sept 05



I would be furious:

Officials at the University of Kansas have stepped up their eMail and data security training for employees after more than 100 students who failed their classes last semester found out who shared their misfortune. The school’s Office of Student Financial Aid sent an eMail message to 119 students in June notifying them that they were in jeopardy of having their aid revoked. But the names of the students were included on the eMail address list–meaning everyone who got the message could see the names of all the other recipients.

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Pledge-A-Picket (via Steven Levitt) is Planned Parenthood’s very clever way of counter-protesting:

Here’s how it works: You decide on the amount you would like to pledge for each protester (minimum 10 cents). When protesters show up on our sidewalks, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania will count and record their number each day from October 1 through November 30, 2005. We will place a signoutside the health center that tracks pledges and makes protesters fully aware that their actions are benefiting PPSP. At the end of the two-month campaign, we will send you an update on protest activities and a pledge reminder.

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Wired reports 30 Suicide Girls have resigned, complaining that the feminist posturing of the website is misleading. Sure, it could be just a catfight – “a few girls … spreading rumors and lies,” is what the co-founder Missy Suicide says – but the article brings up a point I’ve been meaning to make about these ubiquitous hipster porn sites: tattoos and piercings notwithstanding, in what way is an unclothed eighteen year old female “empowering” herself?

The website is to art school girls what the NBA is to inner city kids; a glutinous fame-fantasy. Or maybe I just don’t understand what a Suicide Girl is besides someone with thinly-veiled ambition to be spank material (for brooding young men that haven’t cut their inkwell-dipped hair in months, naturally.)

There are too many tongue-in-cheek skin sites to count; even button-up city DC had two: EvilBadEvil and, which has since closed up shop. Last year, there was a big fuss over H-Bomb; Harvard’s publication featuring undergrads with their kits off. Each proclaims a recycled message of sexual liberation; which may be true for the publication in principle, but one has to wonder about the vinyl thong-wearing individuals that are posing in it. Taking your top off may be an easy way to make a statement; but it is no way to get others to listen to you.


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It’s an interesting question. What do the women who pose say? Supposedly the SGs have diaries in which they talk about themselves and their interests and how empowered they are now that men have masturbated to their nudity.

Is it empowering to earn a little dough and a little adoration by posing for one of these sites? Probably depends on the person and what they bring to it. But is posing nude for a porn site necessarily, always and everywhere an immoral, self-destructive act? That’s the real assertion that’s being challenged with all this “empowerment” talk.

Comment by Kevin O’Reilly — 9/29/2005 @ 12:09 pm | Edit This

the difference between a SG and regular naked model is $$$. If the rumors are true, they’d make a lot more of it as Starbucks baristas or Forever 21 shop assistants. apparently, they are paid very little and in addition, bound by contract to exclusively for the website.

so if it’s not money that recruits SGs, it’s fame. this post isn’t a critique of pornography at all; it’s about the desire for celebrity and what acting on this impulse says about a person’s character

Comment by joanne — 9/29/2005 @ 12:29 pm | Edit This

yeah it sucks to have to deal with sexism but beyond that any intellectual female has to overcome more than a drooling man. We have to deal with the fact that we are looked upon as emotionally unstable peoples without the capability of handling any “real” important duties and the women in any field that are successfull have the personality of a piece of cardboard, not representing the “real” women out there who work their asses off, excuse my language, to be the kind of person who can handle any kind of pressure yet still give everyone a smile on their face in the most dire situations…just because they have the savvy to do so…unlike so many stupid B.A. grads who don’t have a clue of what it’s like to really market themselves or anything else for that manner…which is why in the end they end up loosing their job or evolving into a pee-on for the rest of their life.

Comment by amie pilkins — 9/30/2005 @ 4:15 am | Edit This

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“Where Do Babies Come From?” asks a new game from Sega, while shopoholics may channel their energy now that Wells Fargo has entered the world of online role-playing gaming “in an effort to teach young people the basics of managing their money” (via Tech Dirt.)

The RPG/ARG phenomenon has always, umm, puzzled me, as an individual that last maneuvered a console back in junior high school (and then, only for a few games of Tetris or Mario Cart.) But Jesse Walker’s article for Reason, Games People Play does an excellent job explaining its overwhelming influence on popular culture. Malcom Gladwell has made a career trying to do what Walker does so well here; weaving a number of examples of curious trends, some familiar, some not. Starting with a web-wide hoax involving a fictitious British boy band and including musings on The Beast’s neurotic devotees – so confident in their puzzle-solving ability that web forum users suggested they should “solve” 9/11 next – you won’t read anything better all day.

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I have more to say about 9 Songs for Brainwash

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Tyler Cowen’s review of Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, unintentionally fits right in with Slate’s extensive Katrina coverage.

Like Nickled and Dimed before it, Ehrenreich again documents her “experiments” finding employment; this time taking on the white-collar establishment. While her first-person anecdotal evidence of the stagnating labor economy might make for interesting reading, it does not amount to sound political theorizing. As Cowen notes, resumes don’t normally come out of thin air. The ones that do, will for obvious reasons get tossed aside. When asking upwards of $60,000 as a base salary, someone has got to come in with good references, if not referrals.

That is why many displaced New Orleanians are having an exceptionally difficult time re-entering the job market. Without means of verifying experience and past employment; employers rely on intuition when hiring applicants:

“How do you know it’s not just someone saying they’ve evacuated? What about references and résumés?” says Abigail Davis, owner of Winterberry Home, a home-furnishings store in Little Rock, who is trying to hire a few evacuees for seasonal help. “But we have to figure out a way to help these people here become part of the economy so they don’t have to just sit around.”


Others do as best they can to show they are not using the disaster as means for creating a new identity:

Bob Findeiss, vice president of human resources for BeairdCo, a Shreveport-based manufacturer of fabricated and machined metal products, talked with evacuees for jobs in welding, industrial maintenance, industrial electricians, machinists and related fields. Some workers walking past the balloons at the fair have struggled to provide references or job history because they can’t reach employers.


“I had a gentleman walk up to me, and he had his welder’s certificate in a frame that he must’ve taken from the wall when he left,” Findeiss says. “It hurts to watch.”

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Many urban needle exchange programs now train opiate users how to administer the rapid-result treatment naloxone (Narcan.) A class will involve lessons on how to recognize an overdose and provide “rescue breathing.” It ends with the distribution of syringes filled with the drug or a doctor’s prescriptions for it.

The Chicago Recovery Alliance has trained more than 5,000 people to administer the drug. Dr. Sarz Maxwell, the alliance’s medical director, calls it “some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.” Naloxone “wakes people up enough that they can walk to the car and go to the hospital. That might be a better idea [to users] than inviting the cops up to your apartment where all your dope is laying out.”

The drug also works wonders in kicking a habit. Instant Detox, an in-depth look at the drug in Wired’s January issue, explains how the procedure avoids many of detox’s painfull side-affects and can cure patients of their addiction sometimes in as little time as a weekend.

It is not without pitfalls. Treating an addiction entirely as a health concern forgets that addicts initially came to the drug for a taste of euphoria. Confrontation with reality can be even harder than the diarrhea, nausea, and severe depression.

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A “smart” traffic system is proposed for directing Japan’s congested streets. Green light intervals will be controlled by the sensory-detected volume and speed of oncoming cars, in addition to pedestrian traffic.


The most interesting feature (and likely, the most expensive one) is a safety support system that will transmit real time information to individual drivers with instructions like “beware of pedestrians crossing the road” or “watch out for merging vehicles.”

Meanwhile, General Motors has modeled a vehicle that automatically stays in lane and will not crash into the back of the car in front.

(Both links come from we make money not art)

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Here’s Mr September from our friends at Tokyo Flash:


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