Tuesday assorted links


Handmaid's Tale is Hulu

From the article: "Someone's Making Handmaid's Tale-Inspired Lingerie Which Seems Like a Very Bad Idea Indeed"

"“We’re big fans of the show here at Lunya and named the color after Elisabeth Moss’s journey as ‘Offred,’” a spokesperson told io9. “We’re with the resistance!”

It should be noted, Offred is not the character’s real name but one given to her by Gilead as another form of ownership (Offred = “of Fred”). Her name is actually June."

That is some Epic Fail.

Is this show as unbearable as it sounds?

I've never seen the show, but I did read the book long ago. I can't imagine the plot aged well.

There are people who seem to actually believe that the US is always just one bad election away from a Theocracy. Naturally those people see 2016 as that election. Despite, the ridiculously incoherent lack of logic it takes to imagine Trump as a religious theocrat.

Well, theocrats in waiting seem to like him more than they could fake liking Romney. Let's just say it is not thanks Trump, Falwell, Robertson and Graham that America is not a theocracy.
Paanoid thoughts about Trump's abiliyt change America mirror right-wing thoughts about Obama, Clintons and communism.

By accident, I'm sure, you got one thing correct. You lumped together "Obama, Clintons and communism". Mark your calendar, on this day you said something that was correct.

Will it be before or after Obama takes all guns and Clinton sell al chidren to pizza pedophiles?

Obama's people are still trying to take rights away and still working overtime to undermine the duly elected president so you may still get your wish. As for pizza, I prefer Pepperoni.

The sad think is you believe what you say, the same way people who think Trump is the devil believe.

Do I believe that Obama and the left have tens of thousands of paid activists ready at a moments notice to go crazy in an Antifia or Black Lives matter riot? Yes! Do I believe that the FBI, CIA, and DOJ under Obama were politicized and borke laws and acted unconstitutionally? Yes. Do I believe ths "deep state" still exists and is still fighting to pull off a coup? Absolutely yes. If you are simply unaware of these things you need to get out more

Oh, God. It is "Bill Clinton will make America communist" and "Geeorge W. Bush will put his enemies in FEMA concentration camps" all again.

Except there is a difference between "George W Bush *will* put people in FEMA Camps" and "Obama's little minions *did* break the law to punish his political enemies."

The first is a statement about the future from delusional minds. The latter is a statement of fact.

It's actually a much MUCH better allegory for ISIS.
I thought the first season of the TV show was very good. Only a fool would think there's any contemporary American political parallel. Trump is many bad things, but he is not a theocrat. He is not religious at all. The regime in 'The Handmaids Tale' (both book and show) is a brutal theocracy which holds public beheadings, public stonings, and publicly displays the corpses of the dead as warnings. And women are not allowed to work, and not allowed to go out in public without a male guardian, etc. There is an obvious allegory here, and it is to ISIS, not America.

Tell that to my Facebook friends and Twitter feed (and colleagues in Gender studies and Sociology). They believe that the blurb on the paperback edition of Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale is spot on: “more relevant than ever.” They don’t mean it’s relevant to the Yazidi.

Eh, they fear their world turning into this, even though it is not. Of course, the right also fears a loss of their liberties, even when it is not happening, either.

See a pro-lifer, fear the women getting locked up. See a Muslim, fear the women getting locked up. Same fear, different boogeymen.

Reportedly, a livid lefty called police after seeing a man in a park wearing a pro-NRA tee-shirt.

They intend to ride the blue wave of repealing the Second Amendment, raising taxes, impeaching the man that fixed the economy, lowered taxes, defeated ISIS, . . .

To be fair, they have much to fear. Like not having power to force Christian bakers to bake same-sex wedding cakes; denying Planned Parenthood hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars to lobby for more baby mass-murdering; . . .

If they had the slightest clue of what actually is happening, they would be suicidal. I only wish we could ease their anxiety. Not.

Good point Thor ... though have you ever seen a book blurb that proclaims, "Less relevant than ever!"

Like I said, the people who are reading domestic political allegories into it are idiots. It's obviously meant to be ISIS. You can tell by the beheadings and stonings.

It was written in 1985. So not about ISIS. Not about Trump either. Presumably it was about Reagan and the Moral Majority.

I doubt that people making it or people watching it are thinking about ISIS. Any number of girls protest Trump by wearing the red.



Incidentally that is the way that Attwood reads it too.

The fact is that they are signalling their own sexual fantasies by doing so. As P J O'Rourke once noted, no one dreams of being raped by a liberal. Clearly liberal men are so effeminate that being a handmaid looks appealing in comparison.

"Like I said, the people who are reading domestic political allegories into it are idiots. It's obviously meant to be ISIS. You can tell by the beheadings and stonings."

I think you're being naive Hazel. The intended point is that White people are the real ISIS.

It's not naivety, apologia for the Left is her shtick.

"... the people who are reading domestic political allegories into it are idiots. "

That doesn't look like an apologia for the Left. It looks like she is calling them idiots.

> 3. Why didn’t the $100 laptop pan out?

Kentaro Toyama wrote an interesting book called Geek Heresy: http://seliger.com/2015/11/12/geek-heresy-rescuing-social-change-from-the-cult-of-technology-kentaro-toyama-book-review : many geeks (myself included, at one point) believed that access to technology would be sufficient to increase education, knowledge, and learning.

It turns out that that hasn't been the case, either in the developed world or in the rest of the world. Most people who get computers use them for video games, porn, and chit-chat with their friends. Computer access, in other words, is not usually the limiting factor.

"3. Why didn’t the $100 laptop pan out?"

Because the inventor/promoter over promised and under delivered. They would have been better off targeting the first world school market, with a lease program. And then giving the laptops to third world countries as they came off lease.

The could probably be producing and giving away more than a million a year if they had. Instead of the 3 million total they've managed to produce over the last 10 years.

It did pan out, it's a smart phone.

I think one problem with the effort was that it was actually pessimistic about Moore's Law. It assumed special design effort would be necessary for ultra low cost devices. In fact Moore's Law pushed right down into ultra low cost devices.

There are plenty of sub $100 Android tabs coming out of China right now.

And geez, I picked up a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero W on sale at Microcenter. A full UNIX(*) computer running a SQL database and doing wireless backup from other devices for $5 (and spare parts). Computers continue to amaze.

* - don't @ me on the legal distinction

To your point about interest and motivation, I agree that not all kids are into it.

#1 reason is the smart phone, as others have pointed out. It's obvious in retrospect, but the First World generates millions of used smart phones as trash that are incredibly powerful and useful right out of the box with huge ecosystems around them. OLPC thought that Moore's law would help them, but it helped everyone else, too.

#2 was that Negroponte didn't know what he was doing. The article goes into that in detail.

#3 was the typical-mind fallacy that all these people loved tinkering with computers as kids and figured every other kid would, too.

#4 was the general way that "educational computing works." I've mentioned this before, but the entire eco-system of providing students with computers is super-risky. Nothing is sustainable because there are dozens of non-profits and for-profits throwing things at the schools below cost. The schools will take a $50 POS over a $100 technomarvel. And two years later whoever was giving away their things below cost have either gotten bored or gone bankrupt or there's a brand new class of people doing the same sell-below-cost-to-capture-the-market-or-whatever idea. I have a layoff on my resume from this. Fun times.

Between this and the New Yorker article about the maraschino cherry bees in Brooklyn, I'm appreciating all the followups to years-old hype reporting this week.

1. HBO markets in everything.

A follow up to Fifty Shades I assume. In the world of MeToo women say a lot of things about what women want. But their revealed preferences are somewhat different.

Western men are too deferential to women. They respond with fantasies of being a sex slave. I say buy your SO some of these items and see how things work out.

3. Why didn’t the $100 laptop pan out?

Arguably it did. I would think that the idea was too optimistic but that it caused a flow on effect to a wide range of other devices. Would we have Android if these people didn't try something revolutionary? Well actually we would. But it was all part of the same push for a stripped down operating system working on a very light platform.

4. Hatch silkworms on the far side of the moon? #China

The alternative - dare I say Straussian? - reading is that China can't figure out a single damn reason for space exploration either.

6. Should a philosophy professor give her students extra credit for going on dates?

Only with Otherkin.

1. Some do, some don't. It's pretty clear which is which if you spend some time with them, and you don't open with it. For your SO, yeah, that's fine.

"Some do, some don't. It's pretty clear which is which if you spend some time with them"

I'm sure you speak from experience. lol.

#6 - Would it be considered creepy if the professor were male?

I think the teacher would be fired if he were male. And a long time ago too.

This is creepy but apparently heteronormativity is fine in this one case. It can't be just because she is a woman. Professor Amy Wax is a woman too and she is in trouble for much less.

“Nobody’s interesting after three hours,” she says, which is true for daters of any age.

I would like to meet Mr Professor Cronin though.

Somehow I can't quite picture Socrates saying this.

2. Of course, the view that concentration and its adverse effects are exaggerated coincides with Cowen's often-expressed view. After all, if concentration is increasing, then that's what markets want. So be it. I would only comment regarding the industry with which I am the most familiar, and that's health care. Back during the debates over health care reform, a consistent theme was that the industry was too "fragmented" (i.e., too many small and inefficient providers), and that what was needed was more not less concentration. I suppose one should be careful what one asks for. Today, more physicians work for hospitals than in their own physician-owned private practices. Those who remain in physician-owned private practices have consolidated into large group practices, some single-specialty, some multi-specialty. Is the increased level of concentration a good thing or a bad thing? I suppose it depends on who you ask. Physicians who remain in solo or small group practices are at a distinct disadvantage, as the hospitals and large group practices have more leverage with third party payers and can negotiated higher reimbursement rates, which encourages those remaining in solo or small group practices to join hospitals or large group practices. Moreover, the solo and small group practices have difficulty recruiting young physicians to join them. The day will come when there are no independent solo or small group practices. I can recall skeptics during the debate over health care reform who argued that a policy intended to increase concentration (reduce "fragmentation") in the industry was a ruse, that it was the first step to price controls over health care and ultimately the single payer model. Concentration certainly makes that leap easier. I suppose the same could be said about every industry: the greater the concentration, the easier it is to regulate. Like I said, one should be careful what one asks for.

"5. Who’s complacent? #China"

Tyler did you look at the picture of the lander? Could you tell it apart from a US moon lander from the 1970's? Those lander's actually carried humans to the moon. This one carries silkworms.

Maybe it's not complacency, but it's certainly not a "Giant leap for mankind".

1) One should not speak about China and Great Leaps Forward.
2) It is a giant leap for silkworms though.

Exciting student project..

#5 https://www.google.com.br/search?q=chaos+heavens+mao&oq=chaos+heavens+mao&aqs=chrome..69i57j33.6093j0j4&client=tablet-android-samsung&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=Tt4e_qjiv9BGEM:

5. That Mao quote sounded like something from Jordan Peterson. A lot of people today unfortunately still confuse what kind of society would be fun to read about with what kind of society would be nice to live in, and decide that we should strive for the former. Knowing where Mao ended up, I am very wary of any argument along the lines of “modernity has stripped people’s lives of meaning by making them too comfortable.”

No, that quote doesn’t sound anything like Jordan Peterson.

3. The religion that is tech was so simple and pure back then. "With these tools, we can unleash our full human potential!" Little did we know about human potential.

We treat Africa like a toy continent. Why is it a good idea to fix their problems for them?? The way a human being develops is by being forced to overcome things themselves. How about a civilization. There will be problem after problem after problem after problem, and what's going to happen when Bill Gates is dead? Maybe there's a reason to figure out the electric grid before computers----i.e. crank-powered Youtube machines for five year olds, we would have found out a decade later.

3. The failure of the OLPC program seemed an obvious outcome even at the time (at least to me). In a contest to produce viable products between 'academic tech-visionaries' who are going to start from scratch and 'show everyone how it's done' versus companies with years of experience in the market, bet on the latter every time. I love the bit where Negroponte pitched a fit about Intel selling 'Classmate' PCs to Brazil. C'mon man -- it's obviously a good thing when companies compete to serve the developing world. Competition is what drives improvements and lower costs. Did he *really* think others should refrain from trying to serve that market while his fledgling company tried to get its shit together and ship a product? Apparently so.

Dumping "educational tech" onto school is similar to dumping food onto Africa, in that nothing can ever get developed properly over the long-term, but I'm not quite sure exactly how far to take the metaphor.

Right now, schools (in the U.S. at least) are gravitating toward low-cost, durable, simple-to-manage Chromebooks and education software based on web technologies. What do you believe they should be doing instead?

That's what they're doing now, but will they still be doing it in three years? Will school boards decide they don't want Big Data snooping on them, or will Google's priorities change? Will Microsoft/Apple decide that people should be using Surfaces/iPads instead and start selling at a loss?

There is always some plan being followed right now that makes sense, but it's often completely at odds with the plan from a few years ago, or the plan that will be in fashion in a few years.

"That's what they're doing now, but will they still be doing it in three years?"

Very likely, yes. And it's not just 'right now' (Chromebooks have been gaining momentum in education for years). What makes Chromebooks compelling is the low cost, durability and minimal management required. And I don't know of any evidence that the devices, themselves, are being sold at a loss (and they're generally not being sold by Google at all -- but by Dell, Samsung, Acer, etc). But suppose that Apple and/or Microsoft make changes and start competing more effectively -- wouldn't that be a good thing? Those kinds of ups and downs are common -- why should the education market be different than the rest of the computing market?

Negroponte´s idea of a 100 dollar laptop was kind of idiotic from the start. I find it difficult to believe that he went ahead trying to build that laptop for so many years without anyone telling him.

It was like Jimmy Carter´s idea of creating a "commission of intellectuals" to come out with a house design that would be cheap and afordable for the poor.

In both cases the underling assumption was that the market was somehow inneficient and government or some ONG starting from scratch was going to buil a better and cheaper product.

There is no market failure in either home building or laptops. These markets work very well.

1. I don't think Margaret Atwood intended for people to get turned on by the rapes scenes....

I dunno -- isn't there something of a history of that sort of thing:


Some enormous percentage of literature is about rape. Especially the literature written by and for women. Some authors, like Barbara Cartland made an exceptionally good living at it.

I think that Atwood's book is just a bodice ripper for intelligent Upper Middle class women who think they are too smart for Mills and Boon.

If she wanted to write something that really appalled women, she would have written the Stepford Wives. Now there is a horror story - women working to please their husbands.

5. whose complacent this time?
- mebbe senorstevebuscemi in the the dark and frankly, satyrical
film the death of stalin where he is looking mebbe a little pale.
probly time for that annual digital exam from the m.d.or mebbe
if the world is spinning in greased grooves and your lucky senorbuscemi the nurse practitioner with the smaller digits.
seriously world war one
in the mid east
all over again?
don't think were gonna talk the dumb australians into this goat yoga initiative
if theyre not going
the middleclass is definitely not going
we will go see that film
the death of stalin

If only we were in a socialist utopia there wouldn't be any entity to spy on you...


As if the forces that brought us NSA spying would be eradicated by socialism. That is some pretty stupid crap. Then again In other news socialism eliminates force due to gravity on Earth.

those of us on the vulvar side of life also do not lean in
to world war 1.20 in the mideast
we are pushing

Frankly you will need to push harder

3. Few readers will make the connection between the OLPC hype and the overarching hype that is tech. Of course we want to believe in flying cars and spaceships to Mars. That's the tech of our dreams. The reality is very different. Glenn W. Turner was way before his time. In this long investigative piece, Alec MacGillis considers the intersection of religion and hucksterism: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/magazine/how-liberty-university-built-a-billion-dollar-empire-online.html

#6 fear of missing out? A lot of things you do or learn in college are more difficult to do later. Why single out dating?

2. The big banks did not grow bigger because they were more efficient (*)

* Unless you mean efficient at getting bailed out, and then fitted up with government-sponsored training wheels at the same time everyone else was falling off a cliff.

6. For a moment I thought they meant they had to pay people to go out with philosophy students.

#3 -- There's a price point for a lot of goods where it doesn't make any sense to make a new product, because of the availability of high quality used goods.

If you're trying to buy a car for $10,000, would you prefer a new Yugo or a used Mercedes?

The $100 laptop sounds like it fell below the dividing line. They hit the price point by taking out a lot of features that people really like, which are available with used computers / tablets / smartphones.

There's also the ineffable "cool factor" to consider.

A lot of geeks got started on computers that were objectively worse than the OLPC laptop. But they were cool computers in their day! The OLPC laptop ended up being underpowered and slow relative to its competition -- no cool factor.

5: The desire to avoid complacency in China goes against this amusing Chinese saying (which however is almost certainly inauthentic):

* * * * * * * *

"May you live in interesting times."

-- Ancient Chinese curse

* * * * * * * *

#2...I see a difference between a particular business gaining market share and concentration. Conflating the two isn't useful.

6. "But when Cronin first gave this assignment, she says her students talked a lot about asking someone out but didn’t follow through. (Later, she tweaked the assignment to give a two-week deadline.) "I realized at that point that the social script of dating was really long gone," Cronin said over the phone recently. Because hookup culture has become so dominant on college campuses, Cronin says, going on a date has become "a weirdly countercultural thing to do.""

Really? My impression, having been in college from 2006 to 2010, was that "hookup culture" was really a culture of the sluttiest 20% of the female population. The rest of the girls might indulge in it once or twice but after most quickly learned their lesson after freshmen year.

"Cronin sees two main reasons for why students aren’t prioritizing dating and relationships in college. First, serious commitments can seem far off as a college student; the median age of first marriage in the United States is age 27.4 for women and age 29.5 for men. Second, higher education is expensive — in 2016, the average graduate finished college with over $37,000 in student loan debt — so students’ primary concern is not falling in love but securing a job."

But the data shows students aren't spending much time studying:


"So Cronin gives guidelines: The student has to ask in person ("texting is the devil; stop it," she says in one of her YouTube videos), and the recipient has to know it’s a date. And if they say they’re busy and to check back with them later, don’t. Just move on. "That’s a great skill to build, so that you can have a thicker skin," Cronin says. She believes that the person who asks, pays."

And the fact that the person who asks is usually male, well, coincidence detected.

Dalrock has the best take:

"This is a quixotic desire is to take a snapshot of the sexual revolution and freeze the frame there, but it won’t work. The supposed virtues of serial monogamy and casual dating are not in fact virtues at all. Conservatives long for them out of nostalgia, not a real sense of morality. Moreover, what has destroyed our popular conception of the courtship ritual is the massive extension of the period we expect this ritual to take place (both before marriage and after divorce). The longer we stretch the process out, the more ridiculous the seeming formality of the process (with no real rules) becomes to the young people we expect to participate in it. That older generations pine for a bygone era doesn’t make this seem less ridiculous to young people; it makes it seem even more ridiculous."


6. "But to many college students, Cronin acknowledges, meeting for a cup of coffee and sober conversation with someone you’re interested in on a Sunday afternoon can feel more intimate than getting naked with them on a Friday night."

It's more that the guys these thots are hooking up with aren't the same guys as the betas who are asking them out for coffee.

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