gasstrollerOil prices may be falling, but US oil production remains on the upswing.

Some Native Americans are hoping to end their language.

The Antiplanner makes the case against light rail in Los Angeles.

Arnold Kling explains why breaking up the big banks won’t work.

It ain’t easy being a small country.

We should be on the metric system by now, but we’re not. Seth Stevenson looks at the history of the battle over metrics.

Police in Seattle can’t be bothered to enforce laws against theft even when you can direct them to the phone. I once had over $2000 of stuff stolen from my car in Colosse. The officer was positively annoyed that I called the police. Meanwhile, in Deseret, an officer spent two days initiating an entire investigation for a stolen jacket, getting a subpoena for security camera recordings and everything.

The making of the McRib. As Burt Likko says, since it’s from McDonald’s, so it’s “scripted and PRish, but still interesting.” I personally think it lost some credibility when it had the pigs raising their arms saying “Me next! Me next!”

The US uses less water than it did in 1970! Can we improve on this so that we don’t have (more of) a water crisis?

Minneapolis is micromanaging food sales.

Breaking up isn’t what it used to be.

Physicians are apparently like congressmen. People don’t have a lot of confidence in them, but like their own.


Category: Newsroom

theinterview

Maybe this time we’ll stay mad at the guy(s) threatening to kill people, instead of redirecting our anger at Uber. Or we’ll just redirected it towards squishy studios and theaters.

After a raft of movie theaters declined to show The Interview, amid threats of violence, Sony has announced that they are pulling the release of the film.

Presumably the film will be released once an investigation determines that no violence is forthcoming.

This has led to a lot of criticism for, essentially, giving in to terrorism. A lot of that criticism is directed at Sony, though I’m not sure how much of it should be. If theaters don’t want to show it, then they’re not going to get the premier that they want. The theaters are themselves the ones who caved. Of course, they themselves would be opening themselves up to enormous lawsuits if they did show the picture and violence did occur. So we can perhaps blame the lawyers, or alternately insurance companies that told the theaters not to do it.

It’s easy to say “Don’t give in to terrorism” when our livelihoods aren’t affected.

But dammit. This is the most irritated I’ve been by a delayed screening since they pushed V for Vendetta away from the pre-ordained November 5th release date. Though I had no particular intention of watching this film upon its release.

And ultimately, it’ll wait I suppose.

As an aside, it’s interesting that this is the movie that is causing issues. It also may put Hollywood in a bit of a pickle. Due to overseas sales, they’re not as eager to cast China as the villain as they used to be. Which is why when they were remaking Red Dawn, they chose North Korea as the invading force instead of the more likely culprit China. Or, for that matter, Russia itself (whom I’ve read actually kind of relish being the bad guys). Then again, maybe they’d invade on the idea that we’re the type of people to cancel a movie premier on the basis of vague threats.


Category: Newsroom, Theater

I’ve made a couple mentions of the past of the tendency of some evangelicals to make their Christianity “a spectator sport.” This parody video encapsulates that perfectly:

I actually hadn’t particularly seen it as a southern thing, but the longer and further I’ve been from the south, the more it does appear to be. #NotAllSoutherners of course, but even controlling for degree-of-evangelicalism, it seems to be the case.

LiveWay bookstore is apparently keeping a sense of humor about the video:

LiveWay


Category: Theater

I told David Alexander last week that I would try to get a picture of my driveway to explain why we kind of have trepidation about it. And so I did.

The first picture is actually of Ford Lane, where we live. Though five of us have Ford Lane addresses, only three of us have to drive any distance on Ford Lane, and we have the steepest incline. We’re the house way down at the end, behind and to the left of the red/brown house visible on the right:

20141211_113820

The next one is actually “our driveway” in the sense that even though some of it may be Ford Lane, it only leads up to our house and is past our property line.

20141211_113859

It’s entirely possible that the incline isn’t as visible on the second one, as I didn’t have a flat surface to show the picture on.

UPDATE: I should have included a picture from our house to the street:

Drivewaydown


Category: Home

TallbrideThe heartwarming story of an Arizona dog that finds new purpose in a kitten shelter.

Michael Brendan Dougherty throws cold water on those celebrating the recent news on divorce rates.

A mammoth skeleton estimated to be 70,000 years old has been found in Idaho.

Robin Hanson writes about rituals through the context of sincerity and tradition. This is not a good description – its hard to describe – but I strongly recommend this relatively short post.

Sadinia has one of the more unique plans for secession that I am aware of. They want to leave Italy, join Switzerland, and become a charter city.

BabyPaintingEunice Park claims to ghost-write Chinese students’ Ivy League admissions essays.

Catching up on the unschooled, and what becomes of them. Another study looks at homeschooled, to investigate whether concerns over socialization are justified.

If your food lacks zing, maybe you need a zap from the spoon.

Rugby is one of those sports I have long wanted to learn about. Boosters are looking to raise its profile in the United States.

The mystery of the ancient stone circles.

China looks to improve its air and energy security by turning coal into gas, but climate change activists are horrified and some analysts don’t think it’ll work.

Doom rooms! How the classic video game is influencing construction design of hospitals and work environments.

Intergalactic wormholes are popular in fiction, but hard in science.

Scientists had previously thought that a three-star solar system wouldn’t allow planets to form, but it may be happening.


Category: Newsroom

charles0I happened to run across an episode of Charles in Charge the other day. It was, as it turns out, an important episode: The bridge between season one and season two, when there was a massive recasting and the Pembrokes were replaced with the Powells. The premise of the episode is that Charles came back from a two week trip and enters the house and everybody is different. It is the source of humor.

A couple of the Pembrokes are there, to provide just a bit of continuity I suppose. Charles is relieved to see them. The funny thing is that I guess they couldn’t get the actress who played Mrs. Pembroke in season one, so they hired a stand-in. Which is cool, but adds a bit of irony in an episode where laughs are had because Charles doesn’t recognize anybody but her.

Two other notable shows that did retools after the first season due to a network change are Saved By The Bell and Mama’s Family.

Fun fact: I was once a part of a live studio audience for Mama’s Family. We were vacationing in California and wanted to do that. We wanted to do Perfect Strangers, but there was an age limit on that. Not Mama’s Family, which is I guess both more family oriented and not as big a draw so that they could discriminate as easily. The episode I saw live was the one where Iola had a boyfriend who turned out to be a cad.

charles1Anyway, back to Charles in Charge. That one is notable in that at least two of the kids from that show did go on to careers of sorts. Nicole Eggert had a stint on Baywatch. Josie Davis became a staple on Lifetime movies. Scott Baio, who was the star, didn’t do much afterwards. Willie Aames, who played Buddy Lembeck, went on to find Jesus and become the superhero Bibleman.

A couple other casting things. Sandra Kerns, who played Mrs Powell was often assumed to be related to Joanna Kerns, who played the mother on Growing Pains, but they are actually unrelated. Ellen Travolta, who played Charles’ aunt, actually is the sister of John Travolta.

I saw Charles in Charge almost entirely in reruns. It was a staple of WGN and TBS when there were only 30 or so cable channels. At the time, TBS ran 5 minutes late (instead of a show airing from 3:30 to 4, it would be 3:35 to 4:05). So I could watch the show in WGN but then get an instant replay of the last five minutes on TBS. It usually ran on both channels at the same time.


Category: Theater

furrythingsThe Washington Post makes the case that it’s bad for poor minorities if you give them money.

New Jersey is contemplating making lying for sex a form of sexual assault. So under this law, if a fifteen year old girl tells an eighteen year old guy that she’s legal, is she as guilty of rape as he is?

Speaking of such things, here’s an article about the gender double standard when it comes to statutory rape.

AT&T wants to know how come their 6Mbps DSL isn’t good enough for the folks of Chanute, Kansas.

New Jersey wants to become the first state to regulate pet grooming.

The Pirate Bay is down, maybe for good. Good riddance, says a former contributor, because theys old out a long time ago.

Owen Courreges says that New Orleans looks to become the model city for anti-smoking extremism. I don’t know that this is worse than New York City, but it’s pretty bad.

New York wants to give everybody WiFi, though some better WiFi than others. Before the rise of 3G and 4G, the case for municipal WiFi was stronger than it is now.

Does Obama’s amnesty give illegal immigrants more rights than legal immigrants?

Though they’re clearly doing so in their own self-interest, I’m quite glad that Netflix et al are trying to reverse the highly troublesome Innocence of Muslims verdict.

The problematic nature of problematicism. This article is very similar to a piece I linked about Too Many Cooks, though more comprehensive in nature (and somewhat more combative).

Contrary to the claims of many as well as intuitive sense, premarital cohabitation does not increase the odds of marital success. Scott Stanley asks why not?

Detroit is stuck in Windows XP.

MIT has removed (free) lectures from its servers because classes taught by (alleged) creeps are no longer educational and informative, I guess.


Category: Newsroom

The Atlantic has an interesting piece on the return of the rhythm method:

With its blinking face and patented “LadyComp algorithm,” Daysy seems newfangled, but its core technology is one septuagenarians would recognize. It relies on the basal body-temperature method of family planning, based on the fact that women’s bodies are a few degrees hotter just after ovulation. But while in past decades women who employed this method had to hand-chart their temperatures on graph paper, Daysy tracks the readings automatically and ports the data onto a companion iPhone app that lets the user see her “cycle forecast” and “temperature curve.” Because it’s personalized, it claims to predict a woman’s chance of pregnancy with an accuracy of 99.3 percent—roughly the same as that of birth-control pills.

Becca began using Daysy in June after stints on the Pill and on Nuvaring, the hormonal vaginal ring. (All of the women in this story asked me to use only their first names.) Both methods caused mood changes that she found unsettling, such as bouts of unexplained crying, and the Pill made her nauseous nearly every morning. She and her boyfriend had been together for a while, so although he was wary of “natural” contraception at first, the Pill’s nasty effects on Becca persuaded him to give it a try.

Becca has about 10 “green” days a month, and at other times, the couple uses condoms.

Jennifer Fitz at Patheos argues that abstinence, and not condom use, should be the order of the day for the remaining ten days:

Meanwhile, when the CDC publishes rates for the effectiveness of condoms (and other barrier methods of contraception), they are assuming that you are blithely using a condom whether you are fertile or not. The pregnancy rate for condom use lumps together both the times when it was impossible to conceive (most of the time) and the sliver of time when you might have been able to conceive.

Thus if you are using fertility awareness and are counting on a condom or other barrier method to avoid pregnancy during your fertile time, be aware that your contraceptive is much less effective than the number calculated by the CDC.

That’s not accurate. Well, it is accurate to say that, as the title of the piece does, that all condom failures actually occur during fertility days. I mean, a condom may burst outside that window, but it won’t be a failure because no pregnancy will result. Where Fitz is wrong is how the CDC compiles its numbers. It’s a common misunderstanding.

A common example of CDC literature is this PDF or this chart which looks at the various forms of contraception and their efficacy over the course of a year. With no contraception, a 85 women out of 100 will get pregnant. The numbers go down from there to various degrees. However, since we’re talking about over the course of a year, the efficacy of condom use in and out of the fertility window is actually accounted for.

Let’s assume Dick and Jane have sex twice a week. Let’s assume a month with 8 days of fertility, and on their schedule sex will occur twice within that prior and seven times outside of it. All seven of the outside-window instances will not result in pregnancy, obviously, and so it really doesn’t matter whether he is wearing a condom then or not (for pregnancy’s sake, anyway). Since we’re talking about the course of a year, they do not affect the CDC’s statistics since failure rates will, as Fitz points out, always occur during the fertility window. So the failure rate the CDC uses is the failure rate during the periods that Fitz is talking about.

The danger of using condoms (and various other forms of contraception, including the diaphram and withdrawal) only during that window is that you will misjudge and be left entirely without protection. That’s what the app The Atlantic talks about is trying to address. Various forms of measuring out the cycle have met with varying degrees of success, and perhaps this will have the outstanding degree of success that the app developers claim. Or perhaps not. And perhaps people will be flawless in their execution, and perhaps not. That’s outside the scope of Fitz’s complaint, though, because she’s focusing on the condom aspect.

My own view is actually, is not all that far from Fitz’s. If you’re worried about pregnancy, steering clear during that week is not a bad idea. Or slowing down. It’s very prudent advise. However, there’s no reason not to incorporate multiple methods (cycle+condom, cycle+withdrawal, cycle+withdrawal+spermicide) if you want to make love four weeks out of the month. The good news is that if you can monitor it, you know which weeks you don’t have to worry.

The sex-ed I had going through school tended to be a bit on the myopic side. In middle school, it was mostly about abstinence. Too young to have sex, truly, but also not trustworthy with contraception. Fair enough. High school shifted to condoms for the boys and the Pill for the girls, which was good. However, if anything was taught about cycles, it didn’t stick as a form of fertility suppression. In a lot of conversations about contraception, this-time-of-the-month-but-not-that-time-of-the-month was never discussed. There was the vague notion that sex during ovulation was bad, but nothing of the female cycle was explained to the boys either in sex ed or out of it. The cycle method wasn’t even given the (questionable) “it will always fail” explanation that withdrawal was.

I think the reasoning goes back in part to why a number of abstinence-only or abstinence-plus advocates worry about teaching contraception or leaning on it too heavily even apart from proscriptions on sex: Kids can’t be trusted to do condoms or The Pill right. People who think that’s nonsense, on the other hand, often seem wary of teaching young people about the cycle or withdrawal with fears along similar lines: The more you teach it, the more they’ll think it’s okay and will do that in lieu of better methods of contraception.

Hopefully, this will all eventually be moot because there are rock-solid forms of contraception available. Distributing it broadly will require money and an attitudinal shift. While general contraception availability in general has less-than-stellar results in preventing unwanted pregnancy, it’s difficult to imagine wider IUD availability – or free pricks to the prick – not having more impact than the less reliable forms we often rely on. And if we’re not going to have truly comprehensive sex ed, we need to start focusing a lot of energy on that.


Category: Bedroom

There were a number of reasons that we left Arapaho and, more specifically, Clancy left her job there. The conditions were pretty miserable, she was mistreated in addition to the demands of the job, and she didn’t like what she was doing. That last one I haven’t talked as much about it, but it’s turned out to be the most specific. When she said she wanted to change her career trajectory, I always held a little skepticism that her misery had more to do with the job in Arapaho rather than the job description, and that a family practice job elsewhere might be completely different.

I was wrong, and she was right. Even setting aside everything else, she doesn’t like clinic work. And she was stuck in a job that revolved around clinic work. Though there was a balance between clinic and hospital when she started, it gradually became more clinic-based. Which is the way that things are going more generally, so while she could find balance elsewhere, the opportunities are disappearing and being replaced by clinic-workers over here and hospital workers over there. She wanted to be in the latter group, and her fellowship out here was to give her the training to be so.

Despite the (ostensibly) longer hours of the fellowship, the transition appeared to be a good one. She’d made the right choice, and my skepticism was wrong.

The fellowship is over and she’s going to be starting a hospitalist job at the same institutions. The problem is that one of the hospitals she is working at has not given her privileges yet. They meet for such things once every other month. Which has left her employed but without a job. In the meantime, the director of the affiliated nursing home resigned. So they have her doing that right now.

This has been, if not exactly clinic work, then something to it.

This is not Arapaho. She is not mistreated. The job demands are not as bad. The end is in site, and soon!

And yet, in some ways, or at least one way in particular, this is more frustrating than Arapaho. Because this is past the point where she was supposed to be doing clinic work. When she left Arapaho, she thought she was done with this. So every day she goes in is one more day than she was supposed to go in.

A lot of her career has been like this, for me, where there was supposed to be residency, that we put up with, then after she has maybe a fellowship and then it’s good money for less hours. For a variety of reasons, things didn’t quite work out that way (though the money did, sporadically anyway, get better). That was actually the most heartbreaking thing about Arapaho itself… it was residency-like hours at precisely the point in her career where she was supposed to be beyond that.

So my question to y’all is… when have you felt this way? Where the degree of annoyance is amplified by the fact that you’re not even supposed to be here today?


Category: Hospital

FerretTelescopeHow being nice can sabotage your dating life.

WB/DC is ramping up its movie-making to compete with Disney/Marvel. I look forward to some of it, but they should focus on TV, though. They’re good at TV.

Michael Kazin is unimpressed with the current crop of independent politicians and candidates. I hope to write more about this, but what I find interesting is that among the electorate you have more defacto Republicans who call themselves independents, while among politicians, you have more defacto Democrats.

Germans do apprenticeships in a way that we don’t. The Atlantic looks at their system, and ours. It even confronts the “tracking” question.

Christopher Flavelle claims that Canada shows that the minimum wage has minimal effect.schoo

Shocker: Dating couples and married couples communicate differently.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry laments that Americans are refusing to learn from international methods of health care delivery.

Kinkisharyo International planned to set up some manufacturing in Palmdale, California. The unions decided to play hard ball, and now Kinkisharyo International will not be manufacturing any more in California than they are required to.

The good news is that if you got one of those flesh-tunnels in your ears, it can be fixed. The bad news is that it ain’t cheap. Business is apparently booming.

As micro-housing starts to take off in Seattle, neighborhood groups are flexing their muscle to put as much a halt to it as they can.

Thirty Americans die every day from the organ shortages. Keith Humphreys and Sally Satel discuss what effect compensating organ donors might have.


Category: Newsroom

Queenland

Greetings from Stonebridge a fictitious city in a fictitious state located in a tri-state area in the interior Mid-Atlantic region. We're in western Queenland, which is really a state unto itself, and not to be confused with Queensland in Australia.

Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.


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