Archive for Dyssynergy

And the aisles run red

Go shopping in the next few days? Are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind?

Black Friday is upon us again, that annual sales event where crowds gather at store entrances in hopes of securing the best deals on holiday gifts. Without fail some of these shopping scrums end in fisticuffs as shoppers exchange blows over who gets the last discounted video game console or Rachel Ray cookware set.

To determine just where it’s most dangerous to participate in Black Friday we at Estately sought to determine where people are most likely to be participating in Black Friday sales and where people are most prone to violently attacking each other.

Criteria: expressed interest (via Facebook) in Black Friday sales events, plus FBI reports on frequency of aggravated assault. Combining these two factors, we find, or at least they find, that the most likely place you’re going to get beat up over that big-screen TV is Arkansas, which by not much of a coincidence is the home of Walmart and Sam’s Club. Oklahoma is seventh. At the very bottom is Massachusetts; whatever you might think of Massholes residents of the Bay State, at least they’re not engaging in fisticuffs in front of the checkout counter — much.

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Count the legs and divide by eight

On second thought, don’t, if we’re talking millions:

Millions of spiders have taken over a Memphis neighborhood, building a web in a field that is a whopping half-mile long.

It’s a nightmare for residents, and just imagine how scary it is for those who cope with arachnophobia — the fear of spiders.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Frances Ward told Action News 5. “It’s like a horror movie. Never seen nothing like this before. They’re in the air, flying everywhere. They all on the house, on the side of the windows.”

The obligatory Scientific Explanation:

“It could be juveniles, millions, in a big emergence event, or adults of a tiny species, probably a sheetweb spider — leaving for some reason possibly knowable only to them,” Memphis Zoo curator Steve Reichling tells the station. “In fields and meadows, there are often literally millions of spiders doing their thing, unseen and unappreciated by us.

“I would not want to live in a world where such things were no longer possible,” he continued. “The presence of these spiders tells us that all is well with nature at that location.”

Then again, if these are really Stiphidiidae, it’s news: these spiders are generally found in Australia and New Zealand, not in Tennessee.

(Via Chris Lawrence.)

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Cut ’em off at the sneeze

One Louisville Metro office is apparently overrun with snot:

The administration of Mayor Greg Fischer has sought to tackle many problems plaguing Louisville over the last five years, such as violent crime, homelessness, traffic congestion and illegal dumping. But according to a recent email sent to city employees by their manager, there is a new scourge in Louisville that is housed inside Metro Government’s own offices.

Boogers. Lots of them.

Metro Planning & Design Services manager Joe Reverman sent an email to department staff and administrators on Tuesday, calling attention to the little yellow terrors proliferating unchecked within their own office restroom, warning the pick-happy perpetrators of retribution, and advising everyone to be on the lookout for suspicious nostril activity.

And then this email came down the line:

“At no point should anything that comes out of or off a person’s body be wiped/poured/spit or in any way put on any Metro-owned surface (with the exception of items commonly and appropriately flushed down toilets/urinals or rinsed down a sink drain), including surfaces in both public areas and offices,” wrote [Develop Louisville exec Heather] Plowman. “Anyone caught doing so will be punished fully and immediately. If you have any questions as to what constitutes an offensive substance, or if you need assistance determining an appropriate method of disposing of such substances, please see a member of management or human resources.”

Management has yet to finger the culprit(s).

(Via Maggie McNeill.)

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Leave the salt mine behind

Apparently some employers are being perceived as having abandonment issues or something:

[M]ore employees want to take vacations, but are fearful of the backlash they could incur among co-workers. While they plan and schedule trips, they have found another method to cope with potential conflict by waiting until the last possible minute to inform them that they will be out of the office.

Adopting a strategy of taking a “stealth” vacation, taking off last minute or not requesting or announcing an official vacation at all, is likely the product of a workplace culture which not only encourages, but rewards employees for putting in long work weeks. Of course, this method can affect project deadlines or client meetings.

Managers are noticing and frowning upon this trend since their employees are not committing to vacation days ahead of time.

Of course, this can work in reverse too: if you schedule a vacation too far ahead, they’ll forget about it, and then wonder where the hell you are when you don’t show up.

Over the last five years, I’ve taken maybe seven weeks of vacation. (I was, I calculate, entitled to nineteen during that timeframe.) I suspect there will be much consternation the next time I take off for an extended period, which happens, oh, starting a few hours ago.

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The knuckle-buster discount

It costs less to assemble furniture yourself, provided you value neither your time nor your sanity:

[I]t’s a glass-topped computer desk I bought at Staples. The instructions were entirely in cartoons. Several of the puzzle pieces were unlabeled. I had to take a partial assembly apart three times. Perhaps the most aggravating aspects of the thing concerned a pair of mislabeled legs and two TOP stickers that were attached to the bottoms of the pieces so labeled … but with nearly invisible arrows pointing to their other sides.

In a rare sop to the sardonic side of such torments, there was a package in the kit that contains two miscellaneous bolts of different sizes and a self-tapping screw, none of which have any part in the assembly. It’s labeled EXTRA HARDWARE. Clearly, someone at the factory has both a sense of humor and a relative who’s endured this sort of agony.

So basically, IKEA without the legendary Scandinavian whimsy.

My own desk is an ancient castoff from someone’s garage, perforated on its right by several mysterious circles which I sometimes think are bullet holes. Certainly moving it into this house twelve years ago, which required a great deal of disassembly to get it through the front door, motivated some of us to want to shoot the damned thing.

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Runaround Sioux

The kerfuffle over the names of the athletic teams at the University of North Dakota is apparently over:

Then again, there may be an explanation after all:

Dan Snyder to the red discourtesy phone, please.

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Put me down for “apathy”

And hey, I’m up for killing rodents:

As for the gratuitous Nazi reference, let me know when someone polishes off a tumbler of tap water and then annexes the Sudetenland.

(Via Rand Simberg, who adds: “Don’t even get them started on dihydrogen monoxide.”)

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A notable lack of hunny

Was this a Bear of Very Little Brain?

Then again, he’ll learn. But they did have to tranquilize him to get him to sit still long enough for someone to take a saw to the can.

(Via Fark.)


Recanting with vigor

In 2011, noting the general shrinkage of the Consumer Reports Buying Guide, I said this:

By 2015 at the latest, you’ll have to be subscribing to their Web site and/or installing their app to get any of this information. Count on it.

Welcome to 2015. The 2016 edition of the Buying Guide has shipped, and you can call me Wrongo McWrongness. The book hasn’t grown any since last year — still 224 pages — and while some of the typefaces somehow maned to remain unshrunk, it’s still a real book.

Minor curiosity: Last year they claimed to have “1,999+” product ratings. This year, “2,000+.” I promise to be properly gobsmacked if the hitherto-unimagined 2017 edition contains “2,001+” of them.


She don’t lie, she don’t lie

Wait a minute. Maybe she do lie:

The humble potato may be a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins, but few would turn to the vegetable in search of a high.

However, a man stopped by police on suspicion of taking narcotics in Brest, western France, turned out to be sniffing nothing other than mashed potato powder.

The attention of the police was aroused when they spotted two men, one of whom was holding his phone horizontally and appearing to sniff something. They were able to make out a white line on the surface of the phone, and suspected that the man was taking cocaine.

In a twist the late Roger Ebert would have characterized as part of an “idiot plot”:

[O]ne of the men had just bought some LSD from the other, who had offered him a line of cocaine as a “bonus.”

But the inquiries took a turn for the bizarre when the powder was formally examined. In a stroke of luck for the accused, he was let off when the powdery substance proved not to be cocaine, but mashed potato starch.

The vendor, meanwhile, was held for questioning over the LSD matter, since it is not illegal to snort spuds, even in France.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Not that I’m running out or anything

Sony, while it started selling VHS VCRs in the late 1980s, managed to keep its own Betamax system alive, sort of, until, um, March 2016:

Betamax: the punchline for over a decade’s worth of VHS-center[ed] comedy bits and most format wars. However, Sony’s Beta cassettes can still be bought in Japan. Just about. Sony’s announced that it’s finally, finally, finally stop selling the cassettes. No need to rush to Tokyo just yet, as you still have until next March to buy-up all the Betamax supplies you’ll never need — including a cleaning tape.

I still have some sealed Beta tapes from back in the day.

(Via Consumerist.)


Humility in the corner office

I never have been particularly proficient at the fine art of sucking up. Fortunately, those above me on the org chart have better things to do than fish for compliments. Not everyone is so fortunate, and not many CEOs, I suspect, are as enlightened as this:

[M]y organization has 350 people in it. We can either think with just one person (me), working to improve our operations, or we can think with 350. Those 349 other people know many of the ways in which we are screwing up and can improve — the problem is getting them to come forward with those ideas. And getting them to do so is far less likely if we are maintaining some sort of North Korean style personality cult of the CEO.

I have written about this before, but it’s why I consider my Ivy League degrees to be a negative in running the company. Many of my employees have only a high school education (at best) and are intimidated in bringing up an idea or telling me I am screwing up because they assume since I have these Ivy League degrees I must be smarter than they are and know what I am doing. But in their particular job, in terms of my knowledge of what they see every day from customers and operationally, I am dumb as a post and completely ignorant.

Anyone who has worked for me for more than a few months can likely quote my favorite line which I use in most of my employee talks — “If you see something that seems screwed up, don’t assume Warren is smarter than you and wants it that way, assume that Warren is screwing up and needs to be told.”

My usual posture, you should know, is “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” I am not always successful at explaining why I’m against it, but I prevail more often than not, and almost invariably the eventual “not” will be the result of weapons-grade stupidity on the part of the idjits to whom we report. El Jefe, bless him, has no higher opinion of said idjits than I do; if anything, it might be lower, since he has to spend more time listening to them drool. I suspect they’re operating on the North Korean model, but I don’t want to get close enough to them to find out for sure.

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Little sister, don’t you

After watching the Disney Channel movie Invisible Sister last month, I might justifiably have forgotten the two leads, given the sheer volume of Product generated by the Mouse Machine. It didn’t happen that way, perhaps because Rowan Blanchard, who played younger sister Cleo, has something of an activist bent, and what she’s up to occasionally makes news, by my current (and perhaps arguable) definition of “news.”

So I was reading one of these pieces, which casually mentioned that Blanchard was five-foot-five. This startled me: I remember big sister Molly (Paris Berelc) seeming to tower over Cleo in some scenes. How tall must she be? It took a few seconds, but eventually I came up with a number: she’s 5’3″.

Which, of course, meant that I’d just naturally assumed that Big Sister would perforce be bigger than Little Sister. Cursed literalism.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with this, either: Linda Cardellini (Velma) is way taller than Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne), which put the 2002 Scooby-Doo film very much at odds with the TV series’ Known Universe.

To some extent, this misapprehension of mine had to have been encouraged by possibly misleading posters:

Invisible Sister and Scooby-Doo posters

And it never occurred to me to question what I could see. By now, I should know better than that.

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A few extra trees

This is the sort of thing you want to applaud, even as you fear it’s going to go straight to the landfill:

In my school board, they’ve implemented a 75/5 paper reduction policy starting a year ago: we’re to decrease paper use by 75% within the next five (now four) years. Stats were run, and I tried to convince the keeper of the numbers to accidentally leak them — or, better, openly post them and warn that updated numbers will be posted quarterly. He already suggested that we limit printing to 600 pages/year, and there was an uproar. With stats in hand, he’s clarified that most people are doing that already, but a few — about 10 in 80 teachers — are way, way above those numbers. Unfortunately he’s not quite comfortable posting those names yet, but I think it’s the only thing that will work.

About ten years ago, we took what we thought were going to be steps toward the paperless office, and despite the use of “we” I mean to exclude myself, simply because I said up front that it was never going to happen. During that decade, paper usage declined hardly a whit, and when we finally got around to cleaning up the archives — well, you know those standard two-wheeled carts that seemingly every municipality in the nation uses for trash pickup? We sent forty-six of the damned things, crammed to within an inch or two of the top, to Shredders R Us.

Then again, naming names wouldn’t make any difference in that particular environment: everyone contributes to the problem, and short of sacking the entire staff and setting up again in Tierra del Fuego, this isn’t going to change anytime in my lifetime. Everyone else’s mileage, of course, may vary.

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Unto you it shall be stuck

A very popular exercise, found often in the vicinity of convention centers, is the Left-Handed Price Gouge:

I have arrived at conferences a few days early, eaten in some of the local restaurants, and then gone back DURING the conference to find that the menu has been reduced to just a few items — called CONFERENCE SPECIAL MENU — and prices jacked up by anywhere from $3 to $5. Which I found rather offensive, seeing as conference people are often a captive audience, there more or less against their will (if you’re in academia where any research component is expected, you have to go to conferences from time to time) and no, almost no one has an “expense account” any more, so most of us are paying for meals out of our own pockets.

Of course, they’re counting on people not checking those prices in advance. And if the conference is held in the Big City, folks from smaller places are expected to conclude that hey, that’s just the way things are priced in the Big City.

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The no-ply list

Okay, it isn’t that bad yet — see, for instance, the situations in Chile and Venezuela, but God help us, there’s inequality all over this scenario:

As exposés go, it may not rank up there with the Pentagon Papers, but student journalists have captured the attention of Ryerson University, in Canada, and national coverage there with an investigation of differential toilet papers.

Under the headline “Two-ply toilet paper creates two-tiered Ryerson,” The Ryerson Eyeopener reported that bathrooms throughout the university are stocked with one-ply. The exception, the newspaper said, is in two floors of the administration building, which house the offices of president, provost, and vice presidents for administration and finance, research and innovation, and university advancement.

Ryerson officials did not dispute the finding but noted (and the student newspaper subsequently acknowledged) other, leased spaces off campus, where Ryerson employees enjoy two-ply comfort: the offices of alumni relations, international affairs, diversity institute, finance and human resources.

I am pretty sure no one at Ryerson reads my Twitter feed, which is regularly packed with tales of college students for whom this could not possibly be a problem, inasmuch as they apparently are not capable of wiping their own asses no matter what material might be available for their use.

(Via Fark.)

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Not a single polymath

File this under “Duh”:

A study at Loyola University suggests that people who believe themselves experts in a field are fairly close-minded towards new ideas. That’s a problem, but another one is often a bigger headache: The number of people who become experts in a field who then think that makes them authorities in unrelated fields. That problem is why we have people asking celebrities about politics and politicians about how to save money.

Shorter version: “I don’t know, why don’t you ask Noam frigging Chomsky what the Check Engine Light means?”

Not to humblebrag or anything, but the subjects on which I can claim even marginal expertise can be counted on the fingers of one hand and still leave one finger to raise at anyone who dares question me. (Which, as you’d know if you’d read this site for more than a couple of days, is pretty much everyone.)

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A nation of ghosts

No thanks to the ubiquitous smartphone, this is our future, says Francis W. Porretto:

We are becoming a nation of ghosts: persons whose bodies are wholly separated from their minds and souls. This isn’t a good thing, I assure you most sincerely. But there seems to be no stopping it. Indeed, suggesting that a traveling companion turn off his iPod or put away his phone so that a conversation can commence is now considered rude. Not that long ago, it was exactly the other way around.

A friend of mine told me about a woman he dated — a “blind date” — who never put down her phone throughout their dinner at an expensive restaurant that she selected. He paid the check and left her sitting there. I asked if she noticed his departure. He wasn’t sure.

Probably just as well. I have resisted the putative blandishments of the smartphone up to this point, at least partly due to parsimony, but I am all too aware of my capacity for distraction.

Addendum, 4 November: Lynn didn’t say so, but I think she took exception to this.

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As flat as the town itself

Some people, I am told, can run in heels. I’m guessing none of those people are Italian schoolgirls:

Secondary school l’Istituto Tecnico Industriale di Avezzano, in L’Aquila, Italy, has reportedly banned wedges, flip-flops and high heels measuring over 1.6 inches. The Ansa news agency reports the rule was set in place due to concerns that the shoes could prevent a quick exit in the event of an earthquake.

“The directive isn’t the result of a puritanical fantasy,” Anna Amanzi, a teacher at the school, tells Ansa. “It’s a serious requirement to teach students prevention and education, especially in a high-risk seismic zone.”

Which L’Aquila evidently is:

The town was devastated by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2009, which killed 309 people and displaced over 60,000.

This is the same town where six seismologists and one government official went on trial for allegedly misinforming the public about the seismic risk. Some convictions were obtained, but were later overturned. None of the defendants, I suspect, had been in the habit of wearing high heels.

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Roll playing

The ponies of Equestria presumably have no problem getting toilet paper:

A bit of TPing on Nightmare Night

Meanwhile, the humans of Chile have had to deal with collusion between the two largest makers of the stuff:

Chilean anti-trust regulators have charged two of the country’s biggest toilet paper manufacturers with taking part in a price-fixing scheme to corner the market for sanitary tissue and other products between 2000 and 2011, officials said Thursday.

The alleged scheme has outraged Chileans, who in the past have also been victims of price-fixing scandals involving chicken and prescription drugs.

According to economic investigators, CMPC Tissue and SCA Chile colluded to share out the market and fix the price of toilet paper rolls and other paper products.

The two firms controlled about 90 percent of the market for toilet paper. Then again, at least there was a market; to the north, in Venezuela, there has been chaos.

(Via Fausta’s blog.)

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Decreases the meeces

I tossed this up as a tweet yesterday:

But, as always, the story is a bit more complicated than that.

The first mouse of the season made several trips in and out of the house, through a thinned-out section of weatherstripping on the door that leads to the garage. A couple of observations revealed his M.O.; I parked a glue board on the far side of the door, where he couldn’t see it and couldn’t miss it. Time from trap emplacement to actual trap: less than half an hour. I duly patched up the weatherstripping.

It was only then that I discovered that he’d had a comrade, and that I’d blocked the comrade’s escape route: he would hang around the house for three days before I figured out the best place for the board. And it got him, within ten minutes.

Unfortunately, the board was inside the house, and the little twerp gave out with an ear-piercing cry. For a moment there I asked myself: “What have I done?” Wouldn’t planting some toxins around the house have done the job just as well? A comment from a neighbor persuades me otherwise:

If you have mice and pets, please don’t use poison. If you have no pets, check with your neighbors and see if they have pets before putting out poison. I lost one of my dogs yesterday from some kind of poisoning and the vet thinks it’s probably rat poison. You can’t control where the rodent dies, and dogs love to eat them.

Perhaps I need to disguise my glee a bit more effectively.


Surly to rise

I definitely don’t like this idea:

Apparently some are calling for the work day to start at 10 am.

Unless they are willing to shorten my work day by 2-3 hours, I will NOT go for a 10 am work start-time. I do not want to still be at work at 7 pm. I do not want to be dragging home some nights at 8 and then have to cook dinner. All a later day-start would do for me would mean I’d have to go to bed later on — and I wouldn’t necessarily sleep any more. In fact, I’m usually up by the time the sun is up. So I’d be stuck sitting around at home for 3-4 hours in the morning, anticipating going to work but NOT BEING ABLE TO GO … and I’d object to that.

Again, for some people, the 10 am start time would be ideal — but not for me, because I’d not be able to enjoy those hours, knowing I had to get to work. And I’d wind up with less productive “free time” over all.

I am best suited, I think, to swing shift: I can sleep until noon, and most nights I can’t sleep until midnight or close to it. This is not going to be happening at my current workplace, but I did 3:30 to midnight for a couple of years in the 1980s, and it worked out rather well for me, apart from the fact that I was a major jerk in those days and got to annoy people on two shifts in the same day.

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Trigger warning

Actually, if anyone needed a warning here, it was Trigger’s owner:

Indiana Conservation Officer Jonathon Boyd says 25-year-old Allie Carter of Avilla laid her 12-gauge shotgun on the ground without the safety on during a waterfowl hunt Saturday at Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area.

Boyd says Carter’s chocolate Labrador retriever, Trigger, stepped on top of the shotgun and depressed the trigger.

He says Carter was shot in the left foot at point-blank range, suffering injuries to her foot and toes. She was treated at two hospitals and released.

Labs generally are good hunting dogs, but most of them haven’t read the Four Rules. Still, this hardly seems the dog’s fault.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)


It’s like roaming, only worse

In the early days of wireless, you paid dearly if you wandered onto someone else’s network. Today — well, nothing much has changed:

Apple was slapped with a class-action suit on Friday, claiming that the company failed to properly warn users that the new Wi-Fi Assist feature in iOS 9 will use data from their cellular plan.

In the complaint, plaintiffs William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips allege that because of costs related to Wi-Fi Assist, the “overall amount in controversy exceeds” $5 million. Filed in a U.S. District Court in San Jose on Friday, the suit was first discovered by AppleInsider.

Once users update to iOS 9, Wi-Fi Assist is turned on by default. Its goal is [to] ensure a smooth Internet experience, switching to cellular data in the event that the user is connected to a weak Wi-Fi signal.

And if there’s one thing people fear, it’s running up the meter on their data plans. Does this fear motivate them to seek out possible data drainage? Not sufficiently, one might conclude:

The complaint asserts that Apple did not properly explain Wi-Fi Assist on its website until only after a “flood of articles” were written about unintended cellular data use. For the plaintiffs, that addition to the website was too little, too late.

After all, Apple customers can’t be expected to receive the gospel from anyone other than Apple itself, am I right?

The logical next question: “Does Samsung do something like this?” Well, of course.


A switch to whip you with

Children who grew up in a Certain Era remember this phrase with horror. That sort of thing is passé now, because sticks are just too valuable these days:

Three birch branches from Crate and Barrel

The warm white color and papery bark of natural birch branches adds a rustic, outdoorsy look to wintertime décor, blending equally well with classic and contemporary interiors. Bunch of three branches, gathered in the U.S., comes wrapped in jute and can be used for years to come.

Only $29.95 the set from Crate and Barrel.

Now the question becomes “How do you punish the child for breaking a stick worth ten dollars?”

(Via @twonervousdogs.)

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Perhaps this might work

Or it might not:

We’ve disconnected our home alarm system and quit our candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.

Bought two Pakistani flags on eBay and raised them in the front yard … One at each corner, plus a black flag of ISIS in the center.

Now, the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching the house 24/7.

I’ve never felt safer and we’re saving $49.95 a month.

Then again, that is a hell of a lot to pay for a security system.

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They say this is what they want

Even the most carefully selected focus group is still a focus group, and cannot be relied upon to produce optimal results. Example:

University of Stirling professor of psychology Peter Hancock’s idea of the perfect car for the UK doesn’t seem to be meant as a serious proposition. Prof. Hancock isn’t suggesting that some automaker should adopt and produce the design, but instead it seems to be sort of a thought experiment built off the back of a survey conducted with around 2,000 participants.

The survey asked a few basic questions: What is your favorite car? Which aspect is the most attractive? And so on. After tallying around 3,800 data points, Prof. Hancock identified the most attractive individual elements of the cars that were mentioned.

And God forbid some automaker actually consider that list of elements worth emulating, because we’d end up with something totally terrible, like, well, this:

Composite of Hancock's data on a single vehicle

Yeah, that low, low Aston Martin snoot goes so well with those sternly upright Rolls-Royce suicide doors and those scary Mini eyeballs.

It might be better than Johnny Cash’s ’53 ’49-’73 Cadillac, assembled from parts gathered one piece at a time, but not much.

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A bad sign up there

William Bell came up with the classic lyric:

Born under a bad sign, been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all

The late Albert King cut it first, for Stax; it’s since become a blues standard. (The tune, by Booker T. Jones, is notable for, among other things, not being the standard twelve-bar blues.) Since we brought it up, here’s King with someone else very much missed, Stevie Ray Vaughan:

What triggered this thought? Yet another Jack Baruth musing:

I’m just unlucky, in tolerable but frustrating ways. In the past thirty years I’ve found a way to break about half the bones in my body and crash motorcycles and bend the unibody on a race car and blow a $14,600 Mugen-R engine and lose my chance at getting my doctorate and have someone knock my brand-new CB1100 over in the parking lot and drop things and lose amazingly valuable things and so on and so forth to the point where, whenever I find myself enjoying something too much, I feel compelled to ask of myself, “When will the bad thing happen?”

Been there, thought that. Constantly. The other day, I noted that for some inscrutable reason, the premium on my homeowner’s insurance went down a few percentage points; about half an hour after I posted that, I was poking around the County Assessor’s place trying to see how much the property tax would be going up, since usually the new tax rates come out in October. “November,” they’re saying. Somehow that sounds ominous.

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A lede beyond the others

If you saw a setup like this in a short story, you might reasonably suspect someone was readying an entry for the Bulwer-Lytton contest:

A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

But no, it’s real, or at least as real as we get from the AP these days:

A judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court said Wednesday that Caroline Westlake must pay 800 pounds ($1,235) to Kate Sanders for assaulting her in a dispute over colleague Adam Davies, who had dated both women.

Of course, what I want to know is what it’s like to have women fighting over you.

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We have sunk to this

Somebody evidently thought that was clever. The horrible aspect of it, though, is that said somebody probably still has a job.

(Via @inthefade.)

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