Ten Second News

Retroactive: ICYMI From Ordinary Times This Week( 0 )

Retroactive is the ICYMI listing of all the great reading from the week that was.
This Week:

Teaching and the Art of the Possible
You can’t live up to standards that you can’t reach.
By Michele Kerr

SCOTUS: Warrant Needed for Cell-site RecordsThe Supreme Court of the United States this week ruled in favor of privacy in Carpenter v. United States, a case out of the sixth circuit involving the warrantless search of a defendant’s cell phone location records.
By Em Carpenter

The GOAT Wars: A Statistical AnalysisA deep dive into the great basketball question of our era.
By AdotSad

Will Americans Prioritize the Unsustainable Cost of Living Over Political Pageantry This Election Season?The crushing cost of living in America is on the rise — both in reality and in the minds of disenchanted voters.
By Kate Harveston

The Cadaver King, the Country Dentist and a Problematic JudiciaryWhy on Earth do we elect judges? Why, in a system designed to resist the passions of the mob, do we bring it back in at the point of maximum leverage?
By Michael Siegel

Writing the Book on Corruption in West VirginiaA West Virginia Supreme Court Justice is federally indicted on 22 counts, including various fraud counts, false statements, and witness tampering. The man who wrote the book on corruption now stands accused of bilking the taxpayers who put him in office.
By Em Carpenter

The Lost John Coltrane Album, and Ponderings on JazzIn a genre as fiercely independent minded as Jazz can be, one of the few universally held truths is the greatness of John Coltrane. While his “A Love Supreme” is often discussed as the greatest of Jazz Albums, newly released material by Coltrane and his band from earlier in his career has emerged.
By Andrew Donaldson

Immigration Gambit
In my last post I was tough on the Democrats. Some readers pegged me as a closet Trump supporter with American flag pajamas. In this post I will lay that misconception (that I sleep in pajamas) to rest. 7 days ago Trump & Kim Jung Un shook hands. Today the universe is talking about one thing – children and border enforcement. Here’s my short summary.
By Mark Kruger

Heavenly!
Gone for a while, but now Bach at it.
By Mike Schilling

Duty To Protect (Update)
Lawyers for Scot Peterson (one of the Deputies on-site during the Parkland shooting) are arguing that Scot Peterson had no Duty to stop the school shooting
By Jaybird

An American Town Fueled by Amazon and Canadians
So if you are a small town in Washington state, how do you increase your population by 36% and your tax revenue two to five times that of other comparable sized municipalities? Economic magic? Nope; just be located close to the border and be thankful for Canadian Amazon shoppers flooding in for parcel pickup.
By Andrew Donaldson

Weekend!, Saturday!, and Sunday! posts from Jaybird

Stephen Miller and the Theater of Outrage
Using outrage to draw an overreaction from opponents then becomes self-fulfilling prophecy of “See, those people really do hate us”; for Stephen Miller, immigration checks many boxes for engagement by enragement politics.
By Andrew Donaldson

Retroactive reviews All the Ten Second News Headlines:

Burgers For The Buns In The Oven
Starbucks to Close Stores Amid Competition, Controversy
President Trump Signs Executive Order on Border Separations
Video: An Animated Guide To Dystopian Fiction
Bugs on the Eastern Front Terrorize World Cup
Whither Small Talk
Humans Weren’t Meant To Live In Cities
Manafort Ordered to Jail

Ordinary Times is a group endeavor to explore and illuminate culture, with the word “culture” interpreted broadly. Here, you will find discussions of politics and law, art and sports, family and faith, laughter and grief, food and fiction.

Among other things, we pride ourselves on the civility, inclusiveness, and intelligence of our commenting culture, the diversity of perspectives our contributors offer our readers, and the eclectic mix of topics discussed on these pages.

Liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and everyone else may not come to agree with one another here, but we hope that if nothing else, they will at least come to understand one another. An assumption built in to much of our debate is that exploring disagreements is often a productive way for everyone to learn more, and a normal and healthy part of social discourse.

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Morning Ed: War & Intrigue {2018.06.22.F}( 8 )

[Wr1] Huh. Maybe drone strike blowback isn’t a thing.

[Wr2] The Americans is fiction, but embedded married spies in Germany were quite real.

[Wr3] Meet the original Slay Queen!

[Wr4] The nuclear arms race, the race for stealth, and now the hypersonic weapons race.

[Wr5] A look at the relationship between war, peace, and the GPS.

[Wr6] BBC shares some love letters and forbidden gay love during World War II.

[Wr7] Will the world’s next nuclear power be… Canada?

[Wr8] I think I’ve already linked to articles on it before, but I love the Soviet map of Seattle story.

[Wr9] What if North and South Korea are ready for peace but liberal pundits aren’t? Another page for the file on how we expect other countries to play bit parts in our internal politics?

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An American Town Fueled by Amazon and Canadians( 5 )

So if you are a town in Washington state, how do you increase your population by 36% and your tax revenue two to five times that of other comparable sized municipalities? Economic magic? Nope; just be located close to the northern border, a major Canadian population center, and be thankful for regulation and tax laws that bring Canadian e-commerce shoppers flooding in for parcel pickup.

In Welcome to Blaine, the town Amazon Prime built at The Verge Alexandra Samuel explains that she knows all about those shoppers, because she is one.

Although Amazon hung out a shingle in Canada in 2002, its operations were initially limited by regulations intended to protect Canadian publishing. While Amazon.com expanded into more product categories, Amazon.ca contained only a tiny fraction of its US offerings well into the 2000s. And Canadian retailers were in no rush to match the e-commerce boom of the US: imagine selling to a population the size of California’s, but shipping products across the entire land mass of the United States. (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.)

As a result, Canada’s armchair shoppers were left to drool over the online offerings of retailers to the south — many of which, if they could be delivered to Canada at all, arrived with an unpredictable bill for shipping, taxes, and / or customs duties. Just as US e-commerce was taking off, the Canadian dollar went through one of its rare periods of strength (even surpassing the US dollar at various points in 2011–2012), making it that much easier for Canadians to shop in US dollars. No wonder Canadians close to the US border soon opted to ship directly to the States: the selection was larger, shipping was cheap or free, and customs duties were often nonexistent (depending on your honesty at the border and on the moods of the border agents).

I’m one of those cross-border e-shoppers. As a dual citizen who has spent many years living on each side of the border, my Blaine mailbox, Trader Joe’s, and Target runs have allowed me to scratch my American retail itch even after settling in Vancouver. My family set up our Blaine mailbox in 2010, and we now make monthly pilgrimages to pick up such elusive goodies as Hanna Andersson’s kid clothes (cheaper to ship to the US), a round of Rent the Runway outfits (won’t ship to Canada), or a new set of drinking glasses (so much more expensive on Amazon.ca, you wouldn’t believe it). These pilgrimages became even more frequent when Ben & Jerry’s stopped distributing New York Super Fudge Chunk in Canada. Once you’ve committed to hitting Blaine for a monthly ice cream restock, you might as well order some shoes, board games, or toilet paper from Amazon.com.

Cross-border shoppers like me have helped drive a major boom here, swelling Blaine’s population from a sleepy 3,770 in 2000 to an almost-bustling 5,075 in 2017. That impact is felt not only in the number of parcel shops in town but also in the volume of business they’re doing. An employee at 24/7 Parcel told me that their customer list has grown from about 8,000 to nearly 40,000 in less than five years.

There are so many parcel shops, in fact, that it’s causing a disturbance. “People are annoyed to see more and more parcel places open when they’d rather see a bakery or grocery store,” said a local diner worker. “We used to have another grocery store, but it closed 20 years ago. We used to have a bakery, but it closed.”

Do read the whole piece, which also references Amazon’s recently announced plans up the road a piece from Blaine in Vancouver, BC, which CTVNews expands on:

Amazon will only occupy about a third of the new development, dubbed The Post, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2022. Developer Quadreal said the project will feature a mix of office and retail space.

The new office will not be Amazon’s much-hyped second North American headquarters, HQ2, whose location hasn’t been announced yet. Toronto is the only Canadian city to make the company’s shortlist.

But Trudeau said the federal government is keen to work with the company as it develops its presence across the country.
“Canadians share your passion for invention and your commitment to excellence, and that’s why we’re so excited to see Amazon growing right here in Vancouver,” he said at Monday’s event.

There are about 1,000 people working at Amazon’s existing Vancouver office, and the company promised a 1,000-worker expansion last fall. The new jobs announced Monday will bring the company’s local workforce up to 5,000 in the coming years.
Dougherty noted Amazon’s Canadian presence has boomed since it opened its first software development site in Vancouver seven years ago with fewer than 30 workers.

We now have teams of developers building critical software for Amazon and our customers all over the world,” he said. “Amazon’s future here in Vancouver is very bright.”

While the new growth of the Vancouver tech hub doesn’t directly affect Blaine, if history tells us anything it is Amazon is not in the habit of standing pat, which the folks in and using Blaire, like Alexandra Samuel details, are all too aware of.

Even habitual cross-border shoppers like me can now hold out hope that Amazon may eventually close the persistent, puzzling, and much-discussed price difference between US and Canadian prices for many items.

But what’s good news for Canadian shoppers could be bad news for Blaine. Just a few years ago, the city manager named Amazon the number one contributor to the city’s sales tax base. And you only need to eyeball the piles of Amazon boxes in the recycling bins of local mailbox shops to know that it still dominates among Canadian shoppers. Now, Canadians can not only get their electronics, books, and housewares from Amazon.ca, but they can also access a comparable range of clothing, shoes, and other goods. So it’s unlikely that they’ll still submit to the hassle of cross-border package pickup.

Improved Amazon.ca shipping isn’t the only threat to Blaine’s e-commerce economy. If Amazon sets up its own lockers in Blaine — as Amazon.com has in more than 50 US cities and Amazon.ca has in Toronto and Vancouver — it’s hard to imagine that more than one or two of Blaine’s mailbox shops will be able to survive.

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Morning Ed: Space {2018.06.19.T}( 6 )

[Sp1] Move over Esperanto. We need a new language that aliens can speak.

[Sp2] Good, good.

[Sp3] Check out Kevin Drum’s astrophotography.

[Sp4] With new LSST telescopes help us find Planet X?

[Sp5] Do they not understand that he needs a place to store all of those books? There’s even enough water for a colony.

[Sp6] A couple years ago Robert Zubrin explained his objections to the proposed SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System.

[Sp7] Bruce Dorminy looks at the relationships between life on Earth and life on Mars.

[Sp8] The size of the sun fluctuates, apparently. Fortunately, I think, Space is… big and can handle it.

[Sp9] In the data we can apparently see a black hole eating a star.

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Morning Ed: World {2018.06.18.M}( 50 )

[Wo1] Dracula vs bears

[Wo2] These old maps of North America are great, though I do wish they had more context in the descriptions.

[Wo3] Japan is looking to open up the Indian Ocean.

[Wo4] A map at Canada’s industrial expansion.

[Wo5] Watch a superhero at work:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44275776

[Wo6] Nordics have learned how to live their best life.

[Wo7] Mongolia has an… interesting president. A former martial arts champion, he’s trying to shift the balance of power in the nation’s system of governance towards (no surprise) the presidency.

[Wo8] Oliver Kamm explains how anti-western dogma is driving conspiracy theories among academics, journalists, and others.

[Wo9] These Taken sequels are getting kind of low-budget.

[Wo0]

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Retroactive: ICYMI From Ordinary Times This Week( 2 )

Retroactive is a #ICYMI #links listing of all the great reading from the week that was. This week’s unique writing on culture and politics contributed by @trumwill @hyacinthgrrl @musepolsci @samwilkinson @wvEsquiress @OG_Jaybird @four4thefire and more.

SCOTUS Issues Two New Opinions
Today’s SCOTUS decisions are not world-rocking, but the largely homogeneous agreement is noteworthy. It is likewise noteworthy that neither of these decisions lend themselves to much partisan hand–wringing.
By Em Carpenter

Democrats and Chicken Little Politics
This is the problem for Democrats. All of the comparisons to Hitler, all of the sky is falling rhetoric, and all of the breathless coverage of Trump’s… inept administration will not force people to feel anxious enough. What if… and this is the gut punch question.. what if it turns out the new normal ain’t so bad?
By Mark Kruger

The Moral Authority Hierarchy of Loss
Sitting down to write about the moral authority hierarchy of loss in the current political landscape, I found I did not know where to begin. Death, although universal, is too terrifyingly intimate to handle indelicately. But the use of the dead as bludgeons to further essentially ephemeral agendas is abhorrent. And we are becoming entirely too comfortable with it.
By April Joy

Remembering Anthony Bourdain
When you suddenly realize that a person you never met had a significant impact on your adult life.
By Mike Dwyer

SCOTUS Upholds Ohio’s Voter Purge Practices
The case involved the practice in Ohio of purging voters who have not voted in several years and who fail to return a notice card confirming their address. The case, Husted v Randolph Institute, et al., concerned whether the practice violated the National Voter Registration Act. SCOTUS says it does not.
By Em Carpenter

Supreme Court Majority To The Wrong Voters: Drop Dead
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority makes a decision that happens to align perfectly with its own political preferences. It’s all just the damndest coincidence.
By Sam Wilkinson

Taxing in the Name Of: Seattle Head Tax Repealed
Back in May the Seattle City Council unanimously passed the “head tax” under the auspices of raising funds for the homeless. But in the face of opposition from Seattle’s largest businesses, and a certain legal challenge to the law itself, the council has reversed themselves.
By Andrew Donaldson

Supercomputers Reach The Summit, For Now
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a facility born from the drive to accomplish scientific feats before an international competitor does the same. In the modern day race for the worlds most powerful computer, the ORNL-housed Summit supercomputer has put the US back in the lead…for now.
By Andrew Donaldson

Speaking of the Dead: Obituary in the Social Media Age
The obituary, long the traditional and biographical announcement of a death in a newspapers, has found new life online and in social media. And apparently the old adage of “speak not ill of the dead” might be changing with it, especially if it helps the notice go viral.
By Andrew Donaldson

Weekend! and Saturday! posts, Tech Tuesday, and all the Morning Ed: links from the week that was.

All the Ten Second News from the past week:
Humans Weren’t Meant To Live In Cities
Manafort Ordered to Jail
“Classical” Thoughts on Solving Urban Planning
Giving Up Your Seat
Teaching Philosophy to Weaponized AI
Net Neutrality Passes Away (2015-2018)
The Third Coming of Mitt Romney
One Second Is Worth A Thousand Words
Super Mario’s Great Escape
Are Individualist Societies More Cohesive?

Ordinary Times is a group endeavor to explore and illuminate culture, with the word “culture” interpreted broadly. Here, you will find discussions of politics and law, art and sports, family and faith, laughter and grief, food and fiction.

Among other things, we pride ourselves on the civility, inclusiveness, and intelligence of our commenting culture, the diversity of perspectives our contributors offer our readers, and the eclectic mix of topics discussed on these pages.

Liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and everyone else may not come to agree with one another here, but we hope that if nothing else, they will at least come to understand one another. An assumption built in to much of our debate is that exploring disagreements is often a productive way for everyone to learn more, and a normal and healthy part of social discourse. We like to think that we’ve always been that way, although we haven’t always looked exactly like we do now.

We allow pseudonymous comments, but if you do use a pseudonym, please do so consistently over time.

Please take a moment to review our commenting policy.
If you are interested in making a guest post, please contact one of our editors.

Welcome to Ordinary Times!

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Morning Ed: United States {2018.06.15.F}( 138 )

[US1] There once was a girl from Nantucket, except that she wasn’t from Nantucket because she couldn’t afford to live there even as she worked there seasonally because the local jerks refused to let housing be built where she could stay.

[US2] A police department in Detroit considered replacing the word “Police” on their squad cars with “Popo“.

[US3] I think the South does have a reasonable complaint about television representation, though no more or less an argument than everywhere else outside of a handful of metropolitan areas. It has gotten better over the last couple of decades, though.

[US4] I am always up for a good hero dog story.

[US5] How anti-immigration paranoia is turning border towns into a surveillance state.

[US6] A niche for everything: This conservative Utah company is interesting in at least a couple respects.

[US7] An otherwise booming job market is being stymied by unavailable housing in… Nebraska?!

[US8] Americans may not think Global Warming is a huge threat, but they are apparently seeking higher ground all the same.

[US9] No one is sue when the Hawaiian volcano eruption are going to end.

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Morning Ed: Food {2018.06.14.Th}( 12 )

[F1] #NotAllAmericanBreakfast. Though kids’ breakfast cereal remains a stunning indictment of capitalism on the issue of public health.

[F2] The automat was apparently a response to a resistance to waiters waiting tables.

[F3] Organic farming is, it turns out, a pretty bloody business.

[F4] Is Stevia even better for you than sugar? The test of these propositions is always “So it would be okay if I just had sugar instead?” and their answer is actually maybe yes.

[F5] A kind of dark look at vegetarianism. On the other hand, it seems like maybe good things happen when you stop eating meat.

[F6] I was mostly unfamiliar with Anthony Bourdain until somewhat recently, but the more I hear the more impressed I am.

[F7] Black pepper is kind of like Indians in this regard, it seems like.

[F8] Another reason for McDonald’s to switch to kiosks: We apparently order more.

[F9] Just what you’ve been waiting for: A cow density map.

[F0] Thread

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Taxing in the Name Of: Seattle Head Tax Repealed( 33 )

Back in May the Seattle City Council unanimously passed the “head tax” under the auspices of raising funds for the homeless and to ease the city’s affordable housing crisis. But in the face of opposition from Seattle’s largest businesses, and a certain legal challenge to the law itself, the council has reversed themselves.

NBC News:

Seattle’s city council voted on Tuesday to repeal a newly enacted “head tax” imposed on the city’s largest companies, including Amazon.com, in the face of apparently insurmountable big-business opposition to a tax meant to fight an affordable housing crisis.

The 7-2 vote in favor of repeal capped an acrimonious public hearing interrupted by chanting supporters of the tax. It came as momentum was building for a referendum drive against the measure, just weeks after it was unanimously adopted by the council and signed by the mayor.

“This is a cowardly betrayal of the needs of the working people,” Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, a leading proponent of the tax who voted against repeal, said to thunderous applause moments before the council completed its vote.
But Councilwoman Lisa Herbold said she was reluctantly voting for repeal rather than drag the city through a political fight she called “not winnable at this particular time.”

“The opposition has unlimited resources,” she added.

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat was not impressed by the council’s deliberations before, during, or after the vote:

Some on the council blamed “big business,” which was predictable. A few called out Amazon in particular. Kshama Sawant got the most personal about this, as is her specialty, bluntly declaring that, “Jeff Bezos is our enemy.”

Other council members insisted with great passion, voices rising in anger, that the city is in fact doing a great job on housing the homeless, and so has simply been misunderstood.

But most jarring, to me, was that they blamed you. Yeah, you, the witless public.

“The Chamber of Commerce has convinced the vast majority of Seattleites of the old, conservative trope, that the increased level of human suffering in this city is caused by government inefficiency,” railed Councilmember Lisa Herbold.

She added she had pushed for a head tax on Seattle companies in 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018, and seemed perplexed that none of these three efforts worked.

Possible simple explanation: Maybe it’s just not a good idea?

The notion that the famously liberal and generous Seattle public is now a rabble of dupes easily wowed by anti-government propaganda ­– now that’s some world-class political blame-shifting! More likely, I bet, is that Seattleites came to feel that high levels of taxation directly on jobs, of all things, might not be the smartest.

A living example of this was right in council chambers on Tuesday. Had this fight just been about evil Amazon, who knows, the head tax might have prevailed. A bigger problem was the “Uwajimaya Effect.”

“I’m with Uwajimaya – not Amazon, Uwajimaya,” Denise Moriguchi, chief executive of the beloved Japanese grocery, pointedly began her testimony Tuesday. “We’ve been employing people in the Pacific Northwest for 90 years, and the head tax is not the right answer.”

Game over right there. Why in the world would you tax grocery stores, anyway? The council never had an answer for that.

Still others where far less concerned about the monetary and taxation problems and focused on what they saw as a “betrayal” of social responsibility:

CBS News:

City leaders underestimated the frustration and anger from residents, businesses and others over not just a tax increase but also a growing sense that homelessness appears to have gotten worse, not better, despite Seattle spending millions to fight it. It poured $68 million into the effort last year and plans to spend more this year. The tax would have raised roughly $48 million annually.

But a one-night count in January found more than 12,000 homeless people in Seattle and the surrounding region, a 4 percent increase from the previous year. The region saw 169 homeless deaths in 2017.

Many supporters called the repeal a betrayal and said the tax was a step toward building badly needed affordable housing. They booed council members, imploring them to keep it and fight a coalition of businesses trying to get a referendum overturning the tax on the November ballot.

Several leaders, including three who sponsored the legislation but voted to repeal it, lamented the reversal and conceded they didn’t have the resources to fight the referendum.

Councilwoman Lisa Herbold said it “was truly our best option” and that she repealed it with a heavy heart. She lashed out at business interests for blaming the problems on government inefficiencies.

“Gutless!” someone shouted as she explained her rationale. She and others said they didn’t want to spend the next several months in a political fight that would do nothing to address urgent needs.

Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda voted against the repeal, saying the lack of a replacement strategy would mean more months of inaction.

“It was not a tax on jobs,” she said, calling it “a much needed down payment to our housing crisis.”

Whatever your opinion on the tax itself, the one thing that was very clear was a long and protracted fight over the head tax was coming. Lead by Amazon, Starbucks, and the other corporations that felt targeted by the ordinance, many were pushing for a ballot initiative prior to the repeal vote.

Amazon.com, the city’s largest employer, was at the forefront of a coalition of businesses running a well-financed campaign to place a repeal referendum on the ballot for the November elections.

The tax would have applied only to the city’s largest companies by revenue, those grossing at least $20 million a year. It was expected to be borne by about 500 companies.

Opponents had already collected nearly 49,000 signatures from voters in support of a repeal initiative, well more than the 17,000 needed to qualify for the ballot, according to the Downtown Seattle Association, a business group which led the petition drive.

The effort quickly raised $300,000, including contributions of $25,000 each from Amazon and coffee retailer Starbucks , another major Seattle stalwart, and $30,000 from a grocers trade group, said Jon Scholes, president of the Seattle Association.

As for where the head tax drama goes from here, Danny Westneat offered this suggestion the Seattle City Council:

For starters, I would humbly suggest turning what you just did upside down. Come up with a detailed plan to help the homeless. Get buy-in on that, and then ask for money. That formula has a strong track record with voters in this city.

With a similar measure up for a vote in Mountain View, California to see if Google’s hometown will install a head tax of its own:

It remains to be seen whether Seattle’s retreat will have a chilling effect on other cities considering taxes on big tech companies to help mitigate the effects of growth.

The City Council in Mountain View, California, where Google is based, will vote June 26 on whether to put a similar measure before voters in November. The “Google tax” aims to alleviate transportation woes and high housing costs in the Silicon Valley city south of San Francisco.

Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel said Seattle’s about-face hasn’t changed his support for the tax.

“It appears that we have a better relationship with our business than Seattle does,” Siegel said.

He said Google hasn’t taken a position on the proposal and that no “groundswell” of opposition has materialized from the Internet search giant and other companies.

No matter what happens, the debate on corporate taxation and how municipalities use that revenue rages on.

What say you? Login and comment.

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Morning Ed: World Politics {2018.06.13.W}( 134 )

[WP1] Slovenian politics are taking a turn for the Hungarian.

[WP2] In 1999, David Brin argued that the original Star Wars trilogy was elitist and anti-democratic. I find that part of the argument a little more convincing than the depiction of Star Trek as populist. Seems like it’s the royals vs the roundheads.

[WP3] Not gonna lie: It’s nice to be courted.

[WP4] You may have heard something about centrists being hostile to democracy, but that study may have been overstated.

[WP5] Colin Dickey argues that when politicians write fiction, they’re telling us something scary about their worldview.

[WP6] James Kirchick argues that Europe can’t quit America, howevermuch it wants to.

[WP7] One of the great criticisms of capitalism is how it generates its own needs that leave us all running on a treadmill. But Scott Sumner asks what if the same is true of progressivism?

[WP8] Maoists in Capitalistopia.

[WP9] Visual persuasion has taken on new dimensions with memes, but they have a long history that the elites may have lost control over.

[WP0] It’s kind of important that Samantha Bee and other liberals take care not to offend the sensibilities of Trump supporters. .

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Supercomputers Reach The Summit, For Now( 6 )

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a facility born from the drive to accomplish scientific feats before an international competitor does the same. In the modern day race for the world’s most powerful computer, the ORNL-housed Summit supercomputer has put the US back in the lead…for now.

BBC:

Summit, the US’s new supercomputer, is more than twice as powerful as the current world leader.

The machine can process 200,000 trillion calculations per second – or 200 petaflops.

China’s Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, until now the world’s most powerful machine, has a processing power of 93 petaflops.
Summit’s initial uses will include areas of astrophysics, cancer research and systems biology.

It is housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, where it was developed in partnership with IBM and NVidia.
Supercomputers are typically large, expensive systems featuring tens of thousands of processors designed to carry out specialised
calculation-intensive tasks.

Summit contains 4,608 compute servers and has more than 10 petabytes of memory

So what does that terminology mean? A quick review from the Knowledge Base, Indiana University:

A 1 petaFLOPS (PFLOPS) computer system is capable of performing one quadrillion (1015) floating-point operations per second. The rate 1 PFLOPS is equivalent to 1,000 TFLOPS. To match what a 1 PFLOPS computer system can do in just one second, you’d have to perform one calculation every second for 31,688,765 years.

A petabyte is equal to one quadrillion (one thousand trillion) bytes, or 1,000 TB. To hold 1 PB of data, you would need about 212,766 single-sided DVDs (a stack that’s about 255.3 meters, or 837.67 feet, tall).

So, what do you do with all that computing power?
Wired:

America’s new best computer is significant for more than just the geopolitics of computational brawn. It’s designed to be more suited than previous supercomputers to running the machine learning techniques popular with tech companies such as Google and Apple.

One reason computers have lately got much better at recognizing our voices and beating us at board games is that researchers discovered that graphics chips could put more power behind an old machine learning technique known as deep neural networks. Facebook recently disclosed that a single AI experiment using billions of Instagram photos occupied hundreds of graphics chips for almost a month.

Summit has nearly 28,000 graphics processors made by Nvidia, alongside more than 9,000 conventional processors from IBM. Such heavy use of graphic chips is unusual for a supercomputer, and it should enable breakthroughs in deploying machine learning on tough scientific problems, says Thomas Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge National Lab. “We set out to build the world’s most powerful supercomputer,” he says, “but it’s also the world’s smartest supercomputer.”

Eliu Huerta, a researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, describes Summit’s giant GPU pool as “like a dreamland.” Huerta previously used machine learning on a supercomputer called Blue Waters to detect signs of gravitational waves in data from the LIGO observatory that won its founders the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics. He hopes Summit’s might will help analyze the roughly 15 terabytes of imagery expected to arrive each night from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, due to switch on in 2019.

Summit will also be used to apply deep learning to problems in chemistry and biology. Zacharia says it could contribute to an Energy Department project using medical records from 22 million veterans, about a quarter-million of which include full genome sequences.

Impressive as it is, even those responsible for building Summit are looking ahead to what comes next.

Jack Wells of Oak Ridge says the experience of building Summit, which fills an area the size of two tennis courts and carries 4,000 gallons of water a minute through its cooling system to carry away about 13 megawatts of heat, will help inform work on exascale machines, which will require even more impressive infrastructure. Things like Summit’s advanced memory management and the novel, high-bandwidth linkages that connect its chips will be essential for handling the vast amounts of data exascale machines will generate. Scientists at the national lab say they’ve already leveraged Summit’s AI smarts to conduct what is effectively an exascale comparative genomics calculation.

And the competition is never ending, as DOE Secretary Rick Perry noted:

In the most recent chart of the world’s top supercomputers, published in 2017, the US owned 143 of the top 500 while China owned 202.

The US’s previous fastest supercomputer, Titan, was ranked fifth.
“We know we’re in a competition and it matters who gets there first,” said US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, speaking at the ORNL event.

“The ability to show the rest of the world that America is back in the game and we’re back in the game in a big way is really important.

“Summit’s computing capacity is so powerful that it has the ability to calculate 30 years’ worth of data saved on a desktop in one hour…this is about changing the world.”

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Morning Ed: Science {2018.06.08.F}( 46 )

[Sc1] Andrew Gelmen investigates the scientific problem with social psychology.

[Sc2] Perhaps related to that, here’s a new-to-me and potentially useful term: Coalitional instincts.

[Sc3] A look at the physiology of happiness.

[Sc4] Shakespeare and science, an investigation.

[Sc5] Less Jessim argues that science should be distrusted.

[Sc6] KILLJOYS! Sometimes, impossible means impossible.

[Sc7] “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, ‘hmm… that’s funny…’

[Sc8] Male genetic diversity collapsed around 7000 and we may be finding out why.

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Morning Ed: Relationships {2018.06.08.Th}( 100 )

[Re1] Seems to me the causality here is pretty murky.

[Re2] When women can’t find someone to have sex with, they somehow manage to avoid killing people.

[Re3] Rebecca Solnit blames capitalism for our broken ideas of sex.

[Re4] As you get further into a relationship, the desire for sex (or lack thereof) is a bilateral affair.

[Re5] Nothing about this story is at all surprising.

[Re6] Men may be less invested than you might think in women having the perfect beach body. As I’ve said before, I believe the difference in superficiality between men and women is exaggerated because women can’t be open about theirs and men use partner attractiveness as a social yardstick.

[Re7] I am naturally sympathetic to this argument, but if you have a Civil Union option with the same rights and obligations as married couples, it becomes more comparable to marriage than cohabitation.

[Re8] Scott Stanley presents his study on what happens when couples are asymmetrically committed. This ties in heavily to the cohabitation discussion.

[Re9] This sort of thing is true of a lot of sexy sex scenes in movies, even when they don’t involve sand.

[Re0]

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Morning Ed: The Planet {2018.06.06.W}( 24 )

[Pl1] This sort of makes me twitch and now I want to send a robot or something down to pick it up.

[Pl2] Chuck DeVore says that when it comes to wind power, Texas beats California hands down.

[Pl3] Meanwhile, Jonathan Marshall argues that the UK should deprioritize wind energy.

[Pl4] Potential power grid problems in New York and Australia.

[Pl5] We’re supposed to be adopting renewables, but people and circumstances keep going off-script.

[Pl6] Makes sense. Everything does, including most efforts to mitigate it.

[Pl7] As far as emissions go, things in China may get worse before they get better. Also, China’s energy relationship to the United States.

[Pl8] Justin Fox writes about what the 97% Consensus means for climate change, and what it doesn’t. A couple years ago Duarte argued that 80% was the more appropriate number.

[Pl9] William Murray reports GOP intentions to re-animate the nuclear energy industry.

[Pl0]

[Bonus] Behold, the genius of the octopus.

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Morning Ed: Technology {2018.06.05.Tu}( 17 )

[Te1] I finds the prospect of an e-ink computer/typewriter to be fascinating and an interesting example of the lengths we may go to in order to avoid distraction.

[Te2] Either that or the programmers did a really, really good job.

[Te3] “Bluetooth” is a dumb name with a cool history.

[Te4] In case you were looking for alternative Windows browsers.

[Te5] It stands to reason that eventually robots will even be better conspiracy-mongers than we are.

[Te6] Well yes, they are. This is why it’s so hilarious when they do malfunction.

[Te7] Speaking of sales demos, I just got started on Bad Blood, the book about Theranos. So far my main impression is this: The book wastes no time in making the reader detest Elizabeth Holmes.

[Te8] This will end badly. (It actually probably will, though not for the reason the headline suggests.)

[Te9] A database of experiences in a robot spouse.

[Te0]

The Enormous Spreadsheet that Runs the World's Mail

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Morning Ed: World {2018.06.04.M}( 7 )

[Wo1] In case you were wondering Korean slang for video game consoles, here you go.

[Wo2] Natalie Oliveri argues that the world would improve by becoming more Japanese. I’m just old enough to remember when the US was just going to have to be graceful in turning world leadership over to our Japanese brethren.

[Wo3] An old map of how India might have been divided.

[Wo4] The European country that isn’t..

[Wo5] Asian-Americans, always white and not white depending on which is most disadvantageous.

[Wo6] The interesting story of Varosha, Cyprus, and how it went from a booming tourist town to a ghost town due to domestic conflict.

[Wo7] There’s nothing more intriguing and more creepy than a deserted island. I still don’t know how any would exist in proximity to NYC.

[Wo8] Tanzania’s most famous cojoined twins have died.

[Wo9] Not Flat Earth! More like a bowl…

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Morning Ed: Family {2018.06.01.F}( 52 )

[Fa1] Leslie Loftis looks at the history of court custody laws and its role in fatherlessness.

[Fa2] Meanwhile, a soldier overseas learned that his baby was stillborn. This turned out to be twice wrong: The baby was sold to another couple, and wasn’t his.

[Fa3] A look at how Israel has uniquely avoided the fertility cliff. Meanwhile, in the US having lots of kids is apparently the province of the generally poor and very rich.

[Fa4] When your dad’s a serial killer.

[Fa5] I hadn’t thought it through before, but of course all this genetic testing is destroying sperm donor confidentiality.

[Fa6] Rob Henderson explains how being a foster child made him conservative.

[Fa7] I’m not sure if I object to the nepotism or not, but this is bad party management. Find the most charismatic and electable state senator and give them an incumbency advantage in 2020, is the spart route.

[Fa8] The laws here are ambiguous and the consequences worrying. But don’t worry, I’m sure enforcement doesn’t disproportionately fall onto disadvantaged groups.

[Fa9] A fascinating look at day care fees in Germany.

[Fa0]

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Morning Ed: Law & Order {2018.05.31.Th}( 116 )

[LO1] I think our bail system is bad and we should do away with it, but as long as we have it we’re not doing anybody any favors by making it harder for people to find a bail bondsperson.

[LO2] A fascinating look at how Mexican gangs are recruiting US soldiers we deported.

[LO3] Barbara McClay argues that even if body cameras don’t reduce police shootings and don’t even lead to convictions, still have a role.

[LO4] A lot of money is being spent on prisoners least likely to recidivize if set free.

[LO5] I dunno, sounds to me like he may have done something wrong.

[LO6] Seems to me that all they need to do is say this is about mass shootings because then any and every conceivable measure becomes justified.

[LO7] It’s possible that diversity doesn’t lead to better – or less discriminatory – policing.

[LO8] If you have guns, maybe don’t register them. Could be risky.

[LO9] A story of skydiving and murder.

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Morning Ed: History {2018.05.30.W}( 30 )

[Hi1] From Siberian to Native American.

[Hi2] Briefly, Pepsi was a military power.

[Hi3] We can apparently learn a lot about the Fall of Rome by looking at Greenland’s ice.

[Hi4] Korean-Americans, the second Amendment, and the Los Angeles Riots.

[Hi5] A look at the role of baseball in the Civil Rights movement.

[Hi6] Ted Genoways argues that copyright law is depriving us of our cultural history. This is a good point: Well before we’re 100 years out, these works are historical.

[Hi7] It used to be people thought California was an island… and there are maps!

[Hi8] Introducing Prince George Washington.

[Hi9] Wolf Children. This is being passed around by some bad people, but it’s actually really fascinating.

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Morning Ed: Media {2018.05.29.T}( 269 )

[Me1] The owner of Al-Jazeera owning a stake in Newsmax is a bit hard to wrap my head around.

[Me2] It’s really surprising how good the Babylon Bee is, considering it’s relatively small niche. And also an example of rightward humor that is humor first, message second, and willing to aim the cannon in multiple directions! Sadly, its founder has departed on account of being tired of worrying about being in the crosshairs of Facebook and Google..

[Me3] A cool look at the legacy of Mad Magazine. I had a few issues and, to be honest, they don’t hold up very well. MadTV, though, was pretty awesome.

[Me4] Jack Shafer says that local newspapers die with profits. Which is sad, because local newspapers are good for limited government, it turns out.

[Me5] When obituaries are written by the dead. (Sort of)

[Me6] #MeToo leaves our shores with American journalists behaving badly abroad.

[Me7] I don’t ascribe 11th dimensional genius to the things that Team Trump does, but it’s pretty clear they’ve found an exploit here and his critics are too proud to recognize that they’re losing these rounds.

[Me8] The case for newsroom diversity. A lot of newspapers, who theoretically should be pinnacles of transparency, are rather tight-lipped.

[Me9] The case against mugshots.

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Morning Ed: Wildlife {2018.05.28.M}( 3 )

[Wi1] That this is a mystery is the real mystery. Of course duck hunters want there to be a lot of ducks.

[Wi2] So my first thought is I wonder how it tastes.

[Wi3] Crocodiles rock to Bach!

[Wi4] For next time my wife complains about a clogged toilet I’m going to have this article ready.

[Wi5] Interesting. Once upon a time, the interests of the circus and animal rights advocates aligned.

[Wi6] Where red feathers come from.

[Wi7] Two moose got into a fight and the ice won.

[Wi8] Giant, predatory worms are invading French wildlife and hockey players.

[Wi9] Sounds legit.

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Linky Friday: eSpace( 95 )

Economics:

socialism photo

Photo by oceanaris Linky Friday: eSpace

[Ec1] At CapX, Diego Zuluaga writes of the triumph of economics.

[Ec2] I usually hate people who go around saying “You’re just now realizing that?!” but… seriously. In an age where people are threatening to boycott corporations for their lack of a stance on gun control is it really that hard to believe that in the days of segregation places would be boycotted for catering to African-Americans?

[Ec3] A story of free money!

[Ec4] Tim Worstall argues that the Rich List proves that capitalism isn’t broken on account of 94% of the people on it didn’t inherit or marry into it.

[Ec5] I don’t think this is right, to be honest. The automated systems started off pretty bad, but have since become really helpful. Capitalism!

[Ec6] REAL Socialism being tried, in ten acts.

Education:

college football photo

Photo by SupportPDX Linky Friday: eSpace

[Ed1] Liberia has some exciting things going on with regard to school experimentation, with something to make all sides of the debate over here happy.

[Ed2] Texas is trying to poach Oklahoma’s teachers.

[Ed3] The effects of teacher expectations may have been overstated.

[Ed4] Unless I’m missing something, this strikes me as something of a bad idea, sending a message not to lend money to Puerto Rico or any other sympathetic entity because they might get mad at you for wanting your money back.

[Ed5] And another university bites the dust.

[Ed6] Maybe Republicans aren’t actually against college after all?

[Ed7] If you want to improve your university’s research, you need to improve your football program.

Entertainment:

noir detective photo

Photo by TonySanchez Linky Friday: eSpace

[En1] This is so dumb. All you have to do is use that spiky shell. Gets them every time.

[En2] Efficient rejections! From what I understand, these days you often don’t even get an uninformative form letter.

[En3] Todd Seavey writes about the deep and hidden truths of classic Marvel comic books.

[En4] Dolan Commings writes of the lawless romance of the detective story.

[En5] This is the origin of an avant-garde horror film.

[En6] I want this. It would want it to be portable, though, so that I could use it while doing the dishes like I do audiobooks.

Mindspace:

consciousness photo

Photo by vickysandoval22 Linky Friday: eSpace

[Ms1] Can a thought experiment melt your brain?

[Ms2] I’ve been downplaying the significance of fake videos, but I found this Vox piece a somewhat convincing rebuttal and I’m going to have to think about it some more.

[Ms3] This is a supervillain origin story.

[Ms4] Expand your mind… beyond your brain.

[Ms5] Riccardo Manzotti talks about the nature of consciousness.

[Ms6] I’ve never heard of “paltering” but it seems like a term that ought to enter our lexicon.

Socialspace:

talking on the phone photo

Photo by micboc Linky Friday: eSpace

[Ss1] Learning to say no and how to handle the aftermath.

[Ss2] I’ve never heard of “paltering” but it seems like a term that ought to enter our lexicon.

[Ss3] It me.

[Ss4] Thirty-one tactics of negotiation.

[Ss6] Beware! Open floor plans may be bad for entertaining.

[Ss6] You! Hey, you! You’re probably using your deodorant wrong.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2018.05.24.Th}( 21 )

[Po1] For good reasons (regulatory certainty) and bad (regulatory capture), sometimes industry welcomes regulation.

[Po2] Now this is an interesting idea. Sounds like it would be bad for porn customers at first glance, but it could spread access.

[Po3] Joseph Heath is worried about anti-racism activism in Canada taking on an American flavor, to its detriment.

[Po4] In abortion as with drugs (to an extent), those that would have it illegal are almost always more interested in going after suppliers than their clients.

[Po5] If the US wants more educated immigrants, it needs to take a look at Africa. While I have a lot of faith in our ability to assimilate and integrate succeeding generations, knowing English when you get here is a big plus.

[Po6] It isn’t just us: European populism is either economic or it isn’t. Depending on who you ask.

[Po7] The Communist Party of the USA is taking a stand on free speech.

[Po8] The mysterious disappearance of former Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt.

[Po0] Leftwards in the US often have this belief that systems elsewhere are flawless, and that flaws in our system are unique to us and most likely on account of our backwards ways.

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Morning Ed: Labor {2018.05.23.W}( 36 )

[Lb1] A look at the fascinating world of saturation divers, who do demolition and construction in the ocean deep.

[Lb2] Back home, fast food places seemed to make a conscious decision that they would rather hire immigrants and the desperately unemployed than teenagers because the former had more scheduling flexibility. No take-backs, I’m afraid.

[Lb3] My unpopular opinion remains that corporate policies against wage divulging are a public good. Fair is fair, though: Employers should not be allowed to ask salary history.

[Lb4] A guide to determining if you’re in the wrong job.

[Lb5] During #MeToo, Phoebe Maltz Bovy talked about the flipside of sexual harassment and how women who aren’t harassed also lose.

[Lb6] As employers struggle to find employees, wages remain flat. Or do they?

[Lb7] They’re called work requirements, but maybe they’re mostly paperwork requirements.

[Lb8] What craft breweries say about industrialization and the present and future of work.

[Lb9] When France ended coal mining, it assuaged the miners by just paying them off.

[Lb0]

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Morning Ed: Space {2018.05.21.M}( 23 )

[Sp1] I’ve been thinking of this question a lot.

[Sp2] An interesting look at a space program of two.

[Sp3] When you think about it, the apex species in an alien ocean world would probably look at lot likeoctopuses. But anyway, looks like our many-tentacled peers may not be aliens after all.

[Sp4] The story of a “wardrobe malfunction” in space is long, but truly fascinating.

[Sp5] Now that’s a thorough backup: Sending Wikipedia to the moon!

[Sp6] How the physics of dying stars painted barns red.

[Sp7] A theory on why the Earth and Mars differ.

[Sp8] Mapping ancient Mars. It’s interesting to consider the implications of a (more or less) single-continent planet.

[Sp9] Aliens and the multiverse? CLICK!

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Retroactive: This Week in Ordinary Times(Comments Off)

Retroactive is a #ICYMI listing of all the great reading from the week that was. Ordinary Times is a group endeavor to explore and illuminate culture, with the word “culture” interpreted broadly. Here, you will find discussions of politics and law, art and sports, family and faith, laughter and grief, food and fiction.

Among other things, we pride ourselves on the civility, inclusiveness, and intelligence of our commenting culture, the diversity of perspectives our contributors offer our readers, and the eclectic mix of topics discussed on these pages.

Liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and everyone else may not come to agree with one another here, but we hope that if nothing else, they will at least come to understand one another. An assumption built in to much of our debate is that exploring disagreements is often a productive way for everyone to learn more, and a normal and healthy part of social discourse.

This Week:

The Great Health Insurance Adventure, a Status Report by Michael Cain A couple of almost oldsters, just trying to get through a year.

Amazon Prime Is A Luxury Good By Will Truman It’s only worth it to you if it’s worth it to you.

Policing the Predators By Em Carpenter In a perfect world, all officers of the law would be worthy of the respect their positions command. They would not take advantage of their inherent power and authority to abuse and violate vulnerable people. But the world is far from perfect, and people are less so.

Stop Mocking Millennials – Their Day is (Almost) Here By Andrew Donaldson
Putting questionable examples of Millennials in front of a camera over X issue to get Y reaction is it’s own industry in media right now. Easy-to-do content that gets strong reaction is good marketing strategy, but is also a play to stereotype and perception of Millennials as young and dumb, and is just not reality.

Taxing in the Name Of: Seattle “Head Tax” Approved Dubbed the “Seattle head tax”, the measure was touted to raise funds, combat homelessness, and build affordable housing by instituting a per-employee tax on companies such as Starbucks and Amazon, among others.

Judah Magnus and the Israeli Question A Look to the Past Looking Forward

Linky Friday: Picket Fences This week: Housing, Dogs, Religion, Food, and Transportation!

Saturday! BattleTech and Happy Birthday

Weekend! You know what they call it when you do the same thing over and over and over again and you hope for different results? Practice.

Ten Second News
Universal Norms in a Diverse World
Supply and Demand: Swedish Government Workers Edition
Self-Examining “Left Intellectual” Winning and Progressing
Beyond the Talking Head: Neil Cavuto
An Army of Kalispells
Canadian Asylum Law
New Tech for Old-School Transport
North Carolina Teachers March on Raleigh
Science Says Our Music Is Getting More Depressing
Tom Wolfe Dead at 88
US Supreme Court Strikes Down PASPA Gambling Restrictions
US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem to Praise and Violence
Mother’s Day Increasingly Happy for Millennial Moms

We allow pseudonymous comments, but if you do use a pseudonym, please do so consistently over time.
Please take a moment to review our commenting policy.
If you are interested in making a guest post, please contact one of our editors.
Welcome to Ordinary Times!

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Linky Friday: Picket Fences( 100 )

Housing:

picket fences photo

Photo by Me in ME Linky Friday: Picket Fences

[Ho1] Kevin Erdmann argues counterintuitively that there was actually insufficient housing during the great housing bubble.

[Ho2] Kevin Drum continues to make the case against build-baby-build.

[Ho3] Jordan Weissmann expected that Republicans crippling the mortgage exemption would cause problems in the housing sector. It didn’t, and now he says let’s abolish it entirely.

[Ho4] A suburban nation still: Wendell Cox has the data on urban vs suburban growth.

[Ho5] Noah Smith argues that Airbnb may be raising rents, but not much.

[Ho6] Devon Marisa Zuegel writes of the many ways we subsidize suburbia. No doubt this played a role in the flourishing of the suburbs, but the trick is now that they’re here and this is a democratic question, a lot of urbanists are not going to like the democratic answer.

Dogs:

brown bear photo

Photo by ahisgett Linky Friday: Picket Fences

[D1] Eaten to death by wiener dogs.

[D2] Nobody likes you science.

[D3] Sometimes, technology is good.

[D4] A dog in Colombia is learning market economics.

[D5] The Chinese seem to have difficulty telling dogs from other animals.

[D6] Tough, but fair.

[D7] Chernobyl puppies may finally have an opportunity for asylum in the United States.

Religion:

scientology photo

Photo by gruntzooki Linky Friday: Picket Fences

[Re1] The story of Jake Locker, the Tennessee Titan who found Jesus and quit football.

[Re2] Here’s a fascinating story of how Bollywood gave birth to a gooddess in India.

[Re3] Once a grifter

[Re4] This cult story is pretty crazy: They poisoned a town to win local elections.

[Re5] Some things are written in pencil, some are written in ink, and some are written in blood.

[Re6] A look at modern religious beliefs… in 1959. {via Jaybird}

Food:

farm photo

Photo by Bernard McManus Linky Friday: Picket Fences

[Fo1] #TerraformAustralia

[Fo2] I love patty melts, so this makes me very happy.

[Fo3] Sometimes I feel like science doesn’t know me at all.

[Fo4] Time and the economy march on, though I do understand the sadness of watching home fade away. Will shipping containers make it worse?

[Fo5] #Hero

[Fo6] The FDA is needing to parse the difference between food and medicine.

Transportation:

[Tr1] Lyman Stone argues that the debate about public transit isn’t really about transit.

[Tr2] I know this isn’t supposed to be my takeaway, but distracted driving is less of an issue than I thought. I would have guessed at least 25%.

[Tr3] Millennials’ preference against cars may have been overstated.

[Tr4] This is cool but once again it seems like an attraction hazard likely to distract other drivers.

[Tr5] There are a lot of customized license plates you can’t get in Texas.

[Tr6] Parachutes… but for the whole plane.

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Morning Ed: Society {2018.05.17.Th}( 76 )

[So1] “Alienation’s for the rich and I’m feeling poorer every day…”

[So2] Dagnabbit!

[So3] Just because it’s a socially enforced norm doesn’t mean people actually want it.

[So4] Culture matters, which means that we may have reason to care what goes on in peoples’ sex lives and political correctness may serve a very valuable function.

[So5] Chris Morgan defends bowling alone. I agree up to a point, though my experience has always been that as the default in a way that is, as I consider it, regrettable.

[So6] Laughing is good! Of course, laughing can be bad, too.

[So7] A really interesting look at our cultural relationship with Japan.

[So8] “OMG,” Lord Fisher said to Winston Churchill.

[So9] I do hope that somewhere in all of this, someone flipped a flat earth model like a table.

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Morning Ed: Health {2018.05.16.W}( 12 )

[He1] Having posted prices may not be as helpful as we’d like. Maybe on a systems level, but like calorie listings it can be helpful on an individual level.

[He2] Consumer Reports has a piece on how to talk to your doctor about medical costs.

[He3] Male obstetricians are becoming more rare. Kind of unfortunate as I understand the male desire to be a more active part in bringing life into the world, but I can’t blame the women.

[He4] Here’s something to worry about whenever you have a runny nose.

[He5] No doubt that the tobacco companies did a thorough job of getting cigarettes into our culture, but we often exaggerate how little we knew about the dangers of cigarettes. Big Tobacco didn’t convince everyone they were healthy so much as successfully cast doubt on the long-emerging science that said otherwise.

[He6] I know this isn’t supposed to be my takeaway, but maybe we could do this with things other than psychiatry and outside of prisons, too.

[He7] What do doctors learn when the hospitals they train in have safety violations?

[He8] The US demonstrates that you don’t have to have socialized health care for fat shaming to become a big thing, but it does provide a theoretically neutral rationale for people to express their disgust. (The solution to this isn’t necessarily ‘no socialized health care’ as ‘don’t use socialized medicine as an excuse to further stigmatize the obeses’ does the job just as well.)

[He9] A look at the history between the Huns and the Justinian Plague.

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Taxing in the Name Of: Seattle “Head Tax” Approved( 97 )

Seattle City Council unanimously approved a measure to tax the largest companies in the city, ending weeks of debate and negotiations with Mayor Jenny Durkin. Dubbed the “Seattle head tax”, the measure was touted to raise funds, combat homelessness, and build affordable housing by instituting a per-employee tax on companies such as Starbucks and Amazon, among others. With no income tax available to the city, new revenue streams have been a hotly debated topic.

CNN Money:

The Seattle City Council passed it unanimously in a 9-0 vote.

The final package, however, is almost half the size of the original proposal, which never garnered a veto-proof majority on the council. It was publicly opposed by Amazon — the city’s largest private sector employer — and 131 other businesses.

The newly passed ordinance, which takes effect in January 2019, will impose a “head tax” on the city’s highest grossing businesses. The tax will amount to $275 a year per full-time employee in Seattle. It would raise an estimated $44.7 million a year and expire after five years, according to the Council.
That’s down from the $75 million a year the original proposal would have generated by imposing a $540 head tax per employee for the next few years, after which it would be converted to a 0.7% payroll tax.
Related: For Amazon HQ2 hopefuls, Seattle serves as a cautionary tale

The only companies affected by the new ordinance would be those generating $20 million or more of annual revenue in the city. That’s roughly 3% of businesses in Seattle, or 585 employers, according to the Council’s estimates.

Roughly 60% of the revenue raised would go to building affordable housing, and 40% will be put toward emergency services for the homeless, Councilmember Lorena González said in the Council’s public meeting Monday.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who threatened to veto the original $540 head tax out of concern that it could cost the city good jobs, said Monday evening she would sign the new compromise deal into law.
“This legislation will help us address our homelessness crisis without jeopardizing critical jobs,” Durkan said in a statement.

Those largest companies, however, are not being quiet in their opposition to the measure.

HearldNet.com:

Amazon, Starbucks and business groups sharply criticized the council’s decision after Monday’s vote. They called it a tax on jobs and questioned whether city officials were spending current resources effectively. One state Republican leader said he would seek legislation next year to make clear that a city tax on employees, wages or hours is illegal.

Seattle-based Starbucks had harsh words for its hometown leaders. It accused the city of spending without accountability while ignoring that hundreds of children sleep outside.

“If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction,” Starbucks’ John Kelly said in a statement.

Adding to the drama was the pausing of construction on a downtown facility by Amazon during the Seattle head tax debate which the retail giant now says will resume, but with a warning.
Fortune:

However, the version of the tax that the City Council agreed to on Monday will be far less onerous than the draft that led Amazon to suspend construction on a new office tower in a not-so-subtle threat over providing further employment in Seattle.

“We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” Amazon said in a statement. “While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.”

The big name companies get the spotlight, but the debate over growing mega-companies and their effect on housing in the areas they are based in is both old and growing. Supporters are not shy about their intentions for taxing large companies for social causes, such as to be found at Common Dreams:

Overcoming weeks of extortionist threats and other forms of “corporate bullying” from the world’s largest retailer, Seattle’s City Council on Monday unanimously approved a new tax on Amazon—which paid nothing in federal income taxes last year—and other major companies in an effort to provide essential services for the homeless and combat the local housing crisis.

“As long as big business controls the wealth in society, and controls what is built and where…they will create a race to the bottom around the world.”
—Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilmember

Noting that the so-called “head tax” is quite modest relative to Amazon’s annual revenue and the pay of its CEO Jeff Bezos—the world’s richest man—socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant argued on Monday that “even a smaller tax is a huge victory,” given the “Goliath-like clout of Amazon.” A far more progressive and bold approach is possible, Sawant urged, if politicians refuse to limit “themselves to what’s acceptable to big biz.”

In total, the tax is expected to raise around $47 million a year, $13 million of which would come from Amazon, the city’s largest employer. Warren Gunnels, policy director for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), called Monday’s vote a “huge victory” and noted that yearly revenue from the new tax on Amazon will be roughly equivalent to what Bezos makes in an hour.

Other companies that will be hit by the tax are Starbucks, Apple, Google, and Nordstrom.

Despite the fact that the measure passed by the Seattle city council on Monday is significantly smaller than the original $75 million a year tax proposal, Amazon continued its “howls of protest” in a statement on Monday, decrying the new tax as “disappointing” and “anti-business.”

Fortune:

Seattle has a serious homelessness problem that has been exacerbated by the growth in high-paying jobs there, thanks to big employers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing.

So, at the end of April, the Seattle City Council released draft legislation that would force companies with revenues of over $20 million in the city to pay 26 cents for each hour worked by a Seattle-based employee, or roughly $540 per head per year. This “head tax” was to apply over 2019 and 2020, generating $86 million a year for social programs, before turning into a 0.7% payroll tax. (The annual proceeds of the tax were originally calculated at $75 million before the council revised its estimates.)

However, with Mayor Jenny Durkan threatening to veto the tax because she was concerned about its impact on employment, the measure had to be watered down to pass.

Amazon addressed such criticism in its own statement:

“We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs. While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here. City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018. This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem. We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.”

Still others think the city might be overreaching here, and some have challenged the notion that only the big companies will be affected:

King5:

The debate has most often focused on Amazon, but there are roughly 600 businesses that will be affected, some more than others. One of those is the iconic Dick’s Drive-In.

“That’s what’s really frustrating, this isn’t about Amazon at all,” said Saul Spady, whose grandfather founded Dick’s back in 1954. “This is a tax on high-volume, low-margin businesses, like restaurants, and that’s where it’s going to put the most pain. And it’s making restaurants like Dick’s Drive-ins think really strongly about do we make our workforce more efficient, do we give less money to charity, or maybe we just don’t be a business in Seattle.”

For some, Dick’s Drive-In is as much Seattle as the Space Needle, or Starbucks. It’s been here longer than both but now must face the fact of doing business in a city that’s rapidly changing.

Meanwhile, restaurateur Ethan Stowell is primed to open his newest venture in fine dining, Cortina. It’s unclear whether the head tax will affect him directly, but he’ll be paying for it one way or another.

“There’s dozens of purveyors that we buy from that all have to pay it, and they have to raise their prices,” said Stowell. “If milk costs me x amount of dollars and now it goes up, my percentage is my percentage, I need to make sure I’m fiscally responsible with my business and they’re going to be reflected in the price.”

Like Dick’s, Stowell and other Seattle businesses have given back to their community but admits more could be done. The question is who spends that money the best.

“I’d be happy to write a check for homelessness. Am I happy to write a check to the city of Seattle for them to manage my money? Not super stoked about that,” Stowell said.

Activist might scoff at Amazon hinting at considering their future in Seattle, but in the background looms memories of a city and region that is still smarting from the loss of an iconic business not long ago.
ABC News from when it happened:

Boeing Co. stunned its hometown by announcing it is moving its headquarters out of Seattle, where the aircraft manufacturing giant was founded 85 years ago.

Chairman and Chief Executive Phil Condit said Wednesday Boeing is considering Chicago, Denver and Dallas-Fort Worth. It hopes to choose the site by early summer and have it running by fall.
Condit said the move is intended to save money and give the world’s No. 1 maker of passenger jets a headquarters central to its operations, now spread over 26 states.

The company’s huge jet manufacturing plants will remain in the Seattle area, as will much of its research and development work.

Condit said less than half the 1,000 employees working at its Seattle corporate center will be moved to the new headquarters. The others will be transferred to other departments or may be laid off, he said.
The announcement shocked community and labor leaders.
While the move might not have a major economic impact on Seattle, Mayor Paul Schell and Gov. Gary Locke publicly pleaded with Boeing to reconsider. “I will do all I can to help them change their minds,” Schell said.

“I am surprised and deeply sorry to see any part of the Boeing Co. leave Washington state,” Locke said. “While the bulk of the Boeing family remains with us, to lose the corporate leadership of this company leaves a void in our economic and cultural life.”

Is there a foreshadowing in Boeing’s move and the debate at hand with Amazon post Seattle head tax? Maybe, wrote Dominic Gates last year when Amazon HQ2 became an issue:

Some parallels to Amazon’s decision are clear, but there are important differences too.

For a start, the prize for the city that wins the Amazon contest will be much, much richer: It promises a $5 billion investment, as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs, an expectation of kindling more growth, and the immediate prestige of digital technology leadership.

In his 2001 announcement Condit named Chicago, Dallas and Denver as the leading contenders and invited proposals from each city. When Chicago came out on top a few months later, only a few hundred corporate jobs shifted from the Seattle area to a skyscraper in the Windy City. Boeing’s manufacturing sites were never part of the move.

At the time, Boeing employed 79,000 people in Washington state. By 2012, that figure had risen to 87,000.

The most significant difference in the two corporate maneuvers may be more psychological: Amazon is not “moving” its headquarters. It’s duplicating it.

That is significant because while Amazon hasn’t signaled dissatisfaction with Seattle, Boeing’s move betrayed a deep unease about the city.

***

There also was a suspicion that the corporate and political climate of Chicago — its more conservative, business-friendly bent; its expensive steakhouses where macho titans of industry could talk over cigars and scotch — would better suit the taste and personality of men like Boeing’s then-president, Harry Stonecipher.

From their airy perch in Chicago, Boeing’s leaders could — and did — make steely decisions about where to locate work or where to make layoffs at a safe remove from the people affected on the ground.

The impact of that detachment from Seattle is apparent today, when Boeing’s total employment in the state has sunk to 67,000.
The recent sharp decline is due partly to cyclical trends in the airplane industry but also to Boeing’s leadership moving work to other states to reduce costs.

Of course, if Amazon in 10 years has twin headquarters in Seattle and say, Boston, its leadership will have a similar psychological freedom. When deciding where to make their next big investment, they’ll be equally able to play one city off against the other in asking for incentives — and almost certainly will do so.

However the homeless, the hard-up for housing, and the Seattle head tax move forward one thing is for sure: life in the Pacific Northwest just got more expensive for big companies, both in taxes and in turmoil.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2018.05.15.T}( 20 )

[Po1] Ronald Radosh talks about Roy Cohn.

[Po2] Robert Greene II writes about 1968, the Kennedy coalition, and how Kennedy and King became more gestures than historical people.

[Po3] Dune, but as leftism gone amuck.

[Po4] I’m with Barro. Google is asking for a lot of what’s been happening to them.

[Po5] Concerned citizens for hire.

[Po6] What data can tell us about elections is pretty limited, but we’re desperate to believe otherwise and that all is proceeding as was foretold. One of the really weird things about the 2016 election cycle is to watch people go from knowing everything to knowing everything differently than before without ever believing they were wrong.

[Po7] Just a reminder: If you oppose pipelines, you Ride with Putin.

[Po8] Doug Ford wants to protect northern Ontario from immigration against the wishes of northern Ontario.

[Po9] The political shift on gun control is very real, but may not be as durable as advertised.

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Morning Ed: Technology {2018.05.14.M}( 8 )

[Te1] This will end badly.

[Te2] Here’s a cool look at the history of computers and women’s place there.

[Te3] Porn were the pioneers of the Internet, enabling such things as easy credit card payments and more. It makes sense that something similar would drive robots.

[Te4] It’s like the legged luggage in Discworld, though without the legs.

[Te5] Clancy got her current job right about the time when they were retiring pagers. So she was issued one but never used it. It was pretty seemless, though, because everybody has cell phones.

[Te6] I am definitely intrigued.

[Te7] Looking at a jacket that simulates physical sensations, for use with VR.

[Te8] Tad Friend asks how afraid we should be of AI.

[Te9] Facebook is good at connecting people… even if we don’t want them connected.

[Te0]

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Retroactive: This Week in Ordinary Times(Comments Off)

Retroactive: This Week in Ordinary Times is a #ICYMI listing of all the great reading from the week that was.

Ordinary Times is a group endeavor to explore and illuminate culture, with the word “culture” interpreted broadly. Here, you will find discussions of politics and law, art and sports, family and faith, laughter and grief, food and fiction.

Among other things, we pride ourselves on the civility, inclusiveness, and intelligence of our commenting culture, the diversity of perspectives our contributors offer our readers, and the eclectic mix of topics discussed on these pages.

Liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and everyone else may not come to agree with one another here, but we hope that if nothing else, they will at least come to understand one another. An assumption built in to much of our debate is that exploring disagreements is often a productive way for everyone to learn more, and a normal and healthy part of social discourse.

This week:

The Uses and Abuses of Donuts How a gourmet donut shop became a battleground over gentrification, anarchism, white pride, and everything else.

King Coal: West Virginia’s Abusive Love Despite the damage it has inflicted, coal is still king in West Virginia. Will the man held responsible for the deaths of 29 miners win the state’s Republican senate nomination?

Untangling “Voter Ownership” and the Champions of Big Ideas A guide to cashing in your credibility.

Iran, Iraq and Path Dependence Where does the region go from here?

Free, But at What Price? How would we get a social media service that won’t sell our personal data?

America, the Awesome Burt Likko has one of those sorts of problems that really aren’t such bad problems to have.

Robots: Viral Success, but Practical Challenges Remain Turns out, Skynet might have been an underachieving bunch of pikers. At least, if the developments in robot technology from Boston Dynamic and others are to be believed in their latest batch of viral videos. But do the video clips, impressive as they are, reflect the whole truth?

Whither Mike Pence Vice President Mike Pence started his Thursday off by making a rare comment about the ongoing special counsel investigation, but it was events from earlier in the week that were still on the mind of many folks.

All the Ten Second News items, Linkworld, and more.

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Robots: Viral Success, but Practical Challenges Remain( 25 )

Turns out, Skynet might have been an under achieving bunch of pikers. At least that is the impression, if the developments in robot technology from Boston Dynamic and others are to be believed in their latest batch of viral videos.

CNBC:

Boston Dynamics, a Softbank-owned robotics firm, released new videos on Thursday showing off some new robot tricks.

The company’s Atlas bipedal robot can now run like Forrest Gump and even jump over a log in its way. Last year we saw Atlas do a backflip.

The infamous door-opening robot, SpotMini, is getting even creepier. In the latest video, SpotMini is autonomously navigating around a lab, avoiding obstacles and can walk up and down stairs.

The videos have become very popular:

But do the video clips, impressive as they are, reflect the whole truth?

Sort of, according to Wired UK:

Boston Dynamics causes a viral sensation every time it posts a new video of one of its robots moving around the lab. It’s the first sign of the inevitable robo-pocalypse, guys!. But with a little advice from some experts, you can begin to separate the hype from the facts and appreciate Boston Dynamics’s work (and your own humanity) better.

If you want to act like a robotics expert when viewing one of these videos, one of the first things you should do is be critical about how Boston Dynamics, a private company rather than an academic entity, doesn’t publish enough of its findings. This makes it hard to know what’s really going on inside the robots. “We have an idea about what approaches they are using” says Ioannis Havoutis, a researcher in robotics focusing on leg locomotion at the Oxford Robotics Institute, “but apart from a few papers, we can only guess what they are doing.”
Know the margins of error

Once the complaining’s out of the way, start by understanding the calculations and margins involved in the robots’ activities. The knack to the antics of Boston Dynamics’ robots is that they have a larger margin of error than most robots are given.

“Boston Dynamics do not worry about sub-millimetre accuracy, they worry about the functional accuracy,” says Thrishantha Nanayakkara, reader in design engineering and robotics at Imperial College London. “[Atlas] is metastable, so it’s stable most of the time. There is a probability that it can go wrong, and they take that chance. Most robots we know in the industry don’t take that chance.” Being metastable means Atlas has to balance itself to stay upright, just like a human.
But even Atlas’ backflip only requires “a very crude calculation to make the jump” he continues. “Then when it lands, it makes the corrections. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough.”

Meanwhile in the real world, integrating robots into high stakes situations is still a frustrating challenge, such as this example from TechCrunch:

As the Asahi Shimbun reported yesterday, members of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority are now urging plant operators Tokyo Electric Power Company to find new technology and methods to aid in the cleanup. Robots keep getting fried on their missions, literally from radiation damage, or stranded on-site wasting precious money and time.

The implication is that, perhaps, the clean up will move faster if Tepco’s energy and the government’s money is redirected to chemistry, biology, and so-called “safe containment,” building some sort of structure around Fukushima Daiichi like the “sarcophagus” around Chernobyl. Or perhaps humans need to trust AI to move robots through some of their tasks. All of the robots deployed in the cleanup effort have been remote-operated by humans, so far. The government watchdog’s critical comments followed the latest robo-fail revealed by Tepco.

On March 23 the company said it had attempted to send a survey robot into a containment vessel to find fuel debris, information it needs to decommission the plant. But the PMORPH survey robot, developed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID), couldn’t get its cameras to the predetermined location. As a result, it only sent back a partial report.

Just one month earlier, Tepco aborted a mission using a Toshiba “scorpion” robot that was built to scramble over rubble, capture images and data inside the plant’s facilities. The robot could tolerate up to 1,000 sieverts of radiation. And yet, it had trouble within the hostile environs of the number 2 reactor where it was dispatched.

These followed a string of earlier robot losses at the plant going back to the Quince 1, the first robot to enter the facility after the disaster. Developed by the Chiba Institute of Technology, the International Rescue System Institute, and Tohoku University in Japan, Quince went into the power plant’s reactor 2 building where it measured radiation levels, collected dust samples and video footage. It ran several missions but eventually disconnected from its communications cable and got stranded within the building.

It’s not like anyone thought it would be easy to make robots capable of finding and retrieving molten nuclear fuel, or decommissioning and decontaminating a nuclear power plant. Japanese researchers have been trying to create robots with these capabilities since the 80s, as Timothy Hornyak wrote in the journal Science last year. Robots remain incredibly tantalizing technology.

So while impressive, it is fair to view these viral clips as more marketing and tease than scientific revolution. And your fears of a Skynet-like robo-pocalyse? From Popular Science:

When we put aside fantasies like foom, digital megalomania, instant omniscience, and perfect control of every molecule in the universe, artificial intelligence is like any other technology. It is developed incrementally, designed to satisfy multiple conditions, tested before it is implemented, and constantly tweaked for efficacy and safety. As AI expert Stuart Russell puts it: “No one in civil engineering talks about ‘building bridges that don’t fall down.’ They just call it ‘building bridges.’” Likewise, he notes, AI that is beneficial rather than ­dangerous is simply AI.

Artificial intelligence, to be sure, poses the more mundane ­challenge of what to do about the people whose jobs are eliminated by automation. But the jobs won’t be eliminated that quickly. The observation of a 1965 report from NASA still holds: “Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system that can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.” Driving a car is an easier engineering problem than unloading a dishwasher, running an errand, or changing a diaper, and at the time of this writing, we’re still not ready to loose self-driving cars on city streets.

Until the day battalions of robots are inoculating children and building schools in the developing world, or for that matter, building infrastructure and caring for the aged in ours, there will be plenty of work to be done.

Welcome to the brave new world, which as it turns out is still a work in progress.

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Linkworld: A Brutal World( 20 )

Cities:

baghdad photo

Photo by DVIDSHUB Linkworld: A Brutal World

[Ci1] Keep Brutalism alive!

[Ci2] A lot of what we do is driven by a desire to avoid poor people.

[Ci3] Michael Goebel explains the importance (or profoundness) of urbanization in human history.

[Ci4] World cities mashup.

[Ci5] This is such an incredibly New York City story.

[Ci6] According to Michael Hobbes, our housing woes have spread from San Francisco to Boise. But if housing isn’t affordable, what is even the point of having a Kansas City?

[Ci7] Baghdad is apparently becoming a happening place.

Jobs:

minneapolis photo

Photo by kodiax2 Linkworld: A Brutal World

[Jo1] Technically on strike, bus drivers in Japan would still run their routes but just not collect fares. {Fixed}

[Jo2] A different kind of cheerleader.

[Jo3] Is being agreeable helpful or hurtful to your career prospects? Well, depends on whether we’re talking about the US or Japan.

[Jo4] It makes sense for Silicon Valley and Seattle to be the major leagues with some of these towns as the minors.

[Jo5] When blue collars flee a city, white collars may not be far behind.

[Jo6] I thought Minneapolis should have been a front-runner for Amazon, but apparently they were really worried about employee recruitment.

Violence:

[Vi1] Communists vs revolutionaries in France.

[Vi2] An interesting discovery about a bloody, bloody massacre in Sweden.

[Vi3] Feral pigs in Australia can drink us all under the table.

[Vi4] Kristina Killgrove explains how climate change affected the outcome of ancient wars.

[Vi5] Fascinating: The US’s first air force goes back to the Civil War.

Immigration:

[Im1] This story goes from bad to worse.

[Im2] ICE has difficulty telling kids from adults and are relyuing on some dubious methodology.

[Im3] Teachers in Arizona are upset that school districts are bringing in immigrants to work for wages they don’t want to work for.

[Im4] The drop in student visas is real.

[Im5] NPR looks at Hungary’s xenophobia problem.

[Im6] I consider most immigration issues to be more complicated than both sides often make them out to be, but not birthright citizenship.

More:

India photo

Photo by Nick Kenrick.. Linkworld: A Brutal World

[Mo1] Alex Massie writes of the search of meaning for the Commonwealth of Nations.

[Mo2] The importance of colonialism in Africa is, according to one study, receding.

[Mo3] Nikresh Shukla explains that no colonialism was not good.

[Mo4] Is Israel making inroads with South America?

[Mo5] Themyscira born!

[Mo6] Neat: An Etymological map of Mexico.

[Mo7] Iceland loves its elves. I choose to find it charming, and as with Tamara Winter it speaks to the importance of national mythology.

[Mo8] Some lawyers in Quebec are attempting to invalidate its laws. All of them.

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Morning Ed: Economics {2018.05.10.Th}( 47 )

[Ec1] Honestly, this is a reason to prevent horizontal integration between content owners/producers and carriers.

[Ec2] Doesn’t everything?

[Ec3] The end of credit card signatures? I’m a little surprised there wasn’t movement towards approaching this more arithmetically, depending on the purchase. Some purchases are kind of red flaggy, but a lot aren’t.

[Ec4] On the importance of decision-makers, sometimes major corporate decisions are made simply because the CEO doesn’t want to get the stinkeye from his peers. This has implications!

[Ec5] Alex Tabarrok made an inconvenient discovery.

[Ec6] Finland is ending its flirtation with UBI.

[Ec7] It seems to me the easiest way for Netflix and Amazon to meet their quotas is to offer less American content rather than to bankroll European content. Though if this did lead to them picking up more foreign shows for American audiences, I’d take it.

[Ec8] The WWE has Saudi Arabia’s back. Though, really, they’ve had an anti-Iran bias going way back.

[Ec9] Samuel Hammond argues that the US might need to beef up its welfare state to preserve freedom by staving off populism.

[Ec0]

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