You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Make Your Plinking More Fun…

Posted in Guns, Politics, Snark by Stacy McMahon on December 12, 2006

…with a moving target! That’s what one moronic fratboy did in Corvallis, OR over the weekend. Now, of course shootings are no laughing matter, especially when a well-off fratboy shoots a homeless man for fun–with all the sociopolitical baggage that implies. But really this is just comedy gold, like the Simpsons come to life:

Sanderson had just climbed out of a dumpster between AGR and Phi Gamma Delta, otherwise known as Figi, when he felt something hit his left thigh. He took a step and it hurt. When he looked at his leg he saw blood and realized he’d been shot.

“It was a unprovoked attack,” Sanderson said. “Didn’t say anything to anyone.”

How do you know it wasn’t attempted murder? The shooter used a .22 <rimshot>
(more…)

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Addition to the blogroll

Posted in Blogroll by Stacy McMahon on December 11, 2006

I’m adding a link to the Housing Bubble Blog. I can’t vouch for the quality, but there is some serious quantity over there, with multiple daily links and quotes from news stories relating to the housing market.

Fair warning: it’s a depressing read for those of us who bought real estate during the last couple years.

Trans Fats and Synergies

Posted in Books, Environment by Stacy McMahon on December 10, 2006

Awhile back I posted about Randall Fitzgerald’s The Hundred Year Lie, wherein he suggests that modern Americans are contracting all kinds of maladies from combinations of synthetic chemicals that are in more or less everything we eat, drink, and otherwise use in our daily lives.

The trans fats mentioned in the previous post are essentially synthetic butter. You’ll find them listed as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils on the back of the container. Presumably the partially hydrogenated oils have some benefit over butter (like lower fat) but the trans fats themselves apparantly have bad effects, including lowering “good cholesterol” and raising “bad” cholesterol. Maybe I’d prefer plain old butter. It also occurs to me that this is a verifiable case of a synethic compound that has a harmful effect. Fitzgerald’s proposition is that many synthetic chemicals that are inert by themselves interact within the body to produce serious side effects.

That makes logical sense, but it’s hard to test because the nature of these synergies precisely defeats the scientific method. If you control for all but the test compound, then by definition you will not see the synergy. If you can’t verify something, then you can’t very well decide it’s worthy of a government reaction–like banning trans fats.

Note: I’m now using the new Google/Blogger beta, and it seems to allow for tagging posts. I’m tagging this one as “trans fats”, “junk science”, and “books”.

Fat-Nazis

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on December 9, 2006

Ann Althouse (link via Instapundit) on the war against obesity:

I simply do not believe that the so-called health side is really composed of people who are solicitous about everyone else’s health. I can’t prove it, but my intuition is that all the strength on the “health” side of this war comes not from people who really care whether other people are healthy, but from people who don’t like having to see fat people. They are concerned about their own aesthetic pleasures, and they think fat is ugly.

I know this is true of me. My aesthetic preference leans toward “healthy” versus “skinny” (real women have curves!) but if I see someone who clearly weighs 300+ pounds lumbering down the hallway, sweating and (I’ve seen this) taking a break halfway from the lobby to the elevator, I am repulsed. Mean? Maybe, but I have the social grace not to comment on it. Not fake-quietly while the person is right there, not under my breath, not to my friend after they’re out of sight. As the cheerleader said to the president of the chess club, I can’t help how I feel inside.

But I know a lot of other people can’t help letting such feelings leak into their politics. The movie Supersize Me wasn’t made by a recovering three-Big Mac-a-day fatso who lives in stripmall suburbia, it was made by a physically fit vegetarian who lives in Manhattan. Similarly, the anti-smoking crowd seems to include former smokers mainly as poster children (and then only if they’re dying of cancer)

Yes, I think these things are as least as much about someone’s aesthetic sensibility as about any kind of concern for the supposed victims.

How to Trap Your Man (or Woman)

Posted in Miscellaneous by Stacy McMahon on December 4, 2006

The comment thread on this post over at the Bitch Girls is too old to keep posting on, so I’ll beat the dead horse over here. The original topic was a bizarre Michigan law making it illegal for a man to break up with a woman while she is carrying his child. Yes, really. Who wins, Bitter asks? Some commenters said that women win because the government now stands behind them when they get pregnant to “trap” their mate. Others pointed out that being with someone you don’t want to be with isn’t a “win” for either person.

But being in a miserable relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be with you is a big win for the person who does want to be in it.

Not–obviously–that I’m advocating that, but you have to realize what you’ve done to the other person before you can join them in misery. Otherwise a “win” is exactly what it is, because in your mind you’ll have “convinced” the other person, or “made them realize they love you” or any of the other ways people rationalize coercing someone to stay in a relationship.

Which leads to another shopworn cliche, “I thought we were happy!” if the split arrives ahead of the self-realization…

Evolution, not Revolution

Posted in Economics, The Intrawebs by Stacy McMahon on December 4, 2006

I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about this for a few months now, but Amazon is going to make all of its physical plant available for rent (link via Instapundit) to people who have a product idea but can’t or won’t fund the fixed cost to start up a business. Jeff Bezos says it’s going to change the world, and Kevin Maney agrees:

If you tease out Bezos’ plan, you get to a point where a high school cheerleader sitting at home with a laptop could theoretically harness computing power, design capabilities, manufacturing and distribution from around the world, and make and market a cute little pink hot rod that would compete against General Motors.

Now, it will change the world for some things. Books and music for example, not because they are Amazon’s existing core retail business but because they are a product where the manufacturer has no responsibilities beyond making and distributing the product. Anything else that loosely fits that description could make a killing using this service. Clothing, for example, which would be a much better bet for our notional cheerleader than a “cute little pink hotrod”.
Why not the hotrod? Simply, what’s she going to do when she needs to put out a recall? That should be fairly self-explanatory, but the bottom line is that for products that need post-sale manufacturer support, there is no substitute for owning your own factory. In fact, that’s already becoming a marketing slogan for makers of high-end electronics, and precisely because of the massive outsourcing that makes it nearly impossible to know where the object you bought was made. No big deal if it’s a t-shirt, but potentially a very big deal if it’s a $3k HDTV, and definitely a dealbreaker for any color of hotrod.

Jeff Bezos also thought the Segway would change the world, and you never even hear about it anymore. I like the idea of what Amazon is doing here, but they need to closely study what’s going on right now in consumer durable goods manufacturing. The moped market would be a great place to start, as it took off during high gas prices and dozens of US-based companies sold scooters (some strictly by mail order) that were all made by maybe three Chinese factories. Lots of people thought that was a great model, but it actually went exactly the way you’d expect and most of those companies don’t exist anymore. Some never shipped a unit and a lot of customers ended up with junk bikes and no service or spare parts.

That said, I’ll be waiting for my chance to write the great American novel and sell it on Amazon, all without any literary agents or publishers taking a cut. But I think I’ll pass on “Maney sausage”…

There is no such thing as "gifting"!

Posted in Miscellaneous by Stacy McMahon on December 1, 2006

Rant: Gifting is the worst advertising-caused word coinage I can think of. It doesn’t even make sense! If I give you something, it’s called “giving”, and the something is then referred to as a gift. You can’t then go back around and say you’re “gifting” it to the person. This is the worst example of bad english ever. I previously hated the substitution of “home” for “house” (RIP “what makes a house a home?”–now it automatically is) but gifting is way, way worse. And it’s showing up more and more. Maybe the frogs were onto something with their anti-language butchering laws…