The End Of Gamer Culture? Ctd

Oct 24 2014 @ 10:15pm

Just a short note because the last sentence in the post is being misunderstood, which is my fault, because I wrote it. Here’s the context:

That piece was not so much “covering the phenomenon” as viciously skewing it. And yes, its tone smacked of bullying and dismissal. When you’re telling people they don’t even deserve to be in a debate, and associate them with segregationists and every other entity good liberals have been taught to despise, “dismissive” is the least of it.

Look: whatever case the gamergate peeps have, they have botched it with their tactics. Those tactics have been repellent in every sense of the word. But bullying has occurred on both sides, and only one side was bullied before.

The two sides I am describing are the journalists whose work I was just criticizing and the gamergate supporters. Not the whole two sides of gamer culture; not men and women; just the journalists I’ve been citing, and the people they’ve been lambasting.

This Is Your Brain On Sleep

Oct 24 2014 @ 9:00pm

eddybowie

Cody C. Delistraty highlights the latest research on sleep’s importance for your mental health:

Getting less than five hours of sleep a night makes people dumber and less able to concentrate, and it can make people more susceptible to false memories, according to a new study published in the September issue of Psychological Science.

Led by Steven J. Frenda of the University of California, Irvine, the study found that of the 193 people tested, participants who slept for less than five hours a night were significantly more likely to say they had seen a news video when they in fact never had. The sleep-deprived group was also more suggestible. While recounting a personal story, 38 percent of them incorporated false information the researchers had given them, whereas only 28 percent of those who had more than five hours of sleep accepted the researchers’ false information in their story retelling. Frenda and his researchers postulate that not sleeping significantly disturbs our ability to encode information.

(Photo: Eddy and Bowie zonked out)

Face Of The Day

Oct 24 2014 @ 8:32pm

Shooting At High School In Marysville, Washington

Students and family members embrace after leaving Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the aftermath of a shooting on the high school’s campus in Marysville, Washington on October 24, 2014. At least two are dead, including the shooter, according to authorities, with several more wounded. By David Ryder/Getty Images.

Why Do Americans Go Out Sick? Ctd

Oct 24 2014 @ 8:00pm

A reader shakes his head:

The post this morning in which Julia Ioffe blames American individualism for the tendency of Americans to go to work or school sick is missing the fundamental cause. According to a report by the Center for Economic Policy and Research, the United States is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation time and is one of only a few rich countries that doesn’t require employers to offer at least some paid holidays. A full quarter of the US workforce receives no paid vacation or holiday time. It shouldn’t be surprising to find that when faced with the prospect of not getting paid or giving up scarce vacation days, American workers choose to show up sick.

Another notes that even businesses with sick-leave policies discourage workers from calling in with the flu:

Read On

A Poem For Friday

Oct 24 2014 @ 7:33pm

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“What the Pencil Writes” by James Laughlin:

Often when I go out I
put in my coat pocket

some paper and a pen-
cil in case I want to

write something down
well there they are

wherever I go and as
my coat moves the pen-

cil writes by itself
a kind of gibberish

hieroglyphic which I
often think as I un-

dress at night & take
out those papers with

nothing written on
them but strange and

meaningless marks is
the story of my life.

(From The Collected Poems of James Laughlin, 1935-1997, edited with an introduction and notes by Peter Glassgold © 1995 by James Laughlin. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. Photo by Oscar Cortez)

Will Ukraine Vote West?

Oct 24 2014 @ 7:01pm

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is looking forward to a handy victory in Sunday’s elections, despite security concerns and the fact that most residents of separatist-held areas in the east will not be voting:

Poroshenko is seeking a mandate to press ahead with a plan for ending the conflict with separatists in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern regions and establishing an understanding with Moscow while pursuing a course of European integration. Interfax news agency quoted him as saying on Thursday that he expected to be able to begin forming a new coalition by early next week that would be “pro-European, anti-corruption, without liars and populists.”

Stephen Sestanovich also predicts that mainstream, pro-Europe parties allied with Poroshenko will take a plurality or even a majority of seats, while the Communists and right-wing nationalist parties will be marginalized:

Recent polls show President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc likely to get 30% or so of the vote for party lists. (Half of the new Rada, or parliament, will be elected proportionally; the rest will be chosen in single-member districts.) Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front may get around 11%, and it’s possible that together he and President Poroshenko will command a majority of seats.

On both the left and right, parties hoping to collect protest votes are being disappointed.

Read On

Where America Eats

Oct 24 2014 @ 6:15pm

dish_diner

John Leavitt pens an ode to the True American Diner:

[N]ot all diners are exactly alike. There are vintage sleek bullet diners, modern silver-and-neon highway beacons, converted farmhouses, dusty desert truck stops, low-slung ranch-styles attached to motels, and mansard roof shoeboxes full of fake grapevines that resemble suburbian banks. Somewhere, there is neon. There are always leather or leather-ish clad booths in a True American Diner; without them, it’s just a breakfast joint. …

True American Diners exist in a bubble of no-nonsense egalitarianism; they exist outside socioeconomic distinctions, because there is something for everyone. There are always at least two retired people at the counter; they will never speak to each other or anyone else. Someone is on the run from the law; someone is the law. There are always at least two teenagers in a True American Diner and they are simultaneously talking about nothing and having The Most Important Conversation Of Their Lives. You wouldn’t go there for a special occasion, but you can always go there after one: proms, weddings, or funerals.

Without diners, where would outlaws stop to discuss bank robberies over coffee? Where would strippers go when they get off work? Where would covert agents talk about business with waffles or lovers arrange clandestine meetings? Without diners, are you even sure you’re in America?

(Hat tip: The Browser. Photo by liz west)

Ebola Reaches NYC, Ctd

Oct 24 2014 @ 5:44pm

Noam Scheiber contends that NYC officials clearly lied when insisting “Dr. Spencer acted entirely appropriately and responsibly”:

Despite the fact that Dr. Spencer presented a miniscule risk to anyone around him when he decided to ride the subway, go bowling, and frolic at the High Line Park on Wednesday, he obviously should not have been out and about. His decision to do those things forced the city to shut down and extensively clean the bowling alley in question and dispatch its “medical detectives” all over the city to figure out whom he may have come into contact with. Spencer’s wanderings probably also put a crimp in all the retail establishments along his Wednesday route. And they have generally required the city to manage the suddenly tormented psyches of millions of New Yorkers. It doesn’t seem like asking a guy to hang out in his apartment for a few weeks would have been too much to ask in order to avoid this mess. (On top of which, it’s become our policy in this country to quarantine anyone who had direct contact with an Ebola patient, as Dr. Spencer did repeatedly. Why should someone be exempt from this rule just because the contact happened outside the country?)

So, as I say, we were some lies told last night.

But, he admits, “I kinda think Cuomo et al were right to lie”:

Read On

The NYPD is trying to determine whether a man who attacked four rookie police officers with a hatchet yesterday afternoon has links to terrorist organizations:

Read On

A Shot At Democracy For Tunisia

Oct 24 2014 @ 4:43pm

Noah Feldman previews the upcoming legislative elections, the country’s first since ratifying its new constitution in January. The main contenders are the ruling Ennahda party, which espouses a moderate form of political Islam, and Nidaa Tounes, a secular party whose main appeal to many voters “is that it isn’t Ennahda”:

What will happen Sunday? Polls are relatively unreliable, but in general they have the two parties running close with Nidaa perhaps somewhat ahead. For Ennahda, the best result would be to win a plurality, then form a governing coalition with Nidaa or smaller secularist parties. … If Ennahda does win a plurality, expect the party to keep its promise of not running a presidential candidate. Ennahda knows that with a legislative plurality and the president from his own party, it would be too powerful and might well provoke a response.

If Nidaa wins a plurality, however, the situation will become more complicated.

Read On