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September 01, 2011

Texas Republicans up speed limit to 85 mph, insurance companies are furious

Joe. My. God.: Starting Today In Texas
"Obviously, the two things that kill most people on our highways are speed and alcohol. Increasing it to 85, or even 75, will have a dramatic impact on the death and injury rate on those highways where it's implemented," said Jerry Johns, a spokesman for the Southwestern Insurance Information Service. He said drivers already exceed 70 mph highway speed limits. "But 85 mph is simply too fast to drive even on a flat road. Any little hitch can cause an accident at that speed. There is still traffic on those roads, and to drive 85 mph is simply ludicrous," he said.

August 30, 2011

Many Catskills towns were wholly wiped out by hurricane Irene

Storm Leaves Catskill Towns Little but Debris - NYTimes.com
. . . And then there were the businesses, like O’Hara’s service station, open since 1925. It had been run by Kory O’Hara’s family for five generations. On Sunday it simply vanished, swallowed by the Schoharie Creek, swollen to several times its usual size. Asked where the business went, Mr. O’Hara, 34, slowly shook his head. “In the reservoir,” he said. “Everything’s gone,” he added. “My life is gone.” It was the day after in Prattsville, and in Jewett, Maplecrest, Windham, and other normally placid Catskill communities where the storm’s devastation played out with some of its most ferocious malice about 140 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. There was no Internet, no telephone service and power only for those with their own generators. So under deceptively cheery blue skies, there was not much to do but to mourn, to begin cleaning out and to figure out what, if anything, would come next. Mr. O’Hara was worried about more than just his business. “Main Street, Prattsville, is a total loss at this point,” said Mr. O’Hara, who is in his fourth year as town supervisor. “We just don’t know where we’re headed. I don’t know if there’s anybody in the town of Prattsville who can answer that question.” . . .

August 29, 2011

Woman who writes for nerdy website is absolutely appalled that OKCupid set her up with a nerd

At first it's sort of cute. But then she attacks him on Gizmodo--which is read by millions--just for playing Magic the Gathering. Apparently that makes him undateable? The commenters excoriate her for being such an asshole. Which is probably the point of her article? Gawker Media writers get paid more when they get more pagehits and comments, and posting a troll-ish post on a nerd site about how nerds aren't worth dating is probably a great way to get more pageviews and comments, right up to the point where people stop reading Gizmodo because it's troll-baiting garbage. My Brief OkCupid Affair With a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player
Earlier this month, I came home drunk and made an OKCupid profile. What the hell, I thought. I'm busy, I'm single, and everybody's doing it. Sure, I'd heard some stories, but what was the worst that could happen? Two weeks into my online dating experiment, OKCupid had broken me down. It was like the online equivalent to hanging out alone in a dark, date-rapey bar. Every time I signed on, I was hit by a barrage of creepy messages. "Dem gurl u so foine, iwud lik veru much for me nd u to be marry n procreate." Or "your legs do look strong." So when I saw an IM from a guy named Jon that said, "You should go out with me :)" I was relieved. He seemed normal. I gave him my name. "Google away," I said. Then dinner was ready, and I signed off without remembering to do the same. We met for a drink later that week. Jon was thin and tall, dressed in a hedge fund uniform with pale skin and pierced ears. We started talking about normal stuff—family, work, college. I told him my brother was a gamer. And then he casually mentioned that he played Magic: The Gathering when he was younger. "Actually," he paused. "I'm the world champion." . . . Maybe I'm an OKCupid asshole for calling it that way. Maybe I'm shallow for not being able to see past Jon's world title. I'll own that. But there's a larger point here: that judging people on shallow stuff is human nature; one person's Magic is another person's fingernail biting, or sports obsession, or verbal tic. No online dating profile in the world is comprehensive enough to highlight every person's peccadillo, or anticipate the inane biases that each of us lugs around. There's no snapshot in the world that can account for our snap judgments. . . .