This is seriously cool*--amphibious houses, that rise and fall with water levels in the event of flooding. A good-sized--and growing--chunk of the Netherlands is under sea level. Problems are kept in check by a system of canals, pumps, and dykes (must not repeat bad Bernie Rhodenbarr joke, must not repeat... ) and, until now, limiting construction in flood zones. They're now testing waterproof home designs, and more power to them. (Link via Arts & Letters Daily)
*Note: Auntie Suzanne is a person of questionable coolness who tends to equate cleverness with coolness.
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Seriously NOT cool (see above): the My Scene Bling Bling Barbie. Why not just call it Streetcorner Barbie and tattoo her price list on her tail, like that Yale girl from the limerick?
The saddest thing here is that this is obviously another attempt to make Barbie look more like the Bratz dolls, which, as I understand it, are supposed to represent underage girls. This kind of thing makes you wonder who won the sexual revolution, women or dirty old men.
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As I've brought up the subject of immodest dress--i.e., I've mentioned contemporary Barbies--here's the two best articles on modest dress I've ever read: Don't Wear That Mini to Mass and Drawing a Hemline, both by Benjamin D. Wiker. The former, obviously, is about immodest dress in church, and the latter is mainly about immodest clothes on campus.
Full disclosure (pun intended): Although I agree with Wiker's points, I did get a kick out of "Berkeley Guy" back when he was doing his thing. But then I don't find nudity offensive, just immodest clothes.
Unfortunately, some of what's touted as modest clothing by some American Christians is aesthetically offensive--all shapeless jumpers and the most dowdy dresses you've ever seen (really, the Amish are more stylishly and flatteringly attired, which is odd as some of it seems to be an attempt to attempt to imitate the Amish)--and seems to be motivated more by an idea that the body is bad than by an idea that it is too precious to share with everyone who walks by. For some talk about beauty and modesty, see Regina Schmiedicke's article, Modesty and Beauty--The Lost Connection; this is probably the third best article on modest dress I've read, although do read this response to it.
FWIW, Schmiedicke's point about how, historically, people of higher status have worn more clothes than low-status people is accurate. It has lasted into modern times. In the early 1980s, the novelist and literature professor Alison Lurie published a fascinating book on clothing and how what people wear reveals social status and attitudes. (I've often thought it would make good reading for fantasy writers who are designing their world's clothing.) She talked about well-off people wearing more clothing--as well as better quality clothing and/or harder-to-clean clothing--as a probably unconscious sign of wealth, even in the '80s. I think it still holds true even today, when many women of all socio-economic classes are walking around skimpily dressed.
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Yet another in the long list of lawsuits I wouldn't have filed: an Oregon woman is suing her doctor and his clinic (presumably they have more money than he does personally) because the doctor convinced the woman that the way to cure her lower back pain was to have sex with him. Apparently more than one time, as the article mentions "treatments".
I wonder if she's any relation to that woman a while back who complained to her state's medical board because her doctor told her she was too fat and needed to lose weight. Stupidity/gullibility and whiny complaining are often related.
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Over the past year or two, there have been so many news stories about policemen being called on elementary school children that when I drove by the local elementary school last winter and saw a cop car in front I thought, "Oh, some little girl must have brought non-safety scissors to school."
Yesterday I saw a news story about cops being called to break up a fight between two six year-olds fighting over a pacifier. But this time I actually felt some sympathy with the caller (in this case, the mother of one of the boys, rather than a school official), when I heard why she called: she said she didn't want her son's school to accuse her of child abuse when they saw the marks on his face. Given the excessive nosiness of schools nowadays and the hell that a false accusation of child abuse could make of your life, I can kind of see it. But that just shows another set of problems.
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This isn't on the web (except as it relates to some opinion pieces I've read on government waste and "compassionate conservatism", etc.) but last week someone told me my husband and I should have filed for the hurricane-related food stamps. I pointed out that we didn't need them. "But you still should have filed, you could get up to $300 worth."
I again pointed out that we didn't need them, as we hadn't lost much food and could afford to buy food. The person didn't seem to get what I was saying and kept saying it was for anyone who'd lost food. "But I didn't lose much, I was careful to use up as much of the perishables as I could before I started using our non-perishables, and I figure what we lost is just a consequence of the risk we take living in a hurricane-prone area, and it's not as if we can't afford to buy more."
I never did get through, but then again I bit my tongue (as a politely brought up Southern girl, I do that a lot) and didn't point out that the government doesn't owe support to people who can help themselves, because I was afraid the person I was talking to might have applied for them and I didn't want to be offensive. But the whole thing was shocking to me, because it was coming from someone I wouldn't have expected to have such an attitude. It made me worry about how many other people are helping themselves to disaster relief they don't need.