Linky Friday #179: Armies of Darkness

Cities:

[Ci1] Yallywood ascendant: Hollywood is already losing the movies, and TV may be following them out the door.

[Ci2] If you build it, people may be able to afford it.

[Ci3] Hey, cool, rents dropping in the Bay Area!

[Ci4] Robert Elmes wants to develop artists, and since he can’t do that in New York, he’s going to Detroit.

[Ci5] Not only is everyone else having trouble keeping up with rising rents in San Francisco, but the tech companies themselves are having trouble. All bleeding stops eventually, and that which cannot go on indefinitely ends eventually.

Crime:

creepy clown photo

Image by SailorHitch

[Cr1] Maybe I ought not be so critical of the police.

[Cr2] If you start giving to the Trump campaign, you may not be able to stop.

[Cr3] A couple years back, Radley Balko looked at the racial implications of gun control.

[Cr4] You know, if some people spent as much time, energy, and ingenuity earnin’ as they do scammin’ and thievin’, they’d be in a lot better shape.

[Cr5] Meanwhile, in Australia, the tobacco smugling racket has gone really hard core, as a tobacco executive winds up dead.

[Cr6] You do your thing, Creepy Clown.

Economics:

witch photo

Image by tsbl2000

[E1] Here’s an interesting look inside at Facebook’s thought processes in confronting clickbait.

[E2] Should a witchcraft shop be allowed to refuse service to non-witches?

[E3] This seems like the self-driving big rig that Road Scholar has been talking about.

[E4] British MEP Dan Hannan argues that the United States needs to learn from Scandanavia’s… free-market attitudes.

[E5] According to a study, the ban on new fast food restaurants in South LA (not that anybody anywhere is trying to deny people the right to eat what they want) has not had the desired effect.

Health:

saint damian photo

Image by hannibal1107

[H1] This reminds me of our dog Lisby, wanting nothing to do with my wife when she was pregnant with Lain but not responding to when she was pregnant with Marvin.

[H2] Well, babies certainly are manipulative. Starting before they are born.

[H3] Hillary Clinton doesn’t sweat. That seems like a design error, though, because sweating is actually really important.

[H4] Pretty cool story. I didn’t know 7-11 was a brand in Japan.

[H5] Over at Hit Coffee, I wrote about harm reduction and how ecigarette proponents may sometimes go afoul of the concept even while their argument is based on it.

Religion:

buddha photo

Image by Matsukin

[R1] This doesn’t reflect well on Trump so much as it does poorly on Evangelicals. Or maybe not, if he knows he can never, ever take them for granted, Trump may do more for them than Cruz would have. So there’s that.

[R2] It’s raining bibles in Daeshian Iraq.

[R3] Religion, Silicon Valley style.

[R4] Frances Johnson writes of life as a LGBT Mormon. And speaking of LDS and Mormons, will the issues there keep BYU out of the Big 12?

[R5] How is god supposed to speak with you when the fog machine breaks? Even the Holy Spirit has limits.

We’ll take The Fake Buddha, thankyouverymuch.

Science:

[S1] It looks like it’s finally starting to happen. The groundwork is being laid for superhero and supervillain origins.

[S2] It may have been critical humanity’s advance and a pillar to civilization, but I’m sorry to tell you that fire is problematic.

[S3] Via Jaybird, you’ve heard about double-blind studies, but what about triple-blind?

[S4] Jose Duarte writes of the importance of debunking.

[S5] Our circadian rhythms may be set by light, but for bacteria it’s metabolism.Image by SailorHitch


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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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67 thoughts on “Linky Friday #179: Armies of Darkness

  1. 7-11 is owned by a Japanese company. They also have them in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Not sure about mainland China.

    Edit: No slurpees or Big-Gulps, though. In fact, no soda fountains at all.

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    • Apropos of not very much, until very recently, there was a convenience store called “6-Eleven” on my drive to work. They changed their name to something less memorable; I don’t know whether 7-11’s lawyers got to them or they just decided that advertising themselves as an inferior knockoff of 7-11 was really pitiful.

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    • Correct. The Japanese company started as either an independent franchise/license deal of the American company, grew bigger than the American company, then when 7-11 US hit some financial dire straits several years ago, the Japanese company came in and bought (and bailed) them out.

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      • There are also apparently 85 Tower Records still operating in Japan while they collapsed everywhere else. The documentary on the rise and fall of Tower Records, All Things Must Past, had a very touching seen where the founder of Tower Records, Russ Solomon, visits the head quarters of Tower Records in Japan and gets a very warm hearted greeting by the staff.

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  2. E1:

    Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them — ranking stories so that what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their News Feeds.

    It’s mostly my cynicism talking, but read this less as an effort to reduce clickbait and more of an effort to have better clickbait.

    H4: Two things, 7-11 is everywhere and everywhere it is a local version of itself. I literally just finished a Coke Zero and some shumai that I got at a 7-11 here in HK, Also, Japanese convenience stores might be one of the greatest things on this earth. I had an adolescence spent making late night stops at U.S. convenience stores and drunk munching on all sorts of crap. What I wouldn’t give to go back to that part of my life and be able to transport to a Japanese convenience store at the appropriate time. My personal favorite is Lawson’s. I don’t even need to be drunk to eat there.

    Cr3: This one goes to a story about a Van Gogh movie, but yeah, the more laws you put on the books the more reasons the police have to stop certain kinds of people and the more sentence enhancements prosecutors have to charge those people.

    Cr6: Yes. That clown is quite creepy.

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  3. R5: it is not clear to me whether or not you realize that The Babylon Bee is a parody site: sort of The Onion with a church emphasis. It is not bad, with a decent hit-to-miss rate.

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  4. H4: It always seems weird to me to hear about “Lawson Stations” and the like in Japan. I grew up in Northeast Ohio, and “Lawson’s” was a very small, local, dairy brand. (We had a Lawson store not too far from my house; they were open when the Acme – yes, we also had an Acme – wasn’t). Lawsons in the US closed some years ago, as far as I know. It’s just kind of wonderful to me that what I know as an “iconic brand of Hudson” still exists (in different form, I suppose) on the other side of the earth. the logo is even similar and the first time I saw the Japanese Lawson logo, I will admit my heart hurt a little bit from the nostalgia.

    I have to admit I like the idea of a multi-service convenience store and one that stocks more healthful food…wouldn’t want it MANDATED but it seems it kind of grew “organically” into that in Japan.

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  5. E4: Tell you what. We American liberals will learn from Scandinavia’s free market attributes if American conservatives promise to learn from Scandinavia’s social and cultural policies. It seems like a fair exchange.

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  6. I have been studying (in the “bug on a pin” sense of “study”) American Evangelical Protestantism for several decades now. Nothing in either R1 or R3 is the least bit surprising.

    Starting with R3, this is the standard template for an Evangelical startup (Pentecostal version). Identify a demographic market underserved by Evangelical (Pentecostal version) churches (which you will simply call “churches”) and make cosmetic adjustments to the product to appeal to the precise target demographic. Nothing described here is at all unusual, including the “not religious” shtick. This particular example seems to be more ethnically diverse than the generic version. I don’t know how much of this is substance and how much marketing. The Pentecostal version of Evangelical Protestantism tends to be more open to mixed race congregations and putting women in leadership roles than is the Baptist and/or Reformed version, so it might be substantive. It will be interesting to see how long they can mumble and change the subject when gay gayness is brought up. Most mainline churches have been OK with gay gayness for years, or even decades, but mainlines don’t count in these discussions. More to the point, some Evangelical churches have started to cross that line and welcome gays as part of their marketing strategy. I suspect that Bay Area churches will go in that direction sooner than most.

    As for R1, Evangelicals have never actually voted in the general election based on the candidate’s religion or morals, at least since 1980 when they threw Jimmy Carter under the bus to clear the way for Ronald Reagan. Even in the primaries the candidate’s religion and morals is only modestly important. If you read commentary by this crowd about the current election, the ones who aren’t openly enthusiastic about Trump’s various loathsome qualities couch it essentially as single-issue voting. They expect that Trump will appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court justices, and this quite literally trumps (as it were) every other consideration. (Clinton, it should be noted, is a life-long practicing Christian, but the wrong sort.) The early Evangelical Trump supporters largely came from the prosperity gospel crowd, which is to say the open hucksters, who recognized one of their own. Since then, the Evangelical leadership has fallen in line because they don’t really have any choice: supporting the Republican is what they do, regardless of who he is. This is particularly true of the non-religious portion of the Evangelical leadership. That portion that is actually religious are queasy about the whole thing, and mostly keeping their heads down.

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      • No, she is mainstream Methodist (American version). Methodists were Evangelicals in the 19th century, but have little in common with Evangelicalism in its modern incarnation. Methodists such as Clinton are concerned about social justice issues and couch this in Christian terms. I am totally in agreement with this. I am Lutheran rather than Methodist. I have my critiques of Methodism, but their devotion to social justice issues is the trait I consider most admirable.

        This kind of talk gives modern Evangelicals the hives. They consider all that social justice stuff that Jesus kept droning on about to be at best a distraction from the important issues of personal salvation and, of course, the pelvic issues.

        Part of the confusion may lie in the curious fact that Evangelicals hold up Wesley as a de facto saint, even while ignoring nearly everything he ever said. Or perhaps this is not so curious. They do the same thing with Martin Luther King Jr., while pretending that his entire oeuvre consisted of about one minute from the “I Have a Dream” speech. In King’s case this is because it became unfashionable to open despise him. In Wesley’s case my guess is that it is a holdover from the 19th century.

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          • Interesting conspiracy piece. It makes much out of the fact that Clinton was (and perhaps still is: I don’t know) part of a bipartisan prayer group, and that she occasionally uses some vocabulary picked up from Evangelicals. These have to do a lot of heavy lifting to turn her into a Manchurian candidate for the religious right. Clinton is a centrist. We always knew that. Only idiots proclaim her to be the liberalest liberal ever. (Or is that still Obama?) It is unsurprising that she has been spotted in the company of conservatives, and even talking nicely with them.

            Was this typical of Mother Jones of that era? I only read it for Kevin Drum and don’t have a strong feeling for the magazine even today, much less during the Bush administration.

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            • *shrugs* She’s part of an evangelical organization, even if it’s a quiet one. (So was Obama, remember?) I’m not prepared to say this is anything more than “she prays with people” (certainly not “they’re working their magic on her mind”), although I do think that “she prays with people” and then “writes laws with those people” is cause for some cynicism about exactly which part of this she was happiest about.

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        • In my view, Methodists are not only evangelicals, they are the prototypical evangelicals. What I see happening is that Christian fundamentalist, constrained by limited numbers, have adopted a broader evangelical identity as a means of claiming greater support, when fundamentalism emerged partly in opposition to evangelical Christianity.

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          • They *were* the prototypical Evangelicals. That was a long time ago. Back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries it was the Methodists and the Baptists who were out in the countryside and the frontier holding tent revivals. (The Presbyterians too, in areas with a lot of Scotch-Irish settlement.) The Methodists were also at the forefront of a lot of social reform movements (for, in retrospect, good or ill). But in the late 19th and early 20th century there was a general leveling of denominations resulting in a sort of Generic American Protestant. (Think of the church in The Simpsons, though the writers sometimes take it in other directions for the sake of the episode.) The Methodists participated enthusiastically in this process (as did the northern, but not the Southern or various splinterings of the Baptists). Modern Evangelicalism most certainly was not a part of this. Arguably, it developed in reaction to Generic American Protestantism.

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            • Quite right. In fact, HRC’s a United Methodist — same as my wife and in-laws. And under the modern meaning of ‘evangelical’ (and fundamentalist, for that matter) — United Methodists are neither.

              They’re not even close.

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            • I’m not sure what line you are drawing and when it was drawn. From the outset, Methodists leveled denominational differences, that was how they became the largest American “denomination” by 1850 — by eschewing doctrine and dogma and insisting only that one believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, people of varying Protestant backgrounds would at least not feel uncomfortable by anything they heard or sung.

              Fundamentalism was partially a reaction to this intellectual flabbiness exemplified by the Methodists, and insisted on an attention to literal inerrancy as a tool of rebirth (as well as for rejecting Darwinism). I see a division being papered over where fundamentalists are now synonymous with evangelicals.

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              • “I’m not sure what line you are drawing and when it was drawn.”

                That is indeed a tough one. “Evangelical” is one of those words that defies definition. Any nice clean definition you come up with will turn out to map poorly with actual usage.

                Evangelicalism in its modern form is the bastard love child of older Evangelicalism and the Jesus Freaks of the ’60s counterculture. As the word is presently used it is something of an umbrella term. The Fundamentalists are one strain within modern Evangelicalism, as are the Pentecostalists. We can throw in the neo-Reformed and the Prosperity Gospel hucksters, so long as we don’t imagine that there are clear lines between them.

                The Methodists are, as you say, a pretty big-umbrella bunch. And the church growth movement spilled over into the mainlines,so you will find misguided attempts at being “relevant” in all sorts of places. It wouldn’t surprise me to find Methodists who functionally are Evangelicals. But walk into a random United Methodist church on a random Sunday and will are more likely to find a slightly updated version of mid-20th century Generic American Protestant.

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                • I was raised Lutheran (not Missouri Synod), in a very old-school church. (Heavy German influences, in fact. Lots of immigrants, we sang Stille Nacht at Christmas, etc).

                  The difference between that service and the UMC service is minimal. I suspect the UMC’s swapping of pastors around is probably the most significant theological difference between the classical Lutheran Church I was raised in and our local UMC.

                  Well, they have a bit more emphasis on being a social gathering place (not like the mega churches, but they have a fuller social calendar and more classes) but it’s also possible that’s because it’s a somewhat larger church. (Perhaps two to three times bigger, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a service with more than about 200 people).

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                  • I belong to a Lutheran church that is still heavily German. (We do Stille Nacht bilingually.) We do a very traditional liturgy. My wife and daughters attend a UMC church, which has an excellent youth program. The times I have attended, the liturgy could be most generously described as vestigial. There may be some selection bias, since I am most likely to attend on “special” occasions. The Christmas Eve family service functionally is a youth Christmas performance. (My church’s Christmas Eve service is a standard liturgy with extra music.)

                    The Methodists were 18th century Anglicans who got religion. They started out with the Anglican liturgy, but many nowadays find themselves easily distracted. I suspect it varies wildly.

                    And no, pastor assignment is not the most important theological difference, though it may be the most important practical difference. Lutherans don’t really have a theology of how to do this. It is a combination of tradition and pragmatism, and how it is done in the US is not necessarily how it is done elsewhere.

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                    • Very true. :)

                      Liturgy and theology are very close, there’s a few changes that might be a bigger difference to some than others, but there’s certainly no huge push towards missionary work, recruitment, and there’s a definite aversion to politics.

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    • Some Jewish congregations try to do the R3 thing but it doesn’t really work that well. Despite over a century of effort, Judaism is a religion that doesn’t take to updating well. Even the most liberal and modern congregations work best when there is at least a nod towards tradition. Jews as individuals also don’t have the right mindset for these sorts things to work.

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      • Some Jewish congregations try to do the R3 thing

        *shudder* One of the many problems with this approach is that if you define your church by its similarity to the general culture, you have a constantly moving target. This is an old problem. Back in the day there was the well understood phenomenon of the hip youth pastor who related well with the kids because he was just a little older, aging into the vaguely pathetic guy in his thirties trying too hard to be hip, gradually turning into that creepy guy in his forties, and only getting worse from there. In the traditional church model the escape is that the hip young youth pastor becomes, as he ages out of that, a grown up pastor, with the grown up church aiming for “timeless” rather than “trendy.” One problem the established megachurches are having is that an auditorium full of guys in their fifties and sixties rocking out to a “Christian” version of 70s rock turns out to be strangely unappealing to the kids. So if you are planting a new church aiming for the twenty-somethings, you program “Christian” hip hop. (I have dodged the bullet of actually hearing any of this, but I will go out on a limb and speculate that it is dreadful.) Presumably in thirty years these people will still be doing this, and new plants will have a “Christian” version of whatever the kids are listening to thirty years from now.

        This is pretty much entirely unlike my understanding of the church: the church visible and invisible, with a cloud of saints stretching back two thousand years and, hopefully, stretching forward indefinitely. I and my fellow congregants are a small part of something much bigger. Improvising our worship, constantly wandering around trying new stuff then getting bored with it and wandering off to something else, totally misses the point.

        What makes Judaism so durable is that it is really good at not being trendy. That the Jews persist as an identifiable group after all these thousands of years is utterly amazing. Trying to do whatever the goyim are doing at the moment? Bad idea.

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  7. Ci2 and Ci3: There was a similar story about LA rents going down recently. SF-Bay Area is still a hot mess. The recent webpiece was by a woman in Palo Alto who worked as a well-paid lawyer. She announced that she was quitting some Palo Alto org/board and moving to Santa Cruz over housing issues/costs.

    Ci4: Galpagos was a pretty cool space. I do wonder about whether Detroit has a sizable audience population though but the costs are certainly right for artists.

    E4: What Lee said.

    R3: There is a small church a few blocks from me that seems to cater to evangelicals who moved to the Bay Area who worked in tech. SF is a fairly religious city despite or because of our ultra-liberalism. Many churches seemed packed on Sundays. Synagoues packed on Saturdays. There is a small Islamic population.

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  8. [S4] Jose Duarte writes of the importance of debunking.

    I, myself, can’t get out of bed every morning without a thorough debunking.

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