“The issue of craft is the difference between good and great. When you go from good to great, there’s this element of delight and magic that has to happen in design… That’s where great design comes from — great design changes us. We smile, we laugh.”—
“Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake.”—Jeanne Ray (via katykelley)
11/15/13 In this fascinating public experiment, a German town wanted to see what would happen to traffic flow if they got rid of street signs, lights and other restrictions. The results are intuitive, but not what you would expect! …
Huh! It’s almost like people are capable of governing themselves…
This is cool and all and I’d love to see it elsewhere, but I’m skeptical that it scales well and can be applied well in other cultures. Still, that would be awesome.
Vantage Point:Recently, the Veteran community has been forced to fight back on a disturbing narrative: Veterans are dangerous, violent people that society should be weary of. It doesn’t take much for some media outlets to push this agenda either. It…
I went to high school with the author. That is all.
“Her most personal book, Celebration, came out in 1989, shortly before Bridget died at 22. It is a tough, clear meditation on illness and suffering in the light of her faith in God. Margaret itemised without flinching the cruelties she had discovered in creation, in her daughter’s life and on the wards at Great Ormond Street, where she once reached out to stroke a crying child’s face and was stopped by a nurse who told her that the slightest touch could break the child’s bones. She could reconcile none of these things with the idea of a loving and benevolent God and she made no attempt to do so. Instead, she was convinced that God shared in the sufferings of his creation and that through the symbolic recreation of Jesus’s acceptance of death in the eucharist it could somehow, sometimes, be made bearable.”—Margaret Spufford obituary (via ayjay)
“Glyphosate-containing herbicides, which fall under many trademarks such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup,’ are top selling herbicides in the world and now they are popping up in the breast milk of women. In past research, glyphosate levels found in breast milk tests have been 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides, but lower than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set those pesticides limits based on the idea that glyphosate won’t accumulate in the human body — and organizations like Monsanto are quick to back up that theory. However, new glyphosate testing recently commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse analyzed 35 urine samples and 21 drinking water samples from across the US and found ‘high’ levels of glyphosate in 3 out of the 10 samples tested, which both organizations feel points to glyphosate levels building up in women’s bodies over a period of time. Initial testing, which clearly included very small sample sizes, was completed at Microbe Inotech Labs, St. Louis, Missouri, and as Sustainable Pulse points out, “Is not meant to be a full scientific study. Instead it was set up to inspire and initiate full peer-reviewed scientific studies on glyphosate, by regulatory bodies and independent scientists worldwide.” Further testing and possible higher standards of regulations would be a good deal, because as of right now, there’s zero regulatory limits on the books regarding glyphosate-containing herbicides in breast milk anywhere in the world.”—
I’m surprised to find myself agreeing with and Ezra Klein headline (no more surprised than he was when he found himself using a Tea Party image to lead his article, I’m sure), but it’s a good headline. And a good premise overall, and another reminder that we’re in an upside down dynamic with the bodies that are supposed to serve us.
But it misses the point entirely. Automatic taxes are, at best, an interim solution to an archaic, onerous, and overly complex taxation system that needs to go. When Donald Rumsfeld and his accounting team can’t know if they’ve filed accurately, and scores of different accountants arrive at different answers for the same question, how do we continue this exercise in absurdism?
This is my first time publishing at Relevant, and I’m pretty excited about it. Check it out:
I don’t like devotional books.
I rarely get swept up in emotional worship experiences.
And as much as I’ve wanted to be the girl who sings with her arms raised, eyes closed and heart full of joy, I just end up fixated on whether or not I’m flashing sweaty armpits to everyone around me (spoiler: I probably am).
For years, I participated in small groups and Bible studies feeling like there must be something wrong with me. I couldn’t connect to the kind of devotional, emotional spirituality so many of my friends seemed to enjoy; and most of the time I’d rather study the details of Paul’s arguments about justification than meditate on a Psalm.
Then I came across an essay by C.S. Lewis called, “On the Reading of Old Books,” and it completely changed my perspective. “For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books,” Lewis wrote, “and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others.” Years of worry that I was unspiritual or a bad Christian began to melt away. Lewis continued:
I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hands.
Swap the pencil for a laptop and the pipe for a beer and he’d nailed my experience exactly. But if C.S. Lewis of all people was on my side, why did it seem like we were hanging out alone?
"The IG “found repeated examples of poor contract file administration” over the years, the report said.
Contracts related to the U.S. war in Iraq, for instance, could not be produced in 33 out of 115 instances, according to the report.
“A recent OIG audit of the closeout process for contracts supporting the U.S. Mission in Iraq revealed that contracting officials were unable to provide 33 of 115 contract files requested in accordance with the audit sampling plan,” the report states.
The value of the 33 “missing files” totaled $2.1 billion, according to the report.
Additionally, 48 of the 82 contract files that were produced “did not contain all of the documentation required by” internal regulations, according to the report.
The 48 “incomplete files” were worth another $2.1 billion, according to the report.
A further audit of the department’s Bureau of African Affairs found that administrators “were unable to provide complete contract administration files for any of the eight contracts that were reviewed.””
“In July of 2013, Illinois became the last state in the union to enact a concealed carry law. In January of this year, the state began accepting applications for permits. This week, Chicago police announced that the city’s first quarter murder rate was the lowest since 1958.”—
"Russia’s barrage of sarcastic comments to the Obama administration, which is seeking to impose sanctions to change Moscow’s stance on Ukraine, has been enriched with a piece of advice to relax and look for inner tranquility.
The comments came from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, who was commenting on the worst period of tension between Russia and the US over the past two decades.
“What can we advise our American colleagues to do? Spend more time outdoors, do some yoga, have healthy food, probably, watch more comedy series on TV. That would be better than working yourselves and others up, knowing that the train is already departed and that no tantrums, crying and hysterics can help,” he added.”
Wicked burn! It sounds like they take America seriously.
“I understand Christians like Ehrich feel torn. You have a political party offering you a reasonably sound position on sexual ethics and an unconscionable approach to poverty and the environment, and then you have one party offering you a reasonably sound position on poverty and the environment and an unconscionable approach to sexual ethics. But if you give up either half of the equation, you’ve lost something profound. Here is the secret: Christianity is radically countercultural and deeply politically inconvenient. It is no party’s friend because its kingdom is not of this earth. It can seek the good and accomplish good through the work of earthly institutions, but it is our job as Christians to hold the hard line and refuse to give up any portion of our ethics to make ourselves politically palatable. Ehrich is right to see an unbalanced focus in Christian discourse, but wrong to chalk it up t the weakness or supposed insignificant of the principles themselves instead of decrying a political system that makes perilous choices necessary.”—Elizabeth Stoker, “The Church’s Split Ethical Focus” (via wesleyhill)
A politician honored for his gun control efforts is arrested for attempted arms smuggling. He held press conferences denouncing violent video games and helped pass legislation in California prohibiting sales of such games to minors. And yet, secretly, he was living the life of a Grand Theft Auto character.
The downfall of Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco should be an utterly captivating, fascinating story, and the national media should be sinking its teeth into the details. I joked when Yee was first arrested about how he is destined to be parodied in Grand Theft Auto. That was before the FBI’s report was even released. Now, I’m convinced the report could be the outline for an entire Grand Theft Auto installment (have they set a game in a parody of San Francisco yet?). Yee’s story of corruption, attempted gun-running and accusations of vote-selling (an undercover FBI agent posing as a medical marijuana clinic owner wanted him to support legislation introducing new barriers to entry for potential competition) is actually just a small part of a larger story about the crime scene in San Francisco. Beyond Lee’s role, the whole story (pdf) is full of drug transactions, stolen booze fencing, a home invasion by apparently Mexican gangsters, what appears to be counterfeit credit cards supplied by a Russian hacker, and more. It has everything. There’s even a money-laundering scene that takes place inside a massage parlor. It’s part FBI report, part Hollywood pitch.
And yet, it has not captured as much national media attention as one might think. Not long after the story came out, every Republican I follow on Twitter was noting how stories about Yee’s arrest were burying the fact that he’s a Democrat. I’m not particularly interested in an argument over which party is more corrupt. In the Corruption Olympics, each party is full of stellar athletes whose gold medals were paid for by taxpayers, manufactured by a company with cozy ties to both parties, and cost 300 percent more than they would in the private market. Nevertheless, given the media coverage of every time a conservative Republican politician on the state level says something dumb or controversial, it is worth noting. Today Glenn Harlan “Instapundit” Reynolds is calling out CNN at USA Today for failing to follow the story:
[O]utside of local media like San Francisco magazine, the coverage was surprisingly muted.The New York Times buried the story as a one-paragraph Associated Press report on page A21, with the bland dog-bites-man headline, “California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.” This even though Yee was suspended, along with two others, from the California state senate in light of the indictment.
CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the network snarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bash Wisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.
But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators. But when Democrats like Yee get busted for actual felonies, and pretty dramatic ones at that, the press suddenly isn’t interested.
We’ve seen this before, of course: Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff dismissed the horrific Kermit Gosnell trial as a “local crime story”, even as the press was going crazy covering another equally local crime story, the George Zimmerman trial. Likewise, another state senator, Texas’ Wendy Davis, got national attention when she filibustered an abortion bill, a story that fit conveniently with the “war on women” theme used by Democrats.
Read more here. A search of Yee’s name on CNN brings up nothing past the year 2011. The most recent story is about California banning shark fins, and Yee is quoted with concerns that the ban targets Chinese-Americans.
One in seven American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD before they’re 18. But is there really a need to give psychotropic drugs to boys just for being boys?
This has bothered me for a long time. My own reasons are too rich and numerous to tackle now, but in short, the people who own these systems carry some unfortunate views & biases of human ontology.
Oh my. Actually reading — not skimming — the article now (I get the irony), he makes the point that I wanted to, but couldn’t without time to consider my words:
""We are pathologizing boyhood," says Ned Hallo-well, a psychiatrist who has been diagnosed with ADHD himself and has cowritten two books about it, Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction. “God bless the women’s movement—we needed it—but what’s happened is, particularly in schools where most of the teachers are women, there’s been a general girlification of elementary school, where any kind of disruptive behavior is sinful. What I call the ‘moral diagnosis’ gets made: You’re bad. Now go get a doctor and get on medication so you’ll be good. And that’s a real perversion of what ought to happen. Most boys are naturally more restless than most girls, and I would say that’s good. But schools want these little goody-goodies who sit still and do what they’re told—these robots—and that’s just not who boys are.”“
The system is set up against boy-ish behavior. And really, this isn’t anything new in the last 20 years, but the system persists.
“If you look at Darwinian evolution, Nature is just generating tons and tons of mutations and then, because most of them are duds, ruthlessly cutting them all down. Not very nice for the mutations. That’s what you do as a scientist: generate tons and tons of ideas and then shoot them down. To generate them you have to suspend disbelief. You have to believe that everything you come up with is ‘Wonderful! Brilliant! Plausible!’ That’s manic. Then you have to shoot ‘em all down, one by one, ‘This won’t work, this one’s crap’ That’s depression. But -“ Thinking about it, he starts laughing. “- But since just about everyone else is depressive, you can just be manic all the time, and they’ll shoot the ideas down for you. So it helps to have manic-depressive disease, and to have it in a particularly acute, aggressive form.”—
This is true in design as well. Rapid, almost senseless generation of concepts until you find a few that’ll work. And it’s especially true, the part of everyone being depressive and shooting everything down.
Zero tolerance policies protect the wrong people. More often than not, those people are almost entirely incompetent to wisely enforce less-vague policies in the face of equally incompetent, intolerant, and demanding parents.