09
May
12

Roundup – Minimal Mad Men

Line O’ the Day:

[Werner Herzog:] “After 35 years of knowing John Waters I turn to my wife and I said to her, ‘I have the feeling that this man is gay.’”

- Vince Mancini, Amazing Video: Werner Herzog discovers John Waters is gay [On the Ecstasy of Ski-Flying: Werner Herzog in Conversation with Karen Beckman via FilmDrunk]

Best of the Best:

World’s Richest Worth $1 Trillion on Billionaire List [Alexander Cuadros and Devon Pendleton on  Bloomberg]

The 40 richest individuals on Earth lost a combined $6.2 billion yesterday as stocks dropped amid disappointing U.S. earnings, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the wealthiest people.

Three Stooges producer demands cease & desist from Three Stooges XXX parody [Vince Mancini on FilmDrunk]

HOW DARE YOU INFRINGE ON THE COPYRIGHT OF THREE GUYS* WHOSE CORPSES WE’VE BEEN RAPING! And for pornography?! Disgusting! Sex is supposed to be something that happens behind closed doors, metaphorically, between lawyers and dead comedians!

‘New Poor’ Grows from Greek Middle Class [Johannes Korge and Ferry Batzoglou on Der Spiegel]

The psychologist Eleni Bekiari knows what dark thoughts the crisis and its consequences have brought to Athenians. She staffs Klimaka’s telephone number “1018.” It is a 24-hour suicide hotline, and its statistics are clear. In 2010, there were about 2,500 calls made to the number. In 2011, there were twice as many. “Most of those who call us are women,” she says. “On the other hand, it’s usually the men who end up taking their lives.” Greece traditionally has one of the lowest suicide rates in Europe, but the increase has been dramatic. Since the beginning of the crisis, the suicide rate has almost doubled.

Old Milwaukee’s End Run Around Super Bowl Advertising [Felix Gillette on Bloomberg Businessweek]

Like many of its deeper-pocketed rivals, Old Milwaukee beer rolled out a new TV commercial on Super Bowl Sunday. The ad featured a celebrity endorsement of sorts from comedian Will Ferrell. But rather than targeting all of the 111.3 million viewers that Nielsen (NLSN) estimates tuned in to NBC stations and affiliates for the Nov. 5 gridiron championship, the Old Milwaukee spot aired in front of a tiny subgroup—those watching the Super Bowl on NBC affiliate KNOP-TV 2 in the country’s second-smallest TV market, North Platte, Neb.

Hazard of the Trade: Bankers’ Health [Leslie Kwoh on Wall Street Journal]

During their first two years, the bankers worked on average 80 to 120 hours a week, but remained eager and energetic, she says. They typically arrived at 6 a.m. and left around midnight. By the fourth year, however, many bankers were a mess, according to the study. Some were sleep-deprived, blaming their bodies for preventing them from finishing their work. Others developed allergies and substance addictions. Still others were diagnosed with long-term health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorders.

26 Years on the Job and Not One Sick Day [Sue Shellenbarger on The Wall Street Journal]

“I just love my job,” Mr. de Sousa says. He remembers the faces and occupations of repeat guests, greeting them by name and asking, “‘How’s your business?’ People love to talk about their business. Their eyes light up.” His boss, hotel manager Derrick Morrow, calls Mr. de Sousa, 53, “the mayor of Tampa Street,” where the hotel is located; some repeat guests choose the hotel because of him, he adds. “He is our chief marketing guy out front.”

How the Iran Nuclear Standoff Looks From Russia [Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Institute via Bloomberg]

Russians are watching warily as tensions around Iran continue to rise. Sanctions, they think, beyond those already authorized by the UN Security Council, would weaken Iran’s pragmatists and empower its ideologues. Russia believes that the even more stringent sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its European allies not only won’t do what the West wants — stop the Iranian nuclear program or turn the Iranian people against their government — but also will fail to stave off an Israeli airstrike. Such an attack inevitably would drag the U.S. into the fray. That means, unless diplomacy is given one last chance, the two things that concern Russian leaders most — a U.S. war against Iran, and an Iran armed with nuclear weapons — may become a reality soon.

Man as Machine [Max Byrd on The Wilson Quarterly]

In early 1738, following another obscure bout of illness, he rented a showroom in the center of Paris and announced, like a Gallic P. T. Barnum, the exhibition (to paying customers) of his own mechanical man. This, we know from numerous witnesses, including Denis Diderot, who wrote about it for his Encyclopédie, was a large wooden automaton—more precisely, an android—painted entirely white to look like marble and modeled after a well-known statue in the Tuileries Garden called The Flute Player. It is almost impossible to overstate the sensation it caused. Like the golden-haired doll in the Museum of Technology, the Flute Player was no simple music box. Vaucanson’s wooden android really played the flute: His lungs pumped air through his trachea and mouth, his lips opened and closed around the mouthpiece, his fingertips—possibly covered with bits of human skin—moved confidently across the various stops on the instrument.

Federal judge complicity [Glenn Greenwald on Salon]

Indeed, even Guantanamo military commissions — once scorned as due-process-free zones that would reflexively churn out convictions — have treated Muslim defendants accused of Terrorism links far better than U.S. federal courts have, as advocates of civilian trials, somewhat perversely, often point out. Just ponder that: if you’re a Muslim, even an American Muslim, accused of some serious crime relating to Terrorism, you’re more likely to receive a fair trial — a chance for acquittal on some charges — if you face a U.S. military tribunal than an American federal court. By stark contrast, look at what federal judges are willing to do when white non-Muslims face dubious, speech-based charges of Terrorism: the court will dismiss the entire indictment on the (correct) ground that the accused Terrorists have the First Amendment right even to advocate violence against the U.S. Government, an affirmation of core Constitutional principles which one almost never sees a federal judge brave enough to protect in the case of a Muslim facing similarly defective accusations.

What Cocktail Parties Teach Us: The Brain Is Wired to Focus on Just One Thing; Which Tasks Are Easier to Combine [Melinda Beck on The Wall Street Journal]

Dr. Strayer’s studies have also found that talking on a cellphone is far more distracting than conversing with a passenger—since a passenger can see the same traffic hazards and doesn’t expect a steady stream of conversation as someone on a cellphone does. Listening to the radio, to music or to a book on tape also isn’t as distracting, because it doesn’t require the same level of interaction as a conversation. But Mr. Simons notes that even drivers may miss some details of a book on tape if their attention is focused on merging or other complex driving tasks. Some people can train themselves to pay extra attention to things that are important—like police officers learn to scan crowds for faces and conductors can listen for individual instruments within the orchestra as a whole. And the Utah researchers have identified a rare group of “super-taskers”—as estimated 2.5% of the population—who seem able to attend to more than one thing with ease. Many more people think they can effectively multitask, but they are really shifting their attention rapidly between two things and not getting the full effect of either, experts say.

California’s Law-and-Order Culture Shows Cracks [Steven Greenhut via Bloomberg]

During a state Senate hearing in 2007 on a bill that would have overturned provisions of the state Supreme Court decision keeping police disciplinary matters confidential (Copley Press Inc. v. Superior Court of San Diego County), the law-enforcement unions showed up in force, and legislators from both parties killed the bill. Democrats even removed the civil-libertarian committee chairman who favored the changes.

Ex-Chargers Linebacker Junior Seau Dies From Gunshot Wound [Erik Matuszewski on Bloomberg]

Seau is the eighth member of the Chargers’ 1994 Super Bowl team to die. The most recent had been Lew Bush, who died of a heart attack in December. Other members of the 1994 Super Bowl team who have died are running back Rodney Culver, linebackers Dave Griggs and Doug Miller, defensive tackle Shawn Lee, defensive end Chris Mims and center Curtis Whitley. Griggs died in a 1995 car crash, Culver was killed in a 1996 plane crash, Miller was struck by lightning in 1998, Whitley overdosed in 2008, Mims died of an enlarged heart the same year and Lee suffered cardiac arrest in March 2011.

DEA Ignored All My Cries [Sarah Grieco and Rory Devine on NBC San Diego]

Chong said he was at a friend’s house in University City celebrating 4/20, a day many marijuana users set aside to smoke, when agents came inside and raided the residence. Chong was then taken to the DEA office in Kearny Mesa. He said agents questioned him, and then told him he could go home. One agent even offered him a ride, Chong said. No criminal charges were filed against him. But Chong did not go home that night. Instead, he was placed in a cell for five days without any human contact and was not given food or drink. In his desperation, he said he was forced to drink his own urine. Chong said he lost roughly 15 pounds during the time he was alone. His lawyer confirmed that Chong ingested a powdery substance found inside the cell. Later testing revealed the substance was methamphetamine. After days of being ignored, Chong said he tried to take his own life by breaking the glass from his spectacles with his teeth and then attempting to carve “Sorry mom,” on his arm. He said nurses also found pieces of glass in his throat, which led him to believe he ingested the pieces purposefully.

The Geography of U.S. Economic Confidence [Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander via The Atlantic Cities]

Outside of wealthy and all-urban D.C., it was highest in Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Maryland. Economic confidence was lowest in West Virginia, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Mississippi…Class factors in as well. States with greater concentrations of knowledge, professional, and creative workers had higher levels of economic confidence than those with larger blue-collar workforces. The percentage of creative class workers was positively associated with the percent of people who saw current economic conditions as good (.71) and getting better (.29) and negatively associated with percent who saw economic conditions as bad (-.41) and getting worse (-.77).   The opposite was true of states with larger concentrations of the working class. The percentage of blue-collar workers was positively associated with the percent who believed current economic conditions were bad (.28) and getting worse (.67), and negatively associated with the perception of current economic conditions being good (-.61).

Competition Heats Up In Canada’s Ice Hotel Market [Will Connors on The Wall Street Journal]

There is an extensive list of do’s and don’ts: If you must bring your cellphone, keep it inside your sleeping bag. Fold your boots inward to keep them from getting too cold overnight. Both hotels strongly recommend using the restrooms, located in non-ice facilities, before curling into bags for the night, which are placed on top of covered mattresses on the ice beds. Room temperatures range from 23 degrees to 28 degrees. Construction of the temporary hotels, made of ice and snow, begins about a month before they open. The Snow Village is built using giant inflatable forms, which are deflated and taken away after the snow structure sets. The Hotel de Glace is built with an internal metal structure that stays in place for the hotel’s entire run. The 36-room Hotel de Glace offers rooms at $350 and up. The 30 rooms at Snow Village start at $195 for individual igloos. Neither hotel has doors on its rooms; instead, they use heavy curtains.

More Marriages Cross Race, Ethnicity Lines [Miriam Jordan on The Wall Street Journal]

About 15% of new marriages in the U.S. in 2010 were between individuals of a different race or ethnicity, more than double the share in 1980, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Among those married in 2010, 9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians married outside their ethnic or racial group…Shifts in behavior, attitudes and demographics—including immigration—have contributed to the intermarriage trend, which the report analyzes based on historical data and Census Bureau figures from the annual American Community Survey from 2008 to 2010. In particular, attitudes have changed markedly since the Supreme Court declared antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. Until then, whites were still banned from marrying nonwhites in 16 states…Younger adults, especially those under the age of 30, tend to have a more positive view of intermarriage than older adults, according to a Pew survey that is part of the report. College graduates are much more likely to regard intermarriage positively than those with only a high-school diploma. Of the 275,500 intermarriages in 2010, 43% were white-Hispanic, 14.4% were white-Asian, 11.9% were white-black and the rest were other combinations. Mixed couples are most likely to reside in the Western states, where 22% of all newlyweds between 2008 and 2010 found a partner outside their group. More than four out of 10 marriages in Hawaii were mixed, the highest intermarriage rate of any state. Vermont had the lowest rate of intermarriage, 4%. New Mexico boasted the biggest prevalence of white-Hispanic marriages, or 20%. Rates of white-Asian marriages are highest in Hawaii, Washington, D.C. and Nevada. The top three states for white-black unions are Virginia, North Carolina and Kansas, which have rates of about 3%.

Contractor in Pakistan peddling bricks from Bin Laden compound [Larry McShane on New York Daily News]

Ahmed was hired earlier this year by the Pakistan government to destroy the home where U.S. Navy SEALs gunned down Bin Laden in a daring raid one year ago Tuesday. After Ahmed tore out everything from the pipes and curtains to the olive trees and bathtubs, the house was bulldozed — leaving the huge pile of bricks on the property. When the rubble was put up for auction, he paid about $5,300 for the whole lot after other frightened local businessmen declined to bid. Visitors from across Pakistan began making the trek to the property to buy a piece of blood-spattered history. Ahmed said he’s now traveling with a bodyguard — just in case Islamic militants find fault with his making a buck off Bin Laden. “My family is very worried that my life now is in danger,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

How Companies Learn Your Secrets [Charles Duhigg on The New York Times]

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy…Pole applied his program to every regular female shopper in Target’s national database and soon had a list of tens of thousands of women who were most likely pregnant. If they could entice those women or their husbands to visit Target and buy baby-related products, the company’s cue-routine-reward calculators could kick in and start pushing them to buy groceries, bathing suits, toys and clothing, as well. When Pole shared his list with the marketers, he said, they were ecstatic. Soon, Pole was getting invited to meetings above his paygrade. Eventually his paygrade went up. At which point someone asked an important question: How are women going to react when they figure out how much Target knows? “If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” Pole told me. “We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.” About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation. “My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again. On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

A Decade Without a Mexican [Joseph Lawler on RealClearPolicy]

While many countries have high rates of immigration, only the U.S. has such high immigration from poor countries. About half, or fewer than half, of migrants to countries like Norway, Sweden, and France, come from other European or North American countries. A much higher percentage — closer to 80 — of immigrants to the U.S. are from Mexico or other less wealthy countries. In other words, a significant part of the reason the U.S. lags behind other advanced economies along the key metrics of inequality and income mobility is the huge number of poor and uneducated Mexican immigrants who have come to the U.S. over the past 40 years. A reversal of the immigration trend should also improve the U.S.’s standing in such measures. Such a reversal would be not be all good news. The evidence is far from clear that America would be better off with drastically fewer immigrants. Furthermore, Mexico’s per capita GDP is one-third that of the U.S.’s: reduced immigration could mean that more poor Mexicans are trapped with little opportunity for advancement. Nevertheless, the Mexican-American migration of the past 40 years was a historically important one. We may only be able to fully discern what it’s meant for the U.S. now that it’s over.

How the U.S.-Iran Standoff Looks From Iran [Seyed Houssein Mousavian via Bloomberg]

Both sides have made miscalculations, worsening an already strained relationship. From 2003 to 2005, Iran’s team in nuclear negotiations with the so-called EU3 (the U.K., France and Germany) and the IAEA stressed repeatedly that Iran’s right to enrich nuclear fuel was non-negotiable. The team, of which I was part, argued that the EU3 should not be able to deprive Iran of its legitimate right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to acquire nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment. We made it clear that actions such as prolonging the negotiations or suspending the enrichment program would not stop Iran. Rather, Iran would restart the enrichment program, even at the cost of sanctions that could cripple the country’s economy, or of a military strike. The EU3 ignored these warnings. On the other side, those in Tehran with a great deal of sway over nuclear policy ignored warnings that if Iran restarted enrichment unilaterally, that would result in Iran’s nuclear file being referred to the United Nations Security Council, citing Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to international peace and security. Once referred, the way would be paved for imposing further sanctions on Iran and further escalation. Unfortunately, these Iranian policy makers saw the threat of referral as a Western bluff aimed simply at intimidating them. Hopefully, both parties have learned their lessons: Iran will not forgo its rights under the non-proliferation treaty, and the West will follow through with its threat of sanctions and referral.

Vancouver’s Supervised Drug Injection Center: How Does It Work? [Paul Hiebert Interview of Tim Gauthier, InSite's current clinical coordinator and registered nurse on The Awl]

I approached her to see how she was doing, but she didn’t open up to us very much. She didn’t listen to anything her doctor told her. She just wouldn’t take it in. One day, when she was extremely sick, she brought us a note from her doctor. It had all these things on it. The note said she was septic. She had cavitating lung lesions and abscesses all along her spine. She also had endocarditis, which is an infection in the lining of the heart. Any of these things by themselves are super serious infections—and she had, like, four or five of them. I had to tell her what this note meant. She was so overwhelmed when I started mentioning the first couple things. She kept asking, “Am I going to die? Am I going to die?” And I had to tell her, if you don’t take care of this, it’s very likely you’re not going to live through these infections. It still took us days to get her to a hospital because she just didn’t want to go. She was so scared. One of our staff agreed to take her to the hospital and spent the whole night with her in her room, just stroking her hair and being with her. That, to me, was beautiful.  But this participant wouldn’t stay in the hospital because of her addiction. She needed her drugs. So, we were able to connect her with a local community program that administered antibiotics, which she was too sick to be a part of, but they let her in anyway because it was better than the alternative of no care at all. All the doctors were nervous about this. They thought she’d die. She has since improved significantly.

‘Magic City’ TV show struggled to find real breasts in Miami casting [Kenny Malone on The Miami Herald]

Producers discovered many women of South Florida have been surgically enhanced beyond anything natural to the late 1950s. “I’ve actually had better luck finding synchronized swimming groups than I did finding real boobs,” said Bill Marinella, local extras casting director. “We did a lot of research and reached out to burlesque clubs and just finding people on the beach and literally walking up to them on the street and saying, ‘Hey, you look like you’re right out of The Great Gatsby.’ ” Magic City was left particularly exposed to issues of the chest. Like a lot of premium cable shows, the series does not shy away from skimpy attire or full frontal nudity.

Curiously Strong Remains:

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Zero Hedge: “Goldman Answers Why People Log On To Social Networking Sites

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Reuters Tumblr: “Amazon Battleground States

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Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism: “Digital Advertising and News: The Financial Industry is the Most Prevalent Buyer of Ads on these News Websites

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‘Magic City’ TV show struggled to find real breasts in Miami casting


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