Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Today's Internets - "...the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." - Thucydides

see more hipster robot webcomics and pixel t-shirts

Full trailer for the new Agents of Shield TV show.  Geektastic.

"If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, for any reason, not just weight, you are going to have to get over whatever it is that led to your condition.  Whether you are giving up a lifetime of being told that “people should love you for who you are on the inside” or letting go a strongly held belief that “I am beautiful just as I am”, you will still experience a loss when you realize that you were wrong...

Perhaps you are really sad to discover that you are not a special little snowflake for some other random reason.  Guess who’s going to have to get over the realization that they aren’t really that special after all and people are tired of your whiny, overly-dramatic, self-entitled bullshit?""

"Last night I was on Bill Maher's HBO show "Real Time". There have always been numerous views of Maher's with which I agree. But he has become one of the most vocal and extreme advocates of the view that - while religion generally should be criticized - Islam is a uniquely threatening and destructive force and that Muslims are uniquely oppressive and violent...  hen I was scheduled to do the show, I was hoping that the opportunity would arise to debate these views (or that I could create the opportunity), and last night it did."

Of course, salt is good for you/conventional wisdom isn't - No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet -
"In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.

Some influential organizations, including the American Heart Association, have said that everyone, not just those at risk, should aim for that very low sodium level. The heart association reaffirmed that position in an interview with its spokesman on Monday, even in light of the new report.

But the new expert committee, commissioned by the Institute of Medicine at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there was no rationale for anyone to aim for sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams a day. The group examined new evidence that had emerged since the last such report was issued, in 2005..."

"Papers, please is the latest from Lucas Pope, creator of unsettling developing world newspaper sim The Republica Times. A "dystopian document thriller", Papers simulates the pleasure of immigration inspection in a grim Soviet-style republic: "Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission's primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested."

"With the recent revelation that the Department of Justice under the Obama administration secretly obtained phone records for Associated Press journalists — and previous subpoenas by the Bush administration targeting the Washington Post and New York Times — it is clear that whether Democrat or Republican, we now live in a surveillance dystopia beyond Orwell’s Big Brother vision. Even privately collected data isn’t immune, and some highly sensitive data is particularly vulnerable thanks to the Third Party Doctrine.

So how can one safely leak information to the press?

Well, it’s hard. Even the head of the CIA can’t email his mistress without being identified by the FBI. With a simple subpoena or warrant, the FBI can obtain historical calling information (and with cellphones, location history); email messages (and records revealing the pattern of where and when the target accessed these accounts); internet activity; and much more."

"The U.S. Ambassador to Russia was summoned Wednesday by the Russian foreign ministry in connection with an alleged spy detention in Moscow.

Michael McFaul entered the ministry's building in central Moscow and left half an hour later without saying a word to journalists waiting outside the compound.

Russia's Federal Security Service said Tuesday that it briefly detained Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, who was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money. Fogle was later handed over to U.S. Embassy officials..."
Ryan Fogle: Russia to expel diplomat arrested trying to recruit for CIA | World news | The Guardian: "The bizarre details of the raid to capture Fogle recalled the "spy rock" scandal of 2006, when Russia said it had caught British spies "red-handed" using a fake rock fitted able to transmit classified data. Britain initially laughed off the scandal as absurd, but early last year, Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to then prime minister Tony Blair, admitted it was true. He called the spy rock "embarassing". "They had us bang to rights."

The Fogle scandal comes three years after the US broke up a sleeper cell of 10 Russian spies and expelled them via a dramatic swap at Vienna airport. The ring's most famous spy, Anna Chapman, has gone on to have a successful career as a TV host and Kremlin cheerleader at home..."

"...there are a number of credulity-straining details in this incident so bizarre that it’s difficult to square them with what we know about how the CIA actually works. That alone isn’t proof of anything, but as long as Russian media and security services are pushing hard on this story, it’s worth noting the signs that have a number of Russia-watchers wondering whether there’s something fishy to the story.

Based on the available information so far, there seem to be three scenarios that might most plausibly explain what had happened. The first is that the Russian version of events is correct and that Fogle was just remarkably clumsy, putting incriminating information into an otherwise not-very-useful letter and promising impossible-sounding payouts to his source. The second is that Fogle is innocent, a mere embassy official framed to serve some Russian political end, although if this were the case you might expect the U.S. State Department to be protesting much more loudly than it is. A third scenario could be some combination of the two: that Fogle is with the CIA, but that the implausible-looking props and letter were planted...

(1) Fogle’s “letter” suspiciously ham-fisted. The typed, one-page note, allegedly found on Fogle when he was arrested, appears to be addressed to a the Russian official he was trying to recruit. It lays out, in great detail and almost childlike prose that has been compared to the e-mail spam you might get from a “Nigerian prince...

(2) “Spy kit” looks like cheap costume shop regalia. Fogle’s alleged supplies when he was arrested, photos of which were disseminated on Russian media, include some cartoonish details: a map of Moscow (he doesn’t have a smartphone?), two wigs, three pairs of glasses, bags of Euros, a knife, a flashlight and – this is my favorite part – a compass...

(5) News broke at the exact moment the U.S. ambassador to Russia began a public Q&A session. Ambassador Michael McFaul, who has been something of a thorn in Moscow’s side, began a previously publicized Twitter question-and-answer session at 2:30 p.m. Moscow time. The story about Fogle also broke at 2:30 p.m., local time. Quite a coincidence..."

"Today, I found out I'm actually the uncle of my children. All four of them. FML"

"Today, my 55 year-old mother faked a pregnancy because she was jealous of all the attention I've been getting since I had my twin boys. FML"

"Today, I woke up without my fiancé in bed next to me, but I assumed he'd gone to work early. I went on Facebook to find that he had posted a break-up post to himself from my account and set my status to single. I then found a note with "Sorry" written on it stuck to the kitchen counter. FML"

"Today, my boyfriend yelled me at me. Apparently I'm not the "classy girl" he thought I was, and he's not comfortable "doing such vile things in public." I had tried to hold his hand. FML"

Interesting take on "travel dating"/"sex tourism"/whatever you want to call it - a not unknown facet of the next country I'm due to live in... [Thailand.]
"A common criticism I see is the following: “You can’t get laid in the United States so you go to third world countries to fuck poor women.” It’s an easy insult...  For women, it allows them to believe that they are still beautiful princesses who don’t have to [change.] It’s much easier to call guys like me “losers,” to believe that no desirable man would ever step foot inside Brazil or Poland to meet women, than it is to look in the mirror and be disappointed with what they see...

There is no snappy retort when someone uses the insult because it comes from two deeply held beliefs of self-preservation: 
1. “I don’t have to change or improve myself to get what I want.” 
2. “If someone doesn’t like me, it’s never my fault.” 

Most guys who dabble in dating travel do it not because they can’t get laid in America, but because they want to lay better. An American man with tight game can leverage that into getting with foreign women who I guarantee will increase his happiness level...  

How about the guy with severe appearance deformities, negative game, and a psychiatric disorder who decides to hit Thailand in order to sleep with a dozen prostitutes? Should we shame him for such a trip? 

...If it makes him happy, and he’s able to leverage his American dollars to get abroad what he can’t get at home, he should fuck all the prostitutes he can handle. Explain to me how it’s smart for any society to prevent millions of sexually frustrated men from getting their biological needs met. For women to deny fucking these “losers” and then shame them at the same time for paying prostitutes is nothing short of cruel. If these men committed mass suicide, not a single feminist tear would be shed..."

Continuing to understand better some of the nonsense of my youth...
"Because of the financial and social hardship faced after divorce, most people assume that generally husbands have instigated divorce since the introduction of no-fault divorce. Yet women file for divorce and are often the instigators of separation, despite a deep attachment to their children and the evidence that many divorces harm children...
"In 2000, two law professors, Margaret Brinig from Notre Dame University and Douglas Allen from Iowa, conducted a surprising study. The two professors studied 46,000 divorce cases filed in four states---Connecticut, Virginia, Montana and Oregon---to find out why women file for divorce. The results of that study, published in "These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women," proved to be surprising. Women are 66 percent more likely to file for a divorce than a man, Brinig and Allen say...

"Because I've Outgrown Him" 
"Because I Don't Need Him" 
"Because I Will Win" 
Statistically, author Margaret Brinig says, women who filed for divorce most often felt confident they would receive advantageous custody agreements. "The question of custody absolutely swamps all the other variables," Brinig said. "Our study found that children are the most important asset in a marriage and the partner who expects to get custody is by far the one most likely to file for divorce." Brinig adds that not only are women certain they will get custody, they divorce specifically in order to "gain full control over the children..."
"The solution to the mystery, the factor that determined most cases, turned out to be the question of child custody. Women are much more willing to split up because -- unlike men -- they typically do not fear losing custody of the children. Instead, a divorce often enables them to gain control over the children."

"What do you want to work for?  This has got to be stopped...  How long does this last?  Till you're dead...  It's slavery, but we have to get our own accommodation and food...  You're free to go.  We'll see you back here at 7:30 tomorrow morning."

On the other hand.
"Ecstatically excited, Anna spends five full minutes spewing all kinds of rational-sounding logic about how great it is for a Strong Independent Modern Woman™ to find a man who is a submissive beta male who sits around the house all day... “I love it and I support it!” she proudly exclaims, and gives reason after reason why this is a fantastic thing, and implying great problems with traditional gender roles.

…the truly educational stuff was yet to come. The guy next to her brings up valid points why this is an insane position and how she herself would hate that, and she argues back, hard. Another woman on the set also chimes in and says she agrees…  Finally, in exasperation, the guy basically says, “Your husband sitting at home all day while you’re out working? You would eventually HATE THAT!”

In an instant 180-degree switcheroo, Anna says, in shock and embarrassment, “Ahhh! You’re RIGHT!” She goes on to admit that her “number one turn-on” is ambition. “Someone who’s driven and powerful, that turns me on so much,” she finally admits, and then says about the stay-at-home husband, “For me, I would probably get tired of it pretty quickly.” 

...five full minutes of arguing and bullshit before she finally broke down and admitted that what she was endorsing was the exact opposite of what she actually wanted. God damn this is maddening. Even more amazingly, at one point she even admits that society “programs people”, namely about working hard..."

And speaking of bad relationship choices...  
"According to recent research conducted by Jennifer Gauvain, a therapist in Denver, 30 percent of now-divorced women say they knew in their gut they were making a mistake as they walked down the aisle — and kept walking anyway. Only a handful backed out. Being a women’s magazine, the article goes on to explain that the women themselves aren’t to blame for leaving a trail of wreckage in their wakes because society made them do it.  The reality is they feared losing the option to choose..."

This horrible person knew she didn't want to get married, did it anyways, had kids, then divorced.  Relationship Warning Signs - Marrying Mr. Wrong - Marie Claire
"30 percent of now-divorced women say they knew in their gut they were making a mistake as they walked down the aisle — and kept walking anyway. Only a handful backed out. The obvious question: If you know you're marrying the wrong guy, why do it?

...Clark had dated a handsome businessman for four years before they got engaged, and although he didn’t make her heart race, she still loved him. “We were best friends, and I thought he’d make a great husband and father, even though I wasn’t ‘in love,’” she says. “I walked down the aisle thinking, What the hell? During my vows, I wasn’t making eye contact with my fiancé.” Five years and two kids later, their sex life nonexistent, Clark wanted out. “I’d often wish he would cheat,” she says. Finally, her husband, sensing her unhappiness, ended it...

For starters, blame Cinderella. "Women are raised with an unrealistic impression of what love is supposed to look like," says Gauvain. "Girls read fairy tales where the woman gets saved by the prince, and when they're older, the same message is enforced through romantic comedies where love always prevails, despite impossible scenarios. So women learn that love can always work, even when it's unhealthy." Then there's the usual suspect: the biological clock. Clark's was ticking and she was ready to start a family. "The number 30 reads like an expiration date for unmarried women," says Gauvain. Not only are your baby-making years racing by, but you're leaving behind your 20s — a decade of experimentation, one-night stands, and making mistakes, professionally and personally. In the next decade, you're seen as an adult and can't do those things..."

"Welcome to the future of medicine, in which well-informed patients make decisions that even a few decades ago would have been either impossible to make (due to lack of testing or knowledge) or balked at by the medical establishment (due to reactionary ideas about human nature or bodily integrity)."

"It's a Commonwealth Club tradition to ask participants at the end of a talk to name a 60-second idea for changing the world.  Jeremy's, I thought, was profound:  American kids should be assigned essays in which they would research and report on the lives of innocent people killed in America's drone wars.  The president personally eulogized the three people killed in the Boston bombing, yet we almost never hear the stories or see the faces of the innocent lives our wars cut short (well, in fairness, according to the Obama administration, it's not possible for someone killed by an American drone to be innocent).  Imagine how different the world might be if we were to deny ourselves the luxury of that ignorance...

"Dirty Wars is the most thorough and authoritative history I've read yet of the causes and consequences of America's post 9/11 conflation of war and national security. I know of no other journalist who could have written it:  For over a decade, Scahill has visited the war zones, overt and covert; interviewed the soldiers, spooks, jihadists, and victims; and seen with his own eyes the fruits of America's bipartisan war fever. He risked his life many times over to write this book, and the result is a masterpiece of insight, journalism, and true patriotism."

You can learn more about the book -- and about the accompanying film, which opens on June 7"

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