I started going bald in my mid-twenties, thanks to a combination of stress and shitty genes. I put up with it, right up to the point where I started thinking about getting a hair cut that would mask the amount of hair that I had lost. Realizing that, for me at least, this was the way to vain insanity, I went to my barber and told him to shave it all off, right down to the wood. I've been shaving my head ever since. For close to two decades, that shaving was done with either a straight razor or an old school safety razor, depending on whether or not I was traveling. Unfortunately, my relationship with sharp things and hot lather came to an end this past September. As part of a physical with my new family doctor, it was discovered that I had an 80% blockage in my ticker—I'd been trying to kill myself, for years, with booze and bad food (and once again, shitty genes.) I had a stent put in me and was prescribed a ton of cardiac-related medications, blood thinners, included. My doctor made it clear that shaving with an exposed blade needed to be a thing that I didn't do anymore. Any injuries to my scalp, no matter how minor, would bleed like a sunovabitch. "You should invest in an electric razor," My cardiologist told me. "You'll get used to it, real quick," my friend Richard, who'd has a stent put in his heart the year before, told me. Read the rest
SpotHero is an app that lets you reserve parking in advance. It seemed like a cool idea, so I installed it and gave it a try when I had a business lunch on Tuesday. I entered the name of the restaurant in Hollywood and SpotHero showed me a map of parking spots near the restaurant. I found one on the corner of Argyle and Sunset for $6.
When I arrived at the parking lot, I found that the entrance was barricaded. A worker standing by the entrance told me that the entire lot had been rented for the day. I showed her my SpotHero reservation, and she called for the lot attendant who came over told me the same thing. He said I could go to another lot at the corner of Hollywood and Vine and that I "might be able to work something out with them." He described the lot, but when I drove there I couldn't find the lot he was talking about, and I had my doubts that they would let me park there anyway.
At this point, I was already late for my meeting. Fortunately, I found a metered spot in the street, which is rare for this area, and paid $8 for 2 hours. So I ended up being late and paying $14 for parking.
After my meeting, I contacted SpotHero through Twitter to let them know about the problem with the lot. I received a reply on Wednesday morning:
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This is Emily from SpotHero, our Social Media Monitor passed your information along to me.
Hans Calmeyer was a left-wing German lawyer -- his law license was temporarily suspended when he was accused of being a Communist -- who was inducted into the German army under the Nazis, who put him in charge of an office that determined which Dutch people would be deported to Auschwitz during the Nazi occupation. Read the rest
As with last year, the Mozilla Foundation's privacy researchers have produced a guide to electronic gifts called "Privacy Not Included," which rates gadgets on a "creepiness" scale, with devices like the Sonos One SL dumb "smart speaker" (Sonos ripped out all the junk that isn't about playing music) getting top marks, and Ring Security Cams, Nest Cams, Amazon Echos, and other cam/mic-equipped gadgets coming in as "Super Creepy!" (the exclamation point is part of the rating). Read the rest
On Slate Star Codex, psychiatrist Scott Alexander offers a "book review of "All Therapy Books", which is a jumping-off point for asking how it is that psychotherapy is periodically rocked by new therapies that seem to perform incredibly well, but whose confirmed efficacy shelves off over time. Read the rest
Robert Skidelsky is an eccentric British economist: trained at Oxford, author of a definitive three-volume biography of Keynes, a Lord who sat with the Tories as their economics critic during the Blair regime, who now sits as an independent who is aligned with Labour's left wing. Back in September, Yale University Press published Skidelsky's latest book, Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economics, a retelling of the history of economics as a discipline that seeks to uncover how economics' failings created the 2008 crisis and have only made things worse since. Read the rest
John Hodgman's last book, Vacationland, was a kind of absurdist memoir of a weird kid who'd grown up to the kind of self-aware grownup who really wanted to dig into how he got to where he was, with bone-dry wit and real heart (I compared it to Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, but for adults who'd outgrown it); in his new book, Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms, Hodgman offers something much more uncomfortable (if no less funny), a series of vignettes that explore the hollowness of privilege, the toxicity of comparison, and the melancholy of accomplishment. Read the rest