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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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John Scalzi: Being Poor


Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.

Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.

Being poor is having to live with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Random observation: Firefox plays Youtube videos better than Chrome

The system I'm using at the moment is marginal for video, integrated graphics aren't that good, Chrome plays Youtube videos like in jerky slow motion at full screen (1080P monitor), the same videos look smooth and good in Firefox.

I tried Opera too, it's better than Chrome but not as smooth as Firefox at full screen video.

That just saved me hunting down another computer or some more parts, I like to watch videos full screen and now my computer does it.

DU is not a comfortable place for quite a few of us and hasn't been for a long time

I'm not going to go into specifics but I read plenty of "bashing" on DU that seems directly aimed at me, my race, my gender, my age, my sexual orientation, my birth cohort, my "too left" politics (I still haven't got my pony) and even (particularly?) where I live is subject for prejudiced comment on DU on a remarkably regular basis. Bear in mind that only two of the things I mentioned are under my control to any extent, my politics and where I live, the rest of the things I list are innate characteristics about which I can do nothing.

So I say to DU Catholics, welcome to the club, everyone gets made uncomfortable on DU from time to time and for some of us it would be a more than daily occurrence if our skin were so thin that we let the often ignorant opinions of others get under it.

From a more innocent time: State Department To Hold Enemy Tryouts Next Week


Oct 21, 1998

WASHINGTON, DC–Taking steps to fill the void that has plagued the American military-industrial complex since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced Tuesday that the U.S. will hold enemy tryouts next week.

Slated to begin Oct. 26, the tryouts will take place at the Pentagon. More than 40 nations are expected to vie for the role of U.S. adversary, including India, Afghanistan, China, North Korea and Sudan.

"Over the past seven years, the State Department, working closely with the CIA, Congress and the president, has made efforts to establish a longterm state of hostility with a foreign power of consequence," Albright said. "Unfortunately, these efforts have proven unfruitful. If we are to find a new Evil Empire, we must start taking a more proactive approach."

Though tryouts are not until next week, Albright said the State Department has already received a number of impressive preliminary proposals.

My new(ish) electric grocery getter

About three months ago I got this electric assisted folding bicycle off Craigslist for a very nice price, it had been painted flat black in an effort I think to make it less likely to be stolen since I got it from a rather bohemian area.

The seller told me it was "a couple" of years old but I found a 2008 date on it when I was checking out some of the parts after I got it home.

The 36V 10Ah lithium battery being that old is missing some of the original zip but still works to a decent extent, particularly when fresh off the charger. I've found that the bike will run about 12 mph on the no wind dead level without pedaling, I can pedal it to maybe 14 mph on the level but even in the highest of the six gears that's about as fast as I can comfortably spin. Pedaling really is necessary up anything other than a very slight incline but the bike makes you feel at least twice as strong as you are as long as you keep it moving at a decent clip, hills that are real leg burners to get up without assistance I can top without even breathing hard. Range under my conditions, biggish guy with trailer full of groceries pedaling moderately on everything but downhill seems to be about 12 miles, enough for me to get to the store and back and have a little reserve.

Handling is a bit twitchy, I wouldn't want to go much faster than it already will, rear brake is pathetic but the front brake is pretty decent.

Feetz don't fail me now

This little bike is brilliant.

I could see this being an "only vehicle" for city dwellers, not only does it stand up by itself and fold into a shopping cart but it also leans like a regular bicycle when you corner.


Department of Whoa: Big Brother advertises on DU?

What the hell have I been looking at this time to get an ad for jobs at the NSA?

I laughed until I cried at a few of these (dialup warning)


A couple of examples.

The Richest 1 Percent Have Captured 121 Percent Of Income Gains During The Recovery


Last year, economist Emmanuel Saez estimated that the richest 1 percent of the U.S. captured a whopping 93 percent of the income gains in 2010, as the U.S. was emerging from the Great Recession. Saez is now back with updated numbers from 2011, and they make the picture look even grimmer:

From 2009 to 2011, average real income per family grew modestly by 1.7% (Table 1) but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%. Hence, the top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery. From 2009 to 2010, top 1% grew fast and then stagnated from 2010 to 2011. Bottom 99% stagnated both from 2009 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2011.

How is it possible for the 1 percent to capture more than all of the nation’s income gains? The number is due to the fact that those at the bottom saw their incomes drop. As Timothy Noah explained in the New Republic, “the one percent didn’t just gobble up all of the recovery during 2010 and 2011; it put the 99 percent back into recession.”

Saez added that “In 2012, top 1% income will likely surge, due to booming stock-prices, as well as re-timing of income to avoid the higher 2013 top tax rates…This suggests that the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s.”

Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight



Drew wondered if somehow being so well-trained in searching would make them immune to missing large, hairy gorillas. "You might expect that because they're experts, they would notice if something unusual was there," he says.

He took a picture of a man in a gorilla suit shaking his fist, and he superimposed that image on a series of slides that radiologists typically look at when they're searching for cancer. He then asked a bunch of radiologists to review the slides of lungs for cancerous nodules. He wanted to see if they would notice a gorilla the size of a matchbook glaring angrily at them from inside the slide.

But they didn't: 83 percent of the radiologists missed it, Drew says.

This wasn't because the eyes of the radiologists didn't happen to fall on the large, angry gorilla. Instead, the problem was in the way their brains had framed what they were doing. They were looking for cancer nodules, not gorillas, so "they look right at it, but because they're not looking for a gorilla, they don't see that it's a gorilla."


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