Latest Linkage

Morning Ed: Diversity {2018.01.15.M}( 84 )

[Di1] Texas State University is rapidly growing, and has a rapidly growing reputation for a racism problem.

[Di2] Uhm. Points for trying, I guess?

[Di3] On the one hand, a lot of these criticisms are right. On the other, shut up.

[Di4] There was a lot of pushback on this from the right, but this professor sort of says some of what they often say just using different words and somewhat different framing.

[Di5] Without black activists, there may be no New Orleans Saints.

[Di6] Responses to privilege epiphanies differentiate between those that want a better community and those that want to be better than the community.

[Di7] Rats are racist, and venture capitalist can learn from that.

[Di8] Are Canadians becoming white?

[Di9] Africa is, in fact, sending its best and brightest.


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Morning Ed: Politics {2018.01.12.F}( 93 )

[Po1] Sharon Lerner has a profile of EPA Director Scott Pruitt.

[Po1] A deeper look at apocalyptic rhetoric, and the risks it assumes. This is about the actions and attitudes it can spur (false moral clarity, unjustified extreme measures, etc), but there is also the issue of apocalypse fatigue, which I think has played a role in allowing things to reach they point they have in multiple arenas.

[Po3] When it comes to non-competitive congressional elections, the fault may lie not in the stars or gerrymandering but in ourselves.

[Po4] I might lament it becoming more common for executives to enter politics if we weren’t starting from a position so overwhelmingly populated by lawyers.

[Po5] Sometimes I have wondered if Eliot Spitzer got a bit (just a bit) of a raw deal. No, it appears.

[Po6] Jay Cost argues that the presidency is driving us nuts.

[Po7] Chris Beck argues that Trump-hatred is rational, but the hysteria needs to be dialed back because it’s not helping.

[Po8] According to Matthew Gertz, there is more to the feedback loop between Trump and Fox than we even think.

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Morning Ed: Media {2018.01.10.W}( 27 )

[Me1] We need to do a better job of differentiating between dry fact-checking statements and explaining the context of statements. The former is yes/no, for the most part. The latter is inherently subjective.

[Me2] A study looks at the role the media plays in perceptions of crime using a natural experiment in Italy.

[Me3] Nathan Robinson writes about how social justice media is undermining social justice for clicks and money.

[Me4] Breitbart can run from its endorsements, but it can’t hide. If your sole criteria is hates liberals and mainstream conservatives, you do run the risk of promoting Nazis as they do manage to piss off both.

[Me5] The creator of the concept of Fake News has regrets. It’s almost humorous how quickly this turned into an own goal.

[Me6] The good news is that in the overall “fake news” seems to mostly be preaching to the choir who are actually getting most of their news elsewhere. The bigger danger isn’t crap being made up on Facebook, but the sense of validation some of it gets on closer-to-mainstream outfits like Fox and company.

[Me7] It’s not often you hear reporter complaints about reporter pay being too high. But men’s pay is too higher than women’s pay, apparently.

[Me8] This is not a headline you expect in 2018. So are they going to start hiring reporters again?

[Me9] Eric Garland is on the warpath.

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Linky Tuesday: Hot & Cold Wars( 82 )


[Wa1] UN Peacekeepers have a rape problem in the Congo.

[Wa2] The story of a soldier who served abroad and died a hero at home.

[Wa3] A Twitter thread on the rise of Milosevic.

[Wa4] Nicole Gelinas says security theater is choking the Big Apple.

[Wa5] Kurdistan is becoming a thing.


Spy photo

Image by tinyfroglet

[Es1] In a spinoff of the hit FX TV show, The Americans – San Francisco Cell.

[Es2] An interesting profile on Reality Winner, an unlikely “terrorist.”

[Es3] A look at how Russia did its thing as Washington dithered.

[Es4] Alex Finley says we need a new kind of spy.

[Es5] If Trump was installed by the Russians, why does his Russia policy look a lot like what Hillary would have done?

[Es6] Meanwhile, in years’ past, the Soviet Internet stopped a coup.


women technology photo

Image by Bill Sargent

[Te1] In some ways, old computers were actually faster than new ones are.

[Te2] Marlene Jaeckel has a different sort of story about women in technology.

[Te3] Misunderstanding my butt. All of this could have so easily been avoided at least three ways: Miscommunication, user settings, or replaceable batteries!

[Te4] China threatens to become the world leader in drones.

[Te5] Heather Wilhelm worries what technology is doing to what’s left of our social skills and common sense.

[Te6] I don’t fully understand Facebook’s business decision here. This seems like an area where they could exert some serious influence and therefore wrangle some money out of the system.

[Te7] If you can’t beat’em, join’em.


Seattle photo

Image by Jonathan Miske

[Ho1] When housing subsidies serve mostly to jack up the cost of housing.

[Ho2] Seattle may lose its place as a more affordable Silicon Valley. It’s looking bad everywhere, except maybe DC. (Thanks, Trump.) We are too big of a country for everybody to be trying to outbid one another for such a small parcel of it.

[Ho3] Well, shipping them to Texas is one way of dealing with the homeless.

[Ho4] What houses under $50,000 look like.

[Ho5] Noah Smith’s heart is in the right place, but there is some conflict within his proposed solutions to housing costs for the poor. Making it harder to evict will either stunt development or result in higher rent.

[Ho6] Meet a Portland developer who is trying to make legit-affordable (instead of subsidized-affordable) housing.

[Ho7] Affordable housing, but you know, not in a way that that involves building up.


icy road photo

Image by Loimere

[Tr1] Icy roads are the worst and lasers are cool so awesome.

[Tr2] Google Maps is taking leaps ahead of the competition, specifically Apple. I mostly use Waze or HERE, but Google Maps is really good at telling you exactly which lane you need to be in when you’re in a complicated interchange. {More}

[Tr3] Ride-hailing services are taking their toll on airport budgets.

[Tr4] Here’s a tweetstorm worth reading on privatized rail and highways in Japan.

[Tr5] The headline of this article about in-car entertainment worried me, but it’s actually realistic about what people are going to do and that we can’t really expect them to do otherwise.

[Tr6] The Shenzhen bus service is going 100% electric.

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Morning Ed: Society {2017.01.05.F}( 17 )

[So1] What if Dr Phil isn’t actually making people better. He wrote one of those “getting your life together” books that I actually found quite helpful for a time, but hard to argue that his show is helping anyone.

[So2] Alexi Sargeant is kind of creeped out by cinema’s resurrection of the dead. I am just not feeling it. The inevitable buddy flick with Humphrey Bogart and Matt Damon gonna be lit.

[So3] I am a firm believer that we need more vacations that involve doing nothing. Maybe a cabin in the woods?

[So4] Elissa Strauss explains why kids are attracted to the “fascism” of Paw Patrol & Thomas the Tank Engine. The problem is that when you define fascism this way… it doesn’t look so bad.

[So5] Complaints about the Empire Strikes Back.

[So6] Adam Ozimek uses Star Wars to argue that art is best left to corporations.

[So7] Rick Webb gives a mea culpa over his Internet utopianism. The issues he talks about here are confronted every day on Twitter, of course, as well as regularly here at Ordinary Times and at pretty much any active venue. {More}

[So8] Robin Hanson says that norms should be automatic, and explores the implications of that.

[So9] In The Federalist, S F Kistler laments the loss of communities and neighborliness. We’ve never really had close neighborly relations except in the rural west. Which as an asocial soul I tend to be okay with.


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Morning Ed: Education {2017.01.04.Th}( 148 )

[Ed1] The case against rubrics. And, where grades come from.

[Ed2] In 2008, a professor at a “college of last resort” explains his skepticism.

[Ed3] Backlash or backlash to the backlash, depending on how you look at it, but professors are being forced off campus because of right-wing threats. {More}

[Ed4] Education Realist has some worthy thoughts about the teacher shortage. As with the doctor shortage, the question to me isn’t whether one exists but how it exists: in what places and what specialties.

[Ed5] Chad Wellmon wonders what happened to general education. Fair point about finance and football, but fraternities are on the downward slope these days and arguably one of the more traditional education things being eased out of existence.

[Ed6] Politico points out that Trump hasn’t done much to back up his talk on college affordability. Well, okay, but near as I can tell the only major politician to actually do something about college costs (instead of just shifting them around) is Rick Perry.

[Ed7] Peter Finucchio looks at a Republican prposal to forgive student loans in return for delaying social security.

[Ed8] Conor Williams wonders if white families aren’t intruding in bilingual schools. I understand the concern, but really the #1 thing bilingual schools should want is positive attention from white people.

[Ed9] Nayley Glatter wonders if it isn’t time to do away with applicant interviews. A friend who would know suggests that they’re more about alumni donations than student selections.

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Morning Ed: United States {2017.01.03.W}( 94 )

[US1] Memphis found a creative way to get around a Tennessee law instituted to protect Confederate statues.

[US2] Hurm.

[US3] When bros are bros.

[US4] We give cops a lot of crap, but we should also remember the good they do.

[US5] Ziplines over the Grand Canyon!

[US6] Sometimes plans to murder an estranged spouse can be a bit too elaborate.

[US7] Some questions sort of answer themselves, so the answer to the question of why all the bars in New Hampshire sell foods is obviously government regulations.

[US8] I approve of the Dick Clark New Year’s show having a New Orleans franchise. I suppose it’s too much to ask that they have a couple ore for the other two main time zones. Santa Fe and Las Vegas, maybe?

[US9] A look at laws going into effect in this New Year.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2018.NYD}( 61 )

[Po1] Courteous malevolence. One of the weird thing about my Twitter experience are some of the lovely people I’ve gotten to know with these wicked right-wing streaks on some issues or others that prevent me from recommending them to others. To be clear, they’re not Nazis or anything. But it can still be jarring.

[Po2] I am increasingly skeptical of articles that include the phrase “Social Justice Warriors” but I thought this piece by Thomas Varnke about the desire of some to link every social justice issue to the premier ones from yesterday was a worthwhile read.

[Po3] Everybody knows the Internet is driving us apart. But what if it isn’t?

[Po4] Jonathan Bernstein looks at the Virginia Tie and sees reasons against majoritarianism. I disagree with him on some of the specifics (I don’t favor the filibuster), but his point of conflating “democracy” as “majority rule” (and suggesting anything anything besides majority rule is minority rule) is solid.

[Po5] I thought the term “snowflake” had been around forever, but Chuck Palahniuk takes credit for inventing it. Meh. I’m not sure about that. The concept of everyone being as unique as a snowflake had been around for a while, and it was a pretty intuitive step from there to its current usage.

[Po6] The one takeaway from 2016 that seems like it might be the most long-term significant is the education divide. We are exactly one election removed from education being a poor predictor of R vs D, but there is a bit of a destiny feel about it that will lead to no good. {More}

[Po7] Reapportionment looks to benefit the south, with Florida and Texas in particular. Montana had better get that second seat, is all I’m saying.

[Po8] The economy is doing great. Why isn’t it helping Trump? The economy wasn’t the only reason he was elected, of course (there were, ahem, others), but perhaps his appeal rather depended on things going poorly. What use does an America that’s “Great Again” have for a doomsayer.

[Po9] This is a good look at Trump’s judicial nominations and why he’s done so well at the appellate level and so poorly at the trial one.


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Linky Friday: Blood Money( 133 )


Mandalay Bay photo

Image by TDelCoro

[Cr1] I’ve been listening to the John Sanford “Prey” series, all of which involve serial killers. One of the premises of the books are that serial killers are actually more common than we think, we just don’t link them. Maybe computers can!

[Cr2] Plot, counterplot.

[Cr3] Right on Crime, a pro-reform conservative outfit, points to the failures of Ban The Box.

[Cr4] Matt Walsh looks at all the things we still don’t know about the Vegas attacks.

[Cr5] Maybe their suspicions weren’t entirely misplaced.

[Cr6] A judge applauds a killer.

Business & Labor:

delivery drones photo

Image by

[BL1] Revolution! Hamilton Nolan wants to make life tougher for the rich, and not entirely by way of political action (which they can evade anyway).

[BL2] Debt collectors in the US can be pretty nasty, but take a look at China. [NYT]

[BL3] San Francisco says no to delivery drones.

[BL4] Down with tipping culture!

[BL5] Amazon is trying to get humans and robots to work together.

[BL6] If it looks like nothing can ever change with regard to workplace sexual harassment, progress was made in an unlikely sector.

[BL7] A report on the end of retirement.


tcu football photo

Image by Vironevaeh

[Sp1] Maybe a reason that colleges spend so much money on athletics program is that it attracts students. “[FAU head coach] Kiffin’s impact has transcended football. Kelly told ESPN earlier this month that FAU’s out-of-state applications for the 2018 fall semester were up 35 percent.”

[Sp2] Nothing says Alt-Right like Merry Christmas and watching the Army-Navy game.

[Sp3] Well, this looks kind of suspicious.

[Sp4] Ana Marie Cox writes about how she became a TCU football fan. It involves her relationship with dad.

[Sp5] In the middle of a celebratory parade, an Astros coach nearly died.

[Sp6] David Bixenspan argues that Vince McMahon has been making a more GOP-oriented product for years. What’s interesting is that defying some stereotypes, wrestling has among the leftier of fan-bases.

[Sp7] Relatedly, a look at wrestling documentaries. Two of the ones I’ve seen, the Ric Flair 30 for 30 and Beyond the Mat which spent a lot of time on the fate of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, were insanely depressingly. I have the ethical problem with wrestling that a lot of people do with football, where I think there is more the WWE could do than the NFL can.

[Sp8] R-S-T-L-N-E… or not.


snow plow photo

Image by Robbie1

[X1] A first-person account of being a freelance Amazon delivery person. Reminds me of my stint of delivering flowers, except he probably never got stiffed like I did.

[X2] Snow, snow, everywhere, but not a plower to plow in Maine.

[X3] Eric T Styles writes about his stint as a first black Tiny Tim.

[X4] Matt Lewis gives lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life.

[X5] This is why nobody likes you doctors.

[X6] Just because you win doesn’t mean you won’t get left with coal.


Image by dmsumon

[Sc1] Learning from rockets about volcanoes. A new volcano may be forming in New England… eventually. We need to figure out a way to redirect this volcanic energy to the Pacific and see if we can create a new continent.

[Sc2] Bringing glowing Avatar plants to life.

[Sc3] The good news is that science can finally give you a new head of hair. The bad news is that they may need to replace your scalp first.

[Sc4] We had some scientific breakthroughs five years ago. How did they hold up?

[Sc5] Some scientists never got their due.

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Morning Ed: Media {2017.12.28.Th}( 123 )

[M1] Hillary Clinton took a stab at being editor of Teen Vogue.

[M2] Did Matt Taibbi get a bad deal? Nah. Maybe first-person narratives joking about committing sexual assault is a bad idea.

[M3] Meanwhile, the fate of Glenn Thrush is being considered. But wait, there’s more and more! Throw in Lizza and Halperin, and at some point, enough top-flight writers and journalists will be disgraced that they could start a top-flight publication. Maybe Vice could hire them, since it would be right there in the name

[M4] Meet the Defender of the Snowden docs.

[M5] Jack Shafer writes a eulogy for the alt-weekly. This strikes me as another opportunity for the right to take advantage of the the broad left’s myopia for prestige… or maybe just a dead end medium.

[M6] It’s remarkable how quickly so much journalism turned into this.

[M7] Oops.

[M8] James O’Keefe and a Breitbart editor are somewhat backwalking their defenses of Roy Moore. I am coming around to the belief that, like Tucker Carlson, they should not be allowed to shrug off the side they decided to stand on when push came to shove. “We didn’t mean it” doesn’t make it better and may make it worse.

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Morning Ed: Love & Marriage {2017.12.27.W}( 69 )

[LM1] Millennials are high on the prospect of human-robot relationships.

[LM2] Barbara Ellen is not so worried about sex robots replacing women.

[LM3] Now it appears to be men, rather than women, who want to be in relationships. At least, in the UK.

[LM4] A look at the role genes play in when we lose our virginity.

[LM5] Periodic OT contributor Kave Harveston writes in Tempest about the bad example set by Jim Halpert and other romantic protagonists. Jim obviously wasn’t creepy because she felt the same way. But… there was no way for him to really know that, was there?

[LM6] Is spousal abuse more common in evangelical familiars? It seems to correlate (inversely) with devoutness. There is an interesting parallel here with Trump’s primary support within the GOP: It was rather weak among the devout evangelicals, but really strong among the nominal identifiers.

[LM7] Born from sin: Polygamy begets violence.

[LM8] Some new data that’s likely to give Jonathan Last some heartburn.

[LM9] A rorschachian statististic: Robert VerBruggen writes about how a fall in shotgun marriages helped lead to a generation of children born out of wedlock.

[LM0] “More attractive men use attractiveness to have more partners. More attractive women use attractiveness to have fewer partners.” -Lyman Stone

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Morning Ed: World {2017.12.26.Tu}( 79 )

[Wo1] I’m curious how much of this is conscientious objection and how much is safety concern.

[Wo2] #MehToo

[Wo3] Paulina Neudling looks at the sexual assault crisis in Sweden, and where it puts feminists.

[Wo4] If this isn’t a dream argument for libertarians and “unintended consequences” I don’t know what is.

[Wo5] Jonathan Last wrote about this in his book as it relates to the US, but apparently parents spending more time with their children is a North Atlantic phenomenon. Except France and Slovenia.

[Wo6] In Hong Kong, they have holes in buildings because dragons.

[Wo7] Is decline a choice? The story of Hamburg and Lubeck, one of which adapted and the other declined.

[Wo8] Better late than never.

[Wo9] One of the reasons Gorbachev through in the towel, apparently, was our promise not to expand NATO eastward.

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Morning Ed: Classic Technology {2017.12.25.X}( 14 )

[CT1] Old school portable drives.

[CT2] Wasn’t this a thing in Dave?

[CT3] Matt Shapiro says if you want something to last, digital isn’t the way to go.

[CT4] The history of Minitel, the French government’s web before the Web.

[CT5] Everything you ever wanted to know about the invention of dynamite.

[CT6] Before there was Facebook, there was CollegeClub. Did anyone else use that one? It was pretty central to my life for a year or two.

[CT7] If you’re above a certain age, you might remember OS/2. Turns out it’s still around in some limited capacities.

[CT8] Watch a double-decker bus get totaled.


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Morning Ed: Arts & Entertainment {2017.12.22.F}( 29 )

[AE1] A look at the accidental success of Casablanca.

[AE2] William Bradley tries to come to terms with the fact that Frank Miller’s politics are not to his liking and trying to like his work anyway. Must be hard.

[AE3] Tobias Carroll looks at why stories over time rhyme.

[AE4] I always wondered whatever happened to Mira Sorvino. Apparently, she was a victim of a Weinstein blacklist. The blacklist wouldn’t have worked if Hollywood hadn’t let it, and it seems to me they need to get to work on some rectification and start giving her (and Ashley Judd, who also seemed to disappear suddenly ) parts.

[AE5] If this is right and the Fox Network is in trouble, I am inclined to lament that fact… but I can’t remember the last must-see Fox TV show. Even CW has some I would miss. The Fox network has some pretty strong real estate, though. Seems weird that Disney would just give that up, though the alternative is that it competes against itself. The last network to try to compete against itself in this regard was… Fox, with its MyTV project. MyTV didn’t take off and became a syndication hub, which ironically could be Fox’s fate (which would be a return to its roots).

[AE6] Discrimination against older actresses (not even old in any real sense, just older than young) is an ongoing problem.

[AE7] Jordan Ecarma writes about vaguely Christmas movies. Relatedly, I still need to do my rousing defense of Lifetime movies.

[AE8] Some of these are more impressive than others. Things like “giant faces over little people” are pretty obvious.

[AE9] Memo to Tolkien, that’s not how mountains work.


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Morning Ed: United States {2017.12.20.W}( 37 )

[US1] How Brit autocompletes for the various states of the United States. Wisconsin cracked me up, as did the different answers for the Dakotas.

[US2] Sometimes the argument against immigration is a jobs one. Sometimes people will expressly sacrifice jobs to keep immigrants out.

[US3] Sexual harassment scandals, not just for men anymore. Though also for men.

[US4] James Lileks looks at the history of American utoipias, in their various forms.

[US5] Saleno Zito looks at depression and suicide among farmers, which is evidently a problem.

[US6] A first-eye look at our atomic history. Today, it seems like Los Alamos needs to shape up.

[US7] I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We are too big of a country to be trying to stuff all our talent into a couple of areas. Fortunately, we are branching out.

[US8] Michael Junge argues that we’re being negligent with our navy and Hal Brands exposes what he considers myths about our defense spending.

[US9] Wasn’t this a story in Ghost World?

[US0] It was:

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Morning Ed: Money {2017.12.18.M}( 171 )

[$1] Larry Kummer explains why the 1% wins.

[$2] I never thought about it, but in the same sense that UHauls to Detroit from Austin are a fraction of the price of the reverse trip, this makes sense.

[$3] Adventures in regulatory capture.

[$4] Scott Shackleford writes about the cousin of the Jones Act, which may be preventing cruises on the Mississippi. I took a Mississippi cruise once. It was unusual for a cruise in that the servers were all American, which meant that not only were paid 30x what you get on Carnival et al but they weren’t actually as good at or interested in their jobs.

[$5] Wired is mad at the techbros.

[$6] Amazon is apparently pushing its drivers hard.

[$7] If you email while you’re on vacation, you’re ruining everything for everybody.

[$8] David McWilliams argues that even as people have become more productive, wages keep being low due to global competition.

[$9] Ready, AIM Fired. Towards the end, they were serving our troops. It’s interesting to consider how close AOL and Yahoo both were to being a Facebook-like social network, if only they’d had the vision.

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Linky Friday: Critters & Coffee( 160 )


bomb sniffing dogs photo

Image by SGPhotography77

[Pe1] Shifty little boogers, they are.

[Pe2] The CIA gives a little insight into training dogs and what happens when dogs aren’t cut out for the work. While some dogs don’t like working, others really do. RIP.

[Pe3] Even the earliest dogs had leashes, evidently.

[Pe4] I can live without the treat dispenser, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see there being a “pet package” to more of these vehicles.

[Pe5] Cats are unusual.

[Pe6] It’s apparently no longer enough for police to just shoot pet dogs. There must be even more trauma.


[Sp1] Flat-earthers held their first conference. The problem with the earth being flat is that if it were flat things would be different.

[Sp2] A meteorite lit up the Norwegian sky.

[Sp3] A look at the mysterious space cigar, and maybe a doppelganger solar system.

[Sp4] I’m almost positive this was an episode of Outer Limits.

[Sp5] Teaching the question: Do dark matter and dark energy exist? Thousands of comic book plots depend on them so I hope so.

[Sp6] Nathan Robinson explores the conflict between space exploration and capitalism.

Sports & Games:

high school football photo

Image by Tom Hannigan

[SG1] Here’s a look at what the CFL is doing to reduce concussions and other big hits. People talk a lot about the games, but I’m pretty sure most of the damage is done in practice. And then after football, then hockey?

[SG2] When you’re on the wrong side of righteousness, you never know when you’re going to provoke vengeance. With a sports angle!

[SG3] Hazing, rape, and high school football.

[SG4] If you’ve ever wondered why you are getting the NFL games you’re getting on your local TV, here you go.

[SG5] One bad formula, a lot of ruined soccer.

[SG6] Is Louisville really broken, though? They may be suing their old coach, but he got them into the ACC while rival Cincinnati flounders in the AAC and no scandal can undo that.

Food & Drink:

[FD1] This is a really – and nuanced – good take on cultural appropriation and food. {via Maribou}

[FD2] Deep fry it. For the environment.

[FD3] Coffee shops don’t offer WiFi out of generosity. The WiFi is often why we’re there.

[FD4] A court has ruled that the tea must be served and the tea store cannot close.

[FD5] Introducing the Whopper Dropper!

[FD6] I have long been off-put by plexiglass windows at convenience stores and occasionally eateries, but this is absolute horse-pucky.


paul sorvino photo

Image by david_shankbone

[Po1] You were supposed to treat them badly. You weren’t supposed to treat me badly!

[Po2] Jim Pethhokoukis looks at universal basic income experiments around the world.

[Po3] William Bradley tries to come to terms with the fact that Frank Miller’s politics are not to his liking and trying to like his work anyway. Must be hard.

[Po4] This cast list is pretty good. Even know he’s old, I think you gotta give the Manafort role to Paul Sorvino. And, at the risk of ruining The West Wing, Martin Sheen would make a really good Trump.

[Po5] I recently commented that some of Roy Moore’s comments have been deliberately ambiguous on the subject of slavery. It is apparently a real tactic for Daily Stormers to be deliberately ambiguous in their anti-semitism and the earnestness thereof.

[Po6] The EU makes itself really hard to defend sometimes.

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Morning Ed: Education & Speech {2017.12.14.Th}( 102 )

[ES1] Why is it so difficult to learn fraction?

[ES2] Dan Wang on the Girardian terror of college. Some good points, but seems the inevitable consequence of all the great things about college.

[ES3] A look at everything that can go wrong during admissions interviews.

[ES4] Elite schools are seeking ruralian students. I am wary of watering down standards, but maybe the FFA/4H penalty should have been cause for concern.

[ES5] David Perry argues that we need to learn to stop worrying and love tech in the classroom.

[ES6] From Lee Jussim and Akeela Careem, a good nuanced look at Freedom of Speech from the point of view of silenced speech and stiffled speech, whether from counterspeech of hostile environs.

[ES7] Jesse Singal takes on some of the bad lefty arguments against Free Speech. He’s also written ahout how Millennials are not especially bad on speech issues.

[ES8] Chris Beck is really pissed off at the ACLU.

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Morning Ed: Society {2017.12.13.W}( 56 )

[So1] YouTube Kids is just an ocean of oddity. My little girl is just fascinated watching grownups play with figures. But nothing weirder than that, thankfully.

[So2] Kristen Berman and Dan Ariely want to ban small talk with the notion that doing so would force us to discuss more important things.

[So3] Teens are anonymously targeting themselves on line for reasons that I guess kind of make sense in a way and everything is messed up.

[So4] Crispin Sartwell takes aim at the Muppets, and Sesame Street. I notice that he leaves Curious George off his list of ire. Which is smart, because Curious George is by far the best PBS cartoon. Peg + Cat is also really good. Sesame Street is okay, but pretty unambitious these days.

[So5] The case against limiting yourself to writing what you know.

[So6] This is a really cool idea. I would think so, of course, since I already “audiobook” TV shows.

[So7] A couple years ago, the New York Times investigated why it’s so difficult for 30-somethings to make friends.

[So8] I wasn’t as big into Shel Silverstein as some people, but I’m still surprised I didn’t know this existed.

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Morning Ed: Health {2017.12.12.T}( 115 )

[He1] The ship has sailed on continuity of care, I fear, both over there and over here.

[He2] My wife’s last two employers have leaned very heavily on Professional Obligation to keep her working in excess of 60 hours a week and get the family accustomed to her not coming home for days on end (her last couple months resulted in over $1500 in hotel bills because she was too tired to drive home at the end of the day), and while EMR shoulders much of the blame, but physician burnout is ultimately going to do its thing.

[He3] On the other hand, hospitals are facing some really big financial pressures, and have reasons to be pushing physicians as hard as they are. One expects that they will become among the biggest voices pushing for things like…

[He4] Nurses vs the AMA. If the physicians want to handle all of this, they needed to make sure they had the numbers to do so. I am married to a doctor and it took me nine months to establish care. While the role of the AMA and physicians in all of this is exaggerated, whether out of greed or professional pride they have been on the wrong side of this until somewhat recently.

[He5] Ooooh, a successful uterus transplant birth.

[He6] Everything is more dangerous than everything else. BUT! Some good news on vaping.

[He7] In addition to being grotesque graphically and spiritually, “plain packaging” laws may also be just flat ineffective.

[He8] If there’s a lot of pollution outside, don’t bother exercising.

[He9] Pollution has deleterious effects on job performance. Makes sense. Not good for China.

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Morning Ed: SciFi {2017.12.11.M}( 39 )

[SF1] How to construct a wormhole to make backwards time travel possible.

[SF2] This is really going to take us to some weird places. (Might help us prevent idiocracy, though.)

[SF3] A look at farming and time-travel, reviewing relevant books (and adding substantially to my reading list).

[SF4] Isn’t this from an episode of Outer Limits? Except with humans?

[SF5] Long-distance relationships… with touching.

[SF6] Would they face more discrimination or less than people who can’t get laid? Seems to me that would be a really easy thing to stay in the closet about.

[SF7] What monk philosophy can teach AI.

[SF8] I dunno, things didn’t start getting bad on the Matrix until the robots stopped looking like humans.

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Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes( 90 )

Note: Will is out on assignment. This week’s Linky Friday is being put together by Tod, who may or may not be posting some links Will has posted in the past. If this is the case, apologies in advance.


[P1] Sometimes political ads really do work on me —but in the opposite way the candidate intended.

[P2] Oh for Pet’s sake. Can we at least wait until 1920 for this?!

[P3] In fairness, you’re probably always going to look really, really smart when you’re standing next to this guy.

[P4] That one thing liberals point to as proof that governments work is becoming a sign that they are failing.

[P5} This CNN interview might well be the purist form of Trumpism I have ever seen, but for me its biggest takeaway is that Roy Moore’s official spokesperson has never, ever applied for a library card.

[P6] In a different timeline, bungling something this badly would make you a laughingstock among your peers — especially if were the rule and not the exception. In this timeline, however, you receive awards and accolades from the families of Supreme Court Justices for your bungling.

Men Vs. Women

[MW1] This piece by Claire Dederer should be required reading for men, even as those who read through to the end will be surprised at the places she goes.

[MW2] More proof that the internet is not for the weak of heart.

[MW3] There are monsters, and then there are monsters with legal teams.

[MW4] Say what you want about the British, but at least they s**tcan their predators once they’re publicly outed.

[MW5] It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that, what with today’s #metoo movement, society allowing women to be victims to powerful predators is this totally brand-new thing. But actually it’s pretty old. No, older than that, I mean.  No, I’m saying you need to go back really, really far in our history.

[MW6] Franken, Shmanken. Both parties have always been more than happy to quietly allow sexual harassment and assault to fester at their pleasure. But are we now seeing the emergence of an overtly pro-sexual harassment and assault party?

[MW7] Slate’s executive editor talks about being the object of her boss’s desire — and everything working out quite nicely, thank you very much. And speaking of publications I rarely say nice things about, good for Time magazine.

“The Best People”

[BP1] Not just the best in 2017. The best in history.

[BP2] Sobering news for the #nevertrump set: there may well be ways to clean up the White House, but it does not look as if the Logan Act is one of them.

[BP3] Mooch!

[BP4] I have always assumed that if there was any weakness in the Trump camp for Mueller to uncover that might potentially take them down, it wasn’t going to be proof of collusion — it was going to be proof of laundering. We shall see, I guess.

[BP5] This just seems like a bad Ocean’s 11 sequel waiting to happen.

[BP6] Hey man, whatever two consenting adults do in private is no business of mine.

Life On the Fringes

[LF1] I mean, it’s not like there were any signs that could have tipped them off at the outset.

[LF2] People are giving this New York Times piece a bad time for not being sufficiently anti-Nazi, but for me the problem with the article was that the reporter didn’t seem to care enough about it to report out the story. The Atlantic, on the other hand, gets its business done.

[LF3] This was probably inevitable.

[LF4] If your boss passed you up once again up for that big promotion, you might consider the possibility that your problem is an infestation of demons.

[LF5] Speaking of me, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little giddy that my next commission is to go out and cover the fine people at Nxivm.

[LF6] “You don’t make deals with God. If it was Jamie’s time, there was nothing I coulda done. He was gonna go anyway.

[LF7] Here’s a story about online bullying leading to suicide that should be receiving a lot more attention than it is. (Indeed, someone should write a piece about all the reasons no one does seem to care about this story.)


[P1] It turns out it’s a mixed blessing that we don’t get to really be there for our own birth.

[P2] Hey, they don’t call it the Sweet Science for nothing.

[P3] Sometimes you have to root for both sides to lose.

[P4] People back east are always asking me if Portlanders prefer to call Lyft or Uber when they don’t have a car and need to get somewhere, and I am forced to admit that, as always with PDX, it’s a little more complicated.

[P5] This piece on a lake in Africa and its role in an unspeakably terrible humanitarian disaster is really quite long, and very much worth your time.

[P8] It was always just a matter of time before some hipster argued that choosing to access almost any indie band you wanted  rather than what some radio station force fed you made you a sell-out.

[P9] There are unintended negative consequences to everything we do — including prison reform.

[P7] “I don’t know if you know this, but hamsters be fucking.”

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Morning Ed: Women & Men {2017.12.07.Th}( 46 )

[WM1] Long term relationships are about to get more touchy? [Ed Note, item originally was intended for a different link and was altered to match the current link]

[WM2] Helen Pluckrose looks at a global-historical look at the patriarchy.

[WM3] In case you ever wanted to know what sex in a Marxist Guerilla camp in Colombia is like, Vice has you covered.

[WM4] Women are willing to pay a lot to avoid sexual harassment.

[WM5] When it comes to gender strengths and weaknesses, is it all in the brains?

[WM6] Leonard Sax writes of self-objectification and why stricter dress codes may benefit girls.

[WM7] Does love at first sight exist? I think it exists but is not necessarily something to cooperate with.

[WM8] We know the problems with Matt Lauer and Mark Helperin, but Shannon Van Sant says they are products of their culture.

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Morning Ed: World {2017.12.06.W}( 14 )

[Wo1] This map is very interesting, though I would prefer to see it broken down between say 1933 to 1950 and 1950 to present-day.

[Wo2] Giving up on the west, educated young Africans are heading home.

[Wo3] In their first election ever, Canadians had the United States on their mind. Among other things.

[Wo4] Is there any way we can shift the volcanic pressure away from some place where it will destroy humanity to somewhere in the Pacific where it could create a new continent? (If you didn’t know, science was not my best class in school.)

[Wo5] Even when there’s no river, there’s a chance the settlement was because of a river.

[Wo6] The whole Florida Man phenomenon is based on the fact that Florida has more sunshine laws (no pun intended) than other states, which allows reporters to scope around until they have weird stuff. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Kansas.

[Wo7] Erica Grieder explores five myths about Texas.

[Wo8] Sam Kriss investigates the Aztecs’ whole “World is gonna end in 2012” thing.

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Tech Tuesday, Bacteria Still Rule Edition (12/5/17)( 26 )


AERO1 – Not water, just sand, but still impressive what we can learn just by looking from far away.

AERO2 – More about what we learned from looking at our interstellar cigar.

AERO3 – I love the idea, but I’m left wondering where they think they are going to get 160km of superconducting wire that can readily form a loop?

AERO4 – For serious citizen scientists, and serious kooks who want to know how many extra layers of tin foil to put on their hats today.

AERO5 – Well if we can’t have them on Earth, let’s NUKE MARS!

AERO6 – High altitude drones are way cheaper than satellites, to build and deploy.  Honestly, tech like this, parked over a city, can remove the need for concepts like net neutrality (yes, I’m being intentionally vague about why, so we can talk about it in the comments).

AERO7 – Another entrant into the electric commercial aviation field.  Given my employer is part of the partnership, I’ll be interested to see what work comes my way.


ARCH1 – This is a fantastic idea!  Now just extend this to Olympic games and we’ll be set.  Hell, extend it to every professional sport.

ARCH2 – More ideas for living on the water.  On a related note, I really hope Moody’s follows through on this.


BIO1 – This is not permission to indulge at Cinnabon.

BIO2 – Not the first time I’ve seen nanoparticles being employed to hunt down cancer cells.  Does anyone know if any of these nanoparticle therapies are actually past clinical trials and in use today?

BIO3 – I haven’t been too worried about the bees, since restoring a collapsed hive isn’t hard or terribly expensive, but it’s still a problem that needs addressing, so it’s good to see work like this.

BIO4 – A simple enzyme, really?

BIO5C, G, A, T, X, Y

BIO6 – Evolution so fast we can use it to do computations?  Am I reading this right?  Also, teaching bacteria to do our chemistry for us, but don’t let them learn how to resist our antibiotics..  Also, turning E. Coli into a sensor grid that can record and report data.

BIO7 – Plants, the silent spies.  My prediction:  DARPA will engineer a strain of Dandelion that blooms a different color if it’s in the presence of a given isotope (something you’d only find around a nuclear weapon site).  Spread the seeds over the DPRK.


ENRG1 – I applaud efforts to turn Bio-Waste into energy, but I’m starting to wonder if there aren’t simply too many different approaches that only know how to deal with a too limited set of biomass.  What happens when the available biomass can’t keep pace with the energy demand, or the biomass supply dries up?  People need to start thinking bigger.

ENRG2 – Now this is just too cool, or hot, or smoothly going from hot to cool , or something!  (PS Thermal battery unlike anything you’ve ever heard of)

ENRG3 – Did anyone not see this coming?

ENRG4 – It can turn sunlight into electricity!  It can split water molecules! It can make Julianne fries!

ENRG5Graphene popcorn can make your phone battery charge way faster!

ENRG6 – I’m not up on the chemistry here, but the words ‘Magnesium’ and ‘non-flammable’ are not words I often see together.


MAT1Superelastic chainmail tires for a future lunar rover.  Won’t be seeing these on a NASCAR track (speed rating is gonna be very low), but it’s still a pretty cool variation of a Twheel.

MAT2 – Adding graphene to asphalt could double the lifespan of asphalt, thanks to the heat transfer abilities of graphene.  Sounds reasonable, but I’ll hold off on getting too excited until the test kilometer has gone a couple of years.

MAT3 – Looking to sea urchin spines for super strong concrete.  It’s all about the micro and nano structures.  What fascinates me isn’t that we’ve figured these things out, it’s that we can reliably get these micro and nano structures to form without having to assemble things molecule by molecule.

MAT4 – Graphene sheets could be used as a near infinite power source thanks to ambient heat.  Some comments:  First, the idea of extracting useful amounts of energy from micro and nano level vibrations isn’t out there, although AFAIK, it hasn’t been used for any kind of commercial application (which is why this is in Materials instead of Energy), but the theory is sound.  Second, Graphene is only 2D in the sense that it’s only one molecule thick, it’s not truly 2D.

MAT5 – Speaking of carbon, the nano-tubes are still kicking it as water filters.


PHYS1 – This is a comic book origin just waiting to be used.


TECH1Soft robots seems to be all the rage these days, although perhaps only halfheartedly.

TECH2 – Last time, I linked to research that worked to remove the vibrations from 3D print-head movements to speed up printing, now they are increasing the pressure and heating efficiency to improve speeds.


TRANS1 – Speaking of improving 3D printing, the first 3D printed ships screw has been approved for use.   Ship screws, be they solid or variable pitch, are expensive to produce because they have to be cast and machined to the finished shape.  Building the casting molds is itself expensive (the curves have to be precise), and do not lend themselves to custom blade profiles.  This should permit some greater ability to play with designs, and reduce the cost of replacing screws.

TRANS2 – This showed up a bit sooner than I expected.

TRANS3 – Using internal air bladders in tanker trailers to reducing sloshing.

TRANS4 – That is some novel application of hydrofoils.

TRANS5High-res LIDAR for self driving vehicles.  I want to see how it works in the rain, snow, or fog, but it does make some pretty pictures.

Wacky, Weird, and Wonderful

WWW1 – A discussion of the public trust in scientific authority.  Via Pillsy.

WWW2Math epitaphs.  Also, if you aren’t checking out this excellent blog regularly, you should be if you have any interest in math.

Image by rulenumberone2

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Morning Ed: Labor {2017.12.04.M}( 80 )

[Lb1] Maybe in addition to trying to protect workers from their employers, we need to do more to protect them from you.

[Lb2] There are, it turns out, some pretty good reasons why women don’t report sexual harassment.

[Lb3] This reminds me of that pier video from Season Two of The Wire.

[Lb4] There are multiple problems here. At least three that I can count off the top of my head.

[Lb5] This is depressing and not at all surprising.

[Lb6] Nathan Robinson looks at the various forms of harassment, sexual and otherwise.

[Lb7] The future lies with nerds and nurses.

[Lb8] Bryan Menegus writes about how Amazon is being carried by the gig economy.

[Lb9] On promoting women in tech fields, you’re damned if you don’t, and possibly damned if you do.


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Morning Ed: Family {2017.12.01.Fr}( 44 )

[Fm1] Coal families are less likely to divorce during bear times because, it appears, they’re less likely to rush into marriage during boom times.

[Fm2] A surprising amount of childlessness in the UK is involuntary.

[Fm3] This makes sense: Parents who are married are more likely to stick together in part because their pregnancies are more likely to be planned.

[Fm4] How co-parenting works between parents after a violent marriage.

[Fm5] A glimpse at the process of choosing a sperm donor. Relatedly, are women receiving the counseling they should on freezing their eggs?

[Fm6] With the economy in recovery, why aren’t we getting recovery babies? It’s easier to bring birth rates down than to bring them back up.

[Fm7] Science Magazine looks at a book on infants and how they modernized America by way of their actually surviving and becoming a more per tangible fixture in our lives.

[Fm8] Bethany Mandel writes about the oversharing parent problem. I figure I’m safe as long as I have a pseudonym. If nothing else, it will prevent them from telling their friends my secret identity!

[Fm9] There is something truly fascinating about our “from the mouths of babes” fixation. Ed West explains best why it’s so misguided.

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Morning Ed: Crime {2017.11.29.W}( 73 )

Image by LoopZilla

[Cr1] How to escape a Siberian prison.

[Cr2] It’s worth pointing out that they didn’t just use “her digital life” to harass her, but also the state.

[Cr3] When both sides of a drug deal are undercover cops trying to bust the other, fists will fly.

[Cr4] How people remember murders they didn’t commit. Also, the history of skeleton confessors.

[Cr5] Elizabeth Bruenig writes on forgiveness of the wicked, in the context of recent sexual assault and harassment scandals.

[Cr6] Brilliant! It’s honestly reminiscent of police using the potential of sexting ruining someone’s life to ruin someone’s life over sexting.

[Cr7] What if, instead of being anti-social, the violence is our society?

[Cr8] How British libel laws are preventing sexual harassment cases from being pursued.

[Cr9] This is a really disturbing story in several ways.

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Linky Tuesday: Love & Politics( 257 )


via Pixabay

[R1] Amy Wax writes of he joylessness of hookup sex.

[R2] A look at the history of the single vote. The connection to “woke” is tenuous, but the “Wide Awakes” name cracked me up.

[R3] Elizabeth Bruenig looks to a new sexual ethic. I really like her thinking in that the ethics of puritanism and the ethics of consent have both, in and of themselves, failed us.

[R4] Millennials are conducting their relationships differently… and pretty much exactly in the ways you would expect for good or for ill.

[R5] Universities offering courses on dating actually sound like an interesting idea, though the reasons for doing so in Korea are disconcerting.

[R6] If you are going to consider cohabitation these seems like pretty good questions to ask even if you don’t have any philosophical objections or resistance.


partisan media photo

Image by

[Po1] I’m not sorry to see this, to be honest.

[Po2] Nationalist populism finally hits Germany, putting Merkel in a pickle.

[Po3] If anything should be public domain, the laws we live under should be.

[Po4] The Rise of the Robots section of Hillary Clinton’s book was one of the more interesting parts. She’s still at it. Now that she is (I believe) out of the political game, she should spend more time talking about the things she wanted to talk about because it seemed wrong for a politician to be talking about them.

[Po5] An oldie but goodie on how The West Wing is warping foreign perceptions of American products. Maybe Trump destroyed that?

[Po6] On the Internet, can anyone tell you’re a bot?

[Po7] A look at the neuroscience behind political stubbornness.


Fox News photo

Image by mariopiperni

[Me1] Even apart from the sexual harassment allegations, Eve Fairbanks says that Mark Halperin’s influence on modern political media has been devastating.

[Me2] I swear 2016 and 2017 is being written by hack screenwriters. While I think the award was excessive, and while they are enjoying a bit of a renewed appreciation, I still don’t lament Gawker’s passing.

[Me3] This was bound to happen at some point: An ousted reporter is suing back.

[Me4] A few years ago Gabriel Rossman wrote about the niche partitioning of media and how economics of scale don’t apply to media.

[Me5] As Twitter has revealed over and over again, when newspeople are free to speak their minds, they say everything they thought they had been taking pains to conceal.

[Me6] Step 1: Vox Unionizes.
Step 2: Stike!
Step 3: Conservative scabs walk through the picket line.
Step 4: Vox is a conservative media organization now.

[Me7] Well this didn’t work out as well as intended.


black friday photo

Image by Neon Tommy

[Bu1] Karl Smith explains how Walmart is becoming another specialty retailer.

[Bu2] Do you believe in magic? UK water companies do!

[Bu3] DRM was, perhaps, doomed from the very beginning.

[Bu4] What cities are doing to win Amazon over. The biggest innovator? Fresno!

[Bu5] Is Black Friday dead? Or has it been shifted to Thursday? I was at Walmart on Thanksgiving night because I needed some melatonin and a toothbrush and there were about 10,000 people. I have a proposal: How about instead of everybody shopping on Thursday, we start the sales on Friday instead?

[Bu6] The beautiful chaos of the bike-rental business in Europe.



Taco Bell photo

Image by JeepersMedia

[Fo1] A look at the potential environmental benefits of deep fat frying!

[Fo2] Taco Bell always one step ahead of society.

[Fo3] Rethinking fishery policy by looking at effort instead of haul.

[Fo4] The Curse of Jared? What’s happened to Subway?

[Fo5] I’m game, but I think we’ve probably gotten all we’re going to get from food labeling (which turns out to be next to nothing). This might have some possibilities, though can’t really be forced.

[Fo6] The weird thing isn’t the apparent fraud, but how out-and-out lazy some of the apparent fraud appears to be.

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Morning Ed: The Planet {2017.11.27.M}( 32 )

[Pl1] A new report on the refugee crisis that climate change potentially represents.

[Pl2] A look at the importance of Panama, millions of years ago.

[Pl3] Pittsburgh is spending a lot of money on trash cans.

[Pl4] Among other things, this article really doesn’t understand the relationship between people and Earth.

[Pl5] Some plants appear to handle climate change better than others.

[Pl6] Is it time to pull up our stakes and move inland? What global warming doesn’t accomplish, maybe a volcano will.

[Pl7] Floating villages, flood parks, highway tunnes, and other ways to adapt San Francisco to climate change.

[Pl8] With the Keystone Pipeline having laid a giant dump in South Dakota, some people are asking whether this is worse than other means of transport. The answer is that it depends on how you measure. Pipeline incidents are always the worst, but they are less frequent. Overall, trucks are the worst and pipelines are slightly less bad than rail when it comes to spillage but slightly better than rail when it comes to human casualties.

[Pl9] The IEA is ever-skeptical of solar’s growth, over and over and over again.

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Morning Ed: Violence {2017.11.24.Fr}( 11 )

[Vi1] A look at Genghis Khan’s spy network.

[Vi2] The dark history of the engineering of the VX Nerve Agent.

[Vi3] Civil War: The Battle of San Diego.

[Vi4] Do the armed forces need to get modern and ditch officer wife school? Not quite the same, but I’m in favor of all the home ec tutoring we can manage for anyone, wherever we can manage it.

[Vi5] Violence against tribeswomen is a huge problem. My sister-in-law is acting as an adjudicator for cases in Alaska, where the problem is less missing women and more sexually abused girls and women. It’s… a mess.

[Vi6] Ari Schulman argues that one of the best ways we may be able to prevent mass shootings is changing the way we cover them.

[Vi7] Slavery is making a comeback in Libya.

[Vi8] Colin Dickey has a writeup on a book involving The Great Cat and Dog Massacre of World War II, which it turns out may have been largely unnecessary.

[Vi9] Atomic bomb survivors draw Ground Zero in 1945.

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Tech Tuesday 11/21( 19 )


AERO1 – More images of Jupiter from Juno, because I just love looking at that massive display of Schlieren Photography and Qualitative Flow Visualization.

AERO2 – The Dream Chaser has done a successful drop landing (carried aloft by heavy lift helicopter, then dropped and successfully landed on a runway).  If you watch the video, you’ll notice the front landing gear is a skid pad, and you can see the handful of protective tiles at the tip of the skid vaporizing upon touchdown.

AERO3 – Oh man, dinosaurs, way to roll a 1 on your saving throw versus Death.

AERO4 – Highly flexible wings are being tested on a drone in order to come up with better wing designs for long range aircraft, since flexible wings will be able to adapt to changing aerodynamic conditions and improve fuel efficiency and over all aircraft performance.  However, highly flexible wings are very susceptible to flutter.  Flutter is high amplitude wing vibration that is at or very near a resonance frequency for a wing.  Flutter is hell on modern commercial aircraft because it can tear wings apart if it isn’t damped out.  The more flexible a wing is, the more resonance frequencies it will have, and the more likely it will be to experience flutter, so it is very important to have control technologies that will be able to damp out those vibrations.

AERO5 – Now that we’ve successfully detected gravitational waves, and we know what to look for, we can start looking at celestial objects to find gravitational waves our instruments are not yet sensitive enough to detect.

AERO6 – You ever get hired for a job, and before you’ve even finished filling out the HR forms and figured out where the coffee machine is, you’ve got work sitting on your desk.  It’s like that, but for a Space Observatory.

AERO7 – In real estate, it’s all about Location, Location, Location, but man, Temperature, Temperature, Temperature is pretty important as well.


BIO1 – Hey, living in space can be stressful, but seedlings are learning to cope.  Which, you know, is a good thing if we ever hope to live out there without relying on Earth for every bit of fresh food.

BIO2 – A gene therapy to cure blindness!  Who saw that coming? (you may groan, loudly, I won’t be offended)

BIO3 – The important bit is that they are stable.  A kill switch is no good if it can be evolved away from.

BIO4 – Red Wine and Chocolate contain the stuff of long life!

BIO5 – So what they are saying is that transcription errors are not a given.


EE1This is so simple it’s genius.  Sure, you need a seabed with a thick layer of silt/sand/mud on top of the bedrock, but aside from that..

EE2 – This one is a lot more complicated, but I like the concrete and the non-steel construction technique, which makes me wonder if the buckets from EE1 could be made of this formulation, rather than steel?

EE3 – One would have to be a fool to think that Geo-Engineering our way out of climate change was without risks.  And at the very least, it’s an all or nothing kind of deal, you most certainly can’t expect to cool one part of the planet without messing things up somewhere else.


MAT1 – While we still can’t quite get artificial silk right, we can, it seems, recycle silk into some pretty useful stuff.  So, that old silk shirt with the stain that will never come out might be quite valuable.

MAT2 – A little bit of charred wood, sunlight, and you got a water filter!


PHYS1 – That particle that everyone thought was Dark Matter?  Nope.  Back to the whiteboard.

PHYS2Very cool, but currently utterly useless, except as a way to annoy that guy on his cellphone (so far).


TECH1 – Yes, that robot just did a backflip.  It’s already in talks with Cirque de Soliel.

TECH2 – Skynet is following this advance with great interest…

TECH3 – Pew! Pew! Pew!

TECH4Automotive HUDs are one of those things whose development has seemed, to me, to be ridiculously slow.  This has always struck me as one of those things the insurance industry would be pushing hard for automakers to develop and install, since it would help keep eyes on the road.  I’ve been waiting for these since I saw Runaway in 1986!

TECH5 – A hardware neural network may be at hand.

TECH6 – Perovskites might be the secret to creating Organic Laser Diodes.


TRANS1 – I think the idea of an electric highway is neat, and there is a certain cross-functional harmony of electrical infrastructure to it, but man I just loathe the look of pantograph wires.  I get it, it’s way easier and cheaper to suspend wires above an existing road than it is to embed something in or below the road, but they are just ugly!

TRANS2 – Speaking of trucks, there is now a retrofit device to improve the aerodynamics of trucking by reducing or eliminating the drag that happens when high speed air slips behind the truck cab and gets caught between it and the trailer.  The trick is, of course, that the system has to be able to get out of the way at slow speeds so the truck can make sharp turns, which means it must fail to the retracted position.  Also not sure how well this would work on refrigerated trucks, since the refrigeration unit would both get in the way, and is probably very dependent on the airflow behind the cab.

TRANS3 – And finally, Tesla is touting their electric long haul rig.

TRANS4 – A bubble shroud is an idea that has been floating around for a long time, but AFAIK no one has every successfully deployed one on an actual vessel.

TRANS5 – Waymo (Alphabet, Google, etc.) is letting it’s cars do their own thing.


Wacky, Weird, and Wonderful

WWW1 – KFC is offering a personal, inflatable, Faraday cage with the Colonels warm, finger licking embrace.

WWW2 – What to do with plastic waste in your city?  Recycle it into 3D print plastic and print out some durable city benches.

WWW3 – Didn’t IKEA try this some time ago?

WWW4 – Asgardia has put the first bit of itself into space.  Obviously, part of me wants this to be in Aerospace, but I truly think it belongs here.

Image by NASA on The Commons

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Morning Ed: Education {2017.11.20.Mo}( 46 )

[Ed1] So where are all these STEM graduates going to work? I’ve always considered the non-vocational majors to be somewhat dicey, but it’s surprising to see engineers there. That said, jobs outside their fields are still jobs just as jobs that don’t require a degree are still jobs. Which means that on the social level we may be too invested in STEM (unless we believe in the knowledge for its own sake, as some do with college generally) though individually it may be the right course more often than not.

[Ed2] While many universities are seeking an ever-increasing specialization in paths of study, St John’s College in Annapolis and Santa Fe are going a different route.

[Ed3] David Nakamura shares his experience teaching at a Japanese high school, and how he got different lessons than the ones he was looking for.

[Ed4] Peter Human argues that Britain needs an education revolution.

[Ed5] Grad school academic blues… not just for liberal arts graduates.

[Ed6] Most excellent! This is a stigma that, as women go to college in greater numbers, has become quite counterproductive.

[Ed7] Michael Strain argues against taxing university endowments. The endowment is one of the things my university has going for it, so I look on with skepticism.

[Ed8] What do you do when it turns out your college is a con? Within this article is the important thing that these colleges succeeded in part because they were delivering stuff people wanted that regular colleges weren’t (and I don’t mean the phony degrees).

[Ed9] Jennifer Bershire asks Gordon Lafer how and why corporations are undermining public education.

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Linky Friday: (Un)earthly Affairs( 58 )


red vs blue photo

Image by Masked Builder

[Po1] Walter Olson makes the libertarian case against gerrymandering.

[Po2] A look at politics and personality in the UK.

[Po3] Undermining the FDA? Where do I sign? Also, an interesting look at the history of the FDA.

[Po4] I am increasingly convinced that this is true. It’s been confirmed at least on one side of the aisle, but if we’re honest it’s true of the other side as well as those on the fence, in aggregate. This is also an argument for strong parties with good party elites. {Related?}

[Po5] This may evolve into the most important offshoot of #MeToo. And we’re off!


Image by ricketyus

[Me1] The rise and fall of Playgirl.

[Me2] The Chinese, evidently, are comfortable with their media and its limitations.

[Me3] Katherine Goldstein argues that news organizations need to do a better job of accommodating mothers.

[Me4] The strange story of an internet media commentator with a penchant for harassing women who turned out to be a teen girl.

[Me5] When tallying the dead, how do you count fetuses?

[Me6] Contrary to conservative complaints, the media hasn’t really buried the Menendez story. MSNBC, though… (and their excuse sucks)

[Me7] The Wall Street Journal reports that Buzzfeed, Mashable, and Vice are all missing their financial targets.


playgirl photo

Image by Jazmin Million

[Re1] Jemar Tisby was a rising star in the white evangelical community in Mississippi, but he has become disillusioned.

[Re2] A video on what happens when ex-Muslims go public.

[Re3] As someone that’s not especially religious (or “spiritual” in the normal sense) but who believes in believing in god, I often look interestedly at the community of church.

[Re4] EdWeek has an article on how to teach religion in schools, without blowing everything up.

[Re5] Hal Boyd argues that it’s to mock the Mormon beliefs is to mock the things about Mormons we often profess to admire.


sperm photo

Image by Grace Hebert

[Sc1] What a Star Wars spoof revealed about sperm penetration.

[Sc2] According to Razib Khan, the fierceness of the blowback against social psychology is due to pent up demand. Think of it like finally getting to pee after holding it in forever. More, from Andrew Gelman.

[Sc3] Scientific disagreements ending in lawsuits is likely to be a problem for the climate sciences in general.

[Sc4] Asymmetrical scrutiny is an ever-present concern with science, and it’s hard to find a better example than this.

[Sc5] A look at turning heat into motion using magnets.


red vs blue photo

Image by cuatrok77

[Sp1] When is a giant world not a planet?

[Sp2] Chris Russell looks at what we can learn by going back to the moon.

[Sp3] Studying the plumes of Enceladus.

[Sp4] I’m just glad this didn’t happen those few months when everybody was telling everybody else they had to see Crash. What if China meets the aliens first? We’re already sending stuff out.

[Sp5] If there are aliens out there, they may be a lot like us.

[Sp6] A big new advance for terraforming Mars? Now, if ewe can just get a comet full of water to collide with it.Image by cuatrok77

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Morning Ed: Geopolitics {2017.11.16}( 19 )

[Gp1] A look at Germany’s relationship with its military and the dilemmas that presents.

[Gp2] Rachel VanLandingham is unhappy with how the Bowe Bergdahl case turned out.

[Gp3] The British Royal Navy isn’t growing, apparently.

[Gp4] Lordy have mercy that terrorism insurance is a thing for musicians.

[Gp5] Here’s a look at some of the complexities of the Catalonia situation.

[Gp6] A look at Genghis Khan’s spy network.

[Gp7] Could Saudi Arabia be taking a more moderate course?

[Gp87] All is not well at the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.

[Gp9] Good work, Buzzfeed.


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Morning Ed: Health {2017.20.15.W}( 14 )

[He1] Between pagers and fax machines, hospitals don’t just keep patients alive but technologies.

[He2] Some might say that vaping is safe, but living 86,000,000 years would drive any sane man mad.

[He3] Smoking may kill you, but so may being told to stop smoking.

[He4] The New York Magazine has an interesting look at doulas.

[He5] I was all prepared to share in the outrage of this story, but these are actually important things and even if it means she has to charge more she needs to hire somebody to do them.

[He6] Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles argue that medical licensing is propping up health care prices. They are, but not in all ways that people suspect and it’s less clear cut than people think. I am skeptical that there are a whole lot of savings to be made by increasing the number of doctors (quite the opposite, possibly), but allowing non-physician to do more might. I recently paid $250 for a doctor to confirm that I had wax in my ears and a nurse to squirt fluid in there to get it out.

[He7] One area where we are not apparently likely to see savings is by allowing doctors to conduct business through emails. But maybe if we built less.

[He8] I don’t think we’re going to end up with single payer, but this is how we end up with single payer.

[He9] America’s worse opioid crisis of the 20th century.

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