Workplaces Make Terrible Monasteries

(Wikimedia commons)

I'm a little late to the discussion of Amazon's treatment of its white collar workers (I've been on vacation in CA), but I really liked Matthew Schmitz's take on the company at First Things.It sounds like Amazon works really hard to filter its employees for people who are willing to give most of their life to the company, and that winnowing process can include harsh treatment of people with other commitments, but isn't necessarily intended to result in a workforce living in fear of … [Read more...]

Donating to Women Prisoners Denied Medical Supplies

red on my ledger

Prisons price tampons and pads out of the range of what some women prisoners can afford.  Forcing indigent prisoners to bleed into their clothes can pose health/sanitary problems, but, even if it were no problem, medically, it would still be a terrible situation to force prisoners into simply because it is humiliating.And, as far as I can tell, my friend Clare has the same "Someone ought to do something" reaction as me when she read that, but then decided that she was that someone.She's … [Read more...]

Eve Tushnet’s Great New Novel On Forgiveness And Addiction


Eve Tushnet, the author of Gay and Catholic, just released her second book!  Amends is a novel about addiction and forgiveness (and how both aren't things you can finish dealing with).  I just finished it myself, and I can't wait to be back in D.C. to convene my friends to talk about it (and read aloud some to the passages that were particularly profound and/or hilarious).  Here's how I reviewed it on Amazon: Eve's first novel is excellent. I read it for the first time on a plane and was sorely … [Read more...]

7QT: Innovation in Gross Robots and Stock Photos

(WNYC / flickr)

--- 1 --- If folks don't want to wait til next year to play in another Ideological Turing Test, one of the posters on LessWrong is running one on vegitarianism. Format is a little different -- you're asked to rate your confidence using numbers, rather than the categorical variables I usually use.Let me know if you notice anything about the way he's running his that you'd like me to adapt for mine! --- 2 --- And. speaking of adaptations, this was my favorite show mentioned in a big Fringe … [Read more...]

7QT: The Odder Errors of Computers and Humans

camera hat

--- 1 --- My family tends to share thoughts on the New Yorker caption contest every week, over email, when the magazine arrives (no wins yet!). But I didn't know that our entries might be being winnowed out by a computer.  BloombergBusiness has a nice feature on the Microsoft team working with the New Yorker cartoon editor to see if they can build a program that can tell the difference between funny captions and ones that fall flat. For the study, Shahaf fed cartoons and captions from the New Y … [Read more...]

Is “Kindness-Adjacent” A Useful Category?

(Wikimedia Commons)

Catherine Addington wrote a great piece on police brutality for AmCon (that happened to riff on one of my posts about unadvisable, rape-adjacent sex): Bland’s death remains under investigation, but the dashboard camera footage of her interaction with Encinia shows the escalation of a warning for the failure to signal into the forceful detention of an epileptic woman. Surprisingly, much of what occurred between Encinia and Bland appears to have been legal, if imprudent. Encinia’s tactics could be … [Read more...]

Positive Parenting and Pick Up Artistry

(Curtis Perry / Flickr)

Libby Anne of the Patheos Atheist channel is one of my favorite people to read on parenting, and I really enjoyed her recent post "When Positive Parenting Doesn't 'Work'"  I'm pulling a longer quote and I still feel bad about chopping up her story, so just pop over and read the whole thing.Simply put, here is a situation where I very badly wanted Bobby to sleep, and not a one of my positive parenting techniques was able to achieve that. And I thought about this, too, as I laid there trying to … [Read more...]