Linky Friday #199: Women & Men & Space

Gender:

woman photo

Image by Seabamirum

[G1] Sometimes the biggest problem with women in the workplace is other women.

[G2] Some people worry that we are equating ADHD with being a boy, but maybe the gender disparity is that we’re leaving girls behind.

[G3] Some people are scoffing at this piece – and it’s really kind of asking for it – but I’ve commented that feminism will definitely make some women I know better mothers for their sons, and help them raise their sons to be better men.

[G4] Double standards! Men are especially penalized for working part-time.

[G5] Preston Jones looks at how women were treated in Gold Rush towns. Owing perhaps to the leverage that comes with a gender imbalance, it was not always as bad as we might think. There is a reason that women in the west were among the first to be given the franchise.

Relationships:

mormon wedding photo

Image by Elijah

[R1] Scott Stanley explains how sexual history interacts with later marriage.

[R2] Whether the above is due to external attitudes (how people react to sexual history) or internal attitudes (what we garner from our experiences) is uncertain, but here’s some stuff on the external.

[R3] Where aspects of the right and left sort of converge: Is sexual desire immoral?

[R4] This is my nomination for the least surprising data point of 2016.

[R5] What it’s like to date a sugar mama.

[R6] Isaiah Carter writes of the difficulties of Dating While Bipolar.

Nicotine:

Image by reXraXon

Image by reXraXon

[N1] Jeremy Samuel Faust was expecting a damning Surgeon General report on ecigarettes, and came away underwhelmed.

[N2] Chuck Schumer wants a recall of exploding ecigarette batteries. As someone who has actually had a battery explode, I would more prefer that the FDA not stand in the way of companies improving battery safety.

[N3] Cigarettes in film still won’t warrant an R-rating, it appears.

[N4] Some smokers do actually like smoking, and more than is sometimes supposed.

[N5] It may seem like I oppose any and all regulation of cigarettes and ecigarettes, but I think this is actually a pretty good use of anti-tobacco energy. Better than further tax increases, which are probably ineffective, and deceptively named “plain packaging laws” that are repugnant whether effective of not.

[N6] A new study suggests that at a certain point social admonition may adversely affect smokers. To be fair, that only matters if we consider smokers to be people rather than characters in a morality play – and it’s pretty clear where we stand on that.

Money:

capitalism photo

Image by Feral78

[M1] This is not entirely clear-cut, because norms are important, but it seems to me he ought to have been able to keep the money.

[M2] Everything you wanted to know about how to select a good CEO, and why it’s so important.

[M3] Inequality seems to effect subjective well-being… but only as a country moves up the global economic ladder.

[M4] It may turn out that if you charge users for their water, they use less.

[M5] A glimpse at the history of the credit card, and how early losses became a blessing in disguise.

Planet:

sewage sludge photo

Image by nukeit1

[P1] ProPublica looks at Houston’s flooding problem, which starts with the fact that the city has quite a bit of concrete.

[P2] Great! Then maybe we don’t need to worry so much about carbon taxes. (Except we do, because the comparisons are not apples-to-apples.)

[P3] Antarctica is cracking up.

[P4] I always take an All Of The Above approach to meeting our energy needs, but bonus points when we can do it with sewer sludge.

[P5] When the greenhouse effect was discovered, in 1856.

Space:

marsterraformed[S1] What if aliens don’t actually feel anything because they’re AI?

[S2] Killjoy. This is why nobody likes you, scientists.

[S3] James Poulos wants Donald Trump to take us to Mars.

[S4] On September 15, Cassini will retire and plunge to its death.


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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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140 thoughts on “Linky Friday #199: Women & Men & Space

  1. R2: I should be very attractive according to that study.

    R3: Most people would rather be sexually desired at one point than never desired at all. Many people with no love lives will vouch for this.

    R5 proves my point on R3. Using money to pay somebody to date you is clearly a better option for some people than a life alone.

    M1: The judge seems to have been trying to find a solution that would allow the casino to keep the money but save the gamblers from any potential criminal charges.

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    • R3: Most people would rather be sexually desired at one point than never desired at all. Many people with no love lives will vouch for this.

      That’s certainly how I felt in my pre-relationship days. I mostly see it that way still. I do imagine it might be different for someone who, for whatever reason, is desired so often that it gets annoying or feels intrusive.

      Of course, what I say is still consistent with what you said. And being desired sexually can in at least some circumstances indicate a respect for a person as an end in himself/herself.

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      • My observations lead me to believe that many of the most desired people can get very emotionally needy and do not like it when they are not desired. You need a very particular personality or belief set not to want to be desired ever.

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        • I think you’re right, but there’s a middle ground. Few people probably never want to be desired ever. And few (I imagine) really deep down want to always be desired in all circumstances whatsoever. In both cases, what one wants is probably skewed by what one already has.

          Again, though, I think we’re more in agreement than not.

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        • Those who I desire, I want for them to desire me. For others, it’s certainly flattering to be desired, but only up to a point. I certainly don’t like beeing “creeped on.” On the other hand, being attractive brings certain social advantages. It’s a complex dance.

          One thing should be obvious: preferences will differ according to psychology and life experience. It’s wise not to overgeneralize.

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  2. G2:

    I have had at least two female students in my career that had all the *true* hallmarks of ADHD but none of the major red flags most often associated (specifically, they were not “hyperactive”) and I always worried they’d never get the support they needed as a result. Both were bright, but in different ways, with remarkable strengths. But they couldn’t walk from here to there without getting distracted a half dozen times en route. And once they invested in something, the world could explode around them and they’d have no idea. Now, I’m not in position to formally diagnosis any kid with anything AND conditions like ADHD are really hard to identify in 4-year-olds because of how much brain development is still happening. But… sometimes… if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you think duck. When I raised the issue (internally) that maybe these kids were ducks and (with parents) that maybe these kids tended to quack, the responses were similar: “But they’re so quiet! They’re so calm!”

    Both girls left the school after my program and I have since left both schools myself, without keeping in touch either either family. I wonder and worry how they are doing. They both had immense potential. And were both probably skilled enough that they could get by even without outside support. But kids shouldn’t be left to “get by”. I’m really hoping both got every opportunity to reach their full potential.

    ETA: The way we seem to approach ADHD seems harmful to both boys and girls. And I think the root cause is with under/un/misinformed classroom teachers as we are often the gatekeepers to further evaluations.

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    • That’s one of our concerns with Lain. My wife’s in particular, as she believes I was done a real disservice for never getting diagnosed. Being four, it’s hard to tell, but this describes her really well:

      But they couldn’t walk from here to there without getting distracted a half dozen times en route. And once they invested in something, the world could explode around them and they’d have no idea.

      In addition to the stereotype of hyperactivity (which she lacks) a lot of people don’t understand that ADHD isn’t always about an attention deficit but rather a lack of attention control. That has always been my problem. My parents dismissed concerned of educators for precisely this reason:

      “But they’re so quiet! They’re so calm!”

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      • My understanding (NOT AN EXPERT!) is that ADHD has connections to executive function skills (if you haven’t read up on executive function skills, do so… they’re the new buzz word in education). Thankfully, executive function skills are just that… skills which can be developed with practice. Now, just like any other skill, some of us come more naturally to some than others or have higher floors or lower ceilings or what not… but the research bears out that gains can be made. I actually have some resources I can share behind-the-scenes if you really do have concerns about Lain (though, again, I’m just some dude on the interwebs whose never met the girl). But because the supports are all non-invasive… they’re games or strategies or parenting tips… you risk very little harm by trying some out.

        Now, I also understand people with true ADHD have physiological brain differences… something to do with dopamine receptors or something… which you can’t just “practice” away… though you can develop compensation strategies and the skills required to employ them (which is probably what you did to reach adulthood with some degree of success and functionality).

        But… as you say… she’s 4 (and barely 4 if I remember correctly). If you looked at the behavioral identifiers for an elementary age kid with ADHD and applied them to a 4-year-old… every 4-year-old would have it. I mean, a 4-year-old brain is only wired for so much attention management and the like. BUT, as you see with Lain, there is a range within that and certain behavior now may be indicators for future struggles. It is unlikely you’d get a diagnosis at this age (nor would I consider pursuing one unless she was to the point of being unmanageable across most settings), but there are a few things you could do that will help her game some skills and maybe help her “course correct” a bit if her needs are more related to EF and less related to the brain differences thing. Email me if you want those resources.

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        • One of the dirty little secrets that came up in one of my women’s studies classes had to deal with the difference between research medical tests using male subjects and medical tests using female subjects.

          When you use males? Your test will get a lot of points of data and you will end up with a lovely line. Show distribution and you will have a lovely bell curve. It’s magic.

          When you use females? The numbers are everywhere. Worse: you do the test during this week of the month and you get these numbers, you do it during that week and you get completely different numbers.

          So doing research, testers preferred to use males because they prefer lines and bell curves.

          Which meant that research was skewed.

          In this case, it seems that ADHD means “what ADHD in boys means” rather than “what ADHD means”.

          And that sucks.

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    • The term used to be non-hyperactive attention deficit disorder (ADD), but now its inattentive ADHD, but I think if you look at the criteria (need six of nine symptoms), it would be difficult to diagnose a child until they have something like “work.”

      I skimmed the article, a significant part of the diagnostic changes in 2013 had to do with recognizing people get (or are first diagnosible with) ADHD later in life than earlier thought, which is gender-related. Most of the studies cited in this article are old, or were probably incorporated when the DSM-5 was published in 2013.

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      • My understanding is almost wholly informed by working with learning specialists and other such folks in school settings, so it is possible that my/their understanding is different than the clinical one, at which point I’m not sure who is more “correct”. The one student I did have who had a formal diagnosis without any other diagnosis on top did show periods of both hyperfocus and a completely inability to.

        We’d really need someone like Chris to weigh in as he could speak much better to how things like dopamine receptors work.

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        • Coincidentally, my son was diagnosed with ADHD at 6, and had no hyperactivity whatsoever (inattentive type).

          The three types, inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined, likely result from three different neurotransmitters: norepinephrine, dopamine, and acetylcholine (via choline levels), respectively. Serotonin is likely involved in all 3.

          What specifically did ya want to know?

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          • Ha! The Chris signal worked!

            For the purposes of this convo, I’m curious of how periods of “hyper focus” — zeroing in on a task to the exclusion of the world around them — is a symptom of ADHD or something else?

            More broadly, I’m curious about the relationship between executive functioning skills and ADHD (which is probably dissertation worthy).

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            • Yeah, that’s a common feature. My son, for example, would spend an hour focused on a very specific task (a video game, lining up his Hot Wheels), but couldn’t focus on his homework for 2 seconds straight.

              Each of the main types and symptoms of ADHD is (likely) caused by deficits of the neurotransmitters that regulate attention. That is, those neurotransmitters don’t just help people focus attention, they help people determine what to attend to and how much to attend to it. When their levels are low, this can make such decisions (at the neural level; they’re not conscious decisions, obviously) difficult or inefficient. In practice, this means that people with ADHD will have difficulty engaging with things they aren’t particularly interested in, and difficulty disengaging with things they do find interesting. What’s more, after a period of hyperfocus, they’ll likely have even more difficulty than usual focusing on anything else, because they’ve essentially used up the attentional resources they have.

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            • — Whatever anecdote is worth, I’m diagnosed ADHD, and I certainly have “hyperfocus” traits. I always have, particularly for math. Basically, once a math problem gets hold of me, that’s it for the evening. I will be thinking of math. I will not sleep. I will think of math. Getting me out of that space can be darn difficult.

              When I was younger, I would drift off into 30 hour programming session, just deep into some coding problem to the exclusion of all else. I can’t do that anymore, mostly because my body won’t sustain the energy. But still, if something grabs my attention, it can be very difficult to get me off that track and onto another.

              The can make social interaction difficult, in that my friends don’t actually care about Lagrangian relaxation algorithms all that much and certainly don’t want to talk about them. (Some friends.)

              That said, I can’t usually sustain more than a week’s energy into any one project. After that, I jump off onto some other subject. I’ll return to the first, but there is a cost of getting back into the “zone” of that topic.

              Anyway, yeah. Hyperfocus. It’s a thing.

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  3. G3: That boy will grow up to found the biggest, loudest MRA group in Australia. Just like all those Red Diaper Babies going neocon.

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    • My parents were pretty liberal but Saul and I loved our toy guns and swords growing up and wacking each other with them. They thought that the parents who wouldn’t let their boys have toy weapons because violence or politics were just being dumb.

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    • I don’t know how many red diaper babies went neocon. There are plenty of red diaper babies that stayed on the left like Tony Kushner. Some of the original neocons started out on the left in the 1930s but drifted to the right by the 1960s and 70s but the second and third generation seem to have been firmly right-wing all along.

      Then there are some that started left, drifted right for a bit, and went back to the left like Nathan Glazer and Daniel Bell.

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  4. I just have to say that l love the picture of the young couple, assuming it’s from an actual wedding, mainly because I find it touching that people find some occasion to dress up real fancy in this informal age.

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  5. P1: The article never uses the word “subsidence”. Way back in the 1970s when I lived in Texas, there was a lot of concern about future flooding in Houston because so many areas of the city had subsided as oil and water were pumped out. This Houston Chronicle piece from earlier this year makes the point that even modest subsidence can have fairly drastic impacts on the efficiency of the drainage systems.

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    • Subsidence has lead to activation of non tectonic faults in the stack of mud that underlies houston. (See Long Point Fault for details) I recall riding a bike on streets that cross this fault which is also still moving, suddenly you have a hill which in general is rare in Houston. It should be noted that sound bedrock in Houston is probably 30,000 feet plus in depth there. (Igneous or metamorphic type). In addition the soil in Houston is montmorrillinite which shrinks when it is dry and expands when it is wet. Thus the prevalence of foundation repair places in particular with the old pier and beam style of building. Newer houses are pre-tensioned slab on grade, which of course makes flooding easier unless you raise the slab.

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  6. R1 — It’s always for me to read stuff like this, as the standard “hetero lifeplan” was never really an option for me, and one suspects that the “Institute for Family Studies” doesn’t have much to offer LGBTQ people.

    This part is bad science:

    In social science circles, the argument that quickly follows the presentation of such associations is about selection. Some are quick to suggest that those with more sexual partners are not at greater risk in marriage because they had more sexual partners but because of other factors, such as family instability growing up, that make them more likely both to have greater numbers of sexual partners and to face difficulties in marriages. There is some truth to such arguments, but it is naïve to press that idea to the extreme. In my view, it’s not reasonable to assert that a person picks up no added risks in life when dealing with the emotional, physical, financial, and mental repercussions of having multiple sexual partners within just a few years.

    If a confounder exists, you need to control for that. Perhaps the Institute for Family Studies lacks the budget or skill to perform their own studies. I don’t know.

    Absent, of course, is any talk of actual life satisfaction. I know for me, my attempts to live out a traditional life were soul-crushingly miserable, and now my weird poly-queer life is actually pretty nice. I have my bad days. It’s a struggle, but then, I think most of my pathologies come not from “living free” but living constrained. Being in-the-closet trans can be profoundly isolating experience. This hurt me.

    Furthermore, my father is a minister, so I know first hand that the traditional lifepath is not absent struggle. Round we go.

    There is some research that men benefit greatly from marriage, in terms of longer lifespan, better health, more happiness, etc. These effects, however, don’t apply to women. We seem to do about as well outside of marriage as inside. So yay us!

    I believe in freedom. If men want to eschew premarital sex to increase their odds of a long happy life, I support their decision. After all, your sexuality belongs to you, as does your life. Place your bets, spin the wheel. That said, as a poly-queer woman, these facts are irrelevant. I certainly don’t lack for male sexual attention, far more than I really want. Nor do I lack for intimacy, connection, friendship, and support.

    Heck, my ex-wife remains my roommate. We talk a lot, about our hopes and dreams, the paths of our lives. It’s kinda nice.

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    • I was one of those people that was very cautious sexually until I was married. It worked out well. I don’t regret my choices. I can’t say that I think it helped all that much.

      The piece in question is so very thin. I think that a wide variety of sexual experience probably is more neutral than anything. Keeping a marriage or long-term relationship together is a skill, and you’re only going to get that skill if you are trying to learn it. So all that prior experience might give you an opportunity to learn, but nobody will necessarily take it.

      By the way, , your last paragraph really warms me. That’s very sweet.

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  7. [R5] — This really sounds like it belongs inside the BDSM frame, inasmuch as these women seem as attracted to the gender-inverted power relations as much as they do simple dating. Furthermore, one suspects these particular woman, as he describes them, would have little trouble finding men their age. What they could not find, at least not easily, is men who would be happy with that kind of power dynamic.

    #####

    Angela is pretty rapey:

    This is where things broke bad. When I told her I needed to grab a condom, she tried to prevent me from reaching for it. I told her I wasn’t interested in having sex without one, and she told me to stop whining. Instantly, I was no longer into it at all. Somewhat angry that I was being told by somebody what I could and couldn’t do with my own body, I dropped the submissive act and gently pushed her off.

    Evidently the man was on Atavan, plus they had been “bar hopping.”

    I’m glad he retained the presence of mind to get out of the situation. Men can be raped. Women can be rapists. This was almost rape.

    #####

    It’s funny. Two of my current relationships are with younger-than-me women, both with much less money than I have. One of them lives here in Boston, and yeah I pretty much pay for everything. That said, the power dynamic is completely absent. It’s just — not like that at all. The other woman lives in Canada, and in fact I’ll be flying out to see her this month. The thing is, I’m pretty sure she’d hate going anywhere posh. She’s a burger-and-fries kinda gal. So we’ll probably end up eating in cheap places with her paying half.

    She’s done sex work. She knows how money equals power. She ain’t giving me that power.

    Which is good. I don’t want it.

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  8. H3: Neither of my parents would identify as feminists (though my dad did not always have much use for traditional gender roles). And somehow I ended up as one, and I know many other men my age who are. Though she writes at one point as though they don’t exist.

    The piece almost seems like a confession “I thought I was a feminist, but then I found out I was having a son and discovered that I care a lot about the gender of my child, and that’s really kind of sexist of me”. But it devolves into smug, self-righteous pronouncements. Sigh.

    Nevertheless, like Will, I think that a feminst mom is a better mom.

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    • “The piece almost seems like a confession “I thought I was a feminist, but then I found out I was having a son and discovered that I care a lot about the gender of my child, and that’s really kind of sexist of me”.”

      I felt this way with both boys but that last part was left a question… Is that sexist of me? Or something? With my kid-having days likely behind me, there is a part of me a tad saddened I won’t have a daughter. Is that wrong? I really don’t know. Mayo and LMA are similar but different, meaning each will take me on a unique parenting journey. Will a hypothetical daughter’s have been more unique? Yes? Maybe? I don’t know?

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  9. [R3] Where aspects of the right and left sort of converge: Is sexual desire immoral?

    More Marchmaine bait… to be sure “left” and “right” are imprecise terms, but the author, at least from a Catholic perspective, fundamentally fails to distinguish between desire and lust. Mostly, it appears, by failing to account for concupiscence – which is not something Kant failed to do, but seems to be wholly the error of this author.

    Thus the premise that sexual desire is objectification, and the conclusion that sexual desire and objectification are inseparable are not points of agreement among Christians in general nor Catholics in particular.

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      • I can’t speak to motivation, but it seems to me mostly a leftist misreading of Kant owing to personal priors (or more likely Ideological fixe). I doubt it would survive even cursory review by pure Kantians.

        My quibble is that the failed Kantianism (or not) does not align it with “right” or Christian notions of sexual desire.

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    • Yeah, I was raised in… let’s call it a Christian bubble of sorts… and we were taught that sex was a great gift from God, a wonderful thing, a thing that Husbands and Wives (and soon to be Mommies and Daddies!) did together to bond and become One Together In God.

      And if we did it outside of marriage, we’d get a disease and ruin the rest of our lives.

      Sexual desire was seen as *GREAT*. So long as it was between a husband and wife within the confines of holy matrimony.

      It was *DANCING* that was immoral no matter what.

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          • You know, reading the poem made me realize that “concupiscent curds” pre-supposes that the object of the concupiscence is always sensual – at least in common anglo-parlance.

            My use is more along the Latin lines… covet might be a better synonym. Covetous Curds might still work. But basically concupiscence should just mean a desire that is inordinate. That might be sexual (and probably most often is); but my geeky catholic friends joke about Computer Concupiscence… or at least we did back in the aughts when you needed to upgrade your rig every two years.

            …but, back to the thread, if concupiscence is simply read as a synonym with lust, then my comments make less sense than usual.

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  10. G1: I’ve seen this before as well. Women can be brutal to each other in ways that men are not. Men seem to do more one on one semi-physical aggression. Women seem to like total take-downs like the one mentioned in the first paragraph. Very mean girl.

    G4: I wonder if this also applies to contract work/freelance projects as well. I’ve been working as a freelance lawyer since graduating law school. Most of my projects tend to last a few months. Every now and then I speak to a recruiter about a permanent position and they always comment that it is a problem that my freelancing is “problematic” because it shows a lack of commitment.

    Keep in mind, that these recruiters usually graduated law school around when I did and ran into the same employment issues until they went into recruiting. Also keep in mind that I see the same want ads every few months on Craigslist and this makes me wonder if a lot of so-called permanent positions end up being temp in disguise because the person in control always intends to get a few months of labor and then replace.

    R3: I suspect that the left and right view sexual desire immorality in different ways though. The right seems to want people to suppress all feelings of sexual desire and become asexual. The left does not think sexual desire is bad in itself but seems to want a perfect world where people only act on their sexual desire if it is 100 percent likely to be successful. This requires psychic powers. That being said, I think most of this commentary is a lot of heat in on-line debates. The problem with the right’s view is that it is unrealistic. The problem with the left’s view is that it takes the long game. Officially my girlfriend and I have been dating around 1.5-2 years depending on how you count but we had a rather long courting period by modern standards. She has admitted to me that she considered writing me off after the first date but various events and dumb, random luck. I think Lee is right here and too many people just go off one date and can’t let things grow over time.

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      • I don’t think you are a racist but I firmly disagree with the right’s notions on sexual desire and much of the on-line left as well.

        There is nothing wrong with sexual desire as long as one doesn’t use force or coercion to get those desires fulfilled. There is nothing wrong with sex before marriage. There is nothing wrong with asking someone out if you are interested in them and unsure if he or she is interested.

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      • Yeah, I have. I debate economics with Hanley all the time. What do you think will happen? Conversion? The right seems to think the left is so weak-willed that we are easily converted. The right seems constantly gob-smacked that liberals have their beliefs and keep to them and don’t fold to right-wing conservatism easily.

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        • I’m not hoping for conversion, necessarily, just accuracy. Everything I remember you writing about the right is a caricature. I don’t think you’re weak-willed; I suspect you’re so strong-willed that you don’t even consider whether you’re describing your opponents correctly. I probably shouldn’t even use the term “opponents”, because I don’t see any sign that you know who these people are that you think you disagree with.

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    • G1 keeps taking me to a Linked In sign in page for some reason but I think one of the famous mid-20th century female anthropologists thought that women shouldn’t be soldiers because they don’t know when to stop fighting.

      G4 staying in a job for too long is also apparently bad because it shows lack of dare and initiative.

      R3 you really should apologize for this comment.

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  11. M1 – Wait wait wait…

    “By using cards they caused to be maneuvered in order to identify their value only to them,” the judge wrote, “Ivey and Sun adjusted the odds of Baccarat in their favor. This is in complete contravention of the fundamental purpose of legalized gambling as set forth by [New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission.] Ivey and Sun’s violation .?.?. constitutes a breach of their mutual obligation with Borgata to play by the rules” of the state’s law.

    They ’caused’ to be maneuvered? What absurd weasel-wording.

    They *asked* the casino to maneuver those cards and *the casino did it*.

    If I ask a casino to put little blocks of wood on the red slots of a roulette wheel so the ball can’t land there, and they do so, and I bet on black and keep winning, am I cheating? Hell no.

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    • This. I hate how casinos have no legal problem gaining from information asymmetry that leans in their direction, but once its flipped, it’s your problem. Especially considering it is their casino’s branded cards. That’s on them.

      What I wonder is how the London casino figured it out.

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        • It isn’t at a poker table. It is for him (and for anyone else) at a table game against the house.

          eta – I mean, casinos are all about whale hunting, but if they’re simply whale watching, someone’s not doing their job. (i.e. ‘this person asked for a bunch of unusual stuff and is winning big. Time to shut them down’ I thought was pretty standard procedure at any casino that wishes to stay in business. Even every fictional casino does this).

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    • (I haven’t read the decision or the underlying contract or state law. That said …)

      I don’t think it’s quite that easy of an analysis. You may not be cheating, but you may be in breach of contract. Low-level employees of the casino lack the authority to modify the terms of the contract offered by the casino and state law.

      Let’s start with the obvious example. If the casino proved that Ivey had bribed the employee to identify the valuable cards, I presume that everyone here would agree that Ivey shouldn’t keep the winnings. Well, what if Ivey didn’t offer a bribe, but the employee of her own accord signaled what her card values were, just because she hated her job. Should the casino lose money because of its own employee’s spontaneously wrongful conduct?

      I think that the answer there is no. We have a concept in law called “unjust enrichment”, which basically arises when a person received an asset to which he is not entitled. The classic example is an erroneous bank deposit in your favor. It’s not your money, and if you go and spend it you have to pay it back.

      Ivey’s case is even stronger for returning the funds, because he asked and the employee agreed (wrongfully) to engage in conduct which changed the rules of the game. The fact that Ivey needed the employee’s participation doesn’t change the basic issue that he was playing a different game than what the casino had offered.

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      • Except the employee was empowered to fulfill the request of the player & was not wrong to do so, because the casino didn’t think the request materially changed the chances of the game.

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      • I disagree, this is closer to card counting than bribing the pit boss. Everything that Ivey asked is a legitimate and permissible request. For baccarat, choosing casino approved cards is totally fine (they are destroyed at the end of the game). Ivey merely chose a specific set that he knew, but the casino did not, that were flawed via dint of their production. Note that this was at a Borgata and he requested Borgata cards. In addition, he requested flipping them. This is also permissible, though with a symmetrical deck of cards it doesn’t matter. Nothing Ivey did altered the way the cards were dealt, which is why card counting is legal. If you are caught counting cards, they will ask you to leave, but they cannot impound your winnings.

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        • That’s a very thoughtful response.

          But just to pass it back to you, I think that taking advantage of an unknown flaw is sufficiently different from both bribery and card counting that neither analogy holds up.

          Having now read the opinion, wow is New Jersey law favorable to casinos. The law essentially states that any game where the actual odds are different from the intended odds is a game in violation of the casino code and therefore the casino doesn’t have to pay out. So even if the casino is solely responsible for the mistake, it still doesn’t have to pay out.

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            • That’s pretty close to correct (although they would have to pay back the losers).

              The Ivey court cited an earlier decision, Golden Nugget. In the GN case, the casino was using unshuffled decks (also in a baccarat game), because its supplier erroneously failed to shuffle them in advance of delivering them to the casino. The players started to see identical hands from one deck to the next, and adjusted their play accordingly.

              Verdict: For the casino. Even though the casino was entirely at fault for using the unshuffled decks, the game being played was not an authorized game. Therefore, the players were in breach of the contract (through no fault of their own!) and did not get to keep their winnings.

              So, if the casino started to use a roulette wheel with a missing zero, the games played at that wheel similarly would be invalid.

              Note: as to the remedy, the Ivey court stated that the appropriate remedy was to return the parties to status quo ante (ie, before Ivey started playing). So in the roulette example the winners would not get to keep their winnings, but the losers would get their chips back.

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              • Verdict: For the casino. Even though the casino was entirely at fault for using the unshuffled decks, the game being played was not an authorized game. Therefore, the players were in breach of the contract (through no fault of their own!) and did not get to keep their winnings.

                Of course, the problem is that this solution is *obviously stupid*. It means *both sides* have an incentive to secretly alter the odds, and only reveal it if they lose.

                Which in practice means the casino can, and really gamblers can’t.

                A casino has some high-roller coming in to the roulette wheel? Just imbalance it slightly. If the high roller wins, immediately test the wheel, ‘discover’ it is imbalanced, and void the entire thing. If the casino wins, well, no one ever knows.

                Here’s an interesting question: ‘Therefore, the players were in breach of the contract (through no fault of their own!) and did not get to keep their winnings.’

                Really? *All* of the players? Or just the ones *that had won*? Did they track down the guy who sat down for five minutes, lost a hundred dollars, and left before he noticed a pattern? Did they give *him* back his hundred?

                Why, I’d be willing to *bet money* they didn’t!

                This is basically the ‘mistrial’ strategy of court, where if the opposing side does something that would cause a mistrial, or even if *you* do something that would cause a mistrial, you bring it forward if, and only if, you lose…but the thing is, in court cases, catching that sort of stuff is the job of the other side, whereas gamblers *cannot* catch that stuff in a casino.

                If casinos are able to break the rules and then *call themselves* out on it and void all bets, but only when they want to, the entire system is nonsense.

                There are exactly two versions of the ‘altering the odds’ rules that make sense: Either things that alter the odds but *aren’t* against the rules of the game are entirely legal (Which makes sense. The rules of the game *are the only rules of the game*), or all bets are decided *against* the side that didn’t alter the odds. (Which sadly for a casino would decide again them in both cases…they used unshuffled cards, and they flipped cards around.)

                There *cannot* be an incentive to sabotage yourself and then reveal it only if you lose. That cannot possibly be any sort of reasonable law.

                …hey, you know, deciding to take a hit or not in blackjack *without* knowing your cards *extremely* alters the odds. Maybe I should go bet a few thousand dollars on a single play, and keep my eyes closed and earplugs in when the card is dealt. I win, well, I keep it, I lose, I argue that *I* altered the odds by not knowing my cards. Under this stupidity, I should be able to get the bet voided out. Yes, it’s stupid, but it’s no more stupid than getting the bet voided because the casino didn’t shuffle the damn cards!

                Of course, in reality, this law exists to protect casinos from their own stupidity, and is an *exceptionally* abhorrent law for a business that literally preys on the stupid. If they make a mistake, they should have to live with it.

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                • Incidentally, you know what would *also* protect casinos from the own stupidity?

                  Having some sort of supplier contract that allowed them to recover loses from said supplier if items they purchased for gaming had things like unsymmetrical sides or were not pre-shuffled when they were supposed to be.

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          • I guess I’m a sufficient dabbler in gambling and gaming, and know a couple folks in the industry to get it. Here’s why I think it’s more akin to card counting. Card counting essentially lets you know when the odds are very high that there are low cards or high cards so that you can bet accordingly. It doesn’t guarantee a win, but it gives you a few percentage point edge in your gambling strategy. Ivey’s loophole was that he knew when a card was high (6-9) or low (everything else). It allowed him to create a strategy that is more favorable, shifting the odds a few percentage points, but by no means giving him sufficient information to win more than a majority of hands. Part of this is because of how baccarat* works. The only thing the player controls is betting with the house or with the player and they can see the two cards dealt to each. So Ivey is making a strategy based on whether some combination of high-low, low-low, or high-high is better. Granted, this is better than the usual strategy of being a fancy game of heads or tails with a slight house advantage, but Ivey is still pretty limited in what he can do and what info he has.

            Here’s the thing, the odds are no different than the stated odd unless, as in the case of Ivey, one is using a skill. I am surprised that Ivey was not able to win by citing the NJ card counting case. One could easily state that card counting changes the intended odds of the game (that’s the whole point) and New Jersey law has found that not only is card counting legal, casinos are prohibited from banning card counters from their premises.

            * IMO it is the worst game in the casino. Zero skill, meh odds, not really fun, relatively low energy game. Granted I’m a craps man, which has high energy, no skill, but the best odds in the house if you’re not counting cards (you can make bets with EV of 0 regularly).

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            • After reading thru the linky, I think the Judge was correct that Ivey didn’t commit fraud or even cheat, but he’s also right that gaming is based on some sense of fair play governed by the rules of the game. In this case, Ivey won by having a partner identify the dealt cards’ value by seeing minute imperfections in card backs, something which the House could simply not have realized in advance of such massive winnings but which they are nonetheless responsible for.

              Stillwater’s ruling: Ivey keeps half the winnings!

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            • And the extent to which card counting changes the odds isn’t really for the game, but for individual hands. It seems that is the case here. As I understand it, Ivey used publicly available information to devise a strategy to improve his odds of winning. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

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  12. r3 [Kant and sexual desire]: Can some of the more learned in philosophy help me out with something? Why does Kant use rationality as the criterion for determining whether something is an end in itself and ought to be treated as such? I’ve always found that strange, although to be clear I’ve read only his essay (chapter? part of a chapter?) on the categorical imperative, so perhaps I’m missing something.

    On the merits and demerits of sexual desire vs. lust vs. (right vs. left): A lot of that corresponds with my own way of looking at things in my adolescence, young adulthood, and twenty-hood (and early 30s). I do see the potential for the right-left convergence, although I disagree with Saul’s claim that the right wants people to be asexual.

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  13. R4

    Sex, though, is different. When I hire someone to sing, according to Kant, my desire is for his or her talent – for the voice-in-action. But when I sexually desire someone, I desire his or her body, not the person’s services or talents or intellectual capabilities, although any of these could enhance the desire.

    Just keep us all a mile away from that guy and any sex he may be having, and I think we’ll be just fine on the morality of our desire.

    When you desire someone sexually, is not part of what you desire in them their talents (services? ew.), intellectual capabilities, or, I would hasten to note he excludes, personal thoughtfulness and kindness? Does that scan, like, even at all? Maybe in some cases yes, but that is not how most people experience sexual desire most of the time. We can’t just declare (or accept) that sexual desire is by its nature devoid of those elements just to serve this man’s click-baiting rhetorical purposes. Because that’s false.

    What a terrible article.

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  14. G3: I can empathize. I’m one of two boys, and I always pictured having boys, so when we found out that our older child was going to be a girl, I had the same feeling of being a bit taken aback. And once she was born, I couldn’t imagine having anyone else.

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  15. G3 [feminist having a baby boy]:

    Going only off this article and not knowing anything about the author or about raising children, I’ll say the following. A lot of what she says in terms of how she wants to raise her make sense to me, but it depends on the execution. Take this:

    I will point sexism out to him at every turn, and he will never get away with it without being called out. I will show him that girls are just people like him and that products and art targeted at them are no less valuable or enjoyable. He will be immersed in feminism by a family who models it in their everyday life.

    On the surface that seems like an indisputably good thing, at least by my values. But depending how she does it, that strategy could contribute to her son feeling guilty just for being a boy. There’s an element of preachiness.

    Or to put it another way, all parents make mistakes in inculcating the values they want their children to have. The particular mistakes Dunning might make could led to her soon feeling guilty just for being a boy. I wouldn’t be surprised if that outcome is both inevitable and yet also worth the cost. (Not trying to make one’s son aware of sexism, etc., would probably lead to other mistakes.)

    Again, I don’t know anything about child rearing, except that it’s really hard.

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    • There is also a gap between The Parent We Seek To Be and The Parent We Are. Dunning will surely learn to pick her battles and if her intent is genuine — as opposed to raising her son as some sort of social experiment — she’all adjust along the way in response to who he is and how the world changes and the success or failure of the approaches she employs. If she is thoughtful and intentional, she’ll consider the risk you identify, watch for evidence of it happening, and respond accordingly.

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        • Of course, if she’s an ideological hellbent on turning her child into a Point!, ugh, I feel for the kid.

          Often as parents we need to stop and ask ourselves: Am I doing this for the kid? Or for myself? It is really easy to think we’re doing it for them when we’re really doing it for us. Which isn’t to say we’re selfish monsters. The pressure, the guilt, the judgement — especially on moms — makes it really hard to know sometimes.

          “Am I doing this because I thought it through and decided it’s best for the wee beastie? Or am I doing this because everyone is telling me it’s right so it must be and god I’ll feel terrible if I don’t do it and THEY’LL make me feel terrible so I guess I’ll do it!”

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  16. R3: I am going to address a subject whose complexities have bedeviled humans all the way back to the dawn of history and completely solve it in 500 words. (“Raja Halwani”, hell, it’s got McMegan written all over it.)

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  17. R1: Correlation does not start equalling causation just because there are confounding factors that suggest that CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION. In fact, you should be EVEN MORE SUSPICIOUS that you’re making that particular error when you see there are confounding factors, not all smug that you are accounting for them with a verbal handwave so you’re good to go.

    Generic you there of course.

    Though, , I sometimes think you post links like that one just to make me and anyone else with a biology background hit our heads against our desks…. but of course I would never COME TO THAT CONCLUSION based merely on the correlation of the two things. Particularly considering the confounding factor of how nice you are in general.

    *breathes slowly and deliberately*

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  18. Okay. Josh Marshall tweeted out a tweet that contained a link to an, ahem, “adult” clip hosted on an, ahem, “adult” website.

    Please do not click on this link if you are at work as it is not safe for work. It is a link to the tweet and the tweet contains, ahem, “adult” content.

    The responses are what make it. I laughed so hard I worried for a moment that I would either barf or pass out.

    Poor Josh. I wonder if he was hacked. If so, that makes this much less funny.

    If he was *NOT* hacked, well… 2016 will be over soon. But, remember: it ain’t over yet.

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  19. G3

    What percentage of women who consider feminism one of their top life commitments “struggle” in this way when they find out their first child will be a son? Or any child, I guess (though I strongly suspect the struggle is substantially mitigated once there’s one daughter in the bag – though who knows)?

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  20. R3: Viewing sexual desire as immoral — rather than terrible things some people do owing to sexual desire — is terrible and has been historically destructive to far too many people.

    And I doubly hate it when people talk about this subject in a way that makes it sound as if sexual desire is looked at and treated as a “people” thing, and pretend there aren’t either great exceptions or great punishments doled out dependent upon the sex of the person feeling that desire.

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    • I don’t think the author is saying sexual desire per se is immoral. I think his focus on treating people as means vs. ends actually runs into what you call “terrible things some people do owing to sexual desire.”

      That said, I admit that the author’s point is not so clear, and I wouldn’t call even treating people as means is necessarily “terrible” in the sense you probably meant it. And I agree that read a certain way, the article seems to stigmatize all sexual desire as such.

      I also agree with wholeheartedly with your paragraph.

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  21. Hey! I have a gender question down here.

    Are men really stupid or are they really stupid?

    On one of my law blogs, there are semi-regular threads where a guy (it is almost always a guy) talks about a friend from high school who become a sanitation worker and/or a news story about a sanitation worker that makes well over six-figures a year. The guy making the post always talks about how stupid he was for going to college and law school when he could have been making lots of money doing sanitation work. What doesn’t get discussed.

    1. The sanitation guys who make this kind of money are working hours that would make a BigLaw Partner or Investment Banker blush. They are often working six or seven days a week and doing double shifts.

    2. Even if a BigLaw Associate or Investment Banker works 14-16 hours a day, they are not cleaning up shit and other bodily fluids. The thing that causes BART escalators to shut down is that homeless people squat near them and shit. The tracks get gunked up with human shit. Plus there are people who get sick and throw up on trains, etc.

    3. There can be a high risk of serious physical injury or death. A friend’s dad worked in construction. According to my friend, his dad can barely walk and is under 60. My friend’s dad did drywall so I don’t even want to think about what his lungs look like. My dad is nearly 70 and in top shape from relatively healthy eating and going to the gym a few times a week.

    4. Construction workers and Sanitation workers are out there in extreme heat and cold.

    Are guys really this dumb? Do they not realize the benefits of working in a comfortable office and usually reasonable hours?

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    • With the exception of no. 1, everything you say rings true to me (I just don’t know what the hours are, but something tells me it’s less than what you say, signaled by the use of the word “often” instead of “regularly” when you mention double shifts, etc. I base that on no actual knowledge on my part of what that job entails).

      I’d also add a no. 5: Why does the big law guy think he’d be able to actually do the work? Not just whether he’d be able to suffer the stress and danger, but that he’d actually be competent enough at it to get and keep the job?

      I’m not sure I see that as a gender issue so much as a class issue. But I imagine there’s a gender component in there.

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      • My friend responded further. He said his family never went on vacation because his dad was paid hourly and an hour off or day off is one not paid. So it became an opportunity costs between more money or time off. If you are an office worker with PTO, you are still getting paid when you take time off.

        http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/04/how-one-bay-area-janitor-made-276000-last-year.html

        SFGate reports that Zhang clocked over 4,000 hours in 2015. To put that into perspective, the typical BART employee works about 2,000 hours per year.

        “He is signing up for time that is also available to others,” Trost explains. “If he doesn’t take the hours, someone else will. The sign-ups are based on seniority.”

        It’s difficult to determine exactly how much Zhang makes per hour — overtime pay is different depending on the type of shift — but SFGate estimates that he is “making roughly $56 an hour before taxes and when you pull out benefits from his salary.”

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        • I’m not saying it never happens, but just that this guy appears to be an outlier. And while Mike suggests that’s your point, I thought your point was that these types of hours are usual.

          All that said and with the exception noted, I agree with your comment overall.

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        • Now that I read the rest of the article, he does seem like an outlier. The article mentions his “base salary” of round 57K, which I presume is comparable to the base salary of other workers in BART with similar duties and seniority. (Of course, another part of the article mentions that the person in charge of BART earns more than 400K.)

          His outlier-ness suggests to me a few things. The persons on those law blogs you mention are somehow misunderstanding or misconstruing the six-figure salaries of sanitation workers, not realizing or acknowledging that some workers earn less.

          Also, now that I’ve reread your initial comment, I see your point more clearly. You’re arguing that the six-figure sanitation worker is an outlier. I had thought you were saying that most sanitation workers work 6-7 day weeks at about 14 hours per day. I was wrong and apologize for misunderstanding.

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          • ” (Of course, another part of the article mentions that the person in charge of BART earns more than 400K.)”

            Honest question, how much do you think say, a VP or EVP of a part of a private sector company that employs 2,500 people makes? Because that’s what the guy or gal who runs BART is. Honestly, by private sector measures, they’re probably underpaid.

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            • I don’t have an informed opinion. I guess it depends on the company.

              ETA: I wasn’t trying to bait public-service organizations. I was just pointing out what the article pointed out and I was trying to imply that we shouldn’t be very critical of a janitor who earns so much money, especially when the guy/gal who runs the organization earns so much more.

              I’ll also add that if we are talking about VP’s (and not EVP’s), I imagine the range of salaries is probably between 100k and 200k, with some outliers. For the EVP’s and higher, I don’t have a clue.

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          • People do that with teachers all the time. They’ll take a reported salary in New York city (which is often a senior teacher — 20+ years, a Master’s or better, multiple certs, or a former teacher in admin, or one that also does summer school and a variety of other bits with stipends) and takes that salary as gospel across the country. There’s also the occasional person who gets an hourly figure and multiples that out for a year, without realizing that teachers don’t get paid for days they don’t work, even if the district pays them out monthly.

            “Teachers make six figures”. Well yeah, in some places. In some situations. They don’t in Texas, for instance, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they do in Silicon Valley.

            But if you’re gonna quit your banking job to be a teacher (as I remember one banker at the beginning of the Great Recession promising to do) and think you’re gonna make six figures, you’re in for a really big surprise. (Also, in general, the benefits suck and you’d be surprised at how many places having nothing like tenure. Texas, for instance).

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    • The sanitation guys who make this kind of money are working hours that would make a BigLaw Partner or Investment Banker blush. They are often working six or seven days a week and doing double shifts.

      Isn’t that the norm in investment banking? Not just “often,” but all the time until you make partner?

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      • I still think the quality of the work matters. Would you rather sit at a desk for 14-16 hours or clean shit from escalators for 14-16 hours a day?

        Also from what I’ve heard, you are not working for those 14-16 hours in investment banking. The general rule is that junior bankers are required to be at their desks at 9 AM but usually don’t get work until 3 PM or 4 PM when the partners are done with their thing. Plus even during that time you can probably steal away to the gym for an hour and lunch and dinner for an hour each plus coffee breaks, etc.

        And you are not outside in the elements but in a cozy and comfortable office.

        And the junior investment bankers are probably looking at more compensation once their bonuses come in. Their base might is higher as well. IIRC an average junior investment banker as a base of 100K or 125K and can make between 200-400K in bonus compensation.

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        • Would you rather sit at a desk for 14-16 hours or clean shit from escalators for 14-16 hours a day?

          The desk, but this isn’t relevant to my actual disagreement with your comment, which is that you said the hours you described would make an investment banker blush, implying that investment bankers work much shorter hours. I don’t really have any objection to the broader point.

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        • Would you rather sit at a desk for 14-16 hours or clean shit from escalators for 14-16 hours a day?

          Well, different people are going to prefer different things. For some, being able to move around at work is really important and sitting around would be miserable.

          For commenters on a law blog, though, I would bet money that’s not their bag. They would be miserable. And as such, they would probably suck at the job and get fired.

          The thing about doing menial work, or work that doesn’t require brainpower, is that people think it’s super easy. Or they think the difficulty is in being in shape or whatever. But if your mind is good for law school, it’s probably not dispositionally well-equipped to do sanitation work. Which means that you probably couldn’t motivate yourself not to suck at it.

          In real life, Peter Gibbons probably would not have enjoyed his new job.

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    • Even if people in big law, finance, or high up in the business world have to work long hours, these long hours come with a lot of perks. They get to fly first class for business trips, eat in very nice restaurants for business dinners, and more.

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    • People do this all the time. They focus on the pros and ignore the cons. Ask me how often people say they’d LOVE my job… playing with kids, kicking off at 3, summers off… what a good gig!

      Besides the fact none of that is true, none of them would take my salary. None. So it’s not that guys are dumb. They won’t make that tradeoff. As evidenced by them, ya know, not making that tradeoff.

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        • Ha!

          This is often how the conversation goes…

          “Man… I’d love to be a teacher.”
          “You can be.”
          “What do you mean?”
          “Well, you’re smart and you’re a good communicator and you connect well with people. You have all the raw skills. Just go back to school. It’ll probably take 2-3 years if you quit your job. Oh, don’t worry… they’ll either find you an unpaid internship… well, you’ll earn credit as a student-teacher, but technically you’ll pay for that credit, so I guess you’ll pay to goto work. If you’re lucky, you might find a job as a low paid assistant or aid… probably $40K a year. Once you’re out of school and get all your certification, you’ll probably have a starting salary around $60K. So, yea, if you really want to do it, you can!”
          “Um.. yea… no.”

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  22. Re m#4 I think cities need to distinguish between consumptive and non consumptive uses of tap water. Most inside water use is non consumptive as the water goes down the sewer after it has been used, and thus back into the river from the sewage plant to go into the next town down rivers water intake (See the Mississippi river and what percent of New Orleans water is was in water systems upstream)
    Then IMHO if you go with the idea that you should only plant plants native to your area, and relax the idea that a green space is required, you can as the article hints Xeriscape your way to much less consumptive water use. Of course there is a simple way to start, you may only irrigate in town between 10pm and 6am when evaporation is least.

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  23. We’ll probably get two or three more of these over today and tomorrow, given the vagaries of news and whatnot but 2016 got William Christopher, the guy who played Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H.

    I am sad that I never heard the sermon that talked about the one-legged man and the wheelbarrow.

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