Tuesday, November 30, 2010
( 9:41 PM ) The Rat
MY FAVORITE ENTRY THUS FAR (that is, of the most recent dozen or so) from Better Book Titles, a site sent by JWB.
Oh, also this one, this one, this one, and... well, just go to the site.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:41 PM
( 9:37 PM ) The Rat
INSIDE THE BULLIED BRAIN, via IKM.
He began by studying the effects of being verbally abused by a parent. In his study of more than 1,000 young adults, Teicher found that verbal abuse could be as damaging to psychological functioning as the physical kind—that words were as hurtful as the famous sticks and stones. The finding sparked a new idea: "We decided to look at peer victimization," he said.
So Teicher and his colleagues went back to their young adult subjects, focusing on those they had assumed were healthy in this respect—who'd had no history of abuse from their parents. The subjects, however, varied in how much verbal harassment—such as teasing, ridicule, criticism, screaming, and swearing—they had received from their peers.
What the scientists found was that kids who had been bullied reported more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders than the kids who hadn’t. In fact, emotional abuse from peers turned out to be as damaging to mental health as emotional abuse from parents...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:37 PM
( 4:32 PM ) The Rat
20,000 SACRIFICED IN ANNUAL BLOOD OFFERING TO CORPORATE AMERICA, via the Onion.
In accordance with tradition, Friday's ritual—hosted this year by the Greater Wilmington Convention Center—included stonings in honor of Monsanto, the drowning of elders on behalf of Ford, and live flayings in the name of Whole Foods.
"A joyful noise filled the hall as the priest pulled the first virgin's heart from her chest and recited the ancient, mystical section 102(a)(3) of the Delaware General Corporation Law," said 44-year-old disciple David Infantes, recalling the blasts from plastic horns donated by Wells Fargo that accompanied a young girl's lifeless body rolling down the altar steps. "In that moment, I pledged my soul anew to our blessed Corporate Overlords, increasing profits be upon them."
By many accounts, the highlight of the evening took place when the 500 Shareholder Guardians, wearing robes adorned with logos of the nation's top-ranked businesses and chanting optimistic revenue projections, used their companies' balance sheets to ignite the alcohol-soaked vestments of the "cursèd and damnable" children born the day Lehman Brothers collapsed...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:32 PM
( 4:25 PM ) The Rat
For she was the maker of the song she sang.
The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
It was the spirit that we sought and knew
That we should ask this often as she sang.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea
That rose, or even colored by many waves;
If it was only the outer voice of sky
And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
However clear, it would have been deep air,
The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
Repeated in a summer without end
And sound alone. But it was more than that,
More even than her voice, and ours, among
The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.
It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.
—from "The Idea of Order at Key West"
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:25 PM
( 2:08 PM ) The Rat
SENTENCE FROM something I'm editing. Two thoughts come to mind: 1) "...You mean like this sentence?" and 2) "I unsettled your mom."
I examine the manner in which the poetic witnessing of the unwitnessable eventfully unsettles the commemorative, testimonial, autobiographical, ideological, and historical narration of a calamity.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:08 PM
Monday, November 29, 2010
( 11:20 PM ) The Rat
TINY CARDBOARD BOX PEOPLE APPEAR ALL OVER SINGAPORE. Check out the suicide one!—though really, they're all marvelous.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:20 PM
( 5:51 PM ) The Rat
"AN INEXPLICABLE NUDE SANTA CLAUS MINI-FIGURE," via Josh Clark.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:51 PM
( 2:07 PM ) The Rat
Words do not change their meanings so drastically in the course of centuries as, in our minds, names do in the course of a year or two.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:07 PM
Sunday, November 28, 2010
( 10:59 PM ) The Rat
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION STUDY FINDS TEACHING THESE LITTLE SHITS NO LONGER WORTH IT, via one of my favorite and best teachers, JT.
The study, which analyzed the effectiveness of both public and private schools, found that efforts to enlighten these terrors on the subjects of math, history, grammar, and science are as productive as slamming your head into a goddamn brick wall. The research also confirmed that the unbearable shits, who take everything for granted, consistently piss away each learning opportunity they're given.
"When I first started teaching, I would see the smiling faces in my classroom and get excited about nurturing their young minds," said Melanie Whitman, 35, a first-grade teacher quoted in the report. "Now I can't look up from my desk without wanting to puke at the sight of all those little psychopaths"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:59 PM
Saturday, November 27, 2010
( 9:51 AM ) The Rat
"LEGITIMATE NOISES," via Texts From Last Night by way of ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM
( 9:34 AM ) The Rat
MYSTERY SURROUNDS CYBER MISSILE THAT CRIPPLED IRAN'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS AMBITIONS, via IKM. ! I can only assume chaos will ensue when the bad guys figure out how to do this.
In the 20th century, this would have been a job for James Bond.
The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.
But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe.
The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was "like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield," says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Here's how it worked, according to experts who have examined the worm:
—The nuclear facility in Iran runs an "air gap" security system, meaning it has no connections to the Web, making it secure from outside penetration. Stuxnet was designed and sent into the area around Iran's Natanz nuclear power plant—just how may never be known—to infect a number of computers on the assumption that someone working in the plant would take work home on a flash drive, acquire the worm and then bring it back to the plant.
—Once the worm was inside the plant, the next step was to get the computer system there to trust it and allow it into the system. That was accomplished because the worm contained a "digital certificate" stolen from JMicron, a large company in an industrial park in Taiwan. (When the worm was later discovered it quickly replaced the original digital certificate with another certificate, also stolen from another company, Realtek, a few doors down in the same industrial park in Taiwan.) [...]
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:34 AM
Friday, November 26, 2010
( 2:47 PM ) The Rat
THANKSGIVING DINNERS PAST: BEST AND WORST, via Serious Eats by way of ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:47 PM
( 11:38 AM ) The Rat
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
—Juliet, who ended badly
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:38 AM
( 8:23 AM ) The Rat
WEDDING BELLS, via Damn You, AutoCorrect! by way of ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:23 AM
Thursday, November 25, 2010
( 1:37 AM ) The Rat
"A TURKEY'S IDEA OF THANKSGIVING..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:37 AM
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
( 2:40 PM ) The Rat
THE TURBACONEPIC, via Serious Eats by way of WC.
It's a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig. With bacon-croissant stuffing. And lots of bacon strips. Bound by meat glue...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:40 PM
( 2:32 PM ) The Rat
THE ONLY GOOD POET IS A WET POET! From the transcript to the History of the World in 100 Objects episode on the Harem wall painting fragments from Samarra.
But this was building mania with a purpose. This city of palaces and barracks was intended to dazzle visitors, to be the unforgettable centre of the huge Islamic Empire. And, hidden away in a warren of small rooms in the caliph's palace, were the harem quarters with the wall paintings showing scenes of enjoyment and entertainment. It's here that our portrait fragments were found.
They show us the faces of the caliph's slaves and servants, the women and the boys of his intimate world and of his pleasures. The women housed in these rooms were slaves, but slaves that enjoyed considerable privileges. Amira Bennison, who teaches Islamic studies at the University of Cambridge, comments on the portraits that have survived:
"They hint at the entertainment the caliphs enjoyed, which would have ranged from having salon sessions with intellectuals and religious scholars, to lighter events where characters such as those depicted in the wall paintings, dancing or singing girls, would have performed before the rulers. One thing that is important to note is that these kind of women were very, very highly trained—in a sense a little bit similar to geishas. To become part of the caliph's household—perhaps household is a better word than harem—was actually something women could aspire to, and if you were of humble origins but you were good at singing or dancing, and you got properly trained, this was very much a career move."
Here, there could be self-indulgence and boisterousness. Caliph al-Mutawakkil's sense of humour doesn't seem to have been especially sophisticated, and he had a court poet, Abu al-'lbar, repeatedly catapulted into one of his ornamental ponds...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:32 PM
( 12:01 AM ) The Rat
A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING is available for free streaming on Hulu! (I can't vouch for the other program they have following it, never having seen it.)
If you're in a hurry, at least watch Snoopy's epic battle with a lawn chair, starting at about 0m22s.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 AM
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
( 6:56 PM ) The Rat
"LA BIÈRE EST NOURISSANTE," and other old ads.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:56 PM
( 5:52 PM ) The Rat
A LUST FOR WINDOW SILLS is just one of the riveting titles you'll find in AbeBooks' Weird Book Room.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:52 PM
( 3:25 PM ) The Rat
OPERA NEWS interviews Marina Poplavskaya.
Poplavskaya was born in Moscow in 1977 and began singing with the Bolshoi Opera children's chorus at age eight, after leaving a note for her parents that said, "Gone to audition at Bolshoi," for which she crossed Moscow alone by bus and train. "My parents received a call the night after I auditioned asking them to bring me back," she said with a laugh. "That was the one and last time that I felt famous. That was the moment."
She recalled that the only other comparable moment was that same year when she was able to buy a pair of red leather boots with her salary from the Bolshoi. "In Russia we had a shortage of clothes and shoes. You had to stand in line for hours for something to wear," she said. "Being able to buy my own shoes was another magical moment. But two years later I was standing in line for winter shoes like everyone else in Moscow."
Poplavskaya dismisses any suggestion that her Russian childhood has made her more suited to the sufferings of opera's notoriously suffering heroines. But she does acknowledge a sense of love for her homeland, which is very much alive in Elisabetta, the French princess adrift in a tumultuous Spain in Don Carlo. "If you have left or are exiled from your country and loved ones, you hope the sunshine will come and shine on you," she says...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:25 PM
( 7:43 AM ) The Rat
"SHE HOPES RAT LOVERS WILL COME FORWARD AND GIVE THEM A NEW HOME." Via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:43 AM
Monday, November 22, 2010
( 4:45 PM ) The Rat
LIVE STREAMING OF THE OPENING NIGHT OF DON CARLO begins in just a few hours!
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:45 PM
( 4:44 PM ) The Rat
MAP OF THE WORLD'S COUNTRIES REARRANGED BY POPULATION, via Strange Maps by way of WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:44 PM
( 4:43 PM ) The Rat
"WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS REPLACE THE BUN WITH TWO BENTLEYS." The Wait Wait staff eat the 777 Burger at the Paris Casino.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:43 PM
Sunday, November 21, 2010
( 7:40 PM ) The Rat
"WHOSE HEART WON'T THAT UNLOCK?"
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:40 PM
( 4:46 PM ) The Rat
THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN as seen from the International Space Station. Also see the Nile River and delta, as well as Paris, London, and the Northern Lights.
Or, on a slightly more prosaic note, you can look at some penguins in Santa outfits... and the ideal way to transport kittens.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:46 PM
( 2:12 PM ) The Rat
THIS INNOVATIVE NEW USE of Google Maps came to my attention via, of course, Wait Wait.
An obese man was shocked into losing a third of his bodyweight after catching sight of himself on Google Street View...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:12 PM
( 3:27 AM ) The Rat
"HEY, LET'S SUCK." "YEAH, I GUESS I'LL SUCK TOO." What I learned from my Cantab ex-BF, via IKM. Also note no. 5 in the reader comment. JS—who also claims the only lasting friendship she ever made at Harvard was the one with her now-husband—has always envied me for my decision to snub it for Yale; admittedly, that's probably the only time in the last decade and a half that I've made a wiser decision about anything than she did.
At Harvard, there are adults living in freshman (and other) dorms. On the first floor of my ex-boyfriend's dorm there was a professor and her husband who acted as "frocos." Except instead of being friendly and helping students get to DUH when they throw up, this professor would actually come upstairs at 1 a.m. to tell us to quiet down. Every weekend. At 1 a.m. Everyone would mournfully sigh and agree to go back to their own rooms...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:27 AM
( 3:02 AM ) The Rat
The weather wasn't really very good. One day I was driving in the car, and there came one of those quick snow flurries that you don't expect, so you're not ready for it, and you figure, "Oh, it isn't going to amount to much; I'll keep on going."
But then the snow gets deep enough that the car begins to skid a little bit, so you have to put the chains on. You get out of the car, put the chains out on the snow, and it's cold, and you're beginning to shiver. Then you roll the car back onto the chains, and you have this problem—or we had it in those days; I don't know what there is now—that there's a hook on the inside that you have to hook first. And because the chains have to go on pretty tight, it's hard to get the hook to hook. Then you have to push this clamp down with your fingers, which by this time are nearly frozen. And because you're on the outside of the tire, and the hook is on the inside, and your hands are cold, it's very difficult to control. It keeps slipping, and it's cold, and the snow's coming down, and you're trying to push this clamp, and your hand's hurting, and the damn thing's not going down—well, I remember that that was the moment when I decided that this is insane; there must be a part of the world that doesn't have this problem.
—start of RPF's explanation of how he wound up at Caltech, in this (a passage that occurred to me just now while biking a mile and a half through 35°F air...)
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:02 AM
Saturday, November 20, 2010
( 3:03 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:03 PM
( 2:57 PM ) The Rat
THE 7 MOST UNINTENTIONALLY CREEPY PLACES ON THE INTERNET, via Cracked.
Also see The 5 Most Shocking Celebrity Twitter Feeds; if you're in a hurry, just read no. 1.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:57 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010
( 9:34 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:34 PM
( 9:17 PM ) The Rat
IT'S INTERMISSION! They usually ask questions to fill in the interval during these broadcasts; tonight, the questions are all to do with Verdi... including, like, really obscure Verdi. Tonight's question: What other Verdi heroines incorrectly think that the man they love is dead? "We came up with eight."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:17 PM
( 8:01 PM ) The Rat
IF/WHEN I FINALLY WRITE THAT OPERA DRINKING GAME, Il Trovatore's plot is one of the ones that's going to put you in the hospital. It contains, among other things: a Gypsy burned at the stake (and attendant, surely obligatory, Gypsy curse); a child kidnapped and seemingly also burned at the stake (except that, actually, the avenger was so incompetent that she threw her own child into the flames—you know, by accident); a woman who mistakes her lover's rival for her lover (and attendant, and surely obligatory, fighting between said lover and his rival) and then, thinking her lover dead, immediately arranges to enter a convent; an attempted kidnapping; orders for an execution; a dramatically interrupted wedding; a woman's offering of her own life, that her lover's might be spared (that old opera standby, which also occurs here and elsewhere... for an entire article on suicide in opera, btw, go here); a suicide (by self-poisoning, to escape the unwanted attentions of the aforementioned would-be kidnapper) (said suicide begins in IV.i but, naturally, continues into IV.ii); orders for another execution; and a fratricide-via-mistaken-identity (coinciding with long-delayed—as in, by maybe a couple decades—revenge).
Ruiz brings Leonora to the foot of the captured Manrico's prison tower, where she voices her undying love and prays for his release. Monks are heard intoning a doleful Miserere for the soul of the condemned, while Manrico sings farewell from inside the bastion. Leonora resolves to save him. When Di Luna appears, Leonora agrees to yield to him but secretly swallows poison.
In their cell, Manrico comforts Azucena, who longs for their home in the mountains. No sooner does the old Gypsy fall asleep than Leonora rushes in to tell her lover he is saved, urging him to flee. Manrico comprehends the price of his freedom and denounces her, but the poison begins to take effect. He takes her in his arms as she dies. Furious at being cheated of his prize, Di Luna sends Manrico to the executioner's block, while Azucena staggers to her feet to see the ax fall...
All of which said: It's still not half as silly as the plot of Adriana Lecouvreur!
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:01 PM
( 7:50 PM ) The Rat
NEARLY 1 IN 5 AMERICANS HAD MENTAL ILLNESS IN 2009. This explains so much about my dating history!
More than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, and 11 million had a serious illness, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday.
Young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest level of mental illness at 30 percent, while those aged 50 and older had the lowest, with 13.7 percent, said the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:50 PM
( 2:52 PM ) The Rat
CHINA'S NOBEL FURY UNMATCHED SINCE SOVIET DAYS. Wahoo!
Even Cold War dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Lech Walesa were able to have their wives collect the prizes for them. Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi's award was accepted by her 18-year-old son in 1991.
But China's clampdown on Liu's relatives means the Nobel medal and diploma likely won't be handed out for the first time since 1936, when Adolf Hitler prevented German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from accepting the prize.
[China] has tried to persuade or warn foreign governments to boycott the Dec. 10 award ceremony in Oslo. A handful of nations have declined invitations, including Russia.
Moscow says its ambassador will not be in Norway at the time, and denied it had anything to do with Chinese pressure. Still, the alignment of the two emerging powers may offer a glimpse of future clashes over human rights between the world's traditional economic giants and its awakening ones...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:52 PM
( 2:25 PM ) The Rat
SURELY NOTHING A GOOD CAGE MATCH COULDN'T SETTLE...
A veteran violinist has spoken of the moment a conductor "stormed off" hours before a performance.
Natalia Luis-Bassa walked out on Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday afternoon and failed to show up for a concert that evening.
But another former conductor said yesterday he believes sexism among "hard-bitten Yorkshiremen" in the orchestra could be behind the row...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:25 PM
( 1:48 PM ) The Rat
LIVE STREAMING OF IL TROVATORE TONIGHT! Go here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:48 PM
( 1:45 PM ) The Rat
KENYAN AVIATION ENTHUSIAST BUILDS AEROPLANE IN FRONT YARD. Mike Williams interviews Nderitu in this week's One Planet; they have some pictures up here. The engine's from a Toyota Corolla, the wheels are from a Mini... and the instructions are from Wikipedia (and NASA.gov).
If you're in a hurry, though, never mind all that—just don't miss the bamboo church referenced in the same episode!
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:45 PM
( 1:41 PM ) The Rat
Watson chafed at science's reluctance to study human sexuality as it studies human nutrition or planets or porcupine sexuality. "It is admittedly the most important subject in life," he wrote. "It is admittedly the thing that causes the most shipwrecks in the happiness of men and women. And yet our scientific information is so meager.... [We should have our questions] answered not by our mothers and grandmothers, not by priests and clergymen in the interest of middle-class mores, nor by general practitioners, not even by Freudians; we... want them answered by scientifically trained students of sex...."
Watson's original scientifically trained student of sex may or may not have been Rosalie Rayner, a nineteen year-old student of his at Johns Hopkins University, with whom he was carrying on an affair. A friend of Watson's, Deke Coleman, says Watson and Rayner "took readings" and "made records" of Rayner's physical responses while they had sex, which would make the pair America's first experimenters (and first subjects) in the laboratory study of human arousal and orgasm. Coleman further claimed that Watson's wife found the notes and data from the experiments, and that these were used as evidence in the ensuing divorce trial.
Watson's biographer Kerry Buckley dismisses the story about the trial as innuendo. Watson was indeed having an affair with Rayner, and the affair did, to use Watson's phrasing, shipwreck his life: When he refused to stop seeing Rayner, he was asked to leave the university and never again managed to work in academia. But Buckley says there is no evidence to support the rumor of the arousal studies making an appearance in the trial. (Mrs. Watson's lawyer did, however, introduce as evidence a cache of love letters, quoted in a different biography of Watson, by David Cohen. Watson expresses his feelings as only the father of behaviorism could do: "My total reactions are positive and towards you. So, likewise, each and every heart reaction.") Buckley is also dubious of the allegation that Rayner and Watson studied their own sexual responses.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:41 PM
( 11:10 AM ) The Rat
DOWNLOAD THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD IPHONE APP!
Should you die and find yourself in the ancient Egyptian netherworld, this app—based on the Ancient Egyptian 'Book of the Dead'—will help you negotiate the many dangers that await you, as you try to attain eternal life...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:10 AM
( 7:49 AM ) The Rat
FEEL LIKE CLICKING ON SOMETHING? Head over and submit some votes for the Full Page Project; the winning charity gets a free full-page ad in a Sunday Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Ratty is partial to the ARC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:49 AM
( 7:43 AM ) The Rat
"FORTUNATELY, TAIWAN IS A PRETTY LAID BACK COUNTRY WHERE ALMOST NOTHING EVER GOES WRONG." 6 Secret Monopolies You Didn't Know Run the World, via Cracked. Not sure why Monsanto isn't higher up on this list.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:43 AM
Thursday, November 18, 2010
( 9:39 PM ) The Rat
THIS TFLN made me laugh out loud. Also don't miss the top reader comment.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:39 PM
( 8:35 PM ) The Rat
PASSENGERS PUSH FOR CHILD-FREE FLIGHTS. Of course, there's always Cuddle Class!
Now, travelers without children are doing some fussing of their own. Some are calling for airlines to implement child-free flights, or designate "family-only" sections on planes, in the wake of some high-profile tantrums.
In July, Qantas settled a lawsuit from a woman who claimed that she suffered hearing loss after sitting next to a screaming 3-year-old boy on a 2009 flight from New York to Australia. (Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.) In January, AirTran removed an entire family from a flight before takeoff from Fort Myers, Fla., because their 3-year-old girl was hitting the parents, making noise and refusing to take her seat. And in March, a 42-year-old woman allegedly grabbed a boy (3 years old, again) for kicking her chair during a Southwest flight to Las Vegas.
While few travelers would advocate outright assault, a survey of 2,000 travelers released by Skyscanner, a fare-comparison site, in August found that 59 percent of passengers support creating special sections on flights for families. Nearly 20 percent said they would like to see airlines offer child-free flights.
It would be easy to dismiss the demands for separating children on flights if they were coming only from the childless. But many parents support the idea as well...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:35 PM
( 6:41 PM ) The Rat
UNEMPLOYED ENGLISH GIRL TO WED SOLDIER FROM WELFARE FAMILY, via WC (not WCC). No, really—click through.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:41 PM
( 6:23 PM ) The Rat
SURELY THIS WAS INEVITABLE...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:23 PM
( 1:10 PM ) The Rat
Even when a researcher carefully explains a sex-related project—its purpose and its value—people may still suspect he or she is a pervert. Last year, I was conversing by e-mail with an acquaintance who was investigating the black market in cadaver parts. She came into possession of a sales list for a company that provides organs and tissues for research. On the list was "vagina with clitoris." She did not believe that there could be a legitimate research purpose for cadaver genitalia. She assumed the researcher had procured the part to have sex with it. I replied that physiologists and people who study sexual dysfunction still have plenty to learn about female arousal and orgasm, and that I could, with little trouble, imagine someone needing such a thing. Besides, I said to this woman, if the guy wanted to nail the thing, do you honestly think he'd have bothered with the clitoris?
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:10 PM
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
( 9:55 PM ) The Rat
10 CENTURIES IN 5 MINUTES, via MM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 PM
( 9:50 PM ) The Rat
LANGUAGE MAY HELP CREATE, NOT JUST CONVEY, THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, via ScienceDaily.
The researchers administered the IAT in two different settings: once in Morocco, with bilinguals in Arabic and French, and again in the U.S. with Latinos who speak both English and Spanish.
In Morocco, participants who took the IAT in Arabic showed greater preference for other Moroccans. When they took the test in French, that difference disappeared. Similarly, in the U.S., participants who took the test in Spanish showed a greater preference for other Hispanics. But again, in English, that preference disappeared.
"It was quite shocking to see that a person could take the same test, within a brief period of time, and show such different results," Ogunnaike says. "It's like asking your friend if he likes ice cream in English, and then turning around and asking him again in French and getting a different answer"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:50 PM
( 9:49 PM ) The Rat
BY WHAT, A BOA CONSTRICTOR?
U.S. scientists believe hearing mother down the line produces the same stress-busting effect on her daughter as physical contact such as a hug...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:49 PM
( 7:26 PM ) The Rat
THAT'S... ACTUALLY A TOTALLY REASONABLE REQUEST. From an August post at Passive-Aggressive Notes; found via the more recent Please Clean ALL Your Feathers.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:26 PM
( 6:35 PM ) The Rat
"IT LOOKS LIKE YOU WERE BORN AROUND 1970." Take USA Today's Which generation do you belong to? quiz. But it was a toss-up between Operation and Monopoly (Operation was played more at my peers' houses, but we didn't even have it at home, whereas we most def. had Monopoly), and when I retook the quiz substituting the latter for the former, I was shifted to having been born in 1964. (I was in fact born in 1976, but grew up with brothers born in 1969 and 1970.)
I would love to see an (even just slightly) expanded version of this quiz.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:35 PM
( 4:47 PM ) The Rat
AH, JAPAN... Maybe this would be a way to address their public pension difficulties?
It's said that everyone has a secret. What was unique about Shigeo Tokuda's fib was that everything he wasn't telling his wife and daughter was recorded on hundreds of videos, and that thousands of admirers knew exactly who he was and what he was trying to hide.
For a long time, Mr. Tokuda was not just the world's oldest porn star, he was perhaps its most anonymous. His family didn't know where the 76-year-old really went and what he did when the retired travel agent pulled on his blazer and went off to "work" in the morning...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:47 PM
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
( 7:24 PM ) The Rat
DELETED WIKIPEDIA ARTICLES WITH FREAKY TITLES. Good stuff in here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:24 PM
( 7:22 PM ) The Rat
"MAMA WU" UNLIKELY HERO FOR HOMOSEXUALS IN CHINA.
While society at large has loosened up on homosexuality, Li said, family pressure on gay people remains strong because of deep-rooted Confucian ideas and the government's one-child policy—making Wu's words and actions all the more powerful.
"No one would listen to an outsider, but she is not—she is a mother whose only son is gay," Li said. "Others would wonder, if she can handle it so well, why can't I."
It's not all accolades for Wu, however. Vitriolic attacks often dog her online. On a popular video-sharing site, under a clip paying tribute to her achievements, a recent comment accused her of "leading our youth to a place filthier than a brothel" and "hastening the moral death of our already-sick society"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:22 PM
( 4:42 PM ) The Rat
ABBADO CONDUCTS the Berlin Philharmonic in the "Polonaise" from Eugene Onegin.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:42 PM
( 10:12 AM ) The Rat
FOUR MORE DAYS till the centennial of Tolstoy's death. Still trying to think of an appropriate way to commemorate it... (Ratty wishes she had time to read this book, btw, which sounds fascinating. Heck, she wishes she'd thought to write it!)
Late in life Tolstoy wrote that his favorite books were those without authors: the Bible, epics, collections of proverbs, and folklore. His last days would become such a story—one that insisted on being told and retold and would be created and recreated collectively. The unfinished quality of the narrative—an enigmatic departure for an unknown destination, a portentous journey cut short by death—invited all to imagine how it might have ended and to expand on the possibilities of what it could mean. Unanswered questions and narrative gaps allowed readers to tell their part of the story, suggesting how they felt it should progress and what they wanted it to mean...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:12 AM
( 8:48 AM ) The Rat
THE PRICE 20-SOMETHINGS PAY TO LIVE IN THE CITY, via IKM. The second and third of my three apartments in the city would likely have qualified me to be interviewed for this story.
"We're very lucky," said Sam Tolman, who earned enough working as a waiter last summer to cover three months of his share of the rent. "We have a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom." Each brother has his own bedroom. Visiting friends from Providence, R.I., where the Tolmans grew up, marvel at how much space they have.
Sam Tolman has two internships. He edits video for the Web site of the magazine published by Frank151, and he is part of the video team of BreakThru Radio, an Internet radio station. The first job is unpaid; the second provides a weekly stipend of $50.
But the commute is punishing. To get to his Frank151 job, which starts at 11 a.m., Mr. Tolman leaves the house at 9:30 and walks 15 minutes to catch the No. 7 bus. That takes him to the No. 1 train, from which he switches to the 2, the L and the R before arriving at his office...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 AM
( 8:46 AM ) The Rat
THINK ABOUT PINK, via LH.
But a funny thing happened on the way to destigmatization. The experience of actual women with cancer, women like Rollin, Black, Ford and Rockefeller—women like me—got lost. Rather than truly breaking silences, acceptable narratives of coping emerged, each tied up with a pretty pink bow. There were the pink teddy bears that, as Barbara Ehrenreich observed, infantilized patients in a reassuringly feminine fashion. "Men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not receive gifts of Matchbox cars," she wrote in her book "Bright-Sided."
Alternatively, there are what Gayle Sulik, author of "Pink Ribbon Blues," calls "She-roes"—rhymes with "heroes." These aggressive warriors in heels kick cancer's butt (and look fab doing it). Like the bear huggers, they say what people want to hear: that not only have they survived cancer, but the disease has made them better people and better women. She-roes, it goes without saying, do not contract late-stage disease, nor do they die...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:46 AM
Monday, November 15, 2010
( 7:53 PM ) The Rat
"PLUS, YOU WILL PROBABLY DEVELOP A COKE HABIT." So You Want to Go to Law School, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:53 PM
( 1:30 PM ) The Rat
"ALSO, THIS HAS INSPIRED A SANDWICH WE'D LIKE TO TRY: THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL BURGER." The Wait Wait staff eat the Mexican Whopper.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:30 PM
( 5:00 AM ) The Rat
A friend said that he 'lacked gaiety, and his fine, intelligent eyes always looked at everything from a distance.' From the various memoirs by relatives and friends, we can imagine a man who always seemed a little older than himself and older than anyone he met, as if he were living more than one life.
—James Wood on Chekhov
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:00 AM
Sunday, November 14, 2010
( 11:59 AM ) The Rat
"I RECENTLY CONFIDED THIS WORRY TO A COLLEAGUE, WHO, IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER, POINTED OUT THAT, IN THE GREATER SCHEME, DRUNK-DIALING AGATHA CHRISTIE ISN'T SUCH A TERRIBLE VICE." Elif Batuman in the Guardian, on buying books drunk. Link is (I think) via ET.
3. Sentimentality. I am a sentimental, rather than angry, drunk. One night, having coerced the cat to sit on my lap, I proceeded to read free samples of four different memoirs by scientists who form unlikely and ultimately tragic bonds with research animals.
4. Decreased inhibitions. Until technology empowered me to order books while drunk, I didn't realise the scope and diversity of literature that I wasn't reading purely out of embarrassment. To name just one genre, many off-colour books that were recommended to me over the years by boyfriends and crushes have now found a home on my Kindle: Marcuse's Eros and Civilisation, Miller's Sexus, Plexus, Nexus, Dworkin's Intercourse (I'm not making that up), Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.
5. Impaired judgment. I order a lot of books that I'm just clearly never going to read without the help of substances I don't abuse yet. Example: Phenomenology: A Very Short Introduction.
A few months ago, my drunk reading tendencies converged upon a single author. The Kindle actually made the suggestion itself, in the form of one of its standard issue author screensavers: a portrait of Agatha Christie that I found staring up at me, half-obscured by a pile of bills. She was represented, as always, as elderly, wearing a scarf with a brooch, her gray perm etched in meticulous detail. Beneath remarkably heavy brows, her eyes were shrewd and weary, as with the knowledge of countless unravelled mysteries.
The last time I had read Christie novels with any regularity was between the ages of 10 and 13, when I used to borrow them from my mother's little sister, the most beautiful and lively person in my family, then in her 20s. I read them obsessively, one after another, either despite or because of how much they frightened me. Although the style was simple and readable, and although the detectives, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, were twinkly, grandparental types, nevertheless, everywhere these gentle souls went, someone was killed in hatred...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 AM
( 11:32 AM ) The Rat
WORTHWHILE TNR REVIEW of Yoko Kawaguchi's new cultural history of the geisha.
There is a more important moral to be gleaned here. M. Butterfly is a dazzling piece of theater neither because it is written by an Asian American nor because it turns the Butterfly Myth on its head. It is dazzling because it is beautifully written, and because it is not ultimately about "the Butterfly Myth" any more than Hedda Gabler is about Norway: the play's true subject is the lengths we go to shield ourselves from the true identity of our beloveds...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:32 AM
( 11:18 AM ) The Rat
A TFLN bookmarked from a few weeks back.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:18 AM
( 11:16 AM ) The Rat
COLLEGES WITH THE EASIEST AND HARDEST GRADES, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:16 AM
( 11:08 AM ) The Rat
DEPRESSING DAILY MAIL PIECE on IVF.
My experiences have opened my eyes to the unacknowledged devastation IVF can wreak. No one talks about how the pursuit of fertility can bring negative consequences: you are expected to set your eye on the goal and just keep going until you get there. And when it has worked for you, no one will countenance you talking about how long or difficult the process was. Every discussion tends to be rounded off by someone saying, 'At least you’ve got your little boy,' as if what you went through is cancelled out by the end result.
Of course, mothers say that, however awful the pregnancy or birth, having a baby makes it all worthwhile. Society (including doctors, nurses and health visitors) tends to prevent women who have suffered any motherhood 'loss' (including the inability to conceive) from acknowledging it and thus working through it.
A few years ago, fertility expert Lord Winston made a speech to a reproductive and genetics charity in which he said, 'The fertility clinic is more distressing than anything else in medicine. Even if you compare it to the cancer ward, there is no contest. In my early days, I was doing a lot of the work that young doctors do, which included cancer patients. It struck me that although cancer patients were often distressed, they live with the hope that they might get better. Infertility patients don't always have that hope: they realise that most of the time the treatment doesn't work'...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:08 AM
( 11:05 AM ) The Rat
ON THE MICROMORT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:05 AM
( 10:32 AM ) The Rat
ANOTHER BLOOM COUNTY CLASSIC. This strip was an absolutely integral part of my childhood... I even learned several SAT words from it. Most (if not all) of the strips are now archived online, though the resolution's much better if you wait for the books.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:32 AM
( 10:29 AM ) The Rat
'TIS LOVE, 'TIS LOVE THAT MAKES THE WORLD GO 'ROUND!
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:29 AM
( 10:27 AM ) The Rat
YIKES, that British couple kidnapped off their yacht a year ago have finally been released.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:27 AM
Saturday, November 13, 2010
( 8:47 PM ) The Rat
"Aging, white chemical-plant executive seeks white female into death squads, Wayne Newton and feudalism."
—Opus imagines the sorts of personals ads that will be placed in the Bloom Beacon after a takeover by Jesse Helms*
*See the strip here; have I mentioned how grateful I am that they're finally releasing the full run of Bloom County (the strip above is from Vol. 3), including strips I never saw when I was committing the earlier collections to memory during the mid/late '80s?
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:47 PM
( 8:17 PM ) The Rat
FISH COURTSHIP MORE COMPLEX THAN THOUGHT. Your joke here.
Attracting females involves significant time, energy and exposure to predation and previous research has indicated that male gobies are more likely to court larger females due to the number of eggs they carry compared with their smaller counterparts.
However, new research, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, indicates that should the male fish find himself infrequently in contact with females, he will pursue any he finds with zeal, regardless of size...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:17 PM
( 8:14 PM ) The Rat
GENETICS HAS A BIG IMPACT ON HOW A PERSON OPERATES IN A SOCIAL GROUP, via ScienceDaily.
After assessing nearly 1000 pairs of adult twins, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that strong genetic influences have a major influence on how loyal a person feels to their social group. It also has a significant impact on how flexibly they can adapt group membership.
Family ties were less influential. Instead factors outside the family such as ethnicity and religion seem to account for the environmental influences that determine how successfully a group will operate...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:14 PM
( 7:31 PM ) The Rat
RATTY'S RESULTS ON THE "MY MOST USED WORDS" APP ON FACEBOOK, as of this evening:
Used 5 times: Having
Used 5 times: While
Used 5 times: Few
Used 5 times: Kind
Used 4 times: Dad
Used 4 times: Place
Used 4 times: Any
Used 4 times: Country
Used 4 times: Another
Used 4 times: Best
Used 3 times: Morning
Used 3 times: Almost
Used 3 times: Spent
Used 3 times: High
Used 3 times: Last
Used 3 times: Getting
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:31 PM
( 2:11 PM ) The Rat
RATTY ISN'T SURE how she could have missed hearing about the first-ever opera performed entirely in Klingon (more on the story here) back in September.
Opera devotees and sci-fi fans are a match made in Valhalla: opinionated lovers of spectacle and fantasy whose temperaments can be as overblown as some of their favorite characters. If they ever hooked up (is there a profile trait on eHarmony for geekdom?), the perfect night out might involve tickets to see a Klingon opera...
Also see this Guardian blurb on the forthcoming opera based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith... (Both stories are again via Wait Wait.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:11 PM
( 1:44 PM ) The Rat
"THE BEST PART IS IT APPEARS TO DO THE JOB WELL, THOUGH IT CERTAINLY TAKES ALL THE SEXINESS OUT OF THE ENDEAVOR." Um, that's probably just as well? Meet Cody, the robot that gives sponge baths, via Wait Wait.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:44 PM
( 10:58 AM ) The Rat
U.S. RESEARCHERS EXPLAIN HOW CATS LAP LIQUIDS WITH ELEGANCE. I kinda want to see the grant proposal for this...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:58 AM
( 10:43 AM ) The Rat
ANOTHER METAPHOR FOR GRAD SCHOOL...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:43 AM
Friday, November 12, 2010
( 7:57 PM ) The Rat
I WOULD RESPECT MY STUDENTS MORE if they gave answers like this.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:57 PM
( 7:52 PM ) The Rat
HEY! Via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:52 PM
( 7:50 PM ) The Rat
IT'S THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY of the exploding whale of Oregon.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:50 PM
Thursday, November 11, 2010
( 9:51 PM ) The Rat
PERCENTAGE OF COUNTRIES' NATIVE POPULATIONS RESIDING IN U.S.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 PM
( 7:43 PM ) The Rat
CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE MAY BE A RISK FACTOR FOR LATER PSYCHOTIC ILLNESS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:43 PM
( 7:35 PM ) The Rat
CAN YOU GET GENIUS RESULTS WITH JUST HARD WORK? NO.
The problem with the 10,000-hour rule is that many of its most ardent proponents are political ideologues who see the existence of genius as an affront to their vision of human equality, and will do anything to explain it away...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:35 PM
( 6:24 PM ) The Rat
"'RIGID FEMININE PLEASURE DEVICE'? THAT'S NOT A SEX TOY; THAT'S A CREDIT CARD!" Reader comment on this story from The Smoking Gun.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:24 PM
( 5:25 PM ) The Rat
"IS THAT PRESBYTERIAN FOR 'STARE AT HER TITS'?" 11,201 More Pieces of Terrible Advice, via Cracked (by way of ET).
Seriously, though: a free sex fantasy coupon? With a legal disclaimer and a mention of underage children? Why don't you just back a cement truck up to your wife and seal her holes forever? If... IF she even accepts this coupon, the worst thing that could happen is that she actually uses it. I mean think about it—you don't have any black friends! Where are you going to find one to fuck your wife?
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:25 PM
( 3:04 PM ) The Rat
SHOPPER OVERCHARGED BECAUSE CO-OP ASSISTANT'S BREASTS WERE RESTING ON SCALES. I love that this made the national news...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:04 PM
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
( 8:21 PM ) The Rat
IN UKRAINE, 'NO' MEANS A PUMPKIN. Via ET. Also see the affiliated NPR story, nearly every paragraph of which makes it sound like the entire nation of Ukraine was playing an elaborate joke on NPR's reporter(s)...
For centuries in the Eastern European nation, a pumpkin meant one thing: No, I won't marry you.
An old tradition held that a would-be suitor would visit a woman's house to propose. If the answer was yes, there was family toasting and celebration. If no, the poor guy was silently handed a pumpkin.
Volodymir Yantsur, a tour guide in the western city of Lviv, Ukraine, dates the tradition to medieval times and says many Ukrainian men would only propose at night so they wouldn't be seen with a pumpkin in their hands if rejected.
Why a pumpkin? As vegetables go, pumpkins are not the prettiest. And maybe that was the message for the boyfriend. Or, Yantsur says, there's this: "Some Ukrainian cookbooks suggest pumpkins are a healthy vegetable. Some even say it's good for a man's virility"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 PM
( 8:14 PM ) The Rat
"YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN MEAT." Via IKM.
Squeeze him and he says, "I'm Bacon!" No matter what the situation, he says, "I'm Bacon!" This reminds children that no matter what happens in life, they should be true to themselves and always be proud of who they are...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:14 PM
( 10:37 AM ) The Rat
STUDY CONFIRMS: WHATEVER DOESN'T KILL US CAN MAKE US STRONGER, ibid.
[P]revious research indicates that exposure to adverse life events typically predicts negative effects on mental health and well-being, such that more adversity predicts worse outcomes.
But in this study of a national survey panel of 2,398 subjects assessed repeatedly from 2001 to 2004, Seery and co-researchers found those exposed to some adverse events reported better mental health and well-being outcomes than people with a high history of adversity or those with no history of adversity.
"Consistent with prior research on the impact of adversity, linear effects emerged in our results, such that more lifetime adversity was associated with higher global distress, functional impairment and PTS symptoms, as well as lower life satisfaction.
"However," says Seery, "our results also yielded quadratic, U-shaped patterns, demonstrating a critical qualification to the seemingly simple relationship between lifetime adversity and outcomes. "Our findings revealed," he says, "that a history of some lifetime adversity—relative to both no adversity or high adversity—predicted lower global distress, lower functional impairment, lower PTS symptoms and higher life satisfaction"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:37 AM
( 10:34 AM ) The Rat
IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY to start training your future math major!
The amount of time parents spend talking about numbers has a much bigger impact on how young children learn mathematics than was previously known, researchers at the University of Chicago have found...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:34 AM
( 10:23 AM ) The Rat
THINGS I CAN IMAGINE MY COMMUNITY-COLLEGE STUDENTS BEING GOOD FOR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 AM
( 1:38 AM ) The Rat
Othello. Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:38 AM
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
( 1:22 PM ) The Rat
P.S. Live stream here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:22 PM
( 12:00 PM ) The Rat
ONLY EIGHT HOURS TO GO!!! Così opens tonight at the Met, meaning this is one of those all-too-rare days when, for Ratty, the entire world might as well have been made of chocolate.
Here, an extract from Said's chapter on Così in On Late Style.
We need to look at Così fan tutte as an opera whose strange lightheartedness hides, or at least underplays, an inner system that is quite severe and amoral in its workings. I do not at all want to say that the work must not be enjoyed as the brilliant romp that in many ways it surely is. But of the three Da Ponte operas, Così fan tutte is not only the last and, in my opinion, the most complex and eccentric, but also the most internally well organised, the most full of echoes and references, and the most difficult to unlock, precisely because it goes further toward the limits of acceptable, ordinary experiences of love, life, and ideas than either of its two immediate predecessors. The reasons for this, and indeed for Così's opacity and even resistance to the kind of political and intellectual interpretive analysis that Figaro and Don Giovanni generally permit, are partly to be found in Mozart's life and times in 1789-90, while he was at work on Così. But they are also to be found in the way Mozart and Da Ponte created the work together, without a well-known play or a legendary figure to provide them with a framework and directions. Così is the result of a collaboration, and its dynamics, the symmetrical structure of its plot, and the echoic quality of much of its music are internal as well as necessary to its composition, not imported into or imposed on it by an outside source.
Many of the numbers of act one, for example, were written by Mozart to emphasise how the characters think, act and sing in pairs; their lines generally imitate one another and recollect lines sung earlier. Mozart seems to have wanted us to feel we are inside a closed system in which melody, imitation, and parody are very difficult to separate from one another. This is superbly in evidence in the act one sextet, which enacts a sort of miniplay in which Alfonso draws Despina, then the two disguised men, then the two women into his plot, all the while commenting on the action, as he also allows Despina to comment. The whole number (written in the opera's basic key of C major) is a dizzying maze of advance and expostulation, statement, echo, and inversion that rivals anything Mozart ever wrote. It simply sweeps aside the last trace of any sense of stability and gravity that we have so far been able to hold on to...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:00 PM
Monday, November 08, 2010
( 5:53 PM ) The Rat
"FOR ANYONE WHO HAS EVER FANTASIZED ABOUT MAKING LOVE IN A GIANT SANDWICH," via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:53 PM
( 5:47 PM ) The Rat
"YES, WE'VE FINALLY BECOME HAMSTERS." The Wait Wait staff eats Dunkin' Donuts' new Sausage Pancake Bites.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:47 PM
( 5:40 PM ) The Rat
There is no question that Rumanian-Jewish food is heavy. One meal is equal in heaviness, I would guess, to eight or nine years of steady mung-bean eating.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:40 PM
Sunday, November 07, 2010
( 8:02 PM ) The Rat
EAT YOUR BEETS!
Researchers for the first time have shown that drinking beet juice can increase blood flow to the brain in older adults—a finding that could hold great potential for combating the progression of dementia...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:02 PM
( 7:57 PM ) The Rat
PARADISE LOST—AND FOUND.
Ancient gardens are the stuff of legend, from the Garden of Eden to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with Heidelberg University in Germany, have uncovered an ancient royal garden at the site of Ramat Rachel near Jerusalem, and are leading the first full-scale excavation of this type of archaeological site anywhere in the pre-Hellenistic Levant.
According to Prof. Oded Lipschits and graduate student Boaz Gross of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology, this dig is an unparalleled look into the structure and function of ancient gardens...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:57 PM
( 7:53 PM ) The Rat
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FLIRTING STYLES INVENTORY. Your joke(s) here re my results...
Physical style: very physical
You scored higher than 90–100% of other survey takers in your demographic.
Traditional style: very traditional
You scored higher than 80–90% of other survey takers in your demographic.
Polite style: very polite
You scored higher than 90–100% of other survey takers in your demographic.
Sincere style: somewhat sincere
You scored higher than 60–70% of other survey takers in your demographic.
Playful style: very playful
You scored higher than 80–90% of other survey takers in your demographic.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:53 PM
( 7:11 PM ) The Rat
TWO SIDED MACARONI AND CHEESE PUZZLE. I would totally get this if it were bigger.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:11 PM
( 7:02 PM ) The Rat
Those who had taken shorthand memoranda (which, as shorthand memoranda usually are, were badly garbled) were verifying the facts from those who had merely listened. They had done so much better than they had expected. "Did you hear him say that writing is a fearful grind?" they cheerfully ejaculated. "That's the lead, all right." "What did he say exactly when he was asked which is his favorite book?" "He said 'It depends on the day.'" And so it went down in at least one avid notebook, and eventually appeared (in the New York Times, to my delight) that Mr. Conrad's best-loved work is It Depends on the Day...
—from Christopher Morley's account (for the New York Evening Post) of Conrad's arrival in New York Harbor
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:02 PM
( 6:29 PM ) The Rat
SPEAKING OF WHICH... Here is William Backhaus playing Brahms's Rhapsody in B Minor, Op. 79 No. 1. (Or see Glenn Gould's somewhat more cerebral version, here.) Turn your lights/monitor off first.
I also find Liadov's Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 44—played here by Tatiana Nikolayeva—nice in this weather.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:29 PM
( 6:28 PM ) The Rat
What is classical music if not the epitome of sensuality, passion, and understated erotica that popular music, even with all of its energy and life, cannot even begin to touch?
—Lara St. John
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:28 PM
( 1:15 PM ) The Rat
'70S WIVES ASK THEMSELVES, 'WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME I EXPRESSED PLEASURE IN OUR SEX LIFE?' AND SO MUCH MORE. These—and the "annotations" provided by the Voice—are hysterical!
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:15 PM
( 11:36 AM ) The Rat
AGENTS CASTING FOR DUNKIN' DONUTS COMMERCIAL.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 AM
( 11:18 AM ) The Rat
MOUNT EVEREST GETS 3G WIRELESS INTERNET, via Wait Wait.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:18 AM
( 11:17 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 AM
( 9:19 AM ) The Rat
UPCYCLE YOUR USED PAPER COFFEE CUP into a hovercraft!
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:19 AM
( 9:07 AM ) The Rat
MORE EYE-CATCHING THAN "404 NOT FOUND."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:07 AM
( 8:41 AM ) The Rat
OWEN BENNETT-JONES INTERVIEWS NOBEL LAUREATE DR. BARRY MARSHALL on this week's The Interview.
OB-J. Yeah, exactly, but—let me just ask you this, I mean you did this to yourself, and as you say it's not very... sort of scientific, in a way, because it—could you not get volunteers?
BM. Well... The ethical thing about a volunteer—you have to be able to explain the risks and the benefits of the experiment. And you say, 'The benefits are... I will get a fantastic research paper... The risks—you could die from an ulcer.' Okay, so—that's not going to work. So really, I was the only person who knew anything about it...
OB-J. Yeah, but actually, you thought it would be safe, didn't you, in a way?
BM [laughing]. I tried to cover all my bases—I asked—I was going to get Dr. Warren to do it, but he said... He's disqualified, because he had Helicobacter before, and I had already treated him, so—
BM. —so he was out.
OB-J. But you needed to establish that this bacteria could cause gastritis or an ulcer. And what—well, what about your wife? I mean, she's sitting there, seeing you deteriorate, after you've taken your petri dish...
BM. My poor wife. She wondered what was wrong with me, because I was looking a bit ill, I wasn't sleeping, I was breaking out in a sweat—
OB-J [incredulous]. Had you told her what you'd done?!
BM. Actually—I'd kind of discussed my research plan with her a year before, and I had mentioned that I was going to do human experiments... but I didn't say it was going to be on me. That was not the original plan. But as it turned out, when it became time to do the experiment... I decided that, um... how do I say it? Um—forgiveness is easier to achieve than permission, in my family. So—I thought I'd do it, and then try to get away with it afterwards.
OB-J. Retrospective—sort of—absolution—
BM. Yeah. So—the other thing is, I developed bad breath, and in retrospect, well, that is... When you lose the acid in your stomach—your stomach is probably a bit like a cow's stomach, it's quite putrid—and so I had bad breath, and I was looking sick, and uh, she's like, Oh my God, what's wrong with my husband, he's got some terrible disease... So when I told her after ten days that I had, uh, drank the bacteria, and—great news!—I'd established the infection and I was going to get an ulcer... She was like—'WHAT?!!'
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:41 AM
Saturday, November 06, 2010
( 9:54 PM ) The Rat
RESTAURANT WEEK starts tomorrow here in New Haven!
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:54 PM
( 9:09 PM ) The Rat
"THIS IS A MOST IMPORTANT POINT IN THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS." Revisiting a favorite De Quincey passage I'm always reminded of around this time of year.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:09 PM
( 9:00 PM ) The Rat
"WE'RE NOT UNREASONABLE, I MEAN NO ONE'S GONNA EAT YOUR EYES..." Jonathan Coulton's "Re: Your Brains," via ET (of course).
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:00 PM
( 8:59 PM ) The Rat
SOME DAYS, I LOVE THE MET'S SURTITLERS. In III.ii of this afternoon's quite fetching Don Pasquale*, for instance, Norina's line: "Il marito vede e tace / Quando parla, non s'ascolta" ("The husband sees, and wisely holds his tongue: For when he speaks, there's no one listens to him") was rendered at least as effectively as: "Husbands should be seen and not heard..."
They encored "Aspetta, aspetta, cara sposina," btw—surely the most crowd-pleasing duet in an already immensely crowd-pleasing opera (Kwiecien and Del Carlo were both terrific in it). Not a ton of versions online, but there is one [dir. Riccardo Muti] here.
*Ratty's host, of our Ernesto, Matthew Polenzani (whom Ratty heard sing quite a good Tamino last season): "I played golf with him once." Ratty: "Yeah? Was he any good?" Host: "Oh yes..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:59 PM
( 11:19 AM ) The Rat
BEST VOICE-MAIL RATTY'S HAD IN MONTHS (even outdistancing her adorable nephew's singing ones): "Dearest, could you come by at around three today? I am seeing a lot of students at two and not only would I love to see you but... [Pause.] It would clear them out."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:19 AM
( 8:27 AM ) The Rat
"WHEN CONFRONTED WITH EVIDENCE OF HER PAST MARRIAGES, ESTRADA BLAMED HER DEAD TWIN, GLORIA..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:27 AM
( 8:23 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:23 AM
( 8:17 AM ) The Rat
"MY WALK OF SHAME WAS FAR MORE INTERESTING TODAY..." via TFLN. That said, I would make bleed anybody who did this.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:17 AM
Friday, November 05, 2010
( 2:45 PM ) The Rat
STRIPS LIKE THIS are why Peanuts can be such a solace in childhood...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:45 PM
( 9:51 AM ) The Rat
"DO YOU WANT TO SPEND ALL OF YOUR TWENTIES IN DARK, DANK COMPUTER LABS RUNNING REGRESSIONS, WHILE ALL YOUR FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE ARE WORKING REAL JOBS AND GETTING LAID?" So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in Political Science.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM
( 9:06 AM ) The Rat
INTERACTIVE DOOHICKEY illustrating the Stable Marriage Problem. (Ratty first heard about this while she was still in math, but it was in the context of residency matching as well as of "marriage.")
In 1962, David Gale and Lloyd Shapley proved that, for any equal number of men and women, it is always possible to solve the SMP and make all marriages stable. They presented an algorithm to do so.
The Gale-Shapley algorithm involves a number of "rounds" (or "iterations") where each unengaged man "proposes" to the most-preferred woman to whom he has not yet proposed. Each woman then considers all her suitors and tells the one she most prefers "Maybe" and all the rest of them "No." She is then provisionally "engaged." In each subsequent round, each unengaged man proposes to the most-preferred woman to whom he has not yet proposed (the woman may or may not already be engaged), and the women once again reply with one "maybe" to the most-preferred suitor and reject the rest (including for consideration her current partner). This may mean that already-engaged women can "trade up," and already-engaged men can be "jilted"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:06 AM
( 3:33 AM ) The Rat
A GUIDE TO THE BEST DOUGHNUTS IN NEW YORK, from Serious Eats. A couple years out of date now, but lots of yummy donut porn.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:33 AM
( 3:25 AM ) The Rat
VOV, via IKM.
A Nova Scotia couple won $11.2 million from a lottery ticket in July and now every penny is gone.
But Allen and Violet Large of Lower Truro didn't spend any of it on themselves...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:25 AM
( 2:58 AM ) The Rat
TEACHING A CHILD HOW TO RIDE A BIKE. This tutorial (particularly the idea of removing the pedals while first getting the child acclimated) would have saved my mom a certain amount of time and aggravation back ca. 1981...
Reader comment on REI's instructional video on same: "Oh come on teach your kid to ride the old fashion way. I still remember being 3 and having all the dads in the neighborhood line this hill and taking the training wheels off and debating leaving one on or not then riding and falling and picking asphalt out of my leg. That my friends builds character..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:58 AM
( 2:36 AM ) The Rat
I have always preferred an occasional orgy to a nightly routine.
—Travels with My Aunt
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:36 AM
Thursday, November 04, 2010
( 3:29 PM ) The Rat
RANDOM ACTS OF CULTURE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:29 PM
( 7:23 AM ) The Rat
POLAR OPPOSITES, via Catalog Living.
Also see: Existential Crisis of a Penguin—though it's not clear whether this is the same penguin from the broken home as depicted in the CL link.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:23 AM
( 7:22 AM ) The Rat
A green highway sign pointed the way to Pinyon City, but neither Ben nor Michael remarked upon it. This smaller road led them through a cluster of homes with suburban-looking street signs and seasonal flags flying over the garages. Within minutes, however, the houses had disappeared and they were cruising through a broad, seemingly unpopulated valley. The meadows on both sides of the road were vast and already dusted with snow; the mountains in the distance imposing but somehow incapable of menace. They embraced her, in fact, made her feel safer than she'd felt in weeks.
She remembered a magazine called Christmas Ideals that her grandmother had sent her every year when she was a little girl back in Cleveland. It was sturdier than most magazines, and glossy, and inside there were poems printed on scenes from nature. If she were to see one today, she would probably find it corny, but back then her easy childish heart had soared at the sight of those snow-laden pines and starlit valleys.
Ideals had been the ideal name, she realized, since what the magazine had offered was the sweet reassurance that life could not be improved upon. A pristine landscape was perfection itself; it was only when you added people that everything changed.
—Mary Ann in Autumn
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:22 AM
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
( 6:47 PM ) The Rat
TOAST NATIONAL SANDWICH DAY WITH SANDWICH COCKTAILS. Not my pun! I swear!
The Sandwich Cocktail menu created by the Nicaraguan rum company features "crustless cocktails"—the Peanut Butter & Jelly, the Cheeseburger and the BLT.
"The cheeseburger cocktail I created is well balanced and allows the character of Flor de Caña's 7-year-old rum to add a complexity to the beef stock reduction that a neutral spirit could never achieve. Notes of dark caramel, burnt toffee, and toasted nuts also create a well-rounded tasting experience, offering the satisfaction of what one might call comfort food in a glass," said Trevor Burnett, a Toronto-based cocktail consultant...
As November is also National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, check out this story about plans to make the world's biggest peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in Grand Saline, Texas.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:47 PM
( 6:39 PM ) The Rat
10 FAMOUS PAINTINGS RECREATED IN VEGETABLES.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:39 PM
( 4:45 PM ) The Rat
RARELY does Ratty find a TFLN that's even half as good a metaphor for her life as this one.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:45 PM
( 3:53 PM ) The Rat
THINGS FAMOUS PEOPLE ACCOMPLISHED WHEN THEY WERE YOUR AGE. There's a book that does this same thing, but better, but its title eludes me at the moment.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:53 PM
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
( 9:11 PM ) The Rat
NINE OUT OF TEN WOMEN ESCAPING NORTH KOREA ARE TRAFFICKED.
Hyun-sook's enslavement is unflaggingly the rule, not the exception. According to a 2005 report, China's disproportionate gender ratio has left many villages with few women, increasing the demand for mercenary marriage. The victims are sold to old bachelors and widowers in these villages, and in many cases, a few men from the same village pool money together to "share" a bride. Locals estimate there are 30,000 to 50,000 North Korean laborers and sex slaves in the region.
The Chinese government has no effective support system set up to deal with this kind of trafficking. Firstly, Chinese law does not recognize these marriages, leaving the women with no legal recognition or rights. Secondly, the government has a ruthless policy of returning the refugees to North Korea—essentially giving them the choice between prostitution or forced marriage abroad and starvation at home...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:11 PM
( 8:30 PM ) The Rat
ALPHABETICAL SPICE INDEX.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:30 PM
( 8:00 PM ) The Rat
GULAG A GO-GO, via WC by way of IKM. Yikes.
Merely being the last of its kind makes the Perm-36 Gulag significant. What makes it utterly fascinating, however, and unique in the panoply of relics of man's inhumanity to man, is how it's been transformed into an unexpectedly un-somber cultural venue.
Exhibit A: For five summers running, the former Gulag's grounds have attracted crowds of up to 10,000 people to the annual Pilorama Festival, a mixed-media affair that highlights Russian and foreign singer-songwriters. "Next year," Mr. Shmyrov says, "we're hoping to get Bob Dylan."
Exhibit B: In July, British theater director Michael Hunt, aided by an epic cast of 600 and "inspired by the universal idea of love and freedom of Beethoven's great opera," staged a site- specific production of "Fidelio"—whose plot centers on a woman rescuing her husband from a political prison—in and around the buildings of Perm-36. It was, apparently, a huge success.
But I wondered: Is it OK to have fun at a former Gulag camp? My tour guide thought so. As she drew our attention to dank bunk rooms, electrified fences and crow's-nest guard towers—all constructed by the labor camp's own inmates—she remarked: "Our aim is not to make people feel guilty. It's to draw a line [under the past] and show how far we've come—and make it harder for anything like this ever to happen again"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:00 PM
( 6:26 PM ) The Rat
"A BRILLIANTLY REALIZED, BOLDLY NUANCED PORTRAIT OF STRAUSS'S DIFFICULT WIFE." Hmm...
Also reminds me of this anecdote from Beecham Stories:
Beecham was once conducting the old Royal Albert Hall Orchestra and was told of a veteran German player now looking after the scores who had played when Wagner conducted in London. Sir Thomas arranged to meet him and asked him, 'What sort of a man was Wagner?'
The reply was, 'A very good conductor.'
'No,' said Beecham. 'I mean, what sort of person was he?'
'A very good composer.'
'Yes, but what was he like as an individual?''
After a moment's thought the veteran replied, 'He was the second most unpleasant person I have ever met.'
'And who was the first?'
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:26 PM
( 8:48 AM ) The Rat
WHAT MAKES US HAPPY? Atlantic piece (from June of last year) on the Harvard Study of Adult Development. (Found this while looking up something from the Brain Rules quiz.)
What allows people to work, and love, as they grow old? By the time the Grant Study men had entered retirement, Vaillant, who had then been following them for a quarter century, had identified seven major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and psychologically.
Employing mature adaptations was one. The others were education, stable marriage, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, some exercise, and healthy weight. Of the 106 Harvard men who had five or six of these factors in their favor at age 50, half ended up at 80 as what Vaillant called "happy-well" and only 7.5 percent as "sad-sick." Meanwhile, of the men who had three or fewer of the health factors at age 50, none ended up "happy-well" at 80. Even if they had been in adequate physical shape at 50, the men who had three or fewer protective factors were three times as likely to be dead at 80 as those with four or more factors.
What factors don't matter? Vaillant identified some surprises. Cholesterol levels at age 50 have nothing to do with health in old age. While social ease correlates highly with good psychosocial adjustment in college and early adulthood, its significance diminishes over time. The predictive importance of childhood temperament also diminishes over time: shy, anxious kids tend to do poorly in young adulthood, but by age 70, are just as likely as the outgoing kids to be "happy-well." Vaillant sums up: "If you follow lives long enough, the risk factors for healthy life adjustment change. There is an age to watch your cholesterol and an age to ignore it."
The study has yielded some additional subtle surprises. Regular exercise in college predicted late-life mental health better than it did physical health. And depression turned out to be a major drain on physical health: of the men who were diagnosed with depression by age 50, more than 70 percent had died or were chronically ill by 63. More broadly, pessimists seemed to suffer physically in comparison with optimists, perhaps because they're less likely to connect with others or care for themselves.
"It is social aptitude," [Vaillant] writes, "not intellectual brilliance or parental social class, that leads to successful aging." Warm connections are necessary—and if not found in a mother or father, they can come from siblings, uncles, friends, mentors. The men's relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 AM
( 8:46 AM ) The Rat
BRAIN RULES QUIZ. Fascinating quiz of how much you know about how children's brains are wired. Takes about ten minutes, but very much worth it (each answer is given with more data on affiliated research). Via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:46 AM
( 8:35 AM ) The Rat
CROISSANT PORN! via ET. Ratty has a field trip to make...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:35 AM
( 8:07 AM ) The Rat
"I PLAYED VENGEFULLY FOR THE REST OF THE AFTERNOON..." The God of Cake, via Hyperbole and a Half. Amazing drawings.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:07 AM
Monday, November 01, 2010
( 2:06 PM ) The Rat
THE WAIT, WAIT STAFF EATS a cheesesteak wrapped in a slice of pizza. Yikes.
"This is Halloween-appropriate: the cheesesteak is wearing a slice-of-pizza costume."
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:06 PM
( 2:05 PM ) The Rat
ALPHABETTI UMBRELLA. Yikes.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:05 PM