“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****”

That’s the title of a blunt, plain-speaking article by Mark Manson.  It’s emphatically NOT safe for work;  the f-word is used well over a hundred times.  Here’s a short (expurgated) example. Now, while not giving a **** may seem simple on the surface, it’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood. I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I don’t give a ****. A bag of burritos sounds awesome, so let’s just go with it. The point is, most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many ****s in situations where ****s do not

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Your water could soon cost you a lot more

I’ve been trying to follow the ramifications of the Flint, Michigan water crisis.  It’s a tangled web of political influence-peddling, State and local agencies at cross purposes, and a refusal on the part of many people, from the Governor of Michigan down to the local water department, to accept responsibility for their part in the scandal. What I hadn’t considered was that the crisis in Flint is a bellwether for the same problem in countless other US cities.  Fortune reports: Lead pipes are prevalent in cities that were developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, meaning all the major

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A new superhero – ‘Busted Thong Man’!

Courtesy of a link provided by Australian reader Snoggeramus, I laughed like mad at this news report.  For the benefit of those who don’t speak Australian slang, a ‘plugger’ is a thong. Well done, those men! I particularly enjoyed the comment from an Australian police spokesman: “Taking the keys from the ignition would have been enough to slow the offenders down, jumping in the car was not needed,” Insp MacQueen said. “Police are specially trained to respond to these situations, they have tasers, capsicum spray and guns. “A gentleman with a busted thong just doesn’t have the same capabilities.” Peter

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Did ‘Star Wars’ plagiarize French SF comic art?

This video juxtaposes French SF comic art from the 1970’s with Star Wars storyboard drawings and other illustrations.  The similarity is unmistakable. The question is whether the similarity is accidental or deliberate.  If the drawings are genuine and of the right vintage, then given so many ‘coincidences’ I’d be very doubtful that they could be accidental.  On the other hand, I’ve never read about any lawsuits for plagiarism by French comic artists – and if there had been plagiarism, I can’t believe they wouldn’t have sued for a share of the profits.  Does anyone know more about this? Peter

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Can our inner-city “lost generation” be saved?

I’ve had to deal in person with a very wide variety of rebellious teenagers.  They’ve ranged from young gangs in South Africa’s townships, politicized as well as criminalized to the point where they’d kidnap, torture and murder without compunction (witness, for example, the misdeeds of Winnie Mandela’s so-called ‘Mandela United Football Club‘), through the teenage (and sometimes even pre-teenage) child ‘soldiers’ of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, through inner-city gangs in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and other US cities. I’ve tried to assist some of the latter in adult jails after they grew up.  Many of them bitterly resented

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The joys of packing, Part 2

I’m glad to say that this morning I finished packing our library.  It took 39 of Lowe’s small moving boxes to hold all the books, and they’re stacked against the walls of our living room at the moment.  My back and legs are scolding me for doing too much, too fast . . . but what else is there to do when you’re snowbound?  (Don’t answer that!)  Miss D. just had the fun of getting on a short stepladder to unscrew and remove the brackets holding our 72″x36″ bookcases to the wall, so we can take them out when the

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“The largest man-made moving object on earth”

That’s what Polarcus calls its seismic survey ship Polarcus Amani, currently working off the coast of Myanmar.  It’s an odd-looking critter. Popular Mechanics reports: Registered in the Bahamas, Polarcus Amani is 300 feet long and displaces almost 8,000 tons. Her four propellers are rated at 3,000 horsepower apiece, providing enough pulling power to tow an array of seismic “streamers” more than a mile wide and 11 miles long. Altogether, the survey covers an area of about 6.8 square miles at a time, which is how Polarcus claims the record. The streamers are the sensing part of a system that evolved

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The critical downturn in the transport industry . . .

. . . looks like it’s getting worse by the day.  People, if you ever needed one single sign that would point out an impending economic recession, this is it.  The Telegraph reports: The shipping industry is facing its worst crisis in living memory as years of rapid expansion fuelled by cheap debt have coincided with an economic slowdown in China. “We are now at the stage where people are struggling to remember an era when it was this difficult, we’ve gone through what it was like in the 90s, the 80s and the 70s, so expressions like ‘living memory’

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Where can I buy aid-agency-style tarps?

An e-mail discussion for the past few days has focused on the durable, tough emergency tarpaulins provided by organizations such as the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and other international aid agencies.  You’ll find the story behind their development here.  They came into widespread use from 1996 onwards – which was the year I first came to the USA on a seven-month mission visit, and ceased wandering around areas where they would be used, so I’ve never actually seen one ‘in the flesh’, so to speak. What sets these tarps apart is that they won’t degrade in hot or sunny

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Doofus Of The Day #876

Today’s award goes to two (very) dumb crooks in Idaho . . . one of them in particular, as highlighted in bold, underlined text in the extract below. Leland Ayala-Doliente, 22, and Holland Sward, 23, were traveling from Las Vegas to Bozeman, Montana, with some 20 pounds of marijuana. Court documents show the men were using marijuana during their trip and when they entered Idaho, they felt they were being followed by undercover police officers. Rexburg Police Cpt. Randy Lewis told EastIdahoNews.com that at the time they weren’t being followed by anyone. Once they reached Rexburg, the pair exited U.S.

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