Things people complain about


Has Obamacare made it un-P.C. to be concerned by a serious burden on my family’s well-being?

via Daring to Complain About Obamacare –

What Gottlieb is discovering, belatedly, is how much it costs to buy real health insurance rather than fake health insurance.

via Psychotherapist Is Unable to Understand What Medical Insurance Is.




When conservatives take up armed resistance against D.C. despotism, theyll really regret some of the toys they gave the government. Rubio and Palin want the populace to be able to arm itself with assault rifles. But they want the government armed with F-35s — a $100 million-plus stealth plane with a top speed of Mach 1.6. When President Obama discovers his inner tyrant, it wont be a fair fight.

via Great Gun Gobbledygook: The Paradox of Second Amendment Hardliners – Dominic Tierney – The Atlantic.


Don’t look now, but it’s 2000.


You wake up at 7am on a wonderful morning in early 2000. Dreamy as you are, you grab your phone to check the news and your email. Well, the news is that no one has texted you while you were sleeping and that your phone doesn’t connect to the internet. Because, well, you don’t have a smartphone. Just like everyone else doesn’t.

via 2000, the Year Formerly Known as the Future — Editors Picks — Medium.


Devotional No. 11

Enter the Office of Naval Research. One of its new special program announcements for 2013 identifies software algorithms as a major point of concern: It wants more robust logic tools play nicely across hardware and software platforms, pre-assembling a mosaic of threats. Don’t bother writing them better search tools for sifting through their data archives: The Navy expressly rules that out. It wants the imaging equipment of pre-cut vegetables in a salad bag.

via Navy Wants You to Write Algorithms That Automatically ID Threats | Danger Room |

And so, while programming experts still write the step-by-step instructions of computer code, additional people are needed to make more subtle contributions as the work the computers do has become more involved. People evaluate, edit or correct an algorithm’s work. Or they assemble online databases of knowledge and check and verify them — creating, essentially, a crib sheet the computer can call on for a quick answer. Humans can interpret and tweak information in ways that are understandable to both computers and other humans.

via Computer Algorithms Rely Increasingly on Human Helpers –

Since 2009, Facebook has filtered what every user sees on the News Feed, based on the wisdom of its proprietary algorithm, called Edge Rank, which determines which posts a particular user is likely to find most interesting. …At the heart of Facebook’s business is to hold the attention of its one billion users worldwide. That means keeping them entertained and on the site as frequently as possible.It seems to be losing this battle somewhat with its youngest users.

via Facebook’s Redesign Hopes to Keep Users Engaged –

Word of the Week: Sacerdotal

Film poster for The Age of Innocence (film) - ...

So, avuncular (unclelike), saturnine (sluggish), sybaritic (pleasure-loving), antediluvian (primitive), concomitant (accompanying), uxorious (fawning), lucubrate (laborious studying), vulpine (foxlike), fissiparous (fractious), skeuomorph (look it up yourself), obdurate (stubborn), syllepsis (zeugma), parlous (perilous), crepuscular (twilightlike), concupiscent (lustful), cromlech (formation of megaliths) and how about… sacerdotal?

Why sacerdotal? Mostly because it gives me a chance to digress into small talk about Edith Wharton’s spectacular “The Age of Innocence.” It is a great example of Ms. Wharton’s nimble and lively style.

First things first, however.

Sacerdotal is defined by Webster’s Fourth as “of priests or the office of priest; priestly” and “characterized by belief in the divine authority of the priesthood.”

Which reminds me of one of my favorite types of jokes: Do you know what the Spanish word for sacerdotal is? Sacerdotal.

Anyway. The word comes up in Wharton in Part VII of Book I, Page 73 in the Scribner paperback edition of 1998, when the book’s protagonist, Newland Archer, is endeavoring to persuade the patriarch of New York society, Henry van der Luyden, to intercede on behalf of a woman who, whether Mr. Archer knows it or not, is (not really a spoiler!) his love interest.

Mr. Archer first consults with the patriarch’s wife, and after hearing him out, she says “I should like Henry to hear what you have told me.” She calls for a footman and says, “If Mr. van der Lyden has finished reading the newspaper, please ask him to be kind enough to come.”

She said “reading the newspaper” in the tone in which a Minister’s wife might have said: “Presiding at a Cabinet meeting” — not from any arrogance of mind, but because the habit of a life-time, and the attitude of her friends and relations, had led her to consider Mr. van der Luyden’s least gesture as having an almost sacerdotal importance.

(Some day, should this tone be adopted on my behalf when I am reading a newspaper, I will consider myself a success.)

Anyway, awesome, right?

Thence to the Web!

But a genius like Shakespeare might still imbue his works with repeated words or situations that would call to mind their sacerdotal origins. via Shakespeare’s Common Prayers – Washington Post.

These are sentiments to nauseate a republican, but I, for one, find them stirring in their almost sacerdotal sense of purpose. via Book Review: Counting Ones Blessings –

For LeMoine to ignore them at the intersection of his sacerdotal and social media practice is profoundly disturbing to the equilibrium for which Pope Benedict argued. via Church Uses Facebook for Sacramental Scrutiny at its Peril | Politics | Religion Dispatches.

The Odyssey, 10 Years in 10 Days: ‘Blow on Mortal Blow’

Day 1: City of Ismarus. Who: The Cicones, ordinary Greeks who are minding their ordinary business. What: Odysseus and the flowing-haired Achaeans, in a fleet of 12 ships fresh from the victory Troy, land out of the blue and sack the city.

It’s an appalling orgy of sex and violence that Homer dispenses with in not quite two lines: “There I sacked the city, killed the men, but as for the wives and plunder, that rich haul we dragged away from the place.” It is a fine introduction to our hero. Apparently, to Odysseus, raping and pillaging is just what you do when you are on your way home.

Unfortunately, the quick and easy success makes Odysseus’ men loath to leave — “there was too much wine to swill,” as Homer puts it. And as will happen time and again, clever, brave Odysseus is nowhere near clever or brave enough to shift the wine-soaked Achaeans off their duffs and into their ships. This gives the Cicones time to rally a counterattack — which is astoundingly successful.

In other words, lounging around after an easy victory is probably the ancient equivalent of teenagers’ posting videos of a petty crime on Facebook.

In a furious clash, Odysseus and his men are routed from the city — “me and my comrades doomed to suffer blow on mortal blow” — beaten to their ships and are lucky to escape with (most of) their flowing hairs intact.

Talking point: It should have been a slam dunk, as far as city-sackings go, but poor leadership leads to disaster. Death toll: Most of the male inhabitants of Ismarus; 72 of Odysseus’ men.

Four Square for Animals

…a knowledge-base and platform for species distribution map development, along with a set of tools for querying, accessing, downloading and summarizing them.

via Map of Life.

The American Dream: to Move Away Forever

Is this fair? No. It’s worse than that, though. It’s ungrateful and it’s indecent.

via What Eduardo Saverin Owes America Hint: Nearly Everything | PandoDaily.

Two Hundred Years of Big Business

Yet international comparisons, to the extent we can make them, indicate that the U.S. already had more business corporations than any other country, and possibly more than all other countries put together.

via ’Fortune 500’ of 1812 Shows U.S. Banks’ Early Influence – Bloomberg.