I've got a lot going on today, with a final rehearsal tonight before Saturday's dress for Carmina Burana (get tickets here) and two business trips in the next 10 days. But there are a few articles to note in today's media:
Back to work now.
Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game (after spending $250,000 of taxpayer money to get there) when several players took a knee during the national anthem. His press office followed up with a statement that Pence "left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem."
Meanwhile, the press pool following him had previously been told to wait in the press van because "there may be an early departure." And President Trump later tweeted that he "asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled," both of which rather undermine any claim Pence had to be following his own conscience.
Let us return to the Book of Clemens, Chapter 23, verses 3-5:
Patriotism is merely a religion -- love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country's flag and honor and welfare.
In absolute monarchies it is furnished from the Throne, cut and dried, to the subject; in England and America it is furnished, cut and dried, to the citizen by the politician and the newspaper.
The newspaper-and-politician-manufactured Patriot often gags in private over his dose; but he takes it, and keeps it on his stomach the best he can. Blessed are the meek.
As Josh Marshall has pointed out repeatedly, "In Trumpland, everyone gets hurt. No one emerges with any dignity intact. He’s that ravening maw of ego and appetite and above all else unquenchable need and he has the country by the throat."
Three things, actually:
- Blade Runner 2049
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Taming of the Shrew"
- All of "The Good Place"
Seriously, if you haven't seen these things, go.
In his latest blog post, cartoonist Scott Adams points out the problems with the most common arguments about gun control:
I want to call out the worst arguments I have seen on the issue of banning bump stocks. If you are new to the conversation, a bump stock is a $99 add-on to an AR rifle that turns it into an automatic-like weapon for greater kill power. The Vegas gunman used bump stocks. They are legal, whereas a fully automatic rifle is not.
Many pro-gun people in the debate seem to be confused about the purpose of laws in general. Laws are not designed to eliminate crime. Laws are designed to reduce crime. The most motivated criminals will always find a way, and law-abiding citizens will avoid causing trouble in the first place. Laws are only for the people in the middle who might – under certain situations – commit a crime. Any friction you introduce to that crowd has a statistical chance of making a difference.
Humans are lazy and stupid, on average. If you make something 20% harder to do, a lot of humans will pass. It doesn’t matter what topic you are discussing; if you introduce friction, fewer people do it. With that in mind, let’s look at the least-rational gun control arguments I am seeing lately.
Generally, his criticisms seem right on point. I might take issue around the margins, but for once, I don't find myself swearing at him while reading his blog.
Update: David Frum has a great piece in the Atlantic discussing dumb pro-gun arguments from another perspective.
One of my favorite authors just got awarded N.Kr. 9m:
The novelist was praised by the Swedish Academy as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".
His most famous novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go were adapted into highly acclaimed films. He was made an OBE in 1995.
The 62-year-old writer said the award was "flabbergastingly flattering".
His work, which includes scripts for film and television, looks at themes of memory, time and self-delusion.
The Nobel committee praised his latest book The Buried Giant, which was released in 2015, for exploring "how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality".
I've just given a friend a copy of Never Let Me Go, and I've got The Sleeping Giant in my to-be-read pile.
Carl Abbot, writing for CityLab, discusses Blade Runner's impact:
Blade Runner fused the images, using noir atmosphere to turn Future Los Angeles into something dark and threatening rather than bright and hopeful. Flames randomly burst from corporate ziggurats. Searchlights probe the dark sky. But little light reaches the streets where street merchants and food cart proprietors compete with sleazy bars—a setting that Blade Runner 2049 revisits. The dystopic versions of New York in Soylent Green and Escape from New York are set in a city crumbling from age and overuse. In contrast, Blade Runner uses the imagery of the future for similar stories of deeply embedded inequality.
When it comes down to it, of course, there’s more fun and schadenfreude in imagining trouble striking a big city than a small town. Terminator 2: Judgment Day would not be half so exciting if T-1000 chased Arnold Schwarzenegger along the banks of the puny Miami River in Dayton, Ohio, rather than the concrete arroyo of the Los Angeles River. In the 1980s, the fictional destruction of New York was old hat. Los Angeles was a relatively fresh target and, for the film industry, a logistically convenient one. Moviegoers were increasingly willing to disparage it, too.
Blade Runner was a catalyst for a dystopian decade that was accentuated by the rioting and violence that followed the April 1992 acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King. Moviegoers would soon get Falling Down, whose filming was interrupted by the Rodney King riots, Pulp Fiction, and Independence Day, with its total obliteration of the metropolis. In print in the early 1990s were Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, Cynthia Kadohata’s In the Heart of the Valley of Love, and Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, all depicting a near-future Los Angeles fragmenting into enclaves and drifting toward chaos, capped by Mike Davis’s The Ecology of Fear.
I've got tickets to Blade Runner 2049 already. Can't wait.
Reader Chuck Thompson got a copy of Zach Weinersmith's "Holy Bible (abridged)" for Christmas, and decided to respond in doodles. He sent me a copy of the book, which you can download here (11 mB, pdf). Enjoy.
Isle of Dogs, from Wes Anderson:
And, of course, this comes out Friday, and I will be there:
Via Bruce Schneier, a British reporter requested her data dossier from Tinder. As with so many other things in life, she was shocked, but not surprised:
The dating app has 800 pages of information on me, and probably on you too if you are also one of its 50 million users. In March I asked Tinder to grant me access to my personal data. Every European citizen is allowed to do so under EU data protection law, yet very few actually do, according to Tinder.
With the help of privacy activist Paul-Olivier Dehaye from personaldata.io and human rights lawyer Ravi Naik, I emailed Tinder requesting my personal data and got back way more than I bargained for.
Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on.
What will happen if this treasure trove of data gets hacked, is made public or simply bought by another company? I can almost feel the shame I would experience. The thought that, before sending me these 800 pages, someone at Tinder might have read them already makes me cringe.
But as Schneier points out, "It's not [just] Tinder. Surveillance is the business model of the Internet. Everyone does this."
So, this might be happening at my house next weekend:
The "sous vide" part of sous vide cooking refers to the vacuum-sealed bags that are often called for when you're using the technique. (The French phrase literally means "under vacuum.") However, these days, when someone says "sous vide cooking," they're generally referring to any kind of cooking that takes place in a precisely temperature-controlled water bath, whether you're actually using a vacuum-sealed bag or not.
Sous vide cooking offers unparalleled control over whatever it is you are trying to cook, whether it's steaks and chops, shrimp and lobster, vegetables, or even large cuts of meat like pork shouldersand legs of lamb. With fast-cooking foods, like steaks and chicken breasts, sous vide removes all the guesswork involved in traditional methods. No poking with a thermometer, no cutting and peeking, no jabbing with your finger—just perfect results every single time.
A sous vide circulator mysteriously arrived at Inner Drive World Headquarters yesterday. We're going to start with eggs and work our way up to a venison steak. Yum.