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


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

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

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

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

[A5] This is one bad-arse archer.

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

American Fear:

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

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

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

[F4] Are there aliens behind our currency?

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #102: Protest Edition( 274 )


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

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

[S3] Is political correctness a creativity-booster?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Linky Friday #101( 151 )


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

[H4] American houses keep growing and growing

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday: Century Edition( 137 )


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

[B2] The case against coffee, in 1888.

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

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


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

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

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

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


[S1] Lost Beagle! Found! On Mars.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

[A4] Is Louisiana boot-shaped anymore?

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


You're welcome. Best, Coal.

You’re welcome.
Signed, Coal.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Kansas: The Best State

Kansas: The Best State

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

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

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

[A4] Kansas is the best state.

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

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

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Linky Friday #97( 101 )


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


[C1] The importance of the college football kicker.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #96( 264 )


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

[P2] Ecigarette use may lead to infection.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Edward Hermann, 1943-2014

Edward Hermann, 1943-2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

[E6] Eurozone membership isn’t free.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Middle East:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #95( 167 )


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

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

[L3] Infoworld looks at seven myths surrounding programming.

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #94: New Jersey Edition( 195 )


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


[T1] Detroit is stuck in Windows XP.

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

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

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

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


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

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

[E3] How sociologists made themselves irrelevant.

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #93: Ayn Rand Edition( 99 )


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

[R5] Zoroastrians feed their exalted dead to vultures.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Latin America:

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

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

[L3] ForeignPolicy looks at the Honduran charter cities.

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

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


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

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Linky Friday #92( 52 )


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

[A2] Batkid‘s cancer is in remission.

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

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

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


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

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

[Eu3] Santiago Mostyn looks at race and Sweden.

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


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

[H2] Ancient Egyptians used d20 die.

[H3] Ben Franklin: Security risk.

[H4] The mystery of the ancient stone circles.

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

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


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

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

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

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

[F5] Megan McArdle goes to bat for alimony.


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

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

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


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

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

[P3] SimCity and the technocracy.

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

Entertainment & Culture:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Election 2014:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

[En4] Zack Morris was kind of a scumbucket.

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


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

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

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

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

Cold Wars:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Image from Wikipedia Commons

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Linky Friday #89: The Tick Edition( 146 )

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rescued sea otter pup.

Rescued sea otter pup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #88( 155 )



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #87( 71 )


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


fertilizado[R1] Is Britain undergoing a baby boom?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


[T1] Slow down… for the dragonflies!

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

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

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


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

A Tale of Momentum & Inertia from HouseSpecial on Vimeo.

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Linky Friday #86: Actual Hitler Edition( 221 )


Adolf's Dad

Adolf’s Dad

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

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

[H3] From James Hanley: People named Hitler.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #85: Designated Hitler Edition( 171 )


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

[S2] How Teddy Roosevelt saved football.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

[Tr3] Trams are a waste of money.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Linky Friday #84( 54 )


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hagfish predator deterrant system.

Hagfish predator deterrant system.

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

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

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

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


Nuclear power plants in Europe.

Nuclear power plants in Europe.

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

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

[N3] The biggest problem with nuclear power, at this point, seems to be FUD. Among the many reasons I hope that progress on renewables accelerates is so that we will have a better idea of what its limitations are, so that we can more thoughtfully figure out what we need to do (if anything) to plug the holes.

[N4] How do you stop a gas well blowout? With a nuclear bomb, of course. (link via Vikram Bath)

[N5] Coal ash is responsible for more radiation than nuclear energy.


The_Thompson_Family[F1] Assortive Mating 1, Trophy Wives 0

[F2] Breastfeeding in public is one thing, and to be defended, but changing a baby’s diaper at a restaurant table is another.

[F3] The New York Times reports that family leave policies can become too generous. We’re not particularly close to that point, of course, but it does point to a tension between trying to generate equality for women in the workplace and allowing them the scheduling flexibility they would often prefer.

[F4] There is a myth that it’s bad for children under four to spend the night with their (separated) father, and it’s persisting despite a lack of scientific basis.

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Linky Friday #83( 90 )


AccordingToJim2[E1] From Aaron David: The Atlantic film critic watches all Coen films in order, one every night (a work in progress.)

[E2] From Patrick: How fast can your read GoT?

[E3] From Patrick: And hey, how Epic is that Epic, anyway?

[E4] The Supreme Court may be wading in on a lawsuit between Jack Kirby’s family and Marvel Comics.

[E5] Alexis Madrigal takes aim at sitcoms’ doofus dads. This is one of the areas that both sides feel put upon. Men because they believe it makes them look bad, women because they believe it increases their sphere of responsibility.

[E6] I previously mentioned a mammoth waterslide in Kansas City. Here’s a video. And here’s a scary ride in Denmark.

[E7] Even Alyssa Rosenberg is disturbed by the blurring of art criticism and political criticism, and that’s her job!


Contact[S1] From Patrick: Curiosity welcomes MOM to Mars.

[S2] From Shane Gillis: Finally, space suits we don’t look like robots in.

[S3] Meteors blazed across the Tennessee sky, and NASA got it on camera!

[S4] Theologians and scientists gather to talk about aliens.


DaVincisInquest[H1] Is Canada home to the world’s biggest housing bubble?

[H2] Richard Florida gloats about 19 of 51 cities where the cities are growing faster than their suburbs. That sounds impessive, until you remember the base points. By the same numbers, suburbs are actually gaining more people.

[H3] Our next housing crisis may be in the rental market.

[H4] How Japan is rebuilding old Tokyo, away from crowded density and towards higher density.

[H5] America’s fastest growing metro has no crime, kids, or cars.


speed[T1] From Zic: A study over the 4″ of space folks are fighting about on airplanes. Fascinating.

[T2] Rail boosters point to this, which says that over half of train riders did not have a car to make the trip. Important to know. Also important to know – as we figure out where we should put our transit dollars – the same is true of three-quarters of bus riders.

[T3] After spending so much effort and money trying to get people to drive low-mileage cars, it is rather humorous to change tax laws to make sure that they – who did what everyone was implored to do – pay more taxes and fees.

[T4] HSR booster James Fallows gives space for the arguments against high speed rail. Uncle Steve actually has one of the better counterarguments, which is that HSR isn’t supposed to help Central Valley as much as allow urbanites to more easily avoid it.


TradingPlaces2[A1] From James Hanley: Rogue taxidermy. Because hipsters are striving to be stranger than fiction.

[A2] Foreign countries are apparently really frustrated with the American government’s demands at access to bank accounts.

[A3] Norton A Schwartz and John K Hurley write of the juggernaut that is the American economy.

[A4] Michael Lind wants to take the Six Californias nation-wide, breaking up all of the states. I’d argue that the reason it’s unlikely that California will choose to split up sheds light on the misdiagnosis: Large states lose in the senate, but they benefit it other and important ways (House delegations, producing presidents) that add significant value.


CrocodileDundee[W1] Australia is often torn between the costs and benefits between a good relationship with the US and a good one with China. China is, apparently, making their choice easier.

[W2] Adam Ozimek looks at the sharing economy being most beneficial for developing countries.

[W3] Britain has a phantom alien cat problem. Wait. What?

[W4] Alexandru Visinescu is being tried for Crimes Against Humanity for his role in a Communist prison camp in Romania.

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Linky Thursday #2( 100 )


Pyle_pirate_handsome[C1] Successive extentions and alterations of copyright law have limited our access to over fifty years of culture.

[C2] Is the monopoly of copyright a lost cause? It’s sure seeming that way, though it’s hard to gauge all of the implications of that.

[C3] Pirates are complaining that the software they are illegally downloading takes up too much space.

[C4] WordPress spends considerable money complying with DMCA takedown notices, some of which are not legitimate. They’re demanding $10,000 for a false notice.

[C5] The laws surrounding child pornography are problematically broad. “Possessing child porn in digital form is against a law that isn’t realistic in the digital world.”

[C6] Walter Frick argues that patents are stifling innovation and Vox lays out the case against software patents. JVL chimes in with Patent Trolling for Dollars.

[C7] Good to know: Fictional products cannot violate trademarks.


DrugRaid[L1] A reporter wanted to take some pictures of ugly buildings (at least he thinks they’re ugly, I think brutalism is pretty cool) but is harassed by law enforcements. As I’ve said, rights informally ignored are worse than rights formally denied.

[L2] Richard Nixon is often used as a punching bag in discussions about the Drug War, but it turns out that may not be so accurate.

[L3] Gouging in New York prison phone call pricing causes people to lose parental rights.

[L4] The Organ Detective, Nancy Scheper-Hughes has made a mission out of tracking down the organ trade market.


AOLmobile[T1] As software has come to control ever-increasing parts of our lives, it might behoove us to start coding better.

[T2] Some people avoid Gmail because they don’t want Google having access to their private lives. The problem is, whether you use Gmail or not, they already have access to most of them.

[T3] Thank goodness, it turns out that tablets are not going to take over computing after all. As I’ve said previously, it would say something atrocious about our society if that revolution had occurred.

[T4] We’re tempted to scoff when we hear that there are people who still subscribe to AOL, but it turns out they have their reasons, and they’re not bad reasons.

[T5] With the release of Microsoft Office 365, Joanna Stern wonders if we really need Microsoft Office anymore. Microsoft is acting less cocky about it than they used to. Alas, no mention of OpenOffice or LibreOffice.


Romney-Bain-Capital-money-shot[E1] The case for universal basic income, with empirical evidence!

[E2] Ever wonder why it’s expensive rather than bargain hotels that charge for WiFi?

[E3] Maybe sunk costs aren’t sunk after all?

[E4] Will Davies makes the case against competitiveness.

[E5] It’s a win for fliers that we can use electronics during takeoff and landing. It’s a loss for SkyMall.


George_H._W._Bush_and_Boris_Yeltsin_1993[R1] Michael Peck writes about the Soviet plan to demoralize the French. I suppose it could be a sign that I am somewhat removed from the Cold War (having come of age as it was winding down) that I find uncompelling the notion that this would have had much effect.

[R2] Moscow has an army of online trolls at its command. Daisy Sindelar wonders how much they matter.

[R3] Vladimir Putin is more the symptom than the disease, and we may miss him when he’s gone.

[R4] Every Russian novel ever written.


Enceladus_moon_to_scale-PIA07724[S1] We’re going to start giving planets cooler names.

[S2] Astronauts can teach us about sleep. Also, the smell of space.

[S3] Japan has declared war! Against astronaut litter.

[S4] Saturn moon Enceladus has a sea about the size of Lake Superior, now a top candidate for life.

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Linky Thursday( 57 )

-{Due to scheduling conflicts, Linky Friday will be appearing one day early this week and next.}-


Korea_Classroom_Inspection[E1] Teenage test scores do a pretty good job of predicting future income in the aggregate. There’s a lot of noise, however.

[E2] Northeastern Illinois is facing enrollment problems, so naturally they respond by spending money to gussy itself up with on-campus housing.

[E3] The increase of the college premium is largely the result of incomes plunging for those who didn’t go to college. Which is why it’s important for the economy to import more unskilled (and undegreed) labor?

[E4] Unsurprisingly, it’s a better idea to give students work machines instead of toys.

[E5] University of Liverpool is threatening staff pay when online students drop out.

[E6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: You would think the Bulwarks of open dialog & free thought would be more robust in defending it.


[C1] The Dragonlance novels had an indelible influence on Dungeons and Dragons.

dragonfountain[C2] According to tailor Charlie Allen, American business suits are for slobs.

[C3] Ben Shrecklinger argues that we should do away with the seven-day week. I’ve probably thought about it in the past, but while days are earth axis rotations and months are lunar rotations and years are revolutions around the sun, weeks are cultural.

[C4] Models for stock photography have no idea where their image will turn up. Digiday interviews a guy who turned up on Cialis ads.


[L1] Mental Floss asks “When did Americans lose their British accents?” Relatedly, I don’t like superfluous ‘u’s, but it sure would be simpler if we’d never deviated from British spelling.

[L2] Roy Peter Clark takes an aggressive stand for the passive voice. Like the double-negative, this is one of those things I was taught was wrong that was only wrong in certain (though common) circumstances.

[L3] From Chris: Learning two languages in infancy has cognitive benefits beyond language.


cancercells[H1] The debate around the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous has bounced around back and forth over the years. Penn & Teller made waves by declaring it bullpucky. Keith Humphreys argues, however that it’s actually as effective as psychotherapy.

[H2] Some fluoride in the water is good, but the experience in Maine may be that too much fluoride is very, very bad.

[H3] After a workout at a gym, Amy Salloway was hooked on a House marathon and set up a chair to keep watching. A picture taken of her went viral. Here’s her story.

[H4] James Hamblin looks at the link between Diet Coke and obesity, and finds that Diet Coke doesn’t necessarily cause weight gain, if used strategically.

[H5] Razib Khan decoded his newborn son’s DNA.


SearchFor370[T1] The bizarre story of the Dutch cyclist who had tickets to two Malaysia Airlines flights that met with a tragic end.

[T2] Have we reached Peak Hybrid? This is probably not related to the fact that hybrids are not as efficient as we think, since almost no cars are.

[T3] I actually kind of like the idea of standing on flights. I’m just worried that I wouldn’t fit in the seats.

[T4] Meanwhile, the problem with driverless cars is that its not-drivers are kind of lazy.

[T5] Rachel M Cohen argues that we may have a right to free parking.

Arctica & Antarctica:

Longyearbyen4[A1] Climate change is allowing us to build an internet connection through the arctic.

[A2] Earth’s magnetic field is weakening.

[A3] Antarctica inhabits an odd place in the nation-state dynamic, perhaps making us rethink sovereignty. More on Antarctica.

[A4] The crimeless, jobful, and not-quite-but-a-litle Randian utopia of Svalbard.

[A5] Antarctica may not be as lifeless as we think.


[V1] Tim Minchin giving a graduation speech at the University Western Australia (via MRS)

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Linky Friday #82( 178 )

Employment Advice:

truckdriver[E1] The case for kissing ass and faking it until you make it.

[E2] Even hermits need to have good people skills, if they want to go pro.

[E3] Employee loyalty isn’t just unrewarded, it’s actively penalized.

[E4] According to the WSJ, there’s a labor shortage in long-range trucking, and economic mobility is alive and well for those who get vocational training.

[E5] How men and women approach posted job requirements. It was only chance that I didn’t approach it the way that women seem to, and decided to just kinda go for it. It’s definitely something I hope to pass on to Lain.


openwide[H1] Olga Khazan investigates why there are so few rural doctors. Not much that I disagree with there, though if we are interested in creating more rural physicians, we don’t need to know why physicians as a whole don’t want to move to ruralia. We need to find out (a) what’s stopping those least averse to it, and (b) how we can get more people who might be interested in it into medical schools and residencies. Throw in there that some physicians may be dealing with assumptions that about ruralia that are not actually in evidence. (link via Saul)

[H2] Avik Roy is taking on the herculean task of trying to convince conservatives to reform and build on PPACA, rather than insist on repealing it.

[H3] “The Match”, which matches prospective residents with programs, is undergoing an overhaul.

[H4] It’s often assumed that one of the reasons that health care costs are as high as they are is because we incentivize more – rather than better – care in how we compensate doctors. An experiment with pharmaceuticals demonstrates that it’s more complicated than that.

[H5] Maybe we kind of want our surgeons to be… the way that stereotypical surgeons are.


Worried_People_2[P1] From James Hanley: Against empathy.

[P2] Isolation is unhealthy. But unhealthy relationships are also unhealthy. So what to do?

[P3] MIT’s Technology Review interviews Joseph LeDoux on attempts to understand and tinker with human memory.

[P4] The efficiency of negativity.

[P5] From Chris: Is apathy contagious? A new study suggests that for some people it can be. But who really cares, ya know?

[P6] From Chris: When people are hungry, they’re less generous than when they’re sated. The hungery people remain less generous than the sated people (though more generous than the were before) if they eat something after fasting. The implication, of course, is that people are more generous when they don’t have immediate needs. This seems obvious (I mean, it’s Maslow, basically), but I’m not sure anyone had ever actually demonstrated it empirically.


samsung-galaxy-note[S1] The new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is upon us! The real story, is the new Note Edge. Which does look impressive, but right now I’m mostly eyeing the Note 4.

[S2] There’s also a new iPhone coming out at some point in the relatively near future, which means that current iPhones areabout to get slower.

[S3] The Great Smartphone War, and how we got here.

[S4] Allison P Davis is frustrated at her inability to mooch a charge for her phone. I would just point out that with a Samsung and a spare battery, this isn’t an issue.

[S5] The next big name in Smartphones may be… Lenovo! The prospect excited me a lot more before I discovered what Lenovo did to the Thinkpad line.

[S6] I get that smartphone theft is lucrative for the carriers and handset producers, but the most apparent solution would likely involve cracking down on all reselling, which is a cure worse than the disease.

[S7] After spending a week on the cell phone to end all cell phones in 2004, Ashley Feinberg reports that it actually kind of sucks. Good battery life, though.


Herd_Of_Goats[A1] A federal bill wants to restrict gun advertising “to children” on the same basis that cigarette advertising to children is banned. Eugene Volokh explains that there are differences.

[A2] The drought situation, in maps and images.

[A3] Know what Detroit needs? Detroit needs goats.

[A4] Why I find the precautionary principle so offensive. Whenever anyone trots it out, I consider it along the lines of extraordinary scientific claims, that they require extraordinary evidence. You want me to respond with the force of law to something in order to prevent a tragedy, I need some pretty compelling evidence that the something in question is an actual problem/threat.


zebra_hobatere_S[W1] From James Hanley: Who wouldn’t be interested in Traffic Zebras in Bolivia?

[W2] The Economist looks at the costs of foreign aid, to the recipient nation.

[W3] The London housing costs and Irish economy are driving their respective young people to leave.

[W4] io9 delivers up the story of some interesting micronations.

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Linky Friday #81( 144 )

Asian Cities:

Tokyo has more people than the nations in red.

Tokyo has more people than the nations in red.

[A1] China’s Ghost City situation has not improved. But here’s a cool one that looks like Manhattan.

[A2] Meanwhile North Korea has created its own ghost town near the border.

[A3] China is conglomerating a city that will have a population of 130,000,000 people.

[A4] Dubai is building a temperature-controlled city.


dontbeaburglarytarget[C1] Horrid: Allegedly, a woman slowly poisoned her son to drive up traffic on her mommy blog.

[C2] Officers in California have allegedly been using official resources to screen online dates. Once upon a time, it was really easy to get DMV information online. I actually used it regularly (it contained height-weight measurements).

[C3] A police officer in Houston was pulled over and noticed something funny about the ticket he was given. A scam and a scandal was unraveled.

[C4] The link between poverty and crime may have been overestimated. Or, alternately, may be purely a function of where a family started out when the first child was born.

[C5] The interesting account of a black man whose white police officer brother shot an unarmed black man.

[C6] From James Hanley: The story of the North Pond Hermit. Very interesting.


batman-the-animated-series1[T1] The Simpsons, which is playing a non-stop marathon on FXX (controversially, in 16:9), challenged Adam Ozimek’s views on economics.

[T2] The good news is that a major network is developing a TV show based on the movie Devil’s Advocate, which I loved. The bad news is that it’s NBC.

[T3] Over twenty years later, Batman The Animates Series remains an animation marvel and will doubtlessly be remembered long after its successors The Batman and Beware the Batman.

[T4] Robert O’Connell writes an ode to Just Shoot Me and mediocre sitcoms. Relatedly, Jason Lynch wonders why TV shows peak around Season 3.


Stockholm_classroom[E1] Denmark’s free higher education is pointed to by some as something to aspire to, but it’s hurting their economy. Likewise, free college in Finland is aiding young people to use college to hide out from the labor market.

[E2] Drill, Baby Drill! The benefits of rote memorization in math.

[E3] The employment premium for going to a for-profit college may be so bad (PDF) so as to not demonstrate any advantage over those who did not attend at all. Elite colleges, on the other hand, worth it.

[E4] Ray Fisman says that Sweden’s freefall in the international education testing ratings is proof that school choice is a bad idea. Andrew Coulson begs to differ. A report released by the University of Arkansas gave charter schools great points on cost-effectiveness.

[E5] By way of Annie Murphy Paul, Patricia Greenfield makes the case that a balanced education involves video games.

[E6] Eight interesting facts about MOOCs.


solarbins[S1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Long term: This is interesting, and a good development in that it heralds the development of windows that could be solar panels, either for glass towers or just homes with windows facing the right direction. Short term: Lots of work to do, mainly in boosting the efficiency. Anything under 10% & if it isn’t dirt cheap, it will never be economical. I can’t remember what the sweet spot is for PV cells in regards to $/kW-hr, but this has a long way to go before it’s anywhere close. Also, how fragile is it? Can we make this out of gorilla glass? (link via Kazzy)

[S2] Stacking cells: A possible new innovation in solar energy could make it as cheap as natural gas.

[S3] NASA and BYU are working on origami solar panels.

[S4] It’s kind of funny when conservatives are saying “OMG what about the birds!” and liberals are saying “They’re just birds, get over it.

[S5] New Jersey plans to test the transportation of the future: solar powered commuting pods!


millenials[M1] Millenials are discovering that Washington DC may be too expensive, long-term. Fortunately, the city is responding to housing concerns by preserving row-houses at the expense of denser condos.

[M2] Millenials may not be so different in their housing preferences than previously supposed. A greater percentage of them live in the suburbs in 2010 than in 2000.

[M3] In Texas, Millenials are preferring Houston and San Antonio over Dallas and Austin.

[M4] According to Matthew Hennessey, younger Millenials may lean to the right the way that older ones lean to the left. The evidence is weak, the rationale possible, and Romney did apparently win 19 and 20 year old voters.

[M5] I’m becoming a crotchity old man when it comes to Kids Today… but I have to say that if this piece is correct, I approve of what they’ve done to car sales.

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Linky Friday #80( 101 )


lacrosse[S1] A lot of people think that hosting the Olympics is a huge waste of resources. Cities themselves are coming around to this view.

[S2] I thought calling “football” by the name of soccer was a purely American thing, but apparently we’re not alone (and we haven’t always called it soccer).

[S3] First they came for the Redskins. Then, the Cougars! Back when I was in middle school, another middle school opened up and the kids overwhelmingly wanted “Cobras” to be their mascot. It was shot down because admin assumed that it must be a gang thing.

[S4] Two things I did not know: The Iroquois invented lacrosse… and are a current superpower in the sport.

[S5] The AD at the University of Hawaii openly mentioned that closing down their football program is a possibility, albeit an outside one. I comment here.


tmnt[E1] Teenage Mutant Ninja History.

[E2] I’ve been on Rhapsody for quite some time and still have my MP3 collection. So for Bob Lefsetz first “Rule of Spotify” to come true, the services are going to have to become a lot better.

[E3] An ex-con reviews Orange is the New Black. She wants to know where all the guards are at.

[E4] David Brent is coming back!

[E5] As we know, everything bad for you is good for you, including but not limited to video games.

[E6] God’s Not Dead was filed for two million dollars and has thus far pulled in over sixty. It’s almost as though there is a market for such movies. Surely, with Hollywood being the capitalist beast that it is, scores of them are on the way. Right?


braziliantribes[W1] Crowdsourcing heroism in Australia.

[W2] Of course: Drones are being deployed for crowd control.

[W3] In Iceland, you can’t name your daughter Harriet (or any other name that’s not on a list). Though I am against such things, for reasons freedom-loving and logistical, when I was substitute teaching there were times when I wished parents had less freedom and a list from which to choose.

[W4] Fanisha Fazal and Ryan Griffiths ask why secession is becoming so popular. Open Democracy attributes it to increasing internationalism.

[W5] When I did my Links Across America thing on July Fourth, I really should have had an entry for Denmark. Also, a 1988 TNR piece on the international reaction to the American Revolution.

[W6] One of those subjects that leaves me entirely clueless on ethics and morality… making contact with isolated tribes like those in Brazil.


telegram[P1] The Google Glass is merely the latest entrance into wearable tech that began with… the pocket watch.

[P2] Bell Labs may have invented something that will blow Google Fiber out of the water. Google, meanwhile, looks to use satellites to blow satellite Internet away.

[P3] Telegram not dead STOP Alive, evolving in Japan STOP

[P4] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Usually, that multi-million year computer we live in has figured out some pretty ingenious ways to do things.

[P5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: This would make construction of a space elevator much more cost effective.


sunscreen[SS1] The government may be moving forward to modernize sunscreen.

[SS2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I like most of these. The sun screen marker is something I just know my wife will want. The peanut husker is just a variation on a theme (I’ve seen bike powered corn huskers, grain threshers, etc.). So is the solar oven (solar water purifier, etc.). Great ideas all around, but not really Great Inventions; just improvements on existing ideas. I have a friend who is a home health care provider, she’d like the backpack thing. The telltale touch meat packaging is smart! So is the portable incubator. I like the simple water turbine, although I’m curious where the generator is? It must mount on top.

[SS3] Fewer young people are using sunscreen! Bad news! Or is it? According to a scientist in Seattle, sunscreen is bad for you and others say it’s poisoning the ocean..

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Linky Friday #79( 94 )


ObamaToast[P1] Politico interviews several gay members of the Bush Administration.

[P2] Most Republicans support birth control.

[P3] Democrats are declaring a ceasefire on “War on Women” rhetoric.

[P4] From what I recall of the polls at the time, in 2000 roughly one in ten of Ralph Nader voters would have otherwise voted for Bush (six for Gore, three wouldn’t have voted). My father is one of them, as is a former roommate. Nader has a pitch to some folks on the right.

[P5] From Mad Rocket Scientist: “The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.”


Metropolis2[F1] On the horizon… self-repairing plastic?

[F2] In 1995, Eugene Volokh (of Conspiracy fame) made a number of predictions about the media and technology, much of which turned out to be on the money. More good predictions.

[F3] Contraception at the push of a button.

[F4] A cool new technology may wick moisture away from windows. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)


Layers of Titan, Saturn's moon and one of the largest in the solar system.

Layers of Titan, Saturn’s moon and one of the largest in the solar system.

[S1] Everything you ever wanted to know about astronaut outfitting.

[S2] Kenneth Arnold made flying saucers famous.

[S3] The Space Station is getting a coffee machine!

{S4] Saturn’s moon Titan has a mysterious object on it, and an atmosphere older than Saturn’s.

[S5] Map: What an interplanetary Pangaea might look like.


Mountains_in_southern_Greenland[E1] The chief problem with global warming, unlike many things it is compared to, it’s an international problem with greatly differing costs among the needed participants, however hopeful some may be about India.

[E2] More metal, less emissions? Sounds good to me.

[E3] Hypocrites! People who say that they’re concerned about climate change use more electricity than those who aren’t! Ha! Actually, that’s mostly a function of confounding factors, but even controlling for them there doesn’t seem to be all that much difference.

[E4] According to a new study, locals protect their forests better than government. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[H1] Boom California looks at San Fransisco’s housing crunch, and by way of explaining it convinced me that whatever SF’s faults, the blame lies more with its neighbors. Like Palo Alto and its zero growth vision.

[H2] Matt K Lewis makes the conservative case for new urbanism.

[H3] Suburban homebuilders are encroaching on urban development.

[H4] Jim Russell declares The Death of Urbanization in the United States. He over-states his case as domestic migration is only part of the picture. Even so, it quite pointedly challenges “The Great Inversion” narrative and perhaps suggests a different fate for rural America than we might assume.


Kowloon_Nathan_Road_2007[A1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Singapore is testing whether mass surveillance and big data can not only protect national security, but actually engineer a more harmonious society.

[A2] The Japanese Prime Minister wants to ramp up Japan’s cool factor, but artists want no part of it.

[A3] Japan is building roads in poor countries, hoping to bolster their own economy by helping get economies around them moving.

[A4] The attempts to shoehorn a local (American) angle here notwithstanding, this story about India’s trash situation is quite interesting.

[A5] Private schools in India are an antidote to their caste system.

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Linky Friday #78( 112 )


mikerowe (1)[L1] Uber drivers are protesting outside company headquarters. Maybe they should unionize. Or demand a medallion system.

[L2] Whether he intends to or not, Mike Rowe seems on his way to becoming a Republican icon.

[L3] Mexican bazillionaire Carlos Slim has some interesting ideas on labor, suggesting that we should work longer hours (11 a day), shorter weeks (3 days per), over more years (9 more years). The main question I have about it is whether the 11 hour days would cause a decrease in productivity.

[L4] Flextime is apparently a nice perk that you should never actually use. Here are some tips for waking up earlier. One of the best decisions I ever made about such things was to never, ever use the snooze button again.

[L5] Peter Cappelli argues that non-compete clauses punish the wrong party. It’s become increasingly popular for college football coaches to have buyouts so large that only the schools that would hire them can pay it.

[L6] In a world where computers are better drivers and legal scholars than people, at what point do people become economically useless?


Breton[C1] In a country where everyone likes to think of themselves as middle class, “rich” is a moving target. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who may suffer from Status-Income Disequilibrium.

[C2] The effects of gambling (and casinos) on the poor is abysmal. These are the sorts of issues that really test my libertarian self (and kind of kick his ass, actually).

[C3] I’ve long thought that we need to do away with summer vacation. I should have, but didn’t, consider that this argument is made stronger by a class component.

[C4] It’s pretty convenient for both sides to ignore rural poverty. Republicans don’t like to admit that some of their home turf is disproportionately poor. Democrats like to consider the poor “theirs.”

[C5] Soleil Ho argues that foodie trends hurt low-income families.

[C6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: I think Nick Hannauer might be right. Wealth gap is hurting the recovery. This is from S&P, and not some progressive outfit.


USA-Einwanderer auf Ellis Island[I1] Jason Brennan argues if closed borders are so good, why not close more of them? The same argument can be applied to trade. It’s a bum argument, though, because nations have a central (even if federalized) governing authority and there are expectations of reciprocity (and generally beneficial ones) among citizens of a country that don’t exist in the same context globally.

[I2] The government is using pop music to try to keep Central Americans from sending their kids here.

[I3] I don’t expect RedState to be a voice of reason in the immigration debate, but I thought this post was actually petty good.

[I4] Ecuador tried its hand at open immigration. It didn’t work out so well.


Rosa_Parks_Transit_Center_Detroit_Michigan[A1] The immigrants of yesteryear were apparently smart to Americanize their name at Ellis Island. Writers, too, should choose their name carefully.

[A2] In addition to being careful about your name when you’re looking for a job, you should keep quiet about your religion, too. Unless you’re Jewish, because everyone likes the Jewish.

[A3] Gene Demby has a good write-up about violence in Chicago.

[A4] How much should bankrupt Detroit pay to keep its wonderful art? Does $185,000,000 seem right?

[A5] From Christopher Carr: Transporting Ebola patients internationally and into major urban centers for research seems like a very stupid idea.

[A6] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Because despite warnings of, “Hey, be careful, that slope is slippery!”, people always got slide down it. Case in point, a gay bar coming under fire for not being inclusive to all gay people because of it’s dress code. I get why people wanted the wedding people who discriminated against gay people to feel the heat, but this is just silly.

[A7] The GAO says that there was gross mismanagement in the PPACA rollout. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)


Siberia - Group[W1] When I did my Links Across America thing on July Fourth, I really should have had an entry for Denmark. Also, a 1988 TNR piece on the international reaction to the American Revolution.

[W2] One of those subjects that leaves me entirely clueless on ethics and morality… making contact with isolated tribes like those in Brazil.

[W3] A 260-foot crater has appeared in Siberia.

[W4] The bizarre story of the Dutch cyclist who had tickets to two Malaysia Airlines flights that met with a tragic end.

[W5] It’s commonly said that Israel is going to have to play nicely with the Palestinians because of the demographic timebomb. What if that simply isn’t true?

[W6] Here’s a list of inventories from soldier’s kits from 1066 to 2014. (via Mad Rocket Scientist)

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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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