“If you can take yourself out of your first world techie social media smart-shoes for a second then imagine this: you're 53 years old, you've been in prison from 20 to 26, you didn't finish high school, and you have a grandson who you're now supporting because your daughter is in jail. You're lucky, you have a job at the local Wendy's. You have to fill out a renewal form for government assistance which has just been moved online as a cost saving measure (this isn't hypothetical, more and more municipalities are doing this now). You have a very limited idea of how to use a computer, you don't have Internet access, and your survival (and the survival of your grandson) is contingent upon this form being filled out correctly.”—Why we should care about libraries (via A Whole Lotta Nothing)
“One sunny autumn day, Steve (he was always Steve) was walking across Apple’s campus with a reporter toward Caffe Macs. I was walking a few feet behind, enough to hear the reporter asking about Steve’s family. As we approached the entrance, Steve stopped and opened the door for an employee carrying trays of food outside. The employee never looked up but said “Thanks.” “Sure,” Steve replied. Just then, at least two dozen people followed the employee out. Because of where the reporter was standing, none of the employees (as far as I could tell) noticed who was holding the door for them. Steve continued holding that door, talking to the reporter, until I came up and offered to take his place as doorman. “Thanks,” he said. “Sure,” I replied. He smiled and invited the reporter inside. That’s it. Whatever else you may read about Steve, whatever else happens in his life or to Apple or to the world of computing, know that he opened doors for people.”—Metafilter.
“BARACK OBAMA: "Hello, Republicans, look at your candidate, now back to me, now back at your candidate, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped listening to the Tea Party and switched to being a moderate, he could govern like he’s me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re in the Oval Office with the President your candidate could govern like. What’s in your hand? Back at me...I have it, it’s a tax plan that saves you enough money to buy two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now people marrying who they love regardless of gender. Anything is possible when your candidate governs like me and not a bigoted vulture capitalist. I’m on a unicorn.”—From this MetaFilter discussion thread about Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC. (This specific comment is located here.)
“Regarding the smell/taste thing, I read somewhere about how there was a major lack of smell in these space stations compared to Earth, and smell was something the astronauts unexpectedly used to pine for. Apparently the smelliest things they had were some lemon hand wipes, and whenever a guy was about to use one he'd put out a shout and the rest would all gather round for a hit.”—
Oh man, if somebody doesn’t take this idea and spin it out into a story about astronauts and the scents they pine for and some space-journeying perfume huckster and all the derelicts and 0G barges flocking to her pungent caravan, I will cry.
FREE HOUSE SCRIPT
- CHASE: House, we need to cure this patient. He is very sick.
- HOUSE: Did you try the medicine drug?
- CHASE: I did try the medicine drug.
- HOUSE: Only stupid people try the medicine drug. You are stupid.
- PATIENT: I would rather not be sick.
- HOUSE: You are stupid too. Did you take stupid drug?
- FOREMAN: I gave patient stupid drug.
- HOUSE: You are a black man.
- FOREMAN: This vexes me.
- PATIENT: I have blood from my nose that is dripping.
- CAMERON: That's bad!
- PATIENT: Also I was bitten by mice due to my poor hygiene.
- CUTTY: You need hygiene drug. Also, I have not spoken in awhile.
- HOUSE: No! Hygiene drug will kill Patient! He needs mouse bites to live!
- CHASE: [Shocked]
- CAMERON: [Shocked]
- FOREMAN: [Vexed]
- HOUSE: More mouse bites!
- CUTTY: I forbid this.
- HOUSE: Don't care.
- CHASE: [Gets mice]
- HOUSE: [Makes mouse bite serum]
- PATIENT: I feel better. No more nose blood! Thank you doctor!
- HOUSE: I am very smart.
- WILSON: I, too, am in this episode.
- FOREMAN: This vexes me.
Parrots are awesome!
Lots of people are aware parrots are pretty smart animals, but it is really neat to hear a first hand account of parrot ownership. Metafilter’s Nattie shares some of her experience:
My Congo African Grey picks up stuff REALLY fast. Sometimes he’ll piece together stuff that’s hilarious.
Yesterday I was sitting next to him reading, and he was preening quietly so I told him he was being really good — giving them attention when they’re not screaming gives them the option of not screaming when they want attention, so I try to do this a lot.
His response? He said in a friendly tone, “You’re a really good Nattie. Haha. I love you, bitch.” My husband and I use obscenities as casual endearments.
Then sometimes he’ll throw stuff together in Engrish-y ways that almost make sense. The other day we were moving, so I put Bongo (the African Grey) and our cockatiel in their travel cages so I could take their huge cages apart to stick in the truck. Bongo didn’t like this, so he decided to lift up his water bowl, which lifts the food cup door, and throw it on the floor. Shocked, I said, “You douche!” Bongo yeowled, this hilarious gibberishy cat-like sound. My husband came in and asked what happened, and Bongo said, “Yes, that became water now.” I want to put that on a shirt with like, a picture of an anthropocentrized flower or something.
Scott Adams is kind of dumb
Remember how we learned a couple of weeks ago that Scott Adams is a misogynist tool?
Well, he wrote another ridiculous article that (of course) got posted on MetaFilter and (of course) attracted hundreds of comments in which people argued about why exactly it was ridiculous and dissected the many different ways it is ridiculous.
Then along comes a brand-new MetaFilter user “plannedchaos,” who appears to have signed up for the sole purpose of arguing with people who don’t like Scott Adams, and posting elaborate crap about why Scott Adams is actually awesome.
Lots of haters here. I hate Adams for his success too. But some factual clarifications are in order:
4. As far as Adams’ ego goes, maybe you don’t understand what a writer does for a living. No one writes unless he believes that what he writes will be interesting to someone. Everyone on this page is talking about him, researching him, and obsessing about him. His job is to be interesting, not loved. As someone mentioned, he has a certified genius I.Q., and that’s hard to hide.
Spoiler alert: plannedchaos is Scott Adams. You see, in order to join MetaFilter, you have to pay $5, which means the MeFi mods have access to a certain amount of real life data about you that most members don’t. And because Scott Adams was pretending in the thread that he wasn’t Scott Adams and was just in fact some random dude who really likes Scott Adams, he got outed by cortex, one of the mods.
And just to be clear that this isn’t some weird joke, yes, he is.
Scott, if you wanted to sign up for Metafilter to defend your writing, that would have been fine. If you wanted to sign up for Metafilter and be incognito as just another user, that’d be fine too. Doing both simultaneously isn’t; pretending to be a third party and high-fiving yourself by proxy is a pretty sketchy move and a serious violation of general community expectations about identity management around here.
Hilarity ensues. You should really read the thread, it’s great entertainment. And if this isn’t funny enough, it turns out he uses a sockpuppet account on reddit, too.
Words on the Internet
Words are kind of a crazy powerful vector for reaching into other people’s brains. The same thing that makes natural language so neat and useful and game-changing at a species level also makes it a lot harder in some ways to filter than it might seem like it should be when you look at it in terms of “it’s just words”.
Because it’s just words, but to reject what someone has said to you as unimportant requires first that you hear what they’re saying. And if what they’re saying is something that generates shitty feelings for you, you can’t just unfeel those feelings once you’ve decided that what’s been said lacks merit or substance. The human language processing centers don’t have a holding queue that isolates input at a macro level until it’s been tested for validity or worthiness, there’s no semantic pre-screening process that lets us only hear/read and react to the bits of incoming language that we want to have experienced and chuck the rest, parsed but unfelt, back out the door.
So on the one hand, yeah: there’s not a lot of sense in feeling, reacting to, being made to feel shitty or dismissed or threatened or hurt by what someone says to you even when they’re not someone whose opinion you think should have an effect on you or what they’re saying is out of line.
But that doesn’t mean folks aren’t going to feel it and react to, aren’t going to feel shitty about what’s been said, aren’t going to feel threatened even when it doesn’t make rational sense. Language gets inside your head in a very direct sense, you can’t know you don’t want to be thinking about it until you’re already thinking about it.
Different folks have, for what I’d guess are a greatly varied different set of reasons, different levels of sensitivity or vulnerability to this stuff depending on who its coming from and where and when and what is going on in their lives. Everybody has their more and less resilient moments, and I’m sure some folks are by chance or by effort more bulletproof than others when it comes to having someone firing negative communicative salvos your way, or if not bulletproof at least better at more or less immediately flushing that stuff out of their system.
But the more bulletproof folks need to keep in mind that not everybody is them, that there’s a whole wide range of human experiences as far as how we deal with language that hurts, that reciting Sticks And Stones may work for some folks or some situations but that the right set of words can, even from strangers with no business having such agency, be cutting, gutting things.
Even for people who fight and wrestle and stare down that stuff when they can. Arguably, the people who do fight the hardest on this front are the ones who are most hurt by it in the first place, and if your position is that fighting it is the right way to go, it’d do to keep in mind that that may be easy for you to say because the fight is easier for you than it is for them. “Harden the fuck up” is another way of saying “why are you softer than I think I’d be if I were in your shoes”, when in fact we’re basically never in anyone else’s shoes and we mostly don’t know what they’ve gone through or what they’re going through mentally and emotionally in their lives.
—Cortex, over on MetaFilter.
How would a German describe Hitler's voice?
“This is something I’ve often wondered about, simply because the guy is so infamous and omnipresent in our popular imagination. Yet from the perspective of an English-speaker, he’s still quite mysterious for the simple reason that we never actually “hear” him speak, only read subtitles off old filmreel recordings of his otherwise incoherent German speeches.
As English-speakers, all we can ever discern from Hitler’s speeches is that he spoke angrily and flamboyantly. But I was just wondering how his voice sounds, overall, from a German-speaker’s perspective. When German actors or impersonators or comedians mimic his voice and language, what are the distinctive qualities they emulate?”
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers — 58 men and 14 women — ‘were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created’ a “Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar” Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles.
“At 72 Migrantes, you can listen to music for the dead (click ‘descargar canciones’), leave a rose icon (click ‘dejar una rosa’), and share food with living migrants by making a donation (click ‘donaciones’). Donations are sent directly to Father Alejandro Solalinde of Hermanos en el Camino, a church organization that provides food, shelter and support to migrants and those who have been kidnapped or threatened by drug and human traffickers in Mexico.
The centerpiece of 72 Migrantes is a collection of narratives and photographs, one for each of the victims. The authors (among them Elena Poniatowska, Jorge Volpi, and Juan Villoro) have written the stories of the dead by seeking information about their lives, often from their loved ones. But most families of the migrants have been too afraid to identify themselves publicly. Many of the authors, with little more than a name, have written narratives that fall somewhere between obituary and testimonial. And others have chosen to write the stories of the unidentified by imagining the lives of their subjects.” Google Translate does change the text on the site from Spanish to English.