Archive for Dyssynergy

Who put the bömp?

Opening statistic: Iceland has only 320,000 people, about as many as Corpus Christi, Texas. That number makes this more believable:

[T]wo random Icelanders have about as much in common as second cousins, once removed, according to Dr. Kári Stefansson, CEO and co-founder of deCODE Genetics. That might sound like a lot, but accounting for the vast possibilities for genetic recombination in each generation, it really isn’t.

A consequence of this genetic similarity:

A collaborative venture between deCODE and software engineer Friðrik Skúlason, the Íslendingabók site developed as a corollary to deCODE’s genealogical research. “The reason why we have been able to lead the world in genetic research,” Kári Stefansson says, “is because we understand the structure of Iceland’s population so well.” DeCODE has an advantage over “the big guys in human genetics” because the organisation has intimate understanding of Icelandic genealogy, he says. “Our history is mapped in our DNA.”

DeCODE has attracted no small amount of international press over the years, but it is unlikely that its student app competition would have created such fervour now were it not for one of the novelty features of the winning ÍslendingaApp: the Sifjaspellspillir or “Incest Spoiler” alarm which alerts a user if the person she plans on going home with is a near relation. Using the app’s “new bömp technology,” users can tap their phones together and see how closely they are related. If the alarm has been activated — it’s turned off in default settings — it will either erupt with a discouraging siren, or issue a gleeful “No relation: go for it!” message, while a Barry White-esque voice urges you on with a subtle “Oh, Yeeeaaah.”

There are parts of the US, I am told, where an application of this sort might be useful.

(Via TYWKIWDBI.)

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Adequate cover

Given the deficiencies of the usual hospital gown, you might think this chap would have been pleased. But he wasn’t:

A man is suing Delaware Surgery Center for damages after allegedly waking from a colonoscopy medical procedure in women’s pink underwear.

Andrew Walls, 32, from the city of Dover, Delaware, was under anesthesia after the colonoscopy at the city’s Delaware Surgery Center in October 2012 when he claims he was pranked, The News Journal reported.

Why would anyone have a reason to prank this guy?

Walls was an employee of Delaware Surgery Center when he underwent the colonoscopy.

Oh. Did he at least get a discount on the bill?

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You live where?

If you can identify one house on my block, you can figure the addresses for any of them: the numbering is consistent — each lot west is plus four — and usually the number is actually readable. This is not, however, the case everywhere:

Older son is a pizza delivery guy. He routinely sees what the paramedics see: no house number, confusing house numbers, illegible house numbers, dark brown house numbers on black backgrounds, white house numbers on cream backgrounds, house numbers twenty feet off the ground where you would never look, house numbers painted on the curb with cars parked over them, house numbers so small they can’t be seen from the street, house numbers that appear to have been installed at random; the list is endless. The pizza guys would like to find your house quicker as time is money for them. The ambulance guys would like to find your house quicker as they hope to save your life. The FedEx guy and the UPS guy would like to find your house quicker too. So do plumbers, electricians, paper boys, and furniture delivery guys.

I should state here that when I took over the palatial estate at Surlywood, there were two sets of numbers, neither of which passed muster: a set of chrome digits over the garage door, fine once, not so fine once new guttering was installed just over it; and a set of black digits on a brown background, not readable except under very specific lighting conditions.

I toyed with moving the black digits to a pink background, but ultimately decided to install a vertical plaque, black on white, 19 x 4 inches, just east of the garage door. It is not as handsome as I thought it might be, but it’s readable.

On the curb? One set of digits painted on each of the two curved sections, where it takes considerable effort to block them with cars.

And I should probably admit that maybe my block is not so easy after all: the numbering is as I stated, but there are eight houses on the south side of the street, only four on the north. This seems to baffle some people, even when they can read the digits.

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Pointed rejection

Somehow I don’t think this will work:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Can i put barbed wire on my fence?

Reason for the decorations:

i like going in my hot tub at night naked and recently i found out all the neighbour kids watch me and i havent been able to go out since and i was wondering if you can put barbed wire up its like all the back gardens are a strip by the house and a long parallel fence and then each seperated by another fence i want to put wire all around the fences that define my garden an i allowed to do that and if not what can i do to get rid of them

Barbed wire doesn’t do a whole lot to block anyone’s view, so we’re forced to assume that the kids are having to climb up to see. The path of least resistance here is either a taller fence or enough of a hedge to block the line of sight.

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Modestly paranoid

And by “modestly,” we mean “out the wazoo”:

The 10,000 doves released in a ceremony Wednesday for China’s National Day underwent unusual scrutiny, each having its feathers and anus checked for dangerous materials, state-run media reports said, reflecting government jitters over possible attacks.

The symbols of peace were released at sunrise in Beijing’s symbolic heart of Tiananmen Square in a ceremony for the Oct. 1 holiday to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Beijing domestic security police officer Guo Chunwei was quoted in the Jinghua Times as saying workers checked the wings, legs and anus of each pigeon ahead of time to ensure they were “not carrying suspicious material.” The entire process was videotaped, and the birds were then loaded into sealed vehicles for the trip to Tiananmen Square, the newspaper said.

Snoopy the Goon points out that this intrusive procedure could have had, um, undesirable consequences.

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The weed from hell

Doesn’t this sound wonderful?

A weed strong enough to stop combines and resist many herbicides has been confirmed in South Dakota for the first time, raising concerns it could spread and cut deeply into crop production in the Upper Midwest — one of the few areas it hadn’t yet invaded.

The threat from Palmer amaranth [Amaranthus palmeri] is so great that officials in North Dakota have named it the weed of the year, even though it has yet to be found in the state.

“If you think you find plants — kill it!” North Dakota State University Extension Weed Specialist Rich Zollinger said. “Don’t even think. Just kill it.”

Even glyphosate, Monsanto’s mighty Roundup, is helpless against this stuff:

Weed scientists have performed tests on resistant Palmer pigweed. In this study, glyphosate was sprayed on resistant pigweed three times at 88 ounces per acre. The Palmer pigweed that received 264 ounces of glyphosate was still alive and healthy. The drought-plagued cotton plants were dwarfed by the glyphosate-resistant weed.

And, just our luck, it’s prolific:

The plants can grow as tall as 7 feet, each one producing as much as a million seeds. Its stems can grow as thick as baseball bats.

Which certainly explains how it can stop a combine.

(Via TYWKIWDBI.)

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A John Deere letter

I’m half hoping this is a trick question:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Does the new 22 horsepower engine on a john deere have as much power as the old 26 horsepower engine?

Perhaps what she wants to say is more like “Is the new line of John Deere implements with 22-hp engines up to the performance standards set by the old line with 26-hp engines?” She didn’t say that, though, so she’s basically earned a “Duh.”

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Peak sand

How could we possibly be running out of sand?

Never before has Earth been graced with the prosperity we are seeing today, with countries like China, India and Brazil booming. But that also means that demand for sand has never been so great. It is used in the production of computer chips, plates and mobile phones. More than anything, though, it is used to make cement. You can find it in the skyscrapers in Shanghai, the artificial islands of Dubai and in Germany’s autobahns.

In 2012, Germany alone mined 235 million tons of sand and gravel, with 95 percent of it going to the construction industry. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates global consumption at an average of 40 billion tons per year, with close to 30 billion tons of that used in concrete. That would be enough to build a 27-meter by 27-meter (88.5 feet) wall circling the globe. Sands are “now being extracted at a rate far greater than their renewal,” a March 2014 UNEP report found. “Sand is rarer than one thinks,” it reads.

And renewal is a long, tedious process:

Sand is similar to fossil fuels like natural gas, coal or oil: It takes thousands of years to form — for rock to be naturally ground down into sand with rivers washing, grinding and breaking up stone on their long journeys to the sea. But the global population is growing, and since the start of the economic booms in Asia and Africa, sand doesn’t even make it to the oceans anymore in some places. It often gets fished out before getting there.

One perhaps-unexpected source of sand depletion is fracking:

According to the 14Q2 ProppantIQ report, recently published by PacWest Consulting Partners, robust growth in frac sand demand is driving dramatic growth in the North American proppant market. Proppant demand is expected to grow by 23% per annum through 2016, driven primarily by frac sand (+24% per annum). The RCS and Ceramics markets are also expected to grow at 9% and 2% per annum, respectively.

“We forecast strong growth in the North American market for proppant due to increasing horizontal wells and frac stages, in addition to increasing proppant volumes per stage,” says Samir Nangia, PacWest Principal. “However, there is considerable upside in our forecasts, due to the potential for faster-than-expected increases in proppant intensity (i.e. proppant/well and proppant/stage).”

“Proppant” is the stuff you mix with water plus Mystery Additives and send down the tubes to keep the fracture open while drilling. Garden-variety sand is not especially effective, but it’s cheap and cement-ish.

(With thanks to Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Droning on

Remember when stupidity had its consequences? I miss those days. And apparently so does the Z Man:

Cheap flying gizmos with cameras means every dickhead in the neighborhood will have one. In the not too distant future some jerk-off will have a drone spying on the woman next door and her husband will throttle the guy. The reason the general IQ has fallen is modern technology has allowed the stupid to escape the natural consequences of their genetics. At the tail end of the technological revolution, assholes get to easily reach out and share their asshole-ishness with the rest of the world.

See also “trolls,” seemingly motivated almost identically.

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Click here to agree to the divorce papers

PayPal and eBay, joined forever in 2002, are falling apart:

eBay and PayPal are going their separate ways, with the payments company moving out from under the eBay umbrella to form its own, publicly-traded company. The move follows a strategic review conducted by eBay, Inc. and its Board of Directors, and is intended to help both businesses grow faster in their respective markets.

The spin-out of PayPal is expected to be complete by the second half of 2015, provided all regulators sign-off on the agreement. As TechCrunch reported, both companies will get new CEOs as part of the deal, with eBay Marketplaces President Devin Wenig taking over at eBay, and PayPal President Dan Schulman presiding at PayPal.

While I’ve had no particular problems with either eBay or PayPal since the merger, I’ve often wondered if eBay sellers were chafing under the “suggestion” that they accept payments only through PayPal. And PayPal has been looking for partners far removed from the auction biz; about twice a month they send me email to tell me about a new one — as distinguished from the twenty times a month I get phishing email from parties pretending to be PayPal.

Note that word “spin-out,” in place of the more-usual “spin-off.” Is there a difference? Maybe it lies in the fact that PayPal is on its way to being a bigger business than eBay.

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Fescue me

The general belief these days is that the smell you get from mowing the lawn is a distress signal from the poor beheaded plants. What hadn’t been determined up to now is the intended recipient of that signal:

The smell of cut grass in recent years has been identified as the plant’s way of signalling distress, but new research says the aroma also summons beneficial insects to the rescue.

“When there is need for protection, the plant signals the environment via the emission of volatile organic compounds, which are recognized as a feeding queue for parasitic wasps to come to the plant that is being eaten and lay eggs in the pest insect,” said Dr. Michael Kolomiets, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist in College Station.

The research stems from a look at the function of a large family of lipid-derived molecular signals that regulate differential processes in humans, animals and plants, according to Kolomiets, whose research was published in The Plant Journal.

So cutting the grass invites wasps?

Suddenly Lisa’s Lawn Be Gone project makes a whole lot more sense.

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Checking those streams

Sometimes a paragraph just jumps out at you from the front page:

Oklahoma City Public Schools is the only district of comparable size in the state without an employee drug-testing policy in place, said Rod McKinley, the district’s chief human resources officer. “I don’t know why things didn’t happen in the past,” McKinley said.

Okay, that was technically about a paragraph and a third. Work with me here.

Now what I want to know is this: which of these two justifications will be invoked?

  • “Hey, all the other districts of comparable size have this, why don’t we?”
  • “Our schools are getting failing grades! Do you think it could be — drugs?”

Samuel L. Clemens was technically not available for comment.

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You can never plant enough trees

Nicole goes digging into deepest tax lore, and comes away annoyed:

[T]hat whole “Paperwork Reduction Act” that is cited on all IRS paperwork? That’s just insulting. The only thing the IRS is good at (besides being used as a tool of political vengeance) is killing trees. If all of this is reduced paperwork, I truly shudder to think of what it would be like prior to reduction.

The problem here is that it’s called the Paperwork Reduction Act, but nothing in the Act actually mandates the reduction of paperwork:

The Paperwork Reduction Act mandates that all federal government agencies receive approval from OMB — in the form of a “control number” — before promulgating a paper form, website, survey or electronic submission that will impose an information collection burden on the general public. The term “burden” is defined as anything beyond “that necessary to identify the respondent, the date, the respondent’s address, and the nature of the instrument.” No one may [be] penalized for refusing an information collection request that does not display a control number. Once obtained, approval must be renewed every three years.

The process created by the Paperwork Reduction Act makes OIRA into a centralized clearinghouse for all government forms.

And of course, OIRA generates paperwork of its own.

Consider: were this Act actually going to reduce a burden imposed by government, there wasn’t a chance in hell that Jimmy Carter would ever have signed it — especially since it was December 1980 and he knew he’d be out of work in a month’s time.

“The man whose life is devoted to paperwork has lost the initiative. He is dealing with things that are brought to his notice, having ceased to notice anything for himself.” — C. Northcote Parkinson

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Depressed for time

I wrestle with this quandary myself now and then:

I saw a story in the new Mary Janes Farm about a woman who works as an architect by day and makes incredible art quilts by night. And that makes me enormously sad; I count it as a good night when I have a half-hour to work on anything. I haven’t “designed” anything in a long time (as much as I ever “designed” anything — mostly just plugging a fancy stitch into a standard 64 or 72 stitch sock pattern). I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I never seem to do anything meaningful. I feel like when I’m gone I’ll be totally forgotten because there’s nothing I’m leaving behind that matters.

I think this explains my alleged productivity: I expect to be forgotten before I leave. And if none of this matters — well, when that’s determined, I don’t expect to be around to hear the verdict, so I’m not too worried about it. Then again, about halfway into the typing of this, I got a notification that someone favorited one of my stories, and, well, it’s halfway to 600 reads. Perhaps I’m the worst judge of my own material. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person suffering from that syndrome.

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Cradle stick-up

There’s lots of stuff at Interested-Participant, but arguably the label most often used at that blog is “Women With Troubles,” and a rather large number of the women in question have been caught with some underaged kid, though usually not in mid-diddle. In one recent incident, a 31-year-old ex-band teacher, following an anonymous tip, was busted for a 2012 tryst with a 14-year-old of apparently indeterminate gender; there is no shortage of other examples.

Robert Stacy McCain, who has been covering this phenomenon for many months, explains how this sort of thing can happen:

If we set aside all moral, legal, social and ethical objections to such behavior, must we pretend that we are unable to explain why a woman would be interested in a 15-year-old boy? Oh, hell, no.

Having once been a teenage boy, I know exactly what she enjoys in this activity. If erection equals consent, I was in a condition of permanent consent from the time I was 13 years old. A teenage boy is capable of sexual arousal with the least provocation, or no provocation at all… [E]ven if we ignore whatever aesthetic appeal there might be in the youthful appearance of an adolescent, there are other attributes typical of youth that might lead an adult woman to desire a 15-year-old boy as a sex partner. The teenage boy is more or less a tabula rasa, a lump of unmolded clay, an empty page on which she can inscribe whatever she wishes. Suppose that the teacher, attractive as she may be, is dissatisfied with the quality of her relationships with adult men. There in her classroom is a teenage boy, who is ready, willing and able to attempt any sexual act his teacher may desire him to perform. Not only is the boy’s impetuous eagerness flattering to her ego — adult men are probably less impetuous and more demanding — but as the teenager is less experienced in sexual activity by comparison to her adult male partners, the teen may be more easily tutored to perform sexually in the precise manner that pleases his teacher the most. The boy is more eager to please, more cooperative and less judgmental, and probably far more grateful to have her as a sex partner than any adult male would be.

There’s a lot to be said for “less judgmental.”

This interchange from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems apposite:

Cordelia: So, does looking at guns really make girls wanna have sex? That’s scary.
Xander: Yeah, I guess.
Cordelia: Well, does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
Xander: I’m seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

Inevitably, there are some incidents where an adult (legally, anyway) woman has chosen a young girl as a partner, which is similarly heinous but is occasionally brushed off, because feminism, or some such excuse.

And there’s this:

We view as creepy the middle-aged executive who divorces his wife and acquires a much younger girlfriend. It’s not just that the 25-year-old female is young enough to be the 50-year-old executive’s daughter (triggering our crypto-Freudian suspicion of symbolically incestuous ideas lurking in the old man’s depraved psyche) but that we assume, without need for any evidence, the young girlfriend is a selfish gold-digger who is cynically trading sex for money and status. Certain other assumptions are involved in the case of an older woman who goes into “cougar” mode, pursuing sex with virile young studs.

One could argue, I suppose, that we don’t have the facts of the matter and therefore should not pass judgment. This works right up until the moment when those facts materialize — but not one second thereafter.

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Conference room A, one hour

The organization doesn’t exist that never holds meetings. But there is such a thing as overdoing it:

When I worked in the high-corp world, especially when I was the executive assistant to the vice-CEO of a NASA corporation, I learned the value of regularly held meetings. But my boss held back-to-back meetings all damned day, thus eating up my time with creating Excel spreadsheets, running upstairs to rip them off of the huge Calcomp printer, then running back downstairs to mount them on the wall of his conference room. Hour. After. Hour. Taking care of 12 departmental checkbooks, requisitioning tools and parts, and performing secretarial tasks for his departmental heads had to be sandwiched in between my jogs up and down stairs. It’s no wonder that I won an unofficial poll as “Best Legs in the Company” and that I brought home huge paychecks that included three or four hours of overtime every day. Those checks helped me pay for that penthouse with the view of the Pacific, which I seldom saw because I never came home until well after dark. That job taught me the frustration of redundancy and meeting overkill. I used to joke with my boss that he and his heads must be Baptists, who are famous for holding meetings to schedule meetings.

Grateful am I that I work on one floor and one floor only — though that floor has a single step that I must traverse dozens of times a day, playing hell with my knees. And none of my paychecks are huge enough to afford a penthouse, which may be just as well since the damned thing would perforce be upstairs.

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Give ’til it hurts

Okay, maybe you’ve overdone it a little:

If nothing else, this proves that there is no substitute for hands-on experience.

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Indy Rock City

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but paper causes lawsuits:

KISS bassist Gene Simmons is among the defendants being sued by a security guard over a confetti-initiated stage accident during a 2012 concert in Noblesville, Indiana.

Courthouse News Service reports security guard Timothy Funk says he worked the band’s September 1, 2012 show at the city’s Klipsch Music Center and was injured after falling on the “slippery, waxy, and glassy” stage.

According to Funk’s lawsuit, “some or all of the defendants” sprayed water from hoses “on the stage, the area around the stage, and on some of the crowd.” They also sprayed confetti around the stage and crowd “in a foolish and reckless manner,” Funk claimed.

Remember, kids: use confetti responsibly.

Said defendants include Live Nation (as owner of the Klipsch Center) and Simmons’ production company.

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Pity the needy corporation

I have been a member of the American Automobile Association for some twenty-odd years. I pay my Plus fee every year; I even follow the local incarnation on Twitter. What’s more, they follow me. You’d think this was enough interaction for both of us.

Then in comes an email that begins “It feels like we’ve grown apart.” I saw that in the preview pane, looked up at the subject bar, and there was this plaintive wail: “We’ve noticed… our emails are going unnoticed.” By “unnoticed,” they apparently mean that once a month they send me a metric buttload of links, none of which I ever click on.

If this is a scheme to get me to verify my email address — for which they did in fact provide a link — it’s a pretty pathetic one. And if it’s not, it’s even worse.

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Give us convenience

“Or give us death,” Jello Biafra might say. I don’t know if I’d go that far. But I’m back here in the office with the MP3s blasting, and I wonder: why am I not in the living room with the Big Stereo?

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They don’t care a fig for Newton

The argument that one culture’s just as good as another fails to take into account that practitioners of one are using their heads for target practice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that what goes up, eventually comes down.

Except in the reichlet of Gaza, and in most of the Arab/Muslim world.

When Muslims celebrate the beginning of a war, they fire their AK 47s into the air. When they celebrate the end of a war, they fire their AKs into the air. They blast away at weddings. They blast away when a Jew is kidnapped or murdered. Basically, they pull triggers at every opportunity.

Invariably, someone gets dead because bullets — surprise! — fall to the ground.

If this seems counterproductive — well, things aren’t going to change any time soon. A recent such incident:

As the cease-fire began in Gaza, Tuesday evening — it was supposed to start at 7 PM but rockets and mortar shells continued to fall in Israeli territory as late as 7:15 PM — the V Day celebrations erupted in Gaza, after 50 days of clashes.

As is common on such occasions, thousands flocked in the streets, with many shooting randomly in the air, because that’s how folks have been expressing happiness in this region since the invention of gunpowder.

And then people started to drop in the streets. According to tweets from Gaza, as many as 2 locals were killed from those gunshots, and at least 25 were injured.

Life is cheap; but ammo is even cheaper.

(Via The Texas Scribbler.)

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The latest dish

Nicole’s dishwasher has gone south, or some other dysfunctional direction, and the results have been twofold:

I’ve been doing dishes by hand for the last several nights. And because we have a tiny ant infestation that is not being eradicated by Terro, my normal ant scourge, I’ve been having to do them every night after dinner. First bad thing.

Second bad thing — doing the dishes every night means that I have it put in my face every night that we really don’t need more than 2 plates. Which is bad because my regular grocery store is next to Pier One.

Disclosures:

  • Last time I had a dishwasher was when I was living in the CrappiFlats™, eleven years ago.
  • At the time, I had four plates; I have since broken one.

Pier One is pretty close to my bank, but I try to avoid going to the bank.

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Taking the full upright position

Otherwise known as “Hey, you’re lucky we even let you on the plane”:

Next time you buy an airplane ticket check the fine print. What you probably won’t find: language to the effect of “the purchase of this ticket fully and without restraint entitles the ticketholder to the recline function of his seat for the duration of the flight”. That doesn’t mean one can’t recline. (It also doesn’t say you can breathe while on the flight…) It does mean however that claims like “I paid for the right to recline!” are made-up. No, you paid for an airplane ticket. There are some things explicit (we’ll take you from point A to point B, at such-and-such time, we kinda-sorta promise) and many things implicit. It didn’t specify a “right” to recline just like it didn’t specify a “right’ to occupy such-and-such volumetric cylinder of space extending from the tip of your seat up to the ceiling, and along the bisecting midpoints of the armrests on either side of you.

Ultimately, this is a good argument for taking the train, assuming there’s a train to take.

And my lowly 1970s Toyota would allow me to recline almost 90 degrees, useless for driving but wonderful for grabbing a nap in the Scenic Turnout.

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Odium at the podium

We are now a week and a half into the new school year in the Little Rock School District, and there’s nothing yet floating around about possible violations of the new dress code for teachers [pdf], enacted last year and now in effect. Some of the highlights:

“Foundational garments shall be worn and not visible with respect to color, style, and/or fabric,” the letter reads. “No see-through or sheer clothing shall be allowed, and no skin shall be visible between pants/trousers, skirts, and shirts/blouses at any time.”

T-shirts, patches and other clothing containing slogans for beer, alcohol, drugs, gangs or sex will also be prohibited. Other verboten garments will include cut-off jeans with ragged edges, cut-out dresses and spaghetti-straps if teachers aren’t wearing at least two layers.

Flip-flops will be banned. “Tattoos must be covered if at all possible.” No jogging suits, either (though gym and dance teachers do get a pass on this one).

And the very worst of all: No spandex.

I know of only one teacher — not in that district, or even in that state — who’s admitted to wearing flip-flops; if she ever went commando, I don’t know about it.

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Broaden the product line

Today’s consumers are demanding, and the one-trick pony seldom gets a second ride. Whenever possible, diversify. Here’s what we mean:

Ruth's Video and Seafood

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what we mean.

(Via Bad Newspaper.)

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Add a thin shiny veneer

Uber, up to now, has positioned itself mostly as the Anti-Taxi Service, but Instapundit pointed to this Wired piece as evidence that their ambitions are greater:

On Tuesday, Uber announced a pilot program for what it calls Uber Corner Store, a service that would allow Uber users in the Washington D.C. area to get staple items like toothpaste and bandages delivered from local stores. According to a blog post, the program will only last a few weeks, but it hints at CEO Travis Kalanick’s long-term vision for Uber, which is to transform the company from a pure transportation play into a full-fledged logistics company.

That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, the other shoe dropped. Kalanick again:

Earlier this year, I made it a top priority for Uber to find a leader who could help cities and citizens understand the Uber mission — someone who believed in our cause, who understood how to build a meaningful brand, who knew how to scale a political campaign, and who knew how to get the support on the ground to win. We needed someone who understood politics but who also had the strategic horsepower to reinvent how a campaign should be run — a campaign for a global company operating in cities from Boston and Beijing to London and Lagos.

So today we are pleased to announce that David Plouffe will be joining Uber as our Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy. Starting in late September, David will be managing all global policy and political activities, communications, and Uber branding efforts. I will look to him as a strategic partner on all matters as Uber grows around the world.

David fricking Plouffe. Apparently what Kalanick thinks he needs is an experienced turd painter.

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That’s all I can Stanley

From these pages eight years ago:

In the context of Oklahoma City, David Stanley Ford is an automobile dealership at 39th and May.

Elsewhere, David Stanley Ford is a playwright, who has written an American historical drama I’d love to see: The Interrogation of Nathan Hale, in which the man who regretted having but one life to lose for his country reveals the last secrets of that life.

Since then, David Stanley the Ford dealer has sold out and acquired a Chevy store across town; he has long owned the Dodge dealership in Midwest City, which now carries all four Chrysler Group brands. And, reports the Lost Ogle, he’s been in deep doo-doo of late:

David Stanley Chrysler Jeep Dodge agreed to pay a $350,000 fine in March of 2014 for allegedly violating eight state regulations designed to protect consumers from misleading advertising practices.

According to this document that is just hanging out on the server at BartlesvilleRadio.com, the violations include deceptive, inaccurate and bait-and-switch forms of advertising.

The commercials in question ran in January 2014 and offered eye rolling, too-good-to-be-true, only-Grant-Long-would-fall-for-this deals that offered to pay $18,000 in the car buyer’s credit card debt if they bought a car.

If you have $18,000 in credit-card debt, why are you even thinking of buying a new car? Not that anyone at the dealership is ever going to ask you such a question, of course.

This story got no local coverage until TLO broke it, which just goes to show you:

That’s actually some delicious irony right there. While our TV news channels send their “In Your Corners,” “I-Teams” and “Consumer Watchers” to track down the contractor who didn’t finish a flooring job and ran away with some old lady’s hard-earned $1,000, the car dealership that advertises during the commercial break is using bait-and-switch advertising gimmicks and other deceptive tactics to lure consumers into high interest, ripoff, life-ruining auto purchases and loans. I guess never forget who the for-profit media really serves.

If you’re the audience, you’re the product: the station sells you to an advertiser. Your role is to shut up and keep watching and keep buying.

Perhaps David Stanley Ford ought to write a play about that.

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By the yarbles, downwardly

No one, I assume, has ever ordered one of these in January:

The husband, who is pretty good with this sort of thing, checked out the air conditioner and discovered that it had a bad capacitor. Just so happened we had another one from an old air conditioner so he installed that one and it worked. Yay, we’re cool again. But, not knowing how long that old part would last he looked up a new one online and asked me to order it. The total, with standard shipping, came to $19 and change.

This seemed to me like something we might want in a hurry. If the air conditioner quit completely with temps in the upper 90s we might think an extra $30 or perhaps even an extra $50 would have been worth it.

Which makes sense to me — and dollars for the vendor:

There are not enough curse words in the world to express my feelings upon seeing the price for two day shipping. Keep in mind this part is slightly smaller than a 12 ounce soda can and not exceptionally heavy for an object of that size. Total cost for 2 day shipping: $276. Or something like that. It was definitely 3 digits starting with a “2” and I’m pretty sure there was a “7” and a “6” in some order. Sorry, I’m a bit traumatized by the experience. I mean, what the hell? Are they going to hire James Earl Jones to bring it in a limo and deliver it personally to my front door? (Yeah, I’d pay $276 for that.)

It works the other way, too. I bought my Big Nasty Snow Pusher from Amazon one summer for $50ish. Same device last December: $109. (Shipping, at least, was free.)

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Still Electric, not so General

GE still plans to bring good things to life, just not anything you’re likely to own:

“We are the largest and most profitable infrastructure company in the world,” GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said of the Fairfield, Conn.-based company’s identity in its 2013 annual report.

The company reinforced that message this week when it confirmed that it is in talks to sell its $2 billion appliances business to one of several possible bidders, including the appliance maker Electrolux. Several news outlets reported that Quirky, a New York-based startup that uses crowdsourcing to quickly develop its household products, is also interested in GE’s appliance business.

If a sale of the unit is completed, the company’s iconic toasters, refrigerators and washing machines may retain the GE brand name — but will no longer be made by the company. “Most U.S. consumers are not going to be touched day-to-day in a way that they know” by GE-made products, said Brian K. Langenberg, principal of Langenberg & Company.

Saturday night, I installed a GE-branded mouse on my desktop ($8.99, Target). It was of course made in China; the actual distributor is Oklahoma City-based Jasco Products, as revealed in the three-page (!) operations manual. (Actually, it was six pages, though 4 through 6 were basically 1 through 3 in Spanish.) It will be touched day-to-day, but GE didn’t have a thing to do with its production.

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Putting the “glob” in “global”

You almost certainly remember this from your childhood: “Now eat your [unpalatable food item]. There are children starving in [random Third World hellhole].”

The proper response, of course, is to point to the alleged food item and ask “Why don’t we send them this?”

This spirit, and I use the term loosely, still exists today:

Yahoo! Answers screenshot: Wasting Water™: Why does Lou Gehrig hate clean drinking water?

Followed by this bit of harangue:

Every bucket dumped over the head of some self important celebrity is one less bucket of clean drinkable water when 780 MILLION people lack access to clean water and 3.4 MILLION people die each year from a water related disease.

Which, in turn, is followed by an infographic that repeats the same numbers:

water use infographic

If you’ve missed the meme, here’s the explanation.

Now what’ll you bet this person’s lawn is freshly watered?

Mr Gehrig, of course, is long gone, and since he doesn’t have to listen to this sort of thing anymore, he has to consider himself the luckiest man off (or under, depending on your cosmology) the face of this earth.

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