“You may suspect that getting people to merge in a timely fashion, and without killing one another, is less of a traffic problem and more of a human problem. The road, more than simply a system of regulations and designs, is a place where many millions of us, with only loose parameters for how to behave, are thrown together daily in a kind of massive petri dish in which all kinds of uncharted, little-understood dynamics are at work. There is no other place where so many people from different walks of life — different ages, races, classes, religions, genders, political preferences, lifestyle choices, levels of psychological stability — mingle so freely.”—First Chapter - ‘Traffic,’ by Tom Vanderbilt - First Chapter - NYTimes.com
Like our current financial crisis, the aging process might also be a product excessive deregulation.
Researchers have discovered that DNA damage decreases a cell’s ability to regulate which genes are turned on and off in particular settings. This mechanism, which applies both to fungus and to us, might represent a universal culprit for aging.
“The deeper the relationship, the greater the proportion of it dedicated to triviality; and beyond, say, 90% triviality, the relationship isn’t a relationship at all. And likewise with meaningful interactions—if everything is meaningful, it’s not a relationship, it’s therapy.”—Web Social Architecture: Twitter: Trivial. Beautifully So.
@Ario posted the heart of this quote to Twitter, of course. However, it’s the smartest things I’ve heard this year. Easily.
More smart stuff, directly about Twitter:
So I’m arguing for Twitter, or an analogous triviality service (ha!) as a supplement to existing relationships, not as a full-fledged social channel in and of itself. As a social network, I actually do think it’s useless, or worse. And you can take that as a caveat.
But I am saying I think triviality in general and as supported by Twitter, in both personal and professional settings, is indispensable—that we can and should deliberately design it into social systems.
Unlike a lot of rappers, Withers doesn’t blame the girl, he blames himself, going so far as to say, “It ain’t too bad the way you using me, because I sure am using you to do that thing we do.” In fact he laughs at the people trying to help him, much as one might picture people laughing at some lefty for telling them “they aren’t voting their interest.” In that respect, I think Bacevich’s critique is a man’s critique of another, very similar, dysfunctional relationship. It easy to think we’ve been conned into this current crisis. But what if this is the world as we want it?
I like thinking of the number of other songs that also fit this critique. All are a stretch for the point, but much more fun than considering the labyrinthine machinations of the financial crisis itself. “Hungry Like the Wolf”? “Material Girl”? “Get Ur Freak On”?
That’s right: Dennis Kozlowski (aka Prison ID 05A4820) and Mark Swartz aka (Prison ID 05A4823) — the two former top executives of Tyco (TYC) — have seen their executive retirements blossom while they’re sitting in their respective prison cells, according to a footnote buried deep in the 10K that Tyco filed last week.
In footnote #16, which is on pg. 150 of the 10K, Tyco discloses that the accrued benefit obligations for Kozlowski’s executive retirement, which he theoretically gets to collect when he turns 65, grew to $76 million for the year ended Sept. 28, 2008. That’s an increase of $5 million or a market-beating 7% (compared with the 20% the S&P 500 lost during the same period). Swartz did slightly better with $36 million turning into $39 million — an 8.3% return.
Late last week, a bogus company called Adele Systems charged $0.22 to my main debit card account. Having seen irregular, test-the-waters activity from the “merchant” my bank—a well-respected credit union—flagged them for investigation and began notifying all cardholders with a similar charge. Adele Systems was found to be fraudulent, so all debit cards were cancelled within a few hours of the first charge getting flagged in their transaction system.
Banks quickly fighting fraud! …But then there’s their *lousy* follow-up by my bank.
My bank called me Friday afternoon and left an unverified message that there “was a problem with my card”. No phone number, no agent name, to verification info from my account…just an ambiguous message. They called around 4 p.m.. Their customer support closed at 7 p.m. I got the message at 7:10 p.m. I seriously considered it to be a phishing scheme for my PIN.
With the warning in mind, I used my debit card over the weekend and double-checked my online accounts. All looked normal; my card worked fine at a variety of establishments. Come Monday morning, my bank called *my dad*, who called me. I duly called my bank to get to the bottom of the issue. After 5 minutes on hold as they tried to track down the reason for the phone calls, it turns out they need to cancel my debit card and issue a new one and need my authorization.
Here it gets maddening: Issuing a new card will take 7-9 *business* days to arrive, and the PIN for it will be separately delivered after that. I have no card for two weeks. Any automatic payments or transactions queued up are now against a canceled card. My bank could expedite card delivery, but only by delivery signature (without a delivery time frame). ‘Could you be home over a two-day window?’ ‘Are you serious?’ To *change the address* for delivery—expedited or no—they need *written* permission. But not a fax. Writing in would take 2/3 days, arguably, putting “expedited” delivery almost at the same timeframe as normal delivery.
WTF! And to top it all, my bank recommended I get cash to cover bills for 2 weeks, but by the time I got to an ATM, my card was already canceled.
As I get “no payment” notices via e-mail and go about my usual online purchases and scheduled billing, I plan to convert to routing-number-based payment rather than a specific debit card. I have no doubt online fraud will continue, and I’ll have more force-issued debit cards. However, the number of retailers I trust with my routing information are few and far between. I hate paying PayPal’s service fees, for merchants where PayPal is an option—it’s a service my bank should provide, really. My bank should provide something like OpenID for financial information.
I expect they’ll get around to that sometime in the next millennia. In the meantime, I have limited access to my own money over Thanksgiving weekend. Guess who’s not getting thanked.
“This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things—sees clearly—and in the act of wondering what they will do next, he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead. —John Gardner, “Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Novelist?” 1983”—Esquire’s 70 Greatest Sentences Quite a few great entries. Charles Bowden, Nabokov, a short theme about female anatomy, Eggers, DFW, Carver, Michael Bay….
“Twilight” is a vampire movie, but it’s not a horror movie; if it were, it might sport a title like “The Pouting” or “Attack of the Albino Hollister Models” or “Bloodsucker Prom Date.” It’s never an easy task to bring a hit book to the screen, but by filling the screen with stares, stammers and silences, director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg tread into the territory of unintentional hilarity.
The fact that Pattinson accentuates almost every line by widening his eyes as much as possible and then not blinking for an uncomfortably long period of time is the stuff of future drinking games.
One of the better reviews I’ve read in a while. This movie will catch me in 3-4 years on a rainy Saturday afternoon and I’ll remember to get out something to drink. (That’s a sign of a good review.)
Combined with Simon Pegg’s op-ed about zombie speeds and honoring genre traditions, do we *really* have to go through this discussion of truth paid to myths? Do we not have just about anything else to discuss? Why the sanctity of monsters? What about a discussion of pop culture reinterpretations of—I don’t know—anything serious?
Ellen Spertus, a graduate student at M.I.T., wondered why the computer camp she had attended as a girl had a boy-girl ratio of six to one. And why were only 20 percent of computer science undergraduates at M.I.T. female? She published a 124-page paper, “Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?”, that catalogued different cultural biases that discouraged girls and women from pursuing a career in the field. The year was 1991.
Computer science has changed considerably since then. Now, there are even fewer women entering the field.