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« Come on? No 24 thread? You know all of Con sphere is locked in. | Main | Top Headline Comments 5-6-14 »
May 05, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (5-5-2014)

Well due to internet issues tonight all you get is ONT helper. And ONT helper does just fine by itself.

What Does It Feel Like to be Stupid?

I  had an arterial problem for a couple of years, which reduced blood supply to my heart and brain and depleted B vitamins from my nerves (to keep the heart in good repair). Although there is some vagueness as to the mechanisms, this made me forgetful, slow, and easily overwhelmed. In short, I felt like I was stupid compared to what I was used to, and I was.
However, once I got used to it and resigned myself, it was great. Even though I knew I had a worrying illness, I was happy as a pig in mud. I no longer had the arrogance of being frustrated with slow people, I abandoned many projects which reduced a lot of stress, I could enjoy films without knowing what would happen (my nickname before this used to be 'comic book guy' if you get the reference), and I became amazingly laid back and happy go lucky. I got on with people much better. I developed much more respect for one of my friends in particular who I always considered slow - it turned out he is much deeper than I thought, I just never had the patience to notice before. You could say I had more time to look around. The world just made more sense. The only negative, apart from struggling to perform at work, and having to write everything down, was that I no longer found sci-fi interesting - it just didn't seem important. (I'm not joking, although it sounds like a cliché.)
After a year or so I am almost as 'clever' as I used to be, although I tend to ignore distractions more than I used to and focus on a smaller number of projects. I'm still more laid back than I used to be though, and have more patience with people. Most people still find me more socially competent. I also enjoy sci-fi again.


Of Course Joe Biden Will Run in 2016

The point here isn't just that the thumbnail profile of Biden as a "happy warrior" who can't conceive of life outside of politics is true. It's that Biden truly believes he should be president. Biden didn't run in 2008 simply because he wanted the big desk in the Oval Office. He thought Americans deserved one last chance to do the right thing and make him president, as he thought they should have done in 1988. The fact that they didn't was, in his estimation, their mistake, not his.

Joe Biden is So Totally Running in 2016

Joe Biden Tries to Convince Canadian to Sign Up for O-Care

Joe Biden: Obama Gave Me 'Every S*** Job In The World'

This story doesn't need a set-up. Just enjoy it. Well, except for the part where Biden supposedly gets the last word with Obama. The man has been wrong on just about every foreign policy issue over the last 30 years. When his input isn't ludicrous, it's dangerous.


Then and Now



Being on the left means never being wrong. Or sorry.

Just as I was never told as a child that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist stooge who defected to the USSR, the next generation won't know that the 9/11 hijackers were hot for Jihad unless someone tells them

And pretty soon we won't be able to talk about the attacks of September 11th either, not unless we feign amnesia about who did it and why. It will be one of those things that only old screwballs talk about.

...Never did I imagine that it would be controversial to say that Muslims attacked us on 9/11. How did we arrive here?

What appears to be happening now is a concerted effort to make the world forget what took place that September morning or, failing that, to erase from our collective memory the identity of the perpetrators. Years ago I would have thought it impossible to achieve such a task but that's because I was twenty-one years old when those towers crumbled and the attacks have remained the formative event of my generation.

I can see now that knowledge must be transmitted from each generation to the next. To my yet unborn children 9/11 will be ancient history, something like the Kennedy Assassination is to me.


MSNBC's Krystal Ball: Animal Farm Was an Anti-Capitalism Parable

Thus completely missing the point.

Orwell was a brilliant man, and he struggled to reconcile his wish for a certain type of world with his knowledge that such a world could probably never come to be as he wished it. Much of his writing was devoted to the horrors of failed attempts to achieve that world.

Animal Farm is a critique of Stalinism/Communism, and although capitalism as an exploitative system plays a role at the beginning of the book, by the end the astute reader sees Communism as at least as bad or even worse. Orwell was also aware of the strong possibility that liberty and socialism of any sort (not just Communist Stalinism) could not be reconciled, as the above quotes from him indicate. It is my opinion that Orwell came very close to understanding that his vision of a planned economy plus freedom could not come to pass, that the contradiction was basic, and that socialism would always sow the seeds of its own destruction. I just think he couldn't fully face and embrace that knowledge because to do so would have meant renouncing a lifelong dream. So he clung to some notion of a kinder gentler socialism without the totalitarianism, while at the same time he wrote tirelessly about the evils of Communism.

The European Anti-Democratic Spirit: 'Imperfect EU Better Than Revolting Nationalism'

20% of American Families Do Not Have a Single Person in the Household Who is Employed

Bring Me One of the Orphan Children

For I need replenishment of my life force.

Giving old mice blood from young ones makes them smarter and improves such functions as exercise capacity, according to reports from two research teams that point to new ways to study and potentially treat diseases of aging. In one study, researchers at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco found that blood transfusions from young mice reversed cognitive effects of aging, improving the old mice's memory and learning ability. The report was published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. Two other reports appearing in Science from researchers at Harvard University found that exposing old mice to a protein present at high levels in the blood of young mice and people improved both brain and exercise capability. An earlier report by some of the same researchers linked injections of the protein to reversal of the effects of aging on the heart. ... What isn't known from all this research, said Buck Institute's Dr. [Brian] Kennedy, is whether young blood might also increase the life span of mice and, if so, what such implications for humans might be.

You Think You Had a Bad Monday...


Robocop: The Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Film

The Old Testament is full of examples of chiasmus, which is a figure of speech used in ancient times to emphasize balance. It lists a bunch of ideas or things and then repeats each of them in reverse order. It's often not an identical repetition. It frequently uses the opposite of what came before or something similar to it.

...Why am I giving a grammar lesson? Because I've noticed this same pattern used in films - a Cinematic Chiasmus, if you will. That shouldn't be too surprising. Good storytelling involves setting up ideas and then paying them off over the course of the story. But some films have second halves that so closely mirror their first halves that it makes them truly breathtaking to behold once you notice their chiasmus at work.

RoboCop (1987) is the first film I reviewed on this website, so it's fitting that it should be the first that I talk about here. Get ready to see how RoboCop is an almost perfectly symmetrical film.


The Yahoo AoSHQ group. Tra la la la.

And my twitter thang.

Tonight's post brought to you by Clint:


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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