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Planets, Planets Everywhere

But it's weird how many of them lack Tiki bars or anything of the sort. Like, what's the point???

Here's the short piece I filed to the Web this morning.

The gist:

Astronomers are finding planets by the dozen. A team of European astronomers announced Monday morning that they had found 32 new "exoplanets" orbiting distant stars.

[more to come...]

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 19, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
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Next: The outsider


Numero uno?

Posted by: Gomer144 | October 19, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Gomer! So good to see you! How's the school year going?

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Reposting (almost mudged my own self, yet again)

32 more planets, and in one fell swoop (or swell foop, as you prefer). That brings the total to over 400 planets. The middle school science fair industry as well as the papier-mache trade association must be going nuts over this.

I just know I'll never remember all their names.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

With that many planets out there it is time to get the Robinson family on the Jupiter 2 pronto. We have to start exploring those styrofoam rock-strewn landscapes.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Howdy to all, and howdy to Gomer!

I'm excited about these new planets. We have enough now for a few good planetary baseball teams. This discovery should really enhance the competition.

I do think that they need to coordinate the acronyms better. "HARPS" just does not go with "ESPRESSO". "ESPRESSO" needs drums, or maybe speed metal. Trumpets at the least. "HARPS" would probably work well with herbal tea, or a snifter of brandy. If you had enough brandy, you'd probably see two or three times more new planets.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 19, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Is Gomer144 "our" Gomer? Does that mean there are at least 143 other Gomers on the WaPo?

What does a football coach do if he's not calling plays? Tell the guys, "You can do it"?

That artist's rendition of another planet looks just like home.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

seasea asks: "What does a football coach do if he's not calling plays?"

1. Polish his resume.
2. Find somebody else to blame.
3. Make travel plans for January since he will have a lot of free time.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Does this screen shot of the bottom of the first page of WaPo's Facebook article crack anyone else up?

Here's the article...

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know what ESPRESSO stands for? I've failed to find the answer after a minute of googling.

Posted by: greg_sanders | October 19, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I was heartened to see the Facebook-fatigue article this morning. Apparently I have managed to ride the entire Facebook wave, from innovation to obsolescence, without having spent one moment on the site. You call it techno-phobic, I call it efficiency.

I'm with you Mudge--no way will I be able to remember 400+ planet names. I had a hard enough time with 9 (now 8).

Posted by: Raysmom | October 19, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

From Joel's article:
"He said that a new instrument under development, known as ESPRESSO (Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet- and Stable Spectroscopic Observations), "should allow us to detect Earth twins around solar-type stars, within 5 to 10 years."

Wonder how many rocket scientists it took to come up with that?

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Just found these interesting (if you like football) factoids:

Of the 32 head coaches, 17 have defensive backgrounds, and only 14 have offensive backgrounds, and 1, the Ravens' Harbaugh, is a special teams guy.

In fact, only 8 of the 32 head coaches call their offensive plays, by an unofficial count. Several more chip in from time to time, but don't call offensive plays on a regular basis. And not all the 17 defensive guys always call their defensive plays; most do, some don't.

In theory, Zorn came in as an offensive-side expert, but I'm not sure that was ever much warranted in the first place. What he mainly was, was a quarterback coach, which isn't the same thing as a play-caller.

I got ticked off at the deck of Monica Hess's Facebook story, and didn't get verry far into it. What made me mad was the "everybody and his mother" line. I really, really hate these sweeping bandwagon generalizations, since I know a lot of people who are NOT on Facebook and wouldn't go there on a bet (I'm one). Then, having created this abomination, they compounded it by the somewhat sexist "and his mother" add-on, which was completely unnecessary. (Wouldn't "Everyone is on Facebook" have been enough?) Why not "everyone and HER mother"?

Every time I see an sort of "Everybody's doing it" headline I know I'm in the hands of a non-thinking, cliche-riddled BS artist. No, no matter what the subject matter, everybody isn't doing it, except dying, and to point that out is to trivialize death as some fad trend along with Twitter and Feng shui. Everybody isn't do it.

Of course, I was already in a foul mood simply because the WaPo seemed to think that Sarah Palin hopping on Facebook was not only worth a story, it was worth rotating in the picture box. Talk about pandering.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell, there are actually very few Gomers on WaPo online, but when the system made me sign in, I couldn't be just "Gomer", I guess there is at least one more. It started suggesting things like Gomer163545 and Gomer287576, so I went with 144, a barely-veiled reference to my actual last name.

Thanks for the hiyas, I feel like Norm walking in.

Posted by: Gomer144 | October 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Joel's article describes ESPRESSO thus: "a new instrument under development, known as ESPRESSO (Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet- and Stable Spectroscopic Observations)".

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 19, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

All the cool acronyms like JAVA were already taken.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

At least you aren't Gomer 288 because that would be too gross.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

s_d, yesterday *was* all about Button, but thanks for the props on my guy Hamilton.

yellojkt, when I get to a location I can look at your parade pics, I'll try to give ya some IDs. I've raced against some of the GT student race cars over the years, including a couple of weeks ago down in Gainesville. The students are smart and lots of fun, and learning that there's a big difference between *engineering* and *racing,* which is good to note for those GT students stepping up to the school's Formula SAE program.

Planets, planets, everywhere! Look, with 2012 coming, shouldn't we be talking to the Milky Way Real Estate agent for this quadrant? If we need to move quickly, we should get going on the paperwork and whatnot, aren't we? Defnintely want to do a homeworld inspection before we move in, see if there's anything we need to worry about (Other than the Greys on the neigboring worlds watching us move in and saying to each other, "There goes the neighborhood -- didja see what they did to their *last* place? Sheesh.")

On the other hand, an society with access to more and more land and resources (and the intelligence to utilize them) is less likely to stagnate, destroy itself or collapse.

The question is -- are these worlds ours to use in peace?

(Except Europa)


PS: Please note that the phrases "United Federation of Planets," "Manifest Destiny," or "Galactic Empire" were not used in the construction of the above comment. Thank you.

Posted by: -bc- | October 19, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I will defer to ScienceTim, but I would say that this acronym seems less tortured than many.

Like Ivansmom, I would say that HARPS isn't a great companion name (unless you're talking about beer, in which case it should be a coffee-flavored stout).

I would propose HARPS be renamed Jumbo Integrated Telescope for Thermal and Electromagnetic Review of Spectrometry (JITTERS)--a much better companion to ESPRESSO.

(don't scrutinize the name too closely, it's basically nonsense).

Posted by: Awal | October 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

BTW, just finished "Guernsey" a few minutes ago. It was OK, that's about all. Was kinda expecting more, from the build-up.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't like that you have to log in to access any aspect of Facebook, even your friend's websites, while 300 million strangers can.

I've declined over 5 facebook invitations this year, just because I do not need another account to keep track of at all.

I can e-mail those friends and if I don't know all their witticisms of the day-- does that really matter?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of tiki bar, I've actually had dinner at Trader Vic's, twice. You'd think there'd be one in Florida.

Thinking of planet detection, it's great...but it looks as though our ability to detect weather is about to collapse. The existing meteorological satellites seem to be at the ends of their useful lives, cost of the replacements has gone through the ceiling, and there's an effort underway to move money from NOAA to border protection. So maybe in a few years, there'll be a hurricane somewhere out in the ocean but no one will spot it.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 19, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This scares me:

I hope he's wrong, and I hope we don't have a massive die-off of humans as he describes. That would kill Facebook, but I'd rather not go there, even though we might be better off if there were fewer Homo Sapiens on the planet.

This is one area where life would be better if women were in charge. There wouldn't be so many children if women had the choice not to get pregnant.

Posted by: slyness | October 19, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I would argue that women do have the inalienable right not to get pregnant, they are just forcibly prevented from exercising it, by and large.

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Regarding curmudgeon's 2:12, the fact of the matter is that in this day and age, although we all put on our pants one leg at a time, everybody and his mother needs to take it to another level and give 110% just to keep up with the Joneses, or the terrorists will have won.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 19, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I was a very late adopter of Facebook -- just joined a month or so ago. And I mostly didn't feel the need for it. But since I joined, I've been able to follow the dissertation progress of a number of friends and congratulate them when they submitted their defense drafts. I've made contact with old classmates around the world who I'd lost touch with and seen pictures of their beautiful babies. And I've giggled at boodle-worthy wit and followed links to a few good articles that I wouldn't have come across otherwise. Yes, the most important people I'd be in touch with anyhow, but it's nice to be able to follow people's milestones (and even yard-stones. foot-stones?) without requiring personal notification from every person every time. For me, it feels a lot like the boodle, except with people I knew in person first. And I spend a lot less time there than here. All YMMV caveats apply.

Posted by: -bia- | October 19, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I read the Facebook is dead article last night - thought it was pretty funny, as someone who declared I would never go on Facebook but finally did, and as a mom who looked up my (adult) kid but would never "friend" him. Then to see Chris Cilliza's article about Palin being on Facebook as if that's news (she's been on since the summer and her infamous death panel statement). I think the newer news is that she's on LinkedIn and interested in job inquiries.

Gomer, nice to see you!

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Very nice, awal. JITTERS and ESPRESSO are a much better pair - and to this layperson, your acronym makes about as much sense as the other pairing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 19, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Also, through Facebook my (older) sister and I discovered that a friend we know through a Yahoo music group knows our nephew. That in itself was worth following the herd.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

hey gomer! ltns we're nearly through lst qtr. hope your year is going well.

Posted by: -jack- | October 19, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I am much like seasea, new to facebook, I have enjoyed it and have become reaquainted with some cousins in the Pacific Northwest that I had lost touch with. Read a survey done recently comparing lifestyles of Canadian and US adults 18-34 there were some pretty significant differences between the nationalities, one of the most striking was the percentage on Facebook vs MySpace, Facebook is the overwhelming choice in Canada vs a close split between Facebook and MySpace in the US.

Thus I give my useless info for the day.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I took the "everyone and his mother" crack to be age-ist instead of sexist. My wife has over 90 Facebook friends and has become a tad obsessive (like I'm one to talk). After a trip I now have to quickly upload pictures so she can Facebook them before I even have a chance to sort them for Flickr.

FB just got blocked by the school system, so now she has to do it all after hours. All these social networks are based on network effect so unless you friends are all on it, there is no sense in joining. Yet.

And of those 300,000,000 users, I am three of them. Fortunately their 'real name only' AI hasn't sussed out Yellojkt Yellojkt. Or Mo MoDo.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The 'Facebook is dead' meme is akin to the Yogi Berra-ism that nobody goes there any more because it's too crowded.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

One of the readers of my blog knows my son from school. She seemed a little embarrassed to find out she had been explaining 'pony play' (don't ask, trust me) to a friend's dad.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Facebook was much more fun before when everything was on one page... it was a bit messy but much less 'corporate'. Then they changed it and I noticed a lot of my friends got bored and use it much less. I only use it for photo albums now and a few messages from time to time.

It's a great way to share photos rather than emailing them to everyone and sending links etc. which drives some people nuts. And, I can get a quick overview of what's happening in the lives of all my friends by looking at the News Feed.

Posted by: MissToronto | October 19, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

hey, there was a super cool documentary on treehoppers on the Nature of Things last night (Mini-Monsters of the Amazonia)... makes me wish I had become a nerdy biologist... although the bug bites looked nasty!

Posted by: MissToronto | October 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I should add the main reason I joined facebook was because the eldest was on, with her permission I can see what she is up to, and if need be have a little discussion. For the most part she just reaffirms my faith in her, I am lucky she is a great person and quite funny as well.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Scottynuke | October 19, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Very well said, kguy.

To me, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter = CB radio. Some "hot new trends" stick around and grow (Pong and Donkey Kong morphed into a [pointless] gazillion-dollar game industry, as did the Internet itself) while other hot new trends die off or recede into the woodwork. The problem is, no one can tell which. But I just cannot bring myself to believe that eavesdropping on Ashton Kutcher's every random thought is a useful tool with "legs."

If Facebook really *is* dead, then it really does mimic CB radio in that regard.

I was interested to read yello's comment that his school system blocked FB. There's now a whole slew of "hot," "hip" new technology that is being banned in schools. So what does that tell us? Shouldn't we be paying attention to the broader implications of this stuff? Basically, it means that the school systems are the enemies of these (profit-making) technologies. And that being so, whose side should we be on? I think it is clear: we should be on the side of the school systems.

Here is a thought experiement: suppose someone comes up with a new technology --et's call this new thing Gizmo X -- that quickly becomes popular and very widespread, and generates hundreds of thousands of jobs and income -- but is basically "bad" for society as a whole? How does our society deal with it? What mechanisms are there in place to either stop Gizmo X, reduce it, or control and monitor it?

The answer is, there is no answer. We have no such mechanism. There is no way to stop a bad thing (see newspapers, failing of).

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Some might argue that TV is Gizmo X.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I firmly in the pro-facebook camp. I have friends all over the world, and it is great to have everybody in one place, knowing where to get news of their lives, share photos, hold brief conversations when we have time.

I was honoured that my kids friended *me* as soon as I had built my page; it is by far the best way to get in touch with them, since neither of them checks their "email" more than once a week, and both have pay as you go cell phones that they mostly can't afford to top up. They consider people who correspond by email to be quaint.

Likewise, my one kid who tweets followed me and I only began following her at her invitation.

I found that 'everyone and his mother' line exceedingly agist and condescending.

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The Rock-and-roll and then rap industries. Partially hydrogenated oils. The iPod.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 19, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

LOL! It just occurred to me that perhaps my adult daughters are monitoring me the way parents do teenagers; they may be concerned I am leading some wildly dangerous single life. How I wish there were a basis for that worry. *Sigh*

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Scotty, that's pathetic. But thanks for the link.

You can't even attend a press conference anymore, it seems, without triple-checking who is who.

I can imagine the chaos that would erupt if they'd sent out 2,000 boring press releases to newspapers all across the country. Surely some of them would have printed it, unthinkingly. Some desk guy/gal would just throw a new hed on it and slap it on page 32.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Snort Yoki!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, 'Mudge, that's why some people take great care in crafting press release language to be relevant, understandable and helpful, even...

So I've heard, anyway.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 19, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, LiT and dmd. And virtually all this Gizmo X's have some good points, and some bad points, but what we don't have is any way to put them on a balance scale.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't have friends in far away places or teenagers I need to monitor so I feel no need of Facebook. Now and then I'm tempted to join just to see what past acquaintances might pop up but so far that hasn't been enough to move me. I guess I'm a bit afraid of opening Pandora's box. My children are on it and I've been invited by one of them and a few other people, one of whom I swear I don't know. So unless I change my mind, which of course I could do at any time, I'll remain one of the few holdouts.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 19, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I love Facebook. For all the reasons stated here already. Among my 148 friends, I am in touch with a cousin these days via FB that I otherwise wouldn't really be in touch with. Hard to describe, but that's the way it is. We have a nice relationship now on FB that means a lot to me.

We have an Achenblog FB group, too, that includes folks I don't recognize that may be boodlers or lurkers... who knows. If you're interested in joining...

I do have to approve you for membership and only members can see who belongs. That keeps the privacy issue pretty simple. I mean, I approve everyone. But no one can simply access the group to see who's who.

I have 25 FB Friends who are boodlers or boodler-related. It's nice to keep up with them there with pictures, etc.

I also love Twitter. I follow comedians who use it as a way to sling one-liners all day long. They crack me up. They also tell me about when they are appearing, others I should pay attention to, etc.

My kids are on Twitter (and Tumblr) and I follow them, too. I actually saw a picture of the cookies my daughter made last night before I came downstairs and had one.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Yes you do, badsneakers!

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

We have a way to put them in balance Mudge, a crazy and little known thing called Common Sense! Sorry, people not taking responsibility for their own actions is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What is with this confluence of 32's? 32 new planets. 32 head coaches in the NFL. Page 32 of the newspaper in Mudge's 3:50. I sense the revelation of dark conspiracy... (fnord)

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 19, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Scotty...but I was thinking of my various and sundry days as an editor, when every week I'd get a stack of press releases in the mail a foot high, and I'd go throw them as every desk editor does, giving each one about seven seconds worth of attention, and half-mindlessly throwing out 90% of them, and running the other 10% with equal mindlessness .... because that's how a desk runs. And so what scares me is that if some otherwise faked press release came in from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saying they'd modified their stance on such-and-such, and if I had a news hole on page 27 that was 6 inches long, and here was a 6-inch press release, why I know full well I'd have run the damn thing.

In my early days on the desk (summer of 1968, Doyklestown Intelligencer), there was a general rule that you couldn't run a press release without making at least one phone call, and also basically re-writing it. Over time, that gradually slipped -- the phone call disappeared, and so did the re-write. If the thing was halfway literate, just slap a new hed on it and throw it to typesetting, maybe slot it to a news hole and budget it, or maybe just throw it into "PJ" (sorry, pj) to hold as filler. I must have sent a gazillion inches of copy I scarcely ever read to "filler."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Back to astronomy for a minute, turns out the solar system has a halo:

Posted by: ebtnut | October 19, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

32 is the new 42, Tim

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

While the particular implementation might change and evolve, I think the concept of social networks is here to stay. Indeed, I assert it represents a fundamental societal change as important as, say, radio. Suddenly people are connected in a fundamental way, for good and for ill, and I don't think there is any turning back.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

And when in Doylestown, be sure and visit the Mercer Museum! Seriously, I love that place.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 19, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh duh! Point taken Yoki!

Posted by: badsneakers | October 19, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh great, ebtnut, now we'll have to send a probe out there with some Ajax and a scrubbie to clean up that ring-around-the-solar-system...

I can just imagine those Andromendans must think we're absolute slobs by now....

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 19, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, it briefly crossed my mind that the halo was for good behavior and the angelic nature of humankind...and then relaized the utter foolishness of what I was thinking. Now I just think it's probably just a precursor to a migraine.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Whisk away!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC Wisk

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

And about the new planets. I think that is a way cool exciting development. (Not to get too technical there.) To me things like this suggest that there are still many opportunities for truly revolutionary exploration through remote sensing.

Of course, although there are a lot of planets out there, that doesn't necessarily imply that there is a lot of life. Or even interesting life. It could an example of water, water everywhere, but nary a drop to drink.

But heck, maybe, as has been suggested, God really is a geologist.

Still, it would be cool to see some evidence of oxygen or something. That would be encouraging. Of course, maybe we would instead detect huge clouds of deadly radioactive dust.

That would be kind of a bummer.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot dmd. I have never bought that particular brand of detergent due to that series of ads. Not quite as bad as the one where the man said, "my wife, I think I'll keep her."

Posted by: badsneakers | October 19, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

There really were some awful 70's commercials weren't there!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So which technologies over the years do you think have netted out as positive or negative?

Combustion engines: ? probably +
Automobiles: +
Airplanes: +?
TV: first 4 decades: +; last two decades -
Cell phones: - (IMHO)
Cell phones even if it is proven they cause brain cancer:
Internet: 50-50 (IMHO)
Craigslist: ---- (four negatives)
iPod: -
electronic games: ----- (5 negs)
corn syrup: -----
nuclear power: ??? (go ahead. Duke it out.)
medical insurance companies:
Rap music:
Partially hydrogenated oil:
The Fox network:

Add your own.

(Remember, the criteria is not whether yuou personally like or dislike something: the criteria is whethjer you believe its net balance effect on society has been good/bad, positive/negative, as a whole. In other words, weigh all the good points against all the bad points. For example, I play electronic games too-- but I vote them as net negative.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about ATVs, Mudge, but I like ATMs a lot.

Posted by: -pj- | October 19, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

It's been all downhill since movable type. Or the bread knife.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Like you list Mudge and agree with most will add,

Reality TV ----------
Leaf Blowers/Vacs - (yes I use them but hate the noise)
Those electronic theft devices in stores ----- my keys have a tendancy to set them off, get really tired of hearing "We sorry we may have inadertantly forgotten to remove the electronic device....." This is particularly annoying when I am entering a store!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Although I'm kind of of fond of mechanical refrigeration and comfort air conditioning on both a personal and professional level.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I keep meaning to join Facebook and keep not having the time. That's the life of a retiree, I suppose. ;-)

Posted by: slyness | October 19, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to add "get off my lawn!" to your list, Mudge.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Get off my lawn" isn't a technological device, TBG.

Can you defend the combustion engine? I'm not sure I can. Car accidents kill 47,000 people every year in this country alone. To my mind, it takes a helluva lotta balancing to make up for that. Then we'll discuss pollution, and then use of fossil fuels...

All I'm saying is, it ain't as easy as it looks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 19, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

In violation of my own stated principles
I joined Facebook recently. I have met exactly one old friend who I am glad to get back in touch with. I may get a decent job out of having reestablished contact.

Facebook in general seems a step backwards, not forwards. As soon as I got an email address, I was connected. "Social networking" is a buzzword and it's not required to actually have Facebook to do it. I think the profundity of it is that it holds people's hands while they upload their pictures. They weren't sure how to send a picture before. Indeed many were unable to even store an image on their computers and find it again, much less email it. It' sort of like computing for dummies, which is probably not a popular thing to say.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 19, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Wolf Blitzer has to be the stupidest anchor on TV. CNN was doing yet another story about the balloon family, and Wolf seemed appalled to learn that the family was allowed to travel freely, are not under surveillance. I think the best outcome to this might be if they disappeared, never to be heard of again. OK, I'm a little worried about the kids, but they seem pretty resilient and are old enough to dial 911, or put up a video on youtube.

No idea how to rate all this stuff (add youtube to the list). Probably a net positive, but many times I'd vote to go back to the horse and buggy and subsistence farming. OTOH, I made my living up till a few months ago working with computers.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Review of last night's U2 concert in OK:

And they'll be filming and streaming the concert from the Rose Bowl:

I am so confused by the baseball schedule. The Angels/Yankees game is on now, the Dodgers/Phillies game is tonight. I'm not sure how many games each has one, or how many they need to. Seems like that could be on the screen somewhere (maybe it is but I have a small TV).

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

SCC - has won. Ai-yi-yi.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Without the IC engine there would be a lot more jobs out there for street manure sweepers. Not to mention all those displaced buggy whip makers.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

My grandfather was a displaced carriage painter.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

My hot job prospect involves in a roundabout fashion copyright protection. I know that seems sort of shoot-yourself-in-the-footish. But hey, I was in construction just a while back... I'm used to going down in flames. Ask me about my career in manufacturing!

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 19, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that article about the demise of Facebook was an attempt to to marginalize the most popular social network site EVER. Yoki, I also objected to her phrase "everyone and their mother." How anti-social. Many of my sons' friends are now mine because I don't belittle them and mostly just read what they have to say and vice-versa. I have found many old friends and family and love a single place to network with so many...including some boodle-folk.. It's wonderful!!!

Haven't been able to boodle as much with demands at work but skimming where possible. Loved the discussion about bread and Yoki's obsession.

Posted by: Windy3 | October 19, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

My grandfather started out as a shoeshine boy. His dad (and probably all the men before him) were goat herders. And taverna sitters.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

How do I get a job as a taverna sitter, now there is a career aspiration for me!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a real big fan of attributing morality to technology. Granted, there are some situations where a technological development is hard to put in a good light. Like, say, nerve gas. Or the Snuggie. But these are extreme situations.

But often the situation isn't that clear cut. One complication is the vexing issue of dual use - the proverbial double-edged sword. Consider narcotics. Sure they have led to countless shattered lives, but damn if I would want to have an appendix yanked out in a world without them.

Then there is the messy issue of criterion. Invariably certain subjective values creep into the discussion. Are microwavable ovens good because they allow one to prepare inexpensive meals quickly and easily? Or are microwave ovens evil because they allow one to prepare inexpensive meals quickly and easily?

Which is why I prefer to look at technology in terms of its influence. Some technologies simply have much more impact on the world than others, for good or ill, and need to be treated more carefully.

Much like beer.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

So true, RD. Much like the many hazards of dihydrogen monoxide...

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I was particularly disturbed by the warnings on the MSDS. This DHMO stuff is a killer.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

My great-grandfather on my dad's side was a blacksmith. On my mother's side, everyone farmed. I don't care to go back. I like running water, indoor plumbing, and central heat and a/c.

The story last week about brides in rural India demanding toilets stopped me cold. Imagine having to worry about your personal safety while performing necessary bodily functions.

Safe water and good sewage treatments - those are positives for everyone.

Posted by: slyness | October 19, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that's nice re your old friend.

The concern I have is about selective filtering of information, and this thing I keep hearing about facebook stalking.

I have people that I have cut off contact with, but who still know some of my friends.

I don't think listing myself and all friends for them to contact as a way of getting information on me is a great idea, pure and simple.

I prefer to keep many of my social circles relatively separate for my emotional health.

Is this bizarre? At what point does the "benefits" make this worth it?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Why schools are blocking Facebook...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

But they always had running water Slyness, but it used to be the person wanting the water ran.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 19, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Re: NFL's Ticking Time Bomb (didn't I blog recently about longterm damage of football?), here's the latest from Malcolm Gladwell:

"At the core of the C.T.E. research is a critical question: is the kind of injury being uncovered by McKee and Omalu incidental to the game of football or inherent in it? Part of what makes dogfighting so repulsive is the understanding that violence and injury cannot be removed from the sport. It’s a feature of the sport that dogs almost always get hurt. Something like stock-car racing, by contrast, is dangerous, but not unavoidably so.

In 2000 and 2001, four drivers in Nascar’s élite Sprint Cup Series were killed in crashes, including the legendary Dale Earnhardt. In response, Nascar mandated stronger seats, better seat belts and harnesses, and ignition kill switches, and completed the installation of expensive new barriers on the walls of its racetracks, which can absorb the force of a crash much better than concrete. The result is that, in the past eight years, no one has died in Nascar’s three national racing series. Stock-car fans are sometimes caricatured as bloodthirsty, eagerly awaiting the next spectacular crash. But there is little blood these days in Nascar crashes. Last year, at Texas Motor Speedway, Michael McDowell hit an oil slick, slammed head first into the wall at a hundred and eighty miles per hour, flipped over and over, leaving much of his car in pieces on the track, and, when the vehicle finally came to a stop, crawled out of the wreckage and walked away. He raced again the next day. So what is football? Is it dogfighting or is it stock-car racing?"

Posted by: joelache | October 19, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh my TBG. That website is brilliant. It took me a sec. But it's been that kind of afternoon.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Joel. That really is the key question. Maybe football is like dog-fighting the way it is now, but must it be?

I mean, can't we come up with an entertaining sport that is pretty much like football but safer? And if we can't, well, what does that say about us?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Flag football, RD.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Maybe one day we will watch robo-football. You know, where the participants are like that annoying robotic football player they feature on Fox.

God knows I would pay to see it mangled.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Schools are blocking Facebook for only one reason: when a kid is sitting in front of a computer during school hours, he is supposed to be doing schoolwork, not checking Facebook. Or MySpace. Or email. Or even Wikipedia. Lots of sites are blocked.

I don't think that's necessarily the norm to have "people that I have cut off contact with." No, it's not bizarre to want to protect your privacy from those people, but having them in the first place may set you apart from the majority of folks, on or off Facebook.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I read that article last week and it has made me watch football in a very different and ghoulish way.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 19, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, Joel; you seem to like this Gladwell guy, but I've read a few of his pieces now, including this one, and I have to conclude he has his head up his wazoo. If he wants to write about the problem of concussions and injuries to football players, and to expose some little-known stuff about long-term damage, that's fine. Go to it. Bang the stuff out. But when he starts comparing football and dogfighting and NASCAR racing, he just looses it and to use one of his metaphors, he just jumps a guardrail and goes skittering off into a crowd.

First -- and I never thought I'd be defending NASCAR -- he doesn't understand the racing enthusiast's so-called "bloodthirsty" nature, which he mischaracterizes when he ought to know better. Yes, many NASCAR (and other) fans *love* to see crashes and accidents. But no one -- not even the most hard-core race fan -- actually wants to see someone die. Crash, sure. Spin out and tumble and go end-over-end and smash up the car and burst into flames -- absolutely. And they also want the driver to escape and climb out and walk away. Does he think so much as one single NASCAR fan is happy that Earnhardt broke his neck? Many fans hate this or that driver -- Jeff Gordon especially -- and many want to see him crash. No one truly wants him dead, or even seriously injured.

When Levegh went over the rail and into the crowd at LeMans in 1955 he killed 84 and injured a hundred more. Does Gladwell really think the surviving fans "wanted" that to happen? That is not only sick and twisted, it really means Gladwell lacks a fundamental understanding of what is going on at a race. He simply does not understand what he calls the "bloodthirsty" thing, and thereby disqualifies himself from using it as an analogy to anything.


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 19, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I see your point, but that, to me, wasn't really the crux of the argument.

The question this article raised for me is can football be made safer and still be essentially the same game in the same way that NASCAR has been made safer without damaging its core appeal.

I think the argument was being made that NASCAR is not intrinsically violent, and that the vast majority of fans accept this.

Can the same be said about football?

I dunno.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse


Likewise, if Gladwell cannot distinguish between dogfighting and football, there is something seriously wrong with him. So far as I'm aware, no football player has ever been put down or destroyed because he just wasn't good enough. God knows, I myself have wished that on one or another player or coach from time to time, especially if they are members of the Dallas Cowbotys, but so far it hasn't happened.

It is almost pointless to point out to Gladwell that in dogfighting, one dog or the other usually or often dies. That he can't tell that this seldom happens on the football field suggests to me he's been watching the cheerleaders and not paying attention.

Football players who just aren't good enough and are cut from the team are almost never summarily executed, as dogs are. If they were, we'd probably have noticed by now, and I'm sure their parents and relatives would have complained.

At the end of that story about the fake Chamber of Commerce press conference, a reporter asks the fake spokesman if he really thinks his execrable tactics are somehow "helping" his cause. Well, we need to ask Gladwell basically the same question: does he think comparing football to dogfighting helps his argument about the long-term nature of brain damage due to football.

Gladwell pretends to ask, "How different are dogfighting and football," but he really doesn't care about the answer, and he makes no serious effort to discuss that question. What he wants the reader to do is draw the erroneously conclusion that they are somehow similar.

In whatever regard he may be right about brain damage in football, Gladwell sabotages his own argument because he basically has his own head up his wazoo. He clearly has some sort of agenda, but I think he's being coy and "too clever" about what it is.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 19, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

"Stock-car fans are sometimes caricatured as bloodthirsty, eagerly awaiting the next spectacular crash. But there is little blood these days in Nascar crashes."

Doesn't sound *he* is characterizing anything.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, if Gladwell thinks football can be made safer, fine. Let him make his case. He may well be right. But don't bring dogfighting into it. That's simply twisted, as well as being sensationalist. It is meant to draw parallels that don't actually exist.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 19, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG, fine, it's not the norm as in 50% or more people.

But I'd say the majority of people in fact do know at least one person whose privacy needs to be protected-- and they may not realize that fact.

In surveys, 12 to 15% of all women reported being stalked once in their
lifetime. That's not insignificant.

Universities have stalking issues, and Facebook and Myspace can also be tools for stalkers.

Part of the problem is apparently anybody at the same university (.edu) can see a given student's Facebook page without having to friend that student.

There are more reasons for schools to ban Facebook than stalking, though, such as school computer security, viruses, and broadband usage.

Right now I just tell people I don't Facebook, period.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

You have made the case, Wilbrod, that you, personally, don't use Facebook because of privacy concerns. But there is a rhetorical weakness, I assert, in generalizing from one's personal experiences too aggressively.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"There's kids playing hockey on the back. It's like you want us to make fun of you."

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

We seem to have forgotten that football, moreso than any other sport (save perhaps rugby), is today's version of gladitorial combat, except of course that the loser doesn't get the thumbs-down (except perhaps at the end of the season). It's formalized, ritualized combat between cities, which is why Carlin's riff was so on-target (pardon the pun).

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 19, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

TBG, are laughing at our money again? :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

It's from tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother. I love that show.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I didn't generalize, RD.

I asked.
"At what point does the benefits outweigh the risks?"

And nobody's answered me, just patronized my concerns and made me feel even more abnormal for not wanting to Facebook in the face of peer pressure.

I would ask you to think more carefully about that kind of reaction.

That is all.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Q. How long would you watch thirty cars ride in circles in perfect unison?
A. About two minutes.

Q. How long would you watch if there was a chance of a fiery crash resulting in molten piles of twisted metal?
A. As long as it takes.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and RD, I don't facebook either, but just because I don't see the benefits. For me, there seems to be too much going on and I seem to be Internet'ed out. It is nice to turn off the 24 x 7 contact mentality.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod -I hope it goes without saying that I wasn't trying to make you feel abnormal. I apologize for that. My point is that everyone has a different view as to the appropriate risk/benefit with Facebook.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I know what you mean RT. I don't Facebook either because I really don't need more reasons to hang out online.

But that's just me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Anyone care for a bowl of ice cream?

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

HIMYM had extra Canadian content tonight. I loved that the climactic scene took place in a Tim Hortons.

"What about these coins? There's a bird on one and a beaver on the other and they both have Elton John on the back."

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... a lot of people don't use Facebook because of privacy concerns, but *most* are not concerned with stalking or have cut people out of their lives. That's what RD meant by "generalizing."

If you are concerned about your privacy, that's fine and I understand fully. Even you used the statistic of 12% to 15%... that's a high number, but not close to "most" in anyone's calculation.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 19, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

In the 46 years I have been around I have seen our coinage/bills reflect the aging queen, we have in fact reached the point where her portrait looks just like Elton John. For some bizarre reason during this period as she aged we decided to increase the size of her (all) portraits on our money. Really it is time we remove her from the money - a few more changes and will go from comical to just sad.

I have no problem with the bird or beaver though :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Right. It is a tool, as you indicated, so it is not in itself evil, except in how it interacts with human behavior.

My question is, how much latitude do you in fact have over the use of that tool in balancing privacy vs networking?

Does that network in itself create additional pressures to behave according to a social standard that might further lead one to risk privacy even more, such as posting e-mails, etc?

In short, why should I consider Facebook any more safe, secure, or effective for networking purposes than a blog, a chatroom, or so forth?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Joe Theismann.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG, backboodle my comments.

_I_ am not the one doing the generalizing here. You were.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG, Wilbrod, I have a lady friend who seems to be in a perpetual state of being stalked. There is absolutely no excuse for the behavior by the stalkers, but I know that, in some cases, that she brings it upon herself.

Before you get into the "she's asking for it" assumption, this woman knows that she is and even admits that she enjoys teasing men. Of course, when something gets too weird, then there are the frightening stories about which I also hear.

My point is, that if a woman like this needs a series of restraining orders, just to walk down the street in her little city, where guys get the wrong idea and won't stop chasing, then it frightens me to think what happens on the web where people's imaginations and anonymity can feed the problem as if we were throwing petrol on the burning issue.

Further, there are some strange people who think that they can Google and put pieces of information together, that they have every right to invade your personal life just like it is an extension of some web world.

I have watched it happen over and over.

AND, it isn't always a male who is the stalker. The most bazaar cases have involved women gone nuts.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, RD. Reading that actually doesn't reassure me any.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, it seems to me that what you are really asking, (based on my readings of your rebuttals to every attempt to engage this question) is, "what level of fear is appropriate to the level of perceived online risk?" And so there *is* no answer. Since I feel essentially no fear or threat, and if one comes feel entirely equal to dealing with it, my comfort level is obviously very high. But is an entirely individual thing. It seems to me that as much as you may feel pressured to use a tool you deem unsafe (by whom?), you seem to be pressuring the Boodle peeps to acknowledge that *your* fear level is the correct one. And it just can't be. It is correct for you.

Likewise, I like to mix my social circles as much as I am able, given geographic constraints.

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, don't forget planet constraints, as well.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

The point is that being so concerned about stalking that one doesn't want to join Facebook is unusual. This doesn't mean abnormal, or freakish, or weird, or odd, or strange or any other emotionally weighted term. Just unusual in a mathematical sense.

I mean, I have concerns about my internet presence as well for professional reasons. But I accept that this is unusual.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 19, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

There are those!

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, does anyone know the percentage of stalkers that are strangers to those they are stalking - perhaps excluding celebrities which may affect the numbers. I mean the average every day person what is the chance they would be stalked by a complete stranger.

Is it like abuse where the majority have at least some knowledge oftheir abusers?

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

WB -- I am sensitive to privacy concerns. I have blocked a tiresome, nettlesome, rude, boorish, and crreeeepppppy person in FB and Twitter. (said person may know I am here) I find that these blocks on FB and Twitter are more powerful than other interaction barriers.

In all social networking environments, we must rethink how much we put out there, generally, whether we are spied upon or not (what was Megan McCain thinking!!!!)

But, the more disturbing aspect to me about FB and Google is that the huge entities own access if not outright content that I place in these "cloud" locations. I am troubled; however, am nerdy and happy to be connected digitally.

One very hard part of an unpleasant or dangerous lurker is this: their thoughts are free. In other words, they can imagine the object of their "stuckness"....not all laws or digital interfaces can stop this. I try to balance reasonableness with caution.

FB makes connections to my more than 63 first cousins I am there.

I hear you; however, I am dipping my toes in the pool, partly, as an act of faith and desire to be connected. Not being connected means that the lurky-jerky exerts power of me. Don't want to live that way.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 19, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, Russianthistle, including the women-as-stalkers.

In fact an old friend I cut off contact with actually stalked guys-- which I wasn't aware of first-hand, until things came to a head. She also confessed to being violent to her boyfriend.

It was hard for me to admit I no longer recognized the woman that I had known since we were freshmen in college.

Peace, please?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

dmd, the METRAC in Toronto has this to say of Canada overall:

"There is a strong link between stalking/criminal harassment and domestic violence. Fifty seven percent of stalkers are intimate partners or ex-intimate partners of the victims, and most women know their stalkers (METRAC 1998, 2).

Seventy-four percent of stalking victims are between the ages of 18 and 39 (Tjaden and Thoennes 1998)."

Posted by: Yoki | October 19, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Exerts power OVER me. Sorry. Don't want the creepster to change the way I live.

I had helped from a benevolent and wondrous NerdLord to check out all my digital places. I secured what I could. BNL (BeneNerdLord) told me that I cannot control thoughts. This advice is helpful to me.

Plus, Pete Seeger sings a great song of German resistance: Sie Gedanken Sind Frei (your thoughts are free).

And, I want to live free-ish.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 19, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Die gedanken sind frei
My thoughts freely flower
Die gedanken sind frei
My thoughts give me power
No scholar can map them
No hunter can trap them
No man can deny
Die gedanken sind frei

I think as I please
And this gives me pleasure
My conscience decrees
This right I must treasure
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator
No man can deny
Die gedanken sind frei
Tyrants can take me
And throw me in prison
My thoughts will burst forth
Like blossoms in season
Foundations may crumble
And structures may tumble
But free men shall cry
Die gedanken sind frei

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 19, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Back to Mudge's list, which I found so interesting, I find that I spend much of my time on "Old Internet" stuff, like listening to the radio or watching video.

I am saddened, however, how it is taking forever to make it easy to find everything. Most often, it is the monetizing factor that complicates matters.

I also read with interest TBG's mentions of her everyday connections to her friends and family. I think that its fine. It is nice to see that she sees everything. I have to say that I am not much concerned that any of this info can be used against her family based on the chaos of just SO MUCH information out there.

I am tangentially involved in hosting a site where the biggest problem is not stalking but mean-spirited mocking and ad nauseum discussions. In fact, I don't think the Chinese can make hard drives fast enough to store all the BS that I get to read and laugh at.

The most frightening part is that somewhere in the government, someone is storing and cross-referencing all this stuff.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

CqP, that is a good response, thank you.

When you block access, what precisely does that entail?

Access to your page-- or also access to all comments you may post on friends' pages?

Yoki-- nope.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

And, Leonard Cohen sings the more traditional German version. Wow.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 19, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Wil Wheaton is on Big Bang Theory. It's Nerdvania.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 19, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

And as one who is mildly paranoid about the internet, and hardly a fan of Facebook, it does seem to me that Facebook has quite a few controls on who sees what. I gave only the bare minimum info when I joined, do not have my picture as my profile. I noticed when I searched for my kid, all I could see were his friends, no personal info. You can block people from searching for you and/or control what they see when they find you. Apparently you can register with an assumed name.

I used to wonder why anyone would put personal info, kids' pictures, etc on their website or blog or youtube. Lots of people do that, although I'm still pretty careful. I do know how awful it can be to have a stalker, although I personally have not been in that situation.

I'm curious what Google is doing with all the info they gather, and while I kind of trust that the current bunch are using this for good, who knows what it will evolve into (maybe a Phillip K. Dick novel).

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

WB -- FB offers levels of privacy; so you can, block friend of friend access. Not perfect, but more powerful than say my "classic" email address. I occasionally find a missive in my inbox. Ignore, I say. And do. The email client blocking seems to need to be reset. In FB and TW -- I control the blocking. It is in place and works beautifully.

I have also told some friends that I wish NO contact and they honor me; some have chosen to self-distance themselves given the situation.

Still, the primary injury -- psychic energy and interpersonal thinkiness -- this happens despite what we do. The baddies and sickies we will always have with us....too bad. But, what can we do? Live well; and STAY CONNECTED TO OUR BELOVEDS!!!!

I do not mean to dismiss any concerns; God knows that several times a year we see several horrific stalker tragedies.

The thing is, that these events are outliers; (HORRIFIC ONES) we cannot always develop laws or customs to corral those people.

I think we agree. Join FB or not. You can best decide. And, you can change your mind over time, if you like.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 19, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

WB -- I am not clear! Tired...I wrote this:

I have also told some friends that I wish NO contact and they honor me; some have chosen to self-distance themselves given the situation.

What I mean is this: lurky=creepster is in my extended circle. I have told a few mutual acquaintances/friends the broad outlines that NO CONTACT means that please, do not share info about me with creepy-lurky.

This is much harder than joining FB...the setting of boundaries between people the old fashioned way.

Nuff. On to more and better nerdiness...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 19, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I have discussed many times with my girls what is and is not appropriate to post on the internet, and will do again many times. But I think most relevant to their lives is to teach them warning signals that people they know might be a problem, for that is where the highest probabilty of a stalker/lurker/abuser would occur.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 19, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Amen. I've had to do that (request block on information-sharing between friends.)

Thank you for that explanation-- it is exactly what I was asking about.

I knew somebody on the boodle would understand and answer thus.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 19, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

i haven't joined facebook because of concerns about the time and distraction factor. however, i see the usefulness of the format for staying in touch. i may join later.

now twitter is something i really don't get. i can see how comedians could use it well, as tbg describes, but the idea of following people that way does not appeal. it seems a little cult-of-personality-ish. i'd rather follow a blog...and a merry band of boodlers!

Posted by: LALurker | October 19, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

CqP, sorry, again, it was a mistake to discuss details with Elmer Fudd. I thought he was only that way with wabbits.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

seasea, can't believe i will be at the rose bowl in less than a week! i need to do some catching up on music, though, since i don't even know the new cd.

Posted by: LALurker | October 19, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

here's an interesting study. internet use may help your brain:

Posted by: LALurker | October 19, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

LALurker, I like U2's new CD - probably because it sounds very U2ish to me. I would recommend you get it, or go to youtube and listen to some of their new stuff, because they do quite a few songs from it in the show. I bet it will be a great show since they know it's being filmed - remember to smile for the camera!

This website has setlists and reviews, if you're interested:

Another technology improvement is the amount of info you can get pre-concert. For James Taylor and Steely Dan, I didn't know the exact setlist or how long they would play. For James Taylor especially, that was slightly disconcerting because I wasn't sure if he was doing the last song or not. I think I'd rather know. U2 does pretty much the same songs every night, but they have thrown in some older ones this time that they haven't done in (literally) decades. And they're getting close to the end of this concert leg, so you could get some surprises. And they feed off the crowd's energy, so you have to jump and wave and clap and sing along - even if you're far, far from the stage. Have a great time!

Posted by: seasea1 | October 19, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

LAL... great article! Thanks for the link.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 19, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

seasea, thanks for the set list info! very helpful. i'll be sure to wave at the cameras. i'll be seated behind the stage somewhere.

Posted by: LALurker | October 19, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Read Gladwell's piece and came to the conclustion that his understanding of football and auto racing extends no further than statistics and spectacle, and seems to be predisposed indulging sensationalism as a position for intellectually dismissing these competitive events as simply entertainment for the masses.

As a guy who's buckled on both football and racing helmets as well being a relatively informed spectator and sports fan, I would suggest that when you buckle that chin strap, you know that there's a chance something bad could happen. Without being too flip, either consciously or unconsciously, you know that it most likely will. I'm not a professional, but when I was no longer willing to accept certain risks, I realized it was time to quit.

I cannot speak to spectators - I hesitate to call them fans - that watch competitive events for bone-jarring hits, accidents and destructive mayhem, as I don't understand it myself. A beautifully executed downfield pass play or a clean inside-outside outbraking maneuver is more pleasurable for me to watch than a voilent hit that results in a injured player or driver. But, that's just me.

There is a beauty to me in a sport or game played well, with skill and intelligence and grace, and that's what I'd rather watch than a violence-fest. Mindless animal violence is not interesting to me, but I can see how some who may not really understand the difference between that and controlled aggression in the context of a sport may not be able to distinguish between them.

People are *not* animals.

But again, that's just my opinion.


All sports and games can be made safer,

Posted by: -bc- | October 19, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Good morning, pre-dawn patrol. I am up this early so that I can catch a 6 am flight for a sales junket my boss took a pass on. At least I get bourbon and a horse race out of it. Carry on.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 20, 2009 4:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morninckz ye Boodlers!

Since since the stars and other astro-objects like Terra are product of the same kaboom and kaboomed matter that kaboomed, my prediction is that plenty of Tiki bars are available and happy hour is a common galactic event.

How's zat for a long sentence?


Posted by: Braguine | October 20, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. I'm still missing Cassandra!

Hey, Brag, how's spring coming along in your part of the world?

Cold here, 38 degrees this morning. I'll wear the heavy jacket on the walk. Maybe it's time to get the footwarmer out of the closet and turn it on.

Hmm. How about scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast? Appropriate beverages are on the ready room table, enjoy your coffee, tea, juice of choice.

Posted by: slyness | October 20, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

bc - that's very beautiful description of why you, as a fan, enjoy the elegance of a long pass over seeing someone get slammed. But aren't those examples of athleticism and exquisite timing made possible because of a lot of violent tackling by the offensive line?

See, that, to me, is the key question that this article is asking. Is chronic damage such an intrinsic part of football that the sport can't be reformed? And, if this is indeed the case, how much long-term injury to the players are we willing to tolerate?

I don't know. But I think these are legitimate questions to be asked.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 20, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, spring been slow in coming here. It's been more like autumn, getting colder each day. Though yesterday, the icy air turned mild--today doesn't look promising at ALL :-(


Posted by: Braguine | October 20, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

May I just say I find myself with nothing to say?

*something-will-come-to-me-eventually Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 20, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I think I am agreeing with RDP when I say that I think both Mudge and bc (and others, I forget who) are missing the point of Gladwell's comparison. He is using dog-fighting vs. NASCAR as opposing extrema on a spectrum of sports risk, in which injury and death are part of the essential character of dog-fighting while they are an avoidable or reducible incidental component of NASCAR. There is a division point between them, and the question is on which side does football lie -- is it possible for football to succeed as a spectator sport if the risk of injury and death were reduced or even eliminated, or is that risk an essential element of why a sufficient number of spectators watch it? Not all spectators, but enough to make it a profitable business. Wilbrod_Gnome suggested flag football, which seems like a fair comparison. When was the last time anyone went out of their way to watch a game of flag football in which they did not have a personal friend playing?

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 20, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't know that the risk of injury is what makes football worth watching. I just interpreted the comparsion as "is this an inevitable part of the sport as played, OR is it an occasional hazard?"

Both sports wear helmets and experience risks (hot cockpit for NASCAR drivers, etc.)

But, a NASCAR driver can retire without ever being seriously hurt in a car crash, or from sports-caused arthritis or bone/ brain damage (although hot cockpits would make me worry).

The evidence is that pro football players routinely retire with injuries directly caused by football-- arthritis, bone necrosis, brain injury, etc.

Whether this is at a rate above other sports actually does need to be proven, though. It may seem intuitively obvious it is more "dangerous" than non-contact sports-- and yet--

I've had competitive tennis players, not even pro level, tell me they had to get knee replacement surgery in their very early 20's. This is directly due to the fact they RUN on concrete-- one of the worst knee-impact activities imaginable.

Soccer players are prone to concussions especially from head play and that may occur repeatedly before they even become old enough for "NFL" football.

In short, football is being aggressively studied for the long-term risks that are not as obvious-- such as concussions, brain damage, etc.

But we have to look at all other sports and determine whether they also have hidden injury issues before we determine football needs to be changed.

Even flag footbal, as it is often played without gear or helmets, is not necessarily safer.

I don't think people watch sports for the feeling that disaster could occur. Presumably they watch because of the extraordinary feats that THEY couldn't do without getting hurt.

They may be watching for the illusion of invulnerable youth.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

RD, I completely agree with your comment about tolerating long-term damage in football. Whether dog fighting or NASCAR are relevant to the discussion is immaterial (altho' the article would have been better if just written straight).

Did anyone see Chris Matthews interview Maria Shriver last night. She's doing this week long push about "A Woman's Nation" and at the end of the piece he called her 'dear.' I nearly jumped thru the TV set to throttle him. What a bag of hot air!

Posted by: badsneakers | October 20, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

More on Facebook: I was feeling a disgruntled last night; I still have friends on Facebook so I will accept that.

My privacy was compromised by Facebook before I ever joined. It seems Facebook likes to prompt people for their list of email friends. "C'mon! Let me search your whole address book! It'll be okay!" Facebook said. Now, I'm old school, which means don't hand out your friends' email addresses to a website where you don't personally know the sysadmin and vouch for their honor. In other words, don't hand out your friends' email addresses. Anyway, once I signed on it creeped me out: Facebook ALREADY knew who my friends were.

Not to mention a whole lot of people I have no desire to meet again, I seemed to meet again.

Now in response to the argument that it is easy to "meet" ones friends "all in one place," I will still maintain that "place" is a cyberspacial illusion. If you have a computer hooked up to the internet, you already have that "place."

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 20, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Seasea1 and Ivansmom:

Thanks! I didn't see that in the version of the article I read. Not sure if I overlooked it or if it just got updated in a latter version.

I think that's a pretty dang good acronym. Harps less so in that it ignores a V. I'd raise a word of caution regarding Jitters though. JTRS, the joint tactical radio system, has long been a troubled defense program. I've got to think the name was a poor omen.

Posted by: greg_sanders | October 20, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: Braguine | October 20, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Jut a quick re-comment: *Tim, Gladwell's question is fine - of course, things can always be made safer - though sometimes these things take their toll on the competition.

One thing that I think Gladwell completely misses with his NASCAR comparison is the fact that after those crashes, not only did NASCAR mandate safety-gear changes for the equipment of the time, but developed a safety-oriented "Car of Tomorrow" chassis package that is now mandatory at all tracks. It's far safer than the old equipment.

In the first years of it's use (and only on a few tracks at the time), a few teams - the ones with the most money - figured out how to make the CoT faster than the other guys and the racing was rather lopsided, which negatively affected the 'show.'

The cars are far less sleek than their predecessors (some fans have called them downright ugly), and their handling is relatively poor compared to the older equipment, which some suggest further blunted the skills of the drivers.

Safer - yes. Has it affected the sport negatively? Hard to say, but NASCAR *has* suffered a significant drop in TV ratings and track attendance over the years of the CoT's implementation. Yes, it's coincident to the economic downturn, so it's difficult to assess the real impact.

Food for thought, eh?

I'll buy the NASCAR/Football comparison, but I still think bringing dog fighting into it was rather gratuitous.


Posted by: -bc- | October 20, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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