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Morning Ed: World Politics {2017.02.06.M}( 120 )

I’m not saying that Le Pen is going to win. I am saying that for Le Pen wins, something like this exact thing would need to happen.

A protest success in Romania.

Elizabeth Picciuto writes about the value of refugees, and how wrong liberals and border doves are to emphasize economic contribution.

One of the protections of a multiparty system is that the mainstream parties can isolate the fringy parties… but it only works if everybody cooperates.

On the other hand, Canadian politicians want to keep things FPTP because (allegedly) they fear that a multiparty system will make fringies too powerful.

I think, at this point, we can just about say they got away with it.

If you want to go to a Nazi-themed cafe in Indonesia, you’re out of luck.

The Nigerian president’s health problems look like they might be worrisome. Allegedly, God has already chosen a successor (though perhaps not the immediate one..

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Linky Friday: Making The World Go Round( 141 )


coffee kiosk photo

Image by hakzelf

[L1] The article makes Odyssey sound pretty ominous, but I kept waiting for the part that was something other than an intriguing business model. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t throw money on it because live by the whims of young people, die by the whims of young people.

[L2] Will civil service be able to stymie the Trump Administration by simply refusing to do its job?

[L3] Is this even legal?

[L4] They have one of these at my wife’s hospital. They’re pretty cool and the coffee was good.

[L5] The Jacobin asks what a working class party would stand for.

[L6] Robert Colville explains two new papers that argue that labor is struggling at least in part because of the resurgence of the monopoly.


canada tar sands photo

Image by Mark Klotz

[En1] Saudi Arabia is looking at geothermal energy.

[En2] It’s rough when you can’t even afford to get your product to market.

[En3] Tony Lodge explains the failure of British energy policy.

[En4] Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’, Trump and the Republicans are rolling back green Obama decisions.

[En6] A look at an energy-pooling effort in Alaska.


Finland school photo

Image by okfn

[Ed1] According to Evelyn Douck, Harvard Law students want political debate.

[Ed2] How Ivy League schools avoid real diversity. This coincides with my own observational experience with affirmative action, wherein my upper middle-class Cuban-American friends with decent but not spectacular were getting offers from across the country.

[Ed3] Finland is, evidently, getting rid of school subjects.

[Ed4] Jenny Anderson argues that learning styles aren’t really a thing. The question I have, though, is that if there is a way you’re more comfortable learning (even if psychosomatically) does it make you inclined to want to learn more? Which may or may not help in the classroom, but seems like it would be significant.

[Ed5] Walter Olson has a thing or two to say on Trump’s Berkeley-related funding threat, following the funding threats of previous administration.


vaclav havel photo

Image by @boetter

[R1] Vaclav Havel’s thoughts on the temptations of political power, and religion, are worth reading.

[R2] What is the origin of the phrase abracadabra? Could be it… Jewish?

[R3] Whatever happened to Freedom From Religion?

[R4] The Brothers of Jesus, and other Biblical moments left out of Jesus movies.

[R5] Bradley Birzer reviews a John J Miller story The Polygamous King, which sounds fascinating.


From Pixabay

From Pixabay

[F1] This sure makes sense. Lower pork costs plus generated (and seemingly random!) scarcity make for a good combination.

[F2] Alex Tabarrok tests out some fake meat, and decides that it is good.

[F3] This strikes me as an emergency! What is Trump going to do about it?

[F4] Gustavo Arellano explains how Andrew Puzder ruined Carl’s Jr.

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Morning Ed: World {2017.02.02.Th}( 148 )


Iceland is a country, but it has a population half the size of El Paso (a third the size of El Paso metro). So with that and low crime generally, it’s not hard to imagine how a crime that may or may not even get attention here could rock an entire country.

Well this bodes ill.

Hmmm, I hope this doesn’t pan out.

I suppose Macron as Trump makes sense along a particular axis, but not the most salient ones. Among other things, Macron has experience in government and seems to me to be coming from a pretty different place ideologically. They represent the Dr Jekyl and Mr Hide of the political center.

Lyman Stone looks at illegal immigration rates and attempts, where they’re coming from and at what rate.

The interesting relationship between Shakespeare, falconry, and our language. {Via Aaron David}

From Greginak: Meanwhile in the rest of world. Yet there has been talk of removing sanctions on Russia and Trump has a noted affection for Putin and there was the consensus of the IC about Russia’s influence on our elections.

“If you can’t help cities advance progressive policies, then just leave us alone,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Don’t punish cities for our immigration policies because you want to please your base by pretending to do something about immigration reform. Just actually do smart immigration reform and then cities won’t have to have distinct immigration policies in the first place. And, dear god, stop tweeting.” {via Jaybird}

What if I just like the Mercator projection because I think Greenland is awesome and doesn’t get enough attention?

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Morning Ed: Health {2017.02.01.W}( 64 )

Wow, this is scary and awesome. Good work, people.

Eric Boehm writes about how an arbitrary hospital licensing law led to an infant’s death. I can abstractly understand the notion of a “certificate of public need” given the entrepreneurship of many medical service providers, hospitals (as opposed to clinics and urgent care centers) tend to be financially self-limiting.

So if we end up able to pull this off, that may sidestep the question of paying organ donors. I, for one, welcome our porcine donors…

The worst of the ecig studies are the ones that present scenarios that no vaper would ever do, like 5 volts for ten seconds. Of course you’ll find carcinogens, and blaming that on ecigarettes is like burning steak to a crisp and finding carcinogens in the char and blaming the steak. Well, now they’re worried about carcinogens in char.

Only Trump can save us!

This is why Trump won. I mean, why Le Pen will or something.

I’d be interested to find out what May has in mind here, but my default is to keep them out, out, out.

Mother Jones takes a dark look at the medical side of childbirth, and takes issue with the anti-cesarean movement.

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Morning Ed: Entertainment {2017.01.31.T}( 139 )

“The phrase is ‘the death of the middle.’ We’re getting to a place where there’s going to be too much dramatic content. The best will always be bought and continue to rise in price. In the U.S., there are 62 buyers for drama. There is a lot of demand for the best, but that middle goes away or drowns. It’s the best or the cheap and cheerful.”

I was all prepared to disagree with Todd VanDerWerff’s ode to episodic television, but I actually agree mostly with the relatively modest argument that he’s making. Mostly I wish we just had shorter seasons.

Maria Carla Sanchez worries that young people are more than just losing their imagination, but not even understanding the concept.

Whatever happened to the the kids from the Runaway Train video?

Nicholas Barber takes issue with “universe-shrinking,” which is a really good term for interconnecting everything within a story with everything else (Luke is Vader’s son, etc). It reminds me of the tension comic book world between “clean origins” that stand independent (new character with an understood with a very quick explanation) and the desire connect existing properties (the new Green Lantern is the old Green Lantern’s adopted daughter).

While Adam Ozimek has argued that Disney saved Star Wars from its creator, Varad Mehta argues that Star Wars needs Lucas now more than ever.

I was wondering if one of the reasons that airlines weren’t pressuring the FAA to allow portable devices was because they wanted to sell it to you. Maybe so, maybe not, but cause is meeting effect.

The story of Adam Carrolla’s rise.

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Morning Ed: Muslims {2017.01.30.M}( 397 )

A little under two years ago, Muslim convert “Roger” was replaced as the counter-terrorism chief. He had a number of notches in his belt, including bin Laden’s death.

Eli Lake reports on some Syrian-Americans who are not fans of the Iranian president, or the most recent former American one.

The story of Aaron Driver, a suburban Canadian turn ISIS supporter and criminal.

Meet Ali J Mohammed, Iraq native serving in our Marine Corps.

‘I know [a ban on Muslims is] very much illegal and unconstitutional. I know it’ll never be enacted. And furthermore, even Donald Trump has backed out of it,’ says Saba [Ahmed].

If we bombed you, we’re banning you. To be fair, the list of affected nations was, evidently, inherited from the previous administration. Benjamin Wittes explains just how unconscionable it is, while David French explains that it’s no big deal.

Late last year, Zar Mohammad Stanikzai was quite worried that his a visa cap preventing exfiltration of those who help our military actions overseas. And here we are, with US veterans now worried for them.

Aspects of the Executive Order have been stayed, and we’ll see what happens, but it seems likely that it would be pretty hard to get credibility back with foreign agents after this sort of thing.

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Linky Friday: Out Of This World( 263 )


Little League photo

Image by greg westfall.

[A1] I doubt much will come of this, in part because how far does $50k a year get you in Southern California and also because playing for free in college is actually not a bad deal.

[A2] Not being the basketball fan, I had missed the whole sleeved uniforms trend. We had sleeves in YMCA ball. It was kind of a big deal to graduate to a more competitive league where we got to wear real basketball jerseys.

[A3] Ed Latimore writes about what he learned growing up in the Hood.

[A4] Mark Zeigler proposes moving the Chargers to… San Diego.

[A5] This sounds right to me. At some point I’m going to have to go back and see if there is any correlation between my eyesight and my sporadic little league performance.


airline seats photo

Image by MattHurst

[M1] A pressing problem has now been solved. (Seriously, though, I like it when they can do stuff like this.)

[M2] It’s tough times for Macy’s and Sears and company.

[M3] Despite my personal discomfort, I tend to support the small seats on airplanes and allowing people who need more (like me) to get more to pay for it. At some point there are some legitimate health concerns, though, so I don’t mind a fair inquiry into that.

[M4] Samsung has delivered their Note 7 Disaster Autopsy. What a disaster. A month or so ago it really looked like I was going to be in the market for a new phone and it was weird not having a Note to consider. (My next phone will likely be LG.)

[M5] Sustainable burial practices? That sounds cool, I guess, but fire me up when I die. (My wife, notably, wants the same – but only after she’s dissected in a medical school laboratory.)

[M6] I love capitalism.


[R1] Formerly alleged to be easy pickins for mail-order brides and American men, Russian women aren’t so much into us anymore.

[R2] Lucius Wisniewski’s proposal to his girlfriend did not go off as planned, but he learned an Important Lesson. My proposal involved me trying like heck to get the Internet up on her laptop while she sat on the sofa irritated with the fact that I couldn’t Let It Go and do without Internet for a day.

[R3] This strikes me as a reasonably good dating site strategy if you’re female. Less so if you’re male. But looking back to when I was on that scene, I wonder if I was too timid. Sometimes, standing out is better than anything.

[R4] Texting didn’t really become a universal thing until after I married, but even so this article really brought back some unpleasant memories vis-a-vis AOL Instant Messenger.

[R5] I guess I could get on board with adding some new words to our vocabulary.


co-sleeping photo

Image by Kelly Sue

[F1] “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes babies in the baby carriage” has become passe, and it hasn’t been good for stability. Even if we were to chalk this up entirely to selection, we run into the issue of the asymmetrically committed.

[F2] How the Japanese grieve the miscarriage.

[F3] Sometimes it would take my mother four names to get to me.

[F4] A look at the pros and cons of co-sleeping.

[F5] We did the 90-minute nap thing with Lain and had some real success with it. Not sure if it was actually the 90 minutes or whether it was mostly a matter of establishing a rhythm.


Image by Brett Jordan

Image by Brett Jordan

[S1] Do we finally know what that alien megastructure is?

[S2] In case you wanted to see some images of what galaxy collisions look like, here you go. Is this our future?

[S3] Never mind “learning” from it, how do we get this sucker to Earth?

[S4] The ins and outs of colonizing Jupiter’s moons.

[S5] Venus was thought to be perhaps the most habitable planet aside from Earth. What happened?

[S1] Behold! The earliest maps of Mars!

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Morning Ed: World Politics {2016.01.26.Th}( 355 )

Make the FDA Great Again?

Donald Trump is turning “liberals” into preppers. The wealthy, too.

Who did Russia sell its oil company to?

Republicans are trying to turn protesting into “economic terrorism.”

If they can’t (or don’t want to) have free roaming with Europe, could the UK enter one with the Anglosphere? Movement in Australia.

The French Socialist primary happened, and… #BanPrimaries. The good news is that France has runoffs, so Le Pen won’t be trotting into the presidency with 37% of the vote. While Benoît Hamon may have learned something from Jeremy Corbyn, Corbyn’s team is learning from Trump.

Weird. And totally unexpected! More seriously, the places most at risk for this sort of thing are like NYC, Maryland, Massachusetts, and other places where crossing state lines is no big deal. Montana has more flexibility.

Netherlands is stepping up, in response to the global gag rule.

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Morning Ed: Science {2017.01.25.W}( 147 )

In the wake of the Reproducibility Crisis, Richard Price argues that we need to strengthen peer review.

The Implicit Bias test may be a bunch of bunk. Also, microaggressions?

From Pangaea to Amasia.

Dogs remember things differently than people, but they do remember things.

Well, this sounds like a real mess. The laws for having (or trying to have) someone involuntarily committed vary a pretty great deal from state to state. Our current state is one of the most difficult to, but our previous was one of the most lax.

I’m willing to bet this is not specifically a psychology thing. At least two of the reasons for the pushback against the experts revolves around confidence levels and consensus.

Look, I understand. Physics people didn’t see Donald Trump winning either. No reason to rely on multiverses in explaining yourself.

Conflict in Canada as the University of Toronto as the psychiatry folks are rather pissed at a new scholarship for anti-psychiatry.

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Morning Ed: Rogue One {2016.01.24.T}( 49 )

Adam Ozimek looks at how a grubby corporation saved Star Wars from a stubborn artist who was ruining his own story.

Sarah Bond looks at the history of weapons engineers.

A critical obituary of Leia Organa.

I’d never heard of this kind of insurance, but it sure makes a lot of sense. I understand that – contrary to rumors – they’re not immediately planning to digitize Carrie Fisher going forward, but I kind of hope they do.

The ethical dilemma of resurrecting Tarkin in Rogue One is pretty much null to me, especially given that they got the blessings of his estate. The CG for Tarkin almost works – I might not have noticed except that I knew to notice – though I think it might look more conspicuous in ten years.

For First Things, Marc Barnes looks at the theological bearings of Rogue One, and its abandonment.

Bryan Alexander looks at the retro of Rogue One.

Vox took a lot of crap for saying that Star Wars was the first movie of the franchise about war, but even as people were laughing I think everyone did kind of know it was true.

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Linky Friday: It’s Been Good Knowing You( 138 )


[C1] We hear a lot of the bad, but there’s some good happening in Chicago. Even so, Chicago looks over its shoulder and asks, “What about Houston?”

[C2] Go West, young man. You don’t even need to go far. Three cheers for geographical load balancing!

[C3] Last time we were looking at places to potentially move to, Sacramento registered pretty reasonably in terms of cost-of-living. Apparently, no longer so. {More}

[C4] Buffalo may be making a comeback! Full speed ahead.

[C5] David Wheeler argues that Silicon Valley has declared war on Snake People.

[C6] Using Lafayette, Louisiana as an example, Charles Marohn explains the infrastructure trap and why your city has no money.


russian bear photo

Image by dvanhorn

[W1] In New Hampshire it’s ticks versus moose, and the ticks are winning.

[W2] What the hell, Mother Nature?

[W3] But how do they taste?

[W4] Well, this is kind of a cool story. Except for the fox.

[W5] Even if not actually a Wyoming problem, this sounds like a very Russian problem.

[W6] Catfood is the most popular fish for people who don’t like seafood, and combine that with our politics and government being what they are, I guess it’s no surprise they’re a political football.

[W7] I have to say, this isn’t my response to hearing about that kind of animal with that kind of nickname.


[T1] Lifehacks to drive more safely in better heated cars.

[T2] Unable to get electric bikes up and running and the existing program being retired, Seattle killed its bike-sharing program. For now, at least.

[T3] In New York, drivers are lining up against Driverless Cars, and apprehension in Ohio. I didn’t know Ohio had so many truck drivers. Seems to me they’re all from Oklahoma (except Rod, of course).

[T4] An Israeli company is working on wireless charging of electric vehicles.

[T5] Angie Schmitt wants to replace these eight transportation engineering euphemisms.

[T6] this limo really rubs the wrong way for some reason.


[M1] Conor Sen’s words on shopping malls seem true. Having lived around places where shopping malls have closed, it’s hard to overstate the footprint/infrastructure issues (unless the land is valuable for repurposing.)

[M2] I thought about making a Monday Trivia out of this map, but figured it too obscure. It’s really weird to me when any Walmart is not open 24 hours. That’s half of the point of a Walmart.

[M3] Elias Crim argues is concerned about the economic repercussions entangled with the “smart city” and, more particularly, the Uberization of our workforce when better alternatives may be available.

[M4] This makes sense. And portends our doom.

[M5] Alan Moore encourages new writers to self-publish.

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Morning Ed: World {2017.01.19.Th}( 245 )

Todd Gordon and Jeffery Webber discuss Canada’s oppressive history in Latin America.

Alana Samuels explains why Norwegians and Americans see inequality differently.

Who has more to lose with Brexit, the UK or the EU? {More}

As you have probably heard, Obama closed the gates on Cuban refugee policy, bringing it in line with the rest of the world. Here is a look at The Last Cubans In.

A French newspaper is forsaking polls and horse race journalism for their upcoming election. One would think there is a middle ground, but I’m not sure there is.

Kishore Mahbubani looks at the datapoints and trends pointing to an Asian Century, which Chinese president Xi Jinping looks ready to move on.

Evening the score after the fall of the USSR? Putin’s man is working on secession movements worldwide. Well, outside of Russia.

From paragon to bystander, the Samantha Power Story.

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Morning Ed: Work {2017.01.18.W}( 100 )


If stuff is going to be built mostly by machines, doesn’t it make more sense for American companies to build it in Nevada than China?

Lawrence Harvey looks at the growth and discomfort of automation.

Josh Barrie at the Spectator is worried about self-pour taps in British pubs. I hear him, though I’d sure like something like that at music shows at bars where you can spent 20 minutes of an 80 minute show waiting in line.

It never occurred to me that it has to be someone’s job to do this.

The labor market is getting tight… in fast food?

Amazon is going on a hiring spree.

According to Cate, when working from home, the most important thing is figuring out the work part of it.

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Morning Ed: Law & Order {2016.01.17.T}( 93 )

Should male statutory rape victims be required to pay child support? In some states, at least, they are. It goes down to the fundamental question of whether we really believe young people can or can’t consent to sex (and with whom),.

After getting a traffic-camera ticket, Adam MacLeod fought the law and the law lost.

The Global Coalition has an interview with a French Daesh defector.

Speaking of France and terrorism, they’re getting very twitchy about Islamic infiltration of their police force.

This is like the ending of the movie where they try to get you to like and admire that character whose earlier actions should have precluded liking and admiring them.

An attempt to make OxyContin safer by preventing it from being crushed and snorted ended up pushing more people to heroin.

If Trump repeats this, will he get Three Pinocchios or Four?

Kansas has a lawyer problem. Specifically, a “no lawyers in the State Senate” problem.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2017.01.16.M}( 107 )

Aren’t pigouvian taxes supposed to increase prices? To be fair, if I recall Philadelphia was unusually blunt in saying “Actually, this is really about the money; we need the money.”

The DC school board apparently has a Republican on it.

Kenton Tilford looks at where independent candidates did well, and where they didn’t.

Russell Dalton explains what the lay of the electoral land in the world of reliable and blind partisanship.

Boo. Hiss.

Republicans who’ve been passed over for cabinet spots this election are hoping for quick turnover. They’ll probably get it.

Ned Resnikoff argues that the fall of the center has given rise to white nationalism. Though I find “The center is dead, so you’re either with us or with them” to be a dynamic that is convenient for the person saying it, I find (fear?) there is a lot of truth in the work in the overall.

What we can learn about Trump support from Juggalos. {via Greginak}

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Linky Friday The Doomteenth( 182 )


feral cat photo

Image by Salim Virji

[C1] Feral cats are conquering Australia. Also, a scandal involving the feral cats, and KFC.

[C2] A man in Northern Michigan falls in the freezing cold on New Year’s Eve. His dog did what dogs do in these stories.

[C3] Can’t sleep or the bats will drink your blood.

[C4] Predicting the weather with shark oil.


Image by Fibonacci Blue

Image by Fibonacci Blue

[E1] Maybe we can get renewables where we want them before shutting down nuclear power plants?

[E2] How the US uses energy.

[E3] A look at a carbon capture project in Texas.

[E4] North Dakota was left with a hefty tab from policing the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

[E5] Obama is reasonably pleased with his clean energy legacy.


antibiotic photo

Image by Wesley Fryer

[H1] MD Anderson is having to cut almost 1,000 jobs to compensate for economic losses caused by the EMR rollout.

[H2] The situation in Britain with the NHS looks kind of dire.

[H3] I guess it’s not surprising that I never heard of the vaccination for cholera, given that it’s available elsewhere but not in the United States.

[H4] Meanwhile, EpiPen’s only competitor (in the US) is now at CVS.

[H5] It’s really unclear to me how allowing the Canadian import of drugs would have much effect except perhaps much higher drug costs in Canada.

[H6] Well, this isn’t good.


car snow photo

Image by Martin Pettitt

[T1] Who among us hasn’t lost a car in a parking garage for six months?

[T2] This is nuts. Back out west, people leave their car running everywhere. The fear of theft is outweighed by the fear of the car not starting up again.

[T3] Some potential progress for self-driving cars as a new, cheaper sensor has been created.

[T4] Dodge the Dodge, if you want to avoid regrets.


Image by leighblackall

Image by leighblackall

[M1] I’m not worried that the media won’t try to hold Trump accountable, I’m worried that they will fail and hurt their own credibility.

[M2] Yeah, this doesn’t sound good to me.

[M3] An interesting interview with Slate’s David Auerbach on the state of the media.

[M4] Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev tells the American media what to expect.

[M5] Vanessa Gezari makes the case for Buzzfeed’s decision to run with the memos.


e83cb40928f7003ecd0b470de7444e90fe76e6dd1db3174291f1c0_640_planet-nine[S1] Hey, me too.

[S2] To dust we shall fall, from stardust we come.

[S3] Planet Nine… the rogue world that may have been screwing with our solar system.

[S4] Reason has some kind words for Obama’s space policy.


car snow photo

Image by Brony1789

[D1] Was the Titanic sunk by ice or fire? Or, well, lots of things.

[D2] If your New Year’s goal is to lose weight, you might be doomed from the outset.

[D3] Britain is overdue for a major flood.

[D4] How Global Warming could cause an Icy Apocalypse.

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Tech Thursday( 57 )


Using bacteria to test for toxins in water.  Put a bunch of E. coli in a view glass, dye them so they are visible, then add a spot of suspect water.  If all the bacteria flee from the water, there is bad juju, don’t drink it.

Requirement One, engineer bacteria to produce medicine inside a human body.  Requirement Two, once no longer needed, get the bacteria out of that body.  Solution: Give the bacteria a two position thermostat.  At one temperature, they make medicine, at another, they self destruct.

Leveraging worms to figure out how we can cause the human body to regenerate lost tissues (like arms, legs).

Why are scars ugly?  Two reasons, no fat, and no hair follicles.  Looks like that is another problem solved.

Wound closure has gone from stitches, to staples, to steristrips, to super glue, and now this.


That is a very, very, very, … very tiny amount of time.


A common mineral shows promise in boosting the efficiency of solar cells that are designed to use more of the spectrum of light.  First generation, 21.7% efficiency.  Also, this kind of solar cell can be made by essentially wet printing, so the cells can be printed on flexible sheets, which makes them a hell of a lot cheaper.  So an efficiency on par with the best cells in production, and a very cheap production process means this could flip the solar PV cost equation on it’s ear.

Wind turbines make noise because big airfoils create big turbulence..  That noise annoys people who live close to the turbines.  Owls have big airfoils and are next to silent.  Now we know why owls are so quiet, and the bet is that we can use that to make turbines much quieter.  See also.

Using bio-waste to make fuel for airliners.

Turning old tires into fuel.

Turning sewage into energy.  Obama probably isn’t wrong, given all the ways we are playing around with producing energy.


And yet another application for carbon molecules.

Using metamaterials to replace semi-conductors in micro-electronics, etc.  Result is cooler devices that can handle more power flow.

It’s not technically a hologram, but the effect is the same.

As if men needed a legitimate reason to watch porn on their phones…

Portable, room temperature hydrogen storage.  Ummm, this is kind of a bigger deal than it’s being made out to be.


I’ve said before that one of the problems with climate models is that there is an awful lot of variables that the models can’t account for, because we just flat out don’t know about them.  Case in point.  This doesn’t mean we can drill and dig for dead dinosaurs with renewed vigor, but it is another example of why you should always be a little wary of trusting computer models of poorly understood systems.


Mars Adobe hut!  The dirt is a great way to shield from radiation.  If you can’t bind it into a concrete to coat the exterior of your habitat walls, then you dig a hole and have a habitat that reminds you of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru (but sadly, no T-16).

I love the idea, but it’s still a concept for travel over oceans, unless they can do something about the boom.

Cool space photos.  That is all.

I wonder if Trump will shut this down in favor of a small telescope on the roof of Trump tower and a claim that he is the best at spotting dangerous asteroids.

A fun, seven part series about space weather.  Credit to Aaron, who found it for me.


Seems a little bit of skin pigment goes a long way.

This is interesting, but I’m not exactly sure how it would stay on the wing of a transonic airliner.  That would have to be one hell of a strong magnet.

When it comes to safety gear, I usually have no problem shelling out money for good gear, because it’s my life on the line.  But at the same time, the fact that each piece of gear is a single use item does make the cost a bit unpalatable.  So if a bike helmet can be made of paper, and still do the job…

A glue that works no matter the temperature.  And helps you save 15% or more on your car insurance.

Nuclear Diamond Batteries.  Admit it, that right there is enough to make you want to click that link.  And it’s not even clickbait, but it might result in a strange union between Greenpeace and DeBeers.

Game changing process for making cheap, non-toxic hydrogels.  Sounds like they might be biodegradable, or at least inert enough that it could make diapers less of an environmental burden.

Suddenly silk becomes a lot more interesting for things other than comfy clothes.


Remember the NYC staircase as public art?  I said before this is silly because it doesn’t go anywhere.  This is how you do public staircases as art.  See, it not only goes somewhere, it’s being useful at the same time (crossing busy roads).

The general idea is good (houses that rise up in the event of a flood), but why a mechanical system to jack it up?  Just design the house to float and anchor it like a floating dock.

Again, looks good and is useful.  I’m curious as to the cost, though.

A floating community.  Of course it’s the Dutch.

I love dome houses, they appeal to an aesthetic I have.  I also understand I am in the minority.  I do think that, if we are going to continue to publicly insure people who live in hurricane prone areas, they should be required to live in something like this.  With armor glass panels.  Seriously, why do we subsidize their choices?

Our changing world, courtesy of Google.

Something For The Lawyers

Star Trek and Copyright Law.  See, I do love you!

Image by r3v || cls

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Morning Ed: United States {2017.01.10.T}( 195 )

West is best, Dixie is good, and more can be gleaned from this Lucky 13 map. It’s interesting that a population and economic boom in so much of the west seems to have passed New Mexico by, and Montana is probably wishing that instead of having its population split between six decently sized small cities that they had their own Boise or SLC.

Maybe this will help New Mexico grow, once prices are back up again.

Dan Walters looks at the positive and negative effects of the declining population growth in California.

Kudos to Rhode Island, the most empathetic state in the country.

Vice has a good article on how Chattanooga turned itself around with high-speed Internet.

It seems to me that this is mostly a case of advertising transparency, rather than “blaming the minimum wage hike.” There’s nothing to stop them from using the bill to outline the discounted price (what it would be without the minimum wage hike) and the price with a surcharge, as long as it’s clear the price with the surcharge is the price they will be paying.

Here is a handy article on where states get their revenue.

Lyman Stone points out that interstate migration is mostly going not to super-deep red states, but to purple states. The definition of purple is sufficiently broad so as to include Texas, but interesting all of the same.

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Morning Ed: Food & Dining {2017.01.09.M}( 60 )

If we want a species to thrive, it’s best to make it delicious.

I like cheese. Does this mean I should give heroin a try?

High-cholesterol food is okay now and go ahead and give your baby peanuts. Sugar, meanwhile, may be messing with your brain.

I’m going to go with “because they’re awesome.”

Tessa Newell explains how Taco Bell quietly went healthy.

Kevin Alexander says that the restaurant industry bubble is about to burst.

Related, it seems like we’re just not eating out anymore, though not necessarily because we can’t afford to.

Of all the fastfood places, I wouldn’t have guessed it Wendy’s to have the Twitter account with sass. Jack in the Box or Burger King, sure, but Wendy’s? Catherine LeClair introduces us to the woman behind the account.

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Linky Friday Number Two Hundred( 199 )


train photo

Image by matsuyuki

[C1] A businessman seeks to transform Muscatine, Iowa (population 24,000) into a hub of Chinese culture.

[C2] Friends of Earth was forced to back down from some of its anti-fracking claims and literature.

[C3] Is Medium going under?

[C4] Economics marches on, but economists rely on assumptions that are subject to subjectivity (or perhaps more accurately, speculation).

[C5] From China to London, by rail. {via Aaron David}

[C6] Michael Sargent looks at our airports, finds them wanting, and wonders why we can’t be more like Europe. Just not this one, okay. (Okay, it’s more about privatization than Europe, but I wanted an excuse to link to that video.


University of Tulsa photo

Image by maduko

[E1] Will Udacity and Coursera help you on that next job interview?

[E2] Andrew Cuomo’s plan is not especially debt-free, given that tuition is only a portion of the expenses. And contrary to some of the headlines, it’s not the first to have “free college” but rather the first to do so without regard to academic performance. Also, nice marriage penalty there. And let’s talk about majors, too… sigh. Okay, I’ll admit it, the “College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success” line put me in a bad mood. The world is not divided between those who went to college and those who were too neglected or defective to go.

[E3] Median lifetime earnings by major.

[E4] Are universities overbuilding for their own benefit, or because the students they want demand it?

[E5] Native American rights and freedom from religion collide in Canada.

[E6] Scientific American looks at how to raise geniuses.


haunted house photo

Image by Sean MacEntee

[H1] Introducing the Concave Roof, an architectural solution to water shortages in the desert.

[H2] The native guilt of a home-buying Democratic Socialist.

[H3] More on the bottom of the bottomless luxury housing market.

[H4] If neotraditional houses are popular, why aren’t more of them being built?

[H5] Collin Dickey complains that McMansion builders of today are building the haunted houses of literature.

[H6] Here’s a pretty cool calculator on whether it’s advantageous to rent or buy.


token photo

Image by outletpro

[M1] What do you do if you’ve discovered you’re a token?

[M2] Adopted American Nicole Chung talks of her decision to take her Asian name.

[M3] Forensics looks at the link between racial hate crimes and Internet access in the early last decade.

[M4] It’s disappointing, if not surprising, that multi-ethnic teams can be less productive than their more homogeneous variety.

[M5] Cobb looks at the difference between multiculturalism and pluralism, and how the US can handle one but not really the other.


Nixon photo

Image by AK Rockefeller

[P1] Kevin Williamson’s piece on the pickup flap is a lot better than mine was.

[P2] It’s discussed a lot, but rarely defined. So, defining neoliberalism.

[P3] Simon Cullen praises ignorance and agnosticism.

[P4] Josh Barro explains why we can’t have nice infrastructure (in this case, transportation infrastructure).

[P5] From Greginak: This should be big news as it speaks to why a clusterfish of war kept going and directly relates to the Logan Act/ presidential actions. It will be a blip though most likely.

[P6] Is Duverger’s Law applicable outside the United States? I’ve commented before that the US has additional barriers to FPTP, and this might be indicative of that.

[P7] Will donors prevent the Democrats from going left?

Feature Image by tnarik

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Morning Ed: Society {2017.01.015.Th}( 62 )

Avi Woolf looks at Richard Cory, Cool Runnings, social envy, and personal virtue.

As American soap operas wane, telenovas are thriving.

There are not many surprises here, but it’s interesting all the same. (I would not have expected Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory to be a ruralian show, though.)

This sounds like a pretty cool idea for a basketball league.

Facebook can tell when you’re in a relationship, but can’t tell that the guy whose birthday it’s reminding you of died six years ago…

Kevin Simler on the intersection between status and cooperation.

Some librarians created fake patrons to protect books from cruel, cruel (and allegedly misguided) data.

According to Nir Eyal, Microsoft’s biggest strength in productivity software is habit, and they’re losing it. If GoogleDocs would create an independent app and up their game somewhat, I’d consider making the switch. Just not there yet.

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Morning Ed: North America {2017.01.04.W}( 175 )

Christmas is in three days! Well, if you’re in old school Appalachia anyway.

Well, this sounds pretty unpleasant. Seriously, though, the Morning Glory Hot Spring looks like something that would destroy you horrifically (or make you immortal).

Better data collection is painting a more somber picture of police shootings. {via Greginak}

The producers of a KKK documentary were passing around money to give viewers the KKK they wanted to see.

Meanwhile, at a Waffle House in Georgia

We need some space between “Not a frivolous luxury” and “essential for quality of life.”

Colby Cosh writes about what he sees as the “pathology” of Canadian republicanism.

Impressive: How a Canadian businessman brought 200 Syrian refugees into Canada and set them up and a black man befriended KKK members to turn them away from the movement.

How a farm girl’s quinceañera became a national event in Mexico.

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Morning Ed: Transportation {2017.01.03.T}( 23 )

The RV is updating for the Millennials.

Some western states are getting together to develop an electronic vehicle charging network.

Solar panel roads are finally happening.

Driving Under the Influence… of caffeine?! It doesn’t actually appear that the prosecutors are saying that you can’t drive with caffeine in their system, but it’s not really clear what they are saying.

This seems like a good way to raise some money and confuse the heck out of passengers.

This Slatepitch has gotten a lot of criticism, but… it’s not wrong.

Of the various proposals, the “sleeping rooms” idea is definitely the coolest. Though would have been cooler before the kid.

Bruce Dorminey lays out a 200 year roadmap to Proxima Centauri B.

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Morning Ed: World {2017.01.02.M}( 40 )

In 1939, Lina Medina gave birth. She was five years old.

The Israeli Army is putting autism to use.

There’s a new-ish book on the mysterious disappearing Japanese. But maybe you should skip it?

Venezuela: Lynchings every three days.

A look at the history and conflict in Tibet.

Peter Hessler looks at life along the Chinese-Russian border.

How the Soviet Union could have won (or at least survived) the Cold War.

Romania has 99 problems, but right-wing populism apparently isn’t one of them.

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Linky Friday #199: Women & Men & Space( 140 )


woman photo

Image by Seabamirum

[G1] Sometimes the biggest problem with women in the workplace is other women.

[G2] Some people worry that we are equating ADHD with being a boy, but maybe the gender disparity is that we’re leaving girls behind.

[G3] Some people are scoffing at this piece – and it’s really kind of asking for it – but I’ve commented that feminism will definitely make some women I know better mothers for their sons, and help them raise their sons to be better men.

[G4] Double standards! Men are especially penalized for working part-time.

[G5] Preston Jones looks at how women were treated in Gold Rush towns. Owing perhaps to the leverage that comes with a gender imbalance, it was not always as bad as we might think. There is a reason that women in the west were among the first to be given the franchise.


mormon wedding photo

Image by Elijah

[R1] Scott Stanley explains how sexual history interacts with later marriage.

[R2] Whether the above is due to external attitudes (how people react to sexual history) or internal attitudes (what we garner from our experiences) is uncertain, but here’s some stuff on the external.

[R3] Where aspects of the right and left sort of converge: Is sexual desire immoral?

[R4] This is my nomination for the least surprising data point of 2016.

[R5] What it’s like to date a sugar mama.

[R6] Isaiah Carter writes of the difficulties of Dating While Bipolar.


Image by reXraXon

Image by reXraXon

[N1] Jeremy Samuel Faust was expecting a damning Surgeon General report on ecigarettes, and came away underwhelmed.

[N2] Chuck Schumer wants a recall of exploding ecigarette batteries. As someone who has actually had a battery explode, I would more prefer that the FDA not stand in the way of companies improving battery safety.

[N3] Cigarettes in film still won’t warrant an R-rating, it appears.

[N4] Some smokers do actually like smoking, and more than is sometimes supposed.

[N5] It may seem like I oppose any and all regulation of cigarettes and ecigarettes, but I think this is actually a pretty good use of anti-tobacco energy. Better than further tax increases, which are probably ineffective, and deceptively named “plain packaging laws” that are repugnant whether effective of not.

[N6] A new study suggests that at a certain point social admonition may adversely affect smokers. To be fair, that only matters if we consider smokers to be people rather than characters in a morality play – and it’s pretty clear where we stand on that.


capitalism photo

Image by Feral78

[M1] This is not entirely clear-cut, because norms are important, but it seems to me he ought to have been able to keep the money.

[M2] Everything you wanted to know about how to select a good CEO, and why it’s so important.

[M3] Inequality seems to effect subjective well-being… but only as a country moves up the global economic ladder.

[M4] It may turn out that if you charge users for their water, they use less.

[M5] A glimpse at the history of the credit card, and how early losses became a blessing in disguise.


sewage sludge photo

Image by nukeit1

[P1] ProPublica looks at Houston’s flooding problem, which starts with the fact that the city has quite a bit of concrete.

[P2] Great! Then maybe we don’t need to worry so much about carbon taxes. (Except we do, because the comparisons are not apples-to-apples.)

[P3] Antarctica is cracking up.

[P4] I always take an All Of The Above approach to meeting our energy needs, but bonus points when we can do it with sewer sludge.

[P5] When the greenhouse effect was discovered, in 1856.


marsterraformed[S1] What if aliens don’t actually feel anything because they’re AI?

[S2] Killjoy. This is why nobody likes you, scientists.

[S3] James Poulos wants Donald Trump to take us to Mars.

[S4] On September 15, Cassini will retire and plunge to its death.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.12.29.Th}( 216 )

So yeah, what’re David Brock and Media Matters gonna do now?

Echelon Insights looks at split-ticket voting in the 2016 election. Early returns suggested there was record low ticket-splitting, but under the hood it looks less certain. I’m really annoyed they don’t work this question into the exit polls.

This is a really good rundown of how conservatives in congress are planning for the Trump Era. Mostly, it seems, by fighting yesterday’s battles against yesterday’s opponents.

Is this what the future of Democratic populism might look like?

It’s starting to look like Montana is never going to get that second congressional district, and if they pass Rhode Island in population will keep their crown as the most underrepresented state in the House.

Meet Crystal, Minnesota, home to our only libertarian government.

For better or worse, this sounds right to me. Even when the shoe fits, it is rarely a good idea to put it on in the middle of a conflict. Unless it’s someone that really values your opinion.

If you support CalExit, you ride with Putin! They’ve already opened an embassy. (See also, Texas)

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Morning Ed: Transportation {2016.12.28.W}( 97 )

Matt Shapiro argues that we shouldn’t be mad at Carrier for making the deal with Trump, we should be mad at Tesla.

I did not know that cars were designed with clay.

Some good news on auto emissions coming out of Europe. Next up, China?

Here’s an in-depth look at Germany’s new crowdfunded train.

Why the Yugo was so terrible.

We have an idea of what Interstates are or aren’t, but these push the boundaries of these definitions.

Seattle had a chance at a subway system, but blew it.

For all of the complaints about how it’s gotten worse, flying actually used to suck.

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Morning Ed: Housing {2016.12.27.T}( 68 )

Putting a price tag on sprawl in India.

Against type, Adam Ozimek argues for a tax on luxury homes.

The unbearable whiteness of tiny houses.

Joe Cortright takes issue with recent headlines about the comeback of the suburbs. We at OT have discovered how hard it is to delineate what counts as suburb and what counts as city.

What’s kind of funny about this is how it addresses the opposite of all the problems I had in Colosse. Back there, it wasn’t about making it easier to move in, but taking advantage of how hard it is to leave.

Also in Seattle, Gene Balk looks at how boarding might help.

BBC looks at abandoned mansions around the world.

Speaking of which, they’ve discovered another room in the Winchester Mansion.

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Morning Ed: Arts & Entertainment {2016.12.26.M}( 20 )

This is a great overview of what’s been happening with DC Comics, which sounds really positive. Continuity is best as building blocks, but can often become a straight-jacket.

Mortal Kombat, as you’ve never seen it before.

Michael Siegel looks at the history of the Oscars, and how well they winners have head up.

Atlas Obscura looks at Tolkien and why the Dwarves are Scottish and the Elves are royalty.

These oil paintings of astronauts and rockets are pretty awesome.

Boise State football fans are unusually well adjusted.

A nice look at a program using art therapy for orphans in Jordan.

Things I did not know: Apparently, they found the woman Same Auld Lang Syne is about. Evidently, she divorced the architect (who wasn’t actually an architect).

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Linky Friday #198: Colors of Armageddon( 113 )


[A1] Mythical beasts!

[A2] Let’s be blunt.

[A3] It seems evident to me that the qualitative heft of a sentences, written or spoken, is best contemplated in stylistic terms as opposed to such mere pedestrian substance.

[A4] Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-How-Do-I-Say-4?

[A5] Stephen Akey discussed the imperiled English major as it valiantly makes its stand against market forces.


siesta photo

Image by jordanfischer

[L1] Marian Tupy looks at child labor in North Korea.

[L2] It’s been argued that the cheapest solution to homelessness has been to just five them houses. Maybe jobs, too. {Ed note: Originally had wrong link. Can’t find the intended one, but new link is about the same goings-on in New Mexico.}

[L3] Spain may have to skip the siesta.

[L4] A peek into Amazon’s interview process.

[L5] I may have already done this one, but if so it’s worth re-doing: Richard Scarry’s Busy Town, rebooted for the 21st Century.


[S1] This will end badly.

[S2] David Schmitt writes about how to evaluate sex differences with statistics.

[S3] Evidence is good. Too much evidence, though, maybe not.

[S4] NASA is concerned that we’re not prepared for a surprise comet or astroid. But if we were prepared, would it really be a surprise? (Kidding. This falls into the category of Things Too Bug to Consider.)

[S5] Timothy Caulfield hates science. Well, actually, he hates some of the hyping which he finds counterproductive.


family photo

Image by Kamaljith

[C1] I, too, lament the end of the custom of children referring to adults by Mr and Mrs, but that ship has sailed. {A cackling response}

[C2] Ashley McGuire looks at whether stroller bans are anti-kid.

[C3] If parental time doesn’t matter when it comes to outcomes, is it a good use of political energy to push for parental leave? Maybe. Or maybe parental time does matter

[C4] Vicki Larson takes exception to our objection to the nuclear family.


colors photo

Image by julie parsons

[B1] Popular people have different brains.

[B2] The most memorable years are from 15 to 25. This seems… remarkably on target.

[B3] How advertisers creep into our brain.

[B4] Maybe Freud was right about dreams all along, and sex rules all in dreamland.

[B5] The mathematics and psychology of the lottery.

[B6] Mental Floss looks at the colors of things, and why they are that way, while Alexa Tsoulis-Reay looks at the profoundly color-blind.

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.12.22.Th}( 35 )

Ronald Bailey returns to Appalachia to find out why the people there aren’t leaving.

Some congressfolk are appealing to Obama to posthumously pardon (noted capitalist) Marcus Garvey.

Take a look at some uniquely American fossils!

Texas, it turns out, is pretty large.

From whence they came: an infographic on where our immigrants have come from, since 1820.

Is your organization too white? Rent-a-Minority says Get Ethics With Our Ethnics.

A couple years ago Adam Ozimek argued that the US is not as immigrant-friendly as we think, when you adjust for population size.

We’ve worried that Trump might be Hitler, Mussolini, Burlusconi, and David Duke, but some signs point to Warren Harding.

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Morning Ed: Energy {2016.12.21.W}( 15 )

Michael Le Page argues that Europe’s energy policies are a disaster.

From poop to power.

Jon Letman reports that Marshall Islanders are heading home as the island struggles with Climate Change and old fallout.

A glimpse on attempts to innovate wind power.

North Dakota may be seeing an oil recovery, but it may really need a pipeline

Stupid fish. Ruin everything.

Russia, fresh on the heels of its Climate Change victory, looks at what all it did with that nuclear waste.

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Morning Ed: Law & Order {2016.12.20.T}( 47 )

The power and potential of free Naloxone in preventing drug overdoses.

What’s a country to do if it doesn’t have enough prisoners?

The dark side of Broken Windows Policing. If it can be justified (and I do think it sometimes can) it requires a rather specific environment that we haven’t had in a while.

So, here’s the thing. We can either go down the road that says that getting kicked out of college is not that big of a deal and therefore we need a low burden of proof, or we can make the punishment life-altering. We can’t really do both.

How Daesh takes care of the families of its fallen.

Now here’s an idea: Employability certificates for ex-prisoners.

It’s been a few days now and this story still hasn’t been knocked down. Most excellent.

It turns out, you can’t use Facebook to serve notice of divorce.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.12.19.M}( 44 )

A part of me thinks this is a pretty gross misallocation of society resources. Another part of me thinks it’s cool.

Chris Patten argues that Hong Kong’s push for independent freedom is going to backfire.

James Watkins looks at the curious case of Polish populism.

After Nokia’s fall, Finland needs a new economic champion.

Respecting religion has come with a hefty price tag for Mongolia.

In Europe, a “Rent-a-Jew” project has emerged to protect the Jewish community.

It looks like Sweden is getting antsy about Russia.

“Had a friend from Belgium and I told her Hitler was good for Germany and she started crying. I was really shocked.”

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Linky Friday #197: The Next Level( 63 )


[Ec1] George Manbiot asks if McDonald’s and democracy can coexist.

[Ec2] Andy Beckett says that cities are now segregated by height. Maybe somebody can do a dystopian story on how they start building grassy connections to all of the highrises and we all end up underground. (Which, as a cavedweller, doesn’t sound that bad to me!)

[Ec3] The effects of taxes on business locations are often overstated, but this really looks like an invitation to relocate your headquarters out of Portland. {Done} {More}

[Ec4] If you just give poor people money, it looks like maybe they won’t waste it.

[Ec5] Linda McMahon being in charge of the Small Business Administration does come with a bit of irony.


baby photo

Image by Yuchao.L

[B1] The Bob Woodruff foundation is working to help veterans with reproductive issues.

[B2] Wow. So yes. Science!

[B3] Jane the Actuary looks at how the FDA has been hindering Fertility Awareness contraceptive treatments, and wonders if recent congressional action may help.

[B4] There’s some concern that an embryo-research ban will hinder science in Mexico.

[B5] No matter how obvious the injustice, sometimes the correct outcome takes a really, really long time.


fear photo

Image by h.koppdelaney

[H1] Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, except with fears.

[H2] Have virii adapted to hit men harder than women?

[H3] Also, remission from deadly cancer through a personalized vaccine.

[H4] Exercise and psychotherapy was supposed to help most sufferers of chronic fatigue, but the study was bad.

[H5] Well, yes. Physicians recognize this sort of thing for everybody but themselves. While at the same time, they’d probably agree with this.


Image by R.E. Barber Photography

Image by R.E. Barber Photography

[T1] Well gosh, this is awesome. Car accidents aside (and we shouldn’t really put them aside), my wife tends to get a lot of business after snowfreezes just with people trying to take care of their property. On the other hand, there was that thing yesterday about how such things may bring us together.

[T2] I suppose it was inevitable. Figures it would have been Russians

[T3] Bring it on! Battery life is about more than just battery life. Devices have to reserve functionality to lengthen battery lives.

[T4] This sounds right to me.

[T5] This, on the other hand, will end badly.


first day of school photo

Image by Mr Moss

[Ed1] Behold, the very highly educated Jew. What’s going on with Hindus?

[Ed2] Charter schools in New York have been increasing segregation! But… some of them were sort of doing so intentionally and not for bad reasons.

[Ed3] The importance of teaching children soft skills. As the father of a little girl with better hard skills than soft ones, this has me a bit concerned.

[Ed4] The bar exam numbers out of California didn’t look so good this year. Higher expectations or a lower breed of law school student?

[Ed5] Kid, you have no idea.


dystopia photo

Image by dargie.lynch

[R1] A new paper suggests that religious LGBT are (like religious non-LGBT) happier than their irreligious counterparts. Catholics are kind of an exception, but evangelical protestants are not.

[R2] The BBC conceded that it was wrong to describe the Catholic Church as indifferent to Nazism.

[R3] Fred Karger has made it his mission to get the IRS to strip the LDS Church of its tax-exemption. So the question is, of course, how vindictive is Trump about things?

[R4] I’m not sure if Jonathan Merritt doesn’t understand evangelism or I don’t.

[R5] Batya Ungar-Sargon writes about how the Ultra-Orthodox Jews treat (what they see as) sexual impropriety.

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Morning Ed: Nature {2016.12.15.Th}( 28 )

Fish escaped pollution through evolution, it appears. Some ancient shellfish, however, couldn’t escape global warming.

Speaking of evolution, here’s a look at some theories on frog evolution.

How is these even a question? They’re cute.

Rich Cromwell explains why we need to end geese.

People, it turns out, are very bad.

File this under “articles I don’t want to read because meat tastes good and I love my pet dog.”

A long and bitter battle between Sweden and Norway: To which nation do the muskoxen belong?

Like Birds, except with cows.

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