giandujakiss: (Default)
How quickly I get my work done when I know I can read Captive Prince: Kings Rising once I've finished.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Texas Grand Jury Investigating Planned Parenthood Decides To Indict Anti-Abortion Activists Instead

Grand juries don't decide to do things. Prosecutors tell them what to do. Which is why it's so ridiculous that prosecutors shrug and say "the grand jury made me do it" when refusing to indict cops who kill unarmed black people, or accused rapists. If the grand jury doesn't indict, it's because the prosecutor intentionally made a case for innocence. Here, the grand jury did not all by itself figure out that it was a felony to forge driver's licenses - the prosecutor instructed them on the law.

I can see why, in Texas, a prosecutor - perhaps one politically pressured into investigating Planned Parenthood in the first place - would want to disclaim responsibility, but. News organizations shouldn't be buying it.
giandujakiss: (Default)
So I hadn't seen the Star Wars movie because I'm really not a Star Wars fan. But everyone was screaming about how awesome it is that a woman gets the Skywalker role, and that two non-white men are cast in supporting roles, and Leia's a general, etc, etc, and so I finally went.

And now, having seen the movie, yes, kudos to the casting and all, but ... there's a reason I'm not a Star Wars fan. I'm going to have to stand my ground on that one.

And as glad as I am that they're clearly setting up for sequels, and given the tremendous box office success I'd say sequels are a certainty, the cynical part of my brain thinks that the sequels will dial back Rey's role. The studio heads will dismiss the success of TFA despite the female lead as being due to the brand name of the franchise; they'll convince themselves that now that the novelty has worn off, boys will need a male hero to maintain interest, and also how are they supposed to sell toys with breasts on them? And Rey will be reduced to a supporting role in her own story.

giandujakiss: (Default)
The Cruz Eligibility Question: Legal Scholars Weigh In
Donald Trump‘s contention that Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t eligible to be president because his Republican rival was born in Canada has stirred a spirited debate among legal scholars....

While the balance of scholarly opinion favors Mr. Cruz, a number of legal authorities have weighed in with skepticism in recent days, including a few who have deeply researched the question and say Mr. Trump is actually right.
giandujakiss: (holmes)
Has anyone tried Joan Watson's exercise trick for staying awake? Does it work?
giandujakiss: (poi)
There is a restaurant in NYC that charges $120 for a cup of premium sencha green tea. The story broke as a result of a WaPo column in which a woman described a Tinder date with Martin Shkreli, and other outlets followed up on the tea piece.
giandujakiss: (Default)
The Boss Doesn’t Want Your Résumé
Compose Inc. asks a lot of job applicants. Anyone who wants to be hired at the San Mateo, Calif., cloud-storage firm must write a short story about data, spend a day working on a mock project and complete an assignment.

There is one thing the company doesn’t ask for: a résumé.

Compose is among a handful of companies trying to judge potential hires by their abilities, not their résumés. So-called “blind hiring” redacts information like a person’s name or alma mater, so that hiring managers form opinions based only on that person’s work. In other cases, companies invite job candidates to perform a challenge—writing a software program, say—and bring the top performers in for interviews or, eventually, job offers.

Bosses say blind hiring reveals true talents and results in more diverse hires. ...

Kurt Mackey, Compose’s chief executive, realized his managers tended to pick hires based on whom they connected with personally, or those with name-brand employers like Google Inc. on their résumés—factors that had little bearing on job performance, he says....

Rising interest in anonymous hiring reflects the growing awareness of unconscious bias, attitudes or stereotypes that affect decisions. Research on unconscious bias has shown that information like a person’s name can affect how they’re viewed and subtly prompt managers to make unfair decisions.
giandujakiss: (poi)
New York City to Replace Pay Phones With Free Wi-Fi
The lowly pay phone is getting a high-tech makeover, a change that aims to challenge the speeds and high prices charged by wireless carriers.

New York City will begin this month replacing thousands of pay phones with free Wi-Fi hot spots. The city expects to have 500 hot spots installed by July, and eventually about 7,500 units will be replaced.

The hot spots will sit atop a 9.5-foot tall box with electronic screens on each side to display advertising. Sandwiched between the sidewalk ads will be an Android tablet that can be used to place free phone calls and surf the Web.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Loved it. Was riveted.

I'm consistently amazed by movies (All The President's Men, its obvious forerunner; The Big Short) where everyone knows going in how the movie ends, but it still holds your attention because it's just such a great journey.

Anyway, at first I was afraid to watch Spotlight because I just didn't think I could take wallowing in the subject matter. But the movie is really more about reporting than the scandal itself. Don't get me wrong - the movie doesn't shy away from its subject - but it's the reporting that's in focus. What holds your attention is watching the reporters' growing amazement as they realize the extent of the problem - and the coverup.

Of course, after I saw Spotlight, Sister Act was on television, and man, talk about whiplash in terms of portrayals of the Catholic church.

Also saw Suffragette. Sadly, I found that very disappointing. A great example to prove the old adage, "If you want to send a message, use Western Union." The political polemic overshadows the storytelling, which is a pity, because if the movie had focused more on the story, the politics would have sold themselves - there's a lot of wonderful, heroic, tragic, horrifying history to mine. The movie is massively uninterested in portraying how anyone could have believed in this system, lived under it - which I dislike, because if there are any lessons to be learned from this kind of history, it has to be that people who thought themselves to be fair and good were able to justify this system to themselves. The lesson is how people in power convince themselves that the power is earned; and the distorting effects of that power on their behavior. And of course, that power doesn't give ground without a fight, no matter how justified the cause may seem in retrospect.

The movie tries to capture the idea of the suffragette movement through one woman's gradual conversion to the cause, except her conversion actually happens incredibly quickly; meanwhile, most of the other characters are more symbols than actual people. Lots of speeches by lots of characters, but I didn't get a real sense of where the movement was, its effect on the public, its relative popularity at the time. Critical things that might have had more of an emotional impact - the idea that politicians were keeping suffragette protests out of the press, for example, to keep them from making waves - were almost an afterthought. Compare, for example, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which makes the suppression of press coverage into an incredibly powerful rallying point (I'm not suggesting Suffragette should have shown an army of children printing a newspaper; just that it's an easy outrage-button to push and they didn't push it). Frankly, this vid of the movie Iron Jawed Angels is more powerful than the entire Suffragette movie.


Dec. 27th, 2015 08:28 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
I'm going with the critical consensus. Jennifer Lawrence is a joy to watch, and there was a really great idea for a movie hiding in here, but sadly, there's too much other poorly conceptualized crap obscuring it. Because the tale that wants to be told is a straight up American dream sort of story - and that part's charming - but David O Russell couldn't leave it there; he wanted to make it also about some kind of dysfunctional family drama, and as a result, everything's kind of a mess.
giandujakiss: (Default)
This is a New York Times story about how high school graduation rates are rising, but today's high school students are less prepared for college work than they have been in the past, suggesting that graduation requirements are too easy and/or that high schools are not providing a decent education.

The story focuses in particular on South Carolina, and quotes executives from Boeing and other companies with plants in South Carolina who express concern that today's South Carolina high school graduates may not be competent to perform work at those companies.

Well, let's look at Boeing's history:

Boeing is top winner of state, local tax breaks

The Boeing subsidies come primarily from just two states, Washington and South Carolina, according to decades of data compiled by Good Jobs First. The Boeing subsidies make Washington state the second-leading provider of tax incentives behind New York.

After huge tax incentive package, Boeing still ships jobs out of Washington

the fear of losing Boeing jobs was on display last year in Olympia, when Inslee proposed the package of tax breaks with what legislators described as a clear sense of urgency: Missouri, South Carolina, Utah and more than a dozen other states were preparing their own packages of tax incentives to lure the 777X jobs, and Washington legislators felt they had to rush to develop a more appealing package.
So Boeing encourages a race to the bottom among states to cut their budgets to the bone in order to award Boeing tax breaks for setting up plants in their areas, and then bitches that the high schools are such crap that the local students don't have the skills necessary to work in Boeing's plants? Gee, I wonder if there's any connection between these two entirely unrelated things.

giandujakiss: (Default)
loved it. It was extremely creative in the way that it jazzed up both the characters and the film style in order to turn an essentially unfilmable story into a surprisingly suspenseful film, considering we know how it ends.

It came up with some marvelously entertaining and original ways to explain the financial maneuvering behind the crisis, though I'm not certain how well they'd translate to someone who genuinely went in not knowing the basics.
giandujakiss: (gay batman)
Knitters With Hopelessly Knotted Yarn Call ‘Detanglers’ for Help
Many knitters find their craft a tranquil and even meditative pastime—until knots and tangles in their yarn send them into a fury. But for one group of fanatics, there is nothing more satisfying than a hopelessly tangled web.

Daphne Basnet of Melbourne, Australia, once paid about $50 on eBay for a 25-pound box of snarled yarn, simply for the pleasure of untangling it. “I was so happy, I can’t tell you,” recalls the 58-year-old of her purchase, a mess of about 120 knotted balls. ...

Finding such tangled treats got easier when Ms. Basnet joined Knot a Problem, a seven-year-old group of more than 2,100 “detanglers” on the online community for knitters and crocheters called Ravelry. Frustrated yarn-lovers from around the world post pleas for help undoing their knottiest knots, often created by children, pets or yarn-winding mishaps.
For what it's worth, this is not the first time the Wall Street Journal has provided in-depth knitting coverage: Sock It to Me: Competitive Knitters Get Deadly Serious

(If you need a subscription to read the articles, try Googling the titles and clicking the links).
giandujakiss: (Default)

giandujakiss: (Default)
Weighs in on the Trumo/Nazi comparison.

(I haven't even read the column; I'm still laughing over the author)

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