Saturday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. de stijl says:

    My ongoing Google Ad Services geolocation issue. It’s just generally amusing except around election time when it goes bonkers absurd.

    They think I live in Minneapolis. I don’t. Have not lived there for years. Going on two decades now. I visit three of four times a year. Do not live there!

    Please, for all that is holy, please, please stop serving me up unskippable local election political ads for a place I no longer live in. I cannot vote there! It would be a felony to try to.

    I might have an aneurysm if this continues, I swear to [bleeping] Odin! It will continue.

    My ISP and my phone are directly connected to local Des Moines service providers. I want to come out of retirement just to help them fine tune their geolocation nonsense. This is super easy! Grrrr!

    Do others encounter this? Is it just me?

  2. Just nutha says:

    @de stijl: Live in SW Washington. Get ads on my streaming television for a candidate in WISCONSIN’S 3rd Congressional District.

    And he’s going to do amazing things when he gets elected. First, he’ll use his Green Lantern powers to impose (his word, IIRC) term limits. Then, he’s going to stop Congresspeople from working as lobbyists after retiring from Congress.

    All by himself with no one to help. He’s just amazing!

  3. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha:

    Look at it this way-at least it is not political ads for races we actually care about!

    I get those on TV and, man, is my mute button trigger finger fast. I see .25 seconds and Bam! muted. I’m Fast Draw McGraw.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: @Just nutha: I don’t get ads.

  5. Kathy says:

    So, power outage since yesterday around 6:30 pm. The apartment building has a power plant, so it wasn’t too bad. The TV, computer, WiFi, and fridge all worked.

    Now, though, only the fridge remains for some reason. The lights too. But little else. I can’t even charge my phone, and I’ve used up my power bank. I can’t even make coffee.

    I’m waiting for something to open elsewhere. On weekends that’s around 8. The municipal water pump isn’t working either, so we’re getting low on water. I can cook, but then I couldn’t wash the dishes afterwards.

    Off I go in search of electricity.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A US court has revoked air pollution permits for a huge plastics plant in a region of Louisiana known as Cancer Alley and ruled that they would have violated environmental rules. People living near the proposed petrochemical complex in St James parish have been fighting against the plans for years and hailed the decision as a victory for environmental justice. The permits had been issued by the Louisiana department of environmental quality to FG LA, a member of the Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group.

    FG LA’s proposed $9.4bn “Sunshine Project” is being designed to produce polyethylene, polypropylene, polymer and ethylene glycol which are used in a range of everyday products. If built, it would be one of the largest production facilities for plastics and plastic feedstocks in the world. It would also roughly double toxic emissions in its local area and, according to environmentalists, release up to 13m tonnes of greenhouse gases a year to become one of the largest single sources of carbon emissions in the US.
    Judge Trudy M White said FG LA “failed to demonstrate that its emissions ‘would not cause or contribute to’ violations of the federal air standards”. And the agency’s decision to issue the air permit anyway “violated the Clean Air Act permitting law” it was obligated to apply. She also said the agency violated its public trust duty to avoid environmental harm by authorising potential public health violations “without offering evidence to show it had avoided the risk to the maximum extent possible”. Moreover, these duties are not limited to health impacts; White said the Louisiana department of environmental quality “must take special care to consider the impact of climate-driven disasters fueled by greenhouse gases on environmental justice communities and their ability to recover”.

    But “state’s wrongs”…

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Jeebus, that sucks. And this,

    So, power outage since yesterday around 6:30 pm. The apartment building has a power plant, so it wasn’t too bad. The TV, computer, WiFi, and fridge all worked. Now, though, only the fridge remains for some reason. The lights too. But little else. I can’t even charge my phone, and I’ve used up my power bank. I can’t even make coffee.

    Is just plain weird. Makes me wonder about your wiring.

  8. Jon says:

    @Kathy, @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve had similar happen when one of the two 120V lines in to the house got knocked loose; only circuits connected to the one remaining line had juice so I’d end up with power to about half the kitchen and most lights in the house, but no ceiling fans and nothing at all in the living room, etc.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    Away from the angry headlines, what public health officials actually do. (No subscription needed)

    It is easy to say, “X treatment/prevention/knowledge is available, so if people don’t get it that’s their own damn fault.” But that’s not how public health works. The fact that people are resistant is a given, and is factored in to every campaign.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jon: Ah, that makes sense. It is strange that you’d only lose one, I’m thinking the most likely place for that failure would be in your meter base, tho it could happen at your main panel or I suppose maybe even the transformer.

    But I am not an electrician, even if I have worked around a few thousand over 35 years in the biz.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    John Scott-Railton

    Stop and watch this video.

    Whatever you thought about the governors’ stunt… it turns out it was worse.

    If you have 5 minutes to spare, it’s worth the watching.

  12. Jon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Historically it has mostly been at the transformer/pole; we have above ground lines in New Orleans and it gets windy sometimes. Makes it easy to point it out to the repair crew, at least.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A headline coming to a state near you: Woman dies ‘after being beaten by morality police’

  14. Mikey says:

    Trans kids are going to kill themselves because of this. I suspect for some Republicans, that’s a feature, not a bug.

    Virginia will block schools from accommodating transgender students

    In a major rollback of LGBTQ rights, the administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will require that transgender students in Virginia access school facilities and programs that match the sex they were assigned at birth and is making it more difficult for students to change their names and genders at school.

    Under new “model policies” for schools’ treatment of transgender students released Friday evening, the Department of Education is requiring that families submit legal documentation to earn their children the right to change names and genders at school. The guidelines also say teachers cannot be compelled to refer to transgender students by their names and genders if it goes against “their constitutionally protected” free speech rights.

    And the guidelines say schools cannot “encourage or instruct teachers to conceal material information about a student from the student’s parent, including information related to gender” — raising the prospect that teachers could be forced to out transgender students to their parents.

    And it doesn’t get much more deluded than this:

    Allies of the governor praised the proposal. “Thank you @GovernorVA for fixing one of the most overreaching and abusive uses of a ‘model policy’ that I’ve seen,” tweeted GOP Del. Glenn Davis. “This new standard ensures all students have the right to attend school in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying.”

    Because trans students won’t be allowed to exist, get it?

  15. Kathy says:


    I found some electricity nearby. Better yet, also some coffee.

    Next, breakfast.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jon: OK, thanx. Obviously there are holes in my electrical knowledge.

    Some friends of mine lost the juice in a rental’s kitchen and asked me to take a look at it (I can do residential wiring to code, it’s pretty straight forward) When I opened up the soffit and walls I found a complete nightmare. An absolute spaghettification of scorched wires spliced together with the original wiring and undersized shit, impossible to even follow what the fuck was going where. I told them they needed to hire a real electrician.

    They begged me to do it for them and I finally relented but only after telling them I was stripping everything out of the walls all the way down to the panel because whoever had been there before was an idiot and there was no telling what kind of ticking time bombs he buried in those walls. I’m pretty sure I didn’t save them any money on it, but in the end I knew it was safe.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Good, there is no life without coffee.

  18. Jon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There is still knob and tube wiring in my attic that nobody will touch because, once they do, the whole thing has to get replaced to get it up to code.

  19. Kathy says:


    I’m in the very odd position that I think I know what’s going on, but can’t explain it because I don’t really understand electricity.

    I know the voltage is not a measure of how much power a line holds or an appliance or machine uses. Since yesterday, things that require more power don’t work, like the sink’s garbage disposal. Now it’s the computer and TV. It also depends how the power plant, which is supposed to operate for short periods, is wired as opposed to the feed off the grid.

    The WiFi seems to have problems downstream. The modem and router works, but it gets WiFi for maybe a minute, then nothing for a while, then another minute up, then it repeats. I turned them off for the time being.

    I’m at the office now, with plenty of power, a working PC, and am charging my phones. I’m also charging the laptop just in case, though it won’t do much good if the WiFi keeps acting up.

  20. Franklin says:

    A handyman came by the other day, and cut the visit short because his own family was without power at home. Well, not zero power: they had some LED string lights up in various rooms, and all of those still worked. Apparently there was a tiny bit of power, like a steady brownout, which was enough for the super-efficient LEDs. The handyman hadn’t seen anything quite like it before, and neither have I.

  21. de stijl says:


    Are you stocked? Got an emergency stash? Are you okay?

    I used to live in an old apartment building. Built in 1890s. The furnace was this huge old beast designed to heat up water and push it out to radiators.

    Buildings of that vintage in that part of town were brick. My walls were probably 18 inches of brick. The depth of the widow openings was astonishing.

    The furnace went busto hard. Needed a new part for a machine made in the 1930s. They special ordered it, rushed it. Two weeks. Minnesota in February – the average low is about 8F, the average high is about 25F. It can vary a lot.

    It wasn’t bad. Thanks to the absurdly thick brick walls the temperature stabilized around 45F. Doable if you bundle up. Not fun, but doable.

    45 is great for walking around weather, but if you are sitting watching TV it gets intrusive fast. I’d get home from work and bundle up. Wear a coat, tuque, and gloves inside. Slept fully clothed in three layers under a pile of blankets. No hot water makes bathing extremely eye-popping. Thankfully, I belonged to a fitness joint where I could get a hot shower in the morning.

    The day the heat came back on was glorious. The next weekend, the management company bought a keg and threw a party in the courtyard. My friend Ginnie who was the super announced that rent was free for March.

    Every household needs to be prepared for a temporary disruption of services. Have a plan. Have a stock of non-perishable food and water. A means to cook that food. Et cetera.

    When the inevitable zombie apocalypse happens, and it will, you need to be prepared.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jon: Yeah, whenever I came across knob and tube (as in the above situation) I replaced it. One is already there and that’s half the battle.

  23. Michael Cain says:

    On a lighter note, I learned yesterday that the basketball/volleyball arena on the Colorado State University campus is officially named “Moby Arena” in the sense of Moby Dick, not after a donor or distinguished former coach. Some former administration could take a joke :^)

  24. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    quite likely, your google profile shows that you live in mpls and therefore provides ads for that local.

  25. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I am ok. Whether in Mexico City tends to be mild. We rarely get as low as freezing, much less below. So, no worries on that account. I’ve neither heating nor AC at home.

    The problem is I can’t work, watch TV, surf the web, or even cook. Other than that, things are fine.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Natasha Huckfield

    Well this was unexpected

    It gave me a giggle anyway.

  27. Modulo Myself says:

    RIP Saul Kripke…what a week–Javier Marias, then Godard, both famous, and now Kripke, not so famous. His major books are lucid and intelligible. But in person he was something else. Saw this accurate description of his lecture style on twitter:

    “RIP Saul Kripke. I was on a panel w him a few yrs ago, at that boondoggle IAI festival in Wales. His was the least engaging talk I’ve ever heard. It was as if he didn’t even know what a talk is, or that there were people in front of him. It was weird & unforgettable. I loved it.”

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..I don’t get ads.

    I don’t have a TV.*

    *At home.
    I am currently road tripping. Watching the TV at a Super 8. There is a Columbo episode on from 1991 featuring Little Richard.
    Good Golly!

  29. Jax says:

    I’m still trying to stick with LOTR. I literally keep falling asleep and having to resume the next night (I rarely watch tv during the day). 😛

    House of the Dragon is growing on me. I can finish an episode without falling asleep, at least.

    I started The Serpent Queen on Starz. It has promise, I think! But then again, I like those kinds of shows, I’ve watched all of the various Queen shows that they’ve offered.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Miss Molly! Yeah , have a TV but only watch DVDs and (now a very recent addition) Amazon Prime and Disney+ streaming. No commercials on either of them (the way we use them anyway). and a strong ad blocker on my computer. I really wouldn’t mind allowing some ads if I could ensure I wouldn’t be assaulted with pop up and auto play ads, but I can’t, so it’s 100% ad blocker for me.

    Oh yeah, no radio in my truck either. I’ve gotten so used to quiet while driving that on the few occasions I drive my wife’s car, the first thing I do is turn the radio off.

  31. steve says:

    Daughter is now living in Shanghai and will be there at least 3 more years. So far she likes it. As she learns about the place so do I. Since electricity is the topic of the day I have learned about the big effort China, and Shanghai in particular, is working towards green energy, especially in the form of pushing toward EVs. Link goes to the experience of a Shanghai citizen. In short, in Shanghai it is hard to get a license plate. Costs lots of money and you pretty much have to hire an expert, more money, to help you get one and it can still take a long time. However, if you buy an EV you dont have to pay, you just get one. Without a Shanghai license you cant drive on most important roads during usual travel times so it is a big deal.

    One of the major talking points used by those who dont believe in climate change is that China inst doing anything anyway so why should we? The truth about China is a bit different and it is complicated. Growth has been so fast they are still adding coal plants, but they are adding wind and solar at record rates.


  32. Kathy says:

    Back home. No WiFi, no PC, the laptop is rather pointless and its battery runs out quickly, no TV. The phones are charged, though, and I have lots of paper books still.

    It seems the problem is a transformer upstream. Of course, it had to happen on a holiday weekend. The building’s power plant, I’ve just learned, runs on diesel and can easily be refilled. But this doesn’t explain why none of the outlets work.

    This is certainly not what I meant by a long weekend.

  33. Mister Bluster says: truck radio
    That’s pretty hard core. No truck radio.
    Must be like being in a cave…

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Well, it’s a lot cleaner (well less muddy anyway), much better lit and the seats are far more comfortable.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘We don’t know where the rest of the bodies went’: the search for answers in Izium

    Many of the graves were simply marked with numbers, not names and dates that could be used to identify the deceased. Tamara Volodymyrovna, the head of an Izium funeral home that operated throughout, said she was instructed by the occupying forces to write numbers instead of names and to record both in a journal. She said the new Russian administration did not provide the materials to make proper grave markings.

    Out of those Volodymyrovna handled, she said at least 100 were killed in the spring during the Russian assault on Izium, most by Russian bombs during the first weeks. She said this included at least 20 children, some of whom died because they failed to reach their basements in time.

    But Volodymyrovna had just one of what could be several journals containing the names of those who died during Russia’s occupation. “We had a journal and the volunteer [buriers] had a journal,” said Volodymyrovna. She said the police had taken hers and she knew the police had been in touch with the volunteers.

    “It was a complete catastrophe,” said Volodymyrovna, describing how people buried bodies wherever they could during the heavy bombing which then had to be reburied.

    Multiple people, including Volodymyrovna, said Moscow had captured the town through heavy bombardment that began in early March. “After that there was still shelling but people died more rarely,” she said.

    Volodymyrovna said she did not know of torture victims but she, like everyone the Guardian spoke to in Izium, said she knew of former military people and their families being rounded up in the town. They were taken to unknown locations. Their fate, to date, remains a mystery.

    The whole is worth the reading if you have the stomach for it.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Is Truth Social another of Trump’s bungled businesses? leads with this jewel:

    It takes a brave investor to go into business with Donald Trump.

    No, just a moron.​

  37. wr says:

    @Kathy: “I found some electricity nearby”

    Was it just, like, lying on the ground? And did you stop to ask if anyone around had dropped it?

  38. wr says:

    @Jon: “There is still knob and tube wiring in my attic that nobody will touch because, once they do, the whole thing has to get replaced to get it up to code.”

    My 1909 Craftsman in Pasadena still had its original knob and tube, and every electrician I asked said that it was perfectly fine and totally safe — and that what made knob and tube dangerous was when people starting messing around and partially rewiring.

  39. CSK says:

    I can’t stop laughing.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:


    My 1909 Craftsman in Pasadena still had its original knob and tube, and every electrician I asked said that it was perfectly fine and totally safe — and that what made knob and tube dangerous was when people starting messing around and partially rewiring.

    A couple of electricians have told me that as well, along with an electrical inspector. That said, in many jurisdictions, if you open a wall or ceiling that contains knob and tube, you will need to replace it.

  41. Stormy Dragon says:

    Just got a new bivalent COVID19 booster in one arm and a flu shot in the other…

    1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a vaccine war!

  42. Kathy says:


    There are these branchless, rootless trees all over town which appear to feed electricity to each other through vines that connect them.

    Given the way they follow streets and regular spacing between them, I’d say they are cultivated by the local life forms.

  43. Just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t get any for candidates or issues I can vote on. That’s the same thing.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    Hot Damn!
    0-2 Missouri Valley Conference SIU Salukis (FCS) have beaten 1st place Big Ten 1-1 Northwestern Wildcats (FBS) in Evanston 31-24!
    Radio jocks are calling it the biggest win in SIU history!
    Go Dawgs!

  45. dazedandconfused says:


    I encountered something similar in Nairobi. The reason was the apartment building set their system up anticipating brown-outs and long outages were more than possible, they are to be expected. They wiring was set up so everybody’s refrigerator and lights was on separate breakers from wall outlets. The idea was they could shed load on the diesel generator, which might have to run for quite some time and fuel is expensive and may be hard to come by if the black or brown out goes on for awhile, by just cutting the non-essentials.

    The apartment super told me that for us it was more than that. The generator simply wasn’t up to the task of handling the building’s potential peak load of ACs, water heaters refers all kicking on at the same time, an not uncommon condition in the afternoons.

    Solution: Remove ceiling light and install an outlet in the j-box. Run extension cord from there when the power’s out to run the TV or whatever.

  46. Mister Bluster says:

    Oh yeah…Go Dawgs!

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Japanese professor wins Ig Nobel prize for study on knob turning

    Prof Gen Matsuzaki, an industrial design researcher at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan whose insights on the “rotary control of columnar knobs” won the engineering prize, said he had been recognised for “focusing on a problem that no one cares about”.

    After analysing video footage of 32 volunteers turning 47 knobs of assorted sizes, the researchers deduced that to turn a knob wider than 1cm, three fingers are normally required, with a shift to four and five fingers occurring when a knob exceeds 2.5cm and 5cm in diameter. “We cannot turn а columnar control of small diameter with all five fingers,” the team concluded in the Bulletin of Japanese Society for the Science of Design.

    The work may have inspired the design of appropriately shaped faucets or volume control knobs, Matsuzaki speculated, but he added: “Unfortunately I have no way of knowing.” Since publishing the work in 1999, his academic focus has shifted to bag handles and umbrella grips.

    The physics prize went to Prof Frank Fish and colleagues at West Chester University, Pennsylvania, for tackling the question of why ducklings swim in a line formation. “It is something that I have dreamed of as I would never win the Nobel prize,” Fish said.

    He began to ponder the question after watching a mother duck and her offspring swimming along a river that runs through Michigan State University, where Fish was completing his doctorate on the hydrodynamics of muskrats. Fish got a group of ducklings to follow a mechanical mother duck in a large tank of water and found that the linear formation saves energy – with the last duckling in the line benefiting most.

    The literature prize went to a team who analysed what makes legal documents so impenetrable. “We all had this intuition that legal language is dense, but we really need to know empirically: how bad is it?” said Francis Mollica, who worked on the study at the University of Edinburgh. The paper concluded that poor writing, not complicated concepts, is to blame. “One of the worst tendencies is centre embedding, where you take two sentences and, instead of keeping them separate, you put one inside of the other,” Mollica said.

    “It’s inevitable that someone could [make contracts incomprehensible] for bad faith reasons, but we didn’t test those kinds of motives,” he added.

    Other boundary-pushing research to be rewarded included a study on how constipation affects the mating prospects of scorpions and a survey of classic Maya pottery, which suggested that “contrary to the traditional view that the ancient Maya were a contemplative people” they may have indulged in intoxicating enemas containing alcohol or hallucinogenic herbs.

    Marc Abrahams, editor of the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and founder of the awards, said: “If you didn’t win an Ig Nobel prize tonight – and especially if you did – better luck next year.”

  49. Jon says:

    @wr, @wr: Yeah, the biggest problem is no ground wire.

    That said, in many jurisdictions, if you open a wall or ceiling that contains knob and tube, you will need to replace it.

    Yup, that’s the rule down here, pretty much. Once you touch it, it’s yours.

  50. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    But why? I haven’t had any physical presence in Mpls since 2004. No bills, no taxes, no public records. And I have plenty of those in the next state down since then. It’s baffling.

    There must be some bit of extremely sticky data that has persisted and is ranked very highly in the algorithm. Every recent bit of scrapeable data about me screams out that I live in Des Moines. It is extremely obvious. I pay property taxes, I have local utility accounts for an identifiable physical address. My internet and phone accounts. All tied to a physical address.

    Google engineers and software folks are decidedly not dumb. In fact, the algorithms they employ are uncannily accurate. Spookily accurate at times. If you like X, chances are very likely you will like Y too.

    It baffles me. 99.999% of available data says Des Moines You go with Minneapolis instead. You are Google. You employ very smart people to fine tune these things.

    I would pay big dollars to see my user profile and rifle through it. It would be fascinating and very educational.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Run in opposite directions to see who your dog loves more..

    I’ve got tears running down my face.

  52. de stijl says:


    I am really digging House Of The Dragon. Way more than I expected to going in. Daemon is great. Rhaenyra (spelling?) is great. I love her jawline; damned impressive! Interesting writing. Very well shot.

  53. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    IIRC, when you sign up for any Google service, and the same goes for others, like Yahoo, you need to ID a location. That location becomes part of your google profile and that may be triggering the Mpls centric ads. That’s my wild a$$ guess.

    In the google account settings there is a subheading for advertising profile, that could be where the erroneous mpls connection is happening. BTW, you can delete all the ad stuff and the email address that created the google account need not be a address.

  54. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Drake basketball plays SIU Salukis twice a season. I had no idea what a Saluki was until I looked it up. It’s a breed of dog. Drake’s mascot is bulldog. It’s hot dog on dog action, my friend!

    Decent night out. Invite a friend or two. There is an actual bar on site. Hidden beneath the bleachers. You walk up and ask for a double rum and coke and they give it to you in a to-go disposable plastic container.

    I have zero connection to Drake beyond it’s in my neighborhood. D1 basketball, second tier, obviously, but pretty damned good.

    Drake made it to the NCAA tournament a year or two after I’d moved here. It was a big deal locally.

    This year, I’m going in with low expectations. I really don’t care about the outcome, frankly. It’s mostly about hanging out with friends and shooting the shit, and trying to make each other laugh.

    A relatively cheap night out.

  55. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Ha! Daemon repulses me in skin crawly, creepy way, and I can’t wait to see how they kill him off. Number one on my list of who should die first, in fact. 😛 😛

    I have a song for you.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alexander Verbeek @Alex_Verbeek

    The best way to see Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is to stare at the center of the spiral for 20 seconds and then look at the painting.

    RT when it works for you.

    Holy fuck… Other worldly. I remember staring at cave ceilings in absolute darkness after days underground and seeing things I could not possibly see. This is similar. The mind is an amazing thing. And it lies.


  57. Kathy says:

    Last update for today.

    The availability of power in outlets seems to rotate. No idea if someone does this, or is a design of the power plant, or effects from power usage, or what. Bottom line is I can get like one minute of WiFi, the TV doesn’t work, cable’s out (or was yesterday when the TV still worked). I’m wondering whther I kept an acoustic modem somewhere and can dial AOL…

    Still no running water. So I can’t cook (that’s maybe the worst thing). The power company estimates 2-3 days for repairs… I thought the 20th century ended over 20 years ago!

    My personal laptop can’t hold a charge. I’ll have to take it to a repair shop. meantime, I’m ussing the work laptop, which has a ridiculous keyboard and tiny screen.

    I though about moving to a hotel for the reliabe power and WiFi, but it’s a holiday weekend and everything looks booked solid or outrageously expensive.

    also the spell checker on this laptop doesn’t seem to know any English yet. There may be half million typos.

  58. JohnSF says:

    Have sometimes wondered about this sort of thing in connection with paleolithic cave paintings.
    That people were left in a sensory deprivation state, and were then brought into a painted chamber illuminated by flickering light.

    Amazing fact told to me by a cave guide in the Dordogne: there are tracks of a boy and a dog in one of the caves, apparently some ten thousand years old.
    The builders of the Pyramids are less than half the time-span back from us, to that boy.

    And that boy was less than a third of the time back to when the caves at Chauvet were painted.

    I got a giddy feeling about the sheer depth of human prehistory.

    (So I had another glass of wine. 🙂 )

  59. Jon says:

    @Kathy: Phone as a hotspot for internet?

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: It was an interesting experience, laying in my sleeping bag, staring up at the ceiling in the absolute darkness, knowing I couldn’t possibly see a damn thing and yet…. There it was. The mind abhors vacuum.

  61. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: One of the strangest acid trips I’ve ever had was in complete darkness. The mind fills the void when your eyes cannot see.

  62. Kylopod says:

    @Jax: I think it’s related to conditions like Charles Bonnet Syndrome, where people with visual impairment experience visual hallucinations. The equivalent with every sense exists, in fact. Oliver Sacks described a case of an older woman who discovered from a test that she had anosmia–an inability to smell. This came as a surprise to her, because she thought she was able to smell, but it turned out she was experiencing olfactory hallucinations without realizing her sense of smell had long gone away.

  63. de stijl says:


    People essentially like us were living 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Brains basically as big and capable as ours. Speech, higher brain functions. Basically us, 200,000 years ago.

    Blows my mind.

    They invented speech and art and poetry and music and fiction and astronomy and coffee and controllable fire on demand. Structures. Living spaces.

    We catch up with what they are doing and thinking with the tale of Gilgamesh.

    One of my favorite YT channels is Crecganford. He analyzes very old myths and stories for commonalities. The Biblical “flood” and the Gilgamesh “flood” is the same, the Bible changes a few elements and inserts Jahweh, but eerily similar.

    His focus now is on Dragon myths.

    I am convinced that the flood myth is based on fact. An old story told and retold. Probably Mesopotamian. There is a widely regarded theory of the flood is a retelling, generations on, of the actual events from the last glacial period. Hundreds of generations. Passing the story down the line.

    I like thinking about big time. It makes me feel smaller and I think I deserve that.

  64. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Brains capable of sending men to the moon, but somehow we’re stuck on this earth-side timeline of squabbling over “who” is an “illegal alien”.

    This is truly the dumbest timeline.

  65. de stijl says:


    There are much, much worse possible timelines. All things considered, we aren’t doing that bad. We have a lot of improvements that need doing.

    We have enough nuclear weapons to kill the earth many times over, but haven’t done it yet.

    Today sucks. It could suck harder if we make other choices. Personally, I have hope. We are shitty bastards a lot of the time, but we are also very capable of decency and love.

    I stand on hope. It’s all I’ve got.

  66. de stijl says:

    I once called a repairman because my stove was kaput.

    Guy showed up. Went downstairs. Said “try it now”. It worked. The circuit breaker for the stove had clicked for some reason. I am such an idiot! He was there for 5 minutes. I have never felt so abjectly stupid.

    He made fun of me to his buddies for years after, I’m sure. It’s okay; I deserved it.

  67. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    I am convinced that the flood myth is based on fact. An old story told and retold. Probably Mesopotamian. There is a widely regarded theory of the flood is a retelling, generations on, of the actual events from the last glacial period. Hundreds of generations. Passing the story down the line.

    There’s a theory the flood myths are an oral history of when the Bosporus Strait first opened and suddenly the Mediterranean Sea was rushing into the lake that eventually became the Black Sea in about 5600BCE, a very not fun event for people living around said lake.

  68. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Heard that one. I like it. It explains a lot. I really like that theory.

    The biggest event anyone would have ever witnessed by far. Think of the enormous magnitude! It would have been mind boggling to witness. Of course you would pass that down to your kids. And they to theirs. Then the shamans got ahold of it and attached meaning.

    Noah in the Bible. Nuh in the Quran. Same story. Oral tradition. Different societies. Different context. Different flavor. Same story.

  69. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    A close friend ran an electronics repair shop with his dad. From time to time we sent him misbehaving appliances. He also shared with me tales of his idiot customers.

    One time a VCR at home had some problem, I forget exactly what. I did check it was hooked up right to the power, the cable feed, the TV, etc. He sent a repairman over, and the guy simply moved one switch in the front panel and all was well.

    I did pay for the service call.