Shared posts

07 Dec 01:04

Comic for 2021.12.06

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
06 Dec 21:36

update: a man claiming to have an Oscar (he doesn’t) wants to give me advice on my field (that he’s not in)

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: a man claiming to have an Oscar (he doesn’t) wants to give me advice on my field (that he’s not in) , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer who was contacted by a man claiming to have an Oscar (he didn’t) and wanting to give her advice on her field (that he’s not in)? Here’s the update.

I am so appreciative of the advice I received from you, Captain Awkward and the community. Reading through the outrageous stories that other women have had to face from know-it-all colleagues was therapeutic.

There’s a part of me that wanted to put him in his place because it’s long past time for deluded people to be called out, but your advice about whether I wanted to teach him a lesson is what gave me pause. I did want to teach him a lesson. And that just made the whole thing feel not worth it.

I decided to use Captain Awkward’s technique, maybe not so snarky, but only if he ever reached out again. Not to use the word “assistant” so many times because I have hired plenty of PAs, but just to keep coming back to him with questions to hopefully get him to realize it was never his place to offer advice. Since he never did reach out again, there isn’t some satisfying ending with awesome comebacks I can offer your readers.

My main doc participant, who is a Black woman, is on a journey of radical self-care and rest, and I am documenting that as part of the work that she does. And I’m taking a page from her and trying to build in my own processes for engaging in self-care (not spa days) so I don’t burn out, because while my work is so rewarding, it can be really draining and painful too.

This means that I am taking stock of what fuels me in my professional and personal life, and what doesn’t. What am I capable of holding and what I am not? What do I need to let go of trauma both in the workplace and in my personal life? How can I fill my own cup before trying to fill the cups of others? And how can I build structure and support from my communities to meet me in supporting my newfound boundaries? A response to micro or macro aggressions needs to pass a litmus test to ensure that it doesn’t harm me in my vision of radical self care.

Onto some happy updates. I found a wonderful intern to work with from my alma mater, who is an emerging woman of color filmmaker. Her contributions were crucial in getting our footage prepped and ready for our editor to work with it, among many other tasks she held together. Since I wrote to you, I was awarded two grants which paid for the intern’s salary, and also supported our editor in cutting a short film that we launched in November to help us get the word out about our feature. I’m super proud of what we accomplished and I always smile through the credits which show just how inclusive and diverse our crew is.

The short film found its way to several interested parties who have now offered donations and other support for the longer film to come. I have also since partnered with a producer whose energy and experience really jive with the topic and with me, and we’re headed out on an adventure in a couple of months to document the radical rest storyline (and this shoot is fully funded, thanks to the short film). I’m happy and hopeful about this doc and the potential to share an empowering story of a Black woman making waves in her industry.

I feel like the act of me as a brown woman directing this film, along with the people and themes present in it, both challenge and disrupt white supremacist structures in each of our professional industries. Whether or not I choose to respond to douchebags like Mr. Oscar in the future (and preserving my self-care will always come first thanks to my boundaries), I feel like I’m still doing my part to make sure that my industry makes room for people like me. Thank you for your advice and for being a part of my journey!

06 Dec 21:33

update: my coworker keeps joking that I’m having sex with my husband in the office

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: my coworker keeps joking that I’m having sex with my husband in the office , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose coworker keeps joking that the letter-writer was having sex with her husband in the office? Here’s the update.

Thanks for answering my question! I would like to address a couple things that came up in the comments before getting into the update:

– There were a lot of comments about going straight to HR about this. While I get where people were coming from, I wanted to address it directly with my coworker before making a serious complaint. I knew I could always escalate if it went poorly.
– Lots of comments about how she must have a crush on me or my husband! I know it’s easy to extrapolate from letters where you don’t have all the information, but that is definitely not the case.
– A few people asked if this was something my husband was in on or if this was the norm in his department. Nope! He thought it was just as weird as I did and she hadn’t made that type of joke when they worked together. They joked, but about common interests.

On to the update! The day after my letter was posted, my coworker caught me walking into the building and made one of her usual cracks. Since we were alone, it felt like the perfect time to address it, and I used a version of commenter Naomi’s script: “Hey, I know you’re just kidding around but I really worry that someone who doesn’t know better will take you seriously. Husband and I try really hard to keep things professional at work and I really don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.” You could see the penny drop! She apologized profusely and even brought me a coffee later in the day to make amends. I’ve also overheard her a few times since hyping up my work and professionalism to our coworkers, so I know she’s taken it to heart. We like different hockey teams so I’ve started gently teasing her about that, it’s given us common ground and now we have something work-appropriate to joke about!

I know that a lot of commenters were concerned that she wasn’t really my friend and that I couldn’t see that she was trying to bully me or bring me down professionally, I hope that this update has put that fear to rest! She really is a nice person, I think she was falling back on the one thing she knew about me (my marriage) to try to bond and she just missed the mark.

06 Dec 21:30

Remember, Teachers: Texas Law Requires Anti-Santa Viewpoints

by Steven Koprince

“A new Texas law designed to limit how race-related subjects are taught in public schools comes with so little guidance, the on-the-ground application is already tying educators up in semantic knots as they try to follow the Legislature’s intent. In the most striking instance so far, a North Texas administrator informed teachers last week at a training session on House Bill 3979 that they had to provide materials that presented an ‘opposing’ perspective of the Holocaust.”
Texas Tribune

- - -

TO: Texas Elementary School Teachers (Grades K-5)
FROM: Texas Education Agency
RE: Santa Claus: Opposing Viewpoints

As we implement House Bill 3979, the Texas Education Agency is concerned that classroom portrayals of Santa Claus appear to be uniformly positive. Texas law now requires that students be presented with opposing views of Mr. Claus. To this end, please find below several books the agency recommends.

Santa Claus: A Capitalist Critique

This groundbreaking work by a pair of Princeton-trained economists makes the case that Santa Claus is a “profoundly anti-capitalist figure.” The authors describe how, by giving away millions of toys, St. Nick “upsets rational market-based expectations about supply and demand” and “thumbs his nose at fundamental capitalist principles, such as the profit motive.” Additionally, Santa’s unexplained ability to obtain materials and labor at no cost artificially depresses competition, dispirits investors, and greatly enhances the risk of sharp market pullbacks. The authors conclude that “from an economics perspective, Santa Claus is a textbook neo-Marxist whose rule-of-the-proletariat practices threaten to undermine the global capitalist system.”

The North Pole Papers

Originally published as a multi-part exposé in the Washington Post, The North Pole Papers is a whistleblower’s eye-opening (and at times, salacious) account of Santa’s tinsel-draped criminal empire. The anonymous whistleblower, referred to in the articles and book only as “Deer Throat,” contends that Santa’s veneer of jolliness is mere elfin sleight-of-hand intended to distract the public from the seedy underbelly of the North Pole operation, such as Santa’s aggressive flaunting of patent and trademark laws. Working at the North Pole is no picnic either: Deer Throat says that Santa not only tolerates, but tacitly endorses rampant workplace harassment, including “nose-based name-calling and reindeer-game-excluding.” The whistleblower also alleges that St. Nick “has been seen kissing countless mommies” despite being married for hundreds of years. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” Deer Throat says. “And yes, he made Daddy very sad.”

NOTE: Teachers should be aware that Deer Throat withdrew many of his allegations shortly after the publication of The North Pole Papers. The Post’s authors, however, stand by their reporting, arguing that the whistleblower’s change of heart “appears motivated not by the truth, but rather by a last-minute sleigh-pulling quid pro quo.”

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping:
Santa Claus and the Rise of the Global Surveillance State

Global citizens live in a surveillance state, writes the author of He Sees You When You’re Sleeping. Whether it is the NSA listening to our telephone calls, the CIA tracking our phones, or multinational corporations monitoring our emails, “the right to privacy as we once knew it has all but disappeared—and Santa Claus is to blame.” By constantly spying on the world’s 2.2 billion children, to the point that he instantly knows whether they are sleeping or awake, Santa created an Orwellian surveillance blueprint that nefarious governments and faceless corporations have adroitly copied to monitor us all. Because Santa slyly told young children exactly what he was doing, and in song, no less, American youngsters have grown up thinking it’s totally normal for a pudgy, bearded, pipe-smoking elf to watch them 24-7—and that makes them think “it’s not so bad” when the FBI or Jeff Bezos do the same thing.

Heil, Santa! Arbitrary Justice, the North Pole,
and the Slippery Slope to Fascism

Heil, Santa! makes the shocking but well-supported contention that Santa’s North Pole regime bears many hallmarks of classic fascism. The author, who spent her career studying historical fascist governments in Europe, says that “At the North Pole, ‘justice’ is a wholly arbitrary concept. Santa, and Santa alone, decides who is ‘naughty’ and who is ‘nice’ without prearranged guidelines or any semblance of due process, other than the assertion that Santa will check his list twice, whatever that means.” For a child who wakes up Christmas morning to a lump of coal, there is no right of appeal and no way to tell if other children who committed similar transgressions were treated similarly. Kris Kringle’s “black-and-white, list-based brand of ‘justice’” is especially egregious because it teaches impressionable young minds that it is acceptable for one man’s (or one elf’s) whims to constitute the law. St. Nick “might as well be called Führer Nick,” the author concludes, noting, “though even the Nazis had courts.”

NOTE: Heil, Santa! espouses an important anti-Santa viewpoint, but the author’s position is also decidedly anti-fascist. Texas law, therefore, requires that the book be paired with pro-fascist resources. The agency recommends Hooray for Fascism: A Primer for Young Xenophobic Ultranationalists.

We trust that this memorandum will help Texas elementary school teachers present the required opposing views of Mr. Claus. Please keep a close eye on your inbox for forthcoming memoranda requiring opposing views of Winnie the Pooh, Pete the Cat, and puppies.

Merry Christmas/Happy Krampus,
The Texas Education Agency

06 Dec 17:55

The One-Question Career Test

by Dahlia Gallin Ramirez

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06 Dec 17:24

The “Now” Look

by Mary Kelly

complete book of Men's hairstyles

Complete Book of Men’s Hairstyles and Hair Care
Rudoy and Cordwell

Men! Are you in the market for a new look? This is your chance to make a statement with your hair. All the favorite looks are here. Try the California look. The long hair with curled ends really goes together with a stylish leisure suit. You will also be happy to know that sideburns can go well with the center-parted smooth short look. It’s not a hippie look, but short and modern. This is your chance to be fashionable, but not sloppy.

There is something so fun about looking at hairstyles of yesteryear. I had a relative that had hair like Mr California. (First image) I have to say that my favorite hairstyle is the one next to it where it looks like the man is shaped his hair like a butt. It’s probably the sideburns that pull the whole look together. My grandfather would have said that all these looks are terrible and make the guys look like hippie communists.

I will also add that many a boy at my high school sported a leisure suit for our homecoming dances in the 1970s.



salt and pepper

long and smooth

fashionably long

balanced accents

Q and A

The post The “Now” Look appeared first on Awful Library Books.

06 Dec 04:39

Global Chip Shortage Hits Home

by Steve

Discouraging news from the BMOW manufacturing front: the global chip shortage seems to be growing worse, and is now causing major problems for some of my vintage computer products. This is a change from a year or two ago, when the shortage mostly affected new high-end semiconductors that BMOW doesn’t use anyway. Since then I’d noticed that prices were rising on lower-end semiconductors, with some parts shortages, but I was mostly able to absorb the costs or find alternative parts. In the past three to six months, the landscape has changed. Many of my essential parts have become difficult or impossible to find. This jeopardizes the continued viability of several BMOW products, including Yellowstone and the Floppy Emu.

When searching for semiconductor parts using a specialized search engine like Octopart, at first it may look like the major suppliers are sold out but secondary suppliers still have stock at reasonable prices. Unfortunately I’ve learned not to trust this, and some of the secondary suppliers seem to be intentionally deceptive. They list parts they don’t have, at prices they’re not actually willing to accept.

Twice in the past week, I’ve placed an order with a secondary supplier for thousands of dollars in hard-to-find chips. The order is made and confirmed and paid. My credit card is charged $4000. Feeling good that I’ve sourced the hard-to-find part, I go ahead and buy all the other parts needed to begin manufacturing. And then three days later I get an email from the supplier saying “those parts are already sold, sorry”. Or worse, “the price on those parts you already bought for $5.17 is retroactively increasing to $20.97.” I try not to take it personally, but I can tell you I really blew up over that second one.

Yellowstone’s First Manufacturing Run May Be Its Last

I’ve been working on the design of the Yellowstone universal disk controller for Apple II for more than four years. I’m finally almost to the point of starting manufacturing. At the time I started the design, the Lattice MachXO2-1200 FPGA was a widely-available part for about $5. Now it’s basically impossible to find. A few of the questionable secondary suppliers may have some, for a much higher price, or their listings may be fiction. I could substitute the next higher member of the same FPGA family, the MachXO2-2000, but that’s also unavailable.

Will MachXO2-1200 availability improve any time soon? I’m not counting on it. I have about 250 of them that I bought last summer, so in theory I can manufacture at least that many Yellowstone cards, if I can also find the other necessary components. Even very common parts like a 74LVC244 bus driver are becoming difficult to find, so that’s not guaranteed. Unfortunately this means Yellowstone’s first manufacturing run may also be its last manufacturing run, at least for a while.

The Future of the Floppy Emu

The inability to build Yellowstone cards would be very unfortunate, but the inability to build Floppy Emu boards would be disastrous from a business standpoint. But I fear this may be where things are headed. The two primary chips used in the Floppy Emu are the ATMEGA1284 microcontroller and the XC9572XL CPLD, and both of them now have limited or no supply. I’m currently in the midst of starting a new production run of Floppy Emu boards, and it’s been very tough to source all the parts. I was eventually successful (assuming suppliers don’t retroactively cancel or modify my paid orders for a third time), but in six months when I go to do this again, there’s a good chance the parts simply won’t be available anywhere at any price.

Forcing a Redesign

Faced with zero availability of a key part, the only real solution is to redesign the product to use a different part. That costs lots of time and money, could introduce new bugs, and is definitely not something I’m eager to do. But if the alternative is retiring the product, do I really have a choice? There could be some upside too, as different parts or newer parts might eventually help support new product features.

If I’m going to redesign an existing product around new parts, it’s absolutely critical that the new parts are free from supply risk themselves. I can’t spend months redesigning a product, only to have the new parts become unavailable just like the old ones did. So if I’m choosing a new part now, I want to see that it’s available from several different authorized suppliers, and that the suppliers have thousands of them currently in stock. That will tell me it’s a popular high-volume part, not some niche part that may have its own supply problems in six months.

Looking for alternatives to the XC9572XL, I searched for other programmable logic parts with a similar amount of logic space (72 macrocells here). I eliminated all the parts in BGA packages, because I’m just not prepared to tackle BGA prototyping or assembly – I need chips with actual exposed pins. Then I eliminated all the parts that don’t have widespread availability and thousands of stock. That didn’t leave many options remaining. The leading choices are probably the XC9536XL, which is the same part I use now except with half the logic space, or else some low-end members of the same MachXO2 FPGA family that I’m using for Yellowstone.

Microcontrollers – The New Unobtanium

Next I turned my attention to finding an alternate microcontroller, and this is where my heart really sank. I searched for microcontroller options with:

  • at least 40 I/O pins
  • at least 16K RAM
  • exposed pins
  • a mainstream architecture like ARM or AVR
  • stock level in the thousands

The result of my search was basically nothing. I was floored.

What happened to all the Atmel microcontrollers? The STM32 stuff? Texas Instruments? Microchip? Anybody? Hello?

I tried going directly to the ST Microelectronics store, and viewed their STM32 Mainstream MCU section. There are 1152 different microcontrollers in this section, of which only 16 are in stock! How is that possible? Has their entire factory shut down?

OK, you’re right, it’s a lie to say there are no microcontrollers that satisfy my search. DigiKey shows 932 results when I ignore the stock level. But if I’m going to bet the farm on a new MCU, I want to see a stock level in the thousands, and that limits the choices to just a few dozen, virtually all of which aren’t what I’d consider “mainstream”. It’s 2021, am I really going to redesign my whole product around a dsPIC or some weird thing from Renesas? Does anybody actually use the AVR32 stuff for real products? The ARM Cortex parts dominate the microcontroller space these days, and they’re available from several different manufacturers. If I’m starting a new design, that’s probably the most sensible choice to ensure long-term availability. So let’s make that a requirement.

Despite their huge popularity, ARM Cortex MCUs matching my requirements just aren’t available in large quantities from anyone right now. What are other businesses using for their new microcontroller-based product designs? I don’t know.

If I eliminate microcontrollers from obscure vendors I’ve never heard of, the only parts I can find that might possibly work and are widely available are:

  • Atmel SAM3 and SAM4 families
  • Texas Instruments Tiva C family

That’s the whole list. I don’t really know anything about the Tiva C or the Texas Instruments dev tools, so that leaves the Atmel SAM stuff as the only choice. The available options aren’t the most desirable ones, though. If I were choosing an ATSAM part, I’d probably choose a Cortex-M0, or something like the popular ATSAMD21 or ATSAMD51. But the available options are in the less popular members of the SAM family like the SAM4L and SAM3S. So… yeah. I’m not sure what to do. I’m afraid we’re headed for a difficult time ahead. Here’s hoping the global chip shortage starts to ease soon.

06 Dec 03:30

Words Equals Reading

this is a diesel sweeties comic strip

I set some lofty reading goals for myself this year!

06 Dec 03:30

Comic for 2021.12.05

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
05 Dec 23:47


05 Dec 22:36

Comic for 2021.12.04

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
05 Dec 22:36

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Nucular


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Also dracular, meaning that it pertains to small vampires.

Today's News:
05 Dec 00:35

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Dystopia


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Just registering that I was siding with the robots decades before the Glorious Overthrowing.

Today's News:
04 Dec 06:34

Under the table and SCREAMING - Danganronpa 2

by GameGrumps

Are we making a Dave Matthews Band pun regarding the class trial? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY if we did?

Support us on Patreon! ►
or support us by becoming a channel member! ►
Click to SUBSCRIBE ►


We have NEW MERCH every other TUESDAY!





Game Grumps are:
Arin ►
Danny ►

#ep13 #Danganronpa2 #dmbforever
04 Dec 06:20

Oscar Wilde’s The NFT of Dorian Gray

by Chris Pitt

Lord Henry flung himself onto the divan and said to the beautiful Dorian Gray, “Mr. Gray, the aim of life is self-development. We must remember what we owe ourselves. I stumbled upon this thought on OpenSea one fateful day when I found a picture of a monkey.”

“Was it beautiful?” Dorian inquired.

“Beautifully expensive,” Lord Henry continued, “it was a non-fungible token; I knew it would be worth millions not long after I purchased it.”

“Stop!” faltered Dorian Gray. “You bewilder me. Did you purchase the picture itself?”

“Um,” said Lord Henry.

- - -

Lord Henry flung himself into an armchair and said to Basil Hallward, “I must congratulate you, this is the finest portrait of modern times. Have you considered minting an NFT of it and expending roughly the sum amount of electricity generated by the entire world to this date?”

“It is not my property,” Basil said.

“Ah, but we don’t really concern ourselves with antiquated concepts such as ownership,” Lord Henry said.

“It’s Dorian’s, though,” Basil replied.

“I shall mint an NFT, Henry,” Dorian murmured. “It shall never grow old. It will flit about the blockchain as an eternal fairy, never older than this day. I would give my soul to be as like that.”

“That’s the great part, Dorian,” Lord Henry enthused. “Your soul is given up the moment you mint the NFT!”

“How efficient,” Dorian fluttered.

“Um,” said Basil.

- - -

Lord Henry flung himself into Dorian’s new Secretlab TITAN gamer chair. Dorian paced in front of him. “Harry,” Dorian mused. “Why does nobody on Twitter wish to hear me tell of the great applications that NFTs can have?”

“They are all ugly shills, Dorian,” Lord Henry assured.

“I agree,” Dorian affected. “In the future, these NFTs could certainly solve problems that already have solutions, but they could do it less efficiently and enrich the people with significant financial interests such as myself! It is nothing but upside! How do these people not see my NFT profile picture and realize that after minutes of research I am an expert on this?”

“Poor fools,” Lord Henry morosed. “And I mean that literally and figuratively. All they can do is right-click and complain about nonsense such as ‘viability’ and ‘long-term value’”

“I will buy ten more monkey NFTs,” Dorian resolved. “That will soothe my savage breast.”

“Um,” said Lord Henry.

- - -

Dorian flung himself at Basil. “I don’t think you’re truly considering the benefits of a decentralized blockchain,” Dorian said with a manic glint in his eye. “It’s just like a database, except a lot slower and everyone can see what’s on it and that matters for some reason!”

Basil shook Dorian off. “You frighten me, Dorian,” he muttered. “Why did you have to listen to that horrible Lord Henry? Why had you not simply taken ownership of the portrait and avoided taxes through valuation and auction scams like a normal person? I fear that you are close to madness.”

“The portrait!” Dorian cried. “That’s it! I shall destroy the portrait, leaving the NFT the only trace of its beauty! That creates scarcity, which, according to my friends on Discord, is the only reason anything is expensive.”

Dorian pushed Basil aside and, with a confident slash of his knife, cut the portrait in twain.

Dorian and Basil stood there.

“What was that for?” Basil inquired.

“I figured it was the source of my everlasting beauty or something,” Dorian considered.

“What are you, stupid?” Basil sneered. “Your curse of eternal beauty was part of the NFT, which is just a digital receipt of ownership with no connection to the portrait.”

“Um,” said Dorian.

04 Dec 06:17

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Adverse


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

I'm just here in the hopes that the standard college explainer comic on adverse selection involves clown murder.

Today's News:
03 Dec 16:59

Leonard is the brightest comet all year. Here's how to see it

by Scott Neuman
Comet Leonard shot from Savannah, Ga., between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

The comet was discovered less than a year ago near the orbit of Jupiter. Now, observers in North America can see it in the northeastern sky around sunrise.

(Image credit: Patrick Prokop/HeavenlyBackyardAstronomy)

03 Dec 16:59

Olympic diver and knitter Tom Daley launches his own online knitting shop

by Bill Chappell
Tom Daley said his work on knitting projects helped him stay calm between events at the Tokyo Olympics, where he won a gold medal. He recently launched an online store, selling knitting kits.

The British diving star was often seen knitting at the Tokyo Olympics, where he won a gold medal. He sold doggie jumpers for charity; now the purler's going pro with a shop that sells knitting kits.

(Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

03 Dec 16:27

update: my employee sent me a “letter of intent” to look for another job

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: my employee sent me a “letter of intent” to look for another job , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose employee sent her a “letter of intent” to look for another job? Here’s the update.

I wrote in a while ago about an employee who sent me a Letter of Intent to search for a new job. When I sent in the question, I was honestly confused. I had never heard of such a thing, but perhaps that was the done procedure in some industry. After all, he had a contract (more on that later). My question was: does sending a letter of intent to job search constitute a resignation? (The answer was no.)

I ended up putting a lot of details in the comments. To recap: I’m the chair of a small academic department at a reasonably well-respected University. Fergus, the lecturer in question, had had a conflict with a particular group of students the previous semester, and had basically been told to get his act together, plan ahead, and stop chopping and changing his class at the drop of a hat.

He had several of the same students in the Fall semester, and immediately got up to his old tricks, brusquely informing the students that he was changing a class meeting from online to in-person the first week of classes, AFTER students had already set up their work schedules. The tone of the message was brusque, bordering on rude (“This change is MANDATORY and IMMEDIATE!”). The same group of students complained, as they have professional jobs in the area we teach in, and can’t change their schedules like that. I supported the students, saying that you really can’t change something like that partway in.

Fergus flipped out and wrote the letter of intent, which included a page of his accomplishments in the department. (True, he has been very helpful in many ways.) It also included a number of demands such as, a “real” Assistant Professorship with a “fancy title,” two different salary demands both of which were greater than mine, and equivalent to the Assistant Dean’s, and public acknowledgement of his contributions, otherwise he’d find a new job. It also used the phrases “mean girls” and “cancel culture” throughout. It also said I was undermining his “authority as the instructor of record.” The whole thing was about four pages long and, frankly, bonkers. (Note: a new Assistant Professor line has to be approved by the president of the university. There is no budget for such a thing, and the politics of our situation would make a request seem wildly tone-deaf. The university has no provision for “fancy titles” like what he wants, unless he could find a donor to endow a chair for him. NO incoming Assistant Professorships will offer anywhere close to his salary demands, unless it’s Stanford or Harvard wooing a rockstar. This guy is solid, but no rockstar.)

My first thought was that I had assumed he was looking for another job already, since he had already been complaining about his teaching load and wanted more time for research, and was not happy when I pointed out that he’s a lecturer, which doesn’t have a research component. My second thought was that this was bananacrackers. That’s when I emailed you to try to figure out how crazy sauce this was. The answer was very.

Shortly after I emailed you, I found out that he had not only sent this letter to me, but to my boss and the dean. He had also filed an official complaint against me with the Faculty Senate. I met with the dean and gave him the background and he told me not to worry about it, he’d handle it.

I talked to the contracts people, who told me that Fergus didn’t have a contract through June, as I had assumed (I started after him, so had never seen the contract). No, he had a 3-year contract! And a bonkers letter of intent doesn’t constitute a resignation. I needed him to give me a final date. After several one-on-one meetings, he did finally give me a letter of resignation with an end date of “mid-June.” Asked the contract people, nope, no good, I need an end date. After much fussing, I finally got one. Whew! The job ad for his replacement is wending its way through the university, and should be posted in January. Yay!

So all’s happy, except that he STILL can’t seem to get along with this particular group of students. The dean brokered a deal to allow them to join classes remotely, even when everyone else is in-person, given their schedules. Good, except that, apparently. he refuses to answer questions from them, and if they ask questions, he turns off the sound from the computer where they’re logged in, because “it’s annoying.” Even when in person, he will explain things to other students, but give brusque one-word responses to them. Students not in this group have mentioned it to me.

Most recently, the grandmother of one of these students passed away, and he refused to believe that she needed 3 days for the funeral because “funerals are only one day long.” If she wanted 3 days, he wanted a signed letter from her parents! The student is 25 and lives on her own. The student complained, and when I pushed back, pointing out that the student is of a different ethnicity and religion, and these practices vary, he demanded to know if all of the other faculty were being flexible (Yes, I’m one of them. We are.) and then grudgingly agreed to give her a little leeway.

Honestly, his biggest problem is the tone of all of his communications. I pointed out to my boss at one point, that I probably could have swung the schedule change if I thought it was important enough, simply by listening to student concerns, trying to meet them partway, and just not being an authoritarian jerk. Holding a grudge against three of our best students (all female, all POC) and treating them this way for over 6 months is so beyond inappropriate, and there’s nothing I can do about it. At least none of them have to take a class with him again, and I took one of his classes in the spring away from him and hired a new adjunct to teach it. It’s extra money from my budget, since he gets paid the same no matter how many classes he teaches, but it’s an intro class into a major part of our curriculum, and I need it taught well.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we make it through the rest of the semester and next semester without any more big blowups, that he finds a new job that he can move into, and that I find a replacement who will fit in with the rest of the program.

P.S. I forgot an important point! The letter of intent also included the phrase, “I expect an extremely positive letter of recommendation from you.” And, yes, he has asked me to be a reference for the jobs he’s applying for now! I haven’t been contacted by anyone yet, but I have no idea what I’m going to say if/when that happens!

03 Dec 16:04

How to Write Like an Academic

by Andrew Williams

If you’ve been away from academia for a few years, you may have forgotten how to write in a way that’s suitable for higher education. Not to worry, though. With just a few steps, you can transform your writing into a bloated, confusing, impenetrable slog. Don’t believe me? Let’s workshop a sentence together. This will be our starting point:

Susan ran outside and tripped.

It’s simple, clear, and totally unambiguous. That’s not going to cut it in higher ed. Let’s rework it.

STEP 1: If you have active verbs that make your sentence interesting, nominalize them. “Ran” will become “the running” and “tripped” will become “the tripping.”

STEP 2: Use tautology. Make sure the sentence says the same thing twice. Susan’s running outside that caused the tripping preceded the tripping that was caused by the running.

STEP 3: If you have a common word like “outside,” find a synonym. Instead of Susan’s running outside, why not make it Susan’s exterior running?

STEP 4: To replace the verbs you’ve nominalized, take other parts of speech and turn them into verbs. Actually, “exterior” is a pretty cool word. Think it has to be an adjective? Not anymore. “Exteriorize”—boom! It’s a verb now.

STEP 5: In order to make a word like “exteriorize” work as a verb, you need to give it a subject. When in doubt, you can always use the noun “space.” The space exteriorized … Wait, that doesn’t work. Let’s add another step:

STEP 6: Passive voice. The space was exteriorized by … (see Step 2). The space was exteriorized by its non-interiority. Perfect. All we have to do is throw a “that” in there somewhere to tack it onto the sentence.

STEP 7: Include the word “problematic” (as a noun). What’s “the problematic” here? Susan’s running.

STEP 8: If you’ve followed all of the above steps and find that something’s grammatically missing, throw in a “vis-à-vis.” It’s like the superglue of language. It can tie anything together.

Okay, I think we’re all done. Now let’s compare. This was our original sentence:

Susan ran outside and tripped.

And now, we have this masterpiece:

The problematic of Susan’s running vis-à-vis the space that was exteriorized by its non-interiority that caused the tripping preceded the tripping that was caused by the running.

Congratulations! You’re ready for grad school.

03 Dec 15:57

Everything is relative

by Scandinavia and the World
Everything is relative

Everything is relative

View Comic!

03 Dec 06:29

Microsoft Edge will now warn users about the dangers of downloading Google Chrome

by Andrew Cunningham
Microsoft Edge will now warn users about the dangers of downloading Google Chrome

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

If you're a Google Chrome user setting up a new Windows PC, the most important feature of Microsoft Edge is the ability to download Chrome. Microsoft is apparently aware of this behavior and is doing something about it: Neowin has spotted new Edge pop-ups that specifically try to dissuade users from downloading and installing Chrome, a change that I promise I didn't know about when I wrote about Microsoft's annoying promotion of Microsoft Edge literally yesterday.

You won't see the pop-ups every time you try to download Chrome (I haven't yet), but Neowin and other outlets like The Verge have spotted at least three different messages:

  • "Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft."
  • "'I hate saving money,' said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping."
  • "That browser is so 2008! Do you know what's new? Microsoft Edge."

While the operating system-level pop-ups are a small escalation in the ongoing browser wars, this kind of behavior isn't new. If you use Bing to search for essentially any web browser, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi, or Brave, a large ad for Edge appears both above the search results and in a giant box to the right of the search results. And whenever you log into Google's services using Edge or any other non-Chrome browser for the first time, you'll get a "helpful" nudge about downloading and installing Chrome. But as the provider of Windows, Microsoft definitely has more opportunities to suggest using Edge, and it takes advantage of those opportunities with frustrating regularity.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

02 Dec 19:23

The Supreme Court Is Itching to Overturn Roe v. Wade

by Mary Tuma

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the most pivotal abortion rights case in decades. While a ruling won’t come until the Justices wrap up the term in June 2022, their decision could further upend the already fragile abortion care network in Texas and devastate care in states across the country. 

During two hours of oral argument on Wednesday morning, the six-member conservative majority—Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett—did little to allay those fears, appearing poised to either overturn Roe directly or allow states to bar care at the 15-week mark. 

“Why should this Court be the arbiter rather than Congress, the state legislatures, state supreme courts, the people being able to resolve this?” Justice Kavanaugh said. “There will be different answers in Mississippi and New York … because there are two different interests at stake and the people in those states might value those interests somewhat differently.”

Meanwhile, liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer indicated they would oppose the 15-week ban. Sotomayor sharply cautioned that overriding Roe or the 1992 abortion rights case Planned Parenthood v. Casey—which prevented states from passing abortion laws that impose an “undue burden” on women seeking care—would undermine the Court’s credibility. 

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its readings are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible,” Justice Sotomayor said. “If people actually believe that it’s all political, how will we survive?”

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health challenges a Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Since Supreme Court precedent recognizes the right to end a pregnancy before viability, or around 23 weeks, the case constitutes a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Dobbs places the landmark 1973 decision—which enshrined abortion care as a constitutional right and prohibited states from banning the procedure prior to fetal viability—in danger of being overturned directly.

Thanks to nominations by former President Donald Trump—and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s successful gambit to wrest a seat away from former President Barack Obama—conservatives now have a supermajority on the bench. With three new anti-choice justices (Gorsuch, Barrett, and Kavanaugh), Mississippi state officials seized the opportunity to strike at the heart of Roe. The fact that the Court decided to take up the case rather than rely on set abortion precedents is telling in itself. 

While states across the country brace for the possibility of a post-Roe world, the Supreme Court’s refusal to block Texas’ draconian abortion ban in September has already given our residents—and the nation—a preview of what that bleak landscape will look like. 

For three months, Texans have not been able to access abortion care in their home state past six weeks of pregnancy, devastating a reproductive health network that already faces multiple barriers to access. Providers have had to turn away hundreds of vulnerable patients seeking care, leaving them traumatized and forcing them to travel outside of the state. Some have had to carry pregnancies to term against their will. 

About half of states in the U.S. are likely to ban abortion without Roe in place.

Senate Bill 8 has caused a ripple effect throughout the U.S. as clinics in neighboring states have been overwhelmed with an influx of patients who have fled Texas for care. About one-fourth of the patients at Jackson Women’s Health—the very clinic in Mississippi at the center of Dobbs and the sole abortion provider in the entire state—now come from Texas. 

For many of the seven million women of reproductive age in Texas, Roe already feels meaningless. 

And if the Supreme Court chooses to overrule Roe, Texas is one of 12 states that would bar abortion care completely. This is because, during the previous legislative session, Republican lawmakers passed a so-called “trigger law” (House Bill 1280), designed to ban abortion immediately if Roe falls, “wholly or partly.” It offers no exception for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. The law would impose criminal felony penalties on providers 30 days following a Supreme Court decision and allow the attorney general to file suit and impose civil penalties of no less than $10,000. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expressed support for the Mississippi ban every step of the way, leading a 24-state coalition calling for the reversal of Roe. What’s more, the state still has pre-Roe bans on the books that were never removed. 

Overall, about half the states in the U.S. are certain or likely to ban abortion without Roe in place, including neighboring Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Texans would likely be forced to drive an additional 525 miles to the nearest provider, according to The Guttmacher Institute. 

Despite the uncertainty over the future of Roe, attorneys with the Center for Reproductive Rights, who represented the Jackson clinic before the High Court, say they feel it is “critical to remain optimistic” as the “facts and law” are on their side. 

“We were able to put all of the key issues in front of the Court, which are 50 years of precedent that support this right—and Mississippi has not made any arguments for taking this right away,” said CRR Litigation Director Julie Rikelman during a press call. “We focused on how important the right is for women and their families […] and the ability for equal status in society. 

“I think we powerfully presented those arguments,” she added. “Now, it’s in the court’s hands.”

The post The Supreme Court Is Itching to Overturn Roe v. Wade appeared first on The Texas Observer.

02 Dec 18:19

Gov. Abbott targets LGBTQ+ books as ‘pornography.’ Texas librarians say he’s wrong

by Dominic Anthony Walsh, TPR
Gov. Greg Abbott called for an investigation into supposed “pornography” in school library catalogues last month in a letter to the Texas Education Agency, honing in on books about the experiences of LGBTQ+ people.
02 Dec 18:14

The Democratic Party’s Guide to Keeping Your Rights

by Jessica M. Goldstein

We at the Democratic Party understand that you all have rights and want to keep them. We love that for you. But lately, we’ve heard some concerns. Apparently, you’re very worried that you won’t have rights much longer. Some of you even say you already don’t have rights. Yikes. Let’s see what we can do about that.

Before you complain about anything, remember to vote! Voting is a sacred American—oh, you voted? That’s great. But did you also remember to vote in the—okay, you voted in the midterm elections too. Wow. That’s amazing. Well done!

Hmm. Well, so what you’re saying is, you voted, but now none of the things you wanted to happen are happening even though you voted for people who swore they would make those things happen? People who said: If you do NOT vote for me, everything will go to shit. But now everything is going to shit, and they’re just like … telling you to vote … harder?

Got it, okay. So you’re wondering what the point of supporting any of these candidates was if the minute they had any power to circumvent the worst possible outcomes by, for instance, abolishing the filibuster, granting D.C. statehood, and/or adding a couple of non-knuckleheads to the Supreme Court because it was extremely obvious to anyone paying even a tiny bit of attention that Brett “Beer Me” Kavanaugh and Amy “Sorry I Forgot the Fifth Freedom in the First Amendment, But I’m Sure It’s Not That Important” Coney Barrett were going to join forces like some kind of misogyny Voltron to torch what’s left of Roe v. Wade, they did NONE of those things and instead they just, like, dressed up in dumb as hell “bipartisan” Halloween costumes, proving that they don’t take this, or you, seriously at all?

Yeah, that sounds frustrating. Maybe there’s something wrong with your district? Have you tried turning your vote off and turning it back on again? See if that does anything.

But real changemakers know that elections are just the beginning of the work. So now it’s time to get organized and take to the streets. Make your voices heard: go out there and protest.

No, hang on, not like that. That’s not what we meant. That’s very loud and disruptive. It’s not quite terrorist-violent-insurrection disruptive, but still, it’s kind of … what’s the word we can use for this now? “Urban”? We can tell that you’re very upset. Have you thought about changing slogans to something less mean? And maybe use your inside voices. See if we listen to you then. We probably won’t, but we might. Remember how much you guys liked hoping for stuff? Those were the good old days. Keep doing that. The hoping. So great for you.

Hey, what about a tweet? We love tweets. They’ve never done us wrong. Try a hashtag. You could even use ALL CAPS. That’s shouting, for the internet. See? We get it. We understood the assignment. It’s giving rights. We’re living rent-free in your head, baby!! (Don’t get too excited about that last part; the eviction moratorium is over, just in time for Omicron. Happy holidays.)

The thing is, we can’t just be working to further our agenda, as approved of and voted on by you. What we really need to focus on are the wants of people who didn’t vote at all, or who did vote but voted for other people. They matter to us even more than you do! You may be wondering, Okay, but then WHY THE HELL DID WE VOTE FOR YOU??? So much enthusiasm, fantastic! Stay engaged and keep asking those hard questions.

We hope this solves your problems. It better, because we certainly won’t.

02 Dec 18:08

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Exp


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

If you hear someone try to save before attacking you, run.

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02 Dec 18:08

“I will confront you by Wednesday of this week”

by Ask a Manager

This post, “I will confront you by Wednesday of this week” , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Several years ago, a reader shared with us this epic email that was sent by their company’s boss after a holiday party gone terribly awry, and as we enter the holiday season we remember its glory.

“This happened about ten years ago, but the email I received from our boss was so epic I preserved it.

Context: The second year I worked at this company, our holiday party was held on a dinner cruise boat. Our boss footed the bill for dinner and an open bar, and a few other companies also hosted their own parties on the boat at the same time. Since I was underage at the time, I did not drink, and actually left early with my date. Everything was fine when I left. The Monday after, I rolled into the office– the first person there– and was greeted with this email from our boss [identifying details removed]:

‘Good morning to all. I hope all of you had time to recuperate and reflect about the unusual chain of events and circumstances at this year’s Christmas party. Some of you went home early and did not take in the full range of events.

Unfortunately, some of our staff got out of hand, including the spouses. Things were said, and things were done, that quite frankly were very inappropriate. Also, we had people from the adjoining group that decided to take advantage of our open bar and co-mingle with our group.

In regards to the inappropriate behavior, I am not going to go into all of the details, but let it be said that the root cause was probably due to the open bar. Some of our staff decided that the open bar meant that the drinking could be unlimited, not only in how much, but how they drank. As a result, some our staff and spouses decided that shots were OK. Shots were ordered for some who do not even drink. Shots are not OK at a company Christmas party. Other staff and spouses got multiple drinks at once for themselves and for people not even in our group. Others decided it was OK to get openly drunk and beligerent, to the point of making racial slurs. I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone from the other group after he decided to retaliate by groping my wife.

Having thought about the circumstances and the fact that we have to work together as a firm and team, some of you need to apologize for your behavior and/or for the behavior of your spouse. We specifically implemented a no fraternization policy and some of you could get fired on that alone, while other staff exercised no restraint over their spouse for their drunken condition. It is not OK for a spouse to misbehave, just because he or she is not an employee. Many careers have been destroyed, and people get fired, due to the conduct of their spouse. You are expected to exercise constraint over your spouse, or take them home. And if that cannot be done, then you should not bring your spouse.

In regards to the Firm’s policy on drinking, there will be no more open bars. Unfortunately, some of you and your spouses exercise extremely poor judgment. Because of this poor judgment, it puts the Firm at risk. Given the poor road conditions that night, some of you could have ended up dead. It is also unfortunate that a few have to ruin it for the whole group.

I would like to start the apologies by stating I am sorry for not handling the situation that I was confronted with in a different manner. I feel embarrassed, and it was not conduct befitting of the firm’s president. I also felt betrayed by some of you for patronizing the one individual from the adjoining group, who’s behavior was lewd and offensive, not to mention the outright theft by running up our bar tab.

I invite others to make some form of apology, either by email or in person for what they did or said, or what their spouse did or said. You can do this voluntarily, and you know who you are, or I will confront you by Wednesday of this week. I do not intend to ignore what happened. If I have to confront you, you could lose your job. I will be available Monday and Tuesday late afternoon, or you can email me and/or others. Let’s not let this one incidence stop us from being [#1 company in field]. We have a lot going for ourselves and let’s keep it going.’”

02 Dec 14:08

Comic for 2021.12.01

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
02 Dec 14:06

Edge Cake

Every time IERS adds or removes a leap second, they send me a birthday cake out of superstition.
02 Dec 06:58

Once again I attempt to add polish to LED holiday lights

by Technology Connections

What a strange tradition.

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