Poseur Alert

Nov 28 2014 @ 11:21am

“American culture is just about blowjobs and golf,” – Shia LaBeouf.

Renaming Black Friday

Nov 28 2014 @ 11:09am

Freddy Gray of the British Spectator proposes a “Gray Friday”:

There are two rules:

  • The first is that we do not buy anything. Nothing. Is that even possible? It must be. We can save the retail sector by bingeing for the rest of the year.
  • The second rule of Gray Friday is that we click ‘unsubscribe’ in response to any email in our inboxes that has ‘Black Friday’ in the subject line. This hits the companies where it really hurts by damaging their all-important databases.

This shall be followed by Real Monday, when we boycott the Internet for a day. Workers have a dispensation: any internet use necessary for work is allowed. But social media and online shopping should be avoided.

The Dish is grandfathered in.

Conserving The Cute Ones

Nov 28 2014 @ 10:49am

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Carrie Arnold points out that conservationists bank on more attractive endangered species:

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are over 1,200 threatened mammalian species in the world, and over 300 are near threatened. But only 80 species are used by conservation organizations to raise funds and nearly all of them can be described as large, furry, and cute, according to a 2012 analysis by Bob Smith at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom.

The science behind why we feel extra-protective of adorable animals:

Read On

Just Another Frantic Friday

Nov 28 2014 @ 9:42am

James Poulos celebrates Wal-Mart’s decision to spread its Black Friday promotions over five days:

Walmart is actually defying the logic embraced so grimly by Sears, Kmart, and millions of citizen-shoppers. Rather than chumming the aisles for the mother of all feeding frenzies, Walmart is breaking up Black Friday – “trying to cater to the changing tastes of shoppers who no longer find it appealing to camp out in the middle of the night in hopes of snagging a steal,” as The Wall Street Journal reports. Top U.S. merchant Duncan Mac Naughton explained that “people” – yes, even the uncouth and uncool – “want to shop on their own schedules,” not “set times prescribed by the retailers.” Fewer and fewer of them, says Mac Naughton, are caught roaming the store “in the middle of the night.” We should all give thanks that Walmart, so readily and reasonably caricatured as the spawn of Satan incarnate, should use its inexorable powers to shunt critics of every stripe out of their well-worn ruts.

But Barry Ritholtz sees business as usual for Wal-Mart and the other big retailers:

Read On

Colored With Complexity

Nov 28 2014 @ 8:47am

Sebastian Smee celebrates the 50th-anniversary edition of Joseph Albers’ design classic Interaction of Color:

Color’s relativity had been established (and scorned by chromophobes) long before Interaction of Color came along. What was ingenious, and groundbreaking, was the way Albers presented the evidence: clearly, rationally, with each concise lesson leading on to the next, so that he achieved his goal – the honing of color sensitivity – in an unfolding, absorbing process. Using colored paper salvaged from printers’ workshops and bookbinders, pieces of magazine pages, paint samples, and rolls of unused wallpaper, he crafted extraordinarily effective demonstrations of color’s startling and deceptive behavior.

Read On

A Win For Retail Workers

Nov 28 2014 @ 7:41am

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave a holiday gift to city retail workers on Tuesday, unanimously approving a package of measures “aimed at giving retail staffers more predictable schedules and access to extra hours”. Claire Zillman elaborates:

The ordinances will require businesses to post workers’ schedules at least two weeks in advance. Workers will receive compensation for last-minute schedule changes, “on-call” hours, and instances in which they’re sent home before completing their assigned shifts. Businesses must also offer existing part-time workers additional hours before hiring new employees, and they are required to give part-timers and full-timers equal access to scheduling and time-off requests. …

San Francisco’s proposal takes sharp aim at employers’ tendency to schedule workers’ hours with little notice—a practice especially prevalent in retail. Earlier this year, University of Chicago professors found that employers determined the work schedules of about half of young adults without employee input, which resulted in part-time schedules that fluctuated between 17 and 28 hours per week. Forty-seven percent of employees ages 26 to 32 who work part time receive one week or less in advance notice of the hours they’re expected to work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bryce Covert cheers:

Read On

It Means The World

Nov 27 2014 @ 9:09pm

Adam Frank suggests we should all be grateful for “this corner of the universe as embodied in the unlikely blue world we call home”:

A quick review of our solar system makes it clear that good planets are hard to find. The sun hosts eight worlds, at least six large moons, countless asteroids and countless comets. Of all those bodies there is only one place with warm oceans and blue skies and cool breezes and rainfall. And, of all the sun’s children, there is only one place where life has run riot.

It’s easy to take the Earth — and its ceaseless buzzing of wings and legs and fins — for granted. It’s easy to forget its staggering beauty or its almost incomprehensible strangeness in the near vacuum of interstellar space. But in its subtle coupling of air, ice, water and rock, our planet is nothing short of a miracle.

There are, likely, much worse places in the cosmos to try and eek out a lifetime. Places with less color, less majesty, less warmth, less coolness, less joy, less wonder. So, no matter what your year has been like — no matter what you may have lost — there is always the Earth.

A Poem For Thanksgiving

Nov 27 2014 @ 8:32pm

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“First Thanksgiving” by Sharon Olds:

When she comes back, from college, I will see

the skin of her upper arms, cool,

matte, glossy. She will hug me, my old

soupy chest against her breasts,

I will smell her hair! She will sleep in this apartment,

her sleep like an untamed, good object, like a

soul in a body. She came into my life the

second great arrival, fresh

from the other world—which lay, from within him,

within me. Those nights, I fed her to sleep,

week after week, the moon rising,

and setting, and waxing—whirling, over the months,

in a steady blur, around our planet.

Now she doesn’t need love like that, she has

had it. She will walk in glowing, we will talk,

and then, when she’s fast asleep, I’ll exult

to have her in that room again,

behind that door! As a child, I caught

bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds,

looked into their wild faces,

listened to them sing, then tossed them back

into the air—I remember the moment the

arc of my toss swerved, and they entered

the corrected curve of their departure.

(From Blood, Tin, Straw: Poems by Sharon Olds © 1999 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Photo by Tom Wachtel)

High From A Holiday Spice?

Nov 27 2014 @ 7:55pm

Deborah Blum separates fact from fiction when it comes to having fun with nutmeg:

In the 1965 book, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” the activist describes purchasing it from inmates in a South Carolina prison, concealed in matchboxes, and stirring it into water. “A penny matchbox full of nutmeg had the kick of three or four reefers,” he wrote.

Toxicologists say that description is somewhat misleading, an overly romantic account of nutmeg’s generally unpleasant effects. It takes a fair amount of nutmeg — two tablespoons or more — before people start exhibiting symptoms. These can include an out-of-body sensation, but the most common are intense nausea, dizziness, extreme dry mouth, and a lingering slowdown of normal brain function. Dr. Gussow said nutmeg experimenters have compared it to a two-day hangover.

“People have told me that it feels like you are encased in mud,” said Dr. Edward Boyer, professor of emergency medicine and chief of the division of medical toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “You’re not exactly comatose, but you feel really sluggish. And your remembrance of events during this time period is incomplete at best.”

Dreher actually tried it:

Teenage Home Experiment here. Let’s say you are a 17-year-old boy living in a residential high school in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and you and your friends are bored out of your minds.

Read On

Face Of The Day

Nov 27 2014 @ 7:04pm

California Turkey Farm Supplies Birds For Thanksgiving Dinners

A turkey sits in a barn at the Willie Bird Turkey Farm in Sonoma, California. An estimated forty six million turkeys are cooked and eaten during Thanksgiving meals in the United States. By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.