My latest Locus column is "Be the First One to Not Do Something that No One Else Has Ever Not Thought of Doing Before," and it's about science fiction's addiction to certain harmful fallacies, like the idea that you can sideline the actual capabilities and constraints of computers in order to advance the plot of a thriller. Read the rest
It's early days in the Trump trainwreck, but Rebecca Solnit's astonishing, beautiful, visceral essay "The Loneliness of Donald Trump" may well end up being the defining moment of the Trump presidency, in which Solnit uses the incisive wit that gave us the term "mansplaining" to explain Trump. Read the rest
For years we've had silverfish darting around our guest bathroom. I bought some silverfish traps (little cardboard boxes with sticky goo to ensnare them) and they helped, but didn't stop them.
A few weeks ago I read that lavender oil is a good silverfish repellent. It's only $5.59 for a small bottle on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try. I wetted the end of a Q-Tip with the oil and ran it around the perimeter of the bathroom floor, adding a little extra to a seam between the floor and the wall. It smelled nice and we have not seen a single silverfish since. I'm going to wait and see how long it takes for them to come back, and then create a maintenance schedule.
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Chris Notap likes to make humane mousetraps. He's a recreational trapper, I guess. This is the fifth one in his series of homemade traps.
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Another of my best and easiest homemade humane mouse traps! The 5th in a series! Easy to build, easy to bait, easy to release and best of all, it's humane and there's no springs or levers to wind up or load! The mouse or vole cannot escape or chew his way out of this mouse trap. Mice are not harmed in any way during capture. As a matter of fact, the mouse or vole remains very calm since there is no snapping latches to scare him! Mice can be released calmly and easily without fear of getting bitten even by the most "fearful of mice" person!! Simple operation makes this diy homemade vole mouse trap fun and easy to build and adjust for easy trapping and best of all easy release. Just use a dab of peanut butter to bait the trap. It's the best do it yourself homemade humane live release vole mouse trap you'll find! A few common items is all you'll need. I'll be building a humane squirrel trap next so you can capture and release squirrels easily too so subscribe and don't miss my upcoming "diy humane squirrel trap". Thanks for watching. I also have a "diy humane rat trap" coming soon too!
For the last six weeks, residents of El Segundo, California have been startled from sleep in the early hours of the morning by the ear-splitting blast of an air horn. On Sunday morning at 4 am, police officers caught the gentleman who was blowing the horn. His name is John W. Nuggent and he admitted doing it because he wanted to annoy a specific person.
From The El Segundo Police Department Facebook page:
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On November 13, 2016 at around 4:00 AM, El Segundo Officers heard an extremely loud air-horn being actuated (similar to a train horn) on the west side of town. There have been numerous reports of similar occurrences over the past several weeks involving a blue 4-door compact vehicle driven by a male white adult (see attached picture captured from a residential surveillance video).
Shortly after hearing the loud horn, El Segundo Officers initiated a traffic-stop in the area of Grand Avenue and Main Street on a 4-door blue 2006 Chevrolet Aveo. The vehicle was driven by John W. Nuggent and officers found air-horn equipment inside his vehicle.
Several El Segundo residents, who were alleged victims of the air horn noise, responded to the scene and initiated a citizen’s arrest on Nuggent. He was subsequently transported to El Segundo jail for booking and his vehicle was impounded.
Rebecca Solnit (previously), one of my favorite writers, has published an open letter to Donald Trump, "New York City Is a Book Conservatives Should Read," which celebrates the city's teeming, messy, multicultural vigor -- something she delves into deeply with Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, a book about the "innumerable unbound experiences of New York City [with] twenty-six imaginative maps and informative essays" (just ordered mine). Read the rest
This fellow cobbled together an AC motor and some weed-eater filament, and attached it to a long pole. He then used it to get rid of a bunch of wasps that had taken residence near the top of his house. Those clunking sounds are from wasps flying into the spinning filament.
And here's a guy who set up a shop-vac and sucked out hundreds of yellowjackets living inside the walls of his house:
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In "A Letter to My Allies on the Left," Rebecca Solnit -- one of my literary and political heroes -- asks the left to give up the practice of reflexively dismissing the good that politicians do, because those politicians also do terrible things. Read the rest
In Millionaire Migration and the Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from Administrative Data, Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young builds on his substantial research on "millionaire migration," to show that only a small minority of millionaires move when local taxes go up -- far too few to represent a net loss to the tax coffers. Read the rest
Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I've written specifically for adults since 2009; it's scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they've hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman's Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed. Read the rest
Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Sachs alumnus; in 2014, he founded Hellenic Opportunity, a hedge fund that raised $25M to bet on distressed assets from Greece's collapsed economy, wagering that the country's investors would force it to make deeper cuts to finance payments on the debts. Read the rest
The Atlantic had the excellent idea of commissioning Sarah Jeong, one of the most astute technology commentators on the Internet (previously), to write a series of articles about the social implications of technological change: first up is an excellent, thoughtful, thorough story on the ways that the "cashless society" is being designed to force all transactions through a small number of bottlenecks that states can use to control behavior and censor unpopular political views. Read the rest
Nixon's War on Drugs, Reagan's three strikes rules, and Clinton's "superpredator" crime bill turned America into history's greatest imprisoner, a carceral state where a racially biased justice system was made worse with every passing day, thanks to the campaign contributions and lobbying by the private prison industry, led by Corrections Corporation of America. Read the rest
Philosopher John Danaher's new paper "Will life be worth living in a world without work?
Technological Unemployment and the Meaning of Life" assumes that after the robots take all our jobs, and after the economic justice of figuring out how to share the productivity games can be equitably shared among the robot-owning investor class and the robot-displaced 99%, there will still be a burning question: what will give our life meaning? Read the rest
In Understanding overconfidence: Theories of intelligence, preferential attention, and distorted self-assessment, an open access paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, psych researchers from Washington State U, Florida State U and Stanford report on their ingenious experiments to investigate how subjects' beliefs about intelligence affect their own intelligence. Read the rest