posted 3 days ago on metafilter
A Conservative welfare minster has apologised after suggesting that disabled people are "not worth" the national minimum wage and some could only be paid "£2 an hour". Lord Freud, the Welfare Reform minister admitted the comments were "offensive" after they were disclosed by Ed Miliband during Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon. The Labour leader has called on the Tory peer to resign.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
In its inaugural episode, Slate's Working podcast spends ~35m talking to Stephen Colbert (not the character Stephen Colbert) about exactly what a work day is like for him. Similar but non-congruent is Lifehack's series How I Work, an extensive archive covering a huge range. Worth exploring. The co-founder of Deviant Art, the host of a public radio show, and many others across a spectrum of careers can be found there.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
My partner had a significant mental health event in the past that nobody (neurologists or psych people) have been able to explain. It's never reappeared and there was no history beforehand, but it's a significant source of worry for both of us. Blizzard within.You are not my, his or our doctor or shrink. We've dealt with this event in therapy a lot, to the point that it's no longer the lynchpin of whether we stay together or a source of shame and blame. But the question of how it happened persists. His psychiatrists have referred to it as a manic episode, a psychotic episode or even questioned whether it happened. My partner had a breakdown in 2009 that defies the usual bounds. He is mid to late 40's. I am 40ish. We have been together almost a decade. In 2009, he very suddenly became very agitated and began destroying furniture (he broke apart a whole dining room set with his bare hands, nonsensical), ranting at me and our friends in an incomprehensible way, tearing up everything in the kitchen (there were bags of granola, rice and pasta all over the floor when I came home one day) and throwing away sentimental possessions. He was hostile to his therapist and psychiatrist (who were treating him for depression) and refused to go in. They were alarmed -- my partner is usually a VERY acquiescent person -- and his psychiatrist prescribed klonipan (a sedative) and seroquel (an antipsychotic). Things darkened over the week: he began to be so suicidal that he threatened to run into the (rather busy) street we lived on and was very verbally aggressive (and slightly physically aggressive) when I stopped him, so I called the police. He was just as verbally aggressive in the same way with the police (which was equally out of character -- he'd never even had a speeding ticket before), earning him a trip to the ER. Unfortunately, our city had a perpetual psych bed shortage. He ended up being kept in the ER for less than 24 hours, even though he was very up front about his suicidal intentions. When he returned, friends helped me "babysit" him. He was out of character with them as well, burning some bridges permanently with hostility and weirdness, talking constantly of suicide, sleeping constantly, trying to keep destroying things in the apartment. Friends taking him to the movies seemed to help most. I only interacted with him to make sure he took his medications -- and they did not really help, except to sedate him. He was upset that I was "drugging" him and he talked about hallucinations in front of me and others. He once left and called a friend of mine to discuss how he felt that I should leave our home because he might kill me, which initiated trip #2 to the ER and me staying with friends. All of this was very out of character - people could not believe it and knew something was wrong. He was in the ER for two days the next time, given no new meds, but sobered up. He was horrified about the past week when I came to meet with the social worker to see if he should come home. We have no idea what happened. He does not remember any of this. He has amnesia for the whole week. I believe him - some of the social fallout has seemed totally mysterious to him and I've had to explain that he interacted with that person during that week. The immediate diagnosis was that this was a manic episode, but subsequent psychiatrists have questioned that, given that this happened post-40 and he'd never shown bipolar symptoms before then -- and they've taken him off the lithium and depakote prescribed. No more episodes have happened. On the other end of the spectrum, one of his counselors suggested that tearing up your house and having amnesia is a normal response to stress, which we both find hard to believe. Possibly relevant info: 1. He had a cortisone shot in his foot just days before this happened. 2. He was also put on Tramadol for his foot at the time of his cortisone injection 3. His amnesia is total - he has blacked out the whole week 4. He was taking some sort of SSRI antidepressant at the time, which he also takes now - he is treated for depression 5. He was also just put on Androgel (testosterone cream) by an endocrinologist just prior A few doctors have waved their hands and said, "oh, that must have been a medication interaction!" but, really? It's hard to accept a pat answer about that, for both of us. Do you think so, hive mind? I'd really appreciate only medical speculation about why this might have happened, not inquiries into my reasons for asking or philosophical reflections on whether there's an answer. We're ok with it being history, but we'd really like to have an explanation some day and nobody has ever ventured anything that sounds plausible. throwaway: neurologicalchaos2009@gmail.com

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I find myself in my early 40's with two careers under my belt and an itch to do something entirely different. I have no kids or spouse and no debt. What in the world shall I do? It's an embarrassment of riches and I am paralyzed.I realize how fortunate I am and I give thanks every day that my "problem" involves finding something interesting to do somewhere in the world. I've been on MF since 2005 and I am continually impressed and charmed by the initiative, drive, intelligence, and creativity of MeFites. So many of you have done such interesting and incredible things - I feel guilty considering myself one of your number. But that makes you the best people to ask about such a wide-open situation. My stats: F, early 40's. Ph.D. in biomedical/psychology field. Short stint as professor, followed by 10-year career building a biomedical company that was sold last year. Had a year off work entirely afterward - I needed this time to heal from an abusive marriage and subsequent divorce that occurred just prior to sale of company. I was really a mess for the first time in my life and have lost confidence in myself because I "broke down" and I have not experienced that before. I'm in therapy and getting medical treatment. I have always, always wanted to live abroad and travel the world. I've done the regular traveling - going abroad on trips once or twice a year and a tiny bit of international business travel, but I have never lived ex-US. I'm twitching to sell my worldly goods and go to Thailand or something. Anything. I want to contribute to the world, but not in the sackcloth-and-ashes way - I want to use my passions to be my absolute authentic self and contribute that way, while sating my wanderlust. I know people have done this. I just don't know what my passions are after so many years being what others want. Does that ring true with anyone else? Who am I when you subtract the degrees and the paycheck? I'm everything and nothing. I don't know. Peace corps? I'm a green smoker so not sure I'd qualify. Teaching English? I'm sure I'd love it. I love teaching and was good at it. Global nonprofit? I really like the job ads in the Economist but am never quite what they seek. Should I just go somewhere and bum around until I find "it?" I do need income eventually. I have a small passive income stream that would support me in maybe Thailand but I can't go gallivanting around without making some money. I hated, hated corporate life. But I've never worked with non-banker, non-corporate types, so this characterization may be unfair to those in the tech sector or otherwise. I am abysmal at corporate politics. But I'm a good, hard worker. Just not savvy at the bullshit, if you will. I tend to be really honest, transparent, and can't rah-rah if I don't believe it. So I'm more academic, for sure. I'm sure I have left out important information, so I've created a gmail: serenitytrumpeter@gmail.com. It is based on a book I loved as a child, The Trumpet of the Swan. What should I do? Would YOU hire me? I'm not even sure what I'm asking. I know I'd be valuable, much more valuable than any paycheck, in a situation I felt strongly about. I'm smart. I'm strategic. I see patterns and the big picture really easily. I get along with everyone. I'm easy and very go with the flow. I can work in any setting and don't need the accoutrements of success (corner office, company car, etc.) I love people. I'm great at research and pulling things together. Great at scientific writing. It has been suggested to me I'd be good at a law firm doing sciencey research, maybe patent law type stuff. I've done some freelance writing but it is a big bag of suck, really, unless you are good and savvy (I think user Wolfster has mastered this area). I'm not good at self-promotion or "social networking" or FB or Linkedin. Any ideas? Direction? Exercises? I'm wide open. My thanks to all of you. I've benefited from reading your advice and insights to others on Ask MeFi for years and I hope this is a fun exercise for those of you who like to advise others! Hmmm...other relevant stats: Originally Southern, spiritual/Buddhist, meditator, animal lover, not materialistic, introvert who does well at extroverted things (though they exhaust me), reads voraciously, marathon runner, struggles with alcohol, dances with depression but medicated/therapied, lived all over US, thinks Sweden is a utopia based on news about policies, a few, very strong long-term friends who are like family; no relationship with mentally ill mother and sister, good relationship with father (all family local). Again, for whatever I've left out: serenitytrumpeter at gmail dot com. Thanks for any ideas, comments, direction, bossiness, criticism, inspiration, or anything else.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Where are the best online support groups for spouses of people with alzheimer's disease?My dad is in his 80s and suffering from dementia. He gets out-of-control in public and verbally abuses my mom. There's not much I can do, as I live far away, in a different state. I asked Mom if she had any support, and she said she joined a local group, but most of the members just joked about the "cute" antics their spouses got up to, losing their dentures and whatnot. There didn't seem to be anyone there who could relate to what she is going through. She is on the right track in terms of getting medical and legal support. What she really needs is some social support. If she can't get it where she lives, is there somewhere she can go online? Throwaway: pl3aseh3lpmymom AT gmail

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I had an eye exam by an optometrist at a boutique (non-chain) eye glass shop. This store is known for it's unique selection, and I selected an Oakley frame - with lenses ground by Oakley, and an everyday pair with the lenses ground by their usual lab. Unfortunately, my vision is a little bluury in my left eye with both pairs of glasses, and I feel nauseated when I wear them. I've only been able to wear either pair for a max of 20 minutes before I have to remove them due to the nausea and unsettled feeling.At this point, I've spent almost $800 and I can't wear either pair. What are my options? I'm presuming the optometrist made a mistake with my prescription - will they retest me and get a new lens ground? Do they have any obligation to do this? I'm in Arizona if that helps.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
The title says it all. My Google-fu has failed. How can I get a print of Max Ernt's "Murdering Airplane"?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
‘Free 10 Day Autumn or Winter Break: You may not win a Nobel Prize, but you could help find a cure for the common cold.’

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Computer-brain interface device aims to help blind people 'see' Mark Pappas, who has been blind for 14 years, searched for a packet of sugar on the table in front of him by running his tongue across the 400 electrodes in his mouth... he was able to locate the sugar, a white plastic spoon and a white paper cup that had been placed on a black cloth. Another good article. Short piece with pic of person wearing the device. Pics of the device. http://seewithtongue.info/ Previously

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Mindsuckers: Meet Nature's Nightmare

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm learning Dutch and as my language skills get better I'm looking for websites to visit to get more engaging reading practice than my textbook can offer. (And something more interesting than strict news sites.)I love Metafilter, and would be thrilled to find a site like it that is diverse in subject matter and has intelligent comments, because I find reading comments to be helpful. I also enjoy BoingBoing, and I follow a few blogs on cooking and cycling and the NY Times "Well" blogs, and my husband, who is also studying the language, is a programmer and likes technical sites. So those are our interests. Short-form webcomics would also be nice.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Writer/Actor Justin Elizabeth Sayre hosts The Meeting Of The International Order Of Sodomites - a monthly show honoring LGBTQ figures and idols. The Meeting includes a signature segment "The Rulings Of The Board" featuring Justin as Chairman delivering a caustic and revealing monologue on current issues in gay culture and politics - highlights include "Rufus Wainwright Is An Idiot." "Returning Shame To Gay Culture." "The New Hanky Code." "Resetting The Gay Agenda." "The 20-year Olds Hate Us." and oh so many more. (NSFW language) BONUS: The Buffyverse explained VIA SONG

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
My very best bestie in the whole wide world just had a baby girl. Hooray! The first week of her little life was Very, Very Scary, but the stubborn little nugget fought her way through and is now home and safe and ready to get on with Life and Growing and Becoming a Someone. I've already made a donation in her name to the amazing children's hospital that saved her life, but I'd like to send a physical gift for the little monkey, too. What should I get?Since I no longer live in the same city, and won't get to meet her in person for another few weeks, I'd like to send a gift for the Baby (and her Momma) that is adorable, preferably useful (not just trinket-y), and most importantly acknowledges the miracle that is this little Champion's life. Things that might possibly be relevant: - I'll have to send the gift from the US to Canada - this is my bestie's first child - budget is ~ $50...but willing to splurge a little for the perfect gift - I have no craft-y skills, so cannot knit/crochet/cook/build/fashion out of wood anything - pink/princess-y things are a no-go - geeky/nerdy and/or literary themed gifts are extra awesome Thanks for your ideas, friends!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Here's the last ideo-political-philosophico-temperamental spectrum chart you'll ever need.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
None of this is legal advice. Got it. I'm trying to determine whether legal advice is even worth pursuing. Our house was damaged by a water leakage incident which the homeowner's insurance agreed to fully cover to the tune of about 60K. We were not living in the house at the time, which was actually up for sale. More excitement below the fold!The mortgage lender required a "monitored repair process" which meant that the insurance company's check(s) would go into escrow held by the lender, and disbursed to us in portions, with periodic inspections to be sure the work was coming along per their satisfaction. Partway through, the contractor leading the repairs encountered higher costs, and could not continue until payment could catch up to the extra costs he incurred. A supplemental claim was made to the insurance company, which they swiftly accepted and cut an additional check for 7K. This is where it gets complicated. The check, like all, had to be endorsed by the lender. It was supposed to be returned to us, so we could turn it over to the contractor and he could continue the monitored repair process. But that did not happen. The lender stuffed the supplemental check into the escrow, and continued to wait for us to reach the next milestone without any more money. Which we could not do. Calls and letters went back and forth, but due to what seems like incompetence on their end, we could not get them to release the supplemental 7K back to us. Their phone reps would agree that releasing the check was the right course of action, but it did not actually happen. After almost 2 months of frustration, we gave up and took a loan from a family member to pay up with the contractor. He was then able to proceed to reach the next milestone to satisfy the lender. When we reached the final milestone, the lender released the remaining escrow, which included that 7K they "held" onto all that time. The delays which came as a result of this apparent misbehavior or mistake around the 7K materially affected our ability to sell the house because it remained uninhabitable until the process was complete. Ultimately we accepted a lowball offer on the house to stop bleeding money on it. The delays lost us several months of prime summer selling season, with the lowball offer coming just before winter in a location with a harsh climate where house sales are basically dormant until spring. Thus, we felt somewhat cornered. My question is whether we have any prospect of recourse against the lender for the delay they contributed to. I'm not talking a million bucks, just...anything? I am not even sure where to start if consulting a lawyer makes sense. Or if anyone else has been in this situation, maybe you already know from experience that this isn't worth pursuing? Any thoughts/advice welcome.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
"...there is no 'gay exception' to our U.S. Constitution's guarantees of liberty and equality for all, including the freedom to celebrate love, commitment, and family with the person of one's choice in marriage."

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Mango is back. Aging SNL character gets called up for a video. Warning: assorted stereotypes.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Will having kids soon be out of reach economically for many American families? 'Parenthood should be affordable in this country, but the cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is now a quarter of a million dollars and projected to double by the time today's toddlers reach their teens.' 'For evidence to suggest that middle-class parents might already be getting priced out of parenthood, look to the national birthrate. It fell sharply in the recession but, unlike in previous economic rebounds, has continued to drop. This makes sense in financial context, given that most families haven't seen their incomes grow since the recovery began and the median net worth of households has actually fallen below what it was 15 years ago. Most families today don't have enough saved to meet basic needs for three months, let alone save for college or retirement.' 'In terms of their kids' health, families increasingly have to choose between treating their children's medical needs and paying household bills. Despite gains in the percentage of children with health insurance, per capita medical spending on kids has quietly ballooned faster than for any other age group, with families paying more for premiums and steeper out-of-pocket expenses.' 'Higher-income families spend six times more than working-class families on child care and educational resources, such as high-quality day care, summer camps, computers and private schools, which are increasingly indispensable investments in long-term success. This spending inequity has tripled over the last four decades and is only accelerating, which is likely to widen the achievement gap, creating a vicious cycle.'

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
"Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic" is an official publication by the Centers for Disease Control.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Top hat at the cleaners? Opera glasses broke? Lost your box? Watch The Metropolitan Opera, the Bavarian State Opera (Deutsch, English) Vienna State Opera, or concerts from the Berlin Philharmonic and a variety of options from medici.tv and The Young Vic, The Globe, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and more. Many of these are subscription of pay-as-you-go, as outlined in An Opera Lover Tests Streaming Services. Free options include WFMT's online broadcast, Saturdays at noon, EST. Also, La Monnaie's 2014 season, that Bavarian State Opera's 2014 season, the IU Jacobs School of Music, PBS's Great Performances. A large list of opera on internet radio collected here by operacast

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
What is it called when a word (or short phrase) is written in such a way that when reading it one way it says one thing, but then when you flip it upside down it reads something else (or even maybe the same thing)? The "reads different upside" is based upon how it is written (ie. how the letters are formed, creative scripting and connecting of letters, etc), not the letters (ie. the letter "O" reads the same upside down as right side up). I would love to have a ton of examples of this type of thing.For the record, I am NOT talking about palindromes or words that read different when in a mirror.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Help me identify a vaguely remembered TV movie from the late 1980s.I think I only saw a few minutes of this movie, but I've always wanted to track it down and see the rest. Here's what I remember: - This was a TV movie that (if my memory serves me) aired in the late 1980s, although it might have aired in the early eighties or early nineties. - It was a period piece set in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century, say about 1880. - Here's what happened in the few minutes I saw. A young, attractive blonde woman is living with friends or relatives and is told that the house that she owns is going to be made ready for her to live in on her own. She makes a pretense of being pleased to hear this news but is not. She secretly visits the house on her own late that night carrying a kerosene lamp, looks quietly about her at the dilapidated parlour, and then flings her lamp at a wall, which of course sets the place on fire. She then runs out of the house and back to wherever it is she's staying. However, a young, handsome man is standing nearby behind some trees and sees both the fire begin and the young woman as she scurries away. The next morning the young woman is breakfasting with whomever she's staying with when the young man arrives with the news that her house has most unfortunately burned to the ground the previous night. The young woman proceeds to faint quite dramatically, which event is received with great concern by the household and a sardonic half smile by the young man. She recovers quickly and is told by the kind older man who heads up the household that of course she must continue to stay with them now that she has no home of her own, which offer she accepts with becoming surprise and gratitude. There's another scene I remember in which she is outside gathering flowers and happens to see, via an open window, a woman in a negligee and a man embracing and laughing in an unmistakably lover-like way, and she is told by the same young man that the woman in the window is the man's mistress and that he will be marrying her once he has officially come out of mourning for his first wife. Ring any bells?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
10 year-old is handed a guitar, shrugs off the blues

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
So I'm having serious trouble finding what I thought was a totally common style of pants. What I want are men's slim fit chinos that A) do not "sit below the waist"/are not "low-rise," so you can actually tuck a dress shirt into them properly, AND B) don't have the permanent creases on the legs. I'm NOT talking about pleats: I'm talking about the permanent creases that run the entire front and back lengths of the leg, which give the pants kind of a pointy look to them (it's dressier). I've found pants that satisfy A but not B, and pants that satisfy B but not A. Thanks everyone.Here's where I've looked so far: Macy's Nordstom J Crew Jos. A Bank Banana Republic Gap Abercrombie Lacoste L.L. Bean Brooks Brothers

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
"Coming Out Simulator" by Nicky Case

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