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How Microsoft's tricky new Windows 10 pop-up deceives you into upgrading | PCWorld

They've trained you to click the X to get rid of the upgrade popup, but now, clicking the X means "go ahead and upgrade"!

Meanwhile, Steve Gibson has developed a simple program to allow you to block the Windows 10 upgrade easily and permanently, and also to get rid of the gigabytes of update files Microsoft may have downloaded to your machine. Never10

How Do My Unbaptized Children Relate to the New-Covenant Promises? | Desiring God

"Now, it is just as impossible, therefore, for a paedobaptist parent to be sure that his child is elect as it is for a Baptist parent. Paedobaptists may feel better about themselves by labeling the child a covenant member, but those children have no better standing before God than the children of Baptists....

"1) We view them as gifts of God, blessings of God, to be loved and served (Psalm 127:3).

"2) We view them as responsibilities that we have been given by God to bring up in the teaching and discipline of the Lord. That is, we are to lavish them with the Word of God and with love and with wisdom morning, noon, and night.

"3) We view them as objects of daily mercies in prayer in the hope that God would exercise his saving sovereign grace in their lives.

"4) We view them as little ones before whom God has charged us to rejoice so that they can see what it is like to taste that the Lord is good.

"5) Finally, we view them as little pilgrims in hope on the way to faith, woven into the fabric of relationships in the family and the church. And we have nothing to be ashamed of in this relationship with our children. It is every bit as hopeful for a good outcome of eternal covenant membership as any other way of viewing children."

San Francisco/NorCal Commuter Rail, Crayon Edition | Theodore Ditsek

A fantasy map of commuter rail around the Bay Area, based on actual rail right-of-ways, many of which were in use before World War II as interurban track. Based in part on this composite map showing Bay Area rail service in 1937.

Donald Trump Really Doesn't Want Me to Tell You This, but ... | Vanity Fair

"I spent a long, awkward weekend with Donald Trump in November 1996, an experience I feel confident neither of us would like to repeat.

"He was like one of those characters in an 18th-century comedy meant to embody a particular flavor of human folly. Trump struck me as adolescent, hilariously ostentatious, arbitrary, unkind, profane, dishonest, loudly opinionated, and consistently wrong. He remains the most vain man I have ever met. And he was trying to make a good impression....

"I was prepared to like him as I boarded his black 727 at La Guardia for the flight to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida home--prepared to discover that his over-the-top public persona was a clever pose. That underneath was an ironic wit, an ordinary but clever guy. But no. With Trump, what you see is what you get. His behavior was cringe-worthy. He showed off the gilded interior of his plane--calling me over to inspect a Renoir on its walls, beckoning me to lean in closely to see . . . what? The luminosity of the brush strokes? The masterly use of color? No. The signature. 'Worth $10 million,' he told me. Time after time the stories he told me didn't check out, from Michael Jackson's romantic weekend at Mar-a-Lago with his then wife Lisa Marie Presley (they stayed at opposite ends of the estate) to the rug in one bedroom he said was designed by Walt Disney when he was 18 (it wasn't) to the strength of his marriage to Maples (they would split months later)....

"What was clear was how fast and far one could fall from favor. The trip from 'genius' to 'idiot' was a flash.... I watched as Trump strutted around the beautifully groomed clay tennis courts on his estate, managed by noted tennis pro Anthony Boulle. The courts had been prepped meticulously for a full day of scheduled matches. Trump took exception to the design of the spaces between courts. In particular, he didn't like a small metal box--a pump and cooler for the water fountain alongside--which he thought looked ugly. He first questioned its placement, then crudely disparaged it, then kicked the box, which didn't budge, and then stooped--red-faced and fuming--to tear it loose from its moorings, rupturing a water line and sending a geyser to soak the courts. Boulle looked horrified, a weekend of tennis abruptly drowned. Catching a glimpse of me watching, Trump grimaced."

The meaningless Donald Trump Supreme Court list - The Washington Post

"I think the list is meaningless for that. First, Trump's press release does not commit to choosing from this list. Rather, it states: 'The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.' So Trump has a 'plan' to use the list as a 'guide.' That's nice, but it's not a commitment to choosing from the list....

"Say what you want about Trump, but he is more than willing to change his mind when new circumstances arise. And actually being elected would count as a changed circumstance. You can imagine President Trump's tweet when he explains why he didn't pick from his list: 'List of 11 was ideal, but had to compromise with Senate. My nephew John Trump is smart. Be a great judge!'

"Finally, if you take the list seriously, it includes a very wide mix of judges. It includes moderates, conservatives and libertarians. It includes those more committed to judicial restraint and those more committed to judicial activism. It includes some distinguished judges and some with less of a national reputation. I assume Trump is counting on conservative and libertarian lawyers to look at the list, see at least one person they like, and decide to support Trump and just hope for the best. But if that happens, I think it will reflect wishful thinking rather than sound judgment."

GALTON AND SIMPSON: GRUMPY OLD MEN? | Culture | The Independent

A 1996 interview with the creators of Hancock's Half-Hour and Steptoe and Son, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson:

"Why do they still appeal to generations born long after they stopped being made? 'Without getting portentous,' Simpson observes, 'the characters we write are not of any particular era. Their attitudes have been around for 2,000 years. It's about people aspiring to better themselves - and that's not just particular to the 1960s. The Hancock character is there in Dickens. People can still identify with these characters, they're recognisable.'...

"Galton, like a well-drilled double-act partner should, takes up the story. 'If there's any secret, it lies in the characters. In those domestic sitcoms, there are no characters, they're all just stereotypes. Ab Fab and Father Ted have wonderful characters - and that's half the battle.'

"'Laughs come from the actions between the characters,' Simpson adds. 'You don't need a joke to get a laugh; things become funny because you know the characters. When we started, people couldn't understand that you could write a half-hour comedy without gags.'"

National Review Online | Print | Ramesh Ponnuru | Who Caused Trump?

"Along with the party's donors, most Republican officials moved in the blink of an eye from thinking that it was unnecessary to act against Trump because it was too early in the primaries to thinking it was futile to act against him because it was too late. A lot of anti-Trump commentary at the start of the race proceeded from the assumption that such an obviously flawed nominee would be unacceptable to the party. But the party's leaders gave its voters no signal that Trump was unacceptable.

"Some of them did worse. Some anti-Trump conservatives have been angry at Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus for urging Republicans to back Trump. But that's the chairman's job; if he can't say that in good conscience about the party's presidential nominee, he should resign. What he didn't have to do was get all the presidential candidates to take a pledge to support the nominee. That pledge was not intended to help Trump, but rather to make it harder for him to run as a third-party candidate if he lost. Its effect was to handicap Trump's rivals, since the strongest arguments against him concern his unfitness for office. The RNC also did what it could to make the primaries more friendly to front-runners; these efforts, too, ended up helping a candidate it didn't expect.

"The media, from the start of the campaign, gave Trump far more coverage than any of the other candidates. (Actually, the media did that from before the start, since they had already made him a celebrity.) He has been good for ratings. But it's the conservative end of the media, from Fox News to many radio talk-show hosts, that really helped him. They did more than give him a hearing: They made endless excuses for him, and they ignored stories that might hurt him."

The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today |

Jonathan Haidt calls attention to a 1969 letter from Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal, to Yale Law School Dean Lewis Pollack, warning that disregarding academic qualifications in favor of racial quotas would would fail to accomplish the noble aim of more underrepresented minorities in the highest levels of the legal profession. Haidt says that Fleming's letter was prophetic, and we see its fulfillment on today's college campuses.

"The immediate damage to the standards of Yale Law School needs no elaboration. But beyond this, it seems to me the admission policy adopted by the Law School faculty will serve to perpetuate the very ideas and prejudices it is designed to combat. If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students. Such a pairing in the same school of the brightest white students in the country with black students of mediocre academic qualifications is social experiment with loaded dice and a stacked deck. The faculty can talk around the clock about disadvantaged background, and it can excuse inferior performance because of poverty, environment, inadequate cultural tradition, lack of educational opportunity, etc. The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.

"No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands-the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards....

"The American creed, one that Yale has proudly espoused, holds that an American should be judged as an individual and not as a member of a group. To me it seems axiomatic that a system which ignores this creed and introduces the factor of race in the selection of students for a professional school is inherently malignant, no matter how high-minded the purpose nor how benign the motives of those making the selection....

"The present policy of admitting students on two bases and thereafter purporting to judge their performance on one basis is a highly explosive sociological experiment almost certain to achieve undesirable results."

Tuppence over the rope

Vagrancy in old England: If you couldn't afford sixpence for a bed in a doss house, you could sleep sitting up, leaning over a rope, for a mere two pennies. At dawn the ropes would be untied to encourage the patrons to move along. References to this practice crop up in literature and pop culture. The practice is depicted in an episode of Hancock's Half-Hour, implying that it still happened in 1957.

Casebook: The Twopenny hangover -- sleeping over a rope

George Orwell, "Down and Out in London and Paris": "This comes a little higher than the Embankment. At the Twopenny Hangover, the lodgers sit in a row on a bench; there is a rope in front of them, and they lean on this as though leaning over a fence. A man, humorously called the valet, cuts the rope at five in the morning."

Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers: "'And pray, Sam, what is the twopenny rope?' inquired Mr. Pickwick. 'The twopenny rope, sir,' replied Mr. Weller, 'is just a cheap lodgin' house, where the beds is twopence a night.' 'What do they call a bed a rope for?' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Bless your innocence, sir, that ain't it,' replied Sam. 'Ven the lady and gen'l'm'n as keeps the hot-el first begun business, they used to make the beds on the floor; but this wouldn't do at no price, 'cos instead o' taking a moderate twopenn'orth o' sleep, the lodgers used to lie there half the day. So now they has two ropes, 'bout six foot apart, and three from the floor, which goes right down the room; and the beds are made of slips of coarse sacking, stretched across 'em.' 'Well,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Well,' said Mr. Weller, 'the adwantage o' the plan's hobvious. At six o'clock every mornin' they let's go the ropes at one end, and down falls the lodgers. Consequence is, that being thoroughly waked, they get up wery quietly, and walk away!'"

Secret Leeds: Flophouses in Leeds

Includes lyrics to the song "Tuppence on the Rope," lyrics by Paul Graney and tune by Gary and Vera Aspey, from the album Gary and Vera Aspey, From the North Topic LP, 12TS255 [1975]

Note on the record sleeve: "During the depression of the 1930s, thousands of unemployed men were obliged to take to the roads. At this time, attached to every parish workhouse was a casual ward or 'spike' which gave shelter for one night, after which the tramp would have to move on to the next town. In exchange for a meal of cocoa and bread and scrape (margarine), he was expected to work for a few hours. Because of this, he often found there was too little time to reach the next spike and so, unless he slept under a hedge or in a barn, he could try to beg a few coppers to go into a dosshouse and obtain a bed for about sixpence. If he failed to raise this sum, he could sleep on the rope for tuppence or, in some places, a penny. The rope was stretched across the width of the room and a man could hang with his arms over it for support. It was customary to untie the rope in the morning, and the whole row of men would collapse to the ground."

Page 2 includes a description of a "spike" or "vagrant ward" -- you'd get fed, have a bath, have your clothes fumigated, get some sleep out of the weather, then do a few hours work, and then be told to move on to the next town. You couldn't return to the same spike within 30 days.

Slate: What Seth Stevenson learned at the Wendelstedt School for Umpires.

Long ago, between college and fatherhood, I was obsessed with minor-league baseball and historic ballparks, seeing games in Bradenton and Durham, Dunedin and Melbourne, Little Rock and St. Catherines, Wilmington and Greensboro. After a year or so of cubicle life, I was entranced by Harry Wendlestedt's ad in the back of The Sporting News and daydreamed about calling balls and strikes in a Pioneer League game under a cool and cloudless Big Sky. I never took the plunge, but Seth Stevenson did, and wrote about it for Slate:

"I first visited the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires as a 24-year-old Newsweek reporter back in January 2000. I'd begged my editor to send me because I'd been floored by the opportunity the school promised: Take a five-week course and, if you finish around the top 20 percent of your class, get hired straight into the minor leagues--calling outs and balks and ground-rule doubles in small-town ballparks across the country. Could it really be that simple to launch a career in the national pastime? ...

"I observed the school for a couple of days, touring the facilities in Daytona Beach, Florida, and writing a short squib for Newsweek's front section. It wasn't nearly enough. As I watched those students in their dorky, pressed-and-creased umpire slacks, jogging across infields and yelling stuff, and making weirdly specific arm gestures, I yearned to don the protective equipment and get behind the plate myself. Heck, what if I was a natural?...

"Because authority depends on the perceptions of those who are subject to it, umpires are obsessed with maintaining a commanding presence. Our voices were to be loud, thick, and monotone, our manner laconic, our faces untroubled. We were expected to have our clothes clean, ironed, squared away. We were directed to a local tailor who would hem our pants. A surprising amount of discussion centered on whether to tuck our warm-up windbreakers into our waistbands."

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