Morning Ed: Society {2016.05.17.T}

This… sigh. I do wish that we had a fair and egalitarian way of handling the name thing. My own preference remains for hyphenated household names, he keeps his last name and she keeps hers and names are passed down by gender (by default, but open to mutual agreement).

I used to take pride in being a psychopath, apparently. On the other hand, if a particular friend hadn’t stayed friends with a particular ex, I never would have met my wife.

Alyssa Rosenberg’s piece about free speech and smoking in movies is quite good. I do agree that it would be better if we could show less smoking, like I think it would be better if there were other things we showed less of, but the lawsuit needs to be strangled in its crib. {Yes, I’m aware the lawsuit is about movie ratings and not content per se. Even so.}

Mother Jones has a good couple of pieces on the history of bathroom freakouts.

Benjamin Morris looks at the internationalization of Sumo Wrestling.

Idaho’s decision to drop down from FBS to FCS football was not surprising. The report that lead them to that conclusion is fascinating. I especially find interesting that a variation of my idea for the WAC was sort of taken seriously (sans NDSU/SDSU, plus NAU).

I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time. This, more than anything, is what is likely to make regular paperbacks obsolete.

Wait, isn’t this how the Book of Mormon came to be? First the GPS and now this?


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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40 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2016.05.17.T}

  1. I think it should be up to each couple how they want to handle the last name thing. They could adopt his or hers or hyphenate. There doesn’t have to be some society wide standard for this.

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  2. Much of the debate around a couple’s last names and even more broadly gender neutral pronouns and other things seems based partially on the belief that by eliminating sexist customs, you can get rid of gender discrimination in all its form from sexism against women to transphobia. I’m not sure if it is that simple. Chinese women keep their family name after they marry and the Chinese language only has gender neutral pronouns and China managed to be just as sexist against women as many other cultures did.

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    • This. In the Muslim world, everyone keeps their names (my mom changed her name to match my father’s when they emigrated to the US), including adopted children. It has nothing to do with egalitarianism, but was a way to prevent incest by maintaining family names.

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      • Part of current liberal theory that I do not like is that if we changed the allegedly bad customs of the past like women changing their last names or gendered pronouns than we can magically change society. This is not true. Its the magical word theory of social change.

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  3. Names: This is what happens when you allow others to control processes and when you involve a large bureaucratic organization.

    Friends: This article nails it. I confess. Ask me where are the bodies.

    Smoking: Yawn. Color me unimpressed. You know what get’s my attention, that Truth advert about “catmeggadon” on the internet. Frankly, it’s the only one that’s decent. I don’t care about people in movies smoking. I don’t care about people smoking IRL either.

    Ebooks: I have no desire to have my reading habits, where I read, what i read “tracked”. I’m already tracked enough. Nor do I want my ebook to suddenly disappear or be “updated” to the new version with out my prior consent. That doesn’t happen with real books. Nor do I have to worry about someone deciding that the content is “objectionable”.

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    • I have no desire to have my reading habits, where I read, what i read “tracked”. I’m already tracked enough. Nor do I want my ebook to suddenly disappear or be “updated” to the new version with out my prior consent. That doesn’t happen with real books. Nor do I have to worry about someone deciding that the content is “objectionable”.

      … he says on the Internet.

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      • Well, Damon’s not my real name. My linked email is a “disposable” one not associated with my real name nor any accounts, and for some reason, AI’s think, because of it I’m french and or live in Portland Ore, none of which is true.

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    • Amazon, the world’s largest physical bookseller, is opening a book store! This changes everything!

      (Kidding.)

      I don’t think books are going away until ebooks offer something that books can’t compete with. That’s why I focus on hypertext. Once we get used to that, reading regular books will become noticeably less pleasant. The only really cool feature ebooks have now is the search function, which is really nice, but not enough.

      The ability to click on some minor character’s name and get a refresher on who they are and where they are in the story, though? That would be golden. To click on a reference to something that happened earlier in the book and be able to go back and see that again? I’d love that. It seems to me to be the sort of thing that readers will get used to pretty quickly.

      Even then, I don’t think the physical books are going away entirely. But they’ll finally become the niche item that people have been predicting since forever.

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      • I’m already at the point where I prefer e-books. In fact, I’ll only buy a dead-tree if I simply cannot find it as an e-book.

        A few things happened. First, I tried out Kindle, the old tiny one, and loved it for novels, but not for anything like a textbook. Obviously. But all the same, it was nice to carry around this little sliver of a device and have all my books just there. It fit in my backpack way better than your average novel did.

        So then there is math. Okay, so things started shifting in internet-info culture, and arXiv exploded in popularity, along with many current-ish and “influential” math texts suddenly “available” as a PDF. I was interested. I began to download. If I had a passing fancy to learn X, no longer did I have to browse Amazon, make some guesses, ask on Tumblr, and then plop down $95.00 for that one great text, but then later I see another great text for another $95.00, and they’re huge and my bookshelves begin to sag under the travails of gravity. But no! I can just download a PDF for free. I can’t get every book I might want, but many of them. Do I have a sudden interest in homological algebra? No problem. Google “homological algebra text pdf.” Bam! Maybe it’s not the “best” text, but it’s a start.

        Math is math. Theorems are theorems. Truth is truth.

        I still buy dead trees. Not everything can be found in PDF.

        Blah blah blah. The thing is, at first I didn’t have anything to read these on, ‘cept my computer screen, but who wants to lug around a laptop? By then I had a MacBook Air, but still, too big.

        (A ladylike backpack doesn’t hold a laptop all that well, and I’m all about being ladylike.)

        Since then I have purchased a nice 9″ tablet. It turns out, a math text in PDF actually looks pretty okay on that sized screen. I can upload them to the Google Play Books thing, which then gives me all the bookmark features I want (but no search, sadly). So yay.

        I have, like, literally 9^9^9 math texts now uploaded to my Google Play account — which they had to open a new data cluster for me. That was fine. They want me to know math.

        Anyway, I got accustomed to this. I grab my tablet. My books are there, happily nestled in the caring arms of Google.

        I keep backups of the PDFs in various places. But actually, I don’t worry about the cloud too much. Where Google goes, I go, so to speak.

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        • I still buy dead trees. Not everything can be found in PDF.

          The list gets shorter if you don’t care about legality.

          A friend of mine wrote a good text on an obscure subject. Published in paper form only, no digital formats. At some point, searching on a site full of illegal copies of various things, I came across a PDF of her book. Compared it to my paper copy — dead perfect. Tore the PDF down to look at some of the piece parts. Found embedded copies of the (expensive) commercial fonts. Turns out it’s a copy of the final galley that went from the publisher to the printer. The publisher is now trying to find out whether it leaked at their end, or at the printer.

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      • Books will go the way of the CD, to streaming/online ebooks in that the easiest way for a casual reader, someone who is non-obsesive, to have them will be ebooks. For those obsesed with physical books, the hardback will become much like vinyl. Everyone thought records were going away, but those who really love ALL aspects of playing the music, from enjoying the coverart to actually flipping the disc over keep putting buying them even when they cost much more.

        Unless I am forced to do something else, I always buy the hardcover. I enjoy the art of the dust wrapper or slipcase. I like the feel in my hands. I generally do not go to library’s, as I have my own at home and I like to possess things. I enjoy going out and finding the books, and trading or selling the good ones that I find that I don’t want to a couple used bookstores. Technically I am a book scout, a trade I learned the old fasioned way, by apprenticing.

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      • The only really cool feature ebooks have now is the search function…

        Strongly disagree. The reasons I use a Kindle (paperwhite, if it matters) include portability (Is that a library in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?) and ease of reading (I have reached an age where anything less than ideal lighting conditions make reading paper books difficult). I rarely use the search function.

        I buy ebooks for anything that falls into the broad category of “recreational reading,” which includes both fiction and a lot of nonfiction. I buy in paper for anything that might broadly be categorized as “reference,” which in practice means anything where I might want to flip back and forth through the book, holding a finger between the pages to keep place; or anything where I think I might want this and three other books open on my desk at the same time. Also, anything I think I will probably still want twenty years from now and/or after the zombie apocalypse. Also, anything where non-text elements are important.

        I think under current technology there is no reason to buy a physical book for casual recreational reading: something where you start at the beginning and keep going until you reach the end or get bored, whichever comes first. I suppose the sensual nature of the book is persuasive for some, though this seems odd for beach reading. In any case, it isn’t a factor for me. But for the other stuff, I will have to wait and see the march of technology. At present, ebooks don’t cut it for reference books.

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          • The paperwhites aren’t backlit. They’re…side-lit, basically. And adjustable.

            Bright sunlight or in the dark, as long as you adjust the light, it’s eyestrain free.

            It’s actually better than “book light on regular paper” for reading in dim light.

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            • The paperwhite is absolutely fantastic for text read linearly from front to back. Furthermore, its battery is good for a week of heavy use on vacation without a recharge. This is the voice of experience! It, however, sucks for pictures and diagrams and the like. So far as I can tell, they all suck for flipping-back-and-forth and using multiple books at once sorts of tasks.

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              • Well yeah. I buy a lot of technical references dead-tree, as well as graphic novels.

                I also prefer to have dead-tree RPG books, as well. Half my group uses their iPads, and I note half the group as low-battery iPads halfway through a session. :)

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    • I’m really hate it when people treat capitalism and socialism as one thing that is the same in all countries. Venezuela is a failure because their entire economy rested on one export, oil. When prices were high than things were good and when oil prices decreased things got bad because of the peculiarities of Venezuelan politics and society, not social democracy itself.

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        • What I meant was the particular type of populism practiced by Chavez and Maduro. Its similar to what Huey Long did in the United States. It has a big cult of personality element and since Maduro lacks Chavez’s charisma, it isn’t working now. Norway like Venezuela is a socialist country dependent on oil for it’s prosperity. It doesn’t involve a cult of personality and massive populism, the oil wealth is invested wisely into a variety of programs and solvent wealth fund rather than spent immediately.

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          • Maybe Oklahoma would be a better analogy of a state that is highly dependent on oil extraction, and hit hard by the glut of oil and incompetent governance.

            Oklahoma is in a better position than Venezuela however, since the American government is stepping in with a bailout in the form of Medicaid expansion, plugging some of the hole in the state’s deficit.

            However, experts caution that unless regime change is enacted this will be only a temporary stopgap to real reform.

            President Obama however, has categorically ruled out boots on the ground, preferring to let NGOs provide aid and education to lift the native people out of poverty.
            Others have criticized this approach as insufficient, pointing to the prevalence of ethnic factionalism and tribalism in the region blocking effective use of assistance.

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  4. My sister only spent a single year with her husband’s name before he died. She’s kept it in the intervening years, but she’s getting married again this summer, so I assume she’ll be taking her new husband’s name.

    My aunt has been married three times. A short marriage to Mr. A–, then a marriage of many years to Mr. S– , then a domestic partnership and (once it became legal) marriage to Mrs. D–. After her first marriage, she changed her name to Mrs. A–. During her second marriage, her legal name was Mrs. S– and her children had the last name S–, but she professionally continued the use of Mrs. A–. After that divorce, though, she changed her legal name back to Mrs. A–, and has continued using it through her third marriage.

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  5. That second time line from MJ was fascinating. I don’t know which thing I found more surprising, that gendered bathrooms are such a recent cultural development, of that the House first installed a women’s restroom in 2011.

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  6. In Random News, the Nevada thing seems to be turning into a full-blown meltdown for the Sanders
    campaign.

    He was finally cajoled into a statement by Reid covering the violence, threats of violence, and generally highly uncivil behavior (statement ), which then prompted a rather blistering counter from angry Nevada democrats (including Reid). The statement’s pretty long, and pretty awful, but I’ll just leave the specific denunciation here:

    Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals. But,

    Yeah, basic PR. You don’t say that then say “BUT”.

    The first part was basically a stump speech, then ended with a NV summation that read like it was lifted from Reddit and not his own campaign staff in Nevada. (For instance, he specifically mentions 58 Sanders delegates that weren’t seated. 8 of them weren’t registered Democrats, and the other 50 didn’t actually show up. 6 or 7 Clinton delegates didn’t get seated either for failure to meet the two criteria: Living in the county you were a delegate from and being a registered Democrat).

    It appears he’s torqued off every elected Democrat in Nevada at the moment.

    Per Jon Ralson, the state Dem response is pretty brutal.

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