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Of all the things worth saying, or writing, now or tomorrows, it’s often the case someone’s said it better before.

Level 3: The Trap
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However, some acquaintances don’t share your desire to avoid awkward encounters. In fact, they often seek your company despite your complete inability to relate to each other. This person is seemingly immune to awkwardness and once they latch onto you, you are not allowed to leave until they are done with you.
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For example, you might be sitting by yourself in a café, enjoying a cup of coffee.  And then you see her squinting up at the drink menu.
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She’s trapped you at social gatherings a few times,  backing you into a corner and then standing at just the right angle so that you’d have to physically push her out of your path to escape.  She’s extremely passionate about a variety of things that you have no real interest in, like veganism and the healing properties of soy.  She can talk about these things for hours without pause.  While you don’t mind that she feels that way, you don’t particularly want to hear about it in such great detail.  But she tells you anyway.  Over and over and over.  You might make a feeble attempt at steering the conversation to a topic of more mutual interest, but she doesn’t want to talk about what you want to talk about.
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The first time you escaped her conversational death-grip, you thought that she had probably said all she needed to say and that the next time you saw her, you could maybe talk about something else.  But no.  She checks up on you.  She wants to know if you’ve tried any of the things she suggested.  When you tell her that you “haven’t gotten around to it yet,” the cycle starts over again.
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You want to avoid this kind of interaction, so you turn your chair away, hoping that she won’t see you when she turns around.
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But it’s too late.  She’s spotted you.
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She’s not quite sure if it’s you yet, but you can feel her eyes focusing on you.  You risk a glance to see if she’s still there, even though you know that she is.
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And then you accidentally lock eyes with her.
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Once eye contact is established, she begins to lurch toward you in slow motion, like a zombie in a bad horror movie.  You are consumed by a desire to bolt, but you don’t.  Your obligation to adhere to social decencies outweighs your sense of self-preservation. You stay right where you are, unable to look away.
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You are going to have to talk about soybeans.  A lot.  And you are going to have to pretend that you like it.  To protect your dignity.
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Level 4: Well-intentioned social terrorism
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The well-intentioned social terrorist does not alert you before they invade your safety bubble.  It’s always a surprise.  You’ll come home, exhausted and eager to finally feel safe from unwanted interaction.
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But then…
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You’re cornered like an animal. There’s nowhere to go.
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You’d always assumed that your own home was a safe place – a place where you were not in danger
of sudden, undesired social interaction.
But your pathetic delusions of safety implode into the realization that nowhere is safe anymore.  
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You could tell them no, but you aren’t busy and you don’t have any immediate plans, so you don’t really have an acceptable reason to decline their company.
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You could try to lie and say that you’re just coming home to drop some stuff off before you have go somewhere.  But if you do that, you’ll have to spend the rest of the night in total darkness, because if your friend walks by and notices that your lights are on, they’re going to know you were lying.
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But if you allow this person into your house, you are no longer in control of when the interaction ends.  This is not as simple as finding the right opportunity to walk away.  No.  This is some next-level shit.  You can’t just walk out of your own house and leave the person there.  Where would you go?
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If you want to be left alone, you’re going to have to wait it out until you can convince the other person to leave.
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But even then, it isn’t over.
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Now that you are aware that your home is not the impenetrable fortress of protection you once thought it was, you are forced to live in a constant state of slight uneasiness. Someone could surprise you at any time.
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What if your friend decides to surprise you with a visit every day?  Now you have to worry about keeping your place picked up, “just in case.”
You’re scared to play music or watch movies because then you can’t pretend to not be home if someone knocks on your door.  
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You are no longer in control of your life.  

That’s life…

Reflecting on unease at Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s recent insinuation that the prices of certain financial assets are too high, Neil Irwin assesses the mandate of the Federal Reserve against the real world methods the Fed can use to fulfill its mandate:

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Here’s the predicament that Ms. Yellen and other top policy makers face. The last two U.S. recessions have been caused by the popping of asset bubbles (first the stock market in 2000, then housing in 2007).

Meanwhile, the mission [the Federal Reserve] are assigned by Congress is to look after the real economy — maximum employment and stable prices, to be precise. But all of their policy tools work through the financial system. They are trying to maintain low unemployment and low inflation, but they do that almost exclusively by buying and selling bonds.

That means that their policies often have a more significant impact (and certainly a more immediate and measurable one) on the price of, say, junk bonds than they do on job creation and wages.

Earth Watch

NOAA’s climate.gov website has some handy charts and graphs on recent global climate history.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 12.09.07

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Who gets the biggest tips?

DUBNER: Okay, and what about a waitress versus a waiter generally?

LYNN: Hard to say. In general, I would say that waiters get better tips from women than men. Waitresses get better tips from men than women.

DUBNER: And what about let’s say among women, hair color? Blonde is better than brunette or red, or no?

LYNN: Yes, blondes get better tips than brunettes. Slender women get better tips than heavier women. Large breasted women get better tips than smaller breasted women. Surprisingly, at least in the studies I’ve done, women in their 30s get better tips than either younger or older women.

DUBNER: So a skinny, good looking, big-breasted woman in her 30s is going to get big tips.

LYNN: I would simply replace the word skinny with slender.

DUBNER: Slender. A slender, good looking, big-breasted woman in her 30s gets a big tip. Color me shocked I have to say.

LYNN: Yes.

cropped-live-and-let-live.png

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Karen DeCrow, a 1970s leader of the National Organization for Women, died last Friday. She helped a little girl overcome the prejudice of a jerk:

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Ms. DeCrow was a writer, a lawyer and a tireless campaigner for women’s rights. Her causes were national but also local. In the early 1970s, she represented a 7-year-old girl who wanted to play Little League baseball but was being denied.

“Over my dead body will girls ever play Little League baseball,” a coach told her at the time. “If one of them ever struck out a boy, he would be psychologically scarred for life.”

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If she can play, why not just let her play? I remember when (one-handed) Jim Abbott threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees.

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Their batting order included 6 All-Stars, just saying:

1   Kenny Lofton (CF)*

2   Felix Fermin (SS)

3   Carlos Baerga (2B)*

4   Albert Belle (LF)*

5   Randy Milligan (1B)

6   Manny Ramirez (DH)*

7   Candy Maldonado (RF)

8   Jim Thome (3B)*

9   Junior Ortiz (C)

10  Sandy Alomar (PH-C)*

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So, in keeping with the spirit of Karen DeCrow’s work, a NY Times writer asks, Is Softball Sexist?

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The conventional wisdom is that baseball is for boys and men, and softball is for girls and women. But women have been playing baseball since long before they had the right to vote. As the national pastime went professional, women were forced out of it — and into softball. Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education, also protects equal access to and funding of sports for boys and girls at the school level, and girls have been fighting to play baseball — with lawsuits, if necessary — since the 1970s. But equal access is often interpreted to mean not baseball, but softball.

Both men and women swim, ski, snowboard and run marathons and sprints. Both play tennis and soccer and basketball. Softball, though, is a completely distinct sport, with different pitching — underhand — and different equipment, including a larger ball. It also has shorter distances from pitcher to home plate and between bases, fewer innings and a smaller outfield. Yes, Division I softball is demanding, far from the beery fun of middle-aged weekend leagues. But the women’s version of baseball is not softball. It’s baseball.

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George Carlin might disagree about that baseball manliness factor:

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Ugly Wires

Getting rid of ugly wires is the focus of DirecTV’s current advertising campaign:

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I’ve been wondering how the technology actually works:

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The system requires a RVU compliant source box (such as a DVR). This is used as a “server” to send your TV programming over your home network to a RVU-compliant TV. What makes it “RVU-compliant?” Specific software that turns it into a device called a “thin client” and emulates a source box’s functionality without a physical box. Once you acquire all the pieces all you need to do is plug the TV into an AC outlet.

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https://i0.wp.com/hdguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/RVU-Alliance_RVU-Open-Network-Diagram-580.jpg

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This setup is ripe for direct streaming of television content to any network enabled device, t.v. or not.