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An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-01-09 07:38
Subject: [links] Link salad saw Elvis in the clouds over Seattle
Security: Public
Tags:cars, cool, language, links, personal, photos, politics, reviews, science, sky
A reader reviews The Sky That Wraps

America English Dialects — Linguistics neepery. (Via willyumtx.)

1948 Norman E. Timbs Buick Streamliner — Guh guh buh buh... Wow. (Via Dark Roasted Blend.)

Putting a number in its context — Ben Goldacre on the endless problem of humans misunderstanding risks and statistics.

The immediate aftermath of tragedy — Phil Plait on the Giffords shooting. I take his point, but we do live in a culture where discussion of "Second Amendment remedies" has become an accepted part of one party's mainstream discourse. I have trouble believing that such rhetoric doesn't help foster a climate where behaviors like the shooter's come to seem appropriate rather than insane. Juan Cole addresses this question. Also, Digby touches on it as well. You are responsible for the consequences of your beliefs, something very few conservatives, or Second Amendment enthusiasts, are ever willing to take on.

?otD: Is there a little Elvis in your heart?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (2,500 words on Sunspin)
Body movement: n/a (raining, no indoor bike here)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Weight: n/a (no scale here)
Currently reading: Salamanca by Dean Francis Alfar

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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2011-01-09 17:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When RepubliKans foment violence they are being "patriotic." Then, when something happens, they shed crocodile tears.
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User: emmainfiniti
Date: 2011-01-09 18:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I like the Phil Plait article calling for critical thinking and waiting for facts before drawing conclusions about this particular event.
However, though I started with a whole-hearted advocacy of the "wait on the facts and be logical and reasonable" approach, part of me is tired of losing to the emotional, knee-jerk, and manipulative tactics of the far right. I am at a place where I am thinking, "If emotion, conclusory pronouncements, and over-simplified rhetoric are what sways the masses, then I would rather them be swayed my way than against me." I am not comfortable with this place.

AotD: No, but there is a little Elvis in my pelvis. ;)
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User: sheelangig
Date: 2011-01-09 20:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Elvis is everywhere, man.
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Patrick Nielsen Hayden
User: pnh
Date: 2011-01-10 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A large number of wealthy and powerful political actors are deliberately fostering a climate of fear and intimidation in modern American politics. They aren't doing this in order to encourage random dimwits to shoot particular politicians. They're doing it in order to discourage and demoralize their opponents en masse, so that we all give up trying and they get their way. For us to get caught up in foolish arguments over the imagined "motivations" of a particular trigger-happy dimwit suits those wealthy amd powerful political actors to a T.

To say that is to exercise critical thinking, not to abandon it. Plait is normally a smart guy, but this particular post by him is mostly vapor and pose. Our political circumstances require us to make some judgements, not to refrain from them. And the first judgement we need to make is that the particular flavor of Jared Loughner's delusions isn't particularly important. What's important is that we appear to be building a world in which Jared Loughners of all sorts are encouraged to act out their delusions in similar spasms of lethal violence. Few, if any, of these creatures will turn out to have a discernably coherent political agenda. But the effect of their actions will assuredly serve the interests of people whose agenda is very specific indeed.

Not everything in the world is solved by retreating into the geek-intellectual I Am A Dispassionate Galactic Observer self-protective crouch.
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January 2014
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