Digital squatters

The ultimate word on that “digital natives” crap, from Lynn:

I keep reading this stuff about how today’s kids, teens, and twenty-somethings are “digital natives” — that they have never known a world in which there were no computers or cell phones and therefore they are almost like a different species from us older folk who just don’t quite “get” all this new technology. The truth is that in all age groups there are both technophiles and technophobes, just as in every generation there are people who can work on cars and people to whom anything mechanical is mysterious and confusing.

People my age who grew up watching Star Trek have been waiting for these gadgets for over half our lives. I wanted a smart phone years before the things even existed. The smartest and most ambitious did not wait. They made it all happen. Digital natives? My generation created this digital world we live in now. What does that make us?

All else being equal, the person who gets credit for something these days is the person who, in the judgment of the individual writing the article about it, most resembles the individual writing the article about it. Who would have though there could be such a thing as shared narcissism?

I’ve never seen anyone my age who couldn’t learn this stuff, given time and a little bit of effort, and that remains true even as my age spirals out of sight. We may be mere digital immigrants, but I’m betting we take our citizenship more seriously, if only because we never took it for granted.

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While sticking to the seat

Advice for the unclothed driver, aside from the obvious “Don’t get pulled over”:

If you can drive without air conditioning, good for you. It’s my preferred way to do it. But: on very hot days cool down your car (and your body) before you put on your clothes. Otherwise your natural body heat will be caught beneath your clothes and that can feel very bad/hot.

I admit to not having thought of that.

Incidentally, if you need gas, you should probably get dressed before swiping your MasterCard through the pump reader.

(Via Nudiarist. Neither link should be considered safe for work unless you are the sysadmin or you have something on him.)

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The urge to wax has waned

Sometimes your first Brazilian wax is your last Brazilian wax:

[T]he awkward sexual innuendo and the pain are not the reasons I will no longer be getting Brazilians. No, I could deal with those again. There are three other reasons I will no longer be waxing the hooha.

We’ll just mention one of them here, since it’s one I wasn’t expecting:

After the technician left the room, I picked myself up off of the table. Actually I kind of slid off of the table in my own sweat. I walked over to the mirror to examine myself, and I was horrified. Not because I looked like a prepubescent girl (although that was slightly horrifying). I was horrified because it was at that moment that I realized that my pregnancy stretch marks went ALL THE WAY DOWN INTO MY TANTALIZING TRIANGLE. They look like grotesque, greedy little fingers pointing the way down. Or lightening bolts threatening to strike any who enter.

One of those “Abandon Hope” signs in post-topiary form. I don’t think that it necessarily discourages visitors, but anything that makes you doubt your curb appeal can kill the deal. Or that’s what they tell me, anyway.

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WISH for something new

Indianapolis’ WISH-TV, channel 8, is that market’s CBS affiliate — until the end of the year. Beginning in 2015, CBS will move to WTTV, channel 4, bumping WTTV’s current affiliation with the CW to a subchannel, leaving WISH-TV with, well, nothing actually.

Why would CBS do this?

SNL Kagan senior research analyst Justin Nielson notes that CBS’s new deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football may have prompted more aggressive affiliate renewal talks.

“Fox and CBS were the first ones to start extracting [reverse retrans] money, primarily because they are spending a lot of money on sports rights,” says Nielson. “Thursday Night Football is quite costly for CBS. They want to make sure they’re getting compensated for that.”

Fox’s affiliate in Indy is WXIN, channel 59, owned by Tribune Media, which also owns, um, WTTV. No other changes have been announced for Indianapolis television — yet.

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Today’s security tip

How to handle a certain delicate situation with one’s phone, explained by Jack Baruth:

Two years ago, I had the USB port on my Motorola Droid4 fail. That meant that once the battery died, I wouldn’t be able to use the phone at all, and since the battery in the Droid4 is installed with screws and a very delicate connector, I wouldn’t be able to easily change the battery for a charged one. The problem with this is that I didn’t know the USB port had failed until the phone died.

I had a $50 insurance plan that I could use to get a replacement phone. The problem was that I had a bunch of photos that a female friend had sent me on that phone. I’d been keeping them for reasons of sentimentality/laziness. Sending the phone into the insurance provider would hand over a dozen nude photos of a woman who had a professional image to protect. And since she was in my contacts, they’d have her name and contact information.

I sat down and thought about it for a while. Then I went out to my front porch and hit the phone with a Craftsman hammer until it was in little pieces. Then I went out and bought another phone.

Well done, sir. In the unlikely event that someone sends me such a photo, I will keep this available for reference.

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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The tiger’s wide awake

So if you want a picture of yourself with the big cat in New York state, you’d better get it now:

[Yesterday,] the governor of New York State signed a bill banning the practice of paying to have your photo taken with a large cat. Yes, this will be commonly referred to as the “tiger selfie” ban.

As radio station WPDH in Poughkeepsie points out, businesses that let you pet and take a photo with tigers and other exotic animals have been popular attractions at county fairs, including the nearby Dutchess County Fair, in years past. You get a sticker that says “I touched a tiger,” and a photo perfect for your online dating profiles. Starting in 2015, exchanging money for tiger photos will now be illegal in New York state.

Governor Cuomo, you may be sure, is not overly concerned with your safety here:

Wildlife advocates say the trend is not only hazardous to humans but encourages mistreatment of endangered animals. The big cats are often taken from their mothers as cubs, poorly cared for and then neglected or discarded when they grow up.

“They breed the cubs, use them for photo-ops, and then when they can’t use them they breed more,” said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a Tampa, Florida sanctuary that has more than 100 big cats.

Similar laws exist in Arizona, Kansas and Mississippi.

(Source of the title, in case you were wondering.)

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You’re listening to Carrousel

“They said they liked the ‘young’ sound,” sang Harry Chapin in WOLD, “when they let me go.” And Harry wasn’t even working in India:

India’s national public radio broadcaster appears to have sacked around 100 presenters for being over its new age limit of 35.

All India Radio says it had to bring in the new age rules because the station needed to “infuse freshness in presentation of programmes”. The Kolkata-based broadcaster initially set the cut-off at 30 years — but then raised it to 35. The measure was then put on hold by an employment tribunal until 8 August — but the journalists in question were dropped the day after the freeze expired, the Hindu daily reports.

There is, however, a faint ray of hope for these senile, wizened over-35s:

All India Radio has responded by saying it will allow presenters to stay on if they pass a test to prove they don’t sound “too mature and boring”, according [to] the Kolkata paper The Telegraph.

(Via WFMU.)

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Hold your nose and dig in

Everyone, please welcome our new intern, Durian McFlurry.

No, wait, that’s wrong. This is a Durian McFlurry:

Durian McFlurry from McDonald's Singapore

The offering of this product indicates a certain gutsiness on the part of McDonald’s Singapore locations:

The fruit has a very distinct odor that is strong and penetrating even when the shell is intact. We have not tasted it yet, but we have come to recognize the smell. You can identify it a mile away. It truly is hard to describe … a sweet, gross, stinky smell like a very overripe piece of fruit or leaking gas.

Many people love it and say it has a smell similar to almonds. Other people would say it smells like rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage, or smelly socks. I have seen the taste described as gasoline with bananas, vanilla pudding with onions, or something between a rotting carcass and blue cheese.

Do you think hedgehogs will eat it?

(Inspired by something Roger said.)

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In the interests of civilization

Meaningless factoid: Lauren Bacall was a first cousin to Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Lauren Bacall and friend

Above, Bacall’s influence on a well-trained critter. Below, Bacall’s influence on a somewhat less well-trained critter:

Bugs Bunny and Lauren Bacall in 'Slick Hare', 1947

Meaningless factoid: Lauren Bacall is the only Oscar winner to have been married to two other Oscar winners: Humphrey Bogart (of course) and Jason Robards.

Something to track down: the dubbed English version of Ernest et Célestine, a French-Belgian animated film based on Gabrielle Vincent’s books, in which Bacall is the voice of The Grey One, caretaker at a mouse orphanage. Released early this year, it was her last film credit.

Not at all meaningless, an exchange between Bogie and Bacall from The Big Sleep:

Philip Marlowe: You wanna tell me now?

Vivian Rutledge: Tell you what?

Philip: What it is you’re trying to find out. You know, it’s a funny thing. You’re trying to find out what your father hired me to find out, and I’m trying to find out why you want to find out.

Vivian: You could go on forever, couldn’t you? Anyway it’ll give us something to talk about next time we meet.

Philip: Among other things.

The world seems a bit less civilized now.

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Double the licks

Electra and Elise Avellán are 28 today; you may have seen them in the Robert Rodriguez segment of Grindhouse or Rodriguez’ subsequent screamfests Machete and Machete Kills. Here they’re just a pair of twins selling sweet stuff:

Electra and Elise Avellan in Two Scoops

Except, of course, that they’re not. Rodriguez’ short Two Scoops — I’d embed it here, but it’s technically unlisted at YouTube, so I’m sending you to Miramax instead — reveals their True Identities and a great deal more. (It helps, if you’re looking for a role in a Rodriguez film, to be his niece; they’re actually related to Rodriguez’ ex-wife, Elizabeth Avellán, but she is still VP and co-owner of his production company, so they’re not entirely estranged.)

And here’s a shot out of costume, I think:

Elise and Electra Avellan at a press conference

Maybe I’ll rethink that vanilla.

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When sphygs fly

This may mean nothing to you, but I assure you it means something to me:

The Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) has released new guidelines on the management of adult hypertension.

The authors formed nine recommendations which are discussed in detail along with the supporting evidence. Evidence was taken from randomized controlled trials, the gold standard for establishing efficacy and effectiveness. Some of the new major recommendations include:

1. In patients aged ≥ 60 years, initiate pharmacologic treatment in systolic BP ≥ 150mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 90mmHg and treat to a goal systolic BP < 150mmHg and goal diastolic BP < 90mmHg. (Strong Recommendation–Grade A)

The other recommendations didn’t come so highly, um, recommended. No matter. This is the one that pertains to me, inasmuch as I am indeed aged ≥ 60 years.

This also supports my ongoing hypothesis to the effect that any human-health risk factor supposedly graven in stone will eventually be eroded away and replaced by something else. In this case, the goal has been increased somewhat because the most recent numbers suggest a greater risk with lower blood pressure:

Patients with SBP between 120–129mmHg had a 10% greater risk of renal disease or mortality vs. those with SBP between 130–139mmHg; those with SBP from 140–149mmHg had a 40% greater risk. The lowest risk was seen at 137mmHg and 71mmHg.

Of course, this too is subject to change.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Dissipated fizz

Last time this state scratched around for a new plate design, I proposed something like this:

Oklahoma Sonic plate, drawn by me, never used

It never occurred to me that Texas would actually do something like that:

Dr Pepper plate issued by Texas

And now they’re undoing it:

The Dallas Morning News broke the news over the weekend that the state of Texas is planning to kill off its least popular specialty license plates, and we couldn’t be more thrilled… We were, however, dismayed to notice that Dr Pepper is … on the chopping block.

How does this happen? How is it that the most Texan of non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, which, if it didn’t help sustain the last defenders of the Alamo then definitely should have, failed to meet the 200-plate threshold put in place by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles?

Did it ever occur to anyone in either state that there might simply be too damn many plate designs?

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Reblogged down

Well, they’re doomed. People are actually starting to notice:

[S]ometimes I wonder if Tumblr is actually just eight or 10 blogs with original content, and all the other Tumblrs are just endlessly linked resharing of that content.

Oh, I’m sure there are at least twenty.

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And then he wasn’t

“Tiburon,” he said of his home in Marin County. “From the Spanish tiburoni, meaning to overcharge for no reason.”

When word came down the line that Robin Williams had died, seemingly everyone in my tweetstream posted a favorite comedy or dramatic bit — and in a full hour, there were no duplicates. I couldn’t pick one of them to, you should pardon the expression, save my life.

So I’ll quote Sheila O’Malley, perennially wise, who offered up this personal recollection:

Robin Williams talked at my school. He was otherworldly in person, on some other plane of listening/humor. Also very caring. Sad… He was like a master chess player, 14, 20 moves ahead of everyone else. He felt the joke 20 minutes out. And he made sure it landed … and this was just chatting with the students. He wasn’t performing for us. He was just talking. But he heard shit on a higher frequency.

This is the kind of thing that can drive you to madness if you’re not careful. And Robin Williams, damn his brilliant hide, was never, ever careful.

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Brief exercise

Interstate 35 northeast of downtown, once it splits away from 40, is cursed for several miles with the penury-induced deficiency called Onrampus insufficienti, which imposes certain conditions on the driver wishing to climb on. Chief among these is “Accelerate like a sumbitch.” In the case of the US 62 onramp, this has a prerequisite: make the right turn onto the ramp and hope you can see what’s sliding down the hill at you.

I was transitioning between these two modes when I saw it. A minivan. Worse, a white minivan. The Anti-Destination League gives these out as longevity awards. And it wasn’t going to budge horizontally, what with an 18-wheeler in the fast — well, the less-slow lane. Okay, fine. I pushed the loud pedal once more, and Gwendolyn’s ill-bred four-speed slushbox, having just climbed all the way to fourth, was in no hurry to drop back to third.

So I readied myself for the Killing of Overdrive, which is faster than waiting for the machine to shift on its own, when a 2-series BMW rocketed toward the right and into the space I’d chosen for myself. Oh, great. The van, meanwhile, had managed to creep above the speed limit. I began calculating closing distances and where I’d end up in the breakdown lane, such as it is.

Fortunately, Bimmer Dude was paying attention after all, and he opened up more space, mostly by scaring the Mazda in front of him into cranking it up. I duly slid into the flow, reached for my hat to tip to the guy, realized I wasn’t wearing a hat, and staked out a place in front of the big rig. The van, down to 45 mph or so, departed at the next exit, short-circuiting any plans I may have had to curse its driver for staying in the lane.

This sort of thing is consistent with what I’ve been telling the road-building guys: we have enough highway capacity. What we don’t have is a way to sweep away the people who think the D on the shift lever stands for “Dawdle.”

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