Thursday, February 28, 2013
( 1:07 AM ) The Rat
6 PLACES YOU'LL RECOGNIZE FROM THE BACKGROUND OF EVERY MOVIE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:07 AM
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
( 11:38 PM ) The Rat
From the brief bio here: "The story of Nicholas Winton only emerged when his wife Greta came across an old leather briefcase in an attic and found lists of the children and letters from their parents..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:38 PM
( 9:43 PM ) The Rat
That stopped her cold. 'What's wrong with the hat?'
'Nothing.' He stayed poker-faced, teasing her.
'It's a perfectly nice hat.'
'Mouse, if every queen in the city was laughing at this hat, I will die. Are you reading me? I will crawl under the nearest rock and die.'
He gave up the game. 'It looks fabulous. You look fabulous. C'mon... sit down and tell me about it.'
'I can't. I just thought I'd stop by... and say hi.'
He regarded her for a moment, then leaned forward and pecked her on the lips. 'Hi.'
'Are you O.K.?' she asked.
He made a little circle in the air with his forefinger, giving her a rueful smile.
'Me too,' she said.
'It's the rain, I guess.'
'I guess.' It had never been the rain, and they both knew it.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:43 PM
( 12:03 PM ) The Rat
HANS ROSLING DEBUNKS MYTHS OF CHILD BIRTH AND THE 'DEVELOPING WORLD.' There are arguments against this view of course, but it is a striking video.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:03 PM
( 12:02 AM ) The Rat
STOIC BELARUSIAN TOURIST HAS BEEN ALL AROUND THE WORLD BUT HAS YET TO FIND A SINGLE PLACE HE LIKES. Don't miss the comments...
But don't bother holding Zelkovsky up as a paragon of apathy: It's all in a day's work for the man whose social network profile has an "about me" section that reads, simply, "you'll find out in person."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:02 AM
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
( 11:55 PM ) The Rat
BAD SLEEP 'DRAMATICALLY' ALTERS BODY, via SG.
Researchers at the University of Surrey analysed the blood of 26 people after they had had plenty of sleep, up to 10 hours each night for a week, and compared the results with samples after a week of fewer than six hours a night.
More than 700 genes were altered by the shift...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 PM
( 11:31 PM ) The Rat
EXPANDING (OR SHRINKING) BOOKCASE GETS UPDATED. OK, I get the need for the expanding part. But shrinking...?!
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:31 PM
( 10:47 PM ) The Rat
CHINA NOW HAS UP TO 400 'CANCER VILLAGES,' AND THE GOVERNMENT ONLY JUST ADMITTED IT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 PM
( 5:40 PM ) The Rat
THE 2013-14 SEASON IS HERE! This will be my sixth season of Met-going, but I believe it's the first where I've looked at the catalog without thinking, "...That's it?"
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:40 PM
( 12:48 PM ) The Rat
"THAT SUGGESTS THAT PENIS SIZE IS A SEXUALLY SELECTED TRAIT IN THIS SPECIES."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:48 PM
( 12:23 PM ) The Rat
AWFUL MO FARAH INTERVIEW: THE TRANSCRIPT, via RW. Remy is pretty reliably funny, but nobody could top asking fricking Mo Farah "Haven't you run before? This isn't your first time."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 PM
( 11:04 AM ) The Rat
'THE SEXIEST MEAL': WHAT A CHARACTER'S BREAKFAST REVEALS ABOUT THEM, via WC.
Simple breakfasts say a lot, but nothing is quite as eccentric as refusing breakfast altogether. Bertie Wooster was deeply alarmed by such behaviour, noting disapprovingly of one refusenik: "She spoke as if she belonged to an anti-sausage league, or a league for the suppression of eggs"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:04 AM
Monday, February 25, 2013
( 10:12 PM ) The Rat
RIDICULOUSLY CUTE PICTURES OF OTTERS. They're the puppies of the sea! Adopt one here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:12 PM
( 10:00 PM ) The Rat
In one online discussion, a participant asked if any of the older men ever experienced the "walk of shame" when strolling down a Third World city street holding hands with a much younger rented woman.
"No 'walk of shame' for me just the 'stride with pride,' responded one."
"[It] would be a walk of shame in your own backyard," said another. "But when you're on the other side of the world man, who cares?"
A third boasted that there is no greater feeling than walking "with a scantily clad hottie on each arm. The look of disbelief on the tourists is priceless," he says. "The men are thinking how they can escape the old bag for a few hours. The old bags are pulling their man into the closest seafood place."
In another context, a regular called Rounder argued that if he suffered from shame, he wouldn't be a john. Mel, another john, was blunter: "Shame only afflicts people with morals. I have no morals."
[O]thers callously suggest the unthinkable. "Go to where people are hungry," advises a twenty-one-year-old who uses the handle Diehard. "Go to a poor country. Go to poverty plagued lands and find the women there. They will love you," he insists. "They will take care of you. They will take it up in the ass for you. They will suck it raw for you. They will swallow for you. They will massage you. They will do anything for you... for so little money. So little, just so they can have their next meal and live."
—The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:00 PM
( 7:55 PM ) The Rat
OUT WITH THE JEWS: THE GAME. 13 Horribly Offensive Board Games of the Past, via Buzzfeed.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:55 PM
( 4:59 PM ) The Rat
WHY AMERICANS ARE THE WEIRDEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, via AB.
In the end they titled their paper "The Weirdest People in the World?" By "weird" they meant both unusual and Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. It is not just our Western habits and cultural preferences that are different from the rest of the world, it appears. The very way we think about ourselves and others—and even the way we perceive reality—makes us distinct from other humans on the planet, not to mention from the vast majority of our ancestors. Among Westerners, the data showed that Americans were often the most unusual, leading the researchers to conclude that "American participants are exceptional even within the unusual population of Westerners—outliers among outliers."
Given the data, they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. Researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:59 PM
( 4:57 PM ) The Rat
C. EVERETT KOOP, R.I.P., via DB. Condolences to his friends and family of course, but I confess my own first thought when I saw this was: "Ninety-six? Damn, maybe we should have actually listened to him."
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:57 PM
Sunday, February 24, 2013
( 12:51 PM ) The Rat
STRESS WON'T STOP YOUR PREGNANCY.
And the reigning impression is wrong: The weight of evidence suggests that moderate levels of stress and anxiety do none of the things we fear. They seem not to affect whether women are able to conceive, whether they carry the fetus to term, or whether their kids reach normal developmental milestones. (If anything, some maternal stress during pregnancy seems to make kids mature a little faster.) This doesn't mean, of course, that women with anxiety shouldn’t seek care and support. But they should do so for their own sakes—not because distress will ruin their shot at motherhood or somehow damage their fetuses.
Take fertility. In 2011, British psychologists pulled together data from 14 studies of in vitro fertilization. In each study, researchers asked women to assess their emotional distress, anxiety or depression. Then they followed them through a single cycle of fertility treatment to see whether they got pregnant or not. The smaller individual studies arrived at disparate results, but the meta-analysis rolling up all the findings, which included over 3,500 women and appeared in the BMJ, was fairly definitive: Women's emotional state before IVF bore no relationship to whether the treatment worked. In other words, women with more extreme levels of anxiety or depression were just as likely to get pregnant after a single cycle as women with milder levels...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:51 PM
( 12:50 PM ) The Rat
What they call dying is merely the last pain.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:50 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2013
( 3:01 PM ) The Rat
DANICA PATRICK LAUDED FOR BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS FOR ATTRACTIVE WOMEN.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:01 PM
( 12:52 PM ) The Rat
Surely, of all things in the world the rarest is a civilized man at peace with himself.
—Gontran de Poncins, Kabloona
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:52 PM
( 12:05 PM ) The Rat
BRYAN LEWIS SAUNDERS: DRUGS. Artist who's spent over ten years taking a variety of drugs and then drawing himself.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:05 PM
Friday, February 22, 2013
( 6:50 AM ) The Rat
BROTHERS SEEKING WEDDING DATES POST CENTAUR PIC ON CRAIGSLIST AND GET MASSIVE RESPONSE.
You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you. You should be relaxed and easy going as we'll probably make up flattering lies about you on the spot...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:50 AM
Thursday, February 21, 2013
( 7:56 PM ) The Rat
THE BIOS URN, via TG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:56 PM
( 7:19 PM ) The Rat
"THE PROGRAMME IS ALSO MEETING WITH SOME RESISTANCE. SOME PARENTS HAVE REFUSED TO LET OVERWEIGHT KIDS BE TAKEN OUT OF CLASS FOR MORE EXERCISE, SAYING THEY SHOULD FOCUS ON STUDYING..." Taiwan wages nationwide battle with the bulge, via the BBC.
Unlike U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign focusing only on children, Taiwan's programme targets all of society. What is driving it is the belief that being overweight is not just a personal matter, but a national issue.
"Half of adult men and a third of adult women are overweight or obese. Eight out of the 10 leading causes of death in Taiwan are associated with obesity," said Shu-Ti Chiu, director-general of the government's Bureau of Health Promotion, which leads the effort.
"The government in Taiwan recognised the importance of this issue, so we set a target of losing 600,000 kg in one year and then we mobilised the whole society to do it together."
Compared to other Asian countries, Taiwan has a higher percentage of people who are obese—44% of adults. And its proportion of overweight children—a quarter—exceeds that of Australia, Germany, New Zealand and the U.K., officials say...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:19 PM
( 6:54 PM ) The Rat
CHINA'S 'LEFTOVER WOMEN,' UNMARRIED AT 27. Thank goodness this hasn't happened anywhere else in the world!
"Ever since 2007, the state media have aggressively disseminated [the term "sheng nu," or leftover woman] in surveys, and news reports, and columns, and cartoons and pictures, basically stigmatising educated women over the age of 27 or 30 who are still single," says Leta Hong-Fincher, an American doing a sociology Ph.D. at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Census figures for China show that around one in five women aged 25-29 is unmarried.
The proportion of unmarried men that age is higher—over a third. But that doesn't mean they will easily match up, since Chinese men tend to "marry down," both in terms of age and educational attainment. "There is an opinion that A-quality guys will find B-quality women, B-quality guys will find C-quality women, and C-quality men will find D-quality women," says Huang Yuanyuan. "The people left are A-quality women and D-quality men. So if you are a leftover woman, you are A-quality."
But it's the "A-quality" of intelligent and educated women that the government most wants to procreate, according to Leta Hong-Fincher...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:54 PM
( 2:14 PM ) The Rat
"THE BRAIN IS THE MOST OUTSTANDING ORGAN..." via TG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:14 PM
( 2:13 PM ) The Rat
The Chief Engineer had us into his cabin after dinner, and handed round Van Dams(?) (liqueurs), drinking several himself, and then became most suspiciously loquacious for one so Scotch, lamenting the fact that the Kildonan should be late on her first voyage. Between a fine of £100 for every hour she is late after 6 am and the fear of what the Board will say if he uses too many hundred tons of coal, the poor man is torn asunder. He then spoke movingly against early marriages, and besought Sylvia not to contract one rashly. We thought he must have been unfortunate himself, but it turned out that he was devoted to his wife, but pitied her deeply for being married to him...
—Agatha Christie, The Grand Tour
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:13 PM
( 11:55 AM ) The Rat
WELL, IT'S ABOUT TIME!
A Russian team of inventors and robot fanatics called Konstantin Ivanov have built a large, walking, robotic ostrich mostly out of wood and at a cost of only $1,500...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
( 4:06 PM ) The Rat
Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need.
—Adm. Richard Byrd
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:06 PM
( 3:18 PM ) The Rat
CIVILIAN PROCRASTINATION = WASHING YOUR DISHES.
Ph.D. procrastination = washing your dish rack. (It did really need it... but still.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:18 PM
( 2:22 PM ) The Rat
SHOWER CURTAIN MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE LOW-RENT PORNSTAR. It's all fun and games till you wind up with thousands of down-votes...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:22 PM
( 12:28 PM ) The Rat
FILM CHARACTER MOVES INTO BEAUTIFUL BROOKLYN BROWNSTONE AFTER GETTING DREAM PUBLISHING JOB. I detect a note of bitterness on the author's part.
"This place is perfect!" said the attractive, if naively hopeful, protagonist, who graduated with a degree in English/Creative Writing from a well-known northeastern university and now lives in a 5,000-square-foot waterfront property overlooking lower Manhattan. "I'm so lucky I just happened to walk by and see the rent sign in the window"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:28 PM
( 11:25 AM ) The Rat
WINSTON CHURCHILL'S PLAN TO FIGHT NAZIS WITH MASSIVE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS MADE FROM ICE. This guy was clearly not using the same gun-safety protocol I was taught with... big style points, though.
After a heated discussion among the Allied chiefs of staff at Quebec's Chateau Frontenac Hotel in August 1943 on another matter, Mountbatten suddenly announced that he was going to give a demonstration. He pulled out two blocks of ice: a regular chunk of ice, the other pykrete. Without warning, he pulled out his revolver and shot the ice block, shattering it to pieces. Then he turned the gun to the pykrete and pulled the trigger. The bullet ricocheted off the block and buzzed around the room like an angry bee. The bullet grazed the legs of U.S. Fleet Admiral Ernest King and U.K. RAF Marshal Charles Portal, shocking the Allied chiefs—who soon erupted into a chorus of relieved laughter. Meanwhile, outside the room, a junior officer was heard to exclaim, "Good God, they've started shooting now!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:25 AM
( 11:11 AM ) The Rat
THIS MAP SHOWS WHERE THE MOST CRAIGSLIST MISSED CONNECTIONS HAPPEN IN EACH STATE, via MM. Amazing. If Ratty had her way, this would be shown to all prospective immigrants (and to all disaffected-but-optimistic teenagers here) dreaming of a better life in the glamorous America they've seen in the movies.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:11 AM
( 10:59 AM ) The Rat
ASK A ZOMBIE: 'ADVICE TO THE LOVELORN' EDITION, via PvZ. Nos. 2 and 3 are my favorites.
Q: I recently turned 29, and I’m still single. I'm not sure why—I'm attractive, intelligent, healthy, and a good person. My mother recently pointed out that there are like 25 men for every 1 woman in the state of Alaska, so maybe I should try living there for a while. What do you think? I do look pretty in a parka, if that helps.
A: Zombie not know a ton about Alaksaka but got some questions that maybe help you come to decision. How many of the 25 men is not already dating that 1 woman? Assuming you is at least a tiny bit diss disk picky, of those remaining how many is going to be within acceptable tolerances, age-wise? Of that number, how many is going to has seen a woman in the last 5 years and will know how to talk to you and not just point and grunt? Zombie think we prolly down to, like, 3 or 5 dudes now. And of them dudes how many is going to see you for the special flower that you are and not just somebody to darn their socks? Maybe 2? You can prolly find 2 guys where you already at...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:59 AM
( 6:52 AM ) The Rat
ABUSIVE PARENTS: WHAT DO GROWN CHILDREN OWE THE MOTHERS AND FATHERS WHO MADE THEIR CHILDHOOD A LIVING HELL? via Slate.
By 18, she was indeed out of the house and into an abusive relationship with an older man. She broke up with him, got her own apartment, a decent boyfriend, and started working to put herself through college. Then her brother was killed at age 18, shot in the heart during a silly fight over a girl. Rochelle stepped up and took care of all the funeral arrangements. Her father came and, when he left, hugged her goodbye. "That was the first time he ever hugged me," she recalls. Her mother called later that night, drunk, and said that, by hugging her, Rochelle's father was trying to molest Rochelle. Rochelle wrote her mother a letter saying she had a drinking problem and needed help. In response she got a letter saying that she was a horrible daughter and she would get what she deserved and that her brother was defective and needed to die.
That was Rochelle's breaking point—after that, she didn't see her mother for the next 13 years. Even though Rochelle was barely scraping by, she would sometimes send her mother money for rent, knowing she probably used it for booze. Occasionally, a friend would check on her mother and give her a report. Then last year a tornado struck the town where Rochelle’s mother lived, and Rochelle went to make sure she was all right. That began a sort of rapprochement. Rochelle started taking her mother out to lunch every other Sunday. She did it not because she felt she owed her mother anything: "Absolutely not." Instead it was for her own sense of self. "To me being a good person means helping people when you can."
The visits took a toll. Rochelle describes a physical response that sounds a lot like post-traumatic stress disorder. "All the stuff I tried to let go of seeps in. One little thing—the scent of her cigarettes, a mannerism, a word—floods back all these memories." Rochelle started chewing gum on the drive to see her mother, she says, "because I'm clenching my jaw, white-knuckling the steering wheel."
Rochelle found that being a good person to her mother was so draining that it left her sleepless and snapping at the people she did love. Her mother's verbal abuse resumed and her demands started escalating—she wanted more attention, more money...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:52 AM
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
( 11:06 PM ) The Rat
SNOW PENIS IN SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I., CAUSES UPRISING, CALLS TO POLICE. Of course it did.
N.B. The offending structure was subsequently knocked down by the creator's mother, because of course it was.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:06 PM
( 10:31 PM ) The Rat
PWNED. So with about 15 mins. to go before Peter Mattei's "Singers' Studio" appearance tonight, I fell into conversation with the operagoer sitting to my left. Having something in common, we soon were talking avidly about our music-chasing experiences, in the course of which I described how a few days ago, while on the phone with a friend in Houston, I had heard myself describing how I regularly put in 4+ hours in a day commuting to/from the Met from Connecticut, something that I've done for years (and, before that, did from the opposite direction, from New Jersey) and that I long ago ceased to think of as strange... till it suddenly occurred to me that it might sound very odd to my Texan friend.
Response: "Yeah, I know what you mean." [Looking around slightly furtively:] "I actually live in western Massachusetts..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:31 PM
( 10:23 PM ) The Rat
I pulled back into child's pose. I thought what a strange thing this posture was. You folded into yourself; you were closed off from the world and entirely self-sufficient. This is the opposite of how we normally think of children. We like to think of them as free, moving, open; we picture them skipping or marching or dancing or reaching their arms toward us. My own child did all these things, except when she did not.
Before my husband and I were married, we fell sort of in love with a little girl we met while we were on a short trip to Hawaii. We were staying in a complex of old plantation cottages on the sleepy west side of Kauai, a place where the nothingness of the days was vast in scale. You could spend quite a lot of time looking at brown waves and imagining Japan out there somewhere. Encountering a giant palm frond was something of an event. The place was small in scale, with little wooden houses dotting the grounds, dwarfed by banyan trees. In the cottage opposite ours a girl, probably about four years old, was staying with her parents. She came dancing out of her house in the mornings and greeted us where we sat drinking coffee on our porch. She had long brown hair that hung in lank curls down her back. She may have owned clothes; we saw her only in a swimsuit.
She had a genius for being the kind of child adults want children to be: She danced on the lawn, she dangled flowers from her ears like earrings, she solemnly told us that she intended to become a mermaid when she grew up. We called her 'The Sprite.'
One morning the Sprite didn't come dancing out of her house as usual. Well, maybe she had left. We felt a little let down, but this is what happens on vacation, these unsaid goodbyes. After we drank our whole pot of coffee we headed to the beach. As we passed the Sprite's house, we saw her stretched across the porch steps. Her head dangled to one side.
'Good morning,' said my husband.
She rolled off the stairs and looked at us with a cold eye. She said, 'Go away.' She slowly, sadly climbed the porch steps and curled herself into a ball.
This was child's pose.
The Sprite didn't look quite the same to us after that.
We want children to embody lightness and joy because this is how we would like to remember our own childhood. We really want to believe that our childhood was just right. When I was a child, the adults around me wanted me to be a Sprite: cheerful and unfolded and happy. Above all, they wanted me to be happy.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 PM
Monday, February 18, 2013
( 2:42 PM ) The Rat
BREATHTAKING SUBWAY STATIONS AROUND THE WORLD.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:42 PM
( 2:03 PM ) The Rat
There are those wonderful moments of clarity in life when one is reminded how irreparably flawed we humans are. Once, when I was nineteen, on the subway in Boston I lost my balance slightly and bumped into an elderly woman. I quickly apologized and she replied, "Well, hold onto something, stupid." There it is. That's it. That's in in a nutshell. I don't want to sound negative, but I think every fetus should be shown a film of that incident, maybe projected up on the uterine wall, and then asked if it wants to come out. I am a strong believer in a woman's right to choose, but I also think that in the last trimester, the kid should be given every opportunity to back out.
—Paula Poundstone, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:03 PM
( 12:03 PM ) The Rat
MAPS THAT EXPLAIN THE WORLD. Several cool ones here, including Church or Beer? Americans on Twitter.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:03 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2013
( 8:15 PM ) The Rat
8 ORDINARY PHOTOS HIDING MIND-BLOWING DETAILS. I have no idea how no. 7 got ranked seventh rather than, say, first.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:15 PM
( 8:05 PM ) The Rat
THE WIRE: A STREETVIEW TOUR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:05 PM
( 6:32 PM ) The Rat
"MR. MCNEIL WEARS HIS HAIR IN A TOP BUN AND BEARS TATTOOS WITH HIS SONS' NAMES, DENIM AND BOWIE, ON HIS FOREARMS. HIS WIFE, MIZIOLEK, IS AN ACUPUNCTURIST." We are all hipsters now, apparently. Via IKM. Look, people, one can appreciate a lunchtime vinyasa class without being in favor of antler-laden boutiques. Or am I just kidding myself?
As formerly boho environs of Brooklyn become unattainable due to creeping Manhattanization and seven-figure real estate prices, creative professionals of child-rearing age—the type of alt-culture-allegiant urbanites who once considered themselves too cool to ever leave the city—are starting to ponder the unthinkable: a move to the suburbs.
But only if they can bring a piece of the borough with them.
To ward off the nagging sense that a move to the suburbs is tantamount to becoming like one's parents, this urban-zen generation is seeking out palatable alternatives—culturally attuned, sprawl-free New York river towns like Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown—and importing the trappings of a twee lifestyle like bearded mixologists, locavore restaurants and antler-laden boutiques...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:32 PM
( 9:58 AM ) The Rat
PETER MATTEI'S 'SINGERS' STUDIO' TALK
with Opera News editor-in-chief F. Paul Driscoll is sold out. Good news for those of us who booked last summer...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:58 AM
( 9:40 AM ) The Rat
The first time I ever pulled up at the Santa Monica courthouse, I came to the gate at the parking lot where you take the ticket, and a guy stuck his head out of the little booth and asked, 'Are you a city employee?' I said, 'No, I'm a criminal.' And he said, 'Well, then, you can't park here.' I was shocked. The criminals can't park at the courthouse? I said to the guy, 'Look, buddy, I don't want to brag, but without us this whole thing falls apart.'
—Paula Poundstone, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:40 AM
Saturday, February 16, 2013
( 10:13 PM ) The Rat
THE WORST CITIES FOR COLLEGE-EDUCATED WOMEN TRYING TO FIND A DECENT DATE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:13 PM
( 5:59 PM ) The Rat
WHY WE LOVE BEAUTIFUL THINGS.
Great design, the management expert Gary Hamel once said, is like Justice Potter Stewart's famous definition of pornography—you know it when you see it. You want it, too: brain scan studies reveal that the sight of an attractive product can trigger the part of the motor cerebellum that governs hand movement. Instinctively, we reach out for attractive things; beauty literally moves us.
Yet, while we are drawn to good design, as Mr. Hamel points out, we're not quite sure why.
This is starting to change. A revolution in the science of design is already under way, and most people, including designers, aren't even aware of it.
Take color. Last year, German researchers found that just glancing at shades of green can boost creativity and motivation. It's not hard to guess why: we associate verdant colors with food-bearing vegetation—hues that promise nourishment.
This could partly explain why window views of landscapes, research shows, can speed patient recovery in hospitals, aid learning in classrooms and spur productivity in the workplace. In studies of call centers, for example, workers who could see the outdoors completed tasks 6 to 7 percent more efficiently than those who couldn't, generating an annual savings of nearly $3,000 per employee...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:59 PM
( 11:52 AM ) The Rat
I hate e-mail, but everyone swears by it. I used to write for Mother Jones magazine and they had an e-mail address, so when readers sent an e-mail to me at the magazine, Mother Jones would print it out and mail it to me. So I have received e-mails before. The great thing about regular mail is the natural editing process that takes place. One doesn't just dash off an angry thought that would be better kept to oneself, because fifty percent of the people who happen to have a pen on them have to borrow a piece of paper, or vice versa, and that takes time. Even those anal enough to have immediate access to both a pen and paper when the urge to correspond is upon them can't escape the compulsory envelope search, which is critical to the editing process of a well-written letter. How many poorly conceived resignations and humiliating, flowery admissions of undying love have been reconsidered during the envelope search? It could get dicey once the letter is in the envelope, because our memory tells us it's well written and well deserved, but again, the sheer brilliance of the post saves us from ourselves. The stamp. Sure, some overachievers have stamps in their top desk drawer, but not even Ben Franklin himself knows the postal rate. I've got a wax-paper kind of a bag with a U.S. Postal Service logo on it, teeming with E stamps, F stamps, and D stamps, with flower stamps, flag stamps, and Laurel and Hardy stamps, but I don't have a clue how many I need to mail a letter. I write a lot of letters, but I don't mail that many. If the letter happens to make it past every other barrier and the intended recipient has moved, it gets returned to me, I open it, reread it, think about how I've grown since I rewrote that, and rewrite it. People who e-mail rarely get the chance to think about how they've grown. I used to get e-mails that read, "Is this really your address?" No one has ever mailed me a letter for the sole purpose of marveling that they could.
—Paula Poundstone, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM
Friday, February 15, 2013
( 6:27 PM ) The Rat
"THE MOST MANLY STATE IN THE UNION WHERE MEN HEAD-BUTT BISON, PUNCH TROUT IN THE FACE, AND CHOP DOWN TREES WITH THEIR GARGANTUAN DICKS." Fairly Accurate Definitions of Each of the 50 States (culled from Urban Dictionary, of course), via Buzzfeed.
Connecticut: Where New Yorkers go to turn off their brains, where NYC business men keep their mistresses, and the Nutmeg State. We also have the highest I.Q., highest cost of living, one of the highest teen heroin usage levels, and, of course, nutmeg.
Kansas: The 34th state admitted into the United States of America. Known for wheat, brilliant skies, and flat lands. Contrary to popular belief, people who live in Kansas do receive power, internet, and water.
Nebraska: Yes, it's actually a state, and no, we do not ride cows to school.
North Carolina: A great state and not a place of just backwoods rednecks.
Oklahoma: A state that is actually not as bad as people think.
Pennsylvania: Better than your state. Sure, the roads suck, but not as bad as parts of Kentucky. Sure, the people can be dumb, but not as dumb as in Alabama. Sure, the weather sucks, but not as badly as it does in Alaska. Yeah, okay, it's a little rural, and you have to buy your liquor in state stores, and there's no beaches, but at least we're not West Virginia. Or Iowa.
Vermont: A very windy state due to the fact that New Hampshire sucks and New York blows.
Washington: Washington is a state. No, it's not Washington, D.C., you idiot. If people are talking about Washington, D.C., they'll say D.C. That blows your tiny little mind, doesn't it?
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:27 PM
( 5:47 PM ) The Rat
"'I THOUGHT YOU WERE GONNA GO TALK TO HER?' HOUDINI ASKED. 'I AM,' I REPLIED, IRRITATED THAT HE CALLED ME OUT. 'GIVE ME A CHANCE. I GOTTA GET UP MY NERVE.'" Happy Valentine's Day. What? Yesterday? Shit! via AB. Sweet.
It was her mom. "She needs you right now," she said. "She and Brett broke up, and I think she could really use a friend." I thought it was a little odd, but I agreed to go. We hadn't even spoken in months. I wasn't sure what I was going to do or say, exactly, but I drove down to her house anyway. She was glad to see me, mostly I think because she wanted someone to talk to, and we had a bit of a history there. She told me that she still loved him. She told me that he had dumped her. She told me a lot of things that were hard to hear. I think it was the first time she had had her heart broken, and that's always a hard thing, especially when you're sixteen. I knew how she felt. I also couldn't help but feel that if I did what I could to make this easier for her, we might have another chance together. It seemed I wasn't quite ready to give up.
I kept being a friend to her, and eventually she came around. I asked her to a concert, just to test the waters. She said yes. Then dinner and movie. We seemed at ease with each other, and things were going well. I remember the first time I said "I love you." I also remember the first time I said "I love you" and she said it back...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:47 PM
( 5:24 PM ) The Rat
GARBAGE REMOVAL has been suspended for the week in my city, due to ongoing snow cleanup efforts (we had 34" inches of snow in less than 24 hours). I live in one of the "nicer" parts of town, populated largely by professors and grad students. But right now, outside any cafe or deli near here, all the (public) trash cans are overflowing, and indeed surrounded, with refuse—that is, these are trash cans where people clearly saw that the damn thing was already full, but threw their crap in on top of that, heedless of whether it was going to fall over onto the sidewalk or blow into the street. The trash in question looks like it's pretty much all packaging from food that was just consumed at the nearby establishment—things that, surely, could have been carried another block or two to a receptacle that actually had room, or for that matter carried home. I don't envy the sanitation workers who'll have to clean up these messes next week, but above all what I'm reminded of each time I see these things is the huge garbage heaps one sees in poor countries (and the plight of e.g. India's ragpickers). In Taiwan, littering and sacks of garbage left in the street were still common during my childhood, though the place had become much tidier when I visited in '09. It's possible there's a genetic component to my outrage on this matter—once, some years back, my mother was so fed up with various neighbors taking their trash out days in advance of when the garbage trucks were scheduled to come that she began scolding them in person. They—and there was more than one neighbor doing this—began trying to do it at hours of the day when the doctor's wife wouldn't catch them... so she took to camping out early in the morning to catch them in the act, and scold them again. (Which worked.)
First Worlders, I think, tend to see things like this with a feeling of "There, but for the grace of God..." well blended with self-righteousness. We shouldn't—as the situation outside shows, we don't have a damn bit more class. We just have more money.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:24 PM
( 1:58 PM ) The Rat
SO THERE'S THIS ENTIRE "100 TOP TRACKS FOR MARIA CALLAS" YOUTUBE CHANNEL, including lots of videos of live appearances I didn't even know were out there. Should probably start hydrating well for all the sobbing up ahead.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:58 PM
( 8:21 AM ) The Rat
LOS ANGELES ON HIGH ALERT AS LAPD BACK ON REGULAR DUTY.
Los Angeles residents are reportedly on edge today following reports that hundreds of armed and extremely dangerous Los Angeles Police Department officers are resuming regular patrolling duties after the conclusion of Tuesday's manhunt for rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 AM
( 8:14 AM ) The Rat
SIX IMPLAUSIBLE BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE SURVIVAL SCENARIOS. Surviving pirahnas, exploding lakes, and more, via Outside.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:14 AM
Thursday, February 14, 2013
( 1:58 PM ) The Rat
PURITAN VALENTINE'S DAY CARDS, via TG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:58 PM
( 1:37 PM ) The Rat
LINGUISTIC INQUIRY AND WORD COUNT.
Fun widget, based on the ideas in The Secret Life of Pronouns. More assorted gizmos here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:37 PM
( 1:07 PM ) The Rat
LIVING THE HIGH LIFE IN THE 747 WING HOUSE, via TT. Maybe it's just my California origins talking, but srsly: WANT.
Architecture and luxury living has taken flight: perched on an emerald Malibu ridge is an aviation design feat, a glass house hung from the wings of a Boeing 747...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:07 PM
( 10:48 AM ) The Rat
ADOPTIVE MOM'S 'NEWBORN' PHOTO SHOOT WITH 13-YEAR-OLD SON GOES VIRAL, via RH.
Higgins is particularly excited to start a conversation about adopting older kids.
"The one reaction that is really humbling and I'm really excited about is there have been a lot of parents that come to me telling me that they were thinking about adopting a baby, but after seeing those photos it’s changed their minds and they want to adopt an older child," Higgins said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:48 AM
( 10:44 AM ) The Rat
HERBERT STEIN'S 1999 reminiscence on married life, via AB. Stein and his wife, Mildred, were married for 61 years, until her death in 1997.
I look particularly at the women in those couples. They are not glamorous. There are no Marlene Dietrichs, Marilyn Monroes, or Vivien Leighs among them. Some of them are pretty, but many would be considered plain. Since they are on their way to the Kennedy Center, presumably to attend a play, an opera, or a concert, one may assume that they are somewhat above average in cultural literacy. But in other respects one must assume that they are, like most people, average.
But to the man whose hand or arm she is holding, she is not "average." She is the whole world to him. They may argue occasionally, or even frequently. He may have an eye for the cute intern in his office. But that is superficial. Fundamentally, she is the most valuable thing in his life.
Genesis says, "And the Lord God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.'" And so, "made He a woman." It doesn't say that He made a pretty woman, or a witty woman, or an any-kind-of-adjective woman. He made the basic woman.
Why is this basic woman so valuable to the man whose hand or arm she is holding as I see them making their way up to the Kennedy Center? I think there are three simple things...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:44 AM
( 5:35 AM ) The Rat
LIKE WE HAVEN'T ALL BEEN IN THIS RELATIONSHIP. From the marvelous Amy Stewart's Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects, a perhaps seasonally appropriate description of the love life of the banana slug:
For such seemingly peaceable creatures, they engage in very violent sex. Banana slugs are hermaphrodites—possessing both male and female sexual organs—and when they are ready to mate, they leave a trail of slime that acts as a signal to potential partners. As a kind of foreplay, two slugs will eat each other's slime. Then they size each other up—literally. Because the slugs penetrate each other simultaneously, they try to find partners of roughly the same length to avoid getting stuck. As they get closer to each other, wrapping into an S shape to facilitate mating, they often bite one another. This is normal premating behavior for a slug, but it leaves them both gouged and battered.
The slugs may remain intertwined for several hours. When they finally begin to disengage, it is not uncommon for them to find that they've become hopelessly stuck to one another, leaving a slug with no choice but to chew off its partner's penis. This behavior, known as apophallation, might seem like an evolutionary dead end. But in fact, the slug survives and can go on to mate again, playing only the part of the female.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:35 AM
( 12:07 AM ) The Rat
COMMUNICATING WITH ACADEMICS: A GUIDE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:07 AM
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
( 11:27 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:27 PM
( 11:22 PM ) The Rat
SWOON! Bryn Terfel singing "Oh du mein holder Abendstern" here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:22 PM
( 7:28 PM ) The Rat
GREAT ANSWERS from Roger Daltrey here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:28 PM
( 4:21 PM ) The Rat
SEE 3 FEET OF SNOW FALL IN 45 SECONDS, via JT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:21 PM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
HOW TO GET MOCKED FOR YOUR LAST NAME FOR ALL OF ETERNITY.
Anyone who grew up with the indignity of a funny-sounding name knows how relieving it was to reach relatively-mature adulthood. Growing up may make you safe for 40-80 years, but don't underestimate your surviving relatives' ability to turn your headstone into a weiner joke that will last 'til the end of time...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 2:53 AM ) The Rat
"N: LOCAL SPORTS HERO / STATE SENATOR." A- to Z-list celebrity ranks.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:53 AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
( 10:11 AM ) The Rat
AROUND THE WORLD IN 1,026 DAYS.
Only a few people have crossed the Pacific by rowboat, but for Eruc this was merely the start of a far more daunting objective. In July 2007, he had set out from Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, hoping to become the first person to circumnavigate the planet solo, entirely under his own power—no motors, no sails, no means of propulsion other than his strength. His plan was to travel across three oceans and six continents by boat, bike, and foot, more than 40,000 miles in all...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:11 AM
( 10:02 AM ) The Rat
GUY TOZZOLI, R.I.P.
There were benefits to the job as well as headaches. Mr. Tozzoli liked to say that he, his father and his son Michael were the first diners at Windows on the World as it was preparing to open to the public in 1976. To the disappointment of the chef, however, the elder Tozzoli and the young boy both asked for hamburgers and French fries...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:02 AM
Monday, February 11, 2013
( 11:56 AM ) The Rat
SONG CRAFTED IN THE DEEPEST PIT OF HELL WINS BIG AT GRAMMYS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:56 AM
( 10:31 AM ) The Rat
"CAPOTE ENVISIONED HIS FRIEND MARILYN MONROE IN THE PART, BUT HER ACTING COACH, PAULA STRASBERG, TALKED HER OUT OF IT, SAYING THE ROLE'S CALL-GIRL-LIKE NATURE WAS BAD FOR HER IMAGE." 25 Things You May Not Know About Breakfast at Tiffany's." Not my favorite Hepburn vehicle, but this is pretty comprehensive. (Although good grief, if you didn't already know no. 2, wtf.)
13. "Over my dead body!" That was the response to a Paramount executive who wanted to cut ["Moon River"] from the film. It's not clear who said it, however. One account says it was Hepburn, another says it was the producers.
14. Hepburn worked with designer Hubert de Givenchy to craft her costumes for the film. One result: Holly's iconic little black dress, one of the most influential fashion choices in cinema history and a must for nearly every woman's wardrobe ever since. (Yes, it was Coco Chanel, not Givenchy, who invented the little black dress, but it was the version Hepburn wore that made the garment a fashion staple.) Christie's auctioned the original dress in 2006 and sold it for $923,000 (one of the highest prices ever paid for a piece of movie memorabilia), with the money going to support the construction of a school for the poor in Calcutta.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:31 AM
( 10:17 AM ) The Rat
DON'T FEAR THAT EXPIRED FOOD. I know, you already knew that, but this is an interesting look at how expiration dates are actually set.
One of the places that knows most about the shelf life of food is a scientific establishment in Livermore, Calif., called the National Food Lab. At the NFL, they put food on shelves for days, or weeks, or even years, to see how it holds up.
Sometimes, they'll try to accelerate the process with 90-degree heat and high humidity.
And then, from time to time, they'll take some of the food—whether it's bagged salad greens, breakfast cereal, or fruit juice—off the shelf and place it in front of a highly trained panel of experts who check the taste and smell and texture.
"You would think that everybody can taste and smell food, but some of us are much better at it than others," says Jena Roberts, vice president for business development at the NFL. The lab has 40 of these food tasters on staff. "They are the most fit people in the group," says Roberts. "Because they don't eat the food. They expectorate it. Which is a fancy college word for spit it in a cup."
The experts give the food grades, in numbers. The numbers go down as the food gets older. Bread gets stale. Salad dressings can start to taste rancid.
John Ruff, president of the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago, says the companies that sell this food take a look at those grades and decide where they will draw the line, to protect the reputation of their products...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:17 AM
( 9:39 AM ) The Rat
TRICKS TO FINISHING YOUR TO-DO LIST. These ideas sounded so sensible that even I, who haven't gotten anything done in years, am giving them a spin.
3. Complete One Significant Task Before Lunch (Your Least Favorite One, if Possible)
I’ll admit that this one is tough for me, but it works. Take one of your big or medium tasks and tackle it first thing in the morning, before email even if you can. There's no better feeling than crossing off a tough task before lunch. Author Brian Tracy calls this "eating your frog," adapted from the famous Mark Twain quote: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
My co-founder, Kathryn, often defines her "frogs" in the evening to prepare for the next day; with that, she's prepared to tackle them in the morning, and it keeps her from pushing off less pleasant tasks for many days.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:39 AM
Sunday, February 10, 2013
( 2:50 PM ) The Rat
FUCK YEAH FLUID DYNAMICS is a Tumblr, because of course it is.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:50 PM
( 11:52 AM ) The Rat
"ART SUPPLY EMERGENCIES" = can be tended to within 36 hours of 34" of snow, if you live in my town. Alcohol shortages are even less of a problem.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM
( 11:30 AM ) The Rat
SHOULD THE START OF THE CHINESE NEW YEAR BE A FEDERAL HOLIDAY? Um, the answer is pretty obviously no (as this author points out). Lots of good info in this article though.
For individuals, Wu notes, this is a year that, if not spent in self-reflection, could easily lead to "scandal and jealousy." How notorious! Because the Water element is associated with the color black, superstition pundits are already referring to the Gregorian year of 2013/Lunar year of 4711 as the "Black Snake Year." Here's what Wu recommends for those of you seeking to avoid getting caught with your pants down in 4711:
—Restore your energies and regain your inner balance.
—Avoid overwork or any excesses which will follow with depression.
—Focus on inner growth, spirituality and discovering the reasons behind things.
—Look for a warmer climate.
—Embrace creativity, the arts, enlightenment and beauty—music, dance, galleries and museums should be your destination.
—Engage in self-reflection and philosophical consideration.
—Or, hell, just go for it and reap the chaotic pain and pleasure that comes of "carnal passion."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:30 AM
( 11:20 AM ) The Rat
NURTURING TRADITIONS FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR. This captures some of the difficulties of tradition-importing pretty well.
The event might be only a faint echo of the hustle and bustle of the large outdoor markets that spring up across Asia, but the important thing, Lu said, was to keep the traditions alive. Even if the rituals aren't fully understood.
"I think it's part of tradition... a little more Americanized," Lu said. "I still see the importance of it. Sometimes, we don't know the full meaning of it, but we still recognize them."
Ngoc Tang took time out from selling flowers to explain the event—or at least tried to. For example, asked why pussy willow represented longevity, the 28-year-old paused before conceding she didn't know. Most of the customers are older adults, she said, characterizing herself as being in a "middle bracket," seeking to continue the traditions while growing up in the United States...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:20 AM
( 11:13 AM ) The Rat
SHOW ME THE MONEY IN YOUR LUNAR NEW YEAR ENVELOPE.
Allen Kwai, 36, and Debbie Dai, 31, first met a decade ago during church choir practice in New York City's Chinatown. They finally tied the knot last October.
In traditional Chinese culture, that means they're now adults, and with adulthood comes certain financial responsibilities, including giving out money for Lunar New Year...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:13 AM
( 11:12 AM ) The Rat
"AND FOR PARENTS LIKE HOANG, THE DIVINATIONS OF A FORTUNETELLER MAY BE THE SUREST WAY TO GET A CHILD TO TAKE ADVICE. 'A MOTHER CAN JUST SAY SO MUCH,' THE ANAHEIM WOMAN SAYS. 'MODERN ASIAN CHILDREN GROWING UP IN AMERICA DON'T LISTEN TO THEIR PARENTS. I HAVE VERY LITTLE INFLUENCE. I TRY TO FIND SOMEONE WITH MORE INFLUENCE.'" Lunar New Year a busy time for fortunetellers, via the L.A. Times.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:12 AM
( 10:52 AM ) The Rat
THIS POSTSECRET CARD is a rerun from a few years ago—but good call on rerunning it. (And I say that even though Valentine's Day must be one of the highest-emo-quotient times of year for Postsecret.) Although it might be kind of ruined for me now with the happy-ending postscript (scroll down at the site).
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 AM
Saturday, February 09, 2013
( 9:33 PM ) The Rat
"SOME PEOPLE'S DADS JUST MOVE THEM ALL OVER THE PLACE ALL THE TIME," and 30 other Things We Learned from Laura Ingalls Wilder.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 PM
( 7:56 PM ) The Rat
ASTRONAUT TWEETS PICTURES OF CONNECTICUT, NYC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:56 PM
( 7:55 PM ) The Rat
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO STOP SURFING THE INTERNET AND JUST GO TO BED? via JM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:55 PM
( 1:39 PM ) The Rat
ON THE DANGERS OF WAGNER... Don't miss the comments.
The actor, who was hired to fill in when another actor was injured last week, was rehearsing his role as a fireball-spitting stilt walker wearing a devil-like mask. Both his mask and costume were flameproof, said a spokeswoman for the Lyric and the stunt itself had been approved by the fire department.
Still, it didn't prevent Daniel's mask from catching fire when, according observers, the actor spilled a bit of propellant on his upper body, then lit a torch. He staggered across the stage and fell off his stilts, witnesses said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:39 PM
( 10:46 AM ) The Rat
WHAT MAKES A SEXY LEG SEXY? via Discoblog.
The study consisted in analyzing the features that make legs look attractive. The legs of models in magazines were scanned and inserted into a PowerPoint program. The legs of live models, Barbie dolls, and athletes were photographed. Artistic drawings by Leonardo da Vinci were reviewed and Greek sculptures studied. Sculptures from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens were photographed and included...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:46 AM
( 10:35 AM ) The Rat
JOYCE DIDONATO AND MARILYN HORNE are talking on WQXR at 12:30 PM today.
Anne Midgette's Top Five Off-Stage Drama Queen Moments in Opera Lore:
5. Soprano Angela Gheorghiu works with Georg Solti and refuses to sing portamento
4. Soprano Zinka Milanov disses tenor Kurt Baum during an Aida duet
3. Soprano Jessye Norman says: "this baby don't do no #@&!?! recits"
2. Soprano Kathleen Battle and the limousine driver
1. Two words: Luciano Pavarotti
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 AM
( 1:23 AM ) The Rat
RELATIONSHIP GUIDE FOR HOW MUCH EFFORT YOU SHOULD PUT INTO VALENTINE'S DAY.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:23 AM
Friday, February 08, 2013
( 11:52 PM ) The Rat
"BITCH CURSED A BABY TO DIE BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T GET INVITED TO A PARTY. THAT AIN'T RIGHT." The Definitive Ranking of Disney's Most Insane Villains, via Buzzfeed.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 PM
( 7:52 PM ) The Rat
"THERE ARE SOME EXCEPTIONS TO THE [TRAVEL] BAN, INCLUDING EMERGENCY WORKERS, THOSE WHO WORK IN HOSPITALS AND MEDIA, AND OTHERS REQUIRED TO BE AT THEIR JOBS." Because God knows, we'd never make it through this storm without the journalists.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:52 PM
( 2:16 PM ) The Rat
John Ford had said to me, Most of the good things that happen in the pictures happen by accident. And I repeated this to Welles and Welles said, "Yes. You could even say that a director is a man who presides over accidents."
—Peter Bogdanovich in an interview on this
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:16 PM
Thursday, February 07, 2013
( 4:37 PM ) The Rat
WHEN YOUR HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN, YOU SHOULD BRUSH YOUR TEETH, via The Oatmeal.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:37 PM
( 1:06 PM ) The Rat
AFTER NEARLY 81 YEARS TOGETHER, CONNECTICUT COUPLE RECOGNIZED AS 'LONGEST MARRIED' IN U.S., via EG. Go on, get your hankie.
Mitchell will host a special ceremony on Saturday at her home in Fairfield. Several family members, friends, and their church's priest and deacon are expected to attend. Local officials, including Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst, who is a family friend, will be present as well.
"Their humility is impressive," said Mitchell. "They don't think they are unique or special. They think 'Everyone in our day got married this young,' and they don't see how special they are as everyone around them does. It adds to their charm."
John Betar reiterated that point and told The News, "It's quite an honor, but I don't know what it's for."
John and Ann met as children, and John would often drive Ann to school. Ann's parents arranged for her to marry someone else, but the couple defied their wishes and eloped...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:06 PM
( 8:31 AM ) The Rat
SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL, but 92BuickLeSabre's first comment here made me laugh.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:31 AM
( 1:41 AM ) The Rat
HOW TO DECIPHER A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:41 AM
( 12:08 AM ) The Rat
FLYING OVER THE TULIP FIELDS (full set here). Very cool, but it'd be even cooler if they spelled out satanic messages in semaphore.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 AM
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
( 11:44 PM ) The Rat
THINGS FITTING PERFECTLY INTO OTHER THINGS. This is like the antidote to 19 Things That Will Drive Your OCD Self Insane.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 PM
( 7:28 PM ) The Rat
"I LIKE THAT IT HAS A GRILLED CHEESE AND MAC N' CHEESE IN THERE, BUT SAMSUNG MAKES A SANDWICH THAT ALSO HAS AN MP3 PLAYER AND AN 8-MEGAPIXEL CAMERA." The Wait Wait crew eat Grilled Cheese with Mac & Cheese.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:28 PM
( 5:56 PM ) The Rat
POSTAL SERVICE: 'AND WAIT UNTIL YOU COCKSUCKERS SEE WHAT WE DO WITH WEDNESDAYS.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:56 PM
( 5:53 PM ) The Rat
WHY CAN SOME KIDS HANDLE PRESSURE WHILE OTHERS FALL APART? via IKM. Worth reading all the way through.
Every May in Taiwan, more than 200,000 ninth-grade children take the Basic Competency Test for Junior High School Students. This is not just any test. The scores will determine which high school the students are admitted to—or if they get into one at all. Only 39 percent of Taiwanese children make the cut, with the rest diverted to vocational schools or backup private schools. The test, in essence, determines the future for Taiwanese children.
The test is incredibly difficult; answering the multiple-choice questions requires knowledge of chemistry, physics, advanced algebra and geometry, and testing lasts for two days. "Many students go to cram school almost every night to study all the subjects on the test," says Chun-Yen Chang, director of the Science Education Center at National Taiwan Normal University. "Just one or two percentage points difference will drag you from the No. 1 high school in the local region down to No. 3 or 4."
In other words, the exam was a perfect, real world experiment for studying the effects of genetics on high-stakes competition. Chang and his research team took blood samples from 779 students who had recently taken the Basic Competency Test in three regions of Taiwan. They matched each student's genotype to his or her test score...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:53 PM
( 12:52 PM ) The Rat
WHY DO AMERICANS TIP MORE THAN THEY TITHE? again via AB.
Bell's spurious comparison, nevertheless, does require some attention. Tipping and tithing are both largely unenforced social norms. If you fail to tip a server between 15 and 20 percent, restaurants don't force you to wash dishes. Likewise, few Christian churches banish tithing delinquents from the congregation. And yet, they're trending in opposite directions...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:52 PM
( 11:32 AM ) The Rat
ACTUALLY, OBAMA'S DRONE WARFARE IS JUST WHAT WE ASKED FOR, via AB.
President Obama has been consistent in practicing what I call "politically correct warfare"—which is to say that for most Americans, these drone strikes are out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
And here's the ugly truth: Obama is giving us what we want.
We have an unspoken agreement with the president. Obama never promised America he wouldn't kill people more aggressively than his predecessor. But with a wink and a nod, he gave us plausible deniability.
Americans, it turns out, don't really have the stomach for the unseemly business of taking prisoners, extracting information from prisoners, and then (maybe) going through the emotional, time consuming, and costly business of a trial.
American citizens want someone who will make the big, bad world disappear. Problems only exist if we have to confront them. Obama has made warfare more convenient for us—and less emotionally taxing...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:32 AM
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
( 11:08 PM ) The Rat
SUCCESSION OF TERRIBLE EVENTS FAILS TO BEFALL 33-YEAR-OLD RIDING LONGBOARD TO DIGITAL MEDIA JOB. Somehow missed this one at the time.
Doctors on the scene further dashed bystanders' hopes, saying there was nothing they could do and that Reston was likely to live out a long, comfortable life and continue to date a series of incongruously beautiful women.
Many New Yorkers said they felt helpless and frozen in place while witnessing the terrible sequence of events that did not happen to Reston, especially when the floppy-haired fuckface violated a red traffic signal without being immediately broadsided by a garbage truck and sent flying through the display window of one of the annoying, overpriced stores where he buys his slim-fitting oxford button-downs and preciously clever graphic tees.
Others admitted they felt guilty for not having done more, like stepping out into the street and punching Reston square in the goddamn mouth.
"Seeing something like this, it makes you question the existence of God," said passerby David Erickson, still dumbfounded by the fact that Reston had remained upright during his entire longboard commute rather than ending up a crumpled, bloody pile on the sidewalk, with the iPad he no doubt had somewhere on his person smashed to pieces beside him...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:08 PM
( 10:14 PM ) The Rat
FROM SHACKING UP TO BREAKING UP: VALENTINE'S DAY DINNERS FOR THE 10 STAGES OF LOVE, via Los Angeles.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:14 PM
( 9:41 PM ) The Rat
"IN BONDY'S PRODUCTION, MUCH OF WHAT MET AUDIENCES ARE RESPONDING TO IS THAT IT ISN'T PRETTY TO LOOK AT. BUT THEN TOSCA IS A STORY ABOUT TORTURE, ATTEMPTED RAPE, MURDER AND SUICIDE BY JUMPING OFF A CASTLE WALL—DOES IT REALLY HAVE TO BE PRETTY TO LOOK AT?" The new Rigoletto has its flaws—more in the direction than in the staging, in my view—but James C. Taylor is spot on about New York audiences here. (Though fwiw, I didn't especially care for the Bondy Tosca myself.)
Anyone surprised by the audience outcry over the new production of Puccini's Tosca at New York's Metropolitan Opera would do well to recall a lawsuit brought against the Met a few years back. Sybil Harrington left the Met millions for "new productions to be staged in a traditional manner." Then one day the family claimed that a 1999 staging by Dieter Dorn of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde was not "traditional," and insisted that funds used by the Met should be returned to the estate.
The suit was dismissed in court, and roundly laughed at in opera circles. Dorn's staging was sparse and didn't have period costumes, but it was hardly unconventional. I recall one opera wag who put it best: "It was a staging of a Wagner opera with a fat tenor and a fat soprano. How can you get any more traditional than that?"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:41 PM
( 9:12 PM ) The Rat
Rakoff. What a difference a day makes. Now times that by 20. Clifford was hollow, a horn of unplenty, tipping the scales at 115 at most. He was more bone than flesh now, and less man than ghost.
Glass. OK, a word about this recording. David was obviously weak, and the disease had spread to his lungs, which affected his breathing. In this part of the story, Cliff is coming to grips with the certainty that he is on a countdown to his end.
Rakoff. It was sadness that gripped him far more than the fear that, if facing the truth, he had maybe a year. When poetic phrases like "eyes, look your last" become true, all you want is to stay, to hold fast. A new, fierce attachment to all of this world now pierced him. It stabbed like a deity-hurled lightning bolt, lancing him, sent from above, left him giddy and tearful. It felt like young love.
He had thought of himself as uniquely proficient at seeing, but now that sense felt insufficient. He wanted to grab, to possess, to devour, to eat with his eyes. How he needed that power.
Just like a child whose big gun is a stick, Cliff was now harmless. He'd gotten too sick to take any action beyond rudimentary routines as a trunk to the most elementary—which pill to take now, and where is your sweater, did the Imodium make you feel better? Study your shit to make sure you've not bled. Make sure the Kleenex is next to the bed. Make sure, be prepared, plan out every endeavor, like a scout on the stupidest camping trip ever.
The facts were now harder, reality colder, his parasol no match for this falling boulder—and so the concern with trivial issues, slippers nearby, and approximate tissues. He thought of those two things in life that don't vary—well, though only glancingly, more was too scary. Inevitable, why even bother to test it? He'd paid all his taxes, so that left—you guessed it.
—TAL, "Our Friend David"
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:12 PM
( 7:22 PM ) The Rat
THE MIRRORCUBE, because Swedes are weird.
The Mirrorcube is an exciting hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings. The dimensions are 4x4x4 metres. The base consists of an aluminum frame around the tree trunk and the walls are covered with reflective glass.
To prevent birds from flying into the mirrored walls, they have been clad with infrared film. The colour is invisible to humans, but visible to the birds.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:22 PM
( 7:21 PM ) The Rat
ONLY THE FRENCH COULD MAKE SUCH A SEXUALLY EXPLICIT COMMERCIAL FOR WATER.
We shudder to think what the American version would have looked like: probably two women in bikinis drizzling club soda all over themselves.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:21 PM
( 7:15 PM ) The Rat
DIGGING FOR RARE EARTHS: THE MINES WHERE IPHONES ARE BORN.
What's unique about Molycorp is that it's trying to harvest rare-earth minerals in an environmentally friendly way, or at least as environmentally friendly a way as a mine can manage. The company has come up with a proprietary method that it believes is the answer to the toxic mess that's defined much of the world's rare-earth mining. And if Molycorp executives are correct, they may be modernizing rare-earth mining in a way that could force Chinese competitors to improve the way they operate.
"We started working at trying to do things differently," Smith said during a tour of the mine.
That's important, because in China, which produces more than 90 percent of the world's supply of rare-earth minerals, environmental laws have historically been scant and enforcement lax. The center of rare-earth mining there is Baotou, a city in Inner Mongolia with 2.3 million residents that's become something of a poster child for mining's ecological wreckage...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:15 PM
( 12:00 PM ) The Rat
JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED: BOOKS WILL BE PRESCRIBED AS MEDICINE IN THE U.K.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:00 PM
( 10:35 AM ) The Rat
IN LIGHT OF THE REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS at Bletchley Park, it's kind of nice to hear they balanced things out by occasionally doing something a bit goofy.
Did Agatha Christie have a spy in the government's top-secret codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park?
That was the fear of intelligence chiefs at MI5 during the second world war who were so concerned that they decided to investigate her contacts.
What made MI5 suspect one of Britain's famous crime writers? The answer, it can now be revealed, lay in the name of a character in her wartime novel N or M, whom she called Major Bletchley...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 AM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
SITTING ON THE COUCH WATCHING TV IS KILLING YOUR SPERM COUNT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 10:23 AM ) The Rat
When cheeky Romanians claimed their country beats the UK in every way—including pretty girls—the Sunday People just had to check it out.
Promotional adverts in [Romania] said half their girls are like the Duchess of Cambridge and the rest are like her sister Pippa Middleton.
The boasts, in Gandul newspaper, were a tongue-in-cheek riposte to British plans for an ad campaign deterring Romanians from flooding to the U.K. when EU working restrictions are lifted next year.
One said 'Half of our women look like Kate, the other half, like her sister.'
Other slogans read 'Our draft beer is less expensive than your bottled water,' 'Charles bought a house here and Harry has never been photographed naked once' and 'We speak better English than anywhere you've been in France'...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 AM
Sunday, February 03, 2013
( 7:26 PM ) The Rat
MOTHER NATURE, QUEEN OF KICK-'EM-WHILE-THEY'RE-DOWN. From Your Skin, Younger:
Further evidence that stress contributes to looking old for one's age comes from a recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2009). Here, researchers from Case Western Reserve University looked at almost two hundred pairs of identical twins. Once again, the results contradicted the notion that genetics explain our ability to defy aging skin. The usual suspects—smoking and sun—were both found to be age promoters in the twins who indulged the most. The unexpected finding was a stress connection. The twin who had a history of divorce was much more likely to be perceived as older. Furthermore, a history of using antidepressant drugs and greater alcohol use also resulted in a significantly older appearance...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:26 PM
Saturday, February 02, 2013
( 11:01 PM ) The Rat
DEAR INTERNET: SORRY ABOUT THAT MOTHERHOOD POST, via AB. As one of the commenters notes: "I didn't read the original piece(s), but that's a pretty magnanimous apology." Who would ever have expected one of those from either side in the Mommy Wars?
I wrote it Friday morning. I sent it Friday afternoon. On Tuesday it went up. On Wednesday it went viral.
Some of the comments were gentle and evenhanded, such as, "This is the most self-righteous, condescending piece of shit I have ever read." Others were more personal. My only talent was my uterus, I was told. My husband was a bully. I had a sub-par education and was secretly jealous of Doris. My picture should be posted up at Poison Control to induce vomiting. "Wow, you sure struck a nerve," said my father.
It got to the point that when I opened my computer and saw my name, I braced myself for a cruel attack.
But I learned a few overnight lessons. When the gist of your story boils down to "Look at me—I know something you don't know," people will see you as sanctimonious.
When you tell the world, "This is what I can't say to my friend," you look like a really lousy friend.
And when you tout your life choices because you feel pretty pleased with yourself, you have just passed judgment, and you will not be spared.
The label "Sanctimommy" came up again and again. Wow, I thought. This is what I look like to people who don't know me. I'm like that mom at the park who says in a sing-songy voice, "Breast is best, you know!" when she sees me bottle-feeding twins. What a humbling thing to discover that the portrait of yourself that you have blasted out to the world is not flattering. Is not even really you. What was I saying about myself with this piece? With my online persona in general?
I looked at my Facebook photos. Mostly pictures of my children. I looked at my personal blog (the one that has 11 followers). Blog post after blog post of kid anecdotes. Even my writing blog—an almost-daily journal of random thoughts—has a baby picture as its profile pic. It's a black-and-white of my husband at 4 months old, an inside joke between me and my cousin. But it's still another damn baby picture. Of course I looked like the Sanctimommy whose whole life is her children.
The worst part was that the blog post was so aggressive it looked like I declared open season on all women...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:01 PM
( 6:27 PM ) The Rat
FINALLY, A COFFIN WITH BUILT-IN SPEAKERS AND SPOTIFY CONNECTION.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:27 PM
( 5:19 PM ) The Rat
ALL DUE RESPECT TO THE ARTIST and all that, but I can't look at this (via AC) without getting this sinking feeling in my stomach of "—This was somehow my fault, wasn't it?"
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:19 PM
( 5:14 PM ) The Rat
COUPLE GOING AT IT LIKE TIRED, SEXUALLY INCOMPETENT RABBITS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:14 PM
( 12:45 PM ) The Rat
"AS PREDICTED ON APRIL 1..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:45 PM
( 9:53 AM ) The Rat
SYSK BINGO. All they missed was the traditional "years before Ghostbusters" measure of events in human and/or geologic time.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:53 AM
Friday, February 01, 2013
( 10:27 PM ) The Rat
"AND THEN I TRY TO EXAMINE THEIR WORK WITH THEM, AND ARTICULATE AS WELL AS I CAN HOW WELL THEY ARE ACTUALLY ACHIEVING THOSE GOALS, OR WHETHER THEY ARE IN FACT DELUSIONAL." Teaching Tips from Tim Gunn, Mentor on 'Project Runway.' Love.
Gentle and invariably honest, he nudges them toward realizing their own voice and potential while staying on deadline.
It's a mentoring approach with applications in fields well beyond fashion. Last fall, in an instantly viral Tumblr feed called "Academic Tim Gunn," two Penn State academics imagined the style guru as a dissertation committee member with advice tailored to the humanities, including: "I want you to be cognizant of not overwriting this," "That conclusion is such wretched excess" and "Your theoretical framework is Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze? That's not avant-garde. That's 80s"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:27 PM
( 7:27 PM ) The Rat
STUDY SHOWS WANTING STUFF MAKES US HAPPIER THAN HAVING STUFF. Next step: Inventing an effective way to convince children on this point. The stuff about sites like Pinterest is interesting—I've never used Pinterest but have definitely noticed the phenomenon discussed here.
How many times have you been so excited about getting something—planning for it, saving up for it, finally deciding to buy it, waiting for it to arrive in the mail—only to be surprised at how fast the joy of actually having the new item wears off? Turns out, that is just part of our nature.
The Atlantic reports on a paper from the University of Missouri titled "Why Wanting Is Better than Having: Materialism, Transformation Expectations, and Product-Evoked Emotions in the Purchase Process" that explains the results of a fascinating study on happiness and buying stuff. Marsha Richins of the University of Missouri conducted three separate studies measuring consumers on their level of materialism and their emotional state before and after making a purchase.
Richins found that those people who tend to be more materialistic experience stronger positive emotions before purchasing items, no matter how far in the future that purchase might occur or the size of the purchase. It was simply the idea that their life would be better once they owned the item—an idea that so many advertisers play off of with immense success.
But what usually happens after we buy something? We realize it's just a thing. And it doesn't make our lives all that different after all.
"But after the purchase was made, and the materialists inevitably adapted to life in possession of said coveted item, what followed was a 'hedonic decline,' in which their happy feelings dissipated," explains The Atlantic.
Basically, the study shows that we are happier thinking about owning things than actually owning things...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 PM
( 7:17 PM ) The Rat
EARL GREY DESCENDANTS SELL ENGLISH TEA TO CHINA. I understand this was covered in a missing chapter of the Lectures on the Philosophy of History...
An estate owned by descendants of the 19th century British aristocrat for whom Earl Grey tea was named is turning history on its head by selling English tea to China...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:17 PM
( 12:05 PM ) The Rat
Fifteen D-cup participants had reflective markers attached to their nipples and trunk to monitor absolute and relative breast displacement during treadmill walking (5 kph) and running (10 kph). During the gait cycle, the breast followed a figure-of-eight pattern with four movement phases...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:05 PM