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Jeep with Ron Paul and Apple Bumper stickersThis weekend my mind got blown a tiny bit by this unexpected combination of bumper stickers. Naturally, I facebooked the photo, and my friend Steve challenged me to fit this phenomenon into a 2×2.

But as with any 2×2, the structure of the table should be determined by what it’s helping you understand…so in this case, I had to think carefully about the circumstances in which it might be useful to quickly size someone up by their bumper stickers. The obvious scenario is one in which you’ve just rear-ended them, probably because you were trying to read (or Facebook) said stickers.

In that scenario, here’s what I would recommend as your opening line, based on the particular combination of stickers on the vehicle you have just dented:

Religious affiliation
Political affiliation

“Would you find this conversation easier if I offered you my vaporizer first?” “Sorry, it’s the first time I’ve driven since I got back from the Peace Corps.”
“I get so angry when I hear another story about how they’re persecuting Ed Snowden, I wasn’t thinking straight.” “Thank the Lord we live in a free country where we don’t have to involve the government in this sort of situation.”

May I suggest printing out this table and taping it to your dashboard so you’ll have it handy the next time you’re in a collision. And hey, if anybody knows the (likely Seattle-based) yellow jeep that was sporting the Apple/Ron Paul combo: if you can provide proof that you’ve identified the person behind my inspiration, I will affix the bumper sticker of your choice to my car’s bumper for no less than 30 days.



How 17 essential travel apps can improve your next vacation

July 14, 2014

Whether you’re packing your bags for a summer trip to Europe or packing the car for a summer road tip with the kids, you may be tempted to define your vacation by what you’re not packing: your computer, tablet or mobile phone. As more and more of us struggle with the invisible electronic leash that keeps us [...]

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Making room for messiness

June 2, 2014

For the past two weeks we’ve been in the middle of our semi-annual domestic meltdown. Meltdown features include: emergency school visits necessitating precipitous departures from work implementation of new household rules precipitating epically draining tantrums academic and medical appointments requiring multiple (often sudden) scheduling changes. As messy, exhausting and difficult as these periods are, what [...]

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What you can learn by NOT throwing your child out of a window

May 20, 2014

A few years ago I found myself comparing vacation plans with a colleague — a single guy about a decade older than me. His upcoming vacation? A month-long backpacking trip to Hawaii, totally off the grid. When I marvelled at his bravery, he offered this wisdom: “Every year, try to do something that pushes you [...]

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Breaking my personal record for Craziest Apple Store Visit

May 7, 2014

Yesterday, 10 minutes into my flight to Toronto, my MacBook Pro's screen died. completely and dramatically. So when I hit the ground in TO, the first thing I did was called the nearest Apple store to see if I could get into the Genius Bar for a short-term fix. All I needed was for someone [...]

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Announcing Work Smarter, Rule Your Email

February 4, 2014

There’s no part of online life that has a bigger impact on our productivity — and our happiness! — than email. But most email productivity guides focus on getting control over email, when what we really need is more control over our lives and our work. That’s why I’m excited to announce today’s publication of [...]

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7 ways you can learn to love reading ebooks

January 7, 2014
Thumbnail image for 7 ways you can learn to love reading ebooks

About a decade ago, somebody gave us our first crock pot, also known as a slow cooker. For months we feasted on the remarkably easy, delicious dishes it could produce: chicken tagines and chilis, beef briskets and vegan stews. Then I made the mistake of discussing our love of slow-cooker food with a fellow crock [...]

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It’s monkey see, monkey do over here

November 30, 2013

And you know, you usually don’t let monkeys hack firmware.

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The family that hacks together….

November 30, 2013

Saturday morning at our house: the kids are programming our new Lego Mindstorms robot. I’m installing Xcode on the Mac home media server…step one in the long road to controlling our Mini with our Kinect.

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How to use your Facebook restricted list

November 7, 2013

Organizing your Facebook friends into lists is a great way to share different kinds of content with different kinds of people: for example, you might want to share certain updates with your colleagues, and other kinds of updates (like those adorable kid photos) with a small circle of friends.Facebook automatically creates a few of these [...]

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Don’t be scared to Facebook your kids: A response to Amy Webb

September 5, 2013

Amy Webb has written an important but frustrating post on Facebook privacy and kids on the Slate website. Writing about a friend who extensively Facebooks photos and stories about her daughter “Kate”, Webb worries that Kate’s parents have compromised their child’s future autonomy, particularly in light of emergent facial recognition technology that can build profiles based on [...]

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