Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Giving up, or aggression?

In On the Radicalism of Leaving, Ta-Nehisi Coates points out a quote from a book he's reading:
Oftentimes to just go away is one of the most aggressive things that another person can do, and if the means of expressing discontent are limited, as in this case, it is one of the few ways in which pressure can put.
Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth Of Other Suns
Mr. Coates (and the book) are discussing the Great Migration, the movement of African-Americans away from the South in the 20th century. But the quote is worthwhile to me on a personal level.

As "kylara7" puts it in a comment to that article,
The quote captures one of the great personal "click" moments in my life, when it dawned on me that I was not obligated to dig in and try to fix unsolvable or entrenched problems with family, friends, workplace, or partners, and that one of the options on the table was to simply just walk away.
You don't have to keep trying. You don't have to give second and third and forty-fifth chances. You don't have to accept apologies. You don't have to forgive. You can move on.

Moving on has a price-it has many prices. But it also has rewards. One of them is that your life can be about something else, not about solving past problems. It can be about a new creative adventure, or making a new friend. It can be about working on your own issues instead of somebody else's.

I've never thought of it as aggressive before, but I can accept that the people you leave may receive it as aggressive and that may be one of the costs.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Overweight people live longer, more active lives

In Rethinking Thin, Megan McArdle disposes of arguments trying to ensure the safety of society's religious obsession with whether people are fat. After disposing of arguments about the populations involved in the study and whether it controlled for other markers of health, she discusses whether people might be living longer but, because of ill health, be less active and happy.
On the contrary, active life expectancy is increasing faster than life expectancy, according to the experts I interviewed for an article in the Atlantic. You can see this in the proportion of people on Medicare who have limitations in their ability to perform the tasks of daily living, which has been falling, not rising. (Note: this chart is from 2008, before the bulge of baby boomers started skewing Medicare demographics younger).
(links omitted, available at original)

So yeah, we may be getting more fat, but it doesn't seem to be making us die earlier or have less active, less healthy elderly years--to the contrary, in fact.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Maybe that's enough bullets? Maybe not?

In response to a recent series of mass murders a lot of people are trying to come up with a way to reduce the risks of them happening again. There are some reasonable proposals that I, as a gun owner, would be willing to support--if I were also seeing reasonable risk assessment. But when people suggest a law barring large magazines (which carry more bullets so you can go longer without reloading), I don't see risk assessment that includes stories like this.
“The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he’s staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver,” [Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman] told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.

The woman then shot him five times, but he survived, Chapman said. He said the woman ran out of bullets but threatened to shoot the intruder if he moved.

“She’s standing over him, and she realizes she’s fired all six rounds. And the guy’s telling her to quit shooting,” Chapman said.

The woman ran to a neighbor’s home with her children. The intruder attempted to flee in his car but crashed into a wooded area and collapsed in a nearby driveway, Chapman said. [Emphasis added]
She shot him six times and he still got up, got into his car, and drove away. Yes, she ended the engagement--but only because he chose to try to get away. What if he'd chosen to press his attack? Maybe she didn't really hit him, or only gave him a flesh wound? Nope:
Slater– who was taken to the hospital with punctured lungs, a punctured liver, and a punctured stomach– has reportedly been arrested six times since 2008.
She hit center-of-mass at least a couple of times; those are serious wounds. But that clearly wasn't enough to stop him. One shot didn't stop him; six didn't stop him! If he'd decided to come after her, he might well have injured her or her kids.

This didn't take place in an instant. She heard him break in the front door and had collected her children and retreated to a crawl space.
Authorities said the woman took her twin 9-year-old children to the attic as the man broke into their house with a crowbar. He reportedly busted open the front door and gave chase when he heard the woman call out to her children.

Investigators said the man chased the family into a crawl space near the attic, and when he opened a door the mother opened fire, striking him five times.
and he tracked her down. But the police weren't there yet.
And remember this was all before police were able to respond. She had called her husband as the home invasion was taking place and he called 911.

I don't think this kind of home-invasion self defense gun use happens very often-but then, neither do mass murders. How do we decide whether the risk of mass murders is worth keeping someone like this woman from defending her life and her children's from a violent attack?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Links recently

Crochet a sushi or bacon-and-eggs scarf.

Think making it yourself is cool? How about a phone from your barbed wire fence?

I want to try casting my own chocolate shapes in brown sugar!

I've done a lot of sewing using my old clothes as the raw material, and here's an old sewing pattern that shows exactly how to cut out a woman's blouse and jumper from a man's shirt and an old dress.

A comment on a blog post about the problems with bras makes the most important point:
[I]t’s important to remember that a bra is like any other product of human engineering. And with all other ingenious and near-magical things mankind (and womankind) has made, somewhere along the line someone said it was too expensive to manufacture that way.

So remember. When you’re dissatisfied with the way something is made, punch an accountant.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Word for 2013

To cultivate, literally, means to run a tool through the earth to loosen it, so air, water, and nutrients can penetrate the soil and improve it. This year I want to cultivate my life as if it were a garden. I want to pull some weeds, tidy up the planting beds, and clip off the dead leaves and branches to leave room for new growth.

Another meaning of cultivate is to encourage, as in cultivating a hobby by spending time researching and practicing it. This year I want to cultivate my interests. I want to learn more about some things, and practice others to improve my skills.

Cultivate is an active verb. It's something I can do.