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Linky Friday #110: Sprawl Edition( 175 )


[A1] As California tries to figure out its water problem, Alissa Walker argues that people should back off the almond-hate.

[A2] As the city of Houston tries to figure out what to do with the Astrodome, here are some pictures of people who broke in. Yesterday they actually allowed people in for a tour.

[A3] I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that our county isn’t on this list of fast-growing exurbs of DC.

[A4] A while back, I posted on Hit Coffee about Whittier, Alaska, a building and an entire town. Meanwhile, Canada made the decision to close one of its borders in the night-time hours, which left residents of an eastern Alaska town in a lurch because there is no emergency care otherwise. Fortunately, they came to an arrangement.

[A5] Georgia has had a problem of half-built communities. Alana Semuels tells the story of what the town of Covington did about it, to the applause of some and the consternation of others.


[P1] Read an Australian slowly realize that the political organization he’s working for is rather xenophobic.

[P2] Rand Paul’s presidential announcement was taken offline due to YouTube’s copyright system.

[P3] From Oscar Gordon: Dr. Tribe is politically attacked for expressing legal opinions that are critical of Obama Administration policy.

[P4] Mormons and LGBT advocates in Utah came up with a compromise often heralded as what can be achieved by working together. Libertarian-minded conservative and gay rights advocate Walter Olson doesn’t like it. Also, Olson talks about how corporations became liberal culture warriors.

[P5] From Tod Kelly: If you have a half hour, John Oliver might have come up with a way to get Americans interested in debating the Patriot Act’s Section 215: make it about their junk. No, really.

[P6] From Tod Kelly: In the midst of potentially disastrous term politically speaking, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has created a rather amazing fictitious boogeyman to go after: people using food stamps on luxury cruise ships.


[Cr1] A man in Texas was thrown in jail for failing to mow his lawn.

[Cr2] Officials in South Carolina and elsewhere have been very concerned about the illegal exporting of automobiles. Coincidentally, they’ve been seizing said luxury automobiles. The good news (depending on your POV) is that they’re backing off.

[Cr3] From Tod Kelly: From GQ’s Daliel Riley, a rollicking tale of a treasure hunt for buried cocaine gone awry. And just in case you’re wondering, are there elephants? Yes. There are elephants.

[Cr4] “A Louisiana man on trial for murder has claimed that he thought the victim was an alligator.” // I think Florida Man needs to step up his game.

[Cr5] A Pennsylvania phony posing as a lawyer made partner and was president of the county bar.

[Cr6] From Glyph: He who controls the sand, controls the universe.


[Cu1] Katie Kilkenny thinks that Twin Peaks without David Lynch may not be so bad. Two thoughts: First, stop calling everything a “reboot” as this is a continuation, not a reboot. Second, I suspect this will die a quiet death.

[Cu2] After Rolling Stone has announced that it will not fire anybody involved with the atrociously bad Rape on Campus story, you might wonder what it takes to get fired from Rolling Stone. The answer? Giving Hootie and the Blowfish a negative review.

[Cu3] Who knows college basketball? Mitt Romney knows college basketball.

[Cu4] I disagreed with Sonny Bunch about women in comic books. The more I’ve read about recent efforts, though, the more I am thinking he might have been more right than wrong in some respects.

[Cu5] Kristi York Wooten looks at how Atlanta became the backdrop of so many movies.

Suburban Renewal:

[S1] McMansions are back.

[S2] Millenials are flocking to the suburbs.

[S3] But only certain types, says Jordan Weissman. There are class implications, because educated millenials are still moving to the city. Personally, I would guess this is a function of family formation as much as inequality. {link via Saul}

[S4] Are they being driven to home ownership by rising rents?

[S5] More on the exurban revival.


[V1] From Oscar Gordon: I love shear thickening non-Newtonian fluids! (Fluids Geek!)

[V2] A creepy black and white video of the Teletubbies has gone viral:

[V3] Stone Temple Pilot already touched on telecreepies in the music video for Sour Girl:

My wife hates that music video because she says it makes the lead singer look like he masturbates to pictures of himself. I don’t disagree with that particular assessment, but I kinda like it anyway, even if the teletubby knockoffs kinda creep me out.

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Linky Friday #109( 274 )


[C1] Rose Eveleth argues that free access to science research has its problems. BioMickWatson disagrees.

[C2] Noah Berlatsky argues that the elongated copyright terms restrict scholarship. As the creators’ families and DC fought over the rights to Superman, it was just amazing to me that someone can still own the rights to Action Comics #1.

[C3] The moral, philosophical, and ethical implications of reissuing Mein-Kampf.

[C4] How new apps like Meerkat and Periscope could be major tools of piracy.


[E1] In case you didn’t know, female techies get their knowledge from spider-goddesses. {link via Mad Rocket Scientist}

[E2] High-tech firms are having difficulty filling well-paying sales positions, and are having to reconsider how they advertise these jobs as well as the pay structure.

[E3] Jennifer Deal explains that rest is important for work.

[E4] Two Rotterdam School of Management professors argue that gender quotas in management drive away both women and men.

[E5] Did you know that if you are perceived to be a smoker, you have a higher chance of getting lung cancer?


[B1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Prosthetic limb printed overnight for all of $50 (and the owner had a hand in the design).

[B2] Andre Spicer and Carl Cederstrom argue that we’ve become too obsessed with wellness.

[B3] Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that Uncle Sam is a horrible nutritionist.

[B4] Aaron Carroll talks about penis size.


[M1] Yes! Our experiment in trying to get everybody out of bed earlier has been an abject failure.

[M2] You’ve heard of insomnia. Have you ever heard of insomnia’s opposite?

[M3] I think I’ve heard this before, but I can’t remember: The color blue is a relatively modern invention.

[M4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: According to this study, persons with an understanding of economics are less likely to contribute to a political organization or an org that is seeking to secure a taxpayer subsidy to lower tuition. And this makes them anti-social.

[M5] From Tod Kelly: James Kruppa explains what it’s like to teach evolution to underclassmen at the University of Kentucky, where he has been teaching biology the past twenty years.


[S1] From Tod Kelly: Transgender writer Casey Plett looks at the recent wave of critically acclaimed mainstream novels with transgender heroes. She doesn’t particularly like them. She thinks you should read these instead.

[S2]From Tod Kelly: Saul DeGraw bait: After a particularly aggressive vandal destroyed a sculpture at the University of California San Diego, Teikyo Yakobson asks about the purpose of public art that inspires the committees approving it but not the public at large — in this case, the students.

[S3]There’s still one of these coin-operated kiddie rides at the local supermarket. I never got to ride on them when I was younger. I hope they stick around long enough for Lain to be able to ride one.

[S4]Here are some awards for the weirdest high school mascot names in Texas. In a world of Tigers and Wildcats, I consider these to be a relief and wish there were more of them.


[W1] A Russian stuntman decided to put himself on fire and jump off a building. With video!

[W2] The Atlantic reports on the logistics of the Antarctic winter, where you don’t bother to fly because temperature is below that at which fuel freezes.

[W3] From Tod Kelly: Many in New Hampshire embraced Beatrice Munyenyezi, the Rwanda refugee who wrote “Life in the Middle of Nowhere: Surviving Genocide in Rwanda and Zaire.” Admittedly, her road to the US was a hard one, as this 2010 article shows. Imagine everyone’s surprise, then, when it turned out that Munyenyezi wasn’t a victim of the Rwandan state-spronsored genocide, she was one of the its architects and most vocal champions.

[W4] From Tod Kelly: Matthew McNaught’s recollections of his Arabic teacher in pre-war Syria is beautifully haunting.

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Linky Friday #108( 209 )


[N1] From Glyph: File under “nightmare fuel, to rival Quint’s monologue about the USS Indianapolis’ sinking”

[N2] Who doesn’t want to read vans hoodies a story about beavers, parachutes, and Idaho?
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[N3] You know what we need to extract and recycle rare earth metals? We need fish sperm, energy shirts sale

[N4] Makes sense: Birds flying in formation rotate position.

[N5] That the dude claims to have had sex with a dolphin is creepy. That it allegedly lasted a year? Not mitigating.


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[V1] BlowtorchFrom Michael Cain: I wonder how many places there are where this particular piece of technology is legal?
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[V2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Guns, gangs, and the Glawk 40: A primer on street gangs and how they get arms

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[V3] Here’s a good interview on the aftermath of a (justified) cop shooting, and the toll it took on the energy shirts sale

[V4] The Washington Post looks at India’s deadly sterilization camps.

[V5] California Sunday magazine has an in-depth look at the 43 Mexican students who went missing, and the change that may occur because of it.


[C1] My favorite description of The Breakfast Club is that it’s about a bunch of stereotypes complaining about being stereotyped. Anyway, Derek Thompson writes about cliques, wondering why they vary from school to school.

[C2] Ann Friedman explains what it’s like to be a 6’2″ woman. I have to confess to being a little bit glad that Lain doesn’t appear to have really picked up our height genes (yet).

[C3] Clickhole tells the inspiring story of young Alex Lambert, who overcame bullying by changing those aspects of his personality that were causing other kids to pick on him.

[C4] Doom rooms! How the classic video game is influencing construction design of hospitals and work environments.

[C5] This is a great story. Men suck. Women are awesome. Maddox begs to differ, though, and perhaps makes a good point.

Urban Design:

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[U1] simcityJohn Sanphillippo advocates “Good Enough Urbanism.”
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[U2] SimCity has a homelessness problem. Or does it?

[U3] Yay Brutalism! (And on Hit Coffee I explain why.)

[U4] John Tammy argues that cities persevere not by keeping industry as much as through flexibility.

[U5] The haunting beauty of Tokyo without advertisements.

Government & Politics:

[G1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Let’s stop using the word Taxpayers, because the GOP likes to use it as code for people who, you know, pay taxes. If we stopped using words that our ideological opponents use in ways we don’t like, it becomes a race to the bottom.
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[G2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: New Jersey Bias Law found unconstitutional. The discussion at Simple Justice about this is just… wow.

[G3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: This is a… WTF?! I got nothing.

[G4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Cisco is offering to dead drop hardware so the NSA won’t flag it & intercept it.

[G5] I’m not sure anything else in 2015 sums up how vacuous the political dialogue is than those making hay out of Ted Cruz signing up for PPACA. It’s not hypocritical, it’s not ironic, and it’s not even particularly humorous (though neither is it “that’s not funny” not funny… it’s just unfunny). Nor is it an example of PPACA stepping up to the plate where he would have fallen through the cracks (or been forced to use COBRA) prior to the passage of the law. PPACA took away the previous congressional health care option and replaced it with PPACA. So now that he’s not on his wife’s plan anymore, he’s on PPACA, because that’s how the law said that congress would get its employer-provided insurance.

[G5] New Mexico is tightening up its asset forfeiture program. It passed unanimously in both houses. Alas, a veto-proof majority in Wyoming fell apart after the governor vetoed a similar measure there. {via Mad Rocket Scientist}

[G6] When politics and humor intersect, this cartoon seems to be the inevitable result.

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Linky Friday #107( 237 )


[Pr1] From Tod Kelly: A fascinating story of flatworms, the nature of memory, the fickle judgement of science, and the Unibomber.

[Pr2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I’m not even entirely certain how this works. I’m assuming the polymers that are added to the mix allow the mix to retain the printed shape until water can be applied, kind of like Shape Sand.

[Pr3] Tim Lee says that the in the future, cars will be extensions of your smartphone. This is long overdue.

[Pr4] Introducing a bus that runs on poop.

[Pr5] I have a question for Apple/iPhone peeps: Is it really that hard to selectively turn off app notifications on the iPhone?


Werewolf[Cu1] Karol Markowicz, Soviet-born but American raised, watches The Americans. (Please be stingy with unrot13ed spoilers, as I have not yet seen anything from the new season.)

[Cu2] You may laugh at this, but when werewolves stop at the Georgia state line, you won’t be laughing then.

[Cu3] Here are nine names on the verge of extinction. I’m partial to the name Villan, though I’d go with Miracle in a pinch if I were a salesperson.

[Cu4] Vamien asks and answers the question of whether Arrow is a huge rip-off of Batman. The answer is the affirmative. When watching the Arrow-Flash crossover, it very much made me think of the Batman-Superman relationship.

[Cu5] From Tod Kelly: The surprising history of Monopoly, including the little-known knowledge that the game was stolen from the actual creator — and about an original rule that would have rewarded players for “spreading the wealth.”

[Cu6] From Tod Kelly: The ethics of crowdfunding your medical bills. Related, medical expense crowdfunding appears to work quite well for those uninsured political celebrities who lobbied hard against Obamacare.


[Cr1] While Stand Your Ground laws can go too far, sometimes the laws governing how we can protect ourselves go too far in the other direction. In both The Practice and Boston Legal, there were episodes relating to a burden of proof for self-defense that I found troublesome, as their freedom depended on whether or not they could demonstrate that the deceased was moving in their direction.

[Cr2] Orleans Parish is prosecuting a witness who recanted his testimony from a 20-year old murder case. I doubt Washington Parish will be similarly inclined in this case

[Cr3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Reducing prison populations is not as simple as letting non-violent offenders out. Prisons hold a lot of violent offenders as well.

[Cr4] From honors student to hired hitman, the classic 2012 story from the New Yorker.

[Cr5] Judges in Alabama are so intent on keeping the death penalty alive that they’re willing to overrule juries to send white people to Death Row.


FritzHollings[Po1] Cobb appraises the Giuliani-Obama conflict, saying “really revealing itself in this battle of blather is how much the American electorate has been reduced to bickering over symbols.” What it made me think of is how we’ve turned out leaders into symbols.

[Po2] I attribute one of the dumbest things ever said in politics to Fritz Hollings (D-SC), and his work on copyright has lead to infuriating results, but be can be so dang earnest sometimes. (No pun intended.) I can’t reveal it, but there’s a touching story involving him and someone that I know.

[Po3] Whether you are in favor of Teach For America or against it, a new study backs you up.

[Po4] The administration has backed off plans to ban a particular kind of bullet for the AR-15 that the police said criminals didn’t really use. {second link via MRS}

[Po5] Mickey Kaus quit the Daily Caller after they spiked a piece of his critical of Fox’s “weak” stance on immigration. I am, at times, tempted to roll my eyes at the paranoia at the anti-immigration crowd. But then I remember: the deck is stacked against them, and everybody important on their sidewill likely betray them, if given the chance.


[W1] This article, explaining how much Monsanto could possibly stand to gain from the unrest in Ukraine, makes me wonder if Monsanto won’t become the new Big Oil in the cultural map. Monsanto does seem to be popping up more frequently as a villain on television.

[W2] Anne Applebaum says that Britain is retreating from the world stage, and the world is worse off for it.

[W3] From Tod Kelly: The country with the highest rate of cosmetic surgery, surprisingly, isn’t the Unites States. It’s South Korea.

[W4] From Tod Kelly: Some Indian girls know what’s important.

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Linky Friday #106: Miller High Life Edition( 104 )


[A1] Vice writes about how attempts to Uberize and Airbnb New Orleans is running into a cultural wall in New Orleans. Notably, a friend of mine who lives there and is a free marketeer in most respect hates Airbnb.

[A2] Wallst247 has a list of the worst states for black Americans, while Kotkin has a list of the best cities. The first list definitely not the list you’d expect (one southern state listed), and I’m not sure about the criteria, but I’m also not sure there is any perfect set of criteria.

[A3] More to Buffalo, live like kings I tell ya.

[A4] People look at me sideways when I mention Kansas and Utah as places with tech job opportunities, but there’s a there there, and as Silicon Valley becomes more crowded, I expect it to become more popular among mid-level employees with families. (Also: Austin!)

[A5] I’m still trying to get a handle on the move in Oklahoma to change the marriage set-up to get ahead of the increasingly likely legalization of same-sex marriage. Reason initially praised it for legalizing SSM (though corrected that it would not), while Progressive Secular Humanist says that it would ban atheists from getting married, which doesn’t hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. Section 7.B.4.E seems to effectively replace the county clerk with a notary public, for purposes of certifying marriage. The only potential issue I see that isn’t strictly ideological, is if other states don’t recognize these marriages, and I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t any more than a state not accepting Hawaii’s short-form birth certificate. (Links via MRS and Saul)


[C1] China has opened a Hogwarts! For art students.

[C2] Details have been leaked about a new Chinese air craft carrier, but Ryan Faith says they raise more questions than they answer.

[C3] I was actually discussing this with someone recently, but if you want your kid to get ahead, don’t teach them Mandarin but instead plain ole Spanish.

[C4] The “ghost city” of Changzhous” actually has about 4.5 million people,.

[C5] Bloomberg News thinks that China’s megacities just aren’t big enough.


[P1] Privilege I can believe in: The privilege of being good-looking.

[P2] The newest privilege is loudly denouncing your privilege. It’s not as glib as it sounds. Those who are most likely to denounce it are those who are sufficiently safe from the effects of having the privileges associated with race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on, on account of their wealth and social position apart from these things.

[P3] Timothy Burke on the trouble with privilege.


[R1] Church attendance can effect commitment to one’s job. Interestingly, it seems to suggest that perhaps prosperity gospel is actually kind of a good thing.

[R2] Arthur Books argues that the Mormons have figured out the trick to being virtuous.

[R3] The story of Aimee Semple McPherson, a glamorous evangelical preacher in the 20’s who plum disappeared.

[R4] Ryan Cooper believes self-respecting atheists should ditch New Atheists.


[E1] As Apple releases its $10,000 variant, Android watches have not taken off as Google might have hoped. I’m pondering getting a Pebble.

[E2] ArsTechnica tests a $35 Firefox OS phone. It’s functional, but crikey I think Americans are throwing away better phones than this every day.

[E3] Apple deleted unauthorized music from your iPod? I didn’t know that. Uncool.

[E4] I have some old smartphones sitting around. If this pans out, I may be able to combine them into a computer.

Miller High Life:

[MHL1] Windell Middlebrooks, who played the the iconic MHL delivery guy in a series of commercials, died at 36 of unspecified causes. There aren’t many pitchmen that I can say are great, but Middlebrooks was one of them. Here is a sample commercial:

[MHL2] Here’s an elongated political-themed commercial.

[MHL3] And here’s a link to him is on Late, Late Night with Craig Ferguson. My parents don’t watch Ferguson, or Letterman who comes before him, but they’d DVR just about every appearance he made. And then save it for me next time I come home. We love the guy that much. In fact, last time they were here, we were talking about some commercials in BCS season and saying “Not as good as Miller High Life guy.”


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Linky Friday #105( 258 )


[N1] North Dakota has been invaded by monster-sized jackrabbits. I’d say that the University of North Dakota (formerly the Fighting Sioux) has their new mascot, but it’s already taken by South Dakota State.

[N2] Wow, some whales are over 200 years old, meaning they were born before Moby Dick was written.

[N3] The Nereid Under Ice vehicle was deployed to find out who eats whom under the ice.

[N4] Koalas do not exactly make good house pets, if the tale of GumNut is to be believed.


[F1] Vox argues that feminism is the key to Japan’s demographic woes.

[F2] Is feminism leaving behind the disabled?

[F3] Ben Domenech (I assume, with caution) wrote a piece in The Federalist arguing that feminists should get some of the credit for the falling abortion rates.

[F4] Swedish women don’t like the phrase “flying solo” and are looking for a replacement.

[F5] Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Utah… what’s the difference, really?

[F6] Modern feminism apparently can’t compete with targeted marketing, as gendered toys are now more common than they were 50 years ago.


[E1] Even as we experience the Golden Age of Television, we’re also experiencing a sitcom recession. Josef Adalian considers what can be done about it.

[E2] Uncle Steve argues that Hollywood may be less liberal and egalitarian than some think.

[E3] David Sims ponders a Legend of Zelda TV series. I remember how all of my friends thought the 80’s series was really good. I’m glad that I have been vindicated by thinking it was pretty bad. Not sure that they could make a series that I am particularly interested in, though.

[E4] Forest Gump was kind of a screwed up movie.

[E5] Before Batman 3 became Batman forever, the groundwork had been laid for a third Tim Burton Batman. Den of Geek explains why it never happened.


[H1] Barbara Ellen argues that instead of sneering at the overweight, the government should be fitting them with gastric bands.

[H2] Adam Ozimek takes issue with Mark Bittman’s piece on the “true cost of hamburgers.” Negative externalities is quickly becoming one of the economic terms I am seeing used with increasing sloppiness.

[H3] Most Americans now sufficiently ashamed of drinking soft drinks so as to claiming they try to avoid it.

[H4] The BMI is an inaccurate measurement, but the best doctors have got. My understanding is that the BMI is pretty accurate in the aggregate, just not in the individual.

[H5] I am intrigued by the prospect of an anti-obesity electronic implant. Is there an implant to make us exercise more?


[M1] Birth tourism is a booming business.

[M2] Eunice Park claims to ghost-write Chinese students’ Ivy League admissions essays.

[M3] Salon says smart people aren’t any less racist than other people, they’re just better at hiding it. What Salon means is “smart people aren’t more likely to support our preferred set of policies to combat racism.

[M4] The oil boom in North Dakota brought with it quite a bit of diversity.

[M5] Some Native Americans are hoping to end their language.


[T1] Evan Jenkins argues that it’s time to abolish the Interstate Highway System.

[T2] The good news is that oil prices are down. The bad news is what happens when oil prices go down. This is why I am maybe-possibly starting to come around on CAFE standards.

[T3] I have long considered one of the advantages to self-driving cars that we would not need to own them.

[T4] Autonomous cars are going to require new kinds of digital mapping. The article discusses Nokia’s HERE software. I left that out of my navigation software review because it wasn’t available. I have tried it since and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

[T5] Waze is starting to piss off residents by directing drivers through residential zones. The great part (for drivers, not residents)… Waze can’t be gamed to prevent it.

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Linky Friday #104: Security Edition( 267 )


[R1] Professor Tom Murphy (UCSD) argues that the oil boom has bought us a couple of decades to move away from oil, but there’s still reason to worry.

[R2] Daniel Gross looks at American Oil Production, and why it isn’t (yet) cratering like it should. Can it survive $10/oil?

[R3] For cleaner fuel burning, European utility companies are turning to wood. What could go wrong?

[R4] Paradoxically, we use fewer materials than ever to create things, but this is exacerbating material shortages.

[R5] How Dodd-Frank, or at least the efforts to combat mineral diamonds within, made things much worse.

[R6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Obviously this new wave power system is technologically cool, but I also like it as a way to power seasteads.

[R7] Mining volcanoes!


nimoy2t[C1] You might think of Batman as a superhero, but tell that to the ghost of Stephen Merrill, who was killed by an uppercut from this alleged hero. (It’s actually an article about obituaries requiring a cause of death, and so Merrill’s became that uppercut.)

[C2] Ed Riley, younger brother of freshly minted Nebraska football coach, argues that football’s benefits outweigh the risk, for young people.

[C3] Wendy Kaminar tried to have a discussion at Smith about freedom of speech. It ended up largely redacted in the transcript.

[C4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Working to show that gun nuts are actually sane, for the most part.

[C5] Mauricio Estrella used computer passwords to change his life.


Dns-amplification-attack_open-resolver_german.svg[I1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I don’t think this can be stressed hard enough: “And the fact that we have persisted for decades without solving these problems is partly because they’re very difficult, but partly because there are lots of people who want you to be secure against everyone but them.” Government, corporate, what have you, this is truth. You want security, you’ll have to do it yourself.

[I2] Internet speeds in the US are improving, but according to Keunwoo Lee, the ISP’s deserve little credit.

[I3] That time when Londoners volunteered to give up their first born for WiFi. (It’s actually a fascinating glance at WiFi security.)

[I4] Dave Majumdar makes the case for a space-based Internet Service (micro-satellite).

[I5] Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that the victory of the culture wars could be… Apple, Google, and Facebook.

American Politics:

[P1] Over a decade ago, John Judis co-wrote a book about the Emerging Democratic Majority, but now he says it was illusory and is talking of the Emerging Republican Advantage. {More in favor and against the new thesis.}

[P2] It’s outrageous when Big Money boasts of its ability to buy influence. On wait, they’re talking about immigration! Nevermind, then.

[P3] Between the smug superiority of the left and the know-nothingism of the right, Roberta X seems to have gone apolitical.

[P4] If you can name one of your state’s senators, you’re a step ahead of most millenials.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[J1] Sorry I missed this during the holiday, but apparently some single Japanese men were busy spending their Valentine’s week protesting Valentine’s Day.

[J2] Some of the proposed changes to the Japanese constitution seem disturbing. It would be helpful if they had more than one major political party.

[J3] I would love to take the advice of Joseph McCabe, and forego Disneyland in favor of a Hayao Miyzaki theme park.

[J4] In Japan, old people are in the way of young people getting good jobs.

[J5] The Japanese recession? Scott Sumner wants to know… What Japanese recession?


[W1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: In this article on Siberian Sinkholes, the authors last comment, “So, to recap: Siberia is warming. Permafrost thaws and spews methane, and blasts out a burst of highly flammable gas. Who could have guessed global warming would do all of that?” Is pretty ignorant. I remember scientists talking about how Global Warming would thaw the permafrost and release massive amounts of methane decades ago. They didn’t know it might cause such explosions, but they knew the methane was there and locked under the permafrost.

[W2] From aaron david: Fridges of the world unite!

[W3] Sometimes, it isn’t easy being a small country.

[W4] Xavier Marquez looks at electoral parodies, which is to say when autocratic leaders scoff at the notion of democracy by pretending to engage in it.

[W5] What are some foreign misconceptions about the United States?

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Linky Friday #103: Fear & Guns Edition( 160 )


MongolCavalrymen[A1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: The cost of actively hunting for submarines is dropping faster than the ability to stay hidden is improving.

[A2] From Marchmaine: Coming to a police force near you, Lethal-lite: “Less than Lethal” attachment to Police firearm – Ferguson Police are to be early adopters.

[A3] A new directive in Sweden is that police guarding synagogues need automatic weapons.

[A4] VoA looks at weapons in the animal kingdom and what they tell us about human weapons.

[A5] This is one bad-arse archer.

[A6] Utah is one of the most conservative states in the country. But between its homeless policies and now its approach to police militarization, it is marches to the tune of its own trumpet.

American Fear:

[F1] An effort to give Vermont a Latin motto has run into some resistance because immigration… or something.

[F2] H1B visas are supposed to go to jobs that can’t be filled by Americans, but some employees of Southern California Edison are irate because they’re being assigned to train their H1B replacements.

[F3] Dave Schuler argues that we have no existential threats to the US… except ourselves.

[F4] Are there aliens behind our currency?

[F5] American exceptionalism at work! We are exceptional at creating fear and acting on said fear. And we can’t even blame the lawyers! They’re certainly not responsible for hospitals refusing to name New Years babies for fear of kidnapping.


[Ed1] From Marchmaine: The rise of homeschooling among Black Families

[Ed2] Adam Mansbach, of “Go The F* To Sleep” fame, announces his college syllabus. Salon, which seems to be self-parody sometimes, actually does a decent job with real parody.

[Ed3] A veteran teacher shadowed students for two days, and learned a lot about modern education.

[Ed4] Germans do apprenticeships in a way that we don’t. The Atlantic looks at their system, and ours. It even confronts the “tracking” question.

[Ed5] Over at Hit Coffee, I tell universities how they should name themselves.


Savonius and Darrieus turbine[En1] Michael Booth argues that the Nordic nations are not utopias. They do stand to be the losers of the low oil prices.

[En2] How the US oil industry is poised to come out a winner in collapsing oil prices, while Russia looks the loser. That might not be the easiest sell to North Dakotans if they get laid off.

[En3] The Economist looks at what’s gone wrong with Germany’s energy policy.

[En4] Four years after Fukishima, nuclear is making a comeback in Japan.

[En5] Nafeez Ahmed argues that solar power will destroy fossil fuels by 2030. Though I hope I’d lose, I would take the other side of that bet.

[En6] In order to avert global warming, some experts argue we need to ramp up nuclear power in a big way.

[En7] Wind turbines negatively affect housing prices. Seems to me that means we should put them in the costlier locations, perhaps applying some housing price equilibrium. Right?


[H1] A doctor in Massachusetts is no longer accepting patients that are obese. Or any patients over 200 pounds, apparently.

[H2] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry laments that Americans are refusing to learn from international methods of health care delivery.

[H3] Thirty Americans die every day from the organ shortages. Keith Humphreys and Sally Satel discuss what effect compensating organ donors might have.

[H4] Physicians are apparently like congressmen. People don’t have a lot of confidence in them, but like their own.


clip-art-cows-471064[C1] Over at Hit Coffee, Gabriel Conroy writes of humility, the usable past, and the keeping history relevant.

[C2] Haruki Murakami has an advice column, and now there are English translations.

[C3] Professional porn industry is in something of a death spiral, thanks in large part to piracy. Grant Stoddard says that the future may be in custom porn.

[C4] There’s something especially cool about buying a car with 900,000 miles on it, even if it is a luxury car.

[C5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: If you don’t recall BusyTown, this won’t be quite as funny.

[C6] Megan Garber writes a eulogy for clip-art.

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Linky Friday #102: Protest Edition( 274 )


800px-Berkeley_students_protest_fee_hikes_1[S1] Marquette has fired the tenured-blogging professor John McAdams. Over at Hit Coffee, James Hanley and Gabriel Conroy are not particularly disturbed.

[S2] Michael Brendan Dougherty takes on the role of mansplainer. {More}

[S3] Is political correctness a creativity-booster?

[S4] Fernando Hurtado argues that sometimes words are weapons, and should be treated accordingly.

[S5] Niamh McIntyre proudly explains how she prevented a debate on abortion at her university (Oxford).

[S6] Anne Applebaum argues that human rights – such as freedom of expression, doesn’t belong to the anonymous.


[E1] I’ve mentioned before that Texas is one of the few states even if you account for college cost inflation (Illinois and North Dakota being two others), that spend more on higher education than it did in 1987. Perhaps as a result, Texas A&M just swiped the University of Washington’s president.

[E2] Libby Nelson agrees with Peter Thiel (and LeeEsq and myself) that the Ivy League could be quite a bit bigger.

[E3] A new study gets closer to asking what I consider to be the most pertinent questions to ask on the question of whether college is a good idea: What happens when we look at the more marginal cases. When trying to figure out someone whose academic record would place them at Fresno State, we don’t need to consider the wage premiums of places like Berkeley.

[E4] You can make teachers happier by doubling their pay, but it won’t necessarily help student learning.

[E5] Online classes work! According to a study, anyway.


Walmart_Workers_Protest[L1] A lot of elite investment firms and the like wouldn’t hire a Super Bowl hero.

[L2] Christopher Flavelle claims that Canada shows that the minimum wage has minimal effect.

[L3] Mike Rowe continues his transition from American icon to conservative icon as he announces his skepticism of a minimum wage hike.

[L4] Hmmm. Increasing professional responsibility increases symptoms of depression in woman, decreases them in men.

[L5] Don’t try to read your employees’ minds, and don’t pretend they are family.

[L6] Employers are using Big Data to find employees who are less likely to leave, and have discovered (among other things) that members of two social networks are likely to stay but four or more aren’t. Xerox took the data and cancelled recruitment drives at gaming conventions.


[P1] From aaron david: An orbital simulator for up to 4 bodies.

[P2] The UK has given the go-ahead to DNA-spliced three-parent children.

[P3] Full-blown LibreOffice may be coming to Android, if they can just slip the app by 4mb. I’m not sure I understand the alleged cap, though. I tried downloading an app the other day only to discover it was 3gb large.

[P4] If you have $1,000,000 to spend, there’s a mech robot for sale.

[P5] In what is potentially very important for Africa right now and may be important to us in the future, scientists are working on a steam machine that turns fecal material into drinkable water.


[C1] Carnell Alexander has a warrant out for his arrest for being a deadbeat dad, for a child that isn’t his. Michigan does not have a paternity fraud (or mistaken paternity) law to protect non-fathers. The topic is up for debate in Washington state.

[C2] Jailbreak! Some women in Brazil escape from prison by fooling guards into thinking that there is a mass orgy in their future.

[C3] If you want the police to check up on a relative after they’ve had surgery, that might not be a good idea.

[C4] If you kill a classmate, taking a selfie with the corpse is a bad idea.

[C5] The police want Waze to remove its cop-spotting feature. With Nokia Here now available, that’s one of only a couple reasons I use Waze at all these days.


800px-GAVI_Global_Alliance_Save_Childrens_Lives_pledging_conference_(5827417113)[V1] In graphical form… how vaccines prevent measles outbreaks. It shows transmission rates at various vaccination rates. Pretty cool.

[V2] The Incidental Economists want everybody to get their vaccines, but Aaron Carroll wants us to stop asking politicians gotcha questions about vaccines, and Bill Gardner wants us to stop hating on the parents.

[V3] I’d kind of expect Salon to hedge a bit on the vaccination issue. Instead, they giggle at an efforts to troll Amazon reviews of an anti-vax book.

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Linky Friday #101( 151 )


[D1] Eric Barker explains the scientific method to a great first date.

[D2] Charles Orlando goes undercover to find out why women cheat.

[D3] PEG argues that the Catholic Church needs a new dating script to replace the current sexual and emotional chaos.

[D4] Do Americans have romantic standards that are too high? Ty Tashiro advocates “moneyballing” romance, giving yourself not lower standards, but better ones. Agree or disagree, I think he makes remarkable points about how we are influenced in mate-selection by our culture, and in counter-productive ways.


[M1] Causality is murky, but marrying people your age correlates well with staying married.

[M2] According to a new study, assortive mating actually has increased over time.

[M3] There’s an old saying that when an unfaithful man marries his mistress it creates a job opening. Turns out, it’s true.

[M4] New research into why our men and women of the uniform marry young.

[M5] “We don’t have a marriage crisis in this country because everybody has stopped following the rules. We have a marriage crisis because the rules don’t work.” -Eve Tushnet


Hello-square[B1] Thailand is banning commercial surrogacy.

[B2] China is seeking a baby boom that may not be coming. It seems that governments have much more ability to suppress fertility than to increase it.

[B3] Stephanie Gruner Buckley looks at fertility rates across Europe.

[B4] Eerily, babies may seem to take on traits of the mother’s previous lover. Daily Buchanan says that this is not such a bad thing, though I suspect a lot of men will disagree.

[B5] These diagrams of co-sleeping positions and these captions on these stock photos are hilarious.

[B6] The strong stance by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC backfired. The increased risk was actually minimal, and the resulting behavior of people trying to avoid it was to engage in even riskier behavior.


[T1] Michael P Foley writes of tobacco and the soul.

[T2] Tom Chiarella decided that he wanted to to, at age forty-six, take up smoking. Not liking it, he nonetheless persisted.

[T3] Big tobacco and “health experts” agree: Those ecigarette things are dangerous. And Big Tobacco wants more than just warning labels.

[T4] News is that e-cigarettes are less addictive than combustibles, Sally Satel argues that anti-smoking groups should endorse Snus and E-Cigarettes. The Snus thing is interesting, because both sides cite it without hesitation as proof on the potential harm and potential benefit of ecigarettes.

[T5] While they are cited as a reason for the reduced smoking rates, further cigarette taxes hikes are unlikely to lead to much improvement.

[T6] Men smoke more than women in almost all of the world. Exceptions: Sweden, Icesland, and… Nauru.


[H1] A new study looks at putting numbers the costs added to housing by community opposition, parking requirements, and so on.

[H2] Urban cores are growing, but suburbs are growing more.

[H3] I get the idea behind putting apartment blocks on top of state buildings, but who would want to live above a prison?

[H4] American houses keep growing and growing

[H5] It’s important to remember that zoning is about increasing livability, and has nothing to do with economic and racial segregation.


[A1] The curious case of Lawrence Franks, who ditched the US Army and joined the French Foreign Legion.

[A2] Adam Ozimek argues that the red states are under no obligation to prop up blue state operational expenses.

[A3] We should be on the metric system by now, but we’re not. Seth Stevenson looks at the history of the battle over metrics.

[A4] The mysterious abandoned island off Queens. Like the author, I’m dumbfounded this place exists. Even after hearing the explanation, I’m dumbfounded.

[A5] The Washington Post released a flawed map of state populations by gender. Randy Olsen fixed it.

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Linky Friday: Century Edition( 137 )


dontbeaburglarytarget[Cr1] NASCAR driver Kurt Busch wants a protective order against his ex-girlfriend, who he claims is an assassin.

[Cr2] Less than wise: Taking selfies on an iPhone you just stole.

[Cr3] I was excited to hear about the Obama Administration’s plans to scale back asset forfeiture. Looks like there may be less to it than meets the eye. Darn. Still better than nothing, I suppose.

[Cr4] League alum Barrett Brown – since sentenced to five years – explains how he got kicked out of a prison.

[Cr5] Joshua Neuman said no to drugs, because of this comic book. Trainspotting and Requiem of a Dream both had indentations on my views of the subject.


bodybuilder[Cu1] Unrealistic beauty standards for babies?! The article is (I’m pretty sure) a joke, but my wife would applaud the development, as they can’t really use real newborns and it drives her crazy when they use older babies to represent newborns.

[Cu2] The story of an 18-year old who plans to marry her long-lost father. I didn’t know that “Genetic Sexual Attraction” is actually a thing. Here’s another disturbing tale.

[Cu3] According to the Washington Post, women are dyeing their armpit hair. Young people make me glad to have been young a long time ago. (But not too long ago, because 80’s.)

[Cu4] Ugly stereotype alert! Watch a bunch of body-builders debate how many days there are in two weeks.


lain[Ch1] From Vikram Bath: Living in an orphanage is considered to be so bad that even measuring how the kids were doing was criticized for being unethical.

[Ch2] The results from charter schools demonstrate that charter schools are not particularly more effective than assigned schools… unless you’re poor or black.

[Ch3] Catching up on the unschooled, and what becomes of them. Another study looks at homeschooled, to investigate whether concerns over socialization are justified.

[Ch4] As our work schedules become less predictable, the daycare market adapts.


capitalism[Ca1] This is probably not good: A for-profit college investment firm now has a controlling interest in Inside Higher Ed.

[Ca2] It’s not often I say this, but I’m kind of with the rich New York lawyers on this one.

[Ca3] In the words of one of the Popehats (Patrick or Ken), “The Internet is like a huge, violent maniac who shows up occasionally and beats the shit out of unlucky mean people.”

[Ca4] From Tod Kelly: I had this story forwarded to me, and it’s utterly fascinating: a story about a internet company that had hundreds of employees despite having no product, no service, no customers, and no business plan. I almost wonder if the story isn’t a hoax; either way, though, great read.


JessePostGov[P1] Mitt Romney may or may not be the right man for the GOP in 2016, but a number of the arguments against him are a bit dubious. Says what it might about the GOP, he remains one of their stronger candidates both in the primary and the general. The different media response between his announcement and Bush’s has been quite remarkable.

[P2] Republicans looking to make gains among Hispanics may want to follow the Conservative Party of Canada’s example. Meanwhile, Canadian politics have apparently been picking up inspiration from American politics.

[P3] Brent Rathgeber (MP) on the Americanization of Canadian politics.

[P4] Kevin Drum explains that yes, in fact, some people do love Facebook (and Walmart!), and it speaks questionably of the person who doesn’t recognize this.

[P5] Sheldon Richman argues that some libertarians spend too much time trying to feel superior and not enough time trying to actually win people over.


JesseBodyVentura[B1] Another ineffective weight-loss strategy: “Eat more fruits and vegetables.”

[B2] The case against coffee, in 1888.

[B3] Even after a global apolocalypse, people gotta eat.

[B4] Thomas Lumley says that cancer isn’t just bad luck. Not just bad luck, but I want to see what the figure (roughly 1/3 according to Lumley) if we include genetics, which I consider to be a type of bad luck.


JesseGovPortrait[M1] Meet the guy who has seen it all before. Like non-stop, for the last eight years.

[M2] Colton Burpo did not come back from heaven, after all.

[M3] Dwell on that breakup because it’ll help you get over it! Keep that anger bottled up, lower your self esteem, hire a narcissist, and seven more counter-intuitive psychological findings.

[M4] Tia Ghose writes about the relationship between the stress of strangers and empathy.


[S1] Lost Beagle! Found! On Mars.

[S2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Massive ring system discovered in another solar system. I imagine this is probably what a young Jupiter may have looked like as it’s moons formed.

[S3] Also discovered… maybe… two more planets?

[S4] Intergalactic wormholes are popular in fiction, but hard in science.

[S5] Scientists had previously thought that a three-star solar system wouldn’t allow planets to form, but it may be happening.

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Linky Friday #99: Flaming Big Tex Edition( 242 )


sheep[I1] The comment section of Daily Caller has been the subject of conversation here at Ordinary Times. Last year, they launched a helpful feature called “Ask a Daily Caller Commenter.” They definitely have a sense of humor about it!

[I2] Common wisdom has it that conservatives are more obedient to authority than liberals are. Turns out, it’s more complicated than that.

[I3] Gabriel Rossman writes about the various hassles the right and left and willing and unwilling to endure.

[I4] Robin Hanson looks at liberal and conservative jobs. He echoes points that I have made in the past about how the degree of meritocracy reliability in one’s career can reinforce conservative viewpoints.

[I5] Vaclav Klaus, the Czech leader who is a hero to some libertarians, has gone rogue.


[E1] 2014 may have been the hottest year on record.

[E2] The US uses less water than it did in 1970! Can we improve on this so that we don’t have (more of) a water crisis?

[E3] Angie Schmitt says that if you love nature, you have an obligation not to live near it.

[E4] We’re fracking more than ever, and while methane emissions on public lands are up, they’re actually down, industry-wide.

[E5] China looks to improve its air and energy security by turning coal into gas, but climate change activists are horrified and some analysts don’t think it’ll work.

[E6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Get zapped with a laser, and suddenly a metal surface is hydrophobic. The ultimate in rust & ice protection.


bigtexfire[A1] Hurricane Katrina may have been a disaster, but the migration it caused was beneficial.

[A2] In Valentine, Texas, the entire student body (including two girls) is on the basketball team.

[A3] A mortuary in Arkansas is missing thirty bodies.

[A4] Is Louisiana boot-shaped anymore?

[A5] Here’s a 90-minute BBC movie about Texas.


[He1] Kenneth Warner and Harold Pollack come up with a comprehensive gameplan to virtually end tobacco addiction, using just about every tool they can find. I disagree with some of it (smoking bans should not be an effort to get people to quit), but actually find myself agreeing with a lot of it and fascinated by other parts of it (the pH levels).

[He2] Even our test dummies are getting fatter. By design, in this case.

[He3] Good news! The extra saturated fat you’re eating doesn’t end up in your bloodstream!

[He4] Breast may be best, but women who go another route shouldn’t have to explain that they did so because they got cancer.

[He5] Overeating is contagious! Quick, let’s to tell the fatties that they have to stop overeating for the public good.


[Ho1] Cory Weinberg looks at modular construction in the Bay Area. I’m a fan of modular instruction (our home was so constructed), but it seems more appropriate for places where construction costs, rather than location, are the cost issue.

[Ho2] I sometimes have the suspicion that people who want greater density have in mind walking across their lawn, across other peoples’ apartments, to the store. This doesn’t really contradict that suspicion, nor does this chart.

[Ho3] On the other hand, downtown Los Angeles is responsible for 20% of housing units built, though Let’s Go LA says that this is a bad thing.

[Ho4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Printing homes. I wonder how much resistance this kind of technology will create.

[Ho5] It turns out that there are a bottom to the previously-assumed bottomless market for luxury condos in tight markets.


12monkeys[T1] There may be a universe where time runs backwards.

[T2] Popular Mechanics looks at the hits-and-misses of its long ago, long term predictions about the future.

[T3] Good news! Time travel simulation has resolved the Grandfather Paradox. I barely understand a word of this article, but some of y’all are smarter than me.

[T4] A 12 Monkeys TV series? I’m totally there.

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Linky Friday #98: The E-Dition( 77 )


E-Man[P1] 5,200 Days in Space.

[P2] In case you missed it, our place on the map of the universe actually has a map has a name!

[P3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Quantum entanglement in action. With cats.

[P4] A new smartphone has arrived, high-quality and cheaper than its rivals. Farhad Manjoo wonders how they’re going to make a profit. I actually think that getting the carriers to sign off may be the bigger problem. (Also, not only is “One” already taken, namewise, but it’s not a good name to begin with. What’s up with that?)


[H1] Many argue that the consolidation of health care services may lead to better care. Aaron Carroll points to a study suggesting this isn’t true.

[H2] The latest research is coming down against bilateral mastectomies. Aaron Carroll doesn’t expect that to change our approach much.

[H3] Mara Gordon has an account of her decision to go into primary care medicine. Our lives have improved immensely since Clancy left clinic work behind.

[H4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Don’t we have consumer protection laws for crap like this? Perhaps if we spent less attention on kids injured by toy magnets meant for older kids & adults, and more on quacks hawking toxic remedies…


[Ed1] Jeannie Suk is concerned that future lawyers are not being trained to understand rape law because of student sensitivity. Corey Yung isn’t seeing it, though. Non-lawyer Conor Friedersdorf also comments on the issue.

[Ed2] Over at Hit Coffee, I ask if law degrees might be saved by the Bar? While law schools struggle, though, MBA values are expected to rise.

[Ed3] Universities were using the holidays for fundraising. My alma mater has never once called or contacted me requesting money. Which on the one hand, is convenient for me. On the other hand, it’s typical of their administrative incompetencies and I want to smack them over the head for it.

[Ed4] MOOCs may be a disappointment by the standards of what their boosters have said, but there still may be gold in them there hills.

[Ed5] We talk about how college pays, but does it?


You're welcome. Best, Coal.

You’re welcome.
Signed, Coal.

[En1] Oil prices may be falling, but US oil production remains on the upswing… for now.

[En2] Midland (TX) schools are developing a Petroleum Academy.

[En3] What will falling oil prices mean for the Great State of Texas? According to Erica Grieder, less than one might think.

[En4] The gift of coal: Matt Frost has an interesting proposal to reconcile our love for coal with our need to do something about global warming. Sort of.

[En5] Remember, if you oppose fracking, you ride with Putin.

[En6] Rather than taking potshots of the North Dakota oil boom from DC or NY, Maya Rao actually went to western Dakota and wrote her account. (The article itself is more mixed than the headline.)


[Ec1] Falling oil prices are leading to a plunge in consumer prices.

[Ec2] Anyone over a certain age probably wishes they could go back in time and invest in Apple in 1976. Turns out, you would have done better with gold.

[Ec3] Last summer, Scott Alexander reviewed Elizabeth Warren’s Two-Income Trap.

[Ec4] It takes a village to self-publish.

[Ec5] Sometimes seat-pants wisdom beats out fancy Big Data algorithms.


[I1] As Gabriel Rossman says, “Grant us this day our daily pageviews and forgive us our outrages as we forgive those who outrage against us.”

[I2] Freddie deBoer argues that “pedantic ridicule never convinced anybody of anything.” Ethan Gach made a good counterpoint that the “tactic is actually extremely effective against those who do share cultural affinities and social ambitions.” I’d bridge this gap by saying that the latter group will, at least, pretend to be convinced and argue it going forward. Which may amount to the same thing.

[I3] Politics is and ever was the mind-killer.

[I4] If being wrong feels so good, you don’t wanna be right.


Kansas: The Best State

Kansas: The Best State

[A1] How a police cruiser dashboard camera saved a man from prison and put some cops in hot water.

[A2] One police union willing to break the law to protect the people who allegedly defend it.

[A3] What happens when you’re an Airbnb guest and your host dies?

[A4] Kansas is the best state.

[A5] Listen to the brave story of a cow being prepared for slaughter that had other ideas.

[A6] The southern California coast may be expensive, but the weather really is better there.

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Linky Friday #97( 101 )


[E1] France’s 75% tax has bitten the dust.

[E2] Bosnia and Herzegovina has an insanely complicated system of government. Indicative, perhaps, of a nation that should not be a nation. Or, at least, a degree of (con)federalism that makes them almost independent of one another. Of course, for some, the only fair thing to do is let the Bosnians (or Bosnians and Croats) tell the Serbs what to do because majority.

[E3] Christopher Howse is proud to be a member of the UK’s Dull Men Club.

[E4] Portugal is having difficulty enforcing its immigration law, with visas essentially being sold to wealthy foreigners.


[F1] I know it’s wrong (racist, sexist, a mark of privilege, etc.) to tell people how they should or shouldn’t protest, but… seriously.

[F2] Mad Rocket Scientist doesn’t recommend this article, but does recommend the comments.

[F3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: The culpability of the media, in regards to why we have trouble with police in the US.

[F4] From Vikram Bath: Radley Balko’s predictions for 2015 are crazy.


[B1] Jacob Canfield argues that there is nothing wrong with criticizing Charlie Hebdo for running the pieces that precipitated the bombing (and for being “racist assholes.” I don’t know about wrong, but after what happened, I consider it beside the point. And of course you have the right to criticize them (we won’t bomb your house), but Canfield’s free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism, either.

[B2] Razib Khan explains that taboos against blasphemy aren’t crazy. They’re normal.

[B3] Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS) tried to win converts by reversing a smoking ban. So remember, if you support smoking bans, you’re worse than terrorists.

[B4] Biblical literalism doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means.


[C1] The importance of the college football kicker.

[C2] The Dish Network is giving cord-cutters live sports, as well as other channels.

[C3] An author wrote a book on (consumerist) signalling, and perhaps made his point too well.

[C4] From Mark Thompson: You don’t have to live in New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, or Boston to experience high culture.  In fact, it may be easier if you don’t.  One quibble with the author – he claims to have a little bit of guilt because he’s underpaying for institutions and artists getting by on a tight budget.  I’m not at all certain how “tight” the budget is, at least for the artists/performers, compared to their big city counterparts.  They have a significantly lower cost of living and, let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of big city artists get paid very little even before adjusting for the high cost of living in those cities.   Even at the local prestige institutions, performers seem to do as well or better outside of the big cities  – the base salary for the Cleveland Orchestra is only about 10% lower than the base salary for the NY Philharmonic, and the difference in overall cost of living means the effective salary for the former is clearly higher.


[Ho1] Related to our recent discussion on buying vs renting, the Wall Street Journal had a pretty good rundown. Trulia has a calculator.

[Ho2] Here’s a downside to tiny houses that you don’t necessarily think about: They can be stolen.

[Ho3] The Boston Globe sounds the alarm on age segregation. Honestly, in some ways I wish that we had a bit more of it than less of it.

[Ho4] Paul Krugman (echoing the thoughts of many others) argues that the housing costs of our nation’s talent hotbeds are causing economic inefficiency on a macro scale. Dietz Vollrath argues that maybe we should actually hasten the exodus, since it doesn’t matter where the best and brightest live as long as they life together, and there’s more room in Houston and Atlanta.


[Hc1] Sweet! All hope is not lost! Scientists have discovered the first new anti-biotic in 30 years.

[Hc2] Good news, says Russell Saunders, your kids can get screen time!

[Hc3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Ivory Tower, meet Real World. Real world, I’d tell you to be gentle with them, but I know you won’t listen.

[Hc4] Tiffanie Wen looks at why people don’t donate their organs.

[Hc5] PPACA may have tried to devote itself to helping rural health, but it has apparently hastened the rural hospital apocalypse.


[T1] A Morton Salt building wall collapsed, and the Acura dealership next door got the damage.

[T2] Eric Holthaus argues that high-speed rail is a waste of time and money, and a misguided priority for people looking for ways to combat global warming.

[T3] Massachusetts’s Registry of Motor Vehicles is allegedly doing the bidding of insurance companies.

[T4] Rural roads can change the world. Of course, it’s important that they forfeit their pride and voice in national affairs (or vote the right way).

[T5] No surprise that suburbanites commute by car more frequently than city folk, but across demographics, Americans overwhelmingly drive to work.

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Linky Friday #96( 264 )


[E1] Long one of my pet subjects, we really should be starting high school later in the day. The reason that we don’t may be for the convenience of parents.

[E2] In the US, there is this thing called “academic red-shirting” where we try to hold our kids back from entering school so that they’ll be among the oldest (and best-performing) in their class. In China, they have their kids early so that they go to school earlier.

[E3] What is to become of higher education? David Bromwich looks at right-wing complaints, left-wing complaints, rising costs, and technology.

[E4] Living away from home is a part of “the college experience” but it, too, is becoming less affordable. In a way that’s hard to blame on student loans or state subsidy.

[E5] I’ve seen a few people cite some California figures suggesting that the entire rise in student tuitions in California has been due to decreasing state support. It turns out that the numbers are flawed, and Andrew Gillen knocks them down.


[L1] We need to import more IT workers because firms in the US just can’t find good people. Unless you make any sort of small mistake, in which case your resume will be discarded because it’s a fiercely competitive market.

[L2] Corporate responsibility? An company that specializes in automation is looking to help those it is displacing.

[L3] Eric Siu makes the case that employee happiness matters.

[L4] Adam Ozimek questions the conventional wisdom about part-time jobs. Namely, that the increase in part-time work has coincided with more inflexible schedules on the part of the employer.

[L5] Robbie Waeschenfelder argues that employers should look for people with no experience.


[P1] From James Hanley: How the Elevator Transformed America.

[P2] Ecigarette use may lead to infection.

[P3] A third of all divorces in 2011 contain the word “Facebook.”

[P4] Google had the wacky idea of using solar-powered balloons to supply Internet service. It worked!

[P5] Proof that the surveillance state sees us as a bunch of monsters.

[P6] George Doe gave his parents the gift of divorce, by way of genetic testing. Meanwhile, a similar story with a happier ending, as a woman from Virginia found her uncle, cousins, and the identity of her father using DNA.


[M1] Onion for sale! Onion for sale! The Onion, that is. Maybe.

[M2] The source of Grubergate is apparently one of those people who lost their insurance plan on account of PPACA.

[M3] Nate Silver says we shouldn’t be worried about polls that are outliers, we should worry when there aren’t outliers.

[M4] Virginia Postrel wants to know who killed Wikipedia? Oddly, Wikipedia has not been updated to reflect the fact that it has died, which proves Postrel correct. (Actually, it’s an interesting story about open and insular cultures.)


Edward Hermann, 1943-2014

Edward Hermann, 1943-2014

[A1] From James Hanley: Reported to be a French soldier’s view of American soldiers.

[A2] The vigor and frailty of the California economy.

[A3] Slate has a collection of population-balanced maps of the United States. It’s interesting, though senate or no, and even though having less imbalance than we do now might be advantageous, having truly balanced state populations don’t really make a whole lot of sense and even if we were re-drawing the map (which I do for fun and fame!) it shouldn’t be the primary criterion.

[A4] With corporate mergers all the rage, should countries do the same? Greg Rosalsky looks at a USA-Mexico merger, and (kind of wistfully) finds it unlikely. The thing about corporate mergers is that they tend to benefit both parties. It’s hard to see a US-Mexico merger as doing that.

[A5] There are simultaneous happiness and suicide epidemics in Utah, and Perry Renshaw thinks he has figured out why.

[A6] Randal Olson looks at unique American baby names, and wonders what caused the upsurge in the 1970’s.

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Linky Thursday #3: Christmas Edition! [UPDATED!]( 31 )

UPDATE: Somehow, a rough draft got posted. Below is the official LT#3


[C1] Lyman Stone says that, contrary to what you may have heard about urban and rural revivals, they don’t seem to be happening.

[C2] Allastair Bonnett has written a book about ghost cities and secret cities that sounds quite interesting.

[C3] Were cities undone by the loss of hometown banks?

[C4] Aaron Renn praises the boring city, which he argues is mostly code for “stuff I don’t like.”

[C5] Joel Kotkin writes about The Battle of the Upstarts, the Bay Areas of Texas (Houston) and California (San Francisco), and their very different models for recent success.

[C6] Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan looks at the sad fates of the world’s tallest unfinished buildings.


[E1] The Spanish government demanded that Google pay news services for their linkage and excerpts. Google News left, and now Spanish newspapers want to revise the policy.

[E2] Britain is expanding the definition of child abuse. Widely. As skeptical as I sometimes am of our own system, I can always say “At least we’re not Britain.”

[E3] What’s up with the electrical field outside Google’s London office?

[E4] Sweden has a lot of the laws (and culture) that people here say we need to help women in the workplace, and the result isn’t all that different than here. Ditto Norway.

[E5] Is science in Europe going in the wrong direction?

[E6] Eurozone membership isn’t free.


[R1] Don’t expect Russian oligarchs to come to Russia’s aid, because according to Masha Gessen, there aren’t any.

[R2] A sign of the times: When a German MP who is a critic of Russia dies of a heart attack, they feel the need to perform an autopsy. (Nothing untoward was discovered.)

[R3] Russia: Depopulation by low birth rates and high death ones. Or not.

[R4] Amit Singh looks at the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and asks what about Hawaii? I find the comparison lacking, but do believe that of all our various states, Hawaii should get a more full hearing.


[A1] I was asking Nob about this just a few weeks ago. As Shinzo Abe sails to re-election despite a faltering economy, where are the other parties? Incidentally, I feel pretty vindicated in my comments on this OTB thread regarding the ability of parliamentary systems in allowing prime ministers to call snap elections.

[A2] Vulture wonders how North Korean films portray Americans.

[A3] Before our movie studios started nixing anything with North Korea as the bad guys, it made North Korea the villain to avoid antagonizing the Chinese.

[A4] India has a lot of universities, so another one opening isn’t a big deal. Except that it’s re-opening the world’s oldest.

[A5] South Korea takes its university exams very, very seriously.

[A6] In order to smooth relations with the Uighurs (an ethnic minority group covering the northwest), China is offering money for ethnic-majority Chinese to marry them.

Middle East:

[M1] Charles Hill introduces readers to Batman, Turkey.

[M2] Israel gets a lot of criticism for searching pregnant Palenstinian women, but they have a reason to do so.

[M3] A couple of sales later, a Texas plumber’s Ford F-250 pickup ended up fighting in a war in Syria. {Fun comments here}

[M4] Masdar City is Abu Dhabi’s own (green!) ghost town!


[U1] So apparently there is a thing where American Jews commonly eat Chinese food on Christmas. Adam Chandler explores the phenomenon.

[U2] How a police cruiser dashboard camera saved a man from prison and put some cops in hot water.

[U3] Can a wife with dementia consent to sex with her husband?

[U4] This is one free speech issue on which I side with the government. Of California, no less! I have no opinions on a law requiring porn actors to wear condoms, but it seems to me that you can prohibit things in the making of art, provided a rationale, even if you shouldn’t be able to prohibit the appearance of such things. Having someone pretend to be sixteen while having sex on camera versus putting an actual sixteen year old in porn.

[U5] Single-payer in Vermont is dead. Avik Roy and Sarah Kliff comment. Vermont was actually always a poor test case. I’d like to see it tried somewhere. I hope someone in California campaigns on it.

[U6] Unsurprisingly, I suppose, Obama’s immigration executive amnesty is very popular among the foreign-born, though less popular among native-born Hispanics.

[U7] If you want to find the Hollywood sign in LA, there are people going to great lengths to make it as difficult as possible, and they’ve enlisted Google Maps.

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Linky Friday #95( 167 )


[L1] I previously wrote about a conflict between Kinkisharyo International and the County of Los Angeles. it looks like they’ve worked things out! I’m not sure who blinked, but it looks like Kinkisharyo.

[L2] Laura Smith was a nice boss, and regrets it.

[L3] Infoworld looks at seven myths surrounding programming.

[L4] Teens are having a harder time getting summer jobs. Raising the minimum wage will help, no doubt. More seriously, I suspect that the “future job prospects” aspect cited in the article are comparative, so if none of the teens can get jobs, it’s not necessarily a social loss unless we think that they’re learning valuable job skills.

[L5] The AEI is on board with my Kansas City Plan!


[E1] Stephen Marche explains how Dead Poets Society has ruined our literary culture, while Robert Pindiscio worries that modern curricula and incentives are teaching young people to mostly write about themselves.

[E2] Teachers often feel like they are the punching bags of the current education debate. It turns out that they are still among the highest thought-of jobs, and have become moreso over the last twenty-five years.

[E3] Annie Murphy Paul says that ed tech promoters are generalizing too much from how they learn. I think this is true, but is also true of the education establishment as well.

[E4] The success of some charter schools is often attributed to their ability to kick out underperformers and problem kids. A new Mathmatica study makes the case that it isn’t true for KIPP programs. Personally, I question whether KIPP is scalable, but not on the basis of student selection.


[H1] Kath Scanlon writes about how to bring down housing prices in London, where one house costs what would buy you four in Chicago, and five in Atlanta.

[H2] Reason’s Todd Krainin has a piece on a beautiful, illegal tiny house. There’s a ten minute video. I do wonder how much could be done for density rather than building up, we just let people build small. FEMA trailers for everybody!

[H3] There were two causes to the housing crisis. People are angrier at the “grifters making a killing” part, which I understand, but I fear the bigger part is participants bought into it.

[H4] Conor Friedersdorf argues that urban farming is exacerbating San Francisco’s housing crisis.

[H5] Portland (OR) is nearing approval for tiny houses for homeless people.


[I1] The problematic nature of problematicism. This article is very similar to a piece I linked about Too Many Cooks, though more comprehensive in nature (and somewhat more combative).

[I2] Robin Hanson writes about rituals through the context of sincerity and tradition. This is not a good description – its hard to describe – but I strongly recommend this relatively short post.

[I3] Ewan Morrison argues that late young adult dystopic fiction promotes right-wing libertarianism to young people.

[I4] Scott Alexander explains how black and white togas explain political alignment, and the limits of tolerance.

[I5] Daniel McCarthy argues that secession is not a principle of liberty. Ultimately, it’s choosing one community over another community, and so it depends on the communities involved. There is an argument that there is greater liberty involved in a smaller community since you have a larger voice, but smaller communities also tend to have broader consensuses that allow for greater community (instead of individual) control.


[M1] What if some people tried to racist-bait a controversy and nobody showed up?

[M2] David Frum is one of the leading voices against “comprehensive immigration reform” I listen to. Here he explains why he became disillusioned with the arguments of immigration reformers.

[M3] Reihan Salam is concerned about creating a more cohesive and humane society, and thinks that slowing down immigration may be the answer.

[M4] John McWhorter argues that the black community has bigger problems than the Confederate Flag. My own thoughts on the Confederate flag here.

[M5] America creates Chinese-Americans, but China doesn’t create American-Chinese. Eric Liu says this is important.


[P1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Sometimes the Internet is awesome. God knows I’ve eaten worse in the Navy.

[P2] From aaron david: This is the biggest timesuck I have seen in a while.

[P3] What’s interesting to me about this map of remaining drive-in theaters is how many of them are in places that I’d think would be kind of cold for it.

[P4] Gordon Lightfoot participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything.

[P5] Chinese movie theaters are experimenting with text messages on the screen to create a social viewing experience.

[P6] Frank Miller helped define Batman, but doesn’t own him.

[P7] This is a pet peeve of mine. Legos are for experimentation, not following instructions. On the other hand, I know that a lot of the legos I had were originally from sets, and after a while it all blends together as instruction manuals get lost.

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Linky Friday #94: New Jersey Edition( 195 )


[G1] Political scientists and reporters rank states by corruption. New Jersey came out as the most corrupt, though Louisiana didn’t participate.

[G2] New Jersey wants to become the first state to regulate pet grooming.

[G3] Owen Courreges says that New Orleans looks to become the model city for anti-smoking extremism. I don’t know that this is worse than New York City, but it’s pretty bad.

[G4] Michael Carney thinks we long since ought to have replaced the SSN as our main identifier.

[G5] Does Obama’s amnesty give illegal immigrants more rights than legal immigrants?


[F1] Michael Brendan Dougherty throws cold water on those celebrating the recent news on divorce rates.

[F2] Contrary to the claims of many as well as intuitive sense, premarital cohabitation does not increase the odds of marital success. Scott Stanley asks why not?

[F3] True love waits! Or more precisely, early sex is a pathway to non-marital cohabitation, while waiting to have sex is a pathway to marriage (and better marriages, at that). Beware confounding factors, of course.

[F4] Where have all the good men gone? Maybe women shouldn’t insist on the “steady job” thing?


[M1] From Vikram Bath: What happens when you charge a Harvard Business School $4 too much for Chinese take-out

[M2] Retail fronts may be able to compete with ecommerce after all.

[M3] Legalized gambling has been a bane to lower-income Americans, but perhaps it can be used for good and not evil, to entice them to save.

[M4] Yes, yes, there’s no such thing as free shipping. The thing is, free shipping isn’t about getting something for nothing as it is about price transparency and reliability.

[M5] The Washington Post makes the case that it’s bad for poor minorities if you give them money.


[C1] The Pirate Bay is down, maybe for good. Good riddance, says a former contributor, because theys old out a long time ago.

[C2] Though they’re clearly doing so in their own self-interest, I’m quite glad that Netflix et al are trying to reverse the highly troublesome Innocence of Muslims verdict.

[C3] I don’t completely agree with the complaint here. If you want people to stop using your image for commercial purposes, you can do that. But failing to do that, it seems weird to say “We don’t mind people using our image for commercial purposes, as long as it’s not the people hosting our image.” This explanation helps a little, but not much. Still mulling it over.

[C4] GM and Ford are being sued over a new feature that allows you to rip CDs in your car.

[C5] The UK is legalizing parody works and media backups.

[C6] This story – about a game teaching pirates about the consequences of piracy – isn’t new, but still cracks me up.

[C7] Thanks to Creative Commons licensing, approaching one billion works are free to use online.


[L1] New Jersey is contemplating making lying for sex a form of sexual assault. So under this law, if a fifteen year old girl tells an eighteen year old guy that she’s legal, is she as guilty of rape as he is?

[L2] Speaking of such things, here’s an article about the gender double standard when it comes to statutory rape.

[L3] With budgets being tight and crime being low, it’s no surprise that states are re-evaluating expensive incarceration options. It is a bit of a surprise that Texas is one of the states leading the way. Perhaps they hate taxes even more than they hate criminals!

[L4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: You can’t play Russian Roulette with a Semi-Auto Handgun.

[L5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Part of the problem is a compliant, and dare I say lazy, media who print police PR without any independent investigation or follow-up.


[T1] Detroit is stuck in Windows XP.

[T2] New York wants to give everybody WiFi, though some better WiFi than others. Before the rise of 3G and 4G, the case for municipal WiFi was stronger than it is now.

[T3] AT&T wants to know how come their 6Mbps DSL isn’t good enough for the folks of Chanute, Kansas.

[T4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Geek Squee! Holograms with haptic feedback (via ultrasound)! So cool!

[T1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Somethings are best viewed with some time & distance. Especially when it’s a stellar collision! Very cool to watch, but I certainly would not want to be local to the event.


[E1] MIT has removed (free) lectures from its servers because classes taught by (alleged) creeps are no longer educational and informative, I guess.

[E2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I think I have a different working definition of trauma than these kids do. I could understand if a student was a close friend or relative of the deceased, but for everyone else who has measure of separation from the involved parties, welcome to adulthood, compartmentalizing your emotions is part of what you have to learn how to do as a professional.

[E3] How sociologists made themselves irrelevant.

[E4] The title says it all: “Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List” is an actual science paper accepted by a journal.

[E5] Matthew Lynch argues that bilingual education should be mandatory.

[E6] When you look at admissions percentages, you’ll notice some interesting things. Some colleges that one might not consider particularly competitive nonetheless reject a lot of students. This isn’t that, but it came to mind when reading Amanda Graves’s complaint about being courted by colleges that have no intention of accepting them.

[E7] Does the college define its students, or do students define the college?

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Linky Friday #93: Ayn Rand Edition( 99 )


[H1] Old Urbanist Charlie Gardner writes about mobile homes and the role they can play in increasing density, and Alana Semuels makes the case for trailer parks. And here is a map on where higher concentrations of trailers are.

[H2] I would never pay $3,000,000 for a house (much less a condo), nor do I have much desire to live in Kansas. But if these two things were indeed the case, I would be all over this. And not because I’m worried about a nuclear attack.

[H3] Also, from Michael Cain: 50 million square feet of underground industrial space is just cool.

[H4] If there is a person that washes rent-control beneficiaries more than this guy, I’d love to hear about it.

[H5] As micro-housing starts to take off in Seattle, neighborhood groups are flexing their muscle to put as much a halt to it as they can.

[H6] Maybe instead of micro-apartments, we need micro-micro-apartments! Featuring 86sqft apartments in Paris. Or, if you need something just a bit bigger, here’s a video on how you can fit 1100sqft into 420.


[C1] Ayn Rand wrote the novel Ideal in 1934, and it’s about to be published.

[C2] Mallory Ortberg writes of the glorious fashion of Ayn Rand.

[C3] I’m not a big fan of the cameos in Atlas Shrugged. I guess commercially it’s good for publicity, but like having Bill O’Reilly in Iron Man, it’s a bit jarring. It would be kind of cool if they were playing people that weren’t themselves (like Hannity appearing as a defender of the latest government initiative).

[C4] From aaron david: The true future of Video (and Music)

[C5] The methodology is kind of suspect, but it’s interesting to ponder the ramifications: Study shows whites think blacks are superhuman, magical.

[C6] Over at Hit Coffee, I write about the demise of the UAB football program.

[C7] From Glyph: The Alien Typeset of the Future!


[R1] CR Wiley argues that Shakers have liberaled themselves into oblivion.

[R2] James Loeffler argues that ur once thriving Jewish culture is on the decline. Or is it?

[R3] Harper’s goes undercover with a cult infiltrator.

[R4] A WWII veteran was given a Viking funeral by the coast guard.

[R5] Zoroastrians feed their exalted dead to vultures.

[R6] Ever wondered about the Mormons’ “magic underwear“? Well, they explain it in a new video.

[R7] Speaking of Mormons, at Hit Coffee I write about the legend of blood atonement and firing squads in Utah.


[Po1] According to Kevin Drum, the problem isn’t that the Obama administration and Democrats in general don’t fight hard enough. It’s the American public.

[Po2] Politicians often follow polls, but when they don’t they have the ability to actually help shape public opinion.

[Po3] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explains the appeal of Ayn Rand.

[Po4] Bruce Frohnen ponders how conservatives should approach art. To “de-tilt” the political inclinations of the art and entertainment landscape, conservatives need to work harder at making better art and entertainment.

[Po5] From Saul Degraw: The Demise of the Southern Democrat.


[Ps1] New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova investigates the anti-Republican bias in social psychology. Where it comes from, how it occurs, and what can be done about it. A first-hand account from Jose Duarte.

[Ps2] Dr. Phi ponders the difference between responsibility and license.

[Ps3] The corrosive, traumatizing effects of high school.

[Ps4] Is idiocracy upon us? The Flynn Effect is allegedly in reverse.

[Ps5] E-reader readers recall the material about as well as paperback readers, except when it comes to collating the events.


[R1] Meet Millie and Clem Mintz, married for 75 years.

[R2] Men on OKCupid (mostly) adhere to the half-plus-seven rule, and women overwhelmingly do.

[R3] Jennifer Anghju Grossman gives tips on dating Objectivistly.

[R4] Breaking up isn’t what it used to be.

Latin America:

[L1] If you want to live the good life, head south to… Panama?

[L2] One of the shocking things, when I moved out west, was the lack of guard rails between you and some very steep falls. I was reminded of that when viewing these pictures of Bolivia’s death road, and its 15,000 foot fall.

[L3] ForeignPolicy looks at the Honduran charter cities.

[L4] In Brazil, there is a village of women looking for a few good men (who will play by their rules).

[L5] Remnants of Dixie remain in Brazil, where Conferederate expatriates set up camp after the Civil War. Here’s a video.


[V1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Vitagel – Works with the body to form a clot sufficient to stop and artierial bleed in less than 10 seconds. Wow!

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Linky Friday #92( 52 )


[A1] State Rep Dan Flynn (R-TX) wants to abolish Daylight Savings Time in the Great State of Texas. Godspeed, Rep Flynn. Godspeed.

[A2] Batkid‘s cancer is in remission.

[A3] From Vikram Bath: Ta-Nehisi Coates bemoans the lack of attention paid to American-on-American crime.

[A4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I can’t see this working too much at the state or federal level, but city & county…? I mean, once upon a time we could trust the press to do the bulk of this kind of investigating, but in many ways, the press has been co-opted by those they should be investigating.

[A5] From Zic: In Massachusetts, it appears that ‘sidewalk abortion counselors‘ don’t want women to stop having abortion so much as they want women to stop having sex.


[Eu1] The president of France is now easier to impeach.

[Eu2] Sardinia has one of the more unique plans for secession that I am aware of. They want to leave Italy, join Switzerland, and become a charter city.

[Eu3] Santiago Mostyn looks at race and Sweden.

[Eu4] From James Hanley: Russian Mining Engineer’s photos of foxes.


[H1] Perhaps touching the Ark of the Covenant got Uzzah electrocuted.

[H2] Ancient Egyptians used d20 die.

[H3] Ben Franklin: Security risk.

[H4] The mystery of the ancient stone circles.

[H5] The mystery of giant concrete arrows on the American landscape, solved.

[H6] Between you and me, I’m not sure that these 1920 Soviet oil paintings featuring mechs are actually authentic. I’m also not sure about these pictures.


[F1] From Zic: Rethink what you know about high-achieving women; it’s not kids holding women back, it’s husbands.

[F2] Why families used to have more children than they currently do.

[F3] Roughly 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted. Perhaps because loving kids like that is a waste. Relatedly, Jonathan Coppage argues that eugenics is build into the health-obsessed West.

[F4] An estranged daughter in New Jersey took her parents to court over college tuition and won.

[F5] Megan McArdle goes to bat for alimony.


[En1] My latent skepticism towards solar and wind energies revolve around price (not there yet but getting closer), scalability (progress!), and reliability (hurm).

[En2] Bryan Sheffield didn’t make it as a trader, and decided instead to make millions as an oil tycoon.

[En3] Google is throwing in the towel on its renewable energy research.


[P1] Some have been trying to explain the 2014 results as a failure of Democrats to get out and vote. The thing is, the Democratic field operation was probably a success.

[P2] Kevin Drum looks at why the Democrats are having trouble with white working class voters, and why PPACA is such a tough sell.

[P3] SimCity and the technocracy.

[P4] Andrew Burstein argues that we need a new Constitutional Convention. I shudder at the prospect.

Entertainment & Culture:

[EC1] This update on the state of DC Comics is giving me a headache. I have felt for some time that they needed to blow it all up and start over. Which it sounded like they were about to start to do, but they couldn’t even do that all the way, and now they can’t even do half-measures right.

[EC2] Drew Magary writes about the problem with Problem Blogging, by way of sociological criticism of “Too Many Cooks.”

[EC3] I disagree with a couple items on this list of comic book heroes who should never have their own franchise. Booster Gold could be kinda cool. While the Hawkman they cite wouldn’t work out so well, Katar Hol could be pretty awesome.

[EC4] Nate Silver explains that the NFL should go full-on international, also explaining why my desire to see it expand more domestically is unlikely to reach fruition.

[EC5] The good news is that if you got one of those flesh-tunnels in your ears, it can be fixed. The bad news is that it ain’t cheap. Business is apparently booming.


[V1] From James Hanley: Batman and the Joker fight at the hockey game:

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Linky Friday #90: Wars & Rumours of Wars( 109 )

Election 2014:

[El1] Like yours truly, Sonny Bunch was disenfranchised by the system and it’s requirement that you “register” to “vote.”

[El2] Inland California used to be red. No more!

[El3] Allegedly, as election day approached, both sides saw the GOP wave coming when they saw a persistent passion disparity and late-breakers breaking towards the GOP.

[El4] Jonathan Blanks explains the lack of positive attention devoted to Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Mia Love (R-UT). It’s an interesting piece drawing the distinctions, but by and large they don’t seem to be particularly treated differently.


[En1] Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, a truly great record, turns 20. Man, I feel old.

[En2] Taylor Swift, whose eight seconds of static made it to #1, opts out of Spotify. It would stand to reason that more big artists would benefit from doing the same, which makes me wonder if Spotify won’t eventually become something of a platform for discovery.

[En3] Are TV makers ruining our movie experience? Noted conservative (and Ordinary Times critic) Sonny Bunch calls for prohibition. Personally, I’d been wondering what feature it was that my father’s TV has that mine does not so that I can make sure that my next one has it. I’m pretty sure that’s the one.

[En4] Zack Morris was kind of a scumbucket.

[En5] From Christopher Carr: An excellent reminiscence of the Twilight Zone and its role in post-WWII American culture.


[A1] James Fallows seems pretty excited about the climate deal worked out between the US and China. It apparently took a lot of work. John Kemp and Tim Mak, however, are less impressed. The major concession that China is making, was already believed to be the case two years ago.

[A2] The Japanese may or may not want to fire the nuclear plants back up, but according to Satsumasendai it really needs to happen.

[A3] Shinzo Abe is standing up to China and Korea… but not the United States.

[A4] Yeonmi Park escaped from North Korea, and lived to tell the tale.

Cold Wars:

Berlin-Baby-Wall-1968[W1] A reunited Germany, 25 years after The Wall fell. Interestingly, the former East Germany has the highest rates of unemployment and vaccinations. They also lack for young people.

[W2] Here’s the account of the border guard that helped make the fall of the Berlin Wall happen and of the victims who tried to escape before it happened.

[W3] In 1989, the Soviet Union was textbook proof of how command economies could thrive.

[W4] A Russian lawmaker thinks there need to be a bunch more Putins, and propose mailing women his sperm so that they might produce them. Patrick Smith at Salon might approve.


[C1] I previously linkied about Detroit’s economic problems juxtaposed to its wonderful art collection. Here’s an update.

[C2] What potential future Detroits can learn from the fall of Detroit.

[C3] The Washington Post looks at happy and unhappy cities. It’s quite astonishing that Louisiana has the five happiest cities, though I’m not actually surprised at how happy the South in general is, and less surprising how many of them are in the Rust Belt (though apparently their unhappiness predates their decline).

[C4] From Saul DeGraw: The Myth of Microapartments. Turns out they just kick out people living in SROs.

[C5] The cost of becoming cool: Nashville’s Music Row is becoming Condo Row, and Ben Folds is among those affected.


[U1] Police in Seattle can’t be bothered to enforce laws against theft even when you can direct them to the phone. I once had over $2000 of stuff stolen from my car in Colosse. The officer was positively annoyed that I called the police. Meanwhile, in Deseret, an officer spent two days initiating an entire investigation for a stolen jacket, getting a subpoena for security camera recordings and everything.

[U2] Once upon a time, the SS United States was one of the most remarkable watercraft in the United States. Now it sits in decay, paying dock rent of $60,000 per month.

[U3] Cops that seize untold millions of dollars (as well as items from wish lists and with help from the feds) from drivers are apparently pretty proud of themselves. A couple of early proponents of asset forfeiture are less proud, and Canada isn’t impressed. {Glyph provided some of these links.}

[U4] John Abarr wants to open the KKK up to blacks, Hispanics, gays, and more. National KKK leaders believe that he has lost sight of the group’s core mission. {via Glyph}

[U5] Wild horses are feared to be gobbling up the wide open west.


American's_wearing_gas_masks_during_World_War_I[H1] From Vikram Bath: How the U.S. Government Tested Biological Warfare on America

[H2] A gripping World War II tale of a chicken farmer, a pair of princesses, and twenty-seven imaginary spies.

[H3] BBC History has an interesting piece on the viking colonization of Great Britain.

[H4] A mammoth skeleton estimated to be 70,000 years old has been found in Idaho.


[T1] From Mad Rocket Scientist:The Netherlands is set to open the first of it’s kind solar pike path. This is a smart idea, or at least smarter that Solar Roadways. Bike paths carry a lot less traffic, a lot less weight, and handle speeds much slower than a roadway. If you are going to do something like this, a sidewalk or bike path is a much better place to start (although it is still not the best way to collect solar power, and will likely prove to be very expensive).

[T2] From James Hanley: Video of Mike Schilling commuting to work in San Francisco. (The sharp-eyed will note that those are not real cable cars.)

[T3] The Antiplanner makes the case against light rail in Los Angeles.

[T4] If your airline canceled your flight, they probably had a good reason.

[T5] Brad Templeton writes about how autocars – specifically a short, cheap variety – have the capacity to revolutionize the urban landscape. And at some point, Ubering becomes cheaper than car ownership.

[T6] Commute times in the United States compare favorably to those abroad.


[V1] Via Mad Rocket Scientist The largest glacier break ever recorded on camera:

Image from Wikipedia Commons

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Linky Friday #89: The Tick Edition( 146 )

Do you have a link you would like to share? Please feel free to email. Almost all links are used, though those that are not time-sensitive may be bumped a week, and inclusion of even timely links is not guaranteed if sent later than Wednesday night. Alternately, this is an open forum to include any links – well, excluding NSFW – you believe to be worthwhile.


[E1] Shouldn’t The Economist know better than to pretend that job scarcity and falling wages in Japan are not paradoxical?

[E2] Clay Shirky is not particularly sympathetic to Amazon, but he’s not really sympathetic to the publishers, either. It’s been interesting watching lots and lots of people rally around an industry that very recently was found to have engaged in price collusion. More from PEG.

[E3] A peek into the sinister world of debt collection. It’s a very gripping story.

[E4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I found the line, “It’s a given” to be true. I found it fascinating why women seem to not be getting the message.


The Tick and Arthur[Cu1] The Tick may be returning! I’m not sure about this darker and edgier business, though.

[Cu2] Tanya Basu writes about the gender politics of pockets (and smartphones). It does seem to me that a lot of women’s clothes are impractical. Then again, I’m the guy who wears a phone holster and thinks everybody should be wearing utility belts (or at least belts, for chrissakes).

[Cu3] The biggest thing holding back Google Fiber, apparently, is television and our reluctance to actually cut the cord. Will HBO’s and CBS’s decisions to offer Internet-only subscriptions change that?

[Cu4] The Saturday morning cartoon is finito. For those longing for a bit of nostalgia, here are the Saturday morning TV schedules in the eighties.

[Cu5] WB/DC is ramping up its movie-making to compete with Disney/Marvel. I look forward to some of it, but they should focus on TV, though. They’re good at TV.

[Cu6] Rugby is one of those sports I have long wanted to learn about. Boosters are looking to raise its profile in the United States.

[Cu7] ESPN has a neat feature on college football walk-ons.


[Cr1] France is beseiged by evil clowns, giving rise to anti-clown vigilantes.

[Cr2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Near me, an angry/hurt kid from a well-to-do family decides to shoot 5 kids (three girls & his two cousins). He then killed himself. This has all the hallmarks of media frenzy (shooting, at school, love triangle). Three innocent girls are dead & this is all over the media.

[Cr3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: In California, drunk guy mows down three girls with his car on Halloween, and the media frenzy is not so much. Certainly the calls for something to be done are muted. But dead is dead, no matter how you got that way.

[Cr4] It’s a good thing that barber shops are so tightly regulated, because it gives SWAT teams the opportunity to poke around in service of the War on Drugs.

[Cr5] A woman in Nashville fights a legal battle against charges that she neglected a child that she didn’t know.

[Cr6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: You mean I can kill two of my big issues at once? Stop putting everyone in jail for every little thing, and you’ll cut down on gun violence? Awesome!


[G1] I barely use flavoring, but attempts to ban flavored ecigarettes make me want to bang my head against the wall. if you’re worried about ecigarettes as a “gateway” (which I’m not, but if I were…) then why in tarnation do you want to insist that ecigarettes taste as much like real cigarettes as possible?

[G2] Nick Hanauer argued that wealth inequality was going to lead to pitchforks on the richers front lawns. John Aziz says that our institutions aren’t sufficiently corrupt.

[G3] I didn’t know this, but the IRS charges a penalty if you pay your taxes with cash. This created a problem for marijuana shops since the same government that created the circumstances that keep them unbanked.

[G4] Government corruption is good for infrastructure spending, bad for education and health care spending.

[G5] From Michael Cain: This week’s George Will column on things Republicans should do immediately includes opening the Yucca Flats spent-nuclear-fuel repository. I knew it would be coming, but I thought it would be a few months before conservatives, who normally are against the federal government imposing on states, started urging it: “Let’s move spent nuclear fuel thousands of miles, much of that across states with no reactors that don’t want it on their roads and rails, and store it in a repository in a state with no reactors that doesn’t want it.” In the middle of the one of the three US power grids where nuclear is disappearing the fastest. Yeah, I admit I’m bitter; if it’s so eff’ing safe, why don’t you keep it in *your* backyard?

[G6] Most of us didn’t know that we had Ebola drugs waiting in the wings the next time there was an outbreak. Turns out, we may have Dick Cheney to thank for that.

[G7] Without irony, was spreading the word about a “little-known tool” Republicans will nefariously exploit if they win the Senate, called “reconciliation.”


Rescued sea otter pup.

Rescued sea otter pup.

[A1] Turns out, a dog-year isn’t seven human years after all.

[A2] A panda in China figured out that it pays to fake being pregnant.

[A3] Crawfish are awesome. Unfortunately, they’re doing a number on Scotland (and their trout-fishing more specifically) right now.

[A4] There are ticks that make people allergic to meat, and they’re spreading. These creatures must be eradicated.

[A5] The heartwarming story of an Arizona dog that finds new purpose in a kitten shelter.

[A6] Why dogs kick when you scratch their belly.

Tick image copyright FOX, 2001, Otter image from the US Dept of Interior

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[C1] A couple of women in Maryland almost manage to steal six houses.

[C2] Gary Ries picks up recycling bottles and cans from city trash cans in San Diego, helping the environment and making a little bit of money. The city seeks to put a stop to that.

[C3] Apparently, Connecticut’s response to the public school shooting is to target homeschoolers.

[C4] How the feds set up a fake facebook account in a woman’s name in the name of law enforcement. It reminds me a bit of my friend tracking his ex-girlfriend by setting up a MySpace account in an acquaintance’s name (and immediately getting over here, realizing how banal she was).

[C5] As Constance Manzanares drowned, the police actively threatened to arrest the Samaritans that had tried to save her.


[M1] Renting outfits like Rent-a-Center are helping people pay three times cost so that they can have nice things. The thing that sucks about markets is people.

[M2] Generous loan terms are being used to entice customers to buy more expensive cars. The thing that sucks about markets is people.

[M3] JD Tucille asks if the end of extended unemployment benefits played a role in the return of jobs.

[M4] Kinkisharyo International planned to set up some manufacturing in Palmdale, California. The unions decided to play hard ball, and now Kinkisharyo International will not be manufacturing any more in California than they are required to.


[Ed1] Russell Saunders objects to parents needing a doctor’s note to let their kids stay home from school. I concur.

[Ed2] Conor Williams thinks too much focus – and particularly too much negative focus – has gone to Teach For America.

[Ed3] Chris Bowyer makes the case against college in five parts (and counting).

[Ed4] On the other hand, it pays to go to college if you want to be a prostitute.

[Ed5] Adam Chilton and Eric Posner set out to do a study on political bias in legal scholarship. They had an initial setback of there simply not being enough conservative lawprofs. They persevered and found some unsurprising results. Josh Blackman argues that this is bad for legal scholarship.

[Ed6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: For Dr. Hanley, so he’ll know he can safely parade his daughters around campus in vaguely threatening (to persons without the sense to step out of traffic) apparel.


[En1] Paul Krugman, among others, has been trying to argue that mitigating climate change is not only within reach, but surprisingly affordable. David Roberts explains that this is simply not the case, and it would actually require significant sacrifices. {link via Dan Miller}

[En2] Norway is looking at a technology that can capture 30 percent of a cement plant’s carbon dioxide emissions, while in Columbia they are working on a like-minded plan to save the world.

[En3] Julian Morris presents the case for plastic bags.

[En4] Halting the depletion of the Ozone layer is considered one of environmentalism’s greatest recent accomplishments. But not everyone got the memo.

[En5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Argon to be banned by the EPA? They did just use some groups wish list & put it up for public comment, but I don’t think they are looking for a blanket ban on Argon, but rather a ban on Argon as an inert ingredient in pesticides. It’s still a silly request, because as a Noble Gas, Argon is about as safely inert as any element can be, but if I am reading it right, this is not the big deal they seem to be making it out to be.


[G1] The Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas might just be a Karl Rove plant.

[G2] Michael Kazin is unimpressed with the current crop of independent politicians and candidates. I hope to write more about this, but what I find interesting is that among the electorate you have more defacto Republicans who call themselves independents, while among politicians, you have more defacto Democrats.

[G3] Dmiti Mehlhorn argues that progressives shouldn’t support public workers unions anymore. More from David Schuler.

[G4] From James Hanley: Surely political manipulation is acceptable when it’s done for intellectual reasons.


[H1] Brian Palmer’s piece on his secular discomfort with medically missionaries got a lot of (mostly negative) attention, though I personally applaud its honesty. Matthew Loftis looks at the role of evidence in medical missionary work.

[H2] If chiropractors really want to be considered medical practitioners, they’d do better not inviting Andrew Wakefield to speak at their conference.

[H3] After a nerve-cell transplant, a paralyzed man with a severed spinal cord is walking again.

[H4] In the UK there is a push for doctors and nurses to start working (more) on weekends.

[H5] From Vikram Bath: Scott Alexander reviews the evidence on whether Alcoholics Anonymous works. Hilarity ensues.


[T1] Marriott apparently made a habit out of jamming signals to get you to sign up for its WiFi service. Turns out, not only is that scummy, but it’s against FCC regulations. (This is also why, for instance, movie theaters can’t disable phones to prevent disruption of the movie.)

[T2] The University of Tokyo has created a bipod robot that “runs” at 2.6 miles per hour. Meanwhile, MIT has a 70-pound robot that runs sixty miles an hour.

[T3] The Fire Phone was the product of a tragic miscalculation by Amazon. Joshua Brustein wonders is a retail outpost could save it.

[T4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Sweet! Programmable shape shifting materials.

[T5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Smart gun tech I can support! Even for the civilian market. It’s a data recorder for the gun. In the event of a shooting, it could provide invaluable information.

Cover image by D’Arcy Norman, Creative Commons copyright with attribution.

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Linky Friday #87( 71 )


AlphaHouse[P1] The Nation reveals itself as anti-choice. [Related]

[P2] I hope Alpha House takes this story and makes a subplot with it: The former congressman who won’t go away.

[P3] With all of the talk of whether the Tea Party has hit the end of its road in primarying candidates, but it turns out that the entire “primary surge” may be a myth.

[P4] It turns out, Team Centrist isn’t necessarily centrist, and isn’t really a team. [More]

[P5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Compare and contrast.


RedDiapers[F1] Noah Smith argues that liberals are rescuing marriage with their views on premarital sex, cohabitation, and so on. This is an argument that has an empirical basis. So what does the data say? (Note: I’m not referring to overly broad state-to-state data.)

[F2] Let’s take something with all of the downsides of cohabitation, and validate and formalize it! I’d say “If you’re not sure, then cohabitate.” Except that cohabitation’s track record isn’t particular good. Instead, if you’re not sure, focus on “Why am I not?” and go from there.

[F3] In marriage, men see trouble with the existence of negatives, while women are more likely to notice the absence of positives.

[F4] From Christopher Carr: And also because a Jesuit is pope.

[F5] How to talk to babies about Marxist theory.


fertilizado[R1] Is Britain undergoing a baby boom?

[R2] College educated women are getting married before having kids, but they’re the only group that is.

[R3] It is estimated by some that one in ten father-child relationships are a result of false paternity. That, it turns out, is likely bunk.

[R4] Laurie DeRose has a fascinating piece on how couples resolve conflicts over childbearing (ie how many children to have, if any). It’s surprisingly less a gender issue (he gets his way, or she gets hers) even in countries with little gender equity. The tie-breaker seems to be, as much as anything, social norms.


HouseMD[H1] Maureen O’Connor writes about the ethical minefield of “ethnic plastic surgery.”

[H2] A lot of patient care isn’t as exciting or mysterious as it is on TV.

[H3] Depending on how the courts decide on the subsidies, declining to set up state exchanges may have been the smart move.

[H4] Walmart continues its efforts into entering the business of primary care.

[H5] Even if no other measures are taken, transparent health care pricing may pay a crucial role in lowering health care costs.

[H6] Before physicians make a lot of money, they make less than a lot of money.


GrandIsleBlock48OilDrillingPlatform[E1] Drill, baby, drill, has become a bipartisan mantra.

[E2] Advances continue to be made on the storage side of the renewable power equation.

[E3] A lot of fracking workers think that frack-work is a-okay.

[E4] Dubai knows that the oil wells will run dry. They’re already working on their next phase.

[E5] China bet big on Shale Gas, and it hasn’t worked out.

[E6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Solar not so good. I’d be interested to see the costs if you broke out solar thermal from Photovoltaic…


[T1] Slow down… for the dragonflies!

[T2] Chris Reed argues that California’s politicians and media are stuck in the 80’s with their love of light rail, when game changing driverless cars are right on the horizon.

[T3] Ruben Santamarta says passenger jets vulnerable to cyberattack.

[T4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: A freaking hoverboard! OK, so it needs a metal surface to float against, being magnetic, and it sucks batteries like a firehose, but still…


[V1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: We’ve all had days like this…

A Tale of Momentum & Inertia from HouseSpecial on Vimeo.

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Linky Friday #86: Actual Hitler Edition( 221 )


Adolf's Dad

Adolf’s Dad

[H1] It’s been over a year, but on last report, Adolf Hitler Campbell’s father still fighting to regain custody him, and he now has a sister named Eva Braun. Sheila Tone gave a family-law perspective on the issue in 2010.

[H2] They’re turning Adolf Hitler’s birthplace into a Holocaust museum.

[H3] From James Hanley: People named Hitler.

[H4] Adolf Hitler allegedly took meth, and had unique sex with Eva Braun (not the one in New Jersey).


[G1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Great, another gun my kid is going to want…[G2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Before we try to add more gun laws, how about we start actually putting people away for breaking the ones we already have. Felon in possession has got to be the easiest charge to prove (when the police arrested X, did they find a gun on X), but too often, it’s the first charge plead out.

[G3] Washington state is poised to pass some significant gun control measures. The specifics of the law have law enforcement firearm trainers concerned.

[G4] When Australia banned most guns, in came pen guns, little $100 devices that chamber .22’s and have “a 25% chance of exploding.”

[G5] A former firearms instructor for the military was convicted and will be sent to prison for “manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license” for helping some friends assemble guns, despite allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

[G6] Here is a video of Larry Good (a vocal proponent of G3 above), talking about the current requirements for gun sales, and how the proposed law would affect them:


Venus_as_captured_by_Mariner_10[C1] James Fallows chats with a space entrepeneur about colonizing Mars. James McGirk says we should look at floating cities above Venus.

[C2] Andrew Lilico thinks that we should go to Mars instead of spending $3,000,000,000 mitigating climate change.

[C3] Mars One is still working on getting us there, and NASA is running simulations.

[C4] An eight month simulation may not be helpful, though, if we can only survive for 68 days.

[C5] Food, though, may not be a problem, though, if we can make it work with space farms. {More}

[C6] In 1965, the Soviets created a documentary about lunar colonization. You can see it (and commentary) here.


Im-as-mad-as-Hell[M1] Vikram wrote a couple posts on the disparity between New York Times’s call for transparent pricing in contrast to their own pricing model. Overlawyered has another one with regard to the Times condemning arbitration clauses that they themselves implement. No, this doesn’t prove much as writers and editors are free to disagree with the corporate head (and likely do), but it’s still amusing.

[M2] Utah’s non-Mormon paper is being progressively swallowed up by its Mormon paper. There’s a Facebook page dedicated to the subject.

[M3] The more maddening I find a paywall, the more likely that the paywall is having some success. I find Financial Times’ paywall to be very maddening.

[M4] I’m pretty bummed about what it’s looking like the government is about to do to Voice of America.

[M5] When someone falls for a joke in the form of a smear, it says more about them than it does the object of the joke/smear. Just own it and move on (like ThinkProgress did).

[M6] Deadspin asks rhetorically “Is A Colorado Senate Candidate Lying About His Football Career?” and after answering the question “yes” it turned out that the answer is no (with regard to the most substantial charge, anyway). They wrote very hedge-minded updates for a day or so, before finally admitting that they f***ed up.


Cricket_up_close_(1742935082)[F1] Soleil Ho argues that foodie trends hurt low-income families.

[F2] Important: The history of the ramen noodle.

[F3] Arguably, food trucks are safer than restaurants.

[F4] Once upon a time, I would have been thrilled at the challenge of The World’s Spiciest Bowl of Noodles. That was before the Ghost Pepper incident.

[F5] Coming soon to an eaterie near you: Cricketburgers! Or bugburgers. Or something.

[F6] Population growth is stressing Seattle’s sushi.

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Linky Friday #85: Designated Hitler Edition( 171 )


GHB-Yale[S1] Jonathan Chait evidently loves football more than he hates conservatives, and that’s saying a lot. A lot of the criticism of “football” has to do with the NFL and NFL-level play. Where we need to really be looking is at the levels where everybody plays. What are the risks for someone who plays through high school and then stops? College then stops?

[S2] How Teddy Roosevelt saved football.

[S3] Once upon a time, there was a brave soul who stood up to popular opinion in order to do the right thing. His name was George W. Bush, and he lost valiantly.

[S4] Should baseball change the rules to account for defensive innovations stiffling offenses?

[S5] The atrocity that is the Designated Hitter rule was a permanent solution to a temporary problem.


Homeless_2[E1] Michael Hallatt thought that Trader Joe’s should be available in Canada, and so he became a smuggler and created Pirate Joe’s. (link via Vikram Bath & Burt Likko)

[E2] Josh Barro makes the straightforward case that no, unbundling cable would probably not save customers money.

[E3] I don’t know that there has ever been a time in my life when I haven’t had access to $400. It’s all quite depressing.

[E4] From James Hanley: Dumpster living done right.


Gefriersperma[R1] Eek. A vasectomy-cancer link?

[R2] In Japan, an assemblywoman’s attempt to talk about how the government can support child-rearing women (in a country with a demographic problem looming so large they’re actually considering immigration as a solution) was greeted with jeers.

[R3] The lesbian couple in Ohio that is suing the fertility clinic for inadvertantly giving them a black baby says that it’s not about race. Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon agrees! The legal case seems pretty clear, but in my view there are some lawsuits you don’t file even if you can.

[R4] The only local fertility clinic in Calgary refused to allow multi-ethnic inseminations on the grounds of it constituted “designer babies.” Razib Khan response.


Fargo_Streets[C1] Jonathan McLeod is tired of Canadian cities trying to be cool for Europeans. The shorthand back home was “World Class”, as in “We have to pursue my favored policy because we want to be world class” as in “If we don’t do this, people who don’t live here will laugh at us.” (“This” usually being some variation of greenbelts, rail, and/or “smart growth”.)

[C2] While I’m not surprised that millenials are moving to the suburbs, I am a bit surprised at the apparent urban baby boom.

[C3] Fargo Uber Alles! The Gateway to the West has been named the best small city for businesses and careers. (For anyone wanting to attribute that to the oil boom, just so you know it’s on the other side of the state. Here are some other booming towns and cities.

[C4] Urban heat islands are cooking our cities. Summer differentials of seven degrees for Las Vegas, six for Albuquerque, five for Portland, four for Seattle.


folsomlake[G1] Maybe political polarization isn’t so bad, if the alternative is Rhode Island.

[G2] Paging Rambling Rod: The case for a land value tax.

[G3] According to John Henry Thompson and Andrew Quinn, providing housing to poor families doesn’t actually change outcomes much. They argue this has implications for the “just give them money” debate.

[G4] From Kazzy: California water officials are flagrantly ignoring and violating water restrictions during drought.


tram[Tr1] Laws against texting and driving still don’t work.

[Tr2] The dangers of helicopter parenting? Teens who talk on cell phones while they drive are as often as not talking to their parents. Or so they say…

[Tr3] Trams are a waste of money.

[Tr4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Narrow city streets are safer, wider highway lanes are safer.

[Tr5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Another step closer to the flying car.


limux1[Te1] The Free State Project (wherein a bunch of libertarians moved to New Hampshire) has had a little success, but increasingly according to Kashmir Hill they’re turning to technology to set people free.

[Te2] The Internet filter of a school district in Connecticut decided to start blocking conservative websites. Obviously, this is an issue of funding and if we gave the Internet filterers more of it, they would not have to gang up only on conservative websites…

[Te3] Munich made waves in the Linux community by switching over to Linux. It hasn’t worked out well, though it doesn’t look like a switch back is imminent.

[Te4] Microsoft considered – and hasn’t ruled out – renaming Internet Explorer to escape its sketchy reputation.

[Te5] From James Hanley: Melting concrete with sound (shocking!).

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Linky Friday #84( 54 )


StrongCoach[L1] To the right: For the Ohio State Buckeyes strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel, it’s just another day on the job. {Video}

[L2] It’s very lucrative to do the dirty work of oil companies. (And I don’t mean dirty in the sense of sweat and dirt or you might get oil on you…)

[L3] Americans not only don’t get government-mandated vacation time. We fail to take advantage of the vacation time we’re offered.

[L4] Curiously, even as more and more people are out of work, it’s taking employers longer and longer to fill vacancies.

[L5] The stated reasons for increasing H1B visas are not matching up with reality, at the moment.


Jailed-Baby[Cr1] What could go wrong: “Just call the police every time you see someone with [a gun],” she counsels, “the police will get sick of it eventually or have a run in with one of these clowns and then things will change.”

[Cr2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Yeah, this guy should be prosecuted. He essentially SWAT’d Mr. Crawford.

[Cr3] As it becomes harder to find lethal injection drugs, a prison in Lake Charles (La) went and tricked a hospital for some.

[Cr4] Gabriel Rossman makes a good point about some of the recent botched executions, arguing that they are predicated in part on the actions of death penalty opponents and blame-assignment is unclear.

[Cr5] Good news! We’re better at keeping drug use out of our prisons than is commonly perceived.

[Cr6] Crime may or may not pay. Low-skill crime increasingly doesn’t.


HongKongProtest[Ch1] As the protests in Hong Kong rage on, Larry Lessig says we should be protesting, too. (via Vikram Bath)

[Ch2] Should Hong Kong get more autonomy, Peter Bowring argues that they shouldn’t look to emulate Singapore.

[Ch3] Chinese military leaders think they could take us in a war. David Axe argues that they’re overlooking something significant: our undersea fleet. Dave Schuler is still concerned.

[Ch4] When nostalgia and Big Data collide, the Chinese end up reproducing the relics we’re looking for on eBay.

[Ch5] Enjoy it while you can, though, because China might not be a copycat forever. As I’ve said in the past, China simply doesn’t want to make our cheap junk forever, and this will change the dynamics of “outsourcing everything to China.”

[Ch6] In China, flight attendants are learning kung fu.

[Ch7] Embarrassing (and funny) of comments the Chinese have made unaware that the person they are talking to speaks Chinese.


Hagfish predator deterrant system.

Hagfish predator deterrant system.

[P1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: HagFish slime is the new wonder material! So gross, but so cool!

[P2] Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering is constructing and employing cyborgs. Well, more Iron Man than cyborg, but cool all the same. Cooler or less cool than cyborg moths, I’m not sure.

[P3] A good idea: In Delaware, you can bequeath your Facebook account.

[P4] I mumbled and grumbled with the USB port came out. What, another one? But I was sold on the ability to hot plug in on a computer that was already on. Even so, I had no idea of its staying power. ArsTechnica gives us the history of the USB, the port that replaced just about everything.


Nuclear power plants in Europe.

Nuclear power plants in Europe.

[N1] A new nuclear power plant design floats on the water and could ride out a tsumani.

[N2] Over Hoegh-Guldberg of the Global Change Institute is calling for nuclear power. With James Hansen and others joining the call , though others remain against.

[N3] The biggest problem with nuclear power, at this point, seems to be FUD. Among the many reasons I hope that progress on renewables accelerates is so that we will have a better idea of what its limitations are, so that we can more thoughtfully figure out what we need to do (if anything) to plug the holes.

[N4] How do you stop a gas well blowout? With a nuclear bomb, of course. (link via Vikram Bath)

[N5] Coal ash is responsible for more radiation than nuclear energy.


The_Thompson_Family[F1] Assortive Mating 1, Trophy Wives 0

[F2] Breastfeeding in public is one thing, and to be defended, but changing a baby’s diaper at a restaurant table is another.

[F3] The New York Times reports that family leave policies can become too generous. We’re not particularly close to that point, of course, but it does point to a tension between trying to generate equality for women in the workplace and allowing them the scheduling flexibility they would often prefer.

[F4] There is a myth that it’s bad for children under four to spend the night with their (separated) father, and it’s persisting despite a lack of scientific basis.

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Linky Friday #83( 90 )


AccordingToJim2[E1] From Aaron David: The Atlantic film critic watches all Coen films in order, one every night (a work in progress.)

[E2] From Patrick: How fast can your read GoT?

[E3] From Patrick: And hey, how Epic is that Epic, anyway?

[E4] The Supreme Court may be wading in on a lawsuit between Jack Kirby’s family and Marvel Comics.

[E5] Alexis Madrigal takes aim at sitcoms’ doofus dads. This is one of the areas that both sides feel put upon. Men because they believe it makes them look bad, women because they believe it increases their sphere of responsibility.

[E6] I previously mentioned a mammoth waterslide in Kansas City. Here’s a video. And here’s a scary ride in Denmark.

[E7] Even Alyssa Rosenberg is disturbed by the blurring of art criticism and political criticism, and that’s her job!


Contact[S1] From Patrick: Curiosity welcomes MOM to Mars.

[S2] From Shane Gillis: Finally, space suits we don’t look like robots in.

[S3] Meteors blazed across the Tennessee sky, and NASA got it on camera!

[S4] Theologians and scientists gather to talk about aliens.


DaVincisInquest[H1] Is Canada home to the world’s biggest housing bubble?

[H2] Richard Florida gloats about 19 of 51 cities where the cities are growing faster than their suburbs. That sounds impessive, until you remember the base points. By the same numbers, suburbs are actually gaining more people.

[H3] Our next housing crisis may be in the rental market.

[H4] How Japan is rebuilding old Tokyo, away from crowded density and towards higher density.

[H5] America’s fastest growing metro has no crime, kids, or cars.


speed[T1] From Zic: A study over the 4″ of space folks are fighting about on airplanes. Fascinating.

[T2] Rail boosters point to this, which says that over half of train riders did not have a car to make the trip. Important to know. Also important to know – as we figure out where we should put our transit dollars – the same is true of three-quarters of bus riders.

[T3] After spending so much effort and money trying to get people to drive low-mileage cars, it is rather humorous to change tax laws to make sure that they – who did what everyone was implored to do – pay more taxes and fees.

[T4] HSR booster James Fallows gives space for the arguments against high speed rail. Uncle Steve actually has one of the better counterarguments, which is that HSR isn’t supposed to help Central Valley as much as allow urbanites to more easily avoid it.


TradingPlaces2[A1] From James Hanley: Rogue taxidermy. Because hipsters are striving to be stranger than fiction.

[A2] Foreign countries are apparently really frustrated with the American government’s demands at access to bank accounts.

[A3] Norton A Schwartz and John K Hurley write of the juggernaut that is the American economy.

[A4] Michael Lind wants to take the Six Californias nation-wide, breaking up all of the states. I’d argue that the reason it’s unlikely that California will choose to split up sheds light on the misdiagnosis: Large states lose in the senate, but they benefit it other and important ways (House delegations, producing presidents) that add significant value.


CrocodileDundee[W1] Australia is often torn between the costs and benefits between a good relationship with the US and a good one with China. China is, apparently, making their choice easier.

[W2] Adam Ozimek looks at the sharing economy being most beneficial for developing countries.

[W3] Britain has a phantom alien cat problem. Wait. What?

[W4] Alexandru Visinescu is being tried for Crimes Against Humanity for his role in a Communist prison camp in Romania.

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Linky Thursday #2( 100 )


Pyle_pirate_handsome[C1] Successive extentions and alterations of copyright law have limited our access to over fifty years of culture.

[C2] Is the monopoly of copyright a lost cause? It’s sure seeming that way, though it’s hard to gauge all of the implications of that.

[C3] Pirates are complaining that the software they are illegally downloading takes up too much space.

[C4] WordPress spends considerable money complying with DMCA takedown notices, some of which are not legitimate. They’re demanding $10,000 for a false notice.

[C5] The laws surrounding child pornography are problematically broad. “Possessing child porn in digital form is against a law that isn’t realistic in the digital world.”

[C6] Walter Frick argues that patents are stifling innovation and Vox lays out the case against software patents. JVL chimes in with Patent Trolling for Dollars.

[C7] Good to know: Fictional products cannot violate trademarks.


DrugRaid[L1] A reporter wanted to take some pictures of ugly buildings (at least he thinks they’re ugly, I think brutalism is pretty cool) but is harassed by law enforcements. As I’ve said, rights informally ignored are worse than rights formally denied.

[L2] Richard Nixon is often used as a punching bag in discussions about the Drug War, but it turns out that may not be so accurate.

[L3] Gouging in New York prison phone call pricing causes people to lose parental rights.

[L4] The Organ Detective, Nancy Scheper-Hughes has made a mission out of tracking down the organ trade market.


AOLmobile[T1] As software has come to control ever-increasing parts of our lives, it might behoove us to start coding better.

[T2] Some people avoid Gmail because they don’t want Google having access to their private lives. The problem is, whether you use Gmail or not, they already have access to most of them.

[T3] Thank goodness, it turns out that tablets are not going to take over computing after all. As I’ve said previously, it would say something atrocious about our society if that revolution had occurred.

[T4] We’re tempted to scoff when we hear that there are people who still subscribe to AOL, but it turns out they have their reasons, and they’re not bad reasons.

[T5] With the release of Microsoft Office 365, Joanna Stern wonders if we really need Microsoft Office anymore. Microsoft is acting less cocky about it than they used to. Alas, no mention of OpenOffice or LibreOffice.


Romney-Bain-Capital-money-shot[E1] The case for universal basic income, with empirical evidence!

[E2] Ever wonder why it’s expensive rather than bargain hotels that charge for WiFi?

[E3] Maybe sunk costs aren’t sunk after all?

[E4] Will Davies makes the case against competitiveness.

[E5] It’s a win for fliers that we can use electronics during takeoff and landing. It’s a loss for SkyMall.


George_H._W._Bush_and_Boris_Yeltsin_1993[R1] Michael Peck writes about the Soviet plan to demoralize the French. I suppose it could be a sign that I am somewhat removed from the Cold War (having come of age as it was winding down) that I find uncompelling the notion that this would have had much effect.

[R2] Moscow has an army of online trolls at its command. Daisy Sindelar wonders how much they matter.

[R3] Vladimir Putin is more the symptom than the disease, and we may miss him when he’s gone.

[R4] Every Russian novel ever written.


Enceladus_moon_to_scale-PIA07724[S1] We’re going to start giving planets cooler names.

[S2] Astronauts can teach us about sleep. Also, the smell of space.

[S3] Japan has declared war! Against astronaut litter.

[S4] Saturn moon Enceladus has a sea about the size of Lake Superior, now a top candidate for life.

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Linky Thursday( 57 )

-{Due to scheduling conflicts, Linky Friday will be appearing one day early this week and next.}-


Korea_Classroom_Inspection[E1] Teenage test scores do a pretty good job of predicting future income in the aggregate. There’s a lot of noise, however.

[E2] Northeastern Illinois is facing enrollment problems, so naturally they respond by spending money to gussy itself up with on-campus housing.

[E3] The increase of the college premium is largely the result of incomes plunging for those who didn’t go to college. Which is why it’s important for the economy to import more unskilled (and undegreed) labor?

[E4] Unsurprisingly, it’s a better idea to give students work machines instead of toys.

[E5] University of Liverpool is threatening staff pay when online students drop out.

[E6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: You would think the Bulwarks of open dialog & free thought would be more robust in defending it.


[C1] The Dragonlance novels had an indelible influence on Dungeons and Dragons.

dragonfountain[C2] According to tailor Charlie Allen, American business suits are for slobs.

[C3] Ben Shrecklinger argues that we should do away with the seven-day week. I’ve probably thought about it in the past, but while days are earth axis rotations and months are lunar rotations and years are revolutions around the sun, weeks are cultural.

[C4] Models for stock photography have no idea where their image will turn up. Digiday interviews a guy who turned up on Cialis ads.


[L1] Mental Floss asks “When did Americans lose their British accents?” Relatedly, I don’t like superfluous ‘u’s, but it sure would be simpler if we’d never deviated from British spelling.

[L2] Roy Peter Clark takes an aggressive stand for the passive voice. Like the double-negative, this is one of those things I was taught was wrong that was only wrong in certain (though common) circumstances.

[L3] From Chris: Learning two languages in infancy has cognitive benefits beyond language.


cancercells[H1] The debate around the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous has bounced around back and forth over the years. Penn & Teller made waves by declaring it bullpucky. Keith Humphreys argues, however that it’s actually as effective as psychotherapy.

[H2] Some fluoride in the water is good, but the experience in Maine may be that too much fluoride is very, very bad.

[H3] After a workout at a gym, Amy Salloway was hooked on a House marathon and set up a chair to keep watching. A picture taken of her went viral. Here’s her story.

[H4] James Hamblin looks at the link between Diet Coke and obesity, and finds that Diet Coke doesn’t necessarily cause weight gain, if used strategically.

[H5] Razib Khan decoded his newborn son’s DNA.


SearchFor370[T1] The bizarre story of the Dutch cyclist who had tickets to two Malaysia Airlines flights that met with a tragic end.

[T2] Have we reached Peak Hybrid? This is probably not related to the fact that hybrids are not as efficient as we think, since almost no cars are.

[T3] I actually kind of like the idea of standing on flights. I’m just worried that I wouldn’t fit in the seats.

[T4] Meanwhile, the problem with driverless cars is that its not-drivers are kind of lazy.

[T5] Rachel M Cohen argues that we may have a right to free parking.

Arctica & Antarctica:

Longyearbyen4[A1] Climate change is allowing us to build an internet connection through the arctic.

[A2] Earth’s magnetic field is weakening.

[A3] Antarctica inhabits an odd place in the nation-state dynamic, perhaps making us rethink sovereignty. More on Antarctica.

[A4] The crimeless, jobful, and not-quite-but-a-litle Randian utopia of Svalbard.

[A5] Antarctica may not be as lifeless as we think.


[V1] Tim Minchin giving a graduation speech at the University Western Australia (via MRS)

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Linky Friday #82( 178 )

Employment Advice:

truckdriver[E1] The case for kissing ass and faking it until you make it.

[E2] Even hermits need to have good people skills, if they want to go pro.

[E3] Employee loyalty isn’t just unrewarded, it’s actively penalized.

[E4] According to the WSJ, there’s a labor shortage in long-range trucking, and economic mobility is alive and well for those who get vocational training.

[E5] How men and women approach posted job requirements. It was only chance that I didn’t approach it the way that women seem to, and decided to just kinda go for it. It’s definitely something I hope to pass on to Lain.


openwide[H1] Olga Khazan investigates why there are so few rural doctors. Not much that I disagree with there, though if we are interested in creating more rural physicians, we don’t need to know why physicians as a whole don’t want to move to ruralia. We need to find out (a) what’s stopping those least averse to it, and (b) how we can get more people who might be interested in it into medical schools and residencies. Throw in there that some physicians may be dealing with assumptions that about ruralia that are not actually in evidence. (link via Saul)

[H2] Avik Roy is taking on the herculean task of trying to convince conservatives to reform and build on PPACA, rather than insist on repealing it.

[H3] “The Match”, which matches prospective residents with programs, is undergoing an overhaul.

[H4] It’s often assumed that one of the reasons that health care costs are as high as they are is because we incentivize more – rather than better – care in how we compensate doctors. An experiment with pharmaceuticals demonstrates that it’s more complicated than that.

[H5] Maybe we kind of want our surgeons to be… the way that stereotypical surgeons are.


Worried_People_2[P1] From James Hanley: Against empathy.

[P2] Isolation is unhealthy. But unhealthy relationships are also unhealthy. So what to do?

[P3] MIT’s Technology Review interviews Joseph LeDoux on attempts to understand and tinker with human memory.

[P4] The efficiency of negativity.

[P5] From Chris: Is apathy contagious? A new study suggests that for some people it can be. But who really cares, ya know?

[P6] From Chris: When people are hungry, they’re less generous than when they’re sated. The hungery people remain less generous than the sated people (though more generous than the were before) if they eat something after fasting. The implication, of course, is that people are more generous when they don’t have immediate needs. This seems obvious (I mean, it’s Maslow, basically), but I’m not sure anyone had ever actually demonstrated it empirically.


samsung-galaxy-note[S1] The new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is upon us! The real story, is the new Note Edge. Which does look impressive, but right now I’m mostly eyeing the Note 4.

[S2] There’s also a new iPhone coming out at some point in the relatively near future, which means that current iPhones areabout to get slower.

[S3] The Great Smartphone War, and how we got here.

[S4] Allison P Davis is frustrated at her inability to mooch a charge for her phone. I would just point out that with a Samsung and a spare battery, this isn’t an issue.

[S5] The next big name in Smartphones may be… Lenovo! The prospect excited me a lot more before I discovered what Lenovo did to the Thinkpad line.

[S6] I get that smartphone theft is lucrative for the carriers and handset producers, but the most apparent solution would likely involve cracking down on all reselling, which is a cure worse than the disease.

[S7] After spending a week on the cell phone to end all cell phones in 2004, Ashley Feinberg reports that it actually kind of sucks. Good battery life, though.


Herd_Of_Goats[A1] A federal bill wants to restrict gun advertising “to children” on the same basis that cigarette advertising to children is banned. Eugene Volokh explains that there are differences.

[A2] The drought situation, in maps and images.

[A3] Know what Detroit needs? Detroit needs goats.

[A4] Why I find the precautionary principle so offensive. Whenever anyone trots it out, I consider it along the lines of extraordinary scientific claims, that they require extraordinary evidence. You want me to respond with the force of law to something in order to prevent a tragedy, I need some pretty compelling evidence that the something in question is an actual problem/threat.


zebra_hobatere_S[W1] From James Hanley: Who wouldn’t be interested in Traffic Zebras in Bolivia?

[W2] The Economist looks at the costs of foreign aid, to the recipient nation.

[W3] The London housing costs and Irish economy are driving their respective young people to leave.

[W4] io9 delivers up the story of some interesting micronations.

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Linky Friday #81( 144 )

Asian Cities:

Tokyo has more people than the nations in red.

Tokyo has more people than the nations in red.

[A1] China’s Ghost City situation has not improved. But here’s a cool one that looks like Manhattan.

[A2] Meanwhile North Korea has created its own ghost town near the border.

[A3] China is conglomerating a city that will have a population of 130,000,000 people.

[A4] Dubai is building a temperature-controlled city.


dontbeaburglarytarget[C1] Horrid: Allegedly, a woman slowly poisoned her son to drive up traffic on her mommy blog.

[C2] Officers in California have allegedly been using official resources to screen online dates. Once upon a time, it was really easy to get DMV information online. I actually used it regularly (it contained height-weight measurements).

[C3] A police officer in Houston was pulled over and noticed something funny about the ticket he was given. A scam and a scandal was unraveled.

[C4] The link between poverty and crime may have been overestimated. Or, alternately, may be purely a function of where a family started out when the first child was born.

[C5] The interesting account of a black man whose white police officer brother shot an unarmed black man.

[C6] From James Hanley: The story of the North Pond Hermit. Very interesting.


batman-the-animated-series1[T1] The Simpsons, which is playing a non-stop marathon on FXX (controversially, in 16:9), challenged Adam Ozimek’s views on economics.

[T2] The good news is that a major network is developing a TV show based on the movie Devil’s Advocate, which I loved. The bad news is that it’s NBC.

[T3] Over twenty years later, Batman The Animates Series remains an animation marvel and will doubtlessly be remembered long after its successors The Batman and Beware the Batman.

[T4] Robert O’Connell writes an ode to Just Shoot Me and mediocre sitcoms. Relatedly, Jason Lynch wonders why TV shows peak around Season 3.


Stockholm_classroom[E1] Denmark’s free higher education is pointed to by some as something to aspire to, but it’s hurting their economy. Likewise, free college in Finland is aiding young people to use college to hide out from the labor market.

[E2] Drill, Baby Drill! The benefits of rote memorization in math.

[E3] The employment premium for going to a for-profit college may be so bad (PDF) so as to not demonstrate any advantage over those who did not attend at all. Elite colleges, on the other hand, worth it.

[E4] Ray Fisman says that Sweden’s freefall in the international education testing ratings is proof that school choice is a bad idea. Andrew Coulson begs to differ. A report released by the University of Arkansas gave charter schools great points on cost-effectiveness.

[E5] By way of Annie Murphy Paul, Patricia Greenfield makes the case that a balanced education involves video games.

[E6] Eight interesting facts about MOOCs.


solarbins[S1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Long term: This is interesting, and a good development in that it heralds the development of windows that could be solar panels, either for glass towers or just homes with windows facing the right direction. Short term: Lots of work to do, mainly in boosting the efficiency. Anything under 10% & if it isn’t dirt cheap, it will never be economical. I can’t remember what the sweet spot is for PV cells in regards to $/kW-hr, but this has a long way to go before it’s anywhere close. Also, how fragile is it? Can we make this out of gorilla glass? (link via Kazzy)

[S2] Stacking cells: A possible new innovation in solar energy could make it as cheap as natural gas.

[S3] NASA and BYU are working on origami solar panels.

[S4] It’s kind of funny when conservatives are saying “OMG what about the birds!” and liberals are saying “They’re just birds, get over it.

[S5] New Jersey plans to test the transportation of the future: solar powered commuting pods!


millenials[M1] Millenials are discovering that Washington DC may be too expensive, long-term. Fortunately, the city is responding to housing concerns by preserving row-houses at the expense of denser condos.

[M2] Millenials may not be so different in their housing preferences than previously supposed. A greater percentage of them live in the suburbs in 2010 than in 2000.

[M3] In Texas, Millenials are preferring Houston and San Antonio over Dallas and Austin.

[M4] According to Matthew Hennessey, younger Millenials may lean to the right the way that older ones lean to the left. The evidence is weak, the rationale possible, and Romney did apparently win 19 and 20 year old voters.

[M5] I’m becoming a crotchity old man when it comes to Kids Today… but I have to say that if this piece is correct, I approve of what they’ve done to car sales.

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Linky Friday #80( 101 )


lacrosse[S1] A lot of people think that hosting the Olympics is a huge waste of resources. Cities themselves are coming around to this view.

[S2] I thought calling “football” by the name of soccer was a purely American thing, but apparently we’re not alone (and we haven’t always called it soccer).

[S3] First they came for the Redskins. Then, the Cougars! Back when I was in middle school, another middle school opened up and the kids overwhelmingly wanted “Cobras” to be their mascot. It was shot down because admin assumed that it must be a gang thing.

[S4] Two things I did not know: The Iroquois invented lacrosse… and are a current superpower in the sport.

[S5] The AD at the University of Hawaii openly mentioned that closing down their football program is a possibility, albeit an outside one. I comment here.


tmnt[E1] Teenage Mutant Ninja History.

[E2] I’ve been on Rhapsody for quite some time and still have my MP3 collection. So for Bob Lefsetz first “Rule of Spotify” to come true, the services are going to have to become a lot better.

[E3] An ex-con reviews Orange is the New Black. She wants to know where all the guards are at.

[E4] David Brent is coming back!

[E5] As we know, everything bad for you is good for you, including but not limited to video games.

[E6] God’s Not Dead was filed for two million dollars and has thus far pulled in over sixty. It’s almost as though there is a market for such movies. Surely, with Hollywood being the capitalist beast that it is, scores of them are on the way. Right?


braziliantribes[W1] Crowdsourcing heroism in Australia.

[W2] Of course: Drones are being deployed for crowd control.

[W3] In Iceland, you can’t name your daughter Harriet (or any other name that’s not on a list). Though I am against such things, for reasons freedom-loving and logistical, when I was substitute teaching there were times when I wished parents had less freedom and a list from which to choose.

[W4] Fanisha Fazal and Ryan Griffiths ask why secession is becoming so popular. Open Democracy attributes it to increasing internationalism.

[W5] When I did my Links Across America thing on July Fourth, I really should have had an entry for Denmark. Also, a 1988 TNR piece on the international reaction to the American Revolution.

[W6] One of those subjects that leaves me entirely clueless on ethics and morality… making contact with isolated tribes like those in Brazil.


telegram[P1] The Google Glass is merely the latest entrance into wearable tech that began with… the pocket watch.

[P2] Bell Labs may have invented something that will blow Google Fiber out of the water. Google, meanwhile, looks to use satellites to blow satellite Internet away.

[P3] Telegram not dead STOP Alive, evolving in Japan STOP

[P4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Usually, that multi-million year computer we live in has figured out some pretty ingenious ways to do things.

[P5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: This would make construction of a space elevator much more cost effective.


sunscreen[SS1] The government may be moving forward to modernize sunscreen.

[SS2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I like most of these. The sun screen marker is something I just know my wife will want. The peanut husker is just a variation on a theme (I’ve seen bike powered corn huskers, grain threshers, etc.). So is the solar oven (solar water purifier, etc.). Great ideas all around, but not really Great Inventions; just improvements on existing ideas. I have a friend who is a home health care provider, she’d like the backpack thing. The telltale touch meat packaging is smart! So is the portable incubator. I like the simple water turbine, although I’m curious where the generator is? It must mount on top.

[SS3] Fewer young people are using sunscreen! Bad news! Or is it? According to a scientist in Seattle, sunscreen is bad for you and others say it’s poisoning the ocean..

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Linky Friday #79( 94 )


ObamaToast[P1] Politico interviews several gay members of the Bush Administration.

[P2] Most Republicans support birth control.

[P3] Democrats are declaring a ceasefire on “War on Women” rhetoric.

[P4] From what I recall of the polls at the time, in 2000 roughly one in ten of Ralph Nader voters would have otherwise voted for Bush (six for Gore, three wouldn’t have voted). My father is one of them, as is a former roommate. Nader has a pitch to some folks on the right.

[P5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: “The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.”


Metropolis2[F1] On the horizon… self-repairing plastic?

[F2] In 1995, Eugene Volokh (of Conspiracy fame) made a number of predictions about the media and technology, much of which turned out to be on the money. More good predictions.

[F3] Contraception at the push of a button.

[F4] A cool new technology may wick moisture away from windows. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)


Layers of Titan, Saturn's moon and one of the largest in the solar system.

Layers of Titan, Saturn’s moon and one of the largest in the solar system.

[S1] Everything you ever wanted to know about astronaut outfitting.

[S2] Kenneth Arnold made flying saucers famous.

[S3] The Space Station is getting a coffee machine!

{S4] Saturn’s moon Titan has a mysterious object on it, and an atmosphere older than Saturn’s.

[S5] Map: What an interplanetary Pangaea might look like.


Mountains_in_southern_Greenland[E1] The chief problem with global warming, unlike many things it is compared to, it’s an international problem with greatly differing costs among the needed participants, however hopeful some may be about India.

[E2] More metal, less emissions? Sounds good to me.

[E3] Hypocrites! People who say that they’re concerned about climate change use more electricity than those who aren’t! Ha! Actually, that’s mostly a function of confounding factors, but even controlling for them there doesn’t seem to be all that much difference.

[E4] According to a new study, locals protect their forests better than government. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[H1] Boom California looks at San Fransisco’s housing crunch, and by way of explaining it convinced me that whatever SF’s faults, the blame lies more with its neighbors. Like Palo Alto and its zero growth vision.

[H2] Matt K Lewis makes the conservative case for new urbanism.

[H3] Suburban homebuilders are encroaching on urban development.

[H4] Jim Russell declares The Death of Urbanization in the United States. He over-states his case as domestic migration is only part of the picture. Even so, it quite pointedly challenges “The Great Inversion” narrative and perhaps suggests a different fate for rural America than we might assume.


Kowloon_Nathan_Road_2007[A1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Singapore is testing whether mass surveillance and big data can not only protect national security, but actually engineer a more harmonious society.

[A2] The Japanese Prime Minister wants to ramp up Japan’s cool factor, but artists want no part of it.

[A3] Japan is building roads in poor countries, hoping to bolster their own economy by helping get economies around them moving.

[A4] The attempts to shoehorn a local (American) angle here notwithstanding, this story about India’s trash situation is quite interesting.

[A5] Private schools in India are an antidote to their caste system.

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Linky Friday #78( 112 )


mikerowe (1)[L1] Uber drivers are protesting outside company headquarters. Maybe they should unionize. Or demand a medallion system.

[L2] Whether he intends to or not, Mike Rowe seems on his way to becoming a Republican icon.

[L3] Mexican bazillionaire Carlos Slim has some interesting ideas on labor, suggesting that we should work longer hours (11 a day), shorter weeks (3 days per), over more years (9 more years). The main question I have about it is whether the 11 hour days would cause a decrease in productivity.

[L4] Flextime is apparently a nice perk that you should never actually use. Here are some tips for waking up earlier. One of the best decisions I ever made about such things was to never, ever use the snooze button again.

[L5] Peter Cappelli argues that non-compete clauses punish the wrong party. It’s become increasingly popular for college football coaches to have buyouts so large that only the schools that would hire them can pay it.

[L6] In a world where computers are better drivers and legal scholars than people, at what point do people become economically useless?


Breton[C1] In a country where everyone likes to think of themselves as middle class, “rich” is a moving target. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who may suffer from Status-Income Disequilibrium.

[C2] The effects of gambling (and casinos) on the poor is abysmal. These are the sorts of issues that really test my libertarian self (and kind of kick his ass, actually).

[C3] I’ve long thought that we need to do away with summer vacation. I should have, but didn’t, consider that this argument is made stronger by a class component.

[C4] It’s pretty convenient for both sides to ignore rural poverty. Republicans don’t like to admit that some of their home turf is disproportionately poor. Democrats like to consider the poor “theirs.”

[C5] Soleil Ho argues that foodie trends hurt low-income families.

[C6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I think Nick Hannauer might be right. Wealth gap is hurting the recovery. This is from S&P, and not some progressive outfit.


USA-Einwanderer auf Ellis Island[I1] Jason Brennan argues if closed borders are so good, why not close more of them? The same argument can be applied to trade. It’s a bum argument, though, because nations have a central (even if federalized) governing authority and there are expectations of reciprocity (and generally beneficial ones) among citizens of a country that don’t exist in the same context globally.

[I2] The government is using pop music to try to keep Central Americans from sending their kids here.

[I3] I don’t expect RedState to be a voice of reason in the immigration debate, but I thought this post was actually petty good.

[I4] Ecuador tried its hand at open immigration. It didn’t work out so well.


Rosa_Parks_Transit_Center_Detroit_Michigan[A1] The immigrants of yesteryear were apparently smart to Americanize their name at Ellis Island. Writers, too, should choose their name carefully.

[A2] In addition to being careful about your name when you’re looking for a job, you should keep quiet about your religion, too. Unless you’re Jewish, because everyone likes the Jewish.

[A3] Gene Demby has a good write-up about violence in Chicago.

[A4] How much should bankrupt Detroit pay to keep its wonderful art? Does $185,000,000 seem right?

[A5] From Christopher Carr: Transporting Ebola patients internationally and into major urban centers for research seems like a very stupid idea.

[A6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Because despite warnings of, “Hey, be careful, that slope is slippery!”, people always got slide down it. Case in point, a gay bar coming under fire for not being inclusive to all gay people because of it’s dress code. I get why people wanted the wedding people who discriminated against gay people to feel the heat, but this is just silly.

[A7] The GAO says that there was gross mismanagement in the PPACA rollout. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)


Siberia - Group[W1] When I did my Links Across America thing on July Fourth, I really should have had an entry for Denmark. Also, a 1988 TNR piece on the international reaction to the American Revolution.

[W2] One of those subjects that leaves me entirely clueless on ethics and morality… making contact with isolated tribes like those in Brazil.

[W3] A 260-foot crater has appeared in Siberia.

[W4] The bizarre story of the Dutch cyclist who had tickets to two Malaysia Airlines flights that met with a tragic end.

[W5] It’s commonly said that Israel is going to have to play nicely with the Palestinians because of the demographic timebomb. What if that simply isn’t true?

[W6] Here’s a list of inventories from soldier’s kits from 1066 to 2014. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)

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