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Friday, August 29, 2014

Why You Feel Weirdly Depressed on Labor Day

Why You Feel Weirdly Depressed on Labor Day


Why You Feel Weirdly Depressed on Labor Day

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Come, children, time to don your traditional back-to-school scowl, for it’s Labor Day weekend! Time to wear fake mustaches while dressing up like early labor leaders Matthew MacGuire and Peter J. McGuire, both credited with suggesting the holiday in 1882. Time to sing hymns in honor of the workers who perished in the Pullman Strike in 1894. And don’t forget to leave a quarter under your pillow for the Union Dues Fairy to collect!

Just kidding, we all know what Labor Day is really about: mourning all the fun stuff you didn’t get a chance to this summer. Most holidays offer up equal doses of delight and disappointment (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Christmas) but on Labor Day, that balance is especially stark: whatever summer fun you’ve had by now is pretty much all you’re gonna get.

And that’s terrifying, because, let’s face it: the “last” barbecue of the summer is probably also only your second. You might be drinking a freshly made mojito, but it’s the first one you’ve had in years. Your bikini body definitely didn’t happen, and that vodka-soaked watermelon probably never will. You never even downloaded Anna Karenina, let alone finish reading it.

Summer, like everything else that glitters, is never as golden as we think. On Memorial Day we envisioned three months of bliss, punctuated by the satisfying “clucks” of opening beer cans. We never really let go of the school-age idea that “summer” is a break from real life, which it’s why it’s depressing to look back and see that life has been going on like usual this whole time. Even when we’re older and have jobs and responsibilities, it’s hard to shake the idea that we should have this time off.

So the idea of “summer” as a season-long vacation is so deeply ingrained that we can’t believe it’s not real — instead, we convince ourselves it’s just happening somewhere else to someone else. Cue the Labor Day ennui: we have somehow “missed out” on the summer that everyone else was having! Where was I this whole time? Just at work like a total chump? During the summer? Quick, hand me that moldy beach towel so I can wipe my tears. It’s a collective entitlement to summer relaxation that morphs into a shared melancholy when we think we’ve been robbed. Cue the vacant stares over Labor Day hot dogs, the heavy drinking of pale ale, the furious application of sunscreen from a still-full tube.

Because midway through the Labor Day tailspin, it occurs to us that it’s not just summer we’ve missed, but youth. Having a summer break is the privilege of being young, and missing one means you’re officially a grown-up.

Then again, it could help to remember that summer vacations of the days of yore were probably not all they’re cracked up to be. You probably had to get a crappy job or go to a day camp. You couldn’t drive yourself to the beach yet, or have sex, or drink, or make any decisions of your own. If you were in college you could do those things, but you also had other stuff to worry about, like where to get weed or how to get a job or whether your high school friends still liked you. In other words, even back when you had a summer vacation, you probably thought someone else had a better one.

So, cheer up! No need to mourn for summertime lost. And look on the bright side: you can still get affordable office supplies at the Staples Back to School center, for all the work you’ll be doing in the coming year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See What the Saved By the Bell Actors Have Been Up To

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Before the Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story premiers on Lifetime and ruins your memories of Bayside High School, let’s take some time to remember the cast.

The six biggest co-stars became household names at a young age in the late 80s and early 90s, but that isn’t always a recipe for later success. From staring in crime dramas to hosting The X-Factor, the Saved by the Bell kids managed to get pretty good jobs out of school . . . except Screech.

Here’s what the Saved by the Bell crew has been up to since they left Bayside.

 

Pentagon: Iraq Operations Costing U.S. More Than $7.5 Million A Day

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 11:21 AM PDT

The U.S. air and advisory campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq is costing American taxpayers more than $7.5 million per day, the Pentagon said Friday.

According to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, the daily cost of the effort, which has included airstrikes and sending American military advisors to assist the Iraqi military on the ground, has hit $7.5 million on average, but Kirby added that the daily cost in recent weeks has been higher.

“So as you might imagine, it didn't start out at $7.5 million per day. It's been—as our [operational tempo] and as our activities have intensified, so too has the cost,” Kirby told reporters, offering the government’s first official assessment of the cost of the operation.

U.S. ground advisors were ordered into Iraq in June, while U.S. Central Command began airstrikes against ISIS targets as well as humanitarian drops to assist encircled Iraqi minorities in early August. CENTCOM announced Friday that it had conducted four airstrikes in the vicinity of the critical Mosul Dam on Friday, bringing the total number of strikes since August 8 to 110.

Kirby said the Pentagon continues to believe it will be able to fund the operations through the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30 using its existing resources.

The dollar figure comes as the Pentagon is drawing up plans to expand the military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and potentially into Syria following the killing of American journalist James Foley more than a week ago. President Barack Obama said Thursday that no decision on strikes in Syria is imminent, but said he may have to ask Congress to provide additional funding for the campaign against ISIS for the next fiscal year.

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart: Deadly Incident Will ‘Affect My Life Forever’

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 11:12 AM PDT

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart said Friday he remains heartbroken after he hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward in a racing crash three weeks ago. The comments come as Stewart, a champion driver, prepares to race again for the first time since the tragedy.

“I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way,” Stewart said. “It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates and I miss being back in the race car and I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

The incident, which occurred in a sprint car race in upstate New York earlier this month, shocked the racing world. Stewart’s car struck 20-year-old Kevin Ward, Jr. as Ward walked on the tarmac of the race track, apparently trying to flag down Stewart after a collision between the two drivers.

Stewart did not take questions at the Friday press conference, citing an ongoing police investigation of the incident.

 

Watch NASA Test These 3D-Printed Rocket Parts

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 11:01 AM PDT

If you thought the coolest application of a 3-D printer was creating a miniature model of yourself to show to your friends, then NASA has just proven you wrong.

Two 3-D printed rocket injectors were recently successfully tested by NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. These powerful injectors mix liquid nitrogen and hydrogen to produce a combustion that can reach temperatures over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit and generate over 20,000 pounds of thrust.

It sounds simple enough — the injectors’ design was entered into a 3-D printer’s computer, and the printer then built each part through a process known as selective laser melting.

“We wanted to go a step beyond just testing an injector and demonstrate how 3-D printing could revolutionize rocket designs,” said Chris Singer, director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate.

With conventional manufacturing methods, the rocket injectors would require the creation and assembly of 163 individual pieces; with the 3-D printer, only 2 pieces were necessary. This unique method not only saved scientists and engineers time and money, it is also less likely to fail than the traditionally-built piece.

Review: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 10:57 AM PDT

Documentarian Ken Burns issues another sprawling American ­story — 14 hours over seven episodes — this time exploring the legacies of the Roosevelts. Past histories of the family have almost always focused on Presidents (and distant cousins) Theodore and Franklin Delano, treating Eleanor (who was Teddy's niece) and her activism as a sidelight. But Burns elevates the First Lady's skillful promotion of social reform, putting it on equal footing as he takes on more than a century of politics and global change, from Teddy's birth in 1858 to Eleanor's death in 1962.

Stewart Says Ward’s Death Will Affect Him Forever

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 10:53 AM PDT

(HAMPTON, Ga.) — Speaking quietly and with a trembling voice, NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart said Friday that the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will “affect my life forever” as he returned to the track for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint-car race in New York three weeks ago.

“I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way,” Stewart said. “It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates and I miss being back in the race car and I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

Stewart said he could not answer questions about the incident — it remains under police investigation — and he left the news conference after reading a short statement. Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood said it was “100 percent” Stewart’s decision to race and that his 43-year-old driver was “emotional” but ready to go on Sunday night in Atlanta.

The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since his car hit Ward at an Aug. 9 sprint car event in upstate New York. Stewart pulled out of the race at Watkins Glen the next morning, then skipped races at Michigan and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Stewart, who was described by police as “visibly shaken” the night of Ward’s death, has been in seclusion ever since. Stewart’s only comment since the crash was a statement the day after the crash in which he said “there aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.”

“Tony has sent the family flowers and a card around the services, aside from that, he has been very respectful of their time to grieve,” Frood said. “It is very important to Tony to spend time with the family … but is being respectful.”

Ward had climbed from his car after it had spun while racing for position with Stewart. The 20-year-old walked down onto the racing surface waving his arms in an apparent attempt to confront Stewart.

Authorities said the first car to pass Ward had to swerve to miss hitting him. The front of Stewart’s car then appeared to clear Ward, but Ward was struck by the right rear tire and hurtled through the air. He died of blunt force trauma.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero has said investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart. Povero said Thursday the investigation is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the NASCAR superstar will move forward with his career and attempt to salvage his season.

NASCAR released a statement saying that Stewart was eligible to return because he “has received all necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities.” NASCAR said it would have no further comment until President Mike Helton speaks Friday afternoon.

Stewart, who has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts, is one of the biggest stars in the garage. His peers have been protective of him as questions emerged in the aftermath of the crash, and it pained them that Stewart was grieving in private and had cut off communication with so many of them.

“Great to have Smoke back at the track,” tweeted Watkins Glen winner AJ Allmendinger.

“Glad to have my boss and my friend back at the track this weekend. #14 #SmokeWillRise,” said Tony Gibson, Danica Patrick’s crew chief at SHR.

NASCAR rules state a driver must attempt to either qualify or race the car in every points-paying event to be eligible for Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, unless a waiver is granted. There was no immediate word if NASCAR would grant that waiver.

Since Ward’s death, NASCAR has announced a rule that prohibits drivers from exiting from a crashed or disabled vehicle — unless it is on fire — until safety personnel arrive. Last week, Denny Hamlin crashed while leading at Bristol and stayed in his car until safety personnel arrived.

But Hamlin then exited his vehicle and angrily tossed a safety device at Kevin Harvick as he passed by moments later. He was not penalized.

Here’s Why We Celebrate Labor Day

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 10:42 AM PDT

The first Monday of September means that white clothes are out, sales are in, summer holidays are over and classes begin. For many of us (but far from all of us), it's a welcome day off of work or school, ahead of what is likely to be a busier month than the last.

But the Labor Day holiday has a storied past, one of violence and celebration, that’s embedded deep in the history of the American labor movement. And while it has spread around the world in different forms, Labor Day has distinctly American roots.

Here's a quick primer on the meaning and history of the holiday.

When did Labor Day begin?

The modern holiday is widely traced back to an organized parade in New York City in 1882. Union leaders had called for what they had labelled a "monster labor festival" on Tuesday, Sept. 5, according to Linda Stinson, a former historian for the Department of Labor (the idea for a general labor festival may have originated in Canada, which today also celebrates “Labour Day” on the first Monday in September). Initially that morning, few people showed up, and organizers worried that workers had been reluctant to surrender a day’s pay to join the rally. But soon the crowds began flowing in from across the city, and by the end of the day some 10,000 people had marched in the parade and joined festivities afterward in what the press dubbed "a day of the people."

When did it become an official holiday?

The practice of holding annual festivities to celebrate workers spread across the country, but Labor Day didn’t become a national holiday for more than a decade. Oregon became the first state to declare it a holiday in 1887, and states like New York, Massachusetts and Colorado soon followed suit. Under President Grover Cleveland, and amid growing awareness of the labor movement, the first Monday in September became a national holiday in 1896.

Why is it on the first Monday in September anyway?

Labor union leaders had pushed for a September date for the New York demonstration, which coincided with a conference in the city of the Knights of Labor, one of the largest and most influential of the unions. The first two New York City Labor Days took place on the 5th of September, but in 1884, the third annual New York City Labor Day holiday was scheduled for the first Monday in September, and that date stuck.

The September rally would soon clash with International Worker's Day on May 1, which arose out of what is known as the Haymarket Affair. On May 4, 1886, protesters in Chicago gathered to demand an 8-hour workday. Toward the end of the day, a peaceful demonstration devolved into violence when a bomb was hurled toward the police, killing one officer instantly and injuring others. The police responded by firing into the crowd, killing a still undetermined number of people. The incident enraged labor activists but also fueled fears in America that the labor movement had become radicalized, prompting a crackdown on labors groups: the bomb thrower was never identified, but four people were hanged for their alleged involvement.

In the wake of the Haymarket Affair, Union leaders and socialists declared May 1 as International Workers' Day, and the day was and continues to be unofficially observed in the U.S. It's also that date that most other countries officially or unofficially observe as a holiday in honor of workers. But when President Grover Cleveland moved to create a national labor holiday, he chose to avoid the thorny history of that May date.

So what's the difference between Labor Day and May Day (International Workers' Day) in the U.S.?

Jonathan Cutler, associate professor of sociology at Wesleyan, described Labor Day as a “government alternative” to May Day in an informative interview with NPR about the Haymarket Affair. May Day may have helped promote the creation of a national holiday, but Labor Day is associated with a different significance. "May Day has always been linked to the demand for less work and more pay; Labor Day celebrates the 'dignity' of work," Cutler said in the interview.

We have Monday off, but does the labor community still actually celebrate the holiday?

Yep. To this day there is still a major parade in New York City (and other cities across the country, large and small), and the #UnionStrong will probably make a big showing on Twitter. It's true that union membership has been declining for years, but many of the challenges that faced workers more than a century ago are still being overcome today, whether by the growing movement for higher wages in the fast food industry or by overworked tech and finance employees calling for better hours.

"If there is anyone who needs to attend to the spirit of Haymarket, it is the American white-collar professional who works 10 hour days, including many weekends, and who has fewer paid vacation days than other white-collar professionals around the world," Cutler said in the interview with NPR.

So, are white clothes really out?

Yes and no.

We Hope to One Day Be as Young, Wild and Free as This Chihuahua Enjoying a Neck Massage

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 10:26 AM PDT

What’s this? Oh, you know, just a chihuahua making great use of a neck massager. This right here is some next-level relaxation.

 

See Every Single Device Connected to the Internet

Posted: 29 Aug 2014 10:04 AM PDT

A map of every device connected to the Internet shows the wealthiest parts of the world flush with connections, while poor and sparsely populated parts of the world are blacked out — as well as a few head scratchers in between.

The map was created by John Matherly, founder of Shodan, a search engine that probes the Internet’s backend for connections to all sorts of devices from routers to refrigerators. Matherly said it took about five hours to ping every IP address on the Internet and store every positive response. It took another 12 hours to plot the responses on a heat map which glows bright orange in densely connected areas and blue and black in sparsely connected areas.

The United State and Western Europe are, not surprisingly, awash in connectivity. Africa and central Asia have islands of connectivity centered on urban areas. Then there are head-scratchers like Greenland, which has a single isolated dot smack in the island’s center. A Reddit user speculated it was an NOAA observatory on the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

“Oh my f***ing God!! You’re the guy!!!,” wrote another Reddit commentator, ForceBlade, who detected a mysterious ping request around the time of Matherly’s project. “You touched my heart, and my server.”

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