posted less than an hour ago on metafilter
My job is most likely making my depression worse. Is software development a viable alternative, or am I going to run into the same issues there? (Details inside)I've had serious bouts of recurring depression with anxiety for the past 4-5 years. I'm currently seeing a psychiatrist and getting treatment, which I'm hoping will help, but I'm fairly certain that my job is at least a contributing factor. I work in a niche area of IT consulting for one of the major professional services firms (one of the 'Big 4', if that means anything to you). There are times when I love what I do, but there's also huge potential for stress: sudden, urgent deadlines; unexpected late nights; having to juggle multiple projects at once; constant communication with clients, usually in situations where saying the wrong thing could cause massive problems down the line - you get the idea. The business is based around billable hours, meaning that management will almost never turn down work even if the department is already fully booked on projects. The work can also be incredibly tedious, involving a lot of very boring non-technical assignments. I want out, but the skills I've developed at this job would really only let me transfer to an identical position at a similar company. I was good at programming in college, and had a passion for it. I'd be willing to put in the effort to retrain once I'm well enough to do so, but I'm afraid that I'd just end up in the same situation again. Is programming a good job for someone with depression? (Or, I guess, can it be a good job; I know it will depend on the company you're working for.) I'm particularly interested in hearing from people who are living with chronic depression and are working in this area, given the conflicting accounts/data I've found from googling for answers. Would you recommend it, or should I be looking somewhere else?

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posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
Can amateur journalism bring justice to Rio's favelas?

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posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
What's next when Femara/Clomid fails?We've been trying to conceive for 10 months now. I had been taking birth control pills (most recently, Seasonale) since I was 16. I'm 34 now (and was 33 when we started trying). I remember having regular cycles when I was a teenager. When my periods didn't resume on schedule after quitting BCP, I went to the obstetrician I planned to see for my pregnancy, and she took me seriously -- after three months without a cycle, she tested me thoroughly and started me on Provera. All of my test results were normal: ovarian reserves, thyroid (I take Synthroid), prolactin (even though I'm taking antipsychotics and apparently high prolactin is a common side effect), whatever else they tested. I do not have PCOS. The Provera failed to start a cycle. We tried a few more times, but we eventually started Femara, after testing my husband's semen and finding everything fine there. My doctor prefers Femara because of concerns about my lining. I mentioned Clomid in the post because I thought it had better name recognition. I've now had four rounds of Femara. The last three appear to have done something: - in November, I had my first positive OPK, but my progesterone tested five days later was low, and my period started a week later. No mid-cycle ultrasound because the right day fell on a weekend. - in January, mid-cycle ultrasound revealed my first-ever dominant follicle. After I didn't get a positive OPK within the next few days, we did an Ovidrel shot. Five days later, still low progesterone, and my period started a little bit later. - in February, mid-cycle ultrasound revealed no dominant follicles. I still had a miraculous positive OPK. That was last week. I get my progesterone checked tomorrow. My hopes are low for this cycle -- I had a raging UTI and was running a fever and started taking antibiotics right around the time of the supposed ovulation. But we had so much sex, I can't imagine we would have missed the egg if there was one. The doctor says we can try an IUI next, or we can go straight to a specialist. The IUI seems strange because our semen is good -- the problem is that I don't ovulate even when medicated. That's what they say the low progesterone means. And I'm curious what else the specialist can do. Do we go straight to IVF and even stronger drugs? What's wrong with me anyway? All the doctor can tell me is that sometimes it takes a while for the body to return to normal after stopping BCP. There's no history of infertility in my family that I know of. My sister got pregnant on accident. My mother had us when she was over 35, so I guess things look good for me to be an older mother. I'm bipolar and take Abilify, Wellbutrin, and Synthroid (for mood regulation and fatigue -- my thyroid labs have always been in the normal range). My psychiatrist says going off the meds would be worse for my pregnancy than staying on them, and my obstetrician agrees. I'm grasping at straws here though -- what if they're part of the problem? What should we do? Do you have a success story? I'm desperate to get pregnant before I turn 35.

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posted about 3 hours ago on metafilter
He was the worst kind of populist, and believed in a shortsighted, cheap, selfish populism. The kind of populist who sneers at wussy bleeding-heart Americans like Ralph Waldo Emerson and their moralizing against Indian removal when there's cheap land to be had. The kind who rages at the expertise of elitist eggheads like Nicholas Biddle and Henry Clay putting regulations in the way of easy profits. The kind who's absolutely OK with Southern postmasters ripping up abolitionist pamphlets in the mail. If the Reagan people want to put Ronald Reagan on the $20 bill and boot Andrew Jackson off, I'm all for it.

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posted about 4 hours ago on metafilter
What general purpose reddit-like online communities do people use outside of the US? Do they have subreddit-type features? Do they support topical discussions? Do they have NSFW channels? Is there a Chinese or Japanese equivalent?

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posted about 5 hours ago on metafilter
I've made good money buying Apple stock on major downturns over the years. I'd like to do this more granularly, but don't have time (or day-trading skills or platform) to relentlessly buy minor downward blips and sell the recoveries. What's the easiest, most convenient, automated and newbie-friendly way to do this? Or, better: is there a way to piggyback on other's efforts (e.g. is there a fund operating according to this same thesis)?My broker, Vanguard, strongly discourages this type of trading, so if there's no fund already doing this, I'll need to open an account elsewhere, but I have limited patience for the standard day-trader platforms (I'm uninterested in turning the trading end of this into a hobby). I understand that success in this strategy assumes all downturns will be temporary, and am aware of the risks and counterarguments and would prefer not to argue those here....nor the overall prospects, worthiness, or business particulars of Apple, Inc.. I amiably request that you reply to my specific question (if you have useful advice), rather than challenge my underlying assumptions.

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posted about 6 hours ago on metafilter
Each video inside depicts at least one woman playing Western art music composed by a woman, on a violin. Most of the videos include other performers and other instruments as well. Before you can perform the music of women composers, first you have to find it. Links are included to some sheet music and recordings of violin music by women composers. Videos: Maddalena Laura Lombardini Sirmen (1745-1818) - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, op. 6 no. 3 Clara Schumann (1819-1896)- Three Romances for Violin and Piano, op. 22 Amy Beach (1867-1944)- Romance Florence Price (1887-1953)- The Deserted Garden Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989) - Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, Lord (Afro-American Suite) Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) - Violin Sonata no. 2 Lucrecia Kasilag (1918-2008) - Lullaby Libby Larsen (b. 1950) - Trio for violin, cello, and piano Sheet music and recordings: Dr. Cora Cooper has edited a graded anthology of violin music composed by women, suitable for violin students at various levels. Hildegard Publishing Company publishes music by women composers, including music for violin solo. Sheet music in the public domain is available at the International Sheet Music Library Project. Try the subcategory women composers. Dr. Helen Walker-Hill collected musical compositions of Black women and recorded a CD of music for violin and piano by African-American women composers. Finale: This post's finale is a musical joke performed by the Salut Salon quartet. While the composers of the pieces referenced in this last video are not women, this delightful performance had to be included for the fun of it.

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posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
"A press release from Cornell explains how the researchers used some creative chemical modeling to construct a hypothetical, methane-based cell that's stable in Titan's sub-zero oceans. They call their alien life form an "azotosome."" It order search for this hypothetical life form, we'll need a submarine.

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posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
"I am waiting for my baby, waiting for summer, waiting for knowledge, but the waiting itself becomes the knowledge and then, even as I am so hungry for transition I am practically clawing out of my skin, I begin to mourn and maybe to fear the fading of this particular consciousness: the Zen state, the acid trip of gestation, and its changed relationship to time."

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posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
It seems the latest update of Vlc for iOS (2.4) has had to cripple ac3 playback because of Dolby and copyright issues. Can anyone point me to a player that will still work?I've been using Vlc because it could play anything (unlike the native iOS video player), but now it most profoundly doesn't. A lot of the files I've been playing (not by choice, but because they're what's been available) are large, three to four GBs, and goodplayer always just seizes up and dies. Are there any apps out there that can still play ac3 sound on mkv files on a non-jail broken iPad? The only advice I've seen is to reload Vlc 2.3, but my iPad auto updated, and that's gone.

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posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
How do I - healthy 20-something male - have a normal dating life when my libido seems to wax and wane?On multiple occasions, I have gone out with a lovely woman and on the second or third date when things are set to get hot and heavy for the first time, I can not get an erection. I have completely blown two potential relationships/dating situations like this - we go back to their place, I can't get it up, they are understanding and kind about it. We go on another date the next week, we try again, and then it happens again - and that is when they seem to get very awkward and cold, like they seem frustrated they can't elicit an erection from a healthy 20-something male. Both women on both occasions declined my offers to do, uh, other things with them in bed and also declined another date. So I met this current woman on a dating site and we seem to get along great and I'm definitely attracted to her. Date number 5, we find ourselves in the bedroom for the first time. I'm enjoying myself but I am nervous and feel like my genitals are completely detached from my body - not "horny" at all, not getting an erection, trying so hard to relax and enjoy the moment. We finally give up (you can only make out for so long before it starts to get boring/chapped lips) and I apologize and explain it's been a really stressful week and it has absolutely nothing to do with her. She is sweet and understanding about it but tells me that I should probably go home if I'm that stressed, and she is tired and wants to go to sleep. I would have loved to spend the night but didn't want to invite myself or impose, so I go home. It's been a few nights since this happened and I am so nervous to ask her out again because I'm worried this will happen again. I certainly haven't been feeling "horny" this week and don't know when I will return to normal libido levels. I saw a doctor a few years ago and they said I was fine, thyroid levels are fine, that this happens, etc. My job can be very stressful, but strangely I've had plenty of stressful weeks where I was still maximum-levels horny - I've come to accept that this is just the way my body is, that some weeks (or months, even) my sex organs will be useless. When I do successfully have sex with a woman it's only because it happens during an "on" period. But right now I am "off" - so what should I do? Should I be careful not to date anyone if I'm feeling in a sexual funk? Should I press on and just hope they will be more understanding? Is there a way I can help them understand? Should I just get a damn viagra prescription? It all just sucks and feels so bad - I want so badly to be horny and I really do love sex, but it's like my brain and my body are disconnected. I've tried everything - exercise, sleep habits, eating more vitamin [insert letter here] - but it's all becoming too frustrating and I just need to figure out how to deal with this from an interpersonal standpoint. How do you have a healthy dating/sex life when your libido is not the way you want it to be? When the prospect of sex feels like a scary crapshoot with regards to the "equipment" working?

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
The screen is "cracked" but actually only the glass in front is cracked. Asus won't fix it without replacing the LCD as well and they'll charge me like $200. Help me find someone who will only do what I want, and charge reasonably.I have an enormous tablet computer, the Asus Transformer AiO p1801. Actually it's two computers. The base station still works fine, I'm posting from it in fact; it's the tablet half I'm having trouble with. The screen is "cracked" in the sense that the plate of glass in front has cracks in it. The LCD underneath is just fine, I can use it as a monitor if I don't mind having this big ol crack in the middle. I can't use it as a tablet because, while it technically still detects touches, they're never, ever in the right place anymore. I need someone to replace the plate of glass, and not replace the LCD. I'd prefer if they were in the New York City area but am willing to mail the tablet if I need too. I already mailed it to Asus, who gave me a quote so high I might as well buy a new device.

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
I've seen lots of TV shows where someone will get a guy up to speed with grooming, help him come up with a "style", take him to the right cosmetics people, hair stylist, etc. I want this overall service too. Do these sorts of people exist in real life, what are they called, and can I find one here in the UK?I am not particularly attractive but like most men past 30 do look a lot better when I put the effort in! While I can do the clothes part (I had a long term thing with a tailor until he retired and learnt a lot), when it comes to eyebrows, facial hair, hair styles, accessories, and tying it all together, I tend to chicken out. I need an experienced mentor I can pay to drag me through the whole thing and educate me in the process as I want to look particularly dashing with what average looks I've got. Doing my own online research and working out which places I need to go is not panning out, so a "one stop shop" would be ideal. Do people (who do this as their actual job) like this exist, or at least close to it? A personal shopper at a high end department store might be OK but I'm not sure if they do this sort of thing. Also, I'm not rich but budget is not a problem (as in, I'm fine spending 4 figures £ getting up to speed, consultations, products, etc.)

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
In the terminals of a few airports I've been to (CLT, BOS, maybe YYZ?), I have seen screens playing video advertisements on the walls of the terminals that don't look like the typical LCD or plasma TV. They seem to consist of four rectangles arranged 2x2, essentially forming one "screen", with a small gap between each panel. There is no "frame" around each panel like a normal TV - I just appears to be four screens by themselves. Also, the panels appeared unusually bright. The image did not appear to be projected from elsewhere. What are these devices called?

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
After a year, The Philosophers' Mail (previously) has concluded its project. But fret not: it has been succeeded by The Book of Life, a continuously updated online book that "aims to be the curation of the best and most helpful ideas in the area of emotional life."

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
I have recently acquired and accepted an exciting job opportunity in Sweden -- a two-year postdoctoral research post. It's great! I'm excited! I ... don't want to sublet other people's houses for two years. So I need to move my furniture (and a whole bunch of academic reference books, without which the postdoc isn't going to go so well) from their current location across the Atlantic. How do I best do this? Difficulty: I'm an American and me and all my objects are currently in semi-rural Canada. And I can't drive.I start work in Sweden on May 1st, and I have temporary furnished housing in Uppsala for 1-3 months starting from that date, which should give me time to find a flat. However, I finish work at my current job mid-April; there really isn't time for me to go to Sweden and househunt before May (thus the temporary flat). Where I am is Fredericton, New Brunswick. I'm here on a one-year work permit. Nothing I own can stay in Canada; it all has to leave with me. I have access to a storage unit near New York City where I could keep things for a while; NYC is my Stateside home base (where my family is.) Other relevant information: I can't drive. Not 'won't', but 'can't legally'. My budget is relatively small (say, $4000 absolute maximum, and I'd like to spend no more than $2500 if I could.) I don't know where to start with this one. The last time I moved across the Atlantic, I was a Master's student and went with one suitcase! But two years is a long time and I'd like to have a real home while I live abroad.

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
I'm a couple years off finishing a PhD that's been about half biochemistry and half electrophysiology at a top-ranked Australian university. The academic career path is definitely open to me - I've got a decent number of publications, heaps of teaching experience, blah blah blah - but I'm unsure that it's what I want to pursue.So what are some out of the box options for me when I finish up that I might not have considered? Apart from my lab skills, I'm a great writer (at least in comparison to other scientists) and a pretty good speaker, and I have intermediate skills in analytics - I can write passably in C++ / R / Python, understand statistics and how to apply them, can work in Matlab / SPSS / whatever. My priorities for a career at this point in my life are that it be lucrative and moderately intellectually engaging - travel would be nice, also. I'm willing to look anywhere in the world!

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posted about 10 hours ago on metafilter
I am struggling with the lack of meaning and purpose in my life lately and, consequently, with my Computer Science coursework. I am feeling somewhat depressed, winter blues, etc., but I feel like I am going the wrong direction with my life and I have had that nagging feeling ever since I started at school again. I took this path to raise money for pursuing future studies in Psychology, but it has been a huge struggle so far. What should I do? (Further details inside.)I am taking Computer Science classes at my college. If you look at my past posting history, in Fall 2012, I was at this college, taking CS classes, failed those classes, then dropped out for 1.5 years, tried some different things, and last semester was my first semester back. Good news: I passed the classes that I failed last time and was proud to overcome my fear of failure and try it again. Bad news: I was completely miserable doing it. You ever have a point where you're so stressed you don't even notice you're alive anymore basically? It was like that. I had time for almost zero things other than schoolwork and was constantly worried about whether I'd pass at the end of the semester. I was very determined to pass those classes because it was my own personal goal -- I wanted to prove to myself I could do it -- but apart from making money with a CS degree, I didn't really have any solid career plans. I had thoughts of wanting to do computer forensics as a part of law enforcement or work with the FBI but I have had a paradigm shift in the last few months and am no longer interested in either of those things. From the beginning, this was not what I really wanted. When I registered for my classes that started last September, I had to write out a list of "Reasons To Study Computer Science" for myself, as motivation, which probably says a lot in itself. Most of them had to do with money, but my first reason was "getting to problem-solve all day", and my last reason was that it would be an accomplishment to finish my degree in CS. I have never really cared about money; I have some personal goals that money would help get me toward, but I am not a person that needs "things". However, I am extremely scared of being in debt and that was a large part of why I decided to study CS. School is so expensive and I wanted to make sure I'd be able to dig myself out of debt. I have never had any debt attached to my name and my parents are foolish with their money so I have visions of living in a box, eating cat food because I have student loans. I seriously have no idea how people manage life with loans without a high-paying job and the thought of being in that position, without exaggeration, terrifies me. I have had an odyssey trying to get myself academically ready for the classes I have been taking. I started studying math, on my own and on my own time after work, starting from Pre-Calc in Fall 2013. Over last summer, I took an Intro to C++ class. So while I have only been enrolled in classes at my current university since last September, I have really been doing this school thing for a year and a half. In general, I am happy I have achieved the goals I set for myself — surpassing my previous failures — but beyond that, I don't care. I had a conversation with my sister a few weeks ago and was able to articulate that feeling for the first time. I have an interest in programming and computers, but it is a passing interest, not something I am very passionate about. It feels very purposeless to me and it has been hard to concentrate on my schoolwork as I can't help but keep thinking about how painful this all feels. I had a week where I was sick with a cold this semester and got behind on schoolwork and while I was trying to rest (and being a little thankful to have an excuse to take a break, to be honest) and catch up on what I could, I just had this thought of "why?" I looked to the future and thought: what am I really working towards? In somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy I did horrible on the most recent exam in my CS class. It is one of those classes aimed to make you fail (I despise this method of educating people) and before these thoughts of dissatisfaction crept in, I was spending around 20 hours/week on this class alone (and realistically should be spending that amount of time or more currently). I did not study as much as I should have, but I only think I would have done marginally better if I had done so because I ran out of time before finishing the last, 20-point question on the exam, which was mostly to blame. This often happens in exams for technical coursework — I get hyper-focused on a question I don't know and the clock is always in the back of the room, behind everyone, so I lose track of how much time I am wasting. I was diagnosed with ADD a long time ago but kind of thought it was bullshit. However, if I look at my working style, it makes a lot of sense. I have to set alarms at 60 minute intervals to keep track of time and/or keep on task and schedule my day really precisely for the same reason. It worked well last semester but this semester, I am tired of putting forth such tremendous effort for something I don't feel very invested in (like I said, it was miserable) and so I haven't been keeping the same excruciating work habits. I would have to do well above the probable average on the next exam to compensate, otherwise, it looks like I might end up having to retake the class. We have this project due the Friday after spring break (it is currently break) and I have a pit in my stomach just thinking about pushing this rock up the hill [of doing this really work-intensive project] only to have to repeat the stupid class again. I am really, really tired of having to repeat classes. Here is the thing: call me a special snowflake, but I have noticed that I have had to have a purpose for doing almost anything I have done in my life and a damn good one. Peer pressure, parental pressure, societal pressure does not phase me. My university is highly-ranked and the environment is designed to be competitive (and indeed most students are very focused on their grades), which is good for getting internships and etc., but as I mentioned, I don't think I want that anymore. What I would like to do, and what would have been my goal after saving up enough money from my future fancy-computer-science job, is to study psychology. I never took any research methods classes at my community college as they were not offered at the time, but I spend time thinking about possible experiments that could be run and theories for things, etc. There is meaning there to me. The more we understand other people, the more empathy we have, and the better a world we can create in the future based on this knowledge. Not only that, but I have seen first-hand the suffering severe mental illness can cause people and I feel moved to do something to try and fix it. I am idealistic perhaps but this is something important to me and that I believe in. If my parents were rich, I probably would not be studying computer science and would not be asking this question. I would just study psychology and if for some reason I don't do well (I had all As in community college psych classes, partly because I already knew most of the information) and/or can't go to grad school right away/have to work as a research assistant for a year or two after graduating, it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't have loans hanging over my head. But instead I am worried about being eternally in debt for my endeavors. Realistically, I would have about $6,000 to $20,000 in debt at the worst-case, depending which semester I graduate. That seems like an enormous amount of money to me and I think research assistant jobs only pay around $24,000 per year and, of course, as a PhD student one is without any real income. I feel like I am struggling toward someone else's version of how to live a life and because of whatever peculiar makeup I have, my "ADD" or whatever, I cannot force myself to do things just for the sake of doing them. (I should also note this college thing is harder for me than most people, it seems, if you haven't surmised from the above already; I only took 3 classes/12 credits both this semester and last, which is the bare-minimum to be a full-time student.) I thought I would be able to get my degree in CS, get my fancy job in a warmer climate, and then leave in 2-3 years, after saving a bit, to travel and/or start studies in psychology. However, it is just not that easy. I knew there would be work involved but I am having a hard time jumping through all these random hoops just to be able to (financially securely) do what I want in another few years. I am so fed up with all of this. Is there something wrong with me that I am having such a tough time executing this money-saving version of my life plan, such a tough time mustering up the motivation to devote 18-30 hours of each of my weeks to something I think is inherently meaningless? Or am I truly going down the wrong path in my life and my discomfort is somewhat valid? Should I "go confidently in the direction of my dreams"? I would feel a little disappointed that I didn't put on my big-kid britches so to speak and get a computer science degree — I would feel disappointed thinking I'm not "tough enough" I think. I'm worried, in a stupid way, that it would appear that I am just picking up this psychology thing because I wasn't smart enough to hack it in C.S. It is not my biggest concern, but something in the back of my mind; I wanted to prove to myself, in a way, that I could do something technical, but I just don't have the drive to do so anymore. I mean, looking at what I have achieved so far, I think I am capable, if it were something I really felt a drive to do. I just don't have much motivation left, and looking at possibly having to repeat this class, and then be in for 3 more (or 4 if I fail this class) semesters after that — I just feel so done. Final note: I asked two of my friends for their advice and they said try seeing the school's career counselor, but I don't think they can tell me anything I am not aware of job-wise myself and am skeptical that they will just feed me the propaganda of "oh we are such a good school, you can get any kind of job once you graduate" etc etc. I am seeing a therapist for something unrelated and will bring all this up next time I go. I guess what I'm feeling might qualify as depression, but I think it is situational -- I am tired of this constant stress and constant deadlines etc. It is literally wearing me out. Thanks for reading; I'm sorry this was so long and sorry for the never-ending college questions. Any advice would be appreciated; I'm feeling pretty lost and tired of spinning this around and around in my head. TLDR: Should I (attempt to) keep chugging along, repeating courses as necessary if need be (as I have had to in the past) in computer science? Even if devoting myself to what seems like a meaningless pursuit to me for the sake of money makes me miserable? Or do I change course, work as hard as I can toward a career in research psychology and let the chips fall as they may if things don't work out the way I planned? What does one do when the career they'd like to pursue costs money they don't have and will take a long time to pay back as a consequence of pursuing that career?

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posted about 10 hours ago on metafilter
Please help me figure out what science fiction story this is. Here's what I believe I remember correctly (but we all know how fallible/inaccurate memory is):Plot/story elements: I think the protagonist was female. She was on a quest of some sort, in some sort of fae land. She had companions. The magic of the land tried to change things and people. She lost her shoes and had to fashion foot wrappings because walking barefoot on the ground made her want to stay still and take root like a tree. In one scene, she and her party were wearily resting beneath a tree that had white blossoms. The flowers fell on them and refreshed them, restoring their health and energy. (Most likely written before 1992) And that's it! Sorry, it's a long shot, but I figure I've nothing to lose... (fingers crossed)

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
I have a box full of the blocks I used to play with as a kid. My grandfather told me that he picked them up off of the Spruce Goose floor when he worked at Hughes Aircraft and cut them into blocks for my mom to play with. He and my grandmother are deceased, so there's no way to get more details. The wood is a pretty distinctive laminate so maybe someone could authenticate it? Could it be worth anything? I'm trying to pare down my crap and I don't know anything about this sort of thing.

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
John Gray: The Truth About Evil: Blair made this observation in November 2002, four months before the invasion of Iraq, when he invited six experts to Downing Street to brief him on the likely consequences of the war. The experts warned that Iraq was a complicated place, riven by deep communal enmities, which Saddam had dominated for over 35 years. Destroying the regime would leave a vacuum; the country could be shaken by Sunni rebellion and might well descend into civil war. These dangers left the prime minster unmoved. What mattered was Saddam's moral iniquity. The divided society over which he ruled was irrelevant. Get rid of the tyrant and his regime, and the forces of good would prevail. If Saddam was uniquely evil 12 years ago, we have it on the authority of our leaders that Isis is uniquely evil today. Until it swept into Iraq a few months ago, the jihadist group was just one of several that had benefited from the campaign being waged by western governments and their authoritarian allies in the Gulf in support of the Syrian opposition's struggle to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Since then Isis has been denounced continuously and with increasing intensity; but there has been no change in the ruthless ferocity of the group, which has always practised what a radical Islamist theorist writing under the name Abu Bakr Naji described in an internet handbook in 2006 as "the management of savagery". also on Soundcloud. some responses, here. John Gray, philosopher, also writes for the BBC: See no evil and The child-like faith in reason. Philosopher John Gray denigrates reason and promotes religion on the BBC. Maybe we're all just looking for an Aristotle who punches bad guys or are in a the moral universe of HP Lovecraft.

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
"Before ready-to-wear and before fast fashion, American women created affordable clothing for themselves and their families with help from the Dress Doctors—the thrift experts, home economics professors, and fashion guide authors who advised women how to craft the most appropriate looks for less." Historian Linda Przybyszewski talks about the rise of home economics, women's entry into academic departments in higher education, and the origins of American theory on suitable, affordable clothing for everyday wear. Before the Dress Doctors, however, there was Mary Brooks Picken, the First Lady of Fashion. Although now almost unknown, Mary Brooks Picken was the American authority on domestic arts in her day. Born in a Kansas farmhouse in 1886, she was a granddaughter of pioneers. Mary's sewing and design talent became apparent at a young age and she set off for a career in fashion that took her to Kansas City and later, Boston. In 1916 she founded The Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The school was the heart and soul of Mary's vision and combined correspondence courses with classroom instruction in dressmaking, millinery, cooking, fashion design, beauty, and homemaking. It attracted students from around the world as enrollment climbed to almost 300,000 women, making it the largest school in history devoted solely to the education of women. It reached thousands more through its newsletters and other publications. Picken was not only an entrepreneur, but also a prolific author, penning over 100 books about dressmaking, needlework, and style. These include: * "The Secrets of Distinctive Dress : harmonious, becoming, and beautiful dress, its value and how to achieve it": "An artist must know the principles of art to enjoy art or to make a success of it, and so must every woman know the principles of dress and enjoy dress to be successfully clothed." * Complete Home Reference Book of Sewing and Needlework * Dress and Look Slender Picken laid the foundation for the study of dress as a practical matter, and her principles were carried on and spread by the women who taught the emerging discipline of home economics; as Przybyszewski says (in the first link), "... home ec became the way in which women created a safe space for themselves at universities. Which is why, startlingly, by 1960, out of the about 475 women at universities teaching science, 300 of them were in home economics departments. So it did give them an entryway in the sciences, it gave them an entryway into the university in a space that was supposed to be only for women. Women were the deans of home economics colleges. So that meant women got into higher administration in the universities as well." Another center for dress doctors was the U.S. Department of Agriculture: One group of these women were headquartered at the Bureau of Home Economics, which was of all places the USDA (laughs). These ideas were being worked out in the late 19th, very early 20th century, a time when people still believed in separate spheres, that women were particularly suited for the domestic. At these land grant colleges, which worked closely with the USDA to create programs for farmers, the argument was: well we do this for farmers, what about their wives? So they wondered, "What can we do for farm women? We can create a program of home economics." They advocated for understanding principles of dress, and for the merging of beauty and usefulness. "Their idea was that things that were not useful were not beautiful," says Przybyszweski. "So, for example, if you can't walk in your shoes they weren't considered beautiful because the human body is beautiful—the healthy, in-motion, functioning human body is beautiful—so they always had this balance between utility that really merged with the decorative arts." But they also recognized that the women they wanted to reach were often on strict budgets, and often without many resources, and their pragmatic approach produced numerous pamphlets put out by the USDA (Selection and Care of Clothing; Making a Dress at Home; Fitting Dresses and Blouses; Work Clothes for Women) and available for free courtesy of Congresspeople's local offices. "Dresses and Aprons for Work in the Home," for example, rates designs according to five principles: comfort; safety; convenience; durability; and attractiveness. This brief history is only part of the story, but the Dress Doctors' insistence on DIY beauty and usefulness stands in sharp contrast to the current prevalence of disposable fast fashion (previously). And, after all these years, their advice is still valuable.

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
Matt Zoller Seitz hosted a sleepover for his 11 year old son and his son's friends. Soon it came time to watch a movie, which produced: Notes on watching "Aliens" for the first time again, with a bunch of kids .

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
If I like Austin Kleon, Lynda Barry and Danny Gregory, who else might I like?I have been on a big art journey the last few months; I was always the writer-type in my family and thought the art gene had passed me by. Then I found a book about Zentangle and was stunned and surprised to find a style of art I could do which actually produced nice-looking stuff. I was never actually sure what to DO with these drawings, but I enjoyed making them. About three months after that, I discovered another book called 'The Sketchnote Handbook' and all the pieces clicked for me. I started keeping a diary using words, little illustrations and so on, using my Zentangle designs to make the boxes, divider lines and so forth. I have been writing and drawing in my little book every day and having a blast. A post on the Sketchnote blog led me to the work of Lynda Barry, which blew my mind. I have since found out about Austin Kleon and Danny Gregory and love them too. Something about the handwriting with little pictures, the simplicity yet whimsy, the emphasis on 'doing' something with your work rather than just making it (Barry and Gregory both treat the process itself as more important than the finished pictures) appealed to me. I also like that all of their work is done with pens, pencils and notebooks. I have explored other 'art journal' stuff online and found some of it very beautiful, but with a process that is a bit too fiddly for me. Teesha Moore, for instance, makes lovely stuff, but has a multi-part process involving paint, collage, lettering and so on. It's just too much. I like that Barry and Gregory seem to emphasize just going ahead and creating, rather than spending six weeks making one illustration in your journal. I like that they emphasize what you can learn from the process---Danny Gregory especially seems to use his journal to actually work on his feelings; the books and 'art' is secondary to that. So, the tl;dr version: I love Lynda Barry, Austin Kleon and Danny Gregory. What else should I read?

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
I'm looking for a basic time-tracking iOS app, to keep track of how much time I spend on which work-related activities. Older suggestions either cost a lot of money, or don't seem to be friendly enough. I don't need to be able to make invoices or anything.It would be nice if I could set up different categories (e.g., 'grading', 'prep work', 'in class', 'research', etc.) It would be nice if it was dead-easy to use (e.g., select the category, push a big green button to start timing, push some other big button to stop). Cheap is good, but I'm willing to pay a couple of bucks if it actually works. (Conceivably more, but this is just for my entertainment, so I'd at least like to be able to try it out for a while for not much money.)

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