Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty’s World

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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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  1. Avatar Kazzy
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    E2: “Is it possible that traditional schools are failing to impart the well-rounded course of knowledge which their students need in order to keep up with the homeschooled ones?”

    Yes, because when we’re discussing the SAT, we’re discussing an exam that tests for a “well-rounded corse of knowledge”. It’s got a math section… a writing section… a reading section… and… well, that’s it actually. Three subjects. And a cottage industry has emerged to help students excel not only in those three areas, but only the specific content knowledge and skills necessary for SAT success. I’m not saying all home schoolers are availing themselves of such resources, but the test can be gamed and home schooled students are better positioned to game it.

    Plus this ignores the likely selection bias. I’d venture to guess that home schooling pulls disproportionally from wealthier and more educated families, who would likely have performed better on the SAT even with “traditional” schooling.

    I don’t doubt the numbers offered in the article… I just don’t think they tell us much of anything and they certainly don’t support the author’s quoted conclusion.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
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      As a homeschooling parent, I’ll partially echo Kazzy’s comment… the “aggregate” SAT scores are never really a meaningful measure of anything… all that really matters is your SAT score within your cohort of “competitive” peers. If you want to go to Stanford, you need to be *this* tall to get on the ride; if you want to go to VA Tech, then not quite as tall.

      We even used the California Achievement test during grade school years just to monitor our own progress and to spot check our assessments (sometimes with funny outcomes). Mostly we just wanted third party documentation that we weren’t “neglecting” our children. While we always had them “enrolled” in one program or another… we have more than a few friends who actually “unschooled” (yes, its a concept). Two of those children from different families scored perfectly on the SAT. We, however, must have slowed our children down with our programs as theirs are not perfect scores.

      Where I disagree with the Kazzy is the “gaming” concept… test prep is heavily pushed in the formal school setting and is much less organized among homeshoolers in general… all the high-schools we are familiar with have specific classes and times set-aside for Instructor led SAT prep. By comparison, our kids got a book and the internet. To be sure, the proverbial tiger moms can augment with any number of Princeton review prep courses – but that is a thing that crosses the formal-/home-school divide.

      After almost 20-years of homeschooling and lots and lots of kids to and fro colleges of all sorts, we’ve really grown to appreciate the academic upsides even with the academic challenges… the socialization (since everyone asks) is all upside.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
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        @marchmaine

        Thanks for your perspective. I should perhaps clarify/walk back my comment about “gaming”. I did not mean to imply that homeschooling parents were gaming the system any more than other parents. Rather, I was attempting to point out that the SAT test CAN be gamed, insofar as it can be specifically prepared for. This leaves the potential for ANYONE to game it. And I’d venture to guess that homeschooling families are better position to for two reasons:
        1.) More control over their curriculum
        2.) Social and economic class

        If I am correct in assuming that you probably live middle- to upper-class, then, yes, your neighbors’ kids in the public school are probably just as well positioned if not better positioned to game. But if we compare your kids to the kids in underfunded schools in poor neighborhoods, the ones that don’t offer those courses as part of the curriculum and whose parents can’t afford them outside, you’re going to see that factor into the disparity.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
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        “…the socialization (since everyone asks) is all upside.”

        Can you elaborate on this? It runs counter to “conventional wisdom” on the subject but obviously you have first hand knowledge that most of us lack.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
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          Sure, the very short version is this: we are socializing our children to participate in the social world of adults, not the social world of teens.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Marchmaine
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            That’s is a really, really interesting point that I hadn’t thought of. Teenage social rules are a bizarre nightmare that have very little to do with the world I live in now as an adult. I’m sure there are adult careers and environments where those rules still apply, but I’m going to guess that those places are not where you typically are shooting to have your children end up.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Marchmaine
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        Where are you, if I might ask? In-school test prep was certainly not something I ever heard of when I was in high school a decade ago in a fairly backwater bit of Wisconsin.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy
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      “Homeschooled kids are at a significant academic disadvantage compared to traditionally-schooled kids!”

      (homeschoolers do great on the SAT)

      “well um, the SAT isn’t all THAT important…”Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy
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      My understanding is that the effects of coaching for the SAT are vastly overhyped by a bootlegger-and-baptist coalition of the test-prep industry and leftists trying to push a narrative about how the system is rigged. Independent studies tend to show gains from test prep on the order of 20-30 points out of 1600.

      Selection bias seems likely, although I’d have to see actual statistics on that. If that’s the case, though, then the difference between the verbal gap and the math gap is troubling. If the students are scoring higher on the verbal section because they’re smarter, then why aren’t they scoring higher on the math section? Could it be that parents who homeschool aren’t doing a good job of teaching math?Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
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        Apparently this is a known issue. Here’s an article from a pro-homeschooling source on the homeschooling math gap.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Brandon Berg
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          Yes, this is much talked about in HS circles; there’s a brisk trade in Math Tutors if anyone’s interested.

          I can’t speak for the statistical aggregate, but the weird thing about Math skills that we’ve observed is that tutors are needed mostly for the edge cases: those who are struggling abominably (my eldest daughter) and those who are swimming ahead as fast as they can. Running down the core arithmetic, geometry, and pre-calc path looks scarier when you are starting compared to when you get there. Of course, you have to have a plan on how you are going to get your child instruction in pre-calc/trig if you’re not willing to do it yourself… but that’s just HS 101 basics. Fortunately there are tons of options and more are opening up yearly.

          I think one outsider misunderstanding of HS is that it looks like school with one parent spending all day trying to teach daily seminars in every subject to 1, 2 or 3 children; its an easy thing to assume, but that’s not what happens. Most HS (after middle school) looks like more like college than it does High School. And, as I mentioned above, more and more options are available for asynchronous education (which is really what homeschooling is more like) via technology and new schooling models. In fact, 50-years from now that’s probably what we’ll call it: Distributed Asynchronous Learning.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Brandon Berg
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        We need look no further than the wisdom of Barbie: math is hard.

        Honestly tho, homeschooling seems like it will shine for the “more than one right answer” subjects, insofar as it lets kids be themselves. But for the “one right answer” subjects, there ain’t no replacement for gritting your teeth and pushing through.

        (So I’m not misinterpreted, I have much respect for the “more than one right answer” subjects. I got zero time for the STEM vs humanities war. But all the same, they are different things, needing different treatment.)Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    L1: When I was in high school, my parents really criticized of the idea of kids in my suburb with jobs for many of them same reasons. To them, the kids were not really working because they tended to get driven to and from their jobs by their parents and had substantial help with getting whatever part time job their parents handled them. They did wish Saul and I could have an experience of working in a factory like they did during a summer job though. They thought it would be more meaningful than working in the Parks System or at a store.

    E4: The Book of Tamara is inaccurate on the history of University but is right about the current struggle. Universities first appeared to train clergy or at least the more brainy sort of clergy, along with lawyers and doctors. They were seen more as repositories of knowledge rather than creators of knowledge. Than universities became a finishing school for upper class young men during the 16th century. The idea of the modern research university that generated knowledge was created during the 19th century in Germany.

    E5: Noah Feldman is wrong. Most people go to Law School because they want to become lawyers. It is a vocational school. When Harvard admitted more people but failed them, the economic cost of flunking out of Harvard was less devastating because tuition was much lower. I’m also assuming that most of the people admitted into Harvard Law had top notch degrees and could get well paying white collar jobs even if they did not end up at lawyers. It is immoral to trick people into Law School with some vague sort of hope and saddle them with 200,000 of debt that they could only pay if they get very lucky.Report

  3. Avatar Damon
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    Strippers: This story has the ring of truth, however, the stripper that I talked to recently had to pay to work. An IC, who only worked for tips, also had to pay the club based upon when they started, and had to “tip’ the staff. Seemed pretty crappy, although I have no way to judge the veracity of her claims. She also got 100% of the table dances but 60% of the “room” dances. Rooms being private rooms.

    Working for the man: As someone in the industry that employs a lot of former military and gov’t staff, this article only rings partially true. None of the folk I ran into had any concept of time = money. Never go in person to get something done vs sending and email and waiting.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Damon
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      That sounds a lot like how barber shops and hair salons work. You keep your revenue, but rent the chair.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Mo
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        Yes. Indeed it was a fascinating conversation.

        I never got around to talking about “touching”. At this club, touching was at the discretion of the dancer (she had punched at least one guy in the nose for inappropriate touching) and I was curious if the amount/location of touching was related to 1) how much she liked you 2) how much you were not an ass, 3) how much you were tipping. Maybe next trip 🙂Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Damon
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      From what I’ve heard, this is how many strippers get paid. The exceptions or not are the co-ops which try to combine stripping with feminism.

      FWIW, I know at least one person who claimed he lost his virginity with a stripper at the back of a club. I’m not sure how many strippers turn to more explicit sex work on the side though.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
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        Yes, that was a question I was trying to figure out how to ask as well without “Kendal” thinking I was soliciting her for sex.

        I will say I found the pole work very interesting. The twerking…not so much.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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        Trying to combine stripping with feminism seems like an exercise in futility. This might be selection bias but I can’t imagine most men who go to strip joints caring about feminism and sex positivity even in an ostensibly liberal city like Portland. Feminists themselves can’t agree whether you could be a feminist and a commercial sex worker. Many of them and many of the most pro-feminist countries like the Nordic ones want to totally eliminate prostitution as being inherently exploitative. Others argue that you can be a feminist and believe in legalized commercial sex.

        Even under best conditions and practices, commercial sex is going to be one of those areas of commerce that straddle the line between legitimate commerce and criminal exercise. It will always be one of the more closely regulated by law activities because of its many inherent dangers.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to LeeEsq
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          The “feminist” model is just a co-op and is seen in many industries for many reasons. The adjective is added to soothe those who think capitalism is icky. More power to them!Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LTL FTC
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            @ltl-ftc

            The article I read was about a co-op in Portland. The co-op did try to include some alt/indie ideals on body types and what stripping could be. Turns out that people who go to strip clubs are generally not interested in political performance art being combined with their stripping. Who could have guessed?

            The converse is that people who might appreciate the politics generally don’t go to strip clubs including co-ops.Report

            • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw
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              They go to burlesque.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LTL FTC
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                My experience with burlesque has been at a biker bar and it was very none political. It was basically a strip show that did not involve full nudity.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq
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                Burlesque can be quite fun. Depends on who and where and how, of course.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20
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                @morat20

                Maybe it is my growing aversion to fandom taking over everything but I never really got the Burlesque revival. Why revive something from the days of vaudeville?Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw
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                Same reason one might read books or watch movies from that era, I suppose. When it comes to fashions, newer isn’t always better.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw
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                Well, there’s lots of reasons but I suspect one big one (and probably not widely admitted) is that it’s basically upscale stripping.

                I mean, there is far more emphasis on dance, and performance and less on blatant titillation, but in the end — it’s more artistic stripping.

                Which is going to appeal to people who might find strip clubs, and blatant stripping, uncomfortable.

                I’ve always found strip clubs fairly boring and not terribly interesting (which is why, among other things, I’ve pretty much only gone via someone else’s bachelor’s party) but I’ve found the few burlesque shows I’ve seen far more interesting and memorable.

                Although I will admit, the last one I was drug to was the Suicide Girls version (Blackheart Burlesque) and what I left REALLY wanting was the soundtrack. 🙂Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Morat20
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                I’ve never been to a burlesque show that offered lap dances. I’ve never been to a strip club that did not. Likewise, a typical burlesque show will have a pretty even gender split on the crowd. A strip club is wall-to-wall creepy men.

                They really are very different scenes.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to veronica d
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                Well that’s true as well. The burlesque was separated from the audience in a way stripping…isn’t.

                It is an art form, although like all forms of art, some are better at it than others. And it very much is a performance for an audience, in a way stripping isn’t.

                However, sensuality and sex is an integral part of both. I hate to use the words “Crass” or “low-brow” or whatever, but I lack the vocabulary to really spell out the difference.

                I suppose one my make a rough analogy between a musical and an opera. They share many elements, they can blur together in the middle, but there is a world of difference between Pirates of Penzance and Otello.

                Except I actually like both of those, and strip clubs just bore me. I love burlesque shows, but then I often go to those with my wife and several friends, and it’s just got a very different vibe.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Morat20
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                Let me summarize, I’ve “finished” at a strip club. (The woman could move. Talent is talent. Friction is friction.) That won’t happen at burlesque. They are different things.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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                Is that what they are calling it these days.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
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                These days?

                When the event in question occurred, I’m pretty sure a Clinton was in the Whitehouse.

                (I’m not a time traveler.)Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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                Like many people who read history for fun, I have an antiquarian mind.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
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              Failing to understand “the politics” involved in a strip club. Guys and gals watching semi/full naked women spin around on pols and twerk.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Damon
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                That’s my point. I thought that the feminist co-op strip club was trying to take stripping away from the sleazier aspects including bad hair metal, a certain stereotypical look for strippers (which maybe can be described as biker’s girlfriend. The stereotypical image I have is hard to put in words but it is specific.)

                What they failed to comprehend is that your average strip club attendee likes all the aspects of strip clubs that they hated and saw as degrading. Hence failing as a business model.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LTL FTC
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            People wanting to have their cake and eat it to is one of my least favorite things about business. If your in business and want to make money than don’t go around trying to pretend that you aren’t a market actor.Report

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    PCPs: seems we could do primary care better with a model closer to what dentists do.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    The first link in H3 is wrong.Report

  6. Avatar Autolukos
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    F3: I don’t see why Arens expects a term limit to simplify divorce; am I missing something? As I understand it, children, property, and interpersonal conflict are the chief complicators of divorce proceedings; a term-limited marriage doesn’t address any of them.Report

    • Avatar Neil Obstat in reply to Autolukos
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      I had an impression from the article that there would likely be non-negotiable pre-nup clauses in the civil-contract.

      If I recall correctly Old Irish Brehon law recognized several types of marriage, the shortest being for “a year and a day”. If a child was born from such a union and one party wished to split, they were saddled with the responsibility to raise the child.Report

  7. Avatar Vikram Bath
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    [F4] Richard Reeves of the Brookings institute has an interesting piece on partisan affiliation and premarital cohabitation

    It’s off to me that they seem to ask “is it important to live with your future spouse before getting married?” Rather than, is it ok to fuck before getting married. Living together and fucking are not at all the same thing, and I can see some people being OK with one but not the other. Also, I’m not at all sure that respondents would read the former as code for the latter.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Vikram Bath
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      I’m pretty sure the older Republican respondents do. (based on my n=1 of being kicked out of the house back to my old apartment when my then-finance’s, now wife’s aunt came to visit overnight).

      I also wonder how precise their drill down into age and party identification was. Specifically, did they put all self-identified ‘liberals’ as Democrats (and ‘conservatives’ as Republicans), or did they use specific party identification – and then in turn how they accounted for the fact that young people tend to self-identify less with a party than other groups.Report

  8. Avatar Vikram Bath
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    [F5]
    “Given that children are only adopted when they come from the most extreme of circumstances, nearly always involving neglect and abuse”

    [Vulcan eyebrow raise]Report

  9. Avatar North
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    A5: I love it! So cute! R2&R3 it’s so hard to take AGW seriously when so many effective technologies are unacceptable to combat it on account of that it gives the ol’ hippies in the environmental movement ‘the fear’.Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to North
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      Wait, what? The science and modeling behind AGW is good and getting better every year. The policy solutions are hard; different approaches reflect vastly different values.

      And who knew that hippies were oh so powerful? If they had a fraction of the political power ascribed to them, the world would be a very different place. Last I checked, the real problem with nuclear power in this country is that no one, but no one, is willing to absorb the full cost of disposal.

      (The problem with reprocessing is that it creates plutonium, which is an unacceptable risk not just to hippies but to the defense community.)Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Francis
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        That may be a changingReport

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Francis
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        You’re pretty much right about this. Few people want a nuke or the waste near them. More people, myself included, see nuclear power as an obvious alternative. But enviro’s types get all the blame for killing nukes even though it is more a NIMBY thing.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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          Actually, I blame Greenpeace for the most part, for actively spreading a whole lot of fear and misinformation so long ago.

          I mean, sure, the hippies aren’t going to be much of a lobbying concern, but if they can scare the ever loving piss out of everyone, and make ‘radiation’ such a dirty word that trying to explain the distinctions is an uphill battle, they still win.

          ETA The current news media gets the rest of the blame, for constantly parroting such crap and making zero effort to educate the public.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            nMRI
            even nuclear is a bad word.
            (magnetic resonance without it being nuclear makes it pretty destructive, kids).Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            Oh i’ve been pretty disenchanted with greenpeace for a while. ( you can tell that because i didn’t’ even capitalize their name) Their stance, and fear mongering, on GMO’s hasn’t helped. But the enviro groups are not all that powerful. It’s not like hoards of people are clamoring for a nuke in their area. Even a lot of people who wants nukes want them someplace else. GP hasn’t helped but if lots of people wanted them a lot AND the gov was willing to help out then we would be building them. As it is even some supporters of nukes don’t want the gov to provide the gov support the industry likely needs. It is simply more than GP and enviros that we dont’ have more nukes.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak
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              It’s not the groups that are powerful, it’s the laws they exploit. You can tie a project in California down for years, if not decades, simply by filing lawsuits claiming that the Environmental Impact Report wasn’t done properly.

              And you better damn believe that EIR lawsuits are routinely filed by rich people who don’t want icky highways and train lines spoiling their quiet relaxing backyards.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck
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                Yeah NIMBY, i know. But if there was widespread support from peeps and in gov for nukes they would try to break those barriers down. I don’t’ see that. I see people saying nukes are good but the gov isn’t offering any money, companies aren’t lobbying, people aren’t clamoring; there is general support but no push or buy in.

                I’m for nukes. But they had better be safe so there will be some EIR’s.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to DensityDuck
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                I’ve done a lot of these cases over the years. A thoughtful, patient and responsive government always wins. (The problem is that govts frequently aren’t.)

                All sorts of people hate CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act, the organic statute which drives the preparation of EIRs) until it’s their ox being gored. Then they’re thrilled to have the power to force the agency permitting the project to take seriously its obligation to mitigate the impacts of the project.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak
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              I used to occasionally watch “Whale Wars”. Never understood why the Japanese military didn’t just fire a few rounds over the bow of the GP ships.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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                The country that fantasizes about being cuckolded?
                Really?

                The reason is WWII. You do the math.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Damon
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                Well the main reason is that there’s nothing Greenpeace would want more than to be fired upon or near.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to North
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                Well its not like GP hasn’t had a ship, the Rainbow Warrior, sunk by a military. So i’m guessing its something they have thought of and considered the risks.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to greginak
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                Yeah the French sank the Rainbow Warrior on the DL. Getting one of their boats shot at or damaged by a national military on camera? That’d be one hell of a coup for Green Peace. I do not mean this pejoratively, in terms of attention for their cause, donations and sympathy it’d be objectively a massive benefit for them and those reasons are why you can be sure the Japanese Navy (or anyone else) is under strict orders not to shoot at them.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Damon
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                Hmmm a show called “Whale Wars”…ahh yes that reminds me why i watch so little tv and when i do it’s with the sound off.

                I’m assuming the answer is because the Japanese navy is well disciplined.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Francis
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        Yes, agreed, but if opposition to a major source of reliable carbon free baseload power is core to their ideology then presumably they don’t seriously fear AGW and so their program prescriptions are suspect. I don’t doubt the facts of AGW itself, I just look with considerable jaundice on the policy solutions environmental groups offer. When you can virtually hear a subset of environmentalists erections thumping into the underside of the desk when they wax lyrical about people having to use less energy and drop back to a less energy intensive form of (inevitably non-capitalist) lifestyle one can begin questioning their primary motives.

        Hippies weren’t powerful but they pushed a narrative. Nuclear power was lamentably bound up in the nuclear weapons complex and both were targets during the previous century when A) nuclear war posed a genuine threat to the existence of the world and B) modern environmentalism was forming. That nuclear=bad dogma got baked into the foundation brick of a lot of environmentalists. The misinformation around reprocessing is just so laughably bad (I blame sensationalist media for helping it persist but its origins lay in anti-nuke and environmental circles). The idea that some wild haired terrist is going to go on the lam with a suitcase full of wildly radioactive fissile plutonium and then make a bomb out of it is so dumb it makes my head hurt. Have they done so with our existing wildly radioactive waste? No? Then how the fish does some plutonium in the mix change anything.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to North
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          You’re not wrong but incomplete. People feared radiation and nukes as far back as the 50’s. It has always been something many people have been uncertain about.. I agree to many enviros have dreams of some ecotopia or living in some quasi Shire local economy. But look at where the biggest push for energy has been from the R’s. Fracking, drilling and pipelines. It’s not like they are driving hard for the hoop on nukes and the D’s have the enviros in their coalition so they certainly aren’t doing much there. There just isn’t a strong push for more nukes even if they are a good idea.

          Not sure about the throbbing erections and desks part but i’m alone in my office so i’m willing to be open minded.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to North
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          Three Mile Island did more to kill enthusiasm for nukes in the US than greenpeace ever did.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Mo
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            Indeed it did, I’d never dream of saying that the industry isn’t partially responsible for the problem, but if you try and sort out whether people actually died or were seriously harmed in large numbers from 3MI all the junk stats and woo nonsense saying so originates with the environmentalist movement.Report

        • Avatar Francis in reply to North
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          Or they think that there are better solutions. See, eg, The Rocky Mountain Institute.

          Just someone disagrees with your approach to addressing AGW doesn’t mean they’re not serious. I’ve worked with and in opposition to enviro groups. Some were thoughtful, some were not. Yes, there’s some minority that have a profoundly totalitarian viewpoint who advocate mandatory imposition of a lower standard of living. But focusing on them to the exclusion of the larger community is cherry-picking.

          (As a counter-example, I could point to all the really frightening people who have come out in support of Trump. But attacking a candidate by association with the worst of his most vocal supporters is just another form of cherry-picking.)Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Francis
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            The reason I feel most are not serious is because they push & push to shut down fossil fuel power stations because they have some odd belief that doing so will inspire changes to boost solar/wind/etc. But their timetable is a fantasy (or they are @north ‘s utopia fans). I’m all for building more capacity for solar & wind, and building potential energy storage capacity, but the reality is that we can only build windmills & solar plants so fast. Every construction takes years to design, approve, and build, and if you are shutting down existing base power faster than you can build green power (or you are counting on usage reductions/efficiency improvements)…

            I’ll also add that a lot of the anti-nuke people also have some strange opposition to tidal power, which is probably one of the best bets we have for a green replacement for base power generation.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              *Shrug*. Maybe AGW stuff — like carbon taxes, pollution controls, etc, will finally bring nuclear down to “affordable”.

              For all the screaming about renewable subsidies, nukes are subsidized far more heavily. (Then again, in many ways, so’s oil).

              At the moment, the biggest problems with nuclear are cost (it’s expensive to build), NIMBYism (people don’t want it in their backyard), and the fact that for the time being, other forms of baseload generation (NG, oil) are cheaper and easier to build.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Francis
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes but the cost consciousness always appears when it’s needed to defeat nuclear power and vanishes like unicorn sneezes when discussing renewables.
            “Oh no, nuclear power is too slow to build (because we work hard to hold it up) and far too expensive. Instead we should build a transcontinental power grid and six bajillion windmills.”
            I don’t hold a huge brief for nuclear qua nuclear (though I admit it’s awfully cool) but it’s pretty obvious that most environmentalist groups start with their conclusion: nuclear isn’t an acceptable power source even though it emits no CO2; and then work backwards to figure out why.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              Except it’s not environmental groups really killing any proposed site. It’s the people that live there.

              *shrug*. Nobody really likes nukes, at least not well enough to be happy they’re within 20 miles of their home.

              Nuclear needs better PR.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Nuclear has great PR! It’s name is Fusion! It’s partner, Fission, however, is a dirty ass who can’t catch a break in the media.

                Too bad Fusion isn’t quite ready for the big time, but man does she poll well.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Just don’t, you know, make her angry. She’s got a temper on that one.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Fusion is a glorious dame but she’s always promising to show up to the party and yet never arriving. I think the only reason we take her seriously is that we have her big ol Mum blazing out there 92.96 million miles away to remind us that she means business.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I, for my part, would be entirely unconcerned about having a nuclear power plant built within 20 miles of my home. Hell, I’d probably be pleased (I’d assume the city would get to use the waste heat on the cheap). I’d be a lot less pleased if someone plopped a coal power plant down the same distance away (though I’d not give a fish if there was a windmill or a solar farm that far away*.

                I’d blame the image issue for nuclear power an even third/third/third on media sensationalism, environmental woo-advocacy and self inflicted dumbassery respectively. The first is probably insurmountable, the latter is being worked on but the second is entirely within the control of environmentalists.

                *except to wonder what the builders were smoking.Report

            • Avatar Francis in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              “it’s pretty obvious that most environmentalist groups start with their conclusion”

              beep. mind-reading foul. Different environmental groups have different values, and approach AGW solutions in different ways.

              And AREVA’s experience with cost-overruns should give any nuclear power advocate pause.

              Tell you what — let’s get societal agreement on the social cost of CO2 equivalent emissions, and imposes a pollution tax at the point of release. Then the advocates of nuclear power can come to the table and try to show that their power source is the cheapest.

              And yes, Americans are provably irrational on any number of issues — radiation risk, terroism risk, gun violence risk, dietary harm risk (just to name a few). Presenting policy solutions that solve problems in a way that is respectful of those fears is what leadership means.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Francis
                Ignored
                says:

                Granted, but cost/economic concerns appearances and disappearances in environmentalists arguments correlate very closely with whether the discussion involves nukes or not.

                I’m a supporter of some sort of CO2 externality enforcement mechanism. Personally I think a carbon tax probably is the simplest way to go.
                And while environmentalists* continue to exclude nuclear from their renewable mandates, calculations and the like I’ll continue to consider them unserious on the solutions side of the ledger.

                *And some environmentalists don’t exclude nuclear and I consider them considerably more believable.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                if you put in a carbon tax (priced at reducing emissions to some suitable goal), then you have actually addressed AGW goals. If nuclear fission becomes very cost effective under those rules, it’ll get built.

                If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

                But whiny environmentalists screaming about AGW can pound sand at that point, because while AGW is a highly legitimate concern, the existence of carbon taxes on emissions has already addressed that. (Assuming said taxes are high enough to drive down emissions towards a specific goal, which if isn’t the case has jack to do with an individual nuke plant anyways)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Well there’re a lot of ways to drive up the cost of nuclear power that’d operate independent of a carbon tax. There’re a lot of ways environmental activists can slow down and expense up the development of nuclear power.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                And…so what? Look, AGW is an actual problem regardless of whether mean environmentalists use it as an excuse or claim they hate it and don’t hump nuclear power enough.

                But environmentalists aren’t why nukes aren’t getting built. They’re not getting built because virtually no one, not even the idiots that mod their cars to create MORE pollution, really wants to live next to a nuke. (You might, but you’re not exactly representative.

                Second, they’re pricey as all get out. Even with massive subsides from the Government, they’re expensive. And while it’s fun to claim environmentalists and NIMBYists are the reason, it’s mostly because they’re….really expensive to build, expensive to run, and while I know there are better designs nobody wants to build them. And not because Greenpeace is mean to them in email.

                And third, they DO produce waste and nobody wants to operate one until they have a place to send that stuff. And again, there’s reasons they don’t reprocess on site and that has nothing to do with mean environmentalists at all.

                Look, of ALL the things blocking nuclear in America, environmentalists rate as the least effective. NIMBYism, sheer cost, and regulations regarding reprocessing are orders of magnitude more effective than the Sierra Club or whatever.

                They’re a red herring. You want more nuke plants? Start with the actual barriers, not the idiots running around shouting save the whales.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, and who advocates for and supports those barriers? Who stokes the sentiments that undergird them? Antinuclear sentiment (and the accompanying barriers you outline) and modern environmentalism developed together (for understandable reasons).

                If carbon emission reduction is the primary goal for the environmental movement then with regards to non-carbon emitting nuclear power one would expect that they should be in favor of revisiting policies, attitudes and advocacy that makes the NIMBYism, cost and reprocessing issues so potent. By and large environmentalists are hostile to or at best indifferent to doing so.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Look, if you want more nuclear plants and you’re blaming environmentalists? You’re not going to succeed, because you are chasing the wrong people.

                Nuclear plants aren’t built because people who like them don’t like them near them. They’re also expensive, hard to ensure, and in a carbon-tax free America, not even that competitive.

                Like I said, blame the Serra Club or Greenpeace all you want. You’re just wasting your time on the loud, but ineffectual.

                (Also, one can be against both AGW and nuclear power. Perhaps they are, as you insist, absolutely mistaken and that it is a binary choice between them — I tend to agree. But that’s not a basic fact of reality, undisputed by all).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
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                says:

                Nobody can build better designs because getting approval for a prototype or proof of concept is a high barrier in itself, and even if you do get approval, you have environmentalists fighting you every step. Go ask Terrapower, or any of the other companies trying to develop safe(r) fission power, what their real trouble is, and I bet you’ll find the economics of the technology itself is pretty far down the list.

                The really sad thing is, people at the forefront of climate and environmental research support expanding nuclear options. It’s the low information voter, the ones who hate GMOs, and vaccines, who get supported by GP or the NRDC or the various PIRGs, who raise the cost of nuclear through a constant drum beat of fear mongering & every environmental litigation tactic at their disposal.

                Listen, if it was really all about cost, there wouldn’t be any nuclear Navy ships except for subs.

                ETA: NIMBYism – sure, no one wants a power plant in their backyard. Luckily the US has vast tracts of relatively uninhabited land where no one lives, so we can easily plop down a reac… oh, wait, we can’t do that, because it’s a delicate or critical or precious ecosystem out there, and a big nuke plant will destroy it, here come the lawsuits..Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, but the environmentalists aren’t actually stopping them. They’re not magic beings with authority over reality. There’s not even that many of them.

                They’re not laying out there on the proposed sites preventing construction, or personally writing anti-nuke laws, or striding forth to deny you funding. They are, at most, a small lobbyist group.

                And they’re not raising the cost of nuclear anymore than anti-vaccine nuts are raising the cost of vaccines (who also, I note, can’t get them banned either). Nuclear is expensive for a lot of reasons, starting with complexity and moving towards storage of spent fuel and certainly factoring in the fact that most forms of baseline generator are simply cheaper if they can pollute freely.

                If it was as cheap and efficient as you keep claiming, it’d get built regardless of environmentalists. Perhaps with emissions factored in, that will change (I would hope so).

                But environmentalists are…a convenient excuse, at best. “It’d be a utopia if it wasn’t for those meddling Serra Club kids!”.

                It’s not them. It’s the 40,000 people who live nearby who love nuclear power in someone else’s backyard.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                First off, AV nuts do try to raise the cost of vaccines, they just fail because the CDC isn’t buying their BS.

                I don’t claim it’s cheap. I claim that the cost is artificially inflated thanks to short sighted opposition that is driven by a handful of idealists. If they could be sited & approved in a manner even remotely on par with a natural gas plant (even accounting for the regulatory differences in necessary safety enhancements). And that is for the old technology. Newer tech can’t even get off the ground. Those technologies have to go to China to get a prototype or POC up and running.

                And yes, they are insured.

                And yes, the hippies DO have that kind of power, because the EPA and other regulatory bodies tolerate Sue & Settle. If I had the time, I bet I’d find a lot of the opposition and costs of developing nuclear to be a direct result of Sue & Settle tactics. This means that while they aren’t writing legislation, they are writing regulation.

                And finally, I just said that we don’t need to build close to population centers, we have lots of unpopulated land.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Newer tech can’t even get off the ground. Those technologies have to go to China to get a prototype or POC up and running.

                So, an experimental reactor of a size to realistically expect to iron out the engineering bugs would, in these times, be built at one of the isolated national labs in the West (most likely INL in Idaho or Hanford in Washington). Part of the problem is that Congress has successfully resisted the demands of both environmental groups and local politicians to clean up the existing messes at those sites. Maybe “this time it will be different” — but there’s no reason to actually believe that. I assert that having Congress open the checkbook and fix the past mistakes is a necessary first step to any new reactor work.

                And yes, I’m aware that the biggest of the messes are related to military rather than civilian nuclear stuff. If the sh*t reaches the Snake or Columbia Rivers, though, no one cares about that distinction. Also that the cost of the cleanups will probably be much larger than the reactor research people want to do (ie, fast neutron stuff). In part because the cleanups are also big research projects — no one actually knows how to do it. Eg, there’s a growing body of evidence that the vitrification plant at Hanford simply won’t work.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                @michael-cain

                We’ve touched on this before, and I agree with you (especially given that Hanford isn’t that far from me). Congress getting serious about doing right in those places will help.

                However, there are a lot of very small scale fission projects (& by small scale, I mean the size of a decent house) that can’t get going. I work with some of these companies (we help them with their simulations) and the frustration they have is palpable. They have tech that they think can really help, stuff that is safe and low cost enough to get us over the transition to greener generation without half century investments, and they aren’t being allowed to finish it.

                We can spend all day come up with excuses why we can’t approve such new technology testing, but those are just excuses.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                You can’t insure the tail. This leaflet says they have 12 bn in insurance reserves, which seems a lot until you remember that Fukushima’s liability payments are above 80 bn. You can insure the first tier because it’s capped, you can insure the excess liability up to a cap, but no syndicate will carry 80 bn. in losses. Hence, like in hurricane insurance, you have the government as reinsurer of last resort.

                And thus some more cost of nuclear power is transferred to the publicReport

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                How much is the public going to wind up paying for the Kingston ash spill?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Clean up should be about 1bn. One more for damages?

                Is an order of magnitude lessReport

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Nuclear is, fundamentally, an expensive power generation method; granted but it isn’t -that- expensive. You talk like we haven’t gotten a fifth of our power in this country from nuclear for generations. Like other countries haven’t run almost entirely on nuclear for that same amount of time (and with reprocessing don’t have a serious waste problem).

                Don’t blame environmentalists, you say, blame the barrier of unfounded public fear, the cost of construction and the problem of dealing with the waste. You say this as if those three problems are not a barrier in most cases erected and magnified at the lobbying of… environmentalists and as if that barrier, that wall, isn’t patrolled and maintained by… environmentalists. If the government decided to revisit nuclear regulation with an eye towards making it as easy as possible to build nuclear base load power without compromising safety, or to develop new generation prototypes, or to reprocess fuel instead of wastefully burying it who would show up waving signs and protesting? Who would complain to the public and demand it be stopped? Environmentalists would.

                I’ll take a page from Chip’s book here and observe that you keep talking about the difficulty of developing nuclear in this country as if it’s some natural law of nature when this environment is a human created phenomena, the product of decades of lobbying and advocacy by interests (environmentalists chief among them).

                I’d certainly never claim it’d be utopia without environmentalist obstruction on this matter, that’s ludicrous, but it’d be better. Before the discovery of AGW environmentalists basically won the argument against nuclear power; the media liked sensationalism and policy makers didn’t care that much; it was easier to just double down on coal, oil or gas than fight over nuclear. But now environmentalists have discovered there’s a serious problem with doubling down on coal, oil or gas.

                Now I grant that pricing the externality of carbon should help phase out fossil fuels faster and reduce CO2 emissions. That’s also an extremely hard policy to sell. Eliminating all non-essential barriers to the development of nuclear power (and other non-CO2 technologies) would also reduce emissions and unlike pricing carbon externalities it’s a policy that might be doable IF the environmental movement cared primarily about reducing CO2 emissions first and foremost. The barriers to nuclear power don’t originate with the mouth breathing right. That environmentalists, by and large, refuse to revisit the priors they internalized in the 50’s and 60’s about nuclear suggests that reducing CO2 emissions are not their first and foremost concern; emissions should be reduced, but only in ways that are currently in vogue. I think that’s a mistake.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                “I bet you’ll find the economics of the technology itself is pretty far down the list.”

                I’ll take that bet. If the economics of the technology aren’t first and foremost on the minds of the proponents of nuclear power, then they should be fired and replaced with people who are competent.

                There are plenty of legitimate arguments to be made for and against nuclear power. There are even more legitimate arguments about the difficulties of federal permitting. And, you know, if you look around people are making those arguments.

                But if we’re reduced to simplistic hippie-bashing, then the response is Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

                The world is filled with easily-panicked low-information voters. NIMBY, hah! The far better acronym is BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything). If you want to be a real estate developer, or a nuclear power executive or the person managing the expansion of a sewage treatment plant, it’s your goddamn JOB to deal with and overcome public opposition.

                (The usual way to do it is to talk about the positive impact to jobs and the economy, lower bills and a cleaner environment. But pitching the clean environment angle means conceding that reducing CO2 emissions is a desirable goal. And that might get you black-balled from the carbon-based power business.)

                ye dogs, when did American executives become such whiners?Report

              • Avatar David Parsons in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                …I bet you’ll find the economics of the technology itself is pretty far down the list.

                Not that far down the list; Dairyland’s Genoa reactor was shut down ~20 years after commissioning because it cost too much to operate. 50MW was a pretty small facility (not as small as the adorable little reactors at Bilibino) but nevertheless it looks like you need to produce 500MW to be commercially viable, and then you’re getting into the realm of vanity projects.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to David Parsons
                Ignored
                says:

                @francis @david-parsons

                I spoke poorly. Of course they are concerned about the costs of the technology, but those costs are relatively well known and accounted for. But every legal challenge is an unexpected cost that has to be dealt with.

                For example, let’s talk about a high speed rail from SF to LA. How much of the cost inflation of that project is because the construction & technology costs were poorly understood, and how much is due to lawsuits and other manner of obstructionism?Report

  10. Avatar J_A
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    says:

    [A5] There’s a story that I’ve heard attributed to Joseph Kennedy, JFK’s father, when ambassador in London. At some dinner there was a portrait of George III in the room, and he gave a toast “to King George, Father or our Country”, meaning the USA, explaining later that if it wasn’t for the King’s intransigence, perhaps there would have not been an Independence at all.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    What’s wrong with living with your partner before you are married?

    Is there anything in which there is not a deep cultural divide in this country?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      If you believe in the entire no sex before marriage thing than it means that you are living in sin.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s not what the article is about.

        I’d categorize it as an article wondering what marriage ought to be for, and, if it is thought to be for raising children, then, cohabitating shows a lower likelihood of longterm success in that goal.

        Marriage, at least in America, does seem to act as an important commitment device, a “co-parenting” contract for the modern world, as I’ve argued in an essay for The Atlantic, “How to Save Marriage in America.”

        Among secular research, often posted here by Will, there’s a general consensus that cohabitating couples can “slide” into marriage which tends to compare less favorably with couples (cohabitating or not) that “intend” marriage.

        Which, I suppose, just leads to the question of F3… why even buy marriage when leases make more sense?

        So… taking fornication out of the picture… what is the objective of cohabitating and what is the objective of marriage – and how do the go together?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          When I was a kid, sometimes we’d see a couple at a diner and they were chatting and laughing and we’d say to mom “do you think they’re married?” and she’d tell us “nah, they’re talking to each other”.

          In my teens, when I remembered this, I thought it was acrimonious.

          As an adult, I realize that it’s not.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            In my advanced marital state (14 years and counting) I have realized that it is the natural outcome of spending so much time together. She has already heard all my amusing anecdotes. She knows my opinions on politics, and most everything else. What is there to talk about? The news of the day, the kids, and coordinating scheduling. This can be pretty much covered on the drive to the restaurant. The trick to have construct a relationship that doesn’t rely on constant chatter.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger
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              says:

              +1

              (20 years and still going on)Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger
              Ignored
              says:

              @richard-hershberger

              I think this works for some folks. I am driven mad by silence in the company of others. Zazzy was never much of a conversationalist and I think my endless need for as much was one of many “compatibility” issues we faced. I’m not talking inane small talk… but I definitely think couples can sustain themselves for long times with meaningful dialogue if they are both inclined to.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                It also helps of both parties consider sitting together, each reading their own book, to be quiet companionship rather than sullen passive-aggression.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I think it’s not so much *married* as *raising children together*.

            Because, on the rare occasions we go out on a date without the kid, one of the great pleasures we get to savour is whole minutes at a stretch of companionable silence.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s not just that, though. I mean, Maribou and I (17+ years!) go out and we are more than capable of just sitting and only talking intermittently.

              Light hammering out of plans for the coming week or coming season or coming year followed by stretches of pleasant, comfortable silence.

              “What are you thinking about?”
              “The Batmobile.”

              That sort of thing happens too, of course.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Who the f cares what other people think about what you do and why should you care if they do?

      Unless they are coming at you with pitchforks and torches…or worse. That’s what hi cap mags are for.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Not everybody is as anti-social as you are and most people do care at least somewhat what other people think about them.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          Maybe more people need to mind their own damn business. And I’m very social when I want to be, and there are several people who’s opinions I value. I just take a dim view of other people trying to force their belief systems down my throat.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Who said there was something wrong with it?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I think Saul was referring to F4.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          That is a really uncharitable reading. It discusses the range of opinions people have on the matter and how this lines up politically. You could just as easily read it as criticizing not cohabitating. If every position that is different from your own constitutes someone telling you there is something “wrong” with your position, you’re doing it wrong.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            F4 actually kind of put its finger on the scale. It didn’t ask “Is premarital cohabitation good or bad” but rather whether it’s necessary. Those who didn’t answer yes weren’t even condemning it, but were arguing that it isn’t necessary.

            Which seems like it might be a significant distinction. Though it might not be, if people were answering the “good/bad” or “acceptable/unacceptable” or whatever subquestion.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Will Truman
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              says:

              I think using “acceptable” or “necessary” questions naturally split things into three, which split I seldom see:

              Is [thing]
              – unacceptable
              – optional (i.e. both [thing] and [not thing] are acceptable)
              – necessary (i.e. [not thing] is unacceptable)

              Maybe that comes down to a bias among the framers of the question – they have assumed that *of course* everyone thinks [not thing] is acceptable, so it’s only a question of whether [thing] is an allowable option or not. (or for “necessary” questions, that of course [thing] is accepable, so it’s only a question of whether [not thing] is an option also)Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Premarital cohabitation strikes me as pretty unavoidably Culture Wars stuff. If not in terms of law and politics, then at least the discussion.Report

  12. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    From the R2 article: “But California already has more solar power than it can use. This is one of the justifications given for closing Diablo Canyon. On sunny days, California solar farms have had to shut down, lest their added generation overwhelm the grid.”

    Pick up any of the national lab studies for how to do an all-renewable power grid for the Western Interconnect. In it, you’ll find one of two reasonable configurations for the transmission backbone needed to make things work. Too much sun in California one afternoon balances too little wind in New Mexico. Or pumps water uphill in Idaho for storage. The Western has the advantages of a relatively small number of major demand centers with significant renewable resources close (for western values of “close”) to those demand centers or the transmission links that would interconnect them. The Eastern Interconnect problem is much harder.Report

  13. Avatar Richard Hershberger
    Ignored
    says:

    A1: The “too good” link is just that you have to be authorized to work in New Zealand. This is a local agency which put out a call intended for the New Zealand market, and it spread into the wild.

    The more pertinent “too good” part is that this is a small agricultural town that is in the far end of nowhere even by New Zealand standards. If this sounds attractive, there are closer places for most of us: probably even for New Zelanders.

    On the other hand, if Trump gets elected, New Zealand will look pretty good, in an “On the Beach” sort of way.Report

  14. Avatar Richard Hershberger
    Ignored
    says:

    E3 Tiny schools: My oldest brother attended one year a genuine rural one-room schoolhouse. This would have been around 1960 or so. It was mixed-age, so there weren’t a lot of activities the whole class did together. And of course they had virtually nothing in the way of school supplies, even by the standards of 1960. What they did have was chalk and chalk boards all the way around the room. Each student had a section. The teacher would work her way around the room, giving each student a task such as a math problem. When she worked her way back, the student had completed the problem or made an honest effort, or got a whack. Repeat.

    Then the family moved to Southern California, to a town with modern schools. The administration was gravely concerned that my brother would have trouble, due to his disadvantaged academic background, so they tested him extensively. It turned out he was about a year ahead of his age cohort.

    Of course much of this was the family background: both parents were college educated, and Dad a career Naval officer. It just happened that on one duty station they ended up in BF nowhere. Lots of kids managed to come out of the experience functionally uneducated, and having been whacked a lot. Similarly, when I read about how well tiny schools do in Silicon Valley, I am unwilling to conclude that tiny schools are The Answer.

    The other story I have heard from that school was of the kid who showed up the first day of school with no shoes. He was told that shoes were required, and to wear them the next day. The next day he shows up barefoot. He is given a whack, and told to bring them tomorrow. Next day, the same thing happens. This goes on for a week. Then the next Monday he shows up barefoot, and there are a pair of shoes waiting for him. If he was willing to take that many whacks, it clearly was because he didn’t have any shoes, so a pair was scrounged from somewhere for him.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Richard Hershberger
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      says:

      My dad got a year ahead in math by accident – there were two grades in the one room, and he got confused and did the year ahead’s math problems for a while. When he and the teacher figured out what had happened, they figured he might as well keep on doing it, since he was keeping up fine.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to dragonfrog
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        says:

        I know that there are people who aren’t a year ahead in math – outside of Lake Wobegon, that’s pretty much definitional – but thinking back on the curriculum (of the early 70s, at least), I can’t imagine how. The pace was glacially slow, and they treated “increasing the complexity of what you’re doing now” on the same level as “introducing an entirely new concept” and devoted as much time to it.

        I suspect my experience was atypical. Given that I was working self-directed most of the time and with the inevitable effect that had on my socialization experience – I was basically an island of homeschooling inside an actual public school. Supporting this (echoing what @marchmaine said above), I basically socialized as an adult before I was ten, and have had essentially the same personality (and self-image!) for forty years now. Similar to Seahawks coach and eternal teenager Pete Carroll in that way.Report

  15. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    R1: This is a good thing for Tanzania, which is desperately poor and has basically no income source other than safari tourism (and that doesn’t pay well enough to keep poachers from killing all the animals.)

    Hopefully the extraction industry will hire locals rather than importing 100% of the operation.Report

  16. Avatar Autolukos
    Ignored
    says:

    Bloomberg asks why Venezuela hasn’t defaultedReport

  17. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    L1 seems to reiterate that the true minimum wage is $0.

    I appreciate the goals of the people who are trying to make things better for the working poor. I just wish that they’d compare their goals to their outcomes a little more often.Report

  18. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    [F3] — In @will-truman ‘s article, it looks like all the examples are from TV shows, not real life. So this shows us what some TV writers think about this stuff, not what actually happens.

    I mean, many things happen.

    I’m “weird,” and indeed that had some cost for my parents. But so what? I didn’t choose this. When your sympathies lie more with them and less with me, that tells me something about you.

    Turn the knob. I have a friend, much younger than me, who is also “weird,” and whose family refuses to accept her. However, they still want her around — cuz family — but expect her to be infinitely patient with their nonsense. They are “conventional.” She is not.

    They never take her side, when she rubs up against the constraints of “conventionality.” They begrudge her this, at every moment. It’s soul crushing. She pays a cost, again and again.

    So round it goes. In my social circles, people completely estranged from their families are commonplace.

    Cuz we’re weird. Cuz we push up against convention.

    We build “chosen family.” It works. We find happiness, in bits and scraps.

    Who should change?

    (Please don’t explain to me “the way things are.” I pretty fucking well aware of how things are.)Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      The shows jumped out at me because they had an element of truth. Not just stuff writers say, but crystalizing my own observations.

      My own take is that there are a lot of ways where either (a) we literally can’t conform, and literally can’t match society’s norms, and other cases where (b) we could, but we shouldn’t because the norms are unjust or wrong.

      There is no hard answer to when (a) and (b) apply. It’s something we have to figure out for ourselves. And we don’t owe our lives towards making things easier for others. But we should be cognizant of the costs those decisions can impose on others.

      (I mostly linked to that on the marriage issue in particular, as it pertains to Dharma Montgomery and marriage and children. My views here do veer away from things like temporary marriage contracts (and, for that matter, as I linked to previously, automatic marriage).Report

  19. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Another “what the hell?” moment brought to you by Donny T:

    He’s, apparently, considering a registered democrat to be his VP.

    Dunno if this is genius or stupid.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      There are some folks on Twitter that want to like him and are trying to go to bat for him, but he’s been making things difficult for them. In this case, not just because Democrat.

      He may not be able to get Flynn even if he wants it. Delegates aren’t bound. McCain was politely told he could not pick Lieberman and expect him to get the nomination.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I dislike Donald Trump.

        (This message brought to you by the department of understatement.)

        That said, if he chose me to be his veep, if totally say yes, cuz could you imagine the ideological chaos! A tranny! A liberal! I’d publicly make jokes that I “cucked” him with Ivana. (Heavens knows I’d try.) I’d point out that my fingers are longer than his, never mind Ms Clinton’s. He’d play along for the lulz. The alt-right would disintegrate from infighting.

        Once elected, he’d resign. Right away, I’d ascend to my rightful place as goddess-emperess.

        I’d appoint Hillary Clinton my secretary of state, with an executive order she could use Gmail or whateverthefuck she wanted.

        Don’t deny it. This would be fun.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Trump wants to pick Walter White Jr?Report

  20. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    L4: [indentured servitude vs. slavery (and the whole “Irish slaves” question)]

    I don’t have much to disagree with when it comes to Liam Hogan’s argument about how equating indentured servitude with chattel slavery serves white supremacist ends, especially for the examples he cites. Neither do I dispute the overall distinction he draws between indentured servitude and slavery. Those two points I take to be the main purpose of his article.

    I do quibble, though, with what appears to be his assumption that ca. 1600, there was one thing called indentured servitude and another thing called chattel slavery, each thing having thereafter its own traits that distinguished the one from the other. In my view–and looking only at the experience of Virginia–in the 50- or so years of settlement it wasn’t quite so easy to distinguish the two practices as it would later become. It wasn’t that indentured servitude once had and then lost the characteristics of chattel slavery. It’s that slavery became more and more like what we today call chattel slavery and lost some of the characteristics it shared with indentured servitude. By the late 1600s, in Virginia, most of the slave codes were in place, which made slavery heritable, decreased or eliminated the recourse slaves had for redress of maltreatment, and defined slavery much more strictly as a race-based institution. But earlier, the status of slaves was unclear and there’s at least some uncertainty (today) about whether there was an expectation of freedom after a certain time of labor, for example. At the very least, some slaves did obtain there freedom and seem to have enjoyed, at least for a time, equal footing with similarly situation freed whites.

    It’s probably important that I’m relying only on Virginia. By the time that colony was underway, other much more brutal colonies in the West Indies had already begun “perfecting” the chattel form of slavery. And the Carolinas, being settled later, was a different story.

    But again, I agree with Hogan’s main point and don’t wish to detract.Report

  21. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The War on Drugs is immoral.

    Cameron Texas- A 2-year-old was killed while in foster care, and her foster mother will now serve a life sentence for the crime

    Alex Hill was placed in foster care after her father admitted to using marijuana according to the Houston Press.

    Joshua Hill told Texas child welfare investigators that he smoked after the child was in bed at night. A case worker determined that the father’s marijuana use and the mother’s medical condition (frequent seizures) warranted removal from the home.

    What the hell. How is this still going on?Report

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