Roundup – Halloween Propaganda

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Line O’ the Day:

“I will say this though, if 2010 Marty had shown 1985 Doc Brown the breadth and availability of pornography in 2010, his head would’ve exploded.  In 1985, guys were still jacking it to the Swimsuit Issue like a retarded orangutan sleeping in the dirt.” – Vince Mancini, Doc Brown discovers that the future is lame [FilmDrunk]

The Best:

Agnostic about gay marriage: Attitudes to gay marriage among religious groups in America [The Economist]

For the first time since the Pew Research Centre began conducting polls on the subject in 1995, fewer than half of Americans (48%) are opposed to gay marriage, while 42% are in favour. All religious groups are more accepting than they were in polls taken between 2008 and 2009. The most notable shift has been among white mainstream Protestants and Catholics, 49% of whom are now in favour, and that figure was even higher for those who attend church less than once a week.

Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex [Christian Rudder on okTrends]

Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do. We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here’s what we’ve found, in numbers and charts.

Why Are the Effects of Marijuana So Unpredictable? [Jonah Lehrer on Wired via Gizmodo]

Too often, we forget that drugs work their magic on a brain that’s never the same. Who we are depends on when you ask the question. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that a drug with many different strains (each of which has a slightly different THC/cannabinoid ratio) and that acts on a context-dependent neural pathway would display such a wide variety of symptoms, from carefree euphoria to its emotional opposite.

Muslim Sect Sees Struggle Through Christian Lens [Robert F. Worth on The New York Times]

The massacre, which took place in about A.D. 523, is partly shadowed by myth and largely unknown to the outside world. But it has become central to the identity of the people now living here, who mostly belong to the minority Ismaili sect of Islam. The Ismailis, widely reviled as heretics by Sunni Muslims both here and abroad, see the oppressed Christians of ancient Najran as their literal and figurative ancestors in a continuing struggle for recognition by the Saudi state.

Brad DeLong Should Read More [Mario Rizzo on ThinkMarkets]

What becomes clear, especially in Mill’s Principles of Political Economy (1848), is that Say’s Law points us in the direction of entrepreneurial miscalculation and the associated “want of confidence” as the fundamental cause of depressions. The fall in the money value of commodities in general (the only valid sense of “excess production”) is a symptom of something more basic than demand failure. That more basic thing is, however, simply alluded to here as the “want of confidence.”  Fundamentally, DeLong is suggesting that Mill did not (always) believe Say’s Law when, in fact, Mill is explaining Say’s Law and claiming that his understanding is not novel — but the same as those who expounded the law in the past.

This Man Made Enough Germ Weapons to Destroy the World (And Now He’s Dead) [Gizmodo]

William C. Patrick III died last week. He was responsible for enough bio-weaponry to kill every single person on the planet. And several other planets. And then, he spent the rest of his life fighting against his own deadly creations.

Get a lawyer before sex: 27 precautions before risking sex with a woman [Human Stupidity]

A man who dares to have sex with a woman needs legal counsel. He is guilty until proven innocent on many charges, which can be filed years after sex. A woman can claim she withdrew consent in the middle of the act, was unable to consent because she was drunk, drugged, had mental problems; she can look older, lie about her age and have fake id; can insert sperm from a condom into her vagina to inseminate herself, can get child support even if SHE raped him; injure herself and accuse him of battery and rape. He may go to jail for doing a DNA test on the cuckold child from his wive’s adulterous affair. Even sex dolls can look underage, and masturbation has its risks.

This Fantasy League Gets a Stage in New York, for Real [Wall Street Journal]

Valerie Fischman, who plays Quidditch at the University of Maryland, would like to see it go much further. She’s been finding out what needs to be done to get the sport NCAA status. That, she says, could “be a stepping stone” to becoming an Olympic sport.

WikiLeaks Releases Iraq War Logs Which Detail Over 100,000 Deaths, Show US Ignored Torture, Expose Routine Friendly Fire [Zero Hedge]

Wikileaks has lifted the embargo on what it dubs the biggest leak of American documents in history. The Guardian, which is the primary nexus of data collection, notes that almost “400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.”

Despite Army Efforts, Soldier Suicides Continue [The New York Times]

The spate of suicides in Texas reflects a chilling reality: nearly 20 months after the Army began strengthening its suicide prevention program and working to remove the stigma attached to seeking psychological counseling, the suicide rate among active service members remains high and shows little sign of improvement. Through August, at least 125 active members of the Army had ended their own lives, exceeding the morbid pace of last year, when there were a record 162 suicides.

4 Reasons Why Building Codes And Licensing Boards Are Bad For You [Nicole Paluszek on Biospheric Resonance]

They drive up the cost of housing, creating a shortage of truly affordable housing and lowering disposable income across the board. Instead of being able to build  exactly to local/individual need, you are forced to comply with centrally determined one-size-fits-all standards using expensive over-engineered methods and materials, even if this makes the dwelling less useful to the end user.  You pay huge fees for permits and the work is often delayed by the need for bureaucratic approval at each stage. You have to hire politically connected contractors with huge overheads due to licensing, who charge exorbitant prices to do the work, and can get away with it because their cheaper competitors are criminalized.

Tony Dungy Would Like To Remind You… IT GETS WORSE [Big Daddy Drew via KSK]

(disappears in cloud of red smoke)
[Rex] Ryan: God, he’s such an asshole. Listen to me, Billy. You’re gonna be a GREAT gay. You’re gonna go out there and gay like a fucking CHAMP! Everybody goes through the shit now and then. And you’re right in the thick of it now. It’s like someone stranded you in that growler I dropped this morning. But it doesn’t have to be that way. NOT IF YOU FUCKING ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK! Don’t sit here blubbering on and on about it. You want it better? You fucking make it better. You grab that cock by the horns and you ride it until it’s dead! You got me?

Overdrive: Who really rescued General Motors? [Malcolm Gladwell via The New Yorker]

Whitacre makes commercials for G.M., with himself as the star. He takes lunch in the food court, mingling with the rank and file. “Hi, I’m Ed. Who’re you?” he’ll say to some dumbstruck middle manager in the elevator. He walks into one meeting, listens for a while, says, “ You are all smart guys, right? You know what to do,” then walks out. He flies back to Texas every weekend, just to keep things in perspective. He is the face of the new G.M., the man handpicked to lead one of America’s greatest companies through its time of gravest crisis. And then one day last August—just nine months into his term as C.E.O.—Rattner’s superlative leader suddenly and mysteriously quits. Does this make Rattner question his own judgment? That’s not the private-equity way. “I shared the board’s disappointment,” he writes briskly, and moves on with his narrative of triumph.

The War Prayer [Mark Twain via LRC]

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

CURRENT CONTRACTION SURPASSES “GREAT RECESSION” [Consumer Metrics Institute via Pragmatic Capitalism]

From time to time we have been asked whether we consider the current contraction in consumer demand to be the second “dip” in a “double dip” recession. From a qualitative perspective, we believe that the “Great Recession” is not so much a “double-dip” as a single “big-scoop” that changed character somewhere in the middle. We understand that the NBER says that the recession ended in June 2009. However quantitatively/technically correct that may be by NBER standards, by “Main Street” gut-feeling standards the NBER assertion is somewhere between questionable and ludicrous, depending on the personal circumstances of the observer.

25% of the population are supertasters — are you one of them? [Esther Ingliss-Arkell on io9]

People of Asian decent are more likely to be supertasters. Women are more likely to be supertasters. Caucasian men have the lowest proportion of supertasters of any population.

Kraken of the Sea and of Our Trembling Fear [Brian Lam on Scuttlefish via io9]

After all, you have to wonder at how sane it is to try to capture a creature that outweighs you by several times, with several times as many arms, and a beak that in lesser species has been known to bite through kevlar, a material 20 times harder than steel.

The Killer Squirrel Epidemic Could Spell America’s Doom [Big Daddy Drew on Deadspin]

I bought a coffee cake mix for my kid last week. It was some Pillsbury one with cinnamon streusel in the center. So the kid and I whip up the batter and put it in the oven. Forty-five minutes later, I take it out and it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. I ask my kid if she wants any and she says NO. She pisses off to watch TV and I’m left alone with this masterpiece. I don’t waste any time. I plow through the fucker and discover that I failed to cook it all the way through. There’s a big wad of batter in the center. Now, I guess undercooking a cake like this is “bad,” in theory. In reality, it’s fucking unreal. Not only do I have a coffee cake to myself, but it has its own tunnel of raw batter on the inside. THAT’S QUALITY FILLING. If no one had been around, I would have spread it all over my body. Coffee cake was forged by the Gods.

Exodus. The changing map of the Middle East [Robert Fisk via The Independent]

Americans, so obsessed by the myths of East-West “clashes of civilisation” since 11 September 2001, often seem to regard Christianity as a “Western” rather than an Eastern religion, neatly separating the Middle East roots of their own religion from the lands of Islam. That in itself is a loss of faith.

In Medicare’s Data Trove, Clues to Curing Cost Crisis [Mark Schoofs and Maurice Tamman on The Wall Street Journal]

The reason is that the American Medical Association, the doctors’ trade group, successfully sued the government more than three decades ago to keep secret how much money individual physicians receive from Medicare. The AMA has continued to defend this ruling, including in two cases in which federal appeals courts issued decisions last year.  This means the American public is barred from examining in detail how Medicare spends roughly an eighth of its funds, about $62.5 billion in 2009. While that may seem like a small piece, health-care experts point out that physicians have disproportionate power to direct spending in all the other areas of the system because they admit patients into hospitals, prescribe drugs and order procedures and equipment.

Whimsical Remains:


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It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

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