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Linky Friday: Tech Edition( 115 )

by Mad Rocket Scientist

Will is unable to do a Linky Friday this week, so he asked me to fill in.  Since I have an active interest in many areas of science and technology, I’ve decided to bore you all with all the things that interest me.  So here goes!


[S1] Sometimes, our telescopes are pointed at the right spot in the sky & we get to witness something awesome! (More information)

[S2] If we ever get Warp Drive figured out, this might be what we travel to the stars in.

[S3] Thanks to 3D Printers and improved understanding of materials, saying that your home in space has good bones might be more apropos than you realize! (This is the future of structural materials, no bones about it; which leads us into the next section)


[M1] I’ve seen other demonstrations of tape that uses the properties of insect feet, but this is the first time I’ve seen it done with Gecko feet.  And self cleaning to boot!  I wonder how long before fabric or cellophane backed glue strips are a novelty of the past.  Hell, velcro will be a thing of the past.  Possibly even zippers.  It’s a brave new world!

[M2] Using a tree branch as a water filter.  Seems MIT has some former Eagle Scouts on staff.

[M3] All sorts of materials get funky at or about Absolute Zero.  Here’s another one.  If cooling things down to that point wasn’t such a pain, our world would be a much more interesting place.

[M4] Programmable magnets!  Can I get a hover car now?

[M5] Tough Gel!  Possible cartilage replacement (seeing as how I have a knee in desperate need of new cartilage, this caught my interest), among other applications.  Very cool!

[M6] A great mystery has been solved!  We finally know how Owen and Beru were able to get water out the desert air.  Alternatively, desalination on a chip.

[M7] Turning sunlight into steam with a sponge.  Those MIT folks are kind of smart!

Transportation & Robotics:

[TR1] Homemade Robot muscles!

[TR2] Robots that print buildings.  But can they be Unionized?

[TR3] A new kind of reciprocating engine?  This is not the first alternative to the inline, V, or boxer arrangements I’ve seen, but it is one of the more fun ones to watch.

[TR4] This is the obvious next step before we have driverless cars.  Technologically, it’s cool.  But I do worry about the privacy/tracking aspects of it when it comes to overzealous law enforcement & the NSA.

[TR5] This could have also gone into materials or energy, but since it’s all about Solar Roadways, I’m putting it here.  In my professional opinion, this is never going to happen.  Not as roadways, anyway.  If you want a fuller examination as to why this is probably a waste of time & money, ask me in the comments.

[TR6] Finally, so we can transition to the next section, why almost every speed limit you probably disobey is too low (so you can feel morally superior as you sign that ticket).  When I worked for Civil Engineer, this was often a topic of discussion among the traffic engineers, who usually advocated for designing roads to encourage slower speeds, rather than trying to arbitrarily set a number & hope people obey it.

[TR7]  This is how to get down off a mountain!

Political, Legal, Military:

[PLM1] We had this discussion last week a bit in the comments, but part of the bloated military budget is for crap the military doesn’t want, but for politics.

[PLM2] One weapon I’m certainly glad we never built!

[PLM3] Things that make you go, hrmmmm.  The Media & wrongful convictions.  This is one topic Balko hits on from time to time, usually as it relates to the way police & prosecutors will gleefully release the name(s) of suspects to the press if it serves their purposes, while vigorously protecting officer & lawyer privacy; and at the same time, the media just goes ahead & publishes those names with either nary a critical thought regarding the game the police may be playing, or active involvement in said game.

[PLM4]  An interview with Dr. Sydney Brenner, a contemporary of Sanger, Watson, and Crick, and one of the people who was at the bleeding edge of understanding DNA.  This is all kinds of fascinating & I am still digesting it all.  One of my favorite quotes: Because I think ignorance in science is very important. If you’re like me and you know too much you can’t try new things.

[PLM5] From Will Truman: Three cheers for Jolly Ole, which has announced that it will be using ODF document standards in lieu of Microsoft’s docx. As a LibreOffice/OpenOffice user, I’m thrilled. In part because I hope this moves the needle for GoogleDocs support for the format. I have written more here.


[E1] I’ve said this before, vertical wind turbines (VAWT) are superior to the big horizontal ones.  At least, they are when you put them in an array.

[E2] Another idea to pull power from the ocean.

[E3] An artificial leaf to produce solar power.  Well, they split the water molecule with solar power.  Still pretty cool.

[E4] The touch, the feel, the fabric in your battery?  We shall see…

[E5] Paging Michael Cain.  Michael Cain, will you please take a moment to comment on this

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Linky Friday #77( 62 )

OPC Weathers f and bCanadiana

[C1] Before Carl Weathers was Apollo Creed, he was a B.C. Lion. Better yet, before Dwayne Johnson was The Rock (before he was Dwayne Johnson again), he was a Sunshine Boy in Calgary.

[C2] Don Butler offers a look into the life of troubled Senator Mike Duffy. Once a trusted journalist, Duffy was recently charged with 31 felonies. Then we learn that he might have a Peruvian love child. Duffy has now contacted the woman. And you thought American Senate scandals were interesting.

Oh, and then there’s this.

[C3] This video is from the franchise home opener for Ottawa’s new football team, the RedBlacks. It features (from left to right: the league commissioner, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ottawa football legend Russ Jackson). There are three great things about it: (1) The Prime Minister is just sitting in the stands with everyone else. (2) The Prime Minister knows to get out of the way of a fan with a beer. (3) The fan with the beer walks right past the Prime Minister, but shakes hands with Russ Jackson.

[C4] How a Canadian tree-planting ceremony may have contributed to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

[C5] Former Ontario Premier (and former Federal Liberal leader) Bob Rae tells of his experience as a passenger on a plane targeted by terrorists.

[C6] Does Ottawa need a bear patrol? Maybe?


[A1] From Saul DeGraw: The U.S. is no longer an attractive place to open stores.

[A2] The New Yorker is opening up their archives for the summer, so why not read Truman Capote’s 1957 profile of Marlon Brando?

[A3] What did Warren G. Harding mean when he said he wanted to take you to “Mount Jerry”?

[A4] The politics of the foul ball.


[N1] Erik gets called out by a sketchy video game producer. Erik has his say. Erik Wins.

[N2] Russell admits to being wrong on the internet! (Obligatory.)

[N3] The Russell Saunders Coupling Scheme.

[N4] Rose writes about Living With Disability in the Dark Ages.

[N5] Kyle eschews his usual pomo stance to look at the interpretation of sexuality by Christian traditionalists.

[N6] Conor (and three non-Conors) muse on the future of education.

[N7] I wrote about the prospects of a new urban village that’s being developed in my neighbourhood.

[N8] Alex Knapp talks about the proven superiority of passive resistance.

[N9] Not everyone might remember this, but Barrett Brown used to write here. He’s now in jail. While living as a guest of federal law enforcement, Barrett is publishing a diary of sorts in D Magazine, The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail. Here he writes about Henry Kissinger and here the proper way to throw a cup of water at a fan while in solitary confinement. Here’s the entire archive. For all his flaws, the man can write. (Thanks to Jason for pointing this out on twitter.)

Urban Matters

[U1] How small is too small? You might be surprised.

[U2] How big is too big? Zoning regulations might not tell you.

[U3] This one’s for Chris: Austin has a gentrification problem.

[U4] Car-centric development not only damages a neighbourhood’s walkability (and overall safety), it can also result in a giant gaping hole in tax revenue. But, hey, tacos are yummy.

Sports and Pop Culture

[SPC1] Nathan Rabin apologizes for coining Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

[SPC2] Seattle lost its NBA team to Oklahoma City, but there are still people trying to keep basketball alive in the Emerald City.

[SPC3] Mel Hall was a star and a sexual predator. (As an aside, SB Nation’s longform journalism is absolutely fantastic. You’ll read about a lot of sports you’d think you’d never actually care about.)

[SPC4] From Mike SchillingThe story of the losingest coach in the history of sports.

[SPC5] From aaron david: Timeline of sex slang.

Faith, etc.

[F1] From Christopher Carr: Yup.

[F2] Two ordained priests are challenging the Vatican… with their vaginae.

[F3] Methodists battle over gay marriage.

Science and Technology

[ST1] From Christopher Carr: How the Blind See Beauty (video).

[ST2] It’s quite possible that your insecurity is shaping your words. Read this article to learn how to hide your own weaknesses… or prey on the weaknesses of others, I guess.

[ST3] I pretty much never get enough sleep. I’m also in a perpetual state of caffeination, so that might contribute. I’m sure there are ways that I could probably sleep better–and, subsequently, be more productive when awake–but, alas, I’m pretty sure I won’t do any of them.

[ST4] Do it. Everywhere!

[ST5] From Mad Rocket ScientistI Love scienceNutshell:  Magnetic induction lights are old tech (Tesla patent; the
inventor, not the car company), but needed heavy duty controls. They are cool running, bright, warm yellow, and very energy efficient, but not fit for household use thanks to the controls. Thanks to cell phone technology miniaturizing everything, we can now use the tech in household lights.

[ST6] From Mad Rocket ScientistFor the environment. I wonder if there are better ways?  Although we should just spend the money & figure out how to vat grow the meat such that it isn’t gross (except in our heads). Personally, while I enjoy a good steak now & again, most of the beef I eat is ground (hamburgers, or in a sauce/dish).

Government and Politics

[GP1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: First a warrant for a photo of a minor males erect penis, and now this? And people wonder why I’m libertarian.  Even if the initial intent of every law and regulation is right and just, I have no trust in the decency of those with the power to enforce such rules. They will always seek to find every possible advantage granted by the imperfect language of the laws and regulations in the zealous pursuit of whatever ends they imagine.

[GP2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Very rich guy arguing for minimum wage hikes on the basis of improving the economy.  He makes some good points. Perhaps I could poke holes in them, but I have other crap to do. Although I think it’s cute that the revolution will involve pitchforks. Liberals don’t have guns.

[GP3] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Despite this article and the enclosed graphics, I still think we spend too much on our military, but mainly because we have too many units overseas in conflicts that do not directly involve us, not because our military is too big. But in contrast, it’s interesting how un-militarized we really are.

[GP4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Why I oppose more gun control laws: because we already have enough, so many in fact that law enforcement can use them to create criminals where none exist.

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Linky Friday #76( 50 )


[S1] Pluto and its moon Charon may share an atmosphere.

[S2] We’re taking a 3D printer to space. Such a thing might have made Apollo 13 a less suspenseful movie.

[S3] Near-earth orbit is getting cluttered with garbage.


[Hi1] This didn’t actually “destroy my understanding of time”… but this list did tickle the mind a bit when considering the various cogs of time whirling.Gen._Douglas_McArthur

[Hi2] History may have given Douglas McArthur a bum deal.

[Hi3] 2009: Pravda sweepingly reports that Greenland was going to become the 51st US state! Still waiting…

[Hi4] 1944: Iceland, Greenland, and the United States


[B1] Going cold turkey on opiates while pregnant can result in a miscarriage. Taking opiates – even in a maintenance program – isn’t allowed and will trigger CPS interest. NBC has a good piece on the conflict that occurs when following doctors’ orders is illegal.

ObesidadInfantilYAdolescente[B2] Aaron Carroll writes with nihilism – and truth – on just how bleak the picture is for people trying to achieve permanent weight loss.

[B3] More nihilism: Short of shrinking the stomach, almost nothing works on a scale. (Note: If 95% of people can’t do something, it cannot really be said to work.

[B4] Obesity comes from everywhere and nowhere at all.

[B5] As David Fredosso says, there’s something in this for everybody to hate: Banning Sugary Drinks in Food Stamps Could Slash Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes

[B6] Gizmodo looks at different sports and calculates how much running is involved.

[B7] A 91-year old woman in San Diego ran a 26.2 mile marathon. Which is amazing. She broke a record for her age bracket of 90-and-over, which is even more amazing. Not that she broke the record (good for her on that, of course) but that there is an age bracket with a record.


City of Heroes - Attack[M1] A Harvard sleep specialists argues that sleep is more important than practice for championship sports teams.

[M2] Olga points to an office for introverts. With the cubicle having become so standardized, will future generations look at the desire for anything else (other than shared workspaces, of course) as anti-social and Not The Way Things Should Be? For my own part, the open nature of cubes was probably good for the introvert in me, to get me to push my boundaries.

[M3] Extroverts do not want to go to Mars.

[M4] Gamers, it turns out, are quite sociable.


Ryo-Ohki[A1] Noah Smith says that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the world’s best leader. Not bad for a guy who was office barely a year the last time around.

[A2] You know Japan is worried about their age-demographic spread when they’re actually debating immigration. China has a one-child crisis, though it may not be related to the actual policy since other states without the One-Child policy face similar problems. To be fair, though, a number of them have had anti-fertility policies over the years, even if not as dramatic as One-Child.

[A3] Some guy went to North Korea and learned twenty things.

[A4] Japanese guide learning to use the word “fuck.”


[Hp1] New homes are ever-larger than their predecessors.

[Ho2] TechCrunch explores the history of housing in San Francisco, and how it got here.

[Ho3] The high cost of affordable housing: Inclusionary zoning, in effect, provides an annual subsidy to its winners on the order of $90,000.


ForrestGump[C1] Even if you’re not really all that desirable, the romantic marketplace may have a shelf for you. if you’re unique. As Forrest Gump says, “If you can’t sing good, sing loud.”

[C2] Daniel Fincke takes issue with the notion that “You can’t stop teenagers from having sex!” because he was so stopped.

[C3] Ugh. Kids today. They’re so… well-behaved.

[C4] Will Self doesn’t begrudge the smoking bans, but finds himself missing the smoke. There is a solution to that, of course, that is quickly being banned, of course.

[C5] Though we didn’t have one, I tend to think that lavish weddings often get a bad rap. But I have a hard time wrapping my head around the average Manhattan wedding costing $90,000. And, $3,000 wedding cakes?

[C6] The story of Karen DeCrow, the feminist who became a Men’s Rights Activist.

[C7] Katherine Mangu is right: Text from the toilet with pride!

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Linky Friday #75( 108 )

Energy & Environment:

DrillingPlatform[EE1] Germany hasn’t kicked its coal habit, which is coming at a cost. On the other hand, they’ve reportedly set a record for renewable power generation (though, according to Patrick, they sort of gamed the statistics).

[EE2] Russ George wants feverishly to stop global warming, and scientists and environmentalists want to stop him.

[EE3] “Carbon caps have not led to emissions reductions or even limitations anywhere. China will be no different.”

[EE4] Coal is still king.

[EE5] Eleven maps on American energy production.

[EE6] From Johanna Aitch: The music of tree rings.


Fashion[F1] Hadley Freeman is worried that the fashions of the 90’s are making a comeback. I’ll take the 90’s over the 80’s any day.

[F2] The phenomenon of tattoos endlessly baffles me. Mostly because things change, and they’re so hard to get rid of. Getting rid of them, though, is booming business.

[F3] The Washington Post has a good piece on the history of Dockers pants (specifically their reputation for being Dad pants). I don’t buy them, because I am a cheapskate and Puritan (Walmart brand) does the trick, but I have always loved them dearly.


[M1] Piracy hasn’t lead to less music, because most musicians don’t expect to make much money. I suspect, if piracy or extreme price pressures were to hit books, the same would be true there. It’s film and TV I’m worried about, because it’s hard to justify the expense if you’re not going to make money. And yet… we have simply seen no sign of abatement, yet, and more rather than fewer outlets are creating original programming.

Revolution - Map[M2] Ghostbusters! The Infographic.

[M3] How well do you know your fictional world maps?

[M4] It’s become fashionable in some circles to predict the death of the NFL. Aaron Gordon looks at the various scenarios proposed and their (un)likelihood.

[M5] Everyone remembers when Tom Cruise was jumping on that sofa and being all freaky on the Oprah Winfrey show. The thing is, how we remember it didn’t happen. Amy Nicholson explains why this is important to our national popular culture.


Champfleury84[H1] According to Wendell Cox, the vast majority of metro growth between 1990 and 2010 was in the suburbs. In 1990, 82% of metro areas were suburban, and in 2010 it’s 86%.

[H2] Introducing a $22,000 home. Not exactly child-friendly, but pretty neat all the same.

[H3] I’ve found myself wondering about North Dakota scenarios in the event that something happens to Clancy, and specifically what I’d do about housing. It’s surprising how much room they can put into mobile homes, these days. It makes me think of how poorly-managed our regular houses often are.

[H4] Clancy has become interested, lately, in those “build your own home” things. I have a thing about pre-fab homes.


[Ed1] Nick Kristoff argued that academics are too removed from the ground to participate in policy discussions like they should. Daniel Drezner responds. (via James Hanley)

[Ed2] David Leonhardt sparked a conversation about student debt, citing a study suggesting that the problem really isn’t people that racked up huge amounts of debt and graduated but rather those who racked up smaller debts and didn’t. Peter Coy added on. Cloire Sicha takes serious issue with the methodology. Freddie defends the study and Matt Phillips argues that the skew in coverage (towards graduates with a lot of debt, instead of drop-outs with less) is steeped in class.

[Ed3] People often talk more sciency than they should. Here are ten scientific ideas that are frequently misused. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)

CG - Office of the FutureProgress:

[P1] All reigns must come to an end, and so may it be with Moore’s Law.

[P2] Bill Gates wants to know… have you hugged a concrete pillar today?

[P3] Mozilla is going to sell a $25 smartphone in India. I wonder if it’s a better or worse phone than some of the old smartphones I have around here that I have no idea what to do with.

[P4] Chinese employers are moving to Africa.

[P5] In the future (perhaps even the near future), smartphones may be powered by sand. (links via Mad Rocket Scientist)


Nuclear_Submarines_surfaced_at_the_North_Pole[W1] I learned this a little while back in conversations with Jonathan McLeod, but apparently the North Pole has become an expression of Canadian nationalism.

[W2] Even unpleasant journeys often end up looking glamorous.

[W3] Mexico has a vigilante squad of Good Gals With Guns.

[W4] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry says that Europe’s desire for a “Right to be forgotten” is emblematic embrace of its own decline.

[W5] From Christopher Carr: Fragile States index for 2014


[S1] Statistics can be a great tool of self-deceptions.

[S2] It’s too easy and often overly dismissive to say “Correlation does not equal causation”… but seriously, people.

[S3] These, on the other hand, can be nothing but causation.

[S4] I never miss an opportunity to introduce people to this awesome song:

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Linky Friday: Fifty Stories For Fifty States( 36 )

Alabama: Apple CEO Tim Cook is apparently a native of the Yellowhammer State, and says his life was changed there.

Alaska: Researchers plan to give away pregnancy tests in Alaska bars.

Arizona: Scott Fistler a Republican running for Arizona District 7 congressional seat. Cesar Chavez a Democrat running for the Arizona District 7 congressional seat. They’re the same guy.

Arkansas: Little Rock VA patients wait two months, on average, to establish care.

California: The experiment in San Francisco with peak price parking is, according to supporters, working very well

Colorado: The Centennial State has become something of a hub for space business.

Connecticut: A hoarder in Connecticut was killed when her floor collapsed.

Delaware: Delaware celebrates not being Pennsylvania.

Florida: In Tampa, a family ate a steak that was laced with LSD and while at the hospital had a baby who was not a hallucination.

Georgia: An Atlanta father and son reeled in an 880 pound fish.

Hawaii: NASA planned to test out a flying saucer over the islands, but alas it didn’t quite pan out.

Idaho: It was an exciting day, with a Moose on the loose.

Illinois: Meet the ten most boring places in Illinois.

Indiana: Minor League baseball team Gary Southshore Railcats have decided to theme their uniforms for Michael Jackson.

Iowa: Due to having one of their offerings getting the distinction of “Worst restaurant meal in America”, eight Long John Silver’s Iowa locations are closing.

Kansas: There were tales of a water slide so powerful that it sent its riders airborne. Turns out, that isn’t true. Still looks like a badarse ride, though.

Kentucky: To protect its servers, a restaurant in Newport became a no tipping establishment.

Louisiana: National ethanol policy is threatening Louisiana’s shrimp season.

Maine: Local quilters are joining astronauts in completing a space quilt.

Maryland: An appeals judge has restricted who can be on the state’s sex offender registry.

Massachusetts: The Bay State is too busy dealing with Arthur to celebrate July Fourth.

Michigan: A man in West Michigan needs your help to remove his nearly 100 pound scrotum.

Minnesota: The Minnesota Vikings want an MLS soccer team.

Mississippi: According to some reports KFC ejected a girl whose face was disfigured by a pit-bull attack was asked to leave a KFC for ‘disrupting the customers’ with her presence. Except that KFC says that didn’t actually happen and the Facebook page for it has disappeared, but KFC says it will be paying for girl’s medical bills anyway.

Missouri: A pair of Kansas City twins were born 39 days apart.

Montana: Hannibal Anderson and Lisa Grace want Montana’s urban and rural areas to get along better.

Nebraska: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is scaling back the assigned risk to the state’s nuclear power plants.

Nevada: There is a controversy in the Miss USA pageant: Miss Nevada may not actually be a Nevadan.

New Hampshire: The drunkest state in the union? The least drunk is, of course, Utah.

New Jersey: The Garden State is apparently the home of a sixteen foot great white shark.

New Mexico: A bachelor party finds a rare mastadon fossil.

New York: Nobody seems to want to and/or be able to live there, but Lloyd Alter says Buffalo is da bomb.

North Carolina: The horrifying story of a daycare center used as a pornography outfit.

North Dakota: The oil boom is a bonanza for archaeologists.

Ohio: A surgeon in Ohio makes $2,800,000 a year.

Oklahoma: A dog stolen in Houston was discovered two years later in the Sooner State.

Oregon: In addition to being one of two states that won’t let you pump your own gas, Oregon is one of four states that has outlawed bail bonds and bounty hunters.

Pennsylvania: An eighth grader dropped out of the honor society because she was tired of taking drug tests.

Rhode Island: The Ocean State probably has the worst economy in the country.

South Carolina: In the Carolina waters, it’s difficult to know if you’re in North Carolina or South Carolina, which is important as far as fishing laws go.

South Dakota: Ever wonder what it looks/sounds like to be in the middle of a South Dakota tornado? Here you go.

Tennessee: A woman in Memphis was banned after trying to climb the fence and give cookies to lions.

Texas: A house near Fort Worth dangles over a lake cliff, while a sonar reveals that Houston’s bayous house over 100 vehicles.

Utah: Residents are having to bail out their local-utility attempt to provide fiber broadband.

Vermont: Environtmentalists in the Green Mountain State are leading the fight against wind turbines.

Virginia: A prom king in Norfolk was, fortunately, able to make the ceremony after getting bailed out of jail for his involvement in a drive-by shooting.

Washington: A four year old girl solved the mystery of a break-in.

West Virginia: Verizon turned its landline business over to a competitor, and complaints dropped by two-thirds

Wisconsin: The Badger State not only has beaches, but has a nude beach. Unfortunately, the state’s beaches as a whole ranked 23rd out of 30 in terms of water quality.

Wyoming: Residents of Wyoming are getting antsy as the resource boom encroaches on their cities.

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Linky Friday #74( 123 )


butte-union[L1] Food establishments continue to dip their toe in automation.

[L2] We Americans work less than we think we do.

[L3] It’s the least educated and least skilled where unemployment tends to be highest. Yet theirs is also the sector where the job market is improving the fastest.

[L4] Former Leaguer Ryan Noonan co-drafted a report on manufacturing since the Great Recession. 646,000 jobs added from 2/10 to 5/14!


market[M1] Amazon is relegating Hachette’s wears until or unless Hachette agrees to terms more favorable to Amazon. Commentary on the issue has almost all been sympathetic to Hachette. At the Guardian, Barry Eisler takes a different view.

[M2] Black markets on the web may lessen drug violence.

[M3] Non-complete clauses are becoming more common, and Alex Tabarrok argues this represents a threat to innovation.

[M4] Norwegian Air wants to making international flights cheaper for Americans, and United and Delta want to stop them.

[M5] Men’s Journal explains the genius of Subaru.


Arrest[C1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Smearing campaigns against those who were defense attorneys.

[C2] Can we use lasers to catch drunk drivers?

[C3] You may have seen a map of “74 school shootings since Newtown.” While technically accurate if you look at it just right, it’s… highly dubious. [More]

[C4] Emily Bazelon and Daniel Drezner point out that there are tradeoffs involved when trying to combat sexual assault on campus, and have some sensible suggestions. Shorter version: Higher standard of proof, but harsher punishments.

[C5] What did addicts learn from DARE? How to smoke crack.

[C6] The state government has legalized marijuana, the federal government has suggested that it will not pursue such cases, and yet here we are.

[C7] German prison inmates want to unionize.


ronald-reagan-riding[R1] Patrick Ruffini looks at the data wars between Democrats and Republicans, and how the latter is trying to catch up.

[R2] TW Shannon may have lost, but League alum Jamelle Bouie explains how the GOP needs more black politicians and fewer black personalities.

[R3] Physicians used to be a Republican constituency, but not so much these days. I wrote about the shift in 2011. The Obama Administration has done a lot to reach out to primary care docs, which is where a lot of the shift is occurring.

[R4] Republicans talk about wanting to reduce government, but British Conservatives are working hard it.

[R5] According to Pew (Warning: as reported by Townhall), the notion that the political dynamics of the US have primarily been a case of the right moving rightward and the left standing still (or dragging to the right) is inaccurate.

[R6] Universities may not be hospital to conservatives, but have become an unexpected laboratory and farm system for the GOP.


[T1] Google Now can remember where you parked! Remembering to do this would have been very, very helpful in DC. Sorry Vikram!

[T2] Japan has awesome high speed trains. Here’s why.

[T3] Rail in the US is very expensive.

[T4] An ethical question: Should your driverless car kill you to save two other people? That ethical/philosophical question doesn’t seem so pointless now, does it? [More]

[T6] The case for biking without a helmet. I don’t think I can sell Clancy on this…


[F1] Marriage rates track with all sorts of good outcomes on both an individual and societal level. Steve Waldman thinks that promoting marriage on that basis is a bad idea. Education tracks similarly, and Scott Sumner explains why promoting education on that basis is a bad idea.

[F2] Paging Former Mayor Bloomberg: Divorce is linked to obesity in children.

[F3] Related to a recent post of mine… Kay Hymowitz says that parental self-expectations are making parents miserable.

[F4] Idahoans are having lots of sex to get pregnant. Washington DCers, maybe less so.


[H1] A frequent suggestion for lowering health care costs is to cut physician salaries. Kevin Pho explains that other things might need to change to facilitate that. Benjamin Brown has more.

[H2] While we’re looking at such things, what’s up with administration costs?

[H3] Transparency in health care pricing, though, may be worth a look.


Yushchenko[U1] Daniel Drezner thought his experience in Ukraine was outdated because it’s been twenty years. Turns out, he’s wrong.

[U2] Separatists in Ukraine have taken to waving the Confederate Flag (sort of). They’ve also tried to re-start a WWII tank.

[U3] Former Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko (right)has recovered, somewhat, from the alleged KGB poisoning that disfigured his face.

[U4] Many in Europe want to become what the Ukraine is trying to escape.


[A1] Fifty states… as high school kids. I want to meet Louisiana and Idaho (unless Idaho actually is armed). I think I was Montana.

madbull34[A2] What would happen if we let states draw their own boundaries and how would that effect transportation? He has also looked at why states are an anachronism and why they matter. Meanwhile, in France, President Hollande is trying a bit of statecraft

[A3] In New York, a black man driving his white wife to work was reported for being an illegal cab driver.

[A4] Sprawl, in animated GIF form.

[A5] Remember the whole Faces of Meth thing from Oregon? I was reminded of that when looking at these pictures of housing in Detroit.

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Linky Friday #73( 68 )


Ellis_Island_arrivals[I1] When I first started hearing stories about unaccompanied children arriving at our doorstep, I was honestly a bit skeptical because the sources tended to be strong border hawks. But it’s happening in numbers higher than our system can handle, and is not unrelated to our border policy, and/or the perception thereof.

[I2] From Christopher Carr: Steven Hsieh on holding centers for migrant children – There should be no doubt this is a problem!

[I3] Intra-Euroland immigration into the UK is complex. While Polish Plumbers have become a shorthand, immigrants from different places have different effects and different receptions.

[I4] Only 3% of Swedes lead unhappy lives. Yet some people leave Sweden, though, and here’s why.

[I5] Leaving Russia behind.


Drill_Pipe[L1] If McDonald’s in Alaska can afford to pay their workers more than they are paid in Texas, why can’t they pay that much in Texas? Adam Ozimek response. A Walmart in North Dakota is paying $17/hr. Ahhh, the bargaining power of labor shortages.

[L2] BMW is trying training workers without degrees… and promoting them. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)

[L3] Roughly 53% of LinkedIn’s and half of Yahoo’s employees are white, which is apparently “too white.” (I link to this not because I don’t think there is a problem, but because the words used here represent some of our difficulty in approaching these issues.)

[L4] A really interesting graphic reveals that more Silicon Valley has more employees from Texas than India, Mexicans outnumber Texans, a majority do not speak English at home, and people of Asian ancestry outnumber whites (except at Yahoo and LinkedIn, apparently).

[L5] Job licensing in service-oriented industry inflates wages by fifteen percent. Vox has a run-down. Interestingly, it’s more common in the South and West than the Northeast.


20131011_102342[F1] We think of good dads mostly as being good for their sons, but they affect their daughters, too.

[F2] Single fatherhood is becoming more common, up from 1% in 1960 to 8% now, and from 14% of single-parent households to almost a quarter.

[F3] My daughter is obnoxious and awkwardly extroverted. On the upshot, she is eager to extroverted and already a budding likes books.


[W1] The hard life of liberal gun lovers.

[W2] From Jonathan McLeod: Time’s Bryan White goes hunting for polar bears in the arctic (warning: some graphic photos).


train[T1] Google Now can remember where you parked! Remembering to do this would have been very, very helpful in DC. Sorry Vikram!

[T2] Japan has awesome high speed trains. Here’s why.

[T3] Rail in the US is very expensive.

[T4] An ethical question: Should your driverless car kill you to save two other people? That ethical/philosophical question doesn’t seem so pointless now, does it? [More]

[T5] From Jonathan McLeod: In Seoul, city planners turned a cursed freeway that cut through downtown into beautiful greenspace… without causing a traffic disaster.

[T6] The case for biking without a helmet. I don’t think I can sell Clancy on this…


Adminivy[E1] This student loan calculator is pretty cool. Turns out, student loan amounts for students at my alma mater are less than I would have guessed. Less than most schools I have found, in fact.

[E2] Reihan Salam thinks we need to hold colleges accountable for student outcomes. It’s an interesting thought, but for better or worse it strikes me as an incentive for colleges to pick their students wisely.

[E3] Adam Ozimek tackles the “Should everyone go to college” question. Derek Thompson looks at which degrees and colleges don’t pay off.

[E4] From Jonathan McLeod: Ordinary Times’ Conor Williams asks why do other parents care where I send my kid to school?


seele[G1] Lorenzo lays out the case for small nations.

[G2] Bobby Jindal is virtually deregulating the sale of homemade foods!

[G3] I’ve commented in the past that we don’t raise the gas tax because people are stubbornly opposed to it. I could be wrong, it turns out.

[G4] If democracy is the worst kind of government except all others, can we come up with a better one? io9 has twelve alternatives from science fiction.

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Linky Friday #72( 94 )

Sports and Culture:

[S1] A true badass, Bush I skydives to celebrate his 90th birthday.

[S2] The Guardian takes us inside the World Cup protests.

[S3] I’m missing something if Miss Indiana is plus-sized.

[S4] Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (The Mountain from Game of Thrones) deadlifts 994 pounds

[S5] Bob Mankoff’s latest column on the perfect cartoon

[S6] On the ascent of Sir Mix-a-Lot – I must admit: “Baby Got Back” has been stuck inside my head for a good chunk of my adult life.

[S7] The cult of Boba Fett – If George Lucas is reading this: please don’t ruin Boba Fett with a spin-off!

Art and Nature:

[A1] From James HanleyVertigo warning: beautiful photographs of spiral staircases

[A2] El Nino prediction for 2014. Could this save California from its drought?

[A3] Human faces evolved to be punched.

[A4] This is being called a miracle oil. Human physiology is far too complex to have me convinced.

[A5] Obama’s comments on combating climate change remind me of Obama’s comments on immigration reform, health care reform, drawing down wars abroad, etc. – audaciously hopeful and perhaps unlikely to result in any significant positive changes.

[A6] In the latest turn in the STAP cell controversy, scientists wonder did STAP cells ever even exist?

Economics and Politics:

[E1] From Mad Rocket ScientistReason article, but the original work was done by The Nation.

[E2] From James HanleyReihan Salam on why New York should not relax work requirements for welfare recipients

[E3] From James HanleyThe law in its majestic equality: Spikes to keep the wealthy from taking a nap in public.

[E4] Is our imported seafood the product of slave labor?

[E5] Estimated financial costs of autism are staggering.

[E6] Tea Party candidate wants to stone gay people to death.

[E7] Is it possible the Koch’s are just philanthropists? Or, philanthropists first and partisans second? Marybeth Gasman believes there will be strings attached to the latest Koch donation to the United Negro College Fund.

[E8] Scientists urge China to develop a sounder land management strategy.

War and Peace:

[W1] From Jonathan McLeodVice asks How Does a Child Turn Into a Bank Robber?

[W2] Al Gore on Edward Snowden

[W3] Watch Volkswagon’s very clever Hong Kong PSA against texting while driving.

[W4] Boko Haram, possibly the most evil organization in existence today.

[W5] D-Day – possibly the most important event in all of world history, and it was just a short time ago.

[W6] On the last US soldier executed for desertion, PVT Eddie Slovik.

[W7] Finally: dog poop

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Linky Friday #71( 82 )


[E1] At Hit Coffee, I wrote about Clancy’s high school experience at a boarding school for the gifted and talented and compared it to the warehouse I went to.

[E2] High school students are getting a lot of computer instruction, but not much computer science instruction.

[E3] In education, classroom time may not matter.

[E4] Breaking news: Kids think school is boring.

[E5] From Christopher Carr: Sally Kohn misses the point, the real pervasive social problem is that school districts shadow where people live, and self-segregation is an enduring phenomenon.


[G1] Natalie Dicou looks at the movement to ordain women in the LDS Chuch.

[G2] Bob Somerby weighs in on equal pay, looking at the 77% figure and adjustments for relevant factors.

[G3] Scott Sumner looks at inequality among doctors, at least as measured by the recently released Medicare payments. One of the more sociologically interesting aspects of it is the gender gap.

[G4] According to this report (PDF), going to medical school may have been a bad move for Clancy and other female doctors. That’s kind of depressing.

[G5] Relatedly, American mothers would prefer to work part-time if they could, demonstrating the ongoing tension between flexible scheduling and the gender gap.


[O1] Workplace hierarchies are kind of important, contrary to the belief of some.

[O2] Nikil Saval writes about the importance of Office Space. It is unfortunate that a lot of the affection for the movie is reduced to one-liners, as it’s truly a movie of the age.

[O3] Reportedly, new labor rules in France require workers to unplug from work when they go home.

[O4] New Jersey’s Attorney General’s office has unionized! Under the banner of… the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

[O5] Emma Green writes about officespeak, and how a culture of efficiency can embrace inefficiency.Holmberg9-M81_wide_Galex


[S1] With the internationalization of space travel, diplomacy can be tough.

[S2] According to Popular Mechanics, you’d need 10,000 people to colonize another planet.

[S3] Which would be easier to colonize, Mars or Venus?


[N1] Researchers whose work was cited to justify the EU’s more onerous regulation of ecigarettes say that they have been misinterpreted.

[N2] A man was found guilty of breaking an ecigarette law that doesn’t exist.

[N3] Silicon Valley startup Ploom is looking at blurring the distinctions between cigarettes, ecigarettes, and pot. This makes me uncomfortable.

North Dakota:

NorthDakota[D1] North Dakota’s economy is sailing along, and not just the mineral-rich western part.

[D2] North Dakota finds itself dealing with radioactive waste.

[D3] Is the oil in North Dakota leading to a cultural blooming?

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Linky Friday #70 [Updated!]( 126 )

Book of Mormon MapTransportation:

[T1] Something I did not know: UPS trucks don’t turn left.

[T2] The Press-Enterprise looks at the future commuting.

[T3] Google cars? Try Google Golf Carts. Even so, Edward Niedermeyer says it’s a big deal.


[S1] Is crowd-sourcing a potential boon to low-cost housing? (via Mad Rocket Scientist)

[S2] Jonathan McLeod explains that urbanites and ruralians may have common cause against the suburbs and the transportation subsidies thereto and the encroachments thereon.

[S3] According to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, the housing market is at risk because people down the food chain can’t afford them.


[F1] Market forces are an important factor in the marriage gap.

[F2] Are today’s ministries too focused on the family?

[F3] Gay marriage does not, in my view, weaken the institution. Some proposals, I believe, would.

[F4] Conservatives feared that gay marriage would change marriage and/or weaken it. Proponent Jay Michaelson concedes that maybe they were right.


[R1] James Schneider revisits the Ehrlich wager (involving overpopulation). I’ve been listening to Isaac Asimov lately. One of the more interesting bits from Caves of Metal was the criticism of Malthusianism accompanied by a story of a world collapsing under the weight of eight billion people.

[R2] Will the future of nuclear energy revolve around tiny power plants?

[R3] Popular Mechanics looks at myths surrounding natural gas drilling. As is often the case with these sorts of articles, they use the word “myth” liberally. Interesting stuff all the same.

[R4] Energy estimates are often wildly wrong. The most high-profile example in recent years has been the unforeseen fracking boom. It works the other way, though, with far less recoverables in California than previously estimated.


[C1] One way to subsidize the arts, I guess: “Buy” them in lieu of taxes.

[C2] The eternal question of whether we seek out partners like ourselves or complimentary personalities has been answered, according to 538.

[C3] Michael Brendan Dougherty makes the conservative case against capitalism. John Paul Rollert writes about how there was a time before pursuit of money became an admirable trait.

[C4] What do they do with the clothes that are produced at the end of (or too late in) their fashion cycle?

[C5] From Christopher Carr: More on Soylent! YAY! Best. Topic. Ever.

[C6] Remember The Wonder Years? It’s coming to DVD. Here’s pictures of what the cast looks like now. Most of them really kind of fell off after the show. Fred Savage went behind the camera. The brother got caught up in the HealthSouth tornado. The sister was pretty fantastic in her run as Vincent D’Onofrio’s nemesis on Criminal Intent.

[C7] Girl Meets World, which stars Fred Savage’s brother and is a successor to the 90’s series Boy Meets World, premiers next month.


[A1] James Fallows says there is a new industrial belt in the American South.

[A2] League alum Jamelle Bouie writes about Hispanic self-perception and the future of race in America. Specifically, we are only looking at a majority-minority future if they do not become considered white over time.

[A3] The Census Bureau has a good report on adoption in America (PDF). I’m honestly a bit surprised that adoption remains as common as it does, and the regional variations (map) are fascinating.

[A4] Aircraft carriers are apparently obsolete, but we’re not quite ready to let them go.


[W1] Sixty pictures that are reported to “perfectly capture the human spirit.” I don’t know about that last part, but there are some really great pictures in there.

[W2] Robinson Meyer explains how maps go viral.

[W3] The Dutch approach to disaster management may be something we can learn from.

[W4] Nobody does listicles like Cracked, and their piece on things people who grew up in Communist regimes know is no exception. Also, how VHS tapes fought communism. And Dr. Zhivago!

Update: C6 and C7 have been added and the link on R4 has been changed. The latter was a too-common error on my part. The former was due to the wrong revision of the post getting posted.

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Linky Friday #69( 105 )


labour[L1] Jordan Weissman isn’t against raising the minimum wage, but thinks Seattle’s $15 proposal is a bad idea.

[L2] SeaWorld’s trainers are no longer allowed in the water with orcas.

[L3] It would say something irredeemably ugly if having worked at McDonald’s hurt your career. Fortunately, despite the recent study, it’s not quite that simple.

[L4] The “zero hour contract” is definitely indicative of a problem in the labor market. It’s hard for me to see it as not revolving around a worker surplus.


saar[G1] The crisis in Russia has spawned a (somewhat minor) identity crisis in Germany. My mind has replaced the old “West Germany” with “Germany”… which leads me to forget that it’s not quite that simple.

[G2] Germany is often hailed as the superstar of the European economy. It hasn’t always been that way. In fact, it wasn’t that way pretty recently.

[G3] Slate has an article about Germany’s Coal Pits and the nation’s difficulty in kicking its coal habit.

[G4] West German Chancellor Willy Brandt famously knelt at a Polish memorial and helped repair FRG/Polish relations. Should Japan’s Abe do the same? Alexander Lanoszka says not.


WalterPeck[R1] Scandal! On multiple levels! A homeopathic drug company was exposed when it was discovered they put actual drugs in their products.

[R2] Cuba is complaining that forcing plain tobacco packaging is anti-capitalist.

[R3] Mark Kleiman writes up a potential hole in the lead-crime theory.

[R4] One way to reduce drunk driving may be to elongate pub hours.

[R5] Baylen Linnekin looks in on bans on sharing food with the homeless.


paintings[P1] David Jarman looks at how the Daily Kos has changed congress. As interesting as that, however, is a look at the general shifts that have occurred in congress.

[P2] The Tea Party has a candidate selection problem, and the GOP establishment has figured out how to respond.

[P3] Immigration may turn Texas purple, but internal migration may be turning it redder.

[P4] Tony Switzer touts Australian PM Tony Abbot’s sensible conservatism.

[P5] Is George W Bush experiencing a renaissance in time for his brother’s possible presidential campaign? For those of you who missed it, check out his paintings.


[T1] The Verge doesn’t let it’s writers look at the traffic numbers for fear that it will taint the process.

[T2] ArsTechnica looks at the first two Ubuntu smartphones.

[T3] According to Matt Asay, more companies are using open source, and not because it’s free.

[T4] According to Quartz, Dropbox wants to “own your phone.” I’m pretty sure Google already owns mine.

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Linky Friday #68( 136 )


[C1] The Economist looks at the cost and payoff of college and asks is it worth it? As with most things, higher education would be a better value if it were less expensive, but getting from here to there is easier said than done.

[C2] It’s good to be a business grad.

[C3] From Christopher Carr: Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s thoughts on success are the same self-congratulatory platitudes that come from other successful people.

[C4] Colleges are spending more on athletics than ever. The biggest increases, however, are occurring at the lower levels. My own take.

[C5] The football players at Northwestern got their union vote, though we won’t know the results for some time. Not all of the players were on board.


[E1] Kaitlin Thomas didn’t like the finale of How I Met Your Mother. Dan Hajducky did, though, and explains why. I was going to write a post on this before realizing that almost almost nobody I know online was watching it.

[E2] I agree with Alan Sepinwall, the US version of House of Cards doesn’t hold up particularly well on reviewing and reconsideration.

[E3] I previously wrote about the phenonon of Hollywood-generated beefcakes. Logan Hill of the Men’s Journal has more.

[E4] The New York Times has an interesting piece on the first modern cop drama, Hill Street Blues.

[E5] From Christopher Carr: Reddit thread – If every US state had a designated surname for bastards, like Game of Thrones, what would they be? [Explanatory Video]

[E6] From Christopher Carr: Matt Daniels analyzes hip hop artists’ vocabularies. Some interesting results…


[J1] The Yakuza, Japan’s famous crime syndicate, has a website and theme song.

[J2] The Japanese Ministry of Education is going to start conducting meetings in English.

[J3] Japan has taken to making killer single malts and weapons. And it’s not just alcohol and weapons.

[J4] Japan is reinstating its nuclear program.”


[H1] Reddit has become a location where men can more safely talk about girl-on-guy rape. Does anyone remember that episode of Picket Fences? It was pretty brilliant.

[H2] According to studies, circumcision’s benefits outweigh the risks. We don’t plan to circumcise #2 if it’s a son, though I’m open to the evidence.

[H3] Banning chocolate milk from cafeterias resulted in less milk consumption, which has some nutrition folks concerned.

[H4] From Christopher Carr: Lizzie Widdicombe’s piece on Rob Rhinehart and Soylent is fascinating.


[A1] What’s the matter with Illinois? The poll on who wants to leave whichever state they live in is quite interesting. Illinois, which also topped the list of states where faith in government was least, tops this list as well.

[A2] Some western Americans are worried that Obama is planning to monument up some western land.
Archaeologists are looking at why the vikings abandoned Greenland. It turns out, they may have just wanted to go home.

[A3] Even if we had an optimal immigration policy, city-based visas would still make sense.

[A4] Low-income kids thrive in Salt Lake City, though some are worried that’s changing.

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Linky Friday No. 67( 42 )

Going to a sex resort: amazingly, not all it was cracked up to be. Going to the bathroom in D.C.? You might get some. Enjoy Leaguefest!

So, what is a photocopier, anyway? (Via Vikram Bath.)

How fish can violate the Sarbannes-Oxley Act. And how you can take your fish for a walk.

Only a nobody walks in L.A.  Because walking might kill you.

For Professor Aitch: the renaissance of the San Francisco bike messenger.

They gave us Van Halen, Katy Perry, and Jimmy Kimmell. But are they still relevant?

Donald Sterling’s not-girlfriend insists she will be President one day.

Orange County’s Sriracha war continues.

Judgmental maps. ‘Nuff said.

Christian workouts. And why ever not? There’s already Christian mixed martial arts.

Blowing up the conventional wisdom. After confirming it.

Eighteenth-century con men.

Very timely, using bourbon for dessert on Derby Day.

Making apple cider during an apple shortage.

Equally urgent, making cocktails during a lime shortage.

Worst of all, the incipient bacon shortage. This could hurt the war effort!

Promoting high art. (Via Saul DeGraw.)

Discouraging low art. Maybe they should seek a religious exemption.

No more cheerleaders in Buffalo. Blame the lawyers.

Drones: the elephants’ saviors?

Google’s antcars performing reasonably well out in the real world.

A vexillographer’s hasty journey.

Twitter makes you a bad conversationalist.

Uncovering the worst video game ever. Alsotoo: killing NPC’s in video games is immoral.

And last but certainly not least in today’s parade of surreality, Brian Williams covers Snoop Dogg.


Burt LikkoBurt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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Linky Friday #66( 69 )


[Sp1] To the right, an unknown-to-me draft of a nuclear thermal propulsion spacecraft.

[Sp2] Ever want to know what they call the planets in other languages? Here you go.

[Sp3] The story behind the scariest wardrobe malfunction in NASA history.

[Sp4] Article title of the year (of 2011): Uranus takes a pounding more frequently than thought.

[Sp5] From Jaybird: Cherry Blossoms. Space. Trees.

[Sp6] NASA is trying to entrance youngsters with space and science.


[E1] The US’s manufacturing surge is apparently a product of the fracking boom. So, gulp, what happens at the end of the fracking boom?

[E2] The world’s largest solar farm is causing headaches for pilots.

[E3] Experts think that renewables are the best solution to climage change, Charles Mann reports that renewables aren’t enough and that we need to look at cleaning coal.

[E4] The United States has West Texas and West Dakota, Australia has Western Australia, where there is a mining boom.


[M1] Former MLB baseball player Doug Glanville writes a piece about his encounter with police, who looked at him with suspicion for shoveling his own driveway. (Link from Kazzy)

[M2] Over Easter, atheists had a convention in Salt Lake City. Which may sound odd on both accounts, but who else is going to have a convention on Easter? And Mormons and Atheists may have some things in common.


[Sc1] You, too, can make human bones. With Elmer’s Glue (link via James Hanley)

[Sc2] What is missing from news coverage of the GMO debate in Vermont? Science is missing.


[L1] UPS may be able to teach us a something or two about our automated future.

[L2] Here’s a job we need to automate: Umpiring. They not only get it wrong, but they do so with systemic bias.

[L3] From Christopher Carr: Probably the clearest sign of rising income inequality in the United States today.

[L4] Bob Weber explains why we should wear productivity sensors on the job, and what they’re telling us.

[L5] As some predict a post-employment future, others see labor shortages.


[R1] One of my favorite videos is a primer on how to pick up chicks. It shows an ugly guy walking up to a woman and asking her what her sign is and says that is the wrong way to do it. The right way to do it is a hunk walking up to a woman and asking her what her sign is. Apparently, this by-the-seat wisdom is wrong, and here’s how to flirt.

[R2] Reports thatfree contraception makes women less careful appear to be misguided. My own view is that in a vacuum it could make a difference, but we’re not in a vacuum and any effect is has is overwhelmed by cultural influence.

[R3] New research suggests that cohabitation is not a predictor of divorce so much as when couples cohabitate. Here’s a somewhat old primer on the downsides to cohabitation.

[R4] Jon Fortenbury looks at sexual late-starters.


[Sm1] Social worker Helen Redmond writes about the link between mental illness to smoking. She implores us to give them access to ecigarettes, but the really interesting thing is the history of the tobacco industry actively courting the mentally ill.

[Sm2] Removing tobacco branding may not do anything to stop people from smoking. I have no real opinion on this.

[Sm3] The New York Times discusses an issue of interest to me: Smoking and economic class. I’m glad that Clay County discovered vaping and wish the guy at the end all the luck on saving money for a down payment on a house.

[Sm4] An article in Academic Medicine makes the case that hospitals refusing to hire smokers is contrary to the principles of medicine. First they went after the smokers, then they went after the fatties.

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Linky Friday #65( 74 )


[W1] Rabbits: Cute, furry, and ready to be weaponized.

[W2] Owls are good husbands and dads.

[W3] They found a chupacabra! And euthanized it.


[S1] According to Alex Berube, cities and suburbs are converging.

[S2] Shipping containers can be used to make pretty awesome homes.

[S3] The Guardian looks at floating cities.


[A1] The story of Los Angeles Doger Yasiel Puig’s escape from Cuba into the United States. Or, as Mike Schilling put it: “Dodgers implicated in human trafficking.” (link via James Hanley)

[A2] From Jonathan McLeod: Alex Wong writes about the Hillsborough disaster as ESPN releases a documentary on its 25th anniversary. Also check out Tony Evans twitter feed, where he recounts what it was like to be there.

[A3] From Kazzy: This is a little bit old, but it might be the best piece I’ve read on the NCAA/union thing.

[A4] From James K: Firaxis Games is making a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri. I am buying the hell out of this when it comes out.


[R1] The politics of the raw milk wars.

[R2] The banks were regulated, and banks got cheaper. The skies were deregulated, and flying is safer.

[R3] SEC employees are not only allowed to use their inside knowledge to sell stocks, they’re required to.

[R4] At Hit Coffee, I wrote about the allegations that the administration intentionally punted executive regulation until after the 2012 election.


[P1] How the Internet is driving outrage.

[P2] It’s interesting how hypocrisy sometimes seems to be the most unforgivable of sins. Clancy Martin wonders if this is how it should be.

[P3] Chris Mooney write about the biology and psychology of partisanship. Shankar Vedantam discusses the social component to ideological formation.


[E1] According to Geoffrey Heptonstall, the rightward drift of Britain over the last few decades has transcended politics.

[E2] As we allow pot sales, the Netherlands is reversing course.

[E3] How Slovakia became one of Europe’s successes after the Czechoslovakian split.

[E4] Germany has the right to kick out unemployed Spaniards.


[C1] Off-the-grid living is off-limits in Florida.

[C2] Bob Cooke explains what it’s like to be an undercover cop.

[C3] A woman who purports to be an undercover cop who goes to frat parties to catch (attempted) rapists says the worst part is “Knowing that every single time I go to a party, without fail, there will be someone who tries to rape me.” … “[It takes] 30min-1h30min generally”

[C4] The story of an undercover OSI investigator who says she was raped, though the Air Force isn’t sure.

[C5] Conservatives are tackling criminal justice reform.


[L1] Most Americans live within 25 miles of their mothers. It warms your heart, if you ignore the inevitable economic inefficiency of misallocated labor.

[L2] Children bring with the more positive and more negative emotions for the parents.

[L3] Jesus Christ Superstar, made better by muppets. (Link from Jaybird)

[L4] From Saul DeGraw: College students don’t are too constrained to be weird, they go to binge drinking instead. This one is at my alma mater.


[H1] Google Glass may be a key innovation for doctors.

[H2] Physicians are concerned that under PPACA they’re going to get stiffed.

[H3] James Fallows collects anecdotes about electronic medical records.

[H4] Robert Pearl talks about what it’s like being a doctor.

[H5] From Christopher Carr: After inventing a new test for pancreatic cancer, 15-year old Jack Andraka’s first move has been to partner with a biotech firm and patent his test. Andraka has received Jesus-level praise from the media, but I find this high-school sophomore’s attempt to profit off his discovery made without any up-front investment highly morally questionable.

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Objectivity is Not the Opposite of Standing for Something( 55 )

Words I never thought I’d write: Elias Isquith, my favorite liberal blogger in the entire history of the universe ever, thinks that Fox News is ultimately good for journalism and, I assume, democracy.

Writing over at Salon, Elias is taking aim at that triumvirate of dispassionate darlings, Jonathan Chait, Ezra Klein, and Nate Silver.  Moreover, he’s slipping his blades into the very concept of objective journalism — the practice of which, to Elias, is “almost as bad” as a rolling back of civil liberties on African Americans (or worse, bringing back the Bee Gees).   Quoting Jay Rosen and Paul Krugman respectively, he dismisses this View from Nowhere with the famous joke headline, “Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a point.”

He’s right about that last bit, of course.  Too much of our current so-called “objective journalism” format relies on taking quotes from opposing sides and placing them in juxtaposition prior to publishing.  Sometimes it feels like a newspaper reporter can’t run a story about how clear the science is on fluoridated water without calling around to get some kook to say that fluoride is being used to make the citizenry docile for “the next phase.”

Where Elias and others trip up, however, is that they assume the flaw in such reporting is objectivity.  It isn’t; reporting on the scientific findings of fluoridation without calling the John Birch Society is objective reporting.   You might not know that if you’re a scientist, however, which means in order to objectively report on it you have to read some science journals, and then have long conversations with people who know what the results in those journals mean, and do some research into whether there are other peer reviewed journals that disagree — and then go find people to talk to about those. No, the enemy that makes reporters call the kook isn’t objectivity; it’s laziness.  (And that’s an important distinction, because there isn’t a type of journalism more lazy than punditry.)*

There’s also the very valid point — made by Stillwater to me a lot over time  — that you can never truly be “above the fray.”  We all have our ideologies (even me); we all have our points of view (especially me).  There is very little in this world outside of pure mathematics that is truly objective — and some philosophers even quibble about math.  But, as with world peace, racial harmony, and liberty for all, sometimes the pursuit of the impossible is worth doing all the same.

Because if you decide that objective journalism is bad, then you’re only a few steps away from deciding that the Fox News model of just making s**t up is what good journalists do.  Here’s Elias:

And while it inspired gnashing of teeth and rending of garments from elite journalists more comfortable with the old guard, the ascension of “partisan” media like Fox News, the Huffington Post, “lean forward”-era MSNBC and group blogs on the left (Daily Kos) and right (RedState) was ultimately a good thing. There were drawbacks to ideological news sources, sure; but even if the range of stories covered by a lefty blog was more circumscribed than what you might find at, readers could have more of a sense of the biases undergirding any given news source’s reporting and could apply grains of salt accordingly. They wouldn’t have to wonder if a glowing profile of Noam Chomsky gave short shrift to his critics, because they could note the political orientation of the news provider, and get further information from its opposite, before forming their own opinion. It’s not a perfect model, by any means, but it has one huge advantage over the previous standard: It’s honest. 

I’m not sure quite how to respond that this, so I’ll simply say that, after three years of covering Fox news and other conservative media sources, Elias and I have a very, very different definition as to what counts as “honest.”

Ironically, even as Elias points out the potential flaws inherent in The View From Nowhere, he blindly succumbs to those same flaws himself.

Elias sees but two possibilities: the “ultimately good” partisan whips of Fox News, Red State, MSNBC and Daily Kos, or the embarrassingly terrible, white-splaining piece by Chait.  “Shape of the Planet” indeed — in the world of partisan punditry, there are indeed but a Brooks-and-Broderish two sides and two sides only, and if Chait has slipped up this badly then surely Fox News is good for the nation.

Except, of course, that no matter what pundits say there aren’t just two ways to look at anything.  You can actually stand for something and hold objectivity to be precious; you don’t actually have to choose.  Indeed, one can look no further than Chait’s most recent race-matters sparring partner to find such an example: the great Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Responding to Chait’s “black culture” remarks over the past few weeks, Coates explains in multiple posts why, while firmly taking a side, the Way of Murdoch is an empty one:

The primary goal of this space is to promote clarity and understanding. The sonning of all interlocutors must always play the back. That is because those of us who seek clarity know that even if we son today, we almost certainly will be sonned tomorrow. Sometimes—in fact often times—the greatest clarity comes in being sonned. My greatest lessons have come to me on my ass, with someone—my dad, my mom, my professor, my editor, my friend, a commenter—standing over me. Seeking clarity is not the business of being right. I hope to often be right. But I know inevitably I must, at least sometimes, be sonned…

It’s tough to remember that you must never do it for [a team]. It’s tough to remember why you came. Why you came was not to be lauded for “destroying,” “owning,” or otherwise sonning anyone. You must always define the debate and not allow the debate — and all its volume and spectacle — to define you…

What I hope to take from this … is something beyond dueling rhetoric. A writer is, mostly, a professional amateur. Part of the job (the least important I’d argue) is fighting with other writers. Certainly what they report back cannot be definitive. But it can be informative. And it can take us away from the land of thought experiments and theorizing, into the world of real people doing real things.

I put it to Elias that there’s more truth in those three paragraphs than a week of Fox News programming and Daily Kos postings combined.


* I should note that while I’m standing up for objectivity, I’m not necessarily standing up for Chait, Silver or Klein.

Our disagreement about objective journalism aside, I agree with Elias that Chait’s recent race stuff is both terrible and tone-deaf. I also agree with him about Silver’s new project; it’s kind of boring to my taste.  And I have yet to check out Vox and was never enough of a Klein fan to read him regularly, so I really have no opinion on Ezra’s new joint.


Follow Tod on Twitter, view his archive, or email him.

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Linky Friday #64( 42 )


[G1] Because women prefer to be pat down by women, female TSA agents are disproportionately put on pat-down duty which aside from the unpleasantness is detrimental to their careers.

[G2] Washington may not be working, but James Fallows says that our cities are.

[G3] From James Hanley: Using computer modeling to prevent marathon traffic jams.


[H1] West Virginia is on the road to making (most) pseudoephedrine prescription-only.

[H2] Uninsured patients are more likely to get shuffled out to a trauma center, which turns out not to be such a bad thing for them, care-wise.

[H3] Aaron Carroll is coming around (a little) on retail medical clinics.

[H4] Checklists are supposed to prevent unnecessary medical errors, but recently in Ontario, they didn’t work. Why? Bill Gardner explains.

[H5] From James Hanley: Putting beer on your meat is healthy(er) for you.


[E1] I didn’t know that there was such a thing as vertical wind turbines, but now I do and they look pretty cool and are apparently pretty efficient.

[E2] Meanwhile, in Alaska, there is the hoverturbine! World’s highest.

[E3] Can we turn infrared into a renewable energy source?

[E4] Nevada is going green, thanks to the green energy industry.

[E5] From James Hanley: IPCC finds more scientific uncertainty about climate change and extinctions.


[A1] The gay marriage movement is picking up serious steam… in the South. The Daily Show went an undercover couple last year and got some results.

[A1] The Atlantic shows sixty years of domestic migration. As always, Forbes is the best resource for current migration.

[A2] League Alum Jamelle Boule wonders if increased divesity might make the United States more like Mississippi. I was thinking about that when I read Hanley’s post about the emergence of Hispanics. A bipoduct of whites becoming a minority might be that they start voting more like one. (link via Mark Thompson)

[A3] Gentrification and decay in New York City, in 36 pictures. (Via Saul Degraw)

[A4] From Vikram Bath: Marijuana legalization doesn’t appear to have led to increased crime rates in Colorado.

[A5] From Christopher Carr: A compelling article on what Murrysville might have been if assclown had used guns instead of knives.

[A6] At Hit Coffee, I write about the geography of economic mobility within the United Statesand what the NYT map from last year does and does not say.


[W1] Canada demands more Canadian porn.

[W2] For fear of the demographic problems looking, Japan is considering the previously unthinkable: Immigration.

[W3] Erica Eichelberger went to Nigeria and met some scammers.

[W4] The role that a wet climate played in Genghis Khan’s conquering of Asia.

[W5] The various scenarios of an American-Russian war.


[V1] From Sam Wilkinson: A slow-motion video capture of a subway platform.

[V2] From Sam Wilkinson: A short documentary about a man named Umit Mesut, a man who loves film.

[V3] The digestion (or lack thereof) or ramen:

[V4] Introducing a generic corporate video:

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Linky Friday #63( 117 )


[I1] The law is eating away at attorney-client privilege, and the situation with the NSA is making it worse.

[I2] From Christopher Carr: A very interesting piece on the application of the wisdom of crowds to global intelligence forecasting


[T1] The chances are slim, but Russia could build a rail from New York to Paris!

[T2] According to a court in California, it’s legal to look at your smartphone while driving! The California Highway Patrol apparently plans to ignore the ruling.

[T3] Meet the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, the first mass-produced hydrogen car. There are, however, safety concerns.

[T4] In Idaho and Wyoming, speed limits may be increasing.


[Ed1] It’s a generally unchallenged truism that SAT prep classes favor whites and contribute to inequality. Except that it isn’t true.

[Ed2] The SAT is apparently due for a revision.

[Ed3] Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe talks about our college fixation.


[P1] Asian-Americans are taking on affirmative action in California renaming Asian seas in Virginia.

[P2] Republicans have a talent gap. I recently cited an article about how they pay fewer employees more. According to Patrick Ruffini and others, they need to hire more people.

[P3] It’s one of the great oddities of American politics. The wealthy tend Republican, but wealthy places tend Democratic.


[En1] Sonny Bunch argues – convincingly, though I’m an easy sell – that basic cable’s constraints are a boon to creativity. For TV shows, anyway.

[En2] Sean McElwee writes one of the better pieces I’ve read on the dearth of conservative comedy. As one who thinks it would be better if there were more conservative entertainment, I actually think comedy is probably the best place to start.

[En3] Sitcoms are generally struggling these days, but Jusef Adalian says that actually may not be such a bad thing for sitcom-lovers. If expectations are lowered by the networks, there may be more room for smarter comedies.

[En4] Mostly for my own benefit: 50 Books Every Parent Should Read to Their Child

[En5] Louisiana has displaced California as the movie-making capital of the world (or at least the continent).

[En6] God’s Not Dead looks to be a Christian movie I have absolutely no interest in seeing. But, as it turns out, there’s a market. Go figure.


[B1] Someone on behalf of DHL pranked UPS into free advertising.

[B2] I keep getting my hopes up only to be disappointed, but once again, McDonald’s is looking at extending breakfast hours. Seriously, if Jack can do it, Mac can do it. Just pushing it back to 11 (which most other places do) would be really nice. I hadn’t heard that Taco Bell is getting into the game.

[B3] People like to argue that retailers could actually increase profits by paying their employees more. Adam Ozimek explains why this is unlikely.

[B4] Mike LaBossiere explains the role of luck in success and Jessica Bruder explains the price entrepreneurs pay.

[B5] I’m not the biggest fan of Apple, and think that the iPhone revolution did harm in addition to good, but I do congratulate them on the innovation that was the App Store.

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Linky Friday No. 62( 63 )


[S1] Grantland examines why the world’s best juggler works construction in Florida. If you only read one 6,700-word juggling article this week, let this be it.

[S2] The same goes for this bowling article recommended by James Hanley: “Harry Smith, the top bowler in 1963, made more money than MLB MVP Sandy Koufax and NFL MVP Y.A. Tittle combined.”

[S3] Mike Schilling points us to “the best take ever on why Yankee fans make the rest of us hate Derek Jeter.”

[S4] What do women want to see on the dance floor? The researchers chose a nice methodology for answering this question. Practically speaking though, I just wish this tutorial had been around in my time.

[S5] The NLRB decided Northwestern college football players do have the right to form a union. Kazzy points us to some legal analysis from ESPN. If this judgment stands, it would change everything, which makes me think it won’t stand.

[S6] One of the obvious issues to tackle will be whether this means student athletes should be paid. Winner of the most unsurprising survey results of the week award go to the finding that white people don’t think student athletes should be paid, but non-whites do.

Business and Economics!

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 9.49.29 PM[B1] Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has quietly but quickly implemented seemingly subtle, but actually huge shifts in corporate policy. He cut the price of Windows on crappy machines 70% (presumably to preempt Google’s Chrome OS) and has now allowed the release of a version of Office for the iPad that, far from being castrated, is actually getting good reviews. This seemingly robs the Surface of its lone selling point, a sign that Microsoft is pivoting back to software. Any chance they can get a refund on Nokia?

[B2] John Cochrane has a graphic novel on a world without banks.


[P1] Christopher Carr “[finds himself] in the awkward position of defending Vladimir Putin here: leaking private phone calls while simultaneously supporting a leaker does not indicate hypocrisy; nor is the media’s beating of war drums helping with the tense situation in Eastern Europe.”

[P2] Scott Alexander makes a good case that you should reverse any advice you hear. But that itself is advice, which I guess means you shouldn’t.

[P3] “Is today’s left more opposed to free speech than yesterday’s?”


[C1] NPR asks whether doctors or artists had richer parents. I guess I know enough rich people with kids that I found the answer obvious. Still, the article has some nice charts.

[C2] A woman with metastatic breast cancer explains why she hates pink and how little she has in common with everyone else who gets breast cancer. Read the whole thing.

[O]nly about 5% of all monies donated to breast cancer charities end up helping metastatic women.

And, of course, you are aware that only metastatic women die of cancer, right?

Put those things together and you realize nobody is trying to save us.

[C3] James Coulson presents a disturbing but beautiful version of the two lies and one truth game.

[C4] Maybe we could tell which statement was the lie with technology. I’ve been watching the science fiction show Continuum recently, and the heroine has an implant that reads people’s emotions to know whether they are lying. We might not be that far off from having that sort of technology in our phones.

[C5] The Daily Beast investigates how Nyphomaniac Volume 1 got its realistic sex scenes. Spoiler: They taped people actually having sex. Don’t read the whole thing.

[C6] The New Yorker reports on the latest parenting study.


[G1] Radley Balko points out that police officers equipped with video cameras are great til the point that the police selectively lose footage. Missing footage is strong Bayesian evidence that the police are trying to cover something up.

[G2] I have a lot of issues with this article on stop and frisk from this month’s Atlantic, but it still broke my heart a few times.

[G3] Jason Kuznicki’s bleb here at OT concerning the social levers to pull to spur procreation brought up a good point in the comments about whether there was a need to bother, but that hasn’t stopped Denmark from plowing ahead in telling its citizenry to plow ahead (safe, but possibly embarrassing for work):

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Linky Friday #60( 141 )



[W1] Twitter spambots are magical. They bring the dead back to life.

[W2] Some ladies are trying to close Wikipedia’s gender gap, which is a worthwhile goal. I’m curious what they mean by Wikipedia’s “masculine design”, however.

[W3] Meanwhile, Wikipedia is more generally having an editor retention problem.

[W4] is problematic on at least three levels that I can think of immediately. Could be mistaken, could be a baseless vendetta, and when true the blame does not fall on a single party. That’s just off the top of my head.


[P1] It’s official: comedians are psychotic. The link comes from my friend Tony, who is trying to make it as a standup comedian, and who is probably psychotic. (Not really.)

[P2] How long does it take for a tragedy to become funny? Above five weeks.

[P3] It is not, in fact, hip to be square.

[P4] A realistic statue of a man walking around in his briefs freaked Wellesley out.

[P5] I previously linked to an article about a neurologist who believes ADHD doesn’t exist. Here he is making that argument.

[P6] The case for being an early riser. Maureen Mackey argues that employers should encourage napping.


[Ec1] 401(k) prospects are actually looking pretty good.

[Ec2] The trials and trevails of trying to legislate social mobility (international edition).

[Ec3] Was this man, who was arrested and thrown in jail and then solitary for calling 911 to help someone in an accident, a victim of overaggressive law enforcement, or collateral damage to the San Francisco class wars (in infographic form)? Here’s an infographic and Salon is worried that San Francisco is going to lose its status as a liberal icon.


[Ed1] The Economist has a bullish article on MOOC and the future of education. [more]

[Ed2] Many Americans look approvingly on Germany’s education tracking system, but they’re increasingly controversial over there. Many of us have also looked favorably on their apprenticeship model, which is being increasingly spurned.

[Ed3] I’ve been complimentary of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s attempts at offering cheap college degrees in Texas. Florida, too, is working on the $10,000 degree.

[Ed4] If we’re looking to cut costs at traditional colleges, administration might be a good place to start.

[Ed5] James Samuelson makes the case for standardized tests.


[L1] So apparently work habits are pretty much the same across generations (from Boomers to Millenials). I hate it when science ruins perfectly fun and helpful generalizations.

[L2] Is the middle class being hollowed out due to a class war on the part of the wealthy? Or is it really about job polarization? Or both at once? James Joyner has more.

[L3] Michael Corwin talks about being a political PI while Jason Edwards Harrington talks about being a TSA agent. [More]

[L4] Matt K Lewis defends not working. Why do we work, anyway?

[L5] Employers are getting better at measuring the value of workers. This is where the rubber hits the road on productivity measurement goes. A lot of the objections are based on their inaccuracy. What happens when they become accurate?

[L6] Jack Baruth explains how corporations increasingly devalue excellence in favor of reliable efficiency. I’d object, but I often see the appeal. For education, I’ve often said, we have to plan for the mediocre or at least middling teacher instead of worrying about the best.


[A1] Apparently, the northeast is neurotic.

[A2] Bill Parks argues that California is the model for corporate tax reform.

[A3] Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is pushing for the sort of regional visas I’ve been talking about. Adam Ozimek says more.

[A4] First “North Colorado” and now “West Maryland“?

[A5] Liberals like sharing, and New York is liberal, so why does New York hate the sharing economy? Because they love regulation more, evidently.

[A6] Peanut butter is the ultimate American food.

[A7] A long while back the Discovery Channel had a show about building a giant dome over Houston and another about making New Orleans a floating island. In both cases, to protect these places from nature. One wonders the practicality of even having cities that require such protection. It’s like having major metropolitan areas built around the scarcity of islands and bays on the east and west coasts.

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Linky Friday #59( 83 )



[E1] The corruption and fraud surrounding the EU is said to be breathtaking.

[E2] A number of conservatives and anti-immigration sorts have made some hay over Switzerland’s decision to restrict immigration. It’s worth pointing out, though, that the immigrants they are restricting are more of our H1B variety (except European, if that matters) than the immigrants they spend the most time complaining about here.

[E3] How Swedish tax policy lead to Abba’s flamboyant outfits. (via Vikram Bath)


[P1] The dumb rubes in the working class aren’t the ones driving our political polarization. It’s folks who have education and income.

[P2] As the fiscal outlook of states improves, states are trying to figure out what to do with the money.

[P3] According to The Nation, feminism is undergoing some toxic Twitter wars.

[P4] If gun control advocates want people to believe that gun registration will not lead to gun confiscation, they should take care that gun registration doesn’t lead to gun confiscation.

[P5] Pentecostalism is spreading among the immigrants. This sort of thing could, ultimately, be how the GOP improves its share of the Hispanic vote (over time). Hispanic protestants tend more towards the GOP than Hispanic Catholics.


[R1] South Korea is building a 364-foot statue of Voltar the Invincible to go in their Robot Land theme park because why now?

[R2] What a neat idea: using remote controlled robots to let people look at museum art after hours.

[R3] Paging Kim! Robots saved Pittsburgh.


[He1] Will Doc Shock become a thing? People don’t like narrow networks, but they could be a crucial to cost control. Truly, the enemy of true health care reform is us.

[He2] Third-hand smoke exposure is just as deadly as smoking! Ack! Except that it’s not, of course, and eventually making everything as dangerous as smoking makes smoking actually look less dangerous (if anyone actually believed it).

[He3] Science, health and the human mind are funny things. The power of placebo.

[He4] Ack! Some crocodiles can climb trees!


[Ho1] NIMBYism is trying to kill housing in Evanston, Illinois, due to fear of transient academics.

[Ho2] A builder in Portland found it easier to build affordable housing without public funding (other than some waivers) than with the strings attached to public funding.

[Ho3] Maybe in the future, houses will be built in 24 hours by 3D printers.

[Ho4] How van-based housing works.

[Ho5] The army built a fake city for training purposes. Across the street from us are vacant storehouses that local fire departments use for training. They actually light stacks of hay on fire.


[J1] Is your job in another state? Click here to find out!

[J2] You might be able to find a job in a lot of places (or a job that goes a lot of places), if you’re a clown, because there’s a shortage.

[J3] While raising the minimum wage will hurt McDonald’s, it’ll just be replaced by something else. The shift towards upscale has its own concerns, though.

[J4] Ryan Noonan, formerly of Ordinary Times, co-wrote an interesting paper on manufacturing wages.

[J5] According to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, extended unemployment benefits boosted our jobless numbers.

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Linky Friday #58( 62 )


[E1] From Patrick: RIP Egon.

[E2] Ashley Feinberg explains why Ghostbusters is still a good movie even to people without 80’s allegiances, after watching it for the first time after Ramis’s death.

[E3] Glyph approves of The LEGO Movie, but Sonny Bunch says it exemplifies everything wrong with LEGOs.

[E4] From Patrick: Did you notice something peculiar about Andy’s hat in Pixar’s Toy Storytrilogy?

[E5] From Patrick: If you’re like Contributor Pat, you have Movie Tourette’s Syndrome and can appreciate the nerdiness that this awesomeness.

[E6] Some people like to be able to say that they listen to music that nobody else does. Here’s a tool to help you with that.

[E7] If you liked the movie quotes graph, you’re gonna love this.


[Sp1] Next week the NCAA will (likely) vote on The Saban Rule, which in true college fashion will call a “delay of game” penalty on teams that move the ball too quickly. Michael Reagan and Robert Charette think it’s a stupid idea and almost three-quarters of coaches oppose it. To be fair, anything that makes Alabama vulnerable must be unfair, right?

[Sp2] Trumwill favorite Mark Mangino has lost 127 pounds and starting next season will be the offensive coordinator at Iowa State.

[Sp3] There are, and have been, a pretty crazy number of indoor football leagues over the years. Here’s Wikipedia’s list.

[Sp4] Boom, the Metrodome falls. Here’s the video.


[Su1] Introducing the secret origin of masked superheroes and adventurers.

[Su2] Peter Lawler makes the case that Man of Steel was about Plato’s Republic.

[Su3] So there’s apparently a French superhero show called H-Man. Now with Fionna Apple.

[Su4] A Chinese con artist is bilking people… with superpowers! Fake superpowers, of course.


[Sc1] Advanced Cell Technology, which is the only US outfit running clinical trials on embryonic stem cell therapies, is having some financial woes while the US and Japan are achieving a possible stem cell breakthrough (or maybe not).

[Sc2] know at least a couple creationists who will feel vindicated by the news that the Grand Canyon may not be as old as previously suspected.


[D1] Facebook knows when you fall in love and here’s how. I have previously written about how Facebook should take a greater role in establishing whether there is or is not a relationship.

[D2] Need up-to-the-minute dating advice? Here’s an app that lets you crowdsource your date.

[D3] If you’re a researcher and you’re asking a bunch of teenagers about sex, you might should consider that they are lying to you.

[D4] More online dating data! Use these words to be more attractive to women.


[L1] Lawyers are trying to sort out who owns a married man’s sperm.

[L2] How can we increase trust in driverless cars? I wonder if American litigiousness might result in their appearing abroad before they start showing up here.

[L3] According to a trial judge in St. Louis, we have a First Amendment right to warn drivers about speed traps.

[L4] Note to congress: Pretty much anything that gives carriers incentive or justification to take more control over their phones and phone ownership is a bad idea. And so it is with the kill switch.


[T1] Gordon Kelly argues that Lenovo’s purchase of Motorola was a genius move on par with their purchase of the ThinkPad line, and that this follows Google’s brilliance in purchasing and dumping Motorola as a pressure point against Samsung.

[T2] Apple is looking towards cars and medical devices to ignite growth. Google should have made the former a priority a long time ago. I’ve been wanting to get Android in my car for a while, but it hasn’t been made easy.

[T3] Oddly, Windows XP gained market share in January.

[T4] Just when you think the tinkerers can’t tinker with something because it’s settled, they go an invent a new kind of doo.


[P1] This article’s title is stupid because wind power isn’t boring (windmill farms are cool looking!). The map is pretty cool, though.

[P2] Nuclear power seems to operate in a real sour spot, the anti-Goldilocks. It’s considered more expensive than coal and less environmentally friendly than solar rather than more green than coal and cheaper than solar.

[P3] California now boasts the world’s largest solar thermal grid, but its droughts are complicating the solar energy project.

[P4] North Dakota pumped a record 313.5 million barrels of oil last year and some are arguing that we need to lift our export embargo.

[P5] Pollution from drilling the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta may be a lot worse than estimated.

[P6] In Texas, local residents are paying the price for fracking. Such things are one of my discomforts with fossil fuel exploitation, which I am generally supportive of. Not that there are these costs, as I believe under current constraints they are still outweighed by the overall benefit, but the mismatch between cost payers and benefit recipients is disturbing.

[P7] Kevin Williamson, meanwhile, writes a full-throttle defense of fracking.


[W1] I’ve previously mentioned the potential inconvenience of a man banned from the US becoming the Indian prime minister. The Global posts says Hindu fundamentalists are taking over India.

[W2] Queen Elizabeth is running out of money? Woah.

[W3] In the face of (religious?) cartels and crime, Mexico is turning to sponsored vigilantism.

[W4] A London court is putting the LDS Church on trial. With our First Amendment protections, the concept seems alien to us. Even over there, their legal experts are surprised.

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Linky Friday #57( 277 )

Filling in for my man @will-truman, I’m happy to present dozens — count ’em, dozens of links of wondrous miscellany from my travels about the web!


sochifailInternational Sport:

[IS1] About thirty per athlete — what happens if they actually use them?

[IS2] Searching for the good things at Sochi. After all, the money went somewhere.

[IS3] Also from Sochi: the Lugevideo.

[IS4] And you thought the Olympics were corrupt: wait till you hear about international cricket.

[IS5] For sale: Alisa Craig.

[IS6] When you think Brazil, you think armadillo.


fusiontesterScience and Technology:

[ST1] The roots of “Brain Training” as ADHD therapy.

[ST2] For the first time in forty years, we may actually be less than twenty years away. And that’s not the only thing uncomfortably hot out there.

[ST3] One woman’s quest to fix her broken iPad. Spoiler: she succeeds!

[ST4] The circle is now complete.

[ST5] The universe is bruised. Which is somehow comforting since we now know there are no jelly doughnuts waiting for us on Mars.

[ST6] I, for one, welcome our new nanoscopic overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted blogger, I can be helpful in rounding up stories about HIV curing cancer. They will surely influence us more powerfully than our parasites. Or our prescription medications.

[ST7] Using your mobile phone to get a date… in Antarctica.


atlasatworkGeography and Vexillology:

[GV1] Did you ever notice how often location of origin is used as a conversation starter? It may be more helpful as a political predictor.

[GV2] Virginia boldly stomps in where angels fear to tread.

[GV3] Building a jungle stadium.

[GV4] How on earth did Bosnia and Herzegovina wind up with such an ugly flag? By committee, of course! Flag enthusiasts call it “the cornflake.”

[GV5] GDP equivalency, now in convenient map form!

[GV6] Mad Rocket Scientist shares a story about a New Zealand school taking a counter-intuitive approach to the playground.  Kazzy wonders if an American school could ever get away with such a plan.  Behind the scenes, Mark Thompson expresses doubt but not necessarily for legal reasons.  Are the Kiwi’s just upside down on this?  Or are we?


gehryawfulnessFive Minute Hates:

[FH1] Every word is true, and they didn’t even get to the chain link fence fetish!

[FH2] So much money they can’t figure out what to do with it.

[FH3] Not taking the implementation of ObamaCare particularly well, are they?

[FH4] For bakers and deejays, that’s bad enough, but for cops and doctors? Just because Bobby J says it’s cool doesn’t mean he’s right.

[FH5] “And the APR on that works out to, let’s see here… four hundred and sixty percent. Sign here, please.”

[FH6] People better-looking than you wearing only their underwear out in public. It’s for charity!

[FH7] And here’s another stunt I’ll have to apologize for at a party soon. At least I’m not this guy.

[FH8] From Jonathan McLeod — “Sure, let’s be the only law firm in Canada involved in the African arms trade! What could possibly go wrong?”


lookleftThe Artistic Life:

[AL1] Yes, yes, I’ll get around to it soon.

[AL2] I’ve come across many more convincing explanations than this for the leftward perspective of an apparent majority of authors. Maybe it’s because looking that way is more attractive. Or, more likely, it’s because they never get any time off (and pretty much never get paid for their work anyway, which doesn’t seem well-calculated to environmentally engender conservatism).

[AL3] Matt Y reverse-rationalizes Panem’s economy. And a PhD draws rather more detailed conclusions about the rather more detailed economy of Westeros. Or, if you’re more of a classics aficionado, consider robotics and Star Trekenomics.

[AL4] An aspirant to be the Parisian equivalent of Bansky works in the Métro, where he trapped passengers in their subway car.

[AL5] By day, well-educated but underemployed cubicle drone; by night, pay-per-view camgirl.

[AL6] Tax law incentivizes everything, it seems.


tomatopieFood Fun:

[FF1] Antonin Scalia picks a fight. And this isn’t the first time he’s made a stand on that hill.

[FF2] ¿Dónde está el carne?

[FF3] The nuts and bolts of operating a profitable food truck.

[FF4] Here’s the sexiest artichoke you’ll read about today.

[FF5] Sexy artichokes sound better than three-year battlefield pizza.

[FF6] In case you were wondering, why do you drink orange juice for breakfast?

[FF7] What a week’s worth of groceries looks like globally.

[FF8] A young couple from Alabama gets seated at the Obamas’ table along with the President of France. They took photos of the food! (I would have, too.) Apparently, they ate better than Ye Lords and Ladies of England, who Lacketh Ye Peanut Butter.


FDouglassBlack History Month:

(This set of links and blurbs from Will Truman)

[BH1] The Holocaust Encyclopedia has an interesting article on black folks during the Holocaust.

[BH2] Tanner Colby explains why integration was a bad idea and affirmative action was a plot to deflect racial progress. #slatepitch titling aside, it’s a fascinating look at the history and the reactions from black communities at the time.

[BH3] Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria writes in The American Conservative about the legacy of Booker T Washington and the Atlanta Compromise.

[BH4] The Republican Party may have a stellar candidate in the form of Harvard-educated, African-American former Miss America Erika Harold, if only they didn’t keep trying to keep her on the sidelines. Jonathan V Last wrote about her last year.

[BH5] Howard Bryant argues that MLB needs to punch up its pitch to young black athletes. It has some really good suggestions.
Burt LikkoBurt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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Linky Friday #56( 89 )

FlowersI am subbing in for Will this week. Hopefully you find this Friday to be as if not more linky.


[C1] I have qualms about leading off with a story that makes everything else here seem trivial, but Burt Likko alerts us that Ice-T is the reader for a Dungeons & Dragons audiobook. We’re still waiting to hear when he’ll make his guest appearance on My Little Pony.

[C2] The Atlantic examines what we share on Facebook. Have you shared anything from OT? What was it? Do any of you actually use those sharey buttons at the bottom?

[C3] Speaking of one-sided sharing, Lori Gottlieb (author of Marry Him Before You Die Alone) asks, “Is the trade-off of egalitarian marriage necessarily less sexual heat?

[C4] Would you have guessed that black fathers are actually more involved with their kids’ lives than fathers of other races?

[C5] zic recommends an excerpt from M—- McA—-‘s new book on Failure at The Atlantic.


[E1] From Will Truman: Gordon Kelly argues that Lenovo’s purchase of Motorola was a genius move on par with their purchase of the ThinkPad line, and that this follows Google’s brilliance in purchasing and dumping Motorola as a pressure point against Samsung.

[E2] David Henderson notes that Paul Krugman has become a supply-sider (though for poor people).  Greg Makinaw asks whether this reduction in the supply of labor will result in higher wages and answers probably not.

[E3] The popular narrative goes that rich people are right-wingers, so winning a lottery should shift your politics to the right. Somewhat astonishingly, a researcher showed that’s what happens.


[P1] The nominee for ambassador to Argentina has never been to Argentina. (Is it OK to say “thanks, Obama” if he’s actually involved?)
Update: John Stewart has more.

[P2] When I think of companies that can’t seem to catch a break, Google, etc. do not come to mind. But Rational Conspiracy makes the argument (without making any Holocaust comparisons) that San-Francisco-influencing tech companies can do no right.

[P3] Candidates with criminal backgrounds do better in Indian parliamentary elections. (I think part of the reason is that the people there believe the criminal system can be politically motivated in who it chooses to prosecute.)

[P4] Assassinate a few Iranian nuclear scientists and no one cares, but blog about the possibility of killing them and everyone loses their minds. If you have an explanation for this behavior, please let me know.


[I1] Education-linked inequality is increasing. Said differently, even as education becomes more widely available and more widely consumed, the returns to education are higher than they’ve ever been before.

[I2] Popehat acknowledges that the otherwise sound advice to never talk to the police isn’t an equally affordable option for everyone.


[T1] Paul Thurott really doesn’t like Windows 8, and argues that the 8.1 update removes whatever strengths it had.

[T2] Penny Arcade reviews the hantavirus for mobile.


[M1] A 12-year observational study found men who consumed dairy fats were less likely to become obese. Similar cow-fat-friendly findings were found in a meta-analysis of 16 studies. Meanwhile, Seth Roberts eats half a stick of butter each day.

[M2] Teaching doctors empathy meets standardized testing:

[S]ince [a professor] can’t teach actual empathy, they teach programmed responses. The patient is in pain? You say “I see you look like you’re in pain. That must be really hard.” Patient is depressed? You say “I see you look like you’re depressed. That must be really hard.” Patient is bleeding from a huge gaping wound in her abdomen? You say “I see you look like you’re bleeding from a huge gaping wound in your abdomen. That must be really hard.”

Photo credit: Me

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Linky Friday #55( 126 )

Strange Days (1995)


[Ec1] Adam Ozimek explains how deregulation of labor licensing standards could benefit the poor.

[Ec2] John Aziz argues that the boom-bust cycle is just something that we’re going to have to get used to.

[Ec3] While the recession hit men harder than women, it’s women who are facing longer-term unemployment.

[Ec4] From Vikram Bath: “I’ve heard people calling on the government to shut down some aid program if one dollar of corruption is found. On the other hand, four of the past seven governors of Illinois have gone to prison for corruption, and to my knowledge no one has demanded that Illinois schools be shut down or its highways closed.” –Bill Gates


[Ed1] It’s an ongoing debate over whether or not we want a lot more kids going into STEM and the computer fields. However, this seems pretty unambiguously bad to me. Not just the gender and racial imbalances, but the paltry numbers coming from some parts of the country.

[Ed2] A lot of people have been arguing that there is a bubble in higher education. Here’s an argument I am less familiar with that sounds like it might have some truth to it: People who can afford college aren’t having kids, and people who can’t are.

[Ed3] Some say that college rankings are ruining higher education. I know they play a role in my alma mater restricting future enrollment growth. Looks like gaming them is effective, however.

[Ed4] In the longer term, liberal arts majors make more than professional majors. What they mean, though, is “liberal arts majors are more likely to go to grad school and so end up making more money.”

[Ed5] At Scientific American, David Skorton argues that scientists should embrace the liberal arts.


[A1] Among black liberals and a lot of white liberals, too, black conservatives suffer from a deficiency. This is often an unfair criticism, but the problem is that sometimes it’s not.

[A2] A new film about Mitt Romney points to a lack of confidence on his part as election day approached, which contradicts the book Double Down.

[A3] Kevin Williamson writes on the “big white ghetto” of Appalachia.

[A4] William Saletan looks at the numbers and says that it’s just not true that most Americans oppose the legality of most abortions. Which is right, though even by the poll he cites, most Americans support a stricter regime than Roe v Wade allows for. Oddly, American views haven’t changed since RvW passed.

[A5] Why do people need to google to ask why Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan are so cold? Can’t they look at a map? Here’s a map of people asking google why states are something they are.


[T1] A new study suggests that Facebook will lose 80% of its user base by 2017. I’ll take that bet, if only because 2017 is only three years away and I don’t see a suitable replacement on the horizon. Will Oregmus won’t take that bet either, and says the research is flawed.

[T2] Candy Crush owns the word Candy.

[T3] Amazon is talking to networks about a set top box. Kindle TV? Wired says Netflix is going to rule TV.

[T4] The future of transportation: electric cars, robocars, flying cars, and trains.


[C1] A study recently suggested that the MTV show 16 and Pregnant has reduced teenage pregnancy rates. Ryan Jacobs explains that this is not the case.

[C2] Tyler Cowen argues that streaming services encourage variety, while downloading services do not, while TechRadar laments binge-watching

[C3] According to new data, half of inmate rape is committed by guards and staff.

[C4] How in the world can you write an article about real life superheroes in costumes and not have photographs?

[C5] From Vikram Bath: “As if the day wasn’t bad enough, Seattle selecting Russell Wilson, a QB that doesn’t fit their offense at all, was by far the worst move of the draft. With the two worst moves of the draft, Seattle is the only team that received an F on draft day.”


[M1] Procrastination is often a case of sacrificing tomorrow for today. Since our tomorrow self is something of a stranger to us, it’s easy to screw that guy.

[M2] A network scientist explains that your friends on Facebook really are doing way better than you. I find increasingly that I am an odd exception in that a whole lot of my Facebook friends spend a whole lot of time complaining about their lives.

[M3] I recently wrote a link on the virtues of pessimism. Today, the benefits of optimism.


[B1] The meaning of the finger.

[B2] DNA has solved a Titanic hoax.

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Linky Friday #54( 24 )


[S1] From ScarletNumbers: The major league sports franchise with the longest tenure of futility is the Chicago Cubs, last winning the World Series in 1908. In the hopes of turning things around they have gotten themselves a mascot named Clark the Cub (Clark is the cross street of Wrigley Field). Deadspin decided to make Clark the Cub anatomically correct. CSNMA decided to use the Deadspin version in their story. D’oh! [NSFW]

[S2] From ScarletNumbers: The New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers played at Yankee Stadium Sunday. The game was delayed due to sun glare. To kill some time, the cast of Jersey Boys sung “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. The lyrics refer to “an alibi”. Apparently the closed captioner didn’t have access to the lyrics, so he made his best guess as to what they were singing: Deadspin D’oh! [NSFW]

[S3] Playoffs, once instituted, expand.


[J1] The markets for contracts. As in… hitman contracts.

[J2] Democrats want higher wages, Republicans argue that it would mean less jobs. Democrats hire more people at lower wages, while Republicans hire fewer people at higher wages.

[J3] Smart managers fire people quickly when they take over. For all of the complaints I hear about employment-at-will, I am pretty sure I’ve seen more bad people kept around than good people fired.

[J4] Recent research says that offshoring is overrated at least when it comes to R&D. I wonder if this is why we’re hearing less about its inevitability in the tech world. My own observational experiences are that it isn’t the threat that we have made it out to be (in the tech sector, at least). I’ve seen it tried at multiple employers, and it either doesn’t work out or when cuts are made they are made over there and not over here.


[H1] Kaiser has a good report from 2012 on why health care costs are rising. An interesting fact from it: In 1970, out-of-pocket costs for health care was 40% of the total. By 2010, that had fallen to 14%.

[H2] Doctors aren’t meeting PPACA’s EHR goals. At a basic level, EHR is a time-saver and win-win-win, but the amount that physicians are often being asked to put in them, if the economic incentives are not high enough, it may not be worth their time to do it.

[H3] There’s a new class of cancer treatment that may significant increase patients’ odds of survival. Unfortunately, it’s expensive. It’s pressuring physicians to control costs.


[B1] io9 has stories on rotating buildings and “skytwisters

[B2] Public Interest Design is changing how we do things. has numerous examples.

[B3] Jim Russell argues that walkability won’t attract talent. People need transit.


[A1] In in India: New handguns for rape victims. Out in India: street-typing.

[A2] South Korea is launching 5G… and its very, very fast.

[A3] Japan is aging, here’s a positive spin on how it’s adapting.

[A4] Scarlet Johansson was asked to resign her association with Oxfam due to her becoming a pitchwoman for SodaStream, an Israeli company operating on the West Bank. Among those upset about the boycott of SodaStream? Some Palestinians.


[E1] There are a lot of misperceptions about World War I. We’ve recently discovered that we have underestimated the death count by a significant margin.

[E2] Scotland is looking towards tidal power.

[E3] Suggesting that the jobless should lose benefits for failing to speak English is something you would expect a Republican to say. Instead, it’s coming from UK’s Labour Party.

[E4] A Norwegian mountianside is cut off from sunlight for six months of the year, so they’re using mirrors.

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Linky Friday #53( 62 )

Daria & Jane Pizzaria


[P1] Oil is making everyone in Norway is a millionaire.

[P2] Japan is planning to meltdown a nuclear reactor, to prevent unplanned meltdowns of reactions.

[P3] Europe is trying to block UK’s wind subsidies as it experiences a dirty coal rebirth.

[P4] We may be on the cusp of power storage innovation, which has implications for wind and solar power.

Far Out:

[F1] A ghost ship sails with cannibalistic rats on board.

[F2] For aliens living underground, astrobiologists say that there may be a lot more habitable zones than we think. Thinking of how intelligent aliens living so far underground might evolve is interesting. It’s the only sort of aliens I could imagine us coexisting with, to an extent. Also… sea anemone… alien life?

[F3] John Mack is a Harvard scientist, and he believes in alien abductions. With this, Alexa Clay writes a personal story.

[F4] Astronomers discovered a black hole orbiting a spinning star.

[F5] Katie Heaney explains how one might come to believe they’ve been abducted by aliens and why you might see ghosts.

Daria - PizzariaEntertainment:

[En1] A great article on the history of Superman, exploring the question of who can claim to have discovered him.

[En2] Hollywood is increasingly turning to the Bible.

[En3] ABC is delaying its internet release of TV shows and piracy ensues. And three-strike laws against piracy don’t work.


[M1] Will robots usher in shared wealth or a more divided society? Some have argued that automation is a driving factor behind the current stagnation of wages, but Dave Schuler isn’t convinced.

[M2] For IT staffs, is there too much supply or too much demand?

[M3] Adam Ozimek asks… why do economists disagree so much about the minimum wage?

[M4] This may be the most convincing case I have heard, to date, on the utility of the Bitcoin.


[Ed1] From Christopher Carr: This article discusses language acquisition from a medical standpoint plus some of the ways that process is different for children raised in bilingual environments.

[Ed2] A Los Angeles liberary is offering high school diplomas. Fortunaely, they don’t have to be returned.

[Ed3] Joshua Davis touts a teaching method to produce geniuses! Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry likes it, but points out that it’s over 100 years old. This sort of student-initiated learning (which isn’t quite the right description, but it’s the best I have) has the odd effect of making me feel uneasy but wishing that I could believe in it more.


[A1] The twinnish cities of Duluth (MN) and Superior (WI) are on different trajectories thanks to the state line between them.

[A2] The case for placing tech jobs to Iowa. When I lived out west, the husband of one of my wife’s colleagues was making inquiries about starting a tech company and found himself on the phone with the governor. He points to numerous cases of tech companies opening offices in unexpected places (including Dubuque, Iowa).

[A3] A part of me hopes that there’s more to this story than the guy is letting on. Some sort of suspicious behavior that warranted the attention, or that the incident was not what he says it was. The other part of me feels bad for hoping that a guy that might have been unduly harassed is a liar. Anyway, it’s the story of a guy who was (allegedly) harassed by Maryland cops for a gun that he didn’t have with him.

[A4] Excellent news! We’re probably not backing that Mexican drug cartel!

[A5] James Poulos argues that our obsession with bad romance is the ultimate first world problem.

[A6] Good news for the states offering more generous Medicaid packages: It won’t really attract sick people.

Video: From Vikram Bath: Saddleback Leather provides an instructional video to those looking to knock off their bags.

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Linky Friday #52( 95 )


[P1] According to a study, pessimism overlaps with happiness.

[P2] ESP has been debunked.

[P3] The Science Museum in London is featuring an exhibit on the history of psychology.

[P4] Here is the psychology of Winter Blues and Retail Therapy.


[L1] The New Mexico dude who was raped by cops and doctors scored $1.6m from the county. The suit against the doctors and the hospital is still outstanding.

[L2] Idaho is deprivatizing a prison.

[L3] The ranks of law enforcement are changing with rising levels of education to tackle an increasingly complex job.

[L4] The Boston Globe makes the case that Trial By Ordeal was effective… but how do you know so long after the fact who was guilty and who wasn’t to make that determination?


[H1] It was looking like PPACA maybe be putting volunteer fire departments in a pickle, but fortunately they have been declared exempt.

[H2] One of the arguments in favor of increasing insurance is that it would save the system money because people wouldn’t be abusing ER visits. Turns out, insurance increases ER visits considerably. A related Hit Coffee post here.

[H3] A neurologist makes the claim that ADHD doesn’t exit.


[A1] CNN World has some pictures of abandoned homes in Syria.

[A2] Pushed up the queue because ScarletNumbers mentioned it, here are 38 haunting, abandoned places that are fascinating to look at. Various amusement parks made the cut. I think the UFO houses in Taiwan actually look pretty cool.

[A3] Here’s a bunch of pictures of an abandoned theme park in Germany.

[A4] And lastly, a drone films an abandoned renaissance faire in the Virginia woods. (With video, in case I wasn’t clear.)


[E1] Nicholas Dawidoff explains what makes football players smart.

[E2] The Guardian argues that fans may be exerting too much influence over their favorite shows. It’s my fervent belief that comic books have been hurt immensely by focusing on fans.

[E3] I wish you could articulate and pass a law that prevented companies from doing this. If you aren’t going to sell it, then give it away!

[E4] Even though the stories themselves are dated and by today’s standards hokey, I find characters like Philip Marlowe charming in their own way.


[T1] The future of Windows. Or maybe the back to the future of Windows. We may be getting the Start Menu back.

[T2] Ubuntu (Cononical) increased their revenue in 2013, but came out twice behind.

[T3] Android app development is catching up with its marketshare.


[U1] While Chris Christie’s has been taking a hit and his general election prospects for 2016 may be hurting, he’s still polling surprisingly well, and according to one oddsmaking site is still the favorite for the 2016 GOP nomination.

[U2] The Washington Post has 40 maps that explain the world. And 40 more

[U3] A senate candidate wants to move the US capitol to Nebraska! I approve, although disagree with the rationale. Mostly.

[U4] According to Jim Russell, part of the Rust Belt’s perception problem is due to shoddy journalism.


[W1] It’s apparently not uncommon in China to send your kids to ruralia to live with the grandparents.

[W2] Japanese cars (and American ones, too), built in America, to be exported elsewhere.

[W3] In Japan, there has apparently been a cottage industry of people called wakaresaseya, whose job it is to quasi-seduce somebody into a compromising situation that you can then hold over them. Clients include people that want cause for divorce and negotiators (political and business) looking for leverage. I discovered this from a Times of London article about such an arrangement going terribly, terribly wrong. I’ve vaguely heard of this sort of thing occurring in the US and it makes a fair amount of sense (though of questionable legality). It was also shown on Melrose Place, so we know it happens.

[W4] A college acquaintance who is (or was) a freelance journalist in Syria has been missing for over a year now. It’s an epidemic.

[W5] In a strange battle in World War II, Americans, French, and Germans fought side-by-side.

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Linky Friday #51( 70 )


[M1] Food congolmerates have eliminated 6.4 trillion calories from their offerings. Thanks, (Michelle) Obama. (Some people aren’t satisfied, however.)

[M2] These cake fakes are pretty cool. The pitcher makes me want cake and a beer.

[M3] The deleterious effects of marijuana usage. Patrick Kennedy is setting off alarm bells.


[D1] Red light camera usage has, for the first time, declined in usage. My opposition to red light camera is outlined here.

[D2] Parking meters used to be aganst the law.

[D3] One way to raise revenue is to have female cops so beautiful that people will break laws and incur fines to meet her.


[T1] In the future, computers will be invisible and telemarketing will be done by cyborgs.

[T2] Using science to find a mate.

[T3] Even though I know this means that I have forfeited any right to object to the government parking drones outside my bedroom window, I actually think the “ebooks are reading you” phenomenon is pretty cool.

[T4] Experts are worried about children and tablets.

[T5] A few years back, the Internet was saved.


[P1] Republicans are perennially more self-critical than Democrats.

[P2] How DC has changed, less about the red and blue than the green.

[P3] I enjoyed season one of House of Cards, but Joshua Braver is right that it doesn’t translate well into the Americaqn political system.


[E1] The Los Angeles Times called on the California State Bar to release data to researchers looking at affirmative action.

[E2] Speaking of preferred admission criteria, children of Texas lawmakers who go to the UT School of Law are more likely to struggle once they get there.

[E3] Genetics accounts for more than half of exam result variation.

[E4] Meanwhile, if you have an hour or so, I recommend this Bloggingheads between Glenn Loury and Roland Fryer where they talk about innovation in education and an education experiment in Houston that yielded surprising results.


[L1] Software is replacing human labor… and hardware investment.

[L2] Lauren Davidson makes the case for the six hour workday.

[L3] One of the main reasons we need to do away with DST is because we’re waking up too suddenly and too early.

[L5] Adam Ozimek continues to chip away at the notion food-stamps-are-corporate-welfare meme.

[L6] Want more productive workers? Industrial cooling can deliver.

[L7] What interning at Google is really like.


[J1] Seven years ago yesterday, the iPhone rocked the smartphone market.

[J2] When Apple released the iPhone, Google had to pivot with Android and start over. No surprise, but I think I like the previous direction better.

[J3] Contrary to popular perception, Steve Jobs did listen to consumers.

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Linky Friday #50( 77 )


[J1] A Japanese soldier continued to fight World War II for almost 30 years after it ended because he couldn’t believe that Japan had lost.

[J2] Japan is looking at building a real-life Gundam!

[J3] It takes a downed balloon to get China and Japan to cooperate. It apparently takes the Olympics to the Japanese to re-evaluate immigration policy.


[I1] More than 20% of Americans will be income-rich at some point, but it often doesn’t last. Which I consider depressing, for some reason.

[I2] Previous research has suggested that Americans think that our perceptions of wealth inequality are skewed. Anyway, some new research from Saint Louis University suggests that we actually overestimate income inequality. Which mostly goes to show how poorly the entire conversation conveys the important distinction between wealth inequality and income inequality.

[I3] Women who make career sacrifices to spend more time at home are happier. What about men?


ElfPrincessRane4[E1] A recent study suggested that MOOC completion rates are really low. Kevin Carey explains why we should ignore it.

[E2] The interesting education battle between Finnish schools (touted by liberals) and Swedish schools (more comparable to what conservatives want to do). My thoughts. Both Finland and Sweden are struggling, though.

[E3] Do our medical schools need to make a point of training people future doctors in health care policy?

Science & Math:

[S1] From algae to crude oil. Yay science!

[S2] Dr. Phi analyzes whether the lottery is a smart bet.

[S3] An article in the IEEE Spectrum makes the case that the STEM crisis is a myth. Possibly by those who benefit from the existence of a crisis.


[H1] Ebenezer Scrooge was a forward-thinking liberal.

[H2] If economists wrote Christmas cards


[M1] Old maps don’t actually say “here be dragons” though a globe maybe does.

ElfPrincessRane3[M2] What are the next new countries? Maybe these are. Here are some odd national borders.

[M3] What would the United States look like if every state secessionist movement (not including North Colorado) were successful? Adam Ozimek considers the repercussions. I myself can barely conceptualize a 248-seat senate with equal representation among states.

[M4] Mapping weird sex laws in the United States.

[M5] Maps, maps, and more maps!


[C1] As the 49ers move to Santa Clara, the Atlanta Braves are moving to the suburbs.

[C2] Marvel is pulling out of bookstores, for its monthlies.

[C3] When it comes to global generosity, Americans rule.

[C4] French books don’t really sell abroad. BBC News asks why.

[E7] Teen pregnancy, abortion, and sex rates decline. Thanks, Obama.


[P1] Our patent system is out of control. Thanks, Carter.

[P2] Some of the people that PPACA is guiding towards Medicaid are going to be in for a surprise when they find out their estate can be billed for it.

[P3] Good policy or not, Romneycare did very little to hold down costs. Massachusetts has the highest health costs in the country.

[P4] Former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer appears to be running for president. He appears not to be running for Hillary Clinton’s second spot.

[P5] Our triumph in South Sudan is falling apart.

[P6] Due to a tweak in IRS rules, restaurants may stop adding the gratuity automatically to large group checks, and this is maybe a bad thing.

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Linky Friday #49( 104 )


yesminister[En1] The decline of oil.

[En2] Smart street lights may save energy. Imagine, of course, what robocars will do.

[En3] The media has focused quite a bit on the upheavel caused by the energy boom in North Dakota. David Blackmon explains what its own oil boom means to West Texas and the Texas economy.

[En4] Romania is building a new kind of nuclear reactor while Austria is worried about regulation and restrictions with its wind power industry.

[En5] Europe hopes to replicate US success in fracking. Obviously, they don’t read the NYT, which indicates that all fracking does is make everybody miserable.


[C1] It’s not for me, since I have my hair care needs taken care of at chains without so much as the twirling barber post out front, but given that my grandfather was a barber, I’ll always have an attachment to the idea of barbershops.

[C2] We’re along way from Ted Turner’s colorization of old movies. Some of these pictures look pretty realistic.

[C3] The anti-communist propaganda posters of the 20th century were pretty awesome.

[C4] Nameberry presents some of the top names from 1962 that are due for a comeback. I’ll be honest: There are some pretty good names in there.


[Eu1] The French are learning English on train rides. One of my great regrets is that I never took advantage of my long commutes to get a hold on Spanish.

[Eu2] Something I didn’t know: Slovak was once a hotbed of libertarianism. Dalibor Rohac explains how that came to be, and how Slovak lost its libertarian streak.

[Eu3] Spain is preventing a vote on Catalonian independence.


[He1] Yes! You can be fat and healthy! No, you can’t!

[He2] Meanwhile, mice may change the conversation on obesity, and a weight loss chip may obviate it.

[He3] Our best weapon against heroin addiction is being stigmatized.

[He4] MSG has long been denigrated as unsafe and all that, perhaps unfairly so. Interestingly, MSG shares significant commonality with umami, one of the latest “in” foods.

[He5] As per usual, reading this list of things that workers at chain restaurants refuse to eat makes me hungry. Great point about the Big Mac, though. This, on the other hand, makes me never want to eat the food discussed.

[He6] Children have an innate fear of plants.


[T1] GoogleBBS.

[T2] David Golumbia argues that the left’s embrace of the “digital freedom” movement is a betrayal of lefty ideals.

[T3] Dallas Cowboys owner uses a flipphone. Money is getting tight in the Himmelreich-Truman household and I’ve been considering going back to a regular phone and using the smartphone on WiFi.

[T4] The Star Trek economy.

[T5] A movable city! I’m not sure of the practical utility, but pretty awesome all the same.


[Ho1] I’ve long considered Richard Florida’s “Creative Class” was basically a scam to justify cities spending money on the preferences of its financially comfortable. Richey Piiperinen thinks it might have been something more nefarious.

[Ho2] Introducing, the $20,000 house!

[Ho3] “Despite the recent growth of big city downtowns, there is no widespread shift toward dense, urban living. Instead, the long term suburbanization of America continues.”

[Ho4] I am, on certain things at least, rather cynical. I rarely hear “smart growth” in contexts that lead me to believe that it is a referrence to anything but “limited growth” which is fine as long as you’ve got yours. Owen Courreges argies that easier growth is the real smart growth.

[Ho5] Richard Florida has discovered that suburbs are the new swing states! Actually, they’ve always been. Even so, and despite being written by Florida, it points out some interesting things on the economic factors of suburban politics.

[Ho6] How to have sex in communal living spaces.

[Ho7] How the Big Sort happened.


[Ec1] Michael Strain has some ideas on how conservatives can attack the problem of long-term unemployment.

[Ec2] The Pacific Standard has a really good piece on the rise and fall of Intrade, and its CEO.

[Ec3] Ezra Klein explains the importance of full employment.

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No Heroics - Hotness BurnEducation & Development:

[E1] Despite my geeky tendencies, I am only a recent convert to the potential of technology in education. My reluctance here is due in part of the silliness of its boosters.

[E2] What’s wrong with the Millenials? According to Brooke Donatone, it’s not entitlement but parental overinvolvement.

[E3] College degrees in Britain are losing their premium.

[E4] Jathan Sadowski argues that pushing people to code will only increase the gap between the wealthy and the poor. I personally think that we should push more people into taking programming classes not because of the coding part but because the process teaches you a lot about logic paths. But the article is probably right that for some people it might be more worthwhile that they learn more pedestrian material.


[G1] Superheroes are a bunch of fascists! No, they’re not.

[G2] One of my favorite games when I was younger was Bard’s Tale. So even though I’m not much into cyberpunk, this has my interest.


[D1] eHarmony’s blog asks how long should you wait before proposing (or expecting a proposal)?

[D2] If you want to attract people on your dating site, you should show pictures of yourself with other people.

[D3] Russians do pretty awesome online dating profiles.

Death & Injury:

[DI1] Loneliness is killing us.

[DI2] Plausible alien scenarios! Well, I don’t know about plausible, but more plausible than a lot of scenarios.

[DI3] A man is selling his testical for $35,000.

[DI4] The link beween sports concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy may be overstated.


[A1] As Taiwan becomes more competitive, wages go down.

[A2] Japan’s demographic cliff.

[A3] China’s newest city has a weird name: Detroit.

[A4] Apparently it’s not uncommon in India for girls to be named “unwanted” (or its hindi equivalent). The girls are changing their names.

[A5] In emerging markets, finding and keeping top managers is tough.

Latin America:

[LA1] Mexican drug cartels are exporting… ore?

[LA2] Mexico is liberalizing its oil business.

[LA3] Mapping redheads, across Europe and the United States.

[LA4] Michael Totten laments the once great city of Havana.

[LA5] There were elections in Honduras, and results were approved by both the UN and the NACLA, but a lot of folks remain quite dissatisfied.

United States:

[US1] The western half of the Trumanverse map would look mighty different if I’d known about the John Wesley Powell watershed map. Here’s one mapping all fifty states. Speaking of maps, here’s an interview with the man who is perhaps America’s best mapmaker.

[US2] In 1959, 60% of Americans believed that handguns should be banned.

[US3] Madison prides itself on its progressivity, but there are some unpleasant statistics on race under the hood. Which probably tell you more about the statitics, and the many things than influence them, than anything about racism in Madison.

[US4] I can totally buy the notion that Seattle is becoming the next tech capital. It already has lots of jobs and its economy is rocking. The fact that we can attribute this to affordability, though, is kind of problematic. Because it’s not, really, except by the standards we choose our elite cities in such a way that we can easily price out large numbers of people.

[US5] Trust is an issue.

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Linky Friday #47( 65 )



[P1] Progress! Bill Gates’s condom challenge is about to be met! This is important!

[P2] Aspartame includes E Coli feces. Which goes to show how awesome is: it can make bacterial feces taste good.

[P3] A fax machine… to copy life onto Mars!

[P4] Google Books got a favorable ruling from the courts, and according to Tim Lee we will all benefit.


[W1] Bring the apprentice model to the US.

[W2] Big Data is making some real headway on the human resources front.

[W3] The senate proposal to raise the minimum wage is very robot-friendly.

[W4] A town in Wyoming was sold to a Vietnamese man, who hopes to use it to launch a coffee empire.


[S1] From Mike Schilling: Marvin Miller once more denied entrance to the Hall of Fame.

[S2] In 1992, Nugget II, the University of Southern Mississippi live mascot, died in a cloud of controversy. The case is back on.

[S3] A Chicago Bear is retiring to become a firefighter.


[C1] Mormons tend to like things upbeat, which presents problems in a cultural scene that prefers the dark.

[C2] US Airways tried to kick a blind man and his dog off a flight when the dog got restless after a couple hours on the runway. The passengers revolted.

[C3] Go through Cultural Sensitivity and Cultural Acceptance and hang a left to end up back at segregation and intolerance.

[C4] Dating is one of the few areas where racial preferences are considered to be completely acceptable. Here are some statistics revealed by online dating.

[C5] Jack Hunter, the Southern Avenger, wrote a really good piece for Politico on how the identity came to be. It provides a lot of good background into why a lot of people are as they are, and why certain groups are as well.


[G1] From Christopher Carr: A thought-provoking article from Al Jazeera on the lonely denouement of whistle-blowers.

[G2] An Iowa truancy law wants you to drop the dime on your homeschooling neighbors. As an aside, we can have truancy laws, or we can require childhood vaccination to attend school, but I’m not sure we can do both.

[G3] Some are concerned that PPACA will be damaging to Health Savings Accounts, while the LVRJ argues that they are more popular than ever.

[G4] three-headed-snakeRegulation in DC is taking down a food truck icon.

[G5] “Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect … We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side.” The tool in question being the ability to not charged with a felony due to the technicality that they did not find any drugs in your car or any proof that you are actually a drug dealer.

Health & Safety:

[H1] From Christopher Carr: One possible reason why America’s poor are paradoxically overweight.

[H2] New York is making the case that it no longer matters who can breathe whose air, we don’t want to watch people smoking (or looking like they are). Meanwhile, Heathrow Airport is setting up a vaping zone.

[H3] More distracting to drivers than mobile phones? Children. And since mobile phones are as bad as drunk driving, kids make drunk drivers out of the lot of us.

[H4] I feel let down that the local McD’s didn’t take part in the McRib comeback. People love to hate McRib’s, and love to love them because they’re supposed to hate them, but ultimately they’re not much different from McNuggets.

[H5] Here’s an argument against density: It allows you to smoke in your own home.

[H6] Our post-antibiotic future is a scary one! Not to worry, though, Megan McArdle is really worried about it, and I’ve been duly informed that if she thinks it’s bad than it’s either actually good or it’s not happening. Whew.


[E1] India’s next prime minister may be banned from the United States.

[E2] From Christopher Carr: A truly poignant an haunting photo-essay from beginning to end.

[E3] From James K: The New Zealand Defence Forces have done an “It Gets Better” video.

[E4] Speigel had an interesting article on Germany’s energy shortage. (Via Jamez Aitch, I think)


[B1] From Christopher Carr: Pilots have near-death and out-of-body experiences when subjected to extreme gravity. Relatedly, a great place to start any Wikipedia binge and reason why future spaceflight will be increasingly robotic.

[B2] The story of a pilot who had a near-death-out-of-body experience… except with proof? (Link via Jaybird)

[B3] From Mark Thompson: Apparently, the entire universe is a hologram.

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Linky Friday #46( 207 )


[E1] Some history and present of South Korea’s education history. There’s a lot familiar in there.

[E2] There is apparently a movement to couple social justice and math. Which, to me, sounds like a great way to give some people another reason to tune out of math by associating it with something that can be disagreed with.

[E3] Charter schools not only show improvements in test scores, but have better outcomes that cannot so easily be gamed.

[E4] Mr. Feeny!


[P1] Alex Payne takes a tough look at operating systems and their makers, both of the computer and phone variety.

[P2] UPS’s security questions are creepy.

[P3] China’s smog crisis is reaching titanic proportions.


[H1] The Big Sort has an economic angle. Especially when you have kids. Economic segregation is on the rise.

[H1] Joel Kotkin argues that the burbs are back!

[H1] A charity is working on putting homeless people in shipping containers. To live, not to be shipped.

[H1] San Fransisco is overflowing. Given the geographic constraints, this may be the only way.

[H1] As bad as our housing issues are, at least we’re not Britain.


[J1] From Christopher Carr: I’m not sure I agree that people with a criminal record not having the same job success as people who have never been convicted of a crime is a bad thing. Obviously people can change, but if you’ve dug that kind of hole for yourself, it is not unreasonable that society expects you to climb out.

[J2] Go Central, young man! To Omaha! Okay, it’s not for everyone, but there are some serious opportunities in the middle even away from the oil fields and outside of Texas.

[J3] Adam Ozimek and Megan McArdle make some good points about those complaining about the “corporate welfare” of food-stamps to low-wage employees. These are benefits we want some folks to have, which doesn’t necessitate an obligation on their part (low-wage employers) to obviate their necessity.

[J4] I can’t say that I draw much in the way of conclusions from it, but this look at slave management and modern management technique is quite interesting.

[J5] PolicyMic has an interesting map on where the disconnected youth are.


[A1] Aaron David passes along The American Nations. The El Norte bit is particularly interesting. Yankeedom is weird (Fargo?!). As luck will have it, the next Trumanverse map (3.11… I’m making the finishing touches, I think) will include a New Netherland.

[A2] Hell on Earth! Or, well, Hell in America.

[A3] Anthony Esolen argues that we learned the wrong lessons from Prohibition.

[A4] I love how we can’t raise gas taxes because the people will never stand for it, so we must instead find new ways to tax people for driving.

[A5] Texas A&M and Baylor have found evidence suggesting that America was populated in a way differently than previously supposed. The article is more interesting than my description. (via Mr. Blue)


[D1] A cool look at Salt Lake City’s unconventionally force-avoidant police chief.

[D2] Salt Lake City is a hub of economic mobility.

[D3] Mormons are reaching out to the Amerindian tribes, through gardening.

[D4] Utah may be taking advantage of labor relation discord and getting a new Boeing plant.

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Linky Friday #45( 73 )


[E1] The Denver Post on solar and wind. I will remain skeptical of such things until they actually start to compete with other energy sources on a similar level of subsidy, but I do remain hopeful.

[E2] Reservations contain almost a third of coal reserves west of the Mississippi, and some tribespeople are not pleased about the War on Coal. Government policy aside, the gas boom is taking its toll on Coal Country.


[H1] Hold on tight, we may be about to undergo a Sriracha shortage.

[H2] The story of the octopus that almost ate Seattle is interesting on a number of levels.

[H3] How a non-consensual rat/duck tryst created a flesh-eating platypus that terrorized Australia.

[H4] A lot of smartypantses have been pointing out that there was no mass panic over the War of the Worlds broadcast. A world in which that did occur is more interesting than a world in which that did not occur, so I choose to ignore them.


[C1] Are our public universities going private?

[C2] From Jonathan McLeod: Flinder Boyd travels across the country with TJ Webster, a street-baller who is looking for one chance to make it big.

[C3] From Vikram Bath: “[W]hen social and economic conditions were difficult, older, heavier, taller Playboy Playmates of the Year with larger waists, smaller eyes, larger waist-to-hip ratios, smaller bust-to-waist ratios, and smaller body mass index values were selected.”

[C4] Is this the beginning of the end of TV’s golden era? The patterns are potentially forming for a rut. Even so, I’d argue that recent success has been such while a rut is possible, the nature of the medium has changed outside of specific genre. Creativity is a part of it, but so is formatting. The most substantial changes are that TV isn’t so geared towards episode-friendly syndication anymore, and shows no longer require nearly such broad appeal. Those are fundamental changes, and it’s unlikely they are going away. (link via Christopher Carr)

[C5] Shockingly, receiving oral sex on an airplane will hurt your reputation.


[G1] Young entrepreneurs, meet the tax-collectors. (Kids told they have to explain why they don’t owe $200 on $14 they made at a craft sale.)

[G2] The return of the flophouse!

[G3] “The government overreach implicated in banning a harmless product because its testing regimen isn’t good enough to distinguish yogurt from mind-altering substances is apparently lost on the people who make decisions about such things.”

[G4] The Dutch welfare state is getting some increased scrutiny. The King says it’s over.

[G5] Esquire talks about our political center.

[G6] Deer-crossing and children-at-play signs don’t work. Sensible state that it is, Minnesota is getting rid of them.

Health Care:

[HC1] Darius Tahir argues that we should lift doctor-licensing restrictions. While opposition to this is always chalked up as financial – and often is – I’ve heard pushback on this even from doctors who genuinely want the shortage alleviated. There are other factors at play, both bad (professional arrogance) and good (concern over care).

[HC2] If you’re a liberal upset at your insurance premiums rising under PPACA, fortunately you have dKos contributors to tell you how stupid and ungrateful you are.

[HC3] Right now, all of the talk is about how PPACA will affect individual coverage. The other side of the coin is that it will affect group coverage, as well.


[W1] That different country called the past: Rebecca Rosen unearthed the internal memo that allowed IBM’s female employees to get married.

[W2] The Chinese like the American optimism of 2 Broke Girls think the French lazy are lazy. Some of the French are actually anxious to maybe work more.

[W3] According to the Atlanta Fed President, we have too much job stability.

[W4] Douglas Rothschild writes about the Juggalo Ethos and how it’s our future. This touches on some of my greatest fears with regard to inequality and what it will mean for our culture.

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