Monday Links to Stuff

  1. The LA Times wrote an article about me! Or at least me considered as a demographic phenomenon:

    Iowa suffers from an alarming brain drain: It loses more of its young, single, well-educated adults than any state except North Dakota. In search of bigger cities, hipper crowds and warmer weather, young Iowans flee in such numbers that demographers predict the state will face a drastic labor shortage within two decades.

    Desperate to keep the state’s future from bolting, the Republican leadership in the state Senate is proposing trying to entice young adults to stick around by abolishing the state income tax for everyone under 30.
    Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, has tried […] holding cocktail parties for former Iowans living in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. He boasts of recruiting more than 1,000 people back to the state in four years of aggressive promotion.

    But that’s not enough to offset Iowa’s losses.

    L.A.’s allotment of weather and hipsters is lovely, for sure, but if they had consulted me for the article, they would’ve mentioned the fact that Iowa’s public universities are being systematically torn to shreds by the same people proposing this tax cut. Ditto public arts funding. Ditto public library funding.

    Also there aren’t any earthquakes.

    (link via the shiny new LA Times Addict, which in turn was off BoingBoing)

  2. If Language Log says it, it must be true: nerds are funny after all! At least for nerdy values of “funny”:

    My reasoning, such as it was, involved several steps, or at least the interaction of several vague ideas. First, the phrase ” for values of * that” indexes a subculture that includes programmers as well as mathematicians and others. Second, Michael Silverstein has already used the word metapragmatic to refer to folk reasoning about (reasoning about) meaning in context (in the phrase “metapragmatic ideology”, which also sounds good, though I couldn’t figure out how to use it in the space and time available). Finally, the originally cited remark was based on treating the interpretation of the word neat as if it were the instantiation of a variable. (I presume, FWIW, that it was in response to some remark like “That was a neat party last night!”).
    […] I admit that it’s not normal to limit the instantiations of a variable to the contextual interpretations of a word — but the young woman overheard on Fulton St. was using the language of mathematics to express an insight about an aspect of her life not defined by any prior formalism. Our colleagues in the humanities call this a “metaphor”, or sometimes a “joke”.

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