Linky Friday #188: Master of Muskiton

Crime:

Image by spaztacular

Image by spaztacular

[C1] For professional clowns, the creepy clown craze is actually rather scary.

[C2] Interesting and counterintuitive: When men outnumber women, crime rates are lower.

[C3] This is the sort of story that, when I see it on a TV show, I think the screenwriters are being manipulative. The same goes for this. Egad.

[C4] Not a bad gig, if you can get it.

[C5] I will bet money that at some point or another this guy said that his problem with girls is that they don’t appreciate nice guys. Update: Hoax/misunderstanding!

Education:

Image by cogdogblog

Image by cogdogblog

[Ed1] A teenager in Britain who didn’t know what the word “lottery” meant. Or else it wasn’t made clear, in which case he learned a valuable lesson about what people in positions of authority tell you.

[Ed2] Reading? Who needs it! This is actually sort of how I learned to love audiobooks. It may not be the ideal way to consume stories, but the way I do it costs me almost no time.

[Ed3] Gosh, with that kind of money, you could get a football coach for a season.

[Ed4] EducationNext looks at the “teacher pay gap” and finds that teachers aren’t making less than they used to be (but also aren’t making more).

[Ed5] Kay Hymowitz says a new study demonstrating racism on the part of preschool teachers may be more nuanced than reported.

Religion:

Temple Mount Jerusalem photo

Image by yeowatzup

[R1] James Poulos wonder if Elon Musk is religious enough to colonize Mars.

[R2] I’ve been on the cusp of getting my hate on for evangelicals, but maybe I should take a deep breath.

[R3] Freddy Gray talks about life defending pedophile priests.

[R4] So it turns out that the Temple Mount is not really connected to Judaism. Or something. {Note: This was discussed here yesterday}

[R5] Oklahoma’s governor is urging residents to pray for black rain.

Progress:

Image by Banalities

Image by Banalities

[P1] It looks like the geeks are giving up on the fake island.

[P2] Meet Moore’s Law’s evil twin.

[P3] Oh thank god.

[P4] How mustard gas lead to chemotherapy.

[P5] “Yes, there are a lot of people who would like to be able to work on a computer at home. But would they really want to carry [a portable computer] back from the office with them? It would be much simpler to take home a few floppy disks tucked into an attache case. For the majority of consumers, a second computer for the home office is usually an inexpensive clone of the one at work. Not only is such an alternative more convenient, but it is more cost effective as well. In fact, one ends up with better technology. ” –NYT, 1985

Energy:

oil rig photo

Image by Graf Spee

[En1] What politicians know that David Roberts apparently doesn’t is that “no more new fossil fuels anywhere” is like saying “No more sin.” I mean, I guess unlike a lot of sin it can be regulated in theory, but in practice if that’s what is required then we need to focus on handling the fallout of the looming disaster.

[En2] Fluctuation problems in a wind farm in South Australia caused some blackouts.

[En3] Wind farms are also killing a wider footprint of birds than we realized.

[En4] So does this mean the next time someone calls me a climate change denier I can point out that Hillary Clinton does, too?

[En5] Peter Burrows isn’t so sure about Elon Musk’s SolarCity plans.

[En6] The everlasting aftermath of Deepwater Horizon.

Science:

marsterraformed[S1] Okay, let’s say we get people on Mars. How do we get them off Mars?

[S2] Watch atoms keep their distance.

[S3] This sort of thing is not helpful to science.

[S4] Gabriel Rossman has some smart words about excessive statistical controls, where if you don’t like the effects of X, you simply control for X.

[S5] Experts are not so expert as we are lead to believe. So when should we believe them?


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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122 thoughts on “Linky Friday #188: Master of Muskiton

  1. C1: It makes there living more difficult and opens them up to arrest, so I can understand this.

    C2: The Chinese Communist Party and the government of India must be really happy about this study.

    C5: According to the article, police determined that the creepy video was fake. I can’t understand why anybody would do this. Somebody being bound, abused, and pleading for their life is not funny under any circumstances. Posting a video playing out this scenario is also going to get law enforcement looking into you if the video looks real enough as occurred in this case.

    Ed1: I never understood why people made such a big deal about perfect school attendance and I was a nerdy kid that generally liked school. People get sick and other life events happen. You shouldn’t fault a kid for missing school because of life intervening.

    Ed3: Heresy.

    R1: The Atlantic argues that tech people are religious enough.

    S3: Scientists have also pissed off liberals with studies on the differences between the male and female brains or women who like tall men on why short men make better husbands. Science tends to be agnostic when it comes to people’s feelings.

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  2. R4: Here is a link from 2003 that provides quotes and sources of various Palestinians and Muslim leaders on how there never was a Jewish Temple where the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque now stand. The UN nations resolution is seen by Jews and many other people as part of this Temple denialism because it was supported by countries known to be very hostile to Israel and because it refers to the Temple mount by using exclusively Muslim terminology rather than mixed Jewish and Muslim terminology. When combined with the long trend of Temple denial in certain quarters and the UN’s continual obsession with Israel, its easy to see why many people found this UNESCO decision to be one of Temple denial.

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    • Lee

      There are quotes about everything if we look for them

      There are quotes of prominent Jews that the Mosques should be razed and a Third Temple built.

      The UNESCO ( not UN) Resolution deals with what is happening on the Mosque complex on top of the Tempke Mount. Basically it deals abour who should administer the Mosque complex, abour restriction access to the Complex (mostly restrictions imposed on Palestinians wanting to access the complex for a Friday prayers) and about specifics of things happening in the Mosque Complex down to an including a leaky roof.

      What it doesn’t do is deny that the Temple remains are are the bottom of the Temple Mountain, or deny that there was ever a Temple, or deny that The area is also sacred to Judaism, or deny that Jews pray at the Western Wall, or say that Jews should be forbidden to pray in the Temple Mount area (though it’s silent about Jews praying inside the Mosques area, which I understand has happened too).

      We started yesterday with a Haaretz article that said “UNESCO denies any Jewish connection to a Temple Mount” (no such thing) and have now moved to what appears to be the only legitimate complaint: “UNESCO used only the words ‘Al-Aqsa Mosque/Noble Sanctuary’ instead of ‘Temple Mount'”

      Given that the Resolution does not discuss the rest of the Temple Mount, but only the Mosques and their access (including the Mughragi Gate/bridge) I don’t find mentioning only the Mosques unreasonable. Do you think if the Resolution had been written exactly the same (I assume you have read it by now) but the words Temple Mount added here and there (like “The Al-Aqsa Mosque/Noble Sanctuary, on top of Temple Mount”) the Israeli government would have dropped their opposition? Would you, yourself, now?

      At the end, the dispute about the Resolution is not about the Resolution itself denying a Jewish connection to Temple Mount (because that is false claim, just something to rile low information people), but the Resolution criticizing actions the Israeli government has taken related to the administration, access, and maintenance of the Mosques themselves.

      But because there is lot of divergent opinions on whether the current Israeli policies towards the Palestinians are politically savvy, or moral, or practical, or based on legal principles, the Israeli government has a vested interest in opposing any criticism of their administrative actions by UNESCO. I get that. But it bugs me that instead of saying “It’s not UNESCO’s place to say anything about how we implement access to the Mosques” they cínically accuse UNESCO and the Resolunion of saying something they didn’t say (deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount), and go ad-nominen and point to “those that promoted it” to get people to get excited and mad.

      If you want to talk about the Resolution, I’m game. It’s geeky enough that it made me go all Wikipedia to find about the things and places the Resolution does talk about.

      If you want to talk about the Israeli Palestinian conflict I’m also game. But be aware I don’t favor the current Israeli policies. Like the Republican electoral strategy, I think they exchange short term victory for long term existence. But I might be wrong about the Republicans, or about Israel.

      What I don’t think contributes to this place is to get lists of the most crazy things people on one side or the other have said. It is like a “Clinton raped more women and btw Hillary had Vince Foster killed” moment.

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      • Here is an excerpt from an Atlantic Monthly explainer on the issues surrounding the Temple Mount from 2014:

        Owing to the delicate nature of everything associated with the site, the name Temple Mount doesn’t even cover all of the theological bases. Last week, the Palestinian Liberation Organization demanded that media stop using the term “Temple Mount” to describe the venue, which it says doesn’t “adhere to international law.” The Temple Mount, the widely used term for the site in English, is known as the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary by Muslims. (Cautious diplomats employ all of the aforementioned names.)

        This just reaffirms my priors that the UN is not a place for diplomats or serious discussion of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. And addressing one side of the issues pretty much guaranteed that the coverage would focus on the other side of the issues. Not a surprising oversight given the sponsoring-countries lack a free press. At least they removed the bit about Israel planting Jewish fake graves.

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        • I steadfastly refuse to get involved in discussions about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict because it is a lot like our American discussion about guns.

          There is almost always some sort of underlying agenda and emotional experience and deeply held cultural baggage that drives the discussion, and these factors become all the more powerful because they are hidden and unspoken.

          Whats really going on is the relationship of the several cultures of the people living there and how they view each other.
          There isn’t really a “solution” because there isn’t a problem, other than the relationship.

          And most of the commentary delves either into abstract weaponized legal constructs, or the search-and-destroy historical blame finding and search for guilt.

          About the only thing I am sure of, is that Americans aren’t really suitable mediators, what with our short attention span and historical ignorance.
          But I could be wrong about that too.

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    • Lee,
      not sure if it was you or your brother who repeated Haaretz’s demonstrable lies. Can we get one of you to apologize for repeating the words out of a scandal rag (at least, that’s what I’m choosing to call something like that — publishing inflammatory, libelous language on a sensitive issue)?

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  3. En2

    Geek alert

    Proper design of a power grid requires it to be inmune to any single sudden individual event (N-1 reliability design). In this particular case, sudden drop of wind in an area is one event.

    In the case of operating power generation, you should be able to continue operating if you lose the single largest generation plant. From what I glean from the article, wind farms concentrated in a limited area, under the same wind stream, were providing at the time more than fifty percent of the load. That’s an unsafe operation mode because more than half your power is under the risk of a single event, the sudden loss of the wind stream. If you lose more than half your generation in any other technology you will get blackouts too.

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  4. En3

    I don’t get the argument. The concern wind farm developers have is how many birds you kil. In this case, how many golden eagles. The fact that 2/3 of the eagles are local and 1/3 born in another state doesn’t seem to me relevant to the wind turbines suitability or not, for this particular location. Are there more birds killed than expected, well, that’s bad, and measures should be taken. Are the dead eagles under the tolerance limit, well then it’s fine. State origin of the dead eagles does not compute.

    It seems to me that the writer is generally against wind turbines (fine) and is just throwing the idea that, if some dead eagles are originally from other states, the turbines should be permitted by the environmental authorities of all the states where the golden eagles could have hatched. I guess if we get every single wind farm reviewed by the full lower 48 environmental departments, effectively we would stop wind power development.

    And, btw, another example of why the states hinder. Why do we have fifty environmental departments doing essentially the same thing with the same criteria. Only to game each against the other:

    “Well, Ohio lets us kill ten eagles per year, if you insist on seven per year, we’ll have to move our project to Ohio”

    “What about if we let you kill eight?”

    “Ten is better than eight”

    “Fishing Ohio, the blood of these eagles is upon them. Ok, we’ll agree to ten”

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    • We hear so many times about how pollution should be a national matter with national controls by a national organization, rather than leaving it to the states, because pollution by one state’s energy plants can drift into another state through air or groundwater dispersal.

      So…why shouldn’t that same reasoning hold for other sorts of things involving effects across state lines? If a wind farm 50 yards over the Texas border kills every eagle in New Mexico, does it really seem appropriate to say “it’s an internal Texan wind farm and New Mexico has no reasonable expectation of getting a say in the matter”?

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    • Unless the wind farms are killing enough eagles to threaten the population, I wouldn’t worry too much. And if I recall, mitigation isn’t difficult (I think ultrasonics can cause migration paths to divert).

      Articles like this are less about the eagles and more about the hypocrisy of environmentalists who wail endlessly on about the evils of fossil or nuclear power on animal populations (and will parade a dead animal on the media to make their point), but are silent about the hazard wind & solar present.

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      • You need to be more nuanced than that. Everything causes damage in some way.

        Me? I’m far happier with the bird strike issues than I am with CO2 emissions, and frankly don’t get worked up unless there’s a real threat to the population as a whole.

        And a lot of folks unhappy about fossil fuels and animal population decline are also perfectly willing to differentiate between “threatening extinction” and “a frankly unnoticeable number of birds hitting turbines — which is still probably less than flying into windows”.

        Now there’s idiots everywhere, including ones that’ll decry everything, not realizing they just cut off their own electricity — then decrying the people who turned off their power.

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        • I know it’s much more nuanced than the article makes it out to be. But nuance never stops pundits from flogging the equine.

          Seriously, the times I want to lock Hardcore Fossil Fuel advocates in a small room with Extreme Environmentalists, and launch them into the sun so us pragmatic folks can get shit done…

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          • Controversy sells eyeballs.

            “Sometimes birds hit wind turbines, but frankly birds are dumb and fly into lots of things. It’s amazing they don’t run into mountains more often. Mostly this isn’t a problem, but sometimes there’s some already endangered birds that migrate right into this area with the turbines, so maybe this one project needs to look into some serious mitigation or maybe being moved elsewhere if we’d like to keep these birds from moving further down towards ‘extinction” is boring copy when you can get a PETA activist on one hand, and “CO2, we call it life, and Satan Personally Invented Windmills” PR guy on the other.

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            • That’s a remarkably glib response to the allegation that energy production is actually killing more birds, and from a wider region, than people thought was happening.

              Like, it’s the sort of thing that you’d probably accuse a stereotypical libertarian of saying. Something like “you’re having lung problems due to wind-borne soot? WEAR A MASK, ASSHOLE, PROBLEM SOLVED.”

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              • You mean the part where I was making fun of the media’s need to seek controversy to sell eyeballs?

                Yes, it was. Because I was making fun of them. Did you confuse that with a point about bird-strikes? Because that was two posts up, which you had to have read.

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  5. The King of Thailand died and its interesting seeing the intense mourning after his death in Thailand. While I understand that people who live in monarchies or even outside monarchies, considering how many Americans see the British Royal Family, can get emotionally attached to their king or queen, I can’t imagine this level of national emotional sadness happening in the West. Even after Queen Elizabeth II dies, you can’t imagine the entire United Kingdom coming down in tears.

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    • New Jersey ranks close to the bottom on lists of state ‘givers or takers’, receiving 75 cents in federal spending for every dollar it sends to Washington. It also has a income tax (average as state income taxes go), an above average sales tax rate, and very high property rates, the highest in the country by most measures.

      And you want them to pay more?

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        • I’m sure the voters in Colorado and North Carolina will get right on supporting sending more money to the NYC metro area now that they are key members of the Clinton victory confederation.

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        • Sounds to me like it’s less a tax issue, and more a funding priorities issue. Where is NJ spending it’s transit dollars? Any boondoggles lately? Perhaps silly political stunts that result in massive government legal costs?

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          • Aside from Bridegate, I recall Christie cancelling a tunnel project that had already had a ton of money sunk into it and was badly needed, turning the funds towards other things.

            IIRC the discussion correctly, it was an extremely dumb move from a transit perspective.

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          • There seems to be a huge divide between what transportation experts and policy wonks say we need and what politicians are willing to fund and use money on.

            The big issue seems to be that politicians are looking for things that give them publicity and infrastructure upkeep offers zero chances for publicity in the minds of politicians.*

            We saw this in Seattle with the horrible tunnel at the Alaska Viaduct. The political class said yes yes yes and the transport people said no no no. IIRC there was a Mayor who opposed the tunnel and everyone more or less worked to get him unelected (and succeeded!!)

            You see this in New York where MTA says that they want money for upgrading the subway, commuter rails, and doing Sandy repair jobs and Cuomo calls their budget bloated. However he is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a shuttle from a Subway stop in Queens to LaGaurdia airport that helps almost no one.

            *I am not sure why this is except for limited imagination. Infrastructure also requires buying new equipment, hiring people to make the repairs, and possibly work around the clock, etc. I am sure you can have a ribbon cutting ceremony for the “new and improved” NYC subway stops, etc. Or boast about shortening commute times with better train tracks that allow for more rapid transit.

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            • Urban planning and especially transit is both boring AND prone to conclusions that upset people who deeply wish reality was different.

              As a resident of Houston, where we are slowly facing up to the fact that no matter how many lanes of freeway we have, the gridlock keeps getting worse, tI can attest that many will blind themselves to reality and convince themselves that turning 6 lanes in 8 will somehow make moving that many people into and out of a tiny area faster.

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              • Right up there with the guys who want trains & buses everywhere, with no cars anywhere (with exceptions for important people, I’m sure).

                I am all for better rail or busses, but pretending that low occupancy options don’t play a part ignores both the last mile problem, as well as just simple human nature.

                Personally, I’m waiting for the day Bug starts kindergarten, so I can take the bus to work everyday. But you know, I’m keeping the car, because sometimes, I have to lug around more than myself and a bag.

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                • Honestly, I’m thinking that self-driving cars can’t come fast enough. It solves the last mile problems with mass transit, as well as all the other associated problems (like parking). It’s not perfect, but it fits human behavior a bit better while reducing problems.

                  Self-driving electric cars from house to transit hubs, then from mass transit hub to destination, solves a lot of issues. Even the ‘what about the grocery store’ — even 15 miles with a car that zips off once you go in, and another that shows up when you’re coming out with your groceries, beats the heck out the current issues and is superior to taxis and the like.

                  Not to mention the fact that self-driving cars can really change the way we use the existing roads, once they hit a certain level of sophistication. I might even see it before I’m 70.

                  Not sure about disaster planning, though. Inventories of cars and dispatching logic would cause some real problems for things like evacuations. That’d require some thinking, but given the people stuck in 14 hours of gridlock trying to flee Houston ahead of Ike and Rita, what we’ve got ain’t great either.

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                  • Exactly.

                    And seriously, can not come fast enough. We are getting slammed with winter storms right now (drenching rain, high winds, lots of standing water on the roads because fallen leaves are clogging the drains), and the number of people I saw driving around this morning at high speeds, or worse, without any headlights or running lights…

                    90% of our traffic problems are because people suck at driving.

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                • Trains and buses are useful tools. They aren’t for ruralia, really. (Even though I have taken WA buses for 90 miles).

                  I’m carless, because Zipcar is way, way cheaper. Who wants to pay for insurance I don’t use but once a month?

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                • For most people in ordinary health, is walking somewhere between a quarter of a mile and half mile or even mile between the station and their destination really that onerous if they aren’t carrying something that heavy? I understand if they are carrying a lot that they would want to go as close as possible to their destination but walking some shouldn’t be that bad for most people.

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                  • Sure, but you still have to have something to offer for people who physically can’t, or who have stuff to move, or who have small children, or when the weather is beyond crap.

                    For me, it’s a mile walk from home to the bus stop, with about a 200 foot elevation change. The walk from the bus stop to work is another half mile, with another 50-60 foot elevation change.

                    On nice days, it’s a lovely bit of exercise. Today, when it was raining buckets and gusting to 35 mph, not so much.

                    ETA: If you don’t think people keep those exceptions in mind when evaluating commuting options, you are wrong. Those exceptions will be heavily weighed, precisely because when those exceptions are at the fore, it will be important.

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                  • yinz live in places where the buses come more often than once an hour. Take the windchill below zero, and then say that folks can really go walk a mile (15 minutes, and I walk fast), and then wait for the bus. Which isn’t reliably on time.

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                  • Depends on the climate. I’d be much happier doing that in, oh, New York (even during the winter) than Houston.

                    That’s carrying just, say, a backpack or briefcase.

                    Not that the bus stops in Houston are only a half mile apart. :)

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            • Absolutely agree 100%, because it supports my position that it isn’t about the public not necessarily supporting taxes for upkeep, but politicians not using those taxes for upkeep.

              This is one area I think a lot of left leaning folks have trouble with. They see a need that government can (and probably should) meet, and they work to get the money raised via increased taxes, and then that money never goes to meet that need, or it does, at first, then it gets slowly redirected. After a while, more money is needed for upkeep, campaigns are birthed to raise taxes, money secured, required upkeep is not done, or half done (because the initial estimate was low balled to hell & gone, or money was diverted, etc.). Rinse & repeat. After enough repetitions of this cycle, people get tired of having taxes raised and seeing little for it.

              Then left leaning folks get upset & confused at people for resisting tax increases, when they should be massively pissed at the political class & it’s institutions for so utterly pissing on the public trust.

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              • One of the things this leads to in initiative states — at least, in my initiative state — is a growing number of small dedicated taxes. After the 2007-08 recession, the commissioners in my county went back on a decades-old promise that the county library system would get a certain mill levy out of the general property tax revenue each year. Last year there was a county-wide initiative item — passed by about +6% — that added a modest dedicated library levy to the county property taxes that the commissioners can’t divert. This year several counties in the Denver metro area will vote on whether to maintain the dedicated sales tax that goes to performing arts and museums.

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              • The issue seems to be decades old policy decisions partially.

                If DJW at LGM is correct. The country is evenly split between people who want to live in suburbs, cities, and rural areas. Each gets a third preference. The problem is that the suburban bloc for various reasons gets weighed as more important than those who want to live in cities. No idea on the rural vs. city weighing.

                There is also the fact that really dense cities like NYC, SF, Boston, DC, and some others seem to be the exception because most other American cities can be described as a collection of suburbs that happen to use the same government.

                Public transportation does help relieve traffic and stress. If you live in the suburbs, you need a car. I like having a car as an option for trips and when I need to transport a lot of stuff but I would rather spend a half-hour or forty minutes on a train than that time in a car or more because of traffic.

                The issue seems to be as Lee points out is that the U.S. does not view public transport as a transportation issue. We view at as a social service for the really poor. Some to many transit activists approve this view as well. So even in a city like NYC where most residents take the subway to and from work, there is the fact that the urban vote is given less weight and transport is seen for the poor. A new tunnel or airport connector is seen as being for the rich and powerful.

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                • This might be bad phrasing, but the population is most decidedly not evenly split between urban, suburban, and rural. Perhaps political weighing is, such that each demographic is considered equally.

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                  • There’s a difference between “want to live” and where people end up. Jobs, housing costs, assorted other factors all have an impact. I know a number of people who, all other things being equal, would opt to live on ten acres well outside of the metro area, but health-care concerns make that impractical.

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                    • Sure, but if you want to live urban but have a 3000sqft house with a hard and good schools, you don’t actually want to live urban.

                      The same goes for rural and you want to have a job that pays well. I mean, it’s a preference, but a meaningless one. And this…

                      There is also the fact that really dense cities like NYC, SF, Boston, DC, and some others seem to be the exception because most other American cities can be described as a collection of suburbs that happen to use the same government.

                      Suggests that functionally speaking preferences don’t actually run in equal thirds.

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                      • Will,
                        “Sure, but if you want to live urban but have a 3000sqft house with a hard and good schools, you don’t actually want to live urban.”

                        Yeah, hon, we call that Pittsburgh. People wonder why I live here.

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                      • The American preference has always been for a single family home with some land since the colonial area. According to historian Mike Wallace in his book on the history of New York City until 1898, when it was limited to Manhattan for the most part, single family housing the city became prohibitively expensive for all but the ultra-wealthy shortly after the Civil War ended. Middle-class WASP New Yorkers were aghast to live in apartments like immigrants because proper Anglo-Saxons lived in single family homes.

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                • We view at as a social service for the really poor.

                  Oh, it’s worse than that. We view it as a service for minorities, which is why we won’t expand it either. Bus stops mean the “wrong sorts” can come to your pleasant town and infect it.

                  I’m not exaggerating, as the logic of “If we join the area transport net, the poor blacks from the inner city ghettos will all come here and rob us and disrupt our lives” was pretty much the reason several local towns aren’t part of the Houston Metro service. (Mind you, these votes all date from the late 60s and 70s. But the feelings behind them haven’t changed as much as people would like to think).

                  But then again, casting government spending as going to the “wrong sort” (generally dark skinned) who “waste it” has been a good dog-whistle for decades.

                  Right up until the GOP went so far off the rails they couldn’t hear the whistle, and had to go back to outright stating it.

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                  • I think this is where living in NYC and SF puts me at a mindset disadvantage. If you live in those cities, you almost certainly are going to use public transportation at some point unless you are very wealthy (even then some of the uber wealthy do use public transport). I think it is considered declase to use Chariot in SF.

                    I remember reading an article during the start of the Great Recession about how some remote nursing homes in Missourri or somewhere could suffer because the staff used buses to get to work and the towns wanted to shut down the buses. The staff were black of course.

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                  • A lot of counties around Atlanta opted out of MARTA for the same reasons. During the winter unpleasantness of 2014 or 2015, this came back to haunt them because even though the snow Atlanta got was nothing by northern standards, it was enough to through Georgia into pandemonium.

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                • The public transit advocates who treat the lack of transit as a social justice issue are my go to example of people who are saying things that are true but not useful. I mean yes, America’s lack of transit certainly hurts many people of color and poor people but your not going to increase bus and rail spending by keep pounding at the issue. You get better funding on transit when it isn’t linked to social class or race and is just seen as another way to get around and another component of the infrastructure.

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            • Saul Degraw: The big issue seems to be that politicians are looking for things that give them publicity and infrastructure upkeep offers zero chances for publicity in the minds of politicians.*

              Though, as Morat said, Chris Christie didn’t respond to this incentive at all. And got no political fallout from it.

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  6. [C4] It’s good to be one of minions of the rulers isn’t it?

    [C3] Gods, I just…..can’t…

    [Ed1] Dude, it was an Ipad. An Ipad! We’re not talking a car.

    [R3] Translation: I was an idiot, knew nothing, but they kept asking me back and no one apparently was reviewing my performance/didn’t care. Smooth.

    [En4] Damn, it’s a russian conspiry to hack her email AND “Clinton also asserted that there is a conspiracy of Russian-funded groups attempting to suppress fracking development.” She sees the commies EVERYWHERE!

    [S3] Not only is this not helpful to science, but not to the political process either. “Trump supporters are brain damaged”? Yeah, that’ll go over well. It does, however, support what a lot of liberals believe. Either brain damaged, evil, or stupid, or some combination of those.

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        • It’s probably literally impossible for human beings to actually do this, and I don’t really see why it would be a good idea in the first place.

          Not impossible, but very difficult for most people to do in all things.

          Still, it can be a useful exercise in validating evidence for a long held position, or for changing that position in the face of new evidence.

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          • I agree somewhat with the possibility of it being a useful exercise, but there’s a cost to doing so (time, effort, maybe money to investigate new sources) and in a wide range of disagreements–not least ones which will crop up in front of you on social media–the probability that you’re wrong is likely so small as not to justify that sort of review, and your interlocutor is very unlikely to provide worthwhile new evidence.

            I mean, I have a position on how the minimum wage should be set, and I think it’s likely to be wrong and am going to take new arguments and evidence seriously. Much less so when the question is, “Is the Earth a few billion years old?” Even in the vanishingly unlikely case that it really isn’t, I’m comfortable dismissing the notion that is going to have the evidence that falsifies that particular hypothesis.

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            • Fair point, especially with regard to well settled science, as opposed to policy or other social questions.

              With regard to actual arguments, especially on social media, if I’m not prepared to go through the exercise, I try not to engage the argument. I’m not always successful, but I try.

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  7. R1: Poulous must never have read Out of the Silent Planet. Lewis thought that looking for somewhere to go other than earth is ungrateful. Anyway, if we’re looking for an appropriately religious person to lead the way to the god of war’s planet, how about Richard Perle?

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        • I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but I think it he was referring to listening to an opera and wanting, say, a certain aria replayed over. I think it came roughly around the same place Lewis said this in Perelandra:

          The itch to have things over again, as if life were a film that could be unrolled twice or even made to work backwards…was it possibly the root of all evil? No: of course the love of money was called that. But money itself–perhaps one valued it chiefly as a defence against chance, a security for being able to have things over again, a means of arresting the unrolling of the film.

          The lesson I took from this quote is not that it’s ungrateful to want to leave earth, but that we can’t fully hedge against contingency and we must enjoy what we get in the proper time and not try to hold too fast to it. I guess that in a sense, gratefulness/ungratefulness enters into the picture. We should be grateful for the time and resources given to us and trying to capture them and store them away is a way of denying and cheapening the way in which they’re gifts.

          Of course, maybe this quote is different from the one you’re referring to? The only reason I have the quote I have down now is that I wrote about it at my solo blog back around when I read Perelandra.

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  8. C1: The “Clown Lives Matter” march was closed down after threats.

    While it is possible to argue things that focus on the 1st Amendment rights, is that our first intuition? Do we not, instead, jump to a heartless utilitarian “what in the hell did you think would happen, you stupid freaking clown?”

    P2: The Low-Hanging Fruit Has Been Plucked. That said, the FDA ought to allow us easier access to step ladders. It won’t solve everything, but it’ll give us a couple more feet to work with until the robots kill us all.

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  9. [Ed1] Alternative: He considered all possible methods of receiving a reward for achievement, picked the one that looked easiest (“Go to school every day”), and convinced himself that when it came down to the wire they’d recognize the nobility of the awesome sacrifices he’d made and just give him the prize.

    [C2] Alternative: The report is based on statistics for reported crimes. And, as the report points out, “…intimate partner violence will be more common in populations where women are relatively rare because of greater male mate-guarding behaviors. Some evidence exists that rates of domestic abuse are indeed higher with male-biased sex ratios[.]”

    Meaning: There’s the same amount of violent crime, but in male-biased areas it’s a heavier mix of men beating up their partners, and the women are too terrorized to report it happening, and therefore crime looks lower. In female-biased areas there is less disincentive to report violent crime against women (either because the society is more supportive of women or because the crimes are against non-partner women) and therefore crime looks higher.

    I could probably support this contention if I knew how to interpret the data in the report, which I don’t (I’d have preferred a chart of some kind). If the “homicide and assault” statistics show a small change but the “rape and other sex offense” statistics show a large one, then I’d consider it supportive of my argument.

    [R1] The whole idea of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” was, “what if the effort to colonize space were a religious crusade rather than a scientific or nationalist endeavor?” That’s why there’s so much focus on religion in the book.

    And–my big thing about the “Prequels”–it’s why everyone gets the Butlerian Jihad wrong. It wasn’t some “rise of the machines”, Terminator-style thing. It’s more like a 29th-century version of keeping Kosher in modern society. There’s no actual problem, these days, with eating shrimp; now that we know how to keep them away from polluted muck (and clean and cook them properly before eating) they do just fine. But back in the day, all that anyone knew was that if you ate shrimp it made you REALLY sick, so therefore shrimp are evil.

    Similarly, the people at the time of “Dune” could totally use computers if they wanted, but there’s a societal memory of a time when, e.g., all the computers crashed and it was REALLY bad. Maybe all the colony starships had their computers break due to cosmic rays once they passed the Oort Cloud and it was a real problem, so now Don’t Use Machines To Think is just a piece of received dogma.

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    • Ed1: From the article, it sounds like they had a drawing every year, so it’s not plausible that he just didn’t understand how it worked after losing the first four. Your interpretation seems likely.

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    • One reason crime might be higher than we expect in female-biased counties is that the counties are female-biased because a bunch of men got sent off to prison. Or killed, although I don’t know if any county has a high enough homicide rate to put a dent in the sex ratio.

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  10. Ed2: This is a bog standard complaint (with perhaps more navel-gazing than is usual) that there is too damn much to read. I have seen these complaints my entire adult life, and I’m pretty sure they go back further than that. The central observation here is banal: if your field is some slice of literature of the past, you have the benefit of your predecessors winnowing out the chaff. This process is not perfect, but it is pretty damn good. But if your field is contemporary literature, you have either to be the winnower–and who has the time for that?–or you have to rely on others, using whatever highly imperfect criteria they choose.

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    • What I liked best about that article was the author’s admission that she didn’t read everything. In the corners of academia I’ve been in (not literature, but history), people usually don’t make such admissions.

      It would be refreshing (to me) for people to admit that they haven’t read something they’re talking or writing about, or that they have read only the introduction, or a particular chapter.

      (I realize the article was about more than just making the admission….but that’s what I liked best about it.)

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    • Well, if Republicans would have just allowed for a more sensible universal healthcare system like Truman’s proposal or allowing LBJ to institute Medicare for every American rather than the elderly we would not have this problem. Instead, they insist on markets where markets do not work and want a policy that nobody else in the world follows.

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        • ah-heh. We were promised, when the ACA passed, that companies wouldn’t fail. That was the whole hook, that there would be subsidies and assurances and guarantees, that any company that started to provide health insurance would still be around three years later, that all those poor people wouldn’t have to go through the bureaucratic trauma of switching insurance companies (which is, to be fair, a huge pain in the ass and I could see how someone might not have the resources to handle it.)

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          • We were promised, when the ACA passed, that companies wouldn’t fail. That was the whole hook, that there would be subsidies and assurances and guarantees, that any company that started to provide health insurance would still be around three years later, t.

            The ACA has been around longer than three years. Those risk corridors and the like have been phased out.

            You, yourself, just pointed out that those things were time limited — a time limit that was passed quite some time ago.

            The whole point of the ACA, as opposed to single-payer, was that the market WOULD create winners and losers. Those subsidies, risk corridors, and assurances were there to help support the market while companies worked out the actual demographics and costs associated with it with less risk.

            So I admit, I’m not sure what your point is. The three-year time limit you mentioned has more than passed. So what’s your problem? That some companies succeed and others fail? I would think you’d be happy about that. Market efficiencies at work, right?

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            • I’m surprised to find you suddenly taking the capitalist line of “it’s OK for the underprivileged, low-income, low-resources customers of health insurance providers to get screwed over so long as inefficient companies go out of business. And if the product the customers wanted turns out to be uneconomical at the price they want to pay, well, that’s just Too Damn Bad.”

              Oh PS, I was always in favor of Medicare For All and I’ve never said anything different.

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              • I don’t know why you’re appending MY name to an argument you’re clearly having with someone else.

                Feel free to continue without me, as I’m quite superfluous for this.

                You’ve obviously got a bee in your bonnet over something, but it ain’t me.

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