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daily 03/21/2014

      • Elon Musk, of PayPal and Tesla fame, is worth about $12 billion. It’s fair to say he’s doing alright on his own, and doesn’t “need money.”

         

        Places that might actually “need money” include:

         

           

        • Schools
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        • Shelters
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        • Soup kitchens
        •  

        • Hospitals
    • If you give an immense amount of money to a privately owned company that ends up benefiting from it, you’re not a donor, you’re an investor.
    • How long have we been trying to fight malaria or starvation now? Those issues are not a funding issue. Those are symptoms of political corruption that no amount of money can fix. I’m with Page on this one… give your money to someone who can actually make a material impact.
    • The one thing that both the reporters trying to unearth secrets and the government lawyers on the panels trying to protect the secrets could agree on: the U.S. government is in dire need of a real, working system for internal whistleblowers— a system that would A) get results for their complaints, and B) protect them from retaliation. All agreed this system does not exist today. Until it does, people will leak to the press (more often).
    • Sen. Charles Schumer talked optimistically of the prospects of passing a federal shield law for journalists. The version in question would protect professional journalists only, not the unpaid. And its protections would amount to the right to go in front of a judge. Better than the existing system, but far from a utopia. There is a much larger debate to be had on the insidious negative effects of enshrining any special legal protections for “journalists” as a class, thereby making “journalism” an activity not open to all.
    • In response to questions about Edward Snowden’s actions in Russia, Barton Gellman made the point that it is ridiculous for the media, whose job it is to bring important information to the public, to focus on the actions of Snowden himself, rather than on the ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT TROVE OF SECRET INFORMATION that he released. It is sad that this point still needs to be made. The fucking media, man. Grow up.
    • Likewise, both he and Greenwald noted that it is a canard to argue over whether or not the NSA is really listening to everyone’s phone sex calls. The problem is that they want to reserve for themselves both the right and the ability to do so. “It is the capability to surveil that becomes so menacing,” Greenwald said.
    • “You’re going to have more leaks, and in the long run undermine [the security state’s] effectiveness.”
    • The current situation is one in which the government security state, via the NSA, wields almost unimaginable power to destroy privacy.
    • I also feel like Bob Stoops is actually pretty underrated these days, and that’s not just because his Sooners are coming of a dominant win over Alabama in a BCS bowl. Stoops revitalized the OU program, won a national title, has spawned a bunch of head coaches and has still won over 80 percent of his games. People can take shots at the “Big Game Bob” moniker, but keep in mind he’s beaten arch-rival Texas 64 percent of the time; he was 7-1 in the Big 12 title game; 11-2 against in-state rival OSU and he’s 50-23 all-time against ranked opponents. That’s pretty strong. Not bad for a program that had gone about a decade without a double-digit win season before Stoops showed up.
    • The Cleveland Browns had expressed some interest in Schaub, who could have been reunited with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. But the Raiders wanted Schaub even more, according to a source.
    • So in Divergent, Beatrice (aka Tris) is born into the Abnegation faction that theoretically runs things while eating gruel and being generally Quaker-ish. One day, Tris goes off to the personality-testing center to find out which faction she ought to join, now that she’s old enough — and after a trippy sequence of staring at herself in a shifting hall of mirrors that looks like a mid-80s Sting video, she finds out that she doesn’t exactly fit into any of the five factions. She is… Divergent.
    • In other words, Tris has an inner life and a complex emotional landscape, but all the people around her are one-dimensional and exactly who they appear to be on the surface. This is the purest manifestation I’ve ever seen of the fantasy that many of us nurture in our most secret places: I’m a multi-layered individual with a rich inner life that nobody else could possibly understand, whereas the rest of you people are just single-minded drones.
    • But in a sense, Tris is fulfilling the same function as the Savage in Brave New World, or the one outsider in countless other dystopias — audience surrogate and instigator of dissent.
    • And she has to make sure nobody finds out she’s Divergent, because Divergent people are killed on the spot for the threat they represent to the social order. (This is explained at some length by Tori (Maggie Q), who administers the personality tests but also works as a tattoo artist — basically, if there’s futuristic poking and prodding involved, Maggie Q is there.)
    • The usual strategies of sportswriting depend on the writer and reader sharing a set of passions and references that make it easy to speed along on rivers of stats and myth, but you almost certainly don’t know as much about juggling as you do about football or baseball
    • How did the greatest juggler in the world end up working in concrete?

       

    • Anthony was 8. Part of the annual convention is a juggling contest, and when Anthony competed in the junior division that year, no one could believe how good he was. He crushed the field of 14- and 15-year-olds, taking first place.
    • I’ve watched hours of these practice videos, and a couple of things stand out. One is Nick’s eye; you can see that his advice to Anthony, while sometimes severe, is almost always correct.
    • “I think there’s some kind of magic,” Nick says. “Crazy, isn’t he? Would you believe there’s a guy in this world? … You can’t explain Mozart. You can’t explain Beethoven’s pages. And you can’t explain Shakespeare. You can’t explain [Anthony]. No joke.”
    • In juggling, “it’s very, very easy to fail,” says Boston College economics professor Arthur Lewbel, an enthusiast who has written about the history and science of juggling.
    • “You’re not really a kid,” he says later in Gatto, “and you can’t get away with just being cute and doing difficult things. You had to start being a performer.
    • A joke cycled through the juggling community: I was working in Vegas the other day and someone came up to me after my act and said, “That was nothing. My gardener can do eight.”
    • hen he returned to juggling in 1998, Gatto “was better than ever,” says Cain. In 2000, at the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo, Gatto won the festival’s top award, the Clown d’Or, or Golden Clown, becoming the first juggler in history to pull that off.
    • So he joined the circus — and not the circus he was born for. Given Gatto’s juggling style, his natural home should have been Ringling Bros., not Cirque du Soleil. The Ringling style is this:
    • But Cirque is the ascendant show, the one with the money and the power to draw big crowds, so that’s where Gatto went, joining Cirque’s traveling Kooza show in 2007.
    • The patterns of the objects themselves were also changing. In the ’80s, a few jugglers with academic backgrounds had developed something called “siteswap” — a mathematical notation for objects in motion. Siteswap is to juggling what a musical score is to a piano player
    • Watching Dietz is like walking through a gallery of Sol LeWitt paintings; you know that the patterns come from math, but you also know a human is painting them.
    • But some exchanges were more hostile. Fans would wonder whether it was OK to film a trick 100 times to get that one perfect execution, and Gatto would tell them no: “If you can’t do a trick within 3 attempts, you can’t do it. You may have DONE it, but you can’t DO it.”
    • The reporter added, “Gatto now says he regrets getting involved in the 360s competition — though he says he can still go higher — because it sent the wrong message. The only way to judge a juggler, he says, is to watch him onstage, under the bright lights, over the course of a career.”
    • Bakalor said it sounded like fun. He was excited to see Gatto perform; it had been years.
    • The tricks were happening too fast for me to name them, even mentally, but I got a powerful sense of extreme complexity boxed and tamed — that what would be the hardest trick in the world for even a very accomplished juggler was, for Gatto, just a platform for building another trick
    • I recognized bits and pieces of tricks I’d seen on the practice videos, only here they were mastered, nailed beyond question, and stitched into long skeins of ooooh and aahhh, one trick melting seamlessly into the next, every throw and catch and gesture designed with a savage economy, like the words in a short story that slivers through you and leaves a melon-size exit wound.
    • Jugglers don’t have to perform difficult tricks to entertain people, because audiences generally don’t know what’s difficult.
    • A truly difficult juggling trick doesn’t necessarily register intuitively as difficult. It just looks like a bunch of weird shit crossing in the air. A blur of startled birds. Whereas tricks that do look difficult are actually easy, like chain saws. You disengage the chain so it can’t move. The chain saw makes
    • The whole multibillion-dollar machinery of sports enjoyment depends on the audience’s ability to make fine distinctions between similar-seeming athletes.
    • A sport minus an educated audience is just a story. Maybe a bullshit story. It’s competitive eating. It’s the mortgage-backed securities market circa 2008 — people trying to convince you that they’ve spent a lot of time mastering a certain set of arcane rules and are therefore worthy of your cash and your trust. And jugglers have always taken advantage of audiences’ ignorance. Instead of performing hard tricks, they perform easy tricks that look hard. They lie to delight.
    • The video ends with a shot of the final countertop. It’s painted a deep bronze and has a rich, glossy finish. It looks like quality work. It looks respectable. It looks just fine.
    • Bateman is not stranger to playing a sourpuss from time to time, but Guy Trilby is in a class by himself—and believe it or not, he’s easy to love for all of his mean jokes and willingness to let his personal vendetta get in the way of years of striving in these children’s lives. In the narration that opens the film, Guy fully admits his plan is a terrible, ill-thought-out one, but he’s committed to seeing it through until the bitter, bitter end. His determination is infectious, and BAD WORDS is actually far more than just a series of tasteless jokes and situations. Even if it were just that, it would be a damn funny film, but it’s also a sly study of inner turmoil and misguided revenge executed by a man well aware of his flaws but helpless to stop himself from falling victim to them. If you can see and hear past the four-letter words, there’s something really impressive going on here.
    • Most kids pick the faction that their parents are in, and then there are those who are divergent, meaning they seem to show qualities of various factions, thus making them dangerous because that’s what author Veronica Roth tells us and not for any logical reason.
    • The key with intense workouts—either strength sessions in the gym or running interval workouts—is to make the hard portions very hard, and take enough recovery so you can keep going at the same intensity level.
    • Fat Burner #3: Frequency

      How often do you run every week? Most runners fall into the 2 to 4 runs per week category, and from an advanced weight-loss perspective, that’s simply not enough.

    • Being at your healthy, ideal weight would certainly make you a faster runner. In fact, a study completed in 2007 found that for every percentage increase in body mass, it cost study participants an extra 1.4 percent in metabolic energy to propel themselves forward. Of course, that’s not a direct comparison for runners since they weren’t running a race, time trial or other maximum effort.
    • Several studies have shown that the longer a subject exercised, the longer it took for their metabolic rate to return to pre-exercise levels. Even at relatively moderate exercise durations, the benefit is significant. Another study found that this “exercise after-burn” is more than doubled when exercise is increased from 30 to 45 minutes. And after 60 minutes? Metabolic rate increased by a factor of five!
      • fun for an hour to maximize metabolic afterburn
    • Yesterday, Cogent asked the FCC to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers, which would allow the commission to reinstate its former rules and perhaps implement stricter ones.
    • Netflix said the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules weren’t strong enough “to protect an open, competitive Internet.” The video company wants “settlement-free peering”—exchanging traffic without payment—to be required by regulation. “Strong net neutrality additionally prevents ISPs from charging a toll for interconnection to services like Netflix, YouTube, or Skype, or intermediaries such as Cogent, Akamai, or Level 3, to deliver the services and data requested by ISP residential subscribers,” Hastings wrote. “Instead, they must provide sufficient access to their network without charge.”
    • Hastings noted that Comcast didn’t object to the “weak net neutrality” rules that didn’t govern peering. “Comcast has been an industry leader in supporting weak net neutrality, and we hope they’ll support strong net neutrality as well,” he wrote.
    • Netflix today argued that it “isn’t ‘dumping’ data; [we’re] satisfying requests made by ISP customers who pay a lot of money for high-speed Internet. Netflix doesn’t send data unless members request a movie or TV show.”
    • “[W]hen we ask [ISPs] if we too would qualify for no-fee interconnect if we changed our service to upload as much data as we download—thus filling their upstream networks and nearly doubling our total traffic—there is an uncomfortable silence,” Netflix wrote today. “That’s because the ISP argument isn’t sensible. Big ISPs aren’t paying money to services like online backup that generate more upstream than downstream traffic. Data direction, in other words, has nothing to do with costs.”
    • Home consumers are getting the shaft too, he wrote. “ISPs sometimes point to data showing that Netflix members account for about 30 percent of peak residential Internet traffic, so the ISPs want us to share in their costs,” Hastings wrote. “But they don’t also offer for Netflix or similar services to share in the ISPs revenue, so cost-sharing makes no sense. When an ISP sells a consumer a 10 or 50 megabits-per-second Internet package, the consumer should get that rate, no matter where the data is coming from.”
    • New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
    • Fighting Style: They like to come up with fancy plans that would never, ever work in real life. Usually involving a diversion and an ambush — in which they wind up getting flanked and their ambush gets ambushed. Turns out a lot of war strategies from the 18th century no longer work 200 years later, with aliens. But at the end of every season, our crew is suddenly unstoppable.
    • All the high technology in the world stops working, all at once, because of nanomachines. Some 15 years later, the world has reverted to the 19th century, except that America is divided into “republics.” At first, the people who want to bring back the United States are the good guys, but later they’re the bad guys.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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