Other Places I Post

I have two other LJs: cosmusic, coslinks

See what links I've been reading on del.icio.us (coslinks),
 and what links I've been posting on reddit (cos).
Update: I abandoned delicious in 2016 after they'd been deterioriating for a few years, and I now post links on pinboard instead.

Photos: Some from the 90s on my old web site, newer ones on Flickr (cospics) and most recent (pretty much anything since 2006) on Facebook
Videos: YouTube (youcos)

Where are you? Fill out my LJ poll.


Pescatarianism puzzles me

I've been wondering, why are there so many people out there who categorically won't eat any animals from land or air, but will eat any animlas from the sea?

I've heard lots of different reasons why people choose to be vegetarian. Some of them are,

- Moral objection to killing animals for food.
- Environmental impact.
- Saw a dead animal and got grossed out at the thought.
- Cruelty of factory farms.
- Health, and the idea that humans weren't evolved to eat so much meat.

There are more, though I think this list covers the majority more or less. And some of them, I feel too, though I choose to not eat meat most days but still eat it sometimes, rather than categorically never at all. Still, I benefit from the people who made vegetarianism a movement and continue it, because they're the reason our economy has adapted to make a lot of no-meat and less-meat options available. So I thank them for it.

But if you're going to make exceptions to a general policy of no meat, why does the exception "if it's from the water, it's fine" make sense?

People whose main reason for avoiding meat are animal cruelty issues, generally make exceptions for humanely raised meat. If someone does that, and applies a similar logic to seafood, that makes sense. That's not what I'm wondering about.

Environmentally, fishing is far far more destructive to nature than some kinds of land meat, especially poultry. And poultry's carbon cost is also less than that of fish. Shellfish such as clams and oysters are actually a net benefit to the environment, and eating more of them to support shellfish farming is a good thing. Shrimp, on the other hand, are mostly caught by bottom trawling, so cheap shrimp may be the most environmentally destructive food in the world.

Moral objections, or just gross feelings about eating animals... those seem like they should apply to animals from the sea as well. I know for some people it's a matter of how much of a consciousness something has, but I assume people who see it that way would sooner eat a chicken than a tuna! Not even mentioning the fact that so much of commercial fishing kills sea turtles and dolphins and porpoises as a side effect.

[BTW, as a related thing I've also been wondering why there isn't a common practice of avoiding all meat except for poultry & shells, since that seems to make sense from a carbon and ecosystem impact standpoint. But that's a tangent to my question here.]

And when it comes to health, top predators of the see accumulate toxins, so I'd expect a health-oriented mostly-vegetarian who makes some exceptions to also avoid fish like tuna, and make exceptions not just for shells but also for occasional land meat as well.

Do you or someone you know practice pescatarianism, where all land meat and poultry is off limits, but all/most seafood is acceptable? Can you tell me what reasoning or motivation lies behind this, for you or them personally?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

The DNC debate qualifying rules made one huge mistake

Democratic candidates for president this year had to qualify for the official debates based on a set of simple, neutral rules published in advance - standards that got progressively a bit harder to qualify for with each debate. Each candidate had to get a certain percentage of support in a certain number of qualifying polls, and a certain number of donors. For the first debate, it was 1% in three polls or65,000 donors, and with each debate the standard got a bit higher.

Overall a pretty clever system, and a good way to solve the problem of choosing who the important candidates are for people to see, without bias or too much public perception that it's rigged in favor of or against particular candidates because of their views. But I think they made a huge mistake with the rule about polls!

Especially in the beginning, this summer when the debates began, lots of potential voters were undecided and most of them were considering most of the candidates. Even after the first few debates, there were still a lot of undecided voters, and most voters who did have a favorite were still considering others. The point of rules like this should be to show you the candidates you may still be considering, not the candidates you or someone else have already chosen. With these rules, it was quite possible for a candidate who nearly everyone was still seriously considering to be exluded from the debates, while someone else (such as Tulsi Gabbard) who very few people were considering, and who most voters had already decided against, would still be included.

What the DNC should have done is announced in advance that they would *only* consider polls that ask who you're seriously considering voting for. They could've set much higher thresholds, starting with 10% rather than 1%. Debates would then have emphasized showing us all the candidates people actually want to learn more about.

There weren't very many polls like that, but you can bet that if the DNC had announced a rule like that in late spring, there would have been plenty more. And the DNC could have commissioned a few national polls themselves to add to the mix.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

What goes in this film festival

Imagine a hypothetical film festival that would show:
- The Martian
- Interstellar
- Moon
- 2001: A Space Odyssey

Alien does NOT fit into this festival.
The Star Wars films do NOT fit into this festival.

What's another movie that you think belongs on the list?

No spoilers!!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

3-bedroom apartment available in Central Square

The apartment I posted about in May was filled in June, but now there's another in the same house, very similar, just on the top floor rather than the middle floor.

- 3 bedrooms, living room, bathroom, about 1200 square feet.
- $3300/month (so $1100 per bedroom)
- On the 3nd floor of a 3-family house.
- Laundry in the basement, shared by the 3 units.
- Cats okay, as long as they don't (much) scratch wooden parts of the apartment such as doorframes.
- No smoking.

It's two blocks from Mass Ave in Central Square, a very short walk to the red line, but on a very quiet street. As I wrote in May, this puts it close to groceries, buses, T stop, late night food, hardware store, banks, clinic, live music, post office, city hall, tailor, eyeglasses stores, shoe repair, clothing stores, and so on - all less than 10 minutes walk away.

Available for moving in later this week, you wouldn't have to wait until September 1st.

Do you know anyone who may be interested?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

All those dogs that are "very friendly"

Every once in a while when I encouter someone walking a dog and I back off a bit, they respond by telling me "he's very friendly!" Yes, I suspected that, that's what I'm afraid of. I'm backing off to let you pass because I don't want a dog climbing my leg, and you as a dog owner probably can't even imagine that. What they should say to put me at ease is "he/she is very standoffish! Don't worry, he/she doesn't want to slobber on you or climb you." I would prefer knowing that it's an unfriendly (though nonviolent) dog.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

3-bedroom apartment available in Central Square

Do I know anyone interested in renting a 3 bedroom apartment close to the red line in Central Square? Or do you?

- On the 2nd floor of a 3-family house.
- 3 bedrooms, living room, 1 bathroom
- Kitchen + eat-in dining room combined (there kitchen counter is between them).
- Gas for cooking. Hardwood floors. Dishwasher & fridge.
- Laundry in the basement, shared by the 3 units.
- Here are some pictures.
- Cats okay, as long as they don't (much) scratch wooden parts of the apartment such as doorframes. Dogs maybe, if they're quiet.
- No smoking.
- $3300/month (so $1100 per bedroom)

On a very quiet, tree-filled street. We have bird feeders in the backyard and get a nice variety. But it's just two blocks from Mass Ave, very short walk to groceries, buses, T stop, late night food, hardware store, banks, clinic, live music, post office, city hall, tailor, eyeglasses store, shoe repair, clothing stores, and so on.

Available for moving in in late May, or June, or July if I don't find anyone for June soon.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

Facebook account mysteriously vanished

Someone in a Facebook group I moderate emailed me just now to let me know that they don't see me listed as a moderator anymore, and can't find my profile to message me. I went to Facebook to look, and it says "page not found" when I try to view my profile. It also acts like I'm not logged in, but when I try to log in, it takes me to the form for creating a new account.

Earlier today, less than 2 hours ago, I posted a video of some friends' band to my Facebook profile, so I know it was fine then. I don't know what happened, but if you noticed me missing there and know I have this account here, now you know.

Does anyone know how I can report this to Facebook and get my account restored? I've Googled for answers but am not finding anything helpful so far.

P.S. https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/260749603972907 is a form for "My Personal Account Was Disabled" but Facebook's documentation says if my account were disabled, I'd see a message to that effect when I try to log in. Instead, Facebook acts as if my account doesn't exist at all. And indeed, when I try to submit that form, it gives me an error: "This email address does not belong to a disabled account".


Oddity #1: Facebook is still sending me email notifications, to the same email address that has been on my account for years. Even notifications about people asking to join the group I created and moderate, asking me to approve new people.

Oddity #2: When I try to log in with my correct email address and password, it just takes me to the front page of facebook.com, where it prompts me to log in or sign up. But if I try to log in with the same email address but an incorrect password, then it gives an error message, "the password you've entered is incorrect". So it still has my login information.

I submitted a question at https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/357439354283890, no idea if they'll see it and write back.

UPDATE: 3.5 hours later, they responded to that request. I got an email "help us confirm your name", and my profile popped back into existence. The link from the email prompted me to confirm that the name I'm using is my real name, and to upload a photo of ID, which it said I needed to provide within 7 days.

So, did Facebook somehow think my name wasn't my real name, but their system was super buggy and it couldn't actually tell me that and ask me to provide ID until they got to my support request? Or, did something else happen to my profile, and they put it into this "confirm name" state as a way of reactivating it? No idea. Very strange, and very buggy.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

Schultz running would probably hurt Trump's chances

Lots of talk in the past couple of days about former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz saying that he may run for president in 2020 as a "centrist independent" - and a lot of it is calls for him not to screw up our chances of defeating Trump by running as an independent.

Now, I agree that he is not an especially appealing candidate. If he doesn't run at all, I don't think we'll be missing anything. This rather snarky article summarizes it pretty well. But if he did run as an independent, I think he'd be much more likely to hurt Trump than to help him.

When Trump got elected, he was very unpopular. He got a lot of votes from people who didn't like him - but also didn't like Clinton. That was a very large chunk of the vote, people who disliked both candidates, and Trump won that group by a large margnin, which is one of the things he depended on to be able to squeak by and get narrowly elected.

We hear a lot about Trump's approval rating being in the 40s, and recently dipping into the high 30s in several polls due to the shutdown. But more importantly, disapproval of Trump (which is not just everyone who doesn't approve, since there are always some people who are neutral or undecided) has been above 50% for two years.

It seems very very likely that Trump disapproval will stay above 50% through the rest of his term; to win, Trump will once again need to depend on people who disapprove of him choosing to vote for him. An independent candidate like Schultz, one who is portrayed as running as an independent primarily because he doesn't like Democrats proposing to raise taxes, is probably exactly the alternative that dissafected conservatives would go for. People who don't like Trump but are inclined to vote for him despite that, because they can't see themselves voting for a Democrat or don't like the Democratic candidate, are pretty much the only group I can see Schultz appealing to in any numbers. If he gets any significant number of votes, I bet it'd be mostly from them.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)