7QT: Devil in the Details (of stings, languages, and surgery)


--- 1 --- Happy Sukkot, to any readers who are celebrating!  Here's a delightfully silly relyricization for the holidays.This reminds me of the last time I went to a Sukkot celebration, and after our friend celebrated by shaking the lulav in the appropriate six directions, there was a tipsy suggestion from the crowd to shake it in eleven directions like a string theorist.  (Though, I suppose, to be truly analogous, the suggestion should have been to shake it in twenty directions, su … [Read more...]

I’ll Match Your Flu Shot with a Donation

From Married to the Sea

Happy flu season, everyone!This year, when you get your flu shot, there's an added bonus to the usual benefits ofBeing much less likely to get the flu Virtuously protecting the elderly, the babies, and the immunocompromised through herd immunityBecause flu symptoms (fever, achiness, etc) are similar to the initial symptoms of ebola, you're also forstalling any anxiety you, or people around you, may experience as the result of the onset of your flu symptoms.  The news media has … [Read more...]

Why Have Gender-Segregated Sports at All?


After yesterday's post on the female athlete who's been banned from competition for having too much testosterone, several commenters asked what criteria I would use to distinguish male and female athletes, in lieu of the testosterone titer test.  Jake wrote: I feel like you've skipped the most important part though. What the IOC is really saying is that they've picked a definition of what it means to be eligible to compete in women's sports, and that definition includes some constraint on h … [Read more...]

Harrison Bergeron-ing a Too-Exceptional Sprinter


There's an article in the NYT today covering one of my philosophy of the body hobbyhorses.  Dutee Chand, an 18-year old champion sprinter, has been told she must have surgery or start a drug regimen in order to be allowed to compete in official races.  The problem? Her body naturally produces more testosterone than usual, and administrators worry it gives her an unfair advantage: Arne Ljungqvist, the longtime chairman of the I.O.C.’s medical commission, said a hyperandrogenism policy was nece … [Read more...]

Luxuriating in Kvetching [Pope Francis Bookclub]


In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In this week's reading, Pope Francis discusses what we do with untransfigured pain and suffering: Our limitation and our weakness can be transformed by prayer into a cross.... The problem is that when we concentrate only on extern … [Read more...]

7QT: Surprises, Subterfuge, and 200 lbs of LARPing Meat

sewing machine

--- 1 --- There's no way this feature on a live-action Oregon Trail game wasn't taking top billing on my Quick Takes this week.  Trust me, you want to read the whole thing: And then there was the problem of meat. On the trail, as in the game, if you killed a bison, you could only carry 200 pounds of meat with you. In the live-action game, participants face the task of pushing 200 pounds of meat up a hill—in this case, a 200 pound man in a wagon regaling the crowd with meat facts. In our case, i … [Read more...]

Writing Relationships into a Corner


Earlier this week, I was chatting with a friend about A.O. Scott's big piece on storytelling and the death of adulthood.  Scott discusses the tendency of male heroes to "light out for the Territory," escaping the feminized world of social expectations and perhaps a specific female person (be it mother or maiden).  While Huck stepped outside of society in order to critique it, men in modern stories, Scott claims, tend to be rebels in retreat; they've traded in Jim's raft for the stoner's c … [Read more...]