would have to a) recognize that the key meaning is in the would have done, which is not a place a Francophone brain would normally look for this meaning, b) know to reject the only explicit temporal cue in the sentence, c) recognize where the wording was and was not carefully chosen, and d) correctly infer the intended meaning.

So Mr. Dion asks for clarification by stating his interpretation as a yes/no question:

"If I had been prime minister 2½ years ago?"

As you can see, Mr. Dion did interpret the initial question correctly. However, this statement of his interpretation is not worded optimally for an Anglophone brain. The meaning is in the "2.5 years ago", which is the essential piece of information that (to the Francophone brain) was missing from the initial question - depuis 2.5 ans. However, the Anglophone brain is looking for meaning in the verbs because English likes to carry meaning in its verbs

A better wording would have been to put more meaning in the verb, such as "If I had been elected PM 2.5 years ago?"

To properly interpret this sentence, the interviewer would need to avoid inferring primary meaning from the pluperfect of the verb "to be" and instead recognize that the important point is "2.5 years ago"

So the interviewer attempts to clarify:

"If you were the prime minister right now"

This is the biggest communication breakdown in the whole conversation. The interviewer was confirming Mr. Dion's interpretation, but he did not use any affirmatives or repeat any of Mr. Dion's key words. In the absence of affirmatives or repetition of key words, I think the vast majority of people would not interpret a statement as confirmation, regardless of the actual content of the statement. (Example: I'm giving you directions. You ask me "Is it the green building?" I reply "It's #731." When you're at the right corner looking for #731, you're not even going to glance at the street number of the green building, are you?)

A better wording would be "Yes, if you had been elected PM 2.5 years ago" or "If you were elected PM in the last election" or "If you were PM during this economic crisis that started last week" or any other response containing a range of time and/or an affirmative.

To properly interpret this sentence, Mr. Dion would have had to ignore his every instinct (in any language) about how people usually go about confirming other people's statements, and infer the time range that has not yet been spoken out loud.

So Mr. Dion took this to mean that he's PM starting now and started outlining the plan in his platform. Then (apparently in response to the interviewer's reaction to his response), he asked to start over, again asking for the same clarification but this time more clearly:

"If I was prime minister starting when? Today?"

That "starting when" is the key point, the depuis that was missing from the initial question.

I'll bet you anything when the staffer came over to clarify, their clarification included the word (or if they were speaking English the concept of) depuis.

My Ugly Betty ship

I now have a ship for Ugly Betty:

Daniel Jr. + Justin

Not right now, but maybe 5-10 years in the future.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

How to get women to stay at home with the kids

It seems some of Antonia Zerbisias's correspondents take offence at the fact that some mothers might go to work instead of staying at home with the kids. But they're going about this all wrong. Instead of starting with blogs and emails trying to convince people that a mother at home is the right decision philosophically and ethically, instead of trying to achieve it by default by eliminating other child care options, they need to take the opposite approach and start with labour conditions.

For example, if I had a husband and children, I would have to have to have to keep working. We'd have no choice. Why? Because I was fortunate to stumble upon a rare job with drug and dental coverage, life insurance and disability insurance. Neither mi cielito nor any other man I have ever met who would make a vaguely compatible partner has had such a job. The vast vast majority of jobs we've ever seen advertised or are otherwise aware of that we might be reasonably qualified to do have been temporary or contract positions with constant uncertainty. Under these conditions, before we even get to the question of whether the salary is sufficient, it would be downright irresponsible for me to leave my job if I had a child, because that would be leaving the child without insurance coverage and with no safety net in case of emergency. And even if we didn't need the money right this minute, even if we could do without the insurance for a few years, it would be irresponsible for me to let go of this job because it is very unlikely that either I or my husband would be able to find another comparable job if needed.

Now if we lived in a world where everyone with post-secondary education and a few years of work experience can automatically get a job that has benefits and pays enough to support a family, and if they lose that job they can easily get another, then people can go around leaving perfectly good jobs. And after this goes on for a while and people grow comfortable with the fact that good jobs are available free for the taking and you can just stop working and stay home without any disadvantages except the loss of your income, then you can start talking about who you think should stay home. But until all jobs can support families, there's no way you will ever be able to convince anyone to quit a job that can support a family.

So revolutionize labour conditions first. Lobby for an economy where a typical job can support a family. Lobby for a stronger social safety net so people don't need to be earning and squirreling away every possible dollar in case of job loss. Create a world where someone can stay home. Then people will be open to hashing out the details of who should stay home and why.

The problem with abusive relationships

The problem with abusive relationships (apart from, you know, all the real problems with abusive relationships) is that they've ruined walking into doors for everyone.

Last night I actually did walk into a door. I'd left a closet door open that I normally leave closed, then I forgot about it when I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night without turning any lights on. And the only think I could think is "Shit, I hope I don't get any bruises, no one will ever believe me!" Then I lay awake trying to think of excuses for my door and come up with a convincing story that wouldn't lead anyone to conclude that I was being beaten.

Luckily I didn't have any bruising when I woke up, just a teeny little bump with no discolouration (not even a goose egg, a robin egg maybe) that no one will even notice if they're not looking for it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

But this comes in a close second to winning the internet

Notable defenstrations in history

What? How can I go to sleep when the internet is full of stuff like this?

YouTube imitates xkcd

I hereby declare whoever did this the winner of the whole internet.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I wish we could all see how hard things are for each other

The world would be a much better place if we could all somehow see when something is hard for another person. For example, making business phone calls is hard for me. If the person on the other end of the phone could somehow see that I'd had to screw up all my courage to make the call, they could manage their end of the interaction better. And if I could see that they hate answering the phone or they're having a really bad day or something, I could manage my end better.

Unfortunately, this is a circumstance where transparency doesn't work. With the possible exception of certain medical contexts, you can't really say "This is really hard for me and it took me a lot of courage just to call." If you do, it makes it sound like you want to be treated like you're oh so special or something.

Economic turmoil makes me want to spend money

The weird nature of my job makes me a few steps removed from the current economic turmoil. I'm sure it's going to hit me eventually, but right now it's just in the headlines.

This makes me want to spend money.

Logically I know I shouldn't, logically I know I should save it up because I can see the stormfront coming. But the devil on my shoulder keeps whispering in my ear that technically I can justify spending money now, so I should do it while I can justify it. If I buy pretty things now when I can justify it, then when I lose my job I'll have my pretty things and I can just shrug my shoulders and go "Oh well, can't unspend the money."

More election resources

1. The Star has a quiz to help you determine which party's platform is the best match for you. If you're using my How To Vote, this quiz will identify The Best Party. You can then use it to identify The Worst Party by answering the questions again, this time picking the option you like least for each (keep the weighting the same though).

2. I just noticed that the Hill and Knowlton Predictor can automatically generate predictions for the latest polls. Just scroll down to the Polls box on the bottom left, then click on Display Prediction under the poll of your choice.

I'm going to update the Voter's Resources post to reflect this.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fuck, I hope this isn't my fault

Attention psychos:

When I idly mused that Carolyn Bennett is a strange choice of target for sabotage, I wasn't saying that you should go out and find a better target! I was just thinking out loud is all!


Also: check out the photo in the CBC article linked above. That graffiti is in absolutely gorgeous handwriting! I can't write that beautifully with a pen and paper and all the time in the world, but this person did it with spray paint on a vertical surface, presumably in the dark and presumably in a hurrt. That's quite a skill set, especially in combination with the knowledge and tools to cut brake lines and phone lines. If this was a police procedural, that would be all the information they need right there.

Also: it would be helpful if the media would include in their reporting tips on what (if anything) a driver can do to check if their brake lines have been cut before they start driving.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

All the people stared as if we were both quite insane

Rediscovered song of the day:

Weirdest political intimidation decision ever!

People have been cutting the brake lines of Carolyn Bennett supporters.

Carolyn Bennett! She's like the most innocuous politician ever! She's a perky obstetrician who spouts the party line during campaign season and does harmless public health and women's caucus work the rest of the time. I cannot imagine how she's worth cutting brake lines to anyone of any political persuasion. If you're an ABCer, imagine someone with the politics of Joe Clark but no special clout within the party. Not worth the trouble, eh?

This is Toronto, there are lots of ridings close together. There are swing ridings and big-name Liberal Party candidates just a quick subway ride away. Why on earth would you pick on Carolyn Bennett?

No, I am Spartacus

Okay, fine, I confess. I am the author of What To Expect When You're Aborting. Y'all can stop harassing and threatening random internet people now.

Let's have a forced coalition government

You know what would be an awesome election outcome? A seat distribution where you need three parties to have a majority, but it can be any three parties. So no one party can pass or block a piece of legislation, and no one party single-handedly holds balance of power.

I don't know if this is even mathematically possible (maybe we'd need five parties to make it happen? Maybe we'd need a seat distribution with a small number of Green or independent MPs who somehow don't hold balance of power themselves?)

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Helpful hint: even though opening links in new windows can be helpful for the user, there is no good reason whatsoever to have the link redirecting the user to your new site open in a new window.

The problem with good ventriloquism

I'm not hugely into ventriloquism, but when I do enjoy ventriloquism I tend to forget that it's ventriloquism and just enjoy the humour. The problem with this is that I don't appreciate the ventriloquist's skill. For example, they just showed this on TV (it's still on the Comedy Network if you're reading right now and will be on Comedy West again in three hours):

At about 1:30, where they start doing the pronunciation bit, that's a ventriloquism trick! The ventriloquist is showing off that he can do something technically difficult. But we don't even notice, because we're too busy being entertained.

Stop saying that Sarah Palin has long hair!

I was shocked when I opened the Toronto Star yesterday and saw this picture of US politician Sarah Palin.

Why? Because people on the internet have been describing her as having long hair (apparently it's unusual for a woman in her position or something). But that isn't long hair! That's shoulder-length hair! It's a completely different thing! Shoulder-length doesn't get caught in the hook of your bra or the zipper of your dress, you don't have to bun your ponytail while cooking or doing a bikini wax lest it fall into your work when you lean forward, and you can experiment more freely with colour because worst case it will grow out in under a year without ruining your look. You want someone with long hair, find someone whose hair will, at the absolute minimum, cover their nipples - when they aren't wearing extensions or a bra.

This explains why I wasn't able to duplicate her updo. With shoulder-length hair, you fold your hair once and clip it up, and you've got an updo. With proper long hair, you fold your hair once and clip it up, and you've got a ponytail that perhaps doesn't get caught in your waistband. The weight distribution is completely different.

On an unrelated note, I found this quote interesting (bolding is mine):

"Let's commit ourselves (to) just every day American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again,'' Palin said.

"Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars.''

So in the US, "everyday American people" who would identify as "Joe Sixpack" have enough money that they have people managing their money for them? Wow, they must have a lot of money in that country! Like hockey moms maybe - I hear hockey equipment is expensive and (if the economics of rink time in the US are the same as here) rink time is at a premium so it must get costly too - so people who can not only afford children but can also afford to have those children play hockey would have to be people of means. But everyday joe sixpack people having so much money they need people to manage it for them? In my corner of the world, that's like a win-the-lottery kind of lifestyle!

Things They Should Invent: mark as "WTF?"

In the reader comments sections of newspapers, you can mark other comments as offensive, and sometimes you can mark them as agree or disagree.

But we also need a WTF option, for when the comment is just way fucking irrelevant, so fucking irrelevant that the profanity is in fact strictly necessary. The thesis of the article: "Look, baby ducks!" Comments: "See, this is what's wrong with the Purple Party!"

I'd also like a mark as factually incorrect option. If someone posts "Acme widgets should be banned because they contain 10 times as many heavy metals as other brands of widgets" you can sometimes mark it as disagree, but that doesn't express that you disagree on the basis that they actually contain the same amount of heavy metals as other widgets, as opposed to disagreeing because you don't think they should be banned. Yes, you can post another comment in response, but you can't guarantee it will be seen by everyone who reads the first comment.

The problem with the internet

The problem with the internet is that whatever you're googling about, there's at least one person on the internet who has tried it and had it go horribly wrong. And then they post about it, loudly, dramatically, and without quite the information you need. ("Whatever you do, don't use Acme Widgets! They'll ruin your life!" Um, okay, but how exactly?)

But the problem is we have no way to figure out how common it is for that thing to go horribly wrong, or how many people tried the thing and it went so unremarkably smoothly that it never occurred to them to write about it on the internet.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Things They Should Invent: plant-watering tower

You know how when you water your plants, you're supposed to water them until the water starts dripping out the bottom of the pot? That wastes water! Yeah, it's only a little, but it does waste water.

So what we need is a thing where you put all your plants one on top of another, held onto a vertical stick with clamps or something. Then you water the top plant and let the drippings water the next plant, then water that plant if the drippings aren't enough, etc. etc. until all the drippings have been reclaimed.

It would probably take more resources to manufacture than would be saved by reclaiming the drippings.

Now taking suggestions for a new nervous habit

I've been twirling my hair lately as a nervous habit. I seriously have no idea whatsoever when or why I started doing this or what my previous nervous habit was (I always have a nervous habit going, I can't function without one), but I'd like to stop the hair twirling because it looks ditzy.

Any thoughts on what would make a better, more respectable-looking nervous habit are welcome. Previous workable nervous habits include fiddling with my necklace (that one ended when all my necklaces broke), cracking knuckles (now not workable because there are people in the cubes near me), and twirling a pen (now not workable because I'm at a computer all day instead of in a classroom).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's not self-expression, it's sovereignty

Conventional wisdom is that being permitted to dress and do hair and makeup however you want allows you to express yourself. This often comes up when people are talking about teenagers, and I think I first met the concept in high school when (for reasons I forget) they were talking about having school uniforms.

But I don't think it's self-expression that people are actually talking about. I think they mean sovereignty over one's own body. That's why I find it liberating to wear make-up and heels and generally present as femme as I can muster. I'm asserting sovereignty over my own body by making it look how I want it to look (if my efforts are successful) or at least alluding to how I want it to look (if my efforts are unsuccessful). I'm in charge, I'm in control - not my genetics, not the expectations of my parents or employer or whomever. My body is my territory, but instead of planting a flag I leave my mark with lipstick and underwires.

I think this is also the rest of my objection to school uniforms. Previously I objected on the basis that a) it's Paul Bernardo's fetish, b) it's inherently punitive, as though we can't be trusted with clothes by virtue of the fact that we're teenagers, and c) a huge part of what made me realize that the world was bigger than the middle school cafeteria (thus mitigating some of my shyness, knocking some chips off my shoulder, and giving me perhaps a modicum of self-confidence) was going to high school and seeing people in a huge variety of different clothes all interacting civilly with each other, which made me realize that normal people aren't actually worrying about the shade of blue of my jeans. But there was another part of my objection that I couldn't articulate, and I think this is it. By putting students in uniforms, schools would not only be taking away the most obvious way for the student to assert sovereignty over their own bodies, the school would also be asserting its own sovereignty over the students in its place. And that's just dehumanizing.

Things I am currently wondering

1. Can people generally tell how smart or stupid they are? I've been told my whole life, but I don't think I can actually assess it objectively. And the longer I live, the more I think the people telling me I'm smart didn't know what they were talking about.

2. Anyone else think Antonia Zerbisias at the Star seems kind of artificially limited writing about women's issues? I keep getting the impression that she has all kinds of interesting things to say, but has to sort of force them to fit into the "women's issues" category. I'd be much more interested in reading her write about whatever she wants regardless of how it could be categorized.

3. I would do horribly in a survivalist situation. I'm much better in civilization, in a knowledge-based economy where I can trade brains for money and money for goods and services. Some people consider this a sort of moral failing and point out that in the olden days I wouldn't have had the comforts of my current lifestyle. But it occurs to me that that's irrelevant, because in the olden days I wouldn't have survived infancy. The circumstances of my infancy are completely unremarkable now, with fully-equipped neonatal wards readily available, but if I were born to cavemen or medieval peasants I would never have survived (which would also have been completely unremarkable). So in the great tradition of pluralizing "anecdote" as "data", I wonder if there's any correlation between how well people would do in a survivalist situation and whether they would have survived infancy without the intervention of modern medicine?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Best illustration ever

Check out the illustration at the top right!

(The article is nothing new, I just like the illustration.)

I should have paid more attention to Alanis in high school

If I had, I would have realized much sooner that my former religion was an abusive relationship.

Forgiven - Alanis Morissette