Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ancient in Internet Time

I wonder what's become of these kids.



In other game-relatedness, pervs:
I am sitting in a pink computer chair, behind a white desk. I am playing Super Hexagon. There is another woman standing behind my seat, watching me carefully. If I fail to achieve a satisfactory time, I will be physically punished in some capacity. And she is also doing her best to distract me, lithe fingers exploring my shoulders, neck, face.

A normal session of Super Hexagon, for me, is a series of near-instant failures punctuated by an occasional good run. Having this presence behind me radically alters the way in which I play the game. It's not so much the threat of punishment that raises the stakes for me, but the fear of disappointing her, of letting her down.

She's asking me questions while I'm playing now but I'm finding them hard to answer. I've heard that the best Hexagon players need something like this -- the distraction actually helps them do better. But my head is already fuzzy from the earlier blows, I feel myself slipping into subspace. She asks about how I'm experiencing things and the best I can muster is something about how much more tense I am than usual. "That's a pretty surface observation," she remarks, disappointed, and I feel completely embarrassed.

Her loose grey top slips off her shoulder, her body a disheveled puzzle of skin and fabric zones.

In this space we can act on otherwise dangerous instincts--for me, an exhilarating cruelty, a way to be powerful and manipulative and terrible in a way that harms no one. For her, being swallowed into this place where it’s safe to be ashamed, struggling, and vulnerable.
For both of us, a way to be incredibly close to another human being, to share our darkness with each other.
Other forms of pervs lose in a minority decision:
The 5-4 ruling written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concluded that there should be a "gateway," albeit narrow, though which offenders can pass if they are able to make a credible case for thier innocence regardless of the passage of a deadline. Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia were among the dissenters. The high count sent the case back to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati for consideration on that point.
Buildings as furries:
Swedish firm Belatchew Arkitekter has designed a conceptual add-on to buildings that challenge the notion of fixed structures while also providing a necessary function. Their "Strawscraper" concept involves cloaking a building -- Söder Torn, one of the tallest buildings in Stockholm -- in thin, movable plastic straws, or "hairs," that capture wind and convert it into electricity. The proposed design also includes the adding of 16 floors to the structure, restoring the vision of Söder Torn as designed by the original architects, Henning Larsen, before a disagreement between them and the client forced them to quit the project.
Book review:
That's the real joy of "Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation." Marrying his obvious skill as a storyteller to his encyclopedic knowledge of animation history, Sito has crafted this ridiculously readable book which is just loaded with entertaining insights. Sometimes surprising ...

Director Ted Berman and Richard Rich asked to get the multiplane camera out from storage to create some shots (for The Black Cauldron ). The multiplane was a device invented at Walt Disney in 1937 to simulate the illusion of depth using 2D flat art. This was done by mounting a camera vertically to shoot down through layers of background art painted on glass, all moving to precise calibrations. The multiplane was expensive to use, and Walt had it mothballed after Lady and the Tramp (1955). When (Berman and Rich) tried to get it running again for Cauldron, they discovered hardly anyone remembered how to use it and no one had left behind any written instructions.

Other times quite melancholy ...

Starting in 2003 the Walt Disney Company had begun to eliminate most of the traditional animation crew trained by the golden age masters, as simply as one would dump an old typewriter in the attic ... When master animator Frank Thomas died in 2004, there was a memorial at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. Many of the former Disney animators there paused to wonder if they were there to mourn Thomas or their own careers ...

"Moving Innovation" is a must-read. Not just if you're an animation fan or a film history buff. But also if you want an up-close look at some of the most powerful people working in Hollywood today.
How to write good:
“Want to jack off together some time?” our friend August said to my husband, Jeff, one night over the phone. He invited Jeff to masturbate with him as casually as he might ask him to lunch. “It’s not a gay thing. It’s an Indian blood brothers thing,” he added.

Jeff was speechless. August was married to Dana, also a friend (their names have been changed, of course). Did she know what her husband was doing behind her back?

After gently declining the invitation and hanging up, Jeff told me about their conversation. “August made me promise not to tell you, but I didn’t think it was right to keep it from you,” he said.

I wanted to close my eyes and pretend this was not happening.

[...]

Besides, Jeff and I were running out of friends. As a childless, married couple in our mid-30’s, it was hard to find other DINKS (double income, no kids) to spend time with.

[...]

Marilyn Friedman is the founder of Writing Pad, a creative writing school in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Goodbye

More at this link:
Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who led the abortion movement in Canada, has died at age 90.

Carolyn Egan, with the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics, said she spoke with members of Morgentaler's family, who told her he died early Wednesday morning, surrounded by family, and that it was a peaceful death at his Toronto home.

Morgentaler emerged in 1969 as one of Canada's most controversial figures when he broke the law at the time, and opened the country's first abortion clinic in Montreal.

Over the next two decades, he would be heralded as a hero by some, and called a murderer by others as he fought to change Canada's abortion laws.

Morgentaler, who was born in Lodz, Poland, and came to Canada after the Second World War, emerged in 1967 as an advocate for the right of women to have abortion on demand — a polarizing issue in Canada. His abortion clinic in Montreal was followed by more clinics across the country.

"His work changed the legal landscape in Canada, and eventually led to the 1988 landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that gave women the right to obtain abortion care," said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation.

"Dr. Morgentaler was a legend, a hero, and a national treasure in both our countries, and we will miss him dearly."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rage Rage Against the Raging of the Machine

John Hawkins says GO GO GADGET LISTS!
10 Musicians Who Should Be Blacklisted By Conservatives
John Hawkins | May 28, 2013
Hooray for blacklisting! Everyone looks heroic after a good blacklisting.
"Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have." -- Saul Alinsky
If there's anything musicians love, it's having an intellectual foundation for whatever it is they do after the alcohol is delivered.
Republicans spend too much time complaining about liberals boycotting the advertisers on conservatives’ shows and not enough time doing the same thing to the Left. If movie stars trash conservatives, we should be very publicly telling people we're not going to their films and we should take credit if they bomb. If a corporate CEO embraces liberalism, don't buy that company’s products and tell the world why you're doing it. Let him explain to his board of directors why standing up for gay marriage or abortion was worth losing millions of dollars. Seventy percent of the country is Christian, roughly half the country supports the Republican Party and forty percent of Americans are conservative. There are a lot of businesses, artists and musicians who simply cannot survive without the support of people like us. The only reason they dare to trash us or publicly support people who hate our guts is because we all too often shrug our shoulders and then willingly hand over our money to people who despise us.
Yes, conservatives are cringing sheep who never bother to complain. This is why they are never portrayed in the media as hypocritical blowhard party-pooping assholes and when they never are no money is made.
When it comes to musicians who attack conservatives, Christians, Republicans, America -- or alternately, embrace the Left, don't give them your money. Don't buy their albums or their T-shirts and don’t go to their shows. Even if you do like their music, don't pay for it and don't talk it up publicly. Fans are oxygen for these people -- starve them of it and let other musicians start to worry about the reaction if they go after us.
I say boycott Lady Gaga! IT HASN'T BEEN TRIED.
That's not unfair; it's just restoring balance. People who rely on the goodwill of the general public shouldn't be trashing the people who pay their bills. Artists should be flattered, not outraged when Republican politicians want to use their songs. Conservatives in the music industry shouldn't be cowed into silence by threats and abuse while liberal musicians smear the conservatives, Christians, Republicans and patriots who buy their records with no repercussions.
So people who rely on the "goodwill" of the general public shouldn't be trashing the people - generating "badwill" ifyouwill - who pay their bills. BOYCOTT THE CHURCHES!
Because the musicians have gotten away with doing fundraisers for the Democrats, trashing us without paying a price and generally crapping all over everything we believe in while they trumpet liberalism to the skies, it would take an entire website to catalogue everyone who deserves to be on this list, but here are 10 to start with. It's a free country and these musicians can say what they want, but consumers can also spend their money where they want, too. Let some of these musicians start to see the impact of trashing us on their bottom lines and you will be surprised at how fast attitudes will begin to change.
"Catalogue"? Go Royalists go!

We here omit the various crimes of the artists named - saying things - in order to simply list them and let you, the reader, decide how the state of popular music would be rocked if conservatives gave up on:
Psy
Sheryl Crow
The Dixie Chicks*
Bruce Springsteen
Moby
Madonna
Bette Midler
Barbra Streisand
Tom-Morello-from-Rage-Against-The-Machine-after-Paul-Ryan-said-he-was-a-fan-of-their-band
Kanye West
*ALL ONE GAL.

ALSO:

Witness the conservative power of John Hawkins.

John Hawkins

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Wind Beneath Its Wings

Competing blogs may despoil the natural beauty and diversity of their lands in frippery-driven cherub-capturing expeditions, but here at Substance Laboratories™ more initially-environmentally-friendly solutions are at hand.

Using leftover pieces of Hitler, J. Vernon McGee, a Louisiana pancake batfish, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and three different kinds of potato chips we build the body of our subject in suitably chubby style. The potato chips work wonders here. Using patented Substance Laboratories™ Spiral Object Generation Technology™ we add a pair of wings and a discreetly hidden power generation unit and VOILA! We have available for shipping a directionally programmable* flying baby device — often meeting emissions standards demanded by certain countries — we call the Cherubstance™.


*A simple interface allows you to point it in the direction of your choice and in seconds it will usually be go in that direction.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Testing

Since I have someone's head already exploded, I thought it might be nice to see if I can have a generic head explosion I can use on the deserving. Or encourage an important new use of cathedrals. With luck our test subject Rob will work out. Drag away!

Hmm, does work, kinda, but the head explosion takes some patience. Still satisfying. Thank goodness for blinding white backgrounds.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Payoff



Okay, you know what's up in the first fifteen seconds and the rest is just agony.

Fun!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Left

David Harsanyi:
And so what? Though the president's fate seems to be the paramount concern of the leftist punditry (a group that now argues that any "real" scandal is only one in which the president had personal knowledge of misconduct in real time -- meaning, one supposes, that Abu Ghraib should be retroactively reclassified as a non-scandal for George W. Bush), it matters not. Even with an adoring public, the chances of Obama's pushing through any substantive legislation before 2014 -- or even 2016 -- were slim at best. Those poll-ignoring obstructionists in the House will see to it.

The president won't be running for re-election, but progressivism will. And the most vital element of Obama's agenda, no matter where any of these investigations lead, has already taken a big hit -- and that's the electorate's trust in government.
Weep bitter tears progressivismists! The socialist utopia you've constructed will END.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Playing With Video

Via Ned, this:



It moves slowly. Slowed down even more and run through some Quartz Composer tomfoolery, it becomes this:



Might require a soundtrack. Try this one:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Art Spiegelman CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps

The Art Spiegelman show at the VAG was very much worth seeing. It's been bunches of places already I think, but it was worthwhile especially for illustrations of the planning that goes into Spiegelman's stuff, which seems to be driven by fear of being revealed as worthless. Made me feel healthy!

I was an early buyer of Arcade and I figured I'd seen most of the stuff, but the draft pages of Maus (and the composition of the completed pages) were great to see. It made me want to pick up MetaMaus some time.

A negative is the amount of standing and concentrating you have to do to get the most out of the show: reading comics isn't that much of an ordeal. And the later things seem to lack the smudgy charm of the earlier ones.



Monday, May 20, 2013

It Could Not Be Worse Than What We Do Face-to-Face

Via LGM, stuff about MOOCs:
San Jose State is the ground zero for the MOOC tsunami, in several senses. It’s literally located in Silicon Valley, but it’s also part of the Cal State system, the largest university system in the country, with almost half a million students. Along with the partnership with edX, SJSU also has a partnership with Udacity to offer slightly lower cost online courses to its own students — and also to local high school and community college students — and they say they hope to eventually replace 20% of the curriculum with online courses from universities like Harvard and MIT. They explicitly hope to do so in a way which can serve as a model for the rest of the Cal State system to follow.

SJSU’s president, by the way, might be the most market-minded university administrator I’ve ever come across, and his contempt for his own university faculty is astonishing; when he was asked about the quality of SJSU’s online courses, for example, he just quipped that “It could not be worse than what we do face to face.” He says that kind of thing regularly enough that it’s not a fluke. It’s one thing when you have the President of edX or Thomas Friedman condemning professors as boring pontificators spouting content, but when the calls are coming from inside the building, you have a real problem.

Another tidbit: his Cal State profile page describes “his more than 30 years of experience in the service of higher education and industry,” which is a conflation you rarely here put quite so bluntly. Such a conflation does, however, make a lot of sense in Silicon Valley, where the educational-industrial complex is the foundation on which the valley rests, where it’s pretty normal for a Stanford professor to also be an executive at Google, and for a university president to see his duty as split between working for education and working for industry. But things get weird if that model starts to be the basis from which to transform a public system of higher education. Which is what’s now happening.
Bye bye universities.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Attention Span Demonstrations

Promise!
Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques aimed at mental and neurological conditions include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for depression, and transcranial direct current (electrical) stimulation (tDCS), shown to improve memory. Transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS) has also shown promise.
pinhead

Because women are whores!
A blog called Government Gets Girlfriends — written by and for "Incel" (involuntarily celibate) men who suffer from social anxiety — suggests a rather Orwellian solution to the problem of these dudes not getting laid: use hard-earned American tax dollars to pay women to go out with them. So... insurance-covered hookers.
Government should offer women money to go on blind dates. These women would freely apply for such a program, as would incel men. Every woman would have a limit of 30 dates. If she doesn’t find a suitable partner during those 30 days she will be fired to prevent scammers – however, she would be paid the full sum, as would a woman who finds a partner during one of these 30 dates.

Using this program, many involuntary celibate men would get their first date or improve their chances of finding a partner.
The man who runs the blog — "a fucked-up kid from somewhere in Europe" — has clinical depression and identifies as a former incel. However, this isn't really the root of his problem. I'll give you one hint: he denies being a MRA, but one of his posts is titled "Hello, Angry SJW Feminists" and another one is "A word on Tumblr feminist invasion." Hello, chip on your shoulder.
Call:
... [Thomas] Nagel's academic golden years are less peaceful than he might have wished. His latest book, Mind and Cosmos (Oxford University Press, 2012), has been greeted by a storm of rebuttals, ripostes, and pure snark. "The shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker," Steven Pinker tweeted. The Weekly Standard quoted the philosopher Daniel Dennett calling Nagel a member of a "retrograde gang" whose work "isn't worth anything—it's cute and it's clever and it's not worth a damn."

The critics have focused much of their ire on what Nagel calls "natural teleology," the hypothesis that the universe has an internal logic that inevitably drives matter from nonliving to living, from simple to complex, from chemistry to consciousness, from instinctual to intellectual.
And response:
Chorost’s piece is irresponsible journalism, for it’s meant to give academics the idea that there is a substantial and credible body of opinion that modern evolutionary theory is wrong, and that there’s suggestive evidence for some teleological force driving the evolutionary process. He dismisses critics like myself as simply disgruntled defenders of orthodoxy, and completely neglects the valid criticisms of Nagel’s book made by Orr, Sober, Leitner, and Weisberg. The Chronicle of Higher Education, of course, is widely read by academics and intellectuals.

What a pity that a science writer with an agenda, and a desire to be controversial, manages to both misrepresent and denigrate modern evolutionary theory. This isn’t sober and objective journalism, but tabloid journalism gussied up for intellectuals.
Will I wind up eating these carcasses?
This is the overriding message of Tianfu Morning News’s coverage today of the dead ducks in the river. With front page images of white-clad officials testing the water, we’re told that there is no danger to humans in the slightest. Right at the top of the paper’s coverage, there’s the following question and answer series to put everyone at ease:
Where did the dead ducks come from? Uncertain at this point.
Did the dead ducks die from some illness? Uncertain at this point.
How have the dead ducks been dealt with? Buried at an appropriate location.
Any impact on the sources of drinking water? No.
Will any of the dead ducks make it onto the market? No.


Please don't shoot me, I'm an artist.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Field Trip

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Also...

The problem with getting a mime into a snow-ЗОРБ is that the snow has to get back to exactly the right place. Oh well.



Yet somehow this works fine:

Capitalism: It Fails Us Now

Oh sure, everything's better in Russia since 1992:



Worked to DEATH.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Oh Dear

That ЗОРБ's done trapped a mime.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fuck You Greens

Once again, the Greens prove their commitment to progressive politics by throwing the election to the right-wing party. My daughter and my wallet (lighter now that the government has decided some medical care shouldn't be covered) thank you. Assholes.

At the moment:



Why, look at the vote totals. Those Green votes added to the NDP votes add up to a lot of powerless displeasure and isn't that satisfying?

UPDATARINO:

As usual the CBC's Vote Compass is entertaining fun in which I occupy a teensy outlying spot in the corner of an XY graph plotting social and economic concerns. It says I should vote Green! (That is I am about 77% Green and 76% NDP, thus showing the stark difference in the two parties and my clear choice.) Which is fine if I want to throw votes to a party with almost entirely the same platform as the party with the power base. What assholes. If I was a Liberal I would be sending thank-you letters.

Nudge





For some reason I'm still turning things into 3D models. What's with that?

In any case I'm relatively happy with where the spiral parsing is going. It's neato for no reason!

This is the Applescript that converts a Kineme plist to a JavaScript in TextWrangler...
tell application "TextWrangler"
activate
process lines containing text 1 of text document 1 matching string "" output options {copying to new document:true}
open find window
replace "
" using "" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
replace "" using "" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
replace "\\t" using "" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
replace "\\r" using ", " searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
replace "(\\s.+?\\s.+?\\s.+?\\s)" using "\\1\\r" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
replace ", \\r" using "\\r" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
set bounds of find window to {419, 469, 1045, 684}
close find window saving no
add prefix and suffix document 1 prefix "_Queue.push([" suffix "])"
replace "\\A^" using "_Queue = []

function (__structure Queue) main (__index Size)
{
var result = new Object();
" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
replace "\\Z$" using "
if (_Queue.length > Size) _Queue.splice(0, _Queue.length-Size);
result.Queue = _Queue;
return result;
}" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no}
end tell
Cool huh? I KNOW! Of course if I actually knew how to grep well it'd be, like, one step or something...

In other computer-geek news there's this interesting open-source thingie called Field that, notwithstanding the nonsense above, is a little too code-based to be fun for me, but it goes in the same direction as Processing and Quartz Composer, with a kind of timeline that rolls over boxes of code that get run in sequence. The latest alpha didn't run on my laptop, but the last beta did.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Credit Given Where Credit is Irrelevant

Who says Tories don't support the arts?
LONDON, U.K. -- The next “Star Wars” movie will be shot in a galaxy far, far away from Hollywood — Britain.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy says the company has reached a deal with British Treasury chief George Osborne to make “Star Wars: Episode VII” in the U.K.
The next time someone gives you some guff about a Struggling Artist trying to make a go in the world, unable to get help, you point 'em right at Lucasfilm Ltd., LLC and ask why Mr. Artist hasn't simply arranged an appointment with Mr. Osborne.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

So...

In Iron Man 3, what exactly did the bad guy want to get done?

Wholesale Theft

Today I shall simply steal an entire post from Rhizome because so many of the links are worth following. Do I have the time to follow them? NO. In particular the Seven on Seven conference stuff is interesting: artists meet "technologists" and, uh, something something something that I can probably steal from later.
In April 2013, the most viewed article on Rhizome was Daniel Rourke's richly illustrated interview with David OReilly, animator and director of a recent episode of Cartoon Network's series Adventure Time. The most commented-upon thread was, of course, Breaking the Ice, in which generational differences emerged, future directions were debated, pasts relived, and present staff members reminded of founding ideals.

We added Oliver Laric's "An Incomplete Timeline of Online Exhibitions and Biennials" to the ArtBase following Laric's decision to withdraw from BiennaleOnline. Later, organizer David Dehaeck fired back in the pages of El País, saying "The BiennaleOnline is about art and not bits and bytes." Got that?

In the month's longreads, Tom McCormack probed the links between ASCII art and Apollinaire, and Part 3 of Jacob Gaboury's well-researched 'Queer History of Computing' series continued to bring sexual politics into technology history. 

Daniel Rourke profiled Alex Myers and Emilie Gervais, Megan Heuer delved into Peggy Ahwesh and Sadie Benning's use of Pixelvision, I wrote about Ryder Rypps' Red Bull-fueled endurance performance Hyper Current Living and visited Eyebeam's F.A.T. retrospective, and Alexander Keefe dug up screeds by occultist techno-utopian Xul Solar.

Our Seven on Seven conference was always on our minds; in case you missed it, check out the videos of all presentations, my recap, Giampaolo Bianconi's remarkably lucid live blog, and profiles of participants Jill MagidFatima Al QadiriJeremy BaileyCameron Martin and Harper Reed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dreams

Sometimes, late at night, when I'm feeling dreamy, I imagine a fantastic city floating up in the clouds, with impossible towers rising up against a jagged mountain peak.



If I map this out, the mountain is central, looming high above a flat plain to the west, with twin ridges running to the southwest and southeast.



I figure the red area is the dump.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Words That Replace Thought

Thomas Sowell:
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the government has a "compelling interest" in promoting diversity -- apparently more compelling than the 14th Amendment's requirement of "equal protection" of the law for everybody.

How does a racially homogeneous country like Japan manage to have high quality education, without the essential ingredient of diversity, for which there is supposedly a "compelling" need?

Conversely, why does India, one of the most diverse nations on Earth, have a record of intergroup intolerance and lethal violence today that is worse than that in the days of our Jim Crow South?
It might possibly be that a decision about what is good in the United States might differ from such a decision made in Japan or India. America is, after all, exceptional.

The title is Sowell's.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Online Art Exhibitions

Art is not about bits and bytes:
Last Friday, Rhizome published a new artwork by Oliver Laric that was originally made for BiennaleOnline, but which could not be shown because HTML code and outgoing links were (surprisingly, for an online biennial) proscribed. Today, BiennaleOnline organizer David Dehaeck fires back in the pages of El País, saying "The BiennaleOnline is about art and not bits and bytes."
The Oliver Laric link has within it a whole bunch of good links. As a piece of art it's one if he says it is I guess.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Counter-Earth

MBA students told they're not as smart as George W. Bush:
The new George W. Bush Presidential Center is being dedicated this week. This seems like a good time to bust a longstanding myth about our former President, my former boss.

I teach a class at Stanford Business School titled “Financial Crises in the U.S. and Europe.” During one class session while explaining the events of September 2008, I kept referring to the efforts of the threesome of Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner, who were joined at the hip in dealing with firm-specific problems as they arose.

One of my students asked “How involved was President Bush with what was going on?” I smiled and responded, “What you really mean is, ‘Was President Bush smart enough to understand what was going on,’ right?”

The class went dead silent. Everyone knew that this was the true meaning of the question. Kudos to that student for asking the hard question and for framing it so politely. I had stripped away that decorum and exposed the raw nerve.

I looked hard at the 60 MBA students and said “President Bush is smarter than almost every one of you.”
The post is by Keith Hennessey, who apparently had to prepare the president for all those economic decisions he handled so well.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

RSS Roundup

Why wouldn't they be serious?
In that case, your own body–your own unmediated, direct experience–would (could?) become “present at hand”: a control surface, an object, not-you, “in between” your intent and your action. You’d be “operating” aspects of your own embodied experience as if it were a technology: think of John Cusack’s character “driving” John Malkovich from the inside. If you ever saw that movie, you may remember that John Cusack’s character got pretty messed up by that experience. But this inner-homunculus-like dissociation of the self from the body, by turning it into a technological interface, is exactly what the designers at Fjord think would feel totally “natural”:
“Think about this scenario: You see someone at a party you like; his social profile is immediately projected onto your retina–great, a 92% match. By staring at him for two seconds, you trigger a pairing protocol. He knows you want to pair, because you are now glowing slightly red in his retina screen. Then you slide your tongue over your left incisor and press gently. This makes his left incisor tingle slightly. He responds by touching it. The pairing protocol is completed.”
Are they serious?
A book:
One of the pleasures of Josh Hanagarne’s new memoir, “The World’s Strongest Librarian,” is the way it destroys this stereotype. Hanagarne, who works at the Salt Lake City Public Library, is six-feet-seven-inches tall and weighs two hundred and sixty pounds. He was raised as a Mormon, has extreme Tourette’s Syndrome (or Tourette Syndrome, as he calls it), and in his spare time trains for strongman competitions. The author photo in the back of his book indicates that his hair is too short to fit in a bun. Perhaps the only trait he shares with the received idea of his chosen profession is a love of reading and knowledge. “Like most librarians, I’m not well suited to anything else,” he writes. “As a breed, we’re the ultimate generalists. I’ll never know everything about anything, but I’ll know something about almost everything.”
Does this differ from regular Peanuts merch?
"Snoopy Japanesque" Exhibition - Japanese traditional craftspeople in collaborative Snoopy works
An art exhibition called “Snoopy Japanesque” is now being held until May 6 in the Matsuya Ginza department store in Tokyo.  It was planned by Japanese painter, Yoshiteru Otani, who used to be called a genius by “Peanuts” creator, Charles Schulz, and was a good friend of his.
Lindsay Beyerstein reads the Times:
Christina Loccke can no longer bring herself to support her friends who are having abortions because she wants another baby:
But something changed once I became a mother. Pregnancy went from Scarlet Letter to Holy Grail — something deeply desired and no longer feared. Abortions seemed more something in a campaign platform. What felt most real was the fact that my husband and I wanted another child.
This is a total non sequitur. If she's pro-choice, she should understand the choice part. She wants another baby, and some of her friends don't. It's all good. I'm sure she expects her her friends who are terminating to be happy for her when she gets pregnant. No doubt they will be, because they're her friends and they want her to have what she wants, not necessarily what they want for themselves.
It seems to me that the engine driving all politics right now is the sense that someone has something that a complainer should have.

A brief section of a long Mother Jones article, both personal and political:
"This is not a ghetto," says Cindy Gyori, executive director of Hyde Street Community Services, one of the city's underfunded community mental-health centers. "Nobody is born here. They're looking for the end of the rainbow," and they end up here because San Francisco has "a reputation for being open." Of the 1,000 individuals the clinic sees per year, 44 percent walk in the door homeless. Fifty percent admit to substance abuse. From wherever they came, "they bring their problems with them."

Gyori, a petite white-haired lady with an exuberance you wouldn't expect to last 20 minutes, much less 40 years, in this neighborhood—its 35 square blocks host 6,000 homeless people and 72 crimes on any given day—joined the civil and patients' rights movement that had helped a cost-cutting Gov. Reagan pass Lanterman-Petris-Short. As a social worker, she experienced deinstitutionalization shake out; she's had to call the police, invoking LPS's Section 5150, on "lots of people" who "didn't know how to take care of themselves" and were a threat to their own or others' safety. But she still disagrees with those who think it should be easier to get people committed, medicated, or treated against their will. Whether they're in their "right mind" or not, she says, mentally ill people should be able to do whatever they choose until they're a danger—just like non-mentally-ill people. That violence has often already occurred by the time someone gets 5150'd is, Gyori says, a necessary "complication of our rights in America."

What of the studies that show that involuntary-treatment laws decrease rates of violence and hospitalization and incarceration among severely mentally ill patients? Such laws are "stupid," Gyori says. If your concern is public safety and crime prevention, she adds, "it's the funding that matters." Funding for school screening programs that could catch signs of severe mental illness. Funding for early treatment to keep the moderately mentally ill from becoming a lot sicker, and funding for rehab programs for those who didn't get treatment and started self-medicating. Funding for intensive case management, subsidized housing for people who are functionally disabled. All things that combat the isolation and desperation and hopelessness that can help cause and exacerbate mental illness—schizophrenia included. The majority of Gyori's clients are suffering afflictions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and the associated addiction issues. That is: With treatment, they're theoretically capable of recovery and (nonsubsidized) functioning. But Gyori's staff is short, underpaid. New clients can't be seen for initial risk assessment for a month. The city's public-housing shortage is so severe that it closed the list to new applicants. "This society is set up to create Tenderloins," she says.

Friday, May 3, 2013

WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

The fascist government's latest plot.

The neckBerry is nice to try, but it NEVER COMES OFF, and NO the grotesque pulsations are NOT COOL.

And who exactly would want to suck the soul out of you with grotesque pulsations? That's right.

Come on, really?  MICHAEL BOLTON?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

You Can't Hire Him, He's Black

The whole of an item at The Corner:
‘The Fox Is Guarding the Henhouse’
By Roger Clegg
May 2, 2013 4:23 PM

So says Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, of President Obama’s nomination of Representative Mel Watt (D., N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Washington Post reports that liberals are not altogether happy with the nomination either, pointing to Watts’s “coziness with the financial industry.” Watt’s record in Congress has been one of viewing public policy through a racial lens. So I would add that, if racial politics are not supposed to influence Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s policies — many believe such politics played a major role in the recent mortgage meltdown and ensuing financial crisis — it’s hard to imagine that Mel Watt is the man for this job.