Dec
21
2009

So the wife is less committed to her sex part of the deal than the husband is to most of his parts. The wife can implicitly threaten to withhold sex for last minute demands, but even if he meets those demands she may still decline. And if she is not in the mood there is little he can threaten to withhold at the last minute that is of comparable value. Without kids he might threaten to leave the marriage, but that is a dangerous game to play.

Presumably overall this problem makes men less, and women more, willing to marry, though it may also make men more eager to marry to signal their confidence that this problem won’t befall them. I see two general ways to avoid this time-inconsistency problem:

1. Obligatory Sex – more explicit norms about the frequency and nature of sex, norms wives are expected to meet even when less in the mood. Perhaps wives would have to do something unpleasant, like exercise lots, when there was no sex.

2. Nonobligatory Other – remove something wives want lots from the usual set of stable husband contributions, so husbands can threaten to withhold that without being a pariah. Perhaps the expectation that he sleep at home [added: or maybe a big budget he could spend on extras for him or her]?

Both these approaches have been common in the past. Either would make women less willing to marry. Men won’t propose these because that would signal a lack of confidence, but women could propose them to signal they don’t expect a sex problem. Intuitively this seems unlikely, thought I’m not sure exactly why.

Added 3p: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: people express strikingly little sympathy for sex-starved men.

via Overcoming Bias : Married Sex.

This was really funny. Poor sex starved married guy.

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Dec
21
2009

[Update: This morning, the estimates for Avatar's domestic and worldwide box office take were revised. Avatar performed better on Sunday than initial estimates. The headline has been updated with the correct figures. The following article will be updated as more details come in.]

On this week’s episode of the /Filmcast: After Dark, veteran film journalist Anne Thompson stopped by to discuss Avatar and its box office prospects. While our full podcast review of Avatar won’t happen until Tuesday night, Anne made two points/predictions that I found particularly interesting: 1) She predicted a $1 billion worldwide box office take for the film when all is said and done – a remarkable achievement for any movie, but not as high as the $1.8 billion of Cameron’s Titanic, and 2) There was a high possibility that Avatar would not open as strong as other blockbusters (i.e. over $100 million domestic for opening weekend); it’s based on an entirely new property and the marketing featuring the Na’vi imagery hasn’t been as good as it could have been. Despite this, she predicted, word of mouth will carry it for weeks to come.

via UPDATED: Avatar Box Office Opening: $77 Million Domestic, $242 Million Worldwide, Biggest Debut Ever for an Original Film | /Film.

If we don’t support the dreamers, the people daring to break the mold, the people who delight us, the people who remind us the reason we fell in love with movies ; we are only stealing from ourselves that delight, that wonderment, that joy!!!

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Dec
21
2009

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’

‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’

via The story of the pencil « Paulo Coelho’s Blog.

loved reading this!!!

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Dec
21
2009

6. Talk with your supervisor.

7. Build an emergency fund.

8. Build an exit strategy.

via The Simple Dollar » Eight Tactics for Dealing with Professional Burnout.

Luckily I’ve been doing nos 1-5 habitually. Now must try to incorporate 6-8! read the whole list and their explanations!

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Dec
21
2009

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

By GEOFFREY K. PULLUM

April 16 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of a little book that is loved and admired throughout American academe. Celebrations, readings, and toasts are being held, and a commemorative edition has been released.

I won’t be celebrating.

The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students’ grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it.

The authors won’t be hurt by these critical remarks. They are long dead. William Strunk was a professor of English at Cornell about a hundred years ago, and E.B. White, later the much-admired author of Charlotte’s Web, took English with him in 1919, purchasing as a required text the first edition, which Strunk had published privately. After Strunk’s death, White published a New Yorker article reminiscing about him and was asked by Macmillan to revise and expand Elements for commercial publication. It took off like a rocket (in 1959) and has sold millions.

This was most unfortunate for the field of English grammar, because both authors were grammatical incompetents. Strunk had very little analytical understanding of syntax, White even less. Certainly White was a fine writer, but he was not qualified as a grammarian. Despite the post-1957 explosion of theoretical linguistics, Elements settled in as the primary vehicle through which grammar was taught to college students and presented to the general public, and the subject was stuck in the doldrums for the rest of the 20th century.

Notice what I am objecting to is not the style advice in Elements, which might best be described the way The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy describes Earth: mostly harmless. Some of the recommendations are vapid, like “Be clear” (how could one disagree?). Some are tautologous, like “Do not explain too much.” (Explaining too much means explaining more than you should, so of course you shouldn’t.) Many are useless, like “Omit needless words.” (The students who know which words are needless don’t need the instruction.) Even so, it doesn’t hurt to lay such well-meant maxims before novice writers.

Even the truly silly advice, like “Do not inject opinion,” doesn’t really do harm. (No force on earth can prevent undergraduates from injecting opinion. And anyway, sometimes that is just what we want from them.) But despite the “Style” in the title, much in the book relates to grammar, and the advice on that topic does real damage. It is atrocious. Since today it provides just about all of the grammar instruction most Americans ever get, that is something of a tragedy. Following the platitudinous style recommendations of Elements would make your writing better if you knew how to follow them, but that is not true of the grammar stipulations.

via 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I’ve read the book while in college. I’ve always cringed when people call it a writing bible, and the like. It was especially irritating when people I admired held it in awe. I must admit that I was irritated because I kept on asking myself if I was stupid or something because I never was awed.  I’ve always felt that when our professors or other people we admire declares something we either auto shutdown our brains. This happens whether we are an auto agree type of person or if we are the contrarian type. This is wrong. We should not fall into these bad habits of the mind.

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Dec
21
2009

Laredo could be largest US city without bookstore

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Writer Paul J. Weber, Associated Press Writer – Wed Dec 16, 4:37 pm ET

LAREDO, Texas – The final chapter has been written for the lone bookstore on the streets of Laredo.

With a population of nearly a quarter-million people, this city could soon be the largest in the nation without a single bookseller.

The situation is so grim that schoolchildren have pleaded for a reprieve from next month’s planned shutdown of the B. Dalton bookstore. After that, the nearest store will be 150 miles away in San Antonio.

The B. Dalton store was never a community destination with comfy couches and an espresso bar, but its closing will create a literary void in a city with a high illiteracy rate. Industry analysts and book associations could not name a larger American city without a single bookseller.

“Corporate America considers Laredo kind of the backwater,” said the city’s most prolific author, Jerry Thompson, a professor at Texas A&M University International who has written more than 20 books.

Since the closing was announced, book lovers in Laredo have flocked to the small store located between City Trendz (“Laredo’s No. 1 Underground Hip Hop Shop”) and a store that offers $4 indoor go-kart rides to stock up on their favorite titles.

Schoolchildren even wrote letters to the parent company, Barnes & Noble, begging for the store to stay open.

“Without that store, my life would be so sad and boring,” wrote a fifth-grader named Bryanna Salinas, who signed her name with a heart.

via Laredo could be largest US city without bookstore – Yahoo! News.

This is sad. I hope the new store opens earlier than planned!

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Dec
21
2009

hen you are debugging a problem for hours and hours, you suddenly realize, “I bet it’s something really dumb!” It often is. Therefore, we present…

a list of dumb things to check

Update: 2009-11-25: People keep referring to this as if it was something I wrote to be funny. Damn it, this list is 100% true! These are all things that have happened to me and made me think, “I better write that down to help me remember it!” Even the last item!

Layer 0 – PEBKAC

  1. Make sure CapsLock is off. (Same for ScrollLock and NumLock)
  2. Type it again (without using cut-and-paste) and see if you get the same results. (good way to find a typo) (or a unicode “whitespace” char)
  3. Use cut-and-paste to copy that variable name (or URL, commmand line, etc.) to see if it was entered correctly.
  4. Are the binaries really the ones you think are running? (Did you install in single user mode when /opt wasn’t mounted? Can you check the md5 or sha1 checksum vs. a machine that is running properly?)
  5. Check the file permissions.
  6. Are you really on the host you think you are?

via Everything Sysadmin: a list of dumb things to check.

I’m officially adopting this list as a filter for people asking for help. If you haven’t done/checked if the stupid stuff is the one that is the stubling block do not ask for help. Exception is if you are hot!!! heheh!! joke joke joke!!!!

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Dec
21
2009

It was Sept. 6, 1989. They discovered the newborn wrapped in towels at the front door of a townhouse in their Fairfax County complex and took the infant to Emily’s, where her stepfather called police.

The whole thing was over pretty quickly. The authorities took the baby girl, who was later adopted. Chris and Emily, both 15, went on with their lives, although Emily often cried when she told people the story, and the two called each other every Sept. 6.

Twenty years passed.

Then, on Dec. 2, a college student named Mia Fleming sent them both a message via Facebook: Might they be the same Chris and Emily who had once found a baby left at a stranger’s door?

If so, she just wanted to say thanks.

After all these years, the little girl they had found had found them.

via Woman abandoned in Fairfax as a baby finds her rescuers – washingtonpost.com.

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Dec
21
2009

Topless Bike Protest In Williamsburg Latest Hipster-Hasidic Jew Battle

NEW YORK — Bicyclists planning a protest ride through New York City are calling it their “Freedom Ride” – free of clothing, that is. The removal of clothing during Saturday’s ride is meant as a protest over the removal of a bike lane in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Bicycling advocates say the city erased the bike lane from the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood because some conservative residents were upset about seeing women in skimpy clothing ride by every day.

via Topless Bike Protest In Williamsburg Latest Hipster-Hasidic Jew Battle.

I’m soooo living in the wrong city!!! Bikers in the Philippines should also do this to protest the lack of bike lanes in most major roads!! hehehe!

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Dec
21
2009

At the very least, free will is a useful illusion, leading us to be more prosocial and ethical. Because even if we are just “a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules,” we’re a vast assembly that feels like so much more. William James, as usual, said it best: “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”

via Free Will and Ethics : The Frontal Cortex.

The quoted blog post links to three studies on free will that is very interesting and you would do well to read (at least the original blog post and if that wasn’t enough for you the linked studies.) I generally believe in living rationally and the importance of truth in everything, but if for some people the truth is a little too hard, maybe for some delusion would be okay!!!!

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