Ten Second News (Beta)

Morning Ed: Government {2016.08.11.Th}( 263 )

Mark Jamison argues that Clinton’s universal broadband proposal is an economic drag.

I am a fan of revenue-caps on traffic courts, though I can see why you wouldn’t want to to place the caps differently in different places.

Kevin Williamson looks at the collapse of Venezuela, and the differences between welfare and socialism.

I was wondering when the war on distracted driving would start hitting people where it hurts, like eating and drinking coffee. If you’re going to fine drivers, you’re not educating them you are punishing them.

Everything you need to know about government, you can learn from Yes, Minister. And now, the Brexit explained.

Andrew Granato looks into how a federal university system might be implemented. This isn’t the route I would go, but it might be worth pursuing.

After various concerned parties pointed out that history has not been kind to governments that style themselves as super rational, Neil deGrasse Tyson is doubling down on Rationalia.

Government ruins everything.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.08.10.W}( 106 )

Alex Knapp storifies some thoughts on Star Trek and the legal status of Data.

Why Employers Need To Empathize With ‘Entitled’ 43-Year-Old White Men

This really was a weird thing. I commented on it a while back. I do feel sorry for those parents whose kids actually do say precocious things, because a lot of people probably don’t believe them.

Matthew Isbell wants to know why TV shows always come up with screwy election maps. I sort of figure it related to how on TV shows Republican politicians being conspicuously pro-choice is a regular thing. Different politics, different map.

Via Atomic Geography, grading the Olympics logos.

The Internet Archive has 10,000 Amiga titles you can play right now.

Well this makes sense. Given the sprawling storyline of Game of Thrones, I can see why it might appeal to prisoners that their prison terms should seem short by comparison.

It’s hard to monetize being famous on the Internet, because people don’t want to pay for stuff and resent advertisements.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.08.08.M}( 85 )

Tough times for Korean actors in China.

When football and immigration law collide.

As with pretending that most Crimeans aren’t perfectly fine being in Russia, persistent fictions must be maintained for the sake of order.

So Donald Trump has been picking up endorsements right and left.

Well yes, this is definitely the sort of statement that would warrant an apology.

If Labour divorces, who gets the voters? The tricky thing is that the first mover, whether from the leftist or centrist faction, doesn’t.

Fortunately, Germany’s answer to the National Front – the AfD – is not especially strong… yet.

Wow, this Damon Linker piece on Angela Merkel is just brutal.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.08.07.Su}( 34 )

There is a time when I might have agreed with this, but seeing what the reg’lar folks are up to, maybe Hamilton fans aren’t so bad.

Though he was ready for some blowback, Kamikaze Cruz had no idea. His only hope for 2020 is a petty big blowout.

One of my early concerns about the Clinton campaign was that they wouldn’t be able to get away from the Attack Trump As A Republican mindset. Fortunately, they have.

This is fine. No, wait, this is not fine!

I’m inclined to agree with John Zieglar here: Scarborough should not be able to walk back his previous Trump enabling.

I think there is a non-trivial chance that there actually is something psychologically wrong with Donald Trump, and that does seem like the thing that people should know if it were true, but this petition makes me uneasy for some of the reasons outlined in some of the perspectives here.

Make innuendo about him having sex with his daughter, but don’t accuse him of being poor: A look into the… interesting psychology of the Republican nominee.

Robert A George’s storified thoughts on conservatives, media, and minorities may be worth your time.

Josh Barro thinks Hillary Clinton may have a shot at Texas. Texas Monthly senior editor Erica Grieder (a Cruz supporter) has been tweeting for a while that Trump may be uniquely vulnerable there. Degreed whites in the South vote Republican, but they may not vote for Trump.

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Linky Friday #178: Crime, Death, & Urban Living( 266 )


Calgary photo

Image by davebloggs007 Linky Friday #178: Crime, Death, & Urban Living

[Ci1] Because people, I assume. They’re the worst, and cities are full of them.

[Ci2] It’s hard to build affordable housing because it’s not affordable. I definitely believe it to be the case that city mice are much more worried about inequality because there are a lot more zero-sum commodities. Like real estate.

[Ci3] Aaron David passes along this pretty cool story, of a guy who used 180,000 old photos of New York to greate a Googlemap.

[Ci4] Ryan Briggs talks about gentrification, and how rather than being a tool of integration may just be a shifting of segregated racial boundaries.

[Ci5] City Journal has an interesting look at how Christchurch (NZ) rebuilt itself after an earthquake.

[Ci6] Americans have a love affair with European cities, but in looking for inspiration a couple of urbanists say we should really be looking at Canada.


police photo

Image by spaztacular Linky Friday #178: Crime, Death, & Urban Living

[Cr1] Former inmate looking for work? Applebee’s to the rescue. (Well, at least one franchise owner.)

[Cr2] Marie Gottschalk reports that mass incarceration goes way beyond the drug war. If you’re interested in more nuanced takes on incarceration, and are on Twitter, I recommend Xenocrypt.

[Cr3] As France comes to grips with the terrorism spike, some Muslims are showing solidarity by attending Catholic Mass and refusing to bury the perpetrator.

[Cr4] Alan Pendergast tells the story of a fourteen year old’s false confession. If you haven’t seen it, this scene from Homicide, Life on the Street is spectacular. (It’s a ten minute interrogation to get a guy to confess to a murder that nobody believes he committed.)

[Cr5] “Is this for real?

[Cr6] Via Oscar, a look into the lives of mass killers.

[Cr7] I mean, I guess I appreciate the thought and all, but… please don’t.


[Ec1] Walmart is lowering prices in Canada.

[Ec2] Tough times for the restaurant industry.

[Ec3] Oooh, free photo editing software.

[Ec4] Vintage Soviet cars for sale.

[Ec5] Wait now, who hated the VCR? (Other than the MPAA, of course.)

[Ec6] In 2007, it was discovered that cell phones contributed to the fishing economy, lowering prices and increasing profit margins. They may also reduce fish piracy.


[Ed1] The teacher shortage may be making a comeback.

[Ed2] I’m inclined to agree with Robert Pondiscio, here. I support as many alternative models to college as we can make work, and people should be cost-conscious, but that means being aware of the costs (tangible and intangible) of not going the traditional route.

[Ed3] Maybe instead of one student loan crisis, we have three. We seem intuitively aware that the main problem aren’t people graduating with $50,000 debts from quarter-elite private schools with degrees in puppetry, but that is what we talk about when we talk about the student loan debt problem. It might be worthwhile to go with “student loan debt problems.”

[Ed4] After School Satan. If I lived in Deseret, this would have an appeal! I do wish they would separate the trolly aspect from the more positive ones, though.


hookah photo

Image by RyAwesome Linky Friday #178: Crime, Death, & Urban Living

[H1] The hysteria surrounding the prediabetes may be causing its own problems.

[H2] I have no doubt this is true. For women, it’s the difference between being assumed a doctor and being assumed a nurse.

[H3] So, flossing is out I guess.

[H4] Beware hookah! It’s like smoking 40 cigarettes! Actually, there is some cause for alarm here, though I find it funny that one area they are better than cigarettes is that they deliver less nicotine, and we’ve recently learned that nicotine is the only bad thing in cigarettes (because ecigarettes are “just as bad” as cigarettes, because both contain nicotine).

[H5] It’s become common knowledge that low-fat diets aren’t effective, but I still find myself gravitating towards low-fat foods because I am less likely to go hog-wild eating it.

[H6] Go ahead and pick your nose. Just be sure to eat it.

[H7] Scott Alexander looks at the relationship between Schizophrenia and smoking. It’s an open question as to whether therapeutic uses of nicotine will ever be acknowledged. When does science ever win in a science vs culture battle?

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Morning Ed: Resources {2016.08.04.Th}( 131 )

As oil prices remain low, some oil companies are wanting to resort to protectionism.

A paper alleging fracking contamination of drinking water has been retracted.

No nuclear power plants on the rockies, it would appear.

And the eyes of a parched California turn towards Israel

The Keystone XL Pipeline may have been killed, but the Dakota Access Pipeline never became a symbolic cause. Not that it isn’t without its objectors, however.

Plastic bag use down big time in England, after a small surcharge.

Stop trying to get me to like Tim Kaine, it isn’t going to work.

Texas 1, Saudi Arabia 0.

Lyman Stone’s piece on migrations and oil booms is worth a read.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.08.03.W}( 92 )

Well, I’m glad that the ultimate edition of Batman vs Superman is an improvement, but I’m not sure how much I want to watch the whole thing to see the improvements.

Adam Gurri writes of the hegemony of the backstory. I’ve become increasingly against the notion that every introduction should be an origin story.

Franklin Harris has a theory on why comics and Hollywood are angling for superhero and action hero diversity.

It’s kind of funny that Suits has such a liberal following since it’s one of few shows that show protagonist guardians for Big Corporations (including oil companies!). I’m also not sure what to make of the fact that Supernatural is higher on both sides than The Big Bang Theory.

I… uh… yeah, I wouldn’t eat the cracker.

Well, there goes one proposed solution for hostile behavior online.

It turns out, Republicans also go and watch movies.

Sexless millennials, there are more than one might think! Well, at least young people being unable to move out of their parents’ house is having some benefit.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.08.02.T}( 34 )

It used to be the libertarians that challenged the single-axis left-right political spectrum. Perhaps we need the two-dimensional axis for the other end.

This is more of a confirmation than actual news. Conservative #NeverTrump folks have been talking about it for a while.

Among the DNC emails released were some from Kevin Franck. He has some things to say.

Rachel Hoff talks about being the first openly gay member of the GOP Platform committee. On the other side, the Democrats chose to leave the Q off, for now.

Donald Trump has released an attack ad. Against Bernie Sanders.

One might expect that Latinos would be sufficiently alarmed by the rise of Trump to be motivated to go vote, but not really.

Jonathan Last illustrates the excuses that the Trumpists will have lined up after November, if things don’t go well. I think things are going to settle on #8.

I remember when I used to think parties favoring inside candidates was a bad thing. Turns out, it has its virtues!

Donald Trump seems poised to test this theory.

If this isn’t the most briar-patchy complaint about Hillary Clinton, I don’t know what is.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.08.01.M}( 14 )

The restoration of Gladiator school!

Peter Tuchin weighs in on the question of what the Mariel boatlift says and doesn’t say about immigration and wages. (For those unfamiliar, the Mariel boatlift is often cited as proof that immigration doesn’t hurt wages, but it has recently been called in to question.)

Could you solution to the refugee problem be investment in Jordan?

Mistakes were made.

Nothing but slavery is slavery, but…

So maybe the breakup of the UK isn’t so imminent.

Daniel Hannan points to the unfallen sky.

Marian Tupy looks at post-communism in Europe and the subsequent advance in economy and freedom.

The Juggalos are marching on Washington, DC.

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Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories( 98 )


calgary photo

Image by davebloggs007 Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[Ci1] When one things of new urbanization, they don’t necessarily think of Calgary. But the oil-town appears to be giving it a go.

[Ci2] Singapore redeveloped an abandoned train station into a public park. Can we learn anything from it?

[Ci3] Joel Kotkin and Charles Marohn debate conservatism vs suburbia.

[Ci4] Can you identify these cities from space?

[Ci5] I wonder if we’ll have meticulously detailed digital replicas of all the cities, at some point in the future.


action figures photo

Image by avrene Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[G1] Rose Eveleth looks at period patents. As in tampons, underpants, etc…

[G2] Paulette Perhach explains the F*** Off Fund.

[G3] A number of mothers with sons on Twitter have cosigned with this: Where is the place for boys in the age of girl power?

[G4] In the 1920’s, a troll by the name of Charles Vance Millar convinced a bunch of women to have as many babies as they could.

[G5] Are action figures disfiguring male self-image?

[G6] Glosswitch argues that paid surrogacy turns disadvantaged women into rented wombs for the wealthy. Though I reject the broader arguments, it makes some good points (and reminds me in some ways of the prostitution debate).

[G7] Every place has its own definition of feminism. Here’s an interesting article on Nepal’s.

[G8] Ten facts about men.


calories photo

Image by Loup-Vert Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[H1] I… can’t imagine meeting a woman my height.

[H1] Don’t just start school later… also start work later.

[H2] Science Magazine looks at an anti-alzheimer’s gene that may have contributed to our collective longevity.

[H3] The thermodynamics formula for calories consumed and burned doesn’t seem to work. Why not?

[H4] Aaron Carroll looks at the failure of menu calorie counts. This is one of those things that I really do find baffling, as it does affect the way that I eat.

[H5] Investigating the potential health benefits of nicotine. For some, at least.

[H6] The federalist in me says that states should have the ability to set their own standards. The libertarian in me says that when it comes to telemedicine in particular, concerns about this can be dealt with other ways.


money photo

Image by gagilas Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[M1] Matthias Shapiro talks of living on the food stamp diet, and presents how he managed it.

[M2] Well this kind of sucks. When I don’t mind risking Chinese counterfeits I go to eBay. I go to Amazon specifically when I don’t want to risk it.

[M3] Benjamin G. Edelman is worried about Uber.

[M4] Networks, land, power, and taxes: How Iowa became a data center hub.

[M5] Writers are being paid around $50k to write books that we demand from people who can’t write.


creature photo

Image by abolotnov Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[Cr1] A species of dolphin has been wiped out, and a species of porpoise may be next.

[Cr2] Spider farming? No.

[Cr3] Good news! Some scientists are saying the kangaroo rat may not be extinct. Just keep these prairie dogs away from them, wherever they are.

[Cr4] An interesting article from Andrew Plumptre on the plight and hope of the world’s largest gorillas.

[Cr5] Many have argued that cities make people smarter. Maybe raccoons, too!

[Cr6] I didn’t realize that hedgehogs had such an important place in our literature.

[Cr7] The way to a woman’s heart is with panda facts.Image by abolotnov Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

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Morning Ed: Crime {2016.07.28.Th}( 115 )

Hate crime hoaxes, not just for the Left.

The BitTorrent whack-a-mole game continues, but the feds got themselves a huge hit.

Meanwhile, real piracy (like with boats) has reached 20-year lows.

This is quite good: Phil Walter wants a common lexicon for violence extremism. These are distinctions with differences (though, of course, it’s not always easy to tell where a particular attacker should be categorized).

From Jaybird: Devontre Thomas was found with about as much weed needed to roll a joint. So of course they’re seeking to put him away for a year.

According to some international law experts, companies managing the Australian refugee prisons could be putting themselves at legal risk.

Young people getting caught up on the sex offender registry isn’t the exception, it’s the rule.

Wait, could Gary Condit have killed Chandra Levy after all? Probably not, but I didn’t realize that the alleged killer’s conviction had been overturned.

I commented a while back that when it comes to crime and crime policy, a lot of people still haven’t left the eighties and nineties. That was a long time ago. Also, it seems the ideas we had then were wrong. The problem, though, was very real and Rudy Giuliani became a hero for a reason. It’s because of this that when I read that France’s Prime Minister said “The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism” that I cringed for more than one reason.

Meanwhile, John Hinckley is getting freed. Ken White shares his thoughts.

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Morning Ed: Labor {2016.07.27.W}( 100 )

The Socialist Party is likely on its way out in France, but they imparted one final blow to try to put things back on track (or, depending on your point of view, screw their own people).

Businesses are coming up with an ingenuous way to get more employees: raising wages.

Kevin Williamson explains how higher wages make Buc-ee’s great, but that you can’t universalize from their experience. {Related}

Are video games taking young men out of the workforce? Well, that’s better than turning them into psycho-murderers I guess? Anyway, some serious reflection on the voluntarily unemployed.

A couple of labor economists are worried about what a minimum wage boost will do to (some) black workers.

We are likely to be debt-free in another year or two, thanks in (relatively small, about 30%) part to government programs like this. It’s definitely a way to get doctors to consider doing something they otherwise wouldn’t want to do, but there is an economic inefficiency about it (on our end) I don’t care for.

Tony You argues that programming doesn’t require talent or passion and the myth that it does is a real problem. I think this is true, though it should be said that it requires something an awful lot of people don’t have (and in some cases likely can’t develop).

Oh, come on! Fido needs work. Let’s not automate that away, okay?

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The Siberian Candidate: A Collection( 22 )


If the Russian president could design a candidate to undermine American interests—and advance his own—he’d look a lot like Donald Trump (Franklin Foer, Slate)

Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump. Over the past decade, Russia has boosted right-wing populists across Europe. It loaned money to Marine Le Pen in France, well-documented transfusions of cash to keep her presidential campaign alive. Such largesse also wended its way to the former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who profited “personally and handsomely” from Russian energy deals, as an American ambassador to Rome once put it. (Berlusconi also shared a 240-year-old bottle of Crimean wine with Putin and apparently makes ample use of a bed gifted to him by the Russian president.)

There’s a clear pattern: Putin runs stealth efforts on behalf of politicians who rail against the European Union and want to push away from NATO. He’s been a patron of Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, and Jobbik in Hungary. Joe Biden warned about this effort last year in a speech at the Brookings Institution: “President Putin sees such political forces as useful tools to be manipulated, to create cracks in the European body politic which he can then exploit.” Ruptures that will likely multiply after Brexit—a campaign Russia’s many propaganda organs bombastically promoted.

The destruction of Europe is a grandiose objective; so is the weakening of the United States. Until recently, Putin has only focused glancing attention on American elections. Then along came the presumptive Republican nominee.

Wikileaks Dismantling of DNC Is Clear Attack by Putin on Clinton (John R. Schindler, The Observer)

Wikileaks has delivered as promised on its public threats of damaging Team Clinton with hacked emails. Although the DNC can’t deny that many of the leaked messages appear authentic—they wouldn’t have forced the chair’s resignation if they were fake, obviously—there remains the important question of how the vaunted “privacy organization” got its hands on them.

It turns out there’s hardly any mystery there. It’s no secret that the DNC was recently subject to a major hack, one which independent cybersecurity experts easily assessed as being the work of Russian intelligence through previously known cut-outs. One of them, called COZY BEAR or APT 29, has used spear-phishing to gain illegal access to many private networks in the West, as well as the White House, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. Another hacking group involved in the attack on the DNC, called FANCY BEAR or APT 28, is a well-known Russian front, as I’ve previously profiled.

These bears didn’t make much efforts to hide their DNC hack—in one case leaving behind a Russian name in Cyrillic as a signature—and Kremlin attribution has been confirmed by independent analysis by a second cybersecurity firm.

Why Russia is rejoicing over Trump (Anna Nemtsova, Politico)

It was thus perfectly in keeping with Trump campaign’s entente with the Kremlin that last week Trump aides reportedly watered down the new Republican platform on Russia, removing language that called for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces. Page, an energy expert, has close ties to Russian business and relationships with executives at Gazprom, the giant state-run gas company. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has worked as a lobbyist for former Ukraine’s former Russia-aligned president, Viktor Yanukovych.

For Putin, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. Shunned and sanctioned by western leaders for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Putin now sees a future ally riding into view. The Kremlin and its right-wing supporters also enthusiastically applaud the isolationist they see in Trump, who has suggested he might curtail U.S. involvement in NATO and European affairs, and who derides the same political “mainstream” that has deemed Putin a pariah.

If he wins in November, would Trump allow Russia’s sphere of influence to grow in Eastern Europe? These are the questions that are rife in Russian official circles. Here in Moscow, I often hear Trump being compared to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the extremist nationalist politician whom people call Zhirik and who is known as the “palace jester” of Russian politics because of his calls to execute dissenting ministers, lawmakers and generals by shooting them in Red Square, or to reduce the birth rate in Russian Muslim republics by imposing a financial penalty for the birth of a third child. “I admire Trump, he is like our Zhirik, they both say what they think,” Aleksandr, a Nizhny Novgorod student and supporter of the Rodina party — originally a coalition of 30 nationalist and far-right groups — told me. ”See, the success of palace jesters like our Zhirinovsky or the American Trump is easy to explain: They are not afraid of saying what other king’s courtiers are afraid of saying.”

Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing (Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo)

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump’s financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That’s simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.

Fact-Checking that Trump-Putin Thing (Jeffrey Carr, Medium)

Josh focused exclusively on Page’s relatively brief tenure advising Gazprom and completely excluded his connection with Ukraine’s billionaire philanthropist Victor Pinchuk. It was his friendship with Pinchuk that got him the Merrill Lynch appointment to Moscow in the first place. Why exclude it? Because unlike Gazprom, there’s no connection between Pinchuk and Putin that Josh could exploit.

Josh’s claim that “Those ties allow Putin to put Page out of business at any time” is a mystery to me because Page left Gazprom in 2007 and has made very little money from Russia ever since; especially after sanctions hit in 2014.

Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump.

The article Josh used to source that “fact” only mentioned RT (Russia Today). This editorial in the Moscow Times hoped for a Clinton presidency: “The Moscow-Washington relationship promises to remain a rocky one and its management will require a steady hand, which a President Clinton is more likely to provide than a President Rubio, or, God forbid, a President Trump.”
And just a few days ago, the Kremlin criticized Trump’s statement on NATO and Russia via TASS.

Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin (Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post)

Donald Trump was in his element, mingling with beauty pageant contestants and business tycoons as he brought his Miss Universe pageant to Russia for a much-anticipated Moscow debut. Nonetheless, Trump was especially eager for the presence of another honored guest: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump tweeted Putin a personal invitation to attend the pageant, and a one-on-one meeting between the New York businessman and the Russian leader was scheduled for the day before the show.

Putin canceled at the last minute, but he sent a decorative lacquered box, a traditional Russian gift, and a warm note, according to Aras Agalarov, a Moscow billionaire who served as a liaison between Trump and the Russian leader.

Still, the weekend was fruitful for Trump. He received a portion of the $14 million paid by Agalarov and other investors to bring the pageant to Moscow. Agalarov said he and Trump signed an agreement to build a Trump Tower in the heart of Moscow — at least Trump’s fifth attempt at such a venture. And Trump seemed energized by his interactions with Russia’s financial elite at the pageant and a glitzy after-party in a Moscow nightclub.

Why Putin Hates Hillary (Michael Crowley and Julia Ioffe, Politico)

While Donald Trump’s budding bromance with Vladimir Putin is well known — the two men have exchanged admiring words about each other and called for improved relations between Washington and Moscow — Putin’s hostility towards Clinton draws less attention.

Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.

“He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”

Putin is surely backing Trump, whether or not Russia was behind DNC hack (Julian Borger, The Guardian)

Russian state media has largely been favourable to Trump, who has historically relied on Russian money for financing his property deals – a fact admitted by one of his sons, Donald Jr. Furthermore, the Republican candidate has two men in his immediate circle with a record of promoting Russian causes.

Paul Manafort, the campaign chair formerly worked as an adviser to Viktor Yanukovych, former Ukrainian president and a Vladimir Putin ally ousted in a revolution two years who is now living in exile in Russia. And Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser with a long history of financial ties to the Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Meanwhile, some of Trump’s most striking policy pronouncements were very much in Russian interests, most spectacularly his questioning of Nato’s basic tenet, that an attack on one member state would be treated as an attack on all, and his campaign’s determination to strip language on supporting Ukraine against Russian intervention from the Republican manifesto.

The Clinton camp has cried foul, with the campaign manager, Robby Mook, arguing on the ABC current affairs programme This Week that the Russians had leaked the DNC emails to help Trump, suggesting that the nominee’s policy positions gave Moscow ample incentive.

Is Donald Trump a Putin patsy? (Daniel Drezner, Washington Post)

No, I don’t see it. Yet.

First of all, let’s dismiss the part of this story that connects folks like Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mike Flynn to Russia. Those links are there, but they are also irrelevant for the campaign. If there is anything we have learned about Donald Trump’s campaign to date, it’s that non-family underlings don’t matter. Foreign policy advisers like Page or Flynn certainly don’t matter. I’m not saying that these connections are not worth exploring, just that they are not part of some master grand plan.

Second of all, while the evidence for Russia being behind the DNC hack is certainly suggestive, it’s far from ironclad. Click here, here and here for some critical pushback on these stories. I certainly think the link merits further investigation. But I’m uncomfortable with the ironclad casual assertion that “Russia was behind this” that is starting to form inside the Beltway.

The third and hardest part of this story to dismiss is the money trail. As Marshall noted, Trump has increased his debt load and the dirty little secret is that most U.S. banks don’t loan money to Trump because they don’t trust him. And as Spoiler Alerts discussed last month, “I’m beginning to wonder if [Trump’s] motivation to win now is less about making America great again and more about avoiding yet another Trump bankruptcy.” Cozying up to Russia and Russian money would certainly be one way of bolstering his finances. And one wonders if the reason that Trump won’t release his tax returns is because it would expose Trump’s reliance on foreign money to prop up his companies.

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Morning Ed: World {2017.07.26.T}( 25 )

I am never not fascinated by stories like this one.

Branko Milanovic looks at populism in the international context, from Trump to Putin. And China!

Well, this comedian is definitely an ass, but I am glad that’s protected speech in the US.

Michael Caine’s name is now Michael Caine.

Rocky Mountain high? (Haha, get it?) (I’ll bet Coloradoans are totally not tired of that joke.)

This makes sense for a number of reasons, one of which is that there is little “repeat business” angle for contractors, nor seeking recommendations for doing the same job somewhere else.

It’s really interesting that France is one of two countries where fear of crime is an issue for less than half of the population, given the Paris Attacks. (Which, I know, were not carried out by refugees, but demonstrated holes in the process all the same.)

Oh, man. And more…

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Morning Ed: Politics {2017.07.25.M}( 202 )

Well crap, there’s one potential electoral reform I support possibly out the window. There are a number of things we do that empower the entrenched party structure, and this is definitely one of them.

After the non-endorsement, Ted Cruz and his wife had a bit of a rough night.

Trump may owe much of his rhetoric to Buchanan, his coalition to McCain, but he apparently owes his staff to Bob Dole.

I don’t think that George W Bush is going to be the last Republican president, as we have too sticky a party system, but he may be the last one who says things like “Islam means peace” and believes in welcoming immigration.

Nigel Farage doesn’t like Hillary, but Trump’s policy on Muslims makes him wince.

In Trumpian fashion, Ivanka used the convention to hawk a dress from her line. Even so, I do actually think it’s kind of cool that it’s a reasonably affordable dress as far as such dresses go.

Benjamin Wittes offers some advice on whether Justice Department lawyers should stand up to President Trump from within, or fight him from without.

Alban Werner looks at Germany’s shift to the right, and what the left can do about it.

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Morning Ed: Business {2017.07.24.Su}( 116 )

The potential pitfalls of freemium.

I still think Nielsen is nothing but a scam (Crackpot Theory #2), but the story behind the Mr Nielsen is interesting.

This would have been helpful a couple years ago, when “it contains nicotine from tobacco” was the indisputable rationale for why ecigarettes were a “tobacco product” despite containing nothing intrinsic to tobacco.

Is Apple capitalizing on its market presence to screw Spotify? Apple, no great surprise, says no.

How LinkedIn sold itself to Microsoft. Related: The inside story of how Zuckerberg killed Google+. It’s a good platform! Way better than Facebook. Except the “nobody uses it” thing. I still think Google+ and Twitter would make for a pretty fantastic team.

It’s genuinely difficult for companies to have good diversity programs, but some ideas and programs work better than others.

I used to have one of these! Actually, three. People like them because they’re reliable, but they kept dying on me after about a year or so.

This sounds interesting, but I’m already pretty backlogged on my audiobook queue as I am busy saving the publishing industry.

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Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery( 134 )


Image by cogdogblog

Image by cogdogblog Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[E1] On the one hand, I do see what Michael Godsey is saying here about how the classroom environment is suboptimal for introverts. On the other hand, the office environment often works the same way.

[E2] The university professoriat is not actually getting more liberal except in the Northeast. The northeast, however, is a rather large and extremely important exception.

[E3] Unlike football and basketball, college baseball players don’t all (or mostly) get full scholarships, and it can leave them in a world of debt.

[E4] We’ll have to pass the bill before we know what’s in it, of course, but some are concerned that Hillary Clinton’s tuition plan may backfire.

[E5] Take some free classes from Yale!


science photo

Image by GoToVan Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[S1] I barely understand it, to be honest, but for you folks who speak science: Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong?

[S2] Less fundamental, maybe (or maybe even more), but something’s up with gravity and quantum mechanics.

[S3] According to a new book, addiction may not be what we think it is.

[S4] Wormholes!

[S5] Yoshitaka Fujii is responsible for one of every seven retracted papers in a 30 year span.

[S6] Vox has a roundup of opinions on what’s gone wrong with science. Joe Duarte has a paper on the subject, and Jesse Singal discussed a recent flap that I’d talked about over at Hit Coffee.


brain photo

Image by alaspoorwho Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[P1] Sadie Stein says that growing up means retiring your shyness. Maybe? It seems to me that the costs of my on asociality have been declining over the years, and not solely because I’m a SAHD.

[P2] Tim Harford explains the ubiquity of bias and how none of us are as objective as we think we are. The same applies to everyone else, even if they’re trying! Examples include journalists, editors, researchers, scientists, studio executives, and link aggregators.

[P3] The visions of the blind dreamer.

[P4] Clancy loves coffee, and loves naps, so this is right up her alley and she reported that it actually kind of works.

[P5] Sometimes, what appears to be random chance is actually our minds quietly at work.

[P6] Want to pump yourself up? Pronouns!


prosthetics photo

Image by Marc Poppleton Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[T1] Ahhh, but can we put a bomb on it?

[T2] How facial recognition may introduce us to our doppelgangers.

[T3] Well, this is a long-time coming!

[T4] Felipe Fernandes Cruz looks at “The Golden Age of Tinkering” and how it tickled the imagination of transportation.

[T5] How World War I gave birth to the wristwatch.

[T6] I could definitely have used one of these when I was in school.


samurai photo

Image by madmrmox Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[H1] Rachel Ahrnsen explains why nine is the worst number.

[H2] I’m such a sucker for this stuff: What 2000 was supposed to look like in 1900. {More}

[H3] The violent displacement that created our National Park system.

[H4] Until recently I’d never heard of the MOVE bombing. Had you?

[H5] The story of Ota Benga, a young African displayed in a cage in the Bronx Zoo. “We do not quite understand all the emotion which others are expressing in the matter.” -NY Times, 1906

[H6] Blue, Gray, and Glow: The mystery of the glowing Civil War soldiers.

[H7] A cool collection of prints showing how the Japanese saw western inventors, artists, and scholars.


psychology photo

Image by h.koppdelaney Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[A1] Prime numbers have an “anti-sameness” bias.

[A2] Have lemon, will make fire.

[A3] Van Gogh? Here you go.

[A4] Mark Carrigan discusses asexuality.

[A5] The end of a period. Well, the period.

[A6] It’s true! Never trust statisticians.

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Morning Ed: Health {2016.07.21.Th}( 57 )

According to some research, being who are overweight have less grey and white matter in the brain, leading them to make poorer food choices. I’m not sure I like where this goes.

In Britain, women over forty are becoming pregnant at higher rates than teenagers.

Artificial light, and the loss of the light-dark cycle, may be making us sick.

There’s something screwy going on with astronauts’ vision.

One reason for lower homicide rates? Better medicine.

From Christopher Carr: We’re probably going to see more fecal transplants in the years ahead.

Oh, spit.

It turns out that smokers are less than interested in being props in someone else’s morality play.

Congratulations, US Tobacco Control, your dishonesty is working.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.07.20.W}( 86 )

This remains untrue, and insisting that it is over and over again doesn’t make the new one better. (It may be good! I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t even think it will be terrible.)

Scalzi has some thoughts on the new film, though, and its critics. Alsotoo, Sonny Bunch explains how to talk about the Ghostbusters movie(s) without being an arse.

From Tod Kelly: This essay about a man who hates his dog is pretty fantastic. It’s like the Dwyer’s writing and Sam’s writing hooked up and had a kid.

A study looks at religiosity and porn. Among the findings: His consumption is affected by her religiosity, but hers is not affected by his.

The notion of “vaping chic” is dumb as I can’t imagine anyone doing it to look cool. It really doesn’t. Smoking, on the other hand, has a history with cool.

How best to elicit an email response. Speaking of which, I’m really bad and sporadic at answering emails. Sorry to all of y’all that affects.

Ryan Holiday learned a lot from life from heavy metal.

Charlie Jane Anders looks at the complicated relationship between Raymond Chandler and science fiction.

Focus on the illusion, not the reality: This piece on simplifying VR reminds me of the frustrations I have with the CGification of just about everything.

From Sam: Here is an excellent write-up on Ichiro Suzuki, one of baseball’s greatest ever players.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.07.19.T}( 178 )

And with that, to the surprise of few (at this point), the rebellion is quashed and Donald Trump is assured the nomination. On to uniting the party

Nigel Farage, rumored to be attending the GOP convention, may have some advice.

Regardless of merits of the position, it’s actually kind of alarming that a campaign that cares so little about policy, and was very disinterested in the party platform generally, took a stand on this.

Of course he is. Of course he is. It’s 2016.

This is not how America is supposed to work.

Since people keep citing the Brexit as proof that the presidential polls may be missing something, I should point out that the polling on Brexit was fine. Given the unusual nature of what they were polling (instead of more predictable party elections), I’d go a step further and say it was actually quite impressive.

The media has reason to be wary of Donald Trump, but also Hillary Clinton.

David Frum, fresh off some tweets on the subject (read Gabriel’s comments in particular), discusses the fate of William Jennings Bryan.

A newspaper is poking around Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent injury, in search of a story.

Who do libertarians fear more, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

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Morning Ed: Britain {2016.07.18.M}( 31 )

Everything is going swimmingly with the Brexit. Swimmingly!

Also going swimmingly, everything in the Labour Party. All just grand.

Lawrence Serewicz writes of Brexit and the end of British liberal democracy.

Ronan Burtenshaw looks at the British press’s relentless treatment of Jeremy Corbyn.

Bruce Anderson develops a game plan for Theresa May.

Meanwhile, Iain Martin reveals where David Cameron goes from here.


Winston Churchill was very suspicious of the Mormons.

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Morning Ed: History {2016.07.17.Su}( 13 )

From Tod Kelly: Apparently, women were initially included in the Civil Rights Act as a strategy to sink the Civil Rights Act.

In 1948, George H Bush moved to Texas and received an education.

Oh, man, the legacy of Tuskegee.

The story of The Unknown Man who was found at Somerton Beach (CA) on December 1, 1948.

A look at the life of dinosaurs.

History Today has an interesting article on the last battle in Europe (for now), the forgotten Battle of Texel.

Christopher Dickey writes about the complicated relationship between Britain and the American Civil War.

These historical maps are really cool.

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Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…( 98 )


children sims photo

Image by raggiesoft Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[E1] Noah Charney has cracked the sitcom code. Is this the medium perfected, or the reason why sitcoms have become stale and unpopular?

[E2] It’s not just me: Anime really was great twenty years ago.

[E3] On paper, Sleepless in Seattle had serious problems. It’s a testament to the power of the Hanks-Ryan chemistry that it was as well-regarded as it was.

[E4] What’s up with the sucky state of American actors? Ah, well, as long as we can keep importing them, no biggie.

[E5] How The Sims promotes conservative family values, and Sim City tackles urban planning.


pediatrician photo

Image by edenpictures Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[H1] I can definitely understand that there are safety concerns with this device, but as long as nutritionists are recommending diet and exercise I don’t want to hear arguments about efficacy.

[H2] Maybe it’s not soda and salty/sweet snacks after all.

[H3] I don’t have a huge problem with this, to be honest, but it does interfere with the goal of insuring everybody. Perhaps opening the door for a revival of the Public Option.

[H4] I appreciate the thought here, but as a knuckle-dragging American I am vaguely disconcerted by the word “instructs.”

[H5] Aaron Carroll looks at some negative statistics for home births and takes the very sound view that rather than just discouraging them we ought to work to make them safer.

[H6] The kitchen is the heart of the house and using contractors like Agua Construction for your kitchen remodeling needs is a wise choice that will benefit your family and the value of your home.

[H7] Important for parents: What drowning does and doesn’t look like.


children sims photo

Image by Flavia Mariani Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[L1] How attention and social cues help us determine facial attractiveness.

[L2] Roberto Ferdman interviews Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld about the success of online dating.

[L3] With increased information comes increased market efficiency. {More}

[L4] Huh. young couples are better at determining their partner’s preferences than long-term couples.


shotgun wedding photo

Image by satanoid Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[M1] There used to be concern that people were not waiting long enough to find a good mate. Now there is concern that they are waiting too long.

[M2] Lisa Endlich Hefferman defends the Mommy Track and writes about 9 things a SAHM had wish she’d known before becoming a SAHM, which resonated with me, for the most part.

shotgun wedding photo

Image by Jasen Miller Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[M3] When all is said and done, staunch partisanship and fringy political views appear to make for happier marriages.

[M4] Self-selection for time horizons, I guess, but having a better credit score makes you a better marital bet.

[M5] Another shock: If you’re agreeable, attractive, and clean, you’re more likely to get married. The good news is that if you’re low in one, you can try to bone up on the other.


children sims photo

Image by familymwr Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[C1] What if parenting doesn’t really matter? It would be nice to let parents off the hook since so much of parenting is not controllable, but attributing family structure to selection raises a different breed of uncomfortable questions.

[C2] What if parenting doesn’t really matter? It would be nice to let parents off the hook since so much of parenting is not controllable, but attributing family structure to selection raises a different breed of uncomfortable questions.

children sims photo

Image by Guilherme Yagui Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

[C3] We have gotten this question in some pretty weird places. We don’t especially mind answering it, but there is a lot of speculation based on the little data the answer to the question provides.

[C4] We’re not yet having these discussions explicitly, but I feel like they’re happening non-verbally with increasing frequency.

[C5] Maybe it’s not a name your considering for your kid, but a brand!


[D1] In Alternet, psychotherapist William Doherty questions his own historic assumptions and wonders if we approach divorce too selfishly.

[D2] Amanda Foreman takes a dour look at divorce and American culture, and the female experience within.

[D3] Bethany Mandel expresses her disapproval of The Divorce Selfie.

[D4] The Book of Life has a primer on how to break up with somebody. The “be cruel to be kind” is probably right.

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Morning Ed: World {2016.07.14.Th}( 81 )

Razib Khan maps out the great human disruptions.

If you were wondering who the right-wing specter in Australia is, here you go.

Mimi Teixeira writes of the business and underbelly of clothing donations.

I don’t care too much about the Tour de France, but I do enjoy images of llamas messing everything up by sitting in the middle of the road.

Skull-and-Bones and free masons… Japanese-style.

When Gundam needed a city to smash up, they chose… Edmonton, Alberta.

I… uhhh… yeah, that’s a toilet.

The Muslim Brotherhood… in Sweden.

Refugees in Europe are learning to code.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.07.13.W}( 140 )

Mostly due to a statistical fluke (more independents), but contrary to conventional wisdom all the same, cross-alignment marriages may be increasing.

Single-member districts play a role in our lack of a multiparty system, but so too does the Electoral College.

I’m not predicting that this is going to happen, and certainly not by the convention, but lawyers need to be looking – state by state – at what happens if a presidential candidate drops out of the race in the middle of October.

I wish I could disagree with this, but I can’t. I’m not a fan of Ted Cruz, but at least Ted Cruz losing in November would have helped move us forward. Trump’s loss likely means a continuation of the three-way battle.

In case you missed it, the presidential candidates are both quite unpopular.

The Republican National Convention is coming up. Here’s what’s at play.

Sharron Angle didn’t get word of the Republican platform’s position on pornography.

Good luck with that, Donald. Fun fact: Muslims used to be one of the few minority groups with which Republicans did well. Asian-Americans, too, to a lesser extent. Now? They’re losing the Asian-American vote because it’s increasingly Muslim.

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Morning Ed: United States {2016.07.12.T}( 84 )

As residents flee, there is a firesale on houses in Puerto Rico! Will it be the next Miami? (I don’t think it will be the next Miami.)

This should surprise approximately nobody: With diversity comes segregation.

JoAnna Novak worries that America is going to destroy sriracha because America.

I like the part where the train bashes the body into pieces and the other body just steps over it to enter the train.

There is apparently a schism in the veterans’ community.

Matthew Yglesias explains how a seemingly small change in trade policy may have demolished manufacturing employment in the United States.

In between the left’s multiculturalism and the right’s nativism, Michael Lind purports to offer a better way.

Pew looks at how Americans view race and Black Lives Matter.

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Morning Ed: Crime {2016.07.11.M}( 152 )

Yeah, it seems to me that wanting the cops to protect you and objecting to them shooting people are not mutually exclusive.

In effort to avoid contributing to the controversy, a rape victim in Germany lied about the race of the assailants.

The ACLU and a lot of Texas conservatives agree, this law sucks.

According to Harvard professor Roland Fryer, there is a racial disparity in the use of non-lethal use of police force, but not lethal force.

It’s come up in discussions around here, so here’s a look at how Scotland gets by without arming most of its police.

Dallas has gotten much well-deserved kudos for how they have reformed their police department and their overall behavior during the attack, but not everything was great.

Thanks to a court ruling, it is now a federal crime to share your Netflix password. This sort of seems like something that will be rather selectively enforced.

Pokemon Go! (Find a dead body.) Pity that Law & Order (Prime) isn’t still around, because they always put so much thought into how the dead bodies are found.

Pokemon Go! Carefully, if you’re black. {via Christopher Carr}

Pokemon Go! Carefully, even if you’re not.

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Morning Ed: Brexit III {2016.07.10.Su}( 60 )

If the European banking community moves on from London, it does seem to me that France is not a good fit.

Rory Stewart (An undersecretary of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) was a Remainer, but argues that it’s time to make the most of the departure. Michael Burrage argues that Britain’s negotiating hand is really quite strong.

Adrian Pabst writes of the existential crisis of the Labour Party as Neil Kinnock expresses his dismay at a party that’s close to giving up.

Matthew Parris explains that now that he knows his country a little bit better, he likes it a little bit less.

And a good-bye to Neil Nigel Farage, the marmite of British politics and arguably the most successful British politician of an era.

Farage may be less than pleased to know that free movement appears to be on the table, however.

There are quite a lot of decisions to be made. It seems kind of obvious that, assuming Brexit happens, Team Norway has the edge.

And Eastern Europe makes its move

Naturally, the Brexit was a result of climate change.

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Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty’s World( 159 )


New Zealand photo

Image by Abaconda Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty's World

[A1] Is there a town in New Zealand really wants people to move there. Actually, if it sounds to good to be true.

[A2] Moving to Canada is an oft-used threat, but it’s actually kind of hard. Meanwhile, a look at population growth in the Great Maple Leaf.

[A3] Sort of like the mysterious man from Thrill Seekers, This guy keeps dying in every terrorist attack, and there’s (non-time-travelling) a reason for it.

[A4] This is probably a good thing, considering that Twitter needed some fresh imagery in its election commentary.

[A5] Yes Ma’am, sorry Ma’am.


stripper photo

Image by quinn.anya Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty's World

[L1] Ben Casselman argues that while poor kids need the summer jobs, the rich kids are getting them.

[L2] Interview With a Stripper

[L3] An brief inside view of working for the man. I mean, the government.

[L4] Indentured servitude was bad, but it wasn’t slavery.

[L5] Derek Thompson writes of the ever-interesting (to me) notion of a post-work society.


family photo

Image by Sanchez Photo Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty's World

[H1] John Gabriel talks about nicotine, the miracle drug.

[H2] Nopenopenopenopenopenopenope!!! I mean seriously, bacteria, why do you have to sscrew up everything?

[H3] Meet the math genius who had almost no brain, and a civil servant missing 90% of his neurons.

[H4] On this, I am going to guess “Because the pay isn’t as good, the hours tend to be worse, and the level of respect tends to be lower.

[H5] Medical mergers and consolidations are starting to worry some folks. Also, in the medical profession, as in many others, pay-for-performance is a tricky thing.


nuclear power photo

Image by Dave Sizer Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty's World

[R1] Woohoo! We’ve got more helium! We’ve got more helium!

[R2] Michael Shellenberger argues that the closing of the nuclear plant in California is a loss for the environment.

[R3] Will uranium seawater extraction make nuclear power completely renewable?

[R4] Yes, yes, let’s please find a way to turn pollution into fuel! (Michael Cain and Oscar Gordon discuss here)

[R5] Will Iowa be all-wind by 2030?


schoolhouse photo

Image by SpeedProPhoto Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty's World

[E1] Justin Fox explains how Chinese students saved our colleges. There has been some tension with the international students, but their money is green.

[E2] Homeschoolers are apparently killing it on the SAT.

[E3] Michael McShane looks at Tiny Schools. The questions about scalability seem valid, and I like having gone to a big school, but I would love for us to have a regime to enable them.

[E4] Noah Smith says the golden age of college may be coming to a close, while Book of Tamara asks What is a University?

[E5] Noah Feldman argues that law schools should not try to limit admittance to people that will be able to pass the bar.


family photo

Image by katgrigg Linky Friday #174: Her Majesty's World

[F1] Men and boys with older sisters are less competitive.

[F2] A study from BYU looks at the happiness in marriage and divorce, and has some interesting findings, among them that the trajectory from happiness to unhappiness in divorce is not as gradual as many of us assume. Relatedly, low-conflict divorces are remarkably common.

[F3] Rita Arens argues that marriage contracts should be temporary. And that’s as good a recap as any as to why despite my long-standing support for SSM, I don’t describe myself on “liberal” as marriage. Also, I think we should heed the words of Dharma Montgomery here.

[F4] Richard Reeves of the Brookings institute has an interesting piece on partisan affiliation and premarital cohabitation. It gives me hope that there is more resistance to the idea among young Republicans than I thought.

[F5] I agree with this article from the Guardian, suggesting that social media’s ability to break down the wall between birth parents and adopted children, poses a lot of potential for trouble. All of the momentum in the US, though, has been towards unsealing the records.

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Morning Ed: Society {2016.07.06.Th}( 220 )

Helen Andrews argues that the meritocracy is so obvious, that it’s really hard to question. Even if (maybe especially if) it turns into the aristocracy it ostensibly replaced.

David Freedman, on the other hand, is pretty concerned, though.

If Blade Runner and typeface are your thing, this is the story for you. Personally, I enjoy stories about people obsessing over seeming minutiae.

What could possibly go wrong?

Sanjay Shah talks about his job interview with Stephen Colbert. What does one do when Colbert says “You blew it, kid”?

This is presented a quirky Japanese thing when it comes up, but I think rent-a-friend is a neat idea.

People. Man.

Alcohol and sex and partying and depression and other things I mostly missed out on in my relatively staid youth.

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Morning Ed: Government {2016.07.06.W}( 42 )

Some former FDA commissioners are arguing that the FDA should become an independent (cabinet-level) agency. My view on this is entirely outcome-based. What do they want to be doing that red tape won’t allow? What are they being required to do that they wouldn’t otherwise?

Patrick Clark looks at baseball stadia and their rather short lifespan. I’m genuinely quite stunned to see that a Sun Belt team is spending over $100m to buy Turner Field and then spend a lot more to transform it for their Sun Belt football team.

Just in case you were worried about subprime borrowers getting loans, the government is on top of it.

Holy freakin’ crap, what a mess. Given the nature of the error, it seems to me that this is something that should be written off.

Minor League baseball players are barely paid in the five digits, and congress may allow them to be paid less. Minor league sports and their athletes, it turns out, are not very valuable (unless associated with a university).

Transitioning from colleges to the courtrooms, Yes Means Yes is taking hold. It looks like it’s going to be up to the courts, in the end.

Well this is a lovely story. So is this. Good job, Dixie. Good work.

I don’t mind this, but I’m not going to pretend the fact that it moves the ball in the direction it does isn’t significant. The concept of legislative momentum is right there in the story: We should do this because of that previous thing we did.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2016.07.05.T}( 139 )

Candice Greaux is trying to get more women into the GOP, and keeps running into obstacles on her right and left.

According to one poll of San Diego, enforcement of the law against unauthorized immigrants seems quite popular across races. (Polls, though, tend to be all over the place, which is why nobody should be complacent that they’re “winning” the immigration issue.)

In the wake of Brexit, but transcending that particular case, David Van Reybrouck argues that elections are bad for democracy. I… would like to see his proposal (sort of like juries, but for democracy) tried before I commit to it.

Noah Berlatsky dreams of Rationalia, and wonders if Trump is capitalizing on technocratic impulses (if not political preferences).

Thomas Crown explains why Trump is the personification of the real estate scam.

Lee Drutman argues that we have too many lawyers in politics. It’s something conservatives complain about, but maybe it ought to be liberals doing the complaining.

I don’t know, I am sort of thinking constitutional principles are a part of the job of the FEC. I also think even setting aside Constitutionality, what half of them wanted to do shouldn’t be their job.

George Will is leadingleaving the Republican Party, but David Frum refuses to. Right now I am in the Frum camp, though that’s subject to change.

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Morning Ed: Brexit II {2016.07.03.Su}( 94 )

Damon Linker argues that the overwrought reaction to Brexit is the product of the left having its faith shattered. Yuval Levin says more. Even Krugman thinks they might be overdoing it a bit, at least on the economic side.

While Britain is the epicenter, the Brexit has some ramifications for Poland, too. From what I understand Britain is still likely to bring in a lot of Poles due to other agreements. If they don’t, though, could there be any benefit to Poland from not losing the human capital?

Blah. Only a person who has been DESTROYED BY JOHN OLIVER would say such negative things about John Oliver.

Well, I suppose it’s true if David Cameron were an African leader he wouldn’t have resigned, but… so? That’s like the whole “American presidents are critical of Castro but he outlasts them all. Well yeah, but that’s because one country has accountability and term limits and the other country doesn’t.

Speaking Britain and Africa

Youssef El-Gingihy argues that now more than ever, Labour needs Corbyn. John Harris thinks it doesn’t matter because Labour is in trouble either way.

On the Labour side, Ashley Wills and Roland Smith endorse Theresa May.

“If you leave the EU then Scotland is going to lose you!” is not looking good right now. Kyle Orton seems more worried about Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, finding trading partners may not be so hard for Britain.

James Pethokoukis argues that the Brexit may have been inevitable.

Is the EU not even trying anymore? No, it’s not a big deal, but maybe such actions are not worth the antagonism they generate?

Rejected Remain ads. I like the grenade, the ledge, and the hippo. It’s probably good they didn’t go with the first one.

Apparently the best candidate to replace London as a banking capital is… London. But the case is less strong than it was before.

CT May is not happy about the outcome, but he’s not exactly broken up about it.

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Linky Friday #173: Build, Pray, Love( 190 )



Hong Kong photo

Image by DeeMakMak Linky Friday #173: Build, Pray, Love

[U1] Matthew Luftus makes the pretty straightforward argument that neighborhoods need neighbors.

[U2] According to some, Houston doesn’t have zoning the same way that Louisiana doesn’t have counties. Not so, says Tory Gaddis.

[U3] Stephanie Meeks makes the case for historical preservation districts.

[U4] Grace Chen explains why she’s joining the exodus and leaving Vancouver. (Spoiler alert: It’s expensive there.)

[U5] Reimagining the cities of the future.


[S1] New Geography looks at sustainability in the suburbs.

[S2] For all that suburbia is supposed to be the land of the isolated, suburbanites are more likely to know and like their neighbors than their city counterparts. Chris Mohney argues that families belong in the suburbs.

[S3] Cities are trying to figure out what to do about the prospect of snake people moving to the suburbs when they have kids.

[S4] A visual history of the filling station.


montana photo

Image by kevin dooley Linky Friday #173: Build, Pray, Love

[R1] Nancy Cook writes about rural planning in the ag sector.

[R3] At NRO, Kevin Williamson says we should let dying communities die.

[R4] If living in a city is bad for you, maybe you can telecommute from Montana.

[R5] Esther Wang looks at the history of Finnish-American coops, a cross between leftist fantasy and Portlandia.

[R6] Trees will make you feel younger and wealthier.


victorian photo

Image by TimothyJ Linky Friday #173: Build, Pray, Love

[B1] While I love Brutalism because it’s awesome (yay Brutalism!), I also have an interest in architectural designs that aren’t as cool. Here’s a collecting of architects defending such buildings. With pictures!

[B2] The architecture of Die Hard.

[B3] Gizmodo looks at the secret (status!) symbols of Victorian architecture.

[B4] Even setting aside the Brutalism (yay Brutalism!), these pictures of Hong Kong are surreal.

[B5] In 2014, Andreas Bernard wrote a really interesting piece on “the most important invention in the history of the modern city”… the elevator that gave birth to the skyrise and the penthouse and a lot more. That’s not something I’d really considered before, but it makes a lot of sense. Also, Fast Company looks at skyscrapers and how they might influence our perspective of space.


cruise ship photo

Image by kansasphoto Linky Friday #173: Build, Pray, Love

[V1] Jason Steffen wants us to change the way we board planes. Also, when to book tickets.

[V2] Once upon a time, 100,000 miles was a lot for a car.

[V3] Eighty years after the Hindenburg disaster, are dingible airships making a comeback? Maybe, but the Pentagon seems to be moving on from balloons.

[V4] This seems like kind of a cool app, though it seems to me like most of the time you’re stuck above clouds anyway.

[V5] Johnny Sanphilippo’s piece on the future of autotaxis is particularly astute.


remote island photo

Image by subarcticmike Linky Friday #173: Build, Pray, Love

[E1] Laser Tag Island! Pretty cool concept.

[E2] Abandoned theme parks are something that have always interested me. So do alternate timelines. So images from an alternate timeline where Walt Disney World is abandoned? I’m totally there.

[E3] There aren’t many places that I would pay $700 a night to stay at, but the Kennedy Room of the Grand Canyon is one of them.

[E4] A look at the cisterns of San Francisco, and a cave in Georgia (the other Georgia) so big it has its own Subway.

[E5] Want to get away? Try a luxurious, private, man-made island!

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Morning Ed: World {2016.06.30.Th}( 14 )

Stop trying to get me to like Russia it’s not going to work.

Cracked’s Robert Evans read every every issue of Daesh’s magazine, and reports seven things he learned.

Wow, there were more refugees last year than after World War II.

AirBnB, but for refugees.

When doxing means death. Somewhat relatedly: Ugh.

Ultra-orthodox Jews… turning to Jesus? This… makes me kind of queasy.

If nothing else, I’m honestly surprised that they’re willing to destroy this much capital because they’re not cheap to train. Sigh. The site of a pile of dead dogs really gets to me, and don’t click on the link if it gets to you.

Here’s a pretty awesome story of how an ice station in Antarctica was saved from a crack in the ice moving in their direction.

Here are some pretty cool pictures of Antarctica.

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Morning Ed: Education {2016.06.29.W}( 39 )

Maybe the problem with adjunct professors isn’t as bad as we think.

When a law school sues another law school, there are probably going to be a lot of lawyers involved.

Before being shown the door at Demos, Matt Bruenig explained why education won’t fix poverty.

Lisa Ruddick writes about When Nothing Is Cool because everything must be Criticized.

There is a class divide when it comes to choosing one’s major. It corresponds with my experience this it tends to be wealthier kids studying English, to the point that you can almost see a class divide at extended family gatherings.

And after the Ivies… vocational training.

Administrative bloat in universities is not strictly an American problem, it would seem.

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