Latest Linkage

Morning Ed: Society {2016.06.01.W}( 48 )

Well, this sort of explains some of the people who have shown up on my Twitter feed.

I am not at all surprised by this. Girls be mean.

Noah Berlatsky argues that superheroes are less modern myths and more melodramas. I think this is true in the case of classic comics, though the medium has transformed into something else (or, more accurately, many things).

I kind of shrugged off the latest Captain America twist (I mean, obviously, it’s going to be some sort of hypnosis where Steve was really being Steve up until now), but Jessica Plummer argues pretty convincingly that even accounting for the fact it’s going to be a gimmick, it matters.

This is no surprise: There’s a peer effect when it comes to teenage pregnancy. Of course, that’s a double-edged sword. Lower teenage pregnancies is a good thing, but too much stigma and abortion (for wronger-than-usual reasons, even) starts to look really attractive.

Calaveras High School (CA) are the Redskins no more! Now they are… well… nothing. That’s dumb. Otters would work for a California school!

Peak Sonny Bunch: He makes the case for the White Walkers.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.31.T}( 26 )

The stereotypes seem to have changed from the ones in this article, from Republicans as Rich to Republicans as backwards losers. Interesting stuff all the same. Both parties, it turns out, contain multitudes.

Donald Trump thinks that Global Warming is a hoax… except when it comes to his golf courses, evidently.

This seems to make sense for most parties involved, which kind of makes me surprised it’s happening and skeptical whether it will stick.

Bernie Sanders wants to bail out Puerto Rico, and has a plan!

Color me surprised: I really thought the Obamas were headed straight back to Chicago after his term was up. It’s a lease, though, so maybe it is just until Sasha graduates.

Anne Amnesia talks of the AIDS epidemic, the rise of Trump, and The Unnecessariat.

This guy reminds me a bit of how much I miss the Natural Law Party right now. At least transcendental meditation as the solution to all of our ills is a mostly-harmless delusion.

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Morning Ed: Media {2016.05.30.M}( 29 )

A Katie Couric documentary rather deceptively edited an interview with gun control opponents, a conservative website “claims” (and also, actually, demonstrates).

Jesse Singal writes about Ben Shapiro’s messy divorce with Breitbart.

Some of y’all may not realize it, but Salon was once a strong voice on the left and in our culture, giving rise to among other people Jake Trapper. What happened?

Come on, people, Trump says enough ridiculous things and does enough bad things without the media having to make it up.

The interesting history of the CIA vs Random House.

It turns out, with regard to Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke may have had the last laugh.

Sara Israelsen-Hartley writes about the conflict between news and the right to be forgotten.

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Tech Linkage( 69 )

(C) Transit Explore Bus


It’s been a while since I did one of these, but I have a few links I’d like to talk about and see what kind of discussion I can foster, so here goes.

Look, out on the arterial!  It’s a train!  It’s a bus!  It’s a trolley?!  All of the above, kind of.  I actually like the idea of the Transit Explorer Bus (TEB) for public transit, as I think it does a fair job of trying to hit the pros of public transit while covering some of the cons.  If you don’t want to follow the link, the idea is for a ‘bus’ that has sufficient ground clearance to let cars pass beneath it.  The ‘bus’ would straddle two whole lanes of traffic and ride on rails embedded in the roadway.  Normal passenger vehicles and light trucks could easily pass beneath it, so they can pass the bus if it’s stopped, or be passed by the bus if traffic is jammed up.  Riders would load and unload from elevated platforms, or via ramps.


  • No need to carve out new transit right-of-way or consume one or more lanes of traffic (a big problem with trains and light rail, especially when extending such systems through and to developed areas).
  • Minimal investment in supporting infrastructure as opposed to laying new track and stations, since the rails would be embedded in the existing roadway and existing bus stops could be used.  Even better if the city already has electric buses, since that system could probably be adapted to power the TEB, or vice versa.
  • Reduced complaints about transit interfering with other traffic (there would still be some interference, but the most annoying, getting stuck behind a bus that is constantly stopping, would mostly be a thing of the past).
  • Greater rider capacity than a normal bus or light rail set.
  • Ideally not hindered by congestion like a bus is.


  • Even if widely adopted, the TEB is going to cost more than a bus or light rail car.  Ideally the cost would be offset by increased ridership.
  • Safety systems will be critical, as a collision with a car or truck that misjudges the clearance will not end well for anyone.  Likewise, the TEB would have to command a right of way similar to buses and be able to enforce it.
  • The TEB would be very sensitive to obstructions on the rails, since the proposed design can not simply drive around an object sitting on the track.  Each TEB would either need a crew onboard for clearing obstructions, or more likely the city would need a team that can respond very quickly to obstructions.  The design might be served by having wheels that are not restricted to tracks.
  • The proposed design suffers from the same shortcoming all rail bound vehicles face, the fact that changing the route is non-trivial, so it lacks the flexibility of a normal bus.

As with all transit, the key is how it would be deployed.  I particularly like it because something like this would make it possible to easily extend rail transit to the Seattle suburbs, since it could largely follow existing arterials and highways/interstates without consuming capacity on those roads.
Lockheed is pretty determined to try and bring airships back into wider service.  I’ve always been a fan of airships, especially hybrid airships that shape the gas bag such that it serves as a lifting body.  The only two major drawbacks to hybrid airships are speed (they are most certainly not fast) and the cost of the helium gas (they are also rather weather sensitive, as you really don’t want to be trying to take off or land one during a storm).  Helium is getting expensive, and it is largely sourced from natural gas production (it tends to get trapped underground with natural gas, so we can separate it out).  Helium is also a very slippery molecule and will find a way to escape pretty much any container you put it into.  Even the best bag we can make is going to have a steady stream of escaping helium, so the bag will need to be topped off regularly, adding to the operational cost.  Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing airships as a regular sight in our skies.
Dr. Frances Arnold won the Millennium Technology Prize for directed evolution.

With her engineering background, Prof Arnold wanted to make new, useful, problem-solving proteins. So she took her cue from the way nature does the same thing.

“I looked at it and said, well, nature didn’t actually design enzymes… How does this happen? You make mutations randomly, you look through a large number of things for the ones that have the properties you’re interested in, then you repeat the process.

Pretty nifty, but is there a practical application?  I’m so glad you asked!

It is now used in laboratories worldwide and has produced many valuable enzymes, including one used in manufacturing Januvia, a popular drug for type 2 diabetes, which would otherwise be produced using heavy metals.

“They replaced a chemical process with an enzymatic process, thereby completely eliminating toxic metals that were needed… and getting solvent waste reduction of 60%,” said Prof Arnold.

“We’re talking tonnes of material.”

Directed evolution has also produced catalysts that allow industrial chemicals and fuels to be made from renewable sources.

The tech itself is getting close to 10 years old, so in a sense this is old hat, but I love knowing that we are finding ways to produce the things we need, especially medicines, via processes that do not produce hazardous waste that is difficult to deal with.  And whenever you hear about some scientist creating a bacteria or algae that can produce something useful, there’s a pretty good chance you can thank Dr. Arnold.
I have no idea how truly useful this technology can be, but it’s some pretty good thinking all the same.  Creating a process that is very low power that can extract atmospheric CO2 has a definite utility, both in reducing atmospheric CO2, and in producing a useful industrial chemical.  Will we someday see massive arrays of contactors busily scrubbing the atmosphere of carbon dioxide in an effort to stem global warming?  No idea, but it’s interesting tech all the same.
Living in the Puget Sound area, solar power isn’t as attractive an option for home generation, but wind power, on the other hand, especially since I live on the windward face of a ridge, has considerable appeal.  The winds aren’t strong all the time, but it’s a rare day when there isn’t a decent breeze.  However, home mounted wind turbines are frowned upon, thanks to blade noise in dense neighborhoods, so reading about this wind turbine is very interesting.  It looks pretty cool, like a bit of wind art, and if it is as quiet as they claim, dense neighborhoods might permit it.  Might have to call up my HOA, see what they think…
Sticking with energy, off-shore photovoltaic (PV) arrays have always been of interest to green energy, but PV cells are sensitive to motion, and any significant wave action reduces their efficiency and could damage them, so it’s an idea that has largely remained on the drawing board.  Now, a system called Heliofloat might change that.  It remains buoyant using what amounts to a bucket turned upside down, and then placed in the water.  The air that is trapped in the bucket not only provides buoyancy, but air is compressible, so it acts as a shock absorber.  The ‘bucket’ is also large enough that the wave energy tends to just pass through it, keeping the platform stable.  Obviously such a system would never survive the full fury of a storm on the open ocean, but it sheltered areas that are shallow, it could get the job done.
One more energy one, this time a battery.  Kinda.  More like an energy cell. It uses blue-green algae and manages to capture the energy from photosynthesis to produce electricity.  Very small amounts of electricity (under 1 volt), so scalability is a pretty big question, but hey, who knows, maybe someday we’ll charge our phones by letting them sit in the sun for a bit.
Finally, a bit of materials science.  Part of the reason automotive fleets are having a hard time getting drastic improvements in fuel economy is because cars are heavy. Meeting crashworthiness goals often means using considerable material to provide strength and crash resistance.  Now, there is a new, very inexpensive heat treating process that results in steel that is still very strong, but also extremely ductile, allowing for less steel to be used in the existing forming processes while still getting the desired strength from the resulting parts.  Once the testing is complete by the auto industry, I expect we’ll start seeing lighter car options, which means greater fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety or having to move to other materials that the automakers are leery of investing in (the capital costs in a switch from steel forming to something like carbon fiber is massive!).




Image by Jason Riedy

Image by Mootly

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Linky Friday #168: The Soviet Roc( 102 )


moving van photo

Image by feesta

[Ci1] People moving out and people not being born: Whet Moser looks at Cook County’s population loss. Within ten years, Chicago could be overtaken by Houston.

[Ci2] Lyman Stone says it’s time to let Atlantic City die.

[Ci3] Arthur Books wants to get America moving again! To places where there are jobs and opportunity available.

[Ci4] Eric Fischer looked at 30 years for for-rent ads in San Francisco, and it’s really quite illuminating. Whatever we might say about San Francisco, at least it’s not Stockholm. (Yet.)

[Ci5] Totalitarian architecture is the best architecture. Like Boston!


russian hospital photo

Image by idea-saras

[H1] I very much did not realize that online breast milk sharing was a thing.

[H2] Huh. Racially distinct names correlate with life longevity.

[H3] Some are becoming concerned that residency hour caps have gone too far.

[H4] EMR is the future, but physicians aren’t happy with it, don’t think it’s saving money or time, don’t think anyone cares about the time it’s not saving, and have security concerns that apparently can’t be voiced.

[H5] Take a gander at work and retirement in the Soviet Union. Also, healthcare.


russian school photo

Image by paukrus

[E1] The New York Times editorial board is recognizing that we’re pumping out too many college graduates for the jobs available, and then has a series of largely unrelated and counterproductive proposals on how to address it.

[E2] I give this article mega-points for its title, and it’s interesting to boot!

[E3] Chris Beck writes of the “law school prices [for] blue collar skills” in culinary schools.

[E4] Leon Neyfakh looks into the business of Russian academic fraud.


soviet space shuttle photo

Image by Clemens Vasters

[S1] At Unz Review, Anatoly Karlin breaks down Soviet scientists by ethnicity.

[S2] The Siberian Unicorn is a thing, and may have lived alongside humans. While we’re there, take a look at these Siberian bus stops

[S3] LSD turns you into a baby.

[S4] Ever wonder what abandoned Soviet space shuttles look like? Here ya go.

[S5] Jupiter’s ice moon Europa moves up the colonization list as its oceans may be somewhat like our own.


[Cr1] Crimea is having a problem with… sand theft?

[Cr2] Noah Feldman talks about how the Soviets stole a Van Gogh.

[Cr3] This was an episode of Numb3rs! Minus the whole Ukrainian bit, anyway.

[Cr4] With this is a cheery thought, from Elijah Wood. Corey Feldman wants to name names.

[Cr5] Well this kind of smells.

[Cr6] Dumbasses.

[Cr7] Yabba-dabba-doo


Dick Tracy photo

Image by davidwilson1949

[F1] It was common – and is still common – for villains in American film to be Russians. Apparently, that isn’t reciprocal. Less surprisingly, the KGB tended to be heroes, though now they’ve got superheroes.

[F2] BitTorrent legend YIFY speaks out on the rise of torrents and what can be done to fight it.

[F3] Dick Tracy wasn’t a particularly good movie, but it was visually marvelous.

[F4] As bad as things may seem now, the state of affairs of film in 1989 was that Roger Ebert wrote a review of a movie about a kid who was really good at video games. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.26.Th}( 123 )

Supporting The Nominee Who Shall Not Be Named: This, a database of Republican politicians and where they stand on Trump, could come in handy at a later date.

Black Republican groups are, tepidly, resigning themselves to Trump. Meanwhile, everything at Republican HQ is just dandy. And the Republican electorate just couldn’t be more pleased!

King Donald is just going to be so great.

David Wasserman confirms something I have been increasingly suspecting: The next time that the GOP wins the presidency, Pennsylvania is more likely than some “swing states” to be a part of the equation.

Connor Kilpatrick argues that liberal dismissal of the white working class actually signals something far worse. Matt Bruenig writes of demonizing and engagement.

While Trump is making the immigration issue potentially toxic for Republicans, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are potentially mitigating the damage.

David Drucker, meanwhile, wonders if Hillary Clinton won’t run into the same problems Trump’s Republican rivals did.

From Tod Kelly: I would like to think that all of us — liberals, conservatives, and libertarians alike — can come together in unity and agree that this is fishing hilarious.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.05.25.W}( 28 )

It makes sense that The New Republic would want to destroy the only grassroots political movement in Westeros.

One of my great frustrations, many years ago, was my inability to get ESPN360 by paying for it. Turns out, I’m not alone.

Via Vikram, the importance of the typeface. Specifically, caps and bold and such.

Here’s a nice story: Detective rescues a young girl, attends her college graduation twenty years later.

This surprises me not even a little bit: Things are different when you’re beautiful. (The linked episode of 30 Rock was really, really good.)

I cannot overstate my complete and total lack of surprise that Japan’s idol industry (and Korea’s) is sexually coercive. Not entirely unrelated.

The University of Miami is going all in for atheism! Actually, it’s just a chair for the study of it, which is actually pretty cool.

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Morning Ed: Government {2016.05.24.T}( 20 )

A victim of child sex abuse asked for and received euthanasia in the Netherlands.

Italy is trying to streamline its parliamentary and federal systems to add a bit of stability.

Setting aside the question of the ethics of ecigarette bans, it says something pretty screwy about public health advocacy when a paper has to be written to say “Hey, let’s not withhold information and/or be dishonest unless you know we have a really good reason to.”

It’s not expected to become law, but the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee voted to allow medical marijuana. Meanwhile, in Louisiana it’s a done deal.

Decriminalization of marijuana has been good for white tokers, but not so good for minority ones or drivers.

The Secretary of Energy is concerned over the closures of nuclear power plants.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.05.23.M}( 27 )

“Individual-level data on turnout and political preferences [in Austria] suggest [a lack of change in electoral outcomes] occur because individuals swayed to vote due to compulsory voting are more likely to be non-partisan, have low interest in politics, and be uninformed.”

In Slovenia, they expressly want to prevent smokers from switching to ecigarettes, while over here the Democrats are doing a good job reminding me why I’m not beating down their door right now.

Major League Baseball is talking about putting accents over the players’ names on uniforms. Sounds good to me. I wish that we’d update our computer keyboard layouts.

Though we think of ourselves as wasteful, we waste less than a lot of the world (and not just the countries we might expect).

Anyone who thinks Trump is going to be soft on Russia got some good news because he’s apparently going to be hard on the UK.

The Nation’s Joshua Holland says that, at the end of the day, Daesh is about resources and territory and not religion.

Though it sounds like he were other things going on, the diaper conviction is pretty unsettling and I’m glad it was reversed.

The story of a fake kidnapping in Ireland.

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Linky Friday #167: God & Superman( 57 )


Image by sabertasche2

Image by sabertasche2

[R1] The Bible, it turns out, was written a long time ago.

[R2] The gender gap in religious attendance is falling. If it’s related to women in the workplace, it seems that the lag is far for it.

[R3] This is kind of cool: Zoroastrianism is making a comeback in Kurdistan.

[R4] Rev Erik Parker attacks the question of getting sheep back into the flock. His soccer team analogy is pretty solid.

[R5] What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I suppose: Satanic book passed around in Colorado schools.

[R6] This is an interesting niche: Paul Midden counsels priests who fall in love.

[R7] The quest of the GOP to corner the Jewish vote seems to be run into the problem that most Jews are not religious in any conservative-friendly since. Orthodox Jews are, and they tend Republican. We’ll, uhhh, have to see if that holds.


[M1] Adam Ozimek links for four studies that he says should have higher minimum wage advocates nervous.

[M2] Kathryn Edin, who lived on two dollars a day, is interviewed in Christianity Today.

[M3] It really does seem like one of the three most important things about Universal Basic Income is the extent to which we can expect the poor to mind their money carefully… and what we do if they don’t.

[M4] Reportedly, Iron Man would have had a female villain but for concerns over toy sales.

[M5] Vaclav Smil argues that advanced economies can’t leave manufacturing behind. He seems to be sort of arguing that we can’t because manufacturing employment is helpfully labor-inefficient, though.

[M6] Everything we ever wanted to know about whether and how money makes us happy.


catholic school photo

Image by Gawler History

[E1] Gotta give these youngsters credit for ingenuity. The commercial at the bottom is kind of goofy, though. (And aren’t such jammers supposed to be illegal?)

[E2] The LDS Church and BYU is working to address the tech gender gap.

[E3] Excellent!

[E4] In an “advice for the privileged” sort of way, this actually seems to largely be good advice.

[E5] From the Daily Nebraskan, an interesting article on young people making the transition from home school to college. Also, homeschooling for heathens.

[E6] While schools move ever towards being luxury resorts, some students are practicing financial responsibility of mediocrity!


labradoodle photo

Image by vidalia_11

[N1] Doug Bandow argues that if we want to save the elephants, we should sell ivory.

[N2] As someone I know put it, why are people so good at doing nothing when they should do something and doing something when they should do nothing? I understand the park’s position on the matter, but any chance we could set up an adoption agency? We might need one for baby seals, too.

[N3] Some of those cute animal photographs you see have kind of a dark background.

[N4] The designer of the labradoodle would like to apologize. Meanwhile, in Japan

[N5] It’s hard to label the breed of dogs that end up at shelters, but it looks like they need to think twice before going with “pit bull.”

[N6] The meanest dogs live in Texas.


Image by kevin dooley

Image by kevin dooley

[C1] Jaime Weinman makes as strong a case for continuity in comic books as possible. While I lament a lot of trend in comics, moving away from feverish devotion to continuity is a development I consider positive. And while I get the argument here, I still think the overwhelming complexity of comic book storylines has over the long run done the industry a lot of harm, and I think the stories are a mixed bag.

[C2] According to this article, women comprise 53% of comic book readers. Which is interesting! I’m curious how much of that would actually have to do with DC and Marvel putting women front and center, and how much of it is the rapid growth of non-superhero fare that appeals to women. (Also, not to nitpick, but Marvel’s Captain Marvel has been bouncing back and forth between male and female for decades.)

[C3] This piece is so, amazing, ridiculously backwards. The Daredevil TV series costume is okay, and the movie one is terrible. Aaron K defends the infamous Armored Daredevil costume. Though not perfect, I actually thought it was pretty great and a step up from the typical costume. On the other hand, I think the first Jean-Paul Valley Batman costume was superior to Bruce Wayne’s in every way, but at the same time it just wouldn’t have worked as a permanent costume. Maybe Armored Daredevil couldn’t work, either.

daredevil[C4] Comic Book Resources has a list of the worst alternate costumes of DC’s major characters. I actually think that the first Jean Paul Valley costume (pic) was quite good, even if it wouldn’t have worked when Bruce Wayne took back the cape and cowl.

[C5] Umapagan Ampikaipakan argues that superheroes are such an American concept that they shouldn’t worry about being multicultural. Nancy Bulalacao strongly disagrees. I agree more with the latter and think that Ampikakaipakan misunderstands the concept of American.

[C6] In case you missed it (this is an old one that slipped through the cracks): Alan Moore, grand innovator of superhero fiction, came to believe that they are a cultural catastophe.

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Morning Ed: Europe {2016.05.19.Th}( 152 )

It ain’t easy for a British royal prince to get a job.

In Slovenia, they expressly want to prevent smokers from switching to ecigarettes, while over here the Democrats are doing a good job reminding me why I’m not beating down their door right now.

Cruising is one of the few travel-for-travel-sake things I like to do (though haven’t in a really long time), so this seems pretty cool. It’s cruising without all of the people! Though, to be fair, without amenities, too.

The Irish in Britain are looking for some cues on how to vote in the Brexit.

Here’s another cool profile of Estonia’s president. I still, uhhh, disagree with him about the pseudonym thing.

As the miracle of Venezuela collapses and everything falls apart, take a look back at the lessons of socialism in Yugoslavia.

Maybe it’s just me, but I sort of imagine these Russians commenting with a smirk. Also, Trump and Putin sittin’ in a tree

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.05.18.W}( 23 )

A look at what’s going on with Oregon, and where some of the militia mentality might have come from.

He also says that as a nation we owe Texas our thanks (and perhaps a congratulations since job growth is still a thing there). He also explains how the Lone Star State is the alt-right’s nightmare. Though growth has slowed down, the oil and gas apocalypse that was supposed to consume Texas still hasn’t happened.

James Pethokoukis passes on a couple stories about our baby lull. These are the sorts of things that make me kind of bullish on immigration, but as Jonathan Last points out that may only get us so far.

Next time you think you see a Google Map car, it might not be a Google Map car.

To be fair, I’m sure it was coming straight for him.

Richard Grant looks at the real history of the Free State of Jones.

Robert Greene II argues that any political revolution is going to need the South.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.05.17.T}( 40 )

This… sigh. I do wish that we had a fair and egalitarian way of handling the name thing. My own preference remains for hyphenated household names, he keeps his last name and she keeps hers and names are passed down by gender (by default, but open to mutual agreement).

I used to take pride in being a psychopath, apparently. On the other hand, if a particular friend hadn’t stayed friends with a particular ex, I never would have met my wife.

Alyssa Rosenberg’s piece about free speech and smoking in movies is quite good. I do agree that it would be better if we could show less smoking, like I think it would be better if there were other things we showed less of, but the lawsuit needs to be strangled in its crib. {Yes, I’m aware the lawsuit is about movie ratings and not content per se. Even so.}

Mother Jones has a good couple of pieces on the history of bathroom freakouts.

Benjamin Morris looks at the internationalization of Sumo Wrestling.

Idaho’s decision to drop down from FBS to FCS football was not surprising. The report that lead them to that conclusion is fascinating. I especially find interesting that a variation of my idea for the WAC was sort of taken seriously (sans NDSU/SDSU, plus NAU).

I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time. This, more than anything, is what is likely to make regular paperbacks obsolete.

Wait, isn’t this how the Book of Mormon came to be? First the GPS and now this?

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.16.M}( 115 )

There may be a whole lot of nudity at the RNC this time around.

The feud between reformed Southern Avenger Jack Hunter and Milo Yiannopoulos is quite interesting, in a detached sort of way. Jack first, Milo second, Jack third. Jack’s story is pretty interesting. Milo’s says quite a bit about Breitbart (though so does the fact that they ran the second Jack piece).

Joe Biden would like us to know that he would have been a great president. It’s not clear that he would have escaped the muck that has seemed to affect all of our most major presidential candidates this year, but he’s certainly looking better to me than the two options we are almost certain to have.

Maybe it’s a conspiracy that conspiracies are often so bad.

An anonymous congressman dishes the dirt, possibly stripping us of whatever earnestness we have on the state of congress. Yes, I will be buying this book. I hope that he uses fictitious states to preserve his anonymity!

Perhaps taking a page from the Daily Kos, The Free Republic is taking no guff from #NeverTrumpers.

Trepidation in Texas for Trump. {More}

An alternative look at filters and bubbles.

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Linky Friday #166: Everything Is Awful( 197 )


Tokyo photo

Image by Moyan_Brenn

[A1] It’s not easy being a Japanese woman in politics.

[A2] Tokyo has a lot of people.

[A3] Its capital was once considered by North Koreans to be the perfect place, but even by that shady metric, Pyongyang isn’t what it used to be.

[A4] We associate ghost towns with China, but apparently Singapore is not immune. It’s weird to me that there is even room for these places?

[A5] Japan’s north-south divide. Also, Kansai Vs. Kanto.


prom photo

Image by lm3505

[E1] I’m still not sold on the causation, but there are more indications that the University of Missouri’s enrollment problems are related to the protests. That it effects out-of-state enrollment does make sense, though the protests also strike me as an easy reason given even if not entirely accurate.

[E2] Per The Economist, where you study matters less than what you study. It seems noteworthy that the “where” question is important for Arts/Humanities and not for STEM.

[E3] This sounds like it was always pretty inevitable. I remain proud that we ate prom dinner from Wendy’s at the Park. It was, however, a four-course meal!

[E4] Some of my rightier friends are getting a kick out of the article on the plight of the college Hillary supporter. Truth be told, I didn’t have it as bad as some did. The left was divided between Gore types and Nader types, the PC of the 80’s/90’s had mostly passed, and the current thing wasn’t a thing yet.

[E5] From Aaron David, Noah Feldman writes an interesting piece on an issue at West Point where some female cadets are accused of engaging in inappropriate politics.


psychedelic photo

Image by new 1lluminati

[H1] Researchers look at direct and indirect pregnancy-related deaths in Mexico. Also, post-partem smoking relapsing.

[H2] Far Out & Follow The Light: How psychedelics could change the way we die.

[H3] I, for one, look forward to having bottles of concentrated nicotine in the house with small children. Meanwhile, Halo has been pretty laid back about the coming FDA regs, but now that they’re out, they’re going to court. Michael Siegel has the rundown of their case. The First Amendment argument is interesting, but comparatively unimportant.

[H4] This map looks like I would expect it to, with the Northeast ahead of the curve because it’s the northeast and they’ll regulate anything, and Appalachia because they have some of the most pressing problems.

[H5] The EPA temporarily debunked claims that weedkillers were causing cancer, before it was quickly retracted.

[H6] From Christopher Carr: At the end of the day, we’re helping people who wouldn’t have insurance otherwise; nevertheless, I’m not surprised the ACA is turning into an incompetent bureaucratic mess just like the rest of the government


mansion photo

Image by TheTurducken

[M1] John Tamny is not such a big fan of guaranteed income, nor is Allison Schrager.

[M2] Why do CEO’s make so much money? A CEO explains. Also, being rich is the worst, according to rich people.

[M3] Roland Dodds calls this Jacobin piece a must-read for people interested in Socialism, and Chris likes the idea of people understanding what he’s talking about when he talks of participatory economics.

[M4] It’s easier to live with less when you have more.

[M5] Neal Gabler wonders how we got to the point where the middle class cannot manage its financial solvency, and of course whose fault that is.


cubicles photo

Image by Roshan Vyas

[W1] You have a right to noticeably hate your job and/or your coworkers.

[W2] Benedict Evans writes of the grand office transition of cubicles and spreadsheet cells.

[W3] Tim Worstall argues that part-time workers in Britain – and more generally – are not going to waste. Maybe, but if society is having to subsidize them them, doesn’t that represent a contribution limited to the degree that it’s a societal loss? (Not sure what to do about that, but it’s a worthwhile question.)

[W4] Research indicates that you should be willing to take a pay cut to work under the right manager. For employers, it may mean hiring the right managers means you can pay your peons less!

[W5] Who needs a $15 minimum wage when you can have a $28/hr minimum wage?


exploding planet photo

Image by gvgoebel

[P1] Exactly how much does it actually cost Apple to run iTunes? Maybe it’s a lot and maybe Wang is right that they’ll get out of the downloading business, but conflating iTunes with “music downloads” is a bit of a stretch.

[P2] Dylan Matthews is less than impressed with tiny houses. This strikes me primarily as making the perfect the enemy of the good.

[P3] Forget Google Goggles, bring this on.

[P4] The oceans are becoming oxygen-deprived and the Great Barrier Reef is dying and everything is awful.

[P5] The good news, however is that another day, another few potentially habitable planets.

Feature Image by minicooper93402

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Morning Ed: Europe {2016.05.12.Th}( 112 )

I’d have gone with Chechland or Czechlands.

I once had a(n IT!) job that was so miserably boring that we would draw straws to see who got to sweep the floors, so while I don’t approve of this lawsuit I can sort of understand the trauma.

So this is the stuff of a pretty silly sitcom plot: Ten years ago, a taxi driver drove to a TV network for an IT job and ended up on the air as someone else entirely.

You’d think that the Russians would be a bit more excited about the prospect of Trump. A kindred spirit! (Or is that unfair to Putin?)

Dave Cameron wants Britain to achieve an ownership society, but what if no one can afford it?

Respect the elves.

Tom Rogan looks at the Tory political implications of the British class system.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.05.11.W}( 152 )

So it’s her fault! Thanks a lot, lady.

Is it okay to end a friendship over Trump support? An awful lot depends on the particulars, I think.

It was Amanda Byrnes that really broke me on the subject of celebrity rubbernecking. I really wish Johnny Manziel had stayed in College Station an extra year. It would have been another year of fun.

Country music is experiencing some boom time with snake people and Hispanics, apparently. I’d be more excited about this if the state of country music were different.

How many of us will ever forget the music to Super Mario Bros? Well, here’s the story behind it. When Lain was tiny, I would actually play the scores to Mario and Zelda for her. She got a real kick out of it.

The art of naming your fictional characters. Before it became my pseudonym, Will Truman was originally a possible name for a fictional character in something I wrote.

Over at Hit Coffee I wrote about neckbeards, tuxedos, and slumming it.

So which of these posters should we turn in to the official Ordinary Times logo?

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.10.T}( 185 )

After Ted Cruz dropped out, the Libertarian Party got googled. A lot.

That Civis Analytics correctly identified Trump as the nominee early on, they were impressively able to identify why Trump’s coalition – unlike Carson’s and the Cains’ of yesteryear – was likely to endure.

Whew. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says that keeping it in the ground is not really an option.

Regardless of the merits of torture, one thing that should be kept in mind is that it’s actually not unpopular. Obama and Clinton should do what they believe is right, but the latter should consider that may not be the best avenue of attack against Trump.

Though compared to Hitler and Wallace, there could be a better (if more obscure) historical analogue to Trump. The bad news is that it wasn’t over when she lost.

In a conversation about Paul Ryan’s reticence to support Trump, CK pointed me to a 2012 piece of his where he intersected with the Speaker.

Michael Kinsley makes the case for Citizens United. I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago that reminded me of my lonely position on the issue: Money in politics is a huge problem, and also money is speech.

A lot of people who expressed a number of reservations about Trump have reversed course since he won the nomination. At Hit Coffee, I explain why only Trump can save us.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.05.09.M}( 57 )

Is it really so shocking that refugees might prefer to live with family? I mean, maybe that can’t or shouldn’t be accommodating, but it seems kind of reasonable.

As Australia’s Prime Minister looks to release the new budget, the debt pile grows.

The Canadians, from the point of view of the stunned children.

Borderless worlds are always going to play better with some audiences over others.

Lyman Stone explains that yes, progressive taxes would drive Illinoisans away. With some caveats, though.

Via Burt, the cultural potential of Italo Disco.

Confusion and dismay as educated Irish voted for their rightwing icon.

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Morning Ed: Creatures {2016.05.08.Su}( 4 )

Let’s see, no backbone and a sense of impending doom. I think the successor to the GOP has found its new mascot! The Democrats can have this one, which is special and glows.

Weasel 1, Hadron Collider 0.

While dogs are so awesome, do we really want to know what our cats are saying to us? That seems like a recipe for disappointment.

Australia is home to all sorts of very interesting creatures. Also, too many carp.

Dissecting a Komodo Dragon.

Humans are responsible for a lot of cougar deaths, but they’re re-establishing in middle America.

If you’re looking for a way to get rid of ants, you can’t get rid of them by getting rid of gravity.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.05.04.Th}( 98 )

Turn is one of those TV shows I really need to watch. It was recommended pretty strongly by Revolutions Podcast guy.

Yeah, and I’m also totally going to watch the new Twin Peaks. It would be so awesome if Chris Isaak came out of nowhere with no explanation and resumed the Chester Desmond character.

James Ovenden on the hopes, fears, and weirdness of AI-driven sex.

This is so stupid, and yet so cool.

Johannes Haushofer got some publicity for his CV of failures, the degree programs and academic positions he was rejected for. It’s meant to inspire a keep-at-it attitude. Anna Peak has a more dour one.

I tend to be sympathetic to second-tier schools that want to hold on to their athletics programs, but Eastern Michigan is one of the few I simply can’t find much justification for. Their senate faculty agrees.

CNN seems like it’s on the upswing.


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Morning Ed: United States {2016.05.04.W}( 237 )

nydn-trumpCanadian Colby Cosh looks at a history of acrimony between parties and their nominees. From the blissfully innocent days of yore: Is Mitt Romney the Most Unpopular Likely Presidential Nominee Ever?

I want to swim in this pool more than I have ever wanted to swim in any pool in my entire life. And I have a mild fear of heights!

Paula Garrett writes of the inner conflict within The Southern LGBTQ Experience, and Andrea Grimes says that red states need solidarity and not boycotts.

This reminded me of how surprised I was that they didn’t change the name of House Slytherin to House Snape or House Dumbledore or something.

Are we willing to forgive ex-Enron executive Andy Fastow?

Politicalsock says ideology is dead and this is the dawning of President Comacho.

This is heartening: Most Americans of both parties support felon voting rights. I was way out on left field on this a little over a decade ago. I assume soon I will be a racist knuckledragger for not supporting their right to vote while in prison.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.03.T}( 40 )

The North Carolina GOP may not be able to count on gerrymandering to help them as much after the next round of redistricting.

TA Frank explains how the Democrats are becoming the party of the 1% and Rod Dreher has more on Democrats as has more.

My wife has some very, very strong opinions on Meaningful Use. I… can’t remember the last time she went on about something uninterrupted for half-an-hour.

Zack Stanton leaked the memos that took town Congressman Mark Foley and discusses his decision to do so in light of Dennis Hastert. (The Foley scandal was a big deal, but I don’t think it can actually be said to have cost the GOP their congressional majorities.)

Seth Masket makes a point that should sound familiar about how Trump represents the problem when parties defer too much to the people. There are dangers of going too far in either direction.

Michael Brendan Dougherty explains why Cruz was such a bum #NeverTrump candidate.

Jay Cost tweet-rants about how little #NeverTrump has to do with ideology.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.05.02.M}( 65 )

We are not just a nation of immigrants that came, but also those who stayed.

Andrew Gelmen looks at the perplexing question of why Africa is so poor.

It was difficult enough for Germany, but how in the world would Korea every unify?

Evariste Bagambiki looks at attempts to help the Rwandans use compost to save themselves from hunger.

Venezuelans may be surprised about their rolling blackouts, but maybe they should celebrate their new two day workweek and remember that, according to Linda Poon it was the result of their economic success.

Is the president of Mexico doing a photoshop tour?

I can understand the conservative argument for why Spain might be better off without a government, but as Josh Barro pointed out Belgium seemed fine without one until it didn’t.

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Linky Friday #164: eSolar( 131 )


college dorm room photo

Image by Aine D

[Ed1] Robert Pondiscio explains the limits of testing when it comes to reading.

[Ed2] The sex life of the college crowd is not as dramatic as we are lead to believe.

[Ed3] The University of Chicago has reformed their speech codes, much to the satisfaction of FIRE.

[Ed4] So, if it pans out, what do we do with the knowledge that a college education is a worthwhile investment for the kids of the wealthy but not the kids of the poor?

[Ed5] Something that cuts against arguments right and left, Freddie points out that most PhD’s are doing pretty well, actually.

Innovative Housing:

domed house photo

Image by pengo-au

[H1] I’ll bet you wanted to read about a floating, solar-powered house.

[H2] At some point, should Google just consider barracks?

[H3] Trumwill being Trumwill, I’m kind of jazzed at the prospect of floating houses.

[H4] A list of odd and really interesting looking houses? You know I can’t resist. The crashed UFO or the toilet are the weirdest. The skycabin is the coolest. (These houses, on the other hand, seem like they’re trying too hard.)

[H5] The case for domed housing.


[Eu1] In one sense, it’s not clear that this is any different than “roughing it” by going camping. Wait… I’m not big on camping either. So really, it’s just kind of weird.

[Eu2] The politics of history, Polish edition.

[Eu3] It’s a good thing that Ordinary Times is not housed in Estonia, on the whole I think there’s more to like about President Toomas Henrik than to dislike.

[Eu4] Europeans ponder the question of why Europe doesn’t have a comparable tech industry. I’m just old enough to remember when phones were used by a certain kind of lefty as indicative of how Americans are not as great and innovative as we think we are.

[Eu5] Dawn Foster argues that there is a cold wind in Cameron’s Britain against the homeless and poor.


electric car photo

Image by moonlightbulb

[T1] Well this is neat: A solar plane made its way across the Atlantic. It took three days, but progress!

[T2] We think of flying as having been normalized in the west, but it’s still the province of the elite. I remember back before airline deregulation and before Dad got a few raises and we drove halfway across the country to visit family. It’s weird to consider that people still do that.

[T3] If you’re not careful, your otherwise helpful car may drop the dime on you.

[T4] The history of ejection seats.

[T5] Bjorn Lomborg wishes that we wouldn’t put so much stock in electric cars, while David Roberts explains the environmental benefits of right-sizing ability of self-driving electric cars.


solar farm photo

Image by kevin dooley

[En1] Nuclear fusion! Nuclear fusion!!

[En2] Ramez Naam argues that between the falling cost of solar, increased reliability of wind, and cheaper storage, renewables are going to go very far.

[En3] Here’s an in-depth look at US carbon dioxide emissions, and what may or may not be driving the changes, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

[En4] Carbon dioxide emissions may be making forests more resilient?

[En5] Vox has some interesting energy maps!

[En6] In a conversation at Hit Coffee between Michael Cain and myself, Oscar Gordon introduced an article from the Economist about nuclear power at sea.


Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

[S1] Good news! Colonizing the moon may be easier than expected! Andrew Liptak looks at Apollo 17 and why we never went back to the moon.

[S2] James Poulos argues that Silicon Valley and the Pentagon should team up to colonize space.

[S3] Ethan Siegel looks at what would be required to colonize Mars. Once built, Samuel Hammond and Stationary Waves discuss how we should handle interplanetary trade between Earth and Mars (sort of).

[S4] How will international law influence a civil society in space? This space lawyer is so glad you asked. But will they prosecute space pirates?

[S5] The official NASA Tumblr account looks at 10 Intriguing Worlds Beyond Our Solar System. Relatedly, last year we discovered the best chance of life.

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Morning Ed: Money {2016.04.28.Th}( 55 )

Silicon Valley may be king, but tech startup money is starting to get around.

If you’re starting a restaurant, it’s important to have a niche.

As others have pointed out, this arrangement seems to represent some peculiar tax issues. How do you put it in a W2? Do you tax by wholesale or retail value?

Not that I am presently in the market, but this is kind of encouraging.

According to a study, the gains of absolute economic growth can be psychologically canceled out by unequal distribution.

Getty is taking Google to European court over its image previews. I wonder if this is at all related to Google’s increasing helpfulness in finding rights-free images?

Joel Kotkin looks at where the global millionaires are moving.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.04.27.W}( 143 )

While most of the information we have on transgendered children is pretty depressing, outcomes are helped a lot by supportive parents.

Most resplendent.

Frank Marcopolos says that audiobooks and “earbud content” are only getting started. Similarly, Denise Drespling gives 9 benefits of audiobooks.

Let us join in the unity of our disdain for Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The average Millennial is not exactly what you would expect from reading the New York Times (or, for that matter, The Atlantic).

Some weirdos thought that color would. How dumb. It’s not like color was 3D movies, which really are going to destroy film.

How bad are things? Scott Alexander reported that they are, in fact, worse than you think.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.04.26.T}( 114 )

Hughey Newsome says that Ben Carson could have been a positive force for black Republicans, but he blew it. Also, Carson on Tubman.

Just a reminder: Donald Trump is the frontrunner, but he’s the weakest frontrunner in the modern era. Hopefully he doesn’t pick up steam after rolling the northeast, and I’m wrong about his performance in some of those western states.

I’m not especially bothered by different states doing it differently, and some states having primaries while others have caucuses while others do different things entirely, but West Virginia’s system is pretty messed up.

Oh, thank goodness. For a second there, I’d thought that the Republican primary had spiraled out of control.

Tom Goodenough says that Obama’s opposition to Brexit may matter. Do the cool kids in Britain still think Obama is tops, or have they too become smitten with the new Canadian Prime Minister?

Eugene Puryear makes the socialist case against Bernie Sanders. Not enough nationalization, it seems. Andrew Lewis and Payul Djupe think we’re too religious to embrace socialism anyway.

From Murali: Bernie sanders and Trump are more alike than initially apparent.

RIP, Friends of Abe.

From Aaron David: I don’t know weather to laugh or cry at this

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Morning Ed: World {2016.04.25.M}( 25 )

During the recent unrest in Mali, a librarian saved Timbuktu’s history.

There is a pretty major suicide problem in Canada’s First Nations.

Uber found an interesting ally in the Travis County Sheriff’s office, on account of what they believe it does for the prevention of drunk driving.

I’ve linkied it before, but here’s another article involving Portland’s housing and growth problems.

Some Chinese investors just bought a ranch the size of Ireland. My parents were Down Under earlier this year, and the “Asian Invasion” and the domestic response to it are causing quite a bit of consternation.

Everyone needs a hobby, and the oldest man in Australia has a pretty awesome hobby.

On the one hand, having tiers of citizenship may well make allowing more immigrants in easier. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like an enduring solution and is rife with problems. For whatever reason, I respond to this the same way some people respond to “regional visas” even though the arguments are kind of similar.

There is more encapsulated in this article about megacities than I think even the author may realize. It is, in essence, a latent confirmation of a vague paranoia about globalism, transnationalism, and those left behind.

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Morning Ed: Shakespeare {2016.04.24.Su}( 18 )

Chris Bryant and Daniel Hannan debate what Shakespeare would have thought of Brexit.

Andrew Dickson reports on the Shakespeare Empire, absconded by capitalists and imperialists around the world. (Seriously, interesting article!)

Cervantes vs Shakespeare, Spain vs Britain, and a case study in national art perspectives.

If Shakespeare had acknowledgements in his works.

LD Burnett writes on the capitalization (or non-capitalization) of “black.” (Okay, saying this one is about Shakespeare is a stretch, but that title!)

In 2011, former Leaguer Alex Knapp explained that Shakespeare was actually written by… William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare died today

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Linky Friday #163: Home Ec( 119 )


Image by Jasen Miller

Image by Jasen Miller

[F1] As a reminder, if you’re cautious about marrying someone, you ought to be cautious about cohabitation, too.

[F2] Sometimes differences between couples compliment one another nicely, but not when it comes to impulsivity. Fortunately for the Himmelreich-Truman household, we’re both fuddy-duddies.

[F3] Christina Cauterucci looks at the relationship between child care costs and women opting out. One argument is for free day care (which I am more amenable to than you might think), though another is a low-ish level of regulation that makes having more options beneficial (which I am, as one might guess, very amenable to). Whatever the case, it’s not expensive because of how much the childcare workers are being paid.

[F4] Marryin’ cousins make for more babies.

[F5] Here’s an interesting little tool where you can find out which occupations marry which occupations.


socialism photo

Image by pfig

[Ec1] The perils of donating peanuts. Think of us like Walmart, and Haitian farmers like Cousin Joe’s Hardware Store. Except free.

[Ec2] Utpal M. Dholakia explains the limits of nudging.

[Ec3] Yahoo had better hope that Verizon buys it up, because the alternative is just too embarrassing.

[Ec4] This kind of bums me out, because Alaskan Socialism is Socialism I can believe in!

[Ec5] Kids’ movies may assist inequality by making bring poor happy and palatable.


[H1] I didn’t realize that Fox’s Neil Cavuto had Multiple Sclerosis. At LinkedIn he talks about how he manages it with his job.

[H2] A new study finds that hand-dryers give white blood cells a good work out and make them muscular and strong, while paper towels will let their muscles atrophy as they get lethargic. So I strongly recommend that public restrooms please use hand-dryers.

[H3] Maybe soda bans and taxes aren’t going to make everybody lose weight.

[H4] Should we fix our broken hearts and inappropriate desires with pharmaceuticals?

[H5] In the UK, young people are experimenting with ecigarettes, but non-smokers aren’t regularly using, and according to a survey in the US, American teen users are avoiding nicotine. (Yeah, I’m a bit skeptical on the latter one, but hopeful!)


university of phoenix photo

Image by RTMUP

[Ed1] The good news is that there are some teaching jobs in paradise that pay $50,000 a year. The bad news is that Hawaii is expensive.

[Ed2] The intersection between church and daycare regulation is… tricky.

[Ed3] First they came for the creationists, then the gun rights advocates

[Ed4] Sigal Alon argues that diversity destroyed affirmative action at The Nation.

[Ed5] Michael Fitzgerald was a for-profit college inspector, and told all.


vancouver photo

Image by MagnusL3D

[C1] I did not know that New York City had a mole population.

[C2] This Lyman Stone piece on the durability of the suburbs and exurbs is pretty knock-out crazy good, and I simply cannot recommend it enough. I’m especially smitten with his “parachutes and helicopters” urban land-use model.

[C3] As Reihan Salam pointed out (on Twitter), Chicago’s plans to upzone may help with its pension problem.

[C4] Whether a wealthy city or a poor one, California is an awful place to save money. Texahoma, on the other hand….

[C5] James Lileks watched a movie about the renovation of Oklahoma City and shares his observations. I’m not married to the notion of keeping every historic building up in perpetuity, but when it comes to smaller cities, oldtowns are so often the coolest part! It seems especially the part you’d be interested in preserving if you weren’t a city that otherwise had a good marketing angle. Like Oklahoma City.

[C6] Wendell Cox looks at mid-sized metropolitan areas in the United States.


japanese train photo

Image by ~MVI~ (warped)

[A1] China has only one undammed river left, and it looks like it might stay that way.

[A2] Kris Hartley writes of the potential of rural industrialization in China.

[A3] There was a train line in Japan that continues to run to deliver one high school student to and from school. Then after graduation it stopped.

[A4] It’s a long stereotype that few people believe anymore, but the stereotype is still there. Noah Smith puts to rest the notion that Japan isn’t innovative.

[A5] There is an island off India – that is technically a part of India – where the inhabitants will apparently try to kill anybody who enters.

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Morning Ed: Europe {2016.04.21.Th}( 26 )

Well, here’s some depressing polling on Muslims in Britain. Great response from British Muslims, though.

Chantal Mouffe explains the consensus of the centre and how Europe has entered a post-political age, and Ian Begg asks if the welfare state of Europe is still worth having.

Let’s call it Havelland.

Iain Martin thinks Corbyn’s upgrading his PMQ game, George Greenwood explained what Labour can learn from the Corbyn experiment, while James Clark says David Cameron will win the class war.

The British Polling Council does a post-mortem on what went wrong with the UK election of 2015. No Shy Tory effect! Turnout models not bad, no provable herding. And so the problem was… {click the link!}

The New York Times explains why the EU is breaking down.

In an article about hipster Neo-Nazis, an interesting factlet that runs contrary to a lot of narratives: Far-right support in Germany is half of what it was ten years ago. Though, to be fair, I remember of hearing about a lot of problems twenty years ago, and I was only barely politically aware.

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Morning Ed: Government {2016.04.20.W}( 83 )

In response to a previously linkied piece by Eli Lake on the French police state, Todd Seavey argues that domestic and foreign force cannot be so easily separated.

USA Today’s editorial board is not exactly a friend to gun people, but they very astutely recognize the problems with the Sandy Hook lawsuit.

Turns out, maybe the revolving door because government in finance is actually assisted and accelerated by strict rules.

According to Mary Nugent and Mona Lena Krook, binders full of women is good policy with minimal downside.

It appears attempts to hook ruralia up with broadband were evidently a spectacular failure.

The little cabinet department that could, and did, and almost never found reason to stop doing anything.

Humans are intellectually ill-equipped for democracy, says science.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.04.19.T}( 161 )

This surprises me not: A lot of Republicans are planning to take a pass on going to the convention this year. A lot of hair needs washing, I guess.

The Observer’s Trump endorsement is kind of… weird? Like that picture. Is this serious, a joke, or serious in a way that can be claimed to be a joke later? I’m not positive what an earnest Trump endorsement might look like, though.

Who’s not buying what Bernie Sanders is selling? Soviet refugees, that’s who. Many are, unfortunately, buying what Trump is selling.

Ari Armstrong writes from the trenches of the Colorado assemblies and explains that all in all it was pretty fair, and Soopermexican explains that that the guy who burned his GOP registration card was really burned by Trump.

The biggest problem with #NeverTrump remains Ted Cruz. The biggest problem with #LoseWithCruz remains Donald Trump.

Andrew Stiles’s piece on the North Carolina boycotts is pretty good. I put down a few related thoughts over at Hit Coffee. It’s been interesting watching the body politick, left and right, come to terms with the extent to which Corporate America has become a friend to the left.

Tim Sandefur contemplates the politics of Star Trek.

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Morning Ed: Education {2016.04.18.M}( 138 )

Buyer’s Remorse? More than a third of millennials say they wouldn’t have attended college if they’d known the costs in advance. Is there an argument for a five-year price lock-in?

Trumpism goes full circle and makes its way into grade school classrooms.

I’m still not very convinced of the connection to the protests, but the University of Missouri is struggling.

According to a study looking at Indonesia, doubling teacher pay helps teacher morale and job satisfaction, but doesn’t raise scores. On the other hand, 2-3 years isn’t a whole lot of lead time.

St Mary’s University takes a pretty cutthroat (or bunny-shooting) attitude towards struggling students, to bolster their retention rate.

According to an analysis out of Canada, there is, alas, no substitute for live lectures in college.

Noah Smith argues that if you’re getting a PhD, go with economics.

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Linky Friday #162: Behind Every Fortune…( 56 )


walmart photo

Image by JeepersMedia

[B1] In case you were wondering what Brandon Eich has been up to, he’s battling it out with online publishers over his new browser. This reminds me a bit of when TV networks tried to superimpose their own advertising over stadium and billboard advertising in sporting events.

[B2] I’ve previously mentioned articles I’ve read suggesting that Silicon Valley won out as tech hub due to looser non-compete enforcement. Timothy Lee explains further.

[B3] I don’t think this is how population distribution works. (Or, for that matter, anti-discrimination law?)

[B4] Cracking a profit! Cracked just got sold for a mint.

[B5] Walmart coming to a town can be a glorious event. When it leaves, though, it hurts.


pirate artwork photo

Image by ~Sincere Stock~

[Co1] When copyright, cleverness, craft brew, and culture clash. Still, it’s good to know that there are culinary limits to the power of intellectual property law. (This one may have come from Burt Likko)

[Co2] Book piracy was a thing in the 16th century, and it was only squelched through accommodation.

[Co3] Here’s an in-depth breakdown at how piracy affected a particularly video game.

[Co4] This doesn’t quite make the point the author wants it to – we’re not yet at the point where copyright extends for centuries or that you can’t use real historical figures – but it’s still fair to point out how lapsed copyright is a public good.


Image by biloud43

Image by biloud43

[Cr1] The Department of Defense is worried about hackers in the commissary. (Which kind of sounds like the name of a bad novel.)

[Cr2] Back home, there is a term for this: Alcohol Abuse.

[Cr3] Marine Major Mark Thompson (no relation!) believes – credibly – that his military trial for rape was badly flawed. He’s fighting it hard. There’s only one problem

[Cr4] Oops.

[Cr5] Would it be a plus or a minus if cops could shut down your self-driving car?

[Cr6] Leonid Bershidsky looks at Swedish and German approaches to prostitution. I’m somewhat partial to the Swedish model. That the German model created trafficking problems (and other degeneracy) doesn’t compel me to reconsider.


[L1] Unlike congressional aides, I actually think union exemptions to minimum wage have a defensible rationale, but I can understand the resentment here.

[L2] A new study shows that being a smoker is a cause, rather than merely an effect, of shafty treatment from potential employers. I was pretty meticulous about not showing any signs of being a smoker on any job interview.

[L3] Join the resistance, comrade! Boycott! Sabotage! A movement of Peter Gibbonses. Meanwhile, companies that do foster employee loyalty may be fostering unethical behavior.

[L4] In Canada, three-quarters of employers were breaking labor law in a recent sweep.

[L5] Barbara McClay hates tipping. PEG dissents.


global warming photo

Image by TijsB

[R1] Are our wind energy tax credits coming to an end?

[R2] The UK is moving closer to mini-nuclear.

[R3] Bren Smith says that seas will save us! Well, more specifically, ocean farming.

[R4] Japan may become a “paradise for renewables” with some of its new energy rules.

[R5] Attention Michael Cain! As coastal cities become endangered, Oregon’s attempts to hold the US government accountable for climate change are moving forward, as a judge declined to dismiss a lawsuit.

[R6] Meanwhile, global warming may be putting coastal cities at risk earlier than anticipated, in addition to changing the tilt of the planet?


artificial intelligence photo

Image by A Health Blog

[T1] The self-driving trucks are here! The self-driving trucks are here!

[T2] I don’t think the problem is that we’re too reliant on GPS, but rather that they are not sufficiently accurate that we cannot be completely reliant on them.

[T3] Everybody’s raiding Kansas! Also while we don’t know where the unmatched socks end up, lost phones end up in Atlanta.

[T4] Wow! Infertile mice have been made fertile with 3D-printed ovaries.

[T5] Why do we make AI entities female?

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