Linky Friday #158: The Scientific Darkness

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Will Truman

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

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227 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Ci2: Mr. Kotkin has an ax to grind against public transit. Houston is a very sprawling city and the light rail system is new. It covers a small area of Houston. Mass transit has been underfunded in the United States for decades and is only now starting to get the attention it needs unless you want to sprawl forever. It will take time for mass transit to get a higher rider share but it is happening. Portland, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Denver are doing well with their relatively new transit systems.

    Cr2: It seems to be an appropriate selling location.

    Cr5: I really never understood the mental gymnastics that allowed people to engage in this sort of conduct at work unless they were in the porn industry.

    E1: Its not going to happen anytime soon. Schools are going to hang on as long as possible before they close just like law schools. People predicted that law schools would shut down but they are not despite reality.

    E4: Its because of the collapse of the legal industry. Law school is getting much more expensive with elite schools costing somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 a year to attend. Thats only covering tuition. Unless your going to get a really well-paying but very high pressure big law gig, your going to be in a lot of debt unless your parents paid the bills. More and more elite law schools grads are being forced into small law because big law still hasn’t recovered from the recession. Corporations are also less willing to pay what they used to.

    W1: Some sort of ultimate survivor challenge should do the trick for tough guy tourism

    W3: Sort of like what happened when the Europeans landed in the Americas.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Cr5,
      Have you never, ever, ever talked with an artist?
      Artists draw nudes and then they draw the clothing on top.
      Moreover, artists use nudes as reference material. Its REALLY not that much of a stretch to have them masturbating if they’re drawing something even remotely sexual.

      (the people masturbating to images of tanks probably need help.)Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      It’s worse than that in Houston — we spent all of Tom Delay’s rather lengthy stay in Congress having federal funds used a bludgeon to prevent mass transit from being built. (No kidding, people kept voting for it and Tom Delay kept personally killing it. For over a decade).

      The Houston light rail network isn’t even remotely complete — the problem with Houston is there’s several large employment centers downtown, and Houston’s so sprawled that you can’t walk between them. Houston has started with trying to hook up the main employment and entertainment districts via rail (something they’re still not done with) before replacing the Park-and-Ride system with rail lines (to get people INTO the city from the sprawl around it).

      They’ve gotten a lot of flack about it because the light rail system right now really only works for the people who live near those employment centers, and lots of those chose to live close to work anyways. The people trying to get into downtown from outside can either take a bus from a park-and-ride (which isn’t much faster than driving) and maybe or maybe not have to switch to a train (and thus juggle multiple schedules) or just suck it up and drive. (The bus systems still duplicate a ton of the rail routes).

      That said, my two close friends both work downtown and use the Park and Ride system. They’re looking forward to whenever the rail system actually gets to them, because it’ll be faster. But right now, they use mass transit to get to work — but not the rail system.

      That’s the problem with grafting mass transit onto an established, very sprawled city. There’s a very long period where it is running in places, but not terribly useful. Either it gets you around once you GET to the city — or it gets you to the city, but not where you need to go.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      Cr2: This is why so many places are closing down publicly-accessible restrooms, or the various forms of pay toilet that were placed on city streets.

      Everyone says “oh those poor homeless people, they have nowhere to pee in private”, but it quickly stops being “pee in private” and starts being “sell drugs, take drugs, turn tricks”.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    G2: I make my living as an immigration lawyer so my opinion is biased but immigration is inevitable in the modern world. You can’t have a globalized movement of goods and services without relatively free mobility for people. If you take away people’s ability to move and basically keep them in the country where they are born than your going to create this weird sort of serfdom and hurt markets. If the jobs keep moving but people can’t than how do people make a living.

    I do think the author is right about the Left not really taking the negative effects of mass immigration seriously though. They think that anti-racism could force the more reactionary immigrants into a progressive alliance where they can be controlled. They are wrong.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Also, “all immigration narratives are false” only to the extent that you mean all political narratives. There are lots of people doing very good work on how migration actually works.

      Here’s one source: http://blogs.worldbank.org/peoplemove/

      When I say that politics makes us stupid, I am not being metaphorical.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      If you take away people’s ability to move and basically keep them in the country where they are born than your going to create this weird sort of serfdom and hurt markets.

      You;’re making no sense.Report

  3. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Ci3: It is not only “I love living in California and hate that other people are ruining it by living here, too.” It is “I love living in a certain specific highly desirable part of California and recreating in other specific highly desirable parts of California, and hate that other people are ruining it by living and recreating in the same highly desirable spots.”

    Furthermore, it isn’t merely living in any old desirable spot. The Bay area is one of a handful of metropolitan regions that has achieved Center of the Universe status. If you insist on living in the Center of the Universe, you will have to pay for the privilege. If you are willing to live in some other spot that is desirable in many of the same ways, except for not being the Center of the Universe, you can do it a lot more cheaply.

    I know a 30-year old single woman who was applying to various nursing schools. She was telling me about the three where she anticipated being accepted. One is in San Francisco, one in New York City, and one in Towson, Maryland. My avuncular mansplained advice was to go for Towson without hesitation. Her living expenses, and presumably her ensuing debt load, would be a mere fraction than San Francisco or New York.

    The thing is, Towson, is a perfectly reasonable, indeed desirable, spot, with the typical amenities we associate with gentrified urban living. Were I thirty and single, I would jump at the chance to move there. But if you aren’t intimately familiar with Maryland, you likely have never heard of it. It is north of Baltimore City, just inside the Baltimore beltway, with a decent-but-not-great state university, with all that goes with that.

    The thing is, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Towsons across the country: desirable spots that aren’t widely known outside the region and consequently maintain a reasonable cost of living. But they most assuredly are not the Center of the Universe.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      @richard-hershberger

      The Bay Area has better weather. And how does Townson state rank compared to UCSF?

      I admit that I grew up in New York and have New York snob’s ranking system towards cities. Here is another confession. I needed to go to Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Hendersonville, North Carolina for business last year. Both were charming and decent towns. Asheville, North Carolina is a lovely and charming small city with good restaurants. But they still are not New York. They lack the theatre scene of New York. They lack the film culture of New York (I think only Paris can beat New York in terms of cinemas that show art house flicks.) They also lack the museums of New York. The restaurants are great but NYC and SF are out of this world.

      I once had a conversation with a woman from Columbus, Ohio who was trying to sell me on Columbus, Ohio because of their zoo and kid’s museum while I was talking about the Met, MOMA, the Whitney, and the Frick. Zoos are fine and dandy but I have been three times in the last eleven years. One was for an assignment in acting class, the other was because I thought it would be a good date idea and my girlfriend likes baby animals, the third because we were hanging with my girlfriend’s nephew. When I talk with people about theatre, they end up talking about the umpteenth performance of Rocky Horror and I am talking about daring new productions at New York Theatre Workshop or getting to see the greats of world theatre and performing arts come to the Brooklyn Academy of Music or Yerba Buena or Cal Performances.
      I don’t even like Rocky Horror!!!

      So maybe my tastes are different. Maybe the world is going netflix, sweatpants, and chill but I am not that kind of guy. I think there is a better thrill of a Truffaut revival at Film Forum over watching his movies on my laptop or screen at home.

      I dunno. Does this make me wrong? Does it make me a snob?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Theater is dead. Long live indie movies.
        (Doncha love economics? Besides, with indie movies, you get more than one take, which tends to improve quality of acting and script alike).Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          That’s exactly why theatre will never die, any more than studio recordings mean concerts are dead.

          It’s one take, and if something goes wonky we’re all here to be part of un-wonkifying it. It’s real, it’s happening. It’s not just the artists surprising us from a place of absolute certainty about every second of the performance, the artists can be surprised too.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            That works if it’s improvisational comedy, which really does improve when people shout out comments from the audience. (seeding the artists is fun!).

            But most plays are designed for the actors to do relatively little different from time to time. And that’s a trick better done with multiple takes.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              Relatively little change from night to night, yes. But it’s not static. You’re seeing the real reaction to the real action you just saw, not the reaction from take #7 to the action from take #3 (all of which in any case involve a bunch of stuff that was green-screened in later). There’s a genuineness and immediacy that film just can’t do.

              And don’t get me wrong – I like film too. It’s just that film isn’t going to kill theatre. It killed certain niches of theatre, because they were things film really could do better. And it changed theatre to take advantage of those other niches that film can’t touch. Now there is an alternative to liveness, liveness is what distinguishes theatre, so it has to really take advantage of liveness.

              By the same token, concerts are good even when the set list is the same through the whole tour. It’s precisely because of the possibility of imperfection: in the concert it’s all take #1 – not drum take #7 for this part and #2 for the chorus, bass takes #3 and #5 layered over each other, and mostly vocal take #18, all of which were recorded weeks apart in several different cities.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Concerts are even worse, you know. The music is supposed to be played right, not getting the notes wrong. (It’s not a problem if it’s played at a different tempo…naturally). My friend the musician hates live music because he can tell, instantly, whenever they muff a note.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        New York is new york, a wonderful, fantastic, awesome city to visit.
        It is an awful city for most people to live in.
        All those things you’re talking about?
        How many of the city residents actually see them????

        New York is arguably overpriced — and that goes doubly for entertainment.
        You can’t attend things that you can’t afford to attend.
        (Of course, there’s the open question about whether you want to go to a musical on opening night — or even the first six months.)Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        I have more sympathy when the desirable quality is in fact not widely available. If you really spend your evenings attending live theater, then you have a legitimate criterion. Even so, there is a big middle ground between New York City and Asheville, NC (which, based on my one visit ten years ago, was a very nice place: definitely in the “desirable” category). I have only a passing interest in live theater, but I have a much stronger appreciation for live performances of classical music. I have lived in or near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Both have ample offerings. (I was particularly fond of the free student performances at the Curtis Institute, which were immune to the usual commercial imperatives of inoffensive accessibility.) Philadelphia is a large city with many established cultural institutions, but most decidedly not the Center of the World, and without Center of the World cost of living.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Depending on one’s career aims, I’m not sure how much school quality matters above a certain point. Though it might matter if your desire is to eventually get a job in a highly desirable location. Which is anyone’s prerogative to try to make work, so long as we recognize it as a choice being made and as often as not a consumer good.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Maybe the world is going netflix, sweatpants, and chill…

        Seems like sweatpants would present some logistical issues.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “Maybe the world is going netflix, sweatpants, and chill”

        It is so funny to me when people talk about “netflix and chill” and have no idea what they’re actually saying.

        Hint: It actually is about neither netflix nor chill.Report

        • Avatar Zac says:

          I’m flashing back to the mid-2000s when that Lil John song “Get Low” was blowing up and upper-middle-class white folks were singing it without having any idea what the lyrics meant, or what “skeet” was.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            To be – well, overly – fair … a lot of them only heard a bowdlerized version. “Sweat drips down… and falls!”Report

      • @saul-degraw

        So maybe my tastes are different. Maybe the world is going netflix, sweatpants, and chill but I am not that kind of guy. I think there is a better thrill of a Truffaut revival at Film Forum over watching his movies on my laptop or screen at home.

        I dunno. Does this make me wrong? Does it make me a snob?

        No, that doesn’t make you a snob. It’s your tastes and you like what you like. (For what it’s worth, I prefer to go to the movies over watching them on my laptop. I just don’t have the time to do so.)

        If someone is to accuse you of snobbishness, though, one thing they’d cite (in addition to your admission in a recent thread that you’re a snob) is this point from your comment:

        I once had a conversation with a woman from Columbus, Ohio who was trying to sell me on Columbus, Ohio because of their zoo and kid’s museum while I was talking about the Met, MOMA, the Whitney, and the Frick. Zoos are fine and dandy but I have been three times in the last eleven years.

        That isn’t necessarily snobbish. I don’t like zoos or children (let alone a museum dedicated to children). I can hardly blame others who don’t or who don’t see them as particularly good selling points for living in a given locality.

        But I do imagine that Columbus has more to offer than what this woman was suggesting. More to the point, I’m trying to imagine the part of that conversation you might not be relating. Why it is she felt so moved to justify Columbus to you and how you were treating her and the fact that she’s from Columbus. My imagination of what the rest of that conversation looked like suggests a certain sense of snobbery, at least to me.

        All that is imagination and supposition. I know you online, but I don’t know you in person. Just like I believe I’m a much nicer (or at least different) guy in person than online, you’re probably a different guy in person from how you present yourself online, too. As humans, each of us is more complicated than how we present ourselves online.

        I do believe that most snobs don’t know or believe they’re snobs, or don’t fully understand how they come across to others. I also believe that most self-proclaimed anti-snobs (including me) are just as quick to mistake others’ preferences for manifestations of snobbery when they’re just preferences. I don’t think of myself as a snob, but I can be very snobbish about some things and while I don’t think I come across as a snob, I come across as other things (self-righteous, hypocritical, busybody) that aren’t particularly pleasant.

        While you may be missing out on some things, there’s nothing wrong with preferring the type of theatre and art that you can access only in the big metropolitan areas.Report

    • Avatar Roland Dodds says:

      I agree with everything Richard said. I would add that since I live in the Bay Area, I want the lot of you to get the heck out. Or at least stop Chinese investors from buying up all the property sight-unseen.

      I want my cake and to eat it to.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      I dunno. Living in Boston seems worth it to me. That said, if I got a chance to move to Manhattan, I’d probably take it. I know it’d be hella expensive, but I can afford it, at least for a while — and the life experience of that. Just the energy of it all. Whenever I’m there, there’s just this vibrancy.

      Not sure about the Bay Area. My employer is based there, but these days I never hear anyone say how much they love living there. In fact, I hear the opposite.

      Plus, I’m an East Coast gal at heart. A crass fuck you in the morning really lights me up.

      Anyway, you only get to ride this ride once. I’m sure I’d find some fun times in Podunk Nowhere, but all the same, gimme the bright lights.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    G5: Technically Ontario is just launching a pilot program to explore the possibilities but still it’s good news.Report

  5. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    E5: I have a confession. My daughters do not attend the school in which our home is districted. In fact, they attend a better school, and we have made affirmative efforts to ensure this. The county allows an out-of-district exception based on the location of the student’s day care provider, since the kid will normally take the bus there. We started the girls with a day care provider before they were in school, and it just so happened that this placed them in the better school. Some time later when we had to change providers, and had by this time figured out the system, we made sure to find a new provider in the same district.

    The thing is, gaming the system is inevitable, and better educated, higher socio-economic class parents are inevitably going to be better at it. As an inveterate lefty, my answer is that we should be building the system so that as much as possible there are no clearly less desirable schools. And yes, that will take money. Even — *gasp* — tax money. In the meantime, my responsibility as a parent is to do what is best for my kids. Blame the game, not the player.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      If the need arises, I will do the same without hesitation.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      The hired consultants are nothing new in New York. Where again, you have the center of the universe problem. There are lots of people who are too snobby to leave NYC even for a good inner-ring suburb but they are not wealthy enough to afford NYC private school tuition. But they can afford a consultant to help them get into great schools.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Ci2: I agree with Lee that Joel Kotkin has a weird and contrarian axe to grind against public transportation. In many of the other places in the United States, public transit is underfunded, breaking down, using lots of outdated technology, and packed to the gills. One example:

    http://gizmodo.com/i-would-like-to-buy-a-drink-for-the-poor-soul-who-ran-t-1765477706

    Other examples include: NYC’s L train was highly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. NYC is just getting around to doing repairs on the line. The debate is whether to shut down the entire line for a year or whether to shut down weekend and late night service for three years to do the repairs. The L is one of the busiest lines in the NYC subway. DC just shut down their Metro for 29 hours. Boston’s T was hit hard by winter and also uses outdated equipment.

    The issue with public transit is that lots of Americans still view it as transportation for poor people and who wants to fund that or that there are strong debates about who should pay and why. This debate also covers bridges.

    E1: I find the right-left reactions to college and university tuition interesting. Everyone seems to agree that university tuition is to high. The left wants to fix the problems by finding ways to lower university education tuition prices. The right wants to solve the problem by having less people go to university. The right wing solution seems to be an interesting combination of snobbery (“Too many people who disagree with me have degrees. Damn universities for being places of liberalism. We need to make Harvard WASPy and preppy again!!”) and working-class populism (“You should be able to have a decent life without attending college. Plus book-learning femininzes the country. We need more welders and fewer philosophers.”) I don’t know if there is a solution to the split but I find it interesting.

    E4: I don’t know if this is completely true. I imagine that the T14 law schools still have lots of students whose undergrad backgrounds are elite. What elites are doing is shunning lower-tiered law schools because the industry still hasn’t really recovered from the recent shocks. The debate is whether the worst is over or whether more bloodbaths are to come. What elites are doing is shunning law-schools below a certain ranking. In my law school class, most students came from Berkeley and UC-Santa Cruz but there were a handful of people with Ivy League degrees. There were more people with degrees from schools like Kenyon, the Claremont Colleges, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Vassar, etc. These schools are nothing to sneeze at either. I think law is still a very hidebound industry that is not changing to suit the needs of younger people.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      [Ci2] Most of the arguments provided by you and Lee do not appear to be the case for Houston, at least. They only recently built their light rail, so it’s not outdated. Overall transit ridership has gone down since it was built. Which he makes the case is closer to the norm than an outlier. It seems to be the legacy cities, with the outdated technology, where transit is doing best.Kotkin may be biased (pretty sure he is) but he makes a good case.

      [E1] Unsurprisingly, that’s not how I would characterize it. I would say that the left is most interested in shifting the costs of tuition to others, while the right is less interested in shifting the costs for any student who wants to go. Merit scholarships have some support on the right, as do ways of genuinely lowering costs by seeking different models of education. The left does seem to like lower real costs with community colleges… for now, but I’m reading more and more commentary suggesting this is a transitional stance.

      [E4] Not sure whether the article is true of my take on the article is true? What you say makes some sense. The elite students who might have been going to second and third-tier law schools are maybe taking a pass while elite law school applications are untouched (or thriving).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        How is transit doing in Dallas, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake City? All of those cities have built light rail systems that seem to be doing well according to Wikipedia. Same with Los Angeles growing transit system.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          FTA:

          Indeed in most cities — Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Diego, and even the new urbanist mecca of Portland, according to 2015 American Community Survey data, where new transit lines have been put in, it has failed to increase the share of commuters who take public transportation, and in some cases the actual ridership has dropped.

          I don’t doubt there are success stories. Are they representative? What can we learn from them? How can we learn from them when there is a reluctance to admit failure anywhere (except in a Green Lantern Doctrine sort of way) and there is an unyielding belief that they can work anywhere?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Transportation is difficult to quantify since it is both cause and effect.

            Freeways and rail lines both respond to and create traffic patterns. If these are built, housing and workplace construction responds to take advantage of them.
            But housing and workplace construction have incentives and variables of their own, ranging from banking interest rates to societal family formation variables, to overall labor changes.

            And for both rail lines and freeways, they require years or decades of advance planning. So whether we are talking about building a new freeway or extension of light rail, planners are stuck trying to figure out how people are going to be traveling in 2026.

            Although its tempting for me to say that we shouldn’t allow partisan politics to infect transportation issues, it almost can’t be helped. Transportation is just inherently a public decision about where we place public resources, about which forms of living and working that we want to subsidize, versus those we want to ignore.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            It’s amazing what you can do when you are selective about when to divide by the base rate and when not to.

            Check out this artful paragraph

            In 23 metropolitan areas that have built new rail systems since 1970, transit’s share of commuting — including all forms, such as buses and ferries — has actually slipped a bit, from an average of 5.0 percent before the rail systems opened to 4.6 percent in 2013. The ranks of those driving alone continue to grow, having increased 14.4 million daily one-way trips since 2000, nearly double transit’s overall daily total of 7.6 million, according to Census Bureau data.

            The share of transit commuters has dropped, but the absolute number of auto commuters has increased.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              Follow the reference link and you find

              The largest average transit work trip market share losses occurred in the cities with new rail systems that opened following the 1970 census. These metropolitan areas experienced a decline from 12.9 percent in 1970 to 11.1 percent in 2013. The new rail systems in this category were San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Washington’s Metrorail and Atlanta’s MARTA.

              Which is hardly surprising if you take a moment to think about it – those cities with the oldest light rail systems experienced the big increase in transit ridership the longest ago, and the steady increase in population and overall commuter movement has been going on the longest, and so had the longest to overtake it.

              The Bay area had a population of about 4.6 million in 1970 (12.9% of 4.6 million is around 590,000), and 7.1 million in 2010 (11.1% of 7.1 million is around 790,000).

              So, assuming the Bay area was right on the average for the cities cited, that decline in ridership share represents about a 33% increase in absolute ridership. Some “failure” eh?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Is San Francisco average? He cites it specifically as an example of ridership increase:

                Virtually all the actual increase in rail commuting has occurred in the “legacy cities”: New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Chicago and Philadelphia.

                Fair point about the limitations of percentages… but even so, percentages of drive-alones went up during the same period. Which if we call success, it’s a standard of success where ridership is not keeping up with population growth. Which is rarely the goal.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                Seems like he’s citing it to support two contradictory points then.

                1) Legacy cities show the greatest growth in rail commuting

                2) Cities that have built rail since 1970, percentage transit ridership has declined (follow the link and you find that the greatest percentage decline is in the same legacy cities)

                And as you point out, all of those cities are probably underfunding transit and under emphasizing transit-orientation in their growth, so transit can’t keep up.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                That’s not what I’m seeing at all. I’m seeing a mild increase in San Francisco (15.9 to 16.1) and slight drop in DC (15.5 to 14.2) and others not listed (Boston, Philly, Chicago) because they’re not in the 23 considered “new rail” cities (no new projects since 2000,I think, is the methodology).Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                OK, so again in the San Francisco example – from 1970 to 2013, transit modal share grows from 15.9% to 16.1%, and population grows from 4.6 to 7.2 million (extrapolating from 7.1 in 2010). I don’t know for sure but I’d guess that the amount of overall movement of people fairly closely tracked the number of people.

                Do you emphasize that 16.1 / 15.9 is a mere 1.3% growth in ridership share?

                Or do you emphasize that (7.2 * 16.1) / (4.6 * 15.9) is a huge 58% growth in ridership?

                It depends whether you want transit to look good or bad.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Who is saying SF looks bad? Kotkin’s attention is specifically directed at cities without significant existing rail infrastructure (as opposed to those with a legacy with it).

                That’s certainty where I’m coming from, at any rate. I think it’s great that some cities have strong rail systems. I think that doesn’t necessarily tell other cities what to do, though. A lot of it depends on settlement patterns. It’s hard to retrofit Houston’s dispersion into a city well served by rail. It has already been settled for the car, employment centers scattered about instead of downtown, and a lot of sprawl in just about every direction.

                I do wonder what can be done with commuter rail, but you have to figure out what people are going to do when dropped off far away from their place of employment. Basically if it’s going to work you need to figure out how to make it work on the terms of the city as it is and not as the city it might have been if it had been settled before the automobile.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                Specifically, I’m looking at the link in paragraph 2 of Ci2 – which emphasizes that ridership share has fallen in the 23 cities that introduced rail since 1970.

                Look at that link, specifically the four bullet points before the first graph – and you see that the cities that first introduced rail since 2000, had an increase not only in transit ridership but also transit modal share. The cities that introduced it longer ago had correspondingly greater drops in transit modal share.

                Which, again, makes perfect sense. The more recent your city’s introduction of rail, the larger the big jump in modal share produced by rail will figure in the overall statistics, and the less time the city’s growth has had to overtake that big jump.

                A big change divided by 13 years of steady growth is a big number. A big change divided by 43 years of steady growth, not so much.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Thanks for the clarification. I think the data point we most need is how cities that didn’t build any light rail did. If they experienced anytging similar, then indications are that rail does not actually increase overall ridership. On the other hand, if drive alone has increased more in these cities than ones that built rail, that’s an argument.

                I do think that both percentages and raw numbers would be helpful with this comparison, and percentages particularly if I had to pick one.

                It’s only enough to say “more riders but fewer people is good” if (a) that was the goal or (b) the alternative – not building rail – produced worse results.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          I’m a fan of light rail in the Denver metro area*. That said, even though absolute ridership continues to grow, it is quite likely that the same statistic used in the article applies here: percentage of total commutes done by transit is probably declining. That’s because the denominator — total commutes — is growing so rapidly.

          When I moved to the Denver area almost 30 years ago, the major highways were overloaded at rush hour. A great deal of money has been spent since then in order to maintain that status quo — as opposed to the highways becoming unusable at rush hour — in the face of another million-and-a-half people moving in. Light rail is one part of that; somewhat more lane miles is another part; lots of interchange reconstruction to take out bottlenecks is another part. Probably the most effective part has been placing new job centers in the outlying areas. The Denver Tech Center, Inverness, Interlocken, Denver West, the Anschutz Medical Campus,…

          * “Denver’s light rail system” is easier to say, but doesn’t reflect the reality that the system is being majority paid for by the suburbs, and would not have been built without the voters in the suburban counties approving the tax levy.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Kotkin is a big advocate of the suburban and exurban lifestyle for everybody. He hates cities, walk ability, mixed use zoning, and transit.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          He’d hate Seattle with a passion, then. It also rains a lot.

          I don’t have a sense for how well the light rail system is doing in a general sense, since I live far enough south to require a connection, and extracurricular activities usually require that I drive. But I don’t think it’s an accident that I’ve interviewed at a number of smaller tech companies that advertise being within walking distance from the rail hub as a perk.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I would say the left is interested in having the costs spread out as much as possible to make it more affordable to all. The right has a very narrow definition of who benefits from what.

        My evidence is largely anecdotal. I know plenty of lawyers from older generations who attended elite undergrad institutions and moderate law schools with great careers.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          Saul Degraw: I would say the left is interested in having the costs spread out as much as possible to make it more affordable to all.

          Well, no. The left is pretty explicit about wanting to concentrate costs as much as possible on a small minority of the population.

          The right has a very narrow definition of who benefits from what.

          And you have a very loose one. That doesn’t say anything meaningful about which is correct.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            I’ll happily go back to the tax percentage of the 70’s for the various quintiles once the income numbers go back to the 70’s for those various quintiles. Until we get there, as Willie Sutton said, we’ve got to go where the money is.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        ey only recently built their light rail, so it’s not outdated. Overall transit ridership has gone down since it was built.

        I just typed a longer explanation upthread, but the short version is: Houston’s light rail system isn’t complete, and is largely useless to the bulk of people who need it until it IS complete. Because of the amount of sprawl, when building the system the designers had to decide whether to connect up the sprawled employment and entertainment districts via light rail first, or to run lines out to the large Park-and-Ride locations for the ring cities.

        They went with the first one, which isn’t fully complete yet. Well, they’re done building but they didn’t get to connect all those centers up.. So people can shuttle between…some of the larger employment and entertainment areas. (None of which are walkable to each other). But to use it, people have to…drive to one first. Or take a bus, then switch to a train. When they can still take the bus straight to wherever they’re going. (BTW, the Great Recession was..poorly time for Houston’s rail. They had to cut two lines they were about to build).

        The peak time for the rail system remains the Rodeo, though. (Same with the bus lines, in fact).

        It’s still actually pretty heavily used. I didn’t see him discussing the bus numbers in that piece (maybe I missed it?), Talking about Houston’s light rail and not talking about their bus system is problematic. Last I checked, the park and ride system is generally full.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          He gives total transit numbers, which includes buses.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            As I point out upthread – he doesn’t give total transit numbers, he gives relative numbers. He’s pointing out declines in percentage transit ridership, which can conceal quite substantial increases in absolute ridership.

            A much more useful comparison might be transit ridership divided by dollars spent on transit expansion and maintenance, vs. auto commuting divided by dollars spent on road expansion and maintenance.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              In the case of Houston it appears that he’s looking at a different set of numbers. City grew, ridership (trains and buses) fell.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Eh…Houston is a REALLY weird case with transit. You really shouldn’t use it as a data point for anything.

                Between Tom Delay’s hard-on against mass transit, the endless lawsuits, and the Great Recession — Houston’s rail lines barely exist (but still actually serve a rather large ridership, especially during rodeo seasons) and their park and rides are full despite some baked-in problems there.

                There’s also the sprawl of Houston, and what you mean when you talk about “Houston”. Like my city isn’t connected to Metro. We’re really close to two park and ride hubs (people do use them — I’ve used them for jury duty myself). We’re generally considered part of Houston’s ring cities (the suburbs and small cities that feed employees into downtown), but as far as Metro is concerned we have zero riders because we’re not part of the transit network.

                It’d be pretty easy to get into a place where we’re counted as part of Houston’s population, but not part of the metro ridership — making it look like tens of thousands of people don’t use mass transit — instead of can’t.

                Not working downtown, I don’t really pay much attention to it. I know rodeo’s generally see ever larger numbers (as long as there’s a big act) over the year before, and that two of the four lines haven’t been built yet — in just downtown — and we still down’t have lines to replace park and ride.

                We might never. Right now, frankly it’s either the bus for work or the bus+rail for some events. The only people who can use rail only live and work downtown, just not within walking distance.

                But in the end — Houston’s mass transit was subject to decades or relentless federal assault (by a man very firm on state’s rights. The contortions were fun to watch), generally denied any sort of matching funds, subject to about a million lawsuits (that’s a fun history to read), and got delayed something like 15 years from it’s first approval to the first groundbreaking.

                And then got canned by the Great Recession, not even complete. I’d be shocked if ridership was up, but I also wouldn’t call that a typical mass transit system.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “the Great Recession was..poorly time for Houston’s rail. They had to cut two lines they were about to build”

          Same deal with BART in the San Jose area. The plan was to add a sales tax increase to fund an extension that went all the way from Fremont (the present end of the line) down to the Caltrain station in the middle of the SJ metro area. Unfortunately, everyone kind of stopped buying things, and there was no more sales tax revenue to be had.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            Houston’s worse, because they didn’t even get to start building their rail systems until Delay left office. (God the lawsuits too..).

            So by canceling 2 of the 4 or 5, what you got was rail that didn’t fully service the downtown areas. You should consider downtown Houston, if you’ve never been, to be equivalent to at least three or four separate downtowns with multiple miles between them, and each “downtown area” is at best theoretically walkable from end to end, but not even remotely so between them. So the rail system ended up leaving the equivilant of a few heavy residential areas connected up to some work areas, but at least half the jobs and half the residences aren’t within reasonable distance of a station.

            And of course the bus lines were getting short-changed for the rail (because they ultimately want to use buses minimally downtown, if at all) and nobody can ride rail INTO the city from the burbs.

            Just as an idea of the size of Houston. I live on the SE side, in a city wherein a large number of people work inside Houston (I don’t, I work down near NASA). My friend lives on the north side of town, and works downtown. His house is 60+ miles from mine, and while he is fairly close to the northernmost point where Houston transit goes, I am NOT that close to the southernmost.

            Fun image at this link shows the problem of sprawl.

            Virtually entire area inside the outer loop on those images (that’s beltway 8) is serviced by Metro. The area inside the inner loop (610) is the bulk of downtown, but there is at least one core business area outside it. The inner loop is 12 miles across, and of course most of the built up stuff isn’t that close to each other.

            Oh, and that map doesn’t show the LATEST loop — which is being built outside those two.

            And to service that we have….a 50+ old bus plan, a light rail that got halfway through phase 1 of like 5, and didn’t even get to the point where you could get from the main areas inside that first loop to each other.

            And good god, the traffic….*shudder*.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Hat tip to Paul Campos at Above the Law but he found this horrorish story of life of a senior associate at a top corporate firm:

    http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

    This is an extreme example but I think lots of people imagine that their life is going to be like this account if they go to law school or they are going to be barely able to keep the lights on. Nothing inbetween.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I think this story is a bit exaggerated but it is not completely far from the truth about corporate lawyers either.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        I toyed with the idea of law school around 2005 or so. I passed partly because even then, before the crash, I figured out that the economics didn’t work. (This is not to say that they wouldn’t have worked for someone ten years younger.) The other part was that I was doing a long-term temp paralegal gig at a large downtown firm. I observed that all the partners and associates I had any interaction with were miserable people. I didn’t get the impression that they had necessarily started out that way, but the system ground them down pretty fast. And this is what “winning” looked like. I have since temped at another large firm. It too was not a happy place. There are small and medium sized firms that are just fine, but I think the economic logic of the large firm lends itself to soul-sucking misery.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        When dad started his legal career, the New York Courts would shut down during the summer months. There was still paper work and criminal trials but lawyers worked together to ensure a leisurely summer. I think the same was true for other industries. Americans might not have had the mandatory time off that Europeans did but there was an understanding that summer was to be less hectic than other times of year at work.

        This isn’t possible anymore. Computers and the Intetnet make people more productive and we have more things but less leisure. In the past, the inability to communicate instsnteously forced people into reasonableness. Now you can make people work whenever and it needs to be done.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          As late as 1994, the Appellate Division went on vacation en bloc in July. You could shoot deer on that floor of the courthouse for about a month.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          @leeesq

          Interestingly enough. Some tech firms seem to go through if not shut down, at least running on skeleton crews as much as possible during Christmas and around July 4th, 2016.Report

  8. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    E!: As a digression, the link is an interesting demonstration of why The American Conservative is one of the few conservative sites I can stomach reading. It isn’t because it is immune to The Stupid. The linked piece is a follow-up to a distinctly The Stupid piece. But the follow-up is non-stupid. This puts TAC well above average. (And yes, there are plenty of lefty sites that embrace The Stupid. Any lefty explaining how he will never, under any circumstances, vote for Hillary is deeply in love with The Stupid, and examples are not hard to find nowadays.)Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      The American Conservative is one of the few conservative sites I can stomach reading.

      It’s one of the few sights you can stomach reading because it’s produced by poseurs who have little in common (and often little going on in their heads but a complex of emotional reactions) bar an impulse to bash the conventional starboard for effect. You might give up on opinion journalism or at least read something whose object is not to verify your extant fancies.Report

      • Avatar Gaelen says:

        Aren’t you a peachReport

        • Avatar Kim says:

          … do you know what peach is slang for?Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            Not sure – are pears also involved?Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              No, I’m thinking of Japanese slang (or is it visual humor?).
              You’re more likely to see roses than pears, at any rate.
              If roses stand for yaoi…
              Peaches stand for yuri… (or at any rate, the significantly different anatomical part).Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                Fair enough – when someone asks about a slang term I don’t know offhand, I figure that most of the time it’s either an Urban Dictionary entry or Cockney Rhyming Slang (“peaches and pears” is a variant of “apples and pears”, meaning “stairs”).Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                An interesting afternoon’s diversion you teed up for me there, @kim, so thank you.

                The allusion to peaches seems pretty obvious, one that transcends all cultures, for that part of the female anatomy. So from there it was not hard to figure out what yuri manga would be all about. And so by contrast, yaoi must be some sort of cognate, but I looked it up anyway. It wasn’t as obvious to me that a rose would by a symbol for that particular kind of a love story — after all, here in the West, roses are used as symbols of romantic love in nearly any permutation.

                It seems like the overwhelming majority of the stories in both the yaoi and yuri genres end very badly! Lots of suicides or other very premature deaths for the lovers, usually the older and more sophisticated woman in yuri or the seme in yaoi.

                The shunning and scandal elements upon discovery of the same sex romances are pretty clearly to be expected, particularly in the context of a highly traditional Japanese culture. But there just isn’t much “…And they found a way to live happily ever after in spite of all that,” for either the yaoi or yuri couples. This is depressing: must every story of same-sex love from around the world be the equivalent of Brokeback Mountain?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                It is important to understand that girls (12-14 yr olds) are the primary consumer of yaoi fiction, and that they’re considered a bit … “twisted” for doing so.

                The traditional Japanese culture had a lot of pederasty to it, actually.

                (apparently a rose looks a bit like an anus, to an artist’s eye — you’ll see tons of comic portrayals in anime about a guy surrounded by roses, and it’s all an artistic allusion to gay love).Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          My peachy self suggests that he read the Claremont Review or The New Criterion or even Modern Age if he takes an interest in starboard periodical literature. If he wants something which bothers little with topical questions, there’s The Chesterton Review. TAC is humbug.

          And, of course, plenty of books in the library and plenty of academic literature, though the latter is not in browsable format anymore.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            Oh don’t be such a grouch. Rod and his commenters are endlessly entertaining. Such a delightful combination of “government needs to leave me alone” and “abortion must be stopped at all cost”.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      It’s The American Conservative, just as the lion house at the zoo is titled “Predators of the Serengeti”.Report

  9. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Conor Friedersdorf argues that California’s LGBT rights bill seems to mostly add red tape and hurt state business to little ultimate good.

    The whole point of anti-discrimination law is to create rent-extracting opportunities for lawyers while allowing the harassment of social sectors unpopular among lawyers. Of course it hurts business and does little good.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      You really can’t be this cynical. Many right libertarians are against anti-discrimination laws but they at least recognize their advocates are acting in good faith. Do you really think that anybody who believes differently from you acts in bad faith?Report

  10. Avatar Kim says:

    cr5: if you want to know how long guys on average masturbate, look at porn games. (44 minutes is pretty long, actually… I think the ballpark is about 15 minutes)Report

  11. Avatar Gaelen says:

    You’re right, no one could ever propose or support such ordinances based on a good faith desire to stop discrimination.

    It must be hard to live in a world were everyone who disagrees with you has such contemptible motives.

    edit: that was supposed to be in reply to Art Deco above.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      no one could ever propose or support such ordinances based on a good faith desire to stop discrimination.

      The ‘good faith’ effort-meisters fail to acknowledge that people discriminate in all manner of ways for all manner of reasons. They create a cause of action for people who haven’t suffered any tort provided such people are in a client category which a certain sort of bourgeois regards as salient. The categories are spelled out in law (subject to exceptions – now you see it, now you don’t – dreamed up by judges). They’ve grown ever more elaborate as the fashions within the legal profession deposit new barnacles and as successive generations of social engineering schemes prove ineffectual. Well, what Boris Pasternak said: “not the first time a lofty ideal decayed into pure materialism”. And it’s grown vicious as well.Report

      • Avatar Gaelen says:

        “The ‘good faith’ effort-meisters fail to acknowledge that people discriminate in all manner of ways for all manner of reasons.”

        Not so. They do acknowledge that people discriminate for a variety of reasons, they just view some forms of discrimination as worthy of legal recourse.

        “They create a cause of action for people who haven’t suffered any tort provided such people are in a client category which a certain sort of bourgeois regards as salient.”

        It’s like you get half way there but can’t quite allow yourself to be charitable. You acknowledge that certain people view discrimination against various classes as different. But, instead of dealing with why they view discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or citizenship as different, you throw in a quick jab implying that it’s all transactional (“client category”). It sure seems like you are aware of the arguments in favor of anti-discrimination legislation–eg, discriminated against minority populations, immutable characteristics or fundamental right, etc–but that to acknowledge and grapple with the actual arguments would undermine your original post–“The whole point of anti-discrimination law is to create rent-extracting opportunities for lawyers while allowing the harassment of social sectors unpopular among lawyers.”Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko says:

          You know what kinds of social sectors are most popular among lawyers? The kind who can afford to pay big hefty attorney fee bills.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            Eh? Don’t lawyers for the plaintiffs in discrimination cases usually work on a contingency basis? Doesn’t matter how poor you are, as long as you’re suing a corporation with deep pockets.Report

  12. Avatar Autolukos says:

    Ci3: That’s a pretty mild and unusually self-aware example of the “newcomers are ruining the West” genre. Looking forward to reading my generation’s versions when we reach middle age.Report

  13. Avatar Kim says:

    e3: Sticker rewards have other issues too. I know a kid who stole the stickers from the teacher, just to give each kid a sticker, for once. He thought that all the kids deserved one, at least once.

    Sticker Reward Systems are for the lazy. What you want to do is design games. Let the kids learn a bit of math, trade chores, have some fun — and change it up every once in a while. Make a new game. So long as it’s more about playing, you’re doing well.Report

  14. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Ci5: CityLab has a photo feature on “underspaces”, where the brutalism is provided by the underside of the elevated highway. I’ve long been an admirer of the some of the similarly hidden places in the Denver suburbs that the people on the highways remain unaware of.Report

  15. Avatar Damon says:

    [Cr4] I stopped reading when the author stated “Its popularity was sparked in part by the 2008 financial crisis, which renewed doubt about capitalism’s promises, ” Please. America doesn’t have capitalism, it has corporatism.

    [E3]: This is surprising? Incentives have consequences.

    [G2]: This is the first year in my memory we’ve actually had something of a debate about immigration in presidential politics so it’s about time. Sadly, it’s coming off as “fascists vs open borders for all”.

    [W2]: “You can sum it up like this: “When we go into space, we will all magically become nice.”” Anyone who actually believes this is being foolish. When significant numbers of humans get into space it’ll be more like the old west than less. Crime, prostitution, etc. How could anyone be surprised at that?Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      How could anyone be surprised at that?

      Dunno. Ask the ghost of Gene Roddenberry (who had to be told by studio executives they weren’t running an employment service for his ho’s).Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Think of it, new frontiers for liberals to be unhappy about the state of things and to tell other folks how they ought to live.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Here, have a tribble, now fuck off.Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            Did I hurt your delicate feelings?Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              The trouble with tribbles is that they aren’t Chtorran puffballs, so you can’t inhale them and die.

              Well, that and they aren’t real, of course.

              [For anyone keeping track, I’m still riffing off fucking Gene Roddenberry’s bigotry, and finding far more amusement in discussing planetary ecology than actually delivering insults]

              Also: what, you think I have feelings?Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            “They remind me of the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin. But they seem to eat a great deal. I see no practical use for them.”Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Damon,
              the practical use for tribbles may surprise you…
              It’s called “distracting the Klingons”
              (they had this whole epic war, complete with Klingon war songs, about the fight against the tribbles).Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Women in space-colony fiction have generally been presented as sexy walking vaginas, whose main purpose is to provide the male astronauts with a place to dock their penis at night. This being necessary in order to “ensure the survival of the species”.

      Did John Norman start writing space colony books?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        By contrast, there is space-colony fiction in which “ensuring the survival of the species” becomes a question of scientists figuring out how to technologically achieve parthenogenesis because all the men are dead. Very enjoyable read.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Exactly. His generalization might have been fair 40-50+ years ago. These days, I can’t recall the last time I read a (not-self) published sci-fi tale where women were second class brood-mares.

          Seems he’s picking a handy subset to represent the whole.Report

        • Avatar Francis says:

          on the Moon and surrounded by a vacuum, no less. With all the repair equipment down on an utterly destroyed earth.

          How did they make spacesuits? How did they avoid running out of air with the thousands of times they had to open the airlock?

          The idea of 7 women of very different backgrounds and skill sets, who utterly loathed each other, managing to stay alive, create a new generation and keep them alive, on and on for thousands of years, on the Moon, was a couple steps too far for me. At least on Mars they would have had much more gravity and atmosphere.

          didn’t work for me.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            The fun part was, basically, they weren’t the actual survival plan. They were the distraction.

            Although they had nuclear reactor and LOTS of water, as well as a bunch of nifty robots that were learning capable. And life support (and supplies) for many times their number.

            I wouldn’t call it easy (highly unlikely, in fact), but it wasn’t like you have to magic resources into place to do it. OTOH, there’s probably a reason he skipped that bit.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The ridiculous part of the article is that while settler colonization was unarguably terrible for the then current residents of wherever colonization was taking place, the status of women settlers was normally greatly enhanced from their cultural origin location. (e.g. Wyoming women could vote earlier than just about any other place on earth; Australia and New Zealand were similarly way ahead of the curve)Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          There’s a fun topic – how often did frontier women enjoy greater freedom & franchise until their civilized betters moved to town?Report

  16. Avatar North says:

    Nate Silver’s outfit shoves a big ol’ fork into the primary turnout meme.
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/primary-turnout-means-nothing-for-the-general-election/Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      I’m glad he had the math to show that, but it’s pretty common sense. People don’t vote in uncontested elections, and they vote less in elections where they don’t have strong feelings about who should win.

      The folks I know (myself included) that didn’t bother voting in these primaries either did so because they thought it was clear Clinton was going to win, or they didn’t care whether Clinton or Sanders won because either would be preferable to the GOP field.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Remember when math and common sense said there was no way Donald could be the Republican nominee for President of the United States?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Sure do and I was wrong about that and continue to be wrong since I still am of the opinion (60% certainty) that Trump won’t be the GOP nominee. If he is I’ll definitely be wrong about that but as I look at him storming to victory over his fragmented incoherent opposition with ranging from 30-50% of the party’s support I still don’t see some great wave that’s gonna sweep over the general electorate. Nor have we any proof that turnout in primaries in the past were predictive of anything. Could this election be different? Anything is possible; but we have no reason to expect it.Report

  17. Avatar notme says:

    Army: Bergdahl had mental illness when he walked off post. The Obama admin must be leaning on the Army to give the deserter a way out.

    http://thehill.com/policy/defense/273453-bergdahl-had-mental-disease-when-he-walked-off-post-in-afghanistanReport

    • Avatar Gaelen says:

      You should listen to the Serial podcast on Bergdahl’s case. It’s incredibly interesting, and paints a picture, through the interviews of family, friends, and his unit, of a very serious, idealistic, and strange young man.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        I’ve considered it but don’t really care to hear the pro Bergdahl propaganda put out by his defense team.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        He can be as strange and idealistic and serious as he likes, but the proper response to security concerns is not to get yourself kidnapped just to show everyone how bad security is.Report

        • Avatar Gaelen says:

          I don’t think anyone associated with the case thinks he purposely got captured to demonstrate how bad security was. Rather, some people, especially in his unit, think he was deserting and got captured. Other’s, based off his testimony and writing, believe he was trying to go AWOL to raise his (probably misguided) concerns regrading his superior officer. He has said that at the time he thought he could get a meeting with a higher if he disappeared for a few days. I’m not arguing that his actions were justified or well thought out, just that he likely had some underlying personality and psych issues (discussed by unit mates, and family and friends on Serial) which helped me understand his actions better.

          And notme, were you aware that he had been discharged from the Coast Guard before his enlistment in the Army because of psychological issues? If not, does that influence your opinion that the medical assessment discussed above was politically driven?Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            Not according to this NYT article. Sounds like Bowe got a what in the Army would be a Chapter 11, failure to adapt discharge after just 4 weeks. No one seems to know if there was any psych reason, he just couldn’t hack basic or decided to quit. Besides, he made it through the his Army basic, so I’m not really seeing a problem.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/us/bowe-bergdahl-discharged-from-coast-guard-before-joining-army.html?_r=0Report

            • Avatar Gaelen says:

              Bergdahl said he suffered a panic attack, and “Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, later testified at a hearing that Bergdahl was found on the floor, blood on his hands.” (after the panic attack).

              “He was a stellar soldier, one of Bergdahl’s sergeants testified, but with such obvious emotional difficulties that the sergeant had asked the company first sergeant to intercede.”

              His lawyer has also stated he was discharged from the Coast Guard for psychological reasons. And, as a defense attorney, if the defense is mischaracterizing the record the prosecution rarely, if ever, lets that slide.

              To me it seems pretty clear he had some underlying personality or psych issues that made him ill suited for military service, and he was in a stressful situation when deployed. Given that, is it so hard to believe that he suffered from the disorder mentioned in the article that you immediately jump to the conclusion that the only reason for this diagnosis is political meddling by Obama?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Here is another article that details Bowe’s issues with the Coast Guard and his request for a waiver.

                Let me quote, “I joined the Coast Guard in January of 2006. While in recruit training I had a hard time adapting to change. I had a lot going on with things at home and I do not feel that I was prepared on my own. I couldn’t take care of issues at home and was able to obtain a discharge to do so. They did discharge with a reentry code of 3L. I have no ties to home anymore that would hinder my performance while in the military. I have matured and know that I am prepared to go into the Army. Please do not allow my past record to prevent me from coming into the Army.”

                That hardly sounds like deep psychology issues.

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/03/17/it-was-too-late-to-return-new-glimpse-into-bowe-bergdahl-desertion-case-emerges/

                The Obama admin has, from day one, framed Bowe as some hero that deserved rescue. Now that they are faced with reality, that he is a deserter, they are doing everything they can to sweep it under the rug.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen says:

                That would be the pro forma waiver typed up by the Army recruiter, and signed by Bowe so he could enlist.

                Look at the testimony of his staff sergeant above, or just listen to the episodes where Bowe’s unit mates discuss him, his personality, and how they perceived him. The way his unit (who universally hate him) describe him in the show lines up very well with the schizotypical personality disorder he was later diagnosed with.

                Or it’s another Obama conspiracy.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                What hits you about the ‘testimony’ above is that he’s described as ‘stellar’ and as bizarre and episodically incapacitated in one paragraph. Not buying.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      Really? Nutty as John Hinckley? Does the Army explain how someone who does not know whether he’s coming or going or does know right from wrong got past the recruiters, examiners, and basic training? Or has the Army adopted a Hotel California-style dispensation for diminished capacity? Is Bowe Berghdahl addicted to Twinkies?Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Dude, he was a warm body who could shoot straight-ish and hump a pack over a march. Fills the “good enough” category.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          I don’t think everyone fully grasps how incredibly low the military’s standards had to go to meet recruitment quotas for awhile there.

          Too much focus on SEAL teams or Rangers and thoughts about a professional military back when recruiters were actually picky as h*ll.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco says:

            Or not everyone takes you as precise and authoritative. (What is ‘incredibly low’?) The military relaxed age bars, but people tend to be healthier now than they were when the age bars were put in place after the 2d World War.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                That article refers to a single digit subset of recruits during a narrow period of time about a decade ago.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Art,

                Based on past experience I was pretty sure you wouldn’t even find the RAND study cited in the article as “reliable” evidence. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                I’m not commenting on the study’s ‘reliability’, but on the dimensions of what he’s referring to. And it’s not exactly topical. This article was published 10 years ago and refers to a phenomenon of the previous two years.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Fair enough.

                You’ve demonstrated, in my mind anyway, that there is no evidence, or type of evidence, that will change your views on this (or any other issue) except what reaffirms your own preconceptions.

                Which makes me wonder how your own preconceptions are established if no type of evidence appears to be relevant to determining them. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Art Deco: Does the Army explain how someone who does not know whether he’s coming or going or does know right from wrong got past the recruiters, examiners, and basic training?

        Because the standards in the mid ’00s went to rock bottom because of a decent employment picture and an unpopular war. It’s the same reason why Manning was retained and simply demoted when he should have been kicked out for bad behaviorReport

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          I’m not interested in your speculations. I’m interested in what the Army has claimed

          In New York law, a dispensation for insanity requires the state of the defendant meet the old M’Naughten rule and is an affirmative defense for which the burden of proof is on the defense counsel. What’s the Code of Military Justice say? If the guy really is so damaged that he’s not responsible, he doesn’t have ‘issues’ a recruiter can ignore. He’s stark raving mad or stark staring mad.Report

        • He was demoted because he was hurt, not because of how he behaved with the female trainer.Report

  18. Avatar Autolukos says:

    Today in “utterly unsurprising court rulings”: Cliven Bundy will remain in custody while awaiting trial.Report

  19. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Ci3: Funny how the writer brings up the Japanese internment, and then in the very next sentence talks about Oakland as “a bastion of African-American cultural life”.

    Oakland became a bastion of African-American cultural life because after the Japanese were all rounded up, African-Americans bought their houses!Report

  20. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Ci2: Apropos of this story, even successful transit systems are falling to bits. Forty-year-old BART cars have pretty much just started self-destructing (my guess is shorting between chafed wiring harnesses) and they’re only expecting half as much money in revenue as they need to buy new ones.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Same as in the DC metro. They recently shut the whole system down for a day to do a safety check. Then come to find out that they fixed a lot of problems too. Power cables are wearing out creating massive safety/fire hazards and no one has a clue why. That’s gotta inspire confidence in the ridership!Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      CA can always raise taxes, right? Isn’t that what they do?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Well, freeways, bridges, and tunnels are also all falling apart.

      Which is part of why suburban sprawl doesn’t make sense in the long run, since there just isn’t any way it can pay for itself.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Not to mention our sewer systems.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Gee, my state politicians keep telling me the roads are paid with my high gas taxes. Then they raid the transportation fund to cover the main budget deficit. Maybe if they used the money in the fund for the purpose it was intended, we’d have better roads and transit. But we’ll never know will we?Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Motor fuel taxes are not contextually high. If you wanted to finance road maintenance in New York out of motor fuel taxes (given l/t trade elasticity for motor fuel), you’d need excises north of $3 per gallon (not including what you’d need to buy off the Indian reservations).Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            I can’t say for NY, but in my state, the transportation fund has lots of money. That’s why it’s raided to cover the general fun deficits. And my state has has historically good roads.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Who needs it to pay for itself when you have a voting bloc that can make everybody pay for it?Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          Good question-
          Should roads pay for themselves? Should rail lines? Bridges?

          If rural residents can’t pay for the cost of rural sewer systems, electric distribution and police protection, should the rest of us pitch in to pay for it?

          What stuff should be on a user-fee basis, and what should be at-large?

          These are essentially political questions, reflective of our priorities and moral norms.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        They’ve been ‘falling apart’ for about 35 years now. The rich have been getting richer and the poor getting poorer for at least 45 years.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “part of why suburban sprawl doesn’t make sense in the long run”

        Nowhere that BART goes could be described as “suburban sprawl”.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        As I said elsewhere, nowhere that BART goes could be described as suburban sprawl.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      Transit isn’t meant to pay for itself solely out of revenue. But it often does pay for itself quite handily once you account for road maintenance and expansion you didn’t have to spend on, and tax revenue increases from parking lots that were able to turn into highrises, etc.Report

  21. Avatar notme says:

    Why should Hillary apologize for telling us how she really feels about coal workers and the companies that employ them?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/273563-paul-wants-hillary-clinton-to-apologize-for-coal-commentsReport

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Nope, just addicted to the outrage. If none is handy, some can always be drummed up.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      “We do not condone the use of queer people of color as props to hide occupation,”

      You know that sense of intellectual vertigo when reality out-Onions the Onion…?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        This kind of strikes me as one group saying “Jews who support Israel should not be allowed to have discussions about race & gender identity”.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          For all the excesses of SJW’s it is this kind of endless uptightness and inter group feuding that leads me to not worry a ton about them. They will eat their own in the appropriate free range, organic, non-GMO ethically killed manner.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            greg,

            It’d be one thing to protest a Hillel House speaker widely recognized as having an anti-Palestinian bias on the premise that Hillel House is “pro occupation”. It makes no sense to protest an LGBT symposium on the same premise.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              Well yeah…that is partially my point. The SJW groups end up protesting each other and carving up valuable umbrage space to the point where no one has enough. They end up in a roman coliseum ordering a bag of ocelot noses and yelling “splitter” at each other.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Personally, I think that judgment will depend on how seriously a person takes LGBT issues, or the Israeli “occupation”, or etc. In this case, LGBT folks took it on the chin because protesters were incapable of believing Hillel House members could walk and chew gum at the same time.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Freddie did a wiz banging little bit on this sort of subject though his tone is more exasperation because since they’re busy fighting each other they won’t accomplish anything.

                http://fredrikdeboer.com/2016/03/17/the-sublime-narcissism-of-getting-offended-on-other-peoples-behalf/Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Yeah i saw that. Freddie has been on a roll recently and toned down his worst impulses i think. Gosh knows lots of people on the SJW wing of the left have good goals but are lost without a clue on how to get to them. Being strident and self-righteous isn’t a plan.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                The Anti-SJW’s are exactly the same way. The biggest one I know spends his days scouring the internet for things to get offended by. Pretty sure he follows blogs and twitter accounts that exist solely to find something for the rage of the minute.

                The only difference between him and what he rails against is the target. Their methods and motivations seem almost identical.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                North,

                The title of that piece is so perfect I refuse to have my expectations dismantled by reading it.Report

              • Denying Freddie the benefit of the doubt that way is really disrespectful to him.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The problem with the term “offended” is that it sounds a lot like that thing that the Fundy Christians claimed to be when Will and Grace came on the air.

                We need a term that covers the aggrievement that one justifiably feels when one sees taboos being broken that doesn’t sound like you’re just whining that other people have different opinions of what is right and wrong.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                The gap between the two things is narrowing I suspect.Report

              • If being offended by that obnoxious laugh track is Fundy, call me Jerry Falwell Jr.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            greginak: They will eat their own in the appropriate free range, organic, non-GMO ethically killed manner.

            I could not have expressed that any better.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      The good news is we’ve clearly reached peak social justice.

      Although, I just read the article. It looks to me like the title is rather misleading. The student group didn’t “protest” Mock. Instead, they asked Mock to decline the invitation because of their feelings about the Jewish group. Mock agreed.

      So they didn’t “protest” a “black transgender speaker,” as the title states (and your link reads). Instead, they asked a black transgender speaker to cooperate in their objection to a Jewish group. That is not the same thing.

      There is much to criticize in social justice, but I wish people would try to do it honestly. Credibility matters.

      (Oh, the site is a Glen Beck mouthpiece. Um, yeah.)Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        If you actually read the article it says they petitioned Mock not accept Hillel’s sponsorship of the event. That sounds like a protest to me.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I regret that my sources from which I learn of things that happened are not good sources, but my focus was more on the weirdness of the thing that happened than on whether the person telling me about it was good.

        We can go to the source itself.

        My favorite part of the letter:

        Hillel’s Moral Voices campaign has chosen the topic of LGBTQ rights this year. This hides the fact that for decades, the state of Israel and Israeli advocacy organizations (like Hillel) have been engaging in pinkwashing, a strategy that tries to improve Israel’s image and rebrand it as a liberal, modern, and ‘hip’ country. By shifting the focus to a very narrow definition of LGBTQ rights (exclusively for queer Israelis and not for queer Palestinians), Israel uses pinkwashing to deflect attention from Israel’s colonization and occupation of Palestine, and the violence that is being carried out against Palestinians.

        For some reason the letter fails to discuss the Palestinian attitude towards LGBTQ Palestinians.

        I presume it’s because Palestine has reached a bare minimum of acceptable treatment towards LGBTQ folk that Israel hasn’t.Report

  22. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    Ci3:
    The part that gets me is that he complains Yosemite is crowded. Look, I get that everyone wants to live in the big city, but the fact that it’s a big city makes it harder.

    But, c’mon. We must have a hundred National Parks, State Parks, and National forests in California. Yosemite has been the place that out-of-state tourist flock to and crowd since that dude was a child (and for that matter, my parents were putting out California Wildfires when that dude was a child too, so I’m not sure how he can blame the smoke on modernity).

    G3: If California boycotts Mississippi, Mississippi might boycott California right back. Way to sell your argument, Conor.

    G6: Is this sort of notice actually unusual? I was under the impression that issuing a regulatory interpretation in this manner is pretty par for the course. Does Murray actually have a case to be made against the process? Or is he just attacking the process because he doesn’t like the result? At the very least he’s being disingenuous to suggest that this was a surprise to employers–It’s an extension of NLRB case law from last year.

    w6: Yeah, Pluto was robbed. I think Metzger’s reasons 7 & 8 reflect my feelings about the affair. The IAU’s decision was an attack on the idea of scientific knowledge that grows and expands–They picked a definition specifically to exclude that which hadn’t been discovered yet, so that they could pretend their knowledge of the sun’s planets was complete.

    W7: Heh.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      re: W6 – it’s hilarious to look at all of what QI has done over the years with regards to how many planets there are, and how many moons the Earth has, and how many points guests have lost over the years as science marches on and the definitions change slightly.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        Yeah, but that Cruithne thing is utter bullshit. I’m happy to disagree with the astronomical community when it comes to the definition of a planet, but I’m quite willing to accept that to be a moon, you have to orbit around the planet you’re a moon of. Cruithne is just an object in our solar system that take the same amount of time to orbit the sun as we do.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          Of course it is, but if you didn’t crack up when Rich Hall came back and got klaxoned for “How many moons are we talking about?”, it’s a moment like when Bambi’s mother died(*).

          (*) Sorry, spoilers…Report

        • There’s an argument that the Moon isn’t a moon either. The Sun’s gravitational pull on the Moon is stronger than the Earth’s, so its path looks like a slightly perturbed planetary orbit around the Sun, with no loops. This is explained well (with diagrams!) here.Report

  23. Re: W7:

    As much as I dislike Mr. Tyson, I can see how someone in his role might misspeak in that situation. He probably wanted to convey what the conditions on Jupiter really are, but sounded like a jerk because the young girl–who was probably a fan of his–was only 8 years old.

    I’m not defending him. But just thinking I can see that kind of thing would happen without malice. I suppose if I were an American history popularizer and some young person said how much they’d like to live in [pick whichever pre-1776 American colony], I might have a bad hair day and explain all the reasons why no one today would really want to live in that colony.

    Of course, Tyson shouldn’t’ve tweeted what he did, and unless there’s something I don’t know, that tweeting is inexcusable or at least egregiously clueless.Report

    • Avatar rexknobus says:

      So part of my job as a science writer at a massive climate/space/antarctic research facility was giving public tours of the place, often to school children. We didn’t take anyone under about 10 years old because there was just no easy way to explain what was going on. (No displays or demonstrations created specifically for public viewing). But one day, a scheduling mess up brought a kindergarten class. 5 and 6 year olds. I think I did a pretty good job explaining some stuff and up on the roof of the building where all the massive satellite dishes are, I mentioned that the glass window looking up at the sky was for our LIDAR array. “It’s really cool you guys. We shoot a laser up through that window so we can study the clouds!” A lovely tiny little 5 year old girl put her hands on her hips, cocked her head and with absolutely infinite scorn said: “That’s ridiculous!” Almost fell off the roof laughing (not in her face — I saved it for later). I’d love to meet her again in 20 years.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        rex,

        Was this by any chance at McMurdo? The reason I ask is one of my great old-timey (now deceased) friends worked there. I’m curious if you knew him.Report

        • Avatar rexknobus says:

          No, it was at a large university with a big research center funded by NASA/NOAA/NSF. We did have a large contingent of Antarctic climatologists and engineers (top-flight drill designers who enabled the study of climates past). Lots of these folks went down south every season, and I consistently begged for a seat on a C5, but there was no real reason for me to go other than my eager panting. It’s possible I might know your McMurdo friend if their home base was in the Midwest.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Ahh. Well that answers the other question I was wondering about: why 5 year olds were going on field trips to Antarctica… His stomping grounds hovered in proximity to the 107th latitude vertically along it’s US segment. And McMurdo, of course. Never the midwest.Report

            • Avatar rexknobus says:

              @stillwater Golly, I hope you mean “longitude.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Maybe…

                (I’m not a science writer for a big research center, rex… 🙂Report

              • Avatar rexknobus says:

                Oh crikey, now I’m “that guy.” But two other comments occurred to me. 1: I lived at 110 W long (Jackson WY) and 2: maybe a 107 lat is what a polar orbiting satellite is at when it flies over the pole.

                I’ll try to save any high falutin’ attitudes for when I’m debating the merits of “Buffy.” Ta!Report

              • Actually, it’s a pet peeve of mine that people consider themselves educated while ignorant of basic facts of science and mathematics. (Worse still, of course, when, regardless, they go on about, say, the philosophical consequences of Godel’s theorem without having a fishing clue what it actually means. Hint: it’s not that there are truths beyond reasoning.) So, by me, expecting people to know that latitude only goes up to 90 degrees is pretty reasonable. (Knowing that it’s represented by φ in polar coordinates is optional.)Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                I mix up longitude and latitude sometimes.

                I just repeat, longitudes grow from the floor, latitudes from the ceiling.Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott says:

                There’s a really easy mnemonic to remember the difference between Stalactites and Stalagmites:

                Just remember that stalagmites might be the one that points up, and might be the one that points down.Report

              • Longitude goes up to 180; that is, it’s longer.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Knowing whether or not your map uses the WGS 84 geodesic is more important than the polar coordinate system.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Ouch! Snorted the Big-K equivalent of Diet Mountain Dew out my nose on that one. As I noted in my last little post about cartograms, I’ve had to learn a bunch of obscure stuff about maps and mapping.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                CITRUS DROP IS THE BEST MOUNTAIN DEW KNOCKOFF EVER!Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                @mike-schilling The only way you could possibly believe that is if you failed to account for the socioeconomic implications of quantum physics.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Oh crikey, now I’m “that guy.”

                Good lord No. That guy is someone we BOTH would look at with compassionate despair.

                As it is, you’re the guy who knows that Jackson is near the vertical line geo-people refer to by the number “110”, which gets us morerless back on track.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                That guy is someone we BOTH would look at with compassionate despair.

                Like Mike S above, unless he’s snarking?Report

              • No, I’m not snarking. There’s stuff people should make the effort to learn, and some of it (horrors!!) involves numbers.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So that comment was directed at me personally?

                This is interesting. You have all my attention!

                You think my lack of education is revealed by incorrectly using the term “longitude” in a blog comment? I’m not sure there’s anything intelligent I could say to refudiate that judgment given it’s triviality. So I’ll move on to the next issue…

                Assuming again the comment was directed at me, when have I ever given the impression, in any comments at this site, that Goedel’s theorem implies that there are “truths beyond reasoning”?Report

              • Not that you misused it, but that after being gently corrected, you implied it wasn’t something worth getting right.

                The Godel’s theorem comment was’t about anyone present, but it’s something I’ve seen enough of to stay annoyed about.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I didn’t imply it wasn’t worth getting right, I implied I was wrong without explicitly saying so.

                Also, and more to the point, the issue of whether people can correctly use the terms Longitude and Latitude is so exponentially* far away from the functional, practical and ideological interests of 99.99% of people’s lives that making an issue outa it seems like an absolute Elitist distraction, Mike.

                *I admit I didn’t use the term “exponentially” correctly in that sentence.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                And thinking about that some more:

                The .01% of folks who do think it’s relevant have ideological presuppositions that, given their rigidity, are already subject to legitimate criticism.

                Mike, I’ve probably spent more time in academia than you have, and as a result have experienced more of pressure of acculturation than you have. So when I say that the superfluous distinctions of “intellectual worth” (semantic usage) vs the substantive distinctions (can this person actually think???) are heavily tilted towards the superfluous, you’re just gonna have to give me that, even if you don’t agree.

                But that’s not all! There’s a presupposition held amongst “intelligent” people that science and reason should determine policy. And frankly, I’ve got enough feet in the intellectual camp that I understand what they’re talking about but enough feet outside it that I wonder what sort of (cultural) delusion those folks are living in to think “smart people” ought to decide policy.

                Which, you’ll note (because you’re a smart guy!) isn’t the same as saying that smart people (no scare quotes) shouldn’t decide policy.Report

              • The .01% of folks who do think it’s relevant have ideological presuppositions that, given their rigidity, are already subject to legitimate criticism.

                And the ones who think people should be able to find Europe on a map? Not a leg to stand on.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Umm… the smart people are trying to tell us that in 5-10 years, we should expect refugees.
                The Wall Street men who hire them?
                They’re still bubbling the places that will be producing refugees in ten years.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Differences in longitude, differences in wrongitude.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Make coordinates gradian again.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Or maybe a cheeseburger in paradise.

                Actually I’d take cheap wine and three day growth…Report

              • The distinctions between Fascism and Trumpism are even further away from having any effect on the lives of 99.99% of the world, yet that gets discussed with great animation around here. If that’s really an important criterion, OT would largely be discussions of which MCU movies are worth watching. And then no one could accuse us of being elitist.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                In an effort to be helpful, when people ask about books that they can assign to be read by incoming college students, I recommend putting Longitude, by Dava Sobel, on the list. Something for all sorts of majors: mathematics, engineering, history, political science, psychology… Not too long a read, and once done, you’ll remember the difference between latitude and longitude.Report

  24. Avatar DavidTC says:

    W6

    I will repeat what I said last time about Pluto, which for some reason people thought I wasn’t serious about. (I have no idea why.)

    All the IAU had to do was invent a classification of planets called ‘dwarf planets’, and put Pluto and Eris and etc in them. And say ‘As there are probably hundreds of dwarf planets, people and textbooks should generally just list the major planets, with maybe a small sample of dwarf planets’.

    No one would have been upset at Pluto slowly being phased out of the list of planets everyone memorized, not at least once they realize that that list would need to now include Ceres and Eris and Makemake and Haumea and dozens of others that the IAU hasn’t even gotten around to looking at yet. Everyone would have been fine with that list changing, even if old farts would say ‘Back in my day, we listed dwarf planets along with major planets! Then again, we only knew of the one.’ when listing to kids list off planets without Pluto.

    Instead, the IAU invented the term ‘dwarf planet’ that included the word ‘planet’, and then nonsensically turned around and decided ‘dwarf planet’ were not really planets. I can’t conceive of how they thought this made sense, or why they did this. It’s not like ‘planet’ had some existing definition that they realized dwarf planets didn’t fit into…they had to *change* the definition of planet to exclude dwarfs by adding ‘has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals’!Report

  25. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Welp, Arizona has protests of Trump that involve blocking highways.

    You can’t buy advertising like this.Report

  26. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Off threads, but the Miami – Wichita St game is amazing.Report

  27. Walter White made meth out of an RV in the desert.

    It got its blue color from the tinted glassReport