Latest Linkage

Morning Ed: Politics {2017.06.22.Th}( 191 )

Jason Kuznicki’s has a good piece on how to improve the social politics of libertarianism and Andrew Sabl writes about (classical) liberalism beyond markets.

It’s far from the most important thing, but one of the big lessons I learned in the 2016 campaign are the clear lines between liberal and left, which (combined with a fracture on the right) is one of the reasons you might see me using umbrella terms like “leftward and “rightward” to describe people. In any event, Nathan Robinson argues that there can be no unity among Democrats, but there must be collaboration.

CityLab has a piece on the politics of wealth in London. It’s not just the US where wealthier places are veering left, and the reasons are not necessarily what we might initially think.

Shadi Hamid argues that for multiculturalism to work, we need a liberalism that accommodates.

Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that bringing the DUP into coalition with the Tories makes the coalition more representative of Britain. What’s interesting about the DUP is how much its social views misalign with (and are way to the right of) the Northern Ireland’s electorate. NI being stuck between Sinn Fein and the DUP – and the inability of the center-left SDLP or center-right UUP to make any headway is one of the biggest Pick Your Extremism cases in the world and a pretty substantial indictment of FPTP elections.

Emmanuel Macron is kicking some ass and taking names.

Things Canada chooses to spend its money on and a regulatory snafu in Cambridge.

Maybe Governor Abbott hates old trees because one of them put him in a wheelchair?

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Morning Ed: Housing {2017.06.21.W}( 39 )

Alykhan Pabani decided to stop paying rent. And not by buying a house.

AirBnB to the rescue!

Nobody likes a tattle-tale… except the hotel industry.

New York struggles to put together affordable housing, and many are suggesting that the people the mayor turned to aren’t helping.

Housing prices in each state. Few surprises, though state-to-state comparisons are less than illuminating because most states have some combination of expensive and inexpensive housing. It’s all about where you are.

Leonid Bershidsky makes the case against tall public housing. One problem is that nobody wants to live there.

Robert Colvile argues that Tories need to get more people into houses, or they are doomed.

Intellectually, I agree with this. Realworld, we just joined the ranks of homeowners and come on!

Become a homeowner at $1/sqft per month! That’s almost twice what we pay, though. Ahhh, economies of scale.

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Linky Tuesday: The Planet( 182 )


Image by Rincewind42

[As1] One of the weird things about China is how there are cities with the population of Chicago that you’ve never heard of because it’s like the 23rd largest in the country. Meet Harbin, at the intersection between China and Russia.

[As2] If it were employees instead of investors, this would be a legendary job quit story. Maybe it can be recast as an Ayn Randian protest or something.

[As3] A look at one city in China’s one-dog policy. This is bad for more than one reason, but one of them is that I think it’s good to have more than one pet so they can keep each other company.

[As4] There’s gold up in them there hills flammable ice in the South China Sea.

[As5] North Korea’s propaganda machine is falling apart.

[As6] Clarrissa Sebag-Montefiore explains how China gives short people the short shrift.


vaping photo

Image by myeralan

[Ec1] I doubt too much comes of this, in part because they don’t really care, and in part because the more open they get the more to goals are going to move.

[Ec2] We need a carbon tax. Our corporate income tax needs to be reduced dramatically or eliminated. I have an idea! (Too regressive, I’m sure. Still on board with a pass-through.)

[Ec3] Trump may be old school on energy, but renewables are doing pretty well in his political stomping ground.

[Ec4] Not surprising: Climate-skeptics are trying to appeal to vapers.

[Ec5] Denmark is coming down on (the subsidies for) electric cars and other green projects.

[Ec6] Fortunately, we can start deregulating coal and such over here. Woohoo! And, in any event, we may run out?

[Ec7] Here’s the next battle in the world of oil pipelines.


[Eu1] Europe is facing a cosmopolitan gap, that could bring trouble for the EU.

[Eu2] It may surprise you to hear me say this, but dominant centrist parties are bad and something to be avoided. Even if Macron is good in the short term, it would be preferable if En Marche either went the way of Kadima and got chewed up from both sides or they replaced the Socialists as the center-left party.

[Eu3] Alex Massie writes of liberalism, the Liberal Democrats, and how Britain’s inherent liberalism hurt the Liberal Democrats.

[Eu4] So apparently Russians are killing people on British soil?

[Eu5] Well, kids and Germans do love to tattle.

[Eu6] Should Belgium even exist? probably not, though it’s a helpful example of the sort of country that needs a creative constitution.


onion photo

Image by grace_kat

[En1] Sometimes if seems like climate change is an onion, where you peel one layer of danger only to see another.

[En2] Paging Bill Nye, paging Bill Nye. (Is this an evolutionary advantage for climate denialism?)

[En3] Manufacturing a better microbead. Well, a more environmentally friendly one at any rate.

[En4] The deep sea is sometimes like space in all of its mysteries… except that there is definitely life down there.

[En5] The story behind the most famous photograph of Chernobyl.

United States:

confederate monument photo

Image by Tim Evanson

[US1] Unsurprising that Delaware – given that they have such high abortion rates even for a blue state – becomes the first state to pass the first law to ensure abortion rights in the event that Roe is reversed. Meanwhile, in Missouri

[US2] While jogging on a familiar, overgrown, wooded trail near her home on a recent warm afternoon, Rachel Borch thought to herself, “what a beautiful day.” Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up killing with her bare hands.

[US3] There are some news items (like hunting boars from balloons) you really expect to come from Texas or Florida or something and not Canada.

[US4] How Reality Winner got herself caught. Turns out, we perhaps shouldn’t trust millennials with government secrets.

[US5] Arizona’s confederate monuments are… pretty recent. If there’s one thing worse than a Confederate state flashing its history, its a non-confederate state wishing it were.

[US6] Robert Greene has a good piece the politics of southern losing.

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Morning Ed: Education {2017.06.19.M}( 129 )

[Ed1] Yasmin Nair is concerned that there are no renegade academics anymore. This touches on a point I’m coming to, which is for all the conservative hair-ripping about the leftward drift of academics, I think it’s more of a consolidation towards a sort of High Liberalism that is also giving the old school left the shaft. It’s pretty easy to learn new things, but plumbing can be very difficult so if you just moved into a new dorm or house and are having issues with the pipes, then visit Peoria Plumbing Company to get some assistance. If you’re in the California and need orange county plumbing, visit their page to see what they can do for you.

[Ed2] It’s not enough to merely be a minority. College recruiters also expect you to play the part.

[Ed3] Awwww.

[Ed4] Behold, the power of liberal arts degrees at tech companies. {More}

[Ed5] Freddie points to a study suggesting trade schools have their limits.

[Ed6] While many here seek to reform our education system, parents abroad want to import it.

[Ed7] One neat little trick to paying off student loans: Generous parents. Maybe guarantor loans could have done the trick for many who were struggling with their payments.

[Ed8] The world of student debt forgiveness for physicians is really quick tricky (we could have paid off the student loans years ago but it wasn’t a good idea to!), but sounds more simple than compared to that for teachers.

[Ed9] The correlation (or lack thereof) between income and education spending by state:

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Linky Friday: Blood & Sweat( 209 )


infant photo

Image by afrokai

[C1] German Lopez interviews someone that says we can’t blame the War on Drugs for mass incarceration. Xenocrypt has been calling this (and making other interesting observations) for a while.

[C2] Stephanie Cohen wants more juvenile delinquents to read. Well, wants them to be made to read.

[C3] As best as I can tell, this story is legitimate. Which makes it interesting that it seems to have picked up almost exclusively by rightward tabloid outfits. (Daily Mirror, a leftward tabloid, being the exception.)

[C4] This is one of those plots they put on a legal show as comedic relief to the main, darker plot.

[C5] Ruth Graham looks at collisions between church, medicine, and the law.

[C6] A case of mistaken identity.


[H1] Yes, but would it still be worth living?

[H2] Wow.

[H3] Sweden has figured out how to prevent people from dying from smoking, and tobacco control advocates will never forgive them for it.

[H4] OF course, the greatest trick they’ve pulled off in the US is for tobacco to become a class issue without being considered a class issue. Once you’ve done that, there are no more competing interests to get in your way.

[H5] If we’re worried that Trump is losing his mental faculties, there are better ways to test for it than remote diagnosis over television sets.

[H6] The ethical questions here are manifest. This isn’t the only area where “What if knowing less is more?” comes into play.

[H7] To be honest, I worry more about antibiotic resistance than I do climate change, but maybe I just need to have a little more faith.


vacation beach photo

Image by heschong

[L1] Don’t work while on vacation. Not even a little bit. (Also, porn.)

[L2] Walmart would like its employees to do it a favor, while their driving home anyway. I would like them to specify how the compensation is going to work.

[L3] This is pretty much every bored dayjobbers dream.

[L4] WordPress is closing its gorgeous San Francisco office because nobody was using it.

[L5] Jane the Actuary is skeptical of the concept of self-insured family leave.

[L6] This is a cool story not only because Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are good, and because it was a janitor that came up with the idea, but because the janitor was actually rewarded.


cat photo

Image by chen.xiahong

[G1] Adam Ozimek touts some of the reasons that property taxes are better than Georgian land taxes.

[G2] Some of these lists of ways democracy is different overseas are simply a product of having a Westminster system and at least one of them applies to many states as well.

[G3] Benjamin Straumann argues that republicanism, in the classical sense was something of a smokescreen during the founding of the United States.

[G4] Turns out, it’s not so difficult to start up a shell company. Even for a cat.

[G5] CapX looks at attempts to disrupt poverty by moving people around.

[G6] The Courier looks back at Scotland’s smoking ban, ten years in. Bar owners have not been pacified.


Image by leighblackall

[M1] I wonder if Sling and some of the others are going to carry the new CNN spinoff channel.

[M2] Bill deBlasio sounds like Donald Trump when talking about the media, but it’s totally different.

[M3] I have long wondered if Law & Order SVU has been the scripted TV show with the most deleterious effect on society. James Shanahan and Michael Morgan argue that – for reasons similar to my views of SVU – all sorts of television lead to Trump.

[M4] If we were to pass a law saying something like “No non-competes unless you’re paying the more than $75k a year or giving the an option for a stake in the company” I would be okay with that.

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Science and Technology Links – June 15th – Micro Magnets Edition( 44 )


AS1Embiggened!  I was there a few years back when they were still fabricating assemblies, and even then, it was obvious how big it was going to be.

AS2: Sending a probe to the sun.  Like, into the stellar atmosphere, where things can get awful crispy.

AS3: I know it was secret at the time, but these days, it’s damn near a trope of Science Fiction.  Still, it’s an interesting tale of speculative science and engineering and politics.

AS4: A planet hotter than its star.  And hoo boy! you just know some fascinating nuclear chemistry is happening every second in that orbit.


Arc1: I like this style of house design.  I wish it was more popular, but it doesn’t lend itself well to density the way boxes do.  It does, however, lend itself to storm resistance (you hearing me, you idiots in Florida?!).

Arc2: Google’s London pad


Bio1: Exploring the deep and finding inspiration for new horror and monster movies.

Bio2: A universal flu vaccine, from the nose.

Bio3: Cannabinoids shown to enhance tumor-killing effects of chemotherapy drugs, and help with the weight loss.  Can we talk about rescheduling it now?

Bio4: Talk about a buzzkill!

Bio5:  Wait, I heard about this movie, it doesn’t end well.


Comp1: Anyone remember that Mork & Mindy episode where Mork shrinks down to a tiny size and falls into a strange microscopic world?  It’s like that, but with computer chips.


E1: Super cheap solar cells also demonstrate impressive durability.

E2Serious science cheapened by clickbaity headline


Env1: I get the argument that we shouldn’t worry about CO2 because it’s just plant food.  It’d hold more water if we weren’t always so busy cutting down the really big plants that lock up all CO2 (you know, the trees, like in rain forests, that keep getting cleared for farmland).  Still, what nature can’t do

Env2: I don’t think anyone though micro-beads would be such a problem back in the day, but they are.  Or were.


Mat1: After the rubber hits the road, put the rubber in the road. (Another in the list of, “Why haven’t we done this before?”)

Mat2: Once more with carbon, this time it’s hard, but also stretchy.  That definitely runs counter to expectations.


Phys1Muons and Magnetic fields

Phys2: Remember when a story like this would get all manner of “Physicists” to crawl out from under rocks to tell us how it was going to destroy the world?  Those were the days.  Now people are creating tiny black holes and nary a panicked squeak from the Doom Squad.  Also, that’s a hella powerful laser.

Phys3: 2D magnets could promise even thinner electronics.


Pol1: Encouraging scientists to become politicians, like this lady.


R1: Better than monster trucks, in my opinion.


Tr1: A two-seater quadrocopter.  Honestly this is probably our best bet for flying cars.  The Quad design is light and easy to control, such that even children can learn to fly them.

Tr2: I was just talking about this last week, and here China has gone ahead and built exactly what I was talking about.

Tr3: I suppose if we are going to do this, developing some standards ahead of time is a good idea. (link to pdf)

Weird and Wonderful

WW1: This is pretty cool, and the next logical step in design.

WW2: I loved the hell out of the original, I am very excited to see what they do with it now.



Image by wwward0

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Morning Ed: Society {2017.06.14.W}( 463 )

[S1] The burden of stuff. Well, of having too much stuff.

[S2] It’s… pretty logical that people with socially unacceptable views would be anxious about society coming down too hard on the expression of unacceptable views.

[S3] Freddie offers some good advice to young writers.

[S4] Bert Gambini explains why we root for villains.

[S5] A Cowboy Bebop live action TV show could be amazing, atrocious, or anywhere in between… all with roughly equal probability.

[S6] Everything you ever wanted to know about being Barney. I have aggressively steered Lain away from Barney, with some success. Fortunately, there is a lot of other really good stuff out there.

[S7] The old CleanFlicks debate was an illuminating experience for me, as I learned sometimes politics is more about who is on what side rather than the issues at stake. Those that wanted the studios to be able to shut CleanFlicks down have less of an argument here, though, though unlike CleanFlicks there are actual contracts with the creators to consider.

[S8] RIP Adam West, who wrote a pretty great op-ed on video games back in 1983.

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Morning Ed: Money {2017.06.13.T}( 141 )

[M1] A look at China’s banking system. This is not promising.

[M2] Melinda Cooper on how neoliberals and conservatives teamed up to bring down the welfare state with talk of, among other things, familial responsibility.

[M3] Once upon a time, neoliberal wasn’t a smear. To some, it still isn’t!

[M4] A lot of comic book plots (especially Joker-related ones) involve abandoned amusement parks. They ought to involve abandoned shopping malls. It is interesting to think back to when shopping malls were relevant enough to be hated.

[M5] There’s definitely some truth to this. I recently realized that $10/mo of my money as going to an outfit that I had thought went out of business. It was a peculiarity that I didn’t find it sooner, but that never would have happened when money was tighter and might not have happened now if Clancy were still working.

[M6] Somebody needs to explain to these people the wonders of single payer in Canada. Maybe employers, too. (Congrats, West Virginia!)

[M7] America may have a problem with the wealthy pretending they’re not wealthy. I think he’s too quick to assume that there aren’t strategic reasons for the 90% not to include the next 9% with the 1% and say, in essence, “we mean you” to a lot more people. From a policy standpoint, though, there are only so many 1%ers to milk. Also, Phoebe Maltz Bove has a really good response.

[M8] We want social mobility, but maybe not too much social mobility. The most interesting tidbit: liberals are more likely to favor the perpetuation of the upper middle class than conservatives. Perhaps because they have faith in the meritocracy?

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Morning Ed: War {2017.06.12.M}( 53 )

[W1] Ooooh, I want one.

[W2] If there’s a nuclear war with Russia, here is where you don’t want to be. I remember back in the Persian Gulf War I had a teacher that convinced us that nuking Colosse was a distinct possibility.

[W3] The Department of Defense is leaving the citizenship of soldiers in limbo.

[W4] A look at the last days of Saddam Hussein.

[W5] A look at fighting extremist groups in Syria.

[W6] Buzzfeed has a good article on Mosul, demonstrating again how effortlessly it alternates between journalism and trash. Ditto an article introducing us to Venezuelan government minders.

[W7] Daesh families are worried about turning tables.

[W8] Millennials lack nuclear bloodthirst, evidently.

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Morning Ed: Person and Beyond Person( 39 )


Health photo

Image by katerha

[B1] Please, please, pretty please let this work out!

[B2] If grotesque “plain” packaging doesn’t work, will they stop doing it? Haha no.

[B3] City Journal looks at a buffet model of healthcare delivery.

[B4] Man, even I don’t hate specialists this much. And frankly, this seems like a bit of a sop to primary care providers (though it’s not like they need the business). There is some truth to it, though!

[B5] Stanton Peele wonders if Trump would be a lot better if he just drank. While I do agree somewhat with Peele on the alcohol question, there are arguments in here that wouldn’t be accepted in any context other than as a knock against all the right targets (Trump, Bush, The South, religious conservatives, backwards Americans, etc.), from correlation/causation concerns to the notion that the willpower involved in moderate drinking (as opposed to abstineence or gluttony) is a mark of good character.


[M1] Do you have nightmares? Maybe you’re just messed up in the head.

[M2] Neuroscientists found out that they don’t know what they thought they did about how memories work.

[M3] Your addiction to social media was well cultivated by social media.

[M4] I get what is being said here, but a culture needs its rituals.

[M5] Sometimes shaming is actually in the best interest of the shamed, and not just the product of the shamers’ whims.

[M6] We outsource our knowledge to the World Wide Webs, spiders outsource their thinking to literal webs.


Evergreen State College photo

Image by kelp

[E1] A lot of my views on this depend a lot on the specifics that the article doesn’t provide, but any sort of blanket ban or official and significant double standard would indeed be problematic.

[E2] Alan Jacobs says we need to get a grip about young people and colleges and so forth.

[E3] This makes a lot more sense to me than Missouri’s enrollment issues. Evergreen State is a niche product that relies on nigh-open enrollment with lots of other options.

[E4] I propose we just stop doing summer vacation.

[E5] Over Mom’s objections (and attempted bribes), I did prom dinner at a park with food from Wendy’s. This guy, though, took it to the next level.


ESP photo

Image by ark

[S1] I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

[S2] If ESP rules, then science drools.

[S3] The story of Clair Patterson’s war on lead.

[S4] Aaron Carroll says that science needs to stop incenting positive results. Scientists, it turns out, respond to incentives. This matters in other contexts, too.

[S5] From Greginak: A mix of romance and physics. No it’s not Neil DeGrasse Tyson slash fic.


[G1] The patriarchy is falling down on the job.

[G2] Noah Berlatsky makes the case for the boring male romantic lead.

[G3] Jordan Breeding cracks a list of Six Backward Ideas Hollywood Still Has About Men.

[G4] Markets in everything, including sexual assault allegation insurance in Japan.

[G5] Well, which is it? Should we close women’s prisons or treat women more fairly?


temple photo

Image by YLegrand

[R1] Does Marvel Universe have a god? I thought it was an interesting thing in the Wildstorm universe where they actually say definitively “No god.”

[R2] The secret wires over cities.

[R3] Calls for a secular Indonesia?

[R4] Stephanie Slade writes about the ACLU’s targeting of Catholic hospitals.

[R5] Helen Andrews puts Pontius Pilate in contest.

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Morning Ed: Culture {2017.06.08.Th}( 127 )

[C1] Shame on Alamo Theaters for promoting such patriarchial anti-feminism. And also right-wing.

[C2] An interesting look at the relationship between HL Mencken and the African-American literary community.

[C3] This is possible, but far from inevitable. Especially as it pertains to the Big Ten, which is likely to have its own network in one form or another and more teams in their bundle does them more good than, say, the ACC or (especially) the Big 12 (if one still exists).

[C4] There are actually some good ideas here, running the gamut from reasonable to ideal-but-unfeasible. On the payment thing, I’d much prefer a system where professional teams put dibs on players by paying them while they’re in college. They should also send them to a Chiropractor in Richardson TX because lots of players get injured and that could get rid of all their pain.

[C5] I am skeptical of the notion that free music on YouTube isn’t having some sort of deleterious effect on record store revenues, though consider the “asymmetrical power of the takedown regime” hard to do anything about without a false positive problem (which we’ve seen even now). So I’m not sure that’s where it leaves us. {Point} {Counterpoint}

[C6] Okay, but to me this sort of defeats the purpose of going on a cruise.

[C7] LGTQ.

[C8] I’m not saying we deserve Trump. I’m just saying I understand why fate thought it was a fair play.

[C9] Hel-lo NURSE! {More}

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Morning Ed: Crime {2017.06.07.W}( 115 )

[Cr1] The secret story of a fake documentary and the insurrectionist Bundy family.

[Cr2] Is “self-defense” a racist concept of privilege?

[Cr3] Uhhh, yeah. Good luck there, Bill.

[Cr4] Interview With a Pirate. (Or, at least, one of the biggest facilitators of piracy.

[Cr5] Good god.

[Cr6] Because videos are tougher, some are sending family flipbooks to inmates.

[Cr7] It’s hard not to read this story and not think of Steve Earle’s Ellis Unit One.

[Cr8] If the story holds up, no jury convicts.

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Morning Ed: Science Fiction {2017.06.06.T}( 43 )

[SF1] Frank Tipler wants more people to know about quantum mechanics and parallel universes.

[SF2] Ethan Siegel looks at parallel universes and explores the question of Other Yous.

[SF3] Paul Davies writes about time travel and changing history. How would it all work, anyway? I want to write a novel about a time traveler just so I can call it Undo Influence.

[SF4] Are we even real?

[SF5] Scientists claim they can now prove parallel dimensions! As always, the question is whether the reality where Mitt Romney is president realizes that, to the Monitors, their reality is called The Control Group.

[SF6] Math, vampires, and the annihilation of humanity. Also, Frankensteins. But by all means, let’s make robots with artificial intelligence.

[SF7] And a look at the multiverse! My view as to whether or not we are living in Liebniz’s “best world” or Schopenhauer’s “worst world” has altered over the last couple years…

[SF8] Tom Sorell writes of the limitations of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics.

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Morning Ed: United States {2017.06.05.M}( 280 )

Well, I suppose it makes sense for somebody to make some money off the Big Sort.

This is interesting. It’s not often the Great Plains converge with BosWash.

And here’s a map of the closest top-tier college football program to your county.

In case you ever wanted to know what happened to all of those emails sent to Hillary Clinton.

Gillian Brockell writes about the racism that flight attendants have to put up with.


Virginia Postrel says we need some new stories.

You will never guess why Mary Kay Letourneau and her husband are getting a divorce.

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Linky Friday: Everything Is Political( 644 )


mow lawn photo

Image by wplynn

[G1] Lyman Stone is skeptical that regulatory liberalization will lead to more upzoning.

[G2] On some level, this bothers me more than lemonade stands. Whereas the latter mostly teaches a child of the fruitlessness of entrepreneurialism, the mowing lawns actually teaches young people that hard work is rewarded. On the other hand, if this shows them that government regulation is not their friend, maybe it’s a wash.

[G3] We mostly think of climate change in terms of what will happen on land, but some of the biggest threats may be under water. There are, perhaps, things we can do. David Roberts talks with Paul Hawken about things we can actually do about climate change more generally.

[G4] The French deep state and political establishment had a plan, in the event of a Le Pen victory.

[G5] Meanwhile, Chip Gibbons really wishes we’d stop idealizing the FBI.

[G6] This is definitely a problem. Seriously, though, this is probably one of the most important things that Vox has ever run.


foster home photo

Image by justinknabb

[F1] This is why everybody hates you, Science.

[F2] Naomi Shaefer Riley writes on the roadblocks being put in the way of foster parenting. This runs contrary to some of what I’ve seen as I’ve looked into it, and is kind of disturbing.

[F3] Bill Nye’s comments about procreation didn’t get as much attention as I thought they might.

[F4] On the one hand, early intervention is good. On the other, three or four strikes me as a disconcerting time to make such pronouncements.

[F5] Has the time for special spousal benefits come and gone?

[F6] I, too, hate showoffs.


Image by leighblackall

[M1] Are we seeing the end of the First Person Industrial Complex?

[M2] Maybe our personal media is like our congressman, a credit to their despicable people. (Still, though, even our chosen media doesn’t do as well as you might think!)

[M3] Dammit, how did I not know about this?

[M4] For better or worse, political science blogging has become more like journalism. I suspect it’s going to be for worse for political science, though maybe better for journalism.

[M5] Journalists are the worst. Some (well, me and a few others) have commented on how devatastating Twitter has been with regard to our impression of (many) journalists. A whole lot of them are who I thought I was uncharitable in thinking journalists are.

[M6] A look into the deep, dark world of RussiaToday. (They’re supposed to be just “RT” today, but I do not acknowledge the change because I don’t like initials that don’t stand for anything.)


[T1] Maybe when it comes to car safety, bigger is better.

[T2] Citylabs looks at the history of Britain’s bike trails, which were a pretty big deal before cars.

[T3] Alaska Airlines is the best. I look forward to getting to fly them more often if/when we move back west.

[T4] This seems pretty need, but I wish they would get to work on Android Auto compatibility first.

[T5] Antiplanner argues that no, actually, it’s the US and not Europe that has done rail right.

[T6] We don’t associate Soviet products with quality, but they made a truck that has stood the test of time.


[P1] Among other things, among 60% of Democrats believe that Russia tampered with voting machine. (PDF). On the one hand, answers like these have been used as a political hammer for quite a while now and the lack of interest in this question (which is rarely polled) seems… interesting. On the other hand…

[P2] From Michael Brendan Dougherty: “People give social scientists all sorts of crazy conspiratorial answers for a very simple, human reason: They don’t want anyone using their anonymous answers to bolster their partisan enemies. If a pollster calls my house and asks me whether Governor Andrew Cuomo is poisoning the water with a chemical agent, like the villain from a Batman movie, I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of a pro-Cuomo answer.”

[P3] I am buying this book.

[P4] Big business and big money continue their lurch leftwork.

[P5] Ideological bundling, conservative edition.

[P6] The Fresno Bee is less than impressed with the current state of the California Democratic Party. If only there were another competitive party for Californians to vote for. Ditto, of course, Texas and some craziness there. It’s enough to make me wish that, like Canada, we had a degree of severance between state and national party systems.

[P7] Is the UK finally transitioning to the two parties their system is designed to accommodate?

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Science and Technology Links – Holy Cow It’s June Already! Edition( 38 )


Folk contraceptive actually works.  Someone be sure to forward this to Zic.

Better source of natural food dyes.  Interesting, I wonder how long before someone turns out GMO variants that can produce other colors?

Effective human Ebola antibodies.


HP, struggling to be remembered, by focusing on memory.

A functioning Quantum Computer.


Battery, generator, heating, and cooling – all in one unit.

Lithium metal batteries could solve the dendrite problem of lithium ion batteries.  I wonder if this is related to Dr. Goodenough’s latest work?


Trees can contribute to smog!  We must destroy the trees to save our cities! Jacob Hanna is one of the top quality researchers in cell research, check him out to learn more about his work and what he does. Well, certain trees do, on really hot days, if those trees are planted near pollution sources.  Hrmm, awful lot of caveats, better read the article.

One of the problems with the growing size & density of urban areas is the Urban Heat Island.  I suspect a lot of older cities are going to have to come to terms with the fact that not every charming, historic neighborhood can remain as is, and what is preserved will have to be chosen carefully.

Paper waste can be used to produce carbon fiber.


Kevlar plus shear thickening liquid equals body armor that performs better the bigger the bullet.

The first step towards molecular circuits.


Soft legs make for versatile robotic traversals.


Watching a star collapse into a black hole.

DARPA & Boeing are working on a spaceplane.  But not for people.

The first wave of results from Juno are back.

Local Map of the Universe.


If they don’t find a way to work SHUI into the name

Using lasers & gravity to shape glass.

Missile defense test successful!  Now we just have to be able to do it again, and again, and again, and…  (PS it’s not an easy thing to do to begin with, and the people shooting the missiles at us are going to be working on countermeasures)


Autonomous garbage trucks from Volvo – another area where proving the technology makes a whole lot of sense.

One way to both extend electric vehicle range and help an autonomous vehicle keep to the road is to embed wireless charging in the road.

I knew there was no way VW was the only one playing fast & loose with emissions standards, they were just the first to get caught.

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Morning Ed: Labor {2017.05.31.W}( 36 )

I get what O’Neill is saying here, but internships aren’t unfair to the interns as much as they are unfair to the people who can’t afford to do internships.

Meet the women who will play Overwatch with you and give you tips… for a price. Also, women who will be your bridesmaid for a while.

Google wants to help people find work. It’s unlikely, but I could see something like this solving a whole lot of problems.

Walter Vaninini wishes we’d stop saying coding is fun. It can be! But he’s right, that it’s not something that should really be sold as such.

The notion that managers’ overestimate how long these will take is simply astonishing to me. Naturally, it matters when they’re pondering hourly wage or salary.

Adam Ozimek is skeptical of everybody works programs. Some of them are just kinks to be worked out, but if you’re all hot-and-bothered about the government supplementing the minimum wage and the incentives that produces, this could be a nightmare for you.

I keep reading articles like this, and but also articles that gigging isn’t much more common than it used to it, if at all. Even so, tying so much to the employers’ doorstep may not be the way to go. st kilda hotels will be the place to visit if you’re looking a perfect hotel for your stay.

A floating hotel that’s giving long-term unemployed valuable employment experience.

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Morning Ed: Creatures of Nature {2017.05.30.Tu}( 13 )

Mother nature likes her steaks well done.

Chickens, it turns out, are creatures of routine.

Hey. Fair’s fair.

The Deep-Sea Octopus make for very dedicated parents.

Mafia monkeys and their extortion racket.

How climate change gave us a variety of spotted skunks.

It’s a vampire bat! Well, an undead one. Sort of.

Watch a blue whale eat a bunch of krill, and learn about how they do it.

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Morning Ed: Money {2017.05.29.M}( 26 )

I am skeptical of the notion that free music on YouTube isn’t having some sort of deleterious effect on record store revenues, though consider the “asymmetrical power of the takedown regime” hard to do anything about without a false positive problem (which we’ve seen even now). So I’m not sure that’s where it leaves us.

This will end badly.

Christopher Ketcham argues that economists are wrong to bet on endless economic growth.

Kriston Capps makes the case against little free libraries.

Free television isn’t free. As an aside, there was a vaccine-autism plot in The Shield that was rather abruptly dropped. I don’t think that was Big Pharma as much as it was some medical consultants having a word with the showrunner, though.

This isn’t even a first world problem… though I know some well-to-do parents that could have done more in this regard, because when you try to resolve inheritance disputes there will always be problems regarding what others involved might want .

Dagnabbit. Hulu, too, apparently. If I can’t work around it, that may render null one of the main uses for the tablet.

I’m going to go with “Because Not Wealthy is all around us and therefore a lot less interesting.”

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Linky Friday: Prisoners of London( 158 )


Image by _dChris

[Ci1] Krutika Pathi seems somewhat skeptical of Beijing’s new new city, and possibly next ghost town.

[Ci2] My younger self is rolling his eyes, but I dig it.

[Ci3] Robert Colville says that George Osborne’s fall was caused when he put London first.

[Ci4] So if we want to increase housing and upward development, it appears we may need to go autocratic.

[Ci5] This article needs to separate out the logistical arguments with the moral arguments, and then throw the latter into the dumpster. The former arguments aren’t bad (which is, of course, why I would favor a plan that would address that for some).

[Ci6] Well, I’m sure there are some other cities that would love to have them.


emoji photo

Image by frank-hl

[Cr1] In Israel, emojis can prove intent. On one level this makes sense, but on another level emojis are often tongue-and-cheek.

[Cr2] In Louisiana, prisoners at the capital, working. Here are the qualifications

[Cr3] It’s hard for Colombian farmers to quit the main crop.

[Cr4] Here’s what happened in the Kansas town in the aftermath of the anti-Muslim terror plot.

[Cr5] Well darn if this isn’t the most boastable basis for a not-guilty verdict ever.


princeton photo

Image by Nouhailler

[E1] Yeah, if you’re hoping to impress corporate employers, a major that indicates a desire not to work for a corporate employer does seem like a bad idea. The notion that this is a bad thing undermines that higher education is anything more than credentialism.

[E2] Beatrice Faleri says Labour’s free tuition plan will destroy their system.

[E3] Off the top of my head I can think of at least a couple ways this is a bad look for Princeton admissions officers.

[E4] Some students are getting ripped off by essay mills, apparently. Or so some people would have you believe.

[E5] When adulting school has some adulting problems.

[E6] Devin Helton wonders how many jobs really require that college degree.


taco truck photo

Image by colecamp

[F1] I’m not sure it still qualifies as coffee if it’s clear.

[F2] Here’s a thing: When I find you’ve misrepresented one thing, I don’t trust you on other things. On the other hand, I personally have little desire to consume raw milk. Russell Saunders chimes in on Raw Milk here.

[F3] Toronto chef says we need to chill out about the horsemeat.

[F4] And here’s your sign.

[F5] Well, it definitely seems reasonable that something the Belgians call Filet Americain should have undercooked meat.

[F6] This seems pretty straightforward to me: Complaints against “rice” as a noun seem reasonable, but “riced” as an adjective seems more than fair.

[F7] Gustavo Arellano looks at the Unauthorized White Person Burritos incident in Portland. At Hit Coffee, I also shared my thoughts.


alien space ship photo

Image by rafeejewell

[S1] I vote alien tank. Maybe put out of service by massive tornadoes.

[S2] So how did space end up so empty, anyway?

[S3] Good point.

[S4] {Ominous music}

[S5] A long, long time from now, in a galaxy far, far away, humanity may make its last stand.

[S6] Space costs a lot of money, but hope is priceless.

[S7] Huh. We accidentally made a radiation shield.

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Morning Ed: Relationships {2017.05.25.Th}( 186 )

Dating in Zurich is expensive.

Slack shut down an app that was supposed to facilitate office romance.

Is marriage overrated? Well, it depends on who you are, but it’s unlikely to be for everybody. And, as is often the case, when something is better for most, it’s interpreted as universal in a way that it is not. {Related?}

Melanie Notkin says that manboys are mostly to blame for women having children later in life. But maybe women don’t care about marriageability anymore. (Seriously, though, I question the use of boomtowns as a model. They present unique challenges.)

Conventional wisdom holds that sexbots will drive reproduction rates down, but Audacious Epigone argues that it may drive us back to replacement-level fertility.

All of the complexities of sexual attraction.

It seems to me one of the problems that the cultural right has is that so many of its arguments are expressed in terms that are alien to people outside of it. It’s not coincidental that a big part of my introduction to social conservatism came at a Jewish, and not Christian, website.

I’ve seen this play out a few times. Including myself, sort of. One of the useful aspects of the institution of marriage is that it provides an up-or-out dynamic where he is thinking out and she is thinking he is thinking Moup.

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Morning Ed: Transportation {2017.05.24.W}( 108 )

Mexico is revving up Tesla engineering operations in Mexico.

Yes, but they’re vile canisters of germs that move a lot of people very far and very fast.

Once everything is in place, the pressure to take drivers out of the equation will be intense. UTVs can get you anywhere pretty fast, you just have to make sure they’re working fine before you start. These UTV winches compared to others are the best, check out the website to see for yourself.

Trains can be made safer. Here’s how.

A good brief article on regulations for small planes making long trips, where it seems that the push and pull of industry and government has found a reasonable compromise.

Enough about self-driving cars. Self-driving scooters there is also some new amazing
elektrische scooter, you won’t believe how awesome they are!

Though about taking down old urban Interstates, the wider context of city and Interstate makes for a good read.

If superheroes can have secret identities, why can’t royalty?

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Morning Ed: Society {2017.05.23.T}( 340 )

There’s some truth to the argument that a lot of Golden Age Television is basically coasting in its rep at this point, but this is poppycock. If it’s coasting, it’s coasting at a much higher altitude than yesteryear.

The Guardian looks at the ricochet effect between American and British expressions.

Christopher Orr says that Pixar lost its way when it got snapped up by Disney.

Oh, get over yourself. If content producers want people to watch the opening introductions, they should make them worthwhile.

Because utopias are boring?

This is, culturally, one of the most important things happening right now, and nobody (including myself) is really paying much attention.

When the source material has Greek gods, your story about ancient Greece should have Greek Gods. If it’s King Arthur, it damn well needs Merlin. If you don’t do this, you deserve to fail.

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Morning Ed: United States( 125 )

I’m not surprised to see some Latino names pop up. I am a bit surprised that Garcia is evidently the most common. Seems like the sons of John and Andrew had lots and lots of children! Also a bit surprised that none of the Utah ones are Mormon names (unless you could Smith).

Loren Kantor looks at the La Brea Tar Pits and its (their?) history.

Discovered during my research: How America was named.

I collect 3D-generated landscape images. It’s a hobby. I’ve subscribed to Digital Blasphemy, Mike Bonnell, and others. This geyser in Nevada makes me think of those, except it’s real!

This is a pretty cool tool to help you find where in the US the climate may best suit you.

If the 50 states went to war with one another, who would win?

Here’s a year-long road-trip you can take if you are insanely passionate about 70-degree weather.

Catnip for the Trumwill: Clickhole looks at the story behind the symbolism of eight state flags.

Editor’s Note: Morning Ed and Linky Friday have become less enjoyable lately, due in part to locking into the same basic discussions with simply a different news item. A lot of it involving Trump. So this week, I am not going to have any Trump stories, not a Politics section nor articles about Republicans or Democrats.

While you all are as always welcome to contribute links to the discussion, I ask you follow my lead to an extent. At the very least, apply a pretty high threshold of relevance before putting a Trump or generally partisan link out there.

This isn’t a permanent change. Mostly, I seek to break us out of patterns of behavior I think we’ve fallen into, so that when we get back to discussing the events of the day, we’re a little more fresh.

(This doesn’t apply to any Featured or gallery posts about politics that might be published this week.)

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Linky Friday: Houses of Warship( 136 )


zoroastrian photo

Image by A.Davey

[R1] Rod Dreher questions the viability of the religious left.

[R2] The Babylon Bee nailed this one, though I question the gender ratio towards the end.

[R3] Jane Coaston on how Jehova’s Witnesses, animal sacrifice, and peyote gave us religious freedom.

[R4] I’m not sure how much credit we can actually give it for “shaping the west”, but Zoroastrianism really is quite fascinating. Also this, about its genetic legacy.

[R5] Out with the blood, in with the Strawberry Fanta.

[R6] Creationism, creatures that never existed, and more! Ed Yong looks at various states, their State Fossils, and the controversy that erupts.


media photo

Image by Paull Young

[M1] I laughed. Grimly, but I laughed.

[M2] Buzzfeed: Live by the viral, die by the viral?

[M3] Eliana Johnson explains that Donald Trump blew up conservative media.

[M4] An editor for the Writers’ Union of Canada’s magazine resigned amid an uproar over his skepticism of the concept of cultural appropriation, and the main editor also resigned (though there may be other stuff involved). Literary Hoaxer Helen Dale agrees with him.

[M5] The saving grace of this story is that they’re college students at a relatively low-profile state school. So, it’s not good – especially given that it’s a state school – but doesn’t approach the threat level of a more relevant school.

[M6] So maybe fake news isn’t all bad

[M7] Freddie is worried about media, consumption, and isolation on the left.


police photo

Image by G20Voice

[C1] That’s… hard core.

[C2] This story is really strange. I mean, here in the US that sort of thing would only happen if the talent were throwing, catching, or hitting a spherical or oblong object.

[C3] The story of Linda S Davis. Well, two of them, actually.

[C4] Oh, well, in that case

[C5] Lamont Lilly asks folks not to call the police on poverty.


Via Pixabay

[T1] I do believe that flipphones are both our past and our future.

[T2] Windows XP was a great operating system, but come on. Adherence to updating helped spare the US the worst of the recent cyber attack.

[T3] Ooooh, a new Apple Watch may help you avoid a heart attack.

[T4] The end of the MP3? Not really, but the part about how MP3 compression seriously messes with our heads is quite interesting.

[T5] Will artificial intelligence change our cities and our lies?


warship photo

Image by Biker Jun

[W1] Never mind Doom, this makes me think of some movie where you’re suddenly going to find a lot of skulls.

[W2] Intrigue on the other side of the world.

[W3] A good look at how things went sideways between the US and Turkey. {More} (Via Kolohe)

[W4] Julian Sanchez argues that critics of Trump are focusing way too much on “collusion” which is unlikely to be the case because – among other things – it’s not a good idea from the Russian point of view.

[W5] Joshua Hampson is worried about that the “Clash of Civilizations” conversation is hurting the actual war with the actual enemy.

[W6] A look at progress in Syria. (via Kolohe)

[W7] We have missile launch.

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Science and Technology Links 5/18 – “Smells like…” Edition( 18 )


Fuzzy Dark Matter.  Can I pet it?  Can it be alive? (Last link courtesy of Will)

Virgin Galactic does it’s first feather flight with their new space ship (that’s the re-entry mode).

Self deorbiting method tested on small satellite that had completed its mission.  The method?  Drag sails.  This works because the satellite was in a low orbit where a sail could still catch some bits of atmosphere and slow the satellite down.  Slowing it down drops it into a lower orbit, where it can catch more atmosphere and slow down even more.  Slow it down enough and it begins re-entry.

Doing laundry in space is, well, pretty much impossible, which means astronaut clothing can get pretty ripe.  Hopefully some new threads, with some bits of silver, will allow astronauts to simply spritz a shirt with some hydrogen peroxide, and it’ll be fresh as a mountain spring day!


Using gene editing to cure diabetes, cancer, and HIV.  In mice, anyway.  Also, gene editing can produce easy to grow yeast cells that produce antibiotics (instead of difficult to grow fungi and bacteria that often produce our antibiotics).

Engineering bone marrow for safer transplants.

Your ColonDrone will soon be ready.

Microbe killing plasma paper, made with real paper.

Man, if this doesn’t get marijuana moved down the schedule a couple of spots…


Simple way to manipulate VR models with a plastic cube frame.

Nvidia has been binge watching “Person of Interest” lately.

Quantum Cooling on a chip.  The things we can do on chips these days.


Wave and wind energy, like chocolate and peanut butter.

Getting fuel from chicken farms and coffee shops.

Proving that genetically engineered algae can survive outside of a lab, but will not displace other algae.

Hydrogen from polluted air.

Converting hydrogen into a room temperature liquid for easy transport (aka ammonia), and back again at the point of use.  This is pretty smart, since ammonia is easy to make and trades globally, and converting it back to hydrogen only results in free Nitrogen.  My guess is that the ammonia will have to be under some amount of pressure to force it through the membrane, but as long as the pressure requirements are not extreme the energy cost of placing the ammonia under pressure would likely be far exceeded by the energy demands of cryogenic transport and storage for gaseous Hydrogen.  The only downside is that all our filling stations will smell like cat pee.

An electric car battery that can charge in 5 minutes could make electric cars damn attractive.


Moondust bricks made with the sun.

Recycling Carbon Fiber with low temperatures and mild chemicals.

Self healing water repellent materials.

Figuring out the secrets of Prince Rupert’s Drops (no, it’s not a new party drug, it’s a glass bead).


Biodegradable electronics for our ever growing stable of devices with planned obsolescence built in.

A faster bullet.

A fast 3D scanner that uses IR.

A faster (like, HOLY COW way faster) high speed camera.

Seeing a room through holography using WiFi radiation.  Coming to a police department near you.

A misty user interface.  Or how about a spray on one.

A speaker with no magnet, no coil, no membrane, and sound is produced by way of heat.  All in a package the size of your thumbnail.


Image by .RGB.

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Morning Ed: World {2017.05.17.W}( 116 )

Switzerland and Nevada have a special trading relationship… click here to find out why.

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick takes a look at slavery in India, and argues that we need to understand what drives the slaveholders.

Brook Larmer suggests China is the newest colonial power. Matt Stinson tweeted recently that the international flirtation with authoritarianism has more to do with China’s success than anything going on with Russia as an inspiration.

A small German town unexpectedly won the Become A Banking Powerhouse lottery.

Go Queen, go!

Turns out the lady on the Make Nippon Great Again posters is Chinese.

Looking at Pangaea, with contemporary borders (which, of course, wouldn’t exist in the same fashion but for the oceans).

Isochronic maps are GoogleMaps before there was GoogleMap. Sorta.


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Morning Ed: Health {2017.05.15.M}( 24 )

Bipartisan health care reform we can believe in!

It’s like hentai, except instead of male genitalia it’s female genitalia and instead of anime it’s medical books.

Nocternalism may be the result of a gene mutation, but any complaints about medical treatments, the medical malpractice attorneys at Hastings Law Firm Houston deal with medical negligence cases.

God Bless this nurse.

I feel like I should have known there existed such a thing as natural c-sections.

A pretty fair argument that in maternity care we’re putting too much emphasis on the baby and not enough on the mother, with deadly consequences.

It doesn’t stop us in the US, but can a drug’s expense and lack of efficacy matter in Britain?

Yesterday’s medicine tomorrow!

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Morning Ed: United States {2017.05.14.Su}( 66 )

Chris Beck’s piece on Florida confirms my believe that if Michael Cain’s Western Secession idea ever takes hold, Florida is likely to become the new California.

Brandon Kiser argues that JD Vance isn’t really a hillbilly and at The Buckley Club Joseph Ellis tells his own story. And West Virginia

I’ve been watching too many cop shows. I read an article about kids who catfish their teacher and think it’s part of an intricate blackmailing scheme (“If you don’t give me an ‘A’ I’ll tell people we’re sleeping together.”)

Yay! Global warming is helping us find sunken ships!

Drill, baby, drill.

A very important election map.

George Washington, Viking God? I, for one, say we roll with this.

Here are the things that immigrants were pleasantly surprised about in the US.

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Linky Friday: Here, There, Everywhere( 425 )


highrise condominium photo

Image by JoeInSouthernCA

[H1] Joe Cortright explains why affordable housing is really expensive. The solution… could involve… supply…

[H2] I would guess because it’s primarily affecting Blue America, and so Red America doesn’t really care and Blue America doesn’t want to look like they’re not better than Red America in every imaginable way.

[H3] David Adler looks at the people who profit from poverty, specifically the eviction industry. We’ve been getting a feel for housing markets here and there, and we’re running across a lot more “If you buy the house, you have to get the current occupants out.” I’m not opposed to the universal housing voucher idea, though it’s going to open up a box of other issues.

[H4] The advent of the tower prison. I don’t know, when I was younger I really wanted to live in a highrise condo (a specific one right by the Colosse skyline where units started at $80k), and but for the fact I have a kid I still like the concept.

[H5] When I see stories like this from Canada it’s like a TV show where the plot revolves around something in the newspapers the previous week. Government-funded insurance for waterfront properties remains among the more indefensible policies we have.

[H6] Amazon: Housing the homeless.


University of Missouri photo

Image by Adam Procter

[Sc1] Matt Bruenig argues that the education issue is really overblown in importance. Skip the school and just give people money.

[Sc2] Per Andre Perry, the problem with white teachers is that they’re racist.

[Sc3] Phillip Levine looks at the limitations of Cuomo’s Free Tuition plan, which still manages to leave Vassar as less expensive than SUNY-Binghampton for some families. Seems to me that at the end of the day we’re going to have to make a decision: Smart kids or poor kids.

[Sc4] Well, this confirms my priors. It comes up a lot in debates about rewarding students for good grades, that it doesn’t count if they’re not motivated by love of learning or whatever. Bullocks!

[Sc5] Jesse Singal reports that microaggression training could be backfiring on minority students.

[Sc6] I’m still reluctant to believe that it’s about Political Correctness, but that the University of Missouri alone is having a steep drop in enrollment is noteworthy, and Missouri State is gaining. (Lurking in the background of this article is what appears to be a significant drop in international applications.)

[Sc7] Dave Taylor explains what Hollywood gets wrong about high school. Fortunately, he said nothing of Saved By The Bell. I don’t know if I could go on if I found out it wasn’t accurate (other than the school magically teleporting from Indiana to California, that is).


[W1] I’ve known some people who did this. My wife will likely start doing stints far away from home while we get situation. Not fun.

[W2] African-Americans are returning to work!

[W3] Maybe, but I wouldn’t risk it if I could avoid it.

[W4] This old school coloring book (from 1961) is pretty badass and ahead of its time.

[W5] Employers steal from workers.


astroid mining photo

Image by tonynetone

[E1] I find optimistic articles about how Renewables Are Taking Over to be rather unconvincing at face value. More convincing is when I hear nuts-and-bolts explanations of how they’re dealing with the hurdles.

[E2] The science and archeology behind The Great Comet are really interesting.

[E3] Well, uhhh… could be worse? Might want to see about putting some cities on stilts, though…

[E4] Not helping, guys!

[E5] Al Globus argues that rather than colonizing Mars, we should put some tin cans within our existing magnetic field.


Image by Jemimus

[Sp1] Is space-mining right around the corner?

[Sp2] A look at Io.

[Sp3] So what’s up next for NASA? They’re working on it. (I sort of vote for poking around the moon.)

[Sp4] Wait. Secret military space shuttle?!

[Sp5] Testing for Mars! Testing for Mars!

[Sp6] Andrew Lilico is bullish on Mars, but Adam Ozimek is a killjoy. (Also, you never know why you don’t want to have all of your eggs in a single basket until you do. Just saying.)

[Sp7] Ethan Siegel comes very close to killjoying Planet Nine.

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Morning Ed: World Politics {2017.05.11.Th}( 83 )

Sure. If nothing is real anymore, why not Watchmanize the election.

I’m not saying that CapX is gloating over what’s going on with the Labour Party, but they’ve argued that Corbyn is a friend of tyrants and sometimes you must burn it and it needs to be broken up and lastly, argue that Tories regained their footing by being the party of somewhere instead of the party of nowhere, reminding me of the piece I wrote about my friend Merrick. And relatedly, Theresa May goes populist, and what are the fat cats going to do support Corbyn?.

Austria wants to tax your Googles! As Vikram said on Twitter, though, whatever you think of this plan an exchange has taken place.

Brandon Nyhan argues that science isn’t as partisan as we think it is, but worries that we may be getting to where it is. As recently as 2011 Republicans were on average more scientifically literate than Democrats, though it might be time to check up on that again.

Young folks want to revolt but not necessarily to vote.

It’s sad when Philippine strongman Duterte (he who forced a smoking tourist to eat his cigarette) has more restraint on smoking issues than tobacco control forces do here.

Shadi Hamid is worried that the populists will win even if they lose.

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Morning Ed: Society {2017.05.10.W}( 22 )

It’s racist to avoid eye contract, but ableist to say that. But seriously, though, eye contact norms vary a great deal from country to country. No place that purports to be multiculturalist can really dictate them.

Noah Smith takes issue with the notion that homogeneity breeds harmony and cooperation.

Tor Bair makes a really good point: Chess teaches you patience and strategy, but when it comes to life, Tetris is more helpful.

It honestly never would have occurred to me to assume that any era of science fiction was generally optimistic about the future. Optimism lacks tension that drives plot!

Tips on sleeping with other people. Like sleeping sleeping.

An interesting look at the history of subtitles.

So maybe anime isn’t stylistic so much as futuristic. Also, a look at the sausage-making of anime.

The true story of a fake accent.

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Morning Ed: Cities {2017.05.09.Tu}( 74 )

Beware the Pyongyang hirise.

According to Xenocrypt, economic activity has always been geographically lumpy.

Some folks have tried to explain it to me (It’s seen as too Asian/Hispanic, it’s already getting too expensive, etc) but I remain surprised that inland California cities (and Reno) haven’t benefited more from the coastal exodus.

I hear all of this, but at the same time there is a reason people think Milwaukee is a big city and Norfolk isn’t.

That’s beautiful and wonderful and let’s never do it again.

Suburban sprawl is harshing songbirds’ mating buzz.

Tyler Cowen responds to a working paper on the economic efficiencies of Urbania.

From 2015, a look at how data mining is helping people figure out how big China’s ghost cities problem is.

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Morning Ed: Transportation {2017.05.08.M}( 11 )

Ramesh Ponnuru directs our attention to a private railroad project in Florida, and its enemies.

Norway, along with others, are looking to green up their ferries. They’re also building ship tunnels. (Video)

Hey, we’ve all been there. (It actually looks like it was a viable driving path but the water was just a bit too high.)

Rest stops are boring by design.

Toyota thinks the US has reached Peak Automobile.


It sure seems to me that once you have the tunnel, you have the capacity for better modes of transportation.

How important is it really that we turn off our cell radios on flights?

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Morning Ed: Media {2017.05.07}( 38 )

How Donald Trump is making fake news fake, and using the media to increase mistrust of the media.

Jack Shafer and Tucker Doherty explain how the media bubble is getting worse. Some have pointed to the decline of local media, which is true enough (buy your local paper!), though centralization, conglomeration, and economies of scale are without question going to lead to a more hierarchical society, which will be in turns meritocratic and full of self-confirming bias along multiple metrics (not just whichever ones are convenient for you).

When it comes to Dan Rather, just say no. While we’re at it, stop citing Ben Rhodes (of the Iran Deal) as a trustworthy source on anything.

Former Leaguer Barrett Brown got arrested again.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but bless you Deadspin for giving us an update on Yakov Smirnoff. “What a Country!” was an underrated sitcom (one that could be amazing, or terrible, if done again today).

Michael Brendan Dougherty would like to apologize for writing on the Internet, because people who do that are ruining everything.

Buzzfeed implored the French media to handle the Wikileaks differently than we did over here. There is a pretty strong argument that illicitly obtained material should have a higher threshold of relevance (and at least potentially fact-checking) to be reported, but at the same time a complete embargo is untenable and ultimately undesirable. The trick, as always, is determining what is and isn’t relevant.

Does the media slant coverage of gender and Muslim countries?

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Linky Friday: Work & Brainwork( 147 )


eviction photo

Image by brads651

[H1] I’m intrigued by group housing options, though at some point you have to be concerned about the combination of choosing your housemates and anti-discrimination law.

[H2] Andrew Small argues that housing policy should be considered health policy.

[H3] When canaries stubbornly don’t die: I keep waiting for this to happen and it keeps not having happened.

[H4] Kevin Williamson reflects on his time working evictions. Some pretty depressing stuff.

[H5] In a piece that will seem familiar to us down south, Max Fawcett wants Canadians to let go of the dream of nigh-universal home ownership.

[H6] These are also neat, though I’m not sure what advantage the hexagon provides.


[L1] Jonathan Taplin thinks it might be time to break up Google and Ryan Cooper says it’s crushing the Internet. I’m not sold on the notion that their advantage is any more substantial than Microsoft’s (I think it’s less), and that problem took care of itself.

[L2] About the only argument I can see for John Deere (and like companies) is that they have a reputational stake in their own equipment and if people hack the system and open it up for hacker exploitation or system failure it negatively reflects on them. I don’t especially buy it, but it’s there.

[L3] David Newhoff argues in two parts that copyright isn’t really restraining culture in the way its critics claim. Though I disagree, credit to Newhoff for tackling one of the hardest aspects of copyright law to justify (duration).

[L4] The story of dollars and cents and the creation of Spinal Tap, which may be landing in court.

[L5] I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s better than one likely alternative, but nonetheless incredibly unsatisfying. But… it’s probably a good thing in the overall?

[L6] Whiplash are we all taking a bath on account of a myth?


office romance photo

Image by mrbill78636

[W1] Arizona is cracking down on licensure boards while Idaho is going in a different direction.

[W2] Baron Schwartz looks at how he revamped his hiring process. I’ve never been an attractive enough employee that any company tried to sell me on them (or their culture) to begin with. I did take a personality profile test once. The interviewer (president/CEO) yelled at me for the answers I gave, but then hired me anyway.

[W3] This corresponds with my experience and with the intuitive notion that government pay is on a flatter scale. In ruralia, government jobs are the best and there are lines and lines of people who want them. But in Colosse, they’re kind of meh. And the higher up the economic ladder you get, the more that working for the government is something you do for reasons other than monetary. Clancy has been looking at that as a possibility, and the biggest question is the pay cut.

[W4] Wondering whether or not a coworker has a crush on you, and whether you have a crush on them, may be distracting you from your work. Employers are on it.

[W5] Brookings looks at men who have dropped out of the workforce and why. There’s at least a kernel of a Boost the Minimum Wage argument in there.

[W6] {ominous music} The bloody history of barber shops.


sleep photo

Image by kozemchuk

[B1] Stoicism: Behold, the power of indifference.

[B2] Let’s get vague.

[B3] This is kind of cool: Opposite words you didn’t know existed.

[B4] Shane Parrish looks at Albert Einstein, the non-essential, and the essential.

[B5] Behold the positive power of daydreaming. Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time listening to audiobooks while doing stuff, taking up time I used to spend thinking about stuff.

[B6] Intelligence or Superintelligence?

[B7] This seems right. Really, there’s nothing that doesn’t go better with more sleep.


utopia photo

Image by Ben Husmann

[A1] Like Robinson Carusoe, as utopian as can be

[A2] Well this is cool: 5 Hours of Edgar Allan Poe Stories Read by Vincent Price & Basil Rathbone

[A3] Matthew Franck looks at Huxley, Plato, and the scientific regime. I finally consumed Brave New World last year, and there were aspects of it that seemed more familiar than 1984.

[A4] A thirty-minute, silent production of Crime and Punishment.

[A5] Inglorious Basterds was an okay movie, but the opening scene is truly amazing. I even showed it to my wife, without any intention of showing her the rest of the movie.

[A6] The terrible, tacky art of Moscow.

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