The sharpening can also be for an edge, rather than just sharpening the point -- this, despite the etymology: from Latin acūminātus, past participle of acūmināre, to sharpen to a point, from acūmen, acuteness. The adjectival sense is almost entirely used in botany (an acuminate leaf) or zoology.
And that wraps up this week's grab-bag of random words -- back next week with another round of the usual mix.
I was told the other day how true polyamory didn’t have rules. You just got to fuck whoever you wanted, and nobody could stop you or it wasn’t polyamory.
Let’s break that down.
Because people forget rules weren’t inflicted on people wholesale by malicious bureaucrats. Rules are like pearls, which are beautiful to us but an irritant to an oyster. Oysters create pearls because they can’t get a piece of sand out of their tendermeats and layer it in nacre until they have a ball of Stuff stuck in their craw. That’s not great for the oyster, but it’s better than having sand ripping up their insides.
And like a pearl, every rule started with some Problem that was causing distress, and people decided to wrap a Rule around it – because as annoying as that Rule was, it was better than the initial Problem.
Now rules, as I’ve noted, are the failure state of polyamory. You’d be better served by utilizing expectations, which aren’t quite as brittle and lead to better understanding. But rules and expectations both are solutions to the same ultimate problem:
You’re hurting someone you love.
They feel abandoned when you don’t text them at the end of the night. They feel threatened when you cancel dates on them to go out with New Person. They feel exasperated when they’re spending their dates with you as a pseudo-relationship counsellor, picking apart the reasons you’re fighting with your other partner all the time.
But hey. You have no limits. So even if your partner’s cat just died and they’re desperate to not be alone tonight, fuck that! You had a date. And you’re not cancelling that because NO LIMITS!
That’d be cruel? You wouldn’t leave your partner alone during a time of need?
Well, I guess you have limits.
“That’s different!” you cry. “That’s what I wanted to do! I chose to do that of my own volition, not because of some stupid rules!”
Here’s the secret to rules, my friend:
Everyone chooses them.
There’s no legal contract for any poly relationship saying, “I have to stay with this person.” There may be consequences, divorce laws being punitive and all, but there’s consequences for any bad decision. You treat them badly enough that they refuse to talk to you, you don’t get the hot sex or the emotional support. If you’re really a shithead, you may lose friends over the breakup. There is no consequence-free decision.
As such, people may bitch about rules, but ultimately they chose to stay with the person who enacted them. Why? Because the irritant of the rules is better than losing that person entirely – or better than the less-critical problem of “I love them, so I don’t want to make them feel bad.”
You’re not better because you made a decision on the fly to alter your behavior to be with someone. That’s how relationships work. You negotiate, you compromise, you figure out where your elbow hits someone’s eye.
And in a lot of cases, you don’t do something that would bring you magnificent satisfaction because you know it would hurt someone. Unsafe sex. Taking someone else to the concert you promised you’d take them to. Disappearing for a two-week vacation with a new sweetie without letting them know where you’re going.
All those are limits.
“They’re self-imposed limits!” you cry – but now you’re changing the argument. Because polyamory was supposed to have no limits, man. Total and utter William Wallace-style FREEEEEEDOM!
…except that compassionate human beings, when given the choice to do whatever they want, will often choose not to do things that injure the people they love.
True freedom involves the ability to self-limit.
And so “Polyamory has no limits” often is a synonym for “I am a sociopath who is only out for my own satisfaction, and anyone who inconveniences me in any way will be shunted aside. I don’t give a fuck about you as long as I get mine.” It’s not so much an ethos as a warning sign that this person is not someone you want to date unless your Venn diagram of what you desire overlaps theirs perfectly.
And yes. It’s perfectly logical to stop dating someone whose feelings are so sensitive you can’t avoid bruising them; I’ve done it myself. But that’s not “I have no limits” so much as “Our limits were irreconcilable.” There’s nothing wrong with a hedonistic relationship based on pleasure, either, so long as everyone involved chose it honestly. It’s possible to have a relationship with such low limits that you never brush against them.
But I generally find that the people who bristle at any idea of limitations are the people who bristle at the idea of other people having needs. They want no limitations because really, anything that obstructs their satisfaction is an enemy to be destroyed.
Date these people at your peril.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
an unprincipled but shrewd person
About the word:
The story of its origin remains unknown, but snollygoster was first used in the nasty politics of 19th century America. One definition of the word dates to 1895, when a newspaper editor explained "a snollygoster is a fellow who wants office, regardless of party, platform or principles...."
Source: Merriam-Webster Online, Top 10 rare and amusing insults
I rode over to Xilinx and rode with them instead.
We rode down to Niwot almost entirely offroad, because Bill has a brand new cyclecross bike. I was on my road race bike, sliding all over the place on the gravel and sand.
It was exhausting.
My coworkers DO all want to go out riding tomorrow, but I don't think I'll have time.
Pirate the bunny is so blind sometimes I feel like I need to hand-feed him to get him started on new food I put in his cage.
Monty got jumped by a posse of four chihuahuas today, all loose. We ran, because I don't want to have another chihuahua eaten.
My phone updated itself and has turned into Super Naggy Phone. "I see your battery is at 30%, would you like me to turn off Bluetooth?" Which gets really annoying when it tells me about six times a day that I have the ringtone silenced and might miss calls and would I like to change that. I'd like a NO FOREVER button.
We have milkweed growing like, well, weeds. We are cheering for monarch butterflies.
Some architecture at Regis University, mostly for basefinder
A sunset for elusis
I have a friend on G+ who is in an awful situation: a lesbian dying alone of lupus in her mother's basement in the deep south. She wants a lightsaber. I'm making the drive electronics for a lightsaber acting prop. This is a sample board for fitment purposes, to make sure that one channel of lighting works correctly with a control board someone else is doing, and also provides a one-shot-producing microcontroller using a hall effect sensor. The intent is that when a magnetic ring she wears gets close to the system, it detects the magnet, sends out a single pulse, and the control board handles sequencing and colors, then when her hand moves away it sends out a second pulse. (It's a silly way to handle off/on, in my opinion, but I'm working with someone else's design.) The whole works is a three channel, 1 amp per channel, LED driver with high efficiency, all designed to fit in (while not overheating) a 22mm in diameter cavity inside an aluminum lightsaber body.
I found an old body washer and bored it out to 22mm to make sure it slid snugly over the board.
The board is only about 1/3 loaded: one channel of LED driver and the microcontroller, and one big ol' coilcraft inductor to make sure it fits in the enclosure. It's missing two more drivers and another regulator to provide high efficiency power to the microcontroller. If I get the time I may port the code over to a TI microcontroller that uses 1/1000 the power of this one and costs 1/10 as much.
synchysis (SIN-ki-suhs) - n., a parallel structure in the order of words in two phrases; any linguistic structure with an A-B-A-B pattern; (rhet.) a confused arrangement of words in a sentence, such as an inversion taken to extreme.
I like chiasmus, for chiasmatic structures are likeable. "He knowingly led and we followed blindly." It's useful all sorts of way for binding phrases together and highlighting that they are bound. It's also capable of quite subtle effects, such as when used as a pattern of alliteration binding four key words together without being obvious about it by alliterating all four on the same sound. The name comes from the Greek letter chi, written Χ -- and why becomes clearer when you write the schema thus:
A B \/ /\ B A
The great variety of meanings for synchysis, which is the much more common structure, comes from a technical use in Latin poetry, where a line in the form adjectiveA-adjectiveB-verb-nounA-nounB (because case inflections have to match, it's clear which adjective has to go with which noun) is known as a golden line, which is a delicious device but does greatly deviate from standard word order.
Regardless, both are originally technical jargon from ancient Greek rhetoric.
For want of me the world's course will not fail;
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not."
-- Coventry Patmore (b. 1823-07-23, d. 1896-11-26), "Magna est Veritas", The Unknown Eros, 1877 [spotted in a tweet by @aristofontes]
1. To move or go in jerky, exhaggerated, bouncy motions, often out of anger.
2. To fling the body about, to flounder.
1. An act of flouncing, a flouncing movement.
2. A strip of materal pleated and attached at one ege with the other edge left loose and hanging, such as on a skirt, curtain, or slipcover.
Origin of the verb and first noun: First known use 1535-1545. Origin obscure, possibly from Norwegian, flunsa, to hurry.
Origin of the secound noun: First known use, 1665, from obsolete French frounce, to gather in folds.
Lanugo is the soft woolly hair that covers the fetus of some mammals, but this adjectival form covers any downiness. It's most often used in botany (and spelling bees) as elsewhere we already have the excellent word downy. Adopted in the 16th century from Latin lānūginōsus, from lānūgō, down/wool -- and so also the root of lanolin, wool-grease.
Not a common mental condition, but enough examples have been documented to warrant coining the term from Greek roots galéē, weasel (also used sometimes for cats) + ánthrōpos, person.
Hey guys, I’ve got a quick-turnaround website to protest the AHCA – but while I’ve written the words and done the research, my web design looks like 2003 hot garbage.
If someone out there can commit to a professional, bare-bones web design to help me get out a three-page website this week, please email me at email@example.com stat, along with a page or two that you’ve designed so I can verify you’re better than I am. (It’s not hard, trust me.) And I’ll happily share details if you’re a professional who knows design and/or political protest and wanna email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, because, well, it’s a last-ditch shot in the dark against the AHCA before it passes next week.
If you’re feeling volunteery, please email. Thanks.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
"This is not a monarchy." -- House Government Reform Chairman Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, after President Bush invoked executive privilege to deny Congress access to prosecutorial documents, which have routinely been turned over to Congress by past administrations. [ USA Today] (via outragedmoderates.org)
I got tired of playing a word in Words With Friends without knowing what it meant. Found on the islands of Sulawesi and Buton, this is the smallest of the cattle family, living in the rain forest as they do, looking somewhat like deer in the body. Name is from a local language, but whether Makassarese or Buginese or Sulawesi, dictionaries disagree.
[I didn't find the original source of this quote from Bryon Rushing, but I did find two fragments of this on Twitter...]
[I wish everyone a happy and inspiring Juneteenth, and keep bending!]
ENFP – Every minute of the rest of your life has been scheduled for you – and it’s a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks.
That is frighteningly accurate.
I liked pretty much everything about it. It's not perfect (there are nits that could be picked), but I liked the choices they made about the characters to include in the story, and what they did with various elements of WW's character design, and the storyline was interesting and novel (during the credits I turned to Monkey and said "wait, that was an origin story and I didn't even notice it!), and they did a good job of avoiding the tired and obvious, and I liked the arc of the whole thing. And it didn't drag; despite being almost two and a half hours long, I never wondered how much longer it was going to be.
And I now have a theory about what's wrong with the other DC superhero movies. Diana is allowed to have feelings. Plural. At different times she's happy, and sad, and angry, and confused, and outraged, and delighted, and so on. She feels different things, and those feelings are important to the progression of the story. And that's interesting and engaging.
Whereas the other superheroes tend to be very one-note. The further along you get in the Batman franchise, the more the Dark Knight only exhibits a single emotion: grim, brooding, vengefulness. Oh, sure, maybe it modulates a half-step into vengeful anger or melancholy brooding, but Batman never gets to be happy or grossed-out or embarrassed or affectionate, just some combination of angry + sad. And after not very long, that gets to be really boring.
Superman is only allowed to be alienated and repressed. He may have other emotions, but their only purpose is to strengthen his alienation and repression. Boring. Batman vs Superman? All repressed-anger-sadness all the time. BOOORRRINNNG.
(The problem with Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern movie was not a lack of emotions other than smug cockiness, but the fact that the movie's emotional arc was incoherent because it was fixated on Hero's Journey Dammit even though it makes no sense for that character. So it was Confusing instead. Which turns out to also be boring.)
So here's to hoping that the Justice League movie manages to figure it out. At the very least, it's got six different characters in it; even if they're all one-note, maybe they'll be different notes...
Thank you for your work in support of an effective Veterans Administration, ensuring that Americans who have served their country can receive a high quality of care. I am writing because I have read news reports that you are among a group of senators developing a health care bill based on the one recently passed by the House. I have also read that Republican leaders hope to pass the Senate bill before the July 4th recess. I have concerns about both the process and the rumored substance of this bill.
America’s health care system needs improvement. Americans spend more on health care per capita than any other country, yet our life expectancy and other quality of life measures trail many of our peers in the G20 (https://ourworldindata.org/the-link-
The message that the House sent with the AHCA was that insurance premium costs are the biggest challenge facing the American health system. Premium costs are an important issue, but they pale in comparison to both the overall cost of care and the ability of many Americans to access quality care at all. Many of the premium savings offered by the AHCA are driven by changes which allow insurers to offer less coverage or to offer cheaper policies to younger and healthier people while older and at-risk Americans’ premiums will rise. These changes will not bring about a healthier or more resilient America. Rather, they will lead us to abandon the Americans who need help the most: the CBO estimates that the AHCA would cause 23 million Americans and 280,000 Coloradans to lose health coverage by 2026 (https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52752 and http://acasignups.net/ahca-coverage-
2016 was a challenging year for my wife and I, navigating several medical crises. We were able to survive the financial aspect not because of low premiums or our ability to save about $2000 through a HSA but because of a reasonable out-of-pocket maximum and because in many cases our insurance-negotiated rates were half of the provider-billed amounts. My biggest worry as I faced months of illness was that I would lose my job and therefore my insurance. Under the AHCA plan and with my newly discovered pre-existing condition, I worry that if I lose my job that the high cost of American health care would lead to either bankruptcy or death. This is a prospect that Americans need not face: our nation is strong and innovative enough that we can find a way to ensure that every citizen can receive quality health care at a reasonable cost.
Finally, I am concerned that you and other Republican senators are developing this bill in private and are hurrying to pass it before the American people can come to understand the proposal and provide our input. America’s health care system needs significant improvements, but the situation is not so urgent that we cannot take six months to have a national conversation about how we can best ensure that Americans have access to the care we need. The United States Senate has a proud history as a deliberative body, carefully considering the impact of legislation not just on the current political cycle but on the effect it has on the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans for generations to come. The House version of the AHCA bill was prepared in such a rush that the CBO has not yet had time to estimate the macroeconomic effects and share that data with the American people. I hope that the Senate takes a more careful approach and listens closely to the people of Colorado and America. I encourage you to include success metrics for cost, coverage, and overall health in the Senate bill; if these metrics do not improve under the bill, its provisions should sunset.
Come 2020, the resilience of the American health care system will play a significant role in my voting choices. I will be swayed not by how low my monthly premium prices are but by whether I and the people I care about receive better or worse medical and mental health care than we could in 2016. I am blessed to have a good job and modest investments; I happily paid $221 for the Net Income Investment Tax knowing that it helps provide health care to those less fortunate than I. And I would gladly pay more in income tax to achieve a healthier and more resilient America.
Thank you for your consideration and hard work on this matter,
Today we had brunch in a park with basefinder, who gave me a neat book about thin-shell concrete structures, and talked about geiger counters a lot. We were going to play scrabble but the wind was strong enough it would have blown away the board. Instead we walked around the lake and admired red-winged blackbirds and baby ducks.
Monty did not eat any little dogs. Success is sweet.
Now I'm off to modify some bicycle pedals.
Yesterday I rode this.
I just about broke my collarbone, and now have cuts and scrapes all over.
"By shooting motes into kernels, worldken folk have shifted samesteads of one firststuff into samesteads of another. Thus did they make ymirstuff into aegirstuff and helstuff, and they have afterward gone beyond these. The heavier firststuffs are all highly lightrottish and therefore are not found in the greenworld." -- Poul Anderson (b. 1926-11-25, d. 2001-07-31), "Uncleftish Beholding", 1989
Definition of verisimilitude
1: the quality or state of being verisimilar
2: something verisimilar
Definition of verisimilar
1: having the appearance of truth : probable
2: depicting realism (as in art or literature)
verisimilitudinousplay \ˌver-ə-sə-ˌmi-lə-ˈtüd-nəs, -ˈtyüd-; -ˈtü-də-nəs, -ˈtyü-\ adjective
Examples of verisimilitude in a Sentence
the novel's degree of verisimilitude is compromised by 18th-century characters who speak in very 21st-century English
Did You Know?
From its roots, verisimilitude means basically "similarity to the truth". Most fiction writers and filmmakers aim at some kind of verisimilitude to give their stories an air of reality. They need not show something actually true, or even very common, but simply something believable. A mass of good details in a play, novel, painting, or film may add verisimilitude. A spy novel without some verisimilitude won't interest many readers, but a fantastical novel may not even attempt to seem true to life.
Not to be confused with the plants of the genus Geranium, which were once considered part of the same genus. The pelargoniums are also called stork's-bills (after the shape of the seed-pod) while the Geraniums are also called crane's-bills -- a distinction that helps me not, as I have trouble telling cranes from storks just by the bill. The name was coined in New Latin from Greek roots Greek pelargós, stork + (gerá)nion, geranium, or stork's-geranium, to add to the confusion.
Pretty flowers, okay? -- and leave it at that.
Two nights ago, we were up by the water tower and she was nosing around in the gutter looking for food because we STARVE HER MERCILESSLY she's only gained 12 kilograms since she started living here after all, and we noticed her jump back and then start nosing at something.
It was a small garter snake that was stuck in the gutter: not long enough to climb up the curb.
I tried to grab it. Between the darkness and her head in the way I got something closer to its tail than its head and as I swung it up out of the gutter it twisted around and tried to bite me. Not effectively: too small a mouth. But it startled me enough that I kind of threw it. Monty thought that was a great game.
Tonight, in the same place, she started snuffling at something that I thought was a bit of trash, and it squawked. It was a fledgling, all black feathers and an enormous wide beak/mouth. I picked it up and stuck it in some bushes immediately above where it was so it wouldn't be quite as easy for the foxes and coyotes that come out at 2 AM.
D, who will be moving into an assisted living facility shortly, is undecided about what size of bed she wants. The room she will have is quite small, so on one hand, she wants to maximize floor space. On the other hand, she's used to sleeping in a full size bed, and not sure she can handle downsizing to a twin.
So I had the brainwave that maybe we could use one of the rent-to-buy furniture places to rent a twin bed for her to try out. While we'd pay a premium for doing this, it would allow her to change her mind and have her full bed moved in if she didn't like the twin, without having to pay the full price for the twin if she didn't like it.
Now, I thought my question would be whether rent-to-own furniture places would even rent mattresses in MA given our laws about reusing mattresses – it turns out they do – or whether rent-to-own furniture places, having the reputation they do of being skeezy, are too disreputable to contract with or would have terms unfavorable to doing what I want – it turns out their model and rules seems ideal to our purpose.
But no. The problem seems to be whether rent-to-own furniture places on the North Shore will rent an entire twin bed.
There only seem to be two furniture rental places that serve the North Shore, Rent-a-Center and Aaron's. Both seem to be convinced that only children use twin beds. Aarons, at least, will allegedly (per website) rent a twin mattress and boxspring set, but none of their bedsets or electric adjustable bed bases are compatable. Rent-a-Center has no twin mattress sets at all; all their twin beds are for children, and either bunk beds, or platform beds (no place for boxspring), all of which are strangely inaccessible with things like elaborate superstructures (e.g. to make the bed look like a car, or a Cindarella coach) or higher than usual bed surfaces for under-bed storage (Captain's beds).
Does anybody have any suggestions about this? I can call the stores and ask if they have things available not on the website, but I figured I should stop and ask if there's things I should know that I don't. Like does anybody know of a local alternative? Has anybody done this?
Palladium-103 decays by electron capture from an inner shell, which emits an electron neutrino, and subsequently emits an x-ray when another outer electron falls into the hole where the previous one had been.
But we are definitely detecting a ton of beta particles coming off my friend. (As in, the geiger tube with the beta window closed detects about half as many particles as when it's open.)
Scattering from subsequent impacts of ionizing radiation?
Apparently, a suprisingly robust finding, even after controlling for absolutely everything obvious, and a lot of clever non-obvious things, too.
While correlation does not imply causation, in case you were wondering: 8.6% higher, on average.
An advance in agricultural technology that increased farm production in the middle ages -- the coulter loosens the earth, making it easier to turn the furrow with the plow proper.
Thanks Wikimedia Commons
The original coulter was the blade (#4 in the diagram) -- discs started to be used around 1900. From Middle English colter or culter, from Old English culter and Old French coltre, both from Latin culter, plowshare/knife. Spencer mentions in The Faerie Queene:
"a furrow ... which my coulter hath not cleft"
The two main senses have separate etymologies. The latter is the earlier one, from Middle English gig, a frivolous woman, with an intensifier of unknown origin but possibly relating to Old English fist, the act of farting. The former is from gig in the sense of a whirling thing with a descriptive fizz.
In my basement sits a bookcase that, I am told, was built by my grandfather. I don’t know; I never met him. He died three months before I was born.
The bookcase has a huge, multilayered wad of gum on the side from when I was a teenager, and had no idea what the bookcase was – it was just in my room, and I owned my room, and besides the gum wasn’t where my Mom could see it. It was my little act of dickish rebellion that, like a thousand other things I did as a teenager, I regret.
And that’s all it was for several years: my grandfather’s bookcase. My teenaged gum.
Now that I’ve taken up woodworking, I can now see the choices he made in making it: fixed shelves, because drilling in the holes for adjustable shelves is a pain in the ass. He chose a little hand-carved decoration along the top to hide the boxlike construction – not exactly beautiful, but a step beyond everyday bookcase making. It sits on a base for greater stability, which is something we haven’t done yet.
Now that I build things, it’s not a bookcase but a language my grandfather spoke. Were he alive today, I could grunt in a manly way and ask what tools he used back in 1960 to make this thing, and discuss where he kept his workshop, and ask about the staining.
And he would, in the way of all woodworkers, be able to point out every tiny flaw he could not correct. Every craftsman knows about them, because you cannot avoid them: that joint that isn’t perfectly snug, that router that drifted from the fence, that board that’s 1/16″ too short. Experienced woodworkers – and me and my crew are getting there – know how to hide those errors with wood putty and on-the-fly plan alterations, but we keep them tight to our chest. They are the secrets of furniture, an encrypted thieves’ cant of sorrow only told to others in the hobby.
Last night I made my own contribution to the house: a dye shelf I made for Gini in the basement. It’s made of pine, my first natural wood project – not that you’d know that because at the last minute Gini insisted on switching from a dark stain to a bright purple paint.
I can list all its flaws: the squaring is off by an eighth of an inch because the pine was slightly warped. There’s a gouge underneath the right third shelf where – you guessed it – the router drifted from the fence. The paint was the wrong kind for woodworking, latex, too sticky to sand the brush strokes off, so there’s dribbles everywhere.
Gini loves it.
And soon, it will earn its place in the basement, just another fixture in the house, a useful engine. And my garage workshop is filling other houses; we have two bookcases meant for Eric’s attic, and two customized shelves meant to fit in the gaps on either side of Jim’s fireplace.
And in a sense, I feel like I’m firing a flare into the future. I will die, like my grandfather before me. But my friends and family will know that Ferrett did woodworking – here, here’s the shelf he built for Gini, we didn’t have the heart to throw it out, can you use it?
Maybe some day there will be someone who never got to know me but can rest his hand on some shelf I built. And they too will speak this language of craftsmanship. And they’ll look at the speckly paint job and the uneven shelves and judge me, and they will look at the love it took to spend a few hours building something because your wife asked you to and adjust their thinking, and they’ll cock their head and look at this stolid thing as if trying to unravel what sort of man I am from the things I left behind.
I wish I could tell them. But I won’t last.
My shelves might.
Let them talk for me when I’m gone.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
[*] Original lyric, "You're a grand old rag, you're a high flying flag." Title and chorus revised (still in 1906) after complaints about the use of the word "rag" applied to the US Flag.
"Do you realize that it's almost two decades now, now since those terrible days in September of 2001? Seventeen years of war and death and sacrifice and the supposed Global War on Terrorism. For our children, this most recent generation, the ones just now reaching the age of reason and awareness, they have never known an America not at war. They have never lived in a nation at peace. Never." -- Jim Wright, "Memorial Day 2017," Stonekettle Station [thanks to realinterrobang for quoting this earlier]
I got back to the Denver metro area at about quarter to 10 and cruised up I-25. At 10:20, as I exited onto US-36 to Boulder, my engine started surging and lost momentum. I was able to safely pull over to the side of the highway on top of an overpass. I took a look under the hood and didn't see anything obviously wrong, so I started the car again (something sounded odd) and tried to creep forward to the nearby off ramp. The car felt like it was going about half a mile an hour, which would've taken me until midnight to get off the freeway, so I turned off the engine and called my insurance company's contracted roadside assistance company.
Some combination of busy callers and short call center staffing meant I spent around 15 minutes on hold before I talked to a person, who said she'd dispatch a tow truck and that I'd get a confirmation text message in 10–15 minutes. 20 minutes later, I called back and spent a couple more minutes on hold. The representative said someone was still working on getting ahold of a tow for me. A few more minutes passed and I got a text that said Apple Towing & Roadside Assistance would provide the tow with an ETA of 12:30am (two hours after my initial phone call). I hung out in my car, feeling the shake as vehicles passed by in the right lane, ate camping snacks, and played games on my iPod for a while. 12:30 came with no tow truck, so I called the number given in the text (303-222-4343), which led to a recorded message that a voice mailbox had not been set up, then disconnected. I called twice more with the same result and then called roadside assistance again. After another 10+ minutes waiting in the queue, the agent tried calling the company a couple times and also couldn't get ahold of them, so they put in another dispatch request.
Finally at 1:30am, a guy with a wrecker from 24/7 Towing showed up. Holy cow was I excited to see him. He loaded up my Subaru and homeward we went. A couple minutes into the ride, a supervisor from the roadside assistance contractor called me and said he was trying to figure out why I hadn't been picked up yet. I said I had just been picked up and gave him the name of the tow company, so he said he'd go poke at their computer system.
At 2:03am I joyously walked into my front door, kissed my wife, and took a shower. (OMG was I dirty after four days running around like a weirdo in the mountains.) Final bedtime was something like 2:30am. I'd already told my coworkers that I might take Monday off, knowing I might be tired from the graveyard shift, so I set a goal of sleeping in. A combination of my internal clock, the near-solstice sun, and a hungry cat woke me up at 8:30, but I was able to relax in bed for a couple hours, which was almost as nice as sleep.
Final score: 270 mile, 10 hour trip home. 5.5 hours driving, 1 hour climbing a castle and taking photographs, 3 hours on the side of the freeway, half an hour in a tow truck.
There was a bit of a happy coda. After unloading on Monday I couldn't even get the car to start, so I called roadside assistance back to see if a tow from my house to the repair shop would be covered. The representative said it wouldn't be, but then looked at my record in the computer system which still showed that no tow had arrived. She was therefore able to schedule my 2-mile tow under the original claim at no additional cost. So I had that going for me, which was nice.
I'd been worried that this might be the final outing for my car, which is now 20 years old, and has 213k miles and a bunch of body damage. It turns out that the failure was due to my fuel pump, which only cost $850 to replace (along with the fuel filter and diagnostics), which seemed like a better deal than shopping around for a new vehicle (since I'm not sure quite what my next ride should be).
Hopefully my family is done with car trauma for the year. In March, my mom totaled her Subaru by running into a large rock at the corner of her street and my dad's minivan stopped operating safely, so they ended up buying two used vehicles in the span of a week. And then in May, Kelly's car got totaled in the crazy Denver hail storm, though the car is still fully functional.
Also, perfume made from such oils, and also (heavy) (botanical) fragrance in general. Borrowed in the 1790s from Persian 'atar, short for 'atar-gūl, attar of roses, from ʿatara, to smell sweet, from iṭr, fragrance, from Arabic roots. Yes, I know, those should be in Persian script, but the odor was too overpowering to work out how to include those.
Repealing Obamacare’s protections would be bad enough. But the new Trumpcare will most likely make your health care worse than before Obamacare was enacted – and if you lived through those days, you’ll remember they weren’t exactly fantastic for sick people.
You may say, “Well, I have health insurance through my employer, so I’m safe!” Unfortunately, it’s rumored the Senate is planning to allow employer-provided insurers to just stop covering you once they spend enough on you. Did your kid need an expensive operation? Well, your insurer’s paid enough as far as the Republicans are concerned. Now your employer’s Aetna coverage has run out, and you’ll have to find another job with another insurer if you want your kids (and you!) to be protected.
I say this is “rumored” because this is bill is so goddamned awful that the Senate refuses to publish a draft of the bill that the public can see. As it is planned by Republicans, there will be no public debates, no hearings, no explanations – just a simple vote before July 4th. Republicans bitch that Obama “rammed” the ACA through quickly, but that took 270 days and numerous town halls and hearings. The Republicans are literally not even letting the American people know what’s in this shitty bill because, as an aide said, “We aren’t stupid.”
Your only hope to knock this off the rails is to call your Senators. Now. You need to call today, because several of the Senators in charge of the bill are meeting to finalize their plans.
And unfortunately, while people were furious enough to flood their Senators’ offices with calls right after Trump got elected, sources say we’re back to the usual silence. People have given up.
I’m asking my fellow Americans: make two calls, one to each of your Senators. If they’re Republican, tell them how this shit will hurt you. If they’re Democratic, tell them to bring Congress to a stop until this is at least debated in public.
Here’s how you do it:
CALL, DO NOT EMAIL, THE AIDE IN CHARGE OF HEALTH CARE.
Politicians can ignore emails the way you do. They can’t ignore calls. Their staffers have to take the calls, which means their staff doesn’t get anything done while they’re handling calls, which means the Senator is far more likely to hear about how the office is slowing to a crawl because the ACA issue is jamming the lines.
In addition, most Senators don’t get that many calls; under normal circumstances, 15 people calling a day is huge. For an entire state. If you can get 50, that’s usually off the charts. So even one call can make a significant difference.
You want to call the aide in charge of health care to be sure you get heard. Fortunately, here is a list of all the staffers tasked with working on health care.
SAY YOU’RE A VOTER FROM YOUR TOWN.
Let them know you’re local up-front. Calling Senators when you’re not a potential voter generally does diddly. You do not have to give your name, though you can if you want; they may ask you for your zip code. If you have to leave a message, tell them you want a call back to confirm the message got through and leave your number.
HAVE A SCRIPT READY, IF YOU’RE SOCIALLY AWKWARD LIKE ME.
A good script is something like:
1) Protecting preexisting conditions is vital to keeping America strong;
2) Please do not repeal the ACA without a strong replacement that protects sick people (they’re going to repeal it, the idea is just to keep the parts that keep people alive), and the bill that passed the House is an abomination that will hurt sick people.
3) I will not vote for any Senator who helps repeal the ACA without a strong replacement, either in the primary or the general election.
You’re free to go on, if you like, but be polite. They kind of have to listen. In my experience, they’ll generally say they’ll pass the message onto the Senator, and hang up. But if you want to be that person who the office groans when they have to handle them – that polite-but-firm person who will be heard – then hey! You can contribute to the office gossip that people are really concerned about this ACA issue, which is good in politics.
CALL YOUR SENATORS, NOT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES.
That means you have to make a maximum of two calls, which will take ten minutes max. (Unless your Senator’s line is already clogged, in which case, keep calling.)
And here’s the trick: If you’re a conservative who’s opposed to mandating that insurers must be able to insure people with preexisting conditions (for some reason), flip the script and call as well. This is a republic, and you deserve to have your voice heard, even if I utterly cannot see why you’d support this particular bill except that you’re the sort of doof who’d punch a puppy if it made a liberal cry.
That said, I said back in January that “I fully expect the ACA will be repealed without a valid replacement.” If you don’t like that very real fact, then call now. I’m sick of calling. You’re sick of calling. The Republicans are making us sick… of calling.
Still. Call now. I hate to keep giving last chances, but man, we’re closer than ever to losing everything.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
ETA: Is there anybody out there who can generate me an actual-fractal with as pretty a color scheme? Willing to pay.
ETA2: Whoa. Whoa. One of the answers to "how can you tell if an image is an actual fractal" is "happen to recognize the coloration as one of the presets in a given fractal generator application." Mad, mad props to jesse_the_k for identifying the generating application, FRAX for iOS, and sending me a proof image.
Yes, indeedy, the original reference image was computationally generated by a fractal image generator. From the image jesse_the_k sent me, which shows more of the open space between the arms, it's clear that a texture has been applied (the "gold foil" has subtle wrinkles which I'm pretty sure aren't representative of anything mathematical in those areas of the graph), which is an artistic decision, but given that I now know what it is, and that it is, while decorated (migod, it's a gilded fern), otherwise mathematically generated and valid, I'm going with the original.
P.S. Which is not to say that I'm not interested in seeing what other people working on fractals come up with. Just that my need is no longer urgent.
Some of the points that struck me:
A democracy is based on equality, specifically equality of voting and opportunity. A society that represents itself as a democracy but has serious inequality, particularly of opportunity, has an extremely strong incentive to rationalize that inequality as being the fault of the people who are deprived of opportunity. People who have the highest privilege are most apt to do this, but to a lesser extent, the people with the least privilege tell themselves the same, out of self-preservation.
People make assertions based on their confidence, and their confidence is heavily influenced by the risk they face by making the assertion. People who assert that the poor are lazy, for instance, have very little risk in their assertions, while people who assert that there are cultural and legal systems of oppression that create and maintain poverty get shot in Memphis. This strongly predisposes the cultural dialog towards the high-confidence assertions.
An aside: when discussions of inequality arise, in most of the places I've hung out, someone will bring up the Pareto Principle and say that 20% of the people are always going to have 80% of the resources. I wonder if the Pareto Principle is a statistical representation of the effect that confidence ratio of assertions has on culture.
The best propaganda uses implied terminology: use of an overt slur is nowhere nearly as effective as a word that is associated with a slur. Words like "welfare" have been successfully racially linked, for instance. Likewise, words like 'childlike' or 'savage' have been replaced by 'lazy' to justify lack of equality without referring directly to ancestry.
An aside, that was wholly new and surprising to me, was a quick discussion of prison gerrymandering. Prisoners in most of the US can't vote (which is specifically listed as a human rights abuse in the European Union, save for in extremely specific cases) but are listed as residents of rural areas where the prisons are located, which strongly distorts proportional representation, and strongly incentivizes those areas towards harsher sentencing policies.
Usually constructed of mud bricks. It looks a little like a pyramid with the top lopped off, and pyramids developed from mastabas by continuing the slope up to a point -- so most mastabas were built during predynastic times or the Old Kingdom. Adopted from Arabic, where the name was derived from maṣṭaba, bench, especially a wide stone bench built into the wall of a house, from Aramaic maṣṭabtā, bench/dais, which may have been derived from Indo-European roots, including either Ancient Greek or Old Persian.