Top 10 physically modified people

“it quickly became clear that there are some extraordinary human beings intent on changing their appearance permanently for reasons that will forever baffle most people. whether you agree with it or not, you can’t deny the fact that it’s a fascinating way of life.” (Deputy Dog) [Not only more extreme than I had imagined, but perhaps than I could have imagined. I do admit that my daughter and I got a thrill from getting those temporary tattoos that last a week or so airbrushed onto our calves earlier this summer.] //farm2.static.flickr.com/1262/1221590498_a7c523083b_m.jpg' cannot be displayed]

No Thank You

You may not see my receipt: An emphatic no-thank-you to the increasingly ubiquitous practice of receipt-checking as you leave retail stores. You may think it is just a trivial indignity you put up with without much thought. You may not even be old enough to recall when it was not that way. You may certainly think it is not worth the energy to oppose. But doing so is not only a nostalgic hearkening-back to the good old days when people were trusting and trusted; it is also an arguably spiritual practice when one stands up against these trends. Similar to the reason I still tweak the noses of the baristas by ordering my coffee “small”, “medium”, or “large” when I go into Starbuck’s.

The War as We Saw It

New York Times op-ed: “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.

…In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.”

The War as We Saw It

New York Times op-ed: “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.

…In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.”

Why FireFox is Blocked

Because Firefox allows ad blocking, a new campaign has blocked Firefox users’ access to certain websites, on the grounds that they “provide quality content in exchange for displaying ads” and that accessing the content without viewing the ads is theft. Of course, I can use a user-agent switching extension with Firefox and disguise the identity of my browser. [via the null device]

Jargon Watch:

My nine-year old has adopted this phrase in recent months. “Oh, snap!” The Urban Dictionary, to which this link points, does not point out the obvious; that it is used like a euphemism for “Oh, shit!” //media.urbandictionary.com/image/page/ohsnap-17397.jpg' cannot be displayed]

The Moral-Hazard Myth

Malcolm Gladwell: “The issue about what to do with the health-care system is sometimes presented as a technical argument about the merits of one kind of coverage over another or as an ideological argument about socialized versus private medicine. It is, instead, about a few very simple questions. Do you think that this kind of redistribution of risk is a good idea? Do you think that people whose genes predispose them to depression or cancer, or whose poverty complicates asthma or diabetes, or who get hit by a drunk driver, or who have to keep their mouths closed because their teeth are rotting ought to bear a greater share of the costs of their health care than those of us who are lucky enough to escape such misfortunes? In the rest of the industrialized world, it is assumed that the more equally and widely the burdens of illness are shared, the better off the population as a whole is likely to be. The reason the United States has forty-five million people without coverage is that its health-care policy is in the hands of people who disagree, and who regard health insurance not as the solution but as the problem.” (The New Yorker)