A letter from an anonymous NYT reader to "Ethicist" writer Chuck Klosterman, titled "MY WIFE’S LOVER
Read the rest
My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD
. Published: July 13, 2012. (via @blakehounshell)
Update: Not related, says NYT magazine editor Hugo Lindgren.
As reported earlier today
, CIA chief David Petraeus has resigned after an FBI probe into whether someone else was using his email led to the discovery he was having an extramarital affair.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation focused on his Gmail account, and that the traffic they observed "led agents to believe the woman or someone close to her had sought access to his email." The woman in question has now been identified as West Point graduate Paula Broadwell, author of "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."
While Mr. Petraeus was still a general, he had email exchanges with the woman, but there wasn't a physical relationship, the person said. The affair began after Mr. Petraeus retired from the Army in August 2011 and ended months ago, the person said.
Previously: CIA chief Petraeus steps down, having failed to keep his drone in his pants
In an update to yesterday's post
about Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3
, Little Miss Sunshine
) writing the next installment of the Star Wars
saga, Lucasfilm confirmed on StarWars.com that it's official
: Arndt is writing the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII
, slated for release in 2015. No news yet on a title, but the Oscar-winner has been meeting with George Lucas and new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for story conferences. The wheels are in motion, ladies and gentlemen -- new Star Wars
movies are totally happening. (via Deadline
Josh from Reading With Pictures sez, "A Kickstarter campaign (now in its final days!) to revive the award-winning graphic novel series and nationally syndicated comic 'Mail Order Ninja!' Originally published by TOKYOPOP and distributed as a strip by Universal Press Syndicate, the series fell into publishing limbo when TOKYOPOP closed its doors. That is... until now! 'Mail Order Ninja' is the certified awesome tale of an ordinary little boy named Timothy J. McAllister living an ordinary little life in the ordinary little town of Cherry Creek, IN. But when Timmy orders his very own ninja from a mail order catalog (Arch-nemesis sold separately.), life in Cherry Creek will never be ordinary again!"
MAIL ORDER NINJA Returns!
Seven members of the US Navy's highly secretive SEAL Team 6, one of whom was part of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, have been punished for disclosing classified information to game maker Electronic Arts
. Four other SEALs are under investigation for similar alleged violations. They said to have given classified information to EA, for the game "Medal of Honor: Warfighter."
David H. Petraeus, the head of America's Central Intelligence Agency, resigned just days after the election after issuing a statement saying he had engaged in an extramarital affair.
"By acknowleding an extramarital affair, Mr. Petraeus, 60, was confronting a sensitive issue for a spy chief," reports the New York Times. "Intelligence agencies are often concerned about the possibility that agents who engage in such behavior could be blackmailed for information."
In an email to Wired's national security blog Danger Room, a former confidant says of the disgraced general, “He feels that he screwed up. He did a dishonorable thing and needed to try to do the honorable thing.” The source says the affair began after Petraeus retired from the military and became CIA director.
Read the rest
Short version: yes, but it's not easy. "To win, New York ratepayers have to show that their power company was not just slow or inefficient. Instead, Kreppein said, under a 1985 New York Court of Appeals ruling called Strauss v. Belle Realty, electric company customers must establish that the utility was grossly negligent — that its conduct was way outside the bounds of reasonableness." Alison Frankel at Reuters
Two grainy photos
of cats led federal investigators to a Tennessee man
suspected of stealing former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's tax returns to blackmail him for $1 million. "They said they're here to serve a search warrant for Romney's tax returns," Brown told WSMV-TV
. "My first reaction was, 'You've got to be kidding me.'" What I want to know is: how lame of a hacker do you have to be to get a hold of Mitt Romney's highly-sought tax returns and *not release them*? (via Peter Feld)
, a "family entertainment" startup that makes a "smart," internet-connected, artificially-intelligent teddy bear, has secured a total of $16M million in institutional funding
. The company was founded by former Pixar CTO Oren Jacob, and ToyTalk CTO Martin Reddy previously worked at the organization that built virtual personal assistant Siri. (Venturebeat)
[Update/Correction: ToyTalk corrects the original figures reported by Venturebeat, and tells Boing Boing: "ToyTalk is at 16M in total funding to date. The most recent Series A was led by CRV. Previous seed funding was led by Greylock with First Round Capital, True Ventures and a number of angel investors."]
Gentle Giant's accepting pre-orders for Walking Dead "Green Army Men," available in green or tan, in sets of 10 for $14.
It’s a trip down memory lane… but with zombies! No longer constrained to the traditional green vs. tan, now kids and kids-at-heart alike can have their armies take on The Walking Dead! Use your green troops strategically to defend the last outposts of humanity, or take control of a horde of Walkers and decimate everything in your path in your never-ending lust to devour the living! With 10 figures per bag, featuring an assortment of different dynamic sculpts in two nightmarish colors, The Walking Dead Zombie Army Men are ready to rip, tear and chew their way into your toy collection. Purchase as many sets as you like!
The Walking Dead Zombie Army Men
Well, this is exciting! The UFC, the owner of which said less than two years ago that it would never include women, now does! Ronda Rousey will be taking her vicious armbar to the UFC in 2013. But she won't be left without an opponent -- rival Meisha Tate has also signed on, and possibly Sara McCann and Cris Cyborg.
This is a big deal for a kickass lady. Rousey is not just a Strikeforce champion, she's also an Olympic athlete, having been the youngest judo competitor in the 2004 games. Since that global debut, she has become the tenth ranked female MMA fighter in the world. The world.
Now, my question is this: Now that the UFC includes both genders, when will we get to see bouts in New York?
Photo credit: Ronda Rousey Official Site
Ronda Rousey Reportedly Becomes UFC's First Female Fighter [Bleacher Report]
As you can imagine, the situation here in New York is dire, what with the still-large amount of people who have yet to even get their power back
. But Staten Island (and the Rockaways, and Long Beach, most of the south shore, not to mention Red Hook, parts of New Jersey... you get the idea) was hit particularly hard, with entire houses being destroyed. According to Gothamist, 5,200 residents of the borough have filed for FEMA housing, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering
one location specifically designed to provide a large amount of people (about 900) heat, food, and temporary shelter: Arthur Kill Correctional Facility. Yup. A prison. That's been shut down for about a year. Sound familiar? Like the plot of the third season of The Walking Dead
? Living in an abandoned prison makes sense, of course -- for all the same reasons it made sense as an option during a fictional zombie apocalypse
. Wow, things are that bad? Some of those thousands of displaced residents might say it is. But it's just an idea at the moment. (via Gothamist
The ocean has not always met the land at the same place it does today. In fact, during Ice Ages, when more of Earth's water was trapped in glaciers, large swaths of what is now the Atlantic Ocean were dry ground. Things died there. In some cases, they fossilized. And when a big storm like Sandy hits, those bits of fossils can get broken out of the stones they're embedded in and washed up on our modern shores.
In this video, paleontologist Carl Mehling wanders Long Island's Rockaway Beach looking for fossils unearthed by Superstorm Sandy. It's a great video — and a handy "how to" as Mehling explains the basics of beach-based fossil hunting and how to tell the really old dead things from the simply dead things.
Via Mindy Weisberger
Sometimes, it's hard to find people interested in playing the role of guinea pig for the sake of science. And, sometimes, that job is not so hard. Like when what you want the guinea pigs to do is get real high. That's a good example.
Pot-based research isn't all fun and games. Given the interest in medical marijuana for cancer patients and people with AIDS, some of the studies require volunteers to, you know, have cancer or AIDS. Others are interested in the sociology — these scientists want to talk to you about your pot use and collect data about how it may or may not have affected your life.
But the mythical opportunity to "get high for science" really does exist, writes Brian Palmer at Slate.
The National Institutes of Health maintains an online database of clinical trials that are in the recruitment process. As of this writing, there are approximately 100 marijuana studies currently enrolling patients. Each listing contains inclusion criteria (the types of people the researchers are looking for) and exclusion criteria (characteristics that will remove otherwise qualified people from contention).
... there are a few trials that might interest someone looking for a free high. Consider the University of Iowa’s “Effects of Inhaled Cannabis on Driving Performance.” Participants will be dosed with varying amounts of alcohol or vaporized cannabis, then placed into a driving simulator to measure their performance. There are some restrictions. You must be a social drinker and marijuana user already, but you can’t have an addiction. People who are susceptible to motion sickness are out, and you must live near the driving simulator in Iowa. Keep in mind that getting into the study doesn’t guarantee free marijuana—two control groups will get no THC whatsoever. (Previous studies have shown that low doses of marijuana have little to no impact on driving performance.)
Read more at Slate.com
Image: Getting your head above the parapet..., a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kevenlaw's photostream
I'm going to Disney next month and (as is my way) have become obsessed with diving back into Disney World nostalgia. My plan for this trip is to buy vintage postcards for attractions that no longer exist and send them to my friends and family either lauding how much I enjoyed them or expressing my confusion for not having been able to find them... I'm still deciding which.
Long story short, it lead me to discover old cards sent years ago that have been scanned and posted online. I've began archiving these moments of happiness on my new blog, The Disney Nostalgia Trip. Many of these cards are the usual vacation banter about weather and sunburns, some offer heartwarming insights into what makes (or made, depending on your opinion) these parks such magical places.
My favorite of all is the one that inspired me to start the blog.
The Disney Nostalgia Trip
The Georgia congressman who called evolution "lies straight from the pit of hell" won reelection Tuesday in an uncontested race. But 4000 of his constituents managed to find a write-in candidate they could believe in — the father of evolution, who has been dead for 130 years. (Via Jennifer Ouellette)
Here's a headline for you — Worse than sex parasite: Sex parasite with virus
. Yes, trichomonas (a sexually transmitted parasite that you've probably never been tested for), can actually harbor its own diseases. When infected with a virus — dubbed trichomonasvirus — trichomonas becomes even worse. Kill it, and it releases the virus, which causes inflammation and can actually lead to worse side-effects for infected people. (Via Charles Q. Choi)
Some pseudoscience is pretty obvious. I think most of us are comfortable saying that the world will probably not end this December, in accordance with any ancient prophecy. But distinguishing fact from fiction isn't always simple. In fact, "fact from fiction" might be too simple a way to even frame the question. In reality, we're sometimes tasked with spotting misapplication of real science. Sometimes, we have to tell the difference between a complicated thing that nobody understands yet very well but which is likely to be true and a complicated thing that nobody understands yet very well but which is not likely to be true.
Basically, it's messy.
Emily Willingham at Forbes has some helpful hints for how to make these distinctions. She offers ten questions that can serve as guidelines for approaching new topics you're skeptical of — questions that, taken all together, can help you see the patterns of pseudoscience and make informed decisions for yourself and your family.
3. What kind of language does it use? Does it use emotion words or a lot of exclamation points or language that sounds highly technical (amino acids! enzymes! nucleic acids!) or jargon-y but that is really meaningless in the therapeutic or scientific sense? If you’re not sure, take a term and google it, or ask a scientist if you can find one. Sometimes, an amino acid is just an amino acid. Be on the lookout for sciencey-ness. As Albert Einstein once pointed out, if you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well. If peddlers feel that they have to toss in a bunch of jargony science terms to make you think they’re the real thing, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about, either.
9. Were real scientific processes involved? Evidence-based interventions generally go through many steps of a scientific process before they come into common use. Going through these steps includes performing basic research using tests in cells and in animals, clinical research with patients/volunteers in several heavily regulated phases, peer-review at each step of the way, and a trail of published research papers. Is there evidence that the product or intervention on offer has been tested scientifically, with results published in scientific journals? Or is it just sciencey-ness espoused by people without benefit of expert review of any kind?
Read the rest at Willingham's Forbes blog, The Science Consumer
Image: Day 35 of 365 - A Private Stash, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jesssseeee's photostream
David "How to Sharpen Pencils" Rees describes the Rolling Jubilee, a project from Occupy Wall Street to buy up, and zero out, other peoples' debts:
Now OWS is launching the ROLLING JUBILEE, a program that has been in development for months. OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)
This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy. As you can see from our test run, the return on investment approaches 30:1. That’s a crazy bargain!
Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program LIVE and NATIONWIDE, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession.
We’re kicking things off with a show called THE PEOPLE’S BAILOUT at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, November 15. It will also stream online, like a good ol’-fashioned telethon!
I just put in $100, which will erase $3000 worth of someone's debt.
The People’s Bailout
Did you know that there was a major American election on Tuesday? Great. Let us all never speak of it again. At least for the next 3.5 years.
But before we send the parts of our brains that care about politics off to recuperate at a nice imaginary spa, take a quick look at a page of election maps put together by University of Michigan physics professor Mark Newman. He studies complex systems, including the networks of human relationships and decision-making that go into election results. His page of maps shows several different ways to visualize the same 2012 presidential election data — methods which provide different pieces of context that you don't normally see in the simple state-by-state map.
The basic map — the one you see on TV and in the newspaper — doesn't really tell you the whole story. It gives you no idea of population density (a factor that obviously matters a lot in tallying the popular vote), and it only shows the winning party in each state. In reality, the vote is seldom all-Democrat or all-Republican. There's a gradient, no matter where you live.
The map above takes both those factors into account — distorting the country to make the more populous parts larger, and showing split turnouts in shades of purple.
See all Mark Newman's maps at his website
And here's his FAQ
Thanks, Rick Musser!
Since my Audeze LCD-3 planar magnetic headphones arrived around a year ago, I have not listened to any others (except for brief comparisons and travel.) I have been a fan of the Sennheiser HD580/600/650 line for as long as I can remember, and Audeze just blows them out of the water.
Every time I listen through the LCD-3, I hear new and interesting sounds hidden inside music, no matter how familiar. Listening with the LCD-3 makes my favorite music into a new experience every time.
The cost for this kind of audio quality is not reasonable; you'll do this out of love or not at all. Not only are the headphones expensive, at around $2000, but you'll need a good amplifier and source. I've been using the Schitt Lyr and Bifrost (Beware tube rolling as a new hobby.)
If you get a chance to listen to the Audeze LCD-3s, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Pesco wasn't.
Erik Davis says: I recently published my first column for Aeon Magazine's online site, a "post-secular" take on the current wave of psychedelic research. Without plunging into woo, the article attempts to chart the liminal zones that lie beyond brain-based reductionism. It seemed a good piece for Aeon, a new British outfit that is charting a very interesting zone between science, religion, culture, and good writing.
Studies recently carried out at Yale, and published last month in the journal Science, have confirmed earlier reports that ketamine offers remarkable, nearly instantaneous relief for people who suffer from forms of major depression impervious to other treatment methods. Interpreting depression as a hardware problem largely caused by the loss of synaptic connections, the researchers argue that ketamine works by encouraging sprightly neural growth in brain regions correlated with memory and mood. Journalistic reports also linked this research with the development of a new vein of antidepressants, including Naurex’s GLYX-13, that have the neurone-fertilising power of ketamine without, as one report describes them, the ‘schizophrenia-like effects’.
Rarely has the new neuro-reductionism been so naked in its repackaging of human experience. Nowhere in the research or the journalism does anyone suggest that heavily depressed people feel better because ketamine sends them on a first-person voyage through profound, sometimes ecstatic, and certainly mind-bending modes of transpersonal consciousness whose subjective power might itself boot the mind out of its most mirthless ruts.
Return trip: A new generation of researchers is heading into the weird world of psychedelic drugs. It could change their minds
Leo Kent says: "Humans Invent has done an in-depth feature on Vinyl, examining why it sounds so much better than CDs or MP3s."
The integral difference between vinyl and CD or MP3 is that a vinyl record is an analogue recording -- that is, the physical recording is made to vary in correspondence to the variations in air pressure of the original sound. Put simply, the groove that is cut into the vinyl by the cutting lathe mirrors the original sound wave.
Digital sound, meanwhile, is produced by changing the physical properties of the original sound into a sequence of numbers, which can then be stored and read back for reproduction. In practical terms, you’re getting a representation of the sound – the CD taking a snapshot of the analogue signal at a specific rate (44,100 times per second, to be exact).
But what of the fabled ‘warmth’ attributed to vinyl? Christoph Grote-Beverborg has processed thousands of records across the electronic spectrum (and far beyond) for labels such as Tresor, Honest Jons and Ostgut Ton:
"In terms of uncompressed digital audio vs vinyl, I can only repeat what has been said before: with digital audio the resolution is more limited than with analogue audio. The same goes for frequency range. But the real thing is what you hear. With vinyl you get a certain kind of saturation and added harmonics that you don’t have with digital. The sound has a body;' it’s just more physical."
I don't care too about sound quality much, myself. David once told me, "I like the sound of AM radio," and I agreed with him.
Behind the tech that makes vinyl so special
Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says:
We just published an article about orchestrions, which were like player pianos on steroids. Popular in the early 1900s, electric-powered orchestrions were built around a piano or pipe organ and incorporated at least three other instruments, including at least one drum. The big ones were 12 feet wide, 12 feet tall, 5 feet deep, and weighed a couple of tons. The best orchestrions had pipes that were so finely tuned, they could imitate the sound of violins and cellos.
Our article includes numerous quotes from Art Reblitz, who's a mechanical musical instruments author and restorer. Here's a snip:
“Some orchestrions had automatic roll changers so you could play a long program of music without changing rolls yourself,” Reblitz says. “If you didn’t ever have them tuned, they could get pretty bad-sounding, but they were never drunk, like the band was some of the time. You didn’t have to worry if the band was going to show up tonight or not.”
The iPod’s 4,000-lb grandfather
Secret Headquarters, my favorite comic store in LA (a very competitive field!), has opened a sister-store called Thank You Comics and Books, in Highland Park.
. It's bound to be one of the great awesomesauce emporia on the west coast.
Everyone, just shut up and give them all your money: Louis C.K., who hosted Saturday Night Live in New York City in the midst of Sandy's chaos, and Long Island native Jerry Seinfeld are both planning separate comedy shows to benefit storm victims. Louis C.K.'s two shows will take place on Staten Island, one of the hardest hit areas of New York, on November 17 at St. George Theatre. Tickets are currently being sold through his site, and he urges everyone to ignore any possible scalpers.
Seinfeld, who was served lunch by my very own grandmother when he attended Massapequa High School, will be adding an additional Long Island show for December 19 at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury as part of his December tour. All proceeds will benefit Sandy victims, as well as the earnings from last night's show at Brooklyn College and the newly-scheduled December 6 show at St. George Theatre.
While it's not exactly a surprise that two comedians with incredibly strong ties to New York would want to do something to give back, it's still always nice to report that celebrities have hearts. In case you needed a reminder.
Photo credit: St. George Theatre
(via Gothamist, CBS New York)
Souris sez ,"'Spirit Animal Collective' is now available at our shop. The print is based on Kozy's 2009 drawing 'Spirit Animal Collective'. The drawing was the culmination of Kozy's 4 year-long 'Unknown Portraits' project, which involved Kozy's nearly obsessive search through old photographs in junk shops from Australia to Spain to Northern England to San Francisco to our own backyard in Venice Beach (and more!). Most of the drawings were the size of playing cards, but for the final artwork Kozy create a massive graphite rendering of a 1940's-era New Zealand primary school class photo. In it she imagined the camera to reveal the spirit animal within each of the students. This summer we decided to produce a colorized version reminiscent of old tinted photos (Dan's grandmother used to tint photos as a side job while raising her children) and this is the result."
Spirit Animal Collective
Michael Geist sez,
The Supreme Court of Canada this morning shocked the pharmaceutical industry by voiding Pfizer's patent in Canada for Viagra. The unanimous decision provides a strong reaffirmation of the policy behind patent law, namely that patents represent a quid pro quo bargain of public disclosure of inventions in return for a time limited monopoly in the invention. The Supreme Court describes it in this way:
"The patent system is based on a "bargain", or quid pro quo: the inventor is granted exclusive rights in a new and useful invention for a limited period in exchange for disclosure of the invention so that society can benefit from this knowledge. This is the basic policy rationale underlying the Act. The patent bargain encourages innovation and advances science and technology."
Canadian Supreme Court Voids Viagra Patent as Insufficient Disclosure Means It Fails the "Patent Bargain"
Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes was the last great American newspaper comic strip, and opportunities to acquire original art are as rare as bug's teeth. Heritage Auctions is rightfully giddy to be offering a hand-colored Sunday strip. (I wouldn't be surprised if Watterson himself buys it.)
Oh boy -- be prepared to have your world rocked by this one, Comic Art lovers!
We don't have to tell you how incredibly rare this amazing masterwork is! It is, in fact, the first time this century that a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip original is being offered at public auction! It's a well known fact that artist Bill Watterson has carefully held onto his original artwork, despite many generous offers to part with a strip. We're not kidding when we say we would have been ecstatic to have uncovered a daily example of this medium-defining comic strip to offer, but to have a beautifully hand-colored (by the artist himself) Sunday is pretty much beyond belief! It was presented by Watterson as a gift to fellow cartoonist Brian Basset, creator of the popular strips Adam@Home and Red and Rover, who cherished it for many years in his personal collection.
Why is Basset selling the gift given to him by Watterson? The Daily Cartoonist reports that Basset is in a "financial pinch related to an earlier divorce and upcoming wedding has prompted him to put the piece on the auction block."
Bill Watterson Calvin and Hobbes Hand-Colored Sunday Comic Strip Original Art dated 10-19-1986 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1986)
(Video link) A local election in Cincinnato, Ohio came down to one vote from one person who thought it just wouldn't matter. But as it turns out, that person was the wife of Robert McDonald, who was running for a city council position -- and the race ended up tied. Katie McDonald just couldn't make it to the polls on Tuesday, and now the election will be decided with a coin toss.
Except for the coin toss, this was basically the premise for a 1956 episode of Popeye the Sailor, "Popeye For President," in which Miss Olive Oyl was too busy doing household chores to go cast her own tie-breaking vote for either Popeye (I-Spinach Party) or Bluto (I-Blutocratic Party). What's great about this vintage cartoon is not just the message about the importance of voting, but all the jokes that can be made about two "politicians" offering potential voters "stuff" and doing actual physical labor for the single woman vote.
(via My Vintage Generation)