7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.2)

1. The good news: The Obama administration on Wednesday auctioned off the right to construct wind turbines in “nearly 165,000 acres of federal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island — the first of many offshore auctions the Interior Department has planned.” The bad news: That still means the United States won’t have any functioning offshore wind farms producing electricity until at best 2018. This really is embarrassing.

2. Dahlia Lithwick looks at the law being decided/concocted in recent conflicting court decisions on whether or not corporations have souls. Part of what’s so depressing about the legal singularity — in which we are taken over and replaced by artificial legal constructs rather than by artificially intelligent robots — is that we’re so eager to surrender. The Terminator was a formidable foe intent on seizing control of the world. Corporations, by contrast, only have as much power as we consent to allow them. But that makes them very powerful, indeed, since we apparently are willing to all them to have all of it.

3. Yesterday we noted that 18th-century ideas about poverty such as “the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious” may be rejected by the consensus of smart and/or decent people, but they’re still quite popular. Here, for example, is Donald Trump: “People don’t work, they don’t have to work, they get better benefits if they take it easy.” And here is Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., telling some nuns to stop complaining about his efforts to slash the budget for food stamps, “What is the church doing wrong that they have to come to the government to get so much help?” If there is a consensus among smart and decent people, neither Trump nor Ribble is a part of that consensus.

4.100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women.” Adds another page to the ever-growing syllabus. My first reaction was “Where’s ‘The Screwfly Solution’?” But this is just a list of great stories, it’s not a competition for the 100 greatest, plus it follows a one-story-per-author rule, so my second reaction was, “These folks think ‘And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side’ is better than ‘Screwfly’? I’m gonna have to read that.”

(Link via Open Culture, which notes that 20 of these stories can be read online for free.)

5. Ads we’d like to see, from Molly Schoemann:

I hope I live to see the following commercial: A man stands at the kitchen sink and cuts through greasy buildup on a pile of pots and pans with only one squirt of dishwasher liquid. He does not act as though doing the dishes is a confusing and foreign experience for him, one which he is sure to incompetently screw up, with hilarious results. He does not appear to feel demeaned by the task, nor is it implied that he is doing it grudgingly, in exchange for a reward of sexual favors. Rather, he gets an enormous satisfaction out of the dish-washing experience itself, as most women in commercials do. As he hangs up the dish towel, he smiles like he’s just been awarded the key to the city, and maybe even fist-bumps a floating apparition of Mr. Clean.

6. Michael Bresciani of the anti-gay religious right group Renew America is warning that President Obama is the abomination that causes desolation and that he will impose Big Gay Sharia — some kind of alternating days scheme, apparently, incorporating both “the free for all of the LGBT with parades and open shows in  media and public” and “Sharia law … led by Jihadists.” Bresciani would likely be terrified of this video from Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress:

For folks like Bresciani, “free for all” is a description of a nightmare. For folks like Ellison, “free for all” is an ideal to be celebrated.

7. Happy birthday to Chris the Cynic! (It’s tomorrow, actually, but I’m a negligent blogger on weekends.)

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  • More people need to know about the awesomeness of Elizabeth Bear.

    ETA a link to another story of hers, “The Horrid Glory of Its Wings”: http://www.tor.com/stories/2009/12/the-horrid-glory-of-its-wings

  • We Must Dissent

    For some reason I read “New Mexico” as “Northern Mexico”.

  • P J Evans

    Needs King’s Hawaiian Bread. You can tell it from other bread. (Its ancestor was Portuguese, and it doesn’t contain pineapple.)

  • Lori

    And of course there was the Diet Coke construction worker guy with the office full of women who all took their break at the same time so they could watch him take his shirt off.


    That was a long while ago, so man candy ads aren’t new. I’m not sure why the pearl clutchers got so all in a tizzy about salad dressing guy.

  • Lori

    I used to work about 10 minutes from King’s corporate headquarters. (They moved it from Hawaii to Torrence, CA years ago.) They had a restaurant nearby that we used to go to sometimes for lunch. Good sandwiches.

  • Alix

    Funny story: when I first applied for college out in Santa Fe, my mom got very worried and quiet but wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. Finally, one day, she blurted out that she didn’t see how I could go there since my passport was out of date and I didn’t speak Spanish.

    Apparently, when I said “New Mexico” she had a brain fart and didn’t hear the “New.” Once she realized I wasn’t leaving the States she got very excited and insisted on coming out with me to have a little mini vacation before the school year started. (She’s a literature teacher.)

  • Guest

    Don’t forget that it’s to the employers’ benefit that workers are healthy, because healthy people are capable of their best work, being full of energy and not distracted by pain or annoying coughs. Healthy workers are productive workers. Productive workers increase company profits.

  • Right now, it would seem they’ve concluded that it’s easier to fire an unproductive worker and collect another one from the hundreds of applications for that same position than to worry for a minute about employee retention.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh. That’s something entirely different.

  • That said, both of them have their charms. Especially Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

  • He’s apparently more popular than I thought. I got a huge kick out of the response he got when Loki ‘crashed’ Comic-Con. You can practically see Hiddleston start to glow when the fans start chanting.

  • It’s the fact that he looks like he’s having a blast that does it.

  • Then they conclude that high unemployment is the fault of those sweet, sweet welfare benefits.

  • It totally is. If we just accepted our lot as slaves to be used up to shambling husks and then thrown away where we die gracefully in the nearest gutter, the economy would improve so much.

    Well, that’s pretty much the gist of the letter a Republican out of Montana sent his constituents.

  • Isabel C.

    Internet Vulcan, man.

  • FearlessSon

    My girlfriend was saying that, as salad dressing is a fairly “static” market, the way Kraft was able to up their sales numbers with this campaign at all says a lot about the kind of reach it had.