Latest Linkage

Morning Ed: Society {2016.02.24.W}( 58 )

As far as “How to fix Twitter” suggestions go, these from Randi Harper seem really good. I think it’s important to allow pseudonymity, but favoring those who are willing to unmask – or at least submit their phone number to Twitter itself – seems prudent.

Say whatever you might about Tim Tebow, but this is really cool.

Was a denounced and retracted article on SB Nation the product of The Cult of Longform Writing?

Companies tracking employee pregnancies seems creepy, but Emily Crockett says we shouldn’t be so freaked out.

Arrh! Return of the Research Pirates.

Nuh-uh. Couples should never be married without their active consent ever. I’m fine with the status quo, go back and forth on the French option, and oppose the Australian one.

Grady Smith argues that the tension between country music’s party-boy style and religion is doing both a disservice. I checked out of the contemporary country scene some time ago, but if the depiction is accurate it’s a shame. Many of the best religious songs I ever heard were country, and some of the best country songs religious.

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.02.23.T}( 58 )

As immigrants assimilate and intermarry, it’s becoming harder to see the lines and count the people on each side.

Feral hogs are running rampant in Texas. Over 750,000 killed, but a growing population all the same.

If you’re looking to leave the country when Donald Trump becomes president, Nova Scotia may want you!

Some NIMBYs in California needed some residents to object, so they hired actors.

Are trafficked prostitutes victims or perpetrators of crime?

Ali Shakur doesn’t want to be black anymore. I debated whether or not to share this one, but it was a fascinating read and decided to do so. Please comment with care.

The map you’ve all been waiting for: Squirrel-sourced power outages. Also, who knew there were so many goats in Texas (maybe the Rams should have gone to San Antonio?).

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.01.21.M}( 72 )

Bruce Frohnen asks whether the Republican Party can survive and Mark Malvasi wonders if we’ve reached the end of ideas.

George Packer investigates why leftists go right.

I’ve never been one to believe that a brokered convention is right around the corner, but this time around I think it’s more possible than it’s ever been. Candidates are preparing for it.

What can Bernie Sanders really do about mass incarceration? Ryan Cooper says that he can lead the way on bail reform.

In order to continue accepting welfare benefits, Utah may be requiring “Self-Reliance Training.”

What would be the effect of a Bloomberg candidacy? Probably negligible, but if Sanders somehow wins the Democratic nomination and Trump (or maybe Cruz) wins the Republican nomination, he could be the biggest third-party candidate since Wallace.
Betting markets for elections fascinate me.

David Wasserman explains why Ted Cruz has a mathematically tough path to the nomination. If politics doesn’t work out, maybe he can go back to teaching law where he was apparently quite popular.

In 2009, Gabriel Rossman wrote about Astro-baptists, the child of astroturfers and Baptists that leads to corporate alliances with identity groups.

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Linky Friday #154: Whisky, Sexy, Freedom( 119 )


Book of Mormon photo

Image by ImNotQuiteJack

[R1] When looking at religious observance and engagement, nobody beats the Mormons. In 2006, Will Wilkinson wondered if Objectivists should become Mormons.

[R2] Conservatives beware: Actually reading the Bible may make you more liberal.

[R3] Amber Lapp says that religions are not doing a good job of making people in non-prescribed family formations welcome, which she says is a problem because that’s where it could be most needed.

[R4] A bible professor believes that the Bible actually says that Eve was created from Adam’s privates.


manatee photo

Image by psyberartist

[N1] Some romances are not meant to be, I’m afraid.

[N2] Check out the sea cow convention.

[N3] While you may be able to eat alligators for Lent, you should not throw alligators through drive-thru windows.

[N4] When polar bears get frisky.

[N5] RIP, 150,000 penguins and a dolphin. {via Chris}


democracy photo

Image by pipcallas

[D1] “On subjects like this in our intellectual world, usually there just is no “debate”; there are just different sides who separately market their points of view.”

[D2] The Cultural Cognition Project looks at fact polarization and how it trumps value polarization. The question is… are people interpreting factual questions as an invitation for a value response? {Tweet}

[D3] Another brick on the wall of cocooning ideologies. Now made even easier!

[D4] Todd Seavey writes of The Triumph of the Insult and the failure of the mainstream political system, while Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that Trump rises because conservatives have failed his supporters.

[D5] Who should Obama nominate to the Supreme Court? How about himself?

[D6] For a guy who elevated himself to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner has some weirdly off political instincts.


Kanye West photo

Image by iShot71

[E1] Bethany Mandel says that we shouldn’t laugh at Kanye West and other celebrities cracking up, and to an extent I agree… but I still laughed at this.

[E2] The inheritability – and lack of predictive power – of “grit.”

[E3] Freddie deBoer looked at Purdue University’s newest pretty (and very empty) building, and contrasts it with important existing facilities, putting in a good word for cost-conscious alternatives. I’m personally a little bummed because I found out they’re tearing down the dorm I lived in for four years, and replacing it with more luxurious accommodations. They won’t be empty, at least.

[E4] Karl Miller argues that we need to stop looking at technical schools as some sort of consolation prize, while Sarah Grant looks at coding boot camps, and attempts to ascertain their effectiveness for loan purposes.


sex photo

Image by ndanger

[S1] There will apparently be a referendum on the ballot in California to require pornography actors to wear condoms. This was just shot down by state regulators, and Scott Weiner explains why it’s a bad idea. It remains the law in Los Angeles

[S2] Desde La Fe attempts to make the case for saving sex until marriage. Relatedly, here are some facts about waiting.

[S3] Shedding some light on the long-term implications of short-tenure sex.

[S4] The perils of being casual about sex and serious about consent and Rebecca Traister argues that we need to be talking about the ways that sex can be both consensual and bad.

[S5] Well, these blokes seem like right-fine gentlemen. (And that title. Ugh.)

[S6] Economists investigated the notion that sex tends to make people happy by trying to encourage some couples to have more sex, and it did not make them happier.

[S7] Sex myths!


freedom photo

Image by Moyan_Brenn

[F1] Actor Waris Ahluawalia was allegedly banned from a Mexico City to New York flight on account of his turban and Aaron Saltzman says that he was interrogated for reading an article about Daesh.

[F2] Refugee girls dressing up as what they want to be when they grow up.

[F3] Some Cubans aren’t so sure about normalization with the United States.

[F4] Jason Brennan argues that closed border advocacy arguments lend themselves to anti-liberty arguments.

[F5] Is there really any way that gun control can work in the age of 3D printers?


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Morning Ed: Society {2016.02.18.Th}( 110 )

Gnosticism and X-Files: Was Fox Mulder wasting his life? {via Zac}

Following up on a tweetstorm on the matter, Noah Smith explains the majesty of the 90’s. goes on to write a blog post about it.

Payton Manning is on top of the world right now, but his sordid past may be catching up with him. Bob Kravitz, though, is skeptical.

Meghan Neal writes of the tension between term papers and Wikipedia articles. What is the best focus of a brilliant mind, term papers or Wikipedia articles?

Punk and heavy metal may have a calming influence. Only tangential, but when I used to get sleepy while driving late at night, I’d try to find a Tejano station.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown explains how museums in Europe are renaming some classics to conform to modern sensibilities. I don’t reject this out of hand, when especially egregious or when they weren’t named by the original artists, but… treat carefully is all.

John McWhorter explains what OJ Simpson taught him about being black.

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.02.17.W}( 66 )

Zaid Jilani argues that ex-presidents get generous pensions precisely so that they don’t have to engage in Clintonesque speaking tours. Anti-Clinton angle aside (obviously, it’s not just the Clintons), it’s an interesting history.

In an article lamenting the lack of regulation for tax preparation services, Ben Steverman points out that tax preparers actually have a worse track record than amateurs. Some of that may be due to the complexity of the returns they hand.

The ABA is cracking down on underperforming law schools with simpler-but-tougher bar-passage requirements.

Assimilation: Still not a problem.

The Hmong seem to be doing pretty well in the US.

When it comes to religion, the US is in the middle of the pack, but compared to wealthy countries we are a major outlier.

With Planned Parenthood defunded, Texas is looking to fill the gap that was created.

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Morning Ed: Cities {2016.02.16.Tu}( 16 )

The science of cities is looking at universal rule of business/city growth.

Here’s a novel NIMBY argument: If you build that elevated train, pedophiles will look at our children.

Tim Harford makes the relatively obvious but important point that London’s outrageous cost of living is a liability created by its own success.

Jonathan Manthorpe explains how foreign investment in has changed Vancouver, hitching the fate of the city to the fate of China.

Thirty embarrassing facts about thirty cities or so. I actually only knew about The Strip not being in Las Vegas proper because of UNLV being in the same townlet.

Reno seems to be bringing in some tech firms. That… seems to make sense. You have a flagship university, proximity to California but not so expensive and a different regulatory environment. Or, if we insist on California, Fresno?

Refusing change is indeed not the way to Keep Austin Weird. Unsurprisingly, I oppose anti-group housing laws.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.02.15.M}( 28 )

Adam Eisenstate talks about his time as Donald Trump’s ghostwriter.

Will Trump win the nomination on the strength of the Hispanic vote?

Kevin Drum explains why Bernie Sanders isn’t talking about welfare reform.

This is why Republicans can’t have nice things: Jeb targets Rubio over the disconnect between his taste in music and his concern for culture. There’s… really a tension here between the kinds of entertainment that culturally conservative (or “culturally cautious” since many would be loathe to use the “word “conservative”) worry about their kids consuming, and what they actually want to consume themselves.

Rebecca Nelson writes of The Secret Republicans of Silicon Valley. I can’t speak of Silicon Valley, but I will say that there was no place I kept a tighter lid on my heterodoxical beliefs than when I was in the Pacific Northwest. Everyone in Deseret assumed – for the most part – that I was a radical liberal. But that was okay, because I was not as alone as a radical liberal in Deseret as I would have been a conservative where I was working. (The team leader adjacent to us was a Paulite. He was treated more as a gadfly than a villain, though, so there’s that.)

Greta Christina argues that being socially liberal but economically conservative isn’t enough. Some good points, though #4 and #5 assume a disagreement that may not exist, assuming that aggressive policing and the war on drugs are economically, rather than socially, conservative positions.

Here’s an interesting interview with Leah Wright Rigueur, who wrote a book called The Loneliness of the Black Republican, which looks at the history of the group and the party.

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Morning Ed: Dating {2016.02.14.Su}( 136 )

While height works more or less the way you might expect, obese men and women have more sexual partners than their normal-weight counterparts.

Opposites don’t attract. I like how the article confirms what I’ve previously said about women insisting on a greater degree of similarity than men. Articles are more trustworthy when they confirm what I’ve previously said.

Dating sites catfishing clients… it’s not just for Americans.

Women may have the reputation for being attracted to bad boys, but men like their nonconformists, too.

Tanya Lewis explains why the dating scene is pretty bad for women right now.

Assortive mating is on the rise, returning to Gilded Age levels.

Steven E Rhoads on The High Costs of a Low “Price” For Sex. Possibly related. (Some NSFW images on the second link)

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Linky Friday #153: Oh, Canada( 76 )


moldova photo

Image by osti.andrea

[Eu1] The uprising in Moldova is not what they’re telling us it is! There is an uprising in Moldova? I had no idea…

[Eu2] I am happy to report that I did know that Moldova existed, though, because I’d heard of the cemetery.

[Eu3] The Daily Mail reports that had Russia attacked London, Britain would not have retaliated.

[Eu4] Ostana, Italy, has welcome a young baby into its community. The first since 1987.

[Eu5] A runaway freighter was headed for the French coast, but Little Toot came to the rescue.

[Eu6] Some Iraqi refugees are disappointed with Europe and looking to go home.

[Eu7] BBC looks at the gender imbalance in Sweden, which among 16-17 year olds outstrips that of China.


Image by scazon

Image by scazon

[C1] No longer can you reduce your prison sentence in Romania by writing a book.

[C2] In Ottawa, a man is jailed for not having a cat license.

[C3] Periodically, a severed foot washes up on Canadian shores.

[C4] Well, this Texas town may be hopelessly corrupt, but at least the corruption displayed diversity.

[C5] What are Dutch police going to do when they see a rogue drone? Have an eagle take the drone out. That’s what.

[C6] A funeral has an unexpected guest.

[C7] According to a new study, segregated schools mean more crime.


Image by

Image by

[D1] A candidate in Oshawa, Canada, has changed his name to Znoneofthe Above.

[D2] The Internet was supposed to lead to a democratic revolution. Instead, it may be killing local democracy.

[D3] Iain Martin explains how Britain could get an early election, while professor Bart Cammaerts suggests that right-wing media cost Miliband the last one.

[D4] The pleasant face of ugly politics in Germany, and the violence of its radical left and radical right.

[D5] If Bloomberg ran for president, would he throw the general election to Donald Trump?


Image by tobo

Image by tobo

[G1] The Philadelphia Parking Authority has been working with taxis to shut down Uber drivers.

[G2] Vice presents a horrible story of a substance abuse testing lab, in conjunction with one of Toronto’s premier children’s hospitals, ruined lives over two decades. I wrote a bit about it on Hit Coffee.

[G3] What does “healthy” mean, anyway? Who decides? The FDA, apparently.

[G4] David Frum says that the trade-off between security and liberty is a false one. As does Reason’s Ronald Bailey, though in markedly different ways.

[G5] Squarely Rooted argues that we should fix the United States by abolishing states. I disagree, of course, as I see a nation as gargantuan as the United States requiring a degree of regional autonomy and I think this should be approached through historical borders rather than trying to draft new ones. I do, of course, agree with him about consolidating government at the lower level.


princeton photo

Image by Nouhailler

[Ed1] Interesting: For the first time in 35 years, Princeton will accept transfers. Diversity goals is one motivation, athletics another.

[Ed2] Firing bad teachers can lead to educational improvements, but if you want to go that route you are likely going to need to pay the survivors more.

[Ed3] Alexander Russo would like us to change the narrative when we talk about “the teacher shortage.”

[Ed4] How do colleges respond to increased financial aid? Do I really even need to say?

[Ed5] A recent meta-analysis reveals the obvious, that college majors and personalities tend to be related. So what should we think of those who enroll in Stanford’s pilot program to blend computer science and the humanities.

[Ed6] All hail the Liberal Arts College! I went to a big school, but I wish that more states would try to set up some upper-echelon rivals to the private schools.

[Ed7] “About fifty-four per cent of [liberal arts] graduate students report feeling so depressed they have “a hard time functioning, as opposed to ten per cent of the general population.”

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.02.11.Th}( 54 )

I would prefer a greater disparity – and preferably, determined at the local level on the basis of local needs – but I’m glad that Oregon at least recognized that not everywhere needs the same minimum wage.

Henry Louis Gates Jr tells the inspiring story of Robert Smalls, a slave who sailed himself to freedom and landed in the US House of Representatives.

Phoenix, Arizona: New home of disgraced evangelist Mark Driscoll and home to victorious Satanists.

Allan Bouruis at HotAir has a really strong piece on immigration.

A new study looks at the gender gap between girls and boys (with the former outperforming the latter) and determines that schools are at fault. At least, partially. On the other hand, boys just do more poorly when poor generally.

South Dakota’s sobriety program seems like something other states definitely should consider, while North Dakota leads the way on state spending for tobacco prevention.

The rise of the Second Ku Klux Klan, mapped. Relatedly, Lyman Stone looked at the demographic history of slavery in the United States.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.02.10.W}( 48 )

Loneliness is a public health hazard that may be akin to smoking and obesity. Remember, though, how justified we are in socially isolating smokers and the obese because their behavior is so unhealthy.

The US (or is it North America generally?) has its own wizarding school! So does Africa, which turns out to be controversial.

Peter Tatchell has changed his mind on the gay cake issue. It’s a bit different from the wedding cake issue over here, though, as it required a specific message being put onto the cake.

Since it’s been on for over 20 years now, I guess it makes sense that they can reboot Power Rangers with some nostalgia value.

How to bend people to your will [PDF] on the Internet. I mean, win arguments. I mean, bring people around to your obvious correctitude.

Good employers are let go or chased off on a regular basis due to employers’ failure to understand this. Also, how cool would it be if more employers understood this?

As many predicted, all-day breakfast at McDonald’s has proven to be a smashing success.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.02.09.T}( 114 )

David Sessions argues that Hillary Clinton’s political philosophy is about the protection of elite privilege.

Liberal actor Richard Dreyfuss attended a Ted Cruz rally. His son Harry explains that no explanation should be needed, but gives one anyway.

The 2016 quiz is better than the 2012 one, but ISideWith decided that Rick Santorum’s views are closer to Marco Rubio’s than Rick Santorum’s.

Social Conservative Jonathan Last kinda likes Bernie Sanders, while Nate Silver explains the crossover appeal between Sanders and Ron Paul.

Where Hollywood Republicans stand in the GOP race.

Prajwal Kulkarni argues that the GOP is spending too much time with the Latino vote and not enough time with the black vote. As crazy as this might sound, relatively small gains in the black vote would take the GOP further than large gains in the Hispanic vote.

Jazz Shaw’s piece on marital vote-splitting is a good read. My wife and I tend to vote the same way, for the most part, though one year our state had six referenda on everything and we voted the opposite direction on all six… while voting for 75% of the same candidates.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.02.08.M}( 78 )

The unemployment rate for elephants in Myanmar is at about 40%, and it’s causing problems.

Greg Grandin takes issue with American posturing about democracy in Haiti.

Here’s how Facebook is handling its Hate-Speech problem in Germany, and here are how some Brazilians are making their own justice.

The Bank of Canada would like to ask you to kindly stop spocking currency.

Yair Rosenberg reflects on Justin Trudeau’s omission of the Jewish in a recent Holocaust remembrance.

Meanwhile, according to an Oberlin student the Holocaust was just white on white crime and Anthony Berteaux writes more on the exclusion of Jews on account of their privilege.

On the bright side, here’s a nice story about Jews and Muslims working at butcher shops together.

The Telegraph’s Charles Moore feels betrayed by the “deal” Cameron made with the EU, but Philippe Legrain says he got even more than expected from the negotiations while Iain Martin says that Cameron is outmaneuvering the Euroskeptics. For now.

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Linky Friday #152: Russian History( 109 )


4662780391_64950c212c_m_Crimea[Ru1] Turns out, it’s good to marry the daughter of the king. Not so good to be a critic, because mysterious illness.

[Ru2] The Old Believers are a fundamentalist sect that fled into Siberia in 1930’s Soviet Union later to be discovered in 1978. It’s a fascinating story.

[Ru3] Dave Schuler watched August, Eight, a Russian movie on the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, which gives a view of the war from the Russian side.

[Ru4] Tim Marshall writes of Russia’s unfortunate geography, and why it’s so concerned with its eastern neighbors. The annexation of Crimea, though, turned out to be pretty expensive.

[Ru5] Alexander J Motyl explains what he believes to be the coming collapse of the Putin regime.


Walter_Duranty[M1] Chris Hughes is apparently selling the New Republic in favor of a new house.

[M2] What happened to the paparazzi? The subjects of the media are in revolt.

[M3] Kelly McBride looks at the ethics of how Bloomberg should treat Bloomberg.

[M4] “One of those wrecked ships carried a cat, and the crew went back to save it. I made the cat the feature of my story, while the other reporters failed to mention the cat, and were called down by their city editors for being beaten. The next time there was a shipwreck there was no cat; but the other ship news reporters did not wish to take chances, and put the cat in. I wrote a true report, leaving out the cat, and then I was severely chided for being beaten. Now when there is a shipwreck all of us always put in a cat.”


russian housing photo[Ho1] Even in New York, the market for bazillionaire housing is apparently not endless.

[Ho2] Wendell Cox looks at the most and least housing-affordable cities in the world. USA! USA! USA! (Excluding California.)

[Ho3] Microcondos are coming to Houston.

[Ho4] Abby Schachter writes about the major problems with micro-living. It seems for micro-living to really work, you need robust public spaces.

[Ho5] Kriston Capps makes the case against ethical landlording.

[Ho6] “In high-demand areas, [Vancouver demonstrates] new dense construction can and does improve affordability by making more productive use of expensive land. As the adage goes, a skyscraper is a machine to make the land pay.”


russian oil fields photo[Re1] OPEC may have started a price war, but rich investors are going to make winning it hard. Saudi Arabia could come out the loser.

[Re2] Meltdown-Proof nuclear reactors? You have my attention…

[Re3] Woohoo! Peter Dockrill looks at a potentially cheap mechanism of desalinization!

[Re4] Never mind space, is the next frontier the deep blue sea? There may be power in them there oceans, though, Oscar Gordon reports at Hit Coffee.

[Re5] Mining in Europe began more than 4,000 years ago.


QueenCatherine[G1] Justin Wolfers reports that when it comes to teamwork, women kind of get the shaft.

[G2] He wanted to sleep with her and couldn’t, so what else could he do but fire her.

[G3] Ruth Graham has perhaps the best take on the CDC’s report about whether women should drink when they are off birth control. A little guiltily, I’m kind of glad to see the CDC getting some hate from other quarters.

[G4] Priceonomics looks at female rulers before feminism, where queens may (or may not) have been more warhawky than their king counterparts.

[G5] The Femitheist thinks that we can fix all of our problems by decimating the male population. The good news for the men that remain is that they would be relied on pretty heavily for mating.

[G6] IUDs are the most effective method of birth control, and honestly one of the only forms of birth control I see making a serious dent in our abortion rates.


Tsar alexander photo[Hi1] “Snavely told Heaton about the stories, and the two of them did something un-geoscientific: they decided to take the Makah story not as myth, but as history. That is, they assumed the Makah were describing a geologically-recent tsunami, compared the Makah narrative with their understanding of Cape Flattery’s geology, found the similarity between story and geology ‘noteworthy,’ and published their findings in the scientific literature.”

[Hi2] Atlas Obscura looks at Kiska, Alaska, and the history of the battle that was fought there in World War 2.

[Hi3] Matt Novak looks at Australia’s secret history as a White Utopia.

[Hi4] Helen Andrews (who previously wrote this absolutely fantastic look at the Siberian/Australian parallels) looks at Women Against Suffrage. Here are some cartoons used for the anti-suffrage movement.

[Hi5] Elizabeth Wright explains how Marcus Garvey should be honored as an enemy of Communism.

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Morning Ed: Refugees {2016.02.04.Th}( 31 )

The Economist reports that Europe’s new arrivals will probably not hurt wages, but will probably strain public finances.

Germany is moving towards declaring Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia as “safe” and therefore ineligible for asylum. Meanwhile, EU leaders are looking to invalidate any link between the refugees and the mess in Cologne.

The situation in Sweden doesn’t appear to be getting better.

This is kind of cool: A team of refugees will be allowed to compete in the Olympics!

While Europe tries to figure out what it’s going to do with its immigrant wave, we’re sending refugees back to our narco war in South America.

Victoria Namkung writes of the Japanese Schindler’s List, wherein a Japanese diplomat issued over two thousand visas to Jews who had escaped to Lithuania. I’d never heard of this.

Can we learn from 1940’s history in our current refugee crises?

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.02.03.W}( 99 )

Peter Suderman argues that Hollywood is stuck in expanded universes. I think such things have been a great advance, a form of continuation without the repetition of sequels.

Teens aren’t so sure that there’s anything wrong with porn, but come down hard on failing to recycle.

The interesting story behind Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. Lion considers the class implications of the music video.

A paper purporting to disprove conspiracy theories doesn’t add up. That’s scandalous! Who knew about this and when did they know it?!

Riffing off a series of tweets on the matter, Adam Gurri looks at trust and good faith.

Margaret Atwood is writing a comic book.

Micah Singleton says Apple took too long to get into music streaming. They’re not hitting their user targets, but it seems to me that’s always been secondary to Apple compared to making money. Which, since they charge for their service, I assume they are.

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.02.02.T}( 35 )

The Dixie Chicks are finally on tour in the US again. The question being… is their divorce from country music final?

I was thinking more of a North Idaho and South Idaho, but this would work.

Speaking of Idaho, a theater there is in hot water for serving alcohol at a Fifty Shades of Gray showing and may lose its liquor license. Eugene Volohk believes there’s a First Amendment case.

Los Angeles City Council is combatting the dangers of second hand snuff. (Well, technically, I think this falls under the category of fourth-hand, the dangers of seeing people use tobacco products.)

Following up on a previous Linky, the New York Post talks about the burdens NYC is placing on Upstate New York.

CNN has a good profile of Muslims in America. Fun Fact: The first mosque was in Ross, North Dakota. {Related}

Image by Rexburg Historical Society

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.02.01.M}( 13 )

NPR lists out six alternatives to our current primary system. It’s no good having Iowa and New Hampshire hard-coded in, but I’ll take just about anything over a National Primary (or, really, any system that places undue importance on a handful of large states that might as well be their own countries). I favor the Ohio Plan (with some tinkering).

Heaven help us: The Snake People are now the largest generational voting bloc. Ah, well, at least they support gun rights.

The Guardian looks at the question… what the heck happened to Sarah Palin? My stock answer is always the same: The right wanted an icon, the left wanted a villain, and she wanted to be a star.

Jonathan Freedland is concerned that we are laughing at Trump and Palin when we should be worried about how they have tapped into middle class rage.

If you’re worried about political self-segregation online, it’s apparently nothing compared to real life.

Mark Krikorian says the debate on illegal immigration seems to have shifted from “enforcement can’t stop it” to “enforcement is stopping it so we need to stop enforcement.”

When it comes to presidents, a study suggests the smarter the better.

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Linky Friday #151: Crime Against Man & Nature( 67 )


Los Angeles Rams photo

Image by roger4336

[A1] Michael Hiltzik writes of the long con of the NFL, and how San Francisco paid a high price for cooperation.

[A2] Could the town of San Marcos, Texas, be the next home of the Raiders franchise? Looking at a map, it’s right at the focal point of a potential Austin/SA metroplex.

[A3] Jim McMahon got off pain-killing narcotics by way of Mary Jane.

[A4] From Mike Schilling: “They’ve got a bunch of intelligent players, and the league right now as a whole is not a very intelligent league,” Metta World Peace said. “They have a high IQ, and they capitalize on the lower IQs.”

[A5] Huh. Tennis is pretty corrupt.


crack cocaine photo

Image by MattysFlicks

[C1] Have we exported spree shootings to Canada?

[C2] He was cleared of the rape charge, but he still has to notify police 24 hours before he has sex.

[C3] Kind of hard to disagree with the assessment that we are as afraid of our children as for them when we’re permanently putting nine year olds on sex offender registries. Also, the internationalization of Megan’s Law?

[C4] Reviewing a book, Jesse Singal looks at the black activists who helped launch the drug war. In the comment section of a related article, Freddie chimes in.

[C5] If you think it costs money to be poor, trying being a prisoner.


water bear photo

Image by Stig Nygaard

[N1] Warm winter weather is bad for squirrel waistlines.

[N2] Water Bears are pretty hardy, and a better mascot than Fighting Hawks.

[N3] Check out this killer whale baiting birds and then eating them.

[N4] Zombie beavers may be the stuff of movies, but zombie cockroaches controlled by wasps are apparently real.

[N5] When it comes to crocodiles, will humans succeed where the asteroid-volcano tag-team failed? Maybe they have it coming!


wind turbine photo

Image by sam_churchill

[E1] Attention Michael Cain! While the nation is mired in disagreement, some western cities are taking action on the climate.

[E2] Cheap oil usually does wonders for the economy, but not this time.

[E3] Did the wind industry rig the noise rules on wind turbines? My tendency to dismiss the complaints is probably rooted in my animosity towards NIMBYism and the same people who complain about noise also complain about aesthetics (and I think they look darn cool), but I’ve never had to live near’em.

[E4] They’re paying handsomely for it, Denmark is producing 140% of its energy needs through renewables.

[E5] Geology is hard, and there is a lot of money depending on people being able to do it.


password photo

Image by Ron Bennetts

[T1] This is pretty amazing. I’d never even heard of Google Cardboard.

[T2] In the future, we may not need to remember so many complicated passwords. I still can’t get over that a college football message board requires more complicated passwords than does my bank (and it’s not especially effective).

[T3] Autocomplete makes for a pretty killer online dating profile.

[T4] Alan Jacobs gets rid of his smartphone and here is what he learned. Last year Ashley Feinberg spent a month using a ten year old phone.

[T5] As someone for whom DSL is the only broadband option available, reports of the demise of DSL are disturbing.

[T6] From Slate, an in-depth look at Facebook’s feed algorithm.

Latin America:

Image by Jorge Lascar

Image by Jorge Lascar

[L1] The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court has banned abortion, through and through, all the way to when a woman’s life is at risk.

[L2] Walmart is suing Puerto Rico over a tax targeted in their general direction.

[L3] The crime capital of Medellin, Colombia may be turning itself around, much to the chagrin of its crime writers, which comprise of most of the fiction writers. Related, Bernardo Aparicio Garcia writes about live in Pablo Escobar’s Colombia.

[L4] Creepy-arse stuff like “spiders the sizes of puppies” are supposed to be in Australia, not the Americas!

[L5] Written in 2014, this rundown on John McAfee’s adventures in Belize is some interesting reading.

Image by Stig Nygaard

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.01.28.Th}( 56 )

Oh, for heaven’s sake DC. When I first started collecting, I thought it was so cool that comic issue numbers for Batman were in the 400’s and Detective Comics in the 600’s.

Bruce Springsteen does Take It Easy. I admit that I am a sucker for tribute covers of the newly departed. Somewhat relatedly, Michael Reilly writes about how the Internet has changed the way we deal with death.

Intellectually, I am inclined to agree that Milo Yiannopolous loosing his blue check mark was petty and probably not right. Really, though, I just can’t get past the fact that he probably contributes more garbage to Twitter than anyone in my sphere and I learned how to block people so that I would no longer get his retweets.


Brandon Morse says that video games bring out our inner right-winger.

What Star Trek did amazingly, and uniquely, right.

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Morning Ed: Europe {2016.01.27.W}( 7 )

Iain Martin asks if the next Conservative PM candidate won the lottery with Corbyn’s foreign policy.

How Angela Merkel became the face of European liberalism, in the face of anti-immigrant violence. If she is hoping that it will fix Germany’s demographic problem, though, she may be mistaken.

MI5 turns out to be one of Britain’s most gay-friendly employers.

If you’re thinking about moving to Europe, these people say don’t.

Romania may end bribery by legalizing bribery for physicians. Which is apparently sort of a thing in Hungary.

Is Ireland’s smoking ban causing an industry collapse of pubs? Meanwhile, the Greeks say “No Smoking sign? I don’t see no No Smoking sign.”

Drive safely on Estonia’s icy roads: Make sure to stay over 25mph and don’t wear your seatbelt.

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Morning Ed: Asia {2016.01.26.T}( 4 )


Sarah Conly explains how China’s recently terminated One Child Policy was a good thing. Leaving aside the central question, I’m not sure how you can separate the enforcement mechanisms (which Conly opposes) with the policy itself. On the other hand, the policy became moot.

A Taiwanese model posed for a picture of a cosmetic clinic. It ruined her life and she sued.

As Japan avoids a recession, Scott Sumner is declaring Abenomics a success against his expectations.

The Guardian looks at how many of which rhinos we have left. A biotech firm seeks to flood the Chinese market with 3D-printed rhinocerus horns to undercut the poaching trade.

There’s a train line in Japan that continues to run to deliver one high school student to and from school.

I hadn’t heard of the Vyapam Scam in India before. Wow.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.01.25.M}( 109 )

The Bernie Sanders campaign picked an odd fight with Wikipedia over use of its campaign logos, though apparently backed down.

From Mike Schilling: If we need to know more about what the Alt-Right is up to, they’re having wet dreams that Trump is an anti-semite like them. (That is, they’re saying that if only he had the one fault he clearly doesn’t have, he’d be perfect.)

Vox looks at the eccentric politics of Silicon Valley. They favor Democrats, obviously, which is a bit of a mixed bag for the left because I’m pretty sure they’re pulling the party to the center.

Are white Republicans more racist than white Democrats? According to some measures, yes, but not by as much as you might think.

It seems like we’re increasingly moving to a place where everyone believes that the Ideologically Unsaved cannot really be saved. Like Freddie and Sean Blanda, I think that’s unfortunate (and somewhat short-sighted).

I dunno, I think El Gato is an okay name for a cat.

Libertarianism, mapped.

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Linky Friday #150: Burning Fuel( 255 )


[S1] A new study on NFL coaching diversity suggests that the problem starts way before head coaches, as white coaches are more than twice as likely to be promoted to coordinator, regardless of experience.

[S2] The University of Idaho remains on an island in FBS football with little opportunity to find its way into a regionally appropriate football conference. As such, they run the risk of being the first football program to drop to FCS. New Mexico State may not be far behind.

[S3] What’s the opposite of an uplifting sports story? This is the opposite of that.

[S4] This is sort of an uplifting story, I guess, but it seems odd to make a movie out of a kid whose claim to fame is 1.5 games.

[S5] Right on! Some professional athletes are planning ahead and living within their longer-term means.


cooking flame photo

Image by liber

[F1] Support from an unexpected source: Campbell’s comes out in favor of mandatory GMO label.

[F2] Pork rectums, it turns out, need to be (for some consumers) deboned and inverted before they can be sold.

[F3] Behold, the accomplishment of the ramen noodle.

[F4] Texas loves breakfast tacos. How much? More than 400x as much as the rest of the country.

[F5] Everything you ever wanted to know about Tabasco Sauce. Well, fifteen things. Also, everything you ever wanted to know about Nutella. Well, 25 things anyway.


[R1] Welp, climate change saved the planet! But, erm, we may be overdoing it.

[R2] FuturePundit thinks that we may be looking at a population explosion.

[R3] Conspiracy theories are losing their stigma, and they have enormous traction when it comes to global warming. Which makes sense, as since people don’t want to believe it’s happening are likely to want to latch on to any reason to believe it won’t.

[R4] I think this FEE piece on low-flow toilets has passed its sell-by date. Though they were bad for a while, toilets seem to have turned the corner on flushing effectiveness. Low-flow showerheads, though: still pretty bad.

[R5] Canadian oil fields are looking at self-driving trucks.

[R6] A sort of real life version of Wyatt’s Torch in Pennsylvania, albeit without the ideological symbolism.


wildfire photo

Image by The U.S. Army

[G1] Kevin Drum asks if society owes his mother reparations for raising him. Well, that’s not quite what it’s about, which is the politics of means-testing.

[G2] Adam Millsap argues that we’re spending enough on infrastructure, at least at the federal level.

[G3] Filed under “Regulation for the sake of regulation being a thing”, Robert Reich and Matt Rosoff square off on whether or not the tech industry needs more regulation.

[G4] One county in Alabama has abducted as many children as all of the strangers in the country combined. Relatedly, The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg takes a skeptical look at the CPS.

[G5] The politicians and the bureaucracy. Jason Kuznicki said the one that we see is not as important as the one we don’t.


urban fire photo

Image by Neil Kremer

[C1] Adam Ozimek asks if we should really abandon struggling cities? Lyman Stone says yes.

[C2] “All major U. S. cities [Except NYC and state capitals] north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi have decreased in population from their peaks nearly 60 years ago.”

[C3] The Guardian has a couple of articles on the privitization and gating of cities. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry looks at those private cities. The whole concept makes me think of this article on post-democracy.

[C4] Tyler Cowen believes that Canada desperately needs a research and development cluster to be innovative in the knowledge economy… but it may not actually be worth the cost of trying to develop one.

[C5] Patrick Clark argues that when figuring out where to live, we should look at where people are already moving instead of hypothetically nice places that for some reason people don’t seem to actually want (in as large numbers, anyway).


plane fire photo


[T1] Well, in Texas‘ defense, they probably also have the most roadway on which speed traps can be found. Even so, South plus a lot of municipalities plus countless layers of law enforcement make for a bad combination for motorists.

[T2] If we want to help minorities, maybe we should buy them a car.

[T3] Kevin Klinkenberg argues that we need to get people out of their cars. He’s right about the dangers, though the progress we’ve made on automobile safety has really been quite phenomenal. And in any event, the death of Americans’ love affair with cars has been greatly exaggerated.

[T4] I don’t really actually find this proposed airline seat configuration to be all that disturbing. Maybe because I won’t have to sit with strangers, though.

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Morning Ed: Immigration {2016.01.21.Th}( 106 )

Michael Brendan Dougherty says that immigration is disrupting the nation state as the financial and psychological costs of emigration fall.

Yeah, if they’re good enough to fight for our country, they should get to stay. That shouldn’t be in debate.

BBC wonders if Belgium hasn’t created its own apartheid, which may have lead to Paris.

When it comes to pushing for looser immigrant worker visas, Corporate America really is its own worst enemy. Fortunately for them, they will win out because we all know who opposes immigration. Any immigration, really.

Austrians want a border fence. (Which makes a lot more sense than how I originally read it, leaving me wondering what a border fence could provide that the Pacific Ocean couldn’t…)

CNN looks at the ghost ships of dead North Koreans that arrive on Japanese shores.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.01.20.W}( 70 )


I am fascinated by the prospect of a Dirk Gently TV series, though bummed if it takes place in the USA.

Andrew Stiles is not very impressed with political dating apps. I… can’t work up too much outrage. If it’s a dealbreaker and/or something important to you, go for it. Compatible value systems are important, and if politics is a part of that value system… well, a dealbreaker in a spouse isn’t the same thing as a dealbreaker for friendship.

Things that make me glad I’m not young and single.

According to Harvard Business Review, diversity policies don’t seem to make workplaces fairer, but they make white men feel threatened. So I guess it depends on what the aims are?

Still haven’t seen seen it, but when I do I am going to go back and look at these 142 behind the scenes photos of Blade Runner’s miniature scenery.

The curse of the lottery winner may be overstated, but if people hoping to win are looking forward to a prosperous retirement, they may be disappointed. A story from Texas in 2004.

Meanwhile, Nautilus looks at the mathematics and psychology of the lottery, and Chidike Okeem argues that anti-lottery zealotry is errant, hubristic, and puritan.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.01.19.T}( 19 )

JayFromBrooklyn looks at the culture divide between Rubio and Cruz within the GOP.

Ted Cruz has successfully illustrated an important point that we often ignore: Trump’s support isn’t coming from the GOP base.

This is clever enough, I guess, though they don’t get the Trumpku right. It’s supposed to be: Statement. Statement. Exclamation!

As bad as things are for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, at least their premier MP isn’t having to deny charges that he is plotting to kill the party leader.

Perhaps more evidence that people answering polls are not actually answering the question asked, partisan fact gaps diminish when money is on the line.

Kaddie Abdul went to a Trump rally in her hijab and discovered that his supporters are not all racist caricatures, while Mark Steyn reports on Trump’s descent into Vermont.

Vox has been surprisingly tough on Hillary Clinton (and the Clintons) lately.

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.01.18.M}( 41 )

An officer in Brooklyn managed to hand out 19,000 parking tickets last year.

Huh. Maybe we do need a border wall with Canada after all.

Undercover narcotics detective Jacob Grant was shot several times in the abdomen… by his superior officer.

The VA supervisors who oversaw the catastophe on 2014 are back on the job.

If you need an elderly woman for a photo op and don’t have one, it’s a bad idea to dress a man for the part, it turns out.

For Sale: A Town in South Dakota. It’s a couple hours outside of Rapid City, which makes it less convenient than the town in Wyoming that was sold in 2012, though not as isolated as the one sold in Wyoming last year.

US News reports on the urban/rural divide on guns. A lot of the interstate comparisons rely a lot on suicide rates. Which is not typically how it is portrayed. There is a similar disconnect on car deaths versus gun deaths.

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Linky Friday #149: Pirates, Poindexters, & Confederados( 141 )


Image by Podknox

Image by Podknox

[S1] The seventh row of the Periodic Table is now complete with the addition of four new elements. Will a heavy metal element could be named after Motorhead’s Lemmy.

[S2] There are a number of bad studies on ecigarettes, but just in time for the New Year UCSD ran an unusually bad one, which the media accepted uncritically. San Diego Union-Tribute’s Bradley Filkes asks “What went wrong?”

[S3] Google says that their biggest obstacle isn’t the NHTSA, but rather… snow. Obama, however, seems to be going all-in.

[S4] According to Anna Maria Barry, MSG was taken down by flawed science and xenophobia.

[S5] Scientists are apparently giddy over rumors of a breakthrough in gravitational waves.

[S6] A satirical study about the efficacy of mothers’ kissing booboos got a lot of attention and some criticism for not being clearly labeled as satire. (more…)

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Morning Ed: Europe {2016.1.14.Th}( 23 )

In their rescue of Greece and Ireland, the EU deliberately violated its own rules.

There are a lot of disturbing things happening in Poland, but Pawel Swidlicki argues that the EU needs to forego intervention.

As Europe holds emergency Schengen talks, Sweden is closing its border to refugees from Denmark and Norway is blocking migrants without visas.

Here’s a piece written by a Syrian refugee and the woman offering refuge.

The Swedish central bank has a negative interest rate on deposits, and an increasingly cash-free society, leading people to stash their money at home.

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Morning Ed: Crime {2016.1.13.W}( 8 )

Robert VerBruggen is questioning his prior support for drug decriminalization. He touches on why I take a cautious view (except for pot), but the lack of reform in our War on Drugs has me almost has me saying “Screw it.”

Well this just sounds like a delightful situation.

The NYPD does not seem to be overly concerned with people having sex in parks.

Xenocrypt wants – in addition to a moratorium on the term “the prison population”, more from the “mass incarceration” debate.

A woman’s rape claim was undermined by her Fitbit.

The mystery of the disappearing bookseller in Hong Kong. {More}

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Morning Ed: Middle East {2016.1.12.T}( 2 )

President Edrogan literally talked a man off the ledge. Well, it was a bridge, but still. That’s cooler than the whole speaking well of Hitler thing.

Joseph Lenoff writes of his experience as an American Jew in the Israeli military.

A wedding amid ruin.

The tears of a suicide bomber.

Can we crowdfund a refugee nation? It seems like actually finding the land would be hardest part. Nations tend not to do cede even seemingly worthless land easily.

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Morning Ed: Oregon {2016.1.11.M}( 183 )

Before it became the site of the current standoff, residents Malheur County, Oregon, expressed a desire to become a part of Idaho. If my dream of splitting Idaho ever came true, I’d be dipping into Oregon to constitute the state of South Idaho (name possibly TBD). No plans to include Jefferson, however.

Hal’s thoughts on the standoff in Oregon are worth your time.

The two sides of devout Mormonism. I didn’t know that the Bundys were Mormon during the flap in Nevada, but as soon as I found out that they had a son named Ammon, things kind of fell into place.

I wish I were more unsurprised that the Oregon protesters haven’t gotten much traction from the GOP presidential candidates. A lick of sense is better than no zero licks of sense, though, to be sure.

It’s been really interesting to watch a lot of people on the left defend a sentence that the judge didn’t want to pass down but was required to by a law that the left broadly opposes.

A somewhat sympathetic take on one of the angry ranchers complaints by, of all outlets, Grist. I am sympathetic to the ranchers in this regard, but in the personal sense and not the shared-outrage sense. But even if I don’t quite buy it, it was a noble effort by Grist.

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Linky Friday #148: Crime & Commerce( 141 )


Image by sam_churchill

Image by sam_churchill

[Cr1] Meet Alabama’s version of Marion Berry, convicted of stealing from the city but re-elected anyway. The local HBCU had a problem with a university president who was basically stealing money, made more complicated by the fact that she was the best university president they’d had in a long time and arguably saved the university from ruin.

[Cr2] Postal worker arrested after delivering the mail naked.

[Cr3] Microsoft is getting into the pre-crime prevention business.

[Cr4] An entire police department in Florida was arrested for money laundering.

[Cr5] The star-crossed love story between an inmate and a guard in Louisiana… kind of made socially safer by the fact that the inmate was male, I guess, and that we can blame for profit prisons or something.

[Cr6] Exxon finds itself in the unenviable position of people asking them “Hey, isn’t that what the tobacco companies did?”


drone photo

Image by wahousegop

[Co1] Oil export ban lifted! Let the shipping begin!

[Co2] They’re melting the candy bars their customers want nothing to do with and selling it back to them.

[Co3] I can sort of understand what this guy is getting at, but I think the point would be better made on a more attractive website, and perhaps he could draw some revenue with some ads. {via Vikram}

[Co4] Priceonomics asks if checked baggage fees are too low. Gary Leff says no.

[Co5] How North Dakota became an epicenter for drone development. Setting aside my usual giddiness with the exploitation of non-coastal human resources and development, the great expanse really is good for this sort of thing.


[E1] Randomized drug tests bad. Fraternities bad. What’s a good ole boy to think?

[E2] Getting kids to learn is hard. Making sure they show up, though, is less hard. So let’s measure that. I wrote of gameable metrics in 2011.

[E3] Well, that’s one way for private schools to recruit students in a rough market.

[E4] A new book peeks behind the curtains at graduate admissions programs and how they go about making their selections.

[E5] NPR looks at whether it’s cost-effective to pay teachers $100,000 a year.


raymond photo

Image by cdrummbks

[G1] While I favor using pronouns that people identify with, this strikes me as another argument in favor of a safe gender-neutral pronoun. Also, while I understand the dilemma I’m not sure about the “no tie” thing. Maybe “Tie or dress”?

[G2] Could depression and anxiety explain some of the male-female pay gap?

[G3] IJR looks at where, when, and how women experience street harassment.

[G4] The murky, masculine, sex-suffused world of the movie detective.

[G5] When I’m not careful, I have the male equivalent of “Resting Bitch Face“… which did foist upon me a greater degree of awareness of how I can come across. And that’s without the additional penalties women face.


hurricane damage photo

Image by jeffalbert

[H1] “Fix” is a relative concept, of course, but when it comes to alleviating the housing crisis, Matt Yglesias says that Seattle is showing San Francisco and New York how it’s done.

[H2] Residents of Boulder have found a new, inventive argument to oppose more housing: Pet density.

[H3] Don’t do it! It’s a trap! The hurricanes are just lying in waiting!

[H4] This post, about overdevelopment of low-cost housing, would be a lot more interesting if it told us where it is.

[H5] Micro-apartments are making a splash in the midwest. I’ve done the “micro-apartment” thing, of sorts in small-town Deseret.


drought photo

Image by DMahendra

[W1] Good news! The UN is cool with keeping the Internet free… for another ten years. The globalization of Internet governance is just going to be terrific.

[W2] There may be a link between droughts and civil war, but according to the Royal Economic Society the evidence is that it’s a weak link.

[W3] Our attempts at supporting gay rights in Africa may have backfired.

[W4] Women in Brazil are being warned not to have children, due to an outbreak of the Zika virus.

[W5] An Australia man is growing too many potatoes.

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