Goodbye, Vehicle Ownership

Technology, Life 2009-05-03 10:57

I’ve owned a car my entire adult life. My parents purchased a car for me the moment I got my learner’s permit, at 15. It represented the same thing to me that it does to teenagers the world over: mobility, opportunity, a chance to pilot my own destiny. In short, freedom.

I’ve been through five cars (AMC Concord, Fiat Spyder, Mercury Mystique, Ford Mustang, Saturn VUE). Each one was one of those tools that, like my laptop or cell phone today, I reach for with such habit in my everyday life that it starts to feel like a part of me.

But this time I’ll be letting go of my vehicle, and not replacing it with another.
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Media 2009-05-01 01:10

Nanocrowd introduces the concept of nanogenre: three keywords that describe a movie. (I’ve used a system like this for categorizing music and found it to be extremely effective.)

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Congress API

Politics, Internet, Infinite Series 2009-04-29 01:47

Treat Your Romantic Parnterships like Friendships

Dating 2009-04-27 11:19

Gala Darling transcribed an article (author unknown) titled Infinite Relationships. Some excellent passages:

“In the beginning I would meet a beautiful new person, we would broaden each others’ horizons and have wonderful experiences together, and thus fall in love. At first we would feel more free together than either of us ever had, and the world would seem full to overflowing with possibility and wild joy. But slowly, not trusting the rest of the world, or the future in which we might not feel such wonderful things, we would build our relationship into a castle, to keep out the cold and dangerous outside world, and protect our passion by turning it into an institution. Sex, which at the beginning had been something that came more naturally and freely than anything else, became jealously guarded as the seal sanctifying our love relationship, as proof that it was different than all our other relationships. [This seems, in retrospect, like a really strange role for sex to play.] Inevitably, I would wake up one day and realize that the free, feral passion that we’d been united by was gone, replaced by habit, routine, fear of change; the castle we’d built had become a tomb, sealing us inside and away from the outside world.”

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The Unwritten Sexual Bargain

Sexuality 2009-04-22 05:24

“It can be very difficult for a woman to accept sexual rejection. Even the temporary rebuff can feel like a strike at the core of our femininity. Hey, aren’t men supposed to always want it, while we imperiously decide whether to grant their petition?

For centuries, women otherwise subject to the whims of men have drawn power from controlling an artificially created shortage. We have reinforced the myth that men always want what we could live without. Our unwritten bargain has been, “Men, be really nice to us and we will give you sex.” Withdrawal from this position is painful. Revising our sexual attitudes with our male friends is something we can suffer through together if we support rather than combat each other.”

From Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon

Social Cushion

Psychedelia, Life 2009-04-21 10:08

Neal Stephenson on drug abuse:

“I’m remembering the advent of late ’60s/early ’70s drug culture when I was a kid. Authority figures would try to scare us away from drugs, and whether or not we were actually using drugs, we would just laugh at them because their threats and warnings seemed so overwrought. We all knew people who used various kinds of drugs but managed to stay healthy and out of trouble. Much later, it became obvious to me that the middle-class kids I tended to hang out with were cushioned from possible negative effects of drugs by their intellectual, financial, and social capital. Their parents and friends and neighbors kept an eye on them; Dad was always there to bail them out; they knew lawyers and doctors who could get them out of trouble. But that wasn’t true of lower-class drug users. Poor people and communities really did suffer terrible effects from drugs because they lacked that cushion.”

Hairstyles and Skull Exposure

Life, Genetics 2009-04-20 11:18

Hairstyle has a dramatic effect on how a person looks. I’ve been through 4 hairstyles in the last 18 months (long hair -> dreadlocks -> shaved head -> short hair) so I’ve gotten some direct experience with this. People respond to you very differently depending on your haircut.

One element of hairstyle that I find interesting is skull exposure. It’s like this: exposing the forehead (where the skull is most visible - no muscle or fat, just skin on bone) makes a person look fiercer. Covering the skull makes them appear soft and approachable.
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A Step Away from Demonization

Psychedelia, Politics, Health 2009-04-20 01:14

Dr. Sanjay Gupta was offered the job of Surgeon General of the United States. He turned it down, but note that he can be seen describing the theraputetic benefits of MDMA in this video.

Dreary Phrases

Art, Language 2009-04-19 01:10

You probably know what it means to “live vicarously through” someone. But do you know what “vicarously” means by itself?

You might know what it means to refer to something’s “consitutent parts.” But do you know what “constituent” (as an adjective) means by itself?

You may know what it means to say “do (X) with impunity.” But do you know what “impunity” means by itself?
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Best Song Tribute

Music, Silly 2009-04-17 02:33

Against all expectation, I enjoyed this.