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Ralph Haygood

Ralph Haygood

I'm a software developer, biologist, and participant/observer of human evolution/devolution.

On Book Tells You What Money Is

I'm well aware of what the people with all the cash are doing to me and most of the rest of us. I'm also well aware that such political and economic arrangements generally don't change for the better in the normal course of events. Nonetheless, they do tend to change eventually. It's happened many times throughout history, and I've no doubt it will happen again. When it does, however, I'd prefer to be somewhere else.

Posted on September 13, 2014 at 2:15 am 0

On Anniversary Commemorated

Words rarely fail me, but all this is too depressing for words.

Posted on September 13, 2014 at 2:04 am 0

On Take Time

No comment.

Posted on September 7, 2014 at 5:12 am 0

On Family Purged

"Fred Ryan, the founding President and CEO of Politico and former Reagan chief of staff": This confirms what I suspected when Bezos bought the Post. As Awl Pal (TM) Alex Pareene noted at the time, "The rich don't buy newspapers to...make money. They buy them to get influence." (http://bit.ly/13XYqgz) Normal people find Politico's obsession with who's up/down/in/out in DC weird and repulsive, and the Wisdom and Humor of the Great Prevaricator don't have much resonance among people who grew up with the diminished expectations he did so much to bring about. So this is unlikely to bolster the paper's sagging fortunes outside its home town. But! It will delight DC's vain old People Who Matter and their sycophantic underlings.

Posted on September 7, 2014 at 3:35 am 0

On These Boots Are Made for Making

"You fuck all the companies. Because you're doing good shoes. That's it. It's called a skill.": I understand the appeal. I have various skills myself, attested by advanced degrees from august institutions, but none of them make much sense outside the context of a society with an elaborate division of labor. There are many of us these days, idiot savants for whom the idea of making our own shoes or any other practical necessity of our lives is remarkably attractive.

Posted on September 7, 2014 at 2:53 am 0

On Escape Artist Tells All

@whizz_dumb: My smallish, obscure city - which shall remain nameless - has been gushed over in the New York Times at least twice this year. It's making me nervous.

Posted on September 7, 2014 at 2:15 am 0

On Escape Artist Tells All

@KarenUhOh: I grew up in LA. I don't miss it. I've spent time in NYC. I don't need it.

Posted on September 7, 2014 at 2:12 am 0

On The Fall of the Humanities and the Tyranny of Recommendation Letters: A Novel and a Chat

Once upon a time, I was a postdoc who decided not to become an ass prof, for a number of reasons including the realization that if I did, my colleagues would undoubtedly consider me a loose cannon because, for example, I would refuse to pay the slightest attention to letters of recommendation (on behalf of prospective grad students, faculty members, etc.). I'm a biologist, but rest assured, they're generally as absurd and tedious in the sciences as in the humanities.

Posted on August 23, 2014 at 12:09 am 0

On Worst Man: I'm the Friend You Didn't Invite to Your Wedding

@alicesherman: My domestic partner of 14 years and I agree that the only thing that tempts us to get married is the excuse to throw a big party for as many of our friends as possible. Of course, we could skip getting married and throw a party anyway, but many of our friends probably wouldn't come from far away "just" for a party. It's sad.

Posted on August 17, 2014 at 1:43 am 0

On "Sketch" Is a Lie

"and what are comments threads but catnip to those most eager to judge most harshly, and most unfairly?": Oh come now, we're not that bad, are we?

I think I agree with Biddle. The notion of consulting an app to find out where I might be in danger from "sketchy" characters strikes me as comically preposterous. I hope I'm dead before my instincts get that dull.

"'I live in New York now,' the doomed entrepreneur - a Los Angeles native who now lives in the West Village - added 'with a laugh.' 'So almost nothing's sketchy to me anymore.'": This too strikes me as comically preposterous. I too am a Los Angeles native. As it happens, I spent several days in NYC last month, my first extended stay there after years of just passing through on my way elsewhere. And I walked for many hours and miles all over Manhattan from Central Park south and for a day over in Brooklyn. What struck me most forcefully was just how un-sketchy practically everywhere I went was. It's a far cry from the NYC of 1970s movies like "The French connection" and TV shows like "Kojak". That NYC, fairly drenched in sketchiness, held a certain fascination for me as a middle-class child in suburban LA; it seemed a lot more interesting, albeit a lot more dangerous, than my bland environs of tract houses, strip malls, and freeways. I'd heard the city's greatly changed, and sure enough, as I walked around it, parts of it felt almost Disneyfied to me. I was left with the impression that a great tsunami of money has washed over the city, drowning nearly all the sketchiness and probably more than a little of the liveliness, although it's still a fairly lively place.

Posted on August 15, 2014 at 4:00 am 1