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1  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of cruises for a vacation? on: Today at 05:45:15 pm
Never been on one.  I'm sort of down on them because I spend a great deal of my free time on Caribbean Islands, and nothing is worse than being in town when the cruise ships show up.  The cruise ship crowd really has a way of cramping every one else's style.  Erstwhile fishing villages are developed far beyond capacity in a futile chase for the yankee dollar.  Nevermind the ecological devastation wrought on the reefs and other marine ecosystems when they dredge and build the gargantuan ports of call.  What really frustrates is the fact that the little pipes below the little huts and other island infrastructure are so strained.  Toilets that can barely choke down shit are inundated with 20 or more squares of tissue with every flush.  Wooden bridges creak as oversized, belching yankees bound across them in flipflops and extra-large floral camisoles.  Tiny markets are stripped of supplies by sheltered retirees with more money than sense.  Of course the whole arrangement provides cash for a select few, but that cash rarely makes it into the hands of those who need it most.  It's a loud, obnoxious time when the cruise ships come, and the ports of call are best avoided during those times.  As for the reefs, I'm sure they'll rebound in another 30 years, assuming the sea doesn't warm up so much that they all become bleached
Having said all that, I'll admit that I'd probably go for it if one were offered for free.  Say, if I won a cruise around the lesser Antilles I'd probably accept it.  Voted for option 3.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The ads have changed to image banners. on: May 22, 2015, 07:48:04 am
Mine now shows:

Meet Thai Women

Thai Women Seek Dating, Chat and Marriage. Join Free Now!

The ghost of opebo is here, you see.

I get ads for Russian women frequently.  Russian women seeking marriage, etc.

Right now I have a spanish one:  "Llamadas a Cuba.  Oferta: ¡Incluye 15min gratis! 35 minutos a Cuba por $10"  I guess I do read spanish pages from time to time, although not of Cuba.
I also get lots of Chinese ads that I cannot read. 
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: New CSA on: May 21, 2015, 05:32:12 pm
IMO Hawai'i is the most likely state to push for independence, and even that's pretty remote.

Hawaii is at 13% in the reuters poll!  One of the lowest supporters in the nation.
4  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: New CSA on: May 20, 2015, 11:25:51 am
With all secession scenarios being highly unlikely, I actually think the most reasonable one involves a 16 or 20 year Republican government nationally that basically allows home rule by the states and state legislative veto of some national laws. 

An interesting paradox.  Secession becomes more legitimate, or plausible, when the federal government becomes more libertarian, but at the same time it becomes less urgent when the government becomes more libertarian, and therefore it becomes less likely.
5  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: New CSA on: May 19, 2015, 12:30:45 pm
Say Texas actually followed through with its whining and seceded. Which other states would follow Texas's example to form the new CSA, and who would they make their President? The states don't necessarily have to touch, either

I think if Texas was successful, then many states would follow suit.  Perhaps a majority.  California would likely have seceded in 2002 over George Bush's war if there were precedent for it.  Alaska has a small and heavily-armed population and would probably give it a try if Texas was successful.  Those wanting to legalize marijuana consumption might as well.  

I do not think that any new CSA would form, though.  The states would find little common ground.  Each would have grievances with Uncle Sam which it considered more important than those of the others.  (Who would be the new president?  It's rather like asking who would be president of the New Scotland and Catalonia Confederation after each secedes from their respective nations.  The answer is "no one."  Also, after a messy divorce, it is never a good idea to get remarried immediately.)  Probably some small ones would unite under a Tea Party-like platform of government, although likely they would be economic failures.  Ultimately, after a few decades, those which would prove economically successful (TX and CA, for example) would probably be recognized by many UN member states as independent nations, although Washington DC would still hold veto power in the UN security council so they might have a hard time being admitted as UN member states.

Judging from polling data, the urge to secede is less than 25% in many of the Eastern and Upper Midwest states.  New England is the least supportive, with the exception of Vermont.  Even in Texas and the Southwest, support for secession is only about 33%, so it's not a likely scenario.  

Just FYI, Here's a graphic that was posted on this forum a few months ago:


It gets interesting if you apply the age filter.  Note that support for secession is highest among the youngest (~40% for 18-29) and it falls off rapidly with each age group, becoming less than 10% for those over 60.  An upcoming trend?  Or maybe just misguided youth?  I rather think it is the latter.

6  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Is the mass media moving to the right? on: May 18, 2015, 07:55:51 pm
I don´t know what is happening in other countries...

Interesting.  The mainstream media here consists of daily broadsheets, three oldschool television networks, and some newer all-news networks.  Certainly they're more liberal than they were when I was a child, but it's also true that they're more sensationalistic and more focused on two or three stories at one time.  I'm not sure that it's a move to the right, but more a move to the center, as they perceive the center.  Since the center has moved to the right, they do as well.  A liberal media is just that, liberal, i.e., free to move.  Since the informed population has moved away from blue-collar workers and toward a just-enough informed population to perform service-sector jobs, then it stands to reason that it might have moved to match them.  You'll remember that in the US, the jobs moved from chiefly repetitive, mind-numbing agro to repetetive mind-numbing manufacturing about 80 years ago, then from repetitive, mind-numbing manufacturing to repetitive, mind-numbing service about 25 years ago.  Now, we're in a new transition, just as in all other sectors when jobs became obsolete due to either outsourcing or automation, there's a shift in demographics.  I can't imagine what repetitive, mind-numbing jobs will appear next, unless those repetitive, mind-numbing jobs occur in information output.  That may very well be the case.  In that case, there may be a major trend away from the liberalism that characterized newsreporting toward a service-sector reporting which favors marketing of big stories.  Some evidence of that has been on display for at least 15 years.  I don't think of it so much as a move to the right as a move toward sensationalism.
7  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: How would you have sentenced Timothy McVeigh? on: May 18, 2015, 07:41:26 pm
Option 2 would have been best.

I was not on the jury.  I doubt you were either.  Perhaps you have read all the transcripts of the trial and are therefore able to give a detailed description thereof, and hand down an sentence while you're at it.

I do know that a life sentence in a US prison is tantamount to a promise of torture, harassment, rape, and possibly death.  You might as well send him to the gallows and be done with it cheaply and with a clean conscience.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you binge drink? on: May 18, 2015, 07:36:42 pm
However, what the government considers "heavy drinking" is like three glasses of wine a day or something. I think we're all "heavy drinkers," then. Tongue

...don't worry.  I got you and me both covered.  I'm on drink number six. 
9  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite University Series: Georgia edition on: May 16, 2015, 06:20:54 pm
Georgia State, no doubt about it.  I've never visited the campus, but its hyperphysics website answers most technical question that arise daily at work.  Excellent and well done. 
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you binge drink? on: May 16, 2015, 06:17:46 pm
5 drinks in 2 hours

"five drinks" in two hours is binge drinking?   Guess I'll have to vote yes.  I probably have at least five drinks on most nights, and it's not uncommon that it happens in a span of two hours.  Honestly it's not what I'd call "binge drinking" but by your definition I am a near-daily binge drinker.  In fact, by your definition most of the people in my family (although not my wife's) are binge drinkers.

11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do you have a landline phone? on: May 16, 2015, 01:47:59 pm
Are there posters here already who did not grow up with one in the home?

probably.  My son did.  Well, we had one for the first two years of his life but he won't remember that.  It's funny to hear him refer to "those telephones that are big...you know...they have a curly cord from the part with buttons to the part that you hold...like the one you have in your office."  To people of his generation, that's something that only exists in offices.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Common Core vs. Academic Standards in Different Countries (Math/Science) on: May 15, 2015, 09:51:08 am
So if we set aside the assessment tools, which have some clear problems, can you be specific about what is wrong with the standards (which were developed independently, before the assessment)? If appropriate, I'm curious to read what you don't like about the math standards. They are the result of about 40 different state panels that met in 2008-2009 to develop requirements that should apply to all students, not just STEM students. The panels' results were then integrated and put into a coherent framework in late 2009. From the initial set of standards for graduating students, grade-level standards were developed so that students could reasonably get to the final goal.

I think the goals are, for the most part, valid.  For example, it might be beneficial for textbook companies if a common curriculum was adopted nationwide, and it would likely promote collaborative efforts among teachers.  I have read them in detail for the third and fifth grades, but not for the fourth grade, and overall they are a good start.  (We could quibble about the specifics such as "students need to be able to turn fractions into decimals and vice-versa by the end of the fifth grade."  ?!  We had my son doing that in the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade.)  

Still, teachers and parents are right to revolt against it.  Briefly, I object to tying test scores to teacher evaluation, since test scores depend upon a number of socioeconomic factors.  (Getting rid of teacher tenure/security would be a much better way to deal with problem teachers.)  The federal standards are showing a little more flexibility in timelines, which is probably good, but it doesn't really address fundamental socioeconomic problem of underperformance by students.

I also think it is in the implementation that we find frustration.  I've posted about that before at length, but the bottom line is that the rigidity with which the standards are implemented really stamps out creativity and frustrates many gifted students.  
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: B.B. King dead at 89. on: May 15, 2015, 09:37:41 am
I met BB King about 15 years ago at Guitar Center in Boston.  At the time I wasn't buying a guitar or else I would have asked him to sign it.  He signed a couple of guitars that some folks were buying that day.  I also saw a BB King show at the Commonwealth Armory sometime in the late 90s.  Cool dude. 
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Common Core vs. Academic Standards in Different Countries (Math/Science) on: May 14, 2015, 08:55:22 pm
Since Common Core will almost certainly be a point of contention in the 2016 Presidential election, I thought the topic is worth discussing.  

I'm against it.  I've seen its repercussions.  There may be a time when our nation gets its head out of its ass and starts taking education of the masses seriously.  I do hope that happens, but I don't think it's happening today and I have a child in public schools now.  I don't want him to be a guinea pig.  Let it be someone else's kid, and let it happen on someone else's dime.  Also, I hope we do not go the route that the Chinese and Eastern Bloc countries have gone, as it stifles creativity.  Unfortunately, our own vision seems to be stifling creativity as well.  

The bottom line is that you get what you ask for and what you're willing to pay for.  Pennsylvania seems willing neither to pay for good education nor ask for the right things.  I would not want to force its attitude upon others.  Tennessee seems to already understand its shortcomings.  New York is waffling, but about 200 thousand students have opted out.  Your state can oppose this trend as well.  After you have looked into it, I hope you write your legislator and ask him or her to oppose the Common Core Curriculum.  

15  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite University Series: New York City edition on: May 14, 2015, 08:41:20 pm
You gotta include Millersville U.  There are least three posters here who aspire to gain wisdom there at least one who makes a living imparting the wisdom they seek.  Also, MU has probably the most prestigious Meterology program in a 500-mile radius.  Who doesn't like weather maps?
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite University Series: New York City edition on: May 14, 2015, 08:12:21 pm
You're missing a bunch.

I noticed that with most of the other threads as well.  We probably all did.  I'm not sure what the criteria for being listed in these polls are, but I had assumed it was somehow legit.
17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is Obama a socialist? on: May 13, 2015, 07:45:08 pm
Is Obama a socialist?

Of course not.  

But he is an opportunist.  Sort of like the bacerium Escherichia coli.  One always hears about it on "anti-bacterial" soap advertisements.  The truth is that E. coli isn't particularly pathogenic.  It's found in all of our guts, and it is the most common of organisms in soil and in shit.  It exists by eating shit, and in fact does the world a great service in doing so, but it can be a bummer.  For example, one particularly nasty strain of E. coli can burst red blood cells, which clogs the kidneys, causing hemolytic-uremic syndrome.  This hemolysis can even result in stroke.  Very bad news from your point of view, but from the point of view of the E. coli, it is normal.  After all, it is just trying to make a living.  Like politicians, it spends most of its time harmlessly frolicking in shit, but if an opportunity to wreak havoc, afforded by a careless host, presents itself, it might just do so.  Of course, if you keep your own strains of E. coli to yourself, by washing your hands after shitting and before and after eating, then you are not likely to cause problems for others.
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion om my political views(Economic, Social , and Foreign) on: May 13, 2015, 07:29:40 pm
wuz U drunk when you posted this?
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would you rather live in Amsterdam or Rome? on: May 13, 2015, 07:15:53 pm
I like cycling everywhere.

I do as well, and in Amsterdam stolen bicycles are very easy to come by.  I paid about $17 for a decent on the Damrak which served me well during my time there.  Just don't park your 3500-dollar Klein roadster and expect it to be there when you come out of the coffeehouse fog.  Not unless you have some sort of Superman unbreakable lock. 
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would you rather live in Amsterdam or Rome? on: May 13, 2015, 04:27:34 pm
I lived in Amsterdam one semester as a visiting postdoctoral fellow.  I rather enjoyed it.  Never lived in Rome, so I'm not sure, but I voted for Amsterdam owing to familiarity.
21  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do you have a landline phone? on: May 13, 2015, 04:25:42 pm
I voted for the second option.  The last time I remember having a landline phone was when we lived in Columbus, and we moved from there in the summer of 2007.

Actually, for the past six months I have had a landline, but not a landline phone.  The cable TV company had some sort of "triple play" option that made our TV and internet cheaper if we got a land line phone number.  I have never plugged into it.  In fact, I do not know whether we actually have a phone suitable of plugging into it, so I don't have a landline phone, and haven't for many years.  I do, however, have a landline phone number.  I'm not sure what the phone number is.  I wrote it down somewhere but I've long since lost it. 
22  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Are female Democrats held to higher ideological standards than male Democrats? on: May 13, 2015, 10:23:29 am
Our society is sexist in general.

Unfortunately true. 

Indeed, like all societies and at all levels.  And not just human ones.  I don't think anyone is arguing either for or against this point, and it is a broad topic far beyond the scope of the thread.  The OP makes a very specific argument and then tries to support it using specific examples.  In my humble opinion, the examples do not support the argument.

I think it's probably true that female conservative democrats are held to the fire in a way that female conservative republicans are not, and in a way that male conservative democrats are not.  This is neither bad nor good, by the way, and I think the reasons for this phenomenon are almost, but not quite, explained by Beet--who goes a bit over the top in his wild comparison to Marie Antoinette. 
23  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Are female Democrats held to higher ideological standards than male Democrats? on: May 13, 2015, 08:20:45 am
Are female Democrats held to higher ideological standards than male Democrats?

Possibly, but you're cherrypicking.  Also, your examples don't really make the point.  

Blanche Lincoln is a staunch Free Trader, known for publicly opposing a number of progressive initiatives including a public medical insurance option and the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act.  Obama had become very unpopular in Arkansas by the time she ran for re-election in 2010, so even her pandering to the conservative Democrats didn't help her survive the challenge from Boozman.

Natalie Tennant seeking to distance herself from Obama in 2014 should not come as a surprise.  Nor should her defeat at the hands of Capito (a female, by the way.)  Comparing her in this regard to Manchin is not really appropriate since he was up for re-election in a presidential election year.  Turnout is higher in 2012 than in 2014, and the more gritty voters are better represented.  Also, she was running for election in 2014, whereas Manchin was running for re-election in 2012.  Not really an apples-to-apples comparison.

Grimes won more than 3/4 of the primary vote in her bid for the nomination to replace McConnel, so at best she is an exact counterexample of what you're trying to point out.

The anti-war left has good reason not to get excited about Hillary Clinton, a power projectionist from 1998 onwards.  Clinton has plenty of neoliberal credentials, and this should not be surprising since she learned from her husband, an expert at triangulation.  Obama, on the other hand, has pursued a rather progressive agenda.  (Of course, he also supports the sort of post-apocalyptic Orwellian society being espoused by Democrats and Republicans, but his left-wing critics haven't given him a pass.  You'll find plenty of outrage on the internet regarding his drone policy, for example.)  

There are also a number of counterexamples who show that conservative female democrats have done just fine.  Ann Richards not only defeated her primary opponents in 1990, but went on to become governor of Texas from 1990 till 1994.  The Blue Dog Coalition has had a number of successful housemembers over the past several decades who are female.  The current governor of New Hampshire is a female Democrat who has transformed from a tax-and-spend legislator into a fiscally conservative budget hawk.  This will earn her criticism from the left, but not because she is a female.  I'm sure you could compile a long list of successful conservative female democrats.  In fact, the first female Governor in any state was a conservative Democrat, as was the second, who served for two terms.  
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How tired are you right now? on: May 13, 2015, 07:48:57 am
exhausted, although today will offer a sort of denouement.  Tomorrow I shall go into vernation. 
25  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite University Series: New York City edition on: May 12, 2015, 08:35:37 pm
I've visited the campus of several of them, but I don't know most of them very well.  I did spend the summer at Columbia working as a visiting post-doctoral fellow in a research lab there, and my Columbia ID card gave me free admission to all sorts of nifty museums, so I voted for Columbia.
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