Every meal’s a happy meal if you include a few vicodin.
Your Daily Devotional is a lightly-edited entry from my Twitter feed. Follow me at @jefftiedrich
Yes, PowerPoint sucks. Here’s why, plus some suggestions about how to fix the problem.
Imagine a widely used and expensive prescription drug that promised to make us beautiful but didn’t. Instead the drug had frequent, serious side effects: It induced stupidity, turned everyone into bores, wasted time, and degraded the quality and credibility of communication. These side effects would rightly lead to a worldwide product recall. – Edward Tufte Continue reading
From screwball comedy to – well, screwball comedy
I’m in the midst of reading a detailed architectural history of my hometown, Eden, NC, a gift from my lovely and talented mate. While interesting (to me, anyway, since I’m from there), it is a tad on the dry side (though well done as such tomes go) and a slow read as a result. I’ll review that after Thanksgiving. To divert us in the meantime, I’ll do a little of what I’ve complained about academics doing (and which I did plenty of at earlier points in my career) and write a nice little popular culture analysis.
This past Friday (sad anniversary though it was) I watched TCM’s Friday Night Spotlight. This regular feature of the “old movies channel” as some think of them (I think of them as a national resource for learning about film history) has focused on screwball comedies of the 1930′s-early 1940′s. Continue reading
Periodically we find ourselves needing to remind everyone about our comment policy, which is quite a bit different from what you find on other sites. This isn’t a problem for a vast majority of those who visit us, but every once in awhile…
So, here’s the link to the policy, which not only lays out how we do it but also, in a good bit of detail, explains why. In general, I’d note the big difference in how we do it. Other places work off the assumption that all comments are accepted unless they cross a line and need to be removed. We don’t assume that any comment should be accepted automatically, and we don’t post anything without reading it and actively approving it. Continue reading
Courtesy of Upworthy and WGBH we get this audio of the moment when the audience learns that Kennedy has been assassinated.
I’m not going to call you Jack, since we don’t know each other very well. But, in a way, I guess I know you better than I want to. You’ve hovered over my life for the past 50 years, and, you know, I’m tired of it. I want you to go away. You’ve taken up too much of my time, and my generation’s time, and you’ve been a bad influence. It’s time to move on.
I know this is hard on you. You’ve been loyal, I’ll say that. That aura you projected that so many people responded to in your lifetime has become transcendent. But that’s not a good thing. It’s been a garden path. Yes, you were transformative, I’ll give you that. You looked presidential as hell, even though you often didn’t act it. You inspired a generation, so I’m told. Many people went into public service of one form or another, inspired by you, I’m told. That Peace Corps thing was great, I admit. It’s still around, doing good work. Continue reading
A progressive utopia, World War 3 or something in between?
Sensitivity to initial conditions means that each point in such a system is arbitrarily closely approximated by other points with significantly different future trajectories. Thus, an arbitrarily small perturbation of the current trajectory may lead to significantly different future behaviour. – Wikipedia
Today marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination – which I’m guessing you already knew. Just about everyone with Internet access is weighing in with a take, and I’m not sure I’ve seen any that get to the ultimate cultural importance of the event like the two pieces we have here, penned by Drs. Denny and Booth. Please, make a few minutes to read those posts and perhaps share them with your friends. Continue reading
Yes, I know precisely where I was when someone murdered John Fitzgerald Kennedy. No, I do not want to hear where the hell you were. Nor do I want to read or watch any “retrospectives” on his assassination. Nor do I want to read or watch orations on what might have been had the shot or shots missed. I’m only concerned with what the hell actually happened in and to America since Kennedy died.
A half century has passed since my infatuation with Camelot. Fifty years have passed since the naïveté of my youth promised me wars will end, peace will reign, and society will be equitable. Even after the brutality of Daley’s thugs disrupted the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, Camelot sang as my siren. Even after gunfire from the National Guard killed four students at Kent State, I still believed in what the precisely cultivated mass mediations of JFK presented to me while he lived. Even after Nixon and his protect-me politics of Watergate, I had faith in process, politics, and people — even some politicians.
JFK and my-my-my generation…
I’ll start by quoting myself – a typically Boomer act of self-absorbed self-reference. First, from an email discussion among S&R writers about whether or not we should write about the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination:
JFK is the story of the Boomers – so many advantages, so much potential, so little realized. That we ended as we did may be a psychological reaction to seeing a guy seemingly about to do big things get his brains blown out. And never, ever getting an explanation that didn’t have logic holes, political meddling, and scary implications about the lie we want most fervently to believe about life – that we can know anything for sure. Continue reading
As a principle and practice, deterrence existed long before nuclear weapons.
The logic of deterrence is irrefutable to most, especially when applied to nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, its effectiveness is questioned by everyone from disarmament activists to revisionist historians ― some of whom maintain that other factors constrained the United States and the U.S.S.R. from attacking each other during the Cold War ― to nuclear-weapons advocates. Among the last are those who assert that deterrence is of little value against a state such as Iran in the event that it were to acquire nuclear weapons. Apocalyptic clerics, they allege, would supposedly martyr their country rather than back down from a nuclear standoff, thus necessitating, at some point, a preemptive strike. Continue reading
Bend over USMNT. The Group of Death is headed your way.
Good news: the US men’s soccer team has qualified for the World Cup in Brazil next summer. Bad news: they’re fucked. Continue reading
Fellow Scrogue Russ Wellen called our attention to an article in the New York Times, “A Cold War Fought by Women,” about research by Dr. Sarah Hrdy that quantifies female competition and aggression. Not surprisingly, Dr. Hrdy and her colleagues conclude that it exists and, importantly from a scientific standpoint, it can be measured through experiments that can be replicated. Continue reading
Despite the lack of a world war since and the Nuremberg Trials, which sent the message that war criminals would be held accountable by a world body in the future, it’s debatable whether the lessons of World War II have been fully learned. By that point, of course, the Western world just wanted to put all the death and devastation behind it and rebuild. But, the speed with which the United States pivoted to the USSR as an enemy and were back on war footing, where we remain as if terrorism and China were threats equal to Germany and Japan, suggests we still haven’t digested World War II. In fact, it should be central to our daily discourse on a daily basis. Continue reading