Archive for Dyssynergy

Such behavior will not be tolerated

This is the kind of thing that gets you suspended these days:

An eighth grade student at Killeen’s Gateway Middle School was suspended after taking a classmate who was having an asthma attack to the school’s nurse, and the boy’s mother isn’t happy about it.

The boy, Anthony Ruelas, said the girl who sits next to him complained about not being able to breathe.

The teacher, following school protocol, emailed the nurse, but in the meantime, the girl fell out of her chair, he said.

He said he feared the girl could die, so uttering an expletive, he carried the girl to the nurse’s office, which is in a separate portable building on the school’s campus.

When he returned to class, he says, he was suspended for one day for leaving class.

Pretty obvious what message the school is trying to send:

“Kids, let’s not have any more of these life-saving, caring about your fellow classmates shenanigans!”

Live by the rulebook, die by the rulebook.

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Gatherers, not hunters

What kind of people sign up to become part of the Mainstream Media these days? This kind, says Kurt Schlichter:

Instead of the colorful ink-stained wretches of the past, today’s journalists are social justice twerps whose daddies can shell out north of $59,000 to get a degree in what old school reporters learned on the job — though old-school reporters didn’t have the dubious benefit of leftist indoctrination and diversity seminars. Today’s cloistered creeps utterly missed the anger among normal Americas that led to Trump, but then they don’t think much of normal Americans. Recently, Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post took umbrage at one of my tweets and sneered, “Beginning to understand why you will never #readabook.” Her bio indicates I have more degrees than she does. Nice reporting there, Scoop.

No wonder public regard for journalists hovers somewhere between “Raw Sewage” and “Herpes,” yet they still assume they are better than everyone else. I’ll remember that when I toss Karen a quarter out the window of my fine German sedan as she and her pretentious dinosaur media pals stand by the freeway off-ramp with a sign reading, “Will Reinforce the Leftist Narrative for Food (Locally Sourced Only).”

As a general rule, people who want to Change The World don’t actually want to go to the trouble of seeing how the world works in the first place.

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Oozing source

If there’s a Rule 1 of Research, it’s this: “Don’t cite Wikipedia as a primary source.”

I think Rule 1-A is now in effect:

Just because it’s a procedural, doesn’t mean it can tell you the procedure.

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Where the feck is

Remember when reporters for New York papers were tough, street-smart, hard-bitten folks? The last vestiges of that image spiraled down the drain this week when some feckless wuss from the Daily News got some serious sand in his vajayjay from exposure to an AR-15.

To contrast with his total lack of sack, we present a seven-year-old girl:

I was heartened when Dad explained that “this is gonna be harder than your .22, okay?” And the very last line is pure gold.

(Via Steven Crowder.)

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A Bear of Very Little Vision

It wasn’t the bear’s idea, I’m pretty sure:

Bear with a coffee can on its head

Reporting from the scene:

A black bear that wandered onto the Alaska Highway near Tok with a coffee can stuck on its head Monday drew a helpful response from passers-by, with one even attempting to remove the container before state biologists arrived.

Randy Rallo, the owner and operator of Tok-based 40-Mile Air, said he was en route to Midway Lake to do maintenance work on one of the company’s floatplanes when he encountered a semitrailer stopped — its driver still in the cab, but not pulled to the side of the road — near Mile 1297 of the highway, about 15 miles from Tok.

“So I pulled up alongside him, and he said there was a black bear walking around with a can stuck on his head,” Rallo said.

The bear was shot with a tranq dart, and then the can was cut away:

Official statement from an official biologist:

[Jeff] Wells emphasized that anyone who encounters a wildlife issue should contact the nearest Fish and Game office rather than deal with it themselves.

“The bear may have looked small, but at the end of the day a 100-pound black bear can certainly do some damage,” Wells said. “If they had removed the can, the first thing they had seen would have been that person.”

Hence the tranq dart.

(Via Amy Alkon, who quipped: “I just want to say that it is totally rude to tweet this picture of me in the morning.” Not buying it. It’s a black bear, she’s a redhead. Although “100 pounds” sounds about right.)

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You can’t spell “toilet” without “to let”

They say it’s purely voluntary, and maybe it is, for now. But I suspect this is the future of apartment hunting, like it or not:

The personal data you share with Facebook and other social platforms is a treasure trove of information that can, according to one UK startup, prove whether or not you would be a good tenant.

Score Assured wants to take the data you share privately and publicly with social media and sell it to individuals, employers, and landlords. Tenant Assured, the first tool in the company’s potential suite of data mining-and-selling resources, will connect with your social accounts and give landlords a report based on your data.

The company says it uses machine learning software to predict what your data means—from your personality to “financial stress.” It also rates the “risk” you would be as a tenant. Cofounder Steve Thornhill declined to tell me how exactly the company pulls private data from Facebook, claiming it was part of the company’s intellectual property.

Piece of cake. They went up to the Zuckerborg and said “Can we have a custom API? Here’s a whole bunch of sterling.”

In order to scrape your data and assess your worthiness, you have to give the company full access to your social accounts, from news feed posts to messages to tweets to employment data. You can pick which accounts you permit to be scraped, but if a landlord is asking for it and you’re desperately trying to find a new place to live, then you’re probably going to succumb to their requests, no matter how invasive.

“Users can feel reassured that this is not an invasion of privacy but always done with their explicit consent,” Thornhill said in an email. “We are empowering tenants to make a choice as to whether they would like to use their social media information to support their application for a rental property that they have got their eyes on.”

Another reason to justify why I’ve pretty much thrown the book open on everything I do: I figure I’m probably no worse off than anyone else, and data jackals aren’t getting paid for my life history.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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With a single jerk

I’m not entirely sure this individual has a grip on the concept:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How do I find uploads that have been deleted from the internet?

The operative word, apparently, is “loads”:

For the longest while I’ve been told that you can never delete something from the internet. I was browsing pornhub the other day with the intent to pump one out; I had intended to use reliable material to get the job done. To my dismay I found that the said material had been deleted from pornhub. So there you have it, I’m on a quest to find this video so I can get my rocks off.

Shake hands with a loser. Or, better yet, don’t.

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Improving precision

I’m sure you can see the necessity for this Wikipedia correction:

They should be so careful with all their entries.

(This is the Talk Page in question. Via Holly Brockwell.)

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Get lost, but stylishly

There’s no argument about Florence’s claim to being the Cradle of the Renaissance, but God help you if you’re looking for something other than the standard tourist traps:

Finding an address in Florence can be confusing. It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number. This gets confusing not only when the same number appears twice on the street (in red or in black) but also when you are trying to find an address and the door numbers appear mixed up.

For example, the office address of Walkabout is Via dei Neri, 30/32r (red) to signify a business and it is next door to number 6 (in blue on a white background), which is a residence.

This is about to change for the better, or at least for the easier:

The red numbers were introduced to Florence in the early twentieth century to differentiate businesses from houses. To this day they have remained one of the city’s curiosities, although twenty or so ‘red numbers’ are removed every year.

In an article in Corriere Fiorentino, city councillor Andrea Vannucci commented, “The city administration would like to do away with the red numbers … which complicate life for postmen, delivery men and taxi drivers, with red numbers that are sometimes hundreds of metres away from their corresponding black number. When new businesses open we assign them a black number accompanied by a letter: a ‘5 rosso‘ will always be next to a ‘5 nero‘.”

Vannucci continued: “Anyone can ask to change their red number into a black one. All you need to do is apply at the Comune. And I invite everyone to do so in order to speed up the process towards a more continuous and linear numbering system.”

There are about 23,000 “red numbers” still in Florence.

(Via Nicola Williams.)

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Some sort of thingamajig

Regular visitor Georganna Hancock has one of these contraptions, and she’s not quite sure what it is:

It might be a tire gauge, or it might not

She explains:

The well-made, apparently stainless steel object has an opening at one end, pocket clip at the other, and a sliding gizzie with two fixed settings. I’m guessing it’s a fancy tire pressure gauge, though the setting part confuses me. I haven’t tried it out.

What frustrates me is that I remember actually encountering a similar device, and I thought it was a tire gauge, and I was assured that it was not. What it was, though, I can’t recall to save my unworthy soul.

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Can kicked slightly further

I wasn’t all that surprised to find a Washington Post app on my tablet; the tablet came from Amazon, and Amazon chair Jeff Bezos is the owner of the WaPo through his Nash Holdings operation. Six months, no charge. This is the follow-on deal offered me:

We hope you are enjoying your 6 months of free access to The Washington Post. Your limited-time trial will expire on June 17, 2016.

In order to continue enjoying the same access to The Washington Post, we would like to offer you the following special subscription rate: 6 months for only $1.00. Once your 6 month promotion comes to an end, your subscription will continue to renew for just $3.99 monthly.

Since Amazon has been dealing on lots of things, even sacred Prime, lately, I suspect the price this December might actually be a tad less than $3.99. I mean, I wasn’t expecting any kind of discount at this point.

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Tried and retried and true

It wasn’t her idea, but Fillyjonk has gone back to a normal thermostat:

The new one is not programmable or wi-fi linkable, but I am okay with that. I figure fewer brains in the thing means less chance of those brains getting scrambled by power blips. Also, I used the programmable feature for a while when I first had the thing, but I quickly learned that if we had a power outage of anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes, the thing “forgot” what time it was and I had to reset the clock, and if the power was out for more than five minutes, the thing forgot ALL its programming and I’d have to go through and painstakingly reset the times (there were four times per day: wake up time, leave-house time, return-home time, bedtime) and the temperatures for them. And the thing would default to a temperature of 85 F (if the ac was on) or 60 F (if the heat was on) if it lost its programming and you didn’t reprogram it. So that would not be too cool when you were away for an extended time.

It was 1953 when Honeywell introduced the T-86, better known as the “Eyeball,” thermostat. It is programmed by turning a knob to the desired temperature. More than that, I will not ask of a thermostat. Yes, they do make the fancier stuff. I don’t care.

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We got your counterexamples right here

Everybody and her sister knows Rule 34 of the Internet: “If it exists, there is porn of it — no exceptions.”

They say you can’t prove a negative, and maybe that’s true, but there are at least 34 known exceptions to Rule 34. Now whether they will remain exceptions, we do not know.

(Via Selena Larson.)

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An actual Trump success

Warren Meyer has kind words for Donald Trump’s International Hotel Las Vegas:

I have in the past been a fan of his hotel on the strip in Las Vegas. The hotel provides a screaming good value (you can almost always get a huge discount off rack rate) for an exceptionally nice room in a good location — and in a non-casino hotel to boot. I used it for years as a low-cost location for manager meetings. The staff there is great — the only problem is one has to look past the tacky gold gilding on everything and the goofy Trump-branded swag in the gift shop. I will add, though, apropos to this post, there is no way on God’s green Earth that this hotel makes money, at least if it is paying all of its capital costs (it is possible there was a bankruptcy at one point where Trump said “you’re fired” to the bondholders). If you ever stay there, by the way, it has the best view of the strip in Vegas because it is right at a bend and can look straight down the street. Ask for a high room on the south side.

Curious about the lack of casino — hell, even Chevron stations in Vegas have slots, or so I’ve heard — I went searching, and turned up this quote:

“We have no problem getting a gaming license, but we wanted to do something different here,” said Eric Trump, Donald and Ivana Trump’s third child. “We wanted a true luxury resort experience. It’s hard to have a high-quality product when you walk into ‘ding, ding, ding’ and there are people walking around in Hawaiian shirts with big plastic drink mugs.”

And while there doesn’t seem to be a specific bankruptcy, there were lawsuits, which were resolved in Trump’s favor.

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Vacuum abhorred

Four hundred miles down Interstate 35, there’s the uncomfortable arrival of reality:

Surprising exactly nobody who is not an economic retard, black market ridesharing has popped up to replace Uber and Lyft, which famously quit Austin after voters sustained onerous regulations imposed by the city council. So reasonable regulation and corporate oversight is now eclipsed by no oversight. But we got international humiliation out of it so that’s something.

I include this for the benefit of the members of our local Whining-American community, who simply can’t understand how our own little metropolis (population 630,000, about two-thirds that of Austin) is failing to keep up with the Texans. Then again, we are surely awash in economic retards.

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Redefining “top-loader”

The New York Post, its finger on the pulse of America, gave us half a minute of video of a Chinese man with his head stuck in a washing machine. To their everlasting credit, they didn’t make jokes about it.

Unlike, um, some of us:

The chap survived. The machine, not so much.

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Like us or else

And they mean that “or else,” too:

Some tenants at a Salt Lake City apartment complex are fuming over a new lease agreement that requires tenants to “like” the complex on Facebook.

Tenants of the City Park Apartments told KSL that a “Facebook addendum” showed up taped to their doors Thursday night.

The contract requires tenants to friend the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, or be found in breach of the rental agreement, though some of the tenants already signed a lease agreement months ago.

The document also includes a release allowing the apartment to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the page.

I’m assuming Utah law requires tenants to send two rejections of the contractual change, the second to go to “the horse you rode in on.”

(Via Keaton Fox.)

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For certain values of “year”

Not the ones with which you’re familiar, though:

An ill-bred and uninformed individual, blinded to their own ignorance by the Dunning-Kruger Effect, might foolishly conclude that purchasing a product that is good “All Year” would indicate that said product is implied to be good for between 365 and 366 days, or, alternatively, is valid for the rest of the calendar year.

Of course, a person of sophistication and nuance such as, say, an academic, understands that these two words are not so provincially constrained in certain contexts … such as the Old Dominion University Parking Services Department. As I’m sure you are aware Gentle Reader, a person of letters is astute enough to appreciate that an “All Year” parking pass is, in fact, not actually valid during the summer semester for reasons so obvious as to render any inquiry into the matter a troubling indicator of low intellect, as well as a degenerate worldview centered around the retrograde and problematic notion that words mean things.

Words mean what the authorities want them to mean. Everything else is doubleplusungoodthink.

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Getting snippy with the bucks

“Every man,” states Howe’s Law, “has a scheme that will not work.” Here’s one of many from Bill de Blasio:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a solution to Staten Island’s burgeoning deer population. To keep numbers in check, de Blasio plans to authorize a three-year experiment in which all bucks are given vasectomies, then released back into their urban environment. Price tag: an estimated $2 million.

The logistics of this misguided form of wildlife management alone show the plan is doomed to fail. The number of deer in Staten Island has jumped from two dozen in 2008 to more than 700 in 2014 — certainly well north of that figure two years later. Capturing every buck is practically impossible, despite the intended use of air-dropped nets and tranquilizer darts.

And even if they could catch ’em all, it still wouldn’t work:

A researcher at The Deer Laboratory at the University of Georgia — because of course a university in the south is going to have at least one department connected to hunting — suggests that even if the city were able to trap and vasectomize all of the Staten Island male deer, the females would simply go back into heat once they proved to be not pregnant. At which point some non-Staten Island bucks would stroll in and say, “Hello, ladies,” cheap guitar music would begin playing and Staten Island bucks would all stand around and discuss how many painful deaths they could inflict on a certain group of veterinarians.

One per doctor, maximum. Trust me on this.

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Freedom within

Consider, if you will, the humble sewing machine:

A sewing machine, a pattern, a small degree of skill with them both, and personal fashion style is your oyster. One will never again be held hostage to the fashion trend of the moment, especially if said fashion trend is desperately unflattering, unfitted to make a good impression for the profession or occupation that you are in, otherwise unsuitable, and expensive. What brought this on was a discussion on another author website regarding certain fashion preferences, and a lamentation that it was so hard to find exactly what would be suitable, fitting, comfortable and all … and I am remembering how this was so not a problem for me, when I was working in an office and business professional was the order of my day and wardrobe. If I could not find exactly what I wanted — a black lightweight wool slightly-below-knee-length pencil skirt, to give one example — I could just buy a yard of suitable fabric and a seven-inch zipper, and go home and make it in an afternoon.

There’s an enormous freedom in being able to make exactly what I wanted, and make it to fit, and in a flattering color. Oh, usually it costs something to sew an outfit yourself, considering the costs for the pattern, the notions and the fabric — usually as much as just purchasing it off the rack on sale, but not near as much as full price from a quality outlet like Talbots or Neiman Marcus, and for a pittance in relation to having it tailored individually.

With fashion becoming ever more eccentric and sizing becoming ever more inconsistent, you might think more people would be persuaded to make their own. It doesn’t seem to be happening, though.

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He was never a kid

Just the same, Thomas Thwaite was a goat, kinda sorta:

In 2014, the 33-year-old British freelance graphic designer was in debt, living with his father, and sending out résumés to no avail. With so much worry on his mind, he thought it would be wonderful to “step away from the complexities of the world and have a lovely holiday, not just … away from your job (if you have one), but away from your very self.”

After ruling out life as an elephant, he planned his entrance into goatdom:

After research, including embarrassing conversations with specialists, he constructed a goat outfit. He found doctors who work with prosthetics to help him construct legs that gave him a quadruped form, and placed 60 percent of his walking weight on his front limbs, which is how a goat walks. He made hinged arms that extended his forelimbs, wore a waterproof jacket made by his mother, and donned a helmet and chest protector, in case any goats should decide to head-butt him.

There was also — since digesting grass for nutrition, as goats do, is impossible for humans — an artificial stomach of sorts that, he decided as a compromise, he would spit chewed grass into, so he could heat the grass later in a pressure cooker to eat.

I’m hoping this is all just a giant scam. Not everyone is buying the story:

The Post notes parenthetically:

(It should be noted that his last project, 2012’s “The Toaster Project,” found him assembling a toaster completely from scratch, which entailed spending 250 times what a toaster costs and traveling two thousand miles to secure, and sometimes create, the parts. Malaise aside, he has an inclination for such projects.)

You gotta wonder what he’ll try next.

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Go peddle your papers elsewhere

This would be intrusive at any time of day, but at half past eight, it’s downright rude:

I decided that perhaps cleaning my toilet was more important than TV, so I was arm deep in the throne when it happened. The doorbell rang twice, not the ding dong of a normal person ringing my doorbell, more like ding a donga ding a donga. In a panic, I tried to rip my rubber gloves off but they were just stuck. The doorbell rang again. I proceeded to attempt to rush out of the bathroom but realized I had locked the door so the kids couldn’t come in while I was cleaning the toilet, and my gloves, that had decided they were all of a sudden my second skin, were too damn slippery to open the freaking door. Someone knocked loudly. I could hear it through the bathroom and my children’s bedrooms are right across from it. I was panicking. PLEASE DON’T WAKE UP MY KIDS, I screamed internally. The dog was pacing around, she hadn’t barked yet, but it was only a matter of time before she put on her “protection pants” and started warning me that there was someone that didn’t get the message the first time when I didn’t answer, incessantly trying to get my attention at the front door.

And for what? Of course, they were selling something.

My own rule is something like “If you come calling at 8:30, you better be delivering pizza.” Admittedly, this hasn’t happened a great deal in my neighborhood, and probably won’t be happening much: we are rather tightly networked around here. And I admit to occasional disproportionate responses, due to my somewhat-mercurial moods, though I haven’t done anything lately quite as drastic as, say, flashing the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (And hey, that was way back in 1977.)

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Presumably feeling their oats

Absurdity? But the steel-cut variety:

Apparently Quaker Oats is not busy enough handling the lawsuit disputing its “100% natural” claim, or busy enough recalling Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars “due to a possible health risk,” or busy putting out PR fires about rejecting an 80-year-old man’s recipe for a contest because it was handwritten. Now Quaker Oats is trying to sue actual Quakers for infringing on the company’s trademark.

The notice “Quaker Oats threatens to sue us” was posted on the Orange County Friends Meeting, which is a religious society of Quakers. Quaker Oats objects to the business name “Quaker Oats Christmas Tree Farm” and demanded the Quakers immediately stop all use of the “Quaker Oats name” because it says using the trademark is misleading.

Um, no. For one thing, they got the business name wrong, as the society tried to explain to Quaker Oats:

[Y]ou have misspelled our company name which is Quaker OAKS Christmas Tree Farm. Our farm was so named because religious services were held outdoors on this farm under a great oak tree until about ten years ago when we were able to move into our new Meetinghouse on another corner of our farm.

Our business is 100% owned and operated by Quakers. I suspect that your firm employs considerably fewer, if any, Quakers. We trace our Quaker ancestors back 320 years and they were mostly farmers, but I don’t know how many of them grew oats for your company. My guess is that you may be selling far more Lutheran oats, Methodist oats, or maybe atheist oats. Could your company be guilty of product source misrepresentation?

Shouldn’t have taken more than 3 minutes to clear this up.

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Tomorrow the wrinkles

I had to look twice at this to believe it even once:

Underarm sweat is one of life’s annoyances that we’ve pretty much come to accept as inevitable. But a New York-based dermatologist named Whitney Bowe thinks she might have found the solution. It’s called “microwaving,” and if you’re picturing someone sticking their arm and shoulder into a microwave, you’re not too far off.

The practice actually involves a device called MiraSmooth, which uses the same technology as a microwave to help prevent both underarm hair and sweat from creeping out at inopportune moments. We’ve heard about people getting Botox in their armpits to prevent excessive sweating (called hyperhidrosis) and this seems like the same idea.

It is, of course, pricey:

Microwaving our armpits certainly sounds like a miracle procedure for those of us who choose to shave or are frustrated by our underarm sweat, but we’re not sure we’re ready to shell out thousands of dollars for it. We have more important things to microwave (like popcorn).

Then again, badly-microwaved popcorn smells as bad as, if not worse than, your underarms.

(Title swiped from Stan Freberg.)

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It’s magically malicious!

After a horripilating session of “Meet the Beetles!” I ordered up a grub treatment for the lawn, and there was spritzed upon the turf a product called, um, Malice. It fit my mood of the moment, and it’s claimed to be relatively non-nasty for an industrial-strength insecticide, but while the flowers and the trees can deal with it, the birds and the bees aren’t keen on the stuff at all.

In the case of bees specifically:

Experts believe that imidacloprid is one of many possible causes of bee decline and the recent bee malady termed colony collapse disorder (CCD). In 2011, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, no single factor alone is responsible for the malady, however honey bees are thought to possibly be affected by neonicotinoid chemicals existing as residues in the nectar and pollen which bees forage on. The scientists studying CCD have tested samples of pollen and have indicated findings of a broad range of substances, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. They note that while the doses taken up by bees are not lethal, they are concerned about possible chronic problems caused by long-term exposure.

Apparently not doing this all the time, as I don’t — this is the first time I’ve had the stuff on site in several years, and I may well wait for several more before doing it again, because it’s kinda pricey — was the right thing to do, or not do, all along.

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All nice and smuggly

The illicit-bullion business, it appears, is full of assholes:

At least three airline passengers have been caught smuggling bars of gold in their rectums in recent days, say authorities in Bangladesh.

One man had eight gold bars concealed inside his body, while an X-ray revealed four bars inside a man who was in a great deal of pain, said customs officials.

This case from Friday sounds, um, excruciating:

[C]ustoms officials detained a person who had eight gold bars hidden inside his body at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, the Daily Star reported.

The man had just stepped off a flight from Dubai and admitted to carrying the bars after being challenged at border control.

Later, at the airport toilet, he pushed out eight bars worth nearly £40,000.

If nothing else, now we have a better understanding of the phrase “shit a brick.”

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Not that they’d try at this point

The workplace has long since learned that my standard-issue scowl is at least as permanent as the buildings we occupy, and has lasted at least as long. It doesn’t stop them from trying to ward off my baleful influence on new arrivals, not that we have that many new arrivals to begin with. The law, however, is on my side:

More managers than ever are striving to create a happy workplace culture brimming with enthusiasm, rainbows, and increasingly obscure perks. But can a company actually require that employees be positive at work?

The National Labor Relations Board has weighed in on this question, and their answer is that you are free to be as grumpy or disagreeable as you please. Or, in other words, your employer can’t force you to be happy at your job.

And I suggest that this is doubly true when an Emergency Project comes up at 4 PM on a Friday. Maybe even trebly.

State law, at least in this state, holds that you can be sacked for something as trivial as picking your nose with the wrong finger. I don’t anticipate being a test case, but the future, generally, is not something I’m especially good at predicting.

(Via Shayna.)

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Even bigger pharma

I was apprehensive when Target sold off its in-store pharmacy business to CVS, partly because the big drugstore chains have never given me any compelling reason to shop there, but mostly because I expected prices to rise. Late last month, the Target store nearest me — a third of a mile from the freestanding CVS store nearest me — underwent The Change, and I decided not to move any prescriptions for at least a month, so I could gauge what was going on. Having now received the first batch, I report.

Upside: CVS.com is less dumb than Target’s pharmacy site was, and way less dumb than the idjits to whom Target briefly tried to outsource the function. Once I learned the flow, which didn’t take long, ordering refills took about half as long. What’s more, CVS, if requested, will send text messages; at best, Target could have a disembodied voice in Minneapolis call you. Prices, at least for the moment, have changed hardly at all.

Downside: The polygonal Target pill bottle was a lot easier on the hands and eyes than is the standard-issue CVS (and everywhere else) cylinder.

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This much and no lower

Meanwhile in London, they worry over whether you’re wearing shoes of the correct height:

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. The British naturist Lady God1va, from whom I got this report, doesn’t think much of the petition:

After noting that it would be just about as useless to petition for nudity on the job, she added:

I can manage only so much empathy here: I can remember exactly one instance of a woman wearing heels to work on any day after her first, and I remember that only because — well, never mind.

In the meantime, this is the petition in question.

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That wasn’t so easy

Staples and Office Depot will not be merging after all:

Office Depot and Staples called off their plans to merge, triggering a trading halt for the companies’ stocks Tuesday.

The retailers made the announcement after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday that had been requested by the Federal Trade Commission, which opposed Staples’ plan to acquire Office Depot for $6.3 billion.

Now the companies “plan to terminate their merger agreement,” Staples said in a statement.

The FTC’s position is simple enough [warning: autostart video]:

The agency pointed to the market for large business customers, where Staples and Office Depot are often the top two bidders.

“By eliminating competition between Staples and Office Depot, the transaction would lead to higher prices and reduced quality,” the FTC said in a statement.

At 42nd and Treadmill, we buy from both, and we have no qualms about playing both ends against the middle.

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