Open Thread And Link Farm: That Awkward Moment Between Thanksgiving And December Edition

Brinicles: Horrifying, but very cool to watch in a sped-up nature video.

  1. Congrats to my friend Jake Richmond (colorist of Hereville) for winning the Drunk Duck 2011 Best Overall Strip Award for Modest Medusa. That would be impressive at any time — but the first year of the strip? Awesome!
  2. Voices Carry. Excellent in-depth article by a friend of mine, about people who hear voices and are forming Hearing Voices self-help groups. Apparently these groups have been pretty common in the UK but are just beginning to establish a toehold in the USA.
  3. Yesterday, I fantasized about buying a Roomba. Then I realized that I have cats who sometimes vomit and poop outside the litter box. Gross enough on its own, but add a Roomba and it gets much, MUCH grosser. Just sayin’.
  4. Krugman argues that we could raise revenue by $78 billion per year by raising taxes on the wealthy. In contrast, raising the Medicare eligibility age — a favorite suggestion of many conservatives and some Democrats — would save $42 billion a year. In another post, he cites a study suggesting that a top rate of 70% would maximize revenue.
  5. Europe’s economy looks likely to take a major hit — and it’ll take the US down with it.
  6. Driven By Drug War Incentives, Cops Target Pot Smokers, Brush Off Victims Of Violent Crime
  7. What the evidence says about pepper spray safety – Boing Boing
  8. The War on Drugs Is Reducing Marriage Rates. “…this paper finds that about 13% of the decline in marriage since 1990 can be explained by male incarceration. …about 18% percent of the decline in marriage rates among black women can be explained by incarceration.”
  9. 5 Old-Timey Prejudices That Still Show Up in Every Movie |
  10. In Defense of Divorce | Dollars and Sex | Big Think
  11. Five reasons Community could see season four. | TV | Newswire | The A.V. Club. “Community” is my second-favorite sit-com right now, after “Parks and Recreation.” I’ve just started watching “Raising Hope,” which I’m enjoying, and I’m giving up on “Big Bang Theory” and “2 Broke Girls.”
  12. The “Parenting Problem” is a “Poverty Problem” – Dana Goldstein
  13. If I were to spend $250 on a horrifying mask to wear, this would be the one .
  14. A couple of lawyers from the National Center For Lesbian Rights argue that the CA Supreme Court was wrong to allow prop 8 sponsors to have standing to appeal. I don’t agree with them, but I think this is the most persuasive argument I’ve yet read on their side of this issue.
  15. Nadim Damluji’s critique of Orientalism in Craig Thompson’s Habibi.
  16. Blabbeando: Stunning LGBT campaign ads from Argentina
  17. Last but not least:

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24 Responses to Open Thread And Link Farm: That Awkward Moment Between Thanksgiving And December Edition

  1. 1
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    I’ve run into something like a do-it-yourself covenant marriage. A couple got tattoo wedding rings (fingers are an unusually painful place to get a tattoo) because it was the third marriage for one of them and the fourth marriage for the other, and they wanted to do something to indicate a strong commitment.

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    @ 17: That Goja video has been making the rounds. Great stuff. Glad to see they won. God knows what would have happened if they hadn’t!

    A new one: Rep. Barney Frank (D – Mass.) has announced he will not seek re-election. Thanks be to God. And to think I voted for him the 1st time he ran for office. He actually visited my fraternity house and sat in our dining room with anyone interested talking issues and asking for our votes. The article suggests he may go into teaching. Doubtless Harvard and/or Tufts will throw money at him to occupy a professorship for the rest of his life.

    @5: Yup, Margaret Thatcher was right; the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. The article points out the fact that far too many of the people in charge in Europe are refusing to acknowledge this. Likely they’re worried about rioting by the public who sees their dreams of retiring at 50 or 55 with state-paid pensions and healthcare flitting away. You have to wonder why anyone with any intelligence would have bought up the sovereign debt of the PIIGS group to begin with. It’s not like this was unforseeable.

    @3: I have a Roomba. It ends up pushing cat poop around, as if it was trying to clean up a bunch of small Tootsie Rolls. They roll off to the side and you have cat poop chunks distributed around. Presuming that said cat poop was at least a day old, a quick followup with a dustbroom is all that’s needed. But if the thing hit a puddle of fresh cat vomit I believe I’d just throw it away rather than clean it out.

    @6 and 8: There’s a story I read a while back that I should try to dig up. A older couple that owns a motel is having it taken away from them and sold off because there’s been a few drug deals done in rooms in it over the last 10 years or so. The owners cooperated with the cops completely every time it happened. But since the deals happened on their property said property becomes subject to confiscation by the cops. The local cops see this as a great revenue source for themselves and really don’t give a rip about the couple who will now be ruined. What’s ruining more lives – the current set of illegal drugs, or the legal penalties exacted for using them?

  3. 3
    Jawnita says:

    A comment for the Alas management: I find the new scrolling twitter feeds in the sidebar very distracting (since they scroll even when there’s no new content), and also somewhat hard on my browser. Could you please consider making them static, or moving them off the blog pages? (I also miss the old “what the contributors are reading” links, but that’s neither here nor there.)

  4. 4
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ditto on the hatred of the twitter feeds. It’s your blog so keep ‘em if you like, of course, but if you want public opinion I think you’d do better to have a “subscribe” link instead.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t like the twitter feeds either. I liked the old Google Reader feeds, but unfortunately they no longer work, since Google “updated” google reader to be more integrated with google plus.

    I’m sick today, but sometime this week I’ll experiment with different twitter widgets for wordpress, in hopes of finding one that can handle multiple twitter accounts without constant animation.

  6. 6
    ugo says:

    Maybe the movie industry just thinks its easier (more cost effective) to not be accurate about the stories they portray on film and that the majority of people who watch their movies (white folk) are “suckers” who will gladly pay $10 a ticket to see a silly movie that panders to them and perceived lack of critical reasoning skills. The movie industry are grasping at straws trying to come up with stories that fit all the criteria of being a financial hit and still be “innovative” enough for the general movie-going populous to still think these movies (with the same plots, some characters, with the same interchangable actors) are “edgy”

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    Okay, I found a twitter plugin that isn’t animated, works on “Alas,” and will allow me to include multiple twitter accounts. So hopefully it is now much less annoying than it was. :-p

    Thank you Jawnita and G&W for motivating me to fix that!

  8. 8
    Jawnita says:

    Excellent! Thanks, Ampersand.

  9. 9
    hf says:

    “The Ten Most Stupid Arguments against the 9-9-9 plan”

    Did you intend to write something else? Anyway, here they are:

    10. The voices in my head told me it’s wrong.

    9. The voices in my head told me it’s wrong, and also they come from Venus.

    8 The voices in my head told me it’s wrong, and also Cain had sex with 8 balrogs.

    7. No, it was only 7!

    6. You must be one of them!

    5. YOU must be the leader of the Venusians!

    4. You’re the balrog axiom of choice!

    3. All geeks are lizard agents of Mothra!

    2. Fool, Mothra hates lizards! This just proves your promiscuous-mathematical-premise perfidy!

    And the number one Dumbest Argument against the 9-9-9 plan:

    1. Palin Ron Paul 2012! Woo!!!11!!

  10. 10
    hf says:

    Damn. I forgot to include, ‘Look at all the children in this stadium whose livers he didn’t eat!’

  11. 11
    hf says:

    Also, it looks like certain names in connection with certain styles will get your comment held for moderation.

    [No, but it will get your comments moved to an open thread! –Amp]

  12. 12
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    There’s a fascinating Volokh post affirmative action and a recent 5th circuit case.

    The post (and in particular the two linked briefs) provide a fascinating analysis with some of the problems of race-based AA in higher education: Simply put, the science is beginning to become clear that current AA practices hurt minorities rather than helping them.

    The short summary, to encourage you to read the whole post:
    1) When you use AA, then students get a boost from being POC, which goes beyond their grades and SAT scores.
    2) That means that they get into much better colleges and grad schools than do other people with comparable grades and SAT scores.
    3) It seems good to go to better colleges and grad schools. Great!
    4) In fact, going to a better school, can, all other things being equal, give you a huge boost up in life.
    5) But school attendance isn’t the only other issue at all…
    6) In fact, it turns out that relative class rank is exceedingly important. Not only does it control your post-graduate choices, but it ALSO seems to have a huge effect on what major you end up choosing, and whether or not you maintain an interest in school, and whether or not you maintain a general interest in academia.
    7) And it also turns out (though this is no surprise) that the effect of AA is that by moving recipients UP in school quality the same recipients tend to move DOWN in class rank at the higher-quality school.
    8) And it also turns out–and this is a bit more of a surprise–that the cost of being lower in class rank is GREATER than the benefit of going to a “better” school.
    9) And it turns out that this is especially the case in the ultracompetitive “sequential” majors, where the ability to succeed in a 200-level class depends on acing the 100-level class. That means math and sciences…. an area where people really want to use AA to increase numbers. But it turns out that they’re actually shooting themselves in the foot.
    10) I..e., a hypothetical POC with a 1200 SAT and a 3.5 GPA would be perfectly capable of getting into a decent school. And once there, she could decide to be a chemist. And because the others at her school would be of comparable skill, the class (and the curve) would be more likely to be at a speed that she could do, so she’d be more likely to graduate with a B.S. in Chem. Put that same woman in Chemistry 101 at Caltech and–studies show–she’s highly likely to be out of Chemistry by her sophomore year, never to try again.

    Here’s the post:
    Here’s an amici brief by some UCal professor:
    here’s the brief by a few members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission:

  13. This doesn’t really belong in the atheist-billboard thread, so I am posting it here:

    Penn Jillette’s Ten Commandments for atheists.

  14. 14
    nobody.really says:

    Where did all the money go — long time passing?
    Where did all the money go — long time ago?
    Where did all the money go? Oh, here it is:

  15. 15
    Elusis says:

    Wish I could see #17 but it’s been removed.

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for letting me know — I think it’s fixed now.

  17. 17
    Elusis says:

    That… was… a thing! Wow.

  18. 18
    Simple Truth says:


    I posted this back on another open thread – Number 36
    Just sayin’…you know. I’m cooler because I found it first. ;)

  19. 19
    nobody.really says:


    Oh wait. Yes. Yes, you did.
    I’ve often wondered why Simple Truth is cooler that I am. Now I know.

  20. 20
    Simple Truth says:

    Great! I’ve got you fooled! *let me consult the plan*

    Step 1: Make nobody.really think I’m cool
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!

    On topic, though – that graphic really is neat. I’ve considered getting the large print of it, but I think I would find myself transfixed for hours, unable to sleep, while I ponder the intricacies of our economy.

  21. 21
    Grace Annam says:

    Amp, I adore the teeny-tiny smiley face at the bottom of each Alas! page. I just noticed it, and I wonder how long it has been there, subversively and subliminally (subviminally?) brightening my day.


  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    Er… what teeny tiny smiley face is that?

  23. 23
    Robert says:

    Look in the red graphic banner across the bottom of the page. Drag your mouse to highlight it if your skull-bedazzled eyes are too weak to see it directly.

  24. 24
    Ampersand says:

    Oh, I see it now. I had to open a different browser — it doesn’t show up on my computer in Firefox.

    I have noticed that little smiley before, and then I forgot about it. :-) It wasn’t put there by me, alas; it’s part of the theme I installed the last time I redesigned Alas, which was 2 or 3 years ago. But yes, it’s a neat little thing to have.