Linky Friday #79


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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94 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    P5- link is dead. I was almost moved and convinced, then a dead link. That kind of thing will doom us all.Report

  2. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    P5–Seems to me that he’s going too far. After all, there are certain political beliefs that actually do make one a worse person for holding them (e.g. being a supporter of the American Nazi party). False equivalence is destroying America!Report

  3. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    P2–If Republicans actually do support covering birth control as part of subsidized health care, and are just looking for a way to do it that doesn’t burden Hobby Lobby’s conscience unduly, they should be sponsoring a bill to subsidize it through the government. Until then, I’ll remain skeptical.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      There is a difference between supporting birth control and supporting the coverage birth control as subsidized health care. That’s the distinction a lot of Republicans make, but for critics, a failure to support the latter is considered opposition to the former.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        They may support the idea of birth control, but they do not support reproductive rights as part of health care; they believe they have a right to insert their moral choices into women’s private medical decisions.

        So yes, Republicans do, in that sense, want to take us back to some primitive dark age.

        I’m pretty sure you’ve run into the odd intrusion of people in public when you’re out and about with your daughter without your wife. People feel they have a right to intrude when children are involved. That same notion, sadly, intrudes into women’s reproductive choices, too; they’re not quite grown-up enough to handle the responsibility on their own. I don’t believe for one minute that it’s a ‘war on women,’ but it is a (perhaps) well-intentioned slight that women aren’t quite capable and responsible; they need guidance as if they were children.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I think that’s a valid distinction. It’s a distinction often left unspecified in how we discuss the issues at hand, though.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @will-truman that’s very much why I’ve begun to focus on women’s right to make their own moral decisions, and that much of the pro-life rhetoric coopts that right.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        There is a difference between supporting birth control and supporting the coverage birth control as subsidized health care. That’s the distinction a lot of Republicans make, but for critics, a failure to support the latter is considered opposition to the former.

        I think this is more of a case of unexamined privilege than it is opposition.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        Zic, do you really think that government not requiring some businesses to pay for some types of contraception constitutes “some primitive dark age”? See P5.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @pinky, do you intentionally try to misread what I said?

        First, the woman pays for the contraception; it’s part of her employee compensation. She earns it.

        Second, can you name me any other fully legal medical procedure that the employer get’s to make a decision about on behalf of the employee, based on morals? Say some homophobic employer decided that you might get such a thrill from having a prostate exam that it ran the risk of turning you gay, so that employer decided to refuse to cover prostate exams, because, you know, the gay. Isn’t that the employer making a moral decision about your health care that, in reality, really ought to belong to you?

        It’s really easy to get distracted by the ‘who pays,’ but it’s the woman who works and gets the health insurance as part of her compensation for working who’s paying.

        No, this about who says what’s moral and right for her to do; it’s coopting her moral choices,Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        @zic The problem is linking health insurance to employment. The danger of having a third party buy something for you is that the third party may want to put in their two cents.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        it’s certainly not a business buying its employees whores to prevent blood clots.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        Well, as I recall, it was Republicans who wouldn’t go for a single payer system, who wanted to maintain the existing system, which discriminated against women’s health-care needs. Me, I wanted a Canadian-style system.

        But it’s not cool to treat women as second-class citizens who are incapable of deciding of something is moral or immoral. Some will view all contraception as immoral and refrain from using it because of their beliefs; some will believe not using contraception is immoral. But it’s the individual woman’s decision. If she’s responsible enough to have children, she’s responsible enough to decide if she wants to have children. It’s not the employers choice, any more then it’s the employer’s choice if you have a prostate exam — it’s a private medical decision, and it’s absolutely central and essential to women’s health and well being.

        Do you think your employer should get to decide if you should have access to antibiotics? They could be used to treat sexually transmitted disease, you know. What about cancer treatments? They can abort a pregnancy. Medications for depression? They might view that as a moral failing, not a health problem.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Sorry, that last reply should be to @moReport

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        Zic, if the only conceivable options were the new system or single-payer, then you’d have a point. Your explicit assumption is that women are morally independent, but your implicit assumption is that women are so dependent on others that they can only get contraception from (a) their employer, or (b) the government. I don’t think society has agreed that free contraception is a human right, either.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        actually it has. Planned Parenthood functions as a governmental body (government funded) providing free contraception for those in need.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @pinky there are two separate things here: what health insurance covers, which is (and has been or some decades) regulated, and how to pay for health insurance.

        What insurance must cover to meet the standards of jurisdiction is no different for health care then it might be for banking or pollution standards, it’s a set of standards that are legally required; and ACA changed that from a set of standards from no contraception coverage to mandated coverage. It changed the ‘what must be included’ to a national standard. In most states that required contraceptive coverage, Catholic universities provided that coverage, for instance. Now I fully agree that there is a moral dimension to some forms of contraception; I fully understand a Catholic woman feeling it wrong. And I am 100% in support of her deciding she should not use contraception, that abortion is murder and never even considering an abortion though the pregnancy threaten her own life. But that’s her moral decision, it’s not her employer’s decision.

        The issue of how we pay for our health care transactions is a different matter. Even if you don’t approve of contraception in any of its forms, you have no more right to impose that moral belief on someone else than they have to limit the size of your soda or how much beer you drink after you get home from work tonight and settle down to watch the game in the comfort of your own home. The money you use to pay for that beer is also part of your compensation, most likely. And even if you opt to watch some porn after the game, you employer still cannot keep you from purchasing cable TV, no matter how immoral the corporation might feel porn might be if you might watch it. Now I’d be quite happy to not have employers pay for the insurance; but then they’d have to pay the employee increased wages, too, and the employee could purchase his or health care through taxation. Sounds good to me.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        Zic – You say I don’t have the right to impose my moral beliefs on others. Why do you have the right to impose your moral beliefs on others?Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        That’s not a rhetorical question. Any system based on human rights has to back itself up, even if it’s just with an assertion that particular truths are self-evident. But you need something if you’re going to assert that your moral code is more worthy of implementation than my moral code.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Why do you have the right to impose your moral beliefs on others?

        Well, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. I admit a bias in favor of zic’s argument here, but it seems to me that her response should be that she’s not imposing her moral beliefs on others but rather that she’s arguing for extending to women the otherwise normal coverages that apply to men. And the only thing that prevents that extension from being realized is the moral code of those who object.

        And I have to say that the whole issue becomes a hopeless clusterfuck of antagonism if the focus of the debate is “morality”. If you forget about that for a minute, and just look at the issue involved, then her argument makes perfect fucking sense. Women should have the same rights, privileges, opportunities, freedoms of expression, and freedoms to control their own bodies, that men do. The only reason you oppose that view is because of this crazy thing you’re calling a “moral code”, one which seems perfectly willing – maybe even desirous? – to commit women to second class status. Wrt to men, that is.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        There are dozens of assumptions you’re making between “women should have equal rights as men” and “it’s appropriate that the federal government mandates that a woman’s employer has to pay some people in Connecticut to make sure that her local pharmacist provides her with any type of birth control free of charge”. The madness is not admitting that those assumptions are being made, or pretending that they can be made in one step by saying “the Republicans didn’t want single payer”.

        Michael Medved tells a story about when he was on a book tour early in his career, when he was a movie reviewer. He was about to go on one of those morning shows, and a celebrity was being interviewed before him. The celeb was talking about her humanitarian efforts – I think it was anti-landmine. He said that he realized in that moment that conservatism would never win. Activism for liberal causes is seen as humanitarian; activism for conservative causes is seen as political.

        Zic assumes she has the high ground because she’s convinced that her moral code is correct. That’s admirable in a way, but not persuasive.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        Oh – I’m using the term “moral” interchangably with “ethical” in this case. Sorry if that caused any confusion.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        I agree with Pinky, it is a moral thing. But it’s a matter of who owns the right to moral decision — the employer or employee? It’s a personal moral decision, not a public moral decision. Just like you have the moral right to decide if you want cancer treatment or not; the right to decide if you’ll have a drink when you get home from work or not. Because it’s women, because there might be a baby involved in some way, the habit is to think other people have a say in that moral decision. I just don’t believe they do; I believe if we’re holding any woman to a standard that she’s responsible enough to raise children, then she’s responsible enough to make moral decisions about having children.

        Pinky just keeps trying to distract from that very basic moral tipping point, he wants to ease that burden off women’s shoulders and put it someplace else, help the little ladies make the right decisions. By my lights, it’s okay for him to tell them what he thinks is moral, but it’s still their decision, and a personal one that nobody else can make. It’s her moral and ethical conundrum to sort out; not his, not a church, not an employer. Her private medical decision. If she does not have the unquestionable right to ultimately decide, if someone else’s moral choices can take precedence, she will never have the opportunity to control her own destiny.

        I’m willing the debate the transaction system, but that is not my issue. No matter how much it’s mansplained to me that it is.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        To my way of thinking, you’re not empowering anyone to make decisions, you’re taking decision-making away. Different paradigm.

        Mansplain isn’t a word.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        zic and Pinky,

        <iBecause it’s women, because there might be a baby involved in some way, the habit is to think other people have a say in that moral decision. I just don’t believe they do

        Well, that’s my point. The two of you are using the word “moral” in distinct ways. Pinky wants the word to mean “whatever my beliefs, established thru tradition and religion, normatively require” and you’re using the word to mean “personal autonomy”. Both those things are moral properties, in some sense (tho I reject that there moral properties reduce to the word of Gawd or Tradition and all that). As I see it, the argument for contracpetive inclusions (via mandate or not) reduces to the idea that women’s reproductive cycle, and the desire to control it, is no different than any other biological property insurance routinely covers for men. It’s only because some people introduce a distinct – non-biologically based, let’s say – decision calculus into otherwise routine biological functioning that the issue gets muddled.

        Or in short, it’s only because some people think women’s bodily functions have moral properties which trump personal autonomy and decision-making that this issue is even being discussed.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        You misunderstand me. I haven’t said anything about women’s use of contraception as a moral question. I’m talking about the mandating of employers’ payments for contraception as a moral question. Or ethical. (I should have used that word for clarity.) You say my meaning of moral is “whatever my beliefs, established thru tradition and religion, normatively require”. Not at all. I’m not making a socon argument, but a libertarian one. You say zic’s definition is “personal autonomy”, but she’s the one using government to enforce her ethical code. What about the autonomy of a woman to establish a contract with her employer? Why does zic think that papa government needs to take care of the lil’ lady?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        What about the autonomy of a woman to establish a contract with her employer? Why does zic think that papa government needs to take care of the lil’ lady?

        The irony here is absolutely amazing. Papa Government demanding we give away free birth control; you know, forcing employers to stop discriminating against women by withholding basic, preventive services from the things covered by the premiums the employee pays as part of compensation for doing their job. The people getting free birth control are on Medicaid; partially free birth control comes via subsidized private purchase on the exchanges; that’s the sugar-daddy supplier, if that’s the aspirin-between-the-leg tone you want to take about essential health care. But the birth control in question is paid for by the employee as part of premiums. It’s like the employee being responsible, working to pay their way using the system that exists. . . I dunno, just seems the whole ‘she’s dependent on the government’ is really saying it requires the force of the government to make sure she’s got the right to decide for herself, because there’s a lot of people out there who seem willing to make her decisions for her; her boss. Reminds me of the Lowell Mill girls, how they got locked in their dorms at night and fired if they were caught cavorting with a man.

        Insurance paid for employment is very much a part of labor contract; the terms are spelled out, they are also regulated.

        I posit that one very good thing that’s resulting from ACA and minimum health-insurance standards is that, now, we’re all discussing the same system, the same regulatory requirements on basic insurance, instead of 50 different sets of regulations. ACA may be complicated, but I think it may also have simplified the national discussion. At least, in theory (though rarely in reality) we’re all discussing the same thing now.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        First, the woman pays for the contraception; it’s part of her employee compensation. She earns it.

        Then we’re all paying our own salaries.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Pinky just keeps trying to distract from that very basic moral tipping point, he wants to ease that burden off women’s shoulders and put it someplace else, help the little ladies make the right decisions

        This is delicious, coming after you suggested Pinky was deliberately misrepresenting you. I’m coming to think deliberate misrepresentation is a privilege you’d like to limit to your own use.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I’m talking about the mandating of employers’ payments for contraception as a moral question.

        So, is the issue the mandating part, or the contraception part? If it’s the mandating part, then it’s not a moral question at all, so I don’t know why you’re challenging zic to provide a moral justification for contravening your moral views, as you did upthread. Also, if that, then you ought to be opposed to all sorts of other mandates and gummint interference and all that etc suchlike. Sorta like Brandon Berg, or Damon. For example, opposing restrictions on same sex marriage.

        If it’s the contraception part, then it seems to me the argument is explicitly moral.

        So I apparently don’t know what you’re arguing. On the other hand, the argument for requiring birth control in normal insurance coverage makes perfect sense to me (whether I agree with it or not). (But I happen to agree with, actually.)Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        What sort of regressive, thuggish english dialect do you speak?
        Mansplain is absolutely a neologism. This is English, we do that too.
        Pea is a word, though it didn’t used to be. So’s portmanteau, and e-mail, and gazillions of other words. What’s so taboo about that?Report

  4. Avatar James Hanley says:

    E4: Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues demonstrated that a couple decades ago.Report

  5. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Re: A5, private schools in India undermine caste system.

    They might do the same in the US.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t think private schools can help undermine class in the US. I think at best, they help a few kids from really poor backgrounds who are plucked up early and seen as promising and damning everyone else isn’t part of the upper-middle class or above.

      I go back and forth on the neighborhood school issue. I can see the point of the article but on the other hand I don’t think kids should have to commute long-distances for school if not necessary especially kids in elementary school. Yet there is something obviously anti-eaglitarian about people moving to a town like Great Neck or Scarsdale because of the schools and kicking out those who can’t afford to live in Great Neck or Westchester.

      Berekely solved this problem by having one high school but that wouldn’t work in large cities.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        I don’t think private schools can help undermine class in the US. I think at best, they help a few kids from really poor backgrounds who are plucked up early and seen as promising and damning everyone else isn’t part of the upper-middle class or above.

        That is simply not true. Parochial schools in NYC, for instance, have long provided very good educations for a significant population of kids from all points on the income spectrum, many of whom are the children of immigrants. In many cases, this is a much better education than those kids would be getting at their zoned public school. I know this, because I was one of these kids.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        you’ll find parochial schools in NYC vary widely depending on religion and exclusivity. were you in a Catholic school?Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        As with most things, it sorta depends.

        Parochial schools do an excellent job of breaking racial and caste barriers, because their mission is to reflect the universal theology of the Roman Catholic Church.

        Private schools founded on different principles would also reflect the ethnic and political biases of their founders.

        More specifically, if the founding mission of a private school is “We cater to the elite Ivy League” I wouldn’t expect them to be shattering any class barriers.

        In general no system- market or governmental- can produce justice when the people running it are committing to creating injustice.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    A1-Just because mass surveilance might create a more harmonious society in Singapore doesn’t mean that it will do the same elsewhere. Singapore is as close as you can get to a state run on Confucian principles in the modern world. Singaporean government and society is already oriented towards social harmony. Other countries are not. This isn’t an East or West thing. Scandinavian countries are oriented towards social harmony by American standards so Singaporean technqiues might work there to.

    A5-How does one deal with the problem of scale? You can’t even come close to getting every kid in India or the United States into a private school. Relying entirely or mainly on the private sector to educate kids is going to leave lots of kids not served at all.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      A5 That something helps some people, but not all people, does not negate that it helps some people. It may not scale to 100% (or close to it)… but neither do public schools. But it’s import to consider these things – and the implications they have on the US, as Hanley’s link argues – when we talk about private schools being a tool of economic segregation. That may not be the case. In India, or here. Maybe.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Its just too much like the debates over single-sex education. There lots of advocates that say evidence proves that single-sex education is better for girls. The may have a point but based on what they read, they imagine that every all girl school is going to be something like an all female version of the Dead Poet’s Society. Certainly all the examples of how single-sex education is better for girls seem to be from the fancy prep school environment. Its not economically possible to provide a fancy prep school educaiton for all girls. My maternal grandmother went to an all girl public high school during the 1930s and learned how to be a book keeper.

        Educational policy in countries with lots of school kids has to address the problems of scale. The goal should be providing the best education for the largest number of children possible rather than crafting a system where some kids get very lucky and win the education lottery and others do not.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Educational policy in countries with lots of school kids has to address the problems of scale. The goal should be providing the best education for the largest number of children possible rather than crafting a system where some kids get very lucky and win the education lottery and others do not.

        The problem with this is that it implies that there is such a thing as “the best education” for the largest number of children. What sort of education is best for a particular child is really a sum of a number of different discrete decisions made over the course of that child’s education. The idea that some centralized bureaucracy can devise a policy that optimizes all of those decisions against the particular set of constraints that child and her parents face is a fantasy.

        I submit that the purpose of education policy ought to be to set some basic parameters for what constitutes reasonable education standards and perhaps goals to shoot for and from there education policy ought to concern itself primarily with helping to empower individuals parents in steering their children towards the educational opportunities that they see as best.

        Some kids will do fine in public school. Some kids need more attention or discipline. Some parents want to provide their kids with religious education. Some kids want to be in a program that stresses the arts or science and tech or business and entrepreneurship. There is little value to forcing all of them into some standardized education mold, unless, of course, the value you are concerned with is the value of Pearson or McGraw-Hill stocks.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        not even civics?
        I like the idea of a basic education.
        I agree that not everyone wants it.

        But, god damn hell, people with kids shouldn’t be confused about where babies come from.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    H4- I wish the internally cited article wasn’t gated; the excerpt is a direct quote that supports Russell’s thesis, but the abstract seems to contradict it in the opening lines. Furthermore, the definitions of metro vs non metro counties are important, as are the exact timing of that twenty year period.

    (And even then, Russell seems to be doing some shenanigans with small numbers vs large numbers to get his ‘America is becoming more rural’ statement)Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I strongly suspect the “America is getting more rural” statement isn’t quite right, but rather is crudely extrapolated from “More Americans are moving to ruralia than the other way around.”

      I also agree that definitions are important. If I had to guess, I’d guess that the rural areas that are collecting people are different from the ones that are losing people. I think the study is mostly looking at declining rural areas specifically.

      The difference between declining rural areas and those picking up people being that the latter, while not in a metro area, are still around one, while the former are out in remote South Dakota.

      I would definitely like to read the whole thing.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        From time to time I make a run to the library at the University of Denver (alumni get sort-of library privileges forever). I’ve added this to the list of things to pull the next time I’m there. The system usually lets me store a copy of PDFs on a thumb drive and walk away with it. Be nice to me and I’ll loan you a copy of the file :^)Report

  8. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    H1 is a pretty good summary of the issues, though I still like the “vomiting owl” piece:

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I linked to the vomiting owl piece on a previous installment of Linky Friday. It’s a great piece.

      As an aside, it’s an interesting reveal to me what ends up on LF as a window into what I’m interested in. That I so often have a “Housing” section, for example, often linking to stories about SF, actually tells me something about myself. That I more frequently have a “Space” section where I previously almost never did sheds some light on my changing interests.Report

  9. Avatar zic says:

    F1 self-repairing plastic, which might keep some plastic out of landfills might be good. But that plastic going into the waste stream frightens me with a prospect of never-decaying plastic, here forever. (I know, this is not the case, but. . . ) My inner sci-fi geek sees the combination of self-repairing plastic and self-replicating nano-bots as the potential root of the machine world.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    H1: Wow San Francisco looks really different today. This is stating the obvious but the area around Mission and Third street is much more built up and developed. The Church is still there though.
    A big problem in the Bay Area is exactly as the article describes. A lot of the Silicon Valley suburbs want the companies located there but they don’t want to build up housing for the employees and the employees largely being young don’t necessarily want to live in the suburbs.

    This is a tricky problem to solve in representative democracy where the people’s desire and will does not always make for the best policy.

    H4: I don’t know what to make of Jim Russell. I think he often tries to hard to be the anti-Richard Florida but only for the sake of being the anti-Richard Florida. He does some good working showing that gentrification really only effects certain sections of a city. He once produced an interesting map that showed in Brooklyn neighborhoods could be divided into two categories: Really popular ones that have seen a huge increase in rent and housing prices and ones where the rents and housing prices have stagnated or seriously declined like Detroit style decline. People priced out of Park Slope might move to Windsor Terrace, Ditmars Park, or Bay Ridge (which is really far from Manhattan) but they will not move to East New York or Cypress Hill or the stretch on the F line between Ditmars Park and Coney Island (which is still largely Italian and Irish working-class and houses a lot of Fire and Police people).
    Yet he also produced an article called “Long Island is Dying” and as far as I can tell his theory on Long Island dying was that adults without children did not like living on Long Island. As a Long Islander, I can tell you that Long Island will always be the suburbs. It will always be where people move when their children are school-aged.* I don’t see what is wrong with having an area like this but apparently he does and so do many other people.

    *Like you, I am skeptical about how many upper-middle class raised former suburbanites are going to raise their kids in the cities. I think you will find a lot of people who go into exodus when the kids are about to start elementary school and then another exodus with middle-school aged kids. There are plenty of people who can afford to be upper-middle class while sending kids to public school but would be absolutely destroyed by private school tuition.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I intend to send my kids to public school. I feel like this includes a substantial likelihood that they will get beat up, but probably not experience racism and downright bad career advice from racist guidance counselors. I know my privilege.

      The general issue with having “suburbs for middle class parents” is that they tend to be “taxhavens” and in general under-infrastructurized. They make horrible places to retire (or get old in) because the services aren’t there. And as the buildings/infrastructure ages, it becomes a better idea to build a new suburb than to keep the existing one (more of a problem when it’s not LI, granted) — and you get slum-burbs.

      LI I don’t have a problem with, because it’s relatively wealthy, and the people there can afford to retire to Florida.Report

      • Avatar Jacob says:

        Long Island is a haven for taxing authorities, perhaps, but not for anyone who owns a home. In scant few other places in the country can a realtor advertise a house with an annual tax burden of $8k and call it LOW LOW TAXES!!!!Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        Well compared to Manhattan and certain sections of Brooklyn….

        I grew up on Long Island and then lived in NYC and SF. I can’t begin to describe what this has done to my sense of real estate from cost to size for an apartment.Report

  11. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    H1-Palo Alto’s zero growth policy is one reason why San Francisco is having a housing crush. Lots of Google employers would love to live closer to Google’s actual offices in Mountain View. Mountain View and the other nearby municiaplities are stubornly refusing to permit the building of apartments and other housing for single people. This is basically putting all the pressure on San Francisco and Oakland to deal with the problem. There isn’t enough coordination in our metropolitan areas.Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      San Francisco is interesting in that it is the only entity in California that is both a city and a county. One of the things this means is that the moment you go beyond your city boundaries you’re in the next county, with its own government and its own general plan. (The general plan is a county’s master planning document, covering everything from density to transportation to trash to … etc.)

      There have been some efforts to give COGs (Councils of Governments) some regional planning powers but they have mostly failed.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        That’s one thing that always kinds of bugs me when diagnosing the problem and discussing solutions on this topic. If there’s anyone that should be better at regional planning, it’s the western metro plexes that are all within a single state vs most of the east coast ones that spread across state lines and separate inalienable soveriegntyReport

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        There are some regional bodies in the NYC metro area like MTA or Port Authority of New York and New Jersey but not a lot. I actually think that the federal structure of the United States makes forming regional government agencies a problem. The entire structure of American federalism kind of assumes that every issue that could effect more than one state falls under the Federal Government’s balliwick. Modern urban growth kind of defies this. In a centralized state, I think its easier to set up regional bodies that better reflect actual living patterns than in the United States.

        The other problem is that various muncipalities are all fighting for their perceived self-interest. As H1 mentioned, the suburban cities really want to remain low to medium density areas of single family homes on big lawns. This gives them a pretty strong incentive not to cooperate with San Francisco and Oakland on a regional level because both would probably force some apartments on them.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        My perception is that once you get west of the Great Plains, the West does do a lot more regional planning than in the older parts of the country. I don’t know what your standard for “regional planning” is. The Denver Regional Council of Governments covers all or part of ten counties and handles transit, air and water quality, and programs for the elderly for the entire region. Public funding for the arts is done on a different multi-county basis, as was public funding for the major pro sports stadiums. The urban, suburban, and inner rural portions of DRCOG do growth planning on a regional basis.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      “Lots of Google employers would love to live closer to Google’s actual offices in Mountain View. ”

      Speaking as someone who knows lots of Google (and other tech-firm) employees: no they don’t. They live in the city because they want to live there. If it were just about having a place, they’d all be out in Walnut Creek or down in Morgan Hill.Report

  12. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Saturn’s moon Titan has a mysterious object on it,

    Anyway, that’s what Zarathustra said.Report

  13. Avatar Kim says:

    Japan is promoting GothLolis? What’s next, children’s beds in England called Lolita? (Woolworths, in case you’re wondering. They seemed astounded that they might actually be expected to read Famous American Authors.)Report

  14. Avatar Kim says:

    Incoherency rules all. Lack of sufficient case studies makes the world a far worse place. I can argue the reverse of much of what was stated, simply by pointing at organic coffee farms in Peru.
    Thank You Whole Foods!Report

  15. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    E3: If they’d asked, I coulda told them. Paraphrasing a speaker at a recent global climate-change conference, “There’s a problem that there are hundreds of us sitting in this room who, on average, flew more than a thousand miles to be here, some of us bringing a spouse, telling each other that it’s critical the world stop burning fossil fuels.”

    OTOH, the page also has a link to this story, a nice illustration of a point I keep trying to make: it’s not enough to build wind turbines, you have to build a grid that lets you make maximum use of them. The problem with the UK grid in this instance is not that it’s dumb; the problem is that it lacks sufficient bulk transport capacity.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      But wind turbines & solar panels/reflectors are big, obvious signs of “doing something”. Nobody ever sees the changes to the grid that make such things work better, except as a mysterious line item charge on their power bill.Report

    • Avatar Wardsmith says:

      The problem with updating the grid for wind power is you’ve built a 12 lane freeway for 30 minutes of rush hour trafficReport

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Michael & I have had this discussion in the past. The upgrades in question are storage upgrades. Thermal, potential, or kinetic batteries so that you can capture the energy of the 30 minute rush hour & release it as needed.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Capacitors too are an option. But you knew that.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Ever lived near Rawlins, Wyoming? There’s a reason Phil Anschutz (Denver billionaire) is building a 3GW faceplate wind farm there, and a variety of people are investing in an HVDC line to carry the power from Wyoming to southern Nevada. The market they’re going to sell electricity into is Southern California, but there’s some peculiar combination of regulatory things that makes it advantageous to sell it from near the Hoover Dam in Nevada.

        Rawlins is located at the east end of South Pass, a gap in the Rocky Mountains that funnels large air mass movements. Freaky amounts of wind — not just the speed, but nearly always blows. Quite a few local jokes about it, including the infamous Wyoming wind sock.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        That’s one of those places where a large array of properly oriented VAWTs can be most effective.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Maybe at some point in the future. Anschutz was in the position of putting out a preliminary request for bids for 500 3MW turbines, with delivery over the next three years, with existing deployments so that he had pictures he could put in visualizations for the local and state regulators. There’s lots of interesting proposals for VAWTs in that size range, but none that I’m aware of that are shipping. Éole Darrieus at Cap Chat, Quebec, had a larger faceplate capacity than that, but the main bearing failed after six years.Report

  16. Avatar Kim says:

    Love how he gets to say that suburbs have blown our culture to bits, without citing any sources.

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      You know how it is, if a majority of the population prefers it (something over half of the US population is now suburban, and at least in my rapidly growing state, most population growth is suburban), it must be… inferior, appeals to the lowest common denominator, etc. Like network television. Or big-box retailers. Or chain restaurants.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        “Nobody buys houses in the suburbs anymore, they’re too crowded.”Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        The correlation between hate groups and Walmart (big-box stores in general) is indicative of something… ;-P

        Because when you actually find real rural researchers, you get real data. Evidence, who’d have thunk?Report

  17. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    F2 — eerie. Prof. Volokh is a guy who has thought deeply and smartly about, well, a lot of things, but speech and communication are pretty prominent themes, and let’s not forget he made his money in tech before becoming an academic. Perhaps it’s not so surprising he’d strike so close to the mark twenty years ago.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      I still think it’s funny how the Tom Hanks movie “Big” predicted e-books.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It’s interesting how Gold Age SF predicted books that were on tapes or spools, but I always had the impression that they were like microfilm, not digital.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        it’s amazing how readable the science is in a lot of the old books… and how horrid the characterization is. Seriously, sometimes their treatment of women makes me want to reach for a spoon. (Then I remember that they probably feel really guilty, or are dead.)Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      I think the issue with a lot of Volokh’s “failed” (or less-accurate) predictions is that A: he didn’t imagine that computer technology would become so inexpensive as to be near-disposable (at least, replaceable on a TV time scale rather than on a washing-machine or refrigerator time scale), and B: he didn’t imagine that bandwidth would ever get to where it’s gotten today.

      Remember that, at the time, we were still seeing 486 computers going for more than $2000, and 56-kilobaud dial-up was considered bleeding-edge fast.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        56-kilobaud dial-up was considered bleeding-edge fast.

        For consumers, sure. You could get about 30 times that if you could afford a T1 leased lineReport

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Re the bandwith… By 1995, inside the telecom business, the handwriting was already on the wall. I wrote a long, detailed internal white paper titled “The IP Telephone Company” in 1993 predicting packet-switching parity within a decade [1]. That same year I was doing two-way real-time audio and video over IP between UNIX workstations (the video was miserable in certain ways, but you could carry on a perfectly reasonable conversation, which was more than you could say about the expensive ISDN-based video phones available at the time). The MBONE (Multicast Backbone) was up and running with audio, still image, and video (also miserable, but in different ways), broadcasting a limited number of international conferences [2]. By 1994 — 1995 at the absolute latest, but I’m too lazy to go to the basement and dig out my old lab notebooks — I was doing the same media I had in 1993, plus a “shared paper” medium, using 486 boxes running Linux. Linux because the Windows scheduler was too brain-damaged to give a user-space process enough shots at the CPU each second to handle 15 fps video [3]. Proprietary multi-megabit cable modem technology was commercially available beginning in either 1993 or 1994, although widespread deployment had to wait until the big cable companies got done with their hybrid fiber-coax upgrades. By 1995 it was obvious that megabit or better consumer service was just around the corner.

        [1] Legal wouldn’t let me publish outside, as the conclusions were considered “controversial”. That’s the polite way of saying, “You scared the crap out of senior management, and they would prefer to try to keep this secret.”

        [2] In an indication of things to come, the day that VP Al Gore was the keynote speaker at an MBONE-carried conference, the big draw was a studio apartment where a university researcher had set things up to keep an eye on her cat, recently the victim of surgery, and wearing a cone of shame. For the most part, the cat slept. Hundreds of people globally used the text capability to ask about the health of the cat over the next few days.

        [3] Video for Windows (VfW) at the time could manage higher frame rates, but cheated. It was part of the operating system kernel, and had its own interrupt timer tick.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        yes, VfW is something I am familiar with…

      • Avatar Wardsmith says:

        @michael-cain remember Pairgain technologies? Back in the very early 90’s I found them in a 10×10 booth at Supercomm or Networld, can’t remember which. Bought a few of their first units and ordered up OPX service from the local monopoly. Worked great until 4 suits showed up and demanded to know what we were doing. They came into our equipment room and took pictures and notes against our objections. The very next day the OPX tariff was yanked. A few banks and hospitals were grandfathered in but they diligently inspected what was connected to them after that.

        I for one am thrilled that the old monopolies are dead and (mostly) buried.Report