“Military combat uniforms have two purposes: to camouflage soldiers, and to hold together in rugged conditions.”
That’s just nonsense. I can think of at least six purposes combat uniforms serve:
1) “camoflage soldiers”
2) “hold together in rugged conditions”
3) allow soldiers of the same side to recognize that they are, in fact, on the same side
4) keep soldiers from freezing/overheating
5) instill esprit de corp
6) instill fear in the enemy
The point here isn’t to display any deep knowledge of this particular subject (although camouflage — from ducks to cubists to Marines — is fascinating), but to use that example to launch two short rants, one narrowly-targeted and one broadly-targeted.
First, the narrow rant. How unnecessary and credibility damaging is the quoted sentence? The remainder of the article aside, what’s the point of pretending to have found the TWO definitive uses for things that have been around for thousands of years? It would be so easy to just not be definite. Not including baseless, easily countered claims tends to improve arguments.
Now, the broader rant. This type of annoyance is a consequence of an even more perfidious pattern of the way we write now on the internet for money: “The [N] Reasons Why [Thing That Happened] Happened” or “[N] Things You Need To Know About [Thing That Happened]”. In a limited sense, these each have the same problem as the example above — the number of reasons, things you need to know, etc. is arbitrary. It can always be reduced or inflated: 5 reasons can always be 6; 9 things you need to know can always be 8. This is all so grating because it’s stylistic evidence of a an attempt to gain authority by limiting causality, intent, meaning, etc. Banal examples like these show how misguided and pervasive it is. I’ve probably done it. Hopefully writing this will induce me to catch myself before I do again.
Religions, like content farms, have always used, and abused, listicles. The 10 Commandments were disruptive, pageview maximizing content (assert monotheism and double the tabletviews!). Complications arise as the medium matures. Think of the Trinity: is it really three slides, or one slide, or a representation of infinite slides?
No dubiously tax-exempt organization deserves to be reduced to a revenue generating opportunity for purveyors of Taiwanese weight-loss drugs more than Scientology. So, LOOK: These are the 59 Proper Nouns of Scientology Everyone Can’t Stop Looking At. (via the indispensable Wikipedia entry):
1. L. Ron Hubbard
3. Celebrity Center
6. Study Tech
7. Volunteer Ministers
8. World Institute of Scientology Enterprises
12. Explorers Club Journal
13. Astounding Science Fiction
14. American Medical Association
15. American Journal of Psychiatry
17. Internal Revenue Service
18. Food and Drug Administration
19. Anderson Report
20. Sea Organization
21. Operating Thetan
22. Advanced Organizations
23. Operation Snow White
24. Free Zone
25. David Miscavige
26. Cult Awareness Network
28. MEST universe
29. Reactive mind
30. Tone scale
31. ARC triangle
32. KRC triangle
33. Suppressive persons
34. Potential Trouble Source
36. Bridge to Total Freedom
37. Space opera
39. Galactic Confederacy
40. Douglas DC-8’s
41. Super Power Building
42. Rehabilitation Project Force
43. Committee of Evidence
44. Religious Technology Center
45. Commodore’s Messenger Organization
46. Flag Service Organization
47. Purification Program
49. Applied Scholastics
50. Way to Happiness Foundation
51. Association for Better Living and Education
52. Volunteer Ministers
53. Citizens Commission on Human Rights
54. National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice
56. Pyramid scheme
57. Operation Freakout
58. Office of Special Affairs
59. Project Celebrity
This may be the best joke Woody Allen has written in years:
When The New York Times called, inquiring if I might pen a few words “from the horse’s mouth” about hypochondria, I confess I was taken aback. What light could I possibly shed on this type of crackpot behavior since, contrary to popular belief, I am not a hypochondriac but a totally different genus of crackpot?
What I am is an alarmist, which is in the same ballpark as the hypochondriac or, should I say, the same emergency room. Still there is a fundamental difference. I don’t experience imaginary maladies — my maladies are real.
Of course, this is also talking late-stage Woody Allen, so that inspired passage is followed by a horrifying description of the time a spot he thought was skin cancer turned out to be a hickey.
This Wall Street intern has it exactly backwards:
But eventually, you start to expect more. You’re definitely seduced. You think, If I did this for two years, went to private equity, did the stair-step that everyone does, I’d never have to think about money again.”
If he spends a career in investment banking and private equity, most of what he thinks about will be money. If he’s really good at his job — in the way that people who are fiercely driven to do their jobs and exceptionally talented at them are, all he’ll think about is money.
I understand his impulse and get what he’s trying to say, but this is clearly a 21 year-old who has no idea who the 40 year-old version of himself is or what he’ll care about. Which isn’t uncommon.
If you were surprised when Didier Drogba was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, this photo of striking miners in Marikana, South Africa should provide of jolt of comprehension.
At the center of the Reuters photo a miner wears a Chelsea FC jersey. He faces forward so we can’t tell if it’s a generic club jersey, that of another Chelsea player or if Drogba’s number 11 does in fact covers his back. It’s beside the point really, for eight years, Drogba was Chelsea and vice versa.
The best lede of the day:
“In what is being called a “symbolic rejection of US capitalism,” Bolivia has announced that it will be marking the end of the Mayan calendar with the expulsion of the Coca-Cola Company from the country.
“December 21 of 2012 will be the end of egoism and division. December 21 should be the end of Coca-Cola,” Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca said earlier this month, according to Russian news agency, RT.
This is a significant move for Bolivia — who will join Myanmar, North Korea and Cuba as the only countries in the world that are coke-free, Yahoo! News notes.”
Selling equity in yourself has moved from parody to proposal to public ownership that intentionally blends the absurd and the earnest. Now Moe Tkacik (disclosure: an occasional Reuters Opinion contributor) has given us a futures market for freelance writing income.
In her new “market process”, she outlines how you can pay her and what for (variations on intellectual day-labor and (non)pity-taking). It’s remarkably honest, interesting and worth reading in full. But this permutation of her process stuck out to me:
You are a website editor who has commissioned/considered commissioning pieces from me in the past… you simply pay me some flat fee [between $150 and $250 per 24 hours] ahead of time via PayPal, and agree to post the result of the effort—or allow me to post something for Das Krap readers—within 12 hours of receiving it from me. This enables you to potentially get my writing at a discount to the usual fee you might offer me—and I in turn will agree to transfer the difference to your PayPal account once I get formally paid by your accounting department—and saves us both the anguish/inconvenience of the increasingly desperate/irritating email exchanges in the inevitable event that said payment is somehow delayed.
Tkacik transfers the economic upside of her work to her editor. The editor also gets the downside risk and pays Tkacik a flat fee out of pocket before the payment from the publisher for the piece has been approved. Under this agreement, every editor is Tkacik’s agent, except instead of getting a small, fixed percentage of the upside while the client gets a large, fixed percentage, the agent gets it all. The editor’s incentive under this plan is to pay Tkacik her minimum, then extract the maximum payment possible from their employer and pocket the difference. And to publish as much of Tkacik’s work as s/he can manage under those conditions.
So, editors are buying futures contracts on Tkacik’s freelance income. They are fully collateralized (Tkacik gets her full fee upfront). The editor then tries to sell the contract into the market (the employer’s freelance budget) and get the highest price possible for the asset s/he has acquired. That final profit/loss to the editor is the difference between their upfront payment to Tkacik and the final payment from the ublisher.
The length of the contract (but not Tkacik’s labor) is open ended. And that’s one of Tkacik’s motivations, to define the scope and duration of her work rigorously and put the hassle of collecting her income above a set level on her editors. The whole transaction is settled between Tkacik and her editor over the counter via the electronic clearing house known as Paypal. Regulation is of the “self” variety.
Now, I seriously doubt any editors will take Tkacik up on this specific permutation of her payment plan. But it’s a fascinating idea. Selling futures contracts on your freelance income is certainly a bold move. Who said financial innovation was dead?