My Blog

| Page 30

The film stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christoph Waltz, and is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2012.

The Atlatnics Ta-Nehisi Coates gives his thoughts:

It’s also really dangerous to get caught up in that narrative. The violence is seductive and can find you arguing along the same barren lines as those you allegedly oppose. It is not merely wrong to focus on the militarism of the Civil War because those who do so generally don’t want to talk about slavery. It is wrong because such a focus says that the only thing important about war are those who carry the guns.

Sorry, Ta-Nehesi, I couldn’t hear your political correctness over how awesome the music was.

Categories: Pop-culture, Social commentary Tags: blaxploitation, Civil War, Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino, slavery, Ta-Nehisi Coates

I was tempted to make the title, “What is a VAT tax” but that would be redundant.

Brett Bartlett explains it pretty succinctly in 2 minutes on The Daily Beast.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/06/ask-bartlett-anything-whats-a-vat-and-why-do-we-need-it.html

Unlike the sales taxes we’re familiar with where all the tax is collected at the checkout counter, the VAT is embedded in the prices of the inputs that go into the final product. So for example, the farmer pays the tax when he grows the wheat. The Miller pays the tax again when he turns the wheat into flower. And then the baker pays the tax again when he turns it into bread. And at each stage the producers get a credit for the taxes that are previously paid. So at the end of the day there’s only one tax rate no matter how long the production process is. The main benefit of this is it avoid evasion.

Bartlett is a supply-side economist, former advisor to Reagan, and and the author of The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take (2012) and  Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.

Categories: Economics Tags: bruce bartlett, taxation, taxes, value added tax, VAT

When my ex moved to Florida, he asked me to paint him something “manly and tragic” to hang up in his new place. I haven’t painted since high school, because it was only a hobby and I was never proficiently good.  (I did set painting for plays and musicals, but that’s a different type of painting.) But it still sounded like a fun commission.

For my “manly and tragic” scene I picked bull elephant seals locked in battle. I chose Watercolor because it’s the only full paint set I had left over from high school.

Here’s the problem:  It’s two years after I started and I have no idea how to finish. It just doesn’t look “done.” Especially the first seal; it looks really flat but I’m not sure where to add contrast that won’t make it too bulbous and weird.

Click to Enlarge

I tried doing various splash techniques in the water with white paint, but it became very obvious that picking Watercolor on Watercolor Paper as my medium maybe wasn’t the best idea. Once I run out of a color, it’s very hard to make a matching shade again. And watercolor doesn’t “layer” well.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe mix it with other media?

Reference picture.

(Importing into Photoshop is a last resort.)

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, I arted Tags: bull seals, elephant seal, nature, painting, seal fight, tragic, watercolor

The Young Turks discuss a pro-life group’s “sting” operation at Planned Parenthood:

Sex-selective abortions are legal in Austin, Texas. The counselor explained to the woman her options available under the law. Live Action reportedly edited out the part of the video where she talked about adoption as an option.

Planned Parenthood fired the woman anyway, because it is against their policy to advocate sex-selective abortion. They then said they were “retraining” their employees. That’s what really bothers me about this story; if they failed to train their employees properly to begin with, then that is on them, not her. This woman, who seems like a thoroughly decent person, shouldn’t have her career ruined because of this stupid video. As TYT points out, it legitimizes the effectiveness of what is essentially propaganda.

—-

I went to Planned Parenthood today. I’ve been going there for years for my pills, and this was the first time I ever actually saw a protestor with a fetus poster. He looked very lonely.

Anyway, I was on Yaz a few years ago and in addition to the lack of baby, it made my skin pregnancy-glow awesome. I quit due to costs. (It’s a relatively new drug and I’m sure has a long patent life ahead.) But today I mentioned possibly switching my pill back. The doctor said it is now Planned Parenthood’s policy to no longer prescribe Yaz due to the increased risk of embolism.

It’s time for another edition of “Candice Reads Primary Source Articles So You Don’t Have To.”

Here’s the Yaz (drospirenone) study from BMJ:

Conclusion: After adjustment for length of use, users of oral contraceptives with desogestrel, gestodene, or drospirenone were at least at twice the risk of venous thromboembolism [outlink mine] compared with users of oral contraceptives with levonorgestrel.

The study methodology looks pretty solid to me. It had a good sample size and controlled for a lot of variables. The important part to take away is the interpretation of the conclusion.

What’s the baseline risk for venous thromboembolism?

The risk, like everything, depends on your genes. The incidence of VTE* is about 1 in 1,000 each year, which, if you think about in terms of percentage, is a 0.001% rate. Men are at higher risk than women. Asian and Hisapnic women are at lower risk than Caucasian or African. High BMI is also a risk factor.

Those stats not only include men, but whatever women were on birth control. So even if you multiply that risk by seven (6-7 times more at risk than women not on birth control is what the BMJ study suggests), I still don’t think it’s clinically significant. If it was, the drug would have been pulled from pharmacy shelves a long time ago.

As a skinny, half-Asian, with no family history of VTE, I want my Yaz back.

*American Heart Association

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Social commentary Tags: birth control, In defense of Yaz, Live Action, planned parenthood, sex-selective abortion, The Young Turks, venous thromboembolism, VTE, Yaz, Yaz lawsuit, Yaz study

A lot of denizens of Brooklyn have a tendency shy away from “hipster” and associations with “hipsterism.” I don’t get it. When did hipster become pejorative?

I went to a liberal arts school, blog about progressive politics, and am casually wearing a silk vest.

I bought the earrings from a girl who went to Dartmouth and specializes in eco-friendly design. I own three different fedoras. I’m writing this on a MacBook. I’m drinking looseleaf, fair-trade tea. I knew who the fuck Arcade Fire was. Irony is one of my favorite humor devices.

If I’m not a hipster, I don’t know what is.

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Nerd Out Tags: Brooklyn, hipster, hipsterism, irony, Mac, Who is Arcade Fire?, Williamsburg

Oh hey, a PubMed article with the full text available.

It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains–that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.

This was published in a 1992 Journal of Medical Ethics.  It was obviously never taken up on by the overlords of the DSM-IV, published in 2000.  The guy who wrote it is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the UK with a specialization in the psychotic aspects of mental illness.

——

So the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for a republication (fifth edition) in May 2013, and there’s been a fair amount of media controversy about some of the changes, mostly around lower standards for addiction disorders.

I skimmed over the Proposed Changes part of the website that the APA set up for the new edition and didn’t find anything egregious. Etiology of a disorder doesn’t matter much beyond understanding how to fix it.  But how behaviors are treated by society do matter. (In my relativist opinion, psychologists know nothing about feelings, except for their own.  They only know behavior.*)

By changing a medical text of authority, I have a feeling it will lower stigma and help erase the false emotional/physical dichotomy model of symptoms that people, including mental health professionals, seem to acknowledge as a gauge for importance during treatment.  And these results would, uncontroversially, be a good thing.

*I’m using “know” here in a sort of vague, philosophical context.  I mean, we’re never going to have a better scale for pain, emotional or physical, beyond a subjective “Pick a number 1-10.”

Categories: human nature, Knowledge has vagina dentata so don’t you fuck with it Tags: addiction, APA, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM 5, DSM-IV, happiness, mental disorder, psychiatry, psychology

| Page 30

The film stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christoph Waltz, and is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2012.

The Atlatnics Ta-Nehisi Coates gives his thoughts:

It’s also really dangerous to get caught up in that narrative. The violence is seductive and can find you arguing along the same barren lines as those you allegedly oppose. It is not merely wrong to focus on the militarism of the Civil War because those who do so generally don’t want to talk about slavery. It is wrong because such a focus says that the only thing important about war are those who carry the guns.

Sorry, Ta-Nehesi, I couldn’t hear your political correctness over how awesome the music was.

Categories: Pop-culture, Social commentary Tags: blaxploitation, Civil War, Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino, slavery, Ta-Nehisi Coates

I was tempted to make the title, “What is a VAT tax” but that would be redundant.

Brett Bartlett explains it pretty succinctly in 2 minutes on The Daily Beast.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/06/ask-bartlett-anything-whats-a-vat-and-why-do-we-need-it.html

Unlike the sales taxes we’re familiar with where all the tax is collected at the checkout counter, the VAT is embedded in the prices of the inputs that go into the final product. So for example, the farmer pays the tax when he grows the wheat. The Miller pays the tax again when he turns the wheat into flower. And then the baker pays the tax again when he turns it into bread. And at each stage the producers get a credit for the taxes that are previously paid. So at the end of the day there’s only one tax rate no matter how long the production process is. The main benefit of this is it avoid evasion.

Bartlett is a supply-side economist, former advisor to Reagan, and and the author of The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take (2012) and  Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.

Categories: Economics Tags: bruce bartlett, taxation, taxes, value added tax, VAT

When my ex moved to Florida, he asked me to paint him something “manly and tragic” to hang up in his new place. I haven’t painted since high school, because it was only a hobby and I was never proficiently good.  (I did set painting for plays and musicals, but that’s a different type of painting.) But it still sounded like a fun commission.

For my “manly and tragic” scene I picked bull elephant seals locked in battle. I chose Watercolor because it’s the only full paint set I had left over from high school.

Here’s the problem:  It’s two years after I started and I have no idea how to finish. It just doesn’t look “done.” Especially the first seal; it looks really flat but I’m not sure where to add contrast that won’t make it too bulbous and weird.

Click to Enlarge

I tried doing various splash techniques in the water with white paint, but it became very obvious that picking Watercolor on Watercolor Paper as my medium maybe wasn’t the best idea. Once I run out of a color, it’s very hard to make a matching shade again. And watercolor doesn’t “layer” well.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe mix it with other media?

Reference picture.

(Importing into Photoshop is a last resort.)

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, I arted Tags: bull seals, elephant seal, nature, painting, seal fight, tragic, watercolor

The Young Turks discuss a pro-life group’s “sting” operation at Planned Parenthood:

Sex-selective abortions are legal in Austin, Texas. The counselor explained to the woman her options available under the law. Live Action reportedly edited out the part of the video where she talked about adoption as an option.

Planned Parenthood fired the woman anyway, because it is against their policy to advocate sex-selective abortion. They then said they were “retraining” their employees. That’s what really bothers me about this story; if they failed to train their employees properly to begin with, then that is on them, not her. This woman, who seems like a thoroughly decent person, shouldn’t have her career ruined because of this stupid video. As TYT points out, it legitimizes the effectiveness of what is essentially propaganda.

—-

I went to Planned Parenthood today. I’ve been going there for years for my pills, and this was the first time I ever actually saw a protestor with a fetus poster. He looked very lonely.

Anyway, I was on Yaz a few years ago and in addition to the lack of baby, it made my skin pregnancy-glow awesome. I quit due to costs. (It’s a relatively new drug and I’m sure has a long patent life ahead.) But today I mentioned possibly switching my pill back. The doctor said it is now Planned Parenthood’s policy to no longer prescribe Yaz due to the increased risk of embolism.

It’s time for another edition of “Candice Reads Primary Source Articles So You Don’t Have To.”

Here’s the Yaz (drospirenone) study from BMJ:

Conclusion: After adjustment for length of use, users of oral contraceptives with desogestrel, gestodene, or drospirenone were at least at twice the risk of venous thromboembolism [outlink mine] compared with users of oral contraceptives with levonorgestrel.

The study methodology looks pretty solid to me. It had a good sample size and controlled for a lot of variables. The important part to take away is the interpretation of the conclusion.

What’s the baseline risk for venous thromboembolism?

The risk, like everything, depends on your genes. The incidence of VTE* is about 1 in 1,000 each year, which, if you think about in terms of percentage, is a 0.001% rate. Men are at higher risk than women. Asian and Hisapnic women are at lower risk than Caucasian or African. High BMI is also a risk factor.

Those stats not only include men, but whatever women were on birth control. So even if you multiply that risk by seven (6-7 times more at risk than women not on birth control is what the BMJ study suggests), I still don’t think it’s clinically significant. If it was, the drug would have been pulled from pharmacy shelves a long time ago.

As a skinny, half-Asian, with no family history of VTE, I want my Yaz back.

*American Heart Association

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Social commentary Tags: birth control, In defense of Yaz, Live Action, planned parenthood, sex-selective abortion, The Young Turks, venous thromboembolism, VTE, Yaz, Yaz lawsuit, Yaz study

A lot of denizens of Brooklyn have a tendency shy away from “hipster” and associations with “hipsterism.” I don’t get it. When did hipster become pejorative?

I went to a liberal arts school, blog about progressive politics, and am casually wearing a silk vest.

I bought the earrings from a girl who went to Dartmouth and specializes in eco-friendly design. I own three different fedoras. I’m writing this on a MacBook. I’m drinking looseleaf, fair-trade tea. I knew who the fuck Arcade Fire was. Irony is one of my favorite humor devices.

If I’m not a hipster, I don’t know what is.

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Nerd Out Tags: Brooklyn, hipster, hipsterism, irony, Mac, Who is Arcade Fire?, Williamsburg

Oh hey, a PubMed article with the full text available.

It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains–that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.

This was published in a 1992 Journal of Medical Ethics.  It was obviously never taken up on by the overlords of the DSM-IV, published in 2000.  The guy who wrote it is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the UK with a specialization in the psychotic aspects of mental illness.

——

So the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for a republication (fifth edition) in May 2013, and there’s been a fair amount of media controversy about some of the changes, mostly around lower standards for addiction disorders.

I skimmed over the Proposed Changes part of the website that the APA set up for the new edition and didn’t find anything egregious. Etiology of a disorder doesn’t matter much beyond understanding how to fix it.  But how behaviors are treated by society do matter. (In my relativist opinion, psychologists know nothing about feelings, except for their own.  They only know behavior.*)

By changing a medical text of authority, I have a feeling it will lower stigma and help erase the false emotional/physical dichotomy model of symptoms that people, including mental health professionals, seem to acknowledge as a gauge for importance during treatment.  And these results would, uncontroversially, be a good thing.

*I’m using “know” here in a sort of vague, philosophical context.  I mean, we’re never going to have a better scale for pain, emotional or physical, beyond a subjective “Pick a number 1-10.”

Categories: human nature, Knowledge has vagina dentata so don’t you fuck with it Tags: addiction, APA, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM 5, DSM-IV, happiness, mental disorder, psychiatry, psychology

| Page 30

The film stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christoph Waltz, and is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2012.

The Atlatnics Ta-Nehisi Coates gives his thoughts:

It’s also really dangerous to get caught up in that narrative. The violence is seductive and can find you arguing along the same barren lines as those you allegedly oppose. It is not merely wrong to focus on the militarism of the Civil War because those who do so generally don’t want to talk about slavery. It is wrong because such a focus says that the only thing important about war are those who carry the guns.

Sorry, Ta-Nehesi, I couldn’t hear your political correctness over how awesome the music was.

Categories: Pop-culture, Social commentary Tags: blaxploitation, Civil War, Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino, slavery, Ta-Nehisi Coates

I was tempted to make the title, “What is a VAT tax” but that would be redundant.

Brett Bartlett explains it pretty succinctly in 2 minutes on The Daily Beast.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/06/ask-bartlett-anything-whats-a-vat-and-why-do-we-need-it.html

Unlike the sales taxes we’re familiar with where all the tax is collected at the checkout counter, the VAT is embedded in the prices of the inputs that go into the final product. So for example, the farmer pays the tax when he grows the wheat. The Miller pays the tax again when he turns the wheat into flower. And then the baker pays the tax again when he turns it into bread. And at each stage the producers get a credit for the taxes that are previously paid. So at the end of the day there’s only one tax rate no matter how long the production process is. The main benefit of this is it avoid evasion.

Bartlett is a supply-side economist, former advisor to Reagan, and and the author of The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take (2012) and  Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.

Categories: Economics Tags: bruce bartlett, taxation, taxes, value added tax, VAT

When my ex moved to Florida, he asked me to paint him something “manly and tragic” to hang up in his new place. I haven’t painted since high school, because it was only a hobby and I was never proficiently good.  (I did set painting for plays and musicals, but that’s a different type of painting.) But it still sounded like a fun commission.

For my “manly and tragic” scene I picked bull elephant seals locked in battle. I chose Watercolor because it’s the only full paint set I had left over from high school.

Here’s the problem:  It’s two years after I started and I have no idea how to finish. It just doesn’t look “done.” Especially the first seal; it looks really flat but I’m not sure where to add contrast that won’t make it too bulbous and weird.

Click to Enlarge

I tried doing various splash techniques in the water with white paint, but it became very obvious that picking Watercolor on Watercolor Paper as my medium maybe wasn’t the best idea. Once I run out of a color, it’s very hard to make a matching shade again. And watercolor doesn’t “layer” well.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe mix it with other media?

Reference picture.

(Importing into Photoshop is a last resort.)

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, I arted Tags: bull seals, elephant seal, nature, painting, seal fight, tragic, watercolor

The Young Turks discuss a pro-life group’s “sting” operation at Planned Parenthood:

Sex-selective abortions are legal in Austin, Texas. The counselor explained to the woman her options available under the law. Live Action reportedly edited out the part of the video where she talked about adoption as an option.

Planned Parenthood fired the woman anyway, because it is against their policy to advocate sex-selective abortion. They then said they were “retraining” their employees. That’s what really bothers me about this story; if they failed to train their employees properly to begin with, then that is on them, not her. This woman, who seems like a thoroughly decent person, shouldn’t have her career ruined because of this stupid video. As TYT points out, it legitimizes the effectiveness of what is essentially propaganda.

—-

I went to Planned Parenthood today. I’ve been going there for years for my pills, and this was the first time I ever actually saw a protestor with a fetus poster. He looked very lonely.

Anyway, I was on Yaz a few years ago and in addition to the lack of baby, it made my skin pregnancy-glow awesome. I quit due to costs. (It’s a relatively new drug and I’m sure has a long patent life ahead.) But today I mentioned possibly switching my pill back. The doctor said it is now Planned Parenthood’s policy to no longer prescribe Yaz due to the increased risk of embolism.

It’s time for another edition of “Candice Reads Primary Source Articles So You Don’t Have To.”

Here’s the Yaz (drospirenone) study from BMJ:

Conclusion: After adjustment for length of use, users of oral contraceptives with desogestrel, gestodene, or drospirenone were at least at twice the risk of venous thromboembolism [outlink mine] compared with users of oral contraceptives with levonorgestrel.

The study methodology looks pretty solid to me. It had a good sample size and controlled for a lot of variables. The important part to take away is the interpretation of the conclusion.

What’s the baseline risk for venous thromboembolism?

The risk, like everything, depends on your genes. The incidence of VTE* is about 1 in 1,000 each year, which, if you think about in terms of percentage, is a 0.001% rate. Men are at higher risk than women. Asian and Hisapnic women are at lower risk than Caucasian or African. High BMI is also a risk factor.

Those stats not only include men, but whatever women were on birth control. So even if you multiply that risk by seven (6-7 times more at risk than women not on birth control is what the BMJ study suggests), I still don’t think it’s clinically significant. If it was, the drug would have been pulled from pharmacy shelves a long time ago.

As a skinny, half-Asian, with no family history of VTE, I want my Yaz back.

*American Heart Association

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Social commentary Tags: birth control, In defense of Yaz, Live Action, planned parenthood, sex-selective abortion, The Young Turks, venous thromboembolism, VTE, Yaz, Yaz lawsuit, Yaz study

A lot of denizens of Brooklyn have a tendency shy away from “hipster” and associations with “hipsterism.” I don’t get it. When did hipster become pejorative?

I went to a liberal arts school, blog about progressive politics, and am casually wearing a silk vest.

I bought the earrings from a girl who went to Dartmouth and specializes in eco-friendly design. I own three different fedoras. I’m writing this on a MacBook. I’m drinking looseleaf, fair-trade tea. I knew who the fuck Arcade Fire was. Irony is one of my favorite humor devices.

If I’m not a hipster, I don’t know what is.

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Nerd Out Tags: Brooklyn, hipster, hipsterism, irony, Mac, Who is Arcade Fire?, Williamsburg

Oh hey, a PubMed article with the full text available.

It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains–that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.

This was published in a 1992 Journal of Medical Ethics.  It was obviously never taken up on by the overlords of the DSM-IV, published in 2000.  The guy who wrote it is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the UK with a specialization in the psychotic aspects of mental illness.

——

So the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for a republication (fifth edition) in May 2013, and there’s been a fair amount of media controversy about some of the changes, mostly around lower standards for addiction disorders.

I skimmed over the Proposed Changes part of the website that the APA set up for the new edition and didn’t find anything egregious. Etiology of a disorder doesn’t matter much beyond understanding how to fix it.  But how behaviors are treated by society do matter. (In my relativist opinion, psychologists know nothing about feelings, except for their own.  They only know behavior.*)

By changing a medical text of authority, I have a feeling it will lower stigma and help erase the false emotional/physical dichotomy model of symptoms that people, including mental health professionals, seem to acknowledge as a gauge for importance during treatment.  And these results would, uncontroversially, be a good thing.

*I’m using “know” here in a sort of vague, philosophical context.  I mean, we’re never going to have a better scale for pain, emotional or physical, beyond a subjective “Pick a number 1-10.”

Categories: human nature, Knowledge has vagina dentata so don’t you fuck with it Tags: addiction, APA, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM 5, DSM-IV, happiness, mental disorder, psychiatry, psychology