posted about 17 hours ago on metafilter
Last year I called in sick nine days. So far this year, I'm up to five counting today, which is roughly on track if you consider that I get sick less during the summer. Where does that put me among people who work office jobs with no particular hazards? I feel like this is more than most people, and more than I myself used to miss class back in college, and I'm wondering why. More details and some hypotheses inside.Usually, my sicknesses every year consist of most short bouts of the flu-like symptoms, which go away after a day or two of just sleeping 12-16 hours a day and drinking lots of water. Maybe once a year it'll escalate to a week of sinusitis, at which point my GP will put me on a short course of antibiotics. I get the flu shot every year, although it's not clear that this helps. I'm mostly concerned because I don't remember being sick so often in college, and an informal survey of friends and family showed that most of them self-report calling in sick much less, somewhere from zero to five days a year. A few hypotheses: - This is all bad statistics: I didn't track my illnesses in college because I didn't have to call in sick, and missing class is a different standard than missing a day of work (most days when I call in sick to work, I could probably stay awake and mostly focused for an hour at a time). - Germs pass really easily in a big open-plan office where people keep food around and eat at their desks. Earlier this year, you could draw a circle on the floor plan where everybody inside called in sick within two weeks of each other, which I'm pretty sure meant somebody infected the rest. - I have some chronic illness which only looks like repeated bouts of the flu. I'm pretty sure this isn't the case, because my GP seems unconcerned and I've participated in the sick circles. - Everybody I'm asking is under-reporting their illnesses because I keep asking them in casual conversation and they take a guess without actually checking their records. - I'm not getting enough sleep and when I'm sick I'm really just short on sleep. I tried to falsify this by being really strict about keeping a regular sleep schedule six nights a week this last winter (and sleeping in on Sunday so I still got eight hours). Still got sick. Although being well-rested turned out to be nice in lots of other ways, including encouraging me to work out regularly so I could fall asleep easily. I guess in practice, this isn't an immediate problem because nobody at work has said anything to me, but I do wonder whether there's something I could do to be more reliably well.

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posted about 17 hours ago on metafilter
I currently have a career completely unrelated to clinical psychology, although it seems like a career path I'd like to investigate at the very least for multiple reasons. I'm interested in psychotherapy in particular. For people who work in the field, do you have anything to share about your line of work that isn't immediately obvious to outsiders? And what sort of person is best suited for this career? My personal interests are listed after the jump.The personal reasons I have are: 1. There is a strong need for it in my current country of work and residence (mental health awareness is only starting to take hold in the Philippines, also there is much grief counseling required for survivors of natural disasters and so on). 2. I have a personal interest in it, having dealt with major depression and generalized anxiety for most of my life. My time in therapy, coupled with self-education and meditation has been healing and transformative. People in my own personal circles tend to ask me about mental health resources first before they consult others. 3. I find people's life stories fascinating, more fascinating than fiction. I'm analytical and reflective, and tend to go deeply into a conversation topic. Many people of all walks of life confide in me, and I find that listening to their problems is deeply enriching rather than draining. And knowing that I've helped them work through some tough issues and them coming out healthier for it is one of the best feelings around. 4. While I take a great interest in people, I also have a healthy sense of personal boundaries. After a heavy conversation, I don't tend to worry or ruminate over that person's problems anymore. After we've stopped talking, it's a bit out of sight out of mind as I get distracted with my own life. 5. I am an extravert and I gain energy from interacting with people, even if they are distraught. 6. My own unique background may be of value to the local population here, and perhaps to other populations if I decide to relocate back to Canada. I am a queer woman of colour with an immigrant background, belonging to three cultures, hyper-aware of intersectionality, and learned the art of navigating different cultures and contradictory expectations. I am in my mid-20s, and have a BA in a completely unrelated field. But I have the time and money for the appropriate schooling, so long as I figure out whether this career path right is for me. So what is your work experience like, and does it sound like this is career path is worthwhile for me to investigate? Is there a way I can shadow therapists and see them at work (while I'm not the patient) or is that against confidentiality rules? Thanks in advance!

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posted about 18 hours ago on metafilter
I am an Office Admin/Project Manager/Bookkeeper/Customer Support/etc/etc/etc for a small web development shop, who has learned enough programming over the past few years that my boss wants to promote me to a full-time developer. I am researching options for companies/services that can do what I do without hiring another full-time person. We'll have have to hire somebody, but I'd like to know what could possibly be outsourced, or any other free-form ideas to rejigger. Any input on what Mefites send out-of-house would be appreciated. Current duties within.I am a Swiss Army Knife/catch-all around here. Other than me, there is someone doing web development full time and someone doing sales full-time, plus a crew of part-time data-entry people. I do everything in between, so much so that's hard to even come up with a list. Existing Customer Support I answer the phones and emails, providing instruction and clarification of features of our eCommerce web platform, which is basically a CMS and shopping cart supported by a data entry staff to provide images/info on items for sale. Also, create support tickets for bugs and feature requests requiring programmer/developer time. We get about 20-30 emails a day and maybe 3 phone calls, unless our websites are having a big problem, and we get a big flurry. We don't need a whole call center, but maybe there are services to handle this that wouldn't make for a big dropoff in the quality of our Customer Support. The paths to resolution for customer support start with "Please copy paste the URL of the page", "Please copy/paste the exact error message", "Please send me your IP address", "Please advise the item # you're having a problem with", etc. Not rocket science. Ideally, the person filling this role would know the answer themselves to some common questions, and know how to create an clear support ticket otherwise. New Client Project Management I take new clients through the steps to getting their website launched. Domain registration/transfers, payment gateway setup with merchant service provider, liaise between client and graphic designer, and coordinate the technical implementation thereof. I could probably continue to do this, as most of the steps would require a service ticket created for a programmer to install/setup. I'm also supposed to chase down clients who are sluggish about accomplishing getting us the info we need. Someone/something to chase people would be helpful. Bookkeeping - Create and mail monthly statements. - Process client payments. - Follow up on delinquent accounts and send to collections as necessary. - Enter and pay bills. - Reconcile statements. - Process bi-weekly payroll. - File things. This is where I think there's probably a big opportunity to offload to an outside firm. We currently use QuickBooks for all of the above, but are not wedded to it, provided transitioning 15 years worth of business to another platform is somewhat feasible. I'm sure there's a company to invoice people and make sure we get paid, I just don't know which the good one is and would like some recommendations from real people. QuickBooks payroll is very convenient, but I'm sure there are alternatives. Data Entry Manager Our staff does research and enters information. Somebody needs to spot-check that and provide feedback to the staff. Also, manage the workload and assign work to certain staff. Miscellaneous Make occasional Staples order, get the mail, decide when to throw out old magazines, whatever. Random office stuff that nobody puts on their resume but needs doing anyways. So, yeah, probably we have to hire somebody, but we'd prefer that person be as unskilled and part-time/cheap as possible. Whatcha got? What outside services have you used and how do you feel about them? Got other ideas? Just want to pat me on the back for being so multifaceted? Lay it on me. Thanks.

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posted about 18 hours ago on metafilter
I lost my wallet last weekend in a flu-ridden daze. Now that I can get out of bed again, I need to find a new small, stylish, and hopefully quickly-available replacement.Here's what made it perfect: Small enough to easily fit in coat/jacket pocket (and sometimes the back pocket of my jeans). Had room for 10 cards, as well as a clear ID slot Snaps closed Exterior slot pocket for my metro card so I could access it without opening the wallet No metal adornment on the outside No zippers of any kind I've found small french wallets that are the right size, but they all seem to have zippered coin pockets. I'd like a fun color, but will consider men's wallets as well. Willing to pay enough for something well-made, but given the frequency in which it will wind up in my babies' mouths, we're not in "more than my first car payment" territory. Thanks!

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posted about 18 hours ago on metafilter
Soft skills, such as "grit" and "creativity," are being increasingly considered in school admissions and job recruiting while standardized test scores and knowledge are being de-emphasized. But can you measure what they're looking for, or even gauge it holistically? Side note: I thought it was interesting that the word "grit" appeared in both of the first two articles linked. Are you gritty? Do your experience, resume, cover letter, and essay show it? If so, how?

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posted about 18 hours ago on metafilter
Mother's Day is around the corner and I want to get something nice for my mom. The problem? She has most everything she knows she could want, and unless I threaten horrible gifts she won't give me any suggestions. So I could use help in thinking of something nice for this Mother's Day. Details about the mother in question are inside.My mom is retired and lives in Savannah, GA. She likes gardening (and has a decent plot at the community garden), golfing (which she does frequently living on a golf course now), and traveling (which they do frequently to all sorts of worldly places). She is also a fan of sweets and fruit, but isn't a big flower person, and I'd like to get her something a little more interesting than old fall backs. She's not a big jewelry person, though she will occasionally wear something small and simple. She also volunteers at the local library and is part of a walking group and has a kayak for some basic sea kayaking (though this she just picked up at the end of last summer and hasn't done much). They are currently in the middle of a kitchen remodel that means they haven't had a kitchen in awhile and won't have one for another chunk of time, in case that helps with ideas. In general, I'd like to keep it under $50, but if it is really awesome I may splurge. So yeah, there's a lot to work with, but she has most everything she needs to do what she likes to do, and isn't a big collector of things, so I am routinely stumped. Help me change that this year! (any ideas I don't use for Mother's Day I can use for her birthday soon too, so hit me with everything!)

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
Ken Tanaka and David Ury's 'Everybody Dies'. A book about death.

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
I'm involved in writing a book that will published in both electronic and print versions. The book will be semi-academic, and will provide many (hyper)links to electronic sources. While this is easy to do in the electronic version, what is an easy way for the reader to retrieve a link to something in the hard copy? Possible solutions would be to print QR codes in the print version for every link, using Layar, or simply list a short number/code which would then correspond to the link when looked up on a separate website. Do you have any other suggestions? Again, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for the reader of a print copy to dig deeper into the other sources. I'm just looking for ideas now, assume that there is no limitation on cost or manpower. Thanks in advance!

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
Chess Clock Jenga

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
My sister recently unearthed this photo of Wee Baby JulThumbscrew experiencing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I developed an immediate, nigh-unto incapacitating desire for an adult-sized version of the swimsuit I was wearing in the photo. Does a grown-up version of this thing exist? WHERE?! If not, is anyone making decent custom swimwear these days (perhaps on Etsy)? Thanks, Hive!

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
The 1998 hit "The Way" by Fastball was based on the real-life disappearance of an elderly couple in Texas: The song's lyrics -- about an elderly couple who disappears from their home, finding immortality on the road -- seem sweet. That is, until "shadows" on the highway are referenced. The promises that the unnamed couple will never go home, grow old, or be hungry again seem a great deal less reassuring. Perhaps, the listener thinks, the "immortality" they found on the open road is purely allegorical.

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
One of my team has been absent from work for the past month with mental health issues (details over the fold). They will be returning to work next week, and I'd like to be a good boss and support this return as best I can - while still keeping a functioning team and taking on some of the performance issues that were present before they left. Your recommendations and experiences please?The person concerned became ill while I was away on holidays. When I came back, all I could learn from folks at work was that she had started to suffer side effects from medication about a week after I left, and had taken time off to recover from these and transition to a new medication. In some emails I receved from her subsequently she also told me this. As part of discussing how she would return to work (she's now been away about 6 weeks), we met up this morning and she revealed that she has had depression all of her adult life which was not treated until about 10 years ago. She had started to react to the medication she was taking (don't know what it is), and attempted suicide in mid-March (this was the fourth time she had tried to take her own life, but it had been five years since the last attempt). She has been seeing a psychiatrist weekly since then, and has transitioned to a new medication which she says is making her feel much better and back on balance. She has discussed returning to work with her psych and doctor and they have agreed that it will help her get back to "normal". She appears to have a supportive group of people around her, including health professionals and her husband. I'm happy to support her returning to work and I'm honored that she trusted me enough to tell me what was going on. However, before all this happened, I had a number of issues with her performance in the workplace which I was only part-way to tackling. The work she produced was great, but she avoided responsibility for making decisions, wouldn't ever step up to fill a gap, wasn't providing development opportunities to those she supervised and letting them learn, and generally always wanted to be on 'special projects' where she didn't have to work with others rather than taking on more of the routine work (she occasionally got paranoid about particular people, not me, thinking they were out to get her). These had been flagged with her but not tackled in any depth. I'm now feeling woefully inadequate to support her like a decent human being should, but also to do my duty as a manager (and to other team members) and tackle the performance issues. I'd like to hear from MeFites who have experience in any or all of the above - have you returned to work after a major mental health problem? What helped and what didn't? Have you been in the same position as a manger? Do you know of some stuff I should read? (the HR area has been less than helpful and all the advice they have given is basically, cover your ass, cover the organisation's ass, document everything, don't get us sued).

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posted about 19 hours ago on metafilter
Defiant rancher and conservative hero Clive Bundy said in a NYTimes interview, "I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro". You'll totally believe what happens next. " Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do. "And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" he asked. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom." These quotes aren't good for Rand Paul, who became a supporter of Bundy and referred to him as a 'patriot' for his defiant actions against the federal government. Background: Everything you need to know about the long fight between Cliven Bundy and the federal government Showdown on the range: Nevada rancher, feds face off over cattle grazing rights Wikipedia entry. More (opinion) links: Cliven Bundy Is Angry—Just Like the Rest of Us: 'When Rand Paul is the most prominent voice for peace on a polarizing issue, you know something strange is happening to America. Who would have expected a political furor to erupt around a single Nevada rancher? But Cliven Bundy is exactly the sort of weird person that today's ideological camps struggle to understand. To vocal conservatives, he's a folk hero, a model of civil disobedience. To Sen. Harry Reid, on the other hand, his supporters are "nothing more than domestic terrorists."' Gun-Toting Ranchers Defeat Feds: "The U.S. government says Cliven Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees and sent in contract cowboys to round up his cattle. But the 67-year-old rancher managed to fight them off—for now." Cliven Bundy and the Tyranny All Around Us: "How would the Nevada standoff be different if the rancher were black? American history has already answered that question." For Militiamen, the Fight for Cliven Bundy's Ranch Is Far From Over "The fight for America's soul is upon us, and the arid lands of Bunkerville, Nev., are the key battleground. On a ranch near Nevada's southern tip, an American hero is standing up to an oppressive federal government. And freedom is winning. That, at least, is how many libertarians, extreme conservatives and anti-government campaigners view it." Cliven Bundy Owes American Taxpayers: "Rancher Cliven Bundy hasn't paid the federal government its due in more 20 years." WHY YOU SHOULD BE SYMPATHETIC TOWARD CLIVEN BUNDY After the Bundy Fracas. Only we can prevent uncontrolled abuse by the federal government. America's newest hero: Meet the real Cliven Bundy Cliven Bundy's militiamen are neither terrorists nor patriots

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
Fox cub trapped in a can. SLYT. Adorableness RDA: 100%

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
The New York City Rescue Mission set up a social experiment with a hidden camera to see if people would notice their loved ones posing as homeless people as they walked past. Below the video are some real faces of homeless people in NYC.

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
I would like to travel by sea as a passenger from Adelaide to Hobart in November, and then return to Adelaide in the same manner after a week. Is this doable? What are my options?Are there any commercial services that offer this passage? Should I consult with a travel agent? Or do I need to make contact with someone in the shipping industry? What kind of costs can I expect?

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
I don't seem to have the attention span for books, TV series and movies anymore, and I'm missing out on a lot of good entertainment, as well as having a general feeling of being culturally 'out of it'. How can I increase my attention span and start getting into long-form entertainment again?I used to be able to get sucked into entertainment quite easily. I could spend hours and hours watching TV or reading. In fact it was probably excessive: I used to stay up all night reading, and in all day watching Lost marathons (this is how far back we are talking about). It probably wasn't very healthy but I've clearly grown out of it. Now my problem is the opposite: a one-hour long TV drama makes me feel antsy, I can't focus on the story and just end up checking my phone a lot, and often I'm so tired after a long day of work I fall asleep midway even if I am enjoying it. I have missed out on so much good TV because it all seems like a commitment rather than something you do for fun. With books, I keep having to put them aside after bite-size chunks, and anything too intellectually demanding takes so much longer to read than it used to: months and months when before I used to be able to tear through books. I used to read books during my commute to work, but now I just can't bring myself to read: the commute is my time for my mind to be free. But that does take away prime book-reading time. The thing is, I don't think it has anything to do with the quality of the entertainment: it's all really good stuff but it feels like my brain just doesn't have the space for it. I am starting to feel a little spiritually/culturally impoverished, actually. And it's making me sad because I always used to be the person who read a lot, and was up on all the current popular culture and now I'm not. So how can I get back into long-form entertainment again? Please note: I'm not looking for recommendations for good current TV/movies/books etc - I have recommendations coming out of my ears. I'm just looking for ways to expand my attention span a little so that I don't feel exhausted by anything longer than a short story or a half-hour sitcom episode. About me: 31, healthy, busy, technically 9-5 job, more commonly 9-7.

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posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
The Federal Communications Commission has announced that they would propose new rules allowing content providers to pay ISPs for priority "fast lanes," reversing their earlier position and effectively rejecting the principle of net neutrality held since the earliest days of the internet. The full set of proposed rules will be announced on May 15. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler previously served as president of the National Cable Television Association and as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, two industry lobbying groups.

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posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
I'm looking for some resources to help me develop my skills in clear thinking. Any recommendations?So I recently read Polya's "How To Solve It" for the first time and it was quite an eye opener. I'm really interested in any other resources/recommendations on developing logical clear thinking skills. By clear thinking here I mean being able to get to the heart of the problem quickly and concisely, being able to effectively separate conceptual concerns from irrelevant detail and techniques to properly research solutions and apply and evaluate them effectively and concisely. If it matters I work in technology (CompSci) so if there's anything geared to that domain even better.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
My work history is. . diverse. I've a bunch of eclectic qualifications and skill sets that until very recently thought I'd never be able to put to good use in one place. I'm currently employed in an under paid, over worked position with a very low staff morale. I really want to get out but was struggling to see the way forward until couple of weeks ago a vacancy was brought to my attention by a friend who noticed it on a job site and immediately thought of me. When I read the job description I couldn't believe such a job existed. It requires all my weird and particular qualifications and experience. It sounded amazing, like the kind of job I could see myself being happy to throw myself into completely. It's very well paid and aligned with my personal interests, passions and ability. I sent in a strong application and felt confident I'd get an interview. I was right and not only that but they asked if I would consider taking on a partial managerial role. I was delighted and replied that it was something I'd be happy to discuss at the interview. The interview was yesterday and I gave a good presentation but didn't answer all the questions as well as I could have and didn't expand enough on my ideas. I'm suremy passion came through and I do feel that they liked me, there was smiles and got them laughing a few times.. However, the managerial role wasn't even discussed and at the end the director commented that the standard of applicant was very high, that they had to turn down good candidates for interview even and that everyone they'd met so far had been excellent . He said it was going to be as very difficult decision and I'd know by Friday (tomorrow) or Monday If they need to think on it more. There are three positions going, two project officers and a managerial tole, they have been interviewing for three days and now that I've had my chance I'm full of doubt and dread. I have never wanted a job the way I want this one, I feel like it was made for me and everything in my life has lead up to this possibility. If I do get this job, it's going to feel like winning the lottery. I'm trying to keep a calm head but I'm worried how to move on if I don't get it. I've already started looking around to see if I could find something even vaguely similar but this seems like a unique position. Tldr, If I don't get the job of my dreams and have to accept being stuck in my current job for the foreseeable future, what are mindsets I can adopt to not become disheartened and demoralised?

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
A home for a middle-aged couple. Not too far from civilisation (so not in a village of four people that is three hours away from a two-horse town. 'Cheap' is a flexible term, I realise, but let's put it this way. The UK is very expensive - so anywhere that is significantly cheaper is an option.Let's see: Not too flat nor humid Not too conservative With intellectual leanings in the community - libraries, cultural things to do

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
My SO and I have been a primarily long-distance relationship for 3 years. Help me help him support him emotionally.We see each other every 1-2 weekends, and occasionally for longer stretches. This is the first significant relationship for both of us (he is 25, I'm 23). His father passed away relatively recently, and his job needs him, yet doesn't value him. The result of this is feelings of impending doom (his words), chest pain and difficulty breathing that I'm thinking are panic attacks. He has seen a therapist once, and I hope he will continue to make appointments with his therapist. This summer, I will be even further away geographically (increasing from 1.5 hours drive to 3 hours), in order to establish a professional network in the area we want to move to in the next 3-5 years. This move was decided months before his dad passed, and cannot be postponed or altered (it's part of a professional program requirement, and without it I will not graduate). We currently have plans of moving in together after the summer (September). But until he and I are local, I will be supporting him remotely (which means I can't do my normal "I love you, I care about you" routine of making sure he's fed, laundered, and hugged). His primary love language is touch, I subscribe to acts of service. Either one of those is fairly difficult to do from another state. Both he and I are struggling to come up with how to support him through losing a parent and the constant stress of his job. 1. How can I best support him emotionally, while long-distance? (Most of the time he is not having panic attacks, so this is where I need the most help.) 2. How can I best support him through these panic attacks? I already know he needs to see a therapist and learning coping and breathing techniques on his end, though it's slow going on convincing him of that (I think he's convinced that I will be able to help him through every panic attack, but I am less sure.) He is relectant to videochat most of the time, unfortunately, so text-based suggestions are preferred.

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
I have part of a song stuck in my head. The lyrics I can remember are something that sounds like "A A, B B - CCDD, CCDD" - that is literally what is being sung, it's not the rhyme scheme. Who is the artist and what is the track called?The B might be a D, possibly. Also, I am fairly sure it is a male vocalist. This has been driving me crazy, and it's really hard to search for. Thank you so much to anyone who can help me.

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
I'm going away for the long weekend with 6 friends (we are 4 girls and 3 guys, from mid-twenties to early thirties). We've got a sweet house booked in a nearby country town and we plan on doing a bit of wandering around town, but mostly holing up in the house in front of the open fire, drinking wine, playing board games and enjoying each other's company. I'm looking for awesome ideas of fun stuff to bring and/or do. Drinking games, non-drinking games, things we can cook or bake, challenges for the weekend, that sort of thing. I'm thinking pancakes, I'm thinking blanket fort... anything that works with 7 people and is fun, throw it at me!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Can you ever be reasonably sure that something is random, in the same sense you can be reasonably sure something is not random (for example, because it consists of endless nines)? Even if a sequence looked random, how could you ever rule out the possibility that it had a hidden deterministic pattern? And what exactly do we mean by "random," anyway?

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